Friday, October 23, 2015

Hillary Hounds Keep Hammering

We only THINK that Hillary Clinton won that round against the absurd Republicans and their political witch-hunt. 

Don't worry friends:  After a few hours of sleep, the conservative press has composed itself and is all over Hillary...You didn't think they'd give up that easily , did you?

Some may have admired her "grace under pressure" during yesterday's marathon Republican-controlled Benghazi committee hearing, but the conservative press (especially the Murdoch-owned venues) is still claiming she lied and that the Republicans found out "new information". 

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Testified for 11 hours before the Republican-led Benghazi Committee.  Picture found at the New York Post.  

For those of you who don't have the stomach for the rightie press, I'll summarize.. just so you can be aware of what your rightie friends and relatives may start to blather about over the weekend.

1. She really did know that the attack wasn't about the video. In private, she knew it was an act of terror.

(My comment: Huh? Obama was talking about "an act of terror" the next day. It was clear to any of us who were paying attention that the administration was still trying to figure out exactly who did what, but they did think that terror was a part of it, and they did think that the video was a part of it.  I can't believe the righties are still beating this very dead horse.. Well, yes, I guess I can believe it.)

2. The Wall Street Journal (Murdoch-owned) wrote "The hearing turned up new information that relates directly to the former Secretary of State’s political character and judgment as a potential Commander-in-Chief" Unfortunately, Murdoch's jewel is behind a paywall, so I have no idea how they trashed Hillary, but I'm sure they did. If anyone has access to the WSJ, please copy the relevant paragraphs.

3. The trashy Murdoch-owned New York Post really came down on Hillary: They cutely entitled their article "Hillary’s horrid Benghazi-hearing howlers".. Nice alliteration with a Halloween touch.  (Notice my title on this article.) 

First, they claimed that HILLARY and the DEMOCRATS were busy playing "for the cameras", as if the Republicans were not.  We all know better. 
"Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the House Benghazi committee — a public hearing, at her request — produced more heat than light. Thank Clinton and committee Democrats, who were too busy playing to the cameras.
For those who’ve followed the investigation carefully, Clinton’s hours-long testimony only provided more questions than answers about her role during and after the 2012 terror attack that left four US officials dead."

4. They claimed that her testimony was "flatly dishonest":
That’s especially true of her flatly dishonest testimony — accompanied by icy stares of contempt and boredom — about her ongoing relationship with her family’s veteran propagandist-fixer, Sidney Blumenthal.

The Republicans really hate Blumenthal and will sully any kind of role or value that Blumenthal might have regarding Libya or regarding the Clintons. 

We know there are connections among various Republicans, various fund raisers, and various lobbying groups. Why are those OK, but the role of Blumenthal in the Clinton's life and politics NOT OK? (Yes, he apparently did get a 10,000 retainer from the Clinton Foundation at the time he was exchanging emails with Hillary about Benghazi. I'm not sure why this is supposed to be a horrible thing to the Republicans considering the revolving door between Congress and Republican administrations and right-wing "non-profit" think tanks.) 

The Post alleges that Blumenthal was "running a private spy network and had major business interests in toppling Libya’s government. Clinton not only thanked him profusely for his intelligence reports, she passed many of them on to the Obama White House."   Private spy network?  Major business interests in getting rid of Ghadaffi?  The Post provides no further information or links about these allegations.  

5. Blumenthal had access to Hillary via her private email; Chris Stevens did not.

Stevens had to go through channels and Hillary hadn't talked to him directly for several months. (It's unclear whether Secretaries of State regularly talk to the various and numerous ambassadors around the world. It's clear that Libya was different from most other posts at that time, but it's still unclear if Hillary did anything wrong or different in terms of her communication with Stevens.)

6. The Post summarizes: "Three years later, this much we know: Four Americans died and this administration tried to cover up the reason why." And dozens of Americans have died in other attacks on embassies under Republican presidents, and their Secretaries of State have never had to tolerate 11 hours of grueling partisan questioning.

The purpose of such investigations should always be: What went wrong? How do we fix it?  Three years later, it is unclear if, after all of these partisan investigations, we know anything more than we did and whether or not we are any closer to fixing embassy security to keep this stuff from happening again.  Are the partisan witch-hunts getting in the way of helping us to understand how to keep ambassadors and embassy personnel safe?

And the administration tried to cover up the reason? No, they didn't. In the earliest days after the attack, Obama mentioned "terrorism".  Watch the video of Obama speaking in the Rose Garden a couple of days after the Benghazi attack.  He says "terrorism".  It even came up in one of the 2012 Presidential debates.  But the Post still flies that false flag.  

I guess my definition of "cover up" is different than that of the Murdoch-owned trash liner the New York Post.

So, friends, beware.  No, the Republicans and their lying mouth pieces are not done.  This war is not over.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Biden Watch: Is He Done?

Will he or won't he?

For at least two months now, media frenzy has focused on whether or not Vice-President Joe Biden will enter the race for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination.

Joe Biden as found at 

The story is that Biden's dying son Beau's final wish was that his Dad run for President. Supposedly Beau said to his Dad that "The White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.” 

This was somehow "leaked" to long-time Clinton critic Maureen Dowd, an Op-Ed writer for the New York Times. Sometimes conservative Dowd reported this "leak" back in late August, but last week it "leaked" that Biden himself may have been the source of this "leak".

In the meantime, the campaign moves on...

Hillary Clinton's strong debate performance on Tuesday night may have put the "Bring On Biden" movement to bed. Hillary Clinton AND Bernie Sanders, as well as the other candidates, sounded like good spokespeople for the Democratic platform and for Democratic attitudes, positions, and policies. There doesn't seem to be any room for Biden. 

When I try to envision Biden up on that stage, well, how and where does he fit?

I LIKE Biden.

Let me make my position clear: I LIKE Biden; I've followed his career since I was a young woman and he was one of the most handsome dashing liberal politicos on the scene. I remember reading of the young man who had just been elected as one of the youngest Senators in history. I remember reading of the horrific accident that took the lives of his wife, his infant daughter, and injured his two young sons.

Through the years he seemed to always be there, no longer as young, but remarried, working hard as a Democrat to represent the people of his state of Delaware and the people of the United States, particularly the working people, the union people.

Yes, I really do LIKE Biden.. but I'm annoyed.

So I like Biden; I thought he was a great choice as Vice President; I've liked him as the Veep.. and I'm annoyed.. perhaps even angry that he is floating this Long, High, and Extended Presidential trial balloon. His status as a lurker non-candidate is hurting the Democrats, possibly hurting Hillary Clinton the most. Perhaps he really dislikes her and that is his intention. But he is a Democrat, and would Biden do something to hurt the Democrats and invite the Republicans to move into the big White House? It hardly seems likely. So it may be time for him to just bow out of this race for good.

Ongoing Speculation for Months Now:

I came across an article that said that Joe Biden was "taking a new look at a Presidential run". That article was dated August 1. That article claimed that "Confidants say they expect him to make something official by early September." Well, early September has come and gone. Early October has come and gone as well.  Nothing official. 

Two months later, last week, October 6, we see an article at CNN entitled Biden sounding more like a candidate to friends:

As the logistical deadlines for decision-making approach, the timing for an announcement is likely within the next two weeks, several Democrats believe. He is not planning to attend the party's first debate next week, but one date on the calendar could be enticing to have made his intentions clear: A Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner speech in Iowa on Oct. 24.

But, well, there is a big but there:

While several outside friends believe Biden wants to run, there are a number of his associates and allies who caution that a candidacy is not yet a done deal. His own camp is filled with conflicting views. 
Biden could decide, at any time, to pull back. Just a month ago, one cautioned, it looked as if he might not do it. And while some say they have sensed a shift toward "yes," nothing is definitive until Biden himself starts calling influential Democrats in early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire to tell them he is running.

The situation, another Biden ally says, is "changeable and fluid."

Then, last week, CNBC speculated on Why Joe Biden should delay his decision
But from a media perspective, the ambiguity on his intentions could work in Biden's favor. It gives him an opportunity to stay above the fray and out of the debate while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders continue to take punches from the right.

When your enemies are fighting, step aside and let them battle it out. By not formally entering the race, Biden maintains a mystery that keeps him in the conversation without having to enter the ring.

But that only works if your opponents are really damaging each other. If they still look like leaders, like strong leaders, then nobody is going to miss Joe. 

Politico claims that "Biden eyes weekend decision":

Several people who have visited the vice president recently said he seems to be leaning toward 'yes.'
He’s finally close. Confidants of Vice President Joe Biden expect him to make a decision next weekend, or shortly thereafter, on whether to launch an epic battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Except that the "weekend" (Columbus Day weekend) discussed in the Politico article has come and gone and... nothing?
Well.. maybe they are talking about the WRONG weekend. The trashy Murdoch-owned New York Post proclaims:
Vice President Joe Biden is meeting with friends and family this weekend to discuss a potential presidential run, but likely won’t announce a decision until well after the Democratic debate Tuesday.
In a sign pointing toward yes, Biden’s aides met with DNC staffers Thursday to discuss filing deadlines, according to a New Yorker report.

Finally, thanks to Dana Milbank: "Biden is in, unless he isn't."
But Dana Milbank, in a piece at The Washington Post entitled Joe Biden’s never-ending delay is the man who really does get it right:
Finally, it can be reported: Joe Biden is running for president, unless he isn’t. He will announce his decision this weekend, unless he doesn’t.

Biden's polling numbers as a lurking non-candidate:

In early to mid September, when the Biden whispering was the loudest, Biden's numbers were pushing up from the 12% range of early summer into the low to mid 20's, challenging Bernie Sanders' numbers on some polls.  He's been polling between 18% and 21% on national poll averages for the last month.

But over the past week or two, his averages have moved down a percent or two; on some polls, he is down in the mid teens.  (See the green line below.)  Perhaps the time for Joe was a few weeks ago. Perhaps people are bored with the whole off-again/on-again thing.  Perhaps Hillary's email "scandal" may actually help her now that is becoming clearer and clearer that the Republicans don't care about Benghazi or the four Americans killed there; they just care about destroying Hillary. 

30-day polling averages for the Democratic Nomination (national) from Real Clear Politics.
Mid-September to mid-October.

And after Tuesday's debate.. Well, Biden may have just "waited" himself out of contention completely.

Here's my bottom line on Biden, and some may consider it cruel:

Do we really want a President who can't make a decision quickly even during difficult personal times? I understand that he needed SOME time to process this decision after his son's death.  But his son has been gone for five months now, and Biden knew the start of the 2016 elections was coming fast and furiously for years now.  Would Biden put off a decision that he needs to make as President due to a personal tragedy for months? 

As I said, I have also always liked Joe, but I am annoyed, perhaps angry, that the man has not either entered or declined to enter this race by now. His wishy-washiness, if it is genuine, does not make him seem like a decisive leader. And, if his wishy-washiness is contrived wishy-washiness, as some think, it doesn't make him seem like the decent man that I have always felt that he is.

But everything I've seen and heard him say-- not his "people", but Joe himself-- SEEMS to indicate his heart really isn't in it.  

So it's time for Biden to just say NO and end the speculation.

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