To be fair to Canada, I am Canadian, this vote was made by our ex-Prime Minister Harper’s who was and is a repulsive right-wing dinosaur. He was a USA boot licker.
With permission from
On 21 November 2014, in a vote at the United Nations on a Resolution opposing a resurgence of the racist-fascist ideology (opposing the ideology that’s commonly called «nazism») which Resolution was titled «Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-nazism and other practices that contribute to contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance», 115 nations voted «Yes» to pass the Resolution, 3 voted «No» to reject it, and 55 voted «Abstain», meaning they didn’t want to express a view on the resolution. An additional 19 didn’t vote at all on it (decided to absent themselves from that roll-call, for whatever reason — basically, not even saying whether they were neutral on it by voting «Abstain» — just said nothing at all on it).
The document that they were voting on had been posted complete on 17 November 2014, and is still posted in its entirety here. As can be seen there, it had been proposed by the following 29 nations: Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, the Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkmenistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), and Viet Nam.
Each of its component 48 paragraphs was entirely moderate, such as these paragraphs, this core passage, from it (and a «Yes» vote on the Resolution meant that the given nation agreed with all 48 of its paragraphs, and so the Resolution was drafted to be extremely non-extreme throughout):
7. Expresses concern about recurring attempts to desecrate or demolish monuments erected in remembrance of those who fought against Nazism during the Second World War, as well as to unlawfully exhume or remove the remains of such persons, and in this regard urges States to fully comply with their relevant obligations, inter alia, under article 34 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949;
8. Notes with concern the increase in the number of racist incidents worldwide, including the rise of skinhead groups, which have been responsible for many of these incidents, as well as the resurgence of racist and xenophobic violence targeting, inter alia, persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities;
9. Reaffirms that such acts may be qualified to fall within the scope of the Convention, that they may not be justified when they fall outside the scope of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association as well as the rights to freedom of expression and that they may fall within the scope of article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights2 and may be subject to certain restrictions, as set out in articles 19, 21 and 22 of the Covenant;
10. Condemns without reservation any denial or attempt to deny the Holocaust;
11. Welcomes the call of the Special Rapporteur for the active preservation of those Holocaust sites that served as Nazi death camps, concentration and forced labour camps and prisons, as well as his encouragement of States to take measures, including legislative, law enforcement and educational measures, to put an end to all forms of Holocaust denial;…
No nation was named — far less condemned or criticized at all — anywhere in the entire document. This was done so as to welcome support from each and every nation.
The roll-call on the vote, along with each nation’s vote on it, is posted here.
These are the 55 nations that Abstained: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Chad, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Sudan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Yemen.
These are the 3 nations that voted «No»:
Canada, Ukraine, United States.
Among the 115 «Yes» votes on it, were: Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Uganda, UAE, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and many others.
The reason there were 55 who voted «Abstain» is that the US was dead-set against this Resolution (for the reason explained here). Some allies of US, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, had sufficient control over the US Government so that they were free to vote whatever way they wanted on this or on just about any other U.N. Resolution. (Those two nations, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are ‘allies’ of the US not in the sense that they’re vassal-nations of the US Empire, but instead that the US is their vassal-nation — so, they were free to vote however they wished.) Furthermore, if Israel had voted not to condemn nazism and Holocaust-denial, then Israel’s existing leader would have become replaced because of that scandal; and, so, Prime Minister Netanyahu, for domestic political reasons, had to vote (or to have his Government vote) «Yes» on it. The Sauds could vote any way they wanted, because that royal family own their country and because the only entity specifically condemned in the Resolution was «Nazism during the Second World War», meaning Germany’s Nazi Party, which the Saud family (having been vassals of the US during WW II, not masters of the US Government like today) hadn’t ever supported. The fact that Austria and Germany, now under US control, voted «Abstain» instead of «Yes» on condemning the Nazi Party, means that even the two Nazi-controlled nations that FDR’s America had fought against in WW II are now on-the-fence as regards the Resolution that was presented to the U.N. General Assembly for a vote on 21 November 2014 to condemn the Nazi Party. The Obama Administration gave each of its vassals the option to «Abstain», but pressed to vote «No» any nation that it demanded to vote «No», which nations turned out to be only two: Ukraine and Canada.
The United States Government, under President Barack Obama, was actually leading the opposition against this Resolution.
Prior reporting, by me, about this matter, has included:
21 June 2015, «America’s U.N. Ambassador Continues Standing Up for Nazis».
20 August 2017, «Trump’s Fascism versus Obama’s Fascism».
The only mainstream US newsmedium that covered this matter at all was CBS, which headlined, on 17 November 2014, four days prior to the vote on it, «US votes against anti-Nazi resolution at U.N.», and reported that:
The United States says it was one of three countries to vote against a U.N. resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism over freedom of speech issues and concerns that Russia was using it to carry out political attacks against its neighbors.
The resolution entitled «Combating glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance», was approved by the U.N.’s human rights committee on Friday with 131 in favor, 3 against with 48 abstentions.
Ukraine and Palau were the other no votes.
That was reporting only a preliminary vote, even before the Resolution was presented for an actual floor-vote of the entire Assembly. (Obama lost Palau, which ended up reversing totally and voting «Yes» on it, but then he gained Canada as their replacement third «No» vote on it.) That news-report received little exposure at CBS or elsewhere. At CBS News online, there were only 25 reader-comments to it. Typical was: «So we voted against anti-Nazism because it would deprive the Nazis the freedom of expression to demand banning the freedom of expression.» Readers accepted at face-value what was being said. CBS issued no subsequent news-report on the matter, to correct nor even to clarify anything in their cryptic report. However, that reason which had been represented as having been given to CBS for America’s intended vote against the Resolution was not the actual reason that America’s U.N. Ambassador gave for it, as I reported, after the vote, on 24 November 2014:
Samantha Power, the US Representative at the U.N., gave as her reason for voting against the resolution, its unacceptability to the Government of Ukraine. «Her delegation was concerned about the overt political motives that had driven the main sponsor of the current resolution. That Government had employed those phrases in the current crisis in Ukraine. That was offensive and disrespectful to those who had suffered at the hands of Nazi regimes. Therefore, the United States would vote against the resolution.» In other words: the US opposed this resolution, supposedly, because it was offensive to Ukraine, even though the very term «Ukraine», and all other conceivable references to Ukraine, were and are entirely absent from it.
If Ukraine, whose government the US had installed during the US coup in February 2014, had been instructed by the US to vote in favor of the Resolution, they would have done so. The government that the US coup overthrew, would probably have abstained on a Resolution such as this (because it was trying to be accepted both by the United States and by their own neighbor, Russia, which the US Government is obsessed to conquer), but the newly installed Ukrainian Government was being ruled by members and supporters of Ukraine’s traditional two nazi parties and thus would have voted for the Resolution only if the US Government had instructed them to do that. They might then have laughed in private about the matter, but they would nonetheless have done whatever they were instructed by Washington to do. After all, they had to — the US had placed them into power.
In fact, even prior to America’s takeover of Ukraine, Obama’s U.N. Ambassador had been one of only three nations voting «No» on a previous U.N. Resolution, titled «Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance», which had passed the General Assembly on 20 December 2012, little over a year after the secret planning for the Ukrainian coup had started at the US State Department, and little over a year prior to the coup itself. The other two pro-nazi nations, on that occasion (since Obama hadn’t yet replaced Ukraine’s government by nazis), were Canada, and the Marshall Islands. (America’s U.N. Ambassador at that time was Susan Rice.) Ukraine, then under the President whom Obama was soon going to overthrow, was one of the 57 nations to vote «Abstain.» 120 nations voted «Yes», on that occasion.
The only international poll that has asked the question «Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?»found that by an overwhelming margin, the United States was mentioned by more people throughout the world than any other. But Americans chose Iran as being the most dangerous country. That was a scientifically sampled poll by WIN/Gallup, of 67,806 people in 65 countries, and was published on 30 December 2013.
Anyone who wants further, and up-to-date (as of August 18th), information on how nazism proceeds in our time, under US international leadership, will find that here.
By now, it seems clear that the leading feature of today’s nazism is its hypocrisy. George Orwell already had that figured out, in his prophetically futuristic dystopian 1949 novel, 1984. But the real version, of nazism in our era, fascinates me even more than does the fictional one. Not even Orwell’s genius could match it, in my book.
Heck, if I’m going to feature China, might as well follow up with some Russian propaganda.
Forget your ideology, this man is a remarkable leader in the world today. Listen to him state complicated truths in a matter that everyone gets it.
“To maintain the failed state of permanent war, the U.S. spends close to $1 trillion annually to fund the military and intelligence apparatus. ”
“One of the unspoken consequences of the U.S. permanent war policy is the untold number of casualties – and their families and communities/tribes – who suffer.”
Meanwhile, addictions are rampant, cities are in a state of civil war, its infrastructure is crumbling, veterans are begging on the street, almost half Americans are in poverty or on the verge of it, and the list goes on. Go home Yankees and fix your own country!
Source: Permanent War, Permanent Failure
With permission from
August 18, 2017
The current tiff between two of the world’s most pugnacious petty tyrants, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, could, sadly, end in a military showdown – and, worst case, a nuclear engagement. While a nuclear confrontation seems highly unlikely, the political-military shadow puppet show captures endless headlines. Most troubling, Americans are getting increasingly worried, expecting the worst. A recent Gallup poll finds 38 percent of American adults say the threat of terrorism makes them less willing to attend events where there are thousands of people, up from 27 percent in July 2011.
The Trump administration’s current tussle with North Korea is a long-time in coming. Six decades ago, in July 1953, an armistice was signed that ended formal hostilities, but not the Korean War. On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces invaded the South, leading to a growing conflict between the U.S. and China. In this UN-sanctioned conflict, 54,000 Americans were killed. Six decades later, a permanent peace treaty has yet to be agreed upon and the U.S. is upping the ante by installing its latest THAAD anti-ballistic missile system.
Asia was WW-II’s second front. Japan claimed Korea as its territory in 1876 and formally ruled it between 1910 and 1945. Following Japan’s surrender in September ’45, the peninsula was divided into U.S. and Soviet Union (SU) occupation zones. In 1948, two states were formally established; the American-backed Republic of Korea (South), a right-wing dictatorship (including many collaborators with the Japanese occupation), and the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North), a Moscow-puppet dictatorship.
Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949, formally ending a quarter-century long civil war. Dragging on from 1927-1949, the U.S. backed the loser, the dictatorial Kuomintang regime. Mao’s declaration changed Asia’s political landscape and, in time, the global order. To maintain its hegemony, the U.S. maintains an occupying force in Japan of 28,500 troops and commands South Korea’s 640,000 military.
Pres. Trump rants about North Korea are the clearest example of the U.S. political-military’s failed policy of permanent war. Since the end of WW-II, the U.S. has promoted numerous military confrontations, covert counterrevolutions, political coups and assassinations of designated “enemies” or “security threats.” To facilitate this aggressive policy, the U.S. maintains about 800 military bases worldwide, including 174 “base sites” in Germany, 113 in Japan and 83 in South Korea – all former WW-II enemy states.
The permanent war is a direct extension of Pres. Dwight Eisenhower’s legendary 1961 Farewell Address warning of the military-industrial complex. In 1970, Seymour Melman relabeled it “pentagon capitalism” and, most recently, the libertarian economists Thomas Duncan and Christopher Coyne dubbed it the “permanent war economy.” Duncan and Coyne identify “three key interest groups” — unions, industry, military — that drive permanent war. It arose from the dual crises of the Great Depression and World War II” and become an essential – and permanent — feature of corporate capitalism.
Edward Hunt, writing earlier in CounterPunch, identifies key aspects of the post-WW-II state of permanent war. He focuses on the “war on terrorism” and it’s economic and social consequences. He identifies two proponents of permanent war. Richard Haass, the State Dept.’s Director of Policy Planning under Gen. Colin Powell’s tenure, proclaimed, “There can be no exit strategy in the war against terrorism.” And Secretary of Defense Robert Gates insisted, “We’re not leaving Afghanistan prematurely. … In fact, we’re not ever leaving at all.”
The Afghan War started shortly following the horrendous terrorist attacks of September 11th and officially lasted from Oct. 7, 2001 to Dec. 28, 2014. As of 2017, there were 9,000 U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan with 4,000 more pledged. However, from 1979 to 1989 the U.S. backed Islamic mujahideen groups in the Soviet–Afghan War. Is the long and on-going U.S. military presence in Afghanistan a first-step in a permanent war in the Middle East?
In follow-up to the Afghan offensive, the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003; the war formally dragged on until December 2011. Military confusion and political duplicity compounded a doomed socio-military effort. Now, a decade-and-a-half later, the U.S. maintains 12 military bases in Iraq and deploys an estimated 6,000 military personnel. Iraq, along with Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen, are part of a second front in its global permanent war to contain resistance and preserve geo-political hegemony.
While permanent U.S. wars were established in Korea, in force in Germany and put in place in the Middle East, they took different forms in South East Asia and in Latin/South America. The Vietnam War ended in a U.S. military defeat, a failed over-flexing of post-WW-II arrogance. Framed as a geo-moral battle between good and evil, capitalism and communism, ruling class vs ruling party, the failed Vietnam War signaled a further stagnation (after Korea) of the U.S. military.
In terms of permanent war, the Cold War was America’s great pyric victory. Begun in the shared WW-II victory, the U.S.-SU combatants waged limitedly military engagements until the SU dissolved in 1991. Victory left the U.S. the sole global superpower. The Cold War was over; the enemy defeated; the military-industrial complex’s rationale for existence over. Yet, permanent war required ever-lasting, every-global vigilance.
While the Cold War was playing out in Asia and Europe (e.g., Greek 1947 civil war), a nationalist insurgence took root in Latin America and was perceived as a direct threat to the U.S. domination of the Americas. In 1823, Pres. James Monroe proclaimed what become known as the “Monroe Doctrine,” warning European nations that any effort to colonize territory in the Americas would be seen as a direct act of aggression against the U.S. These territories, especially in Central and South America, were off-limit to all but the U.S. for colonization and plunder.
The U.S. permanent war in Latin America occurred against a background of the CIA failed efforts to topple the Cuban Revolution. Fidel Castro marched into Havana on January 7, 1959, a week after U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista fled to the Dominican Republic. The U.S. officially broke diplomatic relations with Cuba in January 1961 and, in April ’61, the CIA orchestrated an invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs;1,000 CIA foot soldiers, Cuban exiles, were taken prisoner. A year later, in October ’62, the world held its breath over the Cuban Missile Crisis, a showdown between the U.S. and SU. Now, a half-century later, under Pres. Obama those relations are being reestablished; under Pres. Trump, U.S. relations to Cuba are in the air. Trump rumbles about a possible U.S. military intervention into Venezuela.
Between the early-50s and the collapse of the SU in 1991, Latin America was littered with the corpses of victims of U.S. military and CIA clandestine interventions. They included: CIA’s overthrowing of Guatemala’s elected government (1954); the U.S.-backed dictatorships of Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier in Haiti (1957-1986); U.S. orchestrated military coup in Brazil (1964); U.S. military occupation of Dominican Republic (1965-1966); U.S. orchestrated military coup of socialist government of Salvador Allende in Chile (1973); U.S. backed Contra army in Nicaragua to suppress the Sandinistas (1974-1979); and U.S. backed military, including death squads, in El Salvador civil war (1979–1992). And then there were the two great U.S. military victories in the permanent war, in Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989-1990).
To maintain the failed state of permanent war, the U.S. spends close to $1 trillion annually to fund the military and intelligence apparatus. The military budget is $825 billion and is divided into four sectors: (i) base spending; (ii) Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) to fight the Islamic State group; (iii) related agencies (e.g., Department of Veterans Affairs, State Dept., Justice Dept., etc.); and OCO funds for the State Department and Homeland Security. In 2016, the National Intelligence Program (e.g., CIA, NSA) budget totaled to $70.7 billion.
One of the unspoken consequences of the U.S. permanent war policy is the untold number of casualties – and their families and communities/tribes – who suffer. Ordinary people, non-combats pay a heavy price to maintain the U.S.’s permanent war. Nevertheless, memory lives on for a very long time while vengeance can endure forever. It’s hard to know how long the misnamed “war on terror” will drag on. Sadly, the failed permanent war will likely persist so long as corporate and financial capitalism determine U.S. government and military policy.
The Australian city has topped the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ranking of the most livable cities in the world for the seventh year in a row.
Melbourne has been awarded the title of the world’s most liveable city for the seventh year in a row in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ranking of the most livable cities in the world.
The ranking was calculated by assessing 140 cities around the world, and giving them a score out of 100 based on stability, healthcare, education, infrastructure and culture.
The top 10 cities remained unchanged from last year. Vienna and Vancouver came second and third respectively, followed by Toronto, Adelaide, Calgary, Perth and Auckland. The Finnish capital of Helsinki, and the German city of Hamburg rounded up the top ten.
Melbourne scored 95 for stability, 95.1 for culture and environment, and a perfect 100 for education, healthcare, and infrastructure. The city got an overall rating of 97.5. No city was able to make the top mark of 100, which is labeled as ‘ideal’.
Meanwhile, global business cities including New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo – described by the Economist Intelligence Unit as being ‘victims of their own success’ – are all named outside the top ten list because of ‘high crime, congestion and public transport problems’.
Several U.S. cities registered declines in their scores which, the report says, ‘stems in part from unrest related to a number of deaths of black people at the hands of police officers’, as well as ‘protests held in response to President Trump’s policies and executive orders’.
Meanwhile, Syria’s war-torn city of Damascus occupied the bottom position as the least liveable city in the world. Lagos in Nigeria, Tripoli in Libya, Dhaka in Bangladesh, and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea made up the rest of the bottom five.
The report pointed out that the world’s security is volatile due to rise in militancy targeting innocent people. More broadly, global stability continued to weaken due to the increase in terror-related incidents world wide.
“Violent acts of terrorism have been reported in many countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, France, Pakistan, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the US. While not a new phenomenon, the frequency and spread of terrorism have increased noticeably and become even more prominent.”
Photo via Pixabay
It seems that women have outpaced men in the Canadian coke smuggling game in recent years.
As reported by Global News, cocaine smuggling into the Great White North has been rising steadily for at least the last four years and women now move more of the drug across Canada’s border than men.
Global’s numbers—which they got from intelligence reports circulated by Canadian Border agents—saw that there were more pounds of coke seized at airports from 2012 to 2015 from women than there were from men. While there were less actual seizures from women (223) than men (281) they were bringing in more bang for their buck—812 kg from woman opposed to the 681 kg from men. According to Global, airports are now the main route for the smuggling and the primary transit hubs involved in these seizures were Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and St. Lucia.
The monetary amount of all cocaine seized by border officials in 2016 beat 2015 by $30.5 million—$94.5 mil to $64 mil. Global reports of one document stated that “comparing year to date in 2016 and 2015, both the number of seizure (+79 percent) and overall volume (+201 percent) of cocaine have increased.” Drug seizures in general are also up, from a little more than 1,000 in 2015 to 1,160 in 2016.
It’s important to note that the women involved in this type of activity are most often vulnerable and come from areas of extreme poverty. A UN report from 2014, states that research indicates that women’s “women’s involvement in drug use and the drug trade reflects the decreased economic opportunities and lower political status that women face in everyday life.” The report also states that women’s involvement in the drug trade was on the rise worldwide and that “while there are exceptions, women are delegated low-ranking, low-paying, high-risk positions.”
One aviation expert that was contacted by Global said that the seized amount was just the “tip of the iceberg” compared to what actually made it into the country.
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(ANTIMEDIA) — Last week, headlines were made around the world when it was reported that China had dispatched troops to the Horn of Africa in advance of establishing its first overseas military base. Reuters opened its article on the subject by noting that this latest move falls in line with others as “China’s rapidly modernizing military extends its global reach.”
China broke ground on the base in Djibouti, a tiny country on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean, last year. It’s a high-value patch of land, as the nation is located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal. The strategic importance of the location is evidenced by the fact that the U.S., France, and Japan all have bases there.
An editorial in the state-run Global Times, however, was far more assertive in stating the significance of China’s presence in Djibouti. The paper highlighted the fact that world leaders everywhere are taking note of China’s power projection, and said, basically, that they absolutely should:
“Certainly this is the People’s Liberation Army’s first overseas base and we will base troops there. It’s not a commercial resupply point. It makes sense there is attention on this from foreign public opinion.”
But the very fact that China felt, once again, the need to state it’s not out to rule the planet speaks volumes to the perception that China is on a path to surpass the United States as the dominant geopolitical power on Earth.
All this came hours after China made headlines for an entirely different reason in an entirely different field.
On Monday, the team behind the Micius — named after an ancient Chinese philosopher — announced the results of their first experiments. From the MIT Technology Review:
“The team created the first satellite-to-ground quantum network, in the process smashing the record for the longest distance over which entanglement has been measured. And they’ve used this quantum network to teleport the first object from the ground to orbit.”
The object teleported was a photon, and if you want the science behind how it all went down, MIT Technology Review — which spoke with the Chinese team about their findings — broke it all down very nicely. But anyone, regardless of technical background, can fathom the significance of something on Earth being beamed into outer space.
The folks at MIT Technology Review did something else in their coverage. In closing their report, they brought the whole thing back to the geopolitical level:
“It also shows China’s obvious dominance and lead in a field that, until recently, was led by Europe and the U.S. — Micius would surely have been impressed. But an important question now is how the West will respond.”
On that note, let’s turn to U.S. news.
On July 10, it was reported that a campaign committee had been officially filed with the Federal Election Commission making Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson eligible for the 2020 presidential election. In an interview with GQ back in May, Johnson said he’d consider the idea of running, and he joked about it on camera a couple of times since then.
The man who created the committee, called “Run the Rock 2020,” is 26-year-old political consultant and freelance writer Kenton Tilford. Speaking to CNN, Tilford said the goal is “to build a grassroots community of Americans to show to Mr. Johnson that his incredible popularity as an actor and public figure can translate into politics seamlessly.”
A few days later, Robert James Ritchie, better known as Kid Rock, appeared to announce his intention to run for the U.S. Senate in his home state of Michigan. The 47-year-old self-described “American badass” has been injecting himself into politics in recent years, but many still wonder if it’s all some sort of marketing ploy.
Others, however, such as The New Yorker’s Amanda Petrusich, went further, asking readers to look at the broader societal implications on display:
“Yet that we are paying attention at all — that a belligerent, proudly debauched rock star suddenly seems as if he might be a viable candidate for public service — is a terrifying new normal.”
On Saturday, political analyst Julian Zelizer weighed in on the matter for CNN. His commentary, titled “Kid Rock, The Rock and our rocky future,” opened:
“It looks like these days everyone with a Wikipedia entry or a star on the Walk of Fame is thinking of running for public office.
“With the former star of ‘The Apprentice’ inhabiting the White House, the doors are wide open.”
After joking about one day seeing The Rock using his signature wrestling move, The People’s Elbow, on legislatures who don’t vote his way, Zelizer asked his audience if all the American political madness is finally coming to a head:
“Are we now entering an era of celebrity politics? Has all of the distrust in government and frustration with perpetual gridlock generated a moment when Americans would rather have telegenic entertainment stars making decisions about war and peace, rather than those who have spent their lives in politics learning about public policy, negotiation, deal-making and diplomacy?”
As Petrusich astutely pointed out in The New Yorker, the fact that all this is being taken largely at face value suggests the answer to Zelizer’s questions is yes.
So as China continues to strengthen and extend its geopolitical might while simultaneously pushing science to its absolute limits, the United States remains obsessed with the notion of elections — indeed, of the election cycle itself.
No one really seems to like what’s happening in America, and everyone has their own reasons why. The one thing people do seem to agree on, however, is that it can all be fixed if the right guy — their guy — is in charge.
And if that guy happens to be a former wrestler-turned movie star, a greasy rap-rocker prone to vulgarities, or a millionaire mogul and reality TV celebrity, the current prevailing attitude among the American populace seems to be…Sure. Why not? Anything is worth a try.
Because something within the American engine is broken. This much is all but irrefutable. And equally so is the fact that China’s engine, meanwhile, seems to be humming along just fine.