Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Now more businesses think they refuse to serve LGBTQ+ members

You should have known it was coming.  The Detroit Free Press reports:

A Traverse City hair salon is receiving backlash after announcing on social media that its business will no longer serve transgender and queer people.

"If a human identifies as anything other than a man/woman please seek services at a local pet groomer," Studio 8 Hair Lab stated in a now deleted Facebook post. "You are not welcome at this salon. Period. Should you request to have a particular pronoun used please note we may simply refer to you as 'hey you.' "

Numerous individuals voiced their disapproval online, accompanied by screenshots of the original post. One user expressed their shock, stating, "Comparing people to dogs?? It's disgusting!"

Another user posted Studio 8 Hair Lab's message to the Overheard in Traverse City Facebook group, to which the owner, Christine Geiger responded: "I have no issues with LGB. It’s the TQ+ that I’m not going to support."

Geiger also encouraged those who disapprove of her beliefs to visit other salons and stylists "willing to cater to what (she) will not."

Again, it's no surprise.  It may be for some people.  But those of us in The Common Ills community are not surprised.  C.I. immediately called it for what it was, the creation of a two-tier system of citizenship in America where non-gay and lesbian citizens have full rights and gays and lesbians only have some rights.  I'm referring to last month's awful decision in favor of Lori Smith where the Supreme Court stated she could discriminate.  

C.I.'s been hitting hard on these issues and I thank her for them.  We're hoping to do a roundtable for Third shortly.  Jim's back from vacation and wants to do one.  He called and while we were on the phone he told me that the numbers were way up for The Common Ills.  They never dropped to as low as Katie Halper's numbers.  But there was a month period where the numbers were low and the public e-mail account was one screed after another insisting that LGBTQ+ issues didn't matter and shouldn't be covered and this or that person was going to stop visiting the site.

C.I. didn't care.  She doesn't follow the numbers -- Jim does -- and she told him, there's no point in building up an audience and then fretting that they're going to leave because you're covering something that's important.  She said it could drop to 1 view a day and she'd still feel the same way.  Even at the lowest views a day this year, when people were leaving and never coming back, she never dropped below 90,000 views a day.  Yes, 90,000 was a serious drop -- that was half the daily audience.  But she didn't care.  

And I wanted to note that because she never says anything like that.  She never says boo-hoo.  She just does what has to be done and that's why this community has grown.  



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


Wednesday, July 12, 2023.  Iraq hasn't done a census, it doesn't know the population despite reports otherwise, the US State Dept is loving a new deal, Katie Halper continues to sputter out online, it's probably to rethink Ed Snowden, and much more.

The Iraqi Ministry of Planning said the country's population has reached 43.32 million, with an annual growth rate of 2.5 per cent.

A Ministry statement said that about 50.5 per cent of the total Iraqi population are men and about 49.5 per cent women, reports Xinhua news agency.

It showed that the working-age group between 15 and 64 constitutes the highest percentage, reaching 57 per cent of the total population, followed by the youth group under 15 years at 40 per cent.

Types?  Iraq has no idea.  There hasn't been a census since 1997.  And there probably won't be one for another decade at least.  The census would include all areas.  And?

Oil-rich Kirkuk is disputed land.  The central government out of Baghdad claims it as does the KRG.  This is the hot spot that, in the first years of the Iraq War, Brookings warned repeatedly was a hot spot that needed to be addressed. 

After the US-led invasion, when the new Constitution of Iraq was drafted and implemented, Article 140 explained how Kirkuk's status would be determined.

The Article specifies three phases for implementation that includes normalization, a census, and a referendum on Kirkuk and other disputed areas. The government was to start by taking appropriate steps for the normalization phase, including rejoining detached districts and sub-districts to Kirkuk governorate, and completing this phase no later than 29 March 2007. The census phase was to be completed by 31 July 2007, and the referendum phase by 15 November 2007. The overall question is, thus, why hasn't the Iraqi federal government met its commitments? Since 2003, successive Iraqi governments have failed to implement this constitutional article.

In his first term as prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki just ignored the Constitution and then turned around and promised to implement it in order to get a second term.  

In March 2010, Iraq held elections.  For a little over eight months, Iraq was without a prime minister because Nouri refused to step down -- much to his surprise, he had lost to the brand new Iraqiya.  Though then vice president Joe Biden initially promised that the US would back the voters, as time went on, another decision was made.  Barack Obama had made various 'promises' on the 2008 campaign trail.  One was to remove all US troops from Iraq within ten months.  Didn't happen. Now he was in the second year of his presidency.  Samantha Power insisted that Nouri had to remain prime minister -- screw the voters -- and Barack went along with it.  Samantha said a new prime minister would be a question mark.  She preferred the known Nouri -- that would be the Nouri known by that point for disappearing Iraqis, for secret torture cells, all the things would only become worse in his second term.

To get the political parties on board with this theft, the US oversaw the negotiation of a contract -- the leaders of the various political parties agreed to give Nouri a second term as prime minister and he agreed to do certain things in exchange.

For one thing?

For the Kurdish political parties, his big concession was that he was going to implement Article 140 and do it in December (The Erbil Agreement was signed in November of 2010.)  

We pointed out in real time that Nouri was already supposed to do this.  That the Constitution said it was to be done and gave a deadline for it to be done and Nouri hadn't done it.  Now you were going to trust him to do it?  What had changed?  Why trust someone who's already refused?

But people are stupid sometimes and the KRG went along with it.  They and everyone else got burned.  Before December arrived, Nouri was saying there was no way for him to keep to the contract and hold the census and do the referendum -- or even start one -- in December.  This was then followed, in January, by his then-spokesperson  announcing that The Erbil Agreement was illegal and that Nouri didn't intend to honor it.  

To get that pushed through and to get the optics he needed, Barack Obama need Ayad Allawi -- aka the man who the Iraqi people elected prime minister -- on board.  So when the Parliament was going to name Nouri prime minister via The Erbil Agreement and Iraqiya walked out, Barack got on the phone to Allawi and swore up and down that The Erbil Agreement had the full backing of the United States government and it would be enforced.  And then?  Barack did nothing -- as Allawi related to one media outlet after another.  Somehow the US media never wanted to touch on this.  The BBC did, but somehow, someway, the US media just wasn't interested.

The central government in Baghdad does not want to give up their claim to Kirkuk.  There's too much oil there.  So, no, Iraq's not going to do a census. 

In other sad news, THE KATIE HALPER SHOW.  Katie continues to struggle for streams.  She's like a really bad NBC sitcom in the second half of the 2000s, where NBC keeps insisting upon calling it a hit in all advertising but it fails to deliver the audience of FRIENDS, SEINFELD, WILL & GRACE or, hell, even SUDDENLY SUSAN.  

Her latest stunt casting, her equivalent of the episode of FRIENDS that featured Julia Roberts, Brooke Shields, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chris Isaak was a segment focusing on Glenneth Greenwald.  Chris Isaak?  He's not even Chris Christie.

We were going to talk about Glenneth on Monday but there wasn't time.

So let's dive in now.

First off, Katie, thanks for making it clear that you are a grifter.  Every day, Glenneth attacks the left.  He's the most passive aggressive bitch in the world and we're all going to live through the various slights against him over the years -- real and imagined -- as he works through issues.

There is no reason for any leftist to promote Glenneth at this point.  He is not about insight, he is not about observation, he is just trying to tear down the left and if you can't grasp that, notice that he's slamming the left for this or that while ignoring that the right-wing is doing or has done the same thing.

So there's no reason for a real leftist to bring that hack on -- yes, he's a hack, we'll come back to it.

He's also the sort of gay guy that's always belittled other gay men to get by.  To suck up to others, he's been a backstabbing bitch.  His current war on trans is his effort to prove to his right-wing buddies that he's an alpha (not even in his most desperate fantasy) and he does real damage there. Chelsea Manning called him out on this.  Chelsea was right.

Let's get to the hack part.

It becomes harder and harder to defend Ed Snowden.

We defended him the minute the world knew who he was.  

And I keep seeing Ed issuing this statement or that statement and I also read his book and it's become seriously troubling.

I'm not upset with him for what he revealed.  I'm growing very angry over what he didn't reveal.

A short overview, Ed worked for the CIA and then was a contractor for the NSA.  The government was doing many illegal things.  Ed copied various documents on a drive -- see Oliver Stone's SNOWDEN which is a great movie.  He handed it over to Glenn Greenwald.  Glenn wrote about some of it and made a name for himself as a 'reporter.'  Not a columnist, a reporter.  And a big money man comes along and woos Glenneth from THE GUARDIAN to what becomes THE INTERCEPT.  And?

We were told all the documents would be reported on by THE INTERCEPT.  They have not been.  All this time later, they have not been.  Glenneth did not bother to do a damn thing.  Meanwhile, with this public promise, THE INTERCEPT attracted more whistle-blowers -- people who got burned by THE INTERCEPT who let the US government know -- intentionally or not -- that they had whistle-blower trying to come forward.  This is how Reality Winner ended up in prison.  

Now when all this whistle-blowers were suffering, Glenneth didn't say a word.  When he wrote his lengthy I-quit-THE-INTERCEPT-becaause-I'm-too-stupid-to-understand-what-breach-of-contract means, he finally noted that Reality was screwed by THE INTERCEPT.  On his way out the door and off of sugar daddy's payroll, he finally said something.

Too damn little, too damn late.

What does this have to do with Ed?

He keeps Tweeting.  Why the hell is he Tweeting?

If I were a whistle-blower and I knew that a little less than half of the revelations I had documented were reported on, if I knew that Glenneth wasn't going to cover it and that my information was now owned and buried within THE INTERCEPT?  I'd either focus on my life in Russia and stay offline or I'd be Tweeting daily about this program or that program that I tried to expose but that didn't get exposed.

I'm really losing any faith in Ed.  Again, if he'd gone radio silent, fine, I understand.  But he continues to try to be a public person and to Tweet about this and that and, honestly, Ed, you're not that interesting -- I read your autobiography, it was a snooze. You're not interesting.  But if you were authentic, then you'd be Tweeting to tell us what THE INTERCEPT will not reveal.

Or did you lose your inclination to be a whistle-blower?

He still reTweets Glenneth and he's a person begging to be misled, lied to and used and abused.

Sorry, I don't respect that.

And I have no respect for Glenneth who should be covering what was in those documents that never got reported on and should be calling out THE INTERCEPT for burying it.  But that would require acknowledging Glenn's role in all of this, his whoring for dollars.

Katie whored and her segment has almost 4000 streams.  

No, that doesn't match the hype around her.  She's lost her audience and they're not coming back.  USEFUL IDIOTS can't post the numbers that they used to either.

She's MY NAME IS EARL or worse.  Not a real hit, just something people pimp and try to pretend like it has an audience.

Katie's refused to call out the war on LGBTQ+ people.  She may fret that speaking out would make people conclude that she's not a spinster, she's a closeted lesbian.  Who knows what makes her stay silent besides her being a grifter.

But she platforms transphobe Glenneth.  You may remember Glenneth attacking NYT employees who spoke out about the paper's intentionally misleading coverage of trans issues.  If you do, you'll note that Katie didn't side with the employees.  This despite supposedly being a friend of labor.  FAIR has an article by Julie Hollar explaining the very real problems with NYT's trans (mis)coverage:

More than 180 contributors to the New York Times wrote a letter to Times leadership earlier this year (2/15/23), raising “serious concerns about editorial bias in the newspaper’s reporting on transgender, non⁠binary and gender-nonconforming people.” LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD (2/15/23) made similar arguments in a separate letter.

Both letters highlighted a few particular articles and writers, but described an overall pattern of, in the GLAAD letter’s words, “repeatedly platform[ing] cisgender (non-transgender) people spreading inaccurate and harmful misinformation.”

Many critics, including FAIR (e.g., 6/23/22, 12/16/22), have offered detailed critiques of many of these pieces and writers. This study seeks to document the Times‘ bias in numbers by comparing it to its closest competitor: the Washington Post.

Both elite papers have a national audience and closely cover national political stories—which puts the right’s campaign to criminalize transness very much in their line. And both have a recent history of ceding the framework of their trans coverage to the right wing, as a political football rather than an attack on trans people’s right to bodily autonomy and self-determination (, 5/6/21).

But looking at a full year of front-page coverage from the two papers reveals that, while both papers still need to do a much better job of including trans and nonbinary sources, the Post has given trans issues significantly more attention than the Times, and with an approach largely focused on the right-wing political campaign against trans people. The Times, meanwhile, used its front-page coverage primarily to wonder whether trans people’s rights and access to healthcare have gone too far.

FAIR examined all front-page stories at the New York Times and Washington Post that centered on transgender and nonbinary people, and the politics and events engulfing them, from April 2022 through March 2023. While not capturing the entirety of a paper’s coverage of an issue, front-page coverage reveals both how important editors believe an issue to be and which angles of that story they believe to be most newsworthy. The Post put trans-centered stories on its front page 22 times during that year-long period; at the Times, trans issues were deemed front-page news only nine times.

Likewise, the Post ran more front-page stories that were primarily about other issues but mentioned the word “transgender,” with 54 to the Times‘ 30. This suggests that not only did the Post take trans-focused stories to be more newsworthy than the Times, it also is paying closer attention to the way trans rights weave into other stories, such as the larger web of right-wing strategies of scapegoating and censorship.

(The Times did finally publish an article on its front page analyzing the increasing centrality of trans issues to the GOP, after the study period—4/16/23.)

Quantity of coverage doesn’t necessarily translate to quality of coverage; after all, a previous FAIR study (5/5/22) found right-wing Breitbart covering trans issues more than either centrist paper, but in a way that didn’t even pretend to treat its subjects with respect.

However, the distinction between the Post and the Times on front-page trans coverage is also one of quality, with the Post—while still problematic at times—clearly coming out on top.

Republicans have introduced more than 500 anti-trans bills in 49 states, 63 of which have passed to date this year. They target such rights as trans people’s right to healthcare, to use the bathroom appropriate to their gender identity, to compete in school sports, to be free from discrimination, and to protect their privacy if they are not out to their parents.

These relentless attacks, dressed up in the language of “grooming,” “parents’ rights” and “protecting girls,” demonize and directly harm trans people, particularly trans youth, who already face staggeringly high rates of attempted suicide and homelessness. According to 2022 surveys by the Trevor Project, nearly one in five trans and nonbinary youth have attempted suicide, and 35–39% of trans and nonbinary youth have experienced homelessness and housing instability.

The New York Times, though, has decided that the news about trans issues that’s worthy of the front page is not, primarily, the massive right-wing anti-trans political push and its impact on those it targets, but whether trans people are receiving too many rights, and accessing too much medical care, too quickly.

The Times‘ headlines tell much of the story:

  • “Much Debate but Little Dialogue on Transgender Female Athletes” (5/29/22)
  • “Number of Youths Who Identify as Transgender Doubles in US” (6/11/22)
  • “Pressing Pause on Puberty” (11/22/22)
  • “Parents and Schools Clash on Gender Identity” (1/23/23)

Only two of the paper’s nine front-page headlines (“Swimming Body Bars Most Transgender Women,” 6/20/22; “Roe’s Reversal Stokes Attacks on Gay Rights,” 7/23/22) even began to hint at the dire situation faced by trans people today as a result of the war waged against them by the far right. Even these fell woefully short, with the second of the two not even naming trans people. Neither headlined the perspectives of trans people in the United States or those fighting alongside them.

In contrast, the Post‘s front page abounded with such stories—fourteen of the 22 headlines referenced political or physical anti-trans attacks, and ten centered the personal experiences or perspectives of trans people and their allies. “She Just Wants to Play” (9/1/22, about a trans athlete), “Virginia Restricts Rights of Transgender Students” (9/18/22) and “For Trans CPS Worker, Texas Order Was a Test of the Soul” (9/25/22) all appeared on the paper’s prime real estate in a single month.

The third story explained how Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents of trans children for potential “child abuse.” Defending its order in court, the state offered a prominent New York Times article by Emily Bazelon (6/15/22; see, 6/23/22) as evidence that gender-affirming care for trans youth is controversial among medical providers. (It is not.)

That same month, the Times‘ only front-page trans-focused story, “Breast Removal Surgery on Rise for Trans Teens” (9/26/22), worried whether too many trans youth were able to access gender-affirming care. Not once has the Times put the Texas directive story on its front page—or mentioned its own role in the story anywhere in the paper.

That's an excerpt and it's strong media coverage analysis.  It's not giggles and snorts over Chuck Todd -- you know the garbage Katie and Aaron serve up every Monday morning?

Winding down, if the TotalEnergy deal discussed in Monday's snapshot didn't come across to you as bad for Iraq, grasp that the US State Dept is applauding the deal and maybe that will clue you in:

We compliment Iraq and Total Energies on the signing of a $27-billion energy deal that will accelerate Iraq’s path to energy self-sufficiency and advance Iraq’s collective climate change objectives.  Years in the making, the Gas Growth Integrated Project aims to capture flared gas and deploy renewable energy sources.  The United States strongly supports Iraq’s efforts to become more energy secure and minimize harmful emissions.  Minimizing the current practice of gas flaring by capturing the massive amounts of methane being burned away will significantly reduce emissions, improve public health for Iraqis, and utilize captured gas to power Iraq’s electrical grid.  Likewise, this project’s water desalination facility will enhance oil recovery while reducing the burden on Iraq’s fragile fresh water sources.

In addition, a one-gigawatt solar farm will launch Iraq’s transition to renewable energy production.  One of the primary goals of the U.S.-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee (HCC), which met in February, was accelerating Iraq’s path to energy self-sufficiency and improved service delivery.  The agreement today between Iraq and Total Energies, and the projects laid out during the HCC, will ultimately allow Iraq to end its dependence on unreliable energy sources and strengthen essential services for the Iraqi people.  Concluding this deal also signals a fast-improving business climate that will help attract the foreign investments needed to generate economic opportunity for all Iraqis.

 Lastly, we note Paul Rudnick a lot because he's so damn funny.  He's also a friend and so we're gong to step past funny this morning, to note his recent book.

The following sites updated:

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