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Tidbits - October 2, 2014

Reader Comments - Ten Points Towards a Two-State Solution; Students Walk Out Suburban Denver Schools; Indiana Autoworkers and Two-Tier Contracts; Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism; War on Drugs Damages Black Social Mobility; Freelancer Economy; Transformative Utopias and Human Rights; Climate Change Rally; Banned Books; Texas Schoolbooks; ISIS, Iraq and Syria; Freedom University Georgia; Immigrants; Cuba Training World's Doctors

Tidbits, Reader Comments, and Shorts - October 2, 2014,Portside

Re: Ten Points Towards a Two-State Solution

I agree with much that Meredith Tax say here, but when she says "Khaled Meshal, head of the political wing of Hamas, agreed to accept two states within the 1967 borders" she has fallen for a very misleading report. Meshal & Hamas have not agreed to accept 2 states with an end of conflict treaty, they have only proposed this as part of a Hudna, a temporary truce of up to 10 years.  That would give them 10 years to build up their arms supplies and military capabilities before resuming their attempts to reach the goal they have still not abandoned--of wiping Israel off the map and driving the Jews into the sea--at least those they fail to kill in accordance with their still operative Charter.

One of the main Hamas spokesman made it clear in an Aug. 17 speech:"The time has come for us to say that our true war is not aimed at opening the border crossings. Out true war is aimed at the liberation of Jerusalem, Allah willing," Sami Abu Zuhri said in a speech aired on Hamas' Al Aqsa television. "The resistance is preparing not for the opening of a border crossing here or there, but rather for the liberation of our Palestinian land [i.e. from the river to the sea as they often point out]. " Abu Zuhri said.

So as Meredith Tax says, there are those on BOTH sides who stand in the way of a 2 state solution and who remain committed to using violence to achieve their goals, goals which can never be achieved without mass violence, ethnic cleansing, and perhaps genocide.  Those who, unlike Tax, think there is a simple solution and only good guy Palestinians vs evil Israelis are part of the problem and not part of a solution.

Stan Nadel


It is shocking that the USA, the EU, and all other nations have failed to take steps either jointly or unilaterally  to reverse Israel's illegal land-grabs, settlements-building, and settler-settling in Israeli-occupied territory (West Bank and Golan Heights) despite the universal agreement that each of these is illegal.

Read UNSC Res. 465 (1980) and ICJ advisory opinion of 7/2004 which declares Israel's separation wall illegal and calls for its dismantling.

As long as the nations, with the USA preeminent among them, treat these violations as so unimportant as not to warrant action, Israel will continue on its lawless path.

The nations have reacted to Iran's alleged nuclear threat  (no Iranian lawlessness alleged as far as I know) with severe sanctions but have not even hinted at sanctions against Israel for its undoubted lawlessness.

The nations have reacted to threats of Islamic terrorism with severe military action but have not even hinted at sanctions against Israel for its undoubted lawlessness. The USA's war against Iraq is a case in point, a case where the "threat" itself was a fiction.

It would seem that the powerful nations of the West make their international-affairs decisions on the basis of a race-based calculus. action against Arabs for any reason or for no reason; but no action against Israel. Small wonder that there is Islamic reaction to our interventions.

Accordingly, in reality, the death of the two-state possibility is the work of the nations as well as of Israel itself.

The reason for this refusal to enforce international law by the USA and other nations should be looked into and the refusal reversed. At a minimum, Israel should be required to remove all settlers, dismantle all settlements (buildings) and the wall in the West Bank. This should be required not to advance peace but to satisfy the requirements of justice, international law, and the human rights of the Palestinian (and some Syrian) people living under occupation. But if sanctions sufficient to bring this about were instituted, there might be quick progress toward peace.

Peter Belmont

Re: Hundreds of Students Walk Out of Schools in Suburban Denver

This is the kind of student agency--non-violent, disciplined and civilly disobedient that gets results. At least it helps raise social consciousness to higher more sophisticated levels. This is not an isolated incident. These kind of actions are happening in many places but they do not get the media coverage they deserve. Read on. Learn and live the lessons.

Larry Aaronson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This is not education...this is indoctrination.

... an evaluation-based system for awarding raises to educators and a proposed curriculum committee that would call for promoting "positive aspects" of the United States and its heritage and avoiding material that would encourage or condone "civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law."

Arthur Speero
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It is bad enough that most Americans know nothing about our history and heritage

Bernice Siegal
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Denver becomes more appealing by the day: Joe Black, parental unit in Basalt, culture.., who knows???

Gail Glickman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Americans have been subject to US propaganda for generations. Refreshing to see young students awake to this.

Yvonne Caluya
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Again the U.S.A. Is trying to whitewash its dirty history!!!!!!!

Georgina Ortega
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This is something like I, was apart of in 1970. Curriculums the student body wanted to change. Andrew Jackson H.S. in Queens, N.Y. had me put on Rykers, Island and eventually discharged from school. We where still able to change the curriculum.

Larry Brown
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Did Indiana Autoworkers Strike a Blow Against Two-Tier Contracts?

Will they NEVER learn???  WHY is there No UAW in Canada?  Because Canadian auto workers rejected the very notion of a permanent second class status.

Martin Morand


The AFSME local at UCSF has recently concluded a negotiations which resulted in rejection of two tiered arrangement, substantial gains in compensation (over 20% over five years), and improved hiring and classification agreements. I think a story on their win would be instructive and inspiring.

Brian O'Brien

Re: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

ALL of class history, millenniums of Patriarchal, Parasitic, class enslaving systems, including Capitalism have degenerated into totalitarianism, Empire, class slavery, including Late Fascist Capitalism. End class history, end the Patriarchal class mechanism and you end Human enslavement, the destruction of life by Fascist Corporations.

Eric Schwing
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Chattel slavery , wage slavery , debt slavery , cognitive slavery . Who sang FREE YOUR MIND AND THE REST WILL FOLLOW ?

Ken Parks
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Important work to help us all educate the rest of USA and world about from WHERE comes the criminal wealth of USA capitalism (along with theft of land and genocide of native peoples)! These were important themes we taught while in Vietnam as part of labor relations curricula.

Leanna Noble
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: How the War on Drugs Damages Black Social Mobility

I know it does not conform to our mental image but it is real none the less.

Blair Goodman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Freelancer Economy is Here. Should We Celebrate?

Jenkins has it right.  The Freelancers Union combines part-timers, temporary workers and contingent workers and calls them all freelancers.  Most of these workers have no real control over the work they do.  They are not true freelancers, but they are all being exploited.  Most of them are employees, not freelance workers.

Elliot Linzer

Transformative Utopias and Human Rights

The Occupy movement was frequently criticized for not making immediate and concrete programmatic demands. The movement challenging climate change and calling for society to become managed along ecological lines is sometimes charged with the same failure. The slogan, "Cities for people, Not for Profit," and the Right to the City movement, are likewise often faulted in the same way, charged with being utopian, unrealistic, na<ve.

The tension between efforts to bring about changes within the system and meet priority needs as a priority goal, and to change the system itself to deal with long-term causes and consequences, as a long-term goal, is a tension fraught with difficulties, both in theory and in practice. Examining the handling of utopias and utopian ideas , while on its face perhaps theoretical, can provide some illumination as to the practical alternatives for social movements as well. Herbert Marcuse's The End of Utopia could be a rewarding provocation for further work.

Blog #58a: From Immediate Demands to Utopias via Transformative Demands,… is devoted to that hope. Blog 58b:,From Civil Rights to Human Rights via Transformative Rights,… deals with the same issues in the context of debates about human and civil rights.Both are at

Peter Marcuse

Re: "Pro-Sustainability" Companies Funding Climate Change Denial

    According to oft-cited statistics, climate scientists are 95%-99% certain of climate change -

Actually,  it's more like  97% of scientists are 100% convinced.

That may be more than accept evolution or flat earth.   The degreed scientists who most dispute this are mostly geologists... and the carbon fuel industry - coal, oil, gas - is the biggest single employer of geologists

They just are not good at screaming alarming news like journalists should be.

Richard Pauli


Until and if the U.S. enacts legislation limiting the donations of private companies to politicians, this kind of corruption will persist. I am struck recently with the confluence of climate change, Ebola, and the coalition emerging to wage war on IS how accurate the Club of Rome report written in the early 1970s on the state of the world today is. That speaks to the ineptitude of politicians to handle real problems. But power of large corporations acting in their own self-interest has also become a danger, not just to democracy but to our future.

Laurel MacDowell

Re: Friday Nite Videos -- Sept 26, 2014 - John Oliver

I found that John Oliver video on Miss America rather amazing. He manages a pretty good critique without insulting women (much). I had made a number of the same criticisms and more (without the laughs) in my article on the Meeting Ground On Line blogzine at…. He was able to do research on the scholarship angle that I was suspicious of but did not have the resources to do. Thanks, John Oliver!

Carol Hanisch,
initiator of the Women's Liberation Movement's 1968 protest of the Miss America Pageant

Re: Burning Ideas: Celebrating Banned Books Week

That's a lot of books!

Steve Pittenger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Texas Proposes Rewriting School Text Books to Deny Manmade Climate Change

Rewriting history!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seamas O'Dubhan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


And whatever goes into textbooks in Texas is what goes out to the rest of us....insidious.

Sue Chandler Lemmo
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Also publisher's responsibility. Years back I remember that the publishing company I worked for refused to alter their textbooks during the Aids crisis for Texas. I was so proud to work for them. They chose to lose millions in revenue than to print lies.
Elva Smith
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Horrifying proposal (and remember the a Texas Lege has done something similar, bless their fuzzy little hearts.

Vicky Hill
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This will delete the following struggles: civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, anti war movements, immigrant rights, the slaughter of Native Americans and many more. This is really awful and is a sign of what we are in store for.

Bob Livingstone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


"avoiding material that would encourage or condone "civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.'" I suppose the American Revolution is out of the text books now.

Glen Eich
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: How to Talk Occupation at a Rosh Hashanah Dinner and Make it Out Alive

For my money, there is no need to talk about the Occupation at a Rosh Hashanah dinner at all.  If you are like me, and you've been talking about it every day 10 x a day for months, then you and everybody else need a break from it, if for no other reason, than to have an opportunity for some new thoughts to come into your head.   Everybody needs a day of rest, a holiday, a time to not talk about every horrible thing going on in this world.  Even during war, certain holidays are considered cease-fire for the 24 hour period it encompasses.  So one should cease the talk war as well.

Give it a break - don't worry, unfortunately, it'll be there tomorrow to talk about it.  I need to enjoy peacefully some part of my Jewish heritage, or otherwise I will wind up hating it and myself.  Not my cup of tea.

Thanks, and L'Shana Tova.

Phyllis Mandel

Re: Hyatt to Pay Ousted Workers $1m in Boycott-Ending Deal
(posting on Portside Labor)

And it only took five years. Wonder what they ate while they were waiting. (I know how it works. I'm glad they won. I'm glad they didn't give up. But if those hotels had been SHUT DOWN, it would have been resolved much more quickly. Just sayin.)

Rebecca Hensley
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Ungrateful Ants: A Response to Chelsea Manning's Strategy to Leave `Self Contained' Enclaves for IS to Rule

The conflict between living under a dictatorial fascist state or a capitalist oligarchy which threatens to destroy your people in the name of democracy and peace (and has actually destroyed other countries before using just these conditions as justification) is a particularly sad and difficult choice, particularly for women who are the target in many of these fascist regimes. I do not speak for others but try to look at the decisions made by women in a similar circumstance when confronted with the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan. If I am not mistaken both RWA ( the revolutionary women's group in Afghanistan) and Malaya Joys (a well known women's advocate from Afghanistan) did not see the choice as either give in to the fascist dictator or involve the western powers to help the people defeat that dictator - they suggested that the dictatorial be toppled but that it would have to be done from the inside put by the people under the dictator and should not involve the Western powers because they could be just (maybe even more) dangerous to the people.

Margaret Rapp


passionate response but it has little to do with the spirit of what manning suggested which was mainly for the usa to get its nose out of other people's business since it plays a major role in fomenting reactions like isis..

all that nazi-fascist talk is just an excuse to kill more would be better to question how these movements gain strength and look into what the supposedly educated professional class role might be in allowing such reaction to form, beyond hand wringing, blaming and calling for more violence.

Frank Scott


You certainly do have a good point about how the people who are going to be ruled by IS deserve some attention from us about the hardships they will suffer while they are ruled by a bunch of ignorant violent religio-facists.  The question for me, an American, is whether or not it is appropriate for the United States to engage in war against these forces of oppression in a land far from ours.  More important is of course the policy stupidities, and infantile geopoliticostrategico plotting by this country's ruling elites that has caused this situation to develop.  We here in the US have a distinct problem there, and it is one that we should face up to, but sadly are unlikely to do so, particularly as long as we have a news media made up of flacks and pr specialists who see their job as repeating what persons in positions of authority tell them.
I am very sad about the hardships and unhappy and restricted lives the persons under IS's thumbs will lead for however long IS rules them.  But as the article shows, it isn't just a question of oppression by IS.  IS appears to have an effective policy of governance that some of the states in the region, particularly the states that have been so fortunate as to experience a US military invasion, quite completely lack.
I am reasonably knowledgeable about things military and I am appalled that the US is considering, nay starting, an open-ended war against IS.  I as an American am absolutely in my rights, as is Ms. Manning, in demanding that such a waste of American treasure and lives stop immediately.  An American war, in the American fashion, will serve nobody's interests.  There will be too much American monies wasted on our vile war machine and its sick political apparatus and too many people there will die, people who have done no injury to my country or its people.  Whatever results from it will not be good.  It goes against the historical record of US military interventions to think that this time it will turn out well, or even for the better in any real way.
In closing, a story from recent Algerian history that I suspect you may have heard along the way.  In his 1960 tour of Algeria, Charles DeGaulle was meeting with a delegation of Algerian chieftians who had sided with France against the FLN.  One of the chieftians beseeched DeGaulle, begging him that France had to stay or that the FLN would take their revenge against him and his people and that  his people would suffer.  DeGaulle dismissed him with a wave of the hand, saying 'Eh bien, vous suffririez'.  Terribly cold, but necessary, and right.  Right in the long term for both France and Algeria.  Much the same with Ms. Manning's proposal.
Daniel N. White

Re: Beyond Single Issues: Why the Climate Movement Must Stand with Ferguson

Collective unity of folks working for improvement in all causes is the ONLY hope considering the massive financial machine of the opposition to these causes.

Karyne Dunbar

Freedom University Georgia

Freedom University Georgia is entering year four of an act of civil disobedience against the ban on undocumented students at top Georgia colleges. Check it out.
and sign the petition to end the ban!

Pamela Voekel
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

The missing people you never hear about

Having  grown up in New Mexico in a largely immigrant community, I often heard personal  accounts of the risks immigrants faced in traversing the border's harsh desert.

These types of stories led me to my fellowship at IPS, where I work to uplift the  voices of those most affected by our broken immigration system.

One experience in particular remains with me: Mario, a mere 17-year-old, made the  journey because he needed to send money to his mother and sister in Mexico. "We ran out of water, and the desert was deathly hot," he told me. "I thought I wouldn't make it."

And many, unfortunately, don't.

Since 2001, the remains of at least 2,200 migrants have been recovered in Arizona  near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Robin Reineke, the co-founder and Executive Director of the Arizona-based Colibr¡  Center for Human Rights, knows this all too well.

Working with a team, Robin maintains the most comprehensive dataset of missing  persons last seen crossing the border in order to match families with the remains of their missing loved ones.

The Colibr¡ Center aims to provide the most complete, comprehensive, and  compassionate data about the missing and the dead, so that the human cost of  current border policies are understood and remembered.

This year at our Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards, we will be honoring Robin and the Colibr¡ Center for the vital and underappreciated work they provide, which has  been featured in The New York Times, BBC News, Amnesty International, and TIME Magazine

I hope you can join me  and my colleagues this October 14th in celebrating and uplifting this vital  human rights work.

Diana Anahi Torres-Valverde
New Mexico Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies

Institute for Policy Studies
1112 16th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036
Telephone: (202) 234-9382

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Where to train the world's doctors? Cuba - features

Big problems need big solutions, sparked by big ideas, imagination and audacity. MEDICC's Gail Reed profiles one big solution worth noting: Havana's Latin American Medical School, which trains global physicians to serve the local communities that need them most.

American journalist and Havana resident Gail Reed spotlights a Cuban medical school that trains doctors from low-income countries who pledge to serve communities like their own.

Watch the video today!
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