Tidbits – May 11, 2023 – Reader Comments: GOP Defends Sex Offender; Debt Crisis; Child Labor Laws, Population Decline; Yes, I Am Latina. And No, I Am Not Mexican -an Exchange; Vietnam 50 Years Later; Charlene Mitchell Memorial Livestream Link; More

Portside Date:
Date of source:

Danger  --  Cartoon by Clay Bennett
Trump’s Proud Boys Finally Get to Stand Back and Stand By – IN JAIL  --  Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz
Re: Why I Changed My Mind on the Debt Limit  (Norm Littlejohn)
Re: Democrats Shouldn’t Fall for McCarthy’s Debt Limit Ransom Attempt  (Arlene Halfon)
Partners  --  Cartoon by Nick Anderson
Re: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Bill Aimed at Weakening Public-Sector Unions  (Spicer Blount)
Re: A New Republican Assault on Children: Overturning Labor Laws  (Charles)
Re: Population Decline Will Change the World for the Better  (Rudy Acuna; Charles Patrick Lynch; David Schwartzman; Jorge; Jennifer Nouri)
A Note on French Revolution Historiography  (Clifford D. Conner)
Re: The Real History of Queen Charlotte, and the Problem With Netflix's Bridgerton Spinoff  (Dave; Moderator's Note)
Coronation  -- Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Re: Yes, I Am Latina. And No, I Am Not Mexican  -An Exchange  (Ayana Morse; Rafaella Daumas-Ladouce)



Danger  --  Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Clay Bennett
May 9, 2023
Chattanooga Times Free Press

Trump’s Proud Boys Finally Get to Stand Back and Stand By – IN JAIL  --  Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz

Lalo Alcaraz
May 5, 2023

Re: Why I Changed My Mind on the Debt Limit  

The right question is whether Congress — after passing the spending bills that created these debts in the first place — can invoke an arbitrary dollar limit to force the president and his administration to do its bidding.

Norm Littlejohn
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Democrats Shouldn’t Fall for McCarthy’s Debt Limit Ransom Attempt  

If we let them get away with this, the demands will become more and more draconian. It's too much already--can't confirm judges, can't house people, remove payments that workers themselves have paid for. Let them hit the debt ceiling and let the world see what the US has finally descended into. If we lose, we would have lost anyway. We have to stop the abuse; follow the advise you would give to a battered woman. STOP THE ABUSE!!! CALL their bluff and take the risk!!!

Arlene Halfon

Partners  --  Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Nick Anderson
May 8, 2023
Pen Strokes

Re: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Bill Aimed at Weakening Public-Sector Unions  

Why only today he posted 4 times about all the great things he is doing FOR teachers. https://www.facebook.com/RonDeSantisFlorida

Spicer Blount
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: A New Republican Assault on Children: Overturning Labor Laws  

I worked on a farm in tobacco (and other crops) one summer when I was 12 It was a good experience for me a middle class white kid, because it was always understood that I would go back to school afterwards, and that it was not my future. And I didn't need the small money to eat. Farmers kids worked too.

But it was different for us and for children who HAVE to work to survive and who do so without access to medical care or much education. We have to recognize the class as well as the racial segregation in such work. All workers standing side by side for a photo are not equal. I worked with homeless teenagers, many who were white, who also followed the crops to earn more than they could get from begging. They should not be invisible either.

We abandon and throw away many children, especially GLBTQ kids. And others. Americans are against abuse for their own children, OPK (Other People's Kids) not so much. And children whom we have marginalized? Meh. Whatever doesn't kill them or cripple them makes them stronger, umm, maybe. Read that sentence again and think about it.


Re: Population Decline Will Change the World for the Better  

Just so the ratio is not managed

The rational fewer if better leads to nightmares. Who make the decisions? NATO?

Who is going to do the counting? I don't trust Biden, actions speak louder than words. I don't trust the Democrats or the Republicans so who would I trust? I would not trust many Mexicans or Latinos, they would broker their vote. So what do I do, go to some cave and wish for the best? Let's talk about it.

Rudy Acuna


Well, yes and no. I have seen a number of population decline folks who want to be able to drive their bulldozers through forests without it mattering because there are so few of them. umm, no. The elephant in the room is consumption and lifestyle. The elephants twin is war. It is not just the numbers of people, it is how they live and what they do.

If people insist on large houses on lots of land per individual, we are well past sustainability. People who live in smaller apartments (means having less things as well) are on the right path. Instead of too many people, how about too many billionaires? Or rich people? How about a lifestyle that is largely urban, and lower impact. How about removing wars from the equation? We don't like to talk about these things. Less poor people won't make much difference. Fewer suburbs will help.

Finally, to get to a lower population, who will die? Most of the die off folks I have encountered won't say it, but they mean the poor and black and brown and yellow (Asians). We need to frame this discussion differently. Have people read "Stand on Zanzibar" and "The Sheep Look Up" by John Brunner? He asked a lot of questions quite a while ago. Too much of the current population discussion is based on a Western Middle Class framework. Can we question that?

Charles Patrick Lynch
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This is another ruling class user-friendly neo-Malthusian argument which diverts from the real driver of threats to biodiversity and human well-being, militarized fossil capitalism. Barry Commoner refuted this argument 50 years ago, and more recently Ian Angus and Simon Butler did in their book "Too Many People?".

Just how will global population decline to 8 billion as this article advocates? Most likely by mass famine, pandemics and climate catastrophes much worse than now witnessed, outcomes we can avoid by defeating fossil capital and its political instruments.

Rather than decline, stabilization of global population growth with a projected level of 9 billion by 2050 is welcome, and the UN knows how: empowerment of women in society and radical reduction of poverty. And for countries like China, now witnessing a recent decline in their population, they are facing a demographic challenge with a declining active workforce needed to support an aging population.

Meanwhile India now has the biggest population of any nation on the planet, with extreme poverty for hundreds of millions, but one of its states, Kerala with a Communist-led government, has shown the way forward, as the Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen pointed old years ago.

David Schwartzman


When they "thin out the herd" who does the thinning and who is thinned? Look at what is happening in California universities in the name of matching enrollment to funding.



This is the reset. Either you get it or you are the problem. We can not continue to over use our resources.

Jennifer Nouri
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

A Note on French Revolution Historiography  

Re: The Persistent Allure of Military Coups  

The comment only applies to an offhand remark about the French Revolution and has nothing to do with the author's analysis of the current situation in Sudan.

Here's an exercise in historical writing: Summarize the meaning and accomplishments of the French Revolution in twenty-five words or less. This is one writer's attempt:

". . . the French Revolution that removed . . . Louis XVI from power and ushered in the horrors of the guillotine and the despotism of Napoleon." (1)

The simplemindedness of this synopsis would be astounding were it not so familiar. It reflects the reactionary one-sidedness of the vast majority of commentators on the French Revolution—the "common wisdom" if you will—in the English-speaking world over the past two and a half centuries. One exception was Mark Twain, who had a far more profound historical understanding of that watershed event in human affairs. His appreciation of its meaning runs to considerably more than twenty-five words, but every word is worthy of deep contemplation:

". . . it was like reading about France and the French, before the ever memorable and blessed Revolution, which swept a thousand years of such villainy away in one swift tidal-wave of blood—one: a settlement of that hoary debt in the proportion of half a drop of blood for each hogshead of it that had been pressed by slow tortures out of that people in the weary stretch of ten centuries of wrong and shame and misery the like of which was not to be mated but in hell. There were two 'Reigns of Terror,' if we would but remember it and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the 'horrors' of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe, compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty, and heart-break? What is swift death by lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror—that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves." (2)

Clifford D. Conner is the author of Jean Paul Marat, Tribune of the French Revolution, Pluto Press (2012), and Marat, savant et tribun, La Fabrique (2021).

(1) John Feffer, "The Persistent Allure of Military Coups," Foreign Policy in Focus, April 26, 2023.

(2) Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889). https://www.gutenberg.org/files/86/86-h/86-h.htm

Re: The Real History of Queen Charlotte, and the Problem With Netflix's Bridgerton Spinoff

(posting on Portside Culture)  

Superb article!! Would love to know more about the author.



Moderator's Note:

Nylah Burton is a Lifestyle Writer at Bustle, where she covers topics related to mental health, health, social justice, and identity.

Nylah also has bylines in New York Magazine, ESSENCE, The Nation, Lilith Magazine, and Alma, among others. Her essays and original reporting on issues pertaining to Jews of Color have been widely circulated. Nylah also works as a sexual assault prevention specialist, where she facilitates community discussions that attempt to dismantle rape culture. She studied Caribbean literature at Howard University.

Coronation  -- Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Rob Rogers
May 9, 2023

Re: Yes, I Am Latina. And No, I Am Not Mexican

(posting on Portside Culture)

I love Portside! I pretty much appreciate every article I read and trust your perspective. I can't say enough about how much I appreciate what you are doing.

And that's part of why it was so painful to open up the poem, "Yes, I Am Latina. And No, I Am Not Mexican." I read news from many outlets. When reading many publications, I'm prepared to encounter deeply offensive ideas. But I've found Portside to try to address a lot of interesting and challenging issues with nuance that evades so many. To not be reactionary. To not run racist, sexist or classist tropes.

So as a Chicana, when I opened this poem, it really hurt. I understand this poem is struggling with some important issues about being an immigrant and a Latina and US citizen privilege and many things. But it's deeply problematic that this poem paints "Mexican" as the problem. Deeply problematic and painful. And lacking both a useful analysis of race and racism, but also a deep misunderstanding of class and the role that scapegoating of Mexicans plays in undermining effective class struggle and solidarity in the United States.

This poet screams the idea at us that people thinking she's Mexican is a big problem. While that is ignorant that people assume something incorrect, the disgust with Mexicans that this poet, either intentionally or unintentionally, plays into, is deeply problematic. And then she goes on to give voice to many racist things said about Mexicans, but nothing to challenge or oppose those messages. She seems to try to engage our sympathy at how hard it is for her to be called a Mexican, leaving those of us who are Mexican with what? Do we deserve the disgust and blame she describes? Absolutely not. And you chose to publish this on Cinco de Mayo!

I hope that Portside takes this poem down, apologizes for publishing it and never publishes anything like this in the future.

Thank you for reading,
Ayana Morse  


Here is the response we received from the poet Rafaella Daumas-Ladouce:

I deeply apologize if this poem is offensive to anybody of actual Mexican descent. My poem was meant to specifically describe my experience.  I completely understand how the stereotypes toward people of Mexican descent are offensive and hindering with the demographic that identifies as Mexican, but this poem refers entirely to those that do not identify with that demographic and how harming it is for people to generalize all of Latin America as “Mexican”. It was never my intention to paint Mexicans as a scapegoat, but mostly highlight how that misconception and prejudice against “Mexicans” harms not only those that identify with that specific demographic but also all Latin Americans that are surreptitiously attached to that prejudicious way of thinking as well.

I understand how hard it must be to be Mexican in this country with all of these stereotypes, and there is nothing that will undermine that experience; the fact still remains that all Latin Americans are generalized into that demographic. As much as it is terrible that the ideas presented in my poem are attached to your identity through the xenophobia and racism that is pervasive in the States, they get attached to mine as well, simply because I speak Spanish and come from Latin America. I sincerely apologize about not addressing the stereotypes themselves, and maybe I should have done a better job at creating a clearer distinction between the perceived identity (the stereotypes) and the actual identity of Mexicans in the United States. If my poem expressed any ignorance at all about the specific Mexican experience in the United States, it’s because I am ignorant, since I’m not Mexican, I am Paraguayan. I apologize if I did not make that clear.

Vietnam 50 Years Later: Beyond the Vietnam War  (C-SPAN and George Washington University)

Fifty years after the 1973 peace agreement ending the Vietnam War, George Washington University hosts a day-long conference to consider the war’s meaning and legacy.

Vietnam 50 Years Later: Beyond the War

This discussion about the end of the Vietnam War a half-century ago featured former war correspondents Jim Sterba and Elizabeth Becker, and author David Maraniss. This George Washington University conference in Washington, D.C., was held to consider the war’s meaning and legacy

Click here for full discussion and video

Additional videos

Vietnam War Reflections

Vietnam War veterans and former U.S. Senators Chuck Hagel and Bob Kerrey were among those who looked back at the end of the conflict that divided the country. Former Vietnam War correspondent, and PublicAffairs Books founder, Peter Osnos, gave opening remarks. This George Washington University conference in Washington, D.C., was held to consider the war’s meaning and legacy.

Writing About the Vietnam War

Authors who have written acclaimed accounts of the Vietnam War talked about their work and lessons learned from the conflict. Speakers included writers Philip Caputo, Frances FitzGerald, and Fredrik Logevall. This George Washington University conference in Washington, D.C., was held to consider the war’s meaning and legacy.

Vietnam 50 Years Later: War-Era Sounds and Images

Fifty years after the Vietnam War ended in 1973, this was a discussion about the sights and sounds that defined the era. Speakers included poet John Balaban and former photojournalist Mark Godfrey. This George Washington University conference in Washington, D.C., was held to consider the war’s meaning and legacy

The Struggle For Freedom and Justice: The Legacy of Charlene Mitchell  - New York and Livestream  - This Saturday - May 13

In Charlene Mitchell we witnessed a unique leader and organizer in the struggle for freedom and justice.

Saturday, May 13 · 2 - 5pm EDT

Link for the Livestream - good only on Saturday at 2:00pm EDT

Here is the YouTube (we are NOT using zoom) Link where we will LiveStream the Celebrate Charlene Mitchell program. 

Click this link on SATURDAY, May 13th at 2:00 PM (EDT)  The program will end about 4:00 PM, or shortly thereafter.

Please share this link with your contacts, and others.

In person:

The Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027

Remembering the Legacy of Yuri Kochiyama - May 19  (UCLA Asian American Studies Center)

Friday, May 19 · 3 - 4pm EDT   --  Online

Get Tickets  

Celebrate the life of activist Yuri Kochiyama on what would've been her 102nd birthday!

Special guests include:

We'll also learn more about the efforts of the Asian American Studies Center to preserve and promote Yuri Kochiyama’s legacy, including a newly created digital exhibition.

What’s Next for the New Left?: A Panel Discussion - Philadelphia - May 20  (Making Worlds Bookstore and Social Center)

Saturday, May 20, 2023
6:00 PM  7:30 PM

Making Worlds Bookstore & Social Center
210 South 45th StreetPhiladelphia, PA, 19104


Please join Raina Lipsitz, author of The Rise of a New Left: How Young Radicals Are Shaping the Future of American Politics, community organizer and State Representative Rick Krajewski, Senator and cofounder of Reclaim Philadelphia Nikil Saval, and senior strategist for the Working Families Party and City Council at-Large candidate Nicolas O'Rourke for a lively discussion of the state of progressive organizing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and nationwide. Joe Dinkin, national campaigns director for the Working Families Party, will guide the discussion. Raina Lipsitz's new book, The Rise of a New Left, will be highlighted as apart of the discussion.

About the Panelists:

Making Worlds Bookstore & Social Center  

Orpheus with Live Schreiber, Karen Slack & Will Liverman - Beethoven's "Egmont" and 125th birthday tribute to Paul Robeson - New York City - May 20  (Orpheus Chamber Orchestra)

Heroes Unite
Concert Duration: 2 hours (includes intermission)

Jasmine Barnes
Songs of Paul (125th birthday tribute to Paul Robeson)
World Premiere, commissioned by Orpheus

Karen Slack, soprano
Will Liverman, baritone

Orpheus stands up for justice and freedom in this homage to courageous voices. Beethoven, an unyielding critic of despots, channeled his ardor and rage into music for Goethe’s historical drama about a local hero defying foreign occupiers. Live Schreiber narrates an incisive new translation by Philip Boehm, while the clarion voice of Karen Slack and Orpheus illuminate the eternal truths of Egmont. Will Liverman, the “muscular-voiced baritone,” (The New York Times) joins for the World Premiere of Songs of Paul by Jasmine Barnes, a 125th birthday tribute to the singer-activist Paul Robeson.

The original narrative text by Franz Grillparzer to accompany Beethoven’s incidental music to Goethe’s Egmont was translated and adapted by Philip Boehm for Orpheus in 2020.

About the artists

Live Schreiber - Narrator

Heralded as “the finest American theater actor of his generation” by the New York Times, Live Schreiber’s repertoire of resonant, humanistic, and often gritty performances have garnered him praise in film, theater, and television.

Schreiber will next be seen with Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Scarlett Johansson, and Maya Hawke in the upcoming Wes Anderson film Asteroid City, which follows the attendees of a Junior Stargazer convention in a fictional desert town circa 1955. The film will premiere at The Cannes Film Festival. Schreiber also stars as ‘Otto Frank,’ father of Anne Frank, in the National Geographic limited drama series for Disney+ A Small Light.

Karen Slack - Soprano

Hailed as possessing a voice of extraordinary beauty, celebrated American soprano Karen Slack has garnered international renown for her artistic versatility, charisma and entrepreneurial endeavors. A recipient of the 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, Slack is known for her dynamic and passionate performances in both lead operatic roles and on the concert stage; as a sought-after collaborator, curator, and artistic advisor; and for her ground-breaking approach to engagement. She is an Artistic Advisor for Portland Opera, Co-Chair of the Women's Opera Network with Opera America, and serves on the board of the American Composer’s Orchestra. In January 2022, Slack was appointed Creative Partner with Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, opening with a solo recital and continuing through multiple programs throughout the season.

Will Liverman - Baritone

Called “a voice for this historic moment” (Washington Post), GRAMMY-winning baritone Will Liverman is the recipient of the 2022 Beverly Sills Artist Award by The Metropolitan Opera. He opened the Met’s 2021-22 season in a celebrated “breakout performance” (New York Times) as Charles in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, which received the 2023 Grammy for 'Best Opera Recording.' Following Fire’s success, the Met announced that Liverman will star in Anthony Davis’ X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, which will be the third opera by a Black composer in the company’s history, premiering in the fall of 2023.

Jasmine Barnes - Composer

Jasmine Arielle Barnes is a promising composer/vocalist who has performed and has had her music performed all over the world. She is a multifaceted composer who embraces any writing style of music using a variety of instrumentation and specializes in writing for the voice. A full time composer, Barnes is managed by UIA talent for her work as a composer, is a resident artist in American Lyric Theater's Composer Librettist Development Program, and has held residencies as a composer fellow at Chautauqua Opera 2021 season, as well as a residency with All Classical Portland. Barnes has been privileged to be commissioned by numerous organizations such as The Washington National Opera (in celebration of the Kennedy Center's 50th year anniversary), Bare Opera, Aspen Summer Music Festival, Baltimore Choral Arts, Resonance Ensemble, Tapestry Choir, CityMusic Cleveland, LyricFest Philadelphia, Burleigh Music Festival, Symphony Number One, Baltimore Musicales, amongst others. Jasmine is beginning to be noticed for her work.

Watch here  - Paul Robeson: The singer who fought for justice and paid with his life  

Get Tickets Here  

60th Anniversary of the March for Freedom - Detroit - June 7  (Michigan Labor History Society)

Celebrate the 60th anniversary of the March for Freedom in Detroit with the Michigan Labor History Society. Historian Ken Coleman will speak, and food and beverages will be served. Free admission. Wednesday, June 7, at UAW Local 22, 4300 Michigan Ave., Detroit. Free parking.

The Rosenberg Case 70 Years Later: Fighting Fascism Then and Now - two screening dates – June 14th or June 25th  (Rosenberg Fund for Children)

Film screening honoring the Rosenbergs' resistance and highlighting anti-fascism organizing within the RFC beneficiary community

Seventy years ago on June 19th, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were denied clemency for the last time, and their executions were allowed to go forward. They lost their lives to the anti-communist hysteria of the McCarthy era.

The day before their deaths, they wrote one final letter to their young sons, Robert and Michael, sharing that they were comforted in the sure knowledge that others would carry on after them. The Rosenberg Fund for Children (RFC), founded as Robert’s “constructive revenge,” justifies their faith and provides support to the multitudes of people across generations who have continued the fight against fascism and injustice.

Join us virtually for the premiere of a short film produced by the RFC on either of two screening dates – June 14th or June 25th. The event will feature long-time activist and RFC Advisory Board member Angela Y. Davis, National Book award-winning poet and RFC Advisory Board member Martín Espada, Highlander Center Co-Executive Director Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Rosenberg sons Robert and Michael Meeropol and other artists and activists. This 70th anniversary commemoration will honor Ethel and Julius’ resistance and legacy and share 30+ years of RFC beneficiary stories that illuminate the ongoing battle against fascism.

The film will include readings and dramatized vignettes, interspersed with art, which will draw from letters written by Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and other activists’ stories from within the RFC community. We’ll conclude the event with a live conversation between Robert, RFC Executive Director Jennifer Meeropol and audience members. Amidst the rise of racist, xenophobic and nationalistic oppression in the U.S. across the generations, this event will highlight the powerful current of anti-fascist activism that continues to this day.


Learn more and get tickets here

Rosenberg Fund for Children  
116 Pleasant St., Suite 348
Easthampton, MA  01027

tel: (413) 529-0063

Source URL: https://portside.org/2023-05-11/tidbits-may-11-2023-reader-comments-gop-defends-sex-offender-debt-crisis-child-labor