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Is Donald Trump Ushering In a New World War?

July 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

Those of us who imagine a more democratic and egalitarian future are at great moral risk.


Perhaps the most vivid description of President Trump’s histrionic performance at the NATO summit earlier this week in Brussels came from a foreign-policy analyst named Philipp Liesenhoff, who quoted a German folk saying to reporters for the Daily Beast: “A blind chicken finds corn once in a while.”

It’s a marvelous metaphor. But I’m afraid it’s deceptive. Here’s a word of advice to the Trump-loathing defenders of the liberal-democratic order, whether in Europe or Britain or at home in the United States: Beware the blind chicken. His other senses have become finely tuned. Mock him at your peril. If you believe for a second that he will be easy to capture or contain or defeat, then you have learned nothing from the last three years of political chaos across the Western world. In years to come, as a servile flunky on the lowest tiers of the Forever-Existing Blind Chicken Empire, you will have time to repent of your arrogance.

I have previously suggested that Donald Trump is an important figure in “World War IV,” that being the self-destructive struggle within the Western world that philosopher Jean Baudrillard identified as beginning with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Baudrillard did not live to see the rise of Trump and Trumpism (which may have been merciful), but it certainly fits with his prediction of a system-wide “gigantic abreaction” to Islamic terrorism, a “moral and psychological downturn” in which the Western world’s “ideology of freedom,” which also represented its claim to moral authority, would corrupt itself into “a police-state globalization, a total control, a terror based on ‘law-and-order’ measures.”

With Donald Trump’s current trip to Europe — and his apparent effort to troll NATO into destroying itself, undermine an already unstable British government and form who knows what sort of alliance with Vladimir Putin — we have arrived, I believe, at a dangerous turning point in the largely invisible history of World War IV. Those of us who imagine a more democratic and egalitarian future are at great moral risk.

Opposing the authoritarian, racist …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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‘He Doesn’t Read’: Ex-US Ambassador to Russia Details Putin’s Strategic Advantage over Trump Ahead of ‘Dangerous’ Helsinki Summit

July 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet

Michael McFaul also ripped the president's decision to label the European Union a “foe.”


Michael McFaul, the former United States Ambassador to Russia, on Sunday slammed Donald Trump for declaring the European Union a “foe,” arguing it’s “not in America’s national interest” to antagonize its closes allies.

Trump on Sunday called the E.U. a “foe,” prompting a response from European Council President Donald Tusk.

“America and the E.U. are best friends,” Tusk wrote on Twitter. “Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.”

Speaking with MSNBC, McFaul tore into Trump’s comment.

“It’s ridiculous,” McFaul said. “I hate to be undiplomatic as a former diplomat. It goes to show what we were talking about. He doesn't read what—the talking points. There is no way to call the European Union a foe of the United States of America. That is not in America's national interest.”

McFaul went on to call Trump’s remark “deeply disappointing.”

The former ambassador also explained Putin’s strategic advantage over Trump.

“[Putin] has met Clinton, Bush, Obama, and now President Trump,” McFaul said. “All the issues that you have just been discussing, he has been working on for years. So he knows the details of Syria. He knows the details of Ukraine. By the way, he also knows the details of how to interfere in an American election. Whereas President Trump, he has only been at this for a year and a half. he does not know these details. Therefore, that one-on-one meeting, I think, is rather dangerous for President Trump.”

Watch below:

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Yes, Trump Is a Narcissist — But It's Literally A Million Times Worse Than That

July 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Faith Gardner, Daily Kos

It’s not just Trump who is a narcissist beyond help, it’s everyone who still follows him.


Yes, the hallmarks of narcissism are painfully obvious in the president of the United States. The endless projection. The delusion of grandeur masking a paper-thin skin that punctures under the most benign criticisms. The nonstop gaslighting. But you know who else every single one of these attributes describes?

His base.

Trump’s deplorable, unmovable base are cult-like followers who could watch him shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and still follow him, who give no shits that he is a serial sexual assaulter and defender of molesters, who get fleeced by his tariffs, by his family’s blatant disregard for the emoluments clause, and yet continue to vote for him even when it seemingly serves no interest of their own. Kool-Aid drinkers in the most macabre sense of the metaphor, they will follow him right to hell and never look back. None of it makes any logical sense, until you realize they are serving their own interests. Because none of the details matter if you see yourself in the narcissist delivering the rhetoric that feeds your own sense of narcissism.

Trump’s base is nothing more than a collection of narcissists, and I find this a lot more interesting than the fact that Trump himself is a narcissist. Trump simply represents the abhorrent qualities of his entire base.

All these qualities listed under the narcissistic personality could not only describe Trump, but the party that props him up, and let us count the ways. (The list was compiled from the traits listed in this article from Psychology Today on “Understanding the Mind of a Narcissist”; the parentheticals are my own.)

*Has a grandiose sense of self-importance and exaggerates achievements and talents. (White supremacy. Patriarchy. Rulers of every uterus everywhere. Neo-Confederates who still see the South as heroes of the Civil War.)

*Dreams of unlimited power, success, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. (The great Steinbeck paraphrased quote about the poor seeing themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires comes to mind. Even the slogan “Make America Great Again” smacks of a nostalgic, over-idealized dream of …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Fake News': European Council President Hits Back After Trump Calls the E.U. America's 'Foe'

July 15, 2018 in Blogs

By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

“America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.”


Literally minutes after CBS aired an interview in which President Donald Trump declared the European Union to be among America's greatest enemies, the head of the EU struck back.

European Council President Donald Tusk (photo, left) took to Twitter, and in an elegant mocking of Trump's favorite phrase, declared, “America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.” The European Council represents the European Union.

America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.

— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) July 15, 2018

President Trump had told CBS News, “I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe.”

The European Union is comprised of 28 member nations, including France, Spain, Germany, and Italy.

Nicholas Burns, a former former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, now a Harvard Kennedy School Professor, notes the European Union is America's “largest trade partner, largest investor in our economy, our ally in climate, human rights+protecting democracy.”

“Most of its members our NATO allies,” he adds, which goes to the heart of why Trump just declared the EU America's “foe.” Trump has made it clear he wants to destroy NATO, which is among Putin's top goals.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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British Prime Minister Theresa May: Trump 'Told Me I Should Sue the E.U.' Over Brexit

July 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet

The British Prime Minster said his advice will go unheeded.


British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday said during her visit with Donald Trump, the president recommended she sue the European Union instead of negotiating a solution to Brexit with the bloc, the New York Times reports.

“He told me I should sue the E.U.,” she said in an interview with BBC’s Andrew Marr. “Not go into negotiations, sue them.”

During a press conference on Friday, Trump teased he offered May advice that was “too brutal” for her to heed.

If they don’t make the right deal, she might very well do what I suggested that she might want to do,” Trump told reporters.

According to May, her government has no plans to follow the president’s suggestion. “Actually, no—we’re going into negotiations with them,” May explained Sunday. Still, she added that Trump cautioned her not to “walk away” from negotiations—advice she will consider, the British Prime Minister said.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Why the Meltdown over Kavanaugh

July 15, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The end of the world is coming. At least, that is what the Left
believes will happen if the Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh to the
Supreme Court. It will be the legal equivalent of Armageddon. Head
for the hills, or Canada, for refuge!

No doubt the appointment matters. Right-leaning presidents have
squandered many opportunities to move, if not transform, the high
court. The activist Warren Court was essentially a Republican
court, including Earl Warren, William Brennan, and Harry Blackmun.
The terrible GOP nominations continued: John Paul Stevens and David
Souter were particularly awful picks, social engineers determined
to remake society in their preferred image.

Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy were center-right,
but not interested in ending the Supreme Court’s role as a
continuing constitutional convention. Chief Justice John Roberts
worries more about the body’s image than the Constitution,
saving Obamacare based on grounds (the mandate was a tax) even
Democrats didn’t take seriously. The retiring Kennedy took
occasional flights of fancy when he sought to help people figure
out what it meant to be a human being in the universe, as opposed
to articulating what the Constitution meant.

For the left, judicial
appointments are about politics, not philosophy.

In contrast, the last Democratic appointee who moved noticeably
rightward may have been Byron White, nominated by President
John F. Kennedy
. President Lyndon Johnson’s, Bill
Clinton’s, and Barack Obama’s choices performed as
expected: promote a “living” Constitution which upholds
most every expansion of federal power and transforms society into a
liberal nirvana. Where leftish jurists do best is when they
advocate vigorously applying the few constitutional provisions
which they like — such as free speech and search and seizure.
Most everything else in the Constitution, contend liberal justices,
has been transcended by history.

The Right has a broad jurisprudential vision rooted in the text
and history of the Constitution. That is, it should mean roughly
what it was believed to mean at the time. There is a mix of
factors: text, drafters’ intent, and political compromise at
the time. Not everything is clear, sometimes general principles
aren’t easy to apply decades in the future to different
circumstances, and the political process is messy and full of
compromise. Nevertheless, if the document, whether Constitution or
statute, doesn’t have a reasonably fixed meaning, why bother
with it? Just admit judges can do what they want.

Which is the essence of liberal jurisprudence.

Whatever the theory, and there are many, its essence is that
jurists should override what those drafting and implementing the
document intended to achieve. Of course, laws and even
constitutions need to be adapted to changing circumstances. But
there is a prescribed way of …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Will Trump Revert to Gunboat Diplomacy in Latin America?

July 15, 2018 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

News media outlets are abuzz with reports that President Trump
told aides in August 2017 to prepare a contingency plan for U.S.
military intervention in Venezuela. The president apparently
indicated considerable interest in that option. His
security advisers reportedly pushed back firmly, arguing that
resorting to military force would have significant adverse
repercussions. For example, they warned it could cause a surge of
anti-U.S. sentiment throughout the Western Hemisphere. Although
their opposition caused the president to put his flirtation with
that drastic measure on hold, there is no evidence that he has
renounced it. Indeed, given the worrisome political, economic, and
security developments in Venezuela, Central America, and Mexico,
there is a significant chance that President Trump or a future
occupant of the White House will give that option serious
consideration.

There may be a tendency to forget that U.S. military coercion of
troublesome regimes in the Western hemisphere was once a major item
in Washington’s foreign policy toolbox. That approach, so-called
gunboat diplomacy, led to numerous military interventions during
the first three decades of the twentieth century. That was especially true in Central America and the
Caribbean. Washington launched multiple invasions and occupations
of countries such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua.
Even Mexico, a much larger and stronger country, was not immune to
Washington’s imperialism. During Woodrow Wilson’s administration,
U.S. forces seized the port city of Veracruz and sent an expeditionary
force deep into northern Mexico in an attempt to apprehend Pancho Villa and his
armed rebels.

From Mexico to Venezuela,
countries are facing instability—but that doesn’t mean
Washington should take extreme measures.

Such crude conduct supposedly came to an end with Franklin
Roosevelt’s proclamation of the Good Neighbor policy. But Washington’s
respect for the sovereignty of its hemispheric neighbors was
erratic and incomplete even following that policy change. Indeed,
much of the change seemed to be in tactics rather than fundamental
principles or goals. For instance, after World War II, U.S.
administrations relied more on covert operations by the new Central
Intelligence Agency instead of military force to undermine governments that opposed Washington’s
agenda or behaved in an unruly, independent manner.

Thus, the CIA orchestrated the overthrow of Guatemala’s
left-wing president Jacobo Arbenz, and was at least somewhat
involved in undermining the rule of Haitian dictator “Papa
Doc” Duvalier. In addition, the CIA overthrew the Dominican
Republic’s Rafael Trujillo (who had apparently outlived his
usefulness as a U.S. client), and Chile’s socialist
president, Salvador Allende. The Agency also made multiple attempts to assassinate …read more

Source: OP-EDS