315 Comments
Jun 7Liked by Robert Reich

The greatest shibboleth of the Reagan era was that government is the enemy of the people (as in: the nine scariest words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help.") Friedman stood Adam Smith on his head and reinvented capitalism in such a way that we are now dealing with the consequences of monopoly power and four decades of trickle up.

The role of government includes protection of the market by the breaking up of monopolies, and for levying progressive taxes a) so nobody gets so wealthy they can buy the government (Elon, are you listening?) and b) use those taxes on infrastructure spending that benefits the entire nation. That's capitalism as originally envisaged. What we have now is not capitalism but socialism for the rich (what else is not paying your taxes but government welfare for the rich?).

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You have to give Biden credit for unleashing the FTC and the DOJ Antirust Division for the first time since Reagan. If only he had the power to go after price fixers and price gougers.

Register Democrats -- save the world.

https://www.fieldteam6.org/

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"If only he had the power to go after price fixers and price gougers."

Isn't that the role of the FTC and DOJ Antitrust Division?

BTW, I happen to think Biden is a great president. If only we lived in a world where age is revered and physical frailty is not demonized.

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Unfortunately, it takes legislation. OPEC is the worst offender. Some states, like California, have authority and they are attempting to control it.....

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And the petroleum cabal, among others are pouring millions into a PR campaign in California to defeat legislation and referendum.

What disheartens me and turns me against humanity is that these campaigns work,. Proof off the gullibility and stupidity of the average human, that they can be swayed by ads and propaganda, and it is not new. not at all. Coca Cola and Pepsi started out as snake oil cure all syrups, loaded down with heroin and cocaine.

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Billy, nobody speaks to the stupidity of people, with more irony, than you. The Steele dossier was a hoax to convince stupid people that Russia was to blame for Hillary’s humiliation in the 2016 election. But moron mouth breathers like yourself refuse to admit that it was snake oil for the art of the possible baby boomers. Who watched while the DNC stole the primary and then clutched their pearls at the inference to a rigged election

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**-* **- -*-* -*- -*-- --- **-

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I'm old and I know stuff. When I have students with me I ask them "Did you ever notice...?" If they did, we can go on to the when why who....

Like Medicare Advantage, like drug pricing, like hospital chain consolidation, how vertical integration does not improve "efficiency" in health care.

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🥰🥰🥰 we few, we old, we “know stuff” I LOVE IT!!!

I am the curmudgeon I once jokingly aspired to become.

Not nearly as good with wit or quip as geniuses like Dorothy Parker, but crickey! My pet peeve is willful ignorance.

Folk who willfully ignore facts and evidence, should they discomfit or puzzle them. The Late, Great Bob Dole once said, “You can have your own opinion, but not your facts.”….perhaps channeling earlier sages?

Anyway, so many want to believe anything as long as it doesn’t require effort, energy, or inconvenience. But then, this is just one old dude’s opinion.

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Informed dude there are also the ones with Dunning Kruger effect....

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Jun 7·edited Jun 7

Republicans claim they are a party of small/limited government but I find it ironic that they champion Project 2025. A very dangerous ideology that is anything but minimalist. It is very radical and puts America on the decline. Biden has to win, a Republican control is dangerous!

Can't wait for November, and for all these to be over. Hopefully start to heal as a nation as Trump and his cult further fades into oblivion.

And I can't wait to celebrate Biden's victory wearing this shirt on November 5th 👇

libtees-2.creator-spring.com/listing/byedon24

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They say small government as though it limits government power, but what it actually does is make a relatively few people have very concentrated power., meaning non governmental forces need to corrupt just a few, or otherwise convince their bad decision making.

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Precisely! and a small federal government can mean a big, despotic state government serving business interests.

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Republicans like Ronald Reagan's definition of small limited government applies to regulation of business and taxes, but not to personal lives and choices, there they become authoritarians.

The problem, as I see it,is that Americans tend to take things at face value.

They accept that family values means family values, not what it really means is patriarchal control over women and children.

The choose to believe that pro life means pro life, and not what it really means, total control over the female.

The left uses it too.peace, means surrender.

Anti Imperialism means don't defend.

Evil intentions are easily disguised with emotional words that don't mean what we think or want to believe we do.

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History would tell us that today’s “Grand Old Party” the political party that began as a grassroots movement to elect a young largely unknown politician from the country town of Springfield in the middle of Illinois. He was different looking, sounding, acting, than the polished Eastern men (suffrage was a white male privilege) who ran the respective parts of government.

It seems inconceivable and sad to see the Republican, “grand old”, “party of Lincoln” , and TR, Eisenhower, Stevenson,et.al……has become the tired, angry, mob of frightened, often unhinged old white folk in office today.

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Michael, a "great president" doesnt fund, arm and support the slaughter of civilians (Gaza and Ukraine).

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Biden is funding and supporting the slaughter or Ukrainians? New to me, Robert.

As regards Gaza, every dead Gazan, every wounded Gazan's blood lies squarely on the head and hands of HAMAS, Sinwar and Haniyeh. Put the blame where it lies.

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I put the blame on Putin for both wars. He attacked Ukraine totally unprovoked to commit genocide & expand empire. He used the classified US intelligence on Israeli military operations he got from Trump to help Hamas (probably with the collaboration of Iran) attack Israel on his birthday in a barbaric manner reminiscent of Russia's own savagery against Ukrainians, in order to get the world's mind off the atrocities he was perpetrating in Ukraine, reduce support for Ukraine, turn the tide of war in favor of Russia, cause social unrest in the US, diminish support for Biden & improve the chances of his puppet becoming US President. He succeeded on all accounts.

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If the US actions including the rejected Helsinki Peace Accords followed by arming Ukraine is "new to you" William, see books and interviews and talks by J Mearsheimer, Aaron Mate, S. Cohen and others.

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This is your excuse for Russian colonilaism, imperialism and genocide.

The Helsinki Final Act, aka Heskinki Accord, not Helsinki Peace Accords was violated when Putin invaded Ukraine and occupied Crimea, fuck it was violated when Putin waged war on Chechnya and forced the former Stans to rejoin greater Russia.

Putin is a genocidal aggressor, willing to burn the world down for his own ego and dreams.

R O B E R T is a new way to spell Putin.

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Give me a fucking break. ARe the Putinista's taking over substack?

Yeh surrender now, save lives, open the gates and let Putin in to rape the country, kill the people, and obliterate the Ukraine language, culture and identity. That is called genocide.

So you advocate genocide do you?

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Wow. That's some inside baseball. Wonder how all that came to light without anyone else knowing.

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Shut up, comrade

Go soak your head

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That is pure russofascist disinformational propaganda & you know it because you're a Russian troll. Nothing about your false claim is true.

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Democrats? The FDR types that invented the guard rails? ie glass Steagal? Or the Clinton types that ran the system off a cliff. Ie repeal of glass steagal. Vote blue no matter how much they screw you or else you are a Russian bot troll racist ? See how I make it sound unappealing? Morning Danny

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Jun 7·edited Jun 7

"Or the Clinton types that ran the system off a cliff. Ie repeal of glass steagal. Vote blue no matter how much they screw you...."

The legislation that repealed the Glass-Steagall act was known as the "Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act" That's Phil Gramm -- Republican (TX). Jim Leach -- Republican (Iowa), and Thomas Bliley -- Republican (VA).

The only opposition to the repeal of Glass-Steagall came from Democrats. In fact, it was during the debate of the bill in the House that Democrat John Dingell of Michigan argued that Gramm-Leach-Bliley would lead to banks that were "too big to fail."

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The reason that Clinton signed the Leach Bailey Act was to get Newt Gringrich off his back, and Newt was on his back, because Billy boy, couldn't keep it in his pants, a satyr, easily compromised by putting a star struck young girl in front of him, and an operative, her room mate, to watch her.

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"The reason that Clinton signed the Leach Bailey Act was to get Newt Gringrich off his back...

I'd grade your analysis a D+ -- and that's being generous. Bill Clinton's advocacy of neoliberalism had nothing to with keeping Newt off his back. FFS.

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Jun 7·edited Jun 7

I am no fan of Clinton Thomas, he betrayed his base and I was bitching way back when he was in office.

But the Republicans did have him over the barrel, with impeachment and his satyrism.

Clinton had/has no moral center, just like most politiciians, they are in it for themselves, and bend with the wind, and heavy weight on their necks

I doubt that Clinton is a neo liberal,I doubt that he is anything but a self promoting self aggrandizing narcissist, but what motivated him to sign Glass Steagall, issue Don't Ask Don't tell,sign the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Omnibus Crime Bill, Defense of Marriage Act, NAFTA and GATT, was the Gingrich boot on his neck.

Clinton would sell his mother, if it meant financial and social advancement, and his wife is really no different. Bet he wasn't an inspirational dictator like Trump and the Republican party front.

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The guy with the veto power was paying whores to shut up way before it was cool. Or illegal

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The bill passed the Senate (unanimously by Republicans) and with enough Democratic support to override any veto. So what good would veto power have been?

It seems to me Republicans didn't have any problem at the time with a sitting president having to answer to a civil lawsuit. And oh, how they talked about "character." (Enter: Don Whorelio.)

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Double standards Thomas. Republicans are insincere, they use anything they can grab as a cudgel, while Democrats play nice and lose.

Michelle's dictim of When they go low we go high is a losers excuse.

We need top fight fire with fire, go on the attack, stay on the attack, fight dirty, drag them through the mud, and if there is no mud, do what they do, pour water on dirt and make mud.

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Woah,

Dems voted with Republicans in numbers large enough to override a veto so a veto would have been futile? So republicans did exactly what they could be expected to do? Fuck the American people. And democrats did what they could be expected to do. Make excuses. Are you even listening to yourself? First you said it was republicans. Then you said democrats helped so why even try to stop the legislation credited with causing the greatest recession since the depression.

Land of the free home of the brave? Land of the finger pointing coward would be more appropriate.

Clinton paid $700k to his whores. Trump $130? Adjusted for inflation one is very prolific or fiscally irresponsible. Both scumbags. The average American is wondering why only one is a felon.

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Yep and so what? Has nothng to do with today. Ancient history. Biden is not Clinton fuck face.

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Oh Billy. How’s Woodinville this spring? Do take care

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Ever heard of Brooksley Born ( CFTC)? She knew there was a problem with speculation on financial derivatives well before the crash but the not so smart Libertarian Fed Head Greenspan shouted her down with help from Larry Summers. Elizabeth Warren tried to pick up the mantle to move things forward but by that time, Dems had list control. Larry Summers was a free market dem and they always found a way to “work” with Reagan repubs. Plenty of blame to go around but that’s what happens when regulators lose control.

Lesson to be learned? 1) Libertarians don’t cope with reality 2) wall street is 90% gambling casino 3) the free market is myth that is used to legitimize unfettered capitalism as if it is part and parcel to democracy

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I much prefer the FDR type. If only we could get back that kind of leader!

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Yep yep you are indeed a Russian Bot Troll Chuckie Boy.

Yes vote blue, because we don't want a Putin Trumpian dictatorship.

Non voting or a vote for anyone wlse is a vote for Trump.

You aren't stupid, you know it, you know how the system works.

Biden isn't perfect, but Trump promises to be a dictator. Maybe you want to live under a dictator. Maybe you aren't an American at all, but a Putin troll.

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Jun 7Liked by Robert Reich

I have since wondered why no one asked Reagan, "If you think government is so terrible, then why are you part of it? Are you saying that you are the problem? Do we just need better people in government?" Anyone hiring for a private company would not hire a job applicant who said, "Your company is the problem."

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Well stated.

The dig at Mr. Musk is well intended, but I believe he holds South African citizenship as well?

His mother was a very successful model there and internationally, I think, not positive.

“Self made” wealth is very rare, if not entirely mythical.

Even the astounding wealth of Cornelius Vanderbilt, arguably the wealthiest person ever in the U.S., began from a relatively successful, albeit modest family on then agrarian Long Island.

Anderson Cooper wrote a wonderful book relating his maternal family history. Highly recommended.

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Informed Dude. Who made the dig at Elon Musk I did a ctrl F search and the only mention of his name is in your comment.?

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Control F gets you nothing kid ,, you need to learn how to use a computer

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Wise ass, why do you want to start a fight over something innocuous.

I have Windows 7, ctrl F gives me a find function

I grew up on DOS, the internet was dial up with a 2400 baud modem, conversations on the WELL required upload and download via FTP, if you wanted to reference something. Eudora for email was a gift from heaven.

Now this octogenairan says Go fuck yourself.

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Search Elon and you’ll find it

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Are you talking about Michael Hutchinson's comment?

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Thank you for stating the obvious. It's "We the People... Darn I can't find my copy but you know what I'm trying to state. Government is for the People.

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The Government IS the People.

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It's time to take it back!

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...replying to register my "Like".

For some reason checking the "heart" icon does nothing. which I think is a Google issue because all of a sudden I also cannot reply to YouTube comments.

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I just tried it on you & it worked for me. :)

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I would upvote if I could, Great comment.

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what else is not paying your taxes but government welfare for the rich?). well said

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Dear Michael: great comment. you took the swords right out of my mouth.

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founding

Monopoly is created through and by government licensure. It is not created by the free market. Read Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom and also Ayn Rand (who I don’t care for personally but her ideas are correct) on the true nature of monopoly. Friedman is best. See also his talks from PBS etc.

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Buying the Government is the Current Goal. He already has multiple partners and lots of progeny…

Buying the government is the modern version of becoming King less the Horses Armor, Swords and literal blood in the streets…

By Purchasing the Government the losers get a Golden Parachute into retirement and a Presidential Library even if it’s located on Rikers Island…

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Citizens United must be repealed for our free market to survive! America’s average wage workers should form a union that is countrywide. Take our country back from the oligarchs.

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Do you mean a union of unions? We had a good start doing that at one time. Then SCOTUS made general strikes and sympathy strikes illegal.

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Yes Gloria,

United is a synonym of the word Union. Average wage, hard working Americans need to reunite.

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If we do not get Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate and put President Biden in the White House, we will never get the guardrails back up that were in place to prevent corporations from becoming the monopolistic corporations we have today. We must return the rules that were in place before Wall Street, large corporations and the wealthy gained influence and tore a lot of them down! Vote Blue, America!!!

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Too late to prevent monopolies; and undoing entails substantial strife. Are you ready?

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I am 100% ready to do whatever it takes to undo the monopolies that are sucking the American citizens dry.

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Jun 10·edited Jun 10

Me too, but I'm 70 and have much less to lose than many....

But as long as the wealthy can keep ordinary Americans divided between themselves (clear evidence of which we see everyday on these pages, and on all others!), it will be hard for R&L poor and middle class to ever join forces to bring the wealthy/plutocrats/monopolists/oligarchs/kleptocrats DOWN.

And we are deeply, DEEPLY, divided now.

This is how 'a powerful few' manipulate the much more numerous masses. Make evenly divided choirs, & pit one choir against the other.

So... in my view, the 'whatever it takes' entails ceasing our repetitious daily diatribe against the other tribe, and finding common cause against the real enemies of the people. Not easy.

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GTOV

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Name a monopoly.

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United Health Care

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My first retirement mistake, quickly reversed!

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There are families-aristocrats of the American variety. With great wealth comes great responsibility. Some understand this.

Sam Walton, Koch’s, etc. etc.

This is literally Fortune magazine’s ‘raison d’être’

Ross Perot tried his “Now lookin here” Texas charm. Perhaps a forewarning of general unrest that has always bubble among the citizenry.

At present, we see IMHO, the horribly misguided Kennedy attempt…not exactly clear what he hopes to accomplish? Nor why?

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Innformed Dude, are you saying that Sam Walton's family, the Koch's understand that with their wealth comes great responsibility? If so responsibility to who and what?

What are you referring to with the "horriblyh misguided Kennedy attempt"

Which Kennedy and from the context it seems to be a current Kennedy, and the only current Kennedy in the news is RFK Jr. I agree he is a disaster to this family and the nation, as he is contributing to a Trump presidency,, but what is his attempt,? Do you mean running for President.

I need clarity, I am not practiced at reading between the lines or reading minds.

Thanks

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Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet/Google, to name but a few. Their dominance in their respective markets of software, eretail and online search effectively makes them monopolies.

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Monopolies are as American as pie and Bald Eagle…how do you think a bunch of struggling white fanatics conquered and remade the Eden of the “New World”? The Mayflower or Jamestown may be early examples of white settlement, but “The Americas” from the pole to pole, Tierra del Fuego, to Hudson Bay, was occupied by sooo many wonderful, advanced native peoples and cultures.

Read “1491” (Y’know, the year before Columbus) for a wonderful account…

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Jun 10·edited Jun 10

Apple. Google alphabet. Amazon. Samsung. Alibaba. Meta. Open AI (in key domains).

(But if one wants simply to quibble about whether some of the major multinationals are pure monopolies or collaborating oligopolies, fine, but the points and issues are the very same, in terms of Adam Smith's free market failure, and price exploitation of middle and lower classes, and increasing concentration of political and economic power among the few.)

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Ronald Reagan never had an original idea in his whole Life; everything he ever did was Scripted …

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He was a frontman for corporations and ushered in dislike and distrust of government.

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much like the orange one, remember he started as "independent", but was quickly co-opted by the Koch bros organization and interests... now just a deranged frontman... look at our shill, don't mind what we're doing... the bamboozle continues. We have to end the charade....

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Both started in wildly different forms of mass entertainment.

Both exhibited an ability to parrot words not their own.

Generously called acting in the case of RR.

Not even attempted to be more than thinly scripted and poorly acted “reality” television?!

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Ah, but once he became President, Reagan showed the world how brilliant an actor he could be.

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Who was writing his script? I'd like to punch him or her in the nose.

How did he get away with what he did to California?

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Jun 7·edited Jun 7

With the term limits currently in use in most states, lower-house legislators can only use your vote ONCE after 2 years in office. After that, your vote CANNOT help them at all. So there is no time to develop a reputation for actually representing their constituents. Instead, they MUST develop a reputation for strict party-line voting in order to move up a level. Then they get 6 years to get votes for their second 6 year term, then they AGAIN have no use for your votes. You CAN'T vote for them again.

Everyone seems to think the answer is MORE term limits. But I don't see how we can ever develop people who listen to US! By the time they get to D.C., they are Party Slaves. Our representatives should represent US!

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This is so simple but is lost on the majority of people. If it’s not a false flag conjured up by the people who are already using money to buy politicians, I would be very surprised

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I agree. Term limits is reduced democracy. It eliminates from consideration a choice we very well might want to make, based on proven performance & experience. It was a reaction to Franklin Roosevelt's 4 terms. But is there any reason why we wouldn't have wanted him for a 3rd term, in which he brilliantly led us through challenging times & became considered 1 of our best presidents ever?

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Many people might not remember that term limits as a concept was thought up in the 1960's civil rights era by people who wished loud segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond's voters couldn't keep him in office. It was NEVER intended to improve politics, it was intended to get ONE individual that lots of people hated out of office. And it's unconstitutional for the U.S. House and Senate, so we never could have gotten it for him anyway.

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So true! In NJ we have a Governor who actually helps working people and the environment. Due to term limits, he cannot run again in 2025! 😬 since I work for the State, many of us are concerned about the MAGA candidates who are running

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The experiment with limited terms at state level shows it doesn't produce better government. Anyone who advocates term limits should look at the evidence.

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Jan there is such a thing as institutional memory, it is absolutely necessary for the functioning of any organization.

But term limits I am all for it. Congress Critters may enter poor but leave millionaires

Here's a list of the to 50 wealthiest of congress critters.

Eye opening to be sure:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_members_of_the_United_States_Congress_by_wealth#:~:text=As%20of%202020%2C%20over%20half,database%20website%2C%20maintained%20by%20OpenSecrets.&text=118th%20Congress%3F

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Jun 7·edited Jun 7

Getting good people in Congress depends on getting good people in the lower offices.

MUCH lower. The "down-ballot" people feed the chain to Congress. If there were either no, or MUCH longer, term limits allowed at the local level, such as state assembly members, then much BETTER people would be progressing up the ladder to Congress. People whose constituents like them, instead of people whose party dictators liked them.

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Unfortunately, corporations and billionaires influence governments — so it appears to be a free economic, but the policies result in Democide: the destruction of the populace: https://unorthodoxy.substack.com/p/democide-and-menticide

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RemovedJun 7·edited Jun 7
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Yikes!

Didn’t Germany try something like that with cloth badges and tattoos in the ‘30s?!

Not to sound too alarmist, but…

We, the developed world, are already quite a ways down the slippery slope of surveillance society.

Run by businesses, embraced by citizens, employed by law enforcement, in a lot of instances and uses (e.g., neighbors peeping), it is beyond the ability of any “guardrails”, laws or regulations to control…the genie won’t ever return to the bottle, as it were.

The folks charged with protecting the user are, for the most part, well intended…but are often just as befuddled as the rest of us trying to adapt and anticipate the next challenge.

Fortunately, some really smart people considered the bigger picture. And continue doing so.

Among them are famous authors of science fiction, who, using their art of expression to imagine a world not too dissimilar from our own, in the near future, where humans must decide and define the boundaries of a whole range of “magic”, of which one notably wrote, “any sufficiently advanced technology, is indistinguishable from magic.”

For what it’s worth…

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RemovedJun 7·edited Jun 7
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Power, sounds like an old Twilight Zone episode.

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You mean the one with the stranger who gives a kid a suitcase he can use to run his electric train, and when the dad opens it up instead of a battery he finds…an empty space with “electrons” zipping around?? THAT Twilight Zone? Yeah, that one was one of my faves, too.

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The wealthy constantly rail against money collected by the government as if that money disappears into a black hole. On the contrary, the government uses that money to fund wages for the bureaucracy, the military, purchasing the goods it needs to function, the infrastructure, and all its services. It spends all the money taken in (and then some considering the debt.) The wealthy rail because what the money is used for, by and large, is taken out of their hands. They would much prefer that the middle and poorer classes fund the functions of government while they take advantage.

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The standard argument economists use is that those monies are used less efficiently than if they were left in the hands of sociopathic billionaires and corporations. And thus economic growth suffers and we all suffer -thus drown the govenrment in the bathtub. This would be a good topic for Reich to address.

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Martin, you are correct,if you trace everything back to the budgeting process, but the taxes collected are used to pay the interest on government securities and to retire any securities that have come of age, mostly they are rolled over and reissued

If we didn't pay the interest on the debt, we would go into default, and US Treasury Securities would become junk bonds, and no one would want them, or if they sold they would be sold at pennies on the dollar.

The effect of that would be that the entire financial system of the US would crash, there would be a depression that would make 1929 look like an economic boom, what money in circulation would slowly diminish. No money equals depression.

There would be no borrowing by anyone, people or corporation, because there would be no reserves in the vaults of financial institutions.

We could not purchase anything from overseas, because our dollars were worthless, the entire financial structure of the world would collapse, except for those of dictatorships, which have the means of total social control.

Nations and people would starve. Wheat producing nations couldn't export, because no middle man or shipping company would take their money.

A New world order would arise,headed by those countries with the most total control of their societies, Russia, China, Iran, No Korea and most OPEC countries, after they tighten the screws.

Losers: Democratic states.

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Thank you for 'debunking' another myth. I've known what was happening since October 1973 and the phony oil embargo "crisis" I just never knew how or why. I love these explanations.

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Thank you for the explanation of how the market should work. Unfortunately you are preaching to the choir! Too many people get all their fake news from Fox and Friends

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I know, but reaching them is difficult. I don't know any in California

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As I see it, an absolute Free Market is one where business operators are permitted to **do whatever they damn well please.** No Anti-monopoly legislation. No OSHA. No Workmen's Comp contributions. No corporate taxes. Nothing to come between a business and its maximization of Profits. [Overall, imho, the way things are right now, they're pretty close to Business Nirvana already.] Free Market is great for business owners and operators, but hell on everyone else.

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No, monopoly is not good for all businesses, ie those which are NOT monopolies.

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Since it would be known in advance that "There can be only ONE", businessmen would build accordingly. [First In, ONLY One In.] Other traditional businessmen would just satisfy themselves being well-paid investors.

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You are describing the royal charter under which the Crown licensed certain entities exclusive rights of commerce, such as the East India Company and others. These monopolies and other repressive laws provided the American Colonies their motivation to rebel.

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Thanks R Hodson, the american myth perpetuated by the wealthy and corporations about taxation without representation is a just that a myth, the real reason was the Crown Monopoly given to the East India Company, which was made worse with the tax stamp act, and which forced Boston Merchants to become smugglers,the most prominent among them was the man who signed the Declaration with a great flourish, John Hancock.

Smuggling was a capitol offense, punishment was hanging in chains, till you starved and rotted.

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Back in the '90s, I vacationed in London. Went to the British Museum where they had an exhibit on the Colonies and the American Revolution. According to the Boston Tea Party, it occurred because the Tea Tax had been reduced from 119% to a mere 12.5%, which angered American smugglers because that killed the Demand for their services!

".... by the 18th century, tea drinking had risen by more than a quarter, prompting pressure on the government to reduce tax on it to 12.5 per cent, removing the need for the black market."

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LOL. The Brits claim that the Colonists rebelled because they lowered the tax.

Of course they had to put their spin on it.

Falls flat though. Ben Franklin said we hang separately or we hang together.

Hang separately because the penalty for smuggling was hanging. The most well known smuggler was the guy who signed the declaration large, John Hancock.

And it wasn't just tea. The colonies were forbidden to make their own silverware, fine furniture, fine clothing, China, weapons, paper, they had to import everything from England, and the Stamp act, required that all goods bear the Crowns stamp.

Smuggling tea was only part of the business

They were smuggling before the the tax was lowered, but then again that is the first time I heard that.

The Tidewater Aristocracy (the planters, the slavers) were not anxious to join the revolution. They made their fortunes from selling tobacco to London, lived large, the tariffs bothered them not at all. I've looked at bills of lading from George Washington, and he imported lots of silverware, china, furniture from Richard Farrar and Co of London (not a relative well maybe a distant cousin)

The Virginians were wealthy, and it was expected among the upper class of Virginia that they make at least one aliyah to London, the more trips one made, the greater display of wealth to their peers.

When they arrived in London, they were treated like country bumpkins because of their manners and their speech ways. Virginian aristocracy were the gerat great grandsons ,of the Royalists who fled England with Cromwel'ls victory. They replaced the old upper class, descended from the original adventurers and sons of adventurers of the Virginia Company of London, which had endured the hardships, founded the House of Burgess, and settled plantations along the James River.

The majority of the James River Community, Viriginia, were indentured servants recruited from debtor prison, and counties around London, especially Surrey.

Surrey had a brogue that was outlawed by the king in 1700, but remained alive in Virginia and is the basis of the southern accent. These upper class Virginians journeyed to London, to eat tea an crumpets with relatives and spoke in this crude tongue which had been outlawed, and with their crude (to the London nobility) customs and behaviors, were considered country bumpkins.

These "country bumpkins" saw in the revolution an opportunity to become the nobility in a new country. And that was their motivation for joining the revolution.

Alas, the common folk of Virginia were not of a mind to replace British overlords with homegrown overlords, so they had to be forced and cajoled,

To achieve that, the planters, created Committees for Public Safety, to monitor loyalists and punish them. The idea worked so well that the French in 1798, and Bolsheviks in 1917 copied the idea and the name.

That was not enough. So they had Ben Franklin and Rittenhouse of Philadelphia, print up tracts like The Rights of Men and Common Sense and distribute them among the people.

That worked, too well though, unintended consequences,fired with liberty and equality, the people of Virginia were not about to bow an curtsey to home grown aristocrats.

In the end that worked to the favor of the upper class. The Guillotine fell on the heads of the visible nobility in France, the visible nobility and even upper middle class (Kulaks) were brutally murdered in Russia, but our own upper class, retreated behind gated communities, plantations hidden from the public, up long, long tree lined driveways, and held their parties and meetings safely away form public view. Now bowing and scraping, no ostentatious display of wealth and status has enabled them to prosper and grow in power, like the British nobility never could.

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No patents. Imagine Microsoft hiring an army to attack China to take back copies of their programs. An actual army - not lawyers - as without government lawyers are useless.

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The thing about software is that you can't take it back, once you let it loose, it can never be controlled, except by the very thing you mentioned Robert. The Law and without government as you say Lawyers are useless.

Even a milion man army with the worlds most sophisticated weapons can not take back software once it leaves the barn.

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These articles are a great idea. Many thanks for your insightful myth busting!

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Jun 7·edited Jun 7

The whole idea of 'Free market' is, as you point out, largely a myth that allows some freedom of choice, but — if properly done — depends on limits to protect society and individuals. If the rules are not well thought out or are poorly enforced, they can do more harm than good.

The real issue, I think, is capitalism itself — especially US-style capitalism. At its heart, it encourages selfishness and greed, instead of a focus on society and working together to achieve our goals. Poorly controlled, it uses the 'free market' notion to rationalize and push for even less regulation, exacerbating the worst problems of capitalism such as the desire for unchecked growth.

A strong, progressive tax system would help minimize destructive tendencies that produce wealth & income inequality, and encourage more greed and less care for people and the ecosystems on which all life depends.

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Chainging the rules of the game to shift corporate profit horizons much further out would change everything over time. More attention should be paid to how this can be done.

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Reich is always brilliant and clear thinking! We love his analyses!

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When Biden’s re-elected, put Elizabeth Warren on Treasury and give her a license to fix whatever she wants to fix. She’s beyond good, she’s a force of nature. She’ll hammer down flat the “playing field” and pry little businesses from under the thumb of big capitalists, let local banks flourish, and make the marvel of small businesses in America great. That’s what real economies are supposed to do.

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The "free market" is as "free" as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) is "democratic."

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Capitalism is about CAPITAL. Income inequality is a product of unbalanced capital distribution. Free-Market Capitalism is a snake that eats its own tail. It allows a concentration of capital into too few hands. Welcome to America. Too much capital in too few hands creates a mafia run economy and government. Welcome to America.

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Capital is money. Money is either debt or cash on hand. Everything else is a resouce.

Resources are things consumed in the fact of production. Ore, coal, oil, humans.

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founding

One of the more recent main elements to the loss of the power of the people has been that corporations have more power than individuals. This and all the dark money in politics and we have a recipe for disaster.

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Of course, Michael. Corporations are not persons and shouldn't have the same rights as persons because a corporation can't be incarcerated for violations of the law as people can be. They shouldn't have the rights without the consequences.

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I'd like to see a judge tell a corporation charged with a crime (it does happen) to be told they cannot do 1 single thing at all for 3 business days until their bail hearing comes up, then bail set without which they would continue to be unable to do any business or other operations, then if convicted (say, of negligent manslaughter or assault and battery by some machine without the required safety features) then they can't do ANYTHING until a commensurate sentence had been served -- however many months or years it is for a PERSON. Betcha the corporations would be campaigning HARD to undo the Citizens United Decision, like, YESTERDAY!!

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Wow. I would love to see that, too, Jan.

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