Thursday, September 21, 2023

NEWSWEEK fact checks a liar (only one)

Many people lied about a White House memo.  NEWSWEEK fact checks U.S. House Representative Mat Gaetz's lie that the White House threatened the press but that same lie was repeated by the usual liars of The Schools of Glenneth Greenwalds and Jonathan Turley:

The memo referred to was sent to the U.S. news organizations on September 12, 2023, from Ian Sams, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor and Spokesman

for White House Counsel's Office, about the impeachment inquiry.

However, the memo contains no threats about covering the impeachment. Instead, it details the White House's misgivings about the inquiry itself.

It contains a number of on-the-record statements from Republicans doubting the quality or lack of evidence driving the impeachment inquiry, and asserts the White House position that the grounds for the inquiry are "baseless."

"It's time for the media to ramp up its scrutiny of House Republicans for opening

an impeachment inquiry based on lies," the memo read.

"When even House Republican members are admitting that there is simply no evidence that Joe Biden did anything wrong, much less impeachable, that should set off alarm bells for news organizations."

While the letter encouraged reporters to investigate House Republicans for opening the inquiry, it contains no threat of censorship, injunction, or other tool by which the White House would stymie the right of journalists to report impeachment proceedings.

The White House believes there are no grounds, but there is nothing in the memo that threatens journalists not to mention "bank records, travel logs, devices, communications, bribes, and more that builds this massive case for impeachment" as Gaetz claims.

Some people just lie.  They have nothing better to do.  And the Glenneth Greenwalds have mastered in lying.  He tutored Matt Taibbi in lying, in fact.  I hope you already read Rebecca's "i hope russia keeps her, we don't need her in the u.s." about the hopeless Tara Reade, by the way. 

Also please read Stan's "Talking the harm of ROLLING STONE's sexism and racism."

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Thursday, September 21, 2023.  Two US senators make clear the United States really isn't their focus, MOVEON joins the efforts to stop book banning, veterans suicides, and much more.

We have a lot of idiots in the country so it's no surprise that we also have them in Congress.  No, i'm not talking about the hate merchants, just the deeply stupid.  Dan De Luce (NBC NEWS) reports:

Two U.S. senators are urging the Biden administration to appeal to the Iraqi government to help secure the release of a Princeton University graduate student believed to have been abducted by an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq six months ago.

In a letter obtained by NBC News, Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, who both represent New Jersey, home to Princeton, conveyed their “grave concern” about Elizabeth Tsurkov’s plight in their appeal to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

They called on the administration “to use our close and abiding relationship with Iraq to raise Elizabeth’s abduction and call for her release at every opportunity and level.”

Oh, a Princeton graduate student, let's drop everything for the non-citizen then.  Did she shop at COSTCO too?

Reality, she's probablya  spy for either Russia or Israel.  And those are the two countries that she's a citizen of.  Let her countries make whatever case needs to be made.  She is not a US citizen.

This week, Joe Biden is supposed to meet face-to-face with Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani -- the prime minister of Iraq who NBC NEWS didn't see fit to name in their article.  This will the first face-to-face meeting of the two if it takes place.  It will not be an all day meeting.  It will be quick.  Hopefully there will be a photo op with the three or so questions they allow now at a photo op.  

There is not time to address everything.

She is not a US priority.  A priority for the health of Iraq is Kirkuk.  The US should have seen that issue resolved back in 2007 -- per the Iraqi Constitution.  Just as Brookings predicted, playing kick the can only made things worse. 

It needs to be resolved and the US helped create the problem so that's an area the US needs to focus on.  

With climate change taking place, I wish that would be focused on.  With some Iraqi legislators trying to make being gay a crime -- and a death penalty crime -- I wish that would be focused on.

But it is their first meeting and for the good of all of Iraq, the Kirkuk issue is probably the one to focus on.  

And pretend for a moment that this was an American citizen?  By all means, she would need to be discussed but even then you would have to be very careful.  "We are distressed over the kidnapping of Diane . . ."  Worded wrongly, it quickly becomes in the prime minister's head, "Joe Biden just accused me of kidnapping?  Me?"  

The woman is not an American citizen.

If Cory Booker is suddenly interested in women, I suggest he find one for himself.  Yeah, I went there.  And, Bob, you've had enough scandals involving foreign countries.  You've had more than enough.  As you enter what is probably your last years in office, you don't need to be advocating for citizens of other countries with your long history of being investigated for corruption.  And it's not just ancient history.  As NBC NEWS reported yesterday.

As Matt Friedman (POLITICO) reported last month, "shady" is the term that best describes your career in Congress:

About every 10 years, like clockwork, news articles pop up reminding New Jerseyans about that time in the early 1980s when Bob Menendez donned a bulletproof vest to testify against his former mentor at a federal corruption trial.

The story, when told by Menendez’s allies, is intended to portray the senator as a hardscrabble Hudson County politician who did what’s right in the face of the powerful Democratic machine — the same machine that nurtured him and launched his career.

It’s come up again and again because, well, Menendez has found himself the subject of similar investigations again and again — about once every decade. It happened in the 2000s, the 2010s, and it’s happening now.

It says something good that out of **100** US senators, only two were willing to waste time and energy on an issue that has nothing to do with the United States.  If Israel and Russia want to save their citizen, then they can step up to the plate and work on that issue.  Again, if Joe and Mohammed do have the meeting this week, it will be a brief meeting.  They will have to be formally introduced, make some small talk to establish something of a bond.  There will be no time for a wish list from either of the two.  They will probably only address one key issue.  And by address, I mean mention in passing.  Then they may or may not do a photo op.  

The two senators look like they were paid off to raise this issue.  Maybe in the future, Cory, don't co-sign with someone who has a shady reputation.  

Again, there are very serious issues to address and there's not time for something as silly as an idiot who chose to go to Iraq and make a spectacle of herself.  There was no reason for that -- unless she's a spy.  

Again, Iraq wants to institute the death penalty for the LGBTQ+ community, Cardinal Luis Sako has been stripped of his authority in Iraq (besides the importance to Iraq, Sako's Catholic and Joe's Catholic so it's a natural issue for Joe), Kuwait is rightly upset the their border in place with Iraq has just been tossed aside by Iraq's court, the list of worthy topics is endless.  Some little idiot who wants to travel to Iraq despite the long post-invasion history of the country's animosity to Jewish people?  She's not a US citizen, her countries need to make her case.  

If you're not getting it, The Gulf Cooperation Council issued the following this week:

 GCC Foreign Ministers issue statement after meeting in New York

18 September 2023.

The Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, have called on the Republic of Iraq, to take seriand urgent steps to address the negative effects of developments over the Khor Abdullah maritime agreement.

The Ministers made the call in a statement following a meeting held on Sunday, at the headquarters of the Permanent Delegation of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations in New York. The meeting discussed a ruling of the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court issued on Monday and published on Thursday.

The statement says the ruling is based on inaccurate, out of context, historical reasoning regarding the agreement concluded in 2012 between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Iraq about the regulation of maritime navigation in Khor Abdullah.

The statement says the agreement was ratified by Iraq in 2013 and was deposited with the United Nations.

The Ministerial Council said that these developments do not serve relations with the GCC countries, and violate international charters, treaties and agreements, including UN Security Council Resolution 833.

In yesterday's snapshot, we note this body's joint-statement with the US State Dept.  This may be minor to some but it's big news in Iraq and Kuwait.  And it's a lot more important than someone who stupidly made the choice to go into Iraq and then was such a spectacle that she was kidnapped by a group believing she was a spy for Israel.  

We noted climate change.  ALJAZEERA has a video report, "Iraq's Water Wars Pt. 1," and they note:

Iraq is running out of water. It is the fifth most vulnerable nation to the impact of climate change, according to the United Nations. Temperatures have risen by more than 2.5 degrees Celsius (36.5 degrees Fahrenheit) since the end of the 19th century, double the global average. The impact has been particularly visible in the last two years. Water levels in the Euphrates and Tigris rivers have dropped by half. Iraq’s government blames upstream water use by its neighbours as the primary culprit but has been criticised for not taking any steps at climate mitigation or adaptation strategies. And many Iraqis say oil industry water use is just exacerbating the problem.

Again, there are real issues to address and, again, that woman has citizenship in two countries and those two countries are the ones who need to be making appeals, not the US government.

Picking up from yesterday about Moms For Bigotry and others attempt to ban books, LGBTQ NATION notes:

Beloved actor and LGBTQ+ ally LeVar Burton -- and over 175 other artists and authors -- have signed an open letter encouraging people to fight back against anti-LGBTQ+ book bans that are sweeping the nation.

“Far-right politicians like Ron DeSantis are championing draconian laws to ban books and the teaching of accurate multicultural American history in favor of upholding a homophobic, transphobic, and white supremacist vision of our nation,” the letter’s website, Artists Against Book Bans, reads. The website and campaign were spearheaded by the progressive political group MoveOn.

Here's the letter:

As artists, creators, entertainers, and activists, we recognize and are horrified by the threat of censorship in the form of book bans.

This restrictive behavior is not just antithetical to free speech and expression but has a chilling effect on the broader creative field. The government cannot and should not create any interference or dictate what people can produce, write, generate, read, listen to, or consume.

We cannot stress enough how these censorious efforts will not end with book bans. It’s only a matter of time before regressive, suppressive ideologues will shift their focus toward other forms of art and entertainment, to further their attacks and efforts to scapegoat marginalized communities, particularly BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks. 

We refuse to remain silent as one creative field is subjected to oppressive bans. As artists, we must band together, because a threat to one form of art is a threat to us all.

We are calling on everyone to join us in pushing back against these book bans, support free and open creative industries—regardless of personal or ideological disagreements—and use their voice at the local level to stop these bans in their school districts. There is power in artistic freedom, and we refuse to allow draconian politicians to take that from us.


Abigail Disney
Adina Porter
Aisha Tyler
Aja Monet
Akilah Hughes
Alimi Ballard
Alysia Reiner
Alyssa Milano
Amanda Gorman
Andie Freeman
Andy Cohen
Angie Thomas
Ann Patchett
AnnaSophia Robb
Ariana Grande
Ashly Burch
Ava Max
Ava Philippe
Barbara Joosse
Bellamy Young
Bex Taylor-Klaus
Bill Nye
Billy Porter
Brandon Dermer
Brittany O’Grady
Busy Philipps
Cara Mentzel
Cave In
Chad Coleman
Charlotte Clymer
Chelsea Handler
Chelsea Wolfe
Chris Mosier
Chrissie Fit
Christie Brinkley
Christina Michelle
Clark Gregg
Constance Wu
Dan Andriano

Dying Wish
Elaine Hendrix
Elizabeth Gillies
Ellen Barkin
Emma Roberts
Escuela Grind
Eve 6
Fatimah Asghar
Felicia Day
Gabrielle Union
Garden Films
Garrett Russell
Gouge Away
Grace Gaustad
Great American Ghost
Greg Grunberg
Guillermo del Toro
Guy Endore-Kaiser
Idina Menzel
Internet Today
J Smith-Cameron
Jacqueline Toboni
Jaime King
James Isaiah Muñoz
Jason Collins
Jason Ritter
Jazz Jennings
Jeff Rosenstock
Jesse Ferguson / Gale
Jessica Capshaw
Jessica Marie Garcia
Jodi Picoult
Joel Birch
Joel McKinnon Miller
John Leguizamo
Jose Ramos
Judd Apatow
Judy Blume

Kaci Bollx
Karah Preiss
Kathy Najimy
Katie Rich
Kay Cannon
Kayleigh Goldsworthy
Kelly McCreary
Kelly Zutrau
Kevin Kruse
Knocked Loose
Kristin Bauer
Layne Ihde Author
Leigh Bardugo
LeVar Burton
Lexi Underwood
Loung Ung
Luvvie Ajayi Jones
Madelyn Cline
Maia Kobabe
Margaret Atwood
Margaret Cho
Mark Mackillop
Mark Ruffalo
Meena Harris
Michael Ian Black
Michael Kelly
Michael Lapinski
Muggytone Productions
Natasha Lyonne
Natasha Rothwell
Nathan Meckel
Nick Adams
Nicolas Hosford
Nik Dodani
Nikki Giovanni
Old Man Gloom
Padma Lakshmi
Patton Oswalt
Pete Souza
Piper Perabo
Raquel Willis

Rob Ackroyd
Rob Corddry
Rob Reiner
Robbie Morris
Ron Perlman
Roxane Gay
Sadie Dupuis
Samantha Ronson
Sandra Cisneros
Sarah Paulson
Sarah Sophie Flicker
Sedona Prince LLC
Shannon Downey (BACS)
Sharon Stone
Sheila B.
Simone Norman
Sofia Warren
Sophia Bush
Spencer Ackerman
Spencer Compton
Steven Pasquale
Stick To Your Guns
Storefront Church
Stray From The Path
SuburbanCrunchyGirl Andie Freeman
Sunny Hostin
Tara Strong
The Callous Daoboys
The Cybertronic Spree
Tim Guinee
Torrey DeVitto
Trey Bruce
Two Minutes To Late Night
Ue3 Promotions
War On Women
Zaria Forman
Zoe Lister-Jones
Zooey Deschanel

A report from the Florida Department of Education (DOE) has revealed that approximately 300 books were removed from schools across Florida during the 2022-2023 school year. Many of the books included LGBTQ+ content or characters, including This Books is Gay by Juno Dawson, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera, The Family Book by Todd Parr, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, and Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings.

Despite all of this, Florida DOE spokesperson Caily Myers told NBC News that”Florida does not ban books.” 

It's not just about banning books.  It's banning knowledge and context and ideas because heaven forbid anyone should ever actually think. That's made obvious by the response to a talk by Marc Tyler Nobleman.  For those who don't know, he is the author of BILL THE BOY WONDER: THE SECRET CO-CREATOR OF BATMAN, a biography of Bill Finger who, along with Bob Kane, created Batman.  You can see him in the HULU documentary BATMAN & BILL.  Some students in Atlanta were able to see him briefly until the school decided that Marc couldn't mention that Bill Finger had a gay son.  AP reports:

“We’re long past the point where we should be policing people talking about who they love,” Nobleman said in a telephone interview. “And that’s what I’m hoping will happen in this community.”

State laws restricting talk of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools have proliferated in recent years, but the clash with Nobleman shows schools may be limiting such discussions even in states like Georgia that haven’t officially banned them. Some proponents of broader laws giving parents more control over schools argue they extend to discussion of sex and gender even if the statutes don’t explicitly cover them.

They want to disappear LGBTQ+ people.  This had nothing to do with any sexual act.  It was noting that the co-creator had a gay son.  The same basic family background you'd provide on anyone.  

The schools spokesperson insists that she and the school weren't bothered by "gay" but that they were worried that the use of the term might result in questions.

Maybe ones like, "Mr. Nobleman, do you think our school spokesperson is a homophobe?  And, if so, what should we do about it?"

Can we ponder these parents for a second?  They're lying hypocrites who falsely scream 'groomers.'  So you think they're not already talking to their children about LGBTQ+ people?  You know they are.  But they're lying and spreading their hate and can't risk the kids realizing that at school.

Take a moment and grasp how much harder the Civil Rights era would have been if hate merchants had been allowed to hide behind religion (some tried) to excuse their racism.  This is not what this country is supposed to be.  These hate merchants need to be sent packing.  

In other news that you can't mention in Forsyth County schools, AP reports:

The Pentagon began a new effort Wednesday to contact former service members who may have been forced out of the military and deprived of years of benefits due to policies targeting their sexual orientation, starting with those who served under “Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Under DADT, which was enacted in 1994 by President Bill Clinton and in effect until 2011, service members who had other than heterosexual orientation could serve — as long as they kept it quiet. That led to years of discrimination, undue pressure, discharges and lost benefits.

Under DADT and previous military policies forbidding gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer personnel from serving, at least 32,837 service members since 1980 were forced out of the military for their sexual orientation, according to Department of Defense data.

More than 2,000 of those service members received general, other than honorable, or unknown discharge characterizations "that may have denied them access to veterans benefits, like home loans, health care, GI Bill tuition assistance and even some government jobs," Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said.

So get the word out -- unless you work at Forsyth County schools because, you know, questions.

Out gay Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) and other Congress members marked the 12th anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) — the 1994 law that banned gay and bisexual service members from serving in the military — by proposing a commission to study the impacts that DADT had on queer and non-queer military members.

The proposal, introduced on Wednesday, coincides with an announcement by the Department of Defense (DOD) to contact military members who were forced out under the discriminatory policies and help update their discharge documents in order to restore their access to benefits that they lost.

Takano’s proposal, called the “Commission on Equity and Reconciliation in the Uniformed Services Act,” would create a 15-person commission to study past Department of Defense (DOD) actions “policing sexual orientation and gender identity in the uniformed services, from the beginning of World War II and onward.” The commission would also gather testimony and hold hearings on the effects these policies had on discharged soldiers’ physical, mental, psychological, financial, and professional well-being, including their ability to access military benefits. 

 We'll wind down with this from US Senator Bill Cassidy's office:

(Click here to download and here to watch on YouTube.)


WASHINGTON  U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) grilled the Executive Director for Suicide Prevention at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Matthew Miller, after an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report found that a 2021 veteran suicide was improperly handled. The report also found that VA employees interfered with the OIG investigation into the death. VA responded to the OIG findings by moving the executive director of the VCL to a senior position in the secretary’s office.


“We’ve passed accountability measures for people who don’t do their job,” said Dr. Cassidy. “And it sounds like interfering with an investigation of a suicide, which may have been inappropriately handled on a veterans’ crisis line, is incompetence.”


“It sounds like somebody was asleep at the wheel,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Now the question is was it just incompetence or was it just a cover-up.”


After being stonewalled by Miller, Cassidy called for VA officials to be held accountable.


“That veteran was ill-served, and there was as best as I can tell, an attempt not to hold people accountable,” concluded Dr. Cassidy. “And my gosh, that is a pattern.”



The OIG report published on September 14th found that the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) staff failed to take appropriate action with a veteran who died by suicide the same night he contacted the VCL. The VCL leadership then interfered with the OIG investigation, coaching staff prior to speaking with the OIG, according to the report.


The OIG also uncovered systemic issues, lack of standard operating procedures and policies for the VCL, and overall inadequate oversight. The report also discovered that the VCL Director for Quality and Training acted inappropriately and provided advice and information to the VCL responder prior to interviews with the OIG that potentially compromised the candidness of the interview.


This summer, Cassidy led the passage of a congressional resolution to support veterans struggling with mental health challenges.


Last year, the Senate unanimously passed Cassidy’s Solid Start Act to strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Solid Start program to contact every veteran three times by phone in the first year after they leave active duty. The program helps connect veterans with VA programs and benefits, including mental health resources.


Cassidy also introduced the Mental Health Reform Reauthorization Act of 2022 to reauthorize and improve Cassidy’s historic 2016 mental health reform package.


The following sites updated:

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

2 years in prison for ex-Congressman Buyer

Sorry, I have to note something else today other than former President Donald Trump or Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  Do you remember when Matt Taibbie testified before Congress about Twitter and C.I. reported on the hearing and said it was the worst hearing she had ever sat in on, even worse than when some Representative stormed out of the hearing and slammed a door?  I was there, at that hearing.  And I mention it because that drama queen is in the news.  Lauren Irwin (THE HILL) reports:

Former Rep. Stephen Buyer (R-Ind.), 64, was sentenced in New York to nearly two years in prison on Tuesday for insider trading. 

The nine-term former congressman was sentenced to 22 months in prison for trading inside information he learned as consultant ahead of two separate companies mergers. 

Wow.  The headline just said "former Congressman" and I clicked because I was curious as to who it could be?  Mr. Buyer.  As I remember it, it was a hearing related to the Iraq War and a reporter was giving testimony and answering questions and he was repeatedly interrupted by Mr. Buyer.  The journalist was a free lance journalist, I'm pretty sure, and the article he was referencing was one he had written for THE NATION.  I could be wrong but it seems like one of the other journalists present was Jeremy Scahill.  At any rate, Mr. Buyer was rude to the witness, cut him off repeatedly, and then delivered a high moment of drama I-can't-participate-in-this-hearing before marching to the exit and slamming the door behind him.  

Stephen Buyer Misappropriated Material Non-Public Information from His Former Consulting Clients, T-Mobile Corporation and Guidehouse

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that STEPHEN BUYER, a former Indiana Congressman, was sentenced today to 22 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.  BUYER was previously convicted following trial of four counts of securities fraud for engaging in two insider trading schemes.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Stephen Buyer was convicted by a jury of twice engaging in insider trading.  He abused positions of trust for illicit personal gain, and today he faced justice for those acts.  No insider trader is above the law, and we will continue to bring those who undermine the fairness and integrity of our markets to justice.”

According to the Indictment, evidence presented during trial, court documents, and statements made in open court:

In 2018 and 2019, BUYER engaged in two separate, but interrelated insider trading schemes to steal material non-public information that he obtained through consulting work and to place timely, profitable securities trades based on that stolen information.  First, in or about March and April 2018, BUYER purchased shares of Sprint Corporation (“Sprint”) ahead of the April 29, 2018, public announcement that T-Mobile US, Inc. (“T-Mobile”) and Sprint would merge in a deal valued at $26.5 billion.  Prior to the public announcement of the transaction by T-Mobile, executives at T-Mobile told a small, trusted group of consultants that they had retained to work on the deal, including BUYER, about the merger and directed them to keep the information confidential.  BUYER breached his duty of confidentiality to T-Mobile and misappropriated that information by purchasing shares of Sprint across several brokerage accounts, including his own accounts, an account held jointly with his cousin, and an account in the name of a close, personal friend.  Across these accounts, BUYER made more than $126,000 from the purchase and subsequent sale of Sprint stock after the merger was publicly announced. 

In or about June through August 2019, BUYER again engaged in insider trading, this time trading in shares of Navigant Consulting, Inc. (“Navigant”) ahead of Navigant’s acquisition by consulting and advisory firm Guidehouse.  As with his purchase of Sprint shares, BUYER learned through his consulting work for Guidehouse that Guidehouse intended to acquire Navigant and misappropriated that information by purchasing Navigant shares ahead of the public announcement of the acquisition.  BUYER purchased Navigant shares across several brokerage accounts, including accounts in his own name, joint accounts held with family members, and the account of the same close, personal friend whose account he used to trade Sprint shares.  In total, Buyer made more than $223,000 from his illegal Navigant trades.

BUYER testified at his March 2023 trial and provided false explanations for his Sprint and Navigant trading, which Judge Berman found at sentencing to constitute obstruction of justice.

*                *                *

In addition to his prison sentence, BUYER, 64, of Noblesville, Indiana, was ordered to pay more than $350,000 in forfeiture and restitution in an amount to be determined. 

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and also thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission for its assistance.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kiersten A. Fletcher and Margaret Graham are in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Wednesday, September 20, 2023.  Senator Tommy Tuberville gets attention (not the kind he wanted),  Kuwait's not pleased with Iraq on the border issue, Moms For Bigotry are mocked online, the need to stand up to book banning, and much more.

There are many embarrassments in the US Congress but certainly one of the worst is "Coach" Tommy Tuberville.  Marcia's covered the senator at her site repeatedly in posts such as "Tommy Tuberville is a crook and Marjorie Taylor Green is just insane," "Why does Tommy Tubberville hate American soldiers?," "Why is Senator Tuberville trying to destroy the US military?," "Why does Senator Tuberville hate the American military?,"  "Why does Tommy Tuberville hate the US military," . . .

A sample from Marcia's site:

Tommy Tuberville.  Remember him?  He ran for the US Senate out of Alabama even though it turns out he lied about residency -- his primary residency was and remains Florida.  And he's the loon who wants everyone to call him "coach" and not "senator."  Apparently, he has some heavy times vested with images of half-dressed boys and letting go of "coach" would be letting go of those memories.  And mainly, he's known for holding up US military appointments.  He continues to do that:

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) has been drawing a great deal of criticism from Democrats — as well as from Never Trump conservatives — for holding up military promotions as a way of speaking out against abortion policies on women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Some evangelical Christian fundamentalists, however, have praised Tuberville for promoting the "pro-life" cause.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Zej Moczydlowski is among Tuberville's critics. In a scathing op-ed published by Military Times on September 13, the medic stresses that the Alabama senator's actions are harmful to servicemembers.


It's time to talk again of Senator Tommy Tuberville.  You know, the liar who has permanent residence in Florida but ran for the US Senate from the state of Alabama?  He's been blocking all military nominations and promotions -- leaving the country at risk.  What's the reason for his petty tantrum?  He doesn't like that women in the military can get abortions.  Some might point out that it's really not his business.  Others might point out that 'coach' never served in the US military.  But while risking national security, Tommy is enriching his own pockets:

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) recently purchased up to $250,000 worth of stock in telecommunications technology company Qualcomm Inc., a federal defense contractor, while serving on the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services and actively blocking hundreds of military nominations and promotions, new congressional financial disclosures indicate.

Qualcomm and its subsidiaries have been the recipient of several dozen defense and homeland security contracts during the past two decades, according to federal contracting records reviewed by Raw Story.

So that's the con artist we're dealing with.   Monday, the VFW issued the following calling the senator out:

WASHINGTON – In a letter sent Sept. 18, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is calling on Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville to lift his hold on the routine promotion of military general and flag officers.

“The line in the sand for the VFW is simple:  Political disputes must be handled by politicians – not within the ranks of the all-volunteer force. Sen. Tuberville’s hold on these routine promotions has consequences up and down the active-duty force that will take years to fix,” said VFW Commander-in-Chief Duane Sarmiento. “By sending this letter, the VFW is making our voice very clear – this is not the way Congress should do business.”

As of today, the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps no longer have confirmed heads of their services, with hundreds of other routine uniformed promotions stalled behind them, due to Sen. Tuberville’s refusal to allow confirmations to proceed without unnecessary bureaucratic procedures. VFW members have shared their own experiences and frustrations with how the force is being affected, to include key leaders and staff holding multiple collateral positions, stalled decision-making in critical areas, as well as delayed family and staff relocations.

“One of the VFW’s top national security priorities is preserving the all-volunteer force,” said VFW Washington Office Executive Director Ryan Gallucci in the letter. “At a time of military recruiting challenges, the instability caused by this hold will have far-reaching consequences for the brave Americans who volunteer to serve in today’s military and those who may consider future military service.”

This is not the first letter sent by the VFW on the issue. In July, a letter demanding the confirmation of critical military positions was sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Later that same month, VFW members voted at the 2023 VFW National Convention in Phoenix, Ariz., that preserving the all-volunteer force was the 124-year-old organization’s top national security priority.

“The VFW called on the Senate to resolve this matter earlier this summer and now we call on you directly to end this hold before we set the very dangerous precedent of harming American service members as leverage in Washington political battles,” said Gallucci.

In a survey conducted Sept. 7 – 9, VFW members overwhelmingly voiced that political civilian leaders should be held accountable for disagreements over policy, that politicians should not be able to harm the troops over political disagreements, and that political decisions that harm the troops will affect the decisions of VFW members in upcoming elections. Last week, VFW members took to Capitol Hill, sharing the results of the survey with their legislators, many of whom echoed their concerns over the hold having a dire impact on national security.

“Critics have said our survey seemed loaded, but to the VFW, the choice is straightforward:  Can politicians use uniformed service members and military families as leverage in political disputes? In the context of the all-volunteer force, the VFW says no,” said Gallucci when asked about the survey. “To promote the effective civilian control of our military, our nation has been very deliberate to frame the all-volunteer military as a non-partisan and trusted institution that transcends party politics.”

VFW members have also expressed their worries Sen. Tuberville’s hold on the confirmation process will not only affect those whose promotions are currently stalled, but also compel emerging leaders to leave the military for more suitable civilian opportunities.

“It’s easy to look at this issue and think that only generals are affected, but the military doesn’t just hire generals off the street,” said Sarmiento. “Generals start at the bottom and choose to grow in the military, just like everyone else who wears the uniform. If you’re a major, a captain, or an ensign today, are you sticking around to see if this happens to you to?”

The survey was completed by more than 7,000 VFW members representing every state and overseas territory where VFW members reside. Complete survey results are: 

  • Who should be held accountable for disagreements over policies in Washington, D.C.?
    • Political Civilian Leaders:  87%
    • Uniformed Service Members:  13%
  • Do you believe politicians should be able to harm the troops over political disagreements?
    • No:  91%
    • Yes:  9%
  • Will political decisions that harm the troops affect your decisions in upcoming elections?
    • Yes:  90%
    • No:  10%

“The world is still a dangerous place and brave Americans remain stationed around the world, intent on keeping these dangers far from our shores. This is why the VFW is calling on you to stop this dangerous game,” Gallucci concluded in the letter. “Games may belong on the football field, but not in halls of the U.S. Senate.”

He's been called out by many, including the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.  But the VFW letter does appear to have him unnerved.  Patrick Darrington (ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER) notes:

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, is causing division inside the Republican party and more criticism from military personnel as he continues his blockade of military nominations in protest of the Department of Defense’s abortion policy.

According to Politico, Tuberville’s hold has upset Republican congress members, particularly Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, a former Navy SEAL Officer. Crenshaw texted his allies that he is “at a point where I’m going to tear apart (if asked) coach/Senator/non-veteran Tuberville for personally attacking service members who have spent almost 30 years serving our country.”

Crenshaw also said that Tuberville’s actions are having “worsening consequences.” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said that Tuberville is “paralyzing the Department of Defense,” and creating a “national security issue.”

“The idea that one man in the Senate can hold this up for months — I understand maybe promotions, but nominations? — is paralyzing the Department of Defense,” McCaul said. “I think that is a national security problem and a national security issue.”

When not objecting to abortions the 'coach' objects to poetry so we need to note this from deep into Darrington's article:

“We’ve got people doing poems on aircraft carriers over the loudspeaker,” Tuberville said on the Ingraham Angle. “It is absolutely insane the direction we’re headed in our military.”
The Star-Spangled Banner our national anthem was originally written as a poem by Francis-Scott Key.

And the criticism is only increasing.  Martin Pengelly (GUARDIAN) reports:

A liberal group representing US military veterans took aim at Tommy Tuberville, the Alabama Republican senator holding up officer promotions in a protest over abortion, but also at party leaders who have not forced him to stand down, calling them “traitors” and warning: “Tight lips could sink ships.”
Presented in the style of a second world war propaganda film, a short ad from Vote Vets bemoans “an un-American assault on our military” by a “so-called American senator singlehandedly stop[ping] hundreds of military leaders from taking command”.

Turning to Iraq,  where recently the country's corrupt Supreme Court (they have so much in common with the US) overturned the the treaty regarding the maritime border between Iraq and Kuwait.  Over the weekend, THE ARAB TIMES reports:

The Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Arab World Affairs, Ambassador Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al-Bakr, held a meeting today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ headquarters with Ambassador Al-Manhal Al-Safi, who serves as the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to Kuwait.

During this meeting, Ambassador Al-Bakr formally delivered Kuwait’s protest memorandum.

The protest was lodged by the State of Kuwait in response to the content of a recent ruling issued by the Federal Supreme Court of the Republic of Iraq.

Yesterday, the US State Dept issued a statement ("The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states.") and this is the section on Iraq and Kuwait:

The Ministers stressed the importance of Iraq’s commitment to Kuwait’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and respect for international conventions and UN resolutions, especially UNSC Resolution 833 regarding the demarcation of the Kuwait-Iraq boundary.  They called for the complete demarcation of the Kuwait-Iraq maritime boundary beyond boundary point 162 and called on the Government of Iraq to expeditiously resolve the domestic legal status of the 2012 Kuwait-Iraq Agreement to regulate maritime navigation in Khor Abdullah and ensure that the agreement remains in force.  The Ministers renewed their support for UNSC Resolution 2107 (2013) regarding the transfer of the file related to repatriation of all Kuwaitis, including missing Kuwaitis, and return of Kuwaiti property, including the national archives, to the UN Mission to Iraq (UNAMI), and expressed their hope that Iraq will continue to cooperate to ensure progress in this file.  They called on Iraq and the UN to exert maximum efforts to reach a resolution of all the issues involved.

Meanwhile the hate group in the US, Moms for Liberty (actually Moms for Bigotry) is being mocked everywhere and it even has a website dedicated to mocking it.   Kate Briquelet (THE DAILY BEAST) reports:

When ex-South Park writer Toby Morton set out to lampoon Moms for Liberty with a parody website this summer, he expected to receive hate mail.

On Morton’s, visitors are greeted with swastikas encircling the “parental rights” juggernaut’s logo, a leadership page that boasts Hercules actor turned conservative pundit Kevin Sorbo as their minivan driver, and a listing of items the moms have “banned for fun” including the board game Sorry. “Those who are taught to say ‘sorry’ are weak,” the fake site for the far-right group declares. “NEVER apologize for your actions because your actions are probably warranted if you’re white.”

“I told myself that I never want to lose the original idea of why I started these websites, which was to make myself laugh and to troll people who deserve to be trolled,” said Morton, who has also crafted spoof sites for Republicans including Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, taking advantage of politicians who fail to snag all domains with their monikers.

But Morton didn’t anticipate how serious this project could be. Fans sent Morton a barrage of messages detailing how Moms for Liberty (M4L) was altering their school boards and more than a few tips about its particularly egregious members, who call themselves “joyful warriors.”

Funded and aligned with right-wing donors and organizations like the Leadership Institute, M4L has been at the forefront of a national movement to ban books (or even yearbooks) containing race, gender, LGBTQ themes, and sexual content. The group’s second annual summit in July attracted mass protests and campaign stops from presidential candidates including Donald Trump, DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Nikki Haley.

For Morton, what started as comic relief is morphing into a fundraising campaign, one that will create pages for each state. “My plan is to disrupt this hate group for as long as possible with billboards, pamphlets, background information and other tactics,” Morton said. “They have no interest in truly educating children and would rather actively prevent them from learning the true history of our country. I have a lot of support around the country so I’ll continue updating my website about this group in each state so people are fully aware.”

Moms For Bigotry are also Moms For Idiocy because only fringe-minded freaks support censorship.  Tipper Gore learned that the hard way.  The ACLU notes:

Ideas are powerful. That’s why intellectual freedom is protected by the First Amendments — and it's also why sometimes governments try to suppress them.  

For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has fought to make sure Americans have the right to read what they want. Despite our many victories, there are still misguided attempt to ban books. The American Library Association keeps track — some of the most frequently challenged books from 2015 include the best seller Fifty Shades of Grey along with Fun Home and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (both of which were turned into Tony Award-winning Broadway shows, by the way).

But you can’t keep a good book down. See the menu below for more on those “dangerous” collections of words.

PEN noted earlier this year:

Again, and again, the movement to ban books is driven by a vocal minority demanding censorship. At the same time, a 2022 poll found that over 70% of parents oppose book banning. Yet the bans continue. Many public school districts find themselves in a bind. They face threats and political pressure, along with parental fears and anxieties surrounding the books on their school shelves. School Boards, administrators, teachers, and librarians are told in some cases to “err on the side of caution” in the books they make available. Too often, they do just that.

These efforts to chill speech are part of the ongoing nationwide “Ed Scare” — a campaign to foment anxiety and anger with the goal of suppressing free expression in public education. As book bans escalate, coupled with the proliferation of legislative efforts to restrict teaching about topics such as race, gender, American history, and LGBTQ+ identities, the freedom to read, learn, and think continues to be undermined for students.

Below, PEN America updates its tally and analysis of book bans during the first half of the 2022-2023 school year, from July to December 2022. This research builds on PEN America’s 2022 report, Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools, which covered book bans from July 2021 to June 2022.

Key Findings: 

  • During the first half of the 2022-23 school year PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans lists 1,477 instances of individual books banned, affecting 874 unique titles, an increase of 28 percent compared to the prior six months, January – June 2022. That is more instances of book banning than recorded in either the first or second half of the 2021-22 school year. Over this six-month timeline, the total instances of book bans affected over 800 titles; this equates to over 100 titles removed from student access each month.


  • This school year, instances of book bans are most prevalent in Texas, Florida, Missouri, Utah, and South Carolina. These bans are driven by a confluence of local actors and state-level policy. The implications of bans in these five states are far-reaching, as policies and practices are modeled and replicated across the country.


  • Overwhelmingly, book banners continue to target stories by and about people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. In this six-month period, 30% of the unique titles banned are books about race, racism, or feature characters of color. Meanwhile, 26% of unique titles banned have LGBTQ+ characters or themes.


  • Due to cases where long lists of books are removed for further investigation, bans this school year are increasingly affecting a wider swath of titles, including those that portray violence and abuse (44%), discuss topics of health and wellbeing (38%), and cover death and grief (30%). This illuminates how censorship impacts a wide array of books, particularly as school districts respond to vague legislation by removing large numbers of books prior to any formal review.


  • The process behind book challenges and bans is evolving. During the 2021-22 school year, parent-led groups coordinated to advance book censorship. These groups pressured  districts to remove books without following their own policies, even in some cases, removing books without reading them. That trend has continued in the 2022-23 school year, but it has also been supercharged by a new source of pressure: state legislation. School districts in many states are reacting to new laws that dictate the types of books that can even be in schools, or what kinds of policies they have to follow to add new books and review their collections.


  • Books are more frequently labeled “pornographic” or “indecent.” Dozens of books were targeted for removal in the 2021-22 school year on the basis that they contained sexual content. But since last summer, this framing has become an increasing focus of activists and politicians to justify removing books that do not remotely fit the well-established legal and colloquial definitions of “pornography.” Rhetoric about “porn in schools” has also been advanced as justification for the passage or introduction of new state laws, some of which would bar any books with sexual content and could easily sweep up a wide swath of literature and health-related content.


  • The full impact of the book ban movement is greater than can be counted, as “wholesale bans” are restricting access to untold numbers of books in classrooms and school libraries. This school year, numerous states enacted “wholesale bans” in which entire classrooms and school libraries have been suspended, closed, or emptied of books, either permanently or temporarily. This is largely because teachers and librarians in several states have been directed to catalog entire collections for public scrutiny within short timeframes, under threat of punishment from new, vague laws. These “wholesale bans,” have involved the culling of books that were previously available to students, in ways that are impossible to track or quantify.

I’m an English teacher. 

That’s what I told myself and others for five years as I began working to make my community and state a better, more equitable place to live. Even after founding the Missouri Equity Education Partnership, I spoke in front of our state legislators and pronounced that I was “just an English teacher.”

It took me five years to arrive at the understanding that although teaching gave me some essential tools that prepared me for this work, I am an organizer. My driving purpose has been to teach and empower others to step into their role as organizers, too. As part of my work with Unite Against Book Bans, I hope to encourage others to embrace this potential in themselves.

When people tell me that they don’t know if they can be an organizer, I ask if they have the ability to do any of the following:

  • Create goals 
  • Think about action steps to achieve those goals 
  • Work with others collaboratively toward a common goal
  • Explain directions well to others
  • Accept constructive feedback
  • Collect and analyze data
  • Think critically about complex issues

Many times, their answer is yes to enough of those traits that they begin realizing they can use those skills to effectuate change in their communities. At this challenging point in our history, individuals willing to step up and use these skills are exactly what we need. We must address the challenges we face—not just book bans but anti diversity, equity, and inclusion policies; attempts to whitewash history; anti-LGBTQ+ laws; the removal of reproductive rights and affirmative action; and so much more. We need more people working together to ensure the future of our democracy. We need YOU.

So the next time you are faced with book bans— or anything else that will negatively impact your family, friends, and neighbors— remember that you have all that you need to become an organizer and advocate. Don’t forget to visit the Unite Against Book Bans Action Toolkit for resources to support your efforts.

The following sites updated: