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Tidbits - August 22, 2013

Reader Comments: Chelsea Manning Sentencing; Egypt; Koch Bros.; Kerry and the Mideast Peace Process; Petition to Hold Kerry Accountable; False History; Labor Unions At Another Crossroad-Exchange (Martin Morand & Bill Fletcher); Dawkins Dresses Up Bigotry; Announcement: Encore-The Blacklisting of Hope Foye - Los Angeles-Aug 24 Resources: The Unfinished Dream - The March on Washington & the Radical Legacy of Martin Luther King

Reader Comments,http,//
This morning NPR reported that Bradley Manning wants to transition and be called Chelsea. This afternoon I read the statement of a courageous and principled person who is willing to accept his sentence knowing that "sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society." Although NPR was going to the lowest level by focusing on the gender identity of BM, s/he shows great courage for both the statement made at sentencing and going public on such a personal issue.
Janis Zadel
I and many others I believe that Bradley Manning deserves a Noble Peace price for revealing the truth about crimes committed by the US.
An indignant US citizen.
Richard Gibson
(Comments on Aug. 16 posts - Egypt's Transition Has Failed: New Age of Military Dictatorship in Wake of Massacre; and Not in Our Name: Dawkins Dresses Up Bigotry As Non-belief) 
When two negatives (a democratically elected non-democratic religious fanatic and an entrenched voracious military) meet you ain't gonna get a positive.  The missing link is and has been the democracy Rebel movement.  Had the US supported the democracy movement in the beginning, perhaps we would be seeing a different outcome now.
To segue to the article on Dawkins.  As an atheist it's not important to have an argument for it.  As friends of mine in the math and physics community have said:  "You can't prove a negative."  The only thing about Dawkin's anti-Muslim feelings is why he leaves out all of the other religions.  Are the racist Christian evangelicals in the US any better?.  Are the super-Orthodox and Chasidic Jews who believe that if you aren't one of them you're not a Jew any different?  The only difference is that don't have arms.  Yet.
Claire Carsman
Prison, torture, drones--that is the society we've become.
Roderick Stackelberg 
All of this true.   I'm attaching a book review of  the Assault on Public Education because this gives a more detailed account of what billionaires and corporations are doing to public education.   I heard Wm Watkins speak at the Conference I attended in Madison 2 weeks ago.  It terrified me.
Deborah Ross
Kerry's remarks about the Palestinians having to make a deal now or face a worse situation in the future are in the past and ongoing tradition of U.S. expropriation of land from Native Americans by force, settling it, and seeking representatives of the dispossessed who would validate past expropriations in the hope of preventing new ones. He is channeling a centuries-long pattern.
The situation of more or less controlled conflict is harmful to the constructive interests of all -- including a U.S. interest in having a healthy rather than a manipulative relationship with the Mideast region's peoples, politics, and resources.
Yet other interests interfere with the pursuit of that better future.  Here are just a couple:
(1) The use of Israel as a laundromat through which to pass a small but reliably steady portion of U.S. government funding U.S. military industries (a considerable portion of U.S. military aid to the Israeli government must be used to purchase products of U.S. companies)
(2) Classic abuse of an exposed minority by a greater force to serve the greater force's objective of rule and exploitation in return for short-term protection of the minority.  This, by the way, was the condition of exposed Jewish minorities in Europe by rulers for centuries, an exposed condition political Zionism hoped to end.  The goal of liberation, however, was harmed by movement's choices to override the similar needs of the residents of Palestine, and to promise services to the European governments (Russia, Great Britain) to gain support for its political program. Thus the past pattern was transferred to the international scale, where it persists today.
Kerry's remarks are one of many reminders that all parties need liberation from those patterns, the U.S. populace included.
Joe Maizlish
Los Angeles
It's not only illegal- but SEGREGATED!
Aaron Libson
Why I am totally against the peace talks as structured.
Maivan Lam
New Petition to Hold Kerry Accountable Launched by Jewish Voices for Peace 
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are sitting down for formal peace talks.
Like you, we're monitoring these developments carefully.
And we're distressed that on the eve of talks, Israel announced 1,200 new illegal settlements - continuing a pattern of talking-while-building that stretches all the way back to Oslo.
So we've launched a new petition to hold Kerry accountable, and we need your help to move fast. 
Secretary John Kerry has offered a deeply cynical response: instead of reminding Israeli officials they are on the wrong side of international law, he asked Palestinians not to "adversely respond."
That doesn't sound exactly like an impartial broker to us.
Help us reach 10,000 signatures telling Secretary Kerry he needs to demand that Israel cease settlement expansion immediately and prove he's serious about a real peace process.
If Kerry won't take a strong stand against settlements, there's no reason to believe that this round of peace talks are credible. In fact, pressuring Palestinians to make "hard compromises" while giving Israel a free pass to violate international law makes things worse.
Click here today: tell John Kerry to prove he's serious about this process by taking a strong stand against settlement expansion. 
Rabbi Alissa Wise
Director of Campaigns,
Jewish Voice for Peace
What is this about Alexander Hamilton being such a champion of the people?  What about the Whiskey  Rebellion?  The way I learned it in school was that the frontiersman west of the Appalachians could only market their corn by turning it into whiskey because of difficult transportation, so Hamilton got a tax passed on whiskey that caused a lot of dissatisfaction and rebellion as Hamilton knew it would.  National armed forces put down the rebellion to teach those people a lesson.
Pammela Wright
(posted on Portside Labor)
"If they are simply viewed as a lobby..."
Does it not depend, to some extent, on what they are lobbying FOR?  For example, the organizing drives of the early Thirties included lobbying for the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Martin Morand
I am speaking about the labor movement self-conceptualizing itself as a lobby.  I am not attacking the notion of needing to lobby.  Everyone needs to lobby.  But we need to be a movement.
Bill Fletcher
Hope people will read sucha long wordy comment.
Brad Smith
This article is not what it claims to be. It is not an inquiry into why the reasons for this disparity in inequality between the U.S. and other countries.
Instead it is a smoke screen to cover up the intellectual bankruptcy of "economists" on the right. It says "economists disagree" in the manner that Fox claims to be "fair and balanced" by presenting both sides without evaluation. What if fails to not is that the facts are all on the left, while all conservative "economists" like Manciew have to offer are the platitudes of their fact free ideology.
Are you embarrassed for having been sucked in and sent it to us? You should be. I expect better from Portside.
Bob Whitney
If you think you can do this private internet development, as I wrote in John's Final Epistle to the Anthropologists, you've got another think coming: And, if you still believe that this is really Free Enterprise country, try to start your own local community internet service provider to avoid the commercialization, government spying and the control of the major corporations. Community self-designed internet is being blocked. The profits of great corporations, too big to fail, are soaring while the workers fall further behind the increased costs.
John Allison
Dawkins make s some good points, though, about a fawning attitude toward Muslims that the Western left has.  There's much that's rotten about Islam, same as any religion, & much that's truly horrible, same as with any religious fundamentalism--and contemporary Islam is certainly one of the most fundamentalist, as contemporary events show  (the Danish cartoon riots, the burning of the Muslim library in Timbuktu by Muslims, the fact that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are both Muslim, the myriad Muslim politicians & clerics who decry women's rights as "un-Islamic").  "Tolerance" does not mean fawning, & "combating prejudice" also means fighting infantile religious conceptions.  Dawkins has consistently done both.
George Fish 
Indianapolis, IN
As a member of an Indian religion that qazis, mullahs and imans considered to have resisted Islam  we are under a death sentence from fundamental Muslims. The same mindset led to the genocide of between 80 million to 100 million members of India's indigoes faiths. The expulsion of 30% of the population of Pakistan in 1947 for not being Muslim was the modern version.
The Nazis pale to what Muslims did in India and Africa where they tied the local slave market into their world slave market.The Koran give the Muslim community the ''right'' to kill you for being an atheist as well.Dawkins is not a bigot but just up on his history.
Sathari Singh
Black Talkies On Parade Film Series Presents an Encore Afternoon with Hope Foye
Ms. Hope Foye will perform a few songs and discuss her role in the documentary: Red Hope: The Blacklisting of Hope Foye (Her Story, Her Songs)
August 24th @ 4:00 pm
Screening is FREE!
4130 Overland Ave.
Culver City, CA 90230
The MCLM Black Talkies On Parade Film Series presents a screening of the 2011 documentary Red Hope? The Blacklisting of Hope Foye (Her Story, Her Songs) directed by Constance Jackson and narrated by Keith David. The film explores the life of African American classical opera singer Hope Foye- her struggles for justice, survival and preservation of her music. A member of People's Artists during the 1940s, Foye was friends with activists committed to social justice, including actor, Paul Robeson, folk singer, Pete Seeger, scholar, W.E.B. Du Bois, and his wife, playwright, Shirley Graham Du Bois. However, Foye's budding career in America was derailed when she was subpoenaed to testify before the McCurran Committee (Senate Internal Security Subcommittee) and refused to answer the Committee's questions regarding her supposedly "communist affiliations."
This setback did not stop Ms. Foye who moved to Mexico and became the first popular African American singer on television in Mexico. She also garnered international acclaim performing classical opera in Europe and Israel.
Watch the Trailer
August 28 will be the anniversary of the famous March on Washington. This event will be the climax of the commemorative marathon accompanying the 50th anniversary of 1963. It is clear that during this time we will be engulfed by images of Martin Luther King, Jr., and quotations from his "I Have a Dream" speech, as well as so many references to John F. Kennedy that there is not likely to be any space for critical thought.
The problem with this form of remembrance is that it almost completely reduces the political legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and its famous protagonist to the speech that Martin Luther King gave at the rally in Washington. Moreover, it tends to focus on a single aspect of the speech he gave that day: King's "dream" of a world without racial barriers. This remembrance makes no mention of the fact that King criticized the continuing economic and social inequalities faced by African Americans or that he lashed out against the government's inaction on the rampant poverty that existed in the midst of abundance. Similarly, the fact that the march was actually called the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" is rarely mentioned. Consequently, the focus on King's "dream" turns a radical Black leader into a hippie with just one wish: that we all just get along.
It does not do King justice to characterize him as a leader who was a threat to nobody, who endangered no one's privileges, and whose "dream" may even have become reality with the election of the first Black President. It certainly cannot explain why King, and the Civil Rights Movement he led, met with so much resistance and even hate - and not merely from a few backwards-looking people who seem to have believed that time had stood still since the Confederacy.
To the right of the mainstream, Tea Party supporters actually suppress this version of events. During their anti-Obama demonstration at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington three years ago - on the anniversary and location of King's March on Washington - Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Co. ludicrously claimed to be King's "true" heirs by turning his message on its head and asserting that today, King would be on their side!
This represents a complete reinterpretation of history: it instrumentalizes King and the Civil Rights Movement to advance an agenda that is diametrically opposed to King's political legacy. This has only been able to occur because mainstream remembrance of the real historical events and the people who were involved in them has become ever more faded, decontextualized, and de-radicalized.
In this study, Albert Scharenberg, Co-director of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-New York Office, reconstructs Martin Luther King's political philosophy, activities, and heritage. His conclusion: The struggle for civil rights was far more radical and complicated than we are led to believe.
[thanks to James Hare from the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-New York Office, for sending this to Portside.]