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PORTSIDE  July 2011, Week 4

PORTSIDE July 2011, Week 4

Subject:

Tidbits and Announcements - July 27, 2011

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 21:17:21 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (293 lines)

Tidbits and Announcements - July 27, 2011

* Re: Obama Hits The Trap Running (Chris Lowe, John)
* Re: Anders Behring Breivik is Not a Fundamentalist
  Christian, He is Something Worse (Marvin, George Fish)
* Re: Seeing 'Islamic Terror' in Norway Learning no lessons
  from Oklahoma City mistakes (Isabel Thompson)
* Civil Rights Advocates Call on Congress to Investigate
  FBI's New Intelligence Rules -- New Guidelines for
  Domestic Investigations Raise Privacy Concerns (Brennan
  Center for Justice)
* Support Verizon Workers' Fight - New York, July 30 Rally
  (CWA and IBEW)

==========

* Re: Obama Hits The Trap Running

Steve Max puts the reasons why the federal budget is not
like a household budget clearly enough for those used to
ideas like "social surplus."  I am not sure how well his
description would work with people who live more fully
immersed in our country's hegemonic ideas.

But he is wrong and far too generous, and at the same time
patronizing, in his interpretation of President Obama's
politics in the current manufactured debt ceiling crisis.
Obama did not naively fall or run into a trap.  He is a
sharp, deliberate man and he knows exactly what he is doing.
He has helped manufacture the crisis, going back to
appointing the Simpson Bowles Catfood Commission in 2009.
This year in particular he appears to be engaged in trying
to sell out core-values, structurally defining programs for
transitory minor tax concessions, based on a narrow
political calculus that he can secure enough "independent"
center-right votes to secure his re-election.

This story by Elizabeth Drew in the New York Review of Books
offers a much more persuasive account than Max's backhanded
apologia:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/aug/18/what-were-they-thinking/?pagination=false

Personally I believe the president's stratagem will fail him
himself, and bring down a good many other Democrats with
him, as some Democratic base activists and a great many more
Democratic base voters will stay home in 2012, while the
Republicans, having been insulated from the folly of their
ultras by the president's own ratification of their story
and terms of debate, will run misleading campaigns and
capture most of the center-right votes.  But even if his
clever strategists do pull an Obama electoral victory out of
the hat, Congressional Ds will get smashed if they support
the president's course, and in many cases even if they
don't, if he pursues it.

However, either, the real problem is the practical disaster
for the people and the country of the course that he is
charting, which joins other unfolding disasters relating to
war and empire and related spending, and undermining human
rights and civil liberties.

At the level of party politics, the question is whether
Obama hal snuffed out the last vestiges of the Depression
and post-World War II role of the Democratic Party in
securing certain basic interests for working people.  That
role was never complete, marred by racialist exclusions in
its early phases, then later by increasing preference to
cater to the corporate side of the party's divided financial
base, and by military-imperial politics that undermined
organized workers' power consistently after the war.  But
however imperfectly, the role was there until the 1970s,
when it began to shrink.  Now it is almost gone.  If Obama
puts his program through, it will be gone.  If he is
defeated due to his wrong-headed politics, it also probably
will be gone, because his failure will be blamed by the
party powers that backed him and Hillary Clinton in 2008 on
the party not being far enough right; he will be said,
mendaciously, to have been too liberal.  Finally, it is very
hard to see any room for a progressive push to save him from
himself at this point.

So it looks to me like Barack Obama has completed the work
begun by Jimmy Carter and the Reagan-era DLC, and pushed far
forward by Bill Clinton.

Chris Lowe 
Portland, Oregon

===

* Re: Obama Hits The Trap Running

Buying back bonds is not the same as printing money.

John

==========

* Re: Anders Behring Breivik is Not a Fundamentalist
Christian, He is Something Worse

Kind of sloppy, but very interesting analysis.

Marvin

===

Why did you post this bombastic rant?  surely there had to
be better commentaries out there on the basis fo the
Norwegian massacre than  Rivera-Jones' childish screed.

In fact, your moderator Carl Bloice posted an excerpt from a
better one, when he posted this below:

    'As news of the horrifying massacre on the Norwegian
    island of Utoya began spreading, it wasn't long
    before it became clear that the perpetrator came out
    of the anti-Muslim, extreme nationalist camp. For
    years, he had been leaving his traces in several
    right-wing blogs and in other online writings.

    'It also didn't take long for those behind many of
    the sites carrying those blogs and writings to go on
    the defensive. They immediately tried to distance
    themselves -- not, of course, from the nationalist,
    anti-Islam tone, but from the methods used.

    'Anders Behring Breivik , the message seemed to be,
    may have been a follower of right-wing convictions,
    but he had misunderstood core elements of the
    ideology. Bombs and mass murder , according to the
    argument, are not among the tools one should use in
    the effort to free the Western world from Muslims,
    multi-culturalists and Marxists. Nationalists and
    Christians, according to one right-wing blogger, do
    not murder children -- and "certainly not children
    of their own race."'

    Spiegel (Germany) July 25, 2011

Please!  Just because something sounds "left" and "radical"
does not, in itself, make it a worthwhile post.   Rivera-
Jones' rant would've been better left unposted by Portside,
which I rely on for (usually) incisive and relevant posts.

George Fish

==========

* Re: Seeing 'Islamic Terror' in Norway Learning no lessons
from Oklahoma City mistakes

I believe it was on BBC World News, very early NYC time,
someone being questioned re the sanity of Breivik made an
interesting point.  A fascist / right wing / person who
commits such a dreadful act the question becomes as to their
sanity. When a Muslim commits a dreadful act, they're a
terrorist.

Isabel Thompson

==========

* Civil Rights Advocates Call on Congress to Investigate
FBI's New Intelligence Rules -- New Guidelines for Domestic
Investigations Raise Privacy Concerns

For Immediate Release: July 27, 2011

Contact: Erik Opsal, [log in to unmask], 646-292-8356

New York, NY - Civil rights advocates called on Congress
today to investigate the reported changes to the FBI's
guidelines for domestic investigations. The proposed changes
to the Domestic Investigations Operations Guide (DIOG) are
the latest in a series of new policies that have radically
expanded the FBI's power to investigate and collect
intelligence information - often without any indication of
wrongdoing - about Americans.

According to news reports, the new version of the DIOG would
permit FBI agents to search private and government databases
on targets even when no official investigation has been
opened; to search a person's trash for material that might
pressure him or her into becoming a government informant;
and to participate "under cover" in multiple meetings of a
group, such as a religious congregation or gathering of
political activists, without restriction. The new rules
would also cut back on the oversight that is currently
required for investigations involving sensitive targets,
such as religious or political leaders.

This expansion of the FBI's authorities follows in the
footsteps of major changes implemented in 2008 through the
Attorney General's Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations.
The 2008 Guidelines allowed the FBI to use highly intrusive
investigative techniques without any objective basis for
suspicion.  They were adopted in haste and in the face of
objections from several members of Congress who sought the
opportunity to analyze the Guidelines, ask questions, and
provide input.

"Congress should not allow the FBI to once again undermine
Congress's ability to conduct meaningful oversight of FBI
activities," said Emily Berman, counsel for the Brennan
Center's Liberty and National Security Program. "Instead,
the Senate Judiciary Committee must examine these new
authorities before they go into effect to ensure the FBI is
granted investigative powers that are necessary, are
consistent with existing FBI policy and regulations, and
respect American's constitutional rights."

The letter was sent by the Brennan Center for Justice, the
Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and the Defending Dissent
Foundation.

In addition to the letter, the Brennan Center also released
"FBI: Fact or Fiction?", a document analyzing the accuracy
of several FBI and Justice Department statements on the 2008
Guidelines, the proposed changes to the DIOG, and the
investigative powers granted to the FBI. The analysis
reveals false or misleading information in all of them.

Also see the Brennan Center's recent report on the FBI's
2008 guidelines, Domestic Intelligence: New Powers, New
Risks.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please
contact Erik Opsal at [log in to unmask] or 646-292-8356.

Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
161 Avenue of the Americas, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10013
646.292.8310 phone -- 212.463.47308 fax
[log in to unmask]

==========

* Support Verizon Workers' Fight - New York, July 30 Rally

PLEASE COME OUT TO SUPPORT VERIZON WORKERS' FIGHT TO DEFEND
MIDDLE CLASS JOBS!

        MASS RALLY
        SATURDAY, JULY 30, 2011
        11:00 AM
        VERIZON HQ
        140 WEST ST
        (Lower Manhattan)
        
Support Verizon Workers' Fight to Defend Middle-Class Jobs!

The war on collective bargaining goes on, this time at
Verizon. Despite making $19.5 billion in profits and paying
out $258 million to its top 5 executives in the last 4
years, Verizon wants to take back more than 60 years of
collective bargaining and destroy middle-class jobs.

Verizon's demands include: freeze pensions for current
workers and eliminate them for future workers, allow
contracting out and offshoring of more jobs, replace
negotiated wage increases with merit pay, slash sick leave
and holidays, and completely gut health care plans for
current and retired workers.

JOIN THOUSANDS OF CWA AND IBEW WORKERS TO DEFEND MIDDLE-
CLASS JOBS AND FIGHT CORPORATE GREED!

Please Wear Red!

Communication Workers of America - www.cwa-union.org/verizon
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers -
www.ibew.org

==========

___________________________________________

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on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

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