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

As the Jeffrey Epstein Case Grows, Manhattan and DC Brace for Impact | Vanity Fair

Likely within days, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will release almost 2,000 pages of documents that could reveal sexual abuse by “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders,” according to the three-judge panel’s ruling. The documents were filed during a civil defamation lawsuit brought by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a former Mar-a-Lago locker-room attendant, against Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell. “Nobody who was around Epstein a lot is going to have an easy time now. It’s all going to come out,” said Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies. Another person involved with litigation against Epstein told me: “It’s going to be staggering, the amount of names. It’s going to be contagion numbers.”

Read More: As the Jeffrey Epstein Case Grows, Manhattan and DC Brace for Impact | Vanity Fair

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.

US Lifestyle Options Are Currently Out Of Stock

submitted by Gabrielle Price

I’m working on a few projects and haven’t been watching the news feeds as vigilantly as I have in the past.  Not because I don’t care about the news and delivering it but the news somehow isn’t saying much that I haven’t heard before.  And I hate repeating myself like a mainstream parrot.
Alas, that is part and parcel of media and its wretched 24 hour news cycle.  The public’s attention span has been whittled away, their focus is emotionally political rather than grounded in civics and to keep one’s finger on that pulse too long is to be awash in a sea of petty idiocy and hot air.
Free press is a lone boat with one tattered sail praying to see a lighthouse.  It’s a shitty job but someone has been doing it for a long time – longer than me – only to be met with more censorship the harder we row.  There is no quitting, however.  For those of us who respect and love the power of the pen, quitting is simply not an option.
I’m working on building some lighthouses with other media people.   The horizon ahead isn’t clear for many because the mainstream media fog gets thicker every day.  While stories like these go unheeded by the majority – like so many buried columns or spun into fodder to keep people ordering dessert while the Titanic takes on more water:

Banks Are Failing Left and Right Today – 6/28

At the top of that list…JP Morgan.  Keep in mind that Jamie Dimon received a $23 million pay package for fiscal year 2011, more than any other bank CEO in the United States.

Mike Krieger: Where Food Stamps Go To Die – 6/28

“Marion Nestle, Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU, came out with some interesting tidbits regarding the food stamp program.  One of them is extraordinarily disturbing.  She shows that Wal-Mart gets as much as 25% to 40% of revenue at some stores from food stamp dollars.  This says it all folks.  Food stamps are of course the perfect business for Wal-Mart and JP Morgan, which as I pointed out previously makes a lot of money running the program and keeping the populace in perpetual serfdom.”  [What do you think will happen when JP Morgan fails?  See first headline…]

Not Spain, Uganda, Or Greece; But Stockton CA: Largest US City Bankruptcy Now Official – 6/28

The EU Summit: Europe Needs Capital, NOT Political Posturing – 6/29

“…none of the measures address the most critical issue pertaining to Europe: where is the money going to come from?”

Guest Post: It’s Time To Connect The Dots – 6/29 [please see #3]
“When you connect the dots, the next steps lead to what may soon be regarded as an obvious conclusion: the system, as it exists right now, is crumbling.  No amount of self-delusion can make this go away.”

This really isn’t rocket science.  Mainstream media talks to the public like children with no basic math skills to keep them from asking questions.  The hard questions are and have been being asked by independent press and the truth delivered with stunning accuracy.  But because money equals speech and attention spans are have waned – critical thinking people will have to work harder if they love life and the people they share it with.  I’m no math scholar but I have connected these dots.
Time and a lot of meditation brought me to understand and accept the picture that is forming.  It no longer scares me more than it makes me concerned for others who have not yet made the connections.  It is the reason I keep going.
“How radical are you?  Do you love life?  Are you willing to fight for it?“
Many of those dear to me who are not connecting the dots, I love as much as I love life, so I am willing to be as radical as necessary – for them.  That is why I am scouting ahead to learn about a more durable set of living arrangements.  I think of it as choosing the option of a stronger foundation for my lighthouse so I can be prepared, not just for myself but for others who will need these skills when the time comes.  I will personally become more durable.  Resilient.
This system hates that…so of course, it is in my nature to automatically relish it.
It is so surreal and odd that my grandparents victory gardening skills, ability to create community to survive through the Great Depression by sharing skills, food and resources would be or seem at all radical.  This is how I know the current system is very, very sick and I do not wish to participate in it.  It quite honestly, made me spiritually ill.
My whole life, I have been willing to fight for what I love…what I learn in New Mexico will only make me more able.  Quitting is not an option. Quitting this system, however, is easy when its function prevents the exercise of inalienable rights like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness on a global scale, not just at home.
American rights and democracy aren’t lifestyle options – these are things that die when they aren’t used.