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Profile Information

Name: Steven Leser
Gender: Male
Hometown: New York, NY
Home country: USA
Current location: NYC
Member since: Tue Jan 4, 2005, 05:36 PM
Number of posts: 29,160

Journal Archives

Will Bernie Sanders engage in demagoguery against Hillary Clinton re Iraq War Resolution


Will Bernie Sanders engage in Demagoguery against Hillary Clinton on the Iraq War Resolution during 1st Democratic debate?

Before I even start, since Sanders supporters tend to accuse people who support Hillary Clinton of duplicity to distract from whatever points they are making, note the two links to previous articles of mine at the bottom of this page where I make the same points back in 2006 and 2009.

In the lead up to todayís first Presidential debate of the 2016 Democratic primary, indications have come from the Sanders camp that Bernie intends to bring up Hillary Clintonís 2002 vote on the Iraq War Resolution to try to hurt her during the debate.

There is so much revisionist history pushed regarding that vote that I bet most folks donít even know they are engaging in revisionism.

The Iraq War Resolution vote, like UN Security CouncilResolution 1441 that occurred within a few weeks of each other were efforts to pressure Iraq to allow UN Weapons Inspectors back into the country. Allowing UN Weapons Inspectors into the country for a continuous inspection regime was part of a deal that Iraq struck in order for a cease fire to be put into effect at the end of the first Gulf War in 1991. This deal was enshrined in several UN Security Council Resolutions and were imposed on Iraq because Iraq had engaged in an unprovoked war of aggression against Kuwait and attempted to annex that small country.

In case anyone is unaware, engaging in an unprovoked war of aggression is a war crime.

So the Iraq War Resolution and UN Security Council 1441 were part of enforcing international law against a dictator and country that had engaged in a serious war crime.

There are literally hundreds of media articles backing up what I am saying here. Practically all you heard from June 2002 until December of 2003 in the media were articles and TV segments about efforts to force Iraq and Saddam Hussein to readmit the UN Weapons Inspectors.

Shortly after the Iraq War Resolution and UN Security Council 1441 were passed, Iraq did just that under the pressure of both of those measures. Iraq agreed to start obeying international law. Being that this is the case, I am alternatively amused and galled by the efforts of some to demagogue the vote on the Iraq War Resolution. It accomplished what it was designed to do.

That President George W. Bush misused the Iraq War Resolution several months later and invaded Iraq without justification for doing so doesnít make the IWR vote bad, it makes George W. Bush a criminal. Congress cannot be afraid to act to support the effort to have countries obey international law because of concerns the President might do something bad one day. The President alone is responsible for Presidential bad acts.

Iíd love to hear Hillary Clinton respond to any question about her vote by asking Bernie Sanders, why didnít you vote to put pressure on Iraq to start obeying international law as it had agreed to do at the end of the first gulf war. What would Sanders have been willing to do to uphold international law in this situation?

Let's turn this around a bit to make this even more clear. If the Iraq War Resolution vote was never held, or had it failed, Iraq would not have allowed weapons inspectors back into the country. That alone would have been justification for war per existing UN Resolutions. The ceasefire terms of the various 1991 UN Resolutions would have been violated by Iraq and thus the ceasefire would no longer exist.

My previous articles on the subject that I mentioned earlier are linked below and provide additional background. Itís time for folks to stop engaging in revisionist history on this subject, and that includes Bernie Sanders and his surrogates.

12-19-2006: Iraq War - When the Wrong Path Was Taken and What to Do Now http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_steven_l_061219_iraq_war__96_when_the_.htm

3-4-2009: Iraq War - Six Year Anniversary of what Should have Prevented it http://www.opednews.com/articles/Iraq-War--Six-Year-Annive-by-Steven-Leser-090304-145.html

I love it. The same weekend Sanders flip flops on gun control is the weekend Sanders supporters

are trying to criticize me for changing my mind eight years ago.

And Sanders did this TODAY. I mean, heck, I changed my mind on something eight years ago and Sanders supporters want to crucify me for that.

Where is their condemnation for Sanders?



My Endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton for President

From my blog at: http://steveleser.blogspot.com/2015/10/my-endorsement-of-hillary-rodham.html

With the first Democratic Presidential Debates a few days away, I realized I had yet to make a formal endorsement for President even though for those who know me my preference has been clear for some time now.

I endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for President not just in the Democratic Primary, but in the General election once she gets that far as I am confident she will.

Compared with the various other candidates running for President on both sides of the aisle, there is no one who can match Secretary Clintonís knowledge, experience and character.

Speaking of her knowledge and experience, even Republican Senator Marco Rubio said:

"If this election is a resume competition then Hillary Clinton is going to be the next President."
- From the first GOP Presidential debate August 6, 2015

While I rarely agree with Senator Rubio, other than his attempt at immigration reform which he subsequently repudiated, he was right in this one instance about Secretary Clinton. Having been a Senator and four years as Secretary of State, historically the second most important position in the US Government, there is no one currently running for President who can compare with her experience.

The other point I would make about that is that her experience as Secretary of State was a successful one. If we were going to make a job description about the position of Secretary of State, leading the diplomatic and foreign policy of the US, it would include something about cultivating a positive image of the US overseas, particularly among our western European allies. To be sure, Hillary had a challenge here. The administration of George W. Bush had decimated our relationship with our European allies and wrecked the opinion of the US with the populations of those countries. Iíve had numerous on screen and private discussions with Republican pundits and politicians who try to pooh-pooh this point but the data is clear. The administration of President Bill Clinton left the US with an excellent reputation overseas and that of George W. Bush threw that all away with the invasion of Iraq that most of the world viewed as unjustified.

That negative opinion was reversed under Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and Barack Obama as President. While both deserve credit, the Secretary of State under such a performance deserves a lot of credit since, as I noted earlier it is part of what we all would agree to be her job description to lead the USí diplomatic and foreign policy to cultivate a positive image of the US overseas and the numbers are dramatic. As we can see from the Pew Institutes report on the subject at http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2014/07/2014-07-14-Balance-of-Power.pdf,

opinions of the populaces of some of our most important allies in Western Europe, including the UK, France, Germany, Italy and many other countries like Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, Argentina, cratered during the Bush administration and rebounded during Hillaryís tenure as Secretary of State.

Republican politicians and pundits who try to claim there are no major accomplishments during Clintonís tenure at State willfully attempt to ignore this (as it is a triple headed problem for them, pointing out how awful the foreign policy of last Republican administration was and how successful not only the current Democratic administration is, but the leading Democratic candidate in 2016), but this is a better measurement of the success of US foreign policy and those who lead it than a treaty or other singular event.

This is all a long winded way of saying that Hillary Clinton not only has a great resume, but in the most important position she has had, one much closer to the duties and responsibilities of President than any other job held by any other current Presidential candidate, she excelled.

Itís almost laughable to compare her experience to that of anyone running against her.

The other interesting thing that her successful tenure as Secretary of State points to is Presidential demeanor. Itís impossible for a diplomat or foreign policy leader to be successful without having a level-headed personality and presence in your public persona and during important private negotiations. A President needs to be patient, strong but humble, positive and steadfast.

This is a clear advantage that Hillary has over rivals like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, neither of whom have demonstrated anything approaching Presidential demeanor and in fact seem to have the opposite qualities in several cases (arrogance, irritability and impatience, just to name a few).

In analyzing this endorsement, some will no doubt point to eight year old articles of mine during the 2008 Presidential campaign where I endorsed Barack Obama. My criticisms of Hillary Clinton at the time were many and pointed.

The fact is, from the moment of Hillaryís concession to President Obama in 2008 at the end of their contest; I began to suspect my evaluation of her was incorrect. This is not a new revelation, I have said so many times to friends and in public appearances beginning in 2008, i.e. long before I thought of her as a Presidential contender in 2016. The grace with which she conceded the race to Barack Obama and endorsed him to include announcing the delegate votes from New York to be his at the Democratic convention made me realize my prior opinions of her, which had included attacks on her character, needed to be re-evaluated.

Iím sure critics of mine and of Secretary Clinton will minimize this, but I donít think that I or many people would find it so easy to behave gracefully in a similar situation. Having poured your heart and soul in an effort for the better part of two years, working 14-18 hour days seven days a week in the effort only to fail by the slimmest of margins at the last minute I believe would make the vast majority of folks bitter at least in the short term and perhaps longer than that. It is under adversity that I think all people show their true character. This was a true moment of adversity for Hillary Clinton. She had lost in this effort and her character came through and we learned a lot about who she was.

During her tenure as Secretary of State, I and all of the country had additional opportunities to learn more about her. By the end of her first year as Secretary of State, I was convinced my previous opinions of her were wrong.

Regarding Hillaryís positions on the issues, much has been made of the idea that she and former President Bill Clinton were co-Presidents during his term. That is probably overstating the issue, but what is not overstating the issue is that they discussed issues during his administration and that he utilized her as a trusted advisor. That administration where she was a trusted advisor was one of the most successful in the last 75 years on all fronts, economic, foreign policy, etc. Sanders supporters can claim she is not progressive enough, and various Republican contenders and their surrogates can try to claim she is too progressive, but nothing makes a statement like actually being successful and few (as in none) of her antagonists can claim to have been part of (or support candidates who have been part of) a successful Presidential administration. In other words, their criticisms on her positions on the issues donít mean a whole heck of a lot.

In terms of the knowledge and experience necessary for the job, in terms of the character needed to be President and in terms of being right on the issues I personally canít see how anyone could come to any other conclusion. Hillary Clinton should be the next President of the United States and I heartily endorse her.

Joint Declaration (by 7 countries) on the Recent Military Actions of the Russian Federation in Syria


Joint Declaration on the Recent Military Actions of the Russian Federation in Syria

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 2, 2015

We, the Governments of France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States of America state the following in view of the recent military actions of the Russian Federation in Syria:

Begin Text:

We express our deep concern with regard to the Russian military build-up in Syria and especially ‎the attacks by the Russian Air Force on Hama, Homs and Idlib which led to civilian casualties and did not target Da'esh. These military actions constitute a further escalation and will only fuel more extremism and radicalization. We call on the Russian Federation to immediately cease its attacks on the Syrian opposition and civilians and to focus its efforts on fighting ISIL.

End text

Should admins boot the gungeon and refuse to host any pro-gun groups/forums on DU?

Curious to think how DUers feel about this.

Over/under on jury vote to hide this post? I'm going with 5 votes to hide


even though there is nothing hide-worthy. I just want folks to acknowledge their hypocrisy on BLM.

Bad when DU African American supporters defend BLM and say economic justice does not pre-empt social justice. Good when Elizabeth Warren says it.

McCarthy will replace Boehner, with all Tea Party folks in other leadership roles.

McCarthy is more like Boehner than a Tea Partier. But it is being set up so that the leadership after him is all Tea Party.

McCarthy thinks he has come to some arrangement with the "Freedom caucus". What he doesn't realize is, the arrangement involves coaching several of them until they are ready to unseat him.


Angela's first time in her new Rhythm of The Reef Activity Saucer which daddy put together Sat night

Another poll of conservative viewers showing Trump won the debate in their eyes by a large margin


Here is the complete list of results from the Newsmax poll:

Donald Trump 46.26%
Carly Fiorina 20.11%
Sen. Marco Rubio 9.32%
Dr. Ben Carson 9.22%
Sen. Ted Cruz 5.67%
Gov. John Kasich 3.10%
Gov. Chris Christie 2.14%
Gov. Jeb Bush 1.45%
Sen. Rand Paul 1.27%
Gov. Mike Huckabee 1.04%
Gov. Scott Walker 0.41%

Sanders on CNN this morning discussing Republican Debate

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