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Tidbits - Sept. 5, 2019 - Reader Comments: Case for Impeachment; Climate Strike; Tax Scam; State of Labor Unions; Sara Nelson; Ilhan Omar; Bernie Sanders; Amazon Fires; German Greens; Puerto Rico; Cuba Tourism; Protest Songs; Resources, Announcements

Reader Comments: Case for Impeachment; Climate Strike; Tax Scam; State of Labor Unions; Sara Nelson; Ilhan Omar; Bernie Sanders; Amazon Fires; German Greens; Puerto Rico; Cuba Tourism; Protest Songs; Resources, Announcements; more...

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Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources, Announcements AND cartoons - Sept. 5, 2019, Portside

Re: In One Week, Trump Makes the Case for Impeachment (Daniel Millstone; Meredith Tax; Angel Mejias Jr.)
Cone Of Uncertainty  --  cartoon by Rob Rogers
Re: Yup, Trump Did Scam Us (Maurice G Beaudoin; Karen Richardson; Dominick Cross; Blain Normand)
Re: Three Things You Should Know about Trump’s Racially-Motivated Immigration Wealth Test (Philip Specht)
Re: Americans’ Approval of Labor Unions Reaches 16-Year High (The Laura Flanders Show)
Re: Sara Nelson, The New Face of Labor Unions (Xenia Fanduiz; UMass Lowell Labor Education Program)
Re: Beyond Labor Day: 3 Ways Unions Have Helped American Workers (International Labor Communications Association
Re: "Democratic Socialists Look To Take Over New York's Powerful Labor Unions (Joel Schwartz)
Re: Why Doctors Should Organize (Susan Rosenthal)
Re: Bernie Wants to Seize the Means of Electricity Production (Tom Trumper; Brad Smith; Bruce Wilson)
Re: When Is Accused of Anti-Semitism, It’s News. When a Republican Smears Muslims, There’s Silence. (Stanley Haynes; Hayyim Feldman; Judyth Hollub)
Bolsonaro Fiddles  --  cartoon by Robert Ariail
Re: A Top Financier of Trump and McConnell Is a Driving Force Behind Amazon Deforestation; The Amazon Fires Are More Dangerous Than WMDs (Ed Delgado; Bill Rabinovitch; Al Cholger)
Re: Fossil DNA Reveals New Twists in Modern Human Origins (Al Jackson)
Re: `Anti-Alien Hysteria:' Journalist Elizabeth Glendower Evans and the Trial of Sacco and Vanzetti (Leon Sverdlov)
Re: Germany’s Future Is Being Decided on the Left, Not the Far Right (Stan Nadel)
Are German Greens On The Left? -response to Germany's Future Is Being Decided on the Left, Not the Far Right (Victor Grossman)
Re: A Man of Many Words (Thomas E. Kleven)
Re: Puerto Rico: The Shift from Mass Protests to People's Assemblies (Paul Lutton)
Despite the Blockade, Three Million Tourists Have Visited Cuba (Granma)

Resources:

State of The Unions 2019 (CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies)
The Great Recession Ten Years On (William J. Barclay - Chicago Political Economy Group)
New Resource - Did You Eat Yet? (18 Million Rising)
David Byrne Curates a Playlist of Great Protest Songs Written Over the Past 60 Years: Stream Them Online (Ted Mills - Open Culture)

Announcements:

"The Years of Fierro" is premiering in California! - Watsonville, Fresno, Stockton, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles - September 5 - 9 (Death Penalty Focus)
New Mexico RISING - 2nd NM Climate Disruption Film Festival - Albuquerque - September 6 - 7
Jazz and Self Determination - New York - September 7 (The People's Forum)
Change is Coming - Global Climate Strike - September 20 (Peoples Climate Movement NY)
From the Philippines to NYC: We Walk Out for Climate (Nella Pineda-Marcon - 350.org)
Workers Support Global Climate Strike - video from Labor Network for Sustainability

 

Re: In One Week, Trump Makes the Case for Impeachment
 

Because impeachment is a political issue and because, as I read the politics of it, no impeachment effort will bear fruit, the useful Dahlia Lithwick essay here is more about really appalling trump practices than about removing him from office. The misbegotten GOP is thoroughly tied to Trump's racism, anti-worker, anti-environmental, anti-people program. So imo, only a significant trump rejection at the polls will help begin the process of realignment. Thanks to Portside for the link.

Daniel Millstone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

"Donald Trump every day does one or two or seven things far more dangerous and destabilizing than anything we once considered an impeachable offense. He has invited hostile powers to usurp elections. He has undermined congressional will and threatened witnesses against him. He attacks and undermines the courts and the free press and violates basic principles of separation of powers, all of which violate his own oath of office. He attempts daily to enrich himself with foreign money, and he has overseen the systematic abuse and degradation of immigrants and asylum-seekers. He is also, by any historical measure, committing multiple impeachable offenses, endangering national security, and harming vulnerable communities. There is a constitutional remedy for that. We should avail ourselves of it."

Meredith Tax
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

Still no idea why out of this 60 % of voters around the country, there is not a million marcher in each city demanding impeachment? Incomprehensible to me. Shall we wait for a needless war to be started by this maniac to see the light. Is there a Defense Department willing to follow in an order from this crack nut? So sad to see a country going to waste for lack of bravery and common sense. I fear the near future.

Angel Mejias Jr.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Cone Of Uncertainty  --  cartoon by Rob Rogers
 

Rob Rogers
September 4, 2019
robrogers.com

 

Re: Yup, Trump Did Scam Us
 

(posting on Portside Labor)
 

The scam is bigger than the tax fiasco.

Maurice G Beaudoin
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

And are any Republicans READING THIS????

Karen Richardson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

No, not us. 'Us' in the collateral damage sense, perhaps. But a lot more of 'us' did not and never would vote for him. He scammed his supporters. Period.

Dominick Cross
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

Peoples ignorance and racism made them WANT to believe the Orange Turd.

Blain Normand
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: PUBLIC CHARGE: Three Things You Should Know about Trump’s Racially-Motivated Immigration Wealth Test
 

Bring me your wealthy, your brilliant, your athletic but not those poor, those hungry, and those needy. That's not Saint Peter at the immigration gate, it's Donald Trump.

Philip Specht
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Americans’ Approval of Labor Unions Reaches 16-Year High
 

"Americans now have a more positive view of unions than they generally did in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, though unions still fall short of the marks they hit in the 1950s." 
- Portside

Watch this week's special report on labor

The Laura Flanders Show
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Sara Nelson, The New Face of Labor Unions

(posting on Portside Labor)
 

She would have my vote, as president of the union.

She told Stahl, "If it is unsafe, we will refuse to work those flights."

"Can you do that?"

"We have that right. We have that right today

Imagine, if when we had unsafe staffing, we refused to accept it.

Xenia Fanduiz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

You can see Sara Nelson at the North Shore Labor Council's annual dinner this October!

UMass Lowell Labor Education Program
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Beyond Labor Day: 3 Ways Unions Have Helped American Workers

(posting on Portside Labor)

Heartening when this type of story appears in the mass media.

International Labor Communications Association
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: "Democratic Socialists Look To Take Over New York's Powerful Labor Unions

(posting on Portside Labor)

As a lifelong union activist and relatively recent member of DSA, the headline certainly grabbed my interest, mostly because I haven't heard anything remotely resembling any discussion around "taking over" any union. I didn't have to go past paragraph 2 to see that this was an article about a document circulating in DSA about how to look at our labor strategy going forward. It was described as a "gaining entry" strategy, which is exactly what the article and the linked paper were about. 

There was nothing about "taking over" any union, through traditional or non-traditional methods. It was a perfectly reasonable article, as was the DSA paper that it was linked to. I write because the headline, which had virtually nothing to do with the article, became an unnecessary distraction that labor leaders reacted to, instead of the actual content of the article, which was unfortunate. I don't think anyone in DSA has any illusions about "taking over" anything, much less an established union. 

It didn't help, in this case, for Portside to print the article with a very misleading headline.

Joel Schwartz

 

Re: Why Doctors Should Organize
 

I am a retired Canadian physician and the author of  Rebel Minds: Class War, Mass Suffering, and the Urgent Need for Socialism (2019)

In “Why Doctors Should Organize,” Eric Topol describes deteriorating working conditions that compromise patient care, yet he fails to explain why physicians do not organize an effective fight for what they and their patients need. 

The answer is that physicians are part of the managerial class. The capitalist class are too small in numbers to dominate society directly, so they rely on a layer of managers to enforce their rule at work and in society at large.

Since the onset of industrial capitalism, inequality has been identified as the primary source of human suffering. Physicians are trained to deny this reality. In practice, they treat human suffering as an internal defect best managed by experts at the individual level. 

Medical training is based on a managerial point of view that treats people who suffer as problems to be fixed, rather than as capable problem-solvers who should have what they need to solve their problems.

The licence to practice medicine is conditional on the physician rationing access to social resources on the false presumptions that a) there is not enough to go around and b) most people cannot be trusted to make good decisions about their health or their lives. The physician complies by providing, restricting, or denying access to drugs, medical treatments, and social supports. Such restrictions add to the burden of human suffering, as evidenced by the lack of access to abortion and the growing number of preventable opioid deaths.

As Topol points out, doctors resent the factory-based methods of raising productivity that reduce how much control they have over their work. This lessening of control has prompted some to claim that doctors have been pushed into the working class, a class that is denied any decision-making power. This is mistaken.

Professionals are trained to manage human suffering, so their decision-making power cannot be removed entirely. However, deteriorating working conditions have prompted some medical professionals to identify as workers, join unions (such as NUHW), and go on strike. This challenge is countered by recruiting more higher-paid managers to discipline the lower ranks. As Topol observed, 

“Over the last four decades, the number of health-care administrators in the United States has grown by thirty-two hundred per cent, while the number of doctors only increased by a hundred and fifty per cent.”

Topol advocates a managerial solution to the problems he raises.

"By freeing physicians from the tasks that interfere with human connection, AI will create space for the real healing that takes place between a doctor who can listen and a patient who needs to be heard." 

However, he notes that “deep-learning algorithms have, at best, narrow capabilities — and yet it seems inevitable that managers will ignore medical realities in favor of the bottom line.”

The solution for conscientious medical professionals is to a) recognize the political role they play under capitalist rule and b) cross the class line in order to organize and fight as workers, alongside other workers, to ensure that everyone gets what they need. 

This will not happen as long as physicians seek managerial or expert-driven solutions to the problem of human suffering under capitalist rule.

Susan Rosenthal

 

Re: Bernie Wants to Seize the Means of Electricity Production
 

Most countries already do this.

Tom Trumper
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

Great idea!

Brad Smith

     =====

This guy is the closest thing that comes to saving the US, and it's still not enough.

Bruce Wilson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: When Ilhan Omar Is Accused of Anti-Semitism, It’s News. When a Republican Smears Muslims, There’s Silence.
 

The press has always been sensational in terms of what it will and won't say. Islamophobia is the current "we won't talk about this." So, alt-media has to step up and fill the void. Good article.

Stanley Haynes
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

Excerpt:

Can you imagine the reaction if Ilhan Omar had said that Jews had become the “dominant influence” within the Republican Party, or if she had decried the “growing influence” of the Jewish religion in the GOP? Or if she had spoken about Jews gaining “greater and greater influence” in elections?....

Yet Brooks makes these outrageous and bigoted claims about Muslims and Islam and …? Silence. A shameful and very deafening silence. No headlines. No op-eds. No panels. No reporters chasing down House Republicans and demanding a condemnation or disavowal from them.

Hayyim Feldman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

From this article: 

"what about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? Why isn’t she drafting a congressional resolution to condemn Brooks, as she did for Omar? Where are the statements of outrage from Chuck Schumer and Steny Hoyer, who were so quick to go after one of their own? Why aren’t MSNBC and CNN rolling on this? How come the Washington Post and the New York Times aren’t publishing long pieces about the GOP’s Islamophobia problem? Why aren’t the liberal columnists who lined up to slam Omar now writing op-eds denouncing this blatant and undeniable racism from Brooks?"

Why, indeed.

Judyth Hollub
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Bolsonaro Fiddles  --  cartoon by Robert Ariail
 

Robert Ariail
August 27, 2019

 

Re: A Top Financier of Trump and McConnell Is a Driving Force Behind Amazon Deforestation; The Amazon Fires Are More Dangerous Than WMDs
 

This destruction is caused by the economic policy of extraction

Ed Delgado
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

Powerful probing article - very much I didn't know how it all works...

Bill Rabinovitch
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

US money and influence is behind the Bolsonaro coup and this environmental calamity.

Al Cholger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Fossil DNA Reveals New Twists in Modern Human Origins
 

LET US NOT FORGET 'LUCY' WHOSE REMAINS WERE UNEARTHED IN UGAND.

3,000,000 years old.

Al Jackson, Historian/Curator and Proud of my People.

 

Re: `Anti-Alien Hysteria:' Journalist Elizabeth Glendower Evans and the Trial of Sacco and Vanzetti
 

Sacco and Vanzetti both were executed in the electric chair on August 23, 1927. A reporter in September 1927 wrote: "They laid their bodies in a little undertaker's place in the North End of Boston where the Italians live in great number, and for three days and late into the night an endless file passed between the coffins and the wall, the space so narrow that time was allowed for scarce more than a glance. There were mounds of flowers upon the coffins and in the corners of the room, and masses of them outside in an entrance room."

She also quoted Vanzetti's remarks to the judge who had sentenced him to death: "If it had not been for these things, I might have live [sic] out my life, talking at street corners to scorning men. 1 might have die [sic], unmarked, unknown, a failure. Now we are not a failure. This is our career and our triumph. Never in our full life can we hope to do such work for tolerance, for justice, for man's understanding of man, as now we do by an accident."

Fifty years after their deaths, in 1977, Sacco and Vanzetti were exonerated by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, who said in a proclamation that their trial and execution "should serve to remind all civilized people of the constant need to guard against our susceptibility to prejudice, our intolerance of unorthodox ideas, and our failure to defend the rights of persons who are looked upon as strangers in our midst."

Leon Sverdlov
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Germany’s Future Is Being Decided on the Left, Not the Far Right
 

Good, but it ignores die Linke.  The question for leftists is why wasn’t die Linke able to profit from the economic crisis of the last decade while increasing dissatisfaction led to a massive increase in support for the far right even before the massive migration of 2015 gave them a new basis of xenophobic support. I’m still waiting for a convincing analysis of this. The German Aufstehen was one failed attempt to compensate for this, but they never provided a real analysis.

Stan Nadel

 

Are German Greens On The Left? (response to Germany's Future Is Being Decided on the Left, Not the Far Right)
 

by Victor Grossman

Comments on "Germany's Future Is Being Decided on the Left, Not the Far Right" by Noah Barkin in "The Atlantic", August 28, 2019 (used by Portside, August 29) https://portside.org/2019-08-28/germanys-future-being-decided-left-not-…

True enough, as this article points out, the German party called The Greens has soared to an amazingly strong position in the political spectrum; with some hope for success it is even grasping for the very top job soon to be vacated by Angela Merkel. But placing it on "the Left" is not at all so certain. It may be green in its environment program but, unlike its American namesake, in terms of political hues it is by no means so clearly in the red, or leftist, rainbow sector.

The party began nearly fifty years ago as a radical, angrily-attacked antidote to the stolid West German scene. With its feminist, anti-establishment, equalitarian and above all environmentally conscious words and actions, symbolized by wearing sneakers to government receptions and hand-knitted sweaters to parliamentary sessions, its break with traditions was almost a shade of Woodstock ten years earlier.

But its "realo" faction outscored its "fundis", pragmatic "realists" beat leftist "fundamentalists". When it joined a government coalition with the Social Democrats on the federal level in 1998, its radical aspects retreated. The major break came when Joschka Fischer, its leader and foreign minister, sent German bombers against Serbia, a brutal war crime based on lies (now increasingly coming to light). It was the first time since 1945 that Germans in uniform (in planes) killed people outside their national borders, and was made possible by German unification nine years earlier - and by the Greens. In its years sharing the helm of state, until 2005, a whole series of measures were also passed against Germans at home -hitting hardest at the jobless and at pensioners, while the wealthy were not just spared but richly rewarded with a multibillion cut in taxes.

Somehow, whenever the Greens gain state power, in those years on the national level or in state-level cabinet posts, their militancy often gets diluted like over-watered coffee in a bad cafe‚.

Strong on equality for women, LGBTI rights, on opposing racism, hatred of foreigners and neo-fascists of every new brand and variety, they gained their big new increase in strength largely thanks to growing awareness by millions of the rapid destruction of our environment, felt clearly in rising temperatures, droughts and floods. Their sins in federal cabinets were largely forgotten after 2005; indeed, a major plus point is currently their simple absence from any wimpy federal government.

But it's better not to look too closely at their actions on state levels. After fighting long and conspicuously against further extending the huge Frankfurt airport - "Save our environment!" - they made the then unusual decision to join in a state government with the right-wing Christian Democratic Union (CDU). When their leader became deputy minister president and economics minister, they somehow forgot opposition and approved the extension (though the Herr Minister himself was somehow unable to attend its fancy opening ceremony, with or without sneakers and a wool sweater.   

A year ago a majority of Germans, with the Greens among the loudest, celebrated the decision to save the ancient Hambacher Forest between Cologne and Aachen after its passionate defense by countless demonstrators, with some holding out in tree huts. Rarely mentioned was the fact that five years earlier, when the Greens shared coalition posts with the Social Democrats ruling the state of North-Rhine-Westphalia, their three cabinet ministers had all approved cutting down the forest in favor of open pit lignite coal digging.  

Another example is from northern Schleswig-Holstein. While handsome Green national co-chair Robert Habeck loudly calls for capping rent levels - an urgent demand now heard on many sides - the three-party coalition up there, with the CDU and the Greens and the openly pro-capitalist Free German Party (FDP), quietly lifted the existing state lid on rent increases. Again the Greens bowed to their "Christian" partner.

In the state of Baden-Wurttemberg in southwest Germany the Greens also joined in a coalition with the CDU-rightists, but this time, in the first and only case thus far in Germany, as head of a state government. But here, too. their somehow still popular, tall, scratchy-voiced Minister President Winfried Kretschmann seemed to overlook his Green roots. His roots searched richer soil; the giant Daimler-Benz maker of Mercedes cars is centered near his capital, Stuttgart. As he has often made clear, he knows which fertilizer is most advantageous. For years his special sleek green Mercedes government vehicle was famous for its 441 horse power. "I am very big and I need to travel quickly" he explained. (But a critical journalist asked if he really needed a speed of up to 150 mph.)

When even greater speed is necessary, he flies. Dismissing the highly-publicized demands of Robert Habeck for an ecological  ban on domestic flights in Germany he said: "I don't think much of all that moralizing . We shouldn't dictate people's style of life." That also seems to apply when Daimler, like Volkswagen, BMW and the others go in for a bit of leaded exhaust pipe trickery.

The Greens have been finding it ever easier to abandon earlier inhibitions about teaming up with the right-wing Christian CDU - and making all kinds of compromises while doing so.

In this way, they seem to be replacing the Social Democrats, who have long been doing the same thing - and thus moving currently to the brink of disaster; their membership has halved, their status in national polls is now at 13 percent. This has forced them into an almost desperate hunt for new leaders; about a dozen male-female duos now choke the field of candidates, somewhat like US presidential campaigns. It is also forcing them to add an almost forgotten left-sounding timbre to their voices, at least when elections approach.

The Greens also speak in progressive tones - and still take some positions in that direction. Maybe a fitting symbol for them would be some kind of mixed bag, some contents generally attractive, others attractive only as coalition partners for the CDU, for unlike the Social Democrats they have almost no complicating ties to the union movement, hence must make no traditional bows in that direction. The Green membership was largely based on once rebellious collegians, most of whom are now highly educated, upper middle-class professionals. It is not yet clear if this base is now broadening.

When it comes to foreign policy, they are more Russophobic than any other party, always from a purely humanitarian standpoint, of course, like some American politicians on both sides of the aisle.  While the Social Democrats sometimes lean here and there towards diplomacy in a world threatened constantly by the menace of atomic war, the Greens lean all too often toward confrontation.

But the Greens are not a monolithic bunch. Some members and some local groups still recall progressive trends from their past - and not exclusively restricted to well-spoken words.

The three states in Eastern Germany now facing elections (two of them on Sunday) will be forced to decide on coalitions; no party will be strong enough to rule alone, most likely not even in two-party tandems.  In Thuringia (due to vote in October) and Berlin, the Greens, Social Democrats and the LINKE (Left) have long since combined to get a majority of seats. This will very likely happen now in Brandenburg; in Saxony it may even be necessary for those three to accept the CDU as boss in a four-way attempt - if only to keep the fascistic Alternative for Germany (AfD) out of office. With German politics ever more chaotic, the elections and weeks that follow will be of critical importance. Millions are waiting with bated breath!

 

Re: A Man of Many Words

(posting on Portside Culture)
 

Interesting article.  Who controls the meaning of words controls the way people think, yes?

Thomas E. Kleven

 

Re: Puerto Rico: The Shift from Mass Protests to People's Assemblies
 

An excellent article - thank you. The following is intended to start interest in an assembly in Vieques: UNITED WE WIN, DIVIDED WE FAIL During and after the crisis caused by Maria, we saw community leaders and volunteers emerge and come forward in response to the needs of our fellow neighbors. We discovered strength, talent, inventiveness, and a desire to fix what was broken and make things better for all of us in Vieques. We united in a mission to save the island. Most residents pulled together as a team regardless of their allegiances to any political party. Through these efforts we did more than survive: we discovered what could be done through our collective, focused action. 

We saw the huge inadequacies in our pre-Maria government services. We were knocked over by the revelations of Rickyleaks and realized beyond any doubt that our emperors had no clothes. The usual practices of the Blue and Red have been responsible for much of the retardation of our island's growth and opportunities for success. The constant flip-flop of power between the parties was an endless recycling of the gravy train for high level political elites, but it was an absolute disaster for the people of Puerto Rico. 

Traditionally, the self-serving patronage practices in Vieques have caused destructive partisan hiring practices and shifted the focus from "What's good for Vieques?" to "What's good for my party and my reelection?" Any long-term solution to the many problems of our island requires a unified renovation of our existing formal political structure in Vieques. We have all become quite cynical when viewing local politics, so it is hard to have a significant discussion on how to change our system to cater to the needs of the island. We know we are the tail of the dog and that we will not be able to change the party or voting process. On the other hand, we might be able to change the outcomes while utilizing the existing legal procedures. 

What if we shifted the orientation of our own electorate and created support for candidates from any party who have platforms that address the critical needs of our island. We should form a "sub-party", call it the Sato Group (or something clever), whose role it is to establish a platform that anyone can endorse and pledge to honor. The Satos will then aid and assist the most credible candidate(s) in their efforts to get elected regardless of party affiliations. The Sato Platform The platform should be based strictly upon elements that are important to the growth, health, well-being, and future of Vieques. 

Not everyone will have the same vision, nor will all agree on the specifics of issues, but we must, as a group, reach consensus on the basics. Have the Blue and the Red ever really stood for the improvement of Vieques? Components of the platform might include: 

    1. Communications and information distribution from the municipio should become a daily routine and receive a very high priority to keep citizens aware of opportunities and all government activities 

    2. Transparency in all government activities spending money, awarding contracts, planning, etc. - everything but real time personnel and legal procedures/negotiations. 

    3. Hiring should be based upon integrity, education, experience, skills, performance, and appropriateness of the job fit - not on personal or political affiliations. Our government team is only half as strong as it could and should be when we don't make use of the good people of both parties: the best people we have available! 

    4. Municipal positions should be created and maintained only for the most necessary and critical functions - not as welfare or patronage 

    5. Land titles to all municipal lands should be solidified through proper surveys and legal procedures to encourage the sale of applicable properties: those justly in the possession of the inhabitants or vacant/derelict/abandoned properties for community development 

    6. Random Central Government real estate parcels and buildings not being used for PR purposes should be deeded to Vieques 

    7. Through increased autonomy, the municipality should take over all property tax functions - from record keeping, to appraisal, to tax collection - CRIM in Vieques should be totally eliminated 

    8. Grant writing should become a very high priority to secure funding for the many needs of the island - consultants should be contracted if necessary 

    9. The ferry service to and from Ceiba should be owned by the municipality as a government entity or a cooperative, and the operation should be contracted out BUT controlled locally - subsidies would be negotiated with PR and the Federal Transportation Administration 

    10. Electrical power generation through mostly solar and distribution through micro-grids should be owned by the municipality as a government entity or a cooperative, BUT the operation should be contracted out and controlled locally 

    11. For all but extreme cases, criminal and civil violations or complaints should be arraigned and tried in Vieques - even if it must be accomplished by video conferencing - and a short-term jail should be provided and equipped to obviate the need for transport 

    12. Our local government should become involved in liaison and lobbying for any and all-important Central Government and institutions providing services to Vieques citizens (such as healthcare, education, social services, and economic development) 

    13. Replacement of the inventory tax for Vieques businesses 

    14. Work with PR economic development offices to utilize Promise Zone, Free Economic Zone, and Opportunity Zone programs to our advantage 

    15. Given the ever-declining likelihood of obtaining direct government funding for the repairs, rebuilding, and new development of necessary programs and infrastructure, the municipality will need to aggressively foster strong relationships with local nonprofits and national grant sources to fund essential projects and economic development. 

So much for my thoughts. Now: Would you support an effort to encourage our local candidates to pledge to honor this type of commitment? What would you add to the list? What would you take off? What do you think? 

Paul Lutton
https://www.vieques-libre.com

 

Despite the Blockade, Three Million Tourists Have Visited Cuba
 

Confidence and recognition of Cuba as an attractive and secure travel destination remains strong
 


Photo: Juvenal Balán  //  Granma

Granma
August 28, 2019

Despite campaigns organized and directed by the United States government to prevent the arrival of tourists to our country, as of August 15, Cuba had welcomed three million international visitors, thus far this year.

That so many people have chosen the island is evidence of the confidence and recognition Cuba has achieved as a travel destination, offering not only natural and cultural attractions, but also security.

According to information from the Ministry of Tourism, Canada remains the number one emissary market, followed by European countries, with Russia showing the most growth.

Cuba plans to continue expanding the number of rooms available and the construction of hotels, as Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz reported to the National Assembly last July, also stating that the arrival of more than 4,300,000 tourists is expected by the end 2019.

 

State of The Unions 2019 (CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies)
 

New Study Shows that Organized Labor Remains Far Stronger in New York City and State than in the Nation, but Union Erosion Contributed to Disproportionately Low-Wage Job Growth 

Here is our annual State of the Unions Labor Day report for New York City, State, and the US.

Union density has declined in NYC, though there is a slight uptick in the public sector despite the Janus ruling.

In the ten years since the great recession, there has been notable job growth in NYC and state. However, most of those jobs are low wage and non-union.

Despite the decline, your odds of having a living wage job are better when you have a union.

See the report here (PDF).

 

The Great Recession Ten Years On (William J. Barclay - Chicago Political Economy Group)
 

This article describes the failure of the US economy from the onset of the Great Recession and calls into question the claims of trump that this is "the greatest economy ever." It suggests where a Democratic presidential candidate can attack trump on what at first may appear to be his strong point.

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/30e282_042e951437114b1da80cb2136aedbec8.pdf

William Barclay

 

New Resource - Did You Eat Yet? (18 Million Rising)
 

Welcome to “Did You Eat Yet?” 18MR’s new monthly newsletter! We chose this name because asking if you’ve eaten yet is one way that many Asian Americans show care for each other. This is a space for deep cuts like follow up on how campaigns are moving forward, access to our rad reading list, where we’re living on the internet, and how you can plug into events happening near you. Every month you’ll get a carefully curated newsletter from a member of the 18MR team that we hope lights up your day. /

[18MillionRising.org (18MR.org) brings Asian American communities together online and offline to reimagine Asian American identity with nuance, specificity, and power. We are using this Asian American identity as the foundation to build a more just and creative world where our experiences are affirmed, our leadership is valued, and all of us have the opportunity to thrive.

Using technology and popular culture, we develop new ways for Asian Americans and our allies to collaborate, create new ways of being, and transform the world around us. We utilize digital-first advocacy tactics to elevate the voices of and mobilize our over 120,000 members to take action on issues that matter to them. We create meeting places online where young Asian Americans can deliberate together about what it means to be Asian American in the 21st century.]

18MillionRising.org (18MR.org)

Direct general inquiries, including speaker requests for any of our current staff, can be sent to info@18millionrising.org.

 

David Byrne Curates a Playlist of Great Protest Songs Written Over the Past 60 Years: Stream Them Online
 

Listen here 

By Ted Mills
December 13, 2018
Open Culture

When you hear the words “protest song,” what do you see? Is it a folkie like Bob Dylan or Joan Baez delivering songs about injustice? Is it an earnest young thing with a guitar? Is it trapped in 1960s amber, while time has moved on to more ambiguity, more nihilism, more solipsism?

British writers--and may we add amateur folksingers--Jonathan Luxmoore and Christine Ellis made this lament over two years ago in the pages of The Guardian, in an opinion piece entitled, “Not talkin' bout a revolution: where are all the protest songs?” Here they blame the immediacy of social media, the rise of aspirational hip hop, and the decline of radical politics. They end, presciently, with a Jeremy Corbyn-shaped hope for change. Well, look where we are now. Things developed rather quickly, did they not?

(And as a side note, I would suggest the 1980s as a way more protest-filled music decade than the 1960s. Because of the self-aggrandizement of 1960s curators, they claim more than they did. But nearly every pop, rock, r’n’b, and hip hop act of the ‘80s has at least one political song in its discography.)

Enter David Byrne, whose mission apart from his day job as a musician is to bring hope to the masses with a determined optimism. He’s here to say that the protest song never went away, only our definition of it. And he’s brought the receipts, or rather the playlist above, to prove his point:

...in fact, they now come from all directions in every possible genre—country songs, giant pop hits, hip hop, classic rock, indie and folk. Yes, maybe there weren’t many songs questioning the wisdom of invading Iraq, but almost every other issue has been addressed.

Stretching over six decades, the playlist demonstrates the various forms protest can take, from describing racial violence (Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” to Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout”) to bemoaning economic injustice (The Specials’ “Ghost Town”) and railing against war and conflict (U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, Edwin Starr’s “War”). Sometimes declaring the positive and gaining a voice is enough of a protest: you could argue that James Brown’s “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud)” did more for equality than any song about racism. Bikini Kills’ “Rebel Girl” does similar things for third-wave feminism.

But Byrne wisely gives voice to those who feel they’re swimming against any resistance tide:

I’ve even included a few songs that “protest the protests.” Buck Owens, the classic country artist from Bakersfield, for example, has two songs here. “Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer,” is a celebration of Americans who feel they are unnoticed, left behind. One might call it a populist anthem, but I think the reference to white socks is intentionally meant to be funny—in effect, it says: “we know who we are, we know how uncool white socks are.”

Look, it’s easy to believe that songs “changed the world” when they are easily accessible to hear decades later but the boots-on-the-ground marches and revolutionary acts from which they sprang are now just photographs, film reels, and foggy memories. But who can deny the gut punch of this year’s “This Is America” from Childish Gambino, the continued excellence of Killer Mike and/or Run the Jewels, and any number of songs that document our outrage? The songs of protest continue as long as there is injustice.

And in the case of David Byrne, covering a modern protest song and adding to its list of names, is what can keep an idea, a memory, and a feeling alive for a new audience. Here he is at the encore of his current tour, covering Janelle Monae’s “Hell You Talmbout,” a memorial to all the black lives killed by law enforcement.
 

Watch here

“Here was a protest song that doesn’t hector or preach at us,” he said in an article for the Associated Press. “It simply asks us to remember and acknowledge these lives that have been lost, lives that were taken from us through injustice, though the song leaves that for the listener to put together. I love a drum line, so that aspect of the song sucked me in immediately as well. The song musically is a celebration and lyrically a eulogy. Beautiful.”

He also wisely asked permission to cover such a recent song, especially when it’s an older white man lending his voice to it. But Monae gave her blessing:

“I thought that was so kind of him and of course I said yes. The song’s message and names mentioned need to be heard by every audience.”

Related Content:

When South Africa Banned Pink Floyd’s The Wall After Students Chanted “We Don’t Need No Education” to Protest the Apartheid School System (1980)

Tom Waits Releases a Timely Cover of the Italian Anti-Fascist Anthem “Bella Ciao,” His First New Song in Two Years

Hear a 4 Hour Playlist of Great Protest Songs: Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Bob Marley, Public Enemy, Billy Bragg & More

David Byrne Creates a Playlist of Eclectic Music for the Holidays: Stream It Free Online

[Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the artist interview-based FunkZone Podcast and is the producer of KCRW's Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.]

 

"The Years of Fierro" is premiering in California! - Watsonville, Fresno, Stockton, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles - September 5 - 9 (Death Penalty Focus)
 

We are excited to announce the California Premier Tour of The Years of Fierro (Los Años de Fierro), the award winning documentary by Director Santiago Esteinou and distributed by EPF Media.

The film chronicles the ordeal of César Fierro, a Mexican National, who has been languishing in a Texas prison for almost forty years for a crime that evidence shows he did not commit. One of the most painful consequences of César's incarceration is the effect that the injustice and separation have had on his younger brother, Sergio, demonstrating how this miscarriage of justice resonates beyond one wrongfully imprisoned man.

The Years of Fierro is a compassionate portrayal of César Fierro and the psychological hardship that he endures while awaiting his final day. It was an Official Selection at the Toronto International Film Festival and was invited to more than 30 other festivals, winning the Audience Award at the Santiago International Documentary Festival in Chile, the Best Documentary and Best Director Award at the Costa Rica International Film Festival, and receiving a nomination for the Mexican Academy Award (Ariel) for Best Feature Length Documentary.

Death Penalty Focus and EPF Media are bringing this film to California for the first time ever, and most of these screenings will be free and open to the public.

There are currently six screenings scheduled throughout the state. Director Santiago Esteinou will be hosting audience Q&As after the screenings along with special guest panelists. Additional screenings and details will be added to our Facebook events page.

The Years of Fierro: California Premier Tour 
Dates, Locations, and Tickets, and More

Thursday, September 5

Watsonville Film Festival at the Watsonville Public Library
Watsonville, CA
6:00 PM - Free and open to the public

More info
RSVP

Friday, September 6

CineCulture at California State University, Fresno
Fresno, CA
5:30 PM - Free and open to the public

More info

Saturday, September 7

I Am/Yo Soy Club at San Jaoquin Delta College
Stockton, CA
11:00 AM - Free and open to the public

More info and RSVP

Roxie Theater
San Francisco, CA
4:00 PM - $13 general admission

Tickets
More info

Sunday, September 8

San Diego Media Arts Center - Digital Gym
San Diego, CA
5:00 PM - $11 general admission - Joined by DPF Executive Director Nancy Haydt

Tickets and more info

Monday, September 9

Los Angeles Public Library, Room A
Los Angeles, CA
5:30 PM - Free and open to the public

More info 
We hope to see you there!

--The Team at Death Penalty Focus

PS: We are also hosting a special reception event for Sr. Helen Prejean on Thursday, September 5 at 6:00 PM. The event will take place at Book Passage in Corte Madera (Marin County), CA. Click here for tickets and more information. https://www.universe.com/events/death-penalty-focus-reception-for-sr-he…

Death Penalty Focus
1555 River Park Dr, #150
Sacramento, CA 95815
Tel. 415.243.0143 - Fax 415.766.4593

 

New Mexico RISING - 2nd NM Climate Disruption Film Festival - Albuquerque - September 6 - 7

 

UNM Continuing Education Center
1634 University Boulevard NE
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Join us in exploring the effects of climate disruption globally and here in New Mexico, while also learning how you can make a difference.

For questions, or to apply to table, email info@nmclimatefilmfest.org.

Download the printable (PDF) flyers here
(Hold the Alt/Option key and click on the image to download)

 

Jazz and Self Determination - New York - September 7 (The People's Forum)
 

Saturday, Sept. 7 at 4 PM - 7 PM

The People's Forum 
320 West 37th Street
New York, New York 10018

Its time for "Jazz and Self Determination" once again at The People's Forum.

This is our sixth edition of discussions that feature musicians defining the narrative concerning the synthesis of jazz and social activity.

The focus is the history of musician run festivals, independent record labels, social formations organized by the musicians, the black arts movement, women's liberation and archiving.

The hosts of the panel are musician/educators Ras Moshe Burnett and Althea SullyCole.

Our featured panelists are:

  • Craig Harris - Trombonist, didjeridu practitioner, educator, alumni of the Sun Ra Arkestra. Collaborator with Amiri & Amina Baraka
  • Ted Daniel - Trumpeter, composer, educator, founder of Ujamaa Records and founding member of the NY Musicians Organization.
  • Syd Smart - Drummer, percussionist, composer, educator and founder of The John Coltrane Memorial Concert series.
  • One more-TBA

Be there for another educational learning experience! It is true education when the actual primaries engage in the discourse in reference to "what is" or "what isn't."

 

Change is Coming - Global Climate Strike - September 20

The Fridays For Future movement, launched by Greta Thunberg, has spread across the globe. Children and youth everywhere are joining forces to demand adults address this crisis.

This video was made by Fridays For Future India. What do you think of it?

Join the #ClimateStrike at noon on Sept. 20 in Foley Square, with a rally in Battery Park.

Sign up: https://actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/us-climate-strikes

Peoples Climate Movement NY

 

From the Philippines to NYC: We Walk Out for Climate
 

My name is Nella. I'm a New York City-based nurse as well as a member of the Nurses Union. Years ago, I made a commitment to care for people from communities affected by the climate crisis. That's why I'm joining the Global Climate Walk Out September 20th-27th. 

The current climate crisis will not leave any part of the world unscathed by disaster, and families like mine in the Philippines are currently on the frontlines dealing with the impacts. I feel a deep responsibility to take action before it's too late, and I'm hoping you will feel the same. 

Click here  

Watch this short video of union workers like me and join us on the streets September 20th-27th. Let's show the world what taking action on climate looks like - the climate crisis won't wait, so neither should we.

I've seen first-hand how the climate crisis is impacting my home communities in New York and the Philippines. In 2013, when SuperStorm Sandy ravaged NYC, it was nurses like myself that were there as first responders, evacuating patients from hospitals and filling in the gaps where traditional relief efforts were slow to respond.

Only a year later, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines and I stepped in as a medical responder to take care of survivors from the devastating aftermath. As long as we continue to allow the fossil fuel industry to drive the climate crisis, workers will continue to bear the brunt of climate chaos. Enough is enough; another future is possible if we all show up and demand it. 

Check out the map of Climate Strike events (there are already over a 100 across the US) to find one near you and RSVP for it. If one doesn't exist, consider hosting an action yourself - our organizers will walk you through each step.

This strike is for everyone. Millions of school strikers, who have been taking to the streets calling for bold climate action for over a year, want people of all ages to join them - including parents, teachers, workers, retirees and all concerned people.

This year's student climate strikes align with nursing values - like caring for one another. And with our union values - like solidarity. And on the most basic human value - survival. Let's not miss our moment. 

In unity,

Nella Pineda-Marcon

PS - Do you want help organizing your Climate Strike event, or just want to build your activist skills? Sign up here for a 350 online training.

350.org is building a global climate movement. You can connect with us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and text 350 to 83224 to get important mobile action alerts. Become a sustaining donor to keep this movement strong and growing. Looking for other ways to get involved? Check out our map to see if there's a local 350 group or event near you.

 

Workers Support Global Climate Strike - video from Labor Network for Sustainability
 

Watch here.

Young climate strikers are calling on everyone: parents, workers, and all concerned humans to join massive climate strikes and a week of climate justice actions from September 20-27. People all over the world will use their power to stop "business as usual" because the climate crisis is an emergency. Workers and unions will join young people in the streets to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels and emergency action to avoid climate breakdown.

Check out this resource from Labor Network For Sustainability about how workers can support the #ClimateStrike!

Workers and Unions: Join us on September 20th!
https://www.labor4sustainability.org/climatestrike/
https://globalclimatestrike.net

Labor Network for Sustainability
P.O. Box #5780
6909 Laurel Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20913

info@labor4sustainability.org