Friday, January 13, 2023

The attacks never end

Really good video that C.I. tipped me to, from THE DAILY SHOW with guest host Roy Wood Jr.

If you're not getting how bad the attacks are on drag queens, read the report by David Villarreal (LGBTQ+):

Arkansas state Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R) has filed a bill that would classify drag queens as employees of an “adult-oriented business,” similar to nude models, porn actors, and sex workers.

The bill would put restrictions on transgender and non-binary people singing and dancing in public. It would also require bars, restaurants, shops, and theaters to relocate if they allow such behavior from people of those identities or anything resembling drag.

The bill, S.B. 43, defines a drag performance as one in which a performer “exhibits a gender identity that is different from the performer’s gender assigned at birth using clothing, makeup, or other accessories that are traditionally worn by members of… the performer’s opposite sex,” and performs a song or dance “intended to appeal to the prurient interest” in front of an audience of two or more people.

By this broad definition, a transgender or non-binary person singing a song about lovemaking, reciting a sexual story, or gyrating while dancing would be legally considered the same as a sex worker or someone having sex on camera. In fact, the law would consider any person doing these things as someone who works for an “adult-oriented business” if they wore anything not associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.

 The people attacking drag queens and LGBTQ+ members are insane.  They need to be called out and rebuked. 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Friday, January 13, 2023.  Iraq has another victory in the Gulf Cup, Joe Biden thinks the answer to his appalling handling of top secret documents is to serve up jokes, and much more.

Group A competitions of the 25th Gulf Cup held in the southern Iraqi city of Basra ended with an Iraqi victory over its Yemeni counterpart.

The Iraqi national team qualified for the semi-finals of the 25th Gulf Cup championship, after obtaining the first place in the group, while the Yemeni and Saudi national teams are leaving the championship following their losses in the first round.

The Iraqi national team achieved a superb 5-0 victory over its Yemeni counterpart, on Thursday evening, in the third and final round of the group stage.

When Qatar hosted the 17th Arabian Gulf Cup in 2004, it wanted to celebrate a special moment: Iraq’s return to the competition for the first time in more than a decade.

Diplomatic ties between Iraq and its Gulf neighbours were severed after the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. As a result, the Iraqi national team were banned from taking part in the biennial tournament.

But Iraq returned in 2004, a year after Saddam Hussein was removed from power by an invasion led by the US. Despite this, the region was rocked by more than a decade of division as the country slipped into a period of sectarian strife.

Fifa banned Iraq from hosting international matches between 2003 and 2018, citing the poor security situation. But much has changed since and many view Iraq's hosting of the current tournament as a triumph of sports diplomacy, part of continuing efforts to heal a political rift.

To mark the occasion, Qatar commissioned the renowned Iraqi sculptor Ahmed Al Bahrani to design and create a new trophy for the tournament.

Mr Al Bahrani, who has lived in exile since the late 1990s, was overjoyed when he received the commission.

“I was happy for Iraq returning to the tournament and I was particularly proud to be given this opportunity as an Iraqi,” Mr Al Bahrani said.

Today Bahrain faces Kuwait and Qatar faces the UAE.  After that, the games resume on Monday with Iraq and Oman facing competitors determined by today's face offs.  

While there has been much to cheer about if you were Iraq or some of the other countries, the government of Iran has not been pleased with the games.  As we noted yesterday, the Gulf Cup or the Arab Gulf Cup is how it has been referred to and the prime minister of Iraq, on opening day, used "Arab Gulf Cup."  The government of Iran feels that term ignores and degrades the historic role of Iran in the region and that the games should be called "The Persian Gulf Cup."  Omar Ahmed (MEMO) explains:

Yet the recent row with Iraq is significant in that the country has, for some time, been seen as Iran's "backyard" due to the influence Tehran exerts in Iraq's internal affairs, particularly in terms of politics and security, but also due to the historic, cultural and religious ties that the two Shia-majority Muslim countries share.  Nevertheless, the rift has arguably exposed deep-seated nationalistic sentiments. Even some of the most ardent Iranian secularists opposed to the Islamic Republic would take issue with referring to the Gulf as "Arabian".  In some cases, these sentiments may supersede the strategic relations forged following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and, furthermore, with Iran's support in the fight against [ISIS].

It is also worth remembering that, Iran's leadership has sought to justify Iran's involvement overseas conflicts, including in Iraq as "the defence of Iran". During the height of the devastating Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, Ayatollah Khomeini had initially hoped that Shia soldiers in the Iraqi army would take up arms alongside the Iranian forces; this didn't materialise. However, "This was not out of loyalty to the regime, necessarily, but to prevent Iraq from becoming colonised by Iran or from following in its theocratic footsteps." At the time, one western diplomatic source noted that the Iraqi Shia community has effectively been "nationalised" by the Baathist government who poured money into the shrine cities, in return for support against the Iranians.

The row over Iraq's referring to the Gulf as "Arabian" is unlikely to escalate further after Tehran sought clarifications from Baghdad, but it does illustrate the ethnic and nationalistic divergences that still exist between the two countries who, nevertheless, form integral parts of the Iranian-led Axis of Resistance. As such, the issue may be exploited in future by Iran's rivals across the Gulf in order to create a wedge between Iraq and Iran and to re-assert Iraq's Arab identity in an attempt to distance it from Iran. Speaking of the recent row, one senior Sadrist member, Issam Hussein, was quoted as saying "Iran is actually angry over Iraq's rapprochement with its Arab neighbours and it is afraid it will lead to economic and political cooperation and cost Iran its influence in Iraq."

As Basra gathers up the bouquets, Baghdad will hope that investors everywhere take note. But once the tournament is concluded, attention will quickly return to Iraq’s political dysfunction: The government of Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, appointed in late October more than a year after the general election of 2021, may not be long for this world.
The backing of Iran makes it highly suspect in the eyes of most Iraqis. The country’s most popular politician, Moqtada al-Sadr, who was unable to form a government despite his party’s plurality of seats in parliament, retains the capacity to bring millions of supporters into the street and paralyze the government.
If Sudani can survive Sadr’s political maneuvering, he will have the unenviable task of managing Iraq’s economy, which is entirely dependent on oil exports. The prime minister dreams of oil remaining close to $100 a barrel. High prices through much of last year helped to cover the ineptitude of Iraq’s government, which is hoping to expand its export capacity in the months ahead.
But Iraq has been unable to convert oil revenues into opportunities for its young population. A comprehensive labor force survey conducted jointly last year by the Iraqi government and the International Labour Organization put youth unemployment at 35.8%. Joblessness, along with deep dissatisfaction with the government and anger at Iran’s meddling in Iraqi affairs, has powered the widespread protests that have wracked the country in the past three years.

Moving over to the US, President Joe Biden is in another mess.  Ruth's covering it daily at her site and Wally ("THIS JUST IN! JOE COPIES DONALD!"), Cedric ("Joe said it was wrong when Donald did it"), Betty ("They're both crazy!") and Ann ("Put them in a locked room and let them slug it out") did their joint post on Monday.

These are the basics.  Last year, Donald Trump, former US president, has his residence raided by the FBI because he had top secret documents that he had taken from the White House.  Donald has argued that he, in his role as president, had the right to declassify them and take them.  The National Archives had been insisting he return them.  When he didn't, the FBI was sent in.

The White House has confirmed reports that classified documents were discovered in a former office space used by Joe Biden in Washington, D.C., after his term as vice president. On Monday, Biden’s lawyers said a “small number” of the documents were discovered in a locked closet as they were closing the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. It’s not clear what the documents were related to. Biden’s lawyers say they immediately notified the National Archives, which took possession of the records the next day.

In 2018, then-President Trump signed a bill making it a felony -- rather than a misdemeanor -- to knowingly remove classified materials with the intent to retain them at an “unauthorized location.” Those convicted face up to five years in prison. Special counsel Jack Smith is currently investigating Trump for allegedly mishandling at least 325 classified documents seized by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago last August.

Journalist should be covering the way Amy did but most corporate journalist by Monday evening were not using terms like "Biden's lawyers say."  They were instead 'reporting' like "After the discovery, the National Archives were immediately notified."  No, you don't know that.  And you can't report it as fact.  It's "Biden's lawyers say."

Ruth rightly noted yesterday, when it was announced that more classified documents were found in Joe's possession at another location (in a garage), that this was not a time for jokes -- Joe had ha-ha-ed that "my Corvette's in a locked garage, so it's not like it's sitting on the street."

It's not the time for jokes.

It's also not time for partisanship.  But many are playing that on both sides.  

A House investigation?  I would agree with that.  We have a sitting president who has classified document problem -- that's more serious than the media's treating it -- hold on for that, I'll get to it.  So, sure, the House has every right to investigate.  Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a Special Counsel:

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Appointment of a Special Counsel

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced today the appointment of a former career Justice Department prosecutor and former U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur to serve as special counsel to conduct the investigation of matters that were the subject of the initial investigation by U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr. related to the possible unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or other records discovered at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement and the Wilmington, Delaware, private residence of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“Based on Mr. Lausch's initial investigation, I concluded that, under the Special Counsel regulations, it was in the public interest to appoint a Special Counsel. In the days since, while Mr. Lausch continued the investigation, the Department identified Mr. Hur for appointment as Special Counsel.

“This appointment underscores for the public the Department's commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters, and to making decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law. 

I am confident that Mr. Hur will carry out his responsibility in an even-handed and urgent manner, and in accordance with the highest traditions of this Department.”

That's needed as well.

I don't want to even include the name of the guy who burned his bridges at MSNBC, ESPN, CNN, FOX SPORTS, CURRENT TV and GQ (did I miss a firing?) but he has nothing of value to offer (big surprise, right?) and this is a real news story and it's a serious one.  

There's no need to compare the two -- Joe and Donald.  One is a sitting president, one is a former president.  

Instead, we're back to this.

For those who are late to the party, Tara Reade came forward to detail her time working in then-Senator Joe Biden's office and to state that he assaulted her.  Tara is credible and I believe her 100%.  She has 'receipts' (including the call in her mother made in real time to CNN's LARRY KING SHOW).  The response was for Joe's campaign to smear her to the press -- who never explained to their readers -- and I say readers because most of it was in print and not on TV but do include PBS in this list of outlets who were allowing Joe's campaign to dictate the coverage.  

It became harder and harder to attack Tara's statements -- as Alyssa Milano found out (after being fed lies by TIMES UP!) -- and so we got the justification that the video above points out.  "Less rapes."

And now, it's less documents.

It doesn't matter if it was one document and we're not going to revamp our standards for legalities and make Donald Trump the bar.  No.  And if you don't like Donald (I don't), why in the world are using him as the standard?  "Well it's less than Donald had!"

He is in violation.

If you're going to compare the two at all, it's that Joe had those documents not as president, but as vice president and/or former vice president. If Donald's argument is legal -- a court will decide that -- it would apply for Donald but it's doubtful that Barack Obama, as the president under whom Joe served, could give Joe or anyone's classified documents -- if Donald's argument holds up in court, Barack could have given himself that permission but not anyone serving under him.

These documents turning up would be embarrassing for any sitting president.  

It's more embarrassing for Joe.


For Immediate Release – Thursday, Jan. 12th, 2023

Full-Page Ad on Capitol Hill Calls for Primary Challenger to Biden

The Hill newspaper today published a full-page ad in its print edition calling for a progressive Democrat to step forward with a primary challenge to President Biden, who has said he intends to run for re-election.

The ad, which appears under a big “Help Wanted” headline, says that a “historic position” is available for an “articulate and principled Democrat willing to show political courage on behalf of party and country.”

The notice goes on: “Qualifications include a record of progressive advocacy, effective leadership and proven integrity. Capacity to withstand intensive pressure from corporate interests and the Biden White House a must.”

The complete full-page ad, as it appeared in The Hill, is posted here.

The ad was placed by the Don’t Run Joe campaign, which is sponsored by the activist group RootsAction. The organization’s co-founder Jeff Cohen said Thursday: “A healthy political party requires healthy political debate about its future. President Biden should not be enabled to coast to renomination without such a debate, especially in light of recent polling that shows most Democrats don’t want him to seek a second term.”

Recent polls by CNBC and CNN found that nearly 60 percent of Democrats nationwide do not want Biden to be the party nominee in 2024.

“A presidential nomination should not be a coronation,” RootsAction national director Norman Solomon said. “Voters in the Democratic presidential primaries next year should not simply be told to rubber stamp a choice handed down from on high.”

For further information, contact RootsAction cofounders:
Jeff Cohen,, phone/text (914) 388-1431
Norman Solomon,, phone/text (415) 488-3606

For background, see the Don’t Run Joe website and Frequently Asked Questions.


Contact: | Learn more at our FAQ

Joe wants to run for re-election in two years.  He hasn't announced yet because there are still some trying to talk him out of it.  (He's had arguments -- including one of the phone with Barack.)  The majority of Democratic voters do not want him to run as evidenced by repeat polling.  They think he's too old.  That's reality, by the way.  If he ran and was re-elected, he would be the oldest president in US history.  He's 80 years old right now.

What does this have to do with the documents?

Donald Trump left the White House and took documents with him.  That's why you don't want to compare the two.  Donald was asked to return and said no.


Donald knew he had the documents.  Donald knew where he had the documents.

Joe's defense currently is, at best, oops!

He forgot he had them.

Okay, we already see him as senile.

He wants to argue that he's so senile that he forgot to return these documents in 2016 or by 2017 when his book on Beau Biden was published (the documents may have been used or mixed in with classified documents when he was working on that book published in 2017).

That's not making him look good.

He had top secret documents and worse than that, he had them for years.  He had them for years and he forgot them which means -- pay attention here -- he misplaced them.

That is a serious breach of national security.

He did not just misplace them for a moment, he misplaced them for years.

Again, a serious breach of national security.

This does warrant a special counsel.  This does deserve a Congressional investigation.

A sitting president has lost and misplaced -- not just mishandled -- classified information.

This needs to be addressed seriously.  This is not minor.  He is now handling tons of documents and it needs to be determined if he can handle that role and, if he can, he needs to be assuring the American people that this will not happen again.

Ruth is so right, this is not the time for jokes.  It's also not the time to hide behind your attorneys.  You are the President of the United States and you have done something that is appalling.  This is not a woopsie.  You need to speak to the American people and you need to be honest and forthright.  It is not a time for jokes.

Let's wind down the snapshot with this from Alex Bollinger (LGBTQ NEWS):

A 13-year-old boy in France named Lucas died by suicide last Saturday, January 7 after facing anti-LGBTQ+ bullying at school. People close to his family say that the school did little to stop the bullying.

The student at the Louis Armand de Golbey middle school in the Vosges department was out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, the French magazine TĂȘtu reports.

“He was constantly harassed for the way he dressed, his mannerisms, his presence,” said StĂ©phanie, a family friend. “He didn’t hide himself and that bothered some people.”

She said Lucas was “always pleasant, caring, spontaneous, full of dreams and a life.”

The following sites updated: