Monday, September 23, 2019

Nobody wants Joe

The AFL-CIO Labor Council held a summit last week.  Both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders attended.  Dave Lindorff (Counterpunch) reports what happened:

Biden was greeted initially with polite but wide-spread applause after being introduced by retired local journalist Vernon Odem, the event’s emcee. But the applause that followed for what he had to say was decidedly subdued — for example when he said that on day one of his presidency he’d end President Trump’s tax break for the top 10% of the nation’s citizens and raise the child care credit to $8000, the applause was minimal and brief. The response to his mention of his “health care plan,” which he promised would allow “union members to keep their plans,” was even more embarrassingly lackluster. And no wonder: Most unions these days dare battling rear-guard actions in negotiations (mostly failures) to prevent bosses from paring away coverage, increasing the workers’ share of premiums, raising co-pays and deductibles, and, as GM demonstrated in the current UAW strike, cancelling health coverage for workers on strike.
The contrast to the assembled workers’ response to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose turn came after both Biden and Andrew Yang, was marked. Striding onto the stage to a rousing rendition of John Lennon’s “Power to the People!” (candidates at the event chose their own theme music), Sanders, his voice more gravelly than usual because of a gruelling campaign schedule, quickly cited his “100% AFL-CIO voting record” over his political career and said he had “walked on picket lines more times than I can remember.” He then, without mentioning him by name, slapped down Biden’s claim to have “always been with” working people by saying “I worked to get Amazon workers $15/hour, I did not vote for the war in Iraq, I did not vote for the Wall Street bailout, I did not vote for the Bankruptcy Bill, and I did not vote for NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, which have cost American workers four million jobs.”
Biden voted for all those anti-worker measures.
In response to that obvious knock on Biden, the hall erupted in loud clapping and cheers of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”
More ear-splitting cheers followed his pledge, as president, to get Congress to pass, “for starters,” a $!5 minimum wage, to make public colleges and trade schools free, and to cancel all student debt “using a tax on stock and bond trading” to pay for it.
Where Biden tried (largely unsuccessfully judging by audience response) to drive a wedge between climate activists and union workers, claiming the Green New Deal proposed by AOC and Sanders would be a threat to “good-paying union jobs in the energy sector,” Sanders, to loud cheers, vowed his trillion-dollar Green New Deal proposal would “create 20 million new jobs.” He added, “Coal and oil workers aren’t the enemy; climate change is the enemy!”

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

Monday, September 23, 2019.  Droopy Joe Biden loses support, the press refuses to get serious about asking Joe about that million dollar plus deal in Iraq his brother got when Joe was vice president, more bombings of Iraq (again from Israel?), and much more.

Starting with the race in the United States for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

A surging Sen. Elizabeth Warren is challenging Joe Biden's lead in the race for the Democratic nomination, according to a new CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers. looks at the latest numbers.


Yes, Joe's support is flaccid.  Over the weekend, Stephen Gruber-Miller (DES MOINES REGISTER) reported:

Joe Biden’s support in Iowa has eroded as the former vice president has reintroduced himself to Iowans as a presidential candidate — and faced criticism from campaign rivals.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, at 22%, leads him by 2 points in the new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll, after Biden had topped three earlier polls this caucus cycle. The only other contender in double digits is Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, at 11%.
The poll of 602 likely Democratic caucusgoers was conducted Sept. 14-18 by Selzer & Co. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Biden’s standing has fallen in each of the Iowa Polls conducted since last year.

Joe Biden's in trouble and his insane supporters aren't helping him.  To be clear, not all of his supporters are crazy.  But the ones crying "treason!" over President Donald Trump discussing Joe with Ukrainian leaders?  That's not treason.  And your stupidity is both amazing and appalling.  Your knee jerk moves betray just how uneducated you are and how willing to lie you are.  The president of the United States, if she or he thinks a crime has been committed or may have been committed, can speak to that privately to any world leader.  There's nothing in the Constitution that prevents that.  And if they are the president, they can argue they have a duty to raise the issue.

Thus far, no action rises to the level of treason, let alone high crimes and misdemeanors.  The rhetoric is outrageous and it is damaging to the national dialogue.

There are questions Joe Biden needs to answer.  He was Vice President and his trashy brother -- who leaves one lawsuit after another in his wake -- got a reconstruction contract in Iraq.  Despite the fact that, as Joe never tires of saying, Barack Obama tasked Joe with overseeing Iraq.

“During the Obama years, several months after James [Biden] joined a construction firm as an executive, the firm received a contract worth more than a billion dollars to build houses in Iraq while Joe oversaw the U.S.-led occupation of that country.”

That is unethical.  Joe needs to answer for it.  Crony capitalism -- remember how we all hissed that (rightly) at Dick Cheney once upon a time?

Reality -- support for Joe was always iffy and it's only getting worse.  Ukraine is not an issue in this, Joe's own actions on the campaign trail cause him more problems with voters.  What kind of idiot goes off on a woman for asking him questions and then calls her "sweetheart" on his way out?  And, by the way, she's a lesbian.

Biden called the moderator of an LGBTQ forum "a lovely person" while onstage, and she says he called her "a real sweetheart" backstage.

She called the comments "a little condescending," and said, "It’s 2019, you shouldn’t be calling women sweethearts."

He is a pompous jerk -- and that's the nicest thing you can say about him.

Calling women "sweetheart" in professional settings only serves to diminish them.

As a candidate, he's so entitled that even being asked about his own public record on LGBTQ rights leads him to lose it.  Can you imagine that as a president?  It would be a nightmare.

We should note that Joe's not against all women.  He likes a certain kind of woman.

Cokie Roberts was a pioneer. Relentless in her pursuit of the truth and steadfast in her commitment to breaking down barriers for women in journalism—our country is better because of it. and I send our prayers to her loved ones at this time.

War whore Cokie is his type of gal.  War whore Cokie never earned any position she held.  As the daughter of a member of Congress, she was given jobs at ABC and NPR and she did nothing of value with those jobs.  Instead, she used them to whore for war.

None that mattered?

Has everyone forgotten that?

From Jonathan Lawson, Susan Gleason and Daniel Hannah (INDYMEDIA NOTES):

The mainstream press, more often than not, takes administration rhetoric at face value, relying on official sources to describe current events, and allowing its claims to go unchallenged. As recently reported by the watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (, mainstream networks CNN and FOX instituted official wartime policies requiring journalists to downplay reports of Afghan civilian casualties. Reporting on domestic approval of the US bombing, NPR's Cokie Roberts was asked by the host whether there were dissenting views among the public. Her reply: "None that matter."

In the wake of the Gulf War, Cokie was calling for the draft to be re-instated.

She was a war whore.  That's why she existed.  She was not a feminist.  She was not a breakthrough.  She was a war whore who sold war repeatedly.

It's appalling how weak we are on the left that everyone wants to pretend otherwise.

She cheerleaded and called for the Iraq War.  I'm sorry but the Iraqi people have suffered.  I don't give a damn about some whorish woman born into wealth who used her connections to get jobs and created no body of work worthy of praise.  She was a whore and now she's a dead whore.  I'll save my tears for the innocents in Iraq not the people who pimped the war.

Here is how you fight US and other imperial powers whom have been destroying our children and environment.

New research reveals footprint of depleted uranium in Iraqi children, with birth defect, who live near a U.S. military base in Iraq.

David Swanson (DAVIDSWANSON.ORG) notes:

In the years following 2003, the U.S. military dotted Iraq with over 500 military bases, many of them close to Iraqi cities. These cities suffered the impacts of bombs, bullets, chemical and other weapons, but also the environmental damage of open burn pits on U.S. bases, abandoned tanks and trucks, and the storage of weapons on U.S. bases, including depleted uranium weapons. Here’s a map of some of the U.S. bases:
This map and the other illustrations below have been provided by Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the authors of a forthcoming article in the journal Environmental Pollution. The article documents the results of a study undertaken in Nasiriyah near Tallil Air Base. Nasiriyah was bombed by the U.S. military in 2003 and in the early 1990s. Open-air burn pits were used at Tallil Air Base beginning in 2003. See a second map:
Now take a look (do not turn away) at these images of infants who were born between August and September of 2016 to parents who had continuously lived in Nasiriyah. The visible birth defects include: anencephaly (A1 and A2 , B), lower limb anomalies (C), hydrocephalus (D), spina bifida (E), and multiple anomalies (F, G, H). Imagine if these tragic birth defects had been caused by a natural disaster or the misdeeds of the next government targeted by the United States for “regime change” — would not the outrage be widespread and thunderous? But these horrors have a different cause.
Here’s another illustration, of hand and foot abnormalities in children in Nasiriyah, and in the ancient city of Ur, near the U.S. base:
The study now being published found an inverse relationship between the distance one lived from Tallil Air Base and the risk of birth defects as well as of levels of thorium and uranium in one’s hair. It found a positive relationship between the presence of thorium and uranium and the presence of birth defect(s). Thorium is a decay-product of depleted uranium, and a radioactive compound.
These results were found near this particular base rather than dozens of others, not because it is necessarily unique; no similar studies have yet been conducted near each of the other bases. The results found by this study are likely to be identical to results that could be found by a similar study next year, or next decade, or next century, or next millennium, at least in the absence of major efforts to mitigate the damage.

Depleted uranium (DU) weapons were not just stored in Iraq, but also fired in Iraq. Between 1,000 and 2,000 metric tons of DU was fired in Iraq according to a 2007 report by the U.N. Environment Program. While not at the same level, the U.S. military has also poisoned the Washington, D.C., area, among other parts of the United States and the globe with DU. The Pentagon to this day claims the right to use DU. Depleted uranium is permanently hazardous waste from the production of nuclear energy, a source of energy marketed by its lobbyists as environmentally beneficial. Here’s a description of DU from Iraq Veterans Against the War, a group (later renamed “About Face: Veterans Against the War!”) many of whose members are familiar with the damage that DU does to people directly, not just to their offspring:

I'll worry about the children of Iraq, not a war whore responsible for death and destruction.

In other news, Israel continues to bomb Iraq.

Israel has bombed Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Iraq repeatedly in the past month.

Israel continues stealing land carrying out ethnic cleansing across Palestine.

Israel has hundreds of nukes and refuses to sign the NPT.

Israel is the region’s aggressor and terrorizer... Not .

Yesterday, XINHUA reported, "An unknown aircraft Sunday carried out an airstrike on a paramilitary Hashd Shaabi base in Iraq's western province of Anbar, a local official said. The incident took place in the early hours of the day when an unidentified aircraft bombarded al-Murassanat Camp, where the Hashd Shaabi forces were stationed in a desert area near the border with neighboring Syria, the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity."  Elijah J. Magnier offers:

In the last month, Israel has violated Iraqi airspace and its sovereignty, targeting its security forces, warehouses and even its military commander. The reason why Israel feels free to attack is simply because it can count on many friends and has common enemies and joint political opponents among Iraqi politicians and in the Arab world: Hashd is the common enemy. 
Indeed, Bahrein’s Foreign Minister hailed the Israeli “ attack on Hashd, brandishing the identical narrative adopted by Israel when attacking a an enemy country or a potential threat, i.e. “self-defence”. It is, after all, an essential strategic component of Israel’s deterrence policy adopted by Moshe Dayan since 1955. 
Israel Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu confirmed the attack in Iraq, and his Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz proclaims that Israel is “the only one working against Iran in Iraq”. Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi has no political power behind him and therefore is considered “under the armpit” of Hashd. Although the Marjaiya in Najaf and other key Shia leaders stand against Israel, they and many Shia, Sunnis, and Kurds in Erbil would like to see Hashd free from Iran’s influence, melting within the other security forces and even disappearing once and for all. Moreover, Israel’s presence in Iraq-Kurdistan is not new and Israeli-Kurdish military collaboration is often discussed. Also, to hit Iran’s allies Israel can rely on its sworn US ally in the White House and the logistical facilities US forcesoffer in Iraq, and the US military facilities in the north-eastern occupied area of Syria.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi ordered the formation of three security committees to investigate the attacks on the Iraqi security forces warehouses and commander. Members of these committees confirmed to me that strong evidence leading to an Israeli involvement have been collected and the results are in the hands of Abdel Mahdi who must decide if he will announce these conclusions publicly.
But Hashd has decided to form its own “air force unit” whose function is to down drones – whether Israeli or American – and to stand against Israel and its ally the US when the opportunity comes. There is little doubt among Iraqi officials that US officials in Iraq were informed in Baghdad about the Israeli movements in Iraqi airspace. There is also little the Iraqi government can do to protect US forces if further attacks against Hashd are sustained. In fact, the US may end up paying the price for Netanyahu’s adventure in Iraq.
Israel is expanding its military activity, violating several states’ sovereignty by attacking selected targets and executing target-killings beyond its borders- with the objective of “cutting off the head of the snake (Iran).” The Iraqi government of Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi – as a decision maker in his office told me “is convinced Israel was behind the attack, with the US support, but is trying to avoid a direct accusation and therefore further embarrassment from refraining to respond”. Abdel Mahdi himself said in a private meeting that “the US Embassy personnel is terrorised by the idea of becoming Hashd’s target, saying it is not the US’s responsibility but Israel’s, and promising to put an end to it”. These are the Prime Minister’s exact words. The questions are: why does Israel believe it can hit Iraq and remain unpunished, and what are Iran’s objectives in Iraq?
Friday, on KPFA's FLASHPOINTS, As'ad AbuKhalil observed, "And the entire corrupt political system that was set up by the occupiers in Iraq is now largely embarrassed about their inability to even protest at this flagrant violation of their sovereignty.  The United States has 5,000 troops in Iraq.  And, trust me, they have more influence on the so-called prime minister of that country."