FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

GM and Tear Gas: MAGA Open on Two Fronts

Last week, Hillary Clinton said the EU should close the door to migration, lest it ‘roil the body politic’, liberty depends on it.  Her worry isn’t ragged foreigners, but native imaginations.  But they’re choice words; reminds us it’s the head she’s protecting.

I suspect she had us in mind, too.  The US presidency seems to preoccupy her.  And, like any alcoholic, she knows the first step is to surrender.  But she’s wrong as usual.  Cracking down on immigration won’t deflate ‘populism’, because migrants aren’t driving it.  Even our most-bonified populists, Clive and Ammon Bundy say so (check out Ammon’s facebook page for a more-liberal view on immigration).

Regardless how -and I doubt she knows- Americans feel, the numbers aren’t there.  Immigration has been dropping.  New PEW data says undocumented labor has dropped more than 8% since 2007.  In other words, migrants didn’t take our jobs.  Rather, when the banks took our jobs, they took theirs, too.  Then more went home than came.

There are far-fewer ‘recent-arrivals’ (here 5 years or less) than in past surveys.  So even if we’re still convinced that migrants are the problem, the border still isn’t.  Moreover, it was Bill Clinton’s 1996 Immigration Act that made petty crime grounds for deportation.  (Priorly, the threshold was a conviction yielding 5+ years in prison.)  The report finds ‘the overwhelming majority have been here a decade or more’.  That casts doubt that most are criminals.

And there’s less unemployment.  3.7%. The lowest in a half-century.  I know facts aren’t everything, there’s fear, but fear’s not impenetrable, either.  Trump tweets that the job market is growing and growing, near as often as he tweets we’re being invaded.  So even within his playlist there’s a contradiction.  And if it’s not, and we’re losing jobs, it’s because jobs are leaving, not because workers are coming.  Ask 1 in 5 GM workers who ruined their Christmas.  Emigrating capital, not immigrant labor.

Migrants crossing from Tijuana last Sunday weren’t met by auto-workers, nor fear of any civilian stripe, but soldiers ordered to divert them from seeking amnesty.  The resulting photos of tear-gassed children have rounded the internet.  Officials claim gas was deployed–only after the agents were pelted with debris.  They claim also that mothers and their children were pushed to the front by the men after the gas had been released.  Which makes as much sense as walking 30,000 miles just to throw rocks (they must know attacking the US complicates their asylum).  Pictures don’t reveal that, so more-likely the agents attacked first.

To me, that sounds like state power, not populism.  It bears far more resemblance to what our police visit on us, daily.  If Hillary cared, she’d note that.  Instead, it’s up to the Bundy’s to expose Trump’s excesses.

Trump  campaigned on ‘Law and Order’, hoping to get out of it what Nixon did.  Nixon said Mexicans we’re criminals (though not as hopeless as the little black bastards). So, literally, nothing Trump said was new.  He evoked south of the border rapists, but equally, Regan’s welfare queens, Clinton’s super-predators, and Bush and Obama’s shit-country terrorists (with whom Trump counted Obama, himself).  Voter’s liked his insouciance and deep breathing the same way the liked Dirty Harry’s and Darth Vader’s.  But I suspect, in the grand-Trumpian scheme of things, migrants weren’t much. Migrants were just good theater.

Trump’s so-called ‘populism’ isn’t new, either.  There was a populist note to Reagan.  Nixon had tried to foster one.  George W. nailed it–ironically–with his seeming lack of intelligence in the face of his elite education.  (so Trump wasn’t first there, either.)  But it turned out that the same hooligans that have always terrorized decent Americans, were them, and the welfare queen and the WMDs were myths.  But myths, first in the minds of think-tanks, then, with much effort, in the minds of people.

Hillary should know, she was there.  The Clintons, following Reagan’s cue, kicked half of all recipients off welfare. Since then, poverty hasn’t declined, extreme poverty has increased, and tax payers haven’t saved a dime.  She speculated, along with her comment on immigration, that people living in democracies might be tiring of their freedom. Today, thanks to her husband’s legislation, only 1 in 4 people living in poverty receive help.  For once, she may be onto something!

Pissing away $5,000,000,000 and 370,000 human lives in Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t help either.  And her ‘ya’ vote, didn’t help her future campaigns.  Once Iraq proved the fiasco it obviously was, the most Hillary could say was that she was against it after she was for it.  If Trump’s base sours because he tear gassed -or worse- homeless, hungry children, the most she could say is that she was for it, every time.

And that’s where we are. Trump was a theatrician.  However, when you start beating migrant children for real, it’s not theater anymore.  So what remains to be seen is if people still like it when Trump’s downward punches actually land.  The GM workers, the Bundy’s, and I presume most of his fans feel beat on themselves, which makes it’s easy to spot, even when its happening to someone else. Stubbornly-blind Americans learned how not to love Vietnam that way.

US citizens watched children being teargassed from the comfort of an adjacent Mall.  (You used to have to visit Israel for convenience like that.)  Even Thomas Friedman–whom I trust to never be right– noted the Democrats’ silence on the matter.  But Democrats commit to silence, unless they think speaking will get them elected. Then they just pick the wrong words.

Friedman, on the other hand, writes just for attention.  He goes on to say Democrats should demand a ‘high wall with a big gate’, to quell ‘populism’, but still garner talent.  Or so when Trump’s re-elected we can still get out.  Hillary, Friedman, and their like don’t know that wall has ceased to be a metaphor.

Or, so they can.  GM is closing 4 US and 1 Canadian plants, cutting 6,000 of their hourly, and 15% of all salaried, workers.  GM has tipped blame at Trump’s steel tariffs.  Though, before that, GM received billions of dollars in bail-out from the last administrations, and billions in tax-cuts from the current.  (Both were, ostensibly, to keep jobs here.)

Trump has countered, threatening more tariffs and to pull subsidies.  But there’s no expectation these are more than tweets.  Trump has more than once used the stock-market to measured his presidential worth.  Closing 5 plants jumped GM stocks 7.9%.  Yet more reminder, Trump’s stated goals, and other stated goals, can’t thread.

Hillary has close ties to GM, particularly through their CEO Mary Barra, and through Cisco Systems, who absorbed their stock once they filed Chapter 11 in 2009.  She and the Democrats have been silent.

Accordingly, GM workers will blame Trump’s steel tariff, not cheaper labor, for their job losses.  Or they will blame Neoliberals for granting corporations both right and incentive to discard their workers at whim.  Or they’ll blame GM for being an egregious company that pays its CEO 295X the median company wage, just to fire them. As it stands they’ll blame one or the others.  Because their isn’t a party on radar, nor even dissidents within the 2 parties -nor the business community (which now owns the press)- willing to address how all 3 collude on these outcomes.

That should get Democrats’ attention.  But it won’t because their upside down with their alliances.  The young and Left of the party, if they exist, need to sever their aged and increasingly Right, Trump-mimetic, and in some cases, bat-shit crazy leadership.  GM is closing plants in so-called Trump country, and Trump’s gone from abducting to attacking children.  The class war is in full swing.  Is it really time for surrender?

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
February 18, 2020
John Pilger
Julian Assange Must be Freed, Not Betrayed
Peter Harrison
Religion is a Repeating Chapter in the History of Politics
Norman Solomon
The Escalating Class War Against Bernie Sanders
Conn Hallinan
Irish Elections and Unification
Dean Baker
We Shouldn’t Have to Beg Mark Zuckerberg to Respect Democracy
Sam Pizzigati
A Silicon Valley Life Lesson: Money That ‘Clumps’ Crushes
Arshad Khan
Minority Abuse: A Slice of Life in Modi’s India
Walden Bello
China’s Economy: Powerful But Vulernable
Nicolas J S Davies
Afghan Troops say Taliban are Brothers and War is “Not Really Our Fight.”
Nyla Ali Khan
The BJP is Not India, and Every Indian is Not a Modi-Devotee
Binoy Kampmark
Buying Elections: The Bloomberg Meme Campaign
Jonah Raskin
Here’s Hoping
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Herakles in the Age of Climate Chaos
Bob Topper
The Conscience of a Conservative
John W. Whitehead
We’re All in This Together
Gala Pin
Bodies in Freedom: a Barcelona Story
Laura Flanders
Democracy, Dictatorship and Bloomberg
James Chandler
Among Cruel Children
February 17, 2020
Sheldon Richman
Anti-BDS Laws Violate Our Freedom
John Horning
NEPA is Our National Defense System

Evelyn Leopold
How the UN’s Middle East Peace Plan Was Trounced by Its Own Members
Stephen Cooper
“Just Mercy” and Justice Don’t Exist in Alabama
Patrick Cockburn
Sinn Fein’s Victory is Ireland’s ‘Brexit Moment’ When Left-Out Voters Turn on the Elite
Ralph Nader
“Democratic Socialism” – Bring it on Corporate Socialists!
Phillip Doe
Every Day’s a Holiday for the Oil Business in Colorado
Binoy Kampmark
Fashion Fetishism, Surgical Masks and Coronavirus
Cesar Chelala
The Democrats’ New Chapter
Robert Koehler
The Wall: Separating Democracy From Voters
Peter Cohen
Time to Retire the “He Can’t Beat Trump” Trope
Sr. Kathleen Erickson
Lessons From Ministering on the Border
Alvaro Huerta
Another Five Lessons for Democrats to Defeat Trump in 2020
Wim Laven
Donald Trump’s Plan for America: Make it Ignorant
Christopher Brauchli
You Tube’s Trump Predicament
Steve Klinger
Trump Shoots Romney at Prayer Breakfast; GOP Shrugs
Elliot Sperber
Ode to the City Bus 
James Haught
Megachurch Mess
Weekend Edition
February 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Mayor Mike, Worse Than Mayor Pete
Bruce E. Levine
“Sublime Madness”: Anarchists, Psychiatric Survivors, Emma Goldman & Harriet Tubman
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Leader of the Pack
Jennifer Matsui
The Doomsday Cuckoo Clock
Paul Street
Things Said in Confidence to 4000 Close Friends This Week
Jonathan Cook
Even With Corbyn Gone, Antisemitism Threats Will Keep Destroying the UK Labour Party
Thomas Klikauer
Cambridge Analytica: a Salesgirl’s Report
Joseph Natoli
Vichy Democrats vs. the Master Voice
David Rosen
Sanders vs. the Establishment Democrats: McGovern All Over Again?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail