Saturday, July 18, 2020

Cancel Culture, anyone?

The architects of the Iraq War.   And you'll note they're rushing to the side of Joe Biden -- War Hawk Biden.  Joe the man who controlled the debate and discussion of Iraq in the Senate.  Joe who Barack put in charge of Iraq when Barack was president.  Eight years of being in charge of Iraq and Joe left the country in worse shape than it was before he became vice president -- how is that even possible?

Equally puzzling, why people aren't calling out the War Criminals like Colin Powell?

The lack of independence in the media -- All Things Media Big and Small -- is why Robert Draper and THE NEW YORK TIMES believe they can get away this morning with whoring passed off as journalism:

In August 2018, in the course of researching a book on the lead-up to the Iraq war, I went to see Powell at the office in Alexandria, Va., that he has maintained since leaving the Bush administration in early 2005. Powell, who is now 83, is as proud and blunt-speaking as he was during his career in public service. Over the course of our two hourlong conversations, he made clear that he was all too aware of the lonely turf he was destined to occupy in history.

It was not the turf that anyone, least of all Powell himself, would have imagined for him in 2001. He entered the Bush administration as a four-star general of immense popularity and political influence. He left it four years later, discarded by Bush in favor of a more like-minded chief diplomat, Condoleezza Rice. He mournfully predicted to others that his obituary’s first paragraph would include his authorship of the U.N. speech.

Draper, it's hard for me to understand everything you're trying to say when you're speaking at the same time you're juggling Colin's balls in your mouth.

Colin lied.  To the UN, to the world.  It's a little late for you to start pretending otherwise and no one should believe your lies about Colin being misled.  He knew what he was doing.  He exploded at one point that he wasn't going to say that "s**t" because he knew it was a lie.

Ava and I covered this nonsense in 2005, see our "TV Review: Barbara and Colin remake The Way We Were."  Along comes Draper hoping everyone's forgotten reality.

I'm so sick of this garbage and this media environment -- big and small -- that allows the lies not just to be told once but to be retold over and over.

Some readers may be curious why Consortium News on Saturday devoted space to three lengthy articles analyzing a single New York Times piece about events that happened 17 years ago. 

It is simply because we are still living today with the serious consequences of those events, namely:

  • Terrorism and continued instability in the Middle East
  • Continued, even worsened, political manipulation and corruption of  intelligence.
  • Continued, and even worsened, manipulation and corruption of the news media.

Iraq is still an unstable country. Extremist groups such as the Islamic State arose because of Iraq’s instability. The invasion of Iraq is now universally seen in the U.S. as the nations’ worst foreign policy blunder perhaps in history. To prevent another such crime of aggression, this needs to be repeatedly stated.

As Ray McGovern pointed out in his piece, the politicization of intelligence in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion manifested itself again in the Russiagate affair, when DNI James Clapper refused to conduct an NIE on the allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. election. 

An obvious piece of opposition research (both sides engage in it) was taken as the basis of an FBI investigation into a presidential campaign, which was then amplified ad infinitum by a corrupted news media, that learned nothing from its admitted errors and distortions in the Iraq story. 

Both in Iraq and in Russiagate, ambitious journalists were not skeptical about what anonymous intelligence and other official sources told them, either being used or actively participating in the deception.

What we have witnessed is the normalization of the politicization and corruption of both the intelligence and media professions. This is why we brought three writers with direct personal experience to help make the story of Colin Powell and Iraq relevant to today.

He's linked to Ray's piece and we'll also link to Joe's piece on Iraq.

We're not linking to Scott Ritter.

I'll come back to that.

For now, let's note that CONSORTIUM NEWS took the matter seriously enough to provide analysis of the reality that NYT's latest lies hid.  

And let's also note that in 2005, in real time, the late Robert Parry covered Colin's attempt to wash the blood of millions off his hands with that ludicrous sit-down with Barbara Walters -- see  "Colin Powell Being Colin Powell." 

CONSORTIUM NEWS did a good thing today, a praise worthy thing.

But they also triggered another topic.  I was asked, in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin, about cancel culture and why I hadn't weighed in here?

I think we've weighed in many times over the years.

I'm so glad that now -- when many can't be helped -- a lot of fat asses suddenly care -- I'm looking at you, Katha Pollitt.

I'm sorry, I'm an artist.  I take art very seriously.  Katha's a bad 'poet' -- she's a lousy writer and she can't do poetry, someone sit her down for an intervention before we suffer through more of her free verse.


Roseanne Barr is an artist.  Roseanne created art.  

Roseanne no longer owns her art or profits from it (I'm referring to THE CONNERS -- the characters she created).

I am so damn sick of the self-righteous liars.

Roseanne is not a racist.

She lost everything over a Tweet.

And where was the 'distinguished' CIA buddy who signed the same letter Katha did then?

Roseanne supports Donald Trump.

She has every right to, this is a democracy.  She's also not the only one who supports him -- a large number of Americans do.

But it was attack Roseanne the minute her show came back on.

Most Americans ignored the attacks and kept watching the show -- which is why it was setting records for viewership.  It was an important show when it started and it was an important show when it returned for one season.

Proving how cowardly she is and how disgusting she is -- well she did raise the hideous Rosa Brooks who wanted to 'license' journalists, remember -- Barbara Ehrenreich didn't defend Roseanne, she attacked her, she joined the mob.

Roseanne said Valerie Jarrett was a cross between the Muslim Brotherhood and PLANET OF THE APES.

This became the Tweet that destroyed her.

First, she's' a comic.  She can make a bad joke.  

Second, to accuse her of racism?  That's beyond stupid.  Roseanne is not racist.  I know Roseanne and she's not a racist.

She didn't know Valerie Jarrett was Black.  Many people didn't.  Was she saying that Valerie looked like an ape?  

I don't get that from the Tweet.  She wasn't saying Valerie looked like the Muslim Brotherhood.

She was characterizing Valerie's actions and Valerie's alleged actions -- on the right, there are some theories -- some possible, some insane -- about Valerie's possible actions.

Do people look like apes?

Yes, some people do.  Ryan Gosling is only one example.  

On SNL years ago, Eddie Murphy did a WEEKEND UPDATE skit about how Joe Piscapo would be the one -- of the two of them -- who looked like an ape.  He did that because historically there has been an effort to degrade and insult the African-American race by comparing them to apes.

In a media environment committed to more than shock values and clicks, the Tweet could have raised issues in an intelligent way.

But the press didn't want that.

Let me give an example, a Washington football team is changing their name.  I don't know the new name -- I'm not a sports fan -- but we're not putting the old name up here.  We were doing an online talk with a college group on Thursday.  A Native American raised the issue.  A Latino offered that he didn't see the problem.  The name, he felt, was about being a warrior and brave.

He's not 'wrong.'  He doesn't carry -- knowingly -- the legacy of racism.  He doesn't know the history of the word.  It would be stupid for anyone to scream racist at him over that.  What happened was that, as a group, we explained the history of the term and how it could be hurtful and how it could be used to 'other' someone in our society.  

We didn't pick on him and we didn't attack him.  I'm glad that his default position was one of seeing Native Americans as brave and strong.  We walked him through the history of the term and he got why people would be offended by it.

A lot of times, when we jump all over someone for what was said, we forget a great deal.

This includes that something obvious to us because we lived through it is not necessarily obvious to some young adult or teenager who does not have the historic reference point.  We do a disservice to people and to the very real issue of racism by refusing to address these issues.

Roseanne isn't a racist.  

She created ROSEANNE.  Those characters were based on her life.  ABC stole credit the first time.  That was bad.  (Or helped a man steal credit, we should say.)  But what happened after that Tweet was disgusting.

To save the jobs of the crew, Roseanne was forced into signing over the characters that she created.  ABC wouldn't be satisfied with her being off the show, they didn't want her to profit from it.

Sara Gilbert is a piece of trash and I'm thrilled karma is destroying her life -- she's lost her job on THE TALK and she's now separated from her wife, she's having medication issue . . . Good.  I hope she suffers like crazy.

That bitch -- and that is the correct term for Sara Gilbert -- only has a career because of Roseanne.  Roseanne's the reason she was cast as Darlene.  ABC -- and Carsey-Werner -- thought Sara was a lesbian when she was up for the role of Darlene.  Roseanne stood by her and Sara got the role.  ABC never liked her -- it didn't matter that Darlene was a popular character.  After Becky was successfully replaced on the show, ABC tried to get Roseanne to agree to getting rid of Sara and recasting her with an "attractive" actress. She stood by Sara.  Others didn't.  CBS didn't want her on THE BIG BANG THEORY.  That's why she didn't become a regular.  CBS didn't want her on THE CLASS as a regular either.   THE WB had her on TWINS and TV is a homophobic medium.  THE WB was comfortable cancelling a hit show -- over two million viewers was a hit for THE WB -- if it meant getting rid of Sara.

Her longest run in a TV show was due to Roseanne protecting her.

Sara used the Tweet to steal the show from Roseanne.  

Now Roseanne's not a racist but let's recap the big lie: Roseanne must be fired because she's a racist.

Okay, so that's what was sold by ABC and company (Sara, Channing, all the cheap whores).

If Roseanne's a racist, why is THE CONNERS still on the air?

That's her creation.  If she's a racist, then her creation is racist.  That's how it works.

They blackmailed Roseanne, they extorted.  I wish she'd get a good entertainment attorney and sue them all.

She was forced to give up her creation.  No one has ever been treated that way before.  She had to sign over her rights and her rights to profit.

She did it to save jobs.


Because Roseanne's a socialist.  That's what Babsie knew and why she applauded Roseanne in the 90s (in the neo-liberal THE NEW REPUBLIC).  

Roseanne's a socialist.  And if you grasp that, the final season of the show makes a lot more sense -- as does everything about the show after the first half of the first season's episodes -- when Roseanne demanded that the hatred of women stop or she was going to walk.  

Presented with signing away everything or people losing their jobs?  Roseanne's going to side with the workers every time.

THE CONNERS has nothing to offer.  Oh, struggling with money,  well it's all your own damn fault you lazy and corrupt person.

That is how they're portrayed now.

When ROSEANNE came back, Roseanne's point was workers are suffering.  You can work and work and you don't have decent healthcare so you can't even afford the medications you need.  You don't have decent healthcare or a nest egg so you take jobs that are awful -- or you consider selling your eggs to a family who can't get pregnant.

Roseanne and I disagree on Palestine.  She's not the only person that I disagree with on Palestine.  She is a huge supporter of the Israeli government and she sees it and a Jewish identity as one and the same.  I hope a time will come when Roseanne sees it differently (and I'm sure she hopes a time will come when I see it her way).  But that doesn't mean she's not a friend.  It means we don't agree on everything.  Guess what?  That's okay.  People can be friends without signing off on every thought and belief the other one has.

Now I can't be friends with racists or people who justify murder by calling it war.  I can't be friends with homophobes.  I'm not talking about people who don't know better, I'm talking about people who make an active decision to ignore facts and reality and embrace hatred.

We are falsely told that racism is about ignorance.  

I don't agree.  I think people can be misled about race and many other topics.  Certainly, let's use homophobia, I will be a little more tolerant of the elderly because in their day it was 'state of the art' information that being gay was a mental illness.  That's what the press taught, that's what the government taught, that's what the medical field taught.

A 30-year-old guy today who hates gay men?  My first thought it that's he's in the midst of a homosexual panic and in deep denial.  But I also don't think he's got the excuse of ignorance.  He's made a choice, as an adult, to hate gay people.

Nick Cannon.  VARIETY today:

That’s what Cannon appeared to set in motion Monday after anti-Semitic comments he made on his own podcast, and the absence of a subsequent apology, triggered ViacomCBS to end its long-standing relationship with him. It seemed like just a matter of time before other partners got in line behind ViacomCBS.

But then damage control finally kicked in. After mishandling his first apology, Cannon issued a second, lengthier mea culpa echoed by Fox, home to hit unscripted series “The Masked Singer.” The broadcast network cited his apology and his professed willingness to engage in dialogues with Jewish leaders to educate himself better as the reasons the company was standing by the actor.

Maybe the network was acknowledging a genuine sense of contrition that came over Cannon a little later than it might have hit other people in his shoes. But skeptics might suggest Cannon’s change of heart really was the delayed realization of how much else he had to lose once ViacomCBS severed ties after his first half-hearted attempt at addressing his despicable podcast commentary.

It just goes to show how something as cheap and easy as choosing the right words in the wake of controversies like this can make all the difference between avoiding the kind of blow ViacomCBS dealt and engendering the kind of support Fox delivered.

Okay, Nick's comments -- not even comments, his discussions -- weren't an attempt at a joke.

FOX is not a standalone network anymore.  It was purchased (I opposed it and can't believe anti-trust legislation didn't stop the purchase) by ABC-DISNEY-OWNS-THE-WHOLE-WORLD.  ABC-DISNEY is who fired Rosanne.  For a Tweet.

Nick.  I don't believe he should be fired from his FOX show.  

I don't believe he's a racist or anti-Jew.  

I think he's fallen for some conspiracies.  I'm not surprised by that.  Many people do.  A huge Joe Biden supporter, an actress with a big following on Twitter (don't we know who I mean?) in the summer of 2014 was drunk enough that she wanted to share with me about how the world was 'really  run.'  She started going off on a 15 minute tangent.

When she was done, I replied, "You've just summarized THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION."  She was so excited I was aware of it.  She was less excited when I explained to her that it was a hoax.  In fact, she grabbed her phone to search and prove me wrong.  Woops.  Her 'college' (we all know she didn't learn anything by going to 'school' on the set of that sitcom) WIKIPEDIA said it was a hoax.  She had to let it go as a result.

We live in a world where everything should be possible, where everyone should have enough to eat, have access to medical care (Medicare For All is what's needed), where we should celebrate and encourage education -- a smarter citizenry makes for a better country -- by, yes, making it free.

This doesn't happen.

Instead, we've got people are homeless, we've got people in this country who go to bed hungry, we've got people who are broken by medical bills, we've got people worried that they might be kicked out of their apartment next month due to economic results of the pandemic.

When we live in a confusing world, we often look for answers to try to make sense of it.

I believe that's Nick's issue.  I am familiar with him and we've spoken a few times.  I don't pretend to know him.  But he's always been career focused and I don't believe he saw being seen as a hater of Jewish people as a step up the career ladder.

Nick didn't make some remark while he was drunk and a cop was recording him.

He made the comments he made intentionally in a discussion that he didn't hide -- it was a podcast he put online.

I don't think he hates Jewish people.

I also question whether he was slamming Jewish people or just slamming some corrupt people who happen to be Jewish.

I loathe George Soros.  Not because he's Jewish -- I don't know that I knew he was until this week.  I hate George Soros because he preys on other countries, I hate him because he has blood money that he made off the destruction of other people's lives.  That's how a speculator gets rich.

I know Nick called out George.  I don't know how or why -- nor am I interested in it.

Nick hosted a public podcast and said what he said publicly.  It would be career suicide to declare that he hates Jewish people (or any group of people) for him -- he's about mass audiences and mass entertainment.  I don't need to cancel him.

Katha and her special friends wrote a letter for HARPER'S -- videos have gone up at this site for two weeks about this issue -- and a response rightly noted that it wasn't that easy.

And it's not that easy.  I agree with the counter-letter.*

That's what Ava and I have made our point for 15 years at THIRD as media critics.

I hate Bill Maher.  He's a small minded, sexist pig who is racist and traffics in the worst stereotypes against Muslims and Arabs.  I can't stand him.

But our point is not: Fire Bill and silence him.  Our point is why doesn't HBO have any talk shows hosted by women?  Why doesn't HBO have any talk shows hosted by people of color?

That might offer non-sexist views to pop up, it might allow HBO viewers to see talk shows where Arab wasn't seen as a pejorative.  

Some would argue: Okay, but all you're going to get is a woman who supports corruption, an African-American who supports corporations . . .

Yes, I know.  You've just described both CNN and MSNBC.  

But I really don't want to hear you whine about how political opinions are not allowed to be diverse -- not unless you supported Roseanne.

Sure, support her right to be a Trump backer.

But I'm talking bigger than that, Roseanne brought a socialist critique to the airwaves.  

Instead of defending her or even just saying "It was a bad attempt at humor," too many people who knew better rushed to attack her or rushed to stay silent.

A democracy flourishes when we have more voices and more views offered.  It's vibrant and passionate and welcoming.  It's so far from what we have right now.

Scott Ritter.

I've said for years here and at THIRD, that I don't call for someone to lose their job.  And, outside of politicians, I don't.

But as I've defended this or that person here or at THIRD, a few e-mails trickle in about Scott Ritter. 

I'm so wrong to call him out, I'm told.  I'm so wrong not to link to him and blah blah blah.

You know who else I don't praise?  Charles Manson.  Or more to the point, Evan Dando.  A friend -- who slept with Evan back in the day when the world cared who he was -- tried to get me to promote one of his solo tours here a few years back.  I do that for friends.  If someone's got an album or a tour, I'm happy to toss out a mention.

Not for Evan. His band's second album is the reason.  There was no reason to 'celebrate' Charles Manson.  

I also see no reason to celebrate Scott Ritter.

We don't disagree on an issue.  I'm not upset by who he voted for.  I'm not angered by his position on the Iraq War.

I don't embrace Scott because he's been busted three times for trying to have sex with an underage female.  The third time finally got him sent to prison.

This isn't about free speech, with Scott Ritter.  This is about the fact that he is a danger to young girls and I'm not going to have anyone ever tell me, "I went to meet him because you highlighted him at your site and I thought he could be trusted."

No, he can't be.

Clearly, he is a repeat offender.

Clearly, he is a criminal.

This is not a rumor.  This is not one person's questionable allegation.  This is his being arrested three times.  His making a deal with the judge the first time.  His making a deal the second time.  His being hauled into court the third time (and admitting it in court).  

He is not a victim of a runaway media or a smear campaign.  He is a convicted offender.

I'm not calling for him to be publicly stoned.  I am stating very clearly that I do not link to him and I do not promote him.

This is not a new position for me.

I early on included him here.  Then a CNN friend told me I should back off and why.

He then went around with his crazy talk that this was all a conspiracy against him -- reports of his arrest.  (My friend told me that the arrest was actually his second arrest for trying to hook up with a minor -- and that was accurate.)  And some people believed him and supported him.  It was all Bully Boy Bush -- they insisted -- trying to destroy Scott's reputation and silence him.

Then Barack got into the White House and Scott got arrested for the third time.  And went to prison.

He's a sex offender and should be registered as such and when anyone promotes him -- posts his writing or features him on their programs  -- they should be required to note he is a convicted sex offender.

I argued that with HUFFINGTON POST and they finally ran with it -- for labeling Donald Trump a liar -- not for labeling Scott Ritter an offender.

That I even have to write about how outrageous it is that some on the left continue to promote Scott Ritter goes to the reality that fretting over 'cancel culture' is a White thing -- if you're a White, straight man like Scott Ritter you can be published and interviewed -- despite being a three-time arrested sex offender -- despite being convicted as a sex offender.  Again, I agree with the counter letter.

The following sites updated:


* I agree with the position of the letter.  I do not agree with every word or every example.  And there are not "allegations" against Woody Allen.  There is Dylan Farrow's allegation -- which was not found to be valid by two investigative bodies and which is most likely an implanted memory -- which I say as someone who was a friend of Mia's for years.  But, again, "allegations" is not factual.


Ep 172 Prejudential and BLM feat Margaret Kimberley

Guest: Margaret Kimberley. We talk about Margaret’s new book: Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents and about the current Black Lives Matter protest movement. Here is Dr. Cornel West’s comment about the book: "Margaret Kimberley gives us an intellectual gem or prophetic fire about all the U.S. presidents and their deep roots in the vicious legacy of white supremacy and predatory capitalism. Such truths seem more than most Americans can bear, though we ignore her words at our own peril!" There is an extra (bonus question) for patrons only (Ep 172EXTRA) where we get Margaret’s advice for people who strongly support anti-racism, strongly oppose police brutality, discrimination and the militarization of police but who prefer peaceful protests and are uncomfortable with random violence and political exploitation of these issues by disingenuous politicians and others who are actually part of the problem themselves. Margaret Kimberley is an author and she’s the co-founder and Editor and Senior Columnist for Black Agenda Report (BAR). Her Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She is from New York City and her work has appeared in numerous publications and sites. She also writes on her own FreedomRider blog FOLLOW Margaret on Twitter @freedomrideblog Find her work at the Black Agenda Report and at her FreedomRider blog Recorded on June 20, 2020. Music by Fluorescent Grey. Reference Links: 1. Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents by Margaret Kimberley Around the Empire podcast is listener supported independent media. Please pitch in if you can: or SUBSCRIBE on Youtube, iTunes, Spotify, Google Music or your favorite podcast app. Website: Facebook: FOLLOW @aroundtheempire FOLLOW Joanne Leon at @joanneleon

Matt Taibbi RESPONDS To Anti-Free Speech Critics, Bari Weiss Letter

Journalist and author Matt Taibbi weighs in on Bari Weiss' resignation from the New York Times. About Rising:  Rising is a weekday morning show with bipartisan hosts that breaks the mold of morning TV by taking viewers inside the halls of Washington power like never before. The show leans into the day's political cycle with cutting edge analysis from DC insiders who can predict what is going to happen. It also sets the day's political agenda by breaking exclusive news with a team of scoop-driven reporters and demanding answers during interviews with the country's most important political newsmakers.  Follow Rising on social media: Website: Hill.TV Facebook: Instagram: @HillTVLive Twitter: @HillTVLive Follow Saagar Enjeti & Krystal Ball on social media: Twitter: @esaagar and @krystalball Instagram: @esaagar and @krystalmball

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Calls for Transparency and Accountability in Tragic Case of Spc. Guillen

Underscores Urgent Need for Improved Recourse for those Suffering Harassment and Attacks

July 2, 2020

New York, NY – Today Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) called on the Department of Defense to exercise improved transparency in the case of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen, a soldier missing from Fort Hood in Texas for more than two months.  The organization also calls on its allies in Congress to exercise aggressive oversight of the investigation as to what happened to Spc. Guillen and how the military failed to protect her and others like her.  

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Spc. Guillen,” said IAVA CEO Jeremy Butler. “I can not imagine how difficult and heart rending this situation is for them.”

The developments in this ongoing case strongly underscore the importance of improving processes at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to ensure that survivors of sexual harassment and assault have access to confidential and safe reporting and legal processes that acheive results.

“The system is clearly flawed. Spc. Guillen made it clear to her family that she had seen the failed response when fellow soldiers made similar reports and she feared the threat of retaliation if she made her own reports of sexual harassment,” Butler added. “Because of the many shortcomings in the justice process for survivors of sexual harassment and assault, we have long-supported the passage of the Military Justice Improvement Act to combat the scourge of military sexual violence by moving the decision over whether to prosecute serious crimes to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors. The House-passed, IAVA-led Deborah Sampson Act requires the VA to establish a comprehensive policy to end harassment and sexual assault at all of its facilities. The time is now to enact these and other aggressive measures to keep our servicemembers and veterans safe.”

IAVA encourages anyone who has been impacted by sexual harassment or assault to reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force who will assist service members, veterans, and their families with a variety of needs including 24/7 peer support and connections to resources.

Founded by an Iraq veteran in 2004, IAVA is the non-partisan leader in advocacy, public awareness and 1-on-1 care management and peer support. We organize locally, drive historic impacts nationally and fight for over 400,000 veterans and their allies nationwide. If a veteran or their family is in need of assistance now, please reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at or 1-855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist you.


Climate Scientist: Why You Should Worry About 100 Degree Temps In Siberia

Postdoctoral researcher, Zachary Labe, explains the record heat wave being recorded in the Arctic Circle and the potential impact. About Rising:  Rising is a weekday morning show with bipartisan hosts that breaks the mold of morning TV by taking viewers inside the halls of Washington power like never before. The show leans into the day's political cycle with cutting edge analysis from DC insiders who can predict what is going to happen. It also sets the day's political agenda by breaking exclusive news with a team of scoop-driven reporters and demanding answers during interviews with the country's most important political newsmakers.  Follow Rising on social media: Website: Hill.TV Facebook: Instagram: @HillTVLive Twitter: @HillTVLive Follow Saagar Enjeti & Krystal Ball on social media: Twitter: @esaagar and @krystalball Instagram: @esaagar and @krystalmball

Stay in the streets – Justice for Vanessa Guillén! by Rachel Domond


Originally posted on Breaking the Chains.

On June 30, the remains of 20-year old Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén were found just outside of Fort Hood Army base. This tragic discovery comes after over two months of Guillén’s family demanding a shut-down of the base and an investigation following her disappearance on April 22. The Guillén family’s attorney, Natalie Kawaham, speculated that the unfolding of the case in the public’s eye, and the eruption of protests for justice for Vanessa, contributed to the military beginning to take the investigation seriously over recent weeks.

Prior to her disappearance, Guillén’s family noted that Vanessa had experienced ongoing sexual harassment by her superior while on the base. While Guillén had reported the harassment to friends, family, and even soldiers on the base, she felt too threatened by the potential to be demoted or to lose her job to report it to Army officials. The Guillén family cited these concerns to Army officials following Vanessa’s disappearance, but the military was slow to investigate her disappearance. Demanding answers from Fort Hood leadership, Guillén’s family was only met with lies. Vanessa Guillén’s murder could have been prevented had Fort Hood conducted an immediate and adequate investigation of one of its missing soldiers; yet, the military’s actions to disregard and cover up her disappearance carry on the long history of attempts to cover up the rampant sexual harassment and sexual assault that take place within the military.

Although women only make up about 20 percent of the military, nearly 65 percent of sexual assaults in the military target women, with the youngest and lowest-ranked amongst those disproportionately targeted in such attacks. According to a 2019 report from the Department of Defense, the surge in sexual assault within the U.S. military over the prior 2 years had been driven almost entirely by a 50 percent increase in sexual assault of women. One out of every 16 women reported being groped, raped or otherwise sexually assaulted over the prior year, and nearly one in three women in uniform will experience sexual assault during their time in the military overall. Despite 65 percent of such cases in 2018 receiving “disciplinary action” by the military, victims have rarely seen such menial punishment – often taken by commanders at their own discretion – result in justice. Vanessa Guillén’s story is heartbreaking, and unfortunately just one amidst an abominable culture of sexual violence and abuse of power rampant within the military, both domestically and internationally.

The issue of police and military repression of young working class Black and brown people has taken center stage in communities across the nation. Since news of Vanessa Guillén’s disappearance breached the public sphere, cities have erupted in protest of her murder and the military’s malfeasance in appropriately investigating. As evidenced by the gains made over the past few weeks, only the masses of people remaining in the streets demanding justice will get us the justice and transformation needed – for Vanessa Guillén, and for all victims of police and military terror. 

Organization Seeks to Block Federal Law Enforcement Attacks on Journalists, Legal Observers in Portland

From the ACLU:

125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States
(212) 549-2666 

July 17, 2020

PORTLAND — The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon today sued the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service, which have deployed federal agents to Portland, Oregon. These agents, which have been deployed over the widespread objections of local leaders and community members, have been indiscriminately using tear gas, rubber bullets, and acoustic weapons against protesters, journalists, and legal observers. Federal officers also shot a protester in the head Sunday with a rubber bullet fracturing the person’s face and skull.

Today’s lawsuit seeks to block federal law enforcement from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force against journalists or legal observers. The lawsuit is one of many the ACLU will be filing against federal authorities in Portland for their unconstitutional attacks on people protesting the police killing of George Floyd.

“This is a fight to save our democracy,” said Kelly Simon, interim legal director with the ACLU of Oregon. “Under the direction of the Trump administration, federal agents are terrorizing the community, risking lives, and brutally attacking protesters demonstrating against police brutality. This is police escalation on top of police escalation. These federal agents must be stopped and removed from our city. We will continue to bring the full fire power of the ACLU to bear until this lawless policing ends.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of legal observers and local journalists. Named plaintiffs include The Portland Mercury; Matthew Lewis-Rolland, a freelance photographer who federal agents shot 10 times in the back on Sunday; Justin Yau, a freelance journalist who federal agents attacked with tear gas; and Doug Brown, a legal observer who federal agents threatened to shoot. The individuals were wearing high-visibility shirts that said “PRESS” or “legal observer.”

“Cowardly attacks on those who report police misconduct to the world have no place in a free society,” said Matthew Borden, partner at Braun Hagey & Borden LLP.

The filing adds federal agencies to an existing lawsuit the ACLU of Oregon filed last month against local law enforcement. In that lawsuit, a federal judge issued an order blocking local law enforcement from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force against journalists or legal observers at protests until October 30. Today’s filing seeks to extend that order to federal law enforcement.

“What is happening in Portland is an unconstitutional nightmare,” said Vera Eidelman, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “This is not law and order. This is lawlessness. The ACLU will not let the government respond to protests against police brutality with still more brutality. We will continue to hold law enforcement at all levels of government accountable, just as we have nationwide.”

The ACLU has filed multiple lawsuits across the country in response to unconstitutional law enforcement attacks on journalists and protesters, including suing President Trump and other administration officials for the firing of tear gas on protesters outside the White House on June 1.

Today’s lawsuit was filed by the ACLU Foundation of Oregon and Braunhagey & Borden LLP. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Portland Division.

The motion for a temporary restraining order is here:

The amended complaint is online here:

An earlier ACLU statement on reports of federal officers grabbing protesters off the streets is here:

Full case files are online here:

Media may use these photographs of federal agents in Portland with attribution to “Doug Brown, ACLU of Oregon”:

STATEMENT: Trump Administration Releases Draft Report of the Commission on Unalienable Rights

From the Center for Reproductive Rights:


Statement from Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
"Today, the Trump Administration rolled out a draft report by the Commission on Unalienable Rights, seeking once again to erase reproductive rights from the global discourse. Rather than reaffirming our nation’s commitment to advancing the full spectrum of human rights protections, including reproductive rights, the Commission’s report reveals how the Administration plans to pick and choose which rights the United States will recognize and prioritize, and which it will abandon.  

“Contrary to well-established human rights principles, the report suggests that abortion is a ‘contestable political preference’ and not a basic right, and ominously warns against any so-called ‘prodigious expansion of human rights.’  

“This report is yet another attempt by this Administration to roll back human rights protections for women, LGBTQI people, and other vulnerable, marginalized communities in the U.S. and around the world by manufacturing confusion and stoking controversy, while simultaneously and hypocritically claiming the mantle of global exemplar.” 


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There Is No Plan (For You) | Nationalize the Pharmaceutical Industry Now

18 July 2020


There Is No Plan (For You)

Unemployment, evictions, business failure, a pandemic and health crises are all here at once. The federal government doesn’t care.


Nationalize the Pharmaceutical Industry Now

The status quo will kill us.


The Forgotten History of the Jewish, Anti-Zionist Left

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All Undocumented Immigrants Deserve Citizenship—Not Just “Essential Workers”

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“Blue Lives Matter” Comes to Brooklyn, and Everyone Screams

In Bay Ridge, pro-police demonstrators were met with the righteous anger of Black Lives Matter.



Teachers Unions Look Like the Last Line of Defense in Trump’s “Reckless” School Reopening Crusade

Across the country, teachers unions are pushing back on reopening plans: "If Donald Trump is telling people to go back to school, that should mean everyone with a brain knows not to go back to school."



‘We Get There First or White Supremacists Do’: How These Rural Canvassers Disrupt Racist Narratives

The Left can—and must—win rural voters. By addressing both race and class, these canvassers are showing how it’s done.


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