Skip to main content

There’s an information war raging, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Every day we search hundreds of items on the Internet to bring you insightful and reliable material on the side of democracy and social justice. Once a year we appeal to you to contribute to this work. Please help.


Tidbits - October 5, 2017 - Reader Comments: Las Vegas, NRA - How Much Did Congress Get?; Puerto Rico; Vietnam: more on Burns and Novick film; Fake Olive Oil - Bertolli Responds; and more .....

Reader Comments: For the Victims in Las Vegas, Puerto Rico and Yemen; Puerto Rico; Vietnam - More than Burns and Novick film; Attack on Organized Labor - What it Means for African Americans; Tom Petty; Socialist Writing; The Russians Are Coming - Are They?; Fake Olive Oil - Bertolli Responds; Dag Hammarskjold; Star Wars; How Much Did Your Congressional Representatives Get from the NRA; Prosecuting ISIS Crimes against Women and LGBTIQ Persons; and more .....

printer friendly  
Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources and Announcements - October 5, 2017, Portside

For the Victims in Las Vegas, Puerto Rico and Yemen (Code Pink)
Re: Congress Could Help Puerto Rico Recover. What's Stopping It? (Jean Cushman; Capn' Steve Krug)
Re: Hurricane Irma Unleashes the Forces of Privatization in Puerto Rico (Nana Moses; Ras Moshe Burnett; Chris Daniel; AumRa Frezel)
Stand with Florida Farmworkers! (Ricardo Levins Morales)
Re: Ideology As History: A Critical Commentary on Burns and Novick's "The Vietnam War" (Wendy Germain; Lincoln Bergman; Efia Nwangaza; Linda Lipps; Allan Monteith)
Re: Vietnam - The War and the Anti-War Movement - Reader Comments, Lessons for Today (David Ewing)
Re: Viet Nam! - More on the Burns and Novick Film (Hollis Stewart)
Re: The Mounting Attack on Organized Labor and What it Means for African-Americans (WFSE Local 843; Kevin Allen; Dale Jacobson)
Re: The Time Tom Petty Renounced the Confederate Flag (James Kenny)
Re: French Workers Are Being Steamrolled by Macron, but They Could Learn a Thing or Two From India's Farmers (Sarah Grey)
Re: Writing While Socialist (Stan Maron)
Re: Lynching and Antilynching: Art and Politics in the 1930s (Tom Spellman)
Re: The Russians Are Coming, Again (Mike Liston; Stan Nadel)
Re: UN Chief’s Plane Crash 'May Have Been Caused by Aircraft Attack' (Michel Proulx; Jonathan Bennett)
Re: The ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Crew Is Diverse, Because That’s What Starfleet Is All About (Leone Hankey)
Re: Fake Olive Oil Companies Revealed – Stop Buying These Brands Now (Eleanor Reynolds -Bertolli; Don McIntosh; Olive Oil Times)
NAFTA ... How Could They ? (James E. Vann)


Has your U.S. Congress person received donations from the NRA? (Washington Post; Politico)


Into the Streets Against Endless Wars - Brooklyn - October 7
Prosecuting ISIS Crimes against Women and LGBTIQ Persons -New York (Queens) - November 8


For the Victims in Las Vegas, Puerto Rico and Yemen

Re: Congress Could Help Puerto Rico Recover. What's Stopping It?

I like Portside and appreciate the columns that people write. They are deep. Your article about Puerto Rico made me angry. And anger can do two things - it can shock us into action or demoralize us into despair. It was the former for me.

Jean Cushman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Thanks for the article. While it lays bare the issues of the ruling Junta and their privatization schemes, it puts the Jones Act on the same page, saying cheaper shipping would help.I would expect this rational from proponents of the race to the bottom, like Sarah Palin, who infamously said the Deep Water Horizon disaster recovery  would have gone better if not for the Jones Act..It is amazing to me that anyone talking about the cheap labor policies that go with Puerto Rico woes, would argue that the solution is to lower all wages. The problem isn't that Merchant Mariners make too much, the problem is economic colonialism wants them kept low for everyone.

As I write this I hear Trump has lifted the Jones Act (for PR, for 10 days), congratulations! The race to the bottom is full steam ahead

Capn' Steve Krug


Re: Hurricane Irma Unleashes the Forces of Privatization in Puerto Rico

Have been thinking about this since Irma happened. It's amazing how easily prophetic one can become when it comes to this stuff. "Vultures" is a very appropriate word for these people, although i prefer the word scumbags - a bit more accurate.

Nana Moses
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Both [words] will do!

Ras Moshe Burnett
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I 'm worried that whole islands will be sold and gentrification will run rampant.

Chris Daniel
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Disaster Capitalism.

Read here.

AumRa Frezel
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Stand with Florida Farmworkers!

Stand with Florida Farmworkers
Ricardo Levins Morales
Digital Print, 2017
Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Immolakee farmworkers have been fighting for decent working conditions since 1960 -- but still only earn $350 per week picking tomatoes. They are also working to eradicate human trafficking, modern slavery, and gender based violence in Florida agriculture.Hurricane Irma has now destroyed their homes. CSPG's Poster of the Week is based upon a 2006 artwork on Environmental Justice, by Ricardo Levins Morales, who altered the text to support the Immolakee workers. 

To read more about the Immokalee Workers and their ongoing struggles and victories:


Center for the Study of Political Graphics
3916 Sepulveda Blvd, Suite 103 & 104
Culver City, CA 90230
Facebook: Center for the Study of Political Graphics


Re: Ideology As History: A Critical Commentary on Burns and Novick's "The Vietnam War"
(posting on Portside Culture)

after spending 10 years working on this you would think that Burns & Novick could muster up a more insightful documentary considering how critical it is for our country to confront the truth and come to some reconciliation. there are many people both American and Vietnamese working together toward peace & reconciliation

Wendy Germain
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Last paragraph: "By excising these facts from their narrative, Burns and Novick avoid confronting the question of imperialism - the notion that U.S. foreign policy is deliberately committed to the exploitation of peasants and workers around the world, that it is on the wrong side of the class struggle. Without the concepts of class struggle and imperialism, Burns and Novick will not be able to get at the roots of the political divide over Vietnam. Undoubtedly many thoughtful points will be raised but, whatever those points are, they will likely be couched in the overarching liberal narrative of a tragedy of human conflict in a world of hubris and national allegiances - a narrative that necessarily obscures the realities of the Vietnam War."

Lincoln Bergman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page



Efia Nwangaza
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


After watching most of the first two in the series I decided not to watch any more. This article is an excellent analysis of important omissions by the creators of the show.

Linda Lipps
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


My opinion: The article is too long and complicated for those whose knowledge base on the subject is weak and for the short attention span of some youth of today. But, I do remember the photo, which elicited both my outrage and sadness, at the time.

A picture is always worth a thousand words and 5,000 with a caption and a short story.

Long and complex articles are best suited for college requirements, books and newspapers.

Allan Monteith
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Vietnam - The War and the Anti-War Movement - Reader Comments, Lessons for Today

Worse than the false content of the Burns series is the indifferent form it takes. It treats the Vietnam War as a dramatic cultural event for Americans. Indifferent to the plight of the Vietnamese, the rock-music sound track and interviews make the war seem like a fabulous experience, like a Woodstock with M-16s. I spoke to another veteran. His infantry unit would get high on LSD and call-in napalm airstrikes on innocent villages. "The colors! The colors, how cool!" Vietnam was a genocidal atrocity -- not the dramatic rock concert Burns portrays.

David Ewing, Drafted 1970
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Viet Nam! - More on the Burns and Novick Film
(posting on Portside Culture)

The effort to belittle and defeat the progressive anti-war movement at home had a nasty side to it too.  Already by about 61 or 62 some of us had heard about the Vietnam war through the Quakers.  We were educated by the Quakers about the French colonialists, the slaughter of Vietnamese, the Declaration of Independence wording of the Vietnamese liberation government, and the hope of Ho the communists that the US would recognize and support the Vietnamese.

When we protested war supporters or US military yelled at us, "Better dead than Red", a bit of a threat usually accompanied with a finger gesture, and "USA, Love it or Leave it, you b___ards." or other words.  The police who were around never stepped in to tell the pro-war group/s to shut up and be respectful.  This stuff was in a large AZ city with a Strategic Air Command Base (its still there) and quite a few military personnel.  It did not stop us from organizing -- we were already heavy into the "Civil Rights", maybe better "Human Rights" movement and we weren't going to be turned around.

So, like you Ted, we kept with it.

Hollis Stewart


Re: The Mounting Attack on Organized Labor and What it Means for African-Americans
(posting on Portside Labor)

Everybody Ought to Know!

WFSE Local 843

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


If you hadn't grasped this fact that Black Workers will be More Hurt by a negative Janus Decision, take a read of this. Thanks for posting.

Kevin Allen
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


"On average, Black union workers earn 16.4 percent higher wages than those Black workers not represented by a union and are, respectively, over 17 and 18 percent more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and an employer-sponsored retirement plan."

Dale Jacobson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: The Time Tom Petty Renounced the Confederate Flag

James Kenny This is one of the things I liked about Tom Petty, apart from his musical skills. He was able to turn a moment of stupidity on the part of an audience member into a teachable moment.

James Kenny
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: French Workers Are Being Steamrolled by Macron, but They Could Learn a Thing or Two From India's Farmers
(posting on Portside Labor)

Read through to the paragraphs on action by farmers in Rajasthan. Inspiring.

Sarah Grey


Re: Writing While Socialist

I found VJ Prishad's piece in the Boston Review posted on Portside very interesting and informative.  I will use it as a point of reference in my future writing.

Stan Maron
Author NY Hustle-- Pool rooms, School rooms, Street corners.


Re: Lynching and Antilynching: Art and Politics in the 1930s

Good Morning  Usually get no response which is unfortunate but then again maybe "you" feel superior to such comments  Just a thanks at least says that someone may have read what I have spent some time writing.  Happened the other day to see the PBS special about a Mexican who was on a journey. As the story unfolded he mentioned the Lynching of Mexicans in the south west and that was to say the least an eye opener   Seems these two stories should be told together  Good to know that it "started" in the US Military but it was going on in Ireland for some time before that and always as an attempt to control, working sometimes and outraging at other time.   


Tom Spellman


Re: The Russians Are Coming, Again

I wasn't raised as a leftist, you could say I became one in reaction to Reagan whose obvious lies and falsifications caused such a reaction as to make me want to question and investigate just about anything that slithered out of his mouth. As a result, I got very interested in modern Russian history and for some unusual reason, the local university library had a great selection of works in regards to the Revolution and early Soviet history from a large group of writers on both the left and the right. Needless to say, I learned a lot, and was even inspired to write even a set of plays about what I had learned. 

One book I read recently was 'American Russian Relations' by William Appleman Williams. I might have heard about Williams from a Portside Article and made a note to look up his works when I got back to the US for a summer holiday. Interesting book about how US relations with Russia (despite numerous friendly overtures from the Russian side) have been sour since the founding of the US republic. It's actually quite irrational and it doesn't seem to matter if the Russian government is that of Tsars or Commissars, but the hostility has been relentless.  

Therefore, not surprising at all to see the hostility arise again. Of course, Putin is no saint, but what he's done has often been necessary in order to keep a nation that has undergone a lot of stress recently intact. The US loved that drunk Yeltsin. Why? He was destroying the country in short order and that was just dandy for an Uncle Sam and his gang who were more than eager to swoop in and have their pick of what is probably the most resource rich patch of land on the planet. Given the recent disaster of World War Two for the Russian people, I'm sure Putin would have been disposed if he hadn't taken the Ukraine. Otherwise, it would now serve as the site of a  new US naval base bristling with nukes. As for the Donbass, why shouldn't it be independent of the Ukrainians who are just as likely to begin their own program of ethnic cleansing? If anything, ethnic Russian revolt was an act of self defense. 

Anyway, 'nuf said. It's a good article and I was pleased to see it on Portside, thanks and keep 'em coming, 

Mike Liston


Why leftists feel compelled to defend a right wing imperialist semi-dictatorship in Russia that does everything it can to reject and eliminate all vestiges of the Russian revolution is beyond me.

The Putin regime is supporting far right semi-fascist political parties from the FN in France to the FPÖ in Austria and the Orban regime in Hungary--not to mention the fascist Baathist regime in Syria.  But still some leftists act as though it is the workers' republic and a light to the left in general.

Stan Nadel


Re: UN Chief’s Plane Crash 'May Have Been Caused by Aircraft Attack'

Les Bleges ne voulaient pas lâcher le morceau...

[Google translation: The Bleges didn't want to let go...]

Michel Proulx
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


A quibble concerning the Portside intro to the Guardian report on Dag Hammarskjold's death

***First of all, thank you for posting the article.  It's not a big deal, but nevertheless, Hammarskjold did NOT _***lead_ "a UN peacekeeping force at the request of the newly liberated Congo". The Secretary-General of the UN does not "lead" peacekeepers. He was in the Congo to act as a diplomat, which is not the same thing as a peacekeeper.

Jonathan Bennett


Re: The ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Crew Is Diverse, Because That’s What Starfleet Is All About
(posting on Portside Culture)

But the Starfleet is not about charging people $6 a month to watch the show.

Leone Hankey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Fake Olive Oil Companies Revealed – Stop Buying These Brands Now
(posting on Portside Culture)

Hi there,

We wanted to notify you about false news circulating on social media related to various Olive oil brands. As it has presently been shared on your page we wanted to provide you with the facts, so you can be aware for your readership:

  • The information within some of these articles are based on a study made in 2010 by the University of California Davis Olive Center. This study was completely discredited by the International Olive Council (IOC) through several public statements.
  • The study was further discredited when independent testing was unable to replicate the results of the study.
  • The North American Olive Oil Association has contacted the people responsible for this false article, requesting to change their original article.

As the world’s number one olive oil brand, we exceed the rigorous standards of the International Olive Council (IOC) and European Union (EU), the only legally-binding testing methodologies for olive oil.  Every batch of our olive oil is both chemically and sensory taste-tested before and after bottling.  Additionally, all our products and processes meet the highest international food safety standards and regulations (ISO 9001, IFS, BRC, FDA for USA export, CSQA.).

We are currently taking measures to vigorously defend the reputation of our brands and have filed a lawsuit against the original creators of this article for defamation.  Thus, we are reaching out to online pages that may have shared this false news innocently, so you may know the facts, and you may remove the article to avoid misleading your readers.

First and foremost, our commitment is to our consumers and the public.

Please see our official company statement here and feel free to contact us anytime for any queries.

Thank you again for your support.

Eleanor Reynolds (


Your republished story on olive oil which was copied from the web site was previously published and debunked more than two years ago by Snopes.

Don McIntosh


Both Bertolli and the Medianit piece are wrong according to Olive Oil Times:

NAFTA ... How Could They ?

One of the most perplexing provisions embodied in NAFTA and other so-called "Free Trade Agreements" is the "investor-to-state-dispute settlement," [ISDS ] provision.

Trump has stated that he will insist on the U.S. getting "a better deal" from NAFTA. However, it is highly doubtful that Trump is aware of, or will contest the ISDS provision -- which could easily be used by a foreign company or corporation to invalidate "Obamacare," labor agreements, environmental protections, auto safety regulations, or any of a host of US laws.

Under NAFTA, a company or corporation can sue a partner government for its existing laws, passing of new laws, or issuing regulations that allegedly conflict with NAFTA,or allegedly reduces the corporation or company's "expected profits."Any company or corporation can sue such government -- with the case decided by a secretive tribunal of corporate trade lawyers -- and can require the sued government to rescind its laws even if enacted by the entire Congress, Supreme Court, or total population.

TransCanada Corporation sued the U.S. government under NAFTA for $15 billion when President Obama didn't approve the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline - only suspending the case when President Trump reversed President Obama's decision. Also, when a Mexican town required U.S.-based Metalclad Corporation to clean up existing problems before expanding a toxic waste facility, Metalclad sued Mexico under NAFTA;a NAFTA ISDS tribunal ordered Mexico to pay Metalclad $16 million.

NAFTA was enacted in 1993 by President Bill Clinton and a Democratic majority congress.How was this possible? How could any congress member vote for a treaty that authorizes a private group of business executives to invalidate a U.S. enacted law?

James E. Vann
Political and Community Activist
Oakland, California


Has your U.S. Congress person received donations from the NRA?

By Aaron Williams
Updated October 3, 2017
Washington Post

click here to see your state.

Update: Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) was listed as receiving a $1,000 donation, but he did not accept it. Additionally, Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) donated both of the contributions he received in 2012 and 2016 to various funds.

Originally published June 12, 2016

Contribution data is from the 1998 through 2016 Congressional cycles and don't include individual expenditures and communication costs.

Sources: ProPublica Congress API and the Center for Responsive Politics

The gun lobby: See how much your representative gets

By Tyler Fisher, Sarah Frostenson and Lily Mihalik 
October 2, 2017

Read more here.


Into the Streets Against Endless Wars - Brooklyn - October 7

On October 7, 2001 the US invaded Afghanistan. 

The anti-war movement is alive and well. Join us!
Help carry a peace message through the streets of Downtown Brooklyn on the 16th anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan; the US’s longest war!

We will meet at the Barclays Center (Flatbush & Atlantic Aves) at 10AM. From there we will march down Fulton Street to Jay Street where will take the subway to join the 11:30AM Rally at Washington Square Park. At 12 noon there will be a march to Union Square to join vigil for Yemen. (The Washington Sq. Park Rally & Solemn March are organized by the NYC War Resisters League.)

Demand the US get out of Afghanistan, cease military support for the war on Yemen, get out of Syria and stop threatening North Korea. Say no to military weapons to the NYPD & local police departments. Demand a transfer of funding from the US war machine to fund our communities; housing, health care, schools and transportation.

Now endorsed by: NYCity War Resisters League, Peace Action New York State, Veterans for Peace/NYC Chapter 34, Military Families Speak Out/NYC, Granny Peace Brigade, Greene Party of Brooklyn,
World Can't Wait

To add your endorsement email or

We call for:

  • An end to US military support for Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen The withdrawal of the US from the war on Syria and Iraq
  • Stop threatening to end the Iran Nuclear Deal
  • An END TO TREATS OF THE BOMBING OF NORTH KOREA as the way to end that countries development of nuclear weapons
  • An End the militarization of the NYPD
  • MOVE THE MONEY FROM THE PENTAGON/WAR BUDGET ($600 Billion!) to fund our communities: housing, healthcare, schools, transportation, etc.

Stand up for peace on the 16th Anniversary of the US war on Afghanistan? 

To RSVP click here. (You can "join" even if you are not on Facebook.)

If you are a member of Facebook please share the Facebook event and invite your friends!

Please let us know if your organization would like to endorse this event and help to spread the word.


Prosecuting ISIS Crimes against Women and LGBTIQ Persons -New York (Queens) - November 8

Photo credit: Foundation Max van der Stoel / MADRE

MADRE and our Iraqi partners invite you to an intimate conversation with Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, named one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2017. 
Prosecuting ISIS Crimes against Women and LGBTIQ Persons
We're launching a petition to the International Criminal Court. It will be the first of its kind – an ICC petition advancing the rights of women and LGBTIQ people simultaneously. Learn more about our new, groundbreaking work.
Join us in a discussion on how we will pursue this innovative strategy for justice.
November 8, 2017
3:00pm – 5:00pm
Followed by a cocktail reception
CUNY Law School
2 Court Square, LIC

Two subway stops from the United Nations
Take the E or M subway train to 23rd St. – Court Square
RSVP by emailing
Additional Speakers Include: 

  • Yifat Susskind, MADRE
  • Patricia Viseur-Sellers, International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia
  • Yanar Mohammed, Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI)
  • Madeleine Rees, OBE, WILPF
  • Amir Ashour, IraQueer
  • Nahla Valji, Executive Office of the Secretary-General
  • Maria Sjödin, OutRight Action International
  • Lisa Davis, CUNY Law School

Co-sponsored by: MADRE; IraQueer; WILPF; OWFI; OutRight Action International; NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security; The City University of New York Law Review and Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice CUNY School of Law

MADRE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

121 West 27th Street, #301
New York, NY 10001