Diatribes of Jay

This is a blog of essays on public policy. It shuns ideology and applies facts, logic and math to economic, social and political problems. It has a subject-matter index, a list of recent posts, and permalinks at the ends of posts. Comments are moderated and may take time to appear. Note: Profile updated 4/7/12

23 August 2019

De-Conning America


For evaluations of the Business Roundtable’s recent mission statement and the firing of Eric Garner’s killer, click here. For how Trump has been acting like an emperor, click here. For discussion of the Baby Boomers’ role in promoting selfishness as a nation norm, click here. For the national nightmare likely to ensue if we can’t dis-elect Trump, click here. For reasons why we should task Los Alamos with making nuclear energy safe, click here. For a review of Pete Buttigieg’s good qualities and his prospects for vice-president, click here. For a brief review of the second and anticlimactic Detroit debate, click here. For a morning-after view of the first Dem Detroit Debate, click here. For initial reaction to the first Detroit debate, including criticism of CNN, click here. For a discussion of how the US can arrest its decline by rebuilding its labor unions online, click here. For suggestions how to fix, not trash, America by adjusting corporate law, click here. For what we can learn from the strong third-party candidacy of Ross Perot, who died recently, click here. For brief analysis of the House’s censure of the President, click here. For reasons not to watch Trump’s empty shows, click here. For an analysis of reparations for the descendants of slaves, click here. For brief descriptions of and links to recent posts, click here. For an inverse-chronological list with links to all posts after January 23, 2017, click here. For a subject-matter index to posts before that date, click here.

In order to be sure of defeating Donald Trump in the upcoming election, we’ve got to strip away a portion of his “base,” his core support. There’s been a lot of talk about what policies could do that. We’ve agonized over whether it’s better to be “progressive” and promise big changes, or to be “moderate” and promise just “getting back to normal.”

But it’s not a matter of policy. If it were, Trump might easily win again. Fox has conditioned his base like Pavlov’s dogs. Trumpets believe as gospel that Democrats are left-wing “libtards” and that all they say, do and believe is not just misguided, not merely wrong, but crazy bad. Reducing that Pavlovian response might take years in a de-programming camp. We haven’t got years.

Fortunately, there’s a better way. You have to understand the essence of Donald Trump. He’s a man with no experience, no scruples, no true friends, and—as the last few weeks exquisitely show—absolutely no idea what an effective president of the United States does, or how one works or acts. He’s made the job up, in his own mind, out of whole cloth, as he went along. He’s built a simulacrum of a presidency based on Tweets, 5 a.m. TV watching, and Fox and Friends.

So how did Trump get to be president? And how has he pretty neatly avoided impeachment so far, despite reams evidence of soliciting and accepting help from an unfriendly foreign power and then obstructing justice in the ensuing investigations?

The answer is that Donald Trump is none other than the most successful con-man in American history, maybe in human history.

Now con-men are a bit like the measles. If you’ve never been had, you can fall hard. Except for the consequences, it’s almost like falling in love. But once you’ve been had, it’s just as if you’ve had the measles. You become immune. The next time you meet a con-man, you don’t even flinch. The charm, compelling promises, droll stories and lies fall off your back like rain off an umbrella.

The trouble is, there aren’t nearly as many con-men in America as there used to be. In the old days, practically every door-to-door salesman was one. So were the early TV pitchmen, and so were many pols. But there haven’t been any standout national or regional con-men for many years. Huey Long, Father Coughlin, Joe McCarthy and even George Wallace are ancient history to most voters. So they haven’t had the personal experience that gives them immunity.

We live today in a much more benign world, where strict laws govern advertising, lawyers vet most promotional campaigns, and rules and regulations govern much of politics. That’s like living in a germ-free bubble, never being exposed to the flu. No prior exposure, no immunity.

But lacking immunity doesn’t mean having no resistance. All resistance requires is an epiphany, that sinking feeling that you’ve been had. It doesn’t require changing your entire worldview, or, in the case of Trumpets, overturning political reactions conditioned by decades of video propaganda. It needs only a change in your views about one man, the con artist. (For some inexplicable reason, con artists are nearly all men.)

All it requires is the sudden realization that you’ve been had. I know, because it happened to me, in my late twenties. My epiphany took just a few months, not years. What triggered it was my seeing the vast gulf between my con-man’s promises and performance, between his claims and reality. The honest views of a third party—a company “doctor” who had been asked to save the small company that my con-man had started—clinched my epiphany. But it was almost complete by that time anyway.

My con-man had been my own Ph.D. research director, the man who had most helped me earn my doctorate. After my epiphany, I retained my respect for him as a creative scientist. He even helped get me a job back in academia. But once I understood his role as a con-man in my life and in the small company’s failure, I wanted nothing more to do with him.

That, I think, will be exactly how the Trumpets will react. They won’t vote for Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, although perhaps a few of them will. They certainly won’t become Democrats. But after they know they’ve been had, they won’t vote for Trump either. They probably won’t vote at all.

The beautiful thing about de-conning the Trumpets is that the process involves more emotion than reason. It doesn’t require changing voters’ politics or worldviews formed over decades of living. It’s all about that sinking feeling of being had. It’s personal, not general or global. There’s not a thing abstract about it.

So Trump’s 10,796 lies (so far) don’t really matter. That’s far too much detail. What matters is that he said he’s the only one who can fix things, and he hasn’t. What matters more is that he doesn’t really care whether he has or hasn’t. All he wants is his victims to believe he can.

That’s how conning works, and that’s why it can turn around on a dime. De-conning ought to work particularly well for evangelicals, who can’t help but feel the cognitive dissonance with their piety and religious values. Aren’t statements like “I’m the chosen one” supposed to be reserved for Jesus?

Links to Popular Recent Posts

For evaluations of the Business Roundtable’s recent mission statement and the firing of Eric Garner’s killer, click here.
For how Trump has been acting like an emperor, click here.
For discussion of the Baby Boomers’ role in promoting selfishness as a nation norm, click here.
For the national nightmare likely to ensue if we can’t dis-elect Trump, click here.
For reasons to task Los Alamos with making nuclear energy safe, click here.
For a review of Pete Buttigieg’s qualities and prospects for vice-president, click here.
For a critique of the Dems’ anticlimactic second debate in Detroit, click here.
For a morning-after view of the Dems’ first Detroit debate, click here.
For an analysis CNN’s role in privatizing the news and history of the first Detroit Dem debate, click here.
For an intital reaction to the first Dem Detroit debate, click here.
For a discussion of the importance of labor unions and how to rebuild them online, click here.
For a recipe for fixing America by adjustment, without revolution or extremism, click here.
For what we can learn from the strong third-party candidacy of Ross Perot, who died recently, click here.
For brief analysis of the House’s resolution censuring the President, click here.
For good reasons not to watch Trump’s empty shows, click here.
For a discussion about reparations for the descendants of slaves and how to make the reparations work, click here.
For three things the Dems must do to win the White House, click here.
For an assessment of how the second debate propels the Dems toward losing, click here.
For suggestions on how to improve multi-candidate debates, click here.
For a more general discussion of how to improve debates, click here.
For a review of the first Democratic Debate, click here.
For a third, simpler look at why Trump won in 2016, click here.
For seven reasons not to make war on Iran, click here.
For discussion of Warren’s ability to defend science, and why it matters, click here.
For comment on the quality of Elizabeth Warren’s mind and its relevance to our current circumstances, click here.
For analysis of the disastrous effect of our leaders’ failure to take personal responsibility, click here.
For brief comment on China’s Tiananmen Square Massacre and its significance for our species, click here.
For reasons why the Democratic House should pass a big infrastructure bill ASAP, click here.
For an analysis why Nancy Pelosi is right on impeachment, click here.
For an explanation how demagoguing the issue of abortion has ruined our national politics and brought us our two worst presidents, and how we could recover, click here.
For analysis of the Huawei Tech Block and its necessity for maintaining our innovative infrastructure, click here.
For ten reasons, besides global warming, to dump oil as a fuel for ground transportation, click here.
For discussion why we must cooperate with China and how we can compete successfully with China, click here.
For reasons why Trump’s haphazard trade war will not win the competition with China, click here.
For a deeper discussion of how badly we Americans have failed to plan our future, click here.
For an essay on Elizabeth Warren’s qualifications for the presidency, click here.
For comment on how not doing our jobs has brought us Americans low, click here.
To see how modern politics has come to resemble the Game of Thrones, click here.
For a discussion of the waste of energy and fossil fuels caused by unneeded long-range batteries in electric cars, click here.
For a discussion why Democrats should embrace the long campaign season and make no premature moves, click here.
For a discussion how Trump and Brexit have put the tree world into free fall, click here.
For a review of how our own American acts help create our president’s claimed “invasion” of Central American migrants, click here.
For a review of basic facts that must inform any type of universal health insurance, click here.
For a discussion of how the West’s fall and China’s rise affect the chances of our species’ survival, click here.
For a discussion of what the Mueller Report is and how its release could affect American politics, click here.
For a note on the Mueller Report as the beginning of a process, click here.
For comment on the special candidacies of Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg, click here.
For reasons why the twin 737 Max 8 disasters should inspire skepticism and caution with regard to potentially lethal uses of software and AI, click here.
For my message to Southwest Airlines on grounding the 737 Maxes, click here.
For an example of even the New York Times spewing propaganda, click here.
For means by which high-school teachers could help save American democracy, click here.
For a modern team of rivals that might comprise a dream Cabinet in 2021, click here.
For an analysis of the global decline of rules-based civilization, click here. For a brief note on avoiding health lobbying Armageddon, click here.
For analysis of how to save real news and America’s ability to see straight, click here.
For an update on how Zuckerberg scams advertisers, click here.
For analysis of how Facebook scams voters and society, click here.
For the consequences of Trump’s manufactured border emergency, click here.
For a brief note on Colin Kaepernick’s good work and settlement with the NFL, click here.
For an outline of universal health insurance without coercion, disruption of satisfactory private insurance, or a trace of “socialism,” click here.
For analysis of the Virginia blackface debacle, click here. For an update on how Twitter subverts politics, click here.
For analysis of women’s chances to take the presidency in 2020, click here.
For brief comment on Trump’s State of the Union Speech and Stacey Abrams’ response for the Dems, click here.
For reasons why the Huawei affair requires diplomacy, not criminal prosecution, click here. For how Speaker Pelosi has become a new sheriff in town, click here.
For how Trump’s misrule could kill your kids, click here.
For comment on MLK Day 2019 and the structural legacies of slavery, click here.
For reasons why the partial government shutdown helps Dems the longer it lasts, click here.
For a discussion of how our national openness hurts us and what we really need from China, click here.
For a brief explanation of how badly both Trump and his opposition are failing at “the art of the deal,” click here.
For a deep dive into how Apple tries to thwart Google’s capture of the web-browser market, click here.
For a review of Speaker Pelosi’s superb qualifications to lead the Democratic Party, click here.
For reasons why natural-gas and electric cars are essential to national security, click here.
For additional reasons, click here.
For the source of Facebook’s discontents and how to save democracy from it, click here.
For Democrats’ core values, click here.
The Last Adult is Leaving the White House. Who will Shut Off the Lights?
For how our two parties lost their souls, click here.
For the dire portent of Putin’s high-fiving the Saudi Crown Prince, click here.
For updated advice on how to drive on the Sun’s power alone, or without fossil fuels, click here.
For a 2018 Thanksgiving Message, click here.

Links to Posts since January 23, 2017

permalink to this post

19 August 2019

The Business Roundtable and the Garner Case: Good News, Bad News


For how Trump has been acting like an emperor, click here. For discussion of the Baby Boomers’ role in promoting selfishness as a nation norm, click here. For the national nightmare likely to ensue if we can’t dis-elect Trump, click here. For reasons why we should task Los Alamos with making nuclear energy safe, click here. For a review of Pete Buttigieg’s good qualities and his prospects for vice-president, click here. For a brief review of the second and anticlimactic Detroit debate, click here. For a morning-after view of the first Dem Detroit Debate, click here. For initial reaction to the first Detroit debate, including criticism of CNN, click here. For a discussion of how the US can arrest its decline by rebuilding its labor unions online, click here. For suggestions how to fix, not trash, America by adjusting corporate law, click here. For what we can learn from the strong third-party candidacy of Ross Perot, who died recently, click here. For brief analysis of the House’s censure of the President, click here. For reasons not to watch Trump’s empty shows, click here. For an analysis of reparations for the descendants of slaves, click here. For brief descriptions of and links to recent posts, click here. For an inverse-chronological list with links to all posts after January 23, 2017, click here. For a subject-matter index to posts before that date, click here.

1. The Business Roundtable’s resolution
2. The killing of Eric Garner

Amidst the lies and trivia that emerge from our White House daily, two positive real developments made the news today. The Business Roundtable, a conclave of CEOs of big companies, adopted a resolution that things besides shareholders matter. And the Commissioner of the NYPD fired the cop responsible for the death of Eric Garner, after five years, thereby suggesting that black lives may matter at last.

So a good day, yes, especially in these dismal times? Not so fast.

As always, details matter. Analyzed in detail, the Business Roundtable’s resolution utterly missed the point. It’s Wall Street—not corporate law or some views in business-school syllabi—that still makes our big corporations focus obsessively on shareholders and on “monetizing” everything in sight. Top CEOs may subscribe to all the words they wish, but those words won’t matter if they continue dancing to Wall Street’s tune.

As for the Garner case, the apologetic rationale for the belated firing, and the nationwide five-year political brouhaha the case prompted, show how far we have to go to achieve civilized policing. Let’s analyze.

1. The Business Roundtable’s resolution. The Business Roundtable is a kind of chamber of commerce for our nation’s biggest and most important corporations. You might call it the “Oligarchs’ Society.” On Monday it released a one-page statement, signed on behalf of 181 of its 192 corporate members, acknowledging the importance of corporate stakeholders beyond shareholders. It specifically mentioned customers, employees, suppliers and communities, ending with strong support for “long-term value for shareholders.”

As one CEO cynically noted, the resolution just states the obvious. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business. Ditto employees and suppliers. Algorithms can’t do everything yet, so you need people to get things done, even if they’re in China. If you can’t get parts for your products or products for your services, you can’t produce anything. So of course suppliers matter. You can squeeze them for every every drop of blood, as Wal Mart reportedly does its suppliers, but if they go belly up, you’ll have a headache.

So from a practical perspective, the resolution didn’t say much. What’s new, if anything, is in the details and the notion of serving “communities.” For employees, the resolution proposes “compensating them fairly and providing important benefits . . . [,] supporting them through training and education that help develop new skills[,]” and “foster[ing] diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect.” For communities, the resolution promises “respect” and “protect[ing] the environment by embracing sustainable practices across our businesses.”

Perhaps the key phrase in the entire resolution is “long-term.” The very last stakeholder point promises “[g]enerating long-term value for shareholders[.]” (emphasis added). Things like supporting employees’ training and education, fostering diversity and inclusion, and embracing sustainable practices may cost money in the short run and decrease profit. But in the long run, they will increase the business’ chance of surviving continuous change and may indeed increase the bottom line. That’s what Henry Ford apparently thought in 1914, when he unilaterally increased his workers’ pay to the then-unheard-of level of $5 per day, thereby creating our consumer society by letting workers afford to buy the cars they made.

So were the top CEOs just giving us all a Cliff-Notes summary of good business practices? Probably not. They might have been trying to fend off a presidency of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, which might make them do some of these good things whether they like to or not. Perhaps the oligarchs were just engaging in a bit of corporate PR at a time when their firms are under siege for unethical behavior, “fake” news, privacy violations, and supporting Trump just because he lowers their taxes and doesn’t mess with them (except with tariffs).

The curious thing is that the CEOs’ resolution didn’t even touch on the question underlying most corporate behavior today: who’s stopping them? What’s keeping them from running their business as they chose, treating their customers, employees and suppliers fairly, benefiting their communities, and serving shareholders only in the long term?

At one time, corporate law seemed to create a barrier. A notorious decision by the Michigan Supreme Court early in the twentieth century forced Ford Motor Company to pay dividends, rather than accumulate Ford’s enormous profits for later investment. Its rationale was that corporations exist to make money for shareholders, and that is their primary, if not their only, purpose.

But corporate law has changed radically since that decision early in the last century. Today most big corporations observe the corporate law of Delaware, where they are incorporated. That law has a “business judgment rule,” which upholds any corporate decision not involving self-dealing or “bad faith.” Even stupid or negligent decisions have no legal recourse, at least not by shareholders.

In an earlier essay, I threw some blame on America’s unique business schools, which have more students, power and prestige, by far, than any other country’s. (The only institution abroad that comes even close is INSEAD, which serves all of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, not just one country.) Although their attitude is changing now, in the recent past these schools, like the misguided Michigan case, emphasized making profits for shareholders and, in the digital world, “monetizing” everything in sight as the best means to that end.

But the top CEOs in the Business Roundtable are hardly business-school students. If they went to business school at all, they’ve long since graduated. Most have multi-year, if not multi-decade, business experience, during which they’ve developed their own ideas, through hard experience, about what works and what doesn’t. So the notion that business-school professors’ views constrain CEOs to do the wrong thing despite their own experience is overblown.

Is there anything that does constrain CEOs to build their lives around profit? Yes, there is. It’s Wall Street.

Not only does Wall Street treat profit as the be-all and end-all of financial reporting. It takes a relentlessly short-term approach. Sure, your approach to customers, employees and sustainability may have enormous long-term potential. But if it causes your profit to dip in meantime, so will your stock price, your CEO’s pay and retirement package, and your reputation in the business community. Your chances of getting investment or financing will go down, and your interest rates for loans will go up. All this happens nearly instantaneously, in our high-frequency-trading society, as soon as a negative earnings report comes out.

As befits our Twitter-driven, twenty-four hour news cycle, most equity options run less than a year. Only in 1990 did Wall Street create LEAP options with nominal two-year terms, which can sometimes run up to three years. In contrast, China governs its economy with five-year plans. That may explain its catching up with the West in a little over two generations since Mao died and China began state capitalism.

So the Business Roundtable’s much-vaunted resolution of principle won’t change much, if anything, in practice. It has no influence on the law, and anyway the law has changed. It might influence business-school professors, but their views were changing anyway, and they have little effect on day-to-day business practice.

As for Wall Street, the resolution will have next to zero effect on its formalized and relentless focus on profits for shareholders, or on monetizing whatever can be monetized. Only serious changes in regulatory law or investment practice might have that effect, for example (as I have suggested) by raising the holding period for tax breaks on capital gains from one year to five.

2. The killing of Eric Garner. Five years after Eric Garner lay helpless on the ground, crying repeatedly “I can’t breathe” and ultimately dying in a “forbidden” chokehold, the policeman who killed him was fired. Garner’s “crime” had been suspicion of selling individual cigarettes.

I learned the same chokehold in a self-defense course when I was a kid. Your ability to knock out, or to kill, the victim depends on the precise position of your thumb knuckle with respect to the victim’s airway and jugular vein. The nature of the chokehold makes it impossible for any observer to see exactly what you’re doing. Only the victim knows for sure; and if the victim is out cold or dead, he can’t say.

So in the killer’s case there was a lot for lawyers to argue about after the fact. But there’s no argument that Garner warned the officer, repeatedly, that he couldn’t breathe. It’s on the video.

The video also shows something else. The police waited until five of them had gathered around before they brought Garner down. He seemed upset when accused, but he didn’t seem to offer much resistance when toppled. Garner was a big, heavy guy, but he was also middle aged (43) and pretty obviously out of shape, maybe due to his diabetes. By the time the two-plus minute video ended, there seemed to be at least seven uniformed or undercover policemen around him.

I’m from the West. I’ve seen coyotes team-kill a rabbit. Even they don’t gang up that much; the most I’ve seen in a kill is four. It was hard to watch officers of the law treat a man worse than coyotes treat their next meal. And if you believe the voices on the video, Garner’s only real offense was having broken up a fight before the video began.

So the killer was fired from the police force. All’s well that ends well, right?

Not hardly. Two federal administrations (Obama’s and Trump’s) considered prosecuting this case as a federal civil-rights violation and didn’t. Instead of dealing with the appalling facts of this individual case, our legal authorities and our media turned it into political Armageddon between the Thin Blue Line and the Black Lives Matter movement. Everyone took sides like kids picking teams on a soccer field, before knowing much about the case.

Even the Police Commissioner, explaining his decision to fire the killer, made the following near-apology:

”Cops have to make choices, sometimes very quickly. . . . Those decisions are scrutinized and second-guessed, both fairly and unfairly. . . . I can tell you that had I been in [the officer’s] situation, I may have made similar mistakes.”
But here’s the thing. Garner was unarmed. No one ever even claimed he had a weapon. When weapons aren’t involved, you don’t have to act “very quickly,” let alone with a 43-year old, out of shape diabetic with asthma surrounded by five officers.

In this particular case, the “Thin Blue Line” defense was and is a travesty. It’s not a crime to be big and black.

Whenever I analyze a situation involving race, I use a special method to suppress my own bias: I paint the victim white. Not literally, of course—without changing any fact or detail of the case, I just imagine that the victim were white. When I do that in Garner’s case, I can’t imagine any other result than hell to pay not just for the killer, but for the whole team that perpetrated this travesty of law enforcement. I see a whole report analyzing and condemning policing people as coyotes prey on rabbits, and reorganizing the force to stop that practice.

As for me, I would rather have a thousand Eric Garners selling cigarettes in my town (and I hate cigarettes: they killed both my parents), than see the kind of policing I saw on that video. It makes me think of Nazi Germany or somewhere behind the Iron Curtain at the height of the Cold War.

* * *


So, yes, it’s hard to spin the Business Roundtable’s resolution or the firing of Garner’s killer as anything other than a bit of good news. But don’t make too much of them. Our oligarchs, who increasingly govern our daily lives more completely than our pols, still have a long way to go to give us the rights our Bill of Rights gives us against government. And our police departments still have a long way to go to police us in peaceful, civilized ways that are routine in England and much of Europe. So rejoice when a changed wind brings good news, but don’t ever get complacent.

Links to Popular Recent Posts

For how Trump has been acting like an emperor, click here.
For discussion of the Baby Boomers’ role in promoting selfishness as a nation norm, click here.
For the national nightmare likely to ensue if we can’t dis-elect Trump, click here.
For reasons to task Los Alamos with making nuclear energy safe, click here.
For a review of Pete Buttigieg’s qualities and prospects for vice-president, click here.
For a critique of the Dems’ anticlimactic second debate in Detroit, click here.
For a morning-after view of the Dems’ first Detroit debate, click here.
For an analysis CNN’s role in privatizing the news and history of the first Detroit Dem debate, click here.
For an intital reaction to the first Dem Detroit debate, click here.
For a discussion of the importance of labor unions and how to rebuild them online, click here.
For a recipe for fixing America by adjustment, without revolution or extremism, click here.
For what we can learn from the strong third-party candidacy of Ross Perot, who died recently, click here.
For brief analysis of the House’s resolution censuring the President, click here.
For good reasons not to watch Trump’s empty shows, click here.
For a discussion about reparations for the descendants of slaves and how to make the reparations work, click here.
For three things the Dems must do to win the White House, click here.
For an assessment of how the second debate propels the Dems toward losing, click here.
For suggestions on how to improve multi-candidate debates, click here.
For a more general discussion of how to improve debates, click here.
For a review of the first Democratic Debate, click here.
For a third, simpler look at why Trump won in 2016, click here.
For seven reasons not to make war on Iran, click here.
For discussion of Warren’s ability to defend science, and why it matters, click here.
For comment on the quality of Elizabeth Warren’s mind and its relevance to our current circumstances, click here.
For analysis of the disastrous effect of our leaders’ failure to take personal responsibility, click here.
For brief comment on China’s Tiananmen Square Massacre and its significance for our species, click here.
For reasons why the Democratic House should pass a big infrastructure bill ASAP, click here.
For an analysis why Nancy Pelosi is right on impeachment, click here.
For an explanation how demagoguing the issue of abortion has ruined our national politics and brought us our two worst presidents, and how we could recover, click here.
For analysis of the Huawei Tech Block and its necessity for maintaining our innovative infrastructure, click here.
For ten reasons, besides global warming, to dump oil as a fuel for ground transportation, click here.
For discussion why we must cooperate with China and how we can compete successfully with China, click here.
For reasons why Trump’s haphazard trade war will not win the competition with China, click here.
For a deeper discussion of how badly we Americans have failed to plan our future, click here.
For an essay on Elizabeth Warren’s qualifications for the presidency, click here.
For comment on how not doing our jobs has brought us Americans low, click here.
To see how modern politics has come to resemble the Game of Thrones, click here.
For a discussion of the waste of energy and fossil fuels caused by unneeded long-range batteries in electric cars, click here.
For a discussion why Democrats should embrace the long campaign season and make no premature moves, click here.
For a discussion how Trump and Brexit have put the tree world into free fall, click here.
For a review of how our own American acts help create our president’s claimed “invasion” of Central American migrants, click here.
For a review of basic facts that must inform any type of universal health insurance, click here.
For a discussion of how the West’s fall and China’s rise affect the chances of our species’ survival, click here.
For a discussion of what the Mueller Report is and how its release could affect American politics, click here.
For a note on the Mueller Report as the beginning of a process, click here.
For comment on the special candidacies of Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg, click here.
For reasons why the twin 737 Max 8 disasters should inspire skepticism and caution with regard to potentially lethal uses of software and AI, click here.
For my message to Southwest Airlines on grounding the 737 Maxes, click here.
For an example of even the New York Times spewing propaganda, click here.
For means by which high-school teachers could help save American democracy, click here.
For a modern team of rivals that might comprise a dream Cabinet in 2021, click here.
For an analysis of the global decline of rules-based civilization, click here. For a brief note on avoiding health lobbying Armageddon, click here.
For analysis of how to save real news and America’s ability to see straight, click here.
For an update on how Zuckerberg scams advertisers, click here.
For analysis of how Facebook scams voters and society, click here.
For the consequences of Trump’s manufactured border emergency, click here.
For a brief note on Colin Kaepernick’s good work and settlement with the NFL, click here.
For an outline of universal health insurance without coercion, disruption of satisfactory private insurance, or a trace of “socialism,” click here.
For analysis of the Virginia blackface debacle, click here. For an update on how Twitter subverts politics, click here.
For analysis of women’s chances to take the presidency in 2020, click here.
For brief comment on Trump’s State of the Union Speech and Stacey Abrams’ response for the Dems, click here.
For reasons why the Huawei affair requires diplomacy, not criminal prosecution, click here. For how Speaker Pelosi has become a new sheriff in town, click here.
For how Trump’s misrule could kill your kids, click here.
For comment on MLK Day 2019 and the structural legacies of slavery, click here.
For reasons why the partial government shutdown helps Dems the longer it lasts, click here.
For a discussion of how our national openness hurts us and what we really need from China, click here.
For a brief explanation of how badly both Trump and his opposition are failing at “the art of the deal,” click here.
For a deep dive into how Apple tries to thwart Google’s capture of the web-browser market, click here.
For a review of Speaker Pelosi’s superb qualifications to lead the Democratic Party, click here.
For reasons why natural-gas and electric cars are essential to national security, click here.
For additional reasons, click here.
For the source of Facebook’s discontents and how to save democracy from it, click here.
For Democrats’ core values, click here.
The Last Adult is Leaving the White House. Who will Shut Off the Lights?
For how our two parties lost their souls, click here.
For the dire portent of Putin’s high-fiving the Saudi Crown Prince, click here.
For updated advice on how to drive on the Sun’s power alone, or without fossil fuels, click here.
For a 2018 Thanksgiving Message, click here.

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