Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Mike Johnson's wife is just as disgusting as he is


The Louisiana Republican was a little-known back-bencher until he came out on top following a three-week scramble to replace the ousted Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), but MSNBC columnist Michael A. Cohen said Johnson would be a "dream candidate" for Democrats to run against.

"Johnson is a Trump-loving, election-denyingabortion ban-supporting, gay rights-opposing, climate change-rejecting, and conspiracy-believing conservative," Cohen wrote. "If House Democrats are smart, they will turn Mike Johnson into a household name — though not in a good way."

"On practically every issue on which House Republicans will be vulnerable in 2024," he added, "Johnson takes an extreme, maximalist position."

Much has been made of new Speaker Mike Johnson’s faith. The GOP lawmaker from Louisiana has made it clear that he uses the Bible as his instruction manual in all matters. He has consistently fought against LGBTQ+ rights, both as an attorney and representative.

Over the weekend, attention turned to his wife. Kelly Johnson, according to the speaker’s own website, is a “Licensed Christian Counselor and former school teacher”. They married in 1999 and are both active within the Louisiana Southern Baptist community.

HuffPost reported on Friday that Kelly runs Onward Christian Counseling Services. It dug around the business’s website. It offered a link to its 2017 operating agreement. This states the business operator’s belief that sex is offensive to God if it does not take place between a man and woman married to one another.

It went on to lump homosexuality in with bestiality and incest.

“We believe and the Bible teaches that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.”

The agreement was signed, in his role as a public notary, by Mike Johnson.

[. . .]

It now emerges that Kelly’s website was taken down on Saturday afternoon, a day after the initial HuffPost report.

The Johnsons have not responded to requests for comment or explained why the website disappeared. It’s also unknown if Kelly Johnson will continue to offer her faith-based counseling following her husband’s meteoric political rise to Speaker of the House. She was pretty busy in the two weeks prior to his election on her knees, praying, according to her husband.

Fortunately, before it disappeared into the ether, a screenshot of Kelly’s website was saved to the Web Archive website. Others said taking the website down at this stage was a little too late.


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


[For anyone wondering, this was dictated this morning and published at 8:30 am EST this morning.  BLOGGER/BLOGSPOT unpublished it and turned it back into a draft.  This was then followed by the appeal protest.  At 6:30 pm EST, BLOGGER/BLOGSPOT would allow it to go up.  Because most people did not see it when it was briefly up this morning, when BLOGGER/BLOGSPOT dropped objection/censorship, I posted at that time 6;52 pm EST so people would see it.]

Tuesday, October 31, 2023.  The US government continues in lockstep with the Israeli government as the assault on Gaza continues. 

The editorial board of THE FINANCIAL TIMES notes, "More than 8,000 people -- including more than 3,000 children -- have already been killed in Israel’s three-week bombardment of the strip, according to Palestinian health officials."  Kareem Khadder and Manveena Suri (CNN) report, "At least 13 people have been killed in an overnight Israeli airstrike in central Gaza, according to a staff member at Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital. The strike hit a home in al-Zawaida in Deir al Balah killing all 13 people inside, including children, Dr Khalil Al Dikran, head of nursing at the hospital, told a journalist working for CNN."  Edith M. Lederer (AP) reports:

The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees told a U.N. emergency meeting Monday “an immediate humanitarian cease-fire has become a matter of life and death for millions,” accusing Israel of “collective punishment” of Palestinians and the forced displacement of civilians.

Philippe Lazzarini warned that a further breakdown of civil order following the looting of the agency’s warehouses by Palestinians searching for food and other aid “will make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the largest U.N. agency in Gaza to continue operating.”

As the assault continues, leaders do damn little -- especially in the US.  Amy Goodman (DEMOCRACY NOW!) noted yesterday:

The U.N. General Assembly voted 120 to 14 Friday in favor of a resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian truce and for aid access to Gaza. Israel and the U.S. voted against the resolution, which also calls for the release of captive civilians. Forty-five member states abstained, including Canada. Some countries, including South Africa, urged the U.N. to do much more to stop the bloodshed.

Mathu Joyini: “South Africa urges the United Nations to impose an arms embargo on all parties involved in this conflict, given the nature of the death and destruction we are witnessing every day.”

The resolution is nonbinding but holds political and symbolic weight.

On the same topic, Andre Damon (WSWS) notes:

The United States, a leading instigator and supporter of Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza, has once again publicly rebuked global calls for an end to the war.

At a news briefing Friday, US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby was asked to comment on Friday’s overwhelming 140-15 vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favor of a ceasefire in Gaza.

“We do not believe that a ceasefire is the right answer right now,” Kirby said. “We believe that a ceasefire right now benefits Hamas, and Hamas is the only one that would gain from that right now.”

Kirby reiterated the talking points of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vocally condemned all those both within Israel and worldwide who are calling for an end to Israel’s attacks on Gaza. 

Also from yesterday's DEMOCRACY NOW!, we'll note this discussion.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re also joined by Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, former Foreign Service officer who served in Jerusalem, Tunis and Beirut, has worked on Israel-Palestine and the broader region for over 30 years, former director of policy and government relations at Americans for Peace Now, Americans for Shalom Achshav.

It’s great to have you with us, Lara. Can you talk about what’s happening in the Congress now, and if you feel movement, a change in Biden’s position from the beginning of the — after October 7th?

LARA FRIEDMAN: Sure. And thanks for having me.

I do think that we’re seeing, and in the piece that you had before we came on here, we’re seeing real movement in the grassroots. There’s really a surge in energy and a surge in support for Palestinian rights that we haven’t — I think has never been seen before.

I think it still remains to be seen how that’s going to be reflected in Congress. If we just go by the statements that are being made by members of Congress, which, except for a small number — and Congresswoman Ramirez is among them — except for a small number, are, at best, very, very cautious about saying anything that would validate the humanity and the rights of the Palestinian people. The narrative on both sides of the aisle is mostly about the rights of Israel to defend itself, and that is — to defend itself is defined basically to mean Israel can do and should do whatever it wants to do, and it bears no responsibility, has no agency, with respect to the results when it comes to human casualties. Congress has bought, completely, the framing which says that any Palestinian that dies in Gaza from an Israeli bomb or who gets sick or starves or dehydrated or ill or dies in a hospital, that’s all on Hamas. That is not Israel’s fault. Everything is Hamas’s fault, which suggests a new ethos of war that really opens the door for everyone to target civilians.

There’s also the framing of human shields, which basically says, you know, it’s Hamas’s fault that we’re killing your civilians, that we’re killing your children, which, I mean, there is truth to the argument that Hamas has placed itself behind human beings. It raises the question: You know, if bad guys invaded a school, would the United States say, “Ah, for the sake of killing the bad guys, we need to bomb the school. We’re going to kill all the children in the school, because we have to, and it’s the bad guys’ fault”? The inhumanity of it is stunning.

But what we’ve seen, really, since the beginning, since October 7th — and I follow — I do a report every Friday covering every single thing that happens in Congress related to the Middle East and Israel-Palestine — is a deluge of new legislation, of resolutions and of letters, which, by and large, either ignore or diminish the humanity of Palestinians, which directly conflate criticism of what Israel is doing in Gaza or assertions that there is any context, that there is history before October 7th, conflate it with antisemitism, conflate it with support for Hamas and terror. And we’ve seen that with the attacks on the members of Congress, like Congresswoman Ramirez, who have dared to do something like call for a ceasefire, with really despicable language used by members of Congress against their own colleagues on both sides of the aisle. This is coming at them, suggesting that daring to talk about ceasefire is a betrayal of support for Israel and is a form of antisemitism and support for terror.

AMY GOODMAN: Earlier this month, you tweeted, quote, “Reminder: 6 mos before Israeli elex that made Kahanists arguably most powerful political force in Israel, the Biden Admin decided to do its part in normalizing Kahanism by removing Kahanist groups from US list of foreign terrorist orgs, where they’d been listed for decades.” For those who don’t understand who Kahanists are, explain the significance of this tweet.

LARA FRIEDMAN: Well, I mean, whole books have been written about the Kahanists. The Kahanists — Rabbi Meir Kahane was an American citizen rabbi from the New York area. He wrote many, many books. His basic philosophy was, you know, all of the land of Israel — and that extends far beyond Israel’s current borders — belongs to the Jews, because it was given to the Jews by God. And he made clear that — I mean, you have to give him credit for honesty — that this wasn’t — that this is not a conflict that was going to be resolved in a way that would address everybody’s rights or needs, that this was going to be a war and that the Arabs were going to have to lose, and this meant removing Arabs. And he was very, very clear. It’s a worldview that is openly racist, openly Islamophobic, almost proudly so, and, in effect, suggests that people who think that there’s some other solution are naive.

That strand of thinking was much, I would say, maligned and disrespected for a very long time. The Kahanist party was outlawed in Israel as a racist party during Rabbi Kahane’s lifetime. He was eventually assassinated. But what’s happened since then is the mainstreaming of his worldview in Israel and, I would say, in the United States amongst many supporters of Israel — a lot of the financing for his work and his thoughts comes from the United States still — and to the point where today you have very powerful people in the Israeli government, very powerful political strands in Israel, which are largely identical, whose worldview is largely identical to that of the Kahanists. The fact that the Biden administration elected to remove the Kahanist parties from the terrorist list — and they were on the terrorist list because of acts of terror committed by acolytes of this movement against American citizens, you know, not in recent years, but it was — I don’t know why they chose that moment to remove them, but it certainly speaks to the mainstreaming and normalizing of this approach to the Palestinians.

AMY GOODMAN: Lara Friedman, can you talk about the hostage negotiations? You have Qatar and Egypt involved in those negotiations, mainly Qatar right now. You have the hostage families, who are a powerful force. We hear their stories repeatedly in the U.S. media, as we should. They should be a model for also the coverage there should be of Palestinian suffering. But those families are calling for this exchange of the hostages — it’s believed there’s more than 220 or 230 of them that are being held by Hamas and other groups in Gaza — and Palestinian political prisoners, Palestinian prisoners, of which I think there are more than 6,600. I think they’re calling it “everybody for everybody.” Can you talk about this?

LARA FRIEDMAN: Yeah. I mean, look, the taking of hostages, the taking of civilian hostages by Hamas — I mean, the October 7th attack was heinous in every aspect. The aspect of taking the hostages brought this home to Israelis in a way that is just — I don’t think anyone who has not spent time in a small country where everyone is — you know, there’s one degree of separation. This is incredibly real and incredibly personal for everyone in Israel.

What is notable is, in past experiences where there have been hostages taken, Israel has sort of turned over every rock possible, done everything possible to get them back. You have negotiations. You have contacts. You have — think of Gilad Shalit. I mean, the entire country mobilizes to get the hostage back — “hostage,” singular, “hostages,” plural. In this context, after October 7th, the issue of hostages is raised constantly by the Israeli government as a reason for why it has to do what it’s doing in Gaza, notwithstanding the fact that carpet bombing Gaza, using deep, deep penetrating bombs that are trying to get at the tunnels, seems like a very likely way to kill your own hostages. There has been a clear signal given — and if you listen to the — if you look at the Israeli media, the contacts that the families of hostages have had with the Netanyahu government, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that there isn’t actually a lot of desire on the part of the Israeli government to get the hostages back.

There have been numerous — and it’s been public — from other governments, from negotiators, there have been numerous offers by Hamas to exchange hostages, to release hostages in certain circumstances. There was, you know, a 24 — for a brief ceasefire. And so far, the argument seems to be, from the Israeli side, “We won’t do that, because anything we do would be a victory for Hamas. And that is — that we can’t let that happen, so releasing the hostages is simply not a priority.”

But talking about the hostages and accusing anyone who talks about ceasefire as not caring about the hostages is a wonderful tactic. All of us who are speaking out on this in social media, on media like this, are accused constantly of, “Well, you don’t care about the hostages.” The answer is, no, I care very much about the hostages. I don’t understand why the Israeli government doesn’t care more about the hostages. I would suggest that the Israeli government’s approach to the hostages makes clear that their objectives in this war are not about freeing the hostages. And that, I think, requires further thought.

AMY GOODMAN: Lara Friedman, I want to thank you for being with us, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, and Congressmember Delia Ramirez of Chicago for being with us, as well.

Next up, as the death toll in Gaza tops more than 8,000, as Israel intensifies its ground and aerial attack, we’ll speak with a doctor in Cairo who’s been trying for two weeks to get back into Gaza. Stay with us.

With the exception of Rashida Tlaib and a few others, Congress has been a huge embarrassment on this issue and you can't talk Congressional embarrassments without name checking Bernie Sanders. Eloise Goldsmith (IN THESE TIMES) noted the senator last week:

More than 365 former campaign staffers for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have signed a letter urging the nation’s most famous democratic socialist to introduce a Senate version of the House resolution that calls for an immediate cease-fire and de-escalation of violence in Israel and Palestine. That resolution, backed by more than a dozen House progressives, has gained support throughout the past week. The letter also asks that Sanders support lifting the blockade of Gaza and advocate for the United States to stop providing military funding to the Israeli government that helps further the occupation and violence.

The signatories of the letter to Sanders, including In These Times’ executive director Alex Han, join a growing chorus of concerned former political staffers making similar demands of other powerful elected officials. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and John Fetterman (D-Pa.) both received open letters from former campaign staff last week urging them to support a cease-fire. Fetterman and Warren have also recently been the targets of efforts by Jewish groups and anti-occupation activists calling for the same action to be taken.

Throughout your career, you have spoken with moral clarity on the issues in Israel and Palestine,” the signees wrote to Sanders. Today, we’re asking you to use your power, the respect you have across the United States and globe, to clearly and forcefully stand up against war, against occupation and for the dignity of human life.”

Last night in "Idiot Bernie Sanders," Kat noted that Bernie's new 'stand' is that the US must continue to fund Israel's slaughter but caution that it must not be used to slaughter civilians.  What the hell does Bernie think is happening right now?  Or does he need a "mother, may I?" request before each bombing?  Will that do for him?  What an idiot.  I always knew he was a fake ass but who need he'd flaunt that in front of his former followers.  This, Bernie supporters, is the idiot I called out for dismissing -- in a hearing he chaired -- the VA using keeping two wait lists to conceal the real times veterans were waiting for appointments -- and dying in the process.  I called him out for that because the news was reported that morning and hours after, as Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, he instructed everyone not to focus on that or ask questions about that because he had called this hearing to explore holistic medicine.  What an idiot.

  Human rights defenders on Monday accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of an "explicit call to genocide" after he delivered a televised address calling Israel's imminent invasion of Gaza a "holy mission" and invoked an ancient mythical foe whom the God of the Hebrew Bible commanded the Israelites to exterminate.

Declaring the start of a "second stage" of Israel's war on Gaza—which he described as a "holy mission"—Netanyahu said that "you must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible."

According to the Hebrew Bible, the nation of Amalek was an ancient archenemy of the Israelites whose extermination was commanded by God to Saul via the prophet Samuel. 

  "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass," states the Old Testament in 1 Samuel 15:3.

The holy text further states that Saul infuriates God by sparing some of the Amalekites and their livestock.

"If it was not obvious from the carpet bombing, use of white phosphorus, and indiscriminate killing that the Zionist government of Israel [has] clear genocidal intentions, then the... reference to Palestinians as Amalek in Netanyahu's speech describing his plans for Gaza should be enough to convince you," British religious scholar Hamza Andreas Tzortzis wrote on social media Monday. 

At ZNET, Jessica Corbett writes about who's getting rich off the bloodshed:

With more than 7,300 Palestinians killed so far in Israel’s three-week bombardment of Gaza, a series of reports this week have exposed how U.S. weapon-makers and billionaire donors are enabling what legal scholars say could amount to genocide.

After Israel declared war in response to Hamas killing over 1,400 Israelis and taking around 200 hostages, the stocks of major American and European war profiteers soared. A Thursday report from Eyes on the Ties—the news site of LittleSis and Public Accountability Initiative—targets five U.S. firms with a record of providing weaponry to Israel.

The outlet stressed that while announcing a supplemental funding request that includes $14.3 billion for Israel, U.S. President Joe Biden last week “invoked ‘patriotic American workers’ who are ‘building the arsenal of democracy and serving the cause of freedom,’ but it’s the defense company CEOs who rake in tens of millions a year, and Wall Street shareholders, who are the real beneficiaries of warmongering.”

The five targeted industry giants collectively recorded $196.5 billion in military-related revenue last year, Eyes on the Ties reported. They are Boeing ($30.8 billion), General Dynamics ($30.4 billion), Lockheed Martin ($63.3 billion), Northrop Grumman ($32.4 billion), and RTX, formerly Raytheon ($39.6 billion).

“The top shareholders in these five defense companies largely consist of big asset managers, or big banks with asset management wings, that include BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, Capital Group, Wellington, JPMorgan ChaseMorgan Stanley, Newport Trust Company, Longview Asset Management, Massachusetts Financial Services Company, Geode Capital, and Bank of America,” the news outlet noted.

While so much of the US government looks the other way as the assault on Gaza is carried out, they're not as silent in the Iraqi government.  MEMO reports:

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Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed Shayya’ Al-Sudani, warned yesterday that the region is going through a dangerous turning point that threatens the escalation and expansion of the war on Gaza.

Al-Sudani said during a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni: “What happened on October 7 is the result of years of injustice, killing, lack of respect for international covenants and conventions, and depriving the Palestinian people of their most basic rights to live in safety.”

According to a statement by the Iraqi government, he reiterated: “Iraq’s firm and principled position on the Palestinian right and the great need for a responsible position by the international community and the global superpowers, in order to remedy the humanitarian crisis and prevent the expansion of the conflict, affecting energy supplies and adding a new war to the current wars and conflicts.”

The Iraqi prime minister stressed the need to “open safe corridors for humanitarian and medical aid to reach the more than two million Palestinians living in tragic conditions.”

Let's wind down in the US.  I'm not a DSA-er.  I have a long history of disappointment with regards to that group and with regards to the group it sprung from.  DSA stands for Democratic Socialists of America and I have no problem with socialism or with democrats (lower 'd') or with democracy.  My  problem with that group has to do with some members (not all) lying about who they are politically and it has to do with the factory feature on earlier DSAs wherein they came with removable spines for when the weather got bad and they needed to slither for cover.  

 As representatives of the national leadership body of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), we believe it’s always unfortunate when members choose to leave the organization. When they tell us why they’re leaving, we seek to give them a respectful hearing and learn any lessons that we can.

This week, longtime DSA member Maurice Isserman used an article in The Nation to explain why he was quitting our organization. We want to thank Isserman for his years of dedication to the organized left, and for his scholarship that has contributed to a better understanding of the history of social movements for liberation. It is regrettable that he felt he had no other choice but to end his association with DSA.

However, while everyone is entitled—even encouraged—to express their views about the decisions we make, we fundamentally disagree with Isserman’s portrayal of DSA, and we want to set the record straight about several of his assertions and analyses.

The central argument of Isserman’s piece is that DSA’s growing consensus on our solidarity with Palestinian liberation is a result of the organization’s being “captured by left sectarian ‘entryists.’” This is not true. DSA’s political commitment against the Israeli occupation is just one small part of a broader generational and cultural shift in the way the public understands the conflict. The moral case for ending Israeli apartheid has never been clearer. Our taking a strong stance isn’t due to organized entryism but the result of years of dedicated organizing by anti-occupation activists across the globe—and a robust internal democratic process within DSA.

On October 7, a coalition of armed Palestinian groups entered Israel, killed more than a thousand people, and took hundreds of hostages. Israel responded by launching an indiscriminate bombing campaign against Gaza. As we write this, Gaza is now under massive bombardment from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Over 7,000 Gazans have been killed—nearly 3,000 of them children. Millions are displaced. As anti-war activists call for a cease-fire and de-escalation of violence, the IDF and the United States prepare for a potential ground invasion in which many more will surely be killed.

Isserman accuses DSA’s position on the conflict—demanding a cease-fire and calling attention to the history of occupation and apartheid in Palestine—of being “politically and morally bankrupt.” Let us be clear: we do not seek to justify or excuse the killing of any civilian. As we have said publicly, we abhor the deaths of Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike. Every life is precious.

What we are also determined not to do, though, is abandon our calls for Palestinian liberation, and for an end to Israeli apartheid. There is no contradiction in our eyes between recognizing the tragedy that has befallen too many innocent people in both Israel and Palestine and understanding that the root cause of that tragedy lies in Israel’s occupation and discriminatory policies.

The history of this conflict did not begin on October 7, despite the simplistic narrative being driven by much of the media. Since Palestinians were driven out of their homes en masse in the 1948 “Nakba” (Arabic for “catastrophe”), Israel has increased its control over the territory, including with the occupation of territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War such as Gaza and the West Bank. This occupation has been a humanitarian crisis for the Palestinian people, with Gaza being turned into an “open-air prison,” and increasing settlement in the West Bank becoming an explicit political priority of the Israeli state in recent years.

I don't know the two who wrote the column and I'm too busy to make calls to DSA friends to find about them.  But I'm going to assume that they're being honest.  If so, good for them.  And if they actually stand by this position after they're slammed and criticized, very good for them.  

DSA is an embarrassment for many reasons but their position on the Palestinians hasn't been one of those reasons.  

I hope Kristin Schall and Sam Heft-Luthy sticks with their position and that DSA backs them on that.

The position of Palestinian liberation Kristin and Sam are expressing is the consistent position of the DSA.  

Also when I say I don't know the two, that's not an insult to them.  Later on, they reveal a criticism regarding that.  I am not up on DSA and my ignorance of the two leaders is a generational thing and not a reflection on either of them.

The following sites updated:

Monday, October 30, 2023

Mike Johnson (Boo!) and Black-owned businesses (Yea!)

The weirdo Mike Johnson is opposed to gun control and, as John M Crisp (Chicago Tribune) notes, pretty much everything else most Americans support:

In fact, Johnson appears to hold minority views regarding other issues, as well. For example, he’s an outspoken opponent of abortion rights while 61% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases (Pew). And while 71% of Americans support same-sex marriage (Gallup), in 2004 Johnson wrote in the Shreveport Times that homosexuality is “inherently unnatural” and that gay marriage would lead to similar rights for pedophiles.

But here’s something that should worry us all: The great majority of Americans believe that Joe Biden won the last election. Not only did Mike Johnson vote against certifying the election, he is credited with coming up with a legal theory to justify Trump’s fabricated objections to the election, and he supported a Texas lawsuit to overturn the results in four states clearly won by Biden.

Mike Johnson is an idiot and it says a great deal -- too much and none of it good -- about the Republican Party that they made him Speaker of the House.  Huffington Post notes:

Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) described new House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) as an “extremist MAGA Republican,” and remembered a telling exchange she says she had with him after the violent Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

“The secret to the success of Mike Johnson ascending to the speakership, after about a 24-hour run, is that very few people knew him or knew what he stands for,” she told MSNBC legal analyst Charles Coleman Jr. on Sunday.

Dean recalled that during the House floor vote to elect Johnson, a Democratic colleague asked her: “Do you know anything about this guy?”

Dean said that in fact, she did, because she serves with Johnson on the House judiciary committee.

She looked back on a conversation she said she had with Johnson shortly after the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

Johnson “tried to defend to me, and to others on my side of the aisle, why he was such an architect of the election-denying scheme,” and “tried to argue his legal case about it,” she said.

“And when I said to him: ‘But after all, there was an attempted insurrection. You were here for it. That didn’t change your sights at all?’ No, it did not,” she said.

She also noted that Johnson wouldn’t answer questions about whether the election was legitimate as recently as last week.

Sky Palma writes about those funding Johnson:

As Legum points out, Johnson has called same-sex relationships "inherently unnatural" and "harmful and costly to everyone." He has even expressed support for criminalizing homosexual behavior and has firmly opposed gay marriage. He has also declared that life begins at conception and has co-sponsored legislation that would ban abortion nationwide.

Johnson also promoted the false claim that Donald Trump won the 2020 election.

But, "despite Johnson's radical views, several prominent corporations backed Johnson before his ascension to power," Legum writes.

Among those corporations was Walmart, which publicly presents itself as a champion of LGBTQ rights. Walmart moved to protect abortion access for its employees after the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade. The company even pledged to stop donating to lawmakers who voted against the certification of the 2020 election's results. But none of that has stopped Walmart from giving Johnson $9,000 since 2017.

Meta, formerly Facebook, has also proclaimed itself to be a champion of LGBTQ rights, said it would support its employees who needed an abortion after Roe vs. Wade was overturned and came out forcefully against the Jan. 6 Capitol riot -- but it has also donated money to Johnson's campaigns, totaling $4,000.

In the US, we celebrate Black History Month in February.  I didn't realize that outside the US, some countries celebrate it in October.  Dana e-mailed and informed me of that and writes:

One of them, which a lot of my friends appreciated, is an article that lists more than 150 Black-owned businesses in North America. I was so happy to see that some people care about helping these companies thrive!

The article is here: https://www.websiteplanet.com/blog/support-black-owned-businesses/

I think sharing this list on your page would be a great way to help promote these Black-owned sites and stores.

So please check out Dana's post.

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


Monday, October 30, 2023.  The assault on Gaza continues.

The assault on Gaza continues.   Asmaa Khalil and Abeer Salman (CNN) report, "A total of 59 aid trucks arrived on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza and were waiting to undergo security checks Monday morning, according to a CNN stringer in Rafah. If the vehicles cross into the strip, it will mark a significant increase in the number of daily aid trucks arriving in Gaza. But it will still be far short of the roughly 455 trucks that used to enter daily, according to the United Nations."  Eyad Kourdi and Abeer Salman (CNN) add, "The number of people killed during Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7 has risen to 7,950, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah said Sunday, drawing the data from sources in the Hamas-controlled enclave. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of those killed are from vulnerable populations, including children, women and elderly people, according to the ministry's report."  As hospitals have been bombed as well, CNN notes, the dead also includes 116 medical personnel and CNN notes during this time 20,000 Palestinians have been injured. In spite the massive numbers of people injured and that huge loss of life, Najib Jobain, Samy Magdy and Lee Keath (AP) report that the Israeli forces continue the assault, "Israeli troops and armor pushed deeper into northern and central Gaza on Monday, as the U.N. and medical staff warned that airstrikes are hitting closer to hospitals where tens of thousands of Palestinians have sought shelter alongside thousands of wounded. Video obtained by the Associated Press showed an Israeli tank and bulldozer in central Gaza blocking the territory’s main north-south highway, which the Israeli military earlier told Palestinians to use to escape the expanding ground offensive." Andre Damon (WSWS) adds, "On Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) delivered a statement announcing its intent to attack 'schools, mosques, and hospitals' in Gaza, amid a systematic campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing that has already killed 8,000 Palestinians."  Becky Sullivan (NPR) notes, "In New York City, London, Madrid, Casablanca, Istanbul, Islamabad and other cities worldwide, tens of thousands of people took part in pro-Palestinian protests this past weekend, calling for a cease-fire."

 She left out Tel Aviv.  Jean Shaoul (WSWS) reports:

Israelis joined millions of people throughout the world, opposing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s genocidal war against the Palestinian people, taking to the streets in several towns and cities to demand the government end the war and do everything necessary to bring home the 230 hostages being held in Gaza.

In Tel Aviv, hundreds of angry young protesters gathered outside the headquarters of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Saturday evening holding banners saying, “Ceasefire now” and “Bring back the hostages, alive, now.”

Haim Rubinstein, for the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, demanded, “Is there a plan? We don’t know. That’s what we want to find out.” She added, “We also want to know the meaning of what happened last night,” referring to the IDF ground invasion of Gaza and the bombardment of 150 Hamas underground targets, including tunnels where the hostages are believed to be held.

Hundreds demonstrated outside Netanyahu’s home in Caesarea, accusing him of responsibility for the war, demanding he resign and chanting, “Take responsibility for the sake of the people.” At a demonstration in Jerusalem, banners called for a prisoner exchange. Hundreds took part in a rally in the northern port city of Haifa, home to both Jews and Palestinians, with other rallies held in Beersheba, Herzylia, Netanya and Kfar Saba and other towns. 

Yes, even in Israel the assault on Gaza is being protested.

Protests around the world take place despite efforts to ban and bully.   WSWS continues tracking the protests around the world.  While people stand up, the media largely cowers in silence.  Especially true of the US media which gets a failing grade from Lara Witt and Tina Vasquez (ZNET):

The images that have emerged from Gaza over the last several weeks are not ones we can easily forget: a once vibrant city reduced to rubble by Israeli occupation forces. A Ministry of Health press conference held in the aftermath of a massacre, where the bodies of murdered Palestinians are piled up around the podium. Young children, visibly in shock, covered in the blood of their families and debris from their homes that no longer exist. Parents, hysterical with grief, holding their dead and dying babies. 

Amid all of the pain and suffering we have seen, among all of the incomprehensible stories emerging, we find ourselves returning to one extraordinary fact: Palestinians are going to great lengths to ensure their voices are heard. Decades of evidence tells them that the media will get it all wrong, so they are using their last bits of power during a blockade and sometimes their final moments on earth to correct the public record. 

Palestinian journalists who have recently had their homes, families, colleagues, and places of work bombed by Israeli occupation forces continue to do interviews with Western media. No doubt they feel tremendous pressure to address rampant disinformation from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), to correct the media’s use of passive language, and to introduce words like “apartheid” to ahistorical reporting. Everyday Palestinians are also using social media to relay the facts on the ground, documenting the violence of settler colonialism. 

These efforts at truth telling are a strong indictment of the U.S. media. Palestinians know what many across the world are just beginning to understand: While Gaza and the Palestinian people stand on the brink of oblivion, the press will only gloss over U.S.-backed war crimes, rationalize their collective punishment, and spin narratives that further erase their rights and realities.

In this earth-shattering, history-defining moment, the American media is failing. Despite the facts on the ground, many American news outlets refuse to identify what’s happening in Gaza as genocide, citing a lack of evidence for the term. But in fact, the very definition of genocide and the metrics for identifying it under international law require precisely the kind of evidence we’re seeing now, which means that any news outlet claiming to produce “evidence-based” journalism that won’t use the word “genocide” is violating its own stated principles.

Patrick Martin (WSWS) points out the media silence that is the response to so many protests around the world:

The world’s population are seeing atrocities of staggering dimensions: buildings pulverized by bombs and missiles; hospitals and apartment blocks leveled; children covered in blood, pulled screaming from the rubble; bodies everywhere. These images of genocidal war have a profound effect on consciousness, which cannot be undone by media lies or government propaganda.

This weekend, half a million people took part in a protest in London. Tens of thousands demonstrated in other cities in Europe, with hundreds of thousands in the Arab and other majority-Muslim countries. In the United States, tens of thousands have marched in New York City, Washington, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, with significant turnouts in hundreds of other cities, both large and small.

One of the most significant aspects of these protests has been the participation of thousands of Jews, particularly Jewish youth. This was seen most dramatically in the takeover of Grand Central Station in Manhattan Friday night, in a sit-in by several thousand called by Jewish Voice for Peace, under the slogan “Not in Our Name.”

The outpouring of popular anger in response to the war crimes in Gaza has shaken both the ruling classes and their media servants. They are so frightened that they’ve decided that the only way to respond is to ignore it and create a counter-reality, manufactured by the media, in which the public supports Israel and its genocidal war on Gaza, and the expressions of mass horror and revulsion simply are not taking place.

The news outlets that set the pace for the American media have imposed a virtual blackout on the protests, limiting their reporting to a handful of online references that are drowned out by the deluge of pro-war coverage, which occupies pages and pages of newsprint and endless hours of television time. There is no reference to the millions who have declared their opposition to the war on Gaza, while there has been non-stop coverage of the October 7 Hamas raid on Israel, the Israeli preparations for war, the bombing campaign, and the visits by top Western leaders—Biden, Sunak, Scholz, Macron and others—to Jerusalem to declare their unbreakable solidarity with Netanyahu and Israel.

Let's note a Friday protest in NYC.

Kevin Reed (WSWS) reports:

On Friday evening, a spontaneous action of civil disobedience by thousands of supporters of the organization Jewish Voice for Peace shut down Grand Central Station in Manhattan to protest the escalating genocide against Gaza. The NYPD arrested several of the protesters, but thousands then gathered outside.

Chants included, “Biden Biden you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

The demonstration showed widespread pro-Palestinian sympathies among the public, including Jewish workers and youth, who packed the main floor of the terminal during rush hour.

The protesters also unfurled banners from the mezzanine that read, “Palestinians should be free” and “Israelis demand cease-fire now.” A large number of the participants wore black T-shirts from Jewish Voice for Peace that said, “Not in Our Name” and “Ceasefire Now!”

The World Socialist Web Site spoke with several of those participating. Asked her response to the Democratic Party’s support for the genocide, one protester said, “I’m horrified. They’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Biden is no better than Bush,. In fact, I think he’s worse, if that was possible. The fact that those are the choices we have, there’s something seriously wrong.”

“Most people are against this war, this genocide, [but] they have their own agenda going on.”

Brett Wilkins (COMMON DREAMS) also reports on the protest:

The demonstration was led by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), with the participation of IfNotNow and other groups, as well as unaffiliated Jews and allies.

"We refuse to allow our own pain and trauma to be used to justify attacks against another people," said Jay Saper of JVP. "We are here to say: Not in our name."

JVP said New York state Sens. Jabari Brisport (D-25), Robert Jackson (D-35), and Julia Salazar (D-18); State Assembly Members Zohran Mamdani (D-36) and Emily Gallagher (D-50); and New York City Council Members Tiffany Cabán (D-22), Alexa Avilés (D-38), Sandy Nurse (D-37), and Chi Ossé (D-36) took part in the protest.

Artist Indya Moore, a signatory to the Artists4CeaseFire letter, said "I am here in solidarity with my Jewish siblings in support of Palestinians, and stand in witness with my ancestors, the Taino, African, and Spanish, colonized and colonizer—in memory of what happened to them, to raise our collective voice of dissent and demonstrate en masse that it is morally irrefutable that we need a cease-fire now and a call to end the genocide of Palestinians."

Clara Weiss (WSWS) reports on the protests by the Sunrise Movement at Dartmouth College and Weiss includes this statement from the Sunrise Movement:

At 1:00 a.m. on October 28th, Dartmouth College called Hanover Police to arrest two students for trespassing on the Parkhurst Administration Building lawn. The students initiated an encampment six hours earlier, urging Dartmouth to divest from Apartheid as part of the Dartmouth New Deal framework.

After college administrators refused to publicly acknowledge the Dartmouth New Deal and establish a mourning site for lost Palestinian and Israeli lives, two students chose to remain in a tent against school official’s requests. The College subsequently summoned over a dozen officers from Dartmouth College Department of Safety and Security and Hanover Police Department to handcuff and arrest both students.

Kevin Engel, one of two Dartmouth students arrested, says: “After spending over 80 hours outside Parkhurst over the last ten days, it is explicitly obvious to me that the current administration cares very little about the effects of the war in Gaza on students. Tonight, over a dozen Hanover PD and SNS officers arrested and charged me and a peer for occupying a tent. A single tent — even more evidence that Dartmouth prioritizes their public image over the wellbeing of students.”

The arrests took place hours after the campus Sunrise Movement Chapter launched the Dartmouth New Deal, their multi-demand framework for investment in marginalized students and climate-justice. The continued encampment on the administrative lawn escalated a weeklong protest for Palestinian liberation which began after mourners placed small black flags in the administrative lawn following an October 19th vigil for Palestinian and Israeli civilians.

Campus Safety and Security informed event organizers that they would remove the flags immediately afterwards. When the vigil was not dismantled, students decided to keep watch over the memorial 24 hours a day and did so until the arrests.

Roan Wade, a student and Sunrise Dartmouth organizer arrested Saturday Morning, says: “Dartmouth claims to support free speech but arrested me for demonstrating against Dartmouth’s complicity in the ongoing genocide in Gaza. We were told that President Beilock was inside Parkhurst at the time of our arrest. Rather than talking to us, she suppressed our right to voice our concerns. Dartmouth’s commitment to free speech and open discourse fell apart when met with student activism. Police told us we were banned indefinitely from stepping foot in Parkhurst, the building that houses Title IX, the president’s office, and other Dartmouth administrators — further restricting our right to voice our dissent.”

During this time, students at the vigil faced constant surveillance from Safety & Security officers, including frequent visits from the Director of Safety & Security, Keiselim “Keysi” Montás. Repeated attempts to remove students included confiscating a canopy to protect from rain and warning students not to sit down on the steps or store food.

The Associate Dean for Student Life delivered a highlighted copy of Dartmouth’s policy on Freedom of Expression and Dissent, claiming students were deliberately obstructing “the orderly processes of the college.” When asked for a specific example, Montás told students that flags prevented workers from mowing the Parkhurst lawn.

“President Beilock, in her September 22, 2023 inaugural address to Dartmouth College, calls for a ‘brave space’–approach to freedom of expression on campus,” says Hayden El Rafei ’24. “As a student and undergraduate researcher, I see the administration's actions tonight as a cruel and repulsive attack on students’ academic, artistic, and creative expression — their acts of bravery in the wake of grief.

The Palestine Solidarity Coalition of Dartmouth Students, The Sunrise Movement at Dartmouth, and other student groups authored a statement in response to the college’s actions. Dartmouth students plan to hold a rally at 12:30 on Monday, October 30th calling for the protection of students’ free speech and right to protest at Dartmouth.

On Friday's DEMOCRACY NOW!, Amy Goodman explored the efforts to censor and punish those speaking out against the genocide taking place.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman.

We look now at how students, professors and others advocating for Palestinian rights across the United States are facing racist attacks and other threats to their free speech, safety and livelihoods.

This week, Florida ordered state universities to ban the group Students for Justice in Palestine, accusing it of supporting a terrorist organization. The group Palestine Legal is documenting and supporting people who were fired or faced other retaliation for sharing social media posts or signing statements in support of human rights for Palestine.

This includes our next guest, Ryna Workman, who was removed from their position as president of the NYU Law School’s Student Bar Association and saw their job offer at the corporate law firm Winston & Strawn withdrawn after they sent a newsletter to classmates expressing, quote, “unwavering and absolute solidarity with Palestinians in their resistance against oppression toward liberation and self-determination,” unquote, after Hamas’s October 7th attack on Israel and the subsequent number of Palestinians who died in these last weeks.

On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution, quote, “condemning Hamas and antisemitic student activities on college campuses,” unquote, which referenced Ryna, though not by name. This comes as doxing trucks target people at Ivy League universities who sign Palestinian solidarity statements, have now appeared at Harvard, at Columbia, University of Pennsylvania with digital billboard screens displaying people’s faces, their names, and above them saying “antisemites.”

Palestine Legal and over 600 other legal groups and leaders issued a letter calling on elected officials and institutional leaders to address the, quote, “hundreds of incidents happening across the country [that] signal a much broader effort to criminalize dissent, justify censorship, and incite anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim harassment,” unquote. The letter notes, “This is not a new phenomenon, but it is escalating at terrifying speed,” unquote.

For more, we’re joined in Chicago by Dima Khalidi, the founder and director of Palestine Legal, and by Ryna Workman, the NYU law student who had their prestigious job offer rescinded.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Ryna, why don’t we start with you? What exactly happened?

RYNA WORKMAN: Hi. Thank you so much for having me.

I think that, you know, I sent a message to my fellow law students supporting Palestine and offering context to a narrative that I already saw building that was excluding the 75 years of history that we’ve seen in Palestine, the apartheid, the military occupation. And I wanted to add that I support Palestinians in their movement for liberation. And that is what my message was intended to get across.

AMY GOODMAN: And what happened?

RYNA WORKMAN: You know, after that, we saw this incredibly swift backlash. I lost my job offer. My school immediately put out statements that distanced themselves from me, offered me no specific protections publicly. And, you know, I’ve been receiving hateful and racist and transphobic and queerphobic messages for the past three weeks that have only gotten more vile and more hateful as time has gone on.

AMY GOODMAN: And what about your position both at NYU and your offer of a prestigious law firm employment?

RYNA WORKMAN: Yeah, I think that, you know, the consequences that I’m personally facing are devastating for me. But I’m also really concerned that it’s just promoting this chilling effect that we’re seeing across not only my law school, but across universities and other law schools across the country, because folks are now afraid to speak up, in fear that they might become the next me, that they might lose their offer simply for supporting Palestine and fighting this oppression and trying to end this genocide.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what do you say to the law firm now? And have they reconsidered?

RYNA WORKMAN: The law firm has not reached out to me at all. And right now I really just want to focus on calling for a ceasefire and ending this genocide. And I really just want to say to everyone who cares about human life and cares about stopping this killing, to call for a ceasefire and, you know, end this genocide that’s happening right now to the Palestinians.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to bring Dima Khalidi into this conversation. How common is what happened to Ryna Workman?

DIMA KHALIDI: It’s become very common. Palestine Legal has been documenting for years what we call a Palestine exception to free speech, so it certainly didn’t start on October 7th. We’ve seen these same kinds of tactics, severe doxing, attempts to get people fired and investigated, to punish boycotts for Palestinian rights and other advocacy through legislation, and an attempt to purge academia of voices that support Palestinian rights.

But since October 7th, when we’ve seen people mobilizing for Palestinian rights, we’ve seen an exponential increase. We’ve had more than 300 requests for legal help — more than we get in a whole year typically. And Ryna is really not alone. And we’re seeing dozens, dozens of people getting fired and facing unemployment consequences around the country for making simple statements in support of Palestinian rights. We’re seeing students get disciplined, as you mentioned, Amy. There is a widespread attack on the student movement for Palestinian rights, which has built an incredible cross-movement — has built cross-movement alliances on campuses for the last decade. And really, people’s livelihoods are being threatened. And people’s lives are also under attack. We saw a 6-year-old Palestinian boy murdered just for being Palestinian. So this is a widespread effort to intimidate, as Ryna said, intimidate people into silence.

But Ryna is also not alone in the sense that there are so many voices who are speaking out, because people are seeing more and more clearly what is happening here. This is about 75-plus years of a settler colonial state that has dispossessed an entire people of their land and of their dignity and of their humanity. And what is happening now is a complete dehumanization of Palestinians that is coming from the mouths of Israeli officials, which, by the way, have been speaking in genocidal terms about Palestinians for 75-plus years. And it’s being echoed by our own elected officials, who are repeating to level Gaza and to wipe Palestinians off of the map. This is a genocide that is unfolding with U.S. support. And more people are seeing that. And that’s what’s critical here. We have to speak up. We have to protect people who are under attack for speaking out, because that is our responsibility as U.S. citizens whose taxpayer money is being used to fuel this incredible attack on Palestinians.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about what’s happening in Florida, Governor DeSantis demanding of the state university system to disband the organization, the Palestinian student organization, Students for Justice in Palestine?

DIMA KHALIDI: Of course, DeSantis is often the front-runner when we’re talking about undermining our constitutional rights. And once again, he has attacked a student group based on their fundamental First Amendment rights to engage in advocacy on this issue. His move is fundamentally contrary to the First Amendment. And it will be challenged. There is no doubt.

This is also an attempt to criminalize what students and others are speaking out about. And there is no basis for this. And frankly, it’s part of DeSantis’s broader agenda and the right wing’s broader agenda to undermine fundamental First Amendment rights by criminalizing protests for racial justice, by criminalizing protests for environmental rights and Indigenous rights, and by purging academia of people and curricula that are trying to teach about the sordid history of racism in this country. So it is part of his effort to whitewash our universities and academia from dissenting voices. And this has to be challenged in order for us to maintain the fundamental constitutional rights upon which this country is based and that are essential for any prospect of maintaining democracy in this country.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, it’s been interesting what’s happened. You’ve got the doxing of students, for example, at Harvard and at Columbia. At Harvard, the more traditional conservative organization, Harvard Hillel, actually also condemned the doxing of students and these billboards that are going around with protesters’ faces with the word “antisemite” above it. And at Columbia, is it true that the pro-Israel and the Palestine groups together condemned the doxing?

DIMA KHALIDI: The doxing is one of the most heinous ways of attacking people. These are students. These are individuals who are, you know, working in various arenas, and they are being severely harassed. Their information is being publicized. They are being barraged, as Ryna has, with death threats and horrible misogynistic, transphobic and racist messages. And their livelihoods are being threatened. So we have seen even pro-Israel groups condemn this, because they see how horrible it is for their own peers to be faced with this kind of harassment. And universities are really failing to protect their students here. We’ve seen a couple of instances where universities are beginning to take measures to prevent this doxing, seeing how severe it is.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, Ryna Workman, your final comment? Also, who ousted you as president of NYU’s Law School Bar Association?

RYNA WORKMAN: So, the SBA, the Student Bar Association, originally initiated proceedings against me, but since have all resigned. But currently, due to messaging from Dean McKenzie, I am suspended until further notice from all of my presidential duties. And so, even though I cannot say anything or do anything as SBA president, I still want to say, as a person, that we should all be calling for a ceasefire and an end to this genocide.

AMY GOODMAN: Ryna Workman, I want to thank you for being with us, NYU law student who had a job offer rescinded after speaking out in support of Palestinian rights and calling for a ceasefire, and Dima Khalidi, founder of Palestine Legal. I’m Amy Goodman. Thank you for joining us.

Others attacked have included US House Rep Rashida Tlaib.  Her basic statements are too much for some -- such as House lunatic Marjorie Taylor Greene -- to take.  Here's an example of a statement by Rashida:

U.S. military support for Israel with absolutely no conditions on upholding human rights has not brought peace and justice to the region. This resolution is not a serious examination of the root causes of the violence we are witnessing and doubles down on decades of failed policy. Achieving a just and lasting peace where Israelis and Palestinians have equal rights and freedoms, and where no person lives in fear for their safety, requires ending the blockade, occupation, and dehumanizing system of apartheid. I urge my colleagues to support our Ceasefire Now Resolution to call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire, to send humanitarian aid and assistance to Gaza, and to save as many lives as possible.

And here's her Thursday statement on QAnon's Marjorie Taylor Greene's efforts to censure her:

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s unhinged resolution is deeply Islamophobic and attacks peaceful Jewish anti-war advocates. I am proud to stand in solidarity with Jewish peace advocates calling for a ceasefire and an end to the violence. I will not be bullied, I will not be dehumanized, and I will not be silenced. I will continue to call for ceasefire, for the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid, for the release of hostages and those arbitrarily detained, and for every American to be brought home. I will continue to work for a just and lasting peace that upholds the human rights and dignity of all people, and ensures that no person, no child has to suffer or live in fear of violence.

Ramirez:  It’s a shame that while they’re doing that, you have the Marjorie Taylor Greenes (R-GA) of the world out there spewing so much hate, hate for people who are [peacefully] protesting the injustices of Palestinians, and [she’s] calling them insurrectionists. You have members here who call some of us Hamas. Why? Because we dare to take a stand for injustice and Palestinian children? It is really scary that they are weaponizing this moment and putting [the] lives of people in this country that they say they love so much at risk … and there are no consequences for their actions.

And these are the same people that are constantly attacking and bullying people like me, people like Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), people like Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), people like Rep. Summer Lee (D-PA), people like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). It is really unfortunate that this is a moment that our children and our young people are having to witness this from their highest level of government representatives.

BLOOMEKATZ: You talked about the murder of a six-year-old Wadea, and also of this horrible hate attack in Lombard. How do you think Illinois — and Chicago — how can we move forward as a state and as residents here in a way that combats this?

RAMIREZ: Look, you need to call out that people who are using hateful rhetoric, be it in Illinois, be it in the city of Chicago, and that have any … influence, or are in any leadership positions, need to be censured. They need to be responsible for the deaths and the violence against our communities. And these are Jewish communities, these are Muslim communities, immigrant communities. 

The following sites updated: