Tidbits - December 15, 2016 - Reader Comments: Global Nuclear War Danger; Clinton and Working Class Voters; Star Wars; The Left - What Now; Russian-Election Frenzy; Butter; #NoDAPL Actions; Cuba Travel; Holiday Book Offers; and more ...
Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources and Announcements - December 15, 2016, Portside
- Re: A Global Nuclear Winter: Avoiding the Unthinkable in India and Pakistan (Michael A. Dover)
- Re: Donald Trump Is Bullying Unions. He Picked the Wrong Fight (Lisa Davis)
- Re: The Dangerous Myth That Hillary Clinton Ignored The Working Class (Richard Cole; Ray Markey; Jonathan Nack)
- Re: Trump's Victory Is a Wake-Up Call to the Left; Lesson for Democrats: Back to Class (Mike Liston)
- Re: Now Is the Time to Talk About What We Are Actually Talking About (Lisa Husniyyah Owens)
- Re: Star Wars Isn't Political, Says Disney Chief Responding To Boycott By Trump Supporters. He's Wrong. (Steve Krug; Karyne Dunbar)
- Re: Media Have Misjudged Fascists Before (Diane Laison; Greg Wallace; Harriet Udin Aronow)
- Re: The Left's Secret Identity (Ethan Young)
- Re: Hypocrisy Behind the Russian-Election Frenzy (Sam Friedman; Austin King; Terence Cannon; Stewart Acuff)
- Re: The Blind Spots of Liberalism (Laurel MacDowell; Marc Batko)
- Re: Historic CEO Pay Tax Proposal Passes in Portland (Vince Cushite; Dianne Dobson)
- Re: Brazil Senate Approves Austerity Package to Freeze Social Spending for 20 Years (Jay Schaffner; Susan Radosh)
- Re: Capitalism, Democracy, and Du Bois's Two Proletariats (John Woodford)
- Re: Why Students Can't Google Their Way to the Truth - Fact-checkers and students approach websites differently (East Side Freedom Library; Daniel Millstone; Kathe Karlson)
- Re: New House Labor Committee Chair Questions Need for Unions (Bill LaWare)
- Re: The Struggle Against Racism and `Fortress-Europe' and the Fight for Popular Sovereignty (Michael Arney)
- Re: New Book Clarifies Butter's Spread and Chronicles Its Wars With Margarine (David McReynolds)
- Moving Forward - #NoDAPL - December Month of Actions
- 100 US Institutions and Travel Organizers Found RESPECT (Responsible and Ethical Cuba Travel)
- Haymarket Books Holiday Gift Guide / 50% OFF Everything
- 50% off Radical and Stimulating Fiction and Nonfiction Books, DVDs, and CDs - PM Press
Conn Hallinan's perceptive and frightening posting on 12/8/16 documented the enormity of the danger of nuclear war emanating from continued tensions over Kashmir. But the paths to peace he suggested are piecemeal and unlikely to garner public attention. What is needed are nuclear disarmament overtures which can inspire global attention and involve multiple nations in jumpstarting the path to global nuclear disarmament. Just such a proposal was in the Cleveland Plain Dealer during the debate over the Iran deal:
In it I suggest that efforts be made to convince two former colonial powers (the U.K. and France) and two formerly colonized nations (Pakistan and India) to agree to disarm jointly, in exchange for promises from the three superpowers to continue down the path to disarmament. The Iran deal establishes the opportunity for Iran and other countries to eschew development nuclear weapon development. With the proper nudge, Iran may prove more interested in importing airlines than building bombers, and might prove a strong ally in supporting such a plan. Japan and South Korea would possibly jump aboard as an alternative to Trump's suggestion they may need to development their own nuclear weapons. The plan would further isolate North Korea, pressuring it to rely upon protection from China. By reducing the odds that Iran will become the first predominantly Shiite Muslim nation with nuclear weapons, the stage would be set for a day when Israel, a predominantly Jewish nation, would feel safe to turn its nuclear swords into plowshares, making the Middle East a recognized nuclear-weapons-free zone.
Adding to the dangers noted by Conn, Noam Chomsky has pointed out that there is a real danger that terrorists could seize control of nuclear weapons in Pakistan, something made even more possible by the advent of tactical nuclear weapons. Chomsky suggested that Israel would never disarm as long as Pakistan has the bomb. The world peace movement has long concluded that making the Middle East a nuclear-free zone is the next major campaign. Instead, we must focus on the colonial legacy on nuclear weaponry. For the UK and France, developing nuclear weapons was a dangerous defense mechanism against the loss of their colonies. For India and Pakistan, developing the bomb was not just a drive for defense but part of a determination to demonstrate they were truly post-colonial. Today, the cost of maintaining these weapons is a serious strain on the national budgets of all four nations, and the mere existence of these weapons is far more dangerous for each country than the protection they seem to provide.
Michael A. Dover
This article provides an excellent analysis of the "800 jobs" Trump "saved" and his bullying of the head of its union.
"Chuck Jones dared to call out Donald Trump for saying he would save the Carrier/United Technologies jobs, and then protecting 800 jobs out of 2,000. Chuck stated that 800 was better than none, but he was also pointing out the disappointment that faced the majority of Carrier workers in Indianapolis and so many others in his local union and beyond that face similar job cuts. . .
United Technologies' revenues currently include billions in federal contracts. The profits on those contracts far exceed the cost savings of moving the Carrier furnace production to Mexico. . .
Jones and Local 1999 members claim they were never consulted by Trump or Carrier/UT management. Established US labor law mandates their right to negotiate the effects of any closing. In any other global democracy, bargaining rights are much stronger and the commitment to jobs is a cornerstone of economic and trade policy. . .
Trump is like a Goliath of great wealth and political power. At times, he might toss gifts to the masses like a 19th-century monarch, but his strategy of attacking and dividing working families will clearly lead to net losses for them and big gains for corporate management at multinationals like UT."
(posting on Portside Labor)
Bernie did better than she did with the people we need for the general election. So the Democrats picked her. Good thinking.
The only group Bernie won the majority of in the primaries was white males. So I guess in your thinking blacks, women, Hispanics, Asians and every other minority aren't needed to win the general election.
Secretary Clinton lost because she was a weak candidate. She was correctly perceived by many as the candidate preferred by the political establishment, by Wall Street, and by the corporate elite and their mass media. She lacks charisma and is not an inspiring speaker. Certainly racism and a pronounced white backlash played a critical role, but a stronger candidate could have overcome that by inspiring more working class support from all racial demographics. President Obama proved that. The contention that Clinton made efforts to speak to the working class is less relevant than Clinton's record, her support by elites, and lack of communication skills. Clinton's effort could not make up for the other factors.
If Lynn was my student, there couldn't be a teacher more proud, good thinking,
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reminds us that precision in language and thought matters more than ever now:
"Now is the time to counter lies with facts, repeatedly and unflaggingly, while also proclaiming the greater truths: of our equal humanity, of decency, of compassion. Every precious ideal must be reiterated, every obvious argument made, because an ugly idea left unchallenged begins to turn the color of normal. It does not have to be like this."
Lisa Husniyyah Owens
Re: Star Wars Isn't Political, Says Disney Chief Responding To Boycott By Trump Supporters. He's Wrong.
(posting on Portside Culture)
Sc-Fi has long been a vehicle of commentary, especially in times when speaking out was downright dangerous. Want to criticize McCarthy? Do it in a far off world or in the future...
Every art form is political, one way or another.
Every situation is different. Today we must join with groups of activists to fight both the corporate CEO's and the neo-Nazis/Klan.We don't know what the future will be, but we must be part of a huge effort to shape it.
The parallels are unnerving.
A short, but telling, analysis ...
Harriet Udin Aronow
If my points aren't clear, it's entirely on me. So let me try to elaborate.
There is a plan of action here that is more implied than laid out - on purpose. I'm speaking to the political left, which includes electoral campaigners inside and outside the Dems, as well as social movement activists who are looking at the bigger picture in terms of power and mass organizing across constituencies and issues. They are a highly fragmented group, and they bring narrow perspectives when they approach strategy.
So I'm suggesting that a broader orientation is in order, hence not a party or coalition but a more lasting united front. Can a party emerge from that? All I know is, it's not likely that one will emerge from a small group effort.
That is not the orientation that prevails today. You have 3rd party purists, who are not likely to last the first few months of the far right GOP state; anti-electoral action hold-outs, and activists dug into their own issue-centered work or propaganda squad.
The leaders and rank members of all these sectors who want to break out of fragmentation and marginalization, which makes them sitting ducks in the Trump era, have got to begin working on making a coherent and coordinated left a reality. That can only be a conscious effort. I'm saying, this is achievable through integrating at the level of politics, discovering our shared views and discussing and respecting differences, and finding ways to work as strategic partners on joint efforts, whether a mass women's march or a national single payer conference, for instance. So I'm nudging.
does that help?
Ever since Robert Parry so badly misunderstood what happened in Ukrainian Maidan movement, I have been dubious about his reporting and judgment.
His skepticism and fears of the Democratic Party are of course well-deserved.
But the good part about the Dems attacking the election's legitimacy, and Trump's having done so, is that it helps expose the illegitimacy of the whole system, and thus to make it more vulnerable for change
A very poor choice to include on Portside.
Quoting Putin and Assange in their own defense is hardly credible. Both had powerful motives to support Trump. Let's wait until the full investigation called for by Obama takes place before we dismiss as "conspiracy theory" the idea that in some way the election was influenced by outside entities. I don't have much faith in the U.S. intelligence community, but I trust it more than Putin/Assange and certainly Trump.
Donald Trump Is Not a Legitimate President Elect and He Never Will Be
The 2016 U S election would not qualify as free and fair anywhere in the world as judged by the United Nations.
I know--I was a U N election observer in Sierra Leone in 1996.
Trump is disqualified because of intimidation and police activity. In fact, the FBI played a threatening role with the HRC campaign and with voters. Comey went way out of bounds voicing his own opinions when announced the emails investigation.
Foreign interference. 17 U S intelligence agencies have confirmed that Russia hacked U S political organizations to sway and influence the election. Now, even top Republicans have announced Congress will investigate.
Widespread vote theft and voter suppression. 87 voting machines were inoperable in Detroit on Election Day. 87,000 votes were destroyed. 300,000 voters were removed from the rolls in Wisconsin. Donald Trump and the Republican Party mounted an unprecedented fascist or totalitarian-like effort to snatch victory away from democracy. It is on such a comprehensive foundation that we must build our RESISTANCE. It is critical that our resistance to Trump's losing election is based on the broadest foundation to attract the largest constituency to our righteous fight.
Email and political party hacking aside, the bigger question is: "Were Election Computers Hacked to Alter the Vote Counts in Favor of one or more 'winning' candidates." That is where serious investigative efforts must be focused.
Workers may have had reasons to vote for Trump but they are now getting a President surrounded by billionaires including oil executives, generals etc. Hard to see how these people will help workers. Extremely unlikely that this scene is better than what Hillary and her appointees would have been.
Trump, an unstable fanatic, has zero competence in taxes, spending, social security and health insurance.
Politico.com lists the names of the 538 electors. If 37 change their mind, Trump would be blocked. Baseball gives the managers "challenges" based on video replay. We can't afford a fake populist or practitioner of tax fraud and insurance fraud.
Here are four important articles with different explanations of the 2016 election. We are also given 1100 free movies on openculture.com.
- Bernd Drucke, "The US Election as the Turn of an Era"
- Serge Halimi, "Trump: The know-nothing victor,"
- Rosa Luxemburg foundation, "Donald Trump: The Rise of the Nationalist Right," 16 pp
- Nomi Prins. "Trump's Bait-and-Switch"
In a move that's drawn international headlines, Portland will launch a first-of-its-kind tax on public companies that pay their chief executives vastly more than they pay an average worker.
Portland City Council approved the controversial plan 3-1 Wednesday, making a statement about growing income disparity in the United States while giving Commissioner Steve Novick a legacy piece in his final weeks in City Hall.
The tax targets publicly traded companies whose chief executives report salaries at least 100 times higher than the salary of a median worker. Officials expect to raise $2.5 million a year starting in January 2017, with Novick hoping the money will help pay for homeless services.
"This is as close as I've ever (come) to a tax on inequality itself," said Novick, the first incumbent tossed from city council in 24 years after an upset loss to housing activist Chloe Eudaly last month.
This is a good idea
This is horrific. This is what putting corporate managers in charge of government results in. This is why the Brazilian Senate impeached the elected president, Dilma Rousseff. (And those that led the impeachment are themselves now either in jail or indicted for crimes of corruption.) This is massive corruption and stealing from the Brazilian people.
And it is coming to the US in the form of EXXON as Secretary of State!
DuBois is quoted as saying the below quotation. But if it was ever a really accurate observation and improvement on Marx (which I would rebut), it would mean that this second proletariat no longer exists, because the restrictions DuBois describes have been overcome through struggle. Yet Black proletarians and lumpen remain, and the system in which they find themselves is hardly controlled by white workers: : " It is white labor that deprives the Negro of his right to vote, denies him education, denies him affiliation with trade unions, expels him from decent houses and neighborhoods, and heaps upon him the public insults of open color discrimination.
"It is white labor that deprives the Negro of his right to vote, denies him education, denies him affiliation with trade unions, expels him from decent houses and neighborhoods, and heaps upon him the public insults of open color discrimination."
