Chad’s Morning Brief: Final Thoughts on the District 3 Race, Obama Sending 300 Military Advisers to Iraq, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of June 20, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
Important Election Dates:
Election Day for Lubbock City Council District 3 Runoff: June 21
Voters in District 3 will go to the polls on Saturday to decide who will represent them on the Lubbock City Council. The runoff between Deanne Clark and Jeff Griffith has been an interesting one and one that was fairly quiet until last week.
In the final days of early voting the Griffith camp sent out a flier that accused Clark of being part of the group that opposed the 34th Street bond election. Clark and others have denied they were against the 34th Street bond and I believe them. As I said on the show, Mikel Ward, Clark's campaign manager, was against the splash pads and soccer fields in that election, but I can't find any record of her being against the 34th Street project. In fact, I've spoken to many people who say that she was for it and championed the project. The flier said that Deanne is part of the "against everything" crowd which is a favorite line from the more lefty types in Lubbock. Griffith stands by the flier but has offered no evidence to his claim.
To me this sounds like Griffith is listening to the wrong people. People who would rather attack Clark and Ward and who have their own interests in mind.
On Wednesday some picked up on an email from former Lubbock County Democratic Chair Pam Brink who endorsed Jeff Griffith and urged others to do the same. Apparently this was used as an example to call Griffith a liberal. To me, it was not a big deal since Brink is no longer in a leadership position with the Democrats. A local Democrat called into the show and stated that many Democrats in District 3 were actually supporting Deanne Clark. An email from inside the Clark campaign even confirmed that this was the case. At the end of the day, both Griffith and Clark have Republican and Democratic supporters.
Neither Griffith or Clark are liberals and the voters should know that. They may not agree on everything, but on many issues they do. I'd rather have either one of these candidates on the City Council representing my area than the person I have and I couldn't have said that about any of the other races. Voters in District 3 should vote for the person they believe best represents them and the person they believe will do the best job handing future issues the council may face.
Finally, can we end this talk about how the West Texas Home Builders Association is somehow an evil special interest group? The WTHBA has done good things for Lubbock and will continue to do so in the future. Money isn't a bad thing and having the most money in a campaign shouldn't be demonized. You raise what you can to get your message out. However, the winner of District 3 won't win because of money alone. As we have seen before in District 3, the person who had the best ground game will win.
According to FOX News, President Obama will be sending John Kerry and 300 military advisers to Iraq to advise what is left of the Iraqi military.
President Obama responded to the growing sectarian violence in Iraq by announcing Thursday that he's dispatching Secretary of State John Kerry for talks in the Middle East and Europe -- and is preparing to send up to 300 military advisers to aid the Iraqi military.
The president, holding back on more aggressive measures such as airstrikes, addressed the crisis in Iraq and the U.S. response after meeting for hours with his national security team. Speaking in the White House briefing room, he also touched on the controversial topic of whether the U.S. should work with Iran to counter militants next door -- saying Iran can play a "constructive role" if they join the U.S. in calling for the Iraqi government to be inclusive, but would worsen the situation if the Shiite regime's only interest is in shoring up fellow Shiite fighters.
The president repeatedly stressed that U.S. combat troops would not engage in the Iraq conflict. "Ultimately, this is something that's going to have to be solved by the Iraqis," Obama said.
But, citing concerns about the situation spiraling into an "all-out civil war," Obama said he's prepared to send a "small number" -- up to 300 -- of additional military advisers to train and advise Iraqi security forces, and set up "joint operation centers" in Baghdad and elsewhere. The president said the U.S. already has "significantly increased" intelligence and surveillance to better understand what Sunni militants with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are doing.
The president also stressed the diplomatic track, saying Kerry would leave this weekend for meetings with allies in the Middle East and Europe.
Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, said these steps are all "needed" but urged the president to do much more, including drone strikes. "The plan that the president announced today in response to the rapid terrorist expansion in Iraq underestimates the seriousness of the threat," he said in a statement.
Obama addressed the public as lawmakers on Capitol Hill were getting impatient with his administration's response. Several senior members took to the floor of the Senate to blast the president's policies earlier Thursday.
"These recent events ... are not intelligence failures. They are policy and leadership failures," Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said on the floor, claiming the president's Middle East policy has "totally unraveled."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., blamed the decision to withdraw entirely from Iraq for the current quagmire.
"You've seen a collapse of the Iraqi Army that I think could have been prevented," Graham said.
The back-to-back string of speeches on the floor were the latest show of pressure from congressional lawmakers aimed at getting the administration, broadly, to reconsider its foreign policies and, specifically, to get more involved in protecting the Baghdad government from Sunni Muslim militants sweeping across the country's north.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also told reporters Thursday that terrorism has "increased exponentially" under this administration. "You look at this presidency, and you can't help but get the sense that the wheels are coming off," Boehner said. The president met Wednesday afternoon in the Oval Office with the top four congressional leaders, including Boehner.
When coupled with previously announced steps, Obama's actions Thursday could put about 600 additional U.S. troops back on the ground in Iraq. The 300 military advisers he announced Thursday would join up to 275 being positioned in and around Iraq to provide security and support for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and other American interests.
While weighing military options, the administration is also urging the Iraqi government to be more inclusive. Obama warned Thursday that there is no "simple military solution to this issue."
Though Obama did not make such a call on Thursday, the Obama administration also is weighing whether to press the Shiite prime minister in Baghdad to step down in a last-ditch effort to prevent disgruntled Sunnis from igniting a civil war.
More so than airstrikes or other American military action, top U.S. officials believe that giving more credence to Sunni concerns about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki can stave off another deadly round of sectarian fighting of the kind that engulfed Iraq less than a decade ago.
Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Iraqi leader Wednesday and emphasized the need for him to govern in an inclusive manner. Biden also spoke to Iraq's Sunni parliamentary speaker and the president of Iraq's self-ruled northern Kurdish region.
Al-Maliki, who has long faced criticism for not making his government more inclusive, went on a diplomatic offensive Wednesday, reaching out in a televised address to try to regain support from the nation's disaffected Sunnis and Kurds. His conciliatory words, coupled with a vow to teach the militants a "lesson," came as almost all Iraq's main communities have been drawn into a spasm of violence not seen since the dark days of sectarian killings nearly a decade ago.
Iraq's government, though, has asked the U.S. to launch airstrikes to contain the fast-moving militant group that has seized Mosul, Tikrit and other towns in Iraq as the country's military melted away. U.S. officials say Obama has been weighing that request, but strikes have not been the focus of his deliberations.
Obama's decision-making on airstrikes has been complicated by intelligence gaps that resulted from the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq in late 2011, which left the country largely off-limits to American operatives. Intelligence agencies are now trying to close gaps and identify possible targets that include insurgent encampments, training camps, weapons caches and other stationary supplies, according to U.S. officials.
Other Top Stories:
These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.