Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Closet case Michael Johnson

Does Mike Johnson honestly think he fools anyone?  I wonder.  This:

A homophobe can only hide for so long.

Ever since Mike Johnson’s improbable ascension to House Speaker, the Louisiana Republican has tried to mask his virulent anti-gay past. Despite clamoring for the reintroduction of sodomy laws and calling homosexuality a “dangerous lifestyle,” Johnson now says he “loves” gay people.

But his tone changes when he needs to raise money.

In a new fundraising email, Johnson abandons his pretense of moderation, and dives right back into gay-bashing.

His target, you ask?

LGBTQ+ high school students, of course!

“1 in 4 high school students identifies as something other than straight,” Johnson frets in the email. “What are they being taught in school?”

“Our culture has fallen so far since the founding of our country, and it’s just getting worse. I fear America may be beyond redemption.”

Mike Johnson has  to be a closet case.  I really don't know who he thinks he's fooling.  And shame on him for trying to use teenagers as canon fodder in his bizarre attempts to save his own ass. Back to the article:

One of Johnson’s former clients, radical Christian preacher Grant Storms, staged a violent protest in 2003 against New Orleans’ Southern Decadence, an annual celebration of LGBTQ+ people. One of the attendees attempted to murder a man with a five-inch steak knife.

The stabber admitted in a recorded confession he “wanted to kill a gay man.”

Following that episode, Storms spoke at an event called the “International Conference on Homo-Fascism” (where’s our invite?) and invoked violent imagery. Years later, he was arrested for masturbating in his van near a playground.

He's disgusting.  And the perfect example of how hiding in the closet drives a person nuts.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, December 5, 2023.  The assault on Gaza continues as protests increase. 

Let's start with a US Defense Dept press briefing which took place yesterday:

DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY SABRINA SINGH:  Good morning, everyone.  Happy Monday.  It's pretty busy, so just to provide some information upfront and then we'll happily take questions.

So, as probably most folks are tracking, there were four attacks against three separate commercial vessels yesterday that were operating in international waters in the southern Red Sea.

The USS Carney responded to distress calls from the ships and provided assistance.  These attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security.  They have jeopardized the lives of international crews representing multiple countries around the world.  And we also believe these attacks, while launched from -- while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran.

The United States will continue all appropriate responses in full coordination with its international allies and partners.

Also yesterday, on December 3, near Kirkuk, Iraq, forces assigned to combine joint task force Operation Inherent Resolve, engaged five militants preparing to launch a one-way attack drone.  Operation Inherent Resolve forces responded in self-defense with an armed U.S. uncrewed aerial system, killing all five militants and destroying the drone.

Iraqi security forces were notified of the strike and responded to the location, where they confirmed the death of the militants and the destruction of the -- of the drone.

[. . .]


Q:  Just to follow-up on the Kirkuk attack, can you -- you said it was an uncrewed aerial system?

MS. SINGH:  Yes.

Q:  Was it just one?  And can you say, more specifically, what aircraft that was and the current info?

MS. SINGH:  All I can give is what I read out, unfortunately.  I can tell you that the combined joint taskforce Operation Inherent Resolve forces responded in self-defense.  It was an uncrewed aerial system, and it did kill all five militants.  But -- and destroyed the drone, but that's -- that's all I have for now.

Q:  So, it was a dynamic?  It wasn't -- it wasn't like a pre-planned thing?

MS. SINGH:  It was -- it was not pre-planned in that it was how we've traditionally announced these from previous strikes.  It was something though that was observed by our forces and therefore under, you know, our ability -- for inherent right to self-defense we took action.

Q:  And then, can you just give us an update on the number of injuries in the attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria so far, please?

MS. SINGH:  I don't have an update on the number of injuries.  That's something that we're working through.  And, as always, we'll update you when I have more of an update.  I believe on the number of attacks we're up to -- oh, thank you, I believe we're up to 76 attacks as of today.  But, as you know, I don't have all the breakdown of every single place.  But we can get you that.  And I know you that is Pete is tracking that well -- Pete and Mac I should say.

Thank you.  Wafaa?

Q:  On the same subject, you said the Iraqi forces were notified of the strike, before or after?  Like, did you coordinate with them?

MS. SINGH:  We -- they were notified of the strike, and I'll just leave it at that.

Q:  Okay, because the Iraqis are, like the Iraqis considering this as a violation of their sovereign -- sovereignty.  So my question is under the security agreement with the Iraqis, does -- the United States has the right to conduct such -- such strikes without coordinating or notifying the government of Iraq?

MS. SINGH:  We have the inherent right to self-defense.  When we saw what these five militants were doing and -- and were preparing to do to take action against our forces, we took action so that they would not harm or damage any infrastructure.  That is inherently our right to self-defense.

We did notify the Iraqi government, and as I mentioned, they did go out and confirm that all five militants were dead, but I'm just going to leave it at that for now.

So to recap, the US government attacked the Iraqi forces -- the militias were made part of the Iraqi government forces years ago -- and the Iraqi forces, per the US Defense Dept, was making its 76th attack on US forces since the start of the assault on Gaza nearly two months ago.  

"I know people in the West would like to hear me condemn Hamas," says Rawan Al-Zaidi in Baghdad. "But I can't do that." The world had forgotten all about the Palestinians, she says, and now they are on everyone's lips again. Thanks to Hamas. "Whatever Israel does, the more atrocities its army commits against our people, the stronger Hamas becomes. It will never be possible to eliminate them." The prisoner exchange has now made people even more sympathetic, she says. 

Rawan is sitting in a small cafe called Branch in the upscale Baghdad district of Jadria, about 100 metres from the most expensive hotel in the Iraqi capital, where many Western diplomats come and go. Since the Gaza war began almost eight weeks ago, with Israel retaliating for the massacre perpetrated by Hamas in Israeli kibbutzim, the 27-year-old has been losing sleep, withdrawing into herself and becoming apathetic. 

The otherwise lively young woman, whose words usually flow effortlessly, a person who once took on new tasks with energy and verve and made a career as a successful entrepreneur, who has a husband and two children, has suddenly fallen silent. She finds herself unable to come to terms with what is happening to her people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. At Branch, she meets up with like-minded people to exchange views.

Although Rawan was born in Iraq and has Iraqi citizenship, she currently feels completely Palestinian. Her family comes from the small village of Deir al Sudan in the West Bank, not far from Ramallah. 

Her cousin worked as a doctor at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. But since Israel has been bombing the Gaza Strip almost around the clock and sending in ground troops, Rawan has not heard anything from her. 

[. . .]

Palestinian flags and scarves can be seen everywhere in a show of solidarity, while aid campaigns are being coordinated and committees set up. Baghdad delivered an entire bakery to the Gaza Strip. Iraq has in fact taken the lead in supporting the Palestinians. 

Whether there were actually a million people who showed up for the protest on Tahrir Square in Baghdad doesn't matter. There were certainly hundreds of thousands. The route from the legendary protest site in the heart of the Iraqi capital to the water tower behind it stretched for one kilometre. And people stood tightly packed the entire way, leaving just enough space to kneel down when the imam said Friday prayers. 

They had all come to demonstrate for the Palestinians and against Israel. It was the largest protest worldwide since the Hamas attack on 7 October. "We are all here for the Palestinians, against Israel, against America and against all those who support Israel," were the words repeated over and over again by everyone who was interviewed.

One million people protesting  in Baghdad.   Protests take place around the world over the continued assault on Gaza.  Even in Dubai at the UN climate conference.  From yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!

AMY GOODMAN: These are voices of a protest Sunday when over a hundred people gathered on the sidelines of the U.N. climate summit for a peaceful action in solidarity with the Palestinian people demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.

PROTESTER 1: When human rights are under attack, what do we do?

PROTESTERS: Stand up, fight back!

PROTESTER 2: We’ll be reading for you today from the Gaza Ministry of Health list of names of all those who have been killed since October 7th.

PROTESTER 3: Moaz Etemad Youssef Dalloul, female [sic] — male, 6 years old. Tala Amjad Alyan Abu Ayada, 5 years old. Elaine Amjad Alyan Abu Ayada, 3 years old. Hamza Muhammad Nahed Al-Fasih, 3 years old.

PROTESTER 1: The names are still being written.

TARIQ LUTHUN: My name is Tariq Luthun. I am a Gazawi born in Detroit. This violence is not happening just in my hometown of Gaza. It’s happening everywhere. Being in Detroit, there are so many situations in which water has been cut off. Being just down the street from Flint, Michigan, we see water be poisoned and polluted for the people and the residents of Flint. And precedents like that, where people are expendable, is only possible because of the violence we see inflicted upon people back in my homeland. And because of that, we are taking a stand here today not just as Palestinian people, myself, but people who are allied with justice for all people across the world, because that is what is necessary to have true climate justice. What good is finding a world that is green if the roots are soaked in blood? What good is a world that is green if there’s nobody left to live in it? The precedent set on people’s lives and the calculations we make as to who is expendable, that is the precedent we set for who’s expendable anywhere.

PROTESTER 1: Hey ho! Take me by the hand! Strong in solidarity we stand! Human rights and justice! Human rights and justice! Hey ho! End the apartheid!

SHIRINE JURDI: Just because now we have social media, we were able to see some of the facts. Have you seen this TikTok that went viral? We know TikToks that goes viral about food. Did you see this TikTok about how you remove white phosphorus from your body? Because white phosphorus weapons are being shelled on people, shelled on civilians, shelled on women and children. And this is where most of the casualties are. Lots of women were — we have almost 50,000 women pregnant, trying to deliver at this time of the period, and these women, lots of them, lost their lives, and, if you have seen, also these newborn babies. Have you seen them? Have you seen them struggling for air to breathe? But, unfortunately, electricity was cut off. They had no food, no water, no sanitation. They had nothing to breathe on. They had nothing to survive on. And lots of these newborn children were killed. And let’s be their voices.

CHEBON KERNELL: [speaking in Muscogee] I come here from the continent of North America representing our Indigenous peoples of our Muscogee communities who for many years now we have lived in an occupied state. We were dispossessed of our lands. We were forced upon reservations, where we were confined to one area. The water and the resources that we had known for thousands upon thousands of years were taken from us and commodified and exploited and stolen from our peoples. Today we come here, and I stand here and have been asked to say these words, because I stand in solidarity with each one of my relatives here and everything that you’re going through, my relatives on these lists here. I’m never going to forget those names that are being said. And one day I will greet them when I join them in the spirit world. But today I want to say something before more violence is incurred, that this has to stop now.

ANCEL LANGWA: I stand here as a member of Africans Rising, which is a Pan-African movement of Africans working for unity, justice, peace and dignity. Just like Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral institutions of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” So we are here because we have decided that we shall not be neutral.

ASAD REHMAN: Sisters, brothers, solidarity, greetings from the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice.

Today we stand in a space bearing the words “the United Nations,” in a process we are deeply committed to as the eyes, ears and voices of our people fighting for justice, the body that was created after the horrors of the Second World War with a promise of “never again,” a promise that made it illegal to target civilians, a promise that made it illegal to use food, water, medicine as a weapon of war, a promise of human rights, a promise that all people would be able to live with dignity, free from occupation and oppression.

And for these last two months we have witnessed not just the Palestinian people starved, trapped, cut off from the world, bombed and killed, their screams echoing throughout the night with no hope of rescue, as every morning we wait desperately for that message that our friends and our colleagues are still alive, but whilst watching the international community stand in silence — and again, not just for these last two months, but for 15 years of an illegal blockade, for 50 years of an occupation and apartheid, and a hundred years of ethnic cleansing and settler colonialism. We watched an international community that has been actively complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity, where the genocidal intent isn’t even bothered to be hidden anymore. And still, of course, that’s not enough. We’ve seen hospitals, schools bombed. We’ve seen medics, journalists and even U.N. staff killed, 18,000 people. Human rights and humanitarian law is lying in shreds.

And some ask — some ask us: Why do we care about the Palestinians? Why do climate justice groups mobilize in their millions, from Pakistan to the Philippines, from Belgium to Brazil, from South Africa to Sweden? Why is it our people from all around the world — Black, white, Brown, Jew, Muslim, Christian — are taking to the streets? It’s because we have seen the masks that have slipped. We have seen how the Palestinians are not even viewed as human beings. And in the faces of the Palestinians, for Black, Brown and Indigenous people, we see our past, our present and our future, of lives deemed less valuable than others, of an arc of 500 years of colonialism and racialized capitalism, of sacrificed people and of sacrificed land, of the powerful profiting from oppression, but then saying they don’t have any money for climate finance, but billions for bombs and bullets against the people.

And we say — and we say to those powerful countries, who put words of human rights into texts over there, that no amount of empty words will ever erase your complicity. You not only wrote the blank check, you enabled this. You own this. You own this as much as those who are dropping the bombs on the terrified people of Palestine. So, here today, we, the peoples of the world, say to the Palestinian people, the international community over there may have forgotten you, but you are not alone. You will never be alone, because we are all Palestinians! Ceasefire now! End settler colonialism! End apartheid! End the occupation! Free Palestine!

PROTESTER 1: We’re going to close this moment by respecting the names, the identities, the children, the women, the mothers, the fathers, the journalists have been murdered. We are going to read some of those names.

PROTESTER 4: Issa Ahmed Issa Al-Nashar, 8 years old. Zaid Sabry Musleh Radi, 8 years old. Fayez Shadi Fayez Al-Dakka, 8 years old.

TARIQ LUTHUN: Menna Essam Mahmoud Abu Eyada, 14 years old. Mahmoud Muhammad Fathi Al-Shaer, 14 years old.

PROTESTER 5: Amjad Khaled Kamal Rashwan, 3 years old. Salma Muhammad Khalil Abu Al-Ala, 2 years old.

AMY GOODMAN: Voices from a protest Sunday inside the U.N. climate summit here in Dubai, showing solidarity with the Palestinian people, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The first voice in this last segment was Chebon Kernell of the Muscogee Nation here in the United States, and the last speech you heard was our guest right now, Asad Rehman.

Here in the U.S., a protester is in critical condition after setting themself on fire Friday outside the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia. Authorities said the protester never posed a threat to consular staff, and the self-immolation was believed to be “an act of extreme political protest.”

In Denver, Colorado, hundreds of Jewish activists and their allies blocked traffic on the busy Speer Boulevard Sunday following a week of protests outside the Colorado Convention Center, where the Jewish National Fund was holding its Global Conference for Israel. Fifteen members of Jewish Voice for Peace were arrested after chaining themselves together on the road and halting traffic for over an hour.

The United Auto Workers became the latest, and largest, union to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. The UAW joins the American Postal Workers Union, the California Nurses Association, the Chicago Teachers Union and others in calling for a ceasefire. The UAW is also creating a “divestment and just transition working group” and taking a closer look at the union’s “economic ties to the conflict.”

As  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."  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."  ABC NEWS notes, "In the Gaza Strip, more than 15,000 people have been killed and over 41,000 have been wounded by Israeli forces since Oct. 7, according to the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry."  In addition to the dead and the injured, there are the missing.  AP notes, "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."

NBC NEWS notes this morning, "The intense aerial and ground assault is fueling mounting concern for civilians crowded into the area, many of whom fled bombardment and battles in the north at Israel's urging. Gazans are now being warned to evacuate large areas of the south, but 'there is nowhere safe to go and very little to survive on,' U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said."  THE TIMES OF INDIA adds, "A World Health Organization official in Gaza said on Tuesday the situation there as deteriorating by the hour as Israeli bombing has intensified in the south of the enclave around the cities of Khan Younis and Rafah. The situation is getting worse by the hour,' Richard Peeperkorn, WHO representative on the occupied Palestinian territory, told reporters via video link from Gaza. 'There's intensified bombing going on all around, including here in the southern areas, Khan Younis and even in Rafah'."

Monday, Amy Goodman observed, "Ambulance drivers have been targeted by Israeli snipers, including a medic who was shot transporting an injured person toward al-Awda Hospital."  Dropping back to Monday's snapshot:

When not attacking civilians, the Israeli government attacked medical personnel:

Israeli forces fired upon two ambulances in the Faluja area of the north of Gaza, injuring two paramedics and an accompanying injured person on Sunday, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said.

  • This morning, ALJAZEERA notes:

    The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has shared footage of the moment an Israeli artillery tank targeted the vicinity of two ambulances in Gaza.

    PRCS said the two ambulances were attending to casualties in Deir el-Balah, southern Gaza.


    Max Butterworth (NBC NEWS) notes, "Palestinians mourn the death of loved ones, killed by Israeli strikes, outside a hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza this morning."  ALJAZEERA explains, "Twenty-six out of 35 hospitals in Gaza are currently out of service, and 52 out of 72 primary healthcare clinics have been shut down."  The editorial board of WSWS points out, "Israel has deliberately carried out a campaign to target all places of refuge, from the north of the Gaza Strip to the south. It has systematically bombed and raided hospitals, displacing doctors, patients and refugees at gunpoint. Those too weak to move have simply been abandoned to die, including five premature babies whose bodies were discovered last week after they were left to die alone at Al-Nasr Children’s Hospital. By every definition, Israel’s actions are a textbook case of genocide."  Jennifer Hassan (WASHINGTON POST) quotes the World Health Organization declaring "The remaining hos'pitals in those areas run without sufficient fuel, medicines, food, water, or protection of health workers. And Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) notes:

      The international president of Doctors Without Borders on Monday pleaded with members of the United Nations Security Council to do everything in their power to halt the Israeli military's expanding assault on the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 15,000 people in less than two months and decimated the territory's healthcare system.

    In an open letter, Dr. Christos Christou wrote that "words fail us to describe the absolute horror being inflicted on Palestinian civilians by Israel as it carries out incessant and indiscriminate warfare in Gaza for all the world to see."

    "Israel has shown a blatant and total disregard for the protection of Gaza's medical facilities. We are watching as hospitals are turned into morgues and ruins," he continued. "These supposedly protected facilities are being bombed, are being shot at by tanks and guns, encircled, and raided, killing patients and medical staff... Medical staff, including our own, are utterly exhausted and in despair. They have had to amputate limbs from children suffering from severe burns without anesthesia or sterilized surgical tools."

    Hundreds of medical workers, including four Doctors Without Borders staff members, have been killed in Israel's weekslong attack on Gaza. Following a seven-day pause that ended last week, Israel began broadening its ground offensive and bombardment to include swaths of southern Gaza—where many fled in response to Israeli evacuation orders in the north.

    The following sites updated:

    Monday, December 4, 2023

    Jig's up


    Moms for Bigotry are hate merchants and hypocrites.  

    They've been exposed.  They're just con artists, like the woman who promoted them from the start (Naomi Wolf).

    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Monday, December 4, 2023.  The slaughter of Gaza continues, Joe Biden's made service in Iraq more dangerous for US troops, Moms For Bigotry and their cousin One Million Moms continue to get publicly shamed, and much more.

    Starting in the US where it's been one failure after another for the hate merchants.  Remember last month started with elections.  After, headlines like "Moms for Liberty Annihilated in School Board Elections" (NEWSWEEK),  "Voters Reject Moms for Liberty in Key School Board Races"  
    " (THE ADVOCATE) and, my favorite, Tori Otten's "Moms for Liberty Falls Flat on Its Face in School Board Races" (THE NEW REPUBLIC).   From the last one:

    The Tuesday loss is a stinging rebuke of Moms for Liberty, a “parental rights” organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center designated as an extremist group. What happened in Iowa mimics similar defeats suffered by the group and by Republicans in general throughout the U.S.

    [. . .]

    Moms for Liberty was founded in 2021 to push back against Covid-19 restrictions in schools. It has since expanded to opposing classes on diversity, curbing the rights of LGBTQ students, and banning books.

    But on Tuesday, voters across the country pushed back on the Moms for Liberty agenda. The organization endorsed more than 130 candidates across the country, and the vast majority of them lost—with some failing to get more than single-digit support.

    After this huge and embarrassing loss, it has been one bad moment after another for them and their sister bullies in One Million Moms as America has discovered how ethically bankrupt and dangerous those two groups are.  From NPR's November 18th WEEKEND EDITION:


    The right-wing group Moms for Liberty has been a force in clashes over what public schools can teach or not about sexuality and race, but its influence may be on the wane. Last week, the group lost closely watched school board races in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Iowa. As Jim Zarroli reports, Moms for Liberty is facing growing resistance at the local level.

    JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Karen Svoboda and her husband have a large blended family of seven kids in New York's Dutchess County. They try to pay attention to what's happening in local schools. So when Moms for Liberty endorsed a slate of school board candidates last year, Svoboda did some research.

    KAREN SVOBODA: And then I looked into the local Facebook page of Moms for Liberty and just browsed through some of the social media of some of these individuals. And what I saw was very upsetting.

    ZARROLI: The Southern Poverty Law Center has called Moms for Liberty a hate group. It supports efforts to oppose pandemic restrictions, suppress discussion of LGBTQ issues and remove books in local schools across the country. Many of the comments Svoboda read attacked her local school's teachings on gender and racial equity issues. One post in particular bothered Svoboda, who has gay and nonbinary kids in her family. It said a gay students group at the high school was indoctrinating students.

    SVOBODA: As a mom of kids who are members of that community, it was very concerning to think that these people would be trying to get onto the school board, 'cause what does that mean for my kids?

    ZARROLI: Svoboda knew Moms for Liberty had supporters locally. Dutchess County is an hour and a half north of progressive New York City, but it's a swing district politically. Political scientist Maurice Cunningham says the group appeals to people who feel disenfranchised from politics.

    MAURICE CUNNINGHAM: And that may be more potent in blue areas where very conservative people may feel like they don't have a way to fight back. And Moms for Liberty gives them one.

    ZARROLI: Svoboda started a group called Defense of Democracy to get the word out about some of the school board candidates. It's part of a nationwide grassroots counteroffensive against conservative efforts targeting schools. Katie Paris, who founded a network of liberal suburban women called Red Wine and Blue, says the culture warriors running for school board in many places are out of step with most voters.

    KATIE PARIS: They don't represent the majority, but they are very loud, and their views are very extreme. And we have seen what can happen when just a few people start to sow chaos in any individual school district.

    They're liars and they're trash.  On November 14th, Elaine noted One Million Moms were calling for a boycott of The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  One million?  Try three..  As Ava and I reported last week

    But their power has peaked.


    In part, this happens with most groups.  Eventually, the average person sounds like Mitch and Cam from MODERN FAMILY ("Patriot Games," season six, episode 22, written by Vali Chandrasekara) and state that they don't have the time to follow every issue and turn out for every protest.  It also happens when a pack of liars get exposed for what they really are: Hate merchants.  The United States, as a whole, does not support the restriction of freedoms.  It was only a matter of time before these bigots overplayed their hands.

    And we're now at that moment.

    Which is how Macy's got great ratings this year.

    Christmas came early for NBC: The network’s annual telecast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade delivered the biggest ratings ever.

    The 97th annual parade was seen by 28.5 million viewers and earned a hefty 7.2 rating in the 18-49 age demo. Both numbers are up 6 percent from last year’s parade. It was also the highest-rated entertainment program of the year in both categories across all of broadcast and cable.

    The record is particularly impressive at a time when even major live events have witnessed ratings erosion in recent years.

    It is very impressive.  Good for Macy's and NBC.

    It's also a lesson, a good one, that businesses need to heed.  Moms for Bigotry and A Million Hateful Moms bloviate and bellyache but they don't have the power you think they have.  Bud Light has the excuse that they were early in the cycle and didn't know better.  But, that said, there's never an excuse to attack the influencer you sought out.  It's the treatment of Dylan Mulvaney that's harmed Bud Light more than anything else.  Had they not attacked her and shamed her and disowned her, the left and those in the middle might have not only continued to purchase Bud Light but might have purchased even more because Dylan was under attack.

    It happened with the Natalie Maines and the Chicks.  They were pulled off the radio but they had a hell of a week in sales then Bully Boy Bush and others piled up on them in 2003.

    Idiots like Speaker of the House Mike Johnson may say that the United States is "irredeemable" due to the fact that 1/4 of high school students label themselves as LGBTQ+ but grasp that the 1/4 of students have brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and neighbors.  That's a lot of people who support them.  Who knows, if Mike's really the closet case he seems (and the one people whisper about), he might even support them privately.

    Huge loss in elections and they couldn't even dent the parade's ratings.  People were fighting back against them. And if that had been all in the last weeks, that would have been bad enough.  But reality has bitch slapped Moms For Bigotry much harder than that.

    Let's run through a few memorable moments.  November 15th, AP reported:

     Moms for Liberty says it has removed two Kentucky chapter chairs from leadership positions after the women posed in photos with members of the far-right group the Proud Boys, one of several controversies that the conservative “parental rights” nonprofit has fended off in its rise to national prominence in public education.

    The two women, who had led local chapters in Boone and Campbell counties near the Ohio border, appeared in photos with several men dressed in yellow and black Proud Boys clothing at a Nov. 4 rally in Frankfort, the Kentucky capital. The photos, posted on Facebook by another attendee, show the women smiling in Moms for Liberty clothing, as one helps to hold up a flag that reads, “Appalachian Proud Boys Kentucky.” 

    The Nazi lovers also loved convicted sex offenders who prey on children.  Edward Helmore (GUARDIAN) reported November 21st:

    Philadelphia-based outreach leader for Moms for Liberty – the conservative parental rights group that is pushing to exclude discussion of gender and diversity from school curricula – has been exposed as a registered sex offender.

    According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Phillip Fisher Jr – a pastor and local Republican ward leader who volunteered at Moms for Liberty’s national summit in Philadelphia this year – pleaded guilty in 2012 to a charge of aggravated sexual abuse involving a 14-year-old boy when he was 25 and living in Chicago.

    Sheila Armstrong, the chairwoman of Philadelphia’s Moms for Liberty chapter, confirmed to the Inquirer that Fisher was still planning to volunteer at her autism non-profit’s Christmas party.

    They don't care about children, they never cared about children.  

    And it just gets worse.  Over the weekend, another big embarrassment for Moms For Bigotry.  Joe Queally (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

    New details made public over the weekend via police documents of a rape investigation have added fresh fuel to the political firestorm surrounding the chair of the Republican Party of Florida, Christian Ziegler, and his wife Bridget Ziegler, co-founder of the far-right Moms for Liberty, which engages in book-banning efforts, attacks on public education, religious moralizing, and the promotion of fascist ideology in chapters nationwide.

    After an unnamed longtime associate accused Christian Ziegler of rape last week, the emergence of a police search warrant and associated affidavit showed that the alleged victim said she had engaged in consensual three-way sexual relations with the Zieglers in the past but on the day of the assault, on Oct 3., tried to call off the encounter because Bridget would not be there to participate.

    "Sorry I was mostly in for her," the victim said, according to text messages quoted in the affadavit.

    The high-profile political work of the Zieglers—who rail against the sexual identities and lifestyle choices of others and who have been openly hostile to the LGBTQ+ community, often suggesting queer people are somehow deviant or morally problematic—has resulted in my cries of hypocrisy and calls for Christian's resignation.

    "Allegations of rape and sexual battery are severe and should be taken seriously," said Florida Democratic Party chair Nikki Fried in a statement on Thursday. "I applaud the accuser's bravery in coming forward against a political figure as powerful as Christian Ziegler, and I trust that the Sarasota Police Department will conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations of criminal behavior."

    Given the severity of the allegations against him, Fried called on Christian Zeigler to resign from his post, a call echoed later by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican currently running for the GOP presidential nomination.

    Fried said that "what happens behind closed doors is Christian and Bridget's personal business," but added that she did "find it interesting that two people who are so obsessed with banning books about gay penguins might be engaged in a non-traditional sexual relationship," referring to a children's book about gay parents which has been targeted by Republicans for banning in schools in Florida and elsewhere.

    "As leaders in the Florida GOP and Moms for Liberty," said Fried, "the Zieglers have made a habit out of attacking anything they perceive as going against 'family values'—be it reproductive rights or the existence of LGBTQ+ Floridians. The level of hypocrisy in this situation is stunning."

    Ron's people.  Hand-picked by Ronald DeSantis.  How close were they?  


    Christian Ziegler has been a leader in the state Republican party for years, and Bridget Ziegler found political success more recently with help from Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). DeSantis endorsed her when she ran for school board and named her to the board that oversees Disney World’s special district, which was part of an act of vengeance against Disney for opposing his state’s Don’t Say Gay law.

    “Bridget Ziegler, we should have her in every county in Florida,” DeSantis once said in a speech posted to Bridget Ziegler’s YouTube channel. “We have to do a better job in these school board races.”

    Harvard Law Cyberlaw Clinic instructor Alejandra Caraballo noted that Moms for Liberty is an organization that paved the way for Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law, among other things. She called out the “level of hypocrisy” in light of the allegations.

    Turning to the continued assault on Gaza, REUTERS reports this morning, "Israel ordered people out of swathes of the main southern city in the Gaza Strip on Monday as it pressed its ground campaign deep into the south, sending desperate residents fleeing even as it dropped bombs on areas where it told them to go."  This morning, THE GUARDIAN notes:

    James Elder, a spokesperson for the UN children’s agency, Unicef, said the “worst bombardment of the war right now [is] in south Gaza”. Airstrikes were coming every 10 minutes, he said.

    He posted on X: “Despite what has been assured, attacks in the south of Gaza are every bit as vicious as what the north endured. Somehow, it’s getting worse for children and mothers.”

    The pause is over, as Amy Goodman (DEMOCRACY NOW!) explained Friday, "Dozens of Palestinians have been killed after Israel resumed its bombardment of the Gaza Strip, ending a weeklong pause to facilitate the exchange of captives. Hamas responded by firing a salvo of rockets toward southern Israel. The U.N. says the resumption of violence puts thousands of innocent lives at risk."  Joe Queally (COMMON DREAMS) notes, "More than 700 people were killed in the Gaza Strip in just 24 hours, the Health Ministry in the besieged territory said Sunday, as Israeli bombings escalated following a brief pause and wider evacuation orders stoke fears of wider displacement and carnage."  Ryan Grim (INTERCEPT) reports:

    On this week’s episode of Deconstructed, I spoke with “Breaking Points” co-host Krystal Ball about my new book, “The Squad: AOC and the Hope of a Political Revolution.” You can listen to it on whichever podcast platform you use, and the video has been posted on Krystal’s channel

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tasked his top adviser, Ron Dermer, the minister of strategic affairs, with designing plans to “thin” the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip “to a minimum,” according to a bombshell new report in an Israeli newspaper founded by the late Republican billionaire Sheldon Adelson.  

    The outlet, Israel Hayom, is considered to be something of an official organ for Netanyahu. It reported that the plan has two main elements: The first would use the pressure of the war and humanitarian crisis to persuade Egypt to allow refugees to flow to other Arab countries, and the second would open up sea routes so that Israel “allows a mass escape to European and African countries.” Dermer, who is originally from Miami, is a Netanyahu confidante and was previously Israeli ambassador to the United States, and enjoys close relations with many members of Congress. 

    The plan to ethnically cleanse Gaza of Palestinians faces some internal resistance from less hard-line members of Netanyahu’s cabinet, according to Israel Hayom. 

    Meanwhile, Stephen Kalin, Anat Peled, Summer Said and Dov Lieber (WALL STREET JOURNAL) report, "Talks between Israel and Hamas to hand over hostages held in Gaza in return for a pause in fighting there have stalled, the White House said Sunday, while Israeli forces step up attacks and direct Palestinians in the enclave to move into a narrower strip of land."  Casey Gannon (CNN) notes:

     Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Japayal on Sunday reiterated her call for a ceasefire in Gaza, even as fighting has resumed following the collapse of a truce on Friday.

    “It’s what has to happen, and I do think it’s realistic,” Jayapal told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”

    “We did have a temporary ceasefire and what happened? We were able to see a significant number of hostages released, we were able to get humanitarian aid into Gaza, and I think the long-term plan for what happens is incredibly important,” she continued.   

    THE NEW YORK TIMES quotes the White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stating today on MEET THE PRESS (NBC), "We are still working it really hard, hour by hour, to see if we can get the sides back to the table and see if we can get something moving.  We would like that to happen today. But honestly, I just don't know."  CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali adds, "Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday and discussed the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories, emphasizing the need for de-escalation and a ceasefire, the country’s state news agency said. The prime minister reaffirmed Qatar's commitment, alongside its mediation partners, to ongoing efforts aimed at restoring calm to the region."

    As  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."  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."  ABC NEWS notes, "In the Gaza Strip, more than 15,000 people have been killed and over 41,000 have been wounded by Israeli forces since Oct. 7, according to the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry."  In addition to the dead and the injured, there are the missing.  AP notes, "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."

    THE GUARDIAN's summary for Sunday's events includes:

  • The Jabalia refugee camp in the north of Gaza was among the sites reported hit from the air as were the cities of Khan Younis and Rafah in the south of Gaza. Israeli government spokesperson, Eylon Levy, said the military had struck more than 400 targets over the weekend “including extensive aerial attacks in the Khan Younis area” and had also killed Hamas militants and destroyed their infrastructure in Beit Lahiya in the north.

  • Over 15,500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli strikes in the last two months, Gaza’s health ministry announced on Sunday. According to ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra, 70% of the Palestinians killed were women and children. He said that 41,316 had been injured.

  • During “the past hours” 316 dead and 664 wounded were removed from the rubble and taken to hospitals, al-Qudra said, adding that “many others are still under the rubble”.

  • The UN humanitarian agency (OCHA) said that about 1.8 million people – roughly 75% of Gaza’s population – are internally displaced, up from a previous figure of 1.7 million. “However, obtaining an accurate count is challenging,” it said.

  • Hospitals in southern Gaza overflowed with dead and wounded, amid what Uncief spokesperson James Elder said was “the worst worst bombardment of the war right now in south Gaza” on Sunday evening. “I feel like I’m almost failing in my ability to convey the endless killing of children here,” Elder said in a video from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis.

  •  [. . .] 

  • The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) called on Israel to respect the international rules of war and said he was accelerating his investigation into violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. In a video address following a visit to Israel and Palestine, ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan added, “In Gaza, there is no justification for doctors to perform operations without light, for children to be operated upon without anaesthetics. Imagine the pain … I was crystal clear, that this is the time to comply with the law. If Israel doesn’t comply now, they shouldn’t complain later.”

  • Israeli settlers attacked two Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank late on Saturday, killing one man and torching a car, Palestinian authorities said. The Palestinian ambulance service said a 38-year-old man in the town of Qarawat Bani Hassan, in the northern West Bank, was shot in the chest and died as residents confronted settlers and Israeli soldiers.

  • ALJZEERA notes:

    A statement issued by the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that an unnamed Jordanian citizen was killed and his brother was severely injured following an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip.

    The statement did not say in which part of Gaza the deadly strike took place.

    Ambassador Sufyan Al-Qudah, a ministry spokesman, said that contact has been made with the families of the two victims.

    The injured brother is reportedly in a coma and is being treated at the Baptist Hospital in the besieged enclave.

    The statement also said that Jordan holds the Israeli government “fully responsible” for the safety of all Jordanian citizens who have remained in Gaza. As of November 20, there were 741 Jordanian nationals in Gaza, according to the ministry’s list.

    When not attacking civilians, the Israeli government attacked medical personnel:

    Israeli forces fired upon two ambulances in the Faluja area of the north of Gaza, injuring two paramedics and an accompanying injured person on Sunday, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said.

  •  This morning, THE GUARDIAN notes:

    A crater the size of a basketball court out of the earth. A dead toddler’s bare feet and black trousers poked out from under a pile of rubble. Men struggled with their bare hands to move a chunk of the concrete that had crushed the child.

    Later they wept as they marched through the ruins carrying the body in a bundle and that of another small child body wrapped in a blanket.

    “We were asleep and safe, they told us it was a safe area, Rafah and all,” said Salah al-Arja, owner of one of the houses destroyed at the site.

    “There were children, women and martyrs,” he said. “They tell you it is a safe area, but there is no safe area in all of the Gaza Strip, it is all lies and manipulations.”

    The CBC details another bombing:

    At a home in Khan Younis that was struck overnight, flames licked the collapsed masonry and grey smoke billowed out from the rubble. Boys were picking through the wreckage with bare hands.

    Next door, Nesrine Abdelmoty stood amid damaged furniture in the rented room where she lives with her divorced daughter and two-year-old baby.

    "We were sleeping at 5:00 a.m. when we felt things collapse, everything went upside down," she told Reuters. "They told [people] to move from the north to Khan Younis, since the south is safer. And now, they've bombed Khan Younis. Even Khan Younis is not safe now, and even if we move to Rafah, Rafah is not safe as well. Where do they want us to go?

    How's Joe Biden's support for the slaughter in Gaza working out?   World leaders are condemning the US and Israel.  Joe's position has really clarified and honed in Iraqi opinion on the United States and its continued occupation of Iraq. PRESS TV reports:

    The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which is an umbrella group of the country's anti-terror fighters, says it has targeted two US bases in eastern Syria and western Iraq in new strikes on the American occupation forces.

    The Iraqi resistance said in a late Sunday statement that the US military base near Syria’s al-Khazra village was hit with a barrage of missiles.

    The statement added that the resistance forces also carried out a drone attack on the American forces based in Ain al-Asad Airbase in the western Iraqi province of al-Anbar.

    And, of course, this was in response to a US attack today.  Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) notes:

    An air strike in northern Iraq has killed at least five militants, social media accounts linked to Iran-backed Shiite militias reported late on Sunday.

    The air strike hit the militiamen in Kirkuk province, according to Sabreen news channel on Telegram, which is affiliated with Iran-backed Shiite militias.

    It did not give details on when the air strike happened, but said it was carried out by US forces.

    A US military official - on condition of anonymity - confirmed the "self defense" strike carried out in northern Iraq on a drone staging site.

    ATLAS NEWS adds, "The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella organization of Iran-backed Shia militias, has confirmed the deaths of five of its fighters amid claims of an American airstrike against militia forces in Iraq today."  The attack follows a pitiful plea from the US government.  Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) reported yesterday, "United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a Friday phone conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani renewed Washington’s call on Baghdad to protect American troops from attacks by pro-Iran militias as the conflict in Gaza resumes after a brief truce." 

    Please remember that, this is not the first US assault in the last days on this segment of the Iraqi military -- and please remember that the groups being attacked are part of the Iraqi military.  And their political factions?  They make up part of the formation of the current prime minister's bloc.  The last bombing led to calls that the US government had violated Iraq's sovereignty.  November 22nd,  Julian Bechocha (RUDAW) reports:

    The Iraqi government said it “vehemently condemns” the US airstrikes on Iran-backed Iraqi militia positions in Jurf al-Nasr on Wednesday as a “blatant violation of sovereignty” as the strikes took place without government knowledge.

    “We vehemently condemn the attack on Jurf al-Nasr, executed without the knowledge of Iraqi government agencies. This action is a blatant violation of sovereignty and an attempt to destabilize the security situation,” Basem al-Awadi, spokesperson for the Iraqi government, said in a statement. 

    The statement came hours after US warplanes struck pro-Iran fighters in Jurf al-Nasr (formerly Jurf al-Sakhar) in northern Babil province, around 60 kilometers southwest of Baghdad. Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, or Hashd al-Shaabi) confirmed to AFP that the strikes left eight fighters dead. 

    Wednesday’s strike came hours after the US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced its first retaliatory strike targeting Iran-backed groups in Iraq since the start of the attacks on American personnel in Iraq and Syria over Washington’s support for Israel in its war against Gaza. The first retaliatory strike resulted in “several enemy casualties,” according to CENTCOM. 

    “The Iraqi government is solely dedicated to enforcing the law and holding violators accountable, a prerogative exclusively within its purview. No party or foreign agency has the right to assume this role, as it contradicts Iraqi constitutional sovereignty and international law,” the government statement said, labeling the recent escalations as “a dangerous development.” 


    Joe Biden has put US service members a risk in the Middle East. 

    The following sites updated: