The color of power.

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What a horrendous week for New Yorkers. Condolences to those affected by this ghastly Halloween attack. Don’t wait for words of encouragement and sympathy from the big cheese – he’s too busy attacking your senator on Twitter. Literally insult upon injury, but not surprising. It’s also been a pretty rough week in Puerto Rico, still reeling from Hurricane Maria, and of course in Somalia, in the aftermath of that horrific bombing. I could go on, but what’s the point – you know it. Sad thing is, none of these people will get any reasonable amount of moral or material support from the current administration. The reason couldn’t be clearer: too many dark people, and no potential Trump voters.

How low can he go?Not that Somalia has been treated like anything other than a doormat in previous administrations. Trump, though, has singled out Somali refugees in America for criticism, sowing hatred and distrust among his legions. The refugees are black, like the family of La David Johnson, and like the Congresswoman that is a family friend of theirs, and like the football players taking a knee, and … need I go on? Puerto Rico, well … that place is full of dark people too, and so they’re not going to get the kind of help that goes to Florida and east Texas. It just seems like whatever belligerent stand Trump takes, there are dark-skinned people on the other side of it.

I suppose I should consider it fortunate that crypto-racists have a tendency to reveal themselves gradually, however unintentional that process might be. Case in point is Trump’s Chief of Staff, General Kelly, who launched into a gratuitous character assassination attempt on Florida Congresswoman Wilson (hint: she’s African American) using a story that was easily dis-proven, as the event he was describing was captured on video. In remarks to the New York Times, Kelly praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee and opined that the Civil War was the result of a “lack of ability to compromise”. I think Lawrence O”Donnell had it right when he suggested that Kelly – who grew up in the same area of Boston as O’Donnell did – is channeling a racist upbringing in what was a caldron of prejudice against black people, brown people, anyone other than the Scotty B’s of the world.

Let us face it. In this culture, white, heterosexual people are normative; that is the default position. Anyone else needs qualification and justification. So when a crazy cracker shoots up 500 people in Las Vegas, we won’t ask ourselves what the problem is with these rich, white Christians. But when a crazy ass Uzbek mows down a bunch of innocent people for no reason, all Muslims are expected to apologize. That’s a power relationship at work.

luv u,

jp

Debtors and lenders.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Political Rants

We’re watching as the richest country in Europe (a.k.a. Germany) is pressuring one of the poorest countries in Europe (a.k.a. Greece) to accept an even deeper regime of austerity than what they have endured up to now, with massive unemployment, economic contraction, and increasing (not decreasing) debt. This is a political effort, not an economic one. Economically it makes no sense; crushing the Greek economy will only harm the Eurozone. The German chancellor is playing to a domestic constituency convinced that Greeks deserve more punishment because they are bad, lazy, corrupt, etc. That’s a deeply nationalist attitude, and I don’t know about you, but German nationalism makes me a little nervous.

Guess which evildoer the Greeks are equating with the GermansThe irony, of course, is astounding. When it faced crisis in the early 1950s, Germany’s creditors – including Greece – agreed to write off 50% of its debt and postpone the other half, allowing Germany to pay it back on a 30-year schedule. Pretty decent terms, considering how Germany acquired much of its debt … namely destroying an entire continent, killing millions, and brutally occupying much of Europe – again, including Greece. Ancient history? Only to American news outlets like NPR’s Morning Edition, where this week correspondents snickered about how Greeks see one German official as a kind of “Darth Vader” figure. (Note to NPR: does Darth Vader’s helmet remind you of anything? Is it possible the Greeks are equating the Germans more with – I don’t know – the murderous German occupiers of the 1940s than with the cartoonish pop-culture Nazi knock-off from Star freaking Wars?)

Then there’s Puerto Rico. Another debt crisis, with no sign of assistance forthcoming from its overlords in Washington. The back story on this is instructive. Puerto Rico has very little room to maneuver economically. It doesn’t control its own shipping. Goods shipped to the island from any nation must first make for Florida and be transferred to American ships before they can be unloaded in Puerto Rico. Just listen to this interview of Nelson Denis on Sam Seder’s Majority Report podcast for the full story of how this island has been screwed by the U.S. again and again. Though it sounds depressingly familiar, I had not heard this history before.

There’s such a thing as odious debt. We just need to recognize that fact and allow countries that have been skull-fucked by us and our allies to start with a clean slate.

luv u,

jp