How Obama, Trump Had Their Wings Clipped

Presidents Obama and Trump contrast sharply on foreign policy, but share a common denominator: they faced resistance to smoothing relations with a key power, Obama on Iran; Trump on Russia, Andrew Spannaus noted at Aspenia.

By Andrew Spannaus

President Donald Trump was backed into a corner in late July, forced to sign a bill imposing new sanctions on Russia, despite opposing it on substance and form. Trump issued a signing statement, claiming that the new law impinges on “the President’s constitutional authority to recognize foreign governments” (referring to the case of Crimea and Ukraine), limits the President’s actions on sanctions, and violates “the President’s exclusive constitutional authority to determine the time, scope, and objectives of international negotiations”, among other things.

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office, Nov. 10, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The overwhelming vote on the sanctions bill in both the House and the Senate (419-3 and 98-2, respectively) was a clear indicator of how much of official Washington sees the White House’s attempts to improve relations with Russia: as a dangerous goal that needs to be stopped as soon as possible, lest the apparently bumbling, self-absorbed and ineffective President actually succeed in implementing a major change in U.S. foreign policy, one with repercussions on numerous areas of global geopolitics.

Influential Republicans in the Senate such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham have never hidden their disdain for Trump’s anti-neocon positions, and now they find themselves with the almost unanimous support of their colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle as well.

The constant churn of Russiagate scandals, although they have yet to turn up a smoking gun, has created an environment in which politicians and major press outlets have decided that Russia is Trump’s weak point, on which a strong defeat can neuter his effectiveness and potentially even lead to his impeachment.

The White House’s isolation on a point of foreign policy that would represent a major strategic shift recalls another situation not too many years ago, that of Iran, when then-President Barack Obama found himself in a difficult battle with the overwhelming majority of Congress apparently opposed to his plan to shift gears in the Middle East. Obama ultimately won that battle, succeeding in reaching a historic deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program, after adopting a strategy of secret negotiations, clear goals, and an explicit definition of the choices to be made.

Trump differs considerably from Obama on Iran, instead following the traditional Israeli-Saudi line to date, but the clash with Congress and the power of neoconservative foreign policy is an area where the two Presidents definitely have something in common; in this case, Trump could draw on aspects of Obama’s strategy, although the circumstances are undoubtedly different, and the stakes possibly even higher today.

Obama’s Iran Initiative

President Obama’s first attempt at reaching an agreement with Iran, in 2009, failed miserably due to a series of circumstances, some under the White House’s responsibility, and others not. The events of the Green Revolution, the substantial opposition within his own Administration – Hillary Clinton spoke openly of negotiations merely as an excuse to then slap more sanctions on Iran – and a lack of a solid strategy all doomed the first round of negotiations, making some believe Obama never really intended to go all the way.

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, announcing the signing of the Iran-nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015. (White House photo)

At the start of his second term though, Obama began to lay the groundwork for a major shift in foreign policy. One of the key aspects was the renewed push for an agreement with Iran. Secret negotiations began in Oman in the spring of 2013, leading to the initial Joint Plan of Action adopted in November of that year. Over the subsequent two years negotiations continued with the other members of the P5+1 (the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, as well as the European Union), until the accord was finalized in July 2015.

In order for the United States to fulfill its commitments, it was sufficient for the President to begin waiving sanctions, but the anti-Iran forces within the United States were determined to block the deal, and thus pushed for a Congressional vote to prevent the President from moving forward. The attempt failed, as the Senate voted 58-42 to close debate on the resolution, just shy of the 60-vote threshold needed for final passage.

Despite the widespread commentary about how the Democrats predictably handed their President a victory, success was far from assured in this case. As a matter of fact, by any historical standard, the failure of a vote against Iran, presented to members as a way to express support for Israel, was a startling achievement.

Just consider the vote totals for similar bills in years past, or even on the same issue. In May 2015, as negotiations were ongoing, the Senate voted on the “Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act”, which required the President to submit the agreement to Congressional review, setting up the vote which Obama eventually won. That bill passed 98-1 in the Senate, and 400-25 in the House of Representatives.

These are common numbers for legislation that is considered pro-Israel and has the backing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), whose widespread influence on U.S. politicians has been well chronicled in recent years. AIPAC did everything it could to win the vote against the Iran deal, but failed spectacularly, in a defeat that not only tarnished the group’s invincible image, but also contributed to the rise of other pro-Israel groups on the U.S. political scene whose policies are not necessarily aligned with the right-wing governments led by Benjamin Netanyahu – who still happens to be in power.

Challenging the Establishment

In addition to working behind the scenes to assure Senators’ votes, Obama also made his case for the Iran deal publicly. His most effective intervention came in August 2015 when speaking at American University in Washington, D.C. He put the choice in stark terms, rather than attempting to woo lawmakers with a soft approach: a vote against the Iran deal was a vote for war in the future. And he drew a clear parallel with the decision to invade Iraq in 2002, that in hindsight many Congressman have been forced to admit was wrong, and avoidable.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with U.S. President Donald Trump at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

Defining the Iran deal as a vote for or against conflict was obviously not what Obama’s opponents expected. Consider the response from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the time: “This goes way over the line of civil discourse… The President needs to retract his bizarre and preposterous comments.”

Laying out the consequences so directly went against the normal rules of politics, but it was precisely what Obama needed to ensure that the stakes would be clear to everyone before the fact, not afterwards if the pro-war faction had won the day once again.

At the time the initial understanding was reached with Iran, in the fall of 2013, Obama was beginning his attempt at a wholesale change in U.S. foreign policy. Not only did he work with Russia and China on the nuclear deal, but he decided not to bomb the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, accepting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer of a deal to remove chemical weapons from Syria.

Still today this decision is seen in the U.S. establishment as a disastrous capitulation after having drawn the infamous “red line” regarding chemical weapons attacks. Yet Obama, who pulled back after hearing doubts about the intelligence and recognizing that Congress was unlikely to support action, later defined that as one of the most important moments of his presidency, when he broke with the “Washington playbook” of automatic military response.

The attempt to move away from the policies of “regime change,” drawing down support for extremist groups linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS while seeking different alliances, would ultimately be too little, and too late.

In 2014 cooperation with Russia was derailed due to the crisis in Ukraine – a situation where the Washington playbook remains intact – and by the time Obama and Putin were able to begin working together in Syria again, through the activism of John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov, time had essentially run out.

In 2016, the U.S. foreign policy establishment wasn’t willing to follow Obama towards cooperation with Russia, as most anticipated the more hawkish Hillary Clinton would win in November.

Obama moved quickly to embrace the new Cold War posture permeating Washington in the final months of his presidency, but his original goal of rebalancing the U.S. presence in the Middle East and cooperating with Vladimir Putin’s Russia in the fight against terrorism provides a direct link to the challenges facing the Trump Administration today.

The current President has openly declared his intentions with respect to Russia, which Obama rarely did. Despite numerous setbacks – some of his own making, of course – Trump has continued to seek better relations with Putin; yet the overwhelming pressure from both inside and outside of the Administration has heavily scaled back expectations of how far he can go, and thwarted cooperation on numerous fronts.

If Donald Trump wants to truly reach his goal of better relations with Russia, he could look to the successful aspects of Obama’s victory on the Iran deal. Not only is it essential to work behind the scenes, through back channels that avoid sabotage from within his own Administration, but the President could potentially go back on the offensive if he were to define the issue publicly on his own terms.

It won’t be easy to convince the American people, and a considerable part of the institutions, given the current environment; however, a clear and honest accounting of our relations with Russia, including the unthinkable dangers of conflict, could go a long way towards inaugurating a more rational discussion of Trump’s desired foreign policy shift.

Andrew Spannaus is a freelance journalist and strategic analyst based in Milan, Italy. He is the founder of Transatlantico.info, that provides news, analysis and consulting to Italian institutions and businesses. He has published the books “Perché vince Trump” (Why Trump is Winning – June 2016) and “La rivolta degli elettori” (The Revolt of the Voters – July 2017). [This article first appeared at http://www.aspeninstitute.it/aspenia-online/article/congress-vs-president-what-trump-can-learn-obama ]

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86 comments for “How Obama, Trump Had Their Wings Clipped

  1. Joe Tedesky
    August 14, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    While reading this fine article, all I could hear in my head, is that our bribed U.S. congress is owned lock stock and barrel by the Zionist. Is it any wonder who could be behind these maneuvered votes, to dissuade any president from doing what is right for America, or for the world , for that matter? Our America has been high jacked by the Neocons, and the Zionist. Until we take back our country (this is where that overly used saying fits) from these war hawks, nothing much will change for the good. Then people will say, why did we ever back that little stolen piece of land in the Middle East, known as the country of Israel?

    • mike k
      August 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Amen Joe. Exactly.

      • backwardsevolution
        August 14, 2017 at 4:54 pm

        mike k – glad to see you’re back. I can stop worrying.

      • Virginia
        August 14, 2017 at 6:08 pm

        Me, too! Left you a welcome on previous article’s comments.

    • roza shanina
      August 14, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      I guess we’ll have to ask Harry Truman. Wait, he’s not around anymore

      interesting

      interested to hear what others think.

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 14, 2017 at 4:59 pm

        Yeah roza, a 2 million dollar campaign donation (a bribe), and Harry wins the 1948 presidential election, oh yeah and with that there is now a new country going by the name of Israel. Here we are seventy years later struggling in the Middle East, all because of foreign interference in our U.S. elections.

        • roza shanina
          August 14, 2017 at 5:23 pm

          So sad, too true. Interesting that partition of India leading to the creation of Pakistan happened the same year. 1948 was quite a year.

          To quote from the linked article below –

          In a Nov. 10, 1945, meeting with American diplomats brought in from their posts in the Middle East to urge Truman not to heed Zionist urgings, Truman had bluntly explained his motivation: “I’m sorry, gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism. I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents.”
          truman’s motivation

          \

          • Joe Tedesky
            August 14, 2017 at 8:17 pm

            Truman’s most disappointing moment happened when he denied the good advice of George Catlett Marshall, Jr..

          • backwardsevolution
            August 15, 2017 at 4:04 am

            roza shanina – wow, what a great article! Thanks for posting it. That Clark Clifford appears to be quite an underhanded guy. As a young lawyer, how was he able to get so up close and personal with Truman? In other words, who got him that position? And was he acting alone, or was he being advised by others? I think he was getting help. What he did was too underhanded for a young lawyer. Sounds like Truman didn’t really stand a chance. From the article:

            “With his current article claiming more altruistic motives for supporting Israel, and taking such cheap shots as claiming that his State Department opponents in 1948 ‘were widely regarded as anti-Semitic,’ Clifford once again demonstrates shrewd, and amoral, political calculation.”

            That says it all: shrewd, and amoral, political calculation. So Marshall was interested in good foreign policy, and Clifford was interested in securing Jewish votes for Truman and making up for the Holocaust.

            Or was he? Was that his real motivation? I kind of don’t think so. I checked him out on Wiki and found that he was a Christian Zionist. I thought, what the heck is that?

            “Christian Zionism is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy.”

            Aside from a Jewish person advising President Truman on the question of Israel, could there have been anyone more biased than Clifford?

            If I were a betting person, I’d say Clark Clifford’s motivation was not votes for President Truman, but his religious beliefs.

            We often talk about foreign agents here. How is this any different?

          • backwardsevolution
            August 15, 2017 at 4:24 am

            roza – I must be too suspicious.

            “It covers events from 1944, when Clifford, a 37-year-old lawyer and newly commissioned lieutenant, junior grade, in the naval reserve from St. Louis, Missouri, Truman’s home town, took up duties in the White House, through the decision to recognize Israel on May 14, 1948. Astonishingly, it confirms the key role of Clifford, Truman’s inexperienced domestic political adviser, in overriding the wishes of General of the Armies George C. Marshall, the World War II chief of staff.”

            Again, he was an inexperienced advisor. Who got him into that position? I’d like to know. Was it people who knew his religious beliefs, knew he would work on their behalf? Clifford was not impartial and should never have been chosen for that position. Quite amazing. And the rest is history.

          • Sam F
            August 15, 2017 at 7:29 am

            There appears to be considerable evidence that Jewish zionists influence or control some protestant fundamentalist groups to sell zionist propaganda:

            1. that “Christ was a Jew” although true only ethnically, as he established a new religion;
            2. that “Jews deserve Israel” as compensation for WWII losses, although they have no affected survivors still living. and no special assistance is urged for Chinese or Russians although their losses were 2 and 3 times as many;
            3. that “Jews deserve to revive their mideast kingdom” although none of the other thousands of ancient empires there are given that privilege, nor are ethnic arguments used to support existing countries there that the US invades.

            These obviously bogus claims are widespread as excuses to accept zionist destruction of democracy, spending the US into ruin with useless mideast wars that destroy our security and ability accomplish any good in the world. It would be good to have some research into zionist control of protestant fundamentalist groups: the claims are so clearly false that they must come from paid propagandists.

            Most Americans who live without any prejudice, like myself, are nonetheless afraid of the false attack of “antii-semitism” although semites include Arabs, and opposition to a fascist minority of Jews is in fact beneficial to Jews.

          • backwardsevolution
            August 15, 2017 at 1:57 pm

            Sam F – found this on the Internet:

            “Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States, recently announced that it has surpassed 3 million members. […]

            CUFI is, however, largely overlooked by the mainstream media in favor of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which includes Christians but is predominantly Jewish.”

            3 million members is a lot of votes. And the “largest pro-Israel organization in the United States”? What? I’ve never heard of them before.

            Sam F – what I was referring to with Clark Clifford is that he WAS a member of this Christian Zionist movement when he was advising President Truman. If you read the article, he appeared to play a large role in persuading Truman to create the country of Israel, and I just bet he got a big helping hand from powerful Jewish individuals. I’m saying that Clark Clifford’s religion did play a part in what he advised President Truman. People with a vested interest like this should NOT be allowed to deal in policy matters – at all.

          • backwardsevolution
            August 15, 2017 at 2:33 pm

            Sam F – I also found this:

            “The supporters of CUFI moved up the convention center escalators and took their seats for a plenary session. Onstage were the first guests, all recognizable from Fox News—Weekly Standard editor-in-chief Bill Kristol, onetime CIA director James Woolsey, and the Council on Foreign Relations fellow Elliott Abrams, a presidentially pardoned veteran of foreign policy disasters on two continents. Sitting right next to them was John Hagee, the burly Christian Zionist pastor who founded CUFI in 2006. He leaned into a microphone, passionately explaining why supporters of Israel should not be tricked by casualty reports.”

            http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/07/christians_united_for_israel_the_most_insanely_pro_israel_conference_of.html

            CUFI was founded in 2006? It’s a new organization then. Where does it get its money from? At the conference described at the link were Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Adelson. And the article also mentions “David Brog, the Jewish executive director of CUFI”. What? So a Christian group have a Jewish director? All very interesting. Perhaps another arm invented to help AIPAC in their lobbying?

            What do you think, Sam?

          • Sam F
            August 15, 2017 at 3:17 pm

            Clifford appears to have been a DC lawyer with a Navy friend who appointed him special counsel or assistant adviser to Truman, who thought him reliable after his successful campaign management. Much of the campaign funding was zionist, and his prejudices governed policy, as usual in our poorly designed and degraded remnant democracy.

            From Wiki article:
            “Clifford went to Washington, D.C., first to serve as assistant to the President’s Naval Adviser, after the naming of a personal friend from Missouri as the President’s Naval Adviser. Following his discharge from the Navy, he remained at Truman’s side as White House Counsel from 1946 to 1950, as Truman came rapidly to trust and rely upon Clifford.
            “Clifford was a key architect of Truman’s campaign in 1948, when Truman pulled off a stunning upset victory over Republican nominee Thomas Dewey. …”

    • Sam F
      August 14, 2017 at 6:27 pm

      Yes, Israel is the only significant foreign threat to the United States, and has actively subverted and destroyed US democracy through bribes and control of US mass media. Saudi Arabia is a very distant second. The zionist media and politician screams against Russia and China prove their guilt.

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 14, 2017 at 8:28 pm

        Just like when Secretary of State George C. Marshall tried to make good logical sense with Truman, and Truman in spite of Marshall’s well assessed advice, turned the other way, recognizing the State of Israel. Next to the Balfour Declaration, Truman’s validation of the Zionist regime, has been ridden with a curse that seems to know how to globally spread. The U.S. Government has been overtaken by outside interest, and no one is second to Israel. Add to that the Zionist owned media….you know all that, but only a massive overhaul would still miss emptying all the vermin which runs between our governments veins.

    • robert
      August 19, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      AIPAC influence in Congress is probably exaggerated at least in this case; according to the author, “AIPAC did everything it could to win the vote against the Iran deal, but failed spectacularly, in a defeat that not only tarnished the group’s invincible image, but also contributed to the rise of other pro-Israel groups on the U.S. political scene whose policies are not necessarily aligned with the right-wing governments led by Benjamin Netanyahu – who still happens to be in power. “

  2. Realist
    August 14, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Seems to me that it was Obama who instigated and then stoked the new cold war with Russia. He didn’t need to be pressured from the Deep State to sour our relations with them. Trump inherited that can of worms, which he has been forbidden from remediating by the congress. Meanwhile, Trump doesn’t seem to need any encouragement by Deep State interests to poison the waters with Iran, he simply hates Iran. It’s not Islamophobia, because he’s enamored of Saudi Arabia. Part of it has to do with getting terrible advice, the worst coming from Israel. Trump has overtly had “his wings clipped,” on Russia, Obama not so much on Iran. Obama was allowed to forge the anti-nuke treaty with them, although the Deep State seems determined to renege on the word of Obama given in our country’s name. The Deep State noticeably sabotaged Obama’s attempts at restraint in the Syrian conflict while Trump was obviously pressured to escalate American military involvement there. Both presidents were sheared like sheep in that arena. Trump is in office basically because Obama was such a great disappointment, especially in foreign affairs, but he has not been allowed to rise to the occasion by nearly everyone else in government, and in the media. If we need to employ an avian metaphor, it wasn’t just a wing clipping, but rather the use of Cheney’s shotgun.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 14, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      Realist, maybe it’s a sign of your good writing, but before I even came close to reading to the end of your comment Dick Cheney came to my mind, and then you said it. Way to go.

      I’m not making excuses for Obama, but I always thought he had his wings clipped right from the very beginning when he produced his Cabinet picks. I thought ill of Obama, of how he throw people close to him under the bus so easily, such as Rev Wright, and Van Jones. I dreaded the time he laid Social Security on the table for debate on budget reduction, and thought of how he was a terrible negotiator at that. The one thing that does seem good about Obama, was when he abstained the U.S. vote at the UN condemning Israel’s building illegal settlements, and Netanyahu wasn’t happy with him for that and the P5+1 Iran NPT vote, but upsetting Bibi is always a good thing in my book.

      Trump is still a work in progress, so I will refrain from getting to deep into his presidency. Trump has my sympathy for how badly he is getting ganged up on with this meddling Russian nonsense, but other than that I think he makes a terrible president, as far as that goes.

      Where’s Darth?

      • Realist
        August 14, 2017 at 5:10 pm

        Nobody on the inside “clipped his wings” on his terrible climate change decision, so they must be cool with that. Both parties are in total disarray and dismembering their own numbers: the Dems with this absurd “Russiagate” fiasco and the GOPers in their inability to fix health care. By all means, Trump is ill-constituted to lead the country. His worst traits are being shallow and impulsive. But right now I see no one else in the federal government, except maybe Rand Paul, who could do a credible job, avoid blowing up the world, and perhaps start addressing domestic needs instead of sacrificing them to the gods of war. Schumer, Pelosi, McConnell, Ryan… the entire lot are as bad or worse than Trump. And, as you’ve always said Joe, Hillary would have been worse. You are correct to finger the neocons as the root of this country’s, nay this world’s, problems. They are as bad as having a clique of hard core Stalinists running the country.

        • roza shanina
          August 14, 2017 at 7:03 pm

          It’s sad that Tulsi Gabbard signed onto the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.” For a second I thought we perhaps had a representative worth supporting. I’m in California and only Dana Rohrabacher … wait, he voted for the act. Oh well. At least we have Rand Paul. He has the courage of his conviction.

          • Joe Tedesky
            August 14, 2017 at 10:24 pm

            Here I find for the second time of late I’m pointing out that Tulsi’s Hawaii is pretty close to N Korea. Could this have influenced her vote?

        • Joe Tedesky
          August 14, 2017 at 10:22 pm

          Working our way through this back and forth conversation, it then dawns on me, that maybe we should at least admit, that our country’s real problems are about who influences our presidents, and congress, rather than us dwell on specific political leaders. I guess this is that swamp creature thing everybody talks about, but yet we all still get hung up on certain individuals, while missing the periphery of the corrupted slush which lubricates the slimy trail these monsters glide upon.

          If more Americans were to wake up, and see just how much the state of Israel holds domain over our American government, then these Russia-Gate accusers, would just know that the U.S. is so owned by Israel, that there is no room for Russia to fit in. No, America’s heart is reserved for the Zionist who have purchased, maybe even blackmailed certain U.S. Representatives into a monogamous marriage of convenience of grabbing the most powerful military bride this world has ever seen.

          America’s independence may only begin to seem close at hand, the day foreign and special interest money in our government, are no more.

          Look forward to reading your thoughts, if not on this comment, will continue to hear your thinking on your other comments, so I don’t need any Respondez, s’il vous plait , although will welcome it if you do so. Joe

          • Realist
            August 15, 2017 at 2:06 am

            Since you asked, Joe… (Keep in mind, no matter what one says on the matter, some others are sure to be offended.)

            World governments are chess pieces for the obscenely wealthy miniscule fraction of the 1% who own everything and control everybody. Not all of these players are Jewish or tied to Israel, but an amazing number of them are. Very many American, European and Russian oligarchs certainly are, especially the ones in banking and finance, and you can see time and again where, irrespective of their country of birth, they come down on the side of Israel especially when the question impinges on justice in the Middle East.

            There are historical reasons for this, which are long and complicated, but mostly relate to the fact that in the Middle Ages Jews became the bankers and merchants plus the interlocutors between the Christian and Islamic worlds because money lending and profit taking was considered a sin as was trade with Islam by the Christian churches (Roman and Orthodox) of the day. It is also factual that, as outsiders (and held responsible for killing Jesus), the Jews were persecuted by the Christian populations in most European countries, causing them to become more clannish than most other ethnic groups.

            Other groups have stuck together too, most notably when the mass migrations to America began in the 19th century, but solidarity amongst the Irish, Italians, Poles or other major groups simply paled in comparison to how the Jews pulled together, maintaining their own culture in the midst of an alien world. The others wanted to integrate ASAP. Jews always remained wary of the “Goyem.” This is not just an outside perception of how Jewish culture and identity remained immiscible within a wide spectrum of other cultures across the globe, but has been the subject of Jewish scholars and popular writers themselves. Read anything from Isaac Bashevis Singer to Philip Roth to get the flavor of being Jewish amongst the Goyem.

            The place of Jewish oligarchs in Planet Earth’s hierarchy is an entrenched reality, just as immutable as the House of Windsor occupying the Court of St. James or Buckingham Palace. The only thing that can bring any of these apex predators (whether Jewish, high WASP, or Muslim shiekhs) down is through their own self-destruction by starting one too many wars or the big one that ends all of civilisation. So, I’m afraid, Joe, that the bias of the Zionists on the world stage of which you are so wary will remain a complicating factor in international relations and world peace for a long time to come.

          • Realist
            August 15, 2017 at 2:35 am

            It would be remiss not to mention several modern day immigrant groups to the United States that have shared some of the same intra-group cohesive as the Jews, have been as financially successful in their new country, and have suffered some of the same consequences and condemnations by other, less successful, minority groups. The Koreans and Chinese conspicuously come to mind. They often settled in groups, especially in big cities, formed cooperatives, pooled their money and made sure that not only their own families thrived but that all of their fellow immigrants did as well. The Chinese were simply famous for staking out businesses in specific fields like the restaurant and laundry industries. The Koreans more recently immigrated and “specialized” in operating chains of convenience stores and dry cleaners, often in poor neighborhoods. The blacks and Latinos amongst whom these folks operated often resented their success, falsely believing they were given subsidies by the government. Both of these Oriental groups being highly industrious and resourceful did not stop after first generation success in these entry-level businesses but have gone on to become among the most accomplished professionals in science, medicine, academia and other fields today. Having known lots of Chinese and Koreans in university positions, it is fascinating to me that the Koreans give the Chinese a grudging respect by calling them “the Jews of the Orient.” Except for racial quotas, most of the major universities on the West Coast from UBC (in Vancouver) to UCSD (in La Jolla) would be filled mostly with applicants of Oriental extraction. It’s a complex formula they also use to grant admissions to the Ivies on the East Coast.

    • Gregory Herr
      August 14, 2017 at 6:53 pm

      Even Bush-Cheney, who had the itch, knew they needed a solid pretext to strike Iran. It wasn’t there and our intelligence, the IAEA , and Iran itself couldn’t or wouldn’t give it to them. And military planners with their heads on straight knew Iran could cause some real problematic pushback if attacked. The gung-ho contingent was likely told their day would have to wait…So sure, let’s give Obama his pat on the back for getting a deal done. But he still upheld the narrative of Iran as some big threat…saying nothing to dispel certain nonsense that continues to this day.
      But in the meantime Ukraine was being flipped, NATO was expanding, Russia was badmouthed, Libya was staged as a weapons depot and launching pad for terrorists, and the Saudis and their close pals (including the CIA) were setting up and executing an invasion of Syria from Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey. During this time, Obama was supposed to be “checking” the new bogeyman (ISIS) but somehow their territorial ambitions and Toyota convoys went unchecked.
      I will not give Obama credit, as does the author of this piece, for not striking Damascus, nor will I give him credit for “drawing down support” for extremists and regime-change (he did no such thing). He didn’t strike Damascus because the pretext was shoddy, the public had yet to be whipped up about Assad, and most importantly, Putin issued a stern warning that someone in the Pentagon told Obama he needed to take seriously. So he passed the buck to Congress (it’s SUPPOSED to be theirs anyway)… they checked the polls and decided to wait for the headchoppers to finish the job. If Obama had been serious about working with Russia in Syria against terrorists, somebody would have been fired when the military did their little sabotage.
      And absolutely, it can’t be stressed enough that Trump inherited the can of worms started by Cheney and opened and allowed to multiply by Obama.

      • Realist
        August 14, 2017 at 7:20 pm

        That’ll work. All true statements and on point.

    • Stephen
      August 14, 2017 at 6:56 pm

      The Obama administration’s rekindling of the cold war with Russia turned out to be an object lesson in incompetence. To paraphrase what the Russian journalist, Dmitry Babitch said some months ago, Obama performed a genuine miracle. After being suspicious and/or hostile to one another for centuries, Russia and China became closely linked economically and militarily in response to Washington’s actions and those links are firm. This happened while the late Z. Brzezinski was telling Obama he could drive a wedge between those two countries. Unfortunately Mr. Brzezinski, God rest his soul, had become quite foolish as well as the rest of the Foreign Policy Establishment who are still fantasizing about their Uni-polar world. However it no longer exists and they helped to end it.

      • Realist
        August 14, 2017 at 7:17 pm

        People forget or ignore it, but Washington also rather poisoned its relationship with Turkey and drove it into the arms of Russia, this in spite of the shoot-down of the Russian jet fighter. That’s what Washington gets for never doing “nuance” in its foreign policies, enforcing only a “my way or the highway” approach. Putin, in contrast, is a master at nuance.

        • D5-5
          August 14, 2017 at 8:21 pm

          This now extends into Syria with some extraordinary détente going on between Assad and Erdogan, unless the wily Erdogan is running a false scenario of some sort. It’s very interesting to see the shifting alliances currently in play, as also with Iraq and Saudi Arabia via Moqtada’s new “moderate” stance, as he puts himself into position for an election. He is now the “nationalist” instead of the firebrand and seeking to join Iran and Saudi Arabia, plus allow the Kurds independence. Robert Fisk is very good on this topic.

      • Bob Van Noy
        August 15, 2017 at 8:12 am

        Stephen, I agree in general, but I have a longstanding irritation about the derivation of both Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger’s basic assumptions. We’re those assumptions ever really exposed to sound review? I doubt it. I think both of them were presenting personal bias, as fact. How many times in academia have you experienced a confident Professor dispensing questionable theory? Actually one could probably make a strong case, especially in the so called soft sciences that, there is no There there. To the extent that a Cheney or Rumsfeld or Clark Clifford has negatively influenced Policy is bottom line, a failure of the system. Even now President Trump is a conundrum because we are questing what motivates his decision making. I have been long impressed with Iran as both an Ancient culture and a contemporary culture. What in the world IS the thing with Iran! Can’t we leave them alone for a while? Having said that, Please spare me the responses, (not you Stephen) about how deeply dangerous they are, I’ve heard it thousands of times… Frums, “Axis Of Evil”.

        • Gregory Herr
          August 15, 2017 at 4:37 pm

          If you get a chance Bob, a book recommendation on the long-standing Persian culture, particularly one that links up to the present day would be appreciated. Also, something in a similar vein regarding Syria?

  3. mike k
    August 14, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Interesting article. But the last thing Donald wants to do is be like Obama – his bete noir – in any way whatever. Is that because Obama for all his serious faults was a far more skilled politician than Trump will ever be. A little penis envy maybe?

    Trump is like a man falling down a long flight of stairs, who every time he catches himself and briefly stands up, he falls again, and again. His presidency will not end well – for any of us.

    • mike k
      August 14, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      To blame most of Trump’s problems on other people, or forces is a mistake. The Donald was quite capable of creating a godawful mess all on is own. There is no way to avoid recognizing that this man is a total, deplorable disaster as a human being, and absolutely unsuitable to be the president of anything.

      • backwardsevolution
        August 14, 2017 at 4:57 pm

        mike k – okay, I’m not glad you’re back :)

      • Sam F
        August 14, 2017 at 5:47 pm

        Welcome back, Mike. Yes, it is quite a stretch to defend Trump, except relative to the past and present alternatives, and in his remaining potential to rise above the corruption of all federal branches. Clearly he was unprepared to make appointments to redirect foreign policy, his one good promise, and appears to remain unprepared to do so.

        Perhaps he does not have the courage to ignore the impeachers, and move forward to investigate and purge Congress, the executive, and the judiciary of corruption, which requires the executive overreach of which he is capable. Perhaps he never had the intention of reform or detente to serve his supporters. But he still has the potential, and attacking him before 2020 cannot secure gains.

        • BobS
          August 14, 2017 at 11:49 pm

          “it is quite a stretch to defend Trump, except relative to the past and present alternatives…”
          Uh, huh.
          Six months into his term we’re closer to nuclear war than we’ve been in 60 years, while here at home his Nazi and KKK supporters are trying to recreate the ambiance of Berlin in the 1930’s.
          Anyone who seriously thinks that Obama (or Clinton) are worse alternatives has their head inextricably stuck up their own ass.

          • August 15, 2017 at 3:18 am

            I’m absolutely convinced if Clinton had been elected we’d already be in a shooting war with Russia in Syria.

          • Sam F
            August 15, 2017 at 7:47 am

            No BobS, as in your prior comments here, all of your points are wrong:
            1. The present warmongering is entirely due to anti-Trump zionist media and secret agencies;
            2. Trump has denounced racists, KKK, and neo-Nazis, despite discriminatory immigration policy;
            3. Clinton explicitly advocated Mideast wars for Israel, and her top ten donors were zionists.
            So again your point is wrong, and you descend into insult admitting your lack of reasons.

          • BobS
            August 15, 2017 at 9:36 am

            “The present warmongering is entirely due to anti-Trump zionist media and secret agencies”
            Zionists scripted Trump’s careless remarks escalating tension with North Korea? His determination to abandon the Iran nuclear deal?
            “Trump has denounced racists, KKK, and neo-Nazis..”
            After a pregnant pause with a nod and wink.
            “…you descend into insult…”
            Awww, is it dark and lonely there?

      • Gregory Herr
        August 14, 2017 at 7:05 pm

        Just so you know mike, I’m glad you are well and in good spirits, and I don’t blame anyone but Trump himself for how he handles the can of worms or reacts to the sabotage…that’s on him, and so far, not so good…but it is important to assess the circumstances. If Trump is removed for anything less than solid Constitutional reasons (and right now I don’t see it…unless we’re going to retroactively impeach and try Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama for war crimes), we might be crossing a Rubicon.

        • Realist
          August 14, 2017 at 7:23 pm

          Yep. We claim to be a government of laws, not people. Upholding the constitution is more critical than loyalty to any one person or party.

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 14, 2017 at 11:27 pm

        Just for the sake of optics’s mike, I’m beginning to think that presidents are a distraction.

        • Bob Van Noy
          August 15, 2017 at 8:22 am

          Joe, I think that is Accurate. My current hope is that little gets accomplished until the mid-terms where-by, America wakes up and throws all the bumbs out, irrespective of party, or issue.

  4. Bill
    August 14, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Don’t forget that the CIA and other Intel agencies have 6 ways from Sunday to get you. John Brennan has been open about his campaign against Trump, although lately he seems to be quiet. Is Brennan on vacation? Yeah probably. I’m expecting him back on TV soon.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 14, 2017 at 11:31 pm

      Your comment Bill, is far to underrated. I think that all of our modern day U.S. Presidents need to pass the JFK Test.

  5. mike k
    August 14, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Poor Donald. Not! And Pence is a close second. We are driving 90 miles an hour down a dead end street.

  6. mike k
    August 14, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    I want everyone to remember that Trump is condemning millions to die in the climate disaster bearing down on us. Forget nuclear winter for a moment, and realize that global broiling may do just fine for our extinction.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 14, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      mike k – yeah, like this is all new and it’s Trump’s fault? The Paris Climate Accords were a sham from the get-go. Noble idea, but terribly flawed.

      When I start to hear you screaming about China not being included (as well as the rest of the industrialized polluters), then I might listen to you. The pollution never stopped; in fact, it has increased. The pollution just got moved to Asia when they offshored all of the jobs there. If we truly want to tackle climate change, then ALL parties must be a part of the solution.

      The world’s population is growing exponentially. Do the math. On a finite planet, this is madness.

      • Realist
        August 14, 2017 at 6:43 pm

        I could laugh if I were not a member of the human race and bound to this earth and its fate. Basically, humans have the same flaw as every other extant species that evolved under the constraints of Darwinian natural selection: they seek to maximize their reproductive potential. They live for the here and now because the future cannot be predicted, at least not by genes or physiology, and the nervous system capped off by our big brains has not yet become the complete master of our drives and behaviors. As JC supposedly said, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

        Observe human beings and you see they are always governed by “crisis management,” that is they never act until the last moment when a crisis becomes totally obvious and inevitable. Before that, they prefer to remain oblivious or in denial. Something will always change for the better and we won’t have to make hard decisions that call for sacrifice, they think. How else to explain the repeated brushes with the shut-down of the entire federal government or a default on it debts? Why do governments at all levels shirk their responsibilities and repeatedly defer paying money into their employee pension plans or into Medicaid operating funds, creating massive unfunded liabilities? The ingrained tendency is always to kick the can down the road and hope that a miraculous solution will appear sometime in the future. Most especially, why do we endlessly temp fate by rattling sabres, threatening war and engaging in nuclear brinksmanship?

        We do these things because our evolved biology, all our impulses and instincts, tells us to grab the mostest the fastest for ourselves before any competitors in the Darwinian struggle for survival can get it before we do and thereby leave progeny that outnumber our issue, thus winning the contest to see who populates the future world. Even bacteria display this strategy at the most elementary physiological level: they, as I used to say to my classes, always eat desert first. That is, they always express the genes encoding the enzymes needed to catabolise the most energy-dense and most easily available energy sources first, before they expend material and energy to make the enzymes needed to exploit less available, less energy-dense substrates. Not to employ this strategy would give an edge to their competitors and ensure their ultimate extinction in the competition for critical niches in the ecosystem. The entire biological world has evolved based on a strategy of boom and bust, live for today and suffer the consequences tomorrow. One hopes that the application of empirical observation and logic by our big human brains will eventually break the cycle and allow us to live in a more stable, more predictable, more pleasant and longer-lasting existence. But, it hasn’t happened yet.

        • backwardsevolution
          August 14, 2017 at 9:14 pm

          Realist – great post. It hasn’t happened yet because we’re currently in this stage:

          “Not to employ this strategy would give an edge to their competitors and ensure their ultimate extinction in the competition for critical niches in the ecosystem.”

          Our current leaders, being more psychopathic in nature, continue to gobble up anything in their path, and display on a daily basis the brainless wonders that they are. Egocentric, self-centered people who I doubt have ever loved anything more than they love themselves. Simple-brained, incapable of restraint…well, actually just incapable of seeing beyond today.

          “One hopes that the application of empirical observation and logic by our big human brains will eventually break the cycle…”

          Some are using their brains, some can see what’s coming. If you and I cooperate together in order that our progeny survives, then our children and grandchildren have got a chance.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CemLiSI5ox8

          Unfortunately, we are in the petri dish with these psychopathic, dominant types and they are going to bring us all down if they are not stopped. As I said somewhere on this thread, these parasites did deplete their food supply back in 2008, they were bankrupt and should have died off, but they were given a fresh, new petri dish (100 times the size of ours) and were sent on their way again (by the so-called “invisible hand” of government).

          Forget about Hunger Games. We need a new game – the Psychopath Games. Put them in a dish and let them fight it out. Then kill the winner.

        • backwardsevolution
          August 14, 2017 at 9:46 pm

          Realist – my post is in moderation, so I’ll try again.

          Realist – great post. It hasn’t happened yet because we’re currently in this stage:

          “Not to employ this strategy would give an edge to their competitors and ensure their ultimate extinction in the competition for critical niches in the ecosystem.”

          Our current leaders, being more psychopathic in nature, continue to gobble up anything in their path, and display on a daily basis the brainless wonders that they are. Egocentric, self-centered people who I doubt have ever loved anything more than they love themselves. Simple-brained, incapable of restraint…well, actually just incapable of seeing beyond today.

          “One hopes that the application of empirical observation and logic by our big human brains will eventually break the cycle…”

          Some are using their brains, some can see what’s coming. If you and I cooperate together in order that our progeny survives, then our children and grandchildren have got a chance.

          (See link below)

          Unfortunately, we are in the petri dish with these psychopathic, dominant types and they are going to bring us all down if they are not stopped. As I said somewhere on this thread, these parasites did deplete their food supply back in 2008, they were bankrupt and should have died off, but they were given a fresh, new petri dish (100 times the size of ours) and were sent on their way again (by the so-called “invisible hand” of government).

          Forget about Hunger Games. We need a new game – the Psychopath Games. Put them in a dish and let them fight it out. Then kill the winner.

          • backwardsevolution
            August 14, 2017 at 9:51 pm
          • Bob Van Noy
            August 15, 2017 at 8:32 am

            Realist and backwards, I think you’re exactly right and I sense that The Tipping Point has been reached. We All represent successful biologies, and most, inherently realize that we’re at a limit where cooperation is necessary or we shall All fail. Clearly, it’s time to attempt to end the division and seek real Diplomacy for all.

  7. Realist
    August 14, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    I was bemused by this headline at RT: “Tehran to send fleet to West Atlantic, says Iranian rear admiral.”

    I don’t see either Trump or Obama inviting the Iranian crews to dock at New Orleans and enjoy the upcoming Mardi Gras, though I would have. If they can get to South Florida before Christmas, I’d show them American hospitality on the beach at Fort Lauderdale. They can dock at Port Everglades. Marco Rubio can have a stroke.

    • Sam F
      August 14, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      I suppose that their admiral is hinting that the US is not as isolated from foreign threats as it wishes. But perhaps they will avoid terrorizing the US right wingers, who fear a dose of their own medicine, so long as Trump may back off. Saudi Arabia is now approaching Iran diplomatically through Iraq, so perhaps they have seen the folly of their ventures in Syria and Yemen, and if Israel followed even belatedly, there might be an Iran-US detente.

      • Realist
        August 14, 2017 at 7:05 pm

        Even if they never make the voyage, it points up the hypocrisy of Washington’s actions. Can you imagine Iranian vessels off the coast of the United States not being harassed by the U.S. Navy? It will be more over-the-top than when the Russian aircraft carrier passed through the English Channel and was “escorted” by an armada of NATO ships. The U.S. Coast Guard intercepts numerous foreign vessels on the high seas (not just in U.S. territorial waters) every day on some pretext. They run down accused “smugglers” and violators of fishing laws to the other side of the Pacific! The world will get to see the notorious American double standard in action, I guarantee.

        • Sam F
          August 15, 2017 at 8:16 am

          Yes, it is possible that stronger hints from the other side of the world, that countries the US wrongfully and uselessly opposes, could become a threat if the US continues its bullying, may alarm the right wing warmongers or their supporters.

          If Russia and China began military exercises in the Western hemisphere, say to defend Venezuela or Cuba from the US, that could either moderate or provoke the bully boys. But that is a costly operation so far away, and is easily painted as provocative. Their declaration of support of Venezuela or Cuba against a clear US aggression would be a major move to counterbalance US provocations on their borders. Some such alignments appear likely within 20-30 years if China and Russia see the need to deter further US provocations. An enduring risk in our own backyard, caused by bullying in the Mideast, would be a a major step forward in the restoration of US democracy from MIC/zionist warmongers.

    • August 14, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Wow, this just triggered a memory from the 70’s when I was training in Pensacola. I remember that several of my friends were dating Iranian guys who were training at the Naval Air Station to be be pilots. Look how far we’ve regressed.

      • Anon
        August 15, 2017 at 7:58 am

        When I was at MIT in the 70s we had over 20 Iranian nuclear science students, apparently learning about weapons design as they had plenty of oil for electricity. We had demonstrations against such proliferation. But that was when Iran was under the dictator installed by the US when we overthrew democracy in Iran in 1953. Since 1978 the US has regretted that, but has not admitted it.

      • Bob Van Noy
        August 15, 2017 at 8:40 am

        Katherine and Anon, where I live we have large East Asian and Russian (Ukrainian) populations. I strongly suspect that these populations are a reflection of State Policy. The interesting thing that I’ve noticed through the years, is the Contributions these populations make to our culture and academics. Thus, my comment about it ultimately becoming Our Strength.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 14, 2017 at 11:40 pm

      No Realist, our U.S. Senators are too busy bumping up against Iran’s own terrorist nemesis the MKO.

      http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/08/14/531676/US-senators-meet-head-of-antiIran-terrorist-group-MKO

      • Sam F
        August 15, 2017 at 9:47 am

        Maybe MKO is the US/Israeli warmonger focus now, if indeed they have lost hope for Saudi insurgents in Syria. But apparently Iran claims to have pushed much of MKO out of Iran and Iraq.

        The Saudis apparently have set up a trade commission and reopened a border crossing with Iraq, and have engaged Iraq as an intermediary to negotiate with Iran. That could indicate a major shift. It would be good to know whether it is due to losses in Syria, increasing influence of Russia there vs. the US, real US withdrawal there, or (dare one suppose) some US diplomacy.

  8. mike k
    August 14, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    A timely warning on counterpunch about global roasting and human extinction.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/14/bluefin-tuna-at-the-brink/

    • Mild-ly Faticious
      August 14, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      Charlie the Tuna is the cartoon mascot and spokes-tuna for the StarKist brand.
      He was created in 1961 by Tom Rogers of the Leo Burnett Agency after StarKist hired Leo Burnett in 1958.
      StarKist Tuna is the name of a brand of tuna currently owned by Dongwon Industries, a South Korea-based conglomerate.
      StarKist itself is based in Pittsburgh, the home of its former parent company, H. J. Heinz Company, sharing its headquarters on the site of Three Rivers Stadium with another former parent company, Del Monte Foods’ Pittsburgh headquarters.

      (>
      So, a counter protest in Charlottesville, Va. produced the departure of Merck CEO from Trumps’ ‘business roundtable’-?
      Will Trump care? — Hell No.

      ” Will North Korea be the Ultimate Black Swan?”
      William Pesek
      8/14/17
      http://www.atimes.com

  9. August 14, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    My problem with Obama is that he was overly consensus minded from the git-go in his first administration when he should have given priority to A- electoral reform and B-challenging Wall Street and the Tarp agreement. At that time he would have had the support of a majority in congress and the neglect of these two items is directly related to his subsequent impotence on foreign policy. Initially(at least to me)it wasn’t clear that Hillary would be a foreign policy hawk. Obama’s reluctance to support regime change in Syria, his support for the Iran agreement and his abrasive relationship with Bibi(as JoeT points out)indicate a less bellicose inclination than his first Secy. of State.Yes, his “wings were clipped” even before his second administration and he never had the balls to challenge the zionist lobby that is the root of so many problems in the MidEast or the Deep State’s influence over policy toward Russia. He would never have had the support in congress but at least we could have had the debate and it would have given his legacy a much better stature in history.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 14, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      BobH – ” He would never have had the support in congress but at least we could have had the debate and it would have given his legacy a much better stature in history.”

      But he wouldn’t be raking in the millions now if he had. “Let me see, legacy or money? I think I’ll take door number 2.”

      • August 14, 2017 at 7:22 pm

        AAAh, Backwards,you cynic!…although you may well be right.

  10. Virginia
    August 14, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    California Republican Congressman Rohrabacher — the first member of the US Congress to take up the the memorandums issued by VIPS: https://www.larouchepub.com/pr/2017/170803_rohrabacher_vips_memo.html

    Several foreign outlets published the letter. Still missing, isn’t it, from MSM?

    • Bob Van Noy
      August 14, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      Nice catch Virginia, lets hope that I catches fire from here, so that we can be done with Russian hacks.

    • mike k
      August 14, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      The MSM will never mention it, unless it is somehow crammed down their throat. I hope Trump’s lawyers bring it out in the phony Russiagate hearings, but Trumps defense has so far been pitifully weak.

    • August 14, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      Virginia…Rohrabacher release…significant…thank you.

    • Larco Marco
      August 15, 2017 at 1:20 am

      Dana Rohrabacher is my sister’s Congressman. We were born and raised in the OC, but I got out. Cong Rohrabacher has been a right-wing extremist during his 30 years in the House, but seems to have had a change of mind regarding Middle East wars and other foreign mis-adventures. The FBI even warned him that Russian spies may try to recruit him.

    • roza shanina
      August 15, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      Rohrabacher grills Nuland

      I don’t know how much this has been seen. Dana seems like a stand up guy.

  11. backwardsevolution
    August 14, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    mike k – that article on Pacific bluefin tuna is a good one, except this part:

    “Voluntarism will not save any species. The economic model of the world, neoliberal capitalism, is too focused on profits, the invisible hand of free markets, deregulation of governments, and significantly, converting public assets to private ownership, to adhere to undependable anemic voluntarism.”

    While there has been a hand in the markets, it’s never been “invisible” and the markets have most definitely never been free. The hand has always been the government, and the laws enacted by the politicians. Multinational corporations have been aided and abetted in their pursuit of riches, monopolies, mergers and acquisitions, etc. The government has cleared a path for them in foreign lands through false flags, coups and overthrows, and gets rid of their competition through the use of sanctions and embargoes. Central banks flood markets with liquidity, providing virtually free money. Interest rates are lowered and lowered, allowing corporations to keep rolling over their loans and borrowing more. If they fail, they are bailed out. Let freedom reign (sarc)!

    As long as politicians keep receiving unconscionable campaign contributions from corporations and other vested interests, continue to receive insider information, take bribes, enjoy the revolving door between government and private practice, none of this will end.

    If markets were truly “free”, most of the big Wall Street banks would have gone under in 2008. They would have been nationalized, split up into tiny parts, and then sold off. Interest rates would have gone up, not down.

    There’s no “invisible hand”, no “free market”. Just a sleazy government who is in the back pockets of the elite.

    It is going to be up to us to save the planet. Stop buying tuna (even if you can find tuna that hasn’t been touched by Fukushima radiation). Stop using your credit cards; use cash. Take your money (if you have any left) out of the big major banks. Stop buying anything that’s not absolutely necessary. Starve these mothers! It’s now or never.

    • irina
      August 14, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      The only long-term way to save our species is through mass voluntary tax redirection.
      In this strategy, anyone who is able to redirects tax monies into a dedicated escrow account.
      The funds are held by the account manager until the taxpayer allows them to be released.

      The concept is that earners are not skipping out on their taxes; rather, they are diverting the
      money in the expectation that it will be used to meet real human and societal needs instead
      of funding the military-industrial-political bureaucracy complex.

      If enough people (10% would be more than enough) did this, then the IRS would not be able
      to keep up with those ‘in arrears’ and the present tax structure would start to collapse.

      There are a number of tax redirection escrow accounts; the original one has recently been
      revitalized — the Con$cience and Military Tax Campaign – US.

      We cannot possibly starve the beast while feeding it our tax dollars. Our only ‘real vote’ is with
      our wallets, not at the ballot box.

    • Bob Van Noy
      August 15, 2017 at 8:51 am

      Sorry, I’m commenting too much, but backwards I worked this out years ago after Limbaugh said it once too often… Adam Smith’s actual example of “the invisible hand” was a metaphor of the Baker reaching out to Trade with the Shoemaker for a Trade whereby each could resume their Specific Craft. As is so usual, the Neocons and Neoliberals coopted real serious scholarship for junk science. And they continue to do it daily.

    • mike k
      August 15, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      I felt the author was using “invisible hand” ironically. Most of us know by now that this idea has been used to justify all sorts of economic larceny.

  12. Kalen
    August 15, 2017 at 4:31 am

    No need to clip their wings, they were spineless [like all of them POTUSes] no flight was ever possible.

  13. halfofanNSAgarbagecunt
    August 15, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Donald J. Trump is like a moron pushed down the stairs at the last minute by piece of shit democrats for no reason.

  14. mike k
    August 15, 2017 at 7:51 am

    I want to respond to the comments above re: the Klan/Nazi confrontation.

    It is not always possible to avoid violence, but in this case there was a way this could have been done. Those opposed to the Klan and the Nazi’s could have gained a permit to hold their demonstration in a place distant from the site the city granted to those protesting the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue.

    There have been some precedents to such a strategy. Here in Ky. I am told that one community decided to have a family barbecue picnic at a distant park away from the Klan march, and deal with it by ignoring it.
    This tactic is reminiscent of the Aikido Way of nonviolent means to deal with conflict. The Klan etc. thrive on violent conflict. They get publicity and attract new idiots to their ranks in this way.

    On the web, we have learned the wisdom of the policy to not feed the trolls with the attention they are desperate for. We should treat the Klan the same way.

  15. Michael Kenny
    August 15, 2017 at 9:55 am

    What the first two paragraphs make clear is that, in the minds of Putin’s American supporters, “improving relations with Russia” is a code for “capitulating to Putin in Ukraine”. The article itself is classic. Trump is presented as wanting to “improve” relations with Putin and is being “sabotaged” in that effort by dastardly forces in Congress. Interestingly, though, at various points in the article, Trump is presented as both a challenger to established US foreign policy and merely continuing Obama’s policy! Which is it? Is Trump part of the foreign policy establishment or a challenger to it?

    • Zachary Smith
      August 15, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      I always say that when Americans start waving the swastika, they’ve run out of ideas! Putin must be in very deep trouble indeed if his supporters are back to smearing Ukraine and Ukrainians. That’s good news for Ukrainians.

      h**ps://consortiumnews.com/2016/01/28/nazi-roots-of-ukraines-conflict/

      When I made a search looking for any examples of “Michael Kenny” having a harsh word about Ukraine (or a good one about Putin), that is one of the negative examples. Even the Ukraine Nazis don’t bother him/her the least bit! Tentative conclusion – that’s who he works for. Ukraine may not have a lot of money, but buying internet workers wouldn’t cost very much. And of course “Michael Kenny” could be an energetic Ukraine patriot who charges nothing for his work.

      Just to keep Ukraine in perspective, here is a news story about how North Korea is progressing so rapidly towards getting modern long-range missiles.

      Pyongyang’s mysteriously rapid development of an intercontinental ballistic missile — particularly after a string of failed intermediate-range flight tests in 2016 — has exceeded the expectations of US intelligence agencies, and evidence outlined in the global security think tank’s analysis suggests North Korea might be buying advanced propulsion technology for their Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-12 rockets from Russian or Ukrainian black markets.
      “It appears that they have sourced an engine from a foreign entity, and they have successfully incorporated that engine into some missile bodies and have successfully tested both an intermediate range and an intercontinental range missile, in May and July,” Michael Elleman, a missile expert and author of the study, told CNN on Monday.

      h**p://www.cnn.com/2017/08/14/politics/north-korea-icbm-study-ukraine-russia/index.html

      Judging from his/her previous posts, I’m confident “Michael Kenny” wouldn’t have a bit of a problem with this.

    • mike k
      August 15, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      Don’t feed the trolls. DFTT.

  16. August 20, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Trump’s best chance to rise above the resistance to peace with Russia is for Trump and Putin to take the offensive, and declare a GLOBAL PEACE SUMMIT. Such a Summit should be announced to include a marathon design until Trump and Putin come up with a deal. Let’s make a deal!

    They would be wise to include the leaders of China (Xi Jinping), India (Narenda Modi), and the UN Secretary General (Antonio Guterres).

    If Trump and Putin announced to the world such a Summit, it would be hard for the Deep State to sabotage the (peace) efforts.

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