Reading Barack Obama on the protests, and what you can do, it’s hard not to imagine how much better he and Vice President Biden would have handled the pandemic than Trump and Pence.

And thus the economy as well.

The 4.7% unemployment Obama/Biden left us with — wrestled down from 10% at the trough of Bush’s Great Recession — would have likely just kept falling without piling on trillions in tax cuts for the rich.  Instead, we have Trump’s Great Recession.

It’s hard not to imagine how much better they would have handled China.  Their painstakingly negotiated 11-nation TransPacific Partnership would have had us crafting the rules of the road, not China.  (Bonus: it wouldn’t have decimated America’s farmers.)

And health care: mending, not ending, it.

And climate.

And honesty and ethics and, yes, race relations.

Watch Houston police chief Acevedo’s message to Trump on that score.

Head Butler Jesse Kornbluth turned me on to the lyrics to Dylan’s The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll.  I knew the song (just as I knew Lady Gaga’s Poker Face), but I had never been able to make out the lyrics (for years I heard “cherry pie” where she was singing “can’t read my”).

Dylan’s lyrics are timely and chilling.

I found myself wondering just how true to history they were, and found the real story.  (Also: what happened next.)  Still chilling, still damning — but not as bad as last week’s crime in Minneapolis.  Unlike William Zantzinger, Derek Chauvin was not drunk when he killed George Floyd — he was sober.  He was not some spoiled rich kid — he was an officer of the law.  The harm he inflicted was delivered not impulsively, in a momentary burst — but with plenty of time for reflection over eight minutes and forty-six seconds.  It was not condoned by three other officers of the law — just a lone, really awful — non-lethal — whack.

And it was 1963.

We’re supposed to have come a long way since then — and have.  But, as is so painfully obvious, not nearly far enough.

Is This the Worst Year in Modern American History? asks Jim Fallows in the AtlanticComparing 2020 to 1968 offers some disquieting lessons for the present.

Read Barack ObamaWatch Chief Acevedo.



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