Skip to main content

Tidbits – Feb. 2, 2023 – Reader Comments: Tyre Nichols Murder; Ilhan Omar; Rent Control; Climate Disaster; David Crosby; Making Sense of the Ukraine War and Confusion on the Left; Medical Debt; Reconstruction; Antisemitism;

Reader Comments: Tyre Nichols Murder; Ilhan Omar; Rent Control; Climate Disaster; David Crosby; Making Sense of the Ukraine War and confusion on the Left; Medical Debt; Reconstruction; Antisemitism; More Announcements; Cartoons;

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Announcements AND cartoons - Feb 2, 2023,Portside



If you like this article, please sign up for Snapshot, Portside's daily summary.

(One summary e-mail a day, you can change anytime, and Portside is always free.)


Re: Making Sense of the Ukraine War (Francisco Gonzalez; Geoffrey Jacques)



Re: The Constitution Has a 155-Year-Old Answer to the Debt Ceiling

There are many solutions to the phony debt ceiling crisis now touted by the misbegotten GOP. Here, via Portside,… Eric Foner, always worth reading, suggests one. But any of them would do (Me? I love minting trillion dollar coin$. ). What, politically we need to do, is to stop being hobbled by this mythical beast. 

Daniel Millstone

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Hateful protection  --  cartoon by Mike Luckovich

Mike Luckovich

January 26, 2023

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Two Americas  --  cartoon by Michael de Adder

Michael de Adder

January 28, 2023

Notorious Memphis Crime Gang Arrested  --  David G. Brown cartoon

David G. Brown

January 30, 2023


Re: Tax the Wealthy 75% and Do It Now

Wrong. The rates were raised that high because the government was pumping large sums of new dollars into the economy to manage the Depression and WWII. All those extra dollars were threatening inflation partially because few consumer goods were available to purchase due to the war effort. High taxes and “War Bonds” siphoned those extra dollars out of the economy and kept inflation at a manageable level. So, it wasn’t high taxes that created the middle class, it was high deficit spending that created full employment, plus the GI Bill, that greatly increase the number of college educated Americans.

Max Mastellone

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: German Tanks Against Russia? A Historic Mistake

We hesitate to send more military equipment to avoid "escalating" the conflict and then wait until the conflict has, again, escalated before we send more military equipment.

It is as if our goal is to let the conflict continue to get out of control before we try to prevent it from getting out of control.

John Aldis

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: When Ilhan Omar Asks Questions, Her Colleagues Should Listen

I must convey to Congresswoman Omar how proud I am of her, her principles, her contributions to Congress, and her commitment to justice. 

Velva Spriggs


My letter to "my" congressman, Jimmy Gómez, in response to Mariam Barghouti's excellent article:

Subject field: Israeli blood on your hands

Body of my letter: 

As long as you continue to give our tax money, against our wishes, to their fascist apartheid government, not only is the blood of any Palestinian they kill on your hands but so is that of any Israeli that Palestinians kill in the frustration and wrath that you have generated. John F. Kennedy warned us that "Those who make nonviolent revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable."

You work for ending homelessness in your c.d. while you pay Israel to cause it there. You work to end violence here while you pay the Israeli military and the illegal settlers to carry it out over there. You work to stop repression against peaceful protest elsewhere in the world while you make sure that any Palestinian peaceful protest is punished by horrific violence.

Please read the following article as soon as you can. I will be awaiting your response and I won't accept a form letter about wanting a peaceful solution while ignoring my point about the violence you are causing in the meantime.

Carolfrances Likins

Re: What Should Rent Control Accomplish?

In Wisconsin, as in many states, local rent control has been banned by the state legislature. Just coincidentally, the Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly is a fairly notorious landlord.

“People like Mike Leyba have spent years working to make it possible for rent control to return to Boston.

“Always an expensive city to live, Boston has become one of the costliest places in the country in the years since rent control was banned statewide in the mid-1990s. Advocates like Leyba, the co-executive director of the social justice group City Life/Vida Urbana, have worked to build momentum at both the state and local levels for overturning the ban and reinstating a policy they say is urgently needed amid a roiling crisis of displacement and unaffordability.”

Norm Littlejohn

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: A Media Ceiling Is About To Fall In on Democrats

Ban paid political advertising on radio and TV the same way cigarette advertising is banned, and for the same reasons -- it's poisonous.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: ‘Massive Climate Disaster’: Groups Demand Biden Reverse Course on Willow Project

“… The Biden administration's Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday published an environmental assessment that recommends partial approval of a major drilling project on Alaska's North Slope, prompting a flurry of calls for the Interior Department to reject the plan outright and prevent any additional fossil fuel extraction in the region.

