Sunday, August 16, 2015

Lectiones: In the news


Julian Bond (1940-2015) organizing sometime in the early 1960s, via Georgia Encylopedia.
R.I.P. Julian Bond. NPR had a beautiful interview on the civil rights titan with his dear friend and sometime political opponent Congressman John Lewis.

Syria

Also important on NPR this morning, two pieces on the European refugee crisis, one heartbreaking interview with a Médecins Sans Frontières emergency rescue coordinator, one breakdown of the numbers and what they mean. The latter was drier, but more shocking as you consider what they represent, the extraordinary callousness of the international community: in Calais, there are 3000 refugees mostly from Syria trying to make their way into the UK, to howls of aggrieved protest from Prime Minister Cameron and the nativist British right, but the rest of Europe is holding 250,000 refugees—Britain really can't help out with approximately 1% of the total? And then Europe moans over its 250,000, but comparatively impoverished Turkey is taking care of two million all by itself, or four times the total for the world's richest continent.

Then again, in Syria itself there are now, according to the latest USAID report, 7.6 million internally displaced persons, almost a third of the population (of course the population would be larger if not for the four million refugees outside the country). The US is the largest single donor of cash assistance, having spent $4,110,566,565 since the conflict began in March 2011, but had actually taken in fewer than 1000 refugees by last May (compared to 6000 in Brazil), because why? Because we're too scared, as explained by
Republican Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, who, along with two other House Republicans, sent a missive to the administration in January that said the State Department’s plan to admit more refugees posed a security risk. “The United States has a proud history of welcoming refugees from all over the world; however, the Syrian conflict is a special case” because Syria is “home to the largest convergence of Islamist terrorists in world history,” the representatives wrote in the letter. McCaul later said that the Islamic State (ISIS) could turn the State Department refugee resettlement program into “a federally funded jihadi pipeline” to the United States.
American exceptionalism! We're exceptionally delicate. Let the sturdy Turks take care of it!

We have to deport them all—otherwise we'd be separating families!

Speaking of cruelty to refugees, Corey Robin noting remarkable parallels between the attitudes of the Vichy Republic toward France's Jewish population and Donald Trump's views on undocumented migrants in the US. Both want you to know how compassionate they are.

A real man—even the hair! Village Voice, April 2011.
Trump du Jour

Meanwhile, Maureen Dowd has written her second and third pieces in the space of a single week about how great Trump is as a candidate:
It has suddenly hit Trump that he’s leading the Republican field in a race where many candidates, including the two joyless presumptive nominees, are sputtering. He’s got the party by the tail — still a punch line but not a joke.
As Steve M explained after the first one last week, she really thinks he's got an important message. It's a little bit scary.
Brooksological notes

David Brooks, the Sage of Cleveland Park, is on vacation from the Times, but showing up on television (I guess the Times gives him paid leave but the TV gigs don't); I won't watch, but Driftglass will, and catches a remarkable bit of fancy shuffling, in riposting to a comment by David Corn on Jeb Bush and his false claim that Obama is responsible for the presence of the Da'esh in Iraq, for which of course George W. Bush and his war are to blame:
DAVID BROOKS: Yes. [Jeb Bush] wants to have an anti-terror foreign policy.

I give him a little more credit, of course. I think the war did help create al-Qaida in Iraq. So, both parties have something to answer for. Ultimately, ISIS created ISIS. It wasn’t us, but allowing the environment — so the Bush administration, the failed war, that had a — some contributory factor.
The form of the argumentum ad symmetriam: "I acknowledge that GWB is to some extent to blame for Da'esh, so therefore let us deem that you have acknowledged that BHO is to blame too. Because otherwise it wouldn't be fair."

Envoi

Possibly the best thing that has existed in the Washington Post since the 1970s, which I've never noticed before: in their "at the corner of the Internet and interesting" runninghead, a hebdomadary roundup of What Was Fake on the Internet This Week. Including the hoax report of a St. Louis mom said to be suing Netflix over her daughter's pregnancy,  holding the company responsible because it started on a Netflix 'n' Chill evening: “It’s like Netflix intentionally makes their movies boring so that one can fall into this trap.”).

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.

3 comments:

Victor said...

Bond was a great, great man!
Period.

As for all of those refugee's, why should America take care of them.
It's not like we destabilize the region or anything... Oh.

I'm sure Trump has used thousands of undocumented aliens in his buildings, and for landscaping, so he's just posturing for the rubes. Plus he's an obnoxious, bloviating asshole!
Period,

MoDo has either stolen Peggy Noonan's liquor and Oxy stash, or she's bucking to take over Nooner's WSJ and TV slots when she finally chokes on the olives in her triple martini's.

Bobo keeps getting lamer and lamer - whether it's in the NY Times, or on TV.
There's only so many ways you can find ways to blame the victims of the GOP's moronic assassins.

Unknown said...

Apropos of nothing in the article, but I found out recently that David Brooks' son was/is in the IDF. I guess it's old news, but new to me. Explains his view of the Iran agreement, I guess.

Theo said...

I've long felt that the illegal immigrants in the US are karma for all the emigrants from and internally displaced persons in Iraq that we caused with the war, and now in other countries like Syria caused by the destabilization of the region. Yet we won't take them in. All the Trump-lites in our country should put themselves in Turkey's shoes, like you point out, or in the shoes of the countries surrounding Iraq that had to take in refugees.