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Tidbits - September 5, 2013

Reader Comments: NBC Nightly News Report - Grassroots Opposition to Military Action Against Syria; AFL-CIO and ILWU; March on Washington; 40th anniversary of Chile coup; Announcements: No one should die for fashion - Sept 6-New York; Veterans For Peace Speak Out-New York-Sept 9; #femfuture Retreat-Oct. 20 - 22 - Rhinebeck, NY - Scholarships Available; Sept 21st: Draw the Line against Keystone XL; Chilean posters-1970-73 Exhibit-New York-Sept. 23; STOP WARS - Yard sign

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From the television show M*A*S*H, about the Korean War, but expressing anti-war sentiment to the war in Vietnam, Slap Back The Bully (Citizen Soldiers For Social Progress)'s shared Radar O'Reilly's Teddy Bear

NBC Nightly News Report on the Grassroots Opposition to Military Action Against Syria

The NBC Nightly News report on the grassroots opposition to military action against Syria

It was their lead story....shots from members town hall meetings, congressional offices getting calls, etc., etc.

This needs more public exposure.

It was their lead story....shots from members town hall meetings, congressional offices getting calls, etc., etc.

This needs more public exposure.

Michael Eisenscher

Re: Say No to War in Syria

US hands are far from clean.  Have we forgotten Napalm and Agent Orange?  Does Obama really believe that he is going to stop Assad with a 1-3 day military strike?  Or is just trying to save face from his ridiculous "red line" statement?  Or is being pressured from bored and itchy Generals who are dying to have a war again - something destructive to use their incredible weaponry again?  The Middle East is no longer Bedouins running around the desert on camels.  They are sophisticated countries, although religious non-democracies.  It is utterly foolish to believe that this military strike will solve any problems, other than Obama's and US ego.

Absolutely NO to military intervention in Syria.

Claire Carsman

Re: Authorization for the Use of Military Force

Here is the main effective text of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force that President Obama has requested from Congress: (Full text)

"The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in the conflict in Syria in order to --

(1) prevent or deter the use or proliferation (including the transfer to terrorist groups or other state or non-state actors) within, to or from Syria, of any weapons of mass destruction, including chemical or biological weapons or components of or materials used in such weapons;

or (2) protect the United States and its allies and partners against the threat posed by such weapons."

Despite what Secretaries Kerry and Hagel have been saying about the request being limited, the text is incredibly broad. It does not just address Syrian use of chemical weapons, or retaliation for the same. It authorizes without end date or geographical limit action "to prevent or deter" "use or proliferation" "within, to or from Syria" of "any weapons of mass destruction" (chemical and biological weapons are named but nuclear are not excluded); or to "protect the United States and its allies and partners against the threat of the use of such weapons." All of this is notionally limited by the phrase "in connection with the use of ... weapons of mass destruction in the conflict in Syria," but nothing is specified about the nature of such a "connection."

We have been down this road before. The language that the G. W. Bush administration used from the AUMF Against Terrorists in Sept 2001 was similarly vague and broadened to justify the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan, as well as various practically unlimited geographical extensions, and violations of international law such as extraordinary renditions. The 2002 AUMF Against Iraq was nominally framed in terms of enforcing U.N. resolutions and protecting the national security of the United States, but was used to justify a war of choice and aggression to conquer Iraq and overthrow its government.

This proposed AUMF does not say "protect the U.S. and its allies and partners" against the actual use of Ws of MD. It is enough that there should be a perceived "threat" to justify military action. This AUMF could be used, for example, to claim that Iran backs Assad's government ("connected" to Syrian conflict) and its nuclear program "threatens" the U.S., or Israel, or Turkey, or Saudi Arabia, and to assert that any president from here onward "already" has authorization to attack Iran, as long as "the Syrian conflict" persists.

Secretary Kerry has repeatedly said that the purpose of the attacks will be to send a message to "other" countries than Syria against the use of Ws of MD.

Chris Lowe

Re: Longshore Union Quits the AFL-CIO
(posted on Labor Portside)

Cager Clabaugh's expression of frustration at the lack of solidarity demonstrated by IBEW and Operating Engineers' members recalls the disaffiliation of the United Electrical Workers from the CIO in 1948 and the subsequent rash of CIO expulsions over political correctness.  

As George Bernard Shaw noted long ago, for some unionists trade unions represent no more than "capitalism of the working class;" and, as a result, those unionists -- with their raids against other unions and their cozying up to the bosses -- work to enrich themselves and their organizations by weakening their fellow workers.  

It's bad enough that our corporate-saturated media and other institutions mis-educate the people; it's truly sad that many union leaders -- like the leaders of the financial services industry -- have learned nothing from history or, worse, just don't care.

Jim Young
Harrisburg, PA  

Re: Obama at the Lincoln Memorial: Right Direction, Missed Opportunities

Isaiah, that is what I had hope for also the president would have done, propose some meaningful legislation and new directions for his cabinet to improve the country maybe we will have to wait for Hillary

Chuck Hicks


I think he was reluctant to "politicize" the event too much, since I think several members of the King family don't agree with some of his policies and may even be Republicans or at least conservatives on some issues.  He was their guest.  

Anise Jenkins

Re: Bay Area Chilean diaspora commemorates the 40 anniversary of 9/11

In Scotland we are commemorating Chilean 9/11 in a similar way and marking also the welcome, support and solidarity Chileans who arrived here experienced.

Liz Elkind
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Nautica - No one should die for fashion - Sept. 6 - New York

sponsored by United Students Against Sweatshops

Fashion Week in NYC is a celebration of the year's hottest looks. But exploitation is not a good look for Nautica. United Students Against Sweatshops and the International Labor Rights Forum will host a press conference and demonstration to dangerous conditions faced by people who make VF/Nautica clothing in Bangladesh.

In April, 1,132 workers were killed in a factory collapse in Bangladesh, and there are still hundreds of factories on the brink of disaster. Nautica's parent company, VF Corporation, needs to sign onto the legally-binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh rather than hiding behind weak, corporate-led plans that will not do enough to fix the garment industry's problems and save lives. Until then, we will turn up the heat on VF/Nautica.

Featured speakers will include Kalpona Akter, head of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, and Sara Ziff, a fashion model who has worked for Nautica.

Friday, Sept. 6 - 1:30 - 2:30pm

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, New York 10023

Veterans For Peace Speak Out - New York - Sept. 9


Monday, September 9, 2013, 7:00 PM

Goddard Riverside Community Center
593 Columbus Avenue (88th St.), Manhattan

A panel of 3 members of Veterans for Peace metro NY chapter 34:

  • Bill Gilson chapter president, US Navy, Korean War era, "The Permanent War Economy--How Did We Get Here?"
  • Susan Schnall, US Navy nurse, Vietnam War, "Agent Orange--Going Forward."
  • Thomas Fasy, M.D.,Veterans for Peace activist, "The evolving health crises in Iraq"

free!         open to the public      refreshments!   

#femfuture Retreat - October 20 - 22 - Rhinebeck, NY - Scholarships Available

Apply here!

Deadline for submissions is September 18th.

Applications are now open for our #femfuture retreat at Omega Institute! Apply, tell your friends, and please help get the word out. The deadline to submit is Sept 18th.

The #femfuture Retreat will be a two-day convening hosted by the Omega Women's Leadership Center that serves as both a quiet retreat for rest and self-care, and a space for reflection, creative engagement, storytelling and leadership growth. Room and board are included.

The retreat is provided for 20 individuals, and will consist of workshops and safe spaces for sharing and listening, and opportunities to connect and heal with other individuals working in online justice activism and media-making, including a day-long workshop facilitated by Adrienne Maree Brown.

Where: Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Rhinebeck, NY Who: 20 online (and offline) feminist activists When: Sunday, October 20th - Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Who can apply?

This retreat is for those working in both offline and online communities within the feminist movement(s). If you take part in online activism but your work is primarily on-the-ground grassroots organizing, you can still apply! Women of color, LGBT*Q applicants, and people with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.

I live pretty far from New York. Can I still apply?

We will provide travel scholarships amounting up to $500 each for attendees, so strongly encourage those from outside of the state to apply!

What is the selection process?

A selection committee of experts in social justice, social work & self care will choose 20 individuals whom they believe would best benefit from the program. They are:

  • Joanne Smith, Founder & Executive Director, Girls for Gender Equity
  • Selena Sermeno, Ambassadorial Chair, Bartos Institute, United World College
  • Nicole Clark, Social Worker and Reproductive Justice Activist

Please do not contact anyone from the selection committee directly regarding the retreat, or your application will be discounted.

More information at.

September 21st: Draw the Line against Keystone XL

The President may be trying to delay his inevitable Keystone XL decision - but our resistance isn't going anywhere.

We're sending that message at a sit-in at TransCanada Headquarters in Houston on September 16th. But you don't have to travel to Houston to build pressure on President Obama.

Our friends at  are organizing a nationwide day of action on September 21st: "Draw the Line" events will urge President Obama to protect our communities from climate change by rejecting Keystone XL.

As one of the more than 75,000 people who have signed the Pledge of Resistance, this is a great opportunity to show the President our commitment to opposing Keystone XL - all across the country.

There are two ways you can get involved:

Attend a Draw the Line event near you.

And bring this sign, to show that you're willing to cross the line of risking arrest if necessary to protest approval of Keystone XL.

Host your own Pledge of Resistance "Draw The Line" event. If there isn't already an event near you, this is an easy way to stand with activists across the country, and send the message to the President that more than 75,000 people have pledged to risk arrest if necessary to stop Keystone XL. Your event can be simple - just bring some Pledge of Resistance signs, and maybe a copy of the pledge of resistance to your local farmers market, busy street corner or community meeting place. If you put "Pledge of Resistance" in your event title, we'll recruit for your event by inviting others in your community to join you.

From a solar-powered barn going up in the pipeline route in Nebraska, to a tug of war between the fossil fuel industry and the climate movement in Boston, to a swimming party in a park in Jacksonville that might be underwater in the not-too-distant future -- there are all kinds of creative, beautiful and fun Draw the Line actions being planned to send the message to President Obama that there is no turning back -- to keep his climate promises, he has to stop Keystone XL and the tar sands.

To get involved: Find your local event, host your own "Pledge of Resistance" draw the line event, and bring this sign with you.
Thanks for helping send the message to President Obama that we're drawing the line against Keystone XL - whether or not he's ready to do it himself.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Opening of exhibit of Chilean posters (1970-73) at the Taller Latino, New York - Monday Sept. 23  6-8pm

STOP WARS - Yard sign

As we head for yet another war, you might be interested in what two of our Founding Members have done to express their opinion.  Dr. Paul and Sally Van Slambrouck have installed our STOP WARS sign in their front yard, which happens to be directly across from the National Guard Armory in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan.  They report: "The sign is holding up well.  No negative comments, but several positive ones."

Today another supporter ordered the same sign.  That inspired me to bring it to your attention.  The STOP WARS yard sign can be ordered at.

Since 2005, the Foundation has directed a nationwide effort to recognize peace leadership by publishing the US Peace Registry, awarding an annual Peace Prize, and planning for the US Peace Memorial in Washington, DC.  These projects help move the U.S. toward a culture of peace as we honor the millions of thoughtful and courageous Americans who have taken a public stand against one or more U.S. wars or who have devoted their time, energy, and other resources to finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts.  We celebrate these role models in hopes of inspiring other Americans to speak out against war and for peace.

Michael D. Knox, PhD, Chair
US Peace Memorial Foundation, Inc.