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Hillary Clinton: her part in her downfall (book review of How I Lost By Hillary Clinton annotated by Joe Lauria)

Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the US Presidential election was the result of the fundamental political and character flaws set out in painstaking detail in Hillary Clinton’s own words in How I Lost By Hillary Clinton, annotated and introduced by Joe Lauria.

Alexander Mercouris

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The single biggest mystery of the 2016 election is why anyone was surprised that Hillary Clinton lost.

Even from faraway London it was obvious to me that she was a terrible candidate who the American people didn’t like and didn’t trust but who the US political elite – which in this context also means the US media – was trying to force on the American people against their wishes.

Unsurprisingly this provoked a reaction, which is why Hillary Clinton lost.

There is no reason to introduce meddling by Russia or the ham fisted and misunderstood interventions of James Comey to explain this.

A book – How I Lost By Hillary Clinton – with a foreword by Julian Assange and introduced and annotated by Joe Lauria (a contributor to The Duran) sets this all out in a way that makes it all perfectly clear.

What makes this book so compelling – and in my opinion what makes it the single best and most interesting book that has so far appeared about the 2016 election – is that explains the phenomenon of Hillary Clinton in her own words.  What Joe Lauria has done is provide selections of things actually said by Hillary Clinton and her associates which make it completely obvious why the American people don’t trust or like her.

The Hillary Clinton who emerges from the pages of this book is a fascinating person.

Firstly it should be said that Hillary Clinton undoubtedly does possess to a very high degree many of the qualities required by a successful politician.  She is tough, extremely clever, and worldly.  However this goes along with being cynical, money oriented to an extreme, and to being manipulative with an overwhelming sense of entitlement.

The single quality which however comes out most strongly of all is however the extraordinary extent of Hillary Clinton’s self-identification as a member of the US elite, and her political identification with the causes of that US elite, especially the financial elite concentrated on Wall Street, and the foreign policy and security elite of the US government in Langley and Foggy Bottom, which she appears to see as her key political constituencies.

The result is that though Hillary Clinton pitches herself as a progressive politician I struggle to find anything in the book which marks her out as genuinely progressive.

On the two central issues which most concern most Americans – the overwhelming power of the US’s financial services industry with the distorting effect this is having on the US economy and on US society, and the US’s hyper-aggressive post-Cold War foreign policy, which has resulted in working class Americans being forced into fighting foreign wars of no fundamental concern or interest to the US – she straightforwardly supports the elite view and the status quo.

Moreover what is even more troubling is that reading Hillary Clinton’s words I for one get the strong impression of someone who holds to these positions not out of any deep sense of conviction but because she thinks that is where power in the US lies, and she wants to align herself with it.

Perhaps in some part of Hillary Clinton’s past there was a person who was a genuine progressive who had the belief that if she played along with the elite they would let her do some progressive things for the actual benefit of the mass of Americans.  If that person ever existed she does so no longer as Hillary Clinton today has come straightforwardly not only to identify with the elite but to claim to be one of them.

This attitude goes hand in hand with strong habits of secrecy and duplicity.

The two of course go together.  It is understandable that Hillary Clinton does not want the great mass of Americans to know what she says in confidential highly paid speeches to the her wealthy friends – the bankers of Goldman Sachs – or what the Clinton Foundation gets up to.

As to the latter, as Joe Lauria says it is difficult to put a finger on any actual wrongdoing involving it, but in a sense the mere fact that immense sums of money are being paid into it by all sorts of wealthy and powerful people from around the world speaks for itself.

Whilst on the subject of the Clinton Foundation I would add that the media’s indifference to its activities – of which voluminous public records exist – contrasts strangely with the media’s obsessive interest in Donald Trump’s businesses and his supposed financial dependence on the Russians for which no evidence exists.

Some politicians have the sort of outgoing confident personality and charm that would enable them to pull of the trick of having a double persona of a progressive populist and of being a self-identifying elitist at one and the same time.  Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton’s husband, is a case in point.

Hillary Clinton however is emphatically not such a person.  Though the book shows that she does have a sense of humour, it comes across as confiding, of the sort which makes jokes to be shared between friends.  About herself Hillary Clinton far from being confident comes across instead as prickly and defensive.

This leads into one of Hillary Clinton’s most unpleasant characteristics, her habit of blaming everyone but herself when things go wrong.

The result is that she is emphatically not a graceful or a good loser.  One of the revelations of the book is that she only conceded to Donald Trump on election night when President Obama told her to do so.

This inability to accept blame or take criticism goes had in hand with an unpleasant victim complex which draws heavily on the growing distance between herself – the self-identifying elitist – and the American people.

If the American people do not vote for her in Hillary Clinton’s mind it is because they are too stupid, too uneducated, too manipulated, and too prejudiced against her to do so.

During the election some of thos spilled out – as in her now notorious “deplorables” comment (quoted fully in the book) – and it was probably the single thing which more than anything other lost her the election.  By contrast Donald Trump, for all his gargantuan flaws, comes across as liking Americans and being at ease amongst them.

The book incidentally settles the mystery – at least for me – of why as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broke both protocol and the law by using a private server for her work emails.

Such a secretive and insecure personality would be scarcely likely to do anything else.  That would be so regardless of whether she did it in order to conceal activities involving the Clinton Foundation.

As to that, I know that is what many people believe.  There is no evidence for it.  However if it is what many people believe then because of her conduct Hillary Clinton has no one but herself to blame for it.

During the election the vast majority of the American people would not have been familiar with the details of the things which appear in Joe Lauria’s book.

However Hillary Clinton has been an important figure in US national life since her husband stood for and won the Presidency in 1992.  By the time of the election in 2016 the American people would have come to know her well.  The fact that by the time the election came round they had long since decided that they didn’t like her, in light of her personality which comes across so strongly in the book, is completely unsurprising.

This also makes it totally unsurprising that she lost the election.

Realistically Hillary Clinton’s best chance of winning the election would have been against a Republican opponent who was drawn from the elite like herself.  Against someone like Donald Trump – who played brilliantly on the fact that he was an outsider because he actually is one – she found herself in serious trouble.

If there is nothing at all surprising about the fact that Hillary Clinton lost the election, another puzzle of the 2016 election is why the Democratic Party nominated her as its candidate in the first place.

Even if Bernie Sanders was possibly perceived as too radical by some in the Democratic Party to be the party’s candidate in the election, there were surely other prominent Democrats – such as possibly Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden – who would have filled the role better of Democratic challenger better.  Indeed Biden is now said to be bitter that he did not stand, saying that if he had been the Democratic Party’s candidate for the Presidency he would have won.

The answer to this puzzle also be found in Joe Lauria’s book: Hillary Clinton became the Democratic Party’s candidate for the Presidency because she inherited the mighty political machine created by her husband when he was President, and which has if anything continued to grow in strength since.

The US political system and the Democratic Party especially have always been exceptionally susceptible to manipulation by political machines (think of Tammany Hall or the Richard Daley machine in Chicago) but it is questionable if a political machine as mighty as the one Bill Clinton has created has ever existed before.  Like all political machines it brings together disparate groups – including Wall Street financiers, the Congressional black caucus, many of the leading voices in the LGBT community, prominent US intellectuals etc – but is ultimately cemented together by patronage.

The traces of this machine, and the ruthless way it imposed Hillary Clinton on the Democratic Party, are there throughout Joe Lauria’s book, as in the rigging of the Democratic primaries to freeze out Bernie Sanders, and the inside management of the media to bury stories deemed damaging to Hillary Clinton.

The mere fact that this political machine had settled on Hillary Clinton as its candidate was enough to deter other potential heavyweight Democratic challengers such as Joe Biden from standing, leaving it to Bernie Sanders to run against Hillary Clinton on his own.

The great problem is that this political machine is now become so powerful within the Democratic Party that to all intents and purposes it now is the Democratic Party.  In light of that the party’s dismal record in recent elections is completely unsurprising.  In that respect, as in so many others, Bill and Hillary Clinton cast a long shadow.

In my opinion the single most important individual in US politics over the last year continues to be Hillary Clinton rather than Donald Trump.

It is Hillary Clinton’s obsessions and frustrations – and the paranoid conspiracy thinking she has fostered – which continues to dominate US politics even as Hillary Clinton herself slips off the political stage.

Given that this is likely to remain the case for some time, Joe Lauria’s book is indispensable reading for anyone interested in understanding this phenomenon.

In that respect it could be the single most enlightening book about US politics today.

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Why did Trump recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory?

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 116.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the reasons behind US President Trump’s sudden recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Following Trump’s statements as US President, acting Israeli Foreign Minister is saying that Trump will make it official and sign an executive order to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Syrian border territory on Monday.

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Via DW

Israel says White House officials are preparing an official document to codify support for Israel’s sovereignty of the Golan Heights, which will be signed by US President Donald Trump on Monday.

The signing of the decree will be witnessed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during talks with Trump at the White House, Israel’s acting foreign minister, Israel Katz (pictured), said in a Tweet.

“Tomorrow, President Trump, in the presence of PM Netanyahu, will sign a decree recognizing Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan. Israel-US ties are closer than ever,” Katz said.

Israel seized the strategic plateau from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war, subsequently annexing it in 1981 in a move never recognized by the international community.

Trump’s tweet annoys allies

Trump broke with decades of US Middle East policy when he posted a Tweet on Thursday that said it was time to accept Israel’s widely-contested claim to the border territory.

The decision has been criticized by many US allies — Germany, Britain, France and the EU have all said they still consider the Golan Heights to be “occupied” by Israel.

Syria and other states in the region said the recognition, if confirmed, would violate international law.

Netanyahu has long pushed for Washington’s endorsement, and many analysts see Trump’s comments as a campaign gift ahead of Israel’s April 9 election.

In 2017, Trump drew condemnation throughout the Middle East when he recognized the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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Russia Gives US Red Line On Venezuela

Political force is out. Military force is out. Respect international law and Venezuela’s sovereignty. That’s Russia’s eminently reasonable ultimatum to Washington.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


At a high-level meeting in Rome this week, it seems that Russia reiterated a grave warning to the US – Moscow will not tolerate American military intervention to topple the Venezuelan government with whom it is allied.

Meanwhile, back in Washington DC, President Donald Trump was again bragging that the military option was still on the table, in his press conference with Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro. Trump is bluffing or not yet up to speed with being apprised of Russia’s red line.

The meeting in the Italian capital between US “special envoy” on Venezuelan affairs Elliot Abrams and Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov had an air of urgency in its arrangement. The US State Department announced the tête-à-tête only three days beforehand. The two officials also reportedly held their two-hour discussions in a Rome hotel, a venue indicating ad hoc arrangement.

Abrams is no ordinary diplomat. He is a regime-change specialist with a criminal record for sponsoring terrorist operations, specifically the infamous Iran-Contra affair to destabilize Nicaragua during the 1980s. His appointment by President Trump to the “Venezuela file” only underscores the serious intent in Washington for regime change in Caracas. Whether it gets away with that intent is another matter.

Moscow’s interlocutor, Sergei Ryabkov, is known to not mince his words, having earlier castigated Washington for seeking global military domination. He calls a spade a spade, and presumably a criminal a criminal.

The encounter in Rome this week was described as “frank” and “serious” – which is diplomatic code for a blazing exchange. The timing comes at a high-stakes moment, after Venezuela having been thrown into chaos last week from civilian power blackouts that many observers, including the Kremlin, blame on American cyber sabotage. The power grid outage followed a failed attempt by Washington to stage a provocation with the Venezuelan military over humanitarian aid deliveries last month from neighboring Colombia.

The fact that Washington’s efforts to overthrow the elected President Nicolas Maduro have so far floundered, might suggest that the Americans are intensifying their campaign to destabilize the country, with the objective of installing US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido. He declared himself “acting president” in January with Washington’s imprimatur.

Given that the nationwide power blackouts seem to have failed in fomenting a revolt by the civilian population or the military against Maduro, the next option tempting Washington could be the military one.

It seems significant that Washington has recently evacuated its last remaining diplomats from the South American country. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented on the evacuation by saying that having US personnel on the ground “was limiting” Washington’s scope for action. Also, American Airlines reportedly cancelled all its services to Venezuela in the past week. Again, suggesting that the US was considering a military intervention, either directly with its troops or covertly by weaponizing local proxies. The latter certainly falls under Abrams’ purview.

After the Rome meeting, Ryabkov said bluntly: “We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.”

One of those warnings delivered by Ryabkov is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.

For his part, Abrams sounded as if he had emerged from the meeting after having been given a severe reprimand. “No, we did not come to a meeting of minds, but I think the talks were positive in the sense that both sides emerged with a better understanding of the other’s views,” he told reporters.

“A better understanding of the other’s views,” means that the American side was given a red line to back off.

The arrogance of the Americans is staggering. Abrams seems, according to US reporting, to have flown to Rome with the expectation of working out with Ryabkov a “transition” or “compromise” on who gets the “title of president” of Venezuela.

That’s what he no doubt meant when he said after the meeting “there was not a meeting of minds”, but rather he got “a better understanding” of Russia’s position.

Washington’s gambit is a replay of Syria. During the eight-year war in that country, the US continually proffered the demand of a “political transition” which at the end would see President Bashar al Assad standing down. By contrast, Russia’s unflinching position on Syria has always been that it’s not up to any external power to decide Syria’s politics. It is a sovereign matter for the Syrian people to determine independently.

Nearly three years after Russia intervened militarily in Syria to salvage the Arab country from a US-backed covert war for regime change, the American side has manifestly given up on its erstwhile imperious demands for “political transition”. The principle of Syrian sovereignty has prevailed, in large part because of Russia’s trenchant defense of its Arab ally.

Likewise, Washington, in its incorrigible arrogance, is getting another lesson from Russia – this time in its own presumed “back yard” of Latin America.

It’s not a question of Russia being inveigled by Washington’s regime-change schemers about who should be president of Venezuela and “how we can manage a transition”. Moscow has reiterated countless times that the legitimate president of Venezuela is Nicolas Maduro whom the people voted for last year by an overwhelming majority in a free and fair election – albeit boycotted by the US-orchestrated opposition.

The framework Washington is attempting to set up of choosing between their desired “interim president” and incumbent Maduro is an entirely spurious one. It is not even worthy to be discussed because it is a gross violation of Venezuela’s sovereignty. Who is Washington to even dare try to impose its false choice?

On Venezuela, Russia is having to remind the criminal American rulers – again – about international law and respect for national sovereignty, as Moscow earlier did with regard to Syria.

And in case Washington gets into a huff and tries the military option, Moscow this week told regime-change henchman Abrams that that’s a red line. If Washington has any sense of rationale left, it will know from its Syria fiasco that Russia has Venezuela’s back covered.

Political force is out. Military force is out. Respect international law and Venezuela’s sovereignty. That’s Russia’s eminently reasonable ultimatum to Washington.

Now, the desperate Americans could still try more sabotage, cyber or financial. But their options are limited, contrary to what Trump thinks.

How the days of American imperialist swagger are numbered. There was a time when it could rampage all over Latin America. Not any more, evidently. Thanks in part to Russia’s global standing and military power.

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With RussiaGate Over Where’s Hillary?

Hillary is the epitome of envy. Envy is the destructive sin of coveting someone else’s life so much they are obsessed with destroying it. It’s the sin of Cain. She envies what Trump has, the Presidency.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


During most of the RussiaGate investigation against Donald Trump I kept saying that all roads lead to Hillary Clinton.

Anyone with three working brain cells knew this, including ‘Miss’ Maddow, whose tears of disappointment are particularly delicious.

Robert Mueller’s investigation was designed from the beginning to create something out of nothing. It did this admirably.

It was so effective it paralyzed the country for more than two years, just like Europe has been held hostage by Brexit. And all of this because, in the end, the elites I call The Davos Crowd refused to accept that the people no longer believed their lies about the benefits of their neoliberal, globalist agenda.

Hillary Clinton’s ascension to the Presidency was to be their apotheosis along with the Brexit vote. These were meant to lay to rest, once and for all time, the vaguely libertarian notion that people should rule themselves and not be ruled by philosopher kings in some distant land.

Hillary’s failure was enormous. And the RussiaGate gambit to destroy Trump served a laundry list of purposes to cover it:

  1. Undermine his legitimacy before he even takes office.
  2. Accuse him of what Hillary actually did: collude with Russians and Ukrainians to effect the outcome of the election
  3. Paralyze Trump on his foreign policy desires to scale back the Empire
  4. Give aid and comfort to hurting progressives and radicalize them further undermining our political system
  5. Polarize the electorate over the false choice of Trump’s guilt.
  6. Paralyze the Dept. of Justice and Congress so that they would not uncover the massive corruption in the intelligence agencies in the U.S. and the U.K.
  7. Isolate Trump and take away every ally or potential ally he could have by turning them against him through prosecutor overreach.

Hillary should have been thrown to the wolves after she failed. When you fail the people she failed and cost them the money she cost them, you lose more than just your funding. What this tells you is that she has so much dirt on everyone involved, once this thing started everyone went along with it lest she burn them down as well.

Burnin’ Down da House

Hillary is the epitome of envy. Envy is the destructive sin of coveting someone else’s life so much they are obsessed with destroying it. It’s the sin of Cain

She envies what Trump has, the Presidency.

And she was willing to tear it down to keep him from having it no matter how much damage it would do. She’s worse than the Joker from The Dark Knight.

Because while the Joker is unfathomable to someone with a conscience there’s little stopping us from excising him from the community completely., even though Batman refuses.

Hillary hates us for who we are and what we won’t give her. And that animus drove her to blackmail the world while putting on the face of its savior.

And that’s what makes what comes next so obvious to me. RussiaGate was never a sustainable narrative. It was ludicrous from the beginning. And now that it has ended with a whimper there are a lot of angry, confused and scared people out there.

Mueller thought all he had to do was lean on corrupt people and threaten them with everything. They would turn on Trump. He would resign in disgrace from the public outcry.

It didn’t work. In the end Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and Roger Stone all held their ground or perjured themselves into the whole thing falling apart.

Andrew Weissman’s resignation last month was your tell there was nothing. Mueller would pursue this to the limit of his personal reputation and no further.

Just like so many other politicians.

Vote Your Pocketbook

With respect to Brexit I’ve been convinced that it would come down to reputations.

Would the British MP’s vote against their own personal best interests to do the bidding of the EU?

Would Theresa May eventually realize her historical reputation would be destroyed if she caves to Brussels and betrays Brexit in the end?

Always bet on the fecklessness of politicians. They will always act selfishly when put to the test. While leading RussiaGate, Mueller was always headed here if he couldn’t get someone to betray Trump.

And now his report is in. There are no new indictments. And by doing so he is saving his reputation for the future. And that is your biggest tell that HIllary’s blackmail is now worthless.

They don’t fear her anymore because RussiaGate outed her as the architect. Anything else she has is irrelevant in the face of trying to oust a sitting president from power.

The progressives that were convinced of Trump’s treason are bereft; their false hope stripped away like standing in front of a sandblaster. They will be raw, angry and looking for blood after they get over their denial.

Everyone else who was blackmailed into going along with this lunacy will begin cutting deals to save their skins. The outrage over this will not end. Trump will be President when he stands for re-election.

The Wolves Beckon

The Democrats do not have a chance against him as of right now. When he was caving on everything back in December it looked like he was done. That there was enough meat on the RussiaGate bones to make Nancy Pelosi brave.

Then she backed off on impeachment talk. Oops.

But the Democrats have a sincere problem. Their candidates have no solutions other than to embrace the crazy and go full Bolshevik. That is not a winning position.

Trump will kill them on ‘socialism.’

The Deep State and The Davos Crowd stand revealed and reviled.

If they don’t do something dramatic then the anger from the rest of the country will also be palpable come election time. Justice is not done simply by saying, “No evidence of collusion.”

It’s clear that RussiaGate is a failure of monumental proportions. Heads will have to roll. But who will be willing to fall on their sword at this point?

Comey? No. McCabe? No.

There is only one answer. And Obama’s people are still in place to protect him. I said last fall that “Hillary would indict herself.” And I meant it. Eventually her blackmail and drive to burn it all down led to this moment.

The circumstances are different than I expected back then, Trump didn’t win the mid-terms. But the end result was always the same. If there is no collusion, if RussiaGate is a scam, then all roads lead back to Hillary as the sacrificial lamb.

Because the bigger project, the erection of a transnational superstate, is bigger than any one person. Hillary is expendable.

Lies are expensive to maintain. The truth is cheap to defend. Think of the billions in opportunity costs associated with this. Once the costs rise above the benefits, change happens fast.

If there is any hope of salvaging the center of this country for the Democrats, the ones that voted against Hillary in 2016, then there is no reason anymore not to indict Hillary as the architect of RussiaGate.

We all know it’s the truth. So, the cheapest way out of this mess for them is to give the MAGApedes what they want, Hillary.

And hope that is enough bread and circuses to distract from the real storm ahead of us.

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