CounterPunch shows us the heart of Clinton’s politics. It’s not pretty.

Summary: The campaign lurches along as a sequence of surprises that hide more of the same. Neither party learns from their mistakes. The Democrats’ convention in Philadelphia show their use of smears and professionally-run spectacles to avoid meeting the challenge posed by Trump’s issues. It might work in 2016. I doubt it will work as a long-term strategy.

Campaign 2016 on The Simpsons

The Democrats and their journalist fans report a remarkable convention in Philadelphia. The polls will show the public’s reaction. But there is another story competing for attention, and might overshadow the convention: Trump is an agent of Putin — rapidly mutating into the equally bizarre Trump committed treason story. These follow campaigns to convince us that Trump is Hitler, Trump is a fascist, Trump is an authoritarian, and Trump is a pervert. All flops, during which Trump has gained in the polls.

These demonstrate the desperation of Democrats, attempting to delegitimize Trump and avoid debate of his key issues: immigration, globalization, and populism. So they attempt to make Campaign 2016 a festival of smear and emotions. So far it is not working. It should not work.

More good news. If we avoid getting caught up in the excitement of clickbait news, we can look beneath the news and learn much. The Democrats’ and Republicans’ campaigns show their values and methods — telling us what we can expect from the winner. CounterPunch has provided much of the best campaign analysis, As in this look at Clinton…

The Humiliation Games: Notes on the Democratic Convention

By Jeffrey St. Clair at CounterPunch

The big news of the morning was the vindication of a ground-breaking story that Margaret Kidder wrote for CounterPunch several months ago. Buried inside the 20,000 DNC emails released by Wikileaks were documents confirming a tricky financial scam orchestrated by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, whereby money that was meant for state Democratic parties was re-routed to the Clinton machine in order to evade campaign finance laws, thus making a mockery of Hillary’s recent pledge to get the Big Money out of politics.

We published Kidder’s explosive piece on the first of April and it spread like lightning across the Net. …The Clinton machine shifted into attack mode, their default position. The Clinton trolls first started rumors that the story was an April Fools Day prank. When that attack floundered, the Clinton slime operation set their sights on the author. The article was written by Margot Kidder, the actress, they said with misogynistic condescension. You know, Lois Lane. You can’t trust her. She had mental health issues. So much for feminism. This kind of viciousness is standard operating procedure in Clintonworld.

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The third wave of Jihad begins. We will soon see its power.

Summary: Jeremy Harding at the LRB looks at the next big step by jihadists, and the amazing oddity of the West’s response.

Islamic Jihad



Modern jihad has gone through several phases, each stronger and more virulent than the predecessor. First came Afghanistan’s Mujahideen, who burned out in internecine conflict (defeated by the Tailiban). Al Qaeda came next, destroyed in the years after 9/11. Then came ISIS, now being destroyed after its premature shift to phase three insurgent operations (per Mao’s schema: holding territory and waging conventional warfare). Now jihad takes a new step, resuming phase two operations (terrorism) — but expanding their operations into Europe.

We can only guess at what form this will take, and what jihadists learned from their previous failures. Here Jeremy Harding explains this stage in jihad’s evolution, and the great oddity of the West’s response. Red emphasis added.

Third Wave Jihadism?

By Jeremy Harding. Excerpt from London Review of Books. 15 July 2016.
Posted with the author’s generous permission.

Gilles Kepel, a specialist on ‘Islam and the Arab world’, wrote last year in Terreur dans l’Hexagone – a study of French jihadism – that the Charlie Hebdo killings were ‘a sort of cultural 9/11’. The jihadism that we’re now confronted with, he argued, is a third wave phenomenon, superseding the mujahidin in Afghanistan (the first) and emerging in the long twilight of al-Qaida (the second).

“The latest wave is specifically targeted at Europe, with its significant Muslim population (about 20 million in EU countries): the approach is ‘horizontal’, favouring networks rather than cells; disruption, fear and division are the tactics; the radical awakening of European Muslims, many already disaffected and marginal, is the immediate objective. The murders at Charlie Hebdo’s offices and the kosher store in Paris brought the third wave ‘to a paroxysm’, in Kepel’s view, just as 9/11 brought the second ‘to its pinnacle’. At the time of writing, no one has laid claim to the atrocity in Nice: more than 80 dead, 50 hospitalised (‘between life and death’, in President Hollande’s words, earlier today).

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A solid leftist shows why Trump might win

Summary: Trump’s virtual tie with Clinton in the polls baffles the Left. They own writings provide the solution to this puzzle. Trump might win if Clinton shares their thinking. Let’s hope more empathetic voices are heard in her campaign.

The Left’s mantra in Campaign 2016Greatness through righteous

Too see one reason why Trump and Clinton are roughly tied in the polls see “What are the sources of Trump’s support?” by Paul Campos (Prof of law at U CO-Boulder) at Lawyers, Guns, and Money — Excerpt:

“How is it possible that he’s polling even with Clinton at present? Potential explanations, from least to most disturbing:

  1. A general anti-establishment mood in the electorate, that’s hurting uber-establishment candidate HRC. …
  2. Low information partisan responses. …
  3. Hatred of Clinton …25 years of GOP hysteria with its endless fake scandals… misogyny. …
  4. Ethno-nationalist nativism, soft version. ‘I’m not a racist but …’ …
  5. Ethno-nationalist nativism, hard version. ‘I believe in white supremacy. If that makes me a racist then I guess I’m a racist.’”

How wonderful to be so right, and have your political opponents so evil! Campos cannot see even one logical or moral reason to vote for Trump. This is a Manichean world view, a cartoon-like vision of people as good or evil. It’s a feel-good way to lose elections. Building coalitions requires some empathy for people who disagree with you, to identify common beliefs that can be built upon. Calling them ignorant racists gives them as a gift to Trump.

In January Molly Ball at The Atlantic listed some similarities between Sanders and Trump, things that Campos probably agrees with.

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