Overseas.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Political Rants

Hmmm… crazy racist grandpa has been mouthing off again. Trump is truly breaking all records in the bigot category, at least with respect to the modern presidency. But I digress.

There has been so much news about various story lines in the Trump scandal that a lot of consequential international news gets blown out of the water. These are extremely volatile times and we would do well to pay closer attention to what’s happening overseas, particularly when our country is playing a significant role in it. Of course, some attention is paid to the Korean crisis, perhaps in part because of the high human stakes involved, but more likely because of the insipid pissing match between Kim Jong Un and our madman president, who is singularly uninformed about the history of that region. Our news media loves pissing matches – so easy to report on.

There he goes again.The two Koreas have taken some tentative steps to de-escalation, and I for one am glad to see that. In fact, I wish they would just bury the hatchet and tell us to take a hike, frankly. But it’s the kind of detente that can easily be upended by a volatile president, and Korea is one of those issues over which even the craziest commander-in-chief can find willing allies in Congress. Israel/Palestine is another. Trump’s policy on Jerusalem is appalling, but it also happens to be the same policy Congress long ago approved and a previous president (Clinton) signed into law. This is a symbolic issue domestically and a very substantive issue internationally; I am guessing that most Americans have no idea what the implications of this policy are, no notion of how large the municipality now called Jerusalem has grown over the past three decades. Underwriting Israel’s unilateral annexation of this city essentially eliminates any chance of a two-state solution, period. Some of my countrymen know this; many more do not, or simply do not care.

Even Trump’s domestic policy, enabled by Congress’s inaction, has international implications. Take his ending of Temporary Protective Status for refugees from El Salvador. There is no way in hell that the husk of a country those people left behind decades ago can absorb 200,000 of them, even if they wanted to go back. Haiti is a similar story. But this is the reality we live in now. This executive policy shatters lives and threatens the stability (to the extent that there is any) of Central America and the Caribbean. Again, Congress could stop this … but does nothing.

Color me disgusted.

luv u,

jp

 

The fence.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Political Rants

A lot of talk the past few weeks about refugees flooding into southern and eastern Europe, mainly people from the hell that is Syria and the catastrophic landscape of post-revolution Libya. First reaction of the right-wing government in Hungary was to thug them with riot police and hastily build a border fence. One of the more memorable videos was the one where Hungarian officials are tossing baloney sandwiches into a corral filled with hungry migrants, including young children. Then there was the Hungarian broadcast journalist who deliberately tripped a fleeing refugee. Nice. People.

Welcome to EuropeThe thing is, you need to listen to their rhetoric. They’re talking about “illegal immigrants”. They’re echoing the applause lines of our own crackpot politicians. No surprise, because we’re witnessing the same experience on our own southern border. People fleeing from the neoliberal aftermath of our bankrupt Central America policy, starting with support for decades of regressive, kelptocratic Mexican governments to our serial interventions in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and elsewhere, pouring into this country in hope of a better life. And we’ve got freaks like Donald Trump calling them rapists, murderers, etc., and not just him. Those Hungarian xenophobes? Turns out, they are us.

The plan to expel something like 11 million people from the United States is, well, something tantamount to ethnic cleansing. It’s clear that a major party candidate advocating racial profiling raises very few eyebrows these days. Take, for instance, Trump’s town hall event this past Thursday, when one attendee called for the expulsion of all Muslims, to which the candidate said he would be looking at this once elected. Really? As Chris Hayes and Charlie Pierce pointed out the other day, this business is like having a wolf by the ears. When you play with racism and xenophobia, it tends to play back … and hard. Easy to lose control of that particular sentiment. There are plenty of historical precedents.

Here we go. I have to say, as someone who watched a good bit of the second Republican debate, we are headed for some very troubled waters. Beware what a nation will do when it’s effectively fear-mongered.

luv u,

jp