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Tidbits - February 5, 2015 - Football, Domestic Workers, Greece, Keystone XL, Ukraine, movies, and more...

Reader Comments- Sports, NFL, Tax Subsidy; Unions Today; Domestic Worker Organizing; Students Against Sweatshops; Greece, Germany & the EU; TPP; Israel, Iran, Iraq; Keystone XL; Cuba; Ukraine; Selma; American Sniper; Resource: Where Do We Go from Here? Mass Incarceration and the Struggle for Civil Rights; After the Greek Elections New York forum- Feb 6 - new location Hold the Date- Fighting Corruption in America and Abroad - Fordham Law School - New York - Mar 6

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Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - February 5, 2015, Portside

Re: We Are All Amoral Football Hypocrites: Brain Injuries, Billionaire Tax Breaks and Our Indefensible Super Bowl Parties

I gave up watching football a few years ago when I realized how many players were getting these terrible injuries and it was known and allowed to go on. I have no interest in seeing people hurt and killed for my viewing pleasure.

Robin Vestal
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Their tax exempt status is incomprehensible.

Jerry Steele
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I'm in favor of the demise of football. If every mother knew about its punishment to the brain, the sport would be competing with roller derby. But Steve Almond's take on our "complicity" is idiotic. He writes as if the U.S. population has all the facts and is the major agent promoting it. He is unaware of the social forces behind it and the ideological force of the owners and the league.

Michael Arney

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I really enjoy football but this is a devastating critique. Must read

Phillip Thomas
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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The more I learn about the horrible consequences of playing football, the less I can tolerate it. I will not watch nor will I purchase any of their memorabilia.

Alison Gase
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Ditka then went a step further. He admitted that he wouldn't let his own sons play football. "That's sad. I wouldn't. And my whole life was football," he told host Bryant Gumbel. "I think the risk is worse than the reward."

Jeffrey Turner
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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credit: Gary Huck

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Ban football? You people are beyond stupid. Guess we should dismantle the military or have no special forces because people can get hurt.

Jermaine Adams Hollywood
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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People are injured or sometimes die accidentally in all kinds of sporting activities. People know the risks associated with various sports and are willing to accept that level of risk in exchange for the pleasure, sense of exhilaration, physical or other benefits they derive from their particular sport. I'm not a boxing fan because I see no value in people punching each other senseless. But for most other sports, injuries are a possibility, not the whole point of the sport.

Tammy Wolfgram
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Tax exempt you have to be kidding me.The owners are a bunch of scum bags who care nothing of human beings one gets hurt bring another one in.The show must go on. i love watching football but I didn't know at what cost

Fred McDonald
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: First, Stop The Self-Flagellation: How Unions Can Thrive in the 21st Century
(posting on Portside Labor)

The objective conditions are good for a new organizing push. Wages have gone down during a period of growing prosperity. The gap between the haves and the have nots is growing exponentially. The attack on labor is the heaviest I have seen with major politicians leading the charge. There is a split in the Republican ranks between the social conservatives, mostly working class, and the corporate main stream Republicans. Huckabee represents the social conservatives which are the largest part of the Republican base. A forward looking labor leadership should be able to pull these strands together for a national campaign to achieve equity by achieving organization. It requires a leadership that is comfortable with country music, does not look at workers as bubbas and red necks and recognizes it is wages, hours and working conditions that unite working people and these other issues that separate them.

Bruce Miller
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Foreign Domestic Workers Found Historic Union in Lebanon and Because they're Employees, not Servants: Domestic Workers in Lebanon Establish Unprecedented Labor Union

(second post was originally posted on Portside Labor)

In solidarity: Good news, maybe revolutionary. Their side of the story rarely comes to light. Now they have an opportunity to speak with the lion's tongue, and counter the tale of the hunter. Ashe!

Gwendolyn Keita Robinson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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This is WONDERFUL news! Every Country should implement this: " We want to be treated like human beings, like real workers," said Leticia, a Filipina who was assaulted and raped by her employer several years ago.

Sallie Ann Harrison
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Domestic Workers making history.

Filipino Advocates for Justice
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Despite serious threats to their safety, more than 200 female migrant domestic laborers in Lebanon gathered January 25th to form the first trade union in the Arab world for domestic workers. They will be joined by their Lenbanese counter parts. Story will bring tears of joy and sadness to your heart.

Marian Feinberg
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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They can do it in Lebanon but not here? What have we become?

Judith Palmer
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Student Campaign Forces 16 Universities to End Sweatshop Contracts Over Abuses in Bangladeshi Garment Factories

Anti-sweatshop activism on college campuses around the country is gaining momentum and winning victories...

Peter Dreier
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Chicago Teacher Union Chief Blasts Rauner, Says Union Will Not Back Down

I think Lewis' strong honest rhetoric is the kind we should all take today when faced with self-interested, elitist, undemocratic reactionaries, who of course hate unions as they are the only organizations that help people get higher wages. In a world where 80 billionaires have half the world's income (Oxfam report), it is time for people to react strongly. 35 years ago we were sold a bill of goods about neoliberalism and globalization and the only people who benefited were the super rich. Lewis is quite right to call a spade a spade; it is very sad that she cannot run for mayor, but she has adapted and is obviously a very good union leader and is supporting someone who can run for mayor who represents her views.

I have decided that every country should have free public education and free medical care so that every kid born has a chance. Big companies control too much as does big money in general and there is no place for them in a democratic public education system, which is the basis of a democracy and a fair society. The diplomats are always talking about freedom and democracy abroad; the one who went to Cuba and had the gall to tell them they should embrace American democracy when she was a few miles from Guantanamo Bay (where Americans are letting people who have not been charged, or tried, rot) is a case in point.

It is time for Americans to tell their politicians and diplomats to put their money where their rhetoric is and support public education, unions, democratic elections etc. It is time for new politicians too. Some of the people in Congress at the moment are beyond belief, like the chair of the committee on the environment who is a climate denier!

Good for Lewis!

Laurel MacDowell

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I like the incumbent governor of Illinois on The Good Wife much better - Mr. Big.

Glenn Tepper
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Germans Are in Shock As New Greek Leader Starts With A Bang

Change IS possible when the PEOPLE demand it.

Judith Detert-Moriarty
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Here's the part that I don't get at all. I fully understand the historic Soviet support of non-aligned nations and Socialist/Communist parties... but that Russia is gone. Who does Tsipras think that Vladimir Putin is? I understand the whole "F U" to Germany - it makes sense historically, and it is totally understandable economically. But alignment of a socialist with Putin? He's basically a dictator who has overseen a kleptocratic oligarchy! He should, in reality, represent everything Tsirpas is against! Does Tsirpas want a flat tax that favors the wealthy? No, but that's what Putin did. Does Tsirpas want to hold power indefinitely and mess with his constitution to do so? Hopefully not, but that's what Putin did. Does Tsirpas approve of Putin and his cronies looting the Russian coffers to the tune of almost $100 Billion? I sure hope not. I get shaking off the economic imperialism coming from Berlin, but aligning with Putin? I don't get that. Maybe it's just "the enemy of your enemy".

Dan Miller
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Just out of curiosity--has anyone suggested taxing the Greek 1%ers and using that to pay the German/EU bankers the money they want? (I don't know how well that would work, but I wonder if anyone has advocated it.)

Gabriel Steinfeld
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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This was posted earlier on the internet - Nov. 9, 2014. However, given the SYRIZA victory, it should be considered again in light of the enormous "tribute" that Germany and German banks have demanded for the austerity program which they imposed on the people of Greece. Never has Germany or German banks paid reparations for crimes committed in World War II by the invading Nazi armies to Greece.
The Missing German Reparations for Greece

Jay Schaffner
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Greek Earthquake

This is what happens when the oligarchs push too hard and the hardship becomes too great to bear: finally the great masses awaken and positive change finally erupts. Let us hope it happens here in the U.S. too, without too much economic blood-letting first.

