The Absurd Times The U.S. Election — Facts and Positions?

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on September 29, 2016


Illustration: Our Next President?

From what I have seen lately on "social" media, I gather there is a great deal of confusion on the part of intelligent, but somewhat less inured, people than amongst the unthinking. There was even a few thoughts that Donald Trump would be better at foreign policy than Hillary Clinton, for example, as if it was possible to figure out anything of substance in this election. So, this is a humble attempt to clarify what is going on in our election. I need to give some background, however.

You have to think of a time when things meant more sense. Start with something as simple as coffee. That’s right, believe it or not, it is as good a place to start as anywhere. I was introduced to it one day when I simply felt very lethargic and my favorite cola did not work very well. One cup and I felt more alert instantly, or at lease within a few minutes. It is rather a bother making it and brewing it, and buying it ready made was a bit expensive, but at least it made sense. All of a sudden, I started to hear about "Decaf" coffee. What the hell? It is the caffeine that provides the stimulation. Why go to all the trouble of making it and also drinking the warm stuff if there is no caffeine in it? It was better for you. Well, screw that – I’ll just skip it, thank you.

So, what else? Skim milk. Yes, go from 5% to 2% and from 2% to less. So what do they do with what they removed? They make butter and stuff like that, I suppose, but it really tastes like wet white stuff. Forget it.

Diet Cola, Diet beverages of all sorts, no caffeine in your soda, actually, nothing in your soda. One advertised only one calorie in an entire bottle. Great! If you have to only consume 2,000 calories a day, you can drink 2,000 bottles of diet soda each day? Something is wrong here.

Well, we also have diet news and diet elections. How about Hillary Clinton wanting regime change all over and invading Iraq and Libya and killing the leaders? Nope, let’s focus on her deleted e-mails. Benghazi? Well, never about what the hell we were doing there in the first place, but why we didn’t send troops there afterwards when the same that happened to Gaddafi happened to our soldiers and other functionaries. Yes, that’s the real issue. It is all Putin’s fault. Diet foreign policy.


Er, thank you, Wolf, for that excellent example of our news today. Diet news.

Syria is a far more complicated issue. One of the candidates, the Libertarian, was asked what he would do about Aleppo. He asked "What is Allepo?" Later, he was asked which foreign leader he had the most respect for. He could not think of one. He did say Peres, but was informed that he had died. The question of how many Palestinians he killed or Oslo was not even touched. If the guy can’t think of a foreign leader, why ask him further questions? You would have to ask diet questions.

Trump, however, has the answers, many of them, in fact. "Knock the crap outta them!" Is my favorite strategy. Others are "Ban all Moslems from entering the country," soon replaced by a mélange of variegated drivel of other strategies. Punish women who have abortions, but don’t, actually he meant punish the doctors, well, not really, just so we punish somebody!!!! He was against The Iraq intervention, but then there is no record of his so doing. That’s O.K., he has a Doctorate from Trump University. Women are fat pigs and can’t be a 10 if they have no breasts, but he only means that about Rosie O’Donnell. Really, if you are taking this guy seriously, you’ve been on diet lemons too long.

Now Jill Stein of the Green Party does seem to know what she is talking about and actually makes sense. For this reason, there is no way she will be allowed to become President.

Our news media talk seriously about the "spoiler" candidate. Now seriously, how is it possible to spoil this diet election? It can’t be done. It is already spoiled. To say not voting or voting for a third party candidate is a vote for Trump is patently ridiculous.

To take Clinton seriously, one has to think that she will not appoint another Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Otherwise, it is impossible to draw a distinction.

Not that it makes any sense to bring in any substance to this discussion, I can not pass by the opportunity to post a transcript about education or the lack or it as it pertains to Islamophobia.
AMYGOODMAN: I wanted to bring in Nazia Kazi, our fourth roundtable guest, professor of anthropology at Stockton University. Her latest article for The Chronicle of Higher Education, "Teaching Against Islamophobia in the Age of Terror." And as we have this discussion and all that took place this weekend in our neighborhood here in New York City in Chelsea, two bombs being placed here—one went off, 29 people injured. Then, in New Jersey, I think it was a backpack of some pipe bombs found outside an Elizabeth, New Jersey, train station. Actually, it was homeless men who found the backpack and told the police what they saw inside—wires and pipes. And also what happened in an area of New Jersey where there was going to be a race for Marine families, and the bomb went off in a trashcan, and it was only because the race was late that nobody got hurt. But, Nazia Kazi, your response?
NAZIAKAZI: Yeah, so, as an educator and someone who spends a lot of time in the university classroom, I get to see firsthand the ways in which a lot of our young people understand terror. You know, most of them have grown up in the so-called terror age, post-9/11. And the bad guys, to put it so simply, have been Osama bin Laden, ISIS, Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. And there is very little nuance, quite often, in their understanding of these global realities.
One of the things I find in the university classroom, and I talk about it in this piece, is the really puzzling coexistence of a deep hawkishness and a systemic ignorance. So, on the one hand, students will have very strong opinions about what the U.S. needs to do globally, but actually have very little knowledge about the histories of, say, Muslim-majority countries. And I take very seriously the fact that these things coexist. I think that the war against terrorism, the U.S. war on terror, would not have been possible without a deep, public anti-intellectualism. In other words, there’s kind of a systemic ignorance that the war on terror needs, it requires, in order to operate. Many of my students have been fed these binaries about the free world and the unfree world, you know, peace-loving people and terrorists, and have accepted these binaries wholesale. And the job for us as educators is to really—what I argue, is to insert critical thinking as a terrorism prevention tool, you know, a way of thinking past these simplistic binaries, and thinking geopolitically, historically and contextually, making connections between U.S. racism domestically and imperialism abroad.
AMYGOODMAN: We’re going to break and then come back to this discussion. Professor Nazia Kazi teaches anthropology at Stockton University. She’s speaking to us from Philadelphia. Dr. Debbie Almontaser is head of the Muslim Community Network. She’s the founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International [Academy]. Haji Yusuf is with us in Minnesota. He’s with #unitecloud in St. Cloud, Minnesota. And Ramzi Kassem is a CUNYSchool of Law professor. Stay with us.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump responded to the weekend attacks by lashing out at Muslim immigrants and refugees, calling them a "cancer from within," while Democrat Hillary Clinton said Trump is helping ISIS to recruit more fighters. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham called for the New York bombing suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, to be treated as an "enemy combatant" rather than be treated as a civilian suspect. "The idea that they should all be collectively punished … is, frankly, racist. And that’s what we should call it," says lawyer Ramzi Kassem with clients held in Guantánamo. "The notion that we should generalize … military detention, extrajudicial imprisonment is not only absurd and runs against U.S. and international law, but it is the practice of totalitarian regimes."


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