Showing posts from July 22, 2017

Today's Trumpery


Political Violence on the Rise in Zimbabwe

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[With 2018 elections ahead, police fail to investigate attacks on the opposition. *RON*]

Dewa Mavhinga, Human Rights Watch, 20 July 2017
On Tuesday night, unidentified assailants burned down a bar in Harare owned by Elias Mudzuri, the deputy president of Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, MDC-T. Mudzuri and several other local activists with whom I spoke believed that supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party were responsible for this attack, as well as the one that destroyed the house of an MDC-T local councilor.

ZANU-PF has not only rejected such allegations, but sought to blame the opposition. Last week, after an MDC-T vehicle was torched, Ignatious Chombo, the minister of Home Affairs responsible for the police, dismissed the attack as “an inside job [by the MDC-T] to get attention and a trick by a fracturing party that is facing loss in the next election.”

The recent cases of apparent political violence, like those in past years, have one thing in…

Race to the Bottom: How the post-racial revolution became a whitewash

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[Great piece! Law professor and critical race theorist Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, writing in The Baffler, considers the elections of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, and the way that  declarations of America as “post-racial” or “colorblind” serve to diminish our history of racial violence. To those who understand Obama’s success as owing to his race-neutrality, she offers a sharp rebuke. "The very rhetoric of post-racialism that greeted Obama’s ascension to power has proven instrumental in the political rise of Donald Trump." *RON*]
Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, The Baffler No. 35, June 2017

ANYONE TRYING TO TAKE THE POLITICS of race seriously over the past decade of American political life could plausibly be diagnosed with an acute case of intellectual whiplash. A mere eight years ago, Barack Obama broke a historic barrier long taken to be impermeable and became our first African American president. Throughout our mainstream media and mo…

Addiction and intrigue: Inside the Saudi palace coup


[A coup d'etat which, because it's Saudi Arabia, isn't called one. Action-packed account of recent turmoil in the House of Saud. King Salman ousted his heir-apparent, Mohammed bin Nayef, on the grounds that "MbN" had become addicted to opiates prescribed to him as painkillers following an assassination attempt in 2009. This "high-stakes power grab" has elevated 32-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, "MbS", the king’s favourite son, to regent. "The putsch went ahead after MbS struck up a strong relationship with Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner" *RON*]

Reuters, 19 July 2017

(Reuters) - On Tuesday June 20 Mohammed bin Nayef, a powerful figure in Saudi Arabia's security apparatus for the past two decades and the next in line to the throne, was summoned to meet King Salman bin Abdulaziz on the fourth floor of the royal palace in Mecca.

There, according to a …

From public good to personal pursuit: Historical roots of the student debt crisis

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[I just ran across this one. On so-called austerity and the class wars. College was once free and for the public good - what happened? Has student debt changed because the purpose of education has changed? *RON*]
Thomas Adam, The Conversation 29 June 2017
The promise of free college education helped propel Bernie Sanders’ 2016 bid for the Democratic nomination to national prominence. It reverberated during the confirmation hearings for Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education and Sanders continues to push the issue.
In conversations among politicians, college administrators, educators, parents and students, college affordability seems to be seen as a purely financial issue – it’s all about money.

My research into the historical cost of college shows that the roots of the current student debt crisis are neither economic nor financial in origin, but predominantly social. Tuition fees and student loans became an essential part of the equation only as Am…

The Kids Are All Right (and These Surprising Statistics Prove It)

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[Interesting and hopeful statistics. "Americans under 25 are bringing a new era of tolerance, education, and vastly improved behaviors while older folks are acting worse. That isn’t starry-eyed idealism. It’s hard numbers." *RON*]
Mike Males, YES! magazine, 17 July 2017

As their elders deteriorate into social epidemics and reactionary nationalism, young Americans as a generation are avoiding crime, violence, prison, parenthood, dropout, and other major life determinants and adopting more inclusive, global attitudes.

This isn’t “kids are all right!” romanticism; it’s a confluence of hard facts and trends. As American politics seems increasingly hopeless, striking generation gaps in attitudes and behaviors have emerged. Leaders and experts don’t comprehend how seismic youth improvements have been or what’s driving them.

The gap begins with demography. The census finds Americans under age 25 (51 percent white, 25 percent Latino, 14 percent b…