Skip to main content

Tidbits - September 29, 2016 - Reader Comments: 2016 Elections - Left Underestimate Trump?; Protest Vote - Lesson from the Past; Garrison Keillor; Charlotte; Colin Kaepernick; and more...

Reader Comments: Millennial Sit-in Against GOP Politics of Hate; Call to End Voter Suppression; Does the Left Underestimate the Danger of Trump?; Thinking About a Protest Vote - Lessons from the Past; Garrison Keillor and Trump; Why the Protests in Charlotte; Police Violence and Racism; Prison Strike; Women's Boat to Gaza; Colin Kaepernick; Chelsea Manning; Life After the USSR; Jewish Grandparents Message; Announcements: Standing Rock Call-in; and more....

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources and Announcements - September 29, 2016,Portside
The racism is terrible and getting worse. Trump will also impoverish working people. The other day the head of GE said he was supporting Trump because he would lower the already low taxes on corporations. Very scary. The rich will get richer, the poor poorer and social welfare programs will shrink for lack of funding. 
Laurel MacDowell 
Thank you, Millennials.
Kari Fisher
Image by Jake Ingle
Courts across the country have ruled voter suppression laws - from imposing voter ID restrictions to slashing early voting hours - are discriminatory and illegal. But the fight isn't over: Politicians are challenging these rulings and doubling down on every tactic they can think of to block voters from the ballot box.
With a history-making election fast approaching, it's more important than ever that we make sure voters can freely and easily cast their ballots.
Stand with the countless Americans who oppose discriminatory voting restrictions: Add your name to call on politicians to stop voter suppression!
Brave New Films
California Clean Money Campaign
Courage Campaign
Daily Kos
Independent Lines Advocacy
League of Conservation Voters
People Demanding Action
People For the American Way
Public Citizen 
Many websites have re-posted Arun Gupta's essay here which well describes, in my view, dangers facing us. I agree that the danger that the Donald represents (whether elected or not) is substantial. I don't know how much "the left" underestimates that Danger (Of course there's no way to measure that and the essay doesn't try). In general, I think essays like this one cannot persuade. Some of us on the left cannot and will not support HRC even though supporting her is essential to defeating Trump. I think essays like this are a substitute for actual, on the ground, electoral activity. Thanks to Portside for the link.
Daniel Millstone
There is a quaint notion on the left that somehow Trump is hot air. This ignores the dynamics he's set in motion that will make new types of state-sponsored racial violence all but inevitable. This is not just a quantitative change over Obama and Clinton, but a qualitative one. In fact, it may even be worse that what I am outlining here. This is a man who muses about using nuclear weapons, he ignores even basic bourgeois political norms or rules, and he is lustily cheered by tens of millions when he calls for the assassination of his opponents and mass ethnic cleansing.
Carl Stilwell
I think the title should be a section or sections of the Left.The folks talked about here IMO are people who don't see the centrality of the fight against white supremacy and racism.They also don't fully understand or underestimate the dangers of a racist and possibly fascist movement being encouraged and emboldened by Trump's candidacy.
John McCarthy
If anything, this article underestimates the danger of a Trump victory. On its own its frightening enough.
Ray Markey
Dear Protest Voter,
I was once you.    In l960 when John F. Kennedy ran against Richard Nixon, I was 21.  I was about to cast my first vote for President of the United States.
In my heart, I knew John F Kennedy was a far better choice to lead our country than Richard Nixon.   I was a civil rights activist, a democratic socialist, a protester and  JFK was not radical or even liberal enough for me.  So I wrote in Norman Thomas.
After voting I helped organize a protest march and rally for civil rights in New York City.  We were demanding an end to segregation and discrimination.   The speaker was a southern hero, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.  He had risked his life - literally - that morning by voting in Birmingham, Alabama, and had then flown to New York to speak at our rally.
We chatted a little as he waited to speak, and he casually mentioned how happy he was to have voted for JFK.   I confessed my Norman Thomas write-in.  He was incredulous and horrified.  I felt like a silly, white, northerner who had the luxury to protest while his life and the fate of the nation was at stake.
I knew then that I would never  waste another vote.  I would protest; I would march; I would let my opinion be known.  But when there were lives at stake, I would not demand political purity or total agreement with what I thought was right.
Sadly, I didn't get a second chance to vote for JFK.  Years later, I became active in Ted Kennedy's 1980 campaign.  My husband and I became his friends.  Yet, I never had the courage to tell him about l960.
Well, its  56 years later.  I don't think Hillary is perfect.    But I do think she is plenty good enough. And I hope you don't waste your vote.
I wrote in Norman Thomas in NYC - JFK won without me.
But  in this election if you live in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and a bunch of swing states, your vote may do more than weigh on your conscience.  It may plunge this country into a Trumpian nightmare.
So get out there and protest, march, rally and lead this country in the right direction. But, please, make your vote count. You can't afford not to.
Rachelle Horowitz
[Rachelle Horowitz was the transportation director of the l963 March on Washington.  She was arrested protesting lunch counter discrimination on Route 40, Maryland, protesting Soviet Nuclear Testing at the Russian Embassy in New York City, protesting  anti-labor  and discriminatory policies at the World's Fair in Queens, New York, protesting Apartheid at the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C..
She was the Administrative Director of the A. Philip Randolph  Institute and  finally Political Director of the American Federation of Teachers. She sits on the board of the National Democratic Institute.]
Garrison Keillor reaches lots of white working class men in this, the best comedy writing on Trump.
Bob Zellner
It is fun to make fun of this charlatan the Republicans are running for President.  and Keillor does it so beautifully well.  But despite all the fake hand-wringing by The Republicans and others, they love him. He's a marionette, as Hitler was, whose strings are being pulled by the worst people in the World today. And Hillary and the Democratic Party don't have a clue what to do about it. They could have trounced Trump in a New York second with Bernie Sanders. They chose to anoint Hillary Clinton. My algebraic equation:  couldn't + should've - didn't = nothing. They are both horrors for the people of the World. This is election is not funny. It's a disaster.
Guess we always need gallows humor.
Claire Carsman
Garrison, I think we'll miss you when you retire.
Bill Henning
Geoghegan's case for defeating Trump is well argued, and obviously Clinton is the only candidate who can accomplish this goal. However, this objective is consistent with strategic voting, state by state, depending on the near election polling, paying particular attention to swing states.   Geoghegan is not only dead wrong in claiming that the Green Party of the United States is not a national party but totally misses why boosting the vote for Stein/Baraka ticket is critically important to the "future of the globe itself". Only this ticket effectively confronts the ever growing threat of catastrophic climate change with its Green New Deal program, but clearly identifies why the Imperial Agenda and militarism must be eliminated if there is any hope for the survival of civilization and biodiversity as we know it in this century. Without building this challenge to the two party monopoly, in particular to Clinton's neocon-like foreign policy, the window of opportunity to avoid climate catastrophe will be gone.
David Schwartzman
We've had many conversations at the East Side Freedom Library about how to bring together our needs for decent jobs and a sustainable climate. We have no secret answers, but we are committed to staying in the room, engaging all parties, keeping the conversation going. This article is very helpful in that direction.
Most unions are going green.
Why despair? There is a growing movement organizing mass mobilizing of The People.... They are forming coalitions of preachers and teachers, the homeless, the unemployed, under employed, the uninsured, undocumented immigrants. They are students and graduate with burdensome debt. They are Black, Brown, men and women, of multi-cultural and multi-lingual background. They are gay, straight, transgender. Indeed, they are of all ages and classes.
They are taking direct action, engaging in non-violent civil disobedience to challenge police homicide, school to prison pipeline, mass incarceration... We are beginning to approach the tipping point here... I'm hopeful. Increasingly hopeful. This goes well beyond this ridiculous shitshow of our presidential election cycle that is more and more irrelevant to this movement. Our body politic has morphed into reality tv and sensationalized corporate media frantically chasing ratings for diminishing profits.
Larry Aaronson
PEOPLE are beginning to see the injustices that have been caused to all by the ones in power who are supposed to have prevented all of this from ever happening. People are seeing when ones that are put in office or are elected by us all have failed to act accordingly to any of our own safety and our survival in this world.
Rita Tomaszewski
#CharlotteProtests are not black vs white nor black vs police; but black, white, brown vs police brutality and systemic violence.
This victory of the ACLU in the Commonwealth of Mass court is indeed ground breaking.... Black men have good reason to fear for the life and safety and move away (flee) police officers appearing to attempt making an arrest given the history of police beatings, false arrests, and homicides.... And this is in Massachusetts.... What of New York, Texas, Florida, California, etc?
"It should be clear by now that the focus on racial disparity accepts the premise of neoliberal social justice that the problem of inequality is not its magnitude or intensity in general but whether or not it is distributed in a racially equitable way. To the extent that that is the animating principle of a left politics, it is a politics that lies entirely within neoliberalism's logic," which is why it is kept deeply buried under all the labels listed by the author in this society defined and tightly ruled by neoliberalism. 
I graduated from college in 1954, when McCarthy was confronting an institution equal to him, the Army  and getting "thrown on the garbage heap of history." But McCarthyism remains very much alive as the political dimension of the economics of neoliberalism: anything with an even "re-distributive" hint, communism, socialism, progressive, leftist, including Barack Obama, is bad, bad, bad, IMMORAL, and must be stopped. 
The surprise of this campaign is not Trump (as my 50-year-old-daughter noted, he couldn't be worse than George W.) but Bernie Sanders who could campaign as a democratic socialist (how redundant can you get) and not get eaten alive. Indeed, it took "dirty tricks" by the Democratic National Committee to prevent him from winning the nomination.
Nina Udovicki
Let's treat prisoners as human beings!
Thomas Riggins
Emergency: The prisoners in Frackville and in my heart annoyed are now being given brown water that smells of sewage and chemicals. It must be fractal water. This is a form of genocide. Please call the White House Hotline 202-456-1111. The prison staff's are getting bottled water at the prisoners have to drink the brown water. Something has to be done about this. There will be a demonstration on the person site on Sunday, September 25.
Judith Ackerman
(Posting on Portside Labor)
Just terrific reporting, imo, by Kelly Heyboer, on what I think of as the totally faux "temp" industry. Employers (say Wal-mart or Amazon) contract out their "staffing" to other entities. These, often captive, temp agencies supply workers whose terms and conditions of employment are actually set by the "contracting" entity. Well, I'm getting carried away. Why do courts honor such legal fictions? Thanks to Portside.
Great to see Ann Wright in this photo, and to read this account of the Women's Boat to Gaza!
Twin holocausts. And the fate of the Navajo uranium miners in the Southwest makes three.
Bill Doar
Why not Medicare-for-All?
Brad Smith
interesting how corporations have more rights and might that ordinary citizens.
William Friesen
"Just as important, Kaepernick has made his fellow Americans think about what they're standing for, and why. It wasn't typical for NFL players to stand for the national anthem until 2009-before then, it was customary for players to stay in the locker room as the anthem played.* A 2015 congressional report revealed that the Department of Defense had paid $5.4 million to NFL teams between 2011 and 2014 to stage on-field patriotic ceremonies; the National Guard shelled out $6.7 million for similar displays between 2013 and 2015."
Kathe Karlson
Changing from the status quo is divisive by definition. You'd think people would realize that after our own history in the US.
Scott McCampbell
Isn't it time to renew the push to replace The Star Spangled Banner with This Land is Your Land?
Musicians could substitute Woody Guthrie's song when called upon to perform the national anthem. Enlightened hosts of sporting events could instruct the artist(s) they commission to do it. Marching bands could play it at halftime presentations. Fans could break out in song from the box seats and bleachers. And so on.
I'm sure crowds would sing along, and maybe clap in time. This is not to say that Woody's song should be the only one, but it is America's favorite. We should welcome other suggestions and try them too.
The controversy with conservatives would spread the message. Let's view this as an opportunity.
Ken Lawrence
Spring Mills, Pennsylvania
Fight For the Future, a grassroots advocacy organization which has supported Manning, reacted, "The July incident where Chelsea attempted to take her own life followed years of the government systematically denying her access to medically recommended treatment for gender dysphoria, and previous threats of solitary confinement following minor prison "infractions," including possession of mislabeled general research materials that Chelsea used for article writing and an expired tube of toothpaste."
Marlena Santoyo
This "solitary confinement" is beyond shameful treatment. I was especially struck by Assange agreeing to U.S. prison time in exchange for Obama granting Chelsea clemency. We should all do that, in a petition to Obama. Let her out - lock me up instead!
Cathy Deppe
and hence the saying: "They lied to us about Socialism but told us the truth about Capitalism"
Steve Krug
Frightening, Truly Frightening
By Ann-Christine Diaz
September 22, 2016
Listen here
Back in 2008, comedian/actress Sarah Silverman implored young Jews to schlep over to Florida to convince their grandparents to vote for Barack Obama, now it's the bubbes and zaydes who are stepping up to push the younger generation to vote for Hillary Clinton, in a hilarious video from Bend the Arc Jewish Action, an organization that brings Jews together to advocate for a just and equal society in the U.S.
Part of the campaign "#WeveSeenThisBefore" launched last fall, the new film cuts together grandparent after grandparent in a "loving" lecture to the young'uns, in which they diss Donald Trump and emphasize the importance of getting out the vote.
The lighthearted comedy, inflected with the more sinister history of persecution under Nazi Germany, makes for a particularly powerful punch:
"We have seen this before, we saw it in Germany and we don't want to see it here," says one grandmother. Then, it's a litany of pejoratives, with the grandparents calling Trump a "narcissist," "petulant [like her own kid when he was little]," "far more than a putz," "definitely a tyrant," an "obnoxious, lying individual."
But things are just getting good at this point, and then, the elders reveal what will happen if their grandkids don't vote for Hillary:
"I'll haunt you when I die."
From there, the gems just flow: "My ghost will make sure that the kale in your fridge will rot twice as fast," says one grams. "Boooooo!" says a grandpa, wearing a big white sheet with eye holes. "I'll spoil every episode of 'Game of Thrones,'" says another granny. "When you're having a dinner party, I'll come down and say something racist, but if you're voting for Trump, you probably don't care," says yet another.
And then, there's the final scene, in which Ghost Gramps returns -- but we won't spoil his killer line here.
"We, as Jews, recognize that [Trump's] candidacy has echoed times when the Jewish community experienced the dangers of fascism, anti-immigration and persecution against religious minorities," said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc Jewish Action. "We've seen this before and we wanted to make sure that as Jews we were speaking out boldly and loudly and making sure it was known the Jewish community rejects Trump for the platform of hatred and bigotry that he has unleashed."
To create the film, Bend the Arc cast "everyday Jews, who were the best ambassadors to give this message," said Ms. Cotler. The organization also tapped a veteran comedian, former "Late Show With David Letterman" scribe Jena Friedman, to write and direct. "For her part, it was the expert writing, suggesting questions, and then she and the editor did a great job putting it all together," Ms. Cotler said.
The organization had previously put out another ad, after Trump had made his comment about Mexicans being rapists and murderers. Since then, "We've been continuously ramping up," Ms. Cotler said.
Over 200 Indigenous tribes have joined the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (Hunkpapa Kalota Nation) to defend Indigenous rights and title against the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) which would transport Bakken oil and threaten water supplies. The direct action at Standing Rock has heroically challenged corporate power, coalesced networks of supporters, and united Native American tribes to fight for alternative visions for a just and healthy world.
Throughout North America, First Nations land defenders, along with their settler allies, have been at the forefront of the climate justice movement, fighting fossil fuels at the points of extraction, production and transportation. The warrior spirit at Standing Rock has inspired multiple recent developments including the signing of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. Join us to learn more, and find out how you and your organization can act in solidarity with #StandingRock #nodapl
Stand with Standing Rock
North American Web/Phone Conference
Monday, October 3rd
8:30pm (eastern), 5:30pm (pacific)
Join a special on-line and phone-in interview with our guests: Kandi Mossett, Audrey Siegl, Brian Ward. Other activists who have been on the ground at Standing Rock, and art part of SCNCC networks will be joining as well (these include Emily Williams and Theo LeQuesne from UCSB).
  • Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara - North Dakota) has emerged as a leading voice in the fight to bring visibility to the impacts that climate change and environmental injustice are having on Indigenous communities across North America. She currently serves as the Indigenous Environmental Network's (IEN) Lead Organizer on the Extreme Energy & Just Transition Campaign, focusing at present on creating awareness about the environmentally & socially devastating effects of hydraulic fracturing on tribal lands. Her local work is complemented by international advocacy work, including participation in several UN Forums and a testimony before the U.S. Congress on the climate issue and its links to issues of health, identity, and well being on tribal lands.
  • Audrey Siegl: (ancestral name sχɬemtəna:t) is a Musqueam First Nation artist and activist from Coast Salish Territories on the west coast of Turtle Island (aka, Vancouver, Canada). Audrey is a women's rights, anti-poverty, Indigenous rights and climate justice activist. She has been active in Idle No More and her international work includes participating in Greenpeace's Save the Arctic campaign confronting Shell's 300-foot-tall Arctic drilling platform in Canadian waters.
  • Brian Ward is a long-time indigenous rights and climate justice activist.  His writing has appeared in Socialist Worker, The Nation, Truth-Out and the International Socialist Review.  He has lived and worked with the Oglala Lakota on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and is a member of the International Socialist Organization.
Moderator: Brad Hornick, PhD Candidate, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada; active with System Change Not Climate Change (SCNCC)
Access Information
When it is time to join....
Where:   WebEx Online
Meeting number: 805 945 160
Password: SCNCC.

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) created the Ella Baker Summer Internship Program in 1987 to honor the legacy of Ella Baker, a hero of the civil rights movement, and to train the next generation of social justice lawyers. Through our program, law students gain practical litigation experience and sharpen their theoretical understanding of the relationship between social change, organizing, and lawyering. Ella Baker Interns also become connected to a global community of social justice law students and lawyers through our Ella Baker Alumni Network.
The program is open to 1L and 2L students. Applications for 2Ls are due by October 16; 1Ls have until December 16 to apply.
Please spread the word and encourage any eligible students to apply.
Center for Constitutional Rights
666 Broadway
7th Floor
New York, NY 10012
Telephone: 212-614-6464
Fax: 212-614-6499

October 4, Tuesday 12:30 pm - 2 pm
Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Avenue
South Reading Room, 10th Floor
This program will feature painter and print-maker Hector Duarte, who will share about his roots in Mexican muralist movement, his approach to the issues of identity, work and labor, and immigration.  A renowned artist in the U.S. and Mexico, Duarte has participated in the creation of over 50 murals since moving to Chicago in 1985.  He is co-founder of print workshops in Mexico and Chicago. Duarte's work has been exhibited at the National Museum of Mexican Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, among other venues.  Program provided by ILHS, Company of Folk, and National Endowment for the Arts.
Illinois Labor History Society 
430 S. Michigan Ave AUD 1361
Chicago, Illinois 60605