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Tidbits - July 16, 2015 - Response to Occupy; Greece; Debt Forgiveness; Why Bernie Sanders; U.S. Torture Program; Flags, Symbols, Racism; Announcements; More...

Reader Comments: Response to Occupy; Greece and Debt Forgiveness; Why Bernie Sanders; Confederate Flags, Symbols, and Racism; U.S. Torture Program; Death Penalty; and more... Announcements: Benefit Concert for Civil Rights; Rally for Eric Garner; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and The Voting Rights Act at 50; Rosenberg Case Bombshell - Key Witness Lied; Robert Meeropol statement

Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - July 16, 2015,Portside

Re: Protest is Broken, An Interview with Micah White

Micah White stated in this interview that "Studies suggest that protesters who use violence are more effective than those that do not. I think violence is effective, but only in the short term . . ." I'm very disappointed that Portside would distribute this interview. Advocacy of violence can only hurt social movements. Aside from that, White seems confused and frustrated. His analysis of why Occupy failed is superficial and flat out wrong.

Marc Beallor
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Well here we go!  KKE can just hire Micah White's  Consulting Firm for their Revolution.  Mica is filled with cool ideas based on his year of anarchism in "Occupy" that, "should have won" under conventional social theory.  But Micah sees farther!  We need "synchronized public spectacles."

David Ewing

Re: Exclusive: Yanis Varoufakis Opens Up About His Five Month Battle to Save Greece

I think this interview was extremely valuable. I'm not writing about the reportage, but about the transcript of the interview itself - the verbatim report. We've been reading analyses from many different points of view. But to be able to get a peek at the negotiating approaches of the two parties provided insights that could be gotten in no other way.

It wasn't even that Varoufakis himself had these insights, but his honest and detailed reporting enabled the reader to gather insights from what he said.

Two examples: 1) When he spoke about the contrasting demeanors of Schauble and Merkel -- with Schauble being cold and business-like and Merkel being warm and reassuring - it reminded me very much of the "good cop/bad cop" approach so common in all sorts of negotiations. 2) When the Greek negotiators were asked to provide detailed data, which they willingly and painstakingly did, Varoufakis offered no interpretation about why their opposite numbers should have wanted such information, since, as he says, without discussion, they would move on to a different topic, when provided with the information. To me it seems abundantly clear that they were acquiring this data for use later on: after their demands were met, they could go about dictating the alteration of the Greek economy (privatizing it, etc.) with detailed information "from the horse's mouth" about what and how changes could be made to achieve their neoliberal ends.

Thanks again for this stellar coverage.

Gene Glickman


[Thanks to Michael Eisenscher for sending this to Portside.]

debt forgiveness

The cold war made it important to forgive the west German debt
it was the Greek junta, after a killing spree ordered by Uncle Sam, that joined in
to forgive debt. There is little goodness of heart in 1953 Europe.
Imagine the hatred directed at Germany.
Debt forgiveness was an order not any act of mercy or decency.

Tom Karlson

The Missing Referendum

I sympathize with many of my friends who refuse to demonize Tsipras or to condemn him as a traitor. My "anti-dogmatic" friends stress the impossible situation in which Tsipras found himself and that it would be pure dogmatism to believe the Syriza could take on the Troika and come out with any kind of success. However, the desire to avoid ultra-revolutionary sloganeering is not an excuse for avoiding any serious analysis of what went wrong. This is a defeat and Syriza and Tsipras' leadership must bear full responsibility.

The charge is not that Tsipras could have won more concessions from the Troika. It may be true that nothing better could have been achieved within Europe. It is true that Tsipras argued against exit and was able to defend his policy and explain that he was actually working within parameters of Greek public opinion.

But Tsipras had argued that he was able to reverse the fatal austerity regime within the Euro framework and Syriza's main campaign argument was that this could be done within that framework. The response of an honest leadership would have been to go to the masses, to the broad public and admit that they could not break the austerity stranglehold if Greece remained in the Eurozone and that it was necessary to leave the Eurozone to defeat austerity. Then let the citizens decide whether they were ready to accept a really bad deal amounting to capitulation or whether they would empower the leadership to initiate steps towards exiting Europe.

In other words, Tsipras's leadership made a serious error in believing that the referendum or any democratic expression of the will of the Greek people could force the Troika to make any concessions, especially after the closed banks weakened the country's staying power.

On the other hand, the people should have been asked the most critical question. Are the people of Greece willing to reject the European diktat even if it means leaving the Euro. This was the referendum that Tsipras never held. This was the fatal weakness of his leadership.

Reuven Kaminer

Re: Why Bernie? What Should the Left Do? Views from Two Veteran Progressive Activists

Of course, Bernie can call himself anything, it is a free country. But I wish he would call himself a "Social Democrat" rather than a "Democratic Socialist" - the former is closer to what he really is, and the latter designation confuses both friends and foes. Including those who wrote "Why Bernie? What Should the Left Do?".

I believe the left should ask more questions.

I like Bernie Sanders.  He has a chance to be nominated, especially if Hillary Clinton makes more serious slips.  There is no one else on the Democratic horizon with his name recognition and momentum so far.  Some polls put him only a single percentage digit behind, unprecedented in recent times for such a maverick challenger.

I especially endorse his fresh approach to domestic issues, with one caveat.

So far, the Sanders rhetoric seems to be nearly color-blind in an era when US racial relations are coming to a boil.  Just one example - growing perception of police misconduct has greatly disturbed the minority community and its supporters.  Many of the underlying social and economic problems Bernie addresses are frankly color-coded.  What does he propose to do about this?  I have been in a mixed marriage for 38 years - my wife is a non-white immigrant. First-hand experience leads us to expect a more candid approach by the Sanders campaign to the endemic racism and anti-immigrant nativism poisoning the land of my own birth.

Unfortunately, this lack of candor also extends to foreign affairs. Although Sanders has voted against recent US military adventurism and opposed TPP, there is little foreign policy on his campaign website.  What would it look like under a Sanders administration? We are not in Teddy-Roosevelt-land any more.  We cannot afford both guns and butter now.  Especially the butter suggested by Bernie's progressive domestic program.  Will he pledge to restrict our military to defend our own country and abstain from foreign adventurism and end so-called "nation-building" abroad?  Will he offer a real alternative to Hillary Clinton, who has proven herself a hawk during her stint as Secretary of State?  Why do we have to go out of our way to irritate other nations and foment divisions as we are now doing in the Middle East, in the South China sea, in Korea, and with Russia?  Is antagonism diplomacy?  A change in policy here would mark a clear difference between Sanders and Clinton.

The difference between Sanders and Clinton is why the left should promote Sanders.  Unfortunately, Sanders declared he will not contest Clinton with an independent candidacy if she gets the convention nod.  This raises some suspicion that the Sanders campaign may be merely steering progressives into the Democratic tent, no matter who gets the nomination.  Doubly unfortunate when all indications are that the public is nearly fed up with the two-party racket and politics as usual.

Finally, I notice that the Sanders campaign seems to be a one-way street.  Critical progressives can't push on a string.  The Sanders website tells us what they want to, omitting comment addressing the twin poisons of racism and militarism.  But there is no comment or question section.  No way to impress our concerns on the campaign. How can a progressive fully support such a top-down campaign?  Don't say we should simply hope for change - that has been tried twice before.

David Ecklein
Rumney NH

Re: Hillary Clinton's Glass-Steagall

I think even Bill Clinton admitted, publicly, that repealing Glass-Steagall had been a mistake.

Hillary's feet should be held to the fire until she does too.

Good for Robert Reich in providing the background.

Leonard J. Lehrman

Re: Glenn Ford, Justice Breyer's Dissent, and the Supreme Court on the Death Penalty

The SYSTEM gave the late Glenn Ford $20 for its decades of unjust imprisonment, and, in their own way with silent words, told the dying man to take a hike. As with solitary confinement, those with no vision can accept methods of killing people that are known to be torturous and inhumane. The good book says some, "Without a vision the people perish.

Those who purport that solitary confinement is justice should have to live in that state for a while, at least five or six years to really get the gist of what a physical and psychological, as well as spiritual INjustice is to any living thing. This is a very sinister form of witchcraft if one can receive it. If not, it still does not change the karmic reactions generated from it. Those same types consider it terrible abuse to keep animals and other living things caged and isolated against their will. Those who are complacent will, among other things, hold to the evasive attitude of "it's been going on forever, so what?"

Mary Handy Moore
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: U.S. Justice Department Must Investigate American Psychological Association's Role in U.S. Torture Program

as much as I dislike clicking "like" I only do so this will purposely show up in my newsfeed so my friends list can see how #sick our #Government is..

Kathy Patterson Walters
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Why do People Believe Myths About the Confederacy? Because Our Textbooks and Monuments are Wrong

There needs to be a tax on the manufacturing, selling and buying of that flag as reparations for the Civil War and slavery !

Aaron Libson

Re: The Confederate Flag at War (But Not the Civil War)

Attempts to remove the Confederate flag from public display are putting a band-aid on the problem. The flag is a symbol of racism and all the rest of it, but it does not by itself kill anyone. Guns in the hands of racists, among others, kill people. Politicians know that. But they also know that they are helpless before the NRA, so they try to save face by dealing with a symptom rather than with the problem.

Steve Lane

Re: Ecuador's Opposition and Right-Wing Strategies in the Region

The role of the right in Ecuador is a disgrace as is the role of the U.S. in supporting the right. The government in Ecuador has been associated with environmentally friendly policies and progressive civil rights policies, particularly in relation to spying on the Internet. The American govt. has been hostile to WikiLeaks and Snowden so not in sympathy with the Ecuador govt. on this issue. But to try and intervene and change the government which is democratically elected, partly because it is supporting an oil company, is pathetic. The American govt. should be taking the lead on climate change. Its rhetoric about democracy is nonsense given its actions in South America generally and in Ecuador in particular.

Laurel MacDowell

Re: Innovative Toolkit Maps Israeli Violations in Gaza

Except that all the information about the nature of the targets and the casualties is taken from Hamas sources which have been proven to be unreliable (to say the least).  AI has signed on here as a partner for Hamas propaganda.

Stan Nadel

Re: After Years of Not Prosecuting Banks, Eric Holder Returns Home to Defend Them

As I've said about Mr. Obama, one can understand his Administration, its achievements and failures, if one looks at where he plans to go in his career. Likewise, our Attorney General, Mr Holder, was a bankster-friendly corporate attorney before becoming AG and returns to the nest after leaving government. Why weren't the CEOs prosecuted? Mr Holder was keeping his job network in good shape. Why has the Obama healthcare plan been nothing more than re-hashed Romneycare as drafted by the Heritage Foundation? Why has the greatest and most significant Obama "victory" been the delivery of the TPP deal to the MultiNational Corporations (MNC)? Keep an eye on where Mr Obama ends up after he leaves office. Enough said.

Lawrence Winans
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I'm not surprised.

Andrea Jacobs Talbutt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: A Judge Just Ruled Against the Most Racist Name in Football

This is confusing.  Is the ruling against the name or the logo?  It seems like the name is a slur on native Americans, but the logo is a slur on blacks.  Is the ruling against BOTH the name and the logo, or just the logo?  If so, why is there mention of the name?

Romi Elnagar

Historic Benefit Concert for Civil Rights - New York - July 17

2014 and 2015 have been watershed years in America's response to violence against people of color. At CCR, we believe in art and culture as powerful tools for social change.   Join us Friday, July 17th, for "The Dream Unfinished: A Symphonic Benefit Concert for Civil Rights."  Orchestral musicians and prominent artists will come together to commemorate the anniversary of Eric Garner's death and join in the chorus of calls for civil rights, social justice, and an end to systemic racism.

WHAT: "The Dream Unfinished: Symphonic Benefit Concert for Civil Rights"

WHEN: July 17, 7:30p.m.

WHERE: Salvation Army Centennial Memorial Temple, 120 West 14th St.

TICKETS: Purchase tickets here.  $25 in advance, $35 at the door.

Through "The Dream Unfinished," music will function as it has for centuries - as a means for people to come together in solidarity.  Proceeds will go to the Center for Constitutional Rights; Justice League NYC; MusicKitchen - Food for the Soul; and the National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice, to support ongoing efforts to reform discriminatory policing practices and affirm that, indeed, Black lives matter.

Notable speakers include activist Erica Garner (Eric Garner's daughter); artist-activist Molly Crabapple; Center for Constitutional Rights Executive Director Vince Warren; MSNBC national correspondent Joy-Ann Reid; and Broadway performer Tanya Birl (On the Town).  Musicians include Broadway performers, members of the New York Philharmonic, and students.

Don't miss this special night!

A Symphonic Benefit for Civil Rights

Sponsored by the Salvation Army, and Beats, Rhymes & Relief, The Dream Unfinished is a symphonic benefit for civil rights. By purchasing tickets, you will:

Support groups fighting for social justice such as the Center for Constitutional Rights; The National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice,  and others.

Bring classical music to the forefront of activism, with the music of Leonard Bernstein, William Grant Still, and a premiere by Jessie Montgomery; and a diverse orchestra led by Grammy-award winning conductors that includes Broadway and New York Philharmonic musicians and students from notable programs such as the Baltimore Symphony's Orchkids.

Saturday, July 18: Rally for Eric Garner - New York

July 17 marks the one-year anniversary of Eric Garner's death after an NYPD chokehold. As of now, not a single person has been held responsible.

Until Eric Garner receives justice, New Yorkers cannot - and will not - forget.

On Saturday, July 18, thousands of people are joining the NYCLU and other civil rights groups to demand accountability and justice for Eric Garner's family and all the other New Yorkers who have suffered from police abuse.

If you refuse to forget the heartbreaking, senseless death of Eric Garner and countless others across the country, email to stand up with the NYCLU at the rally.

The rally will take place at the U.S. District Court, 225 Cadman Plaza East, in downtown Brooklyn.

Too many black men across the country have lost their lives to police brutality since Eric Garner cried out I can't breathe! one year ago. We must stand together stronger than ever to demand that black lives matter.

Noon - 2 p.m., Sat. July 18
U.S. District Court, 225 Cadman Plaza East (at Tillary St.)
Downtown Brooklyn, NY

Know your rights as a protestor: Download our guide and app for recording police interactions.

Thank you for standing up for justice,

Donna Lieberman
Executive Director
New York Civil Liberties Union -- -- P: 212-607-3300
125 Broad Street, New York, NY 10004

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; The Voting Rights Act at 50 - Restoring the Rights that Transformed America - Washington, DC - July 21

Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 7 - 9 PM EDT
American History Museum, Warner Bros. Theater
14th St and Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20001

Please enter through Constitution Avenue NW doors

Sponsored by the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Welcoming remarks will be made by Rex M. Ellis, Ph.D., Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs, NMAAHC, and by Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF).

Then, join Sherilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Spencer R. Crew, Robinson Professor of History, George Mason University, Ari Berman, contributing writer to The Nation, and Henry "Hank" Sanders, Democrat, Alabama State Senate as they explore the historic legacy of the NAACP-LDF. The moderated discussion will examine the organization's 75 years of social justice leadership related to ending school segregation while championing voter rights, education equity, fair housing and other issues critical to full citizenship.

The discussion will be moderated by Donna Brazile, political strategist, adjunct professor, author, and syndicated columnist.

Registration is suggested. As space allows, walk-ups will be welcome. To make a reservation, please follow this link.

For more information about the event, please email or call 202-633-1000.

You can watch this event by following this link on the day of the event:

The 2016 Elections and the Bernie Sanders Campaign for President - New York forum - July 22

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

November 2016 is a long way away on your calendar but it is obvious that we are already in the midst of the election campaign for president. On the Republican side, every right-wing wacko [all of them] with a bank account and a toupee is running. Setting personalities aside, what these men all have in common is their Koch brothers et al. based anti-environment, anti labor, more tax-break for the rich, laissez-faire world view.

Join us on July 22 to discuss the latest 2016 election developments. On the Democratic side an important debate is emerging between the "centrist" neoliberal world view of Hillary Clinton and that of the Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, with Bernie's support growing daily.

The Left Labor Project is pleased to invite you to a forum to have this discussion with our two speakers, Bob Muehlenkamp, 1199 National Union Executive VP and national organizing director, and Nadya Stevens, Mobilization Coordinator for CWA 1180. They will present a national view and a NYC view of both the overall political developments unfolding around the 2016 elections, as well as the organizational effort going into it.

The forum is on July 22 at 6:00 PM at SEIU 1199, 310 West 43rd Street, New York. [ Click here to RSVP].

We hope to see you there.

In Solidarity,
Larry Moskowitz
Left Labor Project

Rosenberg Case Bombshell - Government's Key Witness Lied Newly Released National Security Archive documents show

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, circa 1942
credit: Rosenberg Fund for Children

Robert Meeropol (Younger Son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg) Reacts to Release of His Uncle, David Greenglass' Grand Jury Testimony

I applaud the release by the National Security Archives of the Grand Jury testimony of David Greenglass and Max Elitcher. I want to thank attorneys David C. Vladeck and Debra L. Raskin for advocating for the release of this testimony and federal District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein for granting our petition. They have done a service by bringing this testimony to the public. Since my brother and I and others launched the effort to reopen the Rosenberg Case in 1973, we have maintained that the public and family members deserve every bit of information that exists about the case. Today, thanks to this just released information, we have a more complete picture of my parents' case than ever before.

Some of David Greenglass' statements to the Grand Jury echo those of his wife, Ruth Greenglass. Ruth's testimony, released in 2008, did not mention my mother Ethel typing notes from the Greenglasses' alleged September 25th, 1945 espionage meeting with the Ethel and Julius-a supposed meeting that was the key trial testimony to doom my mother. As cooperating witnesses, under oath, neither David nor Ruth Greenglass mentioned this key evidence against my mother during their Grand Jury appearances, despite swearing to it at trial the following year. That trial testimony resulted in my mother's execution.

But David's Grand Jury testimony is even more stunning than Ruth's; in addition to the absence of any discussion of Ethel typing any material, he states "I said before and say it again, honestly this is a fact: I never spoke with my sister about this at all."

Shocking as this is, I believe a second omission in David's testimony is just as important because it guts the governments case against both my parents. The heart of the government's case was that my parents met with the Greenglasses on September 25, 1945 at the Rosenberg apartment in New York City. At that meeting, the Greenglasses claimed, David gave a sketch of the cross-section of the atomic bomb to my father, and my mother typed David's accompanying hand-written notes. At trial, the prosecutor claimed this drawing gave away the most important secret known to mankind-the so-called secret of the atomic bomb-and in summarizing the case against Ethel, dramatically stated that as Ethel, "hit the keys, she struck blow upon blow against her country." In pronouncing the death sentence, Judge Kaufman blamed my parents for the Korean War.

What many missed in 2008 was that Ruth's Grand Jury testimony not only omitted Ethel's typing, it made no mention whatsoever of the September 25th, 1945 meeting. From today's release, we know that while David testified to the Grand Jury about giving sketches to Julius, he doesn't mention the specific date or the Rosenberg apartment: instead, he says he met Julius in Manhattan in the fall of 1945 and, when pressed about the date, agrees that it might have been September or October. Thus, there is no evidence, other than the Greenglasses' later, much-evolved trial testimony, that a September 25th, 1945 espionage meeting at the Rosenberg apartment took place.

More than 60 years after my parents' execution, it is long past time for the government to admit that Ethel Rosenberg was not a spy and that Julius was not an atomic spy. I call for the record to be set straight once and for all:

  1. *My father engaged in non-atomic military espionage for the Soviet Union. He did not pass the secret of the atomic bomb to anyone.
  2. *My mother did not conspire to commit espionage. The government knew this; colluded with the Greenglasses to convict her; and executed her anyway.


For information or interviews contact Amber Black, Rosenberg Fund for Children: (413) 529-0063,

July 15, 2015 Rosenberg Case Grand Jury Files Release
Opinion and Order Unsealing Grand Jury Testimony of David Greenglass (sister of Ethel Rosenberg) and Max Elitcher

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