Friday, February 9, 2024

Why is this creep in Congress?

Matt Gaetz always looks like his face was smashed in -- or maybe got melted in the pits of hell.  But that's not the most interesting thing about the 41 year old member of Congress.  No, it's that he sleeps with 17 year old girls and tapes it on his phone to later show on the floors of Congress. 

Tom Boggioni reports:

The House Ethics Committee is taking a major step in reviving an inquiry into Rep. Matt Gaetz's (R-FL) alleged dalliances with underage teens, reports the New York Times.

The Department of Justice previously conducted its own investigation and chose not to file charges, but that has not stopped the House committee for requesting all materials to do their own inquiry.

 As the Times is reporting, the lawyer for the chief witness against the Florida Republican is now co-operating as the investigation ramps up.


 Will Steaken (ABC News) notes:


The House investigation, which was reopened last summer, continues to ramp up, as the committee in recent weeks has contacted multiple new witnesses as part of its ongoing investigation into the Florida congressman, sources said.

In a statement, Greenberg’s attorney Fritz Scheller told ABC News that Greenberg "has and will cooperate with any congressional request."


Why is he in Congress?  From Wikipedia:


In January 2020, the U.S. Secret Service reportedly received a tip that, in April 2018, Gaetz had accompanied Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg to a government office where Greenberg was producing fake IDs.[245] Greenberg was indicted in August 2020 on an array of charges, including sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl in 2017 and creating fake IDs to facilitate sex trafficking.[246][247] The investigation of Greenberg led federal officials to look into some of Gaetz's related activities.[245] In late 2020, the Justice Department opened its investigation of Gaetz for allegedly sex trafficking the same 17-year-old girl in 2017 and whether he had violated federal sex trafficking laws by paying her to travel with him across state lines.[246][248][249] As part of his plea bargain, Greenberg cooperated with the investigation of Gaetz and others.[250][251]

On March 30, 2021, Axios reported that Gaetz was "seriously considering not seeking re-election and possibly leaving Congress early for a job at Newsmax".[252] The same day, The New York Times reported the Justice Department's investigation of Gaetz.[246] According to CNN, a person briefed on the matter said investigators also examined whether Gaetz used campaign money in his relationships with young women for travel and expenses and whether cash and drugs were involved.[253] By April 2, the Justice Department was examining whether Gaetz asked women to recruit others for sex.[254][255]

According to the 2021 reports, federal investigators were looking into Gaetz's September 2018 trip to the Bahamas.[247] Gaetz was reportedly joined by marijuana entrepreneur and hand surgeon Jason Pirozzolo, who allegedly paid trip accommodations, traveling expenses, and escort services. Investigators were reportedly exploring whether the escorts were sexually trafficked for Gaetz and whether Gaetz accepted paid escorts in exchange for political access or legislative favors for Pirozzolo, who at the time chaired the board of the Medical Marijuana Physicians Association. Gaetz made two speeches for the organization while in Congress, and Pirozzolo gave two separate donations of $1,000 to Gaetz's campaign arm "Friends of Matt Gaetz", in March 2016 and May 2017.[256] A spokeswoman for Gaetz denied the new allegations.[257] A woman on the Bahamas trip—a Capitol Hill intern who did not work in Gaetz's office but who was dating Gaetz—reportedly agreed in May 2021 to cooperate with investigators, who believe she has information about Gaetz's financial transactions on the trip.[258][259]

Investigators believe that Greenberg met women through a website for sex and introduced them to Gaetz, who also had sex with them.[246] Evidence including mobile payment receipts reportedly suggesting Gaetz had illegally exchanged money for sex, such as May 2018 Venmo transaction records showing Gaetz sending $900 (with a memo referring to a woman) to Greenberg, who then relayed the money (with the memos "tuition" and "school") to three women, one of whom was 18.[260] Joseph Ellicott, an associate of both Gaetz and Greenberg, pleaded guilty in January 2022 to two charges related to this investigation and is also cooperating with authorities.[261]

Gaetz had argued in a November 2020 Fox News appearance that Trump "should pardon Michael Flynn [and] everyone from himself to his administration officials to Joe Exotic".[262][263] In late 2020, Greenberg apparently attempted to secure a pardon from the Trump administration via a confession letter (first reported by The Daily Beast in April 2021), writing that he and Gaetz had had sex with a 17-year-old girl they believed was 19, and that payments had been made on behalf of Gaetz to her and other women in exchange for sex.[264] Greenberg attempted to bribe Roger Stone with a $250,000 Bitcoin payment to secure a presidential pardon, texting Stone, "They know [Gaetz] paid me to pay the girls and that he and I both had sex with the girl who was underage."[264] By the end of the Trump administration, Greenberg was under indictment, investigators had been questioning some Gaetz associates, and federal agents had seized the phone of one of Gaetz's former girlfriends.[265] Gaetz's phone was also seized, and he changed his phone number in late December.[247]



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


Friday, February 9, 2024.  Moms For Bigotry continues imploding, Joe Biden makes a statement regarding what's taking place in Gaza (dispute over what he was calling out), a Palestinian doctor stumbles upon his own child who is brought to the e.r., and much more.

Let's start with a hate merchant.  Bridget Ziegler the hateful hypocrite.

She helped found Moms For Bigotry -- when not in bed with women.  Moms For Bigotry targeted LGBTQ+ people with lies.  And the whole time Bridget was having sex with women.  Was Moms For Bigotry just a clandestine finger bang for closeted lesbians?  Maybe so and it would explain 'dr' Naomi Wolf's hanging on to the group by her own finger tips.

My finger tips are holding on to the cracks in our foundation
And I know that I should let go
But I can't

-- "Foundation," written by Kate Nash, Paul Epworth and Steve DaMar, first appears on Kate's MADE OF BRICKS

Bridget can't but others can and have let go.  Moms For Bigotry is leaving the building.  Bil Browning (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

Florida’s Brevard County School Board held their first meeting of the year and the agenda included a challenge to two books: The Kite Runner and Slaughterhouse-Five. But the meeting turned into a challenge for the anti-LGBTQ+ group Moms for Liberty and their supporters.

Actually, only a single supporter of the group showed up. All the other attendees came to oppose the Nazi-style book bans targeting the novels.

While the group, which started in Florida, quickly rose to prominence nationwide, its fall has also been meteoric: Chapters have quoted Hitler, making fake claims of criminal conduct to police, and one of the founders has been involved in a threesome sex scandal involving her husband and other women. 

Associating with the far-right group has become toxic, and it may have played a role in the recent board meeting. Their lone supporter sat silently in a corner of the room and listened as dozens of opponents spoke before the board, both condemning the idea of banning the books and slamming the group itself.

Oh, slammed back under the rock crawled out from in the first place.  Daniel Villareal (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

The anti-LGBTQ+ “parent’s rights” group Moms for Liberty (M4L) used to have 200 members in its Lehigh County, Pennsylvania chapter. But now, after an embarrassing defeat in a school board election, it’s dead — and at least one school board member is celebrating.

The chapter’s three remaining members met at the Starbrite Diner in Allentown on Tuesday night. None of them volunteered to lead the group, so they voted to dissolve it instead. The group’s dissolution also follows high-profile electoral defeats for M4L-backed candidates in Pennslyvania’s Central Bucks County.

 “Between homeschooling and working two jobs, it’s just a lot,” Janine Vicalvi, who founded the chapter around 2020, told The Daily Beast. “I guess there wasn’t as much willingness to do the work that’s required to propel the movement forward.”

I guess it is tasking for hypocritical whores -- especially those targeting schools despite the fact that they home school.  Maybe the next parental movement can be about addressing the glaring deficiencies in the educations of so many poorly home schooled children.

Turning to the continued slaughter in Gaza, this is from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Fears are growing in Rafah over an imminent Israeli ground invasion after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a Hamas proposal for a ceasefire on Wednesday and ordered the military to attack the southernmost city in the territory. Over 1.2 million Palestinians are sheltering in Rafah after being displaced in the Israeli assault. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said a ground invasion of Rafah would, quote, “exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences,” he said.

Aid agencies are warning of famine amid profound food shortages, with a quarter of a million people in Gaza already starving. The healthcare system has collapsed, and the lack of water and sanitation has prompted outbreaks of illness and disease. Most of the residents in Gaza have been internally displaced, with more than half the population sheltering in facilities run by UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees.

Despite being the largest humanitarian agency in Gaza, UNRWA says it may run out of funds by the end of the month, after at least 18 states or institutions, including many of the agency’s biggest funders, announced they were suspending their donations last month. The cuts came after the Israeli government accused several UNRWA employees of participating in the Hamas attack on October 7th. Israel made the allegations in a document it provided to foreign governments, which apparently contain no direct evidence of the claims. Several news outlets, including Britain’s Channel 4, the Financial Times and Sky News, have all reported the document provided no evidence to support the conclusions that the agency’s staff were involved in the October 7th attacks. Meanwhile, Australia’s foreign minister said today she did not have all the evidence about the allegations and that she was working to bring an end to the suspension of funds. The government of Canada has also not seen any evidence to back up Israel’s claim, according to CBC News. UNRWA is set to lose $65 million in funding by the end of February as a result of the cuts, according to The New York Times. The agency relies on government contributions to fund its operations in occupied Palestine, as well as in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

For more, we’re joined in London by the former spokesperson for UNRWA, Chris Gunness. He’s now the director of the Myanmar Accountability Project.

Chirs Gunness, welcome back to Democracy Now! If you could begin by responding to this news about UNRWA possibly running out of funds by the end of this month, losing $65 million?

CHRIS GUNNESS: It’s extremely sad, and it’s extremely regrettable, because UNRWA wants nothing more than to work, as it’s done for decades, with its donors in a very cooperative relationship to restore funding. UNRWA has taken robust and resolute action. The commissioner-general, Philippe Lazzarini, sacked these workers, even before the external investigation and the internal, the OIOS report in New York, even before that had barely started. This was resolute action as part of a zero-tolerance policy.

And it’s with regret I say that I hope that the donors get onto the right side of history and get onto the right side of humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law. And I say with regret that it’s possible, at least, that even the Genocide Convention, which calls on state parties, including most of these defunders, to prevent genocide. And what is happening is that this starvation, which the U.N. correctly says is breaking out, the U.N. assesses that it’s possible that more people will die of starvation than the actual military assault. So, it’s with great regret I say that donors need to come back into the fold.

And just if I can give you just one example. We’re seeing in The New York Times these appalling pictures of these Abu Ghraib-style humiliating actions by individual Israeli soldiers. Will American officials, will American audiences judge the Israeli army by the action of a few? No, it will judge the Israeli army by the response of the Israeli army to these appalling, appalling images. And I say that is the basis upon which UNRWA should be judged, not the actions, which remain entirely unproven, as we now stand, against a few bad apples; it must judge the agency by how it responds. How has the agency responded? With robust and resolute and swift action as part of a zero-tolerance policy that is inculcated in the agency. And it’s been done in partnership with the donors. This is a failure not of UNRWA. If it’s a failure, it’s a failure of the donor community, as well, that’s been working so closely.

And even Mr. Blinken, the [U.S.] secretary of state, has said that the Americans have not been able independently to corroborate this evidence, the — what I’m calling, and what is now established in the international discourse, the “dodgy dossier.” That’s a reference to the dossier, the intelligence dossier, upon which Mr. Blair, former British prime minister, took Britain to war in Iraq. It was the dodgy dossier.

Do the donors want to be judged by history as potentially adding to a starvation, complicity potentially with the genocide against the crime of — the crime of crimes, genocide? No. They need to come back onto the right side of history and of the law and of humanitarian principles and immediately resume the funding of UNRWA. That’s the logical, that’s the humane, that’s the compassionate thing for the donors to do.

AMY GOODMAN: Chris Gunness, can you talk about what UNRWA does, how large it is? And, I mean, you talk about this Israeli dossier. We just saw CBC said the Canadian government hasn’t seen the evidence of this. The U.S. government says they haven’t seen actually the evidence, where they’re talking about something like nine or 12 UNRWA employees, of, what, 13,000 in Gaza, over 30,000 overall. Talk about the history of UNRWA.

CHRIS GUNNESS: I think it’s important, in conceiving of UNRWA, both historically and its activities today, to think of it not as an aid agency, but as a government. So, UNRWA runs, in Syria, Jordan, West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon, schools, 550 schools, so schools for 550,000 students. UNRWA’s primary health clinics have 7 million patient visits a year. UNRWA has nearly 2 million food recipients across the region. That’s the core budget. That’s the education, relief and social services, and the primary health. As well as that, UNRWA has emergency programs. So, UNRWA does these core services — education, health, relief and social services — for as many as 6 million Palestine refugees across the region, in some of the most vulnerable, isolated, fragile communities. But when emergencies happen — for example, the Gaza war — UNRWA has to keep these life-saving, regionally stabilizing services ticking over, while it turns to the emergency.

And that’s what it’s done historically. It became operational on the ground in May 1950. And as its title suggests, it did relief, humanitarian relief, for the 750,000 people who fled or were forced from their homes fleeing in the 1948 War. And it also did works. It did job creation programs, if you like. But when it became apparent that the Israeli government was not going to grant them what the Universal Declaration grants all people, which is the right to return home, UNRWA then realized that it had a huge refugee population whose children needed education, that needed primary health, that needed all sorts of services. So UNRWA gradually grew in response to the humanitarian need of the refugees that UNRWA was serving.

Cut to today, huge education program — that’s the biggest program — and, by the way, offering children around the Middle East an escape from the drudgery and the isolation, the vulnerability, the fragility, the marginalization, and offering them the chance to be citizens of the world, to put their refugee status behind them, rather than perpetuating this refugee status, which, you know, that’s an accusation that’s often thoughtlessly thrown at UNRWA. UNRWA offers refugees an escape from that narrative and that kind of life, which is why it is such a tragedy that based on a dodgy Israeli dossier, this huge existential crisis has been triggered within UNRWA, perhaps the worst in its history, and the donors have become complicit.

As Penny Wong, the Australian foreign minister, has said, as you’ve just quoted in the news, she hasn’t seen the evidence. No donor has seen the evidence, because, as of now, the evidence simply does not exist. There’s nothing that links these dozen or so former UNRWA workers — I stress the word “former” — with the alleged crimes.

So, let’s get the funding resumed. Let’s avoid a mass starvation. And to be clear, starvation is a massacre in slow motion. And that slow-motion massacre has already begun. The donors need to realize the enormity of what they have unleashed, and come back immediately into the fold, where UNRWA will embrace them and will work with them to deal with these issues, as it has always done throughout its history.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to the news conference that Secretary of State Tony Blinken held yesterday in Tel Aviv. A few journalists got to ask questions, and this was the question on UNRWA.

SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN: On UNRWA, look, we were deeply concerned by the allegations that were made about the participation or involvement of some of its employees in the – in October 7th. And it’s imperative that, as the U.N. has said it’s doing, that there be a thorough investigation, that there be clear accountability, and that there be clear measures put in place to make sure that this can’t happen again, that personnel working for it were not in any way involved in terrorism or the events of October 7th. We know that the work that UNRWA performs, the functions that it performs, have to be preserved, because so many lives are depending on it.

AMY GOODMAN: And I wanted to go back to Washington, D.C., where Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press spokesperson, was asked about the fact that Channel 4, Sky News and the Financial Times found no evidence of UNRWA involvement in the October 7th Hamas attack.

NADIA BILBASSY-CHARTERS: One more question on Gaza: Did the White House receive an ironclad evidence that, actually, the UNRWA staff members, 12 of them, were involved in the October 7 attack? Because four news organizations, including Financial Times, Channel 4 and Sky News, found no evidence to support the Israeli claim. They said, actually, what they provided was just cellphone messages and cards that had been found after Israel went to the —




NADIA BILBASSY-CHARTERS: So, where are you in the process of reviewing that? And second, considering the disaster humanitarian situation in Gaza, what’s the alternative, if you’re waiting for the results to come out or the review to come out?

PRESS SECRETARY KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: As you know, there’s an investigation happening, so we’re going to let that investigation move forward. And look, you know, funding for Palestinian civilians is a team effort. And so, for example, while we continue to provide funding to organizations like WFP, other countries may continue to fund UNRWA, which is their own sovereign decision. That is their right.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s Karine Jean-Pierre saying that they think that they’re continuing the investigation, yet they’ve already cut the funding. Meanwhile, Australia, who did also defund, says they are now reevaluating. Chris Gunness, you have called the cutting of aid to UNRWA — the U.S. most important, overwhelmingly gives the more than any other country — immoral and illegal. Why illegal?

CHRIS GUNNESS: Because it’s very clear that international humanitarian law, which expressly prohibits the use of humanitarian aid, food aid, as a political weapon. And the Genocide Convention makes it an obligation on state parties to prevent genocide. And if you don’t prevent genocide, then you are guilty of violating the convention. And the fact that mass starvation is already breaking out suggests that the Genocide Convention is being violated.

But if I may, Amy, just return to some of the things Mr. Blinken said, notice — I mean, let’s be forensic about this. He used the word “allegation,” not “evidence.” Now, there is a vast, gaping gap between allegations, which anyone can make, frankly, and evidence, which needs to be corroborated. And the fact that the American intelligence services, the best, allegedly — certainly the best resourced, I should say — in the world, has not been able independently to corroborate this information, which has triggered this huge crisis, that is, I think, very, very revealing. It’s also revealing, incidentally, at the end of that soundbite you heard Mr. Blinken saying UNRWA’s work is indispensable. And I think we can talk about this whole idea of replacing UNRWA.

But you heard the spokeswoman talking about accountability. Well, let’s look at what UNRWA has done. Even before the internal U.N., at the highest level, investigation had barely started, and certainly before the external investigation had barely started, UNRWA took robust action against this. It has in place — and it’s worked for years with the donors — accountability frameworks and mechanisms. Staff are screened. The very fact the Israelis know these names is because UNRWA, as part of the zero-tolerance policy and its commitment to neutrality, passed on to the Israelis last May — let’s be precise — the entire staff list of UNRWA in Gaza and the West Bank in digital form to the Israelis. It had already been run through the Security Council’s terrorism list. And Israel didn’t come back with a single complaint. It was only until after the ICJ ruling, the day after the ICJ ruling, accusing Israel of plausible genocide, and the headlines were — we all saw them — that the Israelis leaked this.

So, what I would say is the news management is unraveling. It’s been exposed. And what we’re now seeing is the spotlight turning to the donors. And I would like to see some proper investigation into the frameworks that are there for the donors who are accusing UNRWA of politicization. I would like to say: What are the donors doing, in a way which is accountable and which is transparent, to show to the world how they ring-fenced their humanitarian decision-making process and to keep it immune from politics? Because they’re accusing UNRWA of politicizing, weaponizing. You know, there’s all this accusations around UNRWA’s neutrality. What about the donor neutrality? Because it looks increasingly as if the donor community, based on a very dodgy dossier, was doing Israel’s political bidding. We heard Mr. Netanyahu — we’ve heard him say several times that he would like to see UNRWA destroyed, dismantled. And it looks horribly — and I say this with deep regret — that the donors are, on the face of it, going along with that Israeli scheme to dismantle UNRWA, which is why I say they can reverse that.

They can reverse that this moment, by coming back and saying, “It was a dodgy dossier. We don’t have the facts.” They’re now openly saying they don’t have the facts. They need to come back and acknowledge what is actually happening. It was a piece of news management. Treachery happens in wars. It happens. You know, that’s what goes on: misinformation, lies. The truth is the first casualty of war. All of that. That’s what’s happened here. The truth appears to have been the first casualty.

The donors have made this precipitous, regrettable, I would say, illegal and disproportionate decision to defund UNRWA. That can be reversed immediately by the donors coming back. And I would urge them to do this, because, you know, judge UNRWA by its response. Just as I say judge the IDF — I say to American audiences, judge the IDF by its response to these Abu Ghraib pictures, judge UNRWA by its response. Commissioner-General Lazzarini has been swift and resolute as part of a zero-tolerance policy, which, by the way, has worked throughout the region. Do you really think that 33,000 UNRWA workers could be actively doing this humanitarian, human development work across the region if it weren’t implementing policies which were absolutely impartial? There’s no question that UNRWA would very quickly lose the trust of the communities and the donors if they weren’t implementing this zero-tolerance policy. And that has to be recognized. It’s the response of UNRWA that donors need to respond to, not a few bad apples who we don’t even know.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Chris Gunness, I’m afraid we’re going to have to leave it there. Thank you so much for joining us.

CHRIS GUNNESS: My pleasure. 

NBC NEWS' Corky Siemaszko reports:

The doctor treating the victims of an Israeli bomb attack on the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah had been examining one patient after another in the crowded emergency room when he saw him.

There, amid the din of screaming children and moaning grownups, amid the cries of medical workers for more medicine and bandages, Dr. Rami Abu Libdeh spotted a paramedic carrying his 9-year-old son, Mohammad.

Bursting into tears, Libdeh, 32, grabbed the boy, whose head was bandaged and whose red top was covered with a layer of dust. Falling to his knees, Libdeh peppered his weeping son with questions about his missing mother and their house before surrendering the boy to the other medics in the room for treatment.

An NBC News team was at the Kuwaiti Hospital when it recorded the heartbreaking father-and-son reunion.

Read the full story here.

The doctor treating the victims of an Israeli bomb attack on the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah had been examining one patient after another in the crowded emergency room when he saw him.

There, amid the din of screaming children and moaning grownups, amid the cries of medical workers for more medicine and bandages, Dr. Rami Abu Libdeh spotted a paramedic carrying his 9-year-old son, Mohammad.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 126 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse."  NBC NEWS notes, "More than 27,900 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. More than 67,400 have been injured, and thousands more are missing and presumed dead." AP has noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

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

This morning, ALJAZEERA reports:

Five members of the same family were killed in an attack on their house in Rafah in southern of Gaza. Several children and a woman are among the dead.

The Palestinian health ministry says at least 107 people have been killed in the past 24 hours.

Survivor Hala al-Mashukhi told Al Jazeera her father, mother, and her three-year-old brother were killed when an Israeli bomb targeted their house in Rafah. Her sister Dima, 10, was the only other to survive the attack.

“Every child in the world gets up happy. But we get up terrified to the sound of the shelling and explosions,” she said.

President Biden called Israel’s military conduct in Gaza “over the top,” his sharpest rebuke yet and the latest critical comment from a U.S. official in recent days. “A lot of innocent people are in trouble, and they’re dying, and it’s got to stop,” Biden, who has generally avoided criticizing the U.S. ally, said Thursday. In Gaza, airstrikes hit Rafah overnight, as fears mount among displaced Palestinians crammed into the city, where Israeli officials say the offensive will move next.

THE TIMES OF ISRAEL maintains that it is "unclear if remarks [were] aimed at Israel or Hamas."  At COMMON DREAMS, Jake Johnson notes:

  President Joe Biden said Thursday that he believes Israel's assault on Gaza has been "over the top" but did not indicate any substantive changes to U.S. policy, which has been to support the war militarily and diplomatically while pushing for humanitarian aid and pauses.

"A lot of innocent people starving, in trouble, dying," Biden said during a press conference at the White House. "It's got to stop."

The president's remarks were characterized as perhaps his most direct criticism of the Israeli military's conduct since it began its large-scale war on the Gaza Strip just over four months ago, following a deadly Hamas-led attack on southern Israel.

But critics argued that Biden's words will ring hollow as long as his administration continues to arm Israel's military unconditionally, oppose global efforts to enact a lasting cease-fire, and reject evidence that Israel is committing genocide. Since October 7, the U.S. State Department has twice bypassed Congress to send lethal weaponry to Israel and is working to gut lawmakers' oversight of foreign military financing for the country.

"It's maddening to hear him say stuff like this," wrote journalist Mehdi Hasan. "Now he says Israel is going 'over the top.' Before he said they were doing 'indiscriminate' bombing. But throughout it all, he arms them, funds them, defends them, enables them, and refuses to call for a cease-fire." 

Less confusing is the stance of the United Nations Hich Commission for Refugees.  THE GUARDIAN reports

Volker Türk, the UN high commissioner for human rights said on Thursday that widespread destruction by the IDF of civilian infrastructure in Gaza “amounts to a grave breach of the Fourth Genevea Convention, and a war crime”.

Türk criticised the “extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly”.

In Jeffrey Cockburn's round up of the week "Roaming Charges: Comfortably Dumb" (COUNTERPUNCH), he notes:

A US drone attack on Wednesday struck a vehicle in a civilian Baghdad neighborhood supposedly containing a commander from the Kataib Hezbollah, the militia group in Iraq that the Pentagon has blamed for attacking its troops. The Iraqi military angrily denounced the assassination and said that it signaled the “termination of the US mission in the country.” Finally, Mission Accomplished!

The following sites updated:

  • Thursday, February 8, 2024

    Wacky Whacker Josh Hawley





    Another candidate has suspended her campaign.

    Marianne Williamson has suspended her campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and notes:

    First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you don’t win:)…

    I appreciate greatly all the incredible people who accompanied me on our political journey over the last ten months. While the level of our failure is obvious to all, a level of success is real nonetheless. We articulated deeper, more authentic truths than those regularly acknowledged by the political establishment. And I’m not only glad we did that; I’m proud of it. We spoke for those most ignored in America today and whose wounds are most in need of healing. I wish I could have reached them. I know we would have provided hope.

    I will never be able to fully express my gratitude to those who supported the campaign - as donors, as volunteers, as team members, and more. I hope the blessings you have shown me will be reflected in your life many times over. There are memories of support and kindness that I will cherish going forward, carrying an emotional fragrance that will linger in my heart forever.

    In the final analysis, I think the only real failure in life is that which we fail to learn from. I have learned so much already and I know that I will learn more. Processing this experience will be an ongoing journey and forgiveness will guide me as I move through it. I will not allow the mental torment of all the woulda shoulda couldas to tie me to the past, but rather I will keep my eye on the larger story. In ways I cannot yet see, none of this will have been in vain. There are hidden gifts that have only just begun to reveal themselves.

    Among those gifts are seeds I know we dropped into the hearts of many - those who will in their own time, in their own way, carry our ideas forward. Although as of today we are suspending our campaign, our platform - with its deep dive into so many issues - will remain on I hope future candidates will take what works for them, drinking from the well of information that we prepared. My team and I brought to the table some great ideas, and I will take pleasure when I see them live on in campaigns and candidates yet to be created.

    I wish I could give a personal hug to every person who encouraged me on this journey. So many had faith and believed in what was possible. While we did not succeed at running a winning political campaign, I know in my heart we impacted the political ethers. As with every other aspect of my career over the last forty years, I know how ideas float through the air forming ever new designs. I will see and hear things in different situations and through different voices, and I will smile a small internal smile knowing in my heart where that came from.

    I am wishing you all the love in the world, with a thanks more sincere than you can possibly imagine. May love yet prevail, in our hearts and in the world.

    The list of potentials gets smaller and the list of real potentials -- real meaning, this isn't a deluded vanity campaign, gets tiny.  On the Republican side, it's coming down to Donald Trump (unless the courts do the right thing and bar him from running due to his violations of Article 3 and the 14th Amendment) and Nikki Haley.  On the Democratic Party side, it's now Joe Biden.  Joe visited NYC and, Brett Wilkins (COMMON DREAMS) reports, it was a visit that got attention:

      Around 100 Jewish American and allied activists were arrested in New York City Wednesday after they blocked President Joe Biden's motorcade route to protest U.S. complicity in Israel's genocidal war against the Palestinian people and to demand an immediate Gaza cease-fire.

    The group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) led the Upper East Side demonstration, during which activists sat down in the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street, where the president was attending a nearby fundraiser.

    "As Jewish New Yorkers we want to make crystal clear that President Biden is not welcome in our city while he continues to fund and arm the Israeli government's genocide of Palestinians in Gaza," saidJVP's Jay Saper. 

    I know nothing about Claudia De la Cruz and Karina Garcia but they have the nomination for the Party for Socialism and Liberation (Claudia for president, Karina for vice president) which, in the past, has run real candidates.  The Green Party is in shambles and that's evidenced by the fact that Jill Stein trying to get the nomination.  Jill Stein is AGAIN trying to get the nomination.

    One of the complaints from those anticipating a Donald and Joe match up has been the age issue.  

    Jill's no spring chicken. 

    She turns 74 this May.

    She has no real accomplishments to speak of -- unless you consider her dropping her anti-vaccine stance when the press discovered it while she was running for office -- I believe that was in her failed Senate run and not during one of her disastrous attempts at the presidency.  Jill fights for what she stands for . . .  at least until she's expected to actually stand for it.

    And, yes, we said "attempts at the presidency."

    The Green Party is dead will be the announcement if, this summer, they announce Jill Stein as their candidate.

    She was their failed candidate in 2012 -- one who refused to question Barack Obama's sending US troops back into Iraq even though Tim Arango had reported this for THE NEW YORK TIMES just before the presidential debates started.  Poor Jill, she had more important things than war or pointing out reality.  She needed to get a new hair do and she needed more photos of herself and she needed waste everyone's time.

    She did that in 2016 again.

    She's a disaster and something of an idiot.  It's gotten worse, her public speaking, so bad in fact that she might need to see a doctor.  

    Does that sound like a party offering a real difference between the duopoly?


    A real difference would be the Green Party getting an actual candidate -- not an old nag or hag that they've run twice already and who is over 70s year old.  35.  That's the youngest you can be.  And yet do nothing Jill thinks her twice that age, failed ass needs to mislead the Green Party again.

    Joe Biden should have put himself out to pasture.  No question.  But Greens, if you run a 74 year old failure, you don't have any room to scold any other parties.  She's failed twice.  She's led to the party into great debt with those failures.  She's done nothing but whine in the last years -- I only ate a dinner in Russia! -- and she's not an activist.  Her 'activism' most recently was trying to force Cornel West down the throat of the Green Party.  I don't think she realizes how hated that's made her.

    She and others at the top of the Green Party, tried to steal the nomination for him.  And rank-and-file pushed back.  Cornel for any other failures, was smart enough to see what was happening and cease his campaign for the Green Party nomination.

    That Cornel didn't grasp the process of the Green Party is not surprising.  He announced his pursuit of the presidency by announcing he was the candidate for the People's Party and then a week later, he wasn't.  Oops.  Turns out you actually do need to do some work to run for president and that includes checking out the party whose nomination you've accepted -- in fact, better to do that checking before you accept their nomination.

    But Jill knew the process and she didn't just ignore it, she tried to break it and would have been able to if the rank-and-file hadn't pushed back so hard and said NO!  They weren't dropping their process of how people had to campaign for the party's presidential nomination and they weren't changing their schedule (again, it will be decided this summer at the party's convention).  

    Then there's the whole Peter Daou thing.  This is not to trash Peter or even about Peter -- my remarks.  This is about the fact that Jill's told one conflicting story after another about Petere.  She's claimed this and she's claimed that.  If she can't even get her story straight about her 'friendship' with a political strategist, she needs to bow out.  Instead, she's using media attention to make it appear that she's the party's nominee.

    The party has no nominee and won't until the summer convention.

    If Jill is the nominee, we all need to wipe our hands clean of the Green Party and face reality that it is not trying to build the party and that it's just a bunch of egomaniacs at the top who need their egos stroked.

    Did someone say Junior?

    Yeah, Little Junior remains to do nothing.

    He keeps pointing to his popularity polls.  Among the uneducated and likely non-voters, he does have some sort of appeal still.  He keeps pointing to his 'popularity' as his reason for running.



    That's the cost for his campaign basically.  United Airlines can fly him from New Hampshire to Utah for $306.  

    He's qualified for Utah's ballot and, since the end of last month he's claimed he's qualified for New Hampshire.  

    In a dream world where he can win both states that would be what, ten electoral votes?

    Just 260 more and he can be president.

    Donald Trump says if he gets the nomination, he's not taking Junior on his ticket.

    Junior dropped out of the race of the Democratic Party nomination.

    He declared himself an independent making an independent run.

    But no one told him that required work and our socialite just does not like to work.

    So now he's flirting with the Libertarian Party as well as flirting with conducting fraud state by state.  Since he clearly can't meet the requirements for ballot access in the majority of the states as an independent candidate, his admitted plan currently is to start 'political parties' so he can meet that threshold instead.

    However, it is fraud -- legal fraud -- to do what he's talking about.  The qualifications do not say 'create a fake political party.'  He can't meet the legal criteria to get on the ballot as the independent candidate ha has publicly announced himself so he wants to commit fraud state by state.  If he does that, I hope he's prosecuted to the full extent of the law and he should be.



    "Let's try to understand how full of crap Giana Levy and GRIO are"

    "Weekend Box Office"

    "Carl Weathers"


    "Do-nothings and hypocrites"

    "Kim Brown tells it like it is, Doo-Doo DeSantis still an idiot, DISSIDENT VOICE goes right-wing"

    "Idiot of the Week and Most Disgusting Creature of the Week"

    "Kim Brown, Gaza, FEUD: CAPOTE VS THE SWANS"

    "Has anyone seen Joe Biden's spine? Can we get an APB out on it?"


    "One more time on the Grammys"

    "Shame on the Grammys (the dishonor of Tina Turner) and what did work"

    "Joni Mitchell on The Grammy awards broadcast (CBS) on Sunday"

    "Billy Joel, Joni Mitchell, Prince, Joan Baez"

    "Instant Noodle Soup in the Kitchen"

    "Air Fryer Gnocchi in the Kitchen"

    "Miso Cod Ramen in the Kitchen"

    "Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup in the Kitchen"

    "Vegan Chickpea Chili"

    "They're traitors, put 'em behind bars"

    "Applause for Kim Brown"

    "Sarah Huckabee exposed as the liar she truly is --..."

    "Shady Menendez and Crazy Milano"

    "Hinton Battle"


    "Loser Kristi Noem"

    "Hate merchant loses in court"

    "Mike Collins the little boy bully"

    "Like the PSA on TV used to say: Knowledge is power"

    "Trump and Biden"

    "Trump's bad legal news"

    "The Trump Dump just gets worse"

    "High drama from the ultimate drama queen Donald Trump"

    "ONLY FANS fan Robbie Kennedy Junior"

    "they can't run from what they've done"

    "stupid antony blinken, stupid modi"

    "where's the firing squad?"


    "stop coddling the fright wing"

    "Marjorie Taylor Green's busy social schedule"

    "Boe-Boe can't grasp the basics"

    "Post-Congress life for Boe-Boe?"

    "Congress two dimmest bulbs"

    "Boe-Boe and MTG, Congress' village idiots"

    "They brought us to this point"

    "Georgia, reject the White bigots"

    "Don't worry about your weight, Roger"

    "Crooked Clarence"

    "Science post -- plants with feelings, The Bronze Age, ancient cities in the Amazon"

    "Even Casey's bored with Ron"