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Tidbits - November 13, 2014

Reader Comments- Voter Suppression; Election Failure by Democrats; Progressive Victories You Didn't Hear About; Federal Judge Guts Nationwide Ban On Housing Discrimination; America Rigged for Massive Wealth Transfer to the Rich; Global Economic Divide; Cuban Five and Alan Gross; Fracking Banned in Denton, TX; Ferguson; Inner City Schools Function Like Prisons; A Good Movie Tip; Women's Labor Music Announcements- Labor Notes Hiring; Events in Oakland and New York

Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - November 13, 2014,Portside

Re: Voter Suppression in 2014

Is this democracy? Is this what we want?

SSPS Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


And the number of numbnuts Dems who couldn't be bothered to show up exceeded by 62% the number of Dems who took the trouble to vote more than once in 4 years !!! In order for your vote to be suppressed, you gotta at least make a good faith effort to show up !!!

Jay Diamond
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Election Failure by Democrats - Three Views

"President Obama will have to decide. Will he choose now to lay out what the country needs, make his case and make the choices clear, and stand against those who would take the country back?"

It's the same question liberals have raised since he took office. Seems to me he has already answered it.

Michael Munk


Whimps vs. Crooks
That hardly ever works out for the best.

Karyne Dunbar

Re: The Progressive Victories You Didn't Hear About in the Midterms -- And Some That Could Happen

No big thing, but RPA could have been mentioned first in your article of  the groups leading to the victory in Richmond.  As always over the past several years, it was RPA's organization that brought together the hundreds of volunteers for the door to door campaign that happened over several months and provided the campaign strategies that led to the wins.

Nick Jones
RPA volunteer

Re: What ever happened to 'of the people, by the people, for the people'? A manifesto

Nowadaze it's you can't fool all of the people all of the time; but we're trying

Leonard Brown
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


If you read one article today, make it this one.

Paul Zerbe
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

This is one of the best blogs around and the writer just ran for Governor of NY.

Jb Christensen
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This sounds like the answer but with corporations and banks controlling everything, how do we regulate " too big to fail or jail" and overturn Citizens United? If after the school shootings we can't regulate the NRA, how do we do this now that the Repubs have taken over government backed by those very entities?

Natalie Turner
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Federal Judge Guts The Nationwide Ban On Housing Discrimination

time to march in the streets again...

Gillespie Love
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Post-Racial America literally means we roll back any legislation to pre-civil rights

Aaron Mallory
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This is very serious and demands all of your progressive and radical attention and demands NOW!!!! Carefully follow this.

Larry Aaronson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Our post-racial society...

Bob Simpson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I turn 60 next April and, during my lifetime, I never envisioned our country regressing the way it has. We need to find a cure for Democratic voter apathy.

Wendy Williams
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Am I caught in some crazy time warp? Did I wank up and suddenly it is 1940?

Patty Crawford
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


To see how hard this will be to overturn, watch the video to see how Texas Tech students don't know who won the Civil War, or even who fought in it... Lots of hope for progress there....

Time was Grade School Grads, then Middle School Grads, then High School Grads could be counted upon for the answers. The Red Badge of Courage sorta told who fought the war....

We don't need to find a cure for Democratic Voter Apathy, we need Congressmen who can afford to listen to constituents. We just elected a new Senator in MI, a Democrat. He may be good, who really knows. I DO know that there was 47.2 million dollars spent to elect him. He needs to raise at least double that for the next election in six years. Lets see - 6 years X 2080 hours per year = 12,480 hours

To raise the 100 million dollars (round number) to get re-elected, he will have to raise $8012. each and every hour. Doubtless he will have to promise some results for that kind of money, so he will also need to keep his commitments straight so he can deliver on them and ultimately collect. Even working overtime, I am not sure that he will have time to give me ONE MINUTE ($133.50) out of his term to consider my concerns with TIPP, NDAA, Global Warming, Student Loans, among others. Instead, the dollar lubricated squeaky wheels will get the attention while I can be counted on to stupidly go and give him my consent to govern witn a vote. I can write him via email (snail mail never gets handled) on topics and will after a suitable interval, get a boilerplate reply written by an intern why he had to blow me off and why I probably shouldn't want what I do anyway because Hell will freeze over before I ever see it.

So, let's not use voter apathy as an excuse when there is really no point in voting at all. It just encourages bad behavior.

George Girod
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


thats due to all the foreclosures and wall street becoming landlords-beware soon we are gonna be all living on the streets. then we will have voting for homeowners only.

Patty Sanders
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Unpleasant having to hit like for something so wrong.

Maggie Murphy
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Federal Judiciary Mentality: "LONG LIVE DRED SCOTT" !

Tony Medina
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


We continue on the road to the 50s.

Helen Laura López
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


all they did was rule against "disparate impact" maybe some of you should study law and logic

Chris Lee
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


"All they did"???? Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the term " red lining

Deb Hurt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: 5 Facts About How America Is Rigged for a Massive Wealth Transfer to the Rich

"Austerity" is class warfare!

Paul Fretheim
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It has always been about THE HAVE AND THE HAVE NOTS...AUSTERITY Is the next order of business of the govt. agenda, Greeks strike against this last year...

Rose Dixon
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


it really has never been like this since the great depression.. don't kid yourselves. .the conservative wealth will strangle all of the rest of us. They are loving every minute of this rape of America. We are selling our heritage to the chinese russians etc.. We are seriously researching a way to leave the USA as soon as practical. We do not have any wealth, savings or any regular income other than SS.. The economic disaster took everything. .house, savings.. retirement .. took it all.. Now the wealthy decide who we are.. even to the point of the "election".. THE SUPREME COURT majority is all for the wealth.. and no where, even near, doing what they are appointed to do. They are puppets of the rich. .because they are now rich!. .It is pointless to fight.. it is happening as we watch.. truly believe the elections are rigged.. most of the conservatives are out right elitist and racist.. Yes. RACIST.. it is disgusting and very disturbing.. I want out.. aspratical and watch it from afar..

Jim Ellis
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This is what your friends and neighbors voted for on Tuesday. You should find some way to properly thank them.

Dale Wells
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Our Founding Fathers risked their lives to build a nation just the opposite of what is happening now. This class warfare is why America became independent. Why can't 99% of Americans understand this? Yes, I know - Faux News

George Hoguet
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


And this just never happened until recently. Marx and Engels were flapping their gums about nothing.

David Frazer
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I dare anybody to claim the Obama administration has a "Socialist" agenda after reading this article. The full text contains statistics which support these 5 points.

Doug Viehmeyer
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Global Economic Divide

The graphic is highly inaccurate. An accurate graphic would be better.

Carol Crooks
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That's 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world's population. According to Oxfam International, The 85 Richest People In The World Have As Much Wealth As The 3.5 Billion Poorest.

Kiilu Nyasha
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Watch this Documentary - Vox Populi, Methods of Manipulation

Daniel Hagan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Exchange Cuban Five and Alan Gross - Letter to the Editor in the New York Times

To the Editor:
November 6, 2014
New York Times

Your Nov. 3 editorial "A Prisoner Swap With Cuba" presented a reasonable resolution to a major obstacle in normalizing United States relations with Cuba, but did not mention some key facts.

Despite references to the "convicted Cuban spies" Cuba wants returned after already serving over 16 years in American prisons, the seven-month trial of these admitted Cuban agents did not include evidence that they had obtained any classified information.

Rather, the Cuban version, that their primary mission was to monitor and prevent terrorism planned by exiles in Miami against Cuba, is supported by the evidence, including the book-length study by a Canadian journalist, Stephen Kimber, "What Lies Across the Water." None of the five men were charged with actual espionage (as they had no classified information), although the Miami jury convicted them of a "conspiracy," or a plan to commit espionage.

They monitored figures such as Orlando Bosch, who was given safe harbor in the United States for more than 20 years until his death in 2011, despite being "resolute and unwavering in his advocacy of terrorist violence," according to Joe Whitley, an acting associate attorney general who argued against granting asylum and later became general counsel to the Department of Homeland Security. And today, a career terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles, is still being harbored by the United States in Miami.

Art Heitzer
Milwaukee, Nov. 3, 2014

The writer is chairman of the Cuba subcommittee of the National Lawyers Guild.

They Did it Denton, Texas - They Banned Fracking

Energy Action Coalition

You heard, right? Denton, TX, the birthplace of fracking, JUST BANNED FRACKING.

This is why Denton's ban and the work of Frack Free Denton is HUGE NEWS for people fighting fracking *everywhere*.

Energy Action Coalition

[Energy Action Coalition is a coalition of 30 youth-led social & environmental justice organizations working together to build the youth clean energy and climate movement.

Our power lies in the collective resources of 50 environmental and social justice organizations, 700 local groups, and hundreds of thousands of young people. EAC unites this diversity of organizations and individuals in vast networks of youth power to win clean energy victories on campuses, in communities, and at the state and federal levels in the United States and Canada. Through the highly coordinated collaboration of our diversity of partner organizations, EAC leverages the collective power of youth to fight for a clean, efficient, equitable and renewable energy future.]

Re: Toni Morrison and Angela Davis on Friendship And Creativity

Totally enjoyed immersing in this interview.

Donna McFarlane
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Making of Ferguson

This is a must read! It's exactly what it was and still is in St. Louis, Missouri and in every state in the United States of America! What's happening in Ferguson Missouri is just a microcosm of how it really is in these United States of America.

Here's an analogy, a Pittbull (dog) is actually a good dog to have just like a Labrador, German Shepherd or Poodle, but if you treat them badly their attitudes will change also to being mean and vicious. How could you expect people to be any different when they're constantly being treated worst than a dog?

Terry Hall
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Historically, America's housing demographics have consistently shown--by racial statistics alone--that Whites don't want to live 'next door' to black people. When 1 or 2 black families move into a White neighborhood, it's okay; but when that number exceeds 3, the "For Sale" signs start popping up! I will never forget what Winnie Mandela said, while under house arrest, with her husband in prison, and I paraphrase: "Where will the minority White Afrikaners go when Black South Africans get their freedom? To the Ocean?!"

Walter Oliver Neal
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Why Many Inner City Schools Function Like Prisons

The Americans got this from the British, where, during the Industrial Revolution, everything was owned by the aristocracy. The first born got the estate, and the other children had to fend for themselves and find something else to do. One went into the priesthood, another went to the army, the next became a teacher, one went exploring, and so it went. The farm town became a factory town, and they needed folks showing up on time, sober, and clean. Hence our current value system emerged: cleanliness is next to godliness; be on time - don't keep Gawd waiting; and on and on. They got the message reinforced from the pulpit on Sunday and by the school master on the rest of the days. It was all in service of the first born, who wanted that factory to run at peak efficiency, while not costing him too much in wages. A neat little trick, if you can get away with it.

Stephen Helmey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Net Neutrality: President Obama's Plan for a Free and Open Internet

Thank heaven for small favors!

Lare Plus
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Thats great. Now if people out there do their part and defend net nuetrality every way possible - legally - maybe we have a chance. Or, get ready for an intellectual mind fu-k.

Elizabeth Meza
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


SpaceX is launching satellites for unrestricted, low-cost high-speed Internet. Screw the FCC.

RC Sanders
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Temple Mount Movement Has Nothing to Do With Civil Rights

So Mr Derfner has no problem with Jews  and Christians being prohibited from praying on the Temple Mount (ok, neither does the Israeli government--which he neglects to mention enforces this ban--but they justify it as needed to preserve the peace and don't claim it is legitimate in principle).  But what about the violence being encouraged by Abbas, the PA, PLO and Hamas to prevent all Jews from setting foot on the mount altogether--to make it a Judenfrei zone?

Derfner has lots to say about violent threats from the Jewish extremists, but nothing about the actual violence of their Muslim counterparts--who, unlike the Jewish extremists, have the support of their official leaders. And since when is the call for equal treatment not a civil rights issue?  Fair play would be to let anyone pray wherever they want or ban prayer for all--either is fine with me but a selective ban that privileges one religion over all others strikes me as a civil rights issue.

Stan Nadel

A Good Movie Tip

Turner Classics is showing Clifford Odets's THE BIG KNIFE starring Jack Palance as a tormented Hollywood star. The conventional word on this movie, made from an Odets play, is that it's over-emotional, over the top, embarrassingly overheated, miscast and poor office slammed by critics. All true, except that the casting is wonderful: Palance is a revelation and Rod Steiger fabulously, stratospherically over the top as a Harry Cohn/LBMayer.

The Big Knife is a perfect gem of an utterly watchable imperfect work. Even more interesting if you see it as an expiation, and plea for forgiveness, by Odets who became - with Elia Kazan's close cooperation - a HUAC informer for which he never forgave himself. Odets, a brilliant and fiery writer who transformed American theatre in the 1930s, was a complicated guy, like his Palance character.

By sheer coincidence, I helped set up chairs at an anti-HUAC meeting in NY where Odets gave a keynote speech urging his audience not to surrender to the witch hunters. We stood on those chairs and applauded like crazy. My memory may be faulty here but not by much: the very next morning or a few days later he ratted out his old friends to the Committee. Once you know this, The Big Knife becomes even more fascinating.

Clancy Sigal

Labor Notes is Hiring!

Labor Notes is accepting applications for two positions in our New York office. We are looking for people with experience in the labor movement and demonstrated capacities as organizational leaders. Start date is in January. A commitment to rank-and-file unionism is a must.

Assistant Editor

Write, solicit, and edit articles for our monthly magazine and daily blog, and follow a number of beats (specific unions, industries, or topics), along with some organizing and administrative responsibilities. The editors plan coverage, set deadlines, and work with on-staff and off-staff authors to produce a fast-paced and diverse flow of stories. Proficiency in copy editing and excellent writing are required, as is news sense.

Assistant Director

Work with Director Mark Brenner to oversee strategic planning, budgeting, project management, and staff coordination. Coordinate and sometimes facilitate stand-alone trainings and workshops, as well as ongoing support and consulting, for local unions and caucuses. Build and maintain connections with rank-and-file activists across the country. Lead fundraising, including major donors and foundation grants. Plan and execute promotional campaigns for Labor Notes publications and events, and maintain connections between staff and off-staff leaders.

Like all staff, the assistant director writes for the monthly magazine and daily blog and recruits others to do so, developing areas of expertise and keeping in close touch with beat contacts. All staff also work on our biannual conference and our Troublemakers Schools and other events.

Women and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply. Generous benefits and vacation are provided. Please send resume and cover letter to

What is Labor Notes? Labor Notes is a media and organizing project that has been the voice of union activists who want to put the movement back in the labor movement since 1979. Read more

Naomi Klein film and discussion in Oakalnd, Nov. 19

Watch the film interview with Naomi Klein by Amy Goodman from Democracy Now (9/18/2014) - " Capitalism vs. the Climate : Naomi Klein on the Need for a New Economic Model to Address the Ecological Crisis".

After the film we will discuss her ideas and her recent book, THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING, Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein.

Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 7 pm

Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library
6501 Telegraph Ave. Oakland, CA 94609

Forget everything you think you know about global warming. The really inconvenient truth is that it's not about carbon-it's about capitalism. The convenient truth is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.                                                                                                                                          

"In her most provocative book yet, Naomi Klein tackles the most profound threat humanity has ever faced: the war our economic model is waging against life on earth.             

We have been told it's impossible to get off fossil fuels when in fact we know exactly how to do it-it just requires breaking every rule in the "free-market" playbook:   reining in corporate power, rebuilding local economies, and reclaiming our democracies."  

Sponsored by: Northern California Chapter System Change not Climate Change

Book Launch: Frida Berrigan's 'It Runs in the Family' - New York - Dec. 4

Thursday, December 4
at 7:00pm - 9:00pm

239 Thompson St., New York, NY

How do you balance having a family, raising children and maintaining a loving relationship with trying to save the world from self-destructing? As the child of antiwar activists and a new parent herself, Frida Berrigan explores this important question in a new book published by OR Books, called "It Runs in the Family: On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing into Rebellious Motherhood."

Expanding on the stories in her regular column for Waging Nonviolence, she has crafted a unique perspective on parenting that derives from hard work, deep reflection, and lots of trial and error. Join the author and Waging Nonviolence in celebrating the launch of this much-needed book at Judson Memorial Church's Assembly Hall (239 Thompson St.) on December 4, at 7 p.m. We'll have hors d'oeuvres and drinks on hand, as well as copies of the book for sale.

Hosted by Waging Nonviolence

Veterans Honor the Christmas Truce of World War I Concert - New York - Dec. 20

Concert featuring John McCutcheon
Concert Date: December 20, 2014
Concert Time: 7:30pm, doors open at 6:30pm
Location: Great Hall, Cooper Union, 7 East 7th Street, New York  NY.

The Veterans Peace Council of Metro New York will sponsor a commemoration of the World War I Christmas Truce on Saturday, December 20th at 7:30pm. Renowned folk musician John McCutcheon will perform at the Great Hall of The Cooper Union in honor of the centennial of the truce created by soldiers fighting on opposing sides of the front line during the early months of the Great War.

Mr. McCutcheon's audience will include many veterans of recent generations who have fought too many wars since The War to End All Wars failed to achieve its goal. Their longing for a true and lasting peace derives not only from first-hand experience in wars ranging from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan, but acute awareness of war's "collateral damage" including civilian deaths, population dislocation, lasting environmental devastation and waste of global resources.

John McCutcheon, acclaimed by music critics around the world, has released 36 albums to date and is the recipient of six Grammy nominations. An extraordinary instrumentalist, his repertoire includes virtuoso performances on hammered dulcimer, guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, fiddle, and jaw harp. Mr. McCutcheon's classic tribute to World War I truce, "Christmas in the Trenches," is included in Folk Alley's 100 Essential Folk Songs and will be a highlight of his Great Hall concert.

The concert is sponsored by the Veterans Peace Council of Metro New York, whose member organizations include Veterans For Peace (VFP), Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), and Friends and Family of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (FFALB). These organizations are involved in efforts that include the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign, which provides aid and support to those in both the U.S. and Vietnam afflicted with the multigenerational ravages of that chemical; the Iraq Water Project, which is helping to rebuild Iraq's water infrastructure, largely destroyed by U.S. bombs; a number of programs directly aiding veterans grappling with moral injury and post traumatic stress; and groups like Warrior Writers, which encourage veterans to use the healing power of the written word to examine combat and military service.

Tickets available - click here.
$35 general admission; $25 limited income

Additional information:

Article on women's labor music in Smithsonian/Folkways Magazine

My Story
by Bev Grant

Smithsonian Folkways
Summer-Fall 2014

Album cover: Working People Gonna Rise! by the Human Condition with Beverly Grant

When I sat in on a workshop given by Students for a Democratic Society at Princeton University in 1967, I had no idea of the impact it would have on the rest of my life. The workshop topic was women's liberation. It was an awakening, a dawn of consciousness that gave me a framework to understand my life and a path that I continue to follow.

I began writing and performing socially conscious music in the late 1960s. As a result of my early exposure to the women's liberation movement, I wrote my first parody to the tune of "Ain't She Sweet." I performed it on the bus ride down to Atlantic City and again on the boardwalk at the 1968 Miss America Beauty Pageant protest. I soon graduated to original songs, often with feminist themes, such as a love song entitled "Our Love Ain't Right, I Can't Be Yours and Still Be Me," and a song about street harassment entitled "I'm Tired of Bastards Fucking Over Me."

Like many young people in those days, I became radicalized by the Vietnam War, the anti-imperialist movement, and the civil rights and black power movements, as well as the women's liberation movement. I immersed myself in activism and study.

When I discovered the women's liberation movement in 1967, I started to feel that I could take ownership of myself. I had left my husband and a subsequent musician lover, whose come-on line to me was "I'll make a woman out of you." I picked up a guitar and started singing again. Songwriting became my way to work out thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, and to connect with others.

Read more here.

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