Thursday, October 17, 2019

A thread on Democracy Now

Once upon a time, Democracy Now was a must-catch show.  Then they walked away from the ongoing Iraq War.  Then Barack became president and it got even worse.  Then they were cheerleading war on Libya.

It's just a nightmare these days.

Here's a thread from Aaron Mate's Twitter feed.



This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Thursday, October 17, 2019.  The embarrassment that is Biden -- from Hunter to Joe and back again -- and much more.


Starting in the United States where the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues . . .

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Link to headline article


Oh, he's just a 'kid'!  Remember, he's 49, soon to be 50.  He's just a kid!!!!

He's a grown adult who has slid through life breaking one promise after another and living off his father's name.

There is nothing cute or cuddly about his actions.  If he were 23, his actions would be outrageous.  He left his wife and kids to shack up with his brother's widow.  He broke up with her earlier this year to marry another woman.  The drama never ends with Hunter Biden.

Joe Biden can't stop insisting how proud he is of Hunter?

Really?  Because most of us don't want to see our sons leave their wives to shack up with the brother's wife.  Most of us don't want to see our sons refuse to take responsibility for the children they have.  Most of us are not proud when divorce papers note that our son spent all his money on hookers and drugs.

Joe Biden does not look presidential with the above.

Yesterday at VOX, Ezra Klein offered "Sorry, but Democrats need to talk about Hunter Biden" which included:



But another is that Hunter Biden poses real problems for Joe Biden’s campaign, and if Democrats pretend otherwise, they’re making a mistake.
Many Democrats consider raising the Hunter Biden question unfair to Joe Biden. Why should he have to answer for the legal actions of his adult son? But no one said politics was fair. And if Democrats avoid the issue, they can be certain Trump will not. Biden’s vulnerability here needs to be tested in the primary, when Democrats have other choices, rather than in the general, when they won’t. 
Hunter Biden isn’t a natural gas expert, and he’s not a Ukraine expert. But he was son of the then vice president of the United States. And that’s why he was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to sit on Burisma’s board — among others. The New Yorker’s investigation, which predates the revelation of Trump’s call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, put it well:
Several former officials in the Obama Administration and at the State Department insisted that Hunter’s role at Burisma had no effect on his father’s policies in Ukraine, but said that, nevertheless, Hunter should not have taken the board seat. As the former senior White House aide put it, there was a perception that “Hunter was on the loose, potentially undermining his father’s message.” The same aide said that Hunter should have recognized that at least some of his foreign business partners were motivated to work with him because they wanted “to be able to say that they are affiliated with Biden.” A former business associate said, “The appearance of a conflict of interest is good enough, at this level of politics, to keep you from doing things like that.”
It wasn’t illegal for Hunter Biden to take that job. But Hunter Biden himself has admitted it was “poor judgment.” It’s reminiscent of nothing so much as the $675,000 Hillary Clinton took for giving speeches to Goldman Sachs: not illegal, but a kind of soft corruption that voters find loathsome.
Clinton and Biden both make the same argument: The money — in Clinton’s case direct, in Biden’s case to his son — didn’t affect their decisions. I believe Biden on this. But these are huge sums and represent a kind of DC back-scratching and influence-trading that voters dislike. Getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for doing basically no work is a rare gift, and the cost of accepting that gift or of letting a family member accept it is it can be used against you in a future election.

None of this is news to Biden. As the Intercept’s Ryan Grim documented, Biden has faced attacks for decades over not just Hunter’s work, but his brother James’s efforts to cash in on his name, so he knew this was a vulnerability long before Burisma. Biden’s answer here seems to have been to create a personal firewall about the topics he’d discuss with Hunter. “I never discussed a single thing with my son about anything having do with Ukraine,” he said. “No one has indicated I have. We kept everything separate.” 


What he did was unethical.  Unethical is "wrong doing."  Pass that on to Anderson Cooper who couldn't grasp that in the debate and felt the need to give Hunter a pass.

There is no evidence that Hunter broke a law.  Evidence of that may turn up, may not.  But it is fine to say that he broke no law.  It is not fine to say that he has no "wrong doing."  Ethics matter.  When you are the son of the Vice President, they matter for you and they matter for your father.  Hunter used his father's name to do business with people who clearly hired him solely because of who he was with the hopes that they would have influence in the administration.

This is a nightmare and it will not get any better.

As I've said before, Donald Trump-lite will not defeat Donald Trump.  The Democrats need something better than Joe Biden.

Do you remember last week, when Donald confused Syria and Iraq?  All the Alyssa Milanos in the world -- who don't know a damn thing about the Kurds -- were huffing on Twitter and insisting this was proof he was not fit to be president.

In Tuesday night's debate, who made that same mistake?

Joe Biden.

But there was no huffing and puffing.  Most probably didn't even notice because most make a point not to notice Iraq.

Iraq is a very real issue and we've noted that before.  Friends keep sending Tara Golshan and Alex Ward's VOX article and noting "they're channeling you!"  I haven't had time to read it all.  But, yes, most of the main points I've read have appeared here for years now -- Joe backing Nouri, etc.  One point I didn't see, and I haven't read all the way through goes to Hillary Clinton.

I will call her out when I feel she needs it.  I will also give her credit where she deserves it.

The article's sections I've read address Joe backing Nouri al-Maliki for a second term as prime minister after the Iraqi people had voted him out of that office.

I do not see in the article any credit to Hillary for opposing that move.

She opposed it.  Robert Gates, then Secretary of Defense, opposed it.  The top US commander in Iraq, Gen Ray Odierno, had predicted that Nouri might lose and would refuse to step down.  The vanity of US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill prevented Odierno from being part of the loop.  After the election and after Nouri refused to step down, Ray met with Hillary and Robert and they were a team on presenting to the administration that Nouri was a threat.

This was not a new position for Hillary.  She was not in charge of Iraq as Secretary of State for one reason: In April 2008, at an open Senate hearing, she (rightly) called Nouri a "thug."

Hillary was correct then and she was correct in 2010 when she argued against overturning the will of the Iraqi people to give thug Nouri a second term.

Joe disagreed.

It's not just that Joe made a bad decision (another bad decision), it's that he had many warnings -- Ray Odierno, Robert Gates, Hillary Clinton.

Samantha Power led the push to overturn the election and spit on the Iraqi people.  She did so because she insisted Nouri would go along with keeping US troops in Iraq beyond 2011.  That is why they backed Nouri.  The article gets that right about the why, it does not appear to grasp that there was a very serious split on this issue with Odierno, Gates and Clinton warning that this was a dangerous move for many reasons including Nouri's thuggery.

History demonstrates that Ray, Robert and Hillary were correct.

Nouri's second term was a nightmare with secret prisons, torture, disappearances and so much worse.  It is what created the environment for the rise of ISIS.  It is why Barack refused to allow Nouri a third term and made his departure dependent upon and US forces to help retake Mosul from ISIS.  (Though then Mosul was put on hold so that US troops could yet again help train Iraqi troops.)


Too many act as though Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War and that's what he did wrong on Iraq.  No.  That was only the first step.  Tara and Alex are dealing with important issues and people need to be reading that article.

By contrast, here's stupidity on parade:


Joe Biden last night: “I'm the only one on this stage that has gotten anything really big done!” Yes, Mr. Biden, you got the really big thing done of invading Iraq. You got the really big thing done called NAFTA, costing us 700k jobs. And you got the Repub bankruptcy bill passed.






That is only the start of Joe's Iraq problems.  Blow hards like Michael Moore let him off by only blaming him for his vote in 2002.  He did so much more (and so much worse) in the years that followed.


I don't see in the part of the article I've read any real talk of how bad this was for the future of Iraq.  ISIS is not the only issue.  In 2010, the election was Nouri against Iraqiya.  The latter was a new formation.  The western press gave it no chances of winning and often treated it as a joke.  It was not a joke.  It got the most votes.  It did that with a message of inclusion, a call for a united Iraq and an Iraqi identity.  It did that with words and it did that with deeds.  Iraqis watched that coalition emerge and felt that was the best way for a future Iraq.

So when the Iraqi people's votes were overturned by Joe Biden, this was not a minor thing.

An emerging democracy is how many wanted to characterize Iraq up to that point.  How are you going to grow a democracy when the US is overturning the votes of the Iraqi people.

Nouri was already known as a thug.  Joe's decision was wrong for that reason.

But in terms of Iraq's future?  It was wrong, wrong, wrong.  It was wrong because it shredded any real belief in Iraq that the ballot box could address wrongs.  It was wrong because the Iraqi people were saying no to divisions and Joe overturned that statement and reinforced divisions.

This is a setback whose actions are still felt to this day.

It is not minor.

I get that Anderson Cooper is an idiot who can't handle much more than what happens on THE ELLEN SHOW -- remember, his 'journalism' background includes THE MOLE -- but this issue is a hugely important issue and there should have been time for it in the debates.

When vapid is your point of reference, as it is with Anderson, you miss so much.  Protests have been going on Iraq, over 100 people have been killed this month alone.  But that wasn't a topic for Anderson.  Maybe next time he hosts, he can gush over Nick Jonas' crotch or another issue he finds important that none of the rest of us do?

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Link to headline article


Exclusive: Iran-backed militias deployed snipers in Iraq protests - sources




Again, Anderson didn't feel this was a topic, the protests, the attacks on the protesters.


cut internet access in attempt to disconnect but instead causes widespread economic damage, especially to online businesses.


The protests in are a symbol of the nation’s frustration with the current political landscape that has caused endless suffering.






Anderson doesn't watch the news, please understand, he's too busy watching THE ELLEN SHOW.


Meanwhile, Mustafa Habib reports the following:

Breaking: agrees to receive 10,000 fighters & their families from camps run by in . Iraqi Foreign Minister declared that in press conference with French Foreign Minister in



  • the Iraqi minister also said "The number of fighters is huge, coming from 72 countries, we will apply on them Iraqi laws".(mostly means execution) But he didn't explain important point, the prisoners of families, will they stay in Iraq or received by their countries?



  • The French foreign minister said: "We warn against the return of to Iraq and Syria because of the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, this military operation is big danger".


    According to sources, the Iraqi govt made a decision to build big camp on the border with Syria to receive those ISIS fighters and their families









    The following sites updated: