A central component of the American identity is the notion that our political system is a responsive representative and democratic government that serves the people of the country. It is at the heart of our sense that we are exceptional country, the city on the hill, with structures and political values that should be emulated around the world.

Here we focus on the structure of the government under the Constitution, the role of money and the domination of our politics and government by the wealthy and corporations.

The Posts about the American Political System

Capitalism, Justice/Jails, Politics

The Supreme Court, the rich and corporations, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

March 22, 2024

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) has given a long series of talks, beginning two years ago and now reaching number 30, titled “The Scheme”. This is his investigation of how dark money, fake organizations, and fake facts have enabled the rich and corporations to seize control of the US Supreme Court. The Scheme 30: An Update on the Captured Supreme Court provides a summary of how this happened and what Whitehouse and others are doing to —>> read more –>>

Briefly Noted, Family, Politics, Social Nature

What Americans can learn from Danish masculinity – a reposting

January 31, 2024

(reposted from https://theconversation.com/us) Denmark’s King Frederik X wipes away a tear as he waves to a crowd of 300,000 people. Martin Meissner/AP Photo Marie Helweg-Larsen, Dickinson College When a leader cries in public, is it a sign of weakness? On Jan. 14, 2023, Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik was crowned King Frederik X after his mother, Queen Margrethe II, announced she would be abdicating the throne during her annual New Year’s Eve speech. After the queen —>> read more –>>

Human Nature, Politics, Social Nature

So…my question is…how better to organize societies?

January 31, 2024

A reader of my recent post, “Nation-States Are A Plague On Our Species” has posed this question: “So…my question is…how better to organize societies?” It’s sort of the who wants to be a trillionaire question. As I suggested in my response to Mark Schlack’s comment, the evolution of our existing social systems, capitalism and the nation-state system, for example, took hundreds of years. We clearly don’t have the sort of luxurious timeline required to let —>> read more –>>


  1. Alan G. Johnson, “If Not Capitalism, What?,” Allan G. Johnson (blog), September 26, 2012, https://www.agjohnson.us/glad/if-not-capitalism-what/.
Capitalism, Justice/Jails, Politics, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Neoliberalism in action: The Scheme 26: The Myth of the Unelected Bureaucrat – Senator Whitehouse video

January 26, 2024

As I have argued regularly, we are in an era of neoliberal wealth supremacy. This is the most successful social movement of the last hundred years. For an introduction to neoliberalism, read my About Neoliberalism. If you are wondering why it is the most successful social movement of the last 100 years, read my post $47 Trillion – the ripoff by the rich and corporations – in two charts – maybe a few more….. Here —>> read more –>>

Human Nature, Politics, Social Nature

Nation-States Are A Plague On Our Species

January 18, 2024

Organized Religion – My First Plague For many years, I have said, when confronted by religious people, that organized religions are a plague on our species. I am not really troubled by individuals who believe in some god. The universe is a big place, and our insignificance in it causes troubles for many. So, I can understand the need for some explanation or perceived protection from the unpredictable whims of our world. But, when you —>> read more –>>


  1. Chapter 1, Article 2, Section 7. https://www.un.org/en/about-us/un-charter/chapter-1
  2. For a relatively brief introduction to neoliberalism see my About Neoliberalism(opens a new tab).
  3. Financialization is an important element of the neoliberal enterprise. For a discussion, see my Financialization – from production to extraction(opens a new tab)
  4. see William Lazonick, Investing in Innovation: Confronting Predatory Value Extraction in the U.S. Corporation, Cambridge Elements: Corporate Governance (Cambridge U. Press, 2023)
  5. https://www.britannica.com/topic/culture
Politics, Social Nature, Technology

Anonymity revisited – AI

December 27, 2023

In my June 15, 2020 post, “End Anonymity” I wrote: “Anonymity is a plague in our lives, public and private. The web is filled with anonymous material authored by anonymous creators. Facebook is filled with millions of anonymous fake people who are really, it frequently turns out,  paid actors for various political and economic actors.” from:https://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/news/262906-anonymous-launches-operation-against-trump/ The world is filled with anonymous people and organizations participating in our social and political lives. By definition, and —>> read more –>>


  1. Archon Fung and Lawrence Lessig, “How AI Could Take over Elections – and Undermine Democracy,” The Conversation, June 2, 2023, http://theconversation.com/how-ai-could-take-over-elections-and-undermine-democracy-206051.

Whose Opinion (Advice) Is This?

December 17, 2023

(originally posted 1.1.2002) The Problem At a time when we are quite aware of the need for and value of transparency in the reporting of the activities of corporations (thanks most recently to the Enron affair), we could quite usefully extend this transparency metaphor to other parts of day-to-day life. The print press, TV, radio, and internet are filled with opinions and advice from all sorts of people. Many of these pass for expert status —>> read more –>>

Human Nature, Politics

Survival of the Fittest – a destructive re-writing of evolution

December 10, 2023

We live in a society whose cultural values and politics are significantly bound to an individual’s needs for self-fulfillment and enrichment. Society is structured to provide the maximum opportunities for the individual to enrich and empower themselves. From the Libertarian Society: “It is the only political party that respects you as a unique and responsible individual……we believe all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit as —>> read more –>>


  1. https://www.lp.org/
  2. It is significant that the rich and corporations who largely follow the Libertarian line totally ignore the closing constraint "do no harm to another"
  3. https://openpress.usask.ca/introductiontopsychology/chapter/culture/

Is it time to get serious about Trump? What to do?

December 2, 2023

For the most part, I avoid ever listening to Trump, reading news about him, or engaging in discussions about him.  After living through his Presidency and watching the catalog of his false or misleading claims reach a total 30,5731, I have not felt the need to add to my knowledge of what is obvious, he is a pathological fascist narcissist. But a recent opinion piece in the NYTimes has changed my mind. Thomas Edsall provided —>> read more –>>


  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/24/trumps-false-or-misleading-claims-total-30573-over-four-years/
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/22/opinion/trump-danger-rage-psychology.html
  3. https://www.snopes.com/news/2023/04/13/728-billionaires-hold-more-wealth/#:~:text=On%20April%209%2C%202023%2C%20Robert,org%2C%20Forbes%2C%20and%20the
Economy, Politics

Being a manager and the Trump boys

November 3, 2023

This week’s fraud trial appearances by the Trump boys, Don, Jr. and Eric, Executive VP and Executive VP of Development and Acquisitions respectively in the Trump Organization, caused me to reflect on the duties of a manager. “As he [Eric] started his testimony, he said he “never had anything to do with the statement of financial condition,” didn’t believe he’d ever seen one, “was not personally aware” of the document and ”didn’t know anything about —>> read more –>>


  1. https://fortune.com/2023/11/03/eric-trump-testifies-fraud-trial-never-worked-donald-financial-statements-emails-testimony-involvement/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enron_scandal

Trump’s Fraudulent Net Worth in a chart

September 30, 2023

The NY fraud trial of Trump and his children for flagrantly overstating the valuations of properties is set to start Monday 10.2.2023 with Trump and his offspring called as witnesses. The Attorney General released this graphic showing the impact on his net worth compared to expert valuations. Keep in mind that this is a civil trial. This means that the prosecution can call defendants to answer questions for the prosecution case. This cannot happen in —>> read more –>>


Politics pasted on Warren St. Hudson, NY – a local story

September 6, 2023

I walk up and down Warren St., about a mile up and a mile back frequently. Sometimes, I claim it as exercise, but mostly it is an opportunity to get out and chat with people. Over the last years of the pandemic, there have been a lot of political/cultural stickers applied to the tops of trash cans, parking meters, and light poles. Here is a sampling. You will provide your own interpretations.  

Inequality, Politics

Trump in jail is not the end game

September 4, 2023

With four indictments and 91 charges of crimes committed one cannot help but be buoyed by the notion that Trump might spend his remaining years in jail. His crimes are so many and so manifestly obvious that this seems entirely just, even required. But MAGA America is not just going to melt away. There is not much obvious to be done to counter many components of MAGA world: the Christian fundamentalist radicals, the white supremacists, —>> read more –>>


  1. Richard V Reeves, “America’s Zip Code Inequality,” Brookings Institute OP-ED, December 2015, https://www.brookings.edu/articles/americas-zip-code-inequality/.
  2. Click on this link to see more about monopolization
  3. Price, Carter C., and Kathryn A. Edwards. “Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018.” RAND Corporation, September 14, 2020. https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WRA516-1.html.
Capitalism, Economy, Empire, Healthcare, Politics, Security State

A thought for the day while looking around in TikTok

August 28, 2023

The other day I was poking around in TikTok to see what it is all about. Came across a quote from Karl Marx that struck a chord. “There must be something rotten in the very core of a social system which increases its wealth without diminishing its misery.”1 Here we are 164 years later and this observation is perhaps even more telling. This is particularly so because we are a very rich country. The US —>> read more –>>


  1. This appeared in an article Marx wrote for The New York Tribune in 1859
Capitalism, Economy, Inequality, Politics

$47 Trillion – the ripoff by the rich and corporations – in two charts – maybe a few more…..

August 22, 2023

I was already 31 years old when the rip-off of America began in 1979. I was busy, and the changes in American life were only occasionally to be noticed.  By the mid-1980s my management life started to feature the early signs of the financialization of the corporation. I knew of Milton Friedman’s famous dictum, “there is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its —>> read more –>>


  1. Carter C. Price and Kathryn A. Edwards, “Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018” (RAND Corporation, September 14, 2020), https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WRA516-1.html.
  2. Please note that the income distribution in 1975 was not an ideal. There was significant inequality. From our current perspective, it seems idyllic compared to the transformations of the last 40 years.
  3. Price, Carter C., and Kathryn A. Edwards. “Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018.” (RAND Corporation, September 14, 2020). https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WRA516-1.html.
  4. For another day, we could look at the wealth inequalities that this has produced. Much worse!
  5. The classic origin text is Hayek, Friedrich A. von. The Road to Serfdom. G. Routledge, London, 1944.
  6. This movement was also championed in the UK and then forced on much of the developing world through US foreign policy, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank
  7. The “liberalism” of neoliberalism is not the liberalism we associate with FDR and the Democratic Party here in the US. The academics who coined this word were referring to 18th and 19th century European liberalism. A different beast.
  8. First Inaugural Address on January 20, 1981
  9. see Mariana Mazzucato, The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths, Revised edition (New York, NY: PublicAffairs, 2015)
  10. Just search for "monopoly"(click on this link to conduct the search) on this website for many discussions of monopolization.
  11. https://www.openmarketsinstitute.org/learn/monopoly-by-the-numbers
  12. I have to credit my stepson Jonathan London, Professor of Global Political Economics at Leiden University in the Netherlands, with this observation.
  13. Lewis Powell, “Memorandum: Attack On American Free Enterprise System | Lewis F. Powell Jr. Papers | Washington and Lee University School of Law” (August 23, 1971), https://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/powellmemo/.
  14. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying
  15. Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” Perspectives on Politics 12, no. 3 (September 2014): 564–81, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1537592714001595.
Capitalism, Economy, Inequality, Politics

What is $47 trillion – 47,000,000,000,000 – a comparative exploration?

August 22, 2023

My previous post, “$47 Trillion – the ripoff by the rich and corporations – in two charts – maybe a few more…..” raises the question of exactly what 47,000,000,000,000 amounts to. There are so many “0”s! Let’s work with a one-dollar US paper bill. So how many dollar bills do we have to pile up to equal the height of the tallest building on Billionaire Row in Manhattan? This tower is 1,550 ft. tall (472 —>> read more –>>


Trump + 18 Others Indicted on Racketeering in Georgia

August 15, 2023

What More Needs To Be Said? 91 Felony Crimes Charged Trump has now been indicted for 91 different felony crimes spanning his four indictments to date. 34 counts for the Stormy Daniels NY state hush-money case, 40 in the Federal classified documents case, 4 in the Federal Jan. 6th case, and 13 more in the Georgia election interference case. Even if Trump were to get elected President again, with these Georgia indictments, should he be —>> read more –>>


Insurrection + the 14th Amendment = disqualify Trump?

August 11, 2023

insurrection ĭn″sə-rĕk′shən noun 1. The act or an instance of open revolt against civil authority or a constituted government. 2. A rising up; uprising. 3. The act of rising against civil authority or governmental restraint; specifically, the armed resistance of a number of persons to the power of the state; incipient or limited rebellion. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.) Most people watching the live TV reporting of the events at —>> read more –>>


  1. William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, “The Sweep and Force of Section Three,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review Vol. 172, 2024 (August 9, 2023): 126, https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=4532751.
  2. Who isn't charmed by a law review article in which the authors describe a legal argument as "not entirely bonkers"?

“Let the customers know you’re a bigot”

July 9, 2023

I ran across this letter to the editor in the July 6th edition of The Columbia Paper concerning the recent Supreme Court ruling in 303 Creative v. Elenis (from NYTimes: “Supreme Court Backs Web Designer Opposed to Same-Sex Marriage”) allowing businesses to discriminate against people based on religious views. This letter poses such a great idea that perhaps we can start a movement to get local and state authorities to make it law. When I —>> read more –>>


What do you love about the US Constitution?

June 26, 2023

Recently I’ve noticed bumper stickers, mostly on pickup trucks, calling out a love for the Constitution. What do I love about the Constitution? Rural states with tiny populations automatically control the Senate. The ten least populous states have a total population of 9.6 million. California, the most populous state, has 39.2 million people. These ten sparsely populated states, Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Rhode Island, Montana, Maine, and New Hampshire, have 20 —>> read more –>>


  1. see Douglas A Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II (New York: Doubleday, 2008).
  2. Slavery in Hudson - updated
Human Nature, Politics, Social Nature

Explaining Trump – tribal mismatch – a podcast

June 25, 2023

Trump received 74 million votes in 2020. This amazed and upset me a lot. The ongoing global warming crisis and the exhaustion of earth’s resources continue to arouse my concerns about our future. I wrote a longish essay on the subject in early 2022. Here is the positioning statement from that essay: Recently the intermingled phenomena of Trump, global warming, global capitalism, and the pandemic have raised questions for me about the capacity of our —>> read more –>>


  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/24/trumps-false-or-misleading-claims-total-30573-over-four- years/ accessed 10.6.2021
  2. https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/fundamentally-flawed-2017-tax-law-largely-leaves-low-and-moderate- income accessed 10.6.2021
  3. With a little over 4% of the world’s population the US has suffered almost 17% of the deaths!

Reading Trump Indictment 2 – the Mar-a-Lago document case

June 10, 2023

Following comments in the media that the indictment document was “a readable narrative” as opposed to a dull legal document, I downloaded it for a read-through. Here is a link to the indictment “USA vs Trump & Nauta”. The first 27 pages of 49 provide a detailed narrative. In fact readable. You cannot read this without being quite convinced that the Feds have a huge pile of information about Trump’s illegal retention of the secret —>> read more –>>


Trump INDICTED Again

June 9, 2023

This time by the Feds.    


Your Rights Guaranteed Only by the Supreme Court

June 8, 2023

Propublica has a great story, “Supreme Risk: An interactive guide to rights the Supreme Court has established — and could take away”(6.1.2023), enumerating a long list of rights that are the results of Supreme Court actions but not supported by actual laws passed by Congress and signed by a President. The article also includes information on which of the 9 justices have already expressed doubts or contrary opinions about each one. Guess which Justice is —>> read more –>>


Our Supreme Ethics: A Painting of Clarence Thomas, Leonard Leo, Harlan Crow, et al.

April 7, 2023

The egregious ethics violations and probable law-breaking by our Supreme Court justice are explored in depth in this article from ProPublica: Clarence Thomas and the Billionaire by Joshua Kaplan, Justin Elliott, and Alex Mierjeski (4.6.2023) It is not terribly long but much worth a read. We normally expect that judges will be circumspect and guarded in their attention to propriety and conflicts of interest. After all, they are supposed to be the even-handed, objective arbiters of —>> read more –>>


  1. Note that this code of ethics does not apply to the Supreme Court. Only courts lower down the judicial food chain. Apparently, our highest court is a self-regulating institution without the need for such guidance.
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/04/07/clarence-thomas-trips-crow-propublica/
Briefly Noted, Politics

Defendant Trump Pleads Not Guilty To 34 Felonies

April 4, 2023

Trump Indicted in NY!!

March 30, 2023

March 30, 2023 FINALLY!! Trump INDICATED !! I agree that “THE USA IS NOW A THIRD WORLD NATION, A NATION IN SERIOUS DECLINE.” Just not because we’ve finally indicted Trump for a few of his manifold crimes. How’bout the death toll during the pandemic? 17% of the world’s deaths due to COVID came in the US, which has just 4% of the world population. What did Trump do to thwart the challenge of COVID? There —>> read more –>>

Economy, Politics, Technology

Computer Chips, Taiwan, Biden & China

March 23, 2023

China spends more on importing computer chips – $260 billion1 in 2017 – than it does importing oil. President Biden’s recent bans on the export of American-made chips to China as well as a ban on companies throughout the world using American technology to export to China intends to make it even more expensive and continue  Chinese dependence for this crucial bit of technology gear. Keep in mind that microchips are used in every conceivable —>> read more –>>


  1. John Lanchester, Putting the Silicon in Silicon Valley, London Review of Books 3.16.2023
Briefly Noted, Politics, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Lewis Black on capitalism from 2009

March 16, 2023

I can’t seem to forgo comedians. Sometimes a laugh brings brief relief. Stumbled on this typical brief rant (3 minutes) from Lewis Black. A bit of context. This is shortly after the election of Obama. He had run against John McCain in 2008. These are the politicians he is referring to at the opening. (apologies for the ads) Lewis Black on Capitalism (Stark Raving Black)

Briefly Noted, Politics

“Why believe…..?” – Jill Lepore on Jan 6, Trump & America

March 13, 2023

Catching up on reading The New Yorker brought me to the January 16th issue and Jill Lepore’s “What the January 6th Report Is Missing”1. As noted elsewhere here, I am somewhat possessed by the question of how we can explain that 74 million Americans voted for Trump in 2020 after having four years to observe this pathological narcissist lie over 30,000 times in his four years in office.2 That is 20 lies per day! Jill —>> read more –>>


  1. Jill Lepore, “What the January 6th Report Is Missing,” The New Yorker, January 9, 2023, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/01/16/what-the-january-6th-report-is-missing.
  2. 30,573 lies according to the Washington Post - https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/24/trumps-false-or-misleading-claims-total-30573-over-four-years/
Capitalism, Politics

“…as long as they do no harm to another.” A tale of actual capitalism

March 3, 2023

Individualism and Libertarians Americans are renowned for their sense of individual identity and empowerment. de Tocqueville noted this back in the 1830s in his Democracy in America. Hollywood and mass media have mined it continuously. Politicians appeal to it frequently. In my lifetime the position of the individual has been raised to a position of complete supremacy over society. The Libertarian Party is one significant element in this development. It presents a clear statement of —>> read more –>>


  1. Until 1982 the Federal Securities Exchange Commission considered stock buybacks by corporations to be illegal price manipulation
  2. see Robert H. Lustig Metabolical: The Lure and Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine. New York: Harper Wave 2021
Briefly Noted, Politics, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

“Liar, Liar Network On Fire: The Legal Case Against Fox News” – Jon Stewart and RonNell Anderson Jones

February 27, 2023

The recent release of a pile of emails, text messages, and memos from within Fox News has raised the Dominion Voting System’s defamation lawsuit to large public view. Here is a 52-minute discussion between Stewart and Anderson Jones that explores the facts revealed in the data dump, the boundaries and conditions that must be met to win a defamation suit and much more about the state of our politics, free speech, collusion to undermine the —>> read more –>>

Capitalism, Economy, Education, Empire, Environment, Healthcare, Inequality, Politics, Racism/White Supremacy, Security State, Women

My Year End Siege of Angers – the list

January 1, 2023

Yesterday as I was taking a walk up and down Warren St. here in Hudson I realized that I had become actively angry about the state of the US and the world. I walked past hotels where a single room would set you back $400 for a night or you could go for the suite that is a mere $1300. This in a country where 32% of the people can’t pay an unexpected $400 bill.1 —>> read more –>>


  1. https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2022-economic-well-being-of-us-households-in-2021-dealing-with-unexpected-expenses.htm
  2. https://inequality.org/great-divide/updates-billionaire-pandemic/
  3. see the empirical study Martin Gilens, Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America (Princeton, N.J; New York: Princeton University Press ; Russell Sage Foundation, 2012).
  4. https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/figures/2021/BudgetaryCosts
  5. https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/figures/2021/WarDeathToll
  6. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/26/nyregion/nyc-homeless-students.html
  7. https://www.justia.com/criminal/offenses/homicide/involuntary-manslaughter/
  8. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/24/trumps-false-or-misleading-claims-total-30573-over-four-years/
  9. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/research/mental_health/
  10. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/the-great-american-bubble-machine-195229/
  11. https://khn.org/news/article/hospices-private-equity-firms-end-of-life-care/ and https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/12/05/how-hospice-became-a-for-profit-hustle

Oligarchs in Action – in the US

March 12, 2022

The Russian war against Ukraine has produced a lot of noise about the fate of Russian oligarchs. Seizures of the yachts, bank accounts and more. Perhaps we should spend a bit of energy focusing on our own oligarchs, the rich and corporations. Despite all of the noise of the Republican Party’s decline towards homophobic racist autocracy and the occasional shouts from the left wing of the Democratic Party, our oligarchs maintain their control over the —>> read more –>>


  1. Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” Perspectives on Politics 12, no. 3 (September 2014): 564–81,

The pandemic reveals – we have the government and society the rich and corporations intend for us

November 30, 2021

In the midst of the exploding pandemic here in the US we should not be distracted from understanding why we are in this catastrophic mess. Further we should not be distracted from taking action. Our Situation – the dirty laundry list The overall condition of our country is so dire in so many dimensions that it shocks even the most pollyannaish, fervent patriot. Our government is so corrupted that it cannot mobilize the resources and —>> read more –>>


  1. Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018, Federal Reserve May 2019
  2. "Basic Facts about Low-Income Children - Children under 18 Years, 2016" by Heather Koball and Yang Jiang January 2018 http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_1194.html accessed 7/4/2020
  3. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/ accessed 7/3/2020
  4. https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Grades-Chart.png accessed 7/1/2020
  5. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/innocence-is-irrelevant/534171/ accessed 12/2/2017
  6. https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/john-ehrlichman-richard-nixon-drug-war-blacks-hippie/index.html accessed 7/6/2020
  7. https://inequality.org/facts/wealth-inequality/ accessed 7/6/2020
  8. David Vine estimates the real number to be over 800. See Vine, David. Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, 2015.
  9. https://www.pgpf.org/chart-archive/0053_defense-comparison accessed 7/5/2020
  10. Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans” by Benjamin I. Page, Larry M. Bartels, and Jason Seawright in Perspective on Politics March 2013 | Vol. 11/No. 1 and Gilens, Martin. 2014. Affluence and influence economic inequality and political power in America.
  11. “Small Pool of Rich Donors Dominates Election Giving” by Nicholas Confessore, Sarah Cohen and Karen Yourish https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/us/small-pool-of-rich-donors-dominates-election-giving.html
  12. Torres-Spelliscy, Ciara. 2017. "Time Suck: How the Fundraising Treadmill Diminishes Effective Governance". SSRN Electronic Journal.
  13. http://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying accessed 7/6/2020
  14. I've written about this in "The Monopolization of America" or here is an 11 minute video, "Robert Reich - the monopolization of America".
  15. see Mazzucato, Mariana. The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths. Revised edition. New York, NY: PublicAffairs, 2015.
  16. https://americandelusions.com/2018/01/23/structure-of-jobs-is-changing-rapidly-political-system-failing-to-address-issue/
  17. https://www.opensecrets.org/2020-presidential-race/candidate/joe-biden?id=N00001669 accessed 7/11/2020
  18. see The Monopolization of America
  19. One of the ironies of all the rhetoric from free market neoliberals about innovation and small businesses is that the rate of new business formation, a key indicator of the vitality of an economy, has been in decline for more than three decades.
  20. https://www.governing.com/gov-data/education-data/state-education-spending-per-pupil-data.html accessed 7/10/2020
Human Nature, Politics

Accounting for Trump and the Resurgence of Autocracy

borrowed without permsission from The Atlantic 2017
November 28, 2021

11.28.2021 – revised 11.29.2021 For the last ten years and more I have been studying US history and the current state of our affairs. A significant focus has been on what I refer to as the “actual workings of capitalism”. You can find some of the findings at AmericanDelusions.com. More recently, the intermingled phenomena of Trump and the pandemic has shifted my attention to questions about the capacity of our species to live on the —>> read more –>>

Economy, Inequality, Politics

What’s Wrong With Inequality – the word?

November 26, 2021

Use of the word inequality hides the real issues.

Healthcare, Politics

Our Corrupt Politics – Drug Pricing Again…..

October 21, 2021

“A 30-Year Campaign to Control Drug Prices Faces Yet Another Failure Democrats have made giving government the power to negotiate drug prices a central campaign theme for decades. With the power to make it happen, they may fall short yet again.”1 This is the headline with its tagline in today’s NYTimes. Nothing more need be said about the extent to which the rich and corporations control our political parties and government institutions. This is what —>> read more –>>


  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/21/us/politics/drug-prices-democrats.html
Books, Politics

Reading George Packer’s Last Best Hope: America in crisis and renewal

August 15, 2021

Packer’s Last Best Hope: America in crisis and renewal (Ferrar, Straus & Giroux 2021) has aroused quite a bit of attention and comment in the media. At the heart of the book is Packer’s description of four Americas: Free America, Real America, Smart America, and Just America. The writing is solid and attractive.

Human Nature, Politics

Humans, Human Culture and Popular Government

March 22, 2021

The US is commonly cited as the first large experiment in popular government. Even admitting that it started on the basis of a government of white men that excluded women and non-European men and who enslaved other human beings, it was the first large trial of the idea that the purpose of this new popular government was to benefit every member not just a ruling elite. Men of an elite class and religion should not —>> read more –>>

Empire, Politics, Security State

9/11 and the Trump Pandemic – a contrast in reactions

December 5, 2020

Since I noticed that every day now as many Americans are dying in the Trump Pandemic as died during the 9/11 attacks I have thought about how different public and government reactions have been.


Trump and Republicans bring us a 9/11 every day

December 3, 2020

As noted earlier, back in February and March of this year one could just say that the pandemic was an act of nature. But after 9 months of active deception and no leadership by the President and the Republican Party, we need to be clear that this pandemic is Trump’s Pandemic. With just 4.5% of the world’s population the US has 21% of the world cases and 15% of the deaths……to be sure this will —>> read more –>>

Human Nature, Politics

The Crisis of The American Political System

November 6, 2020

Friday November 6, 2020 – Election Results Still in the Waiting Room As I wait for the electoral machinery to complete its work I am struck by how this election has confirmed that we are in a deep mess with nothing in sight to set us on a more productive path. First, there is the astonishing scene of very nearly half the votes cast being in favor of Trump and no substantial change in the —>> read more –>>


  1. as of 8/27/2020 the Washington Post reports 22,347 lies in 1,316 days of Trumps reign. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-claims-database/?itid=lk_inline_manual_4) He rumbles on with over 50 lies per day as of the end of October.
  2. https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2019-economic-well-being-of-us-households-in-2018-dealing-with-unexpected-expenses.htm
  3. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2020/06/05/policekillings/
  4. To be clear “white supremacist ideology and public policy” refers to the persistent use of government and non-governmental force to oppress black, brown and indigenous peoples from European’s first encounters with the Western Hemisphere On to the present day.
  5. This begs the question of who is “white”. Ask an Irishman in Boston into the 1920s and ‘30s whether he felt accepted by white people?
Healthcare, Politics, Video Posts

Video Post – Trump’s Pandemic

August 7, 2020

Trump and his Republican enablers – the Trumplicans –  are responsible for the pandemic in the US and the nearly 200k deaths that have occurred to date. Comparing the US response with the rest of the world makes it clear that this catastrophe is the direct result of Trumplican policies.

Healthcare, Politics

The Trumplican Pandemic

June 30, 2020

It is absolutely clear that Trump and Republicans (Trumplicans) are to blame for the state we find ourselves in. Trump and Republicans can talk all they want about “Wuhan virus” and other racist slurs. There is no other explanation for the tremendous surge in COVID-19 cases across the southern belt of the US. It is their policies that have created this monster. There has been no coherent Federal policy to drive an effective response to —>> read more –>>

Inequality, Politics, Racism/White Supremacy

Reparations and the System of White Supremacy

June 25, 2020

Monetary reparations for African Americans may accomplish very little to drive basic changes in the five pillars of the system of white supremacy: housing, education, healthcare, employment, and the judicial system.

Politics, Technology

End Anonymity

June 15, 2020

Anonymity is a plague in our lives, public and private. The web is filled with anonymous material authored by anonymous creators. Facebook is filled with millions of anonymous fake people who are really, it frequently turns out,  paid actors for various political and economic actors. Our local web-based social platforms are filled with people saying all sorts of stuff, much interesting and much also annoying, lacking in factual content, and sometimes downright vicious. Here in —>> read more –>>

Briefly Noted, Politics, Racism/White Supremacy

Recently Noted – Eric Foner on the Electoral College, presidential elections…..

May 21, 2020

The May 21, 2020 Issue of the London Review of Books contains a review article, “The Corrupt Bargain” by Columbia U. Professor Eric Foner1. It is a wonderful review of the history of this peculiar institution, The Electoral College. In the midst of his survey of the history of the electoral college system he notes: A candidate can carry a dozen or so large states by small margins and capture the presidency while trailing far —>> read more –>>


  1. more about Foner here: http://www.ericfoner.com/
Books, Economy, Education, Family, Healthcare, Inequality, Justice/Jails, Politics

Tightrope – Americans reaching for hope by Kristof and WuDunn – book review

May 1, 2020

Tightrope provides a well-written description of the American crisis through personal stories and hard data. Unfortunately it falls flat in its call for action.

Capitalism, Economy, Inequality, Politics

How the Rich and Big Corporations Feed Off Us During the Pandemic

May 1, 2020

The rich and corporations win even during a global pandemic.

Empire, Politics, Security State

How America Tortures – a new report with drawings and a movie

December 13, 2019

 How America Tortures by M. P. Denbeaux, & Seton Hall University. (2019) This report includes eight drawings by Abu Zubaydah, a Guantanamo detainee, illustrating his experiences during torture sessions. Abu Zubaydah is also a figure in the movie discussed below. This report is really a short book, some 95 pages including extensive notes, that covers all aspects of the CIA torture program. Download the report here>>>>. Here are screen grabs of the Abu Zubaydah drawings —>> read more –>>


A Window into the Minds of Conservatives – The Bulwark

November 20, 2019

It is a continuing source of amazement and consternation that most conservatives and evangelical Christians support Trump. So many of his character features would seem to be inimical to both of these groups. We won’t list them here since that is hardly necessary.  Trump demonstrates them on a daily if not hourly basis. Thankfully there are a few conservatives who have retained enough common sense and morality to oppose Trump and Trump Republicanism. A major —>> read more –>>


Our History – the intentionally forgotten – a new keynote essay

August 2, 2019

…nations are based as much on what people collectively agree to forget as what they wish to remember. In a visit in February 2019 to a photography exhibit, Imagined Communities by Mila Teshaieva, at the MIT Museum I came across this paraphrase from the late 19th century French historian Ernest Renan: …nations are based as much on what people collectively agree to forget as what they wish to remember. In the present moment we might revise —>> read more –>>

Briefly Noted, Capitalism, Economy, Politics, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Recently Noted – Robert Reich: Socialism for the Rich, Capitalism for the Rest – a new video presentation

April 8, 2019

Robert Reich provides us with an accessible, brief analysis of why the rich and corporations are feasting while the rest of us experience the rigors, oppression, and discipline of the capitalist marketplace. Only a bit over 4 minutes long.


The Moral Bankruptcy of the Republican Party

February 19, 2019

AmericanDelusions does not generally comment on the day-to-day political scene. But, the behavior of the Republican Party in recent years has become so toxic to our country that we pause to take note.

Education, Healthcare, Inequality, Politics

Roosevelt’s 1944 Second Bill of Rights – a good starting point today

February 14, 2019

Roosevelt’s 1944 State of the Union called for a second bill of rights, an economic bill of rights, that resonates loudly today.

Politics, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Political Inequality – the other inequality

January 15, 2019

There has been focus on wealth and income inequality for years. It is a pressing problem for more than 80% of the US population. But there is an other inequality, political inequality, that is at the heart of the more talked about inequality. In 2013 Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig provided us with a delightful introduction to how political inequality works – We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim (length 18’14”) in which he —>> read more –>>


  1. Gilens, Martin, and Benjamin I Page. “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens.” Perspect. Polit. Perspectives on Politics 12, no. 03 (2014): 564–81.
Inequality, Politics

Inequality, Jeff Bezos, Amazon and Bernie Sanders

August 22, 2018

It is always useful to put a face to trends. The grotesque yawning extent of inequality is one of those trends that begs for the concrete. Knowing that a million seconds is 12 days while a billion seconds is 31 years gives some shape to the dimensions of inequality, it is still difficult to wrap one’s head around the scale of inequality that continues to surge.   Today this message from Bernie Sanders arrived in —>> read more –>>

Capitalism, Environment, Politics

Plastics and Run Amuck Capitalism

August 20, 2018

The earth is burdened by the tsunami of plastic refuse that will never degrade. Government needs to protect us from capitalist enterprises delight in externalizing costs to our detriment and their short-term benefit.

Inequality, Politics, Racism/White Supremacy

Countering White Male Top 10% Affirmative Action

May 22, 2018

Countering White Male Top 10% Affirmative Action The continuing advances of elite white males1 requires action. They live and procreate in a closed loop of social, educational, and political advantages and protections. Wealth flows to them behind the uniformed doormen of the Upper East Side and the hedges of the Hamptons(or their equivalents in every major city). They justify their status with the politics of free market capitalism, the rugged risk-takers driving the economy forward. —>> read more –>>


  1. Here we are mainly focusing on the US, but much of this discussion can be applied to elite males everywhere.
  2. Chart from http://www.visualcapitalist.com/wealth-inequality-problem-one-chart/ accessed 5/20/2018

Do Protests Work? – Time for Class Warfare

illustration by Adam Maida in 8/21/17 New Yorker
May 21, 2018

iIllustration by Adam Maida in 8/21/17 New Yorker In the August 21, 2017 edition of The New Yorker Nathan Heller writes about the efficacy of protest as a method for social and political change. “Out of Action – do protests work?” raises many interesting questions about protest movements as a means to achieving change. Protected by the First Amendment Americans are largely free to take to the streets and soap boxes to protest or support whatever —>> read more –>>


  1. including among them: Srnicek, Nick, and Alex Williams. Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World without WorkHardt and Negri, Assembly; Tufekci, Zeynep. Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest.
  2. Heller makes snide comments about "neoliberalism" - the term used everywhere but the US for free-market capitalist ideology: "(Neoliberalism can broadly refer to any program that involves market-liberal policies—privatization, deregulation, etc.—and so includes everything from Thatcher’s social-expenditure reductions to Obama’s global-trade policies. A moratorium on its use would help solidify a lot of gaseous debate.)" Heller might do well to spend some time understand free-market ideology and its history to know that in fact Thatcher and Obama do belong in the same sphere in this regard.
Justice/Jails, Politics

Gun Regulation, the 2nd Amendment, and Scalia’s Majority Opinion

May 9, 2018

Gun Regulation, the 2nd Amendment, and Scalia’s Majority Opinion Fire arms proponents make much of the  2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller in which the Supreme Court absolutely affirmed the right to bear arms as a constitutionally guaranteed right. Lost in this rhetoric is the fact that no rights are absolute. All are subject to constraints. For example, the First Amendment does not give a person the right to shout “Fire” in a movie —>> read more –>>


How to Spot Fake News – libraries get in the game…..

February 20, 2018

Fake news is now a political strategy used around the world. How can we defend ourselves, how can we identify it and its sources? Here is a beginning from FactCheck.org and the New Orleans Public Library.

Briefly Noted, Capitalism, Politics, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Recently Noted – Robert Reich: how we got into this mess and how we get out of it

December 29, 2017

Reich’s latest cartoon does a good job of describing the changes in the US economy, weaker on the underlying political campaign by the rich and corporations to restructure the economy to their benefit. Worth the 6 minute viewing time.

Economy, Politics

Deficits, Deficits – the rhetoric of the forthcoming attacks on the poor

December 20, 2017

Republicans Create Bigger Deficits Then Blame The Entitled Poor. Cuts to social programs coming to fix the Republican created deficit problem.

Empire, Politics

Considering the Obama Presidency And Musings on Foreign Policy

December 18, 2017

President Obama came into office on a wave of emotion and hope for change. His two terms have been largely a disappointment. He did a competent job of working part way out of the financial crisis of the Clinton-Bush Bubble – the 2008 Wall St. meltdown. Having completed the bailout of the banks, his Justice Department ran around giving out get-out-of-jail cards to the villains. The millions of people caught up in the meltdown with —>> read more –>>

Family, Healthcare, Politics

Vicious Republicans Attack Children’s Health Insurance Program

December 12, 2017

Nearly 9 Million children are loosing their health insurance as states run out of funds. The Congress, controlled by the vicious Republican Party that is more focused on getting a sexual predator elected in Alabama than worrying about mere children, has not appropriated any new funds.


Trump Republican Policy Crimes (some only attempted at the moment)

November 30, 2017

Trump – Republican Positions and Crimes (some just attempted) against the poor, working and middle class. The current Trump Republicans effort to cram their bill to pay back their corporate and rich supporters with giant tax breaks has me frothing a bit. I wrote down this list, partial though it may be. Add to it!

Briefly Noted, Politics

Recently Noted – “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer”

November 7, 2017

The NY Times published an interesting article by Max Fisher and Josh Keller, “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer” on 11/7/2017. The analysis shows that there is a strong correlation between the high level of gun ownership and mass killings. No other factors are well correlated. Are you surprised? Read the article here >>>

Economy, Politics

Trickle-Down Returns to Enrich the Rich – updated

September 28, 2017

Trickle-down economics has never worked, yet once again it is being used to justify tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Trump and Republicans are once again using this thoroughly debunked theory to justify tax cuts.

Politics, Racism/White Supremacy

Trump, Charlottesville, and Presidential Blinders to White Terrorism

August 15, 2017

Viewed from a bit longer lens of history this reaction to white supremacist terrorism fits in very well with the lengthy history of Presidents, Congress, and the judicial branch turning a blind eye to white terrorism used as a tool to oppress African Americans during the so-called Jim Crow era.

Healthcare, Politics

The Republican Party – vicious at the edges

June 23, 2017

None of the failings of our healthcare system outrages the vicious Republicans. They hate poor and middle class people, the hate black and brown people, the hate government, the love to make the rich richer. That is the essence of the Republican Party.


Vicious Republicans Not Trump Are The Problem

June 22, 2017

Trump is a side show here. The problem is the Republican Party bought and sold by the wealthy and corporations. The Republicans are busy destroying families through their attacks on healthcare, education, family income, and government protections. The Republicans are busy mouthing talk about job creation while doing nothing to create jobs, just more rhetoric about job creators and government regulations. The Republicans are busy doing nothing to assure that a person working a full-time —>> read more –>>


Trump’s Innovations in Governing – the cabinet meeting

June 12, 2017

Trump surprises us with another innovation in governing. He has turned his latest Cabinet meeting into a round of campaign rhetoric and sycophantic adulation and lies.

Environment, Politics

The Environment, Trump, Koch Brothers & Big Money

June 5, 2017

The now publicly visible campaign by the Koch brothers and many others to make their decade’s long campaign to deny climate change bear new fruit in public policy. More evidence that the plutocrats are now so secure in their control over our politics and the government that they can come out of the shadows and rule directly through Trump.

Empire, Politics

Movie – War Machine – a misplaced parable

May 28, 2017

Netflix has just released War Machine onto the streaming media waters. This movie fits into the long tradition of American media mostly puffing up our military exploits or turning them into light tragi-comedy.  Brad Pitt, applying the acting style of a trimmed down George Clooney, portrays the fictional General Glen McMahon. Broadly and obviously based on the story of the real General Stanley McChrystal who took over the War in Afghanistan in June 2009 only to be ousted —>> read more –>>


Update on Trump’s Mental Capacities

May 26, 2017

The state of Trump’s mind has been a matter of continuous discussion ever since he came on the scene as a presidential candidate. Mental health professionals have weighed in despite their professions rules against doing so. More recently in an op-ed piece David Brooks posed the idea that we are dealing with a child, “When the World Is Led by a Child”. Some demurred at what they felt was a demeaning comparison with the actual —>> read more –>>


Trump’s Innovations in Governing

May 15, 2017

The 40 year class war in America has achieved its final objectives. The plutocrats are the White House. The Cabinet has more wealth than held by over 100 million Americans.

Justice/Jails, Politics

America’s Longest War and Attorney General Sessions

May 13, 2017

So Jeff Sessions, tough guy, is going to reverse the very modest corrective direction of Obama’s policies to once again refill our jails. More vicious mindless policy making from the Trump regime.


Firing Comey and Trump as Solipsism

May 10, 2017

In his letter firing James Comey, now former Director of the FBI, Trump once again displayed the completely self-centered world that he inhabits. The second paragraph in this thankfully short letter reads: While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.


Trump – understanding the pathology

May 10, 2017

Trump talks to occupy space and run down the clock. He’s prompted to speak by a question but rarely answers the question; he only has to talk long enough to execute his turn in the conversation before the questioner wrests it away. That’s the extent of the coherence.


Obama, Wall St. and Big Money

May 8, 2017

New evidence of how big money works has turned up last summer in the WikiLeaks dump of Democratic National Committee emails. Included are an exchange between John Podesta, Co-Chair of the Obama Campaign in 2008 and later Obama’s Councilor and John Froman who was working at Citibank at the time of the emails and has held positions at Treasury and elsewhere.

Books, Capitalism, Economy, Politics

Building the New American Economy – Not

April 5, 2017

The title of this short book, only 130 pages, Building the New American Economy: smart, fair, & sustainable by Jeffrey D. Sachs with a foreword by Bernie Sanders (Columbia University Press, 2017) is unfortunately misleading. There is much here about the new economy. The misleading part is that there is very little about its construction, how to build the new economy. Sachs covers many important issues in a thorough, efficient fashion. If you need a —>> read more –>>

Justice/Jails, Politics

Justice in America – Not

April 5, 2017

A central dogma of American politics and culture is the rule of law. The ever present blind scales of justice are trotted out with such regularity that the briefest glimpse serves to remind us that we live in a country with a uniquely fair and just system of law. Of course, if you have ever had the slightest encounter with the reality of this system you will already know that it is only those with —>> read more –>>


Diversity and Identity Politics Is A Deadend

March 1, 2017

Progressives have to declare class war as a central strategy. Otherwise we will all be sitting at the dinner table basking in our glorious diversity with nothing to eat. For many good reasons identity and diversity have dominated our politics for decades.  Progressives celebrate its expansion and Republicans and their brethren on the right pretty universally engage in either dog whistle or outright racist politics. Simultaneously the rich and corporations have been fighting a class —>> read more –>>

Economy, Politics

How Much Money Would It Take To Eliminate Poverty in the US?

February 26, 2017

This 2013 article “How Much Money Would It Take to Eliminate Poverty” (http://prospect.org/article/how-much-money-would-it-take-eliminate-poverty-america) addresses this question. The answer then was $175 billion. This is a ridiculously small number in the context of a $16 trillion GDP. As someone who is on the homeowners gravy train I was stuck by this part of the article: “The utterly ridiculous tax expenditures directed toward the disproportionately affluent class of people called homeowners—mortgage interest deduction, property tax deduction, exclusion of —>> read more –>>


Is Trump Showing Signs of His Age??

February 23, 2017

Trump ~1980 Ever since Trump came into my view as a candidate for President I have thought that his speech is strange. Choppy, half thoughts, repetitions of words and phrases, very few polysyllabic words, in short lacking in fluidity and continuity. Is this the way Trump has always spoken. Or, Is it just his lifelong speech pattern ? Being Trump and always casting himself into the public eye there is quite a bit of tape —>> read more –>>

Capitalism, Politics

Neoliberalism – a term that needs never to be used – Updated

February 10, 2017

Dollars and Sense has been around since the 1970s. Always a source of well researched critiques of capitalism. I recently, after a more than 30 year hiatus, re-upped a subscription. Dear Dollars & Sense, Your new issue showed up the other day with the word “neoliberalism” in bold type on the cover. The continuing use of this term is not helpful. When I first saw this word a few years ago I wondered how the —>> read more –>>

Healthcare, Politics

Congressman Faso’s Challenge

January 30, 2017

To put the situation in sound bite language we spend twice as many healthcare dollars as almost all of our competitor nations and get developing country results. That Mr. Faso is your challenge.

Capitalism, Economy, Politics

Talk Back: Correcting the Anti-Government Bias of Our Politics

January 29, 2017

President Reagan was not the originator of this central trope of free-market (neo-liberal) politics, but he famously said in his first Inaugural Address in 1981, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” President Clinton, a Democrat, continued this theme during his terms culminating the the deregulation of the financial industry in 1999 setting the table for the collapse of 2008 and the Long Recession. Listening to almost any discussion by —>> read more –>>


  1. See Block, Fred L., and Matthew R. Keller. 2011. State of innovation: the U.S. government's role in technology development. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers and Mazzucato, Mariana. 2011. The entrepreneurial state.

The Future of the Women’s March

January 24, 2017

There is much ongoing discussion about steps needed to turn the enormous one day action of the global Women’s March in to a sustained movement to achieve better outcomes for the vast majority of Americans. 1 To focus on just one strategic element, the movement needs to move beyond identity politics to embrace class warfare. The rich and corporations have carried out a sustained and successful class war for more than 40 years. They control —>> read more –>>


  1. The energy of this action is illustrated locally by the fact that over a 1,000 people marched in Hudson NY, a town of 7,000 in a county of 68,000. Video here of this event
Economy, Politics, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Park Avenue and How We Got There

January 22, 2017

Park Avenue puts faces to many of the wealthy and the corporations. Do not for a moment think that if we could just rid ourselves of these avaricious individuals that our problems would be solved.

Politics, Security State

Revisiting MetaData – Your Life Made Visible

November 17, 2016

In the current moment much of the concern about privacy online and otherwise has been overwhelmed by Trump, inequality, racism and other matters. The NSA and other spies, government and corporate, are not taking a vacation.  I wrote earlier about this in  “The Uses of Metadata – an experiment you can conduct with your own life’s metadata” in July, 2013. Recently I revisited Immersion: a people-centric view of your email life, the MIT project to visualize —>> read more –>>


  1. metadata = a set of data that describes and gives information about other data. In the case of email this includes date and time; to, cc, bcc recipients; and subject line.
Capitalism, Politics

“Liberal”, “Progressive”, “Free Market”, “NeoLiberal” – what’s up?

November 15, 2016

A friend asked the following question of me on Facebook the other day:What’s wrong with the word LIBERAL …. This word … progressives … is only a diluted weak solution of the real thing …. the L word has become like the N word … it can’t be mouthed in public. I know what Liberal means I don’t have a clue what progressive means … you’d think Neoliberal has some relationship to LIBERAL which it —>> read more –>>


Next Steps for Progressives

November 14, 2016

The Trump election debacle demonstrates the bankruptcy of the current leadership of the Democratic Party. Faced with a foe who has engaged in serial bankruptcy as a business strategy, is a notorious know-nothing bully with a very sensitive ego, and is best known as the red-faced guy on reality TV who says “You’re fired”, they could not come up with a candidate and story to retain their core voters in the old rust-belt states. Despite —>> read more –>>


Election Results: The Next Ten Years

November 9, 2016

– The Morning After -The election of Trump and the continued Republican control of both Congress and Senate guarantee that the rich will continue to get richer at the expense of the shrinking middle class and further aggravate conditions for the poor. Trickle down economics and tax subsidies will flow for the rich and corporations. The financial sector will buy its way out of the weak regulations of Dodd/Frank and lurch towards new adventures in gambling; —>> read more –>>


Money in US Politics and Supporting Bernie Sanders

February 3, 2016

Bernie Sanders is the only candidate not in the pocket of the rich and corporations. To even begin to think about how to work our way out of our many problems and to capitalize on the opportunities, we need to retrieve our politics from the tsunami of money that now controls it. Bernie Sanders is a step in that direction.


Hillary Clinton, Big Money, and Corruption

June 6, 2015

The trail of money around Hillary and Bill Clinton and their foundation continues to attract lots of comment and not a few efforts to prove that money changed hands in return for specific acts by Hilary as Secretary of State. Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich (NY: Harper 2015) is just one example of a tsunami of comment, pro and —>> read more –>>


Gay Marriage – how did this transformation occur?

October 7, 2014

this transformation in attitudes towards homosexuality should be studied so that we can understand how and why it took place. Perhaps we can learn some lessons that will enable us to attack some of the other destructive hatreds shared so broadly by human beings.


The Corruption at the Center of American Politics and Government

June 16, 2014

The 1/2% of the Population That Run Our Politics Recently I came on a Ted Talk by Lawrence Lessig, “We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim” filmed in February 2013 (18:19 minutes). This typically brief TED talk provides a compelling argument for why the dominance of big money in our political system has turned it into an oligarchy and kleptocracy – my words not Lessig’s. “.26 percent of America gave 200 dollars or more to —>> read more –>>

Justice/Jails, Politics

The War on Drugs Is a Failure – The Gregory Brothers’ video

April 20, 2013

Why waste endless words on this topic? I stumbled on this video, “The Drug War Is a Failure” by the Gregory Brothers via the New York Times.

Justice/Jails, Politics

Our Longest War – The War on Drugs – more data on its futility

April 15, 2013

I have noted here several times earlier about America’s longest war – the War on Drugs. Here is a graphic that displays the complete failure of our policies: ((source: http://m.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/10/chart-says-war-drugs-isnt-working/57913/ – this graphic came to my attemtion via the Colbert Report http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/425397/april-11-2013/america-s-pot-astrophe ))  

Briefly Noted, Inequality, Politics

Economic Inequality – Does It Matter?

May 9, 2012

It is fairly widely known that income and wealth inequality in the US is as high or higher than at any time except perhaps the Robber Baron period at the end of the 19th century. Lots of articles and books explain how this has come about over the last 30 years. In a recent NYTimes Magazine article, “The Purpose of Spectacular Wealth, According to a Spectacularly Wealthy Guy” by Adam Davidson, we are even offered an affirmative —>> read more –>>

Politics, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Big Money, Big Politics…the best government bought, not by you…..

May 4, 2012

Wonder about the Impact of the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision? Government in the US, as everywhere, has always been tilted in favor of the wealthy. But, the Citizens United  decision in 2010 giving corporations the right spend unlimited money has made government, really at every level, into the sole playground of the rich and big corporations. A couple of weeks ago This American Life broadcast “TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN FOR OFFICE”. Listen to this program. It —>> read more –>>

Politics, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Long Division in American Politics – the money trail

January 26, 2012

A recent John Stewart Daily Show that explored Mitt Romney’s recent release of income tax data got me to thinking about long division. Romney’s income of roughly $22 million per year is so large that it kind of disappears into the haze of too much information. But, get out your pencil and divide that by 365 days to discover that his income is $60,000 per day. That is slightly over $10,000 more than the median —>> read more –>>

Economy, Empire, Politics

Are Americans Over Taxed, Over Defended, Bamboozled by the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Presidential Complex??

December 15, 2011

Americans feel that government, at all levels, is sucking the life blood out of them through taxes and regulations. Lets just talk about the tax part of this perception. What are the facts of the tax burdens on Americans? How does our enormous military and security establishment and overseas empire fit into the picture? And, finally, do we need or want this empire and can we afford it? What options might we have to get —>> read more –>>

Capitalism, Economy, Politics

Charts from Mother Jones Illustrate That the Rich Have Won the Class War

November 19, 2011

I came on a set of graphics in Mother Jones, “It’s the Inequality, Stupid: Eleven charts that explain what’s wrong with America” that illustrate what you probably already know. But, a simple refresher course in some of the reasons why the rich are rich. The 99% already have this base covered. Here are some of the charts I liked. Read the whole article at the Mother Jones website. Income (constant dollars) Note that if median family income had simply kept up —>> read more –>>


A Strange Sense of “Expertise” in the Cain Case in Milwaukee

November 17, 2011

This week’s installment of the Republican race for the honor of running for President bought us the eye-rolling scene of Herman Cain rolling his eyes trying to answer the question, “Do you approve of how Obama handled the Libyan matter?” The media leapt on this as an example of Cain’s lack of knowledge and expertise in foreign policy. What do they think is expertise? If one simply read the daily newspaper or watched the evening —>> read more –>>


Idiocy in America

September 8, 2011

The recent scene of Jon Huntsman, Republican candidate for President, stating that he believed in evolution surrounding this with the parenthetical comment, “call me crazy”, sets out in stark relief how idiotic our politics and body politic are at this moment. Every other Republican running for President has disavowed evolution. Even the middling muddler from Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, could not bring himself to state a positive position on this bit of science. A 2009 Gallup —>> read more –>>

Economy, Politics

Job Creation – A Pliable (Fraudulent) Rhetoric in the Current Debate over Debt and Debt Ceilings

July 12, 2011

When it comes to job creation both Democrats and Republicans reflexively trot out small business as the engine of growth. These flights of breathy admiration for plucky small business owners are part of our national myth, right up there with cowboys. There probably is some truth in this myth as long as you accept the other side of the equation which includes the fact that jobs in small businesses are lower paying and less stable —>> read more –>>

Economy, Politics

Where, Oh, Where Did Our National Debt Come From?

July 8, 2011

The political rhetoric of the current moment, chiefly flowing from Republicans, but barely challenged by the Democrats, describes tales of profligate over-spending by the Federal government matched with burdensome taxation. While it is true that Federal spending is higher proportionately than post-WWII norms, social programs are not the source of this over spending. One only has to look back to George Bush’s two terms to see the true sources of the debt. War, Wars, More Wars —>> read more –>>

Politics, Security State

Naomi Wolf’s The End of America – the movie

May 27, 2011

The End of America – a film by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern Here is a summary ((from the endofamericamovie.com website – 05/27/2011)) of the ten steps discussed and illustrated by Ms. Wolf in the movie. 10 STEPS THAT CLOSE AN OPEN SOCIETY 1. invoke an internal and external threat People who are afraid are willing to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise do. 2. establish secret (unaccountable) prisons where torture takes place In a secret —>> read more –>>

Economy, Politics

Let’s Talk About The Defense Budget – a letter to the editor

April 2, 2011

(This was submitted to the Letters to the Editor section of the Register Star here in Hudson. Not clear at the moment whether it will be published.) Discussions of the Federal budget almost never mention the defense department.  Both political parties continue in the thrall of what President Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex”. The defense budget is off limits. But, can we afford this military establishment? The US, with just 4.5% of the world’s population, supports almost 50% of the world’s —>> read more –>>

Capitalism, Economy, Politics

Corporations as Persons – Freedom of Speech, now Right to Privacy – Bring on Three Strikes!

January 20, 2011

The case of the Federal Communications Commission v. AT&T ((See the NYTimes,  “Court Weighs Whether Corporations Have Personal Privacy Rights” By ADAM LIPTAK Published: January 19, 201)) now being heard before the US Supreme Court raises anew the craziness of the thinking that has position corporations to be “persons” in the first place. Noun vs Adjective! First we have several of the justices focusing argument around the difference between “persons” and “personal”. But several justices —>> read more –>>

Empire, Politics

Bush, Anger and Dispair Over Our Situation

January 17, 2011

The return of George Bush to the national scene with the release of his memoir, Decision Points, once again roused feelings of anger and despair. Anger that we have such a weak sense of ethics, basic right and wrong stuff, in our culture. This man and his cohorts lied, aggressively distorted facts, and mislead the country into what has turned out to be a disastrous adventure in aggression in Iraq. If we had any real politics in —>> read more –>>

Education, Politics, Videos-Movies-Podcasts

Education – Miseducation – Human Creativity – TED Talk by Ken Robinson

November 5, 2010

We all have had, some now enduring, experiences in the educational system. Excepting the academic super stars for whom the educational system was designed, most have at best mixed feelings about it. Here is a TED Talk given in 2006 by Ken Robinson: “Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity” It is a compelling critique and most humorous. You will not get through these nineteen minutes without a lot of laughs.

Capitalism, Economy, Politics

The Mortgage Debacle – Redux

October 10, 2010

The current tsunami of revelations of misbehavior, if not outright criminality, by the banking industry in their pursuit of mortgages gone bad, is further evidence of how fundamentally corrupt and cynical this industry continues to be. On the front end of this global economic disaster the financial system engaged in misleading sales tactics using financial products that were baroque in their complexities. Aided by governments seduced by the siren songs of free market religion and  floods of money —>> read more –>>

Empire, Politics, Security State

9/11 and the Uses of American Amnesia (or Self Delusion)

September 20, 2010

As another anniversary of the events of  September 11, 2001 passes, the endless reflexive bleating in the press and our politics about 9/11 reminds that Americans continue to be enormously ignorant and callous about our place in the world. The destruction on September 11, 2001 of a few buildings and the associated loss of life continues to occupy enormous space in the media and our political life. It remains a resource for politicians and the —>> read more –>>

Capitalism, Economy, Politics

Krugman Asleep at the Wheel of History ….. the elite has not been interested for forty years…

August 2, 2010

The August 1st New York Times carries the latest Paul Krugman opinion piece, “Defining Prosperity Down”. He is depressed because it is dawning on him that the elite is in the process of redefining the level of structural unemployment that is normal to adjust to the significant likelihood that we will be living with 9%+unemployment on into the future. Where has Krugman been? He is old enough to remember that back in the 1960s structural —>> read more –>>

Capitalism, Economy, Politics

Do We Need Wall St. and all the other gamblers in the financial services world?

April 20, 2010

What Is the Function of Wall St.? The global financial meltdown of 2008 – 2009 with its ongoing sequelae seems not to have definitively demonstrated the dangers of our continuing belief in the religion of “free markets” nor shaken, especially it seems in the Obama administration, our thrall with Wall St. and all things financial. We are seeing the combined effects of Wall St.’s funding of the Democrats and Republicans, the primacy of Wall St-ers —>> read more –>>


Tea Party Nation – banned me for asking a few questions

March 8, 2010

Who and What Is Tea Party Nation? I generally don’t have that much interested in fringe weirdo politics. But, with the continuing eruptions on the right wing of the right wing Republican party, I thought that I might investigate. So, I became a member of the TeaPartyNation.com website. I spent maybe 30 to 45 minutes looking around. Lots of rhetoric but no policy approaches to any issues that I, and probably most people, think are —>> read more –>>

Capitalism, Economy, Politics

Controlling Gambling by Wall St. and the Big Banks – Bad for Business?

January 22, 2010

Anti-Wall St Does Not Mean Anti-Business President Obama’s proposals to break up the “too large to fail” mega banks and otherwise reapply the Glass Steagall Act to the financial sector has predictably brought loud complaints that this is populist and anti-business. Even the rhetoric of the reporters and expert talking heads reflects a general bias that anything that we might do to prevent a re-occurrence of last year’s global financial meltdown is anti-business. How Is —>> read more –>>

Empire, Healthcare, Politics

Remarks on President Obama’s Speech on Accepting The Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo 12/10/2009

December 21, 2009

There is much to applaud in Obama’s speech: control of nuclear weapons, assertion of human and civil rights, multilateralism in conflict resolution and enforcement, denial of religion as a justification  for oppression of others. But, we come to a significant claim, one that the US government has asserted for my entire lifetime,  and which the US media and populace would support:  “Whatever the mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the United States —>> read more –>>

Healthcare, Politics

More Blather about Healthcare from “Experts”

June 16, 2009

Acknowledge the basic facts about how the healthcare system is working today. Yesterday in a radio interview, “How to conquer health care challenges”, with Professor Glenn Melnick  from the Rand Corporation and USC, we were again offered up “expert” opinion that does not even acknowledge the basic facts about how the healthcare system is working today. Here are a couple of examples from the interview lead by Kai Ryssdal: “RYSSDAL: Well, let me make sure I understand —>> read more –>>

Empire, Politics, Security State

A New Thought on Terrorism

December 6, 2008

An article in today’s NYTimes about cyber crime, malware, etc. suggests to me that another line of attack may be through the Internet against our utilities, telecoms, or financial institutions. There have already been massive attacks against whole countries with successful breakdowns that lasted for hours and days. Ukraine, Lithuania, and Georgia were targets over the last year. My memory is that suspicions fell to the Russian government because the attacks, in these cases massive —>> read more –>>


Mumbai, Boston and Terrorism

December 3, 2008

The arrival by small boat of the Mumbai terrorists reminds me of a persistent fear here. A small freighter or a large one loaded with containers will pull into Conley Terminal in South Boston and shortly thereafter a dirty bomb will go off. This will spread a small cloud of nuclear materials, dust size particles into the air. The weather that day is blustery and on shore. Soon, radioactive particles will be spread over South —>> read more –>>



November 5, 2008

President Barack Obama is photographed during a presidential portrait sitting for an official photo in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) I will not add to the comments that have flooded around the world last night and this morning. However, this significant moment had to be greeted with more than silence.


Bush – the worst modern President

November 1, 2008

Since my entry this morning I have been thinking more about the Presidency and Bush. My knowledge of 19th century Presidents is a bit spotty. Certainly the names Buchanan, Pierce, Johnson and Grant pop to mind as less than top of the heap. But, for the modern era, post WW2, Bush is clearly the worst, most destructive President. In the international sphere, we will be digging out from the morass of his crazed policies for —>> read more –>>

Empire, Politics

Pondering at the Food Coop – the empire

November 1, 2008

November 1, 2008 So, here I am having coffee and my favorite lunch, a toasted bagel with peanut butter thinking about the approaching election. Finally this will conclude what has been an overly long campaign, but one with enormous pleasures. Assuming that Obama is not just a curiosity to all those throngs at his campaign events, we will have a President who seems bright, competent, and level-headed with an adequate level if toughness. I don’t —>> read more –>>

Empire, Politics

Pondering at the Food Coop

November 1, 2008

November 1, 2008 So, here I am having coffee and my favorite lunch, a toasted bagel with peanut butter thinking about the approaching election. Finally this will conclude what has been an overly long campaign, but one with enormous pleasures. Assuming that Obama is not just a curiosity to all those throngs at his campaign events, we will have a President who seems bright, competent, and level-headed with an adequate level if toughness. I don’t —>> read more –>>

Books, Politics

North Korea – a visit to the “Axis of Evil”

June 21, 2007

Recently, in the context of some discussion of the Bush regime, my step-son Jonathan pointed me towards several books on Korea. He said that Bruce Cumings is simply the best author writing in English on Korea. So, a quick trip to the local library and I had this compact little book in my hands. The book is organized around five topics: (1) the impact of the Korean War on North Korea, (2) the genesis of —>> read more –>>

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