Friday, September 3, 2021

The R. Kelly trial


I am still so happy that fake ass Tina Tchen has been exposed and outed.  I still don't trust Time's Up but I am so glad that Tina has been exposed.  

Now let me switch over to R. Kelly's trial.  For any who don't know of R. Kelly, Bill Wyman (Sydney Morning Herald) explains:

But Kelly was talented. A local label exec caught him singing and dancing at a backyard barbecue in Chicago. Kelly was duly signed and started making his way in the business. I was a journalist in Chicago at the time, and watched Kelly film his first solo video, for a song called Bump n’ Grind, in 1994. The single went to No, 1, and Kelly was a star – one with a distinctive flair for balancing lascivious tracks like Bump n’ Grind with uplifting ballads like the megahit I Believe I Can Fly, in 1996.

But in December 2000, the Chicago Sun-Times published an investigative report detailing a string of accusations against Kelly for having sex with underage girls and a number of quietly settled lawsuits. I had left the city by then; they were written by a friend and colleague of mine, Jim DeRogatis.

Somehow Kelly survived the story, and continued to record. But then that now-infamous videotape was delivered anonymously to DeRogatis. Kelly and his operation doggedly staved off a trial for years, and kept the young woman in the video from appearing in court. Her relatives testified that the film was indeed of her – and that she was 13 at the time of the video. But Kelly was acquitted in 2008.

Many more allegations piled up. Kelly was even arrested again, in Florida, caught with a camera full of photos of underage nude girls. But a judge ruled the camera had been seized illegally.

And yet he continued to be a star. Writers in outlets like The New York Times, Rolling Stone and other prestige publications praised his work slavishly, congratulating Kelly for triumphing over those pesky legal troubles, even before he’d gone to trial.

Stars sucked up to Kelly too. Jay-Z, particularly, worked regularly with him. Kelly released singles with everyone from Kanye West to Kid Rock to Ludacris to Snoop Dogg – even Whitney Houston and Lady Gaga. They all seemed to pay no attention to the ongoing stories out of Chicago, of Kelly trolling local McDonalds, or making celebrity visits to high schools in poor neighborhoods, apparently to look for potential victims. Record executives making money off him seemed to look the other way as well. The oh-so-hip music magazine Pitchfork headlined Kelly at its oh-so-hip music festival as recently as 2013.

Kelly continued to live a depraved life. In 2017 DeRogatis broke a new story, with tales from some parents saying that Kelly was controlling the lives of their young daughters in various of his houses. Finally, in 2019, officials in Chicago and New York filed extensive charges against Kelly, including allegations of child pornography, kidnapping, and forced labour. He has been in custody since July 2019. 

One of his first victims was Aaliyah.  This is from Complex:

Kelly’s relationship with Aaliyah has been a discussion point in his ongoing federal racketeering trial in Brooklyn, where he’s facing multiple accusations of sexual abuse. Just last week, prosecutors brought up Aaliyah and Kelly’s reported 1994 union, when she was 15 and he was 27, as Brooklyn Assistant US Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez said prosecutors believe that Kelly thought Aaliyah was pregnant and decided to illegally marry the minor so she wouldn’t testify against him. 

Jacob Shamsian (Insider) adds:

Kelly's marriage to Aaliyah in 1994 — when she was 15 and he was 27 — plays a role in one of the charges against the singer.

Indictments filed by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn in 2019 mainly accuse Kelly of directing employees to procure women for sex, and then sexually abusing the women under his control. But there is one charge that stands apart: He's accused of directing an employee to bribe a government official to falsify an ID for Aaliyah and misrepresent her age.

Aaliyah's career was brief but canonical in R&B music. She released three albums in her lifetime, all of which were critically acclaimed and sold millions of copies.

Her career got its start in the early 1990s when she was 12 years old and her uncle Barry Hankerson introduced her to Kelly, who he managed, and signed her to Jive Records. Kelly acted as a musical mentor for Aaliyah and produced all the songs on her 1994 debut album, "Age Ain't Nothing but a Number."

A few months after the album release, in August 1994, Kelly was distraught.

Fearful he had impregnated Aaliyah — who was still a teenager — Kelly wanted to make sure she would get an abortion, according to several witnesses who testified in the singer's ongoing trial. But he believed that, because of Aaliyah's age, she would need permission from a parent or a spouse.

So he cooked up a scheme where he'd marry Aaliyah, prosecutors allege. His manager at the time, Demetrius Smith, testified that he paid a Chicago government official $500 to make a fake ID for Aaliyah saying she was 18 so that she could get married.

Maria Puente, Elise Brisco and Cydney Henderson (USA Today) explain:

The late teen singer Aaliyah is one of six women named by the prosecution in its sex-trafficking and racketeering charges against Kelly. The other five women include Stephanie, Sonja, Zel, Faith (who are to be referred to in court only by their first names, as ordered by Donnelly) and Jerhonda Johnson Pace, who testified during the first and second day of trial and has previously shared her story publicly.  

Pace, who referred to Kelly as "Rob," said she had sex with the singer when she was 16, although she initially told him she was 19, which is over the age of consent.

She cried on the stand Thursday as she read aloud from her journal about what happened the last time she saw Kelly at his Chicago-area home in 2010. She read that he slapped her a few times and he said, “It’s not going to be an open hand next time.” 

I want to wind down my R Kelly coverage with the worst headline of the week:

"R. Kelly Accuser Says Was Not A Fan Of The Singer Prior To Allegedly Being Sexually Assaulted."  That's Oxygen's headline.  

Huh?  It's poorly worded and seems to suggest that after the assault -- after -- the survivor became a fan of  R. Kelly's music.


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

 Friday, September 3, 2021.  Turkey bombs a refugee camp in Iraq, the US government's bribe of Moqtada al-Sadr doesn't appear to be paying off, Iraqi voters lukewarm to the October elections and if THE VANGUARD is acknowledging women, it must mean that they've found some women to slime yet again.

I'm not a nice person, I admit it.  I try to be nice.  And then crap like this pops up.

THE VANGUARD.  That's exactly the segment they should never have done.  Two men who rarely speak to women on their program -- you can go a whole month without them finding a woman to speak to -- wanting to weigh in on women.  Because, apparently, (a) they're experts on women and (b) what the world sorely needs is another man telling women what is and is not, what matters and what doesn't.  

Stream it -- figure out whether you should laugh or cry.

Needs a hair cut has the nerve to say of the women on THE VIEW -- and I'd assume past and present because they're talking about the past and the present, ""First of all, no one on THE VIEW is really all that qualified to be talking about politics."

I believe what he means to say is that women aren't qualified to speak of politics.

THE VIEW was created by Barbara Walters.  She is a famous journalist.  She even interviewed Bashar al-Assad in 2011 and did so because of the war drums pounding -- not to encourage war but to  give Americans a look at who Assad was.  And she did it over the initial objections of ABC brass.  That was one of Barbra's last power moves as a journalist.  

Meredith Viera -- whom I loathe -- may be a game show host to the little weiner boys of THE VANGUARD, but Vieira was a professional journalist. She joined THE VIEW in 1997.  She began her professional journalism career in 1975 -- along the way, that includes being a correspondent for 60 MINUTES and WEST 57TH.

Lisa Ling was one of the best hosts THE VIEW ever had and Lisa was and is a journalist. 

Rosie O'Donnell ran MCCALLS (into the ground, some might argue, but the magazine was already struggling before she came on board) from 2000 to 2003. 

Joy Behar is a comedian who has long been a talk show host. 

We could go through the list all day.

But many of the women have journalism backgrounds.  

And they're not required to have that.  "All different backgrounds" -- that's what Barbra introduction to each show would note, she wanted to bring together women to discuss the news of the day.

I'm not claiming THE VIEW was ever epic breaking TV.  But it was a step forward and I need to note something before Barbra Walters passes so she can get the credit she deserves.  Today, there's THE CHEW and so much else outright copying THE VIEW.  And we've had, for example, a news/public affairs program (CBS MORNING NEWS) that featured Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King at the same time.  When THE VIEW came on, women weren't on.  They were the smiling wifey that a Jane Pauley (I've never been impressed with that ___) or a Joan Lunden (who was at least a sweet person) portrayed next to the male host -- and female guests weren't really on that often -- not on the Sunday chat & chews, not on the public affairs programs.

Barbra wanted a program that was made up of women -- plural -- who would conduct interviews and comment on the events of the day.  She wanted to take the TV cameras to the majority of the world -- women.  It was successful and it's been so copied that it's very easy, all these years later, to not give her credit for what she did and what she accomplished because it seems so natural and so obvious.  But what she did was groundbreaking for commercial, broadcast television.  (Bonnie Erbe did something similar for public television with TO THE CONTRARY WITH BONNIE ERBE starting in 1992, five years earlier.)  Barbara deserves credit for that.

When she passes, her obits should note the ground she broke as interviewer and how she went on to break more ground with THE VIEW.  I'm not a friend of Barbara's and I'm not a big fan of her work but I do give her credit for what she did on TV.  And, to her credit, she never shied away from reactions.  I haven't watched THE VIEW in years and that's probably because Barbara's no longer a part of it.  When she was, I could call her after the broadcast and she'd take the call even though she knew if I was calling, I was calling to gripe.  My calls usually didn't even open with a hello.  They usually opened with an "I'm enraged."  Such as when Meredith proved to be the ultimate bitch on air and, no, I will never forgive her for that.  Joy has stated to me that she went too far that episode (yes, you did, Joy) but was caught up in the times.  Caught up in the times?

This was when THE VIEW went right wing -- shocking for viewers of today's show.  They didn't just go right wing, they spent 'hot topics' trashing Jane Fonda.  Excuse me.  Lisa didn't trash Jane.  Lisa watched with discomfort as the others trashed Jane.  Lisa tried to speak up but was talked over (yelled over) by Joy and Meredith.  Which I also pointed out to Barbara who wasn't on that day's show but was on the next day's show and made a point to sit next to Lisa for support.  It was outrageous..  It was the biggest nonsense you'd ever seen in the world and there are people in their 20s who probably would never believe it happened, certainly not on the 'lefty' VIEW.  It happened.  And I will never, ever forgive Meredith for it. The venom and hate that she snarled and unleashed?  I will never forgive her.  They were so eager to appear to be Republican that they went to town on Jane in the most disgusting way.  It was out of bounds.  And that point was made, to Barbara's credit, by Barbara on the next day's show.  

So don't think I'm some devotee of the show who catches every episode.  

But I do appreciate what Barbara did and how she changed television.  

So let's give her credit for that.

Let's also note that this was supposed to be different points of view.  It would be great if that were true.  And we do get different corporate points of view.  The show's never really had an activist on -- Rosie's the closet to an activist they've had on.  But, yes, they do bring different life experiences to the show which was the point Barbara had in mind.  Cindy McCain's daughter grew up wealthy because of Cindy and part of the political circuit because of John.  Starr Jones was -- as she never tired of insisting on air -- a lawyer.  You had people with a lot of lived experiences and others who were "just starting out" as Barbara used to note in the introductions.  You had married mothers, you had single mothers, you had this, you had that.  Different walks of life.  

They're not qualified to discuss politics?

Because they're women?  

I don't understand that -- is it because I'm a woman, VANGUARD hosts?  I don't understand because they're all American adults largely speaking of American politics and, when 'tackling' the world, doing so from a very US-focused and centered view.

They're not qualified to discuss politics?  

I get that the tiny wiener boys were busy sprouting hairs when the Iraq War began out but let me help them out by explaining we never need to live through that again.  Their puberty?  No, people dictating who was and wasn't qualified to be on TV discussing.  Peace activists were shut out.  Voices calling for a slower rush to war even were also shut out.  

The answer is never less voices, the answer is always more voices.  That's what makes for a thriving democracy, an inclusive public square.  

So I am appalled that they would say that anyone wasn't qualified to talk politics but I'm especially appalled by their ingrained sexism that allowed them to declare that of a show hosted by women when you grasp how many shows are hosted by men and THE VANGUARD hasn't questioned them.

Not qualified to discuss politics?

Again, I've got to laugh.  And note, "Look who's talking."

THE VANGUARD thinks the women of THE VIEW aren't qualified to talk politics but these boys think they're qualified to discuss a topic?  Let's see, the other time we called these boys out, it was because they were trying to repeat Rose McGowan's criticism of CAA without understanding it.  (CAA has a long, long history of exploiting and abusing women.  Alyssa's connection to CAA is not as a client -- Alyssa has no career, she's only at CAA because of her husband.)  In fact, as I remember the criticism we offered here, it also included that they devoted a segment to Rose McGowan, THE VANGUARD did, and never managed to pronounce her name correctly once.  And that was a segment a few months ago, not years and years ago.  Rose has been a known quantity since SCREAM -- it's a little late in the game to not know how to pronounce her name (though I wasn't aware McGowan was an uncommon name).  

Maybe people who don't do the basic work required ahead of a segment to know how to pronounce the name of a woman their segment is about are the last people to question anyone else's qualifications?

And that shoddy work continues in the segment at the top of this snapshot.  THE VIEW is not a cable show -- as stringy hair wrongly insists it is.  And stocky boy insists that he'd watch the program with his grandma every afternoon.  Uh.  No. Not if you were watching it when it aired -- maybe you watched it on a VCR?  THE VIEW is a morning show and was when it started.  Afternoons, back then, were reserved for soap operas by ABC.(Back then?  Stocky talks of watching with Grandma when Rosie was a host.)  

Politics effect everyone's lives.  We all have some level of awareness we can bring to the table on most topics.  No, no one is an expert on everything and there are times when its prudent to just listen.  But to suggest that the women of THE VIEW have not been qualified to talk about politics?  Long before THE VIEW, Rosie was an outspoken anti-guns activist and an advocate for equality in adoptions (the latter is, in fact, what led to her coming out).  

I would love to know what topics THE VANGUARD boys feels they are experts on -- other than beating off.  

It's insulting and this is a left program.  This is what we get.  Two Silent Bob and Jay f**kers who think that only some people are allowed to weigh in and that they themselves are the two to decide who should weigh in.  Smoke your blunt, play with your junk and go back to bed, boys.

Meanwhile, the Turkish government continues to persecute the Kurds.  Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:

Turkish bombardment targeted a refugee camp in northern Iraq’s Makhmour early Friday morning resulting in material losses, a source from the camp told Rudaw.

“At around 8:20 am, today [Friday] Turkish airplanes hit an empty house in Makhmour camp,” the source, who preferred to stay anonymous, said. No casualties were reported, they added.

Media affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Roj News also reported the attack saying the attack shattered the windows of some houses and damaged the houses of some civilians.

Makhmour camp hosts more than 12,000 Kurdish refugees who fled persecution by the Turkish state, mainly in the 1990s. It is located in areas disputed between Erbil and Baghdad.


Cahids Dersim Tweets:

According to first reports several civilian homes have been damaged following #Turkish airstrikes on #Makhmour Refugee Camp this morning (RN) #TwitterKurds

And we'll note this Tweet:

NATO member #Turkey bombs Makhmour Refugee camps -#Turkish war planes are conducting airstrikes against the Makhmour Refugee Camp -#Makhmour Refugee Camp is home to nearly 12,000 Kurds -Footage from the aftermath of Turkish airstrikes that target the Refugee Camp this morning

I don't believe the Turkish government is targeting terrorists.  I think they're targeting Kurds in the same way that, 100 years ago, they targeted the Armenians.  But regardless of which side you fall on that, do we not agree that bombing homes is terrorism?  What the Turkish government repeatedly brags of is terrorism.   Harry Istepanian observes:

Airstrike targeting Makhmour Refugee camp, Turkish aggression is continuing almost on daily basis.

Meghan Bodette Tweets:

I led this

discussion about illegal Turkish attacks on Kurdish refugees in Makhmour in June with local official

and experts


. Now, Turkey has reportedly bombed the camp again. The world needs to act.

The world does need to pay attention.  And maybe the boys of THE VANGUARD will pay attention, after they've attacked every woman they can in one show after another?

Dana Taib Menmy Tweets:

Turkish war planes on early Friday resumed bombing UN sponsored Makhmur refugees camp which is located 60 km southwest of Erbil, the capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan region. Makhmour Refugee Camp is home to nearly 12,000 Kurds who have fled Turkish state attacks in the mid-1990s

Elections one month away and Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi doesn't even have the strength/power/resolve to get Turkey to lay off the bombings long enough for people to go to the polls.  He's perfectly content to allow Turkey to violate Iraq's sovereignty -- and so content that he's an attempting to purchase weapons from them.  

Elections one month away.  US taxpayer money was recently used to purchase . .    . optics.  The Biden administration okayed a bribe to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to get him to announce he was going to take part in the elections.  (As we noted weeks ago, his bloc was never out of the race.  We noted that when one member of his bloc explained how the press had gotten the 'withdrawal' wrong.)  So US tax dollars went to someone that the US government has, at various times, tried to paint as a murderer.  But, stay calm, America, your dollars purchased . . . optics.

There was hope on the part of the US State Dept that the bribe would result in others deciding to participate in the election.  Just deciding because the US government has fits of cheapness.  Pay off Moqtada with no concerns and then suddenly the well dries up.

Moqtada's announcement last weekend has had absolutely no influence.  

Hatem Hussein (ALMADA) reports that those not named Moqtada who had announced that they would not be participating are standing by their decision.  This includes certain leaders and members of The October Revolution as well as political blocs such as the Communist Party,   The position is that participating in the election is participating in an attempt to restore a corrupt system.  The Communist Party's Jassim al-Halfi notes that they called for their boycott at the end of July and that nothing has changed -- no reforms have been made -- so their position has not changed.  Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:

The Iraqi people’s general attitude toward the elections has turned “cold”, a prominent member of the Sadrist movement told Rudaw on Thursday, as parliamentary elections approach.

The public “mistrusts political blocs,” Issam Hussein, a popular Sadrist commentator, told Rudaw’s Hawraz Gulpi, “especially with the behavior of the political blocs in the past 18 years.”

The situation for people in central and southern Iraq is dire, according to Hussein, noting that there are few job opportunities in the areas, leading people to migrate to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad for work. 

“It is believed that such citizens don’t have the will to head to the ballot boxes,” he added.

So they paid off Moqtada but Moqtada's new public stance wasn't enough to inspire his cult?  

Last month, the world lost Glen Ford of BLACK AGENDA REPORT.  Richard Medhurst notes Glen in the segment below.

Richard Medhurst  speaks with BLACK AGENDA REPORT this week about the media.  Excerpt below:

Earlier this year, Britain’s telecommunications regulator OFCOM revoked CGTN’s license. CGTN is an English-language news outlet based in China. The accusation was that CGTN was controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and that it allegedly failed to disclose this.

Two weeks later China revoked the BBC’s broadcast license in China and Hong Kong. (BBC is tax-payer funded and run by the British government). You can imagine the reaction. Total outrage by Western outlets, calling China authoritarian and all sorts of Sinophobic stereotypes– meanwhile these same voices barely said a thing when CGTN was banned in the UK two weeks prior.

Press TV, based in Iran, suffered a similar fate when OFCOM revoked its broadcast license in 2012. There always seems to be an excuse to take English-language foreign outlets off the air, yet we’re supposed to believe the countries doing this are impartial and supportive of a free press.

Again, it’s important to note that this isn’t just about censoring a publisher or broadcaster inside one’s own border, which is bad enough. What the United States did in June was to completely knock out these news sites, for everyone worldwide.

In the same way the United States seizes (a nice way of saying “steals”) Iran’s fuel tankers and then sells off the oil, or gets the Bank of England to seize Venezuela’s gold in London– these news sites were also seized in a brazen act of piracy.

The claim that the United States has jurisdiction over .com domains and that these news sites didn’t obtain an exemption from sanctions is nonsense. These websites were targeted specifically because they are news sites, and because they publish critical truths about the United States, Israel and Western imperialism.

When supposed “democracies” dub the work of foreign journalists “misinformation”, accusing them of being military units and using that to silence them, you should be extremely worried.

How many times have we heard Rachel Maddow whine about “Russian hackers”? How often do we hear these baseless claims of Chinese, Russian or Iranian “cyberattacks”, in an attempt to malign these countries? Yet all of a sudden when the United States hacks and takes Iranian and other websites offline, all these outraged voices are nowhere to be found.

If Iran had taken a single American news site offline – never mind 33 of them– there would be global outrage. Every U.S. politician and pundit would be screaming from the rooftops, calling it an act of war and an attack on democracy. But in this case, the mainstream media barely bothered to cover or question the Biden administration’s actions. All of a sudden, a continuation of Trump policies and attacking the press don’t seem to bother the liberal left that screamed about “voting out fascism”. The hypocrisy is blinding.

The following sites updated: