Saturday, July 13, 2019

Again on Epstein

From Australia's ABC:

Jailed American financier Jeffrey Epstein made payments to two potential witnesses seeking to influence them in the child sex trafficking case against him late last year, prosecutors say.
In a filing in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors said Mr Epstein wired a total of $US350,000 ($498,575) to the two people, who were not named.
They said they learned of the payments through records they obtained from a financial institution, which was not identified.
Mr Epstein's lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr Epstein, 66, was arrested on July 6 at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, where he had returned on his private plane from Paris. He has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy and could face up to 45 years in prison.

Ben Hooper (UPI) reports:

Accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein made $350,000 in payments to a pair of possible co-conspirators after a series of newspaper stories in November 2018 detailed the allegations against him, prosecutors allege.
The federal prosecutors said in a Friday court filing in New York that the 66-year-old multimillionaire wired a total $350,000 to two people who could potentially testify against him at trail after the Miami Herald published the beginning of an investigative report detailing a secret deal Epstein made with authorities in Florida to avoid prosecution in 2008.
"This course of action, and in particular its timing, suggests the defendant was attempting to further influence co-conspirators who might provide information against him in light of the recently re-emerging allegations," the filing stated.

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

Friday, July 12, 2019.  War Hawk Joe Biden's double-digit lead is a thing of the past as his campaign continues to struggle.

Yesterday, former Vice President Joe Biden was supposed to deliver a 'major address' on foreign policy.  He did no such thing.  He offered a critique of President Donald Trump.  Some of it factual, some of it borderline and some of it just cheap rhetoric.  The speech served to remind once again how hollow Joe Biden is.  Marianne Williamson, like Joe, is seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  Had she delivered an address on foreign policy, it would have been major.  Marianne knows that it takes more than finger pointing to change things.  Change requires actions and new paths.  Joe wants to be president so he can takes us back to the past -- when segregationist were 'cuddly' and 'warm' (to him anyway) and women who were sniffed and groped never complained publicly.

Joe has no brave, new ideas.  He has nothing to offer.  And a vague promise just reminds people they've heard it from him before.

The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who helped George Bush pass the Iraq War resolution has now logged on
Replying to 
Obama and Biden campaigned on this, won twice, and didn’t do it once they were in office. He’s lying for cheap political gain.
Replying to 
he’s saying he wants to end “forever wars” so he has wiggle room “what do you mean get out of Afghanistan??? i don’t wanna be there forever, just for 100 years!”
Replying to 
He'll fire the Permanent War and replace it with part-time Temporary Wars.
Replying to  
He also told the educator crowd at the NEA forum that he was for free college. Could not find that position on his webpage.

25 people are seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  One is Governor Jay Inslee.  Ahead of Joe's speech, Jay Tweeted:

Joe Biden’s vote to authorize the Iraq War in 2002 was a failure of judgment. I voted against it because it was a unilateral, ill-timed, go-it-alone war. VP Biden must address this enormous mistake in his foreign policy speech today.
0:24 / 1:02

Jay was in the US House of Representatives in 2002 and he voted against the Iraq War.  Joe Biden was in the US Senate and Joe voted for it.  And Joe continued to support it.  And Joe is partly responsible for the rise of ISIS.  ISIS took root in Iraq because Nouri al-Maliki was persecuting Sunnis.  He persecuted many groups, but he persecuted Sunnis consistently.  He persecuted Sunni politicians, Sunni activists, Sunni women and girls.  It was already known that he was a thug in 2008 -- in fact, Hillary Clinton, then a US senator, rightly called him that in an April Senate hearing.  That's why Hillary would not be placed over Iraq by Barack Obama.  That's why she did not interact with Nouri.  (Hillary's primary interaction with Iraq as Secretary of State was with Hoshyar Zebari who was then the Foreign Affairs Minister.)  Despite the fact that Nouri was known to be a thug, known to be running secret prisons, etc., Joe and Barack backed Nouri.

How far did they back him?  In March 2010, Iraq held elections.  Nouri was supposed to glide to an easy win.  He did not  He did not win.  Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya won.  That's who the people voted for.  And it would have been a different road for Iraq -- a focus on Iraq coming together and a future for all Iraqis regardless of belief, gender, you name it.

But Joe and Barack backed Nouri.  Even after he lost.  They brokered an agreement that tossed aside the votes of the people and gave Nouri a second term (The Erbil Agreement).  They swore it was binding and would be honored. The contract gave various groups various concessions in order to get them to sign off on Nouri getting a second term.  He used it to get that second term and then refused to honor it.  And Joe and Barack?  They didn't do a damn thing.

Despite their promises that the contract would be honored and was binding.  Despite Barack personally calling Ayad Allawi and promising if Allawi called off Iraqiya's strike (they were walking out of Praliament) that the contract would be honored and Allawi had Barack's word.  Despite everything nothing got honored.

And Joe gave Allawi and others some insipid speech where he tried to draw a comparison between Ireland and Iraq that no one got -- not even the Americans in the room.

This second term is when Nouri goes especially demented and attacks everyone.  He'll, for example, deploy military tanks to circle the homes of Members of Parliament that he disagrees with.  He'll accuse the Sunni vice president of being a terrorist and start a witch hunt.  He'll send the military to invade the homes of Sunni politicians.  Sunni people?  The men he can't arrest?  He has the police arrest their mother, their sister, anyone in the house.  The women then disappear in the prison system and are beaten and raped.

All of this happens and the Iraqi people appeal to Barack.  They carry signs at protests begging Barack to help them.  No help comes.

But ISIS does rise up as a response to Nouri's attacks on the Sunnis.

So, by giving a thug a second term that the Iraqi people did not want him to have, Joe and Barack birthed ISIS.  It's on them.

At JACOBIAN, Branko Marcetic offers a look at Joe's long standing support for the war and we'll note this section:

After playing a clip of then–presidential candidate Howard Dean boasting of his opposition to the war even at the height of its popularity, Snow asked Biden if Dean’s position should be the consensus view of the Democratic Party.
“No,” Biden flatly replied.
Even as the war effort rapidly went awry in the months that followed, with US soldier deaths continuing to climb after major combat operations were declared over on May 1 and terrorist attacks becoming a regular feature of Iraqi life, Biden continued to insist that war had been the right course of action.
“I voted to go into Iraq, and I’d vote to do it again,” he said at a July 2003 hearing.
As growing numbers of Democrats, and even members of the general public, turned against the war, Biden rebuked them, implicitly and explicitly.
“In my view, anyone who can’t acknowledge that the world is better off without [Hussein] is out of touch,” he said two days later.
“Contrary to what some in my party might think, Iraq was a problem that had to be dealt with sooner rather than later,” he insisted.
An increasingly lonely voice in a party that would soon make common cause with the growing anti-war movement, Biden continued to back Bush.
“The president made [the case against Saddam] well,” he concluded on July 31. “I commend the president.”:

Joe was out of step throughout the '00s as public sentiment turned against the war.  He was out of step as he kept insisting that Iraq be broken up into three sections.  The Iraqi people were not making this demand and were opposed to it.  But Joe kept trying to impose it on them.  He received such push back over this -- even from an otherwise docile press -- that two weeks before he dropped out of the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, he was saying that if he couldn't get Senate support for it this go round, he'd drop the idea of dividing Iraq.

Joe was out of step then, he's out of step now.  While he continues to refuse to apologize for his vote and his actions regarding Iraq, while he continues to insist that the world is better off, the American people -- civilians and veterans -- disagree.  As we noted yesterday,  Ruth Igielnik and Kim Parker (PEW RESEARCH CENTER) reported on PEW's latest poll:

Nearly 18 years since the start of the war in Afghanistan and 16 years since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, majorities of U.S. military veterans say those wars were not worth fighting, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of veterans. A parallel survey of American adults finds that the public shares those sentiments.
Among veterans, 64% say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting considering the costs versus the benefits to the United States, while 33% say it was. The general public’s views are nearly identical: 62% of Americans overall say the Iraq War wasn’t worth it and 32% say it was. Similarly, majorities of both veterans (58%) and the public (59%) say the war in Afghanistan was not worth fighting. About four-in-ten or fewer say it was worth fighting.
Veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan are no more supportive of those engagements than those who did not serve in these wars. And views do not differ based on rank or combat experience.

But Joe continues to insist it was the right thing to do and will not apologize -- not for his vote, not for his support of it, not for his selling of it, not for any of it.

Senator Kamala Harris is also seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  ABC NEWS notes:

ABC News gets an exclusive look at Sen. Kamala Harris' interview on , where she takes fresh aim at former VP Joe Biden over his remarks on busing in the first debate, calling his efforts to explain “revisionist history." reports

Their wording's a little better there then it was in their original coverage which included "Sen. Kamala Harris attacks former Vice President Joe Biden on 'The Breakfast Club'."

Who attacked who?

Earlier this week, we noted Natasha Korecki (POLITICO) reporting:

Since Kamala Harris cold-cocked him on the debate stage two weeks ago, Biden has had to recalibrate. The former vice president, who rarely submits to TV news interviews, granted a sit-down to CNN. His surrogates have been unleashed to deliver more pointed attacks on Harris. In speeches, he’s now more directly referencing his eight years with Barack Obama as a defense.
Perhaps most revealing of all, after repeatedly insisting he said nothing wrong in his controversial comments about working with segregationist senators, Biden finally conceded — he offered an apology over the weekend for the “pain and misconception” his words caused.
“There are people that are all over Joe to get more aggressive,” according to a source who spoke with Biden in recent days. “People are very nervous.”

The source added that the debate will be Biden’s next big test. “If he doesn’t come out strong and swinging, you’re going to see a lot of people leaving him.”

His surrogates have been unleashed to deliver more pointed attacks on Harris.

So who attacked who?

Is this the sexist institution being uncomfortable when a woman stands up or, even worse, calls out a man?

Who knows but this notion that poor, little Joe got attacked and was innocent is a lie.  He was a pice of crap who wouldn't fight his own fight -- and couldn't at the debate -- so he had others do it.  And Kamala responded back.

I'm getting very angry over the sexist language used in the coverage of women.  The adjectives applied to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand throughout this campaign season have frequently been appalling.  US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard has been treated in much of the early coverage as little more than a Barbie doll.  They've covered her in a way they'd never cover Iraq War veterans -- like Seth Moulton -- who are men.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is seeking the nomination as well.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a plan on immigration Thursday that she says will “create a rules-based system that is fair, humane, and that reflects our values.”

In the latest poll -- this one an NBC-WALLSTREET JOURNAL poll -- likely Democratic voters are supporting Elizabeth Warren by 19%.  Joe Biden's lead?  It has fallen to 26%.

By this time next year, if not a month or two sooner, we'll know who got the nomination.  Things will change month by month up through the Iowa caucus.  And anything can happen.

But there is a message in the polling: Joe is not inevitable.  He was the surge thing to beat Donald, the press told us and various 'experts.'  And he maintained a double digit lead.

He maintained that lead as long as few were paying attention.

More people are paying attention and voters will follow the campaigns even closer in the next months.  Joe's only a leader when the people aren't paying attention.

Let's wind down with this:

South Central Michigan Greens
Calhoun, Hillsdale, and Jackson Counties Local
People and planet over profit.


For more information:
Monika Dittmann Schwab, Local Contact/SCMiGreens

South Central Michigan Greens to Meet 1-3pm
Saturday, July 27 at Emmett Township Biggby's

The South Central Michigan Greens local will hold its monthly meeting 
1-3pm on Saturday, July 27 at Biggby's Coffee, 1125 East Michigan Avenue 
in Emmett Township east of Battle Creek.

The meeting is an event on Facebook:

The local usually meets on third Saturdays, but this meeting is being 
shifted to the fourth Saturday so co-founder John Anthony La Pietra of 
Marshall can attend and report on last month's Green Party of Michigan 
State Membership Meeting in Mount Pleasant, and the next one October 12 
in Redford.

Co-founder Monika Dittman Schwab of Jackson will lead discussion of 
activism in the county, including the Jackson city mayoral election and 
a six-month moratorium on building fossil-fuel plants approved by the 
Rives Township board thanks to the efforts of Citizens to Keep Rives 
Rural (endorsed by the local and by GPMI).

La Pietra will also give an update on the next Labor History Walk in 
Marshall, this one planned to share the Saturday after Labor Day -- 
September 7 -- with the town's Historic Home Tour.

Recruiting 2020 candidates in the local area (Jackson, Calhoun, and 
Hillsdale Counties) will also be on the agenda.  So will discussing 
what's Green about the original Green New Deal -- the version Greens 
have been running on for years -- and how that #realDeal can help real 

A map of the July 27 meeting's location is available at the coffeeshop's 
Facebook page:

To discuss details and news about the local, please visit its Facebook page:

#  #  #

The Four Pillars of GPMI:
    Grassroots Democracy
    Social Justice
    Ecological Wisdom
For our Ten Key Values, add:
    Community-Based Economics
    Future Focus/Sustainability
    Personal and Global Responsibility

    Respect for Diversity

The following sites updated: