Wednesday, July 26, 2023

For anyone e-mailing (general purpose statement to apply from this moment forward)

Michael Cooper, here is the link you have requested I post here:

He states that this is an online safety guide for LGBTQ+ people.

Thank you for e-mailing that, Mr. Cooper.

Thank you to many who e-mail.

Many but not all.  

A number of e-mails are really beginning to grate.  So, let me review this one time only.

First up, do I know you?

I am serious.  I ask because of e-mails.  

If you are bothered by something I write here, by all means drop a line -- is the best e-mail for all the community sites.  If you like something I write, please, do the same.

Where I am having a problem is I was raised with manners.  And those of you e-mailing to ask me to note this and that site?

I am not talking about "Here is a video about the assassination that I would like you to highlight."

I am talking about strangers who have not read a word I wrote but have written something themselves and want me to put a link to their website.

Their website that I have never visited and that they do not even include something for me to read from it. 

I do not know you.  Why would I link to your page?  You tell me nothing about it and give me a web address that does not appear to be anything I would be interested in visiting.

Maybe that means something to young people, to me it just looks like you are some paid farm of writers going to a junk site.  That is not "junk site" means bad writing.  That is "junk site" means the equivalent of spam mail -- you know, the garbage you would throw out if it came to your physical mailbox?

I am done worrying about this.  These people e-mail over and over, "Did you miss my previous e-mail" -- if you read this site and you have serious thing you want to share, I am happy to help you.  But this nonsense that I am referring to?  I do not need the guilt.

I was raised to reply to people who took the time to write you.  Clearly, I need to stop that now because I cannot tell who is for real and who is not.  This will probably only get worse with AI, right?

So if you have tried to -- or are trying to -- send me something and are being ignored by me, this is why.  

I have gone back and forth over this and if you cannot write an e-mail conveying what is going on and what you are trying to get me to link to, I am just going to ignore it in the future.


For anyone reading this and thinking, "Ruth, the biggest news of the day is Hunter Biden! Why are you ignoring it?"

I am not.  I told Marcia that I would fill in for her tonight so I will be blogging about Mr. Biden over at her site tonight.

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

Wednesday, Jly 26, 2023.  Crazy runs the world.  In Iraq, the prime minister prepares to make nice with the leader of the nation who has illegally set up military base camps in Iraq (no, not the US), Australia's government rushes to say that the worst thing you can ever do is impugn a holy book oh, and by the way, maybe not attack a diplomatic institution, and in America -- where the crazy really roams free -- we have Robert F. Kennedy Jr and Ron DeSantis who both think they could be president.

Wonder why the world's so screwed up?  Amr Salem (IRAQI NEWS) reports:

The Australian embassy in Iraq issued a statement condemning the desecration of the Quran in Copenhagen and the attack on the Swedish embassy in Baghdad.

The statement mentioned that Australia unequivocally opposes the desecration of the Quran and other religious texts.

The statement elaborated that such acts are provocative and entirely inconsistent with Australia’s firmly held belief in the freedom of religion and the equality of all people.

Yes, that's the violent act, the burning of book.  Yes, that's what we lead with.  If we're insane and just want to coddle a bump of immature idiots who need to grow the hell up.  The burning of a book or a flag -- and Iraq loves to burn other countries' flags -- is not an excuse for violence now or ever.

But by all means, less rush to go first and foremost with "OHHHHHHHH1" over a book being burned as opposed to a fim "NO!" over three attacks on diplomatic missions.

The people in those embassies and outposts had done nothing.  Nor had their governments.  But they were the ones attacked and the chicken ass Australian government -- that Caitlin Johnstone refuses to call out even though she's Australian -- better hope no one gets injured or killed the next time and better grasp that thanks to their cowardly stance, there will be a next time.

They are normalizing such attacks with their very words.

And shame on Caitlin and the other cowards who refuse to demand that Australia fight to get Robert Pether and Julian Assange -- Australian citizens -- freed and freed immediately.

As the world knows, Julian's being persecuted for the 'crime' of journalism and held in England.  It's really past time for Caitlin to stop pissing herself in public while moaning about Joe Biden.  Julian's an Australian citizens held in the United Kingdom, the Australian government has not just the right but also the obligation to demand that the UK grant Julian safe passage home. 

Robert Pether remains less well known.

Robert returned to Iraq for a business meeting only to be arrested and held for over a year now in an attempt by the corrupt Iraq government to force Pether's company to renegotiate the terms of the contract. 

Let's stay with cowardly governments for a moment.  Iraqi is currently initiating Operation Tail Between The Legs.   KURDISTAN 24 reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani on Tuesday received Turkish Ambassador to Baghdad Ali Reza Gunay, according to the PM’s  Media Office.

Both sides discussed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's expected visit to Baghdad next week.

The Turkish President is scheduled to meet with the Iraqi Presidency, parliament, council of ministers and various political leaders.

Oh, goody.  An opportunity for Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to drop to his knees before Erdogan and beg.  Beg like the dog he is.

There are two main reasons this visit shouldn't be happening.  The first is the water issues.  The second is equally important.  With little attention or outcry from the world community, Turkey has not only been bombing northern Iraq -- the Kurdistan -- for years.  It has not only burned down forests in the Kurdistan.  It has also set up military outposts there.  That is a violation of the country's sovereignty and, yes, it is an act of war. 

A hundred years ago, the Turkish government carried out an Armenian genocide and the world was okay with that.  Now, the Turkish government carries out a Kurdish genocide and the world looks the other way again.  They say they're going after the PKK -- the PKK being a group that's active because the Turkish government has been killing Kurds for years now.  But the PKK has been the Turkish government's excuse for killing innocents as they bomb Iraqi villages and farms from their Turkish warplanes.    Aaron Hess (INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST REVIEW) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

We end today’s show with peace activist Kani Xulam, who’s the director of the American Kurdish Information Network. He has just arrived in New York City after his solo 300-mile, 24-day walk from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to United Nations headquarters here.

Monday marked the 100th anniversary of the partitioning of Kurdistan into four parts: British Iraq and French Syria, Turkey and Iran. All of this was done without the consent of the Kurdish people. They were left without a recognized sovereign state. What’s happened since has been called a cultural genocide.

This comes as the Kurds of Syria face threats from all sides after devastating earthquakes and relentless attacks by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Kani Xulam is joining us here in New York for more.

Kani, welcome back to Democracy Now! The latest news of, globally, around Kurds was Sweden, in order to get into NATO, making a deal with the Turkish president, Erdoğan, around what should happen to the Kurds there, who he so often calls terrorists, those who fled Turkey and now live in Sweden. Your response?

KANI XULAM: When NATO was conceived, it was supposed to be an alliance for freedom. And Kurds don’t have freedom. On top of it, their language is banned. They’re subjected to cultural genocide. If NATO wants to reassess its aims, its future aspirations, it needs to address this issue. It cannot cave in to Erdoğan and his racist policies that are trying to eradicate the name of the Kurds from the geography of the Middle East.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And could you talk a little about the history, especially of this treaty a hundred years ago that partitioned the Kurdish people into four different states?

KANI XULAM: You know, when the war started, an imperialist war, when America entered it, at least President Wilson said he wants to make the world safe for democracy. What happened afterwards was anything but to make the world safe for democracy. British, French, France, they joined Turkey and Iran in basically partitioning the land of the Kurds through fraud, through force, without the consent of any of the Kurds on the ground. It was a deal done in Lausanne, in the heart of Europe.

And we have been living with its effects. In Iraq, we have been gassed. In Syria, we have had three different laws applying to our citizenship rights. In Turkey, our very name has been eradicated from the land, if you will. Our mountains have acquired Turkish names. Our rivers have acquired Turkish names. Our villages have acquired Turkish names. And we have been struggling ever since to have a say.

And I walked from Washington, D.C., to the United Nations to say that we exist, we have a voice, we have a history, we have a culture, we are no different than our neighbors, and we need to solve this issue through peaceful means, through civil discourse. In the heart of the Middle East, we have the presence of the Kurds. It’s like, you know, the presence of Alps in Europe or the presence of Zagros Mountains in the Middle East, and it’s an objective fact. And yet our neighbors are saying that there are no Kurds, and they’re trying to pretend that the Kurds don’t exist, and they’re trying to assimilate every single Kurd on the ground as we speak.

AMY GOODMAN: Kani Xulam, in 1997, you were one of two Americans and four Kurds who fasted for peace in Kurdistan and for the freedom of Kurdish parliamentarians who had been arrested by Turkey and imprisoned. This is you speaking while fasting on the steps of Capitol Hill. Again, this is Washington, D.C., 1997.

KANI XULAM: Today, with some guarded optimism, we can report to you that our fast did have its intended effect on the policymakers in Washington. We also wanted to reach out to the mainstream media. Although The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune did pay some homage to our fast, much of the rest of the mainstream media kept their distance from us. They failed to validate our nonviolent message for peace and freedom. They did a disservice to our people’s longing for peace and to their people’s longing for the truth. It is unfortunate that Saddam and war sell better than Ferda and peace. Frankly, we are not disappointed. We are committed to our cause more than ever before.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that was Kani Xulam in 1997. Kani, has there been progress made? And what do you think needs to happen now?

KANI XULAM: The progress has been slow. We are trying to make America Kurdish-friendly, D.C. Kurdish-fairly. I’m reminded of a quote by Dr. King, who said the whites need the Blacks to come clean, to get rid of their guilt; the Blacks need the whites to heal, to lose their fear. The British, the French, the Turks, the Persians partitioned our homeland. They need to come clean, and they need to — they need to reach out to us, so that they could live in conscience, in good faith with their children. And we need them to help us lose our fear and lose our hurt, the pain and the suffering that has been inflicted on us for the last 100 years since the treaty.

And the future is really, we have to respect the Kurds and accept the Kurds. They deserve a seat at the United Nations, too. To pretend that the Kurds don’t exist is to pretend that the world is flat.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Kani Xulam, could you talk about the role of the United States, for instance, during the invasion of Iraq and the Iraq War? The U.S. backed autonomy for the Kurds as a means of achieving its own — the White House’s own goals in the Middle East, but, of course, has said nothing about the Kurds in Turkey or in the other Middle East states.

KANI XULAM: You know, in the course of my walk, long walk for freedom across the founding heartland of America, I came across a sign saying “Americans who had died for the cause of Iraqi freedom.” Many died, that’s true, but the Kurds really didn’t want to have anything to do with the Arab majority in Iraq. They desperately wanted to be on their own. In 2017, they voted to be on their own, and yet neither the United Nations nor the U.S. honored them, in spite of their support of the allied effort to topple Saddam.

In Syria, 11,000 Kurds have died, together with their Arab comrades, to get rid of ISIS threat, not just in the Middle East but also from Europe and the world. The relationship between the United States and the Kurds in Syria is still a military one. The Kurds desperately want that relationship to be a political one. We need political status. We cannot depend on our neighbors, who are bent on our destruction. This is a crime against humanity, and it needs to be stated. And I appreciate Democracy Now! for allowing me to say this on the air.

AMY GOODMAN: Kani Xulam, we want to thank you for being with us, director of the American Kurdish Information Network, has just completed a solo walk from Washington, D.C., to the United Nations.

That does it for our show. Democracy Now! is currently accepting applications for paid internships in our archive and development departments. Learn more and apply at

In the US, we've got another crop of crazies who want to be president. 

On July 20, Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. testified before the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. The hearing took place two days after former president Donald Trump announced that he had received a “target letter” from special counsel Jack Smith. Trump said he expected to be indicted on criminal charges related to the attempted overthrow of the 2020 presidential election, which culminated in the attack on Congress by a fascist mob summoned by Trump on January 6, 2021.

In the face of an unprecedented and rapidly escalating political crisis of the entire US political system in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, the bulk of the Republican Party and the entire leadership of the House Republican conference have lined up behind Trump, portraying the fascist would-be dictator as the victim of a Democratic-led government witch-hunt.

Two days before Trump revealed the special counsel’s target letter, the New York Post published on its website a two-minute video showing RFK Jr. telling associates at an upscale Manhattan restaurant that Jews and Chinese people are less susceptible to the virus that is the cause of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and that this may be the result of deliberate genetic engineering. This version of the infamous “blood libel” against the Jews was the latest iteration of RFK Jr.’s combination of anti-vaccination propaganda, anti-China anti-communism and anti-Semitism that has characterized his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination from the outset.

Following the exposure of this fascistic outburst, which was roundly condemned by other members of the Kennedy family and led to a further drop in RFK Jr.’s poll numbers, the House Republican leadership openly embraced him. In return, he eagerly and no less openly placed himself at their disposal in seeking to deflect attention from Trump’s crimes and portray both the ex-president and himself as victims of a “deep state” conspiracy.

The Judiciary Committee is headed by top Trump attack dog Jim Jordan of Ohio, who was one of 147 House Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election. Under the leadership of Jordan, the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which he set up, has held hearings advancing the false narrative that conservatives and Trump supporters are being unfairly targeted by the various federal police and intelligence agencies.

At the outset of the last week’s hearing, Jordan took time to introduce “a good friend of mine,” former Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat, who is currently serving as Kennedy’s campaign manager. Over the last year, Kucinich has worked with right-wing elements, including the increasingly fascistic Libertarian Party, to forge “left-right” unity against the “corporate duopoly.” Speaking to a smiling Kucinich, Jordan said, “We appreciate your service to the 1st Amendment.”

In his nearly three hours of testimony, Kennedy Jr. never refuted claims by Republican politicians that Trump or his allies were unfairly “censored” or “targeted” by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or social media companies, including after Trump’s failed coup. Instead, Kennedy claimed that he, more so than Trump, was the target of a censorship campaign, aimed at destroying his credibility and hampering his bid to become president.

That Kennedy Jr. was even allowed to testify on Capitol Hill to a worldwide audience less than a week after being exposed for advancing a fascistic and anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about COVID-19 demonstrates the absurdity of the claim that he is being censored. The fact that the Republicans courted him and used the hearing to provide him with a platform expresses the degree to which anti-Semitism and anti-Asian racism are increasingly accepted and promoted within the ruling class.

From one crazy to another, from Junior to Ron DeSantis.  Ronald just gets worse each day.  As Tavis Smiley noted, "Ron DeSantis has doubled down on his view that slavery benefitted Black folk.  Did it?  I mean, of course, that's a rhetorical question.  Saying slavery was good for Black folk because it gave us jobs is like saying that the Nazi holocaust was good because it gave us Anne Frank's diary, like saying apartheid was good because it gave us President Nelson Mandela.  It is absurd.  It takes Orwell to a new level."  

In the abstract, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) defense of changes to discussion of slavery in his state’s schools is baffling. The state’s new educational standards suggest that enslaved people “developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit,” as though being considered property was simply a step on the career ladder.

Asked about it, DeSantis offered that the curriculum — which he insisted wasn’t something he produced — would probably “show that some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life.” Needless to say, this is not generally how historians view the institution of slavery.

But DeSantis’s argument isn’t offered solely as a governor of a large state. It is also offered as a guy who is running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 and, in that context, his efforts to downplay the extent to which Black Americans suffered from slavery make much more sense.

He's lying for votes.  He's lying to get votes and he's so disgusting that he will insult African-Americans who were put into slavery and those who lived to see the end of it by lying about what was historically done to this group of people.  He's a liar.  It's that simple.

We want a liar to be in charge of our children's education?
This is not acceptable.  Either, in the 21st century, we're okay with that or we're not.  

Bump continues:

Last week, YouGov published polling data showing a divide in how Americans view the effects of racism. Poll respondents were asked whether racism against various racial groups was a problem now and the extent to which it had been in the past.

Republican respondents were more likely to say that racism against Black people was lower in the past than were White respondents or respondents overall. (Perceptions of racism in the past are shown with triangles on the graph below.) They were also less likely to say that racism against Black Americans is currently a problem (shown with a dot) — and were about half as likely as respondents overall to say that racism is currently a big problem (indicated with a dashed line) for Black Americans.

So you coddle a lot of ignorant people?  Is that what Ronald wants to do?  We can't afford to coddle.  We need to be adults and speak honestly.  Honesty does not render the institution of slavery as the equivalent of a trade school.  There is no excuse for that.  It's a lie and you call out lies.  

More to the point, you call out the people who promote those lies.  Ron DeSantis is not fit to be president of the United States for many, many reasons.  But the one we're addressing right now, the lying about history and lying about pain inflicted on a people?  That's outrageous.   Gregory Korte (BLOOMBERG NEWS) reports:

Will Hurd said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, his rival for the Republican presidential nomination, should take responsibility for a new state curriculum that calls for teaching that slavery gave enslaved people valuable skills.

“Implying that there is an upside to slavery is absolutely wrong,” said Hurd, a former US representative running a long-shot bid for the GOP nomination, in an interview Monday with Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power.”

DeSantis criticized Vice President Kamala Harris last week for going to Florida to condemn the recently adopted social studies curriculum. The Florida governor said he wasn’t involved in drafting the document but defended the standards. 

“They’re probably going to show that some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life,” DeSantis said Friday. 

“He shouldn’t have doubled down on this,” said Hurd, who has a Black father and White mother, and for a time was the only Black Republican in the US House. 

“This could have been handled very, very easily by saying we’re going to tweak that language to make clear that slavery was a bad thing for our society, it was our original sin,” he said. “That’s what Ron DeSantis should do, and not pass the buck and say it wasn’t his responsibility.”

Exactly.  It's a dodge move a kid makes, not a grown up.  And a kid would be immediately corrected.  But let's stop a moment for a paragraph in the section above:

DeSantis criticized Vice President Kamala Harris last week for going to Florida to condemn the recently adopted social studies curriculum. The Florida governor said he wasn’t involved in drafting the document but defended the standards. 

Kamala Harris was elected vice president of the United States.  Florida is in the US.  She has every right to go to Florida.

But Ron was not elected to national office.  Ron's supposed to be the governor of Florida.  He changed the law so that he could campaign and be governor.  But he's not governing as he flits across the country like a giant gypsy moth.  Kamala?  She did her job.  Ron's doing everything but his job.  Is that why Florida's having the insurance problems -- where they're paying three times as much now as people in other states?  Because they don't have a governor reporting to work each day?

Ron's lies about slavery are amplified because there are other liars.  Yes, there's always FOX "NEWS."  Ingrid Vasquez (PEOPLE MAGAZINE) reports:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is getting support from Jesse Watters.

Last week, the Florida State Board of Education approved new academic standards that will require middle schools to teach students that enslaved people "developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit."

Vice President Kamala Harris was the first to speak out about the guidelines in a speech at Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.'s 56th national convention in Indianapolis Thursday, stating that they pushed "revisionist history."

"Just yesterday in the state of Florida, they decided middle school students will be taught that enslaved people benefited from slavery," Harris, 58, said. "They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, and we will not stand for it."

Watters, 45, criticized Harris' remarks on The Five and argued. "This is well documented among historians," Watters claimed. "This is historical fact that slaves did develop skills while they were enslaved and used those skills as blacksmiths, in agriculture, tailoring, in the shipping business, to then use to benefit themselves and their families once they were freed."

This is not a historical fact.  Watters is a liar -- and that is a fact.  He's one of many liars at FOX "NEWS."  Mary Whitfill Roeloffs (FORTUNE) reports:

The controversy swirling around Florida's new slavery curriculum expanded Tuesday, as the White House condemned Fox News host Greg Gutfeld for defending the state’s education standards by claiming Holocaust survivors also needed “useful” skills in order to survive the Nazis.

On an episode of "The Five" talk show Monday, Gutfeld referenced a book written by Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl and said "you had to survive in a concentration camp by having skills. You had to be useful… Utility kept you alive.”

The comments were part of a segment on Florida's new history standards that imply slaves benefited from their servitude by learning skills that could "be applied for their personal benefit."

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement to The Hill Tuesday that Gutfield's comments were "an obscenity" and criticized Fox News for failing to condemn the host.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland has also criticized the comments for failing to add the context that "the Holocaust was a systematic genocide with the ultimate aim of exterminating the entire Jewish population... We should avoid such oversimplifications in talking about this complex tragic story."

What's worse is how there are so many liars at FOX "NEWS."  

Where's Jonathan Turley on this?  Silent of course.  He whores on FOX "NEWS."  So he won't call them out -- also he probably agrees with them -- that's how depraved his mind has become. It's too bad for George Washington University that he teaches there.  While he's silent, his GWU colleague Rochelle Anne Davis has teamed with Connecticut College professor Eileen Kane to call out this historical lie and assault:

Florida law that took effect on July 1, 2023, restricts how educators in the state’s public colleges and universities can teach about the racial oppression that African Americans have faced in the United States.

Specifically, SB 266 forbids professors to teach that systemic racism is “inherent in the institutions of the United States.” Similarly, they cannot teach that it was designed “to maintain social, political and economic inequities.”

We are professors who teach the modern history of the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and we know that even democratically elected governments suppress histories of their own nations that don’t fit their ideology. The goal is often to smother a shameful past by casting those who speak of it as unpatriotic. Another goal is to stoke so much fear and anger that citizens welcome state censorship.

We see this playing out in Florida, with SB 266 being the most extreme example in a series of recent U.S. state bills that critics call “educational gag orders.” The tactics that Gov. Ron DeSantis is using to censor the teaching of American history in Florida look a lot like those seen in the illiberal democracies of Israel, Turkey, Russia and Poland.

Amy Dru Stanley, an expert in slavery and emancipation who teaches at the University of Chicago, condemned the Florida Board of Education's new guidelines.

"The guidelines do violence to American history. Misleading is too kind a term," she told Newsweek.

"The guidelines update for 21st-century political purposes the myths of slaveholders: the specious notion of Black uplift through relations of personal domination and ownership under chattel slavery. The falsehoods that slaves learned valuable skills from dehumanizing, brutal labor for their masters; that outdoor work was healthful.

"The guidelines resurrect the pro-slavery defense that slavery was 'a good--a positive good,' as argued by Sen. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina in Congress, in 1837.

"The adoption of the guidelines has made a damaging travesty of education in Florida --damaging in distorting the past, damaging in teaching children to find something good in owning human beings as property, forcing their labor through whippings, and buying and selling them as commodities, damaging in seeking to win votes through whitewashing the most extreme forms of racial injustice."

Sophie White, a professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame, was also fiercely critical.

"I certainly think it also worth turning the question around, which is why Florida's state Board of Education (presumably under the direction of the governor) is so eager to erase the history of slavery," she told Newsweek.

"What are they so afraid of? That students in Florida get to confront the past, or that they understand the continuing legacies of hereditary, race-based chattel slavery?"

The following sites updated: