Friday, December 23, 2022

The kiss that shouldn't have taken place


Why is Nancy Pelosi letting herself be pawed in public?  The idea that Fancy Nancy was a feminist was always half-baked.  But now she's letting Zelensky be all over her at a public function?

A kiss is not an appropriate greeting for someone to give the Speaker of the House.  It's disrespectful of the office.  Nancy should have stopped him and should have instead extended her hand for a hand shake.

This isn't minor.  She wants to be applauded for being the first female Speaker of the House but she's going to let some man paw her in public in the halls of Congress?

She's an embarrassment.  Shame on her.  Also shame on him.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, December 22, 2022.  Hate merchants continue their attacks, an LGBTQ+ activist takes their own life, the hate merchants expand their war on drag queens, and much more.

Last week, the House Oversight and Reform Committee, chaired by US House Rep Carolyn Maloney, held a hearing entitled "The Rise of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism and Violence in the United States."  The hearing was held due to the rise in violence aimed at the LGBTQ+ community which includes last month's Club Q shooting.  The shooting left five people dead:

  • Daniel Davis Aston, 28
  • Kelly Loving, 40
  • Ashley Paugh, 35
  • Derrick Rump, 38
  • Raymond Green Vance, 22

The shooting also left twenty-five people injured.

Michael Anderson, James Slaugh and Matthew Haynes survived the shooting and they made up the first panel before the Committee. The second panel made up of Human Rights Campaign's Kelley Robinson, Pulse Nightclub shooting survivor Brandon Wolf, National Center for Transgender Equality's Oliva Hunt, Inside Out Youth Services' Jessie Pocock and The Williams Institute's Ilan Meyer.

We're going to note the following remarks.

US House Rep Mondaire Jones:  As I said on the floor of the House during the debate on the equality act [Respect for Marriage Act], to grow up poor, Black and gay is to not see yourself anywhere.  It is also to feel completely unseen as so many people around you invalidate your very existence.  Growing up, like many people in this room, I suspect, I watched as straight politicians -- many of them White, many of them men -- used my basic human rights as a political football to further their careers.  And now, as the first openly gay Black member in this body, I'm even more familiar with the vile, anti-LGBTQ rhetoric that terrorizes our community and that somehow is even more harmful when it's aimed at queer people of color.  Let me also just say, to amplify what Representative Porter had discussed previously [see Friday's snapshot for that exchange] that I and people on my team have also reported many of these Twitter accounts that have hurled explicitly homophobic insults at me in particular and have received e-mails stating that they are not somehow in violation of Twitter's purported standards.  So clearly, there is something amiss at Twitter but I think many of us have known that now for the past few months given the leadership changes.  Many of us are scared for our lives and rightfully so.  LGBTQ Americans know that gay bars and clubs are our sanctuaries for our communities to gather without fear of being judged simply for being who they are.  So many of these spaces become second homes where we can  experience the full freedom to be ourselves.  Such was the case for me.  In my first year of law school, I was still closeted.  The gay bars of New York City were the only place I could be my authentic self and those spaces helped me to come out and to be the man -- the Congressman -- that I am today.  I cannot imagine my journey to self-acceptance and to understanding without these sanctuaries which are now under assault.  The horrific mass shootings at Pulse Nightclub and at Club Q create fear among LGBTQ Americans that gay bars and clubs -- these places of refuge for members of our community -- are no longer safe.  These attacks, along side other acts of violence, against our community and the growing chorus of hate and disinformation against LGBTQ people tell us that over the past few years, this country has become a more dangerous place for us to live unfortunately.  Even those who simply provide services essential to the physical and mental well being of members of our community are under attack.  Earlier this month, a doctor affiliated with The National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center in Boston faced credible death threats for their role in providing gender affirming care to transgender youth.  The following day, The First Unitarian Universalist Church in Columbus, Ohio was forced to cancel a family friendly holiday themed Drag Queen story telling event after far right extremists from the Proud Boys and the Patriot Front showed up to protest armed with AR 14s, dressed in military gear, chanting far right slogans and performing Nazi salutes.  When leaders across the country -- including sitting members of Congress -- are peddling age old hateful and false narratives about 'grooming' and pedophilia, these are the types of people who show up in response.  A recent Human Rights Campaign report found that as Florida state government enacted its discriminatory Don't Say Gay law, anti-LGBTQ misinformation surged by over  400% on social media platforms.  And worse, instead of condemning this deadly wave of misinformation and hate, members of this body have added fuel to the fire.  In October of this year, Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana introduced his own Don't Say Gay bill to amplify this hateful policy on a national scale and dozens of members of this body co-sponsored that legislation.  Shame on them.  If enacted, Mr. Johnson's heinous bill would, among other things, prohibit federally funded schools from providing sex education or library books to children under ten that include LGBTQ topics.  In doing so, his bill would send a message to LGBTQ children in the most vulnerable stage of their lives that they are an "other" whose very existence society refuses to recognize. It is hard, in closing, to listen to the stories of Club Q and Pulse Nightclub survivors and not be in awe of their bravery and resilience.  So I thank you for your courage.  I'm furious that our community is forced to live again and again with this pain but I am optimistic about the future of this country with your leadership.

Though treated as minor by many outlets (even more of which ignored the hearing) this was not a minor topic or a topic that's fading.  Hate merchants are only increasing their attacks and those outlets who ignore it -- sadly, that includes many supposedly 'left' outlets -- are just as guilty as the hate merchants.

It's never enough for hate merchants.  It's not enough to demonize, it's not enough to attack, they want to erase.  I'm copying pasting part of what I wrote at Elaine's site last night.

At 5 Points Diner & Bar in Nashville, Tenn., drag performer Veronika Electronika can often be seen strutting between brunch tables. Her big hair, glitzy outfits and quick wit keep patrons on their toes.

Veronika’s lighthearted performances are a staple of Tennessee’s drag scene, but on a recent Saturday in December, she abruptly stopped her show to address a heavy subject: a proposed state bill seeking to ban drag acts — like the one she was performing at that moment — from public view. 

“If that law passes, I would be committing a potential felony,” Veronika said, as the audience booed the bill. “If you’re not a fan of that bill, I highly suggest you contact your state legislator.” 

Tennessee is one of at least five states where Republican lawmakers are considering bills to restrict drag performances. The measure, known as Senate Bill 3, was introduced by Tennessee Republican Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson in November. 

“The intent of the legislation is just to simply say that you cannot have sexually explicit entertainment … in a public venue where kids might be present,” Johnson said.

Can you believe it?  They like to, these hate merchants, insist that there's no history of this or that right that LGBTQ+ Americans have fought for.  Their hate is astounding.  But now, they're going after drag performers and that's rather amazing when you consider America's long history with drag. It predates the creation of the United States and goes all the way back to ancient Greece.  When William Shakespeare was alive, female characters in his plays were portrayed by women.  As for the US, WIKIPEDIA notes:

The first person known to describe himself as "the queen of drag" was William Dorsey Swann, born enslaved in Hancock, Maryland, who in the 1880s started hosting drag balls in Washington, DC attended by other men who were formerly enslaved, and often raided by the police, as documented in the newspapers.[62] In 1896, Swann was convicted and sentenced to 10 months in jail on the false charge of "keeping a disorderly house" (euphemism for running a brothel) and requested a pardon from the president for holding a drag ball (the request was denied).[62]

That's a historical aspect that's not noted or recognized by many.  In the US, vaudeville was home to drag beginning in the late 1800s.  When vaudeville died out, drag performers appeared more and more in nightclubs.

They also appeared in TV shows and films.  Milton Berle was infamous for dressing up in drag on his 1950s TV program.  Jim Bailey was a night club performer whose drag act crossed over to TV.  Successful TV shows that he appeared on in drag included THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW, THE TONIGHT SHOW SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON, THE CAROL BURNETTE SHOW, HERE'S LUCY (starring Lucille Ball, of course), and he performed as Barbra Streisand at the 1977 Super Bowl, and the 1984 Winter Olympics.  He also impersonated Judy Garland (who became a friend and who he impersonated onstage with her daughter Liza Minnelli for "The Judy and Liza Concert" that played in Vegas and London), Phyllis Diller (on the episode of HERE'S LUCY, when Phyllis can't make a charity event so Judy asks for Jim's help), 

1927 was when Mae West's play THE DRAG debuted.  Other well known representations in media?  VICTOR/VICTORIA -- yes, the Julie Andrews film; however, prior to that it was also made in 1933, 1935 and 1957 -- the 1935 film was entitled FIRST A GIRL and featured Anna Lee (known to millions for playing Lila Quatermaine on GENERAL HOSPITAL as well as such films as THE SOUND OF MUSIC and WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?), SOME LIKE IT HOT (possibly the greatest comedy film of all time), Ed Woods' GLEN OR GLENDA, WHITE CHRISTMAS (yes, Bing Crosby did drag), THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, John Waters' PINK FLAMINGOS and HAIRSPRAY, TOOTSIE, NORBIT, the documentary PARIS IS BURNING, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY ITCH, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE, WHITE CHICKS, HURRICANE BIANCA, Bob Hope's THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE, Mike Nichols' THE BIRDCAGE . . .

We could go on and on.

So if the hate merchants in Tennessee have their way, what does that mean for film portrayals?  Will they ban the movies from theaters?  Will they block out broadcasts of the films?

It's beyond stupid. There are real issues to address.  Pouring hate on drag performers is neither a real issue nor a needed one.

Remember who they have chosen to stand against -- performers not attempting to harm anyone, performers following in the footsteps of Jim Bailey, Dustin Hoffman, Divine, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Nathan Lane, Bob Hope . . .  And what was good enough for the Olympics and the Super Bowl apparently isn't good enough for Tennessee lawmakers.

Where does it end?  Where does the hate end, where does this urge to purge end?  Will Tennessee next attempt to outlaw Halloween?  Where does it end?

Preacher preaching love like vengeance
Preaching love like hate
Calling for large donations
Promising estates
Rolling lawns and angel bands
Behind the pearly gates
You know he will have his in this life
But yours will have to wait
He's immaculately tax free

"Multiple hundreds of thousands of..."
Tax free
"Hundreds and millions of dollars"
Tax free
"A hundred billion dollars!
And who is paying the price?
Who who
"Your children are"

Pissed off
Jacked up
Scream into the mike
Spit into the loving cup
Strut like a rooster
March like a man
God's hired hands and the devil bands
Packing the same grandstands
Different clothes
"Pot in their pockets!"
Different hair
"Sexually active"
Raise a screaming guitar
or a bible in the air
Theatre of anguish
Theatre of glory
God's hired hands and the devil bands
Oh come let us adore - ME!
Lord, there's danger in this land
You get witch-hunts and wars
When church and state hold hands

F**k it!
Tonight I'm going dancing
With the drag queens and the punks
Big beat deliver me
From this sanctimonious skunk
We're no flaming angels
And he's not heaven sent
How can he speak for the Prince of Peace
When he's hawk right militant
And he's immaculately tax free

== "Tax Free," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her DOG EAT DOG

All they want to do is preach hate and they lie over and over.  That's Tucker Carlson, that's FOX NEWS.  They went with a very sick individual from England to trash transgender people.  This is a man who says he no longer wants to be a woman.  This is a White man who has had multiple surgeries to look like a Korean.  This is a man who says that Korean men have smaller penises so, he announced, he's going to get a penis reduction.  This is the 'sane' voice they brought on to attack the transgender community and Oregon state.  Oregon's laws make the age of consent for surgery 15 -- that's for all surgeries.  That's a state law so you'd think FOX NEWS would be all for it.  But they're not.  Because they're fake asses.  

These hate merchants peddle their hate and it has real world implications.  

Kentucky state Sen. Karen Berg (D) has asked for “tolerance and grace” after the suicide of her 24-year-old transgender son, Henry Berg-Brousseau. He died last Friday.

“This lack of acceptance took a toll on Henry,” Berg continued. “He long struggled with mental illness, not because he was trans but from his difficulty finding acceptance… This hate building across the country weighed on him.”

“Henry spent his life working to extend grace, compassion, and understanding to everyone, but especially to the vulnerable and marginalized. This grace, compassion, and understanding was not always returned to him,” the state senator said in a statement.

“On a daily basis at his job [as an LGBTQ+ rights advocate], Henry would be aware of the hateful and vile anti-trans messaging being circulated around this country and focused at his workplace,” she continued. “In one of our last conversations, he wondered if he was safe walking down the street.”

Berg mentioned her son’s trans identity in state senate speeches against transphobic legislation, including a state law barring transgender female athletes in middle school through college from participating on school sports teams matching their gender identity. The state’s Republican-led legislature passed the law, overriding a veto from Gov. Andy Beshear (D).


Human Rights Campaign issued the following statement:

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) honors the life of Henry Berg-Brousseau, HRC’s Deputy Press Secretary, Politics. Henry was the son of Kentucky State Senator Karen Berg and Bob Brousseau, a brother to Rachael Pass, and an important and loved part of the HRC family. He will be greatly missed by his colleagues, his family, and his friends. His full obituary can be found here and a statement from his mother here.

Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson issued the following statement, remembering Henry: 

“Losing Henry is an unfathomable loss to the Human Rights Campaign family. Henry was a light – deeply passionate, deeply engaged, and deeply caring. His colleagues will always remember his hunger for justice, his eagerness to pitch in, his bright presence and his indelible sense of humor. He could always be counted on to volunteer for a project, hit send on a press release from wherever in the world he was, or share a kind word in the elevator up to his office.

“Henry was first and foremost a fighter and an advocate. He was fighting for transgender rights as a teenager in Kentucky, far earlier than he should have had to. As part of his job at HRC, he faced down anti-transgender vitriol every single day, and no one was more aware of the harm that anti-transgender rhetoric, messaging, and legislation could have on his community. He was brave. But, as Henry's mother stated, ‘[t]he vitriol against trans people is not happening in a vacuum ...It has real-world implications for how transgender people view their place in the world and how they are treated as they just try to live their lives.’ It sadly impacted how Henry saw his own place in the world.

“In honor of Henry’s life, we must come together and speak out against injustice. We must fight for our transgender family. We must celebrate his light, and honor him by continuing to fight for full equality for all. Our thoughts are with his parents, his sister, his entire family, and our whole community.”

Kelley Robinson, President, HRC

Memorial Contributions in honor of Henry Berg-Brousseau may go to The Fairness Campaign, 2263 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206, or The Trevor Project-Development, PO Box 69232, West Hollywood, CA 90069.

If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-8255. If you’re a young LGBTQ person and need to talk to someone, call The Trevor Project’s 24-hour crisis hotline for youth at 1-866-488-7386. If you are a transgender person of any age, call the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860.

Five Iraqi soldiers have been killed in two separate attacks in country’s north, amid a surge in violence by terrorists.

The deadliest took place in Al Dibis, near the northern city of Kirkuk, when a roadside bomb was detonated on Wednesday as an Iraqi army unit passed, killing three soldiers and wounding two, including an officer, a security official said.

Another bomb exploded in the Makhmour area outside the northern city of Mosul on the same day, killing two soldiers and wounding three, another officer said.

The following sites updated: