Thursday, January 31, 2019

Their 'big story' falls apart more and more each day

The Russia hysteria was always a lie.  And now, each day, a little more unravels.

  1. Adam Schiff has been running around MSNBC and elsewhere for months strongly implying that Trump Jr.'s calls to the blocked number were to his father, informing him of the Trump Tower meeting. That innuendo turns out to have been . . . false.
  2. Documents "appear to contradict Democrats' long-held suspicions that the blocked number was from then-candidate Donald Trump." Next.

Does U.S. House Representative Adam Schiff realize how stupid he now looks?  Will he apologize?  No and no.

He did not just get it wrong, he also wasted our time.  He wasted the nation's time and he was not the only one.

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

Thursday, January 31, 2019.  John Bolton speaks some truth (shocker), Senator Angus King spanks little Marco Rubio, and more.

Starting with this Tweet:

In other words... The US’s real motive for intervention in Venezuela is all about the country’s oil and not actually “liberating the Venezuelan people from tyranny and oppression” — just like Iraq, Libya and Syria before it? Wow. What a surprise. 🙄

reserves, 2017. (billion barrels) : 301 : 266 : 170 : 158 : 143 : 102 : 98 : 80 : 48 : 37 ( EIA)

Remember Bolton's comments.  After the start of the Iraq War, Alan Greenspan made the mistake of saying the Iraq War was about oil, remember?  And then had to walk it back.  He walked it back even though it was in the book he'd written that he was promoting.  Truth slips out and often gets quickly buried.

Even with the lies in place, opinions on the never-ending Iraq War remain divided.  Leo Shane III (MILITARY TIMES) notes an IAVA survery:

Veterans who fought in recent wars hold conflicting views over the value of that fight, according to the latest membership survey from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

About 47 percent said U.S. involvement in the Iraq War was “worth it,” against 43 percent who said it was not. Opinions of the Afghanistan War were slightly higher, with 62 percent in favor and 28 percent opposed.

The Iraq War is a failure.  There are many times when someone -- if they had a brain -- could have declared victory.  Bully Boy Bush could have pulled all US troops after the fall of Baghdad, for example.  Or, after he set the benchmarks (that were never met), he could have pulled US troops citing the Iraqi government's refusal to address the issues they had promised to resolve.  That would include national reconciliation which, by the way, was never implemented.  That's actually true of all the benchmarks.  How sweet of the press to play along with Bully Boy Bush when the benchmarks actually got attention -- they'd offer 'partial' progress.  There's no such thing.  It was a lie in real time and, obviously, it's a lie today because they never got implemented. Barack Obama could have pulled the troops out immediately or within the first ten months of his first term.  We argued that, Ava and I, to several members of the administration.

Iraq will be a mess when US troops finally leave.  That's a given.  Pull the troops based on the promise made (the one Samantha Power said really wasn't a promise, remember/) and give a speech saying that you've done what America wanted.  That's the end of the story.  If things go badly after, well you kept your campaign promise as the American people wanted.

Instead Barack, believing his own false press about what a great thinker he was, decided to 'tinker' because he just knew he could improve on things.  That's how he failed to keep his campaign promise. And the longer he waited and the long he played with it, the more it became his war.  After the drawdown at the end of 2011 (passed off as a withdrawal), he began sending US troops back in during the fall of 2012.  US troops remain in Iraq to this day.  Another broken promise from Barack.

Each year, US troops have remained in Iraq to prop up the puppet government.  And the US government has just known that this will be the year the puppet government gives them what they want.  That's the oil and gas laws.  That was the only benchmark the press ever obsessed over, remember?

Tuesday, at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Marco Rubio was pushing for war on Venezuela while insisting that "we care a lot about democracy, we care a lot about freedom, we care a lot about human rights" and isn't it "in the national interest of the United States" for the government in Venezuela to fall (be overthrown) and be "replaced by a democratic and more responsive government?"

War to create a democratic and more responsive government?

Well then the US government better declare war on the Iraqi government!

The Iraqi government remains corrupt, remains unresponsive to the needs of the people, continues to arrest protesters and reporters covering protests (as events in Basra have demonstrated).  And every year, they train and retrain and then train again the Iraqi military in an effort to get it up to speed.  Of course, the Iraqi military repeatedly fails.

The western press repeatedly works overtime to lie about that.  The Iraqi military would not have 'won' Mosul without US war planes blindly bombing Mosul -- a city full of civilians.

Some nervous nelly leaders in Iraq repeatedly insist that US troops must remain in Iraq to 'help' with the battle against ISIS.  ISIS is not going away until the Iraqi government stops persecuting Sunnis.  It won't stop doing that.  So US troops should be pulled immediately.  But this insisting?  It goes to the reality that Iraqi troops still -- all this time later -- can't defend their own country.

The Iraq War hits the 16 year mark in March.  Are we going to have to wait until March 2021 for US troops to leave?  Do we need to wait for the 18 year mark -- when the Iraq War is a legal adult -- to finally say, "Okay, you're on your own"?

Before we go further, let's note Senator Angus King rejected Marco's tantrum for war on Venezuela in Tuesday's hearing, stating, "In light of Senator Rubio's comments, I'd just like a note of caution.  He listed refugee flows, human rights abuses and corruption.  There are lots of countries in the world that meet that description and our right or responsibility to generate regime change in a situation like that, I think, is a slippery slope.  And I have some real caution about what our vital interests are and whether it's our right or responsibility to take action to try to change the government of another sovereign country."

Abbas Kadhim (The Atlantic Council) pretends he's looking at Iraq after 100 days of a new government and offers:

The Political Front: Meeting with Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi and President Salih
I met with top Iraqi leaders, President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi. Despite the difficult process to complete his ministerial cabinet and the tough challenges he inherited from previous governments, Abdul-Mahdi seemed to be focused on a clear governance agenda that includes several immediate priorities. He was mindful of the need to address corruption but stated the pressing matters are the economy, governance, and service delivery.
The visit to the seat of the presidency at al-Salam Palace took me to another branch of government where noticeable changes are underway. Iraqis had previously seen the presidency as a weak and trivial institution without any real political power. The fact of the matter is that previous presidents have not made use of the status of their office. With Dr. Barham Salih in the office, the Iraqi Presidency is taking on a new shape and acquiring a healthy level of energy, particularly in foreign relations. His state visits to several capitals in the region and beyond restored the good image of Iraq’s government. On US-Iraq relations, both sides have emphasized the importance of the alliance and the need to make it as strong as possible. The Iraqi public is already taking note of this positive change.

The Economy

Iraq’s budget, passed by Parliament on January 24, 2019, proposes one of the largest post-2003 government spending plans ($112 billion), which is mostly to cover government operation costs and salaries. Meanwhile, pressing infrastructure and reconstruction spending is far less adequate than expected. In fact, the electricity sector, where performance will be the most important referendum on the popularity of Abdul-Mahdi’s government, saw its budget slashed by a billion dollars, leaving the ministry with hardly enough money to operate at last year’s level, which is 50 percent of Iraq’s capacity to provide service during the peak summer period. Moreover, one important thing to remember about this budget is that it is based on two unknown and unpredictable variables: oil production and prices. If Iraq, for whatever reason, fails to produce 3.88 mbd or oil prices sink significantly below $56 per barrel, the government will face a dire financial problem.

Fact, ISIS is still active in Iraq.  Fact, Mahdi has been unable to find a Minister of Defense or Minister of Interior.  Fact, the last time these offices were left empty is when ISIS took hold in Iraq.  Fact, to overlook those realities goes beyond shortsighted.

Also not addressed by Abbas would be the militias which are now part of the government and seen to be under no one's control.

The Popular Mobilization militias have launched a military operation in "Samarra " in the province of Salahuddin #, despite that the government of Baghdad announced the end of military operations more than a year ago.

Let's wind down with this from Black Alliance for Peace:

JANUARY 25, 2019—We, the members of the Black Alliance for Peace, uphold our political stance in the face of aggressions waged by the United States. Two of BAP’s core principles are an unwavering commitment to self-determination for peoples and nations alike and opposition to imperialism in all its varied and brutal forms. Therefore, unlike so many who are confused about Venezuela, we say without equivocation that we oppose the illegal and immoral attempts by the United States and their Organization of American States (OAS) allies to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela.
No objective right has been bestowed upon the United States to impose its will on any sovereign people or nation. We categorically reject the arrogant and white supremacist assumption that the United States—itself a capitalist dictatorship—should arbitrarily take the liberty to presume leadership and rationalize its intervention into any nation by evoking a flimsy, laughable and ostensible argument that it is supporting democracy and/or human rights.
Were it not for the abject hypocrisy exercised by the United States, the irony in the case of Venezuela would be more laughable than tragic. On the one hand, a nation that annually pretends to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., skirts over the many people’s understanding that he was murdered because of his opposition to U.S. state violence. That the United States would unleash a plan to subvert Venezuela—which would cost thousands of innocent lives—reminds us as Black people of the same methodology applied during the murderous and draconian tenure of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who unleashed the COINTELPRO program in U.S. Black communities.Militarized U.S. police forces, many of whom have received training from the Israeli state, enjoy impunity for the state-sanctioned execution of our people.
Like the war party that it was during the Vietnam War period, the majority of Democrats have dropped their supposed fundamental opposition to Trump to line up in support of this criminal intervention. As always, the “party of the people” demonstrates its brand of subjective righteousness and justice.
We pose the question to progressive forces in the United States: How much more war, how much more death and destruction will you endure before you break with the capitalist duopoly of your government and say no more war, no more subversion, no more killings in my name by a state that by every definition has become a rogue state and threat to global humanity?
There can be no equivocation in the face of injustice and the psychopathology of white supremacist ideology that is unable to respect the rights and humanity of people of the Global Majority—Black and Brown people who are the ones who suffer from these imperialist adventures mobilized by the U.S./EU/NATO axis of domination.
The idea of a benevolent hegemon might be a comforting myth that assuages the conscience of left and progressive forces who engage in open class/race collaboration with the white supremacist, colonial/capitalist patriarchy that is the Western European project. But for those of us relegated to what Frantz Fanon called the “zones of non-being,” we cannot afford any illusions about the nature of what we are up against.
We call on those principled individuals and organizations located at the center of empire to put aside your divisions, stop your collaboration with the rulers and live up to your responsibility to the people of the world who suffer at the hands of this mad, criminal state.
Now is the time to say no, now is the time to build our movement, now is the time for all of us who say we believe in peace to be ready to fight for justice!

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The following community sites -- plus PACIFICA EVENING NEWS and GORILLA RADIO -- updated:

  • And Kat did two posts yesterday, she also did "She wants to be America's prison guard."