Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: They want to blow it all up

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  • Sacha,

    As journo and expert on fascist states, Sarah Kendzior, observes:

    Trump has defenestrated the United States through the Overton window

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19538 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And as if everything else wasn't enough, a class action lawsuit alleges that a private facility housing immigrant minors has been forcibly drugging infant minors with powerful antipsychotics.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    It's depressing.

    Someone recently asked "what are you most afraid of globally?", meaning climate change, nuclear war, plague, antibiotic resistance etc.
    What terrifies me is social collapse.

    We think our social rules are robust, the basic social contracts we have with our neighbours, with the police, with businesses, with doctors, nurses, teachers ...

    What Trump has demonstrated is those social rules are fragile and can be destroyed remarkably quickly.
    But it isn't just Trump, it's essentially the entire US political system that is allowing/instigating this destruction of a society.

    The question I'm unsure about is who benefits?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4427 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    The question I’m unsure about is who benefits?

    Putin.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell,

    Moreover, I don't think they want a rules-based world.

    Bingo. Trump's regime takes a Randian approach to rules-based international organisations. America first is not just a slogan, it is a policy. They want to replace multilateral rules-based international organisations, which (in their view) restrain and limit American influence and power, with a series of bilateral agreements which America can dominate. I think one way of thinking about this is to consider how the UK might have approached any suggestion of an international rules-based world when it was at the peak of empire in the 19th century. Who needs rules when you have power?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 110 posts Report Reply

  • peter payne, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This tallies with an assessment I heard the other day from The Guardians Rafael Behr. The former Moscow correspondents take was that Putin's whole intention is to undermine the rules-based world, returning to a 19th Century system where the powerful states can rule unimpeded. It's the rational for Russian interference in the Brexit referendum, as well as the US election.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to peter payne,

    Putin’s whole intention is to undermine the rules-based world, returning to a 19th Century system where the powerful states can rule unimpeded.

    Or, more likely I think, to weaken everyone else and bring them down to Russia’s level.

    It’s the rational for Russian interference in the Brexit referendum, as well as the US election.

    Absolutely. It all joins up. What really gives me the shits is coming across fools from (ostensibly) both left and right who want to go along with it. It feels to me like Trump apologism is becoming more common outside America.

    The righties expose themselves as never having truly believed in the “conservative principles” they espoused, and the lefties basically don’t want to give up their boners for Julian Assange. I mean really, there's no foul action from Trump that won't prompt those idiots to try and bring up Hillary Clinton again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    My attention has been drawn to this poll in which more than half of Republicans said they would support postponing the 2020 presidential election if Trump suggested it.

    Nearly as many believed Trump had won the popular vote.

    We are fucking doomed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    Tantrums and chaos is the strategy and really that is not a strategy at all.

    Blowing up a treaty with Iran because it was an Obama thing at the same time as making nice with North Korea is bizarro world.

    I recently watched the Bourdain episode shot in Iran. Parts Unknown - Season 4- 7. It is remarkable. The locals know the difference between rhetoric and and their daily lives. A vast population in many ways being held to ransom by a small minority who do want to blow things up.

    I'm not sure if we have ever had such a global tantrum circus amplified for this long ever. At one level the media is transfixed because it is all so absurd however this is not helping anyone.

    Purposely conflating "illegal imigrants" with asylum seekers or other kinds of immigrants is disturbing in all kinds of ways.

    How anyone can justify selling billions of arms to Saudi Arabia so they can crush a distressed nation to the South of them I don't know. Where to even start unravelling some of that?

    I wonder if tantrum control measure are in place in the white house. How does one deal with a adult who behaves like that? I wish I knew the answer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 358 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton,

    That is horrifying: much worse than the Human Rights Council. I had no idea. Thanks for highlighting it.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    That is horrifying: much worse than the Human Rights Council. I had no idea. Thanks for highlighting it.

    I may have my lefty-liberal card withdrawn for saying so, but I agree. It’s way more serious than the UN Human Rights Council.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Putin

    Authoritarian males in general.

    As much as I agree with just about everything Pinker says I’m not quite convinced that the success of liberal values may not turn out to be anything other than a short lived spandrel.

    Since Nov 2016 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Neil,

    Pinker

    I get the feeling we are on one of those downwards jags of a plotted graph line so loved by scientists et al to show how we are generally improving in some way or other.

    They may look small on the graph and while the general trend indicated may be upward some of those down jags can last most a persons lifetime..

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1715 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The question I’m unsure about is who benefits?

    Putin.

    Yup. Exactly right.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2897 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Neil,

    a short lived spandrel.

    Architectural features aside - is a spandrel a cross between a spaniel and a scoundrel - Trump definitely has the 'flyaway hair' for it!
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7743 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    The torching of the WTO is a consequence of Trumps tariffs on, primarily, Chinese manufactured imports to America. Stacking the appeal court is a method to quash legal action to lift the tariffs. Ultimately the policy is as isolationist as the wall building stunt. When that project is complete I think the explosions will occur within the, currently, United States.

    Since Mar 2010 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7743 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    the Trump administration's steady suffocation of the Appellate Body at the World Trade Organisation. The US government has blanket-banned approval of new appointments to what is essentially world trade's appeals court, and the point is approaching when that court will not be able to operate.

    Well, gosh, this is going to be fun when the UK hard brexits is 281 days and reverts to WTO rules! What larks!

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

  • Rich Lock, in reply to andin,

    Pinker

    I get the feeling we are on one of those downwards jags of a plotted graph line so loved by scientists et al to show how we are generally improving in some way or other.

    Yeah, this is exactly Pinker's modus operadi, and my biggest problem with his hypothesis.

    "Well, you may not feel like you're living particularly well, what with Trump and Putin and everything, but think about how much worse off those medieval peasants 600 years ago were than you! Look how much progress we've made! If you, uh, just take the long view...."

    Yeah, that's great. Thanks for the pep talk, Steven. Ya dick.

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

  • TracyMac,

    I think Pinker is often a wang, and the "eat your dinner, there are starving children in Africa" and "whinging feminists should try living in Saudi/Iran" is pretty much the epitome of wangness in argument.

    We may be doing better compared to 30 years ago, but we *should* be. We should be better than 5 years ago. And it's easy enough to go backwards - I personally feel Australia is half a generation behind NZ now.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 696 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to william blake,

    The torching of the WTO is a consequence of Trumps tariffs on, primarily, Chinese manufactured imports to America. Stacking the appeal court is a method to quash legal action to lift the tariffs. Ultimately the policy is as isolationist as the wall building stunt. When that project is complete I think the explosions will occur within the, currently, United States.

    I suspect it won't be long before President Trump has his Suez Crisis moment. And sure as hell not as Dwight Eisenhower.

    There's this crushing feeling that world politics is dusting off its 1930s wardrobe, and Trump is threatening to take America into the Axis 2.0.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5392 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    There’s this crushing feeling that world politics is dusting off its 1930s wardrobe, and Trump is threatening to take America into the Axis 2.0.

    If that means what it suggests, one of them would be thinking about controlling the internet, absolutely. And I don’t beleave Donald Trump himself, is doing a whole lot of thinking at all.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4016 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Yeah, this is exactly Pinker’s modus operadi, and my biggest problem with his hypothesis.

    I think his argument has a lot of merit - the success of liberal values has made life better for a great number of people. Vastly lower mortality rates in child birth for example.

    His optimism about just how stable liberal societies are is something that’s possibly being put to the test by the likes of Trump and Putin.

    Since Nov 2016 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Neil,

    I think his argument has a lot of merit - the success of liberal values has made life better for a great number of people. Vastly lower mortality rates in child birth for example.

    The problem is one of averaging. It hides a multitude on sins.

    Yes on average health has improved but for black men in the US health has declined.

    Pinker argues "don't worry about it" but that's just an excuse to ignore real problems experienced by real humans not data points on a graph.

    The other problem with Pinker is interpolation and extrapolation. He both assumes data in between actual measurements and he assumes that because a graph has a trend that the trend will continue. Now that's fine if you are dealing with maths but when you are dealing with people there really is no fundamental reason to believe that a trend will continue.

    In Pinker's world the GFC had no effect on people. In Pinker's world droughts in Syria did not cause an uprising and there are no refugees.

    I don't mind the reminder that some things have improved but I do mind the implication that we should just ignore the atrocities - because trends-on-a-graph.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4427 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Neil,

    I think his argument has a lot of merit - the success of liberal values has made life better for a great number of people. Vastly lower mortality rates in child birth for example.

    As Bart Janssen has noted, liberal values have failed to deliver this increased quality of life to the social underclass. What's worse is that the kind of advances that you cite were achieved by the deliberate exploitation of the underprivileged:

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4585 posts Report Reply

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