What Are We to Think?

29 Oct

 

 

A cascade of developments should make us afraid of what seems to be emerging politically in the United States at this time. Although politicians keep telling us how great we were or will be or are. Donald Trump has ridden a wave of populist enthusiasm touting his brand with the slogan ‘make America great again’ emblazoned. One wonders whether he means ante-bellum America, Reagan America, the America that decimated native Americans, the Indian Nations, or more likely, militia America.

 

By contrast, Hilary Clinton reassures her rallies that is ‘America is great now’ but it can be made even better. She foregoes any criticism of the America of drones, regime-changing interventions, hazardous no-fly zones, special forces, and counterterrorist terrorism, views Israeli behavior through the rosiest of rose-colored glasses, promises to do more militarily than Obama in the Middle East, blows hot and cold the trade winds shift from Sanders to Wall Street, and only has hard words for the banker and hedge fund operators when voters are listening.

 

This is a sad moment for procedural democracy where voting was once seen as the indispensable guaranty of vibrant republican governance. When money and mediocrity controls the process, and we are forced to choose between the lesser of evils, and even the lesser of evils generates nightmares, there is serious trouble brewing in the body politic.

 

The maladies are not just on the top of the socioeconomic pyramid, although there is plenty of sickness at the lofty heights of wealth and power. The political culture is sending warning sign after warning sign without giving rise to the slightest sign of restorative energies.

 

A few of these telltale signs can be mentioned to provide content to an insistence that a condition of societal urgency exists:

 

–When massacres of innocent persons occur in public places (schools- Sandy Hook; theaters-Aurora; night clubs-Orlando), gun sales surge in the days that follow; we are in the midst of a populist climate that has embraced ‘Second Amendment fundamentalism,’ so much so that Trump when asked at the third presidential debate what he hoped the Supreme Court would do, responded by declaring his priority to be upholding an unrestricted right to bear arms; Hilary Clinton was deemed brave and an anti-gun militant because she favored background checks and closing of gun show loopholes, hardly prospects that would send the NRA to the trenches except to tighten further their already firm grip on the political process!

 

–When a group of armed white militia members, led by the Bundy brothers (Ammon and Ryan) take over a Federal wildlife reserve in eastern Oregon in January of this year, using threats of violence prevent its operations for several days, initially vowing to die if necessary to oust the Federal Government from Malheur National Wildlife Refuge before eventually backing down, the jury in a criminal trial with mistaken foregone conclusions, astoundingly and unanimously found them not guilty of any crime, we know that the hour of violent populism is upon us. Simultaneously in Standing Rock North Dakota hundreds of unarmed native Americans and their supporters are being arrested and charged with trespass and riot crimes for protesting an oil pipeline being constructed near to their reservaion;

 

–When it looked like Trump would be defeated in a Clinton landslide, the election was, according to Trump, ‘rigged’ in favor of the Democrats, and the option of rejecting the outcome was kept wide open by the Republican candidate. Trump supporters were not shy about thinking that even violent resistance would be justifiable to keep ‘a criminal’ out of the White House. Trump even vowed in their TV debate to put Clinton in prison for corruption and her violation of classification laws shortly after he is sworn in as the next president. He does not object when his revved up crowds chant ‘lock her up’ or ‘jail her.’ If nothing else, Trump’s campaign reminds us that legitimate political competition presupposes a certain framework of civility and a clear willingness to part company with populist violence. Such minimal civility doesn’t have to concede much about the character and record of the opponent, but it does need to avoid language and sentiments that signals extremists to man the barricades. When Trump gives overt permission to his followers to remember their second amendment rights he is encouraging violence to overcome the problems of governance if he should lose the election. With such guidance, the country would mount a train that has only one stop—fascism in some form.

 

My claim here is not only the tainting of the electoral process, but the violent disposition of the political culture. It is not even necessary to invoke growing nativist hatreds directed at immigrants, Muslims, family planners, adherents of Black Lives Matter, and transgender and native American activists to recoil from this inflamed cultural moment. Underneath, yet integral, are the wider structural issues associated with neoliberalism, inequality among and within states, wage stagnancy, impotent labor movement, collapse of socialist alternatives, and the right-wing overall monopoly of visionary, highly motivated politics. Trump supporters are wildly enthusiastic about their candidate, while Clinton backers are under motivated and lacking in conviction.

 

This is not only an American problem. Similar patterns are visible in all parts of the world, although there is everywhere a national coloring that produces significant differences. In this regard, the structural pressures dispose politics in all parts of the world to move in authoritarian directions as conditioned by a wide diversity of national circumstances.

 

Yet the United States does pose a special threat of its own world wide, and is not only menacing its own future. It controls the dominant arsenal of nuclear weapons, it maintains a network of bases spread around the world, militarizes oceans and space, sends its predator drones and special ops kill squads to find prey wherever on the planet it perceives threats. This militarized and unaccountable global security system is reinforced by preeminent diplomatic and economic leverage, and emboldened by a self-serving ideology of ‘American exceptionalism,’ What happens in the United States is of great, often decisive, importance to the wellbeing of the many countries, especially in the global South, that lack both voice or exit capabilities (Hirschman), and thus find themselves captive of history’s first, and possibly, last ‘global state.’      

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19 Responses to “What Are We to Think?”

  1. Fred Skolnik October 29, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

    I can almost believe that you are guilty of a slip of the pen, like Rabbi Youdovin, when you lump together “terrorists” with immigrants, family planners, transgender activists and all the others as among those who are reprehensively the object of “nativist hatreds.” I hope I’m not mistaken.

    The world needs a policeman. The natural candidate would be the United Nations, but unfortunately all too many of its members are criminals themselves. You should be thankful that it is the United States that has filled the void, however heavy-handedly, because the alternative, globally or regionally, are countries like Russia, China and Iran, who are quite simply capable of anything and operate in political cultures that lack even the most minimal checks and balances. That means, in plain English, that as bad as America is, the others are far worse.

    • Kata Fisher October 30, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

      Fred, you write:

      “The world needs a policeman”

      This is what I understand:

      In the Past, Nazi-cult believed and made other believe that they need to be a policeman – based on their Race-religion … the evil spirit was in them and came into them – multiplied, and they all went mad and insane.

      It seems to me that you are to using mis-concepts of the past – in order to explain needs for rational powers, that will sincerely ensure that another Hitler does not happen in the world. All nations have dealt with gravely ill Psychopaths – they did best that they could have.

      If I were a Jew in Israel – I too would be concerned above and beyond my head.

      Instead, attributing of cold war mindset needs to the US, and needs for Americanism … that is not the contemporary reality within U.S. and General population of the U.S. – there is the need for Internationalism.

      The world is in need of Internationalism that America has the most legitimate capacity and can most legitimately head it legitimately among the Nations. In another hand – Israel has legitimate capacity because it has immigrated incredible numbers of Nations to the Israel – but is best to stay neutral. I have legitimate reasons in understanding why I consider that so should be – and I do not say “shall be”.

      My reason for understanding this is that the reason why America and even Israel, (as neutral Israel-state) – but mainly America would have a legitimately acting capacity to head Internationalism – is because they have immigrated almost all nations under the sun, and with that would have the legitimate capacity (and spiritual authority – as we always think in civil-ecclesiastical terms) to oversee other nations, as well.
      However, Israel is Religion/Faith Based national state – which can cause grave risks and harms to other nations, and itself would not have spiritual authority – as we always think in civil-ecclesiastical terms – but American Jews would – when not acting in full-blown bias based on special privileges toward others. U.S. as a Constitutional sovereignty can not have that Americans or American Jews are civil-ecclesiastically miss-allied.

      There are claims that Israel and America have committed war crimes and have illegitimately interfered with the wealth and well-being of the nations – for the benefits of Globalism and ill-gains. We do not need Globalism that stripes nations in British/ Bohemian witch style – but rather should learn what Bohemian witchcraft has accomplished and what has not. After they have robbed and conquered – conquered peoples/tribes have cursed them, and they have had not got enough from all robbing and exploit – they have gained nothing and after all centuries-long hoardings are still broke as hell. So, have they really developed Ancient Civilisations and Wester Civilisations – or they have killed it?

      At least for the forty- fifty years in the history what semi-Modern America is doing is in same work and essence what Nero has had done during his rule. Unless, it would be a myth? Those patterns, historically do not point anything but to Nero’s Psychopathic illness of those who have committed war crimes and have illegitimately interfered with the nations.

      Wo did it?

      It’s impossible to dismiss that President Kenedy was killed – while he was trying to defend Constitutional Sovereignties of U.S. – and null grave harms that today are upon all – including Jews.

      Psychopathic illness – things such as Hitlerism and Neroism have to be sorted out – its not a myth. I assure you all that neither the US or other nations should have anything to do with such things – but legitimately handle such instances, and their myths as they come up – and they need protective International Laws that actually act against such evils – and the International Laws that would have to be protected – by some guiding rules on power’s of essence of the Law itself – and against misuse of such protective Laws.

      What is going on right now – is all due to the abuse and misuse of essential International rules and guides.

      It’s best that all diplomats be activated, and legitimately with Church Nuncios – both Catholic Nuncios and Protestant Nuncios – and avoid grave consequences and coming up collapses that are upon all due to the execution of J.F. Kenedy.

      Those who were guilty and are guilty in all evil’s – were then and are better off even now to tie the stone of a mill around their necks and throw themselves into the depths of the sea.

      Again, the world does not need a policeman state/nation – they need rational reality. I am starting to think and belive that Professor Falk has Pioneered it! I do not say this to flatter – it was just a sincere thought.

    • Fred Skolnik October 30, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

      I note that you removed the word “terrorists” from your litany of innocent victims of bad Americans. So it was a slip of the pen after all – and I don’t even get a thank you for spotting it.

    • Laurie Knightly October 31, 2016 at 2:36 pm #

      Most of us would assume that the inclusion of the word ‘terrorist’ here referred to terrorist labeling – a very serious issue/construct with political and social consequences far exceeding the others mentioned. The American Psychological Association, and others, have done research on the gravity of this labeling from individuals to nations. The gamut from a person cited on a no fly list without evidence, to those imprisoned at Guantanam0, named on Obama’s weekly assassination roster, humanitarian organizations false accused, or indiscriminate bombing in Syria, has a worldwide ripple effect beyond calculation. The haters and hated are often not that distinguishable. Sure, a separate paragraph might well be indicated. This should include the amazing purifying process that certain terrorists of yesteryear manage to manipulate effectively throughout the world of public opinion.

      What are we to think? How we think, would be a good starting point.

  2. Carlos October 29, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

    How has it come to this? Looking on, both of them are unsuitable. Wake up America!

  3. anisioluiz2008 October 30, 2016 at 5:59 am #

    Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.

  4. sudhan October 30, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    Thanks to Prof. Richard Falk for a sound analysis/narrative of the predicament we all face at the hands of U.S. rulers and their global empire. No matter which presidential candidate moves in the White House, the die is already cast. Nothing good will come out of the evil one who will elected or selected to lead the U.S. militarism and its brutal policies.

  5. Ceylan October 30, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    Dear Richard,

    Thank you for -yet, another simulating (at least for some!) opinion.

    When humans kill humans to save humanity, I question if all global evil is a product of some other beings.

    Recently I have read this,

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/11/simulated-world-elon-musk-the-matrixutm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=194421&subid=7023514&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

    and felt relieved: after all humanity and this planet we live on must be a simulation by some beings who have never experienced the scent of a flower, the hug of a pet, the touch of another human being, the sun set, the moon rise, a swim in pristine turquoise waters or never shared & broken a piece of bread with one another.

    We need to work harder on simulating like minded ones who will save humanity and the planet from evil ones.

  6. Björn Lindgren November 3, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    Yes, Richard,

    What you describe is to the point, and very, very sad.

    I am sad to say that I see the USA as a dangerous “failed state,” not “relevant”.

    In our life time, we have seen the Soviet empire, disfunctional and corrupt to the root, beyond reformation, collapsing 1991

    Apart from the tank attack on the Russian parliament (the White House), the fall was rather peaceful. No one, not even the KGB, believed in the system.

    Now we see the rapid fall of the US empire. The soil has been long prepared by social, economic political, and military mismanagement.

    Even though, we all can glimpse a few bright lights in the US – one example, the young people supporting Bernie Sanders – from outside, the country looks like one of the corrupt, poor, confused, violent countries in the Middle East or South East Asia.

    Recently, I watched well informed Ray McGovern, retired CIA-analyst, and John Pilger, independent investigative journalist, interviewed about the presidential election, and they both mention the invisible de facto goverment behind the scene: the CIA and Pentagon.

    Chalmers Johnson’s triology, “Blowback,” ”The Sorrows of Empire,” and “Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic” comes into mind.

    Ever since the Citizens United was put into place, the US cannot be speaken of as a democracy.

    The EU scene does not offer much hope either. Like the US and Soviet, it is not capable to reform itself, which it badly needs. Just look at the democratic deficit (abyss!), and the crushing of the Greek economy and people. And building walls against imigrants and refugees (if you export poverty, you will import poverty).

    In this gloomy outlook, I can see one interesting thing happening: Germany and France – also the Netherlands and Belgium? – are now making distance to the US-NATO, and negotiate with Russia about a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine crisis. Not inviting or involving the US.

    France, Germany, and Russia havee xperienced the destruction war, and might have the insight and will to find peaceful agreements.

    There are some very good precedents: the Helsinki conference and agreement, 1975-1982, on common security and disarmament,. It was, indeed, effective, (until Reagan entered the White House). Pity Reagan missed the Iceland opportunity.

    With its inflated view of itself, its ignorance of the rest of the world, and violent capacity, the fall of the US could go in any direction – propably in the trajectory it has long has blindly been following.

    The Ch’an Buddhist tradition couldn’t accept the Indian thought of “rebirth.” The Chinese, with their feet on the ground, redefined the Indian idea of rebirth into: “a blind response in the present, having its cause in a past.” And therefore, unconscious and not “relevant” to the present situation.

    And here is a possible remedy for the American nightmare: don’t follow the blind path of conventional truths, which are no truths at all, but only group think (fear-mongering).

    See what really, really i s , get conscoius, forget yourself, use your free will and insight, and find a new and peaceful direction NOW.

    This disolves all the bad karma (Sanskrit: “action”) at once, and makes real thinking and a new direction possible.

    Imagine how praised the US and its peoples would be, if people effected a new and peaceful direction for their country.

    Richard, it is correct to be worried and uncertain in an uncertain situation.

    Cheers, Björn Lindgren

    SWEDEN

    • Richard Falk November 3, 2016 at 8:28 pm #

      For all the reasons you suggest, and I share, you would have to be blind and numb
      not to be exceedingly worried about the future, and not only here in America, but
      the structures of world authority seemed poised for catastrophe and unresponsive to
      either dangers of nuclear weaponry given the kind of political behavior you describe
      as well as the challenges to species survival posed by climate change and related
      hazard.

      Thanks for such a thoughtful message. Warm greetings, Richard

  7. Gene Schulman November 4, 2016 at 12:42 am #

    Richard,

    This may be a little off subject, but I think it something that might interest your readers. After all, it might be the seeds that have blossomed to our present condition: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45776.htm

    Meanwhile, “exceedingly worried about the future”.

    G

  8. Beau Oolayforos November 5, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    While we might, or must, agree that the future looks very dangerous, you might be engendering in some of us the adversarial Johnny Mercer, the one that wants, needs, to ‘Accentuate the Positive’, as, for example…we are about to elect a liberal, feminist woman to the Presidency, one whose compassion was demonstrated, e.g., by her early advocacy of healthcare reform. We can only wish that her putative kindness will extend to the unfortunates world-wide, and that she will well remember her husband’s errors, like sending cruise missiles into Sudan, beefing up Plan Colombia, etc., etc.

    • Richard Falk November 6, 2016 at 8:38 am #

      I will do my best to suspend judgment, but I am fearful that internationally HC is
      more bellicose than her husband, and arrives on the scene, assuming she is elected on
      Tuesday, at a particularly dangerous time. I have no doubt that Trump is at least as dangerous, although
      in somewhat different ways, and far worse for the internal life of the US, and especially for those
      who are marginalized by race and class and immigration status.

      • Björn Lindgren November 6, 2016 at 11:55 am #

        Dear Richard,

        Thank you for kind comment on my contribution. However, I am the one to be grateful for your insightful and informed descriptions, analysis, and conclusions you so generously offer at your homepage.

        Today, I listened to Michel Chossudovsky, interviewed by Bonnie Faulkner (Audio: https://soundcloud.com/guns-and-butter-1/political-crisis-in-the-united-states-michel-chossudovsky-353).

        Apart from that Chossudovsky sees both candidates as
        “dysfunctional”, he sees HC has “a very dangerous person”.

        Whe have already seen her aggressive record.

        Johan Galtung, who earlier this summer, (“USA Right Now, Worse
        Than Ever, But ?,”Transcend Media Service, 20 Jun 2016.) wrote,
        “Anything but Hillary.” agrees with Chossudovsky.

        And looming further ahead, the end of the republic.

        Warm regards, Björn

    • Gene Schulman November 6, 2016 at 10:31 am #

      I’m afraid, Beau, that your impression of HRC is rather too generous. Her advocacy for health care was worse than Obamacare, and that’s why it failed. In those days there were those who could see through her hypocrisy. Her putative kindness is manifested in her now infamous “we came, we saw, he died”. I’m sure she’ll remember her husband’s errors, she helped engender them.

      • Richard Falk November 6, 2016 at 11:08 am #

        Gene, HRC has many flaws, including those you note, but you are being too hard and unforgiving, I feel. Richard

      • Gene Schulman November 6, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

        Yes, Richard, I am unforgiving. Also regarding Bill, GWB, and Obama. I know there is no alternative; the ruling class rules, and they have ruled for HRC. She’s going to be president in February, but that doesn’t mean I have to approve of it.

        I just read your latest post (above) and felt queezy while doing so. It’s sounds like a cop out. I’m very disappointed. No one says you have to vote. It is my constitutional right to just say no!

      • Kata Fisher November 7, 2016 at 8:59 am #

        This is what I understand:

        There is no penitence for the occult. It has nothing to do with forgiveness.

        If it can be stopped – that is the only legitimate option. There is no forgiveness – or penitence for the occult.

        I believe that only legitimate, and rational option for U.S. folks would be Impeachment of Clinton in the case she is elected.

        The geographical position of U.S. is entirely a civil-ecclesiastical occult hub – in this point in time, and after all abuses of Apostolic Church Order in satanic seals and blasphemy’s go God’s Spirit – for the Church — the hosts of intrinsically evil things are vividly observable and not gravely cofused.

        In a rational and justification, what would Impeachment of Clinton be, and why would that be so (in civil terms)?

        In another view – occult works self-destruction. From that point, all circumstances that are now – are at its highest of being legitimate.

        I would consider that Church of Rome Nuncio is best to be evacuated from the US – in the case Clinton is elected. I have rational and legitimate justification why I believe that shall be so.

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  1. Election 2016: Dying Gasps of the Last Global State? | Deceleration - November 1, 2016

    […] [Previously published at Global Justice in the 21st Century.] […]

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