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Tidbits - Aug. 16, 2018 - Reader Comments: 2018 Elections, Defeating the GOP, Winning Red States, Socialism and Liberal Politics; Space Force?; Asbestos; Boots Riley; Resources; Announcements; and more....

Reader Comments: 2018 Elections, Winning Red States, Socialism and Liberal Politics; Space Force?; Asbestos: Killer Embraced by Trump; Announcements M4BL Author's Webinar; Defeat Kavanaugh Rallies; Socialists and the 2018 Elections Webinar; more...

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources and Announcements - Aug. 16, 2018,Portside

Re: Missouri Voters Overwhelmingly Reject ‘Right to Work’ (Roberta Histed)
Sheet yet!  --  cartoon by Mike Luckovich
Re: Trump, the Republican Party, and Westmoreland County (Robert Supansic)
Re: Socialism and the Liberal Imagination (Staughton Lynd; Christopher Peragine)
Re: D.C. Transit Scraps Idea For Separate Train For ‘Unite The Right’ Marchers (Todd S Belafonte)
Re: Scars of Hiroshima (Philip Specht)
Re: Why the Space Force Is Just Like Trump University (Pete Herrera; Dermot Cole; Mark Hayes; Carmen Sola)
Space Force Costs  --  cartoon by Robert Ariail
Re: US Military Ordered to Host Massive Immigrant Concentration Camps (Ron Ferguson)
Re: Dare to Dream of a World Without Borders (Joseph Jamison)
Re: More Asbestos! More Asbestos! More Asbestos! (Jonathan Nack; Marilyn Albert; Pat Heywood; Jim A Pearson; Kevin Brogan; Yolanda Molina Serrano; Donald Goetz)
A short film about Boots Riley, the filmmaker of Sorry to Bother You
Re: Toward a Progressive Political Economy in the Aftermath of Neoliberalism’s “Creative Destruction” (John Case)
Re: Arsène Tchakarian -- 1916–2018 (Richard Lee Deaton; Freddie Marichal; George Lessard)
Re: The Campaign for One Democratic State (Roger Dittmann; Jason Schulman)
Why is the Anti-Defamation League(ADL) training ICE in Israel? (Stefanie Fox, Jewish Voice for Peace)
Reader Praise for Portside (Julia Cato)
"Like a Duck" (Kristin Lems)
Revoke My Security Clearance, Too, Mr. President  (Retired Admiral  William H. McRaven)


New Data Explorer: Low-Wage Work in California (Center for Labor Research and Education, University of California, Berkeley)


M4BL Author's Talk with Charlene Carruthers - Webinar - August 22 (Movement for Black Lives)
Unite for Justice—Attend an August 26 Event! ( and ProChoice America)
Socialists and the 2018 Elections - CCDS Webinar - August 27



Re: Missouri Voters Overwhelmingly Reject ‘Right to Work’

(posting on Portside Labor)

Right to Work is a euphemism for Right to be Disposable. It’s a tool used by those who have deep contempt for those not in their “class” and who really believe that those lower class ones should serve them, and be grateful for whatever crumbs might come their way.

Roberta Histed
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Sheet yet!  --  cartoon by Mike Luckovich

Mike Luckovich
August 15, 2018
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Re: Trump, the Republican Party, and Westmoreland County

Having lived next door to Westmoreland county my entire life, I can attest to the accuracy of many of the points made by Margaret Powers.  With one exception.

In 60 years of watching elections around here, in 2016 I never saw so many signs supporting a political candidate on small businesses.  There were at least as many Trump signs on those businesses in Westmoremoreland as there were in residential yards.  This is unusual since businessmen ordinarily avoid broadcasting their political affiliations for fear of alienating some of their customers.  I believe the Republican resurgence in Westmoreland has been  led by these businessmen whose control over the local job market has increased with the departure of some many large companies.

I wish Ms. Powers had been more attentive in reporting the economic status of those she talked to.  The network coverage of the Lamb election -- and other elections around the country -- has been similarly unconscious of who they are talking to.  They treat family farmers and small business owners as part of blue collar support for Trump when in fact they never have been part of working class politically.  They have become the politically dominant class in rural areas throughout the country.

Robert Supansic


Re: Socialism and the Liberal Imagination

In the early 1960s I published an article in Studies on the Left entitled "Socialism, the Forbidden Word."

I was also lead counsel for the coalition of local unions and community groups (and our Republican congressman!) that tried to prevent US Steel from closing down and leaving in 1979-1980.

Thanks for your article  I think an important aspect of your subject is the degree to which Communists and socialists accepted John L. Lewis' ideas about trade unionism.

Staughton Lynd


" ... What were the responsibilities and mutual obligations of each in a world where no individual could be reasonably assumed to control their own fate?

What could governments do to mitigate the social costs of capitalist development—to tame a world of smoke, of sweated labor, of booms and busts and overcrowded tenements and epidemics of communicable disease?... "

Christopher Peragine
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: D.C. Transit Scraps Idea For Separate Train For ‘Unite The Right’ Marchers

(posting on Portside Labor)

Hell yes!! No separate metro trains or metro busses for the Nazi’s and KKK! They get to ride with the real DC folks. Myself included. Who aren’t taking to kindly to their visit.

Todd S Belafonte
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Scars of Hiroshima

Remember this when Trump starts ranting about we have more nukes ...

Philip Specht
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Why the Space Force Is Just Like Trump University

Captain Bone Spurs and his flunky wannabe space cadets. These jerks believe that there's a boogie man out in space who's just waiting to get us

Pete Herrera
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Trump likes saying “Space Force,” which is all the research that went into this dumb idea.

Dermot Cole
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This reminds one of President Reagan’s grand plan, dubbed Star Wars, and didn’t that go well as a cash stream for major defense corporations, with SFA practical to come out of it 

Mark Hayes
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It's something shiny and new to make us forget about the real issues

Carmen Sola
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Space Force Costs  --  cartoon by Robert Ariail

Robert Ariail
August 13, 2018


Re: US Military Ordered to Host Massive Immigrant Concentration Camps

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes it a right for anyone escaping persecution to seek asylum in other countries.

Article 31 of the 1951 Convention of Refugees makes it illegal for any state to punish any refugee (or asylee) for being on the soil of that country. The same convention guarantees the integrity of the family.

The 1967 Protocol on the Status of Refugees removes the temporal and geographic limitations from the 1967 convention, and was signed by the U.S. which commits the U.S. to the terms of both documents.

U.S. law states that an international treaty signed by the U.S. becomes the law of the land.

Think about that. . . prosecuting an asylee without adjudication of his or her asylum request is illegal!

Ron Ferguson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Dare to Dream of a World Without Borders

The author is no doubt well-meaning, but his utopian cosmopolitanism is not genuine internationalism. A borderless world is a reactionary idea, not a progressive idea. Nation-states are the locus of democracy. In a nation- state there is sufficient mutuality and solidarity, historically developed, that minorities agree to be bound by the decisions of majorities. Imperialism, not borders -- causes interstate wars.

Class exploitation and class injustice -- not borders -- are at the root of civil wars. Well-defined and agreed borders that correspond to national and economic realities contribute to peace. In Africa, the continent most victimized by imperialism, borders drawn arbitrarily by departing colonial powers seeking neocolonial advantage and not reflecting national and economic realities contribute to instability and strife.

Joseph Jamison


Re: More Asbestos! More Asbestos! More Asbestos!

I worked for five years as a paralegal for a law firm that represented people who contracted mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.  There can be a latency period of 20 years or more between the time of exposure and a diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is rare, but asbestosis is quite common.  Scientific proof of the dangers of exposure to asbestos has existed in the U.S. since the 1930s.  Actually, even the ancient Romans knew that exposure to asbestos caused lung problems.  There is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos.

Incidentally, the biggest mass exposure to asbestos in history occurred when the World Trade Towers came down on 9/11.  They were absolutely loaded with all kinds of asbestos.  After about two weeks, the EPA certified that it was safe for workers to return to lower Manhattan.  It was an absolute lie.  They just needed to reopen Wall Street, City Hall, and the rest of the financial district.  To this day, very few buildings in the affected area have been properly cleaned of asbestos fibers, which is a very expensive process.  The asbestos fibers are still in the overwhelming majority of circulation systems of buildings there, fibers too small to see with the naked eye, just waiting for someone to inhale them.

In solidarity,

Jonathan Nack
Cuenca, Ecuador


Did you ever know someone with mesothelioma? There will be many more people with it and other asbestos-caused disease and death due to asbestos-loving Trump. This is literally sickening.

Marilyn Albert
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Cancer and no healthcare!

Pat Heywood
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Make him breathe it in for a few years!!

Jim A Pearson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


He will next bring back lead based paint!!

Kevin Brogan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Back to the Dark Ages

Yolanda Molina Serrano
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


LOCK HIM UP. .in A room made from it.

Donald Goetz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


A short film about Boots Riley, the filmmaker of Sorry to Bother You

Take a ride through Oakland with Boots Riley, frontman of the politically-charged hip-hop group 'The Coup', as he reflects on his music, his future, and his relentless revolt against capitalism.

This is a short video about Boots' philosophy and politics made in 2016.  It aired on PBS KQED in San Francisco

Listen here.


Re: Toward a Progressive Political Economy in the Aftermath of Neoliberalism’s “Creative Destruction”

This kind of article would have been helpful 20 years, or more, ago in helping liberate the Left from infatuations with, shall we say, unscientific and dogmatic conceptions about economics. But now it seems mostly a "LONG way around Kelly's Barn" (a Vermont expression for an indeterminate walkabout) to avoid talking about socialism, and revolution. 

Speculations about how much reform of capitalist relations are optimal at any given historical time stand firmly planted in mid-air without a political force capable of restructuring US society no less profoundly than the abolition of slavery, or the overthrow of an imperial, colonial power. Plus -- the primary economic challenge such a force must master is precisely the challenge and subject matter of socialist economics: How to lead society toward ever greater equity *and* human potential through the expansion of pubic goods as abundance rises, and the retreat of commodities as scarcity in the requirements of life recede. in other words, more socialism, less commodity relations. 

Note, however, as Marx himself observed long ago, that the domain of "pure socialism" -- e.g. communism -- a society of ALL public goods --- rests on the foundation of abundance, and thus has NO economics at all, where the rewards and losses in the struggles of life are primarily reputation, and character, as Dr King dreamed.

John Case


Re: Arsène Tchakarian (1916–2018)

Thank you, companera. They fought the good fight. In today's world there is no countervailing force like the former Soviet Union to stop the fascist hordes. Forward....

Richard Lee Deaton
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


RIP,Thanks for your Service and Sacrifice against the Nazis...

Freddie Marichal
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


"...Arsène Tchakarian was the last surviving member of a Communist military unit in the French Resistance. Mainly Jews and immigrants, they risked everything to fight the Nazi occupation....."

George Lessard
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: The Campaign for One Democratic State

A two state solution became unfeasible long ago. The UU Church in Anaheim joined the Committee for a One-State Solution years ago, but was overcome by the UUJME that I think still supports a two state solution. You have my support and I could run a resolution of support through our Social Justice Committee and take if to the General Assembly if you wish. Do you already have a draft support resolution we could sign?

Roger Dittmann
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


While the article was interesting, I remain skeptical about the prospects for a single democratic state of all historic Palestine in the foreseeable future -- and the absence of the word "binational" in the article was striking. Portside readers might want to also take a look at this website, which proposes a sensible "free movement" version of the two-state settlement: 


Jason Schulman


Why is the Anti-Defamation League(ADL) training ICE in Israel?

For months, we’ve woken up to shocking stories of families ripped apart, detained, and deported. Longtime leaders in the battle for immigrant rights are pushing the clear and urgently-needed demand to #abolishice, and our chapters, rabbis and members across the country have been following that leadership into the streets. 

So it was truly upsetting this week when a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed one place where ICE has been learning techniques and tools: the Israeli military.

Say no to this dangerous collaboration now.

Three years ago former ICE Deputy Director, Peter Edge, joined a delegation to Israel where US & Israeli officials swapped notes on their shared and devastating goals. The group behind the trip was the Anti-Defamation League. 

The ADL has been speaking out against Trump’s family separation policies. So why are they helping ICE officials trade tips with the officials in charge of Israel’s apartheid security policies? 

The real-world results of these trips have been Israeli & US officials sharing “worst practices” -- deportation and detention, shoot-to-kill policies, massive spying and surveillance -- that have become the go-to policies of agencies like ICE.

Tell ADL to stop building connections between ICE and Israel.

We’ve gotten word from our Palestinian partners on the ground that the ADL took another delegation two weeks ago, as Israel was bombing Gaza. 

What is ICE learning from the militarized border imprisoning Gaza, where Israel meets kites with bombs and protesters face sniper rifles?

The ADL needs to stop this deadly exchange -- and there’s a chance they are starting to know it. In the past the ADL has tweeted daily from the trip, but this year they’re refusing to even comment on it. 

Let’s seize this opportunity and tell the ADL to stop colluding with ICE, and to once and for all end their deadly exchange programs.

Find out more!

Join us,

Stefanie Fox
Deputy Director, Jewish Voice for Peace

Jewish Voice for Peace
P.O. Box 589
Berkeley, CA 94701

phone: (510) 465–1777 


Reader Praise for Portside

It's interesting and pertinent articles. Things I don't always see elsewhere.

Julia Cato
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


"Like a Duck"

I wrote the song a month ago, hearing a Democratic senator say of the current admin, "If it walks like a duck...."

Kristin Lems

Listen here.

Words and music by Kristin Lems c 2018 all rights reserved.


Revoke My Security Clearance, Too, Mr. President

By William H. McRaven
August 16, 2018
Washington Post

William H. McRaven, a retired Navy admiral, was commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014. He oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Dear Mr. President:

Former CIA director John Brennan, whose security clearance you revoked on Wednesday, is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him.

Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.

Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs.

A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.

Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.

If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be.


New Data Explorer: Low-Wage Work in California

Click here

» View the interactive Data Explorer website
» Download the 5 Myths Infographic PDF
» Press Release

The Low-Wage Work in California Data Explorer offers an in-depth look at the people who make up California’s low-wage workforce and provides users with graphics, tables, research summaries, interactive visualizations, and downloadable data. The explorer provides a wide range of information on the state’s low-wage workforce, including demographics, job characteristics, industries, occupations, use of public assistance programs, and geography.

Wage inequality in California has increased dramatically since the late 1970s. Workers at the bottom and in the middle of the wage distribution have seen their earnings stagnate in real terms, after adjusting for inflation, while high-wage workers have seen their earnings rise sharply. Absent significant shifts in the policy or economic context, California’s low-wage jobs problem will likely continue, since official employment projections to 2024 do not show a substantial change to the state’s mix of jobs. The state’s minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $15 per hour by 2023, which should help raise pay for low-wage workers, but more work remains to be done.

This project was made possible with a grant from The California Wellness Foundation.    

Center for Labor Research and Education, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, University of California, Berkeley
2521 Channing Way #5555
Berkeley, CA 94720-5555 
TEL 510-642-0323 • FAX 510-642-6432


M4BL Author's Talk with Charlene Carruthers - Webinar - August 22

The M4BL Policy Table, along with BYP100 and Law for Black Lives, are excited to co-host a webinar to discuss the forthcoming book “Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements” by Charlene Carruthers. The webinar will be an interactive conversation about the book, the state of movement, history and the possibilities of Black Liberation. Participants in the webinar will receive a free copy of the first chapter of the book. We hope you can join us for an interactive discussion with Charlene on August 22nd at 7:00pm EST. 

Register for the webinar here and receive the first chapter of Unapologetic.

Charlene’s book Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements will be available August 28th.

Unapologetic provides a vision for how social justice movements can become sharper and more effective through principled struggle, healing justice, and leadership development. Drawing on Black intellectual and grassroots organizing traditions, including the Haitian Revolution, the US civil rights movement, and LGBTQ rights and feminist movements, Carruthers challenges all of us engaged in the social justice struggle to make the movement for Black liberation more radical, more queer, and more feminist. Unapologetic provides a clear framework for activists committed to building transformative power, encouraging young people to see themselves as visionaries and leaders.

Pre-order Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements

This event is co-sponsored by:

Movement for Black Lives


Unite for Justice—Attend an August 26 Event!

Click here

On August 26, all across the country, Americans will stand united in commitment to our freedom and our future to demand that the U.S. Senate stop Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for a lifelong appointment to the Supreme Court.

In Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump chose a nominee who not only has extremist, ultra-conservative legal views on a range of issues, but who has repeatedly argued that the Supreme Court should put the president above the law. Donald Trump is at the center of a criminal investigation, and he should not be allowed to pick his own judge and jury.

Kavanaugh would rule against reproductive freedom, health care, the environment, voting rights, workers’ rights, LGBTQ rights, and immigrant rights for generations.

Senators in all fifty states must listen to their constituents, do their jobs to uphold the will of the people, protect the soul of our country and Constitution, and block this nomination. United, we will fight to ensure Brett Kavanaugh never gets confirmed by the Senate. We will #StopKavanaugh. Join us.

If there's not an event near you, keep checking back or create an event at the link below.

Don't see an event you can attend?

Register an event in your area!




Socialists and the 2018 Elections - CCDS Webinar - August 27

Rashida Harbi Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Senate seats in play 2018

To build the progressive majority and advance towards socialism, the Left needs to defeat Trump and the far right, who are inflicting huge damage on the people and natural environment of this country and the world. The 2018 elections are a key opportunity to defeat Republicans and shift power towards progressives. What are socialist strategy and tactics for the upcoming elections? What have we learned from recent electoral successes and failures? How do socialists work to support progressives and also build the socialist movement? There will be two presentations followed by discussion.

Christine Riddiough, co-chair of the National Electoral Committee of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) will address topics such as: goals of election work, lessons from DSA electoral campaigns, strategy for November and DSA plans. Christine is also a member of the DSA national political committee and on the steering committee of DSA's Medicare for All campaign. She has been an activist in the women's and LGBTQ movements since 1970.

Max Elbaum, author and contributor to Organizing Upgrade website, looks at questions such as, how do we convert the energy we see in the streets to electoral power? How do we fight racism and defend immigrants while setting a strong class pole? Max is a historian, author and social activist. His book on the "new communist movement" of the 1970s and 80s, Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals turn to Lenin, Mao and Che, is highly-regarded and now a standard Left history of the period. He has worked on War Times/Tiempo de Guerras, a publication to fight the Bush administration response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Topic: CCDS webinar: Socialists and the 2018 elections

Time: Aug 27, 2018 9:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +19294362866,,822782133# or +16699006833,,822782133#

Or Telephone:
Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 929 436 2866 or +1 669 900 6833
Meeting ID: 822 782 133

International numbers available