Trump’s #Charlottesville reaction highlights the need to stop using ‘left’ and ‘right’ to describe political spectrum

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.”

Before I start on the theme of this article, have you ever seen a US president more obsessed with his predecessor?  It has gotten to a stage where he just throws his name into his statements without any real context.

Anyway…you have no doubt read volumes on what happened in Charlottesville and it is not my wish to delve too much further into the horrific events, at least not here.

What I want to point out is something I feel is crucial for the progressive platform to gain more followers, and it is a very simple one.

Rumour has it that human civilisation once believed premises like the earth being the centre of the universe, or at other times that it was a flat plain as opposed to a spherical planet.  Maybe such misconceptions don’t effect people’s everyday life, but then again it’s hard to have a philosophical grasp on existence when you don’t even have the fundamentals correct.

So what I’d like to challenge is the way we label political ideologies as ‘left’ and ‘right’, because it suggests some kind of balance between the two.  On the most basic level, what we call the left represents a society that is fair to everyone while the right does not.

But to properly understand where the conflict comes from you first must appreciate how it started.  Whether you believe in evolution or creation, there must have existed a time when the human race had no elitism.  Then as it became clear that certain resources were more valuable than others, some people took control of them and were selective about those with whom they were shared.

Over time those who had control over the resources got better and better at holding on to that power.  Countries with tyrannical leaders simply run roughshod over their opposition, while those which claim to be democracies use a variety of tools to make sure elections go the way of the ruling classes.

Donald Trump became president on the back of one of these tools, ie supporting a specific group of voters he felt could help get him elected; in this case middle to lower class white men who felt that the civil rights movement had somehow discriminated against them.

Because this movement provided votes for the Republican party, it is considered to be on the ‘right’.  And because the obvious racist and fascist leanings of this movement, it has become fashionable to label them as ‘alt-right’.  Even with this distinction though, the fact that it is called any kind of ‘right’ seems to lend it equal status to whatever is called the ‘left’.

As the mainstream media fully supports the left-right paradigm, the President can claim, however wrongly, that he is being fair to ‘all sides’.

What we who have been shoved on the ‘left’ of this pseudo-spectrum must do is renounce it.  A society that purports to be fair to all citizens is not half the argument.  It is the only one.   Of course we won’t all agree on how it is to be achieved, but given we believe in fairness, chances are the discussions are going to be devoid of such words as ‘fire and fury’.

Anyone who feels they have to ‘tone down’ their views to somehow ‘be fair’ and ‘not exclude the conservative opinion’ is basically validating the very argument that conservatives want.

The white men who marched on Charlottesville are bigots.  Nothing they feel was ‘taken from them’ was really theirs in the first place.  To offer them any sense of legitimacy is not being fair, it’s not being balanced.  It is turning back the clock on American society to a time when the ruling classes needed only the crudest, most basic tools to hold on to power, as opposed to the more intricate ones they use today.

Progressives need to stop allowing themselves to be defined by a scale that doesn’t really exist.

#IANWAE

 

 

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Donald Trump is rather selective about the US intelligence he believes

All of the US intelligence agencies claim Russia hacked the 2016 election…

Trump – ‘Maybe it was Russia. Maybe it was China.’

Just one US intelligence agency, one that has gotten this info wrong before according to Rachel Maddow, claims the North Koreans have found a way to miniaturise nuclear warheads to fit their long-range missiles…

Trump – ‘Fire and fury’

Yet another fine example of a businessman revolutionising government?

#IANWAE

PS – apologies once more for lack of regular posting – we hope to get back to it soon.

 

 

 

Corporate Dems vow to do things ‘better’ – let’s hope that includes listening

Whatever you might think about Donald Trump and his administration, their tenure in the White House, a shade over six months old now, has been a rollercoaster ride with something new to report each and every passing day.

The biggest drawback to this obsession with the latest Washington shenanigans is, of course, the fact that although Trump & co might provide us with easy one-liners and online memes, there is also a very serious side to the story in that we are talking about the government of the most powerful nation in the world.

It’s all very well to ridicule the man in power right now – but it’s pointless unless you can suggest a reasonable alternative.

That alternative is the broad tent that is the Democratic Party, and the 2016 campaign in particular has divided it into two distinct factions….the “corporate wing”, essentially those in the most senior positions in Washington right now, and the “progressive wing”, ie those who follow the social equity platform of the likes of Bernie Sanders.

Here is a recent quote from the Washington Post to ponder…see if you can guess which side of the Democratic tent it came from…

“When you lose to somebody who has 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia — you blame yourself. So what did we do wrong? People didn’t know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that.”

Obviously I want you to think that’s a Progressive, when in actual fact it’s one of the most senior corporate Democrats, Minority leader of the Senate Chuck Schumer.

Ever since the election, Schumer and his counterpart in the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi have been as much under attack  from their left as from their right, probably more so.  And most of it was deserved.

But there has to be a point at which even progressives realise that the Schumers and Pelosis still represent the front line of the resistance to the current terrifying incarnation of the Republican Party, and once and a while they need to be given a bit of slack, especially when they are making noises that sound like they come straight out of the Bernie Sanders playbook.

I’m not one to give the Democrat leadership too much praise – the best thing that be said about the likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is that at least their corporate policies aren’t as bad as their opposition.  What I would rather do is change the narrative – it’s not about how much or little we appease the wishes of the “one percent”, rather it’s about formulating policies that are fair to everyone whether it benefits the rich or not.

To promote this mindset I fully understand the need to hold big-donor politicians to account no matter what their stripes.  But what do we do when they start using slogans that reflect our agenda?

“A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future”

Of course it’s natural to be sceptical when they start to look as though they’re drinking the Bernie KoolAid.  But care must be taken to ensure healthy scepticism doesn’t morph into petulant rejection.

For now anyway, I am willing to give the likes of Schumer a chance.  After all, it can’t have been easy to keep 48 Democratic senators united against Trumpcare – you can be sure one or two of the “Blue Dogs” (more right-leaning Democrats) were courted by the GOP and none have budged.

If the Democrats really want to adopt progressive values to their platform – remember they did at their convention last year only many feared it was empty promises on paper – they need to be supported, voted for, and put under pressure when there are any signs of them failing to deliver.

After all, that’sq what being a ‘Democrat’, with a large or small d, is meant to entail.  JLP

#IANWAE

Mainstream media and “deranged” liberals square off over Trump’s Syrian attacks

The bible on which Donald Trump was sworn in as President was still warm from his touch as Sean Spicer launched the administration’s first attack on the mainstream media.  We later learned they were considered “the enemy of the people” and purveyors of “fake news”.

But all that changed once the attacks were being launched in a more conventional military fashion.  Then all the insults were miraculously forgotten.

Among the most notable admirers of Trump’s unique foreign policy style, which involves informing fellow super powers of your actions over chocolate cake apparently, was CNN’s Fareed Zakaria who claimed that he was “finally being presidential”.

Look – of course he’s entitled to his opinion, nobody is disputing that.  But this article of his in the Washington Post appears to be a sign of him being unable to cope with the backlash he received from the “Left”, as he goes the route of cherry picking the most abusive comments and constructs an absurdly straw man view from the “liberal” standpoint.

From the response on the left, you would have thought I had just endorsed Trump for pope. Otherwise thoughtful columnists described my views as “nonsense” and a sign that the media has “bent over backward” to support Trump. (Really?) One journalist declared on television, “If that guy could have sex with this cruise missile attack, I think he would do it.” A gaggle of former Obama speechwriters discussed how my comments were perhaps “the stupidest” of any given on the subject.

So basically when your opponents use hyperbole it means they’re “deranged” yet it’s ok for you to suggest you had endorsed Trump for the papacy?

A lot of people disagree with you, Fareed.  Get over it.

Meanwhile here’s Lee “Geeky Jesus” Camp with his take on the whole affair, which would be much closer to our view here at FPP.  Yes, we know his show is backed by Russia Today.  But while we don’t always agree with his show’s viewpoint, it often makes a lot of sense.

For another example of the gap in opinion here’s The Young Turks appraising Fox News’ “This is what freedom looks like” narrative…

#IANWAE

Trump probably won’t call media coverage of his Syrian air strikes “fake news”

As always, FAIR.org are on the ball to point out pro-establishment sentiment in the mainstream media.

The headline of the piece by Adam Johnson pretty much says it all – “Five Top Papers Run 18 Opinion Pieces Praising Syria Strikes–Zero Are Critical“…

No need to debate the morality or utility of the strikes, because the scene played out per usual: Dictator commits an alleged human rights violation, the media calls on those in power to “do something” and the ticking time bomb compels immediate action, lest we look “weak” on the “global stage.” Anything that deviates from this narrative is given token attention at best.

One thing the “failing” New York Times does point out, however, is the evolution of President Trump’s opinion on how to deal with Syria since 2013…

Of course the use of chemical weapons was disgusting.

But the failure to note the profound lack of sincerity in the president’s verbal response (which included him clearly forgetting the name of “Sarin” gas) demonstrates that when it comes to military matters at least, very little has changed in mainstream opinion , even with this administration.

Since the airstrike people seem a lot more interested in fawning over their knowledge of the hardware used to carry out the attack than they do remembering exactly what it was supposedly being done for.

It was bombs being dropped on children.  Children.  Never mind the gas for a moment.  Bombs being dropped on children.  If anything appears to be an afterthought in the media, it’s that. JLP

#IANWAE

Article in Journal.ie clearly written to provoke comments from “I’m not racist but…” brigade

Here’s the story…as part of Ireland’s agreements as part of the international community, 80 refugees, mostly of Syrian extraction, are to be accommodated in a refurbished hotel in County Roscommon.

For the most part, we here at FPP see that as a good thing.  It’s not perfect, there are negative connotations, but given all that has been happening in the world, that a place is being found for these people where hunks of metal are not being dropped from the sky on a daily basis has to be seen as a net blessing all round.

So when you report on that, we think the “80 lives made better” thing is the best starting point.

Now…to get a clear picture of what is going on, of COURSE you look into how the locals feel about it.  Of COURSE you interview local people and representatives.   And of COURSE you seek out the response from the Department of Justice and the Roscommon County Council.

However, assuming there are language and logistical barriers preventing you from speaking to the refugees themselves, we believe you should ALSO interview the Irish Refugee Council, or Amnesty International, or some other such organisation who generally act as the first responders from Irish society towards such people when they arrive on our shores.  Maybe get a little perspective on what it must be like for them?

According to this article in the Journal, the 80 refugees are not the story.

Council meets to discuss housing of refugees in refurbished hotel

The important narrative, apparently, is that the locals don’t like the way THEY have been treated.

Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins, a Ballaghaderreen native, says that “a number of questions need to be answered” with regard to the move.

They go on to interview a Fine Gael councillor, as well as two Fianna Fáil councillors (FF have 8 of 18 on the council by the way – FG 3, SF 1, IND 6) .

Like we point out, those viewpoints are all fine, but they are not the full story.  To be fair, the article does end like this…

TheJournal.ie has contacted both the Department of Justice and Roscommon County Council on the matter.

…yet they still posted an article that purely focuses on the reaction of a handful of right-leaning councillors.

You can imagine the kind of comments that will appear below an article like this.  Posted at 10:30am Friday, by 3pm there were 182 comments, like these…

The plan is to get in as many Muslims as possible until Ireland becomes as unstable and divided as Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, basically any country with a high Islamic fundamentalist presence. God help any of you with female kids.

Screw our own people, leave them on the streets, but look after the foreigners, that’s the humane thing to do. What the hell is wrong with this Country?

There is a cruel irony here, where sending refugees to a hotel in Rosscommon somehow makes it okay. There are absolutely no prospects of them ever finding employment, so they might be better off back in Syria where they came from and at least can fend for themselves and regain their dignity. They certainly won’t have much dignity around here.

This makes my f**king blood boil

Let’s house 80 ” refugees ” in a newly refurbished hotel …..

Meanwhile the government issue a court order to remove irish homesless people from an abandoned building …

How does this make sense ???????

Now to be fair, there are some comments going the other way…

Lots on here on about homelessness. No humanity at all

If ye feel that strong on irish homelessness open yer own door welcome in the homeless. Id say 0% of ye would. So shut up on about innocent people who didnt choose to be bombed beheaded shot HOMELESS imprisoned for nothing risking lifes spending all there money drowning trying to save there familys

Do you think 5 years ago they would choose to be in this situation and end up thousands of miles from home in ballaghaderreen.

Ps the mayo border is nearly 13 km away

…but the way the article has been presented views like this are guaranteed to be in the minority.

#IANWAE

Nothing wrong with Israel army’s attack on Gaza in 2014, says Israel army

Well that’s alright then, isn’t it?

2,200 Palestinians dead as opposed to 73 Israelis.

According to this AP report

The deadliest incident involved an airstrike in the southern Gaza town of Rafah on Aug. 1, 2014, that killed 15 members of the Zoroub family…

…”The attack complied with the principle of proportionality, as at the time the decision to attack was taken it was considered that the collateral damage expected to arise as a result of the attack would not be excessive in relation to the military advantage anticipated from it,” (the report from the Israeli military) said.

Why can’t the International Criminal Court investigate, you may ask?

The International Criminal Court has opened a preliminary examination of Israeli conduct in the war, but issued no conclusions. The court can intervene in cases where a country is deemed incapable of conducting a proper investigation.

And why can’t the US do anything?  Well the fact that they don’t “recognise” the ICC is one thing, and another, the fact that no presidential candidate can make a major speech with mentioning the country’s commitment to defend the nation of Israel.

There’s no arguing with the “sovereign nation” vs “terrorist” mindset.  It is pretty much set in stone with every representative of the establishment.  As far as I’m concerned there’s at least an equal amount of blame for both sides but since the weight of corporate media coverage (or lack of it) tends to favour Israel, this can only be redressed by putting a spotlight on the plight of the Palestinian people.