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Tidbits – July 20, 2023 – Reader Comments: Hollywood Strike To Limit AI Is for You and Me – We Are All Extras; DeSantis Using State Guard As Private Army; Negro League, Baseball Integration the Left; Hollywood Labor Films; Robert Reich; War on Women

Reader Comments: Hollywood Strike to Limit AI is for You and Me - We Are All Extras; DeSantis Using State Guard as Private Army; Negro League, Baseball Integration, the Left; Hollywood Labor Films; War on Women - Russia Says Give Birth Early;

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources, Shorts, AND cartoons - July 20, 2023,Portside




Little boxes, bigger boxes, bigly boxes made of Trumpy Dump  --  Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz

Lalo Alcaraz
July 19, 2023


Re: The Businessmen Broke Hollywood  

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Blame the overpaid CEOs who cater to Wall Street overseers, not the actors and writers, most of whom struggle to make ends meet.

Peter Dreier
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

A Union Is You  -- Meme  (USW Local 9777)

USW Local 9777
Post on Facebook

Re: State Guard Set Up by DeSantis Is Being Trained As Personal Militia, Veterans Say  


David Berger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


How long is it going to take before people get wise to what's going on here? Does he have to change the official state song to the Horst Wessel Lied?



Is anyone surprised by this?

Robert Laite
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Meat and Great  --  Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Adam Zyglis
June 10, 2023
The Buffalo News

Re: Racism and Race – The John Roberts Two-Step  

We have rolled back Brown V. Education. It clearly stated that separate but equal was not equal. We just ignore that,, what is important is that kids go to school close to home. And of course neighborhoods are still segregated. So, if you segregate housing, and schools follow housing, you have segregated schools. But they are still schools? What is equal opportunity anyway? Nothing much. See, a very few black and brown kids make it, so the system works, right? Ah who really cares anyway? Most white parents see their job as looking after their kids, not the rest. And protecting them from gays and trans. I met a young home schooled woman who said her dad was a public school principle, but wanted to keep her away from the influences of black culture. Uhh hunnh. And what do we call that? White parenting!!

Charles Patrick Lynch
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

No Choice Here  --  Mike Luckovich cartoon

Mike Luckovich
July 9, 2023
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Re: A Highway Destroyed Tulsa’s Thriving Black Wall Street – Now There’s Hope It Could Come Back  

Wouldn't want to tell the truth and change history

Enrico Campomizzi
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Big Oil Quietly Walks Back on Climate Pledges As Global Heat Records Tumble  

Big Oil will be happy to poison the planet until their rocket ship to escape the Planet Earth blows up at launch, they just can't help themselves.

We have to control them,

Mike Liston

Re: ‘A Story That Didn’t Used To Be Told’: The Rise and Fall of Baseball’s Negro Leagues  

Any article about the breakthrough into lily-white Major League baseball should headline the defining role of the Communist Party newspaper "Daily Worker" and its sports editor Lester Rodney – which fought hard on the issue for years and helped organize picket-lines and demonstrations. And, with it hand in hand, the role of the great, great Black singer and actor Paul Robeson. A top athlete in his youth (twice named to the All-American football team) but also strong in baseball, basketball, track and field, he carried the fight right into the offices of the baseball managers.

On December 3 1943 Robeson headed a delegation of Black leaders which finally got a promise by baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis to end the bar on Black players. Jackie Robinson – in later years – wrote gratefully of Robeson's role. But, since he was a committed leftist, every effort  was made – very successfully – to bar Robeson from film-making, stage acting, even concerts, worst of all in the Joe-McCarthy-Era heyday from 1949 to 1958.

Part of the business of erasing his name and existence – in addition to his world-famous singing, acting careers - from his all-out fight for Black rights in the USA and against apartheid abroad was to "forget" his leading role in breaking the bar on Black players in the Major Leagues.

Victor Grossman

Re: The Writers Who Went Undercover To Show America Its Ugly Side

(posting on Portside Culture)  

I'm afraid Samuel Freedman missed an important point in his discussion of all those positive, above ground cultural instances of apparent tolerance.

If you listen to Paul Robeson's version of "The House I Live In," you will find a verse that speaks to "black and white together, that's America to me."  That phrase is missing from Sinatra's version, (although I understand that he had initially sung the original verse but then someone had him remove it in a later version.)  The "Film" version linked to Freedman's article, does not include this verse.

Funny how racism creeps into otherwise good liberal attitudes.

Paul Gottlieb


Carlson's books are still fascinating reading today, and follow in the footsteps of John Spivak's pre-war exposes of American fascism. Both of these authors also inform George Seldes' hard-nosed investigative reporting about fascist domination of the American press during the same era. Much of what they wrote was highly prescient -- this period was the incubator in which the modern right-wing cult developed.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re "The House I Live In" by Lewis Allan (pseudonym of Abel Meeropol) & Earl Robinson:

On Sep. 30, 1990 Helene Williams & I performed "The House I Live In" the way Earl Robinson had sung it for us in Jan. 1989 at the People's Voice Café.

It's posted here

Years later, I wrote what I believe is the only arrangement of the song for full chorus, and performed it with my Metropolitan Philharmonic Chorus, here: at Local 802, commemorating Robinson's centennial, with his son, clarinetist Perry Robinson.

Leonard J. Lehrman

Re: Hollywood on the Picket Line – 5 Unsung Films That Put America’s Union History on the Silver Screen

(posting on Portside Culture)  

This list of labor films is missing the bold, significant The Killing Floor (1984), directed by Bill Duke. It depicts the social explosion in Chicago 1919 when the Great Migration was confronted by a giant wave of industrial organizing and strikes. The main character is shaped by the class struggle in two different forms: striking unions and "the advancement" of African Americans. Then comes the Race Riot.

Ethan Young
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


And let's not forget the 1937 Paramount newsreel of the Memorial Day Massacre at Republic Steel that showed all the brutal details, but was banned from exhibition for fear that it might show that ACAB.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

We're All Extras  

by David Weir

post on Facebook
July 17, 2023

The strike by writers and actors that is paralyzing Hollywood is about money and benefits, of course, just like every strike in history has been. But this one is also about a much bigger issue: artificial intelligence.

The owners of the studios that control the industry want to use AI to scan the images of all the little people in the background of movies and TV shows during their one-time paid appearances and then use those scanned images however and whenever they choose going forward.

This perfectly encapsulates the existential threat of AI overall. The owners, who already have essentially all the power in the matter, do not propose to even pay the extras the extra day rates or the residuals (which are the equivalent of scraps of food) for using their scanned images going forward.

This, as they say in negotiating parlance, is a red line. It is one of those issues that must be fought for because so much is at stake here. The writers and the actors are in the right; the owners are in the wrong.

There is no ambiguity here. Extras must receive payments for every use of their scanned image, just as when in the old days, they appeared in multiple scenes.

Those on strike are representing all of the rest of us in the battle over AI. Most of us will never be marquee actors or Hall of Fame athletes or famous enough to be recognizable by our first name.

Most of us will only be “almost famous,” or famous for 15 seconds, or appear once briefly in the background of some main feature, never to be seen again.

Most of us are extras.

That’s not to say we don’t matter. The show can’t go on without us, or all of the other “little people” who handle the equipment, the sets, the lighting, the sound, the security and countless other details that make Hollywood and the rest of the real world work.

Perhaps no film displays the true value of extras more than the what is probably the greatest movie of all time — “Casablanca.” In its most memorable scene, the extras gather to sing a rousing version of La Marseillaise.

What gives that scene its enduring power is that all of the extras were European refugees from the Nazis then sweeping across Europe. Most of them were Jews who had not only escaped from tyranny but also from extermination.

But at the precise moment the film was made, America had not yet made the decision whether to enter the fight against authoritarianism. So in many ways, the extras were singing for their — and our — lives.

We need to remember that now, during this strike, because this involves all of us. Once again, our survival hangs in the balance.

[David Weir is a journalist, author, and co-founder and former Executive Director of the Center for Investigative  He has written for publications including The Economist, HotWired, L.A. Weekly, Mother Jones, The Nation, New West, New York Magazine, The New York Times, Rolling Stone,, San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Francisco Examiner.]

War on Women  -  Women should give birth earlier, and not engage in a career and education - Murashko, Minister of Health of the Russian Federation  

The Insider
July 18, 2023  

At the plenary session of the State Duma, the Minister of Health of the Russian Federation Mikhail Murashko called on women to give birth as early as possible, and not to engage in education and career building:

“A belief has formed that a woman should first get an education, make a career, and then only take care of childbearing. Then many problems arise. A woman should understand that the sooner she gives birth, the better.

According to Murashko, this should be explained to girls "from the school bench", as well as engage in similar propaganda among young women in the State Services. The minister believes that postponing the birth of a child is a “perverse practice”, which allegedly causes infertility and miscarriage. Therefore, Murashko considers it necessary to tell a woman that the sooner she gives birth, “the better for [her] own health, for the health of children and career, in the long run.”

Earlier, the head of the Ministry of Health said that by the end of the year it is necessary to withdraw medical means of emergency termination of pregnancy from free sale. He proposed to transfer these drugs to a quantitative account.


Means of emergency termination of pregnancy should be withdrawn from free sale before the end of the year - head of the Ministry of Health Murashko 

[The Insider is an online publication specializing in investigative journalism, fact-checking and political analytics. The edition of the publication is distributed around the world. Chief editor - Andris Jansons.

The Insider's content has received numerous international awards, including the Council of Europe Innovation Award (2018), The European Press Prize (2019), Free Media Award (2019) and many others.]

New Book - Solidarity & Care: Domestic Worker Activism in New York City

Temple University Press

Solidarity & Care: Domestic Worker Activism in New York City
Alana Lee Glaser

Publication Date: July 28, 2023
204 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4"
Paper: 978-1-4399-2246-0 $24.95

How intersectional labor organizing and solidarity can effectively protect workers in the domestic work sector and other industries

The members of the Domestic Workers United (DWU) organization—immigrant women of color employed as nannies, caregivers, and housekeepers in New York City—formed to fight for dignity and respect and to “bring meaningful change” to their work. Alana Lee Glaser examines the process of how these domestic workers organized against precarity, isolation, and exploitation to help pass the 2010 New York State Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, the first labor law in the United States protecting in-home workers.

Solidarity & Care examines the political mobilization of diverse care workers who joined together and supported one another through education, protests, lobbying, and storytelling. Domestic work activists used narrative and emotional appeals to build a coalition of religious communities, employers of domestic workers, labor union members, and politicians to first pass and then to enforce the new law.

Through oral history interviews, as well as ethnographic observation during DWU meetings and protest actions, Glaser chronicles how these women fought (and continue to fight) to improve working conditions. She also illustrates how they endure racism, punitive immigration laws, on-the-job indignities, and unemployment that can result in eviction and food insecurity.

The lessons from Solidarity & Care along with the DWU’s precedent-setting legislative success have applications to workers across industries.

All royalties will go directly to the Domestic Workers United

Alana Lee Glaser is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at St. John's University.

Robert Reich - My final course is now online in full  (Inequality Media Civic Action)

I would like to invite you to participate in an experience that is very dear to me: teaching.

I have finished teaching my last class on Wealth and Poverty at UC Berkeley, in fact, my last university class anywhere. And I want to share the entire course with you, all 14 weeks, from the point of view of a student in the auditorium, in a free series.

You’ll find all my lectures and slides, along with my stories and (attempted) humor -- and you’ll see how my students respond to interactive quizzes, puzzles, and role-playing scenarios. I’m also posting a syllabus so you can do the key readings, should you wish. But don’t worry, there are no exams, no grades, and no points off for tardiness!

Click here to access all 14 weeks of class! I designed this course to explore a deeper understanding of why inequalities of income and wealth have widened significantly over the last 40 years in the United States, and the consequences.

Watch here

The reason I am posting my course in full is not just to inform (and occasionally amuse) you, but also to arm you with the truth -- about how the system works and doesn’t, where power is located and where it’s lacking, and the myths and lies used by those who are blocking positive social change -- so you can fight more effectively for the common good.

Let me be clear: We can’t have a democracy that works unless people know what is really going on! That’s why I’m also asking you to post on social media and let your friends know about this opportunity. Please spread the word.

One of the themes that runs through the course is the intertwining of wealth and power -- economics and politics -- and why such inequalities are more extreme in the United States than in other rich countries. While I don’t believe wealth is a zero-sum game in which those at the top can only get richer if others grow poorer, I do believe that power is a zero-sum game. The more power at the top, the less of it elsewhere.

And because wealth can’t be separated from power, at a deeper level the course examines who has been gaining power in America, who has been losing it, and why.

We also discuss my definition of moral leadership: it’s not based in natural ability, or having lots of followers, or holding high public office. Rather, a true leader is one who helps people do the hard work of making positive social change.

To do the work, leaders must help people overcome “work avoidance” -- in the forms of denial, escapism, scapegoating, and cynicism. Fortunately, we draw inspiration from leaders who have fought against all four, and as a result have made the world a better place.

I’d also like to make a special note: The posted videos include the final class of the course which is also the last class I will ever teach of any course. If you view just one class, I hope it's class 14. I summarize the main points of the course, give a short history of the struggle for social justice in America, and talk about how my students (including you) can make a difference in the future.

Whether in the physical classroom or online, my goal has always been to grow a community of people who are committed to spreading the truth and contributing to a better world. Which is why I’m here, and presumably why you are too.

At last, we come to my wishes for you, and all of my students, as I share in the final class:

May your days be filled with wonder
May your lives be filled with meaning
May your work be filled with joy

May you live long, and powerful, lives

See you in class,

Robert Reich
Inequality Media Civic Action

Inequality Media Civic Action  
P.O. BOX 9323
Berkeley, CA 94709


Durt Fibo
July 20, 2023
Der Koolschrank

The recent revelations of a potential Trump-led typhoon of vengeance, concentration of power, and uprooting of all people, departments or legalities standing in his way came to us through journalists Maggie Haberman, Jonathan Swan and Charlie Savage, who published their warnings based on extensive interactions with Trump’s associates. Combined, the cautions and threats predict a perfect storm that would wipe out existing laws and structures and leave behind its devastation one autocrat in charge of what had once been a democratic republic.

Although the reports (and subsequent reactions) have summoned forth the word “dictatorship,” these prognostications are not solely based on analyzing the psychopathology of the tempestuous creature known as Donald J. Trump. The transformation of the USA is actually the goal, laid out in a shiny strategy paper composed by the Heritage Foundation, and meant to be applicable to any politician who happens to become selected to unleash the big one. It is -in its PR-conscious version- available to all readers and is titled “Project 2025” after its comprehensive purpose as “a playbook of actions to be taken in the first 180 days of the new Administration to bring quick relief to Americans suffering from the Left’s devastating policies.”

While the written strategy whips up the vision for a thousand-year Republican-party Reich from coast to coast, the Heritage Foundation’s president Kevin D. Roberts justifies this inversion of law and logic thusly: “The notion of independent federal agencies or federal employees who don’t answer to the president violates the very foundation of our democratic republic.”

In order to spare myself a line-by-line refutation of the Project’s dangerous logical fallacies, I invite all United States citizens to see for themselves the complete war plan, at least as it is nicely present for public digestion. It can all be found right here:

Durt Fibo
Posted on Portside's Facebook page