Re: Why Students Can't Google Their Way to the Truth - Fact-checkers and students approach websites differently
The East Side Freedom Library is a great place for students to discover what they can learn from books. Many of our books have a special added layer of knowledge -- the marginal comments made by their initial users, women and men who were great activist-scholars in their own right. Keep in mind we are offering our History Day Learning Center every Saturday morning from 10am to noon. Young people do not need to be working specifically on History Day projects to come in, chat with our team of mentors, and get directed to cool resources.
"What is truth?", asks Pontius Pilate in the Jesus story, but he's ending the discussion not looking for answers. What do we take as true on the internet? Many of us have re-circulated false materials, posted link to long ago stories as though they were current. Here, via Portside, https://portside.org/2016-12-08/why-students-cant-google-their-way-trut… is an interesting report of how students use and misuse search engine results. It contrasts student research efforts with those of "fact-checkers" (sadly an undefined term). I was interested in the essay but disappointed in two ways. 1) The students were, apparently, not interviewed on why & how they decided sources were credible (The article seems to assert that students assigned high credibility to high rank in search engine results, for example, but doesn't contain information about why students believed high ranking pages, if they did.) 2) There seems to have been no measure comparing "fact-checker" accuracy with "student" accuracy.
Ironically, many students learned so little because they spent most of their time reading the articles on each organization's site. But masking true intentions and ownership on the web has grown so sophisticated that to rely on the same set of skills one uses for print reading is naive. Parsing digital information before one knows if a site can be trusted is a colossal waste of time and energy.
(posting on Portside Labor)
OMG - where does she park her broom ? This is like 10 steps backwards in Industrial Relations !!!
I am not denying the role of racism in some of the European population's rejection/hesitancy of the current immigration, but the author's counterpoints fail to persuade me.
The politicians and the general population of the European countries don't care about the historical analysis--that has zero relevance to what is happening right now. How many people in France really remember WWII? At best ten percent were alive then. He does not deal with the numbers of immigrants into the various European countries, or better yet, into a small number of specific cities of these countries. Countries that are going through economic crisis, I might add. There is a reality that some relatively well off Middle East countries are not taking in the refugees, another point the author neglects.
The questions I raise must be dealt with by the Left if we are to defeat the Right on this issue. Looking away from core realities discredits us.
(posting on Portside Culture)
You have no idea how much joy this gave me. Years ago I wrote an article in WIN magazine (the WRL magazine) titled "In Defense of Butter", which became, for a while, an article of debate within the pacifist movement. A depression baby, my mother had to use margarine. I remember her kneading the deathly white artificial grease with the packet of orange powder, so it could give the illusion of butter. I never touched the stuff once I left home.
But until reading this piece I didn't know how magic butter really was.
The Army Corps of Engineers did not grant the final easement to drill under the Missouri River. You can read the Army Corps' full statement here.
- The Dakota Access Pipeline owners released a statement saying that they will complete this project regardless of the ACOE's decision.
- Trump and his administration have already proclaimed their desire to push projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL Pipeline through. Trump takes office in 42 days.
- A full hearing for DAPL's Appeal will be held in February. The delay in construction is costing DAPL over 20 million a week.
- Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault has asked Protectors to leave because of the hazards created by North Dakota winters and the strain on local resources due to a recent blizzard.
- However, Water Protectors have made commitments and vows to protect the Rights of Mother Earth, Indigenous Peoples and Humanity. Within that framework, Protectors will not leave until the Black Snake is dead, the water is safe and treaty rights are recognized. Watch Chase Iron Eyes statement here.
As a result, many will leave, but some will stay. The Global Solidarity Campaign stands firmly with our Protectors and relatives that will continue to stay on the frontlines. We will continue to funnel support directly to the Protectors, in addition to mobilizing the world to take action.
We are NOT asking folks to go to camp at this time, but we are asking for your continued support of our Protectors staying on the frontlines. Donating to the Last Real Indians #NoDAPL Aid fundraiser is the number one way to get monetary support directly to the Protectors for yurts, 4WD Pickups, snowmobiles, the rebuilding of kitchens, porta potties and any other winterization needs the Protectors deem necessary:
We want to stress that this fight is not over. We have successfully halted DAPL administratively, but need to continue to fight on all fronts. In addition to sending monetary and supply support to our front line Protectors, we must stop financial resources from flowing into DAPL.
December is a Global Month of Action. During this time we ask all of our supporters to continue to personally divest from the 17 banks who fund DAPL, and take direct action to shut these banks down. Here are historically, culturally and strategically significant dates to take action:
December 15 - Anniversary of Sitting Bull's Assassination (Dec 15, 1890)
December 22 - North Dakota's violations of the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights and Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples- Tell Morton Co and all Sheriff's Departments to stand down!
December 25 - Global Day of Prayer
December 26 - Date of the Dakota 38 Hanging ( Dec 26, 1862)
December and the remaining winter months are very critical months to stay engaged and stay active, not only because the threat of DAPL's continued presence at Standing Rock, but this timeframe has historical significance as well. The many attacks by the United States Government and military on our People, all took place in the winter. At a time when our resources are at their lowest, when our numbers are at our lowest and our ability to protect ourselves is at our lowest.
Lynette Two Bulls, Executive Director of Yellow Bird and Co-Founder of the Annual Fort Robinson Outbreak Spiritual Run stated it best, when she said, "The atrocities that took place against our people all happened in the coldest times of winter. It was strategic, but what was not realized is that we are strong, we carry the wisdom of the universe, the strength of our ancestors, we are part of the stars, we are caretakers of Mother Earth. Today we remember the sacrifice of our ancestors through commemorative rides with horses, runs, walks, not to stay in trauma but to heal, to remind ourselves of our connection to the universe, our resilience, to remind us of faith, love and hope, and to remind the world of that "dangerous thinking". Today we remember Sand Creek, Dakota 38, Wounded Knee, Fort Robinson, and the many others. Today we Stand with Standing Rock."
This is why it is so important that we continue to organize, continue to show support and show up for those risking their lives on the frontlines of Standing Rock and those organizing to heal from the historical trauma. We give a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you for standing with us and continue to do so as we continue this longstanding fight.
In Blessings & Gratitude,
- #NoDAPL Global Solidarity Team
*Please visit these websites for more guidance and direction for your continued support:
credit: AFP Photo/Yamil Lage // Yahoo! News
12 December 2016-The growing number of US visitors to Cuba-a virtual tsunami that has jumped by 80% since the Obama Administration began relaxing travel to the island in 2015-has prompted the creation of RESPECT, an association of 100 US institutions, organizations and travel organizers that arrange Cuba travel.
From January 2015 through June 2016, Cuba received 732,868 visitors from the United States, and commercial flights opened up from major US cities to a number of Cuban airports, including Havana this November.
"The sudden upsurge has put a strain on existing Cuban infrastructure," said Bob Guild, Vice President of Marazul, one of RESPECT's initiators. He noted that the association hopes to make US travelers more aware of the need to protect Cuba's cultural heritage and environment, as well as to support the local economy. "Our aim is to make US travel to Cuba part of the global movement for ethical travel," he noted, "particularly important in supporting Cuba's goal to become a sustainable destination for mutual learning and benefit."
RESPECT's principles have been adopted by travel agencies, environmental, artistic, musical, academic, legal, medical, religious and social justice organizations, as well as sister-city and Cuban-American groups.
"We believe the time has come for a new relationship with Cuba," commented Walter Turner, President of Global Exchange, another initiating RESPECT member, "one that starts with transparency and social responsibility, building trust along the way through respectful exchanges."
The 17 Principles issued by the 65 founding organizations and some 35 individuals commit travelers, among other points, to "respect all Cubans, without regard to skin color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, political persuasion, abilities or economic status."
Guild emphasized that the association has chosen this week to announce its founding, "a fitting way to commemorate the US-Cuba opening begun at this time two years ago on December 17th," and said RESPECT is welcoming new institutional and organizational members. Those interested should write to email@example.com
For more information contact:
- Bob Guild, Vice President, Marazul, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gail Reed, Founding Director, MEDICC, email@example.com
- Walter Turner, President, Global Exchange, firstname.lastname@example.org
Southwest Airlines flight #100 from Tampa and Fort Lauderdale began direct service Dec. 12, 2016
Radical books make great gifts for your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and comrades.
We put together a Haymarket Books Gift Guide, assembling some of our books that we think will make great gifts this year, with suggestions for (just about) anyone on your list.
We have suggestions for the young person in your life looking for radical inspiration in the struggles of the past, the sports fan cheering on Colin Kaepernick as he continues to kneel for the National Anthem, or the family member or friend who's been asking you what we can do to fight Trump and organize for a better world.
Oh yeah, and everything is still 50% OFF until January 3rd!
The Team at Haymarket Books
To get your 50% discount on all Books, eBooks, DVDs, and CDs at checkout, type in the coupon code: Gift
To take advantage of this offer, click on the links below and add any item(s) into your shopping cart. There is no minimum (or maximum) order.
Click on the title or image of each book to see more information and a preview online. If you are more of the adventurous type, just click HERE and browse our webstore.