Friday, September 29, 2023

Desperate U2 ends up on the Vegas circuit

ULTIMATE CLASSIC ROCK pretends to be interested in why Larry Mullen Jr. won't be part of U2's Vegas act.  The reality is not that Larry wants some down time or is healing.  The reality is that rock means something to the drummer and he's not just going to whore in Vegas like Bono, The Edge and the eternally baked Adam Clayton.

The Rolling Stones are decadent, they've never hidden that.  Them doing a residency at Sin City?  Perfectly in keeping with who they are.  

The Bible-thumping U2?  

They were supposed to stand for something.

Now Adam stays drugged to get through it.  Larry hangs back.

Serial adulterer Bono sold out and is desperate for any cash flow and any attention.

Bono wanted to be political remember?  Then he became part of the G8 whores.  He became such a whore remember, that he wouldn't speak out against the Iraq War because he didn't want to hurt his friend Bully Boy Bush.  Bono sold his soul to the devil.

SONGS OF SURRENDER?  It didn't sell.  It flopped big time.

Excuse me, it went gold -- in France.

No where else did it get certified for sales.  

In the US?

The album made it to number five on BILLBOARD's top 200 the week it was released.  And the next week?  It fell all the way off the top 200.

That's right it made the US charts for only one week.  Only one week was it on the top 200 albums.

The career's over and a desperate Vegas gig won't save them.

Why isn't Larry in Vegas?  Because he has taste and common sense.

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

Friday, September 29, 2023.  More on Wednesday night's debate, a new candidate has entered the presidential race and we'll provide the detailed biography, Ronald DeSantis continues his war on freedom, democracy and humanity, a woman doesn't seem to grasp that the US doesn't need to help her and that her insults don't make want to help her, and much more.

I'm really sick of people who can't handle their own problems.  I'm referring to one ____ in particular who is working my last damn nerve. Emma Tsurkov.

Her sister may or may not be a spy.  Her sister is the stupid woman who went to Iraq -- despite being Israelie -- to 'research' terrorism.  Now her sister is a citizen of Israel.  And she's a citizen of Russia.  Yet for some reason the ___'s family can't get it through their damn heads that a kidnapping in Iraq of a non-US citizen, isn't this country's problem.  

Last week, ahead of the face to face Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani was to have with US President Joe Biden -- a fleeting moment -- Emma and her crowd got to Shady Senator Robert Menendez and had him insisting that the matter be addressed between the two leaders -- an outrageous demand.  There would be time to address one or two issues -- and address just means brought up, not really discussed.  There is an Australian man held by the Iraqi government, Robert Pether, who has done nothing wrong but is being held in prison as Iraq tries to get a better deal with his company.  

He didn't go to Iraq to spy and he didn't go traipsing in like some stupid bimbo who fancied herself Kim Aldrich in some children's book adventure.   He didn't invite what happened to him.  But an idiot who goes to Iraq when they know how hostile that country is to Israelis and to Jews -- they ran all but three of them out of Baghdad -- yes, the five Iraqis left in Iraq after 2010 is now supposed to have been reduced to three -- an idiot who chooses to go knowing she is at risk and, on top of that, wants to nose around in terrorism -- for a college paper! -- is really not a US issue.

But her stupid sister can't stop trying to drum up support for her.  All she's doing is turning off people in the US.

Emma Tsurkov has now gone whining to THE DAILY BEAST -- we're not linking to the garbage article.  This is from the sister's garbage:

“Princeton has been one of the most infuriating institutions or organizations to deal with throughout the process,” said Emma, who has been engaging with American lawmakers, the U.S. State Department, Israeli officials, and several other advocacy groups on the case. “I’m feeling that it’s being treated as a PR problem that needs to be handled, rather than a life or death matter for its graduate student.”

Someone let the stupid idiot know that Princeton's done more than it had to.  Campus safety officers patrol the campus, they don't go to other countries and Princeton has no military force to deploy.

One of their students kidnapped?  I know they've expressed their concern and I know that they've tried to get attention for the student's plight.  

They've done more than they had to and they continue attempts to drum up support for the kidnapped victim.  

It's just not there.  And it won't be.  You're pushing in the wrong country, you pushy stooge.

You need to stick with the "Israeli officials" and you need to pick up some Russian officials -- because that's what you are, citizens of Israel and Russia.  Your plight is not our problem.  The stupidity of your sister (if she's not a spy as the group holding her believes she is) is not our problem.

And if Joe Biden were to spend time on one of the two issues -- the plight of Robert Pether matters a lot more.  We know what he is -- a working father of many children.  We know why he really went to Iraq -- it was part of his job.  We know his location and we know how he ended up (wrongly) imprisoned.

By contrast, Emma, you and your sister are the portraits of privilege and you make that clear with each day as you become ruder and ruder while supposedly 'asking' for help.  Now you're attacking Princeton?

Go work with your own governments to free your sister.  She's not an American citizen.  You've given one interview after another attacking American officials and now Princeton.  Clearly, nothing the US could do would ever meet your approval so take your problem back to your own countries.  Again, countries.  You and your sister have dual citizenship so take it up with the governments of Russia and the governments of Israel.  Unless you just enjoy making a spectacle of yourself.

Let's move on to a different topic.  What the hell has happened to WSWS?

There's really no excuse in the 21st century for them not being able to post about a debate the night of the debate.  From approximately 9:00 pm EST to one in the morning EST, their new content goes up.  So Wednesday night's debate really should have been covered Wednesday night to early Thursday morning.  That did not happen and I'm not surprised.  But that they didn't cover the debate in the articles they posted last night does surprise me.  The candidates attacked labor repeatedly while pretending otherwise.  It's really something when, for example, Tim Scott feels the need to dog whistle ("right to work").  Why don't you just say what you mean, speak to everyone on the same page?  It's a public debate.  "Right to work" is not about any individual's right to have a job.  

"Right to work" is about killing unions and their memberships.

Apparently, that's not a pressing issue to WSWS.  

At any rate, Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) shares his thoughts on the debate:

The Republican “debate” at the Reagan Library seemed like an exercise in collective madness. And 24 hours and half a bottle of Jameson’s later, I still don’t know what’s crazier, Nikki Haley saying that she’d solve the health care crisis by letting patients negotiate the price of treatment with hospitals and doctors,  Tim Scott’s assertion that LBJ’s Great Society program was harder for black people to survive than slavery or Ron DeSantis’ pledge to use the Civil Rights Act to target “left-wing” prosecutors: “I will use the Justice Department to bring civil rights cases against all of those left-wing Soros-funded prosecutors. We’re not going to let them get away with it anymore. We want to reverse this country’s decline. We need to choose law and order over rioting and disorder.”

Daniel Villareal (LGBTQ NATION) zooms in on one of the many anti-trans moments of the debate:

At last night’s Republican presidential debate, former Vice President Mike Pence said, “We’re going to pass a federal ban on transgender chemical or surgical surgery anywhere in the country.” LGBTQ Nation contacted his campaign asking if he intended to outlaw gender-affirming care for all people, regardless of age. His campaign hadn’t responded by the time of publication.

While Pence’s comment also mentioned “protecting” kids from “radical gender ideology,” his response caught the attention of Alejandra Caraballo, a civil rights attorney and clinical instructor at the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic. Caraballo posted a video of Pence’s comment on Wednesday night and wrote via Twitter, “They’re going to ban care for trans adults too. It was never about protecting kids.”

“While most anti-transgender healthcare bills in recent years focus on minors, anti-LGBTQ forces ultimately seek to ban all forms of transition-related care, regardless of age,” a recently released report by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), an organization that tracks policies on LGBTQ+ issues and voting, stated.
“They are pursuing this goal in a variety of ways,” the report added, “including: defining ‘minor’ to include at least some adults; by banning state funds from covering this medical care (e.g., in Medicaid, state employee health plans, and for those in incarceration); explicitly allowing private insurers to refuse to cover this care; and more.”

Most of the time, GIF-like zingers aside, the debate was really just an exercise in click-bait extremism. Why were college students burdened by so much debt? Well, DeSantis opined, partly because so many colleges were teaching gender studies to their captive students. Why were Americans feeling so much economic pain? Well, said Ramaswamy, in addition to Bidenomics, there was the problem that “the Federal Reserve is an agency that has gone rogue.” Did the candidates agree with Florida’s new education guidelines, championed by DeSantis, for how to teach about slavery? No, said Scott, it was wrong to minimize the atrocities of slavery. But, he continued, perhaps suddenly aware that he had come off as too moderate for the GOP crowd, Black families did indeed survive slavery only to be destroyed a century later by LBJ’s Great Society and its expansion of family-destroying welfare programs. Ramaswamy came up with a novel interpretation of constitutional law that would allow him to instantly end birthright citizenship. Pence advocated a massive increase in use of the federal death penalty.

The candidates were quick to spout nonsense on one issue after the next. Yet on the elephant in the room, most of them had nothing to say: There was a deafening silence on Trump’s myriad malfeasances, such a silence that it was hard to take anything they said about the importance of the rule of law seriously.


Yesterday’s debate showcased a Republican Party consumed by anger: anger at themselves, at Donald Trump, at Mexico, at the whole wide world. Voters looking for a positive conservative vision of the future should look elsewhere. This GOP is fixated not on building a better future but on settling scores both foreign and domestic without concern for the long-term consequences. The American people must reject a Republican ideology that would lead us into civil strife at home and years of global conflict abroad. 

It was a mess. It's a shame WSWS found nothing worth correcting or calling out.

As for me, I have no idea whether it's true or not that, in his spare time, Ronald DeSantis puts on a girdle and dress to go marching with Moms For Bigotry.  But if he did, it wouldn't be at all surprising, he's joined at the hip with those hate merchants.  And if you're not getting how much hate he and Moms For Bigotry (who he keeps appointing to state positions) are spreading in Florida, AP reports:

Top officials at a Florida school district ordered the removal of all books and material containing LBGTQ+ characters and themes from classrooms and campus libraries, saying that was needed to conform to a state law backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that critics have dubbed “Don't Say Gay.”

Charlotte County Schools Superintendent Mark Vianello and the school board’s attorney, Michael McKinley, were responding to questions from the district's librarians at a July meeting asking whether the bill, officially the “Florida Parental Rights in Education Act,” required the removal of any books that simply had a gay character but no explicit sex scenes.

“Books with LBGTQ+ characters are not to be included in classroom libraries or school library media centers,” the pair responded, according to a district memo obtained under a public information request by the Florida Freedom to Read Project. The nonprofit group, which opposes the law, provided the memo to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The district later backed off a bit, allowing some exceptions for high school libraries. But Charlotte's policy remains one of the more stringent policies adopted by the state's 67 countywide school districts to enforce the bill.

So no biographies on John Wayne even?  He became a dedicated homophobe in later life but he put out for men all the time early in his career.  Let's out them all.  Let's out everyone of your right-wing heroes for the closeted men they were.  

I'm fine with it.  If it makes you hate John Wayne to know he had sex with men, great.  Maybe I won't have to see his garbage films on TCM anymore?  Do we need to talk about Gary Cooper and his long term affair with Anderson Lawler -- which Lawler couldn't keep quiet about when they were living together and only grew more vocal when he was dumped.  I heard about it from Katharine Hepburn who was friends with Anderson -- we were discussing what an awful actor Cooper was -- everyone's heard of it except apparently homophobic right-wingers who don't seem to grasp that they have known gay people their whole lives.  We can do that too.  You love some Gary Cooper on the right because he was a right-winger who named names to the House Unamerican Activities Committee.  You embrace him so embrace his sexuality.   

Moms For Bigotry and Ronald DeSantis want to deny reality and deny humanity.  And their hate has consequences.   Charlie Jones (THE MIRROR) reports:

LGBT+ people, many of who are born and raised in the state, are fleeing Florida as legislators led by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis continue to clamp down on LGBT+ rights.

One expert, who works supporting LGBT+ people and has lost count of the number of people leaving Florida for more liberal parts of the country, told the Mirror DeSantis' culture wars is "putting a target'' on their backs.

The Sunshine State has become one of the most oppressive parts of the US for LGBT+ people as DeSantis desperately tries to boost his profile as a culture warrior in support of his ailing 2024 Presidential bid. Amid the growing numbers of anti-LGBT+ laws brought in by Republican legislators, bigots feel more empowered to lash out at LGBT+ people.

Carlos Guillermo Smith, former Florida legislator and Senior Policy Advisor at LGBT+ charity Equality Florida, spoke to the Mirror about the exodus of LGBT+ people. He said: "They're leaving because they don't feel welcome here. Many do not feel safe, and many are directly impacted by hateful laws that directly target them, and have put them in harm's way."

In August, murals at two LGBT+ centers in Orlando, were defaced with anti-LGBT+ messages and hate symbols. According to the Florida Attorney General, hate crimes based on sexual orientation currently account for 22 percent of all hate crimes

Mr Smith puts the responsibility at the feet of Republican legislators. He said: "When you pass all of these hateful laws as Ron DeSantis has done, it is putting a target on the backs of LGBTQ people. Governor DeSantis and his term coined the term 'groomer' a year ago during the debates around the 'Don't say gay' bill. And that has escalated online attacks against LGBTQ people making baseless accusations about how gay and trans folks are a danger to children."

He needs to be held responsible for the hate that he has spewed -- and for that modified Mo Howard hair cut he sports.  Alex Henderson notes:

Ron DeSantis' hardcore supporters continue to hope that he will turn his struggling presidential campaign around, but polls released in late September are showing no signs of that happening. The far-right Florida governor, according to polls, is trailing 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner by 39 percent (The Economist/YouGov), 43 percent (Morning Consult) or 38 percent (Monmouth University).

Like most of his rivals in the primary, DeSantis has offered only tepid and lukewarm criticism of Trump. The Florida governor has made his "anti-woke" agenda a key theme of his presidential campaign, arguing that he is tougher on "wokeness" than Trump. So far, however, that messaging isn't resonating with most GOP primary voters.

DeSantis is also campaigning on his economic record. But according to The New Republic's Tori Otten, DeSantis' "anti-woke" obsession is costing Florida taxpayers a fortune.

"The Republican-controlled (Florida) State Legislature has helped DeSantis easily take on some of the right's favorite culture wars," Otten explains in an article published on September 28. "He gutted abortion rights, LGBTQ protections, and academic freedom. He also has been locked in a bizarre legal back-and-forth with Disney for the past year. He has repeatedly held up these accomplishments as signs of success."

As Marcia noted last night, a new candidate has declared that they are running for the Green Party's presidential nomination.  Already Randy Tolar (Green Party icon) and Cornel West (political gadfly who most recently had the presidential nomination of The People's Party) were vying for the nomination and now 58-year-old Emanuel Pastreich has entered the race.  Let's do some background since no one else will.  Emanuel got his BA at Yale and his masters at the University of Tokyo.  Of the Nashville, TN born Emanuel, WIKIPEDIA notes:

Emanuel Pastreich (born October 16, 1964) is an international relations expert who serves as the president of the Asia Institute, a think tank with offices in Washington DC, Tokyo, Seoul and Hanoi. He is also a senior fellow at the Global Peace Foundation where he strives to solve geopolitical tensions in Northeast Asia. Pastreich was briefly an independent candidate for president of the United States 2020.[1] In September 2023, Pastreich officially became a candidate for the Green Party’s presidential nomination in 2024.[2][3] Trained as a scholar of Asian studies, Pastreich writes on both East Asian classical literature[4][5][6][7] and current issues in international relations and technology in multiple languages.[8][9][10][11]

Fluent in four languages (English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean), he's written over 20 books.  He has two children and he lost his wife in 2022 (after 25 years of marriage).  His mother is painter Marie Louise Rouff  who has over 20 individual exhibits and had her works included in at least 20 group exhibits.  In 2018, Hermine Hull (MARTHA'S VINEYARD TIMES) covered an exhibit and noted:

“High Square” is the first painting on the left as you enter the program room. A glowing not-quite-square floats in the upper third of the painting, surrounded by hints of other lightnesses that could be parts of other squares. Or not. By glazing with thin washes of paint mixed with lots of medium, the artist has produced a surface of luminosity, with shadows of lightness and darkness on an overall ochre face. There is a sense of redness underneath, and charcoal drawing that begins to describe something, then disappears or fades off. A change of color or value appears to heighten the sense of descriptive meaning of those charcoal lines.

Dad?  In 2016, Peter Pastreich became the interem director of the American Conservatory Theater and AMERICAN THEATRE noted:

Pastreich comes from a background in managing symphony orchestras. He served as executive director of the San Francisco Symphony for 21 years, during which time the symphony more than sextupled its budget. Prior to his time with the San Francisco Symphony, Pastreich served as executive director of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra for 12 years. He has done management consulting in Europe, and from 2009 to 2012, he served as executive director of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

He has two sisters -- Anna Schlagel (Director of Annual Giving & Events at 10,000 Degrees) and Milena Pastreich (who is a cinematographer and a director (most recent direction was of the film PIGEON KINGS) ) -- and one brother.  Brother Michael has also had a career in the arts.  Sarah L Kaufman (WASHINGTON POST) reported at the end of July, 2020:

The Washington Ballet announced Thursday that Executive Director Michael Pastreich is resigning Friday, after 14 months on the job. His departure follows that of two previous executive directors who have left since ballerina Julie Kent became artistic director in 2016.

[. . .]

In an email to The Washington Post, Pastreich wrote that he, Kent and board chairwoman Jean-Marie Fernandez have been preparing for the announcement for months.

“I was in the midst of purchasing a business before coming to TWB,” Pastreich wrote. “With all that is happening in the world right now, this seems like a very opportune moment to return to the business buying path.” He indicated that he does not yet have a specific business target and that a decision on that will “take months to do well.”

[. . .]

Greenberg wrote in an email that Pastreich’s brief tenure is ending at “a natural pivot point. There will be huge shifts in leadership and greatly reduced staffing in all organizations, especially those in the arts community, during the global health crisis. Michael’s decision to leave was his own, but supported by all.”

Adam Gasner, a criminal law attorney in San Francisco, is Emanuel's step-brother.  His step-mother is Jamie Garrard Whittington, the former Director of Development for the Exploratorium in San Francisco.  

Let's wind down with a Tweet from Paul Rudnick.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, September 28, 2023

How to get a member of Congress to focus on their job?

Before we get to music . . .  

As Elaine and C.I. have noted, some members of Congress want to focus on everything but their jobs.  I think I've figured out how to address this and you know who helped me on this?  Jeff Duncan.  He's a member of Congress from South Carolina so he's not even my Congressional representative.  But he works so hard.  As USA TODAY reports:

Congressman Jeff Duncan's personal life is under public scrutiny following accusations of extramarital relationships.

Duncan said Wednesday on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that he would not comment on a deeply personal matter and was focused on legislating as a potential government shutdown draws closer.

So there's the answer.  And thank you, Jeff.  The answer is: Expose their extramarital affairs and suddenly they don't want to do anything but focus on their work.

My apologies to Melody Duncan who he cheated on and lied to.  You're probably well rid of him and can start a new and exciting chapter of your life.  And if you need some spending money, remember that a lot of people would love to read the reality of a member of Congress who hid behind hypocrisy.  

And I do mean that about Melody Duncan.  Both that she should know there's a book in her that people willing to read and the reason for that is because we all feel sorry for someone who has to go through something like that.  She should know that we are appalled by the spouse in a moment like this and for good reason.

Now for music.

"You Turn Me On I'm A Radio."  It first appeared on her classic album FOR THE ROSES.  It made it to number 25 on the US top forty.  It was her first hit as a singer.  She'd already had songs ("Both Sides Now," for example) make the charts with others performing them.  This was her first hit where she took a song she wrote into the top forty.  On the AC chart, it did even better making it to number 13.

She wrote it as an exercise after David Geffen was after her to get a hit single.

The version in the video above just got released Thursday and this is the caption to the video:

Joni Mitchell is joined by Neil Young & The Stray Gators for this rare early recording of "Turn Me On I'm A Radio" during her For The Roses Sessions at Wally Heider Studios in Hollywood, CA. With Neil on electric guitar & harmonica, this track was recorded April 18, 1972 and appears on the forthcoming Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 3: The Asylum Years (1972-1975) out October 6, 2023 via Rhino. Pre-orders are available at and here: 🔔 Subscribe to the Joni Mitchell channel and ring the bell for breaking news, exclusive audio releases and merchandise, and updates from the Joni Mitchell Archives Stay In Touch with Joni … 🌎 Website 🎨 Instagram 🚕 Facebook 🎹 Twitter ✉️ Email Sign Up *******************

I cannot wait for volume three and they are doing an extremely good job promoting this release.  

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

Thursday, September 28, 2023.  An internet celebrity is shot dead in Baghdad, meek Ronald DeSantis recedes during last night's GOP sprawl, Amnesty International calls for justice, and much more.

Yesterday, a fire at a wedding in Iraq left at least 100 people dead and another 150 injured. Salma Abdelaziz (CNN) reports on it below.

Nineteen-year-old Ghaly Nassim was only a few metres away from the al-Haitham banquet hall when the fire broke out on Tuesday evening.

He rushed to help five of his friends who were trapped inside.

"One door was blocked, so we opened it by force. Massive flames came out of the hall. It was like Hell's doors opened," he said.

"The temperature was unbearable. I cannot describe the extreme heat."

At least 94 people were killed and 100 others were injured in the fire, which broke out during the first dance of the bride and groom. Civil defence officials told BBC News Arabic that the couple survived, though initial reports said they had perished.

Mr Nassim described the scenes as a "real tragedy".

"I could not do anything but run away from the fire," he said, sounding exhausted over the phone line.

"After the firefighters arrived, I rushed inside to look for my friends. I saw 26 dead bodies in the bathroom. A 12-year-old girl was completely burnt and left in a corner." 

In other news, internet personality Noor BM was shot dead in  Baghdad on Monday.


Known on social media as “Noor BM,” 23-year-old Noor Alsaffar had over 370,000 followers collectively on Instagram and TikTok. Alsaffar mostly posted short videos showing dresses, hair and makeup styles, often dancing to music. Following news of the shooting, many posted comments lamenting Alsaffar’s death. Some others cheered it, celebrating the man who fired the shot.

The Iraqi security source told CNN that “an investigation has been opened,” speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media. “The deceased has been taken to the forensic department.”         

Khaled Almehna, spokesperson for the Iraqi police, described the attack as a “criminal incident” on Tuesday, adding that he will provide “important updates” at a later time.     

 The killing comes as Iraq cracks down on LGBTQ expression and moves to criminalize it in law. While being queer is not explicitly banned under current Iraqi legislation, LGBTQ people are often targeted under vague morality clauses in its penal code.

Before the shooting, Alsaffar faced online abuse, as well as questions about sexuality and gender. In a 2020 interview on Iraq’s Al Walaa channel, Alsaffar said: “I’m not transgender and I’m not gay. I don’t have other tendencies, I’m only a cross-dresser and a model.” Alsaffar identified as male who worked as a model and makeup artist.       

Turning to the US, last night Republicans competing for their party's presidential nomination took the stage for what some termed a "debate" but what most resembled a shouting match.  

Though many brought a shout, Ronald DeSantis only packed a pout.  And he never looked sadder.  This is the guy that they said was the sure thing at the start of the year?  He was like  Sad Dad (Andy Richter) on THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE.  But, as the brawl continued, it became obvious that DeSantis was Chris Chritie's mini-me -- both in looks and in judgment -- neither wanted to pick someone to boot off the stage (though moderator Dana Perino, trying to be 'with it,' used the term "island" which would've nailed it . . . in 2004).  Chris Christie finally found an answer -- Donald Trump who, point of fact, was not on the stage.  His mimi-me DeSantis had already noted that and squeaked that Donald owed it to the voters to be here.  "He should be on this stage tonight," Ronald all but sobbed.  His larger self, Chris Christie, tried to tag Donald with a new nickname: Donald Duck.  Get it?  Because he's 'ducking' the debate?  No, it's not a good nickname -- most people like Donald Duck.  

While Ronald DeSantis played meek and awkward, Nikki Haley was going after everyone.  At one point, arguing over Tik-Tok -- because that is the most important problem for the country right now, apparently --  she told Vivek Ramaswamy, "Every time I hear you, I feel a little dumber."

Repeating, Nikki Haley, of all people, told Ramaswamy, "Every time I hear you, I feel a little dumber."

Who would have thought that was possible?

"Joe Biden shouldn't be on the picket line, he should be on our southern border working to close our . . ."

The mincing hand gestures made it difficult to follow what Tim Scott was saying throughout the night but he did set that remark semi-off.  A shame because no one expects a US president to be physically at a US border working on that border.  But Tim's not too smart as he repeatedly demonstrates.

Paul Rudnick Tweeted:

The big question with Tim of course is, since he says he's straight, why should anyone vote for him? He's 58 years old.  That's basically forty seasons of THE BACHELORETTE and he's telling America that in all that time no woman's ever chosen him.  

Forty adult years and no woman's ever chosen him.  But America should?

Strange logic there.

Desperate for the country to know that at least someone chose him, Mike Pence felt the need to brag that he's been "sleeping with a teacher for 38 years."  Leave it to Prudish Pence to try to sexualize the debate.

CNN did a fact check on the sprawl and we'll note this:


Moderator Ilia Calderón asked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to address the descendants of enslaved people regarding his state’s new standards on how to teach Black history in schools.

Calderón: “Florida’s new Black history curriculum says, ‘slaves developed skills, which in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.’ You have said slaves developed skills in spite of slavery, not because of it. But many are still hurt. For descendants of slaves, this is personal. What is your message to them?”

DeSantis: “First of all, that’s a hoax that was perpetuated by Kamala Harris. We are not going to be doing that. Second of all, that was written by descendants of slaves, these are great Black history scholars, so we need to stop playing these games,” DeSantis said.

Facts First: DeSantis’ claim is false. Florida’s new standards for teaching Black history do include the clause that Calderón read out.

In July, the Florida Board of Education approved a new set of standards for how Black history should be taught in the state’s public schools. The standards for middle schoolers include a benchmark that says, “Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

When asked about the benchmark in July, DeSantis told CNN he “wasn’t involved.” Instead, just as he did in his response tonight, he deferred to those who wrote the education standards.

“You should talk to them about it. I didn’t do it. I wasn’t involved in it,” DeSantis said at the time.

Pressed further at the time, he said: “I think that they’re probably going to show some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into, into doing things later in life. But the reality is, all of that is rooted in whatever is factual. They listed everything out. And if you have any questions about it, just ask the Department of Education.”

DeSantis has argued that it is unfair to depict the standards as broadly pro-slavery, saying that they are clear and detailed about the evils of slavery.

The new standards have been criticized by civil rights advocates and Black lawmakers. Vice President Kamala Harris also criticized the new standards, saying in a speech in July “they decided middle school students will be taught that enslaved people benefited from slavery.”    

Be interesting to see if anyone slams Pence for his anti-union remarks.  

Moving on . . .

So, Gov. DeSantis, all within a few days, turns down $350 million in federal aid from the Inflation Reduction Act that would have supported environmental and green energy projects as well as provided rebates to Florida utility customers, at a time when DeSantis has done nothing to improve Florida’s energy efficiency efforts or helped Floridians with the increases in electric rate increases.

Add to this the fact that he refused to meet with President Biden when he visited the hurricane ravaged Big Bend area. Why? He doesn’t seem to see the need, even though the federal government’s FEMA program can and will benefit those hit hardest by this historic storm. Perhaps, DeSantis does not want to give any attention to a president who actually gets things done on his watch rather than restrict freedoms and protect donors, as is DeSantis’ custom.

We have to live with DeSantis folks, but America doesn’t, and America is wise to DeSantis’ autocratic notions, actions and pettiness…and its getting wiser every day. The shame? We will have to put up with him until 2026. Hey, better us than America at large.

-- John King, Pensacola

Yep, America has been warned.  

A do-nothing Congress.  That's long been an image for Americans.  The late Alexander Cockburn (COUNTERPUNCH) used to say it was better than the alternative and we might be better off when Congress did nothing.  But we've got a government shutdown looming -- possibly Sunday --  and it's a probably a good time to note that some members didn't take their jobs seriously.  For example, Marjorie Taylor Green.  The US House Repellant, Michael Luciano (MEDIAITE) reports, wasted her time and our time since we pay her salary:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) managed to insert a provision into a short-term funding bill that would reduce the yearly salary of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to just $1.

The Republican-controlled House is presently barreling toward a government shutdown at the end of the month thanks to GOP lawmakers’ inability to agree on spending bills amongst themselves. On Tuesday, the Senate passed a 45-day stopgap bill that would, if passed by the House and signed by President Joe Biden, keep the government funded until mid-November. In the meantime, the House could try to hammer out twelve separate spending bills that would earn the backing of the Senate and the White House.

[. . .]

“I would like to introduce an amendment that uses the Holman rule to slash the secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin’s salary, to no more than a $1,” she began. “Secretary Austin has not fulfilled his job duties. As a matter of fact, he’s destroying our military. During Secretary Austin’s tenure, military recruitment has reached crisis levels of low recruitment. The numbers show that the Army expects to fall 15,000 recruits short of its annual recruiting goal this year. The Navy is expecting to be short 10,000 recruits. The Air Force is down another 3,000. This cannot stand, especially with our government funding and fueling a war in Ukraine that is leading us undoubtedly to World War III.”

Racist Marjorie is at it again.  She's wasting all of our time because Lloyd Austin is an African-American male.  That is only in doubt if you haven't attended Congressional hearings where she's 'questioned.'  Her questions on children always result in her saying "White children," for example.  She's a racist puerile and simple-minded.  

I don't want to spend too much time trying to introduce actual facts into her lunatic conversation but I do have to make the point here that her hero Donald Trump?  They weren't meeting recruitment goals under him either.  One example, the year the target goal was lowered in August of that year when it was clear that they would not make the target.  Again, I'm not going to waste too much time explaining just how wrong she is because she doesn't traffic in facts or in truth.  She saw an African-American man rise to a level of success and, instead of trying to avert a shutdown, she decided to waste everyone's time with her nonsense and lies.

Luciano notes another idiot liar:

Elsewhere, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) succeeded in inserting an amendment that would also reduce Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness Shawn Skelly’s salary to $1.

“This delusional man thinking he is a woman, embodies and espouses the woke-ism that that’s causing significant harm to our military readiness and troops’ morale!” Boebert said on the floor about the defense official, who is transgender.

Elaine's already addressed The Whore of Congress in "Trashy Lauren Bobert gets even worse:"  

The Assistant Secretary of Defense is only worth $1 a year?  No doubt Lauren's planning to fish a crumpled one out of her thong to pay the dollar?

That is so disgusting on so many levels.  First off, Lauren isn't better than anyone -- we're talking gutter trash dweller Lauren.  Second off, how dare she insult the office like that.  Forget the person holding the office for just a moment, how dare she insult the office.  Someone also explain to me how gun nut Lauren didn't go off into the military? Chicken Hawk.

She is not funny and, goodness knows, she's not cute.  All the make up the world doesn't cover her acne pock marks, for example.  I think about how she's probably about to be kicked out of Congress and how that's happening as her children get older.  They're going to see what a crazy piece of trash that they have for a mother.  She's going to find, as they kids grow and get married, that they don't want granny coming over preaching her hate and 'jokes' against LGBTQ+ people.  She's going to be the old racist at any family reunion and people will avoid her like crazy.

As they should.

I will just add that Shawn Skelly is a woman and she's a woman who served her country.  Boebert is an overgrown girl who's served any man who would have her -- repeatedly.  They're different kinds of service, of course.  What I'm saying is Lauren is special in her own way and that's okay.  Give her a participation ribbon -- and a shot of penicillin.  

Texas law prohibiting certain “sexually oriented” performances from taking place on public property or where they may be viewed by minors is unconstitutional, a federal judge declared Tuesday.
District Judge David Hittner, who had temporarily halted the state’s ban a day before the law was set to take effect in August, in a ruling on Tuesday wrote it represented “an unconstitutional restriction on speech” and barred state officials, including the attorney general, from enforcing it.

Hittner said drag shows were protected by the First Amendment.

“Indeed, First Amendment protection has been extended to all types of activities, even some that seem untasteful to society,” Hittner wrote in his opinion, citing a 2020 case concerning exotic dancers.

“Further, a survey of court decisions related to the issue of drag shows reveals little divergence from the opinion that drag performances are expressive content that is afforded First Amendment protection,” he wrote, referencing recent court decisions blocking drag bans passed in Tennessee, Florida and Montana.

Back to the 2024 horse race,  Jack Birlle (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) reports:

Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader said he is backing President Joe Biden over any Republican or third-party candidate in the 2024 election because of the "two-party duopoly" presidential elections have become.

Nader, best known for running as a Green Party candidate in the 2000 presidential election, said in an interview with the Washington Post that he is "stuck with Biden" because of the perceived threat the GOP poses.

"We are stuck with Biden now," Nader said. "In a two-party duopoly, if one should be defeated ferociously, the logic is that the other one prevails."

The longtime activist also compared the choice between Democrats and Republicans as between "autocracy" and "fascism," arguing autocracy is the better of the two.

"I know the difference between fascism and autocracy, and I'll take autocracy any time," Nader said. "Fascism is what the GOP is the architecture of, and autocracy is what the Democrats are practitioners of. But autocracy leaves an opening. They don't suppress votes. They don't suppress free speech."

No living person who has run as a third party candidate has gotten as large a percent of the vote as Ralph did in 2000 -- he got 2.7%.  That does not make his word law.  I did not vote for Ralph in 2000 because I didn't believe in him (as I repeatedly note over the years here, the ROLLING STONE interview killed any chance that I would've supported him -- I'm a citizen of the United States, I define myself as a citizen, not as a consumer).  I also don't believe he cost Al Gore the election in 2000.  Let's say the  mantra we've said year after year here for close to 19 years now -- No one owns your vote, they earn it (or not).  Your vote is your vote.  If Al Gore hadn't taken his home state for granted, for example, or if he had campaigned stronger and not tried to appear so eager to sell out (that is what drove many leftists elsewhere, Al and the triangulation) or if he'd had a personality, he would have done better.  

Is Ralph Nader right?  Ralph Nader has an opinion and if he or Kyle Kulinski or anyone else wants to make that argument, they should.  Making an argument doesn't make the right.  But I have heard for decades now from friends who voted for Ralph in 2000 and they always want to apologize to me.  I'm not in the mood.  I'm not a priest, don't confess to me.  If you were happy when you voted for Ralph on election day, that's great.  You can't second guess the future.  You made the best choice you could at that time.  

I have never said to anyone, "You cost us the election!  You're the reason we got Bully Boy Bush in the White House!"  In part, I haven't said that because the Supreme Court butted into a process that they had no business in (how we resolve that matter was outlined in the Constitution and the country had already dealt with the issue in 1876 -- there was no reason for the Supreme Court to step in other than to rig the outcome).  If you were happy with the vote, good for you.  And some friends have remained happy with their vote so good for them.  But a lot of people have made noises of regret.  It's simpering and I don't have time for Laurie Metcalfs.  She simpered as Jackie on the final season of ROSEANNE, she voted for Jill Stein!  If she'd voted for Hillary, Donald might not have become president.  I really don't have time for that whiny behavior.

So I am very open to people making the argument that Ralph is doing or that Kyle has done.  Know what you're doing now because I don't personally want to hear whining later.  I'm not telling you how to vote and no one should.  But if you are planning to vote, be happy with your vote.  

Back to Iraq to wind down with this from Amnesty International:

Iraq: Four years after Tishreen protests, no justice for state and militia violence 

The Iraqi authorities must ensure truth, justice and reparations for the killing of hundreds and maiming of thousands by Iraqi security forces, Amnesty International said today ahead of the four-year anniversary of the nation-wide anti-government protests. As an immediate step, the authorities should reveal the fate and whereabouts of people forcibly disappeared during the protest movement that began in October 2019.  

During the mass protests, known as the Tishreen [October] protests security forces including anti-riot police, counterterrorism forces and members of Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a large network of militias legally considered part of the Iraqi Armed Forces, used lethal force against protesters and pursued a sinister campaign of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.   

“Since the Tishreen protests, successive Iraqi governments have reneged on their promises to ensure truth and justice for the state and militia violence inflicted on Iraqi protesters, activists, and lawyers and their families. The meagre number of prosecutions and investigations – which pale in comparison to the scale of the abuses – clearly demonstrate that the authorities are not interested in accountability,” said Razaw Salihy, Amnesty International’s Iraq Researcher. 

“Justice for the Tishreen protests is long overdue. The Iraqi authorities must ensure independent and impartial investigations into crimes committed since 2019 against protesters, activists and their families, publish the findings and hold those suspected of criminal responsibility accountable in fair trials that meet international standards. They must also protect families demanding justice from reprisals”. 

Reprisals to silence calls for justice  

While some families have continued to insist on calling for accountability and pursuing investigations left dormant, reprisals for speaking out have deterred other families from continuing their pursuit of justice.  

In one stark case, the father of a human rights lawyer who was forcibly disappeared in October 2019 was killed in March of 2021 after campaigning for answers about his son’s whereabouts. Amnesty International had warned of threats to the family’s safety in November 2020 and called on the Iraqi authorities to ensure their protection. 

The family of Sajjad al-Iraqi, another prominent activist who was forcibly disappeared in September 2020 in Nasiriya, has also been subjected to numerous threats by people believed to be linked to the abductors and to the PMU. These individuals have on several occasions called the family or come to their home to pressure them to drop their court case related to Sajjad al-Iraqi’s disappearance. Sajjad al-Iraqi’s activism focused on corruption issues.  

No meaningful accountability 

Very few prosecutions of members of security forces or affiliated militias have taken place for their role in violence against protesters and activists.

The meagre number of prosecutions and investigations – which pale in comparison to the scale of the abuses – clearly demonstrate that the authorities are not interested in accountability.

Razaw Salihy, Amnesty International

In a report released in June 2022, the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) was only able to identify the conviction of four “unidentified armed elements” since May 2021 and of six members of the security forces for targeted shootings, killings, and abductions. The report added: “UNAMI/OHCHR was unable to identify any other cases that progressed beyond the investigative stage during the reporting period.”  

A family member told Amnesty International that they met with Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani nine months ago and that he promised to follow up on Sajjad al-Iraqi’s case. On 22 March 2023, the Thi Qar Criminal Court convicted two individuals in absentia for kidnapping Sajjad al-Iraqi. 

However, Sajjad al-Iraqi’s whereabouts remain unknown, and no arrests have yet been made in his case. A relative told Amnesty International: “There is no interest in Sajjad’s case. It is just false promises and reassurances. It is just ink on paper.” 

Lack of transparency  

Since 2019, successive Iraqi governments have formed numerous committees to investigate violations committed in the context of the protests at the national and governorate level, but these committees have failed to deliver on truth or justice.  

The most notable was the ‘Fact-Finding Committee’, established by Executive Order 293 issued by then-Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on 18 October 2020 with the goal of gathering evidence, publishing a comprehensive report, and identifying those responsible for the crimes committed. Under the decree, the Committee has the right to refer cases to the judiciary, however there has been no transparency as to whether this has occurred.  

In a letter from Prime Minister Shia al-Sudani’s Office to Amnesty International on 2 April 2023, the Office said that “the Prime Minister ordered in November 2022 the activation of the work of the [Fact-Finding] committee and outreach to representatives from the demonstrators”. The Prime Minister’s Office outlined measures the Fact-Finding Committee had taken, including having looked into “more than 215 cases obtained from the Rusafa Central Investigative Court and reviewed more than 5,375 official documents that included medical reports, victim autopsy forms and reports of forensic experts, and the committee continues to examine documents received from courts of appeal”.  

The Prime Minister’s Office also confirmed that reparations had been paid to the families of those killed, amounting to ten million Iraqi dinars for each victim.  

However, reparations are not a substitute for establishing the truth or bringing perpetrators to justice, and nearly three years after it was first formed, the Fact-Finding Committee has yet to publish any findings. 

Enforced disappearance is currently not a crime under Iraqi law and therefore cannot be prosecuted as a distinct offence. On 6 August 2023, the Iraqi Council of Ministers a draft “Missing Persons Law” and sent it to Parliament. The draft’s stated aim is to help relatives of the missing learn their fate and be given access to reparations, including by setting up a national commission for the missing. Yet, this draft law does not criminalize enforced disappearance or outline penalties for perpetrators. 

The following sites updated: