Category Archives: Politics

Quote of the day: Dangerous political nostalgia


A resurgent far right is gaining power not just in the U.S. but in other nations as well, promising a return to a past golden age.

Samuel Earle, freelance writer and recent masters graduate from the London School of Economics, writes about the dangers of that nostalgia in an essay for Jacobin:

On the surface, conjuring up a happier past may seem benign. But much of today’s nostalgia comes with its own set of noxious side effects. The bonds between those who belong to the remembered time are strengthened — they all feel at home — while for those who do not, their separation becomes all the more pronounced.

Only through the marginalization of others — foreigners, immigrants, LGBTQ people, all those who “don’t belong” — can the reactionary nostalgists turn their remembered past into a site of empowerment. To turn back the clock, others must be turned out. With little else to latch on to, excluding others makes their past feel all the more precious, a thing that can truly be claimed as their own.

This is the dark irony beneath the nativist’s angry refrain to the immigrant “Go back to where you came from”: it is the xenophobe who, more than anyone, wants to go back to where they came from — to an imagined, pure point of origin, a moment in history where their country was a homogenous mass. The racist, like all great nostalgists, is homesick for a home they never had.

This nostalgia, and its dark underbelly, will be a difficult beast to reckon with. While the future can be fought over and the present is there to take or leave, the past can be — may always be — whatever we want it to be.

Headlines of the day II: Slouching toward Bethlehem


Two headlines form the London Daily Mail, starting with this:

More than 2.5 MILLION people across the U.S. march against President Trump with millions more showing solidarity across the world

  • More than 2.5million people across the U.S. took to the streets for the Women’s March against Trump during his first full day in office with millions more around the globe demonstrating
  • One million of those alone gathered in the new president’s backyard in Washington DC on Saturday
  • The Women’s March on Washington is expected to be largest inauguration-related protest in US history
  • More people are believed to be on the National Mall for the DC march than came for Trump’s inauguration
  • In total there are 600 sister marches throughout the country and across the world

And then this, starring the Material Girl:

Secret Service WILL investigate Madonna after singer says she wants to BLOW UP the White House in expletive-filled rant at women’s march

  • The Secret Service has allegedly said it will open an investigation into Madonna after her DC speech
  • The pop icon said she’d thought a lot about ‘blowing up the White House’
  • An estimated one million people participated in the Women’s March on Washington in DC on Saturday 
  • There were also 600 sister marches throughout the country and across the world
  • Pink p***yhats – knitted beanies with cat ears – became the accessory of the march in reference to Trump’s quote ‘grab her by the p***y’ 
  • America Ferrera, Scarlett Johnasson, Michael Moore and Alicia Keys also spoke at the DC event 
  • Their speeches were a call of action to the crowd, asking them to run for office, fight for reproductive rights
  • However, Ashley Judd and Madonna raised eyebrows with their controversial contributions 
  • Judd read a poem saying Trump has ‘wet dreams  infused with his own genes’

Graphic Representation: Echoes of a fascist past


We begin with a militant two-word theme sounded in Donald Trump’s inaugural address [emphasis added]:

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. America first.

It’s a theme deftly captured by the editorial cartoonist for the Philadelhpia Daily News:

Signe Wilkinson: Donald Trump inauguration

blog-t-signe

And for a look at that phrase’s deep roots, here’s are two ominous historical parallels via Russel Neiss from Dr. Seuss [Theodor Geisel] during his years as an editorial cartoonist, starting with a 1939-40 depiction of the powerful Hitler-endorsed isolationist, racist, and religiously intolerant America First lobby.

The communists are included because they also held to an isolationist policy toward Europe because of the Hitler/Stalin non-aggression pact, an agreement that last from August 1939 to June 1941, when Hitler unleashed his military against Stalin’s unprepared forces:

blog-t-seuss-2

The second image comes from later in 1941, with the communists now on the warpath and on the outs with America First following the invasion:

blog-t-seuss
Birgitta Jónsdóttir tweeted Trump’s personal America First policy:

blog-t-shirt

The original America First legions disbanded after the Japanese aerial attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor.

Bur during their heyday, celebrity icon aviator Charles Lindbergh was a prominent spokesperson, earning the Hitler regime’s highest award for a non-German citizen.

The movement also had one of the nation’s most powerful news empires as an outlet, with the papers and radio stations of William Randolph Hearst the predecessors of the Fox News propaganda machine.

Other graphic commentaries on TrumpAmerica™

We begin with a take on inaugural actions with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Mike Luckovich: UUGE!

blog-t-lucko

Another take on the protests from the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Joel Pett: Grab them by their convictions

blog-t-pett

And from the Guardian, another take on the inaugurations:

Martin Rowson: The presidential inauguration

blog-t-guardian

From the Charlotte Observer, avarice triumphant:

Kevin Siers: Populist POTUS

blog-t-siers

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

Clay Bennett: President Trump

blog-t-bennett

Next, sealing the death with the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Steve Breen: A change of logos

blog-t-breen

From the Washington Post, Venn to begin?:

Tom Toles: The Trump administration will operate like a web-based company

blog-t-toles

Finally, the Minneapolis Star Tribune offers a modest proposal:

Steve Sack: Tweet inhibition

blog-t-sack

Chart of the day: Murdoch’s machine dominates


Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News gave us President Pussygrabber.

From a new survey from the Pew Research Center [click on the image to enlarge]:

blog-media

Headline of the day: They’re voting with their feet


From the McClatchy Washington Bureau:

Huge turnout for women’s march dwarfs Trump inauguration crowd

  • Hundreds of thousands of people streamed into the nation’s capital Saturday to attend a massive march in support of women’s rights and civil rights, the largest of dozens of marches in the United States and around the world that signaled the rocky road ahead for President Donald Trump a day after his inauguration.
  • Washington’s public transportation system nearly ground to a halt as heavy crowds massed toward the Women’s March on Washington on the National Mall, the largest inauguration-related march in U.S. history.
  • Throngs joined marches and rallies in Boston, New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver and dozens of other U.S. cities, and women’s rallies also unfolded in global capitals like London, Paris, Sydney, Ottawa and Nairobi. Estimates of the worldwide turnout topped 2.5 million people.

Quote of the day: The rush to kiss Trump’s ass


The day Littlefingers became president of the united States also brought down the curtain on the 2017 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, the gathering of 2,500 leading corporate moguls, banksters, elected officials, economists, celebrities [George Clooney attended this year], and media figures in the elite Swiss resort town of Davos.

One of those in attendance was former World Bank Chief Economist, U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Harvard University President Lawrence Summers, a man who played a central role in the deregulation of American banking and the unleashing of the derivatives market.

In of the other words, he bears much of the responsibility for bringing on the Crash of 2008 and the ongoing global Great Recession.

But even he abhors the rush to embrace President Pussygrabber by his fellow Davos elites, as he writes in Financial Times [subscription only]:

I am disturbed by (i) the spectacle of financiers who three months ago were telling anyone who would listen that they would never do business with a Trump company rushing to praise the new administration; (ii) the unwillingness of business leaders who rightly take pride in their corporate efforts to promote women and minorities to say anything about presidentially sanctioned intolerance; (iii) the failure of the leaders of global companies to say a critical word about US efforts to encourage the breakup of European unity and more generally to step away from underwriting an open global system; (iv) the reluctance of business leaders who have a huge stake in the current global order to criticise provocative rhetoric with regard to China, Mexico or the Middle East; (v) the willingness of too many to praise Trump nominees who advocate blatant protection merely because they have a business background.

>snip<

My objection is not to disagreements over economic policy. It is to enabling if not encouraging immoral and reckless policies in other spheres that ultimately bear on our prosperity. Burke was right. It is a lesson of human experience whether the issue is playground bullying, Enron or Europe in the 1930s that the worst outcomes occur when good people find reasons to accommodate themselves to what they know is wrong. That is what I think happened much too often in Davos this week.

Peña plunges, crime rises, woes, and a win


A summary of events south of the border. . .

Peña plunges in the polls

The digits are so low he’d envy Trump’s numbers.

From teleSUR English:

Only 12 percent of Mexicans approve of the performance of President Enrique Peña Nieto, a new poll by newspaper Reforma found Wednesday, the lowest approval rating for a Mexican president since the paper began polling in 1995. At the beginning of his term in December 2012, Peña Nieto had a 61 percent approval rating.

His approval ratings hit a record low this month following the economic crisis and accusations of corruption, human rights violations and plagiarism. Most recently, his decision to raise gas prices by 20 percent has caused deadly riots and looting across the country.

The poll also shows 27 percent of voters favor the opposition leftist Morena party of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in next year’s presidential election, compared with 24 percent for the conservative National Action Party and only 17 percent for Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.

The discontent with the ruling party also comes with the president’s decision to ignore public opinion claims regarding issues like the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students and the mounting human rights violations during his administration.

Peña Nieto and his political allies have been plagued by corruption allegations throughout his tenure while Mexico has endured escalating rates of violence, drug trafficking and forced disappearances.

More murders, this time in Cancun

Cartel violence is claiming bodies in a favorite venue for young U.S. tourists.

From El País:

Two shootouts in two days this week that left nine people dead and at least 15 people injured have shattered the calm of Cancún, threatening the beach resort’s position as the jewel in the crown of Mexico’s tourism industry.

On Monday, a man opened fire in the Blue Parrot nightclub in nearby Playa del Carmen, which was hosting the BPM electronic music festival. Five people died, among them a Canadian, US national and an Italian, and 15 were wounded in the attack, footage of which was posted on social networks.

The following day, armed men attacked the State Attorney General’s office in Cancún, killing a policeman. Four of the attackers were gunned down and five others arrested.

Security analyst Alejandro Hope says that the incidents were a spillover from mounting tension between criminal gangs fighting for control of the drugs trade, extortion and other illegal activities in the area.

“Things have been getting worse for several months; last summer there were attacks on massage parlors and brothels, but this has made the news because the shootout took place at an international event and there were foreign victims, while the attack on the State Attorney’s office is a direct challenge to authority,” he says.

TrumpOnomics™ worries in Mexico

And it’s not the cost of the wall that’s the biggest concern.

It’s jobs.

From teleSUR English:

Concerns about the policies to be pursued by the incoming Trump administration have caused a freeze on new investment in maquiladoras on the Mexican side of the border, where thousands of workers in that industry face an uncertain future.

Case in point is Ciudad Juarez, a city across from El Paso, Texas, where the first of the maquiladoras — plants where goods are assembled for export — was installed in 1968 and the maquila industry accounts for more than 60 percent of the local economy.

Trump, who takes office Friday, has said he will impose tariffs of up to 35 percent on U.S. companies who move operations to Mexico with the idea of selling their products back to the U.S. market.

Amid pressure by Trump, Ford made a surprise announcement early this year that it would cancel plans for a US$1.6 billion plant in Mexico and instead invest that money in Michigan.

That would mark an abrupt shift away from the current climate of virtually tariff-free U.S.-Mexico trade for qualifying goods under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which the president-elect says must be renegotiated.

Mass movement halts water privatization

Delightful!

And exemplary.

From teleSUR English:

A privatizing water law in the Mexican state of Baja California was repealed Tuesday following mass demonstrations against further privatization.

The state’s Governor Francisco Vega issued the decree Tuesday but would not answer press questions, only stating that the decision will benefit the people of Baja California.

The head of Infrastructure and Urban Development Edmundo Guevara, who was the main target of protests for proposing to privatize potable water services, was also in attendance.

Meanwhile, protesters are blocking state facilities in the state capital to demand the resignation of the local president and the deputies who voted in favor of the water law.

They also demanded the state eliminate the gas tax and immediately pay salaries and benefits kept from state employees.