Saturday, August 19, 2023


Okay, time for me to review a book.  It's Andrea Warner's BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY. 

Buffy Sainte-Marie is a singer-songwriter from Canada who emerged in the sixties -- putting her in the camp with Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen and other Canadian singer-songwriters who emerged during that decade.

Buffy is a Native American and she was taken from her family and put up for adoption.  She would teach herself to play guitar and piano.  As an adult, she would emerge on the folk coffeehouse circuit.  VANGUARD signed her.  This was the label that was home to Joan Baez throughout the sixties -- she remains the biggest artist the label's ever had.  Also in the sixties, it had Phil Ochs, Odetta, Eric Anderson, Country Joe and the Fish -- among others.  Joan was their big seller, landing nine albums in the top forty of BILLBOARD's best selling albums weekly album chart -- five of which went gold.  Joan was of course also a big media star during that decade as well.

VANGUARD really didn't have that luck with other artists. And, turns out, Buffy had real problems with the label.  But she was writing great songs including "Now That The Buffalo's Gone," "Universal Soldier," "Solider Blue," "Mister Can't You See" and "Until It's Time For You To Go."  Later in her career, she'd win an Academy Award for co-writing the theme to AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN ("Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong").  

As a singer-songwriter starting out in the folk era, it should not be surprising to learn that Buffy was also an activist.  She has continued her activism to this day.  From 1976 yo 1981, she regularly appeared on SESAME STREET and addressed Native American culture, life and issues.  

She's had a creative resurgence since 2008 and her life should make for a fascinating book.

It does not.

Is that because this is an "authorized biography"?  Possibly.

Mainly though, it's because Andrea Warner isn't fit to write a book.  This isn't a KINDLE freebie via KINDLE UNLIMITED on AMAZON.  I paid for this digital book.  I would recommend you not.

Warner can't write worth s**t.  This reads like a book for third graders.  

And if Buffy's work matters -- and I would argue you it does -- we need to know more about the recording of the albums.  The only one we get 'information' on really is MOONSHOT and that's really just because she works with the man who eventually becomes her third husband on that album.  

How did she come to write, for instance, "My Country Tis of Thy People You're Dying"? 

There are real artistic issues in Buffy's career -- songwriting issues, guitar playing issues, singing issues, production issues, etc.  Andrea Warner isn't up for them.  

As a kid, ILLUMINATIONS was my favorite Buffy album.  "God Is Alive, Magic Is A Foot" sounded like nothing else I'd ever heard and I could try my dad's patience asking him to play it again over and over (it's the first track on side one of the album).  It and the album itself broke with all traditions, as it turned out.  And, as an adult, I've learned about that mainly from WIKIPEDIA.  Excuse me for thinking Andrea's access to Buffy and people from that period could have led to something of value.  It does not.  You learn as much about the album -- maybe more -- from WIKIPEDIA than you do from this awful book. 

I would love it if Buffy had many, many decades left.  Maybe she does?  But she's 82 now.  And a book on Buffy in this chapter of her life is a book that needs to especially provide context on her career and argue for her deserved spot in musical history.  

Anrea's not up to that.

She seems to wake up when writing of Buffy's third marriage -- or the abuse in it.

That's all she's really up for.

By that time, we're in the 80s and Buffy's big musical moments have pretty much ceased.  During this period, she will win an Academy Award (as noted above) but, again, it's not until 2008 that she begins to hit her stride again musically.  

2015's POWER IN THE BLOOD and 2017's MEDICINE SONG are classics as strong as any of her work at VANGUARD.  

How did she return to such a high creative peak?  Don't expect any answers from the book.

The only thing I really learned from the book was that she didn't like being at VANGUARD.  They ripped her off financially and repeatedly betrayed her.  By the end of the contract, she's agreeing to a second multi-disc best of just to prevent them from using a bad photograph (that makes her skin look red) on the cover and VANGUARD agrees not to use it and then turns around and does.

They were a very bad label.  Even for Joan Baez.  She never had the success she should have had.  For example, VANGUARD released her first single in 1961 and she only ended up with one top forty song (1971's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down").  She was a huge star, on the covers of magazines, part of the cultural conversation and selling albums.  But crap ass VANGUARD couldn't get her in the US top forty.

"But, Mike, folk!  It was a hard sell!"  No.  Bob Dylan was getting chart hits, to name only one example.  More to the point, VANGUARD wasn't her UK label and she made it to number 26 in the UK in 1963 with "We Shall Overcome," number eight on the UK charts with her cover of Phil Ochs' "There But For Fortune," number 22 with her cover of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" and number 35 with another Dylan cover "Farewell, Angelina" -- all three made the UK charts in 1965.  In 1971, she'd make the UK top ten with "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."  In the US, during her biggest fame, when she had one hit album after another and was part of the cultural zeitgeist, VANGUARD couldn't get her on the pop charts in the US but her British label, at the same time, was able to get her airplay resulting in five top forty hits in the UK.  

VANGUARD was a crap ass label.  Buffy got stuck with them just like, sadly, she got stuck with a crap ass author.  She deserved a much better book, much better. 

 Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"  

Friday, August 18, 2023.  Hate for the planet, hate for the people.  A lot of hate merchants in the world who need to be resisted. 

"The lights right before your very eyes," Donna Summer sang in "All Through The Night" (the song, which she wrote with Bruce Roberts, first appears on her album BAD GIRLS).  So many things are before our eyes and we refuse to see.  Climate change becomes more and more evident and becomes more and more of a climate crisis but so many seem too eager to avert their eyes.

The Middle East and North Africa region has topped global rankings of water-stressed regions, and every Mena nation will suffer extreme water scarcity by 2050, new research has shown.

Demand for water is already outstripping renewable supply at an alarming rate, according to research published by the World Resources Institute on Wednesday.

About 83 per cent of people in the region are living under extreme water stress, the report said, with more than 80 per cent of water supplies used for irrigation, livestock, industry and domestic needs.

[. . .]

In May, a UN official warned that Iraq will only be able to meet 15 per cent of its water needs by 2035 if trends continue.

This is exacerbated by dam projects in neighbouring Iran and Turkey, which threaten to cut off water supply to Iraq.

Water scarcity could deal a severe blow to a large proportion of its population, with almost a third of people relying on agriculture as their main source of income.

The International Committee of the Red Cross offered a photo essay earlier this summer entitled "Iraq: A brutal tale of climate change in pictures."  In the intro, they note:

If you have never been to Iraq, then what you will see in the pictures is not statistics about Iraq being "the fifth-most vulnerable country to climate breakdown".

In Lisan Al-Arab ("Tongue of Arabs") one of the most extensive dictionaries of Arabic words, the Arab scholar and historian Ibn Manzur mentions that the people of Hijaz used to call lands close to the sea "Iraq", hence the reason Iraq was given that name was "because it lies on the shore of the Tigris, so close to the sea". It was also said that the name implies "how the roots of trees and palm trees intertwine". Others explained that the word Iraq was an arabization of an Iranian name, meaning "many palm trees", so the Arabs named it Iraq.

Today's reality is far less poetic.

Again, it just requires opening your eyes and looking honestly to grasp what's taking place.

Iraq is seeing it most dramatically but this is a global crisis.  

Let's note something in the US.  At COUNTERPUNCH, George Ochenski notes:

It’s been more than 50 years since Montanans voted to ratify the 1972 Constitution which has drawn worldwide praise for its clarity and protections for a broad spectrum of citizens’ rights — including our “Inalienable right to a clean and healthful environment.” Yet only now, half a century later, has that right finally been fully recognized in an order issued in Helena by the Honorable Kathy Seeley’s district court.

All Montanans owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the 16 young people who had the courage to bring the Held v. State lawsuit and prove that Gov. Gianforte, Attorney General Austin Knudsen, and the Republican legislative super-majority went too far in their foolish climate-change denial by making it illegal for state agencies to consider climate change pollutants in the state’s permitting processes.

Thanks to a tremendous job by the phalanx of highly skilled attorneys representing the “next generation,” the reality of Montana’s significant contributions to global climate change was simply undeniable. When all the carbon output from Montana’s mining, transporting, and burning fossil fuels was added up, it surpassed the total carbon footprint of entire nations, including Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

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

In a landmark climate case, a judge in Montana has ruled in favor of a group of young people who have sued Montana for violating their constitutional rights as it pushed policies that encouraged the use of fossil fuels. In her decision, Montana Judge Kathy Seeley wrote, “Plaintiffs have a fundamental constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment, which includes climate.” The judge went on to rule, quote, “Montana’s emissions and climate change have been proven to be a substantial factor in causing climate impacts to Montana’s environment and harm and injury,” unquote.

The case was brought by 16 children and young adults, ranging in age from 5 to 22. This is Rikki Held, the lead plaintiff in the case, known as Held v. Montana.

RIKKI HELD: This ruling is just so important in Montana and for outside and supporters. … This is such a huge issue. And for the judge to say that Montana is significantly contributing to global climate change just kind of leaves me with this feeling that our actions do matter.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now by two guests. Olivia Vesovich is one of the other plaintiffs in the landmark Montana climate case, 20-year-old student at University of Montana. She’s in Missoula right now. And in Eugene, Oregon, we’re joined by Julia Olson, chief legal counsel and executive director with Our Children’s Trust.

Julia, let’s begin with you. Talk about the significance of this case. And why Montana?

JULIA OLSON: Good morning, Amy.

This is a historic decision. It’s the first of its kind ever in U.S. history. And why Montana? Montana is one of the states in our country that has had laws on the books that requires it to promote fossil fuel energy and fossil fuel development at a time when we’re in a climate emergency. And their laws also require them to ignore the consequences of that and the ways in which greenhouse gas emissions from those fuels fuel the climate crisis.

And so, these young people used the Montana Constitution, which protects not just the right to a clean and healthful environment, but also the right to dignity, to health and safety and happiness and equal protection of the law. And they sued the state, challenging these laws and their implementation, and, in June, had a seven-day trial. And we just won this historic ruling saying that that legal regime, and the conduct under it, is unconstitutional.

AMY GOODMAN: So, are the laws automatically struck down, Julia?

JULIA OLSON: They are. They’re struck down. And not only did the court declare them unconstitutional, but said that the state was enjoined from implementing them.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to bring Olivia Vesovich into this conversation. You’re one of the Montana youth plaintiffs in a city I hold dear, Missoula, Montana, where my first college roommate was from, went to Hellgate High. Olivia, talk about your response to the judge’s ruling? Where were you when you heard?

OLIVIA VESOVICH: I was out running errands. I’m going on a camping trip to Oregon, actually, next week, and so I was out running errands, and I saw an email from Mat dos Santos, one of our lawyers. And I pulled over off of like a busy road, and I just — I got onto a side street, and I just sat in the car on this Zoom call hearing the most life-changing news that I’ve ever heard.

AMY GOODMAN: So, how did you get involved with this, Olivia? How old were you when this case started? And why do you care so much about the issue of the climate and the fate of the planet?

OLIVIA VESOVICH: I was 16 when I joined this case, and it was because my science teacher knew that I was deeply involved in climate organization in Missoula. And he heard about this case, and he reached out to me, and he asked me if I would like to join. And the minute that I heard about what this case was and what it meant for my state and what it meant for the world, or what it could mean, I immediately wanted to join and share my story of how climate change has impacted me, how it’s harmed me, because I think so many youths are impacted by climate change, and we don’t even know the full extent of it because we have become so used to what climate change means. And that’s a horrible thing to say.

And I think that joining this case gave me hope that I didn’t have to be used to any of the symptoms of being [inaudible] from wildfire smoke or having to deal with respiratory — other respiratory issues from pollution, and knowing that this case was going to allow myself to share my message but also to be a voice for the youth, because so many youths do not have this option and opportunity to become so — to have such an impact on climate change. And I knew that this case was going to be, because any time in the United States that we’ve been granted civil rights, that’s become — that’s been from a court case. And I knew that this was a very high likelihood that it would be. And it is.

AMY GOODMAN: This is particularly poignant, Olivia, this decision coming down this week in the midst of the worst wildfire in a hundred years in U.S. history in Hawaii on Maui. We are counting the dead now. It’s over a hundred, could be so many more. Your thoughts about this, learning about this, as you talk about fires in Montana and Canada, and how that affects you?

OLIVIA VESOVICH: My heart is just so completely and utterly broken for the people of Hawaii right now. I am utterly devastated that they are going through this, because it is a fate I would wish upon no one. And that is just one of the most horrible things that I could even imagine. And to know that their — the recovery isn’t even being dealt with in the best way possible is also heartbreaking. And, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask Julia Olson — you also are involved with a case in Hawaii, where 14 young people filed a lawsuit against Hawaii and other entities. Explain.

JULIA OLSON: So, the state of Hawaii has been a leader in climate change in some ways. They have put laws on their books that require the state to decarbonize their energy system by about 2045. And they understand, being islands and dependent on the climate system, as it has been in the past, for their water and their food and their livelihoods, how much they’re affected. And what we’re seeing with the fire on Maui, that’s going to be increasing in the years and decades that come.

And so, the problem with Hawaii is their greenhouse gas emissions from their transportation system are increasing. And so these 14 youth in Hawaii are suing the state, similar to the Held plaintiffs in Montana, using the Hawaii Constitution, which also protects their rights to a healthy environment, to public trust resources and to health and safety and equal protection of the law. And we have a trial date set for June 24th, 2024, to really put forward the evidence of how the Department of Transportation and the state of Hawaii are making their transportation emissions worse and increasing, rather than going in the right direction. And they’ll miss their targets. And so we’re holding them accountable for that.

AMY GOODMAN: Julia, can you also talk about your case, Juliana v. United States, a landmark youth climate lawsuit that accuses the U.S. government of perpetuating the climate crisis and endangering the lives of citizens? CNN recently published an article titled “Biden is campaigning as the most pro-climate president while his DOJ works to block a landmark climate trial.” Explain.

JULIA OLSON: Yeah, absolutely. So, Our Children’s Trust has been representing youth on climate and suing government since 2010. And in 2015, we filed a case on behalf of 21 youth, under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, against the federal government for its active role in causing the climate crisis. And today, for example, the United States supplies 23% of the world’s fossil fuels. And under the Biden administration, it has made the U.S. the largest oil and gas producer, following on the Obama and Trump legacies, as well. And so, this case is trying to hold the federal government accountable for its role in causing the climate crisis.

  The richest tenth of U.S. households are responsible for 40% of all the nation's greenhouse gas emissions, a study published Thursday revealed, underscoring what progressives say is the need for regulations and taxes on carbon-intensive investments.

Published in PLOS Climate, the study—which was led by University of Massachusetts, Amherst sustainability scientist Jared Starr—analyzed 30 years of U.S. household income data and the greenhouse gas emissions generated in creating that income.

"We find significant and growing emissions inequality that cuts across economic and racial lines," the paper notes. "In 2019, fully 40% of total U.S. emissions were associated with income flows to the highest earning 10% of households."

"Among the highest-earning 1% of households (whose income is linked to 15-17% of national emissions), investment holdings account for 38-43% of their emissions," the publication continues. "Even when allowing for a considerable range of investment strategies, passive income accruing to this group is a major factor shaping the U.S. emissions distribution." 

Are we going to be helpless?

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC notes last year's action where two Just Stop Oil climate activists tossed soup on Vincent Van Gogh's SUNFLOWERS painting.  I love art, I believe in art (much more so than politics).  It's not an action I would take but it didn't surprise me.  Or outrage me.  

Governments are doing nothing to address this crisis seriously.  

Ella Feldman (THE SMITHSONIAN) quoted one of the activists (Phoebe Plummer):

“What is worth more—art or life?” she asked in an impassioned voice, her hand glued to the wall behind her. “Is it worth more than food? Worth more than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting, or the protection of our planet and people? The cost of living crisis is part of the cost of oil crisis. Fuel is unaffordable to millions of cold, hungry families. They can’t even afford to heat a tin of soup.”

Feldman also noted:

In London, the soup demonstration follows a move from the conservative U.K. government, headed by Prime Minister Liz Truss, that allowed for a new round of oil and gas exploration in the North Sea and reversed a 2019 ban on fracking.

Mel Carrington, a spokesperson for Just Stop Oil, tells the New York Times’ Alex Marshall that the group intended to generate publicity and spark debate. She says they selected Sunflowers because they knew it was protected by glass and wouldn’t be damaged by the soup.

If governments aren't going to address it, people will take it into their own hands.  They've heard a lot of promises -- a lot of empty promises -- and this is about the very life of the planet.  

At a time when we especially need leaders stepping up around the world, it seems we are instead awash with fools.

The only thing Ronald DeSantis offers the nation is hate.  Not hope, hate.  Jamie Tabberer (UK's ATTITUDE) offers a helpful timeline and history:


The then-Member of the US House of Representatives from Florida’s 6th district receives a “0” rating from the Human Rights Campaign on LGBTQ-related legislation. A year before, he co-sponsored a bill preventing federal government from acting against discrimination against same-sex couples based on their “religious belief or moral conviction.”


DeSantis is accused of “straight-washing” the three-year anniversary of the Pulse massacre, in which gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 attendees of an LGBTQ+ nightclub, after issuing a statement making no reference to the LGBTQ+ and Latino identities of most of the victims. He later calls this a mistake, blaming a recently departed (and gay) colleague.

July 2020 

A year into his Florida governorship, DeSantis hints at personal progress by marking the four-year anniversary of Pulse, saying: “The State of Florida will not tolerate hatred towards the LGBTQ and Hispanic communities, and as Floridians we stand united against terrorism and hate of any kind.” Spoiler alert: he soon changed his tune.

June 2021

On the first day of Pride month, DeSantis signs in the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, forbidding trans people from playing in women’s and girls’ scholastic sports. On the second day of Pride month, he vetoes proposals to provide $150,000 in state funding for counselling for Pulse survivors, and a $750,000 housing programme for homeless LGBTQ+ youth.

March 2022

Conceivably galvanised by national right-wing support to his anti-trans law, DeSantis signs in the Parental Rights in Education bill, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay, Don’t Say Trans’ law. Similar to Russia’s ‘Gay propaganda law’ and the UK’s own Section 28, the law bans classroom discussion and “instruction” on sexuality and gender.

May 2023

DeSantis signs four bills rolling back LGBTQ+ rights, including the criminalisation of providing gender-affirming care for minors, restrictions on drag performances, and a ‘Don’t Say Gay’ expansion — it now impacts all school grades from pre-school upwards. His signing of Senate Bill 1580, meanwhile, permits healthcare providers to deny a patient care on the basis of “conscience-based objections”. Imagine a religious zealot denying you PrEP — how would you feel?


The real-life Disney villain (the entertainment conglomerate opposes ‘Don’t Say Gay’) of course confirmed his presidential hopes back in May. If he beats other Republican hopefuls (including Trump), DeSantis will go up against President Joe Biden in the November 2024 election. If successful, his spate of Floridian anti-LGBTQ+ laws, which have escalated in their severity over the past few years and been dubbed the ‘Let Kids Be Kids’ package, could go federal — and their influence global.

Climate change can be tackled.  Hate can be tackled.  We can stand up for what is needed.

Libby Dean (WFLA) reports on people fighting back against Moms For Bigotry:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and controversial right-wing groups like Moms for Liberty have played a key role in influencing education changes in Florida.

The recent start of the new school year in the Sunshine State was clouded with uncertainty as educators struggled to understand how to implement the state’s new education laws.

In an effort to prevent the wave of changes in Florida, a group of LGBTQ+ parents came together on Tuesday to announce a new group. The name of the new network is “Parenting with Pride.” The goal of the group is to protect LGBTQ+ communities in Florida’s public schools, in contrast to organizations like Moms for Liberty.

It’s the newest initiative brought by Equality Florida to support the LGBTQ+ community.

Parenting with Pride is a grassroots effort to influence Florida’s education laws. More than 1,000 families are already on board. They hope to ditch new restrictions on LGBTQ+ education in the state like pronoun restrictions and the expansion of the state’s Parental Rights in Education law.

“My son deserves to be able to share his family life with his peers and his teachers should be able to support them without losing their jobs,” Florida parent Heather Wilkie said.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, August 17, 2023

ALTERNET flaunts the stupidity

Hey ALTERNET, you're stupidity is showing:

DeSantis’ remarks do not appear to be representative of heath care options for minors in the U.S., based on a May report from The Annenberg Public Policy Center’s

DeSantis continued his remarks against appropriate medical support of transgender youth.

“As a parent right now, I can’t take my six-year-old daughter and get her a tattoo, even if I want to do that,” he told Ball. “You don’t have the right to do things that are going to be destructive to kids. I think that some of these parents are being told by physicians who are making a lot of money off this that you have to do this, otherwise your kid can end up doing something like commit suicide. I think that they get bullied into thinking this is the right decision.”

LGBTQ youth suffer far higher rates of suicide ideation and suicide attempts than their non-LGBTQ counterparts.

A May, 2022 NPR report titled, “Nearly half of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide, survey finds,” specifically mentions DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.

Ball also reports DeSantis shut down her question about the possibility of his children being LGBTQ and what he would do.

David Badash (The New Civil Rights Movement) wrote that and, sorry, David but sometime you have to hit someone over the head with a shovel to get their attention.

David, your heart's in the right place and I will certainly make a real effort to find something by  you in the future to highlight.

My problem with you right now?  (And don't worry, when I name "Idiot of the week" in my next post, it's not going to be you.)  DeSantis lied.  DeSantis lied and you just repeated the lie and didn't call it out.

From C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" that went up early, early this morning:

On to Ronald DeSantis who can't stop lying because, really, what else does he have?  The campaign's in free fall.  Sarah Fortensky (THE HILL) reports on an interview TIME did with Ronald and she emphasizes Ronald's reaction to being asked what he would do if one of his children was gay or transgender -- he doesn't respond really but I guess even he knew it would turn off voters if he said, "Stone them to death."  

But the thing I'm having big trouble with is his lying.  He insists, regarding surgery for transgender youth, "As a parent right now, I can't take my six-year-old daughter and get her a tattoo, even if I want to do that."  Ronald, that daughter's got teen pregnancy written all over, I'm sure she'll have plenty of tattoos.  But my objection isn't based on his lying about surgery.  Unless the child is inter-sexed (formerly "hermaphrodite") -- meaning born with both genders, they aren't doing surgery on young children.  I know Ronald loves to repeat that lie as do Moms For Bigotry and Naomi Wolf and so many others.

But, again, that's not what's bothers me most about this article.

Ronald is the governor of Florida.  He is an attorney.

Why the hell is he lying about Florida law?

And why do people let him get away with lying?

You don't even have to read the full text of Florida statute 381.00787, just the first clause: "(1) A person may not tattoo the body of a minor child younger than 16 years unless the tattooing is performed for medical or dental purposes by a person licensed to practice medicine or dentistry under chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 466."

So, yes, a medical professional can tattoo a child under 16 in Florida if it's medically necessary.  

Do you get it?

Children can get tattoos under the age of 16 with parent's consent if it's for medical purposes.  So Ron lied.  The way the law reads?  If it applied to transgender patients, this would be the exact same as it is for tattoos (minus dentists).  

So Ron told TIME a lie and it needs to be called out.  Because Ron is saying -- sorry if I'm belaboring the point but no one seems to get this -- the law is different for tattoos and it's not.  

My take?  A parent's decision until the child's 18.  Unless they're an emancipated minor.  It's none of the government's business and the government needs to back out.  

Time and again, C.I. is there before anyone.  That's what happens when you're dealing with someone as smart as she is.  She can game things out with the best of them.  Dem strategists are always calling her asking her to do just that.  And she'll read an article and maybe put it aside for a second then pick it up and say, "This seems suspect" because she comes across something like Ron's lies about tattoos.  So she'll look up the actual law and find out that it's lies.

She's done so much to be proud of but if you asked her?  She'd probably cite Diana Ross.  Diana's a friend of C.I.'s and C.I. doesn't feel Diana ever gets the credit she's earned.  She and Ava worked for weeks on a way to write about the fact -- a fact WIKIPEDIA and all those awful documentaries of late ignore -- that the first woman to make the box office actress list, the first African-American woman, was Diana Ross.  She made it for LADY SINGS THE BLUES and then again, two years later, for MAHOGANY.  Diana never gets credit for that and most people didn't even know it.  All this dumb jerks with a bad documentary on NETFLIX trashing Diana for THE WIZ -- which wasn't the bomb they want you to believe it was -- don't grasp that without Diana, there's no WIZ.  It was the fact that she was box office that the film got made.  And C.I. doesn't just say that, she knows it.  She knows Diana, she knows Berry Gordy, she knows Rob Cohen who handled the project.  No Diana, no THE WIZ?  It would be like PIPPIN' and every other all Black cast play that the studios optioned but never made into a film in the 70s.  

Okay, I found David Badash's website and I'm linking to it.   Again, I have no ill will towards him and I'm sure I'll find something he's written to link to many times again.

But if you don't hit with a shovel we wait and wait and wait.  And when the narrative does get corrected, the mainstream media sneaks it in without giving credit as Ann pointed out earlier this week in "Shame on Jamie Frevele and other rip off artists."

Young residents of Florida are leaving the state, a columnist Jennifer Rubin shared, claiming that it is now the place “where empathy, decency, and kindness go to die.”
Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post, “Gov. Ron DeSantis and his obedient Republican legislature have made bullying and attacking the vulnerable the hallmarks of their governance.” Floridians allegedly suffer from “right-wing stunts” with lawsuits, something DeSantis was already accused of in the media, though there are no formal charges against him, only allegations.

[. . .]

With younger generations leaving, it comes as no surprise that Universities in Florida are suffering. The University of Florida alone lost over 1000 staffers, reports claim. Rubin addressed the issue, “Record numbers of faculty are not returning to the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, and the University of South Florida. This is hardly surprising, given DeSantis’s assault on academic independence and his suggestion that students go out of state if they want to study topics such as African American studies.”
[. . .]
Rubin wrote in the Post, “There is little sign that the rest of the country is enamored of censorship, book bans or anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment. The question remains whether DeSantis’s act wears thin at home.”

Beau thinks Doo-Doo Ron Ron DeSantis will be flushed down the toilet in the upcoming GOP debate.  I hope he's right.  Doo-Doo and Tacky Onassis (as Casey DeSantis is known -- that and Tacky O! as well as America's Karen) have really exhausted their welcome and then some.  The editorial board of THE MIAMI HERALD notes:

If Ron DeSantis’ latest message to Disney sounds a little familiar, it’s because it echoes what the Florida governor has been hearing, more or less, from Donald Trump when it comes to the GOP presidential primary: Just give up.

Ain’t gonna happen, in either case.

DeSantis, in a Monday interview with CNBC amid a struggling presidential campaign, suggested that he and his allies had “basically moved on” from his fight with Disney, a battle against the Mouse that, up until now, he’s been shouting about from the mountaintops.

“They’re suing the state of Florida. They’re going to lose that lawsuit. . . . . So what I would say is, drop the lawsuit,” he said, adding that Florida is a “great place to do business.”

Just a few short months ago, in May, the governor was still calling Disney “a multibillion-dollar company that sexualizes children.”

Smooth pivot, governor. Make it about business — and quick. Time to distance yourself from that whole “anti-woke” thing, the strategy you’ve been banking on for years to carry you to the White House in the 2024 election.

The issue, of course, is that the anti-woke battle cry isn’t resonating for DeSantis the way it used to, especially now that his extreme views have been exposed on the national stage as he tries to make his case to people outside of Florida. 

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

Thursday, August 17, 2023.  More notice the prime minister of Iraq's lies, Naomi Klein shares what it's like for people to confuse you with a total nut job, Ronald DeSanits -- governor of Florida and an attorney -- does not actually know Florida law (unless, like me, you just believe everything he says is a lie), and much more.

Let's drop back to the August 15th snapshot:

Starting with Iraq, ASHARQ AL-ASWAT reports:

Iraq no longer required the presence of "foreign combat forces" on its territories to combat ISIS, announced Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Mohammed Shia al-Sudani on Monday.

Sudani was speaking during a meeting with commanders of the Armed Forces and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), members of the Ministries of Interior and Defense, and the military forces that took part in the war against the ISIS terrorist organization.

PRESS TV quotes him saying:

"Today, Iraq does not need foreign combat forces, and we are conducting advanced dialogues in order to determine the form of future relationship and cooperation with the international coalition," he said.

“The Iraqis have become, after the liberation battles, more united than ever before… All Iraqis fought in one trench from all nationalities, religions, sects and components."

What a load of garbage.  His remarks, the prime minister himself. 

Do they need foreign troops?  No, they don't.  But he's not calling for them to leave.  And it was just last week that Iraq's Minister of Defense Thabit Muhammad al-Abassi was in DC meeting with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to discuss the new agreement as the DoD press release noted:

This meeting looks beyond the defeat of the Islamic State and is an outgrowth of a visit Austin made to Baghdad in March. "We are interested in an enduring defense relationship within a strategic partnership," said Dana Stroul, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, during an interview last week.

Many officials are calling this an agreement on establishing a "360-degree relationship" -- meaning it would be a whole-of-government strategic partnership for years.

For years.


Foreign troops not needed but US troops to continue "for years."

Iraq's prime minister was lying to the Iraqi people.

Yesterday, THE CRADLE noted the problems with the prime minister's claim versus that agreement and added:

His statement came on the heels of reports from Anbar province in western Iraq that said planes carrying an unknown number of US soldiers, advisors, and civilians arrived at Ain al-Asad air base.

“Ain al-Asad base witnessed an unusual movement of military transport aircraft that landed inside the air base with the US warplanes overflying the base to secure the arrival of these planes,” the source explained.

Meanwhile, THE NEW ARAB reports that Iran's Quds Force General Esmail Qaani flew into Baghdad on Tuesday for his fourth visit since Mohamed Shia al-Sudani became prime minister of Iraq and: 

Qaani's visit aims to discuss the recent strategic agreement between the Iraqi government and the US, disagreements between the Iraqi militias and the Iraqi government and the need for de-escalating the conflicts. 

"Qaani has urged leaders within the coordination board of the Islamic resistance to stop all military operations against the US and the global coalition forces at this time," the source outlined. 

Naomi Klein has a new book due out next month, September 12, DOPPELGANGER: A TRIP INTO THE MIRROR WORLD.  I've read it, I enjoyed it.  VANITY FAIR has an excerpt where Naomi writes of being in the ladies' room and hearing two women discuss her at the sinks while she's in the stall, talking about a position Naomi does not hold when she realizes that they're saying "Naomi Klein" but they mean "Naomi Wolf" who was attempting to speak for and order around the Occupy Wall Street activists:

That was not the only point of disagreement between Wolf and the organizers. For better or worse, the Occupiers had been very clear that the movement did not have a policy agenda—two or three political demands lawmakers could meet that would send them all home satisfied. Wolf insisted this was not true: She claimed the movement actually had specific demands and that she, improbably, had figured them out. Wolf then took it upon herself to deliver a haphazard list of supposed demands to New York governor Andrew Cuomo at a black-tie event organized by Huffington Post, where she and Cuomo were both guests. Wolf failed to connect with Cuomo inside but managed to get herself arrested in a burgundy evening gown, a melee documented by a bank of cameras. This is what the women in the bathroom were referring to when they talked about how “Naomi Klein” did not understand their demands.

I had paid only peripheral attention to Wolf’s antics as they unfolded—they were just one of many bizarre things swirling around Occupy during that eventful fall. One day the camp buzzed with rumors that Radiohead was about to perform a free concert—only to discover that it was an elaborate prank. Next, Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and Russell Simmons actually did drop by, entourages in tow. Then it was Alec Baldwin’s turn. In this circus atmosphere, a midcareer writer getting handcuffed while unsuccessfully ordering around protesters half her age was barely a blip.

After the bathroom incident, though, I started paying closer attention to what Wolf was doing, newly aware that some of it was blowing back on me. How often does this identity merger happen? Enough that there is a viral poem, first posted in October 2019, that has been shared many thousands of times:

If the Naomi be Klein
you’re doing just fine
If the Naomi be Wolf
Oh, buddy. Ooooof.

Over the years, there have been plenty of oofs. In the decade since Occupy, Wolf has connected the dots between an almost unfathomably large number of disparate bits of fact and fantasy. She has floated unsubstantiated speculations about the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden (“not who he purports to be,” hinting that he is an active spy). About US troops sent to build field hospitals in West Africa during the 2014 Ebola outbreak (not an attempt to stop the disease’s spread, but a plot to bring it to the United States to justify “mass lockdowns” at home). About ISIS beheadings of US and British captives (possibly not real murders, but staged covert ops by the US government starring crisis actors). About the results of the 2014 Scottish referendum on independence, which the “no” vote won by a margin of more than 10 percentage points (potentially fraudulent, she claimed, based on an assortment of testimonies she collected). About the Green New Deal (not the demands of grassroots climate-justice movements, she said, but yet another elite-orchestrated cover for “fascism”). She has even spotted plots and conspiracies in oddly shaped clouds.

And just like in that overheard Manhattan bathroom, every time she floated one of these theories, I would hear about it—only now on that infinitely scrolling bathroom wall known as social media. “I can’t believe what Naomi Klein said.” “Has she lost it?” “The real victim here is Naomi Klein.”

I came to think of her as Other Naomi. This person with whom I have been chronically confused for over a decade. My doppelganger.

Crazy Naomi Wolf is lusting over Donald Trump (seeing him gives her "pangs" and the realization that, gasp, "he had been our bully")  and dreaming of a Donald Trump ticket with Robert F. Kennedy Junior.  

Kids, if a Naomi Wolf approaches, find an adult immeditely.

Our public education institution is under attack. DeSantis’ crusade on the “woke” and “porn” in the schools is nothing more than a Trojan Horse. He is heavily funded by donors from the Heritage Foundation, as is Moms For Liberty. Their goal is to cause so much chaos and frustration in the public schools so they can dismantle public schools and turn them into charter schools for profit.

The truth of the matter is transgender people want to be included in society. There are a number of people who are against this. In their attempts to shut down this topic, they have created fear and panic. Transgender people make up less than two percent of the population. They are not a threat to your children. Children are not getting their genitals cut off. This is against the law and there isn’t one case of this happening in this country.

Change is scary and that is what is happening. I encourage you to educate yourself about this topic. Seek out medical professionals that treat transgender people. Get the facts, not the hype.

Vanessa Reynolds, Pensacola

All he has is hate to offer.  

Speaking of transphobes, on his little watched video program (certainly not worth leaving your dying husband at the hospital for), Glenneth Greenwald asks questions:

Question for anyone celebrating these indictments: What *exactly* did Trump do that was illegal? If we’re going to start prosecuting presidents for crimes—Great—but that's clearly not what this is: It's a one-time exception to bury the establishment's foremost political enemy.

Well, let's start with you.  That eye sore that you're wearing with the mismatched tie, your incessent hand gesturing and that home-dye job are all illegal and you should be arrested.  However, unlike you, I managed to say all that without jazz hands.  I don't think I've seen so much hand movement since Ava and I reviewed a Kenny Chesney TV special:

Take Faith Hill, the star of NBC's Fireflies. We've seen more than enough of "Cover Girl" Faith (and "Cover Girl" Queen). We've never been too impressed with her soundtrack work which is always overproduced. Fireflies will be the embarrassment, we told ourselves. We assumed that Kenny Chesney's Somewhere in the Sun would be the high point.

Well we can be wrong. And boy, were we.

Somewhere in the Sun no doubt pleased arm pit fetishists throughout the land. If Chesney flashing his pits does it for you, ABC provided you with enough multiple orgasms to last a lifetime.

Other than on the arm of Renee Zellweger, this was our first time seeing Chesney. And we quickly realized that something more was going on than Chesney's desire to demonstrate, repeatedly, that, yes, he had hit puberty and sprouted body hair.

What if, we wondered, Liza Minnelli woke up one morning with two left feet? She would still have the song in her. She would still need to express herself through movement.

If that day should ever come, Minnelli will owe a huge debt to Kenny Chesney who is bravely pioneering The Dance of the Arms while others without dancing feet simply accept their lot in life. "Jazz hands"? That's so last millenium. This is arm choreography at it's most energetic. Chezney with a Z!

Little Miss Show Biz strode around the stage. Sometimes he did the wave all by himself. Sometimes he pointed at the audience in a sudden burst of arm movement! Sometimes he did an extended pointing session, sweeping the arm back and forth. Sometimes he threw both arms suddenly into the air in an All . . . That . . . Jazz kind of maneuver. The arms need to be bare. They are his legs.

Kenny sleeveless is like a dancer in short-shorts.

Watching him blowing kisses and move around gesturing wildly, our question wasn't, "Why did Renee leave him?"; our question was, "Did she ever see him onstage before she married him?"

Second?  Fake electors.  Do you not grasp this, Glenneth?  

What am I doing? 

I've noted for years and years and decades now that Glenneth doesn't understand the law.  He never does.  I don't think he's lying, I just don't think he ever understands the law.   Glenneth, if you can take a moment away from shopping for the latest fashions on QVC, you might try actually reading the indictments -- it's all outlined in there.  Should we order you a thesaurus on AMAZON to help you with the reading?  No, Glenneth that's not a sex toy.

In her awful column that we noted yesterday, Air Head Naomi Wolf tried to argue (lie) that what Donald did was the same as what Al Gore did.  No.  He didn't try to toss out votes and substitute them.   That's not what took place on Team Gore-Lieberman and it's a sign of just how pathetic Naomi's become that she'd make that claim.  Apparently, there's no one she won't sell out, not even her former friend Al Gore.  Al Gore did not try to get anyone to create a slate of fake electors, he did not try to get the vote count changed through private pressure -- recounts (which were stopped before completed) were done in the full view of the press and were shown on the network news.  

Some people may not understand -- though, if like Glenneth, you don't understand and you have a law degree, you're an idiot -- so let's go to WSWS.  Patrick Martin explains:

The indictment of ex-President Donald Trump in Georgia, the fourth in five months, is the most serious so far. It outlines, in nearly 100 pages of detail, how Trump and dozens of co-conspirators, some indicted, some not yet, engaged in a conspiracy to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

Though limited to a single state, the indictment gives a much fuller picture than the federal indictment brought two weeks ago of the efforts by Trump and his aides to steal Georgia’s electoral votes, won by Democrat Joe Biden by a margin of 11,799 votes. It charges, among others, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Trump’s top campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis and Kenneth Chesebro, outside consultants like John Eastman and high-ranking officials of the Georgia Republican Party. 

 Dahlia Lithwick (SLATE) explains:

The two most recent indictments filed against Donald J. Trump are mirror images in many ways. Jack Smith’s federal document filed in Washington was spare almost to the point of being an inky line drawing, whereas Fani Willis’ Georgia filing is rich and detailed and pointillist. Smith targeted one defendant only, whereas Willis went after 19 defendants on 41 counts. Smith mentions a handful of co-conspirators; Willis notes 30 unindicted co-conspirators. As Norm Eisen and Amy Lee Copeland point out, Smith’s case will likely be blacked out for television and audio audiences, whereas Willis’ suit will most likely become must-see TV for weeks on end. Jennifer Rubin argues that the D.C. trial will happen quickly, while the Georgia case may face months of wrangling, flipping, bargaining with conspirators, and lengthy pretrial shenanigans. Claire Potter points out that Willis can seize Trump’s assets under Georgia’s RICO law. And Rick Hasen observes that Fani Willis has centered race and racialized vote suppression in a fashion that is far more explicit than the federal analogue.
[. . .]
Finally—and again, this is both atmospheric and also very important—Fani Willis has not just formally named Trump as a mobbed-up crime boss, but also placed him squarely behind the wheel of a national criminal clown car. For Trump, stripped away from the sober officials who once lent him intellectual heft and political credibility, his final public act may well be honking sadly on the oversize horn, surrounded by the likes of Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, and Jeff Clark. The only thing more piteous than the mental picture of a diminished Donald Trump in the dock standing trial for lies, forgeries, and bullying is Donald Trump doing so in the presence of a whole host of people—tragically, with law degrees—who are living case studies in moral and intellectual mediocrity. His co-defendants are living proof that the personnel equivalent of spray tan that briefly tried to burnish him into looking like a principled and sober commander in chief after 2016—John Bolton, John Kelly, Bill Barr, among others—had well and truly departed the scene by the time of the 2020 election assault.

For those interested in THE MANY LIES AND COURT CASES OF DONALD TRUMP, Ruth is covering this Shonda Rhimes like story -- all of Donald's indictments and charges -- at her site. 

On to Ronald DeSantis who can't stop lying because, really, what else does he have?  The campaign's in free fall.  Sarah Fortensky (THE HILL) reports on an interview TIME did with Ronald and she emphasizes Ronald's reaction to being asked what he would do if one of his children was gay or transgender -- he doesn't respond really but I guess even he knew it would turn off voters if he said, "Stone them to death."  

But the thing I'm having big trouble with is his lying.  He insists, regarding surgery for transgender youth, "As a parent right now, I can't take my six-year-old daughter and get her a tattoo, even if I want to do that."  Ronald, that daughter's got teen pregnancy written all over, I'm sure she'll have plenty of tattoos.  But my objection isn't based on his lying about surgery.  Unless the child is inter-sexed (formerly "hermaphrodite") -- meaning born with both genders, they aren't doing surgery on young children.  I know Ronald loves to repeat that lie as do Moms For Bigotry and Naomi Wolf and so many others.

But, again, that's not what's bothers me most about this article.

Ronald is the governor of Florida.  He is an attorney.

Why the hell is he lying about Florida law?

And why do people let him get away with lying?

You don't even have to read the full text of Florida statute 381.00787, just the first clause: "(1) A person may not tattoo the body of a minor child younger than 16 years unless the tattooing is performed for medical or dental purposes by a person licensed to practice medicine or dentistry under chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 466."

So, yes, a medical professional can tattoo a child under 16 in Florida if it's medically necessary.  

These are the type of lies that keep hurting him with GOP voters.  Julia Manchester (THE HILL) reports:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s support in the Republican presidential primary slipped to its lowest level this year, according to a new Quinnipiac University national poll released Wednesday. 

Eighteen percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters said they supported the Florida governor, which is his lowest level of support in Quinnipiac’s polling of the GOP primary this year. Former President Trump, on the other hand, clocked in at a whopping 57 percent support among Republican and Republican-leaning voters. Quinnipiac noted that DeSantis was only 6 points behind the former president in February, but now he finds himself trailing Trump by 39 points. 

Chris Christie, Mike Pence and Asa Hutchinson continue to assert that they could move ahead and capture more support.

You know what?

They're right.  It is possible to win over voters.

The problem?  Winning back voters.  Ronald's driven people away.  It's very unlikely that he can win them back at this point.  When you run someone off, you tend to lose them for good.  When they turn, they stayed turned.  Ronald might believe in 'conversion therapy' for his former voters but that really doesn't take.  Let's look at 1992 and, specifically, at H. Ross Perot.  He was running as an independent candidate and worried some -- Republicans and Democrats -- because, in June of 1992, he was polling at 39% among likely voters.  

39%?  It's possible to build on that.  In a three way race, 39% of likely voters in targeted states could have put you in the White House.  

But his campaign was over long before November.  

By July, one month later, he'd dropped to 25%.  It was impossible to win the 14% back.  And he dropped further. 18.9% is the percentage of voters that turned out to vote for him.

Yes, you can build on your support.  But once your support starts to erode seriously -- something beyond the margin of error -- it is very difficult to draw people back to you. 

That reality does not bode well for Ronald DeSantis.

The following sites updated: