Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Ryan Walters is responsible for the death of Nex Benedict

We've been following the assault on Nex Benedict here and they're got a finding in Nex's death.  CBS News reports:

Nex Benedict, the 16-year-old Oklahoma student who died one day after a fight in a high school bathroom, died by suicide, the state's medical examiner said on Wednesday. 

The summary report said that Benedict, who identified as nonbinary and used they/them pronouns, died due to the combined toxicity of two different medications. 

How awful.  How painful Nex's life must have been that this was the only option that seemed available.  

Do the three girls who beat Nex up -- who regularly harassed Nex -- feel good about themselves?  The death is on their hands.

And on the hands of every adult at Nex's school and on the hands of the hideous Republicans in Oklahoma who targeted LGBTQ+ people and trashed the lives of children.

KOCO News reports:

The leader of Freedom Oklahoma, an organization supporting LGBTQ+ Oklahomans, expressed a sense of sadness for the loss of the teenager and how the medical examiner said they died. The organization also called on Oklahoma schools, communities and leaders to do a better job in making everyone feel accepted and welcome.

[. . .]

McAfee said this news should create conversation and action about bullying in schools, especially against the most vulnerable.

"So much of the harm that we hear from students is rhetoric that is being parroted from people in power," McAfee said. 

Chief among the adults to blame?  Ryan Walters.

Oklahoma's most powerful educator, state Superintendent Ryan Walters, released a statement to KOCO 5.

"The loss of our student in Owasso is tragic for the family, the community, and our state. The LGBTQ groups pushing a false narrative are one of the biggest threats to our democracy and I remain, more than ever, committed to never backing down from a woke mob," Walters said. 

No, it's not the LGBTQ+ groups, it's you.  You're disgusting and you're a bully.  Nex is dead because of you and your actions.

From Wikipedia:

A member of the Republican Party, he has been a vocal critic of critical race theory, LGBT students' rights, and teachers' unions in Oklahoma and has been described as "the state's top culture warrior".[1][2] During his tenure, he has successfully campaigned for the removal of Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist and supported the conservative political organization Moms for Liberty, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as an "extremist" and "antigovernment" group.[3][4] Since February 2024, Walters has been widely criticized[5][6][7] for his appointment of Chaya Raichik to the Oklahoma Library Advisory Board[8][9] and stances on transgender youth and students following his response to the Death of Nex Benedict.[10]

He looks like a sausage smoker, by the way.  Closet  cases will kill us all.

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

Wednesday, March 13, 2024.  Gaza remains under assault and the planned crime of starvation considers, Donald and Joe seize the nominations of the duopoly parties, GOP hate (and silence from so many who pretend to be of the 'left') has resulted in an America unsafe for LGBTQ+ kids, and much more.

The general election rematch between former President Donald Trump and President Biden is now official.

Both men have now secured the required delegates to be their respective party's nominee.

Biden and Trump won nearly every contest in the presidential nominating calendar so far but the important threshold of winning a majority of delegates to the party conventions this summer has finally been met. Tuesday's contests included primaries in Georgia, a key swing state for both parties, as well as Washington state and Mississippi

Which means we're in for months of Donald Trump's sour, little girl voice.  If there's a masculinity crisis in America, it can be found at every MAGA rally.  He's forever their pampered and spoiled little princess.  

Marianne Williamson remains in the Democratic Party presidential race and she explains why in the video below.

Marianne Williamson:  Well with his win in Georgia tonight, the President has won the Democratic nomination for the presidency. I congratulate him. But I'm not doing the performative 'Oh now let's endorse the President and let's go beat Donald Trump in 2024!' I won't do it. I know too much. And I've seen too much. I'm going to continue. I will be on the road. I'm on my way to Chicago. I'm on my way to Louisiana. I'm on my way to Arizona. I'm on my way to New York. Because the things that this campaign has been talking about and that I will continue to talk about are the things that will actually defeat Donald Trump in 2024. The Democratic establishment doesn't seem to have any clue what's really going on in this country. We are at such risk of losing to Donald Trump in 2024. Not because of people voting for Trump but because of people staying home, people voting for Bobby Kennedy, people voting for Cornel West, people voting for Jill Stein because people have had it. People in the United States do not have health care. People in the United States do not have tuition free college and tech schools -- both of which a majority of Republicans as well as Democrats want and which are afforded to the citizens of every other advanced democracy. People in this country need childcare -- subsidized childcare -- and paid family leave universally -- not just talking about it. People in this country want to ramp down -- not ramp up -- fossil fuel extraction. People in this country want guaranteed sick pay, guaranteed living wage. People in this country want to repudiate the forever war machine. People in this country want to face what's really going on in this country. My campaign has always addressed the ubiquitous despair of so many people in this country and that is why the political media industrial complex peripheralized, invisiblized and erased my candidacy. Well I know I'm supposed to be a really nice girl now and say, 'Well, it was just great to be a part of this and thank you so much.' No. No. No. Believe me, if the Democratic establishment does not hear what I am saying now, they sure will hear it in November because it will be expressed by the electorate. So I'm continuing. And I hope that you will show up to vote for me because remember still if I get enough votes to get delegates and to get at the convention then we can wield influence -- perhaps we can be in the platform, part of the conversation and hopefully President Biden himself will hear us. Somebody over the Biden administration is listening to me cause I hear so many of my lines even in the State of the Union. So we need to offer the American people Medicare For All -- got that guys? We need to offer the American people tuition free college and tech school. We need to offer the American people subsidized childcare. We need to offer the American people guaranteed sick pay. We need to offer the American people a jobs guarantee and a guaranteed living wage. When you have 39% of Americans saying that they are skipping their meals regularly in order to pay their rent, when 70% of Americans say they're living with chronic economic anxiety, when half of American renters say they cannot afford their rent. No, it's not enough to just try to make somethings better. No. No. No. No. No. Just making something's better will not win it for the Democrats in 2024. The agenda you gave us at the State of the Union guys? Congratulations on the fact that the president was able to deliver it well. But in terms of the content of the conversation that's not enough. I'm not the enemy. Don't shoot the messenger here. I'm telling you, we have to offer the American people a whole lot more if the Democrats are going to win in 2024. That's why I'm going to continue in the race. I hope all of you will go to MARIANNE2024.COM and show up to vote for me in the primary. The more we get, with every vote, that can lead to influence, it can lead to leverage of some kind. It can hopefully convince some people who can make a difference that we're going to have to offer the American people so much more if we're going to win in 2024. Otherwise, this is going to be like 2016. I think I'm the one here saying 'Oh my god, don't you understand the fascists are at the door.' Don't throw that back at me. 'Williamson, shut up. The fascists are at the door!' I think Williamson needs to speak even louder because the fascists are at the door. And so that's what I'll be doing for the rest of this primary season. I hope you'll vote for me. The president has the nomination but we have the truth in our hearts on a level that is not currently being addressed by the Democratic establishment. Let's make some noise. We're the ones making the good trouble. We're the ones speaking the deeper truth -- the deeper truth of the heart, speaking to the yearning and also speaking to the suffering of so many millions of Americans. This is not the time to stop. Thanks so much.

Marianne got 3% in the Georgia primary yesterday and 2.7% in Washington state. 

Cornel West continues his vanity campaign.  In California, he tried to grab the Peace & Freedom Party's presidential nomination but Claudia de la Cruz easily beat him.  He plans to soldier on while insisting he's not a spoiler.  He's also not a winner.  

Did someone say Jill Stein?  Apparently the 2024 Green Party platform is: We got nothing.

That's why two-time loser Jill Stein is trying to grab the gold for three-time loser.  The Green Party nationally is becoming as pathetic and inbred as SEP.  If the best they can do is the loser they already served up in 2012 and 2016, the Green Party would be better off putting any funds into state-wide and local candidates.  

And then there's Junior.  Baby no nads Kennedy is teasing out an announcement of who will be his running mate.  He'll do anything for attention.  One-term governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura is one of the name's whispered and don't use all your giggles on that choice.  The other's Aaron Rodgers.   That would be hilarious and I would love to see that pick only to hear hecklers yell out, "Where's Kevin!"  Kevin being Kevin Lanflisi -- Aaron's one-time roommate that departed Casa Rodgers with a series of Tweets that led the press to speculate he was Aaron's boyfriend.  

Rumors regarding Kevin have been the only humanizing thing about Aaron.  Otherwise, we're left with an alienating idiot who mistakenly believes he has an education.  Sounds like the perfect fit for Junior. 

That his campaign would even put forth Rodgers goes to how out of his element Junior is.  Aaron has experience to be the vice president -- next in line for the presidency -- based on what?

Junior's still a dirty joke but  he's also become a tired one.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

We turn now to Gaza, where Al Jazeera is reporting Israeli forces have killed at least nine people who were waiting for aid in Gaza City. Twenty injured people were taken to Al-Shifa Hospital.

This comes as Israel continues to restrict aid coming into Gaza, which is on the brink of famine. The U.N. is reporting one truck was recently denied access to Gaza because it contained scissors inside medical kits. UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini criticized the decision, saying, quote, “Medical scissors are now added to a long list of banned items the Israeli Authorities classify as 'for dual use.'” He went on to say, “The list includes basic and lifesaving items: from anesthetics, solar lights, oxygen cylinders and ventilators, water cleaning tablets, cancer medicines and maternity kits,” unquote.

Meanwhile, an aid ship bound for Gaza has set sail from Cyprus with 200 tons of food supplies. The UAE-funded mission was organized by two aid groups, World Central Kitchen and Open Arms.

Inside Gaza, Palestinians marked the first day of Ramadan Monday.

For more, we go directly to Rafah to Yousef Hammash. He is advocacy officer in Gaza for the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Welcome back to Democracy Now! Thank you so much for joining us, Yousef. Can you explain what’s happening on the ground right now? Talk about the issue of famine and hunger, and what you think needs to happen.

YOUSEF HAMMASH: First of all, thanks for hosting me again and giving me the chance.

And, unfortunately, since we last spoke until now, nothing have changed, only except for the worse. More families have been displaced by the ongoing bombardment all across Gaza. Situation in Rafah has deteriorated day by day. We are not able to fulfill the basic needs for families here. People are scattered in the streets everywhere. So, it’s an unimaginable situation for displaced families in Rafah. And we have a different situation for the middle area and the northern part of Gaza, which, unfortunately, even from media, is kind abandoned, while families and children are on the verge of a famine, and over 25 people were killed from hunger.

The situation in Gaza is going into unclear vision in the horizon. We don’t understand what’s coming next. All what we are having is a daily basis of madness, violence, bombardment and a death toll that’s increasing on a daily basis. And unfortunately, so far we are not seeing any real intervention from outside so at least we could have a glimmer of hope that this will end soon.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Yousef Hammash, how do you respond to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s claim denying that there’s starvation and alleging that it is groups under Hamas in Gaza that are preventing the delivery of aid?

YOUSEF HAMMASH: I work for the Norwegian Refugee Council, and we operate on the ground, mainly in Rafah currently, because we don’t have any access for the northern part of Gaza. And we didn’t see any evidence related to this allegation. All what we are looking for is open the checkpoints, the Israel restrictions that have been put to split Gaza into three pieces now. And we don’t have access to Khan Younis now, and there is no access to Gaza City and the northern part of Gaza. And we are talking about over half a million who are trapped there, dying to fulfill their children’s basic needs.

People have — we had the first day of Ramadan yesterday. And I was reaching out for friends and colleagues in the northern part of Gaza, and I was trying to understand exactly what they could find to have iftar, merely a piece of bread with tea. The situation in the south is also chaos and chaotic and getting worse every day. But in the northern part of Gaza, people are literally on the verge of famine. People are dying to find a piece of bread there.

And it’s unacceptable that we could — we start to put these allegations here and there. There is a need on the ground that’s very clear. If we go to social media, media outlets, wherever you go, you could see exactly what’s going on there. So, it’s unrealistic, and it’s unacceptable, actually, just to ignore and deny that there is a famine in the north.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to Khalil Abou Ziyada, a Palestinian currently in the Al-Shati Camp in Gaza.

KHALIL ABOU ZIYADA: [translated] My feeling is that of a person who was displaced from his house. I’m 71 years old, and I have never experienced Ramadan with this feeling. It’s an awful feeling. At times like this during Ramadan, I used to prepare the dining table to eat at sunset. But today there’s no food, and I don’t have money to get food for iftar at sunset.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Yousef Hammash, the United States, President Biden, has been authorizing the dropping of food, airdropping it — five people were killed, crushed to death by a malfunctioning parachute that was carrying one of the food drops — and now has proposed this pier, where they say they’ll get food in, unclear how, considering what Israel has been doing. All of their ports of entry or all of their crossings are closed and not allowing food to come in from Rafah. Why would the pier be any different, especially given that the U.S. continues to provide the bombs and the ammunition that is dropped on the Palestinians?

YOUSEF HAMMASH: That’s what make it you don’t understand exactly what’s going on. First of all, any help to feed even one single family or one single child in the northern part of Gaza or Gaza or in the south is very welcome and much appreciated. But let’s go be realistic. Spending all of these efforts building the port or airdropping, which is not efficient, unfortunately — and you have mentioned exactly what happened in that incident killing five people. And imagining that all of media show all of that, what we saw related to the airdropping, was less than two aid trucks.

Why the United States didn’t use its influence to its closest ally, while it’s weaponizing them, and using that influence in a proper way to force them, to impose on them to remove restriction on aid? And it’s going to be more simple, more realistic and more efficient if the United States have pushed the Israelis to allow aid trucks to go in to people in need in the northern part of Gaza and Gaza City. And imagine the distance between Rafah crossing and the northern part of Gaza is half an hour by drive. So, why we need to spend all that amount of effort building a seaport or airdropping, while we have a realistic option that’s put in front of us, but there is just some restriction by the Israelis? And so, that’s what makes it unimaginable, why we are going to that option, while already we have different options on the ground, and it’s still in place, running and functioning in place since almost the beginning of this chaos. The only issue that we are facing in delivering the aid on the ground is the restriction that the Israelis put on it for Gaza City and the northern part of Gaza.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Yousef Hammash, how are you faring, your family and your own children, under these conditions? What kind of aid do you have access to?

YOUSEF HAMMASH: In Rafah, there is kind of affordability. But, unfortunately, the prices also are not affordable somehow. There is some people who could get some of the food items, especially into Rafah. Again, there is kind of availability, but, unfortunately, the inflation of prices make it unaffordable for the majority of the families here.

We are living day by day here. Our cycle of life is one day. We fulfill our basic needs as responsibles toward our children and extended families, and then we will look for the next day. As an example, yesterday, I had to search, after my working hours, up to the iftar timing, just to look for some vegetables, and I couldn’t find it. Maybe I was late, because there is one million and a half are in Rafah, this 55 square kilometers, and we are competing to find food for our families.

AMY GOODMAN: Yousef Hammash, we thank you so much for being with us, advocacy officer in Gaza for the Norwegian Refugee Council, joining us from Rafah.

Starvation as a tool of war is a War Crime.  These are real people suffering.  CNN’s Ibrahim Dahman and Sana Noor Haq report, "Ayman Al-Zanat, 28, worries that his young nephew, Fadi, will not make it through the night.  The Palestinian boy, age 6, clutches his chest while lying on a blue hospital bed in Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza. He is suffering from severe malnutrition and dehydration, according to the health ministry in Gaza."  

The starvation is an intentional and planned outcome that the Israeli government has been seeking for months.  James Gregory (BBC NEWS) reports:

Starvation is being used as a weapon of war in Gaza, the EU's foreign policy chief has claimed.

Josep Borrell described the lack of aid entering the territory as a "manmade" disaster.

A Spanish ship carrying desperately needed food supplies has left Cyprus for Gaza, but the UN says this cannot replace the delivery of aid by land.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has meanwhile vowed to press on with an offensive in southern Gaza.

The quickest, most effective way to get aid into the territory is by road, but aid agencies say Israeli restrictions mean a fraction of what is needed is getting in.

THE GUARDIAN quotes Borrell stating, "This humanitarian crisis … is not a natural disaster, is not a flood, is not an earthquake, it is manmade."

The Israeli government continues its attack on aid agencies.  ALJAZEERA reports:

Palestinian journalists have shared footage documenting people bringing in victims of an Israeli bombing in central Rafah to the Kuwaiti Hospital.

The journalists say an UNRWA aid distribution centre was shelled in Rafah City. The footage, which has been verified by Al Jazeera, shows people being evacuated in vehicles bearing the UNRWA logo.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 159 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." ALJAZERA notes, "The number of people killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza since the start of the war has risen to 31,272, according to the latest figures by the Health Ministry. An additional 73,024 have been wounded, the ministry said."  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War."   

We started the snapshot with the US and we'll go back to the US for Julia Conley (COMMON DREAMS) report on what the hate merchants have been up to:

The Republican Party's hateful policies are having a predictable result: more hatefulness.

The GOP's current targeted attacks on transgender and nonbinary youths are relatively new, with right-wing governors and legislatures in the last few years prioritizing legislation barring young people from living according to their gender identity—but federal data shows the impact the push is already having on the safety of LGBTQ+ kids, with school hate crimes surging in states where attacks on their right to exist have passed.

According to FBI data analyzed by The Washington Post, in states where LGBTQ+ rights have been restricted, an average of about 28 anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes at K-12 schools and colleges were reported annually between 2015-19. The number tripled to an average of 90 in 2021-22.

In just K-12 schools, the average number of hate crimes went up from 13 per year between 2015-19 to 61 per year from 2021-22—more than quadrupling.

Overall, across the country, there was an average of 108 hate crimes at schools reported annually between 2015-19. Between 2021-22, the average more than doubled to 232.

At the same time, counseling services like the Trevor Project and the Rainbow Youth Project have seen a sharp rise in calls from young LGBTQ+ people distressed by the political rhetoric that's seeped into their schools.

"My government hates me," "my school hates me," and "they don't want me to exist" are among the fears that young people in states hostile to LGBTQ+ rights regularly report, Lance Preston, founder and executive director of the Rainbow Youth Project told the Post.

"That... is absolutely unacceptable," he said. "That is shocking."

The surge in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes did not come as a surprise to advocates including Mark Pitcavage, senior research fellow for the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism.

The following sites updated:

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