Tag Archives: election

Ukraine: Why ‘OU’ Lost By a Landslide, by Kevin B. Zeese

The American puppet lost in a landslide to a comedian with no political experience. From Kevin B. Zeese at antiwar.com:

With the landslide victory of Volodymyr Zelensky, who won 73 percent of the vote, the comedian will become the president of Ukraine. Understanding how this occurred becomes easy when people review US government documents published by WikiLeaks about the outgoing president.

Who is “OU”? Our Ukraine. In a classified diplomatic cable from 2006 released by WikiLeaks.org, U.S. officials refer to Poroshenko as “Our Ukraine (OU) insider Petro Poroshenko.” “Our Ukraine” has been in the pocket of the US government for 13 years.

The US government knew he was corrupt. A separate cable also released by WikiLeaks makes that clear. The May 2006 cable states “Poroshenko was tainted by credible corruption allegations, but wielded significant influence within OU; Poroshenko’s price had to be paid.” The US government knew he was corrupt, but allowing his corruption was a price the US was willing to pay to have Our Ukraine serving as president.

The document also describes the “bad blood” between Poroshenko and Yuliya Tymoshenko. This bad blood continues to this day as Tymoshenko came in third in the first round of the elections, and it seemed to continue through the General Election, as those who voted for her, voted for Zelensky — or against Poroshenko. The memo describes the Tymoshenko-Poroshenko relationship writing, “there is a thin line between love and hate,” and describing how “Tymoshenko and Poroshenko might appear in public, shake hands, agree to ‘do business’ together” but a coalition between them was unlikely to last.

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Biden and Warren: The Democratic Ticket in 2016? by Robert Gore

Picture from The New York Times

Here’s an interesting speculation; reader comments welcome. What if the Democratic party comes to realize that Hillary Clinton is an albatross? Polls indicate that Bernie Sanders would do better against Donald Trump. If he is not the nominee, a few of his supporters will switch to Trump or Clinton, but many of them will stay home. Clinton, SLL recently argued, is a perfect set up for Trump’s unpredictability and personal attacks. She lacks natural political skills and is vulnerable on both issues and scandals. She is establishment and an ardent foreign interventionist. Trump made mince meat of a slew of establishment, ardent foreign interventionist Republicans. He’s narrowing the gap with her in national polls, and has caught up with her in key states Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida.

The email scandal hangs over Clinton’s head. The FBI has interviewed her close associates and will probably interview her. Bryan Pagliano, who designed her private email server, has received immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony. The cynical assumption, and still the betting favorite, is an FBI recommendation to seek an indictment against Clinton will be quashed by President Obama’s Justice Department. Even that outcome cannot be regarded as favorable for Clinton. Many will conclude that it’s the establishment taking care of its own, a key issue propelling both Trump’s and Sanders’ campaigns. There is also the strong possibility that someone in the FBI leaks damaging material that was the basis of the rejected recommendation, compounding the damage to Clinton.

For argument’s sake, assume Obama and the Democrat’s movers and shakers conclude that Hillary is a liability. Say they let the primaries play out and Clinton has a majority of delegates and committed super delegates. However, suppose a subtle message goes out to the FBI: the administration will follow whatever the FBI recommends and would not be overly upset if that was indictment. Were it to happen, Clinton would presumably have to abandon her candidacy.

Does that clear the way for Bernie Sanders? Not if the movers and shakers have their way. He is about as popular with them as Donald Trump is with his party’s establishment. Joseph Biden made a couple of interesting comments recently. He said he thought he would have been the best presidential candidate had he chosen to run, and he also said he and Elizabeth Warren discussed her as his running mate. Trial balloons? What if Clinton, upon announcing her withdrawal, released her delegates to vote for Joseph Biden and Elizabeth Warren, who had agreed, for the good of the party and the nation, to accept a last-minute draft?

The key is Obama. For him this would be the best possible outcome. His vice president is far more likely to preserve his tattered legacy than Clinton, who would want to carve out her own historical niche. Biden is not a polarizing figure, like Clinton, and does not have her scandalous baggage. His long string of goofy statements will be ignored by the press, as they always do for Democrats. He is a centrist Democrat and would champion mainstream Democratic policies. Having Warren on the ticket as his vice president would keep the gender-based vote on board. It would make her the automatic favorite for the Democratic nomination in 2020 (when Biden will be seventy-eight years old) or 2024. She’s very liberal and has been a strident critic of Wall Street and the banks, which will help with disgruntled Sanders supporters.

It might make the Democratic convention messier, it might take more than one ballot, and there would be those disgruntled Sanders supporters, but a Biden-Warren ticket stands a better chance against Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton. Sanders supporters would have three months to get over it. They are more ideologically aligned with the Democrats than the Republicans. Not to say that Biden and Warren aren’t establishment tools, but they haven’t been as blatant about it as Clinton, making them more palatable to the Sanders crowd.

Biden and Warren are much less vulnerable to Trump’s attacks than Clinton. Biden has been the vice president for eight years and was a senator for thirty-six, with stints as chairman of the Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committees. On paper he’s qualified. He has a genial personality and is a known, safe, quantity. Warren has made a name for herself and attracts substantial support from the party’s far left wing. Biden and Warren give the Democrats a much better chance of winning the election—with a coat tail effect for Democratic Congressional candidates—than Clinton. Were this scenario to play out, the election would have to be rated a toss-up and not, as SLL said in the recent article, “Trump’s to lose.”

There is one final consideration. Obama loathes the Clintons and the feeling is mutual. If Clinton is indicted, he will showcase the indictment as proof that his Justice Department does not politicize investigations. Hillary will be in a heap of expensive, lengthy, and risky legal trouble. Wouldn’t Obama relish the prospect of the Clintons groveling for a prospective pardon like Gerald Ford granted Richard Nixon? He would extract from Hillary a promise to release her delegates (and campaign contributors) to the Biden-Warren ticket and from both of them a promise to give it their heartfelt support. Assuming Obama held up his end of the bargain (not a safe assumption), he would issue the pardon after the election to minimize the political fallout. Democrats would be happy to put the matter behind them. Only Republicans would complain and for Obama, that’s the cherry on the sundae.

Something to think about.

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Running the Table, by Robert Gore

Multitasking is a delusion. Its premise: that the human mind can, like a computer, parallel process and perform multiple tasks effectively. No, it can’t. Each new task undertaken diminishes efficiency across all tasks. For those who need empirical proof, read this article, make a phone call, prepare a meal, do a crossword puzzle, and paint a picture. How’s it going? Multitasking usually involves less demanding tasks, but people who drive and talk on their phones represent a heightened risk on the road, and that is performing only two fairly simple functions. On a conscious level, the human brain best operates as a serial, one-by-one processor rather than parallel processing, although the subconscious and conscious apparently work in tandem.

Delusion prompts multitasking and superficiality is the result. Like an invasive weed, delusion and superficiality crowd out and eventually eliminate more desirable mental flora. Deluded and superficial minds are unable to form perspectives, analyze, imagine, or philosophize. Epistemology is broadly defined as the theory of knowledge. Reams have been written about the upcoming election, but little about how either of the presumed nominees thinks. It’s a demanding and thankless task, but someone has to do it, because this election is an epistemological train wreck.

Ideally, a mind would take the shortest possible path from observation, facts, hypotheses, and experimentation to logical conclusion. Delusion avoids rather than arrive at conclusions. Instead of the shortest path, the mind builds mazes, and just when it appears an end might be reached, more walls and false passages are erected.

Hillary Clinton personifies delusion. Insecure, transparently phony, privately nasty, and unlikable, she has no political gifts other than her marriage. Her performance since law school has ranged from, at best, undistinguished, to a disastrous tenure as Secretary of State. She embraced foreign interventionism and regime change that had clearly failed in Afghanistan and Iraq, rebranding it as a “Responsibility to Protect.” At Clinton’s behest, the people of Libya were “protected” out of Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship and into the bloody chaos of a failed state and new Islamic State stronghold. She blessed arms shipments from Libya to Syria to help US-backed rebels foment a revolution similar to the one that had failed in Libya. Her characterization of Vladimir Putin as Hitler set up a cardboard devil that prevented her from understanding either the point of view of the other major nuclear power’s leader or the subtleties of one of the US’s most important international relationships. One expects far better from America’s chief diplomat.

Clinton has skated from scandal to scandal since her Arkansas days, aided by a complaisant press that has fawned over her every insipid word and unremarkable deed and ignored her every crime. What her and her husband get away with legally and in broad daylight probably dwarfs their sub rosa criminality. The Clinton Foundation is a slush fund and their six-figure speakers’ fees are graft. The end of the mental maze Hillary and her deluded supporters cannot allow themselves to reach is that she’s incompetent, corrupt, and therefore unfit to be president. Those who get to the end and still support her do so because of reflexive gender solidarity or party affiliation, or venality—they expect something from her.

Donald Trump has expertly discovered and exploited hot buttons on his path to the Republican nomination. By definition, hot buttons are emotional and superficial, but pressing them are what politicians do. Trump has done it better than anyone else, constantly throwing his opponents off balance. Clinton is vulnerable to Trump’s strikes on her scandals, her husband’s infidelities and her role in suppressing the truth, gender tokenism, lack of accomplishment, whopping lies, and whatever other weaknesses he decides to exploit. Delusions render one mentally inflexible, fragile, and susceptible to derogatory attacks, especially when they’re true. By the time Clinton figures out how to respond, Trump will have launched several more attacks.

However, his superficiality, so appropriate for this campaign, will be his greatest weakness should he win the election. As far as policy goes, his pronouncements have been a contradictory mess. Take debt: he’s going to eliminate the national debt, encourage the Fed to maintain low interest rates, cram a debt restructuring down America’s creditors’ throats, not touch entitlements, and if all else fails, default. Anyone who thinks they know how this will work out please explain in the comments section below.

Similarly, Trump has spoken of scaling back the US’s foreign military commitments and making our allies pay for their own defense, encouraging those of us who have urged the same for years. But he also wants to “stand up” to various threats and increase the already huge military budget (which will further increase that deficit he’s going to eliminate). His proposals are applauded, but the day after the election the applause stops. The winner has to pick the few important themes, draft plans, and mobilize support behind specific proposals. Trump has said he likes to keep people off balance, and perhaps he knows exactly what he wants to do if he wins. The likelier bet is that he has only the vaguest outline of a strategy.

Which need not be fatal to Trump’s candidacy or potential presidency. Good politicians are rarely deep thinkers; they’re button pushers who outsource much of their thinking on nuts-and-bolts policy. His four bankruptcies probably indicate that nuts and bolts are a Trump weakness. All presidents have their brain trusts and Trump needs to expand his. He can’t and shouldn’t try to multitask, but rather outsource policy clarification and planning. He’ll have plenty of volunteers from the think tanks, media, and academia. David Stockman may already be raising his hand (see here, here, and here). Trump imposing even a modicum of intellectual coherence on himself (he could do worse than bring Stockman on board), would be in far better position to launch ideological attacks on Clinton. It would also increase his chances of a successful presidency

If Trump clearly stakes out a position of less or no foreign military interventionism, which has been a winner so far, Clinton has never met an intervention she didn’t love, stretching back to her husband’s presidency. Trump can embrace the private enterprise that has made him a billionaire and offer it as an alternative to disastrous Obamacare, of which disastrous-had-it-been-implemented Hillary Care was the forerunner. Highlighting crony capitalism, of which he has admittedly been a beneficiary, hits Clinton at a weak point, one that Bernie Sanders exploited effectively. These kind of issues offer Trump the opportunity to replicate his cornerstone success with the immigration issue.

The election is Trump’s to lose. Hillary Clinton is the same captive of the establishment and stilted campaigner as the Republicans he destroyed. Trump’s running the table. Barring successful machinations to deny him the nomination at the convention, or a predictably unpredictable “accident,” he shouldn’t have much trouble with the candidate the consistently wrong pundits believe he can’t beat.

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‘Dilbert’ Creator’s 6 Reasons Why Trump Will “Win In A Landslide” In November, by Tyler Durden and Scott Adams

The creator of the Dilbert comic strip thinks Trump wins in a landslide, for reasons that neither Trump supporters or foes will find entirely comforting. From Tyler Durden and Scott Adams at zerohedge.com:

Scott Adams – creator of the infamous Dilbert cartoons – believes Donald Trump will win the presidency in a landslide. Trump’s “meticulously plotted domination,” as Adams explains to The Washington Post, stems from his running on our emotions and sly appeals to our own human irrationality. as the following six points make clear, Adams views Trump as “a master persuader” who will rhetorically dismantle Clinton’s candidacy next.

Having nothing to lose essentially then increases his chance of winning, because it opens up his field of rhetorical play. “Psychology is the only necessary skill for running for president,” writes Adams, adding: “Trump knows psychology.”

Within that context, here is what Candidate Trump is doing to win campaign hearts and minds, according to Scott Adams:

“Dilbert.” (by Scott Adams / Universal Uclick)

1. Trump knows people are basically irrational.

“If you see voters as rational you’ll be a terrible politician,” Adams writes on his blog. “People are not wired to be rational. Our brains simply evolved to keep us alive. Brains did not evolve to give us truth. Brains merely give us movies in our minds that keeps us sane and motivated. But none of it is rational or true, except maybe sometimes by coincidence.”

2. Knowing that people are irrational, Trump aims to appeal on an emotional level.

“The evidence is that Trump completely ignores reality and rational thinking in favor of emotional appeal,” Adams writes. “Sure, much of what Trump says makes sense to his supporters, but I assure you that is coincidence. Trump says whatever gets him the result he wants. He understands humans as 90-percent irrational and acts accordingly.”

Adams adds: “People vote based on emotion. Period.”

“Dilbert.” (by Scott Adams / Universal Uclick)

3. By running on emotion, facts don’t matter.

“While his opponents are losing sleep trying to memorize the names of foreign leaders – in case someone asks – Trump knows that is a waste of time … ,” Adams writes. “There are plenty of important facts Trump does not know. But the reason he doesn’t know those facts is – in part – because he knows facts don’t matter. They never have and they never will. So he ignores them.

“Right in front of you.”

And stating numbers that might not quite be facts nevertheless can anchor those numbers, and facts, in your mind.

To continue reading: ‘Dilbert’ Creator’s 6 Reasons Why Trump Will “Win In A Landslide” In November

Trumped! Why It Happened And What Comes Next, Part 2, by David Stockman

A continuation of David Stockman’s article from yesterday, at davidstockmanscontracorner.com:

When it comes to the economic future, a Trump presidency could bring either a shitstorm or salvation. Regrettably, the odds of the former are immensely the higher.

That’s because Trump is a welcome, but extremely unguided missile. On the one hand, his great virtue is that he is a superb salesman and showman who has captured the GOP nomination and has a serious shot at the White House with absolutely no help whatsoever from the Washington/Wall Street establishment.

So unlike any other candidate in recent memory, he owns his own talking points; is not saddled with a stable of credentialed advisors schooled in three decades of policy error and failure; and has the hutzpah to trust his own instincts——many of which, especially in foreign policy, are exactly the rebuke that Imperial Washington and its legions of parasites and racketeers so richly deserve.

On the other hand, the Donald’s policy thinking, if you can call it that, is thoroughly inchoate. His policy pronouncements amount to little more than spontaneous eruptions of sentiment, prejudice, hearsay, bile, applause lines, wishful thinking and disconnected non sequiturs. That’s where thoughtlets like Muslim bans, mass deportations, a Trump Wall on the Rio Grande, paying off the national debt, 40% tariff barriers, obliteration of ISIS and numerous other stray verbal hand grenades come from.

Yet occasional wild pitches are not really the problem, and the cynics are surely correct in predicting that Trump will excise most of them from his patter even before the GOP convention. The real problem is that Trump has no detectable economic philosophy or policy framework, and it is in that arena that he could go careening off into a cacophony of misfires, mistakes and statist mayhem.

To wit, Trump has already said that he likes the Fed’s low interest rates, is considering a minimum wage hike, thinks social security and medicare should remain untouched, will rebuild the military, intends to drastically increase spending for veterans, wants to slash income taxes on corporations and individuals, thinks a big infrastructure program is warranted, plans to spend tens of billions on border security and the Wall and will drastically hammer $2.2 trillion of imports in order to bring jobs back home.

Not only is most of that unaffordable, counter-productive and wrong. More importantly, Trump’s mish mash of economic policy utterances thus far fails to address why the Washington/Wall Street/Bicoastal/Bubble Finance status quo is failing main street so badly and causing 90% of Americans to realize that they are not winning economically anymore.

The heart of what went wrong is the lethal combination of free money and free trade that has been practiced ever since Greenspan panicked after Black Monday in October 1987. That is what has gutted the fly-over economy while gifting casino prosperity to Wall Street, Washington and the bicoastal elites, as I documented in Part 1. (click here for Part 1)

But as I indicated yesterday, there is a sliver of hope if Donald Trump does not capitulate to mainstream policies and is willing to set aside his potpourri of shibboleths and panaceas in favor of a disciplined and coherent game plan that builds on his bedrock political insight that American families are losing the economic battle. To repeat, there is a way forward for the self-proclaimed world class deal maker to move the whole mess out of the hopeless box that now afflicts the nation.

A President Trump would need to make Six Great Deals.

To continue reading: Trumped! Why It Happened And What Comes Next, Part 2

Obamacare To Unveil “Price Shock” One Week Before The Elections, by Tyler Durden

There’s only one word for the prospect that big Obamacare price hikes just before the election could badly hurt Democrats: justice. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The writing was on the wall long before the largest US insurer, UnitedHealth, decided to pull the plug on Obamacare in mid April. Then, just a week later, Aetna’s CEO said Thursday that his company expects to break even, but legislative fixes are needed to make the marketplace sustainable.

“I think a lot of insurance carriers expected red ink, but they didn’t expect this much red ink,” said Greg Scott, who oversees Deloitte’s health plans practice. “… A number of carriers need double-digit increases.”

It gets better.

One week ago Marilyn Tavenner, who until January 2015 ran the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, aka the massive Federal agency that oversaw the rollout of Obamacare and the disastrous implementation of HealthCare.gov and who is now as an insurance lobbyist, said she sees big jumps in Obamacare insurance premiums.

Translation: insurers are not making money, and they need to make money or Obamacare is doomed. Which means even more dramatic rate hikes are about to be unveiled. However, it’s not the what but rather the when that is the shock. And, as Politico reports, the timing could not possibly come at a worse time for Democrats.

“Proposed rate hikes are just starting to dribble out, setting up a battle over health insurance costs in a tumultuous presidential election year that will decide the fate of Obamacare.”

The headlines are likely to keep coming right up to Election Day since many consumers won’t see actual rates until the insurance marketplaces open Nov. 1 — a week before they go to the polls.

That’s right: just one week before the election date, Americans will be served with what now appears will be double (if not more) digit increases in their insurance premiums. Politico is spot on in saying that “the last thing Democrats want to contend with just a week before the 2016 presidential election is an outcry over double-digit insurance hikes as millions of Americans begin signing up for Obamacare.”

They will have no choice: following years of actual delays to avoid a major public backlash on the critical mandate, this time the hammer is set to fall and it will do so at the worst possible time for Hillary Clinton.

“Any reports of premium increases will immediately become talking points on the campaign trail,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. “We’re in an election where the very future of the law will be debated.” Democrats say they will mount a vigorous defense of a law that has provided 20 million people with coverage — and point to Republicans’ failure to propose any coherent alternative to Obamacare.

Which is another way to say Democrats are near panic.

To continue reading: Obamacare To Unveil “Price Shock” One Week Before The Elections

Send Out the Clowns, by James Howard Kunstler

James Kunstler has written a lot about this year’s election, but the acerbic wit in this piece was too good to pass up. From Kunstler at kuntsler.com:

In this decade of maximum peril, a prankish God delivers two maximally detested candidates to lead the faltering nation as events run ahead of all the convenient narratives. For instance: the idea that Republican “insiders” can block Trump’s path to the nomination. The insiders may be phantoms after all. For instance, the loathsome Koch brothers have already made their move onto Hillary’s side of the game-board. Trump won’t miss their campaign contributions for a New York minute (while Hillary might find a way to stuff the cash into some Cayman Islands lock-box of the Clinton Foundation).

Events played right into Trump’s smallish hands last week when protesters outside a Donald rally in Costa Mesa, CA, waved Mexican flags and placards calling for the reestablishment of Aztlán del Norte. Kind of proves his point about illegal immigration, don’t it? Trump also supposedly blundered in saying that Hillary had only “the women’s card” left to play in her donkey trot to the election. I’m not so sure he’s wrong about that — though the indignometer needle danced through the red-line after he said it.

Has it come to this? The women’s party against the men’s party? What kind of idiot psychodrama is this country acting out? Mom and dad mud-wrestling in an election year hog-wallow? A Reality TV show writ large from sea to shining sea? Are there no better ways of understanding the difficulties we face?

Lately Hillary has been boasting of her ability to bring Wall Street to heel, theoretically after Wall Street installs her in the White House. Voters (especially women) might want to pay attention to Hillary’s lavish praise for President Obama’s handling of the banking turpitudes still unresolved seven years after the crack-up of 2008. What did the Dodd-Frank Act (signed by “O” in 2010) accomplish except to provide more lucrative work-arounds, by Too-Complex-To-Comprehend legalese, for Too-Big-To-Fail banks. It was written by bank lobbyists and lawyers and was about 2,270 pages longer than the old Glass Steagall Act that Bill Clinton vaporized in 1999. Do you suppose that Bill and Hill might have talked about the repeal of Glass Steagall back then? Do you wonder what she thought about it at the time… being a lawyer and all?

This week attention is fixed on the Indiana primary where Devil Bat Ted Cruz desperately makes his last stand against the Trump juggernaut. It seems that former House Speaker John Boehner actually succeeded in driving a wooden stake through Cruz’s hypothetical heart by casually remarking that he was “the most miserable sonofabitch I ever worked with.” Kind of hard to explain that one away, though Ted tried by sending out his new attack dog Carly Fiorina and claiming that he never worked with the Speaker of the House — a risible claim for a national legislator in the same party.

To continue reading: Send Out the Clowns