Monday, May 8, 2023

Hunter gets captured by the game?

First Felon Hunter Biden remains in the news.  CBS NEWS reports:

The attorney for the IRS whistleblower who has alleged that the Justice Department interfered in and mishandled the Hunter Biden criminal probe met with members of Congress last week on behalf of his client, according to two sources familiar with the matter. 

The Friday meeting was described to CBS News as a proffer session with the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees to lay the groundwork for what the whistleblower could tell investigators and how he could do so without running afoul of taxpayer privacy laws. CNN first reported the meeting. 

In a letter to Congress last month, the attorney, Mark Lytle, said his client, an unnamed IRS criminal supervisory special agent, could shed light on how the years-long, high-profile investigation had been hindered by "preferential treatment and politics." However, Lytle said his client could not share "certain information" because of the taxpayer privacy laws.  

Lytle told CBS's chief investigative correspondent Jim Axelrod, "My client wants to come forward to Congress. … He's ready to be questioned about what he knows and what he experienced under the proper legal protections." 

And here is a discussion of Hunter Biden on BREAKING POINTS.

I probably would not have included that if Krystal Ball were part of the discussion.  I do not like people who think they can win my vote by insulting me.  In fact, Ms. Ball probably did more than anyone to harm Marianne Williamson's chances at getting the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  She should not have insulted people and yelled at them.  That is not how you help your candidate.

Let me dedicate a song to First Felon Hunter Biden, the Marvelettes' "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game."

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

Monday, May 8, 2022.  The American Taliban continues its war on the US and on democracy, John Stauber has become a demented fool raving "Soros funded" at everything, Glenneth Greenwald gets called out for transphobia and lying for Tucker, and much more.

Starting in the US where hate merchant Ron DeSantis is contemplating a run for the GOP's presidential nomination.

A few things on the video.  That's his voice?  That's how he speaks?  Is his whole anti-gay thing about himself being teased about that voice, people assuming he was gay?  Second, knowing that people are talking about his War Crimes at Guantanamo and that prisoners have come forward, that's how he replies?  He tries to play dumb?  Is he dumb?  He is aware that traveling outside the US opens him him up to arrest, right?  He could be put on trial.  Like Henry Kissinger, he'll have to be a home-range War Criminal, confined to the US.

At COMMON DREAMS, Pierre Tristan writes:

Child abuse prevention month ended at the end of March. But in the Florida Legislature, every day is child abuse day. Not prevention. Perpetration, with almost every Republican legislator institutionalizing a system of predation that makes clergymen’s unzipped prowls seem monastic in comparison.

The frocked committed their crimes in hiding. The Vatican has been trying to atone. Florida’s legislators are out and proud. They’re giving naked discrimination, predation and violence the cover of law. Welcome to the Sunshine State’s Sharia laws. Few sessions have provided the legal framework for as much state-sponsored and citizen-empowered terrorism against children as this one. You’d have to go back to the Jim Crow era’s systematic dehumanization of blacks for anything comparable. Now it’s open season on LGBTQ kids. Let us count the ways.

HB1069 expands the “Don’t Say Gay” law approved last year to all grades through middle school, forbids the use of Safe Space stickers or LGBTQ flags (congratulations, Ms. Christy Chong), and forbids recognition of LGBTQ+ History Month in June. Black History Month is still OK, as long as you only teach the yes-massa version. School staff and students are forbidden from using pronouns that conflict with a child’s birth sex. The Department of Education has the authority to broaden the prohibition through 12th grade without legislation. Last month, it did so.

Recall how in 2019 a Matanzas High School chorus teacher refused to refer to a trans student by his chosen name? The teacher was seen as callous or insensitive at the time. The case led to the student’s transfer and his parents’ (successful) two-year campaign to add gender protection in the district’s anti-discrimination policy. Now that teacher or the district would be violating the law if they were to accommodate the student’s chosen pronouns.

Those who criticize us fake newscrafters for using terms like “don’t say gay” are right in one respect. The phrase is misleading. It’s too gentle, too Birkenstock. This is not just about words. It’s the denial and erasure of people’s identities down to their most private core. It is the method of genocide.

We have precedent–not just in slavery times and Jim Crow: Florida law ostensibly makes it a requirement to teach Holocaust history (ostensibly, because the same legislators and our governor are no less rabid anti-Semites for it, as their Soros-coded vileness reminds us almost daily). In this regard the Florida curriculum might as well be written by a cherry-picking Josef Goebbels. Students will not be taught that before he took on Jews on his quest for an “Aryan master race,” Hitler criminalized all homosexual organizations, or that the ashes of gays and lesbians, not just Jews, gypsies and political prisoners, dusted the countryside around Auschwitz and Dachau.

Because the American Taliban is on the rise, Ron's only one member.  Daniel Villarreal (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

Oklahoma’s superintendent of public schools Ryan Walters (R) has suggested that the Bible be taught in history classes.

Walters has previously pushed the transphobic lie about schools providing litterboxes to students who identify as cats. He also recently referred to teachers’ unions as “terrorist organizations” and illegally tried to make rules banning LGBTQ+ books and transgender bathroom access in schools.

[. . .]

When running for his current office, Walters said he wanted his state’s teachers to “undergo patriotic education offered by a conservative Christian college” because “our students are not taught history but instead are taught indoctrination, instead taught this country is an evil place full of bigoted racists,” KOCO-TV reported.

Gov. Stitt appointed Walters as his state’s education secretary in 2020. While serving in that post, Walters received approximately $120,000 in annual pay to serve as the executive director of Every Kid Counts Oklahoma, a group largely funded by advocates for expanding taxpayer-funded private charter schools.

The conservative-led charter school movement seeks to weaken public education in favor of for-profit private schools whose leaders can legally exclude any students or topics they disapprove of.

Remember that Jonathan Turley is part of this movement.  He's been laying threads for years and has finally exposed himself.  After America stopped laughing, we were left with the fact that the George Washington University professor preaches transphobia and attacks the public school system incessantly.  It's part of the playbook, it goes hand in hand.  

Turley and his fellow hate merchant John Stauber were jerking in a frenzy last week over the sales of Budweiser which their stupidity told them was all about America hating transgender people.  No, as we explained, that laughable boycott on the right was nonsense.  But the refusal of the corporation to stand by diversity and rights had pissed off the LGBTQ+ community and allies.   Since Turley and Stauber live in a hate bubble, they don't know any people who are gay, bi or transgender.  Alex Bollinger (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

Trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney has been the target of rightwing abuse for the past month, with even a sitting member of Congress calling her a “pedophile” just because she did a brand partnership deal with Bud Light. And instead of supporting her, Bud Light’s owners are trying to distance themselves from the partnership.

Now Colorado’s gay governor is vowing to boycott Budweiser after the beer company’s latest attempt to disavow Mulvaney.

On April 1, Mulvaney posted a 50-second video to Instagram with some custom Bud Light cans with her face on them. Over the next month, conservatives lost their minds posting videos as they dumped out Bud Light beer and shot up cases of Bud Light with semiautomatic rifles. Elected Republicans claimed that Mulvaney was a pedophile (without any evidence at all) and that the global balance of power would be upset by Mulvaney’s Instagram video. Others said that they were boycotting Bud Lightoften switching to other LGBTQ+-friendly brands.

By the end of April, Bud Light’s parent company – Anheuser-Busch – had put out a weak statement saying that it “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people… We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer.”

“It’s pretty annoying to be both-sides-ing something when the two sides are, ‘I am trans,” and ‘That makes me so mad I’m going to shoot $65 worth of non-refundable beer,’” comedian John Oliver joked about the statement at the time.

Now Anheuser-Busch CEO Michel Doukeris was caught distancing the company from Mulvany on a call with investors.

“We need to clarify the facts that this was one can, one influencer, one post and not a campaign,” he said in comments reported in the conservative New York Post. Many conservatives have incorrectly referred to the brand partnership as an “ad campaign.”

“We will continue to learn, meet the moment in time, all be stronger and we work tirelessly to do what we do best: Bring people together over a beer and creating a future of more cheers,” he said, adding that the company will triple its media spending for Bud Light over the summer. Left unsaid was whether any of that money will be spent advertising to LGBTQ+ customers turned off by the brand’s handling of the situation.

“I have been boycotting Budweiser my entire life, then I was thinking about ending my boycott the last few weeks. But now I’ve decided to keep my lifelong boycott,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) tweeted yesterday.

John Stauber and Jonathan Turley were caught by surprise yet again because they shun so many of their fellow citizens.   Speaking of the hate merchants, Glenneth Greenwald.  THE NATION has a great podcast about Glenneth Greenwald's transphobia, lying for Tucker Carlson and so much more.  And you know it's a great segment because John Stauber's hissing "Soros subsidized-media."

The hate that the American Taliban is inflicting upon this country comes at real costs and destroys lives.  Hannah Critchfield (TAMPA BAY TIMES) reports:

Like most older adults, Brian Kelly wants to stay in his home as long as he can.

The Seminole resident’s concerns go beyond losing his independence or the rising cost of long-term care.

“I wonder, ‘Is the facility welcoming to LGBTQ?’” asked Kelly, who is gay.

Fear of having to “re-closet” upon entering a nursing home has long haunted aging LGBTQ+ people.

To Kelly, who is 68, the threat feels more palpable these days.

As Florida reddens and a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ bills sails through the Legislature, some LGBTQ+ seniors fear for their retirement future in Tampa Bay.

Many can’t afford to leave, residents and providers say, due to fixed incomes and the disproportionate risk of poverty that LGBTQ+ community members face throughout their lives.

“I’m hoping I don’t have to go into long-term care at all,” Kelly said. “But I desperately do not want to have to go into long-term care here in Florida.”

For decades, Tampa Bay was considered a haven for LGBTQ+ people to enjoy safe, affordable retirement.

The area once boasted America’s first LGBTQ+ retirement community. St. Petersburg, nicknamed “God’s waiting room” for its large senior population, continues to hold the largest pride parade in the southeast. While Tampa once banned the liberation march, it now has an openly gay mayor, Jane Castor.

LBGTQ+ retirement guides in Forbes and U.S. News and World Report have long recommended both cities.

But Kelly said the area now feels less welcoming than it did when he first arrived over 20 years ago.

“The political climate is getting more and more unfriendly to people like us,” he said.

The American Taliban is destroying the fabric of this country, the we're-all-in-this-together belief, the basic principles of democracy and freedom, and tossing the country into turmoil.  Christopher Wiggins (THE ADVOCATE) reports:

The Louisiana state House of Representatives committee failed to approve a bill aimed at improving workplace protection for LGBTQ+ employees on Wednesday in a vote 7-5.

The bill would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's current employment discrimination law, which bans discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, or cultural hairstyle.

Opponents said the addition could result in lawsuits against companies.

Rep. Delisha Boyd, a Democrat from New Orleans, explained that the bill, which she proposed, would help increase workers in the state.

“Skilled and talented people are in short supply in our state,” Boyd said, according to public radio station WRKF. “We need to expand our employment pool regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation.”

For many, the current hysteria among blindly bigoted, supposedly God-fearing troglodytes eerily echoes the white fear and hate that spewed forth during the Civil Rights Movement, when oppressed Black people dared to seek polite entry to the nation's schools and lunch counters. Today, the anti-trans/queer/other delirium has reached such fever pitch that a Texas school district just cancelled a planned field trip to see a theater production of James and the Giant Peach - wherein a young orphan boy escapes cruel relatives in a giant magic peach, embarks on a whirlwind, surreal journey with similarly giant magic insects, and learns about friendship and tolerance - because some of the actors dress as the other gender to play their insect and human parts. "We are keeping our son home (about) the drag queen role," parents squawked. Also, "Do you see how they are coming after our kids? They sneak it in!" and, "That's drag to me. It's all grooming no matter how you dissect it." Sigh.

Unimaginably, this is the bonkers, toxic environment in which first-term, duly elected, transgender Rep. Zooey Zephyr, representing 11,000 constituents in relatively liberal Missoula, has bravely fought to claim her place. From the moment the ugly GOP-controlled legislative session began, said one queer, Indigenous ally, "There are truly new lows being explored by the super-majority.” "There is such disdain, such animus, such disgust with queer people, Indigenous people, people that don’t fit in within their vision of what Montana is," he said, "they’re now weaponizing the institutions to exclude us." During last month's debate of a GOP bill to ban gender-affirming care for youth (because it's definitely the most vital issue facing the state), Zephyr was silenced when she argued GOP perpetrators would have “blood” on their hands" in the bill's tragic fallout. Afterwards, hundreds of outraged protesters showed up to chant, "Let her speak!" Capitol police in riot gear were deployed, seven people were arrested, and the GOP majority voted to ban Zephyr from the House floor for using "uncalled-for language."

Nevertheless, she persisted: Along with Montana's ACLU, Zephyr sued, arguing her censure violated her 1st Amendment rights, denied the right of her constituents to "just representation," and was a “direct threat to the bedrock principles that uphold our entire democracy.” She endured vicious harassment: Bigots taunted and misgendered her; mockingly posted pre-transition photos though she'd never hidden she was transgender; and, when her partner trans journalist Erin Reed announced she'd been "swatted" - calling in a SWAT team against an innocent target - the vitriol on "self-caused hate crimes" was savage: "Oh poor victim...On today's episode of 'Things That Didn't Happen'...What a narcissist." Meanwhile, a rabid GOP forged ahead with its anti-trans health bill, which the governor's own non-binary son denounced as "immoral, unjust (and) a violation of human rights.” They also passed an anti-drag bill so vague - no "parodic persona with glamorous or exaggerated costumes and make-up” - it could bar music concerts, Shakespeare plays, Halloween costumes and Lady Gaga.

After her banishment - though Speaker Matt Regier tried to stop her - Zephyr began working on a bench outside the chamber; an orange Post-It note declared the ad-hoc office Seat No. 31, her desk on the Floor. "I am here working on behalf of my constituents," she wrote, "as best I can given the undemocratic circumstances." This week, a judge put an abrupt end to the standoff by barring her return to the House, ruling he couldn't interfere with "legislative authority." The GOP called the decision "a win for the rule of law"; Zephyr slammed it as an "affront to democracy...(The) House is the People’s House, not Speaker Regier’s." At the same time, wives of GOP legislators began arriving early each day to park themselves on the bench Zephyr had been using; photos show them mean, smug, sneering like the racist crowds that met the Little Rock Nine and lunch counter warriors of the civil rights era. The resilient Zephyr calmly moved to a nearby lunch counter, where - irony alert - she stood. "Seat 31 has moved," she tweeted. "I'm up and ready to work. Plus, I hear standing desks are all the rage these days."

But her supporters were enraged by petty, hateful "Christo-fascist bigots" with such a "small, sad life." "Imagine telling your family, 'I'll be gone all day because I have to oppress (someone) my religion doesn't like,'" wrote one. Also, "JFC, did they tell her to get to the back of the bus too?" They swiftly organized revolving crews into a "Blue Bench Brigade" to arrive early each day, claim the spot, and "make sure @ZoAndBehold (is) surrounded by kind people who support her." Many celebrated the small, sweet action: "This. is. awesome" and "I never thought we’d be fighting over a bench, but here we are." A grateful Zephyr thanked the "lovely friends who saved me a spot" so "seat 31 is back to its home-away-from-home"; she thanked "folks who brought me the earrings and corsage," "everyone who sent flowers," those whose "love and support filled that room...I am carrying your kindness with me." When the Legislature abruptly adjourned, she was still in the hall, yet still sanguine: "Despite all the cruelties, I believe people saw a glimpse of what our country can be if we stand up for democracy & one another." A glimpse, just barely. God bless Zephyr's strength: She - we all - will need it.

Turning to Iraq, for three years now, we've been noting the murder of Hisham Al-Hashimi.  Let's note this from Mina al-Oraibi's 2022  report for THE NATIONAL

 Another challenge is that of the disappeared in Iraq, some of whom were taken under the pretext of “fighting terrorism” at the height of sectarian tension several years ago, and others who were kidnapped during the protests of October 2019.

“Investigations are ongoing regarding the disappeared … we have been able to find those who took protesters [of October 2019] and last week we arrested a man who worked in one of the government entities and who played a large role in the kidnapping and assassination of protesters,” Mr Al Kadhimi said.

He also said that one of the men responsible for killing analyst Hisham Al Hashimi in the summer of 2020 has been arrested.

As for those who have been kidnapped, particularly from Sunni-majority provinces, Mr Al Kadhimi did not have clear numbers of how many there are.

“This matter has to do with some political parties who are part of the political process … some use this issue for corruption and political aims,” he said.

While refraining from going into detail, Mr Al Kadhimi made clear that there are political forces behind the disappearances of ordinary Iraqi citizens and that it is a matter his government is working to resolve.

The overly praised Mustafa al-Kahdimi achieved little and, in October 2022, was finally kicked out of office.  Finally?  He was put in charge to immediately call for elections.  He was not supposed to serve a lengthy term and he was not supposed to seek re-election.  But, once in office, he stalled on calling elections and when they were called he was running for re-election.

He delivered nothing.

But now with a new prime minister?

Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Yasmine Mosimann (AP) report:


An Iraqi police officer was convicted and sentenced to death Sunday in the killing of a prominent security analyst and frequent critic of powerful militias. The ruling came nearly three years after the analyst was gunned down outside his Baghdad home following militia threats.

The family of the victim, Hisham al-Hashimi, said it supported the verdict, but expressed concern it could be overturned on appeal. A relative of al-Hashimi, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, alleged that those who ordered the killing remain at large.

KURDISTAN 24 explains, "As an activist, Hashimi expressed support for the October 2019 protestors, who demanded employment opportunities, improved public services, and ceasing foreign interference in Iraq’s affairs.  At least 500 protesters were killed by Iraqi security forces and militias, while more than a thousand others were wounded."  ALJAZEERA adds:

Al-Hashimi, a prominent academic and government adviser who was an expert on Sunni armed groups such as ISIL (ISIS) operating in Iraq and who had close contacts with top Iraqi decision-makers, was shot dead outside his home in July 2020 by four men on two motorcycles.

Al-Hashimi had also been outspoken against powerful Shia armed actors aligned with Iran, which had angered Tehran-backed Shia factions in Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary network.

Some Tweets.

Jatin Taneja (CALIFORNIA EXAMINER) reports, "Soon after his detention two years ago, a video of al-Kinani purportedly confessing to his alleged role in the crime was made public, but many believe he had the support of armed organizations. Al-Hashimi’s family, according to a relative, accepted the conviction but insisted that those who gave the assassination orders should also be held accountable."

Kat's "Kat's Korner: THE GARLAND TOUCH"  went up early Sunday morning.  The following sites updated: