June 1, 2017
Reader Comments: Trump, Sessions, Pence, Impeachment - Readers Debate; Resistance Ballot Box Victories; Racism, Lynching, Slavery, Removal of Confederate Symbols; Israel; Palestine; Saudi Arabia; Puerto Rico; 2017 People’s Summit; New Resource to Protect Medicaid and Health Equity; Great News from Workers Independent News; and more...

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources and Announcements - June 1, 2017, Portside,


Those political activists on the so-called "Far Left" argue that both wings of both national parties' (Wall Street neo-liberal Democrats, and Chamber of Commerce Republican centrists) are so obsessed with Russian operatives meddling in the 2016 national elections that they fail to correctly assess where the majority of Trump voters are at. Under and unemployed workers in Ohio and West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin actually don't give a f-bomb about Kushner, Flynn, Malafort meetings with Russian officials. They care about how lawmakers are going to crate job and job security, pay for an improved national health car e program, etc. Meanwhile neo-liberals and neocons are exploiting "Russiangate" to divert voters away from their more social democratic critique of 21st century capitalism.
"We are preoccupied with this (Russian operatives' tampering with our electoral politics)," Turner added, "it's not that this is not important, but every day Americans are being left behind because it's Russia, Russia, Russia. Do we need all 535 members of Congress to deal with Russia? Can some of them deal with some domestic issues?"
The remarks come as Republican senators are working to put together their version of the House healthcare bill, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would strip health insurance from 23 million people. Congress is also poised to begin debating Trump's budget, unveiled last week, which takes an axe to domestic spending, including essential social safety nets.
Turner is not the first to suggest that Congressional Democrats are jumping on the Russia controversy to avoid supporting populist economic solutions, such as Medicare-for-All.
As journalist David Sirota noted on Twitter Sunday:
Theory: Dems love Russiagate because it lets them both slam Trump & avoid promoting a populist economic message their donors hate )
This doesn't mean Russia-Trump stuff isn't really important - it is. But it explains (in part) why it is crowding everything else out 
He added: "'You'll have to wait till after the Russia probe for us to address millions not being able to afford healthcare' may not be a great message."
Larry Aaronson
Sessions has committed perjury and has no integrity. He needs to be removed from office. Congress must demand his resignation.
Jay Willard
The fake left imperialists will always end up like Kuttner crusading for a Christian fundamentalist and genuine reactionary whenever their beloved Empire comes under attack. Kuttner was long ago a spent force. He is now scraping through the bottom. Surprised to see that article cited here.  Sad.
John Walsh
A lot of this outrage among the ruling elites and media is not over policy but over Trump's failure or unwillingness to act "Presidential." They want things to return to "normal." They want their facade of order and "respectability."
And it is same with faux progressives--the ones who quote CIA. and rant against Putin.  Regardless of Pence's  right-wing positions he would restore order. This  is why Democrats and NYT praises Pence. At least he is "sane" they say.
But real leftists don't want the machine to work.   Democrats are far less likely to compromise with, far less likely to ally with, Trump (than Pence) and pass this reactionary budget, thus un-doing all progressive reform since New Deal.
An embattled Trump is more likely to evoke resistance. And less likely than Pence to start war with Russia.
This Russiagate--impeachment ploy  is deep state coup, and its success WOULD EMBOLDEN deep state and should be opposed by the left.
Trump's fascistic domestic policies are mostly not his own, but those of Republican Party which he serves.
A restoration of business as usual is in the interest of the plutocracy, and deep state--not of the majority of Americans. Disorder and civil war WITH U.S. ruling class is in our interest.
Seth Farber
I need to make time for a longer piece, but Seth has, in my view, got the wrong end of the stick. While I'm weary of the "bash Russia" nonsense (and agree with those who think Trump was right to urge easing relations with Russia), I'm a lot more worried about Trump stumbling into war with North Korea or Iran. The US and the Russians have played out the war games and know they would both lose.
No one, not Trump (but in fact I have assumed for months that the "deep state" already made sure that if Trump pressed the red button the only thing he would get is another can of diet Coke), not Hillary, not Pence, and certainly not Putin, is going to start a nuclear war.
My guess is that while Trump is up to his neck in Russians, the real issue which should be explored (keeping in mind that Trump has no politics, no beliefs) is what are the financial links between Trump and Russia.  That, I think, is why we won't see his income taxes. I suspect the Russians loaned him vast sums in the years when his credit here was nil. The Russians didn't tilt the election - but I think they certainly have something on Trump.
David McReynolds
Good point, I agree. Well worth reading!
Mike Glick
Kind of comforting, but misses the point - He'll be a rubber stamp for the Republican agenda, in a "You give me prayer in the schools and I'll give you tax reform" way. He's more functional and thus more dangerous and he won't alienate as many people before then mid term elections.
Ann Lasko-Harvill
He will never be President! He is involved in the cover up if not more!
Paul, Mtich, Marko, Scott and many more are all tied to Russian money!
The Russians have been buying the GOP!
Scott MacKay
I'm not sure he isn't guilty also.
Jim Britton
God help you all....
Jean-Pierre Dub
Pence out first. New VP, like Ford with Nixon. Can Dems help force the choice? A grownup not part of the current treason team. Colin Powell? Condi Rice (you have no idea how this pains me)?
Daniel F Klenke
It saddens me to see Portside devolve into one more voice of Cold War liberalism.
The following makes far more sense than Kuttner's facile liberalism:
The Impeachment Trap: Be Careful What You Wish For
Trump is odious, but impeachment is dangerous - both for the Democrats and the progressive movement.
BY Jeff Alson
May 16, 2017
Alan Hart
And what is the alternative? The massive Republican predominance with the help of big money has resulted in policies and elected representatives that are verging on incomprehensible to the rest of the world. For a country that prides itself on democracy, Republican policies, public antipathy to medicare, a move towards more private schools and a more unequal society don’t appear very democratic. If Trump decides to get out of the Paris agreement on climate change the US will be even more sidelined in world political arenas.
There is no alternative but opposition to the current state of affairs if America wants to remain a democratic society and become a more equal society. The level of ignorance in current political discussions is amazing particularly among Trump supporters who seem to want to support him no matter what. Trump is not qualified for the job he holds; that is evident.
Laurel MacDowell
This is good news! The results in Kansas and Montana had me wondering how out of touch I am about US values. Perhaps high attention races attract so much propaganda and $ that expression of distaste with the bully can come close to election victory- while at the grass roots hope for progressive renewal can win.
Chuck Weed
"in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, many observers understandably focused on the numerous places that swung from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. Because many of these areas congregated in swing states within the Rust Belt and Midwest, they played a pivotal role in Trump’s victory, as shown by the movement toward the GOP in Map 1 below. But how many total voters really switched from Obama to Trump in 2016? Different data sources tell a different story, but the answer is certainly in the millions..."
Larry Colby
Katrina, these are words of hope. 
Bob Zellner
Landrieu sits in the belly of the beast, scion of an unusual New Orleans political family, willing to tell the truth. A real first and way long overdue. Somewhere there is hope. Read on!
Incredible speech by a southern (white) politician, the mayor of New Orleans. This is the lesson of the combined struggles for equality and against racism. This is powerful! Thank you for posting Portside.
Jay Schaffner
We are citizens of the United States of America, not the Confederate States of America.
Monica Neil
It's not only not our story, it's not their (white supremacists) story either. They lost. Gen. Lee lost. Putting up a confederate statue is a flat-out lie because losers don't put up statues. It's about time for the supremacists to admit they lost the Civil War and their cause is dead.
William Rowen
We need to nix this rhetoric IMMEDIATELY!!!
Roman Esser
I can not imagine what that's like. I am so sorry that anyone must live with that fear.
PJ Tedrick
Can sanctions be imposed on states?
Colleen Collins
Help us Lord.. make America for every one again. Amen
Rafael Zacour
Trump inspires racism bigotry & fascism... the stats on incidents prove that... America is one sick society... not a society anymore...divided factions.
Dave Chambers
This is a sad truth, yet perhaps it never really stopped and now it is just being exposed for all to see. Perhaps it appears so dark now because light shining into all the shadows. Perhaps this is just another example of it is always darkest just before the dawn.
Carolyn McLure Milby
Modern day lynchings by cops and white haters
Starr Nelson
People don't feel safe in Trumps America
Eric Swanson
No, it doesn't haunt me. It makes me want to kick ass!
Mattie Council
Certainly the rhetoric inflames this madness. But we have to speak up about the horror of these killings. We have to agree to be incensed by every one. This cannot continue.
Mandy Vernalia
I am heartsick that our country is slowly going back to our Ku Klux mentality. I agree that it is mandatory to speak out - each time whether against words or this barbarity.
Gail Vanderhoof
(posting on Portside Culture)
Looking forward to reading it. Poverty and segregation do not happen by chance, but are largely planned by the powerful.
Sonia Collins
Rich Rothstein's book is excellent. Here, via Portside, is a deserved rave review. Trust me. Go read it. It's not perfect but it's really valuable.
Daniel Millstone
Memo to people who haven't bothered to study: US takes much more from Puerto Rico than vice versa. That's what happens in a colonial relationship.
Déborah B. Santana
The Mandela of Puerto Rico 
Robert Romero
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who made the $15 minimum wage a pillar of his 2016 presidential bid, said as he introduced the bill alongside Scott and others that he knows the idea "is a radical concept for our Republican friends, but we believe in the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, that if you work 40 hours a week or 50 hours a week you should not be living in poverty."
RoseAnn DeMoro
(posting on Portside Labor)
Great article
John Samuelsen
International President
Transport Workers Union of America
TWU Local 100
Clearly these economists have never worked in any of the factories where I've been involved in representing the union and seen the disappearance of good-paying jobs as the companies replaced workers with robots, more automated machine tools, and computers. But they're economists, so no one really expects them to have much connection to real life.
Alan Hart
The article agrees: "There clearly are serious problems in the labor market that have suppressed job and wage growth for far too long; but these problems have their roots in intentional policy decisions regarding globalization, collective bargaining, labor standards, and unemployment levels..."
Sig Laser
Robots replace repetitive labor jobs that usually accumulate trauma and can be dangerous. The use of robots create job opportunities for better paying jobs that require higher technical skills. Less jobs though for sure.
José García
Regularly held elections; allowing Communists to participate and take seats in the parliament; a free press that shows more rigorous debate than the mainstream press in the U.S. And relative to the region's other democracies, which exist where?
Yes, a racist state that oppresses its minorities and occupies other people's lands, and a very militarized state. (That sounds familiar.) 
Looks like a capitalist democracy to the rest of us. Or, is this another author published by Jacobin that argues, since state such-and-such isn't the ideal, it isn't at all real? 
Michael Arney
Absolutely, unequivocally correct! It's a Zionist State.
Edgardo Rivera Sr.
Based on a racist, colonialist ideology.
Jenny Kastner
Very good article and an interesting read
Chuck Mohan
It IS a democracy... They do, however, limit their citizenship. That tends to happen when you're a badly outnumbered minority group trying to survive...
William Peterson
A one sided report given that the Israelis deny making any significant concessions -- the only one they confirm involves the restoration of 2nd family visits, and that was an issue with the Red Cross, not the Israelis-- and they have been restored because the PA has agreed to cover the costs for the Red Cross.  But if this report is accurate let's compare what was involved here with the conditions on Robben Island--EI claimed the Israeli prisons are worse and Portside reposted that claim uncritically. "The prisoners on Robben Island were forced to work in a lime quarry in all weather with unsuitable clothing, insufficient food and violent prison guards." while the Palestinians "demands include establishing in every prison department a separate kitchen area for the preparation of food; allowing photographs with parents once annually, or with a prisoner's spouse; stocking prison stores with higher-quality goods, including fruits and vegetables; introducing modern recreational equipment in the recreation yards"
Stan Nadel
How about changing the title to: "Saudi Arabia -- a terrible but predictable choice for Trump's..........." ?
Fred Jerome
Saudi Arabia owns a pretty big chunk of the U.S. this is no surprise.
Danny Cameron
Thanks for the article.  I will study it.  Soc. Sec. is a basic  income program and has worked fabulously.  Most of the 1% were born and  live on a basic income program and most are probably not greedy they are just  born into a mind set that says they deserve it.  Of course we then have the  greedy 1% ers who are forever greedy.
The tax breaks the 1%ers get also probably does not effect their spending much but adds to they wealth.
So why do we always have to focus on the poor or lowest income getting a few dollars more per year.  We have seniors and 1%ers to study.  And  we know the results for seniors.
Buzz Davis,
Vets for Peace
Music is a shared experience, universal experience, as a musician or an audience ... all share in the connection. Thanks Pete!!!!
Carolyn S. Hughes
The irony is that we stole half of Mexico to establish a third of our own nation. We cannot claim Mexicans are illegal when our country was crested through blatant theft !
Thomas Meyers
A key difference between China and the US is that the Chinese government owns the majority of its banks.
Babak Mohebbi
(posting on Portside Labor)
How many times does this myth have to be proven wrong? This is complete nonsense.
Kenton LaPlante
Let's Protect Medicaid and Health Equity -- A Primer for Health Departments and Public Health Professionals to Take Action
A New Resource by Public Health Awakened
Medicaid works — and it works well. It helps tens of millions of children, seniors, people living with disabilities, and low-income people stay or get healthy.
And yet… Congressional Republicans and the President are proposing dramatic changes to end Medicaid as we know it, to instead give wealthy people tax cuts. Their plans would lead to an estimated 23 million more uninsured people by 2026 — in large part by taking Medicaid coverage from 14 million people.
Congress is in recess this week — so a Public Health Awakened workgroup prepared a new resource with action steps for health departments and public health professionals, data on the consequences of the proposed Medicaid changes, and details about the Republican proposals themselves.
Take action now to protect Medicaid
Read the Medicaid brief for a more complete picture of the impacts (with references), talking points, and actions to take.
Share this resource widely within your networks and on social media
Public Health Awakened is now on social media @PHAwakened  --  Like us on Facebook!   --  Follow us on Twitter
SAVE THE DATE -- Medicaid and SNAP Webinar
Join Public Health Awakened and the Center for Community Change for a webinar on protecting Medicaid and SNAP
Tuesday June 13, 11am PT
(details on registering coming soon) 
Public Health Awakened is a group of public health professionals organizing for health, equity, and justice - formed in response to theTrump administration. It is convened and staffed by Human Impact Partners. Join us!
Human Impact Partners
304 12th St. Suite 2B
Oakland, CA 94607
On Monday, June 5, WIN will have a new website and new address. Our redesigned website offers a new look, more news and improved features. Please visit us at the new address: www.workersindependentnews.com
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For more information about sponsorships, and how to strengthen the voice of working people and families in your area, contact us at [log in to unmask]. We look forward to hearing from you!
Sincerely yours,
Daniel G Guerra, Jr., CEO, Todd Ricci, VP, Strategic Partnerships; Keith Steffen, Strategic Partnerships Associate; Frank Emspak, Executive Producer; Doug Cunningham, News Director
Our mailing address is:
Diversified Media Enterprise
PO Box 910
Madison, WI 53701
By Ethan Young
May 31, 2017
The second People’s Summit will gather at Chicago’s McCormick Place on June 9–11, in the midst of a red alert for democracy. Activists from across the country are looking forward to hearing from Bernie Sanders, and a lot of other well-known figures.
Who’s coming? Naomi Klein, National Nurses United leader Rose Ann DeMoro, journalists Amy Goodman, Van Jones, Linda Sarsour, Michael Moore, and Shaun King are all on the speakers list. Celebs from the political-official side include Chicago alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Ohio’s Nina Turner, Nevada’s Lucy Flores, and Maryland’s Ben Jealous

Names aside, the main purpose of the Summit is to assemble activists to talk about where we go from here. There will be workshops and panels on big picture questions — From Resistance to Power, Fighting for a People’s Agenda, Empowering Locals: The Power of Perseverance… and more along those lines.
There shouldn’t be any doubt that the moment demands a big sit-down-and-talk. Our situation is almost biblical: A rabid cabal in charge, drunk on greed and power, against a growing resistance movement. Whether or not the resistance will succeed is not guaranteed one way or the other. The next few months will show if the angry public is prepared to hit at the Trump regime’s weak points. The Summit is envisioned as a big step in that direction.
Many of the groups that carried the banner for Bernie, or helped organize the 2016 Summit, will be there, including Democratic Socialists of America, Progressive Democrats of America, People for Bernie, UE, People’s Action, Our Revolution, Presente.org, and Food and Water Watch. In general, trustworthy groups with a lot of experience in the field.
These are a mixed bunch of endorsing organizations — they cover a lot of territory on the left. This is important because the Bernie Sanders campaign brought together city dwellers of different colors and backgrounds, folks from towns and rural areas, environmentalists, feminists, union members and students. The connection was momentary. But the Summit takes off from that moment. On this all agree: The Trump-Pence show must not go on. How we get to regime change will be discussed at the Summit.
Resistance broke out all over the place starting the day after the inauguration, in various forms. The gigantic women’s march in DC, and local marches, broke through the weeks of shock and despair. The climate justice march followed, and this is just the beginning.
Another form of protest is spreading — town hall meetings, where angry constituents are bringing their grievances about the wholesale attacks on our living standards directly to elected representatives from both parties. This is happening more and more in suburbs and towns — even those known as Trump strongholds. These face-offs are fueling Berniecrat election campaigns, giving both the Republican and Democratic leadership reason to panic.
There is also an upsurge of support for a single payer universal health plan as advocated during Bernie’s campaign. Single payer is now the most popular healthcare plan despite the money and power of Big Pharma, insurance companies and the private medical industry. Bills to institute single payer in California and other states are being pushed vigorously.
Add to these the continued efforts of long-running movements — immigrants, women, racial justice, public education, unions — the list goes on and on — all under direct attack by the regime.
This is what the national anti-Trump front looks like at this moment. Still just beginning to come together, yet already breaking through the enforced consensus that governments rely on. Each component part is trying to keep up with the daily surprises and atrocities.
Between now and November 2020, the big majority opposed to Trump is challenged to bring all these efforts together in a political way. The showdowns in the Democratic Party will continue, and things look good for more electoral wins at local levels. The People’s Summit offers an opportunity to meet, talk, get focused and map out the battles in 2018 and beyond.
Online registration is at https://www.thepeoplessummit.org/apply/.
From APALA's ( The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance) first action to marching for justice in the beating of Rodney King to standing in solidarity with Native peoples from Hawaii to North Dakota, we're celebrating our 25-year history of our collective resistance standing with people of color and marginalized populations. This year's convention theme "25 Years of Resistance: Organize & Fight" encapsulates the importance of knowing and understanding our history in the struggle, and uniting together in the fights we know we will encounter in the next 25 years of APALA. 
We invite you to join us to celebrate, to strategize, to collaborate in APALA's 14th Biennial Convention & 25th Anniversary. Check out the official convention call with more information.
WHAT: APALA's 25th Anniversary & 14th Biennial Convention
WHEN: August 16 – 20, 2017
WHERE: Hilton Anaheim, 777 W Convention Way, Anaheim, CA 92802. Book your room here.
REGISTRATION RATE: Early Bird registration is $300 and ends on June 9th. Regular registration is $325. Register here.
MORE INFO: Learn more here
I'm also excited to announce that Julio Perez, Executive Director of the Orange County Labor Federation, and Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO, will be joining me as Honorary Co-Chairs for our convention. Please keep a look out for more updates coming from us as convention gets closer!
We hope you join us for this special convening! 
In Solidarity,
Johanna Puno Hester, APALA National President
Chair of the Convention Committee
P.S. You can also support APALA by becoming a member today or making a tax-deductible donation to our charitable sister organization, IAPALA.
The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO was founded in 1992 as the first and only national organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) union members to advance worker, immigrant and civil rights. Learn more at www.apalanet.org.





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