Some Aussie Political Comment re The Donald and Hillary...
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11-11-2016, 08:06 PM
Star Some Aussie Political Comment re The Donald and Hillary...
Firstly, this post will be a TL;DR for a few folks. Sorry.

This article was published yesterday in one of our more neutral/left of centre on-line news sites, "Crikey" by Aussie political writer Guy Rundle. It's subscription only, so I can't hotlink it.
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The term neoliberalism has become a reverse straw man for some on the right or centre, criticising those on the left. Yes, neoliberalism — a useful concept for a historical period and movement, and covering far more than abstract liberal economics — has become an overused term, often incorrectly invoked.

But I haven’t seen it much invoked in talking of Trump’s victory and appeal in the rust belt states. Even if it has, it’s irrelevant to the argument as to whether Trump’s appeal was around questions of trade, employment and industry, or whether that is something of an illusion.

My colleague [another Aussie political commentator] Keane (and others) make several arguments in an attempt to refute the argument that Trump’s appeal has to do with economics. None of them strike me as persuasive. Let’s go through them one by one:

1) The US economic is recovering, so why would people be worried about it?

This is a classic case of mistaking the map for the territory. Yes, the stats show that the economy is recovering, but two facts are important: firstly, it’s a recovery that is missing a lot of new full-time, well-paying jobs, which is what most people look to a recovery for; second, it’s uneven, concentrated in the coastal metropolitan centres, and missing much of the midwest and rust belt, from which plant and offices are continuing to depart, and where Trump staged his audacious upset wins. Thirdly, there is a degree of misattribution going on: Republican state governments have been withdrawing services for years, which many then see as private sector impoverishment.

2) Clinton got a higher vote among the very low income than did Trump.

Yes, she did. She got 52% from those earning 0-$9000 per annum. But she’s a Democrat; she should be getting 60% and up, from people who are largely welfare dependent. Trump polled in the mid-40s, which is a huge number for a Republican.

Trump wins in the next income bracket up, and beyond, which many have taken as prosperous. But let’s look at the bottom end of that bracket — $50,000. Such people may not be on the poverty line, but many are squeezed, by distinctly American costs: college tuition loans added to everyday costs, healthcare “deductibles” — the amount, up to $15,000, you have to pay before healthcare plans kick in — running a car long miles because of a lack of public transport. Families also have to look to college costs for their kids. And so on. The condition of an American middle-class family is quite unlike that of an Australian family. (For a picture of this see the Brookings Institute’s report on the struggling lower-middle class).

The argument that African-American workers earn lower wages than whites, and that whites therefore can’t have concerns about wages, strikes me as absurd. People aren’t comparing their life chances that way — they’re comparing what they perceive as diminished purchasing power, rising fixed costs, and, in key areas, reduced employment. That was the appeal of Reagan in 1980, as inflation ate into standard of living, and it’s the appeal of Trump now, as wages fail to rise.

3) Concerns about illegal immigration are motivated by race, not economics

It’s undoubtedly true that there is a section of Trump supporters who are nativists, and opposed to immigration on explicitly cultural grounds. But they were always there on the right. We’re talking about the people drawn from non-voting, or across from the Democrats.

Sure, among many of the Trump fanatics, there is an obsession with “building the wall”. But I haven’t seen that as an obsession in the wider reaches of Trump supporters — and for voters in general, immigration is a much less important issue than much of the media makes it out to be.

Thus specific stats bear out the story that I’ve been seeing on the road, and which aren’t borne out in the general stats — that recovery is uneven, non-existent in many parts of the country, and the appeal of Trump is that “he can sort things out because he’s a businessman”, a phrase I’ve heard a hundred times, in innumerable variations. I don’t see any proof that the 50%+ of whites who voted for Trump are focused on race — nor the 25% of Latinos, nor the 15% of African-Americans.

The “race” case is made for Trump voters, for many reasons — but one purpose it serves is to displace the widespread enthusiasm for protectionism and economic nationalism that has suddenly appeared. Can’t be done. Plain truth is, that’s what most people want now. The one thing people are rejecting across the world is free-market economics. No wonder free-marketeers would prefer any other explanation for Trump’s support — especially one that demeans Trump’s supporters. There was ample xenophobia and racism on display in the political free market of the Republican primaries. But the only nationalist-protectionist on offer was Trump, and that’s why he prevailed.

Oh, and look at that! The whole argument was made without the dreaded “neoliberal” word. It’s almost as if the case was so simple and obvious that it made a man President.


——I'd be interested in any Americans' comments on this, at ground zero so to speak.

Consider

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11-11-2016, 08:23 PM
RE: Some Aussie Political Comment re The Donald and Hillary...
I saw this coming, as I gleefully gloat about. The summary of that being that I recognised that Clinton was just another four years of Obama - although of course she's more like George W Bush, so it's really like another four years of George W, and I thought the yanks would have had enough of that now.

The best thing about Trump is that he isn't Ted Cruz, or some other extremist that passes as a US Republican politician. Until American start realising that there are other countries that do things way better than them - you know like Healthcare where they're consistently at the bottom of the OECD - then I doubt there will be much change in the cultural structure of things.

This Wikileak tweet says it all:

Quote:Remember how you legalized
✓ Assassinating anyone
✓ NSA mass spying
✓ Prosecuting publishers
✓ CIA drones everywhere

It's all Trumps in 71 days
12:19 PM - 10 Nov 2016
https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/796522629175898113

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11-11-2016, 08:45 PM
RE: Some Aussie Political Comment re The Donald and Hillary...
The same image of Donald Trump graced the front pages of almost every single major Australian paper yesterday (Wednesday). But in some images, Trump was looking distinctly..... orange.

[Image: shadesoftrump.jpg]

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11-11-2016, 08:58 PM
RE: Some Aussie Political Comment re The Donald and Hillary...
I actually do not understand why Assange was so convinced that Trump had no hope of winning. I have been wondering for a while whether he was just saying that for effect. I'm not convinced he believed it - he should have been smarter than that. But maybe he wasn't, like the people (Paul Murray etc) who were convinced that Turnbull would not roll Abbott. The interesting thing is that if Abbott had done what he should have done - fired Hockey and replaced him with Turnbull - none of it would have happened.

Anyway, hopefully Trump is less of a warmonger than Obama or Clinton, but I doubt it.

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11-11-2016, 09:57 PM (This post was last modified: 11-11-2016 10:00 PM by epronovost.)
RE: Some Aussie Political Comment re The Donald and Hillary...
(11-11-2016 08:58 PM)Aractus Wrote:  Anyway, hopefully Trump is less of a warmonger than Obama or Clinton, but I doubt it.

That's the thing that both bode well and bad with Trump. At face value his foreign policy is isolationist and non interventionist. The good thing is that it means less wars, spendings and bloodshed for Americans. The bad thing is that the American Empire is being actively challenged.

China's foreign policies is to become the "grand manufacture" of the first world nations. This alowed it developpe massive infrastructures and gain a state of relative social stability extremly quickly at relatively low cost for it. Meanwhile, it persued an agressive investment campaign in first world country with the hope to seize public assets over there (by bying off governemental bonds amongst other things). Thus, when America, whose economical power on the international scene is now vastly based on its investement capital, start to shrink due to export/import imbalance, China can push America's governement toward default or even bankruptcy. Without a strong healthy public finance to maintain infrastructures or kickstart again a good producing economy capable of rivalling China, American capital holder loose their safety net and crumble. In parallel to this startegie to topple America economical strength, China is investing in Africa to secure raw ressources and potential cheap labor to feed its groing middle class. It also start to threaten its neighbours to test its military strength, but also force America and its allies, already fragilised by public dept, to poor more money on national security, a thing they might not be able to afford for that long as national dept rises.

Russia on the other side is using its massive reserves of gaz and oil to attempt to resurrect and restore their former zone of influence during the "golden days" of the USSR. With a more timid America and groing chaos in the Middle East following decolonisation and the end of the wars against Israel, it can attempt to become the main actor in this highly strategical region of the world. With an economy always more dependant on energy, this allows Russia to regain the support and prestige that she lost 30 years ago.

Trump is isolationist, but faced with the fact that America might loose its status of world leader and be replaced by two authocracy who, despite all of America's flaws and atrocities, are potentially much worse might force him to make shows of force while they still have the upper hand. Trump has the habit of doing a lot more than necessary. This might precipitate the world in some very tense situation. Only time will tell

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11-11-2016, 10:25 PM
RE: Some Aussie Political Comment re The Donald and Hillary...
Well Obama and Clinton are war criminals - and they deserve to be treated exactly the same way as Nazi war criminals - prosecuted and locked away for their natural lives. I get criticised for saying that, but it's not an opinion it's based on objective evidence like this:

"Admittedly the drone attacks had their utility, but they represented a breach of national sovereignty. They were 'legal according to American law but illegal according to international law.'" - Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Abbottabad Report, paragraph 477.

China - or rather PRC - at least doesn't instigate wars, and destabilise the Middle East for their own enrichment. In fact just two days ago a friend of mine said something about "the Vietnam war" and I asked him - who told you it was called that? He said, well America. I asked so what do they call it in Vietnam - interestingly he didn't know, and this is someone that should have known that kind of thing - they call it the American War. He thought they should call it the French War. It's interesting just how biased everyday language is in these instances, just as you say China and assume that I will think PRC instead of ROC. If China and Russia wanted to team up and disarm the US - I'd be all for that. Sadly though their combined military forces would not come anywhere close to achieving that goal!

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12-11-2016, 05:06 AM
RE: Some Aussie Political Comment re The Donald and Hillary...
(11-11-2016 10:25 PM)Aractus Wrote:  Well Obama and Clinton are war criminals - and they deserve to be treated exactly the same way as Nazi war criminals - prosecuted and locked away for their natural lives. I get criticised for saying that, but it's not an opinion it's based on objective evidence like this:

Sure, right after George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Halliburton get brought in.

But we both know that's not going to happen. America lacks the necessary introspection and honesty.

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12-11-2016, 05:20 AM
RE: Some Aussie Political Comment re The Donald and Hillary...
Yep. In many ways though Obama is worse than Bush, because he has proliferated the war crimes started with Bush.

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12-11-2016, 05:25 AM
RE: Some Aussie Political Comment re The Donald and Hillary...
(12-11-2016 05:20 AM)Aractus Wrote:  Yep. In many ways though Obama is worse than Bush, because he has proliferated the war crimes started with Bush.

Plus while he could have done something about Guantanamo Bay, it's too late now, and Trump has the keys to the kingdom.

But I'd still rate Cheney worse than Bush.

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12-11-2016, 10:15 AM
RE: Some Aussie Political Comment re The Donald and Hillary...
(11-11-2016 10:25 PM)Aractus Wrote:  China - or rather PRC - at least doesn't instigate wars, and destabilise the Middle East for their own enrichment. In fact just two days ago a friend of mine said something about "the Vietnam war" and I asked him - who told you it was called that? He said, well America. I asked so what do they call it in Vietnam - interestingly he didn't know, and this is someone that should have known that kind of thing - they call it the American War. He thought they should call it the French War. It's interesting just how biased everyday language is in these instances, just as you say China and assume that I will think PRC instead of ROC. If China and Russia wanted to team up and disarm the US - I'd be all for that. Sadly though their combined military forces would not come anywhere close to achieving that goal!

The only problem is that China (or if you prefer the People Republic of China) is instigating wars and contesting other nations sovereignty in the Yellow Sea, in Vietnam, Africa or, the most widely known, Tibet. They are also contesting India and Pakistan for the control of the Kashmir region, a higly volatile region currently controled by Pakistan. All empires are expentionists by nature. The Chinese, the American or the Russian ones aren't different on this point. They will attempt to seize the assets they need to maintain their egemony. The only difference is what their egemony implies for the rest of the world in terms of international climate, values and economical development.

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