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Tidbits - April 3, 2014

Reader Comments - U.S. Military Policy, Foreign Policy and Aggression; Public Education and New York's Segregated Schools; Obamacare; Bernie Sanders for President - exchange on electoral politics and tactics; Trade Policy; Venezuela; Congress and the 1%; Pope Francis; poverty; Announcement - Call for Tributes and Reflections: The Life and Work of Rod Bush - San Francisco - Aug. 18, 2014

Reader Comments and Announcements - April 3, 2014, Portside

U.S. Army Special Forces Unconventional Warfare Training Manual

This explains so much of the "low intensity" warfare that the US government is engaged in re Venezuela, South Africa, and probably another 50 countries around the world.

Disseminating and re-posting of this helps expose the mechanisms of imperialist aggression. What does that better than this training manual on how to subvert and overthrow other governments.

Fred Niles

Training Circular 18-01 (TC 18-01) describes the realization of subversives operations aimed at attacking and degrading another country's government's political, moral, psychological, economic or military strength, and its cohesion and effectiveness, and distancing it from its population.

The manual further describes: Undermining the capacity of a government by stating it is not capable to govern effectively; using the support of a coalition partner or a third country to weaken or diminish the legitimacy of a government; dividing the population and generating discontent; influencing or creating leaders and unifying them ideologically, and using traitor expatriates.

This US official training book describes ways to provoke catalyst events, and to create conditions favourable to US intervention with the use of propaganda, demonstrations, boycotts and sabotages, so as even with the absence of declared hostilities, to achieve humiliations and concessions to the USA, having degraded another government's capacity in a way such that an uprising or putsch against that government, and drive out its president, for example, could be threatened, or actually take place.

Please find, attached, a PDF containing six pages from this United States of America official manual.
The full document is a 97-page, 1.4 megabyte PDF file.

[Public Intelligence is an international, collaborative research project aimed at aggregating the collective work of independent researchers around the globe who wish to defend the public's right to access information. We operate upon a single maxim: equal access to information is a human right. We believe that limits to the average citizen's ability to access information have created information asymmetries which threaten to destabilize democratic rule around the world. Through the control of information, governments, religions, corporations, and a select group of individuals have been able to manipulate public perception into accepting coercive agendas which are ultimately designed to limit the sovereignty and freedom of populations worldwide.]

Re: Venezuela: A Call for Peace

I would like to know how much of the annual U.S. budget is allocated to overthrowing democratically elected governments across the globe that favor the 1% and deny the will of the 99%. It would appear this diversion of funds from U.S. public coffers is creating a downward spiral of its developed-world economy to that of a comparable under-developed nation.

Margie Bernard

Re: New York Schools Most Segregated in the Nation

As teachers in those mostly segregated schools, I challenge you be a champion in your profession. Until there is a change, you have a majority "minority" of kids living in poverty or close to it. Be the best you can be. Their education is their best hope for an empowered future. Learning is fun and exciting when presented the right ways. I know there are obstacles...big ones. You have to believe you are their champion...their hero.

Karyne Dunbar


Lets demonstrate at City Hall and at the schools.  OK?

Martin Gittelman


Is anyone aware of research which would bear on the hypothesis that an indirect, often unspoken and in some people and groups even unconscious, resistance to the 1954 Supreme Court school desegregation decision arose, using increased wealth-based residential segregation, changes in schooling (more religion-based and other private schools), increased income disparities in pay among jobs, and perhaps other methods?

If such a hypothesis holds up (or at least is not ruled out), might we consider whether a race-based remedy which did not deal with class/income disparity would not be effective on a mass level even for the racial integration and racial equality goals?

Carrying the questions further with some combination of cynicism -- or is it realism? -- might the adoption or endorsement by parts of the dominant political/economic forces of legal racial desegregation goal been acceptable because it did not touch the economic disparities (or because it might keep activism from the class aspects)?

One way (of many) to examine that last question could be to examine whether the rejection or the decrease in support for Dr. King and his efforts by sectors which had supported his earlier anti-racial segregation efforts was not due only to his critique of U.S. foreign/war policy but was also due to his turn towards an explicit class-based approach.

Joseph Maizlish
Los Angeles

Re: Obamacare Secret: If You Quit Your Job, You Have a Plan and Keep

Personally I think the most important benefit was the Medicaid expansion. Another untold story is how the public program roll out was much smoother than the private insurance because the latter is still too complicated.

What Dean Baker says seems true enough as far as it goes -- n.b. that ending exclusion for pre-existing conditions also makes "grandfathered" coverage with an existing employer plan less crucial for those who get sick and then better or carry on with chronic illness management.

But everything he describes would be much more powerfully true for a truly systematic publicly funded single payer approach, which would also not be dependent on having enough income to buy insurance.

One way of looking at s.p. is as a raise in the social wage.

The ACA is to what we need in health care as Obama's stimulus was to what we really need -- better than a poke in the eye with a stick, but not really enough.

Chris Lowe
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Now that is one of the best arguments FOR Obamacare that I have heard yet

Phyllis Mandel
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Debate: Independence or Partisanship

    "The mistake made after the 2000 election was the knee jerk reaction of the liberal intelligencia, which is aligned with the Democratic Party, to blame Ralph Nader for Al Gore's loss to George W. Bush.Al Gore's loss to George W. Bush"

Correction: Gore won, but by 5-4 nine voters decreed otherwise. But the nation did not revolt and rather, as the article says, its eggheads blamed Nader.

Michael Munk


If Sanders runs as an independent, the effort will be a complete waste of time; as was the Nader campaign. Even though Bernie has better politics than Nader, running as an independent will be a pure spoiler campaign -- helping to elect the ultra right. In fact I will not support him in West Virginia as an independent. Working people in this state have no time for futile and quixotic gestures. Running as a Democrat in the primary -- I, and many others, will work tirelessly to make it a vehicle to strengthen the progressive constituency in the Democratic party base -- which is ripe for development. Down the road, independence is always an option. But West Virginia, and most of the country, is NOT Vermont.

John Case


I think this is a false choice.  The Democratic Party is a shell of its former self, a sham.  Running as an independent does not build anything that lasts beyond this election.  I think if Bernie and people who support him and his program should invest the energy into building an alternative party.  One that will not only push for all the good progressive and socialist ideas but will work to pass ballot initiatives for Proportional Representation and an Equal Clean Money form of public funding of campaigns.  These two election reforms alone would turn the electoral system on its head.  If a new party were to get 20% of the vote it would get 20% of the seats.  This means that Bernie would not be running along but with a team that could carry on the building of a new progressive/socialist party.

C. T. Weber


In their advocacy of an independent Bernie Sanders run for president, Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers completely ignore the crucial fact that while the Democratic Party is pro-corporate, there are critical differences between Democrats and the far-right Republican Party.  They also ignore the fact that the Democratic Party is not a monolith. There are many hundreds of Democratic leaders and office-holders who share all or parts of Sanders' progressive agenda. The first task towards moving our nation in a progressive direction is to weaken and defeat the ultra right. We do this by continuing to broaden, unite and strengthen movements for social and economic justice and mobilize on the electoral front to defeat the far-right, while keeping pressure on the Democrats through our movement. This is the lesson of the New Deal.

Any effort that could lead to spoiling an electoral defeat for the right must be avoided. Yes, Gore was an unappealing centrist candidate, but the fact is Nader was the spoiler. To suggest that it doesn't matter that Bush was elected is just wrong.  Repression does not necessarily breed resistance. It also breeds fear and reaction.  Our movement is not better off because Bush was elected.  And our ability to make progress would suffer under Romney, Ryan, Cruz, or the next Bush.

The Democratic Party is not the answer to winning a progressive agenda. That will only come about as and when our movement for peace, equality, and security grows larger and stronger, but that moment is not now. An independent effort will only isolate us from how the vast majority engage in politics and help the right.  I want to work for Bernie too, not as part of a marginal candidacy, but in a campaign that raises issues to the entire nation that will bring people to the movement and not just the ballot box. An independent Sanders' candidacy sounds courageous and principled, but it would be a terrible strategic mistake.

William Meyerson


It may seem ironic for someone who twice ran for President on the Socialist Party ticket to agree with William Meyerson, but there is a major difference between being a "standard bearer" for a very small party, on the ballot in very few states, and mounting a real third party effort which would draw only from the Democrats.

This is a complex situation but I agree that to see the Democrats (or the Republicans) as monolithic is wrong. The whole political spectrum in our country is in sad shape but there are differences - the best way to fight them out is by independent candidates at the Congressional level.Sanders - for whom I have great respect - is flawed on matters involving Israel and the Middle East and on the military budget, etc. Those issues are actually central to our politics, even if both parties (and many progressives) tend to ignore them.

David McReynolds

Re: Rejecting TPP, AFL-CIO's Trumka Calls for `Global New Deal'

I know trade issues can be complicated, but I like the way Trumka frames it as the need for a  "Global New Deal"

Bill Dennison

Re: Racism Sin Vergenza in the Venezuelan Counter-Revolution

Those of us in North America know a little something about this: making up fears of "Black crime" and "Black laziness" to advance a greedy economic agenda

Lisa Husniyyah Owens Pinto
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Socialism for the Rich -- It's Capitalism - A Nation of Takers

Yes, I agree that to wine and dine a date with money subsided by taxpayers is much worse than an indigent person misusing food stamps. This article is great.

Wendy Berg
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


"Socialism for the rich" is meaningless & should not be used  by left-wingers.

Matthew Borenstein

Re: The Skills Zombie

Unglamorous!? "Krugman had me going until he referred to my skill as "unglamorous." So if a skill is unglamorous is it low-paid, unneeded, unrewarding? What's glamorous work? Punditry?

My first re-action to seeing Krugman's picture in a socialist publication was, "shit."

But then I was glad to see an attack on the theory of "we can't get business going cause the workers are too dumb, now." But then he says that metal work is unglamorous, and so, I guess, doesn't count in the equations about what to do to get more jobs.

Also, Krugman cannot write a column without attacking the idea that big deficits are dangerous. He is right that government spending is the answer to the crisis. He is also right that almost all of the deficit hawks don't understand that. BUT, he is wrong that stimulating the economy with more debt, ie, by borrowing from the rich instead of taxing them, is the effective way to full employment, and not dangerous.

You guys can find better figures to highlight than the liberal capitalist mouthpiece, Krugman.

Bill Shortell

Re: So, the Pope and Obama Walk Into a Slum ...

Nice portside, from Iris in South Africa.   Peace

Portside articles about Haiti and France

a friend sent to me Two articles from your site, one was about            my country Haiti, and the other was about France 's exploitation of her former African colonies. I have learned a lot by reading those articles. I would like in the future to be included in your list of readers. thank you .

E. Barbot

Re: Wanted: Foreign Investment in Cuba

I thought the lease on Guantanomo Bay had expired?!

Aaron Libson

Re: The Progressive Magazine and Center for Media and Democracy Merge

Congratulations on the joining together of The Progressive and the Center for Media and Democracy. Seems like a good fit. Keep up the good work. And, in general, thanks to Portside for keeping us all informed.

Luis R Torres

Call for Tributes and Reflections: The Life and Work of Rod Bush - San Francisco - Aug. 18, 2014

San Francisco Marriott Marquis
San Francisco, CA

Conference sponsored by Critical Sociology

On December 5, 2013 we lost a valued colleague and comrade in the person of Roderick Douglas Bush. Rod was committed in his scholarship and activism to bringing about a more just world. There is much to be learned from his legacy. Rod was highly regarded for his contributions that deepened our understanding of this unjust world, and his efforts toward what might be done to transform it. It is in that spirit that this call is being issued.

To recognize and bring honor to Rod's contributions, we seek to further explore and examine the themes of, and draw on the lessons from, his work. He was highly regarded among the most progressive scholar/activists on the struggles of African Americans in a context of capitalism and white supremacist hegemony. His books, We Are not What We Seem: Black Nationalism and Class Struggle in the American Century and The End of White World Supremacy: Black Internationalism and the Problem of the Color Line, as well as, his articles and presentations, provide an excellent frame for further explorations on the importance of his thinking.

This call invites presentations on the spirit and works of Rod Bush, both as a scholar and revolutionary activist, in one or more panels at the Critical Sociology conference. We anticipate publications that will be a lasting tribute to Rod's ideas so they can be engaged going forward. There are numerous intellectual and movement venues in which he was active and many areas of concerns that he addressed. We hope that events such as this will inspire further engagement and development.

Suggested themes might focus on the following:

  • From Black Nationalism to Black Internationalism
  • Transnational Africa
  • Revolutionary Activism and Praxis
  • World Systems theory and application
  • Revolutionary Pedagogy and Mentorship
  • White World Supremacy/ Racism
  • Marxist Theory
  • Social Movements
  • Colonialism and Internal Colonialism

Those interested in participating should submit their proposals to
Robert Newby ( and Melanie Bush ( or 917 846 6722) by April 15, 2014.
Also, feel free to contact Melanie for more information about other events and activities related to Rod's life work, which will include a website hosting a variety of resources. Watch for announcements as details are confirmed.

Prof. David Fasenfest
Editor, Critical Sociology
Series Editor, Studies in Critical Social Sciences

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