Trump Slams US Wars in the Middle East

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There are good reasons to harbor serious reservations about The Donald, given that he changes his position as frequently as most people change their clothes. But so far, he has been consistent in making an argument that is sorely underrepresented in the media and in policy circles: that our war-making in the Middle East has been a costly disaster with no upside to the US. Trump even cites, without naming him, Joe Stiglitz’s estimate that our wars have cost at least $4 trillion.

As Lambert put it, “I hate it when Trump is right.”

If you think Trump is overstating his case on Hillary’s trigger-happiness, read this New York Times story, How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk.

And on Clinton’s role in Libya, which Obama has since called the worst decision of his presidency:

Mrs. Clinton’s account of a unified European-Arab front powerfully influenced Mr. Obama. “Because the president would never have done this thing on our own,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser.

Mr. Gates, among others, thought Mrs. Clinton’s backing decisive. Mr. Obama later told him privately in the Oval Office, he said, that the Libya decision was “51-49.”

“I’ve always thought that Hillary’s support for the broader mission in Libya put the president on the 51 side of the line for a more aggressive approach,” Mr. Gates said. Had the secretaries of state and defense both opposed the war, he and others said, the president’s decision might have been politically impossible.

And yes, that’s this Ben Rhodes.

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  1. kj1313

    Best assessment yet. This is a great speech bite from Donald but I have no idea if he means it. (Though I don’t agree with it just look at his Muslim Ban stance) Half the time he makes coherent reasonable arguments, the other half the time I think he definitely is a Clinton Mole. I don’t know which Trump I’m getting hour to hour much less day to day.

    1. MtnLife

      Except for that last minute of Trumpisms, I almost thought that was a Bernie speech. An interesting general election plan is to take Bernie’s ideas with a healthy dash of Trump spice in an attempt to coalesce the angry populist vote. It’ll be interesting to watch Hillary circle the wagons of the content, elite center in an attempt to hold off the marginalized hordes of angry “savage plebs”, especially if the convention seems stolen. Still hoping for some miracle to pull Sanders through.

      1. Jus' Sayin'

        Miracle indeed, Sanders is the last hope to avoid total disaster. Maybe he can help mitigate HRC’s hawk stance in the ME. I think Israel is a lost cause though as the problem child with nukes.

    2. jgordon

      In all seriousness, why is his Muslim ban idea bad? Or for that matter why would it, in principle, be a bad idea to ban nearly all foreigners from entering the US? After all, it’s not as if the US has some actual need for foreigners to enter considering the large and growing desperately poor domestic population. Especially considering that heretofore (let’s be real here) both legal and illegal immigration has been mainly exploited to destroy domestic labor conditions in the US.

      This is a fact a lot of ostensibly good-hearted progressive and wealthy liberals conveniently ignore (they’d probably cry themselves to sleep if they could no longer help to improve the lot of that below minimum wage illegal immigrant maid they hired). Well, the working poor aren’t ignoring it, and the lid is going to blow soon if this keeps up. Donald Trump and the popularity of his Muslim ban is only an early sign of the brewing discontent.

      1. marym

        He didn’t propose banning Muslims as a way to address our jobs and economic problems (which it isn’t), he proposed it as a way to address domestic terror (which it isn’t). It’s a political tactic to stir up and implicitly sanction hate, prejudice, divisiveness, and violence.

        1. jgordon

          Not arguing your point, however how are Trump supporters reading this? These people are already against any immigrant coming into the US for economic reasons, and in all honesty they are looking for any excuse whatsoever to view immigrants in a bad light.

          Just to add to that a bit, it’s also why immigrant crime is always being hyped up and exaggerated by Trump supporters. The real issue deep down is that immigrants are threatening them economically, and they’ll use any justification whatsoever to get rid of them.

          Is it right? I don’t really know how to objectively answer that. But for the people doing it, this could work out in economic terms for them. So at least from their perspective it’s a good idea.

          1. fresno dan


            AS WELL AS

            I think people are just so angry with how the squillionaries use “politically correct” proper thinking about immigration to hide their illegal suppression of wages that even outrageous and outlandish statements by The Donald will not dissuade his supporters – – after all, the supporters could ask why is this issue of wage suppression, “by any means necessary”, that affects FAR, FAR more people who ARE US citizens so scrupulously IGNORED by the media (media owned by rich??? – of course). As disturbing as what The Donald says, what is NOT SAID by the ENTIRE (except Sanders) US political establishment, is far more disturbing, as I think it shows an utterly captured political caste. As well as the rank hypocrisy that if any of these immigrants don’t have health care after they arrive, the squillionaires couldn’t care less if they died in the streets – no matter how rich they are, they want to make more people poorer. They are such an evil enemy that people will put up with The Donald.

            It is a fact that these tech billionaires engaged in an illegal activity. It is a fact the US government simply ignored enforcing laws and refuses to punish them.

            Trump in my view will not be able to do even a quarter of some of this crap like banning Muslims – laws do have to be passed. But the fact remains that Trump will probably be the only presidential nominee (not presidential candidate, i.e., Sanders), and the last one in 40 years, to even merely talk about these issues.
            The fact that Trump succeeds just shows how famished people are to some challenge to the war mongering, coddling of the rich that is passed off as something that the majority supports.

          2. marym

            A political strategy based on xenophobia and divisiveness supports those who benefit from xenophobia and divisiveness – those who exploit labor (including Trump who outsources jobs, hires H2-B workers, and exploits workers domestically and overseas), and those who benefit from the military-industrial-security-serveillance complex; and harms the rest of us.

            It seems no more likely that Trump as president will actually promote policies that will “work out in economic terms” for ordinary people as it was to think Obama would put on this “comfortable shoes” and join a picket line (though I bought that one at the time).




            1. jgordon

              Hey you’re probably right. But at least Trump is paying lip service to these people. Hillary won’t even do that, and yet for some reason most Democrats still thought it was a good idea to make her the nominee anyway.

              Isn’t it ironic that the minority voters, whose interests Hillary has always been inimical to and who oddly went out in force to support Hillary, will be the agents who ultimately ensured a Trump presidency. I almost can’t believe things are happening this way.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Hillary basically won relatively well to do minorities who voted for her in 2008 just in smaller numbers. Poorer minorities stayed home in Southern states where Internet access is less available and progressive organizations are just churches. On the surface, Sanders sounds very much like the media perception of President Hope and Change who isn’t as popular as much as no one wants to admit the first non white President was terrible or they actively applauded terrible policy.

                Free college probably didn’t appeal to people with junk degrees from for profit diploma mills. The damage is done. People need jobs not school at this point or incomes. A green jobs guarantee act would have been a better push front and center, but again, this is with hindsight. Many minority voters simply didn’t vote, and Hillary pushed that “you don’t know Bernie” line to scare voters that Sanders was another Obama.

                Obama and the Democrats did everything they could to undermine and stamp out progressive organization.

                1. jrs

                  Agree that jobs should be the focus (or income and meeting basic needs). Education as the focus appeals to the under 25 years old college bound crowd, but not so much to anyone older having to survive out there in the work world everyday.

          3. B

            I am a Trump supporter and I am not against immigrants or immigration. I am opposed to doing nothing in the face of a broken immigration system. I do not think it is wise for any country to have millions and millions of undocumented workers in its midst. I believe we should legalize those that are here. Those that have committed crimes not related to immigrating or over staying visas should absolutely be deported and lose the privilege of living in the US. I live in Spain, but am an American. If I broke minor laws, such as drunk driving, assault or drug possession I would be deported too, seems fair to me. I believe we have to revamp border security, though I don´t think a wall spanning the entire border would be wise or effective… I personally think Trump is speaking hyperbolically and symbolically about the wall. Nonetheless, our elites sure do love living behind big walls and gated communities, with armed security, maybe we should ask them why, walls are just racist anyways, no?

            Immigrant crime is not some myth, its real and sometimes it is a very tragic consequence of a broken immigration system. The fact that the cartels also exploit our broken border and immigration system is not a myth either, it is reality.

            And as for a temporary ban on Muslims coming from Syria, Libya and other locations that have been devastated by the covert and overt wars of the US… I support it totally, for no other reason than public safety, which is the first reason we institute government. Remember this happened just after Paris, public safety is a very legitimate concern. Also, why are Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia or the Gulf States taking in a single refugee? The Saudis have the money and the capacity to to do this. They have tents used only during the hajj that house thousands upon thousands. Where is that wonderful, charitable side of Islam?

            I wish the world were different. I don´t harbor prejudice against anyone. Those that want to come and live, grow and contribute to American civilization, Come, please!! But our world is very dangerous, and we have created enemies that seek to do harm to our society and civilization in anyway that they can. We have to protect ourselves and our nation. I wish beyond wishing, that it was someone besides the Donald saying these things, but, it is what it is. I am not gonna shoot the messanger cuase I dont like his personality, or because I would not be friends with someone like him.

            1. kj1313

              Except it’s recent US actions which have undermined the Middle East in general. From Saddam to Libya to ISIS etc etc.

          4. jrs

            Illegal immigration could likely be enforced in some industries (on the lower paid scale in garment making sweatshops and so on). And this could probably best be done by prosecuting the employers doing the hiring. But I’m not at all convinced the country could run without immigrants entirely. Who would pick the crops? Ok maybe lots of people at a $15 an hour minimum wage. But at current compensation? Though I don’t know if this really needs to be done via illegal immigration, it could be done by much more formalized guest worker programs I suppose.

            1. Tony S

              Or, we could just let the market work. You WILL get American workers to perform just about any job if you pay them enough. Obviously, the reasonable price point for labor is currently well below what a US citizen will accept. But if I offered a million dollars to get my lawn mowed, I would have a line out the door of American workers begging to have the job.

              Guest workers are just another way to depress US citizens’ wages. And immigration reform is best tackled at the employer level, like you said — anybody who doesn’t make this part of his or her “reform” plan is not to be taken seriously. (I regularly mention this to conservatives, and they always look for a way to justify going after the powerless immigrants anyway.)

            2. John Wright

              High wages can encourage more automation or substitution of crops that require less manual labor or even cause people to exit farming as uneconomic..

              But the number of workers employed in farming is relatively small.

              Per this USDA document
              in 2000, 1.9 percent of the workforce worked in agriculture.

              The World Bank has the USA workforce at 161 million in 2014 and if about 2% of this workforce is employed in farming, this is about 3.2 million people throughout the USA.

              And the 3.2 million count is probably not all illegal immigrant workers.

              This report suggests government price supports have encouraged more people to work in agriculture, implying that the government is indirectly creating low wage jobs by price supports.

              From the above pdf. “For example, the institutionalization of what began as emergency income support in the 1930s has likely slowed the movement of labor out of the farm sector.”

              I am of the opinion that the law of one price will apply if there is relatively free movement of workers, legally or illegally, across borders.

              Note, Trump never suggests e-verify and employer enforcement, which would be a low cost way of enforcing citizen employment and would avoid a costly “great wall”.

              Trump and HRC’s investments are probably more profitable due to a lower labor cost influenced by low wage workers.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          And people don’t OPPOSE his restrictions on Muslim immigration because they feel so charitable towards and accepting of Muslims.

          We have been killing, maiming and displacing millions of Muslims and destroying their countries for the last 15 years with less outcry than transgender bathrooms have generated. And we’ve allowed our own civil liberties to be radically infringed. All because “THEY hate us for our ‘freedoms.’ ” Who the hell do you think THEY are?

          But it’s Trump who is hateful, prejudiced, divisive and bigoted? As if “welcoming” some immigrants from countries that we callously destroyed perfectly absolves those who were busy waiting in line for the newest i-gadget and couldn’t be bothered to demand an end to the slaughter.

          Get a clue. Trump’s not talking about murdering anybody. And no amount of puffed up “outrage” and name-calling is going to get the stain out. Not to mention it’s the most sane and humane way to protect the “homeland” from the “terrorism” that we, ourselves, created.

          1. jrs

            Well actually a lot of ordinary (not those holding political office) people probably oppose his restrictions on Muslims because they are accepting of Muslims.

            Trump doesn’t talk about murdering people, he does talk about torturing them though. I guess that makes him a lesser evil. Torture < murder. Have I got the math right on the lesser evil calculation?

          2. lindaj

            “We have been killing, maiming and displacing millions of Muslims and destroying their countries for the last 15 years with less outcry than transgender bathrooms have generated.”

            Good point. I keep wondering why Hillary the Hawk’s actual illegal war and murdering of Muslims is worse than Trump’s ban.

      2. Pespi

        “I’m against all immigration, as it’s merely a lever to lower wages.” “I’m against the immigration of muslims, because they’re bad terrorists.” There is a difference in these two statements.

      3. Vatch

        You are correct that there is too much immigration to the U.S., and it causes economic and environmental problems. However, Trump’s Muslim ban would cover more than immigration. He would also ban temporary visits by Muslims (except for the mayor of London, I suppose).

        I object very strongly to Muslim extremism, and a lot of Muslims have extremist views. But not all of them do. And many Christians, Hindus, and whatever also have extremist views which should be opposed. Trump’s not proposing a bad on travel by extremist Christians; he’s singling out Muslims because they scare millions of Americans. It’s demagoguery.

        1. jgordon

          You are not quite right there. Trump supporters do indeed want to ban Christian immigrants as well (the vast, overwhelming majority of immigrants from Mexico, central, and South America are Christians of some sort) although in the case of Christians the excuse is “violent crime” since obviously Trump supporters can not disparage Christians specifically for their Christianity. Seriously, watch any Trump speech and you’ll see that he spends more time talking about why all American (Christian) immigrants need to be banned (crime) than why Muslim immigrants need to be banned (terror). Economic insecurity is at the root of all of it.

          1. Vatch

            Has Trump demanded that Christians from Europe or Canada be prevented from entering the U.S.? I’m pretty sure he hasn’t. If he’s really motivated by economic reasons, there’s no need to specify a particular religion, such as Islam, or a particular nationality, such as Mexicans.

            1. jgordon

              People from Europe and Canada already have high salaries. Or they are perceived to have high salaries in their home countries. IE they are not percieved as an economic threat. I guarantee you, show me a poor, third world country that is sending a lot of people to US right now and and I’ll show you an ethnic groups that faces some prejudice. Come on, it’s not well paid people with stable jobs and incomes who are going around being prejudiced against immigrants. It’s the poor and the desperate who are doing it.

              There is a reason for that. Ignoring that reason and pretending that it’s some bizarre and unfathomable psychological illness just coincidentally affecting people who are also offing themselves from despair left and right isn’t going to make it go away. Rather, you are inviting something terrible to happen. The Germans didn’t decide to follow Hitler because times were good, and a friendly PR campaign encouraging openness and acceptance among the poor misguided racists and immigrant haters out there will do exactly nothing to help matters.

        2. pictboy3

          I don’t think anyone (most anyone anyway) would disagree that there are plenty of Muslims who are not extremists. The problem for us is, how do you tell the difference? The San Bernadino shooter was a health inspector, had a wife, kids, a middle class job, ties to the community and still decided to shoot up his co-workers with his wife in tow. Plenty of the European ISIS recruits come from middle class families that are seemingly well-adjusted. If these people (keep in mind Farook was a US citizen) can become terrorists, how can we possibly screen new entrants with any sort of efficacy?

          I’d say it’s probably worth the miniscule risk of possible immigrants turning out to be terrorists if there was some other benefit to having them come in, but if we agree there’s too much immigration to the US already and it is hurting actual US citizens, what exactly is the upside to keep allowing Muslims in?

          By the way, I’ve been lurking on this site for a few weeks now, first time commenter. It’s nice to find some quality discussion on the internet. Nice to meet everyone.

        3. Jim

          Where are these “extremist Christians” burning and burying people alive, beheading hostages, blasting away at crowds in night clubs? “Christian extremism” is a figment of your imagination. The attempt to equate Moslem violence with conservative Christians is utterly absurd. Do you seriously believe that soime Amish dude is going to run amuck in a New York night club and slaughter hundreds of people?

            1. cm

              A cheap shot. Please explain how the Obama administration differs from the Bush administration.

              1. Skippy

                Obama does not get is morning SITREP delivered with biblical headers…

                “The religious theme for briefings prepared for the president and his war cabinet was the brainchild of Major General Glen Shaffer, a committed Christian and director for intelligence serving Mr Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

                In the days before the six-week invasion, Major General Shaffer’s staff had created humorous covers for the briefings to alleviate the stress of preparing for battle.

                But as the body count rose, he decided to introduce biblical quotes.

                However, many of his Pentagon colleagues were reportedly opposed to the idea, with at least one Muslim analyst said to be greatly offended.

                A defence official warned that if the briefing covers were leaked, the damage to America’s standing in the Arab world ‘would be as bad as Abu Ghraib’ – the Baghdad prison where U.S. troops abused Iraqis.

                But Major General Shaffer, 61, who retired in August 2003, six months after the invasion, claimed he had the backing of the president and defence secretary. When officials complained, he told them the practice would continue because it was ‘appreciated by my seniors’ – Mr Rumsfeld and Mr Bush.

                The briefing covers were revealed for the first time by GQ after they were leaked to the U.S. magazine by a source at the Pentagon.”

                Disheveled Marsupial…. whilst I understand the acts committed transcend time and political party’s…. never the less… in – The Name Of – can not be white washed away…

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Did you manage to miss Trump’s point in the video that the US has killed millions in the Middle East, and that if US presidents had gone to the beach for the last 15 years. everyone would have been better off? And that we murder people by drone in addition to all our undeclared wars? You are seriously pretending Christians not only have blood on their hands, but started these wars and have killed people in vastly bigger numbers than we have? I’m not defending terrorists, but your position is a remarkable airbrushing.

          2. Ulysses

            The worst domestic terrorist the U.S. ever produced, Timothy McVeigh, wasn’t Amish, yet neither was he Muslim. Denying people the opportunity to immigrate here– based solely on religion– contradicts the principles of tolerance on which this country was founded.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Yah, this is a Great Country, isn’t it, where everyone has the right to own assault weapons, and the opportunity to assemble and detonate giant bombs hidden in rental trucks, and you can do pretty much whatever you can get away with, depending on one’s degree of immunity and impunity and invisibility…

              But the Panopticon will Save us…

            2. Vatch

              Eric Rudolph and Robert Lewis Dear, Jr., are more examples of Christian terrorists. Outside the country, there’s Anders Breivik (well, he’s only partially Christian, but he’s definitely not Muslim).

          3. Fiver

            ‘The attempt to equate Moslem violence with conservative Christians is utterly absurd.’

            Quite right – US evangelical, Christian Zionist violence perpetrated against a number of Muslim nations is hundreds of times greater than anything even imagined by the likes of bin Laden or ISIS.

      4. lyman alpha blob

        I get your point from a labor standpoint but who gets to decide to shut the door and say ‘no more room at the inn’? Unless it’s First Peoples I think it would be pretty hypocritical coming from the descendants of all the other immigrants who crossed over themselves at some point.

        PS: I haven’t heard this talked about much but does anyone really believe Trump is serious with all this immigrant-bashing rhetoric? If he is anywhere near as rich as he claims to be, he got there at least in part, and likely in large part by exploiting cheap labor. While I’ve never stayed in a Trump property to see for myself I’m guessing that all the hotel employees aren’t direct descendants of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

        1. Vatch

          Unless it’s First Peoples I think it would be pretty hypocritical coming from the descendants of all the other immigrants who crossed over themselves at some point.

          Everybody outside of Africa, including “First Peoples” (if I understand that phrase correctly), is a descendant of immigrants. The ancestors of the Amer-Indians (probably) came from Siberia over the Bering land bridge during the late ice age.

          It might be hypocritical for an actual immigrant to advocate restrictions on immigration, but that’s not the case for descendants of immigrants. But if there are restrictions, they shouldn’t be based on religion or race.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            I don’t really think shutting down immigration is the answer. It’s not practical and isn’t likely to solve the problems blamed on immigration even if you could keep people out.

            People don’t leave their countries en masse unless there’s some kind of disaster. A little less imperialism turning nations to rubble would be a much better solution.

        2. anon

          So you believe that no people, anywhere, ever, have a right to determine who can join their community, contribute to their community, or undercut their community’s wages and values. Except if some “First Peoples” show up and endorse the idea? Do they have divine right of kings or something? What if we got one Indian to agree? A plurality of them?

          If it was right for the natives to resist the destruction of their way of life in 1492-1900, and it was, it is right for the natives to resist of the destruction of their way of life now. Even if those natives’ skin now comes in multiple colors.

        3. Tony S

          Well, I have trouble believing that Trump is serious about his TPP-bashing and Iraq-war-bashing, I have trouble believing Trump’s words are credible on just about any issue.

          It’s going to be a rough four years, whether Trump wins or loses.

          1. Vatch

            Well, Sanders still has a chance, although he’s a long shot. Democratic voters in Kentucky, Oregon, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the District of Columbia have a chance to save the nomination for him.

            In Puerto Rico, Montana, and North Dakota, the election events are open, so anyone who’s registered can vote for Sanders. In California, registered independents can also vote for Sanders.

        4. different clue

          If its hypocritical, perhaps we should live with that if it is also reality-based and pragmatic. As in ” we’ve got a good thing going here and we don’t need nobody else muscling in on our sweet racket”.

          Separately, many advocates of ILLEGAL immigration carefully pull a sleight-of-mouth bait-and-switch between ILLEGAL immigration and legal immigration. Accepters of carefully controlled legal immigration can still reject ILLEGAL immigration for pragmatic social-survival reasons.

      5. steelhead23

        Quite simply, the idea of banning Muslims entry to the U.S. is an affront to the very nature of the American experiment, of plurality, equality, and religious freedom. However, recent events in Europe, specifically the sexual assaults in Cologne and elsewhere show that some young Muslim men are a problem. So are some young American men. An issue we need to wrestle with is how to reduce this problem. Such problems are not about religion, they are cultural, they are about interpersonal respect and behavior. But, the West, broadly speaking, has shown horrendous disrespect to Moslems. The U.S. has attacked wedding parties and funerals, destroyed cities and countries, behaving like Crusaders. Perhaps were the West to display less barbarism toward Moslems, they would express more respect toward us. Seems worth a try.

      6. NotoriousJ

        “both legal and illegal immigration has been mainly exploited to destroy domestic labor conditions in the US.” Exactly. As is your point about limousine liberals. Quite sick of seeing the clooneys, madonnas, and Jolies, pitching in on Darfur and adopting third world babies in a huff of narcissistic compassion while doing nothing for anyone in this country.

      7. David Pernas

        This is like any specious declamation, if you start looking at the details it falls apart. Precisely what Muslims are you going to “keep out” of the US? For example, I am a Muslim, and a Vietnam Veteran (OK, have been a US Citizen since 1973, longer than I’ve been a Muslim, so maybe I don’t qualify for the Muslim ban – yet). My son is a US-born Muslim, US Air Force veteran, in fact he won both the Golf tournament and the Poker tournament at Seymour Johnson AFB (OK, also doesn’t qualify). My nephew is also a Muslim, was born in Morocco, became a US Citizen, and a US Army Iraqi War veteran, and is the most patriotic of us, he has literally said, “I love this country so much I would die for it”….OK, maybe not him either….wait, my Mother in Law is arguably a foreign Muslim, she could be a (not) very dangerous 82-year old resident of Fes, Morocco (but wait, she is still a fantastic cook, with all those delicious Moroccan recipes, maybe you don’t want to keep her out either…. :) Etc, etc, etc……

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      He doesn’t have to mean anything. Trump needs to drive potential Democratic turnout down. On one hand, reminding people how awful Hillary is effectively destroys volunteer efforts which is how voters get registered and identified for gotv. The other side is what is the perception of the average Democratic voter of Hillary’s record. Hillary supporters have pushed the “tested,” “likely to win, ” and “inevitable” arguments for a long time now. How many people in the potential electorate understood Hillary was a hawk when they voted or didn’t bother to show up? Bernie used words such as “poor judgement” for fear of being labeled sexist. Trump won’t hold back.

      Perhaps, Trump was a mole, but what can Bill offer that the GOP can’t? Air Force One might not be the most luxurious plane, but its the Air Force plane wherever the President is. Thats respect no one can buy. Reagan was carted through the White House, so why not Trump?

      1. Fiver

        ‘Bernie used words such as “poor judgement” for fear of being labeled sexist. Trump won’t hold back.’

        Wait just a second. Sanders used the words ‘poor judgment’ because that is exactly what Clinton has displayed several too many times, not out of some fear of being labeled ‘sexist’. Trump is apparently the one who believes women disqualify themselves by virtue of sex, not actual performance. You impute to Sanders someone else’s (yours?) fears or biases re women’s judgment, not Clinton’s, a woman I think most women will disown inside of two years if elected – likely sooner.

      1. kj1313

        Best thing about this election is that it will soon bring the end for both parties’ leaderships.

  2. MikeNY

    Imagine Trump running to the left of Hillary on defense / interventionism, trade, and universal healthcare. That would sure make things interesting. He could win.

      1. bowserhead

        It ain’t over. She’s got one countermove left which is to somehow get Bernie on the ticket and grab
        the enthusiastic and politically correct (if not fully-informed) millenial vote. Otherwise the dilution of the blue vote in the swing states will loom large.James Carville, astute handicapper that he is, has already sniffed out that Hillary now needs Bernie more than Bernie needs Hillary.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Sanders on the ticket would only undermine Sanders. This Is about the DLC or the status quo. The length of Sanders career has made him credible, but Hillary has already lost this same race to an empty suit. The Democrats have bled support since Obama went full Reagan, but in many ways, this is a conflict between Democratic elites and their loyalist followers and everyone else. Accepting assimilation will only hurt Sanders. Forcing a Vice President onto Hillary such as Gabbard would be a far better aim. Sanders supporters aren’t interested in a status quo candidate, supported by the usual list of villains.

          Hillary can get a begrudging vote, but she will never endive enthusiasm. Bernie and Hillary uniting will only annoy people.

          1. Vatch

            VP Sanders would be great! As soon as Hillary is removed from office by impeachment, he would become the President!

            1. NotoriousJ

              ‘Doh. Making someone VP is how you consign someone to oblivion. That’s how Roosevelt (teddy, not franklin) got the job. Slight miscalculation by TPTB on that one, I’d say.

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Yes, and then, as his long history with customers, contractors, vendors and creditors has shown, he’ll fuck us.

      Please don’t take this as advocacy for the Other One, but Donnie’s entire career is based on screwing people over; this is just another, albeit far bigger, hustle.

      Don’t think for a second that you could rely on him to follow through honestly about anything; it’s always and forever about Donnie.

      1. jgordon

        Hey, there’s at least a 1% chance that Trump won’t go out if his way to screw the American people considering the blackbox nature of his candidacy, whereas there is at least a 100% chance that HRC will screw the American people hard. And add in the fact that she is a known psychopath with an itchy trigger finger who will have the Red Button on her desk if she gets into the oval office… Yeah. Trump isn’t looking too bad now, is he?

        1. Ian

          I gotta admit that Trump has always been a wild card for me, and while he is likely to screw us, Hillary definitely will. Still the only candidate worth supporting in any conceivable sense is Bernie.

        2. Jason

          Given his gleeful endorsement of torture, advocacy for war crimes, nods to totalitarianism and fascism, his own clear psychopathy, along with his racism, xenophobia, and apparent ignorance on everything from medicine to the environment, and nuclear weapons, yes he looks bad, even in comparison with Hillary Clinton, which says a great deal about just how awful he truly is.

          1. Ulysses

            They are both truly awful!! If they turn out to be the top two candidates on the ballot, I will have no choice but to write in Bernie, or vote Green.

            1. Jason

              I’m personally more frightened by Trump than Clinton. I’ve lived through almost 8 years of Obama, plus Bush and Clinton… how much worse than those could another 4-8 years of the same be? Trump is a terrifying like my house on fire. But at the same time, I can certainly understand the desire to vote for the Green with a clear conscience.

              Perhaps we’ll get lucky, and Hillary’s campaign will collapse before the convention. Bernie would be the first candidate I could really vote for (and who’d have a real chance at winning).

              1. steelhead23

                Why not put your vote where your words are? We’re Senator Bernie Sanders to be the candidate, my vote would be his. If he’s not, and he endorses Secretary Clinton, then my vote goes to Doctor Jill Stein, my favorite candidate anyway. Given the momentum Sanders has generated, were he, instead of supplicating himself to Clinton following her coronation, to stand behind Ms. Stein … Only in my dreams. Sigh

              2. different clue

                The DLC Third-Way Clintonite Obamacrats will not let Bernie become nominee no matter what. If the party can’t coronate Clinton, the party will try to bolt the severed head of Joe Biden onto Clinton’s headless body . . and run THAT.

          2. jgordon

            “We came. We saw. He died. [Raucous laughter]”

            That right there is what convinced me that the woman is a psychopath. She should have been carried out out of the interview in a straight jacket, and yet there are some people who trying to make her president. Trump may be a narcissist, but I would not say that he’s psychotic.

            If nothing else you need to support Trump for the survival of humanity.

      2. flora

        Thinking about a Trump/Hillary contest reminds me of the movie ‘The Sting’; where a couple of honest con men take down a dishonest con man who killed their friend. I see Hillary as the dishonest con man.

      3. jrs

        In reality Trump is NOT to the left of Hillary on universal healthcare. Read his website.

        Look since the guy is a major presidential candidate whether one likes that or not, I have no problem directing people to his website. See how he puts his actual policy positions, such as they are, in his own words.

        Interventionism and trade remain to be seen as personally I think his positions on them are likely to still uh … evolve as they say during the campaign season. So I’m leaving the verdict out there.

    2. MtnLife

      I brought up this idea right when he became the presumptive nominee but this isn’t really a pivot left. He’s always been less of a hawk than Hillary. One of the few positions he has been relatively consistent on. I see him biding his time for a full pivot until Bernie is out of the picture. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen.

        1. MtnLife

          My apologies, my friend. Didn’t mean to step on you. Meant it as a concurrence. Sipping coffee slowly today. You’re one of my favorite people here for your regularly spot on, insightful comments.

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, my big effort to tell myself that Life Under Trump may not be as horrible as I fear is that the record of outsider presidents (Carter) and celebrity governors (Schwarznegger and Jesse Ventura) is they get very little done.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Modern governors are bound by devolution and mandates. They are just glorified city managers with the staff to do the city manager’s job. Even popular, insider governors can do very little. The President can set the terms by which the governors operate.

      2. John Wright

        I’m concerned that HRC will get more done than the Donald, but little of HRC’s actions will be positive.

        California handled Schwarznegger without too many problems as he tried unsuccessfully to “break down boxes”.

        He replaced, via recall, the forgettable democratic Governor Gray Davis who simply disappeared from politics.

        As I recall, Davis papered over the CA energy crisis until after the election, figuring that when the s**t hit the fan, he’d have been safely reinstalled in office.

        The recall campaign proved this a bad assumption.

        Schwarznegger actually tried to do something about climate change, see

        I see HRC as possibly getting more wars started, TPP/TTIP approved, a grand bargain done on SS, and providing more coddling to the financial, medical and insurance industries.

        If many or all of HRC’s possible negative accomplishments will not be done by Trump, then that could justify electing a president who accomplishes little..

        1. jrs

          Yea Schwarznegger was ok. He made a few very devoted enemies in a few unions. But he was probably far better on pushing environmental issues than Jerry fracking Brown ever was or will be. If it was him versus Jerry at this point, I might very well prefer Arnold.

      3. jsn

        I think Trump at least understands that you can’t take money from people who don’t have any. His casino enterprise in Atlantic City may have taught him that.

        Like Anne Amnisia’s link yesterday, I feel like I know where I stand with a Mussolini and can envision taking a bullet honorably in resistance where the DNC method has been slowly killing me my whole adult life and, short of Bernie, I can’t see how to resist!

        If he’s ineffectual and doesn’t start more wars, at least its more time to organize and Trump’s the kind of “leader” that might give focus to resistance.

      4. Deloss Brown

        Yves, I wish I thought you were right. But The Duck is so bizarre, so definitively unhinged, that no one can predict what he’ll do. He changes positions as the wind blows. And when he follows any philosophy at all, it’s the “Conservative” philosophy. He doesn’t believe in global warming. He once said that there should be NO minimum wage. I’m a Bernie fan, not a Hillary fan, but I would never, ever take the risk of letting the Hare-Brained Jabberwocky into any position of power, which means, probably, that I have to vote for Hillary, and even start sending her money after the primaries. Probably.

        1. aab

          Please don’t give her money.

          Also bear in mind she’s going to not just launch land wars, but cut Social Security and kill the Internet as an information channel. She’ll keep the TPP Obama signs and push through TIPP, too. She said last month she’ll support a Constitutional Amendment to restrict abortion.

          And if Trump is elected, the corporate Democrats will occasionally have to pretend to be Democrats. So even if he wants to do exactly the same terrible things as Hillary, some of them won’t get through.

          I won’t make my “Hillary is the greater evil, voting lesser evil in this unusual circumstance could break the corporate hold over both parties and thus save the country” pitch in detail here. But I am BEGGING you, please don’t vote for her. And if you feel you must vote for her, for god’s sake don’t give her money. Huma has purses enough.

          1. Deloss Brown

            Sorry, aab. I do believe that there is such a thing as the “lesser of two evils,” and I believe that Bernie Sanders has moved the conversation to the left, whether he wins or not. There will be a great many Representatives and Senators who will be grateful to Bernie for shining light on the horrible, awful, terrible principles of the beast which calls itself “Conservatism,” which light will help them get elected–and they may be able to get something done. Elizabeth Warren is a good example of a good legislator. So is Jerrold Nadler. No, I don’t like Hillary. But there is no comparison between her and–I like the sound of my own words–the definitively unhinged Hare-Brained Jabberwocky.

            How many Republican administrations have you lived through, aab? Did you throw up after hearing Barry Goldwater speak (in person, in Peoria, Illinois)? Did you weep tears of sorrow and terror after Ronald Reagan won the office? I don’t want to go through that again.

            Please don’t beg me. It’s not dignified for either of us. We live, so far, in a democracy, and we have to do the best we can.

            Confusion to our enemies.

            1. aab

              I am 56 years old. So I have lived through plenty of Republican administrations.

              Hillary is a neoconservative on foreign policy. She is in no way to Reagan’s left. Her campaign and contributor list is packed with people determined to gut Social Security. With her as President, this is much more likely to happen.

              Sanders may have moved “the conversation” to the left. But if Hillary Clinton is elected, power will be moved to the right, and she will do everything she can to keep it that way.

              She is paying herself, Bill and Chelsea large salaries out of her campaign contributions. I think Huma, as well. But I guess your mind is made up. Just know that we of the left are mobilizing to stop her. I don’t know if we can. But we’re going to try.

      5. Fiver

        Jimmy Carter, who managed to hold the gathering evil that was rising in Washington, Wall Street, Texas to relatively smaller gains under his tenure, did in fact manage the Iran hostage crisis about as well as one could hope – until the politicos urged the dumb, risky mission that saw the departure of Vance – and but for the incredibly pathetic performance by MSM, he might well have won a second term.

        The man was pretty much sane, after all.

    4. marym

      His healthcare plan on his campaign website is the usual Republican gibberish – repeal Obamacare, sell insurance across state lines, block grant Medicaid.

      He suggested 20-30,000 troops to Syria in response to a debate question, then said he would never do that, but send ” air power and military support” instead. (LINK)

      1. marym

        edit: Position on the website is also to give veterans the ability to “choose” healthcare outside the VA system. (I’m not knowledgeable to say if this would actually help current pressing VA issues, but it is a move from a national public health service model to a private care model, so not leftward).

        1. MikeNY

          Thanks for that. I think the general idea holds, though: it’s a populist remake of politics, and I think if Trump stakes out some ‘unconventional’ positions that are to the ‘left’ of HRC, he could beat her.

          1. marym

            Well, if by left you meant ‘left’ then we agree :) His appeal is much broader, though IMO a combination of rightward demagoguery and leftward populist-i-ness.

        2. JTMcPhee

          That VA notion is a dagger pointed at the heart of all those people who for whatever reason, “took the King’s shilling” or drew the short straws in the draft lotteries or, before that, were nailed and “inducted” just by living in heavy-draft-quota areas. And of course the Greatest Generation, so many of whom got drug into earlier US imperial wars (Narrative notwithstanding.)

          Sending GIs to docs outside the VA system (itself under siege for generations now by the same shits who bring on the Forever War that generates ever more damaged people needing those “services”), to docs who in my experience pretty uniformly have zero knowledge of vet-specific problems and diseases and injuries, who will be paid how much to treat what quota of veterans, again? Crucifying GIs on the HMO cross, so people can pretend there’s “care” for them, via docs who are even more likely than VA docs (who at least have some protections against arbitrary rules and policies and firings, in a “system” run by many who institutionalize actual CARE as the main idea) to “go along with the minimization-hurry-up-and-die program”?

          The whole notion is straight Rule #2: “GO DIE, FOKKER! And do it quietly, out of sight, and with minimum fuss, in a structure that so diffuses the abuses over space and time that it’s extremely difficult for the affected population to even gather the numbers to show how bad it is.” Straight “more continuing more opaque fog of war” bullshit. The same kind of sales BS as used to sell the rest of neoliberalist misery (“Don’t whine now, fools — you voted for it, I have the validated results of the elections right here, so now it’s All Nice And Legal, seeee?) from NAFTA and preceding frauds and vast FIREs, on up to the present scams.

          In the meantime, the Military-Industrial Juggernaut continues to gain mass and momentum. Trump can natter about “war in the Mideast is a bad deal for the US” (Mideast seemingly not including AfPak, China, Africa, South America, etc.) as a “bad deal.” But will he have any interest in spooling down the turbines on the enormous Milo Minderbinder Enterprises machine that is daily being “upgraded” and “up-armored” and “re-weaponed” and “re-doctrined” and “mission-creeped,” with the happy participation of every business, large and small, that can wangle or “extend” a procurement or “study” contract to expand and lethality and simple bureaucratic-growth size and incompetence (as a military force, in the old sense of what armies are supposed to do for the Emperoro) of the monster, even as we blog participants do our mostly ineffectual (if intellectually pleasing) nattering?

          Civilian Control of the Military is a dishonest myth — true only in the sense that the Captains of MICIndustry and drivers of “policy” are not currently Active Duty, though they all, along with the generals (who live like kings, of course) belong to the same clubs and dip deeply into the same MMT Cornucopia. And the MIC, from what I read, is quite open and pleased about the state of affairs…

          1. whine country

            I would argue that the MIC is simply part of the 20 percent that derive their middle class existence by serving at the beck and call of the 1 percent. You are describing the symptoms and not the disease.

          2. Felix_47

            We are in the grip of “credentialled” doctors and lawyers. Just as most litigation and most of what lawyers do is destructive to the average person, it is estimated that half of all surgeries done in the US are unnecessary. the HIC (health industrial complex) has brainwashed the public to believe that we need $20,000 per month medications and artificial discs. As you have doubtless seen the third leading cause of death in the US is medical mistakes. They happen in the VA and in the private sector. Maybe the notion of more medical care is better is simply not valid. At some point we will have to realize that rationing in a rational way is going to have to happen. I would rather have someone who went to medical school decide on what is going to be rationed than some lawyer or business administrator.

            1. JTMcPhee

              There sure is a lot packed into that comment. But my experience with VA doctors and other caregivers (speaking as a retired “private sector” nurse, VA care recipient and former attorney) is that except for the psychiatrists and some of the docs that perform disability examinations, the VA caregivers actually provide care, and they seem to do it pretty well, given the constant attrition of resources and burgeoning case load the neolibs are imposing. Personal tale: the Medicare ‘provider” at the full-spectrum clinic I used to use was all hot to perform a “common surgical procedure that most older men need.” A fee-generating TURP, which pretty rarely improves the victim’s life. The VA doc, looking at the same condition and presentation, noted the down-sides pretty carefully and said that until I was a lot more “restricted,” there was no way I “needed” any such invasive procedure. But then his income is not influenced by the number of cuts he makes…

              Most of what lawyers do any more, and this has been true for a long time, is combat over wealth transfers, economic warfare. Ever since partnership was killed off as the mandatory form of lawyer business operations, with attendant personal liability for partner actions, the rule is “eat what you kill, and kill all you can.” Most doctors I know have caregiving as their primary motivation in going into medicine. (Most nurses, the same to a much greater extent, and since they start with smaller debt and fewer chances to bleed the patient and the system that bleeds the nurse pretty badly, they can carry that decency forward.)

              Interesting, of course, that more and more doctors have joint MD and MBA credentials. And working with other operatives, are gradually and maybe inexorably forcing more of their fellows into “medical cooperatives” like HCA and JSA, where they become salaried wage slaves with productivity targets and metrics, and thus “rationers” de facto, by having to respond to “metrics” that are all driven by the basic business model: “More and more work, from fewer and fewer people, for less and less money, for higher and higher costs, with ever more crapified outcomes for the mope-ery.” Although, I might offer, there are some of my fellow mopes who actually do benefit from those back surgeries (yes, maybe most of them are unwarranted, but not all) and meds that only cost “$20,000 per month” because of MARKETS.

    5. Jim Haygood

      ‘Imagine Trump running to the left of Hillary on defense / interventionism, trade, and universal healthcare.’

      It would be like FDR vs Hoover — with Goldwater girl Hillary playing the role of Hoover.

      1. inode_buddha

        Imagine Trump winning as a GOP canidate by running to the left of the DNC canidate. The vision of the GOP having a collective ulcer/Rovian Meltdown is making me giggle like a schoolgirl all day.

        Frankly, I’m *much* more worried about HRC in the Whitehouse than I am about Trump. Reason why is that he’s a relative outsider, not an Establishment guy — and there is always Congress to deal with. Its not like he would have a total dictatorship, whereas HRC would be able to do far more and deeper damage to the nation.

        My position is Sanders or bust, and I say that as a 20-year member of the GOP (now independent).

  3. Nick

    Like you said, he changes his positions all the time, and Clinton is no doubt a serious warmonger/war criminal, but he did also say that he would “bomb the s— out of ISIS,” which one might also be inclined to characterize as trigger happy.

    I am equally terrified at the prospect of having Clinton or Trump at the nuclear controls, which is why we should all send Bernie a few bucks today. The MSM have already gone into full Clinton v Trump general election mode, though that is certain to change once Bernie wins California.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      If you read what Trump has said about our foreign policy, he has been consistent in his view that the US can’t and shouldn’t be acting as an imperalist. He does not use those words, but he’s said this often enough that I’ve even linked to articles describing how Trump is willing to depict America as being in decline, and this as one manifestation. In addition, his foreign policy speech was slammed basically because it broke with neocon orthodoxy. I have not read it but people I respect and who are not temperamentally inclined to favor Trump have, and they said it was sensible and among other things argued that we could not be fighting with China and Russia at the same time, and pumped for de-escalating tensions with Russia as the country whose culture and interests were more similar to ours than China’s.

      Having said that, calling out our belligerence and TPP as bad ideas seem to be the only issues on which he’s not been all over the map (well, actually, he has not backed down on his wall either….)

      The other reason to think he might stick with this position more consistently than with others is that his core voters come from communities where a lot of people have fought in the post-9/11 Middle Eastern conflicts. Our armed forces are stretched to the breaking point. Trump has strong support among veterans and active duty soldiers, and it’s due to his speaking out against these wars.

      Trump can probably get away with continuing to shape shift till Labor Day, since most voters don’t make up their minds till close to the election. It’s not pretty to watch him make a bold statement and then significantly walk it back in the next 24 hours, particularly if it’s an issue you care about and he’s said something that is so nuts that it sounds like he cares more about his Nielsen rating than what makes sense for the country. If he can’t put enough policy anchors down by the fall and stick to them, he will lose a lot of people who might give him a shot out of antipathy to Clinton.

      1. Nick

        That may well be the case and he was right to call out the Iraq war as a “mistake” during that debate (given his otherwise unconventional rhetoric, however, I was actually a bit disappointed that he didn’t use the more correct term war crime), but he has also said that he wants to bring back torture and then some.

        As far as I’m concerned though, the race right now is between Clinton and Bernie and I’m fairly confident that Bernie still has a good chance since he is sure to take California (which, luckily for Bernie, will seem like a huge surprise).

        In a match up between Trump and Clinton my own personal thoughts (that a democratic – i.e. neoliberal – white house will at least continue to move people to the left, whereas a republican white house will only galvanize people around bringing another neoliberal to the white house) are irrelevant because I have virtually no doubt that Trump will win.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Yes, his enthusiasm for torture is pretty creepy and you get a taste of it here indirectly: “That Saddam, he was a really bad guy but he sure could take care of those terrorists!” While Trump does seem to genuinely disapprove of all the people our wars have killed for no upside (a commonsense position in absence among our foreign policy elites), he seems overly confident that we can identify baddies well and having identified them, we should have no compunction about being brutal with them.

          1. bowserhead

            “That Saddam, he was a really bad guy but he sure could take care of those terrorists!”

            His meaning here is we should have stayed out of it and let the “really bad guy” (Saddam) handle Al Quaeda. Of course, the Bush neocons dishonestly morphed Saddam into Al Quaeda. You know the rest of the story.

          2. jgordon

            I’m willing to bet that he’s saying a lot of this stuff for his audience–people who are generally a pretty angry and bloodthirsty lot. I’m not saying that he’s not going to come out for peace, love and contrition when he’s elected president, but I think it is safe to say that his rhetoric now is completely unrelated to how he’d go about actually governing.

            OK, so normally that’d be a horrible admission–if the Democrats hadn’t had the brilliant idea of foisting Hillary onto the American people. What a brain-dead move! I myself could have been persuaded to support Bernie, but Hillary is the Devil incarnate as far as I’m concerned.

          3. fresno dan

            One fact that we have to remember is all the people who designed, advocated for, implemented, and defended “enhanced interrogation” and than who use “Clintonisms” to say we no longer use torture (because we never did – “enhanced interrogation”) AND because we are “rendering” them someplace else and our friends are doing the enhanced interrogation – well, such lying devious people in my view are far, far worse than The Donald.
            In my view, there appears to be considerable evidence that the US still defacto tortures – and that is far, far worse than the appalling, but at least truthful statement of how Trump feels. And of course, pink misting people may not be torture, but it can’t be separated.

            Again, which is worse:
            A. The Donald up front advocates a policy (of torture), people can be mobilized to oppose it. No legalisms, dissembling, and every other term that can be used to obfuscate what the US is REALLY doing.
            B. The US government asserts it no longer tortures. How many readers here have confidence that that is a factually true statement, that can be said without word games?
            Is saying we should torture WORSE than saying we don’t torture, but WE ARE???

            1. ggm

              I feel the same way. It’s preferable to have someone take the morally reprehensible pro-torture stance than to pretend to be against it while secretly renditioning prisoners and so forth.

            2. jrs

              A good argument for reelecting George W Bush I suppose. Everything was pretty out in the open in the W administration you have to admit.

              1. pretzelattack

                except for the fake wmds that started it. and abu ghraib. and the reasons the contractors were hung in fallujah. and the fake alliance between saddam and al quaida. and outing valerie plame when joe wilson blew the whistle on the fake purpose of the aluminum tubes.

                1. Lambert Strether

                  Let’s not forget the warrantless surveillance program!

                  Also, Wilson blew the whistle on the yellowcake uranium. The aluminum tubes were another mole in the whack-a-mole game.

              2. Seas of Promethium

                Everything was pretty out in the open in the W administration you have to admit.

                “The United States does not torture.” —GWB

                1. fresno dan

                  The worst Clintonism ever – – ironically used by dubbya
                  ‘But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have torture relations with that Iraq. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you*’

                  Hmmmm – what happens to your brain while in office that makes you think blow jobs are not sex and enhanced interrogation is not torture…must be something in the water….

        2. Ian

          Enough electoral fraud has been evidenced that I think that the numbers are going to be gamed to be closer to the non-representative polling that flood the MSM. He may win, but they aren’t going to allow him to win by a lot in such a delegate heavy state.

          1. Rhondda

            Unfortunately, I think you are quite right that the California numbers will be rigged/gamed. I had become quite cynical about American politics, thanks to Obama the More Effective Evil’s reign…and the Bush and the Supremes Florida gambit back in 2000. But this primary vote rigging has really moved my marker…so far that I am not even sure what word to use…what’s more cynical than super duper cynical?

            I no longer believe — any of it.

          2. jrs

            So here’s an idea I’ve been pondering how can the people try to prevent or find this? Could we exit poll outside the voting places? Yes it would be a limited sample of just one local place but it’s something and in aggregate if lots of people were doing this …

            I too think they might try to game California. And this is quite alarming considering California is usually too unimportant to even game. I figure the elections are usually honest here, probably because they just don’t matter one whit. But this time it might matter and they might steal the vote.

            1. aab

              Exit polls don’t matter. Most exit polls in the Democratic Primary so far have been outside the acceptable range, and well into the range where, if it was a foreign country, the United States would declare the election fraudulent.

              I’m in California. Our Secretary of State is an open Clinton supporter, going around opening Clinton campaign headquarters right and left. He’s also notorious as one of the guys in the state legislature who took payoffs to kill our single payer plan. So I’m pretty nervous about this guy.

              On the bright side, something like 70% of our voting is done via mail. That should make it harder to switch, although there will be bags and bags of nursing home votes like always that are incredibly suspect. I’ve been trying to figure out some way to get citizen observers in to watch the opening of the mail in ballots. But I’m a complete tyro at this stuff. I don’t even know who to ask.

              Of course, there’s eyewitness testimony, recorded at a Board of Elections meeting and undisputed, of vote switching in Chicago, and nothing was done about that. It’s pretty depressing. As far as I can tell, the Democratic Party can easily manipulate about 5% of the vote on top of the targeted suppression in most Democratic machine states. New York, of course, was extra special.

              But California never matters. The primary almost never counts, and I think it’s been decades since the Republicans had any hope of flipping it in the General Election. So my greatest hope is that Clinton, Brown, Padilla, et al. as recently as two months ago still had no expectation of having to rig the primary, so maybe they won’t be able to as well. (Are all the machines stored in one warehouse?) Suppression is ongoing. People whose registration was correct in the system two months ago are checking now and it’s been switched or wiped. But this isn’t New York. We still have 10 more days to the registration deadline, so people are finding out in time to correct it.

              Wish us luck.

      2. Northeaster

        “core voters come from communities where a lot of people have fought in the post-9/11 Middle Eastern conflicts. Our armed forces are stretched to the breaking point. Trump has strong support among veterans and active duty soldiers”


        People tend to also forget that there’s a lot of us Gen-X’ers that were deployed over there over 25 years ago, when it was popular, for the same damned thing. Nothing has changed. Sure, some leadership folks have been taken out, but the body count of Americans soldiers has only risen,and the Region is now worse off.

        The “first time” we had more folks die from non-combat related accidents than from actual combat. Some of us are sick of our political and corporate establishment selling out our fellow soldiers and Veterans, even worse is the way they have been treated when they come home. I’m not a Trump supporter, but this part of his message not only resonates with me, but angers me further. Why? Because I know that if Hillary Clinton walks into The Oval Office, even more Americans are going to die for lust of more power and influence.

        HRC is simply the evilest human being I have ever seen in politics in my lifetime. Trump may be an idiot, crass, authoritarian, and any number of negative things, but he is not “evil” – she is.

  4. Roger Smith

    If the mash up continues as Clinton v. Trump and barring any character sinking actions of Trump, this man will win in November. To paraphrase Shivani, Clinton is speaking entirely in high minded self-interest, while Trump has latched onto and is pressing a actual truths of reality (regardless of his personal convictions or what he wlll actually do if elected).

    Trump is more liberal than Clinton here. What exactly are her redeeming qualities again?

    1. Pavel

      I can’t really think of any HRC redeeming qualities. “Retail politicking” doesn’t seem to be one of them. Lambert, you no doubt saw this video of her confronted with rising health insurance costs post-ACA? Her word salad response doesn’t begin to address the real issues…

      During a recent town hall event, a small business owner explained to the Democratic front-runner that her health insurance has gone up so significantly for her family that the thought of providing benefits to her employees is secondary at this point.

      “As a small business owner, not only are you trying to provide benefits to your employees, you’re trying to provide benefits to yourself. I have seen our health insurance for my own family, go up $500 dollars a month in the last two years. We went from four hundred something, to nine hundred something. We’re just fighting to keep benefits for ourselves. The thought of being able to provide benefits to your employees is almost secondary, yet to keep your employees happy, that’s a question that comes across my desk all the time. I have to keep my employees as independent contractors for the most part really to avoid that situation, and so I have turnover”

      “We do not qualify for a subsidy on the current health insurance plan. My question to you is not only are you looking out for people that can’t afford healthcare, but I’m someone that can afford it, but it’s taking a big chunk of the money I bring home.”

      To which Hillary responded, to make a long story short, that she knows healthcare costs are going up, and doesn’t understand why that would ever be the case.

      “What you’re saying is one of the real worries that we’re facing with the cost of health insurance because the costs are going up in a lot of markets, not all, but many markets and what you’re describing is one of the real challenges.”

      “There’s a lot of things I’m looking at to try to figure out how to deal with exactly the problem you’re talking about. There are some good ideas out there but we have to subject them to the real world test, will this really help a small business owner or a family be able to afford it. What could have possibly raised your costs four hundred dollars, and that’s what I don’t understand.”

      “What could have possibly raised your costs four hundred dollars, and that’s what I don’t understand.” — this from a woman who ostensibly is an expert on health care delivery?

      The link is from Zero Hedge but in any case watch the video. Or wait for it to appear in a Trump campaign ad:

      “What Could Have Possibly Raised Your Costs” – Hillary Can’t Answer Why Obamacare Costs Are Soaring

      1. Roger Smith

        “Or wait for it to appear in a Trump campaign ad” Haha!

        I am surprised she didn’t pull out the “90% coverage” false-positve. We haven’t seen that pony enough. The notion of imploring “scientific” method here is interesting in light of the party’s blood oath to meritocracy. “There are some good ideas out there but we have to subject them to the real world test…”. It also implies that the process is natural and no accountability is necessary.

        Another great DNC experiment. Throwing the blacks in jail for 20 years over nothing… “oh well, we need to try more!” I cannot imagine being in prison right now for some minor drug offense and hearing the Clintons spew this nonsense.

        That bagel spread though…

  5. P

    This is going to be one hell of an election… If nothing else those slimeballs that Clinton represent will be killed off. Finally.

  6. samhill


    It’s a cost to the 99%, to the 1% it’s profit – a damn whole lot of profit.

  7. bowserhead

    Jeff Gundlach, one of the few iconoclasts and reigning king of bonds on Wall Street:

    “People are going to start putting greater focus on Hillary (Clinton). Voters are going to say, ‘No. I don’t want this,'” he told Reuters. “Hillary is going to evolve into an unacceptable choice. If she is such a great candidate, how come (Bernie Sanders) is beating her?”

    1. JustAnObserver

      IIRC Gundlach’s outfit is based in California, not Wall Street. Left coast plutos for Bernie ?

      1. JustAnObserver

        Even more. He’s based in LA so there’s a 400 mile air gap between him in the goldbugging, glibertarian, wannabe John Galt culture of the Valley exemplified by Peter Theil.

        How about a picture of Gundlach for tomorrow’s antidote ?

  8. Yaacov Kopel

    It is warm heartening to see this site who consistently leaning left warming for the Donald. Clinton is a horrible candidate, flawed human being and her presidency is guaranteed to be marred by scandal after scandal and deep polarization.
    Bern would be a great choice but he has no chance, the corrupt Democratic establishment will stick with Clinton.

      1. jgordon

        I inuited months ago that the warming to Donald thing would happen. I have a growing conviction that most of the people here, maybe even you, are going to vote for Donald in November. Even Jason will vote for Donald (unless he is being employed by that pro-Hillary super pac which I don’t think is the case but just throwing it out there since there are empirically speaking people being paid to produce pro Hillary comments on the internet). Barring something truly interesting and novel happening between now and then that is.

        The way things are going now this plane seems set for an effortless autopilot victory for Trump. I have no doubt that everyone will regret too. They’ll even regret before they cast the vote, and do it anyway. Oh man, that’s some truly black humor. OK I’ll make an even grander prediction: Trump will inaugurate the post postmodern era (whatever historians eventually decide to call it) where our entire conception and perception of reality as a society undergoes a radical and unpleasant change. It’s a unique time to be alive. Aren’t we lucky?

        1. jgordon

          Wait. I just had an incredible insight. We’re already out of the postmodern era, and I can date it from Sept. 11, 2001as the exit. Historian are going to say that this was a short era, a transitional era of illusions, delusions and fear, where complete non-reality Trumped the real for an ever so short period of time. But now we’re going to be shocked awake, and what’s coming next is going to be incredible and horrific. Damn, it’s such an awesome and strange feeling to see things so clearly all of a sudden! It’s really happening. So this why I’ve been obsessing over this stuff much recently.

        2. Lambert Strether

          I tried to find a short clip of Brunhilde riding her horse into the flames in Gotterdammerung right before Valhalla collapses, which is what voting for Trump would be like for me, but I couldn’t find out.

          1. jgordon

            There are still some months to go yet. Anything could happen. I’m not even discounting the possibility that there won’t be an election at all this year. The old order is starting to break down. Discontinuities are creeping into the system all over the place. Our models and assumptions are going to diverge wider and wider from what actually happens from this point on.

  9. Noonan

    The worst result of the Obama presidency is the disappearance of the anti-war left from every form of mainstream media.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      There was an antiwar left on the msm during the Bush years? Kerry’s campaign message was “Ill be W 2.0.” Kerry himself was that awful, but there was no antiwar left in the msm. I thought the absence was the direct cause for the rise of blogs. The real crisis is the shift of websites such as TalkingPointMemo and CrooksandLiars to Team Blue loyalist sites or when Digby brought on Spoonfed.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Yep. 2006 was when the Dems decapitated the left blogosphere, and as a result we have no independent media, except for lonely outposts like this one, and whatever those whacky kidz are doing with new media.

        1. aab

          Progressive Twitter is pretty rockin’. You can enter a variety of ways, although checking out the #FeelTheBern hashtag is probably easiest. The Sanders campaign is proving to be an excellent focal point for a lot of current and nascent activism across many vectors. Of course, that also means it will be that much easier for President Clinton to track down and crush all of it once in office. But for now, come on in!

  10. TedWa

    I keep donating to Bernie because even if he somehow doesn’t win the nomination, he can force Hillary to be much more like him – if HRC wants Bernie voters to clinch the deal for her. Bernie staying in and fighting to the end (and my money says he wins) is great and if Hillary doesn’t become Bernie, then the only one that can beat Trump is Bernie, and the super-delegates have got to see that.
    Bottom line, Hillary has to become Bernie to beat Trump. Is that going to happen? We’ll see.

    1. Praedor

      Bernie staying in until the very end serves two purposes (he CAN still win, especially when he carries California). The first is, again, he CAN win. The second purpose is to prevent Hillary from shifting right the way she REALLY wants to for the general. She will have to keep tacking left to fend off a major slide towards Bernie. The “center” (actually right wing) is out of reach for her as long as Bernie is there.

      1. aab

        On your latter point (agreeing with ewmayer), yeah…no.

        She isn’t even “tacking left” now to close the nomination in very liberal states. She’s spitting up some pretty sounding words, but no policy specifics — except for that, “You can buy into Medicare with your own money for about the same price as Obamacare if you want” plan. If you’re old.

        She and her team are explicitly, constantly insulting and enraging progressives. Either they just can’t restrain themselves from hippie punching, or they’re doing it on purpose to attract Republicans. I am very worried that they are intentionally setting up a Chicago ’68 type situation at the convention in Philadelphia, to position Clinton as the “law and order” candidate for Republican crossovers.

        She’s already running right. And she will do exactly as she pleases if elected, no matter what she says now. Give her this much: she is apparently unwilling to promise clear, specific, easy to understand policy that she has no intention to pursue. That’s the weirdest thing about her lies. She could have said, “I’m for single payer!” All her billionaire buds would know she’s lying, just like they knew she was lying when she “expressed reservations” about the TPP. But she isn’t doing that. She misrepresents what extremely limited liberal policies she actually espouses on her site, but she isn’t willing to pretend to back real progressive policies.

        Bernie has to win, for anything progressive to actually happen. There is no Plan B, other than varying flavors of catastrophe.

        1. JerseyJeffersonian

          This, in spades.

          I live in the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia. Even over here, I expect to get a good whiff of tear gas as the shit hits the fan over there when Her Nibs gets the high sign. I’d be there myself in Philly, but for being fairly seriously asthmatic; that tear gas might do for me, and I have family to consider. Now isn’t that a testimony to where we now find ourselves? Coronating sociopaths, citizens frozen out, out of literal fear for their lives.

    2. ewmayer

      Sorry to rain on your thesis, but absent the nomination, all Bernie can do is to force Hillary to *message* more like him. With her, the operative phrase is “words are wind”. There is nothing whatever to keep her from immediately ditching every progressive-sounding campaign stance once she is in office, just as Obama did. And I guarantee you that if she does become president, that is precisely what she will do.

  11. ke

    Trump knows the counterweight better than anyone. He’s the guy you keep on the job because he’s entertaining, knowing he will sell you out if you let him, and you let him, when it serves a purpose, to adjust the counterweight.

    POLITICS, RE feudalism, is a game, and he loves it, despite the heartburn. All that debt inertia.preventing the economic motor from gaining traction is psychological. That much he knows, which is a lot more than the rest of the politicians, making him a better dress maker. But like the others, he has no idea what to do about it.

    He vascillates to maintain options, including a path to the future, while others rule themselves out. Of course hiring good people is the answer, but most Americans are politicians, like anywhere else, wanting to know little more than their cubicle, because the net result of majority behavior is punishing work, in favor of consumers, competing for advantage.

    If you spent this time developing skills and finding a spouse that won’t cut your throat, you will do quite well. The casino isn’t life; it just keeps a lot of people busy, with busy work. Government is hapless.

  12. dingusansich

    It’s hard to know if Trump sees militarization and imperialism as bad because they’re bad or bad because it’s not Donald Trump in charge, with a great big straw sucking Benjamins between those rectally pursed lips. It may take an agent provocateur bullshitter to call bullshit, but that says nothing about what Trump will do as president. What’s likeliest, given his record, is an opportunistic seizure of the Treasury to rival the occupation of Iraq. When I gaze into my crystal ball at a Trump administration I see cronyism, graft, corruption, nepotism, and deceit of monumental dimensions, just like the gold letters spelling Trump plastered over everything he lays his stubby little hands on. Because the Clintons are appalling doesn’t make Trump appealing. It’s a farcical contest, and every way, we lose.

    1. RUKidding

      You echo my feelings. My loathing of Clinton knows no bounds, and I cannot vote for her, no matter what. But I simply don’t trust Trump. He’s a gold-digger extrodinaire, and quite the accomplished showman. He knows how to play to the crowd, and he’s clearly quite quick to shape shift. The wrecked tatters of what’s called the USA “media” gives Trump a YOOOGE pass on simply everything and anything the man says or does.

      I don’t trust Trump, and although, yes, he has says a few things that I agree with – and usually stuff that no one else at his level will ever say – it’s essentially meaningless to me. I think Trump would be a disaster as President, and my “take” – which is based on my own opinion – is that he’ll be Grifter El Supremo and make sure that he walks off with stacks and gobs and buckets of CA$H. For him. And if the country really tanks and goes bankrupt? So What?

      Plus all this about Trump not being a War Hawk? I don’t trust it. With the other breath, he’s constantly spewing about “building up” the damn military, which, allegedly Obama has “weakened.” Like, we really need to be spending another gazillion of our tax dollars “building up” the Military??? WHY? If The Donald is so against all these foreign wars, then why do we need to spend even more money on the Military??? All that signals to me is that Donald expects to go large on MIC investments for HIMSELF.

      Won’t get fooled again.

    2. Lambert Strether

      “cronyism, graft, corruption, nepotism, and deceit of monumental dimensions”

      Rather like the Clinton Foundation, though the Clintons have more tasteful building fixtures

      “Because the Clintons are appalling doesn’t make Trump appealing”

      Very true, and vice versa.

  13. hemeantwell

    The Saudi 9/11 connection is now front stage:.
    href=”″ rel=”nofollow”>
    Trump can legitimately harp on this and likely will as part of his battle both with the R establishment and the Ds. HRC will probably respond “judiciously” in a way that will make her claim to “expertise” appear to be nothing more than what it is, lockstep parroting of neocon positions. Sanders?

  14. ke

    Story time: so, when I married the Mrs, I offered to fix the mother in laws old bug. She turned me down and has since demand that I fix what is now a rust bucket, not worth one manhour of my time, going around to the neighbors, all critters on govt checks rapidly falling behind RE inflation, to build consensus to the end, among women using men and men using women, all of them having thrown their marriages under the bus, as if majority vote is going to get me to do something I have no intention of doing.

    When hospital gave Grace that shot and sent her to the ICU, per Obamacare expert protocol, all the critters went into CYA mode, and ultimately called the family, to confirm that the wife and I must be on drugs, which they did. I don’t blame the morons running the court system, and she’s the mother in law.

    That debt is nothing more than psychology, but it is more effective than a physical prison. Silicon Valley is the as is abutment, simply reinforcing stupid with ever greater efficiency, but it is the endpoint on a collapsing bridge with no retreat, because automation has systematically destroyed the skill pool and work ethic required to advance further, replacing them with make work and make work skills.

    Competing with China and the Middle East to build carp infrastructure to keep As many economic slaves as busy as possible is not the path forward. As you have seen, govt data is far closer to being 180 degrees wrong than being correct, as designed, which you should expect, from those holding out ignorance as a virtue.

    There are far more elevators that need fixing than I could ever get to, and I am quite capable of fixing them in a manner that generates power. Who becomes president is irrelevant.

  15. ke

    My family in Ohio is massive, they made a killing on RE and currency arbitrage, after selling all the family farms, and have nothing real to show for it, but rapidly depreciating sunk costs, waiting to do it again. Rocket scientists.

  16. Watt4Bob

    The way I read this situation is this;

    If the GWOT has cost us $4 Trillion, somebody made $4 Trillion.

    That/those somebodies are not about to give up the kind of behavior that makes that kind of money.

    If there is any real, actual third-rail in American politics, it’s the MIC budget.

    This fact has never been openly acknowledged, even though the American people are pretty sure that threatening the will of the MIC cost the life of at least one well known politician.

    Trump may talk about that enormous waste now, but after his private screening of the Zapruder film he’s going to STFU and get with the program like all the rest.

    OTOH, like Yves has pointed out, if Donald wins, he could just end up the loneliest man in DC, be ignored, get nothing done, and I’m not sure I see a down-side to that.

    1. Roger Smith

      if Donald wins, he could just end up the loneliest man in DC, be ignored, get nothing done

      Exactly my feeling. He will be hated and fought constantly, whereas Clinton (if nominated) is guaranteed to screw things up. Like her husband (who by the way will be there whispering in ears and making passes at maids) she will triangulate on issues and pass destructive GOP legislation and likely drag this country into another foreign policy blunder, where I am betting more young, under-educated, poor citizens with no prospects or options will be sent to slaughter (themselves and others).

    2. RUKidding

      EH? I think The Donald will just go Large on MIC investments for himself. He talks a good game, but he keeps saying that he’s going “build up” the Military, even as he’s stating that we shouldn’t be fighting in all of these wars. Why, then, do we need to “build up” the Military?

      No one ever said Trump was stupid. I’m sure he’s rubbing his grubby tiny vulgarian mitts with glee thinking about how he, too, can get in on that sweet sweet SWEET MIC payola grift scam. Count on it.

      Trump doesn’t need to see the Zapruder film. He was alive then and knows the story, just like everyone else of a certain age. Nay, verily, he just means to cash in on it.

      1. Watt4Bob

        Yeh, you’re right, he’s, probably already going long on more war.

        A guy can dream can’t he?

    3. fresno dan

      May 13, 2016 at 12:30 pm
      “OTOH, like Yves has pointed out, if Donald wins, he could just end up the loneliest man in DC, be ignored, get nothing done, and I’m not sure I see a down-side to that.”

      I too view that as a feature and not a bug. Seriously, in the last 10, 20, 30 years, I would ask, what law is viewed as making things better? Was Sarbanes Oxley suppose to do something??? Maybe the law is OK, they just won’t enforce it…

      I know Obamacare is relentlessly disparaged here, others think it is better than nothing.
      Many of you youngsters don’t realize this, but there was a time, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, that there were no deductibles, co-pays, narrow networks, and that you had confidence that your doctor may have over treated and tested you, but you weren’t afraid that you would die because it was too expensive to treat you.
      Just like I don’t care if GDP goes up because i won’t see any of it, I don’t care about all the cancer research because I am certain I won’t be able to afford it, even though I have health “insurance” ….

      1. fresno dan

        And this

        “Employer-sponsored retiree health coverage once played a key role in supplementing Medicare,” observe Tricia Neuman and Anthony Damico of the foundation. “Any way you slice it, this coverage is eroding.”

        Since 1988, the foundation says, among large firms that offer active workers health coverage, the percentage that also offer retiree health plans has shrunk to 23% in 2015 from 66% in 1988. The decline, which has been steady and almost unbroken, almost certainly reflects the rising cost of healthcare and employers’ diminishing sense of responsibility for long-term workers in retirement.
        Financial protection against unexpected healthcare costs is crucial for many Medicare enrollees, especially middle- and low-income members, because the gaps in Medicare can be onerous. The deductible for Medicare Part A, which covers inpatient services, is $1,288 this year, plus a co-pay of $322 per hospital day after 60 days. Part B, which covers outpatient care, has a modest annual deductible of $166 but pays only 80% of approved rates for most services.
        80% of 100,000$ means 20K is left over – with cancer treatments*, kidney treatments, cardiovascular treatments, such a scenario is more likely than a lot of people will imagine.

        *treatments don’t include those foam slippers that they charge you 25$ for….

        1. fresno dan


          But the consequences of the shift away from employer-sponsored retiree benefits go beyond the rise in costs for the retirees themselves. Many are choosing to purchase Medigap policies, which fill in the gaps caused by Medicare’s deductibles, cost-sharing rates and benefit limitations. That has the potential to drive up healthcare costs for the federal government too. That’s because Medigap policies tend to encourage more medical consumption by covering the cost-sharing designed to make consumers more discerning about trips to the doctor or clinic. Already, nearly 1 in 4 Medicare enrollees had a Medigap policy — almost as many as had employer-sponsored supplemental coverage.
          The trend is sure to fuel interest on Capitol Hill in legislating limits to Medigap plans. Such limits have supporters across the political spectrum: Over the past few years, proposals to prohibit Medigap plans from covering deductibles have come from the left-leaning Center for American Progress, the centrist Brookings Institution and conservatives such as Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

          please stop going to the doctor, its expensive ….just expire…

      2. philnc

        Which brings to mind a very vivid memory of the visit by a young lawyer in 1983 to the cramped office of a seventy-something practitioner of hospital bill collections. Piles and piles of summonses and complaints representing unpaid medical bills in the millions of dollars. At the time, having some experience on collecting on commercial debt and mortgage foreclosures, I recall thinking most of those claims had to be uncollectable. But now, decades later and with the clarity of vision that comes from being out of the law game longer than I was in it, I realize that the movement to universal health insurance was something that probably started as an effort to protect hospitals and doctors financially, not patients. After a bit of wrangling and salesmanship by a few pioneering companies (Kaiser?), a whole new predatory industry was created to make it a reality. Nixon’s plan never got off the ground, Carter’s floundered due to the clash of egos within his own party, and Clinton’s was soundly rejected by the public who knew a bait and switch scheme when they saw one. We finally got the Heritage Foundation’s distopian 1970’s version of medical profit protection, a hoped for bailout of health care providers, by a new President and Congress who rammed it through in spite of its being rejected once again in the 2008 primaries (where Hillary ran on a shadowy version of Clintoncare and Obama made a stand against a mandate, dog whistling that patient protecting single payer would be his endgame).

        1. fresno dan

          It took me a while too to figure out that “reform” always means the people selling something get more money and are protected from loss, while the consumers, buyers, citizens are always paying more for less and are LESS protected than prior to the “reform”

    1. jrs

      Who probably also believes Hillary is a progressive. That would be true to form for a right wing radio host. I can just hear the blather: the problem with Hillary is we’re going to get tons of Marxist policy which has proven to be a failure everywhere …

  17. singfoom

    I don’t get the HRC is no better than Trump arguments I see here often. I won’t argue that HRC isn’t solidly a neo-liberal and is most likely to continue status quo like economic policies which I disagree with, but people, remember that there’s a empty SCOTUS seat.

    I say this as a Bernie supporter who has come around to HRC. She’s not perfect, but Trump’s danger doesn’t just present to the elites but to all of us. Bernie has been able to push HRC to the left and will continue to do so until California / the convention.

    Disrespect the lesser of two evils approach if you wish, but at this point HRC is not perfect, but the best candidate to move progress forward. YMMV and I can respect that.

    1. Lambert Strether

      First time post… I’d like some evidence that Sanders actually has pushed Clinton to the left. That evidence would come in the form of concrete policy commitments without lawyerly parsing. Do you have any?

      1. singfoom

        First time poster, long time lurker. You don’t think that Sanders success in the race pushed HRC to embrace debt free 4 year public college?

        We’ll see what specific policy commitments come out of the convention, but I don’t think the current campaign would have the same issues if Bernie wasn’t there.

        Please don’t mistake me either, ideologically I’m with Sanders and was supporting him until the NYDN article and the delegate math became pretty much impossible. If I had my druthers, he’d be the candidate, but it looks quite quite unlikely now.

        I’m concerned that HRC will pivot after the election and give support to the TPP but even then I’m still anti-Trump more.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Actually, a poster with your email commented in 2014 under another handle. There seems to be a rash lately of infrequent or new commenters who “support Sanders but” or “supported Sanders until” lately. For some reason.

          That said, you could be right on college (see here for a comparison of the plans). It’s just that Clinton’s talking point about not wanting to pay for Trump’s children is so unserious I can’t believe the plan is serious.

        2. aab

          She has NOT embraced debt free four year public college. That is incorrect.

          I assume you’re referring the the Daily News piece that misrepresented banking law, claiming Sanders didn’t know what he was talking about, which was later fact-checked by objective experts who pointed out that Sanders was correct and the Daily News staff was wrong.

          The delegate math is very, very difficult. It is not impossible.

          Of course she will support the TPP. She said on Meet the Press last month she will support a constitutional amendment restricting abortion. She intends to cut Social Security. She intends to launch numerous wars.

          Who do you think she will appoint to SCOTUS with the approval of the Republican Senate (and the corporatist Democrats the DNC has pushed) that will be a significant improvement over who Trump would appoint, in real life, given how little American jurisprudence will matter once the TPP takes effect? Since the Clintons came to power, most women in America have lost access to abortions. Most American children can no longer get a decent elementary school education, and K-12 is now close to being fully pre-Brown segregated.

          Trump and Clinton are different flavors of terrible, with marginal differences. After all, while he talks about killing and deporting people of color, she’s really helped do it. She has even advocated a wall. Do with that what you will, but please disabuse yourself of the notion that Clinton has moved left, or will govern as any recognizable version of a Democrat.

    2. Paper Mac

      I dunno. I see a lot of people decry Trump’s immigration ban on Muslims, but Hillary’s record as SecState was incredibly violent toward Muslims internationally and also includes presiding over a defacto immigration ban from specific “problem” states- banning people for security reasons being much more tactful than banning Muslims per se.

      The nativist appeal Trump is making doesn’t go much farther than naming the intent of policy Hillary has been actually pursuing. Trump wants to use the demonisation of Muslims since 9/11 as a political lever to gain power and will use anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant (weird to see the two conflated so frequently) sentiment to achieve specific political goals, preferably sublating it into keynesian infrastructure programs (wall building or whatever). Hillary intends to keep bombing societies that are increasingly visibily disintegrating from the cumulative effects of climate change, colonial oppression and marginalisation, foreign intervention, etc. It’s not obvious who gets the benefit of the doubt in a lesser evil contest.

  18. Code Name D

    Trump is breaking the “lesser of two evils” argument.

    Let’s be clear about something here. The “lesser of two evils” is not an argument to find which candidate is “the less evil.” It’s an argument used to justify the assumption that your candidate is the less evil of the other. While else is it that Democrats say Clinton is the less evil while Republicans argue that Trump is the less evil.

    It’s obvious watching leftist pundits (many of whom I respect) come out and flatly assert “Clinton is the better of the two.” And there heads usually explode right off their shoulders when they run into someone who disagrees or is simply skeptical of the claim.

    The real problem is when Trump dose speak on trade and war policy, he exposes the fallacy of the argument. We can’t take Trump’s word for it – even though we already know Hillary is likely lying, so it’s still a tie. The notion that Trump might actually be honest here isn’t even permitted to be considered because that would make Trump the less evil of the two.

    The problem I keep running into is just how do you measure “evil?” This gets even harder to do when you can’t take either at their word. There is always some deeper calculous we are expected to project on the candidates in order to arrive at our pre-supposed conclusion that our candidate is always the less evil.

    It’s the main reason I will not be voting for either.

  19. bowserhead

    Forgive me for piling on today Btw,.anyone know who this Carmen Yarrusso is? Excerpt from Counterpunch (today)

    “Trump may be a (loose-cannon) unpredictable evil. But then, based on her long track record, Clinton is a very predictable evil. In fact, Trump is left of Clinton on such things as legal marijuana, NATO aggression, and trade policy. His crazy proposals (e.g. Mexican wall, banning Muslims) are just bluster with zero chance of becoming reality. If Congress can stop Obama, it can stop Trump. But Clinton has a predictable pro-war track record (Iraq, Libya, Syria) and a predictable track record of changing positions for political expediency (e.g. Iraq war, NAFTA, Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2000, immigration, gun control, the Keystone XL pipeline, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, same-sex marriage). How can you be sure she won’t conveniently change her current progressive positions as president? A Trump presidency just might force Democratic Party elites to start seriously addressing the populist concerns they now arrogantly ignore.

    If you vote for Clinton as the lesser of two evils, you’re compromising your moral values, you’re condoning the Democratic Party’s shoddy treatment of millions of progressives, and you’re sabotaging future real change. You’re virtually guaranteeing the Democratic Party elites will put you in this position again and again. If you refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils, maybe you’ll help elect Trump (or maybe your write-in or third party choice will win). But you’ll certainly send a very clear message to Democratic Party elites that you’ll no longer tolerate being ignored, marginalized, or shamed with false lesser of two evil choices.”

  20. Bernard

    lol watching people attack Trump well, not sure if it’s Clinton’s army out to scare us about the horrors Trump will cause. now it’s like the Devil we know vs the Devil we don’t know. Kind of hard to compare Trump to Hillary. Hillary’s effective brand of evil is well established and is quite thorough, shown by the primary votes in NY and AZ, for example. watching the Elites attack, belittle and completely ignore the existence of Bernie gives us a little clue of what is in store if Hillary gets her way. Trump is the “known unknown” to use Rumsfeld terminology.

    Evil is as evil does. aka Hillary

    this is perhaps the one and only time I ever will vote Republican. and I abhor Republicans. Hillary has earned her reputation, Trump.. well… Trump or no Trump, it won’t be Hillary getting my vote. Keeping Bernie out, we all lose.

  21. singfoom

    I’m not a HRC fan, but why is “Hillary is lying” treated as a tautology?

    I’ll pull the lever for her because Trump is a vile xenophobic racist demagogue and at least HRC might not put a complete RWNJ on the SCOTUS, but aren’t the “She’s a lying lying liar” arguments 25 years of Republican talking points?

      1. singfoom

        No, I don’t support the current administration’s drone war, nor did I support the horrible Iraq war of 2003, but that doesn’t answer my question. I don’t understand “Hillary is lying” as a tautology and the conclusion being that Trump is a better bet than HRC because of that.

        But in regards to your question, do you think that the drone war stance will change in the next administration whether’s it’s HRC or Trump? Trump said he wants to get more aggressive on terrorists than we currently are, explicitly endorsing torture.

      2. jrs

        Well even Sanders has come out in favor of drones, so probably, unless one is die hard Jill Stein all the way. Then one’s hands are entirely clean if also entirely ineffective.

        1. Massinissa

          Yeah, because voting for drone strikes, imperialism and corruption is more effective at getting rid of those things than not voting for drone strikes, imperialism and drone strikes…

    1. Massinissa

      Because its totally impossible for Republican talking points to be true right?

      If you havnt noticed, the Republicans are liars, but so are Clintonista Democrats.

    2. Massinissa

      Hey, let me tell you a secret…

      Theyre both liars. If youre trusting Donald to not drone strike or trusting Hillary to not torture, youre being duped.

      As for your comment further down about Trump saying he wants to torture people more… Its not as if Obama has stopped Bush’s torture regime or closed Guantanamo. Hillary too would continue more things.

      Honestly I still dont understand why Trump is so much scarier than Hillary. Their differences are mostly kayfabe. All that xenophobic racist demagogy Trump is doing? More kayfabe. Im still voting Stein, because I dont vote for corrupt imperialists.

      1. Seas of Promethium

        Stein is likewise kayfabe. If the party had gone with Anderson he might well have pulled a Bernie in the last general election. That just wouldn’t do, so the party was rather brazenly railroaded into nominating Stein.

  22. Jerry Denim

    Just as the best lies are 99% truth the best con-jobs are the ones containing the maximum amount of truthiness. Some days I like the things I hear Trump saying, the next he gives me a sick feeling with chills down my spine. Sure, he’s not sticking to the approved neo-con, neo-lib, Washington consensus script but just how stupid do you have to be to not know that Saddam Hussein was a secular Bathist dictator who executed anyone who he saw as a threat to his power, especially muslim extremists. Just because Trump can spout off a truthy factoid that is only news to the brain-dead Fox News masses doesn’t mean he is any more of an honest dealer than Bush Jr. Does anyone think Bush, Cheney or Rumsfield were operating under any illusions that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11? Of course not, they either saw an opportunity or they engineered an opportunity to do what they wanted to do. Trump has shown himself to be a bully comfortable with marshaling mob violence or the threat of mob violence. He is an authoritarian and no defender of civil liberties, habeous corpus or the Geneva convention. He’s exactly the type of megalomanic that would try and seize power in an ailing democracy like our own, and I have no doubts that if elected he will create some sort of Constitutional crisis that could end in a military coup or Trump installed as a dictator. He already has a silent pissed-off army of violent brown shirts on his side. I don’t like the way this situation looks and people on the left with intelligence and a grasp of history are deluding themselves if they think Trump isn’t a very dangerous person.

    In a possibly unrelated note, I’m 99% sure someone deeply keyed the full length of my car (truck actually) yesterday while I was surfing for no other reason than my Bernie Sanders bumper sticker right here in sunny, liberal southern California. Could it have been a Clinton supporter or a joy vandal who likes keying random people’s cars – sure. But if Trump wins I wonder how long it is before halal restaurants and muslim dry cleaners start getting their windows smashed, then burned. How long before Hindus and brown people start getting attacked (as a common occurrence, not outlier events that are punished as they are now) because they are confused as being Muslim or Mexican or deliberately because they just aren’t white and should go home. There’s a very nasty underbelly to this Trump thing and I don’t like it.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I agree on the nasty underbelly. On the other hand, I find it refreshing that Trump mentions the millions of people slaughtered by our foreign policy. I don’t hear that from Clinton, at all.

      1. Jerry Denim

        “… I find it refreshing that Trump mentions the millions of people slaughtered by our foreign policy. I don’t hear that from Clinton, at all.”

        Ditto, me too, but I’m not about to cherry-pick Trump’s schizophrenic and ever shifting talking points then soft-peddle candidate Trump while telling people not to worry. I like silver-linings, staying optimistic and being contrarian (I wouldn’t hang out here otherwise) but why ignore the very troubling subtext in the rest of Trump’s speech? The anti-democratic, sneering remarks about suspected terrorists being executed immediately in Saddam’s Iraq instead of “on trial for fifteen years” in pansy-cakes weak, habeas corpus America. Trump offhandedly mentions; ‘Oh by the way, don’t buy the lowball collateral damage numbers you hear from the Pentagon, we’re unnecessarily killing a lot of brown people abroad.’ But then he fans the flames of racism with stump speeches about building a wall and banning all muslims from entering the USA. I can tell you which message his supporters are comprehending if you’re unsure. Despite being a politically heterodox chameleon Trump is showing his true colors. Just because Trump is willing to break with the orthodoxy while he is campaigning doesn’t mean he isn’t an aspiring tyrant. Don’t be fooled. Trump isn’t enlightened or altruistic, he’s a talented demagogue pulling a Con on America- that’s it.

        1. Jerry Denim

          By the way, I wanted to add I am not in any way considering a vote for Hillary if she does in fact become the Democratic nominee. I am very troubled by the prospect of a President Trump but I will not allow my vote to be held hostage by the DNC and the very tired “lesser of evils arguments” I realized my last comment might be construed as a “Trump must be stopped at all costs” Clinton rationalization. It was not. Trump will be on the conscience of those who vote for him and those who have enabled him.

  23. Ron Showalter

    Maybe we should look at what Trump recently said at AIPAC – y’know, that itsy bitsy little lobby that seems to strike fear into the hearts of all US politicians Trump included – to get a sense of his ME policy, shall we?


    ‘In Spring 2004, at the height of violence in the Gaza Strip, I was the Grand Marshal of the 40th Salute to Israel Parade, the largest single gathering in support of the Jewish state.”

    “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran. I have been in business a long time. I know deal-making and let me tell you, this deal is catastrophic – for America, for Israel, and for the whole Middle East.”

    “First, we will stand up to Iran’s aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region. Iran is a very big problem and will continue to be, but if I’m elected President, I know how to deal with trouble. Iran is a problem in Iraq, a problem in Syria, a problem in Lebanon, a problem in Yemen, and will be a very major problem for Saudi Arabia. Literally every day, Iran provides more and better weapons to their puppet states.

    Hezbollah in Lebanon has received sophisticated anti-ship weapons, anti-aircraft weapons, and GPS systems on rockets. Now they’re in Syria trying to establish another front against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.”

    Just last week, American Taylor Allen Force, a West Point grad who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was murdered in the street by a knife-wielding Palestinian. You don’t reward that behavior, you confront it!

    It’s not up the United Nations to impose a solution. The parties must negotiate a resolution themselves. The United States can be useful as a facilitator of negotiations, but no one should be telling Israel it must abide by some agreement made by others thousands of miles away that don’t even really know what’s happening.

    When I’m president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the UN to impose its will on the Jewish state.

    Already, half the population of Palestine has been taken over by the Palestinian ISIS in Hamas, and the other half refuses to confront the first half, so it’s a very difficult situation but when the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace actually rise. That’s what will happen when I’m president.

    We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem – and we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel.”

    Yup, it’s like he and Hillary are just night and day, huh?

    I mean other than the fact that Hillary actually BACKS the Iran Deal but don’t let that get in the way of a good “but Hillary” meeting.

    The two candidates will be identical where it’s most important – e.g. w/ Israel and the ME – just like all of the presidential candidates.

    You would think the Obama administration may have taught us something about perceiving reality…oh wait that’s right, it really was Hillary and not poor Obama who’s been doing all that killing over the last 8 years and the Donald’s really a renegade “outsider” billionaire who’s just scaring the pants off of the Establishment, right?

    Wow. Just wow.

    Obama Hope Junkies so desperate that they’re shooting Trumpodil straight into their minds.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I’m confused. What does this have to do with the topic of the post? The YouTube has nothing to do with the deplorable Beltway consensus on Israel, of which Trump is a part.

      1. Ron Showalter

        Why, I am glad you asked.

        War Is Realizing the Israelizing of the World


        As US-driven wars plummet the Muslim world ever deeper into jihadi-ridden failed state chaos, events seem to be careening toward a tipping point. Eventually, the region will become so profuse a font of terrorists and refugees, that Western popular resistance to “boots on the ground” will be overwhelmed by terror and rage. Then, the US-led empire will finally have the public mandate it needs to thoroughly and permanently colonize the Greater Middle East.

        It is easy to see how the Military Industrial Complex and crony energy industry would profit from such an outcome. But what about America’s “best friend” in the region? How does Israel stand to benefit from being surrounded by such chaos?

        Tel Aviv has long pursued a strategy of “divide and conquer”: both directly, and indirectly through the tremendous influence of the Israel lobby and neocons over US foreign policy.

        A famous article from the early 1980s by Israeli diplomat and journalist Oded Yinon is most explicit in this regard. The “Yinon Plan” calls for the “dissolution” of “the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula.” Each country was to be made to “fall apart along sectarian and ethnic lines,” after which each resulting fragment would be “hostile” to its neighbors.” Yinon incredibly claimed that:

        “This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run”

        According to Yinon, this Balkanization should be realized by fomenting discord and war among the Arabs:

        “Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon.”

        And another link:

        The Unfolding of Yinon’s “Zionist Plan for the Middle East”: The Crisis in Iraq and the Centrality of the National Interest of Israel

        And another:

        Who is Israel’s Biggest Enemy?

        So, you can see that Trump has said the right things into the right ears – read: AIPAC – as far as anyone of import is concerned – read: not any of us – and so now he’s free to say whatever else he thinks he needs to.

        I mean, Sheldon Adelson endorsed him so he can’t be THAT scary to Israel-first billionaires and their bed-buddies, right?

        Ooops, I forgot he’s an outsider that everyone’s scared of. My bad. Hillary will be so much worse.

  24. Chauncey Gardiner

    Robert Parry at ConsortiumNews has written an insightful article about the damage that has been caused by both the neocon ideologues’ control of US foreign policy and the neoliberals’ control of economic policy, their powerful political and propaganda apparatus, and what we can expect from the legacy political party candidates for the presidency, focusing on Clinton and her past positions regarding the Middle East.

    It is noteworthy that the dominance of failed neocon and neoliberal policies over the past few decades has coincided with consolidation and concentration of ownership of corporate media in very few hands. As with restoring the Glass-Steagall Act and breaking up the TBTFs, reinstating limits on media ownership and control is an important and necessary measure to breaking the influence these few individuals have had over national policy.

  25. John

    I’m actually considering the possibility that Trump is to the left of Hillary. He appears to be on foreign policy, at least. What do you guys think?

    1. Massinissa

      Being Left of Hillary is a really really really low bar. He probably is, but thats probably because Hillary is right wing. You know, like almost all American politicians from both parties. Trumps not left of Bernie (at least not yet or not right now: I expect hes going to swing left in the general to scoop up Bernie voters), and Bernies just an Eisenhower Republican, which is admittedly to the left of basically all the other politicians today.

  26. Lambert Strether

    Quoting from memory, context foreign policy: “If our Presidents had gone to the beach every day of the year fifteen years ago, we would have been in much better shape.” (Note this includes Bush.)

    He’s right, you know.

    1. bowserhead

      That statement would not have resonated 10 or even 5 years ago, but now, my god, it’s absolutely
      painful in its simple truth.

  27. danny

    Trump doesn’t change positions. Rather, he lives in a quantum state and simultaneously takes all sides to any position.

  28. Fiver

    If/when Sanders exits the race, a substantial portion of those now engaged will exit the theatre, viewing neither Trump or Clinton as remotely adequate representations of what ought to emerge from the democratic political process of the world’s most ‘advanced’ country. And though media will do its utmost to deliver the Greatest Political Show On Earth Ever even as it decisively ensures the outcome (sorry, Trumpets) the turnout will be dismal – just dismal.

  29. phil

    After reading many of these posts, what occurs to me is that if Americans implemented Bernie Sanders’ suggestion to *completely* remove private money from politics (Federal, State, Local) – and we did it with *teeth* – many of the things that Americans differ over would not exist. We would have problems – what nation doesn’t, but they wouldn’t be *these* problems (endless wars; expensive health care; wasting middle class; outsourced jobs; massive financial corruption; failing educational infrastructure; dilapidated physical infrastructure, etc.)

    I think it’s a damn shame that as many times as the rot caused by private donations to politicians and various parties comes up, one can count on that effort being buried under a mountain of useless drivel about personalities; “left and right”, “family values”, “socialism vs. capitalism”, etc. etc.


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