THE ABSURD TIMES — STILL

Tell Us Mr. Trump

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on November 10, 2016

THE ABSURD TIMES

THE ABSURD TIMES

So many things to learn

Online

Absurd Times

Our new first lady.

The election is over, more or less, so we have to learn some details and find out what this all means. So, we have a few questions for the President Elect:

Does this mean that BLACK LIVES DON’T MATTER? We know you talked about the movement a lot, but now we want details.

When will Hillary start serving time in jail? You said she would, so when?

Should we invest in Greyhound? You said you will deport 11,000,000 people to Mexico right away, so are you going to use Greyhound to get them there? In not, what means will you use? We should be able to cash in on this.

Will the wall be union made? Perhaps a silly question, but a lot of your voters were Detroit union workers who were simply abandoned be the automobile industry (which also went to Mexico, BTW).

When can South Korea expect delivery on their H-Bombs? You said they should have them – we just want a timetable.

When will Saudi Arabia get their H-Bombs? Same thing.

When will NATO be dissolved? It is expensive and we are tired of defending a bunch of Hungarians anyway.

When will the Moslems get banned? They need time to sell of the Mosques.

When will you make China bomb North Korea? You said it’s their problem, so we think you will do something about it.

When will people be officially encouraged to grab pussies? And when should women get pussy-protectors? We see a big market for that.

When will you send that wild-eyed Islamic terrorist in Pennsylvania to Turkey as Erdogan demanded in his letter of congratulation to you?

When will you lift sanctions on Russia as Putin asked in his congratulations to you?

When will you get back the money we gave back to Iran and end the treaty with Iran thus enabling them to build nuclear weapons within the next 3 to 4 years?

Has anyone told you where Crimea is yet?

Are you going to be comfortable flying in a place without your name on the side?

We do find it amazing that so many were surprised by this. We did expect the corporate world to make certain that the country remained under corporate rule, but Daffy Donald might do anything. Even he doesn’t know what he is going to do next, so how can you predict it?

You made certain that the same anger at the corporate world that made both Bernie and Daffy Donald so popular was ignored and frustrated by your DNC, and figured that the anger was not so deep that Clinton could not overcome it. Well, she failed, thus becoming the first woman ever to loose the Presidency. Truly historical.

So, many are wondering what next. Can they actually go out on the streets? Will cops kill more blacks? Will Moslem children be more attacked? Let us know.

Meanwhile, here is a discussion of what happened, an interview with a more objective view than mine.

NERMEENSHAIKH: Well, on Wednesday, Senator Bernie Sanders issued this statement on Trump’s election. “Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids—all while the very rich become much richer.”

Senator Bernie Sanders, who opposed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary, went on to say, quote, “To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.” That’s the statement from Bernie Sanders.

Glenn Greenwald, many have said that if Sanders had been the Democratic presidential candidate, then perhaps Trump would not have won the election.

GLENNGREENWALD: Right. So, that’s a counterfactual that none of us can know for certain. What I do know for certain and what I wrote about back in March or February, I believe, was the fact that all empirical evidence, which, remember, is what Democratic opinion-making elites and liberal pundits and data journalists tell us is the thing that should guide our thinking—all available empirical evidence showed that Bernie Sanders was a much more popular and a much stronger candidate than Hillary Clinton against every single Republican opponent, including Donald Trump. He was running many points ahead of Clinton on every poll, in terms of who he might run against versus her, in terms of approval rating, in terms of popularity.

Democrats insisted that we should ignore all of that empirical evidence, that it was unreliable, that once the general election campaign started, Republicans would depict Sanders as a communist, that he would have no chance, in contrast to Clinton, who has already been deeply vetted. We’ll never know for certain whether those arguments were true or not, but what I know for certain is two things. Number one, that the empirical evidence, weak or unreliable or incomplete as it might have been, all pointed to the fact that Hillary Clinton was highly likely to lose, and Bernie Sanders had a greater chance of winning. And, in fact, I wrote an article, back in the primaries, saying, with Donald Trump looming, can we really take the gamble, the huge gamble, of nominating a candidate who is as weak and unpopular as Hillary Clinton? But lost that argument, lost that debate. And as a result, Hillary Clinton was the nominee, and she lost to Donald Trump.

The other point that I think is really worth making is that Sanders—that statement from Senator Sanders is actually quite remarkable, because he isn’t coming out and saying everybody who voted for Donald Trump is a racist troglodyte. He’s not saying that everyone who voted for Donald Trump is a misogynist who hates women and cast their vote for that reason. He’s saying that there are a huge number of people who voted for Donald Trump, and not for Hillary Clinton, who have very valid grievances. And those grievances are grounded in a system of policies that both political parties have played an equal role in creating.

Look at what he is describing: jobs going overseas, industries being destroyed, Wall Street being protected. You can go back into the ’80s, into the era of Reagan and trickle-down economics and the destruction of unions, to find the genesis of it. And then you look into the ’90s, with NAFTA and free trade mania and the liberation of Wall Street from all kinds of constraints, and into the 2000s, when in the post-2008 economic crisis the Obama administration prosecuted not a single Wall Street executive responsible for that crisis, while continuing to build the world’s largest penal state, largely for poor people, people with no power. And it’s this inequality, this oppression of huge numbers of people in the name of globalism and free trade, that Bernie Sanders is describing in that statement as why Trump won.

And it’s the Democrats and the Republicans who played a huge part in constructing that system, and Hillary Clinton, probably above every other politician who could have run, is the symbol of safeguarding that system, of believing in it, of advocating for it and, most of all, of benefiting from it greatly. And so, you sent a Democratic nominee into the general election, in this climate, who could not have been more ill-suited to voice the kind of systemic critique that Donald Trump, being the con artist that he is, was able to voice and that Senator Sanders has spent his entire career trying to advocate for. And I think you see the contrast really well in terms of how Senator Sanders would have run against Trump in that statement that he just issued versus how most Democrats are reacting to this Trump victory.

AMYGOODMAN: And then you have the media part of this—right?—where you have the unending Trump TV, not the new Trump TV, but all the networks’ Trump TV, when it came to Donald Trump. They showed more footage of his empty podium, waiting for him to speak, than they ever played of the words of Bernie Sanders. So you had the endless platform for Donald Trump, but rarely did you have Bernie Sanders showing, in any way, the extent of the speeches that he gave. You’d have whole speeches of Donald Trump. But when it came to Bernie Sanders, that famous night, March 15th—that was, what, Super Tuesday 3—every single victor and loser that night, from Rubio to Kasich to Clinton to Cruz to Trump, all their speeches were played—except for Bernie Sanders, who was speaking to thousands and thousands and thousands of people that night in Arizona. This is just emblematic of the rest of the coverage. They never played a word that he said that night.

GLENNGREENWALD: Right, and I think there’s a lot to unpack there in terms of how the media functions and in terms of the media role in this election. So, let’s begin with the fact that Donald Trump’s public persona prior to this election was consecrated and constructed by one of the most powerful media organizations in the world, if not the most powerful media organization in the world, which is NBCNews, which—or NBC, rather, which for many, many years paraded Donald Trump in the format of a reality TV program, watched by tens of millions of Americans, that portrayed him as the embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit. He marched into boardrooms, in charge, and unflinchingly fired people who weren’t working up to standard performance. He built new businesses. He was the embodiment of everything that Americans are taught to revere. And this is the person who, for decades, has been a racist, a demagogue, a con artist, and yet NBC turned him into this swaggering hero at great profit to itself.

And so, already, he was a byproduct of media worship. And then, once the campaign began, the media, as you said, nonstop fed on Donald Trump, to the exclusion, certainly, first and foremost, of Bernie Sanders, but even to the other candidates, who got far less TV time than Trump did, because he was a ratings gold mine. And they would literally wait on the tarmac and excitingly and breathlessly show his plane about to land. And this built up this image in Americans’ minds that Donald Trump was this all-consuming, towering new presence on the American political landscape. And the American media did a critical job in building him up during the primary and entrenching in the minds of Americans that he was not this out-of-the-norm, radical, extremist, dangerous, racist authoritarian that he was, but instead was this new and powerful figure who was going to come in, revolutionize American politics and the American political culture, that so many citizens of the United States have come to despise.

And I think that what you just contrasted, in terms of how Trump was treated and how Sanders was treated, shows a really important truth about how media operates, which is, if you talk to most journalists who work at major media outlets or newspapers, as you know, and you say to them, “You have all kinds of ways that you censor certain opinions, that you have of excluding certain viewpoints,” they’ll insist that that’s not true, that they never are told what to show or not to show, they’re never told what to say or not to say. And, of course, that’s true. And yet, embedded within all of their editorial judgments about who is worth hearing from and who isn’t worth hearing from are all kinds of ideological and partisan biases. So the idea that Donald Trump, the billionaire, celebrity, TV star, should constantly be heard from, whereas Bernie Sanders, the old Jewish socialist from Vermont, who nobody took seriously, doesn’t need to be heard from, with all of his boring speeches about college debt and healthcare and the like, in that choice is a very strong and pedantic ideological choice that the American media embraced and played a huge role in enabling Trump to march to the primary.

Now, the only other point I want to add to this immediate issue is that I do think that media behavior changed fundamentally with regard to Donald Trump once he became the nominee. So, you have the primary period, where they treated him like a normal candidate. They revered him. They gave him endless free TV time. But once he became the nominee and they took seriously the prospect that he might be president and they started to realize and internalize the responsibility they bore for enabling him to get that far, I think they went all the way to the other extreme, where they completely united in this kind of mission of destroying Donald Trump, of preventing his victory and ensuring that Hillary Clinton was elected. And in a big way, that also played a role, unwittingly, I think, in helping Trump, because, of all the institutions in the United States, the institutions of authority that are hated, the American media leads the way. And so, when people saw the media basically trying to coerce them or dictate to them that they should turn their backs on Donald Trump, that they should vote for Hillary Clinton, I think a backlash ensued, where people believed that the media was being unfair, and were not going to you take marching orders from these media institutions, that they also have come to regard as fundamentally corrupt. And, unwittingly, I think that played an important role, as well, in ensuring that he could win.

NERMEENSHAIKH: Well, there’s the leaked Clinton campaign memo to the Democratic National Committee from last year regarding Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and Ben Carson. The memo said, quote, “We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are the leaders of the pack and tell the press to [take] them seriously.” Glenn Greenwald, your response to that?

GLENNGREENWALD: There are a lot of fascinating insights in those Clinton emails. I know Democratic partisans are furious that they ever saw the light of day, and they’re furious precisely because they contain a lot of really important and interesting insights about how political operatives manipulate the media, about how the media aids certain factions and tries to work against others, about how campaign operatives within the Democratic Party manipulate public opinion.

And one of the more interesting aspects is exactly that, the fact that the Clinton campaign did view certain Republican candidates, like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, as being serious threats to them and to Hillary Clinton’s election, and, in what they thought was a very clever maneuver, wanted to elevate the candidates that they thought were less threatening, such as Donald Trump, to the top of the pack. And in a lot of ways, they have reaped what they have sown, because Donald Trump did end up essentially becoming the nominee because of the media’s treatment of him, and, in retrospect, he probably was one of the more threatening candidates, because the Clintons know how to defeat conventional Orthodox Republican candidates like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. They can do that in their sleep. Donald Trump was a very unconventional candidate. I think he animated parts of the voting population who either haven’t voted in the past or who haven’t voted Republican to vote for him. And the strategies that the Clintons anticipated they would use, because they’ve always worked in the past, simply didn’t work this time. And you could conclude that, in some ways, they sort of outsmarted themselves.

AMYGOODMAN: We’re going to break, then come back to this discussion. And after we finish with Glenn, we’ll be joined by 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben on where the environmental movement goes here, with a president-elect who calls climate change a Chinese hoax and is calling, among other things, for permitting the Keystone XL pipeline. Glenn Greenwald is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, one of the founding editors of The Intercept. This is Democracy Now! Back with Glenn in a minute.

AMYGOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh. Our guest is Glenn Greenwald, who wrote the piece, “Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit.”

NERMEENSHAIKH: Glenn Greenwald, in that piece, you write, quote, “that prevailing institutions of authority in the West, for decades, have relentlessly and with complete indifference stomped on the economic welfare and social security of hundreds of millions of people.” You point also to the many analogies between Brexit, the decision by the British public to exit the European Union. So could you say a little about those analogies and how Trump fits into wider public sentiments, not just in the U.S., but also in Europe?

GLENNGREENWALD: It’s incredibly striking, but also very alarming, how similar the path of Brexit was to the election of Trump, because just like with the U.S. election, in the U.K. during the Brexit debate referendum, British elites, outside of this kind of circle of populist, right-wing Murdoch types, pretty much were unified across ideological and party lines. You had the Liberals and the Labour centrists and the sort of more establishment Conservatives united in opposition to Brexit. And they essentially stayed online all day on Twitter telling each other how smart they were and praising each other’s columns, saying that Brexit was this grave threat and this unique evil. And the opinion class that is considered respectable, meaning not the right-wing tabloids, essentially unified, just like the opinion-making elites in the U.S., outside of Sean Hannity and Fox News and Ann Coulter, that wing of Fox News and that right-wing circle, were unified, as well. You had leading neocon intellectuals and establishment Republicans and then the sort of establishment liberal pundits all in agreement that Trump was this grave evil, constantly praising each other and citing each other in this endless echo feedback chamber.

And so, the people who were supporting Brexit and the people who were supporting Trump weren’t really ever heard from; they were just talked about in very contemptuous tones. These were the troglodytes. These were the uneducated idiots. These were the people motivated by malice and racism and xenophobia. And so they were sort of looked at like zoo animals, like things that you dissect and condemn.

And because this opinion-making elite was so unified, it led so many people, in both cases, to believe that their victory was certain. Nobody thought, in the opinion-making elite classes, that Brexit would win, and the same is true of Trump.

And then, both before and after you had this result, what you saw is not any notion of accountability. Why are there so many people wanting to leave the EU? Why are there so many people supporting this person so far outside the norm? No accountability, no self-critique. Only a way to distract attention from their own responsibility by just spouting hatred and disgust for the people who are being insubordinate.

And what you have as a result are these decades of trends that we began by talking about, that Senator Sanders described, in which tens of millions of people have been trampled on by these policies of Western institutions of authority, who are essentially invisible and ignored. And the more you ignore them and the more you scorn them and the more you tell them that their grievances are invalid, the more they’re going to be susceptible to scapegoating, the more their bigotry will be inflamed, and the more they’ll want to destroy the systems and the institutions that they believe are responsible for their suffering. And so, a lot of people who voted for Brexit, a lot of people who voted for Trump understand exactly all the arguments that were made about why each of them is potentially destructive and so dangerous, and they did it, not despite that, but because of that, because they want to punish and ultimately destroy the institutions who no longer have any credibility with them and who they believe are responsible for the suffering and the lack of security that they experience in their lives without anyone really caring about it at all. And until we start to address that and until institutions, elite institutions, take responsibility for it, those things are going to continue to fester and grow, and it very well may be the case that Trump and Brexit are just the beginning of this very alarming cycle, rather than the peak of it.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: