Rolling Stone reports GLAAD's response:
“The conversations that have arisen after Matt Damon’s original interview and subsequent remarks today are an important reminder that this word, or any word that aims to disparage and disrespect LGBTQ people, has no place in mainstream media, social media, classrooms, workplaces, and beyond,” Anthony Allen Ramos, GLAAD’s Head of Talent, wrote in the statement. “There needs to be accountability at a time when anti-LGBTQ slurs remain rampant today and can fuel discrimination and stereotypes, especially when used by those outside of the community to defame or describe LGBTQ people.”
At USA TODAY, David Oliver writes:
Not to mention the fact the word has a deadly connotation, too: "Countless gay men have been attacked, beaten and even killed with that word being the last thing they hear, but sure, go Matt," Twitter user @TJ_Knight wrote.
Straight and cisgender people often wonder why the LGBTQ community doesn't shut up about their queerness.
To those people, let me say: This is why.
If someone as high-profile as Damon, with unfettered access to educational materials, has just learned that you can't say the "f-word" anymore, no matter the context – and that you shouldn't have said it at all in the first place – what stops anyone else?
[. . .]
Statistics bear the importance of promoting acceptance. Queer kids contemplate killing themselves at alarming rates. According to The Trevor Project, 42% of LGBTQ young people "seriously considered" suicide this past year alone. That's nearly half of LGBTQ youth. Read that back: Nearly. Half. And more than half of them were transgender and nonbinary.
Every time someone slips in a slur like the "f-word," they should stare at that statistic until it sinks in.
Like a lot of us at first, Michael J. Stern felt the interview had to be misrepresented, that surely Matt Damon didn't say what he was being said to have said. So he subscribed to The Times of London to read the original source. He found that it was exactly as reported:
In the past few months, while eating a meal with his family, Damon made a joke and referred to a gay man as a “f-----.” This upset one of his daughters, and when Damon defended himself by saying he had used the word in a 2003 movie, suggesting that if it was in a movie it was OK, his daughter was having none of it. She went to her room and wrote what he called a “treatise” on why it’s wrong to use that word to refer to gays. It was his daughter’s effort that persuaded Damon to, as he put it, “retire the f-slur.”
So we’re clear, the "f-slur" is a hateful term used by people to demean gay men. It is frequently connected with the threat of violence – like when a bunch of thugs thump baseball bats on the side of their truck and scream it as they drive by a gay man. And it is often twisted into the malevolence of actual violence – like when one of the men who murdered Matthew Shepard referred to him as a “f--” who "needed killing," after beating Matthew bloody, tying him to a rail fence and leaving him to die on a cold Wyoming prairie.
That it took Damon’s daughter, in 2021, to explain to him why it’s wrong to use this slur left me in a state of nausea composed of equal parts shock, anger and sadness.
At The Mary Sue, Briana Lawrence notes:
I really don’t need to know that, in 2021, there are people who still don’t get why an extremely common gay slur in use for more than a century is bad. I don’t need to know that their children are having to teach them something that should be common knowledge at this point. It’s not like this slur is new territory, for decades its primary use was to hurt the queer community.
And really, the most frustrating part is the fact that the queer community is expected to accept what Matt Damon’s saying here. We’re supposed to praise him for altering his mindset, focus the narrative on his feelings and his supposed growth instead of the horrific realization that in 2021 people are still using gay slurs at the dinner table in an attempt to tell a joke.
And even worse, we’re supposed to congratulate them for stopping.
While you were going through this moment of self-discovery, Mr. Damon, I was having to come to terms with the fact that people like you still have a lot of learning to do in regards to not calling me a slur that’s older than my 30+ self. By you revealing this bit of information about yourself, you now have folks telling the queer community that they shouldn’t be so hard on you because at least you made an attempt.
Because the comment received reactions online that were decidedly not “we are proud of Matt Damon for his fearless retirement of the ‘f-slur,’” Damon has released a lengthy statement to Variety in an effort to correct, or at least an attempt to adjust, the record. Instead of the family scene he described, during which his daughter wrote him a letter to explain why his recent use of a word in a joke was incorrect even after he told her it was “a joke!,” it seems the scene was actually … a different scene entirely. A scene during which the whole family united in their non-use, ever, of the “f-slur” (now referenced, somewhat jarringly, as “f*g” and “f****t”) and their commitment to supporting the LGBTQ+ community; a hot commodity lately.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, August 5, 2021. What's going on with the Talabanis?
Starting in the US where THE HILL reports:
“My dad is deeply troubled about where our party is, deeply troubled about where the country is,” Cheney said during an event hosted by the Aspen Institute.
She said her father, who served under former President George W. Bush, has been a “tremendous source of advice and guidance and wisdom for me.”
That's where she gets her "advice and guidance and wisdom" from? Well that certainly explains why she's so damn stupid, doesn't it?
I thought she was just so repulsive and stupid because of karma for being a deferment baby. That's what she was. Her father who destroyed Iraq was a young man once. And the US was at war with Vietnam. And Dick Cheney didn't want to go. So he had Liz and the others in the litter.
As Timothy Noah (SLATE) explained in 2004:
Cheney’s unself-consciousness about this is (or at least was) so pronounced that in 1989 he told George C. Wilson of the Washington Post, “I had other priorities in the ‘60s than military service.”
What Chatterbox never realized until recently, however, is that Cheney’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth Cheney, likely owes her very existence to her father’s avoidance of the Vietnam draft.
The Washington Post’s Phil McCombs made the intimate calculations in a profile published in April 1991, when Cheney was defense secretary. The timeline:
Aug. 29, 1964: Dick and Lynne Cheney marry.May 19, 1965: The Selective Service classifies Dick Cheney 1-A, “available immediately for military service.”July 28, 1965: President Lyndon Johnson says draft calls will be doubled.Oct. 26, 1965: The Selective Service declares that married men without children, who were previously exempted from the draft, will now be called up. Married men with children remain exempt.Jan. 19, 1966: The Selective Service reclassifies Dick Cheney 3-A, “deferred from military service because service would cause hardship upon his family,” because his wife is pregnant with their first child.July 28, 1966: Elizabeth Cheney is born.Jan. 30, 1967: Dick Cheney turns 26 and therefore becomes ineligible for the draft.
Dedicated students of obstetrics will observe that Elizabeth Cheney’s birth date falls precisely nine months and two days after the Selective Service publicly revoked its policy of not drafting childless husbands. This would seem to indicate that the Cheneys, though doubtless planning to have children sometime, were seized with an untamable passion the moment Dick Cheney became vulnerable to the Vietnam draft. And acted on it. Carpe diem!
Who says government policy can’t affect human behavior?
That's Dick Cheney. A War Hawk unless he has to serve and then he has 'better' things to do. And he's hailed as hero by his daughter that got him out of serving. Liz is a War Hawk as well. Why didn't she serve? It's interesting how so many War Hawks are so quick to find something else to do but are more than happy to send others to fight wars.
Iraq is an ongoing tragedy. Maybe Liz Cheney needs to grasp that her father is a War Criminal and no one needs to hear from him or her? Sorry that I can't join the faux resistance in rooting on a piece of trash like Liz Cheney or her father.
Sorry that I can't overlook the million-plus Iraqis who are dead or the others who have been left wounded, the ongoing suffering, to celebrate the hideous Dick Cheney and his butt ugly daughter.
Before we move outside the US, we'll note this statement from Senator Dick Durbin's office:
Durbin Statement On Senate Committee Vote On Repeal Of 2002 Iraq AUMF
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement regarding today’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote on the repeal of the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq:
“Our Constitution is clear—only the United States Congress has the power to declare war. For too long, Congress has abdicated this most serious of responsibilities. I support this bipartisan effort to terminate the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Iraq. As one of only 23 Senators to vote against the 2002 Iraq War authorization, it is long overdue that we turn the page on this war.”
In a speech on the Senate floor today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reiterated his intention to bring the repeal up for a vote in the Senate later this year.
Let's move over to northern Iraq, to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region. Amberin Zaman (AL-MONITOR) reports:
The power struggle for leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan’s second most powerful political party has escalated once again, as one of the contenders declared he was not pulling out of the fight, raising fears of protracted instability in what remains the most secure and Western-friendly part of Iraq.
Lahur Talabani, the ousted co-chair of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), declared Tuesday that authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest and dozens of men both armed and unarmed had gathered outside his home in Sulaimaniyah over the past two days in a bid to scare him into leaving the country.
He was shorn of all of his powers in a bloodless coup by his cousins Bafel Talabani and Qubad Talabani last month. He said he had no intention of caving and would “face this plot head-on” and “will not leave my nation until my last breath.”
The drama is unfolding against a backdrop of mounting public fury with the elites that share power in the Kurdistan Regional Government — namely, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by the Barzani family, and the PUK that was founded by Bafel and Qubad’s late father, Jalal Talabani. Nechirvan Barzani is the president of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and his cousin Masrour Barzani is the prime minister. Qubad Talabani is the deputy prime minister and, unlike Lahur Talabani who is openly hostile to the Barzanis, has excellent relations with the KDP.
The family dysfunction plays out on the public stage. Ara Tweets:
There is a whole story about the betrayals of the Talabanis. They are out of touch and have demonstrated that repeatedly. After deceiving the country about Jalal's health -- he should have been removed from office for being incapacitated -- what was the family's next big public move? To do the US government's bidding. A Talabani rushes back to Iraq, from his home in the US (his home in the US, that's where his home is) and opposed the KRG non-binding resolution asking whether Kurds would rather be part of Iraq or their own autonomous nation.
Cheered on by the US press, he was a bit of a celebrity . . . outside of Kurdistan. That resolution passed by approximately 95%. Do you get how out of step the Talabanis are with their fellow Kurds? Do you get the damage the family continues to do to the PUK.
Sure, they get US tax payer money to line their own pockets but, at some point, they need to grasp that they won't get that money if they have no influence over the Kurds. And they're approaching that point. Soon they may not be able to afford pricey homes across the US. Zack Kopplin (THE NEW REPUBLIC) noted last year:
Bribing one politician is bad. Bribing all the politicians is worse. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating a group of companies in Kurdistan, Iraq’s semi-independent northern region, that appears to be doing the latter in order to secure a monopoly on Pentagon fuel contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
A previous New Republic investigation outlined how Kurdish and American firms used shell companies with connections to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the region’s two major political parties, to dominate fuel sales to the U.S. military and inflate prices. But PUK-aligned groups aren’t the only ones cashing in on these American fuel purchases: A tangled network of corruption illustrates how ostensible rivals can cooperate to rip off the Defense Department.
According to Kurdish government documents provided to the Government Accountability Project, where I work, additional shell companies also connect the fuel-fleecing to the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the region’s other major political faction, led by former President Massoud Barzani and his powerful family, a clan of American-sponsored kleptocrats. The billionaire Barzanis are Kurdistan’s “unofficial monarchs,” said Kamal Chomani, a nonresident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy and editor in chief of the Kurdistan Times, an independent news outlet. “We always referred to them as the Mafia,” said a former U.S. government adviser in Iraq, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.
The Barzani family’s assets span the globe. “It was never practical to keep track of that stuff,” a former U.S. anti-corruption official said about the vast Barzani holdings, which were spread from Syria to Switzerland. And, in an awkward twist, some of the millions swindled from the U.S. military may have ended up as investments in California’s luxury real estate market.
While the scope of the Barzanis’ wealth is vast, its source is simple: The money comes from Kurdistan’s rich oil and gas industry and deals like the Pentagon fuel purchases. Requests for comment sent to an adviser for Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, as well as to a public relations firm that previously worked for the Barzani family, went unanswered.
Tracing the Kurdish fuel deals leads to a Virginia-based logistics company, DGCI. For at least , DGCI has been the Pentagon’s go-to fuel provider in Kurdistan and has been dogged by questions about its connections to Kurdish politicians.
Most recently, DGCI was contracted by the U.S. military to deliver wildly overpriced jet fuel, at rates as high as $10 a gallon, to an American base at the international airport in Erbil, Kurdistan’s capital. The Erbil airport is a key staging point for fuel deliveries into Syria, part of America’s continued involvement in that country’s civil war.
[. . .]
In Kurdistan, monopolies happen because you have power or pay off those who do. DGCI is paired with a Kurdish conglomerate called Zozik Group; together, they share ownership of a subsidiary called Triple Arrow. Zozik, which did not respond to my requests for comment, has faced long-standing allegations that it’s a channel for bribes to PUK officials, as detailed in the earlier New Republic investigation.
But PUK connections alone don’t explain DGCI’s overpriced deliveries to Erbil, which is outside the party’s primary territory. Even early in the U.S. occupation of Iraq, State Department officials conceded internally that corruption in Erbil “centers more on the Barzani clan,” according to diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks. In Erbil, “the Barzanis have to have at least half of the shares of big businesses,” said Abdulla Hawez, a Kurdish journalist and researcher. Sources said that Zozik and DGCI cooperated with companies linked to Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party bloc in order to deliver fuel to the U.S. government.
The Barzanis greed is so obvious that even THE NEW YORK TIMES has covered the $47 billion Beverly Hills mansion that US taxpayers appear to be fotting the bill on.
Kanaa Ayoub Tweets:
There is a huge story that's being ignored by the bulk of western media.
The following sites updated: