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Goodbye Hillary Clinton, you won’t be missed!

The departure of Hillary Clinton and her husband from the US political scene opens the way for those who want to offer the American people a genuine left wing alternative. However given the decayed state of the Democratic Party it is doubtful if they can make use of it.

Alexander Mercouris

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In the vast ocean of words which have been written about the US Presidential election it is important to hold on to one single fact: Donald Trump won primarily because Hillary Clinton lost.

Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate, and absolutely the wrong person for the Democratic Party to propose for President.  I have previously discussed her background in some detail, and have said why merely on the strength of her public record she was a completely unsuitable person to become President of the United States of America

“Her catastrophic misjudgements about the Iraq and Libyan wars, her public gloating over the public torture and murder of Gaddafi, the utter failure of her attempted health reforms during her husband’s Presidency, and the email scandal, in any remotely well functioning system ought to have disqualified her for the highest public office.”

Beyond that there were the well-founded stories of political corruption, with the Clinton Foundation operating as a kind of combined slush-fund and laundry for what can only be described as a system of legalised bribery organised on a colossal and global scale.

Then there were the disastrous policy positions, eg. the neocon foreign policy at a time when the American people are sick of neocon adventures and the wars that come with them, and the continuing commitment to deeply unpopular turbo-charged neoliberal globalist economic policies, at a time when they have become widely despised and discredited.

Last but not least there were the obvious character flaws: the arrogance (calling people who voted for her opponent “deplorables”), the paranoia (the “alt right conspiracy”), the compulsive secrecy (the Goldman Sachs affair, the attack of ‘pneumonia’), and the obsessive habit of manipulation (too many examples to list), all of which came together to produce a campaign of ‘dirty tricks’, vilification of her opponents via a bought and controlled media, and boring and ultimately irrelevant bashing of Russia.

The extent of Hillary Clinton’s tone-deafness to the American people is for me exemplified by the way she let her attack dogs loose on FBI Director Comey when all he was doing was his job.  How Hillary Clinton thought she could sway the American people onto her side by publicly attacking whilst herself under investigation the head of one of the few institutions left in America that most Americans still admire continues to baffle me, and shows what a wretchedly bad politician she is.  The result – as I predicted – was that when she was eventually cleared the American people gave her no credit for it.

The point however to remember about this election is that this absolutely terrible candidate still managed to come first in the popular vote.

This is not a reflection of the continuing doubts many Americans still have about the personality of Donald Trump.  I find the claim that a more conventional Republican candidate – a Marco Rubio or a Jeb Bush – would have done better than Trump completely unconvincing.  Trump ultimately won the Republican nomination precisely because his mainstream Republican opponents were so much less popular than he was.  Unlike Trump none of them ever gained the slightest traction with the American people, which is why in the primaries he was able to steamroll over them so easily. 

I would add that whilst it is true that opinion polls showed that Trump suffered from large negatives, in my opinion that is less an indicator that he is unpopular, but rather that he is a deeply polarising and controversial figure.  Unlike Hillary Clinton, who many Americans voted for negatively because they saw her as “the lesser evil”, millions of Americans voted positively for Donald Trump because they enthusiastically supported him. By contrast, had the choice come down to one between Hillary Clinton and any one of the lacklustre Republican candidates who in the primaries had been Trump’s mainstream opponents, I have no doubt she would have won. 

The point is that if the Democrats had nominated a halfway decent candidate who was not Hillary Clinton, they would have won whether their Republican opponent was Trump or anyone else.  This was the Democrats’ election to lose.  By nominating Hillary Clinton as their candidate they contrived to lose it.

There has been much nonsense written about how supposedly terrible it is that the America of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln has voted for President Trump – as if Donald Trump with all his flamboyant and sometimes vulgar outspokenness was not an authentically American personality of whom there have been many examples in America’s history.

A far more valid and pertinent question is how the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to nominate someone like Hillary Clinton as its candidate for President.  The party of the common man and woman, the party that once claimed to represent the working people of America, went into this election with a charmless, arrogant, out of touch, widely mistrusted, deeply unpopular and visibly corrupt elitist as its candidate.

The short answer is that the Democratic Party has long been captured by a neoliberal/neocon elite focused on grandiose geopolitical adventures abroad and self-enrichment at home, of which Hillary Clinton was both the standard bearer and the embodiment.  The result is that all alternatives to Hillary Clinton were systematically blocked out, so that she was in the end the candidate, creating the conditions that made it possible for Trump to win.

Joe Lauria has written for The Duran how Bernie Sanders might have put up a serious challenge for the Presidency if he had had the courage and the confidence to defy the Democratic Party machine by standing as an independent.  I would add that every single opinion poll that I have seen also shows that if Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic Party’s candidate instead of Hillary Clinton, he would have won the election by a landslide.

The lesson of this election is that there is an America that is prepared to vote for a left wing candidate, but that it is increasingly refusing to vote for a neoliberal/neocon Democratic party elitist machine candidate.  Instead, if denied the option of a left wing candidate who shows some genuine concern and understanding for its needs, it will consider voting for someone like Trump, who at least repudiates the elite it despises, even if he does it from the right.

The biggest danger to democracy in America today is not Donald Trump (for the record, I don’t think Trump endangers American democracy).  It is a Democratic Party which because of its entrenched institutional power in the US political system is able to block the emergence of any left wing alternative to itself, but whose own long decayed and corrupted structures prevent it from offering any genuine alternative of its own.

The result is a political system which leaves millions of Americans disenfranchised, which in a country that claims to be a democracy cannot be a good thing, and which can only store up serious trouble for the future.

In the meantime the departure of Hillary Clinton and hopefully of her husband from the US political scene can only be a good thing. 

Though I personally doubt that the Democratic Party is any longer capable of renewing itself, I am absolutely sure it cannot happen whilst the Clintons are around exercising their malign influence.

The departure of the Clintons is indeed one unequivocally good thing to have come out of this election.  It is now up to those who really care about offering the American people a genuine alternative to build on it.

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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Via RT


Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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