“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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Ready for the Main Event?

Before the circus came to town, it was Barataria’s position that we’d all be wise to ignore it as much as we possibly can. Obviously, we don’t heed our own advice.

Then again, things are happening which may point right at the heart of the problem – the flurry of Washingtoonia that actually winds up making a difference. In the great three ring circus of government it’s time to keep your eyes firmly on the center ring – and whether the supposedly tamed bear eats the Ringmaster.

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Do We Have an Actual President?

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. I have said many times that the best thing to do with President Trump is to ignore his antics. His address to Congress is the chance to redeem it all and make something happen.

In keeping with what passes for press today, here is my live commentary.

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An Immediate Crisis

You realize we’re less than one month into this circus, yes?

After a press conference today the problem at hand should be obvious to absolutely everyone – the President has a severe mental illness. Nothing else matters at this point. There will be many sentences written, many hours of panel discussions, and hundreds of facebook posts shared going around this simple and obvious fact. But like the vast majority of our politics, it will be irrelevant.

The only thing which matters at this time is the peril faced by the United States, and indeed the world, because so much power is in the hands of someone obviously not well.

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