274 Comments
Jul 12, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

"To state the question in historical terms, how different is [this capitalist thuggery in support of Trump and lower taxes] from the wealthy European industrialists who quietly backed the fascists in the 1920s and 1930s? These billionaire and corporate funders are as complicit as are the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers in threatening American democracy."

You've answered your own rhetorical question. It' s really no different. Which is why the fascists a century ago called themselves National Socialists. When the wealthy and the corporations are, through lowering of their taxes, thereby empowered, capitalism goes off the rails. The very same forces that built and sustained a thriving economy now turn to evil.

Progressive taxation is key to a thriving economy and a congenial society. It prevents the wealthy from becoming sufficiently powerful to disrupt the market. Reagan and Friedman stood this logic on its head and, 40 years later, we are on the road to fascism.

A central Democrat plank of future elections should be an aggressive promotion of the idea of taxing the rich and the corporations, in order to promote education and healthcare for all.

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A standing ovation for you. The key to the sucess of a true democracy is a well educated citizenry. ( Ref Thomas Jeffeson's remarks on the need for free public education. ) Let us understand that this should mean free of indoctrination agendas.

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Rebekha. One can't educate people if the education system itself is broken. The education system in the USA does not work for all.

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... and that is likely deliberate. The current system benefits from a dumb, compliant, manipulable workforce.

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Exactly. Gov. Ronnie Raygun had his Superintendant of Public Instruction , Max Rafferty, start the dumnbing down process in California a long time ago because California had the best educational system in the nation. Where do you think the "Free Speach Movement" came from?

An educated populace is a threat to industrial domination. Why do you think Ronnie was the host of General Electric Theater on TV? It got the country used to his calming presence over many years, hence they elected him to a governorship and the presidency to push the interests of General Electric, and all industry over the interests of the people who elected him.

There is a lot of academic output on this.

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Broken, yes. Does not work at all? Simply not true.

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Great as is. Read my message again. I said: "Does not work FOR all".

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True but it only works partly even for the ones that get the best of it. They make sure nothing threatens their bottom line. That's why they're always complaining about liberal education, although I do support being exposed to other viewpoints. Personally I don't particularly want to make rich people poor. I just think if we're going to have a capitalist system those who benefit the most from it should pay the most to keep it running.

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I agree with you Harv. Where do you think all the money comes from for non profits? It comes from business people who donate small and huge amounts of money. I see it my city every. single. day. Capitalism works great when we give back to the poor. Not the lazy. Their is a difference.

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See why?

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Ah yes. Thanks for pointing that out. Angered me enough to post my first comment!

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Gov.Destupid in Fla. just spent 6 million$ of our state money to fund and put together a 'Civics ' course that was unnecessary.The teachers were paid to attend and when they asked questions,none were given or they were told 'we'll get to that' We have a severe housing crisis here in Fla.,they are pricing out the workforce. That should have been PRIORITY! We're gonna FIRE HIM!

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This is THE key issue in our society. Our country has dumbed down education, no longer requires Civics as a requirement to graduate and I think the result is the emergence of the class of people who want no government who attacked the Capitol on January 6. Angry and uneducated, who have been indoctrinated to believe government is against them.

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From your lips to their ears. But highly unlikely because BOTH parties benefit from corporate and rich donors. Money is the lifeblood of politics.

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Jaime. You hit the nail on the head. Both parties are controlled by big money. Zuckerbucks helped Biden win in 2020. Elon Musk will help the next candidate win in 2024. Money Talks and Bullshit Walks. My dad taught me that 70 years ago and still true today.

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Thank you

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Your more than welcomed. Hugs from Arizona.

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Start with the state of Delaware.

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The irony of your suggestion made me smile.

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Money is the lifeblood of politics in the US and the UK, less so in other countries.

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lets dump politics and parties... No parites or ideologies, just individuals who will uphold our democracy.

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The U.S. population needs to Google where we stand on the list for democracy and go to the Corruption Perceptions Index and then they will see how far we have gone down.

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Well said. The more I think about it, though, the more it seems to me that it is not just a fiscal matter. The purpose itself of corporations should probably be revisited. Being cash machines cannot be the only structural incentive. Europe launched in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the corporate model we know today and we never questioned it.

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Europe became wealthy from the corporate model, as did the US. Capitalism works well when there is a strong government to collect taxes and distribute the generated wealth to support education, healthcare, roads, bridge repair, etc. We have been taught the opposite: that "free markets" are when the capitalist is allowed to let rip. This is just rubbish. In order to remain free, markets must be heavily regulated.

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Crony capitalism is the problem along with the fallacy of trickle down economics. The wealth stays at the top.

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Agree 100%

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Now we are on a track that truly needs to be explored.

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National corporate charter -- include the public interest.

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That would result in another federal agency. But a mandate that includes the public interest to engage in interstate commerce is a great start.

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SEC. Security Exchange Commission.

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It's about time someone does!

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Jul 12, 2022·edited Jul 12, 2022

While I do not advocate going back to the 19th century model of corporations, it is worth remembering some of those that did, once, take care of their workers, building homes and schools, health care facilities and pension arrangements for them. They were subsequently considered to be paternalistic and not just benevolent, being profit making machines too, but they did leave a better legacy than others. Think Hershey's in PA, Rowntree's in York, England and Peugeot in France as examples. How far we have come from that model!

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There was an instructor I know who called it “the Paris Hilton” effect. Let’s say a “Michael Clark” starts a business. It will start small and may include his spouse. As the business grows they are looking for employees who share their vision. The Clark children may work there but they will do various chores. If the business really takes off those early employees are commensurately rewarded, the kids, now adults will have a vivid recollection of those early years. Time passes, Michael passes, and his wife. The employees who helped start will also pass on. The kids may still run the business but the grandchildren who have later reaped the benefits of the business’ success will have no real idea of what it took to start the business. Later employees just see it as a job. The easiest example I like is when you go to a small business early and it says, CLOSED. If the owner is there, (s)he will turn the sign and open early. If it is an employee…. There are anecdotal stories of tech company startups that have done what you suggested even in our lifetimes.

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Jaime, you are correct that there are examples of those companies that wanted to create something that outlasted the founders. The heirs, however, may not always have the wit or the will to continue the vision!

As for the tech startups, those that have a vision to make money while being good citizens in their society do exist, but unfortunately there are also those whose vision is to get rich quick. I applauded the vision of Larry Page and Sergey Brin to make all information available to everyone, while adopting the motto Don't be evil. They did provide an invaluable service with their vision. Today Google is both admired and reviled, depending on whose point of view comes forward. Times move on, as have they.

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What you have described is thus:

First Generation starts the business; Second Generation grows the business; Third Generation spends and blows the profits of the business! All require advanced succession planning and honest forethought.

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Yes, but it also works with government. The first generation starts the government, the next grows it, later generations….

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Please educate me on what Europe launched in the 15th and 16th centuries as the corporate model. Thanks.

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Jul 13, 2022·edited Jul 13, 2022

Though the movement started with the great discoveries of the sixteenth century, modern corporations formally began to exist in 1600 with the East India Company, set up by British merchant adventurers and granted the Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I. Before that, corporations were all not-for-profit organizations such as hospitals, universities, and craftsmen associations. Colonial companies were for-profit ones, set to ensure a monopoly on trade and deny native people almost any form of economical independence. Their sole purpose was money and, to my knowledge, this DNA was not changed at any point in history. The flaw of such logic is that corporations grow above ground; they exploit resources but do not restore in any way what they took, in contrast with natural cycles. "So what?" one might say. Climate change, for one thing, the relentless war against workers' rights for another, etc. In short, all that does not enter the strict process of money making is to be ignored or fought against. We still live on the paradigm of colonial hubris and shortsightedness.

I am aware that my explanation is way too incomplete but I hope it somewhat answers your question.

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Hear! Hear!

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Thank you for elucidation.

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Indeed. Boycotts, Boycotts, Boycotts.

Ancient history I know, however, such a simple thing that Ghandi did with the 'Salt' march was that those involved had to recognise that "The Satyagraha campaign of the 1930s also forced the British to recognise that their control of India depended entirely on the consent of the Indians – Salt Satyagraha was a significant step in the British losing that consent.[85]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_March#Long-term_effect. Martin Luther King Jnr. understood this.

Essentially, what we still have is the old 'feudal' system updated with 'modern' legislation. Unpick it bit by bit, focus the energy on the positive outcomes and it will gain momentum of its own volition working together for the common good.

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Help me with clear description of old feudal system dressed up with legislation. I think I get it but need nuts and bolt analogy or explanation. Thanks.

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Sorry totally forgot about your request!

Maybe this can help explain and from there wind your way thru the other 'threads' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudalism

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I have tried to be as succinct as possible, however, it's such a weighty subject! Hope this is not too confusing but will take some reading.

I have always maintained that history should always be part of any educational program, not just that which has been edited to suit certain perspectives of any Government for managed historical comfort.

It is in the full knowledge of truth that we will come to understand why we are where we are, and how we got here, so apart from my own readings on matters political and historical, you will find a more in depth ‘historical’ explanation for your journey towards knowledge, positive and otherwise.

I meant to do this earlier today, however got much sidetracked during the day

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feudalism; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Examples_of_feudalism

Like any issue, there are many arguments for and against, however IMHO the ‘threads’ have remained somewhat intact, as this was originally based in Roman Law, and Roman Law is the basis of much of our modern Laws. In England, as in Australia, laws are enacted by The Crown, and The Crown is the head of The Church. Until very recently, feudal Law and systems were still very much alive in Scotland until 2000. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Examples_of_feudalism# Modern_traces and maybe a good case of further reason for Separation of States and Church. Which in my mind bodes the question, will The Monarchy survive post ER2?

In the meantime here is an index of ‘Democracies’ such as they exist https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index and noteworthy is that of USA as a flawed Democracy.

In addition here is a list of Government by ‘power structures’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_forms_of_government

As it is, we are still dealing with various other offshoots otherwise why we have Dictatorships, Xi Jinping and Putin being the most obvious examples.

It’s all about control and absolute power.

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Your diagnosis right on and prescription also. How do we get it done?

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A good start seems to me to think outside the box of feudality by:

1/ Recognizing the conventional economic box;

2/ Setting the legitimate aim of the economy;

3/ Figuring out the ways (plural) to achieve it

"What if we started economics not with its long-established theories but with humanity's long-term goals, and then sought out the economic thinking that would enable us to achieve them?" (Kate Raworth, "Doughnut Economics")

Once you have the what and the why, the how is never that hard to figure out. It is just that there is not one single answer but complementary ones and that you have to make time your ally.

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I’m thinking along my old ldesire for paradigm change. Is that in your plan? This is all new to me, I ask patience for lack of knowledge.

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You are doing a great service for our country by clearly stating the severely wrong things that are going on.

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Repeat repeat as this is so.

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Jul 12, 2022·edited Jul 12, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

To answer your question, it’s no different at all compared to what Uber did, it’s just more obvious and closer to home. After all the report doesn’t mention that happening to US Uber drivers. it’s also more dangerous in terms of what it means for the future of this country. Many people have tried to hold these companies responsible and failed simply because the companies provide essential services and have bottomless pockets. The answer is to regulate corporate donations to political campaigns and the companies themselves much tighter. Unfortunately not enough in power are willing to do that because that means giving up money they are receiving.

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Got this from the Harvard Business Review and the Sierra Club.

When we purchase mutual funds or individual stocks, we become an owner (or shareholder) of the corporation. Yet that corporation is allowed to spend money on political campaigns and does not even have to tell us in advance what campaigns and issues they are going to finance, does not have to gain our permission via a vote and does not have to directly report any details of those expenditures in any quarterly or annual report. What this means is that the business corporation we have invested in may be supporting political candidates or issues with which we disagree. Furthermore, we may not want the corporate revenues to fund any political activity. Any money that is spent on political speech, whether for candidates or issues, reduces the amount we receive as dividends and will reduce the value of the stock.

Even after Citizens United, states can require reporting for corporate political expenditures in their state. A solution is legislation that:

 Requires that shareholders approve of campaign expenditures before the money is spent

 Requires reporting of all political expenditures on-line within 48 hours of the expenditure

 Requires the corporation to notify shareholders via e-mail of the expenditure if the shareholder has requested notification

 Requires an annual report of political expenditures

 The reporting would include the amount, recipient, date and purpose of the expenditure

Meanwhile we can boycott, object to the company, report them to the SEC if the contributions lessen the value of the company, and protest. Picket. Write letters to the editor.

https://hbr.org/2022/01/corporate-political-spending-is-bad-business

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Delaware state regulations on political spending.

https://delcode.delaware.gov/title15/c080/sc02/index.html

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Jul 12, 2022·edited Jul 12, 2022

This is all very useful information, but it needs to be implemented nationwide and that is very unlikely. Maybe what Delaware already does more liberal states would do if the legislation was brought to a vote. However it would probably never pass in conservative states. What we need but is equally unlikely is federal campaign finance laws requiring EVERYTHING from donors names and the amount given as well as any involvement of either sides conflicts of interest.

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Delaware has some of the WEAKEST regulations. According to the Delaware Division of Corporations, 67.8% of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware, and 1.5 million corporations have registered in the state. Today Delaware tomorrow a national standard. Corporations registered in Delaware that do not do business in the state do not pay corporate income tax.

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Even more reason for federal regulations.

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Democrats control the state legislature.

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Since most large corporations operate nationwide and would unlikely stop doing business in any state, wouldn't you need just one blue state to implement Mr. Solomon's requirements as a requirement to do business in the state to achieve the desired result nationwide?

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I mean maybe, but we saw what Elon Musk did with Tesla when he didn’t like Californias COVID rules. I know he didn’t completely stop doing business there but he made a big (albeit ignorant) statement.

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Good point. The corporations would certainly sue the state to try and overturn the requirement to report all political contributions to any politician. They would also stuff more money into the pockets of politicians to defeat enactment. In the long run, I would like to think they would lose -- the requirements make too much sense to most people!

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That seems to mean that an investor in a public corporation is complicit in the destruction of our democracy and supports a move towards autocracy. Try that hat on if you are a rich liberal democrat! I own stock and I am a liberal hypocrite. How about you.

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I own no private stock but our government retirement programs invest and “owners” have spoken up. But retirees cannot move money privately. It’s a challenge to live in the system and not take part. However GREEN AMERICA is a helpful resource. https://www.greenamerica.org/

“Take action against corporate greed, learn new ways to reduce your impact on the planet, and learn about green products you never knew existed. “

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founding
Jul 12, 2022·edited Jul 12, 2022

Great in principle but the largest shareholders will be rich and want them to support Republicans. Occasionally a pension fund might not but I’ll bet you most of the time the results will be the same.

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Institutional shareholders like governmental entities, colleges, retirement funds.

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Amen & Ladies. Greed sucks 101 . tom davis TIDE ferrari racing, palm beach. Anna Marshall. fluent Russian, 24 / 7.

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That would be great

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You are absolutely superb,thank you for this very valuable info ,i'm saving it and will be sharing it in the right place!

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Amen! There is a clear connection between the very rich and very large corporations and the proud boys and the brown shirts! And so it goes…oligarchy. It’s all about power and therefore influence and money. Lord help us these United States! An age old struggle for justice and fairness. Those who have the money make the rules. A man’s need for power is directly proportional to his mental illness! When are people going to stop looking for a savior and start relying on their own recognizance? My answer to that question is central to democracy. Self worth and not narcissism. Competition generally gives most of us a feeling of not being good enough. And some become so obsessed with winning that the grow orange hair and cheat to win. Winning only makes one person feel good. Hate of oneself begets hate for others. The most disturbed become the most hateful and probably the most powerful.

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founding

I just finished a book on Plantagenets of England and that certainly was true back in the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries. I don’t see that it’s any different now.

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Jul 12, 2022·edited Jul 12, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

Disgusting that the pursuit of wealth leads to such criminal activity and threats to the common good. When those telling the truth need to increase security and go in hiding we know we are on the doorstep of fascism. Thank you, Robert Reich, for sharing this information. We will never see it in mainstream media.

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We are not at the doorstep, we are drowning in it.

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Empires fall from within. First very slowly for an extended period of time and then all at once!

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We have been declining for 40-50 years. I have noticed a great acceleration of our decline in the last 5-6 years.

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So accurate.

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Without support from big money and big industry, Hitler would not have succeeded. Without their support Trump cannot succeed either so cut off this lifeline

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Hans. Change the constitution so no person over 69 years of age can run for Presidency. That will stop Trump dead in his tracks.

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Good idea but it won't solve the problem really .......its not just Trump......there is much more behind it..........although he won't ever admit, even he is replaceable....enough similar idiots in GOP.....

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It won't stop Hawley, DeSantis or Greene, for example.

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They are all scary

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Age discrimination and political corruption are two, separate entities.

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Mo777jet. The longer someone has been in a position (as they age) the more advantage they have and corruption can then take place with some. So not necessarily two separate issues. As they can feed off of each other.

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So if someone is elected to office at age 32, then they should be voted of government service out by 36 because they've cracked the "advantage" code and probably become corrupt? That doesn't seem to be the issue being discussed regarding Biden. The complaint seems to be "too old, " as in "discrimination based solely on age."

Also, if corruption is the inevitable outcome of elected public service, then we, the public, seriously need to reexamine both our criteria for electing people and the job, itself. When teachers, for example, are hired in public schools, we don't boot them out after four years because they've learned the "advantage" system and somehow become a liability. The opposite is true. We consider them more experienced in a positive way and sometimes give them tenure. It seems, instead of throwing away experienced governing people and electing TV personalities and other inexperience, we'd do better to both improve our criteria for voting and get rid of whatever it is that's making corruption the expected outcome of the jobs (perhaps influence-buying political contributions and lobbying?) rather than encouraging politicians to use their greater experience to benefit those whom they serve. We don't seem to be doing those things. We don't appear to be reinforcing our hen houses. We appear to be electing then trying to blame the fox.

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Mo777Jet. Thanks for your thoughts. Many teachers should be booted out after 4 years. We have huge issues in the USA with our public education system. We do need to improve criteria for running for an elected office. The #1 criteria right now is who can raise the most money. Sad but true. Thanks for caring.

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Jul 12, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

We need more courageous candidates who are willing to take on the overturn of Citizen’s United ruling, or corporate lobbyists who fund politicians and write legislation that gives their industries advantages. What about politicians who got to work for these same lobbyists after their careers end? Why is this not outlawed? Why are politicians or former political appointees a allowed to work as foreign agents after their careers end? I am so sick of receiving donation calls, texts and emails from politicians? Why are these coroporations that receive tax breaks and avoid taxes through loopholes or who receive federal subsidies allowed to then donate large sums of money to political candidates or who now have PACS and SuperPACS to influence election outcomes? They are now paying money to SCOTUS nominees that have lied in confirmation hearings and then overturn a woman’s right to choose and will use every opportunity to take away other rights that were ruled on and viewed as a precedent.

When we try to avoid doing business or boycott these businesses, we are called the cancel culture. As a 67 year old woman, I recall Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta calling for the grape boycott to show solidarity for farm workers who worked and still do in deplorable conditions for low pay. My mother and our family tried to do our part to show solidarity.

I call on everyone who reads your columns to boycott any of these corporations who support politicians and policies that support the Big Lie, and are complicit in the rise of fascist and extreme political efforts and policies.

Sorry for rambling, as I rarely comment.

I believe that unless we, as a nation, get back to “The pursuit of the greater good” instead the pursuit of money, wealth, influence and access to corporations in our political system, then we really have lost our morale compass.

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You have nailed it. It is cooperation vs Competition. Changing the national obsession from greed to good citizenship and focusing education on higher goals would be a start. As a young person I was moved by John F Kennedy’s call to ask not what the country can do for you but what you can do for the country . It was a powerful statement. There will always be greed, hatred and ignorance, but if we see it in ourselves and care about values, we can control it in ourselves. Maybe that’s a bit pollyannish but we have to somehow lift ourselves out of fear and hate snd helplessness

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Jul 12, 2022·edited Jul 12, 2022

... get back to “The pursuit of the greater good” instead the pursuit of money, wealth, influence and access to corporations in our political system... ENOUGH SAID! Too much selfishness/self-interest now. 'In the last days, men will be lovers of themselves' 2 Timothy 3:1-5

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founding

And start with Amazon on Prime Day, today.

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I remember boycotting grapes. I've often asked myself where is the next Chavez?

Campaign reform, ending Citizens United and lobbying, aka sanctioned bribery, are paramount for citizenry to regain control

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Praise the Lord and pass the legislation !!!

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Jul 12, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

Thank you for educating us. We don’t have your historical knowledge and need it.

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Truly HORRIFYING! The similarities between the current political wave & the rise of Hitler's fascism can't be ignored!

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No it can’t. And it’s been building for decades.

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Now I feel guilty holding on my AT&T landline.

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Time to find a new provider.

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Don't feel guilty, just boycott them and their ilk.

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We use Voipo for our landline. Bagged the phone companies years ago

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They're all emboldened by Merrick "milquetoast" Garland, who is likely hiding under his bed this very minute peeing himself while clutching a photo of Neville Chamberlain.

Fun Fact: The AG doesn't have to be a lawyer, and indeed doesn't even to have gone to law school.

Tell Garland thanks for nothing, and put Malcolm Nance in there. The poo would start hitting the fan in a nanosecond.

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founding

🤣🤣

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Same group headed by Koch and Mercer that I’ve seen for the past five years. But, where are

the Russian oligarchs led by Len Blavatsky’s Russian-funded Republican Super PAC? That’s the Putin connection even more troubling, according to Malcolm Nance—along with Senate recipients named in Section III of “The Plot to Destroy Democracy.”

Nance’s new book is due out the 12th. Its forthright title suggests a coming violent attack on Americans by Trump’s insurrectionists. Perhaps the aim of what Our 15th Chief Justice Warren Earl Burger called the “fraud” perpetrated by “organizations” regarding the Second Amendment: 1991 PBS interview with Charlaine Hunter Galt, 200 years after that amendment’s ratification in 1791. Check it out on You Tube.

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I've seen the video. Justice Burger called it the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the Am people. Furthermore, he said if he were writing the document today he would not include a 2d Amendment.

See Michael Moore's proposed Amendment to repeal the 2d. CIVILIZED!

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founding

Michael Moore has a great idea there but I wish he would exclude guns for killing animals for sport.

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Killing and sport might be oxymorons, especially when guns are added into the conversation.

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founding

Frankly I find any kind of hunting disgusting but I do recognize that if it’s genuinely for food there is some justification. I’d prefer it not happen at all though.

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The short-sightedness of Trump's corporate and wealthy backers is the amazing part. If you use any means whatsoever to retain more of your business's cash flow, the conditions under which you do business are going to be undermined, and that cash flow is going to be diminished. What happened to businesses liking stability?

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Jul 12, 2022·edited Jul 12, 2022

can't use logic to think about their actions. It is pure unadulterated selfishness and greed. The same logic would say Oil and Gas industry has the money to be trailblazers, leaders and profitable with renewable energy (H_ll, hey could have, theoretically, monopolized renewables) and save the planet they and their bloodlines will occupy... but no, they'd rather hang on to the wealth/power of Oil & Gas, even crippling renewables and climate science, to extend the reign of Oil and Gas' wealth/power. Clearly not using logic in their decision making.

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Thank you for putting this so succinctly. This is unabashed fascism. If this is what America really wants, thank god, I'm old.

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My thoughts exactly, Fay. I’m actually happy that I have cancer but I fear for the future of my grandsons.

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Make a video. Get you publicist to have you on more tv

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