Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The next four years

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  • Katharine Moody, in reply to BenWilson,

    I reckon the coup already took place - it was a Wall Street coup. And what Trump's administration does about that will be the test of sincerity in terms of his campaign platform and the reason he won the critical swing states in the electoral college. So I'm watching what the progress is in terms of bringing back Glass-Steagall, and/or amending Dodd-Franks. And the force in favour of retaining the Clinton administration's repeal of Glass-Steagall is strong. Oddly enough, if he really does want to break the back of the Wall Street coup, then Elizabeth Warren is his best friend. Trump during the campaign was in favour of bringing Glass-Steagall back - Mike Pence was not - and hence one of the reasons why the GOP elite got more comfortable with their own candidate once he picked Pence as a running mate.

    So far, Wall Street is undisturbed and romping home in the interim;
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-04/wall-street-vs-main-street-trumplandia

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to BenWilson,

    Thanks for this Ben, I’ve been staggered by the number of threads Godwinned recently, it’s honestly felt like watching an induction ceremony at a Neo-Truthers Convention.

    You’d hope people genuinely serious about the rise of fascism might be a little more focused on things such as Josef Mengele style non-consented sex-change surgery on infants in order to preserve the gender purity of the master races.

    Or any other pertinent comparison, anything at all, occurring in our own damn country.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    So I'm watching what the progress is in terms of bringing back Glass-Steagall, and/or amending Dodd-Franks.

    Trump just said that he wants to repeal Dodd-Franks because lots of his friends can't get loans from the banks.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-dodd-frank-friends-cant-get-loans

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Stephen R,

    As I understand it - Dodd-Franks was a ruse in respect of addressing the Wall Street TBTF coup - and has had unintended consequences elsewhere in the economy - and having had no impact whatsoever on the root of the Wall Street coup - which according to many has to do with the repeal of Glass-Steagall, as Glass-Steagall prevented the merging of commercial and investment banks. Hence why Americans bailed out the bad bets of the investment side of those various commercial and investment banking entities.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Washington: Damn it – he thought he was king.
    In discovering late Friday that as president he's one of three intermeshed branches of government, Donald Trump belittled the jurist who had pulled him up quick-smart, as a "so-called judge" and his ruling that iced Trump's immigration crackdown as "ridiculous."
    But much to their amazement, Trump and the Bannon bunch keep running into this brick wall – it's called American democracy.

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/when-donald-trump-hits-a-brick-wall-called-democracy-he-cant-get-no-satisfaction-20170204-gu5os0.html

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    What's so totally weird is that by the time the stay gets heard by the Supreme Court - the temporary ban would likely have ended. I wonder whether it's more about a struggle between a market globalist worldview - given the evidence of direct business harm as presented to the Judge by Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks seems to have been the basis of his decision to determine the order brought harm to the states) vs the imperialist globalist Trump administration's worldview;

    http://mams.rmit.edu.au/gs97wp2i82aj1.pdf

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to BenWilson,

    The white supremacist elephant in the room that you haven't addressed in your reply is Bannon. Trump is to a certain extent a sideshow clown, a magician's assistant to help with the misdirection. Bannon, and four or five others of a very tight inner circle, are the ones setting the policy and driving things. And they are far more focussed and ideologically nastier than Trump is.

    The much vaunted checks and balances are being put under quite a bit of pressure, and are to a certain extent looking a bit toothless when an entire government deprtment can simply shrug and ignore a federal court order if they don't like it much.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to mark taslov,

    I’ve been staggered by the number of threads Godwinned recently,

    Trump has an inner circle of advistors that, among others with (to put it mildly) somewhat dubious views, includes a literal white supremacist.

    Does that not cause you any concern at all? Or are you all 'she'll be right, mate. Long way away. Nothing to do with me'? It's The Kiwi Way, after all

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Does that not cause you any concern at all?

    Is there a middle option available? I see white supremacy everywhere I look.

    Average (median) wealth for Māori in 2010 was about $18,750, far less than the $125,500 for Pākehā. This reflects the historical alienation of Māori land and assets, as well as other factors. Average wealth for Pacific peoples was lower still, at $8,500.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Compulsive liars shouldn’t frighten you. They can harm no one, if no one listens to them. Compulsive believers, on the other hand: they should terrify you. Believers are the liars’ enablers. Their votes give the demagogue his power. Their trust turns the charlatan into the president. Their credulity ensures that the propaganda of half-calculating and half-mad fanatics has the power to change the world.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/05/donald-trump-lies-belief-totalitarianism?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=211812&subid=7516316&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to mark taslov,

    I see white supremacy everywhere I look.

    Within the context of this particular thread, dealing as it is with:

    1) the current administation of the USA.

    2) the fact one of the President's closest advisors is a White Supremacist (a phrase that has a specific meaning completely separate from issues of systematic in-built inequalities and white privilege, especially as those relate to a small pacific island country 10,000 Km from the continental US).

    Your comment does rather beg the question: So fucking what?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Rich Lock,

    I hope this might provide some perspective:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/16/politics/white-nationalists-trump-losing-faith/

    As the second paragraph of that Wikipedia entry you linked to clearly states:

    The term is also typically used to describe a political ideology that perpetuates and maintains the social, political, historical and/or industrial domination by white people (as evidenced by historical and contemporary sociopolitical structures such as the Atlantic slave trade, Jim Crow laws in the United States, and apartheid in South Africa).

    I may have misinterpreted, but is “So fucking what?” a response to this more palatable form of white supremacy? I’m not being facetious, it’s a serious question, because being genuinely concerned about card carrying white supremacists and yet nonplussed by actual white supremacy itself strikes me as a dangerous contradiction.

    Today we remember the signing of the treaty. That means as many things to as many people and is often a source of conflict for obvious reasons – none less so than this insidious form of white supremacy it ushered in. For those of us whose ancestors – both Maori and Pakeha – were on these islands before the signing of that treaty, it’s difficult to ignore that this idea – an idea latterly named “New Zealand” is essentially a white supremacist ideology, albeit a white supremacist ideology corralled not by self-proclaimed white supremacists but by representatives of the British Crown, people cut from the same fabric as those that enacted the genocide of 95,000,000 to 114,000,000 Native Americans, snipped from the same Hessian fibre as those that have enacted the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern civilians this century.

    Russell’s original post – which is awesome – wasn’t specifically dealing with The USA’s internal situation but also the impact that Trump’s administration might have globally. Of the 7 billion people currently on the planet, in almost any country you’d care to name, very few need reminding about white supremacy and the impact it continues to have on their lives.

    About 8 years ago you and I had a debate on the merits of democracy based on Winston “One may dislike Hitler’s system and yet admire his patriotic achievement.” Churchill’s quote:

    ’Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.’

    I thought you made a fairly compelling argument at the time and It informed my thinking to the extent that as long as their democratic checks appear to be functioning, it remains very difficult for me to split hairs between the gamut of racist ideologies on offer in the 21st century.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to mark taslov,

    “New Zealand” is essentially a white supremacist ideology, albeit a white supremacist ideology corralled not by self-proclaimed white supremacists but by representatives of the British Crown, people cut from the same fabric as those that enacted the genocide of 95,000,000 to 114,000,000 Native Americans, snipped from the same Hessian fibre as those that have enacted the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern civilians this century.

    There's a more colloquial term for them 'power and control freaks'. their arse-aholic religion helped/helps them. It a flaw in us all-not a design flaw- we werent designed, tho we have proclivities toward seeing events from our perspective first, and not seeing other perspectives very well or at all. And then to self justify. To not do that takes effort.
    But in this era, such deserve no leeway.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Bannon, and four or five others of a very tight inner circle, are the ones setting the policy and driving things.

    They are, and they're definitely dangerous, don't get me wrong. But they're not even near Nazi levels of organized bastardry. Of course we don't want them to get anywhere near that, but until the first credible political murder is conducted by their gang, I don't have grave fears for the collapse of the political order in the US. And of course that is a threshold that it will be incredibly hard to get away with.

    Hitler was organizing shit like that in the early 20s.

    This is more like a Berlusconi style despotism. Corrupt, nepotistic. But not really outright fascist. It's not a good place to be, admittedly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to mark taslov,

    I may have misinterpreted, but is “So fucking what?” a response to this more palatable form of white supremacy? I’m not being facetious, it’s a serious question, because being genuinely concerned about card carrying white supremacists and yet nonplussed by actual white supremacy itself strikes me as a dangerous contradiction.

    In my opinion, making the distinction is crucial.

    On one hand we have political and economic systems which inherently advantage one group (in this case, straight white males) over anyone else who isn't in that group, and which are generally (generally) that way for cultural/historical reasons rather than any in-built design.

    On the other, we have an ideology that literally believes that certain groups are less than human because of quirks of their DNA.

    One thing that comes across from interviews with Trump voters (such as for example mrs tattoed and employed from this article) is that they consider certain things to be settled: "[the womans march] was the stupidest thing ever because some were saying they’re being treated unequally. Women can stand up and go after what they want. Men aren’t standing in the way ”.

    This type of argument comes up repeatedly: 'why are black peple still protesting? We're all equal now. Why are women still protesting? They have the same opportunities as men. Why are gay people moaning about which bathroom they have to use? They can get married now'.

    The crucial point is that by and large, very few people in the general population are arguing that women shouldn't have the same opportunities, that black and hispanic people shouldn't have the same opportunities, etc. On a philosphical level, those battles have to a large extent been won. They aren't arguing that those things shouldn't exist, they think they're already there and they can't understand why people are still complaining. That makes them persuadable - there's a good chance they'd be relatively open to a decent argument and facts about inherent bias, privilege, patriachy, yadda yadda.

    On the other hand, how do you even start to talk to someone who is A-OK with genocide?

    It absolutely suits someone like Bannon to blur the distinction, because it keeps the people that could be swayed, from hearing the arguments that might change their minds (it's all just liberal lefty PC-gone-mad crap, innit? Why is this guy calling me a nazi? I'm not a nazi, you dumb libtard, some of my best friends are black, etc. I'll vote for mr straight-talker), and that allows people such as him who want to watch the world burn, to get their hands on gasoline and matches.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to BenWilson,

    This is more like a Berlusconi style despotism. Corrupt, nepotistic. But not really outright fascist. It's not a good place to be, admittedly.

    Well, history never plays out exactly the same way twice. I'm not, by and large, thinking that it's an inevitability, but I do think the system/checks and balances are less robust than people assume, and it would be easier to reach the tipping point than is generally thought.

    I read Richard J Evan's three-volume magnum opus a few years ago. One of the minor points that has stuck in my head was how, having come to power, the high officials of the Nazi Party essentially looted Germany to make themselves fantastically weathy, confiscating huge tracts of land and directing the economy towards further filling of their own personal coffers. This basically completely destroyed any recovery, and essentially put Germany in the position of having to go to war, in order to gain enough external resource to stop absolutely everything grinding to a halt.

    Obviously, taking a few steps down a certain path doesn't necessarily lead to an inevitable outcome, but the signs are, at the very least, extremely troubling.

    It's like a house of cards: it takes hours or days to painstakingly build it and make progress, but an out-of-control toddler can flatten it in seconds. It took decades to get to the (piss-weak) paris agreement. All Trump has to do is wake up one morning and go 'nah', and we're another decade or so away from making any meaningful progress whatsoever.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to BenWilson,

    Comparisons with the rise of fascism in the 1930s are very premature. These people are not nearly as organized or powerful as the Nazis, nor is America anywhere near as angry as the German people were during that time, nor is ANY country actually belligerent towards them. They have not been vanquished in war and crushed under decades of sanctions. Everything that's happened to them, they did to themselves.

    So far, American Rust Belt decline isn't the hyperinflation of Weimar Germany, and the Great Recession isn't the Great Depression... yet. At this stage, Trump's America is indeed more like Berlusconi's Italy, Erdogan's Turkey or even Putin's Russia at best. If Trump is comparable to any historical Fascist leader, it'd be either Mussolini or General Franco.

    And Richard J Evans has his 2c on the Brexitrump political tsunami.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Rich Lock,

    In my opinion, making the distinction is crucial.

    It is, but being able to make such a distinction is a privilege, contingent on education among other things, in a country where 40% of black males graduate from high school. (NZ: Maori 31% Pacific 29%)

    As for the Pentagon’s incendiaries, they won’t need dusting off that’s for sure, we’ve been watching the world burn for quite some time.

    So when, for example, Trump talks about overturning Roe v. Wade, my first thought is for the thousands of Middle Eastern and Asian women the US has bombed and executed over the last 50 years, my second thought is for American Women having their access to abortion rescinded, and my third thought is that we have just inherited a Prime Minister who would – if he had his way – ban abortion, a Prime Minister’s wife who actively refuses to offer access to this basic medical necessity, who through her schooling with the nuns decided her calling was to study for 5+ years on the Government dime in order to gain a qualification that has enabled her to actively pursue God’s work as a gatekeeper between people and their bodies. A kind of angel of our Lord if you will.

    In localities with better human rights legislation for this issue she’d be struck off. And somehow – through the fractured lens of our media – this is glossed over as relatively acceptable behaviour – in this Gloriavale paradigm we’re instead fed narratives that these people – our Prime Ministerial couple – are not fundamentalist Christians but reasonable, coherent human beings whose oddball ideas don’t impact the lives of everyone with a functional uterus – as if it’s not absolutely normal in other localities for a person to go to a hospital, ask for an abortion and get one then and there, as a basic human right in the 21st century.

    You’ll no doubt have heard that New Zealand was the first country to win Universal Suffrage, we tend to talk about it quite a bit, we don’t get a lot of firsts, and we’re prone to overlooking that what is special about this achievement is not how marvelously quick we were but how we have the power to meaningfully improve the world by setting better standards.

    So the PM didn’t make it to the ’Tangi, but he did receive a call from the POTUS. One wonders though, if our PM had really had his mitre screwed on, he might have remembered that parable – one of the biggies – The Good Samaritan, and knowing that poor Donald is a profoundly compromised individual, he could have done him and our neighbours a solid and offered to take those 1250 refugees off their hands or at the very least offered to present this option to our country, for the greater good.

    Instead they talked about golf.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    ...but he did receive a call from the POTUS...
    Instead they talked about golf.

    No mention that Trump wished our country a happy 177th birthday either, no indication the US State department or his close advisers had briefed Trump with any useful information about our nation.

    As to the Australian 1250 refugees, one would think that if they passed the USA's 'heavy vetting' that they should be of fine enough character to stay in Australia - a nation ostensibly initially populated by refugees and convicts you'd think would have more compassion.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to mark taslov,

    he could have done him and our neighbours a solid and offered to take those 1250 refugees off their hands

    Exactly.

    The UNHCR’s most recent refugee report is a must read. Of those refugees resettled in 2015:

    Of the resettlement countries that received refugees
    during 2015, the United States of America admitted
    60 per cent (66,500). Other countries that admitted
    large numbers of refugees under their resettlement
    programmes during 2015 included Canada (20,000),
    Australia (9,400), and Norway (2,400).

    http://www.unhcr.org/statistics/unhcrstats/576408cd7/unhcr-global-trends-2015.html

    And in terms of non-refugee inward migration, the US has 46 million migrants (40% of all migrants the world over);

    Migration to North America

    The United States continues to be the main country of destination for migrants in the world. The number of African immigrants in the United States has more than doubled during the last 10 years, reaching about 2 million. Meanwhile, migration flows from developing Asian countries to the United States and Canada continue to increase steadily.

    Similarly, migration flows from most Central American and from many Caribbean countries to the United States have continued to rise steadily since 2011. A good portion of these flows are irregular. In fact, around 40 per cent of all irregular migrants in the United States, or an estimated 6 million, were born in either Central America or the Caribbean.

    A particularly alarming irregular migration trend, which has grown recently in the United States, is made up of immigrant children, especially unaccompanied, originating principally from Mesoamerica.

    On the other hand, the growth rate of migratory flows originating from Mexico to the United States has steadily decreased in comparison to the previous decade. Still, Mexico continues to be the principal country of origin for immigrants entering the United States and the principal migrant country of origin in the world.

    The United States is also the main destination country worldwide for immigrants originating from developed countries (North-North migration). In fact, the United States is part of the first, third, fourth and fifth most important North-North migration corridors in the world. In decreasing order, Germany, Canada, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom, are the principal migrant countries of origin that make up these corridors.

    http://www.iom.int/world-migration

    If Americans need time to get their domestic shit together (and from what my relatives there tell me rising domestic crime/violence and widening inequality is a real problem) – I’m hopeful they will – and am happy for them to look inwards for a while.

    The rest of the world where there are fewer domestic crises need to step up.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • WH, in reply to mark taslov,

    You can probably guess who wins the contest between you and Winston Churchill, guy. I hope progressives have the good sense to ignore the road you'd have them take.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to WH,

    Do you have anything to contribute but an ad hominiem squeak?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Sure. Would you prefer to discuss white supremacy in New Zealand, religion, the Prime Minister’s wife, abortion, or the inadequacies of Winston Churchill?

    I don't own the internet and it's ultimately your decision.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to WH,

    I'm all ears.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

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