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Friday, March 25, 2016

David Brooks, "The Post-Trump Era": How Obama Tangoed While Brussels Burned



"The timing was awkward, coming right before the Brussels bombings, but Obama is roughly right on his facts: 464 people drowned in America in tubs, sometimes after falls, in 2013, while 17 were killed here by terrorists in 2014 (the most recent years for which I could get figures). Of course, that’s not an argument for relaxing vigilance, for at some point terrorists will graduate from explosives to nuclear, chemical or biological weapons that could be far more devastating than even 9/11. But it is an argument for addressing global challenges a little more rationally."

- Nicholas Kristof, "Overreacting to Terrorism?," March 24, 2016

In one of the most insensitive opinion pieces in the history of The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof yesterday explained away Obama's indifference to the horrors of the attacks in Brussels by telling us that "our brains sometimes mislead us." Or stated otherwise, it was perfectly okay for Obama to participate in a "wave" at a Havana baseball game and tango in Buenos Aires, i.e. fiddle while Rome burned, because only "17 were killed here by terrorists in 2014." Although Kristof makes mention of 9/11, he conveniently decides not to tell us of the 2,977 terror-linked deaths on that date, or that bridges and tunnels leading into Manhattan were closed, subways in New York City were shut down, and all flights over the US and Canada were cancelled. The cost to the US economy of 9/11: some $3.3 trillion. Needless to say, flights over the US and Canada are not cancelled when someone drowns in a bathtub, as tragic as such a mishap might be.

I am at a loss for words to condemn Kristof's coldhearted support of Obama's insouciance which derives from a narcissistic personality disorder.

Fast-forward 24 hours: In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Post-Trump Era," David Brooks doesn't even mention Brussels. Rather, regarding "Reagan Orthodoxy," Brooks would have us know:

"Now along comes Donald Trump, an angel of destruction, to blow it all to smithereens."

Something bad? Heck no! Ever cheerful even about the onset of middle-age (you will recall his prior euphoric opinion piece), Brooks concludes:

"We’re going to have two parties in this country. One will be a Democratic Party that is moving left. The other will be a Republican Party. Nobody knows what it will be, but it’s exciting to be present at the re-creation."

Excuse me, David, if I skip the celebration.

Meanwhile, in a Times op-ed entitled "Crazy About Money," Paul Krugman today also avoids any mention of Brussels. Instead, Krugman tells us that Ted Cruz "has staked out positions on crucial issues that are, not to put too fine a point on it, crazy." Krugman's conclusion:

"The moral here is that we shouldn’t be surprised by the Republican establishment’s willingness to rally behind Mr. Cruz. Yes, Mr. Cruz portrays himself as an outsider, and has managed to make remarkably many personal enemies. But while his policy ideas are extreme, they reflect the same extremism that pervades the party’s elite.

There are no moderates, or for that matter, sensible people, anywhere in this story."

Hillary, a secretary of state who set up a porous email server in her home basement that could be hacked at will by all of America's enemies, and Bernie, who would slash the US defense budget in the face of threats from ISIS, Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, are more "sensible" than Ted? Yeah, right. And on the subject of "sensible," let us not forget Krugman's proposal for a trillion dollar platinum coin.

Moreover, who is Krugman, who once declared, "It’s clear what kinds of things the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators want, and it’s really the job of policy intellectuals and politicians to fill in the details," to school us on "moderation"?

These are noxious times in which we live.

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