Sharrhan Distant Healer Williamson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Ever wonder what the heck Is that european union all about? Here Is news from our neighbours across the pond. Short and sweet interspective article.

Adrienne Havana
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Ya, way premature to start celebrating. They have a deep hole to dig out of and they also will have to return to the European Central Bank with their hand out. after biting the hand that fed them. They certainly won't make the mistake that inevitably sunk them - investing in the toxic international derivatives that maximized profits based on pension funds they put up for collateral. Some untouchable Wall Street shark is laughing his way to some undisclosed site with their millions over that one.

John Flagler
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re Greece's New Finance Minister: 'You Have To Be Prepared To Blow The Whole Thing Up'

Blow up is nothing but hitting the Restart button. Now defrag the Bankers Hard drive.

Chris Henricks
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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So you don't think that the slow death of poverty, suicides from loss of livelihoods and homes, hopelessness among youth who cant start their families, elderly and sick people dying from lack of money for healthcare, would not qualify as great suffering? Why do "reasonable" people believe this is acceptable while looking at Greece's stance as something far fetched and anarchist?

Elizabeth Milos Rieloff
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Here is my unsolicited advice to Syriza: Focus on broadening and tightening your own organization, which is to say the connection between the political apparatus (now busy with governance) and the Greek masses, and prepare for a long, nasty battle with international capital. Delegate and decentralize governance to the grassroots levels. Start the process of making the organization into a productive structure. To the working masses of Greece: assert your vital needs --- take the initiative and appropriate and organize for your ends any and all productive assets that international or oligarchic domestic capital may neglect or try to brandish as a weapon against Syriza, fight economic sabotage decisively. I like Yanis' insistence on not intending to leave the EU, but in defeating austerity policies and restructuring the EU from inside, suggesting the formation of a fiscal union with a working-class basis (which entails the broader political unity of the European working classes). However, for the time being, Syriza needs to ready itself and help the whole of Greece to prepare for a scenario in which they are forced out of the Union, their western forex inflows dry out, Germany and France banks seek to isolate them, etc. The more seriously and thoroughly Greece prepares for that, the less likely this scenario will materialize.

Julio Huato
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Why did Syriza form a coalition government with the ultra-rightwing "Independent Greeks (ANEL)"? This group pointedly began their parliament campaign at Distomo, site of a WWII Waffen SS massacre that ended with the deaths 214 Greek men, women and children on June 10, 1944. Outside of anti-Austerity the two parties do not agree on anything. To be sure, I support Syriza, but the coalition partnership appears very strange.

Phil Arway
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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The best way I understand what is happening in Greece is that the bankers imposed a conservative monetary plan where the rich keep everything and then bankrupt the government and then try to repair the government by blaming the 99% for the problem so they cut government spending workers wages remove safety net programs like food stamps health care, while cutting taxes. Lead to country wide collapse. If you think this program is just in Greece well Gov Brownback in Kansas ran a similar program and the state went belly up , ex calif gov schnegger tried the same thing ran the state into the ground, every state they try it in fails. It doesn't work. As the Greek new progressive finance minister said it was these austere programs implemented in Germany that lead to the rise of hitler. So now what do we have in the USA the rise of the new Jim Crow and murders of unarmed black men women and children and exponential rise in racial tensions and expressed racial hatred. No different folks fascism is here.

Cheryl Mason
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Greece's new finance minister says the new Syriza government will negotiate with Europe, but not with the 'Troika' -- the bankers' committee that has imposed catastrophic austerity on Greece.

Santa Rosa Democratic Club
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Greece: Is SYRIZA Radical Enough?

Greece needs the support of other countries to make their case stick............time for Ireland to step up to the plate.

Séamas O Muilleaneoir
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: U.S. Trade Deal Will Devastate Poor Peoples' Access to Medicines

Bernie Sanders is sponsoring an investigation into the prices of generic meds, which are sky rocketing already...

Mary Sircy
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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TPP....Trash People & Places...In favor of the Koch Bros and Their John Birch Society...

Robert Litz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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these trade deals r not being passed for the best interests of the country but the interests of the top corps to become even more wealthy .we the people r forgotten in DC with these bought puppets not serving us but the top instead

Zora Wilks
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I suggest that we should stop referring to the TPP as a 'trade deal'. It's really a pact to insure the profits and power of multinational corporations which are on all sides of the borders. Calling it a trade deal buys into the rhetoric of its corporate sponsors. Let's call it a monopoly power deal instead.

Bill Bachmann

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This will be devastating for seniors on fixed incomes, not to mention working families who barely make the rent.

Sharon Hamrick Howe
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Just as the Roman Empire no longer exists, so to will this empire collapse under it's greed and corruption. They are polluting this planet, they will succeed in destroying most of the living beings, themselves included. Eventually Mother Nature will heal this planet and hopefully the sentient beings that repopulate this little beautiful planet will be wise enough to take better care of it.

Irene Durham
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Israelpolitik, the Neocons and the Long Shadow of the Iraq War

Danny Postel tells us that the majority of liberal interventionists opposed the invasion of Iraq. In reality, the liberal interventionists who opposed the war did so very quietly, for the most part, and with a great deal of ambiguity. One of Postel's examples is Samantha Power. For some perspective on her supposed opposition to the Iraq invasion, people should read this little piece from FAIR:

David Wilson

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Bad things happened--well then it must be the fault of the Joos--oops, let's just say Zionists and Israel and leave our brown shirts in the closet.  What is ignored here is that in fact the Israelis were not solidly in favor of the attack on Iraq.  Like some other critics many Israelis (including Israeli military and government figures) realized that the real beneficiary of a war against Iraq wouldn't be Israel, but Iran.  And that's just what happened.  So in fact the Israeli government was ambivalent about the attack and supported it out of loyalty to the Bush regime rather than vice versa. But hey, a scapegoat is needed so let's use the neo-Con's links with Likud to blame Israel and the Jews for the fiasco.  This is the anti-imperialism of fools to paraphrase August Bebel.

Stan Nadel

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Come on, an argument in "Portside" against the Iraq War from the standpoint of US national and global interests? Shameful. Among the arguments about why the war was fought that neither the review author, nor according to his review, the book's author, failed to even mention, let alone "debunk," is the "Blood for No Oil" argument -- that one point of the war was to keep the oil in the ground, as a kind of strategic reserve and artificial price elevator (since Iraq has some of the largest reserves of easily accessible "sweet light" crude.

Also unmentioned is Iraq's threat to stop pricing its oil in dollars, a huge strategic threat to US "national and global interests" (that is, the interests of its rulers). In dismissing the convergence between neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism, Postel misses the argument that neo-liberalism + neo-conservatism = neo-colonialism. There are strategic and tactical arguments between liberals and conservatives, and between neo-liberals and neo-conservatives, but they are united in an over-arching commitment to Empire even if they disagree about how best to do it.

But most critically, Postel (and apparently, M. I. Ahmad in his book), ignores the roots of the Iraq AND Afghanistan war in a long-term strategy aimed at the encirclement of China (and Russia), which is certainly playing out now much more clearly for all to see, with NATO sabre-rattling in the Ukraine, and Obama's "pivot" to Asia. Bush's "axis of evil" (with North Korea standing in for China) was about ensuring that China could not build an arc of alliances from East Asia through Central Asia and Southwest Asia to Africa.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq may well have redounded to the benefit of Iran, but they objectively constituted a pincers movement putting US troops in Iran's bordering neighbors on both sides. The US, for reasons of its own independent of Israel, wanted at all costs to prevent a possible alliance of formerly bitter enemies under China's leadership, including potentially India AND Pakistan, Russia AND Afghanistan, and Iran AND Iraq. Postel may discount the unity of neo-cons and neo-libs, but the consistency in US practice from the first Bush through Clinton, to the second Bush and Obama (to the second Clinton?) belies his effort to magnify tactical and ideological differences into strategic ones. Bill Clinton signed off on the neo-con hostility toward China (having previously adopted a more pragmatic approach) when he okayed the bombing of the China's consulate during the "humanitarian" war in former Yugoslavia. Unless you understand that the US has been in a protracted "pre-war" period intended to culminate in war with China, you can't begin to make sense of the skirmishes it had been engaged in since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union and Bloc. China immediately shifted from being a valuable counter-balance for the US against the Soviets, to being designated as imperial nemesis number one. This reflects both the severe diminution of the former Soviet threat (eliminating the US need for China) and the rapid economic development of China itself (representing a much more serious threat than the Soviet Union ever posed).

Michael Novick

Re: 'Turning Back on American People,' US Senate Votes to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline

Names ad shames those 9 democrats who voted for the XL. Fortunately not enough yeses to override Obama's veto.

Sheila Baker
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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so sick of the blatancy of their greed....

Jeanne Caciopski
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I really hate news headlines. (I confess, I'm not on top of this story, and haven't formed an opinion either way, but I sense a great deal of bias in this headline. It leads one to believe it's talking about "ALL" American people and seeks to send the message that "that creepy Senate, they're always voting against us Americans.)

Carolyn Wildermuth
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Once again, the people have spoken but Congress has not listened. How much longer are Americans going to put up with this?

John Klein
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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this is an environmental hazard waiting to happen. stop it with a VETO

Jeffery A. Smith
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I'm not sure people realize the original keystone pipeline had 13 leaks that were big enough to be detected and they were all due to lousy pipe from India, no bad welds.

David Senstad
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Republican loyalty to dirty money, rather than welfare of American people.

Robert Walz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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And this is why they hate Obama so much. They were assured that Obamacare would not pass the senate, because the repuglicans had the votes to sustain a filibuster. So they thought they could score points with the people by voting for something that would never really even pass. But Obama and Reid defected on them by passing Obamacare on "reconciliation", which only needs a simple majority. Friends may come and friends may go, but an enemy is an enemy for life...

Charles B. Cranston
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Now we know who was bought we need to unite and make sure these people never get re-elected both republicans and democrats cause they sure as hell don't have the American people s interest

Tammy Jackson-Martin
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I vote and I will actively seek the removal of all congressional members who voted yes. Actively.

Mary Bigelow
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Not since the days before the collapse of Rome have Senators been so corrupt and oblivious to the needs of the people...

Tammy Hynes
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Let us leave a clean world to the next generations. It's our DUTY. Es nuestro deber de dejar un mundo nuevo a las siguientes generaciones.

Dalia L Tapia
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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With the 9 Democrats that voted with Republicans to pass this shit they DO have enough to override a veto. It could be intentional that Obama switched positions after the loss of many seats knowing that it will pass even after his veto.

Richard Falzone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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The main back that got turned, was the back of most of the American people that got turned against themselves, when they stayed home on election day and allowed these evil, bribed bozos to BECOME our government.

Clyde James
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Taking the Senate to School on Climate

How could grown people not believe humans cause climate change? It must be the bribes. See sociologist William J. Chambliss On The Take: From Petty Crooks to Presidents. Use your own judgement re Amazon but here's some reviews from their site http://www.amazon.com/On-Take-Second.../dp/0253202981

Blaine Stevenson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Some of them don't believe that shit stinks.

Gary R Tunnell Sr.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I don't believe humans "cause" climate change. I believe humans contribute enough to climate change to push us over the edge.

William Cutlip
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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We need to abandon the use of the word "belief" in connection with climate change. While believing in fairies was of critical importance for Tinkerbell in Peter Pan, climate change does not operate that way. Believe or don't believe - it doesn't matter, because climate change has nothing to do with belief.

This is not a picky point.

Talking about belief in connection with climate change - and many other matters of critical importance today - sends the message that it is OK to have make decisions based on NO evidence at all.

What would replace "belief"? Try facts, information, data, science.

Ellen Dannin

Re: Cuba: So Close You Could Almost Swim There

Free healthcare to all, no questions or qualifications. Even to Americans. Why in the hell, in supposedly the greatest nation on earth,, must qualify for healthcare that you must also pay for???? And their communist???

Jerry Wyninger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The BBC's Drums of War and Meme of "Russian Aggression"

I think this is a very good article, that should make anyone think twice about the current onslaught of attacks on Russia. Peace (!)

Leonard J. Lehrman

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This article was sent to me by one of our Council members.  I think you will find plenty of food for thought here...read on!

Lisa Oldendorp (moveon.org)

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A different perspective on the Ukraine situation. I strongly feel, personally, that Putin is a festering sore and I look at the Russian people's perspective of the world. I also view the article as something that should be read and discussed and, if one disagreed, countered with logic and fact, not emotional rhetoric and blind adherence to present policy.  I am quite happy and fortunate to be an American, luck of the draw thanks to my grandparents, who sacrificed a lot to come here, but I don't look at this country in blindly myopic. "I cut down the cherry tree" utopian glasses.  Don't forget where this nation came from and why it fought for independence and what the constitution was written for in the way it was. Thank you Lisa for sending this. I am sending this to people on my e-mail list, bcc

Ron Kaminski

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From the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis during the Olympics I empathized with Russia over their concerns of losing their access to the Black Sea. I believe America has become so righteous and intolerant of the complexities that result in their own form of government. We're bombarded with propaganda from the media and left in the dark without the light of factual follow up on important events.

Given a simple look at a map of the Ukraine and Russia's limited access to the Black Sea, coupled with our worldwide energy crisis, I can't fault Putin for wanting to stand ground. This is all too reminiscent of how Germany was restructured after losing WWI. Their masses were motivated to push back with Hitler at the helm!

As for what my ancestor's fought for, most of my family has a military background. Both my father and stepfather chose the military as their career. Both fought in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. My son is Marine and served during the first Iraq War. I'm proud of their service and the sacrifice's they made to their emotional well being because now, today we know just how much these horrific experiences can impact their mental health. What deeply concerns me as an American is how can we continue to send our troops into wars that could be avoided by other means. But then there's the all money to be made on warring; military contracts to make bigger and better weapons, political promises kept to lobbyists so they can keep providing jobs for themselves and their cronies.

What if all that money was spent to provide the people of the world with their basic needs. (including our returning wounded Vets). What if it was spent on studying other peoples cultures and religions to enable them to work toward a possible solution to the conflicts occurring in so many countries on our small planet. It's not going to get better, it's going to get worse as our species multiplies and our land use become more and more compromised.

What's the definition of insanity? It's when we keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect to get a different result. History repeats itself and unless our species evolves at a faster pace we're on our way to extinction.

Pauline Dubick

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This is a long article. How is the average person to know the truth? Seeing the obvious propaganda in old newsreels in hindsight makes it more obvious. I don't know what or who to believe but am glad of the multiple news sources we do have.

Patricia O'Halloran
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Food for thought.

Ray Markey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Why Selma Matters: A Mother's Perspective

Selma needs to be studied examined and replicated

Hubert Brandon
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Better young people refer to the history than to rely on a piece of entertainment however good the attempt.

Errol Brewster
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Tracking the Spoors of Imperialism & Neocolonialism in the Philippines: Sketch of a Synoptic Reconnaissance

See the film 'A Day In The Sun' directed by John Sayles.

Jim Brough
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: 'American Sniper' Is Almost Too Dumb to Criticize

Part of the problem, I suppose is that the majority of Americans get their history from the movies, and will believe that what they are watching is the true story. And the next time a terrorist, that we helped to grow (by killing his brother, or mother, or child, or by torturing him in some other Abu Ghraib), pulls off a bad deed, what the general public will remember is that American heroes saved us last time from those bad people (i.e. real human beings with families, and hopes, and dreams, and a real wish to live) by killing and maiming them by the hundreds of thousands. And then later those Americans will ask again "Why do they hate us?"

Don Anderson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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My comment: Dumbing down American moral values just to make a buck.

Critic's comment: Sniper is a movie whose politics are so ludicrous and idiotic that under normal circumstances it would be beneath criticism. The only thing that forces us to take it seriously is the extraordinary fact that an almost exactly similar worldview consumed the walnut-sized mind of the president who got us into the war in question. It's the fact that the movie is popular, and actually makes sense to so many people, that's the problem.

Alan Gregory Wonderwheel
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Agree completely. I always said that if there had been an actual universal draft - men and women drafted during the Vietnam war - that the war would have ended 5 years earlier. Men have always had it in their head's that they will sacrifice their sons for the good of the nation. But, if they had been forced to send their beloved daughter's to that same hell hole they might have thought twice about it. No one want's to belittle any individual soldier. My friends who went I respect their decision. My friends who didn't go I respect their stance. The war would have gone on for years with out the opposition at home. Another 50,000 would have died. For what. The Vietnamese and Cambodian's are sewing our jean wear these days. Our leader's have their own faults. BUT, individual soldiers are also responsible for the decisions they make while in uniform. Right now there is an Army loose upon the world called ISIS that is raping and murdering it's way across the Middle East. I have little forgiveness for the individuals who follow that flag. I have little respect for any soldier who's only excuse for war crimes is the "i'm only following orders".

Eldon Moilanen
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Great article. I like the writers perspective. He brings in much of the relative history needed to analyze this movie. I haven't seen the movie yet. I was protesting the first Iraq invasion, desert shield in the 90s.Wish we would have had more people against these invasions so they would have not happened or progressed to the quagmire we have now. Like the article says, there was NO connection between 911 and Iraqi Al Qaeda or Afghan Al Qaeda. 911 was a Bad reason to start these wars.

Douglas Albrecht
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Where Do We Go from Here? Mass Incarceration and the Struggle for Civil Rights

Robynn J.A. Cox
January 16, 2015
Economic Policy Institute

On the surface, crime and punishment appear to be unsophisticated matters. After all, if someone takes part in a crime, then shouldn't he or she have to suffer the consequences? But dig deeper and it is clear that crime and punishment are multidimensional problems that stem from racial prejudice justified by age-old perceptions and beliefs about African Americans. The United States has a dual criminal justice system that has helped to maintain the economic and social hierarchy in America, based on the subjugation of blacks, within the United States. Public policy, criminal justice actors, society and the media, and criminal behavior have all played roles in creating what sociologist Loic Wacquant calls the hyperincarceration of black men. But there are solutions to rectify this problem.

To summarize the major arguments in this essay, the root cause of the hyperincarceration of blacks (and in particular black men) is society's collective choice to become more punitive. These tough-on-crime laws, which applied to all Americans, could be maintained only because of the dual legal system developed from the legacy of racism in the United States. That is, race allowed for society to avoid the trade-off between societies "demand" to get tough on crime and its "demand" to retain civil liberties, through unequal enforcement of the law. In essence, tying crime to observable characteristics (such as race or religious affiliation) allowed the majority in society to pass tough-on-crime policies without having to bear the full burden of these policies, permitting these laws to be sustained over time.

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After the Greek Elections: The Future of Austerity in Greece, Europe & Beyond - New York - Feb. 6 - New Location

Feb. 6 - 7:30 - 9:30

NEW LOCATION-
NYU Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life
Lecture Hall 95
238 Thompson St (off Washington Square South)
Manhattan

SPEAKERS:

NANTINA VGONTZAS
NATASSA ROMANOU
IANNIS DELATOLAS
AARON AMARAL
ALAN AKRIVOS

Hold the Date - Fighting Corruption in America and Abroad - Fordham Law School - New York - March 6

On Friday, March 6th, Fordham Law School is holding an all day conference, "Fighting Corruption in America and Abroad," with Preet Bharara, Larry Lessig and more! Details to come.

Zephyr Teachout