Saturday, June 22, 2019

Senator Kamala Harris should be behind bars

I don't understand how Kamala Harris is still seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination when THE INTERCEPT reports:

KAMALA HARRIS, SURROUNDED by thousands of cheering supporters, kicked off her presidential campaign in Oakland earlier this year, declaring that she has always fought “on behalf of survivors of sexual assault, a fight not just against predators but a fight against silence and stigma.”
Fighting on behalf of victims of sexual abuse, particularly children, has been central to Harris’s political identity for the better part of three decades. Harris specialized in prosecuting sex crimes and child exploitation as a young prosecutor just out of law school. She later touted her record on child sexual abuse cases and prosecuting pedophiles intelevision advertisementssplashy profiles, and on the trail as she campaigned for public office.
But when it came to taking on the Catholic Church, survivors of clergy sexual abuse say that Harris turned a blind eye, refusing to take action against clergy members accused of sexually abusing children when it meant confronting one of the city’s most powerful political institutions.
When Harris became San Francisco district attorney in 2004, she took over an office that had been working closely with survivors of sexual abuse to pursue cases against the Catholic Church. The office and the survivors were in the middle of a legal battle to hold predatory priests accountable, and Harris inherited a collection of personnel files involving allegations of sexual abuse by priests and employees of the San Francisco Archdiocese, which oversees church operations in San Francisco, and Marin and San Mateo counties.
The files had been compiled by investigators working under the direction of Terence Hallinan, the radical district attorney who Harris ousted in a contentious election campaign. Hallinan’s team had prosecuted cases of abuse that had occurred decades earlier and had gathered evidence as part of a probe into widespread clergy sexual misconduct.
Just six months before Harris took office, a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturned a California law that had retroactively eliminated the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution of child molestation cases. That shifted the focus to holding predators among the clergy accountable through civil cases and through a broader effort to bring attention to predators who had been shielded by the church.
Hallinan believed that the clergy abuse files were a matter of public record; Harris refused to release them to the public.
In her seven years as district attorney, Harris’s office did not proactively assist in civil cases against clergy sex abuse and ignored requests by activists and survivors to access the cache of investigative files that could have helped them secure justice, according to several victims of clergy sex abuse living in California who spoke to The Intercept.

She's disgusting.

She's more than part of a cover up, she's an active participant in the abuse of children.

By refusing to prosecute, by refusing to provide evidence, she's a criminal conspirator.

She should be behind bars, not running for the presidency.

That she's not asked about this every day she's campaigning goes to the corruption in the system and explains how priests got away with abuse for so long.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, June 21, 2019.  As the Iraq War continues, war on Iran continues to loom.  While some seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination note a possible future forever war, Joe Biden remains up to the neck in his latest, self-created drama.

In the United States, 24 people are seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  Former US Vice President Joe Biden has been the choice of the media if not of the people.  Since declaring at the end of April, Joe has seen his soft support fade.  At this point, were the press not insisting he was the front runner, he most likely would have lost even more support.  Next week, 20 Democrats take the stage for the first debates (two debates will be held next week).  Joe Biden is many things but a gifted debate has never been one of them.

He either babbles on endlessly or he tends to get angry and snap.  He goes into the debate with the most to lose.  Senator Kamala Harris, to cite one of the others who will be in the debate, has the advantage of most Americans not being aware of her style.  As such, she's much more likely to benefit from a solid performance -- solid, not outstanding.  If Joe manages solid, that's not enough.  Not when you are the press declared front runner.   Sharing the stage with 19 others, Jhas the most to lose.  And what a week to lose, after this week's non-stop scandal.

Matt Viserr and Annie Linskey (WASHINGTON POST) cover Joe's I-worked-with-segregationists-and-it-was-nice comments and note:

The controversy over Biden’s comments this week have continued to reverberate at a crucial time in the campaign, with matters of race dominating the political discussion ahead of several prominent gatherings, including the first presidential debate next week and a multicandidate event before black voters in South Carolina on Friday. It has emerged as a complex political problem for Biden, who has been trying to campaign as a civil rights champion while explaining past views that are out of step with today’s Democratic base.
Biden’s Wednesday remarks sparked one of the sharpest intra-Democrat exchanges of the campaign, when Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), one of his 2020 rivals and an African American, criticized both Biden’s work with segregationists and the language that he used in describing it.

The latest controversy for Joe establishes yet again that he cannot handle criticism.  He's issued yet another no-one-fights-harder-for-women, no-one-has-done-more type statements.  The bravado is embarrassing but, more to the point, it shows how static Joe actually is.

An image is being created of Joe by Joe.  It's not one voters are likely to embrace.

The latest controversy also focuses attention on Joe's past.

That's not good.

Joe has no future.

Tulsi Gabbard, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Beto O'Rourke, Seth Moulton, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, etc -- all have plans of how to make this a greater country for We The People.

All Joe really has offered 'future' wise is the claim (highly unlikely) that he's the Democrat with the best chance of beating Donald Trump in the 2020 race for president.

Joe's offering no future -- he's even promising to turn the clock back to 2009, back to the days of Barack and Biden -- which were also the days of endless war, the Great Recession, a sitting IRS official taking the 5th before Congress, etc.

All Joe's got is the past.  And when his comments today open up discussions of his past, it's not a good thing.  The hype of Joe's past does not meet the reality.

And certainly, as Joe faces cries of racism this week, most people are aware this is far from the first time Joe's been called a racist over the years.

At POLITICO< Natasha Korecki notes that Joe spoke with Cory Booker Wednesday night on the phone:

“Cory shared directly what he said publicly — including helping Vice President Biden understand why the word 'boy' is painful to so many,” said Sabrina Singh, Booker’s campaign spokeswoman. “Cory believes that Vice President Biden should take responsibility for what he said and apologize to those who were hurt.”

No apology and Joe dug his heels in deeper.  Can you imagine that sort of behavior in next week's debates?

While Joe's coming off like a cranky, old man, others are using this week for better causes.

Senator Kirsten Gillibran is seeking the nomination.  Yesterday, she weighed in on the issue of Iran:

 U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today wrote a letter to President Donald J. Trump demanding that he not send U.S. armed forces into a war with Iran unless authorized by Congress or proportionate and necessary to counter a direct attack against the United States. Gillibrand’s urgent call comes after alarming reports continue to emerge that National Security Advisor John Bolton, one of the chief advocates of the Iraq War, and others in the Trump Administration and Congress, are pushing the President to send American men and women to fight in an unnecessary and unauthorized war with Iran.
“When you were sworn in as President, you inherited an Iran whose nuclear weapons ambitions were verifiably constrained for a decade or more by international agreement. You have shattered the strong coalition aligned against Iran in 2015 that brought Iran to the negotiating table,” Gillibrand wrote. “Against the backdrop of your Administration’s historic missteps, your and your administration’s problematic statements, and military escalation in the Gulf region, I am very concerned that the nation could be dragged into a war with Iran under your leadership. Such a war is not authorized, would unnecessarily risk the lives of Americans and our allies, cause enormous human suffering, and destabilize the economy. The country has been here before. The U.S. began the Iraq War based on inaccurate information from John Bolton and others who claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Eighteen years after going into Afghanistan, U.S. and allied troops are still there despite your promise of withdrawal and long after completing their mission. I demand that you not send U.S. armed forces into hostilities that are disproportionate and unnecessary to counter a direct attack or not authorized by Congress through a new AUMF.”
“From all indications, the Trump administration appears determined to lead us down an escalatory path towards a devastating, costly and completely avoidable war of choice with Iran, a country three times the size of Iraq. It’s absolutely vital that our congressional leaders stand up for America's interests and for the US Constitution to make it clear that no military action against Iran can be launched without congressional authorization,” said Dylan J. Williams, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, J Street.
“As we stand on the precipice of war with Iran, Congress must send a clear warning of the danger, immorality and illegality of another unnecessary and unauthorized war in the Middle East.  We appreciate Senator Gillibrand’s leadership to do just that,” said Diane Randall, Executive Secretary, FCNL.
In addition to Gillibrand’s demand that President Trump not send American troops into an unnecessary and unauthorized war, Gillibrand also called on the Trump Administration to do the following:
a) Engage the international community in addressing the risks to navigation in the waterways close to Iran;
b) Return the United States to the JCPOA if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors continues to certify that Iran is in compliance with the agreement; and
c) Require your administration officials to be clear that you are not advocating starting another war, which, this time, would be with an adversary that is better equipped than the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, or Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Since taking office, President Trump and his Administration have repeatedly taken steps to antagonize Iran, undermine the international coalition that blocked Iran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon, increase tensions to a dangerous level, and potentially risk a war with Iran that would endanger American lives and damage the American economy.

The full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter is available here

Also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination is US House Rep and Iraq War veteran Tulsi Gabbard.

. Your Iran strategy has been ill-advised and short-sighted. Change course now. Return to the Iran nuclear agreement before it’s too late. Put aside your pride and political calculations for the good of our country. Do the right thing.
Ending the US policy of waging war to overthrow foreign govts we don’t like is crucial. The trillions wasted on regime change wars is a foreign & domestic issue—b/c if we continue to waste $ on these counterproductive wars, we can’t afford to take care of the American ppl’s needs

And Senator Bernie Sanders also Tweeted about potential war.

If you think the invasion of Iraq was a disaster, a war with Iran would be worse. The United States must bring Iran and Saudi Arabia to the negotiating table, not foment a never-ending, unconstitutional war in the region.

Former US House Rep and candidate for the presidential nomination Beto O'Rourke Tweeted:

This administration is gunning for war in Iran. We can resolve our differences with that country firmly and peacefully, without invading yet another country and starting yet another war in the Middle East.

On Thursday, even Senator Elizabeth Warren found her way into the discussion.

The crisis with Iran is a result of provoking Iran’s extreme hardliners & alienating our allies. I cosponsored ’s amdt to the defense bill that prohibits war with Iran without Congressional approval. We can't start another war in the Middle East.

Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) offers:

The latest in the saga of the desperate empire is the execution of one of the most obvious false flag operations of all time. On June 13, 2019 explosions took place on two oil tankers, one of which was Japanese owned, in the Gulf of Oman. Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe had just concluded meetings with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Japan is caught up in the U.S. sanctions scheme against Iran, which forbids their continued purchase of Iranian oil. The Trump administration and their friends at the New York Timesand other outlets would have us believe that Iran would take such risky action during delicate negotiations that determine its ability to survive as a nation.
But the absurdity is accepted, not just by Trumpian neocons and not only by the New York Times. Democratic congressman Adam Schiffman, point person in ginning up Russiagate hysteria, sounds just like the administration he allegedly opposes. “There’s no question Iran is behind the attacks,” Schiff opined on the Face the Nationnews program. Obviously there are many questions, such as who among the rogues gallery of U.S. proxies carried out the deed on behalf of the criminal enterprise. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are the obvious suspects. 

But Schiff is not alone. Ever the proud vassals, the British immediately backed up their partner in crime. They can always be counted on to follow Washington’s orders. 

Margaret's column was published Wednesday morning but I don't think most of what followed on Thursday would have changed her opinion to any real degree.  Possibly US House Rep Ilhan Omar (who is not seeking the presidential nomination) might win some praise for the straight forward nature of her Tweet.

Just as in Iraq, aggressors are using illegitimate pretexts to beat the drums of war. Just as in Iraq, our media is taking these claims at face value. Just as in Iraq, children will die, American lives will be lost, and the world will be less safe.

Yesterday, Margaret Tweeted and re-Tweeted on the topic, including:

  • Iran has never had troops on American soil Iran doesn't have any nuclear weapons Iran has never dropped an atomic bomb Iran is surrounded by American military bases Iran isn't causing the genocide in Palestine or Yemen Iran poses absolutely no threat to the United States
    Real journalists would be asking what that drone was doing over 7500 miles away from US territory, not hairsplitting over how many km from Iranian airspace it was flying. US imperialism is so deeply ingrained in the collective media psyche, that its aggression is normalized
    It’s a bad sign when CNN gives a crisis its own graphic.
  • America has plenty of . Usually we call them prisons. There are more than 2 million locked up in them.
    U.S. Claims Drone Was Minding Own Business On Its Way To Church When Iran Attacked It Out Of Nowhere

    Allison Quinn (DAILY BEAST) notes:

    President Trump approved U.S. military strikes on multiple targets in Iran on Thursday but changed his mind at the last minute, according to The New York Times. Multiple senior administration officials cited by the Times said military and diplomatic officials were waiting for a strike Thursday evening when the operation was suddenly called off.
    One source said planes were already in the air and ships had gotten into position when the call came down that the operation was not going ahead. It was not immediately clear why the strike was called off, but Trump had appeared to walk back his accusations against Iran earlier Thursday by suggesting on Twitter that the country had not intentionally shot down a U.S. drone.
    It was also not immediately clear if there were plans for the strikes to go ahead at a different time. Newsweek cited a Pentagon official as saying U.S. military assets in the region were placed on a 72-hour standby. 

    War on Iran, a real possibility, as so many wars -- including the Iraq War -- continue.

    Yesterday, on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED (NPR), a new development in the trial of Edward Gallagher was noted:

    Stunning development is an overused cliche. But in this instance, the phrase fits. It happened today in the trial of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher. Chief Gallagher is accused of war crimes, including killing a teenage ISIS captive. Today a fellow SEAL testified that he, not Gallagher, is the one who killed the young man. And a warning - some of the details of that killing are disturbing to hear. Reporter Steve Walsh of member station KPBS has been covering the trial in San Diego, and he joins us. Welcome.


    SHAPIRO: So you were in the courtroom today. Tell us what happened. It sounds like it was just a shocking, unexpected turn of events.

    WALSH: No, it was completely unexpected. It was like something out of a Hollywood movie. You don't expect someone to declare that they're the real killer.

    SHAPIRO: Especially when that person was a witness for the prosecution.

    WALSH: Exactly. They're a witness for the prosecution. So Corey Scott was a medic. He was there on the scene in Iraq with Gallagher. He was beside him. And he testified, much like prosecutors expected him to testify, that Gallagher took a knife, plunged it into the neck of this wounded Iraqi fighter that they were providing medical care to. It was the sort of blow that was not designed for any sort of medical treatment but to injure the Iraqi fighter.
    And it was all following the script. And then Corey Scott says in cross-examination by the defense that it was not Gallagher that killed him, that it was, in fact, Corey Scott who killed him by closing off a breathing tube for the wounded fighter. And then he slowly watched him die.

    SHAPIRO: Now, Scott had presumably gone through depositions. How had this not come out earlier?

    WALSH: Well, that's what the defense was saying. They're saying it was sloppiness on the part of naval investigators and prosecutors. Obviously, prosecutors were incredibly upset by this turn of events. And they pointed out on the stand that he had spoken to prosecutors several times - they had asked him to go step by step in this - and that he had never mentioned closing off the airway. And he'd never said that in any of his testimony to naval investigators either.

    SHAPIRO: And he now has immunity, so he won't be prosecuted for this. Is that right?

    WALSH: In the whole buildup to the case, one of the twists and turns - that there are seven SEALs that have been granted immunity to testify in this case. Corey Scott is one of those. He can still be prosecuted for perjury, but he cannot be prosecuted for any statements that he makes, including, apparently, admitting to a killing.

    On the topic of courts, Omar Sattar (AL-MONITOR) reports:

    Iraq's parliament is working on a draft law that could put clerics on the Federal Supreme Court and give them veto power.
    The legislature held its second reading of a draft law regarding the Federal Supreme Court on June 13, amid heated disputes over most of the proposed articles, particularly those providing for the appointment of clerics to the court and the entity responsible for their selection.
    The court currently is regulated by a law issued by an interim government in 2005 and contradicts several articles of the permanent constitution approved at the end of that year.
    Most notably, Article 92 of the constitution specifies, “The Federal Supreme Court is an independent judicial body, financially and administratively.” The court, however, is headed by the president of the Supreme Judicial Council, who also selects its judges.

    And the violence continues . . .

    IRAQ: At least 10 have been reported killed after a suicide bomber detonated their explosives in a Shia mosque in Baghdad.

    The following sites updated: