The Crazy. Think I may make that a regular feature here in 2023.
MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle had Rep. Lauren Boebert on as an 11th Hour guest Wednesday night, which was not just a terrific and timely guest booking, but also led to a fascinating interview that lasted nearly 15 minutes.
[. . .]
the most entertaining bit came when Ruhle asked why Boebert wasn’t more
like her GOP colleague turned reported rival (frenemy), Marjorie Taylor
then asked her guest why she wasn’t more like the firebrand GOP Rep
from Georgia. “Why wouldn’t you take the route of, say, Marjorie Taylor
Greene, who shares much of your ideology, take the win, get practical,
get yourself on a bunch of committees, and actually do something to set
This is the standard? Marjorie Taylor Green? That's the high bar that MSNBC wants Lauren to reach for? Crazy.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, January 5, 2023. THE NEW YORK TIMES hires another
homophobic columnist, NYPD lets Proud Boys ride the subways for free
(some sort of take-your-thug-to-work event, apparently), Iraqi teachers
tired of two years without pay take to the streets as corruption becomes
more embedded in Iraq.
Trudy Ring (THE ADVOCATE) reports:
The New York Times has brought on an anti-LGBTQ+ columnist, David French, a former National Review editor who was once an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
The Times announced French’s hiring
Tuesday, calling him “an expert on the law, faith and politics.” But
GLAAD is pointing to his “deep history of anti-LGBTQ activism.” GLAAD
also notes that he joins the Times after the paper ended its
relationship with acclaimed trans writer Jenny Boylan last year and
brought on another anti-LGBTQ+ columnist, Pamela Paul.
And here is the statement from GLAAD:
GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and
queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to the New York
Times’ recent announcement of their hiring of anti-LGBTQ attorney and
writer David French as a columnist.
GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis responded on Twitter and below:
“It is appalling that The New York Times hired and is now boasting
about bringing on David French, a writer and attorney with a deep
history of anti-LGBTQ activism. After more than a year of inaccurate,
misleading LGBTQ coverage in the Times opinion and news pages, the Times
started 2023 by announcing a second anti-transgender opinion columnist,
without a single known trans voice represented on staff. A cursory
search for French turns up numerous anti-LGBTQ articles and his record
as an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group
that actively spreads misinformation about LGBTQ people and pushes
baseless legislation and lawsuits to legalize discrimination, including just last month
at the Supreme Court. The Times left out these facts in its glowing
announcement of French’s hiring, and also forgot to mention his work as a
co-signer on the 2017 Nashville Statement, which erased LGBTQ voices of
faith and falsely stated ‘that it is sinful to approve of homosexual
immorality or transgenderism.’ The Times had the gall to claim French as
a ‘faith’ expert despite this known history.
The Times’ opinion section continues to platform non-LGBTQ voices
speaking up inaccurately and harmfully about LGBTQ people and issues.
This is damaging to the paper’s credibility. The Times opinion section
editors’ love letter to French yesterday shows a willful disregard of
LGBTQ community voices and the concerns so many have shared about their
inaccurate, exclusionary, often ridiculous pieces. Last year, the Times
ended popular trans writer Jenny Boylan’s column, leaving the opinion
section with no trans columnists and a known lack of transgender
representation on its overall staff. Who was brought on after Boylan?
Pamela Paul, who has devoted columns to anti-transgender and anti-LGBTQ
disinformation, and David French. This reflects a growing trend on the
news and opinion pages of misguided, inaccurate, and disingenuous ‘both
sides’ fearmongering and bad faith ‘just asking questions’ coverage. The
Times started 2023 by bragging about hiring another anti-trans writer,
so LGBTQ leaders, organizations, and allies should make a 2023
resolution not to stay silent as the Times platforms lies, bias, fringe
theories, and dangerous inaccuracies.”
Examples of French’s anti-LGBTQ activism:
Examples of NYT Columnist Pamela Paul’s anti-LGBTQ work:
Recent examples of inaccurate news coverage of LGBTQ people and youth, and their consequences:
- The state of Texas used Emily Bazelon’s June 15 report
in The New York Times Magazine to further target families of trans
youth in court documents over their private, evidence-based healthcare
major medical association supports gender affirming care as best
practices care that is safe and lifesaving and has widespread consensus
of the medical and scientific communities.
- The World Professional Association of Transgender Healthcare
(WPATH), the world’s leading medical and research authority on
transgender healthcare, criticized
the Times’ November 2022 article “They Paused Puberty, But Is There a
Cost?” as “furthering the atmosphere of misinformation” about healthcare
for trans youth, noting its inaccurate narratives, interpretations and
non-expert voices. WPATH noted the Times elevated false and inflammatory
notions about medications that have been used safely in non-LGBTQ
populations for decades without an explicit statement about how the
benefits of the treatment far outweigh potential risks.
- Writer Michael Powell elevated anti-transgender voices to falsely
assert, in a piece about one successful transgender athlete, that
transgender athletes are a threat to women’s sports.
Powell’s other pieces have been used to support Pamela Paul’s
inaccurate opinion essays falsely claiming “women” are being erased by
the inclusion of trans people in discussions about abortion access.
THE NEW YORK TIMES itself has a lengthy
history of homophobia. Most recently, they ran their factually
incorrect piece on transgender persons. It's amazing that the staff
managed to clutch the pearls over the publication of a column by a US
senator and get an editor fired over it but they never feel the need to
question the repeated and ongoing homophobia of the paper. More to the
point, NYT, in the digital age, goes out of its way to market itself as
some sort of left outpost left fighting in the wilderness and so many
idiots believe it and think NYT is anything but an elitist, corporatist
paper. This goes to the reality of what a cesspool it actually is.
2023, there is a war going on against LGBTQ+ people and THE NEW YORK
TIMES' response? To hire yet another homophobe columnist. They are
pouring gasoline on top of a raging fire. Mary Harris (SLATE) notes:
the past year, there’s been a sharp uptick in anti-LGBTQ incidents
around the country. One group estimates that there’s been a 12-fold
increase in demonstrations and political violence targeted at the queer
community, just since 2000. In fact, the very same people in the
audience watching the Respect for Marriage Act get signed? They were
fighting off harassment the moment they got home.
to a drag artist by the name of Marti G. Cummings. They’re a nonbinary
performer here in New York City, and they were invited to the White
House ceremony. And the night after the signing, Tucker Carlson ran a segment
about this and included references to Marti Cummings, saying that they
have an unusual interest in children,” Mack says. “Marti Cummings told
me that to them, Tucker Carlson knows what he’s doing. To frame drag
artists as this predatory threat to children is something that felt very
shocking to me in March. But now, I’m not shocked at all. That focus on
children is not a coincidence. It is entirely related to the events
that we saw in the pandemic and the political strategy that sections of
the right developed.”
On Wednesday’s episode of What Next,
we try to make sense of this bifurcated moment for the queer community
by examining the common thread linking conservative activism around
COVID to anti-gay demonstrations in the street. My conversation with
David Mack has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Mary Harris: Back when a shooter opened fire in a Colorado Springs gay nightclub, in November, BuzzFeed’s David Mack wrote an article lamenting the fact that this kind of violence seemed inevitable. Mack was hurting as he wrote this—he’s gay himself; he felt at risk. But he also felt like he should have seen this violence coming.
him, it didn’t begin with gay people at all. Instead, it began with
concerns around COVID and schools. Because protecting children seemed to
resonate. Over the past year, he says he’s watched this political
David Mack: It’s
funny. In November 2021, I was in Grand Junction, Colorado, for a
school board race, of all things. I’d chosen to go there for a few
reasons. It’s a bit of a hotbed for election denialism. It was having
this school board race that was suddenly very partisan. And it’s also an
overwhelmingly white area where suddenly “critical race theory” was
this big subject of debate. One of the candidates told me that she’d
knocked on a door and someone had told her that they blamed “critical
race theory” for turning their child bisexual.
Whoa. Quite a leap there.
certainly was. But it spoke perfectly to this wonderful boogeyman that
the right had created. Most people I spoke to, even the candidates
themselves, couldn’t really define what CRT was. It became this
wonderful catchall for anything that could possibly influence young
minds to hate America or to make them less American. And to make them
less conservative is where it naturally led.
the presumed innocence of children is what connects all this. Whether
conservative parents were talking about “critical race theory” or LGBTQ
issues, the idea was the same: to avoid “corrupting the minds of young
to be clear, I’m not the one marrying these things. In Ohio, one of the
bills that was put forward to legislate against “critical race theory”
also included, in the very same bill, language that mirrored
restrictions on sexual teachings, on sexual orientation, and on gender
identity that you saw famously in the “don’t say gay” bill in Florida.
Do you think it is a top-down strategy? Or do you think it’s more like something was successful and then it spread and morphed?
people at the highest levels of the Republican Party are aware of this
strategy and are using this strategy. You saw Glenn Youngkin in Virginia
run in 2021 on a campaign about giving parents more control over the
curriculum and listening to parents when it comes to schools. And
they’re clearly recognizing schools and classrooms are a winning issue.
Steve Bannon famously said last year the path to retake the country runs
through school board elections.
These attacks are
not happening by chance. It is an organized effort and it needs to be
stopped. Silence isn't going to stop it. Playing footsie with that
Mother Tucker Carlson -- the way Glenn Greenwald does -- is not an
answer. This nonsense needs to be called out and called out loudly.
Jesse Thomas (WSWS) reports:
showing New York City (NYPD) policemen holding the metro transit fare
gates open for several members of the Proud Boys has surfaced on social
media, garnering millions of views in the 48-hour period since its
The individual filming the video can be heard questioning
the officers’ actions in disbelief, demanding to know if the militia
members were being allowed to evade the subway fare by the police.
video was posted on TikTok on Sunday, and by Tuesday evening it had
upwards of a third of a million individual user “likes,” 18,000 comments
and 13,000 “shares.” A reposting of the video on Twitter showed 3.4
million more views, along with 13.9 million views of the thread to which
it had been attached.
In an example of popular disgust with the
collaboration between the police and the political far-right, one
commenter wrote, “I’ve literally seen the NYPD chase people [for] fair
evasion, this is insane.” Another user added, “cops let their own in.”
video was filmed after the Proud Boys, along with the ultra-religious,
anti-vaccine, anti-LGBTQ Guardians of Divinity, threatened a Drag Queen
Story Hour (DSH) event at the Queens Public Library in Jackson Heights
on December 29.
Between the two extreme-right organizations, over
two dozen members were present at the event, while about 150
counter-demonstrators showed up in protest against the far-right
provocateurs. Guardians of Divinity members and Proud Boys hurled
slanderous epithets and attempted to intimidate supporters of the event.
made a choice and that choice needs to be investigated and called out.
Silence is not the answer in these attacks, looking the other way is
not a solution. Ibtisam Mara'ana (HAARETZ) notes:
Two days ago, while in Abed’s supermarket
in Jaffa, I noticed the tahini shelf was full of Al Arz Tahini. The
brand is owned by Julia Zaher, who joined in aiding The Aguda – The
Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel and promised to fund the LGBT
hotline for Arabs. Her support, both on the ideological and financial
levels, stirred up a storm. Calls were heard to boycott the company’s
products, and supermarket owners in Arab communities removed the
products from their shelves.
storm spread to all of Israeli society and for a few days the tahini
was one of the hottest and most talked about topics in the country. The
support from the liberal Jewish Israeli community on behalf of the Arab
community was amazing and heartwarming. People specifically bought Al
Arz Tahini to support and express solidarity with the Arab LGBT community, in support of equality and against silencing people.
The tahini controversy penetrated almost every Arab home in Israel. The
company did not lose money and did not go out of business. Zaher did
receive threats and shocking responses, but in the end everyone was
still alive, the tahini was still on the shelves as a fact on the
ground, and the same goes for the LGBT community.
Recently and to my great regret, the efforts that succeeded in forming a new government of incitement and hatred against the LGBT community,
Arabs and other minorities require us to take a very brave step and
create a civil political coalition for full equality for everyone, men
and women. It is impossible to demand civil equality for the Arab
community without demanding equality for the LGBT community and other
minority groups that live among us, like refugees and those without
residency status. Impossible, period.
are interrelated and we can take them on working together. We do
nothing by staying silent or pretending that Mother Tucker is just
joking and really a good guy because he brings on Glenn Greenwald and
Jimmy Dore -- who never call out his homophobia and spend forever
defending him. They're choosing sides and it's not being on the side of
The people in Iraq are protesting. Chenar Chalak (RUDAW) reports:
Hundreds of recently graduated teachers who have been working without
receiving payments for years gathered in Kirkuk on Wednesday to protest
their lack of contractual employment, calling on the Iraqi government
to address their concerns.
Iraq’s Education Minister Ibrahim Namis al-Jubouri announced on
Tuesday that the council of ministers has agreed to include teachers of
the graduating class of 2020 in the 2023 budget, granting them
employment by contract. The decision does not include graduates from any
other year, many of whom have been teaching free of charge and without
contracts for years.
“We teach at schools without any privileges… Yesterday evening, a
decision was issued to employ graduates of 2020, we are graduates of
2019, 2021, 2022 and we are still waiting… We have been teaching for
free for two years,” one of the protesters told Rudaw’s Hiwa Hussamadin.
Most graduates resort to teaching for free hoping it would lead to full-time employment.
This takes place as Iraq sees record income from oil. John Lee (OZ ARAB MEDIA) notes:
The Iraqi Minister of Oil, Hayan Abdul-Ghani, has
announced revenues of more than $115 billion from exporting crude oil
for the year 2022.
More than 1,209 billion barrels of crude oil were exported, giving a
daily export rate is approximately 3.320 million barrels per day (bpd).
ARABIAN BUSINESS notes,
"This is a four-year high following a collapse in prices during the
Covid-19 pandemic." But it means nothing for the Iraqi people because
the US-installed government in Iraq has never attempted to better the
lives of the Iraqi people. Nouri al-Maliki and his family got rich
after the 2003 invasion, it was the Iraqi people who struggled. Jobs
are nowhere to be found and politicians and officials steal the public
monies. There's no investment in infrastructure. There's no investment
in the people. That's what The October Revolution was protesting
against: corruption that destroyed not just the chances of the young
people but the entire country. Iraq is one of the most corrupt
countries in the world as ranked by Transperency International. RUDAW notes:
At least five people were wounded in Kirkuk on Monday as police applied
force to disperse hundreds of angry demonstrators who protested the lack
of employment by the North Oil Company (NOC) and tried to storm its
A total of 1350 college graduates received a six-month-long training
course by the state-run NOC four years ago, but have not yet been
employed. Of this number, Over 450 of them staged an angry protest on
A protester told Rudaw that Baghdad already consented to employ 458 of
the trained graduates, but they were not true to their words and that
they employed other people instead of them.
billion from oil last year and they still can't provide job
opportunites. It's the result of the corruption that is now embedded in
the government the US installed, created and formented. ASHARQ AL-AWSAT notes:
The Federal Supreme Court in Iraq recognized the lack
of real will of the political class to combat corruption. This came in
the wake of the Iraqi National Security Agency announcing that it had
uncovered the largest crude oil smuggling network.
“Iraqis have lost their confidence in public offices due to
widespread financial and administrative corruption among employees at a
time when the administrative system in Iraq was one of the most
prominent systems in the Middle East,” said head of the Federal Supreme
Court Judge Jassim Mohammed Abboud.
While the parties behind the oil smuggling network remain unknown,
defendants accused of embezzling $2.5 billion from a government taxpayer
account are still at large. Nour Zuhair, the only defendant arrested in
the case, was released on bail with authorities hoping to recover
As for Abboud, he told the Iraqi News Agency (INA), that corruption in Iraq is divided into two types.
“Petty corruption is what is committed by junior employees, and this
leads to the Iraqi citizen losing confidence in the public office,” he
“Grand corruption is what is committed by senior officials or by some
political parties. This corruption is what impedes the building of the
state,” he explained.
The following sites updated: