American Presidents 373

I have hardly blogged on the US Presidential elections for two reasons. Firstly the debate is so polarised that many people are oblivious to rational argument that moves outwith the few favoured memes of each side, and I have more than enough abuse in my life already. Secondly, it is some years since I spent any substantial length of time in the USA, and it is a country I find that I understand less and less. I prefer to blog about things where I bring not just judgement, but an extra store of knowledge.

I am very frequently chided for not posting on a subject; a number of people have approached me asking me to post on Nagorno-Karabakh, and indeed I have been offered money to post here on the subject, an offer I suspect would have turned out to be accompanied by conditions as to what I wrote. I will never accept such offers. I am not a corrupt shill like the highly respectable mainstream media journalists receiving secret UK government cash for propaganda from the Integrity Initiative. But also Nagorno-Karabakh is an ancient and tangled dispute with roots that lie deep in history, with complex modern consequences, and which would require a huge amount of reading before I was ready to take a considered view. It is part of a region of which I do in fact have a very deep knowledge, but on Nagorno-Krabakh not specific enough.

I think it is important not to become an all-purpose pundit who fires off unconsidered views on everything that occurs. Such pundits are two a penny in the mainstream media

On the US election I showed my limitations with a tweet yesterday evening predicting Biden would win fairly comfortably, and Trump would concede with good grace. I was wrong. I think Biden will win, but not comfortably and with margins in the key “rust bucket” states close enough for Trump to have every right to question in court aspects of the United States’ rickety voting practices. I still expect to see President Biden at the end of it all.

I know that many of my readers will be triumphant at the departure of Trump. I can understand that. From the viewpoint of US domestic policy and particularly attitudes to social division, race and immigration, the end of Trump’s cynical manipulation of atavistic instinct among the electorate will be in itself a good thing. This has not been a healthy period in US politics.

But Trump has not been defeated by a Bernie Sanders; he has been defeated by a corrupt political hack backed to the hilt by the large majority of the billionaire owned media, financed out of Wall street and with no intention of pursuing anything other than neo-liberal economic policies. It is also the firm re-establishment of the rule of the security state and the military-industrial complex. Trump’s instinctive isolationism made him an enemy of the security state interest which spent a great deal of time in trying to undermine its President.

With Biden we will return to business as usual, and that means war and invasions. Under Trump we have had no new wars started, even if he continued old ones with little control. Without Trump, I have not the tiniest doubt that Syria would have been bombed back to the Stone Age, exactly like Libya, and millions more people would have been killed. Irrespective of the undoubted damage Trump has caused inside the United States across many fronts, Hillary would have killed a lot more people. Just not Americans.

I pause to note that the terrorist in Vienna had attempted to go as a jihadist to Syria and fight against Assad. If he had not been prevented from doing that, he would have been financed by the Saudis, fed and clothed by the Turks, armed by the CIA, trained by the SAS and given air support by the Israelis. He might even have got to be a TV star posing in a White Helmet, or employment artfully placing chlorine bottles on beds for pictures by Bellingcat. Unfortunately, having been prevented from joining the western sponsored insurgency, he ended up killing Austrians instead of Syrians and now is a “terrorist”, whereas jihadist killers of Syrians are “heroes”. A strange world. The Manchester Arena bomber was of course physically brought in to the UK by the British military after fighting for “our side” in Libya. You do indeed reap what you sow.

I hope that those who consider themselves of the left enjoy their relief when the electoral process finally puts to bed the extraordinary populism of Trumpism, and returns the USA to the smoother control of the regular media and political classes and their billionaire controllers. Because anybody who believes any more than that is happening is a fool. I said that I did not blog about the US elections because of the appalling partisan nature of debate. The truth is the system threw up, again, two truly obnoxious candidates entirely antithetical to the real interests of ordinary people in the USA. Biden will do nothing to tackle the appalling wealth and resource inequality which is the most startling problem the country faces. He will hopefully resolve social tensions in the short term. But the cause of those social tensions is a system of gross exploitation of the middle and working classes which is not sustainable in the long term, and which was the root of the Trump political eruption.

Kamala Harris was of course the most right wing possible Vice-Presidential pick. Her advance into power, despite being entirely rejected in the Democratic primaries, is in itself a huge condemnation of the system. I believe I am right in saying that Harris’s Primary campaign was so disastrous she managed to obtain zero delegates at all to the Democratic National Convention. Zero, None. Absolute bottom of the pile. Rejected by Democratic voters as the candidate in toto. Attempting to confirm this zero delegate fact, I just looked up the Wikipedia page on her primary campaign, which turns out to be the most entirely false, hagiographic and manicured Wikipedia page I have ever seen, on any subject, which is saying a lot. Apparently her Presidential Primary bid was in fact a tour de force of brilliant debating and political strategy, recounted in enormous detail, not an abject failure resulting in no delegates. The extraordinarily dishonest Wikipedia page is not perhaps in itself hugely important, but it is emblematic of the sinister manipulation behind the scenes of Kamala Harris’s rise to power.

Let us put a note in our collective diaries to look again in two years and see whether the USA has entered a period of renewed social progress, or just reinvigorated its position as a violent threat to the world. I am looking forward to the period when Biden’s mainstream cheerleaders have to find something positive to say rather than just respond “But Trump is evil”. I predict most of the responses below will say nothing much more on analysis than “But Trump is evil.” Knock yourselves out.


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373 thoughts on “American Presidents

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  • Bort

    If Biden wins (which seems possible) and then proceeds with business as usual, failing to make any changes that improve the lives of working people in a meaningful way (which seems likely), I would fully expect the Republicans to be back in office in 2024 with a candidate possibly even worse than Trump.

    • Mighty Drunken

      You’re right, I wonder why the Democrats are not a little less ghastly and actually stay in power for longer. Than I wondered if Trump is good for the Democrats. If I change my assumption that politics is about making a stronger, healthier country and populace, even the poor. To the idea that politics is about changing the rules for corporations and the rich to extract ever more money from the populace, then the cycle makes total sense.
      Both sides can dive into more and more damaging neo-liberal policies and just blame the evil other side when their term comes. Look at Biden, a totally rubbish candidate who will probably win. Until one party changes or America fixes it’s electoral system, things are not going to change much.

      • Christopher Sutton

        …dnc allowed no “issue orientation” beyond “trump is the issue” propaganda, and during crisis times, plethora, issues they – biden – Harris have no intention, resolving…as they have promised corporate-billionaire contributors, who threatened $upport trump if Sanders-Warren…

        We were aware gop-libertarians-neocons would scapegoat trump, in end, having used him up to do decades, what they contrived-implemented…then “Lincoln Brigade” bushit-cheney neocons went with war criminal biden (obama-biden continuation of bushit-cheney), intending place “time limitations” upon ICC war crime prosecutions…to run out (wait for it) after 20 years…(end of biden)

        Perhaps gone unrealized was fact both bushit 1 + 2, AND bushit 3 + 4 (obama-biden), need absolve selves….while also allowing ONLY “trump is the issue” propaganda-demarcation from biden-harris horrible records…win-win-win-win-win

  • Goose

    As Craig states, there’s little evidence the now likely next VP Kamala Harris, is popular with the wider electorate, and should she become the de facto DNC presidential candidate in waiting, due to Biden’s further cognitive decline in office. Running on a centrist ticket, the Dems will have merely been keeping the presidential seat warm for the last four years.

