454 Comments
Sep 27, 2022·edited Sep 27, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

I am in complete agreement. I am very stressed and so are many people I know--and we don't need pills or doctors, we need a saner society. Here in London I've been spending most of my time helping get out the overseas vote. Combatting angst with action is how many friends and acquaintances are coping. I'm lucky enough to have good health care under the NHS in the UK (for now) and have heard from so many Americans talk about how much time, money and energy they waste on trying to understand and afford health care plans. And that is just health care! Who wants their children to have to undergo active shooter drills at school--that doesn't happen anywhere else. Americans don't need to live like this. They just need to say so at the ballot box like never before.

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Sep 27, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

I do so agree with you!

Living in France, I can testify that the social safety net makes sure that every citizen has access to healthcare and every child has access to education, all the way through university. Owning even a hunting rifle requires passing an exam, and paying a yearly license.

America does not have to reinvent the wheel, but simply step back from greed and violence, and copy what works in the rest of the industrialised world…!

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If Americans vote Democrats to a full majority, a lot of the sressors will recede, as people culture becomes better planned and cared for.

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Democrats have stood against Medicare for All/a national health care system for 30 years at least, lying about it to justify the ACA which put for-profit insurers squarely in charge of our health and welfare. Here in Chicago, Democrats have gutted mental health services and public education, while increasing funding for police. And that's a black gay mayor and a Jewish mayor before her. Democrats are still steeped in insider trading in Congress including Nancy Pelosi, who feels she in entitled to this privilege. Sorry, but Democrats have been a part of the problem not the solution.

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Those establishment Democrats beholden to corporate donors are the problem (the Republicans even more so, of course). More & better Democrats who don't take corporate money are needed.

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Right on Jaime. Corporate money is poison.

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Given Chicago's history it will take more than a few good Mayors to put it right. That being said, Republicans have said they will SHUT DOWN: Medicare, Social Security. They are slowly destroying public schools with virtual private schools "charter schools".

Republicans tried and failed to shut down the Affordable Care Act and actively oppose national single-payer health care. Let's remember: Republicans who are doing this have excellent healthcare courtesy of the American taxpayer.

Republicans oppose rights for LGBTQ people, and actively create problems for trans kids in some states right now-- destroying lives.

Republicans support banning abortion, family planning, and women's reproductive healthcare-- here and abroad; they will implement a national abortion ban if they get the opportunity.

Republicans running for office deny the last presidential election was free and fair, which it was.

Just a few things... there's more!

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Yes, even if some dems are corrupt, they aren't as corrupt as the opposition.

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I remember the 1968 Democratic Convention. The cops acted like beasts and

storm troopers.

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Oh Barry, of course Democrats have supported some of the things you mentioned. The American people have been fed a steady diet of lies about healthcare and Dems have to go along with at least some of the lies to get elected, even in Chicago. However, if you compare what Democrats have done for improving healthcare and what Republicans have done, there is really no way you can see it as "they are both doing it." That is just another way people who don't want to acknowledge one side is really the problem can get away with the false equivilancies that are everywhere in conservative politics today, and not just in this country.

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Yes, Ruth. I wonder how many voters realize that we need about five more democrats in the Senate so that Biden can really cut loose and do what he does. I don't think voters have anything close to a big picture right now. Dangerous times.

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We need a mass movement to right all these wrongs.

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And what have Republicans done to solve these problems, pray tell?

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Lorraine....they have done worse than nothing. They have brought us Neo-Liberalism which means poverty for the masses for the 1% can get rich as J. P. Morgan.

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Thank you for asking the question that needs to be asked when this both sides crap comes up.

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Republicans are expected to do nothing about this problems. That’s why they are elected. Democrats are expected to work on these problems and they don’t.

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Soooo, the republicans are the choice to correct these problems?? I don't think so. And blame is not a corrective measure, either. The real solution is vigilance in pursuit of real change. The party of choice is not the solution, but at this time , our democracy is on the line. Lose IT, and no amount of trying to fix these problems will be effective. So it is important to get rid of the republicans, and vote more progressive people into the Democratic party to gain a majority that actually cares and will enact policies that make life better for our citizens. This takes constant vigilance and participation from all.

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It's not "Democrats" but rather those Democrats (and virtually all Republicans) who are funded by and beholden to special interests who profit off of the struggle and suffering of the masses.

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Bill...in this situation I think we must support the Dems because the alternative is much, much worse.

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That's over 80% of Democrats and 99.9% of Republicans. I do phonebank, canvass for and donate to Democrats who do not take corporate PAC money. And one independent. But I do not lift a finger for corporate Democrats because they have helped to put us in a very compromising position.

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Exactly. What do you think it would take to get campaign finance reform, repeal the Glass-Steagall Act and Citizens United?

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Wow, that is a heavy lift. Unfortunately, at this point it would take a civil war or an all-out depression, which might not be far off, to wake people out of their "red team vs blue team" slumber. I would say the most important of those would be serious campaign finance reform, but I'm not certain how that would look with Citizens United still in place. Glass-Steagall could only be repealed if less than half of Congress was on the take from Wall Street, so that doesn't seem likely in the foreseeable future.

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Agreed

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This is due to the corporate sellouts within both parties! Until we get big money out of politics, place restrictions on lobbyists, jail leaders for insider trading, place term limits on office (No more than 10 years in any state office unless running for president for two terms) we will continue to have these issues.

The people in charge now are making too much money to curtail their own private interests.

Currently there are 3 dems who support medicare for all... Sanders, Warren, De Blasio.

26 Dems who support a medicare program that includes more citizens but want to keep private insurance available.

Might I ask how many republican politicians say they are for a medicare for all program?

As for insider trading... both parties are equally guilty. By my last count 33 Republicans and 29 Democrats.

Vote Them OUT! Better yet, run for election yourself. If you win either you tow the current line or they blacklist you. Most are sold out before they step into office (See TN Rep Justin Lafferty... I have known him for 20 years.) He told me and my vietnam buddy after winning his first election, "You won't believe the amount of money I will make if I win my second term! It is a gold mine being in politics."

The rot is on both sides and as an Independent I hate all politicians as their corruption knows no color. The public falls in line with the hate for x while A - M screw us over for personal gain.

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We need to separate the dominant paradigms. Not long ago, there was a struggle between the church and the state. Our constitution recognized the paradigmatic differences and separated them. The next paradigm, which follows the state, is the marketplace. Our Constitution needs an amendment that recognizes these as two separate, unalike paradigms, and therefore should be made separate. No more corporate money in politics. Constitutional Amendment. Individual donations only, with a low upper limit on gifts from rich people.

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Agreed

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OMG, N Travis, there are a lot of "They are all the same" folks out today. The truth is that corporate greed has infected our politics, but not at the same level. A few statistics about insider trading does not tell the whole story, but as an independent, you need to keep up the fiction that both sides are the same. Good for you. If that works for you go for it!

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My comment was in reference solely to politicians who are guilty of insider trading... on that count yes, both sides are equally guilty.

Data to support this comment:

The following individuals are guilty of Insider Trading!

Diane Feinstein Dem, Tommy Tuberville Rep, Roger Marshall Rep, John Hickenlooper Dem, Rand Paul Rep, Sheldon Whitehouse Dem, Tom Carper Dem, Bill Hagerty Rep, Cynthia Lummis Rep, Gary Peters Dem, Sen Mark Kelly Dem, Tom Malinowski Dem, Pat Fallon Rep, Diana Harshbarger Rep, Susie Lee Dem, Madison Cawthorn Rep, Katherine Clark Dem, Blake Moore Rep, Jamie Raskin Dem, Mickie Sherrill Dem, Mo Brooks Rep, Dan Crenshaw Rep, Kathy Manning Dem, Kevin Hern Rep, Debbie Wasserman Shultz Dem, Michael Guest Rep, Sean Maloney Dem, Brian Mast Rep, Lori Trahan Dem, John Rutherford Rep, Brad Schneider Dem, David Trone Dem, Pete Sessions Rep, Dan Meuser Rep, Vincent Gonzalez Dem, Kathy Castor Dem, Maria Salazar Rep, Bill Pascral Dem, August Pfluger Rep, Brian Higgins Dem, Cheri Bustos Dem, Steve Chabot Rep, Victoria Spartz Rep, Rick Allen Rep, Kim Schrier Dem, Kurt Schrader Dem, Mike Kelly Rep, Chris Jacobs Rep, Bobby Scott Dem, Austin Scott Rep, Ed Perlmutter Dem, Dwight Evans Dem, Tom Souzzi Dem, Warren Davidson Rep, Lance Gooden Rep, Chuck Fleishmann Rep, Michael Burgess Rep, Cindy Axne Dem, Michael Ssn Nicolas Dem, Peter Welch Dem, Jim Banks Rep, Mike Garcia Rep, Rob Wittman Rep, Alan Lowenthal Dem, Jim Hagedorn Rep, Roger Williams Rep

29 Democratic Criminals

33 Republican Criminals

*I never said both parties are the same when it comes to all/most issues.*

Attacking me for holding both parties accountable for their specific actions on insider trading and distorting it as a broad stroke for all issues does your argument no favors nor does it reflect the truth of my character.

I would appreciate it in future if you read my comments and did not twist its meaning for argument. You do not know me nor can you speak for me.

Have a lovely day.

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Oct 2, 2022·edited Oct 2, 2022

Yes there are still too many Dem legislators mistakenly beholden to insurance lobby. HOWEVER, they are less likely to try to legislate REVERSALS as GOP has done and continues to do.

In meantime voters have to continue to PUSH their Dem senators and reps hard towards Medicare for All, NOT turn and vote for GOP.

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HR 676 is a 5-year transition plan to create a non-profit public health care system. Private physicians and insurance can still exist under the plan, for all who care to utilize them, but it would be out of personal preference because preventative and life saving care would all be available universally. It's a simple, comprehensive plan that addresses veterans care, foreign visitors, prescription costs--the whole deal. It takes less than 30 minutes to read. Please do, and let's all start asking our "representatives" what's the holdup? >:-/

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What? Everything you said is what MAGA fascist are doing good try. Unbelievable troll

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My thoughts exactly. Fox news addict.

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founding

Barry isn’t a troll, Cynthia. I’ve been watching his posts for a while now. He’s a Bernie-style progressive, which for reasons I don’t understand seems to shock some people here. Believe me, he’s a good guy who’s just trying to point out some inconvenient truths.

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Sadly you are uninformed by CNN, MSNBC and/or NPR. Calling me a troll does not change reality, but it is what a Trump supporter would do if I told them that Biden won the election. The latest Trump action that Biden has taken is having the CDC remove mask mandates from health care facilities, a very dangerous and ill-advised action to support his ignorant assertion that the pandemic is "over." Sending troops to China if Taiwan is invaded, regime change in Russia, claiming the exit from Afghanistan would not be like Vietnam...I could go on for hours about the Trump-like lies and errant predictions made by Biden. Only you love him too much and believe that Trump and Putin are the main issues facing our country.

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Thank you. Absolutely. This is why I left the Democratic Party years ago. What's awful is who is there to vote for if you want to, now, unbelievably, stop this country from fascism? Democrats....and yes, they are complicit for where we are now.

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Bill Clinton sold us to save himself. He out did the republicans in being more right wing than they were. This is why they hate him so much. Biden is the best we have had in years, but too old to stay on for another four.

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Bill Clinton is responsible for "triangulation" and selling out the Democratic Party to the donor class. It was poetic justice that Hilary Clinton lost her election but we didn't deserve Trump. The plutocratic ruling class screwed us over with him, that's both parties.

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My strategy is to forget the major establishment parties and instead fund individual candidates who are doing the right thing (regardless of party).

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A vote for any Republican in this election is a vote for Fascism.

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Well, it would be a step in a better direction, but there would still be a lot of work to do. Let’s face it, give a person some power, great health care, pension and perks and he/she forgets what it’s like to be even middle middle class. That our government at work. At least the Democratic voters have voted more people of color and women coupled with many not born with money. Oh, and let’s face it, the Dems are afraid of Bernie and blamed it on age?

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Over 80 percent of Democrats in Washington still accept corporate PAC money, with the likes of James Clyburn and Steny Hoyer taking massive amounts from Big Pharma. Until that changes expect more political theatre and half-baked legislation.

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Love Bernie-- but let's face it: he doesn't appeal to enough people across the entire country.

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That may be true, but in my area everyone wishes for Bernie. Maybe too many are afraid of his directness - and he doesn’t appear to be able to be bought.

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Ha sure you do. His policies appeal to the vast majority of Americans, but when the media and both political parties turn Americans toxic against you it does make people say "let's face it: he doesn't appeal to enough people across the country." He was only virtually unknown in 2016 and won almost half the states in the country against corporate media and the Democratic Party machine. Not bad for a complete unknown. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton who was appointed by the Democratic Party continues her judgment-addled, detached, neoliberal ways to this very day, supporting a fascist Prime Minister because she is a woman. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/09/02/hillary-clinton-under-fire-supportive-remarks-far-right-pm-contender-italy

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If Other countries are so wonderful why are they always asking America for help....that is until the Biden Administration, a disgrace to our values and morals.

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French self medicate -- alcohol consumption. We are laggards -- 39th in alcohol consumption -- but US consumption is up. https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/alcohol-consumption-by-country

This is a business opportunity for people like Jeff Bezos. Check out Mindstrong Health. https://mindstrong.com/

MIT Technology Review described Mindstrong Health as “the smartphone app that can tell you’re depressed before you know it yourself.” Amazon collects user activity in the background can help telemental healthcare providers measure that user’s daily habits and detect when those habits deviate. By combining those habits – called digital biomarkers – with other social and environmental data, providers can then identify when mental health problems occur and why they happen. It also detects whether insurance will cover.

“We believe that digital biomarkers are the foundation for measurement-based mental healthcare, for which there is a massive unmet patient need,” Dr. Paul Dagum, the study’s lead author and founder and CEO of Mindstrong Health, said in a release. “To provide better mental healthcare, we need better ways to measure cognitive function and brain health that are quantitative, reproducible, continuous and objective.” https://sharpbrains.com/blog/2018/04/13/mindstrong-health-identifies-digital-biomarkers-of-cognitive-function-using-smartphone-data

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That’s so f’n scary! Now I’M stressed!

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Maybe we should “biomark” Ukrainians for anxiety and depression, then recommend therapy. Insane to create a society that causes depression and anxiety then suggest we “biomark” the citizens for depression and anxiety so we can put them in therapy or drug them. How about creating living conditions and opportunities that do not cause depression and anxiety? 🤔

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Wow that is really creepy. There is a spoof on it in the movie "Don't Look Up".

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Oh Daniel, your comment is hysterical! I truly do hope you meant it to be. The fact that all these folks have come up with all these means to detect mental illness is outrageous and funny in ways I just can't explain. They have nothing to offer as to how our society can become more healthy so treat the victims of the insanity for feeling appropriate feelings. If they could help those "depressed" people reject guns in the home and get them to go out in the world and put their skills to use making things better, some may find relief. Then training more mental health professionals and working to treat them with more respect will also help. I hope those guys have apps/websites for that.

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They have succinctly described the problem within their purported solution.

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Wow - a tech way to find out if we are sick and then other tech ways to help us get better. What could possibly go wrong??!! (I guess, nothing if you are a robot.)

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Jane, I really do like your advice of not reinventing the wheel. There are places all over that have ideas we could benefit from, but a lot of rich guys here run things and do not want change. It might mean they might have to curb their greed, and can't have that!

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I spent about ten years hearing disability cases. Where there was a combination of impairments I had medical advisors - expert psychiatrists. Most claimants alleged forms of schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder but I majored in major depression.

A lot had "situational" depression. Before I was a judge I lived about 20 miles from the depression capitol of America -- Youngstown Ohio -- which was also "Murdertown USA" and I administered medical discharges when I was in the Army. Like I said yesterday I spent a year in Nam singing "I want To Go Home" and "Early Morning Rain." .

Depression ranges in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression. Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. Situational depression is not normally disabling.

However, Youngstown was also the suicide capitol at the time. Plus we had what my dad, a DA called, "exploding restaurant syndrome." It seemed that at some point they spontaneously combusted. Craving pizza could cost a life.

According to most experts, the answers to situational depression are: medications and psychotherapy. However some have seasonal depression, also called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression, triggered by the change of seasons and most commonly begins in late fall. Symptoms include feelings of sadness, lack of energy, loss of interest in usual activities, oversleeping and weight gain. Treatments include light therapy.

That's probably one reason we relocated to Baghdad By the Sea. We have organic light therapy.

I never heard one of my experts address comedy, but consider https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sad_clown_paradox

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What an amazing life you have lived, and the outcome seems to be a well adjusted intelligent person, bravo

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If this is true, then why do people with major medical problems come to the United States for care instead of staying in Europe? I had an accident and thought I had a broken ankle when I was in Latvia. Because of the social health services who don’t pay their doctors enough to have a decent living, I was never treated by a doctor but a nurse had to handle all of my care. In the 1970s. 80’s and 90’s, Americans had access to doctors (not a PA or nurse) at an affordable rate. Then. the insurance companies got into an alignment with the government our medical care has become more inferior each year.. Who ever heard of having to be referred by a primary care doctor to get a diagnosis 20 years ago and it is even worse when you sign up for Medicare...which I must point out is a government run insurer. Doctors rarely see patients under these programs because, you guessed it they are overburdened and underpaid by the insurance/government coalition. The only people who get descent medical care in a socialist medical program are those outside the system who can afford to pay the cost.

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What you describe in Latvia is not what I see and experience in France.

Case in point: our daughter, who was working in NYC, was pushed when exiting a subway car, and injured her knee between the subway car and the platform. She needed a MRI, but got one more quickly, and less expensively (air fare included) by having it done in Paris….!

Care in public hospitals here is handled by highly qualified doctors. Optional additional private health plans often mainly serve for personal comfort choices like a private room, or wider choices for glasses or hearing aids.

Our national medical app allows you to make or change appointments, anywhere in the country, and the app will contact you if an earlier appointment date becomes available.

I am constantly impressed by the quality of this universal system, and it’s excellent level of medical research and innovation (directly related to the quality of state-funded education, through a university degree).

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IMHO it's worse than just profits. It's a collective racist subconscious problem. Many companies that would benefit from universal coverage are opposed -- mainly because they consider themselves superior and opt to diminish "the other" such as employees and the general public. .

If the "collateral sources rule" were eliminated, all future medical care could be covered by universal insurance. The collateral source rule is a common law doctrine under which an injured party's damage award may not be reduced by payments, also intended to compensate the harm caused by the tortfeasor, received from third parties.

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And they need a constitution that gives equal voting rights to all. Millions in the US do not have the right to vote. The senate has very uneven representation and is all-powerful. Many roles needing neutrality have partisan appointees. BIg business has things going its way....

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Big business as you call it are all Democrats...

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But the ballot box has been cheated many times now. We need to assure electoral colleges are dismantled for good! Money out of politics!

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Hey Seeking Reason, you are so right about cheating the ballot boxes. Our amendments to the Constitution clearly state that Black people, women, and every citizen 18 and over can vote. What needs to stop is the restrictions on those votes which states have put in place overruling our Constitution. Congress needs to step up and stop the state's rights BS and restate that everyone who is a citizen of the United States who is 18 years old or older must be able to vote and have their vote accurately countedPERIOD, no exceptions! That would clear up a lot. Of course, Republicans would have to drag that through the courts and the Supreme Court is sure to want to hear that one because their racism and other isms will want to allow states to put their restrictions in place. How unamerican of them (that's why we need to expand the court to include people who actually care about this nation in all its diversity).

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If I understand it right, millions of US citizens have no right to vote, mainly in DC and PR. And legislation needs senate approval, thus giving special weight to votes from certain states, and no vote at all to territories. And election management and the courts use partisan apointments. And seemingly many Americans do not understand this, or gloss over these fundamental problems in their desire to talk up 'American Democracy'. Why are Americans not up in arms over this?

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Every “citizen” has the same opportunity to vote. Why do you say they don’t. just because someone lives in the US does not automatically make them a citizen. If you have to have an ID or Drivers license to cash a check, get on an airplane, buy alcohol, by a gun, get a job, open a. Bank account, then why shouldn’t you need the same to vote?

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Citizens do not have equal opportunity to vote. Those in DC and PR have no voting representation in House or Senate. Voting can and is often made more difficult for targeted groups.

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In one sense, the diagnosis that current times are 'stressing Americans out' is ludicrous by historical standards. War, starvation, endemic ACTUAL poverty with the real, monthly possibility of starving to death or having one's life cut short by endemic or epidemic disease: these are the conditions of the past, not the present, frankly. The level of education and, yes, even personal freedom available to the average individual in America and other 'developed' countries has never been greater. The life of any average individual in, say, 1822, to say nothing of 822, was far less certain and more actually threatening. Stress? That's a First World 'problem.' If you want actual distress, let's talk about Iraq, Sri Lanka, Mali, or Honduras.

_Relative_ stress, now that's another matter. Look, the Western/American economic system IS without question rigged against at least 90% of the US population. Social security structures against ill-health, economic distress, and age were never especially good or comparable in the US even to our peer countries, and have been systematically, deliberately eroded, often gutted by the wealthy and the conservative portion of the political system. We are force-fed debt, which (thank you Joe Biden) can't even be shed in bankruptcy and so is a Neo-feudal serf collar for many. The economic system is blatantly unfair, and getting the more so daily, with the Fed and the Treasury actively, openly working to enrich the 1% at the expense of absolutely everyone else in society (even if they are lying about their process and goals). The political parties are both sold to all of this, with only a progressive plurality in the Democratic Party (and a radical minority outside of it) struggling to get passed the most basic, compromised reforms, to say nothing of the major, structural reforms which are needed with increasing desperation. The media is nothing but happy and invidious distortions to hold the eyeballs of the audience for 'sponsors'---all of whom are ultra-rich and antipathetic to the vast majority of the public. 'The System' wants us to believe that militant jihadis or the Chinese are the threat to us whereas the ACTUAL threat to us are our own, Neo-feudal, oligarchical elites, who will go to any lengths to distract attention from that ("Abortion!" "Terrorism!!" "Biolabs (sob)!!!") It's our own oligarchs who blew up the financial system in 2007-08, wiping out the home equity of millions and leaving millions more with unplayable mortgage debts. It's our own oligarchs who blew up the financial system in Autumn, 2019 (to no media report) leading to massive surreptitious bailouts by the Fed in 2020 which have bloated huge speculative bubbles and exacerbated supply shock inflation globally.

The misery of the white working class is a canard, frankly; I have to say it. That's not to say there is no misery: there is. Join the crowd. The _Black_ working class never had a stretch of a couple of decades absent such misery. The female working cohort of all classes never got to white male parity at any time, for any class, despite many domestic responsibilities not borne by said white (male) working class, so it's no wonder at all that they are more stressed than ever. And the real threat to our time is in fact _the erosion of the MIDDLE class_ due to erosion or loss of their assets and the elimination of their briefly bolstered employment privileges, now largely shredded by American capitalism. It isn't the white working class that drives fascism, it's the white petite bourgeoise who build out the leadership of any fascist movement as they see their minor wealth and privileges be croupiered back by the oligarchs of capitalism. The communal nativism of elements of the white working class is a predisposition readily exploitable by demagogic elites once fascism is on offer---but let's be honest, those nativist biases never went away even in good times, they're structural, as the murderous 'policing' of minorities in this country made blatant in good times and bad alike. Integral nativist bigotry in Hicksville exploited by oligarchic fascist elites a la Rump and DeSantis: THAT is the structure of American fascism, not a 'cry of anguish from below.' So sure, the white working class is stressed---and busy selling out the rest of the working class and all of the educated middle class for some crumb of favor from the elites which have immiserated them but all others too.

We shouldn't take more pills: we should take more action. A lot more. Against 'the System' of capitalist exploitation of all by all and above all by a very, very few. There are problems such as climate change which are very real to deal with, but they are all but unsolvable when the rich minority who presently monopolize most all leadership in the country are determined to subjugate the citizenry more than ever before as by far their own greater priority. The real reason why many are stressed is the effort of NOT thinking about and NOT seeing the way the society they live in actually works. Denial is a depressive psychological mechanism---and the American citizenry lives every day in a state of profound denial about the structures of their society against which they crouch in learned helplessness without even seeing the latter condition as such.

I can tell you that I, personally, don't feel stressed in the same way, and certainly not depressed, and much of the reason is that I don't practice that denial so I don't have that added weight to cope with along with my own full share of particulars. The cure for stress is to stop lying to yourself, stop letting yourself be lied to, and to start rooting out the structural lies Big, small, and pervasive for a system which, instead, works for us all. That's a stiff climb, so I'm sure many will remain crouched in their stress positions, blaming whomever. But the one whomever they don't blame is themselves, and until the 'huddled masses' see their own inaction as the primary vector of their stress they'll never get to any other state of mind or existence, to me.

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Best essay, Richard Kline, I've read in any newsletter, print media, social media or listened to on T.V. Who are you? Obviously your ability to diagnose the issue presented by Professor Reich and the remediation you've offered indicates to me you've studied human behavior and its consequences a great deal more than most of us, and I've done a good deal of it myself. Suffice it to say, you speak the truth and for that thank you. You've made my day! The Like button doesn't work.

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I'm a researcher on historical theory and modeling from a background in intellectual history. Bit of a checkered trajectory; bourgeois bohemian; decently read; old enough to have seen most things come round at least once. I've thought of starting a Substack newsletter or the like myself. I'm social media averse, to say the least, so I have no following until and unless I publish. My mind is never still.

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WOW! Marx would've been proud of you. Well done.

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I'm more syndicalist than marxist in the main, but the critique of capitalism applies. There are many flaws in Marx's analysis, but his view on capital remains largely accurate and exceedingly germane. I've never read his main works: Kropotkin is more satisfying.

For the record, I'm white and definitional sub-working class by the standard of income. But if I have solidarity with 'my own' I don't buy the self-ennobling BS of white working class angst. If the white working class feels stressed, they can damned well organize and practice solidarity against the bosses and the political system. Wake me up when that happens again: it's been largely dead for 40 years. Most working class action at present is largely non-white in its participants. This is a long screed I'm not going to follow further here, but the 'win back the white working class' trope really makes me feel ill. They can come back to organizing and the struggle of solidarity a-n-y time they want to---and that's on them, not on the political system to cut them to the head of the queue and kiss their ass when they get there.

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Sep 27, 2022·edited Sep 27, 2022

For anyone having >some< remaining semblance of a sense of humor, and an appreciation for Nemesis, consider this. Robert Snowden fled to and received citizenship in Russia for his disclosures to WikiLeaks. He's now eligible for draft in the Russian army, and the draft preference is for men having a military background and special skills. Anxiety ‽ LOL!

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Laura, you are so right about the crazy stuff we have to stress over, things that should not even be a problem. A lot of folks thrive on those things being a problem, and their jobs depend on their stress production. Kudos to you for getting out the vote over there.

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Sep 27, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

Thank you for this spot-on commentary. Our society is indeed sick, and I don’t feel hopeful about our future. I see homeless people lying on the streets while extreme wealth is flashed before us as an attainable ideal. As a teacher, I found myself researching bullet-proof vests, and fearing for my life every single day. My adult children struggle to find meaningful work that pays, and can barely pay rent. Global warming is still not taken seriously, despite catastrophic weather. I could go on and on, but you already named these stressors. If anyone is not stressed, they’re either wealthy enough to shelter from reality, or they’re not paying attention.

People like you and Bernie Sanders are lights in these dark times.

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Sep 27, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

Excellent article. I'm in the over 65 group. I am worried all the time. The quality of my life depends on the next election. Social Security and Medicare are in jeopardy if the GOP take control of Congress. My rights as a woman and human being will be in jeopardy if the GOP take control of Congress. My rights as a PA citizen will be in jeopardy if Mastriano wins the election for governor.

I foolishly hoped I would be able to coast in the last years of my life. I'm just as worried now as I have ever been. This is insane.

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I hear you DLM, I'm almost 90 and instead of being able to relax and enjoy what's left of my life (I just retired from 40+ hour work weeks last year),I wake up every day thinking "I'm so glad that I'm old" because I know I will soon die and leave this misery behind.

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I'm 82, and I caught myself the other day thinking about only having a few years to have to worry about the crazy world that seems to be getting worse by the minute, & being glad I won't have to worry about it for much longer ! But my 4 kids & 5 grands will !!! I honestly think it could be the higher CO2 levels are actually changing our behavior - are we all getting nastier because of it ? there are humans causing chaos on planes, crazy people running around with guns shooting at schools & supermarkets for no good reason - this is a rise in irrational behavior something we have never seen before. Maybe somebody should do some research on the effect of CO2 in the atmosphere on human brains ??? A serious question IMO !!

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I would ask you do some reading on the red summer after the 1918 pandemic. We have seen this kind of violence before... what we did not have back then was leaders inciting hate from their lofty perches. Not to mention the internet which feeds off discourse via algorithyms for a profit.

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Thanks - will investigate your suggestion !

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founding

I really don’t think it’s the CO2. What it is is the climate change the CO2 causes, the pandemic, and other stressors like income inequality and racism. When people feel stressed they lash out. That’s my take anyway.

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I agree with you. I keep wondering what has changed us so. I know a lot is trump and his ilk, the constant 24/7 news and the conspiracy theories and lies on one channel in particular. But it’s got to be something deeper or neurological. It’s almost as if the human species is started to split into two different groups of humans...one aggressive and nasty, the other more reasonable and uses critical thinking..two distinct groups. And yes I feel stress everyday over various things and I’m glad I’m old, as well....getting tired of feeling this way and feeling all is just unraveling.

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vcragain, I think we have been in chaos before. I remember how chaotic the late 1960s and early 1970s were. I am guessing my grandparents were feeling similar feelings to what we know now. We were experiencing higher CO2 than in previous centuries, but I suspect the problem is the flaws in our human nature: people wanting more than everyone else has, people being scared of folks who are not like them, people terrified of diversity and that they might not retain theprivilege they won' even acknowledge they have, the drive of men to prove they are men, the limitations placed on women by men and the aggressive women who want the few places of power open to women, fear of change, and members of Congress who have become too comfortable in their lobbyiest supported lifestyles. We could deal with a lot of this if we had the will to do it.

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Hi vcragain, there are higher levels of CO2, but the extreme behavior you are mentioning seems to be concentrating in the USA. CO2 is a gas and as such is widely spread around the globe. It is probably denser over large cities when the air is calm due to CO2 being produced in larger quantity and more rapidly. But I really think the irrational behavior is more culturally based than chemical based. For reasons I don't really understand (I majored in chemistry not psychology) Americans seem more enamored with guns than other comparable nations. I really think the study will find it's the availability and lure of too many guns in the hands of too many irresponsible people that is actually the cause of the idiocy. Please note, I am not advocating taking guns away from responsible sportsmen or collectors, just from irresponsible, mentally and emotionally unstable people who should neither have nor need one. For this you can thank the greedy American weapons manufacturers who never met a person over the age of 3 who shouldn't have a weapon in their hand.

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Interesting question! It also comes with declining oxygen, although percentagewise it is practically imperceptible.

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That is so sad, Fay. I understand what you’re saying but it is indeed a sad testament to the times we are living in. I hope you can find some joy as you continue on. You’ve worked a long, long time and deserve some peace and happiness. I wish you well.

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Oh Fay, I am so sorry to learn you are feeling grateful to be old and not around long. I read your comments and know you have a lot to say that matters. How is it we have permitted so many stressors to warp life here? Or, maybe it has always been that way, but when one is younger, one doesn't always notice. In the time we have left, we need to keep pushing for things to be better for our kids, grandkids, and into the future so they will have something solid to stand on when we are gone.

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Hi Ruth, I am grateful for the life I have been given and made. I'm so very glad I insisted on moving to California and abandoning Florida. I'm sure California isn't paradise for everyone, but it was for me. I moved here in 1961, a high school drop out. In 1964 I started College, by 1977 I had a Master's Degree, a good job teaching science and living in a beautiful State with so much diversity to see. It is just that I am leaving this same beautiful State where an average person like me, can no longer afford a college education, where good paying jobs are scarce, even for the college educated, where wealth is valued more than creativity. If it's this bad in California, how much worse it must be in other parts of the country that never had the opportunities I had in the 60's.

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I’m seventy three, and I’m worried all the time too!

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Well, I join you all in hanging in and in standing strong. I am 76. Everyday I wonder what changed SO drastically that the anxiety hanging over my head is like having a helicopter hovering over my skull. It isn’t mental illness! That would be an easy and profitable

diagnosis for the already primary non-care group.

It is the culmination of years of rigging the middle class out of the picture. The most naive know that the happier people are in their own lives the more able they are to move forward in and around in their own communities .

Our obsession with “more” and “bigger” is as useful to a sane society as having a diet of sugar and alcohol for the obese.

Bigger “Big Business” without fair and meaningful regulation does not improve a society . Playing to win can be a motivating factor in anyones game plan, but without boundaries and

( dare I say the word) laws to protect all of our rights we have no society. We have what we have today... a mirage of what it can be and a genuine epidemic of mental anguish.

We also know that saying “ any old thing you want to” without boundaries and without integrity leads to chaos.

Being held accountable for one’s actions is an historic and accurate measurement of a sane society.

Are we actually willing to give our country over to the social media crazies who can and will say anything ( without payback) in order to cause frenzy throughout our lives? These are the questions we know the answer to.

Our healthcare has been going down the “portal potty” for way too long. The AMA ( union kids) keeps the study of medicine in the high salary end of career choice. Years ago the President of the Harvard medical school said 9 out of 10 medical students were there to get rich, not to care for anyone else.

Our mental health dear friends who are suffering is not a physical ailment but a result of a society built on “ get more, get bigger, run over everyone else and flip the finger to everyone who asks for accountability. Character, morality, integrity.... those are healthy morally and mentally ingredients to a healthy society.

America isn’t a great place to live, it is a great place to come to rip off and to cheat and to then take your money and hide it in a “great place to live”!

Sorry, but I am not blaming this crisis on my mental health. Healthy people feel it more because we know what sanity looks like.

Thanks for sharing all the important feelings. We must pull together and right this ship before we drown.

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This is part of the reason why older people are legitimately becoming depressed. We came out of a time of societal & environmental changes for the better & the promise of much more to come. But it slowed down, stopped coming altogether & is now in reverse. Wonderful people like Robert Reich & Bernie Sanders have been advocating for a better society, environment & future for most of our lives, accurately warning about our worsening crises in climate/environment, healthcare & economic injustice/wealth & power disparity, etc. & prescribing sensible solutions, but the political & corporate PTB ignore if not disdain them & we keep getting worse. So after a half century of this, no wonder people are giving up hope!

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I’m doing what I can to right the ship with canvassing, writing postcards, donating and being part of this great newsletter! Also being a Poll Worker November 8th,

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Jean, what a great testimony. You are right, we know some of what we can do to make things better, but there are always the folks with out the moral compasses that generally guide people, who seem to get positions of power all over the place. Maybe one thing we older people can do is to keep calling out those chaos brewers and limit where their words can spew and to whom. We need Congress to help with this. So, we need to vote for people to represent us who actually care about our nation, not just the riches they can steal from us.

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Yes . Totally need Congress to hear us! Vote and vote like we never have… that means knowing state representatives. Good for us.

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Yes! Vote

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Thank you for your thoughtful (and needful) input.

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Hey DLM, we are in about the same situation, retired teachers, PA voters, and worried about our nation. So many of the stressors should not even exist because we have provisions for them in our constitution, but Republicans, alas, have decided our constitution is a suggestion for how things should be. They have decided a group's religious beliefs trump everything else, freedom of speech allows people to spew hate, lies, and insurrection over the airwaves, well-regulated public militia for protection has morphed into "if you are a white man you can have a gun any time anywhere, and the voting amendments don't mean anything if we don't want you to vote. Congress needs to do its part to protect us and our Constitution. They swear to uphold and defend it while Republicans are working to undermine it. Yep, I'm worried.

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founding

DLM, I’ve been thinking about what you said all day. The fact that your (and our—anyone’s really) lives rise and fall with elections is the problem—and shameful. I would love to see you write an op-ed or something on this theme. This is a human story that really brings home the problem. Your post should be required reading.

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Yes, I don't know why they stopped at 65 with mental healthcare checks. Makes no sense to me.

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founding

They claimed the signs of depression and anxiety are indistinguishable from those of aging. Unbelievably stupid and ageist.

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In five minutes and 45 seconds you have provided a brilliant summary of life in America in the Age of Corruption and the pressing need to move into another Age of Reform. Thank you Robert.

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Sanity begins with prosecuting Trump.

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Stress symptoms mimic anxiety and depression. I agree absolutely that the societal pathology is causing stress and the cure is not therapy or medication. I spend hours on hold trying to get authorizations for healthcare and appointments. As a mental health provider I am well experienced in the absurd morass of the hundreds of health insurers and their contracted “vendors” that handle various services including prescriptions. I spend numerous unreimbursed hours each week advocating for patients, dealing with denials, getting authorizations. Our healthcare system including mental healthcare is truly insane. Robert Reich is spot on that we must fulfill the promises of the Preamble to The Constitution and effectively promote social welfare and our common good to resolve the unnecessary stress we have created with our easy gun access, difficult healthcare access, difficult higher education access, difficult challenges to a living wage.

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(Also Making us Sick ) Double Standards and Trickle Down Economics (Democracy’s Kryptonite)

American History shows double standards have been with us since our beginning.

In order to form that

“MORE PERFECT UNION“ we need to eliminate double standards and Trickle Down Economics!

( Below are just a few

examples of double standards )

* One set of rules for politicians and the super rich and another for the rest of us

* Unequal Law Enforcement treatment of criminal behavior depending on who you are or what race you are

* ( Lady Justice is Blindfolded Right?) NOT !

* Unequal gender pay across the country for doing the same job and producing the same results

* News Media reports that are allowed to promote division in our country

* Facts (which is an absolute)vs Alternative facts

* Honest politicians (Very hard to find ) vs mostly hypocrites

* Certain asylum seeking immigrants welcome others unwelcome ( race? )

I believe that if we the people want to preserve our Democracy we need to all come together as equal and respectful Americans and hold our elected officials accountable to work together as one government and eliminate double standards. We put these people in the government to work for all Americans not just the Super Rich! We have an ongoing Civil War right now. [ OUR CONGRESS ]

The Democrats are passing a few

bills that help all of us, (Trickle up and out Economics), with almost all Republicans voting against them! The two parties are constantly @ war. It’s time for our Government to pass around a peace pipe! (They all took an oath :)

COUNTRY OVER PARTY

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Keith Olson ; No election denier should be on the ballot. The 'Oath of office' is a joke if those who value tRump more than the rule of law are allowed to run for government seats. Want to reduce stress? Demand that unfit people not be allowed into government. We don't allow people to become citizens if they are not able to pass a test on citizenship, that shows an understanding of basic laws. Yet Anyone can be a candidate! Big money backs the Worst ones, it seems.

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That's a start! Setting and enforcing basic boundaries on voter and candidate qualifications seems prudent.

I've been terrified of losing our democracy and republic. I now wonder if some "re-set" to start again with laws that would actually serve the people and not favor the rich and powerful and corporate interests would serve us better. I don't know what that would look like. France is in its Fifth Republic since 1789. Our far-right spews out a lot of fear and conspiracy theory. Is there anything there that we might need to hear? Deep state control, etc... I detest trump. But does he say anything sensible? I see him as so self-serving that I'm deaf to his voice and words. The opposing forces in the political theater are succeeding in spreading noise and confusion. I feel like I need a new lens with which to view and study the world.

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Mark Gray ; The corporate media does not help. But we in this forum are lucky to get perspective of Dr. Reich and each other as we share concerns and ideas. I felt barraged by the seemingly endless news of fascism in Italy with images of Steve Bannon sitting at what appears to be a dinner with the most likely fascist leader to be ; looking infatuated. The video clips of Roger Stone made in Sweden 4 months before the insurrection boasting about his plans to deny the election with the statement that "possession is 9 tenths of the law" or something like that.. Clearly showing intent. It is overwhelming. I truly hope there is justice and as soon as possible!

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Keith I’m from Canada and you nailed it. Our provinces are getting low voting turnouts and Trump conservatives in who are incompetent and no education skills. How is that allowed when government workers need education and a criminal record check to get a job in govt? Yet these conservatives and republicans don’t?

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Vote a full majority of Democrats into office, and watch a lot if not all of these fears be successfully addressed!

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Then kill your television!

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I have not watched an actual TV since 2016.

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I see some at my brothers house. When you don’t have a steady diet of it, regular TV really seems insane.

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Agreed! Most of my news comes from PBS, Local News across the states and I actively force myself to read Breitbart and Salon to read the opinions of both parties. I find most times I agree more with TYT as they have no problem holding both parties feet to the fire. TV is dead IMHO.

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I get snips from TYT and BTC but I have a hard time listening to his voice. I find it grating on my nerves and the high pitch sounds like he has his nads in a vice.

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😂🤣

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The entire capitalistic values system defines people by money. To most people in the US, a “good job” is a highly-paid one, no matter what the cost may be on the psyche. I thank my lucky stars that I was so obsessed with classical singing I landed a full-time salaried position in an opera chorus in Belgium from 1989 - 2016. This came with paid 6-week summer holidays, health care, government subsidised public transport to work, and a pension which I am now enjoying in sunny Spain by the sea. My job was not highly paid by US standards, but it was a wonderful job, offering a decent standard of living in a culture that appreciates the arts and believes in giving something back to the people for their hard-earned tax money. It’s time the US learns from other nations who have developed values systems that actually serve the people rather than destroying them.

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The Scandinavian countries are consistently rated best on measures of happiness. They have social safety nets, healthcare for all, free or inexpensive college, little gun violence.

When suggestions are made to become more like

these social democracies Republicans and their greedy donors try to scare people by waving their hands screaming “Socialism!” and then pretending that Americans are so “free” because they can easily buy military weapons.

As long as a few very rich people control politics and the courts, we will never have a healthier, less anxious society.

More mental health services are needed, but those services could never solve our current problems.

There are numerous people in government who are in desperate need of mental health services; some, however, are incurable. Their behavior is destructive to our society and none should have the responsibility for other people’s lives. Trump is at the top of the list of the diagnosable. Clarence And Ginni Thomas, MTG, Greg Abbott,

Kristen Sinema, Boebert are all disturbed in different ways, but all are dangers to a healthy

functioning society. There are many more crawling around the edges of power who are not elected. Roger Stone is an obvious sociopath. Some of Trump’s lawyers would be in a psychiatric facility if they weren’t wealthy and (in)famous.

If bad and sick people are allowed to have power, a bad and sick society is inevitable.

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GrAnnie, I love your post and agree. I wish we could have real Civics, critical thinking and analysis taught in schools from grades 1 through 12, I'm sorry some parents are so controlling that they want their children to think exactly like them and question nothing. And others in our society are so self centered and greedy, they cannot see beyond their own needs.

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Long ago I read that poor people are called

“mentally ill” while the rich are called “eccentric.”

The people I listed ( by the way, I forgot to include Stephen Miller in my list. He is one sick puppy. ) are motivated by outsized needs for power, control, public attention and to pursue personal vendettas.

Money from family or rich donors who have their own agendas can create a campaign that hides the candidates’ flaws and scandals.

That was an attempt to answer your first question. Your second one is more difficult.

I think that successful advertising companies

as well as historians and mental health professionals can contribute some explanations to your second question. I do think that you already know what I am about to say.

A society without social safety nets, that promotes insecurity and anxiety in its citizens is a set up for opportunistic fascist types. A society that gives magic and superstition more importance than science education is a a set up. A society that sings the praises of the ruthless, fortune seeking individual and scorns the empathetic and community minded is a set up.

Like you, I am baffled that a third of our population thinks that Trump is worthy of

responsibility.

A psychologist friend likes to remind me that about a third of the population never

develops the capacity for abstract thought.

There is another explanation for you.

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Totally on line! Thank you GrAnnie

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Mentally and emotionally unstable would be a better label. I doubt Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Ronald DeSantis,ad nauseum, are mentally ill (unlike trump who really needs treatment) What attracts them? Unlimited POWER. Since the turn of this century (although it started in the 1970's it has just reached its peak in the 21st century) For some reason (I don't understand so won't attempt to explain) some people lust for power and flocks of others are enamored with people of power. (Think 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell) How else can you explain the fascination with 'celebrities' What have they done to better society (or the world for that matter)? Yet they get endless publicity, citing every thing they do. WHO CARES? Why do we accept paying millions of dollars to be entertained, quietly accept the obscene profits and income of the wealthy. What would happen if no one attended the Super Bowl (and I love football - just not the excess adoration) Would the world end? But what will happen with out of control global warming? Yeah, that could end the world as we know it (Earth will still exist), but do we give a damn? Nope, we'd rather spend it on the Super Bowl.

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Sep 27, 2022·edited Sep 27, 2022

They are narcissists, unfortunately that is not a disqualifying character flaw for being a politician. In some respects I believe it is a prerequisite for most candidates. One must have a very large opinion of self to think they belong in that seat. They are the most adept at misleading others to their benefit and using their power for ill-gotten gains be it power or money.

This is why every government and financial system is corruptable... it begins from within. Ben Franklin said, "A Republic, if you can keep it." So far the people of this country seem to be the last thing on any politician's mind and the very few who are... are snubbed as extremists who want to destroy the country.

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Nope, thought it was Lincoln too but when I went for quote it was Franklin. I somehow missed the Switch from Abe to Ben before adding last name. My screw up, apologies for confusing you.

Very small indeed.

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Yes, it is a category in the DSM. I use the term mentally ill to generally cover the various types of problems that these people exhibit. It is not a synonym for schizophrenic. I can’t guess at their actual diagnoses, but their behavior is anti-social and indicative of psychological problems.

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You have hit the nail on the head - or at lease one of them. Thank you Robert.

As a Family Physician specialising in mental health I continue to see mental illness rise in Australia too, not from chemical imbalances or biological abnormalities but from social and policy choices. We too in Australia can't find enough psychologists and therapists. Most of our private psychiatrist have stopped seeing new patients or their waiting times are at least 12 months. The hospital system- free to the public - is even more inundated. We are trying to put our fingers in the holes of the dikes when the walls are collapsing.

It is normal that our brain get anxious when we can't pay the bills or don't know where our next meal for our children is coming from. It is normal that we fall into despair when wealthier people put us down and keep us down rather than show raise us up and show us they care- offer us support and help. We can expect to be depressed if we can't find a way out of our misery. A misery, as you continue to try to educate, that is a policy choice.

How much longer before we finally stop punishing the poor for a plight we as a society have chosen to imposed on them? Before we learn the system we have created isn't working? Before we learn our priorities are making us sick - severely mentally sick.

How sad is it, it seems we in the West have become so anxious and scared we are even terrified of helping each other!

This article is timely. Only last week I released a book on how to reduce anxiety and fear called "Taming Fear in the Age of Covid." I hope that if we can get our overall fear levels down we might be able to have more engaging and informative discussions with less hate and division.

Thank you, again, Robert for your efforts. I have been enjoying reading them almost since they began. Only today have I left a comment. As you can see it is topic close to my heart. I hope others are moved by it too.

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Thanks! The profession of nursing was knackered fifty years ago, because due to its nature, it raises questions about dysfunction caused by environment. Had to put a harsh stop to that.

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Steve O'Cally; Greed is a huge part of that mix

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Here it is 1:15 am and I can't sleep because of stress- about money, children, climate and everything that was said in your column. Loneliness and social media posts that EVERYONE is living the good life but me. Levels of stress are indeed all around us every time a newspaper is opened.

I suscribe to "Nice News" so that the first read of the morning is not bad news. I'm tired of BAD NEWS!

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founding

Trust me, everyone but you is not living the good life. It’s all fake. What was that poem that Paul Simon made into a song? “Richard Corey,” the man who supposedly had everything and ended up killing himself because he was so miserable. Everyone on this forum is in the boat with you, Dalia. Hugs!

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We are bombarded with ads showing how super happy we can be if we only... take pharma drugs, use chemically-laden products, spray our weeds away with herbicides, eat pizza and drink lots of beer, etc. Commercials showing overly excited elated consumers of stupid products are pervasive. Enough already!

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I agree that there is good reason for anxiety and depression--but what makes them think the problems are limited to those under 65?

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Sep 27, 2022·edited Sep 27, 2022

Maureen ; Or that it does not matter if we older than 65 experience anxiety and depression too?

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Or do the insurance companies feel over 65 depression and anxiety are so prevalent in this country that it would be way to expensive to administer to it or make a profit?

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They seem to feel that way about treating anybody for anything. That's part of the reason people of all ages are so anxious.

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Thank you Dr. Reich for addressing one of the most neglected areas of health - mental disorders. As a satisfied member of Kaiser since 1965, I can attest to their failed mental health program. I lost my youngest daughter to clinical depression. She self medicated with alcohol, fell into my swimming pool, (I was working in DC at the time) and drowned. At that time, 2014, Kaiser offered 12 private sessions per year, when a mental health patient needed daily treatments and consultations, not monthly. I paid (outside of Kaiser) to help my daughter get off alcohol, which treatment was expensive (it took all my savings at the time) and the result lasted only 11 months, before the sever depression overtook her again. From 2007 until 2019 I was working primarily on the east coast. Keeping in touch with daily phone calls, both to my daughter and her adult children. With no affordable access to mental health treatment, and the asinine insistence that mental health could only be treated on agreement of the patient, who could neither understand their illness nor respond rationally to it. Yes I agree with you that all anxiety and depression is not a sign of mental illness, and certainly too many "pills" are not the correct answer to societies woes. But, I am also woefully aware of the need for more mental health professionals at all levels to combat a disease as damaging and deadly as cancer, heart problems and diabetes.

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Fay, I lost my beloved husband of 30 years almost the same way. His parents spent well over a million dollars on various treatment programs, and he did have 12 years of sobriety while our children grew up, which I will be forever grateful for, but when he relapsed in his late 40's after a traumatic job loss, nothing any of us could do saved him. He took his life in despair at age 50. There was no insurance at all during the period of that relapse. The depression and PTSD I have suffered since are partially covered by Medicare, and I would be lost without it. I will never recover.

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My deepest sympathy, Paula, people who haven't experienced this disease, don't fully understand the depths of despair, not only to the patient, but every member of their family.

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Fay, this is utterly heart-rending. My heart goes out to you. I can't imagine how you live with this, except that when we have to live with something, somehow, we do. Thank you for having the courage to share this.

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I love it when they say that people "may feel that the system is rigged against them.” They may also feel that the earth is round, that 2+2=4 and that pigs can't fly.

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Sep 27, 2022Liked by Heather Lofthouse

Your column struck me as so timely to my personal situation. We’ve been living on a Greek island this summer, fixing up an old house and living in a totally different (and healthier) headspace. We’ve developed relationships with village locals and a few expats here who sympathize with our need to return to the chaos and angst of life in the US. They share our dismay at what’s happening there, in the land their ancestors emigrated to 2 generations ago to have an opportunity at the “American Dream”. Now folks like them see that dream as an illusion there and folks like us are looking for a “Plan B” to get back to the old country in case things get untenable back home.

The village where we live is safe, welcoming, family focused and surprisingly well informed about global events, a community where kids can play unattended in the neighborhood, where people stop to visit and sitting around “having a coffee” isn’t considered unproductive but a requisite part of life.

We haven’t seen a single unhoused person here, and our friend who runs a restaurant divulged that there’s a few folks who come there to eat free of charge when they are struggling. I’m sure other businesses offer the same unspoken generosity. And there’s no shame and no resentment in this transaction. One just expects to help those who are known to be in need. Of course it’s not Nirvana here (although it looks pretty close though my eyes), but they seem to have figured out how to live in community despite their personal and political differences. And there’s not a psychiatrist in sight.

As we prepared to leave the island tomorrow I’ve started having palpitations and anxiety again, that familiar knot in my gut and angst about the future creeping back into the backdrop of my days (a common problem back home). Do I have a mental health problem? I guess so as I need a physician to keep prescribing my medications. But I think what I really need is a return ticket to this place that shakes their head and says “what’s happened to American?”

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Yesterday as I prepared to talk to the premedical group regarding Single Payer heatlhcare for all, the event was called off due to the hurrricane. of the large studies assessing the cost of universal healthcare in the US, about 85% show we could save money even in the first year by covering everyone with comprehensive care expense starting at birth. Even the CBO analysis and conservative analyses come to that conclusion. Simplifying the solution: allow volume discounts for medications (the VA and Canada save 40% by doing so), and reducing the rediculous waste in our overhead expense of about 35%. Canada's system overhead is around 12%, Taiwan's which is patterned after our Medicare is about 8% last I looked. Cutting 20% of nearly 4 trillion dollars a year would more than pay for Cadillac coverage for all. Politics and money get in the way. Just writing about it is stressing me out, got to stop.

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Raymond Bellamy ; just sharing the information you posted with others is actually helpful. More people might push for improvements if they understand about 'system overhead'. This is not taught to most of us in schools. A large number of our population do not get into college. When you share like this, like Professor Reich does, we can all benefit. I want Cadillac coverage!

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I do too. Thanks. But with a drug industry lobbyist for every member of Congress.....

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Think about the benefits of eliminating marketing costs, insurance company middleman expense....trying to avoid the sick and sign up more healthy folks...And Canada with a health smartcard which is swiped when you enter the office. Medical history, except that privacy protected, comes up on the screen. At end of visit, swipe provider card, click on level of service...none of this authorizations for tests and procedures, 45 minutes in the waiting room filling out history sometimes for two office visits in a day...wrestling with physician panels which are always changing. As a physician, I routinely took my bills for care to our insurance office for help. When you get rid of 800 billion dollars a year in overhead and cut 250 billion in excess drug industry profit out, you can afford a lot of people with comprehensive care along with dental, mental health, hearing aids....no copays.

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Bernie Sanders wrote in one of his books about things that you mention, saying that yuuuge amounts of money could and should be saved. There is no way medical care should cost anywhere near what it costs in America. With results that are not so great for the expense. The middleman mangles care, they don't produce anything but profits for themselves. Some wanted to trade medical futures on the stock market! SICK!

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Gotta love Bernie.

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Absolutely!

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We have to get on our Representatives' asses to stop selling out!

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Thank you Raymond Bellamy. The problem is, in America, ordinary people do not lavish millions of dollars on political PACs to keep members of Congress in office in perpetuity. I wish I knew a way to "force" people to think before they vote, have electioneering paid only by public funds, and get genuinely civic minded persons to run for Congress. A major problem is voting finance reform has to be passed by the very people who are profiting from it.

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Agree of course.

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Fay Reid that is the challenge!

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Until we develop better medications for stress and depression, having a psychiatrist on every corner would not help. Of course, society is in desperate need of help. It's no wonder that mental illness is at record levels. Unfortunately, I don't see any improvement on the horizon. Looking back over my life, which I have plenty of time to do now that I'm retired, I can see so many mistakes that I made, but I see many places where society created enormous speed bumps that led to anxiety and discomfort, starting with the Vietnam War for my generation. It's no wonder that people are experiencing record levels of stress, depression and addiction. People have been taught to battle on through the obvious wrongs rather than fight in a more positive way which would be to try to correct the wrongs. Until society learns to fight to fix things, we will be doomed to even higher levels of mental illness. I wish I could be more positive.

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