I look back wistfully at halcyon 1984 and the re-coronation of King Ronald the Vague, the previous champion of telling the great unwashed what they wanted to hear.
Nobody wanted to recognize that our gardens of stone were not as rosy as presented by the B-movie actor perversely portraying his idol, Franklin Roosevelt.
I gloried in being vilified for correctly forecasting the expansion of states and regions taking up the slack from a hollowed-out federal government. Like now.
For one of my first columns for this newspaper in 1988, I confronted the Chiléan consul general at a Reno Republican luncheon. He basically called me a commie.
I decried the Nixon-Kissinger regime’s 1973 overthrow and murder of democratically elected Chiléan President Salvador Allénde. I was especially disturbed by our dictator’s devotion to economist Milton Friedman’s acolytes at the University of Chicago.
Starting in Hitler-loving Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s Chilé then going worldwide, Friedman’s laissez-faire, deregulatory philosophy facilitated the destruction of the lives of millions. It also made a very few people very, very, very rich.
Vladimir Putin is probably the wealthiest man in the world today, worth well over $400 billion by some estimates. He makes Bill Gates and Warren Buffet look poor, which probably goes a long way toward explaining Tsar Donaldov’s admiration for Russia’s killer kleptocrat.
The strategy of the world’s oligarchs is simple: Never fail to take advantage of a good crisis. The awesome Naomi Klein documented the toxic phenomenon in her landmark 2007 bestseller “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.”
Klein recently updated her work for the Age of Trumpsky in the September Harper’s Magazine with “W.W.E. the People…the first reality TV president.”
The Barbwire has been one of the smallest voices in a long line of Cassandras shouting warnings not to let that wooden horse through the gates. “Reagan for Beginners” (Writers & Readers Documentary Comics, 1984) correctly depicted the cartoon America would become. Much of what Reagan finished, Jimmy Carter started and Trump is now setting in cement, engraving his signature before it dries, of course.
On Dec. 7, the 76th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Heather Cox Richardson sounded a funeral dirge at BillMoyers.com/
“The Republican Tax Bill Is a Poison Pill That Kills (Roosevelt’s) New Deal: Today’s Republicans would have fit right into Herbert Hoover’s administration.”
Indeed, as two-time Pulitzer winners Donald Barlett and James Steele wrote two decades ago, the economic speeches of Ronald Reagan were cribbed from Hoover’s treasury secretary, the Scroogish Andrew W. Mellon who advocated Friedmanism long before Friedman and his muse, Ayn Rand.
The old excuse being regurgitated today as to why Mellon’s Reaganomics has never worked is that it’s never really been tried.
When Bush the Lesser turned Iraq into our 51st state, his viceroy Paul Bremer wiped out all of Saddam Hussein’s laws save a ban on labor unions. The totally deregulated, oil-soaked country was promoted as the perfect laboratory to spawn economic Valhalla, a petri dish of populist prosperity. All corporations welcome. Swing your project and rock ‘n’ roll.
How’s that working so far?
No less than Al Capone refused to invest in the stock market because he knew a racket when he saw one.
“If Trump succeeds in building his own version of a mafia state, America, once a beacon to all the world, Reagan’s shining city on a hill, will more closely resemble Putin’s Moscow.” So concluded Princeton University Prof. Sean Wilentz in the current Rolling Stone.
It’s not that no one’s listening. It’s just that most have listened too late.
Where’s the hope? Alas, only in disaster. Great Depression Part Deux.
More than two years before the 2008 collapse, this Cassandra saw the horse. It took no special talent. Just reading the public record and ignoring the bleating of sheep.
I repeat: Bury some gold in a coffee can in your backyard.
A new Franklin Roosevelt will appear as one always does, but the pain will be very, very severe.
Happy High Holly Days to you and yours anyway.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 49-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com/ E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.