I'm a retired philosophy professor at Centre College. My last book was Posthumanity-Thinking Philosophically about the Future (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). I am an anti-capitalist.
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(5 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Are humans creating a posthuman future? Until now, technological progress has been increasing the power of human beings over non-human nature (for better or worse). But ongoing research projects in the overlap of brain and computer science tell us that we will soon have the power to alter human nature itself. Do we today have the wisdom to settle on a good direction for our society at this tipping point in human history?
(18 comments) SHARE Friday, June 10, 2011
The Mythology of Individualism Individualists want a political system built around self-made, self-reliant and value-creating agents whose connections to other humans are purely voluntary or contractual. That's why they see the free market as society itself, as the natural environment for human nature. The self-made individual touted by Randian individualists is a fiction, a distortion. A society makes individuals just as much as individuals make a society.
(22 comments) SHARE 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.
(37 comments) SHARE 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?
(43 comments) SHARE Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Is capitalism inherently anti-democratic? Competitive markets create winners. We have the biggest market of all. Federal and state election campaigns cost lots of money, which big market winners give to those who will enact their agenda at the expense of everyone else. Result: plutocracy. Does it have to be this way? What about the Nordic states with their vibrant market economies? To call them capitalist misses a fundamental difference between them and us.
(3 comments) SHARE 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.
(22 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Walmart, Waltons epitomize America's class war Walmart's business is extraction; it is the great American Taker. Its goal is to pile up ever more wealth for the Waltons and other investors by underpaying its intimidated workers, violating their right to organize, and getting taxpayer subsidies for its antisocial behavior Walmart's parasitic business plan is becoming the new normal in America's economy.
(15 comments) SHARE 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.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Denmark: Land of the Free The lesson to be learned from Denmark is that you can have both a competi-tive free market economy and a comprehensive welfare state with a strong union role. As the Danish center-right government's Employment Minister said in a 2008 interview, "I think the idea that you have to starve the public sector to have a prosperous private sector is long out of date."
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, March 20, 2020
The glaring dishonesty of Biden and the Democratic Party establishment By leaving so much of the moral continuum unoccupied, Trump and the GOP have enabled most Democrats to smugly assume they speak the truth and possess the moral high ground. This delusion permits them, even during a global pandemic, to prefer a presidential candidate in obvious mental decline who is ready to veto Medicare for All. He has a long history of lies, the worst of which is his misrepresentation of Medicare for All.
(13 comments) SHARE Friday, July 19, 2019
The cowering leadership of Nancy Pelosi Democrats need a prophetic voice, something like what we heard from the Squad at their press conference responding to Trump's racist taunts. Instead we have Nancy Pelosi. Her overall strategy is to do nothing that would alienate moderates in swing districts, and to avoid inflaming Trump's MAGA herd. That's why she mocked the Green New Deal and got a majority of Democrats to vote to table Rep. Green's impeachment resolution.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Do American workers have the Stockholm Syndrome? The notion that our wealthy investor class needs more tax cuts flies in the face of well-known facts. It also makes no sense. Yet this is a major part of Romney's message. Why then are so many American workers going to vote for him? Could it be that they are suffering from societal Stockholm Syndrome?
(34 comments) SHARE Friday, November 15, 2019
Chile and the destructive ideology of American neoliberalism For the past month the streets of every major Chilean city have seen angry demonstrations, with as many as a million per day marching in the capital, Santiago. They are rebelling against the neoliberal policies imposed by Pinochet after a CIA-supported coup in 1973. These are the same policies the U.S. is trying to impose all over Latin America in what seems to be a bipartisan consensus. Why is this happening?
(39 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Biden's victory has left us in a dark place When I saw the record numbers of early in-person and mail-in votes, I indulged the fantasy that a powerful cleansing wave of ballots cast by an angry and disgusted citizenry would wash away our national shame on Nov. 3. It would topple a regime of grifters and incompetents led by an infantile sociopath, and shatter the political party that inflicted it on us. Trump did lose the election, but so much else didn't happen.
(11 comments) SHARE Tuesday, December 30, 2014
The toxic legacy of Milton Friedman Milton Friedman's doctrine about the "social responsibility" of corporate management unconsciously laid bare the absurdity at the heart of American-style capitalism. It confuses ends with means by subordinating the constitutional goals of government (incl. justice, the general welfare) to the derivative and conditional value of enriching investors. This subordination is irrational and corrupts our political life.
(7 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 8, 2020
The IMF is the battering ram of American capitalism The IMF is a UN agency dominated by the U.S. government. It's supposed to be a lender of last resort to financially troubled countries. By requiring borrower nations to adopt austerity and other neoliberal 'reforms,' this agency has created economic and social devastation in much of the world, especially throughout Latin America. It is doing to other nations what our political establishment would do to us if we let them.
(4 comments) SHARE Wednesday, August 11, 2021
The Kennedy Assassination was a military-industrial coup d'e'tat It's hard for us to see ourselves as living in a country that has been transformed by a violent, internally generated regime-change operation. We think of "regime change" as what the CIA does to other countries, including Iran, Indonesia and most of Latin America. But this same rogue agency staged a coup d'e'tat on Nov. 22, 1963 that confirmed the U.S. as a national security state ruling a global capitalist empire.
(5 comments) SHARE Wednesday, August 21, 2019
The U.S. infestation of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras The racism and cruelty the Trump administration has shown to Central American refugees at our southern border pales in comparison to what the U.S. government has been doing inside their countries for over a century. The U.S. has made them into some of the most dangerous places in the world to live. It has supported white right-wing military dictatorships that oppress and impoverish their non-white populations.
(51 comments) SHARE Monday, November 28, 2016
Will we normalize a morally unfit President? Do we owe Trump"respect" as head of state? Does this racist, misogynist liar respect us, the American people? As a birther for 5 years, he has urged disrespect for President Obama. His narcissistic, juvenile image of women as having value only as objects of his sexual appetite amounts to disrespect for half of the American people. The incessant lies and contradictions in his statements and tweets amount to fake speech.
(12 comments) SHARE 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.
(11 comments) SHARE Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Climate Change: Has "stupid" become a GOP brand? The stupidity Jindal warned about is not low intelligence or IQ, but rather the choice not to use what intelligence and knowledge we have. It is willful stupidity.One of its most dangerous manifestations is climate change denialism. The U.S. military's grown-up thinking about global warming contrasts with the GOP's attempt to discourage any preparation for the threats posed by global warming. Consider Miami Beach's flooding.
(6 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Bipartisan standing ovation for Guaido showed the Democratic establishment's hostility to social democracy At the State of the Union address,Trump introduced Juan Guaido, whom he wants to force Venezuelans to accept as president. He got a bipartisan standing ovation as a warrior against "socialist tyranny." Trump used the occasion to warn that "Socialism destroys nations." He then pledged to defeat Sanders' "socialist" health-care plan. Was this a preview of a bipartisan anti-Sanders campaign?
(7 comments) SHARE Sunday, June 7, 2020
The urgent need for the left to unite in a national anti-capitalist party As the economic disaster of the pandemic unfolds, American billionaires are achieving complete domination over society. The word 'republic' derives from the Latin 'res publica', a public thing. Our Republic has been privatized. The Democratic Party is dead for the left.
(2 comments) SHARE 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.
(8 comments) SHARE 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.
(1 comments) SHARE 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."
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Trump holds a mirror to our hypocritical foreign policy A senior aide has described the doctrine behind Trump foreign policy as "We're America, b*tch!" This fits Trump's violent language as he threatens Iran or Venezuela, and his express disregard for moral constraints in dealing with other countries. Our foreign-policy establishment is shocked. But the history of CIA regime-change operations since 1950 in Iran, Venezuela and Brazil shows the hypocrisy of that establishment.
(11 comments) SHARE 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.
(8 comments) SHARE Thursday, December 12, 2019
Is Biden the Democratic Party's death wish? There is a real but disturbing possibility that Joe Biden will win the Democratic nomination. If he does, he will lose the election, and we will get four more years of chaos at home and abroad under Trump. By focusing on Ukraine in their impeachment, Democrats will enable the GOP to create the appearance of moral equivalence between Trump pressuring Zelensky and the dual roles of Joe and Hunter Biden in Kiev from 2014 to 2016.
(17 comments) SHARE 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.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, April 9, 2020
Is COVID-19 the 'straw' that will break the back of capitalism? For neoliberals the main role of government is to collect tax revenue to hire private for-profit providers of essential services.This results in a systematic reversal of means and ends. For example, the purpose of health insurance is to pay for the care of the sick. But if its goal is profit and paying for care lowers profit, it avoids covering those most in need of care, and denies as many claims as possible.
(5 comments) SHARE 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.
(3 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 1, 2013
Is it "self-evident" that "all men are created equal"? "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal. . . .". It's obvious that there must be some degree of economic inequality in order to have an incentive system that rewards people whose special talent and initiative benefit everyone. But how do we make this inequality consistent with the Declaration's claim that we are all equal? Does it matter how great the economic inequality gets?
(13 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 21, 2013
The GOP response to global warming is irrational and dangerous On May 9 Hawaii's Mauna Loa Observatory recorded carbon dioxide levels of 400 parts-per-million (ppm). Earth hasn't had these levels since 3 to 5 million years ago, when temperatures were 5.4 to 7.2 degrees F warmer than now, and sea levels were 16 to 131 feet higher than today. Congressional Republicans respond to scientists' warnings with skepticism or outright denial, and are totally opposed to doing anything about it.
(5 comments) SHARE Friday, October 18, 2019
American toads in the Ukrainian swamp According to 1027 former federal prosecutors from both parties, the Mueller report delivered multiple documented instances of obstruction of justice. But Pelosi wouldn't impeach. Six months later we have a murky Ukraine-based impeachment process that exposes both Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Fortunately Trump's defense is so unhinged that he is likely to be impeached. But Democrats now have another reason not to nominate Biden.
(12 comments) SHARE 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.
(4 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Is the Democrats' 'democracy' a bigger lie than Trump's Big Lie? It's clear that Republicans in many states are changing electoral laws to let them gain partisan control of election results. It seems that their attempted coup in Jan. 6 was merely a rehearsal. The two-party system is finished, but Democrats seem at a loss over what to do in this new reality. They are hampered by their own BIG LIE, their pretense that their party still wants a democracy worth fighting for.
(2 comments) SHARE 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.
(4 comments) SHARE 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.
(4 comments) SHARE Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Planet of the Humans--is the climate movement in denial? Planet of the Humans, produced by Michael Moore and directed by Jeff Gibbs, questions many banner claims of the climate movement and calls out its corporate support. It is controversial and deserves to be seen with an open but critical mind. Like the climate science community, it insists that we must produce and consume much less, and somehow reduce global population. Is there a feasible, humane and just way to do this?
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, August 16, 2020
Capital in the American economy acts like a virus The sickness that is causing the life of our society to ebb is more than just the coronavirus. What a virus does to the cells of a human body is similar to what we have allowed private capital to do to human labor and natural resources. Capital hijacks life-sustaining human labor and natural resources in order to grow itself endlessly in the form of profit. This sickness is neoliberal capitalism.
SHARE Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Sara Nelson could revive the AFL-CIO. She understands the revolutionary potential of the labor movement. In June of 2022 the 12.1-million-member AFL-CIO will hold a crucial election to replace Rich Trumka, its president from 2009 until his death on Aug. 5 of this year. Interim president Liz Shuler will be challenged by Sara Nelson, the militant and charismatic president of the 50,000-member Association of Flight Attendants (AFA). If she wins, she could halt the decline of the labor movement and bring revolutionary change.
(2 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 11, 2016
"Free-trade" agreements promote a capitalist world government TPP and TTIP are part of a continuing effort by international corporations to impose a global economic system that weakens the ability of national governments to look out for public goods such as health, education and the environment.The fact that Democratic President Obama is leading this effort shows that in America today, there is one plutocratic Party, with two branches vying to serve one corporate agenda.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, March 8, 2009
Employee Free Choice Act will rebuild economy, strengthen democracy A principal cause of the current economic crisis is the growing gap between increasing worker productivity and stagnant worker compensation since 1980. Unless worker compensation keeps up with productivity increase, it isn't possible to sustain demand for the output of a growing economy. We must repair the economy by restoring long-runc consumer demand. One of the best ways to do this is the EFCA.
(11 comments) SHARE 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.
(7 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 23, 2012
The Party Of Lincoln Plays The Race Card Romney and the GOP depends on the votes of a racist minority. They can neither forcefully condemn racist views of Obama nor openly endorse them. Instead, they give their base winks and dog whistles.
(10 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 25, 2017
There is no 'free-market solution' for health insurance The conservative core of the GOP just 'knows' deep down that government should stay out of health care(as it should from all markets). We can see the absurdity and cruelty of this view by looking at why police protection and access to the courts cannot be treated as a commodity bought and sold in a free market. Like health care, they are costly but essential services beyond the means of ordinary citizens.
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, January 2, 2017
Impunity for the elite and solitary confinement for the poor: the spectrum of American injustice If ordinary persons, especially poor ones, commit even a minor crime, our legal system inflicts harsh punishments. But prosecution and prison are now seen as inappropriate for the elite.Among the worst excesses of our penal system is solitary confinement, a form of torture endured by over 80,000 American prisoners today. What happened to Candie Hailey at Rikers Island is a sickening example of what our society has become.
(12 comments) SHARE Monday, August 8, 2016
Fiddling while the Doomsday Clock ticks The start of the Doomsday Clock signaled a new era in human history: one in which humans had acquired the power to destroy their planet but lacked the wisdom and institutions that would make its use unlikely. American politics puts the Earth at risk of either overheating or lapsing into a nuclear winter of extinction.
(9 comments) SHARE Monday, July 13, 2020
The lives of people of color have never mattered to the U.S. empire Racism is a legacy American whites have inherited from their European ancestors. Can the U.S. ever free itself from racism at home without putting an end to the racism in its treatment of other peoples? There is a long and sordid history linking Christopher Columbus to Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on the throat of George Floyd and slowly choking him to death in front of horrified witnesses.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, July 5, 2014
Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq: three delusional wars Most Americans feel a grotesque buyer's regret over the killing of 65,000 American troops and 2-3 million foreign civilians at a cost of $5-6 trillion in three wars. Even these huge numbers fail to do justice to the suffering and the lost opportunities these wars have inflicted on the U.S., its allies, and the ravaged nations where we waged war. But what have we learned?
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, December 1, 2011
'Torture' has become a word in political and media Newspeak As Orwell explained, the purpose of Newspeak was "to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc [the ruling party]." GOP Newspeak allows Republicans to reject "torture" while promising to reinstate waterboarding and other forms of what was called torture in 20th C. English. Obama's failure to prosecute Bush administration torturers empowers GOP Newspeak.
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, March 16, 2015
Evolution and the clash of fundamentalisms The fundamentalist syndrome includes rigid adherence to a set of basic beliefs and passionate rejection of whatever challenges them. These beliefs define a community and create a sharp distinction between believers and outsiders. The nemesis of Christian fundamentalism is science fundamentalism--the claim that science is the only source of truth about the world. The former distorts faith and the latter misrepresents science.
(14 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 16, 2015
The hypocrisy of the U.S. indictments of FIFA officials Despite the righteous tone of Attorney General Loretta Lynch's announcement of the indictments of FIFA officials, the Obama administration has tolerated Wall Street corruption on a massive scale. The harm done by corrupt FIFA officials pales in comparison to the economic and social cost of the financial crisis caused by reckless Wall Street criminals who have gone unpunished.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 26, 2014
The re-election of the Property Party The miserably low turnout on Nov.4 and the success of the GOP despite its absurd goals are symptoms of an inarticulate despair about the political process itself. A growing portion of the bottom 90% see little reason to expect anything good from it, no matter which party wins an election. The super-rich control "who can run for office, what their priorities should be and even what can be said in public" (Sunlight Foundation).
(8 comments) SHARE Sunday, August 3, 2014
Does "self-defense" justify Israeli attack on Gaza? Palestinians see Israel as the aggressor, and their rocket barrage as a desperate act of self-defense against the deadly stranglehold of Israel's blockade of Gaza. It is a refusal to accept subjugation. A blockade is an act of war. Israel has been at war with Gaza for 7 years.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Joe Biden: the image and the reality Biden is the establishment's antidote to Bernie Sanders' message that something is radically wrong. He fantasizes that Republicans in Congress will have an epiphany once Trump is gone. He wraps himself in Obama's mantle, but Uncle Joe lack's Obama's charisma. He is prone to cringeworthy gaffes. His hands invade the personal space of girls and women. He lies about his support for the invasion of Iraq. He would be a soft target.
(3 comments) SHARE 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.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, February 16, 2012
Mitt Romney is the one percent's Captain America In the year 2015, Romney's tax plan would raise taxes by an average of $157 for the bottom 20% of taxpayers, and $82 for the second quintile. The third (middle) quintile ("the folks that are really struggling") would receive a whopping $138 tax cut! And what about the "very rich" that Romney says he's "not concerned about"? The tax cut for those with incomes over $1 million would average $145,568.
(19 comments) SHARE Thursday, April 27, 2017
Bipartisan Russophobia is a dangerous distortion The ongoing Ukraine crisis which has done so much to poison US-Russia relations must be seen in the context of the rapid march of NATO to the border of Russia, including efforts to add Ukraine to NATO. How would we have responded if the Warsaw Pact still existed and Mexico joined it? The Monroe Doctrine states that the U.S. regards as hostile any European government's attempt to control countries in our hemisphere.
(5 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Davos and the crisis of international capitalism The 2015 World Economic Forum at Davos was a gathering of 1500 executives of the world's largest corporations, 40 heads of state, and specially invited celebrities, academics and NGO representatives. The purpose of the WEF is to allow the world's plutocrats to address global problems such as the soaring inequality described in the latest Oxfam report, a dangerous situation of their own creation. Don't get your hopes up.
(10 comments) SHARE Sunday, August 1, 2021
By not charging Trump for treason, our nation forfeits self-respect The Constitution says that, "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. 'Levying war' includes any armed insurrection to obstruct a law of the United States. Trump's insurrectionists were trying to obstruct something even more fundamental: the process of electing a President and Congress--the foundation of all our law.
(4 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Trump and the politics of disrespect Although many members of our elite find Trump repulsive, they may be reacting to an uncensored exhibition of what they (fear to) see in themselves. He is the Id of the American ruling class. One of the most striking features of Trumpism is disrespect toward everyone and every institution that gets in his way.
(11 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 25, 2017
The contradiction in Democrats' identity politics The Democratic Party in the Obama era thought it could emphasize identity politics while ignoring class politics (economic inequality). However, racist (or sexist or homophobic) laws and customs are social evils for the same reason as policies favoring the wealthy.They violate the commitment to equal rights and equal dignity that is essential to a healthy democracy.Identity politics without class politics is a contradiction.
SHARE Friday, October 29, 2021
Global environmental outlaw Chevron is polluting our court system with its malicious prosecution of Steve Donziger The malicious prosecution of Steven Donziger by an ecocidal corporation abetted by corrupt judges and ignored by the New York congressional delegation and the federal government is not just a horrible injustice against one individual. It is also one more demonstration of the penetration and control of our legal and political system by large corporations.
(6 comments) SHARE Friday, December 24, 2010
Do the rich deserve their wealth? It should have been political suicide for the GOP to threaten to block all legislation (including an extension of unemployment benefits) until Congress extends the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% of American taxpayers. One reason for the lack of outrage is that many Americans at all income levels feel that the wealthy "deserve" their high incomes, and that the government has no right to redistribute this wealth to poorer,
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 8, 2022
The hypocrisy and dishonesty of U.S. policy in Ukraine The mainstream media coverage of the Ukraine crisis fails to provide adequate context for the Russian troop deployments at the Ukrainian border. When we take into account the U.S. role in overthrowing the democratically elected President of Ukraine in 2014, and our broken promise not to expand NATO toward Russia's border, Putin's demand that NATO pledge not to admit Ukraine is reasonable.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, July 15, 2010
Worker Cooperatives--a genuine Third Way The structure of ownership and control in most American corporations is seriously flawed. It creates an adversarial relationship between workers and those who own or manage workplaces. Fortunately, a better alternative is emerging in the U.S. and elsewhere. This alternative is workers owning their work-places, especially in the form of worker cooperatives.
(4 comments) SHARE 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?
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Bernie Sanders vs the Clinton-Obama establishment With the election of Reagan, the GOP became implacably anti-union and anti-government (except for military spending). Under the leadership of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama,the Democrats have become the party of socially liberal members of the One (or .1 or .01) Percent. Sanders opposes Hillary Clinton because she promises more of the same. He is up against the tectonic rightward shift of American politics since Reagan.
SHARE Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Amazon and the dark side of American capitalism Amazon is one of the most admired corporations in the world, and Jeff Bezos is rightly seen as an entrepreneurial genius. Yet, says Simon Head, Amazon "treats employees as untrustworthy human robots and relies on intimidation to push them to the limit." Americans reject the kind of government that treats its people simply as means or resources. The purest form of such treatment is slavery. Why then do we accept wage slavery?
(4 comments) SHARE Saturday, November 14, 2015
Danish 'socialism' is good for business Republicans claims that a government big enough to support a robust safety net is a threat to our freedom and prosperity. Bernie Sanders' self-imposed label of "democratic socialist" and his praise for Denmark are a gift to the GOP, allowing it to invoke images of a Soviet-style economy and overbearing government. However, the real Denmark has BOTH a thriving free-market capitalist economy and generous social programs.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, August 28, 2017
An elegy for Labor Day Labor Day was instituted as a celebration of the American Labor movement. But the history and present state of labor is nothing to celebrate. The NLRA of 1935 was quickly hollowed out by the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 which permitted states to enact so-called right-to-work laws (now passed by 28 states). As the recent failure of the UAW to unionize the Nissan plant in Mississippi shows, U.S. labor is prostrate before capital.
(22 comments) SHARE Friday, April 19, 2013
Who are the real 'takers'? The GOP echoes Ayn Rand in dividing Americans into "makers" and "takers." They overlook the one percent's baseless sense of entitlement to an ever greater share of national income.
(16 comments) SHARE Sunday, June 23, 2013
Mitch McConnell is the face of a broken Senate After Mitch McConnell became Senate Minority Leader in 2007, the yearly total of filibusters doubled . It's now assumed that any legislation over which there is disagreement requires a super-majority of 60 votes to pass. Democrats could use the nuclear option to break McConnell's stranglehold. Yet they lack the will to do so. The legislative paralysis created by filibusters can't continue. It's a national embarrassment.
(7 comments) SHARE Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Unclear language and conceptual confusion obscure the abortion controversy Public opinion on abortion, unlike other hot social issues, has changed very little over the last 30 years. The apparent intractability of this issue is largely due to misunderstanding of the moral and legal concepts of personhood. The extreme "pro-choice" and "pro-life" positions both make the same mistake of interpreting personhood as an all-or-nothing attribute.
(7 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 10, 2010
The GOP wants to double down on trickle down Republicans actually want to renew Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans, at a cost of $680 billion over ten years, despite ballooning government deficits. They're clinging desperately to the failed supply-side economics that has been Republican dogma since 1980. Mitch McConnell says with a straight face that "There's no evidence Bush's tax cuts actually diminished revenue."
SHARE Friday, March 12, 2021
Unless we end the filibuster, our democracy will fail There is an air of lunacy in Congress. We face economic, health and climate crises requiring our national government to think and act big on the scale of a war mobilization. But a fanatically anti-democratic and anti-government GOP minority in the Senate is using an outdated procedural rule (the filibuster) to obstruct them. Democrats have the power to change this, but seems afraid to act.
(11 comments) SHARE Monday, June 20, 2016
The election we could have had Sanders took on the neoliberalism peddled by both parties but with different packaging. The GOP wraps it in nativism, jingoism and anti-intellectualism. Democrats coat it with liberal-identity politics, and minimal social programs as scraps from the tables of the rich. The billionaire class will tolerate either package, as long as their status and power are not threatened by a clean election and the prospect of redistribution.
(14 comments) SHARE Friday, April 24, 2015
Can we empathize with social robots? The accelerating computer revolution is not just about rapid growth in the raw calculating power of machines. It has lately gone in a new direction that challenges the popular belief that even the most intelligent machine is merely that--a thing rather than a person. How could a future human with neural prostheses and other synthetic body parts (e.g. hips or knees) reject the very idea of a robotic self?
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, March 27, 2017
The Republicans' culture of irrationality Trump continues to be what he's been all his adult life: a serial liar. As a result, he is quickly losing credibility at home and abroad. Also, as evidenced by his administrative appointees and proposed budget cuts, he is suppressing information about, and planning for, the global instability threatened by climate change. These two behaviors are supported by a culture of irrationality embedded in the Republican base.
(5 comments) SHARE Friday, January 1, 2016
Get out of Afghanistan! The Afghan Taliban now holds more territory than in any year since 2001. Obama's decision to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan to prevent it from being used as a "safe haven for terrorists" is dishonest nonsense. There is no vital American interest in seeking a "lasting political settlement" between the Taliban and the corrupt and incompetent Kabul regime. We need to admit failure and get out now.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, January 26, 2014
The final campaign of Martin Luther King Jr. King could have kept his focus on undoing the harm white racism had done to his people. But his heart and vision were big enough to see racial injustice as part of a wider and deeper evil that included economic injustice and militarism, which was oppressing whites and nonwhites alike. The political establishment and his own black community turned on him. Today his radicalism is mostly forgotten.
(5 comments) SHARE Saturday, January 30, 2016
Obama's drone war is immoral and counter-productive The Obama administration is deceiving the American people when it claims its drone strikes are surgically precise and effective, making the US safer by "targeted killing" of terrorists with minimal collateral damage. It is killing hundreds of civilians, including children. It terrorizes entire communities with constant overhead cruising by drones, an arrogant display of power that helps recruit ever more terrorists.
(16 comments) SHARE Saturday, February 25, 2017
Does the Democratic Party really believe health care is a right? The problem for Republicans is that some very popular features of Obamacare require a lot of government supervision and expensive subsidies, and the GOP is an anti-government party. The problem for Democrats is that they claim health care is a right, but will not commit to a universal health insurance program. Instead, they defend Obamacare which fails to insure 28 million people and wastes billions on for-profit health care.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 23, 2022
The blind jingoism of the U.S. narrative about Ukraine War is evil, inhuman, and I don't argue that Putin is justified. But our expansion of NATO to Russia's borders, including an offer of membership to Ukraine, was a provocation with a foreseeable result. Deliberately provoking an invasion makes the inciter (the West) share moral responsibility with the invader. Also, the media's Ukraine narrative is racist in ignoring the atrocities we are helping the Saudis inflict on Yemen.
(5 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Capitalism in an irrational political system Jamie Dimon's recent appearances before House and Senate committees vividly demonstrated the damage done to our political institutions by capitalism American style. When capitalism becomes a full-fledged political system, the primary role of government is to nurture a private market that will in turn subordinate government to the profits of the wealthy minority who control large corporations.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Deja voodoo: an undead GOP economic theory is choking us Stripping funds from health care and the EPA, withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, sweeping de-regulation of production and finance, and large tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy are all symptoms of a fact-free dogma known as supply-side economics (aka "trickle-down"). Republicans want to throw even more wealth at an investor class that has stopped investing in production and job creation.
SHARE Saturday, February 13, 2010
Obama is the Establishment There is a disconnect, some might say an abyss, between Barack Obama the presidential candidate and President Obama. The great intelligence, articulateness and eloquence are still there. But his transition to government has been a massive bait and switch. He (like most of Congress) serves the ruling class of what J. K. Galbraith calls the Predator State.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 2, 2021
O Canada! What has happened to you? Canada seems like a cool and enlightened country for having things like single-payer health insurance and legalized weed. But it has become a bad actor on the international stage, facilitating some of the worst U.S. foreign policies and damaging the planet with its toxic oil. It has collaborated with the U.S. in a sanctions regime that has cost tens of thousands of lives in Venezuela.
(7 comments) SHARE 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.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, July 20, 2015
Factory farms and Republican labor policy Factory farms treat animals as pure commodities--objects to produce and sell, not as subjects with perceptions and feelings. How much deprivation or pain these animals endure is simply irrelevant unless it affects profits. This ruthless calculus is the capitalist value system unchecked by moral or other values. No decent person should want a society's managers or rulers to apply such a calculus to any animal, incl. humans.
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, October 9, 2013
The GOP's Distortion of "Freedom" in Shutdown Debate In his public tantrum on the Senate floor, Ted Cruz issued this call: "Defund ObamaCare because it takes our freedom away." He was echoing the conservative meme that because government has coercive power, its involvement in social programs automatically reduces our freedom. The absurdity of this claim is obvious in the effect Medicare has had on the lives of the elderly and the disabled.
(8 comments) SHARE Monday, July 1, 2013
My exchange with Mitch McConnell on obstruction and health care Obamacare, for all its weaknesses, is a whole lot better than nothing. Yet nothing is what McConnell offers as an alternative. McConnell faults Obama for his lack of bipartisanship in "unilaterally forcing" the ACA through Congress, as if the law were a purely Democratic idea. Yet it is essentially the same as the Massachusetts Health Care Insurance Reform law (aka Romneycare) signed by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney in 2006.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 23, 2014
The GOP budget plan is class warfare disguised as a budget The Ryan plan is a dishonest election platform masquerading as a budget. It lets Republicans throw red meat to their base by attacking social programs, throwing more money at the military-industrial complex, lowering taxes for their rich patrons, and pretending to balance the budget.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Our torn social contract In the face of very high unemployment, increasing poverty, homelessness and hunger, and growing numbers of people without health insurance, Republicans advocate cutbacks in social spending and repeal of Obama's universal health insurance plan. This destructive agenda is the culmination of a 30-year class war waged by the GOP and a wealthy elite against American working people. Let's reflect on how we got to this point.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, July 11, 2011
The brain behind Republican strategy The GOP has stubbornly committed to policies that are proven failures over three decades. As conservative columnist David Brooks said recently, Republicans "have no economic theory worthy of the name." American voters seem caught up in the irrationality of the moment, resigned to letting politicians damage their nation's future. There is a great paradox here, one that reflects a dangerous aspect of human nature.
(4 comments) SHARE Friday, March 7, 2014
Raising the minimum wage is the least we can do GOP objections to raising the minimum wage appeal to a shallow interpretation of the Law of Demand. It turns out that treating workers with respect and decency in wages, benefits and schedule is good economics. Republicans are both inconsistent and callous in arguing against a minimum wage increase while also pushing for substantial cuts in food stamps and other welfare programs.
(1 comments) SHARE 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
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, December 20, 2020
U.S. sanctions are killing tens of thousands of Venezuelans softly Our government and corporate media falsely blame the Venzuelan government for the catastrophic effects of economic sanctions imposed by the United States. The U.S. has used its control over the international banking system to block banks and businesses from transactions with Venezuela. These sanctions have caused tens of thousands of deaths. Venezuela has not attacked or harmed the U.S. Its only offense is committing socialism
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, February 14, 2021
With Trump's acquittal, the U.S. becomes a failed state In an ominous victory for authoritarianism, the legislative branch has willingly submitted to a violent assault by the executive branch. During the trial, many GOP senators showed in word and behavior their indifference to the powerful and emotional presentation by the House managers. As Ted Cruz said, "The result of this trial is preordained. . . the trial is a waste of time." A maskless Rand Paul doodled.
(4 comments) SHARE Friday, September 10, 2010
Anti-Government Propaganda is Fueled by Ignorance One of the foundational myths of right-wing ideology is that enterprise and creativity can be found only in the private sector. In fact, scientific, technological and economic progress are crucially dependent on government funding of research. The Internet is a striking case in point. If the anti-government and anti-tax tirades of the right were taken seriously, our society would be in dire straits.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, January 25, 2014
What happened to Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream? In his magnificent "I have a dream" speech, King called for the nation to "rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'" But the destruction of so much black family wealth in the burst housing bubble of 2007-09 destroyed King's dream of a post-racial society.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, August 16, 2012
Vague language and dishonest rhetoric cloud tax-cut debate "I'm not proposing anything radical here," President Obama said on July 9. "I just believe that anybody making over $250,000 a year should go back to the income tax rates we were paying under Bill Clinton." Mitt Romney thinks otherwise: "This will be another kick in the gut to the middle class in America." Obama misrepresents his own plan, Romney's statement is absurd, and news media are missing the point.
(20 comments) SHARE 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.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, May 16, 2016
From Palin to Trump--the GOP's degradation of American politics When Palin endorsed Trump, we were reminded of what would have happened if (then) 71-year old John McCain had won in 2008 and then died or became incapacitated in office: a dangerously unfit person would have become President. In 2016, however, the party's base chugged the kool-aid by putting a Palinesque nominee at the top of its ticket. Why must the GOP base be lured by vulgarity and misogyny?
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, May 15, 2022
Biden's reckless pursuit of Cold War 2 The simple-minded narrative of our government and mainstream media is that the Ukraine war is a climactic struggle between Democracy and Authoritarianism. In fact, it is a civil war caused by a U.S.-instigated coup in 2014, which put in place a regime compromised by Neo-Nazi parties and militias. The U.S. intends to prolong this war in order to weaken Russia militarily and economically.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Obama administration undermines rule of law The U.S. imprisons people at a much higher rate than any other country. The Obama administration mercilessly punishes nonviolent drug crime, but doesn't prosecute wealthy financial criminals. Like an absolute monarch, Obama feels entitled to kill American citizens without trial. He is the face of a self-dealing military, intelligence, and foreign-policy establishment.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Sensation in an artificial hand: another step toward our posthuman future Research in biotechnology is directed toward restoring normal functioning. There is too little attention paid to the ways in which this rapidly developing technology will enable us not only to restore, but also to enhance our bodies and their capabilities (physical and cognitive). The latest announcement about creating cutaneous sensation in prosthetic arms and hands is an example. We need more reflection on these implications
(3 comments) SHARE Friday, September 9, 2011
Does America still respect labor? How long can we go on celebrating Labor Day? This holiday is supposed to be a celebration of labor and the labor movement. Yet the labor movement in this country is fighting for its life. The GOP's anti-union crusade attacks a basic human right specified in the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, April 4, 2016
Bernie's huge "single issue" is a big threat to Hillary Sanders has shown that it is possible to fund a national campaign without the corrupting influence of big corporate donations. This has embarrassed Hillary Clinton. She wants to distract us from her reliance on big money from Wall Street, the health-care industry and fossil-fuel firms. Her dodge is to rhetorically shrink the Sanders campaign to a tunnel-vision focus on only o0ne of many important issues. But it doesn't work.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 15, 2015
Lessons from the Syrian inferno In responding to Syria's humanitarian disaster, the U.S. needs to abandon the arrogant fantasy that it can destroy an established government and create from scratch a replacement regime to its liking. It should be willing to cooperate with Russia and Iran both to defeat ISIS and other jihadists, and to manage a transition that would include the Syrian regime. The alternative is further bloodshed and chaos.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, April 20, 2012
Obama v Romney: a choice or an echo? There is a distubing similarity between Obama and Romney on military policy. But the difference between their tax proposals is stark.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Do we want a capitalist dystopia? The GOP does. The Republican mantra is: the more privatization of government functions, the better. Mitt Romney is part of a highly successful Republican campaign to make the word "public" curdle in the mouths of Americans. They want a society organized around and subordinated to the profit motive. Such a society would be a dystopia in which people would be treated as commodities in a labor market, as things rather than persons.
SHARE Sunday, November 15, 2009
Militarism is Distorting and Bankrupting America Gen. McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has been publicly pressuring President Obama to send between 40 and 80 thousand more troops there. His unjustifiable request and insubordinate behavior are only the latest examples of a rampant militarism that has seriously damaged America at home and abroad.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, September 11, 2020
Trump has confessed to mass reckless homicide Woodward has exposed Trump as guilty of mass reckless homicide. "Reckless," means "Behavior that is so careless that it is considered an extreme departure from the care a reasonable person would exercise in similar circumstances." Trump's deliberate misinformation and bad example continue to cause many of the nearly 200,00 deaths and millions of illnesses nationwide. His behavior makes him a criminal.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, August 11, 2011
A budget for a dysfunctional national family In the debt deal, the GOP got away with an act of political terrorism by cloaking it in the language of fiscal responsibility and family budgets.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Hiding in Plain Sight -- the Abysmal Record of the GOP Republican denunciations of Obama's deficits make as much sense as someone suing the fire department for water damage from putting out the fire he started in his house. Under George W. Bush, the GOP did something to our nation just as irresponsible and harmful as that home owner. It launched two wars while enacting massive tax cuts.
(8 comments) SHARE Friday, December 14, 2012
Government always redistributes income and wealth Redistribution of wealth and income is an inescapable, essential function of government (yes, even under Republicans). Redistribution occurs each time we divide among us the bill for the massive amount of public goods and services used in market transactions. The Bush tax cuts continued a 50-year trend of wealthy Americans paying less and less of the bill for these public goods and services.
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, February 18, 2013
The Great deficit debate: looking for money in all the wrong places The right wing mantra is that "We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem." This is a groundless dogma that is distorting the Congressional debate about fiscal priorities. In reality, we are an undertaxed country with a grossly inflated defense budget.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, March 8, 2012
U.S. should step back from Iranian precipice President Obama's ultimatum to Iran--that Iran should yield under pressure of his economic sanctions or he will use force--may back him into a disastrous military conflict. His ultimatum is as much a threat to American national security as it is to Iran's.