How We Got Here

As usual, Paul Krugman is both blunt and correct: How did we get here?

The core story of U.S. politics over the past four decades is that wealthy elites weaponized white racism to gain political power, which they used to pursue policies that enriched the already wealthy at workers’ expense.

Until Trump’s rise it was possible — barely — for people to deny this reality with a straight face. At this point, however, it requires willful blindness not to see what’s going on.

For three plus years, credible/mainstream media sources have treated Trump as a legitimate–if unfit–Chief Executive, and the GOP as a normal political party. That approach  finally seems to be giving way to a recognition that–as the saying goes– we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Genuine conservatives are appalled, as they should be; they understand that the appropriation of the label by would-be fascists will make it immeasurably more difficult to rebuild a responsible–or even civilized– GOP.

In the same issue of the New York Times that carried Krugman’s column, conservative columnist Bret Stephens described Trump’s worse-than-tone-deaf response to the protests: “Empathy is a word he can’t define, compassion an emotion he can’t experience, humility a virtue he can’t comprehend and kindness an act he will never undertake.”

In a column for the Washington Post, George Will–someone with whom I have rarely agreed–noted that there is “no bottom” to Trumpian awfulness, and insisted that we must defeat not just Trump but his enablers.

This unraveling presidency began with the Crybaby-in-Chief banging his spoon on his highchair tray to protest a photograph — a photograph — showing that his inauguration crowd the day before had been smaller than the one four years previous. Since then, this weak person’s idea of a strong person, this chest-pounding advertisement of his own gnawing insecurities, this low-rent Lear raging on his Twitter-heath has proven that the phrase malignant buffoon is not an oxymoron.

The Lincoln Project, formed by “Never Trump” Republicans, has aired some of the most hard-hitting ads highlighting Trump’s racist appeal.

As bad as it has been, things are now getting much, much worse.

I have previously characterized this administration as a marriage of the Mafia and the Keystone Kops. But I omitted the Brown Shirts.

Krugman’s column focuses on the way the Mafia contingent has used and abused the Keystone Kop contingent. Will and several other commentators from varying political perspectives have focused on the ineptitude, ignorance and (almost) comical incompetence of Trump and his cronies–the behaviors that remind me so forcefully of the Keystone Kops.

But the administration’s appalling response to the protests reminded me that there is a far more threatening parallel: the genuine “thugs” who are all too eager to smash and burn and incite, to turn peaceful demonstrations into justifications for imposing a police state that would protect white supremacy.

The demonstrations and chaos have reminded many of us oldsters of the rioting and mayhem that took place in the 60s. However, unless my memory is faulty–which is certainly possible– there are some very significant differences.

When I see the television coverage and cellphone videos of the current protests, I see an enormous white presence–it often seems 50/50–evidence that many, many white people understand (as those saccharine TV commercials during the Coronavirus conclude) “we are all in this together.”

Interestingly, in the videos I have seen of people breaking windows and looting, more than half of those caught on camera have been white. (Trump says they are “Antifa;” it is far more likely that they are his storm troopers.)

The final difference: Nixon may have been a crook. He was certainly paranoid, racist and anti-Semitic. But next to Trump, he was a paragon of benign sanity.

How these differences will play out depends on how many Americans–covertly or overtly–sympathize with the Storm Troopers, and how many understand that we really are all in this together.

I think it was Mark Twain who said history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. It’s up to us to make sure that this rhyme ends on a positive note.

 

 

 

38 thoughts on “How We Got Here

  1. In the campaign ahead, I hope the Democrats hang TRUMP around the neck of every Republican who FAILED to deal with this monster. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE for this mess.

  2. Now that Keith Ellison has sorted out the charges against the white cop/criminals, I look for the demonstrations to continue, but morph into anti-Trump shows of disenchantment…like the anti-war demonstrations started attacking LBJ openly. Also, I predict, that Trump, lacking any idea of what to do will go to default mode and try to trot out the troops and order them to attack American Citizens who are invoking their First Amendment rights to legal assembly. Trump will see demonstrations against him as insurrection. Yes, he is that psychopathic.

    What might follow from that scenario is marshal law. That invocation will allow Trump to suspend the November elections and set the stage for open rebellion. That will give his boogaloo boys all they need to start shooting. He’ll get his civil war.

    The other alternative is that a REAL patriot does the right thing. Joe Biden is stepping up and doing the right thing by displaying the stark contrast between REAL leadership and patriotism and whatever it is Trump is displaying.

    I think is was Sinclair Lewis who wrote that fascism will come to America wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. The creepy photo op at the church the other day brought shivers of seeing real and true evil in person. All that was missing were horns and a tail.

  3. Those “wealthy elites who weaponized racism to gain political power” have had, and continue to have, a lot of support from the country’s not so wealthy white population, particularly those over the age of forty. Steeped in bigotry from the cradle, fed their self-righteousness from the pulpit, and educated in a distorted history taught in grammar schools throughout the country, this population voted for Trump and continues to support him. They are the originators of “I got mine, too bad about you”.
    BUT……. a new generation has awakened and taken to the streets. They see the game being played for what it is and are not happy campers. What we are witnessing is not just a page of history being turned. What we are witnessing is a whole new chapter being opened up.
    Hope they do better than my generation.

  4. “s usual, Paul Krugman is both blunt and correct: How did we get here?

    The core story of U.S. politics over the past four decades is that wealthy elites weaponized white racism to gain political power, which they used to pursue policies that enriched the already wealthy at workers’ expense.”

    Krugman couldn’t possibly know how we got here as he has had to apologize in the past for not understanding the depth of racism.

    We got here through the machinations at the SUB-SURFACE level of American politics which contained the platform to release the lethal, racial hating, VIRUS OF THE MIND.

  5. As his ability to deal with crises and popularity descends, Trump becomes more and more unhinged. These next months could be a very rough ride.

    The good news is that the silent majority which rejects the racism Trump encourages appears to have had enough. It looked like a couple of thousand doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals, and medical students on the IUPUI Med Center campus organized themselves into “White Coats for Black Lives” yesterday. I can’t ever recall a time when doctors and other healthcare providers held a rally to hear bullhorn speeches and march for civil rights or anything else.

    Retired and active military leaders are publicly taking issue with Trump’s use of military force against American citizens.

    Even Pat Robertson is telling Trump that his conversation with Governors, calling them jerks was not cool.

    Protestors gathered in Carmel and Fishers.

    Arresting and charging all the Minneapolis police involved in George Floyd’s murder haven’t diminished the number of protestors. Even the violent acts of vandals have not scared off protestors, to my amazement.

    Public patience with the unfairness and brutality of racism has been exhausted. I hope that exhaustion continues and grows until policies and their enforcement change for the better because it’s been too long in coming and too many have died already.

  6. Well, Sheila! Yikes?!?

    Sometimes we could say we have beaten the Nazi comparisons to death, but one cannot deny that capitalist element to Nazi-ism!

    This is from a site called capitalism and Nazi-ism, and I guarantee you everyone should take a look!

    “capital was doing better under the Nazis than under FDR. Not because of overall increases in economic performance in one country versus another, but because of the economic policies of the regime. ”
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/04/capitalism-and-nazism/

    You see? And, America basically built much of the German war machine! Ford, General Motors, Westinghouse, Edison, We can include many many more than just these companies and individuals, they were all fans of Germany And the Nazis.

    If you read the article about economic policies (Look at the graphs), you can see exactly what the Fed is doing right now, was done in Nazi Germany! Why is the stock market NOT going down the toilet? Because economic policies of the current administration will not let it find its natural level, thereby enriching the elite, also encouraging this administration to continue on its current course because it is working just like history said it would.

    William Barr, is Donald Trump’s Heiner Himmler!

    It all started coming together with the the former AG started begging through opinion pieces to be Donald Hitler I mean Donald Trumps Roy Cohn/Heinrich Himmler! You can see the Heinrich Himmler comparison Is accurate because of what happened at St. John’s Church when they scraped peaceful demonstrators off the streets, like used refuse! And also, reopening settled investigations all the while demonizing the organizations that promote rule of law. Pull the fangs out of the CIA and the FBI, you can sure get away with a lot!

    This is a test of martial law, make no mistake! If the country doesn’t go along willingly, he (Trump along with William Barr) will make it go forcefully. So this is going to be a test on the military, and civil society as a whole. Germany was a fairly liberal country in the beginning, they were multiethnic and multicultural, it didn’t take long to change that whole parameter of governing. For the worst!

    With this covid19, George Floyd, and probably a terrible storm season, as noted in the Gulf of Mexico, the tea leaves are saying watch out for our little dictator!

    Marv, I am sorry! I didn’t want this to be the reality of the things that I’ve seen, or the things that you’ve seen! This whole scenario is the Reichstag fire, Kristallnacht, and night of the Long knives, all rolled into one! Trump was a student of Hitler’s rise, and also his propaganda, including Lugenpresse (fake press).

    We shall see how it all pans out in the end, it probably will take a lot of pain to change the course of this particular point in history, and if it does, it’s going to swing wildly in the opposite direction, bringing a lot of pain on those who were the pain givers.

    If that’s the case, all of those enablers in Congress need to be rounded up and tried as traitors to the Constitution! But that’s not for me to decide, that’s for civil society, and those who might be the movers and shakers who will shape future society, good or bad!

  7. Vernon, readers should take what you are saying– and predicting –as quite serious and valid. Whoever the POTUS might be now or future, at present all the pieces are in place for a takeover. The only remaining question is whether Trump has the will and the recklessness and the insanity to make the attempt. It appears that he does. You are right, someone needs to step up. Thrice, at the minimum.

  8. In 1980, I was 19 and I was devastated by the Reagan Victory for the Presidency. I wore a black arm band the next day on my college campus. The student body who had overwhelming voted for Reagan didn’t even notice my protest. My professors did. Flash forward to Nov 9, 2016, you would find me in a full blown breakdown crying uncontrollably All Day Long!!! My entire life I have dedicated to public service and the good fight for social justice, working inside the system. I knew at 19 I was living in a country that was on the wrong tract. At 59 my prediction has come true and I Am Heartbroken and so tired. When will good people wake up and understand that their support of the Republicans, tacit or full throttle, has put us where we are today? I can’t breathe!

  9. “Now that Keith Ellison has sorted out the charges against the white cop/criminals,”

    Vernon; has Ellison actually “sorted out the charges” or has he been ordered by Gov. Walz to prosecute the “white cop/criminals”? Ellison’s first words on the situation regarding their guilt included “…but evidence may show otherwise.” with an extremely angry look on his face. The general gist of his speech was anger that such charges could be filed, NOT that we watched in horror as a white police officer take approximately 9 minutes to murder a handcuffed, on the ground black man. Thinking people know “How We Got Here…” on this issue.

    Has anyone noticed how many newscasters refer to Mr. Trump, not using his ill-gotten title? Former Secretary of Defense, Retired General Mattis has come out publicly against Trump using military force against protesters. Retired Marine General Allen put it simply, “At the White House there’s no one home.” Being leaderless for 3 1/2 years is “How We Got Here…” specifically in today’s deadly, chaotic situation.

  10. Allison,

    “At 59 my prediction has come true and I Am Heartbroken and so tired. When will good people wake up and understand that their support of the Republicans, tacit or full throttle, has put us where we are today? I can’t breathe!”

    Only when they’re confronted with more than just talk. john, wisely, proved that point just a few days ago. We have to find leadership that can stand-up against the physical force that Trump represents. This is WAR, not a DEBATE. It is as simple as that. We better do something before more bullets are flying around.

  11. A COWARD like Trump will be victorious if no one ever EFFECTIVELY challenges his position. I’m sorry, that’s justs the way it is and has always been.

  12. The TIMES we’re now politically dealing with are much more like Germany in ’32 and ’33 than America in the ’60s. I’m sure of that, as I was my father’s strategist for breaking the color barrier in college football in the “Deep South” in ’61.

  13. In November, if we indeed do have an election, we have a choice to make. Joe Biden wasn’t even my fifth pick for the nomination, but I will vote for him because he is fundamentally a good man. Not brilliant, nor particularly wise, nor shrewd, nor a number of other things we might like to see, but the contrast in this particular race is clear, he is not evil.

  14. Mass protesting across the globe, but where is the DNC? Where is the resistance to what Trump is doing? Where is the resistance to our Fed pumping trillions into the stock market and offering to buy up corporate debt as a result of this pandemic?

    Meanwhile, 25% of the workforce is unemployed, which is adding fuel to the existing fires of racial tension. Would looting be so bad if our economic injustices weren’t so intolerable?

    As with most commentators with our state newspaper, they are half right.

    The looting of the treasury has been taking place in broad daylight for at least forty years, regardless of who captains the capitalist ship.

    The treasury could easily buy back all the student debt in this country, but instead, they are using their unlimited resources to clean up corporate debt, which further bails out the financial sector.

    When clowns like Krugman start waking up and get honest, they will start seeing the obvious taking place. Until then, expect more of the same from the DNC controlled Biden.

    As a reminder, what did Barack Obama do at Standing Rock?

    That’s right, nothing. He kept the “FREE PRESS” from capturing it on film for the world to see. Democracy Now’s, Amy Goodman, defied that order and was arrested.

    It’s time to wake up…

  15. We have become victims of authoritarianism. The only thing that counts to many citizens is rank. This is the direction that inevitably leads to dictatorships. Trump loves respect that he has never experienced before. Of course he stole it but, still, does it feel good.

    Next comes the effects of the truism, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Is it possible for the country to find its way back to the freedom of liberal democracy that is being taken from us?

    George Floyd is pointing to the the only way left.

  16. Well, Mark Esper suddenly and unexpectedly grew a “backbone” yesterday and publicly pushed back against Trump’s desire to use the military to dominate and punish civilians. Unfortunately, and again not unexpectedly, it dissolved into a puddle of jello even faster.

    Esper clearly made a choice between fealty to Trump and keeping his job over the Constitution and his Country. Shame on him, but trying to shame these people is a huge waste of time and effort. They and Trump have no shame.

    @Vernon: Your “no election” scenario is unfortunately right on the money. At some point, if not already, Trump and his jackboots are going to come to the inevitable conclusion that the only, only way he, and they, can stay in power is to not have an election in November. And as you pithily set out, the road to “no election” is the Insurrection Act and Marshal Law. Trump doesn’t like “losers,” and once he figures out he has absolutely no chance in hell of winning an actual election in November — even with gerrymandering and voter suppression — that will be his only path. Does anyone think he won’t take it, if he is allowed to?

    The question I have asked myself repeatedly since November, 2016 was whether when (not “if”) we got to this point, anyone in our military, Secret Service, law enforcement agencies would stand up on two feet and say: “NO. We took an oath to protect the Constitution, not a wannabe dictator.” The events of the past few days have unfortunately given us a pretty good idea that both the civilians in the Pentagon and the top military brass are going to choose Trump over the Constitution.

    I very much hope and pray that I’m wrong.

    Just a postscript since I’m on a rant, and there is plenty of things happening to righteously rant about:

    The Country is still in a pandemic that is actually getting worse and will likely keep getting worse until a treatment or vaccine becomes available. When that might be no one knows. Somewhere between 107,000 and 110,000 Americans dead in less than 3 months. And now the legitimate uprising and protest over not only the murder of George Floyd, but the accumulation of African-Americans killed and beaten both by the police and White civilians who felt that Blacks were in places they shouldn’t be. Oh, let’s add in the worst unemployment and economy since the Great Depression.

    And how are the Trumpicans in the Senate spending their time? Approving Judges, who are unfit for the Bench, and holding hearings on the FBI’s and Spy Agencies’ Russian investigation in 2016. Wow! I’m feeling better already about the direction the Country is going thanks to Trump and his fellow travelers Trumpicans in the Senate. Talk about fiddling while the Country burns to the ground.

  17. Even Jim Mattis isn’t pretending Trump deserves a chance any more. It’s nice he finally came out and said what everyone already knew, but it does seem bit too little too late. While Mattis is generally viewed as an almost godlike figure to a huge amount of military personnel, I’m not sure his coming out against Trump will matter at this point. I doubt his opinion is going to move the needle much if you hadn’t already realized the president is a lunatic.

  18. @ Todd:
    You ask “Where is the DNC?”

    Democrats are out in the streets marching with the protestors. Democratic Mayors and Governors, while trying to protect their cities and States from looting and vandalism — some doing better going about that than others — are expressing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and protestors.

    And Joe Biden? I think Joe, like him or not, has acquitted himself well. Genuine empathy may be his greatest virtue and strength.

    Since the Democrats have virtually no actual power to control or stop what Trump does or doesn’t do, all they have is their “voices.” And to the extent the media has allowed them to get through the din, they are using their voices.

    Finally, to some extent, IMO, this is one of those times where things are being so badly handled by Trump and the Trumpican party that the best course is to just stand off to the sidelines a bit and let the citizens see how bad it is. If a human being can’t see how bad Trump and the Trumpicans are in this existential moment of history, then there is no hope and no chance that they will abandon Trump no matter what the DNC and Democrat office holders do or say.

  19. Todd – I take issue with your description of Krugman as a clown. He is rather a serious economist on a par with Stiglitz and Piketty. The fact that he has to deal with the one percenter economy you and I both implore only tells us that Krugman is dealing with economic reality rather than the way you and I would prefer to see him agitate for a reorganized economy. I think he too would prefer such an organization along the lines you and I would like to see, but he is no more responsible for our current investor-owned economy than you or I. I think he is an agent for needed change, but like the rest of us, trapped in a system (politically) skewed to favor the rich and corporate class. I also think that we may be nearing the brink of change and that this is no time to slow the pace toward such change via putdowns of our friends, especially those whose views are read by millions. Our “clown” doesn’t work for the NYT; he has a job in the Oval Office.

  20. Pete, you’ve touched on one of my pet peeves: “…power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    Yes sir, power is loaded with temptation…

    but power does not corrupt…

    and absolute power does not corrupt absolutely.

    Power is neutral…until we believe the statement you quote as truth…then power becomes impotent, because good people are loath to have, connect with, or use such a dastardly thing.

    And I’m sure many folks would like power to become impotent — which gives us anarchy — a condition which then allows the most brutal people to rise to the top.

    Power is neutral. Corruption is brought to power by corrupted people; power does not bring corruption to good people.

    How can anyone believe that power corrupts statement and still wish their party to win power?

    Here’s why: they believe their party will use power to do positive things, which is not corrupt and which contradicts the power corrupts statement? We vote because we believe a good person in power can do good primarily because power is neutral.

    Power is as favorable to goodness as it is to corruption, and absolute power favors absolute goodness as much as it does absolute corruption. How about the so-called absolute power of Jesus Christ? Is that power absolutely corrupt?

    Certainly, power tempts and attracts corruption but no more or less than it attracts goodness.

    If one truly believes that power corrupts, he or she should never advocate for anyone or any party to win power, for wishing such a thing is the same as damning your favored person or trusted party to become corrupt.

    Power is the only tool available to do great good. Good people should seek power so that bad people will not gain access to its possibilities.

    I fear for those who dread power because of a lying myth and likely an occasional enamor with fake truth, especially when the lie comes to us in words that sound so cool.

    Sorry to belabor the point. It seems worth it, though, since the belief that power corrupts seems to be the major objection non-voters use to justify their abdication of citizenship duties. Maybe, if we kill the lie, non-voters will return to the polls.

  21. A few days ago The Trumpet called out the Cossacks to clear a path for him to walk from the White House to a church and hold up a bible.

    Jim Crow never died, it went underground for awhile and was re-marketed by Nixon as “Law and Order”. The bible thumper’s were eager to jump onto the “Law and Order” train with their Macho-Male Authoritarianism.

    The Trumpet for all his failures as person and as businessman (how do you bankrupt a casino? Skimming off the top?) was able to tap into, a fearful segment of our society. No conspiracy is too bizarre or lacking in facts to be fronted as a threat (George Soros and now Bill Gates) or a cure for Corona.

    The DNC can run a campaign against The Trumpet and all his failings. The rabid followers of The Trumpet and Pastor Pence will not waver.

    The DNC and Democrats in general must articulate a plan of improvement – What will you change if and when the D’s take power???

  22. Monotonous,

    “The DNC and Democrats in general must articulate a plan of improvement – What will you change if and when the D’s take power???”

    You’re right. But I doubt that can be done (successfully argue a plan of improvement)with a militant group of Republicans still remaining after the election. Just look at what happened to Obama in much better times.

    Trump is a FASCIST. So are the majority of his followers. They could care less about DEMOCRACY.

  23. You know “Hell has frozen over,” when George Will writes that not only Trump must be voted out of office, but also all the other Republicans who are enabling and abetting him!

  24. As always, a spot on article. I intend to hang on to a LONG memory. I will remember Trump’s enablers in November and for years to come. I will remember when Sen. Todd Young seeks reelection, he kept silent. I will remember when Sen. Mike Braun seeks reelection, he is a Trump cheerleader. I will not forget the shameful behavior of any Republican office holder who acquiesced the Trump with his silence.

  25. And the civil war begins… It’s been bubbling and building for a few years and before Trump was elected. I am always taken aback when watching Morning Joe in the morning and his naviete towards his own party. He has finally admitted that the Democrats have been right when they elluded that there was a significant faction of white supremecists and anti-semitism in the GOP. I am also suprised to hear so much of the media seemingly dumbfounded by all the elements that have been bubbling beneath the surface. Maybe it is because they live in a bubble surrounded by elists on the coasts. I have lived in Indiana and now Tennessee where it has been predominately Red for decades and where these two states seem to rank high in things like child abuse, and infant mortality rates and ranked poor in salaries and education.

    I am hopeful that this Civil War will actually bring about much needed massive changes to this society. The pandemic has highlighted so many parts of our society that is not and have not worked for most of us. White Americans are sitting at home and watching story after story and video after video of attacks on people of color and vulnerable society and it seems finally they can’t hide any more.

    There are so many injustices and things that are just not right–I laugh that 6 months ago that the majority of the US seemed to think that fast-food workers, retail workers, grocery store workers, healthcare workers like CNA’s and those that go in to the homes of our elderly and disabled did not deserve $15/hr but a pandemic hits and they are now considered essential and are being forced and begged to ‘take one for the team’ at $9/hr.

    There has been alot of Bull Shit in this society that needs to be flushed

  26. When you replace “Antifa” (an undefinable group – how convenient) with “Jews” you can hear Goebbels giving a speech. Any “Republican” that still, at this late date, supports this Orange Monstrocity, aka #BunkerBoy, is complicit and need to be held accountable. Their “come to Jesus” moment has long since passed.

  27. Zooming out and back, I wonder about the state of democracy in Africa in 1620…was there color-based tribalism or did they use some other excuse for selling their bothers into slavery. See “coffle.”

  28. John,
    good piece of history from ya..
    the market numbers are based,today, on the future of the stock market. its not on the present economy,(trumps economy numbers reflect,the numbers on wall street,not the American domestic whatevers) APM 6/2/20 marketplace, see,,do you always wonder,what the stock market is thinking.. give light on that subject,and worth knowing of ya market..whereas trumps numbers jumped, er the market numbers jumped in mar,2017 5000 points,,,imagine that…fake numbers..future whims of the wall street guessers?

    this division,if one were to look and take notice of the laws,benifits,denial of rights,labor laws, wages,salaried workers,middle management employees,etc since reagan, you could find little chips from the working classes botton dollar. union busting was the biggest hit,and left everyone with little to expect after the start of that. divisions between the haves and have nots,in the working classes,not between rich and poor,though its a story in itself. dividing the working class into better off to worse off,sounds more digestable..making case on welfare reform, more cops,mandatory sentancing laws,aka clintons BS.. the reasons resonated between those again and again. tax cuts,like one for us would do any good, were for the upper tier of whoever contributed more to ones reelction..again,divisions. fake news,and ignorance reigns supreme. the rich are laughing their ass off looking down at us..
    Sen,Jack Reed,D-RI made a case against military intervention,and why,yesterday on the floor of the Senate.. bravo, he was all alone for the most part,but he explained why,and one item, the “lawful”order by the president to instruct the military to intervene. the constitution is still on our side,and after Mullens and Maddis Atlantic articles,be hopeful, they will see barr and his cronies as unlawful..ever see a medivac helocopter used against the people, well, i guess trump couldnt summon a real one up,, er, maybe the military gave him the finger too..
    got my stimulus check,er, debit card? seems the treasurys sultan,mnuchin decided to issue a banks,(meta bank,must have mega money now) debit card, with fees to the user,5 bucks! unless ya go to your bank and hand it to them for deposit,then no charges. i guess mnuchin just enjoyed getting another high 5 from his buddies,i have all five up for him too..

  29. “Meanwhile, 25% of the workforce is unemployed, which is adding fuel to the existing fires of racial tension. Would looting be so bad if our economic injustices weren’t so intolerable?
    …..The looting of the treasury has been taking place in broad daylight for at least forty years, regardless of who captains the capitalist ship.” – Todd E Smekens

    And YES….Krugman IS a CLOWN!!! Period. But a clown for the Capitalist system which is corrupt. It is a system created and run by and for the wealthy. It is based upon PROFIT and EXPANSION which has/is KILLING people (and the planet). Why can’t people see this historical fact???

    If FDR had not “saved Capitalism,” it would have died in 1929.

    Same in 2008 with Obama. Capitalism should have had a natural death, but hell no….Democrats with Republicans (Paulson and Obama partners, Keitner too) SAVED Capitalism from itself…again.

    And what did this do for the people who lost homes (my brother one out of millions)? What did it do to people who lost their retirements savings? (I lost 30% in an already meager savings) What did it do to those who lost decent paying jobs? (replaced by a pathetic poverty level gig economy)

    And people on this site wonder why people were angry and voted for loose cannon Trump??? REALLY????

    A man born in a barn once said, “Take the log out of your eye and then you might take the splinter out of another eye.” (paraphrased but accurate meaning)

    I submit that what is at stake here is an economy that has failed MOST people and ALL the people when it crashes. YET, there are folks (like Krugman) who STILL try to prop up a dead carcass and pretend that it is still alive and kicking.

    As Todd accurately describes, we are witnessing, YET AGAIN, The Treasury (Democrat and GOP controlled, remember Rubin who went to Citicorp after working for Clinton???) is printing money by the trillions and giving it to WHO???

    WAKE UP!!! It is this rigged Capitalist economy that has been in the iron grips of The Robber Barons for decades, since 1890’s! Yes, the Roosevelts, Taft, Wilson did all they could to keep them at bay to operate THEIR system…but they are BIGGER and more Wealthy BARONS than ever before today (even during a pandemic!!!) and they have enriched themselves (BOTH political parties!!!! FACT) while letting poverty and injustice (abuse and violence against the poor and non white communities for instance) for the rest run amuck for decades.

    I’ll take Robert Reich’s understanding of our economic history over Krugman EVERY DAY and twice on Sunday thank you very much! Bob is a historian of economics. Krugman has and is a minion of Capitalism. BIG difference when one has a literal vested interest!

    Thanks Todd…your words are TRUTH to power.

  30. Larry, to me power and freedom are the extremes of the same spectrum. Freedom isn’t anarchy because it is both rights and responsibilities.

    Freedom responds to leadership. Power is always rooted in fear. Freedom is collaboration. Power is authoritarianism based on rank.

    Now I realize that I don’t define the English language so I cannot claim to be necessarily right in the meaning of these words so I’m just describing what they mean to me.

    A problem I see is that power to those with it seems to increase their freedom but it’s always at the expense of others so freedom at all must be freedom for all.

    Freedom requires equality and power is by its nature unequally distributed.

  31. How did we get here? Krugman is correct about the past 40 years, but it goes back even further than that to Nixon’s “southern strategy”. Actually, we could go back further, as I mentioned the other day, to the robber barons’ response to the progressive movement. We can look at the dirty campaign against Upton Sinclair in California in 1934. But beyond this, after Nixon, the modern Republican Party got on a one-way road to the right and have continued until we got to a KKK/Nazi/dictator loving President. The media even has acted like Trump is a normal President, rather than a would-be dictator. Some old-line Republicans, held on, seeing some of their ideas going into effect along the way, but we were moving towards a laissez-faire, anti-regulation, small government ideal, wedded to racism, sexism and fundamentalism, which wasn’t every Republican’s cup of tea. It was the party of Lincoln and of the Progressives , but Nixon’s “southern strategy” and Reagan’s Philadelphia, MS “dog whistle” should have been warnings.

    Larry – thank you – very well stated – I too hate that whole “power corrupts” meme.

    Allison, maybe I am a hopeful romantic, or maybe just an older guy with perspective, but I saw the hope of the ’60s die (or should I say, get assassinated), but I see a swing back in the offing. If we understand what we can do, and we persist in following through, we may actually return to a better place than we were at in the ’60s.

    I don’t expect the revolution, nor do I expect the police state, but I am hopeful that historical reforms can follow a few (notice “a few”, not just one) elections where people are awake enough and care enough to change the leadership. Biden, who was responsible to smashing the dam that held back marriage equality, isn’t the end-all and be-all, but he is the first step, along with a new Senate. More important, local and state races will matter if we want real change. So much happens at the local level. A Bernie or a Biden won’t change the country. Elections of thousands of people to “lesser” offices will.

  32. I have a few Facebook friends (one of them just unfriended me) that are rabid 2nd amendment fans. One of them posted a link about “rednecks” that were proudly defending other peoples properties with assault rifles.

    None of them could see that they were supporting what amounted klansmen with out the white hoods. They could not see that to actually use the weapons would have been to support murder. I even got dinged for referring to the guns as assault refills. AND they supported Trump all of the way because he was defending their 2nd amendment rights.

    There are some people that have such a narrow view of the world that they will gladly vote against their own interests because they have been sucked in by a one note song and they are clinging to it with all of their white racist will power. It is a strong song for some people.

    All I can hope is that these people are in the minority and the rest of us can effect some change. I also hope that once Trump is out of the office the stock does not collapse, because you are absolutely right. The stock market is being artificially propped up by this Republican administration.

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