Shit show.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Political Rants

This just in: President Trump is a racist. Who could have seen THAT coming? The administration’s childish denials of the President’s “shithole countries” comments, the persistent refrain of “tough language” and swearing all around – all of that belies the reported fact that Trump was bragging about his racist tirade to some of his right-wing allies, a few of which let the story slip. Frankly, I think the administration far prefers the focus on Trump’s verbal diarrhea – it keeps the press from focusing on the underlying issues, which make less compelling television. (It also reinforces Trump’s message to his base that he thinks like they do about dark people, foreigners, etc.)

Trump family reunionThere is also the fact that the President doesn’t understand policy, isn’t interested in it, and is incapable of delving any deeper than the surface of any political issue. He is kind of a blank slate, though he does obviously have deep-rooted visceral prejudices. Third-rate thinkers (and ninth-rate speechwriters) like Stephen Miller can scrawl their alt-right graffiti on the guy and he will repeat whatever they tell him. Retrograde bigots like General Kelly and Tom Cotton guide Trump like he’s their senile uncle. So the President’s feint towards compromise last Tuesday was transformed into the spectacle of last Thursday, when Trump denigrated an entire continent as well as the ex-colony that was a primary source of France’s wealth.

The implicit racism of the administration’s argument on immigration is far more stunning than his gutter rhetoric. They want less people from places like Haiti and Africa (!) and more people from places like Norway; they see this as an argument for a more “merit-based” system, because they can’t conceive of the possibility that people from Haiti or African countries are (a) educated, (b) highly skilled, or (c) industrious. Because they are, well, black, the administration thinks of them as a hoard of hut-dwelling wash-outs in search of free services. That is basically a textbook definition of racism, even without the S-bomb. They have a 1940s cartoon-level conception of these foreign lands and the people that inhabit them, and they use that to add fuel to their fear-mongering.

Let’s face it: immigrants, particularly darker ones, are an easy political target; always have been. I hear people much smarter than Trump employing the same tactics, pointing to crimes by foreign nationals and generalizing select incidents to tar entire populations, an art form mastered by the Nazi propagandists. This kind of hate is our enemy, and we need to fight it on the beaches, in the streets, in the alleys, and in the doorways. We must never surrender to it.

luv u,

jp

Letter rip.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Political Rants

The letter sent to Iran’s leadership by 47 Republican Senators was both condescending and idiotic. It recalled to mind our erstwhile president George W. Bush, an obvious dumb-ass who had an irritating habit of talking down to you. It’s a bit gob-smacking to think of the likes of Tom Cotton schooling Iran’s government ministers – most if not all of whom earned degrees at universities in the west – on the American constitution, but that’s exactly what he and his colleagues attempted. Based on the negative response on this side of the ocean, more than a few of the signers have backed away kind of rapidly. “I sign a lot of letters,” said John McCain. Per Daily Kos, others have suggested this was some kind of big joke. Funny, huh?

Just what we freaking need: McCain 2.0The mainstream media portray this as a kind of battle royale between the President and Congress, Democrats and Republicans, extreme left and extreme right. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the one-party state we call politics, there is a remarkable consensus on the topic of Iran. Both factions – Democrats and Republicans – consider Iran an outlaw state, both insist that it can have no nuclear technology, both blame it for the abysmal state of relations between our countries, both condemn it as a supporter of international terrorism, both repeat the mantra that “all options are on the table” with respect to Iran (a thinly veiled threat that is in itself a violation of the U.N. charter), etc., etc. What separates the two sides is nothing more than nuance.

There are a few real issues that bear on the Iran nuclear negotiations. They’re detailed in the ANSWER coalition’s open letter to Iran, which I have signed and which I encourage you to sign as well. As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran is entitled to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. As cosignatories, we are obliged to respect that and to work towards the ultimate goal of arms reduction. We are doing the exact opposite, investing heavily in the “modernization” of our nuclear arsenal (under a Democratic administration, no less).

What ANSWER’s letter doesn’t go into is the degree to which we have tortured Iran for decades on end, from the overthrow of their democratically elected regime back in 1953, to our 25-year support for the Shah’s murderous reign, to our backing of Saddam’s war against Iran in the 1980s, and on and on.

If this is a dispute, it’s a pretty paltry one. Let’s turn this whole relationship around, finally.

luv u,

jp