Friday, July 7, 2023

Fake asses like Jill Stein pimping fake ass Cornel


God bless C.I.  She's said all the above.  And as Green Party member, I have applauded her.  Applause to Dr Jared Ball and Kamilah Harris and Renee Johnston and Darryl for addressing these realities.

A bunch of White people -- and some wannabe Whites like Brie Brie Joy -- have been pimping Cornel West hard.  

What's her name?  Rye Cracker, you know who I mean, piss panties.  Katie Halper!  Yes, the White 'girl' supreme.  She brings on African-Americans to attack African-Americans.  Or, more recently, she went on and on about Cornel West and the importance of Cornel for Tupac.

Rye Cracker, you're a middle-aged Jewish woman.  You don't know s**t about Tupac.  But you'll put his name in your trashy mouth.  And Katie Halper is trash, let's be clear about this Karen.  Katie Halper has done three or four videos now, in the last two weeks with convicted pedophile Scott Ritter.  Never once has Katie or Aaron Matitty told any viewer that Ritter was convicted in court, went to prison and is now a registered sex offender. Rye Cracker is the ultimate Karen.

And these White people -- plus Brie-Brie -- are a bunch of liars and tricksters.

A good part of the video above?  There are too many.  But I loved Kamilah' points like, "Dr. Jill Stein is trying to pretend like she's with the campaign, she's not with the campaign" and "Same about Chris Hedges" and Ajamu fake ass being Jill's "right hand Black man."

Cornel is not getting a gift but he is working a grift and tricksters are trying to help him.

And they're the same ones who whored for The People's Party.  Kamilah brought the receipts -- noting how Jimmy Dore and Cornel West got put on the advisory board when the rank and file were complaining about the lack of transparency.  The 'answer' is to put people on the advisory board with no vote, no transparency, just an announcement?  And Brie-Brie Joy Gray.  Isn't it cute how she shows up to be part of the grift.  A grift took place, you need to watch the video above.  Find out about how Jill Stein's taking money in for herself personally.  

It's an important and a great discussion.  And if you follow The Common Ills, you're already aware of it because C.I. has been pointing this out.  

Watch the video. It's the most important one you can watch this week.

Watch it if, like me, you're a Green Party member.  Watch it if you care about transparency.  Watch it.  And share it.

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

Friday, July 7, 2023.  The hate merchants demonstrate that hate is all around,  MEDMIA MATTERS documents RFK Junior's reliance on the hate merchants, MTG gets kicked out of one hate group, Caitlyn Jenner leaves another -- hate, the right-wing is soaking in it, as Madge from Palmolive might say.

Who is Salwan Momika?

A better focus than the government of Sweden.  Or for Iraqi rage, a better focus.  Salwan Momika is an Iraqi who has sought refuge in Iraq.  FMT reports:

The Iraqi prosecutor general’s office has sent an arrest warrant to the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) for Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi-born refugee in Sweden, who burned a Quran in Sweden’s capital Stockholm in late June, Sputnik quoted Iraqi broadcaster Al Sumaria’s report Thursday, citing the country’s Supreme Judicial Council.

The council’s statement said that the prosecutor’s office has sent an information sheet and a special arrest warrant for Momika and requested Interpol to notify Baghdad should he be arrested.

Cult leader and cleric Moqtada al-Sadr returned to 'political life' as he organized pretests against . . . Sweden.  Sweden did not burn a holy book but Moqtada needed a hobby and masturbation doesn't provide him the umph it used to so this is what he went with.  And he then tried to enrage all of Iraq over Sweden.  Thought his small cult continued to turn out for rage-fests, the rest of Iraq largely ignored it.

But if you were going to take offense, it was never the country of Sweden you should have taken offense to.  It was one of your own, Momika, that burned the holy book.  

Oh, look, here's an idiot.

Death sentence?  You truly are an idiot, Mansuri, and a hateful one at that.  Also Monika doesn't have "the face of a dog."  He's rather photogenic.

Salwan Momika: I have a message to every Muslim and every Islamic clergy calling for me to be killed and to those street protesters: Why did I not hear you shouting like this when the Yazidi women [in Iraq] were taken like war bounty sex slaves?  Or when their children, young men and elderly got killed in front of your eyes?  Why did you not protest aggressively the way you are doing now?  Why did you not protest the same way you protested against me burning the Quran?  All I did was reject this book that endorses hate, reject others and terrorism. Yes, I will say it again, this is a book of terrorism.  It should be banned. And I will work to get it banned in compliance with Swedish law. Therefore you have proven today what I said about the Quran is true because today one million people have called for my murder just because I expressed my opinion about the Quran and stated that the Quran is a book of terrorism.  All I wanted to do, dear Muslims, is wake you from your slumber because you have been deceived.  You are victims of Islam before Yazidis, Christians and atheists become your victims -- [and] Jews and Sabeans.  We are all victims.  That is why I do not have anything against you.  The difference is that I don't have anything against you personally.  My problem is with the ideas -- theology.  The difference is that I fight the ideas but you fight the person of Salwan Momika and you call for the killing of Salwan Momika.  I will continue my journey and I am not afraid of you. 

The rage against Sweden was a political ploy used to increase the profile of certain struggling politicians and to distract from the rot in Iraq's government.  

The Iraqi Foreign Minister, Fuad Hussein, called on the Swedish government to hand over the person who burned a copy of the Quran in Stockholm to the Iraqi government to appear before an Iraqi court.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry mentioned in a statement that Hussein received a phone call last Friday from his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billstrom, where they discussed the repercussions of the incident.

The book may matter to you but it's not a crime to burn it.  I'm opposed to all book burnings and bannings.  But there are no international laws against book banning.  And the Iraqi government knows this but they're trying to distract and they know Interpol from previous engagements.  They were able to make a vice president of Iraq appear guilty to the gullible (and deceitful) US press by filing with them before.  This is no different.  Nothing will come of this.  

As for their efforts to get Sweden to turn him over to Iraq?  He's in Sweden as a refugee.  Any country that turned a refugee back over to its country of origin in a matter like this would be a joke on the world stage.
While everyone's talking about this -- and really gabbing about the non-story that we noted at the top of yesterday's snapshot -- is anyone paying attention to the governmental reordering that's taking place?  Suadad al-Salhy (MIDDLE EAST EYE) reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani has announced a major shakeup of the country’s security and intelligence services, appointing an influential spymaster ostracised by his predecessor as the head of national security.

Officials in Baghdad told Middle East Eye that the changes unveiled on Wednesday were intended to consolidate Sudani’s grip on power and to exclude a number of officials and employees suspected of involvement in corruption under the previous government.

One of the main – and most prominent - beneficiaries of the reshuffle is Abdul Karim Abd Fadhil, also known as Abu Ali al-Basri, who was named by Sudani to lead the Iraqi National Security Service (INSS).

Basri replaces Hamid al-Shatri, who was appointed by Sudani’s predecessor as prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

And dig deep into the report and you'll find this:

Another senior appointee, Ali Shamran Khazal, the new director general of the INSS’s Governorates Security Department, is seen as an ally of former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, sources said.

[. . .]

Security officials told MEE that most of the appointees were chosen on the basis of "partisan quotas".

"Some of those assigned are qualified and have been promoted. This cannot be denied, but the selection of all was subject to political quotas," a senior INSS official told MEE.

“Most of the appointees are either close to Maliki, Halbousi, or the prime minister. No one in Iraq is named to occupy these positions solely for his competence or for career progression.”

But instead of focusing on that, the hate merchants -- hatriots -- scapegoat and rage to distract the American people.  And, no, defending those being scapegoated is never a distraction, it's a required stance in any functioning democracy.

Hate merchants like Marjorie Taylor Greene need to be confronted -- you need to stand up to them and to their hate.  Daniel Villarreal (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and other conservatives are falsely claiming that a recent mass shooter was transgender. Like Greene, the shooter supported gun rights and former President Donald Trump.

On the evening of Monday, July 3, a shooter in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania killed five people. The gunman also shot two boys and injured two others who survived. Police arrested a 40-year-old male suspect named Kimbrady Carriker and charged him with murder, attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment, and weapons charges.

[. . .]

In a statement condemning right-wing claims about the suspect’s gender identity, Asa Khalif of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s LGBTQIA advisory committee said Carricker identified only as male.

“The language that is spewed out by the conservative press is violent and is dangerous and is targeting trans women of color,” Khalif said, according to The Daily Beast. “It’s rallying the community to be violent and we’re better than that.”

Khalif noted that trans women and men “are the most vulnerable to violence,” adding, “They want to live their lives and they have every right to do so, and we will not allow conservative bigots to use that type of language to attack trans people. This is about someone who used violence to hurt and harm our city and our community, and I’m sure they will be punished to the fullest extent of the law but we will not allow trans women, and particularly trans women of color, to be the scapegoats of bigots.”

However, right-wing figures like Greene and other conservative media outlets have repeatedly claimed that trans people are dangerous. Shortly after a late March school shooting by a possibly trans individual, Greene blamed the shooting on hormone medications that the shooter may have been taking. However, there’s no indication that the shooter was actually taking hormones, that such medications contribute to violent behavior, or that the shooter’s gender identity in any way motivated their behavior.

In late March, Greene claimed that a trans-affiliated “antifa” group in Washington, D.C. was organizing a violent protest event called the “Trans Day of Vengeance.” There was no public evidence that anti-fascist activists were in any way involved in the event. The event’s organizer said the event’s name was merely a play on the Trans Day of Visibility, the day upon which the subsequently-cancelled protest was scheduled to occur.

At the time, Greene wrote, “A day after a mass murder of children by a trans shooter? The people need to know about the threat they face from Antifa & trans-terrorism!!!”

In April, Greene’s colleague Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) said that affirming trans people’s identities will lead to school shootings. She said that being transgender and learning about societal oppression “radicalize” students and make them mentally ill, causing them to shoot up schools.

For the hatriots, there's never enough hate.  Which is why, see Elaine's "Marjorie gets kicked out and learns about it from the press," Marjorie just got kicked out of her fanatic caucus -- and, as Elaine points out, learned of her expulsion from the press reports.  

A drive-by e-mail from a hatriot wants to explain that Andrew Tate is right about transgender people.  I'm sorry?  Andrew Tate.  Isn't that one of Glenneth Greenwald's buddies?  And didn't he just get arrested for human trafficking?  Don't invite me to that party, I won't show.  But you can pass your e-mail along to Katie Halper.  A human trafficker?  She platforms registered sex offenders like Scott Ritter.  A stupid [your swear of choice] like that should love a human trafficker -- she and Aaron Matty can probably do two weeks giggling and playing footsie with Andrew Tate.

But those of us with standards?  We'll take a pass on the supposed insights of a hate merchant.

Hate merchants don't have insights -- they just incite violent behavior.  Curtis Brodner (AUDACY) reports:

A man threw hot coffee on another man at a Port Washington Starbucks while shouting an anti-gay slur on Saturday, according to the Port Washington Police Department.

The victim is a member of the LGBTQ community, and police are investigating the attack as a hate crime. 

NEWSDAY says residents are shocked by the anti-LGBTQ+ violence.  It is shocking and it's also true that it steps forward when people don't call the hate out.  Various individuals -- including Glenneth Greenwald -- have stoked hate against the LGBTQ+ community.  We are seeing the effects of that hate.

We have to stand up to this and we have to call out. Shaanth Kodialam (SACRAMENTO BEE) reports:

Bonita A. experienced a flood of emotions as she headed back from a walk to her front porch: anger, worry, confusion and frustration. The East Sacramento resident, who requested her full name be withheld due to fear for her safety, was one of many in the city who who found flyers with anti-LGBTQ and antisemitic messaging on her doorstop. Packaged in plastic sandwich bags with gravel and other material as weights, authorities and residents found them in multiple Sacramento neighborhoods and other California cities in mid-June. Some employed the phrase “White Lives Matter,” while others featured a conspiracy demonizing LGBTQ+ people and Jews, specifically targeting those who hold both identities.
 “It totally messes with my sense of justice,” Bonita A. said. She soon alerted her fellow neighbors to the incident, and now wants to support anti-hate activities in her own neighborhood, recognizing that it’s also on folks like her who aren’t Jewish or LGBTQ to speak out. “When you’re the one being targeted ... it must be scarier for them.” “I do want to show the support, I want to show them they’re not alone, and that they have more than just their own community supporting,” she said.

Ads from major companies that claim to support LGBTQ rights are appearing on Rumble videos that spread extreme anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, including on videos that spew anti-LGBTQ slurs and on one that alleges that the LGBTQ movement’s “end game is to sterilize humanity.” 

Rumble is an extreme right-wing video-sharing platform that is backed by various high-profile right-wing figures and dominated by QAnon content. Marketing itself as a defender of “free speech”, the platform has big ambitions to compete with a range of other tech companies and provide the infrastructure to make figures that have been banned elsewhere “immune” from so-called “cancel culture.” Rumble has also partnered with the Republican National Committee to host the official livestream for the first Republican presidential primary debate on August 23.

The platform technically has a policy against “Content or material that is grossly offensive to the online community, including but not limited to, racism, anti-semitism and hatred” — but it doesn’t mention anything specifically about sexuality- or gender identity-based hate speech, and has previously failed to elaborate on its evidently limited enforcement practices. Rumble also has a documented history of profiting from homophobic, white nationalist, and antisemitic content on its site. In March, Netflix pulled advertisements from the website after Media Matters reported that they were appearing alongside videos espousing Holocaust denial.

This Pride Month, Media Matters identified ads from over 50 major companies that appeared alongside Rumble videos that spread extreme anti-LGBTQ hate. These companies include:

Despite this, several of these companies, including Capital One, Maybelline, eBay, Uniqlo, UPS, and Amazon, have celebrated Pride Month on social media — seemingly expressing support for the LGBTQ community.

My money doesn't support hate.  I won't be using the above.  I may even bring a lawsuit agaisnt eBay which is offering for sale various autographed photos of me -- photos I didn't autograph, it's not even a good fake of my signature.  As the signee -- the supposed signee -- the one whose name is being used to sell this fake merchandise, I believe I have standing in court to sue eBay.  Let's see if I calm down as the morning goes on or tell my attorney to send eBay a cease-and-desist letter.

My money doesn't support hate or hate merchants.  Brandon Hovek (DELAWARE NEWS JOURNAL) reports:

Oddity Bar has received fervent backlash after a doorman used an anti-gay slur in an argument with customers during a concert by Delaware metal acts ABYDOS, Bastion's Wake and Candlewax. A short video clip from the June 23 show posted on Facebook by ABYDOS bassist Zach Schroeder shows an argument ongoing about moshing. ABYDOS had stopped performing.

"Then don't invite metal bands to play," one man is heard saying before the doorman says, "F----t."

A woman immediately responds, "Whoa. You can't use that slur. Hold on, hold on. Using that slur is not OK."

Hernandez, who has owned Oddity Bar for the past year with his brother Manny, was nearby as the doorman said the slur. Members of the bands and patrons have criticized Hernandez for a lack of an immediate response.

"[Hernandez] seemed very indifferent towards everything and was not apologetic at all. He just kind of took the doorman's side the whole time," Candlewax bassist and vocalist Josh Deckman said. "I literally told him, 'Look at me: I have nail polish on and I'm flamboyant. As a member of the [queer] community, what am I supposed to think? That I'm not welcome here.' They were dismissive of that."

Let's turn to the illegitimate Supreme Court. For an overview, here's Amy Goodman (DEMOCRACY NOW!) recapping:

In another setback for equal rights, the Supreme Court also ruled Friday in favor of a Christian Colorado web designer who refused to create websites for same-sex couples even though the state bans such discrimination. The justices were again divided 6 to 3 along ideological lines. Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in the dissent that the decision was “heartbreaking” and a “reactionary exclusion.”

Following Friday’s rulings, California Congressmember Ro Khanna and other Democrats reintroduced a bill imposing 18-year term limits on Supreme Court justices and giving presidents two appointments during a White House term. President Biden last week said the current Supreme Court is “not a normal court,” but rejected calls to expand it. We’ll have more on the latest Supreme Court rulings later in the broadcast.

The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to allow a homophobic website designer to discriminate against gay couples because it violated her faith was hardly a surprise. The conservative majority on the Court has made it loud and clear that its role is to fulfill the fantasies of the right. It may draw the line at some of the wilder dreams, like the idea that legislatures can overturn popular votes, but on core beliefs it has been extraordinarily consistent. The decision last year to overturn five decades of precedent allowing abortion removed any doubt.

Still, the decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis is shocking for its unalloyed willingness to discount LGBTQ+ protections and even mock the Court’s minority’s vigorous defense of them. In his majority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch has picked up some of Justice Samuel Alito’s sneer as he chastises fellow Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the author of the dissent, for engaging in “an unfortunate tendency by some to defend First Amendment values only when they find the speaker’s message sympathetic.”

While the full impact of the decision will take a while to unfold, some things are already clear. Here are five takeaways from the decision.

This was always going to be the outcome. The right wing of the Court has been looking for an excuse to elevate the rights of conservative Christians at the expense of LGBTQ+ people for a while. This case was the perfect vehicle. So what that Lorie Smith, the owner of the firm in question, never made a wedding website in her life. So what if no one actually asked her to make one. So what if the case included a fake request from someone who turned out to be a straight man. None of that mattered.

A normal Court would not be ruling in the case of someone who is asking hypothetical questions. Smith hasn’t suffered any harm, a basic threshold for seeking redress. Instead, this Court plowed ahead because it has been heading in this direction for years. From its ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, granting a corporation the right to withhold contraception access in employee health care plans because the owners are Christian, to its rulings allowing a public school football coach to pray on the field and allowing anti-gay Christian schools to get public funds, the Court has been elevating the rights of conservative Christians. The most recent ruling is just the logical, if reprehensible, next step in that progression. 

The Supreme Court’s decision represents a huge setback for equal protections for LGBTQ people and our rights across the nation.

Although the precise question presented before the Supreme Court was whether a website designer would be required to prepare a wedding website for a hypothetical LGBTQ couple despite her religious objections to same-sex marriage, the impacts of this decision will reverberate throughout the American economy as businesses may feel emboldened to more freely discriminate against LGBTQ people on the basis of the private religious beliefs of their owners or employees.

In other words, the impacts will extend to more than just wedding websites.

To LGBTQ Pennsylvanians, the latest ruling may feel like simply an extension of the recent backlash we’ve been experiencing.

In Pennsylvania, we have seen campaigns against transgender kids come to our local school boards, most prominently in Bucks County, where some districts have launched a crusade against all things LGBTQ-related. Whether banning Pride flags in classrooms, removing books containing LGBTQ content from school libraries, or censoring teachers for acknowledging the existence of LGBTQ people, opponents of equality have recently found new life in the commonwealth and will certainly be invigorated with new ideas spurred by this Supreme Court.

Meanwhile the hate merchants turn on one another.  We see it with MTG's expulsion and we see it in reaction to Ron DeSantis' homoerotic but anti-LGBTQ+ ad.  Ari Drennen breaks it down in this Tweet.

She is so right and it is really hard to feel sympathy for Caitlyn Jenner who may very well be the dumbest woman alive today (unless Casey DeSantis holds that title).  Chelsea Steiner (THE MARY SUE) notes:

As Ron DeSantis fumbles his way toward the Republican nomination for president, he’s made headlines for his inability to resemble a human being while running for office. And after pissing off white women and displaying less charisma than Jeb(!) Bush, DeSantis has alienated yet another potential group of voters: LGBTQ Republicans. Thanks to his bizarre homophobic campaign ad, the Florida governor now finds himself at odds with the Log Cabin Republicans, New York Rep. George Santos, and even Caitlyn Jenner.

Of course, it’s absurd that these Republicans were considering supporting DeSantis in the first place, given his deeply homophobic and transphobic track record. But that rarely stops gay Republicans from voting against their own self-interest. I mean, you have to be aggressively homophobic to turn off these voters. After all, they’re fine with Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but they draw the line at supercuts of Patrick Bateman, GigaChad, and drag queens!

LGBTQ Republicans say they feel misled by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) after the GOP presidential hopeful’s “war room” shared a bizarre video widely seen as inflammatory.

The video bashed former President Donald Trump’s (R) support for the LGBTQ community and leaned into conservative state policies passed under DeSantis this year that were criticized as anti-LGBTQ.

LGBTQ conservatives, reacting to the video, said DeSantis had shown his true colors as an “anti-LGBT champion,” undermining his arguments that his support for the policies were about protecting children and parents’ rights.

“It’s like he’s going mask off,” said Brad Polumbo, a Michigan-based libertarian journalist. “The cat’s out of the bag.”

Polumbo said he’d have considered voting for DeSantis at one time.

“I’m somebody who has my fair share of policy disagreements with DeSantis, but I was considering voting for him in the primary before he entered the race officially,” he said. “Since then, he’s done thing after thing that really makes me increasingly write off that possibility.”

Surprise, surprise, you weren't really welcomed by the haters.  David Brock made that mistake in the 90s.  MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA is one way he tries to help others avoid making the same mistake he did.

That said, I beg to differ with this paragraph:

While Trump’s first run for president featured what seemed like signs of a thaw in the right-wing war on LGBTQ equality, his time in office was marked by policies that enabled discrimination against queer and trans people. The Trump administration banned trans people from serving in the military, advanced an interpretation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that would allow employers to fire people for being gay, and at one point threatened to define “transgender” out of existence.

A Fordham class reunion at the White House didn't see the occupant welcoming a trans woman.  No, kids, that was Bully Boy Bush and his Yale class reunion at the White House.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his organization Children's Health Defense are fans and promoters of James Corbett, a Sandy Hook and 9/11 conspiracy theorist who has claimed that “Hitler was a Rothschild” and “Hitler and the Nazis were one hundred percent completely and utterly set up … by the international banking community and the international crony capitalists.” 

Kennedy has thanked Corbett for his supposedly “extraordinary work for keeping the public informed,” and Kennedy’s anti-vaccine group has featured Corbett in numerous videos and at a recent symposium. 

Trump and several associates have been praising Kennedy’s presidential campaign, with longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone stating that the Democrat’s candidacy will help “soften Joe Biden up for his defeat by Donald Trump.” Right-wing media figures, including former senior Trump adviser Steve Bannon, have also been propping up his candidacy. 

Kennedy’s connections to Corbett add to a growing list of the Democratic presidential candidate’s right-wing media associations, including but not limited to:

Corbett is a fringe online host whose website describes him as providing “breaking news and important issues from 9/11 Truth and false flag terror to the Big Brother police state, eugenics, geopolitics, the central banking fraud and more.” In a 2009 interview, Corbett said he was inspired to become a media figure in large part by the work of 9/11 conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

Junior's destroying his own campaign with all the heavy petting he's been doing with these hate merchants.  Expect John Stauber's head to explode this morning as he rants about George Soros while attacking MM for their Junior report and bemoaning the fate of his MTG and the implosion of the group Caitlyn has just left -- a group that John Stauber approves of and has been promoting for months -- again, Rebecca called it months ago "john stauber is the 21st century david horowitz."

Again, the hate merchants need to be called out.

While Katie Halper has yet again made nice this week with convicted pedophile Scott Ritter, actual leftists on YOUTUBE have tackled real issues -- that's Olay above, that's THE VANGUARD, that's Kyle, that's Sam Seder and THE MAJORITY REPORT, Nina Turner, that's a lot of programs.  It's only Katie Halper that sticks her head in the sand and prefers to platform and promote convicted pedophiles.  

I thought that was the wind down, but something on two of my favorite people, two friends, was just drawn to my attention:

Grammy Winning Singer-Songwriter and Style Icon Jody Watley welcomes the fabulous Vanessa Williams as a guest to “The Jody Watley Show,” on SiriusXM’s The Groove, Channel 50 for Episode 5.

Tune in on July 9th and catch the Vanessa Williams interview on The Jody Watley Show. 3 P.M. PST, 6 P.M. EST.

Vanessa Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in the entertainment industry today. 

[. . .]

Jody Watley, an iconic figure in her own right, is excited to welcome VanessaWilliams to “The Jody Watley Show” and engage in an enlightening conversation about Vanessa’s illustrious career and enduring impact on the entertainment industry.

The Jody Watley Show, a 2-hour monthly show airs every second Sunday exclusively on SiriusXM’s The Groove at 6 PM (EST) / 3 PM (PST) and on the SiriusXM app on smartphones and other connected devices, as well as online.

SiriusXM reaches nearly 34 million subscribers monthly.

The Jody Watley Show is packed with the best of classic to contemporary R&B music and engaging conversations with surprise guests.

Watley is a celebrated singer, songwriter, producer, businesswoman, and one of the architects of 21st century pop, affectionately referred to as “The Queen of Cool.’

Renowned as one of the defining artists of the 80s with an influence on style, music and pop culture, Jody Watley forged the template that is now everybody’s playbook.

I will be listening, I hope you will be as well.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, July 6, 2023

What's in our water?

There really is little on this earth more precious than water.  The entire eco system goes down without it -- as do we.  So why are we f**king it up?

Rachel Treisman (NPR) reports:

At least 45% of the nation's tap water could be contaminated with at least one form of PFAS known as "forever chemicals," according to a newly released study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The man-made chemicals — of which there are thousands — are found in all sorts of places, from nonstick cookware to stain-resistant carpets to contaminated sources of food and water. They break down very slowly, building up in people, animals and the environment over time.

Research has linked exposure to certain PFAS to adverse health effects in humans, from an increased risk of certain cancers, increased obesity and high cholesterol risk, decreased fertility and developmental effects like low birth weight in children.

"This USGS study can help members of the public to understand their risk of exposure and inform policy and management decisions regarding testing and treatment options for drinking water," Kelly Smalling, a USGS research chemist who is the lead author of the new study released Wednesday, told NPR over email.

This study is the first to compare PFAS in tap water from both public and private supplies on a broad scale throughout the country, Smalling said. 

If you need video, here's a CBS News report:

So what are we talking about?  This is from the EWG:

The ‘forever chemicals’ in 99% of Americans

Hundreds of everyday products are made with highly toxic fluorinated chemicals called PFAS. They build up in our bodies and never break down in the environment. Very small doses of PFAS have been linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, and other diseases.

For decades, chemical companies covered up evidence of PFAS’ health hazards. Today nearly all Americans, including newborn babies, have PFAS in their blood, and more than 200 million people may be drinking PFAS-tainted water. What began as a “miracle of modern chemistry” is now a national crisis.

What Are PFAS?

In 1946, DuPont introduced nonstick cookware coated with Teflon. Today the family of fluorinated chemicals that sprang from Teflon includes thousands of nonstick, stain-repellent and waterproof compounds called PFAS, short for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances.

PFAS are used in a staggering array of consumer products and commercial applications. Decades of heavy use have resulted in contamination of water, soil and the blood of people and animals in the farthest corners of the world. PFAS are incredibly persistent, never breaking down in the environment and remaining in our bodies for years.

DuPont invented the PFAS chemical patented as Teflon, but 3M became its main manufacturer. In 2001, a scandal erupted in Parkersburg, W.Va., after discovery of the Teflon chemical in the drinking water of tens of thousands of people near a DuPont plant. (The story is documented in the film “The Devil We Know.”)

A class-action lawsuit uncovered evidence DuPont knew PFAS was hazardous and had contaminated tap water but didn’t tell its workers, local communities or environmental officials. The lawsuit also triggered studies linking the Teflon chemical to cancer and other diseases.

What are the health risks of PFAS?

The most notorious PFAS chemicals – PFOA, the Teflon chemical, and PFOS, an ingredient in 3M’s Scotchgard – were phased out in the U.S. under pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency after revelations of their hidden hazards. (They are still permitted in items imported to this country.) Numerous studies link these and closely related PFAS chemicals to:

  • Testicular, kidney, liver and pancreatic cancer.
  • Reproductive problems
  • Weakened childhood immunity
  • Low birth weight
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Increased cholesterol
  • Weight gain in children and dieting adults

PFOA, PFOS and the related phased-out compounds are called “long chain” chemicals because they contain eight carbon atoms. Since these chemicals have been phased out, the EPA and the Food and Drug Administration have recklessly allowed the introduction of scores of “short chain” replacements, with six carbon atoms.

Chemical companies claim this structure makes them safer. But DuPont admits that the short-chain chemical GenXcauses cancerous tumors in lab animals. A 2019 Auburn University study found that short-chains may pose even worse risks than long-chains, which supports scientists’ growing agreement that the entire class of PFAS are hazardous.

How are we exposed to PFAS chemicals?

EWG and the Social Science Health and Environmental Health Research Institute track PFAS contamination reported by federal and state authorities. As of July 2019, our tracking map shows that PFAS contaminates public drinking water systems serving 19 million people in 49 states. Michigan has the most PFAS sites, but that’s largely because most other states have not tested for the chemicals as extensively. Unreleased federal data suggest that up to 110 million Americans could have PFAS-contaminated drinking water.

But drinking water is not the main route of PFAS exposure for most Americans:

  • Although the original PFAS chemical used to make Teflon has been taken off the market, Teflon and other brands of nonstick cookware are still produced with new PFAS that may be no safer.
  • PFAS chemicals are widely used to coat paper and cardboard wrappers for fast food and bakery goods.
  • PFAS chemicals lurk in stain-resistant furniture and carpets treated with Scotchgard, Stainmaster and other fabric treatments.
  • Clothes labeled stain- or water-repellent, such as Gore-Tex jackets, usually contain PFAS chemicals.

  • PFAS are even in personal care products and cosmetics.
  • Who is responsible for PFAS pollution?


    As far back as 1950, 3M studies showed PFAS could pollute people’s blood. By the 1960s, 3M and DuPont animal studies showed that PFAS were health hazards. In the 1980s, both companies linked PFAS to cancer and found elevated cancer rates among their own workers. But they kept these and other studies secret. Here is a timeline of internal memos, studies and other documents detailing the decades-long deception.

    Six other companies that made PFOA were subject to the PFOA phaseout. They included Arkema, Asahi, BASF, Clariant, Daikin and Solvay Solexis. In 2015, DuPont spun off its PFAS business to a new company named Chemours. Chemours’ PFAS plantshave also polluted drinking water, and the two companies are locked in a legal battle over who will pay to clean up contamination.

    Industrial discharges

    At least 475 industrial facilities may be discharging PFAS into the environment. Yet there are currently no restrictions on industrial PFAS discharges under the federal Clean Water Act or the Clean Air Act. Here’s a map of those facilities.

    The military

    Despite knowing about the hazards of PFAS-based firefighting foam, the Defense Department continued to use it for decades and now is fighting efforts to clean up legacy pollution. This map shows military sites where drinking water or groundwater is contaminated with PFAS at levels above the EPA’s advisory level.

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

    Thursday, July 6, 2024.  Human Rights Watch notes trouble in the KRG, RFK Junior blew the hope so many had in him, and much more.

    News out of Iraq?  If you're a community member and have heard of it, you already know what my take's going to be.  If you're a drive-by reader, you may get offended.  I say it all the time, people need to take accountability for their actions.  We have advocated on behalf of, for example, journalists kidnapped in Iraq.  Especially if they were American, we have called for the US government to get to work.  We certainly did that with Jill Carroll.  Unlike her news outlet (THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR), we did not attempt to infantilize her.  The kidnapping was bad enough, the humiliation of TCSM's post-kidnapping coverage goes a long way towards explaining why Jill left journalism and became a fire fighter.

    We'll call for the release of the still-imprisoned Robert Pether.  He did nothing wrong.  He was conducting business and the Iraqi government had invited him back in.  Turns out, they wanted to use him as a bargaining chip to strike a better deal with the company he works for.  So they've tossed him in a prison and refuse to let him out.  We defend Julian Assange who is persecuted for the crime of journalism.  We'd noted Wynter Cole-Smith.  And sadly, she's now been discovered and she is dead.

    That is very sad about Wynter.  

    But not everyone's Wynter or Julian or Robert or Jill.  There are people who bring on their own problems.  There were the three stupid 'hikers' (CIA on at least one of them) who got lost they insisted while trying to hike in Iraq.

    We didn't rush to their defense or do non-stop coverage.  It was very clear that the actual goal was to create and international incident.  

    That appears to be the current goal.

    Do you know how many times a friend with the US State Dept has called me about Robert Pether?  


    B-b-b-but he's not an American citizen! 

    No, he's not.  But neither is the woman we're about to discuss.  Didn't stop two friends with the State Dept from calling me last night.  It's just so awful, it's just so . . .

    Press orchestrated?  

    I'm not Judith Miller and I don't fall for government nonsense.

    Her name is Elizabeth Tsurkov.  

    "I'm sure you're going to write about it," one State Dept friend said over the phone.  I replied, "Why would I?"

    Nobody needs to be kidnapped.  But apparently it took place four months ago.  I would assume if she's still alive that she'll remain alive.

    I don't have time for stupid.

    The press reports -- and both friends at the State Dept -- insist that her family didn't want to go public.  Okay, be stupid.  It's not my life.  But anyone with a brain who knows anything about Iraq knows you should be talking to the press (and to the kidnappers via the press).  We've advised that from day one.  We noted it with the British hostages.  

    So that was stupid on the family's part if it were indeed their decision.

    Why the need to to public now?

    I have no idea but it feels like people are trying to shape an international incident.

    If indeed that's the case, let Israel and Russia deal with it.

    Elizabeth Tsurkov is not an American citizen.

    B-b-but she went to Princeton!

    If Princeton sent to her Iraq, I hope her parents sue the university.

    But in the end, it's her own damn fault.  Elizabeth Tsurkov is in the doctorate program so she has education and presumably a brain.  Did she not use that brain?

    An Israeli in Iraq?  You're begging to be kidnapped.  There's not a week that goes by that some Iraqi leader isn't calling for the demise of Israel (this week is Amar al-Hakeem).  So she was a deeply stupid woman to go to Iraq.  Supposedly, her kidnappers knew she was Israeli.  More stupidity on her part.  

    At best, she's Penelope Pitstop, creating her own wacky adventures.  At worst, this is being dramatized now to create an international incident.  

    "It's the Iranians!  She's kidnapped by an Iraqi militia linked to Iran!"

    Really/  That's interesting.  Usually, you have to some sort of evidence to make claims like that.  Now when you're trying to create an international incident with a willing press, proof isn't necessary.  Just conjecture.

    Is publicizing the kidnapping now -- four months after she was kidnapped -- supposed to change the narrative for Israel?  Take the attention off the attack on the Jenin refugee camp?  Could be.  

    Iraq is a failed state.  Corruption and violence.  There was no reason for someone like her to go there.  "She was researching terrorism!"  Well, I guess she's going to get some big credit for that assignment.  

    If she were my daughter, I'd be doing anything I could.  But you better believe when she made it home safely, I'd tell her she was a damn fool.

    Again, she never should have gone to Iraq.  

    She has created her own problem.  She has dual citizenship -- Israel and Russia.  Those countries can address this.  It's not the US' problem and we don't to hand wring in the US over this.  

    People need to take accountability for their actions. 

    She is a thirty-six year-old woman.  That's old enough to take responsibility.  

    Let's turn to politics.  In the US, the next presidential election will be in November of 2024.  Currently, a number of people are running for the presidential nominations of various political parties.  The Democratic Party has President Joe Biden, Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr vying for the nomination.  Before we get into the crazy, let's note Marianne.

    So that's some serious discussion about foreign policy.  Now let's move to the crazy.

    Is Marjorie Taylor Greene getting fatter or has she just lost all tone in her upper arms?  She's looking like the stereotypical lunch lady.  Her mind is apparently as flabby as her body.  She took a break from attacking a trans woman -- who wasn't a trans woman -- and insisting that transgender is the cause of mass shootings (again, the police have stated the shooter was not transgender) to share more ignorance.  LGBTQ NATiON notes she continues her attacks on Pride.  They also quote her stating that the rainbow belongs to God.

    Does no one else have a problem with that?

    I have no idea what the Nazi-like Christian Nationalists believe but most US denominations of Christianity -- not all -- believe that the rainbow was a sign of God's compact with Noah that the people would never again be threatened with extinction by flood.  

    So it's not God's rainbow.  It's a rainbow that shared with the people around the world, that's a symbol to them of a promise made.  

    Now we can argue whether that's reality or not.  But my point here is: Marjorie is deeply stupid and should not open her mouth in public.  She never knows what she's talking about and all that stumbles is filth and ignorance.  

    You'd think she'd hang her head in shame but she's too stupid to realize that the laughter she hears is laughter at her.  

    For more on MTG, see Elaine's "Crazies like Marjorie Taylor Greene and closet case Josh Hawley." Marjorie is supporting Donald Trump for the GOP's presidential nomination.

    The world watches as Ron DeSantis' chances appear to sink.  See Mike's "Doo-Doo Ron Ron and piss panties Katie Halper."  He's not the only one sinking. 

    With Robert F. Kennedy Jr having announced that he'd be thrilled to have Hate Merchant Tulsi Gabbard in his presidential cabinet, it's time to ponder what Junior's administration would look like?

    Vice President: Lindsey Graham -- he was hoping for First Lady but he'll take whatever crumbs he can get (always).

    Chief of Staff: Dennis Kucinich -- finally being the Donald Rumsfeld he always wanted to be -- maybe his wife won't leave him after all 

    Secretary of State: Tulsi Gabbard --  she already has close relations with Bashar al-Asad.

    Secretary of Treasury: Alex Jones --  he worships money

    Secretary of Defense: Donald Trump Jr. -- appointed so that in Cabinet meetings, DJ's the one who'll be called "Junior" and not Robert

    Attorney General:  Donald Trump -- who knows more about the law -- the breaking of it aspect?

    Secretary of the Interior:  Tucker Carlson -- lives in his lonely closet -- does it get more interior than that?  -- he's all that and a bow tie.

    Secretary of Agriculture: John Stauber -- because he knows how to shovel it

    Secretary of Commerce:  Matt Taibbi -- professional grifter who has taken an embarrassing body of work and made himself infamous for it 

    Secretary of Health and Human Services: Naomi Wolf -- she thinks she's a medical expert -- just don't call her before 10:30 am so she can get over her morning hang over.

    Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Kelly Slater -- early in his career, he had to couch surf which leads him to believe he can handle transportation 

    Secretary of Transportation:  William Hepburn Russell -- apparently one of those dead people that Junior claims to speak to -- as long as he avoids John Floyd Buchanan (one-time Secretary of War), he should sail right through the confirmation hearing.

    Secretary of Energy: Steve Bannon -- talk about energy, the Rona Barrett of the 21st century zooms around like he's on crack

    Secretary of the Education: Scott Ritter -- the registered sex offender just wants to get into girls' locker rooms.

    Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Elon Musk -- his work has been a service to the country, at least in his own eyes.  

    Secretary of Homeland Security: Marjorie Taylor Greene -- she plans to make Jack Teixeira her executive assistant. 

    The Great Glenneth Greenwald Tweeted about his man crush Junior yesterday:

    These labels have become empty parodies. They meaning increasingly little: just weapons. RFK Jr. has a panoply of long-time left-liberal views. Here he is denouncing censorship by the US Security State. Yet the Atlantic christens him a "MAGA Democrat."

    You aren't the left.  No one cares what you think of him.  For several years, with your tired roll dog, you lied and pretended to be left.  But you never were.  FIREDOGLAKE may have loved you but no one gave a damn about her and no one gives a damn about you.  You don't even live in the United States, do you?  Your thoughts on Junior and how left he is?  Who cares what a hagged out harridan like yourself thinks. Close your housecoat and go back inside, Widow Miranda, before the world starts noticing that the children you have -- the ones you told that you didn't want -- aren't being taken to these events you keep showing up for to honor David at.  And you had the nerve, at the shelter, to type that "it was so gratifying to be with David's mother and family," uh, what about his two sons?  Your ego knows no bounds.  

    But, repeating, in the United States of America, we don't need to hear from your Brazilian rear about what you think the US left should think.  You're an idiot.  You were always an idiot.  That's why you struggle for money today.  A real attorney would have seen what THE INTERCEPT did and realized it was "breach of contract" and immediately launched a law suit.  That's why we have contracts.  But I guess some people pay attention to the law in class and others are just drifting through class.

    While we're dealing with Glenneth and his stupid, he also Tweeted this:

    Just amazing, and shows who changed, and...who didn't. In 2005, the NYT won a Pulitzer for exposing this illegal Bush/Cheney domestic spying. I wrote my first book on it. Now, the NYT claims only the "hard-right" wants reforms, and heralds the program as vital to Our Safety™.

    What the hell are you trying to say, you idiot? Again, close your housecoat, Glenneth.  I don't know what you think you're saying but I do know what happened.  The domestic spying was known in 2004.  THE NEW YORK TIMES elected to hide the story and refused to report on it because The White House asked them not to and because NYT was fine with tossing the election to Bully Boy Bush.  

    So what changed?  The "hard-right" seems to indicate that you see NYT as left.  Again, they sat on the story of Bully Boy Bush's illegal spying to toss the election to Bush.  How is that left?  It's a corporatist paper and it's carried out a war on labor, science and so much more.  So back off the notion that it's left.  Remember, like you, it supported the Iraq War.  Like you, it lied to cheer on the Iraq War.  Like you, it tries to rewrite its history with regards to the Iraq War.

    Poor Glenneth, if he couldn't create straw men, he'd spend every night lonely and alone.

    At THE ATLANTIC, Yair Rosenberg has the article about Junior that's enraged Glenneth.

    Yair gets some things wrong.  The title says there's no such thing as a Junior voter.  Yes, there is.  At this point, it's an increasingly smaller group of people.  He is not increasing or building and, sadly, he hasn't flat lined.  That would mean support was steady.  No, he's begun to slip.

    That's because the family name isn't all that.  It comes with baggage.  Marilyn Monroe -- mistreated and passed around between JFK and RFK.  RFK having all the photos of Marilyn and JFK removed from wire files in the immediate aftermath of her death/suicide/murder.  William Kennedy Smith -- his rape trial and later the multiple sexual harassment complaints that he had to pay off to go away.  Chappaquiddick.   The mistreatment of Joan Kennedy.  

    There are glories to the name as well.  But Junior made his announcement with big fan fair and then . . . nothing.

    He's failed to satisfy the people who would have voted for his uncle or father.  He's not decrying the targeting and scapegoating of immigrants.  To do so would send his MAGA supporters running.  And that's a direct-line betrayal of his father.  Then there are the other issues he's betraying the family name on such as running around with homophobes and transphobes.  His father, after he ceased to be Attorney General, was actually interested in defending those who were persecuted -- it's what he and Marilyn bonded over.

    Junior's always been a question mark -- even for those who know him.  

    [I'm pulling two paragraphs before this post.  I had the initials of a person in it.  The person was in LA in 1968 when RFK visited on his campaign.  Photos were taken.  Pierre Salinger saw the photos after te assassination and told the person to burn the photos for their own safety and thought the person did.  The person did not.  The person planned to hand them over to Junior after he went public with the doubts regarding the official story.  Not after this campaign, the person said Junior can't be trusted.  A shame because supposedly they'd back up some of this statements seen as 'wild' regarding the murders of his father and uncle.  I've never seen the photos myself.  Learned of them in the 90s when I met ______ and verified them with Pierre who was so upset to learn that they still existed that he spent the rest of the night getting drunk.]

    That tells you how far from the legacy Junior has fallen.

    Junior stands for nothing and that's why he's not increasing his support.  He's far too busy reaching out to the most pathetic of panhandlers -- Glenneth, Matt Taibbi, Tulsi Gabbard, Bari Weiss, serial plagiarist Chris Hedges, Col Douglas Macgregor, Joe Rogan. Jordan Peterson, et al.  He should have known that he'd be judged by the company he keeps.   And that we would notice how he apparently doesn't know a single person of color.  It's a monochromatic world for Junior.

    THE ATLANTIC author tries to make this about right and left and political posture and cites a story regarding mythical RFK supporters switching over to support George Wallace.  Let's quote it because it doesn't read right:

    He then offered a telling anecdote about what this meant. Kennedy recalled how he’d accompanied his father’s body by train from New York to Washington, D.C., after his assassination, and was met on the tracks by thousands of supporters—Black Americans in cities such as Trenton and Baltimore, and white Americans in the countryside. “There were hippies, there were people in uniform, there were Boy Scouts,” Kennedy recounted. “Many people, white men and women, holding signs that said Goodbye, Bobby, holding American flags, holding up children.”

    But four years later, the younger Kennedy had a rude awakening about these same people. Examining demographic data from the 1972 presidential campaign, he discovered that “the predominant numbers of white people” who had supported his father had not voted for George McGovern, “who was aligned with my father on almost every issue,” but rather “ended up supporting George Wallace, who was antithetical to my father in every way—he was a fierce, rampant segregationist and racist.”

    In the interview, Kennedy casts this about-face as an illustration of how populist energy can be channeled for good or ill. But he can’t quite bring himself to acknowledge the obvious implication: For backers of Kennedy Sr., as for those of Kennedy Jr., the choice was never about policies but about a posture, which is why the same voters were willing to support outsider candidates with seemingly opposite ideals.

    Do they mean 1968?  I've heard Junior tell that story and point to 1968 -- that RFK voters, after RFK was assassinated, switched their support to George Wallace.  Did the dates get mixed up by either Junior or the reporter for THE ATLANTIC?

    I don't know.  But it's a spurious claim regardless. The train carrying RFK's corpse did not go through the deep south -- that was the stronghold for Wallace.

    As a poli sci major -- undergrad and graduate -- I reject the claim.  There is no data that demonstrates this.  From time to time, you'll see trotted out an argument that some 1964 voters for Wallace supported RFK.  There is strong evidence for this.  It's not a large number of people but it does exist.  

    So the point being any number that switched over in 1968 (which is what I believe Junior is attempting to say) were actually Wallace supporters already who had supported him in '64 and who went back to him after RFK was murdered.  And that would be true if Junior did indeed mean 1972.  

    Usually, it's a centrist think tank that tries to make the argument that Junior's making.  They make it insisting that we can't be too far to the left and use this as an example.  

    Even if you accept that -- and that's a whole two week debate if we were all poli sci majors -- there's still the reality that this isn't what Junior has done.

    Junior is not bridging a gap between middle class and poor nor between Whites and African-Americans.  

    Junior's in bed with racists.  Maybe he expects non-racists to just trust him but why should they?  

    His father, as a candidate in 1968, did not bridge the gap by glorifying racists.  Nor did he just pose with and visit White people.  

    The Kennedy image is supposed to be about uplift.  It's Eunice starting The Special Olympics, for example.  It's Caroline leaving private life to become a US ambassador.  It's not Teddy drunk in his 80s feeling up an actress (true story, by the way) during a public dinner.  It's not acting like a frat boy (William Kennedy Smith, Junior and so many more examples).  

    The Kennedy luster has been squandered by Junior.  People wanted to be inspired.  They wanted to right a wrong (the assassinations of JFK and RFK).  They want to believe -- as so many films and novels tell them -- that the child emerges as an adult to right the wrongs done to the family.  Instead, he became a boring frat boy, hanging out with every extremist White person he could, refusing to speak to people of color -- as a general rule, if you're trying to reach out to people of color you don't make White bread Dennis Kucinich your campaign manager. 

    He failed to inspire.  He instead came off like so many others born with every opportunity who only identifies with those just like him.  

    That image could be turned around but the campaign doesn't appear to have a clue and has instead focused on the low hanging and rotten fruit like Moms For Liberty.  You can believe that no other Kennedy, past or present, would have been stupid enough to get entangled with them or any other identified hate group.

    THE ATLANTIC never understands the support that immediately went to Junior.  The writer probably doesn't want to admit just how strongly so many Americans feel that JFK and RFK were murdered with the participation of the US government.  The media has worked overtime to deny that.  It's why they dogpiled on Oliver Stone before JFK was even filmed.  Just the notion of the movie about to be made was enough to have them screaming.  

    It's all in the scene from Robert Altman's NASHVILLE, as Opal (Geraldine Chaplin) interviews Lady Pearl (Barbara Baxley):

    • It's John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Well, he, he took the whole South except for Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky. And there's a reason he didn't take Tennessee but he got 481,453 votes and the asshole got 556,577 votes. [. . .] Now the problem we got here is anti-Catholicism. These dumb-heads around here - they're all Baptists and whatever, I don't know. Even to teach 'em to make change over at the bar, you gotta crack their skulls, let alone to teach 'em to vote for the Catholic just because he happens to be the better man.  [. . .]  All I remember, the next few days was us just lookin' at that TV set and seein' that great fat-bellied sheriff sayin' 'Ruby, you son of a bitch.' And Oswald. And her in her little pink suit. [. . .] And then comes Bobby. Oh, I worked for him. I worked here, I worked all over the country, I worked out in California, out in Stockton. Well, Bobby came here and spoke and he went down to Memphis and then he even went out to Stockton California and spoke off the Santa Fe train at the old Santa Fe depot. Oh, he was a beautiful man. He was not much like John, you know. He was more puny-like. But all the time I was workin' for him, I was just so scared -- inside, you know, just scared.

    Not intending to take anything away from Joan Tewkesbury but Barbara Baxley was said to have improvised the above (Joan wrote the plot and the loose framework of a script for NASHVILLE).  Anyway, that's the goodwill that Junior threw away in the weeks after his April 19th campaign announcement. 

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

    And we’re going to turn right now to another Supreme Court decision. In another setback for equal rights, the conservative-majority Supreme Court also ruled 6 to 3 Friday in favor of a Christian Colorado web designer who refused to create websites for same-sex couples even though the state, Colorado, bans such discrimination. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in the dissent decision that the decision was “heartbreaking” and a “reactionary exclusion.”

    Democracy Now! spoke to The New Republic reporter Melissa Gira Grant Friday, who reported that part of the lawsuit that the Alliance Defending Freedom filed on behalf of Lorie Smith of Colorado was fake.

    MELISSA GIRA GRANT: So, in 2016, this website designer named Lorie Smith, whose business is called 303 Creative, she believed that a Colorado anti-discrimination ordinance that protects people from discrimination — among other things, from discrimination based on sexual orientation — she believed that that precluded her from entering into the wedding website business. Now, she has never created a wedding website for anybody, and including a same-sex couple.

    So, in the course of making this argument, she claimed two things: one, that this law meant that she couldn’t post an announcement on her website saying that she wouldn’t make these websites for any couple that wasn’t in a biblical marriage that she approved of, and, additionally, in a later filing in the original case in 2016, she claimed that an actual same-sex couple sought to have her build a website for them, that an inquiry — it doesn’t seem that it was a legitimate inquiry, but it remained in the case. It came up in the district court ruling that ruled against her. It came up in their appeal. It’s even been included in filings to the Supreme Court and was referenced by her attorneys, Alliance Defending Freedom, who are a Christian nationalist law project. They said, “Hey, she’s had an actual inquiry, so this is a case that, you know, has some relevance.”

    But before this inquiry became a subject of debate — it hadn’t really been reported out until I was able to reach the person who allegedly made the inquiry.

    AMY GOODMAN: To see our full interview with Melissa Gira Grant, go to

    We’re joined right now by Reverend Paul Brandeis Raushenbush. He’s president and CEO of Interfaith Alliance, which, along with 30 other faith-based and civil rights groups, filed an amicus brief in Supreme Court case, 303 v. Elenis.

    Reverend Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, thanks so much for being with us. Can you talk about what this means? If a private company can discriminate against, oh, the LGBTQ community, can they put a sign in a window of a store that says, “We don’t serve gays”? Can they put a sign in the window of a store, “We don’t serve Jews. We don’t serve Blacks. We don’t serve Latinos”? What does this decision mean?

    REV. PAUL BRANDEIS RAUSHENBUSH: Well, thank you for having me on. I’m delighted, and frustrated that this is the reason we’re talking.

    We’re entering into a terrible moment where a Pandora’s box has been opened, and we’re not sure exactly what it means. But what it does mean for sure is that permission has been granted to use religion as a way to discriminate against your fellow people, and we’re going to see how this happens. It’s not in a vacuum. This is happening already, when LGBTQ people are under attack with religion as a pretext. And this gives permission for a lot of bad behavior.

    And what we have to just say is we are in a situation which — where what is legal cannot be considered moral, and what the law is cannot be considered just. And so, you know, we have a Supreme Court that has basically put down an adverse decision, which is bad for religion, and it’s also bad for discriminated areas. Like, it could be race. It could be other protected groups. And we just have to see how this plays out. But it’s bad news for America.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Reverend, could you talk about the Alliance Defending Freedom that backed this suit? What do we know about it? And how was it able to get this case all the way up to the Supreme Court?

    REV. PAUL BRANDEIS RAUSHENBUSH: Well, this is, essentially, a group that works with Christians using Christianity as a bludgeon to discriminate. They use religious freedom in a way that it was never intended. And, you know, they have had other cases that they have brought, and they have been successful. And so, we’re in a moment where they saw the Supreme Court opportunity, and they took it all the way up.

    And, you know, unfortunately, there was very little that the dissenting justices could do, aside from pointing out the obvious, that we are now in a moment — I’ll quote Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who said, “Today, the Court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class.” I mean, that’s what this law group has done, and that’s what the Supreme Court went along with.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, Reverend Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, you are a gay Baptist minister. Talk about the religious community’s response. And also, you supported the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. How does this decision affect that?

    REV. PAUL BRANDEIS RAUSHENBUSH: Well, I think this shows why the Respect for Marriage Act was so important, is that it codifies the ability for families like my own to be protected against discrimination and that our marriages are not to be dissolved. By the way, the Respect for Marriage Act protects also interracial marriages, which this photographer, with her fake case, could also say, “I don’t to photograph interracial marriages.”

    So, you know, for me, this hits me on a lot of levels. One, it hits me as a gay man with a husband and two children, who, of course, we — you know, this now opens up the possibility that we could go into an establishment, and they can say, “Oh, well, we don’t want to do your portrait.” You know, who knows to what extent people will be able to discriminate against my family?

    But it’s also really bad for religion. I have to say that, because people might think, “Oh, this is a victory for freedom of religion.” Actually, you know, one of the main — I’ll put on my pastor hat here — like, one of the main reasons that people are leaving the church, especially young people, they cite the antagonism that they perceive the church has against LGBTQ people. And this is just — you know, this is just going to make more and more people say, “Ech, who wants to have anything to do with religion or Christianity?” And that’s — you know, I think, for me, that’s terrible, because it’s a terrible understanding of what Christianity is and who Jesus was.

    It also just does not reflect the fact that the majority of religious people in America support anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ people. That’s the fact. They don’t want — this is not just the American people at large, but also the majority of almost every religious community rejects the idea that there should be discrimination against LGBTQ people in just such a way as the court has decided. And so, basically, the court is representing a very small and diminishing part of the public in this decision. And it’s just bad for religion, it’s bad for freedom, and it’s bad for America. It’s bad for the fabric of America. It disintegrates the fabric of America.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Reverend, we just have about 20 seconds left, but what should faith groups that are opposed to this decision — what recourse, what next steps would you recommend?

    REV. PAUL BRANDEIS RAUSHENBUSH: Well, you know, we need to be rallying all over the country, and we need to be standing up, and we need to be very loud to insist that religion should be a cause for celebration, not discrimination, a cause for liberation, not subjugation, a cause for a bridge, not a bludgeon. And we have to say that just because this law is now the — is the law doesn’t mean it’s moral. And we have to stand up and say, “If you’re doing this, you are not representing a good religion. You’re representing bad religion.” It’s very important that everyone stand up and be very clear about where they stand on this law.

    AMY GOODMAN: Reverend Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, we thank you so much for being with us, joining us from Massachusetts, president and CEO of Interfaith Alliance. And that does it for our show. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. Our website is Thanks so much for joining us.

    Lastly, Human Rights Watch notes:

     A court in the Kurdistan region of Iraq dealt independent civil society a blow on May 31, 2023, by ordering the closure of Rasan Organization over “its activities in the field of homosexuality,” Human Rights Watch said today. Rasan is the only human rights organization willing to vocally support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), in addition to its work on women’s rights and domestic violence.

    “Shuttering Rasan is not only an attack on civil society in Kurdistan but is also a direct threat to the lives and wellbeing of the vulnerable people they support,” said Adam Coogle, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “By closing Rasan, the government has sent a clear message that it does not respect freedom of association.”

    Tanya Kamal Darwish, CEO of Rasan Organization, told Human Rights Watch that the purported reason for closing the group down was not because of its activities, but because the judge took issue with its logo, which contains the colors of the rainbow. The court order states that “the expert committee confirmed that the logo of the organization is a complete expression of its activities in the field of homosexuality.”

    Rasan has appealed but is unable to continue operating while the appeal is pending.

    The closure of Rasan is part of a broader pattern of oppression and targeting of LGBT people and activists by local Kurdish authorities in recent years. Human Rights Watch has previously documented the targeting of LGBT people online and violence against LGBT people by armed groups in Iraq, including the regional government.

    The closure is the result of a lawsuit filed against Rasan in February 2021 by Omar Kolbi, a member of the Kurdistan Parliament, who accused Rasan of “promoting homosexuality,” and “engaging in activities that defy social norms, traditions, and public morality.” Kolbi also submitted a complaint to Barzan Akram Mantiq, the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Department of Non-Governmental Organizations, an official body responsible for registering, organizing, and monitoring all nongovernmental organizations in the region.

    After the suit was filed, local police issued arrest warrants for 11 LGBT rights activists who were either current or former employees at Rasan based on article 401 of the penal code, which criminalizes “public indecency.”

    “The Department of Non-Governmental Organizations is supporting MP Kolbi’s complaint against us, but that is backward,” Darwish said. “The department should have been supporting us, not standing against us.”

    Darwish said that the trial, which took place last year, focused on the activities of Rasan and never mentioned any issues with the group’s logo. “They were asking about our activities, and we told them what we do,” Darwish said. “We focus on human rights. Anyone who comes to us with a problem we help without any discrimination.”

    Rasan found out about the issue with the logo only when the court decision was published. “We weren't expecting them to take any action against us, since we weren't doing anything illegal. They used the logo as an excuse because they couldn't find anything illegal in our activities,” Darwish said.

    Rasan, which has operated in Sulaimaniya, a city in the Kurdistan region, for nearly two decades, has faced increasing threats and official retaliation for its activism and work. The group provides legal, psychological, and social support for women and LGBT clients, raises awareness of LGBT and women’s rights, and collects and compiles data relevant to LGBT people and gender-based violence.

    In September 2022, members of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament introduced the “Bill on the Prohibition of Promoting Homosexuality,” which would punish any individual or group that advocates for the rights of LGBT people. Under the bill, the vague provision against “promoting homosexuality” would be a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of up to five million dinars (US$3,430). The bill would also suspend, for up to one month, the licenses of media companies and civil society organizations that “promote homosexuality.”

    Momentum for adopting the bill appears to have stalled, but in the context of repeated targeting of LGBT people, local LGBT rights activists fear it could be quickly revived and passed at the whim of local authorities.

    “By going after Rasan, authorities are effectively scapegoating activists working to protect among the most vulnerable members of society, who should not fear reprisals for speaking up about abuses,” Coogle said. “The Kurdistan Regional Government should take immediate steps to ensure that organizations like Rasan are permitted to operate freely and cease harassment and targeting of LGBT advocates.”

    The following sites updated: