Kim Foxx

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Klobuchar was the worst of the six.

"And then when it comes to Iraq, right now, I would leave our troops there, despite the mess that has been created by Donald Trump." -- Amy Klobuchar at Des Moines debate.
Of the six candidates on stage in Des Moines Tuesday night, Amy Klobuchar was by far, the worst.

She outflanked the others on the right on nearly every issue, from war to the economy, to the environment. She doesn't support a wealth tax or Medicare for all, tuition-free K-16 public ed, and if elected, won't repeal Trump’s tax break for the rich.

She wants to keep troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and keep nuclear weapons in southern Turkey. She defended the assassination of Gen. Soleimani. She's a big fan of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians and says that as president, she would "bring in American support again in a big way for Israel." She wants to keep the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and leave in place the Trump administration’s policies on Israeli settlements.

And on it goes.

In other words, Klobuchar represents a wing of the Democratic Party that stands in direct opposition to progressives like Sanders and Warren on most of the fundamental issues.

She even slams Warren personally for being "too wonky."

So my question is, why would Elizabeth Warren decide to block with Klobuchar against Sanders Tuesday night? Was it just to score a few quick points against her long-time political ally in order to supplant him as the current progressive frontrunner? Was it simply an act of retaliation for Sanders' alleged "a woman can't win" comment in a private conversation? If so, it failed badly. It was a short-sighted, opportunist move that will divide the progressive wing of the party and will likely hurt mainly her as well as Sanders' chances of winning the nomination.

I hope not.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Last night, they somewhat, actually debated the war.

Bloomberg on Colbert: "We are the superpower of the world.” 
I missed the beginning because the Duke/Clemson basketball ended late. Clemson pulled the exciting upset over #2 Blue Demons (fallen angels?)

But I did catch the war debate.

Bernie Sanders and to a lesser degree Elizabeth Warren were the only candidates who took a forthright anti-war stance following Trump's assassination of Gen. Soleimani.

Last night, the rest were wavering on the war issue. You know, keep our embassy in Baghdad. Leave special forces in place. OK to use mercs, drones or even all-out war with congressional approval. All especially seemed agreed on that last point -- no spending on war with Iran without a vote in Congress. That's a good thing, given the current situation.

However, it belies the fact that congress (including most Democrats), has already given Trump and the Pentagon the trillions they need to carry on their eternal war to protect the oil.

But you could watch, especially Joe Biden, wriggle around the question,
BIDEN: Well, I tell you what, there's a difference between combat troops and leaving special forces in position.
Biden admitted he "mistakenly" voted for the war in Iraq (Oops!). But then tried to hide behind Obama.
I said 13 years ago it was a mistake to give the president the authority to go to war if, in fact, he couldn't get inspectors into Iraq to stop what — thought to be the attempt to get a nuclear weapon. It was a mistake, and I acknowledged that.
But right — the man who also argued against that war, Barack Obama, picked me to be his vice president. And once we — once we were elected president, he turned — and vice president, he turned to me and asked me to end that war.
Huh?

But, only a few days ago, Biden had John Kerry arguing he hadn't really voted for the war. Or if he did, it was because Republicans tricked him into it.
“It was a mistake to have trusted them, I guess, and we paid a high price for it,” Kerry added. “But that was not voting for the war.”
These two need to get in a room together and get their stories straight.

Today's Washington Post summed it up best:
With tensions with Iran and controversy over President Trump’s decision to kill Qasem Soleimani big in the news, Democrats had a chance to define their party on the issue. And the debate began on that subject, with the candidates talking at some length. What we got instead was a lot of general talk about taking out combat troops but leaving in other troops who would be tasked with other missions.
As for the rest of the debate, again it was Sanders and Warren standing up for real reform on healthcare and education and the rest arguing “How we gonna pay for it”? (on everything but war).

Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar want Medicare for some, college for some, daycare for some, bring some troops home. It’s the Some Party.

Some of the craziest moments came from Buttigieg, who argues against Bernie's call for tuition-free college. PB doesn't think the wealthy should be allowed to send their kids to tuition-free public universities (and I assume to public schools in general).
And I don't think subsidizing the children of millionaires and billionaires to pay absolutely zero in tuition at public colleges is the best use of those scarce taxpayer dollars. 
Mayor Pete, I believe that's why they call it PUBLIC EDUCATION, public healthcare, public parks, and public space in general. Public schools would be much better funded if white parents and yes, rich white parents sent their kids there. You should be about taxing the wealthiest the most. Not excluding them from tuition-free public space.

The real winner of the debate may have been a candidate who didn't even take part. Appearing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” immediately after the debate, Billionaire Michael Bloomberg got more unchallenged talk time than any of the six.

Bloomberg echoed the neocon line, promising that he would lead the U.S. to war if the national security of America is directly threatened,
“and if the rest of the world is threatened, we have an obligation to go and help. We are the superpower of the world, and with superpower status comes responsibility.” 
When you're as rich and powerful as Bloomberg and the leader of the "superpower of the world," I don't suppose you need congressional approval to do anything, invade or bomb anyone. Just ask Donald Trump.

Monday, January 13, 2020

WEEKEND QUOTABLES


Champaign State’s Attorney Julia Rietz
...told WBEZ in an interview Friday afternoon that her office is involved in a “comprehensive investigation” with the Illinois Attorney General, the Illinois State Police and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois into the content of the email.
“There are efforts being made to unravel this – again – cryptic, unspecific allegation regarding a sexual assault,” Rietz said. -- WBEZ
Hamilton Nolan at the Guardian
Nothing requires less courage than letting yourself go along with a march towards war when you have the biggest military in the world. Show me a candidate willing to fight for peace, and I’ll show you the future. -- The Democrats must become a real anti-war party
State's Atty. Kim Foxx
We've got to have an inside/outside game. Chesa's [Boudin] election should speak to that. -- Hitting Left interview
Tracy Littlejohn, educator and homeschool coordinator
“I’ve gone into some fourth-grade classrooms where they thought we were extinct,” said Littlejohn, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. -- LaCrosse Tribune
D.T.'s mercenary army
“I said to Saudi Arabia, you want more troops, I’ll send them to you, but you’ve gotta pay us... they’ve already deposited $1 Billion.” -- Rolling Stone

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Complicit Democrats can redeem themselves on Iran war budget vote

Senators Bernie Sanders and Ro Khanna push anti-war legislation
"Every member of Congress who voted to give the most corrupt, unhinged, and unstable president in history $738 billion to fight endless wars...must never tell us that we cannot afford Medicare for All or a Green New Deal." -- Warren Gunnels, Sanders senior adviser

Despite their claims that congress wasn't consulted in advance of the latest U.S. aggressive moves against Iran, Democrats had a chance to make their voices heard. Instead, they are in many ways complicit.

For one thing, they passed on chances to constrain military aggression against Iran in the recent Pentagon budget debate. Only 41 House Democrats, voted against the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which increased the Pentagon budget by $22 billion, including billions for Trump's bogus Space Force. The final vote was 377-48. Democrats voted overwhelmingly for passage without any restrictions on the use of funds in a war with Iran.

One of the omitted amendments in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, sponsored by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL), would have barred Trump from using federal dollars for military action against Iran without congressional approval. Although the measure was included in an earlier draft of the NDAA, it was later stripped out in the compromise version that Democrats voted for anyway.

Khanna, one of the members who vocally opposed the NDAA in December, argued that his amendment would have prevented the US from using government funds to conduct the strike against Soleimani. Whether his claim is real or not remains a question, given Trump’s potential for ignoring Congress and violating the Constitution.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) also sought to include an amendment in the NDAA that would limit the 2001 Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF), which permits the president to take action against anyone responsible for or associated with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, arguing that it was too broad. Administrations have since used the AUMF to wage military action across the Middle East, efforts that have been seen as further expanding the executive branch’s war powers.

More than 30 progressive and anti-war organizations — including MoveOn and Indivisible — expressed disagreement with the bill, too. “It is a blank check for endless wars, fuel for the further militarization of US foreign policy, and a gift to Donald Trump,” they wrote in their December statement.

On Sunday, Trump warned Iranian leaders against any military retaliation by boasting on Twitter that,
“The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment” and that if necessary he would use it to hit Iran “very fast and very hard.”
The $1.4 trillion spending deal for 2020 that became law in December includes about $695 billion for the Pentagon, an increase of about $19 billion from the 2019 level.

But Democrats still have a chance to redeem themselves in an effort to prevent all-out war with Iran by supporting a House bill introduced by Lee and Rep. Ilhan Omar and a Senate bill sponsored by Khanna and Bernie Sanders that would block funding for any military action "in or against Iran" without congressional authorization.

We should be watching closely and taking names on who votes which way.




Monday, January 6, 2020

WEEKEND QUOTABLES

Evangelical Trump supporters at Miami rally, "He was sent to us."
Donald Trump
"God is on our side." -- N.Y. Times
Rep. Ilhan Omar
“‪Let’s not mince words: the assassination of Qasem Soleimani was an act of war undertaken without Congressional authorization, in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America. We in Congress must exercise our Constitutional duty—and do everything in our power to stop another disastrous war. ” -- Press Release
Adel Abdul Mahdi, Prime Minister of Iraq
Adel Abdul Mahdi recommended that the government establish a timetable for the departure of foreign troops, including the members of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State militant group, “for the sake of our national sovereignty.”
“What happened was a political assassination,” Abdul Mahdi said. -- Washington Post
Sec. of State Mike Pompeo
Iraqis — Iraqis — dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more. -- Twitter

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Trump's Orwellian doublespeak on Iran attack

“War is peace/freedom is slavery/ ignorance is strength.” -- George Orwell's "1984"
Trump, the master of Orwellian doublespeak, claims that he assassinated leader, Gen. Soleimani in order to "stop a war, not to start one." But as a result of the attack, a new stage in the continuing and escalating "eternal war" in the middle east now seems inevitable.

Trump has now committed 3,000 more troops to Iraq and there's already been a second U.S. airstrike, this one against an Iraqi military convoy, yesterday. Trump's latest war provocation is not just directed against Iran, but against the Iraqi coalition government as well. Iraqi prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, is moving ahead with legislation calling on all American troops to withdraw to leave the country.

For me, the most stunning part of all this has been the bipartisan cheering for the assassination of a foreign leader (where do they think that will lead?) and especially the wishy-washy response on the part of the Democratic Party leadership to Trump's war provocation. I shouldn't be surprised really, given how many Dems signed on to Bush's invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Chief among the assassination cheerleaders was, of course, Joe Biden.
"No American will mourn Qassem Soleimani's passing. He deserved to be brought to justice for his crimes against American troops and thousands of innocents throughout the region."
Nancy Pelosi's only issue seems to be Trump's failure to consult Congress first. It's a good issue but I wonder how Dems would have voted if he had. Didn’t they just vote with Republicans to approve the $1.48 trillion Pentagon war budget?

I'm pissed at Elizabeth Warren -- who until this week was one of my presidential faves -- after her initial response to Soleimani's killing echoed Trump's doublespeak. While Cory Booker was on CNN, justifying the assassination of Suleimani "as a bad man from a dangerous regime" at the same time expressing "concern" about the war, Warren was on Twitter doing the same.
Yes, costly indeed. It took two or three more tries for her to come out with a clear statement opposing war with Iran.

Empty suit, Pete Buttigieg...
"The top priority of a Commander-in-Chief must be to protect Americans and our national security interests. There is no question that Qassim Suleimani was a threat to that safety and security, and that he masterminded threats and attacks on Americans and our allies, leading to hundreds of deaths. But there are serious questions about how this decision was made and whether we are prepared for the consequences."
As those who follow me on Twitter know, I've been tweeting about little else since the killing of Soleimani. One of my posts had to to with regime-change policy architect Hillary Clinton's threat to "obliterate Iran" in response to an attack on Israel. The genocidal language sickened me back in '08 when she was running for president against Barack Obama. and in many ways set the stage for Trumpian war talk today.

I was expecting strong pushback on this from the right and pro-Israel trolls. But the only negative reaction I got was from left/liberal think-tanker and former N.Y. teacher union leader, Leo Casey who accused me of buying "the Gleen Greenwald-Matt Tiabi line on how Clinton would take us to war, while Trump would give us peace?" Whatever the hell that means.

Of course, I never said any of that.

As expected, Bernie Sanders broke from the party line and was strong and clear from the start.

Enough talk. Time for action. The family and I are about to head downtown to join Chicago's anti-war marchers. I hope to see you down there or wherever you are marching today.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Baghdad embassy siege, a predictable result after 16 years of failed war policy


Bush declares victory in Iraq in 2003.
It was 16 years ago that President George W. Bush stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and declared, "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. It was, as former President Bill Clinton called it, "the latest, grandest example of the eternal struggle of former presidents to rewrite history." And the Clinton's, who supported the 2003 invasion, know a thing or two about that.

New Year's siege on Baghdad embassy.
Now, as night fell on the last day of 2019, U.S. embassy staffers were locked in a "safe" room with Trump calling on the Iraqi police to help protect them as the embassy in Baghdad was under siege by thousands of Iraqis chanting "Death to America", protesting the recent U.S. airstrike against Iranian-backed militia fighters in Iraq and demanding that all U.S. troops, including mercenaries ("contractors"), leave their country.

How the mighty have fallen. A predictable climax to a failed regime-change strategy that has transcended the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations, caused the deaths of millions and cost trillions. It's one that still holds sway in the White House and within the leadership of both political parties.

Enough!