Saturday, June 10, 2023

Idiot of the week . . .

As requested, an Idiot of the Week named on Saturday.  (See "" from earlier this week.)

Some people are stupid and you can forgive them because they're just stupid and not harming anyone.  They're the ones who says things like, "That kid Mikey who was in the cereal commercials?  He did from eating Pop Rocks while drinking a Diet Coke."

Stupid.  But harmless.

Then there are the stupids like John Stauber who are a clear and present danger to themselves and others.

I think he set a new record for himself for the amount of times he could Tweet transphobic garbage this week.  And he capped it off today by going all the way to Norway to find an 'expert' on both the topic of transgender children and the US -- an RT tool infamous for echoing Putin's homophobia for years now.  You'd think John would know that, right?

Thing is, he did know it.  This week, he also attacked THE NATION magazine multiple times, Amy Goodman and DEMOCRACY NOW! multiple times, etc, etc.  But found time to praise Marjorie Taylor Greene and Tucker Carlson.

Is anybody still pretending this bitch is left?

He's transphobe who hates immigrants.  He's garbage and he's an idiot for thinking this isn't lowering his image with each passing day.  Already everyone's forgotten what he actually wrote of value over a decade ago.  Today he's only known as the hate merchant he is.  

He is our Idiot of the Week.  Hopefully, Pat Robertson needs a buddy in hell and he'll be calling John Stauber to join him.

Speaking of stupid, Ron DeSantis.  He wants to destroy the country, but right now he's just destroying Florida. Greg Owen (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s (R) culture war is coming back to bite him.

Florida is seeing an exodus of convention business — and the money that comes with it — in the wake of the Republican governor/presidential candidate’s anti-woke agenda.  

“We will not return until this legislation is overturned, and the state becomes more welcoming to all,” said Brenda Darden Wilkerson, the head of California-based

She said the group’s gathering at the Orlando/Orange County Convention Center in September will be its last.

Their annual Grace Hopper Celebration hosts 16,000 women technologists.

“We owe it to our community — to those women and nonbinary technologists — to be vigilant,” she said in a statement.

Wilkerson cited a litany of discriminatory legislation enacted by DeSantis and the Florida legislature for the pullout, including “laws that banned most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, cracked down on illegal immigration and lifted permit requirements for carrying a concealed gun in public,” along with measures intended to “erase the identities and dignities of people from historically marginalized and excluded groups, including Black, Brown, LGBTQIA+, and Indigenous people.”

According to Wilkerson, Grace Hopper is the world’s largest gathering of women in computing. The convention called Orlando home for five out of the last 15 years, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

The city took a second hit with the withdrawal of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, a group of 7,000 nurses and exhibitors who moved their 2027 convention to Philadelphia.

This idiot is ruining Florida's economy in front of our eyes and he thinks he's fit to be president?   Matt Dixon (NBC NEWS) reports:

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ chief of staff was among the biggest political fundraisers helping launch DeSantis' presidential campaign, an unusual instance of a highly influential taxpayer-funded aide’s doubling as a top political bundler.

And part of the way he raised that money was by having other government officials help him solicit cash from lobbyists.

The move, besides being out of the ordinary, raises ethical questions, and it shocked many of those Republican lobbyists here in Florida’s capital who felt pressured to donate because they have business before the administration. It also underscores the extent to which DeSantis has used the state government to further his ambitions.

The governor’s chief of staff, James Uthmeier, helped raise at least $423,042 for his presidential campaign in the hours after the May 24 launch.

[. . .]

The arrangement in which taxpayer-funded staffers who work for a governor’s office openly solicit campaign contributions is highly out of the ordinary. Generally, a candidate’s campaign team and fundraisers raise the cash, and the operation is siloed off from government officials.

A longtime Florida election law attorney last month told NBC News that even if the DeSantis administration officials are raising money for the campaign in their personal capacities, it represents a “misuse of public position … that is obvious to anyone paying attention.”

The concern is heightened because DeSantis has yet to act on Florida’s $117 billion state budget. The governor has line-item veto authority, meaning he is able to veto specific spending projects tied to lawmakers or lobbyists, adding to the pressure felt by lobbyists who were solicited to give to his campaign.

“What the f--- am I supposed to do?” a lobbyist who received one of the text messages said last month. “I have a lot of business in front of the DeSantis administration.” 

Ben Wilcox, a co-founder of the nonpartisan government watchdog group Integrity Florida, said that influential administration officials’ trying to raise political contributions is highly out of the ordinary and that it raises legal and ethical questions.

Looks like he may end up cell mates with George Santos.  Who's the crazy running the GOP these days?

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

Friday, June 9, 2023.  A lunatic in Congress claims (lies) that the FBI has stated that they can't protect a witness, no-surprise Tara Always Changes Her Story Reade is yet again changing her story, the heavens open with relief as the angels realized there wasn't a snow ball's chance in hell that Pat Robertson was going to be at the Pearly Gates, and much, much more.

Well Pat Robertson finally did something good for America -- he died.  Too bad he couldn't have done it years ago.  For more see Kat's "Hate merchant Pat Robertson has passed away."  Paul Rudnick notes:

Pat Robertson has died. He said gay people caused hurricanes and wore special rings which spread AIDS, and that gay marriage was worse than murder. He's survived by this poster on the wall of Mike Pence's bedroom

— Paul Rudnick (@PaulRudnickNY) June 8, 2023

Let's go from crazy Pat Robertson to crazy Tara Reade.   TWITTER's had to provide 'context' to a recent reTweet by Tara noting that it's a lie.  Poor Tara, if she were capable of embarrassment or shame, this would be a very difficult time for her.  

But all of her Tweets should come with context since she's so estranged from the truth.  For example, Tara's labeled this piece by Froma Harrop to be "slut shaming."  Is she that stupid or is she now on drugs?  It's not slut shaming.  Froma does not go into Tara's past relationships or even mention them.  She's very clear that she doesn't believe Tara regarding her allegation that Joe Biden assaulted her in the nineties.  I honestly do believe her but that's not "slut praising" anymore than Froma's slut shaming her.   People don't have to believe her.  Ruth went over this in "Tara Reade threatens to sit on George Takei and squash him" when Ruth pointed out George Takei not believing Tara was assaulted is not him slandering her.  No one has to believe her and due to her own credibility issues she's made even more people doubt her.  

That's not what I really want to note.

I also am not eager to point out her latest lie.  Per her 'representative' (a woman who can't practice law in the US or in Russia -- apparently, Tara's such a credit risk she can't get a local attorney in either country), Tara told US Rep Matt Gaetz that she received "intelligence" in Russia.  She hasn't received intelligence -- or common sense -- in any place she's lived or traveled.  But Tara told Matt -- and according to her 'rep' she said so on THE HILL -- that she's received "intelligence" that her life was being threatened and he advised her to stay in Russia.

First off, if true, let me say two words I'll probably never say again: Thank you, Matt Gaetz.  Now if you could encourage some other whack jobs to leave the country . . .

Here's the thing though, Tara's stated already that Matt's the one who warned her.  That seemed suspect but that was her story.  Matt warned her and that's why she's staying in Russia.

Now she's claiming that she got the "intelligence."  

Take a moment to laugh and then we'll pick right back up.

I wish we had time to call out Sabby Sabs and all the other garbage praising Robbie of THE HILL for bringing nut job Tara Reade on.  But we don't.  We will note he's a transphobe and a gay basher and so, Sabby Sabs, we're not at all surprised to see you praising him.

That's not why we bring it up.  Nor to ask why Tara is obviously unable to get shampoo in Russia -- but did get a really bad dye job.

No, we're bringing her up because of the crazy in Congress.  And this time let's zoom in on US House Rep Anna Paulina Luna who Tara can't stop reTweeting -- Tara loves those homophobes.  Anna Lunatic is someone who needs to be brought before the ethics board.  Maybe if Democrats regain control of the House they do that?  This Tweet should never have happened:

The FBI stated "they were afraid the informant would be killed if unmasked"?  So the FBI, you insane lunatic, that has protected many witnesses against the mob, has stated they have a witness that they can't protect?  Goodness that would be front page news . . . if it actually happened.

But it didn't.  And Crazy Lunatic didn't make that statement on the floor of Congress, she did it in a Tweet which means she's not protected from lying.  

That lie needs to be hammered and hammered.  Merrick Garland needs to issue a statement noting that the FBI has said no such thing.

These people just make up crap and then those already struggling with reality -- people like Tara -- hear it and start repeating it as truth.

If the FBI told Congress that they had a witness they couldn't protect, one of two things would happen in the real world:  Kevin McCarthy, as head of the House of Representatives, would be announcing that to the American people or they all wouldn't be saying a word because they were briefed on it in a closed session.  

But Lunatic puts it on TWITTER.  I do feel some sympathy for Anna Lunatic.  If George Santos weren't in this Congress, she'd be getting a lot more attention for all of her lies -- including that "Mexican" grandfather that in fact was German.  She's got her string of lies but George always manages to soak up all the attention.  Your day will come, Luna Lunatic, your day will come.

And, sadly, seriously sad, we will no longer be noting Bonnie Erbe's TO THE CONTRARY.  It has been a great program and has addressed many important issues -- I'm sure it will continue to do so.  But I was informed last night about two panelists and I'm sorry I'm not promoting the program anymore.  I had no problem with their conservative fiscal views or other conservative views.  But there is a difference between conservative views and the views of hate merchants.  Applause to Bonnie for her work over the years and hopefully my walking away will mean some others will be interested in promoting the show -- the longest running show focusing on women still in production.  

Bonnie was attacked in 2008 for refusing to join the dogpile on Sarah Palin.  Bonnie has been a brave face and voice for feminism.  I applaud her.

But there is a war going on in this country, a war against the LGBTQ+ community and I will not have this site, this platform do anything to promote that war.  And grasp that this means anyone can be dropped from getting noted here if I'm dropping Bonnie.

"What could we have done to stop the attacks on the LGBTQ+ community?"  LGBTQ NATION asks that at their site.  I have an answer for that and it's not pretty and probably not anything they want to here.  But in September, those of us who are arm-in-arm with the LGBTQ+ community fled like fairweather friends and a number of LGTBQ+ members -- especially sassy young Twinks -- decided to trash the man everyone was fleeing from instead of standing up.  Every tactic that now works for them when they go after Dylan or whomever, they practiced that back in September and people were too damn stupid to realize what was at stake.  They're using the same tactics -- that they perfected last September -- to attack African-Americans -- and if you're struggling to see that, you are the problem.

I can't go into this right now, it would take hours and hours.  I might write about it this weekend.

But that's the past and I can't change that.  But what I can do to stop attacks right now is not promote or elevate hate merchants.  


Let's note whistle-blower Chelsea Manning as we turn to Iraq. Monday April 5th, WIKILEAKS released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Chelsea Manning and she stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to [her] personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." Manning had been convicted in the public square despite the fact that she's been convicted in no state and has made no public statements -- despite any claims otherwise, she had made no public statements. Manning was now at Quantico in Virginia, under military lock and key and still not allowed to speak to the press. Paul Courson (CNN) noted [Chelsea] is a suspect and, "He has not admitted guilt in either incident, his supporters say."  She was attacked repeatedly and then convicted and then pardoned.  Alonso Matinez (EL PAIS) notes today:

In an interview with the Financial Times, Manning revealed that she rarely faces hecklers regarding the intelligence leaks, but occasionally experiences attacks related to her transgender identity. She expressed her resilience, stating that she has become accustomed to such criticism and that it no longer greatly affects her.

Turning to Iraq-related issues, MIDDLE EAST EYE notes:

A former Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, has officially announced her run as a Democrat for US Congress in California’s 30th District in November 2024. 

Idan currently lives in Los Angeles and is the founder of Humanity Forward, a nonprofit bipartisan organisation “committed to building bridges among Muslims and Jews in order to surpass borders and promote reconciliation, tolerance, mutual understanding, and peace”. 

The seat is currently held by Adam Schiff, who will be leaving to run for the Senate. Schiff, who was the House Intelligence Committee chair in 2021, had welcomed the US administration's pledge to release a declassified report on who killed Jamal Khashoggi, calling for the document to be made public "without delay".

Western oil companies are exacerbating water shortages and causing pollution in Iraq as they race to profit from rising oil prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Water scarcity has already displaced thousands and increased instability, according to international experts, while Iraq is now considered the fifth most vulnerable country to the climate crisis by the UN. In the oil-rich but extremely dry south, wetlands that used to feed entire communities are now muddy canals.

Mahdi Mutir, 57, worked as a fisher his entire life. For years, Mutir and his wife woke at dusk, sailing along a thick network of canals in Al Khora, a few kilometres north of Basra. The harvest was meagre but enough to provide food for the family of seven.

That changed last year. Now, at the height of the rainy season, Mutir’s boat lies stranded in the mud.

“It is the water station the Italian company built: they need water for their oilfields,” Mutir said, pointing at the black smoke rising from the Zubayr oilfield on the horizon.

To help extract oil, companies pump large quantities of water into the ground. For each barrel of oil, many of which are later exported to Europe, up to three barrels of water are pumped into the ground. And as Iraq’s oil exports rise, its water has dramatically fallen.

The whole world is facing drastic climate change but climate models suggest that Iraq will be among the worst effected.  Back in March, Amr Salem (IRAQI NEWS) reported:

The United Nations stressed that Iraq is suffering from a real water crisis, calling for collective action to find solutions to this crisis, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.
The statement was made on Sunday by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, during her participation in Iraq Climate Conference held in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.
“There is an urgent need to find solutions to the water crisis in Iraq,” Plasschaert stated.

Urgent and it only gets more urgent each day.  Already problems are evident.  January 10th, Yale's School of Environment published Wil Crisp's article which opened:

Three years ago, the vast marshlands of southern Iraq’s Dhi Qar province were flourishing. Fishermen glided in punts across swathes of still water between vast reed beds, while buffalo bathed amid green vegetation. But today those wetlands, part of the vast Mesopotamian Marshes, have shriveled to narrow channels of polluted water bordered by cracked and salty earth. Hundreds of desiccated fish dot stream banks, along with the carcasses of water buffalo poisoned by saline water. Drought has parched tens of thousands of hectares of fields and orchards, and villages are emptying as farmers abandon their land.

For their biodiversity and cultural significance, the United Nations in 2016 named the Mesopotamian Marshes — which historically stretched between 15,000 and 20,000 square kilometers in the floodplain of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The marshes comprised one of the world’s largest inland delta systems, a startling oasis in an extremely hot and arid environment, home to 22 species of globally endangered species and 66 at-risk bird species.

But now this ecosystem — which includes alluvial salt marshes, swamps, and freshwater lakes — is collapsing due to a combination of factors meteorological, hydrological, and political. Rivers are rapidly shrinking, and agricultural soil that once grew bounties of barley and wheat, pomegranates, and dates is blowing away. The environmental disaster is harming wildlife and driving tens of thousands of Marsh Arabs, who have occupied this area for 5,000 years, to seek livelihoods elsewhere.

Experts warn that unless radical action is taken to ensure the region receives adequate water — and better manages what remains — southern Iraq’s marshlands will disappear, with sweeping consequences for the entire nation as farmers and pastoralists abandon their land for already crowded urban areas and loss of production leads to rising food prices.

The Mesopotamian marshlands are often referred to as the cradle of civilization, as anthropologists believe that this is where humankind, some 12,000 years ago, started its wide-scale transition from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement. Encompassing four separate marshes, the region has historically been home to a unique range of fish and birdlife, serving as winter habitat for migratory birds and sustaining a productive shrimp and finfish fishery. 

AP has observed, "Climate change for years has compounded the woes of the troubled country. Droughts and increased water salinity have destroyed crops, animals and farms and dried up entire bodies of water. Hospitals have faced waves of patients with respiratory illnesses caused by rampant sandstorms. Climate change has also played a role in Iraq’s ongoing struggle to combat cholera."  And now action? Or what might pass for it.   Khalid Al Ansary (BLOOMBERG NEWS) reported:

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani on Sunday kicked off an initiative to plant 5 million trees and palms across the country in an attempt to alleviate some of the deleterious impacts of climate change, a statement from his office said.

Iraq has suffered years of drought, and more than 7 million people have been effected or lost their incomes from agriculture and fishing, Al-Sudani’s office said. The war-torn, oil rich country has experienced higher temperatures, persistent drought, an increase in dust storms and a crop area cut by half, all impacts of extreme weather caused by climate change.

Real action would be addressing the use of water by the oil industry -- water that's not going to the people.  

On veterans' issues, Senator Bill Cassidy's office issued the following:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. delivered remarks during today’s hearing on examining veterans’ access to long term care.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Thank you to our witnesses for being here today to discuss how we can ensure veterans have access to the long-term care and support they need.


Our veterans sacrificed for us, so we owe it to them to work to identify gaps in care and find ways to improve the experience they receive when they work with VA to fulfill their long-term care needs. 


Access to quality long-term care is an important part of honoring our commitment to our veterans.


It’s an issue that affects the veteran, their families, the caregiver, and the community around them.


We must improve coordination between the VA, community providers, and other stakeholders so that veterans and their families do not have to struggle to access the support they earned.


As the population of aging and disabled veterans increases, VA will need to ensure high-quality and adequate staffing for VA medical facilities, clinics, and community living centers, while also expanding its footprint in the community.


I support VA’s efforts to honor veterans’ preferences for when, where, and how they receive long-term care. Veterans should have ultimate control over their health care decisions from VA.


We must also focus on caregiver support and recognize the vital role caregivers play in the well-being of our veterans. We must provide caregivers with the necessary resources, training, and support to ensure they deliver the best care.


Our hope is that your testimony will help us figure out how to do that.


I thank you again for your testimony.


Let us honor our veterans' service and sacrifice by making sure they get the best care we can give them.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield.


Watch his remarks here.

Also on veterans issues, we're going to note this from Senator Tammy Baldwin's office:

Baldwin Successfully Pushes VA to Reexamine & Pay Earned Benefits to 600 Veterans After Doctor Misdiagnosed Conditions

Doctor who misdiagnosed veterans was terminated from Tomah VA Baldwin has been advocating for new exams, proper compensation, and an investigation into doctor for 1.5 years

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After more than a year and a half of advocating on behalf of Wisconsin veterans, Senator Tammy Baldwin successfully pushed the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to identify and reexamine approximately 600 veterans whose neurological conditions were misdiagnosed by a doctor at the Tomah VA Medical Center. As a result of the misdiagnoses, these veterans had been denied proper benefits, compensation, and treatment. The VA will now work to complete reexaminations and grant equitable relief for impacted veterans. The doctor responsible for the misdiagnosis, Dr. Mary Jo Lanska, MD, has been terminated from the Tomah VA.

Since 2021, Senator Baldwin has been working with multiple Wisconsin veterans who reported that their traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other conditions were misdiagnosed by Dr. Lanska. Senator Baldwin had been calling on the VA to investigate the pattern of misdiagnoses, ensure misdiagnosed veterans get a new exam, and get the veterans the proper compensation and benefits they are deserved.

After Senator Baldwin successfully pushed the VA to review all of the compensation and pension exams that were done by Dr. Lanska and reach out to impacted veterans, the VA announced today that they identified approximately 600 veterans who received an exam from Dr. Lanska that they plan to order reexaminations of and grant equitable relief.

“Our veterans served us and we have an obligation to serve them when they come back home. Unfortunately, many of our Wisconsin heroes did not get the care at the VA that they deserved," said Senator Baldwin. “I am glad to see that after years of working alongside some of our veterans, hundreds of Wisconsinites who have been wronged by the VA will be getting the care and benefits that they earned.”

In a March meeting, Senator Baldwin pressed VA Secretary Denis McDonough to investigate the pattern of misdiagnosis and shared the Wisconsin veterans’ concerns. In August 2022, Senators Baldwin and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) sent a letter to Secretary McDonough highlighting their concerns about TBI misdiagnosis at the Tomah VA and pushing for answers about the process for veterans who may have been improperly diagnosed and not receiving the benefits they deserve. After hearing from additional veterans, in September 2022, Senator Baldwin called on the VA to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the practices of this doctor to determine whether there is a broader pattern of her misdiagnosing patients’ neurological disorders that are preventing veterans from receiving care or benefits they earned.


Senator Tammy Baldwin is an out lesbian and this is Pride Month so I'm going to try to note something from an out member of Congress in each of the snapshots for the rest of the month.  Again, focusing on what we can do.  Again, I recommend LGBTQ Nation's "What could we have done to stop the attacks on the LGBTQ+ community?" which, hopefully, we'll get everyone who cares about equality and fairness brainstorming.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, June 08, 2023

Graham Elwood, Maren Morris and Evil Little Ronnie DeSantis

Grahm Elwood.

Lot to cover.  INTO reports:

Country music superstar Maren Morris talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to LGBTQ+ allyship.

On Wednesday, in a cover story for People Magazine, Morris donned drag as country music legend Willie Nelson, alongside RuPaul’s Drag Race alums Sasha Colby, Eureka O’Hara, and Symone, and Dragula winner Landon Cider, and chatted with the drag performers about LGBTQ+ allyship and fighting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. To date this year, the ACLU has tracked 491 anti-LGBTQ+ bills within the United States, with Morris’ home state of Texas adding to the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

“I’m from Texas, I live in Tennessee, and I do love the community I have there, but these bills almost incentivize us to turn on one another,” said Morris. “They’re rewarding us to turn each other in, which feels kind of like a Nazi Germany thing where we turn on our own communities.”

Conservatives have purposefully written numerous anti-LGBTQ+ bills in order to give power to conservatives seeking to harm the LGBTQ+ community. Morris specifically discussed how anti-drag bills were purposefully “vague in their language” as a means to confuse constituents on “what is drag and what is not”. Ultimately, Morris saw it as a means to “eradicate the existence of trans people.”

As it turns out, Ron “Don’t Say Gay” DeSantis doesn’t only hate LGBTQ+ people. Apparently, he doesn’t care for World War II veterans, either.

At a recent meet-and-greet in Iowa, the flailing Florida governor was alerted there was a WW II veteran in attendance. Instead of approaching the wartime hero, DeSantis gave a simple nod, and went back to take a photo with somebody else.

“DeSantis gave a nod in the veteran’s direction, flashed a thumbs-up, thanked him for his service and turned back to someone else waiting for a photo with him,” reports MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin.

But that wasn’t the end of DeSantis’ pained interaction with one of the men responsible for defeating fascism. Iowa governor Kim Reynolds, a Republican, yelled to DeSantis that the veteran would also like his signature.

So DeSantis scribbled his name on a piece of paper; and once again, moved on to the next voter.

When asked again whether he knew there was a WW II veteran in attendance, DeSantis demurred. “I know, I signed something for him!” he yelled.

Now, nobody expects DeSantis, a champion of odious legislation against gay people, to be familiar with the 10 best LGBTQ+ military films worth watching. But he must be aware of WW II, right? They haven’t banned those books in Florida schools…yet.

Making matters worse, since WW II occurred between 1939-45, it’s fair to assume the aforementioned veteran is well into his 90s. Taking extra time to meet with a veteran is a layup for any politician–but especially a presidential hopeful.

Then again, this is Ron “Don’t Say Gay” DeSantis we’re talking about. He struggles to interact with humans at all levels.

Just last week, he threw a hissy fit when a reporter asked him why he didn’t take questions following a town hall event in New Hampshire. “People are coming up to me, talking to me,” he wailed. “What are you talking about? Are you blind? Are you blind? People are coming up to me, talking to me whatever they want to talk to me about.”

There are a slew of stories about DeSantis’ crimes against basic social etiquette. He’s been accused of eating pudding with his hands, failing to learn the name of his staffers and even refusing to sign a sympathy letter.

Now, we can add snubbing a WW II veteran to the long list.

With these social faux paus, it’s not surprising that DeSantis’ support is crumbling. A new poll shows he has a net approval rating of -19, with 55% of respondents expressing their disapproval, compared with 36% who hold a favorable view of the toxic governor.

Don't say any word Little Ronnie DeSantis doesn't like.  Little Ronnie had a freak fit on the campaign trail:

I wanted to cover more  but we're about to start the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin.

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

Thursday, June 8, 2023.  A lot to cover today because there's a lot of stupidity -- including about how you can win! you really really can! even if you're not on the ballot!  Chris Hedges releases his new self-help book BE YOUR OWN KIND OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE!

Starting with the continued persecution of Julian Assange, John Buckley (CRIKEY) writes:

Democratic presidential nominee and self-help author Marianne Williamson promised Australians she would drop all charges against Julian Assange on her first day as US president should she be elected in 2024, despite having only an outside chance.

The promise was made in an interview with ABC Radio National on Thursday, during which Williamson waved away questions about whether she would uphold America’s commitment to the AUKUS deal, but promised to “withdraw all charges” laid against Assange.

"An outside chance"? 

Is that accurate?  It's really not.  She may have a remote chance of getting winning the party's nomination -- she might not -- but she does not have "an outside chance" of being elected president. There's a difference that people don't seem to grasp -- and like Ann, I'm getting tired of the stupidity.

Marianne may or may not get the party's presidential nomination.  But if she did?  It's not an outside or remote chance that she could become president.  If she were the Democratic Party's presidential nominee, she would be on the ballot in all 50 states.

Cornell West has his party's nomination/gift.  He's a remote chance and an outside chance -- which means he has very little chance of becoming president.  Let's be honest, he has no chance at all.  He's the first candidate ever for the People's Party.  He didn't run for their nomination because they didn't ask their very few members to vote on it.  And voting is how you get into the White House.  

As Ann tried to walk the stupid through it last night, he's looking a three states.  

He can carry three states!

He can't carry one.  But he'll be on the ballot in three states.  That leaves 47 that his party does not have ballot access in.

The Green Party and the Libertarian Party have had to fight for ballot access.  And they're not new parties.  If you have a rich person like Ross Perot as your candidate, it's easier than when you're a real party emerging.  Ballot access is an issue they needed to work on before they had their candidate in place.

Like many pathetic individuals -- I'm thinking of one who wrote an embarrassing book pleading for the rich to save the country (as opposed to devoting that time to activism which could actually make a difference) -- instead of putting in the time required to build a party, they went with a celebrity.  Hey, he was in THE MATRIX movies!  

Chrissy Lynn Hedges is all on board with five Tweets so far!  I don't think I've seen Chrissy Lynn so excited since October 2001 when he was lying in THE NEW YORK TIMES -- on the front page! -- about a link between 9/11 and Iraq!

When Chrissy Lynn gets excited, we all suffer.

Go read Ann's "Cornel West morons, the issue is ballot access, pay attention" and try to grasp that even if you win all three states (which you won't) that's not electoral college votes to win the presidency.  

Can they raise enough money to do a serious ballot access push?  

Well considering the DNC is talking to women (plural) about the head of the People's Party and the need to sue him for alleged harassment, there's a pretty good chance that any serious money the party might scrap together is going to be used for pay outs.  

Oh, yes, there's that too.  Cornel is running on his reputation . . . while he fronts a party that's said to be a father-son vanity project and the son is accused of multiple harassment -- women who tried to work for the People's Party but say Little Nicky didn't understand boundaries.

He's in it until the election in November 2024, says Cornel.  

Marianne, if she gets the nomination of the Democratic Party or if she sought the Green Party's nomination, would have a shot at the presidency.  

But I guess if you want to pretend about Cornel and his chances, now is the best time to do it.  The others, they're running for a party's nomination.  By going with the People's Party, Cornel is the only one currently running for president -- due to the fact that the People's Party doesn't have any primaries, it just gifts someone with the nomination.  So, right now, he's the only one running for president.  Those of you who are deluding yourselves, who need to delude yourself, enjoy this brief period.

In the past, we covered all the campaigns -- that stood a chance of winning.  There was some racist party -- I can't think of their name -- which kept sending campaign material to the public e-mail account in 2016 and I blew them off.  They started e-mailing angry e-mails at that point about how I say I try to cover every candidate.  I dictated an e-mail to Martha that she e-mailed explaining that there are crackpots on state ballots across the country -- they might have two, they have might have three states that people can vote for them in.  My time is too valuable to waste on your campaign that stands no chance of winning.  No chance of winning means that even if everything broke your way in every state you were on the ballot in, you still wouldn't be able to get enough electoral votes to win.

That's the People's Party's predicament now.

Let's go back to 2016 for a just a moment.  Remember the presidential campaign of Evan McMullin, or Rocky De Lau Fuente?  Richard Duncan?  Darrell Castle?  Dan Vacek?  Alyson Kennedy?  Mike Smith?  Chris Keniston? James Hedges?  Mike Maturen?  Lynn Kahn?  Monica Moorehead?  Emidio Soltysik, Tom Hoefling?  Peter Skews?  Rocky Giordani?  Scott Copeland?  Laurence Kotlikoff?  Kyle Kopitke?


Well guess what, they were running for the presidency along with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein and Gloria La Riva.  

Guess what else?  That long list of names you never heard of?  They all got at least a thousand votes.  There were other candidates who didn't even get that.  

If you don't have ballot access, you don't stand a chance.  And stop the nonsense about write-in.  Unless your state allows you to write-in anyone, write-in is nonsense.  Again, this goes to ignorance.  And people will use it against you.  Lambert of CORRENTE in 2008 wanted Barack Obama to be president so he lied to his Texas followers telling them to vote for Hillary.  This was at a time when many were saying that they wouldn't vote after that bitter primary.  Others (PUMA) floated voting for a non-Democrat.  And there was Lambert telling them to vote for Hillary in Texas, that it would be good for them and good for Hillary.  He lied.  Not made a mistake, I have the e-mails to prove it because I went over this with him wrongly believing he'd made a mistake.  In Texas, if you write in any Democrat -- dead or living -- that vote is interpreted as a vote for which ever Democrat actually made the ballot.

What Lambert was doing was no different from putting up signs in an area telling them the wrong date for voting.  He was lying and he knew it.  

I don't think you lie to manipulate voting or to steal a vote.  

And I'm getting really tired of these liars and these idiots who do not understand that Cornel stands no chance of becoming president.  His party doesn't have ballot access, doesn't have the money or the volunteers to launch a serious ballot access effort.  And yet people are talking about, 'Oh, this is great and blah blah blah.'  This is fake assery, that's all it is.

Tim Scott has a better chance of finding a woman to love than Cornel has of getting on the ballots in enough states.

If you don't agree with me, let that spur you to prove me wrong and put in all your dollars and all your hours on his campaign.  But don't come crying to me afterwards.

Mike Pence?  He also seems ridiculous but for another reason.  Has Donald Trump split the GOP?  I don't know, he might still have enough support to secure the nomination.  He might not.  But how the hell would Mike Pence have enough support?  There are Republicans greatly bothered by Donald Trump's actions as president.  Pence was his errand boy.  And they're going to back him?  And what of the ones that support Donald?  Pence turned into a back-biting bitch in their view so they're not going to support him.  What is his avenue to success?  He seems like the Carly Fiorina of this dance.  Or worse, Lindsey Graham -- at least Carly made it to the GOP primaries, Lindsey had to drop out before them.

Like Lindsey, Tim Scott is a bachelor nominee.  On top of that, a bachelor nominee with no one in sight.  I can think of down-lower-er who managed to grab a high profile female companion while he was seeking a party's presidential nomination.  That for-show relationship ended when the failed run ended.  You know who I'm talking about, right?  But Tim's not even smart enough to find himself someone to play along.  Leaving America to ask the eternal question: What's wrong with him?

That really doesn't go over well with voters when you're over the age of thirty and you have no romantic partner and have had none throughout adulthood.  Looks a little Norman Batesy. So at social gatherings as he mixes and mingles trying to woo voters, watch for him to introduce his right hand and, heavy sigh, note that despite the many knuckle babies he's managed to knock out over the years, he just hasn't been able to father an actual child.  But don't worry, he and his right hand are not breaking up. 

Some of these runs are just idiotic beyond words.

Oh, idiotic beyond words.  A number of e-mails came in about the whorish Glenn Greenwald.  Okay, people stop being surprised that he's a liar.  There's so much more to be offended by.

But, yes, he is lying for his Mother Tucker Carlson.  Ava and I discussed this.  We can either document his lies today at THIRD and then come up with another piece on Sunday or we can hold off on it.  I say, let him keep lying.  He seems strangely attached to Mother Tucker -- wedding bells in the future?  -- and let him just lie and lie and lie and lie some more.  

Only a fool would believe him about 'success.'  And fake ass numbers don't mean a thing.

Let's move over to CALL ME CANCELLED.

It has recently come to light that Bari Weiss, the transphobic lesbian founder of the conservative outlet The Free Press, was given $500,000 by billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow to help launch an “anti-woke” non-profit organization that opposes anti-racism education in schools, widely referred to as “critical race theory” (CRT).

The deceptively named organization, The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR), claims to be nonpartisan, but its initial board included transphobic former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, transphobic gay writer Andrew Sullivan, and anti-LGBTQ+ activist Christopher Rufo, The New Yorker reported.

It has recently come to light that Bari Weiss, the transphobic lesbian founder of the conservative outlet The Free Press, was given $500,000 by billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow to help launch an “anti-woke” non-profit organization that opposes anti-racism education in schools, widely referred to as “critical race theory” (CRT).

The deceptively named organization, The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR), claims to be nonpartisan, but its initial board included transphobic former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, transphobic gay writer Andrew Sullivan, and anti-LGBTQ+ activist Christopher Rufo, The New Yorker reported.

First off, shame on you for stealing from Fairness for Accuracy In Reporting -- FAIR's been around for years.  Second, they have to lie because they have nothing on their side but Clarence Thomas' sugar daddy.



They have Mayim Bialak on their side and her decision to do a podcast with Bari?  Got CALL ME KAT cancelled.  And it'll get her JEOPARDY job in jeopardy as well if she doesn't issue some statement -- no, not goofing around about her kids, but about how wrong she was to promote Bari.  THE BIG BANG THEORY audience was not a homophobic or transphobic audience.  

The minute Mayim pulled that nonsense, her show started losing viewers.  Instead of issuing some sort of statement, she thought she could just ignore it.  Now it's becoming an issue with JEOPARDY as well.

Meanwhile, UNICEF notes the following on Iraq:

BAGHDAD, 6 June 2023 – A staggering 315,000 grave violations against children in conflict were verified by the United Nations between 2005 and 2022 worldwide, a stark illustration of the devastating impact of war and conflict on children.

As states, donors and the humanitarian community meet in Norway for the Oslo Conference on Protecting Children in Armed Conflict*, UNICEF has reported that, since monitoring began in 2005 (since 2008 in the case of Iraq), the UN has verified 315,000 grave violations committed by parties to conflict in more than 30 conflict situations across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

These include:

· More than 120,000 children killed or maimed.

· At least 105,000 children recruited or used by armed forces or armed groups.

· More than 32,500 children abducted.

· More than 16,000 children subjected to sexual violence.

The UN has also verified globally more than 16,000 attacks on schools and hospitals, and more than 22,000 instances of denial of humanitarian access for children.

For Iraq, the numbers are staggering, with over 9,000 children killed or maimed (3,119 killed and 5,938 maimed) since 2008 to the end of 2022. Despite the considerable reduction on the number of reported cases in the last years, the overall number represents, on an average, more than 1 child killed every other day and one child maimed daily over the reported period.

As these are just the cases that have been verified, the true toll is likely to be far higher.

Additionally, many millions more children have been displaced globally from their homes and communities, lost friends or family, or separated from parents or caregivers.

“Any war is ultimately a war on children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “Exposure to conflict has catastrophic, life-changing effects for children. While we know what must be done to protect children from war, the world is not doing enough. Year after year, the UN documents the visceral, tragic and all too predictable ways that children’s lives are torn apart. It is incumbent on all of us to ensure that children do not pay the price for the wars of adults, and to take the bold, concrete action required to improve the protection of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.”

In this context, UNICEF has supported the care and protection of millions of affected children across conflict situations to enhance their well-being, including through the provision of mental health and psychosocial support, child protection case management, family tracing and reunification, and services for child survivors of gender-based violence. In 2022, UNICEF reached almost 12,500 children globally who exited armed forces or armed groups with reintegration or other protection support, and more than 9 million children with information that they can use to protect themselves from explosive remnants of war.

Sheema Sen Gupta, UNICEF Representative in Iraq, also present in the Conference, spoke about the need of reintegration for children in Iraq following so many years of conflict, ”As a response to years of conflict, UNICEF, in collaboration with the Government of Iraq and partners, target four profiles of children in need of reintegration, including children returning from North-East Syria, children released from detention, children perceived to be affiliated with armed groups, and other vulnerable children. These UNICEF reintegration programmes target three levels: individual, community and institutional. However, successful long-term reintegration is contingent on on-going basic service provision to ensure that children can access their rights, as highlighted in the Paris Principles.“

Unfortunately, the scale of the child protection risks to children affected by conflict is not matched by the scale of funding available to address these issues. New analysis by Humanitarian Funding Forecasting, commissioned by UNICEF, Save the Children, the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action and the Global Child Protection Area of Responsibility, reveals that by 2024, the child protection sector will require US$1.05 billion, increasing to US$1.37 billion by 2026, to address the protection needs of children in armed conflict. This includes critical services like family reunification, mental health support, and the prevention of recruitment into armed groups.

However, the study also indicates an impending funding shortfall. If the current pace of humanitarian funding continues, the projected shortfall would stand at US$835 million in 2024, growing to US$941 million by 2026. This gap could leave conflict-affected children exposed to the immediate and lasting impacts of war, child labor, trafficking, and violence.

As leaders convene in Oslo, UNICEF is calling for governments to make bold new commitments to:

· Uphold and operationalize the international laws and norms already in place to protect children in war – including to protect schools, hospitals and other protected objects like water and sanitation facilities from attack, to stop the recruitment and use of children by armed groups and forces, to stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

· Hold perpetrators to account when children’s rights are violated.

· Step up critical resources to fund the protection of children in conflict at the scale and speed required, in line with growing needs. This must include investment in humanitarian response and in national child protection workforces.

UNICEF is also calling on humanitarian actors to invest in policies that place children and their protection at the centre of humanitarian action in situations of armed conflict.

“We must deliver a child protection response that is equal to the challenges we face,” said Russell. “We need to do everything we can to reach all children in need, particularly the most vulnerable. Protection services for children must build upon existing systems and community structures, and support children’s rights, participation, and their best interests. Programmes and advocacy in these contexts must unfailingly put children and their protection at the centre of humanitarian action.”

We're going to wind down with this from Tom Mackaman (WSWS):

The New York Times published yesterday a column by Paul Krugman dismissing the role of Ukrainian fascists in the mass murder of Jews and Soviet citizens during World War II and minimizing as mere “shadows” their prominence in the present NATO proxy war against Russia. Krugman’s comment, “The Eyes of the World are Upon Ukraine,” is a thoroughly dishonest and cynical apology for Ukrainian fascism, past and present.  

The column comes one day after the appearance of a Times feature article, “Nazi Symbols on Ukraine’s Front Lines Highlight Thorny Issues of History.” In that piece the Times editors attempted, as WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North noted, to palm off “deep historical and present-day links of Ukrainian nationalism to Nazism and genocide” as a mere “public relations problem for media propagandists, who are trying to sell NATO’s proxy war as a struggle for democracy.”

The Times article evoked considerable outrage, both because it lifts the lid on the embrace of Nazi ideology in the Ukrainian military, and because it acknowledges that the Times and other media outlets have been censoring images of Ukrainian soldiers wearing “patches featuring symbols that were made notorious by Nazi Germany and have since become part of the iconography of far-right hate groups.”

Krugman, who usually writes Panglossian commentary on the economy, was brought in to put out the fire. Unfortunately for the Times, Krugman is completely ignorant of history.

A pretext for the column was provided by the 79th anniversary of the June 6, 1944 Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy in World War II. Krugman absurdly heralds the recently launched Ukrainian offensive against Russia in the Donbas and southern Ukraine as “the moral equivalent” of that battle in the war against Nazi Germany. Both, according to the Nobel-prize winning economist, are about “good versus evil.”

To Krugman, Ukraine is just like “the great democracies” that fought against Nazi Germany. Similar to the US in the 1940s, Ukraine also has “flaws,” even “a darker side” consisting of “corruption” and “a far-right movement, including paramilitary groups that have played a part in its war” in which “Nazi iconography is still disturbingly widespread.” But what, after all, is a little fascism among friends? Nazi paramilitaries and white supremacist ideology are mere “shadows” in an “imperfect but real democracy,” Krugman assures Times readers.

There is, in fact, no “real democracy” in Ukraine. Kiev has outlawed opposition parties and illegalized all criticism of the war. Individuals accused of “collaboration” are hunted down and prosecuted. Those agitating for an end to the slaughter have been arrested, tortured and disappeared. Like Russia and the other Soviet successor states, the country is ruled over by a kleptocracy that emerged out of the old Stalinist bureaucracy. The Ukrainian oligarchy guards its ill-gotten wealth with the aid of Europe’s most repressive labor laws in a society that, even before the war, was among Europe’s poorest. As for “national freedom,” Kiev is waging a vicious campaign against the Russian language, which is spoken by a large percentage of the country, and represses the languages and cultures of other minorities—including Hungarians, Poles and Romani.

The following sites updated: