Razer's Class Warfare

Feb 1, 2018

Razer: State of the Union proves we’re on track for full-blown class warfare

Helen Razer imagines how the efforts of Jared Kushner, Stephen Miller and the ghost of Ronald Reagan made this 90 minute speech possible.

Helen Razer — Writer and Broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and Broadcaster

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28 thoughts on “Razer: State of the Union proves we’re on track for full-blown class warfare

  1. BDlair Dodge

    He really did lay on the ordinary Americans and their tragic/inspiring stories a bit thick. It was like Oprah was already President.

    1. Helen Razer

      I thought so, too, BDlair. Then, I looked at older speeches. It’s just what that strange nation does.
      It was clear he had some help saying the “inspiring” stuff. And prompts to emphasise words like “god” and “AMERICAN FLAG” to appease the crazy nativists.
      Then, it was pure Sam Huntington unmasked neocon kill ’em all rhetoric. Guess someone has to justify the 738 billion spend on toys with which to deter Russians.

  2. Cheree Corbin

    “And prepare yourselves for a hegemon that finally falls beneath the charge of old-fashioned class warfare.”

    Pretty much. Even though it seems like business as usual, I think it’s probably anything but.

    1. Helen Razer

      Of, for sure. Something is going to happen. And it’s not going to be wearing pussy hats.
      Just don’t plan any family trips to Disneyland for the next decade or so. When Donald’s base realise that the sun ain’t gonna shine any brighter, who knows what will happen.

      1. Rais

        Instead of becoming a major arms exporter could we perhaps become a major pitchfork exporter? The US could be a big market.

        1. Helen Razer

          I think you deserve one of Malcolm’s innovation grants, Rais.

      2. Cheree Corbin

        As you probably already know, his base is absolutely convinced he is about to indict Clinton and Obama [https://twitter.com/Imperator_Rex3/status/958925494484836352]. They’ve been terrifically excited about a ‘Second Memo’. I tend to think the orange man is crazy enough to try it (I remember him telling Clinton in a debate that she should be in jail and thinking that was wacky, even for him).
        It’s an orgy of conspiracy theories out there. A person could get whiplash keeping up with the conflicting ones coming out of each camp.
        If that’s how this plays out … well, actually, I have no idea. But I’m picking it would be pretty unforgettable.

        1. Draco Houston

          This morning I saw a Smart Politics Man For Serious News Network With A Bluetick And Everything on twitter declare that keeping open gitmo is more evidence that the Trump presidency is ‘all about erasing the Obama legacy’. Scrolling through the replies, most of which were people saying variations on ‘you idiot!’, my eyes fell upon partisan posters agreeing, and adding that it is a good or bad thing depending on their party.

          :\

          1. Helen Razer

            The Gitmo thing has been nagging at me since SOTU. Does no one remember that Obama vowed to close the obscenity within his first year? Even as one whose party who controlled both houses, he did so little, while promising so much good.
            His speech to bankers in 2009 with the passage of his Recovery Act, too. Within weeks of inauguration, Hope Change was sold to Wall Street. (Michael Hudson writes a good piece somewhere on this.)
            I do understand he’s a very good speaker. He appears genuinely nice and rather bright. He’s a person Sorkin would have dreamt up were Sorkin not the sort of writer who populates his saccharine films with an all-white cast.
            Anyhow. A response to a piece I wrote comparing the administrations foreign policy elicited this response on social media the other day:
            “Obama may have bombed a lot of countries and killed a lot of people but he spoke well and brought dignity to the office. And when he looked at his wife? Be still, my heart!”
            I think this is a concise statement of how many see the function of the President. To “represent” the West as it would like to see itself. Not to govern its reality., especially in the Global South.

  3. susan winstanley

    yep, marchons citoyens

  4. JQ

    I thought it a prudent investment to put some money on Trump winning the 2020 Presidential election, given that the Democrats have apparently doubled down on the identity politics that got Trump elected in the first place. Checked Sportsbet’s odds this morning – and he’s at $3.50. Granted the Democrats do not yet have a nominee, but all of the Democrats’ alternatives began at $11.

    What did you make of the reactions from the Democrats in the House, MzRaz? Sour faced and refusing to stand, even when Trump announced paid parental leave, billions in infrastructure spending, amnesty for 1.8 million illegal immigrants, American freedom, low black unemployment. Aren’t those things the Democrats want?
    I seem to recall Republicans, no cheer squad for Obama, at least standing to applaud the parts of his SOTU addresses they liked.
    I wonder what Americans thought.

  5. James O'Neill

    It is important to distinguish between what Trump says and what he does. A SOTU speech is not a good place to start an analysis. Trump is conscious that the US is going down the economic gurglar and that the US has lost its competitive edge. The US dollar is also rapidly losing its reserve status role and with it the ability of the US to print money like there is no tomorrow.
    There are huge geopolitical changes occurring and Trump, for all his manifest personal failings, appears to grasp that fact. It is going to be an interesting year (to invoke an old Chinese curse). Just don’t confuse the rhetoric with the reality.

    1. Helen Razer

      No. I know it’s something to decode, and not a statement of intention.
      But, the 738 billion for the military will happen. And so, too, the wall. Everything else, you’ve got to read around. He has every intention of not actually punishing Dreamers, but trading their lives for a big dumb wall.
      As I said (and as many here commenting on Crikey predicted across the months) his policy will not be markedly different from that of administrations of the past thirty years. It’s just interesting to think about the rhetoric and trace its origins so we know what particular flavour of hell to expect.

  6. AR

    Dear mzRaz, “a hegemon that finally falls beneath the charge of old-fashioned class warfare.“, ever the lighthearted optimist.

  7. jlgintheuk

    The Democrats rolling out a Kennedy for the response is a worry. At least it wasn’t Chelsea Clinton. Lessons learned?

    1. Rais

      Repubocrat or Demlican, two servants vying for the favours of the same master.

    2. Helen Razer

      Did you see it, Jlgintheuk?
      My goodness. The man was made in a factory.
      FWIW, the response is one politicians are eager to dodge and there’s no consistent history of a presidential hopeful being the person to deliver it.
      In “youth” oriented political US media (none of which is on TV, but YouTube) the Bernie response was covered more favourably.
      It’s interesting (if you’re interested in this sort of thing) to compare the two. Joe gives us dreams, Bernie gives us facts. Millennials respond to the latter.
      It *was* fun to see Bobby’s grandson talk about “the system” of unequal wealth, though. Part of Bernie’s message has filtered through.
      And, it was interesting to note that Bernie seemed in something of a campaign mode. He remains the most popular politician in the US.

      1. jlgintheuk

        “The man was made in a factory.” Precisely Helen. Painfully undergraduate and earnest. Didn’t know about the millennials/facts thing, cheers for that!
        Jeff

  8. klewso

    Red-neck buttons by the numbers.
    I wonder who went over all those past SotU addresses.
    [Hasn’t the US economy been trending up by the present “2”% for a couple of years now? (Justin Wolfers – Michigan Uni – ABC/The Biz)]
    Using those family props to validate his anti-immigration scheme? Why didn’t he truck in families that had lost members to armed and dangerous, under-trained, trigger-happy cops?

    1. Helen Razer

      I guess that’s a rhetorical question 🙂
      We must not forget, though, that we have seen the parents of black kids killed by cops at the White House. What we also saw under Obama was a greater militarisation of police.
      Black Lives Matter didn’t arise because of Obama, but in spite of him.

      1. klewso

        As SotU props?
        Obama was a veritable pet-shop Xmas tree for ex-albatrosses – a window display for the demise of apiration over achievement – Gitmo is nailed to his perch.
        But when did he have the majorities in both mouse house hamster wheels that this ginger tabby-grabbing moron does, through his own Touché Turtle and Dum-Dum Ryan of comic self-relief?
        Or influence over centuries of throw-back/in-bred culture with a grudge against progression?

      2. Rais

        People tend to be soft on Obama because he has a likeable personality, an attractive family and speaks well. He was also the deporter-in-chief, worse than Trump so far, he ramped up the droning slaughter and presided over the spread of his troops into many African countries mostly without the knowledge, let alone consent, of Congress. Under Obama whistleblowers were targeted more than under any of his predecessor, in fact more than all of them combined. The surveillance state approached saturation under his reign. His country’s citizens, unlike ours, have constitutional protection from warrantless spying but under Obama that protection ceased to have effect. When we see the militarisatin of the police under those circumstances it’s a far stretch to say that it happened in spite if the president, not because of him. If you wanted to install a tyrant in Australia without arousing popular rejection would you choose someone who presents like Dutton or someone who presents like Xenophon?

  9. kyle Hargraves

    Informative, Helen, but a few aspects require qualification.

    “he White House is yet to reveal the true authors of the speech. No matter.”
    Indeed : most (all?) world-leaders have had their speeches written for them for the last 50 years. To a large extent, nowadays, the author of a public speech is an irrelevance. The leader making the speech is of some significance in terms of their record of saying what they mean and meaning what they say. In general, the directed audience can make up its collective mind in this
    respect.

    Israel : “Kushner is Trump’s son-in-law, a long-time admirer of Israel’s prime minister and currently has a grey-ops role to broker peace in the Middle East—by which we mean Saudi Arabia and Israel.”

    Proceedings of late (recognition of Jerusalem etc.) amounts to a somewhat extreme position but it is more or less in line with the ethos of USA politics. The election of Obama was met by the Arabs (in general – and not all are Muslim) with great optimism but transformed into disappointment in rather short order. Kurds : in; Palestinians : out. Interesting!

    “Miller is a senior policy adviser to the President and unvarnished bigot”.

    I wonder if there are not degrees of bigotry nowadays or is the word used as a synonym for racist (or other pejorative term) when one’s nose has been set at something like 45 to 90 degrees by encountering a contrary argument. Does taking a position contrary to the PC – SJW safe-anything perspective amount to bigotry or is it a justified rebuttal to misplaced sentimentalism?

    As an aside it is common to observe statements such as “the true authors” or the “true” anything as if the sentence exists as more authoritative with rather than without the adjective. Further, I had rather hoped that the articles in Crikey would be if not adjective-free at least adjective-diminished for this year.

    “Zombie Ronald Reagan requires scant introduction. Like Trump, he was very good with a teleprompter … ” among other notable attributes and skills that were identified. However that is where the comparison terminates. Trump, if he only knew it, is a fine proxy for an interesting combo of alt-right and anti-post modernist thought (it that is the word). Trump appeals to a far greater percentage of electors that the “traditional press” – e.g. our ABC – would have us believe. Ditto for some of the authors of Crikey. As has been pointed out more than once, of late, : wishful thinking to the contrary is not going to improve matters.

    Furthermore, as is seldom identified, many electors are not so much pro-Trump as anti-Hillary and what she represents. Ditto for the Democrat-right and the Republican party in general. Many who would have voted for Bernie voted for Trump after the Democrats trashed their own nominee in favour of Hillary! Its interesting that Trump gets more air-play than Bernie yet
    Bernie makes more sense. Media Politics huh ?

    Your account, Helen, does NOT “prove” that “we’re on track for full-blown class warfare” but we are, as I have conveyed in these pages, “on track” for a major sociological collision of ideology and perspective. There are considerably more similarities than differences between Trump et al and the new splinter parties in Oz that have been formed by disaffected former Libs and Nats. There are even arms-length items of policy that align with One Nation.

    Readers may be interested in this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ffil3IgWASs rather than, with all due respect, listening to the bozos (stating the obvious) on the link that Ms Razer offered. I wonder if the there ought to be a suffrage of sorts for electors; evidence of familiarity of Ayre’s Language, Truth and Logic could do for a beginning.

    As for exporting pitch-forks to the USA : good luck with that project. You’ll find it about as easy as selling processed coffee into the USA market.

    A superior strategy (given that Australia has replaced one “master” with another after the defeat of Singapore – yet still assumes the position at the Headmaster’s desk – read voting with the US at the UN and Malcom’s interview confirming support of the USA over Xmas etc) would be to ascertain what the US military needed and what Australia could supply competitively given the relative value of the US/AU dollar. Its only money.

  10. kyle Hargraves

    re : Ms Razer :
    The Gitmo thing has been nagging at me since SOTU. Does no one remember that Obama vowed to close the obscenity within his first year?

    pick me. I made mention of this aspect rather recently. I received a rebuttal from a reader to the effect that Obama did not control either House at the end of his term but the “objector” omitted to mention that Obama DID control both Houses at the beginning of his term. Obama, having sat upon his butt for eight years, (Obama Care was a Hillary innovation) will come to be remembered, I suggest, the most ineffectual President period.

    “Obama may have bombed a lot of countries and killed a lot of people but he spoke well and .”
    brought dignity to the office” .mmm .. So if Pol-Pot, Adolf Hitler, Augusto Pinochet (and any number of other dictators) possessed superior diction and had a happy family all could be excused. Too extreme? ok. relax.

    It is beyond doubt that Obama is one if these people who does not mean what they say (e.g ‘meaningful action on gun control’) and does not say what they mean; “I have no intention of closing Guanni Bay because I might wish to place someone into that environment for an indefinite interval of time”.

    Even allowing for such to be the case it is all very well but effectiveness is also a desirable trait for a person who possesses responsibility for countless others. The assertion that Obama bought “brought dignity to the office” amounts to arrant drivel. He utterly discredited the Office of President; its just that one has to “dig” to uncover the atrocities over eight years because, the press being what it is, the press did not report his proceedings objectively.

    “I think this is a concise statement of how many see the function of the President. To ‘represent’ the West as it would like to see itself. Not to govern its reality., especially in the Global South.”

    in theory yes; agreed; would it not be nice to live in such a happy world? However there are world events that require addressing such as North Korea to the state (autonomy?) of the South China Sea (to identify two). Removing the artificial 38th parallel on the Korean peninsula within 18 months will require “government” – and NOT ‘representation’ . Of course, such is my prediction but it could not be more “wrong” than any number of predictions that have emanated from Crikey over time.

    In my assessment, Rais has made a greater contribution to this topic than anyone. Quoting Rais, “He was also the deporter-in-chief, worse than Trump so far.. snip..without the knowledge, let alone consent, of Congress. ”

    Obama is also an accessory to murder. He had bin Laden zapped (and watched the incident on semi-cctv) without the least presumption of innocence; much less anything resembling a trial. If bombing bin Laden was open to the military then so was the capture of bin Laden open to the military, and, of course, an ensuing trial.

    “Under Obama .. snip ..The surveillance state approached saturation under his reign. His country’s citizens, unlike ours, have constitutional protection from warrantless spying but under Obama that protection ceased to have effect.”

    a condition or a reality that negates ANY argument for a Bill of Rights. Such advocates, not a few on the staff of Crikey, seem to have no sense of history and no comprehension of modern surveillance techniques. At best such an instrument would amount to an utterly worthless “feel-good” piece of paper.

    1. Helen Razer

      KH. Maybe you misinterpret. The quote was supplied as evidence that there are many soothed by the appearance of peace. I absolutely agree that Trump’s greatest sin is to demonstrate the reality of war.

      1. kyle Hargraves

        “Maybe you misinterpret. The quote was supplied as evidence that there are many soothed by the appearance of peace.”

        Yes I see now. Such remarks seem to be comforting to the flock (in general); one only has to read the speeches of Chamberlain (and others) to September 1939.

        “I absolutely agree that Trump’s greatest sin is to demonstrate the reality of war.”

        It is also his “greatest strength”! Orwell was correct (yet again) : just tell people that they are being attacked. Maggie, Ronald, Donald and Benjamin are/were experts in this regard. Can’t have “innocent” Americans being “swamped” with wet-backs anymore than Oz can afford to be swamped with Asians or Muslims! As a fellow human I can’t believe that many of my species believe this (irrational) crap but in point of fact they do! Apparently, Pauline has something like 22% of the raw vote. There has to be some mass physiological positive reinforcement to such and related utterances.

        That consideration aside – there is going to be only one top dog in respect of the Pacific ocean and surrounds and I don’t think that the matter is going to resolved with the local vicar acting as moderator over bickies and a cup of tea. For the west I think the situation is going to morph into the persona of another Churchill – having displaced a “Chamberlain”.

    2. Rais

      Kyle, I wouldn’t conclude from the US Administrations’ contempt for their constitutional freedoms that there would be no point in our introducing similar amendments to our Constitution. At some point under an accidentally elected more constitutionally respectful president some of the previous violators of the law might be brought to book. At least US leaders can be shamed for their violations whreas in Australia the same actions aren’t illegal even on paper.

      1. kyle Hargraves

        “Kyle, I wouldn’t conclude from the US Administrations’ contempt for their constitutional freedoms that there would be no point in our introducing similar amendments to our Constitution.”

        I’m the first to admit (at work or play) that telling people what they want to hear is not by strongest suit. As to a Bill of Rights there may indeed be a benefit lurking somewhere but I can’t imagine what it might be. I accept that this topic is rather dear to the hearts of some but at best the document could only be a statement of intent; a sentiment which exists informally within the given society in any event in order to wish to have such a principle or document
        formalised in the first place.

        “At some point under an accidentally elected more constitutionally respectful president some of the previous violators of the law might be brought to book.”

        indeed Rais – with the emphasis on the word ‘might’! Standards are not what they once were. Consider Ministers of the Crown. Within the last three or four months, some have abused their positions and have been identified as seeking to conceal their tracks yet they
        remain with their portfolios (allowing for a recent exception)! No one seems to give a damn and in some instances their actions have been defended from the perspective that a (forced) resignation would be too punitive – yet inevitable (say) 35-50 years ago. Would a Bill of Rights be applied differently to a culprit? An optimist might indicate in the affirmative – but only because they are an optimist.

        > At least US leaders can be shamed for their violations

        no Rais : no. Anyone with a disregard for a Constitution or the Companies Code or whatever cannot be “shamed” because they have set their avarice above the rights of the remainder of the community. In their own mind their actions are justifiable often (and only) on account of their own perceived self-importance. [Ever spent any time in the Public Sector Rais – at something like L6-7+ ?] I don’t clam, by the way, that the behaviour, at senior level, is all that different in corporate Australia.

        > whreas in Australia the same actions aren’t illegal even on paper.

        We are drowning in legislation Rais. Name the topic and Butterworths has any number of volumes that will arrive on ones doorstep the following day. Name the fault and even someone with the most basic legal training could identify the tort or act of negligence or breach of contract or breach of Statute etc. at law.

        I have read the arguments for a Bill of Rights (at least those arguments that have come my way) and in a nutshell they reduce to “we need it” or “it will make us safer” or “xyz country has a similar document” etc. I have yet to encounter one robust argument that guarantees anything. Such being the case why bother in the first place? However, if you can convince your MP to take the plunge, Rais, : “be in”.

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