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Tidbits – Aug. 3, 2023 – Reader Comments: Criminal Indictments; Eliminate Nuclear Weapons; Voting Rights and DC Statehood; Campaign for Democracy; Israel Reality; Message From a German Reader; John H. Bracey, Jr Memorial; Cartoons; More…

Reader Comments: Criminal Indictments; Eliminate Nuclear Weapons; Voting Rights and DC Statehood; Campaign for Democracy; Israel Reality; Message from a German Reader; John H. Bracey, Jr Memorial; Cartoons; more...

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Announcements AND cartoons - Aug. 3, 2023,Portside




Indictments  --  Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Rob Rogers
August 3, 2023

Go Directly to Jail  --  Meme


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We Lied  --  Cartoon by Nick Anderson


Nick Anderson
July 27, 2023
Pen Strokes

Re: Top Medical Journals Publish Unprecedented Joint Call for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons  

“Leading medical journals published a joint editorial late Tuesday calling on world leaders to take urgent steps to reduce the risk of nuclear war—and eliminate atomic weapons altogether—as the threat of a potentially civilization-ending conflict continues to grow.

The call was first issued in The Lancet, The BMJ, JAMA, International Nursing Review, and other top journals. Dozens of other journals are expected to publish the editorial in the coming days ahead of the 78th anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

Shreeram SK
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Myth of Progress in Voting Rights

Not to mention the thousands of citizens of the District of Columbia, from the beginning, not having a vote in Congress. Time to seriously discuss statehood.

Maxwell Shaw


Nowhere, whether in this article or most articles on voting right and voter suppression does anyone mention the tact that residents of Washington, CC (Colony of Colombia) has any Representative that can vote in the House nor any (even non-voting) Senator. In addition, despite the fact that they claim we have "Home Rule", everything we do is subject to Congressional approval or veto, including issues that have nothing to do with their own jurisdictions. The only resident of CC that has a "vote" here is one that has alternative housing elsewhere and votes there.

Despite our lack of any power in CC, we get blamed for not adequately protecting everyone else's representative. It reminds me of Israel saying that Palestine shouldn't have self-rule because it doesn't adequately protect the occupying country.

Arlene Halfon

Campaign for Democracy

California Governor, Gavin Newsom, has launched a campaign for democracy but, he leaves out what democracy is all about. We can't have democracy as long as poor people can't afford to get on the ballot. We can't have democracy if working class candidates can't afford to get their message out to the voters through government produced voter information guides. And, we can't have democracy if most candidates can't even get on the general election ballot because only two of the big moneyed candidates will be allowed on it.

Further, we can't have democracy as long as big money can buy elections by giving some candidates more speech than others. Money is not and should not be speech. We can't have democracy as long as people can't vote for their preferred candidate without the hope of winning. And we can't have democracy when sizable groups of people are not represented or not represented in proportion to the number of votes received. Those are just some of the problems.

Now, we need solutions. Let's take big money out of politics. Abolish the thousands of dollars poor people need just to file to run for office. Abolish the $25 a word just to inform voters what candidates stand for in the California Voters Information Guide and the thousands of dollars it costs for just one word in the county voter information guides. Let's encourage candidates to avoid asking big money for a handout by introducing and passing a clean money type of equal public funding for all ballot qualified candidates.

And let's put democracy in our voting system. Let's create multi-winner districts where each voter has one vote in order to allow constituency groups or parties to be represented in proportion to the number of votes received in a general election. That way, people will know that their votes count for winning candidates and constituencies will be represented. And fewer votes will be wasted. For example, in a ten-member district, if a party or independent candidate gets 10% of the vote that party or independent gets 10% of the seats, one, not none, from that district in the legislature, and if a party gets 50% of the vote in the district that party gets 50% of the seats or five, not all of them. . And fewer votes will be wasted. For example, in a ten-member district, if a party or independent candidate gets 10% of the vote that party or independent gets 10% of the seats, one, not none, from that district in the legislature, and if a party gets 50% of the vote in the district that party gets 50% of the seats or five, not all of them. In addition, let's save the taxpayers millions of dollars and just abolish the primary for all state races. Except for president, unless the primaries are used to allow each ballot qualified party to arrange a list of candidates for the general election, they're not really needed.

Now, these are some of the issues that a real campaign for democracy should be talking about. Let's organize and build real democracy.

C. T. Weber

Where the aliens at? Space migrants flee, cite high housing costs, global warming  --  Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz

Lalo Alcaraz
July 29, 2023

Re: 50 Years Older and Deeper in Debt  

reminds me of 16 Tons -- this article explains a bit about Brown v Board and the SCOTUS in the Nixon era .... a good historical perspective of what happened and then where we need to go

Jean Sanders
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: MLB Pays $185M To Settle Minor Leaguers’ Minimum Wage Lawsuit

(posting on Portside Labor)  

That’s crazy cause many players alone make that

Justin Rich
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Israel’s One-State Reality - It’s Time to Give Up on the Two-State Solution  


Paul Buhle
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: A Century After Its Founding, the Israeli Communist Party Is at a Crossroads  

Professor Beinin's deep dive into the history of Israeli communism is breathtakingly informative.  It is a window into the troubling history of the country and a study of what could not happen that explains what did happen

Jay Mazur


In the mid-1980s Tawfik Zayed and Felicia Langer were invited to come to the Bay Area as joint speakers at the annual banquet for the People's World.  I had the good fortune to be the driver for the two of them while they were here, and it was an unforgettable experience.  They laughed all the time and I was profoundly moved by their courage in struggling under such harsh repression.  Beinin's article gave me a better understanding of the history of the movement of which they were a part.  Thanks for posting it on Portside.

David Bacon

Frickin Greg Abbott  --  Cartoon by Clay Jones

Clay Jones
July 21, 2023
Daily Kos

Re: The Journey to Medicare’s 58th Anniversary  

The most successful U. S. health insurance program, Medicare, was enacted in July,1965, to provide health insurance for people ages 65 and older and the disabled regardless of income or medical history. Medicare is more efficient than private health insurance in every way.

Norm Littlejohn
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Gulf Stream Could Collapse As Early as 2025, Study Suggests  

The work of Tony Seba (RethinkX) shows that a solution is very possible, and will happen - but the political clout of the fossil fuel lobby may well mean it will be too late for millions of people.

Dan Morgan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Bats Now Use the Term  --  Meme

Re: The Life of a Progressive Activist: Emspak Book Details Labor Struggles in Difficult Times

(posting on Portside Labor)  

“There have been books by scholars and academics that have tried to record what has happened [in the labor movement] over the years. But very few from anyone who has actually lived through these times and has told his story as a lifelong labor organizer and progressive activist. That’s why a recent book by [Madisonian] Frank Emspak, Troublemaker: Saying No to Power, is so valuable.”

Norm Littlejohn
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Back for Season 2, ‘Dark Winds’ Is a Cop Drama Steeped in Navajo Culture

(posting on Portside Culture)  

So where can we watch it? I love the Hillerman novels

Amy Villarreal
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Yin and Yang - Polarisation in Politics - A Message from a German Reader of Portside  

Who should be convinced in the political area? Those whose opinions are the same like those of the discourser don’t need to be convinced. Those who firmly insist on the contrary you can’t convince. Remains the third part: Those who are open in their development and decision-making. In the western countries prevail the white-knight vs. the black-knight attitude: “We are completely right – the opponents are completely wrong.” But in complex political and social matters the old Chinese wisdom of Yin and Yang would be the better solution – the intertwining of polarizations. At least it is the better solution if one is interested to convince the undecided third part of any given audience. And in questions with small margins of majority it could even be a question of political wisdom to reflect: Have the other ones possibly important arguments too? Totally black or white in judgements make it easy for one’s own attitude – but rarely meets the reality. I’m trying to develop my positions with some examples – and not everybody will be amused. But – possibly – Yin and Yang will enjoy it a little bit…


Whose heart is not bleeding when seeing refugees on the flight because hunger, poorness or even war is driving them? How often are they stopped with brutal force at the borders and how many of them are killed on their journey, killed out of different ways. Are those who want to stop or at least reduce those millions on flight only heartless, egoist, right-wing-nationalists and so on? Sure: Many of those contras are really driven by that. But that is not the whole story. At least two groups have reasonable reasons too. 1) The big majority of refugees - when successfully reaching the new country – in what fields of economy and society do they settle then? They don’t become moderators, journalists, jurists, teachers, engineers and so on. Instead they settle in the big majority in those economic sectors where ordinary people with lower school-leaving qualifications have earned their money for daily life. And much more people in such economic sectors means: pressure on the wages. By the way: That is one reason why employers sometimes favour open borders. 2) In some Islamic countries it is a harsh risk for women not to wear the Hijab. When those endangered women fly from their country and find a new one – and that is the case very often in Europe – very understandably they don’t want to see totally open borders that are giving radical Islamists the possibility to hunt them again.

The better ways of solving the refugee-problem could be: a) Less wars – and stopping weapon-delivering by the western countries. b) Not using developing countries as resource-mine to be exploited. Moreover those countries don’t want charitable generosity – they want fair terms of trade. They want value chains at home!


In times of corona-pandemic it was a general pattern: The right-wing people and countries deny the fact of pandemic. And the liberal and lefties thought and acted this way: “When the right ones have one position in the pandemic times – then we have to say the contrary.” That was the wrong strategy: When the rights say 2 + 2 = 4 then the left-liberals shouldn’t say 2 + 2 = 5. Rather they should say: 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 8. Means: That part of the rights that is true must be surmounted by other arguments that the rights have neglected or denied. This strategy should be performed in all political issues. Now some points the liberal-lefts should have considered before simply taking the opposite side to all  what the righties said:

- “Habeas corpus” (You should decide what is done to your body.) Is one of the oldest human rights. In Germany the left-liberals tried to break this basic human law by trying to establish the compulsory vaccination – and failed only by a whisker. This way the AfD (right-wing party) won over from the ordinary people by fighting this left-liberal law-idea.

- In Africa the average vaccination-percentage is around 20% (in the western countries around 75%) But per 100.000 people in Africa died no more because of the pandemic than in the western countries. That the average age in Africa is lower than in the other ones explains only a little fraction of this fact.

- Vaccination-production was big big-business – and other medical-productions as well. Billionaires grew out of the soil of pandemic…

- According to UN: Hundreds of millions young people did no longer receive their – only – daily meal in schools because of the radical measures against Covid. How many of those pupils subsequently died because of hunger and weakness?

- People frightened by the governmental doomsday-speech regarding the pandemic acted like wished: They accepted even silly radical measures.

Neither denial of Covid nor hysterical accepting all what the left-liberal governments said and did was a good advice. Maybe the production of medication to help those people who suffered seriously by Covid would have been the better solution. But then we would have some billionaires less…


Traditionally the western politicians and media tend to demonize the opponents. Some selection of “new Hitlers”: Saddam Hussein, Assad, Gadhafi – now Putin. What is Russia doing really? It is acting like USA and other NATO-countries have done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria or Libya: Performing its own interests with brachial means. Forgotten are in the western NATO-countries:

- The breaking of the promise to Gorbachev not to go east when Gorbachev would give the order to withdraw the Russian military out of DDR, Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Baltic countries.

- Cuba-Crisis 1962: Then USA didn’t accept soviet atomic-missiles before their threshold. It was as clear that Russia wouldn’t accept NATO-atomic-missiles in Ukraine that could reach Moscow within 7 minutes.

There should be no one dominating power in the world – neither USA, nor China, nor Russia, nor… The world has to be multipolar. And negotiations in that direction are the only reasonable way. The alternative is atomic ash. Cease-fire at once in Ukraine! 80% of the world demands it – inclusive Pope Franciscus.


LGBTIQ and so on.

Minorities have to be protected, there is no doubt. And they have the full right to live their way of life. On the other hand more than 90% of common people don’t belong to these minorities. And there are elite powers that give ordinary people the impression that the values and the way of life of this majority counts less than that of those minorities. Often ordinary people feel depreciated by so-called elites. They are angry. And right-wing parties or populist politicians know to give them the impression they would be on their side. Much of the support for Trump – see the part below – has this source. And there is another point: Radical identity-thinking easily leads to forget that there are existing other structures and fights. For example the class-struggle…


In so many fields women have heavy disadvantages and sometimes even catastrophic life-conditions. Especially in the so-called developing countries. Some drastic points even in the western world: Very often women earn less, have less pensions, the violence-field and so on. The fight against such drastic points should be a common matter for men and women. And what about drastic negative points for males in the western countries? Are there some too? There are: The difference in life expectancy between academic women and academic men is not big – around 4 years. But the difference in life expectancy between academic women and men working in professions with very high physical stress is extreme – it is more than one decade. And to live a decade less is a disadvantage… And the widows for those early dying workers very often have to live alone and in loneliness.

Another point that is valid at least in Germany (presumably in other countries too): The chances for boys to receive good final results in schools are much lesser than those for girls.

Shouldn’t women and men work together to improve all heavy disadvantages? For both genders? And this from a long-time unionist: Whether workers get exploited by male CEOs or female CEOs – I give a damn.


Especially mined terrain, I know. But nevertheless…

In the past year In all parliamentary elections in traditionally democratic countries of Europe the same result: The right parties and right-populistic movements won. (Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Italy, Greece). The “Rassemblement National” is the strongest party in France – especially among blue-collar workers. In Germany the AfD is the second strongest party – and biggest again among blue-collar workers. And in USA nearly half of the population supports right-populistic Donald Trump…

It is easy to say: All people who support parties, movements or people mentioned above are fascists or proto-fascists or at least reactionary men and women. Surely there is a good portion of it that hits such a statement. But there is a big number of people among those groups who should be evaluated else. There are questions that have to be reflected by the lefties and the liberals:

- Isn’t there very often an arrogance among us against the values of the common people?

- isn’t it a fact too that people like Donald Trump speak the tongue of simple people? Whereas East-cost-intellectuals speak an abstract speech with incorporated contempt against simple people?

By the way: What big chances the USA missed by not electing Bernie Sanders as president. And his success has not been destroyed by Trump and the republicans. It has been destroyed by the corporate and Wall-Street democrats…

Climate change

In short words: Either the struggle for saving Earth (climate-issue and so on) and the struggle for social justice go hand in hand – or both of them will shipwreck. To demand from the poorer 80% of world-population: Climate has to be saved – costing whatever it is costing – can be practiced only by elites that don’t belong to the poorer 80%. To win over those big majority one has to ensure the daily life of those 80% too….

Back to the beginning: Do the left-liberals want to convince other left-liberals? Or do they want to win majorities by understanding that the others do not have only stupid or even criminal arguments?

Dieter Sauerwald
(German unionist and anti-war-activist since more than 50 years)

Prison Survival Tips  --  Cartoon by Mike Stanfill


Mike Stanfill
August 2, 2023
Raging Pencils

Symposium & Memorial Honoring the Life & Work of Professor John H. Bracey, Jr. - University of Massachusetts/Amherst - October 20-22