Frenzy

Tired of the Trump-Russia stories yet? Well, they are only just beginning. Which is strange because much of the information coming out now could have come out a year ago, if anyone had bothered trying to dig. But the “liberal media” didn’t at the time and has only really started to get going.

If you’re tired of today’s press, you’re far from alone. The problem, however, isn’t bias but a severe case of “shiny object syndrome” where nothing is investigated unless it appears popular.

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Progress?

When former FBI Director James Comey testified in the Senate, it was as if the grown-ups had finally arrived. It wasn’t just the air of authority that this straight talking man projects, either. It was the respectful lack of grandstanding demonstrated by actual US Senators which truly enshrined the moment. Whatever comes of this it’s not going to be childish and stupid.

As I write this, there is another sign that the world may be returning to normal. The results of the UK election are still coming in and they are telling. It’s not that the Conservatives have lost their majority which counts here. It’s the fact that polling in these elections is actually predictive once again. It was absolutely reliable before the last election and the Brexit vote, perfectly predicting the results. Polling is back this time and it appears that the world is actually returning to something like normal.

Not that there isn’t chaos in the hung parliament. But it’s bounded, orderly chaos. Small victory.

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The Crazy Peaks

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.

Trump is clearly the most dangerous when he is hunkered down and connected to reality only by the thin thread of twitter. The last week has apparently felt even more besieged than usual, either out of exhaustion from his trip or in anticipation of James Comey’s testimony to Congress. Either way, the net result has been a disaster – and the worst may well be yet to come.

If it’s not yet clear to everyone that this man is not fit to lead anything it will be soon.

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“That’s Our Hitler!”

The moment comes about halfway through Mel Brooks’ brilliant 1968 movie “The Producers”. Max Bialystock is deep into his plot to stage the worst musical ever for the purpose of having it close after one performance. All he has to do is raise far more money than the flop could possibly take to stage and no one will ask for their share of the 25,000% of the profits which has been sold to investors. The worst musical ever, “Springtime for Hitler,” has been chosen. It’s now time to cast it.

Hippie Lorenzo Saint DuBois wanders into the casting call and gives his performance. As soon as he says, “If everyone in the world had a flower instead of a gun the world would be one big smell-in!” Bialystock rises triumphantly and declares, “That’s our Hitler!”

It’s the moment when simple comedy runs boldly over the line into farce and never looks back.

So it is with the Trump “budget”. For all we have said about the aspiring dictatorship we can now proclaim that we have our Hitler – but not in the sense anyone expected.

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Stumbling Into War?

The scandals of the Trump administration have filled the news. There can be no doubt that this is a perilous time for the United States as a constitutional crisis tied deeply to Russia unfolds. Unfortunately, this became even more dangers with a new revelation of alleged treachery.

The story out today is that Michael Flynn, acting as the incoming administration’s representative, called off US support for the SDF militia fighting Da’esh (ISIS) on 10 Jan. He may have been acting more on behalf of Turkey, which reportedly paid him $500,000.

Understanding this situation and why it is so dangerous for the entire world requires some deep background. It will be difficult for the mainstream press to catch up, so it is our pleasure to provide it here.

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Trump Alternative Universe

This is a quick post outside of my regular schedule because the nation I love is in terrible peril and it’s clear that far too many people do not appreciate the real problem:

The president is not sane.

Everything else is irrelevant. The executive orders, North Korea, even the Russian hacking of our election are completely secondary to the immediate problem in front of us. The most powerful person in the world is not sane and we have to do something about it immediately.

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Decades in the (re)Making

“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. … Let us restore the golden rule to our political process, and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate.”

– Gerald R. Ford, “Remarks Upon Taking the Oath of Office as President

Something happened to our nation in 1974. It was more than Watergate and the disgrace of President Nixon. Years later, Jimmy Carter famously called it “malaise” – a feeling of unease that is hard to pin down. As we discussed in People’s Economics it shows up as a turning point in the economy, too.

Primarily it’s been a crisis of spirit and identity. Who are we? What are we doing?

The natural end to this crisis may be at hand. Like an addict on a 43 year bender, rock bottom might come from the Watergate script pitched as a pointless remake. At first I wanted to call it Nixon on steroids, but this is Nixon on meth. How bad can it get?

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