Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz seems to be trying, bless his heart -- as the saying goes.  He has come out in support of the LGBTQ+ community at the start of last month.  He called for tolerance.  I kept waiting for the punch line. To his credit, it did not come.  Now he is offering this:

Texas Senator and part-time podcaster Ted Cruz cited one of the IRS whistleblower’s sexual preferences as reason to give them credibility.
The exchange took place on the Wednesday edition of Cruz’s podcast Verdict with Ted Cruz where he broke down the latest about the investigation into Hunter Biden and the IRS whistleblowers who allege that they were dissuaded from investigating ties that might lead to Hunter or President Joe Biden.
[. . .]

“One of them is a gay Democrat who’s married to a man,” the senator added. “Both of them are career IRS employees. Neither of them have any indication that they’re in any way, shape or form Republican. And they’ve come over and risked their entire careers by calling out what appears to be a pattern of felonies.”

Thank you, Senator Cruz, for continuing to evolve.  As someone older than you, I know that is not always easy.  I congratulate you and I appreciate the work you have put in.

And?  I have no derogatory remark.  I am being sincere.  I am probably not long for this world.  I do not want my grandson Jayson growing up in a world where he is hated for who he is.  So I do appreciate and value anyone who is putting any work in at all.  

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

Wednesday, July 5, 2023.  Iraq's showing us right now how this planet's going to end and whack job Junior would be the type of 'leader' to bring us to that point.

Grasp that this is how it will end.

Thousands of dead fish have washed ashore in southeast Iraq, prompting an official investigation into the wildlife disaster that officials said Monday may be linked to drought conditions.

Recently, a large number of dead fish were washed up on the banks of the Amshan river in Maysan province, which borders Iran.

Khodr Abbas Salman, a Maysan province official, has verified that some of the factors that led to these dead fish were the lack of oxygen in the river and the rise in salinity.

An environmental campaigner, Ahmed Saleh Neema, also acknowledged that it is the rising temperature that contributes to the increasing salinity and low oxygen levels in the water. It has not yet been ascertained whether toxic chemical substances also caused the huge numbers of dead fish.

AFP notes, "In a similar phenomenon in 2018, fishermen in the central province of Babylon found dead carp in their thousands, but an investigation failed to discern what had caused it."  Rebekah Evans (THE WEEK ) observes:

When many thousands of Iraqis turn on their taps “nothing comes out”, said Hayder Indhar for

So dire is the country’s water crisis – 7 million of its citizens have reduced access to water, according to the UN – many villagers are relying on “sporadic tanker-truck deliveries and salty wells” for drinking water.

 While Iraq is known in Arabic as the Land of the Two Rivers, split as it is by the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, the water levels of both have fallen markedly. The results have been no less than devastating. 

For Firas Mohammed, a former fisherman, life has been totally transformed by the shortage. Gesturing towards a “trickle of lime green liquid nearby”, he told Al Jazeera that “even dogs avoid it”. “If the government decided to move us to a camp with freshwater to cope with this crisis, we would even accept being moved to Ukraine,” he added. 

Mou’ad Abel was able to return to his village in 2016 “after the area was liberated from ISIL”, but despite also working as a fisherman in his youth, he was shocked to discover “there are no fish anymore”, the news site added.

The reasons behind the crisis are numerous. Some cite shortages and low river levels in neighbouring countries; others point to the alleged mismanagement of water by local authorities. Regardless of who is to blame, one thing is abundantly clear: the issue must be solved before it becomes too late for the millions of people reliant on a clean water supply. 

According to the United Nations, some “90 per cent of the country’s rivers are polluted”. Iraq is facing a “critical climate emergency”, said Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the UN special representative for Iraq, as by 2035 it is thought the nation will have the capacity to “meet only 15 per cent of its water demands”. 

Desertification – the process by which fertile land becomes arid – is also a growing concern within the nation. It can be caused by both human factors and climate change.


Back in March, Amr Salem (IRAQI NEWS) quoted the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, stating, "There is an urgent need to find solutions to the water crisis in Iraq."

Urgent and it only gets more urgent each day.  Climate change is predicted to impact us all in the next few decades and one of the hardest hit areas, per climate models, will be Iraq.  Already problems are evident.  January 10th, Yale's School of Environment published Wil Crisp's article which opened:

Three years ago, the vast marshlands of southern Iraq’s Dhi Qar province were flourishing. Fishermen glided in punts across swathes of still water between vast reed beds, while buffalo bathed amid green vegetation. But today those wetlands, part of the vast Mesopotamian Marshes, have shriveled to narrow channels of polluted water bordered by cracked and salty earth. Hundreds of desiccated fish dot stream banks, along with the carcasses of water buffalo poisoned by saline water. Drought has parched tens of thousands of hectares of fields and orchards, and villages are emptying as farmers abandon their land.

For their biodiversity and cultural significance, the United Nations in 2016 named the Mesopotamian Marshes — which historically stretched between 15,000 and 20,000 square kilometers in the floodplain of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The marshes comprised one of the world’s largest inland delta systems, a startling oasis in an extremely hot and arid environment, home to 22 species of globally endangered species and 66 at-risk bird species.

But now this ecosystem — which includes alluvial salt marshes, swamps, and freshwater lakes — is collapsing due to a combination of factors meteorological, hydrological, and political. Rivers are rapidly shrinking, and agricultural soil that once grew bounties of barley and wheat, pomegranates, and dates is blowing away. The environmental disaster is harming wildlife and driving tens of thousands of Marsh Arabs, who have occupied this area for 5,000 years, to seek livelihoods elsewhere.

Experts warn that unless radical action is taken to ensure the region receives adequate water — and better manages what remains — southern Iraq’s marshlands will disappear, with sweeping consequences for the entire nation as farmers and pastoralists abandon their land for already crowded urban areas and loss of production leads to rising food prices.

The Mesopotamian marshlands are often referred to as the cradle of civilization, as anthropologists believe that this is where humankind, some 12,000 years ago, started its wide-scale transition from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement. Encompassing four separate marshes, the region has historically been home to a unique range of fish and birdlife, serving as winter habitat for migratory birds and sustaining a productive shrimp and finfish fishery. 

AP notes, "Climate change for years has compounded the woes of the troubled country. Droughts and increased water salinity have destroyed crops, animals and farms and dried up entire bodies of water. Hospitals have faced waves of patients with respiratory illnesses caused by rampant sandstorms. Climate change has also played a role in Iraq’s ongoing struggle to combat cholera." 

And this is how it will end.  Governments will do nothing to address climate change and other failures.  Instead, they'll distract the masses with useless garage: "Look, in Sweden! A holy book burned!"  

That's beyond stupid and it's beyond stupid to blame the government of Sweden for it.  But that's what Iraqi politicians are using to distract from reality: "Someone burned a holy book in Sweden!"  Someone?  An Iraqi.  Guess all this rage should be directed at your own country for producing someone who did that.  But failing countries, like all other countries, are so much better at finger pointing than introspection.  

And this is how it ends.  Real issues don't get addressed as politicians harness the needed outrage onto a scapegoat.  In the US, the hucksters and the hate merchants use transgender people as their scapegoat to account for delivering nothing to the people.  All around the world, there are scapegoats and nothing gets done.  If you're one of the unfortunates, the ones who live to see the end of this earth, hope -- if you were one of the ones tricked and fooled -- you can handle it watching it all go out.

Last night I dreamed I saw the planet flicker
Great forests fell like buffalo
Everything got sicker
And to the bitter end
Big business bickered
And they call for the three great stimulants
Of the exhausted ones
Artifice brutality and innocence
Artifice and innocence

Oh these times, these times
Oh these changing times
Change in the heart of all mankind
Oh these troubled times
-- "Three Great Stimulants," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album DOG EAT DOG

Iraq's predicted to be one of the ones hardest hit by climate change in the next years, but the whole earth will suffer.  And con artists posing as public servants will have distracted us until the planet's dying days if they're not forced by the world's population to act and to act now.

While waiting for his plate of meat loaf, gravy, and an iceberg wedge at an empty restaurant in Concord, New Hampshire, on the first day of June, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was gently explaining to me that nobody knows whether HIV is the sole cause of AIDS.

“They were doing phony, crooked studies to develop a cure that killed people,” he said of the scientists laboring through the 1980s on the array of protease inhibitors and other anti-retroviral drugs that would eventually stem mass death in countries where access to the medicines was made available, “without really being able to understand what HIV was, and pumping up fear about it constantly, not really understanding whether it was causing AIDS.”

That HIV infection causes AIDS is long-established science. But the conspiracy theory Kennedy is laying out, alongside several of its associated tendrils — that HIV is a free rider on a more dangerous virus, that scientists stifled debate in order to profit from the production of AZT, the first drug approved by the FDA to treat HIV and AIDS in 1987 — has deep roots and has borne tragic fruit. For instance, Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa from 1999 to 2008, shared Kennedy’s skepticism, and his distrust kept crucial therapies unavailable in his country for years, resulting in an estimated hundreds of thousands of needless deaths. Still, Kennedy — who has in other instances acknowledged that HIV causes AIDS — insisted to me over lunch, “There are much better candidates than HIV for what causes AIDS.”

These mythologies are the chronological starting points for opinions Kennedy puts forth in his 2021 book, The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer who has spent the past two decades ever more beholden to repeatedly disproved arguments about a link between vaccines and autism, jumped thirstily into the COVID fray, becoming a vocal critic of almost every government-funded or endorsed COVID-mitigation approach, from masking to social distancing to vaccine development and mandates. His chosen nemesis was Fauci, the immunologist veteran of the AIDS fight, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1984 to 2022, and chief medical adviser to Joe Biden from 2021 to 2022.

In his book, Kennedy characterizes Fauci as “the powerful technocrat who helped orchestrate and execute 2020’s historic coup d’etat against Western democracy” and claims that his “remedies,” including the COVID vaccines that stopped people from dying, were “often more lethal than the diseases they pretend to treat.”

COVID, like the AIDS epidemic before it, provided fertile ground for conspiracy theorizing. A new disease of unknown origin, it exploded lives and families and the global economy; it provoked fear and a longing for answers that those in charge could not initially provide. Public-health officials and political leaders made choices, some of which proved misguided, some of which led to solutions. And, of course, as Kennedy himself will eagerly explain, corporate entities — from Amazon to Pfizer to Moderna — profiteered, in grotesque fashion, from people’s pain, loss, and confusion.

See, that's democracy.  Any idiot fool can try to become president.  Low IQ or non-functioning brain need not disqualify.  

He's a hate merchant so he gets in bed with other hate merchants.  He's a hate merchant so he makes insulting and degrading remarks about Anne Frank and steers people towards hate as an excuse for having no real plans to address anything.  Con artist.  Key passage in Rebecca's piece may be this:

Lesser threats than Kennedy have played spoilers in elections before, and if he succeeds in helping burn us all to the ground, it will not be because he is an outsider, as he claims, but because of a political and media culture that has protected and encouraged and fawned over him his whole life -- handing a perpetual problem child, now 69 and desperate for attention, accelerant and matches.

For now, he gets in bed with the hate group Moms For Liberty.

Chris Lehman (THE NATION) notes the vile Moms For Liberty:


Even before Moms for Liberty had wrapped up its second annual national conference—bearing the Margaret Atwood–esque sobriquet “Joyful Warriors Summit”—in Philadelphia on Sunday, the event was a messaging triumph. That’s because the Florida-based right-wing school takeover group, launched in 2021 to protest Covid lockdowns, could count on an amnesiac and credulous press to dress up its race-mongering, anti-LGBTQ+, and hard-right organizing profile in the image of a standard-issue interest group steeped in the homespun politics of local citizen outrage at the grassroots level.

Don’t take my cranky left-critic word for it. NBC News’s Bianca Seward and Gabe Gutierrez attended a breakout session at the five-day Philadelphia confab dedicated to media strategizing. Leading the training workshop was Florida Republican Party chair Christian Ziegler, the husband of Moms for Liberty cofounder Bridget Ziegler—who now helps run Governor Ron DeSantis’s Disney oversight commission. “The media is not your friend,” Ziegler announced, and advised the group’s culture-war faithful to pursue a starve-them-out strategy: “If you give [the media] the least amount possible, you’re fully controlling the message. The more you give them, the less you control. The less you give them, the more you control.” This approach, he went on to note, exploits the key weakness of political reporters: “They’re lazy. They have no idea what’s going on at school board meetings. Oftentimes they don’t even know how local government works.”

The press wasted little time in proving Ziegler right. New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman opens his own report on the event with an account of a recent PR fiasco for the group, when the Hamilton County, Ind., Moms for Liberty chapter quoted Adolf Hitler in a newsletter and issued a shamefaced retraction along with a public apology. But instead of allowing readers to dwell on the autocratic tendencies of a Hitler-quoting political faction, Weisman instead cites the Hamilton County chapter’s antics as a case study in movement-building by means of “controversy”:

The group’s reputation for confrontation and controversy is very much intact, but as Moms for Liberty convenes on Thursday in Philadelphia, it is doing so not as a small fringe of far-right suburban mothers but as a national conservative powerhouse—precisely because of chapters like Hamilton County’s and their energized members.

It’s true that admirers of fascist leaders are generally a high-energy cohort. 

Junior's not a Democrat.  You only have to listen to his raving for a moment or two to grasp that.

Robert F Kennedy Jr was left grasping for answers after being confronted with a lengthy list of his conspiracy theories in a new interview.

The Democratic presidential candidate, 69, sat last week for a wide-ranging interview with Nick Gillespie and Zach Weissmueller from Reason, which bills itself as the nation’s leading libertarian magazine.

Mr Kennedy told the publication he had “always been aligned with libertarians on most issues”, and that he would consider appointing Tulsi Gabbard as his secretary of state.

Towards the end of the hour-long interview, Mr Gillespie, Reason’s editor-at-large, noted that RFK Jr routinely trafficked in conspiracies and displayed a “kind of conspiracist mindset where almost everything that we take for granted is bad”.

Mr Gillespie went on to list the numerous conspiracies that RFK Jr has peddled, including his anti-vaccine stance and claims that 5G and Wi-Fi are “controlling our mind”, that AIDs is not caused by HIV, that boys are becoming transgender due to chemicals in the drinking water, and that his cousin Michael Skakel was not guilty of a murder he had been convicted of.

Murder.  Rape.  The Kennedys have a really bad history with women.  Most feel William Kennedy Smith got away with rape.  You could argue he got away with sexual harassment as well but in those cases, he had to pay settlements at least.  

The one who'll bury Camelot will be the crazy fool Junior.  He'll bury all the good the family could have been remembered for.  But don't worry, hate merchant Tulsie will be his roll dog.  He can't get any clearer that he has no love and no respect for the LGBTQ+ community.  He's a huckster, he's a liar.  And he had many chances to be something.  But the elevator doesn't go up to the top floor and, at this late date, it never will.

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Rickie Lee Jones provides songs of wisdom for unwise times" went up last night.   The following sites updated: