Tuesday, January 3, 2017

beat him with a ham sandwich

{Bob Dylan -- from the Drawn Blank Series}

Economist Paul Krugman had an Opinion-Editorial ("op-ed") in the New York Times January 2, titled, "America becomes a stan" - meaning that with Trump and overwhelming Republican majorities in Congress, we will become less free, like the countries ending in "stan" -- Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, etc. ...

The article says,

>>>>>>>>>>> ...Cults of personality are actually the norm in the "stans," the Central Asian countries that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union, all of which are ruled by strongmen who surround themselves with tiny cliques of wealthy crony capitalists.

Americans used to find the antics of these regimes, with their tinpot dictators, funny.  But who's laughing now?

We are, after all, about to hand over power to a man who has spent his whole adult life trying to build a cult of personality....

With only a couple of weeks until Inauguration Day, Donald Trump has done nothing substantive to reduce the unprecedented -- or, as he famously wrote on Twitter, "unpresidented" -- conflicts of interest created by his businesses....

This means that Mr. Trump will be in violation of the spirit, and arguably the letter, of the Constitution's emoluments clause, which bars gifts or profits from foreign leaders, the instant he recites the oath of office. 

But who's going to hold him accountable?  Some prominent Republicans are already suggesting that, rather than enforcing the ethics laws, Congress should simply change them to accommodate [Mr. Trump].

And the corruption won't be limited to the very top:  The new administration seems set to bring blatant self-dealing into the center of our political system.

...Donald Trump seems to be assembling a team of cronies, choosing billionaires with obvious, deep conflicts of interest for many key positions in his administration.

In short, America is rapidly turning into a stan.

...Let's get real.  Everything we know suggests that we're entering an era of epic corruption and contempt for the rule of law, with no restraint whatsoever.

How could this happen in a nation that has long prided itself as a role model for democracies everywhere? 

In a direct sense, Mr. Trump's elevation was made possible by the F.B.I.'s blatant intervention in the election, Russian subversion, and the supine news media that obligingly played up fake scandals while burying real ones on the back pages.

But this debacle didn't come out of nowhere.  We've been on the road to stan-ism for a long time:  an increasingly radical G.O.P., willing to do anything to gain and hold power, has been undermining our political culture for decades. ... <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
[end, excerpt / Krugman op-ed]


NYT Reader Comment
Leonard Flier.    Buffalo, New York

^^  You're forgetting the rot in the DNC and the cronyism in the Democratic party that led to the nomination of a candidate so arrogant and insular...who, when challenged to reveal what she said to Wall Street banks that caused them to give her so much money, simply declared that this wasn't something voters needed to know. 

A candidate who epitomized the Democratic party's abandonment of the ... working-class Midwestern voters who were once the party's base.  And a candidate who, as Secretary of State flouted security rules in ways that would have cost any ordinary employee their security clearance.

What did all you geniuses in the mainstream liberal media think was going to happen?  Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate.  The Democrats should have been able to beat Donald Trump with a ham sandwich.  But they chose Clinton and the rest is history.

Blame the FBI and the Russians if you want, but you're missing the point.  And if you're unable to see it, you're in real danger of repeating your mistake.

Reader Comment
Mike BoMa.    Virginia

^^  It may seem melodramatic, but

Krugman is right to warn us that we have begun to sow the seeds of our own destruction. 

As our country's political processes and norms, let alone laws, are further eroded or compromised by the GOP's

perverse pursuit of parochial power

used now in part to accommodate Trump's openly voiced imperial megalomaniacal aspirations,

the only question is what form the opposition will take. 

It must be focused, strategic, unrelenting, well-led, well-resourced and immediate.  As of yet, no one has emerged as a capable ... leader. 





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