December 2012, Week 3


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Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>
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Fri, 21 Dec 2012 22:56:56 -0500
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1 Re: Lincoln, the Movie -- Marjorie Cohn, Donna
  Carter, Claire Carsman, Burt Cohen 

2 Re: Professor Faces Punishment for Dissing NRA Head 
  -- Steve Lane, Maurice Zeitlin

3 Re: The Realignment of American Politics: Towards a
  Mass Party of the Center -- Laurel MacDowell

4 Re: John Lewis Slams Obama's Fiscal Cliff Proposal
  -- Cassandra Wimbs

5 Re: Country music -- Rafael Pizarro

6 NRA poem -- Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti

7 Obama Cries Only from One Eye -- Selwyn McLean

8 Re: Leonard Peltier Speaks Out from Prison -- Daniel 

9 Send Hurricane Relief to Cuba


From: Marjorie Cohn 
Re: Lincoln, the Movie

Thanks for this interesting piece. When will you post
it on Portside's website so I can link to it on
facebook? (It is on the Portside web site with the
following url: http://bit.ly/Te2OWF -- moderator.)


From: Donna Carter
Re: Lincoln, the Movie

In light of the omissions in Lincoln, the Movie, there
appears to be plenty of history for another movie which
covers the history of end of slavery as it was known


From: Claire Carsman
Re: Lincoln, the Movie

Haven't seen "Lincoln" yet, but experience told me that
Spielberg does have way of turning his view of history
into his own personal, money-making, perspective. One
of the things that I thought with the major
announcemnents of the film was if he had read "The
Fiery Trial", the writings of Frederick Douglas, and so
many folks who have written the history of the Civil
War and Slavery.

If you want to make a movie about Abraham Lincoln, a
truly important President, do it. But don't change
reality to suit your self-aggrandizement.


From: Burt Cohen 
Re: Lincoln, the Movie by William Loren Katz

There are many good reasons why the debate over the so-
called Civil War continue. I say so-called because
unlike the Spanish and all other genuine civil wars,
the American war was not about two sides struggling for
control over one central government. It was, in fact, a
war of independence, like the also poorly titled
American Revolutionary War.

No doubt Spielberg's treatment of the legend is a great
movie. I just want to make two points.

One, the effort to pass the 13th amendment was not
Lincoln's, as Katz points out, the reality is it was
Thaddeus Stevens who did the heavy lifting. And yes the
war did end slavery, well official slavery, but that
was never its intention. It was never the reason for
the war. Which brings me to the next point.

Katz unfortunatelty is right when he points out that
Lincoln "became the first modern President." If you
like today's concentration and centralization of power,
and if you like corporate dominance, thank Mr. Lincoln.
He gave us our modern situation, that's why he created
the horrible, totally unnecessary war which killed
perhaps 800,000 out of a total population of 30

Finally, Katz called that war against Southern
independence our "most important war." Now we have
Southern aristocratic values tremendously powerful over
all of us. The current battle over gun control is only
the latest of too many cultural struggles with that
nation. The South is not us. We are not nor ever have
been one nation. Had we merely, simply let the South
go, we Northerners could have had a long proud list of
liberal administrations.

If you look at "great" leaders, many have been awful,
albeit great in a historic sense. The war against
Southern independence may have been our "most important
war," but it was awful and unnecessary.

Burt Cohen
New Castle NH
Host theburtcohenshow.com
Former state senator (1990-2004)


From: Steve Lane
Re: Professor Faces Punishment for Dissing NRA Head

Eric Loomis is facing an ad hominem attack because the
right can't defend its position on guns, so they change
the subject.


From: Maurice Zeitlin
Re: Professor Erik Loomis, free speech and academic freedom

December 21, 2012

Dean Winnie Brownell
Provost Donald DeHays
President David Dooley
The University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI 02881

Dear Colleagues:

I call upon you to declare unequivocally that even if it was unwise of Professor Erik Loomis to use a phrase from urban argot to condemn the policies of the NRA and its executive director, no reasonable person can interpret these words as anything remotely implying a threat of violence toward Mr. Wayne LaPierre.

Professor Loomis did no more than exercise his constitutional right to free speech, as a citizen, and his right to academic freedom, as a university professor. It is your responsibility, nay it is your duty, to defend these rights.

I urge you not to allow yourselves to be intimidated by the hypocritical verbal assaults on Professor Loomis by pseudo-defenders of the Second Amendment; even within days after yet another mass killing of school children and their teachers by a deranged man using a semi-automatic assault weapon, they nonetheless continue to oppose any rational restrictions on the purchase and use of such murderous weapons.


Maurice Zeitlin

Distinguished Professor of Sociology
247 Haines Hall, Portola Plaza
University of California
Los Angeles CA 90095-1551


From: Laurel MacDowell
Re: The Realignment of American Politics: Towards a
Mass Party of the Center

This is a rather optimistic view. The Republicans are
still in control of many state governments where they
gerrymander electoral boundaries in time for the next
election. They made valiant efforts to prevent
democrats from voting (but failed). There are several
powerful conservative, corporate funded think tanks
drafting ultra-conservative legislation. There is an
organized attack on unions by large corporations. There
is a growing gap between rich and poor. There is a
total failure on policy regarding climate change. So
the Democrats after huge effort may have the presidency
but they do not have both houses of Congress.

I don't think I would describe the United States as a
centrist state compared to most developed western
states. It has quite a way to go to move in that
direction if you consider the laws of capital
punishment, the full prisons and other areas. It is a
democratic society in that the citizens do discuss
things thoroughly as the recent debate about gun
control legislation makes clear. But after the
discussion the legislation that follows is limited,
halting and drafted by elected people who are
themselves well-to-do and relatively conservative.


From: Cassandra Wimbs
Re: John Lewis Slams Obama's Fiscal Cliff Proposal to
Cut Social Security

I cannot believe that pres. Obama would cut social
security, but we need to organize to reverse it.


From: Rafael Pizarro
Re: Country music

Please stop identifying Country music with the racist
South. It's audience is broader than that and so is
it's politics. Listen to a Steve Earle recording when
you get a chance.


From: Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti
Subject: NRA poem

Good Afternoon,

We have not seen any poetry on your site but given the circumstances of the last few days, I just finished the following poem and thought you might like to run it.

The N.R.A. And Its Supporters Mantra

after most gun multiple killings
we are preached, inundated and sound bited with
"guns don't kill people"
neither do
knives, hatchets, hammers, kitchen sinks,
bricks nor logs kill people.
"people kill people"
with guns,
knives, hatchets, hammers, kitchen sinks,
bricks, logs from trees and other objects.
yet if
the defenders have a chance to find and
pick up a knife, hatchet, hammer, kitchen sink,
brick or tree log to defend themselves against the same
or better yet, run,
it is still all but impossible to
outrun or karate-kick

Haki R. Madhubuti

In memory of the twenty children and six adults
massacred on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut
and the hundreds of children who are killed each week
in America.

Haki R. Madhubuti, Poet, founder and publisher of Third
World Press, former University Distinguished Professor
and Founding Director of the MFA Program in Creative
Writing at Chicago State University and former Ida B.
Wells-Barnett University Professor at DePaul University


From: Selwyn McLean
Subject: Obama Cries Only From One Eye
As I watch the commander-in-chief (C-in-C) react to the
tragedy of yet another gun-related massacre in the
USofA, I could not help but wonder if his "tears" were
for the human tragedy involved or for an American
tragedy. I could not help but wonder if this drone-
happy assassin ever reflected on the lives of those
children and families in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq,
Libya, Somalia, Palestine, and those other countries,
now subjected to having their lives and futures snuffed
out by gun-happy U.S. G.I.s operating directly under
the orders of the C-in-C, the "leader of the free

Will this massacre at home quell the U.S. thirst for
more wars as are being planned against children and
families in Syria and Iran? Do the peoples of the
countries, now targeted by the military might of the
U.S. weapons of mass destruction, deserve even one
little tear of sorrow from the war mongers because they
suffer similar massacres in their homes, schools,
hospitals, weddings, cars? Are their lives not human
lives worthy of sympathetic consideration just as the
lives of victimized Americans?

The bellicose vitriol about the so-called "war on
terror" that the world has been subjected to over the
last decade, emanating from the U.S. pentagon, white
house, state department, the tea party, the U.S.
congress, cannot be taken in isolation from the
targeted home-based "terror" now being visited upon
innocent children and families. These are not "isolated
acts" by lunatic loners who are on the fringe of
American society. These are acts of violence that are
integral to an American psyche that uses violence on
the world stage as a first response in protecting its
"national interest". Americans are only opposed to
violence when it is committed against them. They become
solemn and mournful and begs the whole world to feel
their pain and suffer with them. No American leader has
ever expressed grief for the lives and futures
destroyed during the many Palestinian massacres carried
out with U.S. arms in the hands of the Zionist army
over the past 60 years. When human lives at wedding
parties in Pakistan and Afghanistan are decimated by an
Obama drone, the American concern is limited to the
promise of "an investigation" which we never hear about

Americans cannot think that the terrorism committed
around the world by AFRICOM, and the numerous other
numbered FLEETS, and the 1,000 military bases in 120
countries, is unrelated to these multiple and frequent
massacres at home. Both are products of the same socio-
political forces that are entrenched in a culture of
violence. The DNA of the USofA. is coded by violence.
Violence is violence!

If the lost lives in this last massacre in Connecticut
have brought the C-in-C to tears, it is hoped that he
can bring himself to similar grief when he sits down
with his NATO generals to plot and plan out the next
"shock and awe" bombing campaign against Brown-skinned,
and Black-skinned peoples in far-away places around the
world. Maybe the grave sadness of such a sinister and
inhuman contemplation will move him, through tears in
both eyes, to say: No more violence; no more wars.

Selwyn McLean


From: Daniel Jordan, PhD
Re: Leonard Peltier Speaks Out from Prison

A White House petition to Pardon Leonard Peltier
because it got only 2500 signatures. I don't know who
started it or if a campaign was first organized, but
isn't it time to do so? Can someone in a hub position
(e.g., at Democracy Now, AIM, etc.) put out a call to
relevant groups, announce the intended petition asking
for clemency (Mr Peltier's words, not a pardon) via
relevant outlets, including Portside, and then launch
it? I'd do it, but it would likely fail again.

With all the love mentioned by Amy Goodman, it would
seem some organizing might be possible to help Mr
Peltier achieve at least a bit of justice.


From: Stansfield Smith
Subject: Cuba Hurricane Relief Matching Fund

Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban 5 Matching
Fund for Hurricane Relief to Cuba

Dear friends,

The Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban 5 has a
matching fund for Hurricane Sandy relief donations to
Cuba. So far we have matched over $5000 in donations.

Cuba is the country that sets the example of
international solidarity. It has 38,000 medical
personnel serving in 66 countries. Cuban educators have
helped teach over 5 million in other countries to read
and write. It has trained over 10,000 foreign students
at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana to
be doctors, free of charge. Cuba provides the backbone
of medical aid to Haiti, after being hit by the 2010
earthquake and now by the same hurricane that hit Cuba
and the U.S. Cuba even offered to send 1500 doctors to
New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. While 1833 died in
the New Orleans area, the US government refused the
Cuban offer of aid.

Yet the heartless US government continues to obstruct
humanitarian aid to Cuba. Two organizations that have a
licence send medical hurricane relief aid to Cuba are
"Global Links" and "MEDICC."

Let us show the solidarity with Cuba in its present
time of need that it shows to other peoples of the
For MEDICC, you can make a donation on line to: 

Check the box: "Hurricane Relief for Santiago, Cuba'
and in the Comments section write "Chicago Cuba 5
matching fund" or mail a check with the same notes to:
MEDICC, P.O. Box 361449, Decatur, GA 30036.
For Global Links: 
in Comments section "Chicago Cuba 5 Cuba hurricane relief matching fund" 
mail a check with the same notes to:
Global Links
4809 Penn Ave., #2
Pittsburgh, PA 15224


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