Is Trump the best thing to happen to America, and the World?

This idea, like Trump himself, seems preposterous.

Here is a man who violates all form of political correctness, a racist, a misogynist, a racist, a pussy grabber….and the lost of deplorables goes on. As a result most people around the world, let alone Americans, woke up with the shit!-was-I-so-wasted-I-went-to-bed-with-THAT! expression the morning after the November 8 elections.

We blink, and hope that it was only a bad dream after all. But no such luck. Trump is now the President elect. We got screwed by Hideous and that’s a fact of life.

liberty

No point whining about it now, or be outraged by the electoral system or the type of people who voted him in.

There is a good reason why Trump won, and the sooner we all come to grips with it, the sooner we, the rest of the world (excluding the Brexit Brits, they too had already been screwed) would be able to avoid a similar fate.

Among everything Unspun has heard and read about this election and Brexit, I’ve found two articles to be particularly enlightening.

The first is an article by former Wall Street Journal reporter and co-founder of Muslim Reform Movement Asra Q. Nomani. She’s a Muslim, a woman, an immigrant and she voted Trump. Until now, she had been one of Trump’s silent supporters, because to declare her preference would have exposed her to all sorts of bullying by the more liberal members of America’s population.

Today she wrote an article for the Washington Post here. You could disagree with a lot of the things she said but what fascinated me is that for her and people like her, the possibility of Trump being an agent for change in the US’s policy on bread-and-butter issues and on the Islamic State was so important it overwhelms all this weaknesses. She also sees Clinton as a member of the establishment that will not change anything substantially.

Read Asra’s article together with George Monbiot‘s article Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems and an interesting picture develops. It is a long but thoughtful piece on how neoliberal we all – our governments, our businesses, our educated classes – have become without even realizing it.

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

The bottom line of the article is that neoliberalism (no not the pejorative term in use today but the actual economic concept) has taken over most part of the world. As a result we have become a world in which the strongest (read: the cleverest, most educated and networked) thrive while the rest are not only left to languish but scolded for being unable to climb out of their gutter.

In this world, social and welfare safety nets have been dismantled, and – to simplify matters – the poor get poorer while the privileged jet around, attend Ted talks, do yoga, fashion themselves as entrepreneurs with their startups, networking sessions and get richer.

In any society you can’t have the relatively few eating richer cakes while the poor become more disenfranchised, find themselves deeper in depth and get angrier because even if they are willing to work hard and long there is simply no way out for them.

It is this anger that has propelled the need for change at any cost, and Trump and Brexit are the results.

The pertinent questions we should ask ourselves is what can we do to meet the challenges wrought on us by Neoliberalism. Trump/Brexit is a bit like Communism facing Capitalism. There was once a time when Capitalists looked on Communism as a threat as frightening as the Mongol Hordes. There was once a time when it seemed as if Communism would swallow up Capitalism.

Staring into that abyss, Capitalism changed from the raw Dickensian form of ruthless exploitation to a gentler and more caring form, and that eventually defeated Communism.

Today history may have come around to pitting the forces that ensued the success of Trump/Brexit against Neoliberalism. Can we change so that we embrace a liberalism that is more inclusive of all the segments in our society, so that the rich may have an opportunity to become richer, but only if they also help take care of the welfare and empower the less fortunate of sectors of society to become more prosperous as well. Call it Creating Shared Value if you would.

In a rising tide all ships rise, in an ebbing tide all ships fall.

If we are able to take Trump’s victory as a wake up call for us to address the deficiencies of neoliberalism we may yet catch that tide. In this sense, Trump may be the best thing to happen to us all, lest we descend uncomprehendingly in a falling tide.

Najib and the PSYchology of BN persuasion

Unspun mudik-ed to his kampung in Malaysia for the Chinese New Year and was tickled pink by the desperate efforts of the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s attempt to shore up his support among the Chinese community for the upcoming national elections that must be held  in the first half of this year.

The context to this desperation is that Najib, who heads the Barisan Nasional, a coalition of race-based parties, that has ruled Malaysia in one form or another since Independence in 1958, has been losing popularity.

In the early days when Malaysians were easier to be duped the party, particularly under Mahathir on, played the nationalist card and fears of mayhem if the coalition lost their two-thirds majority in Parliament.

The formula for electoral victory was simple and effective. Gerrymeander the electoral districts so that a party that had the support of the Malays as a solid voting bloc would always win. The calculation was that if most Malays voted for the Barisan Nasional or BN, and the votes of the Chinese or Indians living in the electoral districts were split, the Barisan Nasional would win.

They then spiced up the electioneering by playing on the fears of the populace by spreading rumours that an opposition victory would destabilise the country and cause racial riots, ad hominem attacks and lots of money and a smooth-running electoral machine.

This all worked when the economic pie was working for Malaysia. But somewhere in the early 2000s the growth of Malaysia began to slow down. The pie shrunk and the inner circles within Umno (the Malay-based dominant partner in the coalition) began to scramble for the limited resources. Corruption escalated.

The fortunes of the Barisan Nasional began to slide even further after Mahathir stepped down and was replaced by Abdullah Badawi, who did not have the vision and the ruthlessness of Mahathir to drive the country forward and keep the Umno elite from their rapacious scramble for mollah.

Badawi, predictably, did not last and was quickly replaced by Najib, son of second the late Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Razak. Like many scions of the elite Najib grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth, went to the best schools in the UK and had no clue about the rough and tumble of realpolitik.

The feeling that Malaysians have about Najib is that he’s smart enough to figure out that corruption is eroding the support of Umno and the Barisan Nasional, and ruining the country. But he’s so hemmed in by the Umno elite whose main preoccupation these days is to rake in as much as they can while the ship sinks that he’s helpless to do anything.

Their rapacity has resulted in even the Malays withdrawing their support for the Barisan Nasional ruining the age-old formula of victory that the BN had relied on through gerrymeandering and social engineering.

Which leads us to the extent of desperation that Najib is showing in courting not only the Malays but also the Chinese, the second largest ethnic group in Malaysia, a task usually outsourced to their junior BN partner the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA). The probem with the MCA, however, is that it can’t deliver any votes because it has lost all credibility with the Chinese. The president of the MCA, for instance, is Choi Soo Lek a 60 plus Chinese whose most notable claim to fame was to star in a leaked video of him and a prostitute in a cheesy hotel.

So Najib now has to court the Chinese themselves. Unspun doesn’t know who’s advising him but it would make a Public Relations professional cringe at the bad advice that he’s getting and the horrible execution of events.

For a joke Unspun’s friends gave him this “any pow” (literally Red Packets containing money  that Chinese give to their juniors during Chinese New Year). Najib’s answer?

Image

An “Ang Pow” with his face on the cover (the moustache and weak mouth is a turnoff to most Malaysian). But the juxtapositioning of his face and the year of the snake (they couldn’t get their English right even then) seems to suggest that Najib is a snake. Doesn’t his PR people pay attention to things like that?

Serperntine travails aside Najib also tried a different beat in his new year TVC to the Chinese. So you have here a so called Malay leader whose record has been one of championing the rights of Malays (against the Chinese who would swamp them with their economic prowess if their rights are not protected) doing something very Chinese-y, some would say cheesy. Notice the bad editing where the weak mouth and moustache gets a cameo role.

As if that was not enough, the BN sought to cash in on the popularity of PSY and his Ganggnam Style that has take the world and Malaysians by storm. But Najib forgot that while you can bring the horse to water you can’t make it drink (no pun intended). It resulted in this embarrassing what they hoped to be the rallying of the troops.

 

All goes to show: you can fool some of the people all the time; all the people some of the time; but never all the people all the time.

Najib should change image consultants. Better still, he should just resign and enjoy retirement and no amount of image making can help him increase his and BN’s electoral chances in the short span of time they have left before the next elections.

 

How the Foke solves traffic problems

Unspun thinks that critics are unnecessarily unkind to Jakarta Governor and gubernatorial candidate Fauzi Bowo, aka The Foke.

The man is beleaguered by the problems of a huge megapolis that are not easy to solve but when confronted by a problem he wastes no time to rise to the occassion. Take, for instance, his resourcefulness when confronted by a massive traffic jam in Cilincing, Jakarta, some time ago (but revived in social media recently).

Lesser men like Menteri BUMN Dahlan Iskan would have thrown a tantrum and tried to get the traffic moving, or fumed impotently in his car. Not The Foke though. With lightning reflexes he solved the problem of the traffic jam, or at least the problem of him being stuck in the traffic jam, right away.

His solution: get his outriders to clear the way on the other side of the road. Stop oncoming traffic so he could get to where he wanted in quick time.

Of course, churlish critics may whine, that The Foke caused an even greater traffic jam, broke the law and showed a bad example to other motorists. But such are the considerations of lesser mortals, not the likes of someone as brilliant and resourceful of the incumbent mayor.

So right on Foke! Vote for Foke and witness the brilliance of his traffic-busting solutions! And yes, The Foke wins a shit-for-brains tag for his ingenuity as well.

(Thanks Harry for the Alert)

Therefore vote Fauzi Bowo

Because his political party, The Democrats, are as unimaginative and uncreative in problem solving as him

Because under them the traffic jams in Jakarta would get worse since it is an inevitably

Because they have no vision and no determination to improve living conditions in Jakarta beyond their own greed

And they get surprised when Jokowi and Ah Hok beats the shit out of Fauzi in the first round gubernatorial elections? Which City Kool Aid fountin are they drinking from?

Jakarta’s Traffic Jams Are ‘Inevitable:’ Democratic Party Official

A senior member of the Democratic Party defending Jakarta’s incumbent governor Fauzi Bowo said on Thursday that traffic jams in JakartaJakarta’s Traffic Jams Are ‘Inevitable:’ Democratic Party Official are something that cannot not be prevented.

Herman Khaeron, chairman of the Democrat’s regional board and deputy head of House Commission IV, said traffic jams are simply a consequence of the growing number of people using the streets.

“I can compare this condition with the condition abroad,” Herman said. “Traffic jams in capital cities are an inevitably.”

Fauzi has been widely and regularly blamed for his inability to solve two of Jakarta’s most endemic problems: Flooding, and traffic. While Sutiyoso, Jakarta’s previous governor, created the TransJakarta busway to ease traffic, Fauzi has been characterized as failing to adequately tackle the problem.

Traffic jams, or macet, occur regularly at peak hours, but congestion seems to be choking the streets with increasing vigor, especial on Fridays and during rain.

Herman made sure to say that Fauzi, Jakarta’s first governor from the Democratic Party, has successfully managed the city.

Regarding flooding, Herman said Fauzi has reduced problems with the east flood-canal, which has saved 2.5 million people from the agony of seasonal floods. Herman also said the city government has “normalized” river flows that pass through Jakarta.

“What I have found instead is the fact that Fauzi, as Jakarta’s governor, has worked well for his people,” Herman said.

The difference between the court of law and court of public opinion

In a court of law Democrat Party Chief Anas Urbaningrum’s argument that he should be presumed innocent until found guilty of corruption allegations makes sense. As he says he’s not even been indicted and as such there is no need for him to step down from helping the Democrats.

Then there is the court of public opinion in which Anas has been virtually tried, judged and convicted as guilty as sin when it comes to corruption. That this is so is seen in the fast deteriorating confidence that Indonesian voters have in the Democrat Party, as attested to by several political polls. It now looks that unless the Democrats have a house keeping they will continue to lose support just in time to be trounced in the 2014 general elections.

Sooner rather than later Anas will, because of his conviction in the Court of Public Opinion, become such an embarrassment that he would be forced to step down.

What’s funny here is that Anas and his supporters have only themselves to blame as they virtually pleaded no contest to all the charges leveled at them in the Court of Public Opinion. There was no attempt at all to plead his case before the public, to convince the public that he was unfairly accused and that he is innocent.

All this is indicative of the elite politics mindset that Indonesia’s politicians embrace. Theirs is a world where what matters are the intrigues of palace politics, political patronage and the backdrop deals. These practices have no place in a democracy where, sooner or later, public opinion will assert itself.

So. What are the Democrats going to do? Make lame noises about how Ana’s should go and then wring their hands in hopelessness and do nothing? Or take decisive steps and, if nothing else, suspend Ana’s from all positions and power until it all blows over. The former course is to court certain defeat at the upcoming polls. The latter at least gives them a chance to repair the damage before the polling starts.

detikNews : Bukan Tersangka, Anas Tak Akan Mundur

Makassar – Ketua Umum DPP Partai Demokrat Anas Urbaningrum menanggapi sambil lalu desakan mundur dari internal Partai Demokrat seperti yang diserukan Ruhut Sitompul. Anas menegaskan dia tidak berstatus terdakwa atau tersangka.

“Anda semua tahu, ini obyektif sekali, saya bukan terdakwa, bukan tersangka, saksi saja tidak, statusnya jelas seperti itu,” ujar Anas saat ditanya detikcom soal desakan mundur dari internal partainya, usai melantik Pengurus DPC Demokrat Kabupaten Gowa, di Gedung Haji Bate, Sungguminasa, Sulsel, Rabu (8/2/2012).

Anas menambahkan, partainya memiliki mekanisme yang dijalankan berdasarkan AD/ART, etika dan peraturan organisasi. Terkait permintaan mundur, Anas menyerahkan semuanya pada mekanisme partainya.

“Menyangkut proses hukum, pendirian kami jelas, kami menghormati proses hukum, kami menyerahkan sepenuhnya pada aparat hukum untuk memproses secara adil dan obyektif, berdasarkan prinsip-prinsip penegakan hukum yang adil, bukan berdasarkan desakan-desakan atau tekanan opini,” pungkas Anas.

Sebelumnya, Ruhut Sitompul meminta Ketua Umum PD Anas Urbaningrum mundur demi masa depan PD yang lebih baik. Apalagi jika dikaitkan dengan pemilu 2014 mendatang. Kasus-kasus yang berkaitan pengurus PD, dimungkinkan membuat citra dan perolehan suara partai jeblok.

The movement to support sexy dangdut star Julia Perez

Today Unspun checked his Facebook invitations and found one by an old friend, an ex-journalist turned consultant. The invite was to join the 1 million Facebookers in support of sexy dangdut star Julia Perez’s electroral bid for the Bupati’s post of Pacitan (Gerakan 1.000.000 Facebookers Dukung Julia Perez Calon Bupati Pacitan).

Unspun knows of many friends and acquaintances who frown on Jupe’s candidacy, righteously dismissing her as an airhead and having a demeanor not unbecoming of a Bupati. Unspun’s also  heard the unkind jibes at the poor girl, saying that if she was elected the name of the Bupati’s office would have to be changed to Boopati, a reference to Jupe’s ample…ahem…asses. For the record Unspun thinks that these jibes are spread by Jupe’s rivals who are rather flat out of ammunition and have become Boobists, people who discriminate others merely on the size of their boobs. There is nothing wrong with big boobs, IMHO, although Unspun lives with the UN-esque adage that anything more than a hanful is wasteful, anything less than a handful is poverty.

Personally Unspun’s been arguing that its not such a bad thing that Jupe is standing for elections. For one she brings interest to the electoral process that can be only be good for the development of democracy. People who would not normally pay attention to the elections are now firmly glued to their TV sets to watch Jupe’s next electoral appearance.Besides, she’s not necessarily worse than any one else standing for the Bupati’s post (What’s the name of her electoral rival? Don’t know? Precisely my point). Jupe can also be good for tourism. Whoever heard of Pacitan before this? And watch this video of Jupe – not only can she bring new vim and vitality to the older folks, she can also promote durians.

But Unspun digresses. Back to the Facebook movement.

What is it with Indonesia that when someone stumbles on a new idea, everyone else follows by doing the ame thing without even an attempt at variation?

The Gerakan 1,000,000 Facebookers idea was a good one when it first came out for, if memory serves Unspun right, either Prita Mulyaai or Chandra & Bibit. It was new, it was fresh and it was a novel way for thousands of Indonesians to send a message to the authorities and power holders.

After that, however, like the dozens of jagung bakar stalls  that line up the main road on Puncak, they began to look boring as they are all alike. No originality. No attempt to be different. A mere case of the blind following the blind.

The poor imitation attempts have become so ridiculous that you have even gerakans to support gerakans (which was at least original)

The rest, however, was pathetic, like tile maker Granito’s attempt to shore up  1 million supporters. It had two fans. Back to the bathroom with them! And there should be a movement to send the next Facebooker to start another “Gerakan 1,000,000 Facebookers untuk…” to a toilet adorned with bright green Granito tiles.

Prolonging the death throes of a party

This in The Jakarta Globe online today:

Taufik Kiemas, chief of the PDI-P’s consultative board, right, talking to Prabowo Subianto as chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri looks on at the party’s national meeting. (Antara Photo)

Taufik Kiemas, chief of the PDI-P’s consultative board, right, talking to Prabowo Subianto as chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri looks on at the party’s national meeting. (Antara Photo)

Megawati Gets PDI-P Green Light

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle gave its chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri full power during its national leadership meeting in Jakarta on Wednesday to decide whether or not to accept the results of the presidential election.

PDI-P secretary general Pramono Anung on Wednesday said that the meeting resulted in six recommendations that effectively gave the former president complete power over the party, also known as the PDI-P.

“The national meeting decided to give up all decisions to our chairwoman, who was also our presidential candidate, to take strategic steps in dealing with any political situations and our party’s policies in the future,” Pramono said.

Question: And if Megawati decides not to accept the election results, what can she do? What strategic steps can she take? Is this a question of the blind asking to be led by the blind?

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