Micah sent me an article by Zaid Jilani (CURRENT AFFAIRS) and, like Micah, I recommend it:
Having spent nearly a decade reporting on American politics, I can say there is something very odd about “Beto-mania.” Typically, politicians have both elite friends and enemies, meaning donors, activist organizations, lawmakers, and pundits, within their own political party. O’Rourke has critics in the GOP—they successfully defeated him in Texas’s Senate race. But he should presumably also have critics within the elite functionaries in the Democratic Party as well. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both have their elite critics across the political spectrum. The former is loathed by Wall Street, the latter is loathed by pretty much everyone who runs a Democratic-aligned think tank or has a rolodex of party mega-donors.
But O’Rourke, on the other hand, seems to have received nothing but praise from everyone from Wall Street donors like Wolf to Obama alumni like Pfeiffer to a large liberal following enamored by his skateboarding at Whataburger and his passionate defense of kneeling NFL players. He has become a uniting figure for Democrats, beloved by all and loathed by none. What kind of Democratic politician can be so adored?
Maybe one who rarely, if ever, challenged the powerful.
There is no doubt that O’Rourke is a talented politician. His $60 million haul, much of it from small donors, came from extremely aggressive campaigning all over the state of Texas, alongside a national donor base cultivated by signaling to culturally liberal activists. But a talented politician is not necessarily someone who has talent in governing. So what was Congressman O’Rourke like?
In his six years in Congress, O’Rourke passed three bills. Two were related to veterans issues, the third renamed a federal building and courthouse. Of course, O’Rourke was in a GOP-dominated House, which would limit his effectiveness. But part of being effective as a Member of Congress is learning to deal with the environment you are in. Between 1995 and 2007, when the Republicans solidly held the House of Representatives, the lawmaker who passed the most amendments was not a far-right Republican but instead Vermont’s independent democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, dubbed an “amendment king.” The firebrand Florida Democrat Alan Grayson was similarly effective at writing and passing legislation.
But even if you’re not passing bills or amendments, you can chair investigations and help uncover important information that changes the debate in Washington. You can earn media appearances and become a leader on major issues. You can help move legislation that isn’t going to pass anytime soon, but set it up for the future.
O’Rourke was missing in action on virtually all of these areas, and rarely challenged concentrated power in D.C.—except during his initial run for Congress, in which he unseated a conservative Democrat Silvestre Reyes. Reyes was a proponent of America’s drug war while O’Rourke favored legalizing marijuana to cut into the cartels’ power. Reyes ran dirty campaign ads claiming O’Rourke was encouraging drug use among children. It didn’t work, and O’Rourke’s smart campaign was victorious.
But it may have been the last time O’Rourke waged a sustained campaign against the Democratic establishment. While the Democratic base is coalescing around single-payer health care and free college, O’Rourke sponsored neither House bill. During his time in Congress, he never joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He has been, however, a member of the New Democratic Caucus, the group organized to carry on the ideas of Clintonite policies. During the 2016 presidential primary, he stayed on the sidelines.
Fraud. And his name is Robert Francis O'Rourke. Like me, he's Irish-American.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Monday, December 24, 2018. We remember the media critique of Nora Ephron as a bunch of idiots online want to weigh in on topics they've never stopped to explore or learn about.
Let's start with this.
Let's start with this.
“It should not be the job of America to replace regimes around the world. This is what President Trump recognized in Iraq, that it was the biggest foreign policy disaster of the last several decades, and he’s right...The generals still don’t get the mistake.” @RandPaul
You mean THIS Sally Deal? The piece of crap piece of trash who doesn't understand how it works?
Throw in the other piece of trash -- though there's a lot of them, I mean Ben
Draft-dodging reality TV show star who thinks he knows military strategy better than his Secretary of Defense who served in the Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq, has driven away his most qualified cabinet member. Thank you for your many years of service, General Mattis.
Love the necklace, sir, it screams "trash."
Reality for Ben and Sally idiot, Donald Trump does know more than the military. Barack did too. Every president does because we live in a democracy and not a military junta.
The military is not there to provide solutions. It is there to be tasked with a duty or a command and to follow it.
Do you pieces of trash understand that?
Depending on who the president is --what political party -- trash like you try to hide behind the military and wrap yourselves in the flag. You don't what the hell you're talking about because you are sorely lacking in the basic education you should have received.
In a democracy, you have civilian control over the military. The Congress will provide oversight. The president will provide orders.
The military will be tasked with executing those orders.
Their opinions? Not really that damn important.
Sorry if that offends your delicate -- and uninformed -- sensibilities.
Civilian control over the military. And the military does what they are commanded to do. Try grasping that reality or, if you prefer, move to some country that has a junta and enjoy yourselves there. Until then, grasp that living in a democracy means you can say anything but being in the public square probably means you shouldn't -- especially when every remark you make only underscores just how deeply stupid you are.
Let's deal with more idiots.
And to sacrifice the Kurds to Erdogan whose main goal is to eliminate them is a crime against humanity! Not to talk about letting Russia play the game and ISIS dancing because USA is turning the tail....
It means genocide for the Kurds, does it not? Some people say it’s not our fight. But, did we not learn this lesson from the Holocaust? Everyone should stand up & fight against genocide, & send the message to the whole world that it’s not acceptable & won’t be tolerated.
Are you worried about the Kurds? Well thank you. Thank you. Thank you for showing up for a minute or two. Damn, but your commitment of a few seconds certainly does inspire.
The US government has been betraying the Kurds all along. They have never done anything except use the Kurds in Iraq as pawns. We have noted that every damn year -- that's 14 now. 14 years, where the hell were you?
Turkey's been bombing northern Iraq -- the Kurdistan region -- since Nouri al-Maliki's first term. Where the hell have you been? We've been here, calling it out under every administration. When Bully Boy Bush illegally occupied the White House, we called out the bombings. When Barack Obama was president, we called out the bombings. Now that Donald Trump is president, we call out the bombings. You know who doesn't call out the bombings? The US government.
Even when the Iraqi government calls them out -- as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did earlier this month -- the US government does not call them out. It's kind of hard for them too because the US government also bombs countries and kills people with drones in the name of 'combating terrorism.'
So sweeties, you two wonderful angels who are suddenly worried, where the hell have you been?
More to the point, this attitude of using the Kurds? Not new to the US government, not at all new.
We've addressed the Pike Report over a hundred times here in the fourteen years this site has been around. How many times, sweet angels, have you?
Do you even know what the Pike Report is?
I don't know how you discuss the US government's relationship with the Kurds seriously without referenceing the Pike Report which the US Congress produced but then quickly decided not to release. It was leaked to the press and, February 16, 1976, The Village Voice published Aaron Latham's "Introduction to the Pike Papers." Latham explained:
In 1972, Dr. Henry Kissinger met with the Shah of Iran, who asked the U.S. to aid the Kurds in their rebellion against Iraq, an enemy of the Shah. Kissinger later presented the proposal to President Nixon who approved what would become a $16 million program. Then John B. Connally, the former Nixon Treasury Secretary, was dispatched to Iran to inform the Shah, one oil man to another.
The committee report charges that: "The President, Dr. Kissinger and the foreign head of state [the Shah] hoped our clients would not prevail. They preferred instead that the insurgents simply continue a level of hostilities sufficient to sap the resources of our ally's neighboring country [Iraq]. The policy was not imparted to our clients, who were encouraged to continue fighting. Even in the context of covert action, ours was a cynical enterprise."
During the Arab-Israeli war, when the Kurds might have been able to strike at a distracted Iraqi government, Kissinger, according to the report, "personally restrained the insurgents from an all-out offensive on the one occasion when such an attack might have been successful."
Then, when Iran resolved its border dispute with Iraq, the U.S. summarily dropped the Kurds. And Iraq, knowing aid would be cut off, launched a search-and-destroy campaign the day after the border agreement was signed.
A high U.S. official later explained to the Pike committee staff: "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work."
That is the root and start of a relationship where the US government repeatedly used and misled the Kurdish people and repeatedly lied and broke promises.
The report from the Church Committee was followed by the Pike report and that report ended up being suppressed after being printed. There's a whole story there -- including CBS having a copy of the report via Daniel Schorr and him passing it to THE VILLAGE VOICE who did publish it and Schorr then telling CBS that Lesley Stahl must have leaked it -- isn't she involved with Aaron Latham who reported on it -- to try to save his own ass. That's one of the reasons CBS parted with him and one of the major details left out of his obituaries in 2010. The reality of what he actually did is even left out of his WIKIPEDIA fan boy entry. Apparently, the truth is to be concealed and covered up. Didn't Nora Ephron learn that lesson. She wrote about what Schorr did -- wrote about it in real time -- and ESQUIRE refused to print it. She was their media critic and they refused to print it. She had to take it to MORE to get it published. It's collected in Nora's SCRIBBLE SCRABBLE.
At the CBS Washington bureau, they are trying to keep straight faces over what has happened to Daniel Schorr, but it's not easy. Schorr is not a popular man, and there are a lot of people who are thrilled that he has been caught committing the journalistic sins of coyness, egomania and self-service. These sins are, of course, common to all journalists, which is no excuse for getting caught at them. Nonetheless, his colleagues might have gritted their teeth and supported Schorr but for one thing: He panicked and attempted to shift the blame for what he had done, tried to implicate one of his co-workers in the deed, and that gave everyone the excuse they needed to abandon him entirely.
The issue of character probably should not intrude on a First Amendment case, but when it comes to Dan Schorr it's difficult to leave it out. Schorr insists that his problem ought to be shared by the journalistic community, that we must all hang together or we will most assuredly hang separately. As he put it recently: "It serves CBS, and it serves me, and it serves you -- because whatever happens to me will someday happen to you -- that we preserve a unified front now. I really feel a little bit like the alliance in World War Two, where De Gaulle and Stalin and Roosevelt and Churchill sit down and say, You know we're going to have some problems, but let's lick the Nazis first. . . ." This is an extremely peculiar metaphor, but the part that interests me is not the equation of Nazis with the House of Representatives but the phrase "whatever happens to me will someday happen to you." It is quite probable that what happened to Dan Schorr happened to him precisely because he was Dan Schorr. There are elements of the story, in fact, that are reminiscent of Appointment in Samarra, or any novel the theme of which is that a man's character is his fate (or, put another way, that the chickens always come home to roost). The plot is a simple one: a reporter whose obesession with scoops occasionally leads him to make mistakes develops an obsession about a secret document and makes several terrible blunders that lead to his downfall. What happened to Dan Schorr is a real tragedy, but only because he did so much of it himself.
Along with lying to his bosses by fingering Lesley Stahl for his actions, he also lied to Walter Pincus that Harry Rosenfeld of THE WASHINGTON POST was willing to pay him (Schorr) for the report, he just couldn't stop lying. He gave the papers to THE VILLAGE VOICE and lied non-stop. He then lied about lying about Lesley Stahl. CBS NEWS' Sandy Socolow tells Nora that Schorr's tale was:
a f**king rearrangement of what happened of the worst sort. It is just an absolute rewrite of history. I had no reason to believe he was the source of the Voice story -- he had hated the pieces the Voice ran about him, and he'd stopped speaking to the woman who wrote it. He came in, and these aren't specific quotes, but he said to me, Shouldn't we check where Lesley and/or Aaron were while the Xeroxing was going on.
That's history and you won't find it at Crapapedia.
We're constantly supposed to reinvent the wheel. Maybe if women actually mattered, we'd all know of Nora's important and powerful essay, of how ESQUIRE refused to publish it? We'd know about the Pike Report.
But we don't. And two little angels tip-toe in, at the tail end of 2018, and want to say that US troops must stay in this country and that country to protect the Kurds.
The US government has never protected the Kurds. Grow up. Educate yourself. Your stupidity is your own problem, address it.
The US government has not only allowed Turkey to bomb northern Iraq over and over each year, it has repeatedly undermined them in the Iraqi government. It has either lied to them (The Erbil Agreement) or it has outright sided against them favoring instead whichever puppet they've installed in Baghdad. That's reality and US troops on the ground in Iraq or Syria are not going to change that reality.
You have bought into a vague notion -- a slogan -- that has no reality foundation. You really need to educate yourself, you have no one to blame for that but yourself. You're adults, it's really time that you self-educate.
Here's another little detail to pull out of the sock drawer. Until February 2015, the KDP and PUK were designated terrorist organizations by the US government. Those are the two main political parties in the KRG. So stop pretending that the US government ever planned to help the Kurds -- it's been a long, long history of betrayal.
Meanwhile, the people of Basra continue to protest and, for a second time in two weeks, the police are firing bullets at them.
Police use live rounds to disperse protest in Iraq's Basra for second week via /r/Iraq bit.ly/2AfHKM1
Police use live rounds to disperse protest in Iraq's Basra for second week uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ira…
Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) reports on protests:
While Mustafa reports on the protests, THE NEW YORK TIMES wastes 21 paragraphs on a Santa Claus social media story and passes that crap off as Iraq reporting.
Let's offer one more reality check on the dumb and uninformed.
And Sarandon made a federal case about her Iraq vote, but John Edwards who she supported voted the same way, so did Pence & Kerry, who may run in 2020. Why does HRC get hell for things others do? Bernie is a horror
Kurt pays child prostitutes, let's never forget that, dead. Let's also remember that Sarandon -- Susan Sarandon -- supported John Edwards after he took responsibility for his Iraq War vote -- in a WASHINGTON POST column and in repeated speeches. As Elizabeth Edwards noted, Hillary never did that. Instead, she is the candidate who first said that if you were looking for an apology, you should look for another candidate. After being repeatedly called out for that tone deaf statement, she offered that it was "a mistake" -- her vote for the Iraq War. As bad as that was, it then evolved into she was tricked by Bully Boy Bush. She thought, she insisted, he would send more troops. The Iraq War was illegal and based on lies and she's calling for more troops? Let's also remember that she's running to become the president of the United States but confessing that she was so dumb that Bully Boy Bush tricked her. Bully Boy Bush tricked her -- that's pretty stupid.
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