Obama/Trump: Contrasting Deceivers

On the surface, Donald Trump and Barack Obama may seem like polar opposites but they are alike in one fundamental way: both promised to challenge a corrupt and brutal establishment but promptly caved in, writes Sam Husseini.

By Sam Husseini

Donald Trump won the 2016 Republican nomination and the general election largely because he was able to pose as a populist and an anti-interventionist, an “America Firster.” Similarly, Barack Obama won the 2008 election in good part because he promised “hope and change” and because he had given a speech years earlier against the then-impending invasion of Iraq.

President Barack Obama reaffirming his oath of office on Jan. 21, 2013, with his hand on Bibles belonging to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. (White House photo)

Short of disclosure of diaries or other documents from these politicians, we can’t know for certain if they planned on reversing much of what they promised or if the political establishment compelled them to change, but they both reversed themselves on their core messages, committing what you might call a massive political fraud. Yet, what is perhaps most striking is how quickly each of them backtracked on their winning messages, particularly since they were both proclaimed as representing “movements” seeking to shake up the system.

Even before taking office, Obama stacked his administration with pro-war people: He kept George W. Bush’s head of the Pentagon, Robert Gates; for Secretary of State he nominated Hillary Clinton, whom he beat largely because she voted for giving Bush authorization to invade Iraq; he surrounded himself with other prominent Iraq War backers including Vice President Joe Biden and senior foreign policy advisers Susan Rice and Richard Holbrooke. Even before he was sworn in, Obama had supported the 2008 Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. [See from 2008: “Anti-War Candidate, Pro-War Cabinet?“]

Thus, rather predictably, the Obama years saw the expansion of U.S. bombing operations and a dramatic escalation in the U.S. global assassination program using drones. Obama intentionally bombed more countries than any other president since World War II: Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan.

Obama had talked about a nuclear-weapons-free world – a key reason why he won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize – but he later geared up to spend $1 trillion in upgrading the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. At the end of his administration, attempts at the United Nations to work toward banning nuclear weapons were sabotaged, efforts that the Trump administration continues.

Obama also continued the feigned uncertainty about whether Israel possessed nuclear weapons. Asked by columnist Helen Thomas at his first presidential news conference if he knew of any country in the Mideast that had nuclear weapons, Obama dissembled and claimed he didn’t want to “speculate,” rather than answering “Israel” and starting the process of clearing away the mountain of deceits that sit atop U.S. foreign policy.

Trump’s election also brought some hope that he would live up to his populist promises and at least pursue U.S. policies that reflected his “America First” ideas and minimize U.S. military adventures abroad. Instead there have been a series of key reversals, topped off by Trump’s April 6 launching of 59 cruise missiles against the Syrian government. But that military intervention, reversing his plans to focus on defeating ISIS not orchestrating “regime change,” was not alone. There have been “flip-flops” on the Ex-Im Bank, NATO, China, Russia, the Federal Reserve.

The Impervious Establishment

Politically, Obama and Trump ran against the Establishment but then, in effect, rebranded it and, by doing so, further entrenched it. And not just in foreign policy. Though elected amid public anger over the Wall Street collapse of 2008, Obama supported the Wall Street bailout and brought in pro-Wall Street apparatchiks Tim Geithner and others around Robert Rubin, such as Larry Summers. Some were connected to Goldman Sachs, including Rahm Emanuel, Gary Gensler and Elena Kagan.

President Donald Trump being sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

Trump campaigned as a populist but he, too, brought in a roster of Wall Street and Goldman Sachs veterans, most prominently Steven Mnuchin at Treasury Secretary and Gary Cohn as chief economic adviser.

While the Obama/Trump deceptions have much in common, their prime difference has been in style. Obama is lawyerly and, like Jell-o, hard to pin to the wall. Many of his broken promises were actually violations of the spirit of what he said, not the letter. For instance, he vowed to withdraw “all combat troops” from Iraq, but didn’t tell voters he made a distinction between “combat troops” and, say, frontline military advisers and special-operations teams. Since many of his backers were utterly infatuated with him, they seemed incapable or unwilling to parse out his deceitful misimpressions.

By contrast, Trump behaves more like an electron, flashing from one side of an issue to the other or sometimes appearing to be in two places at the same time. Trump is an extreme example demonstrating the emptiness of political words and promises, but he is hardly unique. It’s largely meaningless if a politician declares a position, especially during a campaign. The question is: What have they done? How have they demonstrated their commitment to, say, ending perpetual wars or taking on Wall Street?

Obama and Trump were both salesmen, albeit with divergent pitches and contrasting personas. Nor were their deceptions particularly new. George W. Bush campaigned against “nation building” before launching a war of choice in Iraq supposedly intended to remake its entire political and economic structure; Bill Clinton campaigned as the “man from Hope” who felt the pain of the little guy before parlaying his presidency into a very lucrative business model for himself, his family and his friends; George H. W. Bush claimed he was a compassionate conservative but showed little compassion either in his domestic or foreign policies. All backed corporate power and finance. All waged aggressive war.

One question about Obama and Trump is whether they might have done anything differently if they weren’t subjected to ridiculous critiques from their “opposition” parties that pushed them to be even more militaristic.

Republicans portrayed Obama as a “secret Muslim” and a “pacifist,” which added to his incentive to bomb more Muslim countries to show that he wasn’t. Trump suffered from a “liberal” and “progressive” critique that he was Vladimir Putin’s “puppet” because he talked about cooperating with – rather than confronting – Russia. That pushed Trump to adopt a more militaristic posture against the other major nuclear state on the planet.

To avoid repeats of these political scams, America needs a citizenry, aided by media, that adroitly and accessibly pierces through the layers of deception in real time. Another thing that’s needed is a merging of what we call the “left” and “right” into a joint effort to pursue polices that undermine the grip of Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex on the U.S. government.

A wiser electorate then must resist the allure of loving – or hating – certain personalities and must repudiate the cheap satisfaction of partisan shots. Only when there’s adherence to real values – and cohesion from real solidarity – can the cycles of promises and betrayal be broken.

Sam Husseini is communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy, a consortium of policy analysts and founder of VotePact.org, which encourages cooperation between principled progressives and conscientious conservatives. 

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48 comments for “Obama/Trump: Contrasting Deceivers

  1. Joe Tedesky
    April 16, 2017 at 9:40 am

    On the recommendations you presented here Mr Husseini I whole heartedly agree. If America doesn’t or can’t change then this article maybe reprinted in 2020 just by adding another presidents name. Thanks for your recommendations.

    • mike k
      April 16, 2017 at 10:13 am

      The way things are going, none of us may be here in 2020.

      • tina
        April 16, 2017 at 9:49 pm

        “the way things are going , they’re crucify me. ” John Lennon.

        • tina
          April 16, 2017 at 9:52 pm

          sorry missed the word Gonna. Gonna crucify me

    • Virginia Jones
      April 17, 2017 at 2:00 am

      It was so refreshing to see the truth put out there! I not only voted for Barack Obama but I actually donated a small amount (large for me) to his campaign. ANd immediately he disappointed and never stopped. At this point I don’t know how the US will change.

      • Jim
        April 18, 2017 at 7:19 am

        Sorry to hear you did that. It was pretty obvious Obama was a fraud from the get go.

  2. mike k
    April 16, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Two vicious liars and murderers with nothing to choose between them.

    The final two paragraphs of this essay savor of the most delicious (and impossible) pie in the sky ever baked.

  3. April 16, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Good observations, Mr. Husseini, my favorite being “Trump behaves more like an electron, flashing from one side of an issue to the other”, perfect analogy and I laughed!

    It is amazing to me, though, that this weekend protesters are out to demand Trump release his tax returns, perhaps a legitimate point, but against war and the attacks on Syria and Afghanistan, I see only Boston and the Twin Cities having antiwar protests. Americans are selfish for the most part, it appears, or dazed. I am moving from a little town in the mountains of New Hampshire to a rust belt city in upstate NY to be able to connect with antiwar groups very soon. I see no choice because, honestly, we’re staring down what could be the end of civilization, life is seriously threatened by these neocon wars and we could have economic collapse. We had a little time slack in the Vietnam era, but it doesn’t look that way now.

    There is still an appeal by Consortium News to raise modest funds to continue these good forums, so I’m putting out a pitch if others can contribute, and I can do a little more this week. Info is below at the end of the site.

    • mike k
      April 16, 2017 at 10:41 am

      Good points Jessica. Let’s throw a few $logs on this little fire of CN, before the darkness closes in…. I too find I can stretch my budget a bit more.

  4. Zachary Smith
    April 16, 2017 at 10:41 am

    By contrast, Trump behaves more like an electron, flashing from one side of an issue to the other or sometimes appearing to be in two places at the same time. Trump is an extreme example demonstrating the emptiness of political words and promises, but he is hardly unique.

    I like this comparsion! From all accounts Trump actually believes what he is saying, at least at the time he is saying it. What he said yesterday and what he’ll say tomorrow is entirely different – like a different “state” of the electron.

    Obama was a cold-blooded backstabber of the people who elected him, and he cared nothing about them whatever except for increased lying work at election time. Because of his strange mental makeup, I’d expect Trump honestly believes he hasn’t deviated a bit from his campaign promises.

    I continue to maintain that Trump was in the election as an ego/revenge trip, and didn’t believe he was in any danger of having to move into the White House. So he chanted stuff in his rambling speeches which happened to look sensible when compared to what Hillary was saying.

    Now that he is in office he is, because of his monumental laziness, outsourcing every single Presidential job. As he promised, the Heritage Society gets to name the Supreme Court Justices. The likes of Paul Ryan and the Koch Brothers get Domestic Policy, while Foreign Policy is being (or has already been?) handed over to the current Establishment, and it so happens that the US Establishment is infested with neocons who will do what Israel wants. I’m hoping that Trump doesn’t give Ivanka some level of control of US nukes as he has already done with conventionally armed cruise missiles, but that’s the optimist in me. Allowing the Generals unrestricted access to the likes of the Monster Bomb used in Afghanistan doesn’t bode well in that field either.

    I’ve no idea what’s going on in North Korea, but I’ve got some bad “vibes” on that one. Unless Israel has some unknown interests there, this could fall into the category of “unfinished business” of the neocons. Remember the Axis Of Evil? Iraq has been smashed to flinders, the Israel Firsters have been demanding the same for Iran for fifteen years, and it begins to look like the next demolition job will be in North Korea. I’ve got a nagging suspicion Trump has already worked out a deal with China about NK which China can’t resist.

    Whatever the Power Elites did to Trump to bring him to heel has obviously worked, so it looks as if we’re into Bush’s Fifth Term. In other words, Hillary can now console herself that in all the essentials excepting possibly the Supreme Court, she won the election after all.

    • Susan Sunflower
      April 16, 2017 at 11:08 am

      The United States has been attempting to encircle / cage China as it has encircled Russia … by the usual methods (minus NATO) TPP, the guard-dogging of the South China Sea, strengthening our bonds with our “right-thinking” allies. As during the first cold war, where countries were backed into geopolitical and economic corners and forced to “align” with USA or face the consequences; this has been a not-very-subtle new aligned-versus-unaligned contest. (One of the reasons for the overland New Silk Road was the avoidance by China of “international waters” increasingly aggressively patrolled and policed by the USA).

      We’ll have to see how and when Trump reneges on his promises in this sphere (having canceled TPP) but attempting / forcing China to back down in its claims in the South China Sea, challenging ties/alliance with Russia and Iran, and wrt its support for Korea seem to be a post-TPP continuation of the new-cold-war in the eastern hemisphere.

      • Susan Sunflower
        April 16, 2017 at 11:28 am

        I keep wondering if it will not be American “overreach” that ultimately puts an end to certain “cooperations” … This story broke days ago and has just now made it to the front page of the NYT …
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/15/us/shadow-brokers-nsa-hack-middle-east.html

        This would not be the first time that United States intelligence agencies have been accused of hacking into Middle Eastern banks. In 2012, security researchers discovered that a computer virus had infiltrated thousands of computers, many inside Lebanese banks. Unlike cybercriminals, who target banks to maximize financial profit, the attackers had monitored the financial transactions of a targeted list of clients of Lebanese banks, which experts said had been used as financial conduits for the Syrian government and Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group and political party.

        The digital crumbs from that attack suggested, cybersecurity experts said, that the virus was the work of the same attackers behind Stuxnet, the computer attack that destroyed the centrifuges in an Iranian nuclear facility and that has been attributed to the United States and Israel.

        It is also not the first time a country has been accused of infiltrating the Swift banking system. Federal prosecutors are investigating North Korea’s possible role in a Swift hack that resulted in the theft of $81 million from the central bank of Bangladesh in February 2016. Security researchers found that traces of code used in the Bangladesh theft had been used in a destructive cyberattack against Sony in 2014, which the Obama administration and security experts blamed North Korean hackers for carrying out.

        The United States is leading inquiries into North Korea’s possible involvement in the Swift theft. If legitimate, the leaks suggesting that the N.S.A. has also infiltrated the Swift system leave the United States in an awkward position.

        (The American press seems most upset about the national identities of the “hackers” and “hacking” and not the findings — so what else is new? — but these allegations (the findings) suggest that the USA is infiltrating and hacking the international banking system of our allies … the rationale of the BRICS and the New Development Bank (originally as an alternative to the American controlled World Bank and IMF is reinforced and such revelations as these may hasten “multipolarity” even by non-BRIC countries. )

  5. April 16, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Thanks, Mike, and Zachary, great post. I came back on because I thought of Obama and “The Audacity of Hope”, which turned me off from the start, saw people reading it on the Boston subway commutes and thought, what nonsense. “The Audacity of Hype” it soon became. I agree with you, Zachary, Obama was an arrogant, egotistical Harvard snob. How he could accept the Nobel Peace Prize, what a joke! Well, Alfred Nobel was the inventor of dynamite, wasn’t he?

    The damage done by Obama and Clinton is certainly clear in what we’re experiencing now. I was appalled to hear Trump extol over that “beautiful bomb”! What a ruination, and, yes, Zachary, I wonder what policy we are being subjected to from Ivanka and Jared. There was once a time of diplomacy but that was long ago, now it’s bombs away!

    Yesterday on the Internet I saw an article with photo about an Iraqi baby who underwent surgery in India to remove four extra limbs the boy was born with, he had four arms and four legs, and we can guess how that happened. The accompanying photo showed the baby smiling at his mother as she cradled him and smiled at her baby after the surgery. That’s only one case, too.

    • Gregory Herr
      April 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

      depleted uranium is just another gift of “liberation” and “democracy” bestowed upon Iraq

  6. April 16, 2017 at 11:58 am

    If you haven’t read Paul Craig Roberts today, go to “John W. Whitehead Explains the Reason the Military Security Complex Had to Prevail Over Trump”, important article for copying.

    Also, I was thinking from my biblical brainwashing background, what was Moab? I thought it might be a place. Moab (and Ammon) were sons of Lot, born by incest with his daughters. Just a little ironic tidbit.

  7. April 16, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Black lives do not matter to Black aristocracy of the likes of Michelle and Barack Obama. Nobody’s life matters to the same black and white and Saudi aristocracy. Humanity will be sunk by the worst of humans. Take this lesson into the bardos to follow:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bardo

    “Kyenay bardo (skye gnas bar do): is the first bardo of birth and life. This bardo commences from conception until the last breath, when the mindstream withdraws from the body.

    Milam bardo (rmi lam bar do): is the second bardo of the dream state. The Milam Bardo is a subset of the first Bardo. Dream Yoga develops practices to integrate the dream state into Buddhist sadhana.

    Samten bardo (bsam gtan bar do) is the third bardo of meditation. This bardo is generally only experienced by meditators, though individuals may have spontaneous experience of it. Samten Bardo is a subset of the Shinay Bardo.

    Chikhai bardo (‘chi kha’i bar do): is the fourth bardo of the moment of death. According to tradition, this bardo is held to commence when the outer and inner signs presage that the onset of death is nigh, and continues through the dissolution or transmutation of the Mahabhuta until the external and internal breath has completed.

    Chönyi bardo (chos nyid bar do): is the fifth bardo of the luminosity of the true nature which commences after the final ‘inner breath’ (Sanskrit: prana, vayu; Tibetan: rlung). It is within this Bardo that visions and auditory phenomena occur. In the Dzogchen teachings, these are known as the spontaneously manifesting Thödgal (Tibetan: thod-rgyal) visions. Concomitant to these visions, there is a welling of profound peace and pristine awareness. Sentient beings who have not practiced during their lived experience and/or who do not recognize the clear light (Tibetan: od gsal) at the moment of death are usually deluded throughout the fifth bardo of luminosity.

    Sidpa bardo (srid pa bar do): is the sixth bardo of becoming or transmigration. This bardo endures until the inner-breath commences in the new transmigrating form determined by the “karmic seeds” within the storehouse consciousness.”

    Heed the mushroom; or it will be your doom.

  8. Jay
    April 16, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    “Donald Trump won the 2016 Republican nomination and the general election largely because he was able to pose as a populist and an anti-interventionist, an “America Firster.”’

    No, Trump won because he could play the outsider much much better than Hillary Clinton, and Hillary Clinton likely had the nomination stolen for her, then she ran a horrid campaign, entitled and tone deaf. Not a winning combination.

    Trump as a candidate was clearly every bit as much of a war monger as Hillary, however he didn’t direct this jingoistic fantasies directly at Russia, he pushed more for war with Iran, which leads to war with Russia, and then there was his continuation of a war stance directed toward Asia, something he just re-enforced last week.

    Trump won Michigan, Wisconsin, etc because the economy really hasn’t recovered but the likes of Obama and Hillary lie about a recovered economy, while Hillary cavorted with those who’d make matters worse. That Trump has done much the same after taking office is immaterial to the reasons for Hillary’s failures in this regard starting decades ago, but really increasing after 2012.

  9. Bill Goldman
    April 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    A good article and intelligent analysis. Unfortunately, most on the left and right get suckered every day. The elite establishment psychomanages the message so the rest argue instead lof joining forces to overthrow the elite. This has gone on for the entire history of the nation. Just read Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the US” or Gore Vidal’s 5 volume chronicle. One person who “got it” was General Smedley. Darlington Butler who wrote in his memoir that “War is a Racket” and that the military and their “patriotic” followers were “hit men for the corporations”. Wake up America.

    • Sam F
      April 17, 2017 at 8:25 am

      Well stated; many readers at this site see that the deception and division are a science and an industry of the oligarchy controlling mass media. Those who offer suggestions necessarily recommend the difficult paths of organization or revolution; others fall into despair. Perhaps we need something like Animal Farm (Orwell’s allegory of corruption after a revolution against tyranny) for organizers against tyranny.

      Of course the new organizers will not be associating on websites: they will have to be more covert than the communist revolutionary cells, for it appears that technology drives the development of tyranny more than that of democracy, and that the lessons of history benefit the tyrants more than the people.

    • KB Gloria
      April 18, 2017 at 7:55 am

      I do admire General Smedley Butler–he told the truth–he totally got it. (Not that I don’t admire Zinn or Vidal–Butler was among the first)

  10. Mary in Las Vegas
    April 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    All of the presidents in the past 60 years have had ‘the meetig’ with the elitists before taking the oath of office.
    That little gathering was to inform the elected that he was going to follow their playbook, word for word, and whatever they promised the voters of this country is down the drain. So, even if the men who campaigned to become POTUS on wonderful people, environmental and economy friendly promises, and even if they really truly meant what they promised, it was never ever going to happen….the real rulers: corporate, oil, big pharma ..would never let anything come in the way of their plans of an oligarchy. So, Obama and Trump, though they might have had very good intentions and plans for the country, had no chance of ever accomplishing any of them….and they, of course, in their pre-inauguration meet and greet with the Big Boys, were reminded of what happened to JFK when he wanted to make things right!

    • Richard Coleman
      April 16, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      There’s been an urban legend/conspiracy theory kicking around for years to the effect that when a new President is elected he is shown a secret film of Dealey Plaza showing what really happened, i.e. multiple shooters, none LHO. Nothing would need to be said, eh?

      Don’t know if it’s true, I’m just sayin’.

    • Sam F
      April 17, 2017 at 8:51 am

      I would suggest that the process is not merely threat of bribery or murder, because any president could start a revolution by merely exposing that in alternative media. The degree of cowardice required for a president to be blackmailed or threatened is inconceivable. We should concentrate instead upon the organizational failures of the federal government and political parties.

      The government is in fact utterly corrupted in all three branches, by opportunists of oligarchy, serving for bribes and promotions. The underlying cause is the development of economic concentrations not predicted by the Constitutional Convention, who left the institutions of democracy unprotected, and the encroachments were not prevented during the ebullient emergence of the middle class because it was focused upon liberation from poverty. Now we have such corruption that the people cannot restore democracy without violence.

      The mass media, elections, judicial and executive appointments are controlled entirely by oligarchy money. Both political parties represent the oligarchy, the Dems merely serving as a backstop in case the Reps miscalculate.

      So it is highly unlikely that any “major” candidate will be better than a fake liberal fielded by oligarchy campaign donors. The “exceptions” are generally fakers like Obama and Clinton.

      Trump is an exception but appears to be a very weak leader, without a coherent philosophy or well developed plan of action, unprepared to take over the federal administrations that now surround him, and readily convinced that he was wrong all along and must now follow the social lead of pseudo-experts who should have been replaced immediately.

      Regardless of politicians’ statements, their party will lead if they are elected, and both the Dems and Reps are corrupted to the core by economic concentrations, utterly unfit to lead the US, unfit even for minor political offices. They are merely gangs led by the rich. They must be abandoned completely and permanently as the worst enemies of the people.

  11. akech
    April 16, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    To be able to digest what is happening , US voters should study the US election history in order to understand that what we are dealing with is a snake with a forked tongue!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq3pYMEQ3lU

    From this definition, the snake’s forked tongue is instrumental in finding a prey, a mate, shelter or slithering away from its potential predator. We also know that after mating this reptile neither gives a damn about its mate nor its offspring.

    The people we elect to Congress or to be POTUS are presented to the voters by the slick Democratic and the GOP party elites. The voters are mercilessly lied to and coerced into choosing and voting for candidates carefully selected by DNC and GOP party elites, which serve nobody other than the ruthless snake; and they serve it very well without betrayal!

    The only items betrayed by the forked tongue of the snake are the prey, the mate and the offspring; just like American voters!

    The real snake I am alluding to here is the DEEP STATE and its forked tongue represented by DNC and GOP elites!

    Unless the voters device methods of selecting those who must represent them other those forced on them by the forked tongue of the snake, there will be no change in sight!

    • KB Gloria
      April 18, 2017 at 7:56 am

      That’s an insult to snakes the world over!

  12. April 16, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Donald Trump and Barack Obama may seem like polar opposites, but one similarity may be that they both entered office without much relevant experience. This seems to have led Obama to waste much of his first term trying to appease and make friends with Republicans who apparently had no interest in ever being cooperative much less friendly with him. Little needs to be said about the experience level of Trump.

    But both Trump and Obama seem engaged in following the lead of former Democrats. With Obama this consisted mostly following the lead of Clinton in moving further to the right, in catering to the interests of big business. With Trump though, we all remember how he verbally co-opted what Bernie Sanders had to say, trying to ride his coat-tails to popularity with the voters. But in an interesting way, Trump seems to be recalling FDR’s New Deal but with some innovations suitable for this century. He probably dreams of writing tweets that assure the world that his Raw Deal is every bit as popular with the voters as was the New Deal in its day.

    • April 16, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      O voted for the fascist Telecom Immunity bill, which he promised to filibuster, before he was elected. O also twisted congressional arms to get Bush’s TARP passed, before taking office. O was not attempting to appease anyone, his Bipartisanship charade was a smokescreen to cover why O did not accomplish anything when the Demo’s controled both houses. O also sold out to Nuke power when he was in Illinois Legislature.

  13. William
    April 16, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Trump made a major mistake taking Russia as an ally of the USA when he took office. The whole world that wants peace would have been happy for the first time in decades, if ever! But NOOOOO! He had to listen to his advisors! Jared Kushner is an idiot democrat war hawk and he has Trumps ear because of family. This guy should not be anywhere near the WH. Bring back Bannon and get rid of JK!!!

  14. William
    April 16, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Sorry! That sentence,:// Trump made a major mistake taking Russia as an ally of the USA when he took office. should read:// Trump made a major mistake NOT taking Russia as an ally of the USA when he took office.

  15. rosemerry
    April 16, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Chomsky’s comment that every post-WW2 POTUS would have been hanged if they had been tried fairly for war crimes is probably true, but the citizens who vote for them (not even half of those eligible in most elections) do not have a real choice because of the system, the gerrymandering, the media bias, the buying of elections, especially since 2010 and the Citizens United decision allowing unlimited interference.

  16. Richard Coleman
    April 16, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    “Another thing that’s needed is a merging of what we call the “left” and “right” into a joint effort to pursue polices that undermine the grip of Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex on the U.S. government.”

    Um, that’s a distinctly “left” agenda. As articulated by Bernie Sanders. How many Repubs talk that talk? (Trump is to increase the military budget by $54,000,000,000.)

  17. ritzl
    April 16, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    On the “upside,” both raised the dashed political hopes and activist energies. On one side the the other. That may create an opening for a credible challenge to the “war party.”

    Maybe. There needs to be a leader (who sensibly speaks the [bridging] lingo of both sides) to make that happen.

    No noises in that direction yet that I can see, but Gabbard may be a possibility (she’s 36).

    There’s SO much disaffection out there and enough common cause that it may actually force people with heretofore seemingly antithetical political views together.

    TBD.

  18. Jay
    April 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    Richard,

    Those things Palast points to were certainly factors.

    But why was it so close? What drove people to stay away from voting for Hillary. It was Hillary’s many faults, likely theft of the nomination, it wasn’t Trump’s promises which he obviously wasn’t going to keep.

  19. Tristan
    April 16, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Look at the policies of the U.S. over the last years since approximately 1980, and further in the past if one wishes to look. Can one identify where there was any deviation from imperial design? In what if any way did the U.S. not support dictatorships which were favorable to the capitalist agenda which the U.S. clothes in democracy promotion and freedom?

    When were the best interests of the citizens, be it domestic or those to be “freed via democratization”, served? Who is the one licking his lips as the fat of the earth is made to serve so few while the depredation it causes is ignored and the suffering is equated with unrest and terror which need suppression?

    • KB Gloria
      April 18, 2017 at 8:00 am

      Indeed!

  20. Bart in Virginia
    April 17, 2017 at 10:35 am

    “…America needs a citizenry, aided by media, that adroitly and accessibly pierces through the layers of deception in real time.”

    To those who control our national narratives, achieving the above would be unacceptable. An informed electorate is dangerous to their control of power and wealth.

  21. John Doe II
    April 17, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    akech — “To be able to digest what is happening , US voters should study the US election history in order to understand that what we are dealing with is a snake with a forked tongue!”

    THE SNAKE
    Oscar Brown Jr.

    On her way to work one morning
    Down the path along side the lake
    A tender hearted woman saw a poor half frozen snake
    His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew
    “Poor thing,” she cried, “I’ll take you in and I’ll take care of you”
    “Take me in tender woman
    Take me in, for heaven’s sake
    Take me in, tender woman,” sighed the snake

    She wrapped him all cozy in a comforter of silk
    And laid him by her fireside with some honey and some milk
    She hurried home from work that night and soon as she arrived
    She found that pretty snake she’d taken to had bee revived
    “Take me in, tender woman
    Take me in, for heaven’s sake
    Take me in, tender woman,” sighed the snake

    She clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful,” she cried
    “But if I hadn’t brought you in by now you might have died”
    She stroked his pretty skin again and kissed and held him tight
    Instead of saying thanks, the snake gave her a vicious bite
    “Take me in, tender woman
    Take me in, for heaven’s sake
    Take me in, tender woman,” sighed the snake
    “I saved you,” cried the woman
    “And you’ve bitten me, but why?
    You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”
    “Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin
    “You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in
    “Take me in, tender woman
    Take me in, for heaven’s sake
    Take me in, tender woman,” sighed the snake

    • John Doe II
      April 17, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      Attaching an American Woman (political) personality to the ‘silly woman’ in Oscar Brown’s allegory isn’t difficult.
      She’s the one that single handedly radicalized the ultra right wing Nationalist ‘Tea Party’ cum ‘Freedom Caucus’
      and brought “The Snake” into the White House.

      EXCLUSIVE — Sarah Palin: Finally, the ‘End of an Error’

      by SARAH PALIN
      Jan 2017

      Like everyone’s saying, it’s the end of an error. Obama is gone.

      Time to undo what the Community Organizer organized for America: astronomically increased debt, a disrespected law enforcement and military community, numerous ticked off allies, newly empowered enemies, erasure of borders, and demographic divisions aplenty.

      Obama is free now to stammer on about fulfilling his promises, like he’ll “negotiate healthcare reform in public sessions, televised on C-SPAN… Everyone gets a seat at the table.”

      There’s a new sheriff in town. Here’s hoping he’s got a posse of deputies who understand why we elected Donald J. Trump and won’t undermine our movement. The mandate: drain the swamp — those hell-bent on obstruction included. It’s RINO season.

      We will recover from Obama. The question is, how soon can we recover from the people who voted for him. Twice.

      http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/01/17/exclusive-sarah-palin-finally-end-error/

      • KB Gloria
        April 18, 2017 at 8:17 am

        Woman as metaphor for the duped instigator since Eve–and there was a snake in that one, too–enough!! And we wonder why H. Clinton (no, I am NOT a proponent) didn’t win–she could never win on any level, many mentioned in prior posts, most of which would never hinder a man, cf., the cluster-frak that was the Republican primary era. I also agree with Jane Eliot, who attributed much of Trump’s win to racist backlash (http://www.salon.com/2017/03/25/from-an-iowa-classroom-in-1968-to-donald-trump-educator-jane-elliott-on-the-legendary-blue-eyedbrown-eyed-exercise/)–we ignore these core convictions, denied and perhaps even unconscious on some’s part, at our peril–sexism and racism as still very much alive and successfully weaponized to energize the base of both sides. That being said the establishment dems who backed H. Clinton were utterly disdainful,and downright malicious toward the B. Sanders folk. It is the apparent bone-deep need of humans to seek and establish civil conformity as some sort of tribal protective cloak that drives these divisions hard and fast–and while I respect and appreciated the Husseini’s article and all the comments (as usual on CN), I’m not sure any objective information or study or expansive collaboration is the solution–not that I know what a solution is…unfortunately.

        • John Doe II
          April 18, 2017 at 1:38 pm

          KB Gloria – “Woman as metaphor for the duped instigator since Eve–and there was a snake in that one, too–enough!!”

          You wouldn’t be defending the radical right-wing racist Sarah Palin, would you…?
          She clearly can be seen as the “mother” of the ascent of right wing political nationalism.

          There’s no sexist intent to my comment and I’m disturbed by your inference.
          Mr. Trump has the unabashed, august and very shameful history of sexism.

          That said, I’m in absolute agreement with you on the deplorable DNC tactics against Bernie Sanders.
          Sarah Palin’s damage exposes the destructive side of American Conservatism, right wing racism.

  22. John Doe II
    April 17, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Trump {the snake} Issues Secret Waivers To Hide Corporate Lobbyists Running His Government From Ethics Scrutiny

    By Dartagnan
    Sunday Apr 16, 2017
    (excerpt)

    WASHINGTON — President Trump is populating the White House and federal agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who in many cases are helping to craft new policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck.
    The concept of a “conflict of interest” for former corporate lobbyists now assigned to positions of public service (and presumably charged with upholding the public trust) does not seem to have ever occurred to Donald Trump or anyone else in this White House. One of Trump’s first actions was to eliminate the Obama Administration’s prohibition against hiring industry lobbyists to work for the same agencies they’d lobbied in the past until one year had elapsed. So the infamous “revolving” door is almost literally the case for approximately 4000 hires across all Federal agencies.

    But more importantly, the people Trump is “bringing in” to formulate our government policies are far wealthier, with far more intricate business and financial ties than any prior Administration, making such conflicts of interest that much more likely. Any President with the slightest pretense of working for the good of the country would recognize the potential for wholesale graft and corruption and immediately take steps to reassure the public that these people are working for the country, and not simply to enrich themselves and their pet industries at ordinary Americans’ expense.

    But this Administration clearly doesn’t give a damn about the American public:

    In at least two cases, the appointments may have already led to violations of the administration’s own ethics rules. But evaluating if and when such violations have occurred has become almost impossible because the Trump administration is secretly issuing waivers to the rules.

    • John Doe II
      April 17, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      White House Will Keep Visitor Logs Secret

      APR 17, 2017

      The White House said Friday it will keep its visitor logs secret, meaning the public will not be able to know with whom the president and other top officials are meeting. In response, the American Civil Liberties Union said, “The only reasonable conclusion is to believe the Trump administration has many things it is trying to hide.” The White House announcement came the day before tens of thousands of people marched to demand Trump release his tax returns.

  23. alexander
    April 17, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Thank you for a wonderful article Mr. Husseini,

    Excellent.

  24. mark r.
    April 17, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.
    — Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our Time
    (one of Bill Clinton’s teachers at Georgetown University)

  25. April 17, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks, great to read these comments.

  26. Darrin Rychlak
    April 19, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    The office of president is largely ceremonial. The execution of presidential power has leaned right for decades. President Obama was a right of center politician. The ACA, CapnTrade, the Grand Bargain to cut Social Security, the extension of Bush tax cuts, the continuation of Bush’s illegal wars, the failure to jail anyone from Wall Street for the Crash, and on and on. Those are not the traits of a progressive politician.

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