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Aug 4, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

As I read this piece, I felt sickened at the thought that we have become complacent in these awful crimes. I feel as if most people just go about their lives - working, taking care of family, and not breaking any laws. It has become very hard for the middle class and the poor to just stay alive. I don't mean that in an apocalyptic way, I just mean it has become increasingly hard for all of us 'regular' folk. To refer to the broken windows theory, Mr. Trump came into office breaking windows left and right and it seems to me that we are trying to put in new windows by holding Mr. Trump accountable for some of those broken windows. Many Americans, myself included, question why have laws if the upper income elite are never being made to abide by them? I know it is not all black and white but it seems the gray area only applies to these elite. They have broken a lot of windows and are not being made to fix them. I don't know, I am disillusioned and scared. Nobody is going to have to worry about any broken windows when the climate change kills us all.

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The Media should report the news. Ohio --where the upper income elite are being made to abide by law. Former chair of Ohio Republican Party sentenced to 5 years in prison for role in racketeering conspiracy

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdoh/pr/former-chair-ohio-republican-party-sentenced-5-years-prison-role-racketeering?fbclid=IwAR20Qt0GBtilAfTllyBTHF6vsRiXqWrmOEpflFI90fNyjJlCRw6ihuNw3wA#:~:text=in%20racketeering%20conspiracy-,Former%20chair%20of%20Ohio%20Republican%20Party%20sentenced%20to%205%20years,for%20role%20in%20racketeering%20conspiracy&text=CINCINNATI%20%E2%80%93%20Former%20Ohio%20Republican%20Party,participating%20in%20a%20racketeering%20conspiracy

Manafort, Trump's campaign manager was convicted. So was his national security advisor. 11 more. All the prosecution witnesses are Republicans.

DOJ can potentially bring another 5 or 6 indictments against Trump. Insurrection. Seditious conspiracy. Advocating overthrow of Government. Fraud against his donors. IMHO can reopen the Mueller obstruction charges. IMHO he's probably an unregistered agent of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Oman......

By November 2024 he'll have judgments that exceed his assets, and bankruptcy is precluded as a matter of law.

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I remember lots of people saying, during the 50s and early 60s when I was quite young, that the law is for rubes — it’s to keep the rabble in line. The wealthy and powerful can do as they please, do as they dare, and not worry.

That attitude DID change somewhat during Civil Rights and the anti-war movement, but among those who have the money to buy legal representation — especially people like The Donald — they CAN wiggle out of too many legal constraints, so they do. That old line “never leave money on the table” seems to indicate they must take advantage whenever the occasion arises, or they’re unnecessarily hamstringing their own interests, and if actually honesty prevents doing something they could get away with, honesty is for rubes.

In the 80s, it was “if the ref didn’t see it, it didn’t happen.” The narcissistic bit of attitude that if you never get caught, it’s all good. As long as you can create a smoke screen for it, do whatever you can manage to hide or excuse. DJT’s “Killer” philosophy.

Some of us were taught a different attitude toward morality and ethics. In child psychology, it’s described something like this: As very young children, we learn to be “good” because we don’t want Mommy or Daddy to punish us [but if we think we can get away with stuff, then fine….]. A little later as we grow, we decide o be “good” because we don’t want Mommy and Daddy to be disappointed or to disapprove of us [but if we don’t think they’ll find out, then fine …]. And later, as adults, we decide to be “good” because we respect ourselves and want to be able to face ourselves in the mirror [and we are always aware of what we do and why, so ….]

Far too many of us are stuck in the earliest level and try to get away with whatever is possible. OR stuck in the second level, and become narcissistic about never admitting wrongdoing that would make us look bad to others. Not enough of us develop a sense of decency that is an inner voice that says “Don’t do it. You’re better than that.”

And the Trumpian philosophy is apparently, “If you don’t do it, you’re a loser. So do it, and make all the excuses necessary to get you off the hook.”

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I'm sure that attitude is still prevalent at 19th holes and locker rooms at country clubs. But if Trump's main defense is "advice of counsel" Giuliani and Eastman have admitted that their advice was BS and each asked tor a pardon.

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Courts are not limited to the moralities of the individual. They are supposed to run on law.

I’m hoping that, as they are more circumspect, they will apply law that has morals and ethics built in, to the extent that it does.

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I don't think that any of these people will testify. Judges rule on law, juries on fact, limited to the record.

Trump needs "jury nullification.," a jury that refuses to follow the law.

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Mmmm, that could happen. Happened in Jim Crow south all the time. Happens now, I’m sure.

But we COULD get a jury that does follow the law. And recognizes how he broke it. Wouldn’t that be cool …. ~

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I find it kind of eerie how "I just followed the advice of counsel" sounds a lot like "I was just following orders". A quick reminder: We *HANGED* people who were "just following orders"...

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a little off-topic, but the main problem with "I just followed ..." is the circularity. Trump hires hacks because they will tell him what he wants to hear. And then he acts as if the hacks are driving the whole shebang.

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Yeah. It's nice to be able to palm off responsibility for your crimes onto the people who are defending you.

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The Fascist Gasbag doesn't seem to get that Smith has already faced down war criminals at the ICC. Smith doesn't strike me as the type to quail at mere threats by a delusional con-man.

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I wonder if the court will consider this witness intimidation — scaring people who are supposed to testify at his trials….He can’t claim that witness intimidation is “free speech.” If he gets away with it, it’s a sure sign of a two-tiered legal system. No ordinary person would be able to tell te world they will “come after” those who go against them without being treated as having threatened witnesses …

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When I was a young lawyer, the court would appoint me to represent some incorrigible and then warn me to control my client and when (s)he [even girls] inevitably acted out, fine me!

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You've nailed it on the head. Thank you.

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Ohhhhhh, he’s gonna call Jack Smith silly names …. Ohhhhhh, quail in your boots, Jack Smith! Donnie is gonna call you names …

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I think you are absolutely right, Mr. Weber. But Donnie has nothing real in his little bag of tricks, and no weapons with ammo in them. Not against Mr. Smith, anyway.

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Seeing that he’s actually threatening EVERYBODY, though, I suspect a lot of the witnesses expected to appear at his trials might be frightened — now THAT is witnesses intimidation and tampering. Do we think the judges overseeing these proceedings will do anything about it?

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❤️Reich:❤️"Think of the common good as a pool of trust built up over generations [of people taking the Trust Booster:"Do one thing every day that scares you,"-- Eleanor Roosevelt`] this pool of trust has great value [to Purdue Pharma when they replace it... by claiming that the "science of trust" can be IGNORED, "Replace it with our Valium pill,"... that]makes everyone’s lives simpler..."

Valium was the most common prescription 1969 to 1982 with 2.3 billion pills in 1978. The one group that continued to face their fear was Evangelicals because Evangelizing is Rejection Desensitization. Thus Evangelicals became superior asserters and elected president Reagan, Bush W, and Trump. But these Followers of the Prince of Peace consistently voted for War. Like an innocuous placebo that "mutated" into an insidious placebo, their belief in peace became a belief in war. Up to 60% of people are cured by placebos if they don't follow the science that works ("Do one thing every day that scares you").

Subscribe for details 😁

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'The Media' create stories that sell 'papers'. The Press tries to find out what's going on ..

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Aug 4, 2023·edited Aug 4, 2023

There are few stories better documented, more horrific, and less actually done about it then the infamous "Spotlight" series done by the Boston Globe about churches protecting their priests and ministers against charges of sexual abuse, both against children, and against adults. The power and authority of the church against the sheep.

Yet it went on.

It still goes on.

The windows started breaking a long time ago, and they are stained glass.

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THAT, Jon, that last line is profound, stark, and striking. And I agree completely with you: “Yet it went on. It still goes on.”

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How the heck does THAT not violate the judge’s orders following his arraignment, right? He plays by different rules, always has. Rules no one has seen before or could think anyone would be so low as to live by their ugly stench. No one else plays by those rules (though some come close and some want to pretend they do). The Dems, Jack Smith, A.G. Garland, Judge Chutkan are all in a tough place: you can’t manage a guy like that who plays by his own rules, disdains all others and their rules, and will destroy his own house if it means he comes away looking like the messiah. So play by HIS rules and throw away your own sense of moral certitude OR stay high, even as they (he) goes lower, and have faith justice through lawful means will ultimately prevail? Every day I send courage to Jack Smith!

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Wouldn't it be nice if returned to the press. Media also wants great Nelson ratings.

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The Media...another corrupt entity.

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Thanks for that link, Daniel. Very glad to see this resolution. Householder is just slime, and his and FirstEnergy's machinations posed a real danger to us northern Ohioans.

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So many of us share your feelings, Peggy. I am also very scared, but here's a source of hope, I think: the young people in our country. It seems to me that they are diverse and progressive in their views. I know that's a generalization, and I have no facts or research to back it up. It's just a hunch! I pray that this horrific period will serve as a wake-up call and a catalyst for the overhaul of our institutions, making them stronger and better and up to date! It will be up to the next generations to accomplish that enormous task.

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I agree. I think our younger generation is our only hope. That is why DeSantis is changing the text books to teach lies to the students. That is why right wing billionaires buy wings in colleges and staff their own professors. How to get the youth to not be overwhelmed by such cleverly placed propaganda is the question.

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I believe parents will help their children navigate the propoganda waters and show them exactly what it is that makes our country great. The little man in Tallahassee believes that he can groom the children (something the right has always accused us of) and they will follow in his lock step march toward authoritarianism!

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Grooming the children in school is all too possible given how the teachers have their hands tied behind their backs, unable to stop the onslaught of propaganda. And regarding their parents, florida is a red state, they voted in that monster, twice.

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YES! Thank you Sally! Those among our young who have a passion for justice, honesty, and service need to be found, encouraged, supported, and VOTED IN! We have examples of that happening—we simply need to encourage more to serve in that manner.

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We’re all sick of your repeating this statement.

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Thank you, Sally. You are absolutely right about our young people. I have read many hopeful article concerning the younger generation becoming more vocal in support of what you and I believe about our country. Just look at the Tennessee Three! Even though I am disillusioned and scared, I still have hope that our country can be saved, our institutions will prevail, and Democracy will stand.

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The focus of prayer can lead to insight, to action, then to a remedy.

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And yet…. And yet one wonders why so many “religious,” especially of the Evangelical persuasion, see Trump as their martyred savior. We’re not in a time of prayer right now; these times call for action. Principled, just, non-violent action. THIS is the majority view in our country—our collective voice simply needs to be raised to its highest pitch.

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One effective way to "raise one's voice" is to vote, especially in the primaries. Citizens who decline to vote are not helpful.

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TOTALLY agree, Gerald. As has been shown ad nauseam, Trump wouldn’t get within 1000 miles of the White House (unless he bought a tour ticket!) if, simply, more Americans voted. The problem is, Repubs know this—which is why one of their main strategies is to gerrymander and disenfranchise and hold tightly to the Electoral College (“If we got rid of the Electoral College, no Republican would ever get elected again,” ~ D.J. Trump. One of the very few times he’s right!). I mean, c’mon, “make it a crime to offer a bottled water to a person who has been in a long hot line in order to simply vote?” Sometimes it’s hard to recognize exactly who we are.

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First intentionally providing a precinct with too few voting places, voting machines & ballot boxes, thereby forcing voters into long lines, is the initial evil ploy, then preventing any water or refreshments for those in line, hoping some will keel over, seems criminal to me. Just like Abbott preventing localities to require the provision of short water breaks for workers. Republicans care not at all how many Americans their policies kill, especially if they're Democrats.

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Unfortunately, both parties gerrymander. No party wants to be left out of their opportunity to subvert democracy!

The small states will not give up their greater influence on the outcome of the presidential election in favor of the popular vote and may have the power to block a constitutional amendment.

Therefore, I suggest the key to selection of competent leaders will be through the primary processes of both parties.

On a side note, I would like to see Liz Cheney as the VP nominee on a democratic ticket. On the republican side, a candidate who is a Trump critic who offers a plan other than anti-WOK.

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Meditation can also lead to insight, action and remedy.

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Dear Peggy and Dr.Reich,

Exactly how I and all ‘regular’ folk feel today.

We keep hearing how the MAGA people are so angry.

We are angry as a country and most of that anger has built up over years of watching corruption go wild .

The corrupt bullies always get the attention. This fantastically vulgar pile of corruption that has culminated in allowing Donald Trump to be our representative should make ALL of us MAD as HELL.

Prove to all of us “non-maga” citizens that we are a Constitutional Democratic Republic.... prove it or forever withhold our taxes. I am not paying to watch my country be taken over by greedy, immoral, vulgar, liars.

Make it illegal ( oh that’s a hollow word) to lobby after serving in our Congress. Make it an honor to even run for Congress by demanding a thorough knowledge of our Constitutional and government institutions. A difficult test! Like the one we take to get into law school..., (or was there none?)

Or maybe make it a test of one’s integrity.

Or maybe we should withhold the paycheck that Congress is getting until after they have actually done some work for us!

Shame the liars and cheaters.

My god how we thump ourselves on the breast about what a great country we are. Prove it!

And those of you who are in the “LAW” professions, don’t let the slimy bastards who do not have integrity or knowledge demean your honor and career.

I have noticed that the people who wave the flag the loudest are usually shitting on it .

Forgive me the vulgar pictures, but I am angry. Give me laws that are, or give me death!

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Jack Smith has requested a protective order! There is no depth to which Trump will not sink; he is desperate now!

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That's an excellent summary.

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Climate change has accelerated beyond scientific expectations. And still Congressmen make $$ on the stock so not only is it still not acknowledged solutions are actively squashed.

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Bill Black - How to Rob a Bank is to Own One. I'm a small biz owner. I don't mind regulations. It's reasonable and it doesn't impeded my business. I like a good cop on the street because it keeps the playing field level.

The BP oil spill - ah well Greg Polast a journalistic did some great research about that. BP had a blow out years before the Gulf one. They did NOT make it whole. The gulf coast was in a rock and sandy beach. We all needed the money but (I was honest with my clients) the oil kept gushing and covered Pensacola Beach. And, it did wash up and down the gulf coast. Actually, we have had small oil spills in the gulf for decades. I've seen oil spots wash up on the beaches in the 80s.

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It is the "Firehose" theory of news overload. There is just too much information coming at us for us to digest. Should we worry about climate change, fascism, cults, crime, war, inequality, economic disaster? 1% of the population controls politics and the rest of us are spectators. I am 73 years old. Should I just worry about climate change I won't even live to see?

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Mr. King, I am 71 and I am terrified of the climate change that is already happening. Scientist warned us from as far back as the 80s and possibly even further back but we kept right on. What we are seeing now are the effects of our disregard. You are only two years older than me and yes, I think everyone should worry because when the earth cannot sustain us any longer, it will happen in a sudden cataclysmic fashion much like a star dying.

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Climate chaos is already here. If those 3 simultaneous climate domes in North America, Europe & Asia in July, breaking all kinds of temperature records, including highest temperature ever above the 40° parallel (Sanbao, China), well over a month of 100°F highs in Texas, 31 consecutive days of 110° temperatures & 16 straight days of the temperature never getting below 90°, even at night, in Phoenix, highest temperature index ever recorded in the southeastern US, 100° ocean temperatures off the coast of Florida, killing billions of sea creatures, & the hottest day (4th of July) & month (July) in 120,000 years won't convince you, I don't know what will.

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There's a Blue Baseball cap that would fit into your merchandising. "Make Lying Wrong Again".

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How about a blue cap that says: The USA IS great!

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OMG. That just made my day. Laughing out loud. Thank you for sharing.

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I ordered three! Thanks

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Aug 4, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

Nixon was pardoned, we got Reagan. Reagan was never held to account for Iran/Contra or treason with Iran to throw the 1980 election, we got W. W was never held to account for illegal wars, war crimes or a financial collapse, we got Trump. If Trump is not held to account what do we get? We get Hitler Trump, Dicktator for Life.

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Peter, the succession you are describing is on the mark. Republicans keep learning how to make the crimes of the past work into the future. They don't get more subtle, just more brazen and little to nothing is done to stop them. It seems to me that a corporation that cheats on its taxes should lose many of its top leaders, perhaps owners too to jail for a couple of years, a real jail so they can see what their corruption can cost their fellow citizens. Employees should then be able to divide a majority of the corporation's stocks among themselves and either invest them back into the company or somewhere else they like better. Workers should have some say in what happens to the corporation while its old leaders are in jail. It would be interesting. Maybe a television show like that should be produced instead of the "greed is good" variety we have been "blessed" with lately.

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Here (as a writer and teacher of creative writing) to disagree respectfully with Peter--the show would be as good as its writers (and actors of course). There is massive opportunity for drama in Ruth's outline above!

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Mary, thank you. I would just love to see more positive TV. Nearly all the dramas that get nominated for Emmies are about disruption, doing harm to others before they do it to you, backstabbing, and the like, with anti-heroes. I get it that those kinds of shows are popular when the society is in turmoil, maybe we need to try a different model for those times and perhaps we wouldn't have quite so many and people might see society and other people in a more positive light.

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I have certainly found myself reading less cynical novels in the last few years, and I don't think I'm the only one. Come to think of it, I've also been consoling myself this past year watching an episode of West Wing most nights. It's been an amusing experience--I started it after some French friends, who'd watched the whole thing in an effort to get a picture of the workings of US democracy, wanted to talk to me about it, so I watch though their eyes sometimes. (Of course it's a fantasy--and its own politics too centrist for me)--but the group of consutants it hired include many people who worked pretty high up in the White House so I don't think it's pure confection.)

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Mary, I, too mostly avoid cynical novels and novels with anti-hero characters. I liked them somewhat as a student and post college student, but found that as a teacher, I wanted to read about the challenges decent interesting people experience and how they manage them with others. I like mystery stories that have several people together trying to solve the mystery. I see enough evil in the real world I don't need to get more from the fiction I read. I do read about some of the evil, though in non-fiction, selectively so I can be aware of the challenges we are facing. I loved watching "The West Wing" because the characters believed in this nation and what we could be. I am sad, though that our media seem to be obsessed with putting down every success we have had in creating and changing jobs for people, bringing inflation down, trying to get COVID in check, and holding insurrectionists accountable for their bad behavior. Unfortunately, the insurrectionist in chief is facing minimal charges related to overturning an election, something he did, but if the defense can get the jury to believe Baby Donnie didn't know he had lost, they could acquit an absolute menace who will then do it all again, only worse because his handlers will have learned how to steer him so again he won't be held accountable. That is pretty scary.

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They won't be able to get a jury to believe that. Way too many Republican witnesses have already testified under oath that he knew he had no basis for believing in a stolen election. No worries there! But why you think charges of conspiracy to overturn an election and all our votes are minimal charges?

What could be bigger?

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I too have decided not to see movies of corruption. To much of that is going on nowadays. I am sick of it and that nothing happens to those that commit those serious crimes.

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Aug 4, 2023·edited Aug 4, 2023

I always loved the TV show "Dragnet" (yes, I am OLD). It was simple, and you knew who the good guys were and who the bad guys were, and why the bad guys were bad. Supposedly it was always based on true stories, showing exactly what happened to the bad guys at the end.

"Just the facts, ma'am."

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I agree, but let's be real. Given that the studio heads are showing themselves to be the worst of the worst kind of morbidly rich exploiter of workers, how would you get the show made? And frankly, I'm not sure people would watch it. It's not nearly as much fun as watching Gordon Gecko or some other rich a-hole.

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Peter, it is possible no one would watch such a show, but I am not sure. The characters don't all have to be "Goody Two Shoes" or something like that, but they could model for people how it could work. There could be some violence scenes in prison started by those rich former owners to keep the guys watching who only like conflict. The rest of us might find something else in the show worthy of our time, like collaboration and the challenges that can involve.

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If I were a creative, I would pitch a show about the Spanish Republic, 1931 - 1936. The people rose up, tossed the king, elected a left wing government and stuck it to the oligarchs. Of course, it led to Franco's fascist army, equipped and assisted by Hitler and Mussolini, the Spanish Civil War and a 40 year Christo-fascist regime.

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The opportunities for Schadenfreud would be priceless! But of course there is room for complexity iun any account of the fall of large-scale criminality, especially of the financial kind. Consider as evidence about half the British and American novels of the 19th century!

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I knew that when Bush was handed the presidency by the Supreme Court and by his brother who was governor of florida and no one went to prison, I knew they would not stop. Their success only emboldened them.

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That’s true. They don’t have a funcitoning moral compass. It’s whatever they can get away with, and the more power they have, the more they can get away with .. soooo.

If WE do not hold them accountable — if WE do not have governmental entities doing what is needed for the good of US — we will be lost.

That means, vote in the good guys. Vote out the bad guys.

The job is to get people to know the difference.

We do that through education and journalism.

Egad. What do they attack? What do they buy up? What do they want to control?

What do we do about it?

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Propaganda is what we are fighting against. Just like in Lord of the Rings when Gandalf broke Saruman’s staff, Gandalf said Saruman still had one power left, that of his tongue, which is powerful indeed. As readers of Return of the King remember, The Shire was all but ruined by the time the Hobbits returned, all because of that wicked tongue.

Propaganda is so powerful now with all the focus groups honing propaganda’s skill to a knife edge, perched to slay our democracy and keep us divided. We need a tool that can burst that bubble. Without it, I’m afraid we’re doomed. How to deprogram a cult that has half of the country in its grip? That is the question that needs an answer.

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Not really a ‘like’ but an agree in principle.

Cults can be broken. Cult members can have an epiphany and wake up and break out.

It ain’t easy. It’s possible.

But propaganda appeals to emotion and shallow thinking.

How to get the more accurate message across without coming off l like a lecturing egghead.

There’s the rub.

We need good communicators and a strong REALmessage.

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Cults are hard to break, particularly when they have such strong political power, media power, money power and tribal power. Even when remaining in the cult harms the cult person, they still hold on tight. There are still people in germany who were alive in hitler’s reign who still believe he was good for the country. Yes, hitler is dead but his hate lives in in them and in the rise of nazi propaganda around the world. I’m just glad i’m old.

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Yes, cults are VERY hard to break. I think our DNA works against us in that — an in-group draws a strong sense of trust and loyalty, even as you say, when a person is being harmed. There’s still the sense of “my” group against “them.”

It’s the sort of thing that typically needs an epiphany. Not easy to arrange.

Some of the Trump support is not cultish, though. Those can be talked to.

We gotta reach them.

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The Bush family understandably came to think they were invulnerable. However, Jeb got the shock of his life when he didn't win the Republican nomination in 2016, in fact losing to both Trump & Cruz, 2 of the most despicable political figures in US history.

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Cold comfort given the turn of the country after W’s administration. But Jeb does have to think about that, I’d bet. The wheels W put into motion brought trump’s rise.

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You are correct in naming those you name. However, I can't help but notice that you list only the corrupt acts or failure to act by officials of one party.

This kind of tribal partisanship is also a tear in the fabric of the common good and just society.

- JFK threaten nuclear war over Russia having missiles in Cuba while maintaining a similar, stronger force in Turkey aimed at Russia.

- Obama gave a pass to the friends and donors on Wall Street refusing to investigate the financial debacle of 2008. He then appointed suspect financial "leaders" to be the foxes regulating the hen house. Once done, several went right back into private equity. How many of his Cabinet officials and other top officials in government went from their posts directly into the industries they "regulated"?

- Biden's administration is busily promoting the privatization of Medicare into the hands of financial companies that have clear records of violations of converting programs, services, and institutions into profit centers by reducing staffing and other essential elements of providing care without regard for patients but only profits.

Both parties are hand in glove with the same donors, the same corrupting financial influences - and I mean the same people. This is why programs demonstrably better for the country that promote very ordinary program for the common good cannot pass a Congress that is bought and paid for. This why we see both parties promoting fossil fuel, refusing to regulate transportation (think train safety), and generally acting always on the behalf of the wealthiest.

We have fallen for the trick of having one party become so odious that it we are manipulated into having only a somewhat lesser evil as the only choice.

Neither party serves a long gone democracy. Both parties do the bidding of the same members of the donor class.

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I have to disagree with you Paul. Republicans and Democrats aren’t the same. Over the last few years Dems have sponsored legislation that would have helped ordinary people, but it was blocked by Republicans:

Republicans recently blocked legislation that would have codified the right of women to use contraceptives, an appalling move that will result in

death for many women.

Republicans also blocked a voting rights bill twice,

which makes it pretty clear republicans intend to

continue suppressing the vote--the most fundamental aspect of our democracy.

Republicans significantly watered down legislation that would have authorized federal agencies to monitor and report jointly on domestic terrorism within the United States. Why would republicans

water-down legislation authorizing federal agencies to monitor domestic terrorism unless republicans plan on supporting it and using it (terrorism) to their advantage.

Republicans blocked legislation would’ve both legally shielded the people who travel across state lines to receive an abortion and the providers who care for those patients.

Republicans blocked a bill that aimed to combat “dark money” in U.S. elections by making it mandatory for political organizations to disclose big donors. Why would republicans block a bill making it mandatory to disclose big donors to their campaigns?

Republicans blocked debate of an overhaul of how elections are run in the U.S. The bill was pushed by congressional Democrats who argued it was needed to counter a spate of new state GOP laws that suppress the vote.

Republicans blocked a move by Democrats to force a vote on a bill that would require campaigns and candidates to report to the FBI any foreign offers of opposition research. Could it be that republicans plan to use oppo research in future elections?

Republicans have repeatedly blocked border security legislation. They behave like they’re in a state of near hysteria over the border, yet every time Pres. Biden asks Congress for money to beef up border security, republicans block it. Pres. Biden even budgeted money for border security in the 2024 Dem budget proposal, but again, Speaker McCarthy substantially reduced it. Why would republicans keep lying and tell us we have open borders and then block funding for border security?

Examples of what democrats have been able to accomplish for the American people are:

1. 2022 Executive Order to Advance Effective, Accountable Policing and Strengthen Public Safety by by requiring federal law enforcement agencies to: ban chokeholds; restrict no-knock warrants; mandate the use of body-worn cameras; implement stronger use-of-force policies, including with the duty to intervene and duty to render medical aid; provide de-escalation training; submit use-of-force data to the FBI’s Use-of-Force Data Collection; submit officer misconduct records into a new national accountability database; and restrict the sale or transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, among other things.

2. President Biden announced new actions the Biden-Harris Admin. is taking to implement the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) and maximize the benefits of the law, reducing gun violence and saving lives.

3. President Biden signed a comprehensive set of executive actions to make healthcare more affordable and accessible. It will also provide child care copayments for working families at no more than 7% of a family’s income and encourage states to waive copayments for families at or below 150% of the federal poverty level; It will Improve financial stability for child care providers and incentivize their participation in the CCDBG program by ensuring they are paid on-time and paid based on program enrollment instead of attendance. Plus, it makes it easier for families to access CCDBG.

4. The Biden admin. proposed new rules to close loopholes the Trump admin.took advantage of by allowing companies to offer misleading insurance products that can discriminate based on pre-existing conditions and trick consumers into buying products that provide little or no coverage. In addition, the Biden/Harris admin.is releasing guidance on rules against surprise medical billing & are taking other steps to protect consumers from unfair medical debt.

5. Pursuant to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act,

funding will be provided for each state, territory, sovereign native reservations and the D.C. for high-speed internet infrastructure deployment through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program—a $42.45 billion grant program created in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

6. President Biden’s Cap on the Cost of Insulin will save money for Americans in All 50 States. Republicans have blocked several attempts to

rein in the retail cost of medications.

7. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act will also rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, expand access

to clean drinking water, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have been left behind. The legislation will help ease inflationary pressures & strengthen supply chains.

8. The Inflation Reduction Act makes funding available for programs and incentives to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and will likely drive significant deployment of new clean electricity resources at very affordable prices.

9. Your assertion that Biden is promoting the privatization of Medicare...is disinformation. The reality is the opposite. President’s Biden’s budget for fiscal year 2024 contains several proposals to protect & strengthen Medicare. By modestly raising taxes on high-income people and reducing drug prices, the budget shores up Medicare’s financing and lowers beneficiaries’ costs. The budget also contains proposals to make Medicare less costly and improve benefits.

By the way, Medicare Advantage IS not like medicare. It is structured as and administered by private healthcare insurance companies & it appeared long before Biden became the President.

One of the most obvious examples of Dems sincerity in helping ordinary Americans happened during the nation’s recovery from Covid. Seven weeks into his presidency, Biden signed into law a $1.9tn economic stimulus plan to combat the pandemic and begin repairing the frayed social safety net.The bill, passed by Democrats on a party-line vote, sent $1,400 stimulus checks to tens of millions of Americans and temporarily extended unemployment benefits. All the Trump admin did was give money to corporations

who didn’t need it as badly as families did.

So, as you can see, democrats are definitely NOT

legislating to help only the wealthy, unlike republicans. You aren’t the first person to try to persuade people both parties are alike and you

won’t be the last, but I want to point out to others

it’s a false equivalence. Dems consistently legislate

to help ordinary Americans, not wealthy Americans.

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Thanks Susan. You've done us all a great service. We need to repeat this mantra over and over again. Nothing like facts to clear the air. Democratic history, although flawed, has always been on the side of the people. Yes, money, the root of all evil, has been at the root of many policies that have not benefited the country, but who among us should throw the first stone? History tells us we have all sinned, but a careful review will show democrats have sought to form a more perfect union, while republicans have thrown sand in the wheels of freedom. We are all in this together as Joyce Vance likes to say.

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I’ve had it with people saying there’s no difference between republicans and democrats! It feels like

a new attack on Dems--to say, “Why bother,” so I wanted to shut it down fast. Please use my response

whenever you see similar criticisms.

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Very well done! Bravo, Susan!

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Clearly you are not old enough to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis or the level of tension that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union. If you were, you would know just how important strategically it was for JFK to prevail.

As for Obama, it is forever his shame that he failed to hold any of the bankers and other Wall Streeters to account for the 2008 financial crash. The crash that was caused in no small part by Clinton's agreement to sign Gramm-Leach-Bliley killing off Glass-Steagall. I knew nothing would be done the day he nominated Eric Holder for AG and Tim Geithner for Treasury.

But here's the point of my litany of infamy - it was not the Republicans who are responsible for Nixon, Reagan, W or Trump. They are partisan to the core and have always put party over country. The exception was found when Baker and Goldwater went to the WH to tell Nixon to quit before he was impeached. But then again, we would have been better off as a country if he had been impeached and convicted.

I hold the Democrats responsible for the failure to hold these criminals to account, starting with LBJ who knew damn well that Nixon was committing treason in Vietnam in order to prevent peace talks before the election.

You and I do not disagree I think. The only hope we have is to dislodge the entrenched Democratic establishment and replace them with young progressives who a) have the sense of the mood of the country and b) are not beholden to the big money donors.

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Apparently Rubin supports Putin. Khrushchev.

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Clearly doesn't understand the Cold War. Also likely couldn't pick Khrushchev out of a lineup.

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Apparently Solomon lacks an iota of wisdom of his name sake. Because I criticize JFK in this instance does not mean I support anyone else in particular. Poor logic yields erroneous results. I certainly do not have admiration nor do I "support" either Putin nor Khrushchev.

Power players who have little regard for the effect of their machismo on everyone else seem to rise to power everywhere. Silly people cannot make distinctions between blind support and thoughtful discourse.

All the best.

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Take your own advice.

I am author of among others, Breaking Up with Cuba. You took Khrushchev's talking points.

I also have written extensively about Medicare -- Biden did not promote co-opting and privatization and apparently the administration is working on it. Most of the fraud in the system comes through Medicare Advantage, which is not Medicare and gives an advantage to the insurance industry. There is pending litigation. E.G. https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/united-states-files-civil-fraud-lawsuit-against-cigna-artificially-inflating-its

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So you resort to personal attacks that are without any foundation in what you know about me.

We can have different opinions about JFK and Castro/Khrushchev but, friend Peter, whether or not I could pick Khrushchev out of a line up is immaterial (I could), but is just a silly diversion from a very precise point I was making about the the Cuban Missile Crisis: that it was blatant hypocrisy.

And by the way, I have very vivid memories of the entire world being thrown into fear, food and water hoarding, and so on at the time. I was of age at the time. JFK brought the entire world to brink of nuclear war with ulitmata and illegal blockade on the high seas all the while maintaining the "right" to encircle the Soviet Union with missiles - not 90 miles away but on the doorstep to their border. He took a reckless gamble with the lives of everyone on the planet.

JFK and his predecessor gave the Cubans every reason to believe they needed a deterrent to American interference in their sovereignty. Whether they were wise to take Russian missiles as an appropriate response is another story. From long before Castro deposed Batista, American interests ruled Cuba - as was the case through Central America, too.

I do not thing that Castro was a hero nor "support", but then if we admit just a tiny bit of nuance to the discussion, situations stop being "good guys" and "bad guys, black and white, and subject to inane analysis based on "fer us or agin us."

All the best.

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Both siderism is what brought us to where we are today. That's a fact that cannot be denied.

As for Cuba, I think we can agree that we owe the Castro regime to the fact that Cuba was a playground for the Mob and rich Americans. Central America was the playground of United Fruit. Both at the expense of the locals.

On the lighter side, Castro wanted to pitch for the Yankees, had he been offered a contract, he would not have been present for the revolution. And, remember, he came to us first for help in getting rid of Batista. We turned him down. Just as we had turned Ho Chi Minh down when he came to us looking for help getting rid of the French. We have John Foster Dulles to thank for both denials.

Have nice day.

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If "both siderism" was in fact, a fact, rather than lazy thinkers' all-in-one reason for "where we are today", it is not the direct opposite of thinking only in black and white, white hats/black hats, good guy vs.bad guy, God is on our side, my country right or wrong or other simplistic ways of seeing the world.

From what I understand, "both siderism" (I shudder to think it is a fact based way of analysis) refers to another kind of simplistic thinking: that there are two more or less equal sides to every question. But still embedded in it is the idea that there are only two sides in complex systems. Not an improvement in sound thinking.

As the wag said - well paraphrased, "For every complex situation, there is a simple explanation. And it is wrong."

Best wishes.

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One simple question - have you heard Andrea Mitchell lately?

And as William of Occam said - the simplest explanation is often the best.

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Now Bush is having the unmitigated gall to paint pictures of the men who died during his disgusting, lying, criminal war.

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Aug 4, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

Since Guiliani admitted he lied about those two election workers in Georgia, I hope they sue in civil court for damages. That would be a slam dunk winner. They suffered fear, due to his lies, and threats of violence. They deserve to gain financially for what they were put through because of him.

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Already have. Suit is in DC.

BTW defamation is a crime under Georgia state law.

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This is getting tiring.

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Giuliani's admissions were filed in court as part of the women's lawsuit against him and others.

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Looks like Giuliani will finally get what's coming to him. His corruption has been almost as egregious as Trump's.

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Aug 4, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

Quite a litany of political and economic fraud here! It is however worth pointing out that corruption in politics isn't only a US phenomenon eg in Britain possibly the largest fraud in politics was the exit from the EU which was sold to ordinary voters as a financial benefit but was bankrolled by free marketeers from the US as well as the UK who wanted to omit or water down EU Labour and environmental standards that interfered with profits making opportunities.

A limited but more tragic episode was Grenfell Tower where over 60 people (mainly poorer immigrants) died in a fire caused by fire resistant cladding being substuted for by cheaper materials as a result of weak building regulation enforcement attributable to cuts in local authorities budgets that in turn funded tax cuts to tge wealthy.The slow drip of erosion in public trust in its leaders is akin to a steady stream or brook that eventually bursts its banks with catastrophic consequences but unless we can find a meaningful way to counteract the vested interests that pollute our political waters public disengagement with politics will continue.

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The change starts with...We the people will band together to protest by the millions in every small town and every city until every tainted greed driven law is removed from the records and the perpetrators’ properties are confiscated all the way back to the root.

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The public has the capacity to help stamp out corruption. For example, federal and state False Claims Acts allow private citizens to file suits on behalf of the government (called “qui tam” suits for fraud. E,G.. https://www.justice.gov/civil/false-claims-act#:~:text=In%20addition%20to%20allowing%20the,who%20have%20defrauded%20the%20government.

After Enron, in 2002 Congress passed Sarbanes Oxley and later Dodd Frank bills which have whistleblower protections. Unfortunately most of the public is not aware that it is possible to bring actions, but most corporate managers are aware that they can now be held personally accountable. IMHO laws like this have diminished the amount and extent of fraud.

When I worked for DOL I heard approximately 22 different kinds of whistleblower cases. Few lawyers, let alone the general public are aware of the intricacies of these statutes. https://www.dol.gov/general/topics/whistleblower

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Thank you for the valuable information, which also helps to alleviate the despair I'm tempted to feel after reading Reich's list.

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That's exactly what I've been advocating for years regarding fossil fuel corporations' fraudulent propaganda of denial, disinformation, distortion & deceit knowing full well of the long-term danger to the climate & environment of continued use of their products: appropriate all their assets & those of their executives & everybody else involved to be used for the prevention & mitigation of & adaptation to climate chaos.

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Aug 4, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

The original asbestos regulation from ODHA was maybe 5 pages long. It got thicker and thicker. Now asbestos regulations exist from the OSHA agencies and also the EPA (which issued a huge asbestos regulation), state and local agencies, and consensus standards and trade association standard that fill big three-ring binders (plural). The search for loopholes makes regulation grow like weeds.

People in positions of trust, such as college athletic coaches, have been found wanting. We now have the shareholder value theory that places profit over everything every time. Everything has been monetized. Lewis Powell recommended hiring scholars to develop credible arguments for what big business wants and monitoring the press and academia to present the business side. We lost the free press when news became a profit center instead of a service in the 70s, probably an early implementation of Powell. We have some news, infotainment, and feel good stories. Harvest of Shame and Silent Spring are in the distant past.

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"We now have the shareholder value theory that places profit over everything every time." You said it. The zeitgeist of our time is "profits over people." How far will it go. Will we return to Hobbs state of nature where each man lives for himself where life is "nasty, brutish, and short." Longevity in the US is decreasing while it increases in countries leaning toward Democratic Socialism.

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Gordon, yes, Lewis Powell was an appalling human being, but with Nixon around and all the cheating, lying, and other bad behavior of the Nixon administration, Powell's BS was welcomed by the business community. If one is only for "me, and to hell with you," the money will start pouring in. There is no need to be part of the community where the business is located or to hire people from that community, or to treat workers well because they are one's neighbors, etc. When people come to believe that the bottom line is the only thing that matters and pleasing stock holders is the true purpose of a business, it is hard to see the common good as anything but interfering with the personal good, the corporation good, the personal being the most important, of course. We need to do better and explain to the American people what that better could look like perhaps by showing stories about how communities have come together to build a new park or playground area (which they do by using their own volunteer help and community donations). We could have stories about the comradship of serving a small town as a well-trained volunteer fire fighter, poll worker, neighborhood watch or clean-up crew, etc. Working together for the common good is an asset Republicans have not yet discovered, or rather rediscovered in the 20th and 21st centuries. ,

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Teach Americans the true meaning of socialism. A decent wage. Job training for all. Bringing back music and art in the schools. Ordinary folk. Sharing the pot. Health care. Better Veterans pensions. Education for all. Freedom of choice. Food for everyone. Sharing ideas. Encouraging ownership of property so no one entity can dominate over many, forcing them to pay rent. The list goes on. Many hands make the wheel turn easier.

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I read Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring many years ago. It set me on the road to trying to make a better world for my children and grandchildren and their children. Sadly, their parents along with millions of ordinary citizens have been heavily influenced by the constant exposure to pesticide companies’ brain washing techniques used through their advertisements. Think ‘Raid’ and it’s cartoon depiction of killing insects with deadly poison, although they are not the only ones.

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Brings to mind the scripture: “Now we know that the Law is fine if one applies it properly, recognizing that law is made, not for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, ungodly and sinners, disloyal and profane, murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, manslayers...” 1 Timothy 1:8, 9. Those who have morality in their heart have scant need of laws. Reich points out the erosion of morality means the burden of written law grows until it crushes the system. So... what comes?

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Aug 4, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

This is the third time I have read this information and it still disturbs me. A couple of things I have noticed, nearly everyone involved in these scandals is a white male. For me it displays the arrogance of white maldedom and its believe it can do anything and if a certain white male does it, it can't really be a crime. (This is an implied part of Trump's defense.) I also noticed how many banks were and are involved and how easily our government rushes in to help those institutions with no penalties applied to them and their behavior. In 2007-9 or so, our government could have forgiven masses of mortgages and that money could have gone to the banks while families, neighborhoods, and communities could have been saved devastation. Creative thinking is certainly not valued unless it allows some other guy or corporation to cheat someone with impunity. Trump is a result, but a carefully crafted result. Republicans/conservatives/rich guys want the people to not only be ignorant of what is going on, but also resentful, angry, and distrustful. Those are the ingredients of a rich guy victory over regulation, civility, caring, and the rest of the positive feelings that might cause us all to stop them in their tracks. Since Citizens United 13 years ago, our mostly white male Supreme court told the greedy white men in charge it is OK to spend whatever you want to buy candidates because money is speech and our first amendment says we have free speech. They also lied that corporations are persons. When even the Supreme Court lies easily and with impunity, what hope is there for the rest of us to stop the rich guy lying, cheating, bullying, and committing vast crimes against humanity and in particular, against the American people. I am grateful the book gets better.

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Hi Ruth, Men have no monopoly on corruption.

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Aug 4, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

Great point about Broken Windows never applying to white collar crime.

Crime rates plunged at that time all over America and the Western world at roughly the same rates as NYC - from Seattle to Paris to Prague, Minneapolis to New Orleans. Everywhere. The sane thing happened with booming economies at that time. All boats really did rise.

There are many theories why - end of the crack epidemic, even lead gasoline regulations rolling out twenty years before, creating a less aggressive group of young people.

I like to think it was fueled at least in part by by the Bill Clinton economic boom, which also helped economic conditions in other countries. It’s still not settled. One thing is clear though - Guiliani did not invent Broken Windows nor did he implement it in New York, as he always claimed. Commissioner Bill Britton did, which is why he was eventually pushed out by the petty mayor - Britton got too much positive press.

It’s skis clear that a Guiliani had little to do with falling crime rates or economic conditions in New York. The only decisions he made as Mayor - to put the emergency center inside the World Trade Center after it had already been bombed and to incite racial animus between New Yorkers - were disastrous.

His one skill was in peddling a heroic storyline about himself to a credulous media. Those of us who lived through his awful reign as mayor know the truth about him.

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Jill, a bunch of us outside New York saw what a jerk Giuliani was and I, for one, couldn't believe New Yorkers would vote for such an ass. He did that conservative thing, speak loudly, claim a lot is someone else's fault, then do nothing yourself to make things better. When someone complains, yell louder, dismiss their point, blame some more, then still do nothing, but this time, get rid of anyone who is actually doing something positive (ala the police commissioner). Over time, we have had brakes in place to stop a lot of the corruption, but somehow loopholes keep appearing that "smart" lawyers can abuse. Instead of stopping them and saying, your point is made but is unacceptable, our courts and other judicial institutions say, "Oh my goodness, you found a loophole and we will have to let you drag your dinosaur through it, too bad for us." We could/should do better. I suspect, however, there is a big industry in making sure we don't. That's where courage comes in. Maybe one of the most important characteristics we need in candidates for office is courage to stand with their oath. Maybe we need to add to the oaths "for the benefit of the American people and humankind." It might make a difference.

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An oath is only as good as the tongue making it, and the spine of those who should enforce it.

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Hi, Ruth! I remember when Giuliani was the favorite early in the 2008 Republican primary to win the nomination. Can you imagine what it would've been like if he were President? Why, yes, I guess we can! Probably very similar to Trump's, full of corruption & political favoritism.

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White collar crime. See my comments above.

Unfortunately, most of the defendants in these cases are well represented and in many instances the judiciary is over saturated with lawyers who are brainwashed. Oath.

“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

IMHO law schools prepare advocates for the rich, rather than the poor. Few require training in the "public interest. "

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Few require training in the "public interest. " 🤯

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I once taught this stuff and I was a judge for 30 years. They don't teach morality in law school.

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/rule_3_3_candor_toward_the_tribunal/

99% of lawyers do not observe this canon.

In the 60's the Law and Society movement tried to incorporate sociology and philosophy into legal studies but it is not mandatory and only a few schools participate. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/rule_3_3_candor_toward_the_tribunal/

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Welp! That explains a lot. Thank you for the link, seemingly unheeded by quite a few these days.

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Jill, let’s not forget his assuring first responders that the air around the Towers was safe.

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There were some suspicious maneuvers by Giuliani on 9/11.

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People point to his ‘cleaning up Times Square’ by ridding it of porno palaces and other unsavory elements. Although in general it did have its intended results, it left the door open to making it an obscene Disney Land-style tourist magnet and temple to overwhelming advertising. I witnessed the horror of Elmo and Spider-Man costumed characters engaging in fisticuffs when one of them poached the territory of the other for photographs with tourists. In more than one way, its original seediness was more authentic.

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"Being caught" repeated studies show. That costs money and the GOP refuses to make that happen. Why? Their super-rich buddies DON'T WANT TO BE CAUGHT, and they are very very expensive to convict. Thus the GOP wants to defund the IRS.

THE MAIN PROBLEM WITH AMERICA TODAY IS THE GOP DESPERATE TO GRAB POWER USING CRIMINAL MEANS.

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Paul Manafort case was an object lesson for Republicans.