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Statistics: Bernie Sanders vs Hillary Clinton

Have there ever been greater differences between two people running for the Democratic nomination?

Mary Chaet's photo.

Mary Chaet to Bernie Believers [Bernie Sanders]. December 6, 2015

Exclusive interview: Vermont senator challenges Clinton’s foreign policy record and says ties to Wall Street mean she would not take on ‘billionaire class’

posted in Portsmouth. Dec. 18, 2015

Bernie Sanders has accused Hillary Clinton of encouraging Islamic extremism in Libya, in a prelude to a Democratic debate on Saturday during which he is expected to go on the attack for the first time over the unintended consequences of the former secretary of state’s more interventionist foreign policy.

Speaking to the Guardian in an extensive pre-debate interview, the senator from Vermont criticised Clinton for carelessly fomenting regime change in Libya “without worrying” about the ensuing instability that has helped Islamic State forces take hold in the country.

“Regime change without worrying about what happens the day after you get rid of the dictator does not make a lot of sense,” Sanders said.

“I voted against the war in Iraq … Secretary Clinton voted for that war. She was proud to have been involved in regime change in Libya, with [Muammar] Gaddafi, without worrying, I think, about what happened the day after and the kind of instability and the rise of Isis that we have seen in Libya.”

Clinton has previously defended her role in airstrikes against Gaddafi in 2011, arguing he was a “murderous dictator … who had American blood on his hands” and there was pressure for US action from European and Arab allies.

But the latest Sanders comments are in stark contrast to the first debate of the Democratic presidential nomination process, where Sanders came to Clinton’s rescue during the height of the Benghazi committee’s investigation into her communications over Libya, saying: “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Many of his supporters have become frustrated at what they see as a reticence by Sanders to attack Clinton’s record directly, particularly after he appeared to be a reluctant participant in foreign policy discussions that dominated the second debate, held in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks.

Since then, the 2016 presidential campaign has become overwhelmed with national security questions.

Republicans have competed to sound toughest, Ted Cruz vowing that he would “carpet bomb” Isis jihadis. Clinton has delivered three hawkish speeches in a month on the need for more intervention in Iraq and Syria, the need to stand “taller and stronger” against terrorism and the need for Silicon Valley companies to police internet access to thwart jihadi recruiters.

Though initially reluctant to let foreign policy distract from what he considers a more important domestic agenda, the Sanders campaign increasingly sees his opponent’s hawkishness as an opportunity for him to turn Saturday’s debate in New Hampshire into a clash on the best way of achieving lasting national security.

“We have to be smart and not just tough,” he said. “And that means it’s not just destroying Isis, it’s making sure we do it in a way that leads to a better future and more stability in that region. And that means, absolutely in my view, that it cannot simply be as we did in Iraq … It cannot simply be unilateral American action. What it means is a broad coalition, in which the troops on the ground are Muslim troops.”

He also turned on Republicans and hawks in the Democratic party for not heeding the lessons of recent US intervention in the Middle East.

“Sometimes in our country, especially among our Republican friends who suffer from amnesia, we forget what happened yesterday,” added Sanders. “I can remember like it was yesterday, when we had a ‘tough’ president. George W Bush, and his vice-president was even tougher. So tough! And they went into Iraq, man, and they got rid of Saddam Hussein, terrible guy.

But they forgot to be thinking about what happens the day after you get rid of Saddam Hussein. What has happened in that region, as everybody knows, is there is massive instability, human tragedies beyond belief. In terms of people in that region, in terms of American soldiers, there is PTSD, traumatic brain injury, 6,700 dying.”

Sanders concedes that his vision of the US playing a supporting role in the fight agaisnt Isis rather than leading intervention is close to that of Barack Obama, but argues a tougher approach with Arab allies in the region is needed.

“The area that I would be a little bit different from Obama is I would put more pressure on Saudi Arabia, on Qatar, which happens to be per capita the wealthiest country on earth,” he said during Tuesday’s interview in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“I think the United States, UK, France, Germany, Russia, have the power to make sure that there are Muslim boots on the ground,” added Sanders.

He also blasted the impatience among many to provide glib reassurance to Americans in the face of complex and unpredictable domestic terror threats.

“Any idiot, especially one who is prepared to die, who has a gun, can start shooting up people,” added the Vermont senator. “Can I guarantee you, can you guarantee me that this will not happen? Nobody can.”

Certain gun control has ‘broad consensus’

Though foreign policy has become a growing part of the senator’s campaign stump speech in recent days, he has largely avoided talking about gun control – an area where Clinton argues his record as a rural state senator is weak.

“There is a gun show loophole, which says you can circumvent the background check by going to a gun show and getting guns. We have to deal with that … I believe we have to deal with what is called the strawman provision, which means that you can walk in and legally buy a gun and then sell it to him who is a criminal.”

Though less sweeping than many in the party would like, Sanders argues there is more practical chance of achieving political support for such measures.

Sanders acknowledged this was an area of vulnerability but insisted his proposals for banning assault weapons and closing background check loopholes placed him the Democratic mainstream over the issue.

“I happen to believe that certain types of assault weapons, which are manufactured and designed for military purposes to kill people very quickly, should not be used in civilian society,” he said.

“That is a broad consensus,” added Sanders. “That is what I believe, what I have voted for. It is not very different from what Hillary Clinton or anybody else believes. But politics being what it is, they saw that as a vulnerability of mine because I come from a state that doesn’t have any gun control but I think we’re handling it fine now.”

On other issues, Sanders said that Clinton has reluctantly moved closer to his position – arguing his campaign has achieved significant progress regardless of how it now fares in the party primary.

“I think we have shifted the debate … You are seeing Hillary Clinton and others beginning to move in our direction,” he said.

Sanders insists the differences between them remain “very significant”: “I was from day one in opposition to the Keystone pipeline. It took her a long time to come about. Trade policy is the same thing. So I think the differences between Secretary Clinton and myself are pretty profound. She has a Super Pac. I don’t have a Super Pac.”

He also draws new parallels with her husband’s record on Wall Street, where he wants to break up big banks and Clinton does not.

“I believe, during the 1990s, President Bill Clinton and the Republicans fought very hard to deregulate Wall Street, I led the opposition to that,” he said. “I did not think it was a good idea to allow investment banks, commercial banks and insurance companies to merge. My view today is that we have got to break up these huge institutions that have so much political and economic power.”

And the Vermont senator now seems increasingly willing to draw a public line between Clinton’s fundraising on Wall Street and her policies toward the economy as a whole.

“Ultimately the real issue is which candidate is prepared, frontally, to take on the billionaire class,” he said. “Can you receive huge amounts of campaign contributions from Wall Street and the wealthiest people in this country and say ‘Well, I’m going to really take them on’? The answer is no, you are not going to do that.”


Testimonies from Mosul, Sinjar, Zummar: How Yazidi minorities are coping with the ISIS onslaught?

‘We need to act, and act now’ says US president, as military carries out aid drops to Iraqi civilians forced to flee by Islamist ISIS group
And Obama dispatched 130 military advisers to Erbil to secure the US consulate and started to bomb by drones and F18 moving artillery regiments of ISIS near the Erbil borders.
For many months all kinds of minorities living in the northern provinces of Iraq, particularly Mosul,  have been fleeing the carnage and exactions of the extremist Wahhabi terrorist factions.  All kinds of Christian sects, Yazidi, and all Muslim sects that  are considered heretics have been persecuted.
And Obama and all the Western governments kept their silence and refused to react to the atrocities and genocides committed in Iraq and in Gaza.
So why Obama decided to act now a little and reluctantly?
Obama said it clearly: The ISIS have crossed the red lines and approached quickly toward the refugee camps near Erbil in Kurdistan Iraq.  The US has vast investment in Kurdistan, a self-autonomous province where businesses are mushrooming as during the Far West style of “Faite comme chez vous”.
And Obama has no confidence that the Kurdish Bishmerka militias can stop the advances of ISIS.
Actually, these Kurdish autonomous armies have fled promptly as ISIS advanced toward their positions and left the minorities fend for themselves and refused to provide them with necessary means for fleeing or survival.

This report was sent to us by Ms. Christina Patto, VP Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq.

Here what she wrote: Here is our report and some of our testimony concerning the events happening now in North of Iraq.

It is a tragic situation, nobody can imagine how terrible it is, as much as I write to you and send you reports it will not be enough to describe the suffering of people.

For Zummar and Sinjar: they are under Da’esh control, thousands of Yazidis died in the last two days, they are facing a real genocide.  Hundreds have been buried alive in mass graves.

Till yesterday (45) children died of thirst. Some families throw their children from the top of Sinjar mountain in order not to see them die from hunger or thirst, or not to be taken by the terrorists. (1500) men were killed in front of their wives and families, (50) old men died also from thirst and illness.

More than (70) girl and women (including Christians) were taken, raped and being captured and sold. More than (100) families are captured in Tel Afar airport.

Yazidi women who fled the violence in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar sit Tuesday at a school where they are taking shelter, in the city of Dohuk in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. (Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)

Report from Iraq: families throwing children from a mountain to keep them from terrorists

The nightmare that is Iraq gets worse. This was just posted at the CNEWA blog:  

There is about (50) Christian families in Sinjar. The terrorists were able to control the Syriac church there and cover the Cross with their black banner.

Till now we do not know anything about those Christian families.

For Nineveh Plain: As a reason to the continuous bombing on Telkeif, Deacon (Lujain Hikmat Nano) died, most of the families left their houses and would leave one member of the family in the house, but this tragic led to an exodus from Telkeif. the same thing happened in Shekhan and the surrounded villages (shekhan center, Karanjo, Dashqotan and Ein biqri). Ba’ashiqa: an exodus from there because there was boming and battles near Ba’ashiqa as the terrorists are trying to control that area too.

Ba’ashiqa Monastery is being evacuated from the inhabitants and from IDPs.

Ein Sifni: an exodus of the Yazidi families which forced the christian families to flee too.

Mosul Falls (Dam where most electricity is produced for the province) are now under the control of the terrorist, these fall are about (10-15 Km) from Ein sifni.

Batnaye and Tellisquf: also an exodus because of the threats and bad circumstances they are going through.

Duhok: Our Dorm, the empty houses in the villages, the halls of the churches, school and mosques are full of IDPs and in very bad conditions. I cannot give you the exact number of those families. Also it is very hard to describe their needs in food baskets only, on one can imagine this tragedy, one may cry to see those people in this situation. Concerning Zakho and Center Duhok: Till now they are under the KRG control.

Meantime, additional details from The Washington Post:

Stranded on a barren mountaintop, thousands of minority Iraqis are faced with a bleak choice: descend and risk slaughter at the hands of the encircled Sunni extremists or sit tight and risk dying of thirst.

Humanitarian agencies said Tuesday that between 10,000 and 40,000 civilians remain trapped on Mount Sinjar since being driven out of surrounding villages and the town of Sinjar two days earlier. But the mountain that had looked like a refuge is becoming a graveyard for their children.

Unable to dig deep into the rocky mountainside, displaced families said they have buried young and elderly victims of the harsh conditions in shallow graves, their bodies covered with stones.

Iraqi government planes attempted to airdrop bottled water to the mountain on Monday night but reached few of those marooned. “There are children dying on the mountain, on the roads,” said Marzio Babille, the Iraq representative for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

“There is no water, there is no vegetation, they are completely cut off and surrounded by Islamic State. It’s a disaster, a total disaster.” Most of those who fled Sinjar are from the minority Yazidi sect, which melds parts of ancient Zoroastrianism with Christianity and Islam. They are considered by the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State to be devil worshipers and apostates…. …

“Children have died because of dehydration and lack of food,” Vian Dakheel, a Yazidi parliamentarian from Sinjar, said through tears. “My people are being slaughtered (and women and girls sold in open markets as slaves)” she continued, referring to reports of mass killings of those who had stayed behind.

Note 1: Vian Dakheel, woman deputy of Kurdistan, explained that refugees in the south side of Mount Sinjar has no exit route, are trapped and encircled by ISIS and will certainly die, one way or another. Those who managed to reach the northern side of Mount Sinjar have an opening to flee to neighboring towns and have been receiving airdrop supplies.
Vian recounted a typical testimony: A mother with 6 children had her husband and male sons slaughtered. She fled with the little girls. Two of the youngest died of thirst. A crippled daughter was left to die. The mother is trying to save her remaining daughter by walking, and keep walking to safety and water and food.
Note 2: Israel has a major Mossad headquarter in Erbil since 1980’s and is the agency distributing the funds received from Saudi Arabia to the various extremist Islamic factions in Iraq and Syria.
When Iraq PM Maleki declared that ISIS main headquarter is in Erbil, he meant exactly the close association of Israel and these salafist factions for funding and planing the expansion of this “Islamist State”.




October 2022

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