One Month Of Women-Led Protests In Iran | Crooked Media
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October 16, 2022
What A Day
One Month Of Women-Led Protests In Iran

In This Episode

  • It’s been one month since women began burning their hijabs and leading daily protests in the streets of Iran over the killing of Mahsa Amini. In that time, Iranian security forces have reportedly killed at least 233 protesters — including 32 children.
  • The Biden administration soft-launched its student loan forgiveness application site over the weekend. This comes after President Biden announced the plan in August that would cancel up to $20,000 worth of federal student loans for individual borrowers.
  • And in headlines: China’s political leaders kicked off the 20th Communist Party Congress, thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of Paris over inflation and rising energy costs, and Elon Musk said SpaceX will continue to pay for a critical satellite internet service in Ukraine.


Show Notes:



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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, October 17th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver. And this is What A Day where we’re announcing that you can stop inviting us to theme park horror nights because we’re too scared. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, I’ve stopped paying to be traumatized a long time ago, and so I would rather not. 


Juanita Tolliver: We don’t need help in that department. We’re Black in America. 


Tre’vell Anderson: That part. Okay. [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: On today’s show, Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker pulled out a questionable prop on the debate stage. Plus, Republican Kari Lake refused to say whether she’d accept defeat in the Arizona governor’s race. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Not that one again. Okay. But first, we want to bring you an update on the anti-government protests happening in Iran. 


Juanita Tolliver: So it’s been one month since Mahsa Amini was tragically killed by Iranian police and one month since Iranian women began burning their hijabs and leading daily protests in the streets. In that time span, Iranian police and security forces have murdered at least 233 protesters, including 32 children, according to the nonprofit human rights activists in Iran. With these deaths, the demonstrations show no sign of ending. And sadly, new names are joining the growing list of reasons why people will continue fighting and protesting. Nika Shakarami, Serena Ismail Sadeh, and Minu Majidi are just a few of the girls and women who have been killed by security forces and identified by the BBC. And their deaths are fueling the protesters chants of woman, life, freedom. As they continue to expand beyond the streets and into school buildings and universities. Sadly, similar to Mahsa’s family, Nika and Serena’s families have reported that they too have faced harassment, threats, and even imprisonment for telling the truth about how their daughters were killed. While being interviewed by The New York Times, Nika’s mother’s phone was, quote, “abruptly disrupted” and a recorded message from the state telecommunications company said her phone number had been disconnected. 


Tre’vell Anderson: That’s a very specific like tidbit about the dangers, right? That these people are facing by speaking up and telling the truth of how their loved ones died. Definitely not good there. You mentioned, though, that the strikes are going beyond the streets. Where else are they happening now? 


Juanita Tolliver: While the protests began largely in response to the death of Mahsa and the restrictive, harmful treatment of women. They’ve expanded to be a full on rejection of the Iranian government. And now the protests include strikes at oil refineries across Iran. And this is a huge statement by the striking workers. It’s important to keep in mind that oil is a major economic industry for Iran, especially at a moment when Iran is experiencing heavy economic sanctions. Also, disruptions to the oil industry have played a pivotal role in Iran’s political history. Now there’s a fear of retaliation and violence from the government if the strikes at the refineries continue. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. And the government crackdowns and response to the protests have been gruesome thus far. We’ve seen, you know, various images from protests on social media. You’ve already mentioned that more than 230 people have been killed. I’m sure there are fears about continued kind of escalation of violence from the government. Right? 


Juanita Tolliver: You’re absolutely right. And those fears are not only rooted in how Iranian security forces are beating and killing protesters in the streets, but also by the recent deadly fire at the notorious Evin Prison on Saturday when four people were killed and 61 people were injured. The thing to know about Evin Prison is that it is a prison where police take protesters and dissidents who challenge the government. And at the time of the fire, there were hundreds of protesters, opposition politicians, and journalists imprisoned there, including prominent human rights activist Narges Mohammadi and Jafar Panahi, an internationally renowned film director. Also, there have been repeated reports of abuse and harm to the prisoners. And even the U.S. government sanctioned Iran for, quote, “serious human rights abuses at the prison.” Now, while the Iranian government is saying that the fire was not connected to the ongoing protests, something’s just not adding up, because while the governor of Tehran is saying that the fire was started by, quote, “a fight between some prisoners in a sewing workshop,” witnesses stated that they could hear explosions and gunshots from the surrounding neighborhood. There are even videos on social media that show the smoke and the flashes of the explosive bangs as there are American citizens who are currently wrongfully detained at Evin Prison. A State Department spokesperson tweeted that they’re following reports and called for the detained Americans immediate release. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I don’t know about you, Juanita, but when I think of sewing workshops, I don’t think of fire. 


Juanita Tolliver: Not a fire. 


Tre’vell Anderson: It doesn’t compute for me, but–


Juanita Tolliver: Nope. 


Tre’vell Anderson: You know, maybe that’s just me. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just us. 


Juanita Tolliver: The math ain’t mathin. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And we’ll we’ll be following this story as it develops, obviously. Now on to an update on student debt forgiveness. Late Friday night, the Biden administration soft launched a beta version of the student loan forgiveness program application. But even though it was kind of this quiet release, it still had my timelines and group chats jumping because this is what we’ve been waiting on since President Biden announced back in August that he would cancel up to $20,000 worth of federal student loans for individual borrowers. And no matter if you think it should have been a complete cancellation or you’re team pull yourself up by your bootstraps, this is a move that will impact millions of people. 


Juanita Tolliver: I don’t think that can be stressed enough. Millions of people will be able to be freed of this horrible debt, which I’ve seen how that interest rate can pile up on folks. So this is something that will help. And when I tell you, as soon as I saw the link, I sent it to my sisters, my friends. I sent it– 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. 


Juanita Tolliver: –To everyone. And we’re going to drop the link to the application in our show notes. Uh. But you mentioned it was a beta version of the application. What exactly does that mean? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So according to the application site, this is basically like a test version of the application. They’re having people submit their info so that the official process will have fewer kinks. Now, we don’t know when the official A team application will drop, but what’s good about this is that if you like I did this weekend submit an application using the beta version, you will not have to reapply when the official version drops. So you’re basically ahead of the game if you do it now. 


Juanita Tolliver: Y’all heard it here. The message here is stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. 


Juanita Tolliver: As soon as you see this link, go ahead and apply. Honestly, if you apply in the right timeframe, it could be processed to the point where that balance change could happen before student loans become due again in January 2023. So Tre’vell, tell us, what did this application look like? What did it entail? 


Tre’vell Anderson: So it’s actually super easy and surprisingly so, which is interesting because we know that government forms are notoriously cumbersome and they want you to have, you know, all these forms of I.D. and different documentation and all of this rigmarole. But you don’t have to deal with that here. Okay. All you need is your name, your Social Security number, your date of birth, a phone number and an email. It’s that simple. I literally filled it out in 3 minutes. And then at the bottom, they have this statement that you have to affirm that you qualify for forgiveness. They recap the eligibility requirements for you right there on the page in case you don’t know. And then you check a box, you hit submit. There it is. Then ba da boom ba da bang. 


Juanita Tolliver: Ooh, I like that. 


Tre’vell Anderson: You’ve applied for student loan forgiveness. You know. 


Juanita Tolliver: Easy peasy. It sounds like there were no barriers. It sounds like there are no problems. It sounds like this was nothing like’s rollout. Shade no shade but the name of the game, no barriers, no problems. Remind us Tre’vell, who’s eligible for student loan forgiveness? 


Tre’vell Anderson: To be eligible, first you have to have a loan that was disbursed before June 30th of this year. Then eligibility breaks down depending on if you’re married or if you are a bachelorette like myself, single folks who earn under $125,000 will qualify for the $10,000 in debt cancelation. If you’re married and you file your taxes jointly or are a head of household, you qualify if your combined income is less than $250,000. And then if you qualify in either of those ways and you received a Pell Grant, you could qualify to have an extra $10,000 forgiven. This is all determined based on your adjusted gross income. Not to be confused with your gross income. So if you’re riding that line, it might put you in there under your adjusted gross income. And it’s your income from either 2021 or 2020 that can make you eligible here. If you’re unsure about any of this, I would say apply anyway. You could easily be one of the expected 43 million people who will benefit from this and the application it is literally too simple to not even inquire. So do it anyway. 


Juanita Tolliver: Do it anyway and I appreciate the emphasis on it applying to tax year 2020 or 2021. So check those old tax forms y’all. Pull them up, get it out and make sure and so that you can apply to receive this benefit, because this could be life changing. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. 


Juanita Tolliver: And we know as far as what’s happening, like people are going to apply, people are going to rush to the website, they’re going to apply, like you said, less than 3 minutes. Then what, what’s going to happen next? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Well, again, I want to give people just the disclaimer, right? This is just a beta version of the application. And so you might go to the page and might not be able to submit your information. That’s not a glitch. Just keep checking back. You know, the first night I went to the site, they had stopped accepting submission. I wasn’t able to submit anything. And then I randomly clicked on the link the next day and was able to submit. So don’t be daunted if you get any messages like that again, this is the beta version. But once you do submit your information, the review process should take 4 to 6 weeks. You’ll be updated via email about the status of, you know, your balance after the review is done. And if you submit your application by November 15th, as you mentioned earlier, they’re guaranteeing that you will have a response before December 31st, which is when the current pause on student loan payments and interest ends. So you could know going into the new year how your payments will change once they start back. But if for whatever reason, you are out there and you are unconcerned with being relieved of your loans as soon as possible, you have until the end of next year, December 31st, 2023, to actually apply for debt forgiveness in this particular way. All of that said, obviously, beware of the scams. This is a totally free process. So don’t be giving your coins to people promising you things. Okay? We know how the phone calls happen. Okay. And they tell you they calling from Sallie Mae or whatever, but they’re really not. So if you’re ever in doubt, just call your loan provider directly. They’ll be able to get you situated. That is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. 




Tre’vell Anderson: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Tre’vell Anderson: China’s political leaders kicked off the 20th Communist Party Congress yesterday in Beijing. This meeting is held every five years and is one of the ruling party’s most important events. President Xi Jinping opened with a wide ranging speech that lasted nearly 2 hours, which obviously is overkill. But he covered China’s COVID 19 response and national security. Xi is expected to secure a third five year term sometime during the weeklong conference, which would arguably make him China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. 


Juanita Tolliver: Look, President Xi knew exactly what he was doing. He was planting a flag. He was saying, I ain’t going anywhere. And he was saying, this is what we finna do for the next five years. So if it wasn’t clear, it’s clear now. Tens of thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Paris on Sunday to demand action on the rising cost of living and the climate crisis. The massive demonstration was organized to pressure French President Emmanuel Macron’s government into freezing energy costs, as well as imposing higher taxes on corporations that demonstrators say are profiting from high inflation. This all comes amid an ongoing French refinery worker strike that has strained the country’s fuel supply. And workers from other industries may join them tomorrow for a nationwide general strike. When I tell you the French fully understand worker solidarity, this is that in motion. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Russian men drafted for the war in Ukraine have been hastily thrown into combat as part of President Vladimir Putin’s, quote unquote, “partial military mobilization”. And judging from many reports, they are not faring well on the battlefield. Many have been deployed to the front lines just days after enlisting with little to no shooting practice or other training under their belts. And those who haven’t been drafted are in hiding amid reports of Russian police pulling men literally off the streets to send them to the war. Officials have stormed apartment buildings, offices, and even homeless shelters to take men of fighting age to the closest military enlistment office. Putin said Friday these quote unquote “mobilization activities” will end in two weeks. 


Juanita Tolliver: Spoiler alert, they’re not ending in two weeks. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Right. 


Juanita Tolliver: He’s going to keep doing this. No one should be surprised when this goes beyond two weeks. And speaking of Ukraine, Elon Musk said over the weekend that his company, SpaceX, will continue funding its StarLink satellite system for Ukraine’s military. Musk helped provide the service back in February after many of the country’s traditional communications networks were destroyed early in the invasion. But on Friday, Musk threatened to stop funding StarLink unless the Pentagon agreed to pitch in tens of millions of dollars a month to maintain it. It’s not clear who was footing the bill for the service, though The New York Times said last month it’s also funded in part by the American, British, and Polish governments. After receiving heavy backlash, Musk took to Twitter on Saturday to confirm that he would keep the system running. Still, he complained, quote, “Even though StarLink is still losing money and other companies are getting billions of taxpayer dollars,” when I tell you the conflicts all over this are ridiculous. Remember– 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mmm mm. 


Juanita Tolliver: –A week ago, Musk was out there on Twitter again tweeting about a ridiculous peace plan, which would require Ukraine to turn over most of its land to Russia. So I feel like he’s just trying to flex every chance he can get at this point. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I feel like he gets tired of talking to himself in the mirror and then he hops on Twitter to just have this stream of consciousness thrown at us. 


Juanita Tolliver: Have a moment. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Um. And now we all have to deal with it. But I’m glad that I guess he is stepping up to keep this, you know, still in motion here. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Getting an early start on his Halloween costume is Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate for Senate in Georgia who pulled out a sheriff’s badge on Friday during a debate against incumbent Raphael Warnock. Okay. It happened during a heated exchange about crime after Warnock took a dig at Walker, who claimed on the campaign trail that he worked in law enforcement. In a weird head scratching moment, Walker pulled out the badge and flashed it to the audience, drawing this reaction from the debate moderator: 


[clip of debate moderator] Mr. Walker, Mr. Walker. You are very well– 


[clip of Herschel Walker] Yes. 


[clip of debate moderator] Aware of the rules tonight. 


[clip of Herschel Walker] Yes. 


[clip of debate moderator] And you have a prop. 


[clip of Herschel Walker] Yes. 


[clip of debate moderator] That is not allowed, sir. 


[clip of Herschel Walker] Yes. 


[clip of debate moderator] I ask you to put that prop away. 


[clip of Herschel Walker] Wait it’s not a prop. 


[clip of debate moderator] It is– 


[clip of Herschel Walker] This is real. 


Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] It’s not a prop. This is real. According to Walker’s campaign spokesperson, the badge was a gift from the Cobb County Sheriff’s Department, the kind that law enforcement agencies give out to celebrities and sometimes small children for honorary recognitions. Outside of this cops and robbers moment, Walker used the debate to connect Warnock to President Biden in the minds of voters, while Warnock repeatedly reminded the audience of Walker’s, quote, “problem with the truth”, which is putting it lightly. 


Juanita Tolliver: Not a bootleg badge. [laughter] Here’s the thing, Cobb County Sheriff Department has told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on more than one occasion, they don’t know this man. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 


Juanita Tolliver: They have no employment records. He doesn’t work for them. And so when the campaign said this about, oh, it was a gift, you know, honorary they said we can’t confirm that either. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yikes. 


Juanita Tolliver: So that’s where I’m going to leave this. This man is ridiculous and deserves to be treated like a child. So.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yikes. 


Juanita Tolliver: Staying on the midterms, we have a very unfortunate spoiler about them. Some Republicans are going to deny the results. And if you don’t believe me, listen to Kari Lake, Republican candidate for governor of Arizona in an interview with CNN’s State of the Union yesterday: 


[clip of CNN reporter] My question is, will you accept the results of your election in November? 


[clip of Kari Lake] I’m going to win the election and I will accept that result. 


[clip of CNN reporter] If you lose, will you accept that? 


[clip of Kari Lake] I’m going to win the election and I will accept that result. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Mm mmm. 


Juanita Tolliver: That’s blatantly rejecting the question. And but she’s also reaffirming her position if you listen closely because either she had a glitch on air or something much worse is happening. Lake is obviously a huge Donald Trump supporter and she has his endorsement and this isn’t her first brush with election denial. She is on the record describing the 2020 presidential election as, quote, “stolen.” Lake’s Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs was interviewed just after her on CNN. And Hobbs said Lake should be disqualified for those remarks. I couldn’t agree more. Disqualify any person who doesn’t accept the election results. If you can’t respect the election, if you can’t respect democracy, you should not be allowed to run. 


Tre’vell Anderson: It really is wild that now everybody’s just going around saying that we not going to except the election results when that is supposed to be the way that we pass, you know, power from people to people in this country. Y’all say y’all patriots. I don’t get it. 


Juanita Tolliver: It’s a really basic concept, if you think about it. But this is straight out of Trump’s playbook. And I will say Trump’s fingerprints on the Republican Party are so explicitly clear that, based on Fivethirtyeight’s recent analysis, 60% of voters in this country are going to have at least one election denier on the ballot. So now it’s a game of find the liar, find the person who is– 


Tre’vell Anderson: Wow. 


Juanita Tolliver: –Not going to accept the election. And that’s ridiculous and it’s dangerous. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, we are less than a month away from Election Day. Start brushing up on your ballots now, know who the election deniers are and maybe don’t vote for them. You know? 


Juanita Tolliver: Just consider not. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Right, you know, for all of us, for the good of all of us. And those are the headlines. 




Juanita Tolliver: That’s all for today. And if you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Patch Kari Lake’s glitch and tell your friends to listen. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And if you’re into reading and not just where it says junior police officer on Herschel Walker’s toy badge like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m Juanita Tolliver. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson. 


[spoken together] And let the truth set you free Herschel Walker. 


Juanita Tolliver: It can change your life, I promise. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, it could change all of our lives if you just be honest for once actually, this is, you know, a small task. 


Juanita Tolliver: The lies. The lies. The lies.


Tre’vell Anderson: It’s giving candy [?]. You are not wrong. Absolutely. [music break] What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.