Thursday, September 21, 2023

The real 'groomers' and Moms For Bigotry won't call them out

President Joe Biden is creating the first-ever federal office of gun violence prevention, according to two people familiar with the plans.

The office will coordinate efforts across the federal government and will offer help and guidance to states struggling with increasing gun violence, while taking the lead on implementation of the bipartisan gun legislation signed into law last year. Biden tentatively plans to announce the new effort with an event Friday at the White House, said the people, who had direct knowledge of the plans and who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Good for Joe.  It's way past time for this and for much more. Good for Joe.  

And now, oh, look, it's the real groomers:

A Tennessee evangelist is facing multiple child rape and sexual abuse charges, WSMV reported.

Benjamin Garlick, 32, was charged with five counts of aggravated rape of a child, five counts of aggravated sexual battery, sexual exploitation of a child under the age of 13 and continuous sexual abuse of a child.

His 29-year-old wife, Shaantal, was charged with the facilitation of aggravated rape of a child and aggravated child abuse, neglect and endangerment.

I guess this means Moms For Bigotry will now start protesting Sunday school in their efforts to 'protect children'?  Right?  It's not just a straight couple, they're evangelicals:

"Prior to Garlick’s arrest, he led church services in Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and Arkansas, just to name a few," notes WGNS Radio. "The suspect spoke Spanish fluently and frequented Spanish speaking congregations, events and organizations. Over the past few years, Garlick amassed thousands of views on YouTube and Facebook as a guest pastor, speaking at a variety of churches both large and small throughout the country."

Yep, better get out there Moms For Bigotry, time to protest the Sunday pastors.  Next, Moms For Bigotry can go after football coaches:

A new report provides more disturbing details regarding the FBI raid of Alan Williams’ home.

On Wednesday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Bears’ defensive coordinator announced his resignation following news of the FBI raid. In a statement passed along by Rapoport, Williams said he wanted to focus on his health and family.

In an update, MLFootball reports that FBI agents raided Williams’ home because of “serious allegations.” In a sting operation, agents found “extremely sensitive coaching”, with a source telling MLFootball that he won’t coach in the NFL again.

He's married with three children, by the way.


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


Thursday, September 21, 2023.  Two US senators make clear the United States really isn't their focus, MOVEON joins the efforts to stop book banning, veterans suicides, and much more.

We have a lot of idiots in the country so it's no surprise that we also have them in Congress.  No, i'm not talking about the hate merchants, just the deeply stupid.  Dan De Luce (NBC NEWS) reports:

Two U.S. senators are urging the Biden administration to appeal to the Iraqi government to help secure the release of a Princeton University graduate student believed to have been abducted by an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq six months ago.

In a letter obtained by NBC News, Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, who both represent New Jersey, home to Princeton, conveyed their “grave concern” about Elizabeth Tsurkov’s plight in their appeal to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

They called on the administration “to use our close and abiding relationship with Iraq to raise Elizabeth’s abduction and call for her release at every opportunity and level.”

Oh, a Princeton graduate student, let's drop everything for the non-citizen then.  Did she shop at COSTCO too?

Reality, she's probablya  spy for either Russia or Israel.  And those are the two countries that she's a citizen of.  Let her countries make whatever case needs to be made.  She is not a US citizen.

This week, Joe Biden is supposed to meet face-to-face with Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani -- the prime minister of Iraq who NBC NEWS didn't see fit to name in their article.  This will the first face-to-face meeting of the two if it takes place.  It will not be an all day meeting.  It will be quick.  Hopefully there will be a photo op with the three or so questions they allow now at a photo op.  

There is not time to address everything.

She is not a US priority.  A priority for the health of Iraq is Kirkuk.  The US should have seen that issue resolved back in 2007 -- per the Iraqi Constitution.  Just as Brookings predicted, playing kick the can only made things worse. 

It needs to be resolved and the US helped create the problem so that's an area the US needs to focus on.  

With climate change taking place, I wish that would be focused on.  With some Iraqi legislators trying to make being gay a crime -- and a death penalty crime -- I wish that would be focused on.

But it is their first meeting and for the good of all of Iraq, the Kirkuk issue is probably the one to focus on.  

And pretend for a moment that this was an American citizen?  By all means, she would need to be discussed but even then you would have to be very careful.  "We are distressed over the kidnapping of Diane . . ."  Worded wrongly, it quickly becomes in the prime minister's head, "Joe Biden just accused me of kidnapping?  Me?"  

The woman is not an American citizen.

If Cory Booker is suddenly interested in women, I suggest he find one for himself.  Yeah, I went there.  And, Bob, you've had enough scandals involving foreign countries.  You've had more than enough.  As you enter what is probably your last years in office, you don't need to be advocating for citizens of other countries with your long history of being investigated for corruption.  And it's not just ancient history.  As NBC NEWS reported yesterday.

As Matt Friedman (POLITICO) reported last month, "shady" is the term that best describes your career in Congress:

About every 10 years, like clockwork, news articles pop up reminding New Jerseyans about that time in the early 1980s when Bob Menendez donned a bulletproof vest to testify against his former mentor at a federal corruption trial.

The story, when told by Menendez’s allies, is intended to portray the senator as a hardscrabble Hudson County politician who did what’s right in the face of the powerful Democratic machine — the same machine that nurtured him and launched his career.

It’s come up again and again because, well, Menendez has found himself the subject of similar investigations again and again — about once every decade. It happened in the 2000s, the 2010s, and it’s happening now.

It says something good that out of **100** US senators, only two were willing to waste time and energy on an issue that has nothing to do with the United States.  If Israel and Russia want to save their citizen, then they can step up to the plate and work on that issue.  Again, if Joe and Mohammed do have the meeting this week, it will be a brief meeting.  They will have to be formally introduced, make some small talk to establish something of a bond.  There will be no time for a wish list from either of the two.  They will probably only address one key issue.  And by address, I mean mention in passing.  Then they may or may not do a photo op.  

The two senators look like they were paid off to raise this issue.  Maybe in the future, Cory, don't co-sign with someone who has a shady reputation.  

Again, there are very serious issues to address and there's not time for something as silly as an idiot who chose to go to Iraq and make a spectacle of herself.  There was no reason for that -- unless she's a spy.  

Again, Iraq wants to institute the death penalty for the LGBTQ+ community, Cardinal Luis Sako has been stripped of his authority in Iraq (besides the importance to Iraq, Sako's Catholic and Joe's Catholic so it's a natural issue for Joe), Kuwait is rightly upset the their border in place with Iraq has just been tossed aside by Iraq's court, the list of worthy topics is endless.  Some little idiot who wants to travel to Iraq despite the long post-invasion history of the country's animosity to Jewish people?  She's not a US citizen, her countries need to make her case.  

If you're not getting it, The Gulf Cooperation Council issued the following this week:

 GCC Foreign Ministers issue statement after meeting in New York

18 September 2023.

The Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, have called on the Republic of Iraq, to take seriand urgent steps to address the negative effects of developments over the Khor Abdullah maritime agreement.

The Ministers made the call in a statement following a meeting held on Sunday, at the headquarters of the Permanent Delegation of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations in New York. The meeting discussed a ruling of the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court issued on Monday and published on Thursday.

The statement says the ruling is based on inaccurate, out of context, historical reasoning regarding the agreement concluded in 2012 between the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Iraq about the regulation of maritime navigation in Khor Abdullah.

The statement says the agreement was ratified by Iraq in 2013 and was deposited with the United Nations.

The Ministerial Council said that these developments do not serve relations with the GCC countries, and violate international charters, treaties and agreements, including UN Security Council Resolution 833.

In yesterday's snapshot, we note this body's joint-statement with the US State Dept.  This may be minor to some but it's big news in Iraq and Kuwait.  And it's a lot more important than someone who stupidly made the choice to go into Iraq and then was such a spectacle that she was kidnapped by a group believing she was a spy for Israel.  

We noted climate change.  ALJAZEERA has a video report, "Iraq's Water Wars Pt. 1," and they note:

Iraq is running out of water. It is the fifth most vulnerable nation to the impact of climate change, according to the United Nations. Temperatures have risen by more than 2.5 degrees Celsius (36.5 degrees Fahrenheit) since the end of the 19th century, double the global average. The impact has been particularly visible in the last two years. Water levels in the Euphrates and Tigris rivers have dropped by half. Iraq’s government blames upstream water use by its neighbours as the primary culprit but has been criticised for not taking any steps at climate mitigation or adaptation strategies. And many Iraqis say oil industry water use is just exacerbating the problem.

Again, there are real issues to address and, again, that woman has citizenship in two countries and those two countries are the ones who need to be making appeals, not the US government.

Picking up from yesterday about Moms For Bigotry and others attempt to ban books, LGBTQ NATION notes:

Beloved actor and LGBTQ+ ally LeVar Burton -- and over 175 other artists and authors -- have signed an open letter encouraging people to fight back against anti-LGBTQ+ book bans that are sweeping the nation.

“Far-right politicians like Ron DeSantis are championing draconian laws to ban books and the teaching of accurate multicultural American history in favor of upholding a homophobic, transphobic, and white supremacist vision of our nation,” the letter’s website, Artists Against Book Bans, reads. The website and campaign were spearheaded by the progressive political group MoveOn.

Here's the letter:

As artists, creators, entertainers, and activists, we recognize and are horrified by the threat of censorship in the form of book bans.

This restrictive behavior is not just antithetical to free speech and expression but has a chilling effect on the broader creative field. The government cannot and should not create any interference or dictate what people can produce, write, generate, read, listen to, or consume.

We cannot stress enough how these censorious efforts will not end with book bans. It’s only a matter of time before regressive, suppressive ideologues will shift their focus toward other forms of art and entertainment, to further their attacks and efforts to scapegoat marginalized communities, particularly BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks. 

We refuse to remain silent as one creative field is subjected to oppressive bans. As artists, we must band together, because a threat to one form of art is a threat to us all.

We are calling on everyone to join us in pushing back against these book bans, support free and open creative industries—regardless of personal or ideological disagreements—and use their voice at the local level to stop these bans in their school districts. There is power in artistic freedom, and we refuse to allow draconian politicians to take that from us.


Abigail Disney
Adina Porter
Aisha Tyler
Aja Monet
Akilah Hughes
Alimi Ballard
Alysia Reiner
Alyssa Milano
Amanda Gorman
Andie Freeman
Andy Cohen
Angie Thomas
Ann Patchett
AnnaSophia Robb
Ariana Grande
Ashly Burch
Ava Max
Ava Philippe
Barbara Joosse
Bellamy Young
Bex Taylor-Klaus
Bill Nye
Billy Porter
Brandon Dermer
Brittany O’Grady
Busy Philipps
Cara Mentzel
Cave In
Chad Coleman
Charlotte Clymer
Chelsea Handler
Chelsea Wolfe
Chris Mosier
Chrissie Fit
Christie Brinkley
Christina Michelle
Clark Gregg
Constance Wu
Dan Andriano

Dying Wish
Elaine Hendrix
Elizabeth Gillies
Ellen Barkin
Emma Roberts
Escuela Grind
Eve 6
Fatimah Asghar
Felicia Day
Gabrielle Union
Garden Films
Garrett Russell
Gouge Away
Grace Gaustad
Great American Ghost
Greg Grunberg
Guillermo del Toro
Guy Endore-Kaiser
Idina Menzel
Internet Today
J Smith-Cameron
Jacqueline Toboni
Jaime King
James Isaiah Muñoz
Jason Collins
Jason Ritter
Jazz Jennings
Jeff Rosenstock
Jesse Ferguson / Gale
Jessica Capshaw
Jessica Marie Garcia
Jodi Picoult
Joel Birch
Joel McKinnon Miller
John Leguizamo
Jose Ramos
Judd Apatow
Judy Blume

Kaci Bollx
Karah Preiss
Kathy Najimy
Katie Rich
Kay Cannon
Kayleigh Goldsworthy
Kelly McCreary
Kelly Zutrau
Kevin Kruse
Knocked Loose
Kristin Bauer
Layne Ihde Author
Leigh Bardugo
LeVar Burton
Lexi Underwood
Loung Ung
Luvvie Ajayi Jones
Madelyn Cline
Maia Kobabe
Margaret Atwood
Margaret Cho
Mark Mackillop
Mark Ruffalo
Meena Harris
Michael Ian Black
Michael Kelly
Michael Lapinski
Muggytone Productions
Natasha Lyonne
Natasha Rothwell
Nathan Meckel
Nick Adams
Nicolas Hosford
Nik Dodani
Nikki Giovanni
Old Man Gloom
Padma Lakshmi
Patton Oswalt
Pete Souza
Piper Perabo
Raquel Willis

Rob Ackroyd
Rob Corddry
Rob Reiner
Robbie Morris
Ron Perlman
Roxane Gay
Sadie Dupuis
Samantha Ronson
Sandra Cisneros
Sarah Paulson
Sarah Sophie Flicker
Sedona Prince LLC
Shannon Downey (BACS)
Sharon Stone
Sheila B.
Simone Norman
Sofia Warren
Sophia Bush
Spencer Ackerman
Spencer Compton
Steven Pasquale
Stick To Your Guns
Storefront Church
Stray From The Path
SuburbanCrunchyGirl Andie Freeman
Sunny Hostin
Tara Strong
The Callous Daoboys
The Cybertronic Spree
Tim Guinee
Torrey DeVitto
Trey Bruce
Two Minutes To Late Night
Ue3 Promotions
War On Women
Zaria Forman
Zoe Lister-Jones
Zooey Deschanel

A report from the Florida Department of Education (DOE) has revealed that approximately 300 books were removed from schools across Florida during the 2022-2023 school year. Many of the books included LGBTQ+ content or characters, including This Books is Gay by Juno Dawson, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera, The Family Book by Todd Parr, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, and Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings.

Despite all of this, Florida DOE spokesperson Caily Myers told NBC News that”Florida does not ban books.” 

It's not just about banning books.  It's banning knowledge and context and ideas because heaven forbid anyone should ever actually think. That's made obvious by the response to a talk by Marc Tyler Nobleman.  For those who don't know, he is the author of BILL THE BOY WONDER: THE SECRET CO-CREATOR OF BATMAN, a biography of Bill Finger who, along with Bob Kane, created Batman.  You can see him in the HULU documentary BATMAN & BILL.  Some students in Atlanta were able to see him briefly until the school decided that Marc couldn't mention that Bill Finger had a gay son.  AP reports:

“We’re long past the point where we should be policing people talking about who they love,” Nobleman said in a telephone interview. “And that’s what I’m hoping will happen in this community.”

State laws restricting talk of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools have proliferated in recent years, but the clash with Nobleman shows schools may be limiting such discussions even in states like Georgia that haven’t officially banned them. Some proponents of broader laws giving parents more control over schools argue they extend to discussion of sex and gender even if the statutes don’t explicitly cover them.

They want to disappear LGBTQ+ people.  This had nothing to do with any sexual act.  It was noting that the co-creator had a gay son.  The same basic family background you'd provide on anyone.  

The schools spokesperson insists that she and the school weren't bothered by "gay" but that they were worried that the use of the term might result in questions.

Maybe ones like, "Mr. Nobleman, do you think our school spokesperson is a homophobe?  And, if so, what should we do about it?"

Can we ponder these parents for a second?  They're lying hypocrites who falsely scream 'groomers.'  So you think they're not already talking to their children about LGBTQ+ people?  You know they are.  But they're lying and spreading their hate and can't risk the kids realizing that at school.

Take a moment and grasp how much harder the Civil Rights era would have been if hate merchants had been allowed to hide behind religion (some tried) to excuse their racism.  This is not what this country is supposed to be.  These hate merchants need to be sent packing.  

In other news that you can't mention in Forsyth County schools, AP reports:

The Pentagon began a new effort Wednesday to contact former service members who may have been forced out of the military and deprived of years of benefits due to policies targeting their sexual orientation, starting with those who served under “Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Under DADT, which was enacted in 1994 by President Bill Clinton and in effect until 2011, service members who had other than heterosexual orientation could serve — as long as they kept it quiet. That led to years of discrimination, undue pressure, discharges and lost benefits.

Under DADT and previous military policies forbidding gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer personnel from serving, at least 32,837 service members since 1980 were forced out of the military for their sexual orientation, according to Department of Defense data.

More than 2,000 of those service members received general, other than honorable, or unknown discharge characterizations "that may have denied them access to veterans benefits, like home loans, health care, GI Bill tuition assistance and even some government jobs," Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said.

So get the word out -- unless you work at Forsyth County schools because, you know, questions.

Out gay Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) and other Congress members marked the 12th anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) — the 1994 law that banned gay and bisexual service members from serving in the military — by proposing a commission to study the impacts that DADT had on queer and non-queer military members.

The proposal, introduced on Wednesday, coincides with an announcement by the Department of Defense (DOD) to contact military members who were forced out under the discriminatory policies and help update their discharge documents in order to restore their access to benefits that they lost.

Takano’s proposal, called the “Commission on Equity and Reconciliation in the Uniformed Services Act,” would create a 15-person commission to study past Department of Defense (DOD) actions “policing sexual orientation and gender identity in the uniformed services, from the beginning of World War II and onward.” The commission would also gather testimony and hold hearings on the effects these policies had on discharged soldiers’ physical, mental, psychological, financial, and professional well-being, including their ability to access military benefits. 

 We'll wind down with this from US Senator Bill Cassidy's office:

(Click here to download and here to watch on YouTube.)


WASHINGTON  U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) grilled the Executive Director for Suicide Prevention at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Matthew Miller, after an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report found that a 2021 veteran suicide was improperly handled. The report also found that VA employees interfered with the OIG investigation into the death. VA responded to the OIG findings by moving the executive director of the VCL to a senior position in the secretary’s office.


“We’ve passed accountability measures for people who don’t do their job,” said Dr. Cassidy. “And it sounds like interfering with an investigation of a suicide, which may have been inappropriately handled on a veterans’ crisis line, is incompetence.”


“It sounds like somebody was asleep at the wheel,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Now the question is was it just incompetence or was it just a cover-up.”


After being stonewalled by Miller, Cassidy called for VA officials to be held accountable.


“That veteran was ill-served, and there was as best as I can tell, an attempt not to hold people accountable,” concluded Dr. Cassidy. “And my gosh, that is a pattern.”



The OIG report published on September 14th found that the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) staff failed to take appropriate action with a veteran who died by suicide the same night he contacted the VCL. The VCL leadership then interfered with the OIG investigation, coaching staff prior to speaking with the OIG, according to the report.


The OIG also uncovered systemic issues, lack of standard operating procedures and policies for the VCL, and overall inadequate oversight. The report also discovered that the VCL Director for Quality and Training acted inappropriately and provided advice and information to the VCL responder prior to interviews with the OIG that potentially compromised the candidness of the interview.


This summer, Cassidy led the passage of a congressional resolution to support veterans struggling with mental health challenges.


Last year, the Senate unanimously passed Cassidy’s Solid Start Act to strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Solid Start program to contact every veteran three times by phone in the first year after they leave active duty. The program helps connect veterans with VA programs and benefits, including mental health resources.


Cassidy also introduced the Mental Health Reform Reauthorization Act of 2022 to reauthorize and improve Cassidy’s historic 2016 mental health reform package.


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