Tidbits - December 18, 2014

Reader Comments: Congress Plots to Undermine Retiree Pensions; Is It Bad Enough Yet?; Angela Davis: the unbroken line of police violence; James Baldwin on Racism; LAWCHA's Teacher/Public Sector Initiative; #BlackLivesMatter Takes the Field; They Fear and The Kill; Thousands March to Protest Police Brutality; Torture - Senate Report, Lessons from Latin America; Trade; Chanukah 2014; CELEBRATING CHARLIE HADEN memorial and celebration of his life - New York - Jan. 13
December 18, 2014
Reader Comments and Announcements - December 18, 2014
Portside

 

Re: The Lame-Duck Congress Plots to Undermine Retiree Pensions

Ask me if I'm pissed.

Maureen Hunt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Why can't we take away their healthcare and pensions? They obviously don't earn them!

Arlene Imagawa
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Here it comes folks. It is going to hurt those who voted them in, but the bad part is that it will hurt those who have already retired [they will] have their pensions slashed too. Too bad some of you didn't get out and vote. All hell is breaking loose and what are you going to do about it now?

Fara Marsh
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I wish I could say this was the Republicans. But It's not. Moreover, it's not a conservative Blue Dog Democratic doing this. Truth is that George Miller is a LIBERAL Democrat. NAFTA. GATT. And now this (and the TPP trade deal is next). Screw the Democrats right along with Republicans. It's far past time that workers had a party of their own.

Rich Smith
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Take away the pensions and then give the banking industry the right to invest our savings indiscriminately regardless if the risk. We lose.

Glenda Leipold Emanuelson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Republicans always screw the people to help out corporations.

James William Tingle
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Making paupers during the senior years. What a set back

Patricia Gentry
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Best Congress money can buy.

Edgar Aracena
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Retiree breakfasts and yearly meetings just for retirees are very important. Let those union officers know if they like their job, they had better not cut pensions.

David Curbello
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the unmitigated greed of the megabillionaires; seriously how much money do they need anyway?

Claire Wood
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Just another piece of legislation that will further erode the middle class.. by letting employers walk away from contractual pension commitments.

Ernie Clements
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I really don't get this. Pension funds are the country's largest investors. Wall Street would be very different without them. So why try to kill them off just to give employers a break? Especially since the pension surplus goes straight to the company bottom line.

Andrew Reinbach
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Is It Bad Enough Yet?

For those of us in communities of color, it's been way past "Bad Enough" for a few hundred years!

Furaha Youngblood
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Angela Davis: `There is an unbroken line of police violence in the US that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery'

This is SO true!

Katy Sheridan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Brilliant as usual. I recall suggesting on Facebook, as well as to AFL-CIO, ILWU and other organizations, that if we wanted Obama to carry out the politics he espoused during his first Presidential campaign, we needed to have massive demonstrations, like national strikes, one day month for each of the major issues, with a series of demands. NO MORE WAR, A FULL AND COMPLETE FREE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM BASED ON AN EXPANDED MEDICARE SYSTEM; FREE EDUCATION ALL THE WAY THRU COLLEGE, JOBS CREATION PROGRAM TO PUT EVERY PERSON ABLE TO WORK TO REBUILD OUR CRUMBLING SCHOOLS, HIGHWAYS, HOSPITALS, INFRASTRUCTURE. Those were just some of the ideas.

We put people in office and then think our work is done and we can go home and forget about our own part in making it happen, and then get mad and start pointing fingers at whomever we elected that we are disappointed in. I won't let Obama off the hook for not having prosecuted Bush/Cheney et al at the beginning of his term of office, because the political momentum was there. I think he made a serious error in judgment when he didn't do that, and that in large part he was trying to emulate Mandela, but the conditions of South Africa, meaning that Black Africans were the majority of the population, was qualitatively different than that of the US, and that the racist politics that exist here were not going to be changed by trying to make friends of those people.

Nonetheless, the bottom line is, that the masses of people, the 99% are the ones who have the power to ensure elected governmental officials do indeed represent us. Look at the response we are getting right now as a result of the Ferguson murder and the lack of the Grand Jury to indict the Police Officer who wantonly took somebody's life.

Phyllis Mandel
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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She made a believer out of me....

Edwin Wilson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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From the Militia Acts of 1792 & the Insurrection Act of 1807 to the National Guard created in 1903 to the SWAT Team formed in 1969, this country has had many forms of the same thing: a militarized strong arm to enforce "law & order." We need to ask, "Law & order" for whom? At at the expense of who? After the wealthy political elite of the colonies declared that it was right to make revolution against the English, they decided they did not want rebellion against their newly created power in the new country. The militia, the police, the SWAT team have been deployed over our country's history to squash black & brown communities fighting for freedom & justice (Slave Rebellions to Watts Rebellion & Civil Rights Movement to Ferguson Rebellion) as well as to break strikes organized by poor men, women, and children fighting for economic justice (Anti-Renter Movement, Dorr's Rebellion, many mill strikes) . We need to get our history right about why we have a militarized police force. And who has historically been recruited/forced into these militarized forces (and surprise, it's not the power elite!). So in the face of a militarized empire whose long line of police violence shows it does not value black lives, we must assert

Nick Palazzolo
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: A Letter to My Nephew (James Baldwin on Racism)

My neighbor _____ first posted this with this note.... I've not had much of anything to say about the recent upheavals in our country, not because I don't care, but because I don't know what to say, don't feel that my thoughts are worthy of being shared, and have been in a good bit of despair about where we are, and where we are headed. But it seems worthwhile to share some of what people much wiser than I are saying and thinking. This was written more than 50 years ago, but it could have been written yesterday. And that's sad. And we have to do something about that.

Susan Stewart
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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This gets to many of the underlying causes of many of our current problems.

Eugene Flynn
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Launch of LAWCHA's Teacher/Public Sector Initiative

Rosemary Feurer's announcement of LAWCHA's teacher/public employee initiative is important and timely.  In Pennsylvania the PA Labor History Society (PLHS) has begun a separate such effort, spearheaded by Charles Lumpkins of Penn State University, building upon various existing local and regional efforts by extending the engagement to include teachers' required professional education settings, i.e., teachers can earn required credits for continued certification through the PLHS offerings.  Perhaps a dialog is in order.

Jim Young
Harrisburg, PA

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there is a mistake in this article.  Rahm Emmanuel was an administrative assistant in the Obama administration, not  Clinton.

Pamela Wright

Re: #BlackLivesMatter Takes the Field: A Weekend of Athletes Speaking Out

Not only did Lebron James like the shirt but he wore a shirt that said "I Can't Breathe" to  a game with the Brooklyn Nets -- the same game attended by Prince William and his wife.  The NBA "king" and the British prince!

Lewis Grupper

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Would love to see the white athletes stand up too!

The Blind Spot
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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We don't board this train, we'll be hit by the train of oppression, and run over and over and over and over and over and over and...

Matt Owen
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Glad that no one can say anymore athletes, in particular Black athletes, won't take a stand.

Ron Wynn
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Show of solidarity from the University of Notre Dame women's basketball team.
(The New Civil Rights Movement posting on Facebook)

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Maybe this will ignite a movement, so they didn't die in vain.

Howie Leveton
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Notice !...it's hard for the white athletes to really connect ...and I'm not knocking them but it is what it is ...it shouldn't be but it's a black thing as some may say ..you see due to white privilege it hard to really connect ....don't get me wrong! It like wearing a tight shoe , u know that it hurts the person feet that's wearing shoes but could you really connect with that excruciating pain the wearer is going through? ....HELL NO! But you know it's pain full so you say to the person in the tight shoes ...Oh hang in there and maybe I'll see what I can do for you tomorrow .Black folk better not hold their breath for that promise ....so they definitely need to do for themselves don't wait for whites to participated if they join in great for them we have to do for ourselves keep up the struggle

Winslow Grant Jr
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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My most hopeful guess is that the white players are understanding the importance of black leadership on this issue! Or, maybe they don't care?

Romona Safree
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I feel it would not hurt a thing for a white player to wear one of those tee-shirts if his heart was with the other players. Human leadership is also important. It is not black or white, que no?

Jhon Juan Adams
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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We have not seen the end of the anger at the injustice done in the Michael Brown, Eric Garner cases. And the anger in the deaths of Tamir Rice, Rumain Brisbon, Akai Gurley, Kajieme Powell, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, John Crawford III, Tyree Woodson, Victor White III, and too many more.

Andrea Jacobs Talbutt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: They Fear and The Kill

When "data" and poetry speak together (with gratitude to Portside) for their eternal vigilance and sharing)

Kipp Dawson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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From the Monthly Review & Portside here is Marge Piercy's poem on the killing of young people of color by the police. See you Saturday at 2PM in Washington Square for the demonstration on similar themes.

Daniel Millstone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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As in most anxious times--poets capture insight in very accessible ways!!

Chuck Weed
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Even in prison, so many say they killed out of FEAR. I have my own stories and those of my sons, the fear and heavy handed nature of some law enforcement is difficult to balance. I have had a gun drawn on me and my sons because of suspicion that we were carrying guns or drugs. The great benefit of being a Middle Aged woman is that this bullshit profiling has declined personally for me, but not for my 2 sons.

Sandra Cuellar Oxford
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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We as Black Americans know this before these figures came out, and you as White America were you surprised? We need your help to make changes in these numbers

Francis Oliver
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Make sure to read the powerful Marge Piercy poem that appears after the chart. .

Susan Ives
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I'd like to see the stats for those younger as well. also for the known mentally ill

Donna Lorraine Clark
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I was talking to a couple of Sheriff Deputies last night and one of them stated that if an officer fears for his or her life than they can and will use lethal force. It was scary to hear them say that knowing that society as whole and it's been implied that fear of a black male is common amongst non blacks and even some blacks.

Omar S. Beasley
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Thousands March to Protest Against Police Brutality in Major US Cities

I keep reading articles about the weekend protests around the country against racist police killings, and hearing nothing - as in this article from the Guardian - about the beautiful, powerful march and rally in San Francisco on Saturday, where, by one count, about 2000 people joined the demonstration, inserting ourselves powerfully into the Christmas shopping season with a dose of reality.

Blair Sandler

Re: Obama's New Policing Task Force: Bolder Steps Are Needed

Not enough..

We want CIVILIAN review boards with subpoena power.

The police work for and serve us.

Right?

Jean Douthwright
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: What Does it Take to Have an Open and Honest Conversation About Torture?

Obviously, when the torturer him- or her-self,  is under the knife or fire -- he/she will entertain a much more open and honest conversation. The reply will no doubt be terror. Torture, Terror, Torture, Terror, ToMAYto, ToMAHto.

John Case

Re: The Senate Torture Report: Who Will Be Held Responsible?

We do not hold anyone with power accountable. Not the CIA, not Congress, not bankers, not corporations, not celebrities, not corrupt law-enforcement, not war criminals. We only punish the little people who do their bidding or blow the whistle on them, or protest.

Max Shaw
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Torture is an international war crime with universal jurisdiction. So it's only a question of when and where they will be called to account.

John G. Mason
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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PEOPLE: THE Question is not whether torture tactics were carried out by CIA, et al. They were. THE Question is not even to decide did the torture tactics in fact bring the US "actionable" information. They did not!

The way I see this revelation of CIA wrong doings, description of hideous torture tactics "outsourced" to Poland, Italy, Norway, and god knows where else, etc...is that POTUS and his ministers are quickly trying to make this whole CIA torture mess go away. Ironically, there is cover up of "the cover-ups."

Apologists argue that the Senate's CIA torture report is what makes these revelations quintessentially American: Transparency! Other more tyrannical regimes practice far worse torture against its known enemies, both combatants and non-combatants, but they characteristically deny at best, and obfuscated at worst. Sometimes they deliberately reveal to the world some of their darkest secrets precisely because they want to terrorize their public with the Truth of their behavior.

The American government is an open honest democracy, and eventually it is made accountable to the people, and must acknowledge its gravest mistakes. Were this truly so.

Here is the trick: YES! the government admits its own Black Sites, and use of torture. But both the designers and executors of the American terrorist machinery are given impunity, even exonerated! Only very rarely do they throw one of their own under the bus, just to make us look like the good guys.

Mostly No One Will Ever Be Held Responsible, Much Less Punished.

What is achieved by all this is that torture tactics are revealed, described, and all of it is "normalized."
WAKE UP PEOPLE!

"For the cowardly Obama administration, the CIA scandal can't end fast enough. The Guardian's Dan Roberts reports that the White House thinks it's "inappropriate" to comment on the report's conclusions. The New York Times' Peter Baker says the administration won't even "take sides" on whether torture works - despite the black-and-white evidence in the report that torture doesn't work - let alone commit to bringing charges against those responsible for the disgusting acts.

"Instead, Obama spent Tuesday praising CIA employees as "patriots" to whom "we owe a profound debt of gratitude" for protecting the country after 9/11. He failed to reference the charges of "rectal rehydration", starvation, beatings, "rectal rehydration" and hypothermia that CIA officers and contractors inflicted on detainees. "Brutal" was the only quasi-critical word the president could muster."

Larry Aaronson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Torture Report: Latin America's Lessons for the United States

Torture regimes do not last forever. If our war criminals can't be tried here, they can at least be made afraid to leave this country, lest they be arrested and held accountable elsewhere. For example:
Bush's Swiss visit off after complaints on torture

Rebecca Gordon
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Pinochet found out there was nowhere to hide

Styles Price
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Report: US-China Trade Deficit Cost 3.2 Million American Jobs

Where is the capitalist crisis in your reasons for economic problems in the usa . you are pushing the pentagons war drive against china . it makes no reference to colonial adventures of western imperialism .

Edward Childs

Re: The Eviction of America's Largest Homeless Camp

Housing as a human right is subverted by the right of speculation. The state should help those under the wheel, victims of market failure, and not only the millionaires and economic royalists.

Marc Batko
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Gmail Censorship of Portside Materials

For the second time in three weeks I have found materials related to Palestine (in this case the report on Hebron) in my spam box for gmail online. I was suspicious the first time it happened. Now i feel it may be deliberate gmail policy to censor reporting on the Palestinian question. Having spent over seven years documenting and intervening in human rights issues there during the late 1980s and early 1990s and visited since I feel it is an issue about which I have some independent knowledge and judgment. Neither of the articles relegated to spam by gmail in any way met criteria for spam; both of them were reports with knowledge and integrity.

i wonder whether other people are also noticing this gmail censorship of portside materials regarding the middle east and whether strategies for dealing with it are being developed.

thank you,

beth goldring
phnom penh, cambodia

Re: How the Israel Lobby Protected Ukrainian Neo-Nazis - (Tidbits - Dec. 11)

Russ Bellant writes "For centuries Europe has invaded Russia, whether Germanic tribes (drang nach osten), Napoleonic French, British or Americans (twice in 1919), Kaiser Wilhelm or Adoph Hitler's Germany. Russia has not ever invaded those countries."

It is simply not true that Russia never invaded any of these countries. Though one can argue about who was most responsible for starting World War I, its Eastern Front began with the Russian army invading the German and Austro-Hungarian empires, well before any offensive by the Germans into Russia. World War I was an inter-imperialist conflict, and all the major participants, including Tsarist Russia, acted as imperialists.

Dave Kadlecek


Light the Inner Light

By Rabbi Barbara Penzner

The few overcoming the many, the weak prevailing over the mighty-the victory of the Maccabees is extolled in miraculous terms. We have seen similar miracles in our own day.

While we live in a time of darkness, when the concentration of wealth in the hands of a powerful few seems unassailable, when political solutions to everyday problems seem unreachable, and when fighting for basic rights seems unavoidable, a candle of hope pierces the doom.

I have met workers who have risked everything they have in order to win benefits for their coworkers. I watched a hotel housekeeper enter the Hyatt shareholder's meeting in a Chicago hotel ballroom and stand up to tell her truth. I have stood by Doubletree hotel workers who protested in the cold to make their case known to Harvard University. I have been in awe of their strength, faith and courage.

And they have won. In 2013 the Hyatt workers won good contracts for those in union hotels across the country. In 2014, the Hyatt 100 in Boston received compensation five years after they were fired. Also this year, the workers at Le Meridien Hotel in Cambridge won their first contract after a long boycott. The few overcame the many and the weak prevailed over the mighty. We might add, the poor shamed the wealthy.

These individuals stood up for their rights with a deep faith and unfathomable courage. They had so much to lose: their jobs, their health, their families' security. Yet they stood together, they persevered, they refused to give up. On Hanukkah, let's celebrate all the Maccabees, in ancient days as in our own, who carried the light within their hearts that led to miraculous victories.

As poet Charles Reznikoff wrote in his poem, "Hanukkah":
The miracle, of course, was not that the oil for the sacred light--in a little cruse--lasted as long as they say;
but that the courage of the Maccabees lasted to this day:
let that nourish my flickering spirit.

(From Meditations on the Fall and Winter Holidays)
May your Hanukkah bring light to the darkness in your life!

[Rabbi Barbara Penzner is Co-Chair of the New England Jewish Labor Committee.]

CELEBRATING CHARLIE HADEN 1937-2014 - a memorial and celebration of his life

Tuesday - Jan 13, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Town Hall
123 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

Family and friends, including many jazz greats, will come together to celebrate the life of jazz legend CHARLIE HADEN (1937-2014), Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient and NEA Jazz Master  who is one of the most innovative and influential bassists in the history of jazz.  Just as importantly, Haden was a husband, a father, a colleague, a friend, a teacher, and a human being passionately concerned about social justice. He first came to fame as a member of the iconic Ornette Coleman Quartet, and literally changed the way the bass was played. He went on to play with Keith Jarrett and a who's who of music's greats, including John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Abbey Lincoln, and so many more. At the same time he formed his iconic bands Liberation Music Orchestra (in 1969) and Quartet West (in 1986) with which he performed and recorded until his untimely passing.  In 1982, he founded the Jazz Studies Program at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA.

Among the many performers will be Geri Allen, Kenny Barron, Carla Bley, Jack DeJohnette, Denardo Coleman, Ravi Coltrane, Bill Frisell, Ethan Iverson, Josh Haden and the Haden Triplets, Ruth Cameron-Haden, Dr, Maurice Jackson, Lee Konitz, Pat Metheny, Josh Redman, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Brandee Younger, as well as  Quartet West with Alan Broadbent, Ernie Watts, Rodney Green, with Scott Colley on bass, and Liberation Music Orchestra with Carla Bley, Tony Malaby, Chris Cheek, Loren Stillman, Michael Rodriguez, Seneca Black, Curtis Fowlkes, Vincent Chancey, Joe Daley, Steve Cardenas, Matt Wilson, with Steve Swallow on bass.

THIS EVENT IS FREE! Tax deductible donations to benefit the Charlie Haden CalArts Scholarship Fund to assist jazz students in need can be made at the venue or sent to: P.O. Box 520, Agoura Hills, CA 91376.

How to Get Tickets   - General Admission. Doors open at 6 pm.

Producer: Ruth Cameron Haden

December 18, 2014