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.

Mitt Romney: US moved Indonesia toward modernity in the 1960s. Yeah, right.

Educated Americans, that minor part of the US’s population that holds a passport and use them to travel abroad and learn a thing or two about other lands, must be so embarassed by their Republican Presidential candidates.

Check out, for example, Romney’s claim that the US helped Indonesia to move toward modernity in the 1960s. The prospect of Romney getting into the White House is only a shade less scary than Bakrie entering the Istana.

Extract from In debate, Romney says handle Pakistan like Indonesia in the 1960s – CSMonitor.com.

He and the other candidates were asked how they’d deal with Pakistan as president. It’s a tough, important question. Pakistan is a nuclear power that the US sends billions of dollars in aid to, yet works against the American war effort in Afghanistan and appeared to harbor Osama bin Laden.

His answer? “We don’t want to just pull up stakes and get out of town after the enormous output we’ve just made for the region. Look at Indonesia in the ’60s. We helped them move toward modernity. We need to help bring Pakistan into the 21st century, or the 20th for that matter. Right now American approval in Pakistan is 12 percent. We’re not doing a very good job with that investment. We could do better by encouraging the opportunities of the West.”

 

Indonesia the poster child of what new media can do?

This should help to dispel the misguided notion that the neighbor up north is the poster child of the “transformative powers” of New Media.

US Under Secretary Maria Otero met with some bloggers last  Wednesday and here sizes up the contribution that Indonesian bloggers and onliners provide to the country and the region.

Hmmm. Wonder if she’d be keen to attend Pesta Blogger 2010?

(via Multibrand)

clipped from www.ethiopianreview.com

In Indonesia, Bloggers Show How Civil Society Can Promote Good Governance

US Department of State | May 21st, 2010 at 5:10 pm

About the Author: Maria Otero serves as Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.

Today, Indonesia is the world’s third-largest democracy, and its free media environment plays an important role in the country’s steady democratic development. In fact, the NGO Freedom House rated Indonesia as the most free media environment in all of Southeast Asia. Over the last decade, Internet penetration has surged, and half of Indonesia’s Internet users are on Facebook and Twitter. There are over one million bloggers in the country.

On Wednesday, I met with leading bloggers and media developers in Jakarta. The lively discussion revealed the dynamic role of Internet activism in Indonesia. Even though fewer than 15 percent of Indonesians regularly access the Internet, the increasing number of people who engage online are making a difference in the way Indonesian society communicates about topics ranging from the environment and human rights to political issues, culture, fashion, and academic material.

The government, online businesses, and consumers all share a responsibility for protecting freedom of expression and freedom of information on the Internet. As co-chair of the NetFreedom Taskforce with Under Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs Robert Hormats, I was pleased to learn about how Indonesia’s bloggers use the online space to express their views and advocate for change in their country through a conducive internet environment. It was helpful to listen to their views and look for more ways to engage together.

Indonesian citizens’ active involvement in social media demonstrates how civil society can promote good governance and protect freedom of expression. Of course, as in any country, we must be mindful of threats to such freedoms. The bloggers at the meeting described the Indonesian social media response to a draft law on multimedia content that would form a government committee with the potential to censor online content. The bloggers voiced their objection to the draft law, citing that it would limit freedom of expression online. Fortunately, in response to online protests, President Yudhoyono put a hold on the law. The social media activism and response by the President signify the importance of partnership between government and society when securing the freedom of expression on the Internet. I am encouraged by the lively internet activism in Indonesia, and am grateful to the bloggers and government officials who are committed to protecting freedom of speech.

blog it

Would you want to stay in the US if you’re a Muslim?

The US Embassy in Jakarta has, since its early days of cooperation with Pesta Blogger in 2007,  plunged into social media with a zeal that only Americans can have.

Its Facebook page, for instance, has nearly 24,500 fans and its latest initiative is to use its Facebook fan base together with its ties with Kompas TV to collaborate with Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry to bring what is possibly the first direct streaming forums of its kind in diplomacy.

Facebook diplomacy: live streaming discussion on what its like to be a Muslim in the US tonight

At 5pm today the live streaming will feature American Zeenat Rahman, an Interfaith Youth Core member and Indonesian student Anggita Paramesti from Gadjah Mada University in a live chat on the potentially controversial topic Ever wondered what life is like in America if you’re Muslim?

Participants must register (here) and then they can take part in the conversation and voice their ideas on how people of different faiths can live together in harmony.

UGM's Anggita Paramesti will be providing the Indonesian point of view

Hmmm…who knows, they might even broach the subject of whether non-Muslims can use the word Allah, in which case the Malaysian Government should be tuning in.