On why the judiciary isn’t the antidote to Trumpism

Standard

“ …since Trump’s election, and before that, liberals have seen the Constitution as the greatest weapon against the hard right. But long after Trump is gone, the hard right will be relying upon the judiciary — and behind that, the Constitution — to protect their gains. As was true of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Right will depend upon unelected judges interpreting the law, in defiance of the popular will. The very thing, in other words, that liberals think is the antidote to Trumpism — the Constitution — will turn out to be its long-term preservative, the elixir of life ”

Corey Robin, ‘Control the Supreme Court, Control the Republican Party’, Jacobin Magazine

On the anti-US sentiment in Yemen for its support of the Saudi-led coalition

Standard

“ ‘USA Kills Yemeni People’, screams graffiti plastered on walls in Yemen’s capital Sana’a. The Yemeni people who have been on the receiving end of US bombs dropped by Saudi pilots know all too well that the United States is complicit in their suffering. The intense anti-US sentiment in Yemen should be a wake-up call for Americans: if you don’t care about the millions of suffering Yemenis, you might think about the future blowback (…) People in the region understand that until there is a serious US interest in a political solution, it won’t happen. Even if Trump is only interested in ‘putting America first’, he would do well to stop being involved in dropping bombs on Yemenis and instead use his ‘art of the deal’ to join with the United Nations in ending this catastrophic conflict ”

Medea Benjamin, ‘America will regret helping Saudi Arabia bomb Yemen’, The Guardian

On the decisive differences between Clinton and Obama’s campaigns

Standard

“ In 2012, 57% of millennials said that Obama’s policies would be “good for people like me,” compared to only 38% in 2016 saying the same about Clinton’s policies. According to the same research, Democratic messaging centered too much around personality and Trump’s unfitness for office, rather than on how Democrats would improve the lives of young voters ”

Sean McElwee & Causten Rodriguez-Wollerman, ‘Democrats need to win over young voters. Here’s how they can do that’, The Guardian

On the American class double-thinking

Standard

“ …most of the people on the highest rung in America are in denial about their privilege. The American myth of meritocracy allows them to attribute their position to their brilliance and diligence, rather than to luck or a rigged system (…)The rhetoric of ‘We are the 99 percent’ has in fact been dangerously self-serving, allowing people with healthy six-figure incomes to convince themselves that they are somehow in the same economic boat as ordinary Americans, and that it is just the so-called super rich who are to blame for inequality (…) There’s a kind of class double-think going on here. On the one hand, upper-middle-class Americans believe they are operating in a meritocracy (a belief that allows them to feel entitled to their winnings); on the other hand, they constantly engage in anti-meritocratic behavior in order to give their own children a leg up. To the extent that there is any ethical deliberation, it usually results in a justification along the lines of ‘Well, maybe it’s wrong, but everyone’s doing it.’ ”

Richard V, Reeves, ‘Stop Pretending You’re Not Rich’, New York Times

On US punitive measures towards only certain human rights offenders

Standard

“ Officials briefing journalists about the new policy were asked why human rights concerns had led to punitive measures in Cuba’s case but were not playing a role in the administration’s policy to other notable human rights offenders, like the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. One official said the difference was that Trump had specifically promised to take action on Cuba to a rally of the Cuban diaspora last year in Florida, a state which Trump won ”

Julian Borger, ‘Donald Trump to announce new restrictions on Cuba trade and travel’, The Guardian

On going beyond anger to counter neoliberalism

Standard

“ While we are all clicking and fixing our eyes on the never-ending Trump show – the handshake with Macron, the hand-holding with May – he is, she argues, enacting policies that are systematically moving wealth upwards, and crucial questions are not being asked loudly enough: Is your social security safe? Is your healthcare safe? Are your wages going to be driven down? He benefits so much from that focus away from economics (…) Anger and rejection of the status quo will never sustain people on its own. The triumph of neoliberalism is the idea that the alternative is always even worse. To overturn that there has to be a boldness and a recapturing of the utopian imagination. If we can’t do that, then I really don’t think we have a chance against these guys ”

Tim Adams & Naomi Klein, ‘Trump is an idiot, but don’t underestimate how good he is at that’, The Guardian