Open Minds to See Necessary Cruelties, Jamming, 30/06/2017

This week has turned out to be a lot busier than I expected, so I wasn’t able to blog as much as I wanted. I finished reading a really intriguing book by Perry Anderson, The Indian Ideology.

I thought I’d check it out for my subway reading on the way to work. I want to learn more about life and politics in India today, since so many of my students are Indian newcomers.

Anderson’s book is a break from a 1200 page trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz, which I picked up to return to my habit of reading one ridiculously difficult book each year. The prose is beautiful, but I can’t take 1200 pages of early 20th century Egyptian men’s crises of conscience without a breather.

I had to make this the lead photo. He's just so cute!
So there are plenty of ideas to catch you up on. But I was wandering through the news looking for information about the wider world. As I do sometimes. I came across two really illuminating pieces from very different ends of the political spectrum.

I get a lot of my news from Twitter. I follow a bunch of left-wing people and a few right-wing people, including a few women who work at the Cato Institute and the always-sanctimonious Grover Norquist.

I also follow journalists and media folks who I know personally, and a few friends who are just guys and girls with Twitter accounts who like tweeting about stuff. But I always keep that crowd just diverse enough that I hear stuff from outside my bubble of similar political views.

Gabriel Winant wrote a genuinely insightful article about what the new working class is today in America. Democratic Party leaders, he says, focus on an outdated version of the working class that was minted in the mid-20th century. But that class is itself largely of colour now.

So it’s an utter mistake to think of minority outreach as separate from class-based outreach. This profound mistake in understanding demographic categories has become a catastrophe for the Democratic Party, since they no longer mobilize class-based politics among the people who need it.

Because those people are now largely all black, and the campaign strategists still see blackness overwriting their class needs.

I also learned what needlesticks are, the biggest health risk from cutting corners in the healthcare sector in America.

I learned an intriguing international development from a link to The American Conservative that I saw from one of my libertarian think tank writers. It told how Jared Kushner has caused another serious fracture in the executive branch of the United States.

He simply looks like an idiot all the time. And you know what they
say about people who look like idiots.
This time, it’s because Kushner has such close friends in the government of the United Arab Emirates. They seem to have pushed him to bring Donald Trump over to their side in the fight to isolate Qatar.

That was a huge mistake because Qatar actually has been a strong American ally in their fight against ISIS and in other ridiculous military interventions around the Arab world. They bombed the shit out of Libya very effectively, and let the Americans use their massive air force base.

Rex Tillerson and James Mattis are desperately trying to get the Saudis and Emiratis to play nice with the Emir of Qatar again, because this fight is encouraging the Qataris to get closer with Iran and Turkey, and we can’t have that, now can we.

Of course, Mark Perry was a little more dry in his language than me. Maybe didn’t mock it so much. But that’s why I think the right-wing media is best for learning about the different dimensions of war diplomacy in the Middle East.

Left-wing media outlets get too incensed over the fact that the United States is involved in such ridiculous entanglements in the Middle East. So I can never get past the outrage to actual analysis of what the hell is going on.

I need to read the work of someone deranged enough that they can write dispassionately about global war to understand the causes and connections of global war.

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