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Tidbits - August 1, 2013

Reader Comments - Songs of Immigration; Fruitvale Station; Blow the Whistle, Face Life in Jail; Bradley Manning; On Vultures and Red Wings: Billionaire Gets New Sports Arena in Bankrupt Detroit; U.S. Prison Population; North Carolina Worst Voter Suppression Law; Shorts - You Helped Cut the Pentagon Budget; Justice Department's Bold Voting Rights Move; Conference - The Global E. P. Thompson: Reflections on Making of the English Working Class after Fifty Years Oct. 3-5

Reader Comments,
Please receive this addition to your Friday Nite video's on Immigrant songs
BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE - Welcome, Welcome Emigrante 
Jun 28, 2012 - Uploaded by MegaSanjul
Dorinda Moreno
Go see it!
Julian Bond 
I am a federal government whistleblower. This verdict has relevance for the Edward Snowden asylum application.  Due process in the U.S. is effectively repealed.  Atty. Gen. Eric Holder's promises of due process in the Snowden case are worthless. Holder made those promises to obstruct the Snowden application.
I have in writing promises of due process of law, but have been refused it since 1979, continuing through present, though I've asked over and over and sued repeatedly to obtain due process.  Neither the Constitution, nor federal laws, nor federal regulations, nor written agency promises, have sufficed to secure due process of law, i.e., review on merits.
In America, whistleblowers are treated as having no rights. Bradley Manning did not get a trial until multiple years after arrest.  Prisoners at Guantanamo have not received a trial in well over a decade.  None, including me, have been allowed a jury trial.
Wherefore, the promises by Atty Gen. Eric Holder to obstruct the Snowden asylum request must be deemed likewise worthless.  Russia should not rely on them in any way, shape, or form.
Leroy Pletten
Thanks  Dave Zirin on your insightful article about Detroit and its decline. I fled Detroit in 1973 when my factory closed (Briggs Mfg , UAW Local 212) It moved to the right to work for less state of Tennessee with no Union  At the same time an oil embargo forced the closing of the big car (gas eaters) factories Many of these factories were in Detroit, and in a short period 160,000 Detroit workers joined us on the unemployment line. Detroit has never recovered from this economic decline. The Union had no control over what type of car was marketed. It was the factory "owners "who decided not to make fuel efficient cars and to move new factories around the world seeking the lowest wage possible and much of the rest of our manufacturing base has followed this example .
The level of endless greed and indifference by the "owners" of capital does not surprise me and it will not change until we fill our streets and our seats of representive government with people who care about us and the future we all must live in.   
In Solidarity,   
Gary Kapanowski,  
Philadelphia Pa
Did you know that ADP the payroll company that weekly provides job reports to the US government and is used by Wall Street is now outsourcing to the Philippines?
It is outrageous, and should be publicized. 
Catherine Lederer-Plaskett 
kind of interesting, tho it does not count the federal prison pop, which has grown; and there's the 15,000 CA prisoners counted in the decrease who were merely shuffled to jails.
Margie Ghiz
I am sure the Democratic Party and labor and all our "progressives" will once again reward this state with millions in Convention and tourism dollars!!! Just like the last DNC confab to nominate Pres Obama
Senator Jim Ferlo 
D Pa 38th District
Thanks to your calls and our work with dozens of colleague organizations, we were successful in cutting several billion dollars from the Pentagon this week.  Though a small drop in the $600 billion bucket, we are slowly but surely curtailing Pentagon largesse.  The House passed H.R. 2397, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 - though more than half of the Democrats voted against the bill.
Our largest victory was the passage of an amendment offered by Reps. Mulvaney (SC), Van Hollen (MD), Coffman (CO) and Murphy (FL) that slashed $3.5 billion from the Afghanistan war.  Click here to see if your member voted "Aye" to pass this important amendment.  Then, call them and either congratulate or voice your disappointment.  202-224-3121
We had several other wins cutting wasteful funds to Afghanistan.  One example, an amendment offered by Rep. Cohen (TN) saved $139 million.  Click here to see if your member voted "Aye" to pass this important amendment.  Then, call them and either praise or urge a better vote next time.  202-224-3121
Unfortunately, we lost some key amendments.  Rep. Quigley offered an amendment to reduce by one-third nuclear weapon missiles (ICBMs).  It failed 142-283.  Click here to see if your member voted "Aye" to pass this important amendment.  Then, call them and either voice approval or disapproval.  202-224-3121
Lastly, Rep. Schiff (CA) offered an amendment to finally end the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that the Congress provided the President, after September 11th, allowing the invasion of Afghanistan and, unfortunately, is still cited by the Obama administration to justify drone strikes in several countries the U.S. is not at war with.  It failed 185-236.  Click here to see if your member voted "Aye" to pass this important amendment.  Then, call them and let them know how you feel about their vote.  202-224-3121
Members of Congress don't often get thank you calls and they are well noted.  So, if your Rep. voted the right way be sure to call them.  Of course, if they voted wrong, express your disappointment.
Humbly for Peace,
Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action
P.S. - Your pressure on Congress, and our work with allies, cut several billion dollars from the Pentagon.  Be sure to click on the links above to see how your Rep. voted. Then call them and tell them how you feel.
July 26, 2013
The Department of Justice moved yesterday to enforce voting rights following the Supreme Court's ruling gutting a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. 
Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday the Justice Department will formally back a suit seeking to require Texas to obtain federal government approval before changing its voting rules. Last month's 5-4 Supreme Court decision effectively gutted this "pre-clearance" process, known as Section 5, by striking down the formula that determines which jurisdictions must seek pre-approval.
"This is the department's first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, but it will not be our last," Holder said Thursday.  "Even as Congress considers updates to the Voting Rights Act in light of the court's ruling, we plan, in the meantime, to fully utilize the law's remaining sections to subject states to preclearance as necessary."
Holder's action uses Section 3 of the Act, which allows a court to "bail-in" a jurisdiction to the pre-clearance process if it has a history of discrimination. "Section 3 has been seldomly used, but given there's no functioning Section 5, we will see increased utilization of remaining tools," said Myrna Pérez, deputy director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program.
If the Justice Department's strategy is successful, it will protect voters even without action from Congress, which last week began contemplating how to revise this key protection
[from the Brennan Center's monthly voting newsletter. Sign up for all our newsletters here.]
By Brendan Sasso 
July 29, 2013
The Federal Communications Commission will vote next week on an order to cut the rates that prisoners pay for interstate phone calls.
The agency will also seek public comments on whether to limit rates for calls within states. 
"For too long, the high cost of long-distance calls from prisoners to their loved ones across state lines has chronically impacted parents and children, especially among low-income families," Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said in a statement. " Multiple studies have shown that meaningful contact beyond prison walls can make a real difference in maintaining community ties, promoting rehabilitation, and reducing recidivism."
Reducing prison phone rates was a focus for Clyburn when she was a commissioner and has been a priority for her since she took the helm of the agency in May.
Prisons request bids from telephone companies to provide service and require each bid to include a fee to the prison. Critics argue the system encourages exorbitant rates.
A typical interstate collect call from prison has a $3.95 connection fee and rates as high as 90 cents per minute, according to civil liberties groups. A 15-minute collect call could cost families $10 to $17, and a one-hour call once a week would cost $250 per month.
The Program on the Study of Capitalism and the Initiative on Global History at Harvard University are excited to announce an upcoming conference "The Global E. P. Thompson: Reflections on the Making of the English Working Class after Fifty Years". The conference will be held at Harvard University from October 3-5, 2013. We invite you to join us, and to pass this announcement along to friends and colleagues who may be interested in attending.
The full program can be found here.
Please register to attend the conference here
For those unable to attend in person, the conference will be streamed live online.
Rudi Batzell, PhD Candidate, History, Harvard University
Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of American History, Harvard University
Andrew Gordon, Folger Fund Professor of History, Harvard University
Gabriel Winant, PhD Candidate, History, Yale University
Conference Coordinator: Jessica Barnard, Weatherhead Initiative on
Global History, Harvard University