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Tidbits - June 25, 2015 - The Racial Divide; Take Down the Flag; Charleston Massacre; Greek Debt; Israeli Nukes; BDS; and more...

Reader Comments: The Racial Divide; Take Down the Flag; Call It What It Is, Or Be Complicit; The Charleston Massacre - A Hate Crime; Racial Violence in America; Greek Debt Truth Committee - Debt Cannot and Should Not Be Paid; American Century has Plunged the World into Crisis; Rachel Dolezal; Israeli Nukes; BDS is costing Israel big money; Alexander Hamilton and Andrew Jackson; Announcement - Celebration of Danny Schechter's Life

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Shorts and Announcement - June 25, 2015,Portside

The Racial Divide Will Never be Resolved if We Don't Call It by Its Name

Why is it so difficult for the mainstream media to mention the word racism?

Reviewing the national headlines and news of the latest massacre - this time in Charleston, S.C., I find no mention of the word. I checked the AP stylebook just to be sure and saw no problem with the word "racism". So what is this reticence to mention it? With massacres of this type happening almost every five weeks, has it perhaps become a dirty word?

Not even the President had the guts to spell this word out. Too bad. We are not going in the right direction. If we want to start the much needed national debate, we have to first call these horrendous actions by their name, racist murders.

Orwell at his best. If we continue rummaging the dictionary to sanitize as much as we can or if we continue swallowing the pill of the "lonely guy" or the "bad apple" we will continue, perhaps forever, asking "why."

Instead, what I found in the national news was "a hate crime." But that term really doesn't go to the heart of the matter. Any killing is a hate crime but a racist lynching is not just any killing. Not even "terrorism" is the most appropriate word because terror is what these massacres cause us to feel but it is not, deep inside, the perpetrator's aim.

And it is not the just the Confederate battle flag, or any other symbol, it is the state of mind, the education system, the media, the capitalist/market system, the craziness of gun ownership, coy politicians, TV's biased images and references, Hollywood, the alive and kicking underground organized racist mobs (my list goes on and on), that have perpetuated racism since the first slaves touched ground in Jamestown.

For the Bay Area' media the grieving will take more than a basketball celebration parade to sweep it under the rug. I realized this when on a street near Solano avenue in Albany, Ca. I saw a white woman crying out loud in her parked car... her radio was broadcasting details of the massacre. My most sincere condolences to this heart-broken women.

We are not a color-blind society, we are a squint society unable to focus and the truth is that we still live in a racist commune where race matters, a lot.

Fernando A. Torres

"Take Down Your Flag" - Peter Mulvey's new song

Ani DiFranco sang Peter Mulvey's song "Take Down Your Flag" this past Sunday at the Clearwater Music Festival.

"Take Down Your Flag" by Peter Mulvey was written 6/19/15 in response to South Carolina's refusal to lower the confederate flag at the State House in the face of a horrendous mass murder in Charleston. Peter asked Pamela (and a number of other songwriters) to cover the song and write their own tribute verses for other victims and survivors of the hateful racist attack. Pamela Means wrote a tribute verse for, Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of Emanuel AME Church and a long-standing state senator in SC.

Pamela Means singing:

Ani DiFranco singing:

Jay Schaffner

Re: Call It What It Is, Or Be Complicit

Roof's father is complicit for giving him a gun and probably teaching his son to be racist
Also friends who knew of his plans should have informed someone

Nancy Ekberg


They're not idiots. They're not stupid. They understand. The absolutely get it

The longer they can pretend to not get it the longer they get to avoid changing

The longer they can keep you arguing and debating and explaining... The longer they get to hold on to their vision of the world

They fear change, and they're cowards

But they're not stupid

JuLeah Willson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Yes he was a racist the most evil of them to me racism is a form of evil and evil is a form of deformed mentality i would never say they r stupid

John D Nenninger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Charleston Massacre - A Hate Crime

They were hate crimes - targeted assassinations based on race.

John Klein
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This was an act of terrorism from a bigoted racist. .., period.

Alan LaViscount
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Historians Crowdsource Key Reads About Racial Violence in America

This should be SHARED WIDELY---especially with teachers!

Lydia Howell
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Gun Control Will Not Save America From Racism

VERY informative ... this MAY open some CLOSED minds ...

G Scott Lamanna
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Preliminary Report of Greek Parliament Debt Truth Committee - Debt Cannot and Should Not Be Paid

Laying the groundwork for a default. The correct question to ask is "Who will benefit from a default?".

Jon Salkov
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Let's talk about the truth a bit, no one bailed out the Greek people, they bailed out the incompetent Bankers and Politicians.

Keith Miller
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Debt is an equal obligation of the debtor and the lender. In Greece, the lenders were unwise, but don't want to pay the penalty.

Lou Kilzer
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The Thieves {banks} lend you lots of worthless paper money - charge you high interest hoping you can't pay it back and the thieves come after your real assets - Real Estate because they are REAL. Same with the country's resources.

Fake for something real just don't cut it anymore.

Angel Rodriguez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Excellent article. I hope more EU countries will join the Greeks in standing up to illegal financial practices by the European banks in Germany.

Steve Tait
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: `The American Century' Has Plunged the World Into Crisis. What Happens Now?

The digital world, the financial crisis and climate change call us to rethinking, to alternative economics, redistribution, sharing and to the priority of politics over the economy.

Marc Batko
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The collapse of the USSR has placed the world in a volatile situation. With all of it's weaknesses, we need to struggle to maintain the existing socialist countries. It serves to balance imperialism's adventurism.

Richard Hoyen
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Black Like Her

Having difficulty understanding this essay.

Jeff Singer

Re: My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past

Thanks for posting this - I've added this book to my "want" list.

Morgan Dhu
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Rachel Dolezal a Race Traitor?

"Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given, and transmitted from the past" Karl Marx: The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

"The deadly effects of white supremacy" the headline of an article by Lonnae O'Neal,  Washington Post, June12, 2015, page C1.

First a moment of meditation for the victims of white supremacist terror in Charleston South Carolina.  A few things to get out of the way. Race is not a biological category, rather a social construct with powerful socio-economic consequences. Since our species first emerged in Africa some 150,000 years ago all of humanity is African or Black in ancestry. Modern racial categories simply refer to more recent ancestors.  In that sense, all Americans are "African-Americans". Let that sink in, white folk! To be sure, physical features are commonly used to identify "race", but some successfully pose as a different race,  with light-skinned Black folk passing as white being a common example.  The white race was invented in colonial America as the aftermath of the Bacon's Rebellion, in the late 17th Century. White supremacy was then used to transform the system of non-racial indentured labor into the brutal form of slavery of African people, followed by its essential role in reproducing capitalist hegemony into this the 21st Century. Formerly oppressed races, such as the Irish became white.

Rachel Dolezal has made her own history, using the contradictory material given to her from birth by choosing to become Black with still unclear motives, and who I am to judge the accuracy of her own account of this personal history? (see e.g., her interview). The highly problematic aspects of her choice should be recognized, as well as her lack of transparency in posing as Black, without Black parents or having a proven and sufficient African ancestry in recent time to so qualify (but I have no idea of what is "sufficient"; indeed since a great number of white Americans have recent Black ancestors how many so qualify as being Black, how many are posers of white identity?).  Nevertheless, whatever the benefits she may have gained by this decision, until her charade was revealed, they were arguably outweighed by the disadvantages of being identified as Black in this land of white supremacy. But what emerges from the exposure of her charade, ignoring all the complicated history leading up to it, boiling it down to what I submit is its perception most of all by white folk: a white woman consciously became a traitor to the white race, a Race Traitor, one who explicitly condemns and struggles against the system of white supremacy ("RACE TRAITOR - treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity").  Becoming a traitor to the white race undermines white supremacy, precisely because as a social construct whiteness is the prime mechanism by which capitalist exploitation of the working classes and oppression of people of color is reproduced. White folk abolishing their whiteness is a mighty blow against the edifice of white supremacy.  Once a race traitor, white folk then are no longer white in the profound sense of what whiteness means, not the obvious recognition as being "white" versus Black, rather they can begin to reclaim their ethnic/ cultural history, as Irish, European, Eastern European Jewish ..Americans who then can take the lead in the struggle against racism and white supremacy. For the same reason African-American identity is arguably preferable to the racial category of Black, but we should recognize that the semantics has a history of its own rooted in struggle.   This race traitor must be on guard because slippage into white privilege is always an option. The conscious rejection of being hailed (interpellated) as being white, to use Althusser's concept of ideological materialization, is a rejection of the ideological construct of whiteness.

But let's be clear, racism is first of all a white problem, not the responsibility of Black folk to terminate.   Those who have renounced their whiteness do not become "allies" of Black folk in the struggle against racism, rather they are members of the Human Front committed to smashing the edifice of white supremacy, the foundation of capitalist hegemony.  Thus, I reject Tim Wise's framing of this issue, advocating an "antiracist white identity" in his recent piece. Ex-white folk can then objectively and to varying degrees subjectively join in multi-dimensional class struggle to terminate all exploitation and oppression at every intersection of class/race/gender/sexual orientation etc.

Finally it should be emphasized that in order for white folk to reject whiteness they obviously should not have to pose as Black as Rachel Dolezal did.  Neither should digging up some minimum level of recent African ancestry by genealogical research or DNA testing be sufficient justification of becoming Black, since a personal history of Black identity, problematically present in the case of Rachel Dolezal,  may be entirely absent.  The challenge of establishing one's racial identity is full of contradictions rooted in the social construct of race.  Let's be practical, it is a serious enough step for those viewed as white to renounce their whiteness, and recognize this is not one act, rather a conscious ongoing rejection of whiteness and its consequences such as white skin privilege, and even more importantly a commitment to shatter the system of white supremacy. Conscious and ongoing because once you go to sleep on this issue you revert to becoming white again.  In other words,  follow the example of real race traitors, John Brown in the 19th Century and Anne and Carl Braden in the 20th Century, with Anne continuing her heroic struggle against white supremacy until her death in 2006.

David Schwartzman
Washington, D.C.

Re: Israeli Nukes

This is a Portside post that i will share, re-post and distribute!  USA and Israel are the sources of violence, genocide, imperialism not just in Middle East but globally with their arsenals of nukes and military.  USA taxpayers can STOP this criminal madness.

Leanna Noble

Why the War Against BDS ?...The Real Reason - BDS could cost Israel $4.7 billion a year

By James North
June 14, 2015

Well, here's why. The Financial Times has published a big, and somewhat balanced, article on the rapid rise of BDS that includes two stunning financial numbers showing how powerful the nonviolent movement for justice in Israel/Palestine is becoming.

The most important information is deep inside the FT article:

However, there are signs that Israel's disquiet over BDS is genuine. This week an Israeli financial newspaper covered a leaked government report estimating that BDS could cost Israel's economy $1.4bn a year. The estimate included lower exports from the settlements in keeping with the EU's plans to begin labelling goods made there - not part of the BDS movement, although many Israelis lump the two things together. The Rand Corporation, the US think-tank, says the costs could be more than three times higher: $47bn over 10 years.

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(One summary e-mail a day, you can change anytime, and Portside is always free.)

This is the true story of BDS. It's having a giant impact. CNN covered that Rand study the other day - a $15 billion hit from BDS, largely because of its success in Europe - but the same day the New York Times runs a piece on the French telecom denying it supports BDS, and there's not a word in the NY Times article about either the Rand study or the leaked Israeli government figures. (Jodi Rudoren did write about the Rand study back on June 8, but somehow found its $47 billion cost-of-BDS estimate unworthy of mention.)  Rudoren's slanted coverage of BDS - reporting on the Orange surrender, while leaving out the dangerous billion-dollar-numbers that created a stir in Israeli and other media - proves once again that there is no daylight between her "reporting" and Hasbara Central.

Re: US to Pay Millions for Agent Orange Claims

Waiting until many have died. But the U.S. supports the troops...only when SENDING them in somewhere.

Karyne Dunbar
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Save Alexander Hamilton. Dump Andrew Jackson

A posting lauding the Federalists and Alexander Hamilton?  What next, a plea for jurists to return to the "Founders'" "original intent"?  A petition to restore the monarchy?

The author appropriately calls attention to Jackson's murderous racism while mocking his democratic ethos.  Hamilton brazenly linked the fortunes of the young United States to the wealthy, proclaiming that the super-rich were the nation's best and most important constituents.  By contrast, Jackson appealed to the white working class and struggling farmers. He may have been a prosperous planter himself, but his candidacies provided a focal point for Americans alarmed by the rise of corporations--which Jacksonians denounced as "monopoly"--and the power of financial interests. Perhaps in the eyes of some, his democratic appeal, and especially, the response of the people to their perception of him as a democratic leader, makes Jackson a cretin.

Well, no.  But his vicious racism and violent temper make a him a problem, a very American problem, one we continue to wrestle with.

But is Jackson less deserving than Hamilton?  I think not.

Let me put it like this, in two words:  Whiskey Rebellion.

Peter Gilmore


Alexandra Petri says "This is horrible" about the idea of removing Alexander Hamilton form the $10 bill. No, it is not "horrible" that Hamilton will lose pride of place on the $10.00 bill; it is long overdue. In fact, Hamilton should never have been on it in the first place. Hamilton is the quintessential One Percenter who, more than any other single person, is responsible for the unholy marriage of business and government at the inception of our nation undermining the very foundation of our democracy.

The primary example is in the first session of Congress when the question of funding the debt arose.  The Continental Army had issued check-notes for payment, called Continentals, for the supplies and services it had requisitioned from farmers, craftsmen, small businesses, etc.  The Continentals were not paid back under the Articles of Confederation and became part of the national debt.  After years of nonpayment, in order to survive many of the people (i.e., widows, destitute farmers, out of work craftsmen, etc.) holding the Continentals were forced to sell them to speculators for pennies on the dollar.

After the Constitution was adopted, one of the first questions taken up by the new congress was what to do about the debt represented by the unpaid Continentals. The specific question was how to deal with so many Continentals being in the hands of speculators and not the original note holders whose names were on the face of the check. In Pennsylvania, for example, the state had paid back its outstanding notes by giving the speculators their purchase price plus a reasonable interest and returned the balance to the original note holder. This was what James Madison proposed to do with the Continentals. However, Hamilton spearheaded the move to ignore the destitute conditions of the original note holders and instead to pay off the speculators currently holding the notes at full face value of the notes. Hamilton said this was necessary because business must be the engine of government. Of course, while Congress was debating this issue, many Congressmen sent out their own agents to purchase Continentals on speculation for themselves. Thus, not surprisingly, when it came time to vote on whether Madison's or Hamilton's plan for repayment of the Continentals would be chosen, Hamilton's plan was adopted and the majority of Congressmen voting for Hamilton's plan pocketed the speculative profits for themselves.

Hamilton's ideal of business being "the engine" that runs our government, with the necessary corollary of Congressmen becoming rich by the support of those business interests, has been guiding principle of our nation ever since then.  We see this principle firmly at work in the revolving door of government officials going in and out of the private sector corporations to maintain the parasitic control of government by the profiteering business interests.

So I'm perfectly happy to see Hamilton go, and we can discuss removing Jackson from the $20 bill after we have seen Hamilton's face removed from the $10 bill.  But sadly, the early indications are that Hamilton's face will continue in some manner on the $10, most likely as a watermark for anti-counterfeiting measures.

A. Gregory Wonderwheel


Andrew Jackson has one (and probably only one) credit to his Presidency, he 'killed' the second Bank of the US, but it is an important credit - a big win against the 'money powers'.

Alex. Hamilton meanwhile chartered the first US Bank, violating the Constitution almost before the ink was dry: "~ Congress shall have mo power to coin money, and regulate the value thereof."

A big win for the elite / centralized power / English style of governance.

If either goes, both should go.

Rich Florentino


...Seems to me like Jackson is to Native Americans what the confederate flag is to Blacks--only worse, because we value money much more than flags.

Now that I've had time to go back and read the article, I'm going to share it. Great arguments.

Karen Heidman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Miracle Drug You Need to Take

Readers might enjoy Dr. Mike Evans' 9 minute cartoon video:  "23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?"

Susan Rosenthal

Celebration of Danny Schechter's Life and Birthday - New York - June 27

Saturday, June 27 at 1:00pm

Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

Photo of Danny Schechter in the WBCN production room, 312 Stuart Street, Boston. From The American Revolution Documentary Archives, UMass Amherst. (Photos by Jeff Albertson, February 1973.)

Danny's Final Book, Topic of Cancer. Download it FREE of charge, at

When he was diagnosed with cancer late last year, Danny Schechter, the News Dissector, started a diary of his Medical Mystery Tour - telling of his fight against the disease, his treatment and his feelings. This diary, with a moving final chapter by his daughter Sarah Debs Schechter, is now published as a 212-page ebook to commemorate his birthday on June 27, exclusively for readers of ColdType at