Should the US Ban Muslim Immigrants?

By Dom Nozzi

January 31, 2017

In January of 2017, Donald Trump was blasted for proposing a ban on Muslim immigration into the US.

I believe I am about the only person on the political left who is not attacking Trump for his Muslim ban.

I’m sorry, but the ban (or some form of aggressive vetting at points of entry) seems reasonable to me.

The US has been bombing Syria back to the stone age for several years, and as a consequence has 05996fc52c8bc14d89e2f515678638f1killed many thousands of innocent people.

Is it not reasonable to conclude that there are a LOT of Syrians who have now dedicated their lives to exact violent retribution against the US. That many of those understandably enraged people are now motivated to travel to the US and kill as many Americans as possible?

I for one would be FURIOUS if my family had been killed by a bombing raid. I can easily see myself wanting to travel to the nation responsible for the bombing to kill people in that nation.

Where has the outrage been with regard to the US bombing of places such as Syria (and many other nations in the Middle East)? THAT is where the protests should have been directed.

The US has murdered so many hundreds of thousands of innocent people in the Middle East (and elsewhere) over the past 40-50 years that we will have to be afraid of attacks on us by Middle Easterners for the rest of our lives.

The US needs to immediately get the hell out of the Middle East.

Why are we attacking a proposed immigration ban when we should be loudly protesting against our government (both Trump now and Obama over the past eight years) for our many wars of aggression? Aggression which continues, to this day, to kill so many innocent people in seven Middle Eastern nations?

Yes, prohibiting immigration based on country of origin is, in normal times, inexcusable. But the US has blood on its hands for our bombing outrages, and immigration bans (or aggressive vetting at points of entry) are a terrible price we – as a Warrior Nation — may have to pay for the remainder of our lives.

So much for our admirable reputation of being a melting pot…

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My Thoughts on the Milo Yiannopoulos Speech at the University of Colorado at Boulder

 

By Dom Nozzi

January 26, 2017

I watched the livestream of the Milo Yiannopoulos speech on my laptop. I didn’t have a problem with much of what he said, despite my leftist political leanings and his reputation for being a racist, sexist, fascist.

He said a number of things I liked (attacking the Politically Correct police, for example). I thought he was a subpar speaker (nervous laughing was common, reading too much from downloadwritten notes, and an over-the-top ego, for example). I enjoyed his disdain for the many (not all) fun-hating, man-hating, sex-negative, attractivenss-shaming feminists.

I wish I could have chatted with him to ask about what seemed like enormous inconsistencies: has it not been the case that his conservative brethren almost single-mindedly attack sex-for-fun (sex only good for making babies), contraception, sex in the media, and gay rights? He attacked the Boulder sugar tax, despite his love for capitalism (taxes use capitalist price signals, in contrast to socialist command economy prohibitions). He repeatedly called for evidence-based argumentation, and frequently pointed out his dislike of obesity, yet did not acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that sugar taxes effectively reduce obesity. Despite the protests, I did not find his remarks to be in any way sexist or racist. He did not strike me as being particularly intellectual. I was thankful that he was allowed to speak at CU. And wish he spoke at Mackey Auditorium, where a larger audience could have attended.

I loved his putting down Boulder as a pathetic excuse for a real city (I’m sure he was at least partly referring to the sterile suburban character here).

Overall, I am enraged that the supposedly freedom- and speech-loving and diversity-loving political left in Boulder felt it necessary to engage in an effort to use fascist censorship to stop what they considered to be undesirable speech.

Is that not what the left has always (and rightfully) attacked the right for doing?

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

2016 Elections and the Politics of Friendships

 

By Dom Nozzi

January 23, 2017

I am increasingly of the view that extreme partisan politics is an enormous problem in our society. I think that problem is increasingly on steroids due to such things as Facebook, the Internet, and the huge array of media sources now available to us.

Due mostly to those tools, people are much more likely to only hear or read things they fully agree with and hear nothing that strays from it – a phenomenon that leads to the “echo chamber” effect. This monochromatic look at the world of course breeds a lot of hostility toward other views (or the other political party).

An irony is that in the early days of the Internet, many of us expected that the HUGE increase in information would allow people to be more aware and tolerant of different views. Many of us did not anticipate that such a world would, instead, allow us to ONLY get info we agreed with.

One thing I notice on Facebook, however, is that the very few Republican friends I have will sometimes post contrary views on topics that we on the left are inundated with, and it is fascinating to me because much of those Republican posts seem believable and persuasive. And are views I never hear at all from my friends on the left.

I am bothered by how easily those on the left these days engage in double standards. Attacking Republicans for things back in the Obama years. And now DOING THOSE VERY SAME THINGS now that Trump is president (such as character assassination, caricature, extreme anger, vowing to always oppose anything he proposes, making fun of him, and screaming that HE IS NOT MY PRESIDENT!!).

An excellent example of extreme partisanship.partisan_voters

Didn’t the Founding Fathers warn against the creation of political parties? If so, it is now more clear than ever why they did so.

The best one can do these days with certain people who are friends is to just tolerate their thoughts and try not to discuss the hot button issues. One thing I have learned in my professional town and transportation planning work is that even if the person is very intelligent, when emotions are involved (traffic congestion and road rage, for example), I need to steer clear of the topic.

This is true even though I am VERY passionate and informed about these topics.

Strong emotions tend to turn off a person’s mind. Evidence and logic are often thrown out the window when strong emotions emerge.

I think this also applies to politics.

When strong emotions come into play, I need to remind myself that people with other views will need to learn on their own…

Something else that has driven much of the divisive hostility we are seeing during this presidential elections time: EXTREME, unvarying hostility by the media towards Trump. I really dislike a great deal about Trump and his views and actions. But I have NEVER seen so much negative media attention. Nothing in the past has been even close to this. One result of the extreme 24/7 media attacks against Trump is that even well-informed people have lost their minds about him. The media has convinced them that he is evil incarnate. The world will end tomorrow! Everything wrong in the world is due to Trump! Trump is the most awful person who ever lived!

It is almost comical if it were not tragic and dangerous. I think that there is a decent chance Trump will be assassinated. If so, the media will largely be to blame.

The left needs to come to terms with the following: Given the EXTREME 24/7 media negativity toward Trump over the past year, how was it possible that over 62 million people voted for him? I’m not saying that Trump must be a good guy despite the media bombardment. He is in many ways an undesirable president. But can the left simply say that there are 62 million morons in America? I don’t think so. I think many on the left are out of touch with what many Americans are looking for. Like with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura, a lot of voters decided that America needed to elect a muscular superhero who would be strong enough to not cave in to many of the economic troubles we are facing: NAFTA, TPP, loss of jobs, immigration, etc. Trump created the persona of a strong superman who would stand up and fight for blue collar jobs.

Much of his tactics to do that are inappropriate or ineffective, but I think his overall message appealed to people. Democrats (except folks like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) have mostly turned their back to that concern. And decided that instead of reaching out to the lower and middle class, Democrats could win with HUGE amounts of corporate cash, identity politics, being tough on crime and “terrorists,” and relentlessly attacking Trump as a racist, sexist asshole. The result is that the Democrats lost the presidency, the House, the Senate, and many state governorships.

Yet the DNC now opts to blame the Russians…

With regard to the massive worldwide marches we saw yesterday, I find myself asking where those marches and protests and energy were during the presidential race? During the eight years of Obama?

Our nation has enormous existing problems (war, transportation, economic suffering, pollution, political corruption, the health industry, etc.). We should have had millions marching every week for decades. If Hillary was elected, I’m convinced we would have seen another four or eight years of no marches or protests despite those several huge EXISTING problems – many of which were made worse during Obama’s years in office.

I think many people have concluded that the Democrats have become too much like Republicans (for example, having a lot of corrupt politicians who were bought by lobbyists), and Trump’s campaign pushed the idea that he was an outsider who was not corrupted by lobbyists.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

A Reason Why the Left Should Celebrate the Trump Presidency

 

By Dom Nozzi

January 21, 2017

Worldwide marching and protesting against the Donald Trump election in January 2017…is what I am seeing all over my Facebook wall today.trump-protest-los-angeles-macarthur-park-saturday

For the record, this should be a very clear confirmation of what many of us have been saying for a few months now: The protesting and opposition is a reason why those of us on the left should be HAPPY that Trump is president.

We had EIGHT YEARS of silence from the left while Obama was implementing a neoliberal agenda. Where were the protests from the left while Obama significantly increased the number of wars in the Middle East over and above wars Bush had started? Where was the left while Obama was substantially ramping up the criminal drone assassination campaign? Where were the marches due to Obama being in bed with Wall Street and Big Pharma and Big Oil? Where was the resistance when Obama was giving the Pentagon a blank check? Where were the objections to Obama taking actions that Republicans are known for, such as being a cheerleader for a Cold War by being bellicose and engaging in fear-mongering toward the Russians? Why was the left silent about demanding that Obama spent trillions to build, say, a national US rail system rather than build bombs to kill civilians (and create more terrorists)?

I will tell you where they were.

They were pretending such inexcusable actions were okay because they were being done by a Democrat, and extreme partisanship means Democrats must not speak ill of “their own” for political reasons.

Had Hillary won, we would have had four or eight more years of people NOT marching or protesting or resisting or scrutinizing appointments or Supreme Court nominees. This shameful silence would have occurred even though Hillary was apparently going to be going even MORE to the right than Obama had gone.

Four or eight more years of the left being asleep while the corporate war and exploitation machine keeps chugging along doing things that the left should be enraged about.

With Trump, the left will be hopefully back to what it should have been doing since 2008: protesting.

I do have a big concern, however, despite the good news of the return of protesting from the left.

Due to extreme partisanship, I worry that no matter how progressive various Trump initiatives might be during his turn (and I believe there will be some), many will knee jerk oppose it BECAUSE it is not being proposed by a Democrat. I am already starting to see signs of this counterproductive, paralyzing partisanship.

Extreme partisanship is very bad. Shame on Democrats (and Republicans) for becoming so extreme these days. Extreme at least in part because of the Internet/Facebook/social media echo chamber.

Don’t get me wrong.

I would much prefer to see a political progressive as president right now and not a clown like Trump. But only if the left (and the media) did their job and vigorously demanded that action be taken to address existing problems, and objected to ruinous actions a progressive president opted to take. Sadly, the left has a terrible track record in “holding the Democrat’s feet to the fire,” so to speak.

This is not to say that we have EVER elected a progressive president – because we have not.

Overall, I have been disgusted by how many on the left have been in love with moderate Republicans such as Obama and Hillary.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War

By Mark Danner, published 2016

Review by Dom Nozzi

January 30, 2017

I just finished reading a powerful, highly disturbing, infuriating and depressing book. Spiral, by Mark Danner, lays out the criminal and exceptionally self-perpetuating downward spiral of the so-called American War on Terror. Danner shows how the “war” continuously induces more and more fear amongst Americans. And how fear is the most effective means that elected officials have to convince voters that our corrupt, militarized government is justified in ramping up, without end, a global forever war. The “war” 41h2vikpal-_sy344_bo1204203200_moves us further and further away from the publicly alleged objective of “making us safer” by endlessly recruiting countless new “terrorists” who have made a lifetime vow to engage in violence in retribution for American violence (even the hawkish Donald Rumsfeld asked if “we [are]…killing… more terrorists…than…the radical clerics are recruiting…”). The fear so sharply escalated by the “war” has led large numbers of Americans to passively accept things now routinely engaged in by the US that throughout history have been considered barbaric: torture, starting wars of aggression, indiscriminately killing countless civilians, spending way more than the next several world military powers combined, and engaging in invasive domestic surveillance of all Americans. There is no end in sight for American forever wars being conducted in so many places today. Neither major party in the US seems to have any interest in ending the murderous boondoggle.

The self-perpetuating nature of these forever wars reminds one of the bursting-at-the-seams US prison system, which is so harsh and retributive that it has become a crime factory ensuring that upon release, prisoners will soon re-offend and be imprisoned again.

In my view, all of us alive today will live for the rest of our lives with a much greater fear of violent extremism (such as domestic lone-wolf bombings and mass shootings) than any previous generation. The great irony is that this increased fear and increased number of terrorist incidents domestically and internationally is the direct result of America engaging in what is now a 14-year (and counting) “war on terror” to make us “safer.” Another irony in all of this: Noam Chomsky is correct when he notes that the US has become the most prolific terrorist nation the world has ever seen. Had we not engaged in this shockingly counterproductive “war,” our future would have been significantly safer.  Instead of making us less safe and substantially increasing the incidence of worldwide terrorism, our nation could have had spent those trillions of war dollars to actually improve our lives rather than worsen it. Money that instead of being used to kill a huge number of mostly innocent people, could have been used to create a national passenger rail system, provide free college education, create much cheaper or free national health care, fund a lot more scientific and medical research, repair infrastructure, and so on.

Excerpts from this sobering book:

“…nearly 33,000 people worldwide died from terrorism in 2014, an increase of 35 percent over the year before – and of 4,000 percent since 2002.”

“Turns out I’m really good at killing people. Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.” – President Barrack Obama, [Nobel Peace Prize winner] September 30, 2011

“[America now routinely engages in] warrantless wiretapping…Extraordinary rendition. Unlawful combatants. Indefinite detention. Targeted assassination. Extrajudicial killing. Enhanced interrogation techniques. Torture. …once unthinkable [these tactics have become] quietly accepted weapons in an endless war.”

“…the reality of [Obama’s] years in office have turned out to be more complicated. Guantanamo remains open. The military commissions go on. Torture goes unpunished [“We must look forward, not backward”]…he sent drones to kill thousands, including many civilians. Americans, believing themselves to stand proudly for the rule of law and human rights, have become for the rest of the world a symbol of something quite opposite: a society that imprisons people indefinitely without trial, kills thousands without due process, and leaves unpunished lawbreaking approved by its highest officials…Even as ‘core’ al Qaeda has been battered and reduced, al Qaedism, the ideology, has thrived…powered by the outrage of young Muslims over Western imperialism, torture, drone attacks…this very plentitude means the odds against those charged with stopping attacks grow ever longer…successful lone-wolf attacks [in the US are] increasingly likely.”

Ordinarily, I’d advise everyone to read this essential book as soon as possible, but as the author notes in his concluding remarks, it seems today that most Americans would hardly bat an eye if they were to learn a lot more about American atrocities and self-defeating actions in the “war on terror.” Indeed, Americans became so apathetic, cynical and callous during Obama’s two terms of office that I suspect most Americans these days would, if anything, applaud upon learning that the US behavior was now similar to the North Koreans, the Chinese, the former Soviet Union, or Nazi Germany. After observing how both major parties seemed to want to aggressively step up the “war on terror” in the 2016 presidential campaign — despite the enormous number of books, essays, investigations, and news reports showing its failures — the author asks “[w]hat if you tear off the veil and no one gasps, no one cringes, no one even blinks? What if, apart from a handful, the public mostly yawns and turns the channel?”

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

Why Did Trump Win?

 

By Dom Nozzi

January 27, 2017

For the entire 2016 US Presidential election season, a great many folks on the Left (and Right) who were understandably disgusted by Donald Trump thought – wrongly – that the way to stop him from being elected was to constantly attack him as a horrible person. He’s a liar! A misogynist! A racist! A moron! An egotist! An unstable person! A fascist! The worst presidential candidate ever! An out-of-touch billionaire!

But with all due respect, it turns out that many of those who screamed those things – and CONTINUE to scream those things after he was elected – are the ones who are out of touch.

Both the Republican Party AND the Democratic Party have become so corrupted by Wall Street, Corporations, the Military-Industrial Complex, and Big Pharma that they have turned their backs on the many people in America who are hurting for jobs (both the unemployed and underemployed) and income.2aaa

The Republicans have a long tradition of engaging in this sort of corruption. But now the neo-liberals – lead by such folks as Bill Clinton — have convinced the Democrats to take the same path. The neo-liberals decided that they would be better Repubs than the Repubs. Neo-liberals would adopt the same economic, criminal justice, and military objectives as Repubs, but would be more supportive of women’s rights and environmental protection.

The neo-liberals (which includes Hillary Clinton and those who supported her in the primaries) took the working class for granted, and assumed such voters would be trapped into voting for the Democrat. All they had to do was point out how HORRIBLE Trump was as a person. Identity politics would lock in a victory.

But the strategy utterly failed.

Trump realized that the key to being elected was to appeal to the working class. To speak to them in ways that appealed to the pain they are feeling.

Trump attacked NAFTA and TPP (while Dems such as Hillary and Obama supported such agreements). The working class HATES those agreements. Trump promised to bring jobs back to America and impose punishing rules and tariffs on nations taking American jobs and importing foreign goods to America. That is music to the ears of the working class. Trump promised to be an “outsider.” A tough-guy superhero (like Arnold Schwarzenegger) who would be strong enough to stand up to the people and nations who were taking American jobs and income.

As much as the Left dislikes this, calls by Trump to build a wall on the Mexican border and deport immigrants and weaken environmental regulations all can sound appealing to people looking for a job.

In the end, the fact that Trump is a horrible racist or sexist or liar or moron matters far less for a huge number of Americans than the fact that it appears he cares about bringing back American jobs and income, and appears to be tough enough and savvy enough to do it. Privileged Dems who have jobs and income, by contrast, cannot even imagine how ANYONE could vote for a racist, sexist moron.

Because they are out of touch with the working class.

Do the self-righteous neo-liberals realize the extreme income and wealth disparities that now exist in the US? Do they know that about half of all Americans are suffering economically? Are neo-liberals even paying lip service to these America-is-not-great conditions?

Such an out-of-touch attitude fails to recognize that needing a job and an income are far more important than the fact that a candidate is an asshole. Or the opponent is a woman.

This helps explain why Trump – the biggest clown to ever run for president – won the election. Why the Repubs won the House, the Senate, the statehouses, and many governorships.

If the Dems don’t discard the corrupt, warmongering, neo-liberal wing of their party, they will continue to experience defeats in future elections – elections they should be winning (or the Left should be winning).

Pointing out that the Repub candidate an asshole is not enough. Running a Right Wing woman won’t work in 2016.

While I support the protesting against bad Trump appointments and bad Trump policies, I do not support the Dems acting like Repubs by opposing EVERYTHING Trump proposes (such extreme partisanship ignores the fact that Trump/Repubs occasionally propose things the Left should support – such as dumping TPP and NAFTA). The Left needs to realize that it is particularly likely that Trump will occasionally support Left Wing causes because he has not been as corrupted by lobbyist dollars as have the Dems and Repubs. This is a golden opportunity, therefore, for long-standing Leftist policies to be adopted.

It is time for the Left to stop screaming about what an asshole Trump is, and get to work on either creating a new party or reforming the corrupt Dem Party.

Neoliberals need to look in the mirror and stop pointing fingers at others.

The blame for the Trump election resides with corrupt neoliberalism. Not the oft-stated claim that a huge number of Americans are racist morons. Or the Russians. Or Leftists who didn’t vote for Hillary.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

Republicans Adopt Left Wing Agenda and Democrats Adopt a Right Wing Agenda

 

By Dom Nozzi

November 22, 2016

Has American politics shifted to the Right as Democrats move to the political Right? Or are the Democrats and Republicans shifting sides?

Wars started by Democrats https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061003172851AAZgpzV

http://911billofrights.blogspot.com/2013/04/democrat-or-republican-presidents-who.html

Bill Clinton passed NAFTA, gutted welfare, and exploded the prison population.

Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency.
Ronald Reagan reduced American weapons more than any president in US history.4651031e199584e15518435378568b8a

Barrack Obama says to look forward, not backward (no Wall Street bankers or “War on Terror” torturers imprisoned).

Jimmy Dore on Democrats acting like Republicans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4dG0dpiMV0

Bill Clinton’s legacy:

  • The multi-lateral free trade deal NAFTA (still in effect and destroying American manufacturing).
  • The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on openly LGBT people serving in our Armed Forces (repealed many years after Bill Clinton left office).
  • The federal “Defense of Marriage Act” that prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages (ruled unconstitutional by a conservative U.S. Supreme Court many years after Bill Clinton left office).
  • The “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” federal religious discrimination statute (still in effect and used by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow private-sector businesses to discriminate against women).
  • The gutting of America’s welfare system (still in effect).
  • The 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill (many provisions are still in effect and contributing America’s mass incarceration problem).

More evidence of Democrats acting like Republicans:

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics