Saturday, July 29, 2023

The book banners are creeps

Moms For Bigotry and Naomi Wolf are nothing but a bunch of homophobic book banners.  It just keeps getting worse in the so-called land of liberty.  Brooke Liegh Howard (THE DAILY BEAST) reports:

A lone parent filed a complaint to a Florida school district that a book in the Arthur series—yes, the same Arthur from the beloved PBS animated show—contained references to Spin the Bottle, and now it’s possibly on the district’s chopping block.

A member of the Clay County School District community, based in Green Cove Springs, filed the challenge on July 12 to Marc Brown’s Arthur’s Birthday, a children’s book geared towards students in kindergarten to sixth grade. District spokesperson Terri Dennis told The Daily Beast that it was among 45 challenged titles now “pending oversight committee review.”

On Wednesday, the district provided The Daily Beast with the stack of challenge forms the school district had received for July. At least eight book challenges filed that month were submitted by a local conservative activist named Bruce Friedman.

Arthur’s Birthday details the title character’s upcoming birthday and how it falls on the same day as another party for a classmate, who happens to be a girl. Arthur wants all of his friends to show up, and figures out a plan to combine the parties together. At the end, Arthur receives a “Spin the Bottle” present from one of the girls.

These people are insane.  And we can all thank Naomi Crackpot Wolf and Moms For Bigotry for attacks on our libraries.  It's not as though Moms For Bigotry or Naomi has ever read a book.  That's not fair.  Naomi does read.  She just doesn't comprehend.  Which is why her book publisher pulped her last book after it turned out that she had misunderstood everything she was writing about.

Is that why you hate books, Naomi, is that why?

She's such a creep.  Moms For Bigotry is the perfect group for her.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, July 28, 2023.  A helicopter crashes in Iraq (a US helicopter, in case you weren't paying attention before), protests outside the banks, RFK Junior tries to spin a likability poll into how someone plans to vote, a church is attacked, and much more.

Starting in Iraq, FIRST POST reports, "A military helicopter from the U.S.-led coalition crashed on Thursday in northern Iraq while making an emergency landing attempt, the coalition said in a statement, adding that no one was hurt."  THE NEW ARAB notes the official reason being given for the crash is an " in-flight mishap" -- which, of course, could be anything from a blown fuse to having been hit with missile.   THE CRADLE provides this context:

A widely held view among Iraqis is that the US helped ISIS grow in Iraq and Syria to weaken and divide both countries. The US then sought to maintain influence in Iraq by joining the fight against ISIS once it was initiated by the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and the Iraqi army, with the strong support of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

ISIS was defeated and lost its territory in Iraq in 2017 and Syria in 2019. However, remnants of the group remain and carry out attacks from time to time in both countries.

US officials cite the ongoing presence of ISIS as a pretext to maintain forces in both Iraq and Syria.

Currently, there are nearly 3,500 US troops and coalition troops in Iraq who train and advise local security forces.

The US coalition forces are stationed at bases shared by the Iraqi military, including the Ain al-Asad base in Anbar, Camp Victory near Baghdad's international airport, and Harir airbase in Erbil, the IKR capital.

In other news, financial unrest leads to protests in Iraq.  AP reports:

Dozens of people protested in front of the Central Bank of Iraq in Baghdad and bank owners called for official action to stem a sharp increase in the dollar exchange rate Wednesday, after the United States blacklisted 14 Iraqi banks.

Over the past two days, the market rate of the dollar jumped from 1,470 dinar per dollar to 1,570 dinar per dollar. The jump came after the US listed 14 private Iraqi banks among banks that are banned from dealing with US dollars due to suspicions of money laundering and funneling funds to Iran. 

The currency fell after new action by the US government to curb the flow of dollars to sanctioned Iran. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the US Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York barred 14 Iraqi banks from dollar transactions. Restriction on US dollars limit the currency's supply, thus boosting its value against the dinar. 

The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York did not respond to Al-Monitor’s request for comment.

The Central Bank of Iraq issued a statement in response to the news, saying the barred banks can still conduct business in Iraqi dinars. The Central Bank also said that these banks only constitute 8% of foreign transfers, according to a statement.

The dinar’s depreciation led to protests in Baghdad outside the central bank on Wednesday, with people demanding government intervention to prevent the currency from falling further.

ALJAZEERA notes, "The protests outside the central banks were organised by the Thuwar Tishreen (October Revolutionaries), a group that started mass protests in 2021, calling on the government to take action to halt inflation."

Let's turn to the US and let's zoom in on the pathetic.  A friend of several decades is someone I often rag on and I'm not going to name him today but I've probably done so before, so if you figure it out, good for you.  But when he reads this, I didn't name you in this.  So my issue with him for years has been that he's the male Joan Crawford onscreen.  I find his films formulaic but, most of all, I don't like them because he's Joan Crawford.  Now I like THE DAMNED DON'T CRY, for example, it's a great film noir.  But all the suffering and all the melodrama needed to elevate Joan above everyone else in the cast is present in his films and so is the victimization that is the hallmark of the average Joan Crawford character.

I bring that up because I finally get why the right-wing is so obsessed with masculinity.

I get it.

It's because they have none.

They have no strong men.  They only have strong shoulders -- shoulder pads -- because they're an army of Joan Crawfords.  They can't stop playing the victim.  

It's there in Ronald DeSantis crazed attack on the world, it's there in pathetic Jason Aldean who secretly edited the video recently to take out some of the more objectionable parts and wants to pretend like it's the same video that's been airing this whole time and that he's the victim.

It's so bad even Mona Charen is calling him out in her syndicated column (briefest up to speed for those who don't know Charen, no one would ever call her "left" or even "center"):

And it’s notable that some awfully famous images of rioters attacking an iconic American landmark, desecrating the American flag and spitting on cops — those from Jan. 6 — didn’t make the cut. 

Asked if he would play the song even after the controversy, Aldean took refuge in the familiar pose of victimhood. Because he’s being criticized, he thinks he’s being “canceled.” Gushing about his “bada—” fans, he whined that “Cancel culture is a thing ... which means try and ruin your life, ruin everything.” Of course he would perform the song, he declared, because “the people have spoken and you guys spoke very very loudly.” So matters of decency get decided by plebiscite? 

Look, Aldean imagines that he is merely standing up for the “feeling of a community that I had growing up.” But if he really was raised with good values, where is the fellow feeling? Where is the sense of community with other Americans who may not be from the same town but are just as worthy of respect and consideration as his high school buddies? If this were really a call to community, he would have included at least one or two images of Americans who weren’t white or rural. Don’t we expect all Americans to honor their neighbors and compatriots? Isn’t that part of what being “raised up right” includes? Don’t rural people reach into their wallets when hurricanes or tornadoes hit cities and vice versa? 

Aldean’s defense is fatuous. The music video is belligerent and divisive. In this age of ugly partisanship, the cheapest clicks can be purchased with us-vs.them incitement. It’s unworthy. Don’t try that in a good country. 

When I read her column and thought of how pathetic Aldean is, I thought of how pathetic Jonathan Turley is who uses social media to divide the country constantly and can always be found inciting attacks on DISNEY, Bud Light, Target and anyone objecting to Aldean's racist video.  

They play the victim because that's how they see themselves.  It's why they're so enraged.  It's why they attack everything.  They're not men, if they're lucky they're boys.  But they're not men.  A Joan Crawford character was many things but it was never a man -- not even in JOHNNY GUITAR.

If you're not getting it, go to YOUTUBE, search "REASON" and pull up that nonsense outlet's interview with victim Matt Taibbi.

Did you know that poor Matt is so troubled and so hurt and it's all because, grasp the tissue, he refused to support Hillary Clinton in 2016 and, sob, sob, he didn't get on board with Russia-gate.  The left turned on him!  The left turned on him!!!!

Grow the hell up, you fat f**k.  You're the most spoiled brat in the world -- and it shows in that creepy baby face.  Have you been out in the sun ever?  To be fat and have that skin?  We're talking THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS grotesque.  

And most of the left does not care one way or another who you voted for in 2016.  

Hillary Clinton, in 2016, wanted to be Barack Obama in 2008 which is why she ran such an awful campaign.  It was inauthentic and it relied on celebrities.  Not only did she not photograph with them as well as Barack had -- it's an issue of body types and an issue of crips lines in the clothing -- Hillary didn't have it -- but it just never rang real and only reminded people of other times when she'd come across fake thereby daily playing to her weaknesses and elevating her negatives.

But here's the thing, Matty, speaking out against Hillary didn't cost you a damn thing.

I was opposed to Barack.  I knew, from Elaine and my meeting him before he was in the US Senate, that he had no plan to end the Iraq War.  He made that clear which is why closed our check books and left the fundraiser.  We had planned to max out because we were -- and remain -- against the war.  But when we got our face time and raised Iraq to this 'anti-war' person and he told us it didn't matter anymore because "we" were in Iraq now, we left.

Barack didn't end the war.  He didn't even ever pull out all US troops.  There was a drawdown -- as the Pentagon rightly termed it -- not a withdrawal.  And we had noted that Barack would send troops back into Iraq -- if elected president -- and we'd done that by looking at the raw interview NYT did with candidate Barack as opposed to the garbage filth they published.  He said very clearly -- but they didn't put it in the article -- that he was fine with pulling troops out and with putting them back in.

ISIS was his excuse for that in 2014.  

That's probably not going to cause anyone to spew their coffee today.  But the media was for Barack at the time.

And he was a very popular president.

We went campus to campus speaking out against the war before he was president and we did it after.  And telling the truth, especially in the weeks and months right after the election?  People didn't want to hear that.  They wanted to believe that the war was over, all the US troops were coming home, blah blah blah -- Hillary had a funny on that in 2008 ("the heavens will open . . .").  

Point being, you tell the truth.  If you have any integrity, you tell the truth.

I did.  I was booed.  Didn't bother me, didn't make me cry.  It wasn't the first time I'd ever been booed.  I know how to work a crowd and, each time, was able to turn it (the booing) into a joke so we could laugh together and them move back to the topics and reality at hand.

I think if that had happened to Matt, 15 years later, we'd find him still seated on that stage in a pool of his own urine as he sobbed.

Grow the hell up.

You chose a position.  Are you happy with what you chose to fight for?  Then you won.  Stop the whining.  Stop pretending you're a victim.  

And stop pretending that you're transphobia isn't the reason most people hate you today.

You actively courted the right-wing and you served them.  You betrayed yourself as a journalist -- hell, even Glenn Greenwald told THE VANGUARD that he wouldn't have agreed to the terms you did to get access to The Twitter Files.  You are an embarrassment.  You are a goober.  You are this fat, ghostly white sloth that is physically repugnant.  

You're a grifter and people caught on.

No, there was no excuse for you to be attacked in a Congressional committee and we defended you on that.  But you're not eleven years old, grow the hell up.

If these pathetic right-wing males could, we'd have a better world.  But too many of them are nursing perceived hurts and feeling victimized.  How pathetic.

Did someone say RFK Jr?

He's begging money again.  He's trying to sell the latest Harvard-Harris poll as a win.  He's moved nothing and he thinks that's a victory.  "I'm the same as I was last month," he brags.  

The numbers aren't increasing, are they?  Not the numbers of people who support you.  You had name recognition and you've failed to build on it.  

And the poll doesn't say what he wants it to.  In the campaign e-mail, the campaign's insisting that it means he would be president if the election were held today.  That's not what it means at all.  This was not an issue of who would you vote for?  That question was not asked -- which is why various people listed -- such as Hillary -- are people who aren't even running for office.  He's such a liar.

When conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. isn’t busy spouting racist and antisemitic trash, he can be found campaigning for a clearly doomed 2024 Presidential nomination. And the way he’s doing it…not exactly the most creative approach.

Over the weekend, RFK Jr. spent some quality birthday time with his son Conor, who recently celebrated his 28th birthday. But while Kennedy Jr.’s blatant attempt to cash in on his son’s abs might seem like an obvious move out of the wacko candidate’s playbook, it’s not quite working as intended.

Let’s be clear: Conor is a fine-looking gentleman, and yes, those abs could certainly have launched a thousand ships in a simpler time—in fact it’s rumored that Taylor Swift’s 2012 Red track “Begin Again” was written about the socialite. Still: nobody’s biting, and for good reason.

Basically…it’s giving classless. It’s giving desperate. It’s giving…please just stop.

What does it say to you?  To me, it just emphasizes how Junior's always been a little thinner on the right side of his face -- as though that side didn't develop normally.

+ RKF, Jr. during his “Combatting Antisemitism, Championing Israel” event in New York City: “Israel has…Israel is not going to use their nuclear weapon unless they’re attacked and we know that.” In fact, I’m pretty sure we don’t know that.

+ Every nuclear state is a terrorist state, using the threat of its arsenal to bully non-nuclear states into submission. Moreover, Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s nuclear power plant in 1981 was a kind of nuclear strike, given the amount of highly-enriched uranium released by the attack.

+ At nearly the same time RFK, Jr. was “championing Israel,” Tamir Pardo, the former head of Mossad, told an Israeli radio station that the Israeli right is similar to the KKK.  Pardo said that many of the Israeli government’s legislative initiatives are tantamount to “antisemitic laws,” and would be labeled as such were they passed in any other country.

+ RFK, Jr. to Greta Van Susteren: “I’m the only one who has called for Biden to retract the $2 billion payment he’s giving to Iran, which you know will be used for genocidal purposes.” How can Dennis Kucinich continue to front for this maniac?

[. . .]

+ Ron DeSantis has now fired one-third of his paid campaign staff. Among the terminated was Nate Hochman, the communications staffer who made and Tweeted out a pro-DeSantis video with Nazi imagery.

+ People generally like their kid’s school, which may be one reason the smoke from DeSantis’s scorched-earth campaign against them is blowing back in his face. According to a recent Gallup poll, 80% of parents said they were somewhat or completely satisfied with their child’s school, which in most cases was public. This approval rating was actually a little higher than in most years before the pandemic.

+ As part of its public school “turnaround” vision plan, the Houston Independent School District–the largest in Texas– is shutting down 28 school libraries and turning them into disciplinary centers.

+ Eleven paragraphs deep into Nicholas Kristof’s interminable NYT column arguing that legacy admissions for the offspring of privileged elites aren’t a problem, we are confronted by this staggering parenthetical admission: “(Conflict alert: I was a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers and my wife, Sheryl WuDunn, is currently a member and previously served on the Princeton and Cornell boards; our three children also attended Harvard.)” I wonder how many people leapt that hurdle and kept reading for any reason other than the laughs, which, otherwise, come so infrequently in his writing.

+ Political punditry is the sub-basement of journalism. For a year or more, the opinion pages were flush with columns promoting DeSantis as the rational alternative to Trump, when really his only political skill is his viciousness. Even Trump could occasionally feign compassion. Now DeSantis is getting whacked by Christian conservatives for assailing Trump’s meagre criminal justice reforms.

+ DeSantis said this week that while he wouldn’t pick RFK Jr as a running mate, he would consider him to be in charge of the FDA or CDC “if he’d be willing to serve.” Maybe DeSantis will tap Ammon Bundy to run the BLM…Looks like he’s going to need the money.

Lastly, let's see what all the attacks from Ron DeSantis, MTG, Lauren Boebert, Jonathan Turley, Matt Taibbi, Moms For Bigotry and so many more are now resulting in.  Caroline Radnofsky and Colin Sheeley and Eric Carvin (NBC NEWS) report:

Authorities in Plano, Texas, are investigating what they call "an intentionally set fire" at a Unitarian Universalist church Sunday, just weeks after it was targeted for criticism in a video by an anti-LGBTQ Christian YouTuber.

A passerby spotted flames coming from the Community Unitarian Universalist Church early Sunday, Plano Fire-Rescue said in a statement. The fire was around the front door and was extinguished quickly, causing no injuries, it said.

The department is leading the criminal investigation into the fire, with the city's police department working on its own investigation, authorities told NBC News.

The church called the incident "a firebomb attack" in a statement on its Facebook page, saying "an incendiary device with a chemical accelerant was thrown or placed at the front doors of the main church building."

It also referred to the visit from right-wing content creator Bo Alford, who goes by "bodittle" on social media, less than a month earlier.

"Church officials have been reviewing building security and working with the Plano Police Department since the intrusion of a hate group in the church building during and after Worship Service on Sunday, June 25. That group has posted video of their activities inside the church on various social media sites."

The following sites updated:

Thursday, July 27, 2023

The Pretenders

The Pretenders have followed up their star-studded Glastonbury set with the new single, ‘A Love’.

The new tune about love being addictive is taken from their upcoming LP ‘Relentless’ - which is out on September 15 - and follows their Worthy Farm set last month that featured Foo Fighters Dave Grohl and former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.

Frontwoman Chrissie Hynde, 71, said of the track in a statement: “I suppose that’s the most traditionally Pretenders-sounding song on the album, in the vein of ‘Kid’ or ‘Talk of the Town’ or any of the mid-tempo ones over the years. I often see love/relationships almost in the same vein as drug addiction. Although, having said that, I know I am jaded, and cynical… ‘The Buzz’ on 'Hate for Sale' visited the same theme.”

Here's a video of them from Glastonbury.  

I'm excited about the new album.  But?  Confused about the article with regards to Johnny Marr.

I don't think BANG SHOWBIZ is aware that Johnny Marr was a Pretender.  It was 1987 and, during that time, he wrote "When Will I See You?" with Chrissie Hynde which appeared on the band's 1990 album PACKED! 

PACKED! is probably the most underrated Pretenders album.  And include me in that.  I liked it in real time but I only liked it.  I had loved GET CLOSE.  But PACKED! has just gotten better with each year.

My ranking of the band's albums from best to worst -- this is studio albums plus 1 live and 1 greatest hits:













ISLE OF VIEW is the best live album they've done -- the best live album almost anyone could have done.  It is a great album.  And THE SINGLES remains the best greatest hits package the band's put out.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, July 27, 2023.  Things heat up as crazy Ron DeSanits wants to play doctor with Robert F Kennedy Jr, the nation continues to rebuke Ronald for his efforts to recast slavery as a good thing and a glorified jobs fair, and much more.

Should we just do updates for a whole snapshot?

For Iraq, we could do: In an update on Iraq . . . US troops still on the ground.  Ryan Reynolds (EVANSVILLE COURIER & PRESS) reports:

 Ever been apart from a good friend or loved one for a few weeks? How about a few months? A year?

Remember what it felt like to know that the end of the separation was coming soon? That there'd be meals and movies and laughs and catching up, in person, for the first time in ages?

And remember how agonizingly slow those last few days were before the reunion?

That's life right now for the 1st Battalion, 163rd Field Artillery of the Indiana Army National Guard, an Evansville-based unit that draws in some 300 soldiers from around the Hoosier State. They've been gone since August 2022, sent 7,000 miles to Iraq to mind the details of a muted conflict that the American public has generally moved past.

The soldiers will tell you otherwise. So will their relatives and friends and nieghbors and co-workers. There have been a lot of holes in a lot of lives for the past year. And at some point − achingly soon − they'll be home.

We caught up with Capt. Ernie Griffin of the 163rd, who we also talked to in February about the deployment. When he gets back to the United States and his "other career," Griffin will start his tenure as principal at Plaza Park Middle School. He was previously an assistant principal at Harrison High School.

And the 163rd August return will see them replaced by other US troops.  US troops remain on the ground in Iraq. 

In 2008, Americans voted for all US troops to be removed from Iraq but that never happened -- not even during the drawdown.  

We could also note this from Brad Adgate (FORBES):

Since Tucker Carlson was suddenly fired from FoxFOXA +0.2% News last April and began posting videos on Twitter on June 6, his audience has been in a freefall. Carlson’s inaugural video on Twitter, dubbed Tucker on Twitter, had generated 26 million video views. (Twitter counts a video view as any person that watches a video for two or more seconds with half the screen viewable.) In the second episode, two days later, Carlson’s video views dropped to 13.9 million. While the third episode, which coincided with Trump’s indictment from the Justice Department, saw an increase to 18.7 million views, the general trend has been downward. For Carlson’s more recent eighth episode, on June 30, the viewing was only 3.8 million, its lowest to date and a 86% decline since June 6.

And we could note that the above requires an update and a correction.  As Ava and I noted in "MEDIA: No, Mother Tucker did not have 60 million people watch his video," Tucker was never having 'views:' 

Tucker decided his future was in the gig economy and with TWITTER -- where Matt Taibbi goes to play dungeon sub.  And Glenneth had a lot to say on TWITTER including this "This is pathetic of Fox. They fired Carlson, and now their position is: he's not allowed to speak. He didn't go to a competing network. He has no contract with Twitter. He's just speaking on social media."  He's not being silenced, he just can't host a program.  Don't sign the contract if you don't like what's in it.  That's what negotiations are all about.  That's why you need to read them yourselves before you sign them.

But more to the point, this: "CNN's collapse continues. Tucker returns with a Twitter show watched by millions" and  "Meanwhile, the only part of media that is growing is independent. The public sees what corporate media has become." and "The sad, pathetic, decaying corporate media's reaction to Tucker's explosive Twitter debut was everything you'd expect and more."

So which is it?  Tucker's triumphing in new media -- that's supposedly kicking "corporate media" in the butt -- or is he isn't?

Glenneth you're the one pretending to be his mouthpiece -- shouldn't you be able to make a coherent legal argument?

As we've said for years now (nearly two decades) for an alleged lawyer Glenneth has always struggled with the most basic legal concepts (such as breach of contract).

We should love stupid people.  They give us so much to write about.

No advertising and no subscriptions?  Tucker will be rolling in . . . no money.  

Equally true, he did not get 17 million views.  

The Great Glenneth Greenwald has been lying about the numbers as well.  But can we pause that for a moment.  Glenneth's jazz hands have been a problem since he debuted his new talk show -- while his husband lay dying in a hospital -- so very William Faulkner meets Grace Metalious.  But there's a new problem.  Does he have lice or bed bugs?  What's with his inability to stop scratching his upper arms of late?  

We'd warn people not to embrace him but, honestly, we can't imagine anyone ever wanting a hug from Glenneth.

At any rate, Glenneth was tossing around Tweets praising Mother Tucker for his "explosive Twitter debut" -- yes, it was like diarrhea -- "CNN's collapse continues. Tucker returns with a Twitter show watched by millions."

Oh, Glenneth, if you couldn't lie you'd have to sit there silently.

60 million people did not watch Tucker.  10 million people did not watch Tucker despite Glenneth's claim:

Tucker Carlson is the most successful host in the history of cable news. Even in his "stripped-down" Twitter form, he attracted an audience almost no corporate media employee could get close to. Is it possible this partially motivates the universal disdain they have for him?

Tucker's got 60 million viewers!  

That's what some are lying.

No, he doesn't.  Max Blumethal's wife is both ugly and hippy and that's enough reason not to note her stupidity.  But that transphobic Tweet she pinned to her feed in February?

People aren't watching it.  The numbers increase but people aren't watching.  You click on her TWITTER feed and start scrolling and doing that will start her video streaming.  It doesn't mean you're watching it.  In fact, you have to make a point to stop if you want to turn on the audio.  Even if you don't turn on the audio, even if you scroll past it quickly, it still counts as a stream.  And it does that each time you visit her Twitter feed.

John Stauber posted Mother Tucker's 'big' show four times last Tuesday to his TWITTER feed.

He really is a car crash and so he attracts rubber neckers.  Let's say 20,000 people visited his feed and scrolled.  That means Tucker's video streamed 80,00 times.

Megyn Kelly, Glenneth, all the usual trash, reposted Tucker's video.  

He did not get 60 million viewers.  It was -- automatically streamed -- many, many times.  

People are not watching Tucker.  
At YOUTUBE, they've put in some measures to try to prevent that sort of miscount.  But if you have a YOUTUBE page and put a video on the home page and it starts streaming when you go to the home page?  That counts as you streaming it.  You might go to another page at that YOUTUBE account in two seconds, say the "about" page, but the video started streaming the minute you hit the home page and they're counting that stream.


Twitter doesn't do that and doesn't care to.  

Repeating, Tucker is not a Twitter star.  He was reposted on hundreds of accounts.  The number actually taking the time to watch the video is very small.  And you can argue it's probably around the number of users leaving comments -- which Glenneth said was 29,000.

The numbers were not an accurate count because this was not people going to a video to stream it, this was a video that started streaming the minutes you visited someone's Twitter feed and counted as a stream even if you never stopped on it but just scrolled right past it.

The media should have grasped that and, certainly, at this late date, a writer for FORBES should know what's what.

Unlike Twitter, YOUTUBE has measures in place to prevent this sort of false inflation of streams.  Why?  A lot of people were trying to boost their own numbers by streaming, for example, a USEFUL IDIOTS -- sh, no rumors to be Cass Elliot about it -- clip and they'd stream it for a minute or two and then go away, search it and pull it back up and hit play and get 2 streams.  Now they make you start where you stopped the video and you don't get that second count (that was never a real count to begin with).  Musk won't implement anything like that because honesty and truth are not core concepts in Musk Land.

Remember the video of Ron DeSantis earlier this week with the Nazi symbol?  Ewan Palmer (NEWSWEEK) has an update:

Ron DeSantis 2024 campaign worker who was reportedly fired for retweeting a fan-made video about the governor which featured a symbol associated with Nazis had previously praised the impact of white supremacist Nick Fuentes.

Nate Hochman, a communications staffer, is said to have allegedly retweeted the controversial meme video from the Ron DeSantis Fancams Twitter account which ended with the 2024 hopeful's face imposed over what appeared to be a circular symbol known as the "sonnenrad."

Hochman, as first reported by Semafor, was let go after allegedly retweeting the since-deleted video featuring the ancient symbol which had been appropriated by the Nazi Party and is still used today by white supremacist groups.

Hochman, Axios reported, not only retweeted the video from his own account but had actually made the clip himself and posted it from the Ron DeSantis Fancams profile. Joey Hannum, a former aide for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, had also speculated that the Ron DeSantis Fancams Twitter account was being used by Hochman as a "sock-puppet operation."

And there's no way they didn't know who Hochman was when they hired him.  A social media search is the most basic of 'reference' checks these days.  Jonathan Chait (INTELLIGENCER) agrees this was no accident:

It would be easy to understand this development as simply more campaign dysfunction, perhaps poor vetting, or even a symptom of the campaign being “too online.” It is better understood as the result of a fundamental strategic decision by DeSantis to actively court the far right.


DeSantis’s campaign hired Hochman from National Review after it was reported he had participated in a Twitter Spaces with Nick Fuentes, who is at least Nazi-adjacent. “We were just talking about your influence and we were saying, like, you’ve gotten a lot of kids ‘based,’ and we respect that, for sure,” Hochman told him. “I literally said, ‘I think Nick’s probably a better influence than Ben Shapiro on young men who might otherwise be conservative.’” (The comparison is instructive: The nicest and perhaps only good thing that can be said about Shapiro is that Nazis hate him.)


When I wrote a long feature about DeSantis’s campaign last year, one factor I identified was its decision to position DeSantis to Trump’s right. The most visible aspects of this strategy have involved mocking Trump as a supporter of the COVID vaccine and LGBTQ rights, both of which are themes in the video Hochman created. But it has also led the campaign to woo the extreme right:

Tuesday's snapshot noted this item from DEMOCRACY NOW!:

In California, surveillance video shows a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy brutally beating a 23-year-old transgender man outside a convenience store in February. Emmett Brock was driving home from his job as a teacher when he was followed by Deputy Joseph Benza to a 7-Eleven parking lot, where the officer tackled Brock to the pavement and punched him repeatedly in the head, accusing him of resisting arrest even as Brock cried out for help, struggled to breathe and made no move against the officer. A police report said Brock was pulled over because he had an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror; Brock says he was assaulted because he held up his middle finger when driving past Benza’s patrol car.

Two people write the editors of THE LOS ANGELS TIMES to object to the treatment of Brock:

To the editor: Brock never stood a chance. It is appalling to see him exit his car and never get a chance to even ask why he was being followed by a deputy without his patrol car's lights and siren on.

It is even more appalling to watch this deputy throw Brock to the ground and beat him.

This has nothing to do with being transgender. That comes later with the humiliation at the Norwalk sheriff's station. I hope to see justice served and for Brock to be able to put the pieces of his life back together.

Olivia Roberts, Hacienda Heights

To the editor: When Emmett Brock told the staff at the Los Angeles County sheriff's station in Norwalk that he is a transgender man, he said they asked to see his genitals. And he got a violent beating from a deputy for having an air freshener hanging from his car's rearview mirror.

It is ironic that the Assn. for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs said requiring its members to reveal potential gang tattoos with skulls and Nazi imagery would violate the 4th Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and the 5th Amendment's protections against self-incrimination.

Dennis Snyder, Long Beach

Let's update on two crazies who want to be president.  Paul Rudnick has strong takes on both psychos.

Ronald's floated a new plan for his faltering campaign.  If Ron alone isn't crazy enough to win your vote, well, he's ready to bring Junior on board.  That's twice as crazy as Ron alone!  Tim Dickinson (ROLLING STONE) explains:

Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis is talking up the prospect of Democrat and Joe Biden rival Robert Kennedy, Jr., serving in his administration. 

In a new interview with right-wing commentator Clay Travis, DeSantis was asked whether he’d consider the anti-vax conspiracy theorist Kennedy as a running mate. DeSantis, who has campaigned vigorously (and fecklessly) to appeal to vaccine skeptics, downplayed that idea, arguing that the Democrat was “averse to our base” on 70 percent of the issues. 

But the Florida governor was warm to Kennedy serving in the Cabinet, because Kennedy’s stance on “the medical stuff,” DeSantis said, “does appeal to me.” DeSantis lofted the idea that Kennedy could serve as his administration’s attack dog, battling the nation’s top health agencies. “Sic him on the FDA, if he’d be willing to serve,” DeSantis said. “Or sic him on CDC.”

Mike argues (rightly) "It's time for Ron DeSantis to be committed."  Ronald wants to 'rescue' medicine -- like he's done with education in Florida where the horrors of slavery have been glossed over so that we can now see the institution as just a really intense career day workshop, right?

Florida’s new education guidelines garnered widespread rebuke last week over the requirement that schools teach that some enslaved people extracted a “personal benefit” from technical skills they learned in captivity. 

It’s an obviously absurd and ahistorical suggestion that fundamentally relies on racism. It falsely suggests that enslaved people had the good fortune — despite their bondage and all the horrifying abuse that came from it — to learn specialized skills, such as blacksmithing, that many Black people had long been practicing outside of American chattel slavery.

As I wrote Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris took Florida to task for the new guidelines during an impromptu trip to Jacksonville. And DeSantis did himself no favors in response.

“I didn’t do it, and I wasn’t involved in it,” he claimed before pivoting to defending it.

“I think that they’re probably going to show some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life. But the reality is, all of that is rooted in whatever is factual. ... These were scholars who put that together. It was not anything that was done politically.”

The Florida Department of Education tried to offer examples of enslaved people benefiting from slavery — but as the Tampa Bay Times noted, “historic sources show several of the 16 individuals were never even slaves.”

University of Buffalo researcher Ndubueze Mbah’s work on the concept of “abolition forgery” shows us that oppressive (and occasionally violent) slave-like conditions were imposed on Black laborers even after slavery had officially been abolished in Europe and the United States. 

During an April lecture for Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute, Mbah told the story of Jampawo, an African British subject who was forced, after abolition, to comply with a contract that allowed him and other Black laborers to be punished with physical violence. A similar power dynamic occurred in the U.S. after abolition as well.

“African bodies experienced abolition as beatings and starvation,” Mbah explained. “As hanging on trees. As burning with fire. As prison confinement. As penal labor. As forced labor. And that is not the story of abolition as liberation.”

Slavery was actually beneficial to Black people, according to a set of new rules around how Black American history is going to be taught in Florida’s public schools.

The new curriculum also includes assertions that Black people themselves perpetrated violence during historical racial massacres like the 1906 Atlanta race riot and the 1921 Tulsa massacre.

The slavery-was-actually-a-good-thing and there-were-bad-actors-on-all-sides bits are old, racist talking points that I’m not surprised to see Ron DeSantis shamelessly dredging up now that he’s on a national crusade to make himself as appealing as possible to the worst of white America. Using school curricula to delegitimize the horrors of slavery was an obvious next step, but we still need to call it what it is – white supremacy in government.

The historical revisionism being employed here has a singular goal – to erase the horrors of America’s racist past, legitimize far-right ideology and create easier pathways for racism to thrive.

Just look at what’s happening in Italy. For years, revisionists have redirected conversation about Italy’s role in the second world war away from its fascist crimes, effectively trivializing that past – and helping legitimize the county’s new far right. The prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, and her ilk simply refuse to acknowledge that Nazis and fascists were the bad guys in the war, and this ridiculous glossing over of Italy’s past has been extremely helpful to Italy’s contemporary far right.

That is what DeSantis wants for America. A systematic destruction of human rights followed by a reworking of our collective memory around race, so that ultimately the country’s most vulnerable people don’t have a leg to stand on in fighting for their most basic rights.

Long before Moms for Liberty, there were the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Their passion and influence kept generations of Southern children ignorant of how slavery had caused the Civil War and how cruel it had been. The “war between the states” was rather over “states’ rights” and tariffs. Confederate soldiers were the heroes of a “Lost Cause.” Kindly masters had been considerate to contented slaves.

Reconstruction was bad. The Ku Klux Klan was good.

The Daughters didn’t have to pull the truth from shelves. Its influence with state boards kept offending books from ever being printed or bought. When a University of Florida professor wrote that the South had been more in the wrong in the Civil War, the Daughters of the Confederacy got him fired.

To nationwide scorn and well-deserved derision, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Board of Education has approved a required Black history curriculum with “clarifications” that trivialize slavery and distort the record on racial violence.

Here’s one of them: “Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Another is worse: “Instruction includes acts of violence perpetrated against and by African Americans but is not limited to 1906 Atlanta Race Riot, 1919 Washington, D.C., Race Riot, 1920 Ocoee Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Massacre and the 1923 Rosewood Massacre” (emphasis added).

And by?

In each of those massacres, Blacks were never the perpetrators. It is a fraud on history and a libel on them to imply that they were. When whites died, it was because Black men had taken up arms to defend their homes, their families and themselves from armed mobs, seething with racism, bent on arson and murder.

Not everyone's noting the truth.  No, there's always FOX "NEWS."  THE MAJORITY REPORT looks at how FOX "NEWS" is leaning-in to stand with their fellow Klansman Ron DeSantis.

Let's wind down with this from The Green Party of Michigan.


Middle of the Mitten Greens Tag Sale

The Middle of the Mitten Greens is inviting you to a street sale on July 29, 2023. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Green Party of Michigan.

Corner of Michigan Ave. and Mifflin Ave. in Lansing. Free bags of groceries with each $10.00 purchase. (3 items).

Toys, clothing, household items, books, odds and ends. Free food!

Your purchase will go to administrative costs of the Green Party of Michigan. For more information please contact Robin Lea Laurain @

Robin Laurain, Ways and Means Officer GPMI


©2023 Green Party of Michigan | PO Box 2754, Grand Rapids 49501

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