Thursday, October 24, 2019

A real investigation?

As always, it pays to read Zach Haller's Twitter feed.

  1. PANIC IN DC: AG Bill Barr’s probe into the origins of the Russiagate hoax has changed from an administrative review into a criminalπŸ‘investigationπŸ‘ Hope you’re not running low on popcorn 🍿
  2. This is BIG. So big that the MSM can’t ignore it. ⁦⁩ should be very nervous.

I hope it is true, I so want it to  be true.

Turns out Peter Strzok texted anti-Trump FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who he was having an affair with, on 12/15/2016: "Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried and political, they're kicking into overdrive." That’s gonna be a problem

From the report Zach is Tweeting about:

Top Republicans on Wednesday demanded that Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson explain why the watchdog hasn't said if it's investigating "a number of leaks of highly sensitive information" in recent years -- and released several previously unpublished texts and emails from since-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok.
The Republicans' letter came as it emerged Thursday night that U.S. Attorney John Durham's comprehensive, ongoing probe into potential FBI and DOJ misconduct has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation, enabling Durham to subpoena witnesses and file charges. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz also announced on Thursday that his separate comprehensive review into possible surveillance abuses will soon be released to the public.
Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, specifically asked the ICIG why Strzok texted bureau colleague Lisa Page on Dec. 15, 2016: "Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried and political, they're kicking in to overdrive."

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

Thursday, October 24, 2019.  Joe Biden's flaccid in the polls, protesters in Iraq prepare for tomorrow's demonstrations, and much more.

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

It seems is unable to raise grassroots money as he promises elite donors that nothing will fundamentally change. So now his allies may try to just buy the primary with a super PAC that can rake in unlimited cash from billionaires & corporations

Nomentum Biden continues to underwhelm.

I'll admit I'm baffled: What have we seen from 's campaign that shows he's the strongest to take on Trump? Why do people continue to make that case? and have shown far greater ability to spark widespread grassroots support, and to handle GOP attacks.

It is baffling.  But so are polls that oversample likely voters in the 50 and older category.   What happens when you don't oversample?  Joe's '15 point lead' vanishes.

Elizabeth Warren has edged ahead of Joe Biden after the two candidates were essentially tied for weeks, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll

Caitlin Webber (BLOOMBERG NEWS) reports:

Elizabeth Warren has edged ahead of Joe Biden after the two candidates were essentially tied for weeks, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll showing her with the support of 28% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters.
Recent Quinnipiac surveys have shown Warren essentially tied with Biden, but the poll released Thursday reveals her leading all rivals outside of the margin of error. Biden came in second, with support of 21% of voters, followed by Bernie Sanders at 15% and Pete Buttigieg at 10%. The survey, conducted October 17-21, has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points.
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, in the latest poll, represent 43%.  If one dropped out (not calling for that), their voters would most likely go to the other of the two candidates.  Elizabeth voters, for example, will not cross over to Joe during the primaries if Elizabeth drops out.  His road rage attack on Elizabeth in the last debate ensured that.  Even before that moment, there's the fact that the issues that matter to Bernie and Elizabeth supporters overlap and Joe offers nothing.

I believe Joe's campaign wants to use Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" as their campaign song because that's all Joe offers.  He's not going to improve your lives, he's just going to turn back the clock a little -- to a time where the US government blew off climate change and other serious issues.  Joe promises 'business as usual.'  As though the American people haven't been under attack for the last decades in every way possible?

Eoin Higgins (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

The Democratic establishment is looking at the party's 2020 presidential primary field and seeing nothing but reasons to fear a progressive nominee—though they prefer one of the two to the other. 
That's according to a number of reports over the past two days which suggest that powerful elites in the party are increasingly worried about the potential of a nomination win by either Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), both of whom who have made progressive change a centerpiece of their campaigns. 
"The presidential primaries are not going at all the way these rich and powerful Democrats want," wrote The Nation's Jeet Heer on Wednesday. "Their preference is for a centrist presidential candidate."

On Tuesday, New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin found that major party donors are increasingly worried that Warren particularly—Sanders is not mentioned until the article's penultimate paragraph—will take the nomination and are willing to do whatever it takes to stop that from happening. The party elite are courting members of the party like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, as well as nominal independents like former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to jump in the primary race. But nobody, at least so far, is biting. 

JACOBIN carries a speech by Nina Turner about Bernie:

Senator Bernard Sanders is going to knock out the special interests in DC. He’s going to knock out that multibillionaire class that does not believe the work-a-day people in this country deserve a good life. So not only does mama say knock them out, the people say knock them out.
My foundation comes from Barbara Jordan, a congresswoman from Texas. She said these words: “What the people want is very simple: they want an America as good as its promise.” That’s it and that’s all.
So we’re looking for an America where folks don’t die because they’ve got to ration out their insulin. We are looking for an America where hospitals are not closing — hello Hahnemann in Philadelphia. And hospitals are closing all over this country, particularly in rural areas. What the people want is very simple. We want a health care system that is not commodified. That’s it and that's all.
We want finally to have a justice system that doesn’t gun down black folks in their houses. We are at a place in this country where you couldn’t read while black, sleep while black, do nothing while black. We’re going to clean up this criminal injustice system. What the people want is very simple. We need to have some truth and reconciliation about the ravages of racism in the United States of America. That’s it and that’s all.

What the people want is very simple: we want clean water, clean air, and clean food. We must take care of Mother Earth right now. That’s it and that’s all.

While Bernie and Elizabeth run on what they would do, Joe obsesses over Donald.  It's 2016 all over again.  And it didn't inspire last go round.  Joe fundraises off of Donald, he 'banters' with him.  Joe's entire campaign is a response to Donald Trump.  That's not what America needs.  America needs to move forward and if Joe has no bold vision (he doesn't) then he has nothing to offer.

Turning to Iraq . . .

Anchal Vohra (FOREIGN POLICY) insists:

The recent mass protests in Lebanon and Iraq seem at first glance to differ greatly from each other. In Iraq, the protesters mostly consisted of angry young working-class men, and they were quickly confronted with violence. In Lebanon, meanwhile, the protests have been marked by that country’s unmistakable sense of style and festive spirit, and the initiators have mostly been from the upper social classes. In downtown Beirut this past weekend, the sea of protesters included a woman in white-rimmed retro sunglasses with her dog named Pucci and a young man waving a Lebanese flag while lying in an inflatable kiddie pool.
Yet despite the stark contrast between the protests, the rebels in both countries are in fact very similar. They are confronting many of the same political problems and are making essentially the same demand. They want the downfall of their countries’ existing self-serving elites, and big changes to the sectarian constitutional systems that enabled them. The message was summed up by the thousands of Lebanese who have been facing parliament, clapping in sync while chanting: “Thieves … Thieves … Thieves …”

Oh, how lucky we are to have you, Anchal, worthless writer.

Anchal is a journalist, for those who don't know.  She's based in Lebanon and she covers Lebanon.  That doesn't make her an expert on Iraq.  And it shows.

'This is happening in Iraq!!!! Now!!! I am Anchal and I don't need to know recent history!!!! Because I really don't care about Iraq!!!!'

Because if she gave a damn, she'd offer context.

This is happening again in Iraq.  It has happened repeatedly, over and over, since the 2010 elections.  What did Iraqis vote for in that election?  They voted for an end to sectarianism, they voted for a responsive and representative Iraq.  And?  Joe Biden and company overturned the election results (with The Erbil Agrement) so that thug Nouri al-Maliki could have a second term.

Iraqis were fighting their corrupt government before that election.  But that election was a major moment and democracy should have been supported.  Instead, Barack Obama and Joe Biden overturned the election results.

Iraqiya, the winner of that election, was a brand new entity.  It managed to capture the hopes and dreams of so many Iraqis who wanted a unified Iraq.  That was a stepping stone to the future.  Ask Joe Biden why he derailed it and slap him in the back of the head if he goes off on a tangent about Northern Ireland.

In Iraq, the protests are supposed to return tomorrow.

And they're not going to go away.  They will ebb and flow in the coming years, but they will continue because the government refuses to be responsive to the Iraqi people.

In yet another fascinating development , Iraqis change their profile pictures to the in anticipation of the 25th October protests. According to many the symbol represents rising against years of oppression and bullying by the government.

Hussein Ibish (BLOOMBERG NEWS) feels the protests will not succeed and his prediction may be right.  It may be wrong.  But he misses the mark here:

In Iraq, the protests were largely restricted to Shiite-majority cities like Baghdad and Basra. They have not spread to the Sunni-majority areas in the west, or to the Kurdish provinces in the north, both of which have different priorities. The Sunnis are still recovering from the depredations of the Islamic State, and the Kurds are preoccupied with building their own quasi-independent enclave.

Oh, is that what the Sunnis are doing?  Thank you for the ahistorical explanation.

A better explanation is one grounded in the recent history.  The Sunnis protested in large numbers.  What happened to them?  They were targeted.  Their political leaders were targeted.  Nouri al-Maliki persecuted them.  That's why ISIS rose in the first place.

What was the Sunni reaction to the rise of ISIS -- this was reported over and over in real time?  Not my fight. The Sunnis didn't support ISIS and they didn't support the government led by Nouri al-Maliki -- the government that persecuted them.

The Sunnis reaction today is a continuation of their withdrawal from a government that doesn't serve them.

That reaction will change at some point (unless the Iraqi government begins serving the Iraqi people or unless Sunnis are able to press successfully for a semi-autonomous region) and that will be news.

-Iraq’s security forces on high alert as protests are expected in Baghdad and southern provinces on Friday. - Extra security measures taken near the government offices. -Some political parties have already evacuated their offices. -Students at public dormitories asked to go home.

  1. Goodbye Iraq, for now. The excellent takes on the reporting baton for Al Jazeera English as more protests are expected tomorrow, 25th October. The demands are simple. A better future and an end to…

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