Saturday, December 3, 2022

Call Me Kat adds even more soap opera lather

Call Me Kat airs Thursday night on FOX.  I didn't cover it last night because I wanted to think about it.  I have.  The episode had some good humor but, no, I don't recommend it.

Chandler, on Friends, "Tonight, on a very special episode of Blossom!"  Mayim Bialik starred in Blossom and now she starts in Call Me Kat.  You'd think she'd steer away from 'very special episodes.'

She won't.  We're going to have one regarding Phil.  That's fine.  Beverly Jordan passed away.  Phil has to be addressed and the actor who played him remembered.

But we did not need a storyline this season for Sheila (Kat's mother) going blind.

And now?

Now we have Max The Drunk.

Kat threw an awful Thanksgiving dinner -- that she called a party.  

Max drank at it.  The next day, he passed on audition for a record label.  Kat was upset and blamed it on his drinking.  They argued.  He called that night asking her to come bail him out, he'd been arrested.  He'd peed on a cop's car -- he said near a cop car and that the wind did the rest.  

He now has a drinking problem.

A very special episode.

We don't need it.  We don't want it.

You are a sitcom, focus on making us laugh.  

I don't think that's too much to ask.  We're already having to deal with Sheila's going blind.  This is a sitcom -- not a daytime soap opera.

When the show really grates on my nerves (anytime that they have Randi and Kat fighting with each other), I hold on because of Mx.  And now they've made him a drunk.  

I don't know how much longer I can hold on.

Phil and Jalen got closer.  Phil told him he loved him.  That changed their relationship -- in a good way.  Randi and Carter were Randi and Carter -- and since they can deliver comedy, how about spinning them off into their own show?  

I think that's pretty much everything.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, December 2, 2022.  Persecution exists around the world -- including the US where so many work overtime to pretend they're fair while attacking groups of people.

Let's start with the deeply stupid.  Notorious homophobe Jonathan Turley is back to sharing his increasingly warped and unfit opinions:

Justice Amy Coney Barrett is facing increasing calls to recuse herself from a major Supreme Court case due to her religion. These absurd demands say less about the ethics of Barrett than the bias of her critics, who have waged an unrelenting and vicious campaign against the jurist and her family.

At issue is 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis’ Dec. 5 argument. Even before the court granted review, I noted it could be one of the most important free-speech cases in history. It involves a web designer who declines jobs for same-sex marriages over her religious beliefs.

Liberal academics and pundits have decried Barrett’s participation in the case because she has been part of the Christian group People of Praise, which holds traditional views of marriage and homosexuality. The media are quoting former members calling themselves “survivors” saying the group holds views that make it impossible for her to judge the case fairly.

Impossible, that is, if Barrett is willing to discard every principle of legal and judicial integrity she has maintained her entire career.

It's not a free speech case, first of all.  Tradeswoman Lorie Smith designs webs sites.  She wants the government to give her an out so she never has to design for thoe 'icky' gays -- apparently Lorie's a closet case who fears proximity to equality will unleash her inner demons and immediately turn her into a muff diver if she's forced to treat all customers the same.

Jonathan lies -- because that's what he does now -- and writes that Coney Barrett (it is Coney Barrett -- those are two last names and Jonathan and others need to get that right) is being called out for being "part of the Christian group People of Praise, which holds traditional views of marriage and homosexuality."  Let's leave aside Jonathan's misguided nothing of ''traditional'' -- he's a raging homophobe -- and focus on that claim -- all she did was belong to a group that holds beliefs.


Stephanie Kirchgaessner (GUARDIAN) explains a detail Jonathan -- accidentally, we're sure -- omits:

They point to Barrett’s former role on the board of Trinity Schools Inc, a private group of Christian schools that is affiliated with the People of Praise and, in effect, barred children of same-sex parents from attending the school.

A faculty guide published in 2015, the year Barrett joined the board, said “blatant sexual immorality” – which the guide said included “homosexual acts” – had “no place in the culture of Trinity Schools”. The discriminatory policies were in place before and after Barrett joined.

The schools’ attitude, the former People of Praise members said, reflect the Christian group’s staunchly anti-gay beliefs and adherence to traditional family values, including – they say – expelling or ostracizing members of the People of Praise “community” who came out as gay later in life or their gay children.

“I don’t believe that someone in her position, who is a member of this group, could put those biases aside, especially in a decision like the one coming up,” said Maura Sullivan, a 46-year-old who was raised in the People of Praise community in South Bend, Indiana. Sullivan identifies as bisexual and recalls coming out to her parents, who were members of the People of Praise, when she was 19.

“They decided that I wasn’t allowed to be around my sister, who was 13 at the time, without them around, because I could ‘influence’ her in bad ways. Stuff like that. So I had a tenuous relationship with my family,” she said. “To be cut off from my family was the ultimate loss of community.” Sullivan and her parents, who are no longer members of the faith group, have since repaired their relationship, she said.

Questions about the People of Praise’s attitude toward LGBTQ+ members and their families, and Trinity Schools’ policies, have resurfaced because the supreme court will hear oral arguments on 5 December in the case of 303 Creative LLC v Elenis.

Jonathan Turley is not an honest broker.  Her sitting on the board and doing so when it refused children because their parents were same-sex goes to why she should recuse herself.  It's the equivalent of racial restrictive covenants that allowed 'traditional' people to refuse to sell their home to Jews, African-Americans, etc.

This isn't minor.  And she should have to recuse herself.

Jonathan's confident that she can follow the rules.

Of course, Jonathan was confident -- even after DOBBS was leaked -- that ROE wouldn't be overturned.

And, of course, in that case Amy tossed aside precedent, five decades of precedent, to abuse the law and to 'honor' her 'religion.'

Jonathan's becoming a damn liar.  He seems to have some grand purpose these days involving self-humiliation.  It's sad and pathetic to watch him.

Amy sat on a board that discriminated against gay people and she did so only a few years ago.  She didn't disclose this when she nominated for the Court:

Barrett has never publicly acknowledged her membership in the community since becoming a judge and did not disclose it during her 2020 confirmation. It was reported at the time that the People of Praise erased all mentions and photos of her from its website ahead of her meetings with lawmakers.

Had she made the disclosure, she wouldn't be on the bench now.

She's part of the reason it is now an illegitimate Supreme Court.  Liars like Amy misled America to get on the bench and now are refusing to respect settled law so that they can instead attack the very fabric of America.  

And there's Jonathan Turley lying for them.  

By the way, Jonathan, don't think I'm forgetting that you've claimed this Lori Smith case is about freedom of religion, not freedom of speech.  You left that out in this column, didn't you?  Why?  Because freedom of religion means that the American people are free of it and being free of someone imposing their religion means Amy and her history necessitate that she excuse herself from the case.

You've become so pathetic, Jonathan.

We're not done with the pathetic and stupid.  Self-proclaimed 'radical feminist' Marissa Darlingh takes to FOX NEWS -- because that's what we feminists do, right? -- and whines that she's lost her job as a counselor at a public school and it's all so unfair.  Marissa moans:

On April 23 of this year, a Saturday, on my own time, I delivered a very short, unscripted speech at a feminist rally denouncing the threat that gender identity ideology poses to the physical and mental health of my students. This rally was on the steps of the state Capitol, far away from my school district. For this I was fired from my job. This clear violation of my First Amendment right to free speech is why I am suing Milwaukee Public Schools and the MPS employees who were involved in my termination. 

I have worked in a few different urban public school districts across the Midwest with hundreds of students who come to me with an array of experiences that shape their emotional lives. My politics have never interfered with my work or my relationships with students, their teachers or their families. After I spoke out in April, a top-down investigation began of my fitness to serve in my role as a school counselor. Ostensibly, this was because I said the words "f--- transgenderism" and for expressing my personal belief that a child cannot be born in the wrong body. 


Your statements mean you can't do your job.

You're working with children.  They may go through a period where they think they are trans or they may, in fact, be trans.  And your statements indicate that they can trust you and that they will not receive rational care.  

Your statements removed you from your job because you declared to the world that you are not impartial.  

You can't continue in your job having made that statement.  You're a liability to the school. 

As a counselor -- and even one as woefully uneducated and unprepared as you -- should grasp that these type of statements create walls between yourself and those you are supposed to be helping.

You screwed up.  The school was within their rights.  They hired a person with the expectation that the person would be able to address the various issues the student body might have.  Instead, they got you declaring "F**K transgenderism."  With that statement alone, you created a problem for the school and the student body you were supposed to serve.

You are supposed to counsel.  Students have problems and difficulties are supposed to believe you will be fair and help them.  Your statements were offensive and prejudicial.  The school did what you forced them to do -- find a counselor who could serve all the students.

Let's stay on this topic for a moment more to include something cut earlier this week.  

Charlamagne The Odd.  

And The Stupid.  

Lenerd does not like the term "transphobic" and went to FOX NEWS to lament about -- well nonsense.  The truth needs to be slapped upside his head.  He's an idiot.  Tulsi Gabbard went on TV citing 'statistics' on this huge wave of surgeries being done on children.  Idiot that he is, Lenerd bought into it.  

Was Tulsi lying?  She's an idiot so she was probably just sporting her stupidity or maybe her cult leader, Guru Chris, told her to say it.  Who knows?  Who cares?

But we pointed it out once this week, let's point it out again: A parent or a guardian has to okay surgery on a minor (unless the minor is an emancipated minor).  

Get it?  Tulsi didn't.  Lenerd does either.

"Things like that bother me. . . . Like I'm transphobic because I feel like I', you know, just using a little common sense here."

A little?

Try none.

You've fallen for the media spin and lies.

Again, a 14-year-old's not walking into a doctor's office saying, "Get out the knives."

It doesn't work that way and never has.

If someone under 18 is having gender reassignment, that's been discussed as a family matter and Lenerd really doesn't need to be injecting himself into what a family's decided about surgery.

Lenerd's a real idiot because there is a science here and predates the 21st century.  There are tests -- physical and mental -- that are done before a gender reassignment surgery.

Like Tulsi, Lenerd has made no effort to learn a damn thing.  Tulsi's excuse is she never attended a real school.  She went to her cult's school for two years and then was schooled by her parents for the rest of it -- homophobic cult members.  

Lenerd should be striving for so much more.  But, let's be honest, he's middle-aged and out of touch.  He's COMEDY CENTRAL's idea of young.

He told FOX, "And I think that you're cheating those kids by not having the conversation."  If they're kids, the conversation is taking place with their parent or guardian.  Try to grasp that.  "Like, let's all come to the table and talk about it" -- with you?  Are you The Decider -- like Bully Boy Bush.

Lenerd, you are the idiot because you've bought into the lie that 12-year-olds are deciding by themselves -- and on a whim -- to have surgery.  Next up, Tulsi 'reports' on a new craze with an 800% increase where 14 year olds are DIY-ing the gender surgeries themselves!!!!

"But you know, who am I to judge?" Lenerd asks at the end.  Exactly: Who are you to judge?  Especially when you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Lenerd built a career around common sense.  How very sad that it's now failed him.

Prejudice and persecution exist all over the world -- and needs to be combatted where ever it pops up.  The editorial board of THE NATIONAL notes:

Christians in Iraq were persecuted by ISIS, which forcibly transferred them, seized their property and subjected them to sexual violence and other “inhumane acts”, a UN report has found.

An investigative team said they had collected evidence that strengthens preliminary findings that the extremist group committed crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Christian community after it seized about a third of the country in 2014.

The report on Thursday night to the UN Security Council said crimes also included enslavement, forced conversions and destruction of cultural and religious sites.

The team said they had identified leaders and prominent members of ISIS who participated in the attack and takeover of three predominantly Christian towns in the Nineveh plains north of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, in July and August 2014 ― Hamdaniyah, Karamlays and Bartella. It also started collecting evidence of crimes committed against the Christian community in Mosul.

ISIS fighters seized Iraqi cities and declared a self-styled caliphate in large areas of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014. The group was formally declared defeated in Iraq in 2017 following a three-year bloody battle that left tens of thousands dead and cities in ruins, but its sleeper cells continue to stage attacks in different parts of Iraq.

ISIS was not defeated.  It's a terrorist group.  By definition its goal is to disrupt and terrify.  It somehow -- Nouri al-Maliki and his pathetic leadership -- managed to seize control of multiple cities in Iraq and try to 'govern.'  That's what the pushback and battles ended.  They never ended the actual terrorism and ISIS has continue its acts of terrorism.

Christians are only one of many persecuted in Iraq. Helen Fitzwilliam explains at Chatham House:

Malaeen Luqman was 13 years old when Islamic State militants kidnapped her family in a coordinated attack on the Yazidi homeland of Iraq’s Mount Sinjar in 2014. Separated from her mother and taken to Raqqa in Syria, she managed to escape to Turkey after 12 weeks of captivity. 

Today, Malaeen is one of 16 women survivors scattered across camps in northern Iraq who are documenting the experiences and customs of the Yazidi people on camera, canvas and film to create a digital cultural archive. It is one of many initiatives to safeguard this fragile minority’s identity since Islamic State jihadis tried to erase their heritage by mass murder, sexual enslavement and the destruction of historic shrines and villages.

Considered heretics by the jihadis, 5,000 Yazidi civilians were killed  when they refused to accept forced conversion following the onslaught. Some 2,700 Yazidi women and children remain unaccounted for. Though estimates vary, it is thought that Iraqi Yazidis numbered more than 600,000 when Islamic State embarked on what United Nations investigators have described as genocide. 

Up to 40 per cent of Yazidis fled abroad. More than 200,000 are displaced and weary of living in displacement camps around Dohuk in northern Iraq. If they seek asylum in the West, the fear is that the memories and practices central to their culture and religion will disappear as well.

This esoteric peacock-worshipping sect has no holy book, and its sacred scriptures are passed on orally by a priestly caste of sheikhs. Yazidis do not accept religious converts and many elders have opposed writing oral traditions down or putting them online. Their syncretic faith combines elements of  Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam, but as Gerard Russell remarks in his book Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: ‘The religion’s secrets have been kept well, even from its own followers.’

And FANACK notes:

The Kakaism minority lives as a non-missionary religious group in Iraq, a country known for its rich ethnicities and multiple religions. Kakaism is trying to preserve its identity amid the transformations and changes that the world and the region are witnessing. At a time when Iraq’s religious and ethnic diversity faces multiple threats, Kakaism has had its share of these pressures. Kakaists suffer from significant stresses that threaten their faith and existence.

Kakaism dates back to 3000 BC. While this sect is called “Kakaist” in Iraq, its followers in Iran refer to it as “Yarsanist,” meaning “lovers of the Creator.” The followers of this sect are not limited to Iraq and Iran, but their presence extends to Pakistan, India, Turkey and other countries.


Researcher Abdulrahman Karim Darwesh traces the origin of “Kakaism” to the Kurdish word “Kaka.” This word means “elder brother who is compassionate, helpful, chivalrous, honest, supporting, responsible for the affairs of others, a caretaker and defender of the weak.” According to Darwesh, in some cases, this name is given to the father and grandparents in large families. The name “Kaka” is also given to public figures.

Researcher Jamal Rashid links the term “Kakaism” to the development of the historical roots of the Kurdish honorifics. According to Rashid, the common roots of the term have evolved to be interpreted by both Kurds and Kakaists.

Some believe the Kurds designated the term to Kakaists out of respect. Others believe that the name reflected their religious beliefs, which preach brotherhood among human beings and oblige them to call any human being by the word Kaka.

Based on the name, Iraqi historian Abbas al-Azzawi believes that Kakaism has become a spiritual bond around which Kakaists are united.

Some in Iran call Kakaists Ahl al-Haq or People of Truth. Other names include Men of Magnanimity, People of the Chain, and Yarsanism: Yar San, meaning friend of the sultan. Yarsanism in Persian and Kurdish also means “the beloved.”

We'll wind down with this from Restore The Fourth:

Restore the Fourth and the #StopShotSpotter Coalition have launched a petition to Demand the ShotSpotter CEO stop using faulty and invasive technology to track our daily lives for profit at the expense of our safety and privacy.

ShotSpotter sells faulty aerial gunshot recognition technology that at least 130 U.S. cities and towns are squandering money on. The 20-25 sensors per square mile they install stores vulnerable audio data for days at a time. Some state courts have ruled audio evidence from ShotSpotter sensors as inadmissible under wiretapping statutes.

ShotSpotter has reserved the right to own and sell this data with little oversight or regulation - including selling it to third parties and developing biometric surveillance devices. The sheer scope of ShotSpotter's operations guarantees that one of their devices could be outside your home, recording the conversations and activities of your daily life. These eavesdropping devices record everything they hear, even conversations at normal volume up to 50 feet away.

The fight against this mass surveillance infrastructure is growing. Just yesterday, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Detroit's community members against an $8.5 million expansion of ShotSpotter technology. It's not too late to join this fight for our right to privacy and sign the petition: Demand the ShotSpotter CEO stop using faulty and invasive technology to track our daily lives for profit at the expense of our safety and privacy.

Consider supporting the work we do by making a donation here.

The following sites updated:


Thursday, December 1, 2022

Not a Mac fan

I'm not a Mac user, sorry.  Really never have been except around 1997.  I was doing videos for college classes and a friend had a Mac so she showed me how to do it on one and I ended up getting one (a used one) and whenever there was a need for a video, I'd haul it out until it finally got too out of date.  I use a PC -- these days a laptop.  Dell is my preference.

So maybe if I was a Mac lover, I'd feel differently.  But APPLE is finally getting called out and, in the words of Lizzo, it's about damn time.  MarketWatch reports:

Mark Zuckerberg has joined the Apple-bashing party.

Just hours after Spotify Technology Inc. Chief Executive Daniel Ek went off on Twitter, charging that Apple “gives itself every advantage while at the same time stifling innovation and hurting consumers,” it was Zuck’s turn.

“Apple has sort of singled themselves out as the only company that is trying to control, like unilaterally, what apps get on a device,” the Meta Platforms Inc. CEO said at the New York Times Dealbook Summit in New York on Wednesday. “I don’t think that’s a sustainable or good place to be.”

“It is problematic for one company to control what kind of app experiences get onto a device,” Zuckerberg added.

Apple’s considerable sway over the app market through its App Store has prompted vitriolic remarks this week from Ek, Tesla Inc. CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk, Epic Games Inc. CEO Tim Sweeney and others for its onerous commission fees (up to 30%) and in-store payment system.

Earlier in the day, Ek — who has pleaded for Congress to vote on antitrust legislation after years of hearings excoriating Big Tech — tweeted: “So how much longer will we look away from this threat to the future of the internet? How many more consumers will be denied choice? There’s been a lot of talk. Talk is helpful but we need action.”



This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


 Thursday, December 1, 2022.  One scandal after another when it comes to the care that the US is supposed to be providing veterans, Iraq's oil returns are down, IRAQI OIL REPORT runs fluff for Bafel Talabani, and much more.

Starting in the US . . . 


Former U.S. Army Sgt. Joel Gomez, 42, of Wheaton died Nov. 22 after developing pneumonia and kidney problems. Gomez, who had been living with quadriplegia since his wartime injury, was buried Tuesday at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.

He becomes one of more than 4,400 U.S. military members who have died from injuries suffered during the Iraq war, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Gomez’s spine was broken in two places in 2004 when the armored vehicle he was riding in plunged into the Tigris River during a combat mission to capture enemy soldiers.

 Stacy St. Clair (CHICAGO TRIBUNE) explains:

Gomez had been forced to move into a nursing home a little more than a month before his death because his longtime caretaker, Elva Cuahquentzi, was stuck in Mexico dealing with an immigration issue. He developed pneumonia within a few weeks of arriving at the facility and was so frightened by the level of care, he asked a friend to call 911 and have him taken to a nearby emergency room.

He was admitted to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park on Nov. 8 and diagnosed with pneumonia. He died in the hospital intensive care unit surrounded by his sister, niece, nephew and a close friend.

Equal parts heartbreaking and infuriating for his supporters, Gomez spent his last conscious days asking for Cuahquentzi and dreaming about returning to the accessible home built specifically for him by the Wheaton community.

Reporting on the funeral, St. Clair notes:

Mourners also paid tribute to Gomez’s longtime caretaker, Elva Cuahquentzi, who had returned home to Mexico to deal with an immigration issue and had not yet been permitted to return. Her departure forced Gomez to move into a nursing home last month, where he developed pneumonia within a few weeks of arriving at the facility and was so frightened by the level of care, he asked Masterson to call 911 and have him taken to a nearby emergency room.

Gomez spent his last conscious days asking for Cuahquentzi and dreaming about returning to the accessible home built specifically for him by the Wheaton community.

Cuahquentzi, 50, remains in Mexico awaiting word on her immigration application. Her son Emmanuel Perez, however, read a letter from her during the service. She described Gomez as her purpose in life and said she loved him as if he were one of her own children.

“Learning to love Joel was easy,” Cuahquentzi said in her letter. “Forgetting Joel will be impossible.”  

Staying with poor care delivered to veterans, Ted Sherman and Susan K. Livio (STARS AND STRIPES) report:

New Jersey wants someone else to take charge of New Jersey’s troubled state-run veteran’s homes.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday ordered state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to seek an outside vendor “who can manage systemic changes and provide qualified, administrative staff to help lead these initiatives.”

The move comes after the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week cut off federal funding for new admissions at the Veteran’s Memorial Home at Menlo Park after major shortcomings in care and deficiencies in pandemic infection control led to a declaration that residents at the nursing home in Edison were in “immediate jeopardy.”

CMS said on Tuesday that the facility was “currently not in substantial compliance,” threatening fines and other penalties, and warned it could see permanent termination of all Medicaid and Medicare funding by March if the situation at Menlo Park is not corrected.

How do you get to that point?  How much corruption and how much failed leadership have to exist before you get to that point?

Two weeks ago, Lindy Washburn and Scott Fallon (NEWJERSEY.COM) reported:

As COVID raced through the state-run veterans home in Paramus at the start of the pandemic in 2020, an administrator watched with growing alarm as residents died, staff members fell sick and the facility ran short of masks, gloves, gowns and tests. Panic spread as quickly as the virus itself.  

When the death toll climbed to six or seven a day at an institution that typically saw three or four resident deaths a week, that administrator became the whistleblower who called himself “vetkeeper.”  

On April 8, 2020, using his pseudonym and an encrypted email service based in Switzerland, he contacted to report what he was seeing.  

“Nearly 40 resident deaths since March 25,” he wrote. “Ten more residents positive, 47 waiting test results ... The public needs to know. I am on the inside. I will keep you posted.”  

The first story of the deaths at the New Jersey Memorial Veterans Home at Paramus, based on information from “vetkeeper” and other sources, broke that evening. “Vetkeeper” arrived at work the next morning to find two news trucks out front, a helicopter overhead and the National Guard on the way.  

But in many respects, it was too late. Nearly a third of the residents at the Paramus veterans home would die of COVID or presumed COVID. In all, more than 200 residents died at New Jersey’s two hardest-hit veterans homes — 86 from confirmed COVID in Paramus and 72 in Menlo Park, with another 47 at the two homes presumed to have died from COVID.   

Now “vetkeeper” has decided to reveal his identity and say more about the veterans home. He is Dave Ofshinsky, former business manager and, for a brief period, assistant CEO for non-clinical affairs at the Paramus home, where he worked for 5½ years.  

He says he is doing so out of frustration at what has not happened since that initial COVID crisis.  

“Nothing has happened from the administration [of Gov. Phil Murphy] on this,” Ofshinsky said in a recent interview at his home. “When it was happening, the governor said there was going to be a ‘post-mortem. We’ll get to the bottom of this.’”

Turning to Iraq, we're reminded that 'access journalism' is all about whoring.  IRAQI OIL REPORT is an outlet that charges for its mediocre content.  Despite charging for its content, it breaks no news, it produces nothing of value.  So I generally ignore it.

But they decided to really whore this time.  The interview Bafel Talabani with one soft ball question after another and pretend he's answering truthfully.  They can't even get to truth in the 396 words of the preamble to the interview.

Lot of words to pretend Bafel's not part of the problem.  The issues with Bafel go beyond he's PUK and the dominant party is KDP (PUK has still not rebounded from the lies of Jalal and Hero Talabani when they spent months defrauding the country and pretending that Jalal was healthy enough to govern as president of Iraq when, in fact, he couldn't speak and he couldn't move and, per the Constitution, he should have been removed from office).  Bafel can't even get along with other member of the PUK -- and that includes his failure to get along with his own blood relatives. 

At the start of November, Amberin Zaman (AL-MONITOR) noted:

The difference today is that not only are the parties at odds with each other, they are also mired in internal rivalries. Lahur Talabany, former co-chair of the PUK who led the Sulaimaniyah region’s intelligence services and the US-trained Counter Terrorism Group, was ousted by his cousins Bafel and Qubad Talabani last summer in a Byzantine power grab. It was the most overt manifestation yet of the intra-family feuds simmering in the Talabani and Barzani dynasties.

Iraq in November earned a billion dollars less in oil revenues than it did in October, the country’s oil ministry announced on Sunday.

According to a statement from the ministry, Iraq in November exported over 99 million barrels of crude oil at an average rate of 3.3 million barrels per day and an average price of $82.4 per barrel.

The country’s total revenue from oil exports in the month was over $8.2 billion, falling nearly a billion short of October’s $9.25 billion revenue.

The drop in the country’s oil revenue comes despite the country claiming to have taken advantage of OPEC+ production cuts by maintaining export levels and increasing revenue.

“Iraq did not reduce its exports according to this reduction, but rather reduced domestic production and invested in the rising prices by stabilizing the export rate, a strategy that succeeded in achieving high financial revenues," deputy general manager of the Iraqi National Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) Saadoun Mohsen told Iraqi state media late last month.

So does that mean there's less money for the corrupt officials to steal?  Or does it just mean, they'll increase the percentage that they steal to make up the difference?

The "heist of the century."  Remember that?  Revealed just weeks ago.  $2.5 billion stolen. 

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Howie Hawkins' 100th show


That's Howie Hawkins' 100th show:

In our 100th show since the end of the 2020 presidential campaign, Howie will take questions and talk about where the Green Socialist movement is and needs to go.

Howie had kept the Green Party alive.  He has done at least one video a week -- at least one -- he has written columns, all since runing.  Normally, our nominee disappears after the election.

If they do pop up, it's to brag about themselves -- see Jill Stein.

Howie was not my first choice.

On issue after issue, I aligned with Dario Hunter.  That was my candidate of choice.

But Dario was lazy.  And I saw Howie working and going after the nomination and I went with Howie.

And he's continued to work.  And Dario?  After trashing Howie and claiming that he (Dario) would be running for president on another ticket (never happened)?  Dario did nothing.  It's 2022 and it's winding down, that year.  And Dario's done nothing.

You can't even read his Tweets now -- they're 'protected.'

He's done nothing for the party.  He was a whiny, little bitch when the party consolidated around Howie and went on Cindy Sheehan's show to insist that there was a conspiracy to deny him the nomination.

No conspiracy, you just wouldn't get off your lazy ass.  You 'campaigned' by doing a video every four weeks and two or three Tweets a week.

We're the Green Party.  Nobody is going to give us a damn thing.  We have to work to drum up interest and to get our message out.

Howie did that.  

And since the election, he's continued to get the word out on the Green Party.

Big thanks to Howie.  If we're ever going to become a real party, we're going to need people like Howie who don't disappear after an election and wait three or so years before poppping back in.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Wednesday, November 30, 2022.  The Respect for Marriage Act passes the Senate, Tucker Carlson's hate speech is written by his gay underling, chemical weapons attacks are apparently okay when carried out by Turkey, and much more.

Starting in the United States, Senator Tammy Baldwin's office issued the following yesterday:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) released the following statement following the Senate vote, 61-36, to pass the Respect for Marriage Act.

“Today, an overwhelming majority of Senators stepped up to protect the freedoms and rights of millions of Americans in same-sex and interracial marriages. I’m proud to have worked across the aisle to get the job done for millions of loving couples in Wisconsin and across the country,” said Senator Baldwin. “Millions of same-sex and interracial couples made this moment possible by living openly as their authentic selves, changing the hearts and minds of people around them. This legislation will protect the hard-fought progress we’ve made on marriage equality and I look forward to the Respect for Marriage Act becoming the law of the land.”

Video of Senator Baldwin’s floor speech prior to the vote on final passage can be found here.  

and CNN) report, "The final vote was 61-36. The bill was supported by all members of the Democratic caucus and 12 Republicans, the same dozen GOP members who backed the bill for a procedural vote earlier this month.  The House will now need to approve the legislation before sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The House is expected to pass the bill before the end of the year – possibly as soon as next week."  Ledyard King, Rachel Looker, Sean Rossman  and Savannah Kuchar (USA TODAY) note, "Senators approved the bill in response to concerns the Supreme Court – with a 6-3 conservative majority – would reverse its 2015 decision recognizing the legitimacy of gay marriage just as it overturned in June the Roe v. Wade decision protecting abortion access."

Senator Lindsey Graham elected to vote against the measure.  But then, Lindsey's been showing 'respect for marriage' his entire adult life -- 49 years of confirmed bachelorhood.  He Tweeted, following the vote, about things being ''woefully inadequate.''  Lindsey, Lindsey, a little package shouldn't prevent you from getting married.  I'm sure there are many people who'd be okay with it -- not everyone's a size queen.  But you do you, keep being the nun of the Senate -- Sister Lindsey Graham, devoting himself to politics.  Praise be the upper house.  You grab that Legislative Branch, Lindsey, grab it with both hands. 

Burgess Everett (POLITICO) observes:

Some political evolutions develop over decades, then accelerate in an instant. That’s how it happened for Democrats, who were divided over same-sex marriage during former President Barack Obama’s first term until then-Vice President Joe Biden announced his support 10 years ago. Obama followed, and the rest of the party was not far behind.

It’s been a slower trickle for Republicans. Portman, Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) were on a fairly lonely island in favor of same-sex marriage for years. And as he left Congress in 2016, former Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) — another early supporter — castigated his party for being too intolerant on the issue.

This summer, 47 House Republicans’ surprising support for the same-sex marriage bill spurred a sustained push from Tillis, Portman and Collins to take action — a veritable GOP tidal shift. As former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) put it on Tuesday: “Times change. And senators change.”

Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) explains:

Rights groups and other supporters of marriage equality celebrated Tuesday after 12 Senate Republicans joined with all Democrats present to pass protections for same-sex and interracial partnerships.

The Respect for Marriage (RFM) Act does not confirm the right of same-sex couples to marry nationwide, as the U.S. Supreme Court did in Obergefell v. Hodges, but rather requires states to recognize their marriage licenses. It also does not block states from banning same-sex marriage if the high court's 2015 ruling is overturned—as Justice Clarence Thomas teased in his concurring opinion for the June decision that ended national abortion rights.

While some have criticized the legislation for falling short of what's needed and pandering to religious groups, the 61-36 Senate vote was still widely heralded as historic progress. The amended version is expected to again pass the Democrat-held House—which initially passed the bill in July—before reaching the desk of President Joe Biden, who reaffirmed that he "will promptly and proudly sign it into law."

"As the votes in Congress attest, LGBTQ+ people belong and are part of our families, our communities, and our country. This is a critical victory on the road to the day when all people are fully protected from discrimination and have the freedom to make decisions about their lives and families," said Mary Bonauto, senior director of civil rights and legal strategies at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), who argued the Obergefell case.

Dean McColl (GAY TIMES) points out:

The Respect for Marriage Act does not require all states to legalise same-sex marriage.

It requires states to acknowledge same-sex marriage from different states and ensures federal benefits for same-sex married couples.

It also includes a ‘religious liberties’ amendment, which allows non-profit religious organisations to refuse to host same-sex weddings.

Jim Obergefell, who led the case for the national legalisation of same sex marriages, said he is ‘frustrated’ with this amendment and its failure to enforce same-sex marriages in all states.

A recent Gallup poll found 71% of Americans support same-sex marriage becoming a legal right.

At CNN, Zachary B. Wolf offers an overview of The Respect for Marriage Act.  Following the Senate vote, US President Joe Biden released the following statement:

With today’s bipartisan Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, the United States is on the brink of reaffirming a fundamental truth: love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love. For millions of Americans, this legislation will safeguard the rights and protections to which LGBTQI+ and interracial couples and their children are entitled. It will also ensure that, for generations to follow, LGBTQI+ youth will grow up knowing that they, too, can lead full, happy lives and build families of their own.
Importantly, the Senate’s passage of the Respect for Marriage Act is a bipartisan achievement. I’m grateful to the determined Members of Congress — especially Senators Baldwin, Collins, Portman, Sinema, Tillis, and Feinstein — whose leadership has underscored that Republicans and Democrats together support the essential right of LGBTQI+ and interracial couples to marry. I look forward to welcoming them at the White House after the House passes this legislation and sends it to my desk, where I will promptly and proudly sign it into law.

Staying on the topic of elected officials, Alex Bollinger (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is now trying to speak directly to trans kids and talk them out of transitioning. It’s not going well.

“If you’re under 18 and people are telling you to cut off your breast or have a surgery that turns your penis inside out to make a ‘vagina’ you’re a victim of child abuse,” Greene tweeted. Gender-affirming genital surgery is not performed on minors and top surgery is only performed on minors in rare circumstances and is much rarer than breast augmentation surgery among minors.

“Get away from those people and find safe people who tell you that you’re already perfect,” she continued. “Grow up first.”

Conservatives like Greene have been trying to reframe their desire for transgender kids to change into cisgender kids as “they’re already perfect,” even though Greene and others like her are asking them to change their gender identities. Opponents of transgender rights often support conversion therapy for trans people, which inculcates the false notion that trans people are not “already perfect.”

People reacted negatively to Greene’s statement.

The break up of her 27 year marriage coincides with her 'reach out' -- wonder what that's about?  Poor nutty Marjorie.  Staying with insanity, let's turn to hate merchant Tucker Carlson as Michael Signorile lifts the curtain to expose the actual wiz behind Tucker:

On his first Fox News broadcast following the November 19th mass shooting at Club Q, the LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs in which five people were murdered and at least 17 were injured, Tucker Carlson was undaunted, continuing his relentless smearing of LGBTQ people as “groomers” who are dangerous to children. 

After a perfunctory condemnation of the violence, Carlson pivoted back to railing against “drag time story hour for fifth graders” and “genital mutilation of minors” while a graphic image behind him blared, “STOP SEXUALIZING KIDS.”

The following night, Carlson promoted the grotesque view that the staff and patrons of Club Q — where a drag performance was scheduled on that Saturday night of the attack — had it all coming to them. He brought on a guest who said the shooting was “expected and predictable,” and that “it won’t stop until we end this evil agenda that is attacking children.”

Twisted enough. But even more shocking is the little-known fact that a gay man helped craft, mold and disseminate these bloodcurdling distortions and the horrendous demonization against his own community. 

A gay man supercharges Carlson’s promotion of Florida’s odious “don’t say gay” law, which stigmatizes queer kids, teachers and parents — a brutal campaign in which Carlson at one point said teachers who don’t comply “should get beaten up.” And a gay man empowers Carlson’s crusade against trans teens and and their parents, a crusade in which Carlson stated that hospitals should expect violent threats for providing gender-affirming care.

That gay man, Justin Wells, helped promulgate the kind of hate that leads to violence. A mass shooting that happened in the same kind of nightclub at which Wells, in years past, danced the night away in Miami Beach and elsewhere, liberating himself from the world outside and surely never imagining he’d be shot dead.

Now he’s aided the extremists who deny that sense of safety and liberation to every future generation of queer people.

Wells runs the entire Tucker Carlson operation, and is responsible for imprinting the Tucker Carlson brand, which is all about emboldening white heterosexual male grievance, furthering the racist conspiracy of  “replacement theory” and pushing an increasingly virulent anti-LGBTQ agenda. Wells is Senior Executive Producer of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and also holds the title of Vice President of Tucker Carlson Digital Products.

“He’s been promoted to a level that no other producer has been since, maybe, David Tabocoff at O’Reilly,” a former Fox employee told me, describing how Tabocoff, who was at Fox with Bill O’Reilly for 16 years, produced O’Reilly’s shows, all of his various specials and interviews, and oversaw his entire brand, including his merchandising. 

“I think that Justin has more power than Tabby [Tabacoff] ever had,” another Fox employee, a former producer, countered. “And there’s not another show that out-rates it. Influence-wise, everyone who’s conservative wants to be on Tucker.” Indeed, Wells has his own website, independent of Fox News’s site,, something that surprised the former Fox News producer.

On the site, Wells touts his accomplishments: “Television Creator & Journalist. Senior Executive Producer & Vice President at Fox News Media.” It brims with photos meant to convey his power and importance: Wells, out on remotes with Carlson, helping to craft the story; Wells, shoulder-to-shoulder with military Special Forces in front of their Airbus chopper; and Wells, meeting with former President Donald Trump. The site describes Wells as “leading the Tucker Carlson Team across multiple platforms at Fox News Media,” and lays out the Carlson Fox empire he oversees.

Angelo Carusone, President and CEO of Media Matters, the media watchdog group that is laser-focused on Fox News and Carlson, observed, “It’s unlikely that any narrative would get broadcast by Tucker without significant buy-in from Justin.” In a clip highlighted by Media Matters in which Wells was interviewed by Carlson on Carlson's show last year as Carlson’s Fox Nation documentaries began launching, Wells brags about the latitude Fox News executives give him: “They believe in what we're doing and have since we launched ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’”

It’s beyond horrific to think a gay man has helped to shape and widely disseminate a message of hate against LGBTQ people. This story is not, however, about a warped closet case, tormented by self-loathing, hiding his true self while bashing those like him. And thus, this story is not an outing, which involves exposing someone who covers up their sexual orientation while publicly presenting as heterosexual — though it certainly may be a startling revelation to a great many. It is, rather, about connecting the dots regarding a reality that seems to have been hiding in plain sight.

Also note that REVOLUTIONARY BLACKOUT continued their conversation on the attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.

Turning to Iraq, there's one story we have to note, from ANF:

Seher Aydar, deputy for the Red Party (R) presented a question to the minister of Foreign Affairs. The question reads as follows: “The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the development, production, storage and use of chemical weapons as well as the destruction of such weapons. 193 countries have signed the convention, including Turkey, which is accused of using chemical weapons. The International Association of Physicians Against Nuclear Weapons (IPPNW) Switzerland and Germany write in a report that an independent investigation into possible violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention is necessary. The World Medical Association is also calling for an independent investigation.

Will Norway contribute to an independent investigation?”

The Minister for Foreign Affaris, Anniken Huitfeldt, said in her answer: “I am concerned about increased military activity in northern Iraq. Norway is concerned that warring parties in all contexts comply with international humanitarian law, including the rules on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. We expect all parties to respect international law.

Turkey, like Norway, is a party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC). The member states undertake to destroy any existing stockpiles of weapons. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) monitors that all member states comply with the Convention's provisions and carries out regular inspections. Chemical weapons are weapons of mass destruction, and the convention's total prohibition is an important contribution to global peacekeeping work. Turkey is a party to all basic international disarmament and non-proliferation regimes.

Allegations of violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention are something Norway takes very seriously. Norway, like the OPCW, monitors all information about possible violations of the convention. I am familiar with the report the representative refers to. These are so far unconfirmed claims and which have not been on the agenda of the OPCW's decision-making bodies. Norway will continue to have a dialogue with related countries on the matter.”

This is not the first time that we've noted Turkey's likely use of chemical weapons in northern Iraq.  Can someone at WSWS please explain what your organization's silence says?  Or, for that matter, your non-stop support of the Turkish government in every attack they carry out on Iraq?  Is it that you hate the Kurds or are you just so in love with the authoritarian regime in Turkey?

The possible use of chemical weapons has allowed even Noam Chomsky to find his voice on the issue.  So why not WSWS?

The following sites updated: