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It’s hard to believe that Paul LePage is Governor of a State in America…

The other day, Gov. Paul LePage (R) of Maine said that the Internal Revenue Service was not far from the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police. Really said it. In public.

Perhaps he’s got a distorted sense of humor…how could anyone think he really believes what he said?

Then he attempted to clarify his comment, but added to the controversy instead. His quote:

“What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad — yet.”

A reporter asked LePage if the IRS was headed in that direction, and he said it was.

When asked if he thought the IRS was going to kill a lot of people like the Nazis, LePage said:

Yeah.”

When do gubernatorial elections come up again in Maine? This guy has really got to go. In one small set of statements he has offended Americans, Maine voters and Jews everywhere…and he doesn’t even know it.

Are we replaying 30s fascism?

Paul Krugman’s column in the NY Times upset me yesterday… partly because he started calling the world economic situation what it really is: A Depression; partly because of his comment on Hungary:

And in at least one nation, Hungary, democratic institutions are being undermined as we speak.

One of Hungary’s major parties, Jobbik, is a nightmare out of the 1930s: it’s anti-Roma (Gypsy), it’s anti-Semitic, and it even had a paramilitary arm. But the immediate threat comes from Fidesz, the governing center-right party.

Fidesz won an overwhelming Parliamentary majority last year, at least partly for economic reasons; Hungary isn’t on the euro, but it suffered severely because of large-scale borrowing in foreign currencies and also, to be frank, thanks to mismanagement and corruption on the part of the then-governing left-liberal parties. Now Fidesz, which rammed through a new Constitution last spring on a party-line vote, seems bent on establishing a permanent hold on power.

I say I am worried because I am currently reading Erik Larson‘s book In the Garden of Beasts, his superlative view of Germany, small and weak after the first World War, and the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party in the early 30s when they could have been easily stopped and catastrophe could have been avoided. I am particularly concerned with the anti-Semitism which the European right has fallen back on too many times before…along with the anti-Roma movement which has also plagued earlier European depressions.

Maybe we can laugh when we think of
Hungary taking over Europe.

Maybe we are that stupid.