Posts by Russell Brown

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  • Hard News: Trump's Dummkopfs,

    I largely agree with this FT comment piece on the threat to global stability of a Trump Presidency:

    The Republican party’s contender for the White House is not alone in cosying up to the Kremlin. Populists across Europe — Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, Nigel Farage’s UK Independence party and the fascist Jobbik and Golden Dawn in Hungary and Greece respectively — have all tipped their hats to Moscow. Mr Putin also has sympathisers on the left. Britain’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is more comfortable denouncing US “imperialism” than challenging Russian revanchism.


    The obvious fear is that a temperamentally unstable president Trump would lash out in a crisis. Robert Gates, the Republican former US defence secretary, says simply that he is “unfit to be commander-in-chief”. Mr Trump’s reaction to the latest bomb outrage in New York fitted the pattern. The US had to “knock the hell out of them … do something serious over there” — “them” being indeterminate and “over there” being the Middle East.

    The bigger danger lies in Mr Trump’s promise to withdraw — to tear up trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, throw up trade barriers against China, repudiate the Paris climate change agreement and the nuclear deal with Iran, and abdicate responsibility for the security of east Asia and Europe. Mr Trump’s policies are shot through with contradictions but one constant drumbeat is his belligerent isolationism. America will go it alone. Hyper-realism, some call it. Dangerous is a better word.

    The comments below it are almost uniformly hostile – alt-right and alt-left in step and, one has to suspect, a few of those Russian-sponsored trolls in the mix.

    This is typical:

    The reason liberals hate Putin, Trump, Netanyahu, and Europe’s emerging ethnonationalist parties is that all of these at least attempt to represent the interests of their countries and citizens. Liberalism, on the other hand, is the upper classes allied with an entire class of immigrants they have brought in to make war on the native middle and working classes of every single Western nation. Trump and the rest, who want to celebrate their peoples and countries, make the liberals look as bad as they are.

    Someone with the screen name “John Galt” replies:


    And this:

    I guess the “liberal, rules-based system” allows obama to support a war in syria by funding jihadi groups, approve staging a coup in Ukraine, and provoking russia so that putin is justified in the eyes of his people to use military force in crimea and syria.

    obama and hillary are pushing toward hot war with russia (and already in syria) – one wonders which planet the author of this article is from

    the author asserts without evidence that trump is “authoritarian” – i would suggest that he is no more,and probably far less “authoritarian” than obama or hillary

    I can't quite tell if it's a paid troll or just a useful idiot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21429 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump's Dummkopfs, in reply to DeepRed,

    The firmly reality-based Noam Chomsky has cautioned against such nose-cutting:

    I don't always agree with Chomsky, but as he indicates, this shit is just basic. If a President Trump was to act on even half his stupid foreign policy promises (and I include flouting trade agreements in that) the world would become a much more dangerous and unstable place.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21429 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Getting Festive,

    Oh my gosh.

    I really love Sun Ra’s 1950s “space bop” singles and have a collection of them on CD. Now, Strut is preparing to release a vinyl box set.

    What a beautiful thing.

    I have the Sun Ra – The Singles double CD. Never get tired of songs like this:

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21429 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump's Dummkopfs, in reply to Conal Tuohy,

    Of course Trump is one of the wealthy elite himself, but there’s a difference in perception which is based on a real difference. Clinton is 100% an ‘establishment’ candidate in a way that Trump absolutely is not. She has been a senator for donkey’s years; a First Lady; a Secretary of State,

    Clinton was a senator for two two terms, winning re-election with a big swing and taking 67% of the vote. She was Secretary of State for one term.

    and she has long been seen to be in the pockets of Wall St

    Since … ooooh, last year, when Bernie Sanders made it a campaign issue. There’s something odd and ahistorical about the the way the narrative has been completely rewritten. I had someone try and tell me she’d ditch Obamacare – they were quite surprised to learn that she’d been behind the first bid for healthcare reform as First Lady.

    She’s a flawed candidate and a terrible campaigner, but her eight years in elected office were actually pretty successful. She’d have been New York senator for ever had she so chosen.

    giving secret speeches for money and defending them from taking all the blame for the crash. Her financial wealth must be a fraction of Trump’s, but she acquired it by leveraging her political connections.

    Do you ever wonder why she cops that out of all proportion to all the other former officeholders with speaking agencies – even Bill, who’s taken many more banking industry gigs than she has?

    It’s the same mechanism behind Brexit.

    It is in the sense that it’s the rejection of institutions. It is worthwhile thinking about why we have those institutions.

    I guess the other thing to account for is the role of race. There have been polls this year that had black voter support for Trump at zero. And at his worst levels, after the DNC, he was winning in just one demographic: white men.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21429 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump's Dummkopfs,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21429 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: I Never Been ta Borstal, in reply to Mark Graham,

    Violence in men by women is treated as a joke. It’s not.

    More than a decade ago, we got quite involved as a family in the relationship breakup of friends where he had been accused of violence and we knew – we’d even seen it – that the abuse ran the other way. There were complicating factors (drugs, on both sides).

    Our house was the neutral ground for Barnardo’s-monitored visits with his children. We loaned him money to fund a review of a frankly disgraceful social worker's report (she didn't simply bother to follow up on anything he'd said, including trespass orders taken out by a school, which could have been verified in five minutes). I testified in Family Court and was accused of being a drug dealer, among other things, but the comments (“sincere and credible”) in the judge’s decision were gratifying. It went okay in the end.

    Let me be clear: everything says that the vast majority of the abuse runs the other way. That’s just not in doubt. But Fiona and I did have a few conversations afterwards about the fact that our social circle wouldn’t have tolerated male-on-female abuse the way it was in this case.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21429 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: I Never Been ta Borstal,

    Thanks Steven. I know you've given us glimpses of your experience over the years and I'm grateful that you've chosen to share it here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21429 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump's Dummkopfs, in reply to Emma Hart,

    That's bracing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21429 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump's Dummkopfs, in reply to Nik Dirga,

    I agree with Joe, it’s depressing now being an American in NZ and trying to have to explain Trump and defend the many millions of Americans who deplore him and everything he stands for.

    Oh, I know. All the Americans I actually know are like you guys. And I’m really aware of how American brilliance has improved my life and American popular culture has helped me define myself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21429 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump's Dummkopfs, in reply to DeepRed,

    For the same reasons, Bernie Sanders rode the same wave for those of a more reality-based persuasion

    Some of the local Bernie fans I've interacted with are really not reality-based at all. The time I tried to point out to a couple of them that their ammunition-shortage conspiracy theory was just a lightly-adapted version of a long-running right-wing conspiracy theory was ... memorable.

    The alt-left and the alt-right have been on the same page quite a lot lately.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21429 posts Report Reply

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