Saturday, August 26, 2023

Joni Mitchell and Debbie Harry

Joni Mitchell earned a standing ovation at the Hollywood Bowl Wednesday night after her surprise vocal cameo at an all-star concert honoring jazz visionary Wayne Shorter, who died March 2 at the age of 89.
In fact, Mitchell — whose unadvertised appearance was welcomed by the cheering audience — earned two standing ovations at the Herbie Hancock-led "Celebrating Wayne."

The first was when Mitchell was introduced by Hancock for the final song of the concert's first half, prompting the audience of more than 15,000 to rise to its feet as one. Mitchell, 79, was on stage to sing for only the third time this year, following her unexpected performance at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island.

Prior to Newport, Mitchell — who suffered a near-fatal brain aneurysm in 2015 — had not given a full-length performance in public since 2002. She had done a few songs in 2007 in Hollywood's nearby Kodak Theater, at a concert honoring pianist/composer Hancock that also featured saxophonist/composer Shorter.

Good for Joni.  She and Wayne Shorter knew each other very well.  I'm sure he would have been thrilled to know she showed up.  It's important to show up.  Show up.  Not show your ass.  But Carlos Santana certainly has shown his ass -- see Stan's "Cancel? How about just go to your room and don't come out?' from Thursday night.  He's a transphobe and the statement he released to BILLBOARD made that clear.  He then took to INSTAGRAM when he learned how outrageous his comments and attitude were and tried to walk it back.  Now Alice Cooper has joined in the trans bashing.  Alice Cooper.  The man your parents found creepy in the 70s.  Go away, Alice, when you're petty and small.

I don't get where they think their voices are needed to begin with?  If they had anything to say, it certainly hasn't shown up in their music which has been dead on arrival for years and decades.  But thanks for making it clear that the elderly includes a huge number of transphobes.

Blondie made important music in the 70s and continues to make important music (though, of the later work, "Maria" is still my favorite).  Charisma Madarang (ROLLING STONE) reports on Debbie Harry:

Barbara Gustern, the Manhattan vocal coach who at 87 years old would teach students nearly every day in her Chelsea apartment before attending their concerts at night, had gained a clientele that included Blondie’s Debbie Harry, avant-garde heroine Diamanda Galás, Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna, Broadway performers, and anyone who wanted to learn how to sing.

On Thursday, Harry responded to the sentencing of Lauren Pazienza, 27, who fatally shoved Gustern and pleaded guilty to a first-degree manslaughter charge. Pazienza will be sentenced to eight years in prison followed by five years of supervision after her release under the terms of the plea.

Harry, who first heard about Gustern after attending a concert in the late Eighties or early Nineties by Galás, said she was “horrified and outraged by the recent sentencing outcome in the murder of my late vocal coach and friend, Barbara Gustern.”

In a statement to Rolling Stone, Harry remembered Gustern as “a beloved and respected resident of NYC for over 40 years. A petite 87-year-old woman with boundless enthusiasm for life, she was an inspiration to her students and a devoted member of her local church. Her contributions to the arts and her community were immeasurable.”

Started with Joni, let's end with her.  At THE NEW STATESMAN, Tracey Thorn looks back on the 1976 film THE WALTZ:

The timing was a stroke of film-editing genius. Moments before there had been a scene of the band members lounging backstage and chatting about the “benefits” and sexual opportunities of being on tour. I’d been anxious, thinking, “Oh be careful, lads. I like you, don’t say anything too awful here.” And they don’t, not really, it’s all just of its time – men being men. Briefly there’s a lot of testosterone in the air, and a reminder of the old rules of rock ’n’ roll – and then we cut back to the concert and on comes Joni.

She’s wearing a flowing skirt and a tight T-shirt, and some kind of ornate silver eagle necklace. When Joni straps on her acoustic guitar and starts playing you feel the confidence burning off her like a flame. She’s spotlit, and in the shadows Rick Danko watches her with a look of sheer awe on his face, bless him.

I sat up straight in my armchair thinking, “OK, we’ve gone somewhere else now,” and it’s not just the precision and swagger of her diction, the intricacy of the chords, the detail in the lyrics – though it is all those things – it’s the realisation that while the music we’ve heard up until now owed a huge debt to previous genres and traditions, Joni had invented a whole new genre of her own.

And, of course, after that scene of the guys talking about chasing women, the song Joni sings is “Coyote”. On the surface the lyrics are describe a predatory man – “He pins me in a corner and he won’t take no” – and a player, who’s “got a woman at home/He’s got another woman down the hall/He seems to want me anyway.” But in the end, as so often in Joni’s songs, she’s the one calling the shots. The song is a farewell with “no regrets”.

Reminder, my review of Joni's new album went up at the start of this week  "Kat's Korner: Joni (live) at Newport."  Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, August 25, 2023.  A rally for Julian Assange takes place tomorrow, RKF Junior continues to disgrace himself, others weigh in on the GOP debate.

Tomorrow there will be a rally online for Julian Assange:

Wistaverse ( the world’s first global platform for protest in the metaverse, announced today that the campaign to stop the extradition of Julian Assange will launch the first ever virtual political rally for Assange this Saturday, August 26th. The rally is part of the effort to prevent the founder of WikiLeaks from being extradited to the US where he could face a 175 year jail sentence for revealing information about the Iraq and Afghan wars. It is being organized by the Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign (, which is the official campaign of the Assange movement, working with Assange and his family. 

John Rees from the Don't Extradite Assange campaign said, “This event in the Wistaverse is a valuable opportunity to unite people across the world who believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the press to show their support for Julian and set a signal that will be an important precedent for human rights everywhere. No matter where you are in the world, you can virtually join this event.” 
The event will include the participation of and speeches by Julian Assange himself (pre-recorded), his wife Stella Assange, Kristinn Hrafnsson, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, and other high profile guests, including British politician Jeremy Corbyn.

The event will take place in the Wistaverse, the world’s first platform for virtual protest in the metaverse. The Wistaverse is a not-for-profit protocol located in the Sandbox on the Polygon blockchain. Users who organize protests do so on their own initiative, independent of the Wistaverse’s creators. The protocol enables a platform for protest for causes with universal importance and gives access for everyone to participate, regardless of geographical location or possible physical disabilities.

Jules, one of the founders of Wistaverse, said: “We are excited that the Don't Extradite Assange campaign has decided to use the platform to host such a key rally shortly after the launch of the Wistaverse this May. At that time, the inaugural protest was an event organized by Amnesty International in support of abortion rights worldwide. Now, we trust that the event this Saturday will set a signal and focus all eyes on freedom of speech to support that cause. The new Web3 technologies are enabling unprecedented participation and the opportunity for everyone to shape worldwide governance.” 

The rally will take place in a virtual auditorium designed to look like the Royal Courts of Justice in London where Assange is set to face his final appeal in the UK court system. It aims to build for a real life protest at the same venue when the court date is announced.

The speakers at the rally will appear either as characters inside the event or with filmed contributions shown on screens inside the arena created by the event designers. 
The Wistaverse uses metaverse technology to allow each individual attendee to be represented by an avatar that can hear the speeches and watch other material inside the virtual rally and interact with other attendees. It protects users’ identity and enables universal participation. The rally is open to anyone with a computer.

The rally will be on Saturday 26 August at 5pm BST/ British Summer Time, when information about how to participate will go live on the event’s dedicated website on the Sandbox.

For more information contact:

For Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign: media(at) or
Silvi: email: ps13(at) Tel.: +44-798-480-9125
For the Wistaverse: jules.wistaverse(at) & Wistaverse(at)  

For details, visit: & 

About Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign 
The Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign has been established in the UK by WikiLeaks in order to focus campaigning efforts on preventing the extradition of journalist and publisher Julian Assange to the United States where he faces 175 years in jail. Through his publications he has exposed war crimes against humanity, government corruption and mass surveillance.

Julian remains imprisoned in England with the threat of deportation to the US for the 'crime' of journalism.  US President Joe Biden could stop this nonsense at any moment but chooses not to.  Of the upcoming protest,   Patrick Reevell (ABC NEWS) spoke with Stella Assange this week -- Stella is Julian's wife and the mother of their two children.   

On tomorrow's online rally,  Brian McGleenon (YAHOO FINANCE) notes:

John Rees from the Don't Extradite Assange campaign said the benefit of holding a metaverse mass protest is that, "no matter where you are in the world, you can virtually join this event.”

He told Yahoo Finance UK's The Crypto Mile that this "first of its kind" event would not replace physical protests on the streets of major cities, but would complement the ongoing campaign.

"We have had the metaverse environment designed as a replica of the real Royal Courts of Justice, so that people attending this event will get the idea it would be a good thing to turn up outside the real court on the day that Julian appears," he said.

Rees said he is hopeful they will get thousands of people to virtually attend from across the globe.

"This is a pioneering form of political action, and if it works I'm sure we will not be the only ones to repeat it," he added.

Sceptics have wondered aloud whether a protest in an obscure corner of the internet – it uses a gaming platform called Sandbox – can have the same impact as real-world disruptive action.

“The answer to that is protest is also mainly a social event where people with a common vision get together,” one of the Wistaverse’s co-founders, Jules Alcazar, told The National.

“Having everyone together in one place is also a great opportunity to go fund-raising. It’s about keeping momentum, it’s finding what activism can do.”

He believes the metaverse also has an edge over social media activism, which is “very limited”, “not immersive” and a “very poor way of experiencing it” because its algorithms relentlessly feed back bias.

There are forecasts that the metaverse, championed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as a virtual-reality world encompassing education and health care, could one day be worth $5 trillion to $13 trillion.

5:00 pm BST would be noon in EST (London is five hours ahead of NYC).  In other news, Ethan Davis (STAB) notes:

‘He put out information people didn’t want being put out but it was all truthful and I don’t know how you fault a guy for putting out the truth,’ mused Kelly Slater in an Instagram soliloquy one March eve.

Just as seamless as Slater’s transitions are from the tube to the open face, so too are his analyses of complex geopolitical, health and social issues.

Typically one should have domain-specific expertise, some skin in the game, to credibly navigate these deep waters — but 11 surfing World Titles and a few compelling exchanges with high-profile pod bros works fine too in 2023. 

Way less student debt too, this method. And more barrels. 

Slater’s sentiments did not go unnoticed by Kym Staton — director of the forthcoming opus delving into the character assassination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who faces a 175 year prison sentence if extradited to the US for the crime of leaking classified information. 

Originally titled Free The Truth: Free Assange has gracefully segued into the more enigmatic appellation, The Trust Fall. While the nomenclature may evolve, the narrative spine remains robust.

“The main aim of this film is to gather more support for Julian’s freedom. At its core, this is a political case and a mass public outcry is needed in order to pressure US, UK, and Australian politicians to do the right thing and release him,” writes Staton — whose endgame is to whip up a chorus of cheers for Assange’s parole. He’s slapping a big ol’ megaphone on this whole political mess, hoping to rile up enough people from the US, UK, and Australia to gang up on their politicians and demand, ‘Hey, do the right thing, guys! Let the man loose!’

Wednesday night, contenders for the GOP's presidential nomination debated (see yesterday's snapshot). Not seeing a lot of written about Nikki Haley.  She is seeking the nomination and she was awful on Wednesday night.  There's a hilarious analysis -- unintentionally funny -- by a centrist-leftist online who tells you how wonderful Nikki was and how her abortion answers would ensure her victory with the general electorate -- yes, it's that divorced from reality which is why you end up laughing at the fool. For a better analysis of Nikki Haley's performance, stream the MORNING JOE segment below and pay attention to Jen Psaki and Symone Sanders.

On the debate,  Patrick Martin (WSWS) offers:

Senator Tim Scott said the solution to the crisis in education was to “break the backs” of the teachers unions, by which he meant crushing the teachers themselves, who have engaged in massive strikes, not the stooge unions run by millionaire bureaucrats and CIA agents.

Former Governor Chris Christie said that the teachers unions were the biggest enemy of America, and boasted that he had slashed public employee pensions during his eight years in office in New Jersey.

Former Vice President Mike Pence declared that he was the only candidate willing to state openly that there had to be major cuts in Social Security and Medicare. None of the others on the stage indicated opposition to this proposal, which would devastate tens of millions of retired and disabled workers.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called for shooting migrants “stone cold dead” to stop them crossing the US-Mexico border, and said that he would dispatch US Special Forces into Mexico on his first day as president—in effect, the invasion of Mexico by the US military.

IT multimillionaire Vivek Ramaswamy condemned all measures taken to protect working people during the COVID-19 pandemic—effectively arguing that the current policy of letting the virus run rampant should have been adopted from Day One. And he called climate change a “hoax,” in response to a question that cited record heat waves, wildfires and unprecedented rainfall events.

+ Vivek Ramaswamy, 9/11 Truther: “I think it is legitimate to say how many police, how many federal agents, were on the planes that hit the Twin Towers. Maybe the answer is zero. It probably is zero for all I know, right?”

+ Ramaswamy has been accused of hiring someone to scrub his Wikipedia page of unflattering (to the MAGA base he is so urgently courting) biographical episodes, including his receipt of a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans in 2011, as well as his role on Ohio’s COVID-19 Response Team. But his association with the son of the Dr. Mabuse of the Left hasn’t escaped the attention of the intrepid investigators at FoxNews.

+ American history according to Vivek Ramaswamy: “the US Constitution was what won us the American Revolution.” The Constitution was written in 1787, 6 years after the defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown, 11 years after the Declaration of Independence and 12 years after the Revolution started, in 1775.

+ At the debate, DeSantis repeatedly tried to associate himself with the Navy SEAL teams in Iraq, by saying “I was with the SEALS in places like Fallujah and Ramadi.” But DeSantis wasn’t a SEAL, he was a JAG. The role of JAGS in Iraq was advise the SEALS on who they could “legally” capture, torture and kill. Or, in his own tart phrase, whose “throats they could slit.”

Of course one candidate who belonged on the Republican stage Wednesday night wasn't there.  That's right, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  Jeffrey notes Junior:

RFK, Jr’s Theory of HIV/AIDS manages to merge medical conspiracy theory with homophobia: “There’s a lot of people that said it is not a virus. The virus is a passenger virus, and these people are dying mainly because of poppers. 100 percent of the people who died in the first thousand [with] AIDS were people who were addicted to poppers, which are known to cause Kaposi sarcoma in rats. And they were people who were part of a gay lifestyle where they were burning the candle at both ends. There were poppers on sale everywhere at the gay bars.”

Truly a fool.  Junior's running as a 'Democrat' at present but THE VANGUARD sees him crossing over to the GOP race because if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

Meanwhile, 'big news' for Junior's campaign -- British geriatric Eric Clapton is endorsing Junior and what's says American democracy and patriotism more than that?

Junior can announce that, he just can't explain what draws murders like Travis Ikeguchi are so drawn to his campaign.  Nor can he speak of Lauri Carleton, the woman murdered by Travis Ikeguchi.  Christopher Wiggins (THE ADVOCATE) notes:

After California ally Laura "Lauri" Carleton was killed for displaying an LGBTQ+ Pride flag at her San Bernadino County store, Mag.Pi, the Los Angeles LGBT Center and Flags for Good announced a new banner honoring the Lake Arrowhead community member and shop owner.

“Carleton, an unwavering ally, is one of too many people who have lost their lives due to violence that targets LGBTQ+ people,” said a statement announcing the commemorative flag.

To honor Carleton’s memory and encourage allies to work for a safer community, the Center collaborated with Flags for Good to create a rainbow banner bearing the magpie symbol — after her store's name. The proceeds from sales will benefit the Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ+ Fund. 

“I assure you that the Center won’t be stopping here. Right-wing extremists have brought this fight to our doorstep, and let me promise you this: we are answering their knock at our door—and we will be greeting them with the strength that our community is known for,” said CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center Joe Hollendoner in a press release. “I hope we can rely on you to join us in the fight.”

In light of national retail chains like Target and Starbucks reportedly halting their Pride displays, Carleton, 66, chose to hang the Pride Flag, a symbol of resistance for the community since 1970. 

  Alan Carter approached Mag.Pi in Studio City at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, carrying a bouquet of white hydrangeas wrapped in brown paper and polka-dotted cellophane. At 62 years old, Carter had never purchased flowers for someone he’s never met, but he was stunned this week to learn that the owner of the lifestyle boutique, Laura Ann Carleton, or Lauri to friends, was shot to death on Friday during a dispute with a man over a Pride flag outside her second Mag.Pi location near Lake Arrowhead.

“It gutted me, and I heard on the news that Mrs. Carleton also owned a store in Studio City,” said Carter. “I don’t know anyone in her family and I’ve never been in the store, though I’ve driven past it probably a hundred times. I can’t get to Lake Arrowhead, so I came here. I’m on a fixed income and really, I have no money for flowers or an Uber but I said, ‘F**k it. I’ll go without Starbucks for a month.’ I wanted to be here to say, in a very small way, thank you. Thank you for the sacrifice you made for people like me.”   

On the next Tweet, I'm noting Steve Benedict and I don't know how to pull the idiot Modern Papist out of the Tweet below. 

The killer followed Matt Walsh and the killer followed Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  Junior's not said a word.  He's complete trash.  And he's trashing his wife's future.  She's already on iffy ground and his silence cost her one of her few defenders left (that was me -- was).  His silence reveals how disgusting he is.  How telling that so many of his fans are dreaming of a Trump-Junior ticket.

Fortunately, other people aren't silent.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, August 24, 2023

It's really not the House's job to interfere with ongoing legal cases

Okay.  I've lived long enough to know that sometimes no Congressional action is better than Congressional action.  I say that because of a story in the news. Jordain Carney (POLITICO) reports:

House Republicans are replaying a familiar script: playing political defense in former President Donald Trump’s legal battles.

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday launched an investigation into Georgia’s Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, hours before Trump is expected to turn himself in following his indictment on racketeering charges related to his push to overturn the 2020 presidential election in that state.

Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), in a letter to Willis, said that the “indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding your actions raise serious concerns about whether they are politically motivated.” A spokesperson for Willis didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.

Jordan is asking Willis to hand over details on any federal funds the office receives by Sept. 7, as well as communications with the Justice Department — including Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading a federal probe into Trump’s challenges to the 2020 election that’s left the former president facing four separate criminal counts.

Okay, we have serious problems in the country to address.  Congress sticking its nose into every Trump case is not one of them.  Jim Jordan's a joke.  And he was as soon as we learned he was involved in that grooming scandal -- yeah, that's a groomer, the coach he worked under (and looked the other way for allegedly) -- with college athletes.  But do we all get that the House Republicans have already tried an 'investigation' (effort to intimidate) with regards to Trump's New York indictment and one with regards to the indictment Jack Smith delivered in Florida?

I'm sorry but I'm sick of it.  The House needs to stop interfering in ongoing investigations.  If they have something that needs investigating they can do so after a verdict is delivered.  This is intimidation and it is shameful.

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

Thursday, August 24, 2023.  The GOP goes wild on the debate stage while Robert F. Kennedy Jr. remains silent after one of his supporters murders a woman.

And he says, "What do you love to do?Outside your worldWho spends time with you?From whom do you learn when you're not working, sweet girl?
"Where would you go if you had the time?"Crossing some crazy state line somewhere?To whom do you cryWhen people are unkind, sweet girl?"
But I chose to dance across the stages of the worldEveryone said I'd never learnAnd I still hear your wordsI waited all my life for you, sweet girl
-- "Sweet Girl," written by Stevie Nicks, first appears on Fleetwood Mac's THE DANCE

Watching the GOP presidential contenders debate last night, I kept thinking of Stevie's song.  "Sweet Girl."  Who was the sweetest?  To me the sweetest girl was Ronald DeSantis.

A pledge had been signed, a moderator noted, by all on stage to support the eventual GOP presidential nominee yet Donald Trump was supposed to be turning himself in to be booked at a jail today (he also wasn't on the debate stage and, though the moderators failed to note it, had refused to sign the pledge they were invoking) so would they support Donald if -- convicted felon or not -- he was the eventual nominee?  Ronnie looked right, Ronnie looked left.  When four out of eight hands went up, Ron Ron put his paw up.  Such a sweet girl.  Eventually seven of the eight put their hands up in the air,  to prove that when it comes to democracy, they just don't care.

But then it turned out Chris Christie didn't understand the process.  He was raising his hand for something else.  Maybe he thought the question was: Does anyone want to split an order of fries?

He raised his hand -- during this vote -- because he wanted to speak.  And he did.      

So that dropped it down to six: Ronald DeSanits,  conspiracy freak Vivek Ramaswamy, forgettable Mike Pence (was he on stage?, he makes no impression at all),  former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Senator Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. 

Christie stated, "Here is the bottom line. Someone’s got to stop normalizing this conduct.  Whether or not you believe the criminal charges are right or wrong, the conduct is beneath the office of president of the United States."

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson understood the voting process and didn't raise his hand in error.  When he spoke he stated the issue was important and that Donald was "morally disqualified from being president again" -- and not just morally but potentially legally as a result of his interpretation of the 14th Amendment.

He's referring to section three of the Fourteenth Amendment:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Scholars are split on whether or not this would apply to Donald Trump.

So we can argue that presently.  (I would argue that the 14th Amendment does apply.)

But what we do know is that DeSantis isn't much of a leader and will only make a decision when half the people in any group have already stated their own opinion.

Sweet girl.  He chose to dance across the stages of the world.

Tim Scott didn't invoke the Constitution -- I'm not sure he understands it or much of anything that's not a lie spat out by FOX "NEWS."  Naming California, among other states, he whined that "we cannot let states have abortion on demand up until the day of birth.  That is immoral.  It is unethical.  It is wrong."

What you're saying is 100% wrong because it's a damn lie.  There is no state in this country, even when ROE was law of the land that was performing abortions at the nine month mark.  Find me the state, pop-eyed man, that did it because, outside of the junk fed brains of FOX "NEWS" viewers, it just doesn't exist.

I really want to meet that mythical woman who exists only in the minds of idiotic morons -- that woman who is sitting at the dinner table thinking, "Do I give birth tomorrow or do I abort?  I know I've had forty weeks to make a decision but I wanted to put off deciding until the night before."

She doesn't exist.  She never has. 

Again, Tim Scott didn't invoke the Constitution.  He did invoke . . . something.  The Declaration of Independence.  But I've never heard "declaration" pronounced that way before.  Tim Scott proving you don't have to come from another country or have parents from another country to need ESL.  DECCA-UH-LUH-RAY-SHUN.  I think that's how he said it.  

He then repeatedly gripped his bosom while dramatically insisting, "We can't leave it to Illinois.  We can't leave it to Minnesota.  We can't leave it to Illinois.  We must --"  Huh?  Since he'd  said Illinois once already,  I fear he discovered something -- maybe a lump in his breast -- when he was palming himself.  Hopefully, he'll have it checked out.  Remember, early detection is key and self breast exams are important.  Even apparently when onstage during a debate.

Nikki jumped into the fray to ask about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.  

Well I guess that's one way to waste your time on stage.  And she already wastes all her time on the campaign trail so why not waste her time on stage as well.

There's a reason she's got a national name but no traction at all in the race.

That should become even clearer as we note Daniel Villarreal (LGBTQ NATION):

At the first Republican presidential debate tonight, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said the claim that “every teacher is somehow indoctrinating people is just false” when responding to a question about transgender girls playing on girls’ sports teams.

In the debate’s second half, the Fox News debate moderator Martha MacCallum said, “[Former South Carolina] governor [Nikki] Haley has said that biological boys playing in girls sports is the women’s issue of our time. You said that, even though you signed a ban on this in North Dakota, there hadn’t been one instance where it was actually needed. Are you saying that you think that too much is made of this issue?”

No, Nikki, it's not a woman's issue.  Women don't play girls sports.  It's a girls issue.  It could be a parents issue, if you wanted to argue that.  But girls aren't women.  An if you don't understand that basic fact, I don't know why you think you can lecture the world on 'biological' or what have you.  Simple truth, women do not play girls' sports.  They may play women's sports but not girls' sports.  Girls' sports is not and cannot be a woman's issue.

I guess when you're so eager to attack women's reproductive rights, you'll desperately try to pass anything else off as a woman's issue so you don't appear as hollow and callous as you really are.

Such as when she was yelling at the conspiracy nut onstage.  

GLAAD put out the following ahead of the debate:

The first GOP presidential primary debate will be held Wednesday night, August 23, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Frontrunner Donald Trump has said he’ll be skipping the debate, but eight other candidates are expected to participate, including North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

LGBTQ rights, freedoms, and lives are under attack across the country, in legislatures, and in the world, as are allies of the LGBTQ community, so these candidates have a responsibility to tell the American people how they will protect LGBTQ Americans. 

Some 7% of Americans are lesbian, gay, or bisexual, according to Gallup, including 20% of GenZ, the youngest population cohort studied and most out generation in history. Polling and turnout analysis from the 2020 election indicate that LGBTQ voters played a deciding role in the victory of Joe Biden for President and in key battleground states, including in Wisconsin, flipping the state Donald Trump had won in 2016. 

The results of the 2024 general election will have profound implications for LGBTQ people in Wisconsin and across the country. The Fox News primary debate will provide an important opportunity to discuss what’s at stake and the LGBTQ records of the candidates. Media covering the debate should note the candidates’ LGBTQ records.

Below are partial records on LGBTQ issues from the candidates appearing on tomorrow night’s debate stage. For more complete records, visit the GLAAD Accountability Project.

Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis

  • Signed the “don’t say gay” law which prohibits public schools from having “classroom discussion” or giving “classroom instruction” about sexual orientation or gender identity from kindergarten through third grade.
  • Requested and was granted a ban on classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, expanding the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
  • Signed into law HB 1521 that would make it difficult or impossible for transgender Floridians to access appropriate restrooms, domestic violence shelters, correctional institutions, or other spaces that match their gender
  • Signed into law bans on transgender healthcare for youth which also enacts obstacles for adults to access treatment
  • Signed into law bans trans students from being able to use their correct pronouns, an anti-trans sports ban
  • Signed a drag restriction law
  • Issued a survey to Florida’s 12 universities and 28 state and community colleges asking which of these institutions provide services to transgender students.
  • Falsely compared puberty blockers to “chemical castration”
  • Backed the Florida Department of Education’s advice to schools to disregard proposed federal guidelines that protect transgender youth
  • Directed state agencies to issue guidance to begin to strip Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care, despite the fact that it is supported by every major medical association
  • Targeted small business owner hosting drag brunch
  • Condemned the Walt Disney Company following Disney chief executive Bob Chapek’s acknowledgement of error in staying silent on Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation and subsequent public opposition to the legislation which DeSantis signed into law.
  • Signed a restrictive transgender youth sports ban into law, banning transgender girls and women in public secondary schools and colleges in Florida from participating on girls’ and women’s sports teams.
  • Vetoed all funding for LGBTQ programs from the $101 billion state budget, including funds for mental health programming to support survivors of the Pulse Massacre, funs to house homeless LGBTQ children, and funds for Orlando’s LGBTQ Community Center
  • Signed an anti-discrimination order for state employees that excludes protections for LGBTQ people 

Vivek Ramaswamy

Nathan Howard/Reuters
  • Says Target “spit in the face of conservatives” in an anti-transgender attack on the retailer for selling swimwear designed to accommodate a variety of body types
  • Said he would sign into law a ban on health care for transgender minors if it reaches his desk in the White House. Every major medical association in the U.S. supports such care for trans youth
  • Expressed harmful and baseless indoctrination rhetoric calling acceptance of transgender people a “cult” and claiming that LGBTQ people are interfering with “our kids.” “In the name of rights, what they’ve actually done is created a new culture of oppression in the opposite direction, imposing that on kids,” he said. There is zero basis for his claims, and he offered no backup. 
  • Presidential campaign website features a section called TRUTHS including a list. #2 reads, “There are two genders.” 
  • Has signaled support for a 6-week abortion ban
  • Opposes the study of critical race theory

Mike Pence

Mike Pence

Extensive anti-LGBTQ record can be found at Mike Pence’s GLAAD Accountability Project record. Select statements and actions are below:

  • Said he would again prohibit transgender Americans from serving in the military, as was the policy when he was vice president under Donald Trump, and falsely cited “unit cohesion” as an area of military readiness affected by transgender personnel. Unit cohesion suffered because of the anti-trans ban.
  • Falsely characterized essential health care for transgender youth in CNN Town Hall as having “profound negative effects”; and refused to explain how his support of parents’ rights did not include supporting parents of transgender people and their private health care decisions.
  • Tweeted the false claim that the charity group Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a “hateful group,” and criticized the L.A. Dodgers for including them in Pride Night.
  • Neither President Trump nor VP Pence recognized the third anniversary of the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, which killed 49 LGBTQ people.
  • As governor of Indiana, Pence earned national notoriety for signing a so-called “religious freedom” bill that religious conservatives in his state (many of whom Pence invited to attend the private bill signing) championed for the purposes of allowing business owners the right to refuse service to LGBTQ customers. After outcry and boycotts, Pence was forced to sign an amended version that made it clear the law cannot be used to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Supported anti-LGBTQ Federal Marriage Amendment with claims that being gay is a “chosen lifestyle,” and a warning that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”
  • Claimed repealing the military’s discriminatory “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would turn the Armed Forces into a “backdrop for social experimentation.” Sought to end “don’t ask, don’t tell” and restore a full ban on openly gay soldiers.
  • Claimed federal hate crimes legislation was really designed “to advance a radical social agenda.”
  • Stated that LGBTQ-inclusive hate crime legislation would “silence” groups that promote so-called conversion therapy.
  • Behind closed doors advocated for the removal of healthcare benefits for transgender service members within the U.S. military.
  • In a closed-door and unannounced opportunity, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence posed for a photograph with notorious anti-LGBTQ activists who wish to promote so-called “religious exemptions” that would harm LGBTQ Americans across the nation.

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley

  • Falsely claimed that transgender girls playing sports contribute to teenage suicide ideation. The claim is baseless. The Advocate reports, “It wasn’t the first time Haley made the unsupported claim that teen girls are being negatively affected by transgender teen girls’ participation in sports. She made the same assertion in New Hampshire” one month prior.
  • Misgendered and disparaged transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney
  • Said President Joe Biden’s support of transgender rights will destroy women’s sports
  • Opposed marriage equality as both South Carolina state representative and governor.
  • Rejected matching funds for a program offering HIV medication to lower-income patients.
  • Signed a voter ID law, which critics contend is racist and/or meant to suppress the Democratic vote.

Tim Scott

Tim Scott

  • The “Issues” section on his campaign site reads, “The radical Left wants to indoctrinate our children, not educate them. Tim Scott will fight to ensure that America’s kids are learning how to read and write, not about gender transition and sexual identity before it’s appropriate.”
  • Introduced a bill in the Senate that has many similarities to Florida’s “don’t say gay” law
  • Voted against the Respect for Marriage Act
  • Considers homosexuality a morally wrong choice, like adultery.
  • Supported the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on LGB people in the military
  • Supported The First Amendment Defense Act, which would’ve prevented “the federal government from taking adverse action against individuals or institutions based on their definition of marriage or beliefs about premarital sex.”
  • Voted against the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would have granted basic job protections to LGBTQ people

Chris Christie

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via / CC BY-SA
  • Vice Chair of the Trump Transition Team
  • In 2017 “signed two bills instituting broad new protections for transgender New Jersey residents: one directing schools to let students use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity or provide ‘reasonable alternative arrangements,’ and another prohibiting health insurers from discriminating against transgender residents.”
  • In 2015 vetoed “a bill that would have eased access to accurate birth certificates for transgender people.”
  • Abandoned his long fight against same-sex marriage in 2013, “concluding that signals from the court and the march of history were against him.”
  • Signed a bill barring licensed therapists from trying to turn gay teenagers straight, making New Jersey the second state to ban so-called “conversion therapy,” after California.
  • Vetoed legislation in 2012 that would have brought marriage equality to New Jersey.
  • Vetoed legislation that would have more easily allowed transgender citizens to change their birth markers, calling the idea “beyond the pale.” New Jersey legalized allowing changes to birth certificates without a court order, doctor letter or other medical evidence in 2019, after Christie left office.

Doug Burgum

Doug Burgum
Stephen Yang | Getty Images
  • Signed a bill into law that allows public school teachers and state government employees to ignore the pronouns their transgender students and colleagues use. 
  • Signed two transgender athlete bans into law, prohibiting transgender girls and women from joining female sports teams in K–12 and college. Two years ago Burgum vetoed a nearly identical bill that would have banned transgender girls from playing on girls’ teams in public schools.
  • Signed a bill into law that restricts transgender health care in the state, immediately making it a crime to give gender-affirming care to people younger than 18.
  • Signed a total of eight discriminatory bills into law in 2023 including those above; restrictions on drag performances; a “religious refusal” bill permitting discrimination; and bills adding additional rules for gender markers on birth certificates that discriminates against transgender people. 
  • Defied his party in a rebuke against an anti-LGBTQ resolution that was passed by hundreds of Republican legislators in the North Dakota legislature. Burgum said the resolution, which states that “LGBT practices are unhealthy and dangerous, sometimes endangering or shortening life and sometimes infecting society at large,” is homophobic and divisive.

Asa Hutchinson

Asa Hutchinson

  • Signed Senate Bill 354, an anti-transgender bill that bans transgender women and girls from participating in sports
  • Said the state legislature has gone a “step way too far,” when it voted to override his veto on a bill banning treatments for transgender minors
  • Signed into law legislation allowing doctors to refuse to treat LGBTQ patients based on religious or moral objections
  • Signed into law a revised religious freedom bill that could allow discrimination against LGBT people
  • Refused to veto and allowed to become law a discriminatory bill that prevents cities and counties from enacting civil rights protections of LGBTQ people

For more complete records, visit the GLAAD Accountability Project at

Let's move on to a different topic, we can revisit tomorrow if we have to.

Travis Ikeguchi killed Lauri.  Bevan Hurley (INDEPENDENT) notes:

In social media posts, Travis Ikeguchi claimed to be a Christian, posted anti-semitic statements, followed and boosted rightwing personalities Jordan Peterson and Matt Walsh, and expressed support for anti-vaxx presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr.

Travis Ikeguchi had a burning Pride flag pinned to the top of his account on X, and retweeted a post comparing Nazi children with swastika flags to schoolchildren with Pride flags.

Robert F. Kennedy Junior wants desperately to be the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and no humiliation is apparently too great.  Well, if you missed it, he lost a supporter last week.  27-year-old Travis Ikequchi will no longer be able to support Junior in the primary due to the fact that he is dead.

Ikequchi was a hateful troll who murdered Lauri Carleton.  He hated people who were LGBTQ+ and Lauri, who was straight, displayed Pride flags which was just too much for the tiny dicked loser so he killed her.  Then he was killed by the police.  He will not be present to vote for Junior.

That may be why Junior again went on FOX "NEWS" recently as he tries to gather more right-wing nut jobs to support him. 

Let's put a pin in Junior's media because we'll come back to that topic.

But for right now let's turn to Junior.  You know Junior has so little to stand on that he's constantly invoking his father and his uncle and noting they were both shot dead.   He wants your sympathy -- and you're sympathy vote -- but, please understand, he's not going to do anything to reduce access to guns to anyone.  Kind of a contradiction.  He also ridiculously insisted in July that he needed Secret Service protection.  From people squirting water guns at him?  He needs protection, he believes, from people with guns.  

Since Junior can't stop talking about people in his family who have been shot he needs to find time to talk about his followers after one of them shot dead a woman.

Lauri is gone.  She leaves behind a great ache in the hearts of those who knew and loved her such as her husband, their nine kids and her friends.  

What is it, Junior, that attracts those people to you?

You won't address LGBTQ+ issues.  You hang around with Moms For Bigotry that might be one reason.  You refuse to speak out against the repeated violence against LGBTQ+ people and against women -- yet, again, you can't get through an interview without invoking your father and your uncle.  Does violence only matter when it's a Kennedy?

Are there no victims of violence not named Kennedy?  

Or Shriver?

You want to be president some day -- a goal that seems very unlikely.  Yet you can't stand up and say, "What happened was wrong.  We need to stop persecuting the allies of LGBTQ+ people and we need to stop persecuting LGBTQ+ people."  That's too much for you.

You can support Roger Waters and praise him.  Until a week or so later when you don't praise him and you don't support him.  You can waffle on every issue in the world, in fact. You have actively courted the right-wing media.

And let's go back to you and the media.  You insist you'll never, ever run as a Republican because your wife wouldn't allow it.  You say that, as you damage Cheryl's own reputation and image daily.  And then you go on another right-wing media show.

THE VANGUARD thinks you'll run as a Republican.  I would say, "Never!" because who would want to be seen as that much of a liar and a hypocrite but, as I reflect back on your very brief campaign thus far, clearly being called out for lies and hypocrisy doesn't really bother you.

But who do you think you're reaching on FOX NEWS or any of the right wing YOUTUBE programs?  

Right now, you're supposedly running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  Do you really think you're reaching a significant number of Democrats by doing these programs?  If not, it would appear that either you are considering running as a Republican or your hungry ego can never be fed.

Either way, it doesn't look good for you.  

You've created a very repugnant image in the last three or so months and it has attracted crackpots and hate merchants.  And you know to keep those crazies that you can't take any real stands.  

One of your loons murdered a woman.  It's time for you to have a public dialogue and make clear to everyone -- including other crazies supporting you -- that you do not condone murder, that you do not condone hatred of the LGBTQ+ community.

Now I know that would be a big lift for you -- someone who's spent most of his life letting everyone else lift for him.  But, guess what, being president requires a lot of big lifts and if you can't even call out your supporter who murdered a woman, then how are we supposed to see you as strong enough -- let alone brave enough -- to be President of the United States?

Truth is, you're losing support and not all due to crazy supporters committing murder and then being killed by the police.  Your unfavorability ratings continue to increase -- in one recent poll, you've dropped 21% in favorability.  

Laura Ann Carleton, 66, a California business owner, was shot and killed last weekend after a gunman tore down an LBGTQ Pride flag hanging outside her store and shouted homophobic slurs. Since then, law enforcement has revealed that the gunman — who was killed in an encounter with police — also posted numerous anti-LGBTQ posts on social media accounts they believe are affiliated with him.

These statements included a post that described LGBTQ inclusion as a “cancer” and one that contained a photo of a burning Pride flag. Although police have not tied the killing to any specific posts featuring politicians, the attack also comes as Republicans have ramped up their anti-LGBTQ commentary and legislation, including measures like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits the discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in schools, and legislation in at least 22 states targeting gender-affirming care for trans youth.

In May, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report noting that the threat of violence toward LGBTQ people was intensifying as more policies were being directed at members of the community. Now, the California shooting has only highlighted concerns about violence toward members of the LBGTQ community in the wake of conservatives’ heightened rhetorical and legal attacks on queer people and trans people.

“Threats against the LGBTQ+ community and our allies have evolved from violent rhetoric on social media and from anti-equality political leaders to, now, real-world violence — and let’s be honest, no city, state or person is immune from this brutality,” Kelley Robinson, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, a group that advocates for LGBTQ rights, told Vox in a statement.

Carleton did not identify as LGBTQ herself, but she was a supporter, according to a local LGBTQ organization in her town of Lake Arrowhead, California. In addition to hanging a Pride flag, she included a section of rainbow-colored merchandise in her Cedar Glen store. Her children have called for police to investigate the shooting as a “hate crime,” though law enforcement has not yet indicated how it will proceed.

Seems like that could be a sketch in a book entitled PROFILES OF COURAGE.  So maybe Junior could find the courage to speak to the topic?  

The following sites updated: