Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Keva Landrum is an awful nominee

First an important Twitter thread about an evil person that Joe Biden wants to nominate.

And now, also from Twitter, some good news.

Thank you, Daniel Radcliffe.  At a time when JK Rowling is a raging transphobe, it's easy to forget that Harry Potter is more than just one person.  You brought Harry to life and amazed me and you continue to amaze me.  Thank you!!!

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, April 5, 2023.  Duncan Campbell's ridiculous attack on Katrina vanden Heuvel, realties on Iraq, and much more.

I'm late to the party and all I really brought along was scorn and dismay.  Just learned of Duncan Campbell's garbage.  I've known Duncan for years and would prefer not to have to call him out here.  I've done so once before.  So if I'm doing it now, you know it's big.

It's about this that went up in February -- again, late to the party, I admit.

As I grab a drink, let me start off with, "Katrina, you were warned years ago about that backstabbing Katha Pollitt."  That's how I learned about Duncan's article.  A friend called to say, "You'll never believe what that [_____] is reTweeting."  The blank is Katha Pollitt -- failed writer, laughable 'poetess,' full on racist (remember she used her column to lecture the NAACP that representation didn't matter), lard face (her face has pockets of lard on it, it's very unsettling), all round nightmare.

If she hadn't been eager to reTweet about Duncan Campbell's bad article, I never would have known about it because it wouldn't have been news.  Anti-feminist Katha reTweeting it made it news because,  unlike the uneducated and naive, actual feminists know Katha's not a feminist.  She's ugly and she uses the false stereotype that all feminists are ugly to pass for a feminist.  But the racism involved in her work (and in her life, let's be honest) makes it clear that she's no feminist.  I can't not mention Abeer here, sorry.  When I spoke to Alexander Cockburn in dismay over the fact that 'feminist' Katha wasn't writing about the young girl in Iraq who was gang raped by US troops while her parents and younger sister were being murdered -- and then she was murdered, he agreed it was outrageous.  He also wrote about Abeer right after.  Katha didn't.  As she got more and more pressure -- and as real feminists -- not rich spoiled bitches who used the summer of 2006 to post photos of themselves in bikinis on private beaches -- began complaining as well, Katha finally wrote about Abeer.  

A whole column?  No.  A single-sentence in a column.  That's Katha' 'feminist' contribution.  Oh well, at least for a half-hour or so her ex was safe from her stalking while she banged out the same useless column.

That Katha's one of Duncan's sources in the articles is not a surprise.  It's the prediction come to life.  Again, Katrina, you were warned.

Duncan Campbell believes in the disproven Russia-gate nonsense.  And he's written at least one article -- I don't have time for the second -- that's supposed to be about that.

But it's not about that.  It probably can't be about that because the Russia-gate story was always garbage.  We never bought into it.  Trump's winning in 2016 was not a surprise to anyone paying attention.  We were in one state after another and it was obvious he was going to win the GOP primary and, by September of 2016, it was obvious he was going to win the election.  There are reasons for that -- including Hillary's awful campaign -- but I guess if you weren't in America -- Duncan wasn't -- you wouldn't grasp reality, even all this time later.

Since he can't offer up facts, he focuses on ripping apart Katrina vanden Heuvel.

As noted many times before here, I knew Katrina's mother and I knew her grandfather and I know her.  I knew Stephen F. Cohen as well.  I've called Katrina out here many times.  I'm sure I will again.  There's some of that which will probably be referred to in a little bit.

But Duncan tries to build a case against Katrina that never develops.  She's the publisher and owner of THE NATION magazine.  He's a faded writer who couldn't even get his attack published for over two years.  

So Duncan wants  you to know that Katrina was 'taken in' by Russia and that she printed Stephen F. Cohen's opinion pieces without vetting them through proper channels and blah blah blah.

Duncan's never been all that bright to begin with.  

He's hit a new low even for him.  

I think Katrina can be called an expert on Russia.  It's one of her fields.  Duncan refuses to give her credit for that, please note.  

Now I too have griped about Katrina over the Russia-Gate nonsense.  Unlike Duncan, I have griped that she didn't do enough.  I was referring to her own comments and to what I saw as underwhelming coverage because I felt she should have been standing up much taller and being much louder.

I honestly didn't think that a Duncan Campbell would come along.

She may have been right to play it cautious -- I don't think so, but she may have been right -- in terms of as a publisher.

I'm real sorry that all this time later, Duncan can't admit that he's wrong because he is.  He's got a bunch of strung together garbage that adds up to nothing.  Well that makes sense.  He's a mainstream reporter and he's offering more of the same garbage that the mainstream fed the country (and the world) for years.


Katrina is the owner of THE NATION -- Duncan got that right.  She does, in that role, sometimes kill pieces.  When she killed the piece on DiFi's corruption, I called her out here.

I've known her for years but that's not given any special pull here.  I dubbed her "the peace resister," for example, over THE NATION's refusal to cover war resisters.

I've noted that Stephen didn't feel he was getting special treatment -- from his wife's magazine -- and I've noted that I was rather mad at her over this.

So I'm not an apologist for Katrina.

Duncan needs to apologize, however.

Katrina's an expert on Russia.  Her husband was an expert (he has passed away -- though Duncan's just published article acts as though Stephen's still alive -- shoddy journalism).  

She owns the magazine.  In the end, like it or not, that gives her the final say.  She's the owner and publisher. 

And I don't see anything in Duncan's efforts to paint her as biased that sticks.

She didn't want your crappy article.  Well, if it's taken you almost three years to publish it (online), obviously no one else did either.  Maybe retire, Duncan.  There was a time, back in the '00s, when if you'd done that, your name wouldn't be such a joke.

Instead you're attacking Katrina with claims and doing it in such a plodding manner that it doesn't even make it as bitchy.  At least entertain us, Duncan.

I don't think she needed Stephen fact checked (and I only have Duncan's word that Stephen wasn't fact checked).  His articles were akin to what you might get in one of his lectures or during office hours.  That's not meant as an insult.  Stephen was trying to make a difference and grasped that the more stilted anything sounded, the less it would be read.  He attempted to keep it on a conversational level as much as possible (which was also why he was fine with any of his verbal statements on the topic being written up).

It didn't need fact checking, these were topics he was an expert on and had long, long spoken to.  

THE NATION has a better past than THE PROGRESSIVE (much better) but I've called out past eras before -- call them out here and at THIRD.  I've never felt the need to 'red-bait' the memory of a dead woman -- Freda Kirchwey. 

I have no idea why Duncan wants to go there.  Except that it's easier to attack her then face the fact that he's really got nothing on Katrina.  So instead, he serves up that Freda's past -- the same way elements of the US government attempted to smear her decades ago.  They weren't anymore successful than Duncan at proving anything but, like Duncan, they worked hard to smear her.

Katrina never worked with Freda, there's no reason to bring her up.  (She died in 1976, and was gone from the publication long before Katrina joined it in the 90s.)  Duncan's got nothing so he tries to create some 'guilt by association.'  It's nonsense.  

He then appears to be trying to paint Katrina as someone with dual loyalties.  Katrina does love the country of Russia.  It's not a rival to the US for her.  She is firmly rooted in the US.  And for him to imply otherwise really ticks me off and, as noted before, I knew Katrina's mother and grandfather.  (I also knew her father, I never liked him.)  Russia is an area of interest to her (that's why she's an expert on it).  There are no dual loyalties and it's really irritating the way Duncan tries to infer that there is while refusing to have the guts to flat out make the charge.

Duncan's acting like an idiot who thinks he's building a case.  What does it matter that Katrina went on RT in 2008?  I believe she was also on BLOOMBERG TV that year -- in fact, I know she was, we did a piece at THIRD and we promoted the BLOOMBERG appearance ahead of time.  I knew nothing of RT until 2011 when Adam Kokesh was doing a show on there.  I did watch that show and I probably promoted it -- and it featured, in the opening, a portrait we did of Adam for THIRD.  Adam is an Iraq War resister.  I applaud him to this day.  I applaud him and his spirit.  If he was still on RT today, we'd note the show.

I have no idea why Duncan thinks he can slime Katrina for appearing on RT.  Abby Martin worked on RT.  We noted her.  Chris Hedges worked there and we noted his program.  I was friends with Larry King for years and, of course, I noted his program on RT.  I don't really get where Duncan gets off sliming RT.  

I see Duncan trashing Stephen for 2014.  I don't see Duncan noting Victoria Nuland's recorded comments.  I don't see him mentioning her once.  I guess some people get scared or they turn into whores.  Again, the best thing for Duncan would have been to have retired in the '00s.  Instead, he doesn't want to note Nuland or how the US overthrew the elected government of Ukraine in 2014.

Duncan  castigates Katrina as follows:

She described the Washington Post, to which she contributes a weekly column, as “like Pravda on the Potomac—it is a regime change newspaper.”

Duncan, "Pravda on the Potomac"?  Katrina didn't originate that phrase.  Online, they trace it back to the 70s and the right-wing.  It predates the 70s and I heard Abby Hoffman call it that repeatedly.  

"It is a regime change newspaper."  Yes, she's right.  That's what it is and what it's always been.  If this is news to you now, Duncan, I'm worried about your mind because you used to know that.  How pathetic you have become to sell out everything you believe in.

Sorry, Katrina's right.. 

He has nothing in the end.  So many words, thousands, and he has nothing to say.

Katrina is bad, Katrina is evil.  That's what he wants to say.

But he can't back it up.

While slamming her for printing Stephen's writing, he notes of Russia-gate, "In response, vanden Heuvel decided to air all the competing views."

I fault Katrina for that as well -- and have already done so here.  I fault her for that because it was upsetting to Stephen.  

I fault her for that as a friend of Stephen's -- again, he passed away, back in 2020, though you'd never know it from Duncan's article that was published last February.  

But as a publisher?  "In response, vanden Heuvel decided to air all the competing views"?  That's not something to fault a publisher for.  That's something to applaud, that's something every outlet should strive for.  

When THE NATION can't make the bills, who reaches into their own pocket?  Katrina.  That's another thing you can't fault her for.  

Duncan thinks he has some amazing story.  He's got nothing.  He's pulled down his pants and we're all pointing and laughing at how little he's showing.  

I have had many problems with Katrina over the years and will probably continue to do so.  But she didn't do anything wrong with regards to Russia-gate as a publisher.  As a publisher, she presented a wide range of options, a wide range of views.  As a publisher, she kept the magazine focused -- look at THE PROGRESSIVE if you want to see how quickly two decades can be wasted. 

Duncan is an embarrassment and Katha needs to be fired.  Judging by her actions, she's unhappy being at THE NATION.  So fire her already.  As I said a long time ago, no one is going to hire her.  She offers nothing.  She never has.  She's useless and an embarrassment.  Now she's taken it upon herself to carry her grudge with the magazine -- a longstanding one -- public.  Fine.  She's not happy, let her go.  At 73, she really should be retiring anyway.

“One of my earliest memories is from a week or so before the invasion,” Meethak al-Khatib, an Iraqi journalist and filmmaker, tells Al Jazeera. “I came into our living room. My uncle had come over. He was putting duct tape on all the windows. I asked him why he was doing that. He said so the glass will not turn to shrapnel. While he was doing that, on our TV was the last time I saw Saddam as president.”

On March 19, 2003, a United States-led coalition began bombing Iraq. One day later, a ground invasion began. Al-Khatib was seven years old.

At the time, al-Khatib and his family lived in Ramadi, 110km (70 miles) west of Baghdad. They left their home during the early onset of the invasion, but the family was unable to meet their basic needs in Heet, a city in Al-Anbar province, so they returned to Ramadi to find that US forces had set up a base next to the family home.

As the report notes, one of the biggest products of the war was the creation of the internally displaced in Iraq. 


The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) rose from zero registered in 2003 to 2.6 million in 2007.

By the time the US announced an end to its combat operations in December 2011, the number of Iraqi IDPs stood at 1.3 million.

However, with the rise, advance and fall of ISIL from 2013 to 2019, the number of IDPs increased again, reaching a peak of 4.4 million in 2015.

As of 2022, there were nearly 1.2 million internally displaced people across the country. 

It's a reality that, for example, PBS refuses to acknowledge while they keep purposely selecting guests who are pro-war to come on and insist that the Iraq War was right and good and wonderful.  The Iraq War has also produced external refugees, people who have to flee the country.  ALJAZEERA notes:

In a Jordanian church, Sarah Nael is sewing a shirt for “Rafedin”, a project that has provided dozens of women who fled violence in neighbouring Iraq with skills to earn a living.

Many of the women escaped the extreme violence carried out by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group’s self-declared “caliphate” that cut across swaths of Iraq and Syria, eventually ending up in Jordan – where they found themselves without work.

“Life here is very, very difficult, if we don’t work, we can’t live,” said Nael, a 25-year-old Christian from the northern Iraqi town of Qaraqosh, who joined the Rafedin sewing project two years ago.

Rafedin is based at St Joseph Catholic Church in the Jordanian capital, Amman, where it was set up in 2016 by Italian priest Mario Cornioli, along with Italian designers and tailors.

The products, including dresses, jackets, belts and ties, are sold in Amman and Italy to raise funds.

For refugees, barred from seeking regular work, the project provides them with a way to supplement assistance from the United Nations.

More realities that THE NEWSHOUR can't cover.  PBS' NEWSHOUR can only speak to War Hawks -- male, of course.  Gone are the days of pretending to care about women -- gone with the anchoring by Gwen and Judy.  So realities about women don't get noted.  At MERIP, Zahra Ali explains:

The US-led invasion is one node in a longer story of Iraq’s eroding welfare state and its outsized impact on Iraqi women. In 2003, Iraq was already in survival mode. Still not recovered from the Iraq-Iran war and the US-led coalition bombings during the first Gulf War, it had also faced over a decade of UN sanctions, some of the most drastic ever imposed on a country. Sanctions constituted what philosopher Joy Gordon has called “the invisible war.”[1]

Sanctions altered the social fabric of Iraqi society, destroyed the middle class and plunged the majority of the population into poverty. The Iraqi state, historically a major employer, could no longer rely on its main source of revenue, oil sales. It cut employees’ salaries as well as essential public services. As has been well-documented, sanctions also played a central role in the development of everyday corruption and in the formation of mafia-like groups connected to the Baath regime.

Prior to the sanctions, Iraqi women were among the most educated in the region and worked in almost all sectors, although predominantly in the public sector. They took advantage of strong state services, such as higher education, health care, childcare and public transportation. Since 2003, however, public services have been mostly privatized, which has left them dysfunctional or absent. The dire conditions in post-invasion Iraq are not the result simply of neoliberalism, where aggressive privatization is often related to public land grabbing and violent dispossession. Iraq used to have robust and functioning infrastructure before it was destroyed by US-led wars. Women can no longer rely on universal health care and supported childcare. Every aspect of life in Iraq is costly, including access to running water, electricity, childcare and basic health care. Women’s employment has plummeted with the collapse of the public sector. These changes have impacted all Iraqis, but it is women who are disproportionately affected and who are already facing challenges from legal discrimination and heteropatriarchal societal norms.

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