Starting in the US where the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues.
At THIRD, Ava and I may have to address the division topic that we're avoiding here. We weren't planning to do that but when Norman Solomon plays at being fair but is actually stacking the deck? Oh, hell no. I thought Norman had learned from shading the truth in 2008 but clearly that is not the case. I'm not in the mood and I've been clear about this. The first eleven paragraphs are a distortion of actual events and the person who comes up short in Norman's narrative -- over and over -- is the candidate he doesn't favor. Just by chance, I'm sure, right? Trina lays out the timeline faster and better in "Climate change and other real issues."
Also being dishonest? Julian Brave NoiseCat at IN THESE TIMES who argues that if whomever comes in lower in the Iowa caucus -- Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren -- should send their delegates to the other in the second round. Iowa is a caucus, which Julian doesn't really explain. In Iowa, there is not a paper ballot. One area becomes the Andrew Yang section, another becomes the Tulsi Gabbard section, etc, etc. In various rounds, delegates can (they do not have to) move to another area, another section, to switch their initial support. Julian notes that handsy John Edwards and fake ass Denny The Kay had such an arrangement in 2008. He says that Elizabeth and Bernie should have one this go round too.
When Dennis Kucinich released his delegates in Iowa to John Edwards, that was it. He was no longer a serious candidate. We noted it here. More to the point, the corporate press didn't cover him again -- even though he was still in the race. That deal was seen as proof that he was never a real candidate. A real candidate fights for every vote. A real candidate does not make backdoor deals.
If either Bernie or Elizabeth did what Julian's insisting they should do, whichever one sent their delegates over would then be out of the race.
If Bernie or Elizabeth does this in Iowa, they better understand that the one who sends their delegates to someone else is giving the press the reason not to cover their campaign or treat them as a serious candidate.
And let's clear something up here that a few e-mailing the public account don't seem to grasp. I'm not insisting Elizabeth win the nomination, I'm not even predicting she will. If you really read Tuesday's snapshot, as some of you drive-bys insist you did, I was very clear that Iowa really should be the end of it for her campaign. Polling from last weekend strongly indicated Bernie would win Iowa. That might change with all the nonsense going on. I'm not telling anyone who to vote for (it's not my place, you're an adult, support who you want). I was stating that prior to this nonsense, polling indicators suggested a strong turn out for Bernie. That could still be the case but if his supporters can't stop attacking or can't stop shading the truth, they will tap into something that could potentially carry Elizabeth all the way through the primaries even should she consistently underpoll Bernie. Those of you who think you're going to talk down to women -- Norman, that's what you've done -- are not helping. Play fair or ignore the whole matter and this will end fairly quick. Try to trick or lie and you're going to create a response that will not benefit Bernie at all.
Also trafficking in misinformation, Joe Biden who is always thinking he can fool the people. Ilana Novick (COMMON DREAMS) notes Joe's shady nonsense on Social Security:
In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper last week, Bernie Sanders attacked fellow candidate former Vice President Joe Biden for his record on Social Security, claiming Biden’s support for cutting the popular program makes him less electable. The Sanders campaign followed up the next day in an email newsletter to supporters that said, “In 2018, Biden lauded Paul Ryan for proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare.”
Biden’s campaign pushed back against the newsletter’s attacks, contending the comments were taken out of context. According to The Intercept’s Ryan Grim, however, Biden’s record on Social Security is far worse than one potentially misinterpreted remark. Indeed, as Grim lays out, Biden has been advocating for cuts to Social Security for roughly 40 years. In 1984, in the midst of President Reagan’s frenzy to cut the federal safety net, Biden worked with Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley calling “for a freeze on federal spending and insisted on including Social Security in that freeze,” which even the Reagan administration was against.
That plan was rejected, but Biden continued to make similar pushes for cuts over the years. This included in 1994, after Republicans won both chambers of Congress, when Biden joined his GOP colleagues in calling for freezing federal spending.
David Sirota Retweeted
Bernie should hit Biden relentlessly on this over the next three weeks. Biden’s support is soft (i.e. uncommitted), contains the highest quantity of 2nd-choice Bernie voters, and the demographic with whom Bernie most needs to improve (i.e. people of social security-earning age)
NEWS: Another clip emerges of @JoeBiden saying we must consider cuts to Social Security & Medicare. When asked if changes to eligibility age & COLAs should be considered, he said in 2007: "Absolutely...You’ve got to put all of it on the table" Transcript: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/18381961/ns/meet_the_press/t/mtp-transcript-april/ …
For those unfamiliar with Joe's vanity, especially stream the video. That's 2007. He's had hair plugs in the front to put back what was missing there by 2015. But when the camera shoots over Joe's shoulder to show Tim Russert, note Joe's huge bald spot in the back that was there in 2007 and vanished, just by magic and prayer, right? Back in 2008, noting his 'reappearing' 'hair,' Jessica Pressler (NEW YORK MAGAZINE) asked, "Does Joe Biden Have Butt Hair On His Head?" The answer then was: Yes! The answer still is: Yes! I regularly call out various vain women over 60 for some of the work they have done. I'm referring to actresses who can argue that media treatment forces them to be vain (or risk ridicule). So I will especially call out a politician for the work he keeps getting done. The vanity involved in a 77-year-old man's need to keep a full head of fake hair is something to see.
Meanwhile Eleanor Eagan (COUNTERPUNCH) looks into where Joe's financial support is coming from:
’Twas the Friday after Christmas, when all through the land, not a person was working, the computers unmanned. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while Joe Biden released the names of the wealthy and well-connected volunteers who are fundraising for his campaign.
These fundraisers, otherwise known as bundlers, have all brought in at least $25,000 for the campaign, although many have likely brought in sums an order of magnitude larger, or at least plan to throughout the course of the campaign.
While it might be an exaggeration—or, if you like, a bit of poetic license—to say that no one was working at 11 p.m. on the Friday after America’s biggest holiday, it is hard to imagine another moment in the year when people are less hooked in to the steady drip of the 24-hour news cycle. The Biden campaign’s motivation for this stealth release is no mystery. With names from private equity, Big Tech, and many other disfavored industries scattered throughout the list, they surely wanted to tiptoe around negative press coverage. And they picked the perfect spot to ensure that.
The fact that the media, for the most part, fell for this evasive maneuver has higher stakes than the Biden campaign simply avoiding a bad news cycle. This list tells you more than perhaps any other campaign document about what a Biden presidency would look like—and, let’s just say, it does not paint a flattering picture. These names seem to suggest that the bold actions proposed in the Day One Agenda would not be borne out in reality under a President Joe Biden, instead remaining trapped on the Prospect’s pages.
Consider how exactly presidents are powerful. Although campaign-trail rhetoric tends to focus on candidates’ legislative agendas, in reality, presidents have limited influence over legislation. But they still have the power to enact major reforms. As the Day One Agenda illustrates, presidents can make bold changes in all policy realms using the tools of the executive branch, including regulation, enforcement, federal contracting, and yes, even executive orders. But the efficacy of these tools depends on the personnel a president taps to carry out their mandate.
Branko Marcetic (IN THESE TIMES) reviews Joe Biden's ever changing lies regarding his support of the Iraq War:
Tuesday’s debate saw yet another instance of Biden being confronted about his role in leading the country to war in Iraq, and choosing to lie about it.
“It was a mistake to trust that they weren’t going to go to war,” he said in relation to his October 2002 vote to authorize the war. “They said they were not going to war … The world, in fact, voted to send inspectors in and they still went to war. From that point on, I was in the position of making the case that it was a big, big mistake and from that point on, I moved to bring those troops home.”
As fact-checkers have pointed out repeatedly, and as I detailed multiple times for In These Times, almost every part of this statement is a lie. Biden knew George W. Bush’s ultimate goal was regime change because he himself spoke openly about the need to remove dictator Saddam Hussein from power as early as February 2002. By June of that year, when asked about a leaked White House directive for the CIA to help capture and kill Saddam, Biden gave it his nod of approval on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and said that “if the covert action doesn't work, we'd better be prepared to move forward with another action, an overt action,” which the Associated Press reported as an endorsement of an invasion. That month, Biden’s aides told Roll Call that the then-senator had told Bush he supported regime change in Iraq.
The next month, Biden said on “Fox News Sunday” that Bush would have the authority to pre-emptively invade Iraq if it was revealed that Saddam was in league in al-Qaeda—“justifiably given the case being made,” as he put it. And after voting to authorize the invasion, Biden embarked on a world tour to drum up support for the impending war, traveling to neighboring Jordan, Israel, Qatar and even to Kurdish-run northern Iraq, speaking to the Kurd parliament and assuring them the United States would stand with them.
Once the Iraq war began, far from “making the case that it was a big, big mistake,” Biden remained perhaps its most implacable cheerleader, even as the rest of the Democratic Party rapidly turned against it. Biden insisted in July 2003 that he would “vote to do it again,” referring to the invasion of Iraq, told the Brookings Institution that “Iraq was a problem that had to be dealt with sooner rather than later,” and flatly replied “No” when asked if Howard Dean’s steadfastly anti-war views should become the consensus of the Democratic Party. Instead of moving to bring the troops home, in August, Biden called for an infusion of 20,000-50,000 more U.S. soldiers into the country.
Indeed, Biden held his pro-war attitude all the way through 2004 and that year’s presidential election. At the Democratic convention, he told the Pennsylvania delegation that Bush’s only “mistakes” were sending too few troops into Iraq and the administration’s poor planning for reconstruction, warning the delegation not to focus too much on Bush’s blunders lest Democrats “begin sounding like we’re rooting for failure.” As Democratic candidate John Kerry’s foreign policy advisor, Biden vowed to both party members and those watching at home that Kerry would “not hesitate to unleash the unparalleled power of our military—on any nation or group that does us harm—without asking anyone’s permission.”
Iraq. I'm not rooting for anyone to die ever. But I nearly had a panic attack when I saw a headline about Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani having surgery. Fortunately, it was for a thigh bone and nothing cardio. But before I dived into the article, I was worried. He is a highly important voice in Iraq. Iraq is in crisis and they need him more now than ever. He has backed the protesters which has allowed them the little bits of safety that they do have.
Sistani is Iraq's most influential Shia cleric and has spoken out in support of the country's protest movement
The protesters will be gathering tomorrow after morning prayers and the turnout is predicted to be even bigger than last Friday.
The US military has resumed joint operations with Iraqi Security Forces against. — Meanwhile, pro-Iran militia leaders have called for “one-million-strong” protest against US military presence on Friday. #Iraq
Last Friday in Iraq, journalists Ahmed Abdul Samad and Safaa Ghali were assassinated for the 'crime' of covering the protests. Expect to see some protesters tomorrow carrying images of the two journalists.
The following sites updated: