Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Trumpist Populism in action
This story in The New Yorker about the new Philippines president Dutarte shows some rather disturbing parallels:
In May, Rodrigo Duterte, the provincial mayor who had just been elected President of the Philippines after promising to rid the country of crime and drugs by killing thousands of criminals, vowed to stop swearing. He told reporters, “Don’t fuck with me.” He called political figures “gay.” When a reporter asked about his health, he replied, “How is your wife’s vagina? Is it smelly? Or not smelly? Give me a report.” In an overwhelmingly Catholic country, he swore at the Pope. At first, he defended his language as a gesture of radical populism. “I am testing the élite in this country,” he said. “Because we are fundamentally a feudal country.” But, the day after the election, he appeared with a popular televangelist and said, “I need to control my mouth.” He compared his forthcoming transformation to that of a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. “If you are the President of the country, you need to be prim and proper,” he said. His inaugural speech, in June, was obscenity-free.
The resolution didn’t last. Duterte’s war on drugs has resulted in the deaths of more than three thousand people, drawing condemnation from human-rights groups and Western governments. In early September, before the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in Laos, a journalist asked Duterte what he would say if President Barack Obama raised the issue of human rights. “You know, the Philippines is not a vassal state,” he replied. “We have long ceased to be a colony of the United States.” Alternating between English and Tagalog, and pounding on the lectern, Duterte, it was widely reported, said of Obama, “Son of a whore, I’ll curse you at that forum.”
Duterte does not, as he has put it, “give a shit” about human rights, which he sees as a Western obsession that keeps the Philippines from taking the action necessary to clean up the country. He is also hypersensitive to criticism. “Duterte’s weakness is, really, he’s a tough guy,” Greco Belgica, a Filipino politician and an ally of Duterte’s, said. “You do not talk down to a tough guy. He’ll snap.”
The day after insulting Obama, Duterte released a statement expressing regret that his comment “came across as a personal attack on the U.S. President.” In his outburst, Duterte had used the Tagalog phrase putang ina, which means, literally, “your mother is a whore.” But it is also used to communicate frustration, as in “son of a bitch.” “It’s just an expression,” Salvador Panelo, Duterte’s chief legal counsel, explained to the press. “I don’t think it was directed to President Obama.” A columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer provided foreign journalists with a satirical guide to “Dutertespeak”: “Putang ina really means ‘I firmly believe you are mistaken.’ ”
Duterte thinks out loud, in long, rambling monologues, laced with inscrutable jokes and wild exaggeration. His manner is central to his populist image, but it inevitably leads to misunderstanding, even among Filipino journalists. Ernie Abella, Duterte’s spokesman, recently pleaded with the Presidential press corps to use its “creative imagination” when interpreting Duterte’s comments.
On September 7th, the second day of the asean summit, Duterte and Obama met briefly for the first time. Obama later described their encounter: “It was not a long interaction, and what I indicated to him is that my team should be meeting with his and determine how we can move forward on a whole range of issues.” Duterte presented a starker version: “I told him in a holding room, ‘President Obama, I’m President Duterte. I never made that statement. Check it out.’ ” According to Duterte, Obama was dismissive, and replied, “My men will talk to you.”
The next day, Duterte showed asean delegates, including Obama, photographs of Muslims who had been killed by U.S. soldiers in the Philippines in the early twentieth century. “This is human rights,” Duterte recalled telling the delegates. “Do not tell me this is water under the bridge. A human-rights violation, whether committed by Moses or Abraham, is still a violation of human rights.”
What began as a reaction to a personal slight has led to a dramatic shift in foreign relations. Duterte has increasingly, if fitfully, signalled his intention to distance himself from the United States, the Philippines’ closest ally, in favor of China, which previous governments have viewed warily. In September, he called for the withdrawal of a contingent of U.S. military advisers and for the end of annual joint combat exercises between the two nations. (Last week, he approved limited exercises.) During a state visit to Beijing in October, he announced a “separation” from the United States. “America has lost now,” he told a group of Chinese businessmen. “I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow. And maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines, and Russia.”
Trump isn't quite as crude, at least in public. But you can certainly see the similarities of style.
This is right wing populist authoritarianism. A whole lot of people like it, many moe than I realized. People like this:
‘I’m no racist. I am who I am. There’s people out there of all colors that are horrible’
Footage of a shirtless man shouting “go cook my fucking burrito bitch” to some Mexicans made the rounds yesterday, in what many people saw as the archetypal Trump supporter.
“Get the fuck out of here! Our country motherfucker, made in fucking USA. Trump! I love Trump,” Zack Fisher explains, flexing his biceps, on the film shot by photojournalist Eric Rosenwald.
Now Zack, 30, who was attending Trump’s rally in Phoenix, has spoken out to say the clip that was seen by millions in fact misrepresented him, and that anti-Trump protesters started it all by spitting on him.
Here’s his side of the story.
What would you like to say to the people who saw that video?
I just want people to know, dude, I love all colors. I’m no racist. I am who I am. There’s people out there of all colors that are horrible. Whites, browns, blacks, yellows out there, it doesn’t matter. It’s the color of your heart. You know how many people messaged me to say thank you so much for other people will not do because they’re scared? It sucks that people are scared to stand up for what they believe in, and yet Latinos can do it and it’s fine. And if we do it? We’re racist. White people? The only race you can legally discriminate against. People make movies about us and do we get mad? Like White Chicks? If there was a movie called Black Chicks, it would be a huge race thing. Do you understand? Do you know what movie I’m talking about, right? We couldn’t do that, no way, they’d be like, “this is so racist”. And yet they can make a movie making fun of white people. I just wish people could get over what happened back in the day, to Mexico or Blacks. That was back in the past, people don’t get over it and it sucks. I forgive and forget. A lot of people don’t.
How did it feel waking up this morning and seeing that video?
Waking up to millions of views of me going crazy on the internet… Honestly man, it’s fine. I kind of needed this to get my point across. When you spit on people for attending an American presidential rally, I don’t think that’s right. Going there to fly a Mexican flag – this is America. I don’t understand why they fly it here, I know they’re proud of their heritage. I’m super proud of my heritage, I’m from Germany and from Ireland. All of my parents and grandparents came here legally, the right way, that’s what I was trying to explain. We were walking by and got yelled at, saying “you like that taco, you like that burrito in your mouth?” and we just don’t want to put up with that all the time. You shouldn’t have to put up with that, I don’t get it. They’re bringing the hate to the rally.
What did they say to you?
They started saying to me, “we’re going to take this country over, we’re going to make this Mexico”. I got spit on my face, you can see on those videos, it’s clearly on my face. I don’t know who has AIDS, or who has anything disgusting, but I don’t want that on my face. You don’t do that, that’s very disrespectful. I lost my temper, man. My friend was over there getting harassed, they ripped his sign out of his hand. You saw that lady in California who got egged? If that was my mother, I would have pulled my gun out, and I would have tried to protect her, because nobody was helping her. And in the state where I come from, if you’re cornered and you feel helpless, and you need to defend yourself and you can’t run anywhere, you can start shooting. And I’m not saying people need to start doing that at all, but it’s just crazy how they just punked all the people like that. I didn’t want that to happen here, I didn’t like them saying “go stick my burrito in your mouth”. I’m not going to take that. I’m going to tell them to make my burrito. And yeah, I don’t think that’s right. If I have to yell “go make my tortilla, go make my wall” for getting spit on, I don’t know. You weren’t there.
I work out every single day in the gym. I have done MMA a lot. That’s what helped me keep my cool even more. When you study the art of Muay Thai in Thailand and stuff, you respect a lot more. But I kind of lose my cool whenever people spit on me man, that’s not right.
Do you have anything else to add?
People believe everything on the internet. People are so gullible. And then you guys put that on there, that’s not cool. People put up where I work, and stuff. Now I do have to carry my gun, with a bullet in the chamber. And that’s fine, I carry a gun with me everywhere and always.
I’m going to go on as many talk shows as I can, just to make people know we aren’t racist. We love Mexicans, we don’t like illegals. Like I said in that video, it’s not right. Come into this country legally, and we won’t have a problem at all. I don’t get it. Our problem is with ISIS, our problem is with fixing the entire world that’s going down the drain.
Is ISIS the biggest problem we face today?
Yes. I see nothing but terrorism going across the country, and ISIS is a big link to that. The big three issues, for me, are ISIS, illegal immigration, and our debt. We owe so much money. I don’t know who I’m going to vote for, for sure. I know I don’t want Hillary because she’s so corrupt and evil. And yeah, Donald Trump might not be the right guy, but that’s all we really have right now. I’m just so sick and tired of political correctness.
There you go.
digby 11/15/2016 02:00:00 PM