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Boardman writes: "In an apparently deliberate exercise of hatred and bigotry, the Trump administration is committing crimes against humanity."

Economist Paul Krugman. (photo: Reuters)
Economist Paul Krugman. (photo: Reuters)


Trump Isn't The Problem, He's the Manifestation of America's Id

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

24 June 18


The speed of America’s moral descent under Donald Trump is breathtaking. In a matter of months we’ve gone from a nation that stood for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to a nation that tears children from their parents and puts them in cages.

– Paul Krugman, New York Times column, June 21, 2018

conomist Paul Krugman is a smart Princeton professor who won a Nobel Prize, and most of what he says in this column is heartfelt, decent, and humane. His argument is relatively simple: since there is no present immigration crisis, there is no basis – practical, moral – no decent basis whatsoever for the current government’s inhumane, illegal, brutal treatment of immigrants and their children. In an apparently deliberate exercise of hatred and bigotry, the Trump administration is committing crimes against humanity.

That’s all quite true, quite obvious, and millions of people already recognize the government’s mindless cruelty for what it is – mindless cruelty that stimulates the mindlessly cruel base of Trump supporters from the cabinet on down.

But the way Krugman opens his column is mind-bogglingly delusional at best, dishonestly partisan at worst. Yes, “America’s moral descent under Donald Trump is breathtaking,” but not because of its speed. America’s moral descent has been with us from the beginning. America’s beginning was a struggle to ascend from the accepted moral order rooted in slave-holding authoritarianism, where inequality was God-given and women and children were property. The big difference between now and then is that then the angry white men making a revolution had enlightened ideals that were in conflict with the darker angels of their nature. The core dynamic of American history has always been the struggle between those who want to realize American ideals and those who don’t. The record is decidedly mixed, but the big victories mostly belong to the exploiters and killers. Trump is clearly in that line of descent.

Krugman asks us to believe that, in January 2017, America was “a nation that stood for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This is just a fantasy. These are words from the Declaration of Independence and have no weight in law that defines the nation. The preamble to the Constitution sets our national goals as a more perfect Union, Justice, domestic Tranquility, the common defence, general Welfare, and the Blessings of Liberty. In January 2017, our common defence was secure, except in the paranoid rantings of demagogues. Every other aspiration of the Constitution was in a shambles of long duration.

As he rose to the Presidency, Donald Trump was not so much a unique persona in triumph as he was the cobbled-together excrescence of more than 40 years of collective struggle by right-wing operatives trying to build their own fantasy of America, which Trump now embodies, perhaps imperfectly in the eyes of the idealist right. But he’s their Frankenstein creation and the rabble loves him, contradictory sewn-together bits and all.

Trumpenstein was a long time in the making, but one could see the first bits taking shape at least as early as Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign. The racist veins were pulsing clearly at the kick-off in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in quiet celebration of the lynching of the three civil rights workers, Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner, who went unmentioned.The racism of the right has only grown with race-based drug laws, race-populated prisons, race-based poverty, police executions, and on and on. The Clintons were shameful accomplices. No president since Reagan has dialed back American racism. Obama spoke eloquently about race, but that didn't keep Republicans from racializing politics, much to the glee of the Tea Party, and Obama never pushed back effectively, instead becoming the deporter-in-chief after blessing the military coup in Honduras that later fed the immigration wave fleeing oppression and murder.

Yes, we are now officially “a nation that tears children from their parents and puts them in cages.” We are also a nation that took years to notice our official brutality to immigrants, especially asylum seekers, and most especially those seeking asylum from brutal dictatorships we nurture and support. American brutality on the border is hardly a serious departure from American brutality in Iraq or Vietnam or Korea or in nations of Native Americans where we took children and put them in cages we called Christian schools.

Krugman surely knows all this and more, so why won’t he see it or say it? It’s as if he’s drunk the kool-aid of American Exceptionalism and must deny anything not pre-blessed by our cultural cult. Republicans were rabid to impeach Clinton for lying about a blow-job, Democrats couldn’t even impeach Bush for lying us into war (a war we’ve yet to escape). Obama couldn’t even close Guantanamo, but he refused to prosecute the torturers, and now one of them runs the CIA. It’s taken America years of bipartisan betrayal to get where we are now, but how can we change if we can’t even say clearly and directly who we are and how we got this way?

Krugman is wholly justified in any moral outrage he may feel about the Trump administration, but he is not justified, morally or intellectually, in making Trump a scapegoat embodying longstanding American evils long promoted by the right with little opposition. Trump is a mirror for the country, and if the country doesn’t like what it sees, the country needs to change.



William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theater, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+48 # engelbach 2018-06-24 09:44
All too true.

Except for some criticisms of Obama's economic policies, Krugman has been soft on the Democrats.

During most of Obama's presidency, we on the real Left tried holding his feet to the fire, only to be dismissed as "the professional left."

Even now, he is extolled by liberals as "one of the greatest presidents" — ignoring, for just one thing, that he was a war criminal.

However, I hardly think that Trump qualifies, in Boardman's view, as a "scapegoat." A scapegoat is someone blamed for the wrongs of others. Trump is whole-heartedly one of those "others."
 
 
+32 # shudderer 2018-06-24 10:06
This is the best analysis I have read of the America we in the biggining showed promise of becoming and the amerika we have become.
The struggle of forces of enlightenment, for taking humanity to its better self. This in opposition to the primal or animal, reptilian of every man for himself to the point of eating our children.
I am paraphrasing Boardman so I can internalize, he said this truth so well. thank you
 
 
+3 # Dfnclblty 2018-06-24 10:21
potus is not PK's scapegoat;
potus the purported leader of the usa and thus ipso facto its representative.
What is most important is to not let ire against potus and wh and congress not limit protest in any way.
 
 
+18 # WBoardman 2018-06-24 21:51
Krugman absolutely uses Trump as a scapegoat,
and it's a framing device all too common among
Trump detractors – no matter how accurate their
actual critiques may be.

As I went to some pains to explain, Krugman is
simply wrong to ascribe some sort of American fall from
grace to Trump, however great his contribution.

Krugman scapegoats Trump by pretending Trump's
high crimes and misdemeanors are all new stains
on the American soul. That is simply false.

The American soul has long been tormented by its
struggle – and failure – to do more good than evil.

A mature politics needs a mature vision of reality.
 
 
+27 # tedrey 2018-06-24 10:24
Time to hand out my grades:

Trump and his administration= F

DNC and the Democratic establishment= C-

Paul Krugman= C-

Democratic progressives=A

William Boardman= A+
 
 
+28 # Merlin 2018-06-24 12:21
Beautifully said tedrey,

From Boardman:
But the way Krugman opens his column is mind-bogglingly delusional at best, dishonestly partisan at worst.

Here is the REAL Krugman; from Wikipedia:

Krugman was noteworthy for his fierce opposition to the 2016 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. On January 19th, 2016 he wrote an article which criticized Bernie Sanders for his perceived lack of political realism, compared Sanders' plans for healthcare and financial reform unfavorably to those of Hillary Clinton, and cited criticisms of Sanders from other liberal policy wonks like Mike Konczal and Ezra Klein. Later, Krugman wrote an article which accused Sanders of "[going] for easy slogans over hard thinking" and attacking Hillary Clinton in a way that was "just plain dishonest."
 
 
+7 # Benign Observer 2018-06-24 21:55
Almost correct!

DNC and the Democratic establishment get a D-

Bernie Sanders A-
 
 
+8 # Observer 47 2018-06-25 09:43
DNC and the Democratic establishment deserve an "F" every bit as much as the Rethugs.
 
 
+3 # Benign Observer 2018-06-25 14:09
I was trying to be nice with a D-. They DO deserve an F.
 
 
+15 # BetaTheta 2018-06-24 10:37
America has always been addicted to the Parson Weems version of our own sanitized mythology. Many in the 1960's reacted against this, and that is why "intellectuals" of the right, like Newt Gingrich, so vilify the era as "decadent."

Personally, I suspect uptight folks like Gingrich just weren't having the fun their peers were, and are still pissed about that.
 
 
+41 # DudeistPriest 2018-06-24 10:48
Right on, Boardman. Let's look at the US as it is. It's never been the shining city on the hill. That's just marketing spread by politicians and their media allies. It's reached a fever pitch since the advent of television and social media which now indoctrinates, manipulates and propagandizes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People need to come to terms with the fact that the US is a militaristic country that has spread genocide, death and mayhem since it's inception. First in the Americas and after the Spanish-America n war, worldwide. It's not murdering and bombing to bring democracy, it does it for the money. It does it to intimidate and steal resources. Meanwhile, the American public, brainwashed as they are, couldn't care less. As long as they have their consumer goods the US can murder away as far as they're concerned. So when you want to see what's wrong with America look in a mirror. If you want to fix it, the the first step is to blow up your TV!
 
 
+21 # ktony 2018-06-24 10:53
Krugman lost his shine a long time ago for me. Thanks for calling him out, along with all the others who still worship American Exceptionalism.
 
 
+25 # jackdresser 2018-06-24 11:09
The blindness of self-anointed "liberals" is ever-astonishin g. Barbarity is not an American quality exclusive to Republicans. Obama was the Godfather selecting weekly drone victims and who, driven by Hillary, wantonly destroyed Libya, the most highly developed, secular, socialist state in Africa with a human development index surpassing the median among developed nations and now reduced to chaos and random predation, all to block Gaddafi's ambition to transfer control of African resources to Africans, then transfering his looted arsenal to the assembled salafist lynch mob assembled in Turkey to destroy the last developed, secular, socialist Arab state on the hit list of Israel, KSA and the US/NATO imperium. It was Hillary sadistically crowing and paraphrasing Julius Caesar when Gaddafi was murdered by sodomy. It was Clinton who imposed mass, indiscriminate, entirely gratuitous sanctions on Iraq and his Sec'y of State Madeline Albright (Hillary's friend) who coldly opined that a half-million dead Iraqi children was a price worth paying (for what??). It was Clinton who destroyed welfare and Glass-Steagall, brought us NAFTA and mandatory minimum sentencing, and expanded the private prison system that combined to destroy the inner city economy and produce the New Jim Crow. It was Clinton who secretly launched Paul Kagame into Rwanda in 1994 followed by 2 subsequent invasions of Zaire that launched the "conflict mineral" wars causing over 7 million deaths in central Africa.
 
 
+24 # Steve B 2018-06-24 11:36
I consider Donald Trump America's "balloon karma payment", not just because of our nation's beginnings in slavery and displacement (the most polite word I could find) of our Native peoples, but because of what the American empire has been and done over the past 70 years. Those who have been exhorted to "support our troops" have very rarely asked, "In doing what?"

Ironically, the isolationist Trump supporters may have a clearer awareness of this aspect of America's foreign involvement than the neoliberal apologists for Hillary and the DNC. In my view, we have devolved into a choice between the abuser party and the enabler party -- and the only workable solution seems to be an independent movement of we the people beyond the two party duopoly and the "political industrial complex" that keeps our dysfunctional and corrupt system in place.
 
 
+29 # jackdresser 2018-06-24 11:47
To continue, it was Bill Clinton who prohibited Mandela from invoking an emergency trade treaty patent rights waiver to provide generic HIV drugs for 3 million So. African AIDS patients (his Chief of Staff - and Hillary's recent campaign director - was pharmaceutical industry lobbyist John Podesta). It was Hillary who greenlighted the 2009 Honduran coup against its elected president Manuel Zelaya and lobbied OAS member recognition of the US-installed junta, reducing that country into murderous chaos ever since. It was Hillary's State Dept with her appointee Victoria Nuland that planned, financed and orchestrated the overthrow of Ukraine's elected government to further close the noose encircling Russia in violation of our agreement with Gorbachov not to do so (which had been immediately violated wholesale by the Clinton administration).

The GOP/DNC rivalry is nothing but Kabuki Theater while the empire marches on leaving devastation in its wake irrespective of the name on the Oval Office door. The difference is purely stylistic, smooth talk vs tough talk, covert vs overt arrogance, predation and militarism. Americans are easily and predictably manipulated by language. Having mastered the Mussolini jaw thrust, Trump accurately represents ALL of America with the mask off, exposing how close the whole rotten structure is to collapse.

The refugees he is rejecting and neglecting are refugees THE DUOPOLY CREATED. Helping them is a restitutional duty, not acts of charity.
 
 
+19 # Merlin 2018-06-24 13:01
Powerful summary Jack! Beautifully stated! Thanks for the history reminder.

Just because I posted this days late on another thread, I will post it again, as it is just as relevant here.

Here is the opening verse from “The Boxer” one of Paul Simon’s great songs in 1969.

I am just a poor boy
Though my story's seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest

“Liberal Democrats” who are the Democratic party, are doing exactly this. They have “squandered their resistance” for a “pocketful of neoliberal promises” right out of Obama’s mouth. They believe “all the lies and jest,” and “hear only what they want to hear,” and then “disregards the rest.”

Just so you know, history actually exists before 2017

Jack, your historical summary is so needed to counter today’s purposefully distorted MSM stenography dictated by the powers that be.
 
 
+4 # economagic 2018-06-26 19:31
Amen to all of that, and thanks for clarifying a couple of lines in that great song that I never got around to looking up.
 
 
+18 # PABLO DIABLO 2018-06-24 12:36
" if we can’t even say clearly and directly who we are and how we got this way?". Let's start with GREED. Take the land (Kill Indians), take the labor (slaves). Build and use the ATOMIC BOMB. CITIZENS UNITED finished us off. This is what America looks like when we "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN".
 
 
+10 # MindDoc 2018-06-24 13:04
2 cents worth, triggered by reference to our national "id".

First, I agree that the "ethos" & acceptance of all sorts of hate, racism, this-ism/that'i sm, blame, deflection, projection, etc. does go beyond just Trump, into the realm of echo-chamber propaganda & disinformation, along w/ polarizing, gaslighting, & normalizing the worst human instincts w/ vile actions & words "like never before". Yet most New Yorkers & observers know very well the long track record specific to the id-in-chief. Con jobs non-stop: Trump U - promoted by an illiterate without concepts! - stiffing workers and contractors and paying off countless suits through his "fixers". It's all there for decades. Immoral/amoral, beholden only to "what's good for my ratings", & bringing to bear great sums of money - the origin of which is still amazingly top secret. (This is the first "president" in my lifetime not to share his tax returns, even a year into his term.) Couldn't he give a pardon to the IRS "audit" excuse now that he sees himself as omnipotent?

To the point of national and Trumpian id: I see Trump's manipulation of "dark side" & "chaos" forces as analogous to the "id" mechanisms highlighted in the classic sci-fi film "Forbidden Planet", Morbeus is the "lord" of an abandoned planet. He inherited a machine from a wise civilization - which controls EVERYTHING. What comes out of him? "Id, id, id"! His anger destroys all. Yet he cannot see: all the evil is HIS! Familiar?

http://bit.ly/IdMorbius
 
 
+11 # economagic 2018-06-24 13:25
"Krugman surely knows all this and more, so why won’t he see it or say it? It’s as if he’s drunk the kool-aid of American Exceptionalism and must deny anything not pre-blessed by our cultural cult."

And that may be the case. But I know for certain he has drunk an only-slightly-d ifferent Kool-Aid, that of neoclassical economic dogma. I can say that: I have the same degree he has, though from a far less prestigious school and at too great an age to land a research position. Neoclassical economics differs from the classical political economy of Smith, Hume, Ricardo, Mill (pere et fis), and many others ONLY in having a thin veneer of mathematics that seemed appropriate in the late 19th century but isn't. Both are still pure speculative philosophy, pseudo-science put forth as dogma.

In fact, it may have originated not as an attempt to analyze the industrial market economy, as I always told my students, but as an "apologia" for the rising bourgeoisie in the 17th and 18th centuries (accountants, lawyers, merchants, and of course the factory owners themselves), who were gaining significant wealth and influence without the fig leaf of Divine Right, which was reserved for the kings. See Smith and Max-Neef, "Economics Unmasked: From power and greed to compassion and the common good."
 
 
+9 # lfeuille 2018-06-24 16:33
I accept what you say about the influence of neoclassical economic dogma on Klugman's thinking but I can't help thinking that self-interest may play a part in his case. If he is not a bottom tier 1%er he is pretty close, among the 10% that reportedly bolster the 1% and help them stay in power. He is not just an economist getting by on an academic salary, he is a celebrity journalist with the corresponding income boost that entails.
 
 
+6 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-06-24 19:35
econo -- I'm not an economist but I've read a lot of Mill (pere et fils), Ricardo, Say, Smith and others. You make a very important point about the transition from political economy or economics as a branch of humanities and philosophy to the economics as a social or sometimes hard science, as Krugman and his fellow practice. I think that kind of economics, classical economics, died out although it is still around in university settings. Neo-liberalism is also a return to the liberalism of Ricardo and the Mills. But is is clearly a political economy.

I think Marxists went through the same problem in trying to Marx's philosophy scientific. It is not.
 
 
+5 # economagic 2018-06-25 20:19
My point was that the "neoclassical economics" of Marshall and all "mainstream" economists since (late 19th century) IS the classical philosophy of Smith et al, with the thin veneer of Newton's math (calculus) on the claim that it is thereby rendered "scientific" so need no longer be called "political" economy.

That's a great reading list you have there. Ricardo and Marshall are the two most influential practitioners of what I call "classical-trad ition" economics that (almost!) no one outside the profession has heard of.

J. B. Say was one of the post-Bastille French political economists whose "irrational exuberance" led Malthus to write his "Essay on the Principle of Population" (1798). Say and Malthus had a long, friendly correspondence exploring their opposing views. Malthus was a far greater intellectual, but like J. S. Mill not a great debater, so generally on the losing side.

This is unfortunate because "Say's Law" (nonsense) is still taught in introductory courses. He never said "Supply creates it's own demand," Keynes' paraphrase for his colleagues, most of whom had read Say, some in the original French. But it was in essence the "supply side" economics of Arthur the Laughable, and also the "Efficient Markets Hypothesis."

I am not well versed in Marx, but his "theory was not "scientific" because it was based on the same fallacies as the rest. His contribution was the recognition that human institutions are important, which Marshall explicitly denied.
 
 
+6 # economagic 2018-06-24 20:49
I forgot to add: Professor K is bound by the unwritten bylaws of the "professional" associations of which he is a member to "believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
 
 
+7 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-06-25 07:17
econo -- here is something you might find interesting.



"What happens when ordinary people learn economics?"

Aditya Chakrabortty


It is interesting how economics is mis-taught and some of the people catch on to this intuitivesly. They are discussing classical economics like Ricardo and Bentham and it is all about distribution, supply, markets. Marx is missing. But one student intuits Marx's foundation for economics -- the transformation of objects of nature into objects of human use. That transformation is accomplished by labor.

We could use a massive demystification of economics. Our media keeps the mystification going, so that we leave it to the experts like Krugman. I remember the ways when Friedman and Samuelson were the experts. Those were the bad old days.
 
 
+5 # economagic 2018-06-25 20:27
I will have to respond to this one later. The neoclassical mainstream is STILL all about "distribution, supply, markets," etc.--which is precisely "the transformation of objects of nature into objects of human use"! Marx is only part of the demystification . There is a rich tradition of "heterodox" economic thought going back more than 150 years and increasingly rampant today. It has been suppressed by the AEA (and BEA) for nearly 50 years in preference to acknowledging that Say was R-O-N-G, but it was mainstream prior to the "New Classical" economics of Robert Lucas and others beginning in the early 70s.

Don't even think about trying to follow all that! I promise I will fill in a couple of very big gaps about this time tomorrow, which will make you even more determined.
 
 
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-06-25 07:21
forgot the link --

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/20/ordinary-people-learn-economics-manchester-classes
 
 
+3 # economagic 2018-06-26 20:22
Thanks for the link. I have heard of Chakrabortty but sad to say had never read any of his work. He is certainly on the right track, and as an Oxford history major is light years ahead of the majority of "mainstream" (neoclassical) economists, who are abysmally ignorant of history (more so than even I am), which should be their database.

Symptomatic of the confusion inherent in the "discipline" (?!?) the term itself is used in several drastically different senses. It is derived, as you may know, from two Greek words (roughly, "oeco nomos"), which translate roughly as "household management." One source of which I seem to have lost track translates freely as "I take care of my family."

I have a story and more about the response of a group in the UK led by one of my heterodox/insti tutionalist colleagues, a grand old English gentleman, to the Queen's question in the aftermath of the Crash of 2008. (Krugman admitted that the classical orthodoxy--not his words--had been blinded by the math.)

I must beg off for another 24 hours for a fuller answer, but for my money THE best summary of the History of Economic Thought is "The Worldly Philosophers," by Richard Heilbronner. He was an economic historian, and economic history is a completely separate field from HET" of which every economics doctorate has one semester. Remember, economists shun history as it would blow them out of the water.

Tomorrow I will recommend a great graphic summary of Heilbronner, with extras.
 
 
0 # economagic 2018-06-27 20:15
OK, a few loose ends:

"Economix," by Michael Goodwin, illustrated by Dan E. Burr (economixcomix. com), is an excellent interpretation of "The Worldly Philosophers" in graphic non-fiction format. Toward the end Goodwin and Burr part company with the mainstream, the history of which they have been recounting, and explain why.

The student revolt at the University of Manchester in 2013, mentioned by Chakrabortty, is by no means the only such revolt, nor even the biggest. In the year 2000 a group of French grad students in economics went on strike against their professors for teaching only sterile math instead of anything faintly connected with the real economy. They formed the "Post-Autistic Economics Network," which after several transformations became the World Economics Association, now the largest association of economists and students of economics in the world.

Finally, Geoffrey Hodgson, a long-time advocate for heterodox economic theories and approaches, and for methodological and paradigmatic pluralism in economics as in the actual social sciences, led a response to the Queen's question and the weak response from the LSE. It was based on the idea that one cannot understand the economy meaningfully as an abstract entity apart from the human institutions of which it is a part. Marx was one of the first to recognize their importance and some scholars still consider that his greatest contribution.
 
 
+15 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-06-24 14:17
"Donald Trump was not so much a unique persona in triumph as he was the cobbled-togethe r excrescence of more than 40 years of collective struggle by right-wing operatives trying to build their own fantasy of America, which Trump now embodies, perhaps imperfectly in the eyes of the idealist right. But he’s their Frankenstein creation and the rabble loves him, contradictory sewn-together bits and all.

Trumpenstein was a long time in the making"


This is one of the best descriptions of Trump I've read. It covers his episodic ideology as well as his con-artistry and his deep ignorance.

What's so scary about this is that the same process also is true of democrats. Both suffer from this progressive American dementia and alzheimers.


But I don't agree that "Krugman surely knows all this and more." I don't think he does. This is not the way economists are trained to think. They have very tight and narrow theories and they search for data that can be pushed into the theory. They are not very good at politics or humanities. The don't see real people, only statistics and theories about people.


Boardman's insights about Trump are really useful. What we need is a deep understanding of the historical moment we are in. In that way we can fight not just the symptoms of Trumpism, but its root causes.
 
 
+12 # Wise woman 2018-06-24 14:25
You are beyond correct, Mr. Boardman. Thank you for elaborating the true story of what this country has always been. The fault dear friends is not in our stars but in what we don't want to see or admit to as if that would make us weak in the eyes of the world. Well our weakness lies in the fact that we have not eradicated these horrendous faults and become a nation of peace and justice. A country we can take pride in for all the RIGHT reasons not one that is a bully at home while bragging to all who listen about how great we are or will be again. We never were if truth be told!!!
 
 
+10 # Elroys 2018-06-24 15:27
Both Krugman and Boardman make important points. As a boomer I have always felt that not only is American capable of extraordinary "goodness", our entire species is equally capable. I believe the vast majority of humans and Americans are empathetic, compassionate and understand the power of love to overcome the vile and evil nature of others like trump and his cabinet of corrupt goons. But trump is merely the pimple that needed to be popped to expose the puss seething beneath the surface of America's skin. From the genocide of America's 1st - Native Americans, to slavery, dominance of testosterone over the feminine in all our natures, America's potential has been stymied by extraordinary greed for gold and power - the power to write laws that takes from the American middle and working class and gives it to the wealthy. The goes back to the Powell Doctrine from 1971 when Powell created the strategy for far right to take over our nation. And that's what has happened and why trump is at the top of the garbage heap. The Republicans in Congress re owned by the wealthy elite and their party is devoid of life, humanity, love and compassions. These same people created nearly 100% of our nation's deficits (starting with Reagan), created the unnecessary and criminal war in Iraq and have fooled most republicans into believing that they care about the white working class and those that foam at the mouth over this horrible human - trumpty dumptser. Wake up, America - please.
 
 
+8 # librarian1984 2018-06-26 11:09
I agree most people are good, or at least live-and-let-li ve neutral. The problem is it only takes a few motivated psychopaths and their henchman to game the system and cow the majority.

History is a series of actions and reactions but those in power have interrupted that dynamic by consolidating power and neutralizing checks and balances. They ignore our input and don't care about our welfare.

One way to improve things is to put good people in place to make corrections. We saw how that went this last election, when the Democrats sabotaged a reformer.

We have to understand our problem is with the establishment, Democrats included. 'A Crisis of Democracy' was their version of the Powell Memorandum, and the 'crisis' was us, citizens who wanted a say. There are creepy parallels between the two documents, highlighting their similar goals and methods.

The GOP could not accomplish what they have without the cooperation of the Democrats. Reagan and Clinton together fundamentally destroyed our economic and social stability, and both parties rake in the fruits of their combined criminality.

Another way to reform is revolution, which is bevoming more likely.
 
 
+3 # economagic 2018-06-26 19:24
Rebecca Gordon's essay at TomDispatch.com on the situation in Nicaragua, which has been picked up by RSN and other outlets, recounts much of the slide from Nixon through RayGun, the Georges and the Clintons, and Obama, in which Carter was a bit player, the right man in the wrong p0lace at the wrong time.
 
 
+5 # futhark 2018-06-24 16:16
For all the evil things they espouse and promote, you have to give the Trumplicans credit of persistence. A few years back I was registered as a Republican to support the candidacy of Rep. Ron Paul, chiefly for his principled stand against widespread and wasteful military commitments and activities in foreign countries. After Dr. Paul failed to secure the Republican presidential nomination, I reregistered first with the Green Party, then as a Democrat to vote for Senator Sanders in the 2016 primaries.

However, the Republican National Committee hasn't done their homework in following my party preference changes, as they have in the past several months sent me 3 questionnaires (really appeals for donations), ostensibly to obtain guidance from Party members on various issues, but with question heavily slanted to support Mr. Trump's approach and policies. Each time I returned these surveys with answers diametrically opposed to their positions and pointing out how Mr. Trump poses a clear and present danger to both the continuance of the Republican Party and life on our planet, as well as advising them to "Dump Trump!". So, a week ago I received a letter from them inquiring why I have yet to make the generous donation for their "cause". Persistence may be an admirable trait, but not if it is in support of that which is ignorant, ill-informed, and downright evil. My contribution will continue to be $0.00, paid in regular installments.
 
 
+4 # lfeuille 2018-06-24 16:44
The trouble with the framing of this article fand all the others saying that Trump is not the problem is that it will be used as an excuse to let Trump off the hook for all of his transgressions. It's not his fault, he's just a product of history. Well it is his fault that he has decided to double down on all of the worst aspects of American political culture and it will not be possible to address the underlying issue's while he is still here committing one atrocity after another so the the opposition never has a chance to focus. If we are going to make any progress, he has to go. Trump may not be the ORIGINAL problem, but he exacerbates it beyond anyone else in modern history and becomes a problem in and of himself.
 
 
+11 # WBoardman 2018-06-25 13:23
Ifeuille misreads my meaning,
which may be my fault.

It is KRUGMAN who uses the it's-all-Trump' s-fault frame,
and it is MY argument that that is wrong-headed, etc.

Of course Trump is an integral part of the larger problem,
but he is not all of it and he inherited most of it.
His accomplishment, as it were, is making it so much worse
that people are beginning to notice.

Ifeuille essentially accuses me of not making my own argument,
and then makes it for me.

The current awakening (if it's real) is heartening, but
it won't mean much without deep historical understanding.
 
 
+6 # jackdresser 2018-06-25 15:11
I don't see how Trump is "making it so much worse that people are beginning to notice." He's simply a low-hanging pinata that's impossible not to notice in a population that notices very little and almost nothing beyond the borders of our sacred "homeland." Virtually every day Trump commands the front page above the fold with something, usually some manipulative theatrical buffoonery, often modified or reversed later to keep everybody guessing.

My doctorate is in psychology, the science of behavior. The massive, horrific imperial atrocities throughout the last 38 years committed by the Reagan/Bush and Clinton/Obama dynasties serving both the neoconservative and neoliberal crime families that rule America are state behaviors that dwarf anything Trump has done (yet).

His promise to collaborate with rather than confront Russia (which was Hillary's intent) is evident in Syria, where the bleeding has largely stopped after 7 years of psychopathic imperial mayhem inflicted by his predecessors, with rational voices of Putin, Lavrov and Assad now permitted in the US and UK MSM. They are a pleasure to hear.
 
 
+8 # librarian1984 2018-06-26 08:18
Those are different things imo.

We're saying Trump's not the ONLY problem and he's not fundamentally separate from the GOP.

Sometimes Trump and the GOP agree (deconstruction , deregulation); other times they use him as a smokescreen (packing the courts while we obsess about tweets) -- but the Republicans aren't our allies. They won't stand up to him, despite his atrocities, for political expediency. That can't go without consequence. He may be an accelerant but he's not a different species.. When he's gone the GOP is still there.

The establishment wants to paint Trump as a unique phenomenon who upset a working system but that's not what happened. The Republicams, with their hate-filled rhetoric and fearmongering, have been priming his pump for decades, while the Democrats handed him an opening when they didn't let the people choose their candidate. They abandoned populism and forced a bad candidate onto the ticket for political reasons.

It's essential we understand how we got Trump so we can prevent future Trumps -- but that doesn't mean he's not accountable for his actions and words.

It's important we think tactically. We need to tie him to the GOP like an anchor. When his house of cards comes crashing down -- and it will -- the reckoning must extend to the GOP. He is not separate from them.

And when he's gone the crisis isn't over. We must continue to attack right wing policy. We must continue to demand reform of the DP.
 
 
+7 # tedrey 2018-06-26 10:44
Read Librarian's post once more to know exactly what I also believe on this. (Not that I'm lazy, but I'm off to the doctor this afternoon to have my head examined . . . or at least the new hole in it.) Wish me well.
 
 
+8 # Benign Observer 2018-06-24 22:06
This article has some fantastic commentary -- and 'cobbled-togeth er excrescence' is one of my new favorite phrases!
 
 
+7 # Sir Morien 2018-06-26 07:32
A well-written & thoughtful critique, but missing the mark. Jackdresser has it most correct: we are in an era of decomposition & raw revelation of the insane logical conclusions of "Americanism"-- capitalistic greed under camouflage of democratic idealism that always loses to individualistic economic imperatives!

Krugman's ilk have luxuriated in a white male privilege castle & moat blinding their unconscious allegiance to a totally decadent status quo. Review the Pentagon's history alongside spooky intelligence agendas to understand the falsity of partisan democracy here. Each & every institution within the US is in chaos as the emerging paradigm of a new global human community is creating itself from a different set of core values & requisites for human survival/wholen ess. Critiquing Krugman may be useful for denuding neo-liberal dribble, but does little to aid in the new definition of human cultural imperatives that will serve the coming generations!

Each of us is responsible, in some embarrassing degree, for the world in which we now live. Criticizing others without a quintessential consensus on what values must guide even those critiques is only further distraction from the task at hand: we need to define what it means to be fully human, what that complete humanity requires for more than mere sustenance & how we will strategically move to make ourselves better as we pursue a better world. It begins within ourselves, making community & institutions serving new values!
 

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