Thursday, July 13, 2023

Show pony Doo-Doo Ron Ron DeSantis

I like Maya Rudolph. 

She's very funny.  She could have had a great variety show gig but she screwed that up.  We didn't watch THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW to see THE DAILY SHOW.  We just wanted to laugh and enjoy a song.  But Maya finally got the variety show chance and thought we wanted political comedy --and one-sided political comedy at that.

She really blew it because she is someone that -- if she wasn't being political (and stupid) -- could have hosted a long running variety show that millions would have tuned in for.

An e-mail asks why I keep writing about DeSantis?  

I'm covering the Doo-Doo Ron Ron DeSantis beat because someone has to pick up the turds.  Margaret Hartmann (INTELLIGENCER) notes:

It’s a typical story: You meet a new guy and start to think this could be “the one.” He’s confident and well educated, and he has a good job. He has a decent head of hair and isn’t an absolute maniac, unlike the last guy you were with. But a few months in, you start to notice some problems. He shares some disturbingly right-wing political views. You notice all your friends and family members seem to hate him. He’s weird and kind of rude in public. Then everyone starts gossiping about this one time he ate pudding with his fingers, and you have to admit your dream guy is actually a dud.

Okay, maybe this isn’t a universal experience, but it’s basically what happened between Rupert Murdoch and Ron DeSantis, the presidential candidate who once appeared to be the media mogul’s top pick to beat Donald Trump in 2024.

Do you get how bad this is?  Rupert Murdoch is 92 years old.  Even a 92 year old can look at Doo-Doo Ron Ron and see he's an idiot and a loser.  Over at TIME, Hanna Love and Tracy Hadden Loh note that Ron Ron's record isn't what he presents it to be:

Since announcing his presidential bid, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has made being “tough-on-crime” a cornerstone of his campaign. As purported proof of his track-record on public safety, he’s claimed that Florida “leads the nation” in crime reduction and is experiencing 50-year crime lows.

At the same time, he’s criticized “big progressive cities,” like ChicagoPhiladelphia and Portland, Or. and blamed their justice reform policies for crime, while arguing that Florida’s pro-law enforcement stance is responsible for its relative safety.

The problem with these claims is that they are not only factually inaccurate, they also show just how little the presidential hopeful knows about crime in his own state—let alone the nation’s. DeSantis’ arguments deserve further investigation because they rely on inaccurate data that don’t (and can’t) paint the full picture of crime in Florida, obscures place-based variations and upticks in certain forms of crime across Florida, and contradicts the evidence on the relationship between criminal justice reform and crime.

This is because, in 2021, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) was in the process of shifting from its traditional data collection system—the Summary Reporting System, which reports monthly crime counts and documents only the most serious offense in an incident—to align with new national FBI reporting standards, the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which includes a greater number of crimes and allows for the reporting multiple offenses within one incident. While the NIBRS system will be an important transition in the long-term for more accurate crime reporting nationwide, some state agencies, including FDLE, did not meet the FBI’s 2021 reporting deadline and were excluded from national crime statistics.

In the place of accurate FBI data, DeSantis is basing his claims about Florida’s crime rates on FDLE’s 2021 annual crime report. This report is methodologically flawed since a total of 239 agencies (covering about half the state’s population) reported their crime trends using the old Summary Reporting System methodology. Others submitted with the new NIBRS methodology, others did a mix of both, and some—including Hillsborough County, where Tampa is—didn’t enter data whatsoever, meaning they were excluded from the 2021 statewide crime trends that DeSantis regularly cites.

These methodological clashes in Florida’s crime reporting create gaps in information that make it difficult to definitively claim any statewide crime trends—let alone that the state has reached “50-year-crime rate lows.”

DeSantis’ “tough-on-crime” rhetoric relies on state-level “total crime” data to argue that Florida outperforms more progressive places (particularly cities) in crime reduction. Even if Florida’s state-level data was accurate, this comparison wouldn’t make sense for two reasons.

First, it compares Florida’s state-level data with cities, while ignoring place-based patterns of crime concentration within Florida itself. Meaning, DeSantis’ claims don’t acknowledge the “neutralizing” effect that state data can have on crime trends, if some Florida cities experienced sharp upticks in crime while others saw declines.

Second, DeSantis’ claims rely on statewide “total crime” rates, which can also be misleading if certain minor crimes (like shoplifting or drug possession) went down across the state, while more serious crimes (like murder or rape) went up.

He just can't stop lying.  More bad news for Little Ronnie, this isn't the only lie the press has caught him in.  

Americans learned Wednesday morning the rate of inflation nationally has dropped dramatically, to just 3% annually, down from over 9% one year ago.

But not in Florida, which MarketWatch reports “has the highest inflation in the U.S.”

For much of the year, even before his presidential campaign officially launched, Ron DeSantis has been traveling the country, promoting his book and giving speeches in battleground states. But, as Newsweek reported in April, “some of the governor’s critics have suggested he is forgetting his own constituents in an attempt to increase his name recognition.”

Even before then, The Miami Herald Editorial Board in February asked simply, “When is Florida’s governor actually going to govern?

The second-ranked GOP presidential candidate has been focusing on culture war issues, including so-called “parental rights” and “education” laws that target LGBTQ children and people of color, along with banning abortion and drag shows, his fight with his state’s largest employer, Disney, and chasing – if not flying – undocumented workers out of the state.

Even before Wednesday’s “incredible drop” in the inflation rate was reported, CNN declared “Florida is now America’s inflation hotspot.”

He's a show pony, not a work horse.   And people are getting tired of his prancing.  POLITCO notes:

With Ron DeSantis stalling in the Republican presidential primary, some wealthy donors who’d hoped he could beat Donald Trump are now giving Tim Scott a serious look.
Billionaire businessman Ronald Lauder, the Estée Lauder makeup heir who supported Trump in 2020, recently flew to South Carolina to meet with Scott, the state’s junior senator and longshot presidential candidate, according to three people aware of the late June meeting.
The meeting comes amid widespread angst among wealthy GOP backers about the emerging 2024 field, and DeSantis’ bumpy start in particular. Many high-dollar donors in Trump’s native New York City have tired of the former president and worry about his general election chances. But they say their faith in the Florida governor has been shaken by early campaign missteps and his hardline positions on abortion, transgender rights and other culture-war issues. They fear time is running out for anyone else to break through.

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

Thursday, July 12, 2023.  When you're deeply removed from reality you make stupid calls for increased oil production in a country already suffering from climate change, in the US we find another hate merchant who thinks equality does not matter and that she can also refuse service, the grifters of YOUTUBE and their hidden cabal continue to plot and scheme, and much more.

Starting in Iraq, KURDISTAN 24 reports, "Iraq has so far witnessed more than 375 confirmed cases of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, a tick-borne disease that transmits from infected animals to human beings, the country’s health minister announced on Wednesday. The fatality rate to the disease in Iraq is 14 percent, Iraqi Minister of Health Saleh Mahdi Al-Hasnawi, told reporters in a presser held following a ministerial meeting on the status of the disease, of which 377 infections have been recorded since January this year."  Iraq has so much on its plate and so much to deal with and address.  Which makes Haitham El-Zobaidi's column at ARAB WEEKLY even more appalling:

Then there is the “Development Road” project recently announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani, which would establish a railway link between the Gulf and Turkey that would cut the time normally spent by ships travelling that distance.

[. . .]

The more pointed question is to what extent does the project constitute a priority now?

Okay, that part seems reasonable.  And with the TotalEnergy deal we noted in Monday's snapshot being hailed as a historic deal worth $27 billion with a supposed $10 billion investment in southern Iraq over the next 25 years, people are seeing dollar signs and thinking what to do with them.

But then his column swerves into nonsense:

If money is available for investment in Iraq today, it should be first spent on oil production and expansion of the gas industry infrastructure.

Iraq’s oil production is not commensurate with the country’s potential as one of the world’s largest oil reserves. Some say that Iraq is the largest unexplored oil reservoir in the world, and that seismic surveys have only explored a small part of that reservoir.

Not on the infrastructure that matters the most to the people?  Not spent on the sewage infrastructure which would address the flooding in the rainy seasons?  Not addressing the electrical system that forces so many Iraqis to rely on generators because 20 years after US 'liberation,' Iraq still doesn't have dependable electricity.  The money shouldn't go to those  things or to addressing the various health issues of which Congo Fever is only one example.

No, the columnist maintains, the money needs to "be first spent on oil production and expansion of the gas industry infrastructure."  Which is spending more money, please note, destroying Iraq.  He wants even more oil pumped out of Iraq.  Iraq which is already set to be one of the most harmed by climate change according to every climate model out there, needs to produce even more oil?  And that's going to help Iraq?  It's dealing with water issues already.  And the answer is to waste even more water on oil production and to destroy even more of the environment?

Maybe if he wasn't the chair and publisher of ARAB WEEKLY, someone would have stopped this article from being published long enough to ask him, "What the hell are you thinking?"

Clearly, he wasn't thinking a damn thing.  Every day, Iraq is facing worsening effects from climate change  And nothing seems to wake anyone up.  Not last week's dead fish, nothing.

Mohammed Hamid Nour is only 23, but he is already nostalgic for how Iraq's Mesopotamian marshes once were before drought dried them up, decimating his herd of water buffaloes.

Even at their centre in Chibayish, only a few expanses of the ancient waterways -- home to a Marsh Arab culture that goes back millennia -- survive, linked by channels that snake through the reeds.

Pull back further and the water gives way to a parched landscape of bald and cracked earth.

Mohammed has lost three-quarters of his herd to the drought that is now ravaging the marshes for a fourth-consecutive year. It is the worst in 40 years, the United Nations said this week, describing the situation as "alarming", with "70 percent of the marshes devoid of water".

"I beg you Allah, have mercy!" Mohammed implored, keffiyah on his head as he contemplated the disaster under the unforgiving blue of a cloudless sky.

The buffaloes of the marshes produce the milk for the thick clotted "geymar" cream Iraqis love to have with honey for breakfast.

As the marshes dry out, the water gets salty until it starts killing the buffaloes. Many of Mohammed's herd died like this, others he was forced to sell before they too perished.

"If the drought continues and the government doesn't help us, the others will also die," said the young herder, who has no other income.


Haitham El-Zobaidi wants Iraq to produce even more oil each year.  And he wants any investment money coming in to be devoted to the oil industry.  I don't know if he's divorced from reality, but the two are at least legally separated. 

On PRI's THE WORLD today (link is just audio at present, will be text as well later today), Shirin Jafafari reports on Iraq's increasing water crisis and how an estimated 7 million Iraqis are dealing with reduced water.  Last month, Jafafari reported (link is audio and text):

Palm trees need consistent care: watering, pruning and fertilizing. And when farmers had to leave, the trees suffered.

“So many people are forced to sell their land for very cheap and, oftentimes, farmers have found themselves working on land that they used to own,” Rubaii explained.

Iraq has also been getting hotter and drier. According to the UN, it is the fifth-most vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change.

“There’s a section of the southern part of Baghdad, if you drive through, you can see a lot of trees that look like they’ve been decapitated,” Rubaii added, “because sometimes when trees die, they keel over or, if they’re not surviving, sometimes they get cut from the top.”

Making matters worse is Iraq’s construction boom — especially in bigger cities like Baghdad. It means that more farmers are choosing to cut down palm trees entirely to make way for building projects.

Turning to the US where noted bigot Jonathan Turley is no doubt working in secret again with his Federalist Society buddies to create more test cases to expand hate in this country while destroying democracy, John Russell (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

The owner of a Michigan hair salon is refusing to serve some members of the LGBTQ+ community, flouting a state law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis.

In a recent Facebook post, Christine Geiger, the owner of Studio 8 Hair Lab in Traverse City, Michigan, wrote that “If a human identifies as anything other than a man/woman, please seek services at a local pet groomer. You are not welcome at this salon. Period.”

Geiger added that she and her staff would refer to customers who request to be addressed by a “particular pronoun” as “hey you,” regardless of what Michigan’s H.B. 4744 states. The legislation, signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in March, added the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity to Michigan’s 1976 Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) banning discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation within businesses, government buildings, and educational facilities on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, and marital status.

Geiger’s post follows the Supreme Court’s ruling in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, which said that certain business owners have the right under the First Amendment’s free speech protections to deny service on the basis of their personal beliefs. The court ruled in favor of a Christian web designer in Colorado who argued that the state’s LGBTQ+-inclusive anti-discrimination law violated her free speech rights by potentially forcing her to create wedding websites for hypothetical same-sex couples.

While some have argued that the decision narrowly applies to businesses that provide “expressive services” and does not provide carte blanche protection for any businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, many have predicted that anti-LGBTQ+ business owners inclined to discriminate would interpret the ruling as a license to do so, despite state laws banning anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.

Marcia covered this topic last night in "Now more businesses think they refuse to serve LGBTQ+ members," while Ann covered it in "One thing Joe Biden deserves serious praise for" and we noted it in the "Roundtable" for THIRD and, yes, it's what Trina's talking about in "Some good news via the Emmy nominations:" 

 I wasn't feeling blogging last night.  I'm not feeling it today.  Sorry.  I'm just tired of all the hate being hurled at the LGBTQ+ community.  I just, I'm tired of it.  I'm a mother of a gay man and it's not abstract to me.  These efforts to take away rights?  It's not abstract.
[. . .]

I feel very frightened for what this country is testing out on LGBTQ+ people.  I feel very sad that a country of people who are loving and caring people are being tricked and deceived by liars who are trying to stir up hate.  I feel very angry at grifters like Katie Halper who cannot address what is going on but can chat and giggle with convicted pedophile Scott Ritter or waste all of our time on yet another look-what-they're-doing-to-Roger-Waters-now!!!!!

I'm just discouraged. 

Understandable.  It's not every day we see democracy destroyed by a corrupt Supreme Court.  

That decision created a two-tier system of citizenship -- declaring that straight people (and presumably bi) have full rights but gay men and lesbians don't have full rights.  Their basic rights are dependent upon the 'religious' beliefs of others.  They can lose their rights -- as they did in the illegitimate Court's ruling that found a hateful, ugly, evil woman named Lorie Smith could refuse them service.  As Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted in her dissenting opinion, "Today, the Court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class."

On the hair salon's refusal to serve all customers, Mike Stunson (MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS) notes:

In a statement to WWTV, Traverse City’s LGBTQ organization, Polestar, said the comments made by the business owner “are not welcomed” in the city. “Hate has shown time and time again to be a losing business strategy and we must not allow this blight to take root in our town,” the organization said. Traverse City is in northern Michigan about 140 miles north of Grand Rapids.

 Let's turn to the media.  She won't save anyone because she can't save herself, yes, we're talking about the disgusting Katie Halper.  Exiled from the left for going on the grift.  Life's hard for Katie.  Her latest segment of THE KATIE HALPER SHOW?  Posted for 13 hours now and only a thousand streams.  Poor Katie.  She's already lost integrity and ethics and now she's losing so much more.  When the ship goes down, she better start batting her eyes at men from THE NATIONAL REVIEW because the left won't have her.  She's cozied up too much to transphobes and registered sex offenders.  No one will have you, Katie.  And the only thing stopping me from getting your WBAI program pulled is that I'm too busy right now with too many other things.  Pray my plate remains full, Halper, pray.

What's that?  BLACK POWER MEDIA.  We posted the video last Friday shortly after it went up online.  Ava and I knew it was something we had to address at THIRD so I've held off until we could do that.  From our piece at THIRD "TV: Trusting the audience versus attempting to manage it:"

Last Friday, BLACK POWER MEDIA offered a segment entitled "A Green Party Response to Cornel West."  It was entertaining -- as BPM usually is -- and it was informative -- again, as BPM usually is.  However, it was also groundbreaking.  Reality is not allowed on YOUTUBE.  But somehow, we got some.
It was served up by Kamilah Harris and Renee Johnston as they spoke with Dr Jared Ball about the Green Party.  Jill Stein?  Not liked.  Not liked in the rank-in-file.  And people are asking about the 2016 bill she left the Green Party with and why she continues to receive funds.  

In fact, tea was getting spilled left and right.  A long code of silence was exposed.  Bri-Bri?  She got name checked.  The Medicare For All campaign that Jimmy Dore was promoting.  People jumped on it and Bri-Bri was one of them.  Renee  pointed out that there was the whole issue of why are they just focused on The Squad as opposed to pushing all Democrats in the House to support Medicare For All: "Why are we only trying to force a few people to support this? Why aren't we going after all the people who claimed they would sign on to Force The Vote?"  That is a good point.  We learned that this 'spontaneous' movement wasn't so spontaneous -- and that Jimmy Dore pocketed money -- money raised for that cause but not spend on it.  "Nothing came of it," Kamilah noted, except a tiny march in DC with Jackson Hinkle. 

This group was previously activated with regards to The People's Party -- Jimmy, Bri-Bri, Cindy Sheehan, serial plagiarist Chris Hedges . . .

The People's Party was not accountable to the people and refused to be answerable to their so-called membership.  "Nobody was elected to this top board, by the way," Kamilah explained.  "Nick Brana appointed everyone to this board." Pressuring for accountability led to scripting on what could be said at the meeting with the top board.  Another response?  Appointing Cornel West and Jimmy Dore to the board.  No, there was no input from members.  Nick just made another decision yet again.  

Listen and note how the same group of people keep popping up -- behind the scenes -- Bri-Bri, Jimmy Dore, Jill Stein, Cornel West, serial plagiarist Chris Hedges, Medea Benjamin, etc etc.  As Jared pointed out, "the same people caught up in it.  You've got Chris Hedges, you've got Cornel West, you've got Jimmy Dore, you've got talented microphoned, you know, spokespeople.  You got somewhat celebrity -- football players, who ever." 

Darryl LC Moch (chair of the Green Party's Black Caucus)  joined the discussion briefly and he noted how the MPP tried to meet up with the Green Party and Peace & Justice and other third parties -- "In terms of trying to build a national front and to move the conversation and to work better together in some ways without tearing each other apart."  Why, Darryl, asked were they trying to build a new party when they had the Green Party already with ballot access. 

Darryl was the one who came up with the notion of the Green Party doing a shadow government and it was noted that when Jill Stein later ran with the idea (we'll note she did so without crediting Darryl for it), that she couldn't even do that correctly.  She created a shadow government or announced she had but failed to follow through -- the plan was to present what the Green Party would be doing so that you could show the differences between the Democratic Party and the Green Party. And no one's being gifted with the nomination, not Cornel, not anyone, "We not handing you s**t.  You've got to do the work. .. . You've still got to earn it. "

Jill Stein, Chris Hedges and Ajamu Baraka were called out for their underhanded maneuvers. "Just be real with the public," Kamilah Harris said with exasperation.  "There's a whole lot of this that should be discussed, that should be part of the process," Renee Johnston noted.
Reality, Cornel is not even a candidate for the Green Party's presidential nomination.  Not only is he not the nominee, he's not really even a candidate.  He has filed no papers, no one has yet.  Which is what Darryl tried to walk viewers through as he said point blank, "We have no recognized candidates at this time."  And then, "We are nowhere near the nomination yet."

The sainted Jill Stein.  When did that happen by the way?  She was a lousy campaigner in 2012 and in 2016.  Oh, that's right.  This same group embraced her because they need to take on Russia-gate but couldn't without her because they are that pathetic.  And that's why they can't -- and won't -- tell you -- whether it's Katie Insipid Halper or whomever -- that Jill's not popular in the Green Party.  A two-time loser, she's not popular.  Kamilah noted all the rumors currently swirling around her (including that she's trying to get on the Green Party ticket again but this time as the vice presidential nominee). These things come up because she is so hated and because her actions are so questionable. 
"After 2016, the campaign she ran with Ajamu Baraka ended up in debt, " Kamilah explained. And "she's still collecting money from her principal campaign committee through the FEC. Like they just had a report that she had just brought in, already in the first quarter,  over $14,000."  And, as Renee pointed out, she's involved to this day in a lawsuit with the FEC.  But let's not talk about that, let's ignore real issues and all be whores like Katie Halper.

These behind the scenes tricksters.   The first time we called out Jimmy Dore, we gave him the benefit of the doubt.  We thought he wasn't seeing his own hypocrisy.  He was seeing it, he just didn't give a damn.  We're talking about his 2020 and 2021 whines that the Green Party did not make Jesse Ventura their presidential nominee. Now 2016 saw the Democratic Party fix the primary to benefit Hillary Clinton.  And some Democrats found that outrageous. Then in 2020, Barack Obama and others orchestrated the mass exodus to ensure that Joe Biden got the nomination.  So to hear him say that Jesse should have been given the nomination?  This wasn't a misunderstanding on Jimmy's part.  He truly believed that Jesse, who refused to run for the nomination, should have just been given it.  Why?  Because Jimmy knows best, Jimmy knows better and you damn well better go along with him -- that is his attitude. And that's why you need to pay attention to all the backdoor deals and efforts that they are participating in because they don't believe in democracy, they don't believe people should have a say, they believe people should be told what to do and told what to think.

Last week, BLACK POWER MEDIA trusted their audience and it's really sad that we think they deserve a standing ovation for that.  Taking nothing away from BPM, why in the world are we wanting to stand up and cheer for BPM doing what everyone should be doing?  Why?  Because no one else seems to want to do it.  No one else seems to actually trust their audience.

Next time you see Katie Halper fawning over Jill Stein and whoring for Jill, grasp that there's so much that you don't know.  And also grasp that there's a cabal working behind the scenes not just to manage Cornel West's campaign but to manage what you're going to know and what you're going to think.

These grifters aren't imparting knowledge, they're refusing to do that.  They're telling you half-truths and outright lies.  They're making you their mark.  

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated:


  • Doo-Doo Ron Ron is a number two

    Ronnie is sad sad.  Matthew Loh (BUSINESS INSIDER) notes:

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Tuesday that he doesn't plan to run as former President Donald Trump's vice president in 2024, even if he's offered the spot.

    He added that he'd prefer to be a governor over becoming vice president, and described the position as one that "doesn't really have any authority."

    "I'm not a number two guy," DeSantis told the conservative podcast "Wisconsin Right Now."

    But you are, Doo-Doo Ron Ron, but you are.  You meet all the requirements, Doo-Doo, to be a number two.  And he's a fake.  Even his attacks on LGBTQ+ people is a fake that he's stolen from Anita Bryant.  Paul Festa (HUFFINGTON POST) notes:

    As American acceptance of sexual difference pushes forward in fits and starts, a self-appointed savior of the nation’s youth emerges from the swamps of Florida to stand athwart the progress of tolerance and human decency, yelling Stop!

    No, not Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Sunshine State Savonarola running for the Republican president nomination, but his equally obnoxious fellow Floridian Anita Bryant, the former Miss Oklahoma and kitsch song stylist who became an international synonym for homophobia in 1977 and was subsequently relieved of her ambassadorial duties by the Florida Citrus Commission for her “Save Our Children” campaign to repeal anti-discrimination ordinances nationwide. As if on cue, 1978 saw the birth of DeSantis, Bryant’s true heir in the state’s tradition of exporting gay-bashing crusaders to the rest of the country. 

    If DeSantis didn’t study his predecessor’s anti-gay playbook, he might as well have. Bryant accused gay people of “recruiting” the young, a calumny that managed something of a time-traveling hat trick: It simultaneously anticipated the DeSantis administration’s legislative campaign against gay and trans “grooming” of children, traded on the myth of gays as child molesters and echoed the ancient libel that the blood of gentile children was used in Jewish ritual. (Whether it’s a coincidence or a correlation that the minority groups accused of coming after the children also found themselves in Hitler’s showers is a question unlikely to be contemplated by Florida public school students under DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” education reforms.)

    From hairspray to homophobia, DeSantis amounts to little more than Anita Bryant in drag — just add a designer education and presidential ambitions and subtract the ability to hold an audience. 

    Here’s another thing these two sun-kissed bigots have in common: Children and “the family” have proved useful props in their anti-gay campaigns, but when it comes to the well-being of actual children, they display breathtaking indifference. 

    Another thing?  They're losers.  Darragh Roche (NEWSWEEK) explains:

    Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's ongoing dispute with the Walt Disney Company is handing one of the Republican's biggest rivals a major win as the company pushes forward with growing its theme parks in Anaheim, California.

    Disney is pressing ahead with its Disneyland Forward program, which it projects will generate $253 million a year for the Anaheim economy and create 2,292 jobs in the state led by Governor Gavin Newsom.

    Ron Ron screwed Florida out of those jobs -- those needed jobs.  

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

    Wednesday, July 12, 2023.  Iraq hasn't done a census, it doesn't know the population despite reports otherwise, the US State Dept is loving a new deal, Katie Halper continues to sputter out online, it's probably to rethink Ed Snowden, and much more.

    The Iraqi Ministry of Planning said the country's population has reached 43.32 million, with an annual growth rate of 2.5 per cent.

    A Ministry statement said that about 50.5 per cent of the total Iraqi population are men and about 49.5 per cent women, reports Xinhua news agency.

    It showed that the working-age group between 15 and 64 constitutes the highest percentage, reaching 57 per cent of the total population, followed by the youth group under 15 years at 40 per cent.

    Types?  Iraq has no idea.  There hasn't been a census since 1997.  And there probably won't be one for another decade at least.  The census would include all areas.  And?

    Oil-rich Kirkuk is disputed land.  The central government out of Baghdad claims it as does the KRG.  This is the hot spot that, in the first years of the Iraq War, Brookings warned repeatedly was a hot spot that needed to be addressed. 

    After the US-led invasion, when the new Constitution of Iraq was drafted and implemented, Article 140 explained how Kirkuk's status would be determined.

    The Article specifies three phases for implementation that includes normalization, a census, and a referendum on Kirkuk and other disputed areas. The government was to start by taking appropriate steps for the normalization phase, including rejoining detached districts and sub-districts to Kirkuk governorate, and completing this phase no later than 29 March 2007. The census phase was to be completed by 31 July 2007, and the referendum phase by 15 November 2007. The overall question is, thus, why hasn't the Iraqi federal government met its commitments? Since 2003, successive Iraqi governments have failed to implement this constitutional article.

    In his first term as prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki just ignored the Constitution and then turned around and promised to implement it in order to get a second term.  

    In March 2010, Iraq held elections.  For a little over eight months, Iraq was without a prime minister because Nouri refused to step down -- much to his surprise, he had lost to the brand new Iraqiya.  Though then vice president Joe Biden initially promised that the US would back the voters, as time went on, another decision was made.  Barack Obama had made various 'promises' on the 2008 campaign trail.  One was to remove all US troops from Iraq within ten months.  Didn't happen. Now he was in the second year of his presidency.  Samantha Power insisted that Nouri had to remain prime minister -- screw the voters -- and Barack went along with it.  Samantha said a new prime minister would be a question mark.  She preferred the known Nouri -- that would be the Nouri known by that point for disappearing Iraqis, for secret torture cells, all the things would only become worse in his second term.

    To get the political parties on board with this theft, the US oversaw the negotiation of a contract -- the leaders of the various political parties agreed to give Nouri a second term as prime minister and he agreed to do certain things in exchange.

    For one thing?

    For the Kurdish political parties, his big concession was that he was going to implement Article 140 and do it in December (The Erbil Agreement was signed in November of 2010.)  

    We pointed out in real time that Nouri was already supposed to do this.  That the Constitution said it was to be done and gave a deadline for it to be done and Nouri hadn't done it.  Now you were going to trust him to do it?  What had changed?  Why trust someone who's already refused?

    But people are stupid sometimes and the KRG went along with it.  They and everyone else got burned.  Before December arrived, Nouri was saying there was no way for him to keep to the contract and hold the census and do the referendum -- or even start one -- in December.  This was then followed, in January, by his then-spokesperson  announcing that The Erbil Agreement was illegal and that Nouri didn't intend to honor it.  

    To get that pushed through and to get the optics he needed, Barack Obama need Ayad Allawi -- aka the man who the Iraqi people elected prime minister -- on board.  So when the Parliament was going to name Nouri prime minister via The Erbil Agreement and Iraqiya walked out, Barack got on the phone to Allawi and swore up and down that The Erbil Agreement had the full backing of the United States government and it would be enforced.  And then?  Barack did nothing -- as Allawi related to one media outlet after another.  Somehow the US media never wanted to touch on this.  The BBC did, but somehow, someway, the US media just wasn't interested.

    The central government in Baghdad does not want to give up their claim to Kirkuk.  There's too much oil there.  So, no, Iraq's not going to do a census. 

    In other sad news, THE KATIE HALPER SHOW.  Katie continues to struggle for streams.  She's like a really bad NBC sitcom in the second half of the 2000s, where NBC keeps insisting upon calling it a hit in all advertising but it fails to deliver the audience of FRIENDS, SEINFELD, WILL & GRACE or, hell, even SUDDENLY SUSAN.  

    Her latest stunt casting, her equivalent of the episode of FRIENDS that featured Julia Roberts, Brooke Shields, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chris Isaak was a segment focusing on Glenneth Greenwald.  Chris Isaak?  He's not even Chris Christie.

    We were going to talk about Glenneth on Monday but there wasn't time.

    So let's dive in now.

    First off, Katie, thanks for making it clear that you are a grifter.  Every day, Glenneth attacks the left.  He's the most passive aggressive bitch in the world and we're all going to live through the various slights against him over the years -- real and imagined -- as he works through issues.

    There is no reason for any leftist to promote Glenneth at this point.  He is not about insight, he is not about observation, he is just trying to tear down the left and if you can't grasp that, notice that he's slamming the left for this or that while ignoring that the right-wing is doing or has done the same thing.

    So there's no reason for a real leftist to bring that hack on -- yes, he's a hack, we'll come back to it.

    He's also the sort of gay guy that's always belittled other gay men to get by.  To suck up to others, he's been a backstabbing bitch.  His current war on trans is his effort to prove to his right-wing buddies that he's an alpha (not even in his most desperate fantasy) and he does real damage there. Chelsea Manning called him out on this.  Chelsea was right.

    Let's get to the hack part.

    It becomes harder and harder to defend Ed Snowden.

    We defended him the minute the world knew who he was.  

    And I keep seeing Ed issuing this statement or that statement and I also read his book and it's become seriously troubling.

    I'm not upset with him for what he revealed.  I'm growing very angry over what he didn't reveal.

    A short overview, Ed worked for the CIA and then was a contractor for the NSA.  The government was doing many illegal things.  Ed copied various documents on a drive -- see Oliver Stone's SNOWDEN which is a great movie.  He handed it over to Glenn Greenwald.  Glenn wrote about some of it and made a name for himself as a 'reporter.'  Not a columnist, a reporter.  And a big money man comes along and woos Glenneth from THE GUARDIAN to what becomes THE INTERCEPT.  And?

    We were told all the documents would be reported on by THE INTERCEPT.  They have not been.  All this time later, they have not been.  Glenneth did not bother to do a damn thing.  Meanwhile, with this public promise, THE INTERCEPT attracted more whistle-blowers -- people who got burned by THE INTERCEPT who let the US government know -- intentionally or not -- that they had whistle-blower trying to come forward.  This is how Reality Winner ended up in prison.  

    Now when all this whistle-blowers were suffering, Glenneth didn't say a word.  When he wrote his lengthy I-quit-THE-INTERCEPT-becaause-I'm-too-stupid-to-understand-what-breach-of-contract means, he finally noted that Reality was screwed by THE INTERCEPT.  On his way out the door and off of sugar daddy's payroll, he finally said something.

    Too damn little, too damn late.

    What does this have to do with Ed?

    He keeps Tweeting.  Why the hell is he Tweeting?

    If I were a whistle-blower and I knew that a little less than half of the revelations I had documented were reported on, if I knew that Glenneth wasn't going to cover it and that my information was now owned and buried within THE INTERCEPT?  I'd either focus on my life in Russia and stay offline or I'd be Tweeting daily about this program or that program that I tried to expose but that didn't get exposed.

    I'm really losing any faith in Ed.  Again, if he'd gone radio silent, fine, I understand.  But he continues to try to be a public person and to Tweet about this and that and, honestly, Ed, you're not that interesting -- I read your autobiography, it was a snooze. You're not interesting.  But if you were authentic, then you'd be Tweeting to tell us what THE INTERCEPT will not reveal.

    Or did you lose your inclination to be a whistle-blower?

    He still reTweets Glenneth and he's a person begging to be misled, lied to and used and abused.

    Sorry, I don't respect that.

    And I have no respect for Glenneth who should be covering what was in those documents that never got reported on and should be calling out THE INTERCEPT for burying it.  But that would require acknowledging Glenn's role in all of this, his whoring for dollars.

    Katie whored and her segment has almost 4000 streams.  

    No, that doesn't match the hype around her.  She's lost her audience and they're not coming back.  USEFUL IDIOTS can't post the numbers that they used to either.

    She's MY NAME IS EARL or worse.  Not a real hit, just something people pimp and try to pretend like it has an audience.

    Katie's refused to call out the war on LGBTQ+ people.  She may fret that speaking out would make people conclude that she's not a spinster, she's a closeted lesbian.  Who knows what makes her stay silent besides her being a grifter.

    But she platforms transphobe Glenneth.  You may remember Glenneth attacking NYT employees who spoke out about the paper's intentionally misleading coverage of trans issues.  If you do, you'll note that Katie didn't side with the employees.  This despite supposedly being a friend of labor.  FAIR has an article by Julie Hollar explaining the very real problems with NYT's trans (mis)coverage:

    More than 180 contributors to the New York Times wrote a letter to Times leadership earlier this year (2/15/23), raising “serious concerns about editorial bias in the newspaper’s reporting on transgender, non⁠binary and gender-nonconforming people.” LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD (2/15/23) made similar arguments in a separate letter.

    Both letters highlighted a few particular articles and writers, but described an overall pattern of, in the GLAAD letter’s words, “repeatedly platform[ing] cisgender (non-transgender) people spreading inaccurate and harmful misinformation.”

    Many critics, including FAIR (e.g., 6/23/22, 12/16/22), have offered detailed critiques of many of these pieces and writers. This study seeks to document the Times‘ bias in numbers by comparing it to its closest competitor: the Washington Post.

    Both elite papers have a national audience and closely cover national political stories—which puts the right’s campaign to criminalize transness very much in their line. And both have a recent history of ceding the framework of their trans coverage to the right wing, as a political football rather than an attack on trans people’s right to bodily autonomy and self-determination (, 5/6/21).

    But looking at a full year of front-page coverage from the two papers reveals that, while both papers still need to do a much better job of including trans and nonbinary sources, the Post has given trans issues significantly more attention than the Times, and with an approach largely focused on the right-wing political campaign against trans people. The Times, meanwhile, used its front-page coverage primarily to wonder whether trans people’s rights and access to healthcare have gone too far.

    FAIR examined all front-page stories at the New York Times and Washington Post that centered on transgender and nonbinary people, and the politics and events engulfing them, from April 2022 through March 2023. While not capturing the entirety of a paper’s coverage of an issue, front-page coverage reveals both how important editors believe an issue to be and which angles of that story they believe to be most newsworthy. The Post put trans-centered stories on its front page 22 times during that year-long period; at the Times, trans issues were deemed front-page news only nine times.

    Likewise, the Post ran more front-page stories that were primarily about other issues but mentioned the word “transgender,” with 54 to the Times‘ 30. This suggests that not only did the Post take trans-focused stories to be more newsworthy than the Times, it also is paying closer attention to the way trans rights weave into other stories, such as the larger web of right-wing strategies of scapegoating and censorship.

    (The Times did finally publish an article on its front page analyzing the increasing centrality of trans issues to the GOP, after the study period—4/16/23.)

    Quantity of coverage doesn’t necessarily translate to quality of coverage; after all, a previous FAIR study (5/5/22) found right-wing Breitbart covering trans issues more than either centrist paper, but in a way that didn’t even pretend to treat its subjects with respect.

    However, the distinction between the Post and the Times on front-page trans coverage is also one of quality, with the Post—while still problematic at times—clearly coming out on top.

    Republicans have introduced more than 500 anti-trans bills in 49 states, 63 of which have passed to date this year. They target such rights as trans people’s right to healthcare, to use the bathroom appropriate to their gender identity, to compete in school sports, to be free from discrimination, and to protect their privacy if they are not out to their parents.

    These relentless attacks, dressed up in the language of “grooming,” “parents’ rights” and “protecting girls,” demonize and directly harm trans people, particularly trans youth, who already face staggeringly high rates of attempted suicide and homelessness. According to 2022 surveys by the Trevor Project, nearly one in five trans and nonbinary youth have attempted suicide, and 35–39% of trans and nonbinary youth have experienced homelessness and housing instability.

    The New York Times, though, has decided that the news about trans issues that’s worthy of the front page is not, primarily, the massive right-wing anti-trans political push and its impact on those it targets, but whether trans people are receiving too many rights, and accessing too much medical care, too quickly.

    The Times‘ headlines tell much of the story:

    • “Much Debate but Little Dialogue on Transgender Female Athletes” (5/29/22)
    • “Number of Youths Who Identify as Transgender Doubles in US” (6/11/22)
    • “Pressing Pause on Puberty” (11/22/22)
    • “Parents and Schools Clash on Gender Identity” (1/23/23)

    Only two of the paper’s nine front-page headlines (“Swimming Body Bars Most Transgender Women,” 6/20/22; “Roe’s Reversal Stokes Attacks on Gay Rights,” 7/23/22) even began to hint at the dire situation faced by trans people today as a result of the war waged against them by the far right. Even these fell woefully short, with the second of the two not even naming trans people. Neither headlined the perspectives of trans people in the United States or those fighting alongside them.

    In contrast, the Post‘s front page abounded with such stories—fourteen of the 22 headlines referenced political or physical anti-trans attacks, and ten centered the personal experiences or perspectives of trans people and their allies. “She Just Wants to Play” (9/1/22, about a trans athlete), “Virginia Restricts Rights of Transgender Students” (9/18/22) and “For Trans CPS Worker, Texas Order Was a Test of the Soul” (9/25/22) all appeared on the paper’s prime real estate in a single month.

    The third story explained how Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents of trans children for potential “child abuse.” Defending its order in court, the state offered a prominent New York Times article by Emily Bazelon (6/15/22; see, 6/23/22) as evidence that gender-affirming care for trans youth is controversial among medical providers. (It is not.)

    That same month, the Times‘ only front-page trans-focused story, “Breast Removal Surgery on Rise for Trans Teens” (9/26/22), worried whether too many trans youth were able to access gender-affirming care. Not once has the Times put the Texas directive story on its front page—or mentioned its own role in the story anywhere in the paper.

    That's an excerpt and it's strong media coverage analysis.  It's not giggles and snorts over Chuck Todd -- you know the garbage Katie and Aaron serve up every Monday morning?

    Winding down, if the TotalEnergy deal discussed in Monday's snapshot didn't come across to you as bad for Iraq, grasp that the US State Dept is applauding the deal and maybe that will clue you in:

    We compliment Iraq and Total Energies on the signing of a $27-billion energy deal that will accelerate Iraq’s path to energy self-sufficiency and advance Iraq’s collective climate change objectives.  Years in the making, the Gas Growth Integrated Project aims to capture flared gas and deploy renewable energy sources.  The United States strongly supports Iraq’s efforts to become more energy secure and minimize harmful emissions.  Minimizing the current practice of gas flaring by capturing the massive amounts of methane being burned away will significantly reduce emissions, improve public health for Iraqis, and utilize captured gas to power Iraq’s electrical grid.  Likewise, this project’s water desalination facility will enhance oil recovery while reducing the burden on Iraq’s fragile fresh water sources.

    In addition, a one-gigawatt solar farm will launch Iraq’s transition to renewable energy production.  One of the primary goals of the U.S.-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee (HCC), which met in February, was accelerating Iraq’s path to energy self-sufficiency and improved service delivery.  The agreement today between Iraq and Total Energies, and the projects laid out during the HCC, will ultimately allow Iraq to end its dependence on unreliable energy sources and strengthen essential services for the Iraqi people.  Concluding this deal also signals a fast-improving business climate that will help attract the foreign investments needed to generate economic opportunity for all Iraqis.

     Lastly, we note Paul Rudnick a lot because he's so damn funny.  He's also a friend and so we're gong to step past funny this morning, to note his recent book.

    The following sites updated: