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Tidbits - Aug. 23, 2018 - Reader Comments: Guilty Please, Convictions, Top Stinks; Electoral Tactics; Puerto Rico; Space Force; Catholic Church Sex; Dakota Access Charges Dropped; Announcements; and more...

Reader Comments: Guilty Please, Convictions, Rotten at the Top; Electoral Tactics; Puerto Rico - Readers Disagree with Portside Post; Space Force?; Catholic Church Sex Scandal; Dakota Access Charges Dropped; Strikes; Announcements; and more...

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Announcements and Shorts - Aug. 23, 2018,Portside

Only the Best Witches - New York Times editorial
But My Lawyer Says - Advice from Rudolph Giuliani
Robert Mueller Plea Deal Hotline
Re: Journalists Are Not the Enemy (EJ Pigeau; Wayne Gravelle; Marc Major; Leonard J. Lehrman)
Re: How Did Socialists Respond to the Advent of Fascism? - What Should Be an Electoral Strategy for the United States in 21st Century? (Carl Davidson)
Re: The 52 state strategy: The case of Puerto Rico (Judith Berkan; Peter Berkowitz)
Re: Trump’s Space Force: Resurrecting the Perilous Plan to Militarize Space (Philip Specht; Caroline Specht; Jeffrey Glogiewicz; Maria Loizou; Luanne Brooten; Meg Farrell; Gordon Galland)
Re: Elizabeth Warren Proposes a Second New Deal (Maria Brown; Craig Carl; Gary Bono)
Re: It's Time for #MeToo in the Catholic Church (Kerry Pollard; Violet Young; Domingo Soto)
Re: The FMCS Must Be Happy: The U.S. Private Sector Strike Rate is Declining (Robert Ovetz)
Re: Review: Labor and the Class Idea in the U.S. and Canada (Deborah Bumgardner)
Charges Dropped Against Chase Iron Eyes 

It Happened Before - Let's Make It So Again


Human Rights Awards Dinner- Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression - September 22
War Resisters League's 95th Anniversary Celebration - New York - October 11



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Only the Best Witches - New York Times editorial

"For a witch hunt, Mr. Mueller’s investigation has already bagged a remarkable number of witches. Only the best witches, you might say." -New York Times editorial

August 21, 2018
New York Times

But My Lawyer Says - Advice from Rudolph Giuliani

Meme posted on Facebook by John J. O'Grady

Robert Mueller Plea Deal Hotline

Re: Journalists Are Not the Enemy

Attacking a free press, is a step on an attack on democracy!EJ Pigeau Attacking a free press, is a step on an attack on democracy!

EJ Pigeau

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This is the road Hitler followed.

Wayne Gravelle

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Not just Hitler, but every tyrant of the last two thousand years.

Marc Major

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Almost but not quite every State is represented.

Where are Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oregon and South Carolina?

Leonard J. Lehrman

Re: How Did Socialists Respond to the Advent of Fascism? - What Should Be an Electoral Strategy for the United States in 21st Century?

Query to John Ridell, and others as well.

?Your third option, ‘a united front to bring working people to power,’ would seem to require an instrument with the electoral capacity to do so. If that would mean something other than a faction/cluster/coalition expanding its strength under the Democratic tent and running on its ballot line, I don’t see it anywhere on our political horizon. 

I can see a relatively small number of DSA and a few independent socialists elected at various levels, plus expanding the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the closest thing we have to a social-democratic bloc, to perhaps 100 seats. And I can see the prospect of making the GOP into a large minority party in both Houses of Congress. 

And since the Trump forces in the GOP are one key breeding ground for our fascist danger, this effort to set them back seems a worthy tactic. But I don’t see it fighting neatly into any of your three options. What are your thoughts? 

It seems to me that we might learn what we can from all three, but we’ll have to come up with something new. We don’t have unlimited time or resources

Carl Davidson

Re: The 52 state strategy: The case of Puerto Rico

As a resident of Puerto Rico for over four decades and a human rights anti-colonialist activist and attorney, I was surprised and distressed to read the article by Rebecca Buckwater-Poza regarding the “fifty-two state strategy” for Puerto Rico, a strategy supposedly designed to “expand democracy.”

The lack of self-determination cannot be remedied by complete absorption into the colonial power.  The issue here is not whether the U.S. response to the devastation caused by last year’s hurricanes was horrible (it was) or whether at least some of the way we were treated can be traced to the racist regime currently occupying the U.S. capitol (it can).  To understand and address both the economic and the climatological devastation in Puerto Rico, one has to understand the nature of colonialism.

From my vantage (and not that of a “mainlander,” itself a colonial monicker), it is unthinkable to consider statehood a “moral” or “obvious” alternative, as the author blindly posits. Statehood would be the culmination of the immoral and illegal colonialism which has devastated this country for centuries, the last 120 years of which have been under United States rule.

The U.S. invaded Puerto Rico in 1898 acquiring it as war booty resulting from the “Spanish American War” as world hegemony was passing from Spain to the United States.  The local population was irrelevant in that equation. 

The invasion was followed by military rule and the systematic destruction of highly developed local institutions under the guise of providing the “natives” with the civilization they lacked.  The court system was dismantled; the schools switched over to the English language (which lasted as the primarily language of instruction for some 50 years); the federal court  established by military order; the insular police force deputized to support U.S. interests on the island.

Over more than a century of U.S. rule, the economy of Puerto Rico has responded not to local needs but rather those which line the pockets of our outside rulers and capital investors.  When sugar was king, the stateside sugar interests exploited the land.  When light industry suited the needs of capital, the island was dotted with labor-intensive apparel industries, with Puerto Ricans displaced from the countryside to work in sweatshops. Then came petrochemicals, followed by capital-intensive tax haven pharmaceuticals and electronic plants.  Now, we are being besieged by those wishing to convert the island into a playboy’s paradise, with displacement of the local population and the rise of the bitcoin crypto entrepreneurs.

Yes, the colonial situation is unfair, as the author posits, but the solution she proposes could come only the place where the ethnocentric colonial mentality obscures reality.  It is the height of arrogance to think that U.S.-based constructs of fair representation (give us two Senators and five Representatives) or civil rights (treat us like the true American citizens we supposedly are) will ameliorate the situation. This is not a civil rights issue; it is the breaking point for survival.  Statehood would be the negation of the legitimate aspiration of an entire population.  It would be the suppression of all that makes Puerto Rico the incredible place it is.  In the context of colonial domination, culture must be affirmed, not subsumed. 

To think that statehood is a viable option is to ignore history completely.  What makes the author think that the United States would welcome with open arms two “territories” whose black and brown residents tend to be more liberal than the US population as a whole, and one of which is Spanish-dominant and is not even contiguous to the U.S. land mass?  And, by the way, the “97%” pro-statehood figure mentioned in the article comes from the latest of our non-binding cosmetic polling exercises (I can’t bring myself to call it a “plebiscite”) in which barely 23% of the voting public participated, the remaining 77% staying at home rather than engaging in the farce.  

Despite propaganda to the contrary, combined with centuries of repression and the constant litany extolling the virtues of the United States and the paucity of good coming from anything Puerto Rica, the people still have not embraced the total subjugation which statehood represents.

Sitting here while we still recover from the devastating storms, with thousands of homes still covered with tarps, fighting against massive school closings by an imported Betsy Devos-cloned Education Secretary, with pensions being cut, the University being decimated, and the electric power authority on the brink of privatization, statehood is not where progressives turn to for solutions.  We don’t need to become more like the United States. We need sustainable energy, not tied to U.S.-based fossil fuel interests. We need our own initiatives, with solidarity, not imposition from afar, especially from the progressive community in the States

The pollyanish vision proposed by the author reflects a tortuous understanding of the problem. It is not an issue of those bad Trumpians and the good democrats who will free us from this nasty “discrimination.” After all, it was President Obama who imposed the “Fiscal Control Board” of PROMESA on us, in one of the few bipartisan moves of his eight years in power  Colonialism is pernicious and its effects are as devastating as those hurricanes we occasionally experience and which will undoubtedly be more frequent in the future.  

Right now, our elected local government has virtually no powers, as we are being ruled directly by a seven-member Board appointed by the U.S. and representing the interest of the very financial sector which got us into the debt crisis we now face. Our fates are being determined by this Junta, which refuses to audit the “odious” debt, and by a federal court judge from New York.  And statehood would make this better?  

Puerto Rico is not just another football in the electoral politics game in the States.  We deserve better.

Judith Berkan


The answer to the century old colonial exploitation of Puerto Rico is not assimilation but decolonization and independence.  International law requires that imperial powers like the US free their colonies, not gobble  them up.  The statistics in the article alleging a population favoring assimilation are the result of over a century of economic destruction imposed by the US to serve it's economic needs, and the imprisonment or murder of Puerto Rican anticolonial opponents combined with the COINTEL program of the FBI that targeted pro-independence groups.

Proposing to impose statehood on Puerto Rico is the culmination of colonialism and should not be supported by any progressive person.

Peter Berkowitz

San Juan, PR

Re: Trump’s Space Force: Resurrecting the Perilous Plan to Militarize Space

Donald Trump’s Space Force would spur an “arms race in space,” and violate the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, signed by the US, Russia, China, and 120 other nations, that designates space as a global commons to be used solely for peaceful purposes.

Philip Specht

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Wait! America First, remember? ... What these protagonists don’t seem to realize, as everyone of the other singers of the convention do, is that the first fractious encounter will produce a prodigious amount of shrapnel-like debris, disabling or outright destroying all manner of communications, GPS, timekeeping, surveillance, imaging and other satellites, effectively crippling our own, as well as practically everyone else’s military, not to speak of commercial air transport service and shipping, GPS-enabled services such as agriculture, surveying, weather prediction, etc. ad nauseam - good work, Drumpf - plenty of clear thinking and insight on your part ...

Caroline Specht

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Who feeds him these dark ideas?

Jeffrey Glogiewicz

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


just continuing to break every international agreement that we have signed....

Maria Loizou

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Despicable, deplorable, unrealistic, power hungry, wrong for America in yet another way.

Luanne Brooten

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Space Force: The worst idea for use of military funding of the worst president ever.

Meg Farrell

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


“All together now, kids:

Oh, I wanna live a life of danger,

I wanna be a Spaaace Ranger!”

Please note that when a satellite is blown up, its fragments become projectiles orbiting at nearly 8km/s.

Kessler Syndrome, anyone?

Gordon Galland

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Elizabeth Warren Proposes a Second New Deal

It is crucial to note who was NOT included in this health care- notability African Americans (and others of color) and farm workers before noting it as a model we should follow.

Maria Brown


I remember when workers were stakeholders instead of human resources.

Craig Carl

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


"Maximizing shareholder value" is good for the looting of a company by parasites!

Gary Bono

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: It's Time for #MeToo in the Catholic Church

Here's a thought instead of children coming forward how about teaching responsibility and accountability to your priests. If I am a man having sex with a child. I know its wrong. As the adult I'm the one who needs to come forward and accept responsibility for the works of my hands. Putting the responsibility on the victim is obscene...

Kerry Pollard

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Good message, hope they adhere !!!

Violet Young

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It's also true that the Catholic Church must strip itself of its believe that their existence is a devine one, that as many fanatics believe, that their church is endowed with "God's MULTIFORM and KNOWLEDGE" and that it will reveal it in heaven. Why? Because the church errs and knowingly lies and misleads about having such endowments. It is my believe that through what's in the Universe such "God" has already revealed itself. Likewise, the church should not empower their representatives with the false that they're untouchable by human justice, law and punishment for their "holy" crimes or wrong doing.

Domingo Soto

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The FMCS Must Be Happy: The U.S. Private Sector Strike Rate is Declining

(posting on Portside Labor)

We all know this but what no one seems to realize is that credible strike threats are on the rise and far greater than strikes.

Here is my letter published by the BLS

Robert Ovetz

Re: Review: Labor and the Class Idea in the U.S. and Canada

(posting on Portside Labor)

And they have

Deborah Bumgardner

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Charges Dropped Against Chase Iron Eyes

Thanks to your kind and generous support, and the incredible, dogged work of the Lakota People’s Law Project legal team, we have all won a great victory! Immediately after we filed another 160 pages of hard-hitting evidence on the necessity defense, the North Dakota prosecutors dropped all serious charges against me. I am no longer facing six years in prison, a long separation from my wife and children, and the loss of my law license. Together, we have climbed this mountain!

My arrest for alleged criminal trespass and felony incitement of a riot has been reduced to a minor, Class B misdemeanor of disorderly conduct. As long as I go 360 days without violating any criminal law, even this will be expunged from my record. 

As you know, it is legally impossible for me and other Native people to trespass on treaty land. I never started a riot. I and the other water protectors are not terrorists. You and I and the US veterans who stood with us to protect Mother Earth are the true patriots. 

With these charges behind me, I am looking forward to working with my colleague Madonna Thunder Hawk—who stands ready to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline at her home on the Cheyenne River Reservation—and my fellow Standing Rock tribal member Phyllis Young, who is leading our charge to bring renewable energy to Standing Rock as part of our #GreenTheRez campaign.

In the coming months, Lakota People’s Law Project Chief Counsel Daniel Sheehan and the entire team will continue to strategically confront the fossil fuel industry and their destructive agenda, which threatens our water, our planet, and the entire human family. We will make full use of all of the evidence, affidavits, depositions, and testimony you helped us collect as part of this case, which is now permanently protected as part of the public record.

Wopila Tanka—My humble and warmest gratitude for making this victory possible. 

Chase Iron Eyes

Lead Counsel

Lakota People's Law Project

P.S. My heart is immeasurably lifted knowing that your support has given me the opportunity to remain with my family and continue defending the sovereignty of the Oceti Sakowin. Please continue to stand with the Lakota People’s Law Project in our sacred journey as we bring clean energy to Standing Rock, challenge Keystone XL, and safeguard the First Amendment, Native rights, and Unci Maka. Let’s keep the circle strong. There is nothing we can’t accomplish together.

Lakota People's Law Project

547 South 7th #149

Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

It Happened Before - Let's Make It So Again

credit: New York Times


Human Rights Awards Dinner- Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression - September 22

The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression is proud to present Dr. MaryLouise Patterson as the keynote speaker at our 2018 Human Rights Awards Dinner. Please join us on:

Saturday, September 22 


Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church

600 East 35th Street (corner of 35th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue) 

Dinner is at 5:30, and the Program is at 7:00.

This year’s theme, “CPAC Now! Standing on Their Shoulders: Woods-Wyatt-Durham,” honors the memory of outstanding Alliance leaders Sylvia Woods, Josephine Wyatt, and Clarice Durham. Their spirit continues to guide our work to win CPAC, the Civilian Police Accountability Council. CPAC will be an elected body that will determine police policy and practices, with the power to hire and fire officers.  

The fight for CPAC is part of the larger fight against racist and political repression. It is connected to the struggles for immigrant rights, the right to organize and strike without facing police violence, the fight against violence against women and the LGBT community, and the fight to defend and extend democracy.

Dr. Patterson demonstrates this interconnectedness of the people’s movements in her own life and work.. In addition to practicing medicine, she has a Master of Public Health degree and works to get medical care in underserved schools; and she is a part of many civil rights, social justice and peace movements. Her parents, William L. Patterson and Louise Thompson Patterson, were leaders of the Civil Rights Congress, a predecessor of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Her family’s close friendship with Langston Hughes is chronicled in the book Letters from Langston: From the Harlem Renaissance to the Red Scare and Beyond, which Dr. Patterson co-edited. 

This year’s Charlene Mitchell Human Rights Awards honorees are Bertha Escamilla, Katie Jordan, and Jamie Kalven. Charlene Mitchell was the founding Executive Director of the Alliance and the leader of the original United National Committees to Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners.

Bertha Escamilla represents the mothers and families of those who have endured decades of abuse and torture at the hands of the police and the criminal justice system. Her own son has been released, but she continues the fight for others. She pursues the torture cops relentlessly and will not stop until all the survivors are free and the cops receive justice.

Katie Jordan was the first African American tailor fitter at Lytton’s Department Store in Chicago. A member of the Workers United union for over 52 years, she has served as shop steward, and as her local’s Secretary, Vice President, and President.  She is currently President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), Chicago Chapter, and has served on their National Affirmative Action Committee.

Jamie Kalven has reported extensively on patterns of police abuse and impunity in Chicago. His 2015 article “Sixteen Shots” first brought the police shooting of Laquan McDonald to public attention. His lawsuit, Kalven v. Chicago, won the ruling that the public has the right to see documents relating to allegations of police misconduct.

We are sure that you will want to hear Dr. Patterson and join in honoring Bertha Escamilla, Katie Jordan, and Jamie Kalven. Please use the attached form to order tickets and place your greeting (or a greeting from your church, union, or community group) in the program book.

Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression

1325 S. Wabash Avenue

Suite 105

Chicago, IL 60605

(312) 939-2750

Proclaim your support for the Alliance with an ad in the program book! Deadline is Friday, September 7. Tickets and program book info: (312) 939-2750

Send ads and greetings to:

War Resisters League's 95th Anniversary Celebration - New York - October 11

Thursday, October 11 at 6 PM


87 Lafayette Street

New York, New York 10013

While it's bittersweet to celebrate 95 years of resisting war, we're excited to gather as a community to rejuvenate ourselves for the long struggle ahead. This October we're taking the opportunity to celebrate WRL's history of resistance and continued commitment to ending war and its root causes while honoring a few of the individuals who carry on the kind of revolutionary work that promises to one day make us all free. We're proud to announce that we'll be awarding Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone woman and sacral site land activist, Corinna Gould, and The Peace Poets, a Bronx-born collective of artists that celebrate, examine, and advocate for life through music and poetry with WRL's 2018 Peace Award. We're also thrilled to announce that lifetime movement activist, Mandy Carter, will be accepting the Grace Paley Lifetime Achievement Award.

This is a ticketed event, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Follow the link for tickets to learn more and how to access discounted tickets.

DCTV is accessible by subway at the J, Z, N, Q, R, 6 Canal St stop in Chinatown in lower Manhattan.

For ticket information click here.