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No Inquest for Dawn Sturgess

By Craig Murray | October 18, 2019

The killing of poor Dawn Sturgess was much the most serious of the events in Salisbury and Amesbury that attracted international attention. Yet nobody has been charged, no arrest warrant issued and no inquest held.

The inquest for Dawn Sturgess has today been yet again postponed, for the fourth time, and for the first time no new prospective date has been given for it to open. Alarmingly, the coroner’s office are referring press enquiries to Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command – which ought to have no role in an inquest process supposed to be independent of the police.

Congratulations to Rob Slane and to John Helmer for their excellent work in following this.

It appears very probable that the independent coroner’s inquiry process is going to be cancelled and, as in the case of David Kelly, replaced by a politically controlled “public inquiry” with a trusty or malleable judge in charge, like Lord Hutton of Kincora. This is because the truth of Dawn Sturgess’ death in itself destroys key elements of the government’s narrative on what happened in Salisbury.

Simply put, the chemical that killed Dawn Sturgess could not have been the same that allegedly poisoned the Skripals. Charlie Rowley is adamant that he found it in a packaged and fully sealed perfume bottle, in a charity bin. Furthermore he states that it was a charity bin he combed through regularly and it had not been there earlier, in the three months between the alleged attack on the Skripals and his taking it from the bin.

The government narrative that “Boshirov and Petrov” used that perfume bottle to attack the Skripals, then somehow resealed the cellophane, and disposed of it in the bin, depends on the Russians having a tiny plastic resealing technology concealed on them (and why bother?), on their taking a long detour to dispose of the “perfume” in a charity bin – the one method that guaranteed it being found and reused – and the “perfume” then achieving a lengthy period of invisibility in the bin before appearing again three months later.

Those are only some of a number of inconvenient facts. Perfume does not come as a gel; it cannot both have been applied as a gel to the Skripals’ doorknob and sprayed on to Dawn Sturgess’ wrists. Gels do not spray. Neither Porton Down nor the OPCW was able to state it was from the same batch as the chemical allegedly used on the Skripals’ house.

Then there is the fascinating fact that it took eleven days of intensive searching for a vial of liquid in a small modern home, for the police to find the perfume bottle sitting on the kitchen counter.

Nobody has been charged with the manslaughter or murder of Dawn Sturgess. There is still an international arrest warrant out for Boshirov and Petrov for the attack on the Skripals. Very interestingly indeed, this warrant has never been changed into the names of Chepiga and Mishkin.

From the moment I heard of the attack on Dawn Sturgess I worried that she – a person down on her luck and living in a hostel – was exactly the kind of person the powerful and wealthy would view as a disposable human being if her death fitted their narrative. The denial of an inquest for her, and the complete lack of interest by the mainstream media in the obvious nonsense of the official story that ties her to the Skripal poisoning, tends to confirm these fears. What Dawn Sturgess’ death tells us, beyond doubt, is that the government narrative is fake and the Skripal and Sturgess cases are two separate incidents. Which makes a local origin of the chemical very much more likely. No wonder the government is determined to avoid the inquest.

I was struck today that the tame neo-con warmongering “Chemical weapons expert” Hamish De Bretton Gordon, former head of the British Army’s chemical weapons unit, appeared on Sky News. He was being interviewed on use of white phosphorous by Turkey in Syria and repeatedly tried to deflect the narrative on to alleged chemical weapons use by Syrian government forces, arguing that the present crisis was the moral responsibility of those who opposed western military action against Assad. But what particularly struck me was that he appeared by Skype – from Salisbury. When you look at the British government’s own chemical weapons expertise, you are continually led back to Salisbury, perhaps not surprisingly given the location of Porton Down.

I am aiming to make a full documentary film on the Salisbury events entitled “Truth and the Skripals”, based around the questions raised on this blog. I shall be looking to launch crowdfunding for the documentary shortly, probably within the week.


October 18, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | 2 Comments

Lies, Damned Lies, and Government Nutrition Advice

Corbett • 10/19/2019

Watch this video on BitChute / DTube / YouTube or Download the mp4


Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Heart Month Tip: Health benefits of red wine

Red Wine, Chocolate For Health Benefits? New Study Says No

New Study On Health Benefits Of Drinking Coffee

A new study says drinking too much coffee is bad for you

Study: Reducing red meat intake can improve heart health

New research claims eating red meat poses no health risk

New study about red meat ‘fundamentally flawed,’ expert says

Experts Say “Experts Say” Headlines are Propaganda – #PropagandaWatch

The Crisis of Science

The Sugar Conspiracy

R.I.P. food pyramid

A Brief History of USDA Food Guides

Dietary Guidelines: The First 25 Years

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Pure, White, and Deadly: How Sugar Is Killing Us and What We Can Do to Stop It

Episode 227 – The Regulation Trap

FLNWO 35 – Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle

A Brief History of Food, Nutrition & Government Policy in America

What’s Wrong with the Food Pyramid?

October 18, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | | Leave a comment

‘Queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption’: Tulsi Gabbard DRAGS Hillary Clinton after ‘Russian asset’ claim

Image by Gage Skidmore
RT | October 18, 2019

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has accused Hillary Clinton of being behind a ‘concerted campaign’ to destroy her reputation and challenged her to stop hiding and enter the 2020 presidential race.

“Great! Thank you Hillary Clinton,” Gabbard tweeted on Friday afternoon. “You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain.”

“From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine,” Gabbard added.

Clinton, who has blamed everyone from the FBI to Russia for her 2016 loss to Donald Trump, said in an interview on Thursday that “Russians” were “grooming” someone in the Democrat primary field to run as a third-party candidate. While not calling out Gabbard by name, her spokesperson later told CNN, “if the nesting doll fits,” leaving no room for doubt.

Of all the candidates in the crowded Democrat primary field, Gabbard has been under the heaviest fire from journalists who previously boosted Clinton, accused of being an “Assad apologist” over a fact-finding trip she took to Syria years ago.

“Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly,” Gabbard called out Clinton, who has dropped hints that she might run again in 2020 as a rematch for her 2016 humiliation.

During the 2016 campaign, Gabbard resigned as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee after endorsing Bernie Sanders for the party’s presidential nomination. Clinton beat Sanders out for the nomination largely due to support from the unaccountable “superdelegates,” and it emerged later that her campaign had taken over the DNC entirely – which might help explain Gabbard’s line about “the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.”

October 18, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, War Crimes | , | 5 Comments

Japan Snubs US-Led Gulf Coalition, Considers Sending its Own Troops to Strait of Hormuz – Reports

Sputnik – October 18, 2019

The Japanese government has decided to send its own self-defence troops to the Strait of Hormuz area as an alternative to joining the US-coalition to protect commercial vessels passing through key Middle Eastern waterways, according to the Asahi newspaper.

Earlier, media reported that Japan would not join such a coalition due to its close economic ties with Iran, as an important oil producer.

The US announced the creation of a naval coalition in the wake of the detention of a British tanker by Iranian authorities over alleged violations of maritime laws and a series of “sabotage attacks” on commercial vessels in the Persian Gulf. These it blamed on Iran, claiming that  the US goal will be to ensure the safety of navigation through a crucial oil-exporting lane – the Strait of Hormuz. Tehran has strongly denied any involvement in the attacks.

Washington invited several countries from Europe and Asia to participate in this coalition, but so far few have responded. While the UK has shown interest in participating in the American mission, Germany opted for diplomatic efforts as a mean to reduce tensions in the Gulf and stated that its participation in America’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran has been “ruled out”.

Iran has slammed the planned American maritime mission as endangering the international waterway and expressed scepticism about Washington’s chances of rallying allies for it.

October 18, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | | 4 Comments

Hillary Clinton Pitches Conspiracy Theory That Tulsi Gabbard, Jill Stein Are Russian Assets

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 10/18/2019

Hillary Clinton is still peddling election-related conspiracy theories, this time hinting that 2020 Democratic contender Tulsi Gabbard is being ‘groomed’ to split the Democratic vote as a third party candidate, thus handing the election to President Trump.

Speaking with former Obama 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe on his podcast, “Campaign HQ with David Plouffe,” Clinton said – without mentioning Gabbard by name: “I’m not making any predictions but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians.”

Of course, that’s “assuming Jill Stein will give it up – because she’s also a Russian asset,” Clinton continued.

Earlier in the interview, Clinton hinted that the Trump 2020 campaign is still in “contact with the Russians,” and that “we have to assume that since it worked for them, why would they quit?”

“Donald Trump is Vladimir Putin’s dream,” Clinton added. “I don’t know what Putin has on him – whether its both personal and financial, I assume it is. But more than that, there’s this bizarre adulation Trump has for dictators.”

Clinton also insisted that Russia “did affect the outcome of the election” in 2016, despite the DOJ concluding otherwise.


October 18, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 4 Comments

Russia’s Mideast Rise, Fading of Pax Americana Presents Threats, Opportunities, Israeli Media Says

Sputnik – 18.10.2019

Earlier this week, as US troops abandoned positions in northern Syria under the de facto control of local Kurdish forces amid the Turkish onslaught, Russian peacekeeping patrols quietly began operating in Manbij, northern Syria in a bid to prevent fighting between Turkish and Syrian Army forces.

The withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria signals a waning of ‘Pax Americana’ in the Middle East, and presents both “dangers” and “opportunities” for Israel in the region, former Israeli intelligence officials, diplomats and lawmakers have told The Times of Israel.

According to Amos Yadlin, former head of the Israeli military’s Military Intelligence Directorate, “All pairs of enemies in the Middle East enjoy reasonably good ties with Russia: Saudi Arabia and Iran, Israel and the Palestinians, the Kurds and the Turks, Israel and Iran, Egypt and Turkey, and so on.” Russia, Yadlin said, is not a Middle Eastern ‘hegemon’ in the traditional sense of the term, with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt sharing that title, in his view. Furthermore, he noted, Washington still has far greater forces in the Middle East than Moscow.

“The Russian success stems from their ability to use very few forces with determination and rules of engagement that only they can allow themselves, with a veto at the UN Security Council and a patriotic audience at home,” Yadlin said, without elaborating.

Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren said he found the US disengagement in the Middle East much more concerning than Russia’s growing influence. “We have relied for the last 45 years on a Pax Americana that no longer exists. I am not saying that the US won’t come to our assistance, but we can’t be certain of it anymore,” he said. As for Russia, Oren suggested Israel should work to reach a ‘modus vivendi’ with Moscow. “It’s useless for us to pretend that Russia is going to be an ally, but we don’t have to make them enemies either,” he said.

However, Ksenia Svetlova, a former Israeli lawmaker from the Zionist Union Party, said Russia’s rise could have “very grave” implications for Tel Aviv. “We already have Russian air defence systems, the S-300, that cover the Syrian and Lebanese shores. As soon as the Russians think that it’s smart for them to operate these systems and to halt the Israeli attacks, Israel would no longer be able to deal with the extension of Iranian power in these countries,” she said, repeating Tel Aviv’s talking point about alleged growing ‘Iranian influence’ in Syria.

Russia initially deployed its air defences only at its airbase in Latakia, northwestern Syria. However, last October, following a friendly fire incident led to the loss of a Russian aircraft and the deaths of 15 Russian airmen, Moscow began deploying S-300s to Syria’s armed forces, complicating Tel Aviv’s campaign of airstrikes into Syria and leading to a reduction in its intensity.

According to Svetlova, Iran, another Israeli adversary, was also a Russian ‘strategic ally’, and “it’s not likely that Moscow will do anything to curb the Iranian influence in Syria and Lebanon.”

But Ofer Zalzberg, an analyst at the Belgium-based nonprofit International Crisis Group, believes Russia could help reduce tensions between Israel and other countries in the region. In his view, President Trump’s Syria exit would at least temporarily end “Israeli wishful thinking about the US resolving all problems militarily,” which could force Israel too to move away from military operations and turn to diplomacy and “some temporary de-facto power-sharing,” including agreements on Syria and Lebanon and perhaps even a “non-aggression pact” between Israel and Hezbollah.

The US withdrew about 1,000 troops from northeast Syria last week, thereby greenlighting a Turkish military operation Ankara says is aimed against Daesh (ISIS) terrorists and local Kurdish militants, whom Turkish authorities also classify as terrorists. Turkey’s operation brought it broad condemnation from its NATO allies, with the US slapping the country with sanctions. Late Thursday, US Vice President Mike Pence said he and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and agreed to a ceasefire in Syria.

Amid the Turkish operation, Damascus reached an agreement with Kurdish-led militia forces in northern Syria, allowing Syrian Army forces to advance into Kurdish-controlled areas to mount a joint defence of the Syrian-Turkish border area. This week, Russian peacekeepers began patrols in the city of Manbij in eastern Aleppo province, with the mission aimed at preventing fighting between Syrian and Turkish forces.

October 18, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 8 Comments

Tulsi Nails it on National TV… US Regime-Change Wars

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 18, 2019

No wonder Democratic Party bosses and mainstream media are trying to bury presidential contender Tulsi Gabbard. She is the only candidate, perhaps the only politician in the US, who is telling the American public exactly what they need to know about what their government and military are really up to: fighting illegal regime-change wars, and to boot, sponsoring terrorists for that purpose.

It didn’t come much clearer nor more explicit than when Gabbard fired up the Democratic TV debate this week. It was billed as the biggest televised presidential debate ever, and the Hawaii Representative told some prime-time home-truths to the nation:

“Donald Trump has blood of the Kurds on his hands, but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime-change war in Syria that started in 2011… along with many in the mainstream media who have been championing and cheer-leading this regime-change war.”

The 38-year-old military veteran went on to denounce how the US has sponsored Al Qaeda terrorists for its objective of overthrowing the government in Damascus.

It was a remarkably damning assessment of US policy in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. And it was by no means the first time that Gabbard has leveled with the American people on the brutality and criminality of Washington’s so-called “interventions”.

The other 11 Democratic candidates on the stage during the TV debate looked agog after Gabbard’s devastating and calmly delivered statement. All the others have proffered the false narrative that US forces are in Syria to “fight terrorism”. They deplore Trump’s announcement last week to pull back US troops from northeast Syria because, they say, it will undermine the fight against Islamic State (IS or ISIS) and other Al Qaeda affiliates. They also condemn Trump for “betraying Kurdish allies” by his partial troop withdrawal.

President Donald Trump talks about “ending endless wars” and “bringing our troops home”. But he still premises his views on a credulous belief that the US under his watch “defeated ISIS 100 per cent”. In that way, he essentially shares the same corny view as the Democrats and media that America is a force for good, that it is the “good guys wearing white hats riding into the sunset”.

On the other hand, Gabbard stands alone in telling the American people the plain and awful truth. US policy is the fundamental problem. Ending its regime-change war in Syria and elsewhere and ending its diabolical collusion with terror groups is the way to bring peace to the Middle East and to spare ordinary Americans from the economic disaster of spiraling war debts. American citizens need to know the truth about the horror their government, military, media and politicians have inflicted not just on countries in the Middle East, but also from the horrendous boomerang consequences of this criminal policy on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Americans, including millions of veterans destroyed by injuries, trauma, suicide, and drug abuse.

Following the TV debate this week, it seems that Gabbard won the popular vote with her truth-telling. A major online poll by the Drudge Report found that she stole a march on all the other candidates, winning approval from nearly 40 per cent of voters. Top ticket candidates Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden were trailing behind with 7 per cent or less.

Gabbard has clearly struck a deep chord with the US public in her honest depiction of American wars.

Despite her shattering exposé and seeming appreciation by the public, most mainstream media tried to bury her after the TV debate. Outlets like Vox and CNN declared that Warren was the winner of the debate, whose talking points were mainly about domestic policy issues. Like the other candidates, Warren plies the propaganda narrative of US forces “fighting terrorism”. Vox even slated Gabbard as “a loser” in the debate and claimed she had made “blatantly false” statements about the US’ role in Syria.

Other mainstream news outlets chose to ignore reporting on Gabbard’s demolishing of the official propaganda about American wars. Earlier this week, CNN and the New York Times smeared her as a “Russian asset” and an “apologist for Assad”, referencing a visit she made to Syria in 2017 when she held talks with President Assad.

The Democratic National Committee is claiming that Gabbard does not have sufficient support in polls it deems worthy for her to qualify for appearing in the next TV debate in November.

International events, however, are proving the Hawaii Representative right. US troops, as with other NATO forces, have been occupying Syrian territory illegally. They have no mandate from the United Nations Security Council. The pullback of US troops by Trump has created a vacuum in northeast Syria into which the Syrian Arab Army is quickly moving to reclaim the territory which US-backed Kurdish fighters had de facto annexed for the past five years. Several reports show the local people are joyfully welcoming the arrival of the Syrian army. The scenes are reminiscent of when Syrian and Russian forces liberated Aleppo and other cities previously besieged by terror groups.

America’s war machine must get out of Syria for the sake of restoring peace to that war-torn country. Not because “they have defeated ISIS 100 per cent”, as Trump would conceitedly claim, nor because “we are betraying Kurds in the fight against terrorism”, as most Democrats and US media preposterously claim.

Peace will come to Syria and the Middle East when Washington finally ends its criminal regime-change wars and its support for terrorist proxies. Tulsi Gabbard seems to be the only politician with the intelligence and integrity to tell Americans the truth.

October 18, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 13 Comments

The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now Possible

By Jim Kavanagh | The Polemicist | October 18, 2019

What everyone is most upset about with regard to Syria isn’t the bloodshed or anything having [to] do with human rights. It’s the decline in American control of the Middle East. This is 100% about US imperialism taking a hit. — Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) October 14, 2019

A series of Donald Trump’s decisions, culminating in the decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, has set off a cascade of effects that are dramatically changing the geopolitics of the Middle East and the internal politics of the United States.

Two months ago, I wrote an article opposing the impeachment drive and stating that Donald Trump is not going to be removed from office by impeachment proceedings. I said: “Donald Trump will be removed from office one way: by an election.”

At that time, in the wake of the fizzling out of the Mueller Report and testimony on Russian “collusion,” the new smoking gun was “obstruction of justice.” “The evidence is overwhelming,” Jamie Raskin said, echoing more than 90 of his Democratic colleagues, “10 different episodes of presidential obstruction of justice.” Walls closing in.

Somehow, even after Mueller’s “very, very painfultestimony, the impeachment drive by the Democrats had intensified to the point that it was de rigueur for every major Democratic presidential candidate, and for anyone calling themselves “progressive,” to demand impeachment proceedings. Because “obstruction of justice.”

Of course, the Democrats were not going to create an irresistible political tide that would get enough Republican senators to vote to oust Trump with that “obstruction of justice” issue, and they knew it. The chance of that was effectively zero.

The odds on that are now changing significantly. What happened to change the impeachment calculus that might move enough Republicans?

The answer is nothing that’s in the Ukrainegate smokingburger, which replaced the obstruction-of-justice smokingburger, which replaced the Russiagate smokingburger. Interpretations of the Zelensky phone call are just that—interpretations. Stipulate the worst: Trump tried to wheedle some personal political benefit from a foreign leader. Shocked! Shocked! Are we?

Really? Does anybody think that, if we read through the transcripts of every conversation between US presidents and foreign leaders over the last fifty years, we wouldn’t find scores of such transactions? And, uh, Hunter Biden, not to mention the Clinton campaign and Foundation. The Republicans can bat that phone call away, and they will face no political groundswell among their voters, or even the general public, to take sides in a family feud among different corrupt factions of a corrupt political elite.

To say nothing of the most outrageous examples of using foreign leaders to political advantage. Richard Nixon conspired with the leaders of South Vietnam to prolong the Vietnam War, and LBJ knew it. Ronald Reagan conspired with the leaders of Iran to prolong the confinement of American hostages, and a bipartisan commission covered it up. But they weren’t presidents at the time? Really, that’s an argument for dismissing these cases? What do you think these guys did when they were presidents? No, Nancy, now that I’m president I cannot seek a political benefit from a foreign leader! And why were these cases ignored and actively covered up, except because they were considered—even if a little extreme—SOP in US politics?

The success of the Democrats’ impeachment drive depends on one thing: getting enough Republican senators to vote for conviction. No, nothing in the Trump-Zelensky phone call or anything like it is going to move Republicans to temper their defenses against the Democratic onslaught, let alone move enough of them in the Senate to vote to remove him from office.

If Republicans do stop defending him against that, it will be because they have become radically disaffected with him about something else.

That something else is real, though it probably will not be explicitly stated in impeachment charges. It’s the simmering bipartisan concern about Trump that has been brought to a boil by a recent series of events and decisions: his unreliability as a trigger-puller, his aversion to ordering big military attacks. This is certainly a damning fault in the eyes of most Republicans (as well as Democrats), a disqualifying failure or responsibility from the warden of the US empire. That’s the impeachable offense that could well get enough Republican votes to convict him.

During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump expressed his opposition to wasteful foreign interventions clearly and repeatedly enough, and was skewered by the Democrats whenever he did, as they promoted lies and war and lies about war (specifically about Ukraine, as I noted) for their political benefit.

He also expressed his disdain for the obligatory nod to US sanctimony, when he responded to Joe Scarborough’s complaint about Putin killing people: “I think our country does plenty of killing also,” and when he pushed back on George Stephanopoulos regarding Ukraine: “The people of Crimea… would rather be with Russia than where they were.”

These kinds of thoughts are anathema to hawkish Republicans. They could only be ignored because they assumed: 1) he wasn’t going to win, 2) it was empty campaign rhetoric, and 3) as President, he would be boxed in and managed by the shepherds of the national-security state. Only one of those assumptions turned out to be entirely false, and it’s the uncertainty about how the other two are now playing out that might undermine his support among Senate Republicans.

In the last few months, Trump has made decisions either to reduce US military presence or explicitly not to take military action that was expected and planned. These were rhetorically and substantively anti-interventionist positions that are anathema to imperialist Republicans. The most consequent of these in the impeachment context are those regarding Iran, and, relatedly, Syria.

The dangerous fuse of Republican discontent with Trump was lit with Trump’s decision in June to call off the military strike on Iran, after Iran’s downing of a US drone. That event followed attacks on Norwegian and Japanese tankers in the Persian Gulf that the US government blamed on Iran. A narrative had been established for US politicians and media: Every nasty thing that happens in the Middle East is to be blamed on Iran. It’s a narrative with a specific target and a specific goal: to manufacture consent for a military attack on that target—Iran—when a good opportunity was either concocted or presented itself.

Iran’s acknowledged destruction of a valuable US military asset provided that opportunity. Trump’s decision—on the profound advice of Bolton, Pompeo, et. al.—to launch an attack on Iran was the inevitable next scene in the script. His decision, made a few hours later, to cancel the attack was something else again. It was a decision made “without consulting his vice president, secretary of state or national security adviser,” with “forces… already in motion… more than 10,000 sailors and airmen…. on the move,” and with “only 10 minutes to go.” Per the NYT, that decision “stunned,” ”flabbergasted,” and outraged his closest advisers and key Republican allies. It was an unprecedented deus ex machina, an impermissible interruption that, especially for Republicans, just doesn’t fit in the epic story of American “presidentialness.”

Leftish Trump opponents have not, I think, recognized what an extraordinary, important, and praiseworthy decision this was by Trump. Has there been a more positive decision of such consequence made by any president in the last thirty years?

Yes, it was the reversal of a prior, terrible decision of his. And, yes, it’s subject to reversal again because of his inconsistency and his many other terrible decisions regarding Iran and the region. But on its own, it stopped an onslaught of immense destruction. That it was a reversal of something he had set in motion only makes it more extraordinary as a presidential act.

Moreover, Trump was not alone in the process of re-thinking his decision. The Washington Post tells us that, from the get-go, the decision to strike Iran had “divided his top advisers, with senior Pentagon officials opposing the decision to strike and national security adviser John Bolton strongly supporting it.” And during those hours of reconsideration, as the NYT reports: “there continued to be pushback from Pentagon civilians and General Dunford.”

In other words, this wasn’t just a matter of peripatetic Trump; it was a matter of an ongoing tension between the fervently Zionist neocons, represented by the likes of Bolton and Pompeo, and the military realists, as represented by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Dunford. Let’s not—as hawkish Republicans and Democrats certainly will try to—hide that tension in the tale of Trump’s personal inconsistency.

That tension defines something that Trump and every American president is inconsistent about. In the US context, that Trump changed his mind in the direction he did at the last minute is, again, extraordinary—one might even say “courageous.”

Sure, better not to have ordered the attack in the first place, but, in such circumstances, I’ll take reconsideration and second thoughts to sticking to one’s guns.

What we see here is that, for all his bluster, Trump knows when to be scared of a fight that will certainly hurt and not benefit the US, unlike the missionary (whether Zionist, Christian, or secular “humanitarian”) interventionists—including past presidents Obama and Bush, the man “progressive” impeachers would have president, Mike Pence, and every one of the present Democratic contenders, with the possible exception of Sanders or Gabbard. Certainly, in the same circumstances (having decided for the neocons, still getting pushback from the military), none of those Democrats, with the noted exceptions, would have made the re-consideration Trump did, and we would be at war with Iran now.

Anti-Trump lefties may not want to recognize how radical Trump’s decision to call off the Iran strike was, but senior Republicans sure do.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a not unimportant player in the unfolding impeachment drama, said Trump’s decision to cancel the Iran strike “was clearly seen by the Iranian regime as a sign of weakness.” To which Trump responded, in tones matching Obama’s best anti-stupid-interventionist campaign rhetoric: “No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don’t understand!” Republicans were likening Trump’s refusal to strike Iran over the drone downing to Obama not striking Syria over the chemical weapons “red line” pretext. Having Republicans and his own advisors see him as “all too reminiscent … of Mr. Obama” is not a look that will help Trump among imperialist Republican senators.

Indeed, that remark of Graham’s was made after Trump’s second dramatic failure to respond with military action—this time to the September 14th Houthi attack on Saudi oilfields, which was framed by neocon Pompeo as an “act of war” by Iran and, implicitly, against the United States. Even the liberal NYT accepted the framing that Trump “let down his Arab partners by failing to respond more forcefully to Iranian aggressions.” quoting one Gulf political scientist that: “Trump, in his response to Iran, is even worse than Obama.”

What’s important for the purposes of impeachment possibility, of course, is whether Trump’s Republican allies see it that way. And they do. Here’s Graham again: “This is literally an act of war and the goal should be to restore deterrence against Iranian aggression which has clearly been lost.” There it is: Trump “lost” deterrence against, is “losing” the Middle East to, Iran.

Former C.I.A. official Reuel Marc Gerecht echoes and amplifies the line to NYT reporters at the ultra-neocon Foundation for Defense of Democracies: “The president’s repeated failure to militarily respond to Iranian actions has been a serious mistake.”

It was a week after this putative “act of war” by Iran and non-military response by Trump, on September 23rd, that a group of “moderate” freshmen Democratic congresswomen who had “formed a bond over their national security background,” joined by two freshmen male colleagues, also military veterans, wrote a Washington Post (WaPo) op-ed that, as CNN puts it: “changed the dynamic for House Democrats, and indeed — the course of history.”

These women call themselves the “badasses,” a name that one of them, Chrissy Houlahan, says, “came organically from the group since we all had either served in the military or in the CIA.”

So, it was no squad of “progressives,” but a cohort of Democrats bound by national-security/intelligence “service” that “opened the floodgates,” and persuaded Nancy Pelosi to move with them “from hard no to hell yes on starting an impeachment inquiry.”

They say their position changed so suddenly and dramatically that week in September because, as CIA veterans and all, they were shocked, shocked that POTUS “may have used his position to pressure a foreign country into investigating a political opponent.” Reading their op-ed, you’ll find no hint that they share their colleague Gerecht’s concern about “the president’s repeated failure to militarily respond to Iranian actions.” No, no, these military and CIA badasses keep their “steadfast focus” on “health care [and] infrastructure.” Sure.

Now, making things worse for himself, Trump “Throws Middle East Policy Into Turmoil” by announcing a “withdrawal” of US troops from northeast Syria. This “touched off a broad rebuke by Republicans, including some of his staunchest allies,” whose response has been apoplectic: “some of the sharpest language they have leveled” against him. Here are the leaders of the Senate Republican caucus that will vote on any impeachment referral:

Liz Cheney: It’s a “catastrophic mistake that … threatens America’s national security”

Marco Rubio:  Trump’s decision “is a grave mistake that will have severe consequences beyond Syria. It risks encouraging the Iranian regime [and]… will imperil other U.S. national security interests in the region.”

Lindsey Graham: “if he follows through with this, it’d be the biggest mistake of his presidency.” And: “This to me is an Obama-like decision” and “if President Trump continues to make such statements this will be a disaster worse than President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq.”

Their ostensible outrage is that Trump’s decision “betrays our Kurdish allies,” since it opens the way for a Turkish invasion to subdue Kurdish forces who aligned with the US. And the decision was impulsive, throwing “supporters, foreign leaders, military officers and his own aides off balance,” and does effectively greenlight what is an outrageous offensive by Turkey to steal Syrian territory and ethnically cleanse Kurdish areas.

But Turkey has already invaded Syria with US blessing, under the Obama administration, betraying the same Kurdish allies. As I wrote in a 2016 essay: “Vice-President Joe Biden stood beside Turkish President Erdogan and commanded the Kurds to back off and let Turkey have its way—to actually surrender territory they had won from ISIS to Turkey, and to the Free Syrian Army, Faylaq Al-Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, and re-costumed-ISIS jihadis who follow in the wake of Turkish tanks.”

“We have made it absolutely clear to . . . the YPG that participated” in the taking of Manbij and other towns “that they must move back across the river,” Biden said. “They cannot, will not, and under no circumstances will get American support if they do not keep that commitment. Period.”

Tough love Joe, who at the time was trying to reassure Erdogan that the US was not complicit in the coup attempt against him. The US government was always going to accede to its NATO ally over its more-dispensable Kurdish “partners.”

My point above about the jihadis coming in Turkey’s wake is still quite relevant and undermines the whole “protection from ISIS” narrative. The US itself cheered ISIS on, as Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry admitted. Turkey supported ISIS and trafficked ISIS soldiers, arms, and oil across its border with Syria throughout the conflict. That 2016 Turkish invasion made liberal use of jihadi proxies, including ISIS, which calmly turned territory over to Turkish-backed forces, with some ISIS fighters just changing their uniforms to join them.

In the current invasion, Erdogan is playing the same game. He explicitly says, for example, that “The Turkish army won’t enter Manbij. We’ll be content with providing assistance to Syrian opposition and tribal forces.” Erdogan wants to avoid a direct conflict with the Syrian Army (SAA) and its Russian allies, so those “forces”—now branded the “Syrian National Army” or the “Turkey-Supported Opposition” (TSO)—will be the ground-level fighters of Turkish attacks. They include the various jihadi factions within the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that the US created, any ISIS cadres who wish to join as the TSO deliberately releases them, and some angry Syrian Arabs who were thrown out of their homes by Kurd militias (who have been no angels in seeking to establish their ethno-state). You know, the kinds of “forces” that the US government and media insisted for years were “moderate rebels,” and are now acknowledging are ruthless killers who are executing captured Kurd fighters as well as civilian political leaders.

Incredible: US officials are now admitting “rebels” from the “Free Syrian Army” that are embedded with the Turkish army are intentionally freeing ISIS prisoners, while massacring civilians These are some of the “moderate rebels” the CIA armed and trained — Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) October 15, 2019

It’s the SAA and its allies that were the most effective at destroying ISIS and jihadi “forces” over the last eight years. For neither Turkey nor the US was ISIS ever anything other than a weapon against the Syrian government and a convenient pretext for “protective” intervention. And the Kurds were always more pawns than “partners.”

And the spectacle of countries/actors like the EU, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, all of whom financed and armed an invasion of Syria by foreign jihadis for 8 years, now objecting to Turkey violating the “territorial sovereignty” of Syria demonstrates the death of irony.

Turkey is illegally extending its prior illegal invasion of Syria into sovereign Syrian territory that the US had illegally taken control of. Mark Sleboda puts it well: “Turkey is invading the US invasion of Syria.”

Neither Trump’s staunch Republican allies, nor his Democratic opponents, nor any of those countries give two hoots about the Kurds, let alone Syria’s “territorial integrity.” They are not upset and outraged at Trump because he opened the possibility of Turkey repressing the Kurds; they are upset and outraged because he made the Kurds finally see what fools they were to ally with the US and to turn instead to an alliance with the Syrian government. US politicians’ crocodile tears for the Syrian Kurds are really rage at losing their allegiance.

The Kurdish commander of the US-created Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Gen. Mazloum Kobani Abdi, is now saying: “if you’re not [protecting my people], I need to make a deal with Russia and the regime now and invite their planes to protect this region,” and writing in Foreign Policy that “The Russians and the Syrian regime have made proposals that could save the lives of millions of people who live under our protection.” He may also say: “We do not trust their promises,” but he knows very well that some kind of autonomy agreement with Damascus is preferable for Syrian Kurds to Turkish occupation and ethnic cleansing.

So, the SDF has formally “agreed to the deployment of the SAA” throughout the group’s ‘self-administration’ area (“to all areas starting East from Ain Dawar to Jarablus in the north”), calling on the SAA to do its “duty to protect the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty.”

As I write, the SAA and allied forces have already, often greeted with celebration, entered the towns of Ain Issa, Tel Tamer, Qamishli, Kobani, Raqqah, and Manbij—where they’ve taken over a US base.

As the NYT reports: “If Syrian government forces can reach the Turkish border to the north and the Iraqi border to the east, it would be a major breakthrough in Mr. Assad’s quest to re-establish his control over the whole country.”

The problem now isn’t that the Kurds no longer have any allies; it’s that the Americans don’t.

The Kurds have now recognized and joined the alliance that really is capable of preserving their own lives and Syria’s “territorial sovereignty”—which is precisely what the US, NATO/EU, Israel, the Gulf monarchies, and Turkey, have been trying to destroy for eight years.

This is what Trump’s McCain-Republican frenemies are pissed-off at. Led by Lindsey Graham, they’re pissed-off at Erdogan—not for killing Kurds, but for disrupting the game which used protection of the Kurds as a “humanitarian” alibi for dividing Syria and overthrowing its government.

The American troops that Trump moved out of the way were not protecting the Kurds from Turkey, they were protecting Turkey from itself—from Erdogan’s hubris in overplaying his hand and entering into what at best will be a quagmire of occupation and resistance from Syrian Kurds, and at worst a direct conflict with the Syrian army and its Russian ally, which Erdogan definitely does not want.

But most of all, those US troops were protecting the ongoing, long-term project of state-destruction in the region on behalf of Israel. The splitting off of a Kurdish area and the presence of US troops in it—under the pretext of a protective force, but really as a constant dagger pointed at Damascus and maintaining the threat of US-led regime change—were lynchpins of that project, which was supposed to culminate in a state-destroying military attack on Iran.

The McCain Republicans are pissed-off at Trump for completely upending—perhaps even finally ending!—that project.

The suite of decisions Trump has made, starting with the decision to cancel the strike on Iran, were accompanied by rhetoric that gets him into even more trouble, especially with those McCain Republicans.

“I campaigned on the fact that I was going to bring our soldiers home and bring them home as quickly as possible.”

“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars.”

[Regarding Turkey and Syria] “That has nothing to do with us,” he said. He said he could understand if Syria and Turkey want territory. “But what does that have to do with the United States of America if they’re fighting over Syria’s land?”

[Regarding whether his decision to pull back from Syria had opened the way for Russia and the Syrian government] “I wish them all a lot of luck. If Russia wants to get involved with Syria, that’s really up to them,” he added.

Responding to Lindsey Graham’s criticisms] “The people of South Carolina don’t want us to get into a war with Turkey, a NATO member, or with Syria.”

“Let them fight their own wars.”

“Ridiculous endless wars,” “Let them fight their own wars”—anathema for a serving president to say. Acceptable as campaign rhetoric, but never to be said for real by a president in office—especially a president attacked for his “repeated failure[s] to militarily respond” to designated enemies.

All of this marks a new and real danger for Trump in the impeachment process. When Graham, “usually one of the president’s most vocal backers,” warns that unless Trump reverses (!) his decision, it “will be the biggest mistake of his presidency,” that sounds a lot like a threat.

There’s another element that appears in all the neocon, McCain-Republican (as well as McCain-Democrat) objections, which can be seen, for example, in Lindsey Graham’s remark that Trump’s decision is: “a big win for Iran and Assad, a big win for ISIS.”

Note the logic here: Turkey disappears as the enemy, and ISIS gets added at the end for the scare factor, but it’s the “win” for Syria, which in his view also means a win for Iran, that’s the real problem. It always goes to Iran.

It’s crucial to understand all the implications that underlie and make sense of such a statement. After all, there’s no “win” for Syria in the Turkish invasion of its territory unless it results in the Kurds turning to Damascus and the SAA for their protection. If Graham’s professed interest in protecting the Kurds were real, that would be a good thing. But it also brings Syria closer to finally winning against the eight-year US-sponsored regime-change and state-destroying operation, which is Graham’s and the US’s real agenda, so it therefore becomes a bad thing. This discourse reveals that Graham, like the rest of his colleagues, is not worried about whether the Kurds will be protected from Turkey, but whether they will reconcile with Damascus.

And how can the Turkish invasion of Syria possibly be construed as a “win” for Iran, which has “warned its neighbor not to move forward with its military operation” and held unannounced military drills near its border with Turkey? Only if everything that’s happening in Syria is a function of a project directed against Iran. Only if Syria’s winning back the allegiance of the Kurds as well as its actual territorial integrity is a “loss” for the US in an offensive against Iran.

It always goes to Iran.

Graham is here expressing what’s actually behind the growing urgency of the neocon national-security apparatus to replace Donald Trump with Mike Pence—‘cause, you know, that is what impeaching and convicting Trump will do—and why it may adversely affect Trump’s chances with Republican senators.

One cannot understand what’s happening in Syria, or what’s happening in impeachment, or the relation between the two unless one understands the role of Israel in determining US policy and influencing US politics in general. US policy in the Middle East is completely incoherent until one understands the extent to which it’s Israeli policy.

One cannot complain that Trump’s Syria decision caused “chaos” without recognizing the chaos that US intervention throughout the Middle East since 2001—in Iraq, Libya, and Syria—has already caused, and was designed to cause, for the sake of Israel. Because, as Middle East Monitor reports: “the [former] chief of Israel’s military intelligence, General Aviv Kochav, has said that the chaos in the Arab world favours Israel and is something that he believes should continue.”

And one cannot understand what’s happened and happening in Syria, and what the US politicians really think is “wrong” with Trump’s decision, without placing it in the context of the US-Israeli strategy that was famously revealed by Wesley Clark (and studiously ignored by US media), to “take out seven countries… starting with Iraq and Syria and ending with Iran.”

Iran has always been the ultimate target. Syria was a stepping-stone, the part of what Israel saw as the “Tehran-Damascus-Hizbullah alliance” that became ripe for removing in 2011-2. This was made explicit in a State Department report, authored by James Rubin (Christine Amanpour’s husband), that appeared in a Hillary Clinton email chain: “The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.” Or, as high-ranking Israeli officials gleefully foresaw: “Syria’s fragmentation into provinces, … the formation of an Alawite district in the coastal region… a Sunni province … and … a Kurdish province in northern Syria.”

That Iran has been the ultimate target is also made clear in an exceptionally important and detailed NYT report, “The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran” (published before the Syria decision), which I urge everyone to read. It chronicles how “Hawks in Israel and America have spent more than a decade agitating for war against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program,” and asks “Will Trump finally deliver?” It details Benjamin Netanyahu’s obsessive “personal crusade” against Iran, and his attempts to cajole, browbeat, and bluff the US into attacking Iran for the Jewish state—to the point that the US ambassador to Israel thought: “Israel might consider it an advantage to strike in the final phase of the [2012] election,” believing it “could force the United States’ hand to be supportive or to come in behind Israel and assist. Because otherwise, President Obama could be accused of abandoning Israel in its moment of need.”

Israel used this “can’t refuse Israel” ideology to make sure the Obama administration “meticulously refined” “military plans for an Iran strike” that, if he didn’t use, would be a “loaded gun,” “inherited” by the next president.

But Trump hasn’t picked up that gun. Despite his embrace of so many aspects of Netanyahu’s agenda, Israelis now fear that “the American president in whom they had invested so much hope has gone wobbly.” Why? Because of his “last-minute decision to abort the attack in June,” which has “led to a concern among Iran hawks in both Israel and the United States: that the president ultimately might not have the resolve to confront the threat with military force.”

As Haaretz reports, in a more recent editorial “Netanyahu’s Iran Policy Has Collapsed”: “Trump’s putting up with the attack on Saudi Arabia and leaving the Kurds high and dry are warning signs to Israel, that it cannot count on Netanyahu’s friend in the White House.”

And the BBC: Netanyahu’s “signature Iran policy … was rocked by the president’s reluctance to flex US military muscle in response to an apparent Iranian attack on Saudi oil installations…. [which] evinces the utter collapse of the security doctrine that has been advanced by Netanyahu, [and] has been compounded by Mr. Trump’s decision to pull US troops out of north-eastern Syria.” Israel is now “facing the reality of an unpredictable and transactional president who has deep reservations about using US military might, is afraid of getting involved in another Middle East conflict.”

Those hawks in Israel and the United States may be giving up on Trump, but one would be a fool to think they are giving up. They’re just looking for another “friend in the White House”—and right quick. The election is too far away, and its results too unpredictable.

Trump is slithering filth and dangerously mercurial and random. But the recurring liberal bashing of him for non- and reduced military intervention and for not loving bad guys like the CIA and FBI and John McCain truly is knee-jerk. — vastleft (@vastleft) October 9, 2019

Leftists may be loath to acknowledge it, but, for whatever reasons he made it, Trump’s decision on Syria—the culmination of a series of non-interventionist decisions—has “marked a major turning point in Syria’s long war” and has, indeed, “upended decades” of imperialist and Zionist plans for the Middle East It deserves to be recognized and supported as such by all leftist anti-imperialists as much as it is recognized and denounced as such by the entire spectrum of US-imperialist politics and media. It’s a very good thing, a positive aspect of the Trump-effect I’ve written about previously.

We leftists can point out that Trump’s non-interventionist rhetoric, and even decisions, do not always translate into reality. All US troops have not yet been withdrawn from Syria. US troop presence in the Middle East increased by 14,000 since May. He just sent another 2,000 US troops to Saudi Arabia. His policies on Palestine, Venezuela, and even Iran are criminally aggressive, even if they have not yet involved a military attack. We know that he’s impulsive and changeable, and, most importantly, weak. Even if he has a sincere desire to end ridiculous, endless, and wasteful wars, it’s a shallow impulse, ungrounded in anything but self- and US-centered principle. That makes him weak, and it’s why he surrounds himself with neocon deep-state actors on whom he depends and who often ignore or actively oppose him—especially when it comes to his non-interventionist instincts. He is certainly as much of, if more erratic, an imperialist/American-exceptionalist and world bully as any US politician.

That’s the dangerous aspect of Trump’s incoherence that we leftists, for good reason, focus on. But his right-wing critics, and would-be and erstwhile neocon advisors like Bolton (“the whistleblower’s Deep Throat”?) see and fear the other side of his “unpredictable and transactional” character—his call for better relations with Russia, his desire for a deal with Kim Jong-Un, etc.

But most of all, and most importantly in relation to the Middle East and the sacred imperatives of Israel, they see that one big flashing yellow light that they despise: he’s reluctant to pull the trigger on a big attack on the principal enemy. They can maneuver around him, and push him largely where they want him to go, but when it comes to a decisive strike, he’s the commander-in-chief; he needs to give the order. In a series of what for them are crucial moments, Trump has shown himself to be unreliable for that. They want a commander-in-chief on whom they can rely to pull the trigger. Like Mike Pence.

And in this Syria decision they see, correctly, that, no matter how many troops and ships he is moving around the Middle East, Trump has effectively collapsed a longstanding imperialist and Zionist project for Syria and possibly Iran that neocon policy makers had no intention of giving up on. They may yet get him to reverse that or over-compensate for it with some worse aggression, but he seems to be “undeterred,” and “doubling down” on it, “despite vociferous pushback from congressional Republicans” and “top advisers.”

The Democrats need at least 20 Republican senators to convict Trump and throw him out of office. That is no longer impossible. Many McCain Republicans are now on record as seeing Trump’s policy decisions as a threat to “national security” and to fundamental US and “allied” interests, especially in the Middle East.

A “veteran political consultant,” cited by a conservative blogger, made it specific: “The price of Graham’s support… would be an eventual military strike on Iran.”

Impeachment and conviction are still unlikely. Perhaps because Trump will pay Graham’s price—in which case, watch the pressure dissipate. Or, in the better case, and the one Trump seems to be sticking with, precisely because ending ridiculous, wasteful wars and keeping campaign promises and “Let them fight their own wars” are very popular pitches with the Republican (and not only Republican!) electorate. That might well prevent too many Republican defections.

So, the Republican politicians who want to vote against Trump for his aversion to military strikes (and their allied media—watch how FOX and Breitbart coverage evolves) will have to go along with the Democrats and the media fronting other issues. They’ll have to subtly soften their defense of Trump against Ukrainegate charges, starting even during formal impeachment hearings in the House. Unlikely, but no longer impossible. Fundamental imperialist and Zionist policies are at stake.

Kid yourself not. No matter what the formal articles of impeachment say, if Donald Trump is removed from office by impeachment, if more than twenty Republican senators vote to convict him, it will not be because of Russiagate or Ukrainegate of Bidengate or any other ruse issues bleated about constantly in the media, but because he is just too “unpredictable and transactional” to be counted on to pull the trigger when it counts. 100%.

Left-socialist analysis from Jim Kavanagh, former college professor and New York City native and denizen.

October 18, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Trump on Offense

By William Stroock | October 17, 2019

Republican political guru Karl Rove, often derisively called ‘Bush’s Brain’, managed George W. Bush’s two successful presidential campaigns in the 2000s. Rove focused on defending the red, Republican leaning states and maximizing conservative turnout in battleground purple states like Florida and Ohio. However, the Bush-Rove brand of free-trade and open-borders conservatism was unpopular with white working-class voters in Rust Belt states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states no Republican presidential candidate had won since 1988. As such, Rove’s strategy was inherently defensive. The Rust Belt became the Democrat’s Blue Wall, invincible against Republicans. Republican nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney stood little chance in these states in 2008 and 2012. In 2008 McCain’s campaign publicly gave up on Michigan.

In the 1990’s and 2000’s defensiveness became the GOP’s default rhetorical setting. Under leaders like Rove and former House Speaker Paul Ryan, the GOP allowed the Democrats to set the terms of the debate, and were always fending off accusation of heartlessness and even racism. During the Valerie Plame scandal, where Plame said Bush Administration officials outed her covert CIA status in retaliation for her husband contesting Bush’s Iraqi WMD claims, Republicans simply said they respected the independent counsel’s investigation and wanted the process to play out. Meanwhile Democrats savaged Bush and the GOP.

In 2016 candidate Donald Trump did not campaign by Rove’s rules. Instead of defending red states, Trump made an aggressive play for the Rust Belt, breached the Blue Wall, and won Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. When NBC published a tape in which Trump made lewd remarks about women in 2005, Trump fought back. Instead of genuflecting, Trump pointed out Bill Clinton’s sexual foibles and even brought four of Clinton’s victims to the first debate with Hillary Clinton. A conventional, establishment candidate like Florida Governor Jeb Bush (!), whom Trump ran roughshod over in the Republican primaries, would have played by the Democrat’s rules.

Trump fights back against the Democrats impeachment inquiry. He routinely criticizes the head of the Democrat’s impeachment effort, House Judiciary chair Adam Schiff. He mocks Schiff at rallies calling him ‘pencil neck’ and ‘shifty Schiff’. In the wake of the Mueller independent council investigation, in which no collusion whatsoever was found between the Trump campaign and Russia, Trump’s justice department is looking into the origins of the collusion hoax. As of this writing Inspector General John Durham ranges far and wide across the globe gathering evidence. His report is said to be, so far, the size of a phone book.

Already Trump is out on the campaign trail. In September Trump spoke to a packed stadium in Fayetteville, North Carolina the night before two special House elections. In a long, rambling pep-talk Trump defended his record, savaged the Democrats and declared, ‘With your support, tomorrow we take the first steps to firing Speaker Pelosi and winning back the House.’ The next day both Republican candidates won their races, one in a landslide, the other by a mere two points. Trump almost certainly dragged the latter candidate across the finish line. Last weekend he filled an arena in Lake Charles Louisiana for that state’s ‘jungle primary’ against Democrat incumbent governor John Bel Edwards. The end result was Edwards got only 46.6 percent of the vote, forcing a November runoff against Republican Eddie Rispone. Locally the GOP wiped out the Democrats, and won a super majority in the Louisiana state senate.

North Carolina and Louisiana are states Trump won in 2016. But he is also campaigning in states won by Hillary Clinton. In September Trump held a rally in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, a state with a large Hispanic population. Trump won 29% of the Hispanic vote in 2016, beating Romney by two points, actually. Increasing Trump’s share of the Hispanic vote is a top priority in 2020. At Rio Rancho he slammed the Democrats and touted the benefits of his economic record to New Mexico and Hispanics. Trump’s biggest target is Minnesota, which he lost by a mere point or 45,000 votes. Minnesota is also home to Representative Ilhan Omar, one of the members of the ‘Squad’ of leftist House members. Trump hopes to use Omar as a foil to turn Minnesota red and flip several of the state’s congressional districts. The GOP only needs to capture eighteen seats to retake the House of Representatives. The Trump campaign is opening up field offices and hiring campaign workers in both states.

In a contentious meeting at the White House this week, Nancy Pelosi told the president that she wished Trump were a politician. The truly gifted politicians have coattails, their victories win races down ticket. So far this year Trump has shown he can do that. In campaign 2020, Trump will be the Republican Party’s greatest weapon.

October 18, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment