Kelly McClure

'Not enough': Iran may be disbanding its 'morality police' but women are skeptical of the motive

Iran's attorney general, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, announced over the weekend that the country will be moving forward with the decision to disband their "morality police," which was tasked with enforcing strict Islamic dress code.

This move comes in the wake of a young woman named Mahsa Amini being detained and killed in September for breaking said dress code by refusing to wear a hijab in public.

Following the death of Amini, whose non-government first name was Jîna, which means "life" in Kurdish, protests broke out in and outside of the Middle East as others took up her position of doing away with oppressive dress codes for women and there's suspicion that the disbanding of the morality police is nothing more than an attempt to quiet protestors, leaving Iranian women fearful of what's to come once attentions are diverted.

"The morality police had nothing to do with the judiciary and have been shut down from where they were set up," Montazeri said in his statement on the disbanding of morality police. As BBC's coverage highlights, "control of the force lies with the interior ministry."

"Even the government saying the hijab is a personal choice is not enough," one Iranian woman said to BBC. "People know Iran has no future with this government in power. We will see more people from different factions of Iranian society, moderate and traditional, coming out in support of women to get more of their rights back."

"It's disinformation that Islamic Republic of Iran has abolished its morality police. It's a tactic to stop the uprising," said Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad on Twitter. "Protesters are not facing guns and bullets to abolish morality police or forced hijab.They want to end Islamic regime."

"No, morality police has not been abolished in Iran. This is a fake story cooked up by the regime to make you think everything is over," said comedian and activist Chelsea Hart in her own tweet. "Western media is publishing propaganda with zero fact-checking. Dozens of people, including children, have now been executed in their silence."

Put into further perspective by Aljazeera writer Maziar Motamedi, "the morality police were just one very visible tool of implementing mandatory hijab," and "no senior official has seriously signaled in public that a major change in hijab laws could be implemented soon."

'I'll burn Arizona to the ground': SNL roasts election-denier Kari Lake

In the cold open for "Saturday Night Live," hosted by Dave Chappelle, SNL alum Cecily Strong brought back her near-perfect Kari Lake portrayal to rib the Republican's refusal to admit defeat in her race for Arizona governor.

In the sketch, Strong as Lake appears in a segment of "Fox & Friends" to answer questions about her run in the midterms, and flip flops between blaming Democracy for her loss, if she does in fact lose, and thanking Democracy for helping her win if that ends up being the unlikely outcome.

"Nearly every candidate Trump backed lost this week, except for one" says SNL's Mikey Day as Fox host, Steve Doocy, kicking it over to Strong as Lake.

"Greeting from Arizona, where the average age and temperature is 95," Strong says.

"Thanks for being here during what must be a very stressful time," says Bowen Yang as Fox host Brian Kilmeade.

"Hey, my campaign isn't dead yet," Strong says. "Even though my camera filter makes it look like I'm in heaven."

"Now, Kari, this seemed like a race you'd easily win, yet it's been a real nailbiter," says Heidi Gardner as Fox host Ainsley Earhardt. "You and your opponent are currently neck and neck."

"That is because the Maricopa County officials are incompetent," Strong says. "And it's my belief that the election is rigged and the results should be thrown out."

When the hosts break away to read off new numbers coming in, Strong's Lake changes her tune based on whether or not they're in her favor.

"I am 100 percent confident that I am going to win this election," Strong says. "And I won't stop fighting until every vote is counted and then some votes are taken away. Because who do Arizonans want leading them? Katie Hobbs, who's hiding in a basement? Or me, Kari Lake, who lives right here in this beautiful pool of vaseline. And who's out there every day at CVS asking Black customers if they work here."

"Well we are rooting for you, Kari. We know the votes will go your way," says Day as Doocy.

"Well if they don't, I'll burn Arizona to the ground," Strong says in closing.

As of Sunday morning, Lake is still dragging behind in her race at 49.3% to Katie Hobbs' 50.7%.

Watch the sketch here:

Fox & Friends Cold Open - SNL youtu.be

Peter Thiel invested $1.5m in right-wing dating app 'The Right Stuff'

In 2022 it's as easy to use an app for dating as it is to order up a cheeseburger; and just as specifications such as "extra ketchup" can be made for the latter, "extra conservative" can now be requested for the former.

The rise of apps catered towards lonely-hearts with specific tastes in bedfellows has brought about Raya — a private, membership-based network for celebrities and non-famous rich people, Christian Mingle — for those who'd prefer to pray and play, and now The Right Stuff — a dating app for right-wingers who would hear Beyoncé's call to swipe "to the left, to the left" and shudder.

Developed by Ryann McEnany, the sister of former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, The Right Stuff is backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who invested $1.5m into the project, according to The Guardian. Although Thiel himself identifies as a gay man, The Right Stuff is marketed towards ultra-conservative heterosexuals only.

"I've gotta tell you about something I'm so excited to announce," McEnany says in a promo video for The Right Stuff. "A dating app for all of us conservatives . . . What I love most about it is that it's invite only, so not just anyone can join. First of all, it's free to use, and for my ladies, you'll never have to pay . . . Gentlemen, if you want access to premium, that's on you. And by the way, those are the only two options: ladies and gentlemen."

Shortly after launching on September 30, The Right Stuff was pummeled with bad reviews. According to Gizmodo, users complained "that the app is short on women, that the invite-only system makes it impossible to actually join, and that answering a profile prompt about January 6 led to contact from law enforcement."

"I can't f**king believe this. I looked at the reviews for "The Right Stuff" dating app and it asks you during registration if you attended jan 6th," comments a person on Twitter. "If you say yes, the feds try to pin domestic terrorism charges on you. Outstanding."

Leading up to the launch of The Right Stuff, co-founder Daniel Huff spoke to Glenn Beck to discuss the selling points of the app.

"For too long, conservatives have been playing catch-up with liberal tech" Huff said. "They have YouTube and we have Rumble. They have Twitter and we have Truth Social. What we need to do is to actually just get ahead. We wanna not just catch up, we wanna create a superior product, and we're able to do that by actually adding features that no one else has."

One of the features Huff mentions is called "post-date," which allows people to go on and post that they have tickets to a ballgame, as an example, and ask if anyone would like to join them. Assuming that people express interest, the original poster in the "post-date" function can then choose who they'd like to bring.

"The failing MAGA dating app The Right Stuff is reportedly having trouble getting women to sign up. That's no surprise after you watch one of their promos aimed at women," Tweets Young Turks writer Matthew Sheffield.

"The Right Stuff is a great new dating app for conservatives hoping to match with that special...FBI agent monitoring the site," joked Trevor Noah, former host of The Daily Show.

GOP senator’s campaign ad advises voters: 'Next time you get in trouble, call a crackhead'

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy has released a new campaign ad in his run for re-election that is causing a stir even outside state lines.

In the 30-second ad, Kennedy speaks in a stern voice to the camera saying "Violent crime is surging in Louisiana. Woke leaders blame the police. I blame the criminals. A mom should not have to look over her shoulder when she's pumping gas. I voted against the early release of violent criminals and I opposed defunding the police. Look, if you hate cops just because they're cops, the next time you get in trouble, call a crackhead."

In a recent interview with Fox News, Kennedy says "If we wanna get control of this crime problem that we have, we're gonna have to do a couple of things. We're gonna have to hire more cops. New Orleans and my state need 2,000 cops on the street. We've got less than 1,000."

In the interview, Kennedy goes on to list further plans for action citing the need to pay cops a proper wage.

"You're not gonna get cops to work in this woke environment without paying them."

General response to Kennedy's campaign ad and earlier statements made regarding Louisiana crime vary from shock and disbelief to reminders of ways in which he hasn't practiced what he's preaching.

"We have to address violent crime," Democratic challenger Luke Mixon said in a statement obtained from Nola.com. "We do that by funding our police departments. Sen. Kennedy voted against $350 billion in funding for local police departments. To paraphrase Sen. Kennedy, watch what people do, not just their embarrassing one-liners."

"So senator Kennedy from the great state of Louisiana said that if you don't like police to call a crackhead when you need help," says US Army combat veteran Kevin Smith on Twitter. "They seriously believe that we actually need police and it's hilarious!"

Although crime in Louisiana has been an ongoing issue, locals are often left grappling with a dwindling "do nothing" police force. In one example of this, a New Orleans deputy constable was suspended in August for failing to respond to calls for help regarding a rape case.

On the night of the crime, which took place on July 26, a woman phoned 911 after witnessing another woman being raped in plain view on the street in the French Quarter.

"Actually, there's a police officer in front of me now," the woman told the dispatcher, via reporting by The Washington Post. "I mean, this police officer isn't even moving — he's still just parked here."

"He's gone. This … cop is still a block away . . . and this girl got raped in the street corner. There is a cop a block away."

Although the officer accused of ignoring the woman's calls for help wasn't a member of the New Orleans Police Department but rather a deputy constable with the Second City Court, according to The Washington Post, the woman also claimed to have seen two more police officers drive past the scene without offering assistance.

Doug Mastriano says it's 'disgusting' to discourage conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ kids

Doug Mastriano, Republican nominee for Pennsylvania governor, was Thursday's guest on conservative talk radio station 103.7 FM and spent a good portion of his segment talking about conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ youths.

In response to the news that current Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro are against the practice — which uses different methods to "cure" a person of sexual identities outside of heterosexuality — Mastriano made a passionate case to the contrary.

Doug Mastriano, Republican nominee for Pennsylvania governor, was Thursday's guest on conservative talk radio station 103.7 FM and spent a good portion of his segment talking about conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ youths.

In response to the news that current Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro are against the practice — which uses different methods to "cure" a person of sexual identities outside of heterosexuality — Mastriano made a passionate case to the contrary.

"This is disgusting to me, where bureaucrats and Tom Wolf — and Josh Shapiro — think it's okay to come in and threaten parents and therapists because their kids might be confused," Mastriano said to radio host Michele Jansen.

On August 16, Governor Wolf signed an executive order to protect the LGBTQIA+ community from state agencies who offer conversion therapy, but no part of that contained any such "threatening" of parents and therapists.

"Conversion therapy is a traumatic practice based on junk science that actively harms the people it supposedly seeks to treat," said Wolf on the order. "This discriminatory practice is widely rejected by medical and scientific professionals and has been proven to lead to worse mental health outcomes for LGBTQIA+ youth subjected to it. This is about keeping our children safe from bullying and extreme practices that harm them."

Josh Shapiro, who is ahead in the race for governor against Mastriano according to Huffington Post, echoes Wolf's views saying "As Governor, I'll pass nondiscrimination in Pennsylvania, ban conversion therapy practices for minors, and invest in mental health resources for youth . . . LGBTQ+ rights are human rights."

Circling back to Gov. Wolf's newly signed order to crack down on conversion therapy, he highlights in it that "researchers found that when they accounted for the harms caused by conversion therapy – including negative mental health outcomes and substance use – conversion therapy costs our nation $9.23 billion each year."

National Archives corrects the record after Trump accuses Obama of mishandling documents

In the days following the FBI's raid of Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, the Former President has erupted into a series of misdirections regarding Former President Obama and his own handling of documents during his presidency.

On Friday, Trump kept at it on Truth Social saying "President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!"

Producing evidence proving Trump's accusations to be false, The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration show that Obama did no such thing.

According to the National Archives, after Obama left the White House they "moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area, where they are maintained exclusively by NARA." They also point out that Obama, same as any other president following correct procedure, has "no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration."

In their own investigation of Trump's claims against Obama The Washington Post doubles down on the National Archives' clarification saying "As was reported back in late 2016, the Obama team was transferring the records to Chicago through the National Archives, which legally owns the documents once a president leaves office . . . "Once the documents ultimately reached a warehouse in Chicago, the Obama Foundation was then due to pay the National Archives and Record Administration to digitize the documents. The lengthiness of that process aside, there isn't the faintest hint of legal violations."

Dan Pfeiffer, co-host of "Pod Save America" and former Obama Senior Advisor chimed in on Trump's skewed chain of events with a humorous timeline on Twitter:

"Can't wait for the televised Obama and Clinton live reading of the Trump Mar-a-Lago Search Warrant," joked another person weighing in on Twitter.

Sean Hannity says that Trump could run for president from jail, if he wanted to

On Friday's episode of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, the host claims that Trump being sent to jail would not necessarily be a road block of any kind in terms of him deciding to run for president in 2024.

Going over possible scenarios for what's to come, Hannity says "What do you think the next thing that happens here is, do you think that they would try and indict the former president in the hopes of convicting him and having him in jail at the time of the next election to prevent him from running . . . Because a conviction by the way, constitutionally, would not prevent him from running for office."

Following the FBI's raid of Mar-a-Lago to search for sensitive documents that Trump took from the White House, Marc Elias, top lawyer for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, tweeted "The media is missing the really, really big reason why the raid today is a potential blockbuster in American politics."

Included with Elias' tweet is the image of a document detailing U.S. Code Title 18, Section 2071, which states that anyone "having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States."

But Hannity seems to have other thoughts on the matter.

"You know, this code that is being cited by Marc Elias and all these other people negates the very enumerated qualifications in the Constitution, and the specific requirements for somebody not to be eligible to run, and that would be impeachment and conviction," Hannity said during Friday's show. "It doesn't mention anything about being, you know, maybe not following every single dotted 'I' and crossed 't' in the Presidential Records Act of the National Archives Act."

Listen to a clip from the episode here.

QAnon's 'Q' delivers first new messages since 2020

On Friday, amidst the chaos of the news of the Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, QAnon's 'Q' left the first new series of messages since 2020.

The first message — "Shall we play a game once more?" — was left using 'Q's credentials on what Daily Beast refers to as an "anarchic internet community" called 8kun, and was later followed up with "Are you ready to serve your country again?" and then a third reading "Remember your oath."

When a member of the board replied to one of the messages saying "Throw us a bone Q, we've all been waiting for what seemed like an eternity. What's going on?" Q replied "It had to be done this way."

QAnon first made its presence known in 2017 as a conspiracy theory driven pro-Trump antagonist shrouded in anonymity and although their allegiance to Trump is clear, the former president is carefully dodgy when it comes to reciprocation.

"Rally organizers make a valiant effort to dispel Q merchandise such as t-shirts, flags, and signs at the rallies," said a Trump spokesperson in a quote to Politico. Having said that, QAnon members Jeffrey Pedersen and his podcast co-host Shady Grooove were granted press credentials to a Trump rally in Florida the same month Trump's spokesperson provided the previously mentioned quote.

"We are the news now," Pedersen wrote on his Telegram channel, according to Vice.

In 2021, Ashli Babbitt, a big name within the QAnon community, was killed during the January 6 Capitol riots and Trump himself spoke on the event, offering what seemed to be condolences.

"The person that shot Ashli Babbitt ... there was no reason for that. And why isn't that person being opened up, and why isn't that being studied? They've already written it off. They said that case is closed. If that were the opposite, that case would be going on for years and years, and it would not be pretty," Trump said.

The basis of QAnon's belief system is that the Democratic world is run by Satan-worshipping pedophiles and that an event called "The Storm," will one day take place where their enemies will be executed via orders from a military tribunal. According to The Guardian, support of QAnon has increased since Trump left the White House.

Rachel Maddow warns what 'fetal personhood' case could lead to

On Friday's episode of MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Maddow warned against the ramifications of a "fetal personhood" case reaching the Supreme Court, legally defining a fetus as a human being, and an abortion as murder.

Speaking on the topic shortly after the Supreme Court's 6-3 vote in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which upheld a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy; a ruling in which five of the six conservative justices concluded that decision required overturning Roe, although Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a concurring opinion in which he disagreed, Maddow put into perspective just what that could lead to.

"There's nothing in the reasoning of Friday's opinion from these six justices that would stop them from accepting something like a fetal personhood case," Maddow said on-air. "A fetal personhood case would give this court a path to not just let individual states ban abortion, which is what they did today ... A fetal personhood case could be their vehicle to impose a nationwide ban on abortion, on the order of the United States Supreme Court."

Former Vice President Mike Pence has already called for such a national ban, giving a statement to Breitbart News on Friday saying "Having been given this second chance for life, we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land."

"The anti-abortion political project of the Republican Party and the political right has been the central organizing principle for the right's entire effort around the judiciary, one for which there is still no match or mirror on the left. It's a big deal," Maddow said on her show Friday. "The conservatives have the power on this court, and they will now wield it however they want, to achieve whatever outcomes they want, to change the country however they want without restriction — and you must do what they say . . . For them, the dam has burst."

Watch below:

Watch Rachel Maddow Highlights: June 24 youtu.be

Bill Maher on why democracy is dying in plain sight

Bill Maher spoke on the subject of democracy during a rather somber segment of Friday's episode of "Real Time With Bill Maher."

"The Washington Post is wrong," Maher said, "Democracy doesn't die in darkness, it dies in plain sight, because enough people think democracy is a luxury that America can no longer afford."

The statement, which is in reference to The Washington Post's controversial masthead slogan, was met with stilted applause by Maher's studio audience, which caused the host to break into laughter before continuing on with his thoughts.

"That is pretty much the position of the republican party now; that you can vote for anyone you like, but it doesn't count if it's not us," Maher said. "Heads we win, tails we coup."

"I know that some people like to say there's not much difference between the parties, but actually in America 2022 there's more of a difference between the parties than there ever has been in American history," Maher continued. "Democrats, for all their flaws, still see democracy as the essence of America. They see America, and democracy, as inextricably linked. They believe that one without the other is unthinkable. Republicans? Thinkable!"

As proof of his point, Maher references Utah Senator Mike Lee who's quoted as saying "We're not a democracy. Democracy isn't the objective; liberty, peace and prosperity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that."

Maher jokes about this being a weird idea for a campaign ad, throwing in "vote for Mike Lee because voting is bad" as a possible slogan.

"This is a true sea change in American politics, and Mike Lee is not the only one saying it out loud," Maher said."

Watch the rest below:

New Rule: The War on Democracy | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) youtu.be

Putin sets Russia's nuclear forces on high alert

In response to what he's referring to as "aggressive statements" by NATO, Vladimir Putin has put Russia's nuclear forces on high alert as of Sunday morning.

"Western countries aren't only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading NATO members made aggressive statements regarding our country," Putin said in televised comments.

This statement from Putin, included in a Sunday morning report by The Washington Post, escalates the already fraught events of the push into Ukraine on behalf of Russian forces that began roughly a week ago. Since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine was put into direct motion by Putin, the looming threat of nuclear possibility has been on everyone's mind. Now, in the face of Putin's call to ready nuclear forces, that threat is at its closest.

"President Putin is continuing to escalate this war in a manner that is totally unacceptable," Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a quote used by The Washington Post. "And we have to continue to condemn his actions in the most strong, strongest possible way."

Overnight, Russian attacks in the Ukraine capital of Kyiv advanced to the east into Kharkiv where citizens braced for a full attack.

"The past night was tough – more shelling, more bombing of residential areas and civilian infrastructure," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. "There is not a single facility in the country that the occupiers wouldn't consider as admissible targets."

To assist with their defense against Russian attack, Ukraine government has approved the release of prisoners with military experience so that they might help in the fight for their country which grows more dire as the days progress.

Ukrainian military deputy commander Lt.-Gen. Yevhen Moisiuk issued a statement to Russian troops via a video posted to Facebook saying "Unload your weapons, raise your hands so that our servicemen and civilians can understand that you have heard us. This is your ticket home."

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