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Oct 27, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

Lack of education is an enormous enemy of Democracy. People in the US are woefully uninformed about other forms of government around the world that provide for the people while creating thriving economies. US exceptionalism is a tool used by the right to prevent constructive change.

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Oct 27, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

Regarding US exceptionalism, I once conducted a very informal experiment on my non-demented elderly patients. I asked them if they were taught about American exceptionalism in middle school, and, assuming that such teaching occurred at about age 14, was able to extrapolate from their ages to a year when this might have occurred. It was 1958, the year after Sputnik went into orbit, a year when Soviet children were taught about the exceptionalism of the USSR.

In other words, such teaching may well have been part of the Cold War.

It is still being taught, and I agree that this is exploited by the right and funded by the corporations. Sort of the US version of Rule Brittania.

I believe that Thomas Piketty is right: the natural form of government is autocracy, and has been since Babylon. I believe that democracy is a delicate flower that must be protected at all times. Adam Smith, when he breathed life into the economic system we know as capitalism, intuitively suspected that those it would make wealthy would collude against the public interest if they got a chance. That is why he invented progressive taxation, so that the wealthy would not become sufficiently powerful to be able to so collude. High taxes on the wealthy would also allow a strong government to redistribute wealth and help in building things important to society that the capitalist would have no interest in, such as schools, roads, canals, bridges - what we would call infrastructure.

We had such a Smithian economy between 1948 and 1980, and it was great. Then along came Reagan and Friedman, men of humble origins, who preached the opposite, all the while espousing American Exceptionalism. It is no coincidence that Reagan was only possible after Civil Rights, when an angry white, largely southern, population switched from voting Democrat to voting Republican, against their economic interests. It explains why the Democrats always feel they have to tack to the right, or risk losing elections.

And what do we see now? Ever encroaching intrusions on democracy, the unravelling of society, rotting infrastructure, and an angry populace. This didn't happen by accident. It began, and has continued, for 40 years, by cutting taxes on the wealthy. Indeed, it is the one thing all Republicans agree on. Want to stop school shootings? Cut taxes. Want to stimulate the economy? Cut taxes (bye bye Liz Truss). Want to build infrastructure? Just cut taxes.

This mindset was cemented by Democrat enablers like the Clintons (monetization of healthcare, monetization of the prisons, NAFTA, and repeal of Glass-Steagall). It was accelerated by a Republican SCOTUS with that wretched, Orwellian, ruling known as "Citizens United" USA, USA! (And let's face fit, SCOTUS is indeed political and eminently bribeable).

The solution is a full-throated platform of the left.

Democrats, for once in your lives, take a risk.

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Oct 27, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

Michael Hutchinson ; A free 'press' or media which is not owned by the enemy and is regulated for truthful content (real news, not fake) would be very helpful. A 'fairness doctrine' that does not merely equivocate between 'right' and 'left', regardless of the kind of extreme imbalance like we now have. Because they are not "all good people" when they kill those with whom they disagree, or. at minimum, threaten them.

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Laurie: Agreed. But you need a strong government to regulate the media, and it is not clear that in this new digital Twitter age that a government would be capable of such control, without autocracy (China, North Korea, Russia) which no-one in their right mind would want. Better to remove fear by making average people wealthier. Then conspiracy theories and the malignant Twitter feeds would evaporate. Remember, the sole purpose of an economy is consumption. Without money in their pockets, the masses go hungry and get angry.

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So we just stop using Facebook and buying media from the wealthy who misinform. Wa po going right? Don't buy it. Twitter for twits? Boycott. .

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Sigh, I don’t expect that to work.

I wish our votes were still as valuable as they were intended to be when prescient founders knew that parties [especially only two that control the whole system] would corrupt the process.

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Oct 27, 2022·edited Oct 27, 2022

Pat Goudey O'Brien ; There are some good podcasts now that are informative, and those could fill in the gaps, but it would be ideal to get good, reliable sources regularly.

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It is a puzzle.

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META is sinking. Today down by another 20%.

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As it should.

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I am not against increasing the wealth of the workers and Middle class

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founding

Strong government? not sure that is possible. Because this Government will be lead by people, First you need people of strong character and selflessness. Unfortunately, 'the church' has decided to move on to other things, so not sure who, if anyone, is teaching/leading people in that direction.

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What other things are you referring to?

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Uninformed? Stupid. So willing to trade their benefits for security. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJWvvmSrOVw

Fear. Republicans want the public to be afraid. We can do it too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hiymcEDS5g

Demagoguery. Calls to that racist collective subconscious.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSNfC9SjQSw&t=44s

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/81kMaPi_Hug

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Oct 27, 2022·edited Oct 27, 2022

That's quite a set of clips you've posted Daniel. Horrifying to see what's coming 11/8. How did this happen? How can stupidity, racism, and a few wealthy people overthrow everything good, everything this country is and has stood for? These lunatics seem far worse than Nazis to me, and all people are concerned about is inflation.

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David is president of Goldman Sachs.

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It's 5 am here! I fixed it as soon as I re-read it. Sorry!

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Daniel, as you know well, the challenge is that our business world with their skimpy wages for so many has made it necessary for people to exhaust themselves to get the money to afford life's needs and wants. That makes people vulnerable to hype, lies that promise more than could ever be given, and a "hatred" or resentment of people whom they see having more than they when they work so hard. Shows like "Lives of the Rich and Famous" put it all out there for the vulnerable to see and they thought they wanted it too. Then, there's race! I keep wondering about and trying to figure out if there is a way to help ease the anger and resentment because it is hard to reach people who believe they been done wrong.

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Yikes! Especially that last one!

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Laurie, you are right about the value of the free press. It should actually understand that balanced does not mean each side's positions are of equal value when they clearly are not. I would only add that facts should always stand above lies and that we should call lies what they are without using euphemisms like can't be proven, unwarranted, not clear that . . ., etc. I know you can't say "lie" all the time, but often enough to let people see that the journalist media is doing its job.

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Thank you for your eloquent analysis, Michael. The issue in my mind is, what can WE do? The need for a Democratic party with actual principles, programs, and spine, is evident enough, but as you pointed out, we had Clinton, and what did we get? Neo-Lib on steroids. Obama wasn't much better. The Democrats ignore the needs of the times and the will of the people to continue supporting "Good-Ol'-Boy" candidates, like HR Clinton, a "good-ol'-boy" in a pants suit. We need a party that would get behind Bernie Sanders, as they should have in 2016 and 2020, or someone else that embraces his vision and speaks the truth without equivocating. Biden has surprised me, I'll admit, but I don't believe he was the best candidate in 2020. He was the safe candidate, and the one with head anointed by the power elite, the super-rich class that Prof. Reich is talking about. He was no doubt expected to be a simple extension of the Clinton-Obama Neo-Lib in sheep's clothing type of president. After this midterm election, when the Democrats come out on top, we the people need to pressure them relentlessly to return to the type of party they were before 1980, and forcefully break the hold on our nation and the world of these big money interests. We have many of the legal tools already on the books, anti-trust laws, for example, which need enforcement. We need to overturn Citizens United by passing a Constitutional amendment stating clearly that a "person" under the law that is possessed of Constitutional rights is a human being born from a human womb. Such language should not be necessary, as it's abundantly plain to any rational PERSON what a "person" is, but apparently the majority of Supreme Court "justices" need to have it spelled out for them.

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Hear, hear, and Hear, hear again, Mr. Thompson! Every word. Over the years, the task becomes more difficult to get people to think of “the lesser of two evils” —yes, still evil, but also still less evil — when the real task is to get that lesser to reform and become better. In the ways you speak of, Mr. Thompson. If we don’t spend energies making our system work better for us over time, it will not work better for us. As we see, actually, Republicans did spend forty years slowly skewing their areas of influence to bring us to the place we are at. The problem with undoing that is, they did it with an eye toward making their power permanent. They did it by undercutting the very aspects of our system and society that they used to garner their own power. They have attacked public discourse and the media, they attack educational processes and institutions, they erode confidence in our public servants [especially career public servants], and they erode trust in voting itself. All the better to get themselves into power and not have to face the free and fair process that we used to think we had for putting individuals into office to do the people’s business. Egad. Can we still turn it around?

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founding

I would suggest using the term 'natural person' to avoid conflicts with future reproductive technology. The other type is a 'corporate person', I think.

Sadly, there is no hope of a Constitutional amendment passing in today's political climate.

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Oct 27, 2022·edited Oct 27, 2022

The French distinguish between the two by calling them 'personne physique' and 'personne sociale'. Something along those lines could do the trick for us in English too, surely. And I agree that a constitutional amendment is so unlikely in these times that other ways are needed to deal with the problems being aired here. I suggested in another post that we start at the lower level by telling those candidates we support that money should not be the answer and that they should think of getting elected without spending (and wasting) so much money on advertising, where so much of it goes.

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Thom Hartman suggests that term as well. I sense, though, that an argument might be possible that a corporation, created by "natural" humans, should also be considered "natural," by extension. There is no way for a corporation to spring from a human womb. I had originally considered "born of woman," but realized that trans men are also able to bear children, which obviously would also be persons. Maybe we'd have to refine it further to consider the possibility that a child could be conceived and carried to term outside of its mother's womb - future reproductive technology - but I personally hope that we never get to a place where that would be a question.

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Yes, John Thompson ; the Supreme Court runs on 'technicalities' which have dominated law practice of the unethical kind and brought us where we are today, where everything has to be spelled out and specifically written into law. Otherwise they will find a way to 'get around it' with semantics, and play language games. Criminals!

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Oct 27, 2022·edited Oct 27, 2022

Michael Hutchinson ; take it easy on the 'Donkeys!' : They are to first to be drafted into often, unnecessary and illegal wars, have to work harder for less and are blamed for all problems, and now are losing their rights, while being robbed.

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I'm reminded of a conversation with my father many years ago (60s??). It was election time and he was about to vote Yes on a bond issue to fund schools. He was saying that so many people were of the mind that "cut my taxes" was the solution, but that he felt we needed funding to have good schools and other public services. Dad was from the UK, grew up working class, and always voted Democrat. He was never concerned about being "replaced".

The current working class seems to have bought the myth of "white replacement" by POC and immigrants, but it's not about "jobs", it's about power. They've been told for years that "those people" are beneath them, so they vote to keep them there, but don't realize they are hurting themselves in the process.

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founding

absolutely. Even after seeing evidence that POC are as capable as any other human being, they continue to believe the same lies/myths that were established to justify slavery. This is by design! It enables oligarchs to keep us fighting one another over their crumbs- trickle down. It creates a boogeyman to serve as a smoke screen that prevents us from coming together and recognizing our common enemy= oligarchs= the wealthy few at the top.

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Plus, civics (usually grade six or seven) and government (grade 12) got squeezed. There was a big push in the late eighties in the Bush (senior) administration to "combine" a lot of this content that had been taught over seven years into three history classes as was done in elite independent schools. Google Lynn Cheney if you want to see her ambition regarding American education. Diane Ravich, who was part of this effort, later recanted.

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Proud Woman, yep, civics education is the key, along with strong public schools with the resources to help our precious kids reach adulthood with the positive tools they need to help keep this democracy of ours working for everyone.

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Oct 27, 2022·edited Oct 27, 2022

Hello progwoman -- here's the rub. Had civics class in Tampa, Florida. Our civics teacher informed us that just because "they" could come to school with us didn't mean we had to sit by "them". You can figure out what year that was. The point: Who are the educators teaching these classes? A microcosm of the society in which they live. And Florida slouches onward into the abyss.

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dnkarr, you have pointed to the problem that stalks our democracy, making sure the people who teach in our schools actually value our democracy in all its diversity. It is hard in a culture that has singled out a group of people, in most cases, white males as those supposed to be smartest, cleverest, and most worthy of every consideration. One way to help would be to better support students who want to become teachers, with the finances to afford it. Then, the teachers' exams which currently are nearly totally unrelated to what teachers need to do, should, if used at all, ask about civics, our democracy, and the various groups that make up our society. That could let people who are looking to hire folks to teach know where those new hires stand and what kinds of supports they will need to be competent and fair in the classroom. We could do that if we cared enough about our kids, but that's another issue entirely.

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founding
Oct 28, 2022·edited Oct 28, 2022

Not sure what Smithsonian means here, but obviously something pretty good or maybe grand! Just a little context- while this was a time of prosperity (creation of the middle class and all) there was a segment of the population that was left out of that Smithsonian economy! The vast majority of Black America were unable to access the benefits of the New Deal and the GI Bill (even after fighting in WWII) that fueled it. There has always been a backlash when black ppl or other marginalized groups begin to get access to the franchise- Reagan (& Atwater) used the 'Southern Strategy" to garner support for cutting taxes and spending... to prevent blacks from accessing the government programs that had always benefited whites, following the gains of the Civil Rights Movement. After the Civil War, there was Jim Crow and the terrorism of the Klan, to claw back the political power that blacks had gained and were exercising during Reconstruction. The current backlash is a reaction to a "black" president being able to win two (possible more, if it were an option) elections even though Rep. did everything they could to make him a one term president. It is a reaction to the multi-racial, multi-generational, multi- gendered, multi-(fill in the blank), coalition that elected and re-elected him. Each of these being threats to the status quo= the power of the oligarchy. It exposes our lack of education and selfishness. Not knowing/studying our combined history, not knowing/studying the Bible for yourself, etc, etc. It has enable the oligarchy, with the help of their Republican servants (and Democrats unwilling to challenge them) (and evangelicals seeking a worldly, quid pro quo), to exploit our lack of knowledge (gullibility or unwillingness to acquire knowledge), and our selfishness. they have used this to divide and conquer the majority and to keep us fighting each other. In addition, they are distorting the truth to distract us and keep us from discovering our common enemy= the Oligarchs= the small group of billionaires and corporate interest that really run the country.

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You’ve got a strong point sir. A strong point, fyiurban.

It took a hell of a long time for any of the benefits of the economy post-WWII to reach disenfranchised segments of our culture. And even reaching them, the benefits have come in a trickle, not the flow that the majority enjoyed for a few decades. I find it incredibly disheartening — a crying shame — that people can be convinced to tear down a society that functions in their best interests by hearing that somebody they need to believe is “below them” has been getting some of the perks. To twist a little Pogo-ism just a tad: You have named the problem, and it is us

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founding

Many, still have not been able to break into the middle class, and unfortunately, due to the oligarchs' successful efforts/tactics (there are multiple) to divide, distract and deceive us, the middle class is shrinking and the opportunity is more elusive for all segments, including the segment that has historically benefitted most. As Heather McGhee points out in The Sum Of Us, racism has a cost for ALL! So we have to wake up and recognize what our common enemy already knows- that our strength is in numbers-Unity, and that Division makes it easier for us to be conquered/hoodwinked/endentured/(fill in the blank)... "a house divided can not stand"

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Nailed it Michael. History major?

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Michael Hutchinson - Excellent, well written summary of the last fifty years or so.

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Hit the nail on the head!!!!

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A piece of writing that needs broad reading, Mr. Hutchinson! The history lesson from building the middle class to gutting it again …. My heart breaks. I know how I will vote. I know how I will advocate. I don’t know how I will reach people who have been carefully taught to resist hearing people like me. DJT’s wife said he kept a book of Hitler’s on his desk. It was not Mein Kampf — it was another one, perhaps speeches? I’m afraid the emphasis on propaganda rather than fact has been a lesson well learned by DJT, the man who openly brags that he likes strongmen best around the world.

I believe part of that lesson is, it’s easier to SELL propaganda to the people, since it does not have to be based in reality. It can be crafted to appeal, and fighting it means reality has to go up against what people WANT to believe. Not always easy when reality is tough. In the end, for sure, a real democracy not overrun by big-money-influence does provide the best life and personal security from oppression. But it’s damned hard to keep.

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"I don’t know how I will reach people who have been carefully taught to resist hearing people like me. "

Start with bankruptcy court. I've been begging Democrats to interview and publicize the stories of MAGAts who lost everything and have had an epiphany. Republicans can get terminal cancer. Can be wiped out by fire, hurricanes other national disasters. Government to the rescue! Record them on your smartphones and put them up on Youtube, other social media. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrMlnR3dbdo

For those not faint at heart: proselytize. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_would_Jesus_do%3F

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Pat, you are right about democracy being the best way to live, but hard to keep. Also, your understanding of propaganda as more powerful than reality is on point too. I don't understand why people want so badly to be fooled and lied to, but I don't think this has ever been more clear than right now. When every reputable source has declared the 2020 election totally fair and that Biden won the presidency, and there are proofs that even Donald Trump knows it, but 2/3 or so of Republicans claim they don't believe it, there is something wrong. I know the rich corporations liked having Trump in office because even though he could be arbitrary, foolish, and unpredictable at times, he was guaranteed to permit nearly every bad behavior they exhibited as long as it didn't hurt him or his sycophants. I know they want to sow the discord that would allow them to have that kind of free rein again, and will do almost anything to get it, even undermine our democracy further, as they are already working on that right now.

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And, Ruth, what you speak is why I am so worried. We have felt we were at a point of crisis before, and in truth some of those DID propel us to where we are {I think the Reagan years were a quiet time of setting up the process to get where we are today … and then giving Bush the Florida votes by court fiat contributed to people’s slow loss of faith in the vote itself … then Mr. Trump’s unceasing and powerful attacks on all of the pillars of democracy, education, the media as watchdog, and voting {!}…} Now, here we are. Is this vote a crisis? Hoo, boy.

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Exactly. I detest lying rethuglicans. So unamerican to this 73 yr old, who yes, was taught to dive under her desk in the 50's....

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founding

Well done. Add Universal Basic Income and we have the world we'd like to be in!

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founding

Well, Adam Smith wrote against mercantilism. He had a dim view of markets and believed the Nobility should control the economy.

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Excellent analysis! Are you in politics?😊

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People in the US are woefully uninformed about their OWN government. Sadly, that includes many people who deem themselves fit to run for office.

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They are also woefully undereducated about how an authoritarian dictatorship functions, if they--even for a nano-second--suppose that voting for a dictator and his idea of government will ever bring power back to the people.

Au contraire! Those 2nd A folks would find that the authoritarian government was far more likely to confiscate their hoarded arms and ammo than was the democratic republic.

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I wouldn't call the problem lack of education but lack of competent or "good" education. In past elections, more "educated" voters in our area have voted "red" than have "uneducated" voters. My "red" friends include a male high-school drop out and a woman with a masters degree.

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Ignorance is when you don’t know. Stupidity is when you don’t know any better. There’s the rub.

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@Will Moon -

Well said. Ignorance can be addressed and ameliorated via education. "Stupid", as even the Ancient Greeks recognized, "is forever".

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MO, yes, quality of educators is critical, but teachers for the past 4 decades or so have found salaries not meeting those of people in other occupations of equal education, extreme workloads, children with many emotional and behavioral problems and other special needs that can't be properly accommodated because of lack of resources, lack of supplies (I had to supply all the materials for my students for 19 years), and more which keeps people from choosing teaching as a profession. Districts are putting unqualified people in the classrooms sometimes just to have an adult body in the room. If we want competent, caring human beings as teachers, we are going to have to provide the resources and education programs to train and prepare them. If we cared about our precious kids, we would be doing that without quibbling over the costs.

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I can evaluate the system based only on my own experience. I have a masters and 4 years of PhD courses, lacking only the internship. I earned a perfect score on the GRE writing exam. I've been around the world countless times. I've worked with Broadway "stars." I'm one of the original computer geeks. Etc., etc. Yet when downsizing happened, I lost a teaching job to someone who lives in the Dark Ages, has never been out of town, is hated by students, distrusts technology, and can't manage even computer banking -- and taught computers. But she'd been there a year longer. I can't qualify for a primary or secondary school teaching job because I don't have the right piece of paper. I can't teach ESL, etc. -- wrong pieces of paper. As an older student in psych PhD training, I finally had to quit the very expensive program because, despite all A grades and three years' working for a corporate psychologist, I had the wrong pieces of paper to be allowed to have a mandatory internship. I lost every internship to a young student who'd never even held a job and had no life experience but had 3 months' summer experience pushing papers in a mental health clinic. That's what the system valued. Nothing else. The education system doesn't value intelligence, experience, creativity, desire to teach, ability to make significant contributions, work experience, life experience, experience of the world, or experience in other disciplines. It values seniority and strictly limited pieces of paper that signify very little. It's a unionized "good old girl's and boy's" club. I'd have taught for nothing. What an adjunct professor in a poor community college makes is next to nothing anyway. The problem lies somewhere other than at the "bottom line." In my experience, the education system isn't hurting for good teachers. It's on an ego trip, screaming "My (broken) way or the highway!!"

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Education is delivered not only in school. Efforts to politicize schools have made formal education difficult. It comes through all forms of media including movies, movies etc. Propaganda is a form of "educating" people with lies. In short it seems a long standing policy of "Give them bread (cheap food) and circuses (bad entertainment)" has worked. As Romans were energized by violence and suffering in the Colosseum, so violent and ugly popular culture energizes the worst impulses.

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Do they even teach "Government" or "Civics" in High School anymore? I am serious - I thought they dropped it in favor of a teach-to-the-test curriculum.

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Hell, they are woefully uninformed about their own government.

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Name one.

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Judy, you are right about lack of education about other countries, their systems of government and the life of the people there. Few people get to learn about what life was/is like for people in dictatorships. It ain't great for anyone not in the top few men and their women. The people often have given up a hope that things can get better, because unless something massive happens, it won't. Our education curricula need to change with the world. We allow our politicians to dictate what kids should learn in school when they, themselves have no clue. It is almost like them dictating what should be taught in medical school when they don't even understand basic science or want to. A well-developed civics thread that goes through all subjects from Kindergarten would be helpful to give our upcoming generations a chance to know how the government works, that it should be working for all the people, and that they can have a part in seeing that it does.

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Agreed. And - hardly a soul in the US knows for example about the excellent health care systems of Europe. I’ve lived and worked in Belgium and Spain since 1989, and when I tell well-educated family and friends in the US about these wonderful, low cost systems, they are very surprised as they believe all of Europe is suffering under programs like the faltering NHS. Senator Graham even used this example in the hearing on Medicare for All - completely ignoring or simply ignorant of the fact that each country of Europe has its own healthcare system.

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Oct 27, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

The thing is, big money was a problem before Trump, it has been exacerbated by his big lie yes but I wonder, is it possible to fix both problems at once?

The only thing we can do now is vote, and hope those we elect (eventually) forgo the big money luster. I don’t believe it can happen until we have a change in leadership on both sides.

As for Trumpism, the only thing that can slow it down at all is to indict and prosecute Trump himself. It won’t immediately end what he started but it’s a necessary step in the process of restoring the principles that the framers put in place.

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Oct 27, 2022·edited Oct 27, 2022

@ Derek Wessner

As Secretary Reich notes in his article above, the oldest, and the *most powerful weapon obviating and cancelling what the Framers had in mind, is that silly damned "Citizens United" bill, authorized into law by a Republican Supreme Court in 2010 which gives Corporations full rights under the law as "people", and defines unlimited amounts of money in politics as "free speech". So doing attracts a certain type of individual into politics (usually hired *by the very Corporations regurgitating their "filthy lucre" into politics.)

Any human being objecting to this theft in broad daylight, of the U.S. Electoral System, and of democracy in general, will play hell trying to fight the 9.1 *Billion dollars pumped into just the latest election cycle. This amount *far exceeds the GNP of many Countries on the planet.

No one, since passage in 2010 of this monstrosity

of a bill (Citizens United) has successfully called for its repeal.

Changing *this is definitely *not going to happen via "osmosis" applied to this fetid, putrid and rotten system by a handful of "good people".

Wish that it were not so, but there we have it.

Or, more accurately, I guess, "there *They have it".

"And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."

~ Last sentence in Thomas Jefferson’s 28 May 1816 letter to John Taylor.

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DEMOCRATS

Unite the country.

Continue to show proof that President Biden won fair and square!

Right to choose

Promote Renewable Energy

Common sense gun laws, fund the police

Upholding the right to vote for all citizens

Regulate - stop despicable hate speech

Pass bills that help working class citizens

Reverse Climate Change/ reduce student debt/ codify Roe v Wade / etc….

Protect entitlements and reduce drug prices

Listen to scientists and medical professionals

Equal Justice For All

Uphold our democracy

Continue to support

Continue to reduce income inequality and reduce the deficit

Are on their own !!

Make decisions based on facts not alternative facts!

REPUBLICANS

Divide the country

2020 Presidential Election - continue To Promote The BIG LIE with no evidence

No Abortions - no exceptions

Climate change - hoax ignore the facts

Crime - SELL MORE GUNS = MORE CRIME , yeah for the NRA

Right-to-vote (voter suppression & stop mail-in voting)

Social Media - no holds barred

Congress - elect disgraceful people

Agenda - vote against Democrats @ all costs. “Burn Down The House “

Seniors - sunset Medicare and Social Security

Covid-19 - promote misinformation

Racism - Ignoring

Party over Country

Ukraine - stop aiding

Economy - make the rich RICHER. Undermine The Biden administration

Inflation - do nothing to help reduce inflation

Defamation of the nation’s leading experts (doctor Anthony Fauci)

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Thank you for that. Funny that so many of the items in the 1st column are now pilloried as part of the "progressive agenda" to turn us into commies. too many dems have been bought by the corporations; they're in policy too often indistinguishable from repugnants. yes, they may voice "concern" for things on that list, but they don't fight for them such as repugnants do for their list.

Bernie has been trying to point out obvious ways that dems could win, but he's being largely ignored.

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Oct 27, 2022Liked by Robert Reich

Robert,

That was a bullseye.

There would be no Trump if we had been doing our job as citizens, to aggressively and relentlessly reject representatives who deviate from the aggregated will of their constituents, the voters in their legislative district. Corruption has destroyed trust in government for perfectly good reasons.

True representation will never lead us to party unity, because every congressional and legislative district is different from every other one. but who cares about party unity? The goal of our Democracy is not to deliver the power of government into the hands of a faction on one side or the other of the political spectrum. The genius of our American Democracy is in the aggregation of the diverse and independent wills of all of the American people. and what Congress was designed to do wisely, is just that.

Political parties are the first manifestation of special interests rising to divide us and prevent us from governing in the common interest of all Americans. They provide a hospitable venue for the influence of corruption on our elections and their contests have delivered an enormous nearly ten billion dollar payday to the concentrated owners of the media at our expense. They spent $300 for every man woman and child in America, just for the propaganda to keep us from thinking independently in our congressional district about who we prefer to represent us, and what is really best for us. I'd recommend adopting ranked choice elections, like Maine and Alaska now have, and forgetting about Republican vs Democrats. We're Americans. and reaching agreements about what to do is what Congress is supposed to be for.

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WOW! I may want frame this post to creat a LARGE sign for all to ponder deeply!! Thanks for your clear eyed contribution.

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Isn't that a great post from George Robertson ?

Not only impeccably reasoned, but actually quite well-written to boot !

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Thanks for a well written post. What I would like to suggest, in addition to ranked choice voting is that congressional districts are no longer necessary. Why not simply allocate required number of delegates to each state, then let those who find themselves in office truly represent the people of that state. That would eliminate gerrymandering, and the ranked choice methold could provide better people to represent us. We are too intertwined and interdependent within each state to worry about districts. The speed of communicatiion and transportation, even someplace as large as California or Texas, makes the whole idea of congressional districts obsolete. It might also help to get needed infrastructure, education, medical funds to areas that receive little or nothing now because of their impoverished status of their "district". Essentially, congressional districts serve now to perpetuate discrimination, segregation, and poverty.

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George, your solution sounds good in this polarized society we live in now, however, I don't believe I would have voted for it or even thought about it before 2016. You've introduced an ounce of reality into this discussion. Thank you!

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Haven't finished my coffee yet, but didn't one (or more?) of our founding fathers warn against political parties?

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So, how do we "vanquish the corrupting influence of big money on our system?" Line the pockets of our favorite politicians? All this fundraising looks like a wealth transfer from the ordinary voter to the candidates. It's a crap shoot. If my candidate loses, he or she is richer and I'm poorer and my voice got overpowered. If my candidate wins, he or she is still richer and I'm still poorer and mildly and briefly happy.

Feeling powerless and voiceless here in our money-driven "democracy."

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Good for you Mark, and it's not just politicians you might vote for, they're from everywhere. They clog my email and text messages. There was a time when legislator's wrote, debated, and passed laws for the good of the country for at least twenty months of every two year term. Now they are so busy begging for money we're lucky to get six months of any twenty four. There also was a time when becoming a legislator was a Civic Duty and an honorable, but not wealthy position. Now they go into elective office with a modest net worth and leave multi millionaires.

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AOC is very articulate about this, and she gets shut down quickly. I was glad Nancy Pelosi finally came around about insider trading, but she was very late to the game and she sticks up for the very wealthy.

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That problem is only in elections that have not been modernized to RCV/Instant Runoff Voting. Since Bay Area Cities, Maine, Alaska, NYC etc. modernized, money is not needed to win because Dems don't have to defend themselves against GOP lies. Minority candidates without big money are winning.

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Thank you, Sennet. So, advocating for RCV/IRV is a solution? I'm not familiar with RCV/IRV enough--I need to study it. Seems like misinformation and dis-information will always be a problem, and I'm not clear about how RCV/IRV will resolve that. Sounds like RCV/IRV are voting processes and have nothing to do with how one decides to vote.

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It mostly changes politicians because they need wider support to win, so they broader based campaigns towards the center. The GOP has been winning Alaska for decades, but native Alaskan Dem. won. She supports non-liberal issues like more oil drilling, gun rights and was endorsed by Palin's GOP opponent. In Berkeley's last mayor election the leading progressives campaigned together and the younger Latino won. The wealthier pro-landlord opponent lost, even with many more pro-business endorsements. Now we have huge skyscraper construction boom because the winner had made more housing his campaign issue. He himself was totally surprised to win with a much lower campaign budget.

In Oakland, councilmember Jean Quan defeated a very well known former state Senate bigwig Perata who much more union endorsements and funding, but he been anti-RCV for decades, ignored the new system and said "only rank me first" While Quan had mortgaged her house to spend a month being driven through the black ghettos with black music saying "make me your 2nd choice." Another low budget (council member) opponent also had also supported her as 2nd, and now she is mayor. Perata was stunned and almost sued, but IRV/RCV is 100% legal and very popular with voters.

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Whoever wins under RCV will have had to receive the majority of votes (including 2nd & 3rd, if they go that far) from the voters, or at least be the last person standing after others are eliminated. An extremist who attracts a lot of first place votes, but can't get others to vote them even 2nd or 3rd will be unable to win. So generally RCV is a moderating force to counter the forces leading to extremism in the primaries. It's about the only realistic way for 3rd party candidates to win, even though that is still pretty rare with RCV.

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The first step is to pass legislation that creates transparency - destroy the "Citizens United" ruling. Expose the big money. Then start restricting the amount of money people can donate - including corporations (those other "people" :) And then...tighten the rules surrounding "PACS" which are just a legal dodge around the regular campaign law limits.

And then move towards public funding of elections with ever more restrictions on the size of mega donations. Millionaires are buying their elections. The Founders would be pissed.

As Commander Laurence said: "That's just four points in my four hundred point plan."

(For those not following The Handmaids Tale, you should tune in as it is forecasting our future if we don't fight back. )

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Bill, changing those laws sounds ideal, but really a pipe-dream in these times. Politicians are focused on getting more money, not less. I get10 emails a day from Democrats begging for donations, as if my $5 would save their campaign. Meanwhile, RCV modernization solves the problem and has been expanding to more jurisdictions for years and has no informed enemies besides the NRA and GOP, who prefer to keep the money-dominated old system.

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A pipe dream, indeed. But so was women's suffrage and freedom from slavery.

There will be a leader who wil take us there. I hope I live to see it.

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I agree, Bill, and i might be possible to pass a transparency bill in the House, but finding 60 decent honorable Senators - good luck. Yes, the Founding Fathers would be pissed, in their world governing was a position of honor and respectability - not a get rich quick scheme. Men went to elected office to serve their country, not themselves. The DNC, whose job it is to recruit good candidates, is fine with the status quo, they too are raking in billions from wealthy donors. We need a top down overhaul of all political parties, but short of throttling them I don't see it happening anytime soon.

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Your assessment is a reality. But I just keeping throwing the ideas out there. If we don't aspire, our will to grow and improve will expire. I am not ready to be a defeated peasant while nobles plunder the public treasure.

Someday, there will be a charismatic leader with progressive thinking that will capture the popular imagination. And social justice will be more than just an aspiration.

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Thank you, Bill. You are right, of course, which is why I vote in hope that things will improve, But I am better off than you, I will never be a peasant groveling fro bread crumbs. I will be dead (HOORAH!) I'm nearly ninety and according to family statistics, I've got less than 3 years (:-)

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Screw the stats and give us many more years of your wisdom and fighting spirit.

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Thank you, but in the present world, I am thankful to be so old. BTW, back to our discussion on politics. I told you I voted in hope, but that wasn't the whole truth. I live in Sacramento County California, one of the bluest States. I know my Congressman, Senator., and Governor will be reelected. I hope the Secretary of State is reelected\. But my true hope, Kevin McCarthy, Kevin Kiley, Tom McClintock, Darrel Issa, and Doug LeMalfa lose, and lose largely, not close enough to question the vote. However, I'm, probably hoping in vain. Apparently you no longer have to live in the district for which you are running. not even in one of the Counties. So naturally, those useless trumpsters run where the electors are few, and not given to analysis.

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Also read Octavia Butler's parable series

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I have! Very compelling.

Or "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro

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Many of us have been trying for years to lessen the influence of big money in our country. To date, we have failed. Many of us have, among other things, supported the presidential candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. As you have noted, the system (for lack of a better term) is dominated and controlled by the wealthy, and the income gap has grown to astronomical levels. What in heavens name do to think "we" can do? Can you do anything? Do you have anything specific in mind when you say "we" must do this?

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Yes, and it would help if the Democrats hadn't disparaged Sanders and Warren over the years. Their truth was vigorously denied by too many Democrats. Elon Musk just threw shade on Warren last week, saying she reminded him of "a friend's mother." God forbid. (Not that he's a Democrat, but he's been on the payroll.)

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This why we must push our fellow Americans to vote and convince (or kick out) those in state government who think gerrymandering is the way to go. If they want to gerrymander, then they must have corruption in mind. The voters should pick and vote for the candidate of their choice and not the other way around where the candidates are picking their voters.

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It does not matter whether it is politics, sports or big business, once big money is involved, corruption has been and still inevitable because there is too much at stake and money buys power....... What is more recent is that more individual supper rich have discovered they can influence politics without accountability by owning and thus influencing the media.

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Hans Flikkema ; Just calling that out is empowering!

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Indeed! I lke your hutspa.

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Oct 27, 2022·edited Oct 27, 2022

Sadly, there was plenty of skepticism about the integrity of the vote, and our political system, long before tRump. The 'Right' and corporate wealth influenced the vote and bought congressional seats, senate seats and the media. So it was easier for tRump and co, with the backing of the obscenely wealthy, to just pick up on those feelings and exploit them. Citizens United adds more challenge to undo the mess. The stacked court will prove to be a problem too, for who knows how long. Oh, and don't forget the Electoral College, and a legal system that favors 'White Collar' (wealthy) 'people'.

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I agree that democracy has two enemies, but I think I disagree as to what they are. Election denying is a platform of the current Republican party. Without Big Money going to GOP, that platform wouldn't be spread so far. So I think election denying is not a separate threat but "just" another one of many anti-common-good elements that Big Money is trying to buy and foist on the U.S.

But even Ii we were to outlaw official, U.S. Big Money political influence, it appears we still would have a threat -- a force trying to financially support election denying and other anti-common-good GOP platforms. That force is the illegal Foreign Money that buys, for example, misleading social-media propaganda.

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Enemy of Democracy:

"Big money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy, undermining Americans' faith that our system is fair."

No American that I know of thinks that our system is fair. It is not fair and never was, and in the foreseeable future, the influence of corporations and undeserved wealth, in America and elsewhere, will continue to chart the course of this country and the world. It doesn't take a certified prophet to see it.

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RCV election modernization has been spreading faster ever since 2000, and that ends the power of money.

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Thank you Professor Reich for your post today. To me, it seems clear. Let’s keep our democracy, expand the courts and kiss Citizens United bye bye placing common sense election boundaries so PACS and wealthy donors cannot buy elections. A law limiting contributions would go a long way.

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Yes!!! Get the money out of our politics!!

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Another great analysis of our deep political problems and failures. Your followers fully agree and have actually known all that for years. None of that is new. You are doing a great job as a tteacher, but it is not enough. What I would like to hear from you are the solutions to all this, if any. How do we get rid of money in politics, how do we get rid of our corrupt political elite, and how do we counter trumpian demagogery and voter ignorance?

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Oct 27, 2022·edited Oct 27, 2022

"And big money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy, undermining Americans' faith that our system is fair."

We have to include corporate media as part of Mr. Reich's second point. The lurch to the right of nearly every newsroom in corporate media is glaring. CBS hired criminal Mick Mulvaney, CNN has purged liberal voices from the station, issuing edicts to not describe the Big Lie as The Big Lie, but to take the focus off of the entirely complicit Republican party and relabel The Big Lie as "Trump's Election lies".

The president's vital, powerful speech in Philadelphia advocating for Democracy and good government while warning of the dangers of rising authoritarianism WAS BLACKED OUT, not broadcast by any of the alphabet corporate newsrooms with corporate parents currently marching in goose step with the Republicans to end Democracy. The people that most needed to hear it likely don't know it ever happened. The January 6 Select Committee hearings got the same treatment. All of us here understand that Donald Trump and his confederates, backed by malignant billionaires and corporations, planned and executed an attempted overthrow of the United States government. Full stop. Here again the story was intentionally buried.

The most glaring recent examples lie with nearly every corporate newsroom completely ignoring Republican plans to kill Social Security and Medicare. Dwight Eisenhower's warned that to attempt to meddle with Social Security was political suicide (that's the gist, not the quote). The fact that every major newspaper, including the New York Times, WaPo, the LA Times, as well as CNN and every single alphabet network have chosen to completely ignore open Republican discussions of their actual plans to not only meddle with but to entirely destroy social security and Medicare indicates to me a willing self-censorship to benefit Republicans. I can't see any other explanation. What Ike observed then is still true today. These are universally popular programs. But the Republican base skews older. Can't have them finding out that the party they support is actively planning to end their retirement and healthcare benefits at the same time.

Finally, I want to address a forgotten elephant in the room. Voting machines are compromised. Full stop. Republicans in battleground states, including GA, PA, GA and AZ have provided illegal access to voting machines to other Republicans. The elephants let the elephants in the room. In Georgia, frantic attempts to address the obvious fact that their voting machines are no longer secure are met with indifference. One official overseeing the election (A Republican, of course) downplayed the whole issue by saying that they were just a'gonna swap out the machines! With identical machines with the exact same source code. Problem not solved. Problem not even addressed. Problem disappeared by a complicit media.

Ok, the final finally. Given the alliance between the former 4th Estate (the Plutocratic Press) and the Republicans, I do not believe the polls for one second. If newsrooms cannot be trusted to inform us about the dangers of one political party embracing authoritarianism they cannot be trusted to provide trustworthy election information. There are dedicated, professional career journalists in every one of these newsrooms, but at the top is an editor, and above them are corporate parents who no longer see the impropriety of issuing orders about what and what not to cover, and how to cover it. I refer you to Mr Reich's excellent commentary on CNN's rightward sprint, the new rightwing editor of that newsroom and the rabid, billionaire, Time Warner board member demanding these changes, a guy who once owned like 30% of Newscorp (that would be Fox News' corporate parent) and is a close personal friend of Rupert Murdoch.)

So here's my suspicion: these polls are cooked, calculated to make an election that if run fairly would be a Blue Wave without precedent look much, much closer than it is. WHEN, not if but when that stolen source code is put to use and Republicans eke out improbable victory after victory in all of the most important contests, these polls provide cover for that kind of steal. Fewer eyebrows raised when races are made to appear much closer than they are. This is just another weapon held to the head of Democracy by Republicans and corporate America, and corporate newsrooms are a part of that, another weapon to use against Democracy.

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Your last paragraph 😱

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Right on about the money thing. Citizens United is one of the most damaging decisions the Supreme Court has ever handed down, in terms of democratic elections. Extremely demoralizing.

But-- power back to the people by a dictator? Even a kid could figure out that won't happen.

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Oct 27, 2022·edited Oct 27, 2022

Timely, professor. I just sent an email to actblue.com and the DNC official website. I searched and searched for a way to be removed from campaign donation solicitation communications. My futile effort leads me to believe political parties made themselves exempt from CAN-SPAM law. I know this might be self-defeating, but I really don't want to be solicited to support candidates in other states and I'm tired of the incessant bombardment of soliciting when the truth as you describe, Dr. Reich, is small individual contributions accomplish nothing. Asking me to donate ever more and more is not the way to dilute corporate influence. That happens in the chambers of government and at the ballot box. And that is the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse metaphor. It will take a SCOTUS willing to do the right thing and overturn Citizens United. I'm not hopeful.

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