Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, August 9, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the persecution of the Sunnis continues, Iraq War supporter Susan Collins draws a line, and much more.

Let's start with polling.

Nate Silver and his organization want you to know that 'conspiracy buffs' are back to claiming the polls are skewed.

That would be the same Nate Silver who basically got everything wrong in the primaries.

And I really don't think he knows how to interpret polling.

I believe he comes from the sports world.

Margins of error are different in the sports world, Nate.

Sorry, you little hack, I was taught research and methodology by the finest and, in the social sciences, there are a number of factors at play.

At THE NATION, Jon Wiener wrongly insists, "Political science tells us Hillary Clinton will win the election—the poll numbers are so clearly in her favor."

Political science tells you no such thing.  It is August, the election is in November.  Don't degrade a social science with your flare for hyperbole.

He's exploring the topic that supporters of Republican candidate Donald Trump may be less than truthful with pollsters.

In an election, the media is supposed to be impartial.

That has not happened.

Last week's actions alone are going to impact polling responses.

How much so?

It could be less than .5%, it could be more.

But the media and their outrageous behavior last week made clear that they were instructing and not reporting.

(Remember when John Kerry made his remarks about who ended up in the military?  No?  Because they were allowed to be forgotten.  Had he received even half the coverage Trump did, he would never have been able to become Secretary of State.)

In my state, Republican friends (yes, I have some) state constantly that they are largely in the closet.  So possible you could look at polling for California's 2012 election and see -- in October -- how many people said they'd vote for Mitt Romney and compare that percent to the percent that actually did.  I don't think any other state would offer any similar guide.  And the number may be the same or it may be a little lower or a little higher.

Whatever the number is, it would not be a perfect comparison but it would probably be the closest to what percent -- even if it's zero or less than zero -- the current polling could be skewed.

I don't trust Monmouth University's poll.  I don't usually find their work to be accurate.  But for a supposed random sample -- including cell phones dialed at random -- across the country of less than 600 people, I find their racial representation to be skewed.

And  Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is also done a disservice in the poll because she is fairing better among African-Americans and Latinos.

Latinos are actually under-represented in the University poll.

(Why didn't White Anglo Nate notice that?)

It should also be noted that some older Latinos have demonstrated a tendency to tell a poll taker what they believe s/he wants to hear.

Polls are not science.

Polls are not static.

Polls can be impartial.

And the polling field can be poisoned.

Nate Silver has tried to make a business out of polling.

As his work during the primaries demonstrated, you're better off asking your bookie.

His move to immediately discredit those asking questions about the polls goes to his refusal to believe in the social sciences.

Actual social scientists welcome questions and feedback and can respond to challenges and questions.

Nate moves to shut them down.

Because he's not a social scientist.

He's a businessman with a (weak) brand.

Let's go to Jon Wiener's piece:

The first problem they point to is that some Trump voters might be lying to the pollsters. “How Many People Support Trump but Don’t Want to Admit It?” Thomas Edsall asked in a recent op-ed. Some voters don’t want to tell a live interviewer that they back a candidate who has been so offensive and outrageous. The pollsters call this “social desirability bias”—“the desire of respondents to avoid embarrassment” in speaking with interviewers on the phone. But on November 8, in the privacy of the voting booth, they will cast their secret ballot for the Republican.
It’s happened before—in California, where I live, we call it “the Bradley Effect.” Tom Bradley, the first black mayor of LA, ran for governor in 1982, and all the polls said he would win—but on election day he lost. White voters broke with Bradley in far higher numbers than polling predicted, and many at the time wondered if it was because he was black. This year we wonder how many men will refuse to vote for Hillary because she’s a woman. They know they’re not supposed to say it, but that won’t stop them from doing it.   

Jon's a man.  Possibly, he hasn't heard from women who will not vote for Hillary because she's a woman.

I heard from four of them at the hotel we stayed in (Houston, TX) when Ava and reported on the Green Party convention ("Media: The ignored political party convention").  (To be clear, these were not Greens.  They identified as Democrat and Republican and were at the hotel for reasons other than the convention -- two were from elsewhere in Texas, two were from out of state.  Whether Dem or Republican, they identified themselves as "conservatives."  They had all gone to college together in the 70s.)

If Jon's piece had been published before Houston, I would've been completely surprised because I wasn't thinking about a Hillary 'surplus' in the polling due to people being opposed to her gender.  As Jon notes, there may be some men who are saying they will vote for her but will not vote for her.  That may also be true of some women (a very small percent I would guess but it is out there).

Too much time is spent covering polls because it's cheap.

No one has to pour through policy or do research.

They just say "____'s poll finds" and then Mika and Joe can start blathering the same opinions they've been giving you for days.

You could argue that polling actually influences voting since, more and more each election cycle, there is less reporting done by news outlets and more blather about polling instead (because it's cheaper).

The media's disgracing itself.

Suggestions on air -- NPR and ABC have both offered them -- that Hillary needs to continue avoiding press conferences (she hasn't held once since December) are disgusting and vile.

Forget that it betrays their own profession, it also betrays democracy.

A presidential candidate will always be more accessible than they are if they become president.

Hillary has not held a press conference since December.

That should not be applauded (as 'smart campaigning'), it should be called out.

Considering her decades long problems with transparency, her refusal to hold a press conference should be something the press is reporting on now and the potential ramifications of this should she become president.

The polling is meaningless at the start of August when the election is held in November.  We need -- as most countries have -- a shorter election cycle.

Although if we had it this go round, I supposed it would just have meant many more months of Hillary playing 'coy' as to whether or not she was going to run.

Donald will benefit some from the media backlash.

The media lies constantly.

It's nothing new.

When Eisenhower couldn't speak and process, Walter Cronkite edited the interview to switch answers around so that they would make sense.

And that's the so-called 'Uncle Walter' (who had many other problems with accuracy and truth) -- imagine how it is for the hacks today.

The public distrusts the media and does so for good reason.  It is not impartial.  It sells wars.  It ignores the people.  (Which is another reason it loves polling!  It let's them talk about 'the people' without ever actually having to speak to the people.)

Monday, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Fighter, remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted eight strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Kisik, a strike destroyed an ISIL tunnel entrance.

-- Near Mosul, two strikes struck an ISIL headquarters and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and degraded an ISIL tunnel.

-- Near Qayyarah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL rocket systems, three ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL tactical vehicle and an ISIL mortar system.

-- Near Ramadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL supply cache and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Sinjar, a strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed two ISIL weapons facilities, an ISIL headquarters and an ISIL vehicle bomb storage facility.

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. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

The US government drops bombs on Iraq every day -- since August of 2014 -- and they never, ever -- pinky swear! -- kill civilians.

Or that's what they say.

Most recently, it was said August 3rd by US Col Christopher Garver who spoke to reporters at the Pentagon via satellite link from Baghdad.

US Col Christopher Garver: I want to provide an update on the allegations of civilian casualties in Manbij, Syria.  To clarify, we have looked into three separate allegations.  As I mentioned last week and Captain Davis mentioned yesterday, the allegation for the strike that occurred on the 19th is currently under formal investigation, and that investigation is proceeding.  The second allegation from July 23rd of an alleged strike in the village of al-Nawaja, which is east of Manbij, was determined to be not credible enough to warrant further investigation primarily because the JCTF did not conduct any strikes in that geographic location.
Finally, on July 28th, Central Command announced it had initiated the assessment of a strike that had potentially caused civilian casualties earlier that day in (inaudible), northwest of Manbij.  This incident has been found to be credible enough to warrant a formal investigation, which is underway.  We will update you on those investigations as appropriate.

He was providing that 'update' (it was an announcement -- an update is when you have a determination or you're announcing that you are still investigating) because the US government is coming under increased scrutiny due to the number of civilians these air strikes are killoing.

AIRWARS notes that there have been 14,335 US-led coalition strikes on Iraq and Syria in the last two years with at least 1,568 civilians killed.  Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) notes the 'success' from these bombings:

Nowhere is that more clear than in Ramadi, the “capital” of Anbar Province, which was “liberated” in December and January, and also almost entirely destroyed. Iraqi officials have talked of massive damage in the city, and over half a year later civilians still aren’t being allowed back in in large numbers. A former city of over half a million people, it’s unclear if Ramadi will survive at all, but it clearly will never be the same.

Elizabeth McLaughlin (ABC NEWS) adds, "As of July 15, 2016, the total cost of these airstrike operations was $8.4 billion, with an average daily cost of $11.9 million. "

Last month, ACTION NEWS NOW reported, "Three CAL Fire firefighters were transported to a hospital after their 13 ton truck fell 25 feet to the ground. After the bridge they were stationed on
collapsed. "  That California bridge cannot be fixed and will have to be replaced.  This month in New York? WHAM reported, "A section of the pedestrian walkway fell from the Broad Street bridge Friday.  The 20-foot section fell into the Genesee River below."

US bridges are falling down
Falling down 
Falling down
US bridges are falling down
But the government spends $8.4 billion bombing Iraq

'Liberation' of Iraq has also allowed secret prisons to blossom  ASHARQ AL-AWSAT reports on the growth of secret prisons in Iraq since the start of the US-led invasion in 2003 and how the US government relying on 'opposition leaders' fueled the rise of these prisons.  From the article:

 Abo Abdallah who was imprisoned in one of those secret prisons and currently resides in Arabic country. He told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that he was imprisoned for over two years and was released after a deal.
The former prisoner said that these prisons are all over Iraq and belong to armed factions. He said that they are secretive except the one belonging to Sadrist Movement in al-Hanana area of Najaf city. He explained that this prison is for people who break the law and cases of corruption, often imprisoned based on instructions from Leader of Sadrist Movement Muqtada Sadr.
Abo Abdallah told Asharq Al-Awsat via a phone conversation that according to his credible sources, most prisons were established after ISIS entered Iraq and occupied four western governorates.
He added that most prisons belong to armed factions, mostly Hezbollah factions. He explained that there are five prisons in al-Habareya: Abo gharek and al-Nakhib are managed by Hezbollah, al-Razaza by League of Righteous, Sadr al-Qanah by Risaleyon Factions, and al-Khales by Badr organization.
According to the former prisoner, there are 1208 prisoner in al-Razaza prison and 729 in abo Gharek. He categorized the prisoners as 90% Sunnis and the remaining 10% are Communist Shi’ites.

Other signs of 'liberation'?

There's this:

Iraqi government digs trench to protect amid fears of being cut off from the rest of

And there's this:

  1. parliament votes to lift the immunity on Parliament speaker Salim Jouburi and Mouhamad Karbouli.
  2. Impeaching parliament speaker could trigger sectarian unrest, lawmaker warns

And of course, there's this:

  1.  In reply to 
    The & backed killed the family and broke the leg of this boy
  2.  In reply to 
    The & backed killed the family and broke the leg of this boy
  3. terror rape sunnis prisoners to get information. Sick twisted people

Meanwhile, in the US, Senator Susan Collins ignores Iraq to write a column on how she cannot vote for her party's presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Susan Collins voted for the Iraq War.

Where's her column on what's going on in Iraq?

That doesn't haunt her?

But on Donald Trump she draws a line?

Reminds me of the film THE TWO JAKES, script by Robert Towne.

Jake Gittes: I wouldn't extort a nickel from my worst enemy. That's where I draw the line. 

Detective Lt. Loach: Well, I'll tell you, Jake. I knew a whore once. For the right amount of money, she'd piss in a guy's face. But she wouldn't s**t on his chest. You see, that's where she drew the line.

Who could have guessed Towne knew Susan!