Saturday, February 3, 2024

High drama from the ultimate drama queen Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump?  A bag of grudges and psychoses.  Matthew Chapman reports:

Former President Donald Trump has mastered the art of "inverted victimhood" to proclaim himself the martyr of his own criminal charges and other legal problems, wrote former White House adviser Sidney Blumenthal for The Guardian on Thursday.

"It is not enough for him to lash out," wrote Blumenthal. "Then, he declares himself to be the victim. Whatever it is, he is falsely accused. But his self-dramatization as the wounded sufferer is only half his story: he insists that whoever has accused him is in fact the offender. He emerges triumphant, the martyr, the truth-teller, courageously unmasking the real villain. J’accuse!"
This pattern has allowed him to claim that every investigation, indictment, and lawsuit against him is a "witch hunt," and that he is going through all of this on behalf of his own supporters.

The kindest term for Mr. Trump would be "drama queen."  In other news, Igor Derysh (SALON) reports:

Special counsel Jack Smith’s team has questioned several witnesses about a “hidden room” and a closet that the FBI did not check while searching former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in 2022, sources told ABC News.
Some investigators after the search came to believe that the closet, which was locked during the search, should have been checked, sources told the outlet. Investigators later learned that Trump allegedly had the closet lock changed while his attorney was searching for classified documents in a basement storage room, according to the report. One former maintenance worker described the request as “unusual,” sources told the outlet.

Trump’s efforts to conceal the classified documents from his own attorney were part of the indictment brought by Smith. The questioning suggests Smith’s team is still “trying to determine if there might be more classified documents there,” ABC News reports.

Jordan Strauss, a former Justice Department national security official and prosecutor, said the failure by the FBI to search the closet is a “bit astonishing” given how “especially thorough” the agents were.

"You're searching a former president's house. You [should] get it right the first time," he told ABC News.

Agents were unable to unlock the closet door because they could not find a key and were told the space behind the door went nowhere so agents decided not to break it open, sources told the outlet.

Again, it always has to be drama with him.  It is exhausting.  Kathleen Cullitin observes:

Donald Trump is losing control over the unstable MAGA base his violent rhetoric pushes past the brink of sanity, and the proof is a decapitated federal worker’s head, a new analysis contends.

Salon’s Amanda Marcotte Thursday took a hard look at the disturbing news to come out of Pennsylvania Tuesday night when Justin Mohn, 33, posted YouTube video demanding violence against the government with his dead father’s head in full view.

Marcotte acknowledges Mohn’s mental health problems, but argues there’s a bigger issue to blame.

“The people who spread hateful and violent rhetoric, starting with Donald Trump, know full well that unstable people are listening and will take this rhetoric as an excuse to act,” writes Marcotte. “In many cases, the loudmouths are counting on it.”

This tactic nearly served Trump’s purposes well on Jan. 6, 2021, when his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in hopes of disrupting the peaceful transfer of power to reinstate their leader.

Subsequent investigations have found mental health problems were rife among the hoards, which Marcotte argues makes them valuable for a very specific reason.

“Trump knows full well that a lot of his biggest fans are unwell or in crisis, which makes them vulnerable to conspiracy theories and false promises that MAGA (or QAnon) will give them community and purpose,” Marcotte writes.


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

Friday, February 2, 2024.  Even a US court can see what Joe Biden refuses to.

The International Court of Justice is weighing whether or not Israeli action in Gaza qualifies as genocide.  Another court, a US court, heard a case this week brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Thursday, Amy Goodman (DEMOCRACY NOW!) noted:

In related news, a U.S. federal court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group of Palestinian Americans against President Biden and other officials for failing to prevent genocide in Gaza. The court dismissed the suit on jurisdictional grounds but ruled that it is plausible that Israel is engaging in genocide. In its ruling, the court wrote the evidence and testimony presented “indicate that the ongoing military siege in Gaza is intended to eradicate a whole people and therefore plausibly falls within the international prohibition against genocide.” The lawsuit had been brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Click here to see our coverage of the case.

This is from CCR's press release:

According to Katherine Gallagher, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights who argued the genocide case before the court, “The court affirmed that what the Palestinian population in Gaza is enduring is a campaign to eradicate a whole people – genocide – and that the United States’ unflagging support for Israel is enabling the killing of tens of thousands of Palestinians and the famine facing millions. While we strongly disagree with the court’s ultimate jurisdictional ruling, we urge the Biden administration to heed the judge’s call to examine and end its deadly course of action. Together with our plaintiffs, we will pursue all legal avenues to stop the genocide and save Palestinian lives.” 

According to plaintiff Waeil Elbhassi, “My family lived through and was displaced by the first Nakba (catastrophe) in 1948, which the world has barely acknowledged. Yet in court on Friday, I testified to make a record of Israel’s horrific slaughter of my family, and the destruction of my homeland and Palestinian heritage, and to demand that the United States stop giving the Israeli government its total financial and diplomatic support for this ongoing genocide, a second Nakba.” 

Plaintiff Mohammed Monadel Herzallah said, “It is important that the court recognized the United States is providing unconditional support to Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza and that a federal court heard Palestinian voices for the first time, but we are still devastated that the court would not take the important step to stop the Biden administration from continuing to support the slaughter of the Palestinian people. Currently, my family lacks food, medicine, and the most basic necessities for survival. As Palestinians, we know this is a hard struggle, and as plaintiffs we will continue to do everything in our power to save our people’s lives.” 

“To be clear, this is far from a win for the U.S. government. It is unprecedented and damning that a federal court has all but affirmed that Israel is committing a genocide while criticizing defendants Biden, Blinken, and Austin’s ‘unflagging’ support for the acts that constitute that genocide,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Staff Attorney Diala Shamas.

The Palestinian plaintiffs, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, together with co-counsel from Van Der Hout LLP, are the Palestinian human rights organizations Defense for Children International – Palestine and Al-Haq; and the individuals Dr. Omar Al-Najjar, Ahmed Abu Artema, and Mohammed Ahmed Abu Rokbeh, who are in Gaza; and Mohammad Monadel Herzallah, Laila Elhaddad, Waeil Elbhassi, Basim Elkarra, and Ayman Nijim, who are U.S. residents with family in Gaza.

To watch a recording of the hearing, visit the court’s website.

To watch a recording of the plaintiffs’ press conference following the hearing, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights YouTube page.

For more information, see the Center for Constitutional Rights’ case page.

US District Court Judge Jeffrey White dismissed the case on procedural grounds late on Wednesday, citing the division of powers under the US Constitution. He said in his decision that “disputes over foreign policy are considered nonjusticiable political questions” and fall outside his jurisdiction.

“There are rare cases in which the preferred outcome is inaccessible to the Court. This is one of those cases. The Court is bound by precedent and the division of our coordinate branches of government to abstain from exercising jurisdiction in this matter,” he wrote.

But White added that, as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said in a provisional ruling last month, “it is plausible that Israel’s conduct amounts to genocide.”

“This Court implores Defendants to examine the results of their unflagging support of the military siege against the Palestinians in Gaza.”

Julian Borger (GUARDIAN) notes, "The Palestinian groups and their lawyers said they might appeal against the dismissal of the case, but welcomed the judge’s judgment on the potential for genocide."  Marjorie Cohn (ZNET) adds, "The lawsuit alleges that Biden, Blinken and Austin transferred weapons and military equipment to Israel during its unfolding genocide. The defendants have asked Congress to appropriate $14.1 billion in military assistance to Israel — in addition to the $3.8 billion the U.S. already provides to Israel each year. Blinken authorized a $320 million transfer of military equipment to an Israeli manufacturer of precision bomb kits."

Whether or not a legal court in the US can address these issues, the court of public opinion is addressing them.  It's an election year -- a presidential election year in the US.  Donald Trump appears to be the GOP's candidate.  (Appears to be, nothing is settled for either party yet.)  And Joe Biden appears to be the Democrat's candidate.  A rematch of 2020?  That appears likely.  So you'd think both would be pulling from their supporters four years ago.  Joe's struggling.  The fact that his voters in 2020 are not any fonder of Donald four years later, the fact that the world -- not just this country, the world -- worries how bad things might get with the return of Donald to the White House, does not mean that Joe's 2020 voters are lining up behind him for 2024.  Zack Colman (POLITICO) notes:

President Joe Biden’s attempt to lock down many of the young, climate-minded voters who supported him in the last election is running aground over the war between Israel and Hamas.

Biden promised to be the “climate president” when he won the White House four years ago — and he’s making fresh attempts to woo green activists again, including by taking the dramatic step of halting new permits for natural gas exports. But that message is in danger of being drowned out as many of those youthful environmentalists voice their frustration with Biden’s refusal to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The tension over Biden’s climate outreach is just one example of the growing divide between the president and his progressive base over his staunch support for Israel — a dynamic that is also ripping across issues such as race and abortion rights. Polls show that younger voters are disproportionately likely to support both aggressive climate action and the rights of the Palestinians, complicating Biden’s efforts to get them to flock to the polls for him in November. 

Pro-cease-fire outbursts have interrupted a series of public appearances by Biden and his aides in recent weeks, including a climate speech Tuesday by USAID Administrator Samantha Power where someone in the audience urged her to “resign and speak up.”

“27,000 people have been killed,” the person called out during the former U.N. ambassador’s speech on “climate shocks” at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg Center in Washington. “You know what would cause a lot of climate shock — is the bombardment of Gaza.”

Earlier this month, audience members chanted “cease-fire now” during Biden’s remarks on extremism and democracy at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the site of the 2015 murders of nine Black churchgoers by a white supremacist. Last week, more than a dozen protesters yelling slogans such as “genocide Joe” repeatedly interrupted an abortion-rights rally that Biden was holding in Virginia with Vice President Kamala Harris.

It should be a breeze for Joe to hold on to his 2020 supporters.  Donald's not gotten any smarter, any kinder or even remotely humane.  But Joe struggles because he won't show leadership.  This is embarrassing for him as a politician -- his inability to lead.

It reminds me of Crash and Burn Clinton as one cable familiar who used to be in Bill's administration used to call the man from Hope, Arkansas.  Bill's presidency was in constant upheaval because ''the comeback kid'' needed to repeatedly take himself to the brink of destruction to bring himself back.  It was the family dynamic he was raised in and he repeated it as president.  

In 2020, Joe refused to listen to advisors and thought he pulled off a miracle.  No, he didn't pull off a miracle.  A large portion of Joe's voters did not even like him.  It was a vote opposing the 'other guy,' not  a vote endorsing Joe Biden.  Having failed to grasp that and ignoring poll numbers (approval ratings), Joe clearly has no idea just how unpopular he is.  And he's risking the state of the world with his nonsense.

Zachary Basu and Barak Ravid (AXIOS) report:

Driving the news: Biden did not meet with any Muslim or Arab community leaders in his visit to the Detroit area, where he delivered a campaign speech to UAW workers a week after receiving the union's endorsement.

  • Pro-Palestinian protests were held Wednesday night in Dearborn, Michigan — home to the country's largest Muslim population per capita — but Biden's event was not disrupted.

Zoom in: The raw anger many of these communities have expressed toward Biden's policies — including his refusal to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war — cannot be overstated.

  • Activists have organized an "Abandon Biden" campaign that plans to endorse a third-party candidate, even at the risk of boosting former President Trump — who is likely to be more hostile to the Palestinians.
  • Some Palestinian American community leaders declined an invitation to meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken today, saying they "cannot imagine" what he could have to say after "nearly four unbearable months."
  • Last week, some Arab American elected officials refused to meet with Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez in Michigan — calling it "dehumanizing" to discuss electoral politics while the war is ongoing.

What they're saying: "When you send campaign staff as the first delegation to this community to meet with us for the first time, that sends a message that this is purely a political problem that you see," Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud told PBS Newshour.

Democratic Party voters in South Carolina and/or Nevada could force a wake up call on Joe if enough got behind Marianne Williamson in the two primaries to increase her support.  I don't mean enough to let her win the primary (great if she did) in either state.  But if she picked up from 4% (New Hampshire) that might be enough to force Joe to see reality.

The reality of what's taking  place is hitting home for more and more people around the world.  This realization comes despite lies and smears, attacks and distortions.  In fact, Julie Hollar (FAIR) has just completed another media analysis, this time on who the media lets speak:

At the New York Times and Washington Post, despite efforts to include Palestinian voices, opinion editors have skewed the Gaza debate toward an Israel-centered perspective, dominated by men and, among guest writers, government officials.

In the first two months of the current Gaza crisis, the Times featured the crisis on its op-ed pages almost twice as many times as the Post (122 to 63). But while both papers did include a few strong pro-Palestinian voices—and both seemed to make an effort to bring Palestinian voices close to parity with Israeli voices—their pages leaned heavily toward a conversation dominated by Israeli interests and concerns.

That was due in large part due to their stables of regular columnists, who tend to write from a perspective aligned with Israel, if not always in alignment with its right-wing government. As a result, the viewpoints readers were most likely to encounter on the opinion pages of the two papers were sympathetic to, but not necessarily uncritical of, Israel.

Many opinion pieces at the Times, for instance, mentioned the word “occupation,” offering some context for the current crisis. However, very few at either paper went so far as to use the word “apartheid”—a term used by prominent human rights groups to describe Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Clear calls for an unconditional ceasefire, while widespread in the real world, were vanishingly rare at the papers: two at the Times and at the Post only one, which itself was part of a collection of short responses to the question, “Should Israel agree to a ceasefire?,” which included strong opposition as well.

For guest perspectives, both papers turned most frequently to government officials, whether current or former, US or foreign. And the two papers continued the longstanding media bias toward male voices on issues of war and international affairs: the Times with roughly three male-penned opinions for every female-written one, and the Post at nearly 7-to-1.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 118 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." ALJAZEERA notes, "At least 27,019 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli attacks since October 7 while another 66,139 have been wounded, the Health Ministry in the besieged enclave has just said."  AP has noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."  Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) adds, "Satellite images captured by Maxar Technologies on Sunday reveal three of the main hospitals in Gaza from above, surrounded by the rubble of destroyed buildings after weeks of intense bombing in the region by Israeli forces."   

Joe Biden's actions are endangering the Palestinians as well as widening the conflict.  Yesterday, DEMOCRACY NOW! explored the widening war.


NERMEEN SHAIKH: The U.S. military carried out new airstrikes in Yemen today, targeting 10 drones and a ground control station that it said, quote, “presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and U.S. Navy ships in the region.” The airstrikes are the latest targeting the Houthis. The group, also known as Ansar Allah, has waged a campaign of attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since November 19th in response to Israel’s assault on Gaza.

On Tuesday, U.S. Central Command said its forces shot down an anti-ship cruise missile. According to CNN, the missile came within a mile of a U.S. destroyer before it was shot down, marking the closest a Houthi attack has come to a U.S. warship.

Meanwhile, the Houthis said they would stage more attacks on U.S. and British warships in the Red Sea in what they called acts of self-defense. This is Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea on Wednesday.

YAHYA SAREA: [translated] The Yemeni Armed Forces will confront the American-British escalation with escalation and will not hesitate to carry out comprehensive and effective military operations in retaliation to any British-American foolishness against beloved Yemen.

AMY GOODMAN: The Houthi campaign targeting shipping has affected a key route for global trade between Asia, the Middle East and Europe, with several shipping companies suspending transit through the Red Sea. On Thursday, Italy’s defense minister warned the shipping disruptions threaten to destabilize Italy’s economy. This comes as the European Union’s Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on Wednesday the EU plans to launch a naval mission of its own within three weeks to help defend cargo ships in the Red Sea.

For more, we’re joined by Helen Lackner, the author of several books on Yemen, including Yemen in Crisis: The Road to War and Yemen: Poverty and Conflict. She’s been involved with Yemen for over half a century, lived there for a total of more than 15 years between the '70s and the 2010s. She's joining us from Oxford, England.

Helen Lackner, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you tell us who the Houthis are and explain what their demands are, the significance of what’s happening in the Red Sea?

HELEN LACKNER: Well, thank you very much for inviting me.

Yes, I think I’ll start with the second half of your question, which relates directly to what has been happening and the various announcements you’ve just made. And the Houthis have been extremely explicit and repeat on an almost daily basis that their attacks on ships in the Red Sea will stop as soon as the Gaza war ends and humanitarian and other supplies are allowed into Gaza, and therefore the Palestinians will no longer be under the threat and the horrors that you’ve earlier described and that most of us have seen on our screens for many, many weeks. So, the important thing is that although the U.S. and the U.K. claim that they’re only defending free movement in the Red Sea and refuse to accept any connection between this and the war in Gaza, for the Houthis it’s absolutely straightforward and explicit that, number one, they’re only targeting ships that have any connection with Israel — whether they’re going to Israel, coming from Israel, delivering stuff owned by Israelis, or whatever, any connection whatever — and that other ships are not targeted — except, of course, now. Since the U.S. and U.K. strikes have started, they are also targeting U.S. and U.K. ships. So, they’re absolutely explicit that all other ships are welcome to travel through the Red Sea and that there is — you know, there is complete freedom of movement for any ship other than an Israeli- or U.K.- or U.S.-connected one. And I think that’s extremely important.

And the reason the Houthis have taken this action in support of Palestine is that one of the very fundamental policy issues or ideological positions that the Houthis have is the support for Palestine and, more directly, being anti-Israelis. The Houthis are — the Houthis’ foreign policy is quite clearly summarized in their basic slogan of “death to America and death to Israel.” They are absolutely — you know, their positions are absolutely straightforward on these points. So, although they are willing to allow other ships through, they are actually, up to a certain point, not displeased at the fact that the Americans and the U.S. are now actually targeting their various launch positions.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So, Helen, could you give us some background, though? What are the origins of this movement? And how is that they came to play such a prominent role in Yemen?

HELEN LACKNER: Yeah. So, the Houthi movement started in the 1980s, 1990s. I think what you need to understand is that, in terms of religious sects, Yemen is divided into two basic sects: a Sunni sect of — called al-Shafi’is, who basically live in the majority of the country, and a branch of Shi’ism called the Zaydis, who live basically in the mountainous highlands of Yemen. And the Houthis are al-Zaydis. And in that sense — and again, within the Zaydi movement, there’s a certain variety, in the sense that the Houthis, I would say, are extremist Zaydists, and they’ve developed their ideology and their policies to strengthen their own branch of Zaydism. And they basically emerged in response to the rise of Sunni Salafi fundamentalism within their own area in the far north of Yemen. And so there have been conflicts and problems, you know, arising since the 1990s.

Between 2004 and 2010, there was a series of six wars between the Houthis facing and fighting the then-regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. And this ended, basically — each one ended with a ceasefire which was promptly broken. The reason the last one in 2010 was not broken was as the result of the uprisings in 2011 of the — you know, known as the Arab Spring in various places. And that was a moment when the Houthis joined with the revolutionaries and basically took a position against — you know, they continued their position against the regime. So, they then were for — during what was a transition — supposedly, a transition period between the Saleh regime and what should have become a more democratic regime in 2014, the Houthis then changed their alliances, and indeed Saleh changed his alliance, so they operated together against the transitional government. And then, eventually, that allowed them to take over the capital Sana’a in 2014 and then to oust the existing transitional government in early 2015.

And that’s when, really, the war started, which was then internationalized from March 2015 with the intervention of what was known as the Saudi-led coalition, which was basically a coalition led by the Saudis and the Emiratis, with a few other states with minor roles, but supported actively by the U.S., the Europeans and the British and others.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And what was the point at which —

HELEN LACKNER: So, those are really —

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Sorry, just to clarify, what was the point at which the Iranians started backing the Houthis? Was it in the moment when the Saudi-led bombing began, in 2015, or was it prior to that? And if you could also clarify the distinction between — as you said, the Yemenis are Zaydi Shias, and to what extent Zaydis are ideologically or theologically aligned with the dominant form of Shi’ism in Iran, and what that has to do with Iran’s complicity or support for Houthis, whether or not now they do as Iran says?

HELEN LACKNER: Yeah. Thank you for these, for bringing up these points. The Iranian role at the time, in 2015, when we’re in the internationalized civil war started, was minimal. The Iranian involvement with the Houthis, and prior to that and since then, has always been connected with, partly, theological connections, but differences. So, in that sense, the Houthis are differentiating themselves from other Zaydis by having adopted a number of the rituals and activities and approaches of the Iranian Twelvers. It’s all a matter of how many imams they trust or they believe in after the Prophet Muhammad. But in practice, the Houthis are getting closer to the Iranians in — to the Iranian Shi’ism over the last decades, but they are still — sorry, the last decade, but they are still, you know, quite distinct. So the alliance is much more a political alliance.

And the Iranian involvement, which was really very, very insignificant at the beginning of this war, has increased over time, and is primarily — you know, has been, for a while, mainly financial and of providing fuel and things like that to the Houthis, but more recently has been much more focused on military activities and primarily on the supply of advanced technology. If you look at the Houthi weaponry — and I’m no military expert — but the Houthi weaponry originally was basically a lot of Scuds and other Russian-supplied materials and also some American-supplied materials to the Saleh regime. And these have been upgraded and improved and changed, to some extent, thanks to Iranian support. So, in that sense, you have more — the Iranian involvement has become greater.

But it’s very important to note that the Houthis are an independent movement. The Houthis are not Iranian proxies. They are not Iranian servants. They don’t do what the Iranians tell them to do. They make their own decisions. If their decisions and their policies coincide with those of Iran, then, you know, there’s no issue. But if they don’t, they don’t do it. So it’s very important, I think, to destroy this myth of Iran-backed Houthis in a single word as if it’s kind of a conglomerate. That is not the case.

AMY GOODMAN: Helen, if —

HELEN LACKNER: I hope that briefly answered your point.

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, and we don’t have much time, but I did want to ask you about the Houthi support in Yemen, whether it’s increased, and the Houthi human rights record.

HELEN LACKNER: Yeah, great. Well, yeah, as you said, we haven’t got much time. Basically, the Houthi — the support for the Houthis in Yemen has increased, has multiplied. I can’t even imagine — find a suitable terminology to say it. The Houthis, you know, who run an extremely authoritarian and autocratic regime, which is not a pleasant regime for people to live under, you know, and was lacking support — and you have to remember that the Houthis actually rule and run the lives of two-thirds of the population of Yemen, so, you know, about 20 million people live under Houthi rule, and it’s not a pleasant place to be. There’s no freedom of expression. You know, women are oppressed. All kinds of negative features connected with Houthi rule.

But the Yemeni population are extremely supportive of Palestine. And therefore, this action of the Houthis has, you know, really, really increased their support. If you take a look and you maybe show on your screen some of the demonstrations that happen every Friday in Sana’a and in other cities, they’ve become absolutely massive, because although people may not like living under Houthi rule, they agree with the Houthi actions in support of Palestine. And so, that has increased and improved their popularity an enormous amount, not only in the area they rule, but also in the rest of Yemen, which is, you know, not ruled by them.

AMY GOODMAN: Helen Lackner, we want to thank you so much for being with us, author of a number of books on Yemen, including Yemen in Crisis: The Road to War and Yemen: Poverty and Conflict. She’s been involved with Yemen for over 50 years, has lived there for about 15.

Coming up, an investigative report by the BBC reveals new details of how American mercenaries were hired by the United Arab Emirates to run an assassination campaign in Yemen. Back in 60 seconds.

So much still that we're not going to get to this morning.  One thing we've got to include today is this from John Russell's report for LGBTQ NATION:

Republican lawmakers from Ohio and Michigan admitted on social media that the “endgame” of their efforts at restricting access to gender-affirming care is to ban such care for adults as well as minors.

Michigan state Rep. Brad Paquette (R) hosted the X Spaces meeting Friday, which brought together several Michigan state senators and representatives and Ohio Rep. Gary Click (R) to discuss policy around gender-affirming care for minors with detransitioner and anti-trans activist Prisha Mosley.

While much of the hour-long conversation focused on transgender young people, towards the end, Michigan state Rep. Josh Schriver (R) pivoted to adults.
“My whole thing is, in terms of endgame, why are we allowing these practices for anyone?” Schriver asked. “Why would we stop this for anyone under 18, but not apply this for anyone over 18? It’s harmful across the board, and I think that’s something that we need to take into consideration in terms of the endgame.”

Contrary to what Schriver said, every major medical organization in the U.S. has recognized that gender-affirming healthcare is evidence-based, safe, effective, and can be medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria in both adults and young people.

Responding to what he described as Schriver’s “very smart thought,” Click said that “what we know legislatively is we have to take, sometimes, small bites.”

I'm sure you already expected this but the 36-year-old piece of garbage Brad is also one who chips away at reproductive rights.  I know nothing about him -- but, yes, I've heard the rumors too -- but isn't it surprising that they whisper about that and not about how he looks like Lauren Hutchinson on SQUARE PEGS.  What do you say about that hair style anyway? 


He's obsessed with bathrooms and wants to prevent children from using the bathroom of their gender if it's not the gender at birth (he's sponsored HB4510).  Another of his bill is HB4539 where he wants to make it illegal for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers, etc and also -- pay attention here -- make "female genital mutilation" a crime and someone transporting a female to a surgery a crime.  He's really concerned about women's bodies, isn't he? Strangely, he forgot to include boys.   But he's obsessed.  HB4540 -- his bill -- is another trying to stop puberty blockers as well as to block surgery.  Does the state of Michigan really want him so obsessed with their children's genitals.  And, sorry to be that woman, but isn't their something a little sick about a  man obsessed with children's genitals?  Could we get a law passed on that?  HB4819 is another doozy from him and here he wants to --

I can't summarize this one.  No one would ever believe me.  He's that disgusting and that obsessed with other people's lives.  Here's what HB4819 wants:

(1) As used in this section and section 2837, "physical complication" means a physical condition occurring during or after an abortion that, under generally accepted standards of medical practice, requires medical attention. Physical complication includes, but is not limited to, infection, hemorrhage, cervical laceration, or perforation of the uterus.

(2) A physician who performs an abortion shall report the performance of that procedure to the department on forms prescribed and provided by the department. A physician shall transmit a report required under this subsection to the director within 7 days after the performance of the abortion.

(3) Each report of an abortion required under subsection (2) shall must contain only the following information and no other information:

(a) The age of the individual at the time of the abortion.

(b) The marital status of the individual at the time of the abortion.

(c) The race and, if applicable, Hispanic ethnicity of the individual.

(d) The city or township, county, and state in which the individual resided at the time of the abortion.

(e) The name and address of the facility and the type of facility in which the abortion was performed.

(f) The source of referral to the physician performing the abortion.

(g) The number of previous pregnancies carried to term.

(h) The number of previous pregnancies ending in spontaneous abortion.

(i) The number of previous pregnancies terminated by abortion.

(j) The method used before the abortion to confirm the pregnancy, the period of gestation in weeks of the present pregnancy, and the first day of the last menstrual period.

(k) The method used to perform the abortion.

(l) The weight of the embryo or fetus, if determinable.

(m) Whether the fetus showed evidence of life when separated, expelled, or removed from the individual.

(n) The date of performance of the abortion.

(o) The method and source of payment for the abortion.

(p) A physical complication or death resulting from the abortion and observed by the physician or reported to the physician or his or her the physician's agent before the report required under subsection (2) is transmitted to the director.

(q) Any of the following reasons for obtaining the abortion:

(i) The present pregnancy was the result of a rape.

(ii) The present pregnancy was the result of incest.

(iii) Economic reasons.

(iv) A child is not wanted at this time.

(v) Emotional health is at risk.

(vi) Physical health is at risk.

(vii) Relationship problems.

(viii) The present pregnancy involved a diagnosis of 1 or more fetal anomalies.

(r) (q) The physician's signature and his or her the physician's state license number.

(4) The report required under subsection (2) shall must not contain the name of the individual, common identifiers such as her social security Social Security number or motor vehicle operator's license number or other information or identifiers that would make it possible to identify in any manner or under any circumstances an individual who has obtained or seeks to obtain an abortion. A state agency shall must not compare data in an electronic or other information system file with data in another electronic or other information system that would result in identifying in any manner or under any circumstances an individual obtaining or seeking to obtain an abortion. Statistical information that may reveal the identity of an individual obtaining or seeking to obtain an abortion shall must not be maintained.

(5) The department shall destroy each individual report required by this section and each copy of the report after retaining the report for 5 years after the date the report is received.

(6) The department shall make available annually in aggregate a statistical report summarizing the information submitted in each individual report required by this section. The department shall specifically summarize aggregate data regarding all of the following in the annual statistical report:

(a) The period of gestation in 4-week intervals from 5 weeks through 28 weeks.

(b) Abortions performed on individuals aged 17 and under.

(c) Physical complications reported under subsection (3)(p) and section 2837.

(7) The reports required under this section are statistical reports to be used only for medical and health purposes and shall must not be incorporated into the permanent official records of the system of vital statistics.

(8) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (10), the department or an employee of the department shall not disclose to a person or entity outside the department the reports or the contents of the reports required by this section in a manner or fashion so as to permit the person or entity to whom the report is disclosed to identify in any way the individual who is the subject of the report, the identity of the physician who performed the abortion, or the name or address of a facility in which an abortion was performed.

(9) A person who discloses confidential identifying information in violation of this section, section 2834(6), or section 2837 is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 3 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(10) The department may release the reports or the contents of the reports required by this section to the department of licensing and regulatory affairs for regulatory purposes only. The department of licensing and regulatory affairs or an employee of the department of licensing or and regulatory affairs shall not disclose to a person or entity outside of the department of licensing and regulatory affairs the reports or the contents of the reports required by this section in a manner or fashion so as to permit the person or entity to whom the report is disclosed to identify in any way the individual who is the subject of the report, the identity of the physician who performed the abortion, or the name or address of a facility in which an abortion was performed.

He really has no life, does he?  Just a hateful little man with a teenage girl's haircut, having a hissy fit about things that really don't concern him. 

These people are disgusting.

They've destroyed ROE and they now want to run from that.  They are so deeply stupid.  The country favored ROE.  It was a voter turn out for the Democratic Party.  So the GOP destroys it and only afterward grasps that it was a political mistake?  It's deeply unpopular.  It didn't matter to them what the American people thought.

It's the same thing here.

These hateful people -- these Glynneth Greenwalds -- attack transgender people, lie about them, lie about the medicine, lie about the research and want to impose their stupidity and hate upon the rest of us instead of learning to mind their own business.  

While madmen sit up building bombs
And making laws and bars 
They're going to slam free choice behind us

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