PATRICK LAWRENCE: Brighter US-Iran Prospects – Consortiumnews

Iran Sends Diplomatic Signals

Hassan Rouhani and Mohammad Javad Zarif, respectively Iran’s president and foreign minister, both signaled last week that Tehran is open to new talks under certain conditions. On the U.S. side, Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did roughly the same. “We are not looking for regime change. We are not looking for that at all,” Trump said Tuesday. “We’ll see what happens. But a lot of progress has been made.”

Two days after those remarks, Politico reported that Trump had accepted Sen. Rand Paul’s proposal, advanced during a round of golf the previous weekend, to represent the White House in talks with Iranian officials. The Kentucky senator is noted for his vigorous opposition to military adventures — a position in keeping with the president’s ostensible views. It is not clear who Paul might meet, or where and when any such encounter could take place. But Trump’s decision to accept Paul as his emissary is a savvy move to circumvent the hawks among his foreign policy advisers, chief among them National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has in the past called for regime change in Iran.

Bolton, often (but not always) with Pompeo’s support, has pressed for a highly confrontational Iran policy since he joined the administration last year. It now emerges that he played a leading role in conjuring the Gibraltar incident out of thin air, effectively using Britain as an unwitting tool to advance his hyper-hawkish Iran agenda.

The marked drift toward diplomacy last week represents an important, potentially decisive setback for Bolton and the White House’s hawkish factions. Washington’s hawks sustained another blow Saturday, when The New York Times published the astonishing remarks of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s former fire-breathing, often objectionable president who preceded Hassan Rouhani. “He is a businessman and therefore he is capable of calculating cost-benefits and making a decision,” the hardline Ahmadinejad said of Trump in an hour-long telephone interview with the Times. “We say to him, let’s calculate the long-term cost-benefit of our two nations and not be shortsighted.”

Read more: PATRICK LAWRENCE: Brighter US-Iran Prospects – Consortiumnews

RAY McGOVERN: A Non-Hack That Raised Hillary’s Hackles – Consortiumnews

Three years ago Monday WikiLeaks published a trove of highly embarrassing emails that had been leaked from inside the Democratic National Committee. As has been the case with every leak revealed by WikiLeaks, the emails were authentic. These particular ones, however, could not have come at a worse time for top Democratic Party officials.

The emails made it unmistakably clear that the DNC had tipped the scales sharply against Democratic insurgent Bernie Sanders, giving him a snowball’s chance in hell for the nomination. The posting of the DNC emails is also widely seen as having harmed the the electoral prospects of Hillary Clinton, who could not escape responsibility completely, while a handful of the very top DNC officials were forced to immediately resign.

Relatively few Americans read the actual emails, their attention diverted to the incessant media-fostered question: Why Did the Russians Hack the DNC to Hurt Hillary? For the millions of once enthusiastic Democrats who favored Sanders, however, the disclosure that the nomination process had been fixed came as a bitter pill, leaving a sour taste in their mouths and a passive-aggressive reluctance to promote the candidacy of one they considered a usurper. Having had a huge stake in Bernie’s candidacy, they had little trouble seeing through the diversion of attention from the content of the emails.

Read more: RAY McGOVERN: A Non-Hack That Raised Hillary’s Hackles – Consortiumnews

The Politics of No Choice

TRC contributor, Tesha Miller 

US Presidential campaigns are now in full swing and the curtains are propped wide open to reveal the sideshow spectacle which has come to represent her politics.  Come one, come all!  Tune out to the real issues of the day, like the slow and agonizing death of the middle class and the lack of a committed political body willing to lift a finger to stop the bleed-out of the people’s wealth.  Let’s not look at the costs, moral and financial, involved in empire’s endless rampage against oil rich nations, or the ethical morass which our tarnished state now represents to the rest of the world.  And by all means, don’t dare utter a word about the promise of yet another QE3 by Bernanke, which will further saddle the nation with greater debt and which America’s working class will ultimately be forced to pay; even as they proclaim the dire need for austerity. Oh no!  This election is about the cults of personalities and about their hollow promises of change. 
If you’ve made it this far and haven’t been purged from the voting lists, due to political affiliation, or still actually believe in the lessor of evil politics, you likely still believe that America is a democratic state, because you get the November privilege of casting a vote.  Maybe you’re mesmerized by the endless campaign messages splattered across your TV screen which are approved by some smiling talking head and you find yourself hoping to God that the entire nation isn’t going to catch fire, just like Rome; even though you smell the burning and feel the heat on your neck. Its making you sweat. 
You force yourself to believe that the system still works because if it doesn’t, it means that you actually have to do something about it, or admit that you’re a coward and are going to get exactly what you deserve.  After all, they showed us what’s coming for the troublemakers, we got front row tickets to the preview; if you take to the streets, like OWS, you get beaten by police in riot gear and jailed without charge.  And should you make enough noise…you might even get paid a visit by the FBI and put on a domestic terrorist list.  
So you play your role in the entire process and pick a side, with a held nose, and debate with your friends and neighbors from the prescribed talking points.  You steer clear of the messy details: the ever widening reaches of the police state, the loss of basic civil rights, the mounting racial tensions, corporate personhood, systemic corruption, environmental carnage, inequality, soaring incarceration rates, failing infrastructure, constant warfare and the end of the American dream. 
I am here to tell you that without your direct involvement in the process that the middle class is going to be a concept reserved for history books.  I am here to tell you that the US is going to continue down the pathway of western hegemony till an economic collapse, or much of the world is a war torn wasteland.  Finally, I’m here to tell you that real democracy isn’t merely the ability to choose between highly selected corporate candidates of gunshot, or poison.  I am here to empower you and remind you that while it is true that we are presented with the politics of no choice, during Novembers election; it doesn’t mean that you can’t determine a third choice for the betterment of our nation…the choice of solidarity with your fellows.

The World Tomorrow : Noam Chomsky & Tariq Ali

submitted by Gabrielle Price
A surprise Arab drive for freedom, the West’s structural crisis and new hope coming from Latin America. That’s the modern world in the eyes of Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali, two prominent thinkers and this week’s guests on Julian Assange’s show on RT.