Wednesday, June 27, 2012

He's just not likeable enough






Gov. Earl Ray Tombin, Rep. Nick Rahall and Sen. Joe Manchin, who famously used firearms to express his displeasure with Obama’s policies, all will avoid the convention. Their state is well-known for being hostile to the president, with 41% of voters supporting a convicted felon from Texas over Obama during this year’s Democratic primary. And all three are notably up for reelection this year.
[. . .]

And Rep.
Mark Critz (D-Penn.) announced earlier this month that he will avoid the gala as well, with campaign spokesman Mike Mikus telling the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that internal polling has found that Obama trailed rival Mitt Romney by double-digits in Critz’s district.


Starting in the US where conservative Robert Maginnis weighs in on Iraq at Human Events.  First up, good for him, he notes the ridiculous 'survey' by the National Democratic Institute which was nothing but lies and he notes, rightly, that some outlets stupid enough to run with it (the New York Times -- always a whore -- and it's this piece by Tim Arango and Duraid Adnan).  We noted the poll May 22nd, either as it was being released or right after (a day) or right before (ibid):
Perhaps the saddest thing for the White House was realizing that it you want bi-partisanship, don't piss off Republicans.  Specifically, don't piss off [a] Republican on the issue of Iraq.  (Think about it, you'll quickly guess which US Senator I mean.)  Not only did he rally opposition to keep the International Republican Institute from being used to rubber stamp numbers that were going to be called results for a poll, he's gone away making sure many know that an upcoming National Democratic Institute for International Affairs  'poll' was nothing but propaganda on behalf of the White House.  The poll will insist -- abusrdly -- that Nouri al-Maliki's popularity is on the rise.
It would have been unbelievable coming from a reputable polling organization.  It would have been laughable coming from the NDI (a notorious tool to oppress and suppress freedom around the world -- as is its Republican counterpart) but with the senator telling anyone who will listen how the White House shopped it first as a joint-poll and the had no interest in it, the White House looks like its in the business of non-stop lying.  But maybe that's every administration's business?  Regardless, it's not a good time for the administration.
Maginnis and I will never agree on the illegal war but good for him for calling out the 'poll' ("Obama loyalists hosted and conducted the survey.").    It's a surprisingly strong article:
On the day the U.S. withdrew from Baghdad Maliki's security forces surrounded the residences of prominent Sunni politicians including Vice President al-Hashemi, to arrest him on charges of running death squads. But Hashemi escaped to northern Iraq and sectarian violence has since skyrocketed.
"It is very troubling the Maliki-led government is operating on cultivating sectarian tensions and executing policies to suppress democracy at the expense of the Iraqi people," said Vice President al-Hashimi from his exiled refuge.  He continued, "Iraqi politicians must put the past and our differences behind us to improve the lives of our people."
But Maliki isn't putting past differences behind him.  Rather he is resurrecting memories Iraqis associate with their former dictator, Saddam Hussein.
Second, the DNI/GQRR survey found most non-Shia Iraqis believe Maliki has too much power and 64 percent say he acts like a dictator.  Iraqis have good reason to associate Maliki's actions with their former dictator.
The prime minister is consolidating personal power as did Saddam Hussein says British scholar Toby Dodge who outlined Maliki's power grab at a forum hosted by the National Defense University and reported in Foreign Affairs.
Maliki completely transformed Iraq's security and intelligence forces to be at his beck and call, explained Dodge.  The prime minister retained the title and role of defense and interior ministers, controls all high-ranking appointments, and created special counter-terrorism brigades that report directly to him.  These special forces, which some Iraqis label fedayeen [Arabic for "those who sacrifice"] al-Maliki, remind them of Hussein's fedayeen Saddam which performed the dictator's dirty work.
And "surprisingly strong" is not due to, 'From the left, I can't believe anyone on the right can get anything about Iraq correct!'  "Surprisingly strong" means that at a time when the US media clearly doesn't give a damn about Iraq, it's surprising to find a strong article in any US media.  Good for Robert Maginnis.  And for any who are surprised that Republicans might want to make an issue out of Iraq, weren't you paying attention?  We told you that was the plan back in 2009.  That's why the questions and issues about Chris Hill were raised at his confirmation hearing.  We went all into that and how he would get confirmed but Republicans were getting it on the record. 
Many Democrats supported the war and many went along.  If they didn't, they could have stopped it at any time.  Former US Senator Mike Gravel discussed how you do that repeatedly in 2007 and 2008 but no one wanted to end it, not even 'brave' Dennis Kucinich.  And along with supporters and tag-alongs, you also had the evil that actively worked to get the illegal war up and going.  Indo-Asian News Service reports on the human garbage dump that is Mad Maddie Albright who declared in New Dehli today that "the war on Iraq was the biggest mistake we could make and are still hurt because of it." Lest anyone think the woman known as "Iraq's Grim Reaper" has come to her senses, she rushed to insist "that the international community has a responsibility to act if a country's leaders deny the people their rights, despite such actions being an encroachment of that country's sovereignty."  But Mad Maddie, as you damn well know, the costly and illegal Iraq War wasn't sold to the American people as, "Let's go kill millions and send our own off to die in a foreign land because we think the people are being denied rights!"  That never would have sold the illegal war.  Just last week a Dartmouth YouGov poll (with a +/- 3.18% margin of error) found only 32.1% of Americans surveyed would support using US military force "To stop small-scale or moderate human rights abuses by the government, such as the killing of tens or hundreds of civilians." 
The sentiment is similar around the world and not surprising.  It's why the United Kingdom required Tony Blair's endless lies -- including silencing objection from his government's legal expert about the legality of the Iraq War -- to sell the war there.  And in England, the war refuses to fade as an issue and the publication of Alistair Campbell's liary has only led to more attention.  More news from the book broke over the weekend.   Jane Merrick and Matt Chorley (Independent) reported:

MPs demanded an emergency recall of the Chilcot inquiry last night after new revelations that Tony Blair blocked the Government's most senior lawyer from explaining to Cabinet the legality of the war in Iraq. According to the newly published full version of Alastair Campbell's diaries, the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith wanted to "put the reality" to cabinet ministers that there was a case against, as well as for, military action in March 2003. But, according to his former spin doctor, the then Prime Minister feared that the legal opinion was too "nuanced" and would allow the war's ministerial critics Robin Cook and Clare Short to say that the case had not been made.

"Why does Alastair Campbell's account of cabinet decision-making about Iraq nine years ago still matter?" asked the editorial board of the Independent before answering:

Because, more than any that a government can make, the decision to join military action is the most serious. Millions of British people believed at the time that they were being taken to war on a false premise. They, and The Independent on Sunday, feared that Tony Blair had committed himself to the US. George Bush's motives were an unhealthy mixture of wanting to impress US voters with a vigorous response to the humiliation of 9/11, completing his father's unfinished business from the first Gulf War and a strategic concern about security of oil supplies.
By Monday,  Daniel Martin (Daily Mail) was reporting that Campbell had already rushed to deny that what he wrote meant what it said: "Mr Campbell said on his blog yesterday that the entry had been misinterpreted, and that Lord Goldsmith had addressed Cabinet after the meeting referred to in the diary. He had argued in Cabinet that there was a legal case for war and was cross-questioned by ministers."  
On my previous post on the issue of the Independent on Sunday article claiming that "Tony Blair blocked the Government's most senior lawyer [the attorney general] from explaining to Cabinet the legality of the war in Iraq", it was noted that Alastair Campbell had responded to the story on his blog. Campbell's (attempted) rebuttal largely misses the point but does make a very good point about what the views of the attorney general (Lord Peter Goldsmith] were at the time.
Campbell is so hooked on his self justifying claim that "The Real Spin Doctors Are The Journalists" that he does exactly what he accuses one of the IoS story's authors of doing.
I also drew attention to various passages of former Attorney General Peter Goldsmith's evidence to Chilcot, and asked if the IoS had bothered to study it before rushing to print a story which conformed to their view of the Iraq war.
e.g. when Sir Roderic Lyne asks: 'so no one at any stage asked you to restrict what you said to cabinet to the fairly limited terms in which you presented this to cabinet?' And Goldsmith replies 'No.'
If Campbell had bothered to read the IoS story properly, he would have seen -- as I pointed out yesterday -- that it did quote exactly that piece of evidence to the Inquiry. He later claims that what he recorded in his diary – that Blair "made it clear he did not particularly want Goldsmith to launch a detailed discussion at Cabinet" – is "consistent" with this.
Poodle Tony and Mad Maddie, two War Hawks. The Albright article notes that Mad Maddie's supporting Barack in the 2012 elections -- of course she is.  War Hawks of a feather bind and teather.  Just last month, Barack gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom (she also chairs the laughable National Democratic Institute we were just mentioning).


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