Regular updates on matters relating to the 2016 U.S. elections for the Democratic and Republican Party nominee for president, and beyond . . . see also Election 2020

Hallelujah?

SNL's undoubtedly very talented Kate McKinnon performed a part of Leonard Cohen's beautiful song "Hallelujah" for the opening of Saturday Night Live on October 12, 2016. Leonard Cohen had sadly died earlier in the week (shortly after Trump won the presidential election). 

At the end of her performance, McKinnon (who had portrayed Clinton in various pro-Hillary propaganda pieces on SNL leading up to the election) turns to camera and enigmatically says: "I'm not giving up, and neither should you".

To Douglas Perry / The Oregonian 05/10/16

 

Douglas Perry's recent piece is just another instance of corporate media pro-Hillary propaganda (the main culprits being CNN and MSNBC - owned by Time Warner and Comcast. These are some of the most powerful corporations in the USA with vested interests in Hillary becoming the Democratic nominee).

 

If op ed pieces were to focus on the substantive issues, people would be informed about the relative vagueness and ambiguity of Hillary and Trump's policies in comparison to Bernie's. Hillary talks about "breaking down barriers", apparently in response to Trump's slogan of "build that wall" (and his claiming that Mexico will pay for its construction). In contrast, Bernie has laid out specific plans regarding how to pay for universal health care as a right for all, and e.g. free public college tuition. (See berniesanders.com for the details.)

It's your loss, bullet-point

 

So, big surprise. Hillary lost. Why?

 

- not because of third party voters contrary to Rachel Maddow. Most of those voted for Gary Johnson, who took votes from Trump not Hillary. Jill Stein votes if added to Hillary in key states would have made no difference.

- anyway, politicians are not entitled to your vote based on the fact that someone else on the ballot is portrayed as (and maybe is) worse than them. You are free to vote for anyone, and politicians have to earn your vote. 

- not because of a faction of racist Trump voters. Majority of Trump votes came from those who are against trade deals that Bernie was also against, especially the TPP. 

- overall, Hillary was a very uninspiring candidate for people who were/are concerned about the economy, the environment and foreign policy.

'Almost-Insurmountable' Bernie Sanders

 

Congratulations to Bernie on his impressive win in West Virginia. Having said that, upon watching the corporate pro-Hillary media's spin on his victory, one might be forgiven for thinking that Bernie's middle name is "Almost-Insurmountable" (given their anal-retentive focus on math and the nomination process rather than substantive issues).

 

The latest pro-Hillary propaganda seems to be that some of Bernie's votes in West Virginia came from Trump supporters. Of course, CNN and MSNBC (being owned by Time Warner and Comcast, who have a vested interest in trade agreements that Hillary has traditionally supported) want to combat the fact that national and state polls show that Bernie beats Trump in a general election by a much wider margin than Hillary does. So they make a big deal about where some of Bernie's votes in WV are (allegedly) coming from. Why?

The Prisoner's dilemma and Election 2016

 

Suppose there are two prisoners, detained in separate cells, with no way of communicating with each other. We can imagine that the District Attorney knows that she has enough evidence right now, in order to convict both prisoners on a lesser charge, but she will only be able to get a conviction on a more serious charge if she can get at least one of them to incriminate the other. The D.A. offers the prisoners a deal, (making it clear to each that the other prisoner is getting the same deal). The deal is this:

 

If you incriminate the other prisoner of a major charge, he will get the death penalty and you will go free, provided that there is no evidence against you. If you both incriminate each other, you will both stay in prison for life. If you remain silent, and the other prisoner incriminates you, then it will be you who faces the death penalty (and he will go free). If you both remain silent, then you will both stay in prison, but for a limited term, on a lesser charge.

DRUG ADDICTION IN WEST VIRGINIA

 

Hillary  has been plugging Hillary-Care as a stepping-stone to Obama-Care in debates and stump speeches during the current (2016) democratic nomination battle. This is quite deceitful.

First of all, many do not realize that it was Bill Clinton, not Hillary, who was the driving force behind the Hillary-Care health care proposal - it was a main part of his presidential campaign in 1992. Bill's idea was essentially that employers would be forced to pay for health insurance for their employees, but people under a certain income level would get health care free. Hillary's role in 1993 was to head a task-force charged with selling this idea to the American public. This task-force failed, under fire from pharmaceutical and health insurance companies, weakening Hillary's popularity at the time. 

 

Hill & Don V Jill: A philosophical profile

 

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump should be classified as ethical egoists, philosophically. Ethical egoism is a version of consequentialism, which claims that only the consequences of actions (or policies) are morally significant (i.e. the intention which underlies a voluntary action is morally irrelevant). Consequentialism's more familiar son is utilitarianism. Whereas both ethical egoism and utilitarianism are kinds of consequentialism, and agree that an action/policy is morally required if it produces the best consequences out of all available alternatives, they differ in their explanation of the concept of "best consequence". 

 

On the utilitarian view, an action (or policy) produces the best consequence out of all available alternatives if it produces the greatest amount of pleasure/happiness for *all* affected by the outcome of the action/policy (on the utilitarian view, since non-human animals can experience pleasure/happiness, they too ought to be considered in policy decisions).

The pot calling the kettle black
 
 
 
2008 -
 
 
Donald Trump claims that Barack Obama is a Muslim (a rumor originally started by Hillary Clinton).  Relatedly, in a vitriolic campaign against Obama, Senator Clinton's team produces photographs (taken in 2006 in Kenya) of Obama dressed in traditional Somali garb. These misleading photos are paraded around the corporate media's political television shows as anti-Obama propaganda.
 
President-elect Obama, with his Abraham Lincoln-style 'team of rivals' brand, chooses Senator Clinton for his Secretary of State. Why? Surely not because of her knowledge of foreign affairs or being ready from 'day one' to do the job (unless doing the job involves lying to the public - Google Hillary Clinton and Bosnia). More plausibly Obama's choice of Clinton is political - to attempt to unify the party.

Many will agree that Hillary and Trump are both inveterate liars. On a consequentialist view of ethics, being a liar is morally required if lying produces the best consequences (either for me personally on ethical egoism, or for everyone on utilitarianism) out of the available alternatives. Maybe Hillary and Trump are consequentialists - this would explain why they have no qualms about lying.

 

We are now asked to choose between these two liars, since we are told by the corporate media (controlled by the corporate oligarchy whose future existence is virtually guaranteed by a two-party system) that one of those liars will more than likely be the next president (the system is rigged like that) rather than a third-party candidate. 

So the question becomes - which liar should I pick? Can I even decide who to pick since I know they are both liars, and probably won't do what they say they'll do for me (or issues I care about)? Choosing between liars, I might as well flip a coin in making my decision.

Brooklyn debate - further thoughts: 

 
- Hillary suggested that the 'more intense spotlight' in New York exposed flaws in Bernie's proposals, and alleged that Bernie was unable to give specific details regarding how he would break up big banks. 
 
First of all, to the extent that Hillary herself has succeeded in evading this intense spotlight (her Mafia-like influence on CNN and MSNBC notwithstanding) she has done so by e.g. talking in vague terms about 'breaking down barriers', or making deliberately ambiguous claims (e.g.  yes I am in favor of a twelve/fifteen dollar minimum wage, depending on . . . (I'll fill in the blank later). 

Ten lies/disingenuous claims of Hillary:

- she claimed she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary (of Mount Everest fame) when she was born in 1947 and Sir Edmund ascended Everest in 1953 (see "The case against Hillary Clinton" by renowned writer and journalist Christopher Hitchens, in the 'Election 2016' area of this site).

 - she claimed to be under sniper-fire on a trip to Bosnia as First Lady in 1996 when she obviously was not (as the news crew accompanying her documented).

 Brooklyn debate - initial thoughts

 

Having intently listened to the farce masquerading as a debate, and the post-debate 'analysis' by 'senior correspondents' etc.:
 
  1. - the most depressing aspect of the U.S. media's equivalent of Soviet-style bias in this farce was that despite the two candidates' apparently having agreed to the debate rules pre-debate, Clinton was allowed by moderator Wolf Blitzer and the two other questioners to keep talking well past her allotted time, winding down the clock so that Bernie had less time to make his points/rebuttals. Each candidate was supposed to have one minute and fifteen seconds to reply to a question from Wolf, Dana, or Ollie, and thirty seconds to respond to a rebuttal, yet these rules were not impartially applied, and in Clinton's favor. In other words, the 'debate' was biased from the start in favor of the candidate preferred by the powers that be, and the viewers' response to the dialogue between the protagonists has been carefully manipulated in favor of their preferred candidate, i.e. Hillary.

One may have noticed that there has recently been growing pressure on Senator Bernie Sanders to drop out of the race for the democratic nomination. Appeals for Senator Sanders to concede defeat have been universally couched (explicitly or implicity) in terms of such concession being a moral requirement. That Bernie should now support Hillary Clinton (and urge his supporters to do the same) has been described as ‘the right thing to do’ and necessary in order to defeat Donald Trump in a general election.

 

Unfortunately for her, many of Bernie’s supporters regard the idea of supporting Hillary Clinton as anathema (especially given the fact that the DNC has not repudiated the bogus declaration by NBC and AP of Hillary being the presumptive nominee on Monday June 6, the day before the California primary; nothing short of voter suppression). A proposed antidote to this anathema has been the recent endorsement of Hillary by her previously Sanders-esque critic Senator Elizabeth Warren (search for Bill Moyers and Elizabeth Warren on YouTube to see Warren’s indictment of Hillary’s flip-flop on the Bankruptcy Law).

It is clear for various reasons that MSNBC (and CNN) are Orwellian propagandists for Hillary Clinton. One quick example - Chuck Todd (3-30-16, after the Rachel Maddow show) referred to Bernie’s big wins in states like New Hampshire as instances of his “buying” those wins (by spending a lot on tv ads).

Nonsense. Of course Bernie is against super-pacs and billionaires buying elections - his point is that when candidates take money from special interest groups, lobbyists, Wall Street etc. those candidates are beholden to their donors, *not actual voters*. In contrast, the people that Bernie is beholden to when he wins a state in a caucus or primary are the actual people who voted for him. The people who make small contributions to Bernie’s campaign are middle-class and working-class people who believe in his message, not billionaires who want to *corrupt* him so that he will do their bidding once in office, at the expense of the majority.

 

Bernie has stated in his 2016 primary campaign that if you are going to hold gun manufacturers responsible when bad actors do bad things with hand guns, rifles (i.e. non semi-automatic (assault) weapons) which they have bought legally, the logical consequence is that all such guns ought to be banned in America since you are ultimately saying that the problem is with the manufacture of those guns and rifles in the first place. Bernie is against this view, and has consistently been against it. (Relatedly, if someone were killed in a hit and run car accident, we would not think that the manufacturer of the model of car in question ought to be held responsible for the death of the victim.)

On Super Delegates

 

CNN, MSNBC, please stop adding super delegates to one or other Democatic candidate's tally of pledged delegates whenever you show graphics on television about the state of the race for the Democratic nominee for president (between Hillary and Bernie). Adding these super delegates on to the tally of one or other candidate while the primaries and caucuses are still ongoing is misleading, since it creates the impression that one candidate (as it transpires, Hillary) is doing much better than she actually is as far as the ongoing race is concerned.

Hilliary and the auto bail-out

 

Hillary is now repeating the same disingenuous material in Kentucky that she originally used in Michigan, regarding the "auto bail-out". Just as she did in March, she now claims that Bernie voted against bailing out the auto industry, making things seem as if she is for the middle-class and Bernie is not.

 

What Hillary does not tell you is that Bernie is on record as being in favor of and voting for the auto bail-out; he was just vehemently against using the tax dollars of the middle class to bail out the big banks in the process. Both Hillary and Bernie were in favor of the concept of bailing out the auto industry after the financial crash in 2008. To this end, a bill was proposed which involved taking some money (seventeen billion dollars) out of the much larger sum of 700 billion dollars (of middle-class tax payers' money) intended by Bush in the last part of his presidency to bail out Wall Street and the big banks. Because this was such a large sum, it was to be allocated in installments. In 2009, Bernie voted against the Treasury's releasing the second half of this 700 billion dollars - not because he was against bailing out the auto industry, but because he was against a middle class bail-out of the big banks.