Syria: A Multi-Sided Chess Match

 A Multi-Sided Chess Match feature image
April 1, 2013
In some ways the Syrian civil war resembles a proxy chess match between supporters of the Bashar al-Assad regime— Iran, Iraq, Russia and China—and its opponents— Turkey, the oil monarchies, the U.S., Britain and France. But the current conflict only resembles chess if the game is played with multiple sides, backstabbing allies, and conflicting agendas.
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Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Three Strikes

 Three Strikes  feature image
April 1, 2013
Despite the passage in late 2012 of a new state ballot initiative that prevents California from ever again giving out life sentences to anyone whose "third strike" is not a serious crime, thousands of people – the overwhelming majority of them poor and nonwhite – remain imprisoned for a variety of offenses so absurd that any list of the unluckiest offenders reads like a macabre joke, a surrealistic comedy routine.
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Undermining Economic Mobility in America

Undermining Economic Mobility in America feature image
March 31, 2013
A host of indicators show that the middle class is struggling-and worse, shrinking-and that upward mobility is elusive for many Americans. Meanwhile, evidence abounds that the U.S. political system is increasingly dominated by wealthy interests . . . What is less understood, though, is the interplay between these two problems-the way that a tilting of political life toward business and the wealthy has served to undermine economic mobility.
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Antibiotic Resistance: Livestock to Humans

 Livestock to Humans feature image
March 31, 2013
If the analysis is correct, then it represents several kinds of potential trouble. First, it reinforces the argument for animal-to-human transmission of resistant bacteria. Second, it emphasizes that such bacteria can be picked up and transmitted even by animals that are not routinely receiving antibiotics . . . And third, it raises the question of how much more resistant bacterial traffic is out there that we are not detecting.
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Food for Peace or Food for Profit?

Food for Peace or Food for Profit?  feature image
March 31, 2013
Food for Peace ends up looking a lot more like Food for Profit. The letter ends with one final truth, declaring that food aid programs are "some of our most effective, lowest-cost national security tools." By handicapping local food markets across the world, food aid keeps poor countries poor and compliant, and provides US-based companies with dependable markets for the dumping of surplus food commodities.
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Unions and Inevitability of Class Struggle

Unions and Inevitability of Class Struggle feature image
March 31, 2013
There are those who suggest that the current union movement cannot sustain itself and that out of its ashes will arise something new and better. Such views are at best wishful thinking and at worst irresponsible . . . Unions, as they are currently constituted, organized and theorized, are not up to the challenges of the 21st century. The existing union movement, however, can play a role in the building of that new labor movement for the not-so-new 21st century.
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Long-Term Health Risks Fester

Long-Term Health Risks Fester feature image
March 31, 2013
“If the cost of compliance to our rules outweighs the penalties for breaking them, companies just take a ‘catch me if you can’ approach to worker safety and health,” he said. And serious violations of the rules should not be misdemeanors, he said, but felonies, much like insider trading, tax crimes and antitrust violations. -- David Michaels, OSHA director
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REWIND - March 30, 2013

REWIND - March 30, 2013 feature image
March 30, 2013
capitalism, Marx, neo-liberal snake oil, intergenerational contact and more
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BRICS

BRICS feature image
March 30, 2013
Western elites - even mired in stagnation and bankruptcy - won't let any of their privileges go without a fierce fight.
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Honduras

Honduras feature image
March 30, 2013
Is the US state department misleading Congress about possible US funding for Honduran death squads?
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Pages

Portside Culture

That’s How It Is

Jared Smith
Chiron Review
From the beginning of a day, any day, writes Colorado poet Jared Smith, taking a continental view of people at work, we all go through “the motions” and “the same work has to start and be filled each day…”

A Novelist Revisits a Deadly Textile Union Strike From 1929

Amy Rowland
New York Times Sunday Book Review
A novel set in the context of the historic Gastonia strike of textile workers in 1929 and featuring labor songwriter and indigenous strike leader Ella May Wiggins, the book, based as it is on an actual struggle uniting black and white workers, speaks to contemporary concerns through a vivid portrayal of struggle against historical injustice.

We Love to Be Lied To: On ‘Bunk’ by Kevin Young

Nick Ripatrazone
The Millions
Kevin Young is a prolific and highly regarded poet, recently appointed the poetry editor of The New Yorker. He is the first African American to hold that post. His new book looks at such fakery as fake news.

Palestinian -Themed Films Draw Plaudits

Bill Meyer
There were three exceptionable and rewarding Palestinian themed films at the Toronto Interrnational Film Festival this year, and Ziad Doueiri’s The Insult has been selected to represent his home country of Lebanon at the Oscars. A more timely film could not have been made and selected, seeing that this film addresses most every area of conflict possible.

The Sad, Sexist Past of Bengali Cuisine

Mayukh Sen
Food 52
Party line suggested that widowhood made a woman’s sex drive fickle and vulnerable. A woman’s libido was a site of such agita that she couldn’t be trusted to keep it quiet, and so her body needed to be governed. The alienation imposed upon high-caste, Hindu Bengali women was meant to act as a hormonal suppressant, silencing the desire more dangerous than hunger for fish or meat: sex.

Anna Mae

Marsha de la O
Antidote for Night
Marsha de la O, a southern California poet, depicts most tenderly the hard wages of environmental pollution.

Portside Labor

This Thanksgiving, Break the Colonial Mold and Have an Earth Dinner

Jim Hightower
Alternet
When joined by family and friends for Thanksgiving, ask guests to tell stories about their very first food memory, or to recall any family member who was a farmer or a jolly cook. Invite people of diverse backgrounds and all ages. Ask a farm family to join you, or a cheesemaker or others involved in producing food. Then eat, talk, enjoy!

Number of Women, Minorities in Labor Leadership Called Dismal

Jaclyn Diaz
Bloomberg Law/ Daily Labor Report
Leaders must also know when it’s time for a new person to take the helm. To keep new blood flowing through the labor movement, older leaders have to make room for their successors, RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, said. “You have to get out of the way. You can’t just talk about it,” she said. “If you’re a leader, a strong leader, you step down and open that up to someone you believe reflects where this union needs to be.”

50 Years On, Steinbeck’s Classic Still Packs a Punch

Barry Healy
Green Left Weekly
This year marks the 50th anniversary of John Steinbeck’s great mythic novel of alienation under US capitalism, Of Mice and Men. The story is of lonesome labourers, reeling from the Great Depression, wandering from farm to farm seeking respite from their endless oppression.

Friday Nite Videos

Posted by Portside on November 17, 2017

One year after the presidential election, John Oliver discusses what we've learned so far and enlists our catheter cowboy to teach Donald Trump what he hasn't.

Posted by Portside on November 17, 2017

"Down on Me" is a traditional freedom song from the 1920s or earlier that became popular following its remake 50 years ago (1967) by Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company. (Wikipedia)

Posted by Portside on November 17, 2017

Charles Dickens connected Scrooge, greed and redemption to Christmas in a book that changed the holiday forever.
Posted by Portside on November 17, 2017

The Paradise Papers exposed an unseen world of offshore accounts, hidden money and financial maneuvering at the highest levels of politics, business and finance.

Posted by Portside on November 17, 2017

The Senate holds a hearing to debate President Trump's power to use nuclear weapons without congressional approval.

Posted by Portside on November 10, 2017

Is there one person who can save us from Donald Trump. Schneider-man, maybe? Eric Schneiderman doesn't think so.

Posted by Portside on November 10, 2017

Music, where cultures meet and perform mad dances. Arabic, Spanish and Russian influences power this mashup.