Obama Squandering America’s Precious Supply of Enemies

JULY 14, 2015



WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—By easing tensions with Cuba and now Iran, President Obama is “recklessly squandering America’s precious supply of enemies,” the leader of a conservative think tank said on Tuesday.

“Our adversarial relationships with Cuba and Iran took years of frostiness and saber-rattling to maintain,” Harland Dorrinson, the executive director of the Washington-based Institute for Infinite Conflict, said. “Thanks to the President, decades of well-crafted hostility have been thrown out the window.”
According to Dorrinson, fears abound in conservative circles that the President might be “capriciously casting about for other powder kegs to defuse” during his remaining time in office.

“If his shameful record is any guide, he’ll probably try to disarm North Korea,” Dorrinson said. “That’s the doomsday scenario.”

Regardless of his future actions, Obama’s detente with Cuba and Iran will likely tarnish his legacy forever, Dorrinson said. “On this President’s watch, America lost two of its most enduring foes,” he said. “He’s going to have to live with that for the rest of his life.”

Europe Didn’t Win

via Greece negotiations with EU: In Athens, Greeks distrust Syriza as much as the EU now..

Greece’s leaders appear to have folded. But the rift between its citizens and the rest of the continent won’t be so easily fixed.

By Alexander Clapp – JULY 10 2015


A referendum campaign poster for “Yes” (Nai) at a bus stop with a graffiti for “No” (Oxi) over it in Athens, Greece, on July 3, 2015. Photo by Christian Hartmann/Reuters

ATHENS, Greece—On Thursday the appliance stores in Kifissia, an upper-class suburb here, were packed with Greeks scrambling to buy expensive imports. They were doing so with cash; Greek-issued credit cards are no longer accepted within or outside of the country. The more dire-sounding residents I met claimed that, within months, Greece will no longer be importing iPhones; others just wanted to spend their money while they still have it. Elsewhere in Athens, lines were still forming outside of ATMs, many of which had run out of cash altogether.

The mood in Athens this week was at once embattled and proud, erratic and panicked. A wave of political resignations has swept Greece since Sunday’s referendum, in which Greeks were asked whether they agreed with the latest bailout terms offered by the country’s creditors. “No” won resoundingly in every province of the country. Antonis Samaras, the former prime minister, stepped down as head of the New Democracy Party that night; Yanis Varoufakis, Syriza’s finance minister, left his post the next day. There have been taunts of violence. Thanos Tzimeros, a former leader of the minor political party Recreate Greece, is under investigation for taking to social media and calling for a forceful overthrow of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. “We are at war here,” Panos Kammenos, the defense minister and head of the Independent Greeks Party, declared after several of his associates threatened to vote “yes” in the referendum.

Tsipras’ Syriza Party ascended to office in January amid a stalemate between Greece’s two political machines, New Democracy and PASOK, which had swapped rule over the country for the past 40 years. It happened on the back of a fundamentally contradictory promise: Tsipras told Greeks he could end the austerity policies that have handicapped public services for the past six years, even while keeping Greece on the euro. In February, he was given a four-month extension by European leaders to renegotiate the terms of Greece’s debt. That extension ended on June 30. The next payment to the European Central Bank is due July 20.

Relations between Syriza and Greece’s European creditors have been disastrous since Tsipras took power. The conventional wisdom is that Syriza overplayed its hand and is now being put in its place by the Brussels bureaucracy. With Tsipras’ seeming capitulation Thursday in the form of a new bailout proposal that is fairly similar to the one voters rejected and includes major concessions, Europe’s leaders may appear to have finally won the standoff going into a possibly final summit Sunday. But they have done damage to the sanctity of the European project. And Syriza’s fortunes notwithstanding, Europe has failed to cow the Greek left.

Throughout the entire crisis, Europe has treated Greece in belittling, often outright infantilizing ways. The hostility toward Syriza has been astonishing for two reasons. As Varoufakis has argued repeatedly, Syriza remains France and Germany’s best chance at getting any of their money back. It has no incentive, and possibly ability, to give it back in the event of a Greek exit from the euro, which is likely if Greece defaults on its bailout obligations. It is important to remember Syriza’s promise to remain in the eurozone. Tsipras recognizes that his popular support would collapse should that change. For its part, Germany has failed to recognize that its intransigence has in fact given continued life to Syriza, currently the only game in town in Athens.

syriza 001European officials profess no trust in Syriza, but their picture of Syriza is highly deceptive: Attacks tend to psychologize the party for being reckless, or amateurish, or goaded by some sort of historical trauma or inferiority complex. If anything, the last two weeks have made it sufficiently clear how Europe, as an institution, has its own dissembling ways of operating. Until last week, EU officials had managed to block the release of a June International Monetary Fund report declaring that the only viable solution for Greece’s debt was to have most of it written off; in other words, the IMF vindicated much of what Syriza has been arguing for months now. Incidents of this sort have eroded the investment that many Greeks, regardless of political affiliation, have in the EU as a bureaucratic concept—if not their faith in the very idea of Europe. Historically speaking, the implementation of austerity has rarely resulted in renewed social trust, and the new, harsher rounds of austerity that Brussels has devised for a potential third Greek bailout package will likely only further polarize Greek society.

Three months ago, the lesson of Syriza’s struggle to extract a new deal may have been that the European technocracy can’t be ruffled by a pesky left-wing party on Europe’s fringe. Today, the lesson may be that the failure to create a political union on par with a monetary union not only affects the fortunes for democracy at the national level, but in Europe as a whole. Europe’s attempts to oust Syriza from power by flaunting its weaknesses lack even the semblance of discretion; the idea has been openly acknowledged by northern European leaders. In another context this might be called an attempted coup from afar.

The second reason why Europe’s intransigence toward Syriza is shocking is that Tsipras is not threatening the world of global capital or the structural integrity of the EU. He climbed to power on promises that, among other things, he would spearhead a revolution of working-class people against Europe’s political elite. But Tsipras has accomplished nothing of the sort. He no longer speaks about such things. His actual negotiating points with the EU for the past few months have been over relative trifles: reductions in the value-added tax percentages of certain Aegean Islands, changes in the retirement age of state-sector employees. These are largely symbolic fights—Tsipras needs to prove to his base that he’s tough enough to extract something from lenders—and winning them will no doubt afford certain financial relief to Greeks who have come to expect little from their politicians. But it can hardly be said that Tsipras is confronting the EU in ways that, say, PASOK would never have dreamed. He’s just doing it with a vast base of popular appeal, and with all eyes in Europe on him. This makes him an annoyance to European elites, but also a potentially useful paradigm: He may serve as a precedent for Spain and Portugal if he successfully renegotiates bailout terms, and he likewise becomes a warning to governments in those countries if he fails.

Syriza is by no means blameless in any of this. Its handling of negotiations and its exercise of power have been abysmal. Time and again Tsipras has misled his electorate. He claimed that a deal with creditors would be reached on Tuesday, when in fact he had no new terms to present to Brussels. He has made few of his tactics transparent to the Greek people. Few Greeks last Sunday knew exactly what they were actually voting on—problematic not least because Tsipras has said that he would never lead Greece out of the European Union without first consulting the Greek people. Last Sunday could be used as the “evidence” he needed that Greeks do want to leave. But the majority, according to opinion polls, still don’t.

syriza 002The deeper problem with Syriza is a kind of bravado fueled by populist tactics. The alliance it made with the far-right Independent Greeks in January now appears less a case of odd bedfellows and more like a perfectly natural partnership. There’s something pettily nationalistic in Syriza’s activation of Greek pride against the creditors. Of course this is now the strange position of the left across Europe, traditionally opposed to nationalism; patriotism has become a last plank of resistance against technocratic incursion. In Greece, right-wing elements—including the neo-Nazis—join the left in opposing this. There’s also something uncomfortably opportunistic about Syriza’s obsession with the German midcentury, be it the wartime loans forcefully extracted from Greece, or the forgiveness of German wartime debts in 1953.

There’s hope for the Greek left beyond Syriza. It partly derives from the methods Syriza used to rise to power. As early as 2008, when anti-austerity rallies and anti-fascist demonstrations began hitting Athens, Syriza deliberately refused to politicize them. Instead the rallies remained organic gatherings of citizens, who were taking to the streets voluntarily, not because their politicians were telling them to. Today, there’s a tremendous social base on the Greek left unconnected to Syriza that supports the party but is not wrapped up in its political fate. The vast majority of these people sit to the left of Syriza and would argue that Tsipras is not being nearly radical enough when it comes to reforming Greece’s place in the eurozone.

This social bloc, comprised primarily of the youth, now bears a heavy hand in the Greek political scene. Its capabilities were on full display on Friday night, at the final “no” rally in Syntagma Square—organized by Syriza, but not very well promoted by it. Those who spread the word about attending that demonstration were members of organizations like ANTARSYA, an anti-capitalist movement. They combed the streets, working-class neighborhoods, and the parks, explanatory pamphlets in hand; they spray-painted sidewalks and bed sheets with NO! and slung them across various symbols of Athens—Lycabettus Hill, different departments of Athens University. The opposing Yes! campaign was another thing altogether, waged predominately via crisp, professionally shot video ads that aired on YouTube and Greek TV.

The results were clear. One hundred thousand Athenians showed up to the “no” demonstration in Syntagma Square—by some accounts, the largest gathering of Greeks in a single place since the collapse of the Junta more than 40 years ago. Those supporting the “yes” vote in the Panathenaic Stadium numbered just 20,000.

What does this actually mean for Greece right now? Two things. First, the “no” victory in the referendum, while hardly deserving of the jubilation it received, at the very least showed that democracy, even if in the form of a plebiscite, is still alive in Greece on the ground. Second, if Syriza falls from power, the basis for its popular support—the movements, the social activism—still exists; Syriza, or at least the ideas behind it, won’t go the way of PASOK, the center-left party that imploded as soon as its political foothold vanished and its European cash flows dried up. Should Greece stay in the eurozone, Germany will still have to reckon with this element of Greek society, which is now enraged by Tsipras’ concessions.

That’s why Friday evening, tens of thousands of Greeks flocked to Syntagma Square—not only to protest Europe’s harsh yoke, but also what many consider their prime minister’s great betrayal. The majority of the protesters were from unions controlled by the Communist Party; a small portion were from the Greek far right. The police were out in full force, although Syriza had run on the promise that the presence of riot police would be tempered. Almost every protest that’s occurred while Syriza’s been in power has been pro-government. This was different. “It’s just like it was six months ago,” a teenager named Konstantinos told me. “The police are back, and so is the austerity.”

Let’s put Obama’s historic diplomacy in context with previous presidents. #IranDeal

via Let’s put Obama’s historic diplomacy in context… – Liberals Are Cool.

Austerity Has Failed: An Open Letter From Thomas Piketty to Angela Merkel | The Nation

via Austerity Has Failed: An Open Letter From Thomas Piketty to Angela Merkel | The Nation.

Five leading economists warn the German chancellor, “History will remember you for your actions this week.”

The never-ending austerity that Europe is force-feeding the Greek people is simply not working. Now Greece has loudly said no more.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, June 29, 2015. (Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch)

The never-ending austerity that Europe is force-feeding the Greek people is simply not working. Now Greece has loudly said no more.

it would, the financial demands made by Europe have crushed the Greek economy, led to mass unemployment, a collapse of the banking system, made the external debt crisis far worse, with the debt problem escalating to an unpayable 175 percent of GDP. The economy now lies broken with tax receipts nose-diving, output and employment depressed, and businesses starved of capital.

germany 001The humanitarian impact has been colossal—40 percent of children now live in poverty, infant mortality is sky-rocketing and youth unemployment is close to 50 percent. Corruption, tax evasion and bad accounting by previous Greek governments helped create the debt problem. The Greeks have complied with much of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s call for austerity—cut salaries, cut government spending, slashed pensions, privatized and deregulated, and raised taxes. But in recent years the series of so-called adjustment programs inflicted on the likes of Greece has served only to make a Great Depression the likes of which have been unseen in Europe since 1929-1933. The medicine prescribed by the German Finance Ministry and Brussels has bled the patient, not cured the disease.

Together we urge Chancellor Merkel and the Troika to consider a course correction, to avoid further disaster and enable Greece to remain in the eurozone. Right now, the Greek government is being asked to put a gun to its head and pull the trigger. Sadly, the bullet will not only kill off Greece’s future in Europe. The collateral damage will kill the Eurozone as a beacon of hope, democracy and prosperity, and could lead to far-reaching economic consequences across the world.

Europe was founded on the forgiveness of past debts, notably Germany’s, which generated a massive contribution to post-war economic growth and peace. Today we need to restructure and reduce Greek debt, give the economy breathing room to recover, and allow Greece to pay off a reduced burden of debt over a long period of time. Now is the time for a humane rethink of the punitive and failed program of austerity of recent years and to agree to a major reduction of Greece’s debts in conjunction with much needed reforms in Greece.

To Chancellor Merkel our message is clear; we urge you to take this vital action of leadership for Greece and Germany, and also for the world. History will remember you for your actions this week. We expect and count on you to provide the bold and generous steps towards Greece that will serve Europe for generations to come.


Heiner Flassbeck, former State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry of Finance

Thomas Piketty, Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development, Professor of Health Policy and Management, and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University

Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy, Harvard Kennedy School

Simon Wren-Lewis, Professor of Economic Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

5 Reasons BDS Is Actually Working | The Nation

via 5 Reasons BDS Is Actually Working | The Nation.

It’s a nonviolent, rights-based movement that represents the concerns of all Palestinian stakeholders—and the reasons for its existence are increasingly urgent.

By Yousef Munayyer JULY 9, 2015

BDS Movement

A woman holds a sign which reads “Boycott Israel” at a demonstration supporting Palestine, in Berlin August 1, 2014. (Reuters/Steffi Loos)

It represents the concerns of all Palestinian stakeholders. Unlike other recent Palestinian movements that have had to deemphasize certain stakeholders in the outcome of the Palestinian national question like Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian refugees, the BDS movement’s three pillars place the rights of all Palestinian stakeholders on equal footing. The traditional Palestinian leadership, which had accepted the Oslo process, will likely never admit to forgoing the interests of Palestinian refugees and Palestinian citizens of Israel, but the Oslo process undoubtedly compromised the interests of those two groups. BDS, which remains laser-focused on rights, does not have to worry about threats to the legitimacy of the movement emerging from dangerous and unjust compromises. Recent public opinion polling among Palestinians shows that support for boycott efforts against Israel (86 percent) is greater than the support for Fatah, Hamas, and all other political parties combined.

It is decentralized.­ The BDS movement is based on a set of principles and tactics and operates largely among global civil society. No one person runs the movement, and anyone can engage in BDS activity. A community in North Carolina, Egypt, Malaysia, or Scotland can independently and spontaneously start a BDS initiative to address their own community’s complicity in Israel’s abuses of Palestinian rights. The decentralized nature of the movement makes it far more difficult to anticipate and to repress.

It gives concerned people a plan of action. People around the world who are concerned about the rights of Palestinians have often wanted to do something to change the situation, but found few ways to do that. BDS offers an answer. In the United States in the past, countless legislative advocacy efforts have been made on Capitol Hill, which is as occupied by Israeli interests as a hilltop in the West Bank. People grew tired of banging their heads against the wall that is Congress. Grassroots fervor never dissipated, however, and instead took off in the direction of BDS organizing. But interestingly enough, these BDS efforts have contributed to a shift in US public opinion, particularly among progressives, which is laying the foundation for reengaging Congress in the future.

Its reason for being still exists and is getting more urgent.This is perhaps the most important driver behind the BDS movement’s growth and success. BDS exists as a response to Israel’s abuses of Palestinian rights, and with an occupation as entrenched today as ever before now nearing its 50th year and a right-wing government insisting on continuing it, more and more people are realizing that BDS is the only worthwhile place to invest their energy and activism. When the “peace process” was dominating action, even as it became a parody of itself over the years, many argued that the process should be allowed to play out. But now even this is gone, and all that remains is de facto apartheid, necessitating pressure on Israel to bring it down. Of course, this means Israel truly has in its grasp the single most important weapon it can use to bring an end to the BDS movement—it can take away the movement’s raison d’être by choosing to end its abuses of Palestinian rights. But this would require bold, honest, and visionary Israeli leadership, something very different from what exists today.

For all these reasons, the BDS movement has grown by leaps and bounds over the past ten years and is set to continue on this pattern in its second decade.

Germany Caused the Crisis, Germany Must Solve It – YouTube

via Germany Caused the Crisis, Germany Must Solve It – YouTube.


Published on 7 Jul 2015

Heiner Flassbeck, former director of UNCTAD, says German economic policy put Greece into crisis and progressive Germans must stop the irrational bleeding of the Greek people


What Really Caused The Puerto Rican Crisis | ThinkProgress

via What Really Caused The Puerto Rican Crisis | ThinkProgress.


After Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla (D) announced last week that the territory can no longer pay the $72 billion it owes, many started reaching for explanations for what got the island there in the first place. And given that a country with much lower per capita income than the mainland United States has followed the federal minimum wage since 1987, a large number of pundits pointed to an excessively high minimum wage as a big culprit.



Much of this hubbub stems from a report released last week from Anne O. Kreuger, Ranjit Teja, and Andrew Wolfe for the Padilla administration, which cited, among many other factors, the minimum wage as a reason the country’s economy has lost competitiveness. “Employers are disinclined to hire workers because…the US federal minimum wage is very high relative to the local average,” they write. It amounts to 77 percent of per capita income there, compared to 28 percent in the mainland U.S. It was also mentioned in a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2014.

But according to an economist who studied the impact of increasing the territory’s minimum wage to the mainland U.S. minimum, while it likely isn’t helping, it can’t be blamed as a core cause of the current crisis.



“The timing of their problems does not have to do with the minimum wage,” Richard Freeman, the Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics at Harvard University, told ThinkProgress. “I don’t believe it’s done much positive but it certainly didn’t cause any of the current problems.” For example, its public debt has risen every year since 2000 and jumped from about 90 percent of GNP in 2010 to more than 100 percent in 2015. Yet the minimum wage hasn’t been increased since 2009.

Freeman and Alida J. Castillo-Freeman looked at the impact of Puerto Rico adopting the U.S. federal minimum wage in a study from 1992. “I thought that was going to be the great cause of massive job loss,” he said. Instead, they found that it reduced total employment on the island by 8 to 10 percent, mainly in low-wage jobs. That wasn’t as much as he had expected, and the losses were also concentrated in some industries that were already on the decline. “It’s dubious it would cause the problems today,” he said. An earlier paper from a different economist had found that the claim that the minimum wage increase had a big negative effect on employment “is surprisingly fragile.”

The biggest issue may be that Puerto Rico never really bounced back from the recession. “The island is one of the few places…that just has never recovered,” Freeman said. Its unemployment rate still stands above 12 percent. Its labor force fell significantly in the aftermath of the recession, while it has rebounded and continued to climb on the mainland. The job losses caused by the minimum wage increase, Freeman pointed out, “are nothing comparable to the job losses that they’ve had in this recession.”



The recession hit the country after it was already economically vulnerable. “The situation with Puerto Rico was the perfect storm,” said Maria Enchautegui, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. “So many things happening at the same time.” One big factor that she pointed to was the termination of section 936 in the tax code, which allowed businesses operating on the island to go tax-free. It not only enticed many to relocate there and open up jobs, but it then became a core part of how the Puerto Rican economy functioned.



When it was finally phased out in 2006, “That had a domino effect that spread through the whole economy,” she said. Manufacturing jobs in particular have disappeared, falling nearly 34 percent since 2006.

The tax treatment gave the island “the pretense of a healthy economy,” Freeman said. “And then the crash came in 2008, but they probably never were healthy.”



The island has also been hemorrhaging population. While it grew steadily for nearly two centuries, it began to decline for the first time in 2006, falling 2.2 percent between 2000 and 2012. Today, more people of Puerto Rican descent live on the mainland than on the island itself.



The report from Kreuger, Teja, and Wolfe points to other factors as well: the doubling of oil prices between 2005 and 2012 that hurt an island that imports oil for nearly all of its power generation, transportation costs that are at least twice as high as for neighboring islands, high electricity costs, a welfare system that provides more generous benefits for some than minimum wage income, and other local laws and regulations.

Given that many feel the minimum wage played a large part, however, there has been an emphasis on the need for Puerto Rico to reduce it as part of its reforms. Enchautegui thinks the best course would be to allow the territory to dictate its own wages, as it did before. “From there maybe we can decide whether it should be the same [as mainland U.S.] or not,” she said.

Freeman doesn’t think lowering the wage will do much good. “If I were looking for solutions for getting the economy out of its trouble, I wouldn’t be pushing the minimum wage,” he said. “This is an economy that does need lots of jobs created. But if you lower the minimum wage…there’s a small number of jobs you might create, but that’s not going to deal with this depression that they have.”

Military Analysts Warn That Donald Trump’s Deranged Plan to Bomb Iraq Oil Fields Is Trouble

via Military Analysts Warn That Donald Trump’s Deranged Plan to Bomb Iraq Oil Fields Is Trouble.

By: Sarah Jones – Friday, July, 10th, 2015

Donald Trump’s “solution” to ISIL sounds a lot like the Bush Cheney solution, but on steroids. His idea is to bomb “the hell” out of the oil fields in Iraq. “If I win, I would attack those oil sites that are controlled and owned — they are controlled by ISIS,” Trump said. “I wouldn’t send many troops because you won’t need ’em by the time I’m done.”

Trump Idea #1: Just bomb them all!!!! Sure ISIL doesn’t run most of them but whatev, just BOMB IT ALL.

Trump Idea #2: It won’t take a lot of troops to BOMB IT ALL, so it’s a real win in Trump’s book.

Then, Trump Idea #3: Trump will give contracts to Big Oil to clean up our mess after BOMBING THEM ALL. You know how good the oil companies are about cleaning up our messes.

Only retired Lt. Col. Rick Francona and Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, both CNN military analysts, were not very impressed.

You see, we have spent the last seven plus years training Iraqis to secure their country, shaping their security forces. They didn’t want us there in more than an advise and assist capacity. We agreed to that in a Status of Forces Agreement at the end of George W. Bush’s term in 2008.

Part of the reason ISIL got a foothold was due to the power vacuums we created after we invaded Iraq. These things seem hard for Republicans to grasp as they beat the drums of war incessantly, perhaps because they can’t fit on a bumper sticker and are not as easy as BOMB THEM ALL! To be fair, most of the war hawks have a lot more going on behind their beliefs than just BOMB THEM ALL. But in the end, it does come down to this belief in might making right.

Even though we can already see, and history should have taught us, that this is not true.

Trump’s self-identified solution to the complex problems of our time was called “troubling” by Hertling. You see, Iraqis believe they have a country so no, we can’t just drop some BOMBS and clean it up later.

Hertling told CNN that he has “remained apolitical throughout his military career but said Trump’s comments are “just troubling… You have to understand the issues a little bit better than just bombing things. This is very complex and there are hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who believe they do have a country.”

The two analysts were also not impressed with Trump’s idea to destroy infrastructure and then just send in an oil company to fix it all. “We’ve made some huge mistakes in terms of just bombing things we think can just bring a nation to its knees,” Hertling told CNN. “It’s not the people you’re going against and yet those are the ones you’re going against the most when you’re talking about indiscriminate carpet-bombing.”

Yes, see, we did that already and it didn’t turn out so well. We killed a lot of innocent people. We are trying to come up with actual solutions to the Bush created mess we made in Iraq, rather than looking to double down on the same mistakes.

CNN concluded:

While the Iraqi government is seriously reliant on the United States and other countries in its fight against ISIS and as it strives to keep its country together, Iraq’s top leaders would do more than just object to U.S. bombing of oil fields in its country — a central part of the country’s economy and infrastructure.

Gee, ya think? If someone came in to the U.S. and started bombing our oil fields and the people and infrastructure around them because the Koch brothers are killing people, which they are, we would be pretty miffed.

This is a good example of what is at the core of the Republican Party’s current foreign policy “platform”. It’s pure, unadulterated ignorance, dressed up with a good heap of hubris. It’s George W Bush on steroids.

If Donald Trump is good for one thing, it’s letting America know exactly how dangerous the modern day GOP really is. If that were his goal, we could tip our “Mission Accomplished” hats to him.

But the man really thinks he belongs in the White House, and not even the GOP can shut him up.