Wednesday, December 26, 2018

So why Tim Kaine (and poor Joe Biden)


According to insiders who spoke to Vanity Fair, word that Obama is speaking to pontential Democratic contenders has miffed Biden, 76, who has privately been considering a campaign of his own against President Trump.

I'd be ticked if I was Joe Biden too.  Eight years standing by Barack Obama and what did it get him.  One of the reasons, besides the loss of his son, that he didn't run in 2016 was that Barack had already agreed to back Hillary. 

I don't know who all is running but it is obvious that Joe's been considering it.  In terms of carrying on a legacy,  Biden's the one.  Hillary and Barack couldn't even agree in the 2008 primaries.  He never should have endorsed her.  But if he's wanting his legacy to live on, Joe Biden would be the one to ensure that.  They were on the same page, that's why he picked Joe (and not Hillary) as his running mate.

Just had a thought.  Hillary's running mate in 2016.  Tim Kaine.  I had to look it up.  He was sooo forgettable.  His selection never made sense.

Julian Castor, for example, would have helped across the nation -- including in Texas.  Elixabeth Warren would have made for a historic ticket.  Bernie Sanders would have shown she was smarter than Barack (who chose Joe over Hillary in 2008 despite Hillary getting so many votes in the primary).

Instead, she chose Mr. Nobody. 

And, come on, did anyone doubt that Iowa -- his home state -- would go Democratic?  No.

It was a stupid pick.

The only way it makes sense is if she picked him because she was worried about impeachment.

And that doesn't have to be, "She's done something she could be impeached for!"

It could just be remembering her husband's second term and thinking, "The GOP might go after me too." 

And if she picked someone like Bernie or Julian, some Dems might go along with impeachment ("We'll get a Jewish president!" or "We'll get a Latino president!").  Being a woman could have worked in Elizabeth's favor.

So maybe she picked the blandest choice to make sure no one was tempted to impeach her to replace her with her VP?

Who knows but he was a lousy pick.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, December 26, 2018.  The CIA's pick is crashing and burning in Iraq, more attention is given to the two new bases the US is creating in Iraq, and much more.

Let's start with the belief that a new prime minister was going to change anything in Iraq.

This happens in # Iraq only .. The "Prime Ministry" allocates a budget for itself more than double what is needed by the education sector. The # MP Naji Saidi says. .

His office needs a bigger budget than what is spent on education?  Forget for a moment that the education expense should also include construction and reconstruction because of the current state of schools in Iraq.  Corruption runs rampant in Iraq and it does due to the corruption of the politicians who are supposed to represent the Iraqi people.

This is a disgrace for many.  In the US, it's a disgrace for the CIA who has long advocated Adel Abdul al-Mahdi as prime minister.  They finally got what they wanted and he's turned out to be inept.  How embarrassing for their so-called intelligence gathering and analysis.

ARAB NEWS notes:

Iraq's prime minister has failed once again to make new Cabinet appointments after his nominees could not muster the requisite parliamentary support, dashing hopes for a breakthrough in filling the vacant positions.
Iraqi lawmakers and negotiators told Arab News that the two biggest political blocs in Parliament on Tuesday showed no signs of having reached a consensus on the nominees for several key ministries, including the interior and defense, which act as power bases in a fractured political landscape.
Abdul Mahdi's appointment as prime minister in September had raised public expectations after a prolonged spell of government deadlock following the general elections of May. However, the Shiite political blocs whose backing paved the way for the 76-year-old former oil minister's return to government have differed on the candidates for the other posts.
On assuming office, Abdul Mahdi was given 30 days to assemble a Cabinet to be approved by Parliament. The political jockeying had been expected to intensify as regional patrons were seen as reluctant to allow key ministries to go to candidates backed by their rivals.

Still no full Cabinet.  IANS notes, "Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Monday said that the US troops’ withdrawal from neighbouring Syria would have a negative impact on Iraq."  He's worried about a negative impact on Iraq?  Then get a Minister of Defense and a Minister of the Interior!  Fill the vacancies in your Cabinet -- especially those two posts that over security.

Stop whining about what others are doing when you're not even doing your job.

He should never have been moved from prime minister-designate to prime minister without a full Cabinet.  And that's not my opinion, that's the Iraqi Constitution.  The only duty the prime minister-designate has is to staff a Cabinet in 30 days -- 30 days after being named prime minister-designate.  The condition is there because it proves the person can work with others.  If they can't form a Cabinet, they're not going to be an effective leader -- that was the line of reasoning when the Constitution was drafted.

He's a failure.  He should either get it together or make good on his threat to resign.  If he can't form a Cabinet, how's he going to address the many problems in Basra?  PBS' NEWSHOUR reports:

  • Nick Schifrin:
    This fall, Iraqis in the southern city of Basra took to the streets to protest corrupt leaders and a lack of basic services.
    Special correspondent Jane Ferguson traveled to Basra.
    And in the final story in her series "Dateline: Iraq," she reports how the resource-rich region leaves very little for its residents.
  • Jane Ferguson:
    Heading out to protest against his government, this 21-year-old Iraqi knows what he doing is dangerous.
    Every Friday, he comes to this spot in Basra with whatever friends still dare to. When these demonstrations broke out in September, they were huge, an explosion of anger at years of poor governance and a lack of basic services. Peaceful protests turned to riots. Municipal buildings were overrun and set on fire.
    The security forces responded with brutality, killing 12 and injuring hundreds, over several days.
  • Man:
    My friends and I came here to protest against corruption and to demand our rights. But they are treating us like terrorists or ISIS, just because we are against the government. They shot at us with live ammunition, used tear gas. They beat and arrested us. The arrests are still going on.
  • Jane Ferguson:
    He's too afraid to share his name, and sleeps at friends' houses, fearful of those nighttime arrests.
    For now, the crowds have died down, and the police don't shoot when the protests are this small. But he is trying to keep the momentum. Their demands are simple: a reasonable quality of life and a minimum of government services.
  • Man:
    They call us terrorists and say we will kill them. But we wouldn't do this. We didn't come here to kill them. We came here to ask for water we can drink, decent health care, and an education for our children.
    We want Basra to be rebuilt. We want the whole of Iraq to be rebuilt, and we want our share from the oil. These are not demands. These are rights written in the constitution.

  • Jane Ferguson:
    Iraq's southern city of Basra stands as a monument to economic decay. Unemployment, power shortages and poverty make life here hell. A Shia stronghold, it was neglected under Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein, and since his overthrow 15 years ago, corruption has plagued the city.
    Throughout Saddam Hussein's reign, as well as after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Basra has suffered from enormous under-funding for its infrastructure. Despite the huge oil wealth in the area, the living conditions here are some of the worst in Iraq.
    The people here cannot even rely on clean drinking water. This summer, over 90,000 were hospitalized. Treatment facilities and pipelines are in such poor condition that filthy sewage water from the city's Shatt al-Arab River contaminated the main water supply.
    Even those bathing in the water were poisoned. On our first day in the city, we come across this charity handout of drinking water in a poor neighborhood, young and old desperate to get a safe drink, this most basic of needs.
    As the sun sets over the city, the cooler air draws people out to street markets. Although fewer are protesting now, it's hard to find anyone that isn't angry at the failure of leadership here.

  • Meanwhile, US troops remain in Iraq as the footage below, from the start of this month attests.

    And new bases are being set up, new US bases.

    Established Two New Military Bases in Province - Reports:

    PRESS TV reports:

    The US Army has set up two new military bases in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, an Iraqi official says, days after Washington announced the pullout of American forces from Syria.
    “The US Army has established two new military facilities in uninhabited parts of the province,” Turkey's official Anadolu news agency quoted Farhan al-Duleimi, a member of Anbar’s provisional council, as saying on Tuesday.

    The move comes less than a week after US President Donald Trump announced his unexpected decision to pull all the 2,000 American ground troops out of the war-ravaged Syria. He said on Wednesday that the withdrawal would be slow and gradual, without providing a timetable.

    More bases?  Does it sound like US troops are leaving Iraq anytime soon?  Nope.

    Of these troops is 2 young family members of mine.. They Luv' this Administration and what they're doing ! 190,000 U.S. troops are away from home this holiday season, ashore in war zones such as Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, and abroad ships across the world

    US troops should all be brought home.

    Barack was supposed to bring them home from Iraq but he didn't.  That's a media lie.  Well, not media lie -- I mean, Ted Koppel did tell the truth -- he reported on it for NBC NEWS and he discussed on NPR -- of course, both programs he did that on ended up cancelled which shows you how little support the truth gets.

    And the stupidity will apparently drown out the truth.  Not the below exchange.

    Withdrawal of this small American force in Syria would be a huge Obama-like mistake.

    Replying to 
    When Obama took office he inherited a plan that Bush forged in ‘08 with Nouri al-Maliki. That Status of Forces Agreement called for the withdrawal of all American troops by the end of 2011. After which Iraq refused to give immunity to any troops left in Iraq.

    Lindsey is wrong again -- as he so often is.  But the really stupid one?  Just Elizabeth who actually claims she's allergic to stupidity.  She must make herself sick --  no surprise there.  There are two deceits in her Tweet.  Yes, Bully Boy Bush did push through a SOFA -- I remember it well, it was the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day and it got pushed through the Iraqi Parliament. A friend at the State Dept called me and I had to drop everything to read over the contract -- and, yes, I did have a cigarette. I shouldn't have but faced with an Arabic version and an English version and needing to speed read through both to figure out what was going on and get it posted online, I had a cigarette I shouldn't have had (due to the previous cancer scare, yes).

    But here's the thing, liar Just Elizabeth.  That's not the only SOFA issue.  In 2008, the Democratic Party presidential nominee should have been Hillary Clinton.  She was robbed.  And Barack's position -- other than withdrawal of US troops within ten months of being sworn in, were all Hillary's positions.  She'd stake out a position and then he'd come along and say "Me Too!"  Hillary's position on the SOFA?  Look it up, if it didn't go before the US Congress for approval, it wasn't real.  She would not recognize it.  And Barack?  A day or two later pops up with "Me Too!"  He was such a flimsy piece of crap -- remember those days when he'd flip her off in videos while he was speaking of her and his crowd would go wild.

    Anyway, Barack not only Me Too-ed her, he went on to make it a campaign promise -- did so with Joe Biden.  And, as a few press outlets, in a rare show of reporting, noted, immediately after the November election, that promise was pulled from the campaign site.

    So, first off, Just Elizabeth, the SOFA by Bully Boy Bush was not supposed to be recognized.  It had to pass the Senate as all treaties do.  That didn't happen.  Per what Barack grandstanded on, he wasn't supposed to back it.

    And you can also include various Democrats in the Senate -- check the archives, you'll find a snapshot where I report on the Senate Committee hearing from Crocker and Petraeus and Senator Barbara Boxer expressing her shock and objection to the fact that the SOFA will get approval from the Iraqi Parliament but the White House doesn't believe it needs to come before the US Senate.

    Why did Barack accept the SOFA?  Self-preservation. Samantha Power argued if they stuck with Bully Boy Bush's SOFA -- if they broke the campaign promise -- then anything in that was on BBB and not Barack.

    Second deceit?  Actually, there are three, not just two.

    The SOFA did not call for withdrawal.  That's a lie promoted by liars.  I read the damn thing and analyzed it the day it passed.  It replaced the UN mandate.   The UN refused to cover the ongoing occupation.  It had done so yearly.  Each year it was harder and harder to get Iraqi politicians to agree to another renewal because  the Iraqi people didn't want it.  That's why BBB was going for three years -- to provide cover for the puppet prime minister (who had renewed the UN mandate himself to the outrage of Parliament who then began insisting he run by them first).

    The SOFA was a three year contract.  It had many clauses -- including a yearly kill clause that could be exercised by either side.  At the end of the three years, it expired.  And could be replaced with another contract -- the same way the UN mandate expired each year but could -- and was -- replaced each year until the United Nations wiped their hands of the occupation and individual countries had to get their own legal cover to continue to occupy Iraq -- England was only one other nation that did so.

    Did Iraq refuse to give immunity?  What they refused according to Senator John McCain -- excuse me, according to Saint John McCain as the press so recently made him out to be, what Nouri refused to go with was a tiny force.  He wanted more US troops at least 25,000.  That's what they were dickering over.

    Don't care of McCain?  Me neither.  But I do know Leon and I've known him for years.  Yes, Leon Panetta can lie but I know how to tell when he is.  And at the Senate hearing when he explained that negotiations were ongoing, he was telling the truth.

    And they would continue and they would result in the Defense Memorandum Of Understanding that we covered here and were the only ones to do so for months.  Finally, the Congressional Research Service started covering it but still the press was silent.

    The SOFA was replaced with that.  I'm sorry that you're so stupid that you never learned of that.  I'm offended that you try to talk about the SOFA when, unlike me, you don't know contract law and you should either study it or excuse you from the damn conversation.

    Let's drop back to June 5, 2013 when we called out another idiot:

    This week the e-mails have been about an idiot named Ralph E. Stone.  We ignored him as he worked his way through various publications with the same fact-free column.  But then Salem-News decided to publish it.

    Ralph E. Stone is a complete idiot.  Worse, he's a complete liar.  An e-mail noted that they tried to straighten him out in the comments.

    Stone writes, "Finally, now that the U.S. has left Iraq, Iran has a market for its goods which is helping to relieve the U.S.-European Union boycott against Iraq."

    The US has not left Iraq and Stone is a liar.  Not just an idiot -- who thinks he can get away with lying -- but a liar.  When his piece appeared at Fog City or some site, we got an e-mail from a person who left a comment explaining how wrong Stone was and how they referred him to the Congressional Research Services Iraq report for April.

    Stone has not corrected his lies but he now includes a link to the June report on Iraq from CRS.  Which he's apparently too lazy to bother to read.  From that report:

    Heightened AQ-I and other insurgent activity has shaken the Iraqi leadership’s confidence in the ISF somewhat and apparently prompted the Iraqi government to reemphasize security cooperation with the United States. On August 19, 2012, en route to a visit to Iraq, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said that “I think [Iraqi leaders] recognize their capabilities may require yet more additional development and I think they’re reaching out to us to see if we can help them with that.”39 Iraq reportedly has expressed interest in expanded U.S. training of the ISF, joint exercises, and accelerated delivery of U.S. arms to be sold, including radar, air defense systems, and border security equipment.40 Some refurbished air defense guns are being provided gratis as excess defense articles (EDA), but Iraq was said to lament that the guns would not arrive until June 2013. Iraq reportedly argued that the equipment was needed to help it enforce insistence that Iranian overflights to Syria land in Iraq for inspection.
    After the Dempsey visit, reflecting the Iraqi decision to reengage intensively with the United States on security, it was reported that, at the request of Iraq, a unit of Army Special Operations forces had deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence, presumably against AQ-I.41 (These forces presumably are operating under a limited SOFA or related understanding crafted for this purpose.) Other reports suggest that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) paramilitary forces have, as of late 2012, largely taken over some of the DOD mission of helping Iraqi counter-terrorism forces (Counter-Terrorism Service, CTS) against AQ-I in western Iraq.42 Part of the reported CIA mission is to also work against the AQ-I affiliate in Syria, the Al Nusrah Front, discussed above.
    Reflecting an acceleration of the Iraqi move to reengage militarily with the United States, during December 5-6, 2012, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller and acting Under Secretary of State for International Security Rose Gottemoeller visited Iraq and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with acting Defense Minister Sadoun Dulaymi. The five year MOU provides for:

    • high level U.S.-Iraq military exchanges
    • professional military education cooperation
    • counter-terrorism cooperation
    • the development of defense intelligence capabilities
    • joint exercises

    The MOU appears to address many of the issues that have hampered OSC-I from performing the its mission to its full potential. The MOU also reflects some of the more recent ideas put forward, such as joint exercises.

    There is nothing in the above that we haven't covered repeatedly.

    The forces sent back in?  Tim Arango broke that news for the New York Times in September and we have repeatedly noted that over and over here.  The Memo of Understanding?

    We're the only ones who covered it real time.  Here are links to that coverage and one of our many mentions of Arango's report from the April 30th snapshot:

    December 6, 2012, the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department Defense of the United States of America was signed.  We covered it in the December 10th and December 11th snapshots -- lots of luck finding coverage elsewhere including in media outlets -- apparently there was some unstated agreement that everyone would look the other way.  It was similar to the silence that greeted Tim Arango's September 25th New York Times report which noted, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions.  At the request of the Iraqi government, according to [US] General [Robert L.] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

    We covered the MoU on December 6th, on December 10th and on December 11th.  Ralph E. Stone is such a blatant liar that he links to a Congressional Research Report he's too lazy to read (or maybe just too lazy to make it to page 37) and keeps his lies in his column.

    History is what took place, not the fictions the uninformed repeat.