Nydia Tisdale An Atlanta attorney who practices First Amendment law says he fears the conviction of a citizen journalist and videographer this week on a misdemeanor obstruction charge—even though the jury cleared her of felony obstruction and criminal trespass—will lead to more prosecutions of journalists in pursuit of stories. […]
A Texas sheriff considering a run for Congress caused a social media firestorm on Wednesday after he threatened charges against the driver of a truck with a big anti-Trump sticker. The sticker on the back window did not mince words. It read “Fuck Trump and Fuck You For Voting […]
Taylor Hill via Getty Images “CMA apologizes for the recently distributed restrictions in the CMA Awards media guidelines, which have since been lifted,” the statement read. “The sentiment was not to infringe and was created with the best of intentions to honor and celebrate Country Music.” PREVIOUSLY: A list […]
Dude, do you even Constitution? Yeah. Rhetorical question. Of course Donald Trump knows nothing about the Constitution, or why his openly threatening the media is not a thing we should expect from a U.S. president. Earlier today, after an NBC story that claimed Trump’s desire to jack up the […]
[This interview has been excerpted from Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy, the new book by Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian to be published this December.]
David Barsamian: You have spoken about the difference between Trump’s buffoonery, which gets endlessly covered by the media, and the actual policies he is striving to enact, which receive less attention. Do you think he has any coherent economic, political, or international policy goals? What has Trump actually managed to accomplish in his first months in office?
Noam Chomsky: There is a diversionary process under way, perhaps just a natural result of the propensities of the figure at center stage and those doing the work behind the curtains.
At one level, Trump’s antics ensure that attention is focused on him, and it makes little difference how. Who even remembers the charge that millions of illegal immigrants voted for Clinton, depriving the pathetic little man of his Grand Victory? Or the accusation that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower? The claims themselves don’t really matter. It’s enough that attention is diverted from what is happening in the background. There, out of the spotlight, the most savage fringe of the Republican Party is carefully advancing policies designed to enrich their true constituency: the Constituency of private power and wealth, “the masters of mankind,” to borrow Adam Smith’s phrase.
These policies will harm the irrelevant general population and devastate future generations, but that’s of little concern to the Republicans. They’ve been trying to push through similarly destructive legislation for years. Paul Ryan, for example, has long been advertising his ideal of virtually eliminating the federal government, apart from service to the Constituency ― though in the past he’s wrapped his proposals in spreadsheets so they would look wonkish to commentators. Now, while attention is focused on Trump’s latest mad doings, the Ryan gang and the executive branch are ramming through legislation and orders that undermine workers’ rights, cripple consumer protections, and severely harm rural communities. They seek to devastate health programs, revoking the taxes that pay for them in order to further enrich their Constituency, and to eviscerate the Dodd-Frank Act, which imposed some much-needed constraints on the predatory financial system that grew during the neoliberal period.
That’s just a sample of how the wrecking ball is being wielded by the newly empowered Republican Party. Indeed, it is no longer a political party in the traditional sense. Conservative political analysts Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein have described it more accurately as a “radical insurgency,” one that has abandoned normal parliamentary politics.
Much of this is being carried out stealthily, in closed sessions, with as little public notice as possible. Other Republican policies are more open, such as pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, thereby isolating the U.S. as a pariah state that refuses to participate in international efforts to confront looming environmental disaster. Even worse, they are intent on maximizing the use of fossil fuels, including the most dangerous; dismantling regulations; and sharply cutting back on research and development of alternative energy sources, which will soon be necessary for decent survival.
ullstein bild via Getty Images [This interview has been excerpted from Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy , the new book by Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian to be published this December.] David Barsamian: You have spoken about the difference between Trump’s buffoonery, which gets endlessly […]
Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images WASHINGTON ― Billy Roper, a neo-Nazi and former high school history teacher whose father and grandfathers were Klansmen, saw that a national group was organizing marches on June 10 against Sharia. He wanted to get involved. So Roper and his wife, who […]