Reuters Poll Shows 51% of Americans Think Primary Process is “Rigged” – Here’s Why It Matters

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Reuters/Ipsos recently conducted a poll in which it asked Americans whether the primary process for choosing presidential candidates was rigged. Here’s what they found:

More than half of American voters believe that the system U.S. political parties use to pick their candidates for the White House is “rigged” and more than two-thirds want to see the process changed, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The results echo complaints from Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders that the system is stacked against them in favor of candidates with close ties to their parties – a critique that has triggered a nationwide debate over whether the process is fair.

Trump has repeatedly railed against the rules, at times calling them undemocratic. After the Colorado Republican Party awarded all its delegates to Ted Cruz, for example, Trump lashed out in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, charging “the system is being rigged by party operatives with ‘double-agent’ delegates who reject the decision of voters.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has dismissed Trump’s complaints as “rhetoric” and said the rules would not be changed before the Republican convention in July.

Some 51 percent of likely voters who responded to the April 21-26 online survey said they believed the primary system was “rigged” against some candidates. Some 71 percent of respondents said they would prefer to pick their party’s nominee with a direct vote, cutting out the use of delegates as intermediaries.

The results also showed 27 percent of likely voters did not understand how the primary process works and 44 percent did not understand why delegates were involved in the first place. The responses were about the same for Republicans and Democrats.

Many people will read this and say, so what? Everyone knows it’s rigged? To that I would say, not quite.

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Could Trump Beat Clinton in New York? Yes.

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One thing Clinton supporters remain in complete denial about (other than the fact most Americans who don’t identify as Democrats find her to be somewhere in between untrustworthy and criminal), is that a significant number of Sanders supporters will never vote for Hillary. Forget the fact that I know a few personally, I’ve noticed several interviews with voters who proclaim Sanders to be their first choice but Trump their second. Are they just saying this or do they mean it? I think a lot of them mean it.

– From the post: Why Hillary Clinton Cannot Beat Donald Trump

I continue to see Hillary Clinton as one of the most overrated political figures in American history, and Donald Trump as one of the most underrated. This is why I think “the experts” are wrong about the outcome of a potential Clinton vs. Trump showdown in the general election.

Hillary’s weaknesses are obvious. I’ve highlighted new shameless transgressions or scandals on these pages virtually every day for several months now. Furthermore, the fact that the grassroots campaign juggernaut known as the Sanders movement seemingly came out of nowhere, proves there’s a huge ideological vacuum on left just asking to be filled in light of Clinton’s neoconservative candidacy.

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Contest Announced – Win $1,500 for Most Offensive Limerick Mocking Turkish President Erdogan

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The EU is turning a blind eye to an opposition crackdown in Turkey that’s polarizing society and complicating efforts to find a political solution to the nation’s Kurdish conflict, Demirtas said in an impromptu interview en route to Brussels. European leaders are expected to ink an agreement with Turkey on Monday that will offer faster EU membership negotiations and visa-free travel in exchange for stopping refugees from crossing the country to enter Europe.

Demirtas was speaking two days after Turkish government trustees took over one of Turkey’s primary opposition newspapers in a dramatic raid that sparked clashes between protesters and police. The seizure reflects a broader intolerance of dissent that has also undermined the HDP, who are now largely excluded from mainstream media coverage.

On the same day that authorities took control of the Zaman newspaper, European Council President Donald Tusk, who was in Istanbul, tweeted a picture of himself with Erdogan in front of a pair of golden throne-like seats.

It was almost identical to a photo-op with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year, which was around the same time that the EU agreed to Erdogan’s request to withhold a critical report on Turkish democracy until after the general election a few days later.

– From the post: As Turkey Turns Totalitarian, EU Officials Move to Accelerate EU Membership Bid

It’s been really nauseating watching German Chansellor Angela Merkel pander to Turkey’s thin-skinned, petty tyrant of a President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the hopes that he will reduce the flow of refugees into Europe.

By now, you’ve probably all heard about how Merkel cowed to Erdoğan’s demands by allowing the prosecution of a German comedian for the crime of mocking the sensitive strongman. As the Washington Post reported:

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Seymour Hersh – Saudi Government Paid Pakistan to Hold Osama bin Laden to Prevent U.S. Interrogation

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In the aftermath of the most signifiant geopolitical event of my lifetime, the attacks of September 11,2001, the U.S. government proceeded to concoct a fairytale for public consumption in order to advance imperial ambitions overseas and a implement a domestic surveillance state at home. This should be obvious to everyone by now.

The official 9/11 story has been filled with holes since the very beginning, but a traumatized American public was too gullible and emotionally damaged to see them. Those of us who saw such inconsistencies and pointed them out have been derided as “conspiracy theorists” for years, yet fifteen years later, the biggest “conspiracy theory” in modern American history is rapidly becoming conspiracy fact.

At the very least, we now know there was Saudi involvement far beyond just the 15 of 19 hijackers who were Saudi nationals, but that’s still just scratching the surface. Once people come to terms with the fact the tale they’ve been told was completely invented, other obvious questions will have to be asked. Most critically, the question of World Trade Center 7.

As I wrote in the recent post, 60 Minutes Explores the Saudi Links to 9/11 Attacks:

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Hillary Clinton’s Full Speech to Goldman Sachs (Satire)

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Since we’re never going to get to see the full transcripts of Hillary Clinton’s multiple paid-for pandering sessions to Wall Street fraudsters, I bring you the next best thing.

What follows are excerpts from a piece of satirical brilliance composed by K.J. Noh, and published in full at Counterpunch, titled simply: Hillary Clinton’s Speech to Goldman Sachs.

Enjoy it, I sure did:

CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much, Lloyd [Blankfein], and thanks to everyone at Goldman Sachs for welcoming me today. I’m delighted to be back among friends, colleagues, collaborators, supporters, kindred spirits…

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Liberty Links 4/22/16

17 links today. Enjoy.

Clinton Will Hold Fundraiser in Tel Aviv (Very good read, Mondoweiss)

Hillary Clinton on Releasing Wall Street Speech Transcripts (One word: Dishonest, YouTube)

Senior Clinton Aide Tells Reporter: Fuck Bernie (Wait, so who needs to “tone it down?” Gawker)

Ex-BOJ Iwata: BOJ Must Cut Key Rate to -1.0 Percent to Beat Deflation (This man belongs in a mental hospital, Reuters)

What The World Can Learn From Colorado’s Marijuana Experience (Forbes)

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U.S. Suicide Rate Soars in 21st Century – Up 80% For Middle Aged White Women

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Police were also vague about the sign, saying only that it related to “social justice.” Bishop said two others who witnessed the shooting told him that it said, “Tax the one percent,” and that he seemed to raise it just before pulling the trigger.

Jim White was at the Capitol Visitor Center when the announcement of the lockdown came over the loudspeaker. He said there was no panic, just chatter about what could be going on outside. His 1:30 p.m. tour went on as scheduled. The only indication that something was amiss: The tour guide kept stretching and extending his talk.

Bernard called the incident “a bit unfortunate,” especially with all the tourists in town to see the cherry blossoms.

Yes, so unfortunate that someone blowing their brains out potentially due to economic serfdom got in the way of cherry blossom selfies.

– From the post: Illinois Man Commits Suicide in Front of U.S. Capitol Holding a “Tax the 1%” Sign

If you’ve lived life on this planet more than a handful of years, you’ve undoubtedly had your fair share of tough times, some of us more so than others. The fact that you’re here today reading this is a testament to your ability to overcome these struggles, and the experiences these hard times have provided you has shaped the person you are today.

For some people, a combination of life circumstances, mental and emotional difficulties, and lack of support from friends and family can lead to suicide. The thought that some people can become so overwhelmed with hopelessness and desperation they take their own lives is a haunting one.

Sadly, it is undeniable that this reality has become more and more prevalent in America as the 21st century has unfolded, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’ve seen this flare up during a decade and a half characterized by a pummeling of the middle class, a decimation of civil liberties, and the entrenchment of a callous and corrupt political and economic oligarchy.

My heart goes out to the families of all those affected by this growing problem, and those who are currently struggling with suicidal thoughts. Although I can’t relate to such thoughts, I can sympathize.

The Washington Post reports:

The U.S. suicide rate has increased sharply since the turn of the century, led by an even greater rise among middle-aged white people, particularly women, according to federal data released Friday.

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Camille Paglia – “Enough with the Hillary Cult”

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We’re going to war — either hybrid in nature to break the Russian state back to its 1990s subordination, or a hot war (which will destroy our country). Our citizens should know this, but they don’t because our media is dumbed down in its “Pravda”-like support for our “respectable,” highly aggressive government. We are being led, as C. Wright Mills said in the 1950s, by a government full of “crackpot realists: in the name of realism they’ve constructed a paranoid reality all their own.” Our media has credited Hillary Clinton with wonderful foreign policy experience, unlike Trump, without really noting the results of her power-mongering. She’s comparable to Bill Clinton’s choice of Cold War crackpot Madeleine Albright as one of the worst Secretary of States we’ve had since … Condi Rice? Albright boasted, “If we have to use force it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future.”

Hillary’s record includes supporting the barbaric “contras” against the Nicaraguan people in the 1980s, supporting the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia, supporting the ongoing Bush-Iraq War, the ongoing Afghan mess, and as Secretary of State the destruction of the secular state of Libya, the military coup in Honduras, and the present attempt at “regime change” in Syria. Every one of these situations has resulted in more extremism, more chaos in the world, and more danger to our country. Next will be the borders of Russia, China, and Iran. Look at the viciousness of her recent AIPAC speech (don’t say you haven’t been warned). Can we really bear to watch as Clinton “takes our alliance [with Israel] to the next level”? Where is our sense of proportion? Cannot the media, at the least, call her out on this extremism? The problem, I think, is this political miasma of “correctness” that dominates American thinking (i.e. Trump is extreme, therefore Hillary is not).

– From the post: “We’re Going to War” – Oliver Stone Opines on the Dangerous Extremism of Neocon Hillary Clinton

I’ve really enjoyed reading Camille Paglia this election season, and I find her to be one of the most astute cultural and political observers in America today. She also happens to be a wordsmith.

What follows are a few choice excerpts from her latest masterpiece, Enough With the Hillary Cult: Her Admirers Ignore Reality, Dream of Worshipping a Queen:

What is it with the Hillary cult?

As a lifelong Democrat who will be enthusiastically voting for Bernie Sanders in next week’s Pennsylvania primary, I have trouble understanding the fuzzy rosy filter through which Hillary fans see their champion. So much must be overlooked or discounted—from Hillary’s compulsive money-lust and her brazen indifference to normal rules to her conspiratorial use of shadowy surrogates and her sociopathic shape-shifting in policy positions for momentary expedience.

Hillary’s breathtaking lack of concrete achievements or even minimal initiatives over her long public career doesn’t faze her admirers a whit. They have a religious conviction of her essential goodness and blame her blank track record on diabolical sexist obstructionists. When at last week’s debate Hillary crassly blamed President Obama for the disastrous Libyan incursion that she had pushed him into, her acolytes hardly noticed. They don’t give a damn about international affairs—all that matters is transgender bathrooms and instant access to abortion.

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South Carolina Pension Shifts Assets Into “Alternative Investments” – Disastrous Performance Follows

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New York City’s largest public pension is exiting all hedge fund investments in the latest sign that the $4 trillion public pension sector is losing patience with these often secretive portfolios at a time of poor performance and high fees. 

“Hedges have underperformed, costing us millions,” New York City’s Public Advocate Letitia James told board members in prepared remarks.“Let them sell their summer homes and jets, and return those fees to their investors.”

“Hedge funds are charging exorbitant fees for high-risk and opaque investments,” said James.

– From last week’s post: “Let Them Sell Their Summer Homes” – NYC’s Largest Public Pension to Ditch Hedge Funds

One of the largest, most destructive scams I’ve ever come across in the financial sphere (and that’s saying a lot), relates to the purposeful shift of state pension fund assets into opaque, shady, punitive and one-sided relationships with “alternative investment” managers, specifically hedge funds and private equity firms.

But don’t take my word for it, this is what former SEC official, Andrew Bowden admitted back in 2014:

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