Friday, March 31, 2023

Racism and The Bacherlor

"The Bachelor" Mike Fleiss, who announced earlier this week that he was leaving the hit ABC reality franchise, is pushing back against a report that he was being investigated for racial discrimination on the dating show at the time he stepped down.

"Since its premiere 21 years ago, times have certainly changed and I’d have to say we didn’t keep up with the pace of those changes," Fleiss said in a statement. "I am proud of the work we’ve done over the past five years to make the show substantially more diverse, but I do believe I could have done more. Hopefully, the franchise will continue to move in the right direction."

So much there.  First off, they needed an investigation to determine racism? It took the 25th season for them to offer a bachelor of color (Matt James) and they needed an investigation?

Second, "since it premiered 21 years ago, times have certainly changed"  -- what's he saying?  We weren't on the planet until the last five years?

He sounds dumber than Jennifer Aniston and who would have thought that possible?

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

Friday, March 31, 2023.   One lie about the Iraq War gets pointed out and two more spring up, responsibility is an upsetting term for Jennifer Aniston, there's a reason that voter participation in Iraq dropped significantly, and much more.

That's Mehdi Hasan debating Tom Nichols on the legalities of the illegal Iraq War.  A few realities slipped in on the coverage of Iraq this anniversary.  A few.  

Jon Schwarz (INDEPENDENT) has held THE NEW YORK TIMES accountable on some of its articles in the last weeks, for example, but it's sort of an endless, never-ending effort as he notes:

For the 20th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, the New York Times published an article by Max Fisher headlined “20 Years On, a Question Lingers About Iraq: Why Did the U.S. Invade?”

The article is a fairly cogent summation of the evidence. However, when it was first published, it was undermined by an extremely significant and extremely funny mistake. After inquiries from The Intercept, the paper has changed the original mistake into a fresh, new mistake.

Here’s how the article originally read:

Mr. Hussein had ejected international weapons inspectors, which was seen in Washington as a humiliating policy failure for Mr. Clinton.

When the American leader was weakened by scandal later that year [in 1998], congressional Republicans pounced, passing the Iraq Liberation Act …

One reason this is so funny is because in 1998 the Times accurately reported what happened. The United Nations inspections team, called UNSCOM, was not expelled by Saddam Hussein, but rather was withdrawn by Richard Butler, the head of UNSCOM, after he consulted with the U.S. — about the fact that the U.S. was about to start bombing Iraq, in a campaign called Operation Desert Fox.

Even funnier is that the Times went on to claim erroneously that Iraq had expelled UNSCOM in 1998 at least five times, twice in 1999 and then in 20002002 and 2003. It issued corrections on the three latter articles.

Two decades later, the paper apparently wanted to recapture its youth by being wrong again. The paper has now issued its fourth correction on this subject. Its present-day story currently reads:

Hussein had ejected international weapons inspectors in 1997, which was seen in Washington as a humiliating policy failure for Mr. Clinton.

Then, when Mr. Clinton was weakened by scandal in 1998, congressional Republicans pounced, passing the Iraq Liberation Act …

Wonderfully enough, this is also wrong. Iraq did expel the American members of the U.N. inspections team in 1997. But the rest remained in Iraq until they were withdrawn by the United Nations. All, including the Americans, returned to Iraq eight days later.

You can find this information in a story published when it happened, by a little-known paper called the New York Times.

The corrected text in the 2023 story also leaves out the reason Iraq expelled the (American) inspectors in 1997: Because some of the Americans were conducting espionage against Iraq. Again, you can read about this in the New York Times.

It's like Jon plugs one leak and then two more spring up.  It's endless.

And disappointing.  Did someone just say  Akeel Abbas?  They should have.  He's not an idiot and he's capable of a lot.  So why is so damn disappointing this morning at FOREIGN AFFAIRS?  Partly because he's teamed up with Shayan Talabany.  Why?  Who the hell knows.  She's long been part of the Conservative movement in the UK so it's natural that she'd end up holding hands with War Criminal Tony Blair (she's at his Institute for Global Change aka War Crimes Inc).  

First off, it's one thing to say democracy might be a new concept for Iraqis.  It's another to be insulting and portray the Iraqi people as immature.  It's really insulting.  But what's really awful is the effort to deny reality.  

I'm not in the damn mood this morning.  Year after year, we've pointed out reality.  That's especially true with regard to declining participation in elections.  And there's a reason for the decline as we have repeatedly pointed out.  They ignore reality.

From their awful article:

This new dissatisfaction can be seen in the declining voter turnout despite increasing birthrates. Iraq’s population grew from 25 million in 2005 to approximately 42 million in 2022. Yet while almost 80 percent of eligible voters turned out to vote in the December 2005 parliamentary election, a meager 41 percent at most took part in the October 2021 early elections (although this statistic has been contested by many observers who claim it is inflated because it represents 41 percent of registered Iraqi voters, not eligible voters, millions of whom did not register to vote).

[. . .]

