Friday, January 8, 2021

DONALD TRUMP AND THE THREAT TO AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC TRADITION

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoor

By Lily Hikam*)


Yesterday (January 8, 2021, Indonesian time) was a historic day for the United States and its democratic tradition: for the first time since 1814, the US Capitol was stormed and rioted upon by a mob . The last time this happened, it was during wartime (the War of 1812 against the British Empire), but now it’s happened because the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, himself encouraged and incited this violent uprising on his own country because he would not accept his defeat in the last presidential election.

Protesters, who are fervent and fanatic Trump supporters and who wholeheartedly believe the claim that “election was stolen” as the incumbent president has repeatedly claimed, stormed the Capitol building on the eve of the Electoral College vote certification by the US Congress to certify Joe Biden’s victory as the next US President.

The mob trashed the Capitol building, smashed its windows, and looted it. One (now iconic) picture from the riot yesterday showed a man carrying the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives’ podium and waving at the camera with a wide smile on his face like he just bought a souvenir he really like from the gift shop on a school field trip.

There are photos and videos of the Capitol police being overwhelmed by the protesters and, ironically if not sadly, taking selfies with protesters. On the whole, one cannot help but see the obvious difference between the police response on yesterday’s protest versus the police response to peaceful Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests.

When the dust settled, four people were killed, along with an estimated of hundreds thousands of dollars in property damage, and a renewed fervor by Democrats to remove President Trump from office before his last day in office by invoking the 25th Amendment.

Being removed from office it seems, however, to be the least bit of consequences Trump should suffer for his sins of inciting violence.

For Trump could have filled his lame duck session by protecting his legacy (as it’s been rumored he wants to run again in 2024) by pretending to be the populist he campaigned as in 2016. He has stated that he supported the $2000 stimulus check for Americans, in contrast to the Republican leadership. He has threatened to veto the new defense bill because of its bloated military budget and the provision in it that protects Big Tech companies like FB and Google from lawsuits.

If he followed through on all of these rhetoric, then he would have been in a pretty comfortable place to start his 2024 campaign. Yet, he chose to do this, going deeper and deeper into his palpable delusion that he won the Presidential election and that nefarious forces are stealing the election from him and perpetuating this false reality to his millions of followers who took his words as if it is the gospel according to Trump!.

His speech yesterday was the strike of match that lit the flame that he has been stoking for months by his nonstop claims of “election fraud” and “stolen election.” The blame lies not just on Trump, however. Numerous Republican Congresspeople and Senators who parroted Trump’s claims of election fraud for their own political gains and fundraising successes (people like Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri), those far-right news media such as One America News Network and Newsmax, who kept spreading doubts and news validating Trump’s fraudulent claims. All of these factors created the perfect storm leading to the chaos that unfolded yesterday.

Now, four people are dead, public trusts in the election process and election integrity are forever marred. Will America ever recover from this? One can only hope for the best, but time will tell.

*) PhD in Biochemistry
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Saturday, December 5, 2020

DUA WAJAH KORPORASI IT: SEBAGAI ALAT SENSOR ATAU PENGUAT DEMOKRASI?


Setelah FB melakukan "take down" thd postingan dan status2 yg menyebut nama terang sang imam, kini giliran YouTube melakukan take down thd kanal Fr**t TV yg dikenal sbg milik salah satu organisasi pendukungnya. Apakah Twitter dll juga ke depan akan melakukan hal sama? Masih bisa jadi bahan spekulasi, walaupun orang akan menebak demikian.

Adanya indikasi "sensor" yg sedang dilakukan oleh beberapa korporasi-2 IT raksasa (Facebook, YouTube, Google, dll), dalam konteks Indonesia, jelas merupakan sebuah laku yg potensial menabrak salah satu prinsip demokrasi, dalam hal ini kebebasan berekspressi dan perbedaan pendapat di ruang publik. Korporasi, sebesar dan sekuat apapun ia, bukanlah sebuah negara atau pemerintah yg dalam situasi tertentu memang diberi hak oleh aturan hukum (nasional maupun inteenasional) untuk bisa melakukan pembatasan terbatas thd hak-hak asasi warganegaranya.

Argumentasi yg sering dipakai oleh korporasi bhw mereka punya standar komunitas (community standards) bg penggunanya ( yg juga menyetujui utk mengikutinya), masih debatable apakah legitimate sebagai alat sensor tsb. Sebab, untuk mengajukan keluhan dan protes ke pengadilan melawan "sensor" tsb, bukan saja sangat mahal ongkosnya, juga prosesnya bakal lama.

Korporasi, termasuk yg memiliki hegemoni dalam mengontrol informasi, adalah sebuah fenomen yg bisa menjadi alat kekuasaan untuk menyerimpung praksis demokrasi. Meskipun juga pada saat yg sama mereka juga bisa menjadi alat pencerah dan edukasi kpd warganegara untuk memerkuat gagasan dan ide demokrasi.

Simak tautan ini:

1.
https://youtu.be/d5mBZQJGO5M
2.
https://theintercept.com/2020/10/15/facebook-and-twitter-cross-a-line-far-more-dangerous-than-what-they-censor/
3.
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/15/kelly-evan-the-big-tech-censorship-confusion.html
4.
https://www.economist.com/briefing/2020/10/22/social-medias-struggle-with-self-censorship
5.
https://www.politico.eu/article/opinion-big-tech-censorship-google-transparency/
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Thursday, November 19, 2020

SAHABATKU, KH. ENCENG SHOBIRIN NAJD TELAH TIADA

https://scontent-cgk1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/126023092_10218661076541824_2897973794443977503_o.jpg?_nc_cat=102&ccb=2&_nc_sid=8bfeb9&_nc_eui2=AeEwG_7gmiSk5KE67zaUt8QqHBhn5sM_QogcGGfmwz9CiAJfXSQln5EotLQxZaFlljI&_nc_ohc=VB0oMHhegREAX-muc-Z&_nc_ht=scontent-cgk1-1.xx&oh=e2a50c08bad9dbc809046b0d69876b2b&oe=5FDB1AAC

INNALILLAHI WA INNA ILAIHI ROJI'UN. Pagi ini sebuah kabar duka saya terima lewat WA: Salah seorang sahabat dekat, KH. Enceng Shobirin Najd, telah wafat. Almarhum adalah salah seorang wakil Sekjen PBNU dan cendekiawan terkemuka di kalangan nahdliyyin, aktivis pro demokrasi sejak mahasiswa, penulis dan peneliti senior pada LP3ES.

Saya mengenal almarhum sejak masih mahasiswa, saya di UGM, beliau di IAIN Sunan Kalijaga, Jogja. Kami bertemu lagi ketika saya sudah di LIPI dan beliau di LP3ES. Perkawanan makin erat karena kami juga bertetangga di kawasan Perumnas Tangerang. Tak jarang kami ngobrol sampai jauh malam bersama mas KH. Mun'im DZ, sesama tokoh PBNU dan juga peneliti serta penulis dari LP3ES.

Era pasca-Reformasi membuat kami masing2 berpisah lokasi, dan saya bermukim di Pamulang. Almarhum tetap istiqomah menapaki khidmat di PBNU dan menjadi mentor pelatihan2 NU diseluruh Indonesia bersama KH. Mun'im DZ. Saya bertemu dan sempat ngobrol pada saat hadir pada Muktamar NU ke 33 di Jombang.

Selamat jalan Kang Enceng. Dharma bhakti anda bg NU, nusa bangsa dan NKRI, Insya Allah husnul khotimah dan seluruh amal sholehnya diterima Allah swt serta akan tetap dikenang abadi. Jazakumullah. Amin.. Alfatihah...

Pamulang, 19 November 2020
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Monday, November 9, 2020

THE BIDEN'S AND HARRIS' AMERICAN CHALLENGES.


By Lily Hikam*)
Congratulations is in order to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for being elected President-Vice President of the United States of America (2020-2024). In the midst of celebrating, however, never lose focus of the fact that a Biden-Harris administration is still an administration that one needs to be critical of.

Some things one needs to demand and be critical of the new administration are:
1. Economic stimulus (universal basic income) for the remainder of the pandemic.
2. Universal Healthcare.
3. A concrete plan to deal with the looming climate crisis --> no more fossil fuel subsidies
4. Criminal justice and police reform.
5. Ending the wars/military occupations/sanctions.
6. Whistle-blower protection.
7. Easing tensions with other countries possessing nuclear weapons.
8. Wall St regulations.
9. Student loan debt crisis.
10. A progressive taxation scheme to ensure the wealth gap doesn't keep increasing.
11. Strengthening the social welfare system.
And many more...

Do I think Biden & Harris will do any meaningful changes with regards to any of these points? Based on their track records: No, or at the very least they'll just make minor tweaks around the edges and call it a day.

That's why, just because Democrats are back in the White House doesn't mean everything's fine. The electorate can't go back to brunches and stop their activism and organizing. If anything, the real work has just begun.

Congratulations America! *) PhD in Biochemistry, School of Medicine University of California at Irvine (UCI), USA
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Sunday, November 8, 2020

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDEN AS 2020-2024 TERPILIH!

FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., July 14, 2020.  (REUTERS)

Seperti yang pernah saya posting pada salah satu status di FB, jika hasil berbagai survei ttg "electoral votes" di AS konsisten di mana Joe Biden menang (antara 7-11 poin), maka beliau akan punya probabilitas tinggi untuk dapat memenangi Pilpres AS 2020 melawan sang petahana, Presiden Donald J. Trump. Media mainstream seperti Associated Press semalam (Sabtu tgl 7/10 waktu Indonesia), misalnya, telah melaporkan angka 290 electoral votes untuk Joe Biden dan 214 untuk Donald Trump! Memang sebelumnya sempat ada "kejar2an" dalam perolehan electoral votes tsb, tetapi ketika negara2 bagian yang menetukan (swing states) seperti Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, dan Nevada ternyata dimenangi oleh Joe Biden, maka keunggulan sang mantan Wapres atas sang petahana tak terbendung lagi.

Dan angka kemenangan tsb, utk sementara, cukup TELAK!

Trump dan para pendukungnya boleh saja merasa jengkel, kuciwa, dan marah dengan kekalahan mak jleb ini. Bahkan mungkin mereka masih akan berusaha menggugat hasil Pilpres tsb ke MA (the Supreme Court) dll. Tetapi rakyat AS sudah berkata: "You Are Done!." Kini Presiden AS yang ke 46  akan menggantikannya.

AS adalah sebuah negara dg tradisi demokrasi yg sudah lebih dr dua abad lamanya. Walaupun kini sedang mengalami kondisi yang kurang baik gegara pandemi, penurunan ekonomi, dan masalah sosial, tetapi masih ia tetap tegar dan mampu memilih pemimpin yang diharapkan akan membawa negara tsb ke arah pemulihan, penormalan, dan penguatan sistem demokrasinya.

SELAMAT untuk Presiden (terpilih)Joe Biden dan Wapres (terpilih) Kamala Harris serta seluruh rakyat AS. 💪👍👏🌹

Simak tautan ini:

1. [BREAKING NEWS: Joe Biden Dapat 273 Suara, Menangi Pemilu AS]
http://share.babe.news/al/QUxFSkpQvR
2.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2020/nov/07/us-election-2020-live-results-donald-trump-joe-biden-presidential-votes-pennsylvania-georgia-arizona-nevada
3. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/11/07/us-election-results-2020-live-joe-biden-donald-trump-president/
4.
https://indianexpress.com/article/world/us-election-results-2020-live-updates-donald-trump-joe-biden-white-house-us-president-6980831/
5. https://en.as.com/en/2020/11/06/latest_news/1604694990_969436.html
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