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The Wrongologist

Geopolitics, Power and Political Economy

Monday Wake Up Call – June 19, 2017

The Daily Escape:

Round Hill Highland Games – Litchfield County, Connecticut

From Zandar:

The slow death of the civil rights era under the Trump regime continues as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will proceed with handcuffing the department’s civil rights office, because systemic racism and sexism in education is embarrassing to Dear Leader, so in order to Make America Great Again™ it will no longer be exposed or even acknowledged.

What’s up? The DoE is scaling back investigations into civil rights violations at the nation’s public schools and universities, easing off mandates imposed by the Obama administration that the new leadership says have bogged down the agency. The NYT reports that Candice E. Jackson, the acting head of the Department’s office for civil rights issued an internal memo stating that: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)

Requirements that investigators broaden their inquiries to identify systemic issues and whole classes of victims will be scaled back. Also, regional offices will no longer be required to alert department officials in Washington of all highly sensitive complaints on issues such as the disproportionate disciplining of minority students and the mishandling of sexual assaults on college campuses.

The new directives are Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ first steps to reshape the DoE’s approach to civil rights enforcement, moving away from President Obama’s efforts to require that schools and colleges overhaul policies addressing a number of civil rights concerns. That approach sent complaints soaring, and the civil rights office found itself understaffed and struggling to meet the department’s stated goal of closing cases within 180 days.

So, DeVos’ new protocols have the cover of “we need to move faster” to resolve the big case backlog.

But civil rights leaders believe that the new directives will have the opposite effect. Since DoE staff members would be discouraged from opening new cases, and efficiency will take priority over thoroughness, the entire process will be weakened. Catherine Lhamon, who was the assistant secretary of the Education Department’s civil rights office under Mr. Obama, and who now heads the United States Commission on Civil Rights says:

If we want to have assembly-line justice, and I say ‘justice’ in quotes, then that’s the direction that we should go.

So the logic of DeVos seems to be: “Well if we can’t close civil rights cases in six months, why bother opening them? Let’s just save the money.”

This is another example of Zero-Sum Thinking by the Trumpists.

Time to wake up America! While you are following the twists and turns of Russiagate, the Trump administration is overturning the civil rights accountability that Obama put in place for the nation’s schools. Obama’s idea was that ALL students should have their civil rights protected, not just the Taylors and Hunters out there in the suburbs, but those kids in the poorer school districts.  

To help you wake up, here is The Weeknd with his newly released “Secrets”, which owes a big debt to Tears for Fears:

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.

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Saturday Soother – January 28, 2017

We’ve made it to Saturday, all the while trying to sort through the blizzard of executive orders issued by our Orange Overlord. As we cruise into the weekend, we need to reflect on Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee for Attorney General. The Senate Judiciary Committee will probably vote on the nomination on Tuesday, after which it will go to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.

Wrongo agrees with Charlie Pierce:

At a moment like this one, it simply will not do to have someone in the attorney general’s office who was deemed too racist to be a federal judge 30 years ago. It will not do to have someone in the attorney general’s office who launched a dirty-tricks prosecution of voting-rights activists when he was a U.S. Attorney in Alabama. It will not do to have someone in the attorney general’s office who greeted the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 by noting that it was “good for the South.”

Pierce says that no (zero) Democrats should vote for Sessions:

There is no room for compromise or horse-trading. The Democratic Party should stand for the expansion of the franchise and for a greater ease in exercising it.

Voting rights will be at risk if Sessions is confirmed. The AG will follow Trump’s lead and focus on a “voter fraud” investigation in the big liberal states and urban areas that do not vote Republican. This is something the right wing has been doing for years. From what Trump said this week to David Muir on ABC, he believes that the problem exists only in places he didn’t win. He told Muir that every one of the alleged 2 million to 3 million illegal votes went to Hillary Clinton.

If it isn’t clear by now, this is a powerful new national campaign of voter suppression coming down the road to a polling place near you. We don’t know at this point who will be heading Trump’s “investigation,” or what form it’s likely to take, but Jeff Sessions is just the man for the job.

We could also tell our Senators that they should not vote to confirm Betsy DeVos and Tom Price, but both will probably get a few Dem votes. Wrongo isn’t arguing for complete resistance as the only response to Trump, but we can’t appoint Sessions.

Will even a single Republican Senator have the backbone to vote against the president’s hand-picked bigot? The prospects are not heartening.

Glad that’s off of Wrongo’s chest. Time to grab a cup of Bengal Spice Chai tea, and mellow out with the Saturday Soother. Today we are going acapella with the University of North Carolina Clef Hangers. They have been around for 35 years, and have released 17 studio-produced albums. Here are the Clef Hangers doing “You Never Need Nobody”, a song by the Brooklyn NY-based The Lone Bellow:

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.

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Saturday Soother – January 21, 2017

Did Wrongo miss anything yesterday? We had multiple meetings, and thus, no chance to see the “You Bet Your Country” reality show that premiered in DC.

Look on the bright side, there are now only 1,459 days left in the reign of DT, so two things to focus on:

  • Work hard to save the ACA, and
  • Remember to toast to the health of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer every day.

Today is the Women’s March in Washington DC. Two days in a row of firsts for our Orange Overlord. Yesterday, he was sworn in as the 45th president. Today, he sees his first mass protest in the form of the Women’s March, and companion marches (600 at last count) around the country and the world.

New York Magazine tweaks the main stream media’s coverage thusly: (brackets by the Wrongologist)

…the media’s treatment of the [women’s] march has been so fretful that you’d be forgiven for thinking that this grass-roots demonstration of hundreds of thousands on behalf of women’s rights is an example of feminism in crisis and disarray.

Whenever there are protests from the left, we’re always adjured that we’re doing it wrong and/or that our “message” is defocused or unclear. Leftwing protests get little coverage in the MSM. Wrongo has observed that when there are rightwing protests, they are typically universally covered by the MSM. Plus their “message” is always described as clear, and unequivocal.

There have been protests at most recent inaugurals, but they have been generally along the parade route, as there were in DC today. The car and trash can burnings made today’s DC protests look more like what we see in European capitals.

What the Women’s March envisions is a protest that creates as much buzz as the inauguration itself. That means the organizers are attempting to create a widespread, and diverse coalition for this event. The hope is: (1) a huge crowd shows up to protest; (2) the protest is marked by its size and the quality of its direct action (without violence); (3) the obvious fissures in the coalition remain unclear to the public until long after the march.

The March on Washington in August, 1963 was one of the largest political demonstrations in American history. The organizing idea was a protest for “jobs and freedom”. You may not remember that John Lewis’s original speech at the March on Washington was highly controversial. Now, 54 years down the road, no one cares, because of the power of Lewis’s personal history, and the fact that the march ultimately led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The March on Washington was broadcast on TV, because we had not yet become jaded about protests, and the White House was vulnerable from both sides of the racial divide. The Women’s March is only expected to be live-streamed via cell phone. The networks will give us highly edited snippets on the evening news.

The value of these large public protests are in building a more unified opposition movement. Perhaps it will happen this time, although there is a risk that it fizzles like the Occupy Movement did.

The Tea Party began building their national presence with a rally of maybe 7000 people in tri-corner hats, enabled by a few Congress Critters. That was enough for the media to legitimize their birth. Perhaps it will work for the Women’s March: it will become a viable movement only if the commitment to messaging and building a national presence in Congressional districts and statehouses is carried through.

What will be more significant for the future are the state capitol and major city rallies once the protesters leave Washington. Resistance IS the message: The voters did not deliver Trump an overwhelming mandate to do the things his juggernaut is planning to shower on America.

Handled correctly that could make Trump and the GOP vulnerable. The Wrongologist will post a first-person report from an attendee at the Women’s March, on Tuesday.

But today is Saturday, and you need to mellow out a little. Here is something radically different, yet completely familiar. This is the Austrian brass ensemble Mnozil Brass performing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. What better tribute to Freddie Mercury? These guys are demonstrably horny and have lots of brass. High energy, and completely entertaining:

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.

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Monday Wake Up Call -MLK Holiday Edition

“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience….Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”Howard Zinn

Today we remember the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was America’s icon of civil disobedience, and a hero to most. And while injustice and inequality continue in the US, the thought that civil disobedience will deliver the astonishing results it did in the 1950s and 1960s seems nearly impossible. In the next four years, we will have trouble enough holding on to the reforms of the New Deal and the Lyndon Johnson years.

Here is a small proof: This week, the city of Biloxi Mississippi tweeted that some municipal offices would be closed on Monday “in observance of Great Americans Day, a state-named holiday”. That was news to citizens of Biloxi. How had the city changed the name of a federal holiday in honor of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr to celebrate unnamed “Great Americans”?

It hadn’t. This from the Guardian:

The incident, however, highlighted an awkward truth about Mississippi’s Martin Luther King Jr Day: that it is also Robert E Lee Day…Arkansas and Alabama also jointly celebrate Martin Luther King Day and Robert E Lee Day, despite annual protests.

States and municipalities were slow to recognize the MLK holiday, with New Hampshire being the last state to officially observe the day, in 2000. You may remember Arizona’s resistance to a holiday honoring MLK. It became a big issue in the late 1980s. In 1986, the year the federal holiday honoring King was first observed, Arizona’s House of Representatives voted down a measure observing it. But, Democratic Gov. Bruce Babbitt, who was about to leave office, proclaimed the holiday on his own.

Babbitt’s designation of the holiday became an issue in the next election. Republican Evan Mecham promised to overturn Babbitt’s order if he won. And after his election, Mecham reversed the proclamation. Mecham’s move led to dozens of groups cancelling conventions in Phoenix. After Mecham left office, (he was indicted and impeached), the debate continued, eventually leading to a statewide vote in 1990, but Arizona voters rejected the holiday.

That cost Arizona a chance to host its first Super Bowl in 1993 (the NFL’s decisions are made about 5 years in advance). Losing the 1993 game cost the state at least $200 million. The ongoing refusal to create an MLK Holiday also cost Arizona scores of additional conventions and tourist business. Not long after the vote, the NCAA turned down Arizona State’s request to host a portion of the 1994 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

It took until November 1992 for the state to finally designate the MLK Holiday.

Does any of this sound familiar? A Republican governor stands against an idea that the majority of America thinks is important, and the right thing to do. The state loses tourism and other business. It becomes a pariah, standing on ground that makes its governor look more like George Wallace than a modern political executive. We’re talking about you, North Carolina! Why is it always a Republican?

In 1991 the rap group Public Enemy released a song called “By the Time I Get to Arizona” on their album, “Apocalypse 91”. They wrote the song in response to Arizona’s’ refusal to create the MLK Holiday. The song is controversial, since the music video showed Public Enemy’s willingness to kill Gov. Mecham. Rolling Stone praised the album, stating that Apocalypse 91attempted nothing short of setting a sociopolitical agenda for the black community.”

Best wishes on MLK day. The struggle is gonna get way more real this year. Here is “By The Time I Get to Arizona”:

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.

Sample Lyrics:

I’m countin’ down to the day deservin’
Fittin’ for a king
I’m waitin’ for the time when I can
Get to Arizona
‘Cause my money’s spent on
The goddamn rent
Neither party is mine not the
Jackass or the elephant
Why want a holiday Fuck it ’cause I wanna
So what if I celebrate it standin’ on a corner
I ain’t drinkin’ no 40
I B thinkin’ time wit’ a nine
Until we get some land
Call me the trigger man
Looki lookin’ for the governor

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Voting Rights and John Roberts

From USA Today:

National and local voting rights activists, worried about threats to casting ballots nationwide, are setting up command centers, staffing hotlines and deploying thousands of monitors to polling sites across the country to ensure voters can get to the polls.

There has been plenty of talk about “rigged’’ elections in the 2016 presidential campaign. Link that with the Supreme Court’s rejection of a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and civil rights and voting rights activists say they’re concerned about possible roadblocks at the polls next week.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 14 states will have new voting restrictions in place, ranging from photo ID requirements to early voting cutbacks, to registration restrictions.

Some of the blame for this can be laid at the door of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice John Roberts. Stephanie Mencimer in MoJo writes that Roberts “had it in for the Voting Rights Act”:

In 2013, when Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. issued the most far-reaching Supreme Court decision on voting rights in the 21st century, he finally succeeded in gutting a civil rights law he has been fighting his entire career. For three decades, Roberts has argued that the US has become colorblind to the point where aggressive federal intervention on behalf of voters of color is no longer necessary—and this case, Shelby County v. Holder, was the pinnacle of that crusade.

Roberts honed his views on race and voting as a clerk for Justice William Rehnquist and later in the Reagan DOJ. Rehnquist redefined opposition to civil rights laws as a commitment to color blindness, using this leap of logic to undermine the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The Atlantic reports that Roberts has a history of insisting that the US is a post-racial, colorblind society, a viewpoint he emphasized in his 2013 Shelby County v. Holder opinion. That decision removed a critical component of the Voting Rights Act: the requirement that jurisdictions with a long history of voting discrimination submit any changes in voting procedures to the DOJ for “preclearance,” to ensure those changes didn’t have a discriminatory impact.

Preclearance blocked more than 700 discriminatory voting changes between 1982 and 2006. But in the Shelby opinion, Roberts asserted that such protections were no longer warranted. He said that federal oversight of the jurisdictions in question, mostly states in the Deep South, was outdated and unjustified.

After the Shelby decision, several states passed new voting restrictions that were overwhelmingly directed at minorities. On the day the Shelby decision was handed down, Texas announced that the only two forms of state voter identification it would accept were a driver’s license or a gun license—a measure the DOJ had previously blocked.

  • Georgia moved some municipal elections in predominantly minority areas from November to May, depressing turnout by nearly 20% in one instance.
  • Alabama implemented a strict voter ID law—and then shut down driver’s license offices in every county where more than 75% of voters were African American.
  • The most blatant was North Carolina’s omnibus voting law. Passed shortly after the Shelby decision, the NC law imposed strict ID requirements, limited the registration window, and dramatically cut early voting during times traditionally used by African Americans.

Some lower courts are walking back the Shelby decision. In July, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked enforcement of North Carolina’s voting law, saying its provisions “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”

Will the lower court ruling cause Roberts to rethink his Shelby opinion? No.

In August, the Supreme Court, without a Scalia replacement, would not hear an appeal of the 4th Circuit’s blocking of North Carolina’s voting law, but Roberts wrote that he personally would have allowed most of the law to take effect.

According to Harvard’s Alex Keyssar, the popular vote in North Carolina for the state legislature and members of Congress for the last several years has been pretty much evenly split, but the seats are overwhelmingly Republican. And that matters. That’s how the Republican legislature put together its voting laws.

Voter suppression and partisan gerrymandering are the greatest threats to our democracy. Suppression provides the opportunity to gerrymander. Taken together, suppression and gerrymandering provide the means to disenfranchise groups of the electorate from our democracy.

The anger in this nation is because people can feel things slipping away, even if they don’t all agree on why it is, or who to blame.

At some point, it won’t matter anymore. But by then, we might have a Republic in name only.

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RIP Tom Hayden

Tom Hayden died on Monday. Like Bob Dylan, Nixon, Robert Kennedy, MLK and many others, Hayden was a part of inventing the 1960s as we remember them. He was best known as an anti-Vietnam War activist, but he was active in the Civil Rights movement and in other social causes.

In 1961, he joined the Freedom Riders, challenging Southern authorities who refused to enforce the Supreme Court’s rulings banning segregation on public buses. He was beaten for his efforts in Mississippi and then jailed in Georgia. Hayden was the first president of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a university-based student activist movement, started in 1962.

In 1968, Hayden helped plan the antiwar protests in Chicago that targeted the Democratic National Convention. Police officers clashed with thousands of demonstrators, injuring hundreds in a televised spectacle that a national commission later called a police riot. Yet, Hayden and others were charged by federal officials with inciting riot and conspiracy.

The resulting Chicago Seven trial was a classic confrontation between Abbie Hoffman and the other defendants and Judge Julius Hoffman (no relation), marked by insults, outbursts and contempt citations. The demonstration that led to the Chicago Police riot and the trial, is remembered for Mayor Richard Daly saying these infamous words:

Gentlemen, let’s get this straight. The policeman isn’t there to create disorder, the policeman is there to preserve disorder.

In 1973, Hayden married Jane Fonda, went to Hanoi and escorted a few American prisoners of war home from Vietnam. Later, he won a seat in the California Legislature in Sacramento in 1982, and served as an assemblyman and as a state senator, for a total of 18 years.

Last April, he explained why he was switching his vote from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton in the California Democratic primary:

There are two Hillary Clintons. First, the early feminist, champion of children’s rights, and chair of the Children’s Defense Fund; and second, the Hillary who has grown more hawkish and prone to seeking “win-win” solutions with corporate America…

Hayden went on to say:

I wish our primary could focus more on ending wars and ending regime change too, issues where Bernie is more dovish and Hillary still harbors an inner hawk. Both Bernie and Hillary call for “destroying” ISIS, whatever that might mean—but it certainly means we are moving into yet another “war presidency”…

Hayden closed with this point: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)

So here we are, at the end of one generation on the left and the rise of another…We still need the organizing of a united front of equals to prevail against the Republicans….It’s up to all of us.

Hayden was a member of the Silent Generation, yet he willingly passed the activist torch to the current progressive political movement headed by Millennials, based less in marching and demonstrating, and more in social media, as the means of organizing support and expressing their activism. We saw this clearly with the Bernie campaign, where most of Bernie’s communication took place via social media.

We saw it in the aborted Occupy movement as well.

Trump has used social media to build a huge following. Now he is running a nightly newscast on Facebook. The first “broadcast” looked like a live TV newscast. There was a news scroll at the bottom of the screen, and there was also a button for donating to Trump’s campaign.

And this isn’t only an American process. In Hong Kong one year ago, as protesters fought against a proposed electoral rule change by Beijing, social media, and technology more broadly, were key to spreading the message that was heard not just by protesters, but around the world. Even those not attending were involved, showing solidarity with the protest was as simple as sharing an image of a yellow umbrella on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Back to Hayden: Our society hasn’t paid much attention to the political activists of the 1960s in a long time. Groups like the Moral Monday movement are using a hybrid of the old civil rights strategy with large demonstrations in cities, backed by social media to organize public opinion, and drive turnout at their events.

Many in Hayden’s generation of civil rights and anti-war activists took on issues that divided America. The new progressive movement is now taking on those same issues all over again in a still-divided America.

The world of the 1960s and 1970s is far enough in the past that these activists who were young adults then, are now dying. But, our 2016 political landscape shows that we have yet to come to terms with that period in our culture.

The same problems exist. Let’s hope that this new generation of activists will be more effective in solving them.

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Sunday Cartoon Blogging – September 25, 2016

So many stories competing for our attention this week. The bomber, the “driving while black” shootings, the upcoming debate.

Let’s start with Tulsa and Charlotte:

cow-aaa-b4-cops

And how many news reports do we hear about a stranded white motorist being shot, or a social worker lying on the ground with his hands in the air getting shot? The smart phone camera is the only disinfectant that may end this.

The Presidential candidates’ response to NYC and NJ bomber taught us quite a bit:

 

Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

This shows the difference in the way Democrats and Republicans view the world. Democrats are trying to figure out why people are getting radicalized, who they are, and how to stop them. Republicans want to carpet bomb the place until the sands glow and let (their) god sort them out.

The Wells Fargo hearings gave us a rare moment of bi-partisan solidarity:

cow-shoot-wells

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrongo does not endorse killing anyone at Wells Fargo or any other bank or Wall Street firm. But is putting a few behind bars too much to ask?

The debate is tomorrow, but what on earth will they talk about?

cow-debate-topics

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Sunday Cartoon Blogging – September 4, 2016

Welcome to Labor Day weekend. This means that summer is over, and mercifully, there are only nine weeks until Election Day:

COW Labor Day IV.png

Donald Trump did a drive-through in Mexico. His souvenir sombrero says “Culero”.  For those who do not speak colloquial Spanish, Culero means asshole:

COW Culero

Some thought he looked presidential while with President Nieto, but then he looked more like an ultra-nationalist in Phoenix. A Trump advisor said that without enforced deportation, we would soon have a taco truck on every corner. America responded:

COW Taco Trucks

Even better, there were some estimates that a taco truck on every corner might deliver enough jobs to eliminate today’s US unemployment. Great idea Donald!

The Pant Suit did not have a good week. The FBI released some of the information they had collected while investigating the email issue. The outrage by those who believe Clinton is the worst candidate ever was palpable. Should we be buying it?

COW Bad Bag

OTOH, for many it’s just too much appearance of guilt:

COW Guilty Looking

49rs QB Colin Kaepernick has touched a nerve. It is surprising to see who is for and against his position:

COW Divided we Sit

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Make America Safe?

Wrongo has tried hard not to write again about the murderous and divisive actions taken against police over the past few weeks, but it seems impossible. From the NYT:

The twin attacks — three officers dead Sunday in Baton Rouge, five killed on July 7 in Dallas, along with at least 12 injured over all — have set off a period of fear, anguish and confusion among the nation’s 900,000 state and local law enforcement officers. Even the most hardened veterans call this one of the most charged moments of policing they have experienced.

Never one to let bad news pass without blaming, the Pant Suit criticized President Obama’s response:

FireShot Screen Capture #104 - Trump

Monday kicked off the GOP Convention. The theme for the first day is “Make America Safe Again”. In case you thought that despite the recent spate of cop killings, you live in one of the safest places on earth, the Trump team is out to scare you up good.

The central theme of Trump’s campaign is that he plans to protect you: From scary Islamic terrorists, from scary immigrants who steal jobs, rape and pillage, and from scary black men with guns.

This resonates with many Republicans who are in the grip of overpowering nostalgia for the1950’s. Republicans see this as a time of stable marriages, respect for authority and economic dynamism. They are not alone: Democrats see it as a time when most men could leave high school and walk into a well-paid job, with pension and health-care benefits, which would allow them to support a family and retire comfortably.

There was much to like about this era of 25₵ gallons of gas, sport coats and cars with tail fins, but it is far from the whole story. It forgets the specter of nuclear annihilation that was ever-present. It forgets that women had little chance of a career beyond the typists’ pool, or that society forced African-Americans to the back of the bus.

Feminism, the civil-rights movement and economic progress in other countries swung a wrecking-ball at the society of the 1950s. But, to regret its collapse, as many Tea Partiers and Republicans do, is also to wish those improvements had never happened, which is absurd. Life was NOT good for the working person in the 1930s and 1940s. Even in the halcyon days of the 1950s -1970s, life was not good for women, people of color, gay people, and others.

Republicans see our politics and our culture decaying, so we see the sharpening Trump “law and order” rhetoric, and the success of the Tea Party in setting our national political agenda.

An alternative view to Trump’s is that Obama’s eulogy for five Dallas police officers a week ago was an eloquent plea to Americans to acquire “a new heart” – a new empathy toward others across the racial divide. And rarely has a president talked so bluntly about the limits of his ability to bring about the changes he seeks. Mr. Obama:

It is as if the deepest fault lines of our democracy have suddenly been exposed, perhaps even widened…Faced with this violence, we wonder if the divides of race in America can ever be bridged…We must reject such despair…I’ve seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change. I’ve seen how inadequate my own words have been…I confess that sometimes I, too, experience doubt.

In an era of partisan polarization, the problem isn’t merely a deficit of leaders capable of binding us together; it’s a shortage of citizens willing to listen. According to the Pew Research Center, only 14% of Republicans approve of Obama’s conduct, compared with 80% of Democrats. That’s a record high in polarization – except that the previous record held by George W. Bush, who was supported by only 23% of Democrats. Trump is exploiting that.

When we zoom out from the “Make America Safe Again” meme, we remain in a competition between divergent views. We will not even start on the road to consensus until two conditions are met:

  • Our solutions strive for the preservation of a value called “the greater good”.
  • Our solutions rely on the preservation of a value called “in good faith”.

We have never changed ethics by legislation, although we can impact behavior.  What we have to change is whether or not we as a society will accept the greater good and good faith as inextricable parts of our society.

But as long as there are those among us who can defend the rights of people to use a weapon of war to kill policemen and children, or people who threaten the careers of the elected representatives who stand up to them, we will be seeing this happen again and again, and we’ll be stuck asking the same questions over and over.

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Welcome to the TerrorDome

Last Thursday night it was in Nice, France. Next, will be another city. Maybe on another continent. In the last month, dozens of terror attacks have killed hundreds of people across the world. Every public event is a potential target for these killers, who not only welcome death, but confuse our leaders who have tried to stop them.

From Rami G. Khouri at Agence Global:

Every terror attack generates anger, shock, and powerful emotional and political commitments of our indomitable will not to be terrorized, to stand firm and strong, to affirm liberty, free speech, and pluralism. We are all, sincerely, Boston, Paris, London, Nice, Orlando, Dacca, New York, Baghdad, and a hundred other cities around the world, and a hundred more that will be attacked in due course. We will stand with them all in a steel chain of humanity against barbarism.

But, then what? What happens if after a dozen more attacks, the power of their barbarism outpaces the power of our solidarity? Do we willingly give up all of our rights to be kept safe by an authoritarian leader?

We need to debate what we can really do to fight terror, and win.

The policy responses of Western governments and the emotional responses of entire societies suggest we have no idea how to respond to defeat this monster. More from Khouri: (editing by the Wrongologist)

We see no serious questioning of whether… [our] primary focus on militarism reduces or increases the terror threat. We see no credible willingness among most governments, and most of their associated media and intellectual spheres, to transcend Islam as the main analytical…[frame in which to view] the world of terror.

Was the truck driver behind the attack in Nice an Islamic terrorist? Was he a lone wolf with psychological issues? We assume he is a terrorist because of his Arab name. Many terrorists conform to the Islamic narrative – think about the Orlando shooter, or the Muslim couple in San Bernardino. This assumption also shapes attitudes and policy responses of governments when they respond to mass killings. Our first thought is always Islamic terrorism, as in the initial response to the Dallas shooter when we heard his middle initial was “X”.

Our two flawed presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are evenly matched on protecting us: Clinton wants to push out the Assad government, in part by using ISIS mercenaries as proxies, plus US drones and bombing. Meanwhile, The Donald wants to fight an all-out war on ISIS and Islamic ‘terrorism’ in whatever shape. GW Bush anyone?

The US is now facing the consequences of our simplistic knowledge of the Middle East. We are stuck in the 1950s, a time when we could impose regime change in disobedient countries. Today, we drone them, and they kill a few of our citizens every few months. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

When will we ask the presidential candidates how long we have to put up with this steady stream of death and pain? What do they propose to do to tackle the terror problem at its roots? Anger, square-jawed determination, serial incompetence, and heavy-handed, counter-productive militarized policies are signs of cumulative failure.

Can we ask for a more serious response after Nice? Or, do we wait for a few more attacks, and ask then?

  • The Rio Olympics are starting in less than three weeks; the long list of concerns surrounding the games continues to grow.
  • The US military is eyeing a potential increase in troop engagement in Yemen to confront threats by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Why?

Our domestic terror victims are collateral damage of the decisions by the Powers That Be to support using extremists as a weapon. What we see today is not unforeseen blowback, it was knowable.

The entire world needs a wake-up. How should we answer the threat of the TerrorDome?

Here is Steel Pulse to get us going with “Find it Quick” from their 1982 album, “True Democracy”. You weren’t paying attention, but Mr. Obama said something in Dallas to the effect of “those in authority reject the cries of want” which comes from “Find it Quick“:

Sample Lyrics:

We got to find this love oh
Oh help us Jah above yeh come on
We got to find this love
Those in authority reject the cries of want
Those in power corrupt and weak in heart
This world don’t you know that
Hatred has grown
Love fly gone out through the window
We’ve got to find it we got to find it
Love fly gone out through the window
We’ve got to find it

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.

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