Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Do not fall for the lies of Michael Bloomberg

We cannot afford to be taken in by Michael Bloomberg.  The former mayor of N.Y.C. is not anyone we should be welcoming into the Democratic Party.  He is a racist.  He is a sexist.  He is not our friend. 

Among other things, Mr. Bloomberg wants to destroy Social Security.  This is not a new notion for him, he has had this goal for years now. 

Of all the Democrats contending for the presidential nomination, Michael Bloomberg is the worst choice to debate Donald Trump on an overwhelmingly important issue: Social Security’s future. Bloomberg’s position on Social Security is to the right of Trump’s stated position — and widely out of step with even Republican voters, let alone Democrats.
Bloomberg has a long history of supporting cuts to Social Security, including raising the retirement age. He’s disparaged Social Security, one of the most popular and successful government programs in history, by comparing it to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Bowles-Simpson austerity commission, which tried to jam through huge Social Security cuts behind closed doors.
Now, Bloomberg is running to be the Democratic nominee for President — even though he was a Republican for years, and only became a Democrat in 2018. For months, Bloomberg was the only major candidate without a Social Security plan. Now, he’s finally released one.
Bloomberg’s Social Security plan is very carefully worded. Unlike Bloomberg’s past statements, the plan does not overtly endorse Social Security cuts. That’s no surprise, since cutting Social Security is incredibly unpopular with voters across the political spectrum. But a close read reveals that Bloomberg hasn’t changed his views. He’s just gotten smarter about hiding them.
The plan says that Bloomberg would “consider options for preserving and strengthening Social Security’s long-term finances, while maintaining and enhancing benefits for the neediest recipients.” Bloomberg does not specify what these “options” are. But what he doesn’t say speaks volumes.
Politicians that want to cut Social Security but don’t want to be held accountable at the ballot box think they can sound reasonable, while hiding their true views, by arguing that all options should be on the table. This is a cynical way of avoiding taking a public position. Moreover, it is a conservative dream to maintain benefits for the poorest Americans while slashing them for the middle class, transforming Social Security so that it’s no longer earned insurance. Social Security’s earned nature is what makes it so effective and politically strong.

This is from the right-wing site BREITBART:

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg once floated supporting cuts to Social Security and Medicare, despite criticizing President Trump with the false claim that he would do so.
“When he was running for office, Donald Trump promised not to touch Social Security, and yet as president, he’s proposed cuts,” Bloomberg said Sunday. “When I’m in the White House, I will keep my word to seniors and to the American people.”
During his campaign for president, Trump repeatedly distanced himself from Republicans such as Rep. Paul Ryan, who told Americans that cuts in Social Security and Medicare were essential to the long-term strength of the programs.
But Bloomberg embraced that kind of rhetoric in an interview with Fox News Sunday in 2011.
“We cannot continue to say we’ve got to cut, but we can’t touch Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, defense,” Bloomberg said in the interview. “That’s virtually 90 percent of all of our spending.”

So the left (COMMON DREAMS) and the right (BREITBART) are warning you: Michael Bloomberg wants to cut and gut Social Security.  Who thinks this is someone we need for president?

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

Tuesday, February 18, 2020.  Bernie Sanders continues to surge in the polls, Joe Biden gets ever more desperate (and is harming him in South Carolina), Michael Bloomberg is the angry oligarch who attacked protesters in 2004, protests continue in Iraq and the media starts to pay attention, and much more.

Starting in the United States where the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues.  Rebecca Klar (THE HILL) reports:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has opened a 12-point lead nationally in the Democratic presidential primary field, according to a new poll. 
Sanders has 31 percent support in the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released early Tuesday, pushing him into the top spot, which had been held by former Vice President Joe Biden
Sanders’s support shot up 9 points since last month’s poll, following his victory in the New Hampshire primary. 
Biden’s support, however, decreased by 9 points to 15 percent in the new survey. Biden’s downturn pushed him into third place, behind former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who surged into second place with 19 percent. 

What's good for Bernie is sad for Joe.  But, as Marc Caputo (POLITICO) points out, Joe still has the support of some of the elderly.  Apparently, they are people who don't turn out for campaign events but will somehow show up to support him at some point:

The crowds remain small. The message is the same. The schedule is still light.

Joe Biden is campaigning in Nevada in much the same way he did in Iowa and New Hampshire, where he suffered back-to-back losses that transformed him from frontrunner to underdog.
It’s a testament to the campaign’s sense of confidence — or its state of denial — that it continues to operate as if Nevada, the first diverse state to vote this year, will be different for Biden than the two heavily white states where he was crushed.

No, he's not campaigning in the same way he has.

Great to speak to today. Thank you for joining us

Where is that playing well?

We're in South Carolina and that is costing Joe support.  It's not the Joe who's a leader, it's someone who slings mud.  Two different Joe supporters -- both African-American women over sixty -- raised it yesterday in two different groups we spoke to.  Joe, they insisted, was sounding like every other politician.

We'll paraphrase one woman:

He sounds like Nancy Pelosi.  I used to be proud of Speaker Pelosi but all she ever does is scream impeach this person or that person must resign.  I'm tired of her.  And I am getting really tired of Vice President Biden.  He used to campaign on hope and our better nature, now he just slings the mud like any other politician.

Joe's calling card used to read "I'm the adult in the room"; however, it now reads, "Key follower of the 'resistance'."  That's not what he promised South Carolina when they were head over heels for him and now that he's lost every contest so far and now that he's coming off like "any other politician," his support is decreasing in South Carolina.

War Hawks attack one another, as Joe demonstrated days ago when he offered his opinion that Hillary Clinton, in 2016, neglected and ignored African-American voters.  Whose support is that supposed to rally?

People are talking, in South Carolina, about how bitter Joe comes off these days.  And, of course, they're talking about Hunter Biden being a Deadbeat Dad.

There are other issues as well, like Iraq.  Mark Weisbrot (GUARDIAN) points out:

Biden’s selling points as a candidate often lead with his reputation for foreign policy experience and knowledge. But Iraq in 2002 was devastated by economic sanctions, had no weapons of mass destruction, and was known by even the most pro-war experts to have no missiles that could come close to the United States. The idea that this country on the other side of the world posed a security threat to America was more than far-fetched. The idea that the US could simply invade, topple the government, and take over the country without provoking enormous violence was also implausible. It’s not clear how anyone with foreign policy experience and expertise could have believed these ideas.
Senator Dick Durbin, who sat on the Senate intelligence committee at the time, was astounded by the difference between what he was hearing there and what was being fed to the public. “The American people were deceived into this war,” he said.
Regardless of Biden’s intentions – which I make no claim to know or understand – the resolution granting President Bush the authority to start that war, which Biden pushed through the Senate, was a major part of that deception. So, too, was the restricted testimony that Biden allowed. The resolution itself contained deceptive language about a number of pretexts for the war, including al-Qaida and weapons of mass destruction that Iraq did not have.
The Iraq war has generally been seen as one of the worst US foreign policy blunders in decades. It fueled the spread of terrorism and destabilized the Middle East and parts of north Africa. “Isil is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaida in Iraq, that grew out of our invasion,” noted President Obama.
More than 4,500 US soldiers, and nearly as many US military contractors, lost their lives; tens of thousands were wounded, with hundreds of thousands more suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Estimates of Iraqi deaths run as high as 1 million.

At the very least, Biden should explain why he played such a major role in winning the authorization from Congress for President Bush to wage this disastrous war.

At THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Tom Robbins pens an open letter to Michael Bloomberg:

Another thing that sticks, and I know it was a long time ago and I should probably get over it. But remember right after we had that war in Iraq and it turned into that big ugly mess right away, with all that torture in that prison, Abu Ghraib? And remember that right in the middle, the Republicans had their national convention in New York?
I know the idea was that a lot of delegates would spend a load of money gallivanting about town and it would be good for the local economy. And I know you were the mayor of the host city so it was only courteous to give them a nice welcoming speech. And I know you were a Republican back then, after you stopped being a Democrat and before you became an independent.
But did you really have to stand in front of the whole convention and give a big shout out to President Bush that, “I am here to support him”? Did you really have to have your cops arrest all those demonstrators against the war? And then keep them locked up on some dirty pier for days until the president got out of town?

I know you aren’t the only guy running for president now who got suckered into supporting the Iraq invasion. But do you think you could maybe straighten that one out too?

Michael Bloomberg supported the Iraq War and Bully Boy Bush.

Bloomberg endorsed George W. Bush at the 2004 RNC and was a staunch supporter of the bloody, pointless War in Iraq.

And that's who some Democrats want to support?

If nobody brings up Bloomberg going all in for Bush while our soldiers were being ripped to shreds in Iraq for wmd lies...

The Democrats who fight for a better America rally around candidates like Bernie Sanders because they don't put up with nonsense.

Wow!!!! IMHO Bernie is surging on the strength of his optimism, the strength of his character (people really trust him), his seriousness. He doesn't tolerate bullshit, bigotry, cynicism, or suffering. This campaign is built on compassion and justice.

Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

During a rally Monday night in Tacoma, Washington attended by more than 17,000 people, Sen. Bernie Sanders took aim at billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg's efforts to buy his way into presidential contention, condemned the former New York City mayor's record of supporting racist policies, and highlighted the former Republican's history of opposing basic progressive economic initiatives like raising the federal minimum wage.
"Today, we say to Mayor Bloomberg, we are a democracy, not an oligarchy," Sanders said to cheers from the crowd. "You are not going to buy this election."

"We say to Mr. Bloomberg, you are certainly not going to win when you have a record in New York City that included racist policies like stop and frisk," the Vermont senator added. "You're not going to win an election when you oppose raising the minimum wage... You're not going to win an election when you call for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid."

Michael Bloomberg isn't just Donald Trump's buddy, he's also deeply repugnant all on his own.  "Kill it!" That's what he told a pregnant staffer.  "Kill it."  That doesn't play well in South Carolina to the groups we speak with and won't play well in most areas.  It's not funny.  It's not a joke.  It's a disgusting thing to say all by itself before you even factor in that Bloomberg was the boss of this woman.  Shame on him.  Shame on anyone who lets him buy the election.  He's a disgusting person.

So we are just supposed to replace one naked emperor with another? This is not normal and we have better options!

In Iraq, the attacks on the protesters continue.

Today we supported Sheikh Zayed Hospital in with surgical equipment and medicine to help treat the wounded in ongoing protests. So far, we have assisted 13 hospitals across Baghdad and the southern provinces over the past months.

ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT WITH DAVID MUIR reported on the attacks yesterday.

IRAQ PROTESTS: New video shows protesters running from Iraqi security forces in Baghdad as officers used pellet guns, slingshots and tear gas to disperse the crowd, with more than 500 deaths reported since anti-government protests began in October.

The protesters are killed, they are wounded, they are stalked, they are kidnapped.  G (GUARDIAN) reports:

The Iraqi government’s response to the popular protest movement has been violent and brutal. In four months, security forces killed 669 civilians and injured more than 25,000, according to Iraq’s human rights commission, local NGOs and activists. Some 2,800 are reported to have been detained.
Some of these security forces are, the Guardian has been told, following a parallel crackdown to end the protests and silence activists and journalists through kidnappings, intimidations and assassinations. Last month a television reporter and his cameraman were killed in their cars hours after the reporter denounced the clampdown in a Facebook video. Hayder’s kidnapping, it would seem, was part of the same effort.
“From day one, the government chose to pursue violent options in dealing with the protesters,” a senior official at Iraq’s human rights commission told the Guardian, speaking on condition of anonymity. 
“The violence came in waves,” he said. “First, there were mass killings; 157 were killed in the first three days alone. By early November we started getting reports of kidnappings, not only in Baghdad but also in Ammarah and Nassiriya. Activists, journalists, academics and anyone suspected of supporting the protest movement logistically or morally started receiving death threats before they were kidnapped.” Two activists in Karbala, the commissioner said, were assassinated a few days after meeting with him and his colleagues.
In Tahrir Square, pictures of the disappeared are posted on walls, electricity poles or flapping tent doors. Some are old, yellow and tattered, others are fresh and new.

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated: