Category: American Politics

USA settles in for its long ride with the far-right

The recently concluded US midterm elections were supposed to be that nations repudiation of the Trump administration. For nigh on a year the US political media has been hyping up this blue wave, and for three years (since he announced his candidature) have been heaping scorn and ridicule on president Trump. After labelling his administration as a tool of foreign agents, after his blatant racial, religious and xenophobic rhetoric and after his toadying towards the uber-rich one fully expected the Democratic party to win it all. After all the online protests, after all the marches and all of the tears, I expected to wake up on Wednesday to see the Democratic party controlling both sets of the house as well as many local seats.

Sadly, the US media has once again failed to accurately take the pulse of their people and as such the much-hyped Blue wave turned out to be more like a blue drizzle. Instead of the Democratic party cementing both houses and many states, they have been left with a decent (not super) majority in the lower house while losing seats in the upper. Things at the state and local level also mirror the federal level with Democrats and Republicans having about half of the respective seats and governorships up for grabs.

This election far from showing that the American people are sick of the racism, classism, eternal warfare and creeping fascism has shown that they are in fact comfortable in their current situation and simply don’t wish to rock the boat. That may seem a shocking statement, especially as we saw persons protesting spontaneously in defence of the fired AG, but the results of the elections prove the statement correct.

The fact is, after all of the demonising and after all of the media hype, the Democratic party won the lower house with a majority of 32. In other words, with over 400 seats up for grabs, the party representing the far-right barely lost. Put another way, the party which has seen its supporters send out mail bombs and shoot synagogues in the lead up to the elections almost won. Even accepting the fact that there was massive voter suppression, one would think that the masses of persons who oppose far-right principles would flock to the polls thus rendering voter suppression difficult (but not impossible).

Instead, with a fifty-year record turnout for midterm elections, the party representing the far-right sits safely in control of the upper house, real leverage in the lower house and in control of dozens of state capitals. This does not strike me as a people disavowing the far-right, this instead strikes me as a nation comfortable with the rightward drift only wishing to rein in its more unseemly features. The retort may be, ‘but half the electorate stayed home’ and to that, I say that is further proof that the people are simply comfortable.

France in the second round gave the people a choice, the centre-right Macron or the far-right Le Pen. With more than half the electorate staying home the centre-right candidate won, the same thing happened in the local and parliamentary elections, even as Macrons popularity rates plummeted. If given a choice between crypto-fascists and the centre-right, normal people vote in the majority (even if the majority stays home) for the non-fascist. You don’t vote for the far right or enable it by allowing it to keep the upper house etc unless you are comfortable with it and the promises it makes to you.

The levels of comfort could also be seen in the types of candidates which won on the Democratic ticket. These were not men and women who for example stood up and called for an end to the military industrial complex, foreign wars, economic imperialism, the starving in America, the un and underemployed in that nation or the millions who are shafted by the joke of a healthcare law. No, rather than do those things they called for bipartisanship, fence-building and reaching out to the Republicans in the house and the president.

These representatives, after calling the Republican party out for what it is, a bastion for the far-right are seeking to work with it. That alone tells you that the issue is not the far-right and the policies which it brings forth, rather the problem is the face which delivers those policies. Nobody batted an eyelid when Obama suspended posse comitatus (a truly far-right move) and hardly anyone chirped when GW Bush passed the Patriot Act (again something from a far-right dream), nobody cried out when HR Clinton cackled when Gadhafi was murdered so we shouldn’t be shocked that the American people have left their government basically split down the middle.

Both parties and it seems that the voting public in the US are fine and dandy with the far-right. They are comfortable living in a land of racism and anti-Semitism, they revel in the fact that they murder children in schools and patrons at bars. They hoot and holler in joy when their nation holds 25% of the world’s prison population and they find joy in the fact that they cause so much death, destruction and misery around the world.

We who live outside the land of the free must not put our hopes in either the Democratic party or the voting public in the US. Both have no interest in global justice and as has been shown over the past 30 years (and more specifically the last four election cycles) an open fascination for the far-right. Things in that county will get worse before they get better, the Democratic party is too far to the right to be any less reactionary than it already is, what we can only do is sit back, watch, prepare and hope like hell that the majority who do not vote in that nation one day soon wake up and vote in the global interest (which is also their interest too) and seeing as how the latter won’t happen any time soon, I suggest we batten down the hatches as the US gets comfortable in its long ride with the far-right.

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Why the shock with Kanye-Trump summit?

Recently, the record producer/fashion designer/rapper Kanye West met with the president of the US Donald Trump. The meeting which came after Kanye infamously threw support behind him (after the election) has stirred up much controversy, confusion and even hurt amongst both his fans and persons who are close to or involved in the continued civil rights struggle in that country. The usual cries from these people range from the question ‘how can the man who called Bush a racist endorse this man?’ to petty insults along the lines of ‘the man is obviously crazy, see his many breakdowns for proof’.

Such stances, both the question and the statement, reveal to me a level of naivety in the world at large for the answer to the question ‘why is Kanye acting this way’ is hilarious in its obviousness.  Mr West gravitates towards Mr Trump and his ilk simply because they share the same basic core beliefs, they are if I may paraphrase Mr West ‘Kindred spirits’.

What could I mean by that? Simply put, these are two men of the same class, living in the same bubble, interacting with the same people and dealing with the same problems at the end of the day. Problems such as the state (particularly at the federal level) taking away money through taxes. Problems such as poor infrastructure (which rich person wants to travel in a dilapidated airport, and it is the rich, as they are the primary travellers). Problems such as copyright and patent lifespans, so that the holder can live like a rentier.

People are not shocked by Ted Nugent supporting Trump, they are disgusted but not surprised when Rosanne Barr vocally supports Trump, but they draw the line at Kanye. In this instance I have to agree with him, I agree when he says his detractors are ignorant and racist. Racist because they have for the most part bought into the fact that all minorities should vote Democratic and ignorant because they fail to realise that economics and class trumps race any day.

Herman Cain ran in 2012 on the Republican ticket on the far-right fringes, Ben Carson ran in 2016 as a mixture of Christian right and the Chicago school of economics, Nicki Minaj openly supported Mitt Romney in 2012. How many more instances does the public need to understand that just because a person is an ethnic minority does not mean that they are all of a sudden, some bleeding-heart liberal or pre-disposed to progressive revolutionary thinking? Class almost always wins out and shows itself in the end and it has done so here only with the brashness and pomposity of Kanye West.

These uncle-toms (or roast-breadfruit) know full well what they are doing, and they know why they are doing it. They know full well who they are aligning with and they have no problem as it secures their wealth and their place in the class. This can again be seen in the likes of a Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley, both of whom have roots in the sub-continent, both of whom are at the top of the social, political and financial hierarchy and both of whom represented the reactionary wing of the Republican party. The same can be said for the ethnic minorities who are the elected members of the Democratic party, those at the top both socially, financially and politically and who also happen to be on the reactionary end of that party.

This incident to me proves once again that while race is important, the most important thing the most pressing issue is the class issue. Race is sexy, one can easily get agitated and behind the cause or individual because it/they are visible but as seen by the examples laid  out above, if left isolated from the issue of class then one ends up with an Obama in office, Abu-Jammal still in jail and a Bernie Sanders type candidate not getting the support of the minority congressmen and senators whose racial ilk would benefit the most from his policies.

Stop looking solely at an individuals race and start taking into consideration the class aspect as well, once that is done one finds that most actions then make sense and are less surprising. Clinging blindly to race alone, thinking that because you and your potential representative or cultural idol share the same skin tone does not automatically mean that they are on your side. Think of the famous line from Aquemini by Outkast, ‘is every nigger with dreads for the cause?’ and think of its response ‘no’ and use that as one’s mantra. Ask whose interests does this person represent, try delving deeper than the colour of the person’s skin and if I may be crass check out their bank books, that more often than not will give you the true response as it relates to that question.

The NATO disease spreads with its Syria bombing

‘Once more unto the Breach!’ The fact that we are here again witnessing the US, UK and France getting involved in the Middle East is both sad, disgusting, enraging and disheartening. That these nations leaders could decide to return with violence to that region, this time Syria, after all of their costly (in every concept of the word) blunders though in reality is not all that shocking. These persons are, after all, imperialists and they have and will continue to act as imperialists have always done, that is, kill, pillage and enslave/exploit any nation that is weak enough and which has enough of what they want.

That these leaders should want to do these barbaric acts, while disgusting, is not shocking nor is it all that disappointing, what is both shocking and disappointing however is how the majority of persons in those countries are seemingly ok with the actions of their leaders.

Take for example the war in Lybia; Majority of the population of these countries supported that war as some kind of humanitarian intervention, they believed the media hype about battalions raping people and other stories which were propagated by their respective media houses. They were touched when they saw images of the carnage which was taking place as Gaddafi’s planes opened up on the rebels and their strongholds and as such, went to war.

The truth is that while rape did take place -this sick act has always been used in war, no nations army which has fought a major conflict is immune from that charge- there were no battalions raping people (the UN found those reports to be false). The truth also is that while Gaddafi’s planes were effective, he had lost two-thirds of the nation and the army was defecting at a rapid pace. In other words, the need for intervention was not really necessary, but invade they did. As a result, Lybia will probably never be functional again, they have open-air slave markets (way to go Obama), more guns than most places on earth and is a hotbed for the West’s favourite enemies (radical Islamic terrorists).

That these persons, who after the illegal invasion of Iraq swore never again could go to war again on such spurious charges, who can’t state often enough how appaled they are of the goings on in the Mediterranean, can ok this is disgusting and surely a bridge too far. It must be clear now that the majority of persons in those nations really have no problem with the murderous, imperialist actions of their governments.

Sure, massive amounts of persons protested in 2003 against the then looming invasion of Iraq, but opinion polls consistently showed the majority of persons believing the blatant and obvious lies which were called intelligence. Sure, persons tweeted that the Obama administration should not destroy Lybia, but the polls showed that the majority again supported the bombing. It seemed that sanity was somewhat restored to those peoples in 2013 when in an overwhelming show of force stayed the hand of both the British and American war-machines, but it is clear now that this incident was a one-off, a flash in the pan. Here we are, witnessing massive support in those nations for a military foray abroad.

It is not inconceivable that Assad would gas his own people, leaders do crazy things all the time. However, does it not strike these people as odd that the bombs should start falling hours before OPCW personnel were to arrive to investigate? Does it not strike anyone as weird that this took place shortly after consulting the Noble House of Saud (mortal enemies of Assad)? That these people have fallen for the Iraq style lie (in shiny new clothes and a new tailor) after only fifteen years -and shortly after the anniversary to boot- can only point to the population of those countries either just not giving a damn or supporting the aggression.

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Some may say ‘Isn’t it a bit harsh to blanketly label all those citizens as disgusting?’; To that, I say no. Those persons who marched on the streets in ’03 voted for Obama in 2012 (after he had merrily expanded the US military theatres of operation) and are the same ones (for the most part) crying that a tried and tested warmonger lost to an un-tested warmonger. These people who marched in ’03 voted for Sarkozy, Hollande, Blair, Cameron and May, persons who do nothing but epitomise the concept of imperialism and global domination, in doing that they show their hand and whose side they are truly on.

The people of those nations, the powers of the world who are using the Middle East and the rest of the global south as some sort of chess board or wholesale where they can pick up resources on the cheap, are just as culpable for the devastation meted out to the third world as their governments. If they wish for those accusations to stop, if they truly wish that every time they go to those nations they aren’t met with bile and suspicion then they must change how their governments act. Those persons who yearn for the third world to rise up and shake off the imperialist yoke need to do their job in their imperialist nations to bring it down or admit that they are not only benefiting from these imperial ventures but actually endorse them.

The third world has long tired of your belated sympathy and 20/20 hindsight realizations that your actions were counterproductive, it does not take a genius to realize that to respond to a man ‘gassing his own people’ by bombing heavily populated areas makes no sense.

Again this is no apology for Assad who has done ill to certain segments of the population, but the masses are within his control (territory controlled by the SAA consists of over 70% of the Syrian population and grows as persons flee rebel-held territory) and voted for him and the US and her NATO allies have no mandate to be there. So for her citizens to bay for the blood of Assad or the new Public Enemy number one I say you support Imperialism and all it means, and to those who sit at their keyboards typing in angst thinking they are subverting their state you need to get a clue. You are part of the problem and will continue to be part of the problem until you wake up and see that your respective nations foreign policy hasn’t really changed that much from the nineteenth century for the Europeans and the Twentieth century for the US.

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How quickly we forget: The whitewashing of Americas past presidents

How quickly we forget: The whitewashing of Americas past presidents

They say time heals all wounds, they also say that persons tend to romanticize things from the past. We see this everywhere and with all people, in Jamaica, we gripe and mourn the good old days just before independence when everything was ‘hunky-dory’ and in the US they gripe and hark back to the glory days of the 50’s when ‘life was simpler and America ruled unchallenged’. Sadly, instead of healing wounds, it is my belief that time actually blinds us to the negativities of the past, especially as we try to come to terms with the shocking new day.

This can be summed up neatly with (I do apologize as I know he has been spoken of many times before) what is going on with Donald Trump. Now it is hardly news that Mr Trump rubs people the wrong way and that his policies, political actions and rhetoric put (if I may be frank) the fear of imminent death (by blunder) in people while also bringing out a deep visceral hate that the world has for these types of leaders. But this fear and rabid hatred for the current president has led to (what is in my eyes anyway) a shocking revision of how the US views the immediate past presidents.

The reaction of the American media post-Trump has been one of fawning for and the total revision of the immediate past presidents. We hear them yearn for the days for example when America disavowed and disowned bullies, the quotes from one previous president that they brought out to show Mr Trump what a statesman looks like were “Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children,”Sound and cogent words, a shame it came from Bush 43 of Iraq 2.0 fame, the man who used the bully pulpit so well to not only push for an illegal war on nonexistent charges but who also ok’d the leaking of the name of Ms Plame, a covert intelligence agent whose husband happened to disagree with the basis for the war. How the media can trot out Mr “if you’re not with us or against us” as an example of presidential decorum would be hilarious if it were a script, it reads more of a tragedy in reality.

In a further attempt to show Mr Trump for what he is, they call him (rightfully) a liar, call him someone who obfuscates and avoids actual answers (again true). To show us the people what a real president looks like, they bring out Mr William Jefferson Clinton III, the charmer himself. Who best to (poke fun at) and lecture the world on alternate facts than Mr Alternate Facts himself, for who could forget “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”? Lest we forget, that was a lie, so unnecessary and yet so big that it led in no small part to his impeachment. To bring this man out to act as some paragon of truth, the man who stated that NAFTA would have a net benefit for the US when all available information was to the contrary tells us what the US institution thinks of the American people, and what they think is not polite.

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It is obvious that most of the US public does not like the current president, but to then say that ‘G.W. Bush was a saint in comparison’ smacks of stupidity. To say that Mr Trump in his year in office has done anything earth shattering or out of the ordinary for an American president is silly and a total lie, it has been par for the course so far. What has been different is that he and his administration no longer put on pretences and lie. No more ‘nation-building’ no more ‘promoting democracy’ both of which were fallacies, now we have the truth, ‘give me your oil’ and ‘strength and stability’, and that removal of a carefully constructed mask is what has really thrown the American media into such a hissy fit.

The U.S establishment is in turmoil and it is hilarious to watch. The constant revision of history is taking place at such a pace that the actors can’t seem to keep up at times (as was seen when Al Franken ‘fell on his sword’) and is so muddled that one can’t help but think that the farce can’t hold for much longer. With the love for traditional Democratic and Republican politicians still at an all-time low and with the people still thoroughly turned off with what passes for news (which is nothing but tearing a person down and not addressing the system that brought it forth) it is only a matter of time before Americans look for something more radical than Trump. Then the liberal class in America will only have themselves to blame as they would have bigged up and praised what can only be called savage wolves in sheep’s clothing while demonising a person just as savage, only more visibly a vicious beast.