October 2012, Week 1


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Tidbits, Reader Response and Announcements
October 5, 2012

* The President Needs to Respond directly to Romney (Fadhilika
* Re: The Debate, Venezuela and the Latin American Spring
  (T.M. Scruggs)
* Re: Remembering Barry Commoner (Susan Rosenthal)
* Russell Tribunal on Palestine Resuming in New York - Oct. 03
* Public Meeting: Say "No" to the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn in New
  York City - Astoria, Queens - Oct. 09
* Film screening - "United States of ALEC" - New York, Oct. 12
* Ronnie Kasrils at The Riverside Church- New York - Oct. 22
* Left Labor Forum - American Empire: The Rise of a Global
  Power, the Democratic Revolution at Home 1945-2000 - New
  York - Oct. 24
* Re: Paul Ryan (Video): 'Make America a Tax Shelter' (Mark)
* Re: Free Birth Control Cuts Abortion Rate Dramatically,
  Study Finds (Charles Ostman)
* Re: Obama was Elected President Despite Being Lousy
   in Debates  (George Schmidt)
* Moderator's Note - Sorry about all of the New York City
  vicinity announcements.


* The President Needs to Respond directly to Romney

He needs to force Romney to be specific, and not just give
glowing generalities.

Fadhilika Atiba-Weza


* Re: The Debate, Venezuela and the Latin American Spring

An intelligent way to watch the debate for or against Big Bird
is to put the TV on to see the corporate image and then listen
to DemocracyNow! for audio.  The analysis and commentary is
excellent: real issues that affect us are brought up, at least
for our ears.

And don't forget to read where you can (and listen if you
understand Spanish) about the most important election in the
Western Hemisphere this fall, the elections in Venezuela
taking place this Sunday Oct. 7th.  The progressive United
Socialist Party of Venezuela vs. the conservative Mesa de la
Unidad Democrática, the perfect acronym: MUD. Why do literally
millions of the majority population get up at 3am to line up
at the polls? because in this election there is a real choice,
and a chance to continue some meaningful change they can
believe in because they have lived it. Some English language
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG4EpAwCZ6Q&feature=relmfu --
and the brand new blog from always excellent CEPR:

The rest of Latin America and the Caribbean are definitely
watching: there are a whole series of homemade videos from
unions, community groups and others from all over the
continent in support of the Hugo Chavez's candidacy, for
example from Chile:

The right-wing MUD candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski is
similar to Paul Ryan. However, as the Chavez presidency has
held and surpassed its campaign promises for the majority of
the population, Capriles actually has tried to sound like
supporting the socialistic health/education/housing and other
programs that have flourished in the last few years.  The
veritable explosion in health care services across the board
is the U.S. equivalent of Single Payer, or Medicare For All.
With the huge success of this campaign, so different from the
Affordable Care Act here crafted with the captains of the
corporate health care industry invited into the White House,
right-wing Capriles can only claim that he will be more
"efficient" in administering these programs.

There is a good reason there is a "fatwa" against news about
the Latin American Spring, it's too much of a positive example
that shows, with all its problems, that the slogan of the
World Social Forum is not hollow: "Another world is possible."


T.M. Scruggs


* Re: Remembering Barry Commoner

Drier is grossly mistaken when he states, "But unlike Carson,
Commoner viewed the environmental crisis as a symptom of a
fundamentally flawed economic and social system."

In her ground-breaking book, The Silent Spring (1962), Carson
insisted that the principal causes of ecological degradation
were "the gods of profit and production," and condemned the
fact that we live "in an era dominated by industry, in which
the right to make a dollar at any cost is seldom challenged."

The threat Carson posed to the corporate agenda can be
measured by the viciousness of the counterattack against her.
She was attacked by the Department of Agriculture and the
entire chemical industry (including Monsanto, Velsicol and
American Cyanamid) which threatened any publisher or
publication that promoted her findings. She was pilloried in
the press as "a spinster communist, a lesbian, and a
scientific amateur." She continues to be maligned by the
right. In May 2007, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) called
Carson's work "junk science" and blocked a bill that would
have named a post office in Springdale, Pennsylvania, in her

Carson's courage carved out a path for Commoner and the other
environmentalists who followed her. We do her a monumental
injustice by not acknowledging the significance of her
challenge to capitalism.

Susan Rosenthal


* Russell Tribunal on Palestine Resuming in New York

Russel Tribunal on Palestine
New York Session
October 3, 2012


On October 6-7, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) will
be holding its fourth international session in New York City
at the Great Hall at Cooper Union.

This will be an historic and important initiative in which
people will hear testimonies from expert witnesses and the
jury will present conclusions on their findings.

Participants include public intellectual Noam Chomsky,
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, civil rights icon
Angela Davis, Pink Floyd's lead vocalist and bass player
Roger Waters, and so many other figures of note.

The RToP is an International People's Tribunal created in
response to the international community's inaction regarding
Israel's recognized violations of international law.

The Tribunal aims to bring attention to the complicity and
responsibility of various national, international and
corporate actors in the ongoing Israeli occupation of
Palestinian territories and the perpetuation of Israel's
impunity under international law.

Although the RToP has no legal status, like other Russell
Tribunals on Vietnam, Chile and Iraq, its legitimacy comes
from its universality and the strength that it draws from the
will of citizens and the support of international
personalities who advocate for an end to the Israeli
occupation and Israel's denial of Palestinian rights.

Following the sessions in Barcelona (which focused on EU
complicity), London (on Corporate Complicity) and Cape Town
(on the crime of Apartheid), the New York Tribunal will go
back to the root of the conflict and focus on UN and US
responsibility in the denial of the Palestinian right to self-

We hope that people from the world over will be able to join
us at this meeting by either attending the session in NY or
watching the live-stream on our website at the following link:


* Public Meeting: Say "No" to the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn in New
York City

October 9, 2012 at 7:00 pm

at the Church of the Redeemer
30-14 Crescent Street (at 30 Road)
Astoria, New York

Co-sponsored by:

Left Movement New York (Aristeri Kinisi NY) Occupy Astoria-LIC
Situations: Project of the Radical Imagination Strike Debt

Golden Dawn, G.D. (in Greek Chrysi Avgi), the neo-Nazi, ultra-
nationalistic party, which was recently elected to the Greek
Parliament under the pretext of concern over unemployment,
austerity and the economy, and while engaging in virulent
anti-immigrant rhetoric and anti-democratic, nationalistic
activities, has now established a chapter in New York City.
Several groups and organizations have already expressed their
outrage and have called for immediate action.

For over 30 years, G.D. has operated from the margins of the
far right political spectrum using the symbols, practices and
methods of a racist, anti-democratic neo-Nazi ideology. The
recent economic crisis, however, has brought them to the
forefront of political developments. They recently drew the
attention of the international media, when one of their
Parliament members physically attacked two women from left-
wing parties on live television. Before that incident, and
since, G.D. thugs have organized murderous attacks against
immigrants, left-wingers, gays as well as anyone who stands in
their way.

G.D. harbors common criminals. In the 1970s, the "Fuhrer", as
they honorably call their leader, was imprisoned for setting
off bombs in cinemas that showed films of Soviet production.
Around the same period, members of the organization were
prosecuted for committing acts of terrorism against left-wing
newspapers and organizations. Today, they exhibit particular
disdain against Muslims while they also openly deny the


* Film screening - "United States of ALEC" - New York, Oct. 12

Join me on Friday, October 12 for a screening of "The United
States of ALEC" at the NYU Journalism School. This
documentary, presented and narrated by Bill Moyers, focuses on
the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The film
shows the outsize influence ALEC exercises on our democratic
processes by giving American corporations unprecedented power
to influence legislation in every state in the country. Common
Cause filed a complaint with the IRS against ALEC, claiming
that they are in fact a lobbying organization and not a non-
profit charity as they claim on their taxes.

After the screening there will be a discussion between the
filmmakers, Tom Casciato and Kathy Hughes, and myself. The
discussion will be moderated by documentary producer and NYU
Journalism Professor Marcia Rock.

"United States of ALEC"
Filmmakers Tom Casciato and Kathy Hughes; Common Cause New
York's Executive Director Susan Lerner; and NYU Journalism
Professor Marcia Rock
Friday, October 12, 6-8 p.m.
Click here to RSVP

NYU Journalism School, 20 Cooper Square, 7th floor, New York,
NY 10003 (map)

I hope to see you there.


Susan Lerner
and the rest of the team at Common Cause New York


* Ronnie Kasrils at The Riverside Church, Oct. 22

Join Ronnie Kasrils, author of The Unlikely Secret Agent,
anti-apartheid leader, and international solidarity activist,
for a talk and book signing.

6:30 pm, Monday, Oct 22

The Riverside Church
91 Claremont Avenue
(Between 120th and 122nd Street)
New York City

Ronnie Kasrils, South African revolutionary, politician, and
writer, will be speaking in New York City on Monday, October
22 at 6:30 PM at the Riverside Church. Ronnie is the author of
The Unlikely Secret Agent (published in the US by MR Press
book, a remarkable and exciting story about his wife Eleanor's
life as a secret agent for the anti-apartheid forces. This
book won the Alan Paton award for nonfiction. For details, see

Some praise for The Unlikely Secret Agent (winner of South
Africa's top literary prize, the Alan Paton Award):

"A wonderful book about a courageous and extraordinary woman
who was highly principled, yet endowed by nature with all the
clandestine skills." -  John le Carré

"A moving tribute to a wonderful person, truly an unlikely
secret agent. It made me realize again just how much we owe to
so many people for the freedom we enjoy in South Africa." -
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Sponsored by Monthly Review Press


* Left Labor Forum - American Empire: The Rise of a Global
Power, the Democratic Revolution at Home 1945-2000 - New York
- Oct. 24

Join author Joshua Freeman in a discussion on his new work:

American Empire: The Rise of a Global Power, the Democratic
Revolution at Home 1945-2000

When: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Time: 6 p.m.
Where: 32BJ/SEIU, 25 West 18th Street, 5th floor boardroom

Joshua B. Freeman is a Professor of History at the Murphy
Institute, Queens College, and the Graduate Center at CUNY.
His books include: Working-Class New York: Life and Labor
since World War II.

Sponsored by the Labor Left Project.


Re: Paul Ryan (Video): 'Make America a Tax Shelter'

If they simply kept their money here and paid all the
appropriate taxes, there would be more Americans
working, with more money to spend on the crap they
keep telling us they "produce"...

"Volume, volume, volume", and we all would be
better off for it...



Re: Free Birth Control Cuts Abortion Rate
Dramatically, Study Finds

I have no disagreement with any of this . . . except
for one unfortunate caveat.

It's too completely obvious and logical.

The strange and murky world of current politics is
where logic and reason simply don't apply, no
matter how obvious such might be.

Of course, I have not the slightest doubt that
President Obama himself can easily recognize the
reality that this latest study provides, as many have
recognized this reality for many years, and would
support free birth control just as described.

But no . . . the fanatical far right fringe, no matter
how obvious and logical something might be, as
surely as the sun  rises every morning, will find yet
another bizarre twist of anti-logic to suggest that free
birth control should never be allowed, and is just as
"evil" as abortion itself.

It's just so sad, at a certain point, how something so
obvious simply can't find its way into the world of

I've almost given up attempting to comprehend any
of the bizarre anti-logic of the far right fringe, that
seems to be the center of what is now the
"Republican" party.  It wasn't always this way, but I

As for the study and what it implies, yes, of course,
what could possibly be more obvious.

Oh well . . .

Charles Ostman


Re: Obama was Elected President Despite Being
Lousy in Debates -Who's to Say he Can't be
Reelected with the Same Trait?

I just posted, from Chicago, a different analysis
about round one of the debates. It's up at

Obama is playing two old Chicago games at once:
Pick your opponent, and Rope a Dope.

Watch what happens next. The professor studied
Chicago politics at the feet of the masters, then
surpassed all of his mentors. And tis is from a guy
(me) who used to see "Barack" around back in the
day when he was rehearsing that famous stump
speech (the "funny name" and the "big ears", etc.) on
teachers like us (who, by the way, put him in the
U.S. Senate, before he got amnesia about his debt to

This isn't quite First Ward tactics, but by the finish
lines it's going to be familiar to every precinct
captain left in our Second City. And I'm speaking
today from a Chicago ward (the 45th) where "our
guy" won alderman with a margin of fewer than 30
votes, and from a county that elected out governor
(who only won two counties out of more than 100 in
Illinois, but won by enough to stop the Midwest
from being completely Scott Walkered).

In Chicago, politics is always in first place as a local

George Schmidt


* Moderator's Note - Sorry about all of the New York
City vicinity announcements.

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