Can the working class unite? by Jen Roesch

Workers Of The World Unite!

Image by oemebamo via Flickr

by Jen Roesch
November 4, 2010

Jen Roesch looks at where ideas like racism and sexism that divide workers come from–and how the working class can overcome this obstacle to unity and solidarity.

ONE OF the most common objections to socialism is the idea that the working class is too alienated, too tied to its narrow material interests and too internally divided to play the revolutionary role that Karl Marx envisioned for it.

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The right to demonstrate is the sign of a healthy democracy – And yet it sends many kids to years in detention

By Roland Michel Tremblay
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
The Marginal
21 November, 2010

Roland Michel Tremblay

As a Court Clerk in a criminal court, most cases just leave me totally
indifferent. You could easily think I have lost my heart about such things a
few years ago, incapable to feel anything now either for the defendants or
their victims. True, I admit it. When you see it every day, the same sort of
cases one after the other, you quickly become insensitive to it all. But not
this time.

Even when they all cry their soul out, whether they are faking it or not.
Beware of the crocodile tears, and then it seems, it is always just that,
crocodile tears. If I can’t feel the need to cry most of the time, then it
must be fake all the time, I’m usually so emotional.

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The Wages of Hate: The Development of Political Homophobia by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted on
October 9, 2010

Homophobia has been around for a long time.  It turns up in the Old Testament of the Bible as well as in the New.  The Republican Religious Right relies on that view in support of its homophobia, and cites chapters and verses in support of it.  (Not every religious scholar agrees with that interpretation of the Bible.  Indeed, Minister Peter Gomes, the well-known gay [and African-American] Baptist long-time director of the Harvard Divinity School, strongly disagrees with it [see Gomes, P.J., “Homophobic? Re-read Your Bible,”  New York Times, August 17, 1992, and Westminster, J., The 15% Solution: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001-2022, East Setauket, NY, Thomas Jefferson Press, 1996, pp.155-56]).  In modern times it was used by the Nazis to promote their ideology once Hitler’s dictatorship had been established.  Indeed, despite the fact  that the head of the Sturmabteilung, the SA, the most prominent pre-1933 Nazi armed force, Ernst Roehm, was himself homosexual and Hermann Goering was a cross-dresser, the Nazis went after the gays as their identity group of choice for demonization before they went after the Jews full force.

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“The 15% Solution,” Serialization, 8th Installment: Chapter Seven 2005: The Morality Amendment (31st)

by Jonathan Westminster, Ph.D. aka Steven Jonas, MD, MPH
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted on Buzzflash,com
Sept. 9, 2010

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

This is the eighth installment of a project that is likely to extend over a two-year-period from January, 2010. It is the serialization of a book entitled The 15% Solution: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001-2022. Under the pseudonym Jonathan Westminster, it is purportedly published in the year 2048 on the 25th Anniversary of the Restoration of Constitutional Democracy in the Re-United States. It was actually published in 1996 by the Thomas Jefferson Press, located in Port Jefferson, NY. The copyright is held by the Press. Herein you will find Chapter 7. You can find a complete archive of the chapters published to date on as well as the Disclaimer, the cast of characters, the author’s biography, cover copy, and several favorable reviews.

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Bill Moyers Journal: Same-sex marriage + Lucille Clifton + Supreme Court

Bill Moyers Journal
February 26, 2010

Same-sex marriage

Once adversaries in 2000’s Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case, now two of the nation’s premier lawyers – one conservative and one liberal – have teamed up to make the constitutional case for same-sex marriage.

via Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS


Lucille Clifton
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Appeal to religious leaders to embrace women and gay rights By Roland Michel Tremblay

Roland Michel Tremblay

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By Roland Michel Tremblay
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
The Marginal
25 June, 2009

At the forefront of all human rights in the world today, before we could even be scandalised by how blatantly religious leaders speak against and bully gays, lesbians and transgenders, would be women rights. In a way these battles for recognition of the most basic human rights are very similar. The first step to address the issue is for religious leaders to change their discourse and embrace all human beings for who they are on an equal basis. Pope Benedict XVI, please lead the rest of Christianity into the new millennium, embrace all human rights! After all, Jesus Christ never talked against a third gender.

I cannot remember if at an early age I stopped myself and asked the question: why are there two sexes on this planet? I believe I must simply have taken it all for granted. There were men and women, in the animal world there were males and females, even flowers have some sort of two sexes. Makes you wonder about rocks.

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The Most Successful American President: George W. Bush, Part 4: The Bush Legacy By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted on TPJmagazine
April 12, 2009

Over the past several columns I have discussed the successes of George Bush in terms of substantive outcomes.  They would have been enough for the Georgites, I’m sure.  But some of them can be and are being reversed by the Obama Administration.

Thus many Bush policies, in the foreign and domestic arenas, from war and its threat as the primary instrument of foreign policy, to the deindustrialization of the US with the replacement of industrial capitalism by finance capitalism, to the total degradation of the environment for the sole purpose of enriching the extractive industries in the short-term, and so on and so forth as we have detailed in some detail in recent weeks, can be and to some extent are being moderated by President Obama.  What may be more important for the country in the long run is the political process “achievements” of George Bush and his minions.  For these apply to the GOP, which remains a major political force in our nation.  It is now licking its wounds.  Many analysts say that it is “searching for its identity.”  That is not true.  It has an identity.

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Remarks at the Obama Inauguration By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted on TPJmagazine
February 4, 2009

The most important words at the inauguration of President Barack Obama were of course those spoken by him in his Inaugural Address.  On January 19, 2009 I wrote a Commentary for BuzzFlash entitled “My Wish List for the Inaugural Address.”

It was published on inauguration day.  At the beginning of that Commentary I said:

“A couple of weeks ago, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out a questionnaire to its contributors (of which, I must admit, I am one). It asked for one’s top pick for the must-deal-with problems. The list consisted of the usual suspects, beginning with what can be called ‘The Five “E’s” ‘(with liberties taken): Economic stimulus, Education, Environment, Ealth Care, and Eraq (well some people do pronounce it that way), as well as Tax Reform (?!) and, somewhere on the list, ‘national defense/security.’ My answer, had I answered, would have been ‘None of the above.’ One will likely hear some version or another of the list above in Pres. Obama’s address. But I am really hoping, oh boy am I hoping, that some significant percentage of the time in what will be a relatively short speech (20 minutes or so, so we have been told) will be devoted to the Big ‘C:’ the Constitution, and to the restoration of Constitutional Democracy (C.D.) in the United States.”

Yes indeed. In his inaugural address, I wanted Pres. Obama to give some significant time to the substance of the Statement of Purpose of TPJmagazine: “THE PRESERVATION AND PROMOTION OF CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY.” Well, my wish was rewarded.  Below I will highlight those portions of Pres. Obama’s Inaugural that constituted my reward. But before doing that I would like to turn to the words of another speaker about whom I had also written commentary before the event, commentary that appeared both on the pages of BuzzFlash and right here on TPJmagazine, Rick Warren. Like many other commentators on the Left, I took Warren apart.  I also criticized the choice that the Team Obama had made.  For it fell into the trap set by the Right that in contemporary American politics homophobia is politically OK, just as long as the putative subject is “gay marriage.”

Then along came Rev. Warren, to give the invocation.  Much to my surprise, in his words I found much to admire and nothing to complain about.  Indeed many observers on the Left did complain about the frequent references to “God” and to “Jesus.”  But the man is a Christian minister. He believes in both God and Christ, as divine, sentient, powerful beings, existing in the supernatural.  I am a Secular Humanist Jew and I don’t believe in what he believes in.  But I respect him and his beliefs and I also believe in the First Amendment.  Thus he is free to express them, in our country.  What I do not agree with is when Christians, or the representatives of any other religion (including Judaism), attempt to force their particular beliefs upon me, in an attempt to control and limit my beliefs, through the force of law.  But that is another matter.

So surprising to me were the words in his invocation which completely contradicted the homophobic positions he has taken on many other occasions, from the pulpit and elsewhere.  I am just wondering if, because of the furor that followed his selection, the Rev. did some rethinking, perhaps even communicating in the manner in which he does with his concept of “God.”  In so doing did he learn, perhaps, that his God truly loves all of his or her creations, including homosexuals?  To paraphrase Lincoln, in fact God must love the gays and lesbians because he made so many of them.  And so, let’s listen to the Rev. Warren:

“Now today we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. We celebrate a hinge-point of history with the inauguration of our first African-American president of the United States.  We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. . . . Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. . . . [r]emember that we are Americans, united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.

“When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the Earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us.

“And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.  Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all.  May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy [sic], and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet.”

I say that these are memorable words, with which all supporters of President Obama (and even some, but unfortunately not all, of his opponents) can agree.  I say with all due respect to the Rev. Warren: “Is it possible that, having gone through the fire of the criticism aimed at you for your evil words said to our gay and lesbian compatriots, you have again been born again and moved to a higher level of understanding of your fellow man?”  We shall see what the future holds for the Rev. Warren.

Turning now to the words President Obama.  To review, in my “wish list” Commentary on (BuzzFlash) I said: “I am really hoping, oh boy am I hoping, that some significant percentage of the time in what will be a relatively short speech (20 minutes or so, so we have been told) will be devoted to the Big ‘C:’ the Constitution, and the restoration of Constitutional Democracy in the United States.”  Well, the word “Constitution” did not appear in the President’s Address.  But it was very much of a presence.

Paraphrasing the great work by Aaron Copeland, “A Lincoln Portrait,” that opened the Inaugural Concert on January 18, President Obama said, this is what he said: “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.”

In this light, listen to the most ignored section of the Constitution, the Preamble: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  No prescription for big or small government here, but for one that works, for the benefit of all the people, in the context of the democratic government, operating under the Rule of Law, that the body of the Constitution prescribes.

President Obama said, this is what he said: “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. . . . [O]ur security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint. We are the keepers of this legacy.”  We can find in these words echoes of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

Echoing the First Amendment once more, President Obama said: “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers.”  To my knowledge, no President has ever referred, as he did with these last words, to my sector of the population.  It now, it has been estimated, stands at 30,000,000 strong.  Echoing the Fifteenth Amendment, the original Civil Rights Act that took 100 years to be put into force, President Obama said: “This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.”

And finally President Obama said, referring to the darkest days of the American Revolution, spent by General Washington and his Winter Soldiers at Valley Forge,

“So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words [of Thomas Paine] be read to the people: ‘Let it be told to the future world … that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it).’ “

The President probably does not know, for few Americans do, that the great Prussian officer Baron Friedrich von Stueben, who trained the Continental Army into fighting shape throughout that bitter winter, at the age of 47 to be a life-long bachelor, brought with him only his French secretary, a handsome young man of 19.

And that, my friends, brings us back to the words of those in this country who would deny people their civil rights, simply because they have a different sexual identity than do the majority.  And so, by implication, President Obama finished his address by alluding to perhaps the most important clause of the Fourteenth Amendment: “[No] State shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”   Rick Warren, in light of both your own words and those of the President, please re-think where you stand on the issue of gay marriage and beyond it, the whole nature of homosexuality and the place of homosexuals in our society. I must say that I hope that the President and his political advisors do too.

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor of 30 books. He has also published numerous articles and reviews in both the academic and the lay literature on health policy, health and wellness, and athletics. On politics Dr. Jonas is a Contributing Author; a regular Columnist for the webmagazine Buzz Flash; a Special Contributing Editor for Cyrano’s Journal Online; a Contributing Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century, POAC; a regular contributor to Thomas Paine’s Corner; and a Featured Writer for Dandelion Salad


My Wish List for the Inaugural Address by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

‘I Hope He Fails’ by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

Obama, Warren, and the Mythical ‘Middle Ground’ by Steven Jonas, MD


Killing Gays And Feminists In Gaza: America’s Boutique Morality; And History As Manufactured Event By Gary Corseri

By Gary Corseri
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
January 21, 2009

“No use beating a dead horse,” they say, and there’s probably no horse deader on the planet today than that strip of God-forsaken land called Gaza.

It appears that not only have Yahweh and Jesus Christ forsaken Gaza, but so have the U.N., the E.U., the US, the Arab League and every other institution and congregation of arrogant nation-states that have mis-managed our post Cold War era.

Israel tied up its slaughter in Gaza with a ribbon and handed it to Barack Obama just in time for his Inaugural warning to Muslims: Don’t shake your fists at us or we’ll defeat you! And our news-media Sanhedrin blessed the proceedings. Two days before the Inauguration, Bishop Lester Holt on NBC managed to anchor 30 minutes of drivel about the “historic event” of handing the “reigns of power” from one pitchman to another-and never mentioned once the fact that both Israel and Hamas had declared separate “truces” on that very day.

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Obama, Warren, and the Mythical ‘Middle Ground’ by Steven Jonas, MD

by Steven Jonas, MD
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted on

January 2, 2009

Right-wing commentators such as the sometimes hard-to-categorize Pat Buchanan, comedian Bill Kristol, still-trying-to-shake-her “Reagan Hagiographer” label Peggy Noonan, and so-called “even-handed” cable news personalities such as “Morning Joe and Mika” are all het-up about why the “left” (these folks wouldn’t know a real Left if they saw one) is so het up about Obama’s choice of Rick Warren for the Inauguration Invocation. “It’s a free country,” they say. “There’s a wide range of views on gay marriage” (which happens to be Rick Warren’s least odious on-the-gay-question position), they say. “Obama is showing himself to be tolerant,” they say. Obama is looking for “common ground,” they say.

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I Just Saw “Milk” by Steven Jonas, MD + videos

by Steven Jonas, MD
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted on
December 19, 2008

Walking home from seeing “Milk,” I found myself humming a song about another great American leader of people, Joe Hill. He was an organizer for the International Workers of the World who was framed on a murder charge and killed in Utah in 1915. A song by Earl Robinson that was famous when I was a boy (frequently performed by Pete Seeger) goes in part: Continue reading

Countdown: Special Comment on Prop 8 + Gitmo + ACLU

Dandelion Salad


Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Countdown: Special Comment on Prop 8“, posted with vodpod


Countdown: No Decision On Detainees’ Trials

Keith reports on the latest news that the Obama administration has not yet decided how the detainees at Gitmo should be tried. Keith talks to Charles Swift about what closing Gitmo would mean and how these people might be tried.


ACLU Calls On Obama To Close Guantánamo On Day One Of Presidency


Group Launches Campaign Urging New Administration To Restore Fundamental Rights And Reclaim America’s Moral Leadership


CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;


NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union launched a new campaign today calling on President-elect Barack Obama to close the Guantánamo Bay prison and end the military commissions on Day One of his presidency.

Obama, as a candidate, pledged to “close Guantánamo, reject the Military Commissions Act and adhere to the Geneva Conventions.” In a full page ad in the New York Times today, the ACLU urges Obama, as president, to fulfill those promises and immediately restore America’s moral leadership in the world.

“There is no room for patience or delay in these areas. We have to hold President-elect Obama’s feet to the fire if we’re going to turn hope into reality,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “We hope that President-elect Obama, as soon as he is sworn in, will take bold action and sign an executive order closing Guantánamo and ending the sham military commissions there. It is time to restore American values of justice, due process and human rights.”

In addition to ordering the closure of Guantánamo, the ACLU calls on President-elect Obama to sign Day One executive orders banning the use of torture and abuse and ending the practice of extraordinary rendition.

“We welcome the end to a Bush administration that is leaving behind a disastrous legacy of civil liberties violations, abuse of power and executive overreaching, yet there is no room for complacency,” said Romero. “We are hopeful that President Obama will honor the U.S. Constitution and passionately promote all the rights for which it stands.”

In addition to the ad in the New York Times, the ACLU launched a new Web site where it will premiere a series of short videos about Guantánamo produced in partnership with Brave New Foundation, a leading producer of online videos about today’s most pressing issues. The videos will feature interviews with attorneys, former prison guards and released prisoners, some of whom will be speaking publicly for the first time.

“We’ve all seen the reports in the news about the tragedy that is Guantánamo Bay,” said Robert Greenwald, president of Brave New Foundation. “But Americans haven’t yet heard it directly from those who were there. The ACLU is pioneering the use of new media in their work and we are so proud to be a part of it. They’re planning to release these videos in full public view on the Internet, representing a major step forward in terms of transparency on this issue in particular and on government policy in general. The ACLU and Brave New Foundation are taking a first, big step out of the secrecy of the Bush era.”

On November 13, the ACLU will hold a nationwide telephone town hall with supporters and activists from across the country to discuss the state of civil liberties transitioning from the Bush administration to the Obama administration. The call will be moderated by Romero and Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. A question and answer period will follow the discussion.

More information about the town hall is available online at:

The new ACLU Web site goes live with the first video today at:

Romero has posted a statement about the ACLU’s campaign at:


Marriage has reached its sell by date By Roland Michel Tremblay