Monday, January 13, 2020

Writings on the Wall

We're noting an Oscar winning song we like tonight -- because the Oscar nominations were this morning.

I love "Writings on the Wall" which Sam Smith sings and he co-wrote with Jimmy Napes.

I love how the song moves forward with these notes trailing after it -- like it's underwater.  And I love Sam's vocals.  It's probably my favorite song from a James Bond film and definitely my favorite Oscar winning song.

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

Monday, January 13, 2020.  Democrats vying for the party's presidential nomination prepare for Tuesday's debate (if they made the cut), Adl Abdul Mahdi ("outgoing prime minister") made a trip to the KRG on Saturday, the assassination of two journalists in Iraq on Friday continues to be news, and much more.

Starting in the US where the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues.  Tomorrow night, the next debate takes place and is hosted by CNN and THE DES MOINES REGISTER.  Only six candidates qualified for this debate: Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Tom Steyer, Senator Amy Klobuchar, former vice president Joe Biden, former mayor Pete Buttigieg.

The pool of candidates continues to shrink.  Friday, Marianne Williamson announced she was ending her campaign.

A politics of conscience is still yet possible. And yes….love will prevail.

Joe Biden is coming under fire for repeatedly lying about the Iraq War.    Katie Glueck and Thomas Kaplan (NEW YORK TIMES via MORNING CALL) reported yesterday on Joe's continued attempts to lie about his support for the Iraq War:

The vote has exposed him to direct and implicit criticism from his chief presidential rivals, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a military veteran, and especially Sen. Bernie Sanders, who voted against the war as a Vermont congressman and whose campaign has sharpened its criticism of Biden in recent days.
Now, three weeks before the Iowa caucuses — held in a state with a fierce anti-war streak — the issue threatens to be a campaign liability for Biden as he seeks to assure voters of his ability to handle a foreign crisis even as he works to distance himself from a war that has had enormous costs for his own family, and for the nation.

Bernie, Elizabeth and Pete are all calling him out.

Oh, let's clear something up: US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard hasn't dropped out of the race yet.  She's just not going to call Joe out.  This despite insisting she was the anti-war candidate.  Fellow Iraq War vet Adam Kokesh has long noted how silly it was to pretend Tulsi was anti-war. And we noted how she failed, at the debate at the end of July, to call out Joe Biden when handed two chances to do so by moderator Jake Tapper.  She spent the next three days promoting Joe in interview after interview.

Continuing her campaign of uselessness, Tulsi will be joined tomorrow in New Hampshire (again, the debate will be in Iowa -- she didn't meet the criteria to be included) with fellow fake ass Dennis Kucinich.  Oh, Dennis, run your mouth again while we all pretend you ever back up your words with action.  I'll never forget Boston, 2004, the convention and this devoted to Kucinich young woman crying and sobbing because he'd sold out yet again.  I explained to her then that's all he'd ever do.  Talk a big game and then collapse.  He went on to do it over and over.  Including on ObamaCare, remember?  He wasn't going to vote for it, it wasn't what we needed.  He said that, then he got on the plane with Barack Obama and Barack threatened him with funding and campaigning for a primary opponent to Dennis and Dennis fell in line.  The joke, of course, is that, as Valerie Jarrett loves to point out, even with Dennis voting as they told him to, they still primary-ed him and got him out of Congress.

But Tulsi will do her fake ass act and Dennis will do his and everyone will pretend that they accomplished something.

Joe Biden is not alone, however.  John Kerry is campaigning for him.  Sadly, John didn't get his latest botox done in time and now the two sides of his face don't match.  Try not to notice it and try not to fixate on how sad it is that a 76-year-old man is regularly having botox done.  John, like Joe, supported the Iraq War.  That's partly why he failed to defeat Bush in 2004.  John's sad career includes a post as Secretary of State where he repeatedly acted as Secretary of Defense and accomplished nothing.

That's not fair.  As we've noted many times, when Condi Rice finished up as Secretary of State, the Dept was in despair.  In a mixed record, Hillary Clinton can still proudly point out that she brought energy and enthusiasm to the Dept.  She improved the mood greatly.  Then came Ichabod Crane Kerry and the mood soured again.  Hey, that's sort of the effect John Kerry has had on voters as well.

Nina Turner is the national co-chair of Bernie's campaign.  At THE STATE, she notes:

As a recent NBC News headline said of Biden’s time in the Senate: “Biden didn’t just compromise with segregationists. He fought for their cause.” The NBC report quoted the NAACP’s legal director saying that one Biden-backed measure “heaves a brick through the window of school integration.”

Read more here:
And Biden didn’t just vote for bills designed to prevent black students from accessing white schools: in a series of personal letters he actively courted pro-segregation senators to support the legislation
Sanders, by contrast, began his work in politics by organizing civil rights protests. As a college student, he helped lead a local chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality in its push to desegregate housing. Sanders participated in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington and was arrested for protesting rampant school segregation in Chicago. In addition, Sanders has been pushing an education plan that supports local efforts to combat racial segregation.
As a local elected official, Sanders also defied the political establishment by proudly endorsing Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign; Sanders said that Jackson was a candidate “who has done more than any other candidate in living memory to bring together the disenfranchised.”
And the contrast between Biden and Sanders continued during the early 1990s.
Biden facilitated the public degradation of Anita Hill, an esteemed professor already victimized by a powerful man.
Biden also fought alongside right-wing Republicans to pass so-called “welfare reform” that reduced financial support for low-income families. Biden echoed former President Ronald Reagan’s dishonest “welfare queen” language and wrote a column conjuring an ugly stereotype of “welfare mothers driving luxury cars and leading lifestyles that mirror the rich and famous.”

Read more here:

In contrast, Sanders vigorously opposed these punitive cuts. “What welfare reform did, in my view,” Sanders said, “was to go after some of the weakest and most vulnerable people in this country.”

Read more here:

Julian Castro is campaigning with Elizabeth Warren.

We need a government and an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected. In Marshalltown, Iowa, and I talked about how we can build a country where every single family has the opportunity to thrive.
Elizabeth Warren at the Marshalltown town hall.
Elizabeth Warren's husband Bruce and Julián Castro.
Elizabeth Warren at the Marshalltown town hall.
Elizabeth Warren takes a photo with supporters at the Marshalltown town hall.

Julian and Elizabeth address issues and Joe . . .  Well he gets creative about his Iraq War vote.  David Sirota is the speechwriter for candidate Bernie Sanders.

Thank you to CNN for being one of the few media outlets willing to point out that and is now trying to "dishonestly" revise history.

This video has gotten 650,000+ views in less than a day. As Biden now continues to pretend he never supported the Iraq War, keep retweeting and spreading the word. We cannot allow history to be revised.

Brad Polumbo (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) observes, "The facts here are clear. The repeated attempt by Joe Biden and his surrogates to obfuscate them is deeply unethical, but it’s also revealing. They clearly know his foreign policy record can’t be defended on its merits."

Joe Biden voted for the Iraq war, pushed the war, supported the war after it started. He was adamant. It's on tape. He is running for Commander in Chief. It matters. Why is he denying his own role?

Let's stay with the topic of Iraq.

When a host country asks you to leave and you do, that means you respect international law. When a host country asks you to leave and you don’t, that’s an illegal military occupation.

I assume Mark Jacob wants US troops out of Iraq.  I know that's what I want.  I'll assume he's sincere in his opinion expressed above.  But it's not that simple.  The Parliament vote was boycotted by the bulk of Sunnis and all Kurds.  That wasn't an expression of the views of the Parliament.  Adl Abdul Mahdi?  If you don't pay attention to Iraq, he's the prime minister.  If you do pay attention, he's the man who resigned last month.  He does not represent the Iraqi people.

If you asked the Iraqi people, they would say, "Out!"  That's what the protesters are saying.  But in terms of the Parliament or Mahdi, that's really not that simple.

The KRG, for example, made clear their opinion: "The meeting viewed the unilateral steps taken by the Iraqi Parliament on Sunday, January 5, with concern, and saw it as a violation of the principles of consensus and federal state and considered it a distabilizing factor to the political stability of Iraq."

I want all US troops out of Iraq.  But I'm not going to lie about what's actually happening.

Over the weekend, this happened.

Nechirvan Barzani meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdulmahdi in Erbil

Let's drop back to Saturday's snapshot about the US government dispatching Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker to the KRG:

 I'm noting this is all speculation.  I'm on the phone with two friends from Barack's administration.  We have been gaming out what may be taking place in Iraq right now as the US sent an official to Kurdistan today.  The protesters most significant victory has been forcing prime minister Adl Abdul Mahdi to resign.

Generally when the US government goes to Kurdistan, they do so to betray.  So are they trying to rope in Kurdish support for Mahdi to be prime minister despite resigning?  That would be a huge stab in the back to the Iraqi people.  He can't continue as prime minister without significant support and he doesn't have it now.

If the US government brokered a deal with Mahdi for continuing on as prime minister, what could Mahdi give them?  Continued presence in Iraq.

That's my biggest fear -- the abandoning of the Iraqi people yet again.  Again, that's conjecture, that's speculation.

[. . .]
Now while the three of us have been speculating on the phone, the second possibility we discussed at length was this: The US government is getting permission from the KRG to move US troops there.  It would keep US troops in northern Iraq despite the objections from Baghdad.  I've noted before this week that the KRG shielded Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi from Baghdad when thug Nouri al-Maliki was lying that Tareq was a terrorist.  Under the same semi-autonomy, they could house all the troops currently in Iraq in the KRG.  What would happen to the KRG if they did this?

Baghdad would withhold monies.  Could the US government to replace those monies?  Absolutely and Baghdad would also be forced -- by various laws in place -- to eventually resume paying the monies owed to the KRG.

Now that's our speculation on two possible reasons for today's meet-up.  There could be any number of reasons -- and none that would threaten the Iraqi people.  But based on what's going on currently and the US government's past history, those are the two possibilities that seem most likely.

Mahdi went to the KRG.  He was seeking something, otherwise, he would have made them come to him.

From last Thursday's snapshot:

There's a move by some Shi'ites in Parliament that Moqtada will nix.  ALMADA reports that some Shi'ites are pimping the notion of giving disgraced Adl Abudl Mahdi the chance to form a new government -- as though elections had been held and Mahdi had won.
[. . .]
ALSADA NEWS reports that al-Hikma has confirmed the move by some Shi'ites in Parliament to restore Mahdi to the post of prime minister.  Who?  It's Ammar al-Hakim's National Wisdom Movement.

Winding down.

In , the militias state - "I am the next" has been released by journalists and media workers from , after the killing of two Basra journalists, Ahmed Abdul Samad Ali and Safaa Ghali Shallal, and the formal security's inability to declare criminals until this moment.
Children of journalist Ahmed Abdul Samad, who was assassinated by the pro-Iran militias, standing in front of their father’s picture in Basrah! 😔
In , the militias state - "I am the next" has been released by journalists and media workers from , after the killing of two Basra journalists, Ahmed Abdul Samad Ali and Safaa Ghali Shallal, and the formal security's inability to declare criminals until this moment.

Journalists  Ahmed Abdul Samad and Safaa Ghali were killed Friday for covering the protests.  We've noted that in:

Joe can't stop lying

Arwa Ibrahim & Azhar Al-Rubaie (ALJAZEERA) reported:

In a show of solidarity with Abdelsamad and Ghali, a group of journalists in Baghdad on Saturday held a vigil near the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate building to mourn the death of the two reporters.
"We are here in solidarity with our colleagues Safaa and Ahmed and to express our sincere condolences and rejection of what has happened to them," said Laith Natiq.
"We condemn the violation of press freedoms in Iraq and the way [armed groups] are trying to keep us silent," he said,
Natiq said although it was unclear who was behind the killings, he suspected they were groups who want to keep the journalists silent.

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