Sunday, October 01, 2023

Violence? Cornel? Emanuel? 2024? Iraq?

We've got a few things to talk ab out before we get to Iraq.  Brian Klass?  A number are e-mailing his claims or the NEWSWEEK article covering the claims.  He is not a student of human nature, he is not an expert on violence, he's just flapping his gums.  It's a pleasing tale -- the other side is so unhinged they're likely to start killing.  There's no basis for his claims and he has no training in the area and he has not background in this field.  So I'm not interested.  I'm sure there are supporters of Donald Trump who are pone to violence and that there are supporters of Joe Biden -- and supporters of various other politicians -- who are prone to violence.  

I do understand that violence took place on January 6, 2021.  I think it's irresponsible to make the claims Klass does and I think it's dangerous.  We're not highlighting and I don't believe that we ever have.  If I'm not mistaken, he's not even in the country so he's making these 'observations' on something other than actual observations.

Second, what did you read or think you read?   That's to 30 people having a fit over my allegedly telling everyone to vote for Joe Biden?

I haven't told anyone how to vote.  In fact, this site's whole purpose has been about your vote is your vote.  I have said, year after year, that you need to be pleased with your vote the day you vote and, if so, you voted correctly.  You can't predict the future.

In terms of 2024, I have revealed that I am voting for the Democratic Party's presidential nominee.  Whomever it is.  I have not tried to get anyone else on board.

I have written extensively here over the last months that Green Party voters who plan to vote Green in 2024's presidential race to build their party is a solid reason to vote that way.  

Thursday's snapshot noted Ralph Nader's remarks.

I am not Ralph Nader.  Nor am I a fan of Ralph's or a friend of Ralph's.  I do not blame the 2000 election on Ralph.  Find anywhere at this site where I've ever done that.  You won't.

Three of my best friends supported Ralph in 2000.  I did not.  I did not think the most pressing for women was high heels and I did not agree with Ralph's slamming of Gloria Steinem for, in his words, refusing to join him on this 'consumer' crusade.  I also do not define myself as a "consumer."  I am a citizen.  I did not care for his hideous remarks in his 2000 ROLLING STONE interview.  

I have never blamed strangers who supported him or friends who supported him.

I have stated that when Kyle Kulinski or someone else wants to make the argument that a Green Party candidate could lead the Democrat to lose presidential election, they should be allowed to make that argument.  Not slammed and attacked.

I don't believe that argument.  I do not side with Kyle on that argument.  You own your vote.  You don't owe it to anyone and if someone doesn't earn it, they don't earn it.  That's on the candidate.

But I have been speaking on campuses from 2004 through 2020 and to peace groups, women's groups and labor groups -- the pandemic had me switching to zooms although we have returned to speaking on campus now -- and I have had multiple people come up to me to say that they voted for Nader in 2000 and they feel so bad because it cost Al Gore the election.

My immediate reply is "No, it did not."  I don't believe that it did.

But these people exist and they feel guilt over their vote.  

So, please, in 2023, allow this discussion to take place because I don't want to hear any whining.  

There are many Ralph supporters who voted for him in 2000 and are proud of that vote and good for them.  But there are far too many that I have encountered who regret it and say things like, "No one told me this could happen" ("this" being Bully Boy Bush endingu p in the White House).  

So there is a group of people who will vote Green in 2024 and likely be thrilled with it.  Good for them.  But for those who apparently, in 2000, immediately felt guilty about their vote?  I'm find with Kyle presenting his argument.  Kyle and others.  I'm fine with people rejecting that argument.  But I'm not fine with pretending like this opinion doesn't exist.  It does and let's talk about it ahead of the 2024 election, not after.

On the election, "You refuse to say anything nice about the Green Party's presidential candidate Cornel West."

That's incorrect.

First, he's not the Green Party's presidential candidate and take your stupidity up with the Bri-Bris and other liars who refuse to tell you the truth.

Cornel West wants to be the Green Party's presidential nominee.  And his sleazy roll dog Chris Hedges tried to force Cornel off on the party (with the help of Jill Stein and some say Ajamu Baraka).  I know that because people went crazy in the e-mails to this site -- Green members -- the day he was posing as the Green Party's nominee.  I immediately got on the phone and I wrote about it here.  It was not happening.  Jill Stein has left the party in debt, she has no real pull.  Cornel would be smart to drop her.  He'd be even smarter to distance himself from Chris Hedges.  

The Green Party had a huge pushback to this notion that Cornel would be gifted with the nomination.  There were some in leadership that Jill was able to influence but the bulk of leadership stood with the members and said, "Hell no."

The Green Party picks their nominee in the summer of 2024 -- many months from now -- at their convention.

There are two other candidates currently running with more expected to announce shortly.  We covered the newest one in Friday's snapshot.  And, for the record, I believe we are the only site that's offered you an in depth biographical sketch of Emanuel Pastreich.  We've got more than WIKIPEDIA -- which doesn't even know of his step-mother or his step-brother.  We know that because I worked the phones.  We know about his mother because I learned she lived on Martha's Vineyard and made calls.  I didn't put this in the bio because I didn't have time but her success as an artist does include one of her painting being hung in an embassy.  I'm not here to spoon feed CRAPAPEDIA.  I did a deep dive on the mother because she didn't have a CRAPAPAEDIA entry.  Why?  Because she's a woman.  CRAPAPEDIA noted that Emanuel had a brother and two sisters.  Who did they offer details on?  Only the brother.  Which is why I went into detail on the sister who is a cinematographer and a director.  Emanuel has a very interesting biography and it's a shame that his story can't be told because too many liars want to pretend Cornel is the nominee.  He is not.

As for not saying anything nice about Cornel, he hasn't done much for me to praise him, has he?  What?  Am I supposed to be blown away by his cameo in THE MATRIX franchise?  Or impressed that he owes over a half-million dollars?  

How about that nonsense where he gives an interview and stresses cadence over actual facts?

For the record, when he was interviewed by Jimmy Dore, I did praise him for that interview.  It's the only time he's shown anything resembling human emotion.  He stood up for himself, he showed flashes of anger -- he came off like a real person.  And I praised him for that. 

But I don't praise liars and his campaign is built on lies and has been.

And remove his name from the equation.  If this was Joel Gimble and he had accepted a nomination from The People's Party and started doing press to promote that and then, less than a week later, announced, oops, can't be their nominee because of what they believe in?  That would be it for Joel Gimble.  The press would rightly bury him as an idiot who accepted a political party's nomination (actually sought it) only to then run from it a week later.

That shows you're an idiot who doesn't believe in due diligence.  You're not trying to run for office, you're attempting to drum up publicity for yourself.  

His only bright moment in this embarrassing campaign thus far was provided when he stood up to Jimmy Dore.

ALSUMARIA reports that Iraq's supreme court has issued a statement denying the validity of a document on social media being presented as a lawsuit against Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.  The court's statement notes that there is no signature of a judge on the document and an actual court document would have been signed by a judge.  ALSUMARIA also reports that two people have been ousted -- the director of the Industrial Bank and the treasurer -- due to embezzlement. 

Let's note this from Paul Rudnick.

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    Saturday, September 30, 2023

    The tragic wedding celebration that ended with the hall engulfed in fire

    This week saw a fire at an Iraqi wedding that left at least 100 people dead  (by Friday, the death toll had risen to 102 and by Friday night, NYT's Alissa J. Rubin notes, it had climbed to 119) with at least 150 more injured.  Though the wedding couple was initially reported dead on Wednesday, they actually survived.  And now Revan, and Haneen are plagued with survivor's guilt.  Friday, they attended funerals for Haneen's brother and her mother.  (Some reports spell the bride's name Hannen.)  In addition, her father was injured and remains hospitalized (critical condition).  The groom's home has been attacked and his car windows broken -- some have blamed him and Haneen for the fire.

    Haneen and Revan were initially feared dead following the blaze, which claimed the lives of 114 others.

    Revan's father later confirmed the couple had survived the blaze, which tore through the large hall in the Christian town, which had survived ISIS occupation.

    "It's true that we're sitting here in front of you alive. But inside we are dead. We are numb. We are dead inside," Revan told Sky News.

    The horror inferno claimed the lives of 15 members of Revan's family, with the groom adding that his bride "can't speak" following the loss of 10 of her own relatives.

    Hunar Rasheed (RUDAW) notes another family haunted by the fire:

    The harrowing and tragic deaths of 22 people from one single family during the heartbreaking wedding inferno in Nineveh province's Hamdaniya town over the weekend has echoed across the country.

    "This is my sister. This is my father. This is my mother. This is another sister of mine. This is my wife. She is missing," Fuad Silewa, a member of the family that lost 22 members in total, sighed while sobbing and holding their photographs. "I am grateful for God [on all occasions]."

    He went on to introduce more family members who died of suffocation during the tragic inferno: "This is my brother's wife. Yesterday, I received [from health authorities] their dead and burned bodies. They have all died of suffocation. This sister had come back from abroad to change her atmosphere by visiting us. Thank you, God."

    Over a hundred people lost their lives when a deadly fire engulfed a wedding hall in Hamdaniya after the roof’s flammable plastic ceiling caught fire when fireworks were ignited from the floor.

    Naif Ramadhan (RUDAW) notes the dead includes a one-year-and-eight-month old girl named Marya Asaad whose father tried to carry her to safety but she died in his arms.  Her father states, "My daughter loved me more than anyone. She used to be very eager to see me when I returned from work. She would wait for me near the gate and give me my clothes although she was young."  Ayub Nasri (RUDAW) notes that 12-year-old Nazdin Khazwan also perished in the fire.  Nazdin was playing drums for the wedding.  After the roof caught fire and crashed in, Nazdin was not be found (there are over 30 corpses that have yet to be identified).  His father, Khazwan Sulaiman, states, "He told me that a fire had broken out. I looked at the stage and saw him burning. I asked him to leave [the hall]. He followed me to the exit. He told me ‘Come Daddy’ and I saw him running towards the kitchen door.  I saw him until he reached the kitchen door. Sulaiman was behind me and asked where Nazdin was. I told him that Nazdin had exited because he was in front of me and I saw him. We went out but did not find him."  Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) notes that an engaged couple, Steven and Maryam, had planned to marry next week at the same hall but cannot because Maryam perished in the fire.                                                                            

    It should have been a beautiful event and a wonderful memory.  The building was fairly new (built in 2016).  Abeer Khan (AL ARABYIYA) explains that the hall lacked "sufficient emergency exits," as well as a sprinkler system and ample fire extinguishers.  Alissa J. Rubin (NEW YORK TIMES) reports on the study ordered by Iraq's prime minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani:

    The draft report from the investigation, ordered by Mr. Sudani, found that in addition to lacking emergency exits and sprinklers, the building had been constructed illegally on agricultural land — a common practice in Iraq as those who no longer farm seek to make money off their fallow acreage.

    The report also said the building was made of a substance described by investigators as Ecobond board, which itself is not illegal, but its use must be approved on a case-by-case basis because certain types are highly flammable. It is known locally as sandwich board because it consists of two layers of metal with a synthetic filling between them.

    The report found negligence by the owner of the hall — who was detained by the authorities on Wednesday — and his two partners; by the local province’s tourist commission because it had fined the owner for failing to meet fire safety requirements, but did not close the hall; by the mayor of Qaraqosh because he knew about the failings, but, the report said, did not do anything about them; and by other administrative units aware that the hall was illegally built but failed to take any action.

    The Civil Defense Force responsible for the area, however, was not named in the initial report. Although the force is responsible for building safety and fire fighting, many residents were critical of its response, saying the authorities were slow to arrive at the scene and ill prepared.

    For many people in the area, the fire and the report were painful reminders of the combination of corruption, weak governance and lack of accountability in Iraq.

    Rubin did a feature article (a profile) of the prime minister ahead of his visit to New York last week.  That may have been why she was given an advance look at the report which is supposed to be issued in a few more hours (it's Sunday in Iraq already).  

    The following sites updated:


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    On the Record Store Day Podcast, host Paul Myers talks with the people making the records everyone is talking about.  On the latest episode, CORINNE BAILEY RAE talks about the inspiration for her astounding new album BLACK RAINBOWS and TOMMY STINSON tells tales from the inside of the TIM revelation. 

    Wherever you get your podcasts
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    Montana Court Blocks Enforcement of Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth

    Montana Court Blocks Enforcement of Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth

    Affiliate: ACLU of Montana

    September 27, 2023 11:10 am 

    Missoula, MT – A Montana state district court judge today blocked enforcement of Senate Bill 99, the discriminatory law that threatens the health and well-being of Montana transgender youth by denying them access to the only evidence-based care for gender dysphoria. In his order. Judge Jason Marks finds SB 99 “is unlikely to survive any level of constitutional review” and “barring access to gender-affirming care would negatively impact gender dysphoric minors’ mental and physical health.”

    Missoula County District Court Judge Jason Marks issued the preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of SB99 following last week’s hearing in the challenge to Montana’s law brought by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Montana, and Perkins Coie on behalf of three families with transgender youth and two medical providers who work with transgender youth. The preliminary injunction granted today will allow youth to continue to access gender-affirming care as the lawsuit challenging the law proceeds through court.

    The plaintiffs argue the law violates their rights under the Montana Constitution, including the right to privacy, equal protection and the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. SB 99 was one of several laws considered and passed by the 2023 Legislature targeting transgender Montanans.

    “We are gratified the judge understood the danger of denying transgender Montana youth access to gender-affirming care as the challenge to this cruel and discriminatory law proceeds,” said Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Kell Olson. “Transgender youth in Montana will continue to thrive, and removing this looming threat to their well-being is an important step in allowing them to do so.”

    “We are so thankful for this opportunity to protect trans youth, their families, and their medical providers from this baseless and dangerous law,” said Malita Picasso, Staff Attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project. “While this fight is not over, every day that transgender Montanans are able to access this care is a critical and life-saving victory. We will never stop opposing this ban and all others like it until every transgender person has the care and support they need to thrive.”

    “Today’s ruling permits our clients to breathe a sigh of relief,” said Akilah Deernose, Executive Director of the ACLU of Montana. “But this fight is far from over. We look forward to vindicating our clients’ constitutional rights and ensuring that this hateful law never takes effect.”

    Federal district courts have blocked such bans in Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In August 2023, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Alabama’s ban to take effect while a legal challenge against it proceeds. On September 1, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on lower court rulings blocking bans in Kentucky and Tennessee and will issue a ruling before September 30.

    In June 2023, a federal court in Arkansas struck down that state’s ban on gender-affirming care in the first ruling on the merits of such a law, finding it violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, and First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

    Read today’s ruling here.

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    ICYMI: Rep. Takano Calls on Speaker McCarthy for No Cuts, No Layoffs, and No Shutdown


    ICYMI: Rep. Takano Calls on Speaker McCarthy for No Cuts, No Layoffs, and No Shutdown

    Washington, D.C. – Last week, Rep. Mark Takano, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, joined Congressional Progressive Caucus colleagues to call on Speaker Kevin McCarthy to avoid a harmful government shutdown. 


    Watch Rep. Takano’s full remarks here.

    Rep. Takano’s transcribed remarks are below:

    Thank you, Chair Emeritus, Mark Pocan. My name is Mark Takano. I am the Vice-Chair for Policy for the Congressional Progressive Caucus. I also serve as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. 

    And like my Progressive Caucus colleagues, I am deeply concerned about the time wasted by House Republicans and their lack of reasonable action to fund the government and act on issues the American people care about. 

    We are ten days away from a potential government shutdown. Just ten days. We have a bipartisan roadmap available right in front of us. President Biden and Speaker McCarthy reached an agreement on government funding levels through the Fiscal Responsibility Act, but House Republicans have reneged on this agreement and cannot agree on a path forward. 

    The only appropriations bill they have managed to pass is an unserious, unreasonable Military Construction/VA funding bill. Funding our veterans should be bipartisan, and yet extremist Republicans used the MilCon/VA bill as a vehicle to initiate their plan to ban abortion nationally! Ban abortion – no exceptions. I remember they were talking about this in October of last year in the elections. “I’m for the exceptions, I’m for the exceptions.” Especially those members that represented close districts. But what do they do in this appropriations bill – the only one that passed? 

    It is deplorable that the GOP would start holding back abortion access by blocking the VA from implementing its interim final rule on abortion. And what was the interim final rule? The Secretary promulgated in September of last year. He said the VA will offer abortion services to those women veterans whose life is in danger, or whose health is in danger, or who have been raped or are a victim of incest. This is fully consistent with the Hyde Amendment. This put women veterans at risk by making it harder for them to access life-saving procedures. Democrats in good conscience could not vote for the MILCON/VA package and endorse the removal of bodily autonomy for those who served our country. And that’s the irony! The very people who have worn the uniform to protect all our rights - they unanimously on their side have sought to take away their rights and their freedoms. 

    Not only that, but Republicans went out of their way to further attack and marginalize the LGBTQ servicemembers, basically saying that the VA would have license to discriminate VA contractors by restricting access to safe and necessary evidence-based care for transgender veterans. 

    Now House Republicans are attempting, unsuccessfully, to advance appropriations bills that include massive cuts to programs like SNAP and Medicaid that veterans rely on. And the CR they proposed would do the same. The House Republicans appropriations process is an affront to veterans and all Americans. 

    Every day, Speaker McCarthy and his extremist Republican colleagues bring us closer and closer to a government shutdown. Shutting down the government is the worst thing the House Republicans can do for veterans and for our country. I know the Progressive Caucus will work with our Democratic colleagues to find common ground with Republicans and avert a shutdown, but Republicans cannot continue to govern in this way. Playing political games with veterans and the country must stop. Speaker McCarthy must bring a spending agreement based on fiscal responsibility and fairness, and without these extreme riders, to the floor so we can avoid a shutdown. Thank you.

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     September 27, 2023

    WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) reintroduced the Climate Solutions Act, a bold, progressive plan to cut carbon pollution and invest in America’s renewable energy industry. The Climate Solutions Act encourages strong renewable energy standards by requiring that 100 percent of electricity sold in the United States be generated from renewable sources by 2035. It will also aggressively target greenhouse gases by requiring the quantity of such emissions to be 52 percent lower than 2005 levels by 2035, and zero by 2050. It also creates a national energy efficiency standard.

    Congressman Lieu, co-author of California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, ran for Congress to help tackle climate change on a national level. Congressman Lieu introduced versions of the Climate Solutions Act in the 114th, 115th, 116th and 117th Congresses.

    “Climate Change is the greatest existential threat to humanity. We must act now and act fast to protect our planet and future generations from the impacts of climate change. Across the world, we’ve seen more and more extreme weather events, including the recent wildfire on Maui and the floods in Libya, which have resulted in thousands of deaths. At home in my congressional district, my constituents have seen wildfires, landslides, and other natural disasters that have destroyed homes and livelihoods. Unless we take extreme action now, it will only get worse. That’s why I’m pleased to reintroduce one of the boldest climate change bills in Congress, the Climate Solutions Act. My bill takes significant action to cut greenhouse gas emissions and invest in green energy. The time to act on climate is now.”