Friday, May 8, 2020

Dianne Feinstein belongs in jail not in Congress

Rebecca ("she's as ugly as her wig") and I ("Dianne Feinstein owes us all an apology") called out Dianne Feinstein on Thursday because she is so disgusting. 

California Globe reports:

SLO Tribune reporter Matt Fountain uncovered a court document from 1996 that shows former Senate staffer Tara Reade had told her ex-husband she was sexually harassed while working for Joe Biden in 1993. This is a critical piece of information because it confirms in a legal document that Reade’s complaint was not recently manufactured, as some have suggested, simply to derail Biden’s presidential campaign.
Indeed, many Democratic leaders who are supporting Biden, including prominent voices in the #BelieveAllWomen contingent, have used the supposed recentness of the allegations to discredit Ms. Reade.
Yesterday, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) attacked Reade for failing to come forward on a more timely basis after allegedly having been sexually assaulted by Biden in the spring of 1993. Sen. Feinstein told CNN, “[Reade] came out of nowhere. Where has she been all these years?” According to CNN’s Manu Raju, Amy Klobuchar also declined to side with this particular woman. “Asked about criticism that Democrats have a double-standard on the topic, Klobuchar didn’t answer and walked into an awaiting car.”
So a document from 1996 — in addition to the recollection of Ms. Reade’s friend, and her brother, and the emergence of a 1993 phone call Ms. Reade’s mother placed to Larry King complaining of “problems” her daughter had had “after working for a prominent senator” — makes it much harder to cast Reade’s allegations as motivated by Biden’s 2020 run.
Despite the emergence of this court document at least partially corroborating Ms. Reade’s claim, the national morning news shows mostly ignoring this revelation.  This stands in marked contrast to the booking policy during the “cover every lunatic Michael Avenatti can dredge up” phase of the Brett Kavanaugh’s hearings. During that period, this sort of contemporaneous court document verifying the claims of Justice Kavanaugh’s accuser never emerged.

Dianne is disgusting.  And just like when she lied about and smeared Ed Snowden, DiFi won't apologize this time either.  She just lies and gets away with it.  Just like she breaks ethical guidelines and people look the other way.  She belongs behind bars. 

The Washington Times 2009:

On the day the new Congress convened this year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to route $25 billion in taxpayer money to a government agency that had just awarded her husband’s real estate firm a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.
Mrs. Feinstein’s intervention on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was unusual: the California Democrat isn’t a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; and the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments - not direct federal dollars.
Documents reviewed by The Washington Times show Mrs. Feinstein first offered Oct. 30 to help the FDIC secure money for its effort to stem the rise of home foreclosures. Her letter was sent just days before the agency determined that CB Richard Ellis Group (CBRE) - the commercial real estate firm that her husband Richard Blum heads as board chairman - had won the competitive bidding for a contract to sell foreclosed properties that FDIC had inherited from failed banks.

From Business Wire 2007:

Sen. Dianne Feinsteins husband was a major beneficiary of military appropriations blessed by a subcommittee that she headed, Metro Newspapers reports this week.
Feinstein (D-Calif.) acted in apparent conflict of interest while approving billions of dollars in military construction expenditures, according to an investigative story by award-winning journalist Peter Byrne. The story was published jointly in the North Bay Bohemian and Metro Silicon Valley weekly newspapers this week.
Following Feinsteins participation at the legislative level, large contracts were awarded to two firms  URS Corporation and Perini Corporation  that were controlled by an investment group headed by the senators spouse, financier Richard C. Blum.
Byrne's investigation reveals the following details about Feinsteins service as a member of the United States Senates Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee (MILCON):

From CNBC this year:

On Thursday night, reports said Loeffler and other GOP senators, Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina and Oklahoma’s James Inhofe, along with California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, dumped shares worth up to $10 million in the weeks after a Jan. 24 private briefing to senators about coronavirus by Trump administration health officials.
The sales occurred before a sharp drop in the stock market indexes in recent weeks as the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy.

From Sludge, 2018:

By not disclosing her husband’s investment of at minimum $100,000 in Facebook until after the hearing, she could be viewed as deliberately concealing a possible conflict of interest.
“At the very least, Sen. Feinstein should have publicly disclosed her financial investment in Facebook at the time of the hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Craig Holman of consumer advocate group Public Citizen told Sludge. “As a ranking member of the committee, Feinstein should have followed the protocol expected of anyone who testifies before the committee that requires disclosure of potential financial conflicts of interest.”
San Francisco Gate from 2003:

When it comes to scoring mega-military-related contracts, Sen. Dianne Feinstein's multimillionaire husband, Richard Blum, is right in the thick of things.
First up: a contract announced last week between the Army and URS Corp., the San Francisco planning and engineering company that specializes in defense work -- and that happens to be partly owned by Blum's investment firm.
The contract -- which could grow to $600 million -- is to help with troop mobilization, weapons systems training and anti-terrorism methods.
[. . .]
"You don't want this process to be tainted by the possibility that there is any favoritism involved -- whether it's to the husband of a powerful Democratic senator or someone close to the Bush administration," Wexler said.
"In the end, you want a process that is competitive, accountable and open. It's the only way there will be confidence the process is not larded by cronyism or inside deals."

Here's Megyn Kelly's interview with Tara.

I believe Tara.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, May 8, 2020.  Tara Reade's case against Joe Biden only gets stronger.

Walker Bragman Tweets:

With each new piece of evidence providing corroboration for her story—affirmations from people she told over the years, a video of her mother calling Larry King, and now a court document—it becomes harder to brush Tara Reade aside. This is the real test of the Me Too movement.

In the US, Tara Reade has charged that Joe Biden assaulted her in 1993.  More proof emerged yesterday backing up Tara and Megyn Kelly began airing parts of her interview with Tara.  First with the latest proof.  Matt Fountain (SAN LUIS OBISPO TRIBUNE) reports:

A court document from 1996 shows former Senate staffer Tara Reade told her ex-husband she was sexually harassed while working for Joe Biden in 1993.
The declaration — exclusively obtained by The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, California — does not say Biden committed the harassment nor does it mention Reade’s more recent allegations of sexual assault.
Reade’s then-husband Theodore Dronen wrote the court declaration. Dronen at the time was contesting a restraining order Reade filed against him days after he filed for divorce, Superior Court records show.

Read more here:
In it, he writes Reade told him about “a problem she was having at work regarding sexual harassment, in U.S. Senator Joe Biden’s office.”
[. . .]
Dronen, who still lives in San Luis Obispo County, confirmed he wrote the declaration.
“Tara and I ended our relationship over two decades ago under difficult circumstances,” Dronen said in an email to The Tribune on Thursday. “I am not interested in reliving that chapter of my life. I wish Tara well, and I have nothing further to say.”

Read more here:

Read more here:

By any standards past survivors have been held to, Tara's case has been proven.  Sarah Al-Arshani (BUSINESS INSIDER) adds:

Dronen also wrote that Reade told him she left the position after striking a deal with the chief of staff of Biden's office. 
"It was obvious that this event had a very traumatic effect on (Reade), and that she is still sensitive and effected (sic) by it today," Dronen wrote.

At her YOUTUBE channel, Megyn Kelly has posted two sections of her interview with Tara.

Kelly is expected to post the full interview later today.   At THE NATION this morning,  Sarah Nesbitt and Sage Carson note:

If Democrats hope to hold themselves up as principled defenders of survivors’ rights and fair process in the post-Kavanaugh era, they must establish a formal, unbiased investigation into Tara Reade’s allegations against the presumptive Democratic nominee.
So far, they’ve fallen far short of this standard. When asked on April 30 about Reade’s allegations against Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi responded, “There is also due process and the fact that Joe Biden is Joe Biden.” In so doing, Speaker Pelosi joins a long line of powerful individuals who have invoked “due process” and “he’s a good good guy” arguments to ensure that their political allies will avoid accountability and scrutiny.
When politicians and other powerful people strategically call for “due process” to defend their political allies, what they tend to mean is “no process.” This strategy has been wielded by liberals and conservatives alike—in schools, in workplaces, and in the mediato avoid confronting the possibility that someone they know, trust, or believe in may have perpetrated violence. It has also been used by powerful men themselves, like Harvey Weinstein, to try to avoid public criticism. Until Pelosi supports a framework through which Reade’s allegations can be given a fair hearing, it is hard to read her statements as anything but a disingenuous attempt to boost an ally, particularly as the evidence corroborating Reade’s claim mounts.
Pelosi isn’t the first to erroneously invoke the legal right to due process. As Alexandra Brodsky has written, the constitutional guarantee of “due process” is a far cry from the baseless notion that “no one can be mad at you unless a judge has donned robes.” The right arises when the state threatens to take away a right to which the accused person is normally entitled. This includes instances where someone faces jail time for an alleged crime, or the possibility of a court order that limits where they can physically go as the result of an alleged assault. Further, the extent of the process due depends on the gravity of the right at stake. The fact that a fair investigation may expose Joe Biden to public shame and potential repudiation does not implicate his due process rights.
Cynical invocations of “due process” are familiar to survivors. Take, for example, the modern campus sexual assault movement. In the 2010s, survivors of sexual violence organized on campuses across the country to demand action from their schools and the Department of Education after their reports of assault and abuse were routinely swept under the rug. This led to critical but incremental change: In 2011, the department released a Dear Colleague letter, a non-binding piece of federal guidance, that clarified for schools that Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination means institutions must respond fairly and promptly to allegations of sexual misconduct. But even the mere prospect of accountability activated a backlash from men’s rights advocates invoking “due process” to stack the procedural deck in favor of students accused of sexual misconduct. 

As Tara's case grows ever stronger, pig boys panic.  For example, Joe Scarborough found time to Tweet against Tara this morning.  Hey, Joe, how did that dead intern end up your office again?  Also taking a break from sniffing his own ass, Michael Tracey Tweets to the world that he's investigated and he's about to go to town on Tara.  Michael, sniffing your own fingers is not investigation and the whole world already knew you were a sexist pig. 

Expect more of their nonsense in the days to come because so many have given a pass on smears. So much for everyone having a right to be heard.  And if you missed it, Tara's attorneys hare hideous and pure evil.  Why?  One donated to a Trump campaign, one defended Max Blumenthal or . . .

Krystal Ball Tweets:

Another smear. This lawyer regularly represents victims including Weinstein survivors and Fox News employees. His last donation was to Hakeem Jeffries. Why don’t you do some journalism on all the lawyers who turned Tara down bc of the politics?

The media has done a lousy job.  It was C-SPAN who, this week, brought on  RAINN's (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) vice president Heather Drevna to discuss the way survivors can respond to an assault.  THE NEWSHOUR didn't do that, NPR didn't do that, MSNBC didn't do that . . .  Go down the list.  So we get all these outraged statements from fools who don't know the first thing they're talking about -- that would include Senator Dianne Feinstein.  Sarah Jones Tweets of DiFi:

she will be in her 90s when her term is up and maybe that's why she's still talking about sexual assault like it's 1965

Ebony Purks (THE PAISANO) observes:

It seems suspicious that news outlets have been relatively quiet about Reade’s story for weeks because, naturally, it is the news’ responsibility to report facts objectively. Whether the allegations against Biden are true or not, the story deserves attention. For a former staffer to come forward with assault allegations against a front-running presidential candidate is major, and for news outlets to blatantly ignore Reade’s allegations sends a harmful message to women.
By not reporting the story, these media outlets are picking a side, and the side they are picking is against the facts, the facts being the existence of Reade’s accusations. It was frustrating to only see the discourse of Reade’s story from Twitter users rather than reporters. I know liberal news outlets are hesitant to report the story because it is somewhat close to November, and they may feel Reade’s story gives Trump leverage over Biden’s presidential campaign. As we all know, the Trump presidency is perhaps the most controversial and messy presidency America has seen, and liberal news outlets do not want to report anything negative on America’s only chance at beating Donald Trump: Joe Biden.

However, it is not the news outlets’ responsibility to decide how people receive the facts; it is their job to report the facts.

Tara Reade tells Megyn Kelly that Joe Biden should drop out of the race but that she doubts he will.  His dropping out would be the best thing for the party and for the world.  His campaign created no enthusiasm and now he's polling worse than Hillary Clinton did at the same time in 2016.  And his policies are disgusting.  Reese Erlich (PROGRESSIVE) examines Joe's foreign policy record and notes:

By far Biden’s most reprehensible stand was his strong support for the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. As documented by Professor Stephen Zunes in The Progressive, Biden forcefully supported the war, but later claimed he opposed it. (Of course, Trump lied about his support for the war as well.)
When the Iraqi occupation failed in the mid-2000s, Biden infamously called for splitting Iraq into three parts along sectarian lines, so the United States could continue imperial control at least in Kurdistan.
Even today, Biden favors maintaining some troops in the region, using the excuse of fighting ISIS. “I think it’s a mistake to pull out the small number of troops that are there now to deal with ISIS,” he’s said.
Biden hasn’t learned the lessons of the Afghan war either. After nineteen years of failed war and occupation, he still wants to maintain some troops in the country.
“I would bring American combat troops in Afghanistan home during my first term,” Biden tells the Council on Foreign Relations. “Any residual U.S. military presence in Afghanistan would be focused only on counterterrorism operations.”

But whoever wins in November will have to face the new reality: People in Afghanistan and the United States are fed up with the war. All foreign troops will have to withdraw.

In Iraq, as noted yesterday, there's a new prime minister.  Omar Abdulkader  (CBS NEWS) reports

After five months of difficult negotiations, Iraq's parliament approved the intelligence chief Mustafa Al-Kadhimi as the country's new prime minister on Thursday. The long-time spy master, who appears to have U.S. backing, will now lead a government to replace the one forced to resign months ago amid widespread protests.
But his biggest challenge may be convincing a fed-up public that he'll act in their interest before he acts in the interest of the U.S. or any other foreign power.
"This government came as a response to the social, economic and political crises our country is facing," al-Kadhimi told lawmakers Thursday. "It is a government that will provide solutions, not add to the crises." 
Iraq is facing a coronavirus-fueled financial crisis, crumbling infrastructure battered by years of war and scant investment, ongoing political instability and the threat of a resurgent ISIS testing its beleaguered security forces.
While addressing those issues, Kadhimi must also prevent his country becoming a literal battlefield in the for-now-still-rhetorical war between its neighbor and ally Iran, and its more distant but more powerful ally the United States.

Jean Shaoul (WSWS) offers:

Al-Khadimi, who spent 25 years in exile in the UK and US, is on good terms with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and is viewed as a US spy. He appeared initially to have the support of some of the Shia parties after Iran, which in practice controls parliament and can therefore neuter him, gave the nod.
However, Kataeb Hezbollah, one of militias within the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) close to Iran and part of Iraq’s armed forces, accused him of complicity in the January 3 assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Suleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a prominent member of the Iraqi government and PMU leader, aimed at undermining Iran’s political influence in Iraq. Their killings have spawned major disagreements among the various Shia factions, with four PMU units loyal to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani breaking from the PMU, which Washington is seeking to exploit.

Al-Khadimi has still to fill several posts in his cabinet after parliament refused to endorse some of his nominees, including the key oil and foreign affairs ministries. But his line is clear: he said he will uphold the political sectarian system known as muhasasa and work with Washington in the “strategic dialogue” over relations between the two countries scheduled for June.

Amnesty International issued the following today:

The newly-formed government in Iraq must ensure human rights are placed at the heart of its agenda, and reverse course from decades of impunity, Amnesty International said in a new open letter.
Writing to new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhim after the government was sworn in yesterday (7 May), the organization highlighted continuing concerns relating to the lack accountability for the authorities’ violent response to protests last year and early this year; in the aftermath of the conflict against the armed group calling itself ‘Islamic State’ (IS); and also concerns relating to COVID-19 and domestic violence.
“This new government has an opportunity to ensure that the promotion and protection of human rights in Iraq is prioritized after years of appalling violations,” said Razaw Salihy, Amnesty International’s Iraq Research.
“The Iraqi people have paid too high a price for decades of impunity and what have so far been repeatedly hollow promises by the authorities. We welcome the government’s stated commitment to hold those responsible for protesters’ killings accountable, and to prioritize addressing the needs of the internally displaced people.
“It must now translate these promises into immediate and meaningful action, including addressing the Iraqi people’s longstanding socio-economic grievances.”
COVID-19 and domestic violence
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Iraq has been placed into partial lockdown which has led to a rise in cases of domestic violence.
The letter adds: “The uptick in cases of domestic violence reported by media and civil society organizations, in some instances leading to the death of women and the severe injuring of a young girl, demands immediate action by the government to ensure that women and girls can access essential services and protection.”
Response to protests
Protests in the country late last year and early this year were met with a brutal response by authorities, leading to the unlawful killing of hundreds of people and leaving thousands more injured.
According to research carried out by Amnesty International, security forces - including members of the Popular Mobilization Units, as well as unknown gunmen - met the largely peaceful protesters with live ammunition, hunting rifles, live fire consistent with sniper fire, tear gas and water cannons.
Amnesty International is calling on the government to urgently rein in security forces, and initiate thorough and independent investigations into the killings. The letter adds: “The authorities have had months to change course away from violent repression. They must reassure protesters that they have a right to expect that the security forces will protect them and not arbitrarily kill and maim them and that their government will address their grievances, particularly their demands for their social and economic rights to be met.”
Aftermath of ‘Islamic State’ conflict
The letter also addresses several issues relating to the conflict against IS, including the collective punishment of internally displaced Iraqis with perceived affiliation to IS, the fate of thousands of men and boys who were forcibly disappeared by security forces during the conflict, impunity for human rights abuses committed by all parties to the conflict, and crimes committed against ethnic and religious minorities in northern Iraq.

The full text of the open letter can be read here.

The following sites updated:

  • Thursday, May 7, 2020

    Dianne Feinstein owes us all an apology

    I saw this Tweet by Peter Daou:

    A leading Democrat uses classic anti-survivor talking points: says of #TaraReade: "Where has she been all these years?" I guess that discredits every survivor who doesn't report immediately. So much for #MeToo

    Dianne is outrageous.  She owes every survivor an apology.  If you are assaulted, you have a ton to process.  It takes some survivors a long time. This is not novel or new information.  As a senator, she should be informed.  Instead, she's lying and smearing a survivor.

    Rebecca's "she's as ugly as her wig" notes just how hideous Dianne is.  But I think Rebecca could write 75 posts and it still wouldn't get at how hideous Dianne is.

    Sarah Jones Tweets:

    absolutely no good reason for Dianne Feinstein to still be in the Senate

    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Thursday:

    Thursday, May 7, 2020.  Iraq has a new prime minister while the United States still has its Joe Biden problem.

    "I believe Tara Reade, yes I do," Lucy Flores told PLANET AMERICA (Australia's ABC).  Tara has stated Joe Biden assaulted her in 1993.  And the mainstream media has largely ignored the story.  Kelly McBride weighed in with her conclusions on why NPR waited forever to cover the story.  The media's reluctance to cover it has allowed some like hypocrite Alyssa Milano to argue that the claims must not be true because the press isn't covering them and it allowed the attacker -- and his attack squad -- to set the terms of the conversation.  Why?  The people who set the terms of the conversation are people who experts in the topic.  Twitter is full of Tucker Carlson's applying 'standards' that are not standards.  As we noted yesterday,  it was C-SPAN that brought on RAINN's (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) vice president Heather Drevna.

    Heather Drevna: What I can say is we shouldn't dismiss someone's allegations of assault merely because their story has changed or what they have told audiences has differed at times.  You need to take into account her explanation for why the details she described last year don't all match what she's alleging now, why the complaint might not match what she's alleging now.  You also need to take into account that she told some friends and family members at the time of the alleged assault.  It's not unusual for a survivor to take years to process the trauma that they have experienced and just because they've not come forward publicly immediately after events may have occurred doesn't mean that they did not happen. 

    C-SPAN, not CNN.  Not CBS.  Not PBS.  Not NPR.  Not . . .

    Survivors are being smeared by idiots who know nothing about the topic.

    Reade’s case is made stronger than Ford’s by the existence of corroborating witnesses. Her mother called into a television show hosted by Larry King in 1993 to say her daughter had problems with a prominent senator. Reade’s brother as well as a former neighbour named Lynda LaCasse, a committed Democrat and Biden supporter, recall having been told about the assault not long after it happened. Given these facts, it would be hypocritical for those who condemned the judge to maintain their support for the senator, a fact that Fox News and right-wing media are likely to highlight incessantly in the six months leading up to the presidential election.

    Biden is a thoroughly mediocre candidate. He underperformed in previous runs for president, has articulated no vision for change, seems unable to open his mouth without making a gaffe, and looks aged and unsteady. His closest competitor in the primaries, Bernie Sanders, a year older at 78 and recovering from a heart attack, came across as a bundle of energy in comparison. Democrats turned to Biden because he was well-known and well-liked, a safe pair of hands, their best bet against the existential threat represented by Donald Trump. Those hands now look far from safe.

    If you offered America nothing but "I'm electable" and then it really becomes obvious that maybe you're not, what do you have to offer?  Not much.  Chris Kahn (INDEPENDENT) explains:

    Democratic hopeful Joe Biden's advantage over US President Donald Trump in popular support has eroded in recent weeks.
    Mr Biden seems to be paying a heavy price for a lack of visibility with voters during the pandemic, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
    The opinion poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday found that 43pc of registered voters said they would support Mr Biden in the November 3 presidential election, while 41pc said they would back Mr Trump.
    Mr Biden led by six percentage points in a similar poll last week and by eight points in a poll that ran from April 15-21.

    Democrat Rebecca Parsons is running for the US House of Representatives in Washington's sixth district.  She Tweets:

    #JoeBiden must withdraw. #TaraReade's allegation is part of a pattern of behavior. 7 other women have accused Biden of inappropriate touching. He's on video invading the space of women and girls. We MUST defeat Trump. We do that by defending our moral standards. #BidenDropOut

    Rebecca Parsons is not alone.  Holly Otterbien (POLITICO) reports:

    Jess Scarane is campaigning for Joe Biden’s old Senate seat with a striking message for a Delaware Democrat: She believes his accuser, Tara Reade.
    Scarane, who said she is a victim of sexual assault, tweeted in March that when she listened to Reade talk about her claims, “the assault I experienced as a teen at my first job came rushing back. She was telling my story, too. Almost word for word.” She has called on Chris Coons, the incumbent she is trying to oust and a top Biden ally, to support an investigation.
    “I debated sending the tweet that I first did, probably for hours,” she told POLITICO. “Because I was not only exposing my own story, but I think there’s still a lot of fear and potential ramifications by just saying this deserves to be taken seriously.” 
    Scarane is one of more than a half-dozen progressive House and Senate challengers — almost all of them millennials — who have said publicly that they believe Reade’s claim that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993 when she worked as his Senate aide or otherwise spoke out in support of her. Though most are long-shot candidates with limited resources, their remarks could stoke division at a time when Biden is trying to unite the party’s warring factions. Their stance also risks exposing a rift between some younger and older Democrats as Biden works to strengthen his position as the Democratic nominee.

    There is another strand, however, those who pretend to support survivors until one of their own are accused.  This craven group then falls silent.  Ingrid Jaques (DETROIT NEWS) reports:

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer once wrote, “Sexual harassment is not a partisan issue and is unacceptable no matter who does it.”
    That comment, from a November 2017 tweet before Whitmer became governor, has since been deleted from her personal Twitter account. 

    And so has the sentiment behind it, apparently. 
    While Whitmer has had no problem calling out sexual harassment and assault when a Republican’s reputation was at stake, she isn't concerned when the alleged bad behavior is exhibited by Joe Biden, who is eyeing Whitmer as a contender for his running mate. 

    Gretch The Wretch is damaging her own political career.  Violet Ikonomova (DEADLINE DETROIT) notes:

      Whitmer’s statements are consistent with a set of talking points circulated by the Biden campaign to surrogates, which incorrectly cite an inconclusive New York Times investigation as proof “this incident did not happen.”
    Survivors and advocates have taken issue with Whitmer’s response, calling it a politically convenient rush to judgment that undercuts the #metoo movement. The case is not closed, they argue, noting that media outlets continue to uncover more information and documents that could shed light on what happened have not been made public.
    “I think to see any person who comes forward diminished is a disservice to every single victim who’s still holding onto their story and future victims who should be able to tell their story,” said Huff, who says she was raped more than a decade ago but never named her assailant because he was well-respected and she feared no one would believe her. “When people ask why victims don’t come forward, Whitmer’s response is why.”
    It’s a sharp contrast from the way in which Whitmer was received seven years ago when, during a speech on the floor of the state Senate, she shared that she’d been raped as a college student. Whitmer’s goal at the time was to “put a face” on the people who would be affected by a controversial bill to ban private insurance plans from covering abortion. She didn’t succeed in changing any votes, but she has said her words did encourage more women to come forward with their own stories.
    Whitmer has since become somewhat of a local face for the #metoo movement, speaking out on sexual harassment at the state Capitol and quickly ousting a former campaign manager who’d been accused of “inappropriate behavior” with former co-workers. Last year, she concluded her speech at a campus sex assault symposium at Eastern Michigan University with this message for survivors: “I see you, I hear you, I believe you … I carry you in my heart every day, and I’ll never stop fighting for you.”
    Huff and two other survivors with whom Deadline Detroit spoke said they felt Whitmer should have stayed silent or called for a more robust investigation before shooting down Reade’s claim.

    “For her to just say I don’t believe her, that’s a slap in the face to women in general,” said Nicole Reid, 35, of Port Huron. “Would she have believed me? Would we have believed her? Would she have wanted someone to believe her?”

    People are calling out Gretch The Wretch's inconsistencies.  And while she refuses to believe Tara Reade, it should be pointed out that there are many who are noting that her own story remains very short on details.  The doubt she's raising about Tara?  It's creating doubts about her own claim -- a claim she used to rise to fame and political prominence.  You reap what you sow.

    Turning to Iraq, THE WEEK notes:

    Early Thursday, Iraq's Parliament selected Mustafa al-Kadhimi to serve as the country's new prime minister. Iraqi officials have said the 53-year-old former intelligence chief is acceptable to both the United States and Iran, The New York Times reports. Iraq has been without a prime minister since late last year, when Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned amid anti-government protests; he has been leading a caretaker government. Kadhimi has already met with protesters, taking a different approach from the previous government, which at times used the military against demonstrators. In addition to social unrest, Kadhimi will also have to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, which has locked down Iraq, as well as historically low oil and gas revenues.

    Iraq has been searching for a new prime minister for six months now.  The most recent prime minister had been forced out back in November but remained in the post in a 'care taking' role. Mustafa is the third person to be named prime minister-designate during this period.  Ahmed Rasheed and John Davison (REUTERS) note, "Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s intelligence chief and a former journalist, will head the new government. He will begin his term without a full Cabinet, however, after several ministerial candidates were rejected."  What they fail to note?

    For starters, to move from prime minister-designate to prime minister, the Iraqi Constitution calls for only one thing: the creation of a cabinet.  Not a partial one.  The Cabinet requirement is supposed to show that the designate can govern.  The ability to form the Cabinet demonstrates that the designate can work with Iraq's various political blocs.

    Thus far, the Constitution has not been followed.  That's one of the many reasons that Iraq does not progress -- the government is repeatedly headed by someone who can't even form a Cabinet that gets Parliament approval.

    At this point, there are 22 ministers in the Cabinet -- 22 positions.  This number can -- and often does -- change.  How many positions was Mustafa able to fill?  15.

    The following sites updated: