Why Trump’s Racist And Neo-Fascist Campaign Strategy Resonates In 21st Century America


CJ Polychroniou

With the November election just around the corner, Donald Trump is raising the level of his racist and fascist rhetoric to new heights, fully aware that his hate speech and authoritarian overtures resonate with a large segment of white Americans in 21st century who, as surreal and obscene as this may sound, would have preferred that time stood still, stuck either in the era of the plantation system or at least at a time when whites in this country felt so superior to minorities that they could discriminate and oppress the “Other” without fear of getting into trouble with the law, let alone become witness to public outcries over police brutality, systemic racism, and demands for gender and racial equality.

Indeed, it is the awareness of the existence of a very large segment of white Americans in 21 st century who wish to roll back the clock on account of their growing insecurities and fears about the[ir] future that prompts Trump to sound ever more racist and project ever more the image of a strong man as time moves closer to election time. In doing so, his hope is that even moderate white voters might be stirred into feeling the need to join in on what he obviously hopes they may come to recognize and appreciate, just like his traditional base of white supremacists does, as an urgent “patriotic” campaign on the part of the “Great White Leader” to save [white] America’s soul. As for his rich supporters, he doesn’t care one way or another about the impact of his rhetoric on them because he knows they will continue supporting him as long as he maintains a steadfast course of lavishing them with gifts, such as huge tax cuts, deregulation policies, etc.

Trump’s attempt to outdo himself was most evident at his Minnesota rally a few days ago– perhaps the most extreme example so far of how far the “Great White Leader” is ready and willing to go in order to spread fear and promote hate as tactical means of securing another electoral victory in a country sharply divided into different political tribes.
And make no mistake about it: reliance on fear, hate, and violence have always been the political tools of fascists of all stripes.

Trump declared to Minnesotans that Biden would turn their state into a “refugee camp.” He warned them of “sleepy Joe Biden’s extreme plan to flood” Minnesota with refugees from Somalia, while denigrating at the same time the election of Rep. Ilhan Omar, who came to the United States as a child refugee from Somalia, calling her an “extremist”. To this insidious racist rhetoric, his fanatical base from below responded by screaming “send her back.”

Trump’s racist rhetoric hit a crescendo when he let his crowd know that they are supporting him because of their “good genes.”And to further upgrade his neo-fascist profile with his adoring crowd, he said it was “a beautiful thing” when journalist Ali Velshi got struck by a rubber bullet while covering a peaceful protest.

All in all, Trump’s performance at the Minnesota rally on September 18 was an act stolen from the electoral campaign of Hitler and his Nazi party. The only thing he fell short from saying was that anyone who did not support him should be deprived of civic rights and sent to prison or concentration camps.

No rational human being can fail to see that Trump is a racist with strong fascist impulses, but even critics of Trump fail to see or properly acknowledge that the “Great White Leader” employs the rhetoric of racism and fascism because there is a huge market for it in 21 st century America!

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The Political Economy Of Saving The Planet. An Interview With Noam Chomsky & Robert Pollin


Noam Chomsky ~ Photo: en.wikipedia.org

What needs to be done to advance a successful political mobilization on behalf of a global Green New Deal—a program that includes emissions reductions, expands renewable energy sources, addresses the needs of vulnerable workers, and promotes sustainable and egalitarian economic growth? Political scientist C. J. Polychroniou spoke with Noam Chomsky and economist Robert Pollin, who has been at the forefront of the fight for an egalitarian green economy for more than a decade, to discuss prospects for change, the connections between climate and the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether eco-socialism is a viable option for mobilizing people in the struggle to create a green future.

This conversation was adapted from Chomsky and Pollin’s new book Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving the Planet.

C. J. Polychroniou: How does the coronavirus pandemic, and the response to it, shed light on how we should think about climate change and the prospects for a global Green New Deal?

Noam Chomsky: At the time of writing, concern for the COVID-19 crisis is virtually all-consuming. That’s understandable. It is severe and is severely disrupting lives. But it will pass, though at horrendous cost, and there will be recovery. There will not be recovery from the melting of the arctic ice sheets and the other consequences of global warming.

Not everyone is ignoring the advancing existential crisis. The sociopaths dedicated to accelerating the disaster continue to pursue their efforts, relentlessly. As before, Trump and his courtiers take pride in leading the race to destruction. As the United States was becoming the epicenter of the pandemic, thanks in no small measure to their folly, the White House cabal released its budget proposals. As expected, the proposals call for even deeper cuts in healthcare support and environmental protection, instead favoring the bloated military and the building of Trump’s Great Wall. And to add an extra touch of sadism, the budget promotes a fossil fuel ‘energy boom’ in the United States, including an increase in the production of natural gas and crude oil.”

Robert Pollin

Meanwhile, to drive another nail in the coffin that Trump and associates are preparing for the nation and the world, their corporate-run EPA weakened auto emission standards, thus enhancing environmental destruction and killing more people from pollution. As expected, fossil fuel companies are lining up in the forefront of the appeals of the corporate sector to the nanny state, pleading once again for the generous public to rescue them from the consequences of their misdeeds.

In brief, the criminal classes are relentless in their pursuit of power and profit, whatever the human consequences. And those consequences will be disastrous if their efforts are not countered, indeed overwhelmed, by those concerned for “the survival of humanity.” It is no time to mince words out of misplaced politeness. “The survival of humanity” is at risk on our present course, to quote a leaked internal memo from JPMorgan Chase, America’s largest bank, referring specifically to the bank’s genocidal policy of funding fossil fuel production.

One heartening feature of the present crisis is the rise in community organizations starting mutual aid efforts. These could become centers for confronting the challenges that are already eroding the foundations of the social order. The courage of doctors and nurses, laboring under miserable conditions imposed by decades of socioeconomic lunacy, is a tribute to the resources of the human spirit. There are ways forward. The opportunities cannot be allowed to lapse.

Robert Pollin: In addition to the fundamental considerations that Noam has emphasized, there are several other ways in which the climate crisis and the coronavirus pandemic intersect. One underlying cause of the COVID-19 outbreak—as well as other recent epidemics such as Ebola, West Nile, and HIV—has been the destruction of animal habitats through deforestation and human encroachment, as well as the disruption of the remaining habitat through the increasing frequency and severity of heat waves, droughts, and floods. As the science journalist Sonia Shah wrote in February 2020, habitat destruction increases the likelihood that wild species “will come into repeated intimate contact with the human settlements expanding into their newly fragmented habitats. It’s this kind of repeated, intimate contact that allows the microbes that live in their bodies to cross over into ours, transforming benign animal microbes into deadly human pathogens.”

It is also likely that people who are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution will face more severe health consequences than those breathing cleaner air. Aaron Bernstein of Harvard’s Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment states that “air pollution is strongly associated with people’s risk of getting pneumonia and other respiratory infections and with getting sicker when they do get pneumonia. A study done on SARS, a virus closely related to COVID-19, found that people who breathed dirtier air were about twice as likely to die from the infection.”

A separate point that was raised over the worst months of the COVID-19 pandemic was that the responses in the countries that immediately handled the crisis more effectively, such as South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, demonstrated that governments are capable of taking decisive and effective action in the face of crisis. The death tolls from COVID-19 in these countries were negligible, and normal life returned relatively soon after governments imposed initial lockdowns. Similarly decisive interventions could successfully deal with the climate crisis where the political will is strong and the public sectors are competent.

There are important elements of truth in such views, but we should also be careful to not push this point too far. Some commentators have argued that one silver lining outcome of the pandemic was that, because of the economic lockdown, fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions plunged alongside overall economic activity during the recession. While this is true, I do not see any positive lessons here with respect to advancing a viable emissions program that can get us to net zero emissions by 2050. Rather, the experience demonstrates why a degrowth approach to emissions reduction is unworkable. Emissions did indeed fall sharply because of the pandemic and the recession. But that is only because incomes collapsed and unemployment spiked over this same period. This only reinforces the conclusion that the only effective climate stabilization path is the Green New Deal, as it is the only one that does not require a drastic contraction (or “degrowth”) of jobs and incomes to drive down emissions.

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Climate Change Intensifies Inequality: An Interview With Gregor Semieniuk


Gregor Semieniuk

This is part of PERI’s economist interview series, hosted by C.J. Polychroniou.

Read Gregor’s bio here.

C.J. Polychroniou: You studied International Relations in Germany, at the Technische Universität Dresden, but ended up pursuing graduate studies in economics in the USA. What drew you into the “dismal science?”

Gregor Semieniuk: In Dresden, the program’s content spanned economics, public law and political science. What intrigued me about economics was that on the one hand it seemed necessary to grapple with the most intractable global issues of the time: for instance, why it was so difficult to increase most countries’ material affluence, how renewable energy could quickly replace the existing energy supply, and of course how the 2007-08 financial crisis and ensuing economic turmoil could be explained. On the other, my economics classes tended to provide straightforward answers to questions that were obviously more multi-faceted, like that a minimum wage was (categorically) to be discouraged because it diminished welfare. From my political science classes I knew that it was good practice to seek out contending theories to analyze the same problem through different lenses so as to gain a deeper understanding. I wanted to learn about contending theories also in economics, but there seemed to be only one theory, so-called neoclassical economics, and its strengths and weaknesses weren’t explicitly discussed. My search for a program that satisfied my curiosity led me to look to the USA, and ultimately to the New School for Social Research, with its famous teaching of a plurality of theoretical approaches. So I went there for my graduate studies. Of course, one thing I learned soon enough was that neoclassical economics and its offshoots can be more nuanced in their assumptions and conclusions. Yet, this does not replace the more variegated approaches and points of analytical departure that the full gamut of ideas in economics (in history and present) has to offer.

CJP: Your primary research areas are in environmental and ecological economics and in economic growth. Can you briefly spell out the connection between climate change and the economy? And, more specifically, in what ways does climate change threaten economic stability and growth?

GS: Climate change is driven by greenhouse gas emissions, that are mainly caused by combusting fossil fuels and from changes in land use (think intensive agriculture or deforestation). Fossil fuels in particular have been historically tightly interlinked with economic growth. Their qualities and quantities are arguably a key factor behind the industrial revolutions in today’s rich countries. Luckily, however, while energy is a fundamental input into any economic activity, there are increasingly good alternatives to fossil fuels to supply that energy without or with much lower emissions, such as modern solar and wind energy, and a growing variety of devices compatible with the electricity they supply, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps.

At an abstract level, the interaction of economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions can be thought of as economic growth causing greenhouse gas emissions to rise. The resulting climate change “dampens” or eventually reverses economic growth through negative impacts on productivity, profitability, capital stock and human lives. More concretely, climate change poses difficult problems and threatens human wellbeing and livelihood in many ways. There are direct impacts, such as lower agricultural productivity or sea level rises. More indirect impacts intensify social problems and conflicts. To give you one example, up to two thirds of Bangladesh’s population are at risk of being impacted by sea level rise by the mid-21st century. This does not mean permanent inundation but increased exposure to flooding and salinity that make it harder to earn a living on agriculture, or risks destroying coastal non-agricultural production sites and homes. The resulting increased migration from coastal to inland communities can exacerbate social conflicts and urban poverty there, ultimately threatening social and economic stability. In the USA, up to 40 million people could be exposed to such hazards by 2100.[1] Of course, here there are much more resources available that could be used to protect communities from these impacts, so the context in which climate change impacts occur matters.

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Isabella Marie Weber – The Peculiarities Of China’s Economic Model


Isabella Weber – PERI Research Associate and Research Leader in China Studies; Assistant Professor of Economics

This is part of PERI’s economist interview series, hosted by C.J. Polychroniou. The Series: https://www.peri.umass.edu/peri-economist-interview-series 

Read Isabella Weber’s bio here. 

C.J. Polychroniou: How did you get into economics? 

Isabella Maria Weber: I got into economics through my interest in politics, in particular global questions. I realized that the political is inherently economic and the economic inherently political. If we want to understand how we can work towards positive change politically, we have to understand the material foundations of our society. If we want to make sense of the major shifts in our global political system, we have to understand the long-term economic dynamics. Coming from this angle, economics for me must take the form of political economy.

CJP:  What do you consider to be the main issue in your research?

IMW: The broad question that motivates my research is how we can make sense of the major changes in the global economy that are unfolding in front of our eyes – at a dramatically accelerated pace since the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the Industrial Revolution in the late 18thcentury, we have lived in a world of a globalizing capitalist economic system, first under British than under U.S. hegemony. This phase is coming to a close with the gradual rise of China – not necessarily to one of dominance but to a more eye-level position. In my research, I pursue two related questions that aim to make a small contribution to this broad challenge: First, I have studied the intellectual foundations behind China’s economic reforms that set the country on the path of its current ascent. Second, I am leading a research project in which we examine the long-term evolution of global export patterns across the last and present era of globalization. The aim here is to understand path dependency and path defiance in the global division of labor. This theme grew out of earlier work on the US-China trade imbalance. In a third strand of my research, I have been investigating foundational questions of the nature of money and the driving forces of international trade for the purpose of placing my work on firmer theoretical grounds.

CJP: Why did you choose to specialize on the Chinese economy?

IMW: I am answering your questions as we watch the global economy collapse under the threat of COVID-19. There is no question that the political and economic power relations between the U.S. and China are changing. Many people in the U.S. and Europe alike are reacting to this uncertain dynamic with fear and, unfortunately, with increasingly racist, anti-Chinese sentiments. In order to work toward a peaceful navigation of the deep structural changes in the world economy, I believe that there is an urgent need for a better understanding of the logic of China’s political economy. Instead of measuring China’s system against the European or American experiences or some standard economics model, we need to study China’s path on its own grounds, while taking into account at the same time its global connectedness. I have specialized in the Chinese economy for the very purpose of making some kind of a contribution to this project.

CJP: How real is the so-called Chinese economic miracle? 

IMW: The Oxford English Dictionary defines a “miracle” as a “marvelous event not ascribable to human power.” China’s economic development of the last four decades is certainly astonishing and as such marvelous. But it is by no means the result of some overnight wonder created by supernatural agency or luck. According to Maddison estimates of 2001, China accounted for about one third of the world’s GDP in 1850. Its share had fallen to below 5 percent in 1950, when China was one of the poorest countries in the world. Today China is responsible for about a fifth of the world’s GDP. These are rough measures, but the trend is obvious. China’s Communist revolution was about much higher aspirations than economic development. But it was clear from the beginning that industrialization and higher living standards were core requirements. Of course, China gave up long ago on Mao’s vision of revolution. But the pursuit of economic progress has continued across dramatically different political phases since 1949. China’s gradual return to a more prominent position in the world economy is not the result of a miracle, but of decades of hard work and heterodox economic policymaking. In a forthcoming book of mine, I argue that China’s economic leaders learned key lessons from the history of economic warfare in the 1930s and 1940s. At the heart of this strategy is the articulation of clear broad goals which are being pursued by flexibly utilizing prevailing economic dynamics and structures.

CJP: How did China manage to liberalize its economy while avoiding shock therapy, which is pretty much what happened in virtually all transition economies in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Latin America?  

IMW: We often imagine of China’s gradual economic reforms as having been without an alternative. In fact, the 1980s marked a crossroads in the recent history of China and of global capitalism, as I show in my forthcoming book “How China Escaped Shock Therapy.” China too had very concrete plans for far-ranging overnight liberalizations. Had China implemented the policy of “shock therapy,” it would most likely have generated the same devastating results that we have observed elsewhere, but on a much larger scale. China would have mirrored Russia’s fall, but starting from a much lower level.

The basic premise of shock therapy is that all institutions of direct state control over the economy must be destroyed to make space for the market. Instead, China pursued a strategy of market creation that utilized the institutions of the planned economy. It kept the core of the planned industrial economy working, while transforming the old institutions into market players by first allowing for market activities on the margins. This strategy is manifested in the dual-track price system. Under this system, state-owned enterprises and farmers had to deliver the state-set quotas at a state-set price, but if they managed to produce more, they could market their surplus at market prices. In this way, China’s economy was gradually marketized under active bureaucratic guidance by reorienting its core economic institutions from the plan to the market. Non-essentials were liberalized first. Surpluses as well as sectors producing non-basic goods were non-essentials. They could be completely marketized without immediately endangering the stability of the whole system. Yet, the marketization of these non-essential areas unleashed a dynamic that fundamentally transformed the whole political economy, including its core.[1] As a result of this strategy, China kept much closer control over core sectors of the economy, such as energy, steel, finance and infrastructure. This has allowed China to respond in a fine-grained and targeted way to the 2008 global financial crisis, and to the current economic collapse in light of COVID-19.

CJP: Could/should the Chinese model be emulated by other developing countries?  

IMW: China had a very different starting point from most other developing countries today. From a longue durée perspective, China could build on a very long history of bureaucratic market creation and participation. Tools derived from the statecraft of playing the market were utilized during the revolutionary struggles and again in the reform era. Considering the more immediate context, the Mao era had laid strong foundations for China’s take off in terms of education, literacy, public health and basic industrialization. Most developing countries do not have those preconditions. It would therefore not make sense to simply copy China’s model. But there is a deeper reason for not copying China’s model that emerges from China’s own experience. It is extremely important to realize that China, too, did not simply copy foreign models. Chinese researchers and officials, in collaboration with international partners, studied carefully the experience of various other countries and drew lessons for the country’s own specific situation, adapting the insights to its concrete conditions, often with major problems in the process. This approach of careful study of the prevailing local condition and adaptation of foreign experiences is what other developing countries can learn from China. But there is no panacea that works for all. The Beijing Model should not replace the Washington Consensus. The lesson is that there is no easy universal solution, no policy package that can fix it all.

CJP: What’s your view on Trump’s trade war with China? More generally, do you think the Chinese economy poses threats to the U.S. economy and other countries’ economies? If so, should they do anything about it?

IMW: I think that the trade war is an extremely dangerous policy. If any further proof was needed – and I don’t think there is, COVID-19 is demonstrating in a morbid fashion just how closely integrated the world is with China, and vice versa.  In the 1980s China retreated from its revolutionary ambitions and embarked on a path of reform using its state capacity to reintegrate into the global market. Since the 1990s, we have been living through a second peak of globalization in modern times. The last globalization ended with the First World War. The present one is collapsing as I am writing. In such a situation, we need international collaboration, not war of any kind. I don’t think the Chinese economy, taken by itself, poses a threat to the U.S. or to other countries. Crises of this historical moment don’t have a nationality; they lie in the nature of the global system. The real threat results from the exploitation of this crisis by nationalists and racists. To confront this threat, we have to improve our understanding of China, instead of feeding into scapegoat narratives.

Reference:
[1] I spell this out in greater detail in this interview: https://www.peri.umass.edu/economists/isabella/item/1206-the-making-of-china-s-economic-reforms

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If Trump Had Followed Vietnam’s Lead On COVID, US Would Have Fewer Than 100 Dead


Prof. Robert Pollin

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, exposing to the fullest the glaring weakness of our inequitable health system, and as the unemployment situation goes largely unaddressed, it’s becoming more than obvious that the U.S. is in dire need of fixing. An advanced social welfare state, with a full employment agenda, is the way out, argues world-renowned progressive economist Robert Pollin in this exclusive interview with Truthout. Pollin is distinguished professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and co-author (with Noam Chomsky and me) of the forthcoming book The Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving the Planet.

C.J. Polychroniou: Bob, the coronavirus crisis is wreaking havoc on the economy, but it has also revealed how poorly equipped the United States is in dealing with major economic crises. In fact, as economist Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out, “We built an economy with no shock absorbers.” With that in mind, and with millions of Americans unemployed and even struggling to meet basic needs, can you offer us a straightforward assessment of the Trump administration’s economic response to the coronavirus crisis?

Robert Pollin: The short answer is unequivocal: The Trump administration’s response has been nothing short of disastrous. Let’s begin with figures on lives that have been needlessly lost in the U.S. due to Trump’s toxic combination of indifference, hostility to science, and racism. As of August 17, we are approaching 170,000 deaths from COVID in the U.S., more than triple the total U.S. death toll from fighting in Vietnam. We have no evidence that the death rate will be declining significantly anytime soon. This level of U.S. deaths from COVID amounts to 514 per 1 million people. By comparison, Canada’s death rate is less than half that of the U.S., at around 239 deaths per million, even while Canada itself is also a relatively poor performer. Germany’s death rate, at 110 per million, is 80 percent lower than the U.S., but Germany is still only a middling performer. Among the strong performers, the death rates are 15 per million in Australia, 9 per million in Japan, 6 per million in South Korea and 3 per million in China, even though the virus first emerged in China. If the U.S. had managed the COVID pandemic at the level of, say, Australia, fewer than 5,000 people would have died as of today as opposed to nearly 170,000.

Vietnam is the most extraordinary case. It has experienced a total of 22 deaths in a country of 95 million people, which amounts to a death rate of 0.25 per million. This is for a country in which the average per capita income is about 3 percent of that in the U.S. It is also a country, of course, that U.S. imperialists tried to destroy a generation ago. If the U.S. had handled COVID at Vietnam’s level of competence over the past eight months, then fewer than 100 U.S. residents in total would be dead today from the pandemic.

In terms of managing the pandemic-induced economic collapse, the massive $2 trillion (10 percent of U.S. GDP) stimulus program that Congress passed and Trump signed in March, the CARES Act, did provide substantial support for unemployed workers. Fifty-six million people — 35 percent of the entire U.S. labor force — filed unemployment claims between March and August. For the most part, they all received $600 per week in supplemental support, which more than doubled what most would have received otherwise.

The CARES Act did also deliver huge bailouts for big corporations and Wall Street. Adding everything up, it was clear even at the time of passage that the CARES Act was not close to meeting the magnitude of the oncoming crisis. Among other features, it provided only minimal support for hospitals on the front lines fighting the pandemic, and even less support for state and local governments. The Upjohn Institute economist Timothy Bartik estimates that state and local governments are staring at upward of $1 trillion in budget shortfalls through the end of 2021, equal to between 20-25 percent of their entire budgets. If these budget gaps are not filled in short order, we will begin to see mass layoffs of nurses, teachers, school custodians and firefighters. Of course, these budget cuts will only spread and deepen the ongoing economic crisis.

The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives did pass a second, and even larger, $3 trillion stimulus measure, the HEROES Act, back in May. It included $1 trillion in support for state and local governments. But Trump and the Senate Republican majority have blocked action on this for the past three months. Meanwhile, 16 million workers have now lost their $600 per week in supplemental benefits and state and local governments are teetering on collapse. Trump appears to want to make unemployed workers and public sector programs starve, perhaps so he can appear to swoop in and bail them out right before November’s election. Trump has held out a “compromise” proposal with Democrats. This would feature a payroll tax cut that would permanently decimate Social Security and Medicare. Trump also wants any new stimulus program to also incorporate his current top priority, which is to destroy the U.S. Postal Service in time to prevent people from voting against him through mail balloting.

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Noam Chomsky: Trump Is Quite Capable Of An “October Surprise”


Noam Chomsky ~ Photo: en.wikipedia.org

We take as axiomatic that the United States is a democracy, yet there can be no denying the fact that the country has been rapidly sliding into authoritarianism since Trump came to office, partly thanks to an antiquated mechanism known as the Electoral College. Trump’s removal of independent government watchdogs, his constant attacks on media, his divisive rhetoric, the way he has handled the coronavirus pandemic, his decision to send federal agents to crush protests, and his suggestion about postponing the November general election are but a small sample of Trump’s autocratic leadership, yet they speak volumes about the dark cloud over the U.S. In fact, it is quite conceivable that the worst is yet to come, says leading public intellectual Noam Chomsky. In this exclusive interview for Truthout, Chomsky says an “October surprise” from Trump or his cronies cannot be ruled out.

C.J. Polychroniou: Since coming to power, Trump has taken various steps to rule like an autocrat. His latest tactic is to send federal agents into cities to crush protests. Can you talk about the political aims behind Trump’s abuse of his law enforcement powers, and whether these actions have a precedent in modern U.S. history?

Noam Chomsky: The renowned economist James Buchanan, one of the leading figures of U.S.-style “libertarianism,” observed in his major work The Limits of Liberty that the ideal society should accord with fundamental human nature, which makes good sense. Then comes the next question: What is fundamental human nature? He had a very simple answer: “In a strictly personalized sense, any person’s ideal situation is one that allows him full freedom of action and inhibits the behavior of others so as to force adherence to his own desires. That is to say, each person seeks mastery over a world of slaves.”

It is not easy to find real human beings who suffer from this pathology, but Trump seems to be a good candidate…. When inspectors general begin to fulfill their duty of inquiring into the swamp of corruption he’s created, he fired them. The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York was summarily dismissed when he made the same error, replaced by a flack for private equity.

Next in turn is the military: “The White House is intensifying an effort to hire Pentagon personnel with an undisputed allegiance to President Trump … current and former officials said.” When the Senate did not quickly confirm his choice, retired Gen. Anthony Tata, to fill “the Pentagon’s top policy job,” Trump simply appointed him without the required Senate approval. This has been standard procedure under Trump. Why bother with the legal formality of Senate confirmation?

Practices are much the same when the population dares to raise its head. They are then threatened with “ominous weapons” and “vicious dogs,” the latter a reference to the attack on civil rights protesters that aroused horror and contempt when they were used in the deep South 60 years ago. Overruling state and local officials [Trump] sent paramilitaries to assault protesters in Portland, Oregon, including the elite Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), trained to use violence with little oversight against miserable refugees dying in the harsh Arizona desert not far from where I live.

Confronting Portland’s “Wall of Moms” with brute force does not go over too well with the general public, even arousing protests that it can’t happen here: We’re not Italy under Mussolini!

BORTAC was therefore withdrawn from Portland and returned to its mission of demonstrating that it can and doeshappen here, even if we choose not to look. A few days after leaving Portland, heavily armed BORTAC units raided a humanitarian aid station for fleeing refugees in the Arizona desert, “detaining over thirty people who were receiving medical care, food, water, and shelter from the 100+ degree heat. In a massive show of force, Border Patrol, along with BORTAC, descended on the camp with an armored vehicle, three ATVS, two helicopters, and dozens of marked and unmarked vehicles,” a No More Deaths news update reports.
There’s plenty more.

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