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Tidbits - March 31, 2016 - Reader Comments: Bernie, Hillary and AIPAC; Small Jails; Newspaper Guild; Ireland; Yemen; Cuba flights; announcements; and more...

Reader Comments: Bernie, Hillary and AIPAC; GOP Tax Plans; What Americans Don't Get About Nordic Countries; Rekia Boyd - Still Waiting for Justice; The Rise of 1,000 Small Jails; Chinese Daily News Workers and The Newspaper Guild; Ireland's 1916 Easter Rebellion; TPP; Yemen; Drones; This Is Not Dixie: Racist Violence in Kansas; Flights to Cuba Are Getting Cheaper; Announcements: New York; Raleigh (NC); Oakland (CA); Bethlehem (PA); SUNY Stony Brook; and more...

Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - March 31, 2016,Portside
Sanders has done a great service to the American people by running for president. He consistently speaks truth to power, as in the case of the Israel issue. He has been consistent all his political life. Unfortunately we rarely hear such positions on different issues, but this year by running the public is learning that there is another approach to managing the American economy, to public policy and social relations, and in foreign policy.
Laurel MacDowell
This is a clever animated "comic" strip imagining what Bernie Sanders might have said if he chose to address AIPAC. I find it somewhat amusing. What is not mentioned in this clever satirical piece is actually what Bernie might have also said to AIPAC --these self avowed American Zionist lobbyist-- reminding him of his own more than somewhat hawkish side.
And that is this: During the Israeli bombardment of Gaza that occurred several years ago, both Senator Sanders, as well as Senator Elizabeth Warren were explicitly supportive of the Israeli military incursions. They both defended Israel for doing what they had to do to protect Israel from Palestinian terrorists (read Hamas and Hezbollah). The Israeli bombing of Gaza was ostensibly motivated punishment for the murder to the two Israeli yeshiva boys who were "assassinated" in Palestine "territory." In fact both the bombings and the somewhat covert military incursions by Israeli special forces were executed to destroy all the Palestinian arsenals and tunnels used by Hamas and Hezbollah to deploy their assets against the military occupiers of the Palestinian people.
Bottom line: Both senators Warren and Sanders are seemingly pro-Israeli in this context. They are perhaps not as hawkish as Secretary Clinton whose talk to APIAC was way over the top!!!! Meanwhile Sanders' foreign policy positions are sort of all over the place, not very strongly anti-imperialistic, given his self-proclaimed socialism. his all seem disappointedly opportunistic.
Follow the money....
Larry Aaronson
This poll shows Kasich beating Hillary, but not Sanders. The Republicans may very well manage to nominate someone other than Trump or Cruz, someone with a prettier demeanor, but in fact extremely right-wing.
Hillary has an overall unfavorable rating of 55%. Bernie is the only candidate running who has an overall favorable rating. Hillary is not a popular candidate, while Bernie pulls out throngs of new voters, and also Independents and some Republicans. A popular candidate at the top gets votes for candidates (Senators, etc.) down the line. That's one reason why the Republicans are frantically trying to dump Trump, who has an overall unfavorability rate of 60%, even higher than Hillary's.
Diane Laison
Thank goodness that some of the rank-and-file union membership is looking beyond the blind allegiance of their "leadership" to the Democratic establishment and Hillary Clinton!
Mario Galván
Stiglitz says the obvious. The young generation is getting screwed. He also says that both Democratic candidates have plans to unscrew it. I'm sorry, but I haven't seen any significant program to do this from Hillary.
Scott Kimmich
Trump and Cruz tax plan calls for more exploitation of the poor and giving more tax breaks to the rich -- again!
Marta Collins
I am proud to say that I am of Finish decent also. I have been to the Nordic Countries.
They were the first to make day light running lights on cars a standard feature and, that was over twenty years ago. Finland is the land of lakes and, you can drink the water without a worry. You don't hear of the Nordic Nations killing women and children with Drones. The Nordic Countries mind their own business. Sure you pay more taxes but, they don't go to making bombs.
When I went to the North Pole to see the real Santa it was the hottest weather they had in fifty years. The Reindeer were all molting. My middle name is Finish and, when I sign something I use my middle name as no one that I know has a middle name that starts with a Y. Maybe you can guess it.
Right now I am for Bernie as, he is the same as I am and, I am sure much wiser. I hope he wins.
Morris Edward
Mad love and thanks to Mariame Kaba for this poignant piece and Sarah-Ji Rhee for the beautiful photo. #RekiaBoyd  #SayHerNane
Alice Kim
Reminds me of a very tough UE union contract battle in a factory in a small rural town outside of Fresno back in the 1990s when the militant UE members successfully fought for and won a strong collective bargaining agreement against a multi-national corporation's concessionary demands -- knowing that a strong contract might lead eventually to a plant closure.  Sure enough, in the next year or so the corporation announced the plant closure and the UE members negotiated a strong severance settlement.  As workers struggled to find other jobs (many came from farm worker families) way too many reported new jobs working in local jails and prisons which were the only "expanding industry" for that rural area.  So here were solid, militant UE members -- industrial workers of color -- now working as jailers and prison guards.  I wonder what we could have accomplished with "intersectional organizing" at that moment?  Now we can ask ourselves who currently are those workers?  What is the political economy of those communities?
Leanna Noble
This is a good notification of an important victory for the workers at the CDN.  I think, though, it should have made some acknowledgement of the role played by The Newspaper Guild, the union the workers tried to join, for years of fighting in the courts against the company's illegal conduct, which included firing workers for union activity.
Eric Geist, an organizer for TNG, wrote a detailed (and self-critical) analysis of what happened in that campaign that concentrates on what the workers thought and how the company campaign affected them, and its relations with other Chinese language newspapers, beyond Logan's profile of the Burke group which ran the anti-union campaign.
In addition to continuing to help workers at newspapers organize and defend their conditions against the hedge funds and other rapacious groups that today own most newspapers, the Guild is also now helping translators and interpreters throughout California organize as well.  This has big implications in giving workers a vehicle for defending language rights, and is important also because many translators are contingent workers, a status that more and more workers find themselves forced into every day.
David Bacon
McCarthyism, and the "movement toward a Police State" unfortunately appears to be alive and well.
Phyllis Mandel
"Mayor Bliss marches to honor famous labor protestor Cesar Chavez, and then days later tried to silence and intimidate student and worker activists, who used Chavez's same tactics, by having the Grand Rapids police storm their homes," says ATU International President Larry Hanley. "This is a witch-hunt by Rapid CEO Peter Varga and the City of Grand Rapids that knows no bounds. We will continue this fight for as long as it takes to protect the students, our riders, and the livelihoods of our Rapid workers."
Scot Bol
How does the opposition in Brazil compare to that in Venezuela? Is it the same socioeconomic segment of the population? I guess I should do some research.
Ben Eli Osterberg
It's the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising and Conn Hallinan looks back at it. Thanks to Portside for the link.
Daniel Millstone
The more Americans learn about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the more disgusted they become.
In an election year, that matters, Mitch McConnell and the Republican majority are planning to sneak the TPP through Congress in the "lame-duck" session after the election is over because they fear that jamming this terrible deal through will hurt their chances in November.
Not only will the TPP ship the few remaining US jobs overseas, it also permits polluters to challenge US environment and safety laws in tribunals made up of corporate heads, the decisions of which overrule US laws, including decisions of the Supreme Court -- and of course the outcomes of these non-elected tribunals are entirely predetermined.
The heat must to turned up now.  We must raise public awareness of these certain-to-be sweetheart deals and carve-outs that will send jobs overseas, raise drug prices, and gut US environmental and safety laws.
Democrats generally oppose the TPP, but Democrats are the minority in Congress. The really really big question is:  WHY IS DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT OBAMA SO "GUNG-HO" TO SIGN THIS TERRIBLY AGREEMENT THAT WILL LITERALLY DESTROY THE U.S. WAY OF LIFE ???
James E. Vann
Why isn't the press reporting this???? I think we all know why....
Robert Blinch-Edwards
End Arms Production on Earth
Ken Cohen
There's a missing chapter in this piece about where this may lead. The US has done the groundwork for drones, warfare without boots on the ground and soulless murder abroad. Like every new innovation, its only a matter of time before the opposition is similarly equipped to match us. US Critics howl that Cyberwar is visible on the horizon, only a matter of time before we're so engaged by others, everywhere. But who led the parade? We did, of course.
If the past is prologue, we'll be the first to begin criticizing cyberwar by opponents, even though we invented it HERE! All governments will eventually become soulless in murderous adventures abroad, they'll eventually deny  participation. This article leaves a vague scent of US involvement in the murder of all those kids in a Mexican village in the last year or so, the bodies of the dead and their murderers undiscovered. Possibly we've reached the stage where we're already covering up our part in the carnage!
Author John Le Carre doing research in seldom visited small countries once in the Soviet sphere some years ago, discovered the Russians had been quietly persecuting Muslims in Russia proper and all the tiny Muslim-thick provinces its still powerful enough to influence and sometimes dominate, long before ISIS. It puts a new light on Putin's recent abrupt retreat from Syria. 
Beyond that, this article reveals that DEA originated most of the mass phone-tapping tactics of the NSA and other agencies, and only stopped using them in 2013. The War on drugs already a war far larger than the politically-fixated Nixon anti-drug war of the late 60s, appears to have become a Means for larger Wars! Why, one might ask, would the US stop the DEA tactic while allowing the NSA to continue and even expand the tactic? Perhaps to make it less embarrassing for a fairly well publicized program to continue without embarrassing the NSA about its similarity to a forebearer's reprehensible methods. What's to stop NSA from sharing its results with DEA anyway? Probably nothing, until Snowden figures it out and contacts the Guardian!
Mike Rice
(posting on Portside Culture, Sept. 30, 2015)

I should first state that I am an African American who grew up in Pratt, KS from 1946 to 1969 and lived only one half block from the "small pool for blacks only Mr. Whitehead spoke about. The large swimming pool for whites only was not really integrated until the late 60's.  I must disagree about those statements the small pool was not for blacks only as numerous white children and adults swam in the pool.  Also the small black pool did not close shortly after incident in 1956 as I was a lifeguard there from the mid 60's until I graduated from college in 1968.  After I stopped working there my brother and one his friend work there for several years. The pool finally closed in the 60's early 70's.  The Whites who attended the "small pool" lived mainly in the neighborhood with lower income and swam there because there was no admission fee. There was never any signs that the pool was for blacks or whites only it was an implied segregation.  I feel history should be told in a factual manner with input from individuals who actually lived during times reported on.
Howard Murray
Very glad to have the corrections in my review from one who lived and worked in the neighborhood in Pratt, Kansas.  Even in such a small town, experiences can be quite divergent!
Fred Whitehead
Time to tax their profits
Edgar Aracena
In San Francisco in the 1970s we in the opposition caucus within AFT local 61 (Teachers Action Caucus and allies) fought successfully to get the union (which did not have a contract. This was before the CA CB law was passed). to oppose the first attempt to put cops in the schools and caused the membership to vote to have the union president, James Ballard, a Shanker ally, over his own strenuous objections, be mandated to tell the school board at its next meeting that any teacher who refused to cooperate with the cops and was disciplined for it would receive the full backing of the union. It was a great moment and the Board caved, for a few years. I was very proud to have been part of that fight.
Joe Berry
By Tom Burson
March 29, 2016

Looks like the warming of relations between the U.S. and Cuba could spur something beyond cheap cigars and rum: flights to Cuba are about to get ridiculously cheap.
According to research by Hopper, flight prices from the U.S. to Cuba could drop by 50 percent after all travel restrictions are lifted. Currently, travel between the two countries requires either a tertiary country like Canada or Mexico or pretending you're a marine biologist researching Cuban coral-or any of these 12 sanctioned criteria.   Either way, none of these flights come cheap. The cheapest current-albeit illegal-route to the island will cost $576; however, legally, within one of the sanctioned programs, the cheapest flights run for $717.
If Cuba's opened for free-range travel, Hopper predicts flight prices will drop to $364, with nonstop flights from Miami to Cuba projected at $275.
The current state of relations between the U.S. and Cuba has generated unprecedented interest in traveling to Cuba. Search traffic for flights is up 500 percent from last year. Airlines, notably American Airlines and JetBlue, are pushing for more daily flights to the island, which will almost assuredly result in lower and more competitive fares.
That said, swimming-totally, kind of possible-or simply sailing the 90 miles from Key West to Cuba would still be the cheapest route.
[Tom Burson is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he's currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? but with more sunscreen and jorts.]
On April 3rd in New York City and April 4th in North Carolina, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., Rev. Traci Blackmon and Sister Simone Campbell will be launching the 2016 nationwide "Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values" tour.
We invite you to join us at these first two revivals! The revival tour will travel to 15 states throughout the South and the Midwest - training clergy and others in moral and political organizing; holding public events with music, preaching, and a moral pledge for electoral candidates to take; and building towards coordinated nonviolent direct-action at state capitols in the Fall.

Community Reading: "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence"
Martin Luther King Memorial
Tuesday, April 5
The day after the anniversary of this prophetic speech (1967) and his assassination (1968)
Public, Shared Readings
12 noon, 2 pm and 4:30 pm
Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza
Oakland 12th St. City Center BART
Be part of an multigenerational mosaic of voices, reawakening King's power for the here and now. This speech is as relevant today as when he preached it half a century ago.
Sign up for a particular reading here, (or just show up).
"Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism."
"I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today--my own government."
-Martin Luther King Jr,
from "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence"
April 4, 1967
To see the speech rendered into seventeen reading Segments, go here
This event is part of the Global Days Against Military Spending (GDAMS), April 5 to 18  
For more information:
Find us on Facebook via BAY-Peace, or. . .Jim Haber, 415-828-2506
Sponsoring Organizations:
Asian-Americans for Peace & Justice; BAY-Peace: Better Alternatives for Youth; Bay Area Black Worker Center; Bay Area Women in Black; Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI); East Bay Peace Action; East Point Peace Academy; Environmentalists Against War; Haiti Action Committee; Jewish Voice for Peace-Bay Area; Labor Committee for Peace & Justice; Nafsi Ya Jamii; Peace & Solidarity Committee of SEIU 1021; Priority Africa Network; United for Peace & Justice-Bay Area; Western States Legal Foundation; Women's Int'l League for Peace & Freedom (SF & East Bay)
What a difference a year makes! After having to halt production of our flagship magazine last spring, we're thrilled to announce that through a new partnership with the publishing company Routledge, NACLA REPORT ON THE AMERICAS WILL RETURN TO PRINT BEGINNING APRIL 2016.
As we relaunch NACLA Report, our primary mission remains the same as it has been for nearly five decades: to provide a space for critical reflection, debate, and analysis about the place of the U.S. in Latin America, and more and more, the role of Latin America in the U.S. As ever, your support will be critical.
OUR RELAUNCH COULDN'T COME AT A MORE CRITICAL TIME. While the past year has been one of return for NACLA, for the left in power in the Americas it has been one of retreat. From Venezuela to Argentina to Bolivia and elsewhere, Latin America's left turn-celebrated by some, maligned by others, everywhere debated-has faced one major political setback after another. In its wake challenging questions have surfaced: What happened? What comes next? And how should progressives respond?
These questions are at the heart of our upcoming issue. We are already hard at work on future Reports, featuring pieces on topics as important as capitalism and the drug wars, Latinx politics in the 2016 US elections, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership's impact on regional politics, economics, and the environment, among many others. You won't want to miss any of our upcoming coverage.
We know you are as excited about this news as we are, and we hope YOU WILL SHOW YOUR SUPPORT BY SUBSCRIBING TO THE NACLA REPORT in this new era. 
We are also very pleased to invite you to a celebration of the relaunch of the magazine in New York City on May 27, 2016, to coincide with the 50th annual LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION conference. More details are forthcoming, but please save the date and plan to join us there for the festivities. We thank all of our subscribers, contributors, and financial supporters who have long stood by us over these last five decades, and through this last year. Your support has been, and remains, critical to our mission.
Thank you, and long live NACLA!
En solidaridad,
Alejandro Velasco, Executive Editor
Women wearing gas masks clean a blast furnace top at a Gary, Indiana steel mill
photo credit -
The Steelworkers' Archives is collaborating with Lehigh University on a Mellon Foundation funded digital archive project. The Women of Bethlehem Steel project aims to collect stories of women's experiences as workers, wives, store owners, managers, and clerical workers at Bethlehem Steel or in the surrounding neighborhoods. This project will produce a digital archive available for researchers, students, and curious people to learn more about women's roles related to Bethlehem Steel. A part of this project is collecting new oral histories, so we reach out to women, with any experience with Bethlehem Steel, to tell your story.
As an introduction to this project, and an outreach to the wider community, we will be holding a Memories of the Steel: Women of Bethlehem Steel event on Friday, April 8. This event will consist of a slide show of women at the Steel, an explanation of the project by representatives from Lehigh University and the Steelworkers' Archives, and a mediated panel of women affiliated with the Steel. Panel participants will include: union women who worked on the shop floor, a wife of a steelworker, a woman who worked in management, and a woman whose parents ran a South Side grocery store with a steelworking customer base.
We invite anyone interested in the role of the Steel in the Lehigh Valley - men, women, children - to attend this event!
Northampton County Community College, Southside Fowler Center, Barnette Room, 6th floor
511 E. Third St., Bethlehem, PA
April 8, 2016
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Free Refreshments. Free Parking. No reservations required.
Please call the Archives at (610) 861-0600 or if you need any further information. 
Demos and Strand Books invite you to a timely and lively discussion between Demos' Tamara Draut, author of the new book Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America, and MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid.

Draut and Reid will discuss the struggles, politics and burgeoning power of the new working class. With an eye towards our upcoming presidential election and its impact on America's working families, Draut and Reid will explore how these fearless workers are shifting the political landscape.
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
7:00 - 8:00 PM
Location: 3rd Floor Rare Book Room, Strand Books, 828 Broadway (& 12th Street)
Sleeping Giant, in stores on April 5, 2016, is the first major examination of the new working class and the role it will play in our economic and political future. The book explores how the new working class - both more female and more racially diverse than its predecessors - faces major obstacles and opportunities in reclaiming the political power that defined the industrial working class. The stakes are high: Restoring the political and economic power of today's working class, Draut argues, is the best path to securing all of our economic futures.
RSVP now with a purchase of Sleeping Giant or a $15 Strand gift card.
Tamara Draut is Vice President of Policy and Research at Demos, a national think tank headquartered in New York City, and the author of Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead.
Joy Reid is a national correspondent for MSNBC and the author of the book Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide.
220 5th Ave, Floor 2
New York, NY 10001

Dear Friends and Colleagues
I am happy to report that the How Class Works - 2016 conference (June 9-11) program schedule, registration, and housing information is now up here. 
This year's conference has over 200 presentations in more than 50 sessions over three days, beginning Thursday June 9.  It is again broadly international - presenters from 20 countries outside the U.S. - and features a mix of graduate students, senior scholars, labor and community activists, and artists.  All exploring class dynamics and how class intersects with race, gender, and ethnicity - in the economy, politics, culture, history.  Plenary sessions explore the realm of plutocrats, the African-American experience of class, and race, class, and environmental justice.
Register now (until April 15) for discounted "early bird" rates.  Be part of the growing community of working class studies.  I look forward to welcoming you to Stony Brook in June.
with best wishes
Michael Zweig
Director, Center for Study of Working Class Life
State University of New York
Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384