As early as 2011, mounting frustrations were fueling protests across the country, from the Kurdistan region in the north to the south. These frustrations crystallized and erupted in a major 2019-20 protest movement, widely known as Tishreen—the Arabic name for the month of October, when the protests started and won nationwide support. These protests offered the first opportunity for serious bottom-up reform aiming to dismantle the current and failed sect-based politics and bring in merit-based politics, in which the ruling elite is held accountable and judged based on achievements, not identity.

What happened between 2005 and 2011?

What could have made the belief in voting plummet in Iraq?

Violence depressed the turnout in most of the election cycles in the '00s and '10s, absolutely.  But in 2010, it was as high as 62%.

What changed?

If you've paid attention, I just gave you the clue: 2010.

Don't blame the Iraqi people or supposed immaturity for the lower turnout.

Nouri al-Maliki is a thug.  Former prime minister, forever thug.  Then-Senator Hillary Clinton said so in a heavily covered 2008 Senate hearing.  Then-Senator Joe Biden said so in another Senate hearing that I believe we were the only ones to cover.  (I saw no press there and we remain the only ones aware of what Joe said and what then-Senator Russ Feingold said.)  In 2008, the US government knew he was a thug.  Bully Boy Bush installed him as prime minister in 2006.  As we noted before anyone else did, Nouri was paranoid.  The CIA profile on him found him to be so paranoid that he would be easy for the US government to manipulate.  That's why he was installed as prime minister.

In March 2010, Iraq held elections.  He was the sitting prime minister.  He bribed the people -- the ice dispensing was the cheapest and most laughable.  But he was awful.  And the media thought he'd win.   It was seen as a given -- so much so that before a single vote was counted -- let alone tallies released -- NPR declared him the winner.

He didn't win.  

Iraqiya won.  A new coalition created right ahead of the election.

And then what happened?

Nouri refused to step down.  This is the political stalemate.  And at the beginning, the US government insisted that they would stand by the votes -- stand with the Iraqi people. 

Instead, Barack Obama turned on the Iraqi people.  Samantha Power advocated for a second term for Nouri and insisted that Nouri was the best chance to get what they wanted.  

So after eight months of a political stalemate, the US government negotiated The Erbil Agreement, a legal contract between the various political parties.  In exchange for this, they would do that.  They? They had to agree to a second term for Nouri.  In exchange, he would do this or that.  But Nouri used the contract to be named prime minister-designate and then refused to honor it.  Two months later, his then-spokesperson (who'd flee Iraq when Nouri turned on him) declared that the contract wasn't legal or binding.

But the contract put in place Nouri for a second term.  Nouri who was running secret prisons.  And we all knew it by then.

You're an Iraqi and you've got a thug representing you.  You turn out to vote -- despite all the obstacles, including violence.  Your vote and the voters of others means Nouri is gone as prime minister and the next one will come from Iraqiya.  But . . .

Then US President Barack Obama overturns your vote, overturns the votes period and gifts Nouri with a second term.

What is the point of voting?

Why has voting participation in Iraq decreased?

What a stupid question.

Of course, it decreased.  The US government is responsible for that and it is annoying that this is ignored repeatedly but it is especially appalling when it's being ignored in articles supposedly addressing this issue.

ON POINT (NPR) did a great job yesterday bringing Iraqis into the discussion of 20 years later as host Meghna Chakrabarti spoke with journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad.  Ideally, we'll note in next week.  Ava and I are going to try to work it into our piece for Third.  This is the best coverage that NPR did this anniversary of the war.  

Yesterday, the White House issued the following:

A Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility

 Transgender Day of Visibility celebrates the joy, strength, and absolute courage of some of the bravest people I know — people who have too often had to put their jobs, relationships, and lives on the line just to be their true selves.  Today, we show millions of transgender and nonbinary Americans that we see them, they belong, and they should be treated with dignity and respect.  Their courage has given countless others strength, but no one should have to be brave just to be themselves.  Every American deserves that freedom.

     Transgender Americans shape our Nation’s soul — proudly serving in the military, curing deadly diseases, holding elected office, running thriving businesses, fighting for justice, raising families, and much more.  As kids, they deserve what every child deserves:  the chance to learn in safe and supportive schools, to develop meaningful friendships, and to live openly and honestly.  As adults, they deserve the same rights enjoyed by every American, including equal access to health care, housing, and jobs and the chance to age with grace as senior citizens.  But today, too many transgender Americans are still denied those rights and freedoms.  A wave of discriminatory State laws is targeting transgender youth, terrifying families and hurting kids who are not hurting anyone.  An epidemic of violence against transgender women and girls, in particular women and girls of color, has taken lives far too soon.  Last year’s Club Q shooting in Colorado was another painful example of this kind of violence — a stain on the conscience of our Nation.

     My Administration has fought to end these injustices from day one, working to ensure that transgender people and the entire LGBTQI+ community can live openly and safely.  On my first day as President, I issued an Executive Order directing the Federal Government to root out discrimination against LGBTQI+ people and their families.  We have appointed a record number of openly LGBTQI+ leaders, and I was proud to rescind the ban on openly transgender people serving in the military.  We are also working to make public spaces and travel more accessible, including with more inclusive gender markers on United States passports.  We are improving access to public services and entitlements like Social Security.  We are cracking down on discrimination in housing and education.  And last December, I signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law, ensuring that every American can marry the person they love and have that marriage accepted, period.

     Meanwhile, we are also working to ease the tremendous strain that discrimination, bullying, and harassment can put on transgender children — more than half of whom seriously considered suicide in the last year.  The Department of Education is, for example, helping ensure that transgender students have equal opportunities to learn and thrive at school, and the Department of Justice is pushing back against extreme laws that seek to ban evidence-based gender-affirming health care.

     There is much more to do.  I continue to call on the Congress to finally pass the Equality Act and extend long-overdue civil rights protections to all LGBTQI+ Americans to ensure they can live with safety and dignity.  Together, we also have to keep challenging the hundreds of hateful State laws that have been introduced across the country, making sure every child knows that they are made in the image of God, that they are loved, and that we are standing up for them.

     America is founded on the idea that all people are created equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout their lives.  We have never fully lived up to that, but we have never walked away from it either.  Today, as we celebrate transgender people, we also celebrate every American’s fundamental right to be themselves, bringing us closer to realizing America’s full promise.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2023, as Transgender Day of Visibility.  I call upon all Americans to join us in lifting up the lives and voices of transgender people throughout our Nation and to work toward eliminating violence and discrimination against all transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-seventh.

                                JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

The statement comes as Mother Tucker Carlson has declared a holy war on the LGBTQ+ community via FOX NEWS.  Luke Gentile (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) notes Human Rights Campaign's Charlotte Clymer was on MSNBC with Joy Reid and addressed Tucker's hateful jihad:


"I'm from the great state of Texas. I served in the military. I go to church every Sunday. My faith is very important to me, but God made me in her image," Clymer said. "God made me transgender, and to see these people so cynically weaponize this and exploit these children's deaths and their teachers' deaths, it breaks my heart."

"I can't see where the biblical principles of loving your neighbor and walking the walk with Christ that they can see. I can't see what they're seeing."

On Tuesday night, much of Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show was a deeply disturbing diatribe targeting trans people, painting them as terroristic anti-Christs, afforded special privileges by the elite. “The people in charge despise working-class whites, but they venerate the trans community,” Carlson said. 

“The trans movement is the mirror image of Christianity, and therefore its natural enemy,” he continued, echoing violent and fascistic ideologies, like crypto- and neofascism. “In Christianity, the price of admission is admitting that you’re not God. Christians openly concede that they have no real power over anything, and for that matter, very little personal virtue. … The trans movement takes the opposite view. Trans ideology claims dominion over nature itself. ‘We can change the identity we were born with,’ they will tell you with wild-eyed certainty. Christians can never agree with the statement because these are powers they believe God alone possesses.” He concluded the segment with a warning for Americans about the dangers of the so-called trans movement: “Yesterday’s massacre did not happen because of lax gun laws. Yesterday’s massacre happened because of a deranged and demonic ideology that is infecting this country.”

Here, of course, Carlson is wrong; if there is one measure that would curb rampant gun deaths in this country, it would be making it more difficult to obtain assault-style weapons, of which police said the Nashville attacker had two (plus a handgun). As my colleague Hayes Brown argued, access to guns, not ideology, is fundamentally responsible for the mass shooting crisis.

But, given the tragic reality of rampant access to guns, research shows that there is a commonality among mass shooters, who often experience trauma and deep levels of social rejection and bullying. And ironically, it is precisely this kind of rhetoric Carlson shared, which targets and vilifies entire groups of people, that will increase the likelihood of this type of violence, in lieu of a ban on assault weapons. 

Sociologist James Densley, a criminal justice professor at Metropolitan State University, and Jillian Peterson, associate professor of criminology at Hamline University, conducted a rigorous study on the profiles of every mass shooter, defined as everyone “who shot and killed four or more people in a public place, and every shooting incident at schools, workplaces and places of worship since 1999," to gain better insight into any potential commonalities. The hope was that an evidence-based approach to the psychology of mass shooters would make it easier to detect people prone to committing these acts of violence before tragedy struck. The duo’s research was funded by the Justice Department and ultimately compiled into a book, “The Violence Project: How To Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic.”

“There’s this really consistent pathway,” Peterson said of mass shooters in an interview with Melanie Warner in Politico last May. “Early childhood trauma seems to be the foundation, whether violence in the home, sexual assault, parental suicides, extreme bullying. Then you see the build toward hopelessness, despair, isolation, self-loathing, oftentimes rejection from peers.”

Crucially, this internalized pain at some point becomes externalized, Peterson explained: “What’s different from traditional suicide is that the self-hate turns against a group. They start asking themselves, ‘Whose fault is this?’ Is it a racial group or women or a religious group, or is it my classmates? The hate turns outward.”

The hateful rhetoric of those such as Carlson helps perpetuate these very social dynamics. In fact, Carlson’s rhetoric is so divisive and unhinged that it helps create the social conditions that hurt and isolate both the victimized — “working-class whites” — and the vilified — trans people. Carlson creates a direct and spurious connection between the perceived social injustices of working-class, white Americans and “the rise of transgenderism” (referred to on Fox News earlier this month as a “social contagion”). In so doing, he is terrorizing the trans community, fomenting hate and social isolation.

Into this waddles Jennifer Aniston who is lamenting that FRIENDS is rightly criticized for its lack of diversity.  Today, she's upset.  Really?  I'm not in the mood for a Karen.  I'm really not.  And I try not to use that term.  But I'm damn tired of both her and Lisa Kudrow pretending this is new criticism.  It's  not.  They were called out for this while the shows was on.  They were called out in the first seasons.  In fact, their sitcom set in NYC aired opposite another sitcom set in NYC.  Anyone remember that?  LIVING SINGLE -- with Kim Fields, Queen Latifah, Erika Alexander and Kim Cole.  So stop fronting, Jen.  No one's buying your nonsense.  The show was called out from the beginning for this.  She makes it worse by then blathering away with, "Now it's a little tricky because you have to be very careful, which makes it really hard for comedians, because the beauty of comedy is that we make fun of ourselves, make fun of life. [Before] you could joke about a bigot and have a laugh -- that was hysterical.  And it was about educating people on how ridiculous people were.  And now we're not allowed to do that."

Jennifer could you be more stupid?

That is not what happened.  CBS polled -- and then buried the study -- and found people laughing with ALL IN THE FAMILY weren't learning racism was bad.  They thought Archie was hilarious.  It's one of the reasons Caroll O'Connor began to hate doing the show.  Nothing was being accomplished except it was promoting racism and, to those opposed to racism, it was turning a bigot into a loveable rascal.  That's what the polling demonstrated and that's why CBS buried the study.  But periodicals reported on it.  And have continued to do so.  From 2021's CINEMA SCHOLARS article by Cassandra Feltus:

In 1974, Neil Vidmar and Milton Rokeach conducted a U.S.-Canadian-based study to examine various viewers’ perception of the sitcom. The purpose of the study stemmed from the results of a CBS opinion survey. CBS reported that most people simply enjoyed All In The Family and did not take offense to its content.

Using the selective perception hypothesis and selective exposure hypothesis, Vidmar and Rokeach discovered that viewer perception is oppositional to the dominant reading of the show, as well as different than the results of the CBS survey. 

The selective perception hypothesis suggests that a person’s values and attitudes will affect their perception and interpretation of content. If a person already subscribes to a racist ideology, they are more likely to enjoy the show for reasons in line with their values.
These high prejudiced viewers would relate to Archie Bunker and view him in a positive light. They would see Archie as the voice of reason, while any liberal-minded characters were the ones causing conflict. 

A person who believes in equal rights and has a more progressive worldview would likely enjoy the show for its intended purpose as a satire on bigotry. Low prejudiced viewers would see Archie as a loud, domineering racist. In contrast, they would admire Mike for his tolerance of Archie’s bigotry and for always standing up for his liberal beliefs.

The selective exposure hypothesis suggests that people tend to expose themselves to content that aligns with their already established attitudes and beliefs. High prejudiced people are more likely to watch All In The Family because they identify with the main character and his worldview.

The study found that the show appealed more to high prejudiced viewers, who agreed with Archie Bunker’s view on race, than lower prejudiced viewers, who found his opinions to be insensitive and offensive. 

The overall result of the study proved that Lear’s dominant reading of All In The Family was not what most of the audience perceived. It was found that most viewers enjoy watching the show because they think Archie speaks the truth about American society. With this data, the study concluded that the program is more likely reinforcing prejudice and racism, rather than combating it.

Do you get it? Because every thing you said, every word, is wrong.  How does it feel to be so monumentally stupid?

 Aniston’s assertion that jokes about bigots educate people and reveal the absurdity of bigotry is also worth noting. Research has indicated that satirizing bigotry rarely changes people’s attitudes, and authors Malcolm Gladwell and Jonathan Coe have argued that laughing at satirical portrayals of political problems like bigotry can actually diffuse the discomfort with them that could lead to actual political action.

Aniston’s comments suggest an anxiety on her part about what can and cannot be said in a comedic context that echoes Chappelle and Gervais’s rage against “cancel culture.” But that anxiety neglects the way comedy functions, and in particular what the undercurrents of homophobia and outright transphobia on Friends implied about queer and trans people. The show’s jokes about Chandler, Ross, and Joey’s casual discomfort with queerness, their frequent panic at being considered gay, may have—as Aniston implied—been intended to reveal how ridiculous homophobia is.

But those jokes also normalized that discomfort, portraying it as harmlessly laughable rather than toxic. The show did little to dismantle the notion that queerness is shameful, instead making its 90s audience comfortable with laughing it off rather than interrogating why grown men would be so fearful of being considered gay.

Friends’ treatment of Chandler’s transgender parent was even worse, consistently portraying her as an oddity, a freak, someone whose experience of herself and the world could never be understood by “normal” cisgender people.

Oh, Jen, go back to pretending that you have a career with bad Adam Sandler films.  Or maybe just go back to pretending that you're desperately seeking a man to fall in love with.  But please, go away from this topic, you don't know what the hell you're talking about.  

A lot of people are attacking drag queens.  Their attacks don't reflect the mood of the country.  David Hudson (QUEERTY) notes:

 [A] new poll reveals most people in the US oppose legislative restrictions on drag shows.

The NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll surveyed people across the political spectrum. It found the biggest issues people are worried about are the economy, “preserving democracy”, immigration, crime and the climate.

On the topic of introducing drag bans, as recently done in Tennessee, 58% opposed such moves. This rose to 73% of Democrats and fell to 37% of Republicans. 57% of those who stated they were Independent opposed such drag restrictions. Overall, just 39% said they supported restrictions on drag performances.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, March 30, 2023

I think we should break up (Call Me Kat)

The latest episode of Call Me Kat aired tonight.

What's going on?

Do they not know how to make TV shows worth watching anymore?

On Superman And Lois, they've given Lois cancer (see Mike's "Bye-bye SUPERMAN AND LOIS and how Ron DeSantis is destroying Florida"), for example.

Tonight?  Tonight we get Kat telling Max, "I think we should break up."  She tells him she's decided.


So this all goes back to the last episode where she got kissed by the woman who was writing songs with Max.  

She told the woman she wasn't gay.  The woman begged her not to say anything -- she's not out.  Kat said she had to tell Max.

She begged her not to.


She tells her mother (Sheila) and Randi.  Sheila says don't tell Max.  Randi says if she told Carter that she kissed a girl, she'd never have to buy him a gift again.

The woman's writing with Max and she's blocked creatively.  Kat shows up and the woman splits.  Max is trying to figure out what is going on.  Kat tells him about the kiss.  Now he may lose his writing partner.  He's made.  He's forty-something and this might be his last chance.  And why did Kat have to go singing with the woman to begin with.

He leaves in a huff.  

Sheila tells her -- Sheila saw it all -- that she's sorry and leaves.

Kat goes to talk to the woman and chatters on about how she can keep the secret and Max can and won't it be good to have someone who knows.

Max comes by to apologize and that's when Kat has her titty-baby moment.

You know what?  It was wrong for Kat to have done what she did.  She had no reason to go singing with that woman in the first place.  Her new 'friend' was Max's writing partner.  She shouldn't have tried to push her way in -- something she does all the time (remember when Max's father visited).  

I'm tired of her being the victim and whining all the damn time.  Grow up, Kat, grow the hell up.

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

Tuesday, March 30, 2023.  The US Senate votes in favor of repealing the AUMF, Senators Patty Murray, Jon Tester and Sherod Brown want accountability on the VA electronic record program, Mother Tucker Carlson continues to issue jihads against the LGBTQ+ community, and much more.

How long does it take to get something done in the US Congress?  Maybe at least 20 years.  Brad Dress and Al Weaver (THE HILL) report:

The Senate on Wednesday voted to repeal a pair of Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) with bipartisan support, taking a step toward closing the door on the Iraq War 20 years after it started. 

Senators voted 66-30 to officially repeal the 1991 authorization for the Gulf War and the 2002 AUMF that opened the door to the Iraq War the following March.

At least 20 years.  At least?  It's not repealed yet.  Mary Claire Jalonick (AP) explains, "If passed by the House, the repeal would not be expected to affect any current military deployments. But lawmakers in both parties are increasingly seeking to claw back congressional powers they have given the White House over U.S. military strikes and deployments, and some lawmakers who voted for the Iraq War two decades ago now say that was a mistake." Yes, now we're waiting on the House of Representatives.  

On the topic of Congress, March 17th's "Iraq snapshot" reported on the latest Senate hearing on the Electronic Health Record Modernization -- an effort that's gone on since Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House.  Yesterday, Senator Patty Murray's office issued the following:

Murray, Tester, Brown Announce Comprehensive Bill to Overhaul VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization Program

Senate Veterans’ Affairs and Appropriations Committees leaders spearhead effort to restructure, enhance, and improve the new EHR program while increasing oversight on behalf of veterans, VA personnel, and taxpayers

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are spearheading a legislative push to deliver a complete overhaul of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program.

The Senators will be introducing comprehensive legislation in the coming days that would require VA to implement a series of EHRM reforms to better serve veterans, medical personnel, and taxpayers. Their bill would restructure, enhance, and strengthen the entire EHRM program while also mandating aggressive reporting to Congress to increase oversight, accountability, and transparency following a series of challenges with the system and program, including those found in VA’s recent EHRM Sprint Report and a review from the Government Accountability Office. This is just the latest in a series of challenges related to the program which launched in 2017 and was deployed at the first VA hospital in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have been clear from the start -- VA cannot continue with its current EHR system until it works for providers and keeps patients safe. This legislation will put into law the kind of aggressive oversight necessary to fix the current system -- that's my first priority,” said Senator Murray. “Importantly, this set of reforms will also overhaul the contracts and acquisitions process so that the issues we’ve seen these last few years can be prevented in the future. I want to make sure the dedicated providers at VA can do their jobs and that our veterans are getting the high quality care they have earned and deserve. Let’s pass the EHR Program RESET Act as soon as possible.”

“It’s clear that the new EHR system is failing veterans, medical personnel, and taxpayers, and we need aggressive measures to right this ship and get a better return on investment through this contract,” said Chairman Tester. “That’s why my colleagues and I are putting forth comprehensive legislation to increase transparency and oversight over the new electronic health record system—holding VA and Oracle Cerner accountable on behalf of the men and women who risked their lives to defend our country. Veterans deserve nothing less, and I won’t back down from our continued commitment to safely deliver them the health care they need and earned.”

“Too many veterans and workers have faced confusion and unnecessary problems because of VA’s Electronic Health Record rollout. VA needs a reset, and must meet specific metrics on patient safety, cost, and VA employee productivity, to improve morale and improve veterans’ experiences when they turn to the VA for care,” said Senator Brown. “As VA employees at Chalmers in Columbus continue to work through issues related to Oracle Cerner’s product, I’ll continue fighting for them, and for the veterans they serve, to improve this program before the Department moves forward with any other VA facilities.”

Among its many provisions, the Senators’ legislation would require VA to:

  • Develop clear metrics to guide whether and how VA should go forward with the new EHR at additional VA facilities and require additional resources to support those facilities;
  • Require VA and Oracle Cerner to fix the technology features connected to the health safety and delivery issues found in VA’s March 2023 Sprint Report;
  • Not move forward with the new EHR at other VA health facilities until the data at the existing five facilities demonstrates an ability to deliver health care to veterans at standards that surpass metrics using VA’s VistA system or that meet national health operations standards as determined by the Under Secretary for Health;
  • Appoint a lead senior negotiator and leverage other federal agencies and independent outside experts to offer advice and strategies for managing aggressive EHR contract negotiations with Oracle Cerner to protect taxpayers and veterans;
  • Develop an alternative “Plan B” strategy for a new EHR in the event Oracle Cerner will not agree to new contract terms that protect taxpayers and increase accountability and penalties for poor performance or when VA data shows it cannot get the technology to work to serve veterans efficiently and safely;
  • Reform major acquisitions at VA to prevent future programs with poor contracting, oversight, management, and planning from occurring; and
  • Require an existing VA Advisory Committee to add health care experts with proven experience implementing EHR deployments to advise VA leaders on potential strategies on how to improve VA EHRM’s implementation based on prior lessons learned in the private and non-profit health sectors.

The legislation would also require the Department of Defense (DoD) to report to Congress quarterly on steps it is taking fix DoD information technology systems, including those which are outdated and are negatively impacting VA’s ability to deliver health care, benefits, and other services, including through the new EHR.


On Iraq, tonight, at 7:00 pm EST, WBUR will air ON POINT's latest episode "The American Invasion Through An Iraqis Eyes."  Host Meghna Chakrabarti will be joined by Iraqi journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad.  If your local NPR airs it, great, grab it off that.  I'm sure the episode will go up at NPR's home page for ON POINT at some point.  I'm noting the Boston station because a friend there is the one who provided the heads up.  I've honestly never listened to ON POINT and didn't even know about it until the phone call.  I will be listening tonight.  And, no, Tom Bowman is not the voice of NPR.  Many people with NPR are offended by his nonsense last week.

A friend at PBS asked for a link as well.  No.  

They're not getting it.  Ava and I may rip apart what they wanted promoted this weekend.  Otherwise, we'll just ignore the airing of lies on the public airwaves.  

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq, a conflict that was broadcast into our living rooms on our TV sets in great detail thanks to the many reporters who were allowed to become “embedded” with U.S. troops as they made their way across the battlefields of Iraq.

Some commentators today refer to the War in Iraq as a mistake, but that implies a mere error in judgment. However, that assessment completely ignores the simple fact that the war was predicated on a deliberately-false narrative.

Someone at PBS needs to review that editorial with their staff.

Turning to the war on the LGBTQ+ community in the US,  Skylar Baker-Jordan (INDEPENDENT) reports:

The bodies of the six innocent victims – including three precious children – killed in the latest school shooting weren’t even cold yet before the “don’t politicize tragedy” brigade was politicizing tragedy.
On Monday, a female-to-male transgender man shot his way into Covenant School – a pre-k through sixth-grade private school affiliated with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of America – in Nashville, Tennessee. The right quickly pounced on the shooter’s transgender identity, using it to target an entire community that it has already spent the first three months of this year targeting through state legislatures.

Republican Senator JD Vance tweeted that the left needed to do some “soul searching” over the Nashville shooting because the shooter was trans and targeted a Christian school. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, his fellow Republican, blamed the “hormones like testosterone and medications for mental illness” the shooter may have been on for the violence, adding that “everyone can stop blaming guns now.” Tucker Carlson, meanwhile, called transgender people the “natural enemy” of Christianity in a hateful tirade on his Fox News show.

These comments are all part of an emerging narrative on the right that seeks to turn an isolated incident – only three mass shooters out of over 300 since 2009 have been trans – into a rallying cry for further hate and violence against the LGBTQ community. We must reject this narrative because the reverse is true.

The right is the radicalized threat to public safety, not the LGBTQ community. I have the receipts to prove it.

[. . .]

If folks like Vance, Greene, and Carlson are concerned about sectarian violence in the United States – and we all should be, given its ubiquity in modern America – they ought to take a step back and consider the rhetoric they use to demonize and dehumanize their political opponents, the laws they pass targeting them, and the actions they take to harm them. They ought to also consider the use of violence on their own side.

Just last week, far-right extremists shut down an all-ages drag show in Kentucky with threats of violence knowing children would be present. In New Mexico, a defeated Republican candidate paid four men to shoot up the homes of four elected Democratic officials. Last year, a far-right extremist with ties to QAnon broke into then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home and bludgeoned her husband, Paul, with a hammer. And then, of course, there was the January 6 insurrection – which was an act of far-right political violence whether Greene, Vance, or Carlson admit it or not.

For more on that Mother Tucker Carlson, see Gabriella Ferrigine's piece at SALON:

 Fox News host Tucker Carlson stoked anti-trans fears in the wake of Monday's Nashville school shooting, warning of what he described as the rising threat of "trans terrorism."

Carlson cited the deadly shooting at the Covenant School, a private Christian school, to assert a broad and unfounded claim that trans people are waging a war against Christians.

"Why are some trans people so angry, and why do they seem to be mad specifically at traditional Christians?" Carlson asked. 


What is FOX "NEWS" to do?  Haters in poverty and struggling watch FOX NEWS over the airwaves -- a low income group which effects advertising rates.  And when FOX NEWS owned FOX entertainment, that was good for the bottom line.  But ABC-DISNEY-et all now owns FOX entertainment.  So the free viewers continue.  But advertising alone's not making it these days.  Which is why they started FOX NATION. But, bit of a problem, the people who signed up for it -- a two week trial or even for a full month?  They're leaving.  And they're not leaving silently.  The feedback FOX NATION is getting -- and they do ask for feedback when you cancel your subscription -- is that there are too many hateful attacks on LGBTQ+.  They're getting comments like that.  Some of the comments include statements such as "I'm not a supporter of gay people but even for me it's too much with the attacks."  

Tucker brings in the freeloaders, no surprise there.  But FOX "NEWS" is going to have to figure out another way to get people to pay for content because those who sampled the for-pay service are not impressed with Mother Tucker.

In the real world, people have to live with the hate Mother Tucker stokes.   QUEER NEWS TONIGHT notes Nebraska state senator John Fredrickson.

It takes a lot of courage on the part of the LGBTQ+ community in this country as elements of the right-wing push for a holy war -- that's the only term for it -- against LGBTQ+ persons.  

Meanwhile, Josselyn Berry has resigned.  Who?  The press secretary for Arizona's governor.  Monday the shooting in Tennessee took place.  Monday night, Hobbs Tweeted with a gif of Gena Rowlands in GLORIA, gun in each hand, adding "Us when we see transphobes."  There's not a defense for it.  It was a dumb Tweet.  It also wasn't the end of the world.  She was right to resign because she would have been a distraction to the governor's work.  But it's also true that those whining that she was threatening them -- huh?

People can be stupid.  That includes HUFFINGTON POST which (mis)covered this.  Right-wingers, she wasn't talking about you.  It was in a thread about how harmful transphobes on the left are.  Oh, right-wingers, did you not know you could break bread with the left on this topic?  I've got an elderly, one-foot-in-the-grave, self-identified Communist just waiting to meet you!  (See Betty's "Shut your bigoted ass, Dr. Anthony Monteiro" for more on that fool.)  It had nothing to do with the right-wingers, but you know how they love to play the victim, you know how they're always playing the victim and always running for a Mommy or Daddy to tattle because they're just victims (Mother Tucker Carlson projects victimhood onto others), so they got butt hurt over something that had nothing to do with them as usual.  

Or maybe they were just whoring -- as usual.

Megyn Kelly knows she has to whore.  She's got no career at FOX and no career at NBC and no one else will touch her so YOUTUBE's all she got.  Remember that when she Tweets:

Thank God for the heroes at . Never ceases to amaze when you see courage like that on these tapes (of them taking out the shooter). Professionalism, bravery, respect for one another, honor.

The heroes?  

I believe the police department did a very poor job.  

A friend of the shooter's called the police department and was palmed off.   Hours after the shooting ended, they finally showed up to take the woman's story.  That's not good police work.  Now I know Megyn's not very smart.  But, let me repeat, that's not good police work.

Just reading the first Tweet she received over the phone to the first point-of-contact with the Nashville police should have been enough.  The statement indicates the person texting has plans to harm someone and is about to act on that plan.

This should not have been fobbed off. 

The Nashville Police Department needs to figure out how they failed.

Megyn appears to be praising those who shot the shooter.  

I know that a certain Texas school shooting lowered everyone's expectations regarding law enforcement but that is the police's job.  I don't know that those at the location did it well.  I don't know that they didn't.  But I know the Nashville police department failed Nashville when they treated the friend calling as something to push off and ignore.

Megyn's whoring isn't helping anyone and it won't make the people of Nashville any safer.  But, hey, maybe it'll get some right-wing crazies to embrace Megyn again?  For Megyn, it was either that or endorsing Blackface again -- she had to do something to rally her base.

Repeating, the first call should have addressed reality and done so immediately, then there was a second call and it didn't address the issue either.  This is not a time for praise.  A tragedy took place and Nashville Police needs to look at their actions and ensure more training so that they're not ignoring an impending shooting again when presented with clear information that someone's about to harm someone else in the city.

Related, "You are supposed to be a feminist! Trans 'women' are erasing women!"  So claims an e-mail. 

Uh, no, they're not.  A lot of straight, cis gender women are erasing women.  It's not your industry probably but I don't understand why, for example, actresses -- a noble profession -- are expected to want to be called "actors."  I don't get it.  Singer is an inclusive term.  Songstress is not, but singer is.  So fine and dandy.  But if we're really worried about women being erased -- and our society never has been -- then I'd worry more about women being forced to adopt male terms than about people misgendered by birth.   And then take a moment to grasp that this is happening in 21st century -- this notion that women should be happy with a male term.  If we're going to rename the profession why not go with "actresses" for all?  Why do we have to reward the male norm all the time?  That's a better worry if you're worried about erasure.  Then again, if you were worried about actual erasure, you'd be promoting Merlin Stone's WHEN GOD WAS A WOMAN and other books that deal with the actual erasure of women from history. 

If Erica is transitioning or has transitioned, how is her being a woman erasing me?  Help me with that because I don't see it.

The e-mail continues, "They are doing this just to win races!"  Really?  Most of the transgender people I know are over college age and not running or competing in any sport, first off.  And while there probably could be economic incentive for someone born physically female to switch to male, there's no benefit to the reverse.  Transitioning to male could allow an athlete to make a lot more money if they have talent at the sport.  Anyone who transitioned to female to make money in sports had bigger problems than greed because society ignores women's sports in this country.  The WNBA is mentioned most often to mock it.  (That's not me saying they deserve to be mocked.  They don't.  But if, for example, FAMILY GUY mentions the WNBA, it's to mock it.  And, no, the same thing does not happen with the NBA.)

Riley Gaines?  Isn't that the loser's name.  As Marcia's documented repeatedly, that woman has changed her story repeatedly.  Maybe now that her sports career is over, she feels she can be honest?  Here's some honesty, it's over because she wasn't that good.  More reality, Marcia's right, she came in sixth in that race she keeps whining about which is why she didn't get the fifth place trophy at the swim meet.  They had to send her a trophy.  They were being kind to her and letting her have a fifth place tie -- when she actually came in sixth.  No good deed goes unpunished which is how Riley ends up degrading us all today.  And, dear, with those tiny breasts, I don't think you need to be insulting Lia Thomas.  And maybe don't talk about others because, Riley,  your shoulders and arms do not look normal for a woman.  They don't look like normal swimmers shoulders, no.  And look at the bulky arms and then the chest that looks like it has pecs and not breasts.  

I get it, I really do.  Lia didn't just beat you in the water, she also beats you in front of any mirror.  Rachel McLish is a body builder who won many competitions and she never looked like she was juicing so I really don't get 'swimmer' Riley and all the testosterone that appears to be racing through her own system while she's attacking Lia.  Same with Cory Everson.   I started working out in the 80s -- like many, led there by Jane Fonda.  I knew what I wanted my body to look like and what I didn't want it to look like.  I wasn't going for Rachel or Cory's look but I didn't feel they lost any part of what made them a woman.  They looked like women with muscles.  Riley Gaines' body really doesn't look like a woman's body.  Again, that might account for her bitterness.  

 As we wind down, let's note this in Michigan:

South Central Michigan Greens

Calhoun, Hillsdale, and Jackson Counties Local
People and planet over profit.


For more information:
Monika Dittmann Schwab, Local Contact/SCMiGreens

John Anthony La Pietra, Organizer/SCMiGreens

South Central Michigan Greens to Hold Public Reading
of Dr. King's "Beyond Vietnam" Speech Sunday, April 2
Take "Time to Break Silence", Honor the "Other MLK Day";
Register on Zoom to Listen or Help Read Starting at 4pm

The South Central Michigan Greens local will hold a public reading of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech "Beyond Vietnam:  A Time to Break
Silence" starting at 4pm EDT on Sunday, April 2 on the Green Party of
Michigan Zoom account.

Dr. King delivered the speech at Riverside Church in New York City on
April 4, 1967 -- a year to the day before he was assassinated in Memphis
while supporting a strike of local sanitation workers.

Local Greens celebrate April 4 as "the Other MLK Day", breaking the
silence about Dr. King's recognition that "the greatest purveyor of
violence in the world today" was "my own government."

Since April 4 is a Tuesday, the celebration is being shifted to the
previous Sunday and will start at 4pm EDT to make it easier for people
across the country to take part -- by being in the audience or by
joining in the reading.

To register for the event, visit this link:

The reading is also a post on Facebook at:

Recordings and scripts of the original speech, made to a meeting of
Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam, can be found online.
Organizer John Anthony La Pietra has taken an online transcript
(possibly of the prepared text) and adjusted it to match the speech as
Dr. King actually delivered it.  A copy of this script will be made
available for the event.

To discuss details and news about the South Central Michigan Greens
local, please visit its Facebook page:

#  #  #

The Four Pillars of GPMI:
    Grassroots Democracy
    Social Justice
    Ecological Wisdom
For our Ten Key Values, add:
    Community-Based Economics
    Future Focus/Sustainability
    Personal and Global Responsibility
    Respect for Diversity

The following sites updated: