Tidbits – June 8, 2023 – Reader Comments: Why I Voted No on the McCarthy Agreement; Supreme Court Rulings; Henry Kissinger; Ukraine War; UPS Strike?; Karl Marx Critics; Wealthiest Billionaire in Each State; Bill Fletcher’s New Novel; Cartoons;

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Why I voted no on the McCarthy agreement  

This week, President Biden and Republicans reached an agreement on the debt ceiling. But that deal is not a genuine bipartisan agreement; it concedes to the unreasonable demands of Republicans who held the debt ceiling hostage for their own agenda.

Democrats should have abolished the debt ceiling and the filibuster when we had Congressional majorities. We should have used the 14th Amendment to achieve a clean debt ceiling increase. But here we are.

If the GOP cared about the deficit, they would not pass tax cuts for the rich and cripple the ability of the IRS to go after tax cheats. They would agree to raise revenue and cut excessive defense contractor spending instead.

The McCarthy agreement puts hundreds of thousands of SNAP recipients up to 54 years old at risk by implementing new “work requirements” designed to deny benefits to some of our most vulnerable. It resumes student loan payments that have burdened tens of millions of Americans and reinvigorates the cycle of crushing debt that has stunted economic growth. It fast-tracks the disastrous Mountain Valley Pipeline, locking us into fossil fuel dependency as the climate crisis worsens.

As a political calculation, the McCarthy agreement allows America to pay its bills for the time being. But I believe we need to do better. The concessions made in this deal do nothing but harm hardworking Americans while giving wealthy donors, corporations, and big-money interests a pass.

This is not about politics, it’s about people. That’s why I voted no on the McCarthy agreement. We need to set a precedent of the Treasury paying bills that Congress has authorized and take the issue to the courts so that we never have a manufactured default crisis again.

I will continue to fight for the policies Americans deserve, because when working people thrive, everyone benefits.


Ro Khanna (D-CA 17)

Ro for Congress
P.O Box 3513
Santa Clara, CA 95051


Re: I’m on Strike With the W.G.A. I Owe My Father at Least That Much.

(posting on Portside Labor)  

This is great, this shows why other unions are supporting the WGA, what being in union means, what union solidarity is all about.

Jay Schaffner
Posted on Portside's Facebook page



Jack Balch
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: What Will Be Left of the Voting Rights Act?  

Robert's  intention to end the Voting Rights Act was cited clearly as his own stated primary goal in The New York Times before his confirmation in the Senate. Democrats did not use this to disqualify and campaign against him. I guess we must give credit where it's due.

Jessica Benjamin

Re: This Is Not the End of the Supreme Court’s War on Labor  

The ongoing weakness of the left fairly invites these increasingly repressive measures.

Build or die.

Max Mastellone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: What Happens When You Tax Billionaires at 90 Percent?  

England in the 1950s, when the marginal tax rate was 97.5% and unemployment was very low (and also the feelings of anti-fascist solidarity, the joint war effort, were still there) was a place with a low crime rate, little violence and very little vandalism.

Dan Morgan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Biden’s Antisemitism Strategy Gets a Lot Right — But Has One Problem  

Criticism of Israel has no more to do with anti-Semitism than ANY criticism of ANY government of ANY country.

Judyth Hollub
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


More nonsense about the IHRA definition. Of course it can be abused as a weapon against critics of Israel, but only by ignoring what it actually says. Critics like this are doing exactly the same thing as the abusers because both are ignoring what the IHRA actually says. The abusers do so to attack all criticism of Israel and the critics do so to provide cover for perceived allies when they engage in Antisemitic rhetoric. Both are reprehensible.

Mixing the Nexus and the Jerusalem versions is part of this strategy. The Nexus is a refinement of the IHRA while the Jerusalem declaration is intended to contradict it. The Jerusalem declaration has never been used to identify antisemitism, only to defend leftists and their allies when they are accused of antisemitism— and that tells us what it's real goals are.

Stan Nadel


Before there was Israel there was antisemitism. Blood libel, Jew hating, Killers of Christ, etc. These antisemitic tropes need to be battled against.

Howard Kaplan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Time Machine - Florida is History  --  Cartoon by Christopher Weyant

Christopher Weyant
May 25, 2023
Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY)

Re: History Is a Human Right  

Very important article, but please don't limit the discussion to just Black people.

Many other oppressed groups are also being excluded, like Native Americans and Asians.  Too many times, we only think about discrimination against Black people and neglect to remember to be in solidarity with others in the same boat.

Gil Leib

Re: Paxton Is Burning  

"Call this, with apologies to Taylor Swift, the “Errors Tour” or, in a nod to the Ziegfeld Follies, “Hypocrisy on Parade.” Or let’s go “Paris is Burning” and give the representatives a Realness Award for their impersonation of legislators who seriously care about integrity, democracy, and the will of voters."

Spicer Blount
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: This Years Mass. Graduates Are 400 Million in Debt  


June 4, 2023

In the dark ages of 2022, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ own General Counsel Ryan Newman was obliged to answer in court what “woke” means. He defined it as:


[This was during the trial charging that DeSantis exceeded his powers and violated the First Amendment right to free speech by suspending Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren. Ryan’s statement can be readily found in news coverage of the trial]

Durt Fibo
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Only Open Carry That Frightens GOP  --  cartoon by Ted Littleford

Ted Littleford
April 2, 2023

Re: Supreme Court Rules Company Can Pursue Strike Damages  

(posting on Portside Labor)  

#SCOTUS rules against #labor, via Portside

"In a loss for organized labor, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of a concrete company in Washington state seeking to revive a lawsuit against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters alleging that a strike damaged its product.

The 8-1 decision, written by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, means the company, Glacier Northwest Inc., can pursue a lawsuit against the union in state court over an August 2017 strike in which drivers walked off the job, leaving wet concrete in their trucks. The company claims the union is liable for what it says was intentional damage to its product.

....Liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson dissented, saying the ruling "risks erosion of the right to strike." Jackson's two liberal colleagues, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined the court's conservative justices in the majority...."

Precarious life and times
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Ukraine articles on Portside  

Thanks for running the two articles supporting the views of the Ukraine and Russian left about some of our left who would have them give up.

Peace, of course, is good. And to get to peace, sometimes you have to stand up to bullies even though there's a price, whether those bullies are in a school yard, in a political party, in your own country, or on a continent of nations.

For nations, we used to call it "self-determination." Is that a thing any more?

Anyway, I think you ran a letter along these lines back in like February or March responding to a review of Sue Benjamin's book but actually running articles is even better. Wish you had run articles like this sooner but okay. Maybe I missed them. And, I get it, it's all very contentious.



Re: Henry Kissinger Is a Disgusting War Criminal.

As Henry Kissinger celebrated his 100th year birthday, during this Memorial weekend, mainstream media lauded his brilliance and lifetime of achievement. Predictably ignored, were the literally thousands of Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese children, whose chance to reach adulthood was cruelly severed by Kissinger- promoted airstrikes.

The Washington Post ran a proud column by Kissinger’s son David pondering the secrets of his longevity. The "real secret of my father’s endurance is his sense of mission." Some might think him a "cold realist," but his unrecognized idealism is salient. "He believes deeply in such arcane concepts as patriotism, loyalty, and bipartisanship. It pains him to see the nastiness in today’s public discourse and the seeming collapse of the art of diplomacy."

Notably absent from David’s list are other "arcane concepts" – including human rights, the rule of law, the sovereignty of nations, the sanctity of democratic governance. Also sidestepped in the outpouring of tributes were the many places, where Kissinger’s actions contributed to vast human tragedies, among them, Bangladesh, Chile, Argentina, and East Timor.

But what of Vietnam, the place where Kissinger left his mark as ostensible peacemaker? During Nixon’s first term in office, the National Security Advisor traveled back and forth from Washington to Paris and Saigon to achieve a settlement. This Herculean effort finally resulted in the four-power Paris Peace Agreement of January 27, 1973. For this accomplishment Kissinger and his North Vietnamese counterpart Le Duc Tho were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Kissinger readily accepted, Le Duc Tho did not.

That Kissinger emerged from this enterprise with an enhanced reputation was largely the result of the network of relationships with celebrities, reporters, and columnists, which he had carefully cultivated. Through these private communications he conveyed the impression that unlike Nixon and his immediate circle, he was a moderate "dove" – someone distanced from the carnage taking place on the ground, who was bending every effort to terminate it.

There were grains of truth. Kissinger desperately wanted to secure a Vietnam peace agreement, which could solidify his standing with Nixon and enhance his national profile. But the peace agreement he was charged with pursuing, was on American terms: mutual troop withdrawal of North Vietnamese and US troops from South Vietnam, and the retention of the existing Thieu government, at least for a time.

It quickly became obvious to Kissinger that there was zero prospect that Hanoi would agree to mutual withdrawal, an aim that he reluctantly abandoned. However, the retention of an independent South Vietnamese government was essential for Nixon and for others in the Administration. If that regime disappeared, it would be all too obvious that the United States had lost the war.

How to avoid that outcome? Behind the scenes, Henry Kissinger was a leading "hawk " -at times more aggressive in his approach than even the President. If there was any group that commanded his respectful attention, it was the military leadership- in the Pentagon and at military headquarters in Saigon (MACV). It was no accident that within his NSC staff, it was Brigadier General Al Haig, who largely eclipsed the more intellectual experts, including Morton Halperin, Anthony Lake, Roger Morris and others.

Read more here  

One Hundred Years of Kissinger
by Carolyn Eisenberg
May 31, 2023

[Carolyn Eisenberg is the author of Fire and Rain: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Wars in Southeast Asia (Oxford University Press). She is also a Professor of US History and American Foreign Policy at Hofstra University.]

A.I. Lies  --  Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Nick Anderson
May 31, 2023
Pen Strokes

Re: UPS Teamsters Are Ready To Strike  

The UPS contract fight therefore comes at a pivotal moment for US labor. What happens here could shape the direction of the movement for years to come — not only because this contract covers several hundred thousand workers who move 6 percent of US GDP daily, but also because the issues at stake in this fight are representative of those faced by workers across the economy.

This contract fight is about two visions of work in the twenty-first century. One is promoted by workers: equal pay for equal work, dignity and autonomy on the job, and a stable work-life balance. The other is promoted by Wall Street: hypersurveillance, low pay, subcontracting, gig work, and “flexible” scheduling practices that hurt workers and benefit bosses.
The expectations of rank-and-file Teamsters are high. If the two-tier wage structure of drivers is not eliminated on day one of this contract, it is a strike issue. If part-time workers do not get a significant pay increase, it is a strike issue. If all workdays beyond the five-day workweek are not totally voluntary, it is a strike issue.
They kept the economy running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic without a penny of hazard pay and watched UPS make record profits off their backs while working forced overtime. Of course they now want their fair share.

Lorraine Suzuki
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Barboncino Workers Are Forming New York City’s First Unionized Stand-Alone Pizzeria

(posting on Portside Labor)  

many thanks for this information and cheers to union struggles!

Anne Pruden

Re: Thousands of Early-Career NIH Researchers Forming Union for First Time

(posting on Portside Labor)  

"Push for better pay and benefits among US scientists arrives at world’s largest biomedical funder."

Norm Littlejohn
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

What An Offer  --  Cartoon by Mike Luckovich

Mike Luckovich
June 8, 2023
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Re: Have Any of Karl Marx’s Critics Today Actually Read Him?  

For the most part, NO. Most of Marx's critics don't know how to read.

William Hansen


The comments I have read from those on Right indicate that they are woefully ignorant of who Marx was and what he believed. Supposedly, according to such Wackos, Marx instigated the Russian Revolution. When a local "Anti-Marxist" posted such a statement I replied noting that Marx died long before the Russian Revolution and indeed had written that he neither expected nor encouraged Socialists to attempt a Revolution in such a backward country. I've read fantastic criticisms of Marx for not understanding 21st century Capitalism, how is a man writing and thinking in the 19th century supposed to anticipate the development of capitalism in the century after the next ??? Silly people, who deserve dismissal and humiliation.

Lawrence Winans


They’ll read just the Manifesto and think that means they understand Marxism.

Meanwhile, actually Marxists have read the Manifesto, Capital, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, the Civil War in France, Grundrisse, Anti-Duhring, etc etc and are still coming to new understandings constantly. The Manifesto is a long pamphlet y’all. Barely scratches the surface.

Docere Pharmakis
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Why the Dyslexic Brain Is Misunderstood

(posting on Friday Nite Videos)  

Dyslexia! A complicated issue. It would immensely improve this video - explanation if the narrator did not have the vocal affectation - commonly called the "millennial growl"

Claire O'Connor

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

(posting on Portside Culture)  

There is an interesting docu-podcast from the BBC called “Nuremberg: The trials” that uses only first person accounts that is really good

Nuremburg: The Nazi Trials

Chuck Butler
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Struggles With Air Quality in Federal Offices Put Occupants At Risk of COVID Exposure

Leadership at the General Services Administration agreed with recommendations to address the issues from its watchdog.  

The inspector general for the General Services Administration made five recommendations to remedy the issues it identified.  (Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call)

By Courtney Bublé
June 5, 2023
Government Executive

The federal government’s landlord has struggled to maintain air quality standards in its buildings thus putting occupants at risk for exposure to COVID-19, a report said on Monday. 

Ventilation in buildings owned by the General Services Administration is subject to various industry standards and federal guidance, such as from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Between November 2021 and November 2022, the agency’s watchdog conducted an audit of how a “judgmental sample” of 20 of GSA’s 1,477 owned buildings in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia complied with these standards. 

“[GSA’s Public Buildings Service] is struggling to meet the [American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineer] ventilation standard and to comply with CDC and OSHA guidance,” said a GSA inspector general report. “We found that PBS is not meeting—or does not have complete information to determine if it is meeting—the [society] ventilation standard for the majority of GSA-owned buildings. We also found that PBS has not consistently implemented CDC and OSHA recommendations to improve ventilation in GSA-owned buildings. 

Overall, the IG said, “these deficiencies increase the risk that building occupants will be exposed to airborne viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19.”

The IG made five recommendations to remedy the issues it identified, such as taking on a thorough review to determine if air handlers in GSA owned buildings meet the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineer ventilation standard and making sure PBS staff who have ventilation system responsibilities are trained properly. 

PBS Commissioner Nina Albert wrote in a response to the IG that they agree with the recommendations and outlines the steps the agency has taken or plans to take. “PBS considers indoor air quality to be vitally important for our occupant agencies, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. 

This was not the first time GSA was dinged for air quality issues by its watchdog. 

The IG released reports about ventilation issues at the GSA headquarters child care center in March 2022; challenges to install CDC-recommended air filters in some GSA buildings in September 2022; and ventilation issues in unrenovated wings of the GSA headquarters in November 2022. 

The Wealthiest Billionaire in Each U.S. State in 2022

By Aran Ali
Graphics/Design:  Athul Alexander

Published 9 months ago on August 28, 2022
Visual Capitalist

Mapped: The Wealthiest Billionaire in Each U.S. State in 2022

The U.S. is home to over a quarter of the world’s billionaires, representing about 720 of the roughly 2,700 that exist globally.

While the country has more billionaires than any other, the U.S. share of global billionaires has actually been shrinking in recent decades. In 2010, about 40% of the world’s billionaire population lived in America⁠—and today, that number is closer to 27%.

But who is the richest billionaire in every American state in 2022? This graphic uses data from Forbes to find out.

Read full article here  

Building Trades and Climate Justice workshop: Fighting for green and sustainable jobs - June  11  (Labor Rise Climate Jobs Action Group)

This workshop is intended for active union building trades workers only.

Please share with active building trades workers concerned about climate change and jobs.

June 11 (online) workshop:
Building Trades and Climate Justice Workshop:
Fighting for green and sustainable jobs

Zoom Registration Link:   https://bit.ly/GreenJobs-230611

Date & Time: Sunday June 11, 2023. 10:30 AM to 12PM Pacific Time
(11:30 MT // 12:30 CT // 1:30 ET)

Union Construction workers have been building alliances with other unions and community groups to get funding or support for jobs that serve local needs. Greening the schools and other public spaces are projects that provide good jobs for construction workers and benefit communities whose public schools need critical repairs and a transition to renewable energy. How are the Building Trades active in greening the schools campaigns?

Rank-and-file workers will present on recent campaigns in Austin and LA to get green projects off the ground. There will be time for Q&A and discussion.


Cameron Dodd, IBEW Local 520, Austin, TX

Chris Bonfilio & Celina Haas, IBEW Local 11, Los Angeles, CA

Please share only with rank and file building trades members.

Questions? Contact building-trades-convo@laborrise.org

Bill Fletcher Jr. on Race, Class and the Crime Novel - New York - June 26  (Hard Ball Press)

You’re Invited! Bill Fletcher Jr. on Race, Class and the Crime Novel

Monday, June 26 · 6 - 8:30pm EDT

25 Broadway #9th floor
New York, NY 10004

“Race is not linear; it’s not just a dichotomy. In reality, it’s a method of social control — and it’s a method of social control that mutates.”

To mark the launch of his NEW mystery thriller “The Man Who Changed Colors” from Hard Ball Press, Bill Fletcher Jr. will be discussing the deep societal issues and themes explored in the latest adventures of his “everyman” protagonist — investigative reporter David Gomes!

Registration is required for entry. Sign up for the FREE event HERE.

Source URL: https://portside.org/2023-06-08/tidbits-june-8-2023-reader-comments-why-i-voted-no-mccarthy-agreement-supreme-court