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I'm a retired philosophy professor at Centre College. I also am a regular columnist for The Danville Advocate-Messenger,the local paper in what was my home town (I now live in Connecticut. My last book was Posthumanity-Thinking Philosophically about the Future (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004).
I am a strong opponent of the gung-ho version of capitalism peddled here and abroad as the "Washington consensus."
(11 comments) Tuesday, May 14, 2019 Democrats must choose between war and appeasement
"Constitutional crisis" doesn't do justice to the danger Trump poses. He seems to be saying "I'm the one with the police and military. Just try to make me obey your laws." Speaker Pelosi's response is to avoid alienating moderate voters by an impeachment battle and avoiding "some of the other exuberances that exist in our party" [such as Medicare-For-All and the GND]. This is what passes for leadership in the party.
(20 comments) Tuesday, April 23, 2019 Impeach Trump now before it's too late
Attempted obstruction of justice is a felony. The Mueller report has established that Trump committed multiple felonies. The report is a watershed event. Nothing as authoritative will come from future committee investigations recommended by House Democratic leaders. Trump calls the report a "scam" perpetrated by "dirty cops." The time for defending the rule of law is NOW. Don't let Trump flick this off.
(22 comments) Sunday, March 31, 2019 The elephant in America's living room
Trump has divided the nation into two hostile tribes. One regards him as vile and morally unfit to be president. The other applauds his character and values or at least accepts them as the rough edges of something good for the country. He urges his tribe to reject all contrary evidence as "fake news." This turns the divide between the tribes into a moral abyss that can't be crossed by rational discourse.
(4 comments) Wednesday, February 27, 2019 It's the economic inequality, stupid!
Out-of-control economic inequality is not only a grave injustice. It's also corrupting our democracy. It has allowed a parasitic investor class to become a political colossus that uses government to extract for itself a maximum profit by abusing us (human resources) and the environment (natural resources). It sees an existential threat in urgent reforms such as medicare for all or the "green new deal." Do Democrats get it?
(12 comments) Monday, January 21, 2019 The Democratic Party's moment of truth
Will the Democrats honestly address global warming and the surging demand for a universal healthcare system? To do so they can no longer try to accommodate an increasingly bizarre and dysfunctional GOP led by an infantile narcissist under the banner of market fundamentalism. Democrats must place the "general Welfare" above the bribes of a parasitic healthcare industry and antisocial fossil-fuel corporations.
(1 comments) Friday, December 21, 2018 U.S. continues its century-long embrace of the dark side in Latin America
The U.S. wants regime change in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. What they have in common is rebellion against a hemispheric capitalist system run by the U.S. Their sin is "socialism." As U.S.National Security Adviser John Bolton explains, they are a "Troika of Tyranny, this triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua." They haven't attacked us or any other country, but they are unfriendly to our corporations
(8 comments) Monday, November 19, 2018 The Hollow Center of the Democratic Party
Flipping the House when the other party has the presidency was unremarkable. But a morally vile and utterly incompetent President made the election a referendum on himself. The top issue among voters was health care. The incompetent leadership of the Democratic Party failed to mount a campaign based on Trump's unfitness and the necessity for a universal health-care law. The midterms could and should have been a tsunami.
(5 comments) Thursday, October 11, 2018 The decline of tenure is degrading higher education
The increasing replacement of tenure-track with contingent faculty is undermining the very institutions we need as a defense against the forces of willful ignorance let loose by Trump and the GOP. In 1969 78.3 % of faculty appointments were tenured or tenure track. By 2015 the ratio had nearly flipped: only 29% were tenured or tenure track. More than 50 percent of college faculty are part time intellectual migrant workers.
(15 comments) Wednesday, September 5, 2018 Is our world becoming a sacrifice zone?
Sacrifice zones are places where humans and the natural world are treated with the same disrespect, valued only for their profit potential and discarded as worthless once this potential has been extracted. The Appalachian sacrifice zone and red states such as Kansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana are examples of what Trump and the GOP want for all America. Continued burning of fossil fuels is turning the world into a sacrifice zone.
(7 comments) Friday, July 27, 2018 'Treason' Summit: a dangerous merge of Russophobia and Trump loathing
On July 16 a badly needed dialogue between two nations with vast nuclear arsenals and a tense relationship took place in Helsinki. The Mueller indictments of July 13 combined with Trump's inept performance at a joint presser with Putin to give the Russiagate posse all it needed to fire up a new cold war. Never mind that the indictments are unproven allegations, and America's history of interfering with U.S.elections abroad.
(17 comments) Thursday, June 28, 2018 The psychopathology of Trumpism
Trump is a vile man--a liar, narcissist, immature, hyper-aggressive, sexist and racist. He is someone no self-respecting person should want as a friend and no sane employer or business associate would trust. Yet nearly 63 million voters chose him as their head of state. He has created for his tribe an anti-elitist fantasy, a world in which knowledge, experience and respect for others are no longer required for high office.
(11 comments) Monday, May 28, 2018 What does it mean to be a friend of Israel?
Does support for a Jewish homeland require defending the behavior of the Israeli government? Must a friend be an enabler? Should the U.S. enable the Netanyahu government to go on treating Gaza like a concentration camp for 1.9 million Palestinians? As the May 14 Gaza violence and the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem demonstrate, Netanyahu intends to let Gaza rot while flooding the West Bank with settlers.
(3 comments) Friday, April 13, 2018 Haspel nomination is a sign of increasing lawlessness and brutality of U.S. government
Gina Haspel, Trump's nominee to head the CIA, is a war criminal. She is responsible for waterboarding and otherwise torturing prisoners during the War on Terror. After WWII the U.S. hanged Japanese military personnel who did this to Americans. Her nomination is one more sign of increasing lawlessness in our government. Our ruling class is no longer willing to punish crimes by members of the ruling class.
(4 comments) Thursday, March 15, 2018 Can #MeToo withstand Hollywood's patriarchal male gaze?
Did the 2018 Oscars ceremony really mark a turning point in Hollywood's sordid history of gender inequality and sexual harassment? Feminist criticism of Jennifer Lawrence's appearance in a Red Sparrow promotional photo, and her response to the critics, suggest that Hollywood isn't ready for a big change. The patriarchal structure and values of the film industry seem anchored in popular culture.
(2 comments) Tuesday, February 20, 2018 The new U.S. nuclear posture: playing with fire in a combustible world
The new nuclear defense doctrine insanely advocates using "low-yield" nuclear weapons in response to non-nuclear attacks, including cyber strikes. It increases the risk of nuclear war amid the tension created by NATO expansion and the U.S. forces continuing to fight in Syria despite the reconquest of ISIS-held territory. The danger is heightened by the fear mongering and hypocritical rhetoric of Russiagate.
(2 comments) Friday, January 19, 2018 Social media and the corporate invasion of adolescence
High school seniors spend an average of 6 hours a day on social media outside school time. The business plan of mega-corporations such as Facebook is to keep people on-screen as long as possible in order to maximize advertising revenue. So they are creating in teenagers a behavioral addiction that is crowding their lives and undermining their social relations. Public ownership of ISPs may be the only remedy.
(12 comments) Thursday, December 21, 2017 Capitalism needs to become a bad word
'Capitalism' is an ill-defined, politically charged word that is central to Americans' perception of their national identity. Recent surveys show a decline in support for capitalism. As the GOP tax plan and the repeal of net neutrality show, capitalism is essentially predatory. It seeks to subordinate all the functions of the state to the growth of capital. Capitalism is a great danger to democracy and human flourishing.
(1 comments) Tuesday, November 14, 2017 Democrats: Drawing the wrong conclusion from elections
November 7 didn't justify business-as-usual for the Clinton-Obama establishment and its blend of liberal identity politics and coziness with the corporate elite. American economic growth is not a "rising tide that lifts all boats." What we have instead is a small fleet of yachts in a rising sea full of swimmers trying to stay afloat. We need radical measures, not just the usual bromides about "growing the economy" and "jobs."
(37 comments) Saturday, October 21, 2017 Trump's mental instability threatens national security
The desperate meme now echoed among pundits is that a small circle of mostly military advisors can buffer Trump's tantrums and pre-digest information to accommodate his limited attention span. He fits the APA criteria for antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders. Can an impulsive, deeply ignorant egomaniac be entrusted with the "nuclear football"? Or are we counting on a military coup if he orders a nuclear attack?
(3 comments) Tuesday, September 26, 2017 The Saudis--our friends and partners in war crime
Since March of 2015 a Saudi-led coalition has destroyed much of Yemen's infrastructure. The U.S. supports and profits from this crime. 7 million, including 2.3 million children under the age of five--are on the "cusp of famine." The children's future includes stunted growth of the brain and vital organs, mental retardation, and muscle weakness. We must end our bizarre alliance with this brutal and fanatic police state.