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Tidbits - Feb. 11, 2016 - What do Wealthiest Deserve; Bernie or Hillary - Ben Jealous, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, Lee Saunders; Teaching with Protest Music; Uber Drivers Organize; Announcements; Resources; more...

Reader Comments: What do Wealthiest Deserve?; Bernie or Hillary - Ben Jealous, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, Lee Saunders; Teaching with Protest Music; Israel Crackdown on Palestinian Peace Activists; Uber Drivers; B-52's Failed Against Hanoi; Announcements: Rebellious Lawyering; "The Fight to Vote Resources: New York Times Spoof Site Back Up; New Rosa Parks website; Black History Month - A Bad-ass from History; Tufts University Study on TPP'; The Armenian Genocide

Tidbits, Reader Comments, Resources and Announcements - February 11, 2016,Portside
We can trace most of our world's billionaire wealth to cronyism, inheritance, and monopoly.
The meritocracy notion may make sense for the middle of our income distribution...But in no way can meritocracy justify extreme inequality.
I would like to depersonalize the inequality debate. Extreme inequality is not driven by the merit or vices and virtues of particular individuals, but by social, economic, and political forces. At Oxfam, we have an intimate knowledge of the "poverty traps" that keep people in poverty. My new paper is about the "wealth traps" that concentrate wealth in ever fewer hands.
Graz Bugni
This is an interesting discussion. But the issue is not whether the superrich deserve to be rich or have earned the wealth. The issue is how much money can a person spend? How much does a person need to live well? If you set a limit to wealth like 5 or 10 million and over that it is understood that the rest will go to solve some of the world's problems or lift up the poorest, particularly children, so that they too can achieve their goals and exercise their talents. You can even set a limit and also allow a person to ensure that their offspring have about 5 million each.
The mechanism to do this and without corruption is a problem. But there is no question that better distribution would go a long way to providing everyone with free medical care and education. It would provide good housing for most people. It would support research. And I think it would lessen conflicts and military action as a lot  of conflict is about the haves and the have nots. More educated people would presumably become interested in culture and become less racist and intolerant.
On the other side, the people who are superrich are not very nice people often. They feel entitled and superior. They certainly are classist and often racist, so their money has not turned them into exceptional people. Even the ones like Bill Gates who did create something and set up a foundation to address some problems, has kept control and sets the priorities, which are not necessarily the most urgent problems.
The bottom line is we cannot afford the superrich, and we do need massive funding to give the world's billions a chance at a good life.
Capitalism is a system that is very good at distributing goods; it is a failure at distributing income.
Laurel MacDowell
This crowd is peopled by CRIMINALS who deserve to be put UNDER the jails.  The rest of us deserve and can build transformative justice as well as an economic system and society that serves the needs of the people and
the planet.
Leanna Noble
My people, the Bernie Sanders "movement" is a good thing but please know that the atmosphere in which it is thriving was created by our youth lead "Black Lives Matter movement"! Change has never come from electoral politics alone, a mass movement demanding justice has always been and always will be a necessary element of all struggle for change.
Curtis Muhammad
Oh yeah.
I can see it now at the NY Times and Washington Post: "Someone find me an unknown black writer and say, 'This is your lucky day! You get to write an op -ed in our newspaper, but it must be on the topic of why it's only racist white liberals and white male liberals who are supporting Bernie Sanders!'"
Mitchell Freedman
More and more leaders in the African American community #FeelTheBern?.…
Bill Honigman
This needs to be shared - Harry Belafonte Endorsement of Bernie Sanders
Civil rights icon and entertainer Harry Belafonte explains why Bernie Sanders is the best choice and has the best vision for America.
"an opportunity for young people, for all people to have a choice be able to turn this ship of America around...Bernie Sanders represents a moral imperative"
Full endorsement statement here
Jay Schaffner
(posting on Portside Labor)
Neither Clinton has ever done a damn thing for unions....she sat on the Walmart Board for 5 years and never raised her voice once in support of workers. This is an example of why unions (AFSCME in this case) are getting the s**t kicked out of them. Vote for Bernie the real working class candidate!!!
Bill Johnston
I got the AFSCME part but I didn't see the "port side" content.
Michael Lighty
There is a reason Canada has single payer already and the US does not: Canadian unions fought for it. In the US, unions such as the UAW engaged in what my grandfather called "rice bowl protection." This refers to US unions seeing their responsibility as only to look out for the interests of the union hierarchy, not even necessarily those of rank and file members. That's why NEA, AFT, SEIU and AFSCME support Clinton: they are entrenched elites who look seem to say "I got mine, screw you." The decline of US union power continues to be a largely self-inflicted wound. The Clintons, and I extend this to hedge fund lover Chelsea "couldn't get into money but the money definitely got into account": could give a rats ass about rank and file workers, union or not.
Ben Eli Osterberg
(posting on Portside Labor)
Just don't go down talking that bullshit about how reparations are politically divisive and he should be Okay
Carl Foster
Hillary Clinton's wars?  Her urn of ashes?  Disgraceful headline and much that is distorted in this article. To equate Hillary with the GOP atavism?
C'mon now..
Leonard Stern
Studying the protest music of the past or present can be a powerful and engaging teaching tool for students, whether the goal is to better understand a historical time period, analyze the power of lyrics and poetry, understand forces of social change or respond to current issues.
This is a GOOD and useful read.
Phyllis Mandel
Sound principles for successful organizing from William J. Barber, II. See him live if you get the chance.
Amy Horwitz
Tragic story. Weeping as I think again of Leonard locked up unjustly for all these years/decades and as I read this from him. There is a link at end of story to donate to his support fund.
Sheila Parks
Israel, reputedly the most democratic nation state in the so-called Middle East is afraid of the prospect of a viable Palestinian/Israel peoples' movement of peace activists. What does the Israeli government say they are afraid of? What are they really afraid of?
In my humble opinion the achievement a two-state solution is becoming systematically impossible to achieve precisely because the Israel government believes they do no longer need to negotiate with any Palestinian entity.
This move speaks volumes of their true intentions.
"Staff meetings, which generally take place in either Israel or the West Bank, can now only take place in the latter. It is worth mentioning that Israelis can enter Palestinian cities, and that peace and dialogue workshops for people of all ages are continuing on the Palestinian side.
"The whole point of these meetings, in pre-military academy programs and schools, for instance, is that they are joint meetings, which is precisely why this decision makes our activities difficult," says Uri Ben Assa, from Combatants for Peace. "Our meetings include an Israeli and a Palestinian who tell their personal stories. The Palestinian describes how he used to be part of the cycle of violence - some of our Palestinian activists have been in prison - and how he came to the conclusion that violence is not the way, and that he wants to achieve his rights nonviolently. Young Israelis ask tough questions, which is good, and they receive direct and honest answers while getting another perspective of the situation."
"If we generally have 10 Palestinians who speak Hebrew and were able to obtain entry permits, now all the work falls on one or two people from Jerusalem. We are forced to cancel our events."
Larry Aaronson
(posting on Portside Labor)
I've only been an Uber customer once (and it was very convenient). The cab drivers I talk to in NYC and San Francisco have often said they thought Uber drivers were eating their lunch. Now Uber is eating the lunch of it's own drivers and some of them are fighting back. How do you fight back against an app? Well perhaps we'll find out, Noam Scheiber reports on some organizing efforts. Unaddressed here, perhaps because they are missing in action? Where are the unions?
An Uber driver cruising through a night-life district in Tampa, Fla., his car adorned with messages protesting Uber's policies. 
Credit Luke Johnson for The New York Times 
Daniel Millstone
For the first time ever I find one of your shared articles to be biased to an obnoxious inflammatory level. Having been a Union Representative (not of police or fire) I found the article anti-union. It intentionally obfuscates the reason for certain contract provisions. For instance, the provision that provides for five days to object to a public records release is to provide time to object on safety grounds. It isn't outlandish to fear that someone will request personal information that could put the officer's life at risk. The article simply says it seems to have no point other than delay. It's an awful article and I am disappointed it wasn't vetted better
Ethan Fineout
In my best "Gomer Pyle"
" surprise,surprise, surprise"......
Frank Nelson
I do not wish to quarrel with my esteemed colleague, David Bacon. Indeed, he and I were two of only a half dozen or so demonstrators arrested as juveniles in Sproul Hall, UC Berkeley, in December of 1964. But there are at least three very important things missing from the article. 
1) The B-52s failed to defeat the Vietnamese people for several reasons. Among them are the fact that when they were sent in against Hanoi, they suffered unsustainable losses, primarily from antiaircraft missiles (SAMs) and AA fire. They were used often in the South, against troops who had no ability to shoot back at them, and there they were often ineffective partly because the Vietnamese were the most accomplished combat engineers the world has ever seen, and dug so well into their native soil that even the huge ARC LIGHT strikes by cells of B-52s were often ineffective. Equally usefully, Soviet intelligence, whether from electronic surveillance from trawlers sitting off the US base at Guam, or from some unknown source in the Pentagon, or from the US HQ in Saigon or elsewhere, was often able to determine the exact coordinates of planned B-52 strikes, send the information to Hanoi, who in turn could send the word by telephone line to their units in the South, who would often get word, "Move one mile west, right now, strike coming in 20 minutes". Several veteran officers of the PAVN who fought in the south have testified to this. 
2) What stopped the Christmas bombing was not the antiaircraft fire, though it had an effect. The bombing was stopped by a strike, not by Vietnamese forces, but by USAF personnel, who refused to fly more missions, interpret air reconnaissance photos, or otherwise take part in what they considered war crimes. The strike even spread to Navy personnel. See "The War Within" by Wells, and "Flower of the Dragon" by Boyle, and the documentary, "Sir, No Sir!". This was hushed up, and a deal struck - war will be over, you guys STFU or you will be locked up for life. Dr. John Prados has documented how the US made four demands on the Vietnamese before the bombing. On two issues, the Vietnamese conceded BEFORE the bombing. Then the bombing took place, and then the Treaty was signed by both sides. And meanwhile, it was THE US that conceded on the other two points. Nixon and Kissinger insisted that the bombing won the treaty. It did not. It gave the White House cover to pretend it had won by its toughness. It hadn't. That would be the Vietnamese who did that. 
3) Alas, after winning the war politically and militarily, Vietnam eventually was defeated by the US - economically. The government of Vietnam, faced by overwhelming destruction and US-organized economic blockade, aided by China, was forced to its knees and has become another neo-colony, providing its cheap labor and natural resources to lure foreign investors who are given free reign to ruthlessly exploit both. This is the most discouraging tragedy - the people who stood off the world's strongest power with their courage forced to surrender to the power of the dollar. In part, it must be remembered - it was the idealists and patriots who died in the highest numbers.
Jack Radey
Would you say the global economic crash of 2008 with greed as its creed started this massive depression we are experiencing?
Kathy Cummings
Welcome to the RebLaw website! RebLaw is the largest student-run public interest conference in the country. This year's conference will be held on Friday, February 19th, and Saturday, February 20th. Check out this year's program and schedule for more information.
Registration is now open! Click on the "Register" tab to sign up. Note that the deadline to request free student housing (available for law student attendees) is January 31st.
Our keynote speakers for this year's conference are Kent Wong and Jaribu Hill. More information about Kent and Jaribu here and here.
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
About RebLaw
Every year the conference brings together practitioners, law students, and community activists from around the country to discuss innovative, progressive approaches to law and social change. The conference, grounded in the spirit of Gerald Lopez's Rebellious Lawyering, seeks to build a community of law students, practitioners, and activists seeking to work in the service of social change movements and to challenge hierarchies of race, wealth, gender, and expertise within legal practice and education.
Yale Law School is wheelchair accessible and ASL interpretation can be provided upon request. Please note any access needs or other accommodation requests when you register.
  • "The Fight to Vote" - Then & Now with Michael Waldman, President, Brennan Center for Justice
  • Introduction by: Trevor Morrison, Dean of NYU School of Law
  • In conversation with: Myrna Perez, Deputy Director, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice 
Monday, February 29
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Lipton Hall, NYU School of Law
108 West Third Street (between MacDougal St. and Sullivan St.)
New York, NY 10012
Amid a topsy turvy election season, please join us to hear Brennan Center president Michael Waldman discuss his new book, The Fight to Vote.
"Through this book, Michael Waldman delivers a message every American needs to hear. The struggle for the right to vote is not over. It is still being waged even today. We must use it or we can lose it." Rep. John Lewis
Waldman leads the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, which is deeply engaged in the fight for democracy. He is the author of the acclaimed book The Second Amendment and other works on the law and history.
Join the Brennan Center in celebrating the release of President Michael Waldman's new and exciting book. RSVP HERE.
If you have any questions, please contact Jessica Katzen at or 646.292.8368.
Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
161 Avenue of the Americas, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10013
646.292.8310 phone - 212.463.7308 fax -
For immediate release
February 8, 2016
Contact: Alfredo Lopez,
New York Times Spoof Site Revived on May First Servers
The website, a spoof of the New York Times that exposes the U.S. media's biased coverage of the Palestinian rights issue, is again live on May First servers.
The website, sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace (a U.S.-based member of May First/People Link) and Jews Say No!, was wiped off the Internet earlier this week when lawyers for the Times sent Dreamhost, which was hosting the site, a spurious DMCA copyright violation notification.
Such notifications, under the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, stipulate extremely high penalties for webhosting companies and other providers if a customer is found by a court to be in violation of copyright laws. The company can avoid any action against it by simply removing the website upon receipt of the notification.
Despite clear case law demonstrating that political satire is protected free speech and does not constitute a copyright violation, the DMCA law is frequently used by corporations to silence critical political speech.
The DMCA law is extremely controversial among Internet professionals and activists because it effectively punishes people who insist on due process (such as a court hearing) to protect their right to speech. The law's "take-down provision" is considered unconstitutional and repressive by many in the Internet community.
Most webhosting companies, however, comply with all DMCA complaints rather than face court action, costly lawyer fees and potentially huge fines if a court determines that the copyright has been violated.
As a matter of policy, May First/People Link resists such DMCA take-down orders. Jewish Voices for Peace decided to use May First servers, to which they have access as members, when Dreamhost took its action.
"We have always held that the DMCA is an atrocious assault on the First Amendment, due process and the very concept of free speech and vigorous debate," Alfredo Lopez, spokesperson for May First/People Link said. "We've been resisting it since we received our first take down notice in 2008. Any invocation of copyright violation in this situation completely ignore the truth of that website: that it is a satirical website making a critically important point that is too seldom heard in our media. Not only do Jewish Voices for Peace have the right to make that point but, given current circumstances, it's critical that the point be made and highly significant that it is being made by Jews. The constitution exists to protect these rights to expression and May First exists to make sure the Internet reflects that constitutional vision."
May First/People Link is a politically progressive membership organization specializing in Internet work and the sharing of services with most members in the United States and Mexico. It is the largest organization of its kind in either country.
Dear friends,
As most of you know, one of the motivating factors of my Rosa Parks work has been to challenge the ways she has been relegated to the elementary school curriculum and trapped on the bus --and thus stripped of her lifelong activism and made unavailable for our times.  I have been increasingly dismayed at the ways that many commentators have used a fable of the civil rights movement to chastise new movements for justice today.
This summer, Prof. Say Burgin (University of Leeds) and I embarked on a project to create a website to learn and teach Rosa Parks through criminal justice.  Getting to see her six decades of activism (all laid out with lots of multimedia) -her 'life history of being rebellious' as she put it- has been quite amazing: from Scottsboro, to her NAACP work in the 1940s-1950s challenging rape and legal lynching, to the ways Emmett Till's lynching and the acquittal of his killers provided a key spark to her bus stand, to the ways their organizing with the Montgomery bus boycott and Highlander Folk School was criminalized, to her decades of work in Detroit on prisoner defense and opposing police brutality and the criminalization of young people.  With the creative technical assistance of Jessica Murray (The Graduate Center, CUNY) and the  support of the Mellon Seminar for Public Engagement and Collaborative Research at the Center for the Humanities, the CUNY Graduate Center, this website went live today on what would have been Mrs. Parks' 103rd birthday:
We hope you will find it useful and share and make use of it widely in classes, study groups, all over.
Warmest regards,
Jeanne Theoharis
Distinguished Professor of Political Science 
Co-Founder of Educators for Civil Liberties
Brooklyn College of CUNY 

credit: imgur
Here is a man that needs to be better know today and not lost to history. Link here to a better account of his actions. 
Trading Down: Unemployment, Inequality and Other Risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
By Jeronim Capaldo and Alex Izurieta, with Jomo Kwame Sundaram
January 2016
Proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), the trade and investment treaty recently agreed by the United States and eleven Pacific Rim nations, emphasize the prospective economic benefits, with economic growth increasing due to rising trade and investment. Widely cited projections suggest GDP gains for all countries after ten years, varying from less than half a percentage point in the United States to 13 percent in Vietnam.
In this GDAE Working Paper, the authors employ a more realistic model that incorporates effects on employment excluded from prior TPP modeling. They find that benefits for economic growth are more limited, and they are negative in some countries such as the United States. More importantly, they find that TPP would lead to losses in employment and increases in inequality. This is true particularly for the United States, where GDP is projected to fall slightly, employment would decline, and inequality is projected to increase as labor's share of income falls.
By Jirair Tutunjian
January 30, 2016
The centennial of the Armenian Genocide last year brought forth a welcome avalanche of political activism, books, scholarly and journalistic reports, conferences, community projects, music, theatrical performances, visual arts presentations, and civic and religious commemorations.
One such event was the multi-exhibition series "Kiss the Ground" (Yergurbakootyoon), which featured Perspectives from Exile-22 political cartoons by author, journalist, activist, and cartoonist Lucine Kasbarian of New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Fourteen other Armenian-American creative people participated in the "Kiss the Ground" exhibition, which explored memory, loss and culture, and was held at the Cambridge School of Weston, Massachusetts.
An offshoot of the exhibition is Kasbarian's Perspectives from Exile-a 110-page illustrated volume that includes a foreword by Curator Todd Bartel, a visual arts teacher and the director of  the Cambridge School's Thompson Gallery.
The volume's incisive political cartoons explore topics such as Armenian Genocide denial, reparations, Turkish and Azeri belligerence and NATO indifference to the Armenian Cause.
Just one of Kasbarian's cartoons produced during the Genocide centennial year, titled "Threaten the Pope," spotlighted Erdogan dreaming about the fate of Pope Francis after Erdogan threatened the latter for acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. The cartoon depicts Erdogan recalling yesteryear's attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II by Turkish citizen Mehmet Ali Agca.
Also included in Perspectives from Exile are an interview with Kasbarian conducted by Bartel, photos of the exhibition, highly informative articles by Kasbarian about the history and consequences of the Genocide and its denial, and the artist's statement.
Kasbarian's cartoons have appeared in more than twenty-five Armenian and non-Armenian publications and websites, including Foreign Policy Journal, Zartonk, Women's International Perspective, Massis Weekly, Veterans Today and
Kasbarian's political cartoons reaffirm the validity of the opinion of many critics of "modern" Turkey that the rulers' mindset has not changed from that of the Ottomans and the Young Turks.
In a year which saw Turkey's continued oppression of its indigenous minorities and journalists; its shooting down of a Russian military jet; Ankara's continued denial of the Armenian Genocide; its president's support of ISIS and aggression into Syria and Iraq, not to mention his numerous inane pronouncements, Kasbarian's Perspectives from Exile provides some much-needed relief from the oppressive insanity and criminality pouring out of Ankara.
This publication deserves wide distribution as it is undoubtedly a significant contribution to the published observances of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.
To order Perspectives from Exile ($24 USD), visit
[Thanks to Telo Koug for sending this to Portside.]