  • Goose

    Every political neutral I heard commenting on the US election said of Biden “too old” or “deeply uninspiring”, these are people who can’t stand Trump, to give some perspective.

    There’s some far deeper democratic malaise, when these two individuals are the best the US political parties can offer up to citizens. That’s the real elephant(and donkey) in the room.

  • fonso

    Another mature take here by Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report, looking beyond the strawman-in-chief at the big picture

    The Billionaires’ Duopoly Wins on Tuesday

    Select observations ….

    * Allegiance to the Democratic half of the duopoly – whether active or passive – is still an allegiance to corporate rule, not a strategy for any kind of transformative change. This was understood by both MLK and Malcom X in an age when the Democratic Party was much less corrupt than it is today.

    * Organized labor still pretends the Democratic Party is a labor party, even though it’s run by men like Bezos and Bloomberg.

    * Corporate Democrats are again pretending to be tor inclusivity and fairness while promising rich funders nothing will change.

    * The corporate Democrats are again facing their ideal opponent: a racist so brazen that progressives abandon their historic agenda to make common cause with mass incarcerators, warmongers, and job-destroying oligarchs.

    * With Trump as the terrifying strawnan-in-chief, the corporate Democrats were able to again crush Bernie Sanders, by hook or by crook, a challenger whose positions on core issues match those of the Party’s base.

    * While the Republicans busy themselves emboldening racists, the Democrats have crushed the left.

    * Majority support for leftwing policies -particularly among people of working age – is the only threat to Big Capital’s domination of the national agenda. It is not Trump who gifted the ruling class its wishlist of tax breaks, deregulation, and corporate-owned Supreme Court justices, with no effective resistance from corporate Democrats.

    * Democrats are now indisputably the more aggressive warmongers, equating opposition to U. S. imperialism to treason. The old McCarthyusm has become Clintonism, Obamaism, Pelosism, and now Bidenism.

    * The corporate Democrats will treat victory next week as full endorsement of their policy of never-ending austerity and war. Proof that Joe the Incarcerator and his Black prosecutor sidekick have been vindicated in their lifelong predation against Black and poor people..

  • Stevie Boy

    The only positive thing that may come out of a Biden win is that it may f*ck up BoJo’s plans to make a deal with the US. Biden as a Catholic of Irish descent is not a fan of a new hard border and an awaking of the ‘troubles’ which Johnson and his fan club seem unable to comprehend.
    Other than that the planet is f*cked whoever wins, bit like the situation here in the 51st state.

    • Paul Mc

      The main reason to vote for Biden was the possibility that his administration might quietly dismiss the Assange prosecution. I don’t know what the chances would be, but the Obama administration chose not to bring charges. A Biden administration might choose not to continue the prosecution under the excuse that it was just part of Trump’s attack on the media.

    • TheBlogg

      We are not, and never will be, the 51st state. States have voting rights. The best we can expect is to be a colony, to be expoited as required.

  • 6033624

    I don’t always agree with you but I admire the fact you will refuse to comment where you have no knowledge.

    But on the issue of the Presidential election I think Trump’s tenure has shown just how thin the veneer of civilisation is in the US. As a white I have no idea what it’s like to face racism, but now I have some idea how widespread and deep it goes in the US, this combined with the American right’s propensity to pick up their guns, go on the streets and actually USE their weapons shows how quickly democracy COULD dissolve.

    • Stonky

      Based on the election results the American right is at least 150 million strong. How many of them have demonstrated the propensity to “pick up their guns, go on the streets, and actually USE their weapons”?

    • Christopher Sutton

      …1974, training with one of Mr. Lee’s inimitable Seattle instructors, he forecast how easily “civil disobedience” is dealt with; “..after run on grocery stores, they will not be re-supplied”…

  • alexey

    Going back to the good ‘ol imperialist America, rather than that the bonkers not so imperialist but completely crazy America. What a choice they faced. USA Democrats definitely failed again by not putting in a candidate like Sanders. Alas.

    • Goose

      Nothing will change until the old guard of Democrats retire and the rest then have to define what they stand for: Feinstein(87), Schumer(69), Pelosi(80) Biden (77) and the Clintons have held sway over that party for a long time, but there are only so many votes to be had by triangulating or trying to beat the right at its own game.

  • Tatyana

    I try to always be optimistic and find good in bad. But this trick of mine turns strangely into open cynicism in the case of Biden. I mean, if Biden wins, I see only one “hopeful” thing to count on, and that is his very advanced age. Sorry.

        • Goose

          She has a reputation for being ultra ambitious.

          Her record as a prosecutor is a very hardline one, to the point of cruelty. She’s tried to recast herself as a progressive, but she’s very much in the Hillary Clinton mold.

          • Christopher Sutton

            ..think folks, as an ethical Mr. Murray points out, Harris achieved not one delegate during state primaries…yet media very nearly immediately saw her as “likely” VP choice…

            she has ZERO public approval, historically pertinent record, or public following…meaning, while dnc neoliberal biden did in fact prognosticate, “Black, woman”…it was dnc who appointed both–Senator Sanders’ candidacy having been dnc corrupted within state primaries (see Greg Palast)..,therefore, dnc-harris-billionaire corporate corrupters, are tied together, as is their purpose.

        • Paul Mc

          I live in San Francisco and am very familiar with Harris. She’s an untalented administrator with no particular ideology who was basically given her various positions, first by SF Mayor Willie Brown and then by the California Burton Democratic machine. To say that she will be out of her depth as President is an understatement.

          • Goose

            Isn’t that the sort of person they like ; someone they can shape into anything?

            As long as she keeps Wall Street happy and the MIC, everyone will sing her praises. They don’t want people with ideas or plans to actually change anything.

        • Jen

          The danger of a Kamala Harris presidency is that she would have the right to select her vice-president. Given the mediocrity that she is, the selection will be made for her by the Democrats. Guess who President Harris might “choose” as her VP.

          Syria better prepare for another war of invasion and attempted regime change.

        • Tom Welsh

          Let me put it this way, tatyana. How many women who have been associated with the White House in recent years have not been evil?

        • Coldish

          A fair question, Tatyana (18.19). I confess to ignorance about Ms Harris, of whom I had, until a few weeks ago, never heard. But I suspect she wouldn’t have become Biden’s choice without approval by, or at least consultation with, the powers that be within the Democratic Party elite. For me they are all tainted by association with the aggressive foreign policy and military adventures of the Obama years.
          In November 2016 I was heartily relieved by the defeat of Hilary Clinton, whom I regarded, judging by her record as secretary of state, as a dangerous psychopath, unfit to be in charge of a peashooter. I knew little about Trump, but it is undeniable that during his term of office he has shown consistent reluctance to resort to serious military action and a creative capacity for establishing diplomatic dlalogue with the USA’s supposed enemies (Russia, N.Korea). He has indeed resorted to excessively harsh political and economic measures against Iran, Venezuela, and other states that have threatened an independent – or ‘socialist’ – economic policy. But no bombs, no invasions. For me that counts. As I see it, the world has been a safer place with Trump in the White House than with his immediate predecessors . Sure, he has manifold faults of personality. He is greedy, vindictive. He acts, and reacts, too quickly. But he also listens, and cares. .. .
          Trump certainly wasn’t my first choice for president in 2016 and he isn’t now. My dream team then would have been Sanders-Gabbard, this time round maybe Gabbard-Sanders. We can all dream!


  • Republicofscotland

    Its frightening to think that millions of Americans are actually alright with Donald Trump serving another term as POTUS. Taking into account his actions over the past four years, his racist remarks, his misogynistic remarks, not to mention the corruption surrounding him and his family whilst POTUS.

    Now Americans are entering new territory, with Trump stating that he’s not standing down as POTUS if he’s proven to have lost to Biden. Trump claims postal vote fraud, and that he’ll take it all the way to the Supreme court, which he recently added a new Republican judge after the death of Bonnie Ginsberg.

    But Biden will not be that much better as POTUS, as you’ve shown with the corruption surrounding him and his son in Ukraine, I feel sympathy for Americans stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to which corrupt and flawed character to vote into the Whitehouse. Bernie Sanders might have made a better fist of it as POTUS, but as usual the DNC screwed him over yet again.

    It still appears that even the Democrats are afraid of socialism in America.

    • Anonish

      I was pretty taken aback by some of Biden’s comments too – particularly “If you don’t know who to vote for you ain’t black”. That really convinced me (and I’m sure others) that he actually sees the ‘black community’ as an unthinking homogeneous group, only of value as untapped voters. There was similarly huge kickback from other black Twitter celebs when the more conservative Terry Crews made the quite reasonable warning that the BLM movement for equality shouldn’t twist into supremacy*, calling him an Uncle Tom and, essentially ‘not black’. Other black public figures who have stood in favour of Trump or disagreed with BLM / Antifa violence have had similar sentiments of disownment thrown at them.

      That Biden could endorse and even promote the idea that a person’s entire racial and cultural identity is defined by their political choices (or vice-versa) feels incredibly Machiavellian and sinister. This fanning the flames of racial tensions just to win an election is going to backfire horribly.

      • glenn_uk

        “… you ain’t black”

        I’m amazed at your one-sided sensitivity! Biden did apologise for that insensitive remark, you might have selectively not noticed.

        Do you recall any occasion where Trump apologised for racism, insensitive remarks, or indeed anything at all? Do you recall Trump accepting responsibility for anything, ever (such as 1/4 million dead Americans on his watch)?

        • Anonish

          Apologising for a Freudian slip doesn’t make it any less Freudian. He showed his cards that day. Watch him drop them like a stone when it conflicts with his interests.

          And no, I don’t. Neither do I approve of Trump or his rhetoric in the slightest. I’m simply noting that Biden makes me equally uneasy.

        • James2

          Bidens says this with the full support of the congressional black caucus(CBC) – who ignore his racism because he is a democrat so it doesn’t matter.

          The black purple who vote democrats also ignore his racism because he is a democrat and “on their side”

          They only see racism when it’s Trump or a republican.

          They queued up to vote for Biden in large numbers even though he wrote the 1994 crime bill that disproportionately affects black men.
          His VP pick also put black women in jail if their kids played truant.

          It really corrupts the whole notion of what racism is.

          I just don’t understand it myself.

      • Republicofscotland


        I doubt Biden care much more for the Black US community than Trump does.

    • Tom Welsh

      “…his racist remarks, his misogynistic remarks, not to mention the corruption surrounding him and his family whilst POTUS”.

      Yeah, that’s right, Trump is literally Hitler. While his predecessors, who spoke nicely, insulted no one (except foreigners), and whose only pecadilloes were little things like deliberately murdering literally millions of Asians… were the kind of presidents Americans like.

      • Republicofscotland


        I quite agree, previous incumbents at the Whitehouse have also been corrupt and warmongering none more so than Obama who was at war his entire two terms, the only POTUS to do so. However we’re not discussing ex-US presidents are we, we’re discussing Trump and Biden, both flawed and corrupt characters.

        If you want to head of on a tangent regarding other US presidents that’s fair enough, I’ll stick with Trump and Biden for now.

        • Tom Welsh

          It seems unfair, and also unwise, to assess a candidate’s suitability for office while completely ignoring the characters of all his predecessors.

          Of course Trump and Biden are both “flawed and corrupt” – it’s a requirement of becoming a candidate.

      • Christopher Sutton

        trump is Archie Bunker, 100% incompetent, unable having generated any of legal auspices-workarounds employed, let alone lists of “appointments” favorable to decades long gop-libertarian-neocon fascists who now still remain, as “trump is the issue” propaganda-avoidance of issue orientation cleanses both political parties who now remain to return to “power”…

  • Ric G

    A quote from a forum. What could go wrong???

    Each county in America runs its own elections. There are 3141 counties. National and statewide results will be reported to the 50 state capitals, the county runs the show. Who is in charge in each county varies. There may be a county board of election commissioners. There will be a county clerk. There will be a chairman of county board of supervisors or equivalent. Who does what varies. Some of the variation is de jure, most is personalities and tradition. But most of these counties, the large majority of them are absolute one party rule. In which case the most important person will be the County Party Chairman of the ruling party. The Chairman may also hold an elective office but need not. He is selected by the party, not by electorate.

    Some of the Chairmen rule as monarchs. Many will be catspaws for a local rich guy or a local large employer. Elections are the most important things these chairmen do. For national elections a large part of the contest is courting and catering to these local satraps. Back in day of Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon it was arguable that wooing the party chairmen was the dominant part of any national campaign. Much of the reign of the Clintons was based on their mastery of this phase of campaigning.

    The reason for maintaining these anachronisms is the infinite possibilities for corruption. When there is a dispute there are courts and there are election lawyers. Election lawyers look first to who is paying them. Then they look at what is possible. Facts and law are not what election disputes are about. It is about maneuvering a thicket of personalities who are largely immune to any constraints coming from outside their demesne. And it always local and particular.

    Few are even aware of this side of elections and yes, it is all done in the shadows. Terminal political junkies as Circe above are not even aware of simple things like the rules for ballot receipt. Which changed completely across almost all jurisdictions in just the past few months. Where I sit ballots must be received by November 17. Postmarked yesterday but may be received for two weeks. This is all new. Make of that what you will. The larger point remains the only rule is there are no rules. It is all what you can get away with.

    My county, Cook County, has 5.2 million people, bigger than many states and bigger than some countries. For decades we were ruled by Chairman George Dunne. Who? Near the end of his tenure he was caught on video while two County employees, lesbians, gave him a sex show. He was in his 80s and watching a show was what he could do. The response? At the next meeting of the County Board the Chairman walked into a standing ovation. All the newspapers and all the TV newsreaders cheered him on.

    Banana republic much?

    • Susan

      “The reason for maintaining these anachronisms is the infinite possibilities for corruption.”

      Spot on, Ric. Corruption is the POINT that we should be focusing on. And it is not corruption of the left, or corruption of the right. Those are the distractions that the deep state dangle in front of us – and given many of the comments here, we fall for it every bloody time!!! The people who govern us must be laughing gleefully to see us fighting amongst ourselves over which puppet ‘chosen’ by the totalitarian state should run our democracy (ha!).

      As Glenn Greenwald implies, the shambolic nature of the election process is a CHOICE. It is designed for corruption.

      As a technologically-advanced country, there is absolutely no reason why an incorruptible system could not have been instituted years ago. In fact, in 2019 the United States Postal Service filed for a patent for secure blockchain vote processing system. Will it be instituted? Possibly. Because never again will they allow another puppet to threaten the stability of the totalitarian state.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        ““The reason for maintaining these anachronisms is the infinite possibilities for corruption.”

        But how many of the 5.6 million inhabitants of Cook County are aware of the things Ric. describes?
        True revolution in America would be if democracy came to the USA.
        We see from the Biden antics in Ukraine that the democracy America brings to the world is the same corrupt thing that exists at the county level, i.e. rule by gangsters and robber barons. This is what the CIA was set up to promote and defend.

      • Christopher Sutton

        ..and not terribly different than the “Queen of England” – London cultural “sale”, for “tourist” consumption (+ corruption)…

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      ” Which changed completely across almost all jurisdictions in just the past few months”

      So how was such a wholesale change made in such a wide geographical area without many people noticing?

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      Also, why are all these American politicians so old?

      “He was in his 80s and watching a show was what he could do”

      So why did he even bother? Its just a way of life.

  • M.J.

    I might have preferred Bernie Sanders, but I can settle for Joe Biden. He has empathy based on the bereavement of losing family members, and his choice of Kamala Harris is a good reason for her acceptability.
    Whether he wins, or how well, will only be known after all the postal votes are counted, which I understand favoured the Democrats.

  • Sarge

    All the efforts on Biden’s behalf by Lincoln Project neocons point to what is in store, foreign policy wise. A gargantuan new wave of imperial war piggery.

  • Tom Welsh

    “Secondly, it is some years since I spent any substantial length of time in the USA, and it is a country I find that I understand less and less”.

    Having lived almost uninterruptedly in England for the past 48 years, I find exactly the same about the UK. Quite unexpectedly, I find myself living in interesting times. As my life is nearly over, I find this quite gratifying and mildly exciting. But my sympathies are with the young.

  • David G

    “Under Trump we have had no new wars started …”

    I’m counting the vastly expanded, almost completely unreported, U.S. air war in East Africa, which got rolling following an attack that killed a U.S. service member and two “contractors” on a base in Kenya in January of this year, as a new war. Anyone who cares to disagree will be more credible if they do so in Somalia with a U.S. Reaper drone overhead.

    • Tom Welsh

      I rather doubt if Mr Trump was actively involved in that, David. Below his pay grade, don’t you see. Sending in troops and killing any number of foreigners less than, say, a million or so isn’t really something that requires presidential attention. It’s more like someone turning over in their sleeping, or scratching to get rid of a flea.

    • Christopher Sutton

      See Jeremy Scahill’s, “Dirty Wars”…(drone assassinations):

      “Jeremy Scahill, National Security Correspondent for The Nation, is the author of the best-selling new book “Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield” and the writer, producer and subject of an award-winning documentary of the same name, which goes into wide theatrical release this week.

      Scahill sat with Reason’s Matt Welch for an extended conversation about the book and movie, which thoroughly investigate the way America conducts its covert wars in the post-9/11 world, and how Barack Obama’s embrace of drone strikes, rendition and targeted assassination have cemented the policies of the Bush Administration which declared the entire world “a battlefield.”

      Other subjects discussed include Scahill’s skepticism of President Obama’s recent foreign policy “rethink” speech (14:00); how any adult male in a drone strike area is posthumously labeled a “suspected militant,” (16:15); the Department of Justice’s absurdly broad definition of an “imminent threat,” (20:15); the mysterious case of the American-born terror-advocating imam Anwar al-Alwaki, who was assassinated by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen (21:15); the “shameful” persecution of Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye, who was set to be pardoned and released by the government of Yemen until President Obama intervened (32:31); his disappointment in the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats for being “nowhere” on civil liberties (38:41); and his surprising credit to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) for his epic filibuster where he read into the Congressional record “for the first time ever…the names of U.S. citizens killed in operations authorized by President Obama.” (40:22)”

  • Robert Hughes

    Not me Craig , your analysis of the likely outcome of a Biden presidency is spot-on

  • Tom Welsh

    “But Trump is evil”.

    If you want to use that particular ideology, fine. I tend to agree with Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, who – in true Christian spirit – lamented (in “The Gulag Archipelago”):

    “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being”.

    There has probably never been a person so wicked that he or she never did any good deeds – perhaps exceedingly good. And even the most virtuous of human beings has no doubt thought, said and done bad things. (Hence the concept of original sin).

    I give Mr Trump the benefit of the doubt, as I prefer an out-and-out villain to a whitewashed sepulchre who does evil in secret and chortles over it with his pals.

    At times like this, I reflect that Republicans seem to be cynics, whereas Democrats are naive. The Republicans are aware of all the bad things that are said and done, but tell themselves that that is just human nature – and every individual is put on Earth to do the best he (or she) can for themselves.

    Whereas Democrats are like the three wise monkeys – knowing deep in their hearts of the immense wickedness wrought by their government and by the corporations they support (and for some of which they work), but most of the time managing to pretend to themselves that none of it is happening.

    Whatever your political complexion, it’s hard to deny that Mr Biden seems to accomplished the well-nigh impossible by combining Ronald Reagan’s decreptitude with Bill Clinton’s ghastly and knowing immorality.

    • M.J.

      I agree with Solzhenitsyn. Nevertheless I honestly think Trump is an obnoxious person, who deserves to be punished for being obnoxious, by a crushing defeat. However, I’ll settle for a clear-cut defeat.

  • David G

    “Without Trump, I [Craig] have not the tiniest doubt that Syria would have been bombed back to the Stone Age …”

    I do doubt that President Hillary would have bombed Syria back to the Stone Age.

    What is beyond doubt is that she *intended* to bomb Syria to bits and let the jihadis have their way with the remains, and that this would have provoked a head-on confrontation with the Russian military. How that would have played out, I don’t know, though the dread and physical fear I felt when she looked certain to be elected still makes me shudder.

      • Tom Welsh

        Yes, David. And what would have become of the thousands of thermonuclear warheads that the USA still has, ready to fire? (Not to mention the thousands of tons of chemical weapons which, strangely enough, it still maintains). Or its biological weapons (cough cough).

        If the USA gets desertified, we all get desertified. Which is why the Russians tend to cite the well-known analogy with being locked in a room with a monkey who is juggling a grenade.

    • Christopher Sutton

      WOW! HC designated to be her Sec of State, Victoria Nuland (HC assist. Sec State), wife of Robert Kagan, Uber-neocon, as biden ran “regime change” (overthrow, Maiden) and as documented–from George Sussman’s book on U.S. regime change, (Portland State History Prof), authored 2010, nothing to do with 2020 election cycle…biden and son documentation here:

  • Steve

    I note with some trepidation that US backed terrorists in Syria have been reported to have kidnapped 10 civilians.
    When they turn up gassed with a signed ‘I did it, Bashir Assad’ note pinned to each chest, I hope someone has the balls to call out the disgusting bastards in our western security services who engineered this latest crime to create another excuse to bomb innocent Syrians ‘back to the Stone Age’.

    • Tom Welsh

      Yes, Steve. Sometimes it is exceedingly hard to believe that those creatures belong to the same species as we do.

  • Ort

    I must begin with the obligatory disclaimer that I am neither a fan of Donald Trump, nor partisan. A US resident, when I vote I generally “waste my vote”, as conventional-minded dullards put it, on “unelectable” fringe candidates.

    But I only want to note here that it is remarkable that even in a non-US site, both Craig and the commenters (so far) politely or blithely refer to Biden doing or representing this or that if he is determined to have won the election. No one seems to want to take notice of Biden’s manifest fragility.

    In US-based comments forums frothing with the Sturm und Drang of bickering partisan voters, the Biden-supporting “Resistance” piously and superciliously slaps down any reference to Biden’s observable mental lapses as offensively and reprehensibly “ageist”, and generally below the belt. It seems as if taking notice of an elderly candidate’s frequent instances of garbled speech and manifest confusion is simply “not done”– as if some standard of political “good sportsmanship” prohibits calling attention to such infirmities.

    When the elderly elephant in the room is mentioned, some Biden supporters respond by firmly insisting that Trump also clearly and obviously has cognitive issues. “Trump’s ‘not in reality’ either!” one commenter who claims to be a certified psychotherapist averred. I regard this as the rhetorical use of “false equivalence”. But even positing, arguendo, that this is true, it exposes the fraught, absurd, and irrational would-be “pragmatism” of casting a vote for an impaired candidate for the highest political office in the nation.

    In this vein: a “Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS)”-afflicted progressive-liberal old friend, M., is good-hearted and well-meaning, but not a deep thinker. Recently I very gently and cautiously asked if she was at all concerned about Biden’s mental state and fitness for office.

    M. earnestly and cheerily replied, “Oh, I know he’s losing it! But if he gets in, he’ll be surrounded by people who will help him. They won’t let him fail!”

    I wanted to ask her if she really “thought through” this position, but she slipped so readily and forcefully into this fatuous, dubious optimistic rationalization that I held my tongue, and for the sake of both of us left it at that.

    • Goose

      Trump claimed Biden was on Ritalin, and while it’d be wrong to assume his improved performances are down to medication, the difference between his early primary campaign performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, and more recent appearances, is pretty stark. As president, which Joe Biden will voters get?

    • Goose

      Never has so much been revealed in a single – assumed to be by her, off camera moment.

      The sheer callousness, around what was an incredibly brutal slaying, seemed bloodthirsty and revolting. Particularly coming from a female and mother.

      • Tom Welsh

        Ooooh politically incorrect, Goose! Nowadays women are not merely allowed to be just as bloodthristy as men – they are expected to outdo them in cruelty.

        • Goose

          Probably truth in that, especially somewhere as cutthroat as Washington D.C. Show the slightest remorse or consideration for others and you’re deemed lacking the necessary steeliness. Real ‘macho asshole’ political culture in the US.

  • Tom Welsh

    “Without Trump, I have not the tiniest doubt that Syria would have been bombed back to the Stone Age, exactly like Libya…”

    While I have enormous respect for Mr Murray’s diplomatic knowledge (and his moral character), I wonder if his military awareness might not be a shade out of date.

    Had the US government set out to bomb Syria in 2017, it would have received an extremely bloody nose. The Russian expeditionary force in Syria was (and remains) quite small, but it has teeth. Its defensive missiles and aircraft would require a major effort to knock out; and of course no bombing campaign could be begun until all air defences had been knocked out – be they Syrian or Russian.

    However, the Russian force in Syria has never been isolated or lacking in support. Not everyone may be aware of the “revolution in military affairs” that has seen Russia cleanly overhaul the USA in terms of military and naval power. If interested, see The Saker and Andrei Martyanov passim. Russian forces could easily destroy any and all US military assets within, say, 1,000 miles of Syria. (Even Iran could do so). US carrier task groups are immense white elephants – sitting ducks for Russian submarines and small corvettes which, sitting in the Caspian or Black Sea, could launch salvos of devastating hypersonic conventional or thermonuclear missiles.

    And any escalation against Russia would bring in China, Iran and other nations who are intensely aware that “we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”.

    That, in fact, is the main reason why US citizens of good will voted for Mr Trump last time, and no doubt have done so again. And, if I were one of them, I too would vote for him without hesitation. No matter how awful he is, he is unlikely to bring about Armageddon – quite possibly on purpose – as Mrs Clinton might have done.

    • Goose

      How do you know they weren’t willing to escalate and escalate all the way to all out war with Russia + Syria?

      There are hawks in Washington who’ve stated they’d prefer(for obvious reasons) any major future war to be primarily fought in Europe, to protect America. That’s why Nato could be potentially dangerous, and why Europe should seek its own independent defence and foreign policy.

      • Tom Welsh

        This is where my recommendation to read up on The Saker and Martyanov comes in, Goose. For the first time since the founding of the USA, it is not in the least protected by the surrounding oceans. Today’s Russian (and Chinese) weapons can easily reach all parts of the USA carrying multiple thermonuclear warheads. They could not intercepted.

        Moreover, submarines can reach within a few miles of the US coast before launching devastating slavoes of conventional or thermonuclear missiles.

        Then there is the enormous “torpedo” (Poseidon) which can race across the ocean and utterly destroy a major city (or naval base). And the Burevestnik (“Petrel”) cruise missile whose nuclear motor allows it to fly for hours and even days, approaching its target from any chosen direction.

        • Goose

          But that’s why the US is busily coating Low Earth orbit(LEO) with satellites that can track both subs and hypersonics globally, so there are no blind spots. The numbers of small satellites they plan to put really is quite extraordinary and controversial with astronomers and NASA who fear collisions and resultant debris.

          • JohninMK

            An admirable objective, especially if you are the MIC contractor rolling it out, but highly unlikely to eliminate blind spots.

            The simplest is that the Russians have developed cruise missile launch systems installed in standard 40′ shipping containers (2 missiles per). Leading potentially to container or other cargo ships chugging up the US seaboards being undetected missile launchers. There are no doubt other innovations, besides those mentioned by Tom Welsh, up their sleeves.

            The US/UK and Russians have had completely different defence strategies over the past 30+ years. We have gone for offensive systems targeted at 2nd/3rd world countries at which we have been quite effective. The Russians have spent almost exclusively on products to support the defence of Russia and maintain Mutually Assured Destruction and again have got very good at it. The US and also the UK are virtually defenceless against almost any kind of attack. This is not a good place to be if the US pokes the bear too hard in say Syria.

          • Goose


            What made many across Europe nervous about Hillary was the bellicose language and adamancy about imposing a Syrian no fly zone in air space Russian and Syrian jets were operating in. The defence chiefs warned the politicians it wasn’t as simple as they suggested, as you have to destroy all land based Syrian & Russian radar and missile batteries first, but the risks involved didn’t seem to register with Clinton, just so dismissive, devil-may-care. Those against Clinton were deemed pro-Russian, many were just anti-escalation.

          • Tom Welsh

            “There are no doubt other innovations, besides those mentioned by Tom Welsh, up their sleeves”.

            Exactly. The Russians (and before them the Soviets) always had far better technology and weapons up their sleeves than whatever they were currently talking about in public.

            When Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa in 1941, generals and engineers were horrified when they first saw T-34s and KV-1s. Those tanks, which no foriegner had seen before, were far better than anything the germans – or anyone else in the world – had.

            Moreover, the Soviets could produce tanks faster than anyone else too – with the possible exception of the USA once it decided to join the war. General Guderian mentioned in his memoirs that Hitler called him in after about six months of Barbarossa and told him (with typical tact): “If I had know that your figures for Soviet tank production were correct, I would never have started this war”.

            Just one of the reasons why Russia doesn’t start wars – it finishes them.

        • Christopher Sutton

          WOW again!:

          In an October address at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper unveiled the Pentagon’s plan for the future Navy, saying it would consist of over 500 warships — almost twice the number now in the U.S. inventory.

          A larger fleet was needed, he said, to counter the Chinese naval buildup and to ensure U.S. naval dominance well into the future. Esper indicated, however, that a Navy of 500 ships would not constitute an enlarged version of the current force — a feat probably far beyond the Navy’s fiscal and shipbuilding capabilities. Rather, it would contain approximately the same number of conventional warships now in the fleet plus “between 140 to 240 unmanned and optionally manned surface and subsurface vessels of all types.”

          Do unmanned vessels fill an actual naval requirement? If so, what is that requirement, and why will such ships best satisfy it? It seems highly imprudent to begin building LUSVs and MUSVs until these questions can be answered — especially given the concerns about relying on wholly autonomous (A.I.) weapons systems.

          If some haven’t:


    • Tatyana

      Tom Welsh, there’s noticable change in attitude toward China, here in Russia, among ordinary people. We still make business as it were earlier, but, the virus changed something. e.g. someone posted on Pikabu a video of their Chinese friend, who speaks russian. The lady in the video shared some good health care advice re. the virus. Now, she’s my friend on social media.
      I also follow another russian, who is married to a chinese lady, she sings beuatifully and they share stories about living in China.
      I mean, russian and chinese people get in touch more openly and willingly. We feel having more in common, than we supposed before.

      Previously, the position of China was often evasive, but after virus happened and China showed some teeth, they gained russian hearts on large scale 🙂

      • Tom Welsh

        It may seem strange, as I am Scottish and have never been anywhere near Russia or Chinese – but such news warms my heart. We are all human, and as far as I can see the Russians and Chinese are closer to reaching our human potential than anyone else.

        Ever since they finished murdering the Native Americans and stealing their property, the European Americans have cast greedy eyes on China and the rest of Asia. Being populated by those whom American leaders often characterised as subhumans, that land and its resources seemed destined by “Manifest Destiny” to fall into American hands. (Remember the questions in Washington about “Who lost us China?”) The Japanese, unfortunately for them, were early converts when the black US ships steamed into Tokyo Bay and threatened to destroy the Imperial Palace. Quickly choosing a course of action, they decided “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” and within 60 years were militaristic imperialists with the best of them. Imagine their disillusionment when they discovered that, to join the militaristic imperialist club you had to be actual White Aryans – not just the “honorary Aryans” that Teddy Roosevelt declared them to be. (I’m not kidding – look it up). Dspite their dreadful experiences when they gave the Americans cheek, they are still the USA’s offshore airstrip for Asia.

        The friendship (better than alliance) between Russia and China promises to make Asia a no-go area for Western imperialists. Especially when Iran, Syria, Iraq, and other countries join them.

        It’s good news for every decent human being.

      • Tom Welsh

        In the first place, if you want anything even slightly resembling the truth, Wikipedia is not the place to go. You might just as well ask the White House for their take.

        No hypersonic missiles were required. There were two large-scale cruise missile attacks, in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Almost all the missiles were launched from the sea, with only a few apparently coming from the Al-Tanf region of Syria illegally occupied by US forces. Many were shot down, while a few got through (but mostly to unprotected tagets of no special value). The majority of the missiles simply disappeared before even reaching the Syrian coast. Maybe they got tired.

        Here is The Saker’s view of the April 2017 attack:

        “American and Russian sources both agree on the following facts: 2 USN ships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Al Shayrat airfield in Syria. The US did not consult with the Russians on a political level, but through military channels the US gave Russia 2 hours advance warning. At this point the accounts begin to differ.

        “The Americans say that all missiles hit their targets. The Russians say that only 23 cruise missiles hit the airfield. The others are “unaccounted for”. Here I think that it is indisputable that the Americans are lying and the Russians are saying the truth: the main runway is intact (the Russian reporters provided footage proving this) and only one taxiway was hit. Furthermore, the Syrian Air Force resumed its operations within 24 hours. 36 cruise missiles have not reached their intended target. That is a fact”.

        Here is a short extract from a translated Russian summary of the April 2018 attack:

        “In total, the Syrian AD systems eliminated 71 cruise missiles of 103 ones.
        Four missiles targeted the Damascus International Airport; 12 missiles – the Al-Dumayr airdrome, all the missiles have been shot down.
        18 missiles targeted the Blai airdrome, all the missiles shot down.
        12 missiles targeted the Shayrat airbase, all the missiles shot down.
        Two missiles targeted the Tiyas airfield, all the missiles shot down.
        Five out of nine missiles were shot down targeting the unoccupied Mazzeh airdrome.
        Thirteen out of sixteen missiles were shot down targeting the Homs airdrome. There are no heavy destructions”.

        Other accounts:

        Lastly, this cartoon sums up the spirit of the attempted (but pitifully inadequate) Western provocation:

        • JohninMK

          As you say, no hypersonic missiles were fired, they weren’t even supersonic, they were subsonic Tomahawks. As such they were no match for the Russian AD or the Russian supplied Syrian AD. Interestingly a significant part of that defence was Electronic Warfare, attacking the cruise missiles guidance systems electronically rather than with missiles, especially effective it seems when used by the Russian Navy off the Syrian coast.

          It has to be said the the Russians seem to be using a ‘don’t touch me and I won’t touch you’ approach. In that the Israelis still attack Syrian targets with no response from the Russians, apart from the time they attached in such a way that a RuAF Il-20 ELINT aircraft got lured in and destroyed by SyAF AD. That led the Russians to give the Syrians S-300, which restricts IAF activities. This might give the US a way forward, perhaps with the Israelis, in attacking Syria but it would probably have to be limited not to get a Russian response.

          There are also very close relations between the Syrians and both the Lebanese and Iranians. Any outright attack on Syria, whilst not perhaps eliciting a major Russian response might get one from the others. The US is very vulnerable in the Gulf region (around 10,000 souls on one base in Qatar) and it would be inevitable that Israel would be part of it.

          I think time has moved on, the US tried one approach in Syria and it didn’t work. They seem now to be on a new strategy, creating a ‘Kurdistan’ from eastern Syria and northern Iraq. Giving them another area in their ‘surround Iran’ plan.

          • Blissex

            «The Syrians have complained that the S300 is useless. it has an old Soviet era radar»

            It is a rather older system, but not useless. Anyhow a post by a syrian alewite who ended up doing his military service years ago in a radar station said that they never switched it on because they did not wanted to be bombed by the israeli airforce, and when they were forced to switch it on by superior orders they ran away from it to avoid being killed. That kind of situation can only be fixed by a fully automatic antiaircraft system…

        • Kempe

          The Saker more reliable than Wiki. Yeah right. Might as well go straight to the Kremlin.

          Independent analysis has ascertained that most of the cruse missiles did get through but may not have done much damage due to poor targeting. In 2018 the defences didn’t even open fire until after the attack.

      • Tom Welsh

        “Even Putin isn’t stupid enough to go nuclear. Russia, as we’re frequently being told, is surrounded by NATO bases”.

        It’s not a matter of stupidity or cleverness, but a matter of self-preservation or suicide. Whichever party first uses nuclear weapons is inviting the other party to a mutual suicide party.

        Mr Putin wouldn’t have to “go nuclear” first.

        The Americans cannot launch an all-out attack on Syria or set up a “no-fly zone” without first destroying all Russian aire defence assets. That would be difficult, and would take some time.

        While the Americans were wiping out the hundreds of Russians in Syria and their equipment, Moscow would ask Washington politely “What the hell do you imagine you are doing?”

        If Washington did not desist immediately, Russia would destroy the sources of the attack on Syria, and possibly the origins of the commands to attack. If Washington escalated, so be it. Russia defence doctrine states plainly that any attack on Russia or its allies is liable to be met with a thermonuclear response.

        And don’t imagine that anywhere in the world would be safe. Washington and other hideouts of the US elite would be the first to go up in flames – and very quickly. If the UK joined in (doubleplusunwise) the whole of the UK could be destroyed in an hour or so.

        • Tatyana

          Scary but much possible scenario. Yet I’m afraid many of those who voted their president today, those would stand among the nuclear mist angry and sincerely astonished why would russians do that.

          • Tatyana

            I must apologize again, but that’s the way my brain works. When I need to better illustrate an idea, jokes come to my mind first. So, a joke:
            – Hey, Mike, let’s go and fight those moskovites!
            – Hm, what if they beat us?
            – Don’t tell rubbish, Mike. Why would they suddenly want to beat us?

            It’s originally ukrainian
            – Куме, ходімо москалів бити!
            – Пішли! Але, зачекай, а що як вони нас поб’ють?
            – Тю, а нас за що?

            And the last line is popular russian meme.

      • Ken Kenn

        The term used in the US Milidary ( American spelling ) is called ‘ De- stocking’

        The Milidary fire a load of weaponry off and then call the Pentagon with an order and lo and behold Raytheon et al just happen to have some in stock.

        Only 20000 left – so get your order in early.

        It’s like the madness of running out of toilet roll in panic buying but much more violent.

        Wikipedia is great for pop music and sport I find.

  • AlisdairMcl

    I agree about the rank unsuitability of both candidates. The Democrats really need new blood to be a credible party of leadership.
    Meanwhile what scares the hell out of me is that the stable genius Trump still has access to the nuclear codes. 2020 has really turned out to be a very bleak year.

    • Goose

      Meanwhile what scares the hell out of me is that the stable genius Trump still has access to the nuclear codes.

      Best if Californians headed to Mexico for a few months…least until inauguration day? /S

      • Tom Welsh

        It’s a myth that any president has the sole power of deciding to launch nuclear weapons. The Pentagon wouldn’t allow him to unless it concurred.

        Oh, wait a minute…

    • Tom Welsh

      What the rank unsuitability of both candidates proves is that the president is not an important working part of the Washington machine. He or she is almost entirely ornamental. (As well as being a convenient lightning rod for blame).

  • Mark

    But Trump is evil.

    Well, I was invited to say that. Actually Trump is a buffoon, but I forecast he would be a less harmful buffoon than Hillary, and I think overall I was right. But I would like to point out that Trump has not lost yet, and I don’t think he will. Otherwise I agree strongly with the commentary above. It does not really matter who wins, and America’s determined pursuit of unbridled corporatism at the expense of the world is as unsustainable as its debt burden.

  • James Dickins

    [ MOD: Caught in spam-filter, timestamp updated ]

    “I pause to note that the terrorist in Vienna had attempted to go as a jihadist to Syria and fight against Assad. If he had not been prevented from doing that, he would have been financed by the Saudis, fed and clothed by the Turks, armed by the CIA, trained by the SAS and given air support by the Israelis. He might even have got to be a TV star posing in a White Helmet, or employment artfully placing chlorine bottles on beds for pictures by Bellingcat.”

    Brilliant! Some references below:

    As throughout the Arab world, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states were terrified of the prospect of a democratic (or semi-democratic) state in Syria. From almost the outset of the revolution, they began funnelling vast amounts of money to fundamentalist jihadist groups: Within a few months at most (or, according to former British Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, “five minutes”:, the Syrian revolution was dominated by armed fundamentalist groups. America knew this, and even itself supported these groups:, as did Turkey ( and Israel:;;

    In 2017, the then British International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, while on a supposedly private visit to Israel, met with Israeli military commanders in the occupied Golan Heights and proposed to redirect British aid money to Israel for the treatment of ‘wounded Syrians’. These Syrians were Alqaeda fighters – sworn enemies of America and Britain – who Israel was patching up, before sending them back to Syria to fight the Assad regime:; Given Britain’s position that it is at war with Alqaeda, Patel should have been put on trial for high treason on her return home. Instead, following the 2019 British general election, she was promoted to Home Secretary (minister of the interior).

  • pnyx

    I couldn’t agree more. In every aspect. The Dems are not a part of the solution, they are the other of two Janus faces of the same sucker class in power since 1779. Biden may put in place even more warmongering personnel than Tronald, the only advantage he being slightly more ecological minded than the current presidential actor.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I am not totally convinced yet that Biden will win, the way that 100,000 ‘postal votes’ just miraculously appeared for Biden in one of the Northern Mid-West marginals which just miraculously brought him ahead of Trump was reminiscent of the sort of ‘ballot stuffing’ that used to happen in Chicago under Mayor Daley. I don’t know how the US postal vote system works, but how on earth do 100,000 postal votes simply record 100,000 votes for Biden and zero for Trump. I just don’t believe that the only people who voted by post were Democrats…

    The reason I don’t want to see Joe Biden as President is because I think it is a way to get Kamala Harris to be President, who absolutely has zero mandate to be President and would probably need to ‘prove herself’ to the repulsive US Establishment, her being female and black and all that. So she might well become a far-right international warmonger of the worst kind.

    What I think is worthy of debate is whether the US electoral system is showing us another of the anomalies that it can throw up, when California has 4 million more votes for Biden than Trump, guaranteeing that Biden wins the popular vote. It is a bit like 40,000 majorities in UK seats, when that majority could be better leveraged being spread between 5 or six other seats. Clearly, the way the US system is set up is to stop California and New York State in effect selecting the President every time and half the rural states of America in effect never having any say at all. But it does mean that, like in the UK, that some votes are more important than others. You can of course see a slow movement toward an ‘independent California’ emerging, though whether a Calexit Prop will ever be put before California citizens is certainly not a probability, let alone a certainty.

    What I think Mr Murray might like to ponder on is why he expects workers in the oil and gas industries, and all the industries whose jobs depend on oil and gas products, to be voting for certain unemployment by voting for Biden. Unless Biden was a pathological liar, he intends to destroy the oil and gas industry immediately, not running it down over 20 years to secure a steady transition to alternative energy supplies (which are neither reliable nor efficient at this stage of technological development). It’s all very well working in the media, politics or investment banking, but if your job is on an oil rig, in the fracking industry, in the chemicals industry, you don’t tend to vote for unemployment if you are worthy of having the vote.

    I don’t think either candidate is particularly wonderful, but a lot of Americans are a lot more passionate about Trump than the Democrats are about Biden. The Democrats are far more passionate in their hatred of Trump than they are about any vision of their own for the future.

    My view on life has always been to focus on your own visions and let others worry about theirs.

    I have to say that I have received levels of manure in the UK analagous to the levels Trump got in the US, obviously not being a public figure nor running for office. But having your own visions in the UK is a very dangerous thing to do. You end up showing up jobsworths who feel threatened that you might want their job and you have the ammo to actually be worthy of it. Actually, my visions were often used more to stimulate debate than to be the finished article, but if people have never framed a vision ever themselves, they can’t always tell the difference between a draft and a final document.

    I personally think that Trump is the less bad option of the two and the more worthy victor based on competence, healthiness and leadership skills.

    And as I have mostly been an outsider pissing in in Establishment terms, he is more my kind of person than a consummate insider like Biden would be.

    • Goose

      The fear tampering with the Electoral College will unravel the whole thing. Like the UK and fears around reforming the absurdity that is the unelected HoL, if you start reforming, why stop?

      The US can never have a true proportionate multi-party system for instance; because before long it’s almost certain you’d get a Californian Independence party and a Texas one, possibly Floridian one too. The whole union would collapse.

      • Tom Welsh

        “The whole union would collapse”.

        That laready happened, in 1861, when all the Southern states agreed to secede and form the Confederate States of America. Lincoln took the view that the right to secede wasn’t enough – you must also be able to win the ensuing war that he started.

        Four years, three quarters of a million dead, and untold chaos and bitterness later, it was established that the Declaration of Independence was nothing but a meaningless piece of paper.

        Rather like the Constitution, in fact.

    • glenn_uk

      There’s nothing “miraculous” about postal votes. Good of you to admit you know nothing about the process, so why don’t you bother finding out before saying something as silly like calling them “miraculous” all the time?

      Maybe if you did look into it, you’d discover that the postal votes are counted after the in-person ballots in a lot of districts. You might even find out they have done that deliberately, to make it look as if there’s some fix going on. You could learn that one party’s voters (Reps) tend to vote in-person, others with a bit more sense want to vote by mail during a pandemic.

      And so on. Alternatively, you could just parrot Trump’s line and declare – without evidence! – that a fraud must be taking place.

      • JohninMK

        There may or may not be fraud but it is certainly easier with postal votes.

        Generally with in person voting ID and a signature is required. With a postal vote the ballot is effectively the ID document as it should have come from a particular elector and it is signed. To confirm it that signature then has to be checked manually against a signature held on file. How is that 100% manual checking possible when faced with a pile that might be 100,000 or even a million postal vote forms? Against a tight deadline and limited rescources..

        This is the first time there has been postal voting at anywhere near this kind of volume levels and there was a major push by the Democrats to achieve it..

  • M.J.

    IMHO Biden has now done it. He’s (probably) got Wisconsin, and tomorrow most likely will incease his lead in Michigan and Nevada because of the majority of Democrats in postal votes. That will give him the 270 electoral college votes he needs to win, and that’s a minimum. So, after all the postal votes are in he may well have a clear-cut victory. Trump & Co may huff and puff but they’ll be wasting their time.

  • willie

    Who knows which front will face up America when the results are declared.

    Frankly, there seems to be little or no difference between the two contenders. But one thing does stand out and that is under Trump there has been no new wars.

    And that, for all his appalling traits, of which he has many, is a very good thing. No new wars. It’s saved millions of lives. And for that, and that alone, it maybe makes Trump the better of the two. At least you know what you get with Trump – and he’s not war – war.

      • Tom Welsh

        No doubt 200,000 people have died. There is no compelling proof that they died of “Covid”, nor even that there is such a disease.

        Funny, though, isn’t it, that 200,000 dead Americans is such a huge tragedy – while 3 million Iraqis killed by Americans is no big deal.

        • glenn_uk

          Try not to be so dense the whole time, Tom. Quarter of a million US dead of C-19 is only deniable by a silly Covid denialist, and 3000 dead in the WTC was treated as the world’s greatest crime at the time, if you remember.

          Nobody here has claimed the Iraqi death count “is no big deal”. That’s called a straw man argument.

          • Stonky

            By the same token, Glenn, “a quarter of a million US dead of C19” is only believable if you’re a silly establishment puppet.

            And Tom didn’t say that anybody at all had “claimed” the Iraqi death count is “no big deal”. I think there are very few people who would actually state that outright. But there are huge numbers of people – including large number of “progressives” on both sides of the Atlantic – who demonstrate by their attitudes and their actions that it is, indeed, for them, “no big deal”.

            I’m thinking for example of the regular encounters I used to have in the Guardian’s CiF columns before I finally quit that vermin-infested sewer. Every time Iraq came up there would be Blairites earnestly informing the community that “before we judge Tony’s legacy, we have to consider all the good things he did in the UK – the schools, the hospitals, Sure Start, single-sex marriage…”

      • M.J.

        But you’re right about war. Trump doesn’t give a cent about the Palestinians or Uighurs, no chance of his fighting for them. Barack would have taken a tougher line, or Hillary for that matter.

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