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The Democratic Party and the confirmation of Mike Pompeo

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From youtube.com: Mike Pompeo confirmed as Trump's secretary of state {MID-286887}
Mike Pompeo confirmed as Trump's secretary of state
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Former Congressman and CIA Director Mike Pompeo was confirmed Thursday afternoon by the US Senate to be secretary of state. The former Army tank commander, a supporter of torture and unlimited domestic spying, will now hold the top position in the Trump cabinet, as well as being fourth in line of succession to the presidency.

The installation of Pompeo as head of the State Department in place of Rex Tillerson follows President Trump's replacement of Gen. H. R. McMaster with former Bush administration official and Iraq War conspirator John Bolton as national security adviser. Both Pompeo and Bolton have called for war against Iran and North Korea. They form a new foreign policy team that is even more reckless than the preceding one. Their installation signals an accelerated drive to a wider war in the Middle East and military conflict with Russia and China.

Pompeo embodies the link between imperialist war-mongering and political repression within the United States. He has defended waterboarding and the Bush administration's CIA torture program. In a speech last year he called WikiLeaks a "non-state hostile intelligence service." He has called for the trial and execution of whistleblower Edward Snowden and advocates an expansion of the National Security Agency's illegal mass surveillance program.

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Pompeo was immediately sworn in by ultra-right Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. The new secretary of state boarded a plane to fly overnight to Brussels, where he will represent the US government at a NATO foreign ministers conference. This assemblage will discuss actions against Russia over the false charges of poisoning a former British double agent, Sergei Skripal, as well as Russian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime was the target of US, French and British missile strikes earlier this month.

Russia and Syria are only two of a series of impending confrontations in which Pompeo will play a central role:

On May 12, President Trump is expected to formally disavow the Iran nuclear agreement, putting the US on a collision course both with Iran and the five other countries that signed the deal, to which Iran has scrupulously adhered.

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On May 14, the State Department, which Pompeo now heads, will officially transfer the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a deliberate provocation against the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza, which regards East Jerusalem as its historical capital.

On May 20, Venezuela holds its presidential election. The State Department is expected to denounce the predicted victory of incumbent Nicholas Maduro and declare the election fraudulent, setting the stage for economic sanctions or even a boycott of Venezuela's oil exports by the US, its largest customer.

In late May or early June, Trump is to hold the summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which was prepared by Pompeo's secret visit to Pyongyang earlier this month. In the event that the summit is called off, or breaks up without progress, the US government will accelerate its plans for a military strike against North Korean missile and nuclear test sites or an attack against the regime as a whole.

The Senate approved Pompeo's nomination by a vote of 57-42, with six Democrats and one independent who caucuses with the Democrats supporting him. But the role of the Democrats was far more important than these numbers might suggest. Without the support of Democrats at key moments, Pompeo's confirmation was in serious question.

After his appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee April 12, where he adopted the posture of a "moderate," foreswearing his past record of warmongering against Iran and North Korea, Senate vote counters found that his nomination was in danger of being defeated.

With Republicans holding only a narrow 51-49 margin and Senator John McCain absent due to brain cancer, libertarian Rand Paul of Kentucky threatened to tip the balance against Pompeo, declaring he would oppose the CIA director because of his well-publicized defense of torture. If Paul joined 49 Democrats in opposing Pompeo, the nomination would fail by a vote of 50-49.

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At this critical point, on Friday, April 20, Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota announced that she would support Pompeo's nomination as secretary of state, thus assuring the 50 votes needed for confirmation. On Monday, April 23, two more right-wing Democrats, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, followed suit.

With the nomination assured, Rand Paul dropped his token opposition and announced that he too would vote to confirm. Pompeo actually won a slightly larger majority than his predecessor Tillerson, who was confirmed by a margin of 56 to 43.

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Patrick Martin writes for the World Socialist Website (wsws.org), a forum for socialist ideas & analysis & published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).

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Michael Morrissey

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I am glad to see that either Patrick Martin or an OEN editor is posting his article(s?) here, saving readers the trouble of making QuickLinks.

I fully agree with everything Martin says, and would just like to add a side note -- which may be more relevant than might appear.

Pompeo is another shining example of how little what passes for "brains" in public life has to do with intelligence. He graduated first in his class at West Point, which does require brains, just as Henry Kissinger, Robert McNamara, McGeorge Bundy and many others had brains, but intelligence is a quite different thing.

This is not a game of "semantics." Anyone stupid enough to advocate war instead of peace cannot be intelligent by any reasonable definition. So what does this tell us about IQ tests, and perhaps the educational system in general? They do not measure intelligence. I probably shouldn't say this, but I remember an opinion poll back during (I think) the first Gulf War, which asked several categories of people whether they thought going to war was a good or bad idea, or whether the decision should be left up to the president. I don't remember the details, but it broke down to this: A large majority of blacks and women thought war was a bad idea, and a small majority of congress thought the decision should be left to the president (Bush 1). Considering that (then at least) the great majority of congress were white males, the narrowness of the vote indicated that their intelligence had improved somewhat since the vote back in the day to let LBJ go to war against the dastardly Vietnamese who had fired on US ships in the Tonkin Gulf, but the rest of the poll showed that blacks as a group, and women (including white women), were both significantly more intelligent than white males. Note that I put the word in boldface, but not in quotes: the meaning is both important and clear.

Nowadays, having an Obama, a Hillary, a Theresa May, Nikki Haley, Victoria Nuland, and many other female chicken hawks in our minds, I hasten to say that I do not believe intelligence is related to race or gender. Not directly, anyway. But I do believe it is related, inversely, to formal education (Chomsky would agree with me here) and to cultural experience. There is another poll I could dig up (because I wrote about it) that supports this with data re 9/11: The more "educated" people were, the more they tended to believe what they read in the newspapers, and (therefore!) the more they tended to believe the official story about 9/11.

Submitted on Saturday, Apr 28, 2018 at 1:55:42 PM

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Tom James

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In regards to your last paragraph.

"Those who don't read the newspaper are uninformed. Those who do read the newspaper are misinformed..." Mark Twain.

Smart people can be fooled too. It just takes little longer, and once they are tricked they tend to stay tricked because they are smart.

Submitted on Sunday, Apr 29, 2018 at 1:17:27 AM

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George King

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Patrick Martin through his articles covering the obvious signs of the Democrats, cutting corporate taxes and increasing military budgets have had his finger on the pulse of what all should know from the DNC betrayal of democrat and independent voters it has not and will not change.

The Iron Law of Oligarchy is in firm control until power is wrested from their cold dead fingers. Is there any signs that would give hope that throwing the bums out will stick?

I still see signs of the struggle,here is one who has switched from democrat to independent to challenge the status quo. He is the only one from the Bernie group that will get a donation from me this coming election.

Since announcing that I'm running as an independent, we have received a groundswell of support both in my district and from around the country.

We didn't have to wait long for vindication. In the past week, the Democratic Party establishment has again shown its true colors. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed a civil lawsuit pushing its Russian conspiracy theories while ignoring the issues that truly matter; and Rep. Steny Hoyer, the number 2 Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, got caught trying to push a Progressive out of a Democratic congressional primary.

First, we learned that the DNC filed a civil lawsuit against the Trump campaign, Wikileaks, and Russia -- all but guaranteeing the party, MSNBC and the rest of the liberal corporate media will continue to put all its chips on one wager -- while all but ignoring the issues that truly matter to most Americans. This total fixation on Russia has conveniently allowed the party to avoid any real post-mortem.

The DNC's explanation for everything is Russia. Yet, the party was losing elections well before any allegations of hacks or leaks. The 2010 and 2014 midterms fiascos -- while Debbie Wasserman Schultz was DNC chair -- were part of an enormous Democratic meltdown, losing nearly a thousand legislative seats across the country. The party is now in its weakest position in the House, Senate, state legislatures, and governorships since 1920 -- some 98 years ago. Donald Trump provides the painful exclamation point!

Our campaign remains hyper-focused on the issues that actually matter to most Americans. Please donate to our campaign now, we are independent of party hierarchies and independent of corporate influence. Our agenda addresses the ongoing depression in jobs, income and savings, an ongoing crisis for most Americans; standing for a green and solar New Deal with public works and national civilian service programs; reforming our terrible health care system with a universal single payer system; rebuilding our infrastructure, especially our public schools K-12, providing pre-K and day care; providing tuition-free higher education; ending the drug war and mass incarceration; and protecting our environment.

For the Democratic establishment, the Russian "conspiracy" has become the largest part of the party's entire message. Yet, they won't discuss real solutions to real or imagined hacking threats to our election system. If a foreign or domestic power can hack into our voter lists and electronic voting machines, then the one real solution is to have 100 percent paper ballots counted by hand in public by the American people and reported immediately on election night at the local precinct level -- much as it was done in this country for two hundred years.

While the DNC is fixaded on Russia, it ignores actual evidence of its own conspiracy to get Donald Trump the Republican nomination. As revealed by the DNC leaks, the party conspired with its liberal media allies to promote three "pied piper" Republican candidates -- Trump, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson. Trump got billions of dollars in free media coverage, dwarfing any damage the Russians could have ever done. And Bernie Sanders, even subject to a mainstream media blackout, still would have won, and probably in the biggest Democratic landslide in generations.

Rather than take any responsibility for its own failed grand strategy, the Democratic leadership throws the blame onto Wikileaks and Julian Assange for doing what the New York Times did by publishing the Pentagon Papers.

The DNC also still ignores other evidence of rigged Democratic primaries. For instance, it's been months since the New York City Board of Elections admitted to illegally purging more than 200,000 citizens from its voting rolls in the hours before New York's 2016 Democratic presidential primary. But apparently, there's no need for an investigation of these actual, rather than imagined violations of people's most sacred right to vote.

Likewise, the Democratic party hierarchy -- from the DNC to the Broward County Democratic Party -- refused to call for any investigation into the illegal destruction of all the paper ballots in our 2016 Democratic primary against Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- even after we released footage from the videotaped deposition of the Broward Supervisor of Elections, and Wasserman Schultz ally, admitting she illegally destroyed the ballots in violation of federal law.

When it became all too apparent that the Broward Democratic machine can more easily rig a closed primary than an open general election, I decided to run as an independent and be on the ballot in November. It's disturbing that so many in the Democratic Party and corporate media establishments have no problem with the destruction of ballots when it's Democrats doing it to Democrats. Their hypocrisy would be funny if it weren't so sad.

Our campaign has walked the walk on election integrity. We brought a lawsuit against elected officials and pushed it forward when no one else would. We stand clearly for 100% paper ballots for transparent and verifiable elections. But we need your help. Please donate to our campaign so we can respond to corruption with integrity in action.

Finally, there's the news of Steny Hoyer pressuring Levi Tillemann, the progressive grassroots candidate, to quit his campaign -- all to clear the field for a corporate lawyer with corporate funding. Unfortunately, this is what the Democratic establishment does all the time as step one in fixing elections. The past Florida Democratic Party chairman tried to convince me to drop my challenge against his friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The party routinely gets behind corrupt incumbents who avoid debates, showers them with corporate money, and excludes progressive challengers. These establishment Democrats fear democracy within their own party.

But we are undeterred. We led the way two years ago in demanding reform within the Democratic Party by challenging Debbie Wasserman Schultz when she was at the height of her power as DNC chair. Today, progressive candidates are stepping up to challenge corporate-funded incumbents across the country. We support those efforts both within and outside the Democratic Party!

Thank you for standing with me to demand a new kind of politics for our country.

In solidarity,

Tim Canova

Submitted on Saturday, Apr 28, 2018 at 9:46:37 PM

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