Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oct. 2: Rally to Keep Stella D'oro in the Bronx!

Rally with Workers and Supporters at the Stella D'oro Plant

Friday, October 2, 2009, 3:00-7:00pm

Stella D'oro
237th Street & Broadway, Bronx, NY


It is crunch time at Stella D'oro! Brynwood Partners, the company's private equity owners, intend to shut down the Bronx facility as early as the first days of October. They have a deal in principle with North Carolina-based manufacturing and marketing firm Lance, Inc. to buy the brand and relocate production to a non-union plant in Ashland, Ohio. But the deal still hasn't closed -- and we can stop it!

Please join the courageous women and men of Stella D'oro -- who have stood up for themselves and for the entire labor movement in New York -- as they rally to keep their plant open -- and their jobs -- this Friday, October 2nd, outside the plant gates at 237th Street and Broadway. Take the 1 train to 238th Street and walk one block south.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds dies

Lucy Vodden died at 46 after a long fight with lupus. Who was Lucy Vodden?

Well, when she and Julian Lennon were grade school class mates, one day 4-year-old Julian brought home a drawing of Lucy and told his father it was "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." The rest is pop music history.

Bi-partisan rejection of public option in Senate cmte.

Well Pres. Obama finally got the bi-partisan vote he's been looking for. The Senate Finance Cmte. voted down the Public Health Insurance Option amendment by a 15-8 vote, which included 5 Democratic NO votes. These Democrats never fail to go with which ever side their bread is buttered on, rather than the needs of the rest of us. The 5-turncoat Dems., who voted against the people for whom they are supposed to be working are

Chm. Max Baucus
Kent Conrad (N.D.)
Blanche Lincoln (ARK)
Bill Nelson (FLA)
Thomas Carper (DEL)

I wonder if they can say Primary Challenge?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Pawlenty yanks ACORN funding," Oh! Minnesota doesn't fund ACORN

In case you were wondering, here's the latest notice from NewsMax, an extreme-right wing web site:
Eyeing a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has moved to the right to better appeal to the conservatives who will likely select the GOP candidate.

Pawlenty has been viewed during his two terms as fairly close to the center. But in recent weeks he has made several moves to burnish his right-wing credentials.

Among them: He yanked state funding for the ACORN community organizing group, termed fears over so-called death panels "legitimate," called President Barack Obama's address to schoolchildren "uninvited," suggested he could assert states' rights to block federal healthcare reform, and called Obama's reform plans "a joke."
Well there are a number of problems with Pawlenty's actions. A good right-wing extremist does what's expected of him, but while
Gov. Tim Pawlenty today joined the chorus of disapproval aimed at the ACORN community organizing group, ordering that state agencies "stop all state funding" of the group.

... a local spokesman for the group said there's no state funding to stop.
But one thing that never gets in the way of a good right-wing action is reality. This is just one example.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rachel Maddow on ACORN, Part II

Here is Part II of Rachel Maddow's multi-show comment on the Republican "Defunding and demonizing" of ACORN. But as angry as she is about it, and I fully agree with her response, she still doesn't get to the reason for the Republican action. The GOP may be racist and dishonest, but they are not stupid. Why attack a 40-year-old community organization? The reason, as I suggested in the previous post, is that if more and more poor Black people are registered to vote (ACORN's main work) the Republican Party will go the way of the pre-Civil Rights South. Remember that only 43% of the white electorate voted for Obama. The votes that elected him had to come from somewhere. Get it? Registering Black people = Republican defeats. The real question is: why did so many Democrats cast self-defeating votes to defund ACORN? And, of course, as always the other question is: Why does the mainstream media just buy into the Republican lies about ACORN?

Tonight's Rachel Maddow comment on the "defunding and demonizing" of ACORN co-stars Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater
(If you are viewing this on FaceBook click here to see the video)

Right attack on ACORN reminiscent of pre-Civil Rights South

I think it would be a serious mistake for us to underestimate the Republican attack on ACORN. We really have to take it very seriously. It's very much a part of the right-wing racist attack on Obama and democratic voting rights. The attack on ACORN is reminiscent of the pre-Voting Rights Act (1965) Southern determination to prevent the voting registration of Black people. Once upon a time before the civil rights movement (SNCC, etc.) went below the Mason-Dixon Line to register African-American voters, the powers-that-be in the South did everything they could to prevent people 0f color from voting. The powers that were feared that if Black people voted they would lose control of the political process in their states. And that, of course, is what happened.

The Republicans, with the help of the mainstream media and Democrats, have promulgated outright lies about ACORN. Their purpose has been to defund the one organization doing more to register people of color to vote. And that, of course, is exactly what the Republican Party wants to accomplish. Just like their ancestors in the South, they know that if poor people, particularly poor Black people, register to vote their percentage of the vote will continue to shrink. Remember in the 2008 election Obama was elected by 53 percent of the broad electorate but only 43 percent of the white electorate voted for him and that's what scares the hell out of the Republicans.

Here's Rachel Maddow last night discussing the Republican attempt to "defund and demonize" ACORN and particularly the mainstream media's failure to report the story accurately, thereby enabling the Republican Party's attempt to increase the white percentage of the voting population. (If you are viewing this post on FaceBook, please click here to see the Rachel Maddow video).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Questions I have about contemporary politics

There are many things I don't understand about contemporary U. S. politics. Perhaps someone can explain this one to me. No matter how much damage the Democratic loose cannons in the Baucus "we work for the health insurance companies" caucus do to President Obama's struggle to reform health insurance coverage, he never calls them out. But at the same time he throws the embattled New York State Gov. Patterson to the wolves . In addition to the fact that Patterson is one of only two Black governors currently serving (Massachusetts's Deval Patrick is the other) and he will almost surely be replaced by a white man - Democrat or Republican - it would seem that a Democratic president would support a Democratic governor.

So why are the extreme right-wing obstructionist Blue Dog Senate Democrats untouchable, while Patterson (in current media parlance) gets thrown under the bus? Any answers?

Monday, September 21, 2009

October 15: The Left Forum: Capitalist Power in the Age of Obama

Thursday, October 15, 2009, 7:30 p.m.

the Community Church of New York City
40 East 35thSt. near Park Ave, NYC

The Left Forum has organized a Dialogue/debate between
Tom Hayden, founder of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and activist in Progressives for Obama,
Stanley Aronowitz, public intellectual and author of over 24 books and
Cindy Milstein, anarchist organizer, writer and popular educator.
The moderator will be Esther Armah of WBAI's "Wake Up Call".

This is a free event, hosted by the Community Church of New York City.

Thursday, October 15, 2009, 7:30 p.m.

40 East 35thSt. near Park Ave, NYC

They will address the roles of capitalists’ power in and beyond the Obama campaign and administration while considering the impact of, and opposition to such power in relation to strategies for building Left alternatives.

This event comes at a time of the exclusion from mainstream media and Washington politics of any discourse that suggests that the systematic dimensions of capitalism are related to the current crises or that the phrase “capitalists’ power” is relevant to public political consciousness.

Debate questions will be prepared and posed by a panel consisting of David Harvey (The Limits to Capital), Maria Svart (union organizer and chair of the NYC local of the Democratic Socialists of America) and Josh MacPhee (Justseeds radical artists' collective founder) and audience questions will be included.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Dec 27-Jan 2: International demonstration to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza

Join Alice Walker, Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, Mustafa Barghouti, Diana Buttu in endorsing the historic Gaza Freedom March on Jan. 1, 2010 — a massive nonviolent demonstration that will breach the illegal Israeli blockade.
Read the call here and give your endorsement.

اقرأ البيان كاملاً و امنحنا التأييد

Dec. 27-Jan. 2

Join the largest ever international delegation to breach the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza

Read the call here and give your endorsement.

poster by Michael Thompson

Friday, September 04, 2009

Petition to End War and Occupation of Afghanistan

From National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance:

Sign the Petition (I just signed it)

Call on President Obama to End the War and Occupation of Afghanistan, Restore our Reputation in the Global Community!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

GOP ventures off the deep end of rationality

I have recently said that there is no way to understand the contemporary Republican Party unless you accept the simple fact they have gone off the deep end, that their ideology (the way they understand the world) is totally out-of-touch with reality. I'm not talking about a Republican fringe, I'm talking about the mainstream of the party.

Here are some comments made recently by Oklahoma Senator James Inhoff. Decide for yourselves.
I never dreamed I would see an administration try to disavow all the things that have made this country different from all others.
I have never seen so many things happening at one time so disheartening to America.
Every institution that has made this country the greatest nation in the world is under attack
There has never been a case of torture there [Guantanamo Bay]. The people there are treated better than in the federal prisons.
I don’t know why President Obama is obsessed with turning terrorists loose in America.
He also said as quoted in the Tulsa World he continues to be proven correct in his claim that global climate change is a hoax. 'More and more, with each month that goes by, more scientists agree with me,' he said. 'We are winning.'" He is referring to a speech he made on the Senate floor on July 28, 2003,in which he said 'much of the debate over global warming is predicated on fear, rather than science. Where he called the threat of catastrophic global warming the 'greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,' a statement that,' he said, 'to put it mildly, was not viewed kindly by environmental extremists and their elitist organizations.' These are clearly not the words of anyone who wants to have a reasoned political discussion. They are intended to scare the hell out of people who are already afraid of this new world they have been told is on their doorstep. At its base it isn't overly concerned about truth.

(Thanks to Carl Davidson for the link to the Tulsa World.)

October 5th Actions Against Continued War & Torture

October 5th Actions
"Direct Action at the White House Against Continued War and Torture"

Monday, October 5, 2009, 8:30am - 6:00pm

Washington D.C.

8:30 – 9:30 am Vigil @ the Supreme Court with Witness Against Torture, focused on Guantánamo, Bagram, and Accountability for Torture

10:00 am Gather @ McPherson Square (15th & I Sts. NW) for Poetry, Music, and Reflections from Elizabeth McAlister

11:30 am Silent, Solemn procession to the White House

EIGHT YEARS AGO ON OCTOBER 7, 2001, THE U.S. AND BRITAIN INVADED AFGHANISTAN— and the war on Afghanistan continues today, with President Obama increasing the number of troops.

On Monday, October 5, 2009 a coalition of peace groups will mark the anniversary and speak out against the war with direct
action risking arrest at the White House. Activists will attempt to deliver a petition asking President Obama to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, end illegal bombing in Pakistan with U.S. drones, close Guantanamo and the Bagram prison, and seek accountability for and ending of indefinite detention and torture.

There will be a number of affinity groups acting at the White House on October 5th.
You are welcome to join one, or form an affinity group of your own.

All who plan to participate in this action should come to a meeting on Sunday, October 4th, 2–5pm
@ the Festival Center, 1640 Columbia Road NW.

To participate in the direct action, e-mail, and
for more information, please see

Coordinated and sponsored by: National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR), Witness Against Torture, Peace Action, War Resisters League, Atlantic Life Community, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Voters for Peace, Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, World Can’t Wait, Student Peace Action Network, Activist Response Team, and others.

For those of you looking to coordinate something in your hometown, we have some organizing resources available so please contact us as well.

Print journalists blame the internet for their own failings

This story caught my attention in today's (9/3) NYT. It's about a tenaciously rumored wedding last month between Chelsea Clinton and Marc Medvinsky that didn't happen. But the substance of the story is irrelevant. The writer, Peter Baker, blames the persistence of the rumor, despite continuous denials by the principles and everyone around them, on "the internet-driven media culture, where," he says, "facts sometimes do not get in the way of a good story." However, if one reads further one finds out who really doesn't let facts "get in the way of a good story." He writes "the wedding rumor mill was started by The Boston Globe." Obviously, a mainstay of the "internet-driven media culture." But clearly it must have been carried on by gossip blogs and web sites. Baker writes: "Then New York magazine picked up the ball." (Another internet mainstay). To compound Baker's "inability to let facts get in the way," he says, "In July, The Daily News of New York said that 'Clintonistas are quietly being told to save the date.'" This rumor is once again advanced by another internet mainstay: "The Washington Post reported in August" and then "The Post followed up with a 1,775-word article." And, of course, that paragon of journalistic virtue "The New York Post reported [on Sunday] that the wedding could be that very day...."

So it seems there was no reason for throwing a grenade at the internet, except to cover up the ongoing failure of the corporate-owned media to let "facts...get in the way of a good story." Just imagine, when it really counts, how accurate the print media is likely to be.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Aurora "Rory" Barnes last night at the NuYorican Poets Cafe, Photos by Dan Cohen

Last night at the Nuyorican Poets' Cafe we went to see our friend Aurora "Rory" Barnes. Aurora is an absolutely wonderful performer, who should be on a much larger stage. She is not part of the post-Madonna generation of singers (you know "I dance alot cause I really can't sing"). She can really sing and fill a song with meaning. A mixture of her songs, not always happy, love affairs gone bad and the police murder of 23-year-old Sean Bell from the point of view of his fiancee Nicole Paultre Bell and standards. But don't think it's a sad evening Aurora injects most of it with lots of humor and her warm personality. I guess what I'm saying is if you hear the name Aurora "Rory" Barnes appearing anywhere, Go! You'll love her.