Category Archives: Politics

Cold War 3.0

Note the way Trump’s speechwriters cram together standard-issue anti-socialism, imperial arrogance, and a full-throated “Israel first” pronouncement.

Two weeks ago, the United States officially recognized the legitimate government of Venezuela and its new President, Juan Guaido. We stand with the Venezuelan people and their noble quest for freedom and we condemn the brutality of their regime whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair.

Here in the United States, we are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence and not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free and we will stay free.

Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country. One of the most complex set of challenges we face and have for many years is in the Middle East. Our approach is based on principle, realism, not discredited theories that have failed for decades to yield progress. For this reason, my administration recognized the true capital of Israel and proudly opened the American embassy in Jerusalem.

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Empire

This is what a modern coup looks like. After decades of relentless demonization, subversion, and economic warfare, the US is trying to force the issue via hostile diplomacy. Look for almost every single Democrat and Republican congressperson to fully support this attack on Venezuela’s sovereignty and the principle of national self-determination. Among US political elites Empire is a bipartisan reflex.

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Continuity (455)

As the Trump administration continues to face widespread backlash over its use of tear gas against Central American asylum seekers at the southern border on Sunday, data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has shone a light on just how common the use of tear gas and pepper spray at the border really is.

In a statement sent to Newsweek on Tuesday, the CBP said its personnel have been using tear gas, or 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS), since 2010, deploying the substance a total of 126 times since fiscal year 2012.

Under President Donald Trump, CBP’s use of the substance has hit a seven-year record high, with the agency deploying the substance a total of 29 times in fiscal year 2018, which ended on September 30, 2018, according to the agency’s data.

https://www.newsweek.com/obama-administration-used-tear-gas-pepper-spray-border-dozens-times-cbp-data-1233255

Cheap Talk (310/415/485)

 

Adolph Reed, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, talks to the Institute for New Economic Thinking about the elections, race, and economic disparities in America.

Lynn Parramore: As the elections approach, media pundits seem focused on the idea that the country is facing a racist and xenophobic breakdown promoted by Trump and the GOP. The Democrats posit themselves as the answer to this threat. What do you make of this framing?

Adolph Reed: Immediately after Trump’s victory, I was particularly struck by the debate over how to interpret the victory. In my mind, this was always a debate over how to respond strategically and point towards the midterms and 2020.

The debate got condensed around the notion that Trump’s victory shows or has spurred a complete breakdown in the country around race and gender and homophobia and nativism. A lot of scholars have done intellectual work purporting to show that the white vote for Trump in 2016 was a reflection of status anxiety rather than economic anxiety. It boggles my mind that people think that it’s possible to separate the two in a neat way. But the big problem all along for those who wanted to push the white supremacist line is those 7-9 million people who voted for Obama and later for Sanders, then voted for Trump. How does racism explain that?

I had a very sharp and studious black undergraduate student wholly inside a race-first understanding of politics. When I mentioned the white people who had voted for Obama once if not twice who also voted for Trump, his response was, well, of course you can’t say that voting for Obama means that you’re not a racist. I said, yes, that’s true, but by the same token you can’t say that voting for Trump means you are a racist, right? Which they don’t want to accept.

 

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