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Monday, July 31, 2017

If You're Not Outraged, You're Not Paying Attention (From Newsletter 103)

First appeared in ROL, USA Newsletter #103

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 If You're Not Outraged, You're Not Paying Attention
Submitted by Pearl Haines



 According to Fortune Magazine, Raytheon stock surged 2.5% the day after the Trump administration attacked the sovereign state of Syria with 59 Tomahawk missiles, adding $1 billion to the company’s coffers. Raytheon makes the Tomahawk missile at a cost $1 million a piece. The combined stock of Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, Lockheed and Northrop Grumman - main defense contractors of the military industrial complex- gained a combined $5 billion in market value the day after the bombing of Syria.

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The Trump administration’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018 has been dubbed the “tanks and tax cuts budget.” It contains an increase of $54 billion for Pentagon “defense” spending and a number of tax breaks for the super wealthy, including elimination of the estate tax and the surcharge on wealthy investors. (Trump and his family would handsomely benefit from both.) To pay for it, the budget slashes social programs and numerous benefits for the 99% including food stamps, Medicaid, Social Security benefits for the disabled, student loans, health insurance benefits for low-income children (CHIP), scientific research, Center for Disease Controls (CDC), Federal Worker retirement benefits, planned parenthood and a 13% cut in the public education budget. And for good measure, meals on wheels will get the axe as well.

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Representatives of both political parties (the Republicrats) agree that health care is a privilege, rather than a human right. This played out in the recent debates over repealing (and so-called replacing) the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) the new “American Health Care Act” passed by the House of Representatives will knock an additional 24 million people off health coverage, cause those with pre-existing conditions to pay more (in some cases raising premiums 1000%), gut Medicaid benefits to millions of people and give additional tax breaks to the rich. In the meantime, almost no politician of either “Republicrat” political party is raising up the need for a “public option” single payer health care system “Medicare for All!” as a better way to fix the many problems of the Affordable Care Act and the U.S. medical system based on private corporate profit.

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The con jobs never stop. House of Representatives Democratic Party leader Nancy Pelosi recently proclaimed that if the Democrats are put back in control of the House of Representatives in 2018 mid-term elections, they would pass a $15.00/hour minimum wage bill “within 100 hours.” This is when there is no chance that such a bill would be signed by the current U.S. president.  Yet, when there was a “chance” to pass such legislation, this same Nancy Pelosi, who in 2008 was the Speaker of the House of Representatives when the Democrats controlled the House, Senate and White House, did not lift a finger to raise the poverty $7.25/hour minimum wage!

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Ever since the murder of Mike Brown, an unarmed black man shot by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer on August 9, 2014, many outraged Afro-American activists local to the area have been in the public eye. They and their Ferguson movement became the core of the “black lives matter movement” that spread throughout the USA. And too many of them have suddenly died over the past three years.

Edward Crawford (the man seen throwing a canister of tear gas away from protesters during a clash between them and police in an iconic picture taken by a photographer with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) was found shot to death in his car in May of this year. Activists Darren Seals and DeAndre Joshua have also been found dead in their cars. Seals died on the September 2014 day a grand jury decided not to prosecute Darren Wilson, Michael Brown’s killer. And Joshua lost his life in 2016. Both men were shot in the head and their vehicles had been set on fire. Crawford’s death was judged as a suicide, while the deaths of Seals and Joshua have been treated as homicides by local authorities.

The fact that these three young men all involved in the same prominent social justice movement against police brutality have lost their lives in the same pattern should have been big news.

While some capitalist media outlets briefly touched on the stories of Crawford, Seals, and Joshua, the focus of most mass media outlets is on trivial pursuits such as being for or against President Donald Trump’s daily Twitter insults. Serious journalists representing a serious movement for Afro-American freedom and/or working class power would be investigating these deaths and questioning motives for homicides: were they carried out by the Ferguson/St. Louis County police force, white nationalists, the FBI? 

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Wall Street pays lucrative rewards for those who serve them well. We know of Hillary Clinton’s infamous $275,000 per Goldman Sachs speech. Former presidents from Reagan to Bill Clinton raked in millions after leaving the White House. Former president Barack Obama just received $400,000 for one speech paid for by Wall Street investment banking firm Canter Fitzgerald. (Ten times what a worker averages for an entire year of punching the clock!) For the investment “banksters” who sunk the economy, destroyed the lives of millions, avoided any prosecution and jail time and got bailed out at the expense of “Main Street”, this is but a small token of their appreciation to Obama and his Regime.

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