The Strange Death of Liberal Wonktopia: Some thoughts on Trump as he appears to win from an expatriate “leftist”

I am sitting at my work desk at school on the edge of the desert, near the outskirts of Cairo, where the wealthy developments have moved away from the slums around the Nile.  Here the government is…

Source: The Strange Death of Liberal Wonktopia: Some thoughts on Trump as he appears to win from an expatriate “leftist”

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Twenty-first Century Political Landscape

Probably the best any thinking people can do now is give up on politics and focus on things that make for a full and happy life. Reading literature and memoirs from those who live or have lived in police or otherwise authoritarian states may help with this transition to political hopelessness and disengagement. This really never was a democracy, but whatever democratic mechanisms once existed – however imperfect – are gone. Of course only the privileged can tune out and find happy diversions.. But it is futile to hope for any change in the system we have, at least in its fundamental structures, dispensation of rights, equitable social and economic justice, the integrity of the federal government. It is over.

Those who like the thrill of politics and contention and are moved by moral idealism – the virtue-signallers will hold the field – can still fight it out on the terrain of identity politics and online call out culture. They can prevail over the unsuspecting on facebook and twitter, and other social media. They are really the only ones who may see little victories here and there, however pointless and small- at least they can claim victory in shaming those who transgress accepted forms of speech and thought, they can ruin people who go too far, screen-shot their comments and make them go viral, and maybe make them lose their jobs. They can humble others who would otherwise be their comrades, make them think and speak their way, or say nothing for fear of slipping up. The ‘intellectual’ avant-garde and cultural arbiters of Oceania will preside over the safe-space of a safe politics.

But any agenda that threatens the power and control of a government bent on upholding the capitalist system will have no hope of implementation. Anyone hoping for a more just, less racist, and less militarized policing system can forget it. It will become increasingly more repressive because of the threat of domestic terrorism. Gun control advocates might get a few crumbs thrown their way if the Dems win congress, but that will only increase the violent rage of the right (who have weapons stockpiled) and lead to more domestic terrorism. Radical reformist groups on the ground will be targeted more as well. The gender politics people might get some concessions on bathrooms. And how “equal pay” can be enacted in a free market capitalist system is quite a mystery but Billary will no doubt come up with something that looks and smells like it is a “step in the right direction.” Of course that will only benefit bourgeois women in the professions, the women she represents. Can’t imagine what even that would be though in terms of new legislation,

That’s about it, I’d say. Insurance and healthcare costs will continue to spike along with military budgets, US interventions, and wars. More and more people’s lives will become ever more precarious. The liberal media will cover it all up and spin it positively for the Democrats, while the right wing media holds half the country in thrall with ever more outlandish conspiracy theories and maddening fascist paranoia that send the alt-right off its rocker. Then the next recession hits in 2-3 years. Find happiness in friends, nature, family, reading. Enjoy what you have before the bottom falls out for a lot more of us.

Bill Clinton’s Adultery is a Red Herring Tossed Out By the Liberal Media. The Real Issue is Serial Sexual Abuse of Women

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Liberals promoting Hillary in the media and Democratic party strategists keep pretending that Clinton’s opponents are making hypocritical attacks on Bill Clinton for infidelity in marriage – while Trump’s womanizing has been notorious- and that Hillary is unfairly being blamed. This is a deflective strategy meant to keep focus away from the truly disturbing matter of  the real nature of Clinton’s womanizing: his serial abuse of women. The issue is not his 12-year affair with Gennifer Flowers (I know he admitted to having sex only once with her, but he never inhaled either) which was indeed consensual,  despite efforts by Hillary’s damage control team to pretend it is so.

Juanita Broaddrick is another matter. She has accused Clinton of rape, posing a real dilemma for Hillary’s feminist supporters who argue that women who accuse men of rape must be believed. He also sexually harassed Paula Jones and paid an $850,000 settlement to her to resolve her lawsuit. Most famously, of course, he used a 21- year old intern for blow jobs in the Oval Office, which is hardly an “extramarital affair” or “relationship,” as Clinton defenders portray it, but an abuse of his power in one of the most degrading ways imaginable of someone under his authority. I dare say that most women who engage in consensual affairs or relationships with men – married or not – do more with them than just give them blow jobs. No doubt Monica believed it was more, probably that he cared for her. But what else would a 21-year old intern seduced by the most powerful man in the world think?

Let’s not forget that interns are college students, or graduate students, who win these coveted positions to further their own careers. A well-know film studies professor, Laura Kipnis, was recently nearly crucified for writing an article questioning the growing sexual paranoia fostered by the new feminism on college campuses, noting that professors used to routinely sleep with students. Students went ballistic. Her  critics lambasted her for ignoring the power discrepancy between faculty and students and prompted a Title IX investigation, of which she was cleared of any wrongdoing. If young feminists on campus today find the notion of student-faculty encounters an abuse of faculty authority, how much more of a power discrepancy exists between the President of the United States and an intern assigned to his office?

Bill Clinton also – like Trump, who is accused of raping a 13-year old girl – made a number of trips to convicted sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein’s rape and sex-slave island. Considering his history with women, it’s unlikely he went there just to walk the beach and sip piňa coladas.

Hillary did everything possible to cover up her husband’s serial abuse of women, using intimidation tactics and  a private investigator to slut shame and ruin the women involved. “Bimbo eruptions” were not to be allowed  to get in the way of the couple’s political ambitions. After all, it would be Hillary’s “turn” someday after Bill left the White House.

It is difficult to comprehend how Hillary and her supporters can contend that is Trump a misogynist without wincing as if Bill Clinton wasn’t one too. I mean, what is misogyny? Is it just calling women fat or commenting on menstruation?  I’d say that rape, sexual harassment, and rank usage of young women for blow jobs counts as misogynistic behavior too. Bill Clinton and Donald Trump are both serial abusers of women, neither are the typical spouse material for a feminist. But then again Hillary is not really a feminist. She just has her hopes pinned on bourgeois feminist desire to get into power. Women are an important constituency for her, especially older boomer women. She will say and do anything to get power, and this is working for her. So I guess Liberals will keep on serving up that Kool Aid and pretending that her detractors are hypocritically trying to use Slick Willy’s affairs against her. It’s really not about his affairs.

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Photo courtesy of Buzz Nigeria http://buzznigeria.com/broaddrick-accuses-clinton-raping/

On Hillary Clinton and Bourgeois Faux Feminism

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Radical feminists and women of color have been challenging Hillary Clinton’s feminist credentials of late, enumerating the grievous violence and harm her policies have caused so many women.That’s right. And I don’t care if she is up against a steaming pile of shit in this election, the fact that she too is a monster must not be denied or suppressed. The crimes of US foreign and domestic policies under Clinton, Bush, Obama, and next up Hillary, must not be swept under the rug. We must not inure ourselves to these crimes, or shirk responsibility for them as Americans, or justify the wrongs and sufferings of peoples whom our government has violated: bombed,murdered, raped, robbed, tortured, interned, and deported in our names to uphold US domination and the privileges of the rich, just so the US bourgeoisie can have rights, or so US bourgeois feminists can have rights to abortion on demand and equal pay. The rights they seek for themselves, while important as rights, pale in comparison to those of others our imperialist/capitalist government has trampled or denied others.

If people’s votes matter here in the US then they bear responsibility for the outcomes of those votes. The Democratic party is just as guilty as the Republican. People in Latin America, the Middle East, and other parts of the world, and here in the US, who have experienced the effects of US imperialism and destructive militarism, or who are on the losing side of capitalism, see no meaningful difference between Clinton and Trump. Is Hillary up to the task? Yes, sure. The murderous imperialist task of the status quo, just like the boys who have been running the show thus far. But it is that status quo and its tasks that must be renounced, not glossed over and celebrated because a woman is doing them. The realities of its horrors must not be concealed and construed as some faux ‘feminist’ victory. Feminists don’t pursue policies that impoverish, maim, and kill women and children. The only difference between Hillary and Trump is the packaging, rhetoric, and target audience they need to get in power.

Hillary is no feminist. Her poor judgment, lack of principle, and opportunism are all too evident. She has remained married to a sexist and rapist for decades to secure her own political advancement. Providing him respectable cover and bullying the women he used and abused to silence them. Hillary reps for white, bourgeois women. A highly exclusive form of feminism for privileged women that pretends to speak for all women. But it does not. If that is feminism then I am not a feminist. So Trump called a beauty queen fat. Big freaking deal! It is no secret he is an asshole but how does such name-calling compare to the murder and devastation and rapes and dehumanization of countless women, girls, and children all over the world? Crimes that were the result of policies promulgated during Hillary’s time as First Lady by her husband (they are a team), during her tenure as senator when she voted for the Iraq War, and under her watch as secretary of state. Yes, she was a party to those crimes. It is that very record she references as the experience that makes her fit for the job of president.

Neoliberal Savagery and the Assault on Higher Education as a Democratic Public Sphere

Neoliberal Savagery and the Assault on Higher Education as a Democratic Public Sphere

Café Dissensus

By Henry A. Giroux

Across the globe, a new historical conjuncture is emerging in which attacks on higher education as a democratic institution and on dissident public voices in general – whether journalists, whistleblowers, or academics – are intensifying with alarming consequences for both higher education and the formative public spheres that make democracy possible. Hyper-capitalism or market fundamentalism has put higher education in its cross hairs and the result has been the ongoing transformation of higher education into an adjunct of the very rich and powerful corporate interests. Marina Warner has rightly called these assaults on higher education, “the new brutalism in academia.”[i] It may be worse than she suggests. In fact, the right-wing defense of the neoliberal dismantling of the university as a site of critical inquiry is more brazen and arrogant than anything we have seen in the past. What we are witnessing is an attack…

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The replication crisis, sociology, and liberal gender politics: Or the perils of psychologization and shallow materialism

The replication crisis, sociology, and liberal gender politics: Or the perils of psychologization and shallow materialism

Symptomatic Commentary

In general, I am loathe to share hot-button takes from the NPR set as I tend to find the mixture of liberal self-congratulation, the TED talk simpleton’s vision of science, and fads in sociology and social psychology to be sickening.  However, the last episode of Invisiblia really hit on a problem of the way many institutional gauges for “female empowerment” work as well as the perils of the replication crisis, although it downplays the latter.

The case study is Rwanda, where after the genocide, female empowerment and representation in civic life was degreed, but as the podcast showed, private life remained, incredibly patriarchal in ways that few women in US or Europe, despite their countries showing up much lower on those female empowerment indexes would accept. Part of the irony of this episode is that the case study about the female debaters tries to expand to the entire country in…

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Mapping the Mercantilist World Economy

Eric Ross, academic

This semester I get to teach Economic Geography, a Sophomore-level course in our International Studies program. I use World Systems and World History perspectives, both of which favor a global scale of analysis (the course textbook is Knox, Agnew & McCarthy’s The Geography of the World Economy). This week I presented on Mercantilism, which designates both the dominant political-economic doctrine of the 17th and 18th centuries (as hegemonic a doctrine in its day as Neoliberalism is today) and a set of trade practices institutionalized by European maritime powers. Our current globalized capitalist world economy was built on Mercantilist foundations, put in place in the first phase of global European expansion, the second phase being that of the formal European empires of the industrial age. In the case of the “New World” in the Americas, Europe’s Mercantilists were creating entirely new trade networks and hinterlands. In the Old…

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