Inauguration Day

I was sitting in my living room just now trying to remember which article I wanted to write today. As I fell asleep last night my head was full of ideas but when I woke up this morning they had all evaporated.

At first I thought my big idea was the Pep Guardiola piece (why Pep is struggling in England) that I keep putting off but I’m not writing that until I watch the City v. Spurs match. I want to observe them in a big game.

Then, I thought I wanted to write a piece about Joel Matip and Liverpool. For those who don’t know, Liverpool are not playing Matip at the moment because there is some confusion over his eligibility. From what I gather, Matip is being accused of the dreaded “refusing to play” for his national side after they sent him a call up. Under FIFA rules players have no right to refuse a national team call up and can be compelled to play for their national team. If the player refuses (or claims he’s “retired”) and the national team objects to that refusal, the player can be banned from playing for his club side for a term equal to the term he would have played for the national team.

How this FIFA rule is legal is beyond my pay scale. This looks like indentured servitude at best and something akin to slavery at worst. But FIFA need this rule to ensure that the good players will play for them during all of their various money-spinning “friendlies”. If Ronaldo and Bale can say “naw, I’m not playing in March because I’d rather rest up and be fresh for my club’s title push and Champions League campaign” their National teams won’t have an attractive product to put on the field and fewer people will attend their matches. Meaning less revenue for FIFA.

But this is a situation I’ve written about many times before and I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing will change until a player takes FIFA to court. Will Matip be that player? He does stand to suffer potential damages, as does his club, for being left out of his club side while this dispute rages on. But if Cameroon force the issue, and FIFA follow through with the punishment they are supposed to dole out, Matip will be ineligible to play for Liverpool for another two months. He could easily lose his starting position in the center of defense in that time.

What about Arsenal? Arsenal have traditionally had a single problem that the opposition exploited. What I mean is, for example, counter attacks. The 2007-2010 vintage Arsenal sucked at killing off counters. Teams would sit deep and hit Arsenal on the counter, score with their first shot on target, and then sit deep again. Then came the period where Arsenal were vulnerable to aerial balls. We still are to some extent but that seems like less of a threat now days. Then it was corners. Then crosses. And so on. But looking at the data from this season, our goals allowed don’t show a clear pattern. Which is good! At first I thought Arsenal don’t have a pattern but then I realized that the pattern we seem to have is getting off to a slow start but finishing games well (Arsenal lead the League in goals in the last 15 minutes). So, that Article isn’t going to work.

And I could write about Arsenal v. Burnley but I’m going to write about that tomorrow. There are some surprises in there with Burnley that could make this match on Sunday a real show in the last 15 minutes.

But what’s looming large for me right now is the inauguration of Donald Trump.

I was making coffee when I realized that Trump represents fundamental truths about America that most of our citizens don’t want to face.

The first truth is that we have been arguing over which type of “big leader” will take care of us since the inception. What I mean by that is that America is split into two large groups: those who believe that the government can best take care of us and those who believe that the rich and their corporations can best take care of us.

Which do you believe? That the government will protect you or that the marketplace will protect you? It doesn’t make you wrong to believe in either of those, or the more hipster idea that “a combination of the two” is the best, but notice it is that desire to cede power to another force, a larger force, which actually binds both of these ideologies together. That is the fundamental flaw of modern American democracy. We want someone else to do it for us. This is what causes the accumulation of wealth and power in the hands of the elite. We are willing to pay, whether it is in terms of taxes or in terms of capitalist costs, to have someone else run our lives.

And life is so complicated, there are so many people and the world is so integrated, that it’s impossible to escape needing these huge government/business structures in place in order to keep things running. We can hardly all go live on Walden, raise beans, and write 10,000 words describing the mud flowing down the banks of our pond. The idea of “self-sufficiency” in the face of our modern complexity is yet another of the great American myths that needs to die a quick death. We are actors on a global stage now, there can be no self-sufficiency, no pulling myself up by my bootstraps.

 

The second truth is that our institutions represent us. This isn’t going to go down well but Trump perfectly represents modern America: a rich baby, with thin skin, who hurls insults at celebrities on twitter; a whiny, entitled, teenager who (despite overwhelming evidence of privilege) constantly feels as if they are the victims in this world; a racist; a misogynist; a people who live in constant fear of the “other”; and a people whose response to any act of terror is to “turn them into a glass parking lot”.

We are all of those things, but the good news is that we are also all of the things that our outgoing president Obama represents: we are classy, intelligent, and act in what we think are the best interests of the people; we fundamentally care about people who have less than us or who are downtrodden; we struggle with our conscience over acts of war; we stand up to bullies; we protect and love the women in our lives; and we try every day to do our best for ourselves and our fellow man.

I can hear at least one of you right now saying “HA, Obama is all the good and Trump all the bad, fuck this libtard” and if it makes you feel better, please go ahead and swap Obama and Trump’s names. The people are but mere symbols, they are us. It’s not just that Trump or Obama is all of those things, I’m saying that you and I are all of the good and the bad of our society. You and I are Trump. We are Obama. We made them in our image.

And going back to that first truth, the abnegation of our own power, we need to stop pretending that voting is the only act of democracy. Trump is going to put his hand on the bible in a few minutes but that doesn’t mean you can go to sleep for the next four years, no matter how tempting that may seem, democracy isn’t over, the world isn’t ending.

“Choose or lose” was the MTV motto when I was growing up. It was meant to make us youngs all go out and vote. But the reality is that if all you do is choose – if you don’t participate and I mean truly participate in the democratic process; if you don’t call your Senators, talk to your friends and neighbors, try to find solutions to the problems – then choosing is losing. And if you choose to go to sleep for the next four years then you’re choosing to give all of your power over to Trump.

Qq

39 Comments on Inauguration Day

  1. Great piece. I love that you included “abnegation.” If it is to work, representative government requires an informed and involved citizenry. I think being informed and involved has seemed more and more difficult and less and less attractive, as the changing face of media and our consumer culture have lulled us to sleep and made the world seem like a much harsher, more complicated place than it did 25 years ago. We also, perhaps, expect change to be instantaneous, and when things go against our wishes and expectations, this lack of patience may make us less inclined to act, or even plan.

    I love the call to action. Things haven’t changed as much as it seems, and the choice is still binary: act, or don’t act. There are consequences for both.

  2. Whenever I hear the Star Spangled Banner these days I think of Trump, and it sounds like the theme of the Empire from Star Wars. Dark, ominous, signalling bad times ahead.

    On interdependence and the myth of the lone wolf living in the woods or farming self-sufficiently on virgin lands, read James Burke. Or, watch season 1 episode 1 of his 1970s TV series of the same name. We simply cannot escape our interconnectedness with the rest of the race.

  3. Government or Corporations? Why does it have to be either/or? A well-functioning society needs both. I don’t want a big government but I don’t want the government to be completely hands-off either. Every society has their particular needs. In this country we have tendency to over-reach. We either do too much or we don’t do enough. Take financial regulations for e.g. .. Wall Street did whatever they pleased in the 90s. Then it crashed. Followed by a ton of regulations in the form of Dodd-Frank that has made it difficult for new businesses to open and small financial firms to be profitable due to the compliance burden. Now, DFA will probably slowly disappear under Trump. The cycle continues. We just can’t seem to find a balance.

    I like your call to action. Reminds me of Obama’s farewell speech from a few days ago. It’s true the citizens of this country need to do more than just elect a president. We need to be more involved in our political dialogue. Not just with our senators and congressmen or women but also with our opponents. Find an issue that’s important to you and fight for it.

    Very, very apprehensive about the new incoming president. I always judge the man first before I can judge the president. Obama, regardless of what you think about his policies, was a decent human being. Now we have Trump.

    • It’s not either/or it’s always both. But as you know, my point is that we “just want someone else to do it” whether that “it” is fixing potholes or picking the next Arsenal manager. We like to complain (voting being the ultimate complaint) but we don’t want to do the hard work of being actually involved in the political/corporate enterprise.

      • Yes, point is well taken and strangely enough it’s easier to participate in our political process than a much smaller entity like Arsenal. At least we get another chance in 4 years but I fear we are stuck with the Kroenkes for the rest of our lives.

        • Kroenke moved the Rams to LA. More importantly, he finally fired Jeff Fisher. He may be mostly hands off but he does act when he has to do so. I prefer that to the owners who like to be celebrities and can’t resist meddling, or worse, allow public opinion to drive their policies.

  4. Inauguration Day: By the Numbers (styled after Tim’s Arseblog column of course).

    Number of people estimated at today’s inauguration: 700,000
    Number of people estimated at Obama’s first inauguration in 2008: 1.8 million.
    Number of current pending lawsuits against Obama after 8 years in office: 21.
    Number of current pending lawsuits against Trump as he takes office: 75.
    1997: the 1st year a presidential inauguration was broadcast live on the internet (William Jefferson Clinton)
    President with the most number of ex-wives: Donald Trump, 2. Quite a few presidents who were divorced and remarried once.
    Number of times inauguration was cancelled because of weather: 1, Ronald Reagan.
    Number of football clichés applicable to ex-president Obama: Only 1 comes to mind for me. Form is temporary but class is permanent.
    Number of football clichés applicable to new president Trump: Only one comes to mind for me. We did not deserve to lose today.

  5. I live in eastern Massachusetts. It’s as liberal as you can get without going to Brooklyn. I went to the post office today and the woman in front of me had a bumper sticker that said: “I believe in the world according to Elizabeth Warren,” who, by the way, is our senator. Our governor, Charlie Baker, is technically a republican but you wouldn’t know it by his words and actions, or his frosty relationship with our new president. Massachusetts voted 60% in favor of Clinton and probably much more so in my area.

    The point I’m making is that I live in a community where virtually nobody wanted Trump as president. We all agree on this. I’m sure the reverse was true when Obama was elected for many Americans and we are no more valuable in any sense now than they were then. Still, our activism and outreach will likely only reach people who are of a similar mindset, thus contributing to noise but little else. Am I wrong about this?

    • Doc, I’ve been living next door to you guys here in Canada pretty much all my life. I have American family on both coasts, in Sacramento and Bergen County, NJ.

      There’s still a lot of the country I have yet to visit but I’m at almost half of the continental states. I know the country about as well as any one in my position can and I’ve never seen this degree of divisiveness and hyper partisanship. It’s sobering and frightening. I wish you nothing but the best but I an not optimistic about the coming weeks and months.

  6. From the perspective of the elite, a passive electorate is a feature not a bug. One of Bernie’s stated goals is to pivot from the election to forming a social movement. Imagine the sixties with a civil rights movement that limited itself to voter registration drives.

    I am adopting a wait and see attitude toward Trump! (In the spirit of John Oliver’s Drump! rant, I think the exclamation point should be part of his name from now on, like Yahoo!)

    Trump! certainly is talking a good game right now in terms of pivoting the country toward the average person, but his cabinet picks suggest it will be more of the same, i.e., billionaires first.

    On the other hand, the hysterical reaction of elites, both Republican and Democrat, in the media and shockingly, in the intelligence community, suggests that this will not be business as usual.

    I’ve heard it termed the Flight 93 election, i.e., a decision to rush the cockpit because there is nothing left to lose. I don’t think people in the media and on the coasts appreciated what declining life expectancy really means. I trained in a rust belt area and I’ve seen a fair amount of the social destruction that underpins relatively anodyne sounding decline from 78.9 to 78.8. It’s not pretty.

    The bipartisan policies of bailing out banks while grinding the little people into dust are profoundly dangerous. I’ve been very concerned that we could have a Wiemar moment. The real lesson of the 1930s is that austerity enhances deflation and deflation destroys the middle class, setting the stage for extremism. While Obama certainly deserves credit for not going whole hog on embracing austerity, his moves never seriously challenged that dogma. No surprise, austerity was baked into the stealth part of his bank bailout plan, i.e., rebuild bank balance sheets by maximizing their profits by decreasing their borrowing costs, while allowing them to gouge consumers and businesses.

    If Trump! delivers on his promise of a three trillion dollar infrastructure plan then he will do more to forestall fascism in this country then a million pink cat-hatted marchers will ever understand. If he fails, I fear that the next manifestation of popular discontent will be far more ugly and will reveal the current problems for the tempests in a teapot that they are.

  7. Why is my comment stuck in moderation?

    Here’s a factoid..

    Angus Deaton told Business Insider in an interview at the World Economics Forum in Davos that there is a 0.4 correlation between US counties with elevated mortality rates for white people and counties that voted for Trump.

    “If you take county by county in the US, and you look at what we call deaths of despair — suicides, opioids and liver disease — that it correlates by .4 with votes for Trump. That’s a big correlation. There are 3,000 counties in the US. .4 with these things is a very strong relationship,” Deaton told us.

    Here’s a related link
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/11/stunning-rise-in-death-rate-pain-levels-for-white-middle-aged-less-educated-whites.html

  8. Actually, you need to review how Corporations came to be, and how many of them came to be more powerful than governments. I control and run a corporation, like many of us.

    While you put off doing that, have a read of this – http://johnpilger.com/articles/this-week-the-issue-is-not-trump-it-is-ourselves-

    As you point out, it is not Trump or Obama that is the issue. They are the almost-inevitable products of the system, and the USA has not been making any headway as it oscillates between the two wings of the Money Party during my 40+ years of paying attention (I came to the game a little late). The USA, is after all, the country that re-elected George W. Bush (and he was NOT running against HRC). Be as cynical as you can about the outcome, you won’t even be close to what will really happen, ’cause John Pilger has nailed the problem (although the solution is a long way off, very complex, and not amenable to a reality-TV presentation or TED talk).

  9. My biggest fear with the election of DJT is that in 4 yrs time, his populist political base will not realized they’ve been shafted and will want another 4 yrs. Net neutrality is now under threat. Climate change just disappeared from the the WH website and that is only the beginning. Mortgage rate fee reduction just got frozen. Treasury nominee pissed on mortgage holders and told them it was only rain and oh by the way Mnuchin forgot about the 100 million dollars worth of spare change he forgot to disclose. We are just at the beginning of a 4 yr slog.

    I’ll leave ya’ll with these two items:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKpflHueZAk

    https://twitter.com/marygeorgant/status/822493888761970695/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

    • “My biggest fear with the election of DJT is that in 4 yrs time, his populist political base will not realized they’ve been shafted and will want another 4 yrs”

      Very good chance of that since nine of the ten least educated states went for Trump, suggesting his core supporters aren’t very bright.
      The polls seem to back this up , with 67% of Trumpians believing the unemployment rate went up under Obama, and almost 50% percent of his voters believing the stock market went down under Obama.

      You couldn’t make this up.

      • One last thing. The idea that uneducated people aren’t bright is extremely elitist. I don’t know about the US, but here in India, I have been blown away at times by how clearly the people in the villages who have no education are able to see and analyse issues that afflict them. Sometimes way better than educated people.

        Uneducated is just uneducated. It has nothing to do with intelligence.

        • While not all uneducated people are stupid or idiots , there does exist some correlation between poor education and superstition , religion , mortality rates , xenophobia and attitude to gender rights ,etc .
          Less educated and lower socio-economic people are more easily led by demagogues and godmen .
          On the topic of intelligence , it can be cultivated to some degree (by the current widely accepted definition of ‘intelligence’ – there is plenty of room for debate on what it should be but lets not go there please)
          As a fellow Indian I can agree that elitism in such matters does not help the discussion , however truth should be help in higher regard than political correctness…

          • Agreed. Education is very important. But it can also present its own ceiling. Because you get trained only to think a certain way. (Control over education has long been a means of control over population) The problem lies in identifying the ‘truth’. There really is no one such thing. It depends on who you ask and what you ask them.

            I agree rejecting facts out of hand is stupid. But when your reality doesn’t match the prevailing story you do tend to reject it. You may not be able to understand why it is ‘wrong’, and hence not explain it. It seems to me that people in the interiors of America don’t buy the truth because it doesn’t incorporate their viewpoint substantially. (Hence making it easier to manipulate them through fear and cheap stunts)

            True enough of all places (and all times). The elite project their truths on the rest and expect everyone to fall in line.

  10. On the Matip thing, apparently Cameroon can get away with it because Matip never formally tendered his resignation by actually delivered his intention in writing to the Cameroon FA. Because of that technicality, Cameroon has the authority to hold Matip ineligible. FIFA should be the adult in the room and do something about it, but right now they can just claim their hands are tied.

  11. I can understand the appeal of Obama. He’s a very charming man, speaks really well and says all the right things. (Well, mostly) He is very likeable.

    But the US has been the ‘evil empire from Star Wars’, from well before Trump. They’ve had unchecked power in a unipolar world and it hasn’t gone well for the majority of the world or the majority of the people even in the US. Maybe part of the embarrassment/appeal of Trump is that unlike Obama, he exposes the US’ actual position in the world? Well, at least that was part of the reason I switched my opinion around and hoped he would keep Hillary (the prime choice of the war lobby) out of office.

    Trump is a phenomenon of change. Not the harbinger of change he promises probably. Nor was Obama the change he promised either. But change of a world shifting away from the unipolar to the multipolar. The US will not give up its position easily (hence the ridiculous hysteria around Russia*) But ultimately it must. I think Trump, for all his many faults, is more likely to better ‘negotiate’ that transition. Certainly better than Hillary, and probably better than Obama too who, ultimately, was a complete failure when it came to ‘foreign policy’, I am sorry to say.

    At the end of the day though. It is like you said. Personalities only matter up to a certain point. If the people truly do involve themselves in the democratic process, stop conceding more and more power to the state^ (and thru them to the corporations – especially the war machine), and gain a better understanding of the political and economic landscape, it can only be a good thing.

    And maybe the ‘liberal’ (I never understood how being liberal can be a bad thing) element will be more active now because they don’t get to look at Obama and bask in his brand of showmanship blinding them to the realities. Or maybe they’ll be more obstructionist and talk about fixed elections etc (like Trump did before he won)Hopefully the former. My best wishes to the people of America.

    *Perhaps Trump’s easier stance on Russia is based around seeing China as the bigger threat. It is when it comes to manufacture, and that is part of his core electoral promise.

    ^Except guns. Please give up the guns!

    • Reading these comments is to be reminded of two things. Why, as a former professional journalist, it is frustrating the way that the rise of web and online access just gives people license to weigh in stuff they overly simplify, broadly generalise, don’t seem to understand but pronounce on with with certainty and authority. And why I dislike Shard as a commenter on Arsenal.

      He tends to make sweeping, dogmatic generalisations, and does not support his arguments well.

      Exhibit one, the hysteria over Putin’s Russia, a bad actor in the Baltics, the Urals, the Caspian Sea and Ukraine. A man whose invading army in Ukraine shot down a civilian airliner and hasn’t apologised for it to this day. A man who demonstrably interfered in the US elections — apparently to some effect, and something that chill Americans to the bone.

      Shard calls it hysteria. He should talk to my friends (a significantly sized circle) in Estonia and Ukraine about Russian hysteria.

      I’m not going to even try to deconstruct this >> “Maybe part of the embarrassment/appeal of Trump is that unlike Obama, he exposes the US’ actual position in the world? Well, at least that was part of the reason I switched my opinion around and hoped he would keep Hillary (the prime choice of the war lobby) out of office.”

      • Read the report, such as it is, about Russia’s meddling in the election. It is short on facts and long on conjecture. But of course, the rest is subject to security so we’re supposed to take their word for it. (Compare it to the report on China’s hacking efforts from a few years ago)

        And what is the interference Russia apparently pulled? Showed what Hillary actually did? If that was so damaging to her, then maybe the public should know? But of course, now we need to go with more unsubstantiated claims about Golden Showers. If anyone else came up with this it would be tainted by the term ‘conspiracy theory’.

        I don’t trust the US media in general. It doesn’t make me an expert, but if you have any doubt that your media carries your nation’s propaganda, (just like Russian media carries theirs) then I’m afraid nothing is going to convince you. But for me, journalism, a great profession, has seen serious decline. Today, the mainstream media has lost much of its credibility. There’s no reason to take it personally or make it personal for that matter. The reason the web is popular is not just because everyone thinks they are an expert. But because there is a major gap between what the media tell us and what actually happens.

        I am very active in reading news reports for years, and it took me over a year and a half to learn about the American helicopter pilots shooting down civilians in Iraq including a Reuters journalist. The media normally is very quick to talk about their own being harmed, but not in this case. No shouting from the rooftops about US brutality, impeaching Presidents etc. That standard is maintained only for other countries. But no, the Western media shows no bias. Only Putin does. (Another way of reporting. It is never Russia. It is always ‘Putin’. Not President Putin either. Only the US post deserves respect. No one else. None who don’t fall in line.) The US has a long history of demonising those that wouldn’t bow down. And even worse, of propping up some of the worst regimes (or militias) as extensions of its foreign policy.

        There is no worse actor than the exceptionalist US globally. (Maybe Saudi Arabia and Israel. Both of whom are US allies.) No nation shows more disregard for international law. No nation interferes in another more. (How many elections have the US manipulated. Or gone for coups/colour revolutions because they didn’t get the result they wanted?) The only reason Russia is a ‘bad actor’ is because they do not fall into line like good little junior partners to the US.

        Russians shooting down planes make headlines in your papers, I am afraid those facts are still unproven (and essentially unprovable). I think it way more likely it was shot down by Ukrainian forces (who were demonstrably firing on their ‘own’ people in the Donbass and is destroying infrastructure there). Ukrainian forces acting on the orders of a President who came into power after a coup (not called as such because it was to install a pro Western puppet rather than the pro Russian elected predecessor – and it wasn’t a bloodless coup either), and went onto repress the people of Crimea, including use of militia to terrorise the population (my closest friend has family there) banning the use of Russian in education, entertainment and in official use. Russian is the Crimean people’s mother tongue. Is it any wonder the people voted to go to Russia as soon as they were able to? (Yes, it wasn’t an invasion.)

        You think people in Estonia and Ukraine and Russia and US and everywhere else aren’t capable of being subjected to hysteria? Everyone is, and everyone has a viewpoint worth considering. I just don’t get all my news from US mouthpieces and on balance, I think you have it wrong on the actual role of Russia vs US (and NATO) in the region. I mean would the US tolerate potential nuclear armed missile silos on their borders? Ever greater influx of foreign forces (and demonstrably hostile entity) Russia has so far only defended her territory. I mean come on. Look at Oran and how absolutely encircled it is, yet we are expected to look at them as aggressors. Back to Crimea, there is a reason no one ‘annexes’ territory anymore. It carries more financial and economic burden and also gets a bad rep. Though there is a strategic base there which would be the primary motivation to protect against an illegitimate and hostile government, their use of force comes more under the R2P provisions than the way the US used R2P to destroy and plunder Libya. But your media won’t tell you any of that. Only this supposed ill informed pseudo expert.

        There’s a lot lot more that is to be said on the subject. I still do not claim to be an expert. But what you consider as self evident truths, I don’t. Maybe you should go beyond the news and especially just Western news, and read about some papers on military and policy doctrines. It makes for some interesting reading.

        PS. The Russian bogeyman isn’t real. But it is a convenient way to keep the population scared and to keep the war machine going (which needs a villain or two). Haven’t you learned anything? They scared people into giving up more power to the state (friendly titles like Patriot Acts) and venture into one ruinous war after another. Ruinous for the locals, but also for the American public.

        PPS> Carry out an objective assessment and tell me, who do you think wants war more? The Russians, or the Americans?

        • You wanted some specifics. There’s a reason I don’t normally talk about this in any detail here. It’s not the forum really.

          But since this was about Trump, and Russia’s involvement in your news cycle.

          Anyway, I’m done. You can believe whatever you want. Hopefully though I’ve at least given you enough to know that I’m not completely ignorant about this subject. Nor do I claim to have all the facts or all the answers. (I speak with conviction because that is what I believe, not because I am an authority on the subject. )

          I hope it gets your or anyone to at least consider their position and look around a bit more for ‘the truth’ (though some of the facts of US ‘imperialism’ are undeniable)

    • (please excuse the typos above. Always a good idea to remind yourself there’ no edit button — a good thing, btw)

      Hillary the warmonger.

      Ironic that you would downplay the threat of a man whose army has actually invaded neighbouring countries (Georgia and Ukraine) and is actively supporting Assad’s brutal war crimes against his own people, while trashing a women about whom there’s no evidence of her warmongering tendencies.

      BTW, I’m talking about Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. 238 people, flying from the Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur, died. At Putin’s hands. And he’s not acknowledged his army’s obvious involvement.

      But no. We are being hysterical about Putin, and you are lauding the man least tinkly to challenge him. But hey, we kept that warmonger Clinton out of office.

      • By the way. Medvedev was the Russian president at the time of the Georgian war.

        I didn’t study that war so I can’t talk about any of the specifics, but I know that some of the background involved was US’ unilateral declaration of Kosovo as independent and Russia’s response to declare Abhkazia and South Ossetia independent following the same legal precedent. Like I said, international law matters and the US frequently violates it, causing further problems in the world.

        Hillary Clinton had the financial support of the largest military contractors for her campaign. Her history as Secretary of State in Libya and her insistence on imposing a no fly zone in Syria were all signs of her warmongering.

        There is no reason for the US and Russia to be antagonistic, if the US would give up its exclusive hold over world power. I’m afraid any Russian excesses you bring up have a certain context which you are ignoring and which is precisely what the US controls.

        This idea that Putin is a tyrant and that Russia is an irresponsible (even evil) force that must be beaten down is quite frankly ridiculous. But it is repeated so often in the media that it becomes fact.

      • “This idea that Putin is a tyrant…” He is, by any objective measure of central control.

        “….and that Russia is an irresponsible (even evil) force.” No one argued that.

        You do this all the time.

        • You implied it. Even if you didn’t, have a look at some of the media. That is precisely what they say and the impression they create.

      • Good luck debating Shard on issues and logic.

        Railed against the out of control financial institutions and run- away global warming but thought Trump would be a better candidate to appoint heads of departments to lead these.

        I mean who’s better to regulate Wall Street than a Goldma Sachs man , and the EPA a global warming denier.

        Also, according to Shard Trump was the best bet to get the US off the only World superpower rush, which he is surely to get accomplished mostly by increasing the military spending by a $100 billion.
        I guess all these shiny new aircraft carriers Trump wants built, will be tasked with delivering a humanitarian aid to needy folks around the globe 🙂

        • Trump is a better candidate than Hillary. Not my choice of leader. And to achieve one thing, you need to compromise on others in the real world. The number one thing I want to change with the US is their belief that they are the world’s enforcers of peace and human rights. Pax Americana has brought more wars and misery to the world than if they’d keep out and stop interfering.

          Trump very clearly says no regime change, no unnecessary involvement. Now statements mean nothing, and defence spending doesn’t either. It is what you spend it on and how you organise the action. If you’re going to slow down the war machine, you need to give the military something else to sink their teeth into.

          The US military needs to reorganise by the way. The only thing they do really well is their ability to provide logistics and supplies to any theater in the world. But when it comes to actually operating in that theater, they are mired by failure after failure, adopting at best a scorched earth policy. When was the last time the US achieved a military victory? Part of the reason for that is that the military isn’t used with a clear objective in mind. Longer wars means more money for some. I would imagine there are people in the US military who are sick of it and want the military to have greater control over weapons design and expenditure, and have a more concise, achievable objective than topple the tyrant and establish democracy.

        • And the trouble with logic is that it relies on a preset condition of rules to follow. Just because my set of rules don’t match yours doesn’t mean it doesn’t follow a logic.

          This is why certain arguments, like racist ideology, can actually appear very logical to those who read it, believe it and say the logic is undeniable. It is. Within the set framework.

          • I’ll tell what, in four years when the US military involvement around the world has gone down I will be the first one to say I was wrong about Trump on this issue and you were right.

            By the same token I hope you can do the same, although I’m not gonna hold my breath since admitting to being wrong isn’t something you do well.
            I remember your comments from UA years ago when you specifically said when a time comes Arsenal don’t have to sell their best players any more , Wenger will win the league again.

            Seems you have somewhat revised your opinion on that without admitting you were wrong 🙂

          • I didn’t realise I knew you from so long ago. 🙂

            I still believe Wenger will win the league again.

            Trump saying he recognises the right of other countries to also look out for themselves first sounds really revolutionary coming from a US president because that is not how they have operated. But it is just words, and there is just so much that happens behind the scenes in international politics. I still have doubts about Trump’s intentions and his ability. I just had no doubts about Hillary’s.

  12. The key to becoming critical of the msm is to become a content matter expert. Once you really know a subject, 90% of what you read and see on tv starts to reek of BS.

    So much of what passes for journalism is stenography. Repeating what people in power say at their press conferences, serving as the conduit for leaks, rewriting press releases, copying and reporting on what the NYT wrote yesterday. Enterprise journalism, aka investigative journalism, is the exception not the rule.

    It’s not like they are intentionally lying to you. Most of it is due to resource constraints, lack of deep knowledge on their part, cognitive bias and things like that.

    Source: used to work in tv news

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