Monday, August 5, 2019

Who's been bought off?

So first let me note two things that went up Sunday -- Kat's "Kat's Korner: Drake comes up short yet again"  and Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Feet Of His Master."


Joe Biden is not in favor of Medicare For All and I'm not in favor of Joe Biden.

On Medicare For All, In These Times reports:

On July 30 and 31, the Democratic presidential hopefuls will face off in the second round of debates in this election cycle, and Medicare for All may once again be a theme of the night.
Support for single-payer Medicare for All, a program that would eliminate private health insurance by expanding Medicare to cover all Americans, has become something of a litmus test for the 2020 Democrats. Medicare for All is an incredibly popular position across the political spectrum. Many candidates, however, have attempted to stake out a position somewhere between opposing it and wholly endorsing it.
All 20 candidates at the June debates were asked to raise their hands if they supported a Medicare for All plan that would eliminate private health insurance. Only four of them did: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bill de Blasio. The next day, Harris backtracked, claiming to have misunderstood the question. 

The candidates who kept their hands down rushed to explain and stipulate. Pete Buttigieg expressed his support for “Medicare for All who want it,” a plan which would allow Americans to buy into a program with, as he called it, the “flavor” of Medicare. Joe Biden echoed Buttigieg’s support for a public option that would include a “Medicare-like” plan. When Beto O’Rourke said that he, too, prefers a public option to a single-payer program, de Blasio cut in. “Why,” he demanded, “are you defending private insurance?”
It’s a question worth asking. Over half of Americans support single-payer healthcare—one poll even cites a 70% approval rating for Medicare for All. In 2018, a Gallup poll found that healthcare is among the most important issues for voters, a statistic that indicates widespread dissatisfaction with America’s current healthcare system. With demand for Medicare for All so high, Democratic hopefuls are loath to stick to the status quo on healthcare. So why are candidates, including several who co-sponsored Sanders’ Medicare for All bill in the Senate, hesitant to endorse true single-payer healthcare? Of course, there may be a factor besides personal conviction and constituent opinion: money. Several big-donor industries have a lot to lose from Medicare for All.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, August 5, 2019.  Lawrence Wilkerson continues to rewrite history, Iraq admits prison conditions are horrible (really, the conditions are criminal), the impact of never-ending wars is seen is the spree of domestic shootings and much more.

Starting with TRUTHOUT and calling out nonsense:

That is to say, the post-Cold War landscape and the U.S.’s approach to it was one guided primarily, if not exclusively, by the military-industrial complex and its congressional partners. This was largely aided and abetted by the relative lack of experience that describes all U.S. presidents since 1993. This inexperience was coupled with a growing desire by arms-procurement companies to export to previously inaccessible markets, such as Poland and the former Soviet Union.
“But much of that was due to Bill Clinton’s ineptitude as a commander in chief. His policy was dictated more or less by the people who supported him: big money plutocrats who supported him and wanted him to sell arms all across the region,” Wilkerson says. In the decades since, not much has changed, as Donald Trump is similarly beholden to special interests.

At this late date, why is anyone listening to Lawrence Wilkerson?

Better question, for three years as he was feted on MSNBC and elsewhere, why was I the only one who could call him out publicly?  He apologized and excused and minimized Colin Powell's action -- Larry was Colin's boy -- in one interview after another.

And whores like Rachel Maddow went along with it.  Whore, not fool.  She's a whore.  She not only let Larry rewrite Colin's history, she also let Colin himself sit opposite her and rewrite his history.

I have no idea why anyone's still listening to Larry Wilkerson.  He's a known liar.  He lied to sell the war.  When he felt bad about it, he went around lying for Colin.

Most importantly, he's a partisan.

Is Bill Clinton responsible for the damage to Iraq?

Absolutely.  As Beto O'Rourke has pointed out, it has been war on Iraq non-stop since the Gulf War.

But read the TRUTHOUT article and grasp that the evil one, to Wilkerson, is Bill Clinton.  That's because Larry's a Republican and so what, for example, Bully Boy Bush (a Republican did) in starting an illegal war and in lying about it and in killing over a million people.

If you want to call Bill Clinton a War Criminal, I have a million more important things to do than argue that point with you.  But if you're laying blame for the Iraq War and you're cutting a bigger slice of that pie for Bill, you're a liar.

Larry Wilkerson has been liar since day one and I'm tired of his lies.

He's yet again rewriting history and in this telling the 2003 invasion is the fault of Bill Clinton and more so than it is the fault of Bully Boy Bush.

I'm not playing that game.

I'm really sad that TRUTHOUT is playing that game.

Larry Wilkerson is not 'a witness to history' -- he has nothing to offer, all this time later, that isn't all ready on the record.  And his testimony is -- and has always been -- unreliable.

I have better things to do than defend Bill Clinton but there is no reasonable person who would look at the events and argue that Bill has more responsibility for the ongoing Iraq War than Bully Boy Bush who was the one who took the country into war.  That's nonsense.

There are many criticisms to make of Bill.  I've made a few here, not nearly enough, I'm sure, I do consider Bill a friend.  But there are many criticisms to make of him and no one who has occupied the Oval Office is exempt from criticism.  But when you're apportioning more scorn and blame for the Iraq War to Bill Clinton than to Bully Boy Bush, you've left the realm of the rational and gone into The Land Of The Nutty.

In Iraq, there's a debate over a ship.  ALJAZEERA reports:

Iran has seized a foreign tanker suspected of carrying smuggled fuel in the Gulf, according to state media, marking the third such seizure in a month amid a spike in regional tensions. 
The vessel was intercepted near Iran's Farsi Island in the Gulf, the semi-official Fars news agency said on Sunday. The elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has a navy base on Farsi Island which is located north of the Strait of Hormuz.
"The IRGC's naval forces have seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf that was smuggling fuel for some Arab countries," Ramezan Zirahi, an IRGC commander, told state TV.

Iran is saying that the ship belongs to Iraq and Iraq is saying it is not their ship.

Whomever owns the ship it's proof, yet again, that the Condi Rice approach is always wrong.  Time and again, as Secretary of State, Condi interjected herself into events.  This was most obvious -- and annoying -- with regards to Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

Anytime Moqtada's then tentative power was fading, Condi would interject herself into the situation.  Instead of taking the win, she'd have the need to insult him or make some stupid move that only drove sympathy to Moqtada and only made Moqtada seem more powerful than he was at that time.  If he wasn't so powerful, why would the US Secretary of State being going after him?

Her actions allowed Moqtada's power to take root.

You can debate whether a strong and powerful Moqtada -- which he is today -- is a good thing or a bad thing but it's not what the US government wanted to happen.

Similarly, the US can't stop with it's nonsense to drive Iran and Iraq apart.

They are neighbors with a disputed border.  They went to war in the 80s.  They argue over water rights.  The US would be smart to step back.  Iran and Iraq have enough to fight over and, if the US would keeps it nose out of it,  US aims would probably be served for the moment.  (For the moment?  At some point, the two nations -- Iraq and Iran -- will develop a working relationship free of friction.)

In the US, a shooting at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas leads former child actress Alyssa Milano to screech about the message that is being sent.  But strangely, her culture violence doesn't include the ongoing wars.  Today, it's reported, "Baghdad: At least six Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Sunday in an airstrike by US-led coalition in Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh, the Iraqi military said."

We live in a culture that has no respect for life.  It's why we turn out heads, decade after decade, at the homeless in this country.  We'll pretend to care a little if we can attach it to veterans but even there we'll offer nothing but excuses.  For example, Barack Obama promised to end veterans homelessness and . . . didn't.  And the 'critique' -- if you can call it that -- was 'he tried.'  Well good for him.  Good for sweet baby.  He was paid a hell of a lot of money to try.  Let's all feel sympathy for him because he failed.

And because he continues to fail into millions.

I mean, maybe a society that valued accountability would have insisted that some of the many millions he rakes in went to addressing the ongoing problem he was going to end: Veterans homelessness?

Alyssa is stunned and appalled that Americans see violence as an answer.

She really is stupid.

What message did she honestly believe these never-ending wars were sending: That talking is the best option?

The answer is kill-kill-kill.  That is the US government's answer and has been throughout this century.

Millions of innocents have died overseas and a generation of Americans have grown up seeing their government carry out overseas executions with no real concern over whether those killed were innocent or guilty.


Airwars estimate of civilian deaths

Locally reported civilian deaths from US-led Coalition actions in Iraq and Syria for which the reporting was assessed by Airwars as Fair, or have been Confirmed by the US-led Coalition. These originate from 1,443 seperate alleged incidents.
1,719–2,306 children likely killed
1,097–1,427 women likely killed
5,672–8,752 likely injured
3,550 named victims

There is a clear connection and pretending there's not is both stupid and dangerous.

I will say once again like I have said after everyone of these sick, sad shootings, don't twist up your mouth to tell me about NRA & assault weapons while you say nothing about U.S. gun violence in Yemen, Iraq, preparation for war on Iran & U.S. being #1 arms seller on planet!

At Human Rights Watch, Melanie Hung writes:

Several members of Iraq’s parliament and the province’s deputy governor visited prisons near Mosul, Iraq, calling what they found a “humanitarian catastrophe.” This happened two days after Human Rights Watch released research detailing the horrible conditions of the prisons, which hold terrorism suspects.
Immediately after our report release, local authorities claimed Human Rights Watch’s research was “fallacious.” But the government’s tone has since changed. One parliamentarian admitted that “what Human Rights Watch reported was small relative to the actual catastrophe inside the prisons of Nineveh.”
Nongovernmental organizations working on these issues have said that Human Rights Watch’s research has made their work easier. Human Rights Watch has also been told that the report release has positively supported their work and has sparked serious conversations in Baghdad about addressing prison conditions.
Human Rights Watch documented extreme overcrowding, inhumane conditions, and ill-treatment at three Nineveh pretrial detention facilities. The detainees have no space to lie down or sit comfortably and have no mattresses because there is no room for them in the cells. Lawyers cannot visit their clients, because, among other reasons, there is no space for meetings.
The three pretrial detention facilities have a combined capacity of 2,500 people, but as of late June 2019, were holding an estimated 4,500 people. Roughly 1,300 of them had already been tried and convicted and should have already been transferred to Baghdad prisons. Some remained in the crowded facility for up to six months after they were convicted.
Human Rights Watch has previously documented deaths in custody in Nineveh facilities due to severe overcrowding.
The public acknowledgement of the prisons’ horrendous conditions is a positive first step. Human Rights Watch is advocating with Iraq authorities to ensure everyone in pretrial detention a speedy and fair trial or release. Detention before trial should be the exception, not the rule. We are also pushing for detainees to be transferred to official prisons that are accessible to visitors, including government inspectors, independent monitors, relatives, and lawyers.

At THE NATIONAL INTEREST, they explore the claim made last week that the government of Israel struck Iraq twice:

What Happened: Israel reportedly carried out two airstrikes against Iranian-linked targets inside Iraq on July 19 and July 28 to target advisers and missile shipments from the Islamic republic, Asharq Al-Awsat reported July 30.
Why It Matters: Israel has carried out similar operations against Iranian targets in Syria as it considers Tehran's presence in the country a security threat. The recent airstrikes come amid a buildup of Iranian missiles and proxy forces in Iraq. Future attacks, however, could risk a diplomatic crisis between Israel and Iraq and potentially push Baghdad toward Tehran.

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Drake comes up short yet again" and Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Feet Of His Master" went up yesterday.

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