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Friday, August 12, 2016

Paul Krugman, "Pieces of Silver": How About Pieces of Something Else?

Interviewed by Fox News's Sandra Smith, Charles Krauthammer had this to say concerning the burgeoning scandal involving the Clinton Foundation's ties to the State Department:

"We know that even within that small sample [of emails obtained by Judicial Watch], there were at least two examples of self-dealing between the Clinton Foundation, which is a sort of a machine for siphoning money from rich, foreign, sometimes unsavory sources into an organization whose one purpose is to create a network self-funded for Clinton cronies and hangers-onners, the administration in waiting, and that it was dealing, getting favors, for the people who are contributing to it from the State Department. Now, that is so obviously, it may not be illegal, you may not be able to prove a quid pro quo, but this sort of use of the Foundation and then working with the State Department, whether it was Hillary personally or not, does not matter, to get favors is a form of corruption at the least."


In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Pieces of Silver," Paul Krugman doesn't dare mention the Clinton Foundation. Rather, he speculates as to why Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell continue to support Trump. Krugman begins:

"By now, it’s obvious to everyone with open eyes that Donald Trump is an ignorant, wildly dishonest, erratic, immature, bullying egomaniac. On the other hand, he’s a terrible person. But despite some high-profile defections, most senior figures in the Republican Party — very much including Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, and Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader — are still supporting him, threats of violence and all. Why?

One answer is that these were never men and women of principle. I know that many in the news media are still determined to portray Mr. Ryan, in particular, as an honest man serious about policy, but his actual policy proposals have always been transparent con jobs.

Another answer is that in an era of intense partisanship, the greatest risk facing many Republican politicians isn’t that of losing in the general election, it’s that of losing to an extremist primary challenger. This makes them afraid to cross Mr. Trump, whose ugliness channels the true feelings of the party’s base."

Krugman proceeds to proffer yet another possible reason for the support of Ryan and McConnell: The Republican Party is all about preserving tax benefits, both income and estate, for the rich. Krugman's conclusion:

"For the fact is that right now, when it matters, they have decided that lower tax rates on the rich are sufficient payment for betraying American ideals and putting the republic as we know it in danger."

Okay, Paul, I agree that Trump could turn the entire planet into a nuclear wasteland, but in terms of catering to the rich, including foreign nationals, is what Hillary did with the Clinton Foundation any better than Republican pandering to the wealthy elite? I don't think so.

Pieces of silver? How about pieces of something else - both of them.

1 comment:


    "...Trump might be an effective communicator with his core audience, but others have trouble understanding him. His speaking style couldn’t be more removed from the anodyne and cautious political rhetoric of our era. This can be a challenge for political journalists in particular. His sentences run on into paragraphs. He avoids specificity or contradicts himself when he doesn’t. His sentences trail into other sentences before they finish. He doesn’t play the usual games that the media are used to. It’s frustrating.
    4) Pretending This Rhetoric Is Abnormal

    People accuse their political opponents of being responsible for bad things all the time. Clinton accused Trump of being ISIS’ top recruiter. Bush’s CIA and NSA chief said Trump was a “recruiting sergeant” for ISIS. Former NYC mayor Rudy Guiliani said Hillary Clinton could be considered a founding member of ISIS.

    6) We’re Still Not Talking about Widespread Dissatisfaction with Our Foreign Policy

    Let’s think back to the opening vignette. Trump went into the South in the middle of the Republican primary and ostentatiously micturated over George W. Bush’s Iraq policy. The voters of South Carolina rewarded him with a victory.

    Here’s the real scandal in this outrage-du-jour: by pretending to think that Trump was claiming Obama had operational control over ISIS’ day-to-day decision making, the media failed to cover widespread dissatisfaction with this country’s foreign policy, whether it’s coming from George W. Bush or Barack Obama.

    Many Americans are rather sick of this country’s way of fighting wars, where enemies receive decades of nation-building instead of crushing defeats, and where threats are pooh-poohed or poorly managed instead of actually dealt with.

    Trump may be an uneven and erratic communicator who is unable to force that discussion in a way that a more traditional candidate might, but the media shouldn’t have to be forced into it. Crowds are cheering Trump’s hard statements about Obama and Clinton’s policies in the Middle East because they are sick and tired of losing men, women, treasure and time with impotent, misguided, aimless efforts there.

    The vast majority of Americans supported invading Iraq, even if many of them deny they supported it now. Americans have lost confidence in both Republican and Democratic foreign policy approaches. No amount of media hysteria will hide that reality."