"Greenlighting the Willow project would banish President Biden's climate legacy to one of irreparable and downright shameful environmental destruction," said Raena Garcia, fossil fuels and lands campaigner for Friends of the Earth. "Big Oil's exploitation of the rapidly warming Arctic has already thrust local communities onto the frontlines of the climate crisis, jeopardizing public health and polluting critical ecosystems."

Kristen Miller, executive director of Alaska Wilderness League, implored Biden to "reverse course on this massive climate disaster."…”

George Lessard

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This country is run by oligarchs. Also, the US government has sided with capitalists against their own working class people.

Jennifer Watson

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Letting the Cat Out of the Bag  -- from the United Automobile Worker, October 1937

Re: What the Media Forgot About David Crosby

I appreciate this. As an early fan of the Byrds, I could sense Crosby's demons through their expression as braggadocio, rants, addictions. But yes, that unreconstructed Sixties radicalism was there. And we're all better off for it.

Peter Gilmore

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Accurate Description  --  cartoon by Mike Luckovich

Mike Luckovich

January 31, 2023
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Re: Making Sense of the Ukraine War

(posting on Portside Culture)

Ukraine is fighting for its survival as a nation against a fascist, corrupt dictator bent on recreating the old Russian empire. This is the truth, and anyone defending Russia's war of aggression is a co-conspirator and a war criminal too.

"It is distressing to see leaders of one of the most prominent antiwar organizations in the United States, in effect, upholding Putin’s left flank, offering up hollow condemnations of the Kremlin while using its propaganda to badly misinform the public about the nature of a war that has already shaken the global capitalist system and has the potential to end human civilization."

Francisco Gonzalez

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This review is valuable for its cogent exposition of one new and important problem that the Russia-Ukraine war has revealed, and that is the way this war has sowed confusion within the left, especially (but not exclusively) in the United States. 

People that, in the name of left wing values, were anti-Soviet and anticommunist during the years of Bolshevik governance in Russia, have found a new fondness for Russia's first modern imperialist leader, a fondness they express through the use of historic left wing language. These people have joined with others, some of them veterans of the Communist movement, who seem to think nostalgia for the USSR is an appropriate analytical tool for generating an understanding of this war.

While writer Eric Draitser describes this problem well, he only offers some preliminary thoughts regarding its origins, which, in my view, are rooted in a decades-long disorientation of the left that we've lived with since the dissolution of the USSR and the end of Bolshevism as an international political force. 

Most of this review is a detailed and thorough analysis of the current government of the Russian Federation, of Federation President Vladimir Putin's publicly stated reasons for going to war, and of the struggle of the people of Ukraine for their national existence. He exposes the disconnection between the fables that Russia's supporters tell themselves and the rest of us about the war's origins, and what real (rather than selective) history says.

One symptom of the problem here is the emergence of a left wing version of the focus on Great Power political rivalries as an analytical tool. As it does in the hands of liberals and other pro-imperialists, the left wing version of Great Power Politics-style analysis erases the histories and aspirations of peoples in small countries, and of oppressed nationalities. Finally, this type of analysis has the virtue, if you want to call it that, of erasing the class struggle itself from its historical and political cosmology. However, as Draitser points out: "Our job is not to cosplay as Little Kissingers studying the global chessboard and basing our political views on the positioning of non-Western pieces. Instead, our responsibility is to discern what is real and to defend and propagate that truth in the service of internationalism and liberation from capitalist and imperialist oppression."

This review is a challenge to the emergence of a pro-Russian imperialist Neo-Realpolitik on the left that finds itself opposed to the Ukrainian people, who are on the front lines of the anti-imperialist struggle in Europe, and with whom we ought to be expressing our solidarity and support in the face of Putin's effort to restore the Russian Empire of the Czars in the 21st century.

Geoffrey Jacques

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Past is Prologue: How Lessons From the Reconstruction Era Can Help Us Build  - February 8 (D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice and Zinn Education Project)

Virtual BLM at School event. Michelle Coles, author of "Black Was the Ink", to discuss the parallels between the Reconstruction Era & today.

Wednesday, February 8 -- 7:00 - 8L00 PM EST

Reserve a spot

Join D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice for a virtual event in support of the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. Mimi Eisen, co-author of Erasing the Black Freedom Struggle: How State Standards Fail to Teach the Truth About Reconstruction, will be in conversation with Michelle Coles, author of Black Was the Ink, to discuss the parallels between the Reconstruction Era and today. What can we learn from the past? Further, what do current school districts’ standards reveal about the present-day failures to accurately teach Reconstruction? Participants will have time to collaborate, share resources, and reflect on their own Reconstruction teaching and learning experiences. Attendees will be entered into a raffle to receive a copy of Erasing the Black Freedom Struggle or a picture or YA book connected to the 13 guiding principles for Black Lives Matter at School.

Michelle Coles is an award-winning young adult novelist, former civil rights attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, and public speaker. Her goal in writing is to empower young people by educating them about history and giving them the tools to shape their own destiny. Her debut novel, Black Was the Ink, the first young adult historical fiction about the Reconstruction Era, won the 2022 Grateful American Book Prize, a 2022 Skipping Stones Award, and the 2019 New Visions Award Honor. Learn more at

Mimi Eisen is a program manager at the Zinn Education Project. Originally from Philadelphia, she holds a BA in history from Cornell University and an MA in American history from Brown University, with a secondary focus in digital public humanities. Eisen specializes in civil rights, law, and citizenship in late nineteenth-century America. She has taught high school-level U.S. history and developed educational content across eras and mediums. Her work is grounded in the idea that the past is far more than a treasury of facts: it is contested, collective, and instructive of the perils and possibilities of the moment.

Reserve a spot 

Teaching for Change

PO Box 73038

Washington, DC 20056

EndMedicalDebt Virtual Campaign Forum - February 9 (Labor Religion Coalition of New York State and Long Island Progressive Coalition)

New York’s non-profit hospitals sued over 53,000 patients between 2015 and 2020. Hospitals are required to offer financial assistance but instead they take patients to court even though these non-profit hospitals get over $1 billion in tax support each year.

There is a growing campaign in New York to #EndMedicalDebt by growing the power of patients and passing laws to protect us from predatory hospital billing.

Join this community forum to learn more about the crisis of medical debt and how we can win changes that protect patients and improve health care access for all New Yorkers.

Click here to join the forum

Hosted by Citizen Action of New York, Community Service Society, Labor Religion Coalition, Long Island Progressive Coalition, Make the Road, NYS Poor People’s Campaign, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), Statewide Senior Action, Syracuse United Neighbors, Syracuse Democratic Socialists of America, Citizen Action of New York, and the End Medical Debt campaign coalition.

Labor Religion Coalition of New York State

Long Island Progressive Coalition

FILM SCREENING: "REPAIRING THE WORLD" - Charlottesville - February 9 (Charlottesville Clergy Collective, Congregation Beth Israel, Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church, and Not In Our Town)

Saturday. FEB. 11, from 5 to 8 p.m., at Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church at 105 Lankford Ave., Charlottesville

Register here

"Repairing the World: Stories from the Tree of Life" documents Pittsburgh's powerful community response to hate in the aftermath of the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history. Through survivors, family members, Pittsburgh residents and leaders, the film shows unity in a moment of crisis, the resilience of a vibrant city, and a community working together to be "stronger than hate."

Talk afterward with filmmaker Patrice O'Neill.

Not In Out Town, the Charlottesville Clergy CollectiveCongregation Beth Israel, and Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church are sponsoring a free screening of “Repairing the World: Stories from the Tree of Life,” a documentary on Pittsburgh’s response to hate and antisemitism. Download flier.

After the screening, there will be a time of discussion and exploration about how we can respond to hate and antisemitism here in Charlottesville. 

Light refreshments will be served. 

Repairing the World: Stories from The Tree of Life is a new film and community engagement project from Not In Our Town about standing up to hate.

365 Days of War in Ukraine: Prospects Towards Peace in 2023 - February 24 (Peace in Ukraine Coalition (USA); Movement de la Paix (France); Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK); Transform! Europe)

Date - Friday - Feb 24, 2023

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm (Central European Time)


One year after the beginning of the Ukraine war – the International Peace Bureau in cooperation with the Peace in Ukraine Coalition (USA), Movement de la Paix (France), CND (UK) and Transform! Europe will hold an international webinar to bring together different voices from different countries to discuss a lasting peace in Ukraine and our way towards it.

Introductory words will be given by Michael von der Schulenburg, a former UN/OSCE diplomat; who lately participated in the development of the Vatican peace plan. 

Afterwards both Ukrainian and Russian activists will share their perspectives on the ongoing situation, including Oleg Bodrov (Public Council of the Gulf of Finland), Karyna Radchenko (100 Words for Peace) and Yurii Sheliazhenko (Ukrainian Pacifist Movement).

A roundtable discussion by different peace activists – including Corazon Valdez Fabros (IPB Co-President), Reiner Braun, Lindsey German, Alain Rouy (Movement de la Paix) and Kate Hudson (CND) as moderator – on a lasting ceasefire and negotiations will close the webinar.


Visit their webpages: Peace in Ukraine Coalition (USA) / Movement de la Paix (France) / Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK) / Transform! Europe

Symposium on the Legacy and Contemporary Relevance of Stanley Aronowitz's Intellectual Contributions - New York - March 3 (Institute for the Radical Imagination)

National Day of Action to Stop Dirty Banks - March 21 (Third Act)

We are building a community of Americans over the age of sixty determined to change the world for the better. Together, we use our life experience, skills, and resources to build a better tomorrow.

Over the past year, thousands of you have taken the Banking on Our Future pledge to close your accounts, cut up your credit cards, and boycott Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, and Wells Fargo if they don’t move their investments out of fossil fuels. On 3.21.23, we gather to show the strength of our movement!

You don’t need to be a cardholder or a Third Actor to participate––we need people of all ages, races, and means to make visible the connection between cash and carbon. Bring your friends, energy, and creativity!

Find an event on the map below or submit your own.

Third Act has spent much of the last year collecting Banking on our Future pledges from thousands and thousands of people across America: pledges to move our money out of the big, dirty fossil-fueled banks – Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, and Wells Fargo – if they don’t move their investments out of fossil fuels.

And we’ve learned more about how important this is: new data makes it clear that these banks are using your money to fund the climate crisis in a big way. If you have $62,500 in one of these banks, that amount loaned for pipelines, frack wells, coal, and oil exploration produces more carbon than all the driving, cooking, heating, cooling, and flying an average American will do in 6 months. In other words, your bank may well be the largest part of your carbon footprint.

Together with partners and with all of you, we’ll be collecting thousands more pledges to cut up our credit cards or close bank accounts, and we’ll deliver them in person to bank branches and headquarters in February. It’s an important step, but no one expects that pledges to move our money will be enough to change the policies of these behemoths. Chase alone has 75 million credit card customers, and over the last months has been moving backwards—not forward—in its climate commitments.


We need to go beyond individual action and start making climate finance a dinner table issue. So on March 21 (3.21.23) we’ll have a nationwide Day of Action. It’s got to be broad and beautiful and deep in people’s minds and hearts.

Here’s how we hope it looks: Groups organizing to cut-up credit cards (symbolically or actually) in as many iconic places as we can imagine. (Maybe underwater on a dying coral reef, if you have diving skills, or against the backdrop of a fire-scarred forest, or alongside the remaining damage from Hurricane Ian). We also need lots of people outside and inside bank branches, especially out in suburbs across the country. Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo and Bank of America have picked 30,000 of the highest-traffic locations in the country for their offices and we want to make sure a wide sampling of them are visited that day.

If there are ten of these bank branches in the neighborhoods near you, get a band of people to move from one to the next all day: the more we get out the message, the easier the next phase will be. So start thinking: where can we go to make a difference? What can we do that will get noticed? How can we make people understand the crucial link between these banks and the climate crisis?

You do not need to be a cardholder or account-holder to participate, and if you are, you do not yet have to have figured out how to make the switch. We know this takes time and involves many personal decisions. (Here are some materials to help making the switch easier.) So even if you haven’t finished the switch it doesn’t matter. We’ve known all along we’re not going to solve this one person at a time. The point of the Banking on our Future pledge and this Day of Action – and of the actions that will follow – is to collectively make some noise, raise the visibility of the dirty banks’ role in climate destruction, and grow our movement for climate justice and solutions.

You also do not have to be a Third Actor to participate. All kinds of great partners are collaborating to make the day as much of a success as we can. We need people of all ages, races, and means to participate and send a strong message to the banks: if you don’t move money out of fossil fuels, we will move our money out of your banks.

What we do on 3.21.23 will drive the next stages in this work. Next, we will need to start pressing state and city treasurers, businesses, university administrators, and many others to figure out new banking arrangements. Those people and institutions have the power, because of the size and visibility of their accounts, to push even harder, and already we’re hearing good responses from some of them: vast companies like Salesforce, and important officials like New York City’s Treasurer have said out loud that they’re going to put pressure on financial institutions. But that’s just a start: we need to show the way. We need to make visible this invisible connection between cash and carbon. That’s what this Day of Action is about.

Third Act Working Groups have lots of ideas and plans already. But you don’t need a formal Working Group to be involved. If you can round up a few friends, you can stage an action. We’ll help with materials, with connections, and with ideas to make sure that the local media pays attention. Coming soon, we will have a map showing planned actions and a form where you can submit your action or sign-up to join one in your area.

Here’s how to get started. First, sign-up below to indicate your interest in getting involved with the Day of Action and we will send you updates on hosting or joining an event, taking actions at banks, and more. Second, sign the Banking on our Future pledge, if you haven’t already. And third, read the FAQ’s below and keep an eye out on this page to see when new information is added!

If you can give any amount to our Day of Action fund, now is a great time—we plan to outfit each action with support, beautiful artwork, and training, which all take resources. There’s a donate button below.

And this part is important: have fun doing this. That pleasure and creativity will be infectious; it’s how we keep building this movement!

Read more

Find An Event

Event Guide - click here 

Third Act