Friday, April 03, 2020

Iraq snapshot

Friday, April 3, 2020.  Rape allegations continue to exist against Joe Biden while the corporate media continues to ignore the charges, REUTERS gets suspended from covering Iraq for three months (a public outcry would reduce that) after they are found guilty of . . . reporting, and much more.

Starting in the US where a candidate running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination has been accused of assault and the corporate media has worked overtime to avoid the issue.  Matthew Stevenson (COUNTERPUNCH) observes:

And now there’s another of Joe’s #MeToo moments. In case you missed it, a report has surfaced that back in the 1990s Biden mashed one of his staffers, Tara Reade, up against a congressional wall and, with his hand roaming around her skirt, asked for a little senatorial privilege.
I don’t know the woman personally, but at the very least she captured Joe’s pattern of speech, when she quoted him as saying (while she struggled to free herself from his grinding): “I thought you liked me, man?”

Did you miss that story?  The US corporate media has worked very hard to ignore it.  Today, at THE ECONOMIST, they explain:

IN MARCH 2019, about a month before Joe Biden began his presidential campaign, a former state representative from Nevada, Lucy Flores, accused him of unwanted kissing, touching and hair-sniffing. Several other women -- including Tara Reade, who worked for then-Senator Biden for nine months in 1992 and 1993 -- subsequently made similar complaints, prompting Mr Biden to release an apologetic video in which he acknowledged that “the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset and I get it.” Recently, however, Ms Reade has levelled a more serious charge.
In an interview broadcast on March 25th she said that Mr Biden touched her in ways that made her feel “like an inanimate object”. She said that one day a scheduler in Mr Biden’s office told her to bring the senator his gym bag. When she did, he allegedly held her against a wall and put his hands up her skirt.  When she pulled away, she says Mr Biden said, "Come on, man, I heard you liked me."  Ms Reade says that she was later moved to a windowless office and frozen out.

Noting the corporate media silence, Dan Hammes (ST MARIES GAZETTE RECORD) observes:

But it is somewhat interesting if you haven’t read about the charges.
Remember, just like borders, it wasn’t that long ago that Me Too was a big deal. So if you didn’t know about Ms. Reade, how come? It seems like a pretty big story.
Reason enough to break out the p---y hats one more time.
Ironically, it was Joe Biden himself who said that anytime a woman accuses a prominent man of sexual harassment then “you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real.”
But then, that was different. That was Brett Kavanaugh.

The lesson here is the BELIEVE ALL WOMEN crowd really means to say BELIEVE ALL WOMEN ... depending on who is being accused.

Harvest Pride (WORLD) reminds:

Tara Reade told podcast host Katie Halper about the accusations in an episode that aired last week. Along with several other women, Reade said last year that Biden’s habit of touching people made her uncomfortable. This is the first time she has gone public with an alleged sexual assault.
Reade said that while serving in Biden’s Senate office, he once pushed her against a wall and sexually molested her. She said she then pulled away from him, and Biden said, “Come on, man. I heard you liked me.”

This week's podcast of INTERCEPTED found the topic addressed by Meagan Day:

JS: Meagan, I wanted to ask you about something unrelated to this discussion, and that is that Joe Biden has been accused by a former Senate staffer of his name Tara Reade, and she has for quite a while now, for a sustained period of time, claimed that Biden had engaged in inappropriate conduct toward her.

Katie Halper: Hello and welcome to the Katie Halper Show. I’m about to play an excerpt from an interview that I did with Tara Reade. The full episode will be up shortly. As a warning Tara discusses sexual assault during this interview.

Tara Reade: It happened all at once. The gym bag, I don’t know where it went. I handed it to him, then it was gone. And then his hands were on me and underneath my clothes. And yeah, and then he went down my skirt but then up inside it, and he penetrated me with his fingers.

JS: This has gotten almost no attention in corporate media, cable news, big media. I’m wondering as you watch this play out how you see this factor where you have a woman who claims that the Democratic front-runner sexually assaulted her, and there is no mention of it in corporate media, no mention of it from many of the leading Alyssa Milano’s of the world who were railing against Brett Kavanaugh and trying to tank his nomination as a Supreme Court justice, with great reason I might add, but it’s just there’s a total disconnect. It’s like this woman doesn’t exist.

MD: There has been complete, a complete wall of silence around Tara Reade’s accusation that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her. And the thing that’s most striking about it is how similar it is to the accusation leveled against Brett Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. We’re talking about a first person account of sexual assault that is decades old, that is vividly remembered by the woman in question, but that is not substantiated by physical evidence, or any other kind of, you know, smoking gun. And that was enough just a few years ago, for a whole host of people to say that Brett Kavanaugh was guilty. They had good reason to do that, but the fact that suddenly a very similar scenario has arisen, and their guy is in the crosshairs and suddenly it isn’t enough anymore. It’s just gobsmacking hypocrisy, honestly.
You know, at the time Republicans said that Democrats were simply using Christine Blasey Ford’s account to score cheap points against the Republicans and to, you know, secure a favorable political outcome for themselves. And Democrats pushed back on that and they said, no, it’s really important to listen to women when they come forward and talk about sexual assault at the hands of powerful men, men who are seeking the highest offices or the highest positions of power in our entire country. I think that the Democrats have just undermined themselves enormously by turning around just a couple of years later and saying that, essentially just demonstrating that, in fact, they do think that different rules apply when there are different partisan affiliations in play. And I think that in so doing, they are undermining not just Tara Reade, but future Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s.

And I think that’s really concerning. I would like to see these allegations get a fair hearing. The fact that we haven’t seen them get a fair hearing to me just speaks to an incredible hypocrisy, and I think a terrible weaponization of Me Too. The idea that you could use it when it was politically advantageous and drop it when it wasn’t. This was always something that opponents said was at the heart of Me Too. And it’s something that many people pushed back and said, no, it isn’t. These are universal principles, and we’re going to change the culture. Well, it turned out, it’s starting to look like that’s not true. I think it’s an enormous disappointment, and I think it’s very damning.

We'll come back to Alyssa Milano, but Howie Carr (BOSTON HERALD) notes:

Uncle Joe is only doing interviews with the Democrat press, which is almost all of them. Very few of his TV appearances are live anymore —  the Democrat producers need time to clean up the frontrunner’s Grandpa Simpson-like meanderings and asides and literal walkaways from the camera while it’s rolling.
But he’s still yapping incoherently to, if not reporters, at least B-list celebrities, who have been peppering him with scores of fawning gee-whiz questions in the past week.
Yet not one of these Deep State cheerleaders has dared to inquire about the recent accusations by one of his former female aides, one Tara Reade, that he threw her up against a wall, reached his hand up under her dress and groped her in 1993.
And then, when she rebuffed him, she recalls, Sleepy Joe said to her, “C’mon man, I heard you liked me!”
Sounds totally believable, doesn’t it? Certainly much more so than the accusations of, say, Julie Swetnick, or Christine Blasey Ford. And yet we were lectured by all Democrats, including Joe Biden, that we must believe everything every woman says about any guy, well at least if they’re Republicans.
Biden, on the other hand, is allowed to go back over the same old ground, again and again and again. For instance, he loves to bring up the Defense Production Act. Certainly something he should understand, having been in the Senate for what, 36, years? Here he is with Jimmy Kimmel, uh Fallon – one of those interchangeable late-night “comedians,” anyway.
“I back a while ago uh Jimmy I, I, I said he should involve what this, this National Defense Act that’s out there, this Defense Pro- Production Act it’s called and it makes the president, gives him the authority to go to industries … he has the power to do it under the the the the act that I just referenced to.”

May we quote you on that Mr. Simpson, er, Vice President.

On the soon to be 48-year-old child performer Alyssa Milano, Tyler MacDonald (INQUISITR) explains, "#MeToo advocate Alyssa Milano is facing a wave of backlash for continuing to push her support of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden without addressing the accusations of sexual assault leveled against him by Tara Reade. On Thursday, Milano maintained her silence and instead posted a Twitter thread in which she doubled down on her demand for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to drop out of the race and let the former vice president take on Donald Trump in 2020."  Christian Toto (at the right-wing DAILY WIRE) offers:

Guess who else is ignoring her case?
Hollywood, Inc.
The stars who have previously protested President Trump’s “war on women” at both marches and Sundance Film Festival rallies reads like a who’s who of Hollywood: Katy Perry, America Ferrera, Chelsea Handler, Jessica Chastain, Zendaya, Melissa Benoist, Charlize Theron, Aisha Tyler, Kristen Stewart, John Legend, Joshua Jackson, Laura Dern and Jennifer Beals.
“Charmed” alum Alyssa Milano transformed her career from [failed and forgotten] actress to activist in the Trump era, with her specific focus on women’s issues.
Are any publicly supporting Reade in her moment of need?
No, not yet, anyway. The abuse allegation story is at least a week old, so it’s not like they haven’t heard about the charges.

To be clear, I added "failed and forgotten" because that is what Alyssa is.  No one hires her anymore.  She gets bit parts -- like in the NETFLIX show about a high school teenager -- if she's lucky and tries to pretend like that is a career -- there's no career anymore than there's any actual acting from Alyssa.

As we noted yesterday, Rose McGown hasn't been silent.  She is getting credit for her strength.

#AlyssaMilano is helping to silence Tara Reade. Her entire feed for over a week has been a wall of interview links of Tara being interviewed by , & #Risers & most recently
Double exclamation mark
She sees the tweets. Go look at her feed. Thx
Quote Tweet

Not everyone has strength.

I'm always surprised anyone takes Jill Filipovic seriously.  That bitch is not a feminist.  She went around, while in law school, begging people to trade links with her and then she wouldn't link to them after they linked to her.  That's worse than a link whore.  I've never traded links.  If someone's asked to be linked to, I've generally linked to them.  I ignored Jill's e-mail because it was obvious -- even then before her infamous summer vacation posting bikini photos while the world burned -- that she wasn't a feminist.  She never had a real grasp on any issue, she never led on any issue.  Reading her nonsense then or today, it's obvious that she just spits out words others have written and pretends like she's had an actual though.

So, no, I'm not surprised that Jill is silent about Tara Reade.  Useless then, useless now.  Be glad we have some real feminists out there -- like Rose McGowan.

Joni Mitchell could have been singing about the current landscape when she wrote "Dog Eat Dog:"

Land of snap decisions
Land of short attention spans
Nothing is savored
Long enough to really, really understand
In every culture in decline
The watchful ones among the slaves
Know all that is genuine will be
Scorned and conned and cast away

Liza Featherstone also deserves praise -- as do Katie Halper, Krystal Ball, Ryan Grimm and many others.  From Liza's essay at JACOBIN:

This week, Tara Reade, a former Biden aide, detailed her 1993 experience of sexual assault on “The Katie Halper Show” after trying for years to get someone to listen. Reade has, predictably, been smeared as a Russian agent, because that’s how mainstream Democrats respond to anything they don’t want to hear. But she’s just one of seven women who have accused Biden of horrible behavior, charges that have been public for years.
Democratic elites have known for years about Biden’s shabby, boorish treatment of Anita Hill, the dignified law professor who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991. Hill brought workplace sexual harassment into the public eye years before #MeToo. Biden was chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time. He has since said that he “wished he could have done something” to ensure that her claims got a fair hearing, a pretty inept apology considering he was in charge of the proceedings.
From mainstream feminists, we’re hearing little about Biden’s #MeToo problems. In fact, some have flatly declined to be involved. As the Intercept reported this week, the feminist legal group Time’s Up had refused to take Reade’s case. In a twist, Anita Dunn, a top Biden adviser, is managing director of Time’s Up’s PR firm, SKDKnickerbocker. In another twist, Dunn also advised big Democratic donor (now convicted rapist) Harvey Weinstein on how to handle his own rape allegations. Another partner in SKDKnickerbocker, Hilary Rosen, has also been advising Biden’s presidential campaign. 
The allegations aren’t getting much play in the mainstream media either. Sure, it’s a busy news cycle. And everything about Biden is boring, even his sexual assault allegations. But the day Reade’s charges went public, CNN ran an “analysis” by Chris Cillizza about Biden and gender. Its theme? “The Top 10 Women Joe Biden Might Pick as VP.”

By contrast, we’ve heard for years from these same quarters about the supposed mean, sexist tweets of the Bernie Bros, and about Bernie Sanders’s alleged tone-deafness on gender issues. But Sanders is the only candidate now running for president with no sexual assault or harassment charges against him. That’s obviously a low bar, and it’s unfortunate we have to mention it. But, perhaps relatedly, Sanders is also the only one in the race who has always been pro-choice, has always been committed to full abortion access regardless of income, and has been fighting for universal childcare for decades, as well as for advancements that benefit working-class women even more than men, like the $15 minimum wage and Medicare for All. Yet if you relied on the mainstream media for information, you’d assume that Biden was the feminist candidate in the primary, while Sanders was “problematic” for women.

Turning to the Middle East . . .

Transcript to the above NEWSHOUR (PBS) segment:

Judy Woodruff:
In the day's other news: Iran dismissed President Trump's claim that it is planning an attack on U.S. targets in Iraq.
On Twitter, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote: "Iran starts no wars, but teaches lessons to those who do."

Mr. Trump said Wednesday that U.S. intelligence believes Iran and its proxies mean to strike in Iraq, but he gave no details.

In Iraq, the coronavirus continues to spread.  What's the answer?  For the Iraqi government, the answer is to ban a news agency.  ALJAZEERA explains, "Iraq has revoked Reuters news agency's reporting licence for three months after it reported the number of new coronavirus cases in the country was in the thousands, much higher than official figures."  Raphaella Stavrinou (NEW EUROPE) adds, "According to unnamed doctors and Iraqi officials cited in the report, the real number of coronavirus infections in the country is estimated to be between about 3,000 and 9,000, with more than 2,000 confirmed cases in eastern Baghdad alone."  THE DAILY STAR notes, "Reuters also said that the number of deaths was much higher than the 54 reported so far by the Iraqi authorities."  Who to believe?  REUTERS.  The Iraqi government has a long history of undercounting -- long before the coronavirus emerged.

The following sites updated: