Saturday, February 4, 2017

Elites Mobilizing Against Trumpism?
It is so difficult to find good news about American politics today, so I hope what I see as a good sign here is not me reaching too far to fast.

We have a long tradition of civil disobedience and social movements protesting corruption and injustice in America. These have been most successful in the past when the grievances that mobilize street protesters also capture the attention and concern of the more reasonable elements of the elite.

When elites mobilize, particularly on both sides, change is more likely.  Salon reports that we may be seeing early signs of just that.

“The opposition to Trump is spilling across partisan and ideological boundaries as the realization grows that the awesome power of the U.S. government, its mass surveillance and law enforcement agencies and its nuclear arsenal, is now controlled by a band of amateur renegades who are out to dismantle the American state….

…[not just] right-wing intellectuals appalled by Trump. I’m referring to the people whom sociologist C. Wrights Mills dubbed “the Power Elite.” Washington journalists usually call them the Establishment. Whatever the label, they have wielded power in Washington for decades.

In the 34 years I have covered Washington politics, they have never been so united in their dismay about the man occupying the Oval Office.”

This is promising…and elite mobilizing against President Trump might be spreading.

EU: Trump Regime Classified as Threat to European Union
According to the conservative media outlet, The Wall Street Journal, the European Union now classifies the US under President Trump as a threat to the future of the EU. The LA Times similarly reported on this EU decision. Shame on Trump.

“…the external threat posed by the U.S. administration was among geopolitical conditions that include an assertive China, especially on the seas, Russian aggression toward Ukraine and its neighbors and anarchy in the Middle East and Africa, with radical Islam playing a major role.

Not a club we want the US to be included within.

Reuters: Treat Trump Like Any Other Totalitarian Regime
One of the world’s most respected and impartial corporately owned news organizations, Reuters, instructed its journalists to treat the current American regime just it treats any other regime that threatens free speech and free press, prevents access to information, and uses official press conferences to spread carefully crafted misinformation. Astonishing, and shameful, turn of events.

“After sly threats and arbitrary access policies for journalists covering the White House, Reuters News has told its cadre of reporters to treat the new U.S. president like any other nation where censorship, even physical threats, are used by governing officials to intimidate a free press.”

CNN: Treat Trump Like Any Other Propagandist
One of America’s most respected and impartial corporately owned news organizations, CNN, refused to air a live press conference from the White House on the grounds that statements from this regime have been so consistently false that they need to watch the event first, then fact check it, before airing it…in order to prevent knowingly airing intentionally misleading falsehoods (ie propaganda). Shame.

“CNN this evening declined to air live a press conference with the nation’s new White House Press Secretary, pointing to a growing rift between the embryonic Trump administration and the press corps that covers it and undermining the credibility of Sean Spicer, a longtime Republican operative who has become the new spokesman for President Donald Trump.

Producers at the cable-news outlet, owned by Time Warner, this evening decided to see what was said at the press event, according to a person familiar with the network, then play relevant parts as deemed necessary. Despite a robust amount of evidence to the contrary, Spicer during the conference insisted that Trump’s inauguration Friday drew “the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period.” The statement is a deliberate falsehood….

…CNN’s decision could be a momentous one: Trump and his representatives have been known to obfuscate and lie. CNN’s refusal to take the live feed suggests executives there are reluctant to put false statements on air, and, what’s more, do not think the new White House press representative is entirely credible.

CNN’s decision to not air the press conference live illustrates a recognition that the role of the press must be different under Trump. When the White House holds press briefings to promote demonstrably false information and refuses to take questions, then press ‘access’ becomes meaningless at best and complicit at worst,” said Danna Young, an associate professor at the University of Delaware who studies politics and the media.”

The quotes above are from Variety’s commentary on the CNN decision. Here is a link to CNN story ‘reality checking’ presidential spokesperson Sean Spicer’s press conference that they chose not to air live—where the presidential spokesman is found to be aggressively asserting numerous demonstrably false claims. Shame.

US/Mexico Rift: Investment Leaves North America for Asia
The President of Mexico recently cancelled, abruptly, a plan to meet with President Trump.
Mexico is the second largest purchaser of US products ($236 billion worth in 2015) and (unlike our imports from China) 40% of components that go into our industrial imports from Mexico are made in the USA.

This self-inflicted Trumpian wound is likely to destabilize Mexico (and thereby the region)…increasing unwanted immigration into the US (as a time when more Mexicans are moving back to Mexico than are coming into the US) from the most desperate and, worse, the most unsavory fleeing turmoil and chaos. 

Reducing the ability of Mexican consumer’s to purchase US goods…increasing our trade deficit and eliminating jobs in America. Shame. Even more broadly…

Growing uncertainty about North American economic integration will redirect manufacturing investment to Asia. A Trump-triggered economic downturn in Mexico could, perversely, increase illegal immigration into this country. In the long run, worst of all, Trump’s rhetorical and policy assault on such an accommodating neighbor is likely to resurrect rampant anti-American sentiment in Mexico and turn one of our stalwart allies into something entirely different – more like the Mexico of Trump’s dystopian fiction.”

Abandoning TPP: Handing the Pacific Rim to China
Our most important allies are already worried that in one week Trump has set in motion a shift in the rules of the game likely to result in China becoming the dominant power in the Pacific Rim and perhaps beyond.
“Trump’s singular achievement in his short time as president has been to trash US soft power assets and make China’s regime look less objectionable. Before Trump...western countries...regarded Beijing with scepticism. Why should anyone believe the global message of a regime that does not tolerate dissent or domestic challenges?
But that is now a question we must begin to ask of the US.
China’s official untruths seem modest in comparison with those of a man who can barely get through a sentence without a lie.”
Words matter and it seems that when our president says make American great again he really means make China great again.

We need all hands on deck. This is, of course, always the case in a democracy. But even more so with a democracy in crisis from within.

We need to continue and to grow all forms of thoughtful and productive protest…from demonstrations to everyday acts of kindness…to oppose Trumpism in ways that also makes clear how deeply we value democracy.


Because in two years we need to be able to make the case to those in the moderate middle who voted for Trump that we were patriotic opponents—we fought Trump when he policies would have hurt average families and we fought hard and smart and did not take the lazy and unpatriotic path of simply opposing anything he said or did, because that weakens democracy itself.

And we need to build broad coalitions, from the left to the middle to the moderately right…from working class communities to those elite communities who are now standing with us in opposition to Trumpism. Why? Because we really are stronger together.

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