Daily News Digest September 11, 2017

Daily News Digest Archives

During This Economic Crisis, Capitalism’s Three Point Political Program:  1. Austerity, 2. Scapegoating Blacks, Minorities, and ‘Illegal Immigrants’ for Unemployment, and 3. The Iron Heel.

Democracy?: As the Capitalist Robber Barons Steal from the 99% — Only the 1% Voted For Austerity — The 99% Should Decide On Austerity — Not Just Those  Who Profit From Austerity! Under Austerity, All of the World Will Eventually Be Pauperized, Humbled, and Desecrated Like Greece and Puerto Rico!

Daily News Digest September 11, 2017

Images of the Day:

All Wars are Bankers’ Wars Why We Can’t Afford the Rich Quotes of the Day:

How and why did U.S. President Truman so quickly decide by June 27 to commit the U.S. military to battle in South Korea? Stone makes a strong case that there were those in the U.S. government and military who saw a war in Korea and the resulting instability in East Asia as in the U.S. national interest. Stone presents the ideas and actions of them, including John Foster Dulles, General Douglas MacArthur, President Syngman Rhee and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, which appear to amount to a willingness to see the June 25 military action by North Korea as another Pearl Harbor in order to “commit the United States more strongly against Communism in the Far East.” (p. 21). Their reasoning may have been, Stone thought, the sooner a war with China and/or Russia the better before both become stronger. President Truman removed Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, according to Stone’s account, because Johnson had been selling this doctrine of preventive war. (p. 93) Stone shows that Truman committed the U. S. military to the war in Korea, then went to the U.N. for sanctions against North Korea. “It was neither honorable nor wise,” Stone argues, “for the U.N. under pressure from an interested great power to condemn a country for aggression without investigation and without hearings its side of the case.” (p. 50) But that is what the U. S. insisted should happen using, Stone argues, distorted reports to rush its case.
Then when the war came to a stalemate at the 38th Parallel, Stone makes a strong case that U.S. Army headquarters provoked or created incidents to derail the ceasefire negotiations. When the North Koreans and Chinese had ceded on Nov. 4, 1952 to the three demands of the U.N. side, the U. S. military spread a story that “The Communists had brutally murdered 5,500 American prisoners.” The talks were being dragged out, the U.S. military argued, because “The communists don’t want to have to answer questions about what happened to their prisoners” and they are lower than “barbarians.” (pp. 324-25) At no time after these reports were these “atrocities” reported again or documented. But hope of a ceasefire subsided. — Book Review: ‘The Hidden History of the Korean War’ by I.F. Stone

Videos of the Day:

Will Hurricane Irma Grind Up Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant?

All Wars are Bankers’ Wars

Fight for 52¢ trailer The story of the 1934 Minneapolis truck driver’s strikes as told by the organizer V.R. Dunne in Howard Petrick’s one man show.

Humanity’s ‘Carbon Budget’ is Smaller Than Generally Believed Professor Michael Mann discusses a new study showing that the IPCC has underestimated global warming in the industrial era


 The opioid crisis, the frequent mass shootings, the rising rates of suicide, especially among middle-aged white males, the morbid obesity, the obsession with gambling, the investment of our emotional and intellectual life in tawdry spectacles and the allure of magical thinking, from the absurd promises of the Christian right to the belief that reality is never an impediment to our desires, are the pathologies of a diseased culture. They have risen from a decayed world where opportunity, which confers status, self-esteem and dignity, has dried up for most Americans. They are expressions of acute desperation and morbidity. A loss of income causes more than financial distress. It severs, as the sociologist Émile Durkheim pointed out, the vital social bonds that give us meaning. A decline in status and power, an inability to advance, a lack of education and health care and a loss of hope are crippling forms of humiliation. This humiliation fuels loneliness, frustration, anger and feelings of worthlessness. In short, when you are marginalized and rejected by society, life often has little meaning. “When life is not worth living, everything becomes a pretext for ridding ourselves of it … ,” Durkheim wrote. “There is a collective mood, as there is an individual mood, that inclines nations to sadness. … For individuals are too closely involved in the life of society for it to be sick without their being affected. Its suffering inevitably becomes theirs.” White men, more easily seduced by the myth of the American dream than people of color who understand how the capitalist system is rigged against them, often suffer feelings of failure and betrayal, in many cases when they are in their middle years. They expect, because of notions of white supremacy and capitalist platitudes about hard work leading to advancement, to be ascendant. They believe in success. When the American dream becomes a nightmare they are vulnerable to psychological collapse. This collapse, more than any political agenda, propelled Donald Trump into power. Trump embodies the decayed soul of America. He, like many of those who support him, has a childish yearning to be as omnipotent as the gods. This impossibility, as the cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker wrote, leads to a dark alternative: destroying like the gods. Chris Hedge, Diseases of Despair

Capitalism, the State and the Drowning of America As Hurricane Harvey lashed Texas, Naomi Klein wasted no time in diagnosing the “real root causes” behind the disaster, indicting “climate pollution, systemic racism, underfunding of social services, and overfunding of police.” A day after her essay appeared, George Monbiot argued that no one wants to ask the tough questions about the coastal flooding spawned during Hurricane Harvey because to do so would be to challenge capitalism — a system wedded to “perpetual growth on a finite planet” — and call into question the very foundations of “the entire political and economic system.” by Ted Steinberg

Enforcing Empire Through a Global Surveillance State In this excerpt from In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power, McCoy examines the role that surveillance has historically played in securing US hegemony — a role that has only increased in recent years. Although Washington began withdrawing many of its troops from the Greater Middle East in 2011, its sophisticated intelligence apparatus, built for the pacification of Afghanistan and Iraq, had already preceded them home, creating a US surveillance state of unprecedented power. Two years later, Edward Snowden’s cache of leaked documents would reveal that the National Security Agency (NSA) was already using this technology to monitor the private communications of almost every American in the name of fighting foreign terrorists. But the roots of this domestic surveillance were, in fact, much deeper than anyone realized at the time. This kind of imperial blowback had been building a massive US internal security apparatus, step by step, war by war, for well over a century. By Alfred McCoyDangerous Times: North Korea, China and the Threat of Nuclear War and Accident The US continues to provoke North Korea with military exercises near its borders. It also fails to live up to diplomatic agreements. Western media continue to distort the chronology of cause and effect, inverting reality to claim that North Korea is provoking the West. John Pilger (The Coming War on China) talks to T.J. Coles about the situation. by John Pilger – TJ Coles

Black Liberation/Civil Rights:

“No Toilet, No Ventilation”: Prisoners Describe Horrific Conditions in Harvey’s Flood Zone After Hurricane Harvey, emails from prisoners at a federal prison complex in Beaumont, Texas, described nightmarish conditions inside. From a shortage of drinking water to reports of men fainting from a combination of heat exhaustion and toxic fumes from their own excrement — these conditions make the connection between environmental justice and mass incarceration more crucial than ever.  “No Toilet, No Ventilation”: Prisoners Describe Horrific Conditions in Harvey’s Flood Zone By Candice Bernd

Environmental racism is institutionalized throughout society just like segregation was institutionalized throughout the South prior to the Civil Rights Movement.:

It is time to hold capitalism and capitalists responsible for the destruction of the quality of life for poor and minority communities. The rich, who control the government, have no intent to waste dumps in their communities. According to a study released recently by the United Church of Christ, communities with hazardous waste facilities have exceptionally high numbers of Black and Hispanic citizens. This represents “an insidious form of institutional racism.  It is environmental racism,” said a spokesperson for the church. The study reveals that although Blacks and Hispanics average 12 percent of the population in communities without hazardous waste facilities, communities with one communities with one facility average 24 percent Blacks and Hispanics.  Communities with two or more facilities average 38 percent Blacks and Hispanics. Three out of every five Black and Hispanic Americans live in communities that have uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.  Roughly half of all Asian/Pacific Islanders and half of all American Indians live in communities that have uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. Most of these neighborhoods are also the areas where oil refineries and toxic chemical plants are built and allowed to pollute. It is not surprising that numerous studies show that poor working-class and minority populations also have higher cancer rates and cancer mortality rates, along with high rates of heart disease and other diseases.  They also live shorter lives than the national average. Unfortunately, no major labor organizations or groups representing oppressed minorities are addressing these problems and holding companies accountable for their crimes. — Roland Sheppard, Environmental Racism: Chester Pa.  (1998)


Whither Humanity? The Environmental Crisis of Capitalism  By Roland Sheppard

The unprecedented drought that’s crippling Montana and North Dakota It came without warning, and without equivalent. Now a flash drought is fueling fires and hurting the lives of those who work the land By Kathleen McLaughlin in Fort Peck, Montana

EPA chief says ready to further relax fuel standards due to hurricanes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is preparing for Hurricane Irma’s landfall on the U.S. East Coast by securing vulnerable toxic waste sites and easing gasoline standards to ensure steady fuel supplies. Reuters. (A ban could hurt sales by Monsanto Co (MON.N) and DuPont which sell dicamba weed killers and soybean seeds with Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant Xtend trait. BASF (BASFn.DE) also sells a dicamba herbicide.)  By Valerie Volcovici

 Toxic Chemical Industry and House R’s Attack on Science Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), the Environment Subcommittee Chairman authored an amendment to the House Appropriations bill (H.R.3354) to strip all funding for the IRIS program. EPA’s IRIS program conducts health assessments of chemicals, and determines “acceptable” levels of exposure via air, water, food or soil. IRIS assessments are not regulations themselves, but they are frequently used by regulators—at the EPA, in the 50 states, and around the world—to set health-based standards for chemicals. Because an IRIS assessment can lead to new or strengthened protections from exposure to a toxic substance, the chemical industry has spent years fighting EPA efforts to complete those assessments, a process we chronicled in detail in our 2011 NRDC report, The Delay Game. Two of the three case studies in that report — formaldehyde and trichlorethylene (Both Chemicals are considered carcinogens by the State of California’s Proposition 65 R.S.)  TCE — are still being contested by industry, and were a topic of this week’s Oversight Hearing. By Jennifer Sass

 Likely Carcinogen Contaminates Drinking Water of 90 Million Americans, Report Finds According to a new report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, the drinking water of more than a quarter of Americans — some 90 million people — tested postive for a likely carcinogen known as 1,4-dioxane between 2010 and 2015. And public water systems serving more than 7 million people in 27 states have average 1,4-dioxane concentrations that exceed the level US Environmental Protection Agency has said can increase the risk of cancer. By Zoe Loftus-Farren

Ongoing Big Energy Crisis:

Trump Admin Quietly Pushing ‘Small Scale’ LNG Exports That Avoid Environmental Reviews Normally, LNG export terminals have to go through a comprehensive environmental impact statement process, which is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), but the proposed rule would undo that process. NEPA also requires a public commenting period and sometimes a public hearing period, in which citizens with varying viewpoints can share their thoughts on the proposed projects, with those comments being used as part of the decision-making process for federal agencies. By Steve Horn and Joshua Frank 


 They died on the job but OSHA’s website hid their names. OSHA says it scrubbed a list of workers killed on the job to protect their families. But two workers’ families told Reveal the names should remain By By Jennifer Gollan Economy:  NYT Editorial Board Is Pounding the Wrong Table Again on Bank Reform Wall Street On Parade is something of an historian when it comes to the shifting sands of the New York Times Editorial Board and its position on riding herd on one of its richest and serially corrupt hometown industries — Wall Street. The Times has vacillated over the decades between truculent finger wagging at Wall Street (typically after the public is already wielding pitchforks) to irrational indulgence of its excesses, to outright egging on of its wealth transfer schemes. By Pam Martens and Russ Martens


Britain: Labour’s EU-turn  Despite Labour riding high in the polls, Corbyn’s critics are desperate to appease big business and the banks by remaining in the European Union and maintaining the status quo. As a result of vocal outrage from the right-wing of the party, Labour have made a U-turn on the question of Brexit. Corbyn and the Left should be fighting for a socialist alternative. By Stephen Agnew  Health, Science, Education, and Welfare:

The Crotch Grabbing President’s Education Secretary comes to the Defense of Rapists:  Does Betsy DeVos care more about those accused of rape than its victims? The education secretary’s policy switch will let schools off the hook, focusing on the ‘victims of the lack of due process’ rather than serial offenders By Lucia Graves