Throughout the day before the summit in Helsinki, the lead story on the New York Times home page stayed the same: “Just by Meeting With Trump, Putin Comes Out Ahead.” The Sunday headline was in harmony with the tone of U.S. news coverage overall. As for media commentary, the Washington Post was in the dominant groove as it editorialized that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is “an implacably hostile foreign adversary.”
Contempt for diplomacy with Russia is now extreme. Mainline US journalists and top Democrats often bait President Trump in zero-sum terms. No doubt Hillary Clinton thought she was sending out an applause line in her tweet Sunday night: “Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?”
A bellicose stance toward Russia has become so routine and widespread that we might not give it a second thought – and that makes it all the more hazardous. After President George W. Bush declared “You’re either with us or against us,” many Americans gradually realized what was wrong with a Manichean view of the world. Such an outlook is even more dangerous today.
Silence. That’s the overriding theme of this episode. Silence, as in Martin Luther King’s admonition that “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Does that not perfectly frame Nixon’s so-called “brilliant” maneuver of celebrating the amoral, even cowardly, silence of the majority of Americans in the face of this war’s immorality and in response to the righteous anger of young and old who raged against it? Nixon’s infamous “silent majority” speech kicks off this episode. To counter this political maneuver, one activist seared our TV screen last night with this placard: “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men – Abraham Lincoln.”
And then there is the silence of the filmmakers themselves, when it comes to the incredibly important GI resistance movement that rose up as Nixon tried to wind down the war. Where is that story? Passing references to disgruntled veterans voicing their anger, as important as those voices are, does not do it justice. We needed more. In an 18-hour series, one could expect time to adequately examine the courageous resistance waged by active-duty GIs to an unjust war they were ordered to fight and die for.
If FBI agent Peter Strzok were not so glib, it would have been easier to feel some sympathy for him during his tough grilling at the House oversight hearing on Thursday, even though his wounds are self-inflicted. The wounds, of course, ooze from the content of his own text message exchange with his lover and alleged co-conspirator, Lisa Page.
Strzok was a top FBI counterintelligence official and Page an attorney working for then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The Attorney General fired McCabe in March and DOJ has criminally referred McCabe to federal prosecutors for lying to Justice Department investigators.
On Thursday members of the House Judiciary and Oversight/Government Reform Committees questioned Strzok for eight hours on how he led the investigations of Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized emails and Donald Trump’s campaign’s ties with Russia, if any.
A US appeals court has just ruled that we Americans have no recourse when an aggressive Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener commits an assault on us. The the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled that TSA officers were not “investigative or law enforcement officers,” and therefore were protected from liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act. What does it say about us that we allow the government to commit crimes against our bodies for the “privilege” of traveling inside our country? Is there a better way? Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
With Donald Trump about to meet Vladimir Putin in their first summit on July 16, prominent academics, journalists, politicians and activists call for a lessening of dangerous tensions between the two nuclear powers.
An Open Letter: Common Ground for Secure Elections and True National Security
Many Americans remain deeply concerned about reports of Russian interference with the 2016 election. Meanwhile, relations between the United States and Russia are at their lowest and most dangerous point in several decades. For the sake of democracy at home and true national security, we must reach common ground to safeguard common interests – taking steps to protect the nation’s elections and to prevent war between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.
Whatever the truth of varied charges that Russia interfered with the election, there should be no doubt that America’s digital-age infrastructure for the electoral process is in urgent need of protection. The overarching fact remains that the system is vulnerable to would-be hackers based anywhere. Solutions will require a much higher level of security for everything from voter-registration records to tabulation of ballots with verifiable paper trails. As a nation, we must fortify our election system against unlawful intrusions as well as official policies of voter suppression.
The Middle East is in turmoil now, possibly again on the verge of a major war that could draw in the United States and Russia. President Donald Trump has pulled the United States out of the six nation nuclear agreement with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA. Although a few of his advisers counseled against leaving the agreement, he has brought into his cabinet advisers who are known to be hawkish toward the Middle East and prefer regime change in that area to regime reform. The most notable of these advisers is John Bolton, appointed as director of the National Security Agency. His policies align well with those of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who condemned the nuclear accord with Iran from the outset.
On May 14 of this year Israel celebrated the seventieth anniversary of its existence. It has enjoyed extraordinary military successes against its Arab neighbors in 1948, 1956, and 1967, and after suffering a setback at the outset of the 1973 war with Egypt and Syria, the Israel Defense Force crossed the Suez Canal and was in a position to threaten the capitals of Egypt and Syria and their many population centers. Yet, in spite of its unmatched military capabilities in the Middle East, its strong cultural institutions, its technological capacities, and its high standards of living with respect to the other states in the region, Israel has negotiated peace agreements only with Egypt and Jordan.