On this edition of CrossTalk we consider only one question: Is Donald Trump’s “America First” policy in contradiction to the Washington Consensus idea of American Exceptionalism? The answer to this question will likely define Trump’s presidency and change the world in the process.
Israel has passed a law allowing its Minister of Education to ban from its schools any person or group who criticizes Israel — apparently something that no teachers or students in Israel are supposed to do either (though some do). The hasbara, or pro-war propaganda, spin on this is that it is protecting Israel’s brave Troops from (rhetorical) “attacks.” But one of the chief targets of the law is understood to be Israeli troops who speak about what it is they do. And the law explicitly identifies for banning from schools those who advocate “legal or political” actions, which tend to be taken against those who make laws and political decisions, not against Troops.
At the big “Treason Summit” “Russopocalypse” “Catastrovent” on Monday, journalist Sam Husseini tried to ask a question about banning nuclear weapons, and was physically hauled out of the room by officials from the “Land of Press Freedom,” Finland. Meanwhile, an Associated Press reporter was permitted to ask a perfectly respectable question pushing a blatant lie that risks nuclear war. Yay for press freedom!
The unproven allegation that the Russian government helped us find out how the DNC was screwing Bernie Sanders with his pants on is not actually a moral, legal, or practical reason to launch a spree of mass-killing of innocents, which is what every war since WWII has been.
Tear gas is among the least of the problems facing those who care about the murder and destruction of war. But it is a major element in the militarization of local policing. In fact, it is widely deemed illegal in war, but legal in non-war (although what written law actually creates that loophole is unclear).
There was something quite odd about the very welcome news that some Google employees were objecting to a military contract, namely all the other Google military contracts. My sense of the oddness of this was heightened by reading Yasha Levine’s new book, Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet.
We should be very grateful to Francesco Duina for his new book, Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country. He begins with the following dilemma. The poor in the United States are in many ways worse off than in other wealthy countries, but they are more patriotic than are the poor in those other countries and even more patriotic than are wealthier people in their own country. Their country is (among wealthy countries) tops in inequality, and bottoms in social support, and yet they overwhelmingly believe that the United States is “fundamentally better than other countries.” Why?
“Memorial Day is a time to remember, appreciate, and honor the selfless patriots who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to freedom. At a time when our country seems so divided, we must not forget that it is because of their service and sacrifice that we live in the most free and prosperous nation on Earth.” —Congressman Tom Garrett
For those of us who fully expected most U.S. peace activists to vanish once Barack Obama became president but expected them to come back once Donald Trump ascended the throne, the failure of our second expectation has been hard, crushingly hard. But there are a few silver linings.
Writer and activist David Swanson discusses his new book Curing Exceptionalism, with TRNN’s Ben Norton, exploring how American nationalism and the myth of US superiority is used to justify hyper-militarism and capitalist oppression.