Thursday, July 27, 2023

God laughs at Ron DeSantis

 Let's start with BURN IT DOWN WITH KIM BROWN.

Am I the only one starting to think God's as ticked off with Doo-Doo Ron Ron DeSantis as the rest of us are?  Look at this:

Although Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has tried shaking up his flagging presidential campaign in recent days, Politico's Playbook has dubbed it a flop that can best be described as the "reset to nowhere."
As the report documents, DeSantis' campaign has once again embroiled itself in counterproductive controversies that are highly unlikely to propel the Florida governor to the top of the polls anytime soon.

First, DeSantis floated putting anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the Centers for Disease Control, which even some of his supporters said was a horrific idea.

Next, his campaign repeatedly attacked Trump-backing Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), who gently criticized standards in Florida's education system that said teachers should inform students about the benefits slave received from being forced to endure forced labor.

But now, polls show Republican businessman Vivek Ramaswamy appears to be gaining on DeSantis for the second spot against Trump in some polls. A recent Harvard-Harris poll put Ramaswamy with 10% support and DeSantis at 12%. 

“The DeSantis campaign is struggling, everyone will tell you, despite the fact that he’s raised more money than pretty much everyone and seems to be solidly in second place in the early states, unless you put your faith in weird online-only polls not known for their accuracy in Iowa or New Hampshire,” Ben Domenech writes in The Spectator. “But there’s a definite quality to this campaign that seems, how shall we say it, flustered? Confused? Disoriented? And in a specific way that might remind you of another recent campaign with high expectations that got off track early.”

And as he destroys his own campaign, he's also destroying the state of Florida:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' "war on woke" has cost the state another event that would have generated millions of dollars for the local economy.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the oldest Black fraternity in the country, is moving its 2025 conference from Orlando due to the 2024 Republican presidential hopeful's "harmful, racist, and insensitive policies against the Black community," reported the Tallahassee Democrat.

"Although we are moving our convention from Florida, Alpha Phi Alpha will continue to support the strong advocacy of Alpha Brothers and other advocates fighting against the continued assault on our communities in Florida by Governor Ron DeSantis," said general president Dr. Willis L. Lonzer III in a press release.

The event was expected to generate $4.6 million, according to the intercollegiate fraternity whose membership historical figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall and Adam Clayton Powell.

Three other organizations including the National Society of Black Engineers canceled their conventions for 2024 because of recent controversial bills the state has passed, per Fox 35 Orlando.

The NAACP not too long ago issued an advisory to Black people not to even step foot in the “sunshine” state. DeSantis’ war on anti-racist eduction may be Florida’s 2023 scandal but in 2013, it was the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

He's destroying the state of Florida and it should be clear to those of us in other states that we don't want our country to look like DeSantis' Florida:

DeSantis is now facing criticism from Florida teachers, civil rights leaders and the Biden White House. Harris, the nation's first Black vice president, traveled to Florida last week to condemn the curriculum. Many of DeSantis' GOP presidential opponents have stayed silent, including Tim Scott, who is the Senate's sole Black Republican member. He declined to comment for this story.

Other Black conservatives have begun to speak out. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., one of the most powerful Black Republicans in the state, said he has a problem with the part of the curriculum that suggests enslaved people derived any benefit from their situation.

“To me, yes, that section needs some adjustments," he told southwest Florida's WINK News this week.

And note this:

Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson slammed the changes to Florida’s black history curriculum in schools during a Wednesday interview on “The Bulwark Podcast.”

Hutchinson told podcast host Charlie Sykes that the proposed black history curriculum harkened back to some of the darkest periods of American history.

Sykes asked Hutchinson if he agreed with Florida’s new guidelines on teaching slavery, which include instruction on “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” He pointed out that fellow Republican presidential candidates Will Hurd and Chris Christie have criticized Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over the new guidelines.

“The whole language acts like there’s some benefit to slavery, and that is impossible. It is wrong. That should never be conveyed in a textbook or in a lesson. So, it’s just flat-out wrong,” Hutchinson said.

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

Thursday, July 27, 2023.  Things heat up as crazy Ron DeSanits wants to play doctor with Robert F Kennedy Jr, the nation continues to rebuke Ronald for his efforts to recast slavery as a good thing and a glorified jobs fair, and much more.

Should we just do updates for a whole snapshot?

For Iraq, we could do: In an update on Iraq . . . US troops still on the ground.  Ryan Reynolds (EVANSVILLE COURIER & PRESS) reports:

 Ever been apart from a good friend or loved one for a few weeks? How about a few months? A year?

Remember what it felt like to know that the end of the separation was coming soon? That there'd be meals and movies and laughs and catching up, in person, for the first time in ages?

And remember how agonizingly slow those last few days were before the reunion?

That's life right now for the 1st Battalion, 163rd Field Artillery of the Indiana Army National Guard, an Evansville-based unit that draws in some 300 soldiers from around the Hoosier State. They've been gone since August 2022, sent 7,000 miles to Iraq to mind the details of a muted conflict that the American public has generally moved past.

The soldiers will tell you otherwise. So will their relatives and friends and nieghbors and co-workers. There have been a lot of holes in a lot of lives for the past year. And at some point − achingly soon − they'll be home.

We caught up with Capt. Ernie Griffin of the 163rd, who we also talked to in February about the deployment. When he gets back to the United States and his "other career," Griffin will start his tenure as principal at Plaza Park Middle School. He was previously an assistant principal at Harrison High School.

And the 163rd August return will see them replaced by other US troops.  US troops remain on the ground in Iraq. 

In 2008, Americans voted for all US troops to be removed from Iraq but that never happened -- not even during the drawdown.  

We could also note this from Brad Adgate (FORBES):

Since Tucker Carlson was suddenly fired from FoxFOXA +0.2% News last April and began posting videos on Twitter on June 6, his audience has been in a freefall. Carlson’s inaugural video on Twitter, dubbed Tucker on Twitter, had generated 26 million video views. (Twitter counts a video view as any person that watches a video for two or more seconds with half the screen viewable.) In the second episode, two days later, Carlson’s video views dropped to 13.9 million. While the third episode, which coincided with Trump’s indictment from the Justice Department, saw an increase to 18.7 million views, the general trend has been downward. For Carlson’s more recent eighth episode, on June 30, the viewing was only 3.8 million, its lowest to date and a 86% decline since June 6.

And we could note that the above requires an update and a correction.  As Ava and I noted in "MEDIA: No, Mother Tucker did not have 60 million people watch his video," Tucker was never having 'views:' 

Tucker decided his future was in the gig economy and with TWITTER -- where Matt Taibbi goes to play dungeon sub.  And Glenneth had a lot to say on TWITTER including this "This is pathetic of Fox. They fired Carlson, and now their position is: he's not allowed to speak. He didn't go to a competing network. He has no contract with Twitter. He's just speaking on social media."  He's not being silenced, he just can't host a program.  Don't sign the contract if you don't like what's in it.  That's what negotiations are all about.  That's why you need to read them yourselves before you sign them.

But more to the point, this: "CNN's collapse continues. Tucker returns with a Twitter show watched by millions" and  "Meanwhile, the only part of media that is growing is independent. The public sees what corporate media has become." and "The sad, pathetic, decaying corporate media's reaction to Tucker's explosive Twitter debut was everything you'd expect and more."

So which is it?  Tucker's triumphing in new media -- that's supposedly kicking "corporate media" in the butt -- or is he isn't?

Glenneth you're the one pretending to be his mouthpiece -- shouldn't you be able to make a coherent legal argument?

As we've said for years now (nearly two decades) for an alleged lawyer Glenneth has always struggled with the most basic legal concepts (such as breach of contract).

We should love stupid people.  They give us so much to write about.

No advertising and no subscriptions?  Tucker will be rolling in . . . no money.  

Equally true, he did not get 17 million views.  

The Great Glenneth Greenwald has been lying about the numbers as well.  But can we pause that for a moment.  Glenneth's jazz hands have been a problem since he debuted his new talk show -- while his husband lay dying in a hospital -- so very William Faulkner meets Grace Metalious.  But there's a new problem.  Does he have lice or bed bugs?  What's with his inability to stop scratching his upper arms of late?  

We'd warn people not to embrace him but, honestly, we can't imagine anyone ever wanting a hug from Glenneth.

At any rate, Glenneth was tossing around Tweets praising Mother Tucker for his "explosive Twitter debut" -- yes, it was like diarrhea -- "CNN's collapse continues. Tucker returns with a Twitter show watched by millions."

Oh, Glenneth, if you couldn't lie you'd have to sit there silently.

60 million people did not watch Tucker.  10 million people did not watch Tucker despite Glenneth's claim:

Tucker Carlson is the most successful host in the history of cable news. Even in his "stripped-down" Twitter form, he attracted an audience almost no corporate media employee could get close to. Is it possible this partially motivates the universal disdain they have for him?

Tucker's got 60 million viewers!  

That's what some are lying.

No, he doesn't.  Max Blumethal's wife is both ugly and hippy and that's enough reason not to note her stupidity.  But that transphobic Tweet she pinned to her feed in February?

People aren't watching it.  The numbers increase but people aren't watching.  You click on her TWITTER feed and start scrolling and doing that will start her video streaming.  It doesn't mean you're watching it.  In fact, you have to make a point to stop if you want to turn on the audio.  Even if you don't turn on the audio, even if you scroll past it quickly, it still counts as a stream.  And it does that each time you visit her Twitter feed.

John Stauber posted Mother Tucker's 'big' show four times last Tuesday to his TWITTER feed.

He really is a car crash and so he attracts rubber neckers.  Let's say 20,000 people visited his feed and scrolled.  That means Tucker's video streamed 80,00 times.

Megyn Kelly, Glenneth, all the usual trash, reposted Tucker's video.  

He did not get 60 million viewers.  It was -- automatically streamed -- many, many times.  

People are not watching Tucker.  
At YOUTUBE, they've put in some measures to try to prevent that sort of miscount.  But if you have a YOUTUBE page and put a video on the home page and it starts streaming when you go to the home page?  That counts as you streaming it.  You might go to another page at that YOUTUBE account in two seconds, say the "about" page, but the video started streaming the minute you hit the home page and they're counting that stream.


Twitter doesn't do that and doesn't care to.  

Repeating, Tucker is not a Twitter star.  He was reposted on hundreds of accounts.  The number actually taking the time to watch the video is very small.  And you can argue it's probably around the number of users leaving comments -- which Glenneth said was 29,000.

The numbers were not an accurate count because this was not people going to a video to stream it, this was a video that started streaming the minutes you visited someone's Twitter feed and counted as a stream even if you never stopped on it but just scrolled right past it.

The media should have grasped that and, certainly, at this late date, a writer for FORBES should know what's what.

Unlike Twitter, YOUTUBE has measures in place to prevent this sort of false inflation of streams.  Why?  A lot of people were trying to boost their own numbers by streaming, for example, a USEFUL IDIOTS -- sh, no rumors to be Cass Elliot about it -- clip and they'd stream it for a minute or two and then go away, search it and pull it back up and hit play and get 2 streams.  Now they make you start where you stopped the video and you don't get that second count (that was never a real count to begin with).  Musk won't implement anything like that because honesty and truth are not core concepts in Musk Land.

Remember the video of Ron DeSantis earlier this week with the Nazi symbol?  Ewan Palmer (NEWSWEEK) has an update:

Ron DeSantis 2024 campaign worker who was reportedly fired for retweeting a fan-made video about the governor which featured a symbol associated with Nazis had previously praised the impact of white supremacist Nick Fuentes.

Nate Hochman, a communications staffer, is said to have allegedly retweeted the controversial meme video from the Ron DeSantis Fancams Twitter account which ended with the 2024 hopeful's face imposed over what appeared to be a circular symbol known as the "sonnenrad."

Hochman, as first reported by Semafor, was let go after allegedly retweeting the since-deleted video featuring the ancient symbol which had been appropriated by the Nazi Party and is still used today by white supremacist groups.

Hochman, Axios reported, not only retweeted the video from his own account but had actually made the clip himself and posted it from the Ron DeSantis Fancams profile. Joey Hannum, a former aide for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, had also speculated that the Ron DeSantis Fancams Twitter account was being used by Hochman as a "sock-puppet operation."

And there's no way they didn't know who Hochman was when they hired him.  A social media search is the most basic of 'reference' checks these days.  Jonathan Chait (INTELLIGENCER) agrees this was no accident:

It would be easy to understand this development as simply more campaign dysfunction, perhaps poor vetting, or even a symptom of the campaign being “too online.” It is better understood as the result of a fundamental strategic decision by DeSantis to actively court the far right.


DeSantis’s campaign hired Hochman from National Review after it was reported he had participated in a Twitter Spaces with Nick Fuentes, who is at least Nazi-adjacent. “We were just talking about your influence and we were saying, like, you’ve gotten a lot of kids ‘based,’ and we respect that, for sure,” Hochman told him. “I literally said, ‘I think Nick’s probably a better influence than Ben Shapiro on young men who might otherwise be conservative.’” (The comparison is instructive: The nicest and perhaps only good thing that can be said about Shapiro is that Nazis hate him.)


When I wrote a long feature about DeSantis’s campaign last year, one factor I identified was its decision to position DeSantis to Trump’s right. The most visible aspects of this strategy have involved mocking Trump as a supporter of the COVID vaccine and LGBTQ rights, both of which are themes in the video Hochman created. But it has also led the campaign to woo the extreme right:

Tuesday's snapshot noted this item from DEMOCRACY NOW!:

In California, surveillance video shows a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy brutally beating a 23-year-old transgender man outside a convenience store in February. Emmett Brock was driving home from his job as a teacher when he was followed by Deputy Joseph Benza to a 7-Eleven parking lot, where the officer tackled Brock to the pavement and punched him repeatedly in the head, accusing him of resisting arrest even as Brock cried out for help, struggled to breathe and made no move against the officer. A police report said Brock was pulled over because he had an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror; Brock says he was assaulted because he held up his middle finger when driving past Benza’s patrol car.

Two people write the editors of THE LOS ANGELS TIMES to object to the treatment of Brock:

To the editor: Brock never stood a chance. It is appalling to see him exit his car and never get a chance to even ask why he was being followed by a deputy without his patrol car's lights and siren on.

It is even more appalling to watch this deputy throw Brock to the ground and beat him.

This has nothing to do with being transgender. That comes later with the humiliation at the Norwalk sheriff's station. I hope to see justice served and for Brock to be able to put the pieces of his life back together.

Olivia Roberts, Hacienda Heights

To the editor: When Emmett Brock told the staff at the Los Angeles County sheriff's station in Norwalk that he is a transgender man, he said they asked to see his genitals. And he got a violent beating from a deputy for having an air freshener hanging from his car's rearview mirror.

It is ironic that the Assn. for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs said requiring its members to reveal potential gang tattoos with skulls and Nazi imagery would violate the 4th Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and the 5th Amendment's protections against self-incrimination.

Dennis Snyder, Long Beach

Let's update on two crazies who want to be president.  Paul Rudnick has strong takes on both psychos.

Ronald's floated a new plan for his faltering campaign.  If Ron alone isn't crazy enough to win your vote, well, he's ready to bring Junior on board.  That's twice as crazy as Ron alone!  Tim Dickinson (ROLLING STONE) explains:

Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis is talking up the prospect of Democrat and Joe Biden rival Robert Kennedy, Jr., serving in his administration. 

In a new interview with right-wing commentator Clay Travis, DeSantis was asked whether he’d consider the anti-vax conspiracy theorist Kennedy as a running mate. DeSantis, who has campaigned vigorously (and fecklessly) to appeal to vaccine skeptics, downplayed that idea, arguing that the Democrat was “averse to our base” on 70 percent of the issues. 

But the Florida governor was warm to Kennedy serving in the Cabinet, because Kennedy’s stance on “the medical stuff,” DeSantis said, “does appeal to me.” DeSantis lofted the idea that Kennedy could serve as his administration’s attack dog, battling the nation’s top health agencies. “Sic him on the FDA, if he’d be willing to serve,” DeSantis said. “Or sic him on CDC.”

Mike argues (rightly) "It's time for Ron DeSantis to be committed."  Ronald wants to 'rescue' medicine -- like he's done with education in Florida where the horrors of slavery have been glossed over so that we can now see the institution as just a really intense career day workshop, right?

Florida’s new education guidelines garnered widespread rebuke last week over the requirement that schools teach that some enslaved people extracted a “personal benefit” from technical skills they learned in captivity. 

It’s an obviously absurd and ahistorical suggestion that fundamentally relies on racism. It falsely suggests that enslaved people had the good fortune — despite their bondage and all the horrifying abuse that came from it — to learn specialized skills, such as blacksmithing, that many Black people had long been practicing outside of American chattel slavery.

As I wrote Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris took Florida to task for the new guidelines during an impromptu trip to Jacksonville. And DeSantis did himself no favors in response.

“I didn’t do it, and I wasn’t involved in it,” he claimed before pivoting to defending it.

“I think that they’re probably going to show some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life. But the reality is, all of that is rooted in whatever is factual. ... These were scholars who put that together. It was not anything that was done politically.”

The Florida Department of Education tried to offer examples of enslaved people benefiting from slavery — but as the Tampa Bay Times noted, “historic sources show several of the 16 individuals were never even slaves.”

University of Buffalo researcher Ndubueze Mbah’s work on the concept of “abolition forgery” shows us that oppressive (and occasionally violent) slave-like conditions were imposed on Black laborers even after slavery had officially been abolished in Europe and the United States. 

During an April lecture for Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute, Mbah told the story of Jampawo, an African British subject who was forced, after abolition, to comply with a contract that allowed him and other Black laborers to be punished with physical violence. A similar power dynamic occurred in the U.S. after abolition as well.

“African bodies experienced abolition as beatings and starvation,” Mbah explained. “As hanging on trees. As burning with fire. As prison confinement. As penal labor. As forced labor. And that is not the story of abolition as liberation.”

Slavery was actually beneficial to Black people, according to a set of new rules around how Black American history is going to be taught in Florida’s public schools.

The new curriculum also includes assertions that Black people themselves perpetrated violence during historical racial massacres like the 1906 Atlanta race riot and the 1921 Tulsa massacre.

The slavery-was-actually-a-good-thing and there-were-bad-actors-on-all-sides bits are old, racist talking points that I’m not surprised to see Ron DeSantis shamelessly dredging up now that he’s on a national crusade to make himself as appealing as possible to the worst of white America. Using school curricula to delegitimize the horrors of slavery was an obvious next step, but we still need to call it what it is – white supremacy in government.

The historical revisionism being employed here has a singular goal – to erase the horrors of America’s racist past, legitimize far-right ideology and create easier pathways for racism to thrive.

Just look at what’s happening in Italy. For years, revisionists have redirected conversation about Italy’s role in the second world war away from its fascist crimes, effectively trivializing that past – and helping legitimize the county’s new far right. The prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, and her ilk simply refuse to acknowledge that Nazis and fascists were the bad guys in the war, and this ridiculous glossing over of Italy’s past has been extremely helpful to Italy’s contemporary far right.

That is what DeSantis wants for America. A systematic destruction of human rights followed by a reworking of our collective memory around race, so that ultimately the country’s most vulnerable people don’t have a leg to stand on in fighting for their most basic rights.

Long before Moms for Liberty, there were the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Their passion and influence kept generations of Southern children ignorant of how slavery had caused the Civil War and how cruel it had been. The “war between the states” was rather over “states’ rights” and tariffs. Confederate soldiers were the heroes of a “Lost Cause.” Kindly masters had been considerate to contented slaves.

Reconstruction was bad. The Ku Klux Klan was good.

The Daughters didn’t have to pull the truth from shelves. Its influence with state boards kept offending books from ever being printed or bought. When a University of Florida professor wrote that the South had been more in the wrong in the Civil War, the Daughters of the Confederacy got him fired.

To nationwide scorn and well-deserved derision, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Board of Education has approved a required Black history curriculum with “clarifications” that trivialize slavery and distort the record on racial violence.

Here’s one of them: “Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Another is worse: “Instruction includes acts of violence perpetrated against and by African Americans but is not limited to 1906 Atlanta Race Riot, 1919 Washington, D.C., Race Riot, 1920 Ocoee Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Massacre and the 1923 Rosewood Massacre” (emphasis added).

And by?

In each of those massacres, Blacks were never the perpetrators. It is a fraud on history and a libel on them to imply that they were. When whites died, it was because Black men had taken up arms to defend their homes, their families and themselves from armed mobs, seething with racism, bent on arson and murder.

Not everyone's noting the truth.  No, there's always FOX "NEWS."  THE MAJORITY REPORT looks at how FOX "NEWS" is leaning-in to stand with their fellow Klansman Ron DeSantis.

Let's wind down with this from The Green Party of Michigan.


Middle of the Mitten Greens Tag Sale

The Middle of the Mitten Greens is inviting you to a street sale on July 29, 2023. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Green Party of Michigan.

Corner of Michigan Ave. and Mifflin Ave. in Lansing. Free bags of groceries with each $10.00 purchase. (3 items).

Toys, clothing, household items, books, odds and ends. Free food!

Your purchase will go to administrative costs of the Green Party of Michigan. For more information please contact Robin Lea Laurain @

Robin Laurain, Ways and Means Officer GPMI


©2023 Green Party of Michigan | PO Box 2754, Grand Rapids 49501

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

It's time for Ron DeSantis to be committed

We knew Doo-Doo Ron Ron DeSantis was evil.  We knew he was stupid.  But bat s**t insane?

POLITICO reports:

Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. might have an offer to run a federal agency in 2025 — but not for the party he is running to gain the nomination from.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is struggling to gain steam in the GOP primary, mused on Wednesday in an interview with Clay Travis on OutKick that he generally aligns with Kennedy’s conservative views on Covid-19 policies and vaccines. Those views, DeSantis indicated, could make him a pick to lead a federal agency with medical jurisdiction.

The only one more insane than DeSantis?  Robert F. Kennedy Jr and Junior belongs in a nuthouse as well.

We don't have the luxury of indulging crazy.  Junior and DeSantis need to go away.

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

Wednesday, Jly 26, 2023.  Crazy runs the world.  In Iraq, the prime minister prepares to make nice with the leader of the nation who has illegally set up military base camps in Iraq (no, not the US), Australia's government rushes to say that the worst thing you can ever do is impugn a holy book oh, and by the way, maybe not attack a diplomatic institution, and in America -- where the crazy really roams free -- we have Robert F. Kennedy Jr and Ron DeSantis who both think they could be president.

Wonder why the world's so screwed up?  Amr Salem (IRAQI NEWS) reports:

The Australian embassy in Iraq issued a statement condemning the desecration of the Quran in Copenhagen and the attack on the Swedish embassy in Baghdad.

The statement mentioned that Australia unequivocally opposes the desecration of the Quran and other religious texts.

The statement elaborated that such acts are provocative and entirely inconsistent with Australia’s firmly held belief in the freedom of religion and the equality of all people.

Yes, that's the violent act, the burning of book.  Yes, that's what we lead with.  If we're insane and just want to coddle a bump of immature idiots who need to grow the hell up.  The burning of a book or a flag -- and Iraq loves to burn other countries' flags -- is not an excuse for violence now or ever.

But by all means, less rush to go first and foremost with "OHHHHHHHH1" over a book being burned as opposed to a fim "NO!" over three attacks on diplomatic missions.

The people in those embassies and outposts had done nothing.  Nor had their governments.  But they were the ones attacked and the chicken ass Australian government -- that Caitlin Johnstone refuses to call out even though she's Australian -- better hope no one gets injured or killed the next time and better grasp that thanks to their cowardly stance, there will be a next time.

They are normalizing such attacks with their very words.

And shame on Caitlin and the other cowards who refuse to demand that Australia fight to get Robert Pether and Julian Assange -- Australian citizens -- freed and freed immediately.

As the world knows, Julian's being persecuted for the 'crime' of journalism and held in England.  It's really past time for Caitlin to stop pissing herself in public while moaning about Joe Biden.  Julian's an Australian citizens held in the United Kingdom, the Australian government has not just the right but also the obligation to demand that the UK grant Julian safe passage home. 

Robert Pether remains less well known.

Robert returned to Iraq for a business meeting only to be arrested and held for over a year now in an attempt by the corrupt Iraq government to force Pether's company to renegotiate the terms of the contract. 

Let's stay with cowardly governments for a moment.  Iraqi is currently initiating Operation Tail Between The Legs.   KURDISTAN 24 reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani on Tuesday received Turkish Ambassador to Baghdad Ali Reza Gunay, according to the PM’s  Media Office.

Both sides discussed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's expected visit to Baghdad next week.

The Turkish President is scheduled to meet with the Iraqi Presidency, parliament, council of ministers and various political leaders.

Oh, goody.  An opportunity for Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to drop to his knees before Erdogan and beg.  Beg like the dog he is.

There are two main reasons this visit shouldn't be happening.  The first is the water issues.  The second is equally important.  With little attention or outcry from the world community, Turkey has not only been bombing northern Iraq -- the Kurdistan -- for years.  It has not only burned down forests in the Kurdistan.  It has also set up military outposts there.  That is a violation of the country's sovereignty and, yes, it is an act of war. 

A hundred years ago, the Turkish government carried out an Armenian genocide and the world was okay with that.  Now, the Turkish government carries out a Kurdish genocide and the world looks the other way again.  They say they're going after the PKK -- the PKK being a group that's active because the Turkish government has been killing Kurds for years now.  But the PKK has been the Turkish government's excuse for killing innocents as they bomb Iraqi villages and farms from their Turkish warplanes.    Aaron Hess (INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST REVIEW) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

We end today’s show with peace activist Kani Xulam, who’s the director of the American Kurdish Information Network. He has just arrived in New York City after his solo 300-mile, 24-day walk from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to United Nations headquarters here.

Monday marked the 100th anniversary of the partitioning of Kurdistan into four parts: British Iraq and French Syria, Turkey and Iran. All of this was done without the consent of the Kurdish people. They were left without a recognized sovereign state. What’s happened since has been called a cultural genocide.

This comes as the Kurds of Syria face threats from all sides after devastating earthquakes and relentless attacks by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Kani Xulam is joining us here in New York for more.

Kani, welcome back to Democracy Now! The latest news of, globally, around Kurds was Sweden, in order to get into NATO, making a deal with the Turkish president, Erdoğan, around what should happen to the Kurds there, who he so often calls terrorists, those who fled Turkey and now live in Sweden. Your response?

KANI XULAM: When NATO was conceived, it was supposed to be an alliance for freedom. And Kurds don’t have freedom. On top of it, their language is banned. They’re subjected to cultural genocide. If NATO wants to reassess its aims, its future aspirations, it needs to address this issue. It cannot cave in to Erdoğan and his racist policies that are trying to eradicate the name of the Kurds from the geography of the Middle East.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And could you talk a little about the history, especially of this treaty a hundred years ago that partitioned the Kurdish people into four different states?

KANI XULAM: You know, when the war started, an imperialist war, when America entered it, at least President Wilson said he wants to make the world safe for democracy. What happened afterwards was anything but to make the world safe for democracy. British, French, France, they joined Turkey and Iran in basically partitioning the land of the Kurds through fraud, through force, without the consent of any of the Kurds on the ground. It was a deal done in Lausanne, in the heart of Europe.

And we have been living with its effects. In Iraq, we have been gassed. In Syria, we have had three different laws applying to our citizenship rights. In Turkey, our very name has been eradicated from the land, if you will. Our mountains have acquired Turkish names. Our rivers have acquired Turkish names. Our villages have acquired Turkish names. And we have been struggling ever since to have a say.

And I walked from Washington, D.C., to the United Nations to say that we exist, we have a voice, we have a history, we have a culture, we are no different than our neighbors, and we need to solve this issue through peaceful means, through civil discourse. In the heart of the Middle East, we have the presence of the Kurds. It’s like, you know, the presence of Alps in Europe or the presence of Zagros Mountains in the Middle East, and it’s an objective fact. And yet our neighbors are saying that there are no Kurds, and they’re trying to pretend that the Kurds don’t exist, and they’re trying to assimilate every single Kurd on the ground as we speak.

AMY GOODMAN: Kani Xulam, in 1997, you were one of two Americans and four Kurds who fasted for peace in Kurdistan and for the freedom of Kurdish parliamentarians who had been arrested by Turkey and imprisoned. This is you speaking while fasting on the steps of Capitol Hill. Again, this is Washington, D.C., 1997.

KANI XULAM: Today, with some guarded optimism, we can report to you that our fast did have its intended effect on the policymakers in Washington. We also wanted to reach out to the mainstream media. Although The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune did pay some homage to our fast, much of the rest of the mainstream media kept their distance from us. They failed to validate our nonviolent message for peace and freedom. They did a disservice to our people’s longing for peace and to their people’s longing for the truth. It is unfortunate that Saddam and war sell better than Ferda and peace. Frankly, we are not disappointed. We are committed to our cause more than ever before.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that was Kani Xulam in 1997. Kani, has there been progress made? And what do you think needs to happen now?

KANI XULAM: The progress has been slow. We are trying to make America Kurdish-friendly, D.C. Kurdish-fairly. I’m reminded of a quote by Dr. King, who said the whites need the Blacks to come clean, to get rid of their guilt; the Blacks need the whites to heal, to lose their fear. The British, the French, the Turks, the Persians partitioned our homeland. They need to come clean, and they need to — they need to reach out to us, so that they could live in conscience, in good faith with their children. And we need them to help us lose our fear and lose our hurt, the pain and the suffering that has been inflicted on us for the last 100 years since the treaty.

And the future is really, we have to respect the Kurds and accept the Kurds. They deserve a seat at the United Nations, too. To pretend that the Kurds don’t exist is to pretend that the world is flat.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Kani Xulam, could you talk about the role of the United States, for instance, during the invasion of Iraq and the Iraq War? The U.S. backed autonomy for the Kurds as a means of achieving its own — the White House’s own goals in the Middle East, but, of course, has said nothing about the Kurds in Turkey or in the other Middle East states.

KANI XULAM: You know, in the course of my walk, long walk for freedom across the founding heartland of America, I came across a sign saying “Americans who had died for the cause of Iraqi freedom.” Many died, that’s true, but the Kurds really didn’t want to have anything to do with the Arab majority in Iraq. They desperately wanted to be on their own. In 2017, they voted to be on their own, and yet neither the United Nations nor the U.S. honored them, in spite of their support of the allied effort to topple Saddam.

In Syria, 11,000 Kurds have died, together with their Arab comrades, to get rid of ISIS threat, not just in the Middle East but also from Europe and the world. The relationship between the United States and the Kurds in Syria is still a military one. The Kurds desperately want that relationship to be a political one. We need political status. We cannot depend on our neighbors, who are bent on our destruction. This is a crime against humanity, and it needs to be stated. And I appreciate Democracy Now! for allowing me to say this on the air.

AMY GOODMAN: Kani Xulam, we want to thank you for being with us, director of the American Kurdish Information Network, has just completed a solo walk from Washington, D.C., to the United Nations.

That does it for our show. Democracy Now! is currently accepting applications for paid internships in our archive and development departments. Learn more and apply at

In the US, we've got another crop of crazies who want to be president. 

On July 20, Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. testified before the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. The hearing took place two days after former president Donald Trump announced that he had received a “target letter” from special counsel Jack Smith. Trump said he expected to be indicted on criminal charges related to the attempted overthrow of the 2020 presidential election, which culminated in the attack on Congress by a fascist mob summoned by Trump on January 6, 2021.

In the face of an unprecedented and rapidly escalating political crisis of the entire US political system in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, the bulk of the Republican Party and the entire leadership of the House Republican conference have lined up behind Trump, portraying the fascist would-be dictator as the victim of a Democratic-led government witch-hunt.

Two days before Trump revealed the special counsel’s target letter, the New York Post published on its website a two-minute video showing RFK Jr. telling associates at an upscale Manhattan restaurant that Jews and Chinese people are less susceptible to the virus that is the cause of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and that this may be the result of deliberate genetic engineering. This version of the infamous “blood libel” against the Jews was the latest iteration of RFK Jr.’s combination of anti-vaccination propaganda, anti-China anti-communism and anti-Semitism that has characterized his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination from the outset.

Following the exposure of this fascistic outburst, which was roundly condemned by other members of the Kennedy family and led to a further drop in RFK Jr.’s poll numbers, the House Republican leadership openly embraced him. In return, he eagerly and no less openly placed himself at their disposal in seeking to deflect attention from Trump’s crimes and portray both the ex-president and himself as victims of a “deep state” conspiracy.

The Judiciary Committee is headed by top Trump attack dog Jim Jordan of Ohio, who was one of 147 House Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election. Under the leadership of Jordan, the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which he set up, has held hearings advancing the false narrative that conservatives and Trump supporters are being unfairly targeted by the various federal police and intelligence agencies.

At the outset of the last week’s hearing, Jordan took time to introduce “a good friend of mine,” former Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat, who is currently serving as Kennedy’s campaign manager. Over the last year, Kucinich has worked with right-wing elements, including the increasingly fascistic Libertarian Party, to forge “left-right” unity against the “corporate duopoly.” Speaking to a smiling Kucinich, Jordan said, “We appreciate your service to the 1st Amendment.”

In his nearly three hours of testimony, Kennedy Jr. never refuted claims by Republican politicians that Trump or his allies were unfairly “censored” or “targeted” by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or social media companies, including after Trump’s failed coup. Instead, Kennedy claimed that he, more so than Trump, was the target of a censorship campaign, aimed at destroying his credibility and hampering his bid to become president.

That Kennedy Jr. was even allowed to testify on Capitol Hill to a worldwide audience less than a week after being exposed for advancing a fascistic and anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about COVID-19 demonstrates the absurdity of the claim that he is being censored. The fact that the Republicans courted him and used the hearing to provide him with a platform expresses the degree to which anti-Semitism and anti-Asian racism are increasingly accepted and promoted within the ruling class.

From one crazy to another, from Junior to Ron DeSantis.  Ronald just gets worse each day.  As Tavis Smiley noted, "Ron DeSantis has doubled down on his view that slavery benefitted Black folk.  Did it?  I mean, of course, that's a rhetorical question.  Saying slavery was good for Black folk because it gave us jobs is like saying that the Nazi holocaust was good because it gave us Anne Frank's diary, like saying apartheid was good because it gave us President Nelson Mandela.  It is absurd.  It takes Orwell to a new level."  

In the abstract, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) defense of changes to discussion of slavery in his state’s schools is baffling. The state’s new educational standards suggest that enslaved people “developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit,” as though being considered property was simply a step on the career ladder.

Asked about it, DeSantis offered that the curriculum — which he insisted wasn’t something he produced — would probably “show that some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life.” Needless to say, this is not generally how historians view the institution of slavery.

But DeSantis’s argument isn’t offered solely as a governor of a large state. It is also offered as a guy who is running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 and, in that context, his efforts to downplay the extent to which Black Americans suffered from slavery make much more sense.

He's lying for votes.  He's lying to get votes and he's so disgusting that he will insult African-Americans who were put into slavery and those who lived to see the end of it by lying about what was historically done to this group of people.  He's a liar.  It's that simple.

We want a liar to be in charge of our children's education?
This is not acceptable.  Either, in the 21st century, we're okay with that or we're not.  

Bump continues:

Last week, YouGov published polling data showing a divide in how Americans view the effects of racism. Poll respondents were asked whether racism against various racial groups was a problem now and the extent to which it had been in the past.

Republican respondents were more likely to say that racism against Black people was lower in the past than were White respondents or respondents overall. (Perceptions of racism in the past are shown with triangles on the graph below.) They were also less likely to say that racism against Black Americans is currently a problem (shown with a dot) — and were about half as likely as respondents overall to say that racism is currently a big problem (indicated with a dashed line) for Black Americans.

So you coddle a lot of ignorant people?  Is that what Ronald wants to do?  We can't afford to coddle.  We need to be adults and speak honestly.  Honesty does not render the institution of slavery as the equivalent of a trade school.  There is no excuse for that.  It's a lie and you call out lies.  

More to the point, you call out the people who promote those lies.  Ron DeSantis is not fit to be president of the United States for many, many reasons.  But the one we're addressing right now, the lying about history and lying about pain inflicted on a people?  That's outrageous.   Gregory Korte (BLOOMBERG NEWS) reports:

Will Hurd said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, his rival for the Republican presidential nomination, should take responsibility for a new state curriculum that calls for teaching that slavery gave enslaved people valuable skills.

“Implying that there is an upside to slavery is absolutely wrong,” said Hurd, a former US representative running a long-shot bid for the GOP nomination, in an interview Monday with Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power.”

DeSantis criticized Vice President Kamala Harris last week for going to Florida to condemn the recently adopted social studies curriculum. The Florida governor said he wasn’t involved in drafting the document but defended the standards. 

“They’re probably going to show that some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life,” DeSantis said Friday. 

“He shouldn’t have doubled down on this,” said Hurd, who has a Black father and White mother, and for a time was the only Black Republican in the US House. 

“This could have been handled very, very easily by saying we’re going to tweak that language to make clear that slavery was a bad thing for our society, it was our original sin,” he said. “That’s what Ron DeSantis should do, and not pass the buck and say it wasn’t his responsibility.”

Exactly.  It's a dodge move a kid makes, not a grown up.  And a kid would be immediately corrected.  But let's stop a moment for a paragraph in the section above:

DeSantis criticized Vice President Kamala Harris last week for going to Florida to condemn the recently adopted social studies curriculum. The Florida governor said he wasn’t involved in drafting the document but defended the standards. 

Kamala Harris was elected vice president of the United States.  Florida is in the US.  She has every right to go to Florida.

But Ron was not elected to national office.  Ron's supposed to be the governor of Florida.  He changed the law so that he could campaign and be governor.  But he's not governing as he flits across the country like a giant gypsy moth.  Kamala?  She did her job.  Ron's doing everything but his job.  Is that why Florida's having the insurance problems -- where they're paying three times as much now as people in other states?  Because they don't have a governor reporting to work each day?

Ron's lies about slavery are amplified because there are other liars.  Yes, there's always FOX "NEWS."  Ingrid Vasquez (PEOPLE MAGAZINE) reports:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is getting support from Jesse Watters.

Last week, the Florida State Board of Education approved new academic standards that will require middle schools to teach students that enslaved people "developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit."

Vice President Kamala Harris was the first to speak out about the guidelines in a speech at Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.'s 56th national convention in Indianapolis Thursday, stating that they pushed "revisionist history."

"Just yesterday in the state of Florida, they decided middle school students will be taught that enslaved people benefited from slavery," Harris, 58, said. "They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, and we will not stand for it."

Watters, 45, criticized Harris' remarks on The Five and argued. "This is well documented among historians," Watters claimed. "This is historical fact that slaves did develop skills while they were enslaved and used those skills as blacksmiths, in agriculture, tailoring, in the shipping business, to then use to benefit themselves and their families once they were freed."

This is not a historical fact.  Watters is a liar -- and that is a fact.  He's one of many liars at FOX "NEWS."  Mary Whitfill Roeloffs (FORTUNE) reports:

The controversy swirling around Florida's new slavery curriculum expanded Tuesday, as the White House condemned Fox News host Greg Gutfeld for defending the state’s education standards by claiming Holocaust survivors also needed “useful” skills in order to survive the Nazis.

On an episode of "The Five" talk show Monday, Gutfeld referenced a book written by Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl and said "you had to survive in a concentration camp by having skills. You had to be useful… Utility kept you alive.”

The comments were part of a segment on Florida's new history standards that imply slaves benefited from their servitude by learning skills that could "be applied for their personal benefit."

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement to The Hill Tuesday that Gutfield's comments were "an obscenity" and criticized Fox News for failing to condemn the host.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland has also criticized the comments for failing to add the context that "the Holocaust was a systematic genocide with the ultimate aim of exterminating the entire Jewish population... We should avoid such oversimplifications in talking about this complex tragic story."

What's worse is how there are so many liars at FOX "NEWS."  

Where's Jonathan Turley on this?  Silent of course.  He whores on FOX "NEWS."  So he won't call them out -- also he probably agrees with them -- that's how depraved his mind has become. It's too bad for George Washington University that he teaches there.  While he's silent, his GWU colleague Rochelle Anne Davis has teamed with Connecticut College professor Eileen Kane to call out this historical lie and assault:

Florida law that took effect on July 1, 2023, restricts how educators in the state’s public colleges and universities can teach about the racial oppression that African Americans have faced in the United States.

Specifically, SB 266 forbids professors to teach that systemic racism is “inherent in the institutions of the United States.” Similarly, they cannot teach that it was designed “to maintain social, political and economic inequities.”

We are professors who teach the modern history of the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and we know that even democratically elected governments suppress histories of their own nations that don’t fit their ideology. The goal is often to smother a shameful past by casting those who speak of it as unpatriotic. Another goal is to stoke so much fear and anger that citizens welcome state censorship.

We see this playing out in Florida, with SB 266 being the most extreme example in a series of recent U.S. state bills that critics call “educational gag orders.” The tactics that Gov. Ron DeSantis is using to censor the teaching of American history in Florida look a lot like those seen in the illiberal democracies of Israel, Turkey, Russia and Poland.

Amy Dru Stanley, an expert in slavery and emancipation who teaches at the University of Chicago, condemned the Florida Board of Education's new guidelines.

"The guidelines do violence to American history. Misleading is too kind a term," she told Newsweek.

"The guidelines update for 21st-century political purposes the myths of slaveholders: the specious notion of Black uplift through relations of personal domination and ownership under chattel slavery. The falsehoods that slaves learned valuable skills from dehumanizing, brutal labor for their masters; that outdoor work was healthful.

"The guidelines resurrect the pro-slavery defense that slavery was 'a good--a positive good,' as argued by Sen. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina in Congress, in 1837.

"The adoption of the guidelines has made a damaging travesty of education in Florida --damaging in distorting the past, damaging in teaching children to find something good in owning human beings as property, forcing their labor through whippings, and buying and selling them as commodities, damaging in seeking to win votes through whitewashing the most extreme forms of racial injustice."

Sophie White, a professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame, was also fiercely critical.

"I certainly think it also worth turning the question around, which is why Florida's state Board of Education (presumably under the direction of the governor) is so eager to erase the history of slavery," she told Newsweek.

"What are they so afraid of? That students in Florida get to confront the past, or that they understand the continuing legacies of hereditary, race-based chattel slavery?"

The following sites updated: