Saturday, August 12, 2023

Ian Fishback

This is going to be responding to e-mails. 

Whistle-blower Ian Fishback died.  From WIKIPEDIA:

While stationed in Iraq, for more than a year Fishback expressed concerns to his immediate chain of command regarding treatment of detainees at Forward Operating Base Mercury in Fallujah District but was ignored.[25][26][27]

In 2005 he decided to write a letter to McCain about what he perceived as a military culture that was permissive toward the abuse of prisoners.[28][29][30][31]

Dear Senator McCain:

While I served in the Global War on Terror, the actions and statements of my leadership led me to believe that United States policy did not require application of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan or Iraq. On 7 May 2004, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's testimony that the United States followed the Geneva Conventions in Iraq and the "spirit" of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan prompted me to begin an approach for clarification. For 17 months, I tried to determine what specific standards governed the treatment of detainees by consulting my chain of command through battalion commander, multiple JAG lawyers, multiple Democrat and Republican Congressmen and their aides, the Ft. Bragg Inspector General's office, multiple government reports, the Secretary of the Army and multiple general officers, a professional interrogator at Guantanamo Bay, the deputy head of the department at West Point responsible for teaching Just War Theory and Law of Land Warfare, and numerous peers who I regard as honorable and intelligent men.

Instead of resolving my concerns, the approach for clarification process leaves me deeply troubled. Despite my efforts, I have been unable to get clear, consistent answers from my leadership about what constitutes lawful and humane treatment of detainees. I am certain that this confusion contributed to a wide range of abuses including death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment. I and troops under my command witnessed some of these abuses in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

This is a tragedy. I can remember, as a cadet at West Point, resolving to ensure that my men would never commit a dishonorable act; that I would protect them from that type of burden. It absolutely breaks my heart that I have failed some of them in this regard.

That is in the past and there is nothing we can do about it now. But, we can learn from our mistakes and ensure that this does not happen again. Take a major step in that direction; eliminate the confusion. My approach for clarification provides clear evidence that confusion over standards was a major contributor to the prisoner abuse. We owe our soldiers better than this. Give them a clear standard that is in accordance with the bedrock principles of our nation.

Some do not see the need for this work. Some argue that since our actions are not as horrifying as Al Qaeda's, we should not be concerned. When did Al Qaeda become any type of standard by which we measure the morality of the United States? We are America, and our actions should be held to a higher standard, the ideals expressed in documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Others argue that clear standards will limit the President's ability to wage the War on Terror. Since clear standards only limit interrogation techniques, it is reasonable for me to assume that supporters of this argument desire to use coercion to acquire information from detainees. This is morally inconsistent with the Constitution and justice in war. It is unacceptable.

Both of these arguments stem from the larger question, the most important question that this generation will answer. Do we sacrifice our ideals in order to preserve security? Terrorism inspires fear and suppresses ideals like freedom and individual rights. Overcoming the fear posed by terrorist threats is a tremendous test of our courage. Will we confront danger and adversity in order to preserve our ideals, or will our courage and commitment to individual rights wither at the prospect of sacrifice? My response is simple. If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession. I would rather die fighting than give up even the smallest part of the idea that is "America."

Once again, I strongly urge you to do justice to your men and women in uniform. Give them clear standards of conduct that reflect the ideals they risk their lives for.

With the Utmost Respect,—Capt. Ian Fishback
1st Battalion,
504th Parachute Infantry Regiment,
82nd Airborne Division,
Fort Bragg, North Carolina[32]

The letter resulted in the creation of a anti-torture legislation, the Detainee Treatment Act, "sponsored by Senator McCain and passed by the Senate in an overwhelming show of bipartisan support with a vote of 90-9."[33]

During debates over his amendment, Senator McCain said:

I thank God every day that we have men and women the caliber of Captain Fishback serving in our military. I believe the Congress has a responsibility to answer this call.[34]

On May 8, 2006, Fishback was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world for taking his stand against torture.[35]

Matthew Harwood, an associate editor at Security Management magazine, wrote in Attitudes Aren't Free: Thinking Deeply About Diversity in the US Armed Forces (2012) that Fishback's letter to Senator McCain "is a testament that inside the US military lies redemption".[36]

Andrew Bacevich stated that Major Fishback was a "uniformed whistleblower who took seriously the values of “duty, honor, and country” he had learned at West Point. A classic straight arrow, Ian found intolerable even the slightest deviation from what the soldierly code of conduct required."[37]

Senator Dick Durbin called Ian Fishback a military hero:

Major Fishback’s courageous letter shed light on the atrocities that were being committed—shamefully—in the name of our nation. ... After reports emerged from horrific abuses at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, I tried for a year and a half to pass legislation to make it clear that cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees was illegal. Two military heroes, my former colleague Senator John McCain and Major Fishback, turned the tide in this effort.[38]

Some e-mailer are asking why we didn't cover his passing?

We did cover it.  

In fact, we led the November 25, 2021 "Iraq snapshot" with it.

That matters for two reasons.  In terms of this site, Thanksgiving Day (which was November 25th that year) is one of the few days during the week that I don't do an Iraq snapshot.  When Bully Boy Bush pushed through the SOFA in Iraq on a Thanksgiving Day (2008), we did a snapshot.  It has to be major like that for me to do one on Thanksgiving Day.  We treated Ian Fishback's death as something major.  Doing a snapshot meant that others in the community would feel that they had to post on the holiday as well.  Which is why it has to be something major to get me to do one.  

The second reason the "Iraq snapshot" matters is the date.  Again, that's November 25, 2021.  Those of you e-mailing that he just died and that I've ignored it need to look at what you were reading or watching.  He died approximately two years ago.  Last week, he was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.  Here's the opening of the August 9th ALL THINGS CONSIDERED (NPR) report this week:


Ian Fishback was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday. Fishback was an Army veteran who deployed four times to Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also named one of Time magazine's most influential people for blowing the whistle on torture by the U.S. military. And despite being hailed as a real-life Captain America, Fishback died broke, virtually homeless and in court-mandated mental health care.


MARC GARLASCO: It's a real damning, damning statement on 20 years of war and how we treat the veterans of this country.

"Ian Fishback was laid to rest Tuesday after having died in 2021. He was named one of Time magazine's most influential people in 2005 for blowing the whistle on torture by the U.S. military."

Thursday, Drew F. Lawrence (MILITARY.COM) reported on the ceremony and on the events of Fishback's life:

At the end of his life, Fishback was medicated with antipsychotics, racked by paranoia that he was under surveillance by the government, and virtually immobile in a court-ordered adult foster care home.

[. . .]

During his later mental health struggles, the government was indeed watching him -- the FBI created a file on Fishback due to its concerns over his behavior, according to exclusive documents obtained by

[. . .]

It was there [West Point] that Fishback seemed to settle into a second calling in life as a philosopher and teacher, according to The New York Times. Mental illness, exacerbated by the tumultuous spotlight of whistleblowing, rumbled in his mind, however. He left the Army in 2014, but continued to teach.

[. . .]

While he was a graduate student instructor [at The University of Michigan -- this is after teaching at West Point}, even Fishback's students began to perceive something amiss, according to the FBI investigation documents obtained by

The FBI initiated an assessment in July 2019 with a case name that read "Former U.S. Army Major Claims Abuse by U.S. Government and Threatens Disclosure of Classified Information." The bulk of the investigation contains information from April of that year into early fall. received the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request.

"In end of class evaluations that [redacted] finally reviewed in January 2019, several students reported that, mid-term, something seemed to have changed in Fishback's demeanor that affected his ability to effectively communicate the information on the syllabus," said one document, referencing an interview with a University of Michigan professor.

That April, Fishback allegedly made comments "concerning a possible justification for killing those who may violate a person's rights." The interviewee did not find the comments threatening, however, and when interviewed later by a campus police officer, Fishback denied he said anything about killing.

That same month, Fishback sent an email to other graduate students saying, in part, that they and the department as a whole "lack the intellect and honor of professional scholars," according to an email included in the FBI file.

In July 2019, the messages became more explicit and less tethered to reality. Fishback wrote to his colleagues alleging that he was tortured and raped at the University of Michigan, and that he was retaliated against by "U.S. Special Operations, the NSA, and/or the CIA."

In one email, he denied that he was suffering from mental illness. He also worried he "might be killed."

That's a lot to unpack and that may be why some are confused -- or they just may be learning that Fishback died (in 2021) this week and that may be why they're confused.

At any rate, the eight pages the FBI elected to release are online here.  Let's review one thing found in those pages.

In a July 13, 2019 e-mail to the University's grad school for philosophy, he wrote, "I have been tortured while I'm at UM. Among other things, my work has been severely disrupted, I've been sexually harassed and I've been raped."  That appears to indicate he was alleging he was raped and harassed at The University of Michigan."  But maybe he was blurring all the abuse together?  

The only documentation of anyone speaking to Ian about this is on September 10, 2019.  I don't understand that, the interview took place on September 9, 2019 and don't why you wait a day before typing up your report for The University of Michigan's Division of Public Safety?


Then your ass should be fired.  Let's assume there was no targeting of Ian Fishback.  You're campus safety.  You've been contacted repeatedly by the FBI about Fishback -- is he a threat to others, he's saying he'll release national secrets in Europe, he made some "veiled threat" on a voice mail to then US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's office, etc.  Fishback was in Europe at the time and the campus department was relaying that they couldn't speak to him.  He returns, they immediately contact him by phone, he says he's at his apartment and that the safety officer can come over right now.  Which happens.  That's September 9, 2019.  Why do you wait a day until you file your report the next morning at 9:10 AM?

I'm not screaming "Cover up!" here.  I'm saying that someone should have been fired.  

You already know that Ian Fishback is making claims that, true or false, will attract attention if known.  You therefore do not do an interview on September 9th and then wait until September 10th to write it up.  That looks suspect -- it's probably just a lazy campus security officer* -- and you want to avoid that on any report you write up but especially when it's on a student that the FBI has repeatedly contacted you about and who they're trying to make it sound like has physically threatened the Speaker of the House.  (The 'threat' to Pelosi was not physical violence and appears to have been that he would expose what he said the government was doing to him or some secrets he knew from his time in the military.)  

*As noted here and at Elaine's site and at Rebecca's site many times over the years, I spoke out against apartheid in South Africa for years.  In college, I'd already been speaking out when our campus paper felt the need to do a 'soft' feature on a tennis player who was a foreigner -- a White South Afrikaner -- and they quoted the player at length, about tennis and especially about South Africa.  This White person wanted the campus and the world to know that Nelson Mandela was not a political prisoner and besides, he had it better than any Black person in South Africa because he was being treated so well in prison.  At the same time, the White tennis player, insisted that talk of discrimination against Black people in South Africa was all just a bunch of nonsense from the media.  The tennis player clearly didn't see the problem with his own 'logic' that there were no problems for Black people in South Africa yet, by being in prison, Nelson Mandela had it better off than any other Black person in that country.

I wrote a tear down to the paper.  (Gee, can you imagine that.)  And it outlined all the problems with that feature, with the editorial staff not offering any sort of disclaimer or, for that matter, facts about the actual living experience for Black people under apartheid.  It included calling out the nonsense of letting someone from the abuser class dismiss those suffering from the abuse and their claims of abuse which does not promote academic excellence (or, for that matter, mediocrity).

It was a huge deal on campus -- and I'll stop my known part of it there. 

How this applies to Ian Fishback?  Due to that and many other things, our campus security visited me regularly.  Sometimes obviously, sometimes trying to act like a friend or worried about some supposed violence and making sure I was okay.

Elaine and I got our FBI files years ago.  We spent two weeks going through them together while going through the volumes of my journals so we could identify every redacted name possible -- it's why we don't highlight YES! magazine which hired a snitch -- a lying snitch -- who didn't know us but loved to lie about us -- we already knew the snitch worked for the government, when Elaine was dating a British MP, the whore approached us and as the whore approached, the MP told us the whore was CIA. That's the condensed version anyway.  For the longer, search this site and search Elaine's. 

What we found out other than identities was that we were both spied upon non-stop by campus police.  (Rebecca was as well but they were more interested in who she was dating than anything political.  This despite Rebecca's strong stance for Palestinians that dates back to college.  Rebecca was and is very beautiful and I'm sure that's what fascinated the campus security more than her politics.)   Every little-accidental-bump-into was actually instigated by an FBI request.  

I hope they were attempting to be bitchy in the reports on us.  But, let me be clear, if you come to a woman's home at 9:00 pm at night and you feel the need to include in your report that she's not wearing a bra, maybe you need to also include why, as a campus safety officer, you feel the need to comment on that to begin with? Are you such a stranger to women that you don't grasp that if she's not expecting company and she's returned to her own home for the night, she's going to remove her bra?  Exactly how alien are women to you?

As you can tell I don't have a lot of respect for the cooperation between the FBI and campus security.

But one thing they did right when spying on me?  Within two hours of each encounter, they had typed up their report. 

So that does bother me that the report is written a day after campus security has interviewed someone that the FBI had been repeatedly contacting them about.  My own poor opinion of campus security leads me to lean towards "Lazy ass."  But that's just my opinion.  

At any rate, in the September 9th interview, Ian's asked about the harassment and rape sentence from the July e-mail, this is page 32 of the FBI published documents, the interviewer typed, on September 10th, "I asked Fishback when he says he was raped if he is saying he was sexually assaulted while at U of M.  Fishback advised the sexually assault occurred while he was faculty at West Point."

The media reports this past week struck me as sub-standard.  And that's why.  That's not the only issue in the files, by the way.  But that's the one that stood out the most between the coverage and the actual files.  The coverage -- not just MILITARY.COM -- finds reporters saying Ian alleged harassment and rape took place at The University of Michigan.  I quoted the sentence from the e-mail earlier.  And that could be saying UM, it could also be him combining what he'd gone through in the last years.  In the only case of him being asked of it, the person interviewing him said he stated it took place at West Point.

Did those 'covering' it this week actually go to the trouble of reading the 48 pages the FBI released?

Was 32 too far for them?  Were they too damn lazy and chose to stop after page 7 or 8?

I have no idea.  But that's why I didn't highlight coverage of it.  First, we'd already covered the death.  Second, I was seeing sloppy reporting and wasn't in the mood for it.

An e-mailer to the public account insists that "it's too hot to handle" and that "you live in fear of controversy."  That's hilarious because I actually said in an interview at the end of the 90s that we have to court controversy.  So that's hilarious.  

We had a lot to cover and never got to most of it this past week.  Did you notice "Ronald," for example?  That was forever leading up to an article that I'll try to work in next week -- and link to a piece Ava and I did awhile back about names.  

To cover this issue, Ian Fishback's claims, I'd have to go into all that I've already done in this post.  And I just didn't have time and also wasn't in the mood.  Didn't want to unpack my own life, wanted to focus on other issues.

Do I think Ian Fishback was targeted by the US government?

I don't know.  Or we could say it like Parker Posey in PARTY GIRL: "I. Don't. Know."

I have no idea.

Is it possible?  Yes, it's possible.  He stated that he was targeted through various presidencies and that the actions taken against him were worst during presidential election years which he hypothesizes would be because there was less executive branch oversight for government agencies by the executive branch during this time.  He called Special Forces a "lynchpin" and, from the campus security officer's report, "Fishback explained he got entangled with high ranking generals, a former president of the United States and the CIA."

Is that possible?  It certainly is possible.

If there were people actively persecuting him, it could also have been individuals -- either in those agencies or out of them -- doing so, acting as individuals and abusing government resources.  Garner served in Iraq with Ian, for example, and Garner was furious about the exposure of torture, so to get back at the whistle-blower, Garner goes after Ian.  Maybe Garner's NSA and he abuses access to programs that he has?

So, yes, Ian could have been targeted by the government or by former/present employees of the government (that would include Special Forces and all forms of military intelligence).

I don't see it though.  Doesn't mean I'm right.  If I saw it -- and that's why I read the pages the FBI released -- I'd say so.  And, by the way, they didn't release everything.

If someone is a person of interest, even if the case is closed, the file continues to be updated.  That's with any so-called life events -- such as marriage or birth. 

It's interesting that there's no record of Ian's marriage or divorce in the released pages, for example. And that goes to the reality that there's nothing on his whistle-blowing.

The pages released start with 2019 and there's no way that was the first time Ian was on the FBI radar.  As a whistle-blower, his file would have started then (if not started before when he was complaining about abuse to his superiors) -- especially as someone whistle-blowing on the US military's actions in Iraq.  

The last page of the released papers notes that the investigation was closed in September of 2019.  This is noted in an April 8, 2021 update over something -- it's all redacted -- identified as a "March 2021 update" -- it's at least five paragraphs and all redacted.  This could have been some public incident that led to Ian being court-ordered into an adult care facility.  Whatever's redacted, the FBI was "contacted" about it.

There is no released page noting that Ian died.  That's the sort of major event that they would usually add to someone who had been under investigation -- especially when they had initially had concerns that the subject might be violent (they dismissed that in September 2019). 

So my point is that the full file has not been released.  

If others want to look into it, they should.  But, again, I don't see anything that supports what Ian believed was happening.  (Again, doesn't mean I'm right.)

So for me, that leaves Ian Fishback as another veteran the US government made promises to and then failed.

I don't care about COVID and bed shortages.  He was a distinguished of the US military and the VA refused to help him.  They refused him.  

The US government failed him.  And that's as bad as if they targeted him.

In the November 25, 2021 snapshot, I wrote:

Promises were made to him.  Promises were not kept.  I see Ian as someone suffering from post-traumatic stress and in need of help.  And when it all fractured and he got court-ordered, the VA should have been there to help.  But it didn't.  He had to go into a civilian adult-care center where he was drugged non-stop to the point that he couldn't even move.  

That's not treatment for any human being.  Sadly, the US government does not believe it is their role to provide healthcare for all US citizens.  But the difference here is that Ian was in the US military and the promise the government makes there is that your service in the military means the US government will treat all wounds resulting from that service.  Post-Traumatic Stress is a wound.  

Ian was not helped by the US government, in fact he was harmed by it.

A brave person did a heroic thing.  It wasn't easy to do it at the start and you can be sure it was hard to live with.  Revealing what was happening didn't undo the damage.  It didn't undo what was done -- those tortured were not magically untortured.  And the horror that Ian felt that moved him to expose what was happening remained inside him.

That's sadly very normal.  No one should have that in their head.  We would all struggle with that.  It is normal.  We recoil from horrors for a reason.

The system clearly failed Ian.  But Ian wasn't crazy.  He was sent by our government into a war and he experienced very troubling things as a result.  You go deep diving, you need to decompress.  You experience what Ian did, you need something more than, "Thanks for your service."

And to be really clear, I'm not advocating for returning service members to be kept in some sort of isolation for weeks.  When they return, they should be able to return to their loved ones.  I am saying that services need to be made available.  That's counseling with trained medical professionals, absolutely.  That's also religious counseling -- that's chaplains and others.  There should be a huge range of people to talk to and you should be encouraged to check in with some of the resources available.  

If a veteran is feeling suicidal, it is great that there's a toll free number where they can serve assistance -- 800-273-8255 -- and it's sad that Eric Shinseki's family worked to make the use of that number questionable.  But that the service is so needed goes to the fact that there are so many gaps in care.  

And there were way too many gaps on the part of the US government with regards to Ian.  He was abandoned in many ways.

He did a heroic and courageous thing.  The US government did not honor that action.

I stand by that.  He wasn't crazy.  He may have been right about being targeted.  I don't think those charges were right but I do see that he was responding to the wounds he incurred while serving.  That doesn't make him crazy.  And I am very careful when speaking of veterans to be precise about wounds.  There is so much stigma around Post-Traumatic Stress, for example -- and we do not call that a "disorder," it is a response a veteran is having to a war wound -- and it can prevent people from seeking help.  This is not something 'all in your head.'  This is not 'you are crazy.'  This is a wound, the same as a bullet wound, and it needs to be treated for your health.  We need to be very careful on this topic unless your goal is to keep veterans suffering.  

A bombing took your leg?  You're not fine the next day.  You have to process, you have to go through rehab.  The same bomb may not have damaged anything on the outside of your body but it may have done same damage inside and that's why you need to seek help.  It's not about being "crazy," it's about medical healing.  

We have to note Kevin G.

"TMF: The Fearless Filmmaking Of 'New Hollywood' Di..." posted earlier tonight.  It did not show the video -- it showed the code.  I did something wrong when embedding it.  Thank you to Bill for e-mailing to let me know.

Let me note a Tweet from Paul Rudnick.

Patrice e-mailed asking what Ava and I planned to write about?  We have no idea.  We've got scraps from throughout the week but we have no idea.  Usually, if I have a dream, I'll advocate for that.  For example, I dreamt of Laura Nyro last night.  I knew Laura, she was a great person.  She was calling out Janis Ian in the dream.  I know Janis, known her for years, don't hate her but don't embrace her either.  Her dishonesty has always been a problem.  After I mentioned the dream to Ty at lunch today, he told me that an e-mail came in asking why we were so tough on Janis Ian?  Ava and I weren't tough on her.  Until she embraced the FBI under Donald Trump.  

This is a woman who made Mel Torme her personal hero so clearly she has judgment issues but even I was taken aback by her insisting upon supporting the FBI after what they did to destroy her family.  At that point, I lost all respect for her.   That's when we called her out for lying -- including claiming she was being asked by Barbra Streisand to write songs for A STAR IS BORN in 1977.  As we pointed out, A STAR IS BORN was released in 1976. It does matter.  Dates can be muddled, I understand.  But she's claiming she was being beaten by her ex-husband during this.  She didn't meet him until 1977.  She didn't marry him until 1978.  The film came out in 1976.  Does it mean she wasn't abused?  I have no idea.  I just know she tends to lie a lot.

In the dream, Laura was pointing out another lie.  Janis has short changed Laura repeatedly.  Including in that bad book Janis wrote.  When I woke up, I called a friend -- a songwriter -- to ask her, "You went to school with Laura, right?  I am remembering that correctly? And Janis went there too and all three of you knew each other?"  Yes, to all the questions.  She, Janis and Laura went to the same school.  And Laura lies about it in her book.  She barely knew her, Janis claims.  Why the lie, Janis?  Laura told me years ago about the people she sang with while in high school (the performing arts one that's forever changing its name -- the one from FAME) and Janis was a regular singing partner but Janis claims they barely knew each other and that she only saw her at the school when they passed in the halls. 

I believe in dreams, and have noted that before, which is wrongly mistaken as either I think someone's communicating with me from the dead or it's some sort of psychic experience.  No.  I believe that we take in a great deal of data in our waking hours.  I believe that, for me, sleep is a way to process that information and to pick up on things I didn't really register at the time.  If I have a problem or a friend has a problem, I will often sleep on it.  I will dream on it.  A friend's stuck on dialogue, I'll dream on it.  I believe in dreams as a workshop.  And if something comes up in a dream, like Laura appearing and talking about Janis last night, that it's my brain trying to steer me to some topic.  I don't know what yet and may never.  But often, when Ava and I talk about it, we'll figure out what we're going to write about.  

Last e-mail question, this morning or afternoon "Smokey Robinson & Karissa Bodnar | Sherri Shepherd" went up. I did all those around five o'clock this morning -- all the way up to "You Don't Own Me - Lesley Gore" were done when I woke up.  Devon e-mailed to say I had posted that before -- a few months back and did I know that?

I knew it right before I posted it.  Like seconds before.  And posted it anyway because I was able to breathe.

There's a YOUTUBE channel that I really think needs to be banned.  All they do is lie.  This is not me arguing politics.  These people lie.  This morning, when I booted up the laptop and went to YOUTUBE, one of my recommendations was Smokey Robinson because I listen to Smokey a lot online.  The recommendation was from this YOUTUBE channel and I couldn't catch my breath as I read the headline -- a lie -- that Smokey was dead.  He's not dead.

I immediately did a YOUTUBE search and saw no obits.  Thankfully, saw none.  I love Smokey and have known him for years.  At some point, yes, we all die.  But, no, I was not prepared for that.  So while I'm breathing again, I saw the interview Sherri had done with him and figured we'd post it again.  A) Because thank goodness Smokey's still with us.  And B) I'm not sure if Sherri and Jennifer are still doing new episodes with the strike but I do enjoy both of their talk shows and think they are doing a great job.  

That YOUTUBE channel lies every day.  Every day it posts a video saying some one has died when they haven't died.  Why is it allowed to stay on YOUTUBE?  Again, this is not political, this is not debatable.

"Smokey Robinson's final moments in the hospital, he died in the arms of his loved ones. Rest" is the title of the video.  And, no, Smokey has not died.  It's a lie.

Two hours ago, I see they published "Millions are crying over the sudden death of 'Queen of R&B' Mary J. Blige."  Mary is not dead.

They lie over and over and over.  That's all they do.  

"Deceased Celeb Last 24h" is the name of the channel and they lie every time they post and they've done so since 2019.  Why does YOUTUBE allow them to remain?  

My heart literally stopped when I saw their video this morning and thought Smokey had died.  

The following sites updated:


Janelle Monáe Reads Thirst Tweets

Janeane Garofalo Learns About TikTok NPCs, Girl Dinner & The Grimace Shake

BURN IT DOWN WITH KIM BROWN - New York Doctor Charged with SHOCKING Crimes


TMF: The Fearless Filmmaking Of 'New Hollywood' Director William Friedkin

You Don't Own Me - Lesley Gore

Tip Of the Spear w Orisanmi Burton

LeAnn Rimes Performs "The Rose" with The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles

What Is the Health of Hip-Hop at 50?

Watch Pink Perform "Glitter In The Air" At The 2010 GRAMMYs Show | GRAMMY Rewind

Daily Wire Creep's Abortion 'Reversal' Pill Is SKETCHY

Diana Ross & Jennifer Hudson - Endless Love (July 10, 2019 - Chicago Theater, Chicago IL)

Conservatives Turn Their Sights On Vital HIV Program PEPFAR

KD Lang sings 'Helpless'/ 'Simple' on the Max Sessions

Patti LaBelle - Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Official Music Video)

The Wiz | "Ease On Down the Road" Performed by Diana Ross and Michael Jackson

American Oz (full documentary) | AMERICAN EXPERIENCE | PBS

DIANA ROSS He Lives In You on Oprah

Smokey Robinson & Karissa Bodnar | Sherri Shepherd

Diana Ross - Ain´t No Mountain High Enough (Live on Diana!, 1971)

“We’re Not Going to Die This Way”: Father Jumped into Ocean with 5 Kids to Escape Maui Fire

Nina Simone: Save Me (Live in Antibes, 1969)

Steven Crowder's Employees Expose His Disgusting Abuse (w/ Emma Vigeland) | The Leftist Mafia #36

Cass Elliot - The Look Of Love (Live)

Trump Legal Chaos BLOWS UP in GOP’s Face | On Democracy

Sarah Vaughan “Didn’t We?” (1970)

Are the Minnesota State Police Trying to Cover Up the Murder of Ricky Cobb ll?

Nina Simone: Four Women (Live in Antibes, 1969)

DeSantis Fires SA Chief of Staff, House Dems Request DeSantis Investigation,Lizzo Harassment Lawsuit

Janis Joplin - Get it while you can

MUST WATCH! “If You Come for Us, We Will Not Sit Down.” Dr. Daniel Black on the Montgomery Brawl.

“Cry Me A River” — Streisand Live at the hungry i nightclub, 1963

Naomi, Cindy, Linda & Christy Remember The Dawn Of The Supermodel Era

Twitter CEO’s Corporate Word Salad Exposes Elon Musk’s Free Speech Grift

Marianne Williamson shares her path to politics, pushes back on Dem strategy, & defends her platform

Aretha Franklin - Something He Can Feel

Ga. prosecutor seeks 12 Trump indictments; Chicano heritage month; Black Montgomery | #TheCulture

Happy Birthday Hip Hop Quick Mix

Survey Shows Most Americans Oppose Using Religion To Discriminate

Judge revokes bail for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried | WNT

Friday, August 11, 2023

Matt Walsh TERRIFIED Of Pansexuals

DeSantis Panics, Maui Fires, SCOTUS Corruption w/ Alex Pareene, Francesca Fiorentini | MR Live

Building On A History Of Black Labor Organizing

HEATED Debate on Trump Crimes vs Michael Tracey

Grace’s pure love for food | Will & Grace

BURN IT DOWN WITH KIM BROWN - White Terrorist Killed By The Feds

Apartment Manager ASSAULTS 2 Black Kids At A Pool, Pours Soda On 11-Year-Old | Roland Martin

American Academy Of Pediatrics Continues To Support Gender Affirming Care As Evidence Based Health

Fire Expert Says Climate & Native Vegetation Changes Fueled Explosive Maui Wildfires

Tearing apart Ron Desantis' Terrible Ad

GOP in Full-Blown Panic Mode Following SEVENTH Election Loss Over Abortion

Cher - Elton John Medley (with The Pointer Sisters) (The Cher Show, 09/14/1975)


Iraq snapshot

Friday, August 11, 2023.  The illegitimate Supreme Court gets a lot more crooked thanks to Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, Ron DeSantis wants to dumb down America further, shame on parents who allow him to, and much more.

Starting with the US, the location of the corrupt and illegitimate Supreme Court, Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

 U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is facing growing calls to recuse himself from a case that could hamstring Congress' ability to enact a federal wealth tax, a policy that progressive lawmakers and economists say is needed to rein in out-of-control inequality.

Late last week, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter urging Chief Justice John Roberts to "take appropriate steps to ensure that Justice Alito will recuse himself" from Moore v. United States, which the Supreme Court recently agreed to take up.

The lawmakers' demand was prompted by a friendly interview that Alito gave to The Wall Street Journal's opinion section, which in June allowed the right-wing justice to get out in front of a ProPublicastory on his luxury trip with billionaire hedge fund titan Paul Singer.

The interview late last month was conducted in part by David Rivkin Jr., an attorney who is representing the plaintiffs in Moore v. United States. The case, which is mentioned in passing in the Journal's write-up of the Alito interview, concerns whether unrealized gains such as stock appreciation can be subject to federal taxation.

Unrealized gains are currently untaxed in the U.S., allowing billionaires such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk to accumulate massive fortunes while paying little to nothing in federal income taxes.

Supporters of the Moore plaintiffs, who are specifically challenging an obscure foreign earnings provision in the 2017 Republican tax law, have encouraged the Supreme Court to explicitly address the constitutionality of wealth taxes in its ruling.

"This case presents the court with an ideal opportunity to clarify that taxes on unrealized gains, such as wealth taxes, are direct taxes that are unconstitutional if not apportioned among the states," the right-wing Manhattan Institute argued in a May amicus brief. (Proponents of a tax on unrealized gains, such as Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), have expressed confidence that such a tax is constitutional.)

The Manhattan Institute is chaired by Singer, whose private jet flew Alito to an Alaska fishing trip that the justice did not disclose.

"Alito needs to recuse himself from the case deciding the constitutionality of a wealth tax," Americans for Tax Fairness, a progressive advocacy group, said Wednesday. "First he accepted lavish gifts from billionaires and failed to disclose them. Then he gave a buddy-buddy interview to one of the case's anti-wealth tax lawyers. Enough." 

Alito's a crook.  Sadly, he's not the only one on the Court.  Crooked Clarence is back in the news. 

An investigative report published Wednesday by Pro Publica outlines the utterly corrupt lifestyle of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The most right-wing of the nine justices, the most consistent advocate of the interests of the super-rich and enemy of democratic rights, has lived like a billionaire throughout his three decades on the high court.

The report, published under the headline, “Clarence Thomas’ 38 Vacations: The Other Billionaires Who Have Treated the Supreme Court Justice to Luxury Travel,” is a devastating exposure of corruption and criminality. 

The report declares: 

Thomas has secretly reaped the benefits from a network of wealthy and well-connected patrons that is far more extensive than previously understood… 

During his three decades on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas has enjoyed steady access to a lifestyle most Americans can only imagine. A cadre of industry titans and ultrawealthy executives have treated him to far-flung vacations aboard their yachts, ushered him into the premium suites at sporting events and sent their private jets to fetch him including, on more than one occasion, an entire 737. 

The gifts include “at least 38 destination vacations, including a previously unreported voyage on a yacht around the Bahamas.” This is better than one expensive vacation every year of Thomas’s 32 years on the court. In addition, there were “26 private jet flights, plus an additional eight by helicopter; a dozen VIP passes to professional and college sporting events, typically perched in the skybox; two stays at luxury resorts in Florida and Jamaica; and one standing invitation to an uber-exclusive golf club overlooking the Atlantic coast.”

These trips were largely unreported, either by the corporate media or by Thomas himself in his annual financial filings with the court. Pro Publica observes, “Thomas appears to have violated the law by failing to disclose flights, yacht cruises and expensive sports tickets, according to ethics experts.”

At least four billionaires, representing several sectors of the US economy, have been identified as sponsors of Thomas. There may be others, but these four, as profiled by the New York Times and Pro Publica, include:

  • Harlan Crow, heir to the commercial real estate giant Trammell Crow, founded by his father, which became the largest US owner of real estate. Harlan Crow controls the family holding company, Crow Holdings, with assets of $20 billion.
  • David Sokol, oil and finance executive, who made his initial fortune at Berkshire Hathaway, the massive investment firm founded and headed by Warren Buffett, before resigning in disgrace over an insider trading scandal.
  • The late H. Wayne Huizenga, whose fortune derived from Waste Management, the leading waste disposal firm in North America, Auto Nation, once the largest auto dealer, and Blockbuster video. He also owned at one point or another most of the professional sports teams in Miami, Florida.
  • Paul Novelly, oil executive, whose family owns the billion-dollar independent Apex Oil and several other oil industry firms, most involved in trading and storing heavy oil products, including fuel oil and asphalt.

What these billionaires have in common, besides enormous wealth, is an extreme right-wing political perspective, opposing any restriction on the capitalist market and any effort to provide state support for working people whose jobs and living standards have been devastated by market forces.

They were not “personal friends” of Thomas, as the justice claimed of Crow when his financial ties with the real estate mogul was brought to light by Pro Publica earlier this year. All four began their relationships with Thomas only after he had become a Supreme Court justice in 1991, when he was in a position to reinforce the drastic shift to the right in the high court which was already under way.

Thomas occasionally reported trips and gifts from Crow, but never for any of the other three, although these relationships were extraordinarily lucrative as well. 

Betty covered the latest developments in "Crooked Clarence and the corrupt Court" last night.  Let's note Isaiah's  THE WORLD TODAY  "Crooked Clarence" from April.

crooked clarence

The illegitimate Court can't be mocked because it's already make a mockery of itself and of the law.  Impeachment is required but, as Betty notes, a Republican controlled House refuses to take the measures required.  

The verdicts of late and the scandals have destroyed the Court's image.  That really kicks off with DOBBS where the Court ignored and overturned precedent.  This is  Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Experts"


There's no rebuilding the image -- or the integrity -- with the same crooked members.  And the Court had been the only branch with any real consistent support from We The People.  

Stand Up America issued the following:

Brett Edkins, Managing Director of Policy and Political Affairs for Stand Up America, issued the following statement in response to reports that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accepted gifts and travel likely worth millions of dollars from four billionaires.

“Today’s ProPublica report brings to light a litany of new ethics violations by Justice Thomas, including accepting and failing to disclose extravagant gifts and luxury travel paid for by his billionaire benefactors. The Supreme Court’s legitimacy hangs by a thread. Justice Thomas' pattern of misconduct is a stark reminder that we cannot trust Supreme Court justices to hold themselves to a higher ethical standard on their own. The Supreme Court needs a code of ethics now.

“It’s time for Congress to behave like a coequal branch of government and address corruption on the Supreme Court with the urgency it demands, including by passing the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act. This latest report from ProPublica begs the question: what is it going to take for our leaders in Congress to do their jobs and finally hold this Court in check?”

Stand Up America is a progressive advocacy organization with over two million community members across the country. Focused on grassroots advocacy to strengthen our democracy and oppose Trump's corrupt agenda, Stand Up America has driven over 600,000 phone calls to Congress and mobilized tens of thousands of protestors across the country. 

Chris Hayes noted Clarence's corruption last night.

Donald Trump, former US president, is running for the GOP's presidential nomination while he hopes to avoid a federal conviction in one of many cases currently working their way through the courts.  His attorneys feel that Clarence is their inside judge if they're able to kick any of the cases up to the Supreme Court.

Donald's not the only nightmare wanting to be president of the United States currently.  

Robert F. Kennedy Jr is willing to destroy his own name and his family's name as he pursues the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

In some good news, he still has the support of Tulsi Gabbard.  You know Tulsi, right?  She ran for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2020.  Remember how many delegates she was awarded in 2020's contest?  Two.  Maybe Junior can get two as well.  Joe Biden won the nominations with 2687 delegates.  But Tulsi -- Tulsi Garbage, as Trina has dubbed her -- only got two. 

Today, Tulsi says she left the Democratic Party and preaches hates against LGBTQs and embraces Moms For Bigotry and takes that scarred acne face where ever cameras can be found as she attacks Joe Biden.  She never points out that she refused to hold Joe accountable for the Iraq War in the only debate she was in with Joe -- Jake Tapper not only gave her a chance, when she flubbed it, he came back around to her and gave her a second chance.  She not only defended Joe and excused him for his support of the Iraq War, she later dropped out of the race and endorsed Joe -- not Bernie, she endorsed Joe.  That's why I find any of her hateful criticism so puzzling -- she endorsed Joe.  In March 2020, she endorsed him.  When does she take accountability for that?  When does she take accountability for anything?  

Another crazy that Junior has in his corner is Naomi Wolf -- and if her med dosage is correct on the day of the primary, she'll vote for him.  He's spent recent days announcing he will not call for Medicare For All.  He doesn't believe in it.  He believes Barack Obama wasted time and leverage trying to address healthcare.  This is the man, please remember, who believes the free market will solve climate change.

At COUNTERPUNCH, Jeffrey St Clair notes Junior and GOP hopeful Ron DeSantis:

+ One of RFK Jr.’s super PACs has been paying thousands to a xenophobic outlet called Creative Destruction Media that blasts out alarums about the threat of “Black and brown invaders” with a “primitive culture”.  Not much of a surprise there. Last month, RFK Jr stood with the big irrigators in Arizona who are sucking the Colorado River dry and smeared immigrants for stepping on their arugula plantations….

+ Which imperial family’s disintegration has been more complete: the Windsors, Kennedys or Cuomos? According to a story in the NYT this week, Madeline Cuomo, the sister of former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, worked with a pro-Cuomo group called We Decide New York, Inc. to smear and intimidate women who had accused Cuomo of sexual harassment.

+ DeSantis auditioning for the Joker in the next Batman reboot?

+ Is it any wonder he’s campaign is in free fall? DeSantis is now polling less than half of the support from people who pick a candidate not named Trump.

+ DeSantis, who was billed as the political Ken doll for the Moms of Liberty demographic, is now polling at 11% nationally among GOP women.

+ In a desperate effort to reverse his slide into political oblivion, DeSantis used his autocratic powers as Florida governor to remove the elected state attorney in Orlando, a black reformist prosecutor named Monique Worrell, saying she’d been weak on criminal prosecutions. Worrell responded by saying, “I am your duly elected state attorney and nothing done by a weak dictator can change that.” Meanwhile, DeSantis has taken no action against the DA of Jacksonville, despite the fact the city has the highest murder rate in Florida. Of course, he’s white and a Republican.

+ This latest action has means that DeSantis has nullified the electoral decisions of more than 15.5 percent of the voters in the state, leaving 3.3 million Floridians without their elected choice of prosecutor.

+ Here’s DeSantis defending his plan for death squads on the southern border:

+ “These people in Iraq at the time, they all looked the same.” This is certainly calls out for a deeper probe into DeSantis’ time in Fallujah, as well as Guantanamo.

Ron DeSantis is a clear and present danger as his campaign makes more clear with each passing day.  At SALON, Amanda Marcotte writes:

Another week, another lesson in a truth that will not be heeded by the mainstream media: Republicans are liars, and you should never take what they say at face value. This time it was over yet another education scandal in Florida under the leadership of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. It started when the College Board, a non-profit that manages educational standards for those seeking higher education, announced that Florida had banned an Advanced Placement (AP) psychology course that over 30,000 Florida high school students had enrolled in for the fall.

Long story short: The DeSantis-signed bill barring schools from offering "instruction" in gender or sexual orientation, dubbed the "don't say gay law" by critics, made it impossible for teachers to address very basic ideas like "sexuality is a part of the life experience." Rather than offer a substandard program, the College Board was forced to pull the AP classes, which many students could use for college credit, from the schools. 

In response to the bad press, the GOP-controlled Florida government went into heavy spin mode, releasing a letter claiming the AP Psychology course can be "taught in its entirety," but only "in a manner that is age and developmentally appropriate." This was widely — and falsely — reported in the press as a "reversal," with even LGBTQ-oriented sites getting caught up in the hype. Thankfully, the team at Popular Information was on hand to debunk the lie, pointing out that the "developmentally appropriate" language is a poison pill that amounts to a de facto ban on the AP Psychology course. 

"A teacher can exclude the content in AP Psychology related to sexual orientation and gender identity and put their students at risk of not receiving college credit," Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekeria explain. "Or a teacher can include those topics and risk losing their certification and their job." Despite reports implying otherwise, therefore, Florida schools are canceling the classes. 

Luckily, the Washington Post quickly updated the story with the correct information, under the headline "Florida schools drop AP Psychology after state says it violates the law." 

All this confusion is very much by design. The mixed messages coming from Republican leaders on what is and isn't allowed in schools serves a larger purpose: making it so impossible for teachers to do their jobs that they give up even trying.

In some cases, teachers leave the profession or move to a less hostile state to work. In others, it's more a quiet-quitting, as the limitations force teachers to offer a substandard education to their students, out of fear that actually challenging kids to learn will cross some legal line that will land teachers in serious trouble. Either way, children in red states are losing access to quality education. 

He's carrying out a war on information.  Shame on any parent who is okay with their child's education being sub-standard because Ronald wants to promote racism and homophobia.  In ten to twenty years, when your kid is trying to get a job, do you really think, "We sent them to Florida public schools" is going to look good on a resume?  It's not.  That's especially true if they try to get employment outside of Florida.  You are allowing him to harm your child's future -- including their potential income making power.  I have no idea why you would try to doom your own child.

But you need to grasp that's what you're doing.  The world is laughing at Florida.  Baily Richards (PEOPLE magazine -- repeating, PEOPLE magazine) notes:

The works of William Shakespeare are now being censored in some Florida schools amid confusion stemming from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new book-challenge law, HB 1069, which has spawned an uptick in book bans and increased scrutiny surrounding schools' education materials.
After the Florida governor approved and promoted the legislation last week, media specialists said that the English playwright’s works — many of which are longtime staples of American high school curriculum — would likely be deemed unfit for classroom use, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

At WSWS, Sandy English observes:

Education in Florida has been ravaged by book banning for the last year under the “don’t say gay” law as well as other laws that allow parents to object to almost anything in curriculums. In fact, according to the Parental Rights in Education law, Diaz is inviting any Florida educator to lose his or her job—or worse—by verbally recommending “Romeo and Juliet” to a student or including it in a curriculum.

The confusion and fear sown in Florida’s educational standards are a part of the wrecking operation by far-right groups such as Moms for Liberty and their would-be Il Duce, Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis. A small Evangelical Christian and fascist-minded constituency has lit the bonfire of book banning in Florida’s schools and in those of other American states.

As the WSWS noted in April:

The numbers and types of books that have been removed from Florida schools are truly staggering. In February, in Martin County, Florida, over 80 works, by authors such as Toni Morrison, James Patterson and Jodi Picoult, were removed from elementary school libraries at the request of a single parent, who wrote that these works had no “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for students.”

The parent, Julie Marshall, is the head of the local chapter of Moms for Liberty.

“One of the books removed, Picoult’s novel The Storyteller (2013), is a bestseller that tells the story of the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor who meets a former SS officer. “Banning The Storyteller is shocking,” Picoult told the Washington Post, “as it is about the Holocaust and has never been banned before.” This ban recalls the censorship of the graphic novel Maus in Tennessee, an action with distinct overtones of anti-Semitism.

“When one parent in Pinellas County [Florida] complained that Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye (1970), had a rape scene in it, the principal of the local high school banned it, and it was subsequently banned in the entire county. In February over 100 high school students protested the decision.”

Recent banning also includes a graphic novel based on the diary of Holocaust victim Anne Frank, which “was removed from the library at Vero Beach High School in Florida after a complaint from one parent.”

The crusade against culture is not simply one of exclusion, but of active historical falsification. Last month Florida’s State Board of Education approved standards for African American history curriculums that include such historical revisionism as the claim that slavery gave black people a “personal benefit” because they “developed skills,” and that a racist pogrom against blacks in Ocoee, Florida, in 1920 included “acts of violence perpetrated against and by African Americans.”

This week, Ron DeSantis, now a candidate for the presidential nomination of the Republican Party, reinforced his fascist credentials by telling the media that the standards are “probably going to show some of the folks [i.e., slaves] that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life.”

This is little more than a rephrase of the South Carolina senator and arch-defender of slavery John C. Calhoun’s notorious 1837 speech before Congress, arguing that African American slaves “had attained a condition so civilized and so improved, not only physically but morally and intellectually … in the course of a few generations it has grown up under the fostering care of our institutions, as reviled as they have been, to its present comparative civilized condition.”

A Civil War was fought to destroy the “fostering care” of those institutions, and it is a marker of the decline of political culture under capitalism that DeSantis can openly echo the reactionary sentiments of the slaveowners.

The book banning, restrictions on Shakespeare and the teaching that slavery was a positive good serve to wipe away all that is progressive and enlightened in world culture and American history and to teach subservience, conformity and worship of authority to a generation of young people now coming into struggle against war, climate change and the very fascism with which the Republicans, with the acquiescence of the Democrats, are poisoning the cultural air.

Florida parents are failing their children right now.  Advancing Ronald to the White House would fail all of America's children.  Valerie Strauss (WASHINGTON POST) reports:

We know what Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and his allies in the state legislature don’t want students to learn in public school classrooms — but here’s what the state just approved for use in classrooms: material created by a nonprofit advocacy organization called PragerU, which says it offers “a free alternative to the dominant left-wing ideology in culture, media, and education.”

The materials include videos, magazines and books that in some cases disparage the Black Lives Matter movement, deny that police unfairly target Blacks, question the impact of human use of fossil fuels on the environment, and call out “climate alarmism.” There are videos on “How to Embrace Your Femininity” and “How to Embrace Your Masculinity,” one on “How to Be a Rational Patriot” that says the United States was founded on “Judeo-Christian values,” and one under the categories of “Life Lessons and “Judeo-Christian values” called “How to Learn to Forgive.” Topics covered under the PragerU Kids banner are divided into categories for grades K-2, 3-5 and 6+ and are wide-ranging, including financial literacy, history, civics, character development and life lessons.

The move by the Florida Department of Education is the latest in the DeSantis administration’s efforts to dictate what teachers can say about specific topics. Laws now forbid teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity and restrict what they can say about race and racism in the United States. The department banned an Advanced Placement (AP) class on African American studies and threw the use of an AP class on psychology into question because of discussions of race and gender, respectively. It has also censored textbooks and instructional materials, removing material it says is leftist indoctrination.

PragerU was founded in 2009 by conservative talk show host Dennis Prager and screenwriter/producer Allen Estrin and is promoted as being in the “mind-changing business.” It offers 2,600 videos on its YouTube channel and other materials on its website that it says are aimed at “promoting pro-American values,” some of which have been challenged by historians for accuracy.

Are we really willing to dumb this country down further?  Fabiola Cineas (VOX) notes:

Despite strong backlash from Democrats and fellow Republicans, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is tripling down on his state’s newly approved social studies curriculum guidelines that erroneously teach students that enslaved people “developed skills” that they could use for “personal benefit.”
Since news of the state’s new standards gained attention in mid-July, DeSantis has faced criticism — including from four of the five Black congressional Republicans, almost all of whom support former president Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.

“What slavery was really about was separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives,” said Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who is also running for president. “It was just devastating. So I would hope that every person in our country — and certainly running for president — would appreciate that.”

But DeSantis is continuing to defend the standards. In a recent NBC interview this week, the governor stated that enslaved people “developed skills in spite of slavery, not because of slavery,” adding that “it was them showing resourcefulness and then using those skills once slavery ended.”

In the interview, DeSantis also defended the steps his administration has taken in the past year to overhaul various aspects of that state’s education system. “We’ve been involved in education, not indoctrination,” he said. “Those standards were not political at all.”

The controversy is the latest in a string of education-related fights for DeSantis, including the state’s rejection of the AP African American History course, the dismantling of the state’s tenure system, and the conservative takeover of the small New College of Florida. With each move, DeSantis has attempted to model what he would do nationally as president.

We need a better future.  Stupidity is not the answer to that.  Oliver Milman (GUARDIAN) reports:

Videos that compare climate activists to Nazis, portray solar and wind energy as environmentally ruinous and claim that current global heating is part of natural long-term cycles will be made available to young schoolchildren in Florida, after the state approved their use in its public school curriculum.
Slickly-made animations by the Prager University Foundation, a conservative group that produces materials on science, history, gender and other topics widely criticized as distorting the truth, will be allowed to be shown to children in kindergarten to fifth grade after being adopted by Florida’s department of education.

Teachers who use the materials “will not be reprimanded, cannot be pushed back on about it, we are approved on the curriculum”, said Jill Simonian, director of outreach at PragerU Kids, the youth arm of the organization. “More states are following. Florida – I’m applauding. This is step in the right direction.”

But experts who have studied the videos and other PragerU output have warned that many of Florida’s 3 million public schoolchildren risk being exposed to a form of rightwing indoctrination that conforms to the worldview of the organization’s funders but bares little resemblance to reality.

We'll wind down with this, Brooke Migdon (THE HILL) reports:

group of LGBTQ veterans who were discharged because of their sexual orientation sued the Defense Department in federal court Tuesday, arguing it violated their constitutional rights when it failed to update them to honorable discharges after it repealed the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy more than a decade ago.

“The U.S. Armed Forces allows that discrimination to live on in the discharge papers carried by LGBTQ+ veterans, denying them privacy, benefits, and pride in their service,” reads the class action lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of five veterans.

Veterans who were discharged under “don’t ask don’t tell” for their actual or perceived sexual orientation often received discharge paperwork that identifies their sexuality as the reason for their discharge, according to Tuesday’s lawsuit. The discharge papers, known as DD214s, also burden veterans “with discharge rankings below honorable” and bar them from reenlisting.

“Discharge paperwork bearing these markers carries the legacy of the anti-LGBTQ+ policies that the military has now disavowed,” the lawsuit says.

While the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy has been inactive for years, the government “has taken no steps to correct this discrimination systematically,” the suit argues. 

The following sites updated: