Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, May 5, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Bernie Sanders wins Wisconsin, Hillary Clinton loses again, and more.

She said yes to war and, increasingly, America is again saying no to her.

Senator Bernie Sanders has won the Democratic Party's Wisconsin primary.

US House Rep and Iraq War veteran Tulsi Gabbard Tweeted:

  • Congratulations and many thanks to all who came out in to show support - mahalo!

  • Earlier today, Jake Tapper observed on CNN's THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER that a win in Wisconsin would be Bernie's sixth win in a row.

    Who has the momentum?

    Chew on that.

  • Bernie Sanders won over 56 percent of the votes in the Wisconsin primary today – his sixth straight victory....

  • Some are noting that in the same contest in 2008, Barack beat Hillary by only 2% more.  (Some figures for Bernie's win have him at 57.8%.)

    That's not surprising.

    As we noted back in February, based on what we were seeing on the college campuses we spoke on, Bernie's connecting in the same way Barack did.

    The media narrative of Barack Obama?

    Bernie Sanders holds those positions.

    Bernie voted against the Iraq War, actually voted against it, unlike Hillary.

    It was an issue for young voters in 2008 and it remains one in 2016.

    Hillary failed to inspire in 2008, she fails to inspire in 2016.

    She's running for president because . . . her husband was president?

    Where is the enthusiasm, where is the inspiration, where is the reason for her campaign?

    Where is the enthusiasm for Hillary?

    She's always been a divisive figure.

    She's always been unpopular.

    And what, other than fear, would drive people to vote for her in a general election?

    Maybe they like her lust for war?

    Iraq lies in ruins, the people continue to suffer and Hillary's done nothing to atone for her "mistake" (her term) in voting for and supporting the Iraq War.


    From Iraq to Libya to Syria, she was among the most influential voices pushing for war and aggression.
    On the campaign trail, Clinton puts on various characters to try and connect with women in particular: from the tender grandmother to the fierce feminist. That is because the vast majority of women will not be able to relate to Clinton’s real record—decades of bombing innocent families, overthrowing sovereign governments, and backing brutal deaths squads—all of which have devastated women’s lives.

    Clinton has hardly been alone in all this. She surrounded herself with a foreign policy establishment that is equally criminal. This includes former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who said “we think the price is worth it” when asked on national television if the death of the 500,000 Iraqi children was an acceptable consequence for U.S. sanctions on Iraq.

    And it's not just Iraq.  Lucas Ropek (AMERICABLOG) points out:

    Yet the liberal defense of Hillary has obscured the significantly more disturbing moral questions surrounding the U.S.’s intervention in Libya in the first place. By framing Benghazi as a “partisan witch hunt aimed at hurting the 2016 White House contender,” liberals totally ignore the fact that — regardless as to whether Hillary is responsible for the deaths of four Americans — she is definitely responsible for the deaths of countless Libyan civilians.
    The war in Libya is, for all intents and purposes, a good rubric for everything paradoxical and absurd about American “interventionism”: a war conducted for mysterious reasons, with seemingly little forethought for what the consequences would be, which resulted in more chaos and death than would have resulted had the U.S. simply left everything alone. Discounting the pat “murderous dictator” line that is universally deployed in these situations, actual motivations for the intervention range from suspicions that Muammar el-Qaddafi planned to nationalize Libyan oil supplies, to the notion that he planned to transition the country’s currency system to something outside the bounds of U.S. control.

    And there's Honduras.  Tim Shorrock (THE NATION) explains:

    In 2012, as Honduras descended into social and political chaos in the wake of a US-sanctioned military coup, the civilian aid arm of Hillary Clinton’s State Department spent over $26 million on a propaganda program aimed at encouraging anti-violence “alliances” between Honduran community groups and local police and security forces.
    The program, called "Honduras Convive,” was designed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to reduce violent crimes in a country that had simultaneously become the murder capital of the world and a staging ground for one of the largest deployments of US Special Operations forces outside of the Middle East.
    It was part of a larger US program to support the conservative government of Pepe Lobo, who came to power in 2009 after the Honduran military ousted the elected president, José Manuel Zelaya, in a coup that was widely condemned in Central America. In reality, critics say, the program was an attempt by the State Department to scrub the image of a country where security forces have a record of domestic repression that continues to the present day.        
    “This was all about erasing memories of the coup and the structural causes of violence,” says Adrienne Pine, an assistant professor of anthropology at American University who spent the 2013-14 school year teaching at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. “It’s related to the complete absence of participatory democracy in Honduras, in which the United States is deeply complicit.”
    “With the coup, Clinton had a real opportunity to do the right thing and shift US policy to respect democratic processes,” added Alex Main, an expert on US policy in Central America at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, after being told of the program. “But she completely messed it up, and we’re seeing the consequences of it now.”                

    Hillary calls her Iraq War vote a "mistake."  But she's done nothing to atone for it and can't even come up with a plan to help Iraq today.

    Today, as the Defense Dept explains, the US government dropped more bombs on Iraq:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Rocket artillery and attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 19 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
    -- Near Baghdadi, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, destroying three ISIL vehicles, an ISIL front-end loader, seven ISIL vehicle bombs and an ISIL mortar position and suppressing two ISIL rocket positions.
    -- Near Huwayjah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
    -- Near Fallujah, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and five ISIL defensive fighting positions.
    -- Near Hit, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL supply cache, an ISIL fighting position and seven ISIL boats.
    -- Near Kisik, four strikes struck three ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL staging area, an ISIL bunker, an ISIL supply cache and an ISIL fighting position.
    -- Near Mosul, one strike struck an ISIL headquarters.
    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, six strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, destroying an ISIL vehicle bomb, five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL assembly area, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL rocket system and an ISIL trench, suppressing an ISIL sniper position and denying ISIL access to terrain.
    -- Near Tal Afar, a strike suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

    That and sending more US troops into Iraq passes as a 'plan' for Iraq.

    It's not working and Hillary's offered no alternative.

    This despite the fact that every one is told -- if not taught -- as a child that they have a responsibility to fix their mistakes.

    There is an answer.

    US President Barack Obama knew the answer and spoke to it June 19, 2014 when he declared the only answer was a political solution.

    Iraq's leaders had to get their act together, stop persecuting the Sunni population, work to be an inclusive government that represented all Iraqis.

    But there's been no pressure on the Iraqi government to dot hat.

    Thor Jourgensen (ITEMLIVE) reports:

    American troops will rotate indefinitely through Iraq unless the U.S. can offer “democratic mentorship” to stabilize the Iraqi government, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton said Tuesday.
    Making his comments during a Daily Item interview following a week-long Mideast trip with other members of Congress, Moulton said the fight against Islamic state in Iraq “is going well.” But he said long-term success rests on U.S. assistance in providing Iraq with political stability.
    Moulton said military victories must be underpinned by a working Iraqi government that can sustain peace.
    “We’ve basically checked out of Iraqi politics,” he said. “I think that is a mistake.”

    Moulton and five other congressmen recently traveled to Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Iraq and Spain to oversee U.S. efforts to destroy ISIS. They discussed regional security threats with top military leaders and met with U.S. service members overseas.

    That may be the most sense any American politician has made on Iraq  in a long, long time.

    Darrell Delamaide (MARKETWATCH) wrote a column earlier today about the media's missing the story on the Sanders campaign:

    “If Donald Trump weren’t dominating the coverage in this election, Bernie Sanders would be the big story,” CNN political commentator Sally Kohn observed last week. “Whether he wins or not, I expect the biggest part of Sanders’s legacy will be a generation of engaged, honest and bold leaders who work within government and not just outside and against it.”
    In a series of blogs in Huffington Post, Seth Abramson of the University of New Hampshire accuses the mainstream media of missing the momentum shift in the Democratic race that he dates back to the beginning of March.
    “The Democratic primary race changed fundamentally — indeed, radically — after March 1st,” he wrote last week, “and the national media’s failure to register this and work it into their polling, projections, and punditry is one of the most wide-ranging, public, and ultimately influential journalistic failures of the last decade.”
    Abramson argues that analysis of actual election-day polling — discounting early voting and reflecting changes in voter stances as the campaigns have their impact — shows the gap between Sanders and Clinton is much narrower than the total figures would indicate.

    “The point here is that Hillary Clinton has been losing the primary for a month now in votes cast after the race began to favor Sanders on March 5th,” Abramson contends. “This means that most of the projections the media is making about how Bernie Sanders will do going forward are based on election results, exit polls, and voter surveys compiled before that critical March 5th date.” 

    Hillary's struggling big time.

    Despite name recognition (or maybe because of it), she still can't connect.

    Doesn't help that some of her followers are little weasels.

    Tim Robbins  has been outspoken and principled for years.

    Last week, his ex was attacked (actress and Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon) and this week they go after Tim.

    [Ava and I addressed the attacks on Susan in "Media Criticism not for the lazy (Ava and C.I.)" at THIRD on Sunday.]

    Here's what Tim said earlier this week that so enraged Hillary's celebrity brain dead crew:

     I’m here today to talk to our friends in the Democratic Party that feel Bernie in their hearts but are supporting Hillary with their pragmatic brains. These are not bad people. They fear the Republicans radical and dangerous divisiveness just like we do. 
    We have all been fed a steady stream of simplistic propaganda that furthers the establishment’s narrative. That Hillary is the presumptive nominee. This narrative is strong and persuasive. It has been promulgated for months by CNN, by the NY Times, and by oh so many in the mainstream media. And if we were sheep, if we had gotten in line, there would be no problem now. The media and the ghosts of the DLC would have had their way and government would carry on as it has for the past 30 years. Establishment figures would get elected and re-elected without any accountability for their bad decisions. Outsider candidates like Bernie Sanders would be marginalized and tolerated for a few primaries before falling in line with the Democratic Party power structure.
    But the DNC and the Clintons have a big problem. Times have changed. Bernie is not Howard Dean. Bernie is not the obligatory progressive that will keep the left in line until the presumptive moderate nominee emerges. Bernie is not the Democratic Party insider that will bow down to the wishes of the elite of the party. We are done with that patriarchy. We are done with compromising our ideals. We are done with triangulation and fear based politics.
    I understand our friend’s resistance to Bernie Sanders. They have been told repeatedly by the mainstream media that Bernie doesn’t matter, that he is unelectable.
    I am here today to encourage our Democratic friends that want big change to happen yet don’t believe that it is possible. Our friends that believe that they are not worthy of dreaming big, our friends that have surrendered their ideals to political pragmatism, that somehow believe that change will happen by choosing a candidate entirely entrenched in the dysfunction of the past.
    There are certain moments in history where political pragmatism can lead to disaster, where a politician’s future ambitions compromise their constituent’s safety and security. These are the moments that define the man or woman. Will that individual risk their political future because of their beliefs? Will they risk being marginalized as radicals and extremists?
    All of us that opposed the Iraq war were marginalized. We were called radicals, extremists, terrorist supporters for demanding evidence of weapons of mass destruction before we invaded. We were shouted down by mainstream media. We were threatened, some were intimidated into silence or compliance.
    Not Bernie. Bernie faced the same intimidation and remained steadfast. And those that did the politically expedient thing, that didn’t ruffle feathers in an attempt to remain within the status quo, in an attempt to retain their position of power, these people were rewarded. In the media they were promoted, in politics they were re elected, some even received medals for getting it wrong. There were no apologies, there was no reckoning, there was no accountability. This was a defining moment for our country.
    The good news is that there are millions of thinking, feeling people in this country that despite the massive propaganda that buoys up these failures, still hold onto the truth. And that truth is that the Iraq war is a bellwether. How you voted on this truly matters because it winded us up in such a morass. This was a time in our history where political pragmatism led to a massive disaster. A disaster to our economy, a disaster to our world standing, a disaster in the lives lost to this manufactured war. We cannot afford to go down that road again.
    No, CNN. Because you ignore Bernie doesn’t make him go away. The New York Times can ignore on its front page Bernie’s victories in Washington Hawaii and Alaska. We are no longer surprised. We get it. You want Bernie to go away. You want your anointed candidate to win. After the southern primaries you had called the election. And who is fooling who? Winning South Carolina in a democratic primary is about as significant as winning Guam. No Democrat is going to win South Carolina in the general election. Why did these victories have so much significance?
    Who is winning among independents? Not Hillary. Who is winning the young vote that will do the hard work to canvas and organize and turn out the vote? Not Hillary. Who has won the last six out of seven contests and clearly has momentum on their side? Not Hillary. And who is going to win in Wisconsin tomorrow?
    Perhaps the people of this country are voting this way because they are no longer willing to reward the failures of pragmatists and war supporting Democrats. Perhaps the people of this country want leaders that can see clearly and make the right decision regardless of the way the wind blows. Perhaps the voters want a candidate with Integrity.
    With this primary season we are once again at a moment in history where political pragmatism can lead to disaster. This concept that Hillary is the presumptive nominee has rankled a critical mass of people. No, they are saying to this anointing. No. They do not want to be told in a free and open democracy who to vote for. No. They will not be intimidated by moderates in the Democratic party who have been on the wrong side of history.
    To the Democratic Party: You take this movement of Bernie voters for granted at your own peril. These people have had every opportunity to embrace your presumptive nominee. They have received your constant stream of publicity suggesting Hillary is their anointed. They have been given the message like everyone else and they have overwhelmingly rejected this notion. No, they say, this is the candidate of a DLC Democratic party that has brought us moderation when we needed bold action. This is the wing of the party that has brought us war, and bank bailouts and mass incarceration. If Hillary had been on the right side of these issues we would not be here today. We are here today because we want more out of our party. To start with we would like an opposition party. A party that is truly for the working man and woman, a party that helps their constituents with actual policy, not just lip service every election cycle that deals more with fear of the Republicans than any actual change.
    We are the ones that marched against the Iraq war that Hillary voted for. We are the ones that have opposed for years the suicidal environmental future that politicians like Hillary have sanctioned with their support of the fossil fuel industries. We are the ones that marched against NAFTA. We are the ones that were outraged that the Democratic Party policies embraced a new strategy under Bill Clinton that demonized welfare mothers and supported legislation that disproportionately incarcerated African Americans in the war on drugs. We are the ones that opposed the tar sands pipeline that Hillary originally supported until she realized that it would be politically expedient for her to oppose.
    We are supporting a candidate that stood with us, that voted against the Iraq war, that is opposed to fracking, that voted against NAFTA, that is opposed to the death penalty. We are supporting a candidate that that has throughout his career stood up for working people, that has stood up for veterans, for the unemployed, for the poor, for abortion rights for LGBT rights. We are supporting a candidate that has taken principled positions when others have compromised. We are supporting a candidate that has advocated for civil rights throughout his life, a man that marched with Martin Luther King, a man that advocates for those without a voice. We are supporting a candidate that has risked his political future time and again by remaining true to a strong moral commitment to peace and justice.
    We understand what the good people of the great state of Vermont understand, that have kept Bernie in office because he is a genuine voice, an honest voice, a principled man that stands his ground and votes his conscience. The good people of Vermont may not agree with him on all of his stances, but they recognize Bernie as a man of integrity and consistently re elect him.
    What a radical concept. A politician that has a moral bottom line, a politician that is not swayed by polls or reckless ambition or inner party pragmatism.
    Could Bernie Sanders be leading us into a new paradigm? A paradigm where ones previous actions actually are relevant to ones current campaign?
    A time where accountability actually matters, where politicians are held responsible for their bad policy decisions?
    A time where the expedient and pragmatic within the political and media establishment are no longer rewarded for their compliance and subservience to corporate interests and party politics.
    We are in a new time and you here in this hall, on this day in Wisconsin are leading us into a new future. You realize how important this election is. You are the visionaries that realize that the time is NOW.
    Now is the time for the truth.
    Now is the time for tolerance.
    Now is the time for love
    Now is the time for unbridled idealism.
    Now is the time to dream big.
    Now is the time to believe that we can accomplish great things beyond the accepted realm of possibility.
    Now is the time to elect a leader that will lead us into a future of prosperity, peace and progressive change.
    Now is the time for Bernie Sanders.

    I think it's very telling that in the arts community, those supporting Bernie -- Susan, Tim, Mark Ruffalo, Rosario Dawson, etc -- are the ones who've been outspoken even when it wasn't popular.

    Cher's supporting Hillary.

    I'm Proud 2 Support Hillary‼️ Choose who You"Believe In"& Go 🏈🏀2 The Wall., NO MATTER WHAT PPL THINK.💖+💪🏻

    Other than Cher, I'm finding a hard time seeing a single artists who's taken an important stand.  (Cher's shown bravery repeatedly.)  Instead, they're self-involved posers who never take a stand until after the popular tide has shifted -- if then.

    Where were these Hillary supporters when Hillary and Bully Boy Bush were declaring war on Iraq?

    We know where Tim and Susan were.  And we know how they suffered as a result.

    Nothing compared to the suffering of the Iraqi people.

    But the point is, there is chaos and destruction in Hillary Clinton's wake and her supporters never want to deal with that, never want to acknowledge it, never want to admit it.

    That may be why she keeps losing.