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Before the Election

2016 November 5
by Ian Welsh

So, here we are again, the world’s hegemonic power is about to elect the most powerful person in the world.

All possibly good candidates having been eliminated (as usual) or having minuscule third-party support, we wait to see who will have the world’s best military blowing stuff up at their beck and call.

On the one hand, we have a man who’s personal and business practices have been dubious at best, vile at worst. On the other hand we have a woman who firmly agrees with elite consensus, and who sits firmly with the most violent of the hawks, believing it’s always better to do something, rather than not bomb people.

There’s no question Clinton is corrupt, and there’s no question that Trump has played the system in pretty vile ways, by not paying people who did work for him, and so on. I certainly believe him when he says he has bought politicians.

Neither of them is a prize. We know exactly what Clinton will be like, she confirmed in Libya that Iraq was a misjudgment or mistake, by the way she thinks. As for Trump, well, the variance is high. He’s said all sorts of things, who the hell knows what he’ll do?

The polls say Clinton, but the polls have been wrong before, especially when dealing with populist issues (a.k.a. Brexit), so I’m not going to make the mistake I made with Brexit and assume that she’s got it.

We’ll see. Whatever happens, it will be a show. An ugly tragic show, full of dismembered bodies and needless suffering, but that’s what Americans want: Both the primary voters of each party and American voters as a group.

The rest of the world, not yet having the power to stop American rampages, will do what the weak always do, which is suffer whatever the powerful want to do.

This show is coming to an end, for a variety of reasons, but it will be an election or two yet, before the full millenial “God, we’re broke and fucked” wave hits. Until then, grab some popcorn and whiskey, sit back, and hope that you and yours aren’t hit by the shrapnel.


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30 Responses
  1. Ian Welsh permalink*
    November 5, 2016

    I assume they have something pre-filmed both for Clinton and for Trump, actually. Newspapers will have articles pre-written for both, as well.

  2. November 5, 2016

    Where are finding out, yet again – people should retire before they get to old.

  3. November 5, 2016

    Oh, Ian, please don’t say “that’s what Americans want”! Everyone I know is sick about it. I’ve been thoroughly disgusted by American politics since Reagan, whose election locked us onto the present trajectory like a heat-seeking missile.

    My son and I — both life-long Democrats dismayed by their villainies but repeatedly picking them as least-worst — finally broke that pattern. In early voting, we chose Jill. It wasn’t an impassioned selection; all my passion was spent on Bernie. Damned shame that he didn’t take the Greens up on their offer to head the ticket. Given that his popularity remains enormous, while everyone else’s sucks, he could actually win.

    That sadness won’t go away (ever), but the vote I cast may let sleep, which is more than I could manage lately with the prospect of nuclear war on my conscience, thanks to Hillary’s barrage of shameless lies about Russia. And it will let me wash my hands of this barbarous battle between sociopaths. From here on, I’ll join Bernie’s other supporters in doing all I can to mitigate the evil decree, whatever it turns out to be.

    The only good thing about the present situation is that we won’t feel the pain of hope lost, as when Obama’s campaign fairydust melted away once he started picking a team.

  4. Ian Welsh permalink*
    November 5, 2016

    Unfortunately, Erin, everyone you know was not enough to get Sanders to be the Democratic president. On the numbers, Clinton was who Democrats wanted (the polls back this up, independents wanted Sanders.)

  5. Dave Matlock permalink
    November 6, 2016

    Sorry for the OT post, but WHAT IN THE WORLD have you done to you site???? Your new posts no longer show up. To see a new post, I must wait for the email notification, and then click the link in the email.

    This is not a new thing. It’s been going on for a while… I am hoping that you plan to fix it.

  6. November 6, 2016

    Sorry if this is in poor taste around here, but I do think the US have a precedent for- and subsequent fine-tuned practice at having the e-machines choose the winners. Based upon the company deep insiders keep, I’d say Clinton has the thing cinched (though, it would be hilarious to see their campaign blame a Trump victory on Russian hackers).

  7. Ian Welsh permalink*
    November 6, 2016

    Dave,

    thanks for letting me know. I’ve heard similar, if less urgent reports. I’m asking a WordPress specialist to take a look.

    Ian

  8. Lisa permalink
    November 6, 2016

    I’ve been having fun re-reading Gore Vidal and looking at how much he predicted that has come to pass. He had a totally jaundiced view of US politics and elites (being from an insider family) where not being corrupt is the exception and Democrats were always seen as the most corrupt of the two wings of the single property/war party.

    The rise and rise of the US National Security state from WW2 onwards, the elite Republicans jumping into bed with the religious/fundamentalist/tea party/alt …(all the other names) right from Nixon onwards and finding the Faustian bargain they made boomeranging right back at them.

    The death of the idea of ‘throwing the proles a bone’ by US elites and the support of rapacious theft by said elites. The same old anti ‘feminist, homosexual, contraception, abortion’ issues ever coming up. The closeted systemic racism and the mass jailing of blacks, perhaps the single biggest (apart from war) agreed consensus by the elites in the US, ah if only Lincoln had got his way and shipped them all out, but then they’d have had to find someone else to stir up the white proles against.

    Reading what he wrote in 1981 or 1991.. and it could be today. Nothing has changed except for the worse, the rich richer, the poor poorer, ever more wars, the infrastructure ever more crumbled, ever more people in jail, the environment ever more destroyed, ever more power to the National Security state. The ever more manipulation of the self destructive stupidity of poor/working class white men. The ever more naked lies and hypocrisy of religious and conservative leaders. The ever more naked lies and hypocrisy of the so called ‘liberal’ leaders. The ever more appeals to the great middle eastern sky-god (Vidal’s words not mine) to justify any old hatred, violence and greed.

    The only thing better? A bit more acceptance and rights for LGBTI people and women, still endlessly fought against by the conservatives and the religious determined to police all sexuality for everyone. Except their own elites and what they do with women, men and children, which is anything they want basically, to the rapturous applause of their followers who all fantasize about doing the same things.

    Ah America in all its glory.

  9. November 6, 2016

    “I’ve been thoroughly disgusted by American politics since Reagan, whose election locked us onto the present trajectory like a heat-seeking missile.”

    This is typical life-long democrat bullshit. Say what you want about Reagan … and there’s plenty to say bad … but every president that followed him did possess free will and they all sold out on their own. Don’t lay their deeds on the dead dude that’s been out of office for 28 years.

    I voted for Stein too.

    Z

  10. OneForAll permalink
    November 6, 2016

    I agree with Erin Harris: the American people didn’t want this.

    The numbers for the Democratic primary showing Hillary ahead of Bernie are entirely because of election fraud and voter suppression in favor of Hillary in about half the states – there are currently lawsuits in progress addressing these and there is a lot of documentation for it. I’m really surprised you’re not aware of this – or perhaps you are and don’t believe it.

    In a number of states, primary results differed from exit polls by more than 2%, sometimes by a large margin, indicating numerous counts of fraudulent vote counting. If the State Department is looking at a foreign election where this is the case, this discrepancy triggers an investigation, as exit polls are very reliable, but we are expected to just accept that the exit polls gave wildly inaccurate results. Add to this the voter suppression that occurred in a number of districts known to lean heavily towards Bernie Sanders, such as Brooklyn and areas of California for example.

    This article includes a chart of discrepancies between exit polls and reported counts, and reports that a racketeering lawsuit would be filed in Ohio: http://embols.com/2016/08/27/racketeering-lawsuit-exposing-nationwide-vote-rigging-in-dnc-primaries-could-derail-clinton/

    Here is an open letter to Bernie Sanders explaining why he was really elected in the Democratic primaries: https://electionfraud2016.wordpress.com/

    Some of the methods of election fraud are outlined here: http://observer.com/2016/07/california-calls-fraud-demands-dnc-investigation/

    In this article – http://lawnewz.com/uncategorized/dnc-stoops-to-new-low-in-fraud-lawsuit-filed-by-bernie-backers/ – we see how the DNC respond in part by saying Bernie supporters shouldn’t even have expected fairness.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mLpCEIGEYGYl9RZWFRcmpsZk0/view?pref=2&pli=1 demonstrates among other things that there were very different outcomes in states where there were paper trails from those where there were not.

    Look at Greg Palast’s work at that time:
    How Bernie won California: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjwg7zah5XQAhVDymMKHXSIAKEQFggpMAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gregpalast.com%2Fbernie-won-california-official-un-count%2F&usg=AFQjCNHD3V7vyPRGBtWnK2XXaOQYzhwfXg
    New York voting fiasco: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjwg7zah5XQAhVDymMKHXSIAKEQFgg7MAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gregpalast.com%2Fnew-york-voting-fiasco-just-the-warm-up-for-the-november-game%2F&usg=AFQjCNHqU1GGPWZmKzl2sbkEhvjobfsBZw
    The Missing Votes, a Rolling Stone Magazine Investigation: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=10&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjwg7zah5XQAhVDymMKHXSIAKEQFghbMAk&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gregpalast.com%2Ftag%2Frolling-stone%2F&usg=AFQjCNFn36I1TIH3gjzOIfwiGKSshMMwKQ

    That’s just for starters. I could spend hours providing links to evidence for this and watched it when it was happening.

  11. exiledsurfer permalink*
    November 6, 2016

    Dave Matlock:

    since when have you had this problem? days / weeks / months?

    thanks,

    michael

  12. EmilianoZ permalink
    November 6, 2016

    I have a metaphysical question about the election. Why is Gary Johnson doing better than Jill Stein?

  13. Peter* permalink
    November 6, 2016

    @OFA

    I wonder if some Berners will ever realize they were duped and that Sanders was in on the charade/scam from the beginning. He did play his role a bit too well and caused the party to adopt a few dirty tricks to guarantee the outcome but he seems quite pleased with his work today.

    The hard lesson that Berners should learn from this experience is that politicians never agree to represent their followers only to lead them to where they want them to go. Sanders is now representing what he always did, raw power, from above not below.

  14. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    November 6, 2016

    So we can sneer at “Americans” for electing Hillary over Bernie. And we can sneer at Americans for disliking blacks. But oops, blacks voted overwhelmingly for Hillary, who couldn’t have beaten Bernie without them.

    How do we explain these contradictory poses? 1. Blacks have no agency? 2. Don’t look for consistency – this is just Stalinist identity politics (Who? Whom?) 3. It’s a hatecrime to notice hatefacts?

  15. Ché Pasa permalink
    November 7, 2016

    More and more American presidential elections are a cross between a pageant and a team sport, essentially entertainment. The outcome is not fundamentally the voters’ choice, as the electorate rarely has more than marginal input into who is allowed to stand for election, and/or what their policies and programs will be. The contestants and their teams are all playing for their owners not for the public in any case. The public are fans to be wooed every four years, ignored the rest of the time, and if they get restive as they sometimes will, they are to be put down. No matter who is in the White House.

    This election may have clarified some of these factors for voters, but four years hence, we’ll go through pretty much the same thing, and the outcome will be similar. Someone will have an office in the White House, and their policies and programs will serve the interests of the faction of owners they represent. The People will generally not agree with many of those policies and programs, but it won’t matter. “Elections have consequences,” and the People will have no option barring Revolution or Civil War, neither of which is likely, either of which is guaranteed to have catastrophic results — at least for the many, if not for the few.

    EmilianoZ asks why Jill Stein has such low polling numbers whereas Gary Johnson is making an attempt to break into double digits. There are reasons. If you’ve ever attended a Green Party meeting, you know what some of them are. It’s not so much a political party as it is a social club and academic round table. The Greens have been used as political spoilers by Republicans in the past, but this time, it doesn’t look like the R Pooh Bahs think its worth the effort and the money. Many of them (R Pooh Bahs) are openly or covertly throwing their lot in with Hillary as the political realignment that has been under way for decades comes to fruition.

    Neither Jill nor Baraka are politicians, they haven’t held office, nor are they likely to have any familiarity with how government at the presidential level works. They can’t therefore “appear presidential.” Whether they are right or not about what needs doing and whether their policies are the right ones for the future of this country and the People is an entirely different question that is avoided like the plague during elections. They have no opinion leader or media backing. No billionaires are funding them. They aren’t serving the Right People. So they have no presence on the field and the stage. They aren’t even in the building.

    Gary Johnson and William Weld have both been governors, they know the ropes, and they both have extensive political experience at a relatively high level. They can “appear presidential,” though Gary — bless his heart — has his limitations. The Libertarian Party has been operating as a political party for quite a long time now, and it is the beneficiary of political expertise and significant funding from some of the Right People now and over time. While they don’t have much opinion leader or media backing, their policies and programs are relatively familiar because so many Rs have echoed many of them for generations: ‘smaller government, lower taxes’ etc.

    There are other reasons why Libertarians are doing a bit better than Greens, but these will do for now…

  16. Hugh permalink
    November 7, 2016

    The big headline Sunday was that the FBI cleared Clinton, again. This is funny for a couple of reasons. The first is Organized Crime 101, or to quote The Godfather (the book):

    “Between the head of the family, Don Corleone, who dictated policy, and the operating level of men who actually carried out the orders of the Don, there were three layers, or buffers. In that way nothing could be traced to the top. Unless the Consigliere turned traitor.”

    i.e. the consigliere, the capo, one of the capo’s lieutenants, and the street thugs were did the deed

    The Clintons being lower class grifters used just one, the omnipresent Huma Abedin.

    The second is that there were 600,000+ emails. The FBI did not look at all of these. First, they really needed attorneys to look at them. Second, even if they had say 20 attorneys looking at them, that would be more than 30,000 emails per attorney. And to really understand the grift, they would need to not just read the emails but reconstruct the email chains of which they were a part and compare these against actual events. Needless to say, none of this happened.

    What probably happened was something like this. They aggregated a tiny subset of the emails, those to and from Clinton and with .gov in the domain name. Following the lead of Clinton’s lawyers, they treated any emails to Clinton with .com in the URL as private, and they would have left out all the hundreds of thousands of emails not directly to or from Clinton. What they would have ended up with is essentially the same product as Clinton’s attorneys. Hence the quick finding of nothing to see here, move along.

    In addition, this rather obvious whitewash ignores that Abedin lied to the FBI about the existence of this cache. That Comey arrived at his newest conclusion, and before the election, is in keeping with my view that he is in the bag for the Clintons, that he couldn’t smother the knowledge of these emails going public, so he controlled it: made the announcement himself, conducted a cursory non-investigation, and then pronounced an all clear, before the election.

    As for Trump and Clinton, again, both are shit sandwiches, and you are just propping up a corrupt system by voting for either of them, or anyone else from the two parties.

  17. November 7, 2016

    The second is that there were 600,000+ emails. The FBI did not look at all of these. First, they really needed attorneys to look at them. Second, even if they had say 20 attorneys looking at them, that would be more than 30,000 emails per attorney. And to really understand the grift, they would need to not just read the emails but reconstruct the email chains of which they were a part and compare these against actual events. Needless to say, none of this happened.

    What probably happened was something like this. They aggregated a tiny subset of the emails, those to and from Clinton and with .gov in the domain name. Following the lead of Clinton’s lawyers, they treated any emails to Clinton with .com in the URL as private, and they would have left out all the hundreds of thousands of emails not directly to or from Clinton. What they would have ended up with is essentially the same product as Clinton’s attorneys. Hence the quick finding of nothing to see here, move along.

    Yeesh, or they just used, you know, modern computer methods to search large aggregates of emails for known patterns, did hash comparisons of the emails with ones they already had, used numerous network analysis techniques that currently exist? This seriously sounds like you never made it out of the early 90s.

    And with this completely wild, spurious speculation, I’m going to downgrade you from Narcissist of Truth to plain old Narcissist. You don’t have to think that Clinton is pure and innocent to see the loops and gyrations of the obsessed. Any claim you make to advocacy of the PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO KNOW is hereby revoked and denied. Get a grip.

  18. November 7, 2016

    Right now it still looks like Clinton will win, but I wouldn’t bet any money on it — Trump could still pull it out Brexit-style. If Clinton wins, I suspect that the Republicans will go to some lengths to adjust their process to prevent the next candidate from going off the reservation to the extent that Trump did, which isn’t as far as most people seem to think, anyway.

  19. realitychecker permalink
    November 7, 2016

    @ Ian

    Ian, I believe you left a crucial “not” out of your fifth paragraph.

    @ Mandos

    All your loquacious BS will not do away with the overriding fact that Comey INVENTED an element of INTENT and inserted it onto a statute that required only GROSS NEGLIGENCE for a conviction. Then he acknowledged he found GROSS NEGLIGENCE because it is indistinguishable from RECKLESSNESS.

    Suck on that, Mandy boy.

    Does one actually need to have a legal degree to understand the significance of that little gambit?

  20. Peter* permalink
    November 7, 2016

    @RC

    Keeping attention directed at the already concluded server/email scandal seems to have been Comey’s intent in both his announcements along with trying to disarm the investigators inside the FBI who were in revolt.

    The information released by someone inside the Bureau and reported by CBS stated clearly that the revolt was not about the server/email scandal but about the supposedly quashed Clinton Foundation corruption investigation. According to that report agents outside of Washington have continued to pursue that much more serious investigation even thought management had ordered them to cease.

    There may be information useful to the CF corruption investigation in these new emails or the investigators may think they already have enough evidence to recommend charges. With this Sunday Supplement from Comey only referring to the email scandal and no new back channel news coming from inside the FBI the revolt may have been crushed and we will never hear about the CF corruption investigation again.

  21. Peter* permalink
    November 7, 2016

    @EZ

    There is a certain irony to the fact that Gary Johnson would be completely unknown if not for the ‘help’ the Green Party supplied him that made him governor of NM. This is not unlike how Ross Perot helped get Bill Clinton elected president and both Parties saw this as a threat to their power.

    The republicans don’t seem to have been quite as successful in completely crushing their alternative/protest vote party while the democrat’s long knives chopped the once growing Green alternative into little meaningless pieces.

    The Green Party can’t even claim to represent the Green NGO’s and their activists, they shun them for a seat with the Clintonites

  22. EmilianoZ permalink
    November 7, 2016

    Che Pasa, Peter,

    thanks for the answers.

    Jill Stein has such low polling numbers it looks like she will get almost none of all the Bernie voters. I find this very surprising. I’m probably too naive. I was thinking that at this level of desperation, people would just start voting for what’s right, irrespective of how presidential the candidates look.

  23. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    November 7, 2016

    We can see that Mandos is a fanatical Hillary supporter, and that he does not care about good government or corruption one iota. Despite the pseudo-intellectual trim, it’s “muh brown identity” all the way down. This explains why the establishments of all western nations are united in their determination flood formerly-white nations with 3rd worlders.

    It’s also why westerners are going to be forced to adopt white identity politics, or surrender on every issue they care about.

  24. November 7, 2016

    All your loquacious BS will not do away with the overriding fact that Comey INVENTED an element of INTENT and inserted it onto a statute that required only GROSS NEGLIGENCE for a conviction. Then he acknowledged he found GROSS NEGLIGENCE because it is indistinguishable from RECKLESSNESS.

    Suck on that, Mandy boy.

    Does one actually need to have a legal degree to understand the significance of that little gambit?

    I said nothing about the legality of the situation or whether Clinton is guilty of anything or not. Merely that Hugh engaged in an elaborate fact-free speculation of an aspect of the case that is probably quite mundane, for all we know, and whose official explanation is well within the realm of plausibility.

    Never fear, Hillary may well still be guilty.

  25. November 7, 2016

    We can see that Mandos is a fanatical Hillary supporter, and that he does not care about good government or corruption one iota.

    You will of course reduce everything to your favorite rac(ial)ist bugbears.

    I for one long ago got tired of people whose critique of the system eclipses their understanding of how it stays in power.

  26. November 7, 2016

    Thanks, as always, Ian; well said.

    A note: Stein and Johnson are (apparently) both polling nationally below A Giant Meteor striking the Earth. Looking closely at the facts, A Giant Meteor will fix everyone’s problems, national and personal, from within 60 minutes of initial impact. Give or take. Not even Trump, or Hill-o, can claim to be that thorough, bipartisan and non-discriminatory.

  27. Hugh permalink
    November 7, 2016

    Mandos has clearly gone off his meds. He is the centrist version of what can be found on the wingnut right, people who are completely impervious to argument and evidence.

    Anyone who has used a search engine, like google, or machine translation knows how hit and miss, and often comically bad, these big data analyzers can be. So the FBI ran a few data passes through the emails which eliminated most of them from any further consideration, came up with lots of duplicates for their tiny subset and Comey declares game over. More than this, he taints this source/investigation just as he tainted the previous one. This is simply not how any serious law enforcement agency conducts an investigation. But it is how quicky coverups are done.

    Comey is a lawyer, a former prosecutor and Deputy Attorney General. It is not like he doesn’t know the law or how investigations are supposed to be run. So when he shuts down an investigation, or runs a shoddy one, or taints a potential prosecution, or misstates the law, these are not mistakes or missteps. They are deliberate actions.

  28. November 8, 2016

    Anyone who has used a search engine, like google, or machine translation knows how hit and miss, and often comically bad, these big data analyzers can be.

    The tools in question for that data size in question (ie, miniscule, hundreds of thousands of emails are absolutely peanuts) are not at all like a web-based search engine, ie, it is very possible to do a very thorough job very quickly on the data in question. Like I said, you haven’t moved past the 90s, and your inchoate rage turns you into a complete, enthusiastic fabulist. No truth to be found here.

    Machine translation is whole other kind of problem, as is very efficient searching of an ever-changing web from non-expert search terms. You obviously know nothing about the technologies in question or how they work, why not admit that this last episode is unlikely to have yielded any fruit and stick to the original questions of the server, where you are on much firmer ground?

  29. realitychecker permalink
    November 8, 2016

    Inserting an element of “intent” into a statute that clearly requires no such element, is prime facie evidence of an intent to effect a cover-up. Period.

    Bringing Lynch back into the process just months after she had to recuse herself shows very clearly how little regard these people have for the population, and how determined they are to cover-up for Hillary. Are we really supposed to have already forgotten that she had that special runway meeting with Bill Clinton?

    Guillotines for Christmas? Worse things could happen, IMO.

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