Bulletin N° 640






7 January 2015
Grenoble, France



Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,


At the beginning of this New Year, we welcome a new book by US economic historian Douglas Dowd, “ ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ MUST BECOME ‘US THE POLITICAL’ NOW! ” which reads like a quiet conversation with the 91-year-young militant from San Francisco, talking about the uses of history to accomplish the urgently needed systemic change for the social rescue from ruinous capitalism. [This book is available at : http://www.ceimsa.org/publications/Scholars/ScholarlyEssays2015.htm] In addition, US economist Richard Wolff has sent us three recent articles providing cogent analyzes of the economic deterioration we are suffering in Europe and North America. The no-holds-barred capitalism we are witnessing today has reverted to its tried-and-true tricks of militarism, racism, patriotism --what Sigmund Freud once called “the narcissism of minor differences”. We have seen the return to medieval torture techniques by the CIA and NATO forces. And certainly it is time to move beyond disbelief, and commit ourselves to end our tiresome quarreling and myopic revenge, and look to the future for a solution to the sadistically class-dominated society in which we all play a role.


The 8 items below suggest the complexity of ruling-class power and solutions that exist, which are not so complicated.


Item A., from NYU Professor Bertell Ollman, are two essays on police brutality against African Americans.


Item B., from Democracy Now!, is an interview with Matt Taibbi on the Banksters who rob us daily.


Item C., from Jim O’Brien of Historians Against War, is a series of recommended recent articles.


Item E., from Information Clearing House, is an article by Emran Feroz on the new revalations of  CIA torture techniques using NATO-trained dogs.


Item F., from Democracy Now!, is an interview with Julian Assange on the international politics at GOOGLE.


Item G., from U.S. Representative Alan Grayson (Dem. Florida) discussing, “What’s wrong with the Republican Party.”


Item H., from Democracy Now!, is a discussion with the presence today of overt KKK sympathizers among lawmakers in the United States Congress.


And finally, we invite CEIMSA readers to watch the Real News Network 5-part series on Norman Finkelstein discussing his life and his commitment to justice in Palestine.


Norman Finkelstein on Israel








Francis Feeley

Professor of American Studies

University of Grenoble-3

Director of Research

University of Paris-Nanterre

Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements

The University of California-San Diego







From Bertell Ollman :

Date: 1 January 2015

Subject: Stop Kidding Yourself: The Police Were Created to Control Working Class and Poor People.




Francis -
     Here are two excellent pieces about the police that have something new and important to say that belong on both of your lists. Second one coming.


Stop Kidding Yourself: The Police Were Created to Control Working Class and Poor People 

Sam Mitrani
LAWCHA, Labor and Working Class History Association





And here is the second one. I think these two pieces together present what is most important for people to understand about the current crisis over police brutality.

A Note on Race and the NYPD

(Part I)

by Tony Greco

An illuminating story from Reuters reporter Michelle Conlin, who reported on interviews with 15 retired and 10 active black NYC police officers. Of the 25, all but one reported having had at least one off-duty experience of racial profiling by fellow officers of the NYPD.

The officers said this included being pulled over for no reason, having their heads slammed against their cars, getting guns brandished in their faces, being thrown into prison vans and experiencing stop and frisks while shopping. The majority of the officers said they had been pulled over multiple times while driving. Five had had guns pulled on them.”

One retired officer who had been stopped while jogging in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, asked, naturally enough, “But what’s suspicious about a jogger? In jogging clothes?”

So, is there anybody who would seriously claim that racism is not a problem in the NYPD? Oh, yes, there’s Rudy Giuliani, and Pat Lynch and…..well, obviously, that was a rhetorical question.



DeBlasio and the Police

(Part II)


by Tony Greco

A meeting yesterday between Mayor Bill DeBlasio with the leaders of five NYC police unions, though apparently fairly civil, yielded no clear progress toward a resolution of the current antagonism between City Hall and New York’s men in blue.   That is hardly surprising, because the two sides can never openly acknowledge, much less agree on, the problem at the core of the dispute.

The problem is endemic racism among New York City cops. The problem is by no means peculiar to New York—it’s probably less serious in New York than in a lot of other places—but it is real nonetheless. It is a reality that the police will never acknowledge.   At least since the 1960s, when police opposition successfully defeated a proposed police Civilian Complaint Review Board, the police organizations have been committed to the notion that police brutality and racism are for all practical purposes non-existent, that they are politically motivated fantasies.

DeBlasio, too, can’t openly name the problem. His success as mayor will depend in part on his ability to demonstrate that his progressive policy agenda is compatible with the maintenance of law and order.   (A well-worn right-wing trope is that liberalism was responsible for New York’s disorder and decline in the 70s, 80s and 90s.) For that, he needs the cooperation, at least grudging cooperation, of the agents of law and order. So, he can’t afford to be in a permanent state of cold war with the police. Which means that he must tread carefully in alluding to police racism. Even his relatively mild and indirect allusion to the problem, his revealing that he had counseled his biracial son to be very careful in encounters with police officers, evoked a furious reaction from the police, a reaction that is in itself indicative of the gulf of incomprehension that separates the police from minority communities.

So, DeBlasio has to walk a fine line. His own convictions as well as political realities require that he acknowledge the pain and outrage manifested in the recent wave of demonstrations against police abuse.   But political realities also require that he come to some modus vivendi with the police, who refuse to recognize any fault on their part.   He’s got a tough job.

DeBlasio’s challenge is all the greater thanks to New York’s tabloid newspapers, the Daily News and the New York Post. The NY Times has supported the mayor editorially and has provided reasonably balanced coverage of his police problems, but most cops don’t read the Times. The News has been unabashedly partisan in the pro-police bias of its news coverage, but the News has been restrained compared to the Post. People who don’t live in New York, or New Yorkers who only look at the Times, might find it hard to imagine just how bad a so-called newspaper can be. Suffice it to say that the Post makes Fox News look like a paragon of journalistic responsibility and integrity.   Day after day the Post’s “news” pages have poured out anti-Deblasio vitriol, often in front page headlines and two-page spreads.   So, one tabloid provides the cops with daily vindication for their rancor while the other actively incites them.   This is undoubtedly an important part of the explanation for the brazenness of the police’s freely expressed, self-righteous contempt for civilian authority.






From Democracy Now ! :

Date: 1 January 2015

Subject: The Banksters who rob us daily…



January 1st Democracy Now! broadcast on The Banksters, with . . .


The Rolling Stones Editor, Matt Taibbi and "The $9 Billion Witness"

Who Exposed How JPMorgan Chase Helped Wreck the Economy






From Historians Against the War :

Date: 6 January 2015

Subject: HAW Notes 1/6/15: AHA links to recent articles of interest.



Note: At the recent AHA convention the History News Network (HNN) videotaped presentations at the Jan. 3 roundtable entitled "What Is the Responsibility of Historians Regarding the Israel/Palestine Conflict?" Links are as follows: Carolyn Eisenberg; Leena Dallasheh; Joel Beinin; Linda Gordon; Barbara Weinstein. At the AHA's annual business meeting the next day, attendees voted not to add two late-submitted resolutions critical of Israeli practices bearing on academic freedom to the meeting's agenda. Links to a number of documents and stories regarding the convention are being posted on the HAW website.



Links to Recent Articles of Interest


"Barack Obama: Anatomy of a Failure"

By Andrew J. Bacevich, The Spectator (UK), posted January 3

The author, retired from teaching history at Boston University, is a fellow at Columbia University's School of Public and International Affairs.


"The Tragedy of the American Military"

By James Fallows, The Atlantic, posted December 31


"Why All of Latin America Is Cheering the Re-establishment of Relations with Cuba"

By John Dickson, History News Network, posted December 22

The author is a former senior Foreign Service officer and a recent public history graduate from the University of Massachusetts.


"Current and Former Intelligence Officers Have Been Playing Americans for Chumps"

By John Prados, History News Network, posted December 22

The author is a senior fellow of the National Security Archive at George Washington University and head of its CIA Documentation Project.


"The Astounding Record of United States Interventions in Latin America"

By John H. Coatsworth, History News Network, posted December 22

The author teaches history and Latin American Affairs at Columbia University.


"How to Read the Senate Report on CIA Torture"

By Alfred W. McCoy, History News Network, posted December 21

The author teaches history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has written two books on US torture policy.


"What's Behind the Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine?"

By William R. Polk, History News Network, posted December 21

The author is a former State Department official and former University of Chicago historian.


"The War to Start All Wars: The 25th Anniversary of the Forgotten Invasion of Panama"

By Greg Grandin, TomDispatch.com, posted December 21

The author teaches history at New York University.


"Could Torture Report Be First Step to Ending U.S. War Crimes?"

By Nicolas J. S. Davies, Huffington Post, posted December 17

The author wrote Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.


"They Said 'No" to Torture: The Real Heroes of the Bush Years"

By Jon Wiener, The Nation blog, posted December 15

The author teaches history at the University of California, Irvine


The above list was edited by Steve Gosch and Jim O'Brien, with thanks to Rosalyn Baxandall, Mim Jackson, and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles that are included. Suggestions can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com.





From Information Clearing House :

Date: 4 January 2015

Subject: Soon Coming: “The Third World War in Europe!”



After the release of the CIA torture report by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) the world is reeling in shock at the level of brutality revealed in the documents. In fact, the whole report is nothing more than a confession of sadistic procedures that could have been lifted from the diaries of Torquemada, from “rectal feeding” to nude beatings and humiliation — horrors that were well-known but not officially confirmed. But the report remains incomplete. Indeed, some 9000 documents have been withheld. 


What new horrors could be discovered with the publication of these records?


Perhaps the most gut-wrenching story to emerge from Bagram has been buried in the German media and remains unknown to much of the world. Published by German author and former politician Juergen Todenhoefer in his latest book, Thou Shalt Not Kill, the account stems from a visit to Kabul. At a local hotel, a former Canadian soldier and private security contractor named Jack told Todenhoefer why he could not longer stand working in Bagram.

"It's not my thing when Afghans get raped by dogs,” Jack remarked. 


Todenhoefer's son, who was present with him in Kabul and was transcribing Jack's words, was so startled by the comment he nearly dropped his pad and pen. 

Afghan prisoners were tied face down on small chairs, Jack said. Then fighting dogs entered the torture chamber. 


Were NATO Dogs Used to Rape Afghan Prisoners at Bagram Air Base?
by Emran Feroz




From Democracy Now ! :

Date: 2 January 2015

Subject: “When Google Met WikiLeaks.”




In a holiday special, we feature an exclusive Democracy Now! interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In July, Amy Goodman spoke to Assange after he had just entered his third year inside Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he has political asylum. He faces investigations in both Sweden and the United States. In the United States, a secret grand jury is investigating WikiLeaks for its role in publishing a trove of leaked documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as State Department cables. In Sweden, he is wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct, though no charges have been filed. During his interview, Assange talked about his new book, which at that time had not yet been released, titled, "When Google Met Wikileaks." The book was later published in September.


Exclusive: Julian Assange on "When Google Met WikiLeaks"

While He was Under House Arrest







From Rep. Alan Grayson :

Date: 6 January 2015

Subject: What's Really Wrong with the GOP.




GOP Caucus Meeting

Dear francis:


For a five-month period that ends this week, every single elected Republican in Congress was a white Christian.


Let me repeat that: every elected GOP Member of the House and Senate was a white Christian.


Eric Cantor is Jewish. He left office on August 1 last year. Since then, the entire elected GOP caucus, in both the House and the Senate, has comprised only white Christians.


13% of America is African-American. 9% is of mixed race. 5% is Asian. 24% does not identify itself as Christian. 0% of those groups served as elected Congressional Republicans during the past five months.


GOP motto: "We're monochromatic!" The GOP: Is it a political party, or is it a tribe?


Tim Scott was sworn into the Senate yesterday, and Mia Love and Will Hurd are being sworn into the House today. That makes three elected African-American House Republicans, up from zero. They join 43 African-American Democrats.


Lee Zeldin also is being sworn into the House today. That makes one elected Jewish House Republican, up from zero. He joins 27 Jewish Democrats, two Muslim Democrats, two Buddhist Democrats and one Hindu Democrat.


I'm not talking about 13 years ago, when GOP Leadership Rep. Steve Scalise addressed a racist "European-American" group. I'm talking about the last five months.


The conclusion is obvious: Judging by whom it elects to Congress, the GOP is now the White Christian Party.


And that appears to dictate the GOP position on a wide variety of important public policies: Immigration reform. Affirmative action. Voter suppression. Abortion. Even marriage equality.


Which is a shame. Because pluralism and diversity are uniquely and fundamentally American values. Those are values that should be shared by both parties, and by every party, not just by one party.


Variety is the spice of life. I strive for an America where you can be all that you can be, regardless of where you're from, what you look like, what language you speak, and whom you love.


Reach into your pocket. Take out a coin, any coin. On it, you will find the Latin words "E Pluribus Unum." Which means, "Out of many, one."


That's my America. That's America.




Rep. Alan Grayson






From Democracy Now ! :

Date: 6 January 2015

Subject: As racism raised its ungly head fanning the fires of class warfare.



"David Duke Without the Baggage": Will Top GOPer Steve Scalise Resign over Speech to Racist Group?