Thursday, July 20, 2023

Little Doo-Doo's a disaster

SCRIPPS NEWS reports more problems for Governor Goofball:

The state of Florida violates the rights of children with complex medical needs, a federal judge decided late last week. 

According to the Department of Justice, these children were unnecessarily institutionalized in nursing homes while placing other children at serious risk of unnecessary institutionalization.

The DOJ claimed that state policies violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The suit claims the state caused harm by separating children from their families and community. 

The suit also claims that many parents wanted their children to live at home, but were left with few options other than institutionalization. The federal judge's decision comes after nearly a decade of litigation. 

If you're not getting it Ronald Dion DeSantis has been governor of Florida since 2019.  That's a reflection on  him.  

So yesterday, Doo-Doo Ron Ron bumbled through an interview on CNN with Jake Tapper -- Doo-Doo insisting that his campaign was fine and perfect.  Today?  NBC NEWS reports:

The long knives are out for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign manager amid a cash crunch and flagging poll numbers. 

Generra Peck, DeSantis’ top aide, is “hanging by a thread,” said one DeSantis donor who is close to the campaign.

Some of the governor’s allies communicated themselves or through proxies that they want DeSantis to fire Peck or “layer” her — a less-public demotion in which she would have to report to a new boss — according to two more DeSantis allies familiar with discussions around the campaign’s struggles.

“It is the chatter among donors and it extends beyond the first rung of the bundler class. Money people are losing confidence quickly,” a DeSantis money-bundler told NBC News. “It’s time for that kind of change. It’s time for a shakeup at the top.” 

The idea that DeSantis needs a shake-up is widely held amongst Republicans, according to conversations NBC News had with roughly a dozen strategists and donors, both affiliated with the campaign and not. 

He's had to lay off staff because he's not bringing in much money and the early donors have already maxed out.  His campaign is a nightmare.  If he can't run a campaign, how does he think he could ever be president?

Donald Trump must lay in bed at night laughing when he thinks that Doo-Doo's his big competition for the Republican Party's presidential nomination.  What a disaster little Doo-Doo is. 

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, July 17, 2023.  Where most would either apologize for a huge scandal or run from it, Robert F. Kennedy Jr tries to fundraise off it, the hate merchants continue to swarm across the country (Junior may be the leader they've been waiting for), a recent protest in Iraq is confusing, and much more.

Starting in the US, with the hustle for the money that so many useless campaigns depend upon.  Look who dropped into inboxes yesterday, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  Junior's not been that attentive to the people who signed up for e-mails from his campaign. 

Sure, if you called him him out on COVID or his standing with transphobes or whatever, you got the "Thank you for your feedback" e-mail asking you to donate money.  But otherwise, they really didn't reach out, now did they?

They ignored you for all of June until June 21st with "This looks like a $100 million campaign."  They informed in that e-mail that June 30th was looming and they would be announcing the amount of fundraising so please, please toss in some cash.  June 28's "Crucial deadline" reminded you of it again as did June 29's "Join RFK Jr.'s push for strong leadership" and June 30's "Our first million dollar day" and "Just five hours left."  Two in one day tired Junior out so bad, he didn't come begging again until July 7th with "We asked, you delivered." And that was it until yesterday -- eleven days later -- with "Let's show them where the power REALLY is."  

Contrast that with John Kerry's bid for the Democratic Party's 2004 presidential bid.  By spring 2003, his campaign was e-mailing daily sometimes more than once a day.  And they were a little bit less obviously whorish.  They'd have John or Mary Beth Cahill as the signee and noting this or that issue in the news.  They'd rope it someone else with a statement, like John Glenn.  

I guess the one area that Junior is on message with is: Gimmie your money. Gimmie.

And he really needs you to gimmie right now because so many have stopped due to the weekend report of his racist and anti-semitic claims.  If you're late the to the party, RELIGIOUS NEWS SERVICE reported:

In retrospect, we should have seen this coming.

Robert Kennedy, Jr., who has presidential ambitions, has long trafficked in conspiracy theories. In particular, he is an anti-vaxxer. 

This week, however, he went to the truly dark side:

“Covid-19. There is an argument that it is ethnically targeted. Covid-19 attacks certain races disproportionately,” Mr. Kennedy said at a private gathering in New York that was captured on videotape by The New York Post. “Covid-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”

So, yes — shocked, but not surprised. 

RFK Jr. might take a certain pride in the fact that this antisemitic conspiracy theory has a long lineage.

He refences that body blow to his campaign in the first line of the e-mail, "We deserve a President who's willing to tell the truth, especially when it's difficult."

So you were telling the truth when you said COVID was created by the Chinese or the Jews or both to target White people and African-Americans?

It's hard to follow, Junior.  First your response was you didn't say it.  Then you were misquoted.  Then it was supposed to be off the record.

So now you're saying you told the world the truth?

It doesn't get better as the e-mail goes along.

Last week I sat down for a private, “off the record” dinner, with members of the press in New York. Since then, the media has launched a desperate smear campaign to continue their efforts to marginalize me in the eyes of the public.

No, you didn't sit down for an "off the record" dinner because there is no such thing, you stupid moron.  There's a dinner where conversations are "off the record."  But there's no off the record dinner.

These attacks are baseless and fly in the face of my own decades-long history of strong support for the Jewish community, as well as my family’s lifelong support for civil rights.

They're baseless attacks?  Really?  Because I know you and I know Kerry.  And your sister didn't want to call you out publicly.   Here is the statement Kerry Kennedy issued:

I strongly condemn my brother's deplorable and untruthful remarks last week about Covid being engineered for ethnic targeting. His statements do not represent what I believe or what Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights stand for, with our 50+-year track record of protecting rights and standing against racism and all forms of discrimination.

Click here to go to The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Organization to read the statement if you don't believe it.

And Olafimihan Oshin (THE HILL) reports:

Former Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) Monday joined other family members in publicly condemning Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s recent remarks on COVID-19, which became public over the weekend and were widely criticized as antisemitic and anti-Asian.

“My uncle’s comments were hurtful and wrong,” the 42-year-old former congressman wrote in a tweet Monday. “I unequivocally condemn what he said.” 

I don't think you can hide behind anything with regards to "my family's lifelong" when your family is publicly calling you out and rejecting your statements.  When you've brought real shame to the Kennedy name.  The big bet, among your family, was that your outrageous remarks were going to be about LGBTQ+ people.  No one in your family was expecting you to go for the gold with racism.  

Yet here we are.

Junior insists:

As we all know, the more that my campaign catches on with the American public, the more I will be attacked and smeared by a press whose job it is to marginalize anyone who challenges entrenched interests, such as the military-industrial complex with its endless wars, and Big Pharma with its hijacking of American healthcare.

You don't believe in universal healthcare and you don't believe in regulating pharmacy so this is just another example of you spitting our words without giving them any thought.  You know that kind of posing played well in your twenties but when you left your thirties, it just looked sad.

And, excuse me, your campaign catching on.  It's done the complete opposite.  In your campaign's first e-mail you were trumpeting 20% support among Democrats.  But not only have you not increased that number, it actually fell to 16% and that's before you decided to grab a torch and a white sheet as you went around burning crosses on front lawns.

Junior insists:

The intensity of their attacks shows they are taking me — and my chances of winning — seriously. They have stooped to this because their other efforts at silencing me have failed.

No.  People are getting tired of you and no one wants to indulge you anymore.  You're not John-John in your shorts saluting at a funeral.  You're a 69-year-old man named Junior who has disappointed the hell out of so many in such a short time.

Junior claims:

We can show them that these smear tactics won’t work outside the echo chamber of corporate media. They won’t work, because of supporters like you who see through these tactics that have been used over decades to smear one peace advocate after another. 

The echo chamber of corporate media?  Your sister Kerry and your nephew Joe are the echo chamber of corporate media?  Junior, how many steroids are you taking?

And then he goes in for the hook, let's show the country that racism can raise money!  He writes:

Imagine what they will think when their vicious smear campaign results in MORE support, not less!

It's not a vicious smear campaign when people are holding you accountable for your own words.  And your using those words to beg for money -- when you should be apologizing for what you said, you're instead winding down your e-mail with "Let’s show them where the real power is -- in the millions of Americans like you who support a presidential candidate willing to tell them the truth. "

You really are disgusting.  David Smith (GUARDIAN) reports on a study by the Congressional Integrity Project:

But the Project’s document argues that Kennedy’s recent comments about Jewish and Chinese people, which were quickly hailed by Neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers as “100% correct”, were not an aberration but fitted a long pattern.

Earlier this summer Kennedy touted a meeting with Ice Cube, a rapper who issued bizarre antisemitic tweets, and publicly defended musician Roger Waters, who was embroiled in controversy after donning a costume intended to evoke Nazi attire at a concert in Germany.

The report says Kennedy has also repeatedly promoted and praised fringe online broadcaster James Corbett, a Sandy Hook and 9/11 conspiracy theorist who has claimed that “Hitler and the Nazis were 100% completely and utterly set up”.

Kennedy has often allied himself with National of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who regularly unleashed tirades about alleged Jewish control of media and government. Kennedy met Farrakhan at his Chicago home in 2015, with Farrakhan later tweeting that they discussed “a vaccine that is designed to affect Black males”.

The Project details how Kennedy himself has frequently invoked Nazi Germany when pushing debunked theories about vaccines. He put out a video that showed infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci with a mustache reminiscent of Adolf Hitler and used the word “holocaust” to describe children he believes were hurt by vaccines in 2015.

Last year, at a Washington rally organized by his group Children’s Health Defense, Kennedy complained that people’s rights were being violated by public health measures that had been taken to reduce the number of people sickened and killed by Covid-19. He said: “Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps to Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did.” He later apologised.

For years, the document says, Kennedy has targeted a particularly dangerous form of vaccine denial at Black people. In 2021 at the height of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, he released Medical Racism, a film that promoted disproven claims about the dangers of vaccines and explicitly warned communities of color to be suspicious of “sinister” vaccination campaigns.

Several doctors and experts who participated in the film later denounced it and said they felt used and misled about the message of the documentary. Richard Allen Williams, founder of the Association of Black Cardiologists, called Children’s Health Defense “absolutely a racist operation” particularly dangerous to the Black community.

Staying o the topic of hate merchants, Canaan Lidor (TIMES OF ISRAEL) reports:

About 20 protesters in Toledo, Ohio, picketed a festival organized by an LGBTQ advocacy group and later continued outside the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo, which called the protesters neo-Nazis.

The events Saturday began outside the Lost Fest event organized by the Equality Toledo LGBTQ advocacy group and continued opposite the offices of the Jewish group.

“Yesterday evening, over a dozen masked neo-Nazis carrying tiki torches attempted to harass attendees at an LGBTQ+ pride event in downtown Toledo before coming to the Jewish Toledo campus in Sylvania to harass Jews,” Laurie Gross, the president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo, wrote in a statement Sunday cosigned by three other Jewish community leaders.

“To members of our Jewish community, there are no known active threats at this time,” read the statement.

The cosignatories wrote that the Jewish community “unequivocally condemns these acts of hate meant to instill fear in our hearts and minds,” adding: “We are stronger than hate. We are united with our partners in the LGBTQ+ community, refusing to be silent in the face of baseless hatred.”

This is not in isolation.  If you're a woman of any race, if you're Jewish, if you appear to be an immigrant, if you're Asian-American or African-American, these hate groups are coming for you.  They are making no secret of it.  As Ava and I noted last night in "TV: The fork is stuck in her ass and, yes, she's done:"

Sidebar, we were sent what is supposedly Glenneth's browser history.  If it is accurate, he's even more disgusting than we thought.  If it hadn't been sent this morning, we'd be working on that as a story.  Not on the Glenneth aspect -- we don't know whether it's really his browser history or not -- but on the issue that Twitter is platforming hate speech.  This is much worse than what people usually complain about with regards to Twitter.  This is "White power" accounts promoting Donald Trump while ripping African-Americans, gays, trans, Jewish and pretty much everyone.  And to be clear, they're not using terms like African-American or gay.  
It is disgusting and it is appalling and there's no way in the world that Elon Musk is doing his job yet is unaware of these accounts. 
There is a movement to target any group that's a minority.  

You've got Twitter accounts that are posting videos of women being punched in the face with Tweets about how they shouldn't have any rights, you've got Twitter accounts pimping "White pride" and attacking African-Americans, you've got them using hate speech against LGBTQ+ people yet with all those options of terms to use -- lesbian, gay, bi, trans or queer -- they're resorting to the f-word.

And this is all over Twitter.  And no one's calling out.  It makes what has been called out on Twitter look like a joke.  

People need to wake the hell up to what's going on and not think that they are in any way safe.

Meanwhile, the federal government comes to a halt as two petty US senators have a hissy fit.  Tracy Wilkinson (LOS ANGELES TIMES) reports:

A handful of senators is blocking the confirmation of dozens of highly regarded Biden administration ambassadorial appointments over largely partisan issues having nothing to do with the nominees' qualifications, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said Monday.

In an unusual head-on confrontation with Congress, Blinken complained that action by some senators is crippling the ability of the United States to project its influence on the global stage, stifling the U.S. voice in critical countries in the Middle East and Europe during the raging war in Ukraine and undermining national security.

The diplomatic delays come as hundreds of U.S. military promotions — including the appointment of the commander of the Marine Corps, leaving an acting leader in charge for the first time in more than 100 years — blocked by a single Republican senator from Alabama, former football coach Tommy Tuberville. He objects to the Defense Department’s efforts to provide reproductive and gender-affirming care to service members.

"By failing to confirm these nominees, a handful of senators are keeping our best players on the sidelines," Blinken said.

Now that's the raving hate merchant Tommy Tuberville.  He's not the only one holding up nominations.  Everyone's favorite home-perm senator, Rand Paul, is holding up another group of nominees.  Patricia Zengerle and Simon Lewis (REUTERS) report:

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that a Senate delay in confirming President Joe Biden's nominees for diplomatic positions was undermining national security, echoing similar concerns from defense officials on delays to military promotions.

Blinken told reporters that he had sent a letter to every member of the Senate urging swift confirmation of dozens of nominees for State Department positions.

The nominations are being held back by Republican Senator Rand Paul while he seeks information from the administration on the origins of COVID-19.

Turning to Iraq, at the end of last week, there were two protests in Iraq.  One makes sense, the other's a question mark.  Let's start with the latter. UNITED NEWS OF INDIA notes, "Hundreds of Shia supporters have taken to the streets of the Iraqi capital Baghdad where an anti-American protest was held on Friday, Shafaq News reports. The protesters gathered at the entrance to the Green Zone, where government buildings and the US embassy are located." SPUTNIK adds, "Supporters of Shia groups voiced protest against US meddling in Iraq's internal affairs, as well as Washington's threats to eliminate the leaders of the formations, Shafaq News said."  OUTLOOK INDIA has a photo essay of the protest hereTASNIM types, "Recent reports from US media have suggested that Washington is planning to assassinate leaders of anti-terror resistance groups in Iraq, particularly the Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba. The US claims that the group was responsible for a deadly drone strike on US forces in Syria in March."  That's the confusing part.

And it's not just TASNIm repeating it.  Recent reports?  By US media?  I haven't seen any and I just searched THE WASHINGTON POST, AP, THE NEW YORK TIMES, CNN, CBS NEWS and THE LOS ANGELES TIMES.  Where are these US media reports suggesting the US government "is planning to assassinate leaders of anti-terror resistance groups in Iraq"?  They don't appear to exist.  Maybe someone just had a slow Friday and needed to get out and get their steps in?

The other protest is easier to follow.  KURDISTAN 24 reports:

The demolishment of the Al-Sarai Mosque's minaret on Friday morning in Basra sparked protests amongst the Sunni community in Iraq.
The Al-Sarai Mosque is a Sunni mosque and is one of the oldest historical mosques in Iraq. It was built in 1727 and was renovated in 1902 by Abdulwahab Pasha bin Ahmed al-Qurtas.
The Governor of Basra Asad al-Edani announced that the demolition of the minaret was due to complaints from citizens that the minaret created obstacles to traffic and the implementation of a strategic road project in the city.

Okay, that one is easy to follow X took place leading to Y protest.  Again, there have been no US media reports of assassination plans.  And if that detail was left out of the Bagdad reports, the story would be less confusing.  On Basra, Mina Aldroubi and Holly Johnston (THE NATIONAL) report:

The minaret of Al Saraji mosque in Basra stood 11 metres high and was destroyed at dawn on Friday despite calls by local officials to restore and preserve the site.

"We consider this a crime against humanity and Iraqis," said Mustafa Al Hussaini, director of Basra's antiquities department.

He said they were not informed that the structure would be demolished.

"I am in shock and am getting condolence messages," Mr Al Hussaini added.

"Some officials are even embarrassed to approach me.

Most of last week, we were noting the climate change effects taking place in Iraq.  Climate change models predict that Iraq will be one of the worst hit by climate change in the coming years.  Shivam Dwivedi  (KRISHI JAGRAN) notes:     

Iraq is currently grappling with a dire water shortage, putting the livelihoods of many farmers and food producers at risk. Qasem Karam, an Iraqi fish farmer from the southern province of Basra, is one of those affected. Walking across arid land in the blistering midday heat, Karam gestures towards his dried-up carp ponds, which were once nourished by the Shatt al-Arab river.
He lamented that everything was now saturated with salt due to water scarcity and pollution, pointing to nearby patches of white salt crust. He mentioned that the ponds had required significant time, money, and effort to establish, and they had a promising economic plan, but it had all been destroyed.

Most reporting this week has noted the impact on fishing, the impact on farming and the impact on drinking water.   As Laure Al Khoury (AFP) points out, it's more than that:

With scorching temperatures and power cuts, Wissam Abed cools off from Baghdad's brutal summer by swimming in the Tigris river, but as Iraqi rivers dry up, so does the age-old pastime.

Near a bridge linking the east of the city to the west, Abed stood in the middle of the river, but the water only came up to his waist.

"I live here in Adhamiya, like my grandfather did before me. Year after year, the water situation gets worse," said the 37-year-old, referring to his neighbourhood nestled along the Tigris in northern Baghdad.

Abed waded through the water to the middle of the ancient river, as temperatures reached near 50 degrees celsius (122 Farenheit) and wind whipped through the city like a hair dryer one July afternoon.

He told AFP he comes to the Tigris "to have fun and feel refreshed".

Summer in Iraq is a prime example of the convergences of multiple crises weighing down the lives of the 43-strong population: a dilapidated electricity sector, rising temperatures and severe water shortages.

Another AFP article we noted last week on this topic has been republished this week after the agency determined it to be one of the best reports of last week, so check that out if you missed it last week.

The water is disappearing.  And what's in the water that Iraq still has access to?  MEMO explains:

Chemicals and waste materials from various government institutions and power plants are polluting the River Tigris, causing skin diseases and colon cancer.

Sewage waters are also poured into the River Tigris, which passes through the capital, Baghdad, which has a population of approximately 9 million.

Liquids containing toxic and chemical substances coming out of Baghdad City hospitals are also released into the River Tigris. In addition, people living in neighbourhoods along the river also throw their garbage into the river.

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