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Blood-red dawn.

In early April [2020], I received a message from Winarso, a man I know in Indonesia who runs an organization that cares for the survivors of the mass murder that took place there in the 1960s. He was trying to raise money to buy rice so his community wouldn’t starve under lockdown. A dollar still goes a very long way in Indonesia, as Winarso knows too well. To explain America’s economic and political power, he points to the Cold War. It’s easy to see that Washington was truly victorious in the 20th century, he told me, because “we all got the U.S.-centered version of capitalism that Washington wanted to spread.” I asked him how America won. He answered quickly. “You killed us.”

Vincent Bevins on the world order.

Regularly scheduled ~friendly reminder~ that the US, and thus capitalism, “won” the Cold War on the back of wholesale, organized, government-endorsed slaughter.

2020-08-24T17:42:54+10:0016th September, 2020|Tags: politics|

Hell he hath wrought.

Congress as an institution cannot function on this kind of partisan mentality. There can be no meaningful oversight of the executive branch if the only standards are “Yay, team!” and “Boo, team!” The party of the president should be just as keen as the other party to enforce subpoenas and punish contempt, because both parties in Congress should feel the same concern for the powers of Congress. But of course, that’s not how things work.

Almost all Republicans in the House of Representatives, and the great majority of Republicans in the Senate, will act to defend a president they despise against charges they know to be true. The worst of them will hare after crazy conspiracy theories. Most, though, will voice their concern and then find ways to avoid their duty. The system that protects all of us has failed because the protectors of that system have failed to protect it for us.

David Frum on checks and balances.

I mean… Frum is not wrong here but, also, Never Forget he was the asshole that coined the phrase “axis of evil” and in doing so is, far more than most, responsible for ushering in the current hyper-partisan, post-truth, ends-justifies-the-means era. Just, yanno. While we’re keeping score.

2020-08-24T17:26:24+10:0014th September, 2020|Tags: politics|

Middle-class lies.

In liberal democracies, the entire justification for a country’s legal structure is, typically, some kind of ideal of human freedom and liberty. The American bill of rights begins with the freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of assembly. In practice, the assembly of people that gather in order to protest – which is the very essence of what is supposed to be American – is considered less legitimate than an assembly of people who want to sell you something.

You point this out to most middle-class Americans, they seem incredulous. Poor ones not so much, they don’t assume the rules are fair. Anyway: they’ll say “but of course you have the right to assemble, you just need a permit, what’s wrong with that?” So you have to say “all right, if you have to ask police permission to print something, that’s called not having freedom of the press. If you have to ask police permission to say something..” And they’ll say, “but that’s different! There are traffic issues. You can’t just gather. It gets in the way of people walking down the street” Which is funny, because I don’t remember anywhere in the constitution it says anything about the right to unimpeded traffic flow.

David Graeber on power.

This is a minor quote from a very wide-ranging interview; Graeber talks about Occupy, centrism, the pandemic, techno-utopianism, debt, the environment, anarchism, natural disasters, and capitalism, among others.

2020-08-24T10:30:34+10:0012th September, 2020|Tags: culture, politics|
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