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Annual Message from the Moderators of Portside to Our Readers

Portside
The fact is, the political climate has changed in the last year. There is a pendulum swing to the left. Social movements are resurgent, from Black Lives Matter to Climate Justice to Fight for 15. The Bernie Sanders campaign has even brought a socialist critique of capitalism to the national discussion. The service Portside provides is in greater demand than ever. We turn for you to help because as we grow, so do our financial needs.

Lax Regulatory Enforcement Leaves Thousands at Risk of Lead Poisoning in California

Daniel Ross
Truthout
California's regulatory agencies have repeatedly failed in their testing, enforcement and cleanup of various lead-contaminated sites in the state, an investigation by Truthout has revealed. The investigation comprised three separate sites in and around Los Angeles: the Quemetco lead-acid battery recycling facility in the city of Industry, the Jordan Downs housing project in Watts (a toxic cleanup site), and a former police department firing range in Pasadena.

For Undocumented Women Seeking Reproductive Healthcare, Policing and Politics Create a Maze of Barriers

Xatherin Gonzalez
Bitch Media Bitch Magazine
National discussion about access to reproductive healthcare remains a hot topic, like the most-recent campaign to defund Planned Parenthood based on a falsified video that is supposed to show that the organization is “selling baby parts.” High stakes and numerous hurdles that undocumented immigrants face to get basic care often remain out of the spotlight. there are literal borders set in place that prevent many immigrants from accessing federally funded clinics.

7 Ways Southerners Are Fighting Hate and Fear After Paris Terror Attacks

Allie Yee
The Institute for Southern Studies
While hostility to Syrian refugees has dominated the national debate, many local leaders — among them elected officials, community advocates and direct service providers — are sending a different message by calling for compassion instead of fear. Here are seven efforts underway across the South to support Syrian refugees and fight Islamophobia.

Full Disclosure Campaign: Toward Honest Commemoration of American War In Vietnam

Full Disclosure campaign of Veterans For Peace
Full Disclosure campaign of Veterans For Peace
When lies are propounded about the American war in Vietnam, they legitimize and justify present USA and future dangerous adventures and prevent us from escaping the dangerous “logic of war” as promoted by our rulers and media.

Employer Political Coercion: A Growing Threat

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez
The American Prospect
Managers and supervisors can now legally require their workers to participate in politics as a condition of employment. For instance, in most states, managers have the legal right to mandate worker attendance at a political rally for a favored candidate—and fire or punish workers who decline to participate.

Russians May Have a Strong Case in Turkish Shootdown

Charles J. Dunlap Jr.
The Hill
While President Obama is certainly correct in saying that "Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and its airspace," exactly how it may do so is more complicated than the president implies. In fact, the Russians may have strong legal arguments that any such right under international law was wrongly asserted in this instance.

How Humans Evolved Supersize Brains

Ferris Jabr
Quanta
Fossils established the Brain Boom as fact. But they tell us next to nothing about how and why the human brain grew so large so quickly. In the last eight years, however, scientists have started to answer the “how” of human brain expansion — that is, the question of how the supersizing happened on a cellular level and how human physiology reconfigured itself to accommodate a dramatically enlarged and energy-guzzling brain.

Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Mining Industry

Yves Engler
CounterPunch
Despite a long list of abuses by Canadian mining companies in Africa (and elsewhere) it’s incredibly difficult to hold them accountable domestically. The previous Stephen Harper government opposed legislation modeled on the U.S. Alien Torts Claims Act that would have allowed lawsuits against Canadian companies responsible for major human rights violations or ecological destruction abroad. Is Justin Trudeau prepared to defy Canada’s powerful mining industry?

Before Bernie Sanders: A 19th Century Populist’s Run for the Presidency

John Collins
In These Times
Though the People's Party lost, Weaver managed to win 5 states (Kansas, Colorado, Nevada, Idaho and North Dakota) and 22 electoral votes—the most electoral votes won by a third party since the Civil War. The impressive third-party turnout illustrated the bipartisan frustration of the period and the extent to which Populist rhetoric resonated with voters at the time.

When Workers Fight: NUHW Wins Battle with Kaiser

Cal Winslow
Beyond Chron
The victory of the therapists, counselors, and social workers at Kaiser Permanente in California is a landmark, in healthcare and above all in mental healthcare. The bottom line: these workers have won patient care ratios, they’ve won the right to advocate for patients, and they won these in a context of a nationwide drive to cut costs and press productivity in an industry awash in cash.

Red, Reich and Blue: Building the World of ‘The Man in the High Castle’

JEREMY EGNER
New York Times
This new series on Amazon imagines a world in which the Axis powers triumphed in World War II and carved up America into three zones: the Greater Nazi Reich in the East and Midwest, ruled from New York; the Japanese Pacific States, ruled from San Francisco; and a derelict neutral zone splitting them, running roughly along the Rocky Mountains.

Chicago’s Police Problem

Simon Balto
History News Network
It should shock no one that the odds are even longer if you’re not white, and awful if you’re black. Black Chicagoans lodged 61 percent of the complaints that comprise the CPDP data and white Chicagoans only about 20 percent. Twenty-five percent of the charges deemed sustainable were leveled by black people;58 percent were brought by whites.

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