On 14 July, Donald Trump sent out a series of menacing tweets telling progressive Democratic congress members to “go back” to their home countries. His targets – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley – are all US citizens. Only Omar was not born in the US.
The tweets added yet another thread to the rich tapestry of Trump’s fascist credentials. And he has not only refused to retract or apologize for them, but has been adding further fuel to the flames. At his latest rally, for example, he defiantly doubled down, issuing a further set of attacks and insults toward the four congress members – and Omar in particular. But it was the reaction of the crowd that was perhaps most worrying.
After defeating a right-wing challenger in 2017 to succeed supposed ally Rafael Correa, Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno lurched strongly to the right once in office. This year, for example, he has handed Ecuadorian citizen Julian Assange to British authorities and supportedWashington’s coup attempt in Venezuela.
Domestically, meanwhile, he oversaw a shocking economic reversal in March. Where his predecessor had opposed submission to Washington’s neoliberal international institutions, Moreno entered into an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – an organization notorious for its coercive imposition of austerity measures in exchange for loans across the globe. Now, a leading research institute in Washington has exposed the likely brutal realities of this deal.
It’s no secret that Rupert Murdoch‘s Fox News is the propaganda wing of the modern Republican Party. After all, that’s been the aim of the television station since its founding. But Fox commentators may have left some viewers in shock this week when they let their ‘fair and balanced’ mask slip, openly admitting their bias.
On 4 July, several hosts on the infamous right-wing station essentially admitted that it reflexively supports whatever a Republican president does, while automatically opposing whatever a Democratic president does.
28 June 2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of the US-backed coup in Honduras that toppled the democratically elected government of Manuel Zelaya. The timing is apt. Because the Central American nation has seen extensive protests for around two months over the government’s privatization plans, which were set in motion by the 2009 coup.
That night ten years ago…
On 28 June 2009, armed men stormed Zelaya’s house in the middle of the night and led him away at gunpoint. His actions in office had rumbled the country’s ruling elites. He’d begun a process of resisting neoliberalism and embarked on a program of social spending and public investment. This was unacceptable to powerful interests both at home and abroad. His plan to convene a constituent assembly to rewrite the country’s outdated constitution, meanwhile, was a step too far; and these interests conspired to remove him.
In January, Donald Trump and officials in his administration spoke confidently about how their plan to topple Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro and install their puppet – so-called ‘interim president’ Juan Guaidó – would be a quick victory. But as the months went by, the coup attempt stalled and faltered. Maduro stayed firmly in power; and crucially, the military overwhelmingly stayed loyal to him. Now, six months after the launch of the coup attempt, a report suggests Trump is losing interest and pushing blame onto both Venezuelan opposition leaders and his own officials.
Trump “chewed out” his own staff for failing on “low-hanging fruit”
On 19 June, the Washington Post published an article quoting anonymous Trump administration officials on growing frustrations about the coup attempt in Venezuela. According to the report, Trump had initially considered ousting Maduro to be “low-hanging fruit”. He assumed it would be an easy foreign policy “win” that he could tout as “a major foreign policy victory.”
Former US vice president Joe Biden has been leading many polls for the Democratic Party nomination since announcing his candidacy in April. Some liberal commentators are describing him as “the best shot at beating Trump”. But as reports emerge of his controversial upcoming fundraisers, it’s important to remember that he represents the very same corporate interests as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And that’s precisely why he’s the worst candidate to face Trump in 2020.
Same old story of electoral corruption
On 18 June 18, the Hill received information that Biden will be attending several events with wealthy donors in California to build his campaign war chest. Each of them will cost $2,800 a head to attend, with proceeds going directly to his campaign. Commentators expect him to raise between $20m and $25m by the end of his fundraising drive. And he’s already well on his way, having secured $6.3m in just 24 hours after announcing his intention to run for president. At a recent event in Los Angeles, he raised around $700,000 in just one day.
Fast food restaurant McDonald’s has long come under attack from anti-globalization campaigners for its homogenizing effect on global food systems, cityscapes, and local cultures. The marketing of its unhealthy and potentially addictive foods – especially to children – has also been criticized by public health advocates. Now, its marketing techniques seem to have become a bizarre caricature of the company’s own worst features.
Typical manipulative marketing and cultural appropriation
On 6 June, McDonald’s in the US unveiled its new ‘International Currency Exchange’. Customers will be able to use foreign currency to purchase four new items on its so-called ‘Worldwide Favorites’ menu at participating US McDonald’s stores. This new menu includes the supposedly Dutch delicacy ‘Stroopwaffel McFlurry’ and a purportedly Spanish dish named the ‘Grand Extreme Bacon Burger’.