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Tidbits – June 1, 2023 – Reader Comments: Debt Ceiling Agreement; Tina Turner; Ukraine War; Amanda Gorman; Tribute Book for Charlene Mitchell; Nakba 75 Conference; Fascism 101 – 8-Part Series; Cartoons; More…

Reader Comments: Debt Ceiling Agreement; Tina Turner; Ukraine War; Amanda Gorman; Tribute book for Charlene Mitchell; Nakba 75 Conference; Fascism 101 - 8-Part Series; Cartoons; more....

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources, Announcements, AND cartoons - Jun 1, 2023,Portside





Re: Debt Ceiling Agreement

It looks like the President and the Speaker of the House have reached a tentative agreement on the debt limit. The deal takes the debt ceiling off the table until after next year's presidential election. It will likely pass both Houses of Congress, although that is not at all certain.

While this struggle has been going on, I became interested in why and how we came to this place, and why the President didn’t just get Congress to pass the debt ceiling when his party was in the majority. Lots of people seem to have raised this issue as a slam against President Joe Biden, but it's possible — now, even probable — that all that noise may just turn out to be little more than yet another expression of some people's chronic underestimation of Biden's skills as a politician.

My inquiries led to a Congressional Research Service report on the history of debt limit votes from 1978 to the end of 2021. I wanted to see whether it would shed any light on why neither President Biden nor the Democratic-led Congress raised the debt ceiling on their own accord at the end of last year. Here, it seems, the devil is in the details.

The last piece of debt limit legislation was passed by Congress in a joint resolution on December 16, 2021. They raised it by $2,500,000,000,000. That was apparently enough money to last until Monday, June 5, when the U.S. Treasury would run out of funds to pay the country's debts.

My sense is that Biden preferred to try to prevent the now-majority Republicans in the House, and the Republican Party generally, from weaponizing the debt against Democrats in next year's election. If this deal passes (and the pressure to pass it is far greater than any pressure to reject it), Republicans will now have to own this particular rise in the debt ceiling, along with the rest of the country. That's why I think Biden didn't agree to the lame duck session go-it-alone-strategy that was urged on him by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin and others.

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Biden wants the Republicans to vote on the debt limit as a bipartisan policy. One result of that strategy will be to enhance the ability of Democrats to place any and all blame on the GOP for however big a hunk of flesh they will win as the price for a debt ceiling vote that they should have passed as a normal and unremarkable part of their everyday duties as legislators.

It turns out that now, every slash in the government's ability to promote the general welfare that the Republicans have gained from these talks will be out in plain sight, in the light of day, and their whole budget proposal should now get even more scrutiny than it would have gotten when it was shielded by the debt limit struggle.

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and his team could have avoided all this by simply voting with Democrats for a "clean" bill or joint resolution to raise the debt ceiling, as per what the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) would call "regular order." That would have meant, though, that when the Republican majority would have presented their anti-people budget, their trade of the people's welfare for their budget-busting policies, such as their tax breaks for the rich, would have even more plainly stood out.

However, the Republican-proposed budget is the last thing McCarthy and his Freedom Caucus proto-fascists want the country to see in its naked form. Their gambit to hide the bulk of their “contempt for the general welfare” budget behind the debt ceiling has failed. They now have to show the whole country just how much harm they want to do to us. The struggle against the Republican-MAGA-fascist current just got a boost.

Geoffrey Jacques

Debt Ceiling Insanity  --  Cartoon by Rob Rogers


Rob Rogers
May 24, 2023

The GOP Debt Ceiling Crisis - Kevin McCarthy Spin and Heather Cox Richardson Truth


Tweet by DowntownNastyWomenNYC
May 29, 2023

Negotiate with Terrorists  -- Cartoon by Clay Jones


Clay Jones
May 26, 2023
The Week

Re: Trump and DeSantis: (White Nationalist) Peas in a Pod  

Absolutely, just trying to out do ,one another on stirrings up their fan base, both are dangerous to our democracy,

Craig Gauthier
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Up until a few weeks ago, I never talked about "Democrats" and Republicans." I saw each of the people as an individual. I know that for some people, "political party" is something they feel they are born into, like a religion. I have changed my mind.

Parties have changed over time: , Republicans e.g., for the abolition of slavery, women's suffrage. When I was growing up in NY, Dems were the "crooks" but they supported labor unions and cared more about working people so long as they were White (think Dixiecrats); Reps supported corporations and moneyed interests but also civil rights (think Rockefeller and Jacob Javitz).

While I still won't discuss "Democrats" as a whole, I have decided that "Republican" is a cult, and anyone remaining in the Republican Party is a member of a cult. They are all despicable and/or in some cases, have chosen to remain among the despicables. Many Democrats, on the other hand, have moved into the position, Republicans were in the past Protecting moneyed interests over human beings but also bigger on civil rights if it doesn't affect anyone's wealth.

I wish I can believe in Hell!

Arlene Halfon

Guns and Food  -  Cartoon by Raging Pencils (Mike Stanfill)

Mike Stanfill
May 24, 2023
Raging Pencils

Re: We’ll Never Live in a World Without Tina Turner  

The best tribute to Tina Turner that I have read since her death.

Carol Weinshenker
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Fine woman and great singer

Carolyn Cooper
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: These Israeli Youth Are Burning Their Draft Orders — And No Longer Feeling Alone  


Joseph Shepherd
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: A Plea From the Russian Left to Western Progressive Friends  

Dear all pundits, talking heads, everyone: There is no "war in Ukraine" This is an invasion, not a war. War is "a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations." Putin and Prigozhin INVADED Ukraine. This is not a war, it is an invasion and self-defense. (The third invasion, the first taking Crimea and the Donbas in 2014 – which we in the west ignored). Stop calling the invasion of Ukraine a "war." "Both resented the war between the two recently fraternal countries . . . ." Ukraine is defending itself from an invasion. These words matter because they frame how we view Russia's/Putin's/Wagner's actions. There is slaughter, destruction, horror, and very brave defense against invasion but no "war."

Another note, specific to this article: Yes, Putin poses a threat to all of Europe, "the West." He has raged against  European/Western "decadence." He wants all of the old Soviet "empire" and the rest of Europe. Aleksandr Dugin infamously said Russia should control all of Europe " from Dublin to Vladivostok." Invading Ukraine is (in his own mind) his first step. Timothy Snyder has clearly laid out Putin's motives in his books and lectures (available online).

Daniel Jordan, PhD

Re: When Will US Join Global Call To End Ukraine War?  

I would take this seriously if it included anything about pressing Russia to abandon its aggression, but as is it is just providing cover for Russian imperialism and promoting a Ukrainian surrender.

Stan Nadel

Re: Texas Forced This Woman To Give Birth to a Stillborn Son. She’s Suing  

The lawsuits against states that banned abortion care are piling up as women and their families are put at enormous risks because of them. All of this harm was preventable and totally expected , and republicans passed these laws anyway.

E Beth Davis
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

GOP has a bad case of flesh-eating bacteria  --  Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

The GOP is reeling from a nasty case of flesh-eating bacteria.

Kevin McCarthy has the worst symptoms. The Republican House Minority Leader and wanna-be House speaker is so eaten up with it, he’s willing to humiliate himself and make crazy deals with the bacteria for some temporary relief - and to get the magic gavel. But at what cost? I shudder at the horror.

J.D. Crowe
January 6, 2023

Re: Historic Gains: Low-Income Workers Scored in the COVID Economy

(posting on Portside Labor)  

Please forward this to the author of the article.

One of the sentences seems to make the crazy suggestion that inflation only hurt high wage people. You've got to talk about gas prices and you've got to talk about colossal rent increases and housing prices, large increases in dental and medical costs, not just on the coast but even in places like Milwaukee.

Food also has gone up far more than the official percentage. Witnessing what's happening, my perception is that wage gains already have been essentially lost to price increases.

And don't forget that people who can't pay their entire credit card bill in one month have not benefited from low interest rates because those were never passed on by the credit card companies.
And higher education, even at the lower levels, has continued to become more expensive while outright grants and work study don't cover the full cost so that poor people who want an education need to go into debt.

Lita Kurth

Re: Remote Work Continues To Be a Battleground in the Struggle Between Bosses and Workers

(posting on Portside Labor)  

Private Profit Public Loss Capitalism Must Go And Democracy Must Come

We need a radical restructuring of the economic, political and value system that treats all of nature, earth, air, water and human beings as commodities to be bought, sold, rented in pursuit of enormous private profit for an ever shrinking number while increasing the hundreds of millions who sink lower economically while bearing the public loss that is the outcome of all private profit.

Frank Scott

Re: Ultra Violence  

Excellent podcast

David Berger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Character Assassination of San Francisco  

San Francisco politicians in the late 1980s stood silently by while SRO housing was converted to expensive boutique hotels. The city lost about 8000 SRO units, and funny thing, gained about 8000 homeless people. But real estate is king and cannot be questioned.

I was there, went to hearings and watched it happen. So, that is number 1. Number 2 is the turning of SF into a bedroom community for Silicon Valley. Not a good thing, and now they are all moving on. The media lies consistently, then wonders why they get no respect. This was a good article, thanks.

Charles Patrick Lynch
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Addled card shark?  --  Cartoon by Mike Luckovich

Mike Luckovich
May 31, 2023
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Re: The First Decoration Day  

A precursor to Memorial Day occurred in 1865 when thousands of freed slaves marched in Charleston, South Carolina to declare their sense of the meaning of the Civil War, that it was about their emancipation over a slaveholders’ republic.

Norm Littlejohn
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Cancelling Elizabeth Gurley Flynn  

great article on Gurley Flynn

Steven Goldsmith, President, Torrance Refinery Action Alliance


Americans hate to be reminded of our long history of keeping political prisoners.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Amanda Gorman ‘Gutted’ After Florida School Bans Biden Inauguration Poem

(posting on Portside Culture)  

“They have to read for me because I’m not an expert, I’m not a reader. I’m not a book person." -Quote from Daily Salinas, the one parent who caused the banning from Florida elementary schools of the “The Hill We Climb,” a poem Amanda Gorman read at President Biden's inauguration.

Durt Fibo
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Discovery of a Little-Known History of the Nuremberg Trials

(posting on Portside Culture)  

This is an interesting film. We should be mindful however, that Budd Schulberg, famous filmmaker later in his life, named names before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in the 1950s.

Marilyn Albert
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Tribute book for Charlene Mitchell

Tributes to Charlene Mitchell from her many comrades, friends, co-workers, and supporters on her passing in 2022. In 1968, Charlene was the first African American woman to run for US President. She was on the Communist Party ticket. She won worldwide recognition for leading the Campaign to Free Angela Davis and all Political Prisoners in the 1970s. In the 1990s, she led a significant group to leave the Communist Party and form the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

Paperback:  $8.00;  88 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1312627697
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1312627697
Publisher:  CoC Education Fund

Order your copy here!
For bulk orders contact Carl Davidson

Palestinian Assembly For Liberation Nakba 75 Conference: Unite To Return, June 2-4 - Chicago



Detailed Program Here:

June 2-4, Chicago, Morain Valley Community College -Conference Center
9000 W. College Pkwy. Palos Hills, IL 60465-2478
$50 for all access; $30 students ; no one turned away


Beyond lectures and showcases: town halls, assemblies, specialized committees, and strategy discussions all geared to make measurable gains for the Palestinian movement for liberation and return.
Palestinians from across the US, joined by Palestinians from all across the world, will convene to craft strategies to strengthen Palestinian unity and return, to discuss our representation- and our role toward- and after- liberation. Allies and Friends are welcomed and encouraged.

You can book at any nearby hotel and we have a block of hotel rooms (with 2 beds) booked at rate of $114/night at the link below:

Fascism 101 - Thursday, June 22 - Part Two of 8-Part Series (Right To The City Alliance)

Join us for an educational series for Left and progressive changemakers seeking to understand the threat of resurgent fascism in the U.S. and internationally.

Over 8 sessions, we’ll examine how authoritarian and fascist political actors shape the current political moment, explore the many faces of fascism and fronts of anti-fascistic resistance, and lay the foundation for a roadmap to broad and effective anti-fascist resistance.

For our first session examined the contours and characteristics of modern fascism with moderator Malkia Devich-Cyril and panelists Ejeris Dixon (Vision, Change, Win Consulting), Ash-Lee Henderson (Highlander Center) and Tarso Ramos (Political Research Associates).

Spanish and American Sign Language interpretation will be available.
Únete a nosotres en una serie educative para agentes del cambio izquierdistas y progresistas que buscan entender la amenaza del fascismo resurgente en los EE. UU. e internacionalmente.

En 8 sesiones, examinaremos como les actors polítiques autoritaries y fascistas le dan forma a nuestro momento politico actual; explora las muchas caras del fascismo y los frentes de la Resistencia anti-fascista, y sienta las bases para una guía para la Resistencia amplia y efectiva anti-fascista.

En nuestro primera session, el 25 de mayo, examinaremos los contornos y las características del fascismo modern con le moderadore Malkia Devich-Cyril y les panelistas Ejeris Dixon (Vision, Change, Win Consulting), Ash-Lee Henderson (Highlander Center) y Tarso Ramos (Political Research Associates). Habra interpretación disponible al español y al lenguaje de señas americano.

Right to the City Alliance
388 Atlantic Ave. 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11217
844-RTT-CITY (788-2489)