Sunday was a busy day in the community: Kat's "Kat's Korner: Tramps like me, baby, we were born to bitch" and Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Calm Deliberation of Hysterical Stelter" and his "The Last Debate" all went up. That's the debate cartoon above. Amazing work from both Kat and Isaiah and I really loved Kat's review. My granddaughter in Hawaii called me and asked, "Did it make you laugh?" I said yes, it did and asked if she was laughing too? She was. She loved Kat's review. So did I.
Reader Jonah e-mailed about Liz Peek. He notes that "years ago, you'd note her pretty much weekly but now it's hit and miss and I'm wondering if you wait for her to write something you agree with?"
No. To the last question, no.
When I started highlighting Liz Peek here it was because she was at Marlo Thomas' siste WOW (Women of the Web?, I forget now). And they had new content daily (always, at least Liz Smith's column). It was a mixture of various women weighing in on various topics with different opinions and different backgrounds. It was lively and I visited it daily. There was so much worth reading there.
WOW is no more. I didn't know Liz was still writing until one day someone at work showed me a column she had at Fox News. From time to time, I remember to check that for her. But Fox News isn't a stop for me.
That's not me playing like I'm better than conservatives.
WOW had politics, yes. It had Liz Peek doing economics, it had Liz Smith doing gossip, it had features on cooking, Marlo wrote several inspiration pieces, Jane Wagner had some wry observations, etc. It attracted me daily for those reasons and because the focus was on women.
Fox doesn't offer me any of that.
So I don't always remember to look for Liz Peek. That's why she's not highlighted as often here. I think she's a great writer. She's a conservative so I don't often agree with her but I do always see her point and get where she's coming from.
Welcome to the final week of one of the most vengeful and acrimonious elections in our country’s history. Very soon we will know whether Establishment Elites have succeeded in defeating a president who broke some glass in order to make our country great again.
We will also know whether the campaign went on one week too long for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
New revelations that Biden apparently lied when he claimed no knowledge of his son Hunter’s shady business dealings in China, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and elsewhere and that the candidate may in fact have been entangled in those activities, has rocked the campaign.
Biden said recently: “Our characters are on the ballot; look at us closely.” Perhaps he should add: “But not too closely.”
A poor debate performance Thursday hurt Biden as well. Biden stumbled several times, and also admitted that he wanted to “close down the oil industry.”
That was an awkward pronouncement to make on nationwide TV for a candidate who needs to win the energy-producing state of Pennsylvania. The candidate later tried to walk back his statement but, like earlier promises to end fracking, the damage was done.
Is Joe going to end fracking? Not from his own mouth. Where's Liz getting that? From the Biden campaign double-talk. Liz doesn't make things up, she's a straight shooter. But I wish Joe was against fracking.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Monday:
Monday, October 26, 2020. Assault survivor Tara Reade addresses what's needed next in the movement, Suadad al-Salhy is the latest reporter to be in jeopardy in Iraq, protests continue in Iraq, and much more.
Yesterday, Natalia Tylim hosted a conversation with Tara Reade. Tylim belongs to the Tempest collective and is a member of the Democratic Socialist of America.
Natalia Tylim: In 1993, Tara was a Congressional aid and she was sexually assaulted at her work place by her boss, Joe Biden. She chose not to come forward at that time but she filed a complaint and was soon let go from her job. Flash forward to 2020 and her assaulter is the front runner to be the presidential candidate on the Democratic Party ticket. On the heels of the #MeToo uprisng, she decided it was time to come forward. In response, she was met with unbelievable cruelty, with attacks and smears, in an attempt to protect Joe Biden. This allegation has yet to be investigated. It has been tried and supposedly settled in the court of the mainstream liberal media. But there has been no independent investigation and the pertinent documents that are being held at the University of Delaware have yet to be released. If you choose to vote for Biden, we understand and we respect your individual voting choice. But we also believe that that choice need not go hand-in-hand with throwing Tara Reade under the bus. The mainstream feminist movement in this country has just failed a giant test. It has fallen into the trap of blaming a survivor because of who her assaulter is and this is unacceptable and we need to rebuild a feminist movement on a stronger foundation or it will be completely toothless. The feminist movement in the United States will not succeed if it is tied to the Democratic Party. This is a party that has demonstrated time after time that our rights and our lives are negotiable to them.
I will be reading the book. I support Tara. I do not support all that she's said in the above interview. I don't think we need new laws or more laws, for example. Why are people Tweeting death threats? Because liars keep telling you this election is the game change, this is going to change the country forever, this is . . . It's just an election. Unless you're an idiot, you know the US is not perfect and hasn't been for some time. You know Barack Obama put children into cages, you know he didn't end the Iraq War, you know he killed people -- including an American child -- with drones. There is no going back to a 'perfect time' because no perfect time exists. This is another election. It will neither save nor kill the country. Voting doesn't do either. But all the rhetoric around this election? That is why a Tara Reade gets death threats, for example.
I also don't agree with Tara's blanket support for all who come forward. I have a brain and it's my job to use it. If I don't believe your story, I will allow in most cases that I could be wrong and just find something other to cover. But if I know you're a liar, I'm not getting behind you. In our piece that Ava and I wrote last night, we note the hideous E. Jean Carroll. We don't believe her. We never have. We know why she was fired from ELLE, we know her personal history. That's before you get into her going on live TV, CNN, and telling a shocked Anderson Cooper that rape is "sexy." She was 74 or 75 at the time, a public speaker, a journalist, a former TV show host. She knew what she was saying and intended to say it. Life's too short for me to waste my time supporting some whacko who goes on TV to tell America that rape is "sexy."
I'm not going to spit on the work of Susan Brownmiller by acting like it's okay E. Jean Carroll goes on TV to insist that rape is "sexy." Nor am I going to spit on the survivors of rape and assault (which would include me) by acting like that statement was okay.
Meanwhile, ALJAZEERA reports:
Dozens of Iraqi protesters again clashed with security forces in Baghdad on Monday, a day after a rally marked the first anniversary of the start of nationwide mass anti-government demonstrations.
Police fired stun grenades and tear gas at protesters who were burning tyres and hurling rocks on the strategic Al-Jumhuriyah bridge across the Tigris River leading to the highly fortified Green Zone, an AFP photographer reported.
The bridge, barricaded by towering concrete walls, separates the Green Zone from Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the old and new demonstrations.
The highly-secure Green Zone, where government offices, parliament and the US embassy are located, is off-limits to most Iraqi citizens.
What's going on? The year-long protests continue and yesterday was a day when they called for more protesters in the street. And people turned out. Louisa Loveluck and Mustafa Salim (WASHINGTON POST) report of Sunday:
In the heart of Baghdad, Iraqis awoke to find blue- and green-clad riot police fanned throughout central squares as concrete barricades blocked the gates to the heavily fortified Green Zone. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi had pledged that security forces would avoid the kind of harsh crackdown carried out during the months-long protest movement. More than 500 protesters were killed.
[. . .]
Protesters reported late Sunday that riot police were firing into the air in an attempt to clear a nearby thoroughfare.
The October uprising, as it is known here, became one of the largest grass-roots movements in Iraq’s modern history as largely young crowds railed first against corruption and a lack of basic services and later against the entire system of sectarian politics — all of which have pushed the country to ruin.
But many of the protesters’ grievances have since only worsened. Tanking oil prices in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic have left Iraq with an unprecedented liquidity crisis. Iran-backed militias that human rights groups blame for some of the worst violence during the protests last year are more empowered than before. And the United States and Iran have dueled more openly on Iraqi soil than in earlier years.
Protests also occurred in Iraq’s southern cities Sunday, but none on the same scale as in Baghdad. Hundreds of youths had traveled to the capital, to join rallies there, instead of at home.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS reported that tear gas was fired at the protesters. Arwa Ibrahim (ALJAZEERA) notes, "Iraqi security forces fired water cannon and tear gas at the protesters during Sunday’s demonstrations to prevent them crossing fences on a bridge leading towards government buildings." No one notes that, October last year, they killed a protester by firing tear gas into the crowd -- a tear gas cannister was shot into his head. From the October 25, 2018 snapshot:
In addition, Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports, "Iraqi police fired live shots into the air as well as rubber bullets and
dozens of tear gas canisters on Friday to disperse thousands of
protesters on the streets of Baghdad, sending young demonstrators
running for cover and enveloping a main bridge in the capital with thick
white smoke. One protester was killed and dozens were injured in the
first hours of the protest, security officials said."
The first one killed is said to have been hit with a tear canister. The video above is supposed to be of that protester after he was hit.
About 40 protesters and 17 security forces members were wounded in new clashes, one security source told Kurdistan 24, as protesters marked the first anniversary of “The October Revolution.”
The people of Iraq remain under threat. The people of Iraq include the journalists. Dropping back to the September 24th snapshot about what took place, less reported, while Iraqi president Salih Barham spoke to the United Nations:
The western press loves Salih. He's trying to thwart upcoming elections, he's corrupt and so much more, but they love him. Especially in the US, they love Salih. He's not the saint they portray him as. The Committee To Protect Journalists issued the following yesterday:
New York, September 23, 2020 – Kurdish authorities in Iraq should immediately release journalist Bahroz Jaafer, drop all charges against him, and allow the press to cover and write critically about politicians without fear of detention or legal action, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Yesterday, police arrested Jaafer, a columnist for the independent news website Peyser Press, in the northeastern Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah and transferred him to the Azmar police station, where he remains in detention, according to news reports and a statement by the Metro Center for Journalists’ Rights and Advocacy, a local press freedom group.
Authorities charged Jaafer with criminal defamation, according to the Metro Center. If tried and convicted under Article 433 of Iraq’s penal code, Jaafer could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to 100 dinars (about 8 US cents).
The arrest was sparked by a defamation complaint filed by the lawyer of Iraqi President Barham Salih, in response to a column by Jaafer criticizing the president, according to those reports.
“Iraqi authorities should develop a thicker skin and stop resorting to the criminal code to stifle critical reporting and commentary,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa representative, Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “Iraqi President Salih should immediately drop the defamation complaint against journalist Bahroz Jaafer, and local authorities should release him unconditionally.”
On August 29, Jaafer published a column titled “How much longer will the president be driving the wrong side?” in which he criticized Salih, also an ethnic Kurd, for allegedly failing to support Iraqi Kurdistan amid disputes with the national government over land, oil, and the autonomous region’s budget.
Karwan Anwar, head of the Sulaymaniyah branch of the government-funded Kurdistan Journalists’ Syndicate, told local broadcaster Rudaw that Jaafer, a member of the syndicate, is required to remain in detention until a hearing scheduled for September 30, unless he is granted bail beforehand.
The Iraqi president’s media office did not immediately reply to CPJ’s request for comment sent via messaging app. Dindar Zebari, the Kurdish regional government’s coordinator for international advocacy, did not immediately reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.
Salih's done nothing to help the Iraqi people -- that includes the Iraqi activists.
Now another reporter is being targeted, Sudad al-Salhy. MIDDLE EAST EYE notes of their correspondent:
An arrest warrant for Middle East Eye journalist Suadad al-Salhy has been issued in Iraq over the charge of “defamation”.
A judge at Tahqiq al-Karada Court issued the warrant on Thursday, requesting Salhy be taken to al-Alawiya police station.
No other details are provided and MEE is seeking more information from the court. According to the Iraqi penal code, Salhy could face up to one year in jail and a fine of 100 Iraqi dinars (US$0.08) if convicted of criminal defamation.
Suadad al-Salhy has reported with THE NEW YORK TIMES, ALJAZEERA, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS and REUTERS. She is an internationally recognized journalist and even that doesn't protect her. Reporters Without Borders notes:
Al-Salhy has learned that she could be arrested at any time as a result of a yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Judicial Council to arrest her under article 433-1 of the Penal Code for defamation, which is punishable by a fine and a year in prison.
The decision was taken just hours after Middle East Eye published a story by Al-Salhy in which she revealed that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ordered Iraq’s pro-Iranian militias to stop attacking US interests last week. The article is sourced and well documented.
“We ask the Iraqi authorities to ensure that Suadad Al-Salhy is not detained and that the judicial proceedings against her are dropped,” said Sabrina Bennoui, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “This journalist, who is known for her professionalism, just did her job. Revealing information, even sensitive information that annoys some people, is fundamental principle of the freedom to inform.”
This is not the first time Al-Salhy has had exclusives on very risky subjects in Iraq. In August, for example, she revealed that a former adviser to Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis – the co-founder of Iraq’s Hezbollah Brigades who was killed in a targeted US drone strike in January 2020 that also killed Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani – accused the current prime minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, of plotting to killed Muhandis several times in the past.
Al-Salhy has herself received threats in the past. She escaped a murder attempt by unidentified gunmen in 2007 and explosive devices were found outside her parent’s home in 2014.
Iraq is ranked 162nd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.
New York, October 23, 2020 – Iraqi authorities should drop the arrest warrant issued for journalist Suadad al-Salhy and allow the press to work freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Yesterday, a judge at the Al-Karrada Investigative Court in Baghdad issued an arrest warrant for al-Salhy, a reporter for the Middle East Eye news website, on charges of defamation under Article 433 of the Iraqi Penal Code, according to the warrant, which CPJ reviewed, and a report by her employer. As of this afternoon, she was not in custody, according to a source who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.
“The warrant for Suadad Al-Salhy’s arrest is a sad reminder that Iraqi journalists are facing constant threats of government harassment and obstruction,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “Press freedom entails allowing coverage of events of public interest and a wide range of viewpoints. Iraqi authorities should immediately drop the arrest warrant for al-Salhy and allow her to do her job freely and without fear of reprisal.”
The arrest warrant demands al-Salhy be taken to the Al-Alawiya police station, but does not say what actions prompted the order. If convicted of criminal defamation, al-Salhy could face up to one year in jail and a fine of 100 Iraqi dinars (US$0.08), according to the Iraqi penal code.
Al-Salhy has covered many sensitive issues in Iraq, including the role of militias, the country’s relations with Iran, and anti-government protests. She has contributed to international media outlets including Reuters, Al-Jazeera, and The New York Times.
Suadad's work has been important throughout the ongoing war. She's often reported on issues others have ignored such as in November 2013 when Suadad al-Salhy and Isabel Coles (REUTERS) reported:
Domestic abuse and prostitution have increased, illiteracy has soared and thousands of women have been left widowed and vulnerable. Many women also rue the political leaders that came to power after Saddam was overthrown and the growing social conservatism that has diminished their role in public life.
Once at the vanguard of women's rights in the region, Iraq ranked 21st out of 22 Arab states in a poll of 336 gender experts released on Tuesday by Thomson Reuters Foundation (poll2013.trust.org).
She also covered the meat and potatoes issues such as in 2008 when Suadad and Katherine Zoepf (NEW YORK TIMES) reported the price of oil per barrel going up and slightly down has Iraq's concerned about their budget for next year and have cut it by $13 billion dollars. We've long noted her work at this site, for over a decade now. She's one of the reporters who've remained covering Iraq by changing outlets -- Liz Sly and Jane Arraf would be two others. I'm going to assume that they and the many reporters she's worked with in the past -- Ned Parker, among them -- will be at least offering a Tweet in support of her. Ned certainly knows what it's like to be targeted by the government of Iraq, for example. At present, there are two Tweets only.
The arrest warrant issued for Iraqi journalist Suadad al-Salhi came shortly after she published a piece saying Iran’s Khamenei had ordered and end to Iraqi attacks on US interests.
Kat's "Kat's Korner: Tramps like me, baby, we were born to bitch" went up Sunday as did Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Calm Deliberation of Hysterical Stelter" and his "The Last Debate."