Friday, May 24, 2024

That idiot Kristi Nem

Kicking off with this from tonight's THE NEWSHOUR (PBS).

Now a Tweet.

Yes, our topic tonight is Kristi Noem.  Dominik Dausch (USA TODAY) reports:

All nine South Dakota tribes have officially endorsed the banishment of Gov. Kristi Noem from their lands.

Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe’s executive council voted Tuesday in favor of banishing the South Dakota governor from their reservation after she made disparaging remarks earlier this year against Native American parents during a town hall in Mitchell, saying their children “have no hope.”

She has also continually pushed claims that Mexican drug cartels have a “presence” on South Dakota Indian reservations.

This has placed Flandreau Santee Sioux leaders under pressure from their citizenry to punish Noem for her comments.

She's such an idiot. And a Trump groupie.  It's hard to keep those fools straight.  I was asking myself, "Is this the one that shot the puppy?"  Yep:

In April 2024, pre-release excerpts of Noem's second autobiography, No Going Back, received broad criticism and condemnation.[277] The Guardian reported that in a chapter titled "Bad Day to be a Goat",[4][278] Noem wrote that she took Cricket, her family's 14-month-old female wirehaired pointer, on a pheasant hunt, expecting Cricket to emulate the older, trained, dogs on the hunt. According to Noem, the dog "went out of her mind with excitement, chasing all those birds".[4][279] For the ride home, Noem "let Cricket ride loose in the back end of the truck" because she was a kennel short, adding that if Cricket "was dumb enough to jump out, then good riddance".[280] When Noem stopped to visit a local family, Cricket jumped off and "in pure joy" killed several of the family's chickens, then "whipped around to bite" her when she pulled her back to the truck. Noem then wrote that she "hated that dog" and concluded that Cricket was "dangerous", "untrainable", and "less than worthless".[4][281] After shooting the dog dead in a gravel pit near her house,[280] Noem decided to kill her family's male goat, which she said was "disgusting, musky, rancid", "nasty and mean", and "loved to chase" Noem's children. She "dragged him" to the gravel pit and killed him with two shots, having to go back to the house to reload after she botched the first attempt.[4][282][283]

Noem initially responded that "tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm", and subsequently said the incident occurred 20 years ago, and that "the fake news ... put the worst spin" on the story, as Cricket was a "working dog" that "came to us from a family who had found her way too aggressive [...] a responsible owner does what they need to do".[6][278][284] The story led to bipartisan criticism of Noem and doubt about the likelihood of her selection as Trump's vice presidential running mate intensified.[285][2] Rolling Stone reported that sources close to Trump said the story "disgusted” him.[286] A fundraising dinner for Noem in Colorado scheduled for May 4 was canceled after the group and the hotel hosting the event received death threats.[287]

Later in the memoir, Noem wrote of imagining herself becoming president in 2025, taking over from Biden, and that the first thing she would do would be to "make sure Joe Biden's dog was nowhere on the grounds ('Commander, say hello to Cricket for me')", in an apparent suggestion that Commander be killed.[288][289] Commander was moved to live away from the White House after having bitten several Secret Service agents there. In an interview, Noem said that Biden was "accountable" and called for Biden to "make a decision" on "what to do" about Commander.[290][291]

Noem also falsely claimed that she met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Noem's spokesperson said the claim was an error and would be expunged from the book's future editions.[292] Separately, Noem claimed in the book that she was once "slated to meet with French president Emmanuel Macron", but called off the meeting because he made a "very pro-Hamas and anti-Israel comment to the press"; the French government responded that it neither had invited Noem nor had any record of a scheduled meeting with Noem.[293]

The Washington Post's literary critic Ron Charles wrote that the "description of Cricket's Last Stand is the one time in this howlingly dull book that Noem demonstrates any sense of setting, character, plot and emotional honesty. Otherwise, it's mostly a hodgepodge of worn chestnuts and conservative maxims".[294]

Now she's corrupt and if you're not getting just how corrupt she is . . . Jonathan Turley is forever Tweeting in favor of her.  Here's the corruption Swirley Turley supports:

In July 2020, after Noem's 26-year-old daughter,[109] Kassidy Peters, was denied a real estate appraisal license, Noem summoned to her office Sherry Bren, a state employee who had directed South Dakota's Appraiser Certification Program for 30 years.[110] Additional attendees included Peters, Noem's chief of staff Tony Venhuizen,[111] Department of Labor Attorney Amber Mulder and Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman.[112]

By telephone, the group was joined by the governor's general counsel, Tom Hart, and a lawyer from the state's Department of Labor and Regulation, Graham Oey.[110] A week later, Hultman demanded Bren's resignation. Bren repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, tried to resolve the issues short of resigning, eventually filing an age discrimination complaint.[110] She received a $200,000 settlement as part of a nondisclosure agreement to withdraw her complaint and leave her position.[113]

Noem's spokesperson Ian Fury characterized the allegations as an example of how Noem cuts through "bureaucratic red tape".[110] Noem responded to a public airing of the charges by writing, "Listen I get it. I signed up for this job. But now the media is trying to destroy my children" and "This story is just another example of the double standard that exists with the media... going after conservatives and their kids while ignoring Liberals."

After the Associated Press published a story about the incident, the State Senate's Government Operations and Audit Committee was delegated to investigate the situation.[114] The attorney general, Republican Jason Ravnsborg, was tasked with providing guidance to the legislature as to their deliberations.[115][116] In April 2021, Noem had called for Ravnsborg's resignation after release of details of an investigation into the death of a pedestrian he had hit with his car.[117] After his refusal to tender his resignation, in June 2022, on his impeachment, state senators convicted Attorney General Ravnsborg on two counts of official malfeasance and by a bipartisan 31–2 vote, barred him from ever holding office again in the state.[118]

In October 2021, the Government Operations and Audit Committee invited Secretary of the Department of Labor Marcia Hultman and Sherry Bren to come before the committee to discuss the appraisal program in light of the controversy surrounding the program, Noem, Noem's daughter, and a $200,000 payout to Bren for an age discrimination claim.[119][120]

On December 14, 2021, Bren testified before the Government Operations and Audit Committee.[112] She said that Peters received an Agreed Disposition around March/April 2020. Around July 20, 2020, Peters received a letter and/or Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law when she failed to meet the requirements of the Agreed Disposition. Bren said she was told by Department of Labor attorney Amber Mulder on July 26, 2020, to be prepared to discuss "What is the definition of a serious deficiency; what criteria do you use for denials; how many are denied each year; how many are approved; are we saying that Kassidy can take certain classes and resubmit."[112]

Bren said she felt "very nervous" and "intimidated" when meeting with Noem and numerous attorneys and Labor Secretary Hultman.[121] Bren mentioned during the meeting at the mansion some appraisal classes that she thought would be helpful to Peters. Bren said that Noem was upset that she was just now hearing about the classes. Bren testified that the decision to depart from recognized upgrade procedures and offer a third opportunity would be Hultman's. Bren said this was beyond the recognized procedures and "not normal."[112]

On November 1, 2021, the Government Accountability Board set an agenda to discuss this issue and another issue based on complaints brought by Ravnsborg.[122] On December 15, 2021, the Government Accountability Board referred one of the two complaints to Noem for a response and sent the other back to the complainant for further information.[123] On February 3, 2022, the Government Accountability Board referred the second complaint to Noem for a response and gave her until April 15, 2022, to answer both pending complaints.[124][125]

On February 24, 2022, Republican State Representative John Mills introduced House Resolution 7004, "Addressing the Governor's unacceptable actions in matters related to the appraiser certification program", against Noem.[126] On March 1, the resolution was debated and failed by a margin of 29 to 38 with three excused, including Noem's primary opponent Steven Haugaard and U.S. House candidate Taffy Howard.[127]

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

Thursday, May 23, 2024.  Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito sports contempt for the American people, the Israeli government continues attacking hospitals and healthcare workers, students continue protesting around the world, and much more.

Friday morning Amy Goodman (DEMOCRACY NOW!) noted:

In other Supreme Court news, The New York Times is reporting an upside-down U.S. flag, which is a symbol used by Trump supporters and election deniers, hung outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in January 2021, just days before Biden’s inauguration. The revelations are expected to reignite calls for Alito to recuse himself from cases related to the January 6 insurrection, including Trump’s attempt to claim immunity from election subversion charges.


Alito is corrupt and not fit to serve.  Ruth covered this topic on Saturday "Like Thomas, Alito must recuse himself from all Jan. 6th cases" and she asked me for a comment (I wrote about it Friday in the gina & krista round-robin):

There are a number of issues here and multiple red flags.  Alito should recuse himself from any January 6th cases.  Alito states that his wife hung the flag upside down.  He states that it was done in relation to some other protest and has nothing to do with the January 6th attempted insurrection.  He is asking the American people to believe him on that.  That's too big of an ask.  There is the appearance of a conflict of interest and he may very well be lying.  I'm texting you a link to add to what I'm about to say.  Lying?  While attempting to be confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2006, he told Senator Ted Kennedy that ROE V WADE was settled law.  Then came his voting to overturn ROE.  That decision eroded confidence in the Court across the country.  He really is in no place to beg the American people to believe him.  Did his wife do the flag?  He was a judge before he got on the Supreme Court.  His wife knows the rules.  And if she did do it, that actually raises more concerns.  His work colleague is Clarence.  Ginni Thomas was part of the January 6th attempted insurrection.  Was Martha-Ann Alito also part of that insurrection attempt?  Do we need to be concerned as a country over just how deep that insurrection attempt actually was?  These and other questions immediately follow.  So there is the appearance of a conflict of interest.  That requires Alito to step aside on all January 6th cases.  His job is not just to rule.  His job is to rule and to ensure trust in the Court.  Refusing to recuse himself would be failing at his job. And the integrity of the Court is as important as any ruling it issues.  As a member of the Court, Alito has to maintain the integrity of the Court and he can't do that without recusing himself from all January 6th cases.

That was me to Ruth on Saturday.  Alito's a liar.  That's no longer opinion, there's a new story.

Israel’s war cabinet has instructed negotiators to resume talks on a deal to release hostages held in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said early Thursday. The statement came after the families of five female Israeli soldiers released footage of their capture by Hamas on Oct. 7, in hopes it would push authorities to restart stalled negotiations."  Hamza Hendawi (THE NATIONAL) reports:
 Shona Murray (EURONEWS) reports:

Netanyahu and his corrupt government have lied repeatedly.  Remember the claim that they didn't attack hospitals?  ALZAZEERA notes:

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

We now look at the ongoing crackdown on student-led protests in solidarity with Palestine across U.S. college campuses. An encampment at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is the latest to be violently dismantled by police, and President Santa Ono claimed the peaceful action had become a threat to public safety. Dozens of officers dressed in riot gear, wielding batons, raided the encampment before dawn Tuesday, pepper-spraying and pushing students to the ground as they tore down the camp.

PROTESTERS: [shouting] Move, cops! Get out the way! Move, cops! Get out the way! We know you’re Israel-trained! We know you’re Israel-trained! Move, cops! Get out the way! Go!

AMY GOODMAN: At least four people were arrested Tuesday, while two others were hospitalized after being pepper-sprayed by police. Student protesters set up the encampment about a month ago, demanding the University of Michigan’s endowment divest from companies with ties to Israel. This comes as the school’s president, Santa Ono, is slated to appear before Congress tomorrow alongside the presidents of UCLA and Yale to testify about their responses to the student-led protests and how they’re addressing reports of antisemitism on campus.

For more, we’re joined by Salma Hamamy, Palestinian American student at the University of Michigan, who just graduated earlier this month. Salma is the president of the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at the University of Michigan. On Tuesday morning, she was pepper-sprayed and beaten by police who raided the university pro-Palestine encampment, joining us from Southfield, Michigan.

Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Salma. Can you describe what happened yesterday? And just to be clear, this has all happened after graduation at Mich?

SALMA HAMAMY: Hi. Yes, it did all happen after graduation. Students at the encampment have been holding down the encampment long after, even after graduation.

And at approximately 5:40 a.m., police came in full riot gear, actually while we were having a church service on the Diag, moving them out and essentially giving us a 10-minute warning, saying that we must be cleared off of the encampment. However, that 10 minutes, surprisingly, turned into five minutes, and they immediately began to charge at the protesters and at the students with their batons and pepper spray. Nearly every step forward that they took, chemicals were being sprayed in every direction. As students were falling to the floor in agony and in pain, they continued to push forward, beating students with batons. And us, standing, we were trying to, you know, hold up onto the students who have fallen down and lift them and take them over to safety. Yet they even began to arrest students in that very moment. So, it was very difficult to keep track of who’s being arrested, because, you know, we unfortunately could not see in those moments due to the chemical attacks directly sprayed onto our eyes. And they constantly pushed us further and further back. It took them about half an hour to entirely remove us from the encampment, as we tried our absolute hardest to remain strong and remain standing at the encampment. However, as we were pushed further and further back, students, unfortunately, were unable to remain standing due to the pepper spray and due to the intense beating with the batons, as well. Students’ phones were even confiscated as we were recording them.

I, personally, myself, was holding a megaphone, and kept a reasonable distance from the cops, as well, as I was chanting, specifically emphasizing why I was there and why I was protesting at the encampment. I repeatedly said that my family has been killed, and that is why I’m here. And as I was saying that through the megaphone, police officers snatched the megaphone out from my hand and threw it behind them.

So, not only was it an attack on the encampment, but it was an attack on us as students protesting entirely. And it was quite a traumatic experience, to say the least, but, unfortunately, not one that was surprising at all given the response that the university has taken against student protesters within the last eight months. This is not the first time that the university has unleashed violent police against students. And currently, as you mentioned, four are now facing felony charges. Three were actually hospitalized. And, you know, due to the inhaling of the pepper spray, several of us are unable to properly breathe at the moment due to the tactics that they deployed.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Salma, I wanted to ask you — you mentioned that this repression didn’t just start with the encampment. Many universities, for months now, have been cracking down on even the most minor protests occurring on their campuses. What’s been happening in Michigan over the past eight months?

SALMA HAMAMY: Over the past eight months, we have seen police brutally beat students to the floor, rip their hijabs off in the process, causing several students to have been hospitalized over the course of eight months. We currently now have eight total students facing felony charges and dozens more facing disciplinary repercussions by the university themselves. Even within the smallest protests of us marching into buildings during public, open hours, we have been met with police violence. Us protesting outside, we have been met with police violence.

It seems that as though wherever we stand, the university refuses to engage in dialogue with us to discuss divestment, as we have been demanding for the last eight months. And instead of meeting with us at the table and meeting with us at the encampment, they decided to meet us with violent force and chemical attacks.

AMY GOODMAN: Where do you go from here, Salma? You just graduated. You also helped to organize the protest at the University of Michigan graduation.

SALMA HAMAMY: Yeah. So, one of the reasons that the university decides to attack our encampment is because it is a physical display of our commitment, of our dedication and of our motivation entirely. So, by them thinking that they could take down the encampment, it is in no way ever going to take down our movement or our commitment, because that lies within the people and that lies within ourselves. And we are still standing. So, regardless if we happen to have the tents laid up or we have an encampment or we have various forms of protest, it is always going to remain strong, and it is going to remain stronger than ever, every single time the police try to oppress us, and especially when it is caused by our university.

So, graduates, alumni, staff members, faculty members, broader community members are all remaining united and are remaining united for the Palestinian cause and for the people of Gaza. And we are going to continue to fight back, and especially against these charges that have been placed against these students for protesting a genocide and for protesting our university’s funding of a genocide. So, we will remain strong, and we will remain wherever it is that the movement lies, because it lies within ourselves.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think part of the dismantling of the encampment had to do with President Ono, president of the University of Michigan, having to testify before Congress tomorrow?

SALMA HAMAMY: Absolutely. I think it is a tactic that they are trying to uphold to protect themselves. However, one thing that is going to be made evidently clear, as it has made evidently clear with every single other raid at the encampment, is that it is not a good look for the university to come in and send police in riot gear. Of course, it is a fear tactic that Congress is trying to put against these university presidents. However, again, it’s not going to deter students away. And it is not a coincidence that around this time President Ono is sending police officers to not only physically danger and harm students, but also having dozens of students be faced with disciplinary charges from the university themselves and also eight felony charges from the prosecutor’s office.

AMY GOODMAN: Salma Hamamy, we want to thank you for being with his, Palestinian American student at University of Michigan, who just graduated earlier this month, and one of the organizers of the protest at the graduation.

 Like others around the world, we’ve been watching as neoliberal and corporate-controlled universities repress, silence, and violate peaceful protesters who are answering calls of conscience. As educators working in our various locales to break free from the structural chains of assembly-line school systems, we’re moved to unequivocally condemn those who order and undertake the beating and arresting of students, faculty, and supporters.

These are the very actions, as well as turning staff against the communities they serve and keeping students from reaching their beds, food, and medications—making campuses “unsafe” and not, as administrators claim, peaceful campus teach-ins and sit-ins.

We applaud and support students and others who are risking vilification, attacks by police and by right-wing extremists, arrest, and expulsion from their universities in defense of human rights and a swift end to the genocidal assault on Palestinians.

What kind of schooling violently subjugates those who lawfully express peace-oriented dissent?

We’re encouraged by this growing movement, which reveals an awakening among students of anti-colonial awareness and worldwide solidarity. On the other hand, the horrific repressive reactions of their institutions starkly reveal the oligarchic infrastructure on which Western formal education is built.

Let’s Reflect on the Purpose of Education

What is this modeling of violence in their own lives impressing on students? Such imperialist brutality is amplified to a much greater degree on the people whose lives and freedom they’re upholding.

What is education for, if it silences discourse on justice, freedom, and equity? What kind of schooling violently subjugates those who lawfully express peace-oriented dissent?

Universities should be spaces for intellectual and compassionate debate. Yet we are witnessing extensive censorship, abuse of power, the squelching of critical thinking, student suspensions, and arrests and firing of faculty members who support peaceful protest. 

Gaza remains under assault. Day 230 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  THE NATIONAL notes, "Gaza death toll reaches 35,709, with 79,990 wounded ."  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:


On bodies trapped under rubble, ALJAZEERA notes this morning:

We’re talking about a three-storey building that housed not only residents but also dozens of other displaced Palestinians in Rafah that made it to Nuseirat three days ago.

I met the neighbours. I met the family. I met one of the relatives of people still trapped under the rubble earlier today. They were telling me heartbreaking things.

Imagine escaping the air strikes in Rafah, looking for a safe space but being killed after three days of evacuating – not only being killed but being trapped where the Civil Defence teams do not have any equipment to remove or pull these people from under the rubble.

I saw Civil Defence teams doing their best to pull people from under the rubble. They were digging with their bare hands, with very basic tools. This was not the first time we have seen this scene. We have been seeing this for more than seven months now.

Unfortunately, it may come to a point where the Civil Defence teams will give up on this house because there are more people being targeted every single hour across the Gaza Strip.

April 11th, Sharon Zhang (TRUTHOUT) reported, "In addition to the over 34,000 Palestinians who have been counted as killed in Israel’s genocidal assault so far, there are 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza who are missing, a humanitarian aid group has estimated, either buried in rubble or mass graves or disappeared into Israeli prisons.  In a report released Thursday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the estimate is based on initial reports and that the actual number of people missing is likely even higher."

As for the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."

The following sites updated: