January 2013, Week 2


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Wed, 9 Jan 2013 20:42:30 -0500
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Tidbits - Reader Comments & Announcements - January 9, 2013

* Re: Time Is Not on Our Side (Joseph Maizlish)
* Re: Oliver Stone's 'Untold History of the United States'
  (Martin Morand, Claire Carsman, Michael Munk, Pam Wright)
* A letter to Kathryn Bigelow on Zero Dark Thirty's apology
  for torture (Marvin Mandell)
* Re: The Year We Did Our Best To Abandon The Natural World
  (Juanita Rice)
* Re: Jon Fromer (Mel Pritchard)
* China's thorium reactor initiative (Dave Ecklein)
* Organizations join together to form New Economy Coalition
* UChicago MLK Celebration 2013 - January 17
* Join Amy Goodman, Angela Davis, Danny Glover, Alice Walker,
  Ralph Nader, Mos Def & more for the Jan 20 Peace Ball in
* BOOK LAUNCH: "Game Over: How Politics Have Turned the Sports
  World Upside Down" By Dave Zirin - Washington, DC - Jan. 28


* Re: Time Is Not on Our Side

Those dependent for their income security on their work in all
aspects of the energy system (from auto parts salespeople to
coal miners to all the communities dependent on their incomes)
will reasonably fear for their immediate well-being in case
the changes McKibben advocates actually come about.  They
quite sensibly have no reason to believe that each person
displaced by change will be treated any better than those
already dependent on the tattered social safety net are
treated now.  Those workers and communities concerned about
being left behind in case of big changes are as natural
political supporters of anti-change as were the medical
insurance company employees bussed in by their employers to
raise hell about health insurance changes at the Congressional
town hall meetings in the summer of 2009.

A critical element in accelerating the changes required to
arrest and reverse climate disaster (and to resolve other
major environmental and social problems) is the strengthening
of the social safety net and the development of public
confidence in its adequacy and more than adequacy.  By the
way, that requires that political discourse say the "p" word
(poverty) and engage with it as it has not in decades.

Let's hope that the cold cold heart of the political culture
melts faster than the icecaps, a lot faster.  To help that
come about, let's put equal shares of work into the climate
issue itself and into the social climate issue.  They are
locked together.

Joseph Maizlish
Los Angeles


* Re: Oliver Stone's 'Untold History of the United States'

Bill Fletcher, Jr.  is correct -- painfully so.  "Oliver
Stone's 'Untold History of the United States' " Cannot [I
would say dare not] be Hushed Up or Brushed Aside." It is "a
visual version of Howard Zinn's People's History of the United
States... not seen in the mainstream,"  And, (even recognizing
the amazing growth in popularity of Zinn's work) just because
Stone's history is visual it has an opportunity to reach an
even larger audience. [See Jerry Mander on " Privatizing
Consciousness", Monthly Review, October 2012.  Mander observes
that television, a moving  & talking image "...has effectively
reshaped the consciousness of the United States and the entire
planet: our self-image, the way we aspire to live, our habits,
our thoughts, our references, desires, memories,"]

Stone offers a breadth and depth to public understanding we
desperately need. As Fletcher notes, "the dominance of the
super-rich, the so-called 1 percent, illuminated by the Occupy
Movement, is in many ways the direct outgrowth of the blunting
of movements for social justice first during the early Cold
War, and then later in the 1970s and1980s." (I would trace the
"blunting" to the emasculating of the labor left with Taft-
Hartley in 1947.)  Perhaps the most important  "counter-
narrative" in the Untold History  is its revelation of facts
re  "the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945.
Most mainstream sources in the USA insist, without question,
that the use of the atomic bombs was essential to ending the
war without massive US and Japanese casualties."

But Stone and J. Robert Oppenheimer who was "in the loop" and
ought to know (see Kai Bird's bio, American Prometheus: The
Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer) show that a
major motivation of Truman at Potsdam (in contrast with FDR at
Yalta) was to avoid "the entry of the Soviet Union into the
war" in Asia which was coming to a close without our
initiating the era of mass destruction (the greatest danger,
climate change aside,  to human survival.)

"Stone's Untold History of the United States not only needs to
be viewed, but more importantly, discussed. The one hour
segments lend themselves to useful discussion..."

Agreed,  fellow labor educator Fletcher.

Martin Morand


I don't subscribe to Showtime so I haven't seen the
documentary.  But I was blown away when I heard Oliver Stone
and his co-author on Martin Bashir the other day.  OMG,
someone's telling the truth!  I ordered the book and anxiously
look forward to reading it.  It's way past time for MSNBC
liberals to get off the "American exceptionalism" crap.  As a
retired early childhood teacher, and retired ballet dancer,
the concept of being the best is the most destructive thing in
the world and is just an excuse to blast everyone else as a
loser.  Musical Chairs in Kindergarten (and Obama's Race to
the Top): It's devastating for all of the other children in
the class.  And in the world, it's devastatating for all of
everyone else who isn't "the winner."

Claire Carsman


The part about the destruction of domestic labor and social
movements by McCarthyism is a good response to Michael Moore's
nostalgia for the 60s when workers like his father could buy a
new care every two years.

Michael Munk


The trouble is that this documentary was on Showtime so if you
don't have that on your TV you couldn't see it.  I hope it
will be shown somewhere else.

Pam Wright


* A letter to Kathryn Bigelow on Zero Dark Thirty's apology
for torture

Naomi Wolf wonders why Bigelow has changed so much from Hurt
Locker to Zero Dark Thirty, but has there been such a change?
In the earlier film she glorified militarism and tried to show
how much the soldiers loved combat. But those soldiers did not
undergo days and nights of continual bombardment, by
artillery, by tanks, by air, even by sea since their Afghan
opponents and their allies do not have heavy artillery, an
airforce, tanks, or warships. I served in WW2, in the 88th
Infantry Division in Italy. Most of the soldiers in my outfit
would have regarded those war lovers in Hurt Locker as
"Section 8," that is, seriously disturbed soldiers.

Marvin Mandell


* Re: The Year We Did Our Best To Abandon The Natural World

Yes.  It's like the insane of today's world think they can
lift themselves by their bootstraps and exist immune to the
globe of which they are a minor part, minor...but malignant

Juanita Rice


* Re: Jon Fromer

I was sad to read that Jon Fromer, a dear comrade of the Left
in the Bay Area, died recently. When I came to the Bay Area in
1982, I was like many who listened to his music as part of the
audience, sang along, and was sustained by his joining of
radical politics and culture. To me, the joining of culture
and politics was something, missing among much of the US Left.

To pursue my own joining of politics and culture in 1985, I
rekindled my playing the saxophone, first with the alto, then
tenor, baritone and soprano. I joined the Musicians Action
Group (a political marching band) in 1986 of which I am still
a member. I later helped found the Brass Liberation Orchestra
(a group of younger musicians in San Francisco and Oakland) in
2002, but left it in 2005 to pursue other musical interests.
Jon Fromer, among many others taught me the importance of the
nexus of culture and politics. He inspired me to pursue that
path to build the US Left.

In 2002, SEIU hired Jon and Mary Fromer, his brother and I to
play a musical set for their Northern California Conference.
It was a thrill and an honor to play with them. We played
tunes that I had played in other contexts (with groups of
instrumentalists). Playing music is a joy for me, as I know it
was for Jon; he dedicated his life to that calling.

Jon might be gone, but what he did with his music is something
that I plan to continue. He was that light in the song "This
Little Light of Mine." I will take up his torch and be that
light, also.

Jon Fromer, Presente!

Mel Pritchard, 
Musicians Action Group


* China's thorium reactor initiative

Interesting tidbits constantly surface about China's thorium
nuclear reactor initiative - this seems to be a very promising
direction to a safe and effective solution of growing energy
needs.  The US had a successful experimental thorium reactor
back in the 1960s and early 1970s (at Oak Ridge under Dr.
Weinberg), but the program was axed by Nixon for political

See more links regarding the late physicist Alvin Weinberg at:

Others have picked up the development recently; notably China,
India, Norway, and a few others.  Despite considerable
momentum (and money) in the US behind uranium, some people
here are urging a reopening of the safer and more efficient
thorium nuclear cycle.  We have enormous thorium reserves.

China (and others) are showing that we might do better.




Dave Ecklein 


* Organizations join together to form New Economy Coalition


Last June, nearly 500 people from across the country came
together at our Strategies for a New Economy Conference to
discuss the next steps for building a just and sustainable
economy. It was an historic event. Never before had so many
different individuals and organizations united under the
common banner of the New Economy movement.

We joined together last June to share our vision and
demonstrate our potential for collective power. It was just
one weekend, but clearly a sign of things to come.

Today, we are thrilled to announce a development that will
move that vision forward. In the spirit of innovation and
democratic collaboration, the New Economics Institute is
merging with the New Economy Network. As organizations with
similar goals, strategies, and stakeholders, we have realized
that we can be much stronger if we work together. By combining
our efforts, we will not only strengthen existing initiatives,
but also create a foundation to build power across sectors for
greater political and economic impact.

Together, we will form the New Economy Coalition, an
organization committed to building a nation-wide, grassroots
movement for a just and sustainable economy. We firmly believe
this is the next step for building a New Economy movement -
and we invite you to join us.

The New Economy Coalition will hold the same values as the New
Economics Institute. Our mission will be focused on building
the power necessary to bring the New Economy into being. The
ideals that brought us all together last June will be the
force that drives us forward. Once the transition is complete,
we will invite the involvement of stakeholders from both
groups to help shape the direction of this new organization.

The New Economy Coalition will remain committed to promoting a
New Economy that prioritizes the well-being of people and the
planet. In addition, we will be spinning off a new
organization in Great Barrington under the leadership of Susan
Witt -  in order for the local work in the Berkshires to
continue to flourish, Stay tuned for more details about that
transition in the weeks ahead!

In the meantime, our work continues. Soon we will be awarding
eight grants to student groups on colleges and universities
across North America as part of our Campus Network Program.
These students are already busy building new economic
possibilities on their campuses and in their communities, and
we are thrilled to be working with them. Their efforts will
culminate in a New Economy Coalition national convergence this
summer, drawing together students, solidarity economy groups
and New Economy leaders.

Thank you for all you have done to build the New Economics
Institute and the New Economy Network, and to advance the
vision for an economic system that puts people and the planet
before profit. If you have any questions at all about these
changes, or you would like to be more directly involved in
shaping the Coalition, please don't hesitate to contact me. We
are excited about this new direction and look forward to
working with you as a Coalition member.

With great hope for 2013,

Bob Massie
New Economics Institute


* UChicago MLK Celebration 2013

Join the University of Chicago in celebrating diversity and
the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the annual MLK

Thursday, January 17, 2013, 6PM
Rockefeller Memorial Chapel
5850 S. Woodlawn Ave.,
Chicago, IL 60637

Featuring a conversation with Professor Charles Payne and Judy
Richardson Civil Rights Author and Documentary Filmmaker

Veteran of the southern Civil Rights Movement and activist
with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC),
Judy Richardson began her film work with the Academy Award-
nominated, 14-hour PBS series, Eyes on the Prize, for which
she was Series Associate Producer and Education Director.



* Join Amy Goodman, Angela Davis, Danny Glover, Alice Walker,
Ralph Nader, Mos Def & more for the Jan 20 Peace Ball in D.C.

The Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance will take place
in Washington, D.C.`s historic Arena Stage at The Mead Center
For American Theater on the evening of January 20, 2013.
This event will pay tribute to the continuing struggle for
peace and justice here in the United States and throughout the

Performances by Mos Def, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Moby, and

Celebrate with food, laughter, music and dance, as peacemakers
from all over the globe gather for this incredible event the
evening before the Presidential Inauguration in Washington,


Sunday - January 20th

6:00 PM -- Special VIP Reception

7:30 PM -- Program Begins

Arena Stage at the Mead Center
1101 6th Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20024
Tickets: $200

Get Tickets


* BOOK LAUNCH: "Game Over: How Politics Have Turned the Sports
World Upside Down" By Dave Zirin - Washington, DC - Jan. 28


"Game Over: How Politics Have Turned the Sports
World Upside Down" By Dave Zirin

Monday, January 28, 2013 6:30pm 

Busboys and Poets 2021 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

Sportscaster Howard Cosell dubbed it "rule number one of the
jockocracy": sports and politics just don't mix. But in Game
Over, celebrated alt-sportswriter Dave Zirin proves once and
for all that politics has breached the modern sports arena
with a vengeance. From the NFL lockout and the role of soccer
in the Arab Spring to the Penn State sexual abuse scandals and
Tim Tebow's on-field genuflections, this timely and hard-
hitting new book from the "conscience of American
sportswriting" (The Washington Post) reveals how our most
important debates about class, race, religion, sex, and the
raw quest for political power are played out both on and off
the field.

Buy the book in advance from the Busboys and
Poets/Teaching for Change online bookstore at


* Teaching for Change
* Busboys and Poets
* The Sports Fans Coalition



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