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Hullabaloo


Saturday, January 02, 2016

 
Your lazy holiday week-end assignment

by digby


























Read these two articles. You won't regret it:

The Sudden But Well-Deserved Fall of Rahm Emanuel by Rick Perlstein:


It’s hard to remember a time when Rahm Emanuel wasn’t a Democratic Party superstar. Go back to 1991, when the thirty-two-year-old took over fund-raising for Bill Clinton. He was soon renowned for making the staff come to work on Sundays, shrieking into the phone to donors things like “Five thousand dollars is an insult! You’re a twenty-five-thousand-dollar person!”—and, not incidentally, helping Clinton afford the blitz of TV commercials that saved him from the Gennifer Flowers scandal, clearing his course to the White House. The legend continued through this past April, when Rahm—in Chicago and D.C., he’s known by that single name—won a second term as the mayor of Chicago in a come-from-behind landslide.

Nine months later, Chicagoans—and Democrats nationally—are suffering buyer’s remorse. Last month, a Cook County judge ordered the release of a shocking dashcam video of a black seventeen-year-old named Laquan McDonald being shot sixteen times by a policeman while he was walking away. Five days later, the officer was charged with murder. The charge came after four hundred days of public inaction, and only hours before the video’s release. Of almost four hundred police shootings of civilians investigated by the city’s Independent Police Review Authority since 2007, only one was found to be unjustified. So the suspicion was overwhelming that the officer would not have faced discipline at all had officials not feared a riot—especially after it was learned that McDonald’s family had been paid five million dollars from city coffers without ever having filed a lawsuit. Mayor Emanuel claims that he never saw the video. Given that he surely would not have been reëlected had any of this come out before the balloting, a recent poll showed that only seventeen per cent of Chicagoans believe him. And a majority of Chicagoans now think he should resign.


For twenty years now, there have been those who say that this emperor never had any clothes on in the first place. Given the speed and intensity of his fall, perhaps it’s time to reconsider their case.

Read on ...

The Return of the 1920s By Richard Yeselson

In the wake of the terrorist mass murders in Paris and then San Bernardino, many Republicans and conservatives, already concerned about unauthorized immigrants from Mexico and Central America, have responded by conflating opposition to immigration, anxieties about the porousness of America’s borders, and fear of radical, Muslim-identified terrorists. Most Republican governors (and Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire) announced that they would refuse to accept refugees from Syria. Republican members of Congress, with the support of 25 percent of the Democratic caucus, passed a bill to “pause” the program. First, the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would “consider” closing Muslim mosques in the United States “because some of the ideas and some of the hatred—the absolute hatred—is coming from these areas.” Trump then further suggested that Muslims should be required to have a special ID and promising to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS. And now he has proposed that Muslims be temporarily banned from entering the United States, a position that, according to several national polls, enjoys majority support among Republicans and white evangelicals. Liberals, including President Obama, have argued that this reaction is not only nonresponsive and practically absurd, but also, as the president put it, “shameful” and, pointedly, “not American.”

But when Obama speaks of what is “not American,” countless citizens wonder: Who is he to judge what is “not American”? The United States is wracked by a spasm of anti-cosmopolitanism and fear of radical subversion. It is exemplified, for many Americans by the election and presidency of Obama himself: black, yet biracially cosmopolitan, urban, intellectual, raised partly in a Muslim country, and the abandoned son of a Kenyan activist and academic. Millions of conservatives still suspect him of being un-Christian and, literally, not a native-born American qualified to serve as president. That Obama’s election occurred simultaneously with the largest economic contraction since the Great Depression exacerbated these cultural tensions. The current conflict is a continuation of one over the past century in the United States between what the historian Gary Gerstle has called the racial nationalism of blood and ethnic supremacy and a more expansive civic nationalism which promises a common political project of equal rights and respect for all. America has seen expressions of both racial and civic nationalism in its history—both are quintessentially American articulations of political power and hierarchy. Yet these different national projects—one culturally and ethnically homogeneous, the other inclusive of differences, yet seeking to subsume them into a “Party of America”, in political theorist Rogers Smith’s words—both risk canceling out a third strain of American nationalism. They contend with a paradoxically de-nationalized pluralism of countless hyphenated Americans whose sub-communities do not cohere into a generous polity larger than the sum of its parts.

There is no period of American history that so pervasively demonstrated the power of ethno-nationalism to suppress pluralist differences as that following the Russian Revolution, the end of the First World War, and then continuing through much of the 1920s.

Read on ...

You won't regret it!


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