Tidbits - May 17, 2018 - Reader Comments: Nakba-Jerusalem Embassy-Palestinian Reality; Public Worker Unions, Union Membership and Janus; Radical literature; food; Avengers; Tidbits Returns; Brown v. Board of Education; Resources and more...

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Tidbits Returns (Moderator)
Jerusalem Embassy - Cartoon by Rob Rogers
Why Are Palestinians Protesting in Gaza - Meme by Shaun King
Re: If 52 Americans protesters were gunned down? (Sharon Cabrera; Hal Woods)
Re: I Work with Mark Janus. Here’s How He Benefits from a Strong Union (Karen B. Holden; CSEA Capital Region 4; Ana M. Serrano-Reyes; Robert Bridger Adams)
Re: Debate: How Should Unions Deal With Free Riders? (David Westman; David Berger; Otto Landron; Mike Joyer; Wayne Isenbletter)
Re: To Bring Drug Prices Down, Trump Proposes -- Nothing, Really (Robert Edwards)
Re: 'We live as second-class citizens': What It's Like to Face Border Agents Every Day (Daniel Millstone)
Re: Albert Einstein and the FBI Treason File (Matthew Borenstein)
Re: Flint Residents Pay to Drink Polluted Water While Nestlé Pumps Great Lakes for Profit (Joe Grogan)
Re: Changing the South's Harsh Rules to Restore Voting Rights to Former Felons (Rob Mariner; David Skrypnyk)
Re: Amid Missiles and Bombs in Damascus (Stan Nadel; Greg McDonald)
Re: The Original Donald Trump (Vincent Johnson; John Hawk; MJ Stark)
Re: AI Mimics Brain Codes for Navigation (Selby Hickey)
Re: Radical Noir: 26 Activist Crime Novels (Joe Gannon; David Ecklein)
Re: African American Anti-Fascists in the Spanish Civil War (Ira Grupper)
Re: Modernist Cuisine's Next Tome Tackles Pizza (Mark Bittman)
Re: Post-Shawarma: On Avengers: Infinity War (Disraelly Gutierrez Jaime)


Watch This Palestinian-American Woman Crush Every Media Trope About the Gaza Protests (Sarah Lazare - In These Times)
SPECIAL ISSUE: Israel, the Nakba, and the Jewish National Fund (Moving Forward)

Today in History

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka - May 17, 1954
Resource -- The Promise: Brown v. Board of Education, The Civil Rights Movement, and Our Schools (Rethinking Schools)


Tidbits Returns

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Jerusalem Embassy - Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Trump is pretty much insuring that there will be no peace between Israelis and Palestinians ... ever.

Rob Rogers
May 15, 2018
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Why Are Palestinians Protesting in Gaza - Meme by Shaun King

Gaza is an open-air prison.

Shaun King
May 15, 2018
post on Facebook


Re: If 52 Americans protesters were gunned down?

Duh...they were forewarned that deadly force would be use....they made a choice....sadly the wrong one

Sharon Cabrera
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I'm not convinced that a warning justifies killing people...

Hal Woods
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: I Work with Mark Janus. Here’s How He Benefits from a Strong Union

(posting on Portside Labor)

Unions vary in effectiveness, as I know - I've belonged to one of the worst and one of the best. One union job had no fair share, which is what the Republicans in Janus drool for - the reason we had no fair share was, it was a Federal Agency and the was an overriding law prohibiting fair share (this was at one of the USPS Re-encoding Centers, now closed, unfortunately.) Yet, again by law, our union staff HAD to represent the non-union members who received the same wages, benefits, etc. that we did. It weakened our solidarity, which was otherwise very good, and it wasn't fair. I didn't hold it against the temps (I was also a temp) who didn't join, however, as some had no other income than the $9.50 an hour they were paid pat time - I had another full time union job elsewhere. It isn't right, however, and I hope the Supreme Court does the right thing.

Karen B. Holden


I think even Mark Janus has publicly acknowledged the benefits he has earned.

CSEA Capital Region 4
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I get so pissed by the people who reap the benefits but shrug the responsibility if union membership. Sometimes I feel that we should organize unions información tier levels. The bottom level get minimal benefits, with higher level getting more and more. F*ck freeloaders!

Ana M. Serrano-Reyes
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Back in the 90's the idea of "Right to Work" legislation was floated in Canada. But. only as an idea to be looked at and studied before being considered for adoption. We had the advantage of these laws having been around in the US for a long time. From looking at the US even conservatives in Canada saw it was an extremely bad idea and so was not adopted. It was agreed that Right to Work laws were Union Busting laws, and nothing more. A lot of the testimony came from US workers who had originally agreed with the legislation and not joined the union, but the benefit to them was short lived. Eventually the union was decertified and wages, benefits and rights were slashed. One of the main problems (after loss of compensation) was that without the union to fight for their rights (even those guaranteed by law) they would have to hire a lawyer. Lawyers would seldom take these cases as they knew the company would drag them out for decades.

Robert Bridger Adams
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Debate: How Should Unions Deal With Free Riders?

Unions should win the support of the people that they represent by standing up for their interests and supporting their struggles. If they do this consistently and without betrayal, they won't have to worry about "free riders".

David Westman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


If it were only that easy. I'm a union organizer, and if I had a buck for every time I've heard, "Well I agree with you in that, but I just don't like unions," I could compete with Jeff Bezos.

David Berger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Don't get me wrong, I like unions, and I think they are very important and necessary. But in the USA, union officials have been bribed by the big corporations that they have made contracts with containing automatic dues collection. The minute the threat of a strike looms, the company can threaten to end the dues checkoff, and the union bureaucrats will go all out to settle and make concessions and sell the company's terms to the membership in order to avoid the strike, and this way they betray the interests of the workers. The dues checkoff has become a tool to blackmail the union bureaucrats into being the company's tools, and the union members lose that way. If the bureaucrats were constantly faced with the need to justify themselves to the members so that they could get paid, they wouldn't be so eager to make concessions contracts and sell out the members.

David Westman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Sign a special clause that only union members will benefit from the negotiations , thereby impeding employers from increasing non-union members benefits to their levels. That will stop the free ride.

Otto Landron
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


People need to educate themselves where we came from and where were heading with the rights of corporations. Unions have parts that suck as do every organization but every move you make that weakens unions is going to really hurt your grandkids. Read about Francis Perkins work to end child labor, create 40 hr work weeks, breaks, overtime, read about the fight and death of the women of triangle park, coal minors. Read about workers rights in other countries like coal minors in China, it was like that here.
You are receiving a gift from people who fought the fight and have paid dues before you, don’t be selfish, you are not getting all these benefits just because you kiss your bosses butt, without unions they will disappear quickly. Pay your dues and help the next generation.

Please! Don’t be selfish.

Mike Joyer
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It's past time to Unite all the Unions in a show of strength.

Every card carrying Union member, from the wealthiest Hollywood star, pro Athlete, to the Cafeteria worker, Water treatment worker..

ALL UNION MEMBERS SIT DOWN FOR ONE DAY and send forth the message that it's time to give all workers raises, better benefits, and most of all, the RESPECT they deserve. Also, point out that we are willing to go the distance for all workers rights.

Wayne Isenbletter
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: To Bring Drug Prices Down, Trump Proposes -- Nothing, Really

Freaking idiot, the drug companies cannot raise the price of drugs in other countries. With a one payer system, the government itself buys the drugs for it’s people.

Robert Edwards
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: 'We live as second-class citizens': What It's Like to Face Border Agents Every Day

We are becoming used to these unending detentions. People are detained, harassed, assaulted by lawless, out of control "police." They throw their weight around to show vulnerable portions of our population who is boss. The more we tolerate this, the more we will, each and all, become targets of these storm troopers. Thanks to Sarah Macaraeg for this story (with excellent links) and to Portside for sending it along.

Daniel Millstone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Albert Einstein and the FBI Treason File

Einstein was a socialist = that was his "treason."

Matthew Borenstein


Re: Flint Residents Pay to Drink Polluted Water While Nestlé Pumps Great Lakes for Profit

Thanks for this important info which I am sharing with others who will be interested.  

Joe Grogan
Bolton, Ontario, Canada


Re: Changing the South's Harsh Rules to Restore Voting Rights to Former Felons

If we are to say that a person has "paid his/her debt to society" once released from confinement, that person should once again be afforded all rights as a citizen. Am I not correct? Is this not logical?

Rob Mariner
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Disenfranchisement seems cruel. If someone is a citizen, even residing in a prison, that citizen should have a vote.

David Skrypnyk
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Amid Missiles and Bombs in Damascus

Despite this attempt at covering his butt -- Defending Syria from foreign aggression and advocating the right of Syrians to choose their own future apparently makes one an “Assad apologist" Klein in fact does act here as an "Assad apologist" and he promotes the line of the Syrian fascist Baathist regime here.

Stan Nadel


I’m calling bullshit on the notion that opposing US bombing in Syria makes one an Assad apologist. Actually the shoe is usually on the other foot. Those of us who also oppose Assad as a war criminal are usually branded as supporters of head choppers. Speaking of shoes maybe morons like Klein need to learn how to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Greg McDonald


Re: The Original Donald Trump

Man majority of Americans hate Trump Republican or Democrat. Have you not realize he is the only president to have so many people working for him to resign. It's over and a lot of them trying to save their ass before Donald gets caught and imprisoned or just impeached.

Vincent Johnson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


“Like Cohn (a registered Democrat until he died) and Trump (an off-and-on Democrat for years), their enablers were not committed to any party or ideology. Their priority was raw personal power that could be leveraged for their own enrichment, privilege, and celebrity.”

John Hawk
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Pretty fascinating article. He hit most of the points I’ve read one time or another, tossed in lots more. I need to read it another time or two. And you know what? No one supporting him, high level or low, gives a damn. They admire his ruthlessness. I’m feeling a moment of ‘why even bother’ right now. The moral is, don’t read during happy hour!

MJ Stark
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: AI Mimics Brain Codes for Navigation

They found that “grid” cells promote "flexible navigation strategies”.
Set me wondering.

“Navigation” implies moving among obstacles in a context (an environment) to achieve a goal, the emphasis being on by-passing or safe passage.

In that sense, navigation isn’t about challenging the environment but moving things along among “givens”.

Art thinking on the other hand doesn’t accept the premise of “givens”.

Selby Hickey


Re: Radical Noir: 26 Activist Crime Novels

your column on radical detective fiction had sever must reads, one contemporary title left out was Night of the Jaguar, set in 1986 in Sandinista Nicaragua, Captain Ajax Montoya is a former hero of the revo, now a murder cop caught in the maelstrom of the Cold War while trying to solve a "simple" murder. US policy is the background to the novel. Forgive me for noting I am also the author.

Joe Gannon


In Radical Noir: 26 Activist Crime Novels, Molly Odintzhas assembled an interesting list of somewhat lesser-known examples of radical noir.  Perhaps she could have included the more recent Millennium Trilogy by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2005; The Girl Who Played with Fire in 2006; and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest in 2007).  It should also be noted that the elements of radical noir may be found at least as early as in Charles Dickens (Hard Times in 1854) and later in certain Steinbeck novels (Grapes of Wrath, In Dubious Battle, etc.) which are also better known and, like the Millennium Trilogy, have resulted in several film versions.

David Ecklein


Re: African American Anti-Fascists in the Spanish Civil War

Thank you, Portside, for Peter Carroll’s “African American Anti-Fascists in the Spanish Civil War”.

During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s I placed several Spanish Civil War books in various Freedom Libraries in Mississippi, including Steve Nelson’s “The Volunteers”.

This history, La Guerra Civil, must not be forgotten. No pasarán! (They shall not pass!).

Ira Grupper


Re: Modernist Cuisine's Next Tome Tackles Pizza

(posting on Portside Culture)

How is Modernist Pizza 'material of interest to people on the left?' It is, rather, material of interest to privileged obsessives; it doesn't differ much from offering information about a new (and in fact uninteresting) investment strategy.

Mark Bittman


Re: Post-Shawarma: On Avengers: Infinity War

(posting on Portside Culture)

Let me put it this way: There’s an extractive, exploitative relationship between the Avengers “team up” movies and the standalone single-hero stories, the same relationship we see between the Infinity Stone MacGuffins and the stories that the various Marvel movies have built around them. The Infinity Stones are the real story, the big picture, the driving force behind their master-narratives in the same way that capital always thinks it’s the “job creator.” But this is exactly backwards, in exactly the way extractive relations of exploitation tend to condition their beneficiaries to misunderstand what is happening: The Infinity Stones and the “team up” movies are spending the currency whose value was built out of the sweat and blood and human labor of the standalone movies. Infinity War is the moment when profits are extracted from the richness and depth of their stories, skimmed off and collected and sold: “Look, we killed Spider-Man, Black Panther, Bucky, Gamora, Loki!” they say; “Look how it makes you feel!”

Disraelly Gutierrez Jaime
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Watch This Palestinian-American Woman Crush Every Media Trope About the Gaza Protests

Noura Erakat delivers a much-needed corrective to dehumanizing U.S. media spin.

Activist, human rights lawyer and scholar Noura Erakat appears on CBS May 14. (Screen shot/CBS)
Watch video here.

By Sarah Lazare

May 15, 2018
In These Times (Web Only feature)

Since Palestinians in Gaza launched the Great Return March on March 30, Israel has killed at least 109 Palestinian protesters and wounded 12,300 others, according to Gaza's Health Ministry. Instead of probing the Israeli government and its U.S. backers about this mass atrocity, American media outlets are far-too-often implying that Palestinian protesters are responsible for their own deaths—falsely portraying the massacre, in which zero Israelis have died, as “clashes,” and painting Palestinian protesters as pawns of Hamas, rather than legitimate civil society activists.

Noura Erakat, a Palestinian-American human rights attorney, activist and assistant professor at George Mason University, tells In These Times that widespread dehumanization in the U.S. media stems from the fact that “we don't turn our gaze to Palestinians unless there’s something happening to Israelis or in regard to U.S. relations. Palestinians appear as shadows. This is a decades-long siege of Gaza, 50-year occupation and 70-year exile, and the only time Palestinians matter is when they're being killed or appearing as a threat to Israel.”

Erakat is in a position to know. Amid the constant stream of misinformation, she was featured on CBS on May 14 to give the “Palestinian” reaction to the ongoing protests in Gaza and the Trump administration’s inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. During the interview, Erakat was hit with nearly every trope about the conflict currently circulating in the U.S. media—and she crushed them on by one:

“They had me on their program and literally asked me about Hamas amid civil mass protests. On March 30 when at least 14 Palestinians were gunned down, Israel explicitly said it would not investigate itself nor allow for an international probe, meaning that they defend their lethal use of force. Six weeks later, when they escalated, the questions should be about Israel’s violation of international law. The fact that they asked me about Hamas shows that they are either willfully misleading their audience, or they just aren't doing the work. Both are horribly irresponsible.”

Tens of thousands of protesters in Gaza are calling for an end to Israel’s military siege, which has led to severe gas and water shortages, as well as economic devastation, for the roughly 2 million people living in the strip. Demonstrators are also demanding the right to return to the land Israel evicted them from 70 years ago during the mass-expulsion known to Palestinians as the “Nakba,” or catastrophe.

Amid these protests, Erakat says, American journalists are missing critical opportunities to ask hard questions. “Journalists should be asking Israel, ‘Do you think Palestinians are a people with the right to exist and to self-determination?' They should be asking Israel, ‘What is the problem with allowing Palestinian refugees to return?’ They should be asking U.S. senators why they are not enforcing the Arms Export Control Act, [which conditions arms exports on human rights standards].”

Instead, U.S. press coverage of these protests is so dismal that, according to Erakat, “By the time they bring me on, I'm having to serve as a corrective.”

[Sarah Lazare is web editor at In These Times. She comes from a background in independent journalism for publications including The Intercept, The Nation, and Tom Dispatch. She tweets at @sarahlazare.]


SPECIAL ISSUE: Israel, the Nakba, and the Jewish National Fund

Unearthing Truths: Israel, the Nakba, and the Jewish National Fund

This special issue of *Moving Forward*  commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the Arabic word for ‘catastrophe.’ The Nakba refers to the expulsion and dispossession of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland during Israel’s creation (1947-1949).

In this issue, the editors have assembled material that lays out the historical record of those years to show that the Nakba was the result of a deliberate policy of mass expulsion, dispossession, and ethnic cleansing—a strategy designed to ensure that the Palestinians who had lived on the land for generations would be barred from ever returning.

The issue also zeroes in on the fundamental role played by the 117-year-old international organization, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), in facilitating that dispossession.

Read Moving Forward here


Today in History - Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka - May 17, 1954

Brown v. Board of Ed is Decided
This Day in History - May 17

In a major civil rights victory, the U.S. Supreme Court hands down an unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruling that racial segregation in public educational facilities is unconstitutional. The historic decision, which brought an end to federal tolerance of racial segregation, specifically dealt with Linda Brown, a young African American girl who had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin.

In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that “separate but equal” accommodations in railroad cars conformed to the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. That ruling was used to justify segregating all public facilities, including elementary schools. However, in the case of Linda Brown, the white school she attempted to attend was far superior to her black alternative and miles closer to her home. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) took up Linda’s cause, and in 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka reached the Supreme Court. African American lawyer (and future Supreme Court justice) Thurgood Marshall led Brown’s legal team, and on May 17, 1954, the high court handed down its decision.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the nation’s highest court ruled that not only was the “separate but equal” doctrine unconstitutional in Linda’s case, it was unconstitutional in all cases because educational segregation stamped an inherent badge of inferiority on African American students. A year later, after hearing arguments on the implementation of their ruling, the Supreme Court published guidelines requiring public school systems to integrate “with all deliberate speed.”

The Brown v. Board of Education decision served to greatly motivate the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and ultimately led to the abolishment of racial segregation in all public facilities and accommodations.

The Promise: Brown v. Board of Education, The Civil Rights Movement, and Our Schools

Teaching Guide. Edited by Rethinking Schools. 2004.
Zinn Education Project
Analysis and teaching ideas on school desegregation.

This special expanded issue of Rethinking Schools magazine (Volume 18, No. 3 – Spring 2004) celebrates the courage and dedication of those who risked their lives to end the scourge of segregation, and examines where we still need to go to eliminate racial inequities in our schools and our society. Activists and scholars provide unique perspectives on the Brown decision. And classroom teachers offer teaching ideas, readings, and lessons on segregation and desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement.

Published by Rethinking Schools.

Source URL: https://portside.org/2018-05-17/tidbits-may-17-2018-reader-comments-nakba-jerusalem-embassy-palestinian-reality-public