Thursday, May 14, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, May 14, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Shi'ites attack a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad, the empty words on reconciliation get noted publicly, Jeb Bush ends his run for the GOP's presidential nomination (though he doesn't appear to know it yet), we examine his laughable campaign as well as the Democratic War Hawk Hillary Clinton and the fake ass Socialist Bernie Sanders, and much more.

It's most likely the end of Jeb Bush's run for the White House -- even if he doesn't know that.

This week, the former governor of Florida got attention for remarks he made about Iraq.

His floundering political campaign immediately got massive attention.  This attention was big news for a candidate who had trailed Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Scott Walker and Senator Rand Paul in many polls of candidates vying for the Republican Party's presidential nomination.

Sunday it started with leaks of an interview to be aired Monday in which he declared that, had he been US President in 2003, he would have done what his brother, Bully Boy Bush, did: Invade Iraq.  We noted on Monday how this could give lift to his struggling campaign.  On Wednesday, as he modified his remarks, we went over this again, how it speaks to the Republican base and could advance his standing.  Thursday, Harry Enten and Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight 'discovered' the same argument.

They 'find' those answers too late.

Jeb Bush has made a spectacle of himself.

Monday through Wednesday, he was slammed by left pundits and by the MSM press.

This wasn't a bad thing.

Sarah Palin received that treatment and did not run from it.  She used it, she harnessed it and she rode it to political fame and to popularity on the right.

Jeb could have done the same.

The criticism of Bully Boy Bush was always that he was not his father's son, he was his mother's son.  Petty, cruel and mean like his mother, BBB never met a grudge he couldn't f**k.

Jeb, by contrast, suffered from the same image problems their father had.  George H.W. Bush was always having to prove that he wasn't the light weight he appeared to be, the one not quite on the ball, the one who didn't grasp the stakes.

Jeb is his father's son.

Which is why he can't connect with the Republican base.

But this week, he had his chance.

He could show he was someone who didn't betray his own brother to garner a few votes, he could stand for the (illegal) war that remains popular with the GOP base, he could show that he was strong enough to stand against MSM attacks.

And as he modified his statement -- via his own remarks and those of surrogates, he was still okay.

Then, today, he decides to walk the remarks back completely, to disown them.

That's it.

He's weak Jeb Bush, as weak as his father, unable to stand up to the press therefore unable to stand up for the needs and desires of the Republican base.

That was the 'crime' of his father.

That is why his father had only one term as president.

That is why it is Ronald Reagan who remains a GOP hero while Bush, who served as Reagan's vice president, is not anyone the base ever describes as a "hero" -- just someone who's most notable moment even now remains his throwing up on Japan's then-Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi.

Jeb spewed a stream of cowardice today.

And the GOP will embrace strength and even get behind false macho.

But they run from weakness (out of fear).

A Republican candidate who can be forced to retract his stated opinion because of a hostile media?

That's weak to the GOP base.

Even those Republicans who might have disagreed with him are going to be dismayed that, after taking a position, he so quickly abandoned it just because he couldn't take the heat from the media.

John Kerry had hoped to make a run for the presidency in 2008.

That dream went up in smoke.

We noted it in real time, the California incident where he shot off his mouth to the delight of some but ensured that he would never be seen as presidential.

Jeb's actions today are very similar.

This is probably the end of the road for his political dreams.

He doesn't grasp that yet.

Neither does Nate Silver's band of thieves.

But after they read this breakdown, Nate's band will probably, in a few days, be humming the tune I've composed.

Jeb will probably remain in denial as long as big money holds up, telling himself that by focusing on New Hampshire, he's ensuring the buzz of strong early victory.

He's probably not going to carry New Hampshire and, having already abandoned Iowa, it will likely be two losses in a row.  If he's stayed in that long, New Hampshire will probably be where the campaign money begins to dry up.

Of course, he's supposed to be the smart Bush so he might read the writing on the wall before 2016 and announce early he's shutting down his campaign.

From one disgraced candidate to another, Bernie Sanders.  The Socialist running for the Democratic Party's nomination Tweeted today.

The war in Iraq was one of the biggest foreign policy mistakes in modern history.
506 retweets 675 favorites

If the image doesn't show, click on the time link above.

You'll see an image with this on top of it:

The war in Iraq was one of the biggest foreign policy mistakes in modern history.  I voted against military action in Iraq.  It was the right choice then, and I stand by that vote today.
-- Sen. Bernie Sanders ( - Vt.)

You stand by that vote?

Do you stand by anything else?

No, you don't because you're Bernie Sanders with the collapsible spine.

So you refused to filibuster to end the war as former-US Senator Mike Gravel was offering lessons on.  He was all over in 2006, 2007 and 2008 explaining how a real filibuster, by just one member of Congress, could defund the war.

But 'brave' Bernie didn't do anything.

When Barack began attempting to renegotiate the Status Of Forces Agreement with Iraq in 2011, did Bernie lead public opposition to this?


Not Bernie.

Not old Flap Your Gums Bernie.

As a member of the US House of Representatives in 2003, he voted against the Iraq War.

That's really all he ever did.

In November 2005, US House Rep Maxine Waters was among 69 members of the House's Out Of Iraq Caucus.

That 69?

It did not include Bernie Sanders.

And for those who've forgotten, Bernie didn't get elected to the Senate until November 7, 2006.  He was a member of the US House of Representatives.

He just didn't care enough to be a member of the House's Out of Iraq Caucus.

He stands by his vote against the unpopular (and illegal and, yes, ongoing) war because that's all he has to offer on Iraq.

Arun Gupta took on the fake assery of Bernie's campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and noted:

What the Democrats really want is the left’s silence. The left, as disorganized as it is, is the source of ideas, energy and passion for a party that is an empty vessel of corporate sloganeering. The left spawns the movements and ideas—LGBT and reproductive rights, income inequality, national healthcare, climate justice, police and prison reform, antiwar—that both form and motivate the Democratic base. That’s where the Democrats draw their votes from, but the party needs money from corporations and plutocrats to run its machinery and to play its part in what is projected to be a $5 billion presidential campaign. More than that, the Democrats are one wing of the party of Wall Street, so they will never fulfill any social-justice demands without a powerful push from below.
In the general election, the Democrats need the left to be silent about how bankrupt and corrupt the party is so it can gloss its rush to the right in a veneer of progressive rhetoric. The role of Progressives for Obama in 2008 was to push as many leftists into the campaign as possible and then attack those disinclined to support a candidate who supported more war, bailouts with no accountability for Wall Street, and wanted to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to pay for the financial catastrophe.
After Sanders tossed his hat in the ring for the Democratic presidential nominee, there was the predictable Sanders-is-the-real-progressive-in-this-race column from the usual quarters. And there is already “The People for Bernie Sanders” working to corral the left into the Democratic Party. It’s easy to forecast how this will end.
In July 2016, at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, after Sanders’ team meets with Hillary Clinton’s senior strategists but not the nominee herself, his campaign manager speaks to the media: “We are proud of all we accomplished, the millions of Americans who cast their votes for the Sanders 2016 campaign, and the issues we raised about economic inequality, the struggling middle class, and an economy rigged for the benefit of a few billionaires. Senator Sanders may not be the nominee in 2016, but the concerns he championed are front and center.”
When asked about the closed-door meeting and Clinton’s $2 billion in campaign contributions from Wall Street and wealthy donors, Sanders’ manager says, “What we got from the Clinton campaign was a commitment to begin the process to talk about reducing income inequality. We’ve moved. They’ve moved. It’s truly unity in that sense. We are fully behind Hillary Clinton as our party’s presidential nominee for 2016, and are our only focus for the next 100 days is to make sure she is elected to that office. Thank you.”

I’m not making this up. The above quote is paraphrased from the Dennis Kucinich 2004 campaign. He ran on opposition to the Iraq War, but by the convention Kucinich backed the nominee, John Kerry, whose position was to escalate the war, in exchange for vague promises.

Last week, Bruce Dixon explained the realities in "Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders: Sheepdogging for Hillary and the Democrats in 2016" (Black Agenda Report).

Bernie Sanders is this election's Democratic sheepdog. The sheepdog is a card the Democratic party plays every presidential primary season when there's no White House Democrat running for re-election. The sheepdog is a presidential candidate running ostensibly to the left of the establishment Democrat to whom the billionaires will award the nomination. Sheepdogs are herders, and the sheepdog candidate is charged with herding activists and voters back into the Democratic fold who might otherwise drift leftward and outside of the Democratic party, either staying home or trying to build something outside the two party box.

None of this is an endorsement of Hillary Clinton and it's sad that just telling the truth about two awful candidates then requires that disclaimer.

Hillary, the Reclusive Candidate, the campaign trail's very own Greta Garbo.

She wants, you understand, both your vote and to be left alone.

As Cedric's "She's not talking" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! CRANKY AIN'T TALKING!" (joint-post) noted earlier this week, she's not taking questions from the press.

Or not answering them.

This is how Queen Hillary campaigns?

This is how the elderly princess grabs on to the presidency she's always felt she was entitled to?

Citizen Hillary doesn't have to answer a single question.

But if you're running to be the president of the United States?

If she can't handle -- or won't handle -- the press now, as she needs them to amplify her campaign message, what does that say about a President Hillary Clinton?

That she's be secretive and hostile to the press?

Well hasn't that been Hillary since day one on the national stage?

For the bulk of this week, Jeb Bush has been raked over the coals for saying he would have gone to war on Iraq in 2003 or would have supported war on Iraq or . . .

But he wasn't in the position to.

He wasn't in the White House.

And he wasn't in the Congress.

Hillary was -- in the Congress.

And as a US senator, she voted for the illegal war.

Was it her vote that undid her run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2006?

"What difference, at this point, does it make!"

Remember that January 23, 2013 moment where she snarled/screamed at Congress, while she was being questioned about the four dead Americans (Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods), "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

The entitlement, the snarling over being asked to explain herself?

We saw it in 2007 and 2008 when she'd be asked about her vote.

An annoyed and ticked off Hillary would snarl and fume like the petulant person she is.

She doens't hide from accountability due to the Clinton scandals (real and imagined).  She hides because she refuses accountability.

Tell Bill Clinton that a room is hostile and angry over something he did or said?

He's going in that room determined to listen, explain and win over.

Hillary just doesn't have the time for that.

We all just need to shape up and get with her schedule.

That's not a leader and it's not a president.

Hillary's not answering questions because she can't handle them.

She's too angry, she's too bitter.

She explodes with her sense of entitlement.

Remember the incident where she was caught on an open micrphone in July of 2007?  Michael Falcone (New York Times) reported on it:

At the end of a forum with the eight Democratic presidential contenders in Detroit on Thursday, Mr. Edwards walked up to Mrs. Clinton, leaned toward her and said: “We should try to have a more serious … smaller group.”
“We’ve got to cut the number…” Mrs. Clinton responded. “I think there was an effort by our campaigns to do that … it got somehow detoured. We’ve got to get back to it,” and added, “our guys should talk.”

Their exchange was captured by an open microphone and on video. Parts of it are barely audible.

If that's what she really believed, why didn't she say it publicly?

Hillary's always trying to short change democracy and work around what is supposed to be an open society.

Hillary's vote for the Iraq War in 2002 is not in the 'past' any more then the Iraq War itself is in the past.

It continues to this day.

Margaret Griffis ( counts 111 violent deaths today in the ongoing war.

She also offers this, "In Baghdad, over 30 people were arrested after rumors of a suicide bomber triggered riots in Adhamiya; several buildings were set on fire, including one belonging to the Sunni Endowment."

I have low tolerance for nonsense.

In her link, "unidentified people" are the source for the supposed rumors that triggered riots.


Damn lies.

Do some actual work.

You don't read Arabic?

There were Tweets in English -- we noted at least one on Wednesday -- about what was going on, about the militias (Shi'ite) and what they were doing.

This was about terrorizing the Sunnis.

Margaret does great work for the most part.

But honestly how stupid do you have to be -- and I certainly have more moments of stupidity than Margaret ever could -- to believe that "rumors" of a suicide bomber would lead Shi'ites to storm a Sunni dominate neighborhood of Baghdad?

"Oh, there's a suicide bomber!  Let's go!"

It makes no sense.

Nor does the pretense that the Sunni Endowment would be set on fire by Sunni civilians.

Let's all stop being so damn stupid.

  • Shia militias. Crime burned yesterday Sunnis city Aldhamiyah in Baghdad.

    1. shia militias crimes burned my city Adhamiya in Baghdad yesterday & dancing with joy! save sunnis civilians

  • Shi'ite militias struck the area terrorizing the people.  They burned down the Sunni Endowment building in Adhamiya. They then cheered and danced as it burned.

    Alsumaria reports that Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr has condemned the attack in a statement noting that this assault was not something that took place in combat or on a battlefield and that there is no excuse for it. Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq (a Sunni) stated that there was no excuse for this criminal behavior and that the government has an obligation to protect the people (all of the people).  Sunni MP Haider al-Abadi issued a statement declaring that this assault by Shi'ite militias prove that Da'ash and the armed militias are two sides of the same coin. Baghdad Province Governor Ali al-Tamimi declared he holds Baghdad Operations Command responsible for the lack of security.  And even Vice President Nouri al-Maliki -- former prime minister and noted Shi'ite thug -- issued a statement condemning the attacks and indicating that the (Shi'ite) militias were out of control and that only the official security forces should be used for security.

    When your attack on Sunnis is so bad that even Nouri al-Maliki -- even Nouri -- is publicly condemning you, you know things are bad.

    "As if it is a national anthem, everyone is singing it,"

    That's Iraq's former Finance Minister Rafe al-Assawi speaking Monday about the talk -- but no action -- on reconciliation.  He and the Governor of Nineveh Province Atheel al-Nuajaif (brother of Iraqi Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi) were hosted at a Brookings Institution event on Monday which was moderated by Kenneth Pollack.  We've covered the event in the Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday snapshots.

    Today, we'll note this from the Monday event.

    Former Minister Rafe al-Assawi:  From 2010 and now, not from 2005 or 2004 or so.  Before the second premiership of Mr. [Nouri al-]Maliki, we met in Erbil and what's called The Erbil Agreement?  On top of that was reconciliation, de-Ba'athification restoring Ba'ath people, political.  Let us asses from 2010 until now? [Tareq al-]Hashemi's left, been exiled, the vice president.  Assawi, deputy prime minister, [tapping his chest to indicate himself] the speaker, and the former Minister of Finance, is also -- after 2010 -- been put outside the political process. [. . .] So the story is now keep talking, shouting.  Implement the agreement.  As well, if you come to the draft, I have the draft of the program of the government [flips through papers].  It is such an excellent one. [Holds up papers] Presented by Mr. [Haider al-]Abadi to the Parliament. The problem that I highlighted here in front of you is the timing.  It talks about displaced people, talks about reconciliation, security forces should be totally Iraqi national, no arms and weapons should be outside the control of the government, no militias, all these things mentioned.  The problem?  Is it implemented? The answer is "no."

    There will be no progress in Iraq until actions are taken.

    Nouri al-Maliki was the king of empty talk in Iraq.

    He'd promise this or that and then never deliver it.

    Haider's quickly adapted that strategy.

    There can be no political solution until actual steps are taken towards creating one.