Sovereignty For Us, But Not Others

The Trump Administration may be most infamous for its “America First” doctrine. Nationalism rules. Globalists like Obama and Biden and their ilk are despicable elites who’d just as soon sell out US manufacturing jobs to foreign countries as they would sacrifice our sovereignty to international organizations like the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.

The rest of the world be damned. Especially China. At least until they check their Individual Retirement Account balances, most Americans are sympathetic to the argument that it’s time to get tough on China in order to create some semblance of a trade balance and to stem intellectual property theft and cyber espionage against US businesses.

But there’s one central flaw in the administration’s economic and foreign policies that prevents me from enlisting full stop in the China Trade War and that’s the rhetoric spewed by Steve Bannon and others about the ultimate objective. . . destroying China’s “state sponsored capitalism” (see this documentary). This goal is based upon the simplistic and wrong-headed notion that when it comes to economic systems, it’s a winner take all contest.

Bannon says our version of free-market capitalism and China’s state-sponsored capitalism cannot co-exist even though they have been for decades. News flash Bannon—every national economy in the world exists on a continuum between laissez-faire free market capitalism and state-sponsored, command economics. Besides the obvious examples of North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela, Canada and many Western and Northern European countries prefer the center of the continuum. Amazingly, different approaches work for different people in different places.

How would Bannon, Trump, and the other nationalists in the administration react if another country tried to impose its economic system on us? They’re always harping about our national sovereignty while simultaneously trying to destabilize China’s economy and replace Venezuela’s government.

The moral bankruptcy of this hypocrisy is growing more and more apparent, but the Trump Nationalists continue to get aways with it. Here’s hoping the electorate wakes up by November 3, 2020.


Today’s best bumper sticker. . . Make America Grateful Again.

That Explains It

When I heard the Businessman President lost $1.17 billion dollars between 1985 and 1994, I suspected it had to be fake news. So much of my trust in him is based upon his business genius. I mean The Art of the Deal and all. If he was lying about his business success what other untruths could I have fallen victim to? Did he really not get any meaningful help from his dad? Did he really not say, “There were good people on both sides” after Charlottesville? Did he really not grab women in the pu#sy?

Thank goodness for Twitter and not having to depend upon the mainstream media. Here’s the perfectly good explanation:

“Real estate developers in the 1980’s & 1990’s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases. Much was non monetary. Sometimes considered “tax shelter,” ….you would get it by building, or even buying. You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes….almost all real estate developers did – and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport. Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!”

I am not smart enough to understand sentences one, two, three, and four, but even I get sentence five. Just as I had expected, it’s old, highly inaccurate information propagated by the Fake News.


Satire over. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but if my entire credibility was on the line, I might take a little more time to craft a response. What a bunch of convoluted bullshit. Avoiding taxes was sport, screw any responsibility for the common good. Also, Businessman President, exactly what part of it is “highly inaccurate”? Show us.

I’m entirely down with this idea.

Rick Steves Wants to Save the World

One vacation at a time. Lengthy profile of the travel guru, but really well written and well worth the time. In the spirt of Steves, I’m off on a two-week vacation, during which I’ll be pressing pause on Pressing Pause.

I’m agnostic on marijuana. Apart from that difference, I’m down with damn near every other aspect of Steves’s worldview. At the same time, I get tired just reading about his frenetic pace. I’m far too slothful to aspire to be Steves-like, but his non-materialism and associated generosity are definitely inspiring.

I’ll post pics to Twitter, @PressingPause, of my travels. First person to guess the correct country wins an all expense trip to North Korea.

How Committed Is The Tacoma Public School District To Its Mission?

The district’s mission:

“Our mission is to develop competent, contributing citizens. We will be an outstanding school district in which all students exhibit high standards of achievement and critical thinking skills, and are socially responsible, contributing members of their community.”

A couple of weeks ago, Mike Jankanish, an AP History teacher at Tacoma’s Wilson High School, wrote an op-ed titled, “Diversity education is a divisive education.”

As reported by King5.com, Jankanish is opposed to HB 1314, a Washington State legislative proposal to incorporate ethnic studies as a course elective in its public schools.

Jankanish contends:

“This increasing emphasis on cultural diversity is not just about school curriculum but part of a larger agenda to implement the goals of identity politics. This way of thinking is based on the assumption that a certain group of Americans are inherently marginalized in our society and are the victims of ongoing discrimination.”

Unlike Jankanish, I fully support the passing of HB 1314 and believe certain groups of Americans are inherently marginalized in our society and are the victims of ongoing discrimination.

However, unlike some Tacoma teachers, journalists, and residents; I also believe in Jankanish’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Because Jankanish questioned whether anyone, which includes Tacoma’s students of course, are victimized by ongoing discrimination, some Tacoma teachers immediately labeled his thinking racist and associated it with White Supremacy. Others in the community expressed anger at the Tacoma paper for even publishing Jankanish’s op-ed. Still others pledged to remove their children from his classes.

Despite being an educational organization, it doesn’t appear as if anyone in the Tacoma School District asked Jankanish why he doesn’t believe in institutional racism.

One can’t help but wonder if the outraged Tacoma teachers ever travel to Eastern Washington or anywhere more politically conservative. Lots of people feel identity politics have gone too far. Hell, in his 1991 book, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner in history and adviser to the Kennedy and other administrations, Arthur M. Schlesinger argued against identity politics in The Disuniting of America.

As an advocate of multicultural education, I used to assign Schlesinger’s slight book not because I agreed with his thesis, but because it provoked deeper thinking about the need for multicultural education. More specifically, I used it to challenge my university pre-service teachers to deconstruct Schlesinger’s anti ethnic-studies point of view.

Upon the publishing of Jankanish’s editorial, one teacher said, “This is a chance for the community to say, ‘We don’t put up with this rhetoric, we don’t want this kind of thinking in our classrooms or affecting what our students are hearing.'”

Rather than offer cogent counter arguments, silence him? Is the mission of the school district more accurately to protect students from overtly conservative political opinions deemed offensive by a majority of teachers?

Again, I don’t agree with Jankanish at all, but he appears to have stated his views calmly, meaning he’s not incited anyone to violence. I may be labeled a reactionary for daring to write this, but tying Jankanish to White Supremacy without knowing anything about his teaching record or personal life, strikes me as an egregious leap of misguided activism.

It also strikes me as disrespectful of the exact students the teachers obviously care for so deeply in that it underestimates their capacity to thoughtfully weigh contrasting points of view in light of their life experience and their study of history and related social studies courses.

I don’t understand how the district seeks to silence teachers for unpopular political views while simultaneously claiming to be a place where “all students exhibit critical thinking skills.”

 

Hate Is Metastasizing

Asne’s Seierstad’s “One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway” is a devastating read.

When I heard the New Zealand killer posted a 17,000 word manifesto that cited European white supremacists as his inspiration, I knew Breivik had to have loomed large.

Today in the New York Times Seierstad confirms that hunch in her essay “The Anatomy of White Terror“.

She writes:

“Before he allegedly killed 50 Muslims praying at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, reportedly posted a 74-page manifesto titled “The Great Replacement” online. In his tract, Mr. Tarrant wrote that he had only one true inspiration: the Norwegian political terrorist, Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011.”

With almost universal access to the internet, mental illness wrapped in hate is tragically metastasizing.

Seierstad again:

“Mr. Breivik wanted fame. He wanted his 1,500-page cut-and-paste manifesto to be read widely, and he wanted a stage — his trial in Oslo. He called the bomb he set off outside the prime minister’s office in Oslo, and the massacre he carried out on the island of Utoya, his “book launch.” He told the Norwegian court he had estimated how many people he needed to kill to be read. He had figured a dozen, but ended up killing 77.

Eight years after the massacre in Norway, the Norwegian political terrorist continues to be read by his desired audience: On far right forums on the internet the term “going Breivik” means a full commitment to the cause.”

On far right forums, Breivik is a household name. That is the worst possible legacy.

Seierstad adds:

“Christopher Hasson, a lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard and a self-described white nationalist who wanted to trigger a race war, was inspired by the Norwegian.”

Despite being imprisoned, Breivik, as co-conspirator of sorts, continues to kill. In large part, because his hate-filled ideology is so easily accessible.

Extremely violent white supremacists seek community. And they’re finding it online.

Is Seierstad making matters worse by bringing Breivik and the NZ killer added attention? She doesn’t think so:

“Are we complicit in spreading the ideas of these fascists by writing about them? The answer is no. Radicalization happens first and foremost on the internet, where violent extremists meet and incite each other, and where they should be tracked down and monitored.

We can’t allow ourselves to be ignorant. To fight terrorism, we need to research how individuals become terrorists. We need to analyze and expose fascist thoughts and violence.

People like Mr. Breivik and Mr. Tarrant spread myths and conspiracies dressed up as facts. They use guns to be read. Their thoughts thrive in the darkness, tailored to an underground community. We need to expose the ideas and the lives of these white supremacists. Only then can we dissect them properly.”

I agree in part. The NZ killer wants to represent himself in court to, it’s safe to assume, use it as a platform for his hate-filled ideology. New Zealand’s judicial system should make sure the media doesn’t play into his hands. I concur with Seierstad about exposing “myths and conspiracies dressed up as facts”, but I can’t think of any good coming from additional exposure.

We can’t undo the internet, but as Seierstad argues, we have to do a better job of monitoring and tracking down white supremacists hiding behind their keyboards. We also have to denounce “immigrant invasion” rhetoric at least as vociferously as Donald Trump promulgates it. And we can stand in solidarity with Muslim and Jewish acquaintances and friends in our communities in the ongoing battle against individuals who, emboldened by one another and overcome by illness and violence, continue to target them.