Thursday, April 27, 2017

Itching for an excuse to be violent

There are two articles of interest from the May 1 edition of The Washington Spectator.

The first is Guns, Extremism, and the Threats of Escalation by Rick Perlstein. He talks about the recent Battle in Berkeley where those for the nasty guy clashed with those against. The demonstrations started peacefully, then turned violent. Some try to claim it was hard to tell who threw the first punch. Others say it was clearly someone in the Alt-Right movement.

Perlstein’s larger point is there are those in the Alt-Right (euphemism for militantly conservative) movement itching for an excuse to be violent, to take out those who oppose them their Dear Leader. As part of their excuse is the belief they are merely fighting back in self defense – though more accurately in defense of their rank in society. Along the way Perlstein wrote:
Students of fascism will recognize the fantastical confusion of tropes: the enemy as a terrifying horde, raising the stakes ruthlessly beyond all civil bounds; but also the enemy as pitiful (“glass jawed”) weaklings—sometimes both within the same utterance. Such language is how students of fascism know that they are in its presence.

The second article is Letter from Mexico by Belén Fernández (not online yet). She explains why the immigration policy is the way it is (at least prior to the nasty guy) and has been that way since the last reform 30 years ago. Her summary is short:
The point of a punitive immigration policy has never been to put a stop to undocumented immigration in the first place, but rather to perpetuate its lucrative exploitability.
It worked like this:

* NAFTA eliminated the livelihoods of millions of Mexican farmers when subsidized American farm products flooded the Mexican market. The workers fled north.

* Because they are seen as inferior humans they are paid less. They produce wealth for the employers but keep less of it for themselves. That wage difference is a subsidy for the employers.

* These employers take no responsibility, pay none of the social costs, for the communities the workers came from or live in.

* Branding the workers as “illegal” means they are always deportable. That keeps the workers from demanding too many rights or a decent wage. Americans in the area are also kept in submission by the presence of folks willing to work for less.

* The migrant worker provides a convenient scapegoat for gov’t misdeed and general societal discontent.

The nasty guy is trying to upend this logic, but doing so only through white supremacy, not business. That implies he probably won’t succeed, but those who aren’t deported are in a more precarious position and thus more exploitable.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Lesbian bishop challenged

The United Methodist Church is awaiting a decision from its Judicial Council on whether a lesbian bishop should be removed from office. I have a summary of the story on my brother blog.

Trumpty Dumpty promised a wall

The title to this post is a great phrase! I got it from Melissa McEwan of Shakesville. Other sites have also been using it.

All through the campaign we heard how the nasty guy was going to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, even getting his supporters to chant, “Build the wall!” To fulfill that promise on Monday morning the nasty guy demanded funding for at least part of the wall be put into the spending bill that must be passed by Friday to avoid a government shutdown. The threat seemed to be: fund my wall or I shut down the gov’t. I also heard of a threat that if the wall wasn’t funded then the various pieces of the Affordable Care Act would also not be funded.

But Democrats displayed fierce opposition and by Monday afternoon the nasty guy had caved, afraid of another legislative failure.

A couple GOP senators, perhaps acting as nasty guy surrogates, responded by saying that “tall beautiful wall” is only a metaphor for better border security.

Just as well. Mexico environmental officials are preparing to fight the wall because it would make flooding on the Rio Grande worse.

But don’t gloat too much. McEwan reminds us:
Powerful cowards are very dangerous. Especially powerful cowards who have only earned praise for dropping bombs.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Victims of patriarchal culture

The nasty guy held an interview with Associated Press in which he essentially admitted he knew very little about what the job of president entailed. Melissa McEwan of Shakesville notes three examples from the interview.

* He admitted he didn’t know much about NATO (and proved it). Does he know enough now?

* He said business is better off without heart (though your suppliers, employees, and customers might disagree) but he seemed surprised that everything government does involves heart, that it affects people.

* He said he didn’t understand how big the job is and how great the responsibility is – people could have been killed in the missile strike in Syria (dude, people did die). And he hasn’t yet grasped that many of his decisions could kill (such as withdrawing health care, weakening safety regulations, or neglecting infrastructure).

McEwan also notes the role of the media during the campaign – the depth of the nasty guy’s unpreparedness was masked and Hillary Clinton was criticized for being over-prepared. And here we are.

Don’t expect the media to apologize any time soon. They don’t want to talk about their irresponsible treatment of both candidates because they don’t want us to reject their judgment in the next election (too late for that!).

In another post McEwan discusses what happens to smart woman (Clinton is a beautiful example of this). The smarter they are the more they are oppressed. White men refuse to deal with them, refuse to feel inferior, insist their privilege must remain intact.

McEwan says that because Clinton was a smart woman she was punished for it – leaving us a profoundly stupid and ignorant man to run the country.

McEwan explains the situation well and provides a pretty good solution to ranking:
The men who resent that the bar has been raised, their unearned privilege undermined and replaced with an expectation to achieve to the same level as women who hadn't their head start, can now do naught but whine about victimhood. They haven't yet realized that they are not victims of women, who only want the equality that's been denied them, but victims of a patriarchal culture that has spoiled men with the promise of success without effort, and robbed them of the will to expect more of themselves.
See above for an example of a spoiled man who expects success without effort and has no will to expect more of himself. A dangerous victim of patriarchal culture.