Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto will leave his post in just a few days. But in one of his last acts as head of state, he has sparked outrage with a desperate and bizarre act of pro-Trump bootlicking.
Highest honour for non-Mexicans
On 28 November, Peña Nieto announced that he will bestow Mexico’s highest honour for non-Mexicans on White House advisor and Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. He will receive the ‘Order of the Aztec Eagle’ later this week at the G20 summit in Argentina.
Donald Trump is distancing himself from one of his own government’s reports, which predicts impending and devastating climate chaos. But it is the media’s reaction that has attracted the most fierce criticism. Because outlets are still giving a platform to peddlers of denialist pseudo-science. And progressive voices have taken to Twitter to call these figures – and the media – out for their nonsense.
A buried report
On 23 November, the Trump administration released a report on climate change that provided a sobering vision of its present and potential future impact. The ‘National Climate Assessment’ comes from 300 scientists from 13 different agencies of the US federal government.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for several years, fearing extradition to the US. Now that fear has been confirmed.
On 16 November, a US court filing accidentally revealed that Assange has in fact been charged by the US government. Court papers in an unrelated case taking place in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia stated:
The ‘blue wave’ that commentators had predicted to take place in the recent US mid-term elections was a partial disappointment. But as a number of prominent figures like Bernie Sanders have now pointed out, the rout may have been more decisive had the election been a cleaner fight.
Partial victory for Trump? Or unfair elections?
In the 6 November mid-terms, Democrats won back control of the House of Representatives. But they failed to win back the Senate, and were lagging in several state-level races as polls closed.
The mainstream media has been having a field day over US president Donald Trump’s controversial Paris visit and his spat with French president Emmanuel Macron. And the leaders’ criticisms of each other aren’t off target. But we shouldn’t forget that it was Macron’s style of neoliberal/austerity-lite politics that helped to usher in the era of right-wing populism across the globe.
Macron denounces nationalism as Trump faces criticism
On 11 November, Trump visited Paris for an international summit. Speaking at the event, Macron warned about the dangers of nationalism. Commentators noted that his words were unmistakably directed at Trump, who recently declared himself a nationalist.
The US has just elected two Native American women to Congress for the very first time. And considering that the brutal treatment of North America’s indigenous population continues to this day, this breakthrough is of huge symbolic importance.
Native American women make history
Democrat Deb Haaland, who is a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, won a seat in New Mexico. Sharice Davids, also a Democrat and a member of the Ho-Chunk nation, defeated an incumbent Republican in Kansas.
Donald Trump and his allies didn’t suffer the rout that pollsters and commentators had predicted in the 2018 mid-term elections. But Democrats made significant gains across the US; and the victory of several rising progressive stars in particular suggests the beginning of a new era.
No ‘blue wave’
Up for grabs in the 6 November mid-terms were all House of Representative seats, a third of Senate seats, and countless state governorships and state legislature seats across the country. And due to the unpopular and highly divisive presidency of Donald Trump, many commentators were predicting a ‘blue wave’ – a Democratic Party landslide victory. But that didn’t happen.
Remember George W Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil‘? Well Donald Trump is resurrecting the concept.
US national security advisor John Bolton has just promised a tough new line against the Trump administration’s enemies in Latin America. But Washington’s own record in the region shows the brazen hypocrisy of singling out these countries for criticism. So the world is unlikely to buy Washington’s latest offensive.
On 1 November, Brazil’s far-right president-in-waiting Jair Bolsonaro appointed controversial judge Sérgio Moro to serve in his cabinet. And this act essentially signaled the start of Bolsonaro’s campaign to crush the Brazilian left.
An assault on the left
Bolsonaro won the presidency on 28 October in the second round of voting. He defeated the centre-left Workers’ Party (PT), which had held the presidency from 2003 until the controversial removal of Dilma Rousseff in 2016.