Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Applauding Lashrecse Aird and Jill Biden

Let me applaud a Democrat, Lashrecse Aird.  She won her primary.  Newsweek reports:

The Democratic senator, one of the state's most controversial political figures, was unseated by challenger Lashrecse Aird, a 36-year-old former state legislator who has declared herself to be an unapologetic "100%" supporter of abortion rights.

Morrissey, a political centrist and a Catholic who said he doesn't personally support abortion, was deeply criticized by fellow Democrats in Virginia for saying he would have voted with Republicans to pass further restriction on abortion access in the narrowly divided Senate—which is why his defeat at the Democratic primary is an issue for Youngkin too now, who has just lost a key supporter across party lines to his policies restricting abortion access in the state.

As this CBS News video notes, over 57% of Americans say that overturning Roe v Wade was a mistake.  It was a huge mistake.  

And while I'm applauding, let me give a hand or two to First Lady Jill Biden.  AP reports:

Jill Biden said Tuesday that the consequences for women of losing the constitutional right to an abortion "go far beyond the right to choose” as she hosted a conversation with four women, including a Texas doctor, who shared emotional stories of being denied necessary reproductive care.

The first lady invited the women from Texas, Florida and Louisiana to the White House to help highlight the anniversary Saturday of the Supreme Court decision overturning its 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which established a constitutional right to an abortion.

The ruling last June left it up to individual states to set their own abortion policies, and 18 of them — including the home states of Biden's guests — have put abortion bans in place.

“The consequences of these bans go far beyond the right to choose,” the first lady told the women, as she detailed examples of women being denied access to medication or are being forced to go to other states for care. And some doctors, she added, are withholding treatment “because they don't know which procedures are legal.”

“And like those who are with us today, far, far too many women are experiencing devastating consequences to their health, their fertility and their lives,” said Biden, who came of age when abortion was illegal before it was became the law of the land in 1973.

Not a Democrat (I'm a Green) but I'll happily applaud the two Democratic women above. 

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2023.

Starting with Julian Assange. Yesterday, on DEMOCRACY NOW!, there were four segments noting the passing of whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg including this one:

AMY GOODMAN: Two years later, in 2019, I spoke to Daniel Ellsberg a day after the Justice Department charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act for publishing U.S. military and diplomatic documents exposing U.S. war crimes. Assange, who’s locked up in the Belmarsh prison in London, faces up to 175 years in prison if extradited to the U.S. and convicted here.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Yesterday is a day that will be — live in the history of journalism, of law in this country and of civil liberties in this country, because it was a direct attack on the First Amendment, an unprecedented one. There hasn’t actually been such a significant attack on the freedom of the press, the First Amendment, which is the bedrock of our republic, really, our form of government, since my case in 1971, 48 years ago. But this is — I was indicted as a source. And I warned newsmen then that that would not be the last indictment of a source, if I were convicted. Well, I wasn’t convicted. The charges were dropped on governmental misconduct. And it was another 10 years before anybody else faced that charge under the Espionage Act again, Samuel Loring Morison. And it was not until President Obama that nine cases were brought, as I had been warning for so long.

But my warning really was that it wasn’t going to stop there, that almost inevitably there would be a stronger attack directly on the foundations of journalism, against editors, publishers and journalists themselves. And we’ve now seen that as of yesterday. That’s a new front in President Trump’s war on the free press, which he regards as the enemy of the people.

AMY GOODMAN: And the Trump administration saying Julian Assange is not a publisher, is not a journalist, that’s why he is not protected by the First Amendment?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: In the face of this new indictment, which — and let me correct something that’s been said just a little wrong by everybody so far. He doesn’t just face 170 years. That’s for the 17 counts on the Espionage Act, each worth 10. Plus, he’s still facing the five-year conspiracy charge that he started out with a few weeks ago. I was sure that the administration did not want to keep Julian Assange in jail just for five years. So I’ve been expecting these Espionage Act charges. I really expected them later, after he was extradited, because adding them now makes it a little more complicated for Britain to extradite him now, as I understand it. They’re not supposed to extradite for political offenses or for political motives, and this is obviously for both political motives and political offenses. So, from Julian Assange’s point of view, it makes extradition a little more difficult.

Why then did they bring it right now? Well, coming back to the case, by the way, that I faced, I faced only 11 [Espionage] Act charges, each worth 10 years in prison, plus a conspiracy charge worth five. So I was facing exactly 115 years in prison. He’s facing exactly 175. Now, that’s not a difference that makes any difference. In both cases, it’s a question of a life sentence.

I think that the reason they brought these charges so soon, because they had until June 12th, was to lay out — the necessity to lay out for extradition all the charges they plan to bring. And I don’t assume these are the last ones. They’ve got a couple weeks left to string up some new charges.

They started out with a charge that made Julian look something other than a normal journalist. The help to hacking a password sounded like something that, even in the Digital Age, perhaps most journalists wouldn’t do, and that would hope to separate him from the support of other journalists.

In this case, when they had to lay out their larger charge, this is straight journalism. They mention, for instance, that he solicited investigative material, he solicited classified information — terribly, he didn’t just passively receive it over the transom. I can’t count the number of times I have been solicited for classified information, starting with the Pentagon Papers, but long after that, and that’s by every member of the responsible press that I dealt with — the Times, the Post, AP, you name it. That’s journalism. So, what they have done is recognizable, I think, this time to all journalists, that they are in the crosshairs of this one. They may not have known enough about digital performance to help a source conceal her identity by using new passwords, as Julian was charged with. They may not be able to do that. But every one of them has eagerly received classified information and solicited it.

AMY GOODMAN: We end our show with Daniel Ellsberg in his own words, May 18th, 2018, when I spoke to him at a Right Livelihood laureate gathering at University of California, Santa Cruz. I asked him what message he had for government insiders who are considering becoming whistleblowers.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: My message to them is: Don’t do what I did. Don’t wait 'til the bombs are actually falling or thousands more have died, before you do what I wish I had done years earlier, in ’64 or even ’61, on the nuclear issue. And that is, reveal the truth that you know, the dangerous truths that are being withheld by the government, at whatever cost to yourself, whatever risk that may take. Consider doing that, because a war's worth of lives may be at stake. Or in the case of the two existential crises I’m talking about, the future of humanity is at stake.

So many graduating classes, I think, have been taught — have been told, year after year for half a century, that they face a crossroads or that much depends on what they do. That’s no exaggeration right now. It’s this generation, not the next one, the people living right now, that have to change these problems fast. And I think truth-telling is crucial to mobilize that.

AMY GOODMAN: Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg died Friday at the age of 92, just months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Our deepest condolences to his family, his wife Patricia, his children Robert, Mary and Michael, his grandchildren and his great-granddaughter. That does it for our show. I’m Amy Goodman. Thank you for joining us.

But most of those today loudly hailing Ellsberg as an "American hero" have been far more reluctant to champion the Ellsberg of our times: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

For years, Assange has been rotting in a London high-security prison while the Biden administration seeks his extradition on charges that ludicrously equate his publication of the Afghan and Iraq war logs - a modern Pentagon Papers - with “espionage”.

Like Ellsberg, Assange exposed the way western states had been systematically lying while they perpetrated war crimes. Like Ellsberg, he was fraudulently labelled a threat to national security and charged with espionage. Like Ellsberg, if found guilty, he faces more than 100 years in jail. Like Ellsberg, Assange has learned that the US Congress is unwilling to exercise its powers to curb governmental abuses.

But unlike Ellsberg’s case, the courts have consistently sided with Assange’s persecutors, not with him for shining a light on state criminality. And, in a further contrast, the western media have stayed largely silent as the noose has tightened around Assange’s neck.

The similarities in Assange's and Ellsberg’s deeds - and the stark differences in outcomes - are hard to ignore. The very journalists and publications now extolling Ellsberg for his historic act of bravery have been enabling, if only through years of muteness, western capitals’ moves to demonise Assange for his contemporary act of heroism.

Let's move over to US political campaigns and since Mike Pence's one lonely supporter actually wrote the public e-mail ( to say that Mike doesn't get enough attention, let's offer two Tweets from Paul Rudnick.

Moving on.   The Merry Mariannes.  They love them some Marianne Williamson.  They lie for her.  We told you before she lost her first campaign manger that the campaign was out of control. You should have listened.  She's now lost another.  Brittany Gibson (POLITICO) reports:

Marianne Williamson has lost her second campaign manager in as many months in what has proven to be a rocky 2024 presidential bid.

Roza Calderon’s departure was announced Monday on a small left-wing podcast, the Vanguard, and independently confirmed by two sources to POLITICO granted anonymity to discuss internal staffing dynamics. It is unclear whether she was fired, quit or if it was a mutually agreed upon departure.

Calderon was first hired as a fundraiser for the Williamson campaign in late April and then took on the top job in May after then-interim campaign manager Peter Daou stepped down along with deputy campaign manager Jason Call.

Calderon’s experience in such roles was limited. She ran for Congress in 2018 but lost. During that campaign, she was sentenced to probation after allegedly stealing money from a local Democratic Party group to spend on gas, movie downloads and BottleRock music festival tickets. She had also embellished her resume calling herself a director of development when she was in fact a contractor at the progressive nonprofit Our Revolution.

People, there's less than a year to go before the primaries (and caucuses) take place.  That means Marianne only has months to go through 39 or 40 more campaign managers.  Stop standing around, e-mail those resumes now.  Somewhere, the fictional character of Murphy Brown is noting that Marianne goes through campaign managers like Murphy went through secretaries.

Marianne can be nice if she sees you as an equal but she doesn't see many as an equal. That's reality.  

Doesn't mean she couldn't be a good president.  Does, for me, mean she's got more to prove.

The Merry Mariannes have had to pretend that her stance on Ukraine is the same as their own.  She can be very seductive.  But what issue does she lead on?  

The war against LGBTQ+ people?  Nope.  I believe she's devoted 58 seconds to it online in a video.  I know she had an embarrassing (and shameful) answer when she had a speaking event and only spoke to it because she was directly asked about it.

So she's not an answer on war as evidenced by her comments on Ukraine.  And she wasn't an answer on war in 2020 either but everyone wants to forget that.  And she's not making any effort to address the war on LGBTQ+ -- considering the hogwash she served to those suffering from AIDS in the 90s, she really does need to make amends and make a real effort at addressing this section of the population.

They tried to pimp her as a better alternative to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and did so because they didn't know Marianne's own vax history.  

The Merry Mariannes tried so hard to pimp her.  Maybe they can walk away now and invest everything in Cornel West?

He doesn't appear to have any answers either.  

Like Marianne, he's never held public office and is pretty much his own creation.  Like Marianne, he's a personality attempting to pose as a politician.

I'm hearing a lot of garbage when Cornel's name comes up -- or "Cornell" as some 'lefties' Tweeting and doing YOUTUBE programs keep misspelling it.  

Here's the biggest piece of garbage that his supporters are trying to trick the American people with -- that would include Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, by the way.

Cornel's run is creating a third party!  Making a third party stronger!

No, it isn't.

I guess if you're an idiot or a know-nothing you can pretend that's true.

But I voted in 2000 (for Al Gore) and I remember that argument.  Ralph Nader was going to build the Green Party.  And I remember it with Cynthia McKinney (I voted for Cynthia) and again with Jill Stein and then again with Jill Stein.  We're leaving out David Cobb intentionally.  He wasn't a real candidate -- though he does hold the 'honor' of being the first politician to write this site about how unfair we were too him.  It was the same day that Richard Perle e-mailed to hiss about this site's opposition to the Iraq War.  That was actually fun because I said, "Who's Richard Perle?" -- and, small world that it is, happened to say it to a friend who knew Richard . . . from high school.  That was a fun reply to dictate and, as I said in that e-mail, "Crawl back under your rock, you're not needed."  We still have that post in the chamber in draft form -- a wonderful look back at Richard Perle in high school with him just as hideous as you'd expect.  Some day we may post it here just for laughs (ours) and embarrassments (his).

So I don't agree with Howie Hawkins on Ukraine.  He's the only Green Party candidate, however, that's tried to build the party.

Celebrities of various standing showed up to run and then lost and left.  

Why is that?

In part, it's because most of them were not Green Party members.  You know, like Cornel isn't.

He's 70 years old but wants the party's nomination.  The party he's never deigned to join.  But he was the nominee of The People's Party and then found out their issues so he ran over to The Green Party and, let's be honest, Ajamu, Jill and Chris Hedges tried to strong-arm the party to make him the nominee.  No.  He's a candidate for the nomination.  He is not the nominee and they are not going to toss aside their rules -- nor should they -- for anyone. 

But Cornel's going to build the party.  

Because he's a celebrity, apparently.

He's not Nina Turner, for example.  Someone with real ideas about how to govern.  And someone with actual experience.

This is an out of touch (see previous remarks at this site regarding "crack pipe" 90s phrase and he's trying to charm a 10-year-old by talking about Tony! Toni! Tone!) elderly man who has never held office and can't respond to a question.  He takes the topic, not the question, and extrapolates about whatever he wants for five or so minutes.  And pitches himself forward and back in a rocking motion very often during this process making me wonder about cognitive issues.  

Jill Stein did nothing to build the party.  Jill was a loser in 2012 and she was a loser in 2016.  Worse, she folded tent and went home after both elections and couldn't be bothered with working on building a party.

Nor will Cornel.  Cornel's got his own celebrity and fame to attend to.  If he should end up the nominee, he'll weaken the party (probably do some sheep herding -- the way Jill did in 2012 -- but remember we never dare question Dr. Jill) and leave it high and dry.

The Green Party needs to put in a clause -- too late for this cycle -- so that in 2028, the eventual nominee has to pledge to at least a year of post-election day activity to work on building the party.  

The Green Party has great members.  I really thought we'd be getting to the point, for example, where Kat Swift would be a nominee.

But remember, Green Party members, you're only there to vote.  You're not good enough, no matter how many years you've been a member of the party, to win the nomination.  They'd rather hand it to non-members.  Pathetic.

Watch as The Merry Mariannes start to slowly -- with their lips moving -- read the writing on the wall and shift to Cornel! Or, as some of his White supporters spell it -- in their Tweets and on their YOUTUBE programs -- "Cornell."  They're all about democracy, they claim.

And what's more democratic than someone repeatedly changing their party affiliation to run for president?

The Green Party should not let Cornel turn them into a joke.  But maybe that's what they want to be?  The eternal and holy fool of the US political system?

Again, I do not agree with Howie on Ukraine.  But I will not spit on the work he's done in the years since the 2020 election.  Unlike everyone who came before (even Cynthia), he didn't fold up and go home.  He continued to work.  He wrote columns.  More to the point, he did -- has done -- at least one video a week, every week, since the 2020 election addressing Green Party issues.  Wish he didn't think rooting for Ukraine was a Green issue but he's addressed other issues as well.

Ralph didn't do that, no one but Howie did.  Ralph also didn't become a Green.  

And I don't know why you would have a Green Party for decades now and yet constantly go with outsiders.

In fairness, Greens across the country are being very clear that Cornel is going to have to campaign for the nomination and may or may not get it.  There is great anger about the backdoor dealings of Jill and Ajamu.  That is good news because tricksters in any political party should not be welcome

Some are not grasping what I'm saying in these comments about candidates.  Anyone who wants to run for office should.  But I'm not here to pat your back and tell you "good job."  If you do a good job, I'll gladly note it.  Cornel has not done a good job -- and should be dancing with the one who brung him (The People's Party).  Marianne has not done a good job.  They can stay in the race as long as they want -- for Cornel, he's looking at another year of campaigning.   Maybe Kent Mesplay or Malik Rahim will again seek the nomination or some others who are members -- and have been -- of The Green Party. 

In 2000, as they pimped this is about building!, the Green Party got 2.7% of the vote.  The next cycle (2004), David Cobb couldn't even muster 1%.  In 2008, Cynthia got .12% of the vote.  In 2012, Jill got .36% of the vote and 2016 she finally made it to 1%.  Building the party?

Every election has seen the nominee get a lower percentage of the vote than Ralph.   So maybe cut the nonsensical claim that Cornel's all about building the party.  We've heard that claim repeatedly and it didn't pan out.

Let's turn to the Republicans for a moment.  Donald Trump is no longer the only one willing to call out Doo-Doo Ron Ron De Santis.  Kimberly Leonard (BUSINESS INSIDER) reports:

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie dunked on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week over his bitter crusade against Walt Disney World as an example of the party wasting its time on "small" political issues. 

Republicans, he said, should instead be "arguing about and being daring" on policies involving China, economic security, reducing the import of petroleum, and expanding charter schools. 

"What we are wasting our time on is talking about, 'Is it OK for Disney to oppose a bill in Florida and should they be penalized for it? And does that prove you're really a tough guy or does it just prove that you're not conservative in terms of the way you think government should operate?" the former New Jersey governor told the "Ruthless" podcast in an interview that aired Monday, without using DeSantis' name.

If Nikki Haley had the guts to call out Little Ronnie, she might see her support increase.  But as long as she plays it timid, she gives voters every reason not to support her because no one votes for a weakling, a push over to become president.

Large majorities of U.S. adults across different racial, ethnic, and religious identities oppose religious-based discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, according to a new Williams Institute report.

Even majorities of Republicans oppose religious-based anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, the report found. Its findings suggest that Republican-led attacks on LGBTQ+ civil rights — many of which are couched in religious terms — are actually opposed by most American adults.

The data came from the Williams Institute’s September 2022 survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults.

Approximately 84% of survey respondents said they opposed religious-based denials of healthcare to LGBTQ+ people, 74% opposed religious-based anti-LGBTQ+ employment discrimination, and 71% opposed business employees denying services to LGBTQ+ people based on the employees or employer’s religious beliefs.

Over 80% of respondents in all non-white racial and ethnic groups opposed the use of religious beliefs to deny LGBTQ+ people business services, medical care, and employment. About 70% of white respondents felt the same. Female, younger, or college-educated respondents were also more likely to oppose religious-based anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination than respondents who are men, older in age, or non-college educated.

In related news, WORLD NEWS notes:

A consultative process among Catholics around the world has led the church to take steps to include women in decision-making positions, accept “radical inclusion” of the LGBTQ+ community and change the authority of bishops Are. ,

The Vatican on Tuesday released a summary of the consultation process, a project that has lasted two years and will form the basis of discussions for a synod between bishops and laity in October. The event, one of Pope Francis’ priorities, reflects his vision of a Church oriented more toward the flock and not so much toward the clergy.

Joni Ernst is a Republican serving in the US Senate.  Her office e-mailed the following to the public account (and that is what it's for -- veterans issues, Iraq, etc):

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate, is leading a bipartisan charge to amend military records of female veterans who deployed alongside Special Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq to ensure they accurately reflect their work as members of Cultural Support Teams (CST). These female veterans shared similar operational experiences as their male peers but have not been recognized for their combat service, denying them rank, benefits, and critical healthcare services.

“Make no mistake – women have been wearing our nation’s uniform and serving honorably in war zones long before our military removed the ban on women serving in combat,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “As the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate, I’m proud to fight for the hundreds of women who played critical roles in Afghanistan and Iraq and ensure they receive the care and recognition they have always deserved.” 


Before female servicemembers were able to formally serve in combat roles, CSTs were deployed to combat zones with Special Operations Forces (SOF) in order to engage with female populations, greatly expanding operational and intelligence capabilities.

This bipartisan effort would require the review of the military records of CST women veterans who served from 2010 to 2021 in support of Special Operations Forces. The bill is named the Jax Act after Jaclyn “Jax” Scott, who served on a Cultural Support Team and has been leading the fight to get female combat veterans the recognition and benefits they earned. 

Senators Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) are leading the Jax Act alongside Senator Ernst.


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