Tidbits - June 22, 2017 - Reader Comments: GOP's Secret Health Bill; Verdicts Protect Cops Who Kill; Trump Investigation - Follow the Money; Progressive Electoral Politics, People's Summit, Socialists; On the United Front; Gig Work; and more...

Reader Comments: GOP's Secret Health Bill - not popular in Red states; Across the Country, Verdicts Protect Cops Who Kill; Naomi Klein; Mueller's Trump Investigation - Follow the Money; Readers respond to various Portside posts - Progressive Electoral Politics, People's Summit, Socialists and Electoral Politics; On the United Front; Gig Work; and more...
June 22, 2017
Tidbits - Reader Comments, and Resources - June 22, 2017
Portside

 

Resources: 
 
 
 
 
 
They really don't care. If it is anything like their House bill, this is just a tax break for the wealthy in disguise. The rich elite are the source of the campaign donations. We just don't hear that much about it since Citizens United. The GOP works for the rich elite, not us. Why else would they be drafting the Senate version of the bill in secret?
 
David Flanagan
 
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Not one state supports the ACHA but plenty of bought politicians do.
 
Betsy Keith
 
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An out of touch political system that has this on the table rather than one of the most popular bills in recent history - Expanded and improved Medicare for All - is not even considered by "leadership"
 
 
 
 
 
 
One payer is the only way to go. America is being ripped off big time by the insurance industry and big pharma.
 
John Turner
 
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This program is a rerun of the same one that has already failed. This was tried in the House and did not work.
 
So why try it again?
 
Because it's the only strategy that the Democrats and pro-Democrats have: lobbying and trying to persuade a few Republican degenerates to cross the aisle.
 
This is a retreat from the massive demonstrations of a few months ago that showed the power of the opposition. Now we are back in the suffocating, lint-filled pockets of the Democrats, with a few corroded old pennies and a dirty handkerchief.
 
The Democrats value their relationship with the Republicans far above their relationship to any opposition. The 1% loves the 1%, not us
 
David Berger
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mike Luckovich
June 19, 2017
 
 
 
 
 
The laws are rigged and must change. We also need to be able to address broken taillights by some means other than having police intervening against citizens. Every intervention creates a situation of possible fear on the part of the police, real or imagined, resulting in too many cases of "justifiable" homicide, even when no real threat exists. Our enforcement protocols are needlessly creating situations resulting in homicide.
 
Joe Gray
 
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Disgusting.
 
Esther Perez Ciprian
 
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Crazy....assuming even the police department thought he was guilty since they fired him.
 
Kelly Edmonds
 
 
 
 
 
"He is aware of the way that shows can distract people...That is the story of his business. He has always understood that he could distract his investors and bankers, his tenants, his clients from the underlying unsoundness of his business, just by putting on the Trump show. That is the core of Trump. He is undoubtedly an idiot, but do not underestimate how good he is at that...Beyond that he has, presumably wittingly, “surrounded himself with some of the world’s most expert crisis profiteers”. Men who have made billions out of meltdown and financial crisis, such as Wilbur Ross, the “king of bankruptcy” who is now secretary of commerce, or the various crash-plutocrats recruited from Goldman Sachs and elsewhere. (“In any other moment,” Klein says with a laugh, “the very fact that the CEO of Exxon Mobil is now the secretary of state would be the central scandal. Here we have a situation where there is so much else to concern us it is barely a footnote.”)
 
Richard Flittie
 
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I've always thought this about Trump. How many times have idiots won in history because those who were apparently wiser underestimated them?
 
Ahmed González-Núñez
 
 
 
 
 
Watergate ..." follow the money."
 
Tish Kania Chulack
 
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"If Mueller looks at the finances of these players and others—not least of all, Donald Trump—there will be enough to keep a stream of indictments and trials moving for months."
 
John Jernegan
 
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In case you haven't connected the news dots... Putin owns the largest oil company in Russia. He made a 500 Billion dollar deal with the CEO of Exxon Mobil, a Mr. Rex Tillerson. Obama put sanctions in place which stopped that deal. Russia then hacked into our government in order to get Trump elected. When the CIA told Congress this in September (James Comey was also in that meeting), Mitch McConnell refused to tell the American people, blackmailing Obama saying he would frame it as playing partisan politics during the election. Comey released the infamous no-information letter. As a result Mitch McConnell's wife was picked for Trump's cabinet. The CEO of Exxon is now Secretary of State. Wonder why our President elect has been so quick to dismiss the CIA's findings? Mitt Romney was never a contender of the position. Donald even said so in December. Republicans tried to abolish the Ethic committee as the first course of action this session. Billions if not trillions of dollars are waiting for a select number of helping insiders. Look for Trump to eliminate sanctions very soon so Tillerson can resurrect the deal between Exxon and Putin. Why do you think Tillerson's agreement of staying away from Exxon while Sec of State is for only one year?? Mr. Trump, and select others will make billions of dollars from putting this together. The only losers will be the American people. Big enough con for you??
 
All this will make Mr. Trump a very very… very rich man. That’s why he is hiding his financials, taxes, business dealings, stock portfolio, current debt, business obligations, etc. The less you know about him now, the less that’s “provable” later.
 
Suzanne Norton
 
 
 
 
 
Please pass along  my thanks to Ethan Young for his article of 6/16/17.  I wasn't able to attend (can't afford a trip from Mpls to Chi) so welcome the report and perspective. I read every word.  That's big for me since on-line reading drives me nuts.
 
Claire O'Connor
 
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I might just be feeling cynical. Could be. Too much horrific news. But this report gives the impression the Summit was a waste of time. I'd be interested in others' opinions. Just my two cents
 
Cynthia Cuza
 
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Thanks for an overview! Now onwards to even more organizing intersecting the crucial issues that confront our communities!
 
Leanna Noble
 
 
 
 
 
It's called participatory democracy!
 
Christine Bennett
 
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A worthy article. But, the headline is premature and way overstated, as many are these days. There is mention of an April St Louis school board seat victory; but no mention that in nearby Ferguson on the same night they reelected the same white mayor that had the office when Brown was shot by the police. Ferguson is over 2/3 non white. The article also includes a primary election, which is why I say it is premature.
 
Keep in mind, the Democrats won the presidential popular vote in 2016; the whole thing in 2012 & 2008 by wide margins; high totals all three times. Also, the Democrats won the popular vote in 2000; and lost to in incumbent present in 2004 by record narrow margin. The party is popular; there is not a need to reinvent the wheel to succeed. Seek to improve on past success, and the new ones featured in this article
 
Patrick L. Barton
 
 
 
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Its times like these that definitely try men and women's souls.... But say what you will about super rich and powerful bad guys "lawyering up" and protecting themselves in abominable defense strategies.. This is why we are glad we have the resilient, tenacious government lawyers and environmental lawyers that have preserved under Bushes and Obama. They are using all their skills to thwart this f-bombing commander in chief from executing some of his most reactionary projects, programs and policies. Read Portside article below:
 
"This mistake probably reflects an interest by the administration in appearing to get something done without putting in the effort to make sure it was done right," says Wall. Trump's EPA eventually relented, and lo and behold the Federal Register finally published the rule this week.
 
But what the Trump administration's tactics lack in sophistication they make up in volume. His pan-deregulatory agenda has even environmental lawyers who survived George W. Bush's eight years of oil industry coziness on their heels. And that's on top of the usual threats to the environment and public health from various states, local governments, and private industries. So, in addition to litigating, these lawyers maintain intelligence networks to keep track of all the emerging patterns. "We work with grassroots and community groups, or meet with individuals in coffee shops and cafes to learn about local issues," says Schlenker-Goodrich. He says they also maintain requisite ties in Washington, and use things like Freedom of Information Act requests to keep up on the latest machinations within the federal agencies."
 
Read the whole text, it will give you reason to believe that not all hope is lost.
 
Larry Aaronson
 
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Good fight!! Keep at it.
 
David Spodick
 
 
 
 
 
I have yet to hear of a practical plan for reorganizing a society along socialist lines. Everything so far seems to be based on some opposition to existing capitalism ! Where is the vision of a working socialist nation?
 
Aaron Libson
 
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my latest piece picked up by Portside from DSA's quarterly magazine Democratic Left (summer 2017 issue) on socialists' need to "walk on two legs" and fight against Trump/Republican reaction while also challenging the corporate neo-liberal wing of the Democrats. If you read it and like it, please share.
 
Joseph M. Schwartz
 
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good essay
 
Paul Buhle
 
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Here's an interesting thought. A parallel with 1943-44. DSA as Browder's CPA that worked under the Dem tent, but not as a 'party', and Bernie as Henry Wallace. I'm sure it breaks down, but I'll have to search the archives.
 
Carl Davidson
 
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Here's hoping that Joe's vision of DSA is sustained at the Convention in Chicago.
 
Tom Canel
 
 
 
 
 
Something Completely NEW and Completely DIFFERENT
 
As History forecasts ... "Every Empire Comes to and end ..."
 
Ever tried to imagine the world after Capitalism ...
 
The new "Museum of Capitalism" takes a shot at just such imagining.
If in Oakland, check it out.
 
Opens Sunday June 18 thru Sunday August 20. 
Wednesday thru Sunday, 11am to 8pm  Free Admission
55 Harrison St, Suite 201, Jack London Square, Oakland CA 94607
(Behind Jack London's cabin and Heinold's Saloon along the Waterfront)
 
James E Vann
Oakland CA
 
 
 
 
 
My goal in writing this article on the United Front and Popular Front was not to write a history of this strategy, time period, the personalities involved, and all the strengths and weaknesses of the countries and political forces involved. Books have been written about these topics, and more are needed. My goal was to draw lessons from the United Front and Popular Front, especially as they might be useful to us today in the era of Trump and the rising fascistic right.
 
Before I do that I will address a couple of the comments.
 
Anthony Gronowiz is correct that the USSR tried to build an anti-fascist alliance with Great Britain and France in the 1930's and it was rejected. As Hitler's armies marched across Europe and people everywhere saw the horror of the Nazi's devastation and threat of victory, Great Britain and France changed their thinking. I did not include that information, as I didn't include many other historical facts, because it wasn't necessary to my main point.
 
Thanks Joe Berry for the comment that my article was "mostly useful."  I'm not sure I left a "gaping hole" in the article by my "total absence of any criticism of the Communist Party in the years after 1935." ( I could have made criticisms before 1935 as well.) But that was not my goal. My goal was to focus on the lessons of 1935. Whether the CPUSA made an "inaccurate estimate in the 1950's that the US was on the verge of fascism" or not isn't essential to learn lessons from the United and Popular Front strategies. Arguments can be made on both sides of that issue, but it has little bearing on my main point, which is that the United and Popular Front was the best strategy for fighting and defeating fascism.The CP did make many correct decisions and major contributions during this period, and was by far the most influential organization on the left.
 
Joe also wrote that the CP had the "vast majority" of their cadres relegated to being secret members of the party and that this harmed their cause during the McCarthy Cold War attacks on the CP and the left. The truth is more complex. The CP had a number of members who were publicly known as Communists, in fact, this included almost the entire top leadership of the party, not only in the national office but in many states as well. Many of those party leaders had been leaders of mass movements and mass organizations, and had won respect from the people they worked with, and  repeatedly explained the goals and beliefs of the CP and socialism. Yet, when the McCarthy attacks were launched, they were so vicious and all-consuming that even the most respected CP leaders were not protected. Over 100 were arrested and charged with violating the anti-communist Smith Act. Many went to trial, and many were convicted and sent to prison. The fact that they were open Communists, who did not hide their beliefs, was not enough to protect them.
 
Only a much, much larger mass movement would have had a chance to protect them, but even then there are no guarantees. The Vietnamese Communists, as one example of many, had a much, much larger movement, that employed both the United and Popular Front strategies, and many of their leaders and activists, both known Communists and many not known as Communists, were rounded up, jailed and murdered. Yet, their mass movement was so large and advanced politically that it defeated the most powerful imperialist country in world history, the US, and the Vietnamese are building socialism today.
 
Jason Schulman  states that the Popular Front was a disaster everywhere.  He states that it led the CP to be "cheerleaders" for FDR. More truthfully, the Popular Front strategy opened many new doors for the CP to work with and influence millions of people that they didn't have influence with before the Popular Front strategy.  That led to building many large progressive and left organizations and movements, including many of the industrial unions of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), the National Negro Congress, and many more. Those mass movements put pressure on President Roosevelt to promote New Deal legislation that when passed improved the lives of millions of people, and raised their political consciousness in the process. So yes, the CP applauded all those responsible for making the New Deal possible, but especially the prime movers, the masses of workers and people. The vast majority of Americans did too. As a result CP membership exploded to 100,000, and the CP had influence in many important organizations, movements, and on the major issues of the day. 
 
Meanwhile, other more so-called ideologically pure socialist and revolutionary organizations remained stuck at a few hundred members to one or two thousand members and influenced very few people. Jason Schulman is wrong. The Popular Front strategy was hugely successful. If Schulman defines success of the Popular Front strategy only by whether this strategy resulted in the establishment of socialism - which it did in many countries, and more importantly by its failure to win socialism - of which there were a number in this category, he is missing the main point. The main point is that the Popular Front was the only strategy to defeat fascism, and to opening doors to masses of people that the left did not have influence with previously. Undoubtedly, some on the left will continue to demand strict adherence to their revolutionary principles, believe that they have "won" ideological arguments which will prove how smart they are, and spend their time finding real or imagined weaknesses with nearly everyone else as an excuse not to work with them. The results are well known. They will remain isolated and irrelevant into perpetuity.
 
 
 
 
(posting on Portside Labor)
 
 
Around the corner from where Judith and I live in Brooklyn is a builders' supply yard. Dozens of guys, sometimes as many as a hundred, shape up there (Yes, it's like the shape-ups on the docks of some of our childhoods). A contractor shows up; his van is surrounded by people hungry for work. These workers unorganized. The jobs they do are often dangerous. In the five years we've been here? I have never seen any construction union reach out to these people. Thanks to Stephen Franklin for the article and to Portside and Jay Schaffner for the link. 
 
Daniel Millstone
 
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Up here Neighbor's Link is a centralized site for men seeking day labor. Contractors and individuals hire from there. For those who do not find work for the day, there are English classes, immigration assistance, chess/checkers boards, a pool table, etc.
 
Jordy Bell
 
 
 
 
(posting on Portside Labor)
 
 
A real friend of the working class. Planning on rolling back Davis-Bacon as well.
 
Bill Buchholz
 
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No Republican should ever be shaping the National Labor Board. It is very bad news for workers everywhere!
 
Truman Sager
 
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The Greed Over Principles party has been reading Charles Dickens for Policy Ideas of late..
 
Garold Haynes
 
 
 
 
(posting on Portside Culture)
 
 
Loved this movie...the characters were complex in many good ways... especially Wonder Woman...
 
Janvie Carson
 
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A fantasy movie doesn't really subvert anything at all, I think. On the contrary, it seems to present an impossible-to-emulate "role model" to girls.
 
Vaska Tumir
 
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sad that today's younger people are fed all the super hero crap. No matter if male, or female, or wolf, or whatever.
 
Krikor Aghajanian
 
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Actually loved the feedback since we are now looking at an international starlet who prior to her starring role, Gay Gadot promoted Zionism and the annihilation of the Palestinians when she was an Israeli soldier. I cringe at the thought of girls and young women having her as a role model.
 
Josefina Vázquez
 
 
 
 
 
The play has been doing this for decades. Obama, Both Bushes, Clinton and so on have all been compared to the character when in office. This isn't about trump anymore than the black man portrayed when Obama in office was about Obama. Learn, educate your self on the play and GROW UP.
 
Leslie Ward
 
 
 
 
 
That's one thing that let's me know that if our faith is politicized we're in the wrong thing, even Judaism had a political wing in Jesus days on earth, the Herodians. Politics is more of a good making a deal with evil, or vice versa. All who seek to politicize Christianity are false teachers, such as evangicals. People have little knowledge of God, and don't bother to read the bible for themselves. The bible teaches love, truth, do what is right, do not compromise with evil, do not seek dishonest gains, but politic is a whole different game
 
Jesse Humphries
 
 
 
 
 
Sounds like the great progress from slavery was not all that emancipating.
 
Amjabara
 
  
 
 
 
Judges aren't supposed to make decisions based on who is in the Executive or controls Congress. It is an unfortunate result that the harsher, original rule is applied. Personally, I think the kids of citizens should be granted automatic citizenship. They cannot control where they are born or raised. But that is a matter for Congress to work on.
 
Lebisa Morales
 
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A politically partisan SCOTUS is a broken court & will lead to further dysfunction, polarization & animosity in the country.
 
Ken Hinton
 
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It wasn't partisan, it was an 8-0 decision authored by the leading liberal on the court, Ginsberg. The courts are courts of law, not courts of justice, they don't have universal discretion to rule as they see fit. Sometimes following the law means making a decision that judges hate, because they lack the jurisdiction to do otherwise. And that is a good thing. For judges to arrogate to themselves a universal discretion to cure every social ill regardless of the law would be far more dangerous than the consequences of any given law. It would give any five person group on the court absolute power, answerable to no one.
 
Toby Chapman
 
 
 
 
 
OK. Great back story. Wikileaks when exposing emails of imperialist governments, especially that of the U.S., does a great job. A case is made for trumped-up charges against Assange. I get it.
 
Now tell me, what about its anti-Popular Front sectarian tactics during our elections? Publishing leaks from organizations (Democratic Party), not governments, and from the U.S. party that is objectively part of the anti-ultra right movement (think of its Progressive Caucus, the Black Caucus, etc.), instead of also from the GOP (can't it be at least balanced), which is a tent for the "alt-right," neo-Nazis, the "Freedom Caucus," and a lunatic, unstable President Trump. One doesn't need to be enamored by the Democratic Party to acknowledge what I just wrote.
 
Assange looks less the hero when we also examine those facts, no?
 
Michael Arney
 
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How the Clowns-In-Charge work against anyone or anything that threatens to expose their tyrannical bullshit and crimes against humanity in the name of freedom. They are terrified that the awful truth will finally unite the common people and galvanize them into becoming Avenging Angels...
 
Richard Blackstone
 
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The Council On Foreign Relations and The Old PNAC have a lot to do with This!!... This is Deep State at Work!!...
 
Great Article!.. Well Worth The Read!
 
Peter Cullen
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
Over the past two years, Uber has taken center stage in public debates about the future of work, driven by our collective anxiety about technology and growing economic insecurity. The concern is that workers increasingly do not have employers anymore and are facing lower wages, no access to health and pension benefits, exclusion from safety-net programs, and chronic instability in their incomes and work lives. At the same time, the singular focus on Uber is impeding our ability to get an accurate understanding of what has (and has not) changed in the workplace – and the policy solutions that are needed. While the prevailing narrative is that there has been substantial growth in “gig” work, it’s been surprisingly difficult to confirm the trend, partly because of the lack of good data. Exacerbating the problem is very different definitions of gig work.
 
This paper (1) provides a clear framework to help define gig work and understand how it relates to other forms of work being discussed and (2) draws on current research to identify what we know (and don’t know) about the prevalence of gig work, the demographics of the workforce, and job quality outcomes, using data on California where possible.
 
View the report online (click here). 
 
 
Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
2521 Channing Way # 5555
Berkeley, CA 94720
 
Phone: (510) 642-0323
Fax: (510) 642-6432

 

June 22, 2017