Tidbits - Reader Comments, Announcements - December 16, 2012
* Re: Questions I Ask Myself About Connecticut School Shooting
(Peter Belmont, Tanya)
* Thoughts on the morning-after the latest shooting (Fred
* We deplore killing - September 11th Families for Peaceful
Tomorrows - Turning Grief into Actions for Peace (Adele
* Re: The Racist Roots of 'Right-To-Work' Laws (Ruth
* Re: Under Tents: Statement on Forced Evictions (H. Berrien
* Re: Remembering Ella Baker (Ellen Cantarow, David
* Re: Go to Your Womb, Ross Douthat (Steven Martin)
* Coming Soon to a Hospital Near You (Carl Proper)
* New resource - Is the whole World going bankrupt? - The Rosa
* Re: Questions I Ask Myself About Connecticut School
Thanks to Juan Cole for excellently making the case for
gun- control (of assault weapons in private hands in the
USA) in the light of the massacre at Newtown CT.
I would urge an additional lesson.
Newtown was a "one-off" event to which Americans are
responding with appropriate and enormous kindly concern
for the psychological health of the children who
survived the event.
There are massacres that are not "one-off" but daily.
At the direction of our government in Washington, the
USA has been airplane-bombing, shooting, guided-missile-
bombing, and drone-bombing in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in
Yemen, in Pakistan and probably in a lot of other
places, for years and years, and there are children
there, too. Where is American concern for the
psychological health of those children?
Seemingly with the blessing of the government in
Washington, Israel has been bombing and shelling Gaza
relentlessly for many years -- to say nothing of the
blockade Israel has imposed, since 2006, even on food
and medicine entering Gaza -- and there are children
there, too. Where is American concern for Gazan
I think the tragedy in Newtown is an opportunity for
Americans of good will to think about the USA's policies
of making endless war and supporting Israel's endless
occupation of Palestinian and Syrian lands.
Apart from enraging the survivors and reliably making
new and vast generations of enemies for the USA, these
wars are very, very hard on the children.
And why don't people who profess to be progressive ever
question the use of drugs in the vast majority of these
Psychotropic drugs are handed out like candy despite the
fact they are known to cause homocidal/suicidal
behavior. These drugs have been involved in just about
every single mass shooting. There are lists of cases of
violent behavior after the use of these drugs. And it
is stated by drug corps to not give these drugs to
people under the age of 18.
So why do you sound like the NY Times ignoring some of
the most obvious root causes? Oh yes, Portside
supports allopathic drugs and the medical industry with
no analysis of the difference between health care and
* Thoughts on the morning-after the latest shooting:
'GREAT GREAT TRAGEDY'
The President's haggard, tear-stained face looks out at
the gathered reporters -- "This is a time of great great
tragedy for us all, and we must do our best to help the
children....hug our own children, of course, but help
the families of all the others who were killed as well
as those who were not killed but suffered the trauma."
"Today we will hear from two experts in child psychology
on the impact of "sudden death events" on children.
First. any questions?"
"Mr. President what do you or what do we say to the
families of the two boys killed yesterday while walking
in the streets of Afghanistan by a U.S. Drone?"
"What paper are you from?"
"A magazine, Mr. President, People's Conscience."
"Mr. President, what about the families of the more 2500
people, most of them innocent civilians, that the
DefeNse Department has admitted have been killed by US
drones in the past year?"
The President turns to his chief aide at his side: "Mac,
who let those people in here?" He Nods to security
guards who are already ,moving, with guns drawn, towards
the two last questioners,
* We deplore killing - September 11th Families for
Peaceful Tomorrows - Turning Grief into Actions for
We deplore killing, whether in war or in random acts of
violence. We are especially horrified when the victims
are children. For every parent who has a lost a son or
daughter, this pulls up that deep pain we carry within
us and once again our hearts are torn with helpless
grief. But this time it is not about us, it is about
those who are at this moment faced with the horror no
one on earth should ever have to face. There are no
words that can soften their grief, no expression of
sympathy that can relieve their pain. We can only renew
our determination to rid this country of the means to
inflict such devastation and adopt sensible laws to
control the weapons that continually wreak havoc on our
Reflections of Adele Welty who lost her son on 9/11.
* Re: The Racist Roots of 'Right-To-Work' Laws
Much earlier! That was the core of the post WWI open
shop campaign. Big steel and Elbert Gary in particular
spoke with the very same words used by Mitch Daniels and
other Indiana union-busters. When the attached piece
appeared in the local Gary paper, USS actually tried to
get me fired for "putting them right in the middle of
* Re: Under Tents: Statement on Forced Evictions
I am appalled at the inhumanity that the Haitian
government (with the obvious collusion of the
international "community") is demonstrating toward the
poorest and hardest hit of the earthquake refugees in
Haiti. As I understand it, they should be receiving
special protection under international law. Instead they
are being evicted from their "temporary" tent quarters,
with the consequent destruction of their meager property
and the total upheaval of their lives. Leaving aside
the fact that these disaster victims should have been
resettled long ago, the neglect of the government and
its international supporters have resorted to procedures
that violate the human rights and dignity of their own
citizens (albeit the poorest of them). While there is
no surprise that the poorest are the most ill-treated,
there seems to be little outcry from the decent people
of the world. This is especially disappointing when the
United States keeps it silence on what is happening in
Haiti and does little to deliver on its promises made in
the aftermath of the earthquake. Shame on US.
H. Berrien Zettler Columbus, GA
* Re: Remembering Ella Baker - Dec. 13, 1903 - Dec. 13,
I would just like to say that I wrote/edited a book
entitled MOVING THE MOUNTAIN: WOMEN WORKING FOR SOCIAL
CHANGE (Feminist Press/McGraw Hill) in 1981. The
interview with Ella Baker was suggested to me by Howard.
It is one of three oral histories. The quote below is
drawn from it: "You didn't see me on television," etc.
It would be nice to get some credit for the book, which
you do not list in your resources.
PS this book is still in print and sections of it have
been endlessly anthologized.
All honor to Ella, who fought for the grassroots. As a
very minor footnote, I was working with Ella as a very
humble office assistant - the only one she had at the
time - doing filing. For the life of me I don't know why
I was working with her at her mid-town office, at a time
when I was employed by War Resisters League. Maybe she
had a special need for help.
In any case, aside from remembering Ella's little
whiskey bottle in one of the desk drawers, I remember
the morning after the Chaney/Schwerner/Goodman murders
when Ella came in - I was already at work that day -and
said "I hate to say it, but nothing else will make you
folks move except this". By which - sadly and correctly
- she meant that the North would mourn a lynched black
youth but would go berserk over a lynched white youth.
A sad memory. She was a woman who merits all the credit
she has been given.
* Re: Go to Your Womb, Ross Douthat
I loved this piece. Douthat needs a few months as a
modern American mother.
* Coming Soon to a Hospital Near You
One of benefits of living in upper-middle-class towns
like Lexington, MA and Bethesda, MD is that you
sometimes overhear things you would not hear in, say,
Dorchester, MA or southwest DC. Here's an example:
At an after-church event in the Boston area, in early
2012, an acquaintance described to me a fantastic new
piece of medical equipment he was helping to develop - a
machine similar to an MRI, but which uses a targeted
beam of protons instead of the somewhat less precise
rays in an MRI. His point was that he and the other
developers of this room-sized machine, which will cost
hospitals -- and their "customers" -- in the ballpark of
$10 million (don't quote me on the number), could earn
$millions for themselves on the deal "if we could sell
just ten of these to hospitals."
In my view, the LAST thing our outrageously expensive
healthcare system needs is a new multi-million dollar
machine that makes a marginal improvement over an
already overused and expensive piece of equipment.
Far better, for example, to hire more nurse
practitioners to serve as primary care providers. The
technology they bring to the process is THEIR ABILITY TO
LISTEN TO PATIENTS AND FIND OUT WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON.
This could SAVE the healthcare system money, while
improving outcomes. But no entrepreneur would make
And here's a confirmation: we moved this Spring from
Massachusetts to Bethesda, MD and recently heard an
acquaintance HERE expound on how his son was going to
make $millions selling or setting up a fantastic new
proton-based MRI-type machine!
Obviously, this is the same machine my acquaintance in
Massachusetts had helped to develop, and unfortunately
for your health-care bill, it appears the long-shot
project is moving ahead.
In both towns, and in different ends of the med-tech
biz, the story was told to me as way for a few
individuals to make millions of dollars, with barely a
mention of any actual health outcomes.
* New resource - Is the whole World going bankrupt?
The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation has just published an
excellent pamphlet on government debt by Stephan
Kaufmann and Ingo Stützle, which is very useful for
immunizing people against the arguments for austerity
that are ubiquitous these days:
Is the whole World going bankrupt? Government debt: What
it is and how it functions. «luxemburg argumente»,
English version, December 2012.
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