I have nothing to write about. That happens. My girlfriend said, "Of course you do! Highlight some of the stuff you liked this week."
Okay. Let me start with Ruth's "Caitlyn" which addresses the infamous Jenner. My cousin Stan took on bad actors with "Performers who really can't act: Elliot Page and Carey Mulligan.'' Ann's "R. Kelly victimized many" takes a look at predator R. Kelly. Mike's "James Bond, Jimmy Dore" and Rebecca's "'top gun' has its release postponed" take on how ticked off studios may be making potential ticket buyers as they keep postponing films. And, honestly, if James Bond gets postponed one more time, I won't bother to pay to see it when it does come out. Betty covers science in "To the moon, Alice, and to Mars as well" -- and I loved her title (a reference of Ralph's catch phrase on The Honeymooners). Elaine's "The Dana Girls and Kim Aldrich" because I loved the Kim Aldrich mysteries. I had all six books in the series. Trina's "Alabama mine workers" for its labor coverage. Kat's "Chase Rice, Duran Duran and Fiona Apple" is a good roundtable.
And on C.I., I'll highlight this:
We'll start with Glenn Greenwald so I can get him off the list. I usually have some things the day prior to a snapshot that I think I'll work in and then I wake up the next morning and am scanning the news while I'm on the treadmill or the stepper and dictating the snapshot and any plans fall apart. David Sirota had a great Tweet about Afghanistan, for example, and for a week I thought each morning that I'd work it in but never was able to.
Glenn Greenwald is a journalist. That's what he is -- that should pop up later in this discussion, so it's important that we get that fact established. Glenn's not above criticism, no one is (including me). And since we're not prefect, we're all deserving of negative criticism. Negative criticism can be a true analysis of the work (in a calm manner, in a wildly passionate manner, in any way at all) or it can just be bitchy.
Either can be good. A well thought out criticism can expand our knowledge. Good bitchy can make us laugh. Ava and I did pretty much nothing but bitchy at THIRD the first year or so. We didn't want to do cover TV to begin with. The first pieces (two? three?) were group efforts but what the readers enjoyed were Ava and I being snide. So Jim, Dona, Ty and Jess turned the TV pieces over to us. And it was fun being bitchy and it contained trueisms in the bitchy. SUPERNATURAL spawned an industry of fan fiction known as WINCEST -- where the two lead character (brothers) had sex with one another. That never surprised us because Ava and I noted whent he show debuted that watching it was like watching porn where the actors were too stupid to take off their clothes.
But, cautionary note, bitchy done well is one thing, bitchy that's tired and blah is really kind of embarrassing. It's like an old woman whose body has gone who thinks she's entertaining people around her by being mean and what she doesn't grasp is that, forty years ago, when she was in her 20s, it was cute to see an innocent looking, beautiful young woman making these comments but now it really wasn't funny. She'd aged out of it.
Glenn is not perfect. Glenn is not always right. He was wrong about the Iraq War, for example, and didn't get right about it until well after it had started. Glenn does important work and that's one reason we highlight him. The other is I'm not into dog piles. He is one of many currently being targeted repeatedly for a dog pile. Glenn's one of the many that it's become popular to attack. By attack, I mean smear. There's YOUTUBER who needs to learn what make up is but instead spends her time distorting what Glenn says and trying to turn the world against him.
Ken Silverstein was Glenn. He made some brave calls and ended up being targeted. I defended him for years and years and this site has always been supportive of him. I'm sad that he didn't take a moment to crow loudly, "I was right!" Because he was right about the Southern Poverty Law Center. He wrote an important expose years ago and he was right. But he was targeted and attacked for that piece. So he doesn't like Glenn. He may have good reason. He may not. I don't know.
And what's really sad there is that I don't know and that's after reading a three-part series on how awful Glenn is written by Ken and others at his website WASHINGTON BABLYON.
Search it on GOOGLE for the link. A woman named Emma wrote the public e-mail account (firstname.lastname@example.org) about the series and how I must love it because I hate Glenn. I don't hate Glenn. But I did take the time to read it. It was embarrassing.
Not every piece of writing can be good -- forget great. But this is three bad pieces, not one of which deserved to be published. They're not writing, they're pitches -- proposals that haven't been fleshed out. Ken writes that he feels Glenn has fooled people about the real Glenn. Okay? That might make for an interesting read -- how Glenn has done that. But Ken doesn't really get to that.
It's a horrible series and -- the reason I'm addressing it here -- it's a homophobic series. Ken's not the only writer of it. And his name isn't on the piece that reeks of homophobia but it's part of the series and Ken is responsible for all the original content that goes up at his site.
"Gay husband." Glenn's husband is David Miranda. This isn't a secret. Many have noted him (Glenn's noted him and Glenn and David aren't in the closet). David's a hottie and it's amusing when some who really hate Glenn try to make a deal about that. Are they jealous that Glenn landed a hottie? Are these presumably straight men realizing that they come off like they're sort of lusting after David? Who knows? But Glenn and David are parents and they have beautiful children.
Now in everything I wrote -- not quoted -- in the above I'm talking about Glenn and I'm noting his husband and their children and that they are parents, etc.
I'm not saying "gay parents." I'm not saying "gay husband."
I'm confused as to why -- in an attack on Glenn in 2021 from a supposed leftist outlet -- WASHINGTON BABLYON feels the need to write about Glenn's "gay husband"? Glenn's husband -- two terms that make it clear that Glenn is married to a man -- seem sufficient. The term "gay husband" -- in an attack article -- reeks of homophobia.
Also of ignorance. The series wants you to know Glenn isn't a journalist -- he is -- and that he has no journalistic training. Hmm. I seem to recall statements Ken has made about so-called professional journalists and their training. If you want to accuse Glenn of being self-taught, go for it. But he does have training. Ken's convinced Glenn approaches it as an attorney and to Ken that's not journalism. Glenn's a columnist. Glenn's doing what columnists do. Ken's all over the place in his critique of Glenn but never further from the shore then when he's trying to discredit Glenn's title as journalist.
The three-part series reads like a listacle -- only with even less thought behind it. And in terms of good bitchy it never arrives at that. It's tired and it's homophobic.
When we're angry, we often say things we wouldn't normally say. And I hope anger is the excuse for Ken being part of a series that looks homophobic. I hope that in a calm moment, Ken would grasp that his attack series looks like one of the reasons Glenn's being attacked is because of who he loves. And I hope Ken, in a calm moment, can grasp that is unacceptable.
Glenn and David have two children. Glenn and David are adults and can deal with it. And Glenn's personality is such that he dismisses homophobic attacks aimed at him as though they don't matter. (That has to do with his college days.) But we owe it to future generations -- including David and Glenn's children -- to make clear that this is unacceptable. It never should have been acceptable to begin with.
When Glenn was in high school, for example, it shouldn't have been acceptable for principals to openly ridicule or threaten male students because they were gay or to encourage straight students to harass gay students. But that is what happened. Over and over. And it was okay back then for many. Glenn had to grow up in that time period. It wasn't okay. We should all be embarrassed and ashamed by the way our country treated the entire LGBTQ community in the past. We made people live in fear, we made their lives miserable, we physically assaulted them. And more often than not, if this was met by more than a shrug, it was met with delight.
We need to acknowledge the very real scars that we put on an entire community because we couldn't accept that love is love or because we were afraid of desires within ourselves that we couldn't cop to.
"Gay husband." Glenn's a man. He's married to David. David's a man. I'm not seeing why WASHINGTON BABYLON felt the need for "gay husband." "Glenn's husband David" isn't confusing. It tells you Glenn is married to a man. "Gay husband" seems a very real attempt to mock Glenn and to 'other' him.
I'm not a good person. I don't claim to be and I've noted that here many times. In school, I sent a kid off to a bad attempt at suicide. I doubt it was real attempt but I honestly don't care.
There was a boy and we'll call him Charles. He acted in a way that made people assume he was gay. (He would later in life come out.) Another guy who will call David picked on Charles. David was popular because his father had a lot of money. David was not an attractive boy. He had no real sense of humor. He didn't get great grades. But -- or maybe because of that -- he thought he could demonstrate he was better than Charles by attacking him. I'd hear people laugh about how David had done this or that to Charles but I didn't pay much attention. Even then I was tunnel vision on whatever I was focused on at the time. But then one day, I witnessed what David was doing when I saw both at the lockers. I walked up and stopped him and told him, "David, it stops now."
After that, David didn't pull the crap if I was anywhere near but it turns out that he continued to pull it and made Charles' life a living hell. So I made David's life a living hell. I burned down his playhouse. In two weeks, he went from popular to no friends at all. He found out just how easy it was to turn someone into a joke and an object of ridicule (and, unlike David, I didn't have to use homophobia to do it). He got very upset and tried to kill himself. (It was not a for real attempt.) When he found that wasn't going to make things go back to the way they were, he had to adjust to a new life where he wasn't popular and people didn't live in fear of him.
If he had tried to kill himself for real, it really wouldn't have bothered me. Again, I'm not a nice person. And the reason I wouldn't have given a damn is because he went out of his way to make Charles' life miserable. Charles was a nice kid, he was cute, he was kind to everyone. But David didn't like him because he might have been gay so David terrorized him daily. In classes, in gym, in the halls, in the bathrooms. Three was no safe space for Charles and no educator -- supposed adults -- were doing a damn thing to stop David or to help Charles.
This was considered acceptable in the US. And it shouldn't have been. And for many LGBTQ teenagers, this was their life. That is unacceptable.
In 2021, we thankfully have marriage equality. We have protection rights in most workplaces. We are moving towards a better society. I would love it if Ken Silverstein would read over that piece -- which he didn't write himself -- and tell me how "gay husband" is a term that helps us progress to a better place and helps us redeem ourselves from our hateful past?
That was well written and it's true. I have moved beyond it myself but as a child of the 70s, yes, I was targeted for being a lesbian. By other students, by teachers.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Many obstacles remain to a fair election. THE NEW ARAB reports:
Facebook is restricting advertisements for Iraqi political parties and candidates in the run-up to the country's parliamentary elections, an official has told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site.
Iraq's judiciary council requested that Facebook take down posts that relied on "defamation" and "fuelled sectarianism", the official from the Media and Communications Commission, a state agency, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
The United Nations mission in Iraq last week called on Iraqi election stakeholders and the media to avoid misinformation in the run-up to the vote, which takes place on 10 October.
Officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2018 election, which faced widespread accusations of fraud.
2018 is not the election that needs to concern anyone. 2010 is the election that should trouble. Back then, Joe Biden was the vice president of the United States. The Iraqi people turned out in March of 2010 to vote. They got a prime minister in . . . November. Why the long delay? Nouri al-Maliki was the incumbent. They voted him out of office. He refused to step down. This brought things to a standstill and was known as the political stalemate. It lasted for over eight months. Instead of demanding that the vote be respected, the US government went around the voters. They negotiated a contract known as The Erbil Agreement. It overturned the results and gave Nouri al-Maliki a second term. That's the election that should concern observers today.
But to many avoid the topic. To this day, 'expert' Patrick Cockburn has never written of The Erbil Agreement -- despite the huge ramifications this had on Iraq which include -- but are not limited to -- the rise of ISIS in Iraq, fostering a mistrust of voting among the Iraqi people . . .
In 2016, certain parts of the US media and certain parts of the US political sector would whine and outright lie about Russia and and the 2016 election. These same elements never once expressed outrage over the US government overturning Iraq's 2010 election.
Nor did they express outrage over the person being given that second term -- a person known for torturing and for secret prisons. Nouri was chosen by Bully Boy Bush originally in 2006 because it was thought that he would be easy to manipulate based upon his CIA assessment which rightly noted that he was extremely paranoid. (We noted that finding here years before WIKILEAKS published the State Dept cables -- check the archives.) His paranoia was what made him so dangerous to the Iraqi people but clearly that was never a concern to the US government -- the safety of the Iraqi people.
To this day, the ramifications of the US imposing Nouri for a second term are not dealt with or acknowledged by many. A sort of xenophobia ('what do those kind of people deserve anyway!') cloaks what took place. It's also minimized due to the large number of whores who lied. Quil Lawrence is only one example of someone practicing something other than journalism -- as he took to NPR airwaves to declare Nouri the winner before ballots were even counted. Lovely Quill still has his job -- for NPR, I mean. Don't know if he was ever paid by the US government -- he might have just been donating his services. Deborah Amos, by contrast, did do actual reporting. She did an analysis, in fact, about the election. Anyone paying attention and interested in honesty would have known Nouri was not cruising to an easy victory as so many in the US press were insisting in late 2009 and early 2010.
Arziz Kader offers a Tweet with wisdom:
That's right. The lead up to the elections are when politicians pretend to care. I especially loved how, a month before the 2010 elections, Nouri brought large ice to a village without potable water -- had been that way all throughout his first term but when he needed votes, he brought them ice.
The western press is working overtime to re-elect Mustafa. Mustafa is the White House's choice for prime minister so the western press has taken to portraying him as successful. He was part of another do-nothing conference over the weekend and, like the one only months ago, it accomplished nothing but we're supposed to see it as his success and he's so powerful and he's so . . . He's nothing. He's accomplished nothing. But the press is working overtime to pretend otherwise. It's as though someone's cloned Quil Lawrence and we now have thousands of Quils.
Ariz also observes:
When not harming the Iraqi people, Mustafa goes after harming the world. Akshat Rathi and Khalid Al Ansary (BLOOMBERG NEWS) report:
Satellites detected a large release of super-warming methane gas over southern Iraq last month.
The methane cloud, spotted by geoanalytics firm Kayrros SAS using European Space Agency satellite data, was halfway between Baghdad and Basra, an oil and gas hub in southern Iraq. The rate of release was about 130 tons per hour, which has approximately the same climate-warming impact as 6,500 U.K. cars running for a year.
Remember, no real regulation in Iraq -- that's why the hospital fires keep happening -- Mustafa has everyone on the honor system -- and the Iraqi people and the entire world pay the cost.
On next month's expected elections, Mustafa Saadoon offers:
Restore it to what it was before The October Revolution? What it was before the protests began was a corrupt system? I hope that Twitter's character limit explains that Tweet. I hope that's not a fully formed thought being expressed but one narrowed due to character limits. Yes, Mustafa al-Khadimi is an awful prime minister; however, dropping back to October of 2019 is not an improvement, that was just another disaster.
The upcoming elections have caused a lot of stress and a lot of tensions. That's been apparent everywhere including in the KRG and in one of their political dynasties: The Talabanis. Lorraine Mallinder (IRISH TIMES) reports:
It was a great story. Lahur Talabani was the south London boy who brought the fight to Islamic State in his native Kurdistan, playing a leading role in intelligence and counterterrorism. A staunch Kurdish nationalist, he called out the corrupt elites and stuck his neck out for his fellow Kurds in Syria and Turkey.
At least, that was the image. Lahur was feted by the rank and file of his Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the party he led with Surrey-raised cousin Bafel Talabani. In the city of Sulaymaniyah, the PUK’s power base in eastern Kurdistan, he wielded this star power on social media. But it all fell apart when team Bafel started lobbing accusations of smuggling, extortion and spying at him – to name some of the milder claims.
Now Lahur’s home is surrounded by armed men, with checkpoints set up in the surrounding neighbourhood. His media outlets, apparently a must-have for all leading politicians here, have been shuttered. He “temporarily” handed all power to his cousin – to no avail. Under pressure to leave the country, he has sought recourse in the courts, professing a possibly misguided faith in the independence of Kurdistan’s judiciary on his Facebook page.
This unseemly bust-up in the filthy rich political clan, second in power only to the mighty Barzanis, who control the dominant Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), would have locals on the edge of their seats, were they not preoccupied with more pressing matters – such as rampant poverty, power outages and this summer’s acute water shortages. This, in a region pumping out about half a million barrels of oil a day.
With neighbouring Turkey and Iran taking an interest, there could be more to this than meets the eye. But the consensus seems to be that it’s merely a spat between two power-hungry cousins slugging it out for supremacy, following the death of party granddaddy Jalal Talabani – Lahur’s uncle and Bafel’s dad.
On the candidates, we'll note this Tweet:
STRATEGY PAGE offers these observations:
Iraq’s Shia controlled government faces more dangerous threats locally; internal corruption and Iranian efforts to turn Iraq into a client state or unofficial part of the Iranian Shia Islamic empire. The current situation is that you have about 90 percent of Iraqis opposed to corruption, many of them very opposed. Since 2015, there have been repeated public gatherings that evolved into large anti-corruption demonstrations that continue. Many of these demonstrations are anti-Iran as well. While corrupt Iraqi officials and pro-Iran Shias are on the defensive, they are still a major factor in Iraq and Iraqis in general don’t want this to degenerate into another civil war. They just want less corruption, an improved standard of living and a major reduction in Iranian efforts to control Iraq.
The religious dictatorship in Iran is now dominated by the extremists, or “radicals”. Most of the extremist attitudes come from the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) who suffered greatly from the return of economic sanctions in 2017. Because of these sanctions the IRGC Quds force, which handles foreign wars and terrorism, saw its budget cut by half since 2017, forcing major reductions in Quds activities in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The IRGC was created in the 1980s to protect the new religious dictatorship and suppress, with violence, if necessary, local opposition to the new religious overlords. The IRGC has become increasingly assertive in backing radical solutions to problems and that has created a growing number of nationalist clerics, including some eligible to be one of the twelve senior Shia clerics who run the Guardian Council. The senior clerics have become divided into mutually antagonistic factions. The “moderates” are those who want to put Iran’s interests first and concentrate on the economy and reducing the poverty that is visibly turning more Iranians against their government, Islam and all the foreign wars the radicals have dragged Iran into. These “realists” are also nationalists and often called “moderates” by foreigners. The IRGC believes force is the key to Iranian power and all Iranians must support that. Most Iranians do not support the IRGC and for over a decade have become increasingly open about that opposition. The IRGC has killed over a thousand of these protestors over the last few years. As a result of this the Guardian Council has blocked nearly all “nationalist” candidates from running in the latest national elections. This meant the new parliament and senior leaders were dominated by IRGC and Quds Force veterans, including several recognized as terrorists or guilty of war crimes.
Glenn Greenwald Tweets:
No, Hillary's loss is not Susan Sarandon's fault. Shame on whores like Jill F who insist otherwise. What we know about Jill is that while people were fasting for peace and Iraq was being ethnically cleansed, 'feminist' Jill was posting bikini selfies to her website as she took a much 'needed' vacation.
She's not to be taken seriously. Susan Sarandon is a kind hearted person who puts her principles on the line. Applause to Sue
The following sites updated: