November 2010, Week 2


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Thu, 11 Nov 2010 22:06:40 -0500
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Tidbits - November 11, 2010

* Deficit Commission just told working Americans to 'Drop
  Dead.' (Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO)
* Jews and the Civil Rights movement (Donna Spiegelman)
* Re: The Prison Boom Comes Home to Roost (Rob Holt)
* About Portside - from Malta (Reno Calleja)
* About Portside - from Germany (Dieter Sauerwald)
* Re: Battling Misinformed Consent: How Should We Respond
  To The Anti-Vaccine Movement? (Mary Anne; Ralph Sutter
  responds to Chris Horton (Tidbits: November 10, 2010)
* The CEPR Deficit Calculator
* Brecht Forum - 35th Anniversary Celebration - Nov. 15 -- 
  tickets still available


* Deficit Commission just told working Americans to 'Drop

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the
Recommendation of the Deficit Commission Chairs November 10,


The chairmen of the Deficit Commission just told working
Americans to 'Drop Dead.'  Especially in these tough
economic times, it is unconscionable to be proposing cuts to
the critical economic lifelines for working people, Social
Security and Medicare.

Some people are saying this plan is just a "starting point."
Let me be clear, it is not.

 This deficit talk reeks of rank hypocrisy:  The very people
 who want to slash Social Security and Medicare spent this
 week clamoring for more unpaid Bush tax cuts for

What we need to be focusing on now is the jobs deficit.
Working families already paid for Wall Street's party that
tanked our economy.  If we actually want to address our
economic problems, we need to end tax breaks that send
American jobs overseas and invest in creating jobs by
rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and green

Contact: Eddie Vale (202) 637-5018


* Jews and the Civil Rights movement

Portside readers may like to know about this, from the
Jewish Women's Archive:


JWA launches the Living the Legacy civil rights curriculum!

JWA is excited to announce the launch of Living the Legacy,
a new online social justice curriculum for teens that
explores the role of Jews in the Civil Rights Movement.

LTL encourages students not just to celebrate Jewish
leadership in the Civil Rights Movement but also to explore
the deep complexities and challenges of social justice
activism and to draw connections to their own lives. LTL
uses a wealth of primary sources to bring to life the
stories of women and men. It is available for free online.


Donna Spiegelman


* Re: The Prison Boom Comes Home to Roost

This is a remarkable column by Jim Carroll.

Rob Holt


* About Portside - from Malta

In  a world dominated by the right wing, conservative media
I find Portside illumative and refreshing.

I use the material I read in Portside for a fortnightly
article I write   on foreign affairs for   l-Orizzont, a
daily newspaper owned by the  largest trade union in Malta,
the General Workers Union.

After 22 years of conservative rule the small Island of
Malta is burdened  by enormous debt and riddled with
corruption. The right wing conservative Party in Malta,
known as the Nationalist Party,  is horrible at governing
but very good at winning elections.

That is why  people like me who are still advocating left
wing ideas in the Maltese Labor Party, need Portside. The
material helps me to have a different perspective which I
use in debates, articles and comments.

I am a former Minister in the Mintoff's  Labor Government of
the early eighties that since the seventies embarked and
managed to make a social revolution in this small but
beautiful Island.  It did this without causing a drop of
blood and without having one single political prisoner.

Labor was forced out of power in 1987, partly due to the
mistakes we committed after winning three successive
elections, but mostly because the conservative , right wing
forces of Europe and the Israelis could not stand the
progressive ideas the than prime minister Mintoff was
introducing in domestic and foreign affairs.

The media here, even that owned by the General Workers Union
and the Opposition Labor Party just recycle and rely on
Reuter, the BBC, CNN and other right wing dominated sources.
Rarely we see any articles that reveal the true nature of
capitalism and right wing dominated politics Portside is
different. It is balanced and gives a picture of what is
truly happening in the world

Thank you and keep opening our eyes.
reno calleja
president malta china friendship society
website maltachinaonline.org


* About Portside - from Germany

Another congratulation from the international community...
I'm working for the unions in Germany and for attac. Not
seldom people around me are surprised about the informations
I dispose of. (Not only but especially regarding US-
politics.) My simple answer is: Portside... Very important
for me: The writers who contribute to Portside don't act
according to the principle "good ideas beat truth". The
informations of Portside one can rely on! I suppose that the
international number of subscribers would even be higher,
when the writers would deliver a summary of their articles
too: It would help those readers whose mother-language is
not English...

Dieter Sauerwald


* Re: Battling Misinformed Consent: How Should We Respond To
The Anti-Vaccine Movement?

anything that benefits big pharma is suspect until proven
otherwise - i agree with Mercola - vaccines cause more harm
then the illnesses they pretend to prevent(with the notable
exceptions of smallpox and polio vaccines)

Mary Anne


* Re Christopher Horton's comments in Tidbits: November 10,

In his comments in Tidbits: November 10, 2010 (Re: Battling
Misinformed Consent), Christopher Horton makes several
claims that are either highly debatable or simply false:

1. The movement to stop nuclear power was not "anti-science"
in anything like the ways the anti-vaccine movement has been
but was based on "precautionary principle" concerns that
were well grounded in good scientific research, albeit
research that the nuclear industry and regulatory agencies
did their best to suppress or downplay. The movement is
still alive and is still based on the same kinds of
concerns. Furthermore, many of its supporters are scientists
and strong supporters of science who have little sympathy
for the kinds of bogus evidence and arguments used by anti-
vaccine activists.

2. The anecdotal evidence used by anti-vaccine activists is
persuasive only to people who are unaware of how dishonestly
it has so often been presented and how dubious it so often
is on its face when confronted with highly plausible and
usually much more persuasive alternative explanations.

3. Horton's claim that autism will "very likely" turn out to
have an environmental cause (presumably meaning its primary
if not sole cause) is not a science based viewpoint or even
one widely accepted by autism researchers. It is just
Horton's nonscientific opinion. It may well be true, but to
call it "very likely" is not justified at this time.

4. Horton is badly misinformed about the use of mercury
compounds as vaccine preservatives. For one thing, their use
was almost completely phased out a number of years ago,
though not because of any evidence that they were ever
harmful but mainly as a precautionary measure. Indeed,
autism rates have not been affected by their discontinued
use. In fact, studies have repeatedly shown that there has
never been any statistically significant correlation between
autism and the use of mercury based preservatives, though
anti-vaccine activists have often dishonestly asserted such
evidence (even making false claims about the kinds and
amounts of mercury used) while failing to concede the
validity of studies demonstrating a lack of correlation.
This information has been widely reported in the news
(including several good recent in-depth Chicago Tribune
reports), and more detailed information can be found in many
places, including previous blogs by Orac (the scientist-
author of "Battling Misinformed Consent") and, perhaps most
clearly and persuasively, the book "Autism's False Prophets"
by prominent vaccine researcher Paul A. Offit (who has been
widely vilified and even physically threatened by anti-
vaccine activists because of his strong public challenges to
their dubious and often dishonest claims, many of which,
unfortunately, have published by the Huffington Post and
some other supposedly progressive venues).

Ralph Suter


* The CEPR Deficit Calculator


There is considerable concern that the debt burden that
United States will face by the end of the next decade will
place serious strains on the government and the economy. It
is not clear how high the debt can go before it begins to
hamper economic growth or raise questions about the
creditworthiness of the U.S. government. As is shown on the
calculator below, the debt burden has been much higher for
the United States in the past and is currently far higher
for many countries than it is projected to be in the
baseline scenario for the United States in 2020.

This calculator allows users to see how various policies
will affect the debt burden in 2020. These options have
appeared in public debates (or should) and would have a
substantial impact on the deficit. The calculator allows
users to select whatever target they consider appropriate
given the various reference points shown.


* Brecht Forum - 35th Anniversary Celebration - Nov. 15,
2010 - tickets still available

The Brecht Forum turns 35 this year and we think that's
reason to celebrate! Established back in 1975 as the New
York Marxist School, the Brecht's founders sought to help
advance an emancipatory left culture in the United States.
Through the rise of Reaganism and neoliberalism, through the
struggle to end apartheid in South Africa and the fall of
the Berlin Wall, to the protests that shut down the World
Bank meetings in Seattle, to the September 11th attacks and
the rise and decline of the anti-war movement in the years
that followed, the Brecht has been a hub of left thinking
and activity.

In what promises to be a memorable evening, we will be
honoring long-time Capital teacher, David Harvey, and
outstanding organizer Bhairavi Desai, the Executive Director
of the Taxi Workers Alliance. Tony award winning actor Andr,
DeShields will be performing an excerpt from his acclaimed
one-man show Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory: From Douglass to
Deliverance and several special guests will continue to be
announced in the coming weeks. There will be delicious
catered food and lot's of drinks and dance floor action [for
those who can keep up with Professor Harvey].

We hope that you will join with the many friends, teachers,
students, organizers and supporters who have made the Brecht
Forum the largest and longest-running Marxist educational
center in the US.

Sign up for tickets here


Join us for a special evening honoring:

Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director, Taxi Worker's Alliance

David Harvey, Distinguished Professor, City University of
New York

Monday, Nov. 15, 2010

SEUI Local 32 B-J
101 6th Avenue

6:00 pm    Cocktails - Buffet
7:00 pm    Program
8:00 pm    Music - Drinks - Dance

Tickets:   $35.00, $50.00, $100.00, $250.00

Click to reserve online

Our honorary host committee;
Alfredo Lopez, Anjali Kamat, Arun Gupta, Biju Matthew,
Bill Henning, Bill Sales, Bill Tabb, Calvin Williams,
Claire Picher, Claudia Copeland, Debbie Smith,
Ebony Noelle Golden, Ed Ott, Eli Messinger, Gerald Meyer,
Greg Wilpert, Harmony Goldberg, Hector Figueroa,
Isolina De la Cruz, Jean Carey-Bond, Jee Kim, Jim Paul,
John Mineka, Jonathan Wilson, Juliet Ucelli,
Lisa Maya Knauer, Lynn Lewis, Marc Ribot, Marjorie Fine,
Mary Boger, Megan Morrissey, Michael Ratner, Michael Smith,
Monami Maulik, Nina Mercer, Renate Bridenthal, Rich Blint,
Rick Wolff, Rob Robinson , Roberto Lovato, Steve Brier &
Terry Marshall



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