There is an extraordinary column in the Washington Post from Glenn Kessler on a key figure in past coverage on the removal of Confederate statues. The Post ran a widely cited article on how Robert E. Lee’s own descendant wanted the general’s statues to be removed. The problem is that no one at the Post appears to have actually checked to see if Rev. Robert W. Lee was an actual descendant. It now appears that he is not, according to Kessler. While Kessler strangely does not believe this wants his signature “Pinocchios,” he should be credited for doing something that no one in the media seemed inclined to do: confirm the story, even belatedly. It was, as the old journalistic saying goes, “a fact too good to check.”
Kessler is rebounding from a controversy over what many viewed as a “hit job” that he wrote on Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.) in which he suggested that Scott had lied about this family history. Despite an accusatory headline, Kessler actually found nothing that refuted Scott’s “from cotton to Congress” account. This family claim by Rev. Lee may have been entirely fabricated and certainly was made without clear factual basis.
Rev. Lee was lionized by the Post and other media after he denounced Gen. Lee at the MTV Video Music Awards.
“My name is Robert Lee the Fourth. I am a descendent of Robert E. Lee, the Civil War general whose statue was at the center of violence in Charlottesville. We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism and hate. As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin. Today, I call on everyone with privilege and power to answer God’s call to confront racism and white supremacy head-on.”
The media could not get enough of the image and Rev. Lee fueled the frenzy. In an opinion article in The Washington Post, June 7, 2020, Rev. Lee was identified as “Plaintiff Reverend Robert Wright Lee IV (“Lee”) is a white resident of Iredell County. Lee is the fourth great-nephew of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.”
Glenn Kessler's 'fact check' too a long, damn time. Journalism isn't taking place at THE WASHINGTON POST, despite all the money Jeff Bezos has.
"Media: Gay Rights and Gay Wrongs" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):
And it's a history that needs to be recognized due to garbage like Miles Striker.
He's an Iraq War veteran who makes fetish porn. He started out in femdom porn (female dominant). He's done plenty of straight porn. Sadly, he decided to move over to gay porn. Even worse, some gay men have embraced him.
They shouldn't have.
Now domination may or may not be your fetish. If it is, enjoy -- whether as a fantasy or in reality. And humiliation and shame may be your kink as well.
That's your thing.
We have no problem with that.
Where we have a problem is with the garbage he does for the gay community. Ty brought a particular video to our attention: GAY RIGHTS REVOKED.
This is a POV -- point of view -- video. He speaks to someone unseen.
He announces at the beginning, to the f**got (his term), that the US government has revoked gay rights -- something he always knew would happen, he says -- and this was either by the Courts or the Congress -- don't expect to follow his storyline because he never thought it out -- he's a dumb ass -- in real life and in the video.
And now he is going to burn the brow of this f**got neighbor, someone he burned before. Back then, Miles had the police knock on his door for the hate crime. That's over because, as Miles asks, "How can you hate a thing?" Miles announces that the house is now his house and that he'll be pissing down the throat of the 'thing.' Won't be screwing him or getting oral sex from him, but he'll piss down the throat of the 'thing' and puts the ash from his cigarette on the tongue of the 'thing' repeatedly.
This performer, Miles Striker, won an award from the porn industry.
The LGBTQ community should not be encouraging this, they should be calling him out and they should be joined by many other voices.
Let's step away from Miles for a moment.
adult performer and content producer Toby Springs stepped away from
making porn. He made videos with women and with men. We have no idea
what his sexuality is off-screen -- bi, straight, gay? And for those
unfamiliar, there is ''gay for pay'' -- where straight men have sex with
men because that's their job. (ADAM'S FAMILY and AS THE WORLD TURN's
actress Lisa Loring's marriage to porn actor Jerry Butler in the late
eighties and nineties helped to popularize this term with the non-porn
community.) In most of his videos, Toby doesn't have sex with women or
with women. The sex is spoken of as happening but the main focus is on
other issues. Like a woman is diapering Toby -- his fiancee, his
step-mother. If he's lucky, he might get a hand job in those videos.
If he's having sex with a man, it's usually a fairly straightforward gay
porn. He and a friend are playing video games and the friend says that
he has trouble getting a woman to have sex with him because he's so big
and then Toby asks to see and they have sex or he and a buddy were
working out and then they end up having sex, that sort of thing.
But Toby also did the power-play gay porn.
Wedgie? Yeah, he carved out a market in Lance Hart's tiny niche where you get a wedgie from a guy or a guy kicks you in the nuts. That wasn't an 'empire' to build. There was no big marketable audience. That and the years that now show up on Lance's face are why Lance has had to move on to a genre where he's the step-dad or the uncle screwing the young adult male.
Toby? He does fetish porn involving diapers and pups. And he'll do those with an actor and also do those in POV porn. So when he tells the guy that he's going to learn his "proper place" and be his puppy, he's firm (like when he insists you get in the cage) but he's also expressing tenderness, how he's going to walk you and play with you, etc. Then there's the one where he finds out you wear diapers and he tells you you're going to call him "Daddy" and he's going to be diapering you. He has POV videos there and he has interaction ones. He's going to have sex with you in both. Unless it's the bisexual one where you're the cuck and he's sleeping with your wife and he's come over to babysit you and change your diaper.
But there is a caring side in all of these videos.*
Or take the video Rebecca selected for a bachelor party for her first husband, QUIT BEING A F**KING BABY. That's a domination and diaper video. It stars Draven Navarro and Tony Orlando (not the singer). Tony and Draven share an apartment with other men (who aren't shown). Tony's a spoiled brat. His father pays the bills for him. There's no one paying attention to continuity on these shoots because in the video, Draven gripes at the start that Tony won't get a job and, later, forgets that detail, and tells Tony that he's going to show pictures of Tony in diapers to his co-workers.
At any rate, Draven thinks Tony is a baby and, as a baby, needs to be put into diapers. And he's going to enjoy it, Draven is, because he gets aroused humiliating other men. And he will humiliate Tony and spank him but he'll also touch Tony's crotch and he'll have sex with him, etc.
That theme*, by the way, is done well when Toby stars in ROOMMATE BLACKMAILED INTO DIAPERS -- his college age roommate is secretly wearing diapers, Toby confronts him and spanks him, tells the roommate he's going to call Toby "Daddy" from now on, diapers him and then invites the roommate's girlfriend over (she's not seen) to dinner so she can find out the truth. That theme is done very poorly by Miles Striker in YOU'RE GOING TO ACT LIKE A BABY, I'LL TREAT YOU LIKE A BABY. That's a POV video. Miles terrorizes his unseen son. He's putting his college age son back into diapers and has turned his son's room into a nursery (something Draven promises Tony will happen in QUIT BEING A F**KING BABY) and does a little fashion show -- whether it's THE HUNGER GAMES or THE WOMEN, we hate films (even porn) that stops all the action to sport a fashion show -- of the t-shirts he has purchased for his son to wear. It's a bad video. It has no kick. Even the son's friends being outside the door about to see the son in diapers doesn't really offer any excitement (Draven threatening Tony with everyone seeing him in diapers that evening has heat and excitement).
Our point here is that humiliation can be done well. It can be exciting.
But Miles isn't about sexy humiliation.
He's about hate.
It's hilarious to listen to some of his interviews.
He claims in those, for example, that he's a "well built military veteran."
No, Miles, you aren't. You're flabby and your chest is a joke. You've got pubic hair on your face passing as a beard and it's not very attractive but those with a thing for beards may tolerate it. You should probably ditch it, though. Because whenever your chest is seen, bare, you look stupid. Adult face and baby chest. Hairless. Such a let down for the big, macho-posing man. It's flabby and it's hairless. Anyone expecting a wolf is now disappointed to be handed a Chihuahu.
Obviously, we prefer men with hairy chests -- not everyone does. (We say obviously because we're the ones who tracked, in this space, the waxing and plucking craze of the '00s.) And we just laugh at Miles whenever the shirt comes off (it comes off in his straight porn only) -- a fat and pudgy body that's hairless.
"I feel that I'm a gay man's wet dream," he boasts in an interview. And that may be true. Some gay men may find him hot. Some women might as well -- though we'd argue, men or women, they're going to find him much hotter with a shirt on.
I know that's a long excerpt but I really love what they wrote. They've covered everything media wise, now, including gay porn, fetish porn. I also think Miles Striker needs to be called out. He's not gay. He's not gay-for-pay. He's a straight man doing spoken porn where he pretends to be your bully who picked on you in high school, tortured you and beat you up so badly you ended up in the hospital and now he's found out, all these years later, where you live and is going to start it all up again. That would be torture porn. I don't think we'd applaud porn about some man who raped a woman in high school showing up at her home a decade later to announce he's going to rape her again. I don't find assault to be sexy, do you?
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Despite being filled with thousands of surveillance cameras, main streets and popular squares have witnessed political and human rights activists being gunned down, with the executioners always vanishing into thin air, filled with confidence that their images would never be caught on tape.
Only last week, activist Ihab Al-Wazni, who was leading protests in the Iraqi city of Karbala, was assassinated in front of his own home by a motorcyclist. Al-Wazni’s neighborhood is one of the most protected areas due to its proximity to Shiite holy sites.
Al-Wazni, like millions of other Iraqis, yearned for a homeland that gives his children hope for a brighter future. A previous attempt to kill him in 2019 did not stop him from continuing to stand against tyranny. He was vocal about the dangers of the regime in Tehran, about the corruption of the Islamists in his province, and about the importance of maintaining the peaceful and focused nature of the protests.
The assassination process in Iraq starts with one of two types of fatwa issued by religious politicians like Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, who is known for operating one of the biggest and most brutal pro-Iran militias in the country. The Mahdi Army (Saraya Al-Salam), which was created in July 2003, is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people around the country. It is led by ruthless thugs. Al-Sadr was once wanted for his role in the assassination of senior Shiite cleric Mohammed Baqir Al-Hakim in the city of Najaf. Ironically, he described Al-Wazni’s murder as a “cowardly” act, calling on the government to bring the perpetrators to justice.
He was shot to death at night outside his home by men on motorbikes in an ambush caught on surveillance tapes. His death has been confirmed by security forces and fellow activists.
Wazni narrowly escaped death in December 2019, when men on motorbikes used silenced weapons to kill fellow activist Fahem al-Tai as Wazni was dropping him off at his home in Karbala, where pro-Tehran armed groups are legion.
Both men were key figures in a national protest movement that erupted against government corruption and Iranian interference in Iraq in October 2019. More than 600 people have been killed as a result – many on the streets during rallies, others targeted on their doorsteps, away from the demonstrations.
Protests broke out in Karbala, Nassiriya, and Diwaniya in southern Iraq in reaction to Wazni's killing, as people called for an end to the bloodshed and rampant corruption, as well as an end to the impunity enjoyed by Shia militias.
In a video recording from the morgue where Wazni's body was initially held, a fellow activist made it clear who he and colleagues blamed for the killing.
"It is the Iranian militias who killed Ihab," said the unnamed activist. "They are going to kill all of us! They threaten us and the government remains silent."
The assassination of Wazni was followed 24 hours later with the attempted murder of journalist Ahmad Hassan who was shot in the head as he arrived home in Diwaniyah. Hassan has undergone brain surgery and remains in critical condition at a Baghdad hospital.
The latest assassination victim was Ehab al-Wazni, one of the most prominent faces of the protest movement. He was killed in the city of Karbala on May 9, drawing widespread outrage and condemnation among the protesters.
Ensuing statements of condemnation declared a boycott of the polls, with activists seeking to make their voices heard on the streets rather than the ballots.
Iraqi researchers welcomed the move. Haidar Saeed said that Wazni’s assassination would persuade the “October forces” to refrain from backing the elections.
In contrast, however, the traditional political forces are more determined than ever to hold the elections on time.
There's little hope of Iraqi authorities bringing the killers of Ihab Al Wazni and other activists to justice, human rights groups and activists said.
The civil society activist was shot dead last week in Karbala. His death sparked daylong protests in the southern holy city that saw demonstrators block roads and bridges with burning tyres.
“The groups behind these killings are extremely powerful to the point that the Iraqi state and law enforcement system is unable to hold them to account,” Belkis Wille, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, told The National.
“It means we have incredibly powerful armed groups that can perpetrate crimes with impunity on the streets of Iraq in broad daylight and the state cannot do much to curb these attacks,” he said.
Calls to the Iraqi Prime Minister's office and the Interior Ministry failed to obtain a comment on the investigation. Iraqi authorities had opened an immediate investigation after the incident, but have yet to announce the perpetrators.
Real accountability and justice will not prevail and the attacks against members of Iraq’s civil society and journalists will continue as long as armed groups are able to “instill fear and silence criticism” Ms Wille said.
Militias linked to political parties, some backed by Iran, have tightened their grip over state institutions since the US invasion that toppled former dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi, who took office in May, has pledged justice for activists killed or abused by armed groups, and has faced off against some Iran-backed parties.
Al Wazni’s assassination triggered outrage at the government’s lack of action in providing civilian protection, basic public services and jobs. Al Wazni was a vocal opponent of corruption, the stranglehold of Tehran-linked armed groups and Iran's influence in Iraq.
The United States will likely be involved in Iraq at some level for a long time. It still has contracting going on via the State Dept. Recently State’s Office of Inspector General looked at whether contracting activity was properly staffed to ensure oversight. For more, the Federal Drive with Tom Temin turned to the director of the OIG’s office of audits, Mike Vennemann.
Tom Temin: Mr. Vennemann, good to have you on.
Mike Vennemann: Thanks for having me, Tom.
Tom Temin: And in Iraq, then, of course, the military is gone. So it’s pretty much State Department is the United States in Iraq, is that fair to say?
Mike Vennemann: That’s fair to say. We still have a large presence there. And we have to execute our mission.
Tom Temin: And what is the scope of contracting that goes on there? Is it all related pretty much to maintenance of the mission?
Mike Vennemann: That’s the majority of the contracting things. I would consider Life Support Services, operations and maintenance, medical services, things like that, to execute the mission, support the staff.
Tom Temin: Alright. And a few years ago, you looked at the contracting activity itself, and found that certain required staff members that accompany a contracting officer, particularly the technical person, they used to call it the COTR. Now it’s the contracting officer’s representative, and the technical evaluator, were not part of a major contract. Tell us more what you found, then. And then we’ll fast forward to what you’ve found at the relook.
Mike Vennemann: Sure. So over the past five years, what we’ve found is that the contracts there, they have to have these CORs assigned to them, which require a certain level of expertise, that’s determined by [the Office of Management and Budget], and that’s gonna affect COR certification. So there’s a combination of education and experience. And when you have a larger contract, it requires a more extensive type oversight, so you need the most experienced people. And what we found is that within Iraq, it’s hard to staff those positions with the most qualified people to be the eyes and ears for the contracting officer.
Tom Temin: Is there any particular thing that they’re buying that particularly requires the COR, the core?
Mike Vennemann: All of those Life Support Services, we’re talking about billions of dollars of contracts. And these contracts, they do require somebody to have some technical expertise and subject matter expertise within life support services and operations and maintenance and medical services. Without that you have a potential vulnerability.
Tom Temin: Life Support Services means more than just medical. What is it they’re actually looking at?
Mike Vennemann: So life support services could be anything from food to fuel, we’re talking about waste services, water, etc. So anything that would support all of the Foreign Service officers to execute the mission.
Tom Temin: And so the acquisitions are principally from local contractors in Iraq, then.
Mike Vennemann: Well, the contractors are actually based out of the US and then they will subcontract to local vendors as necessary. It can be a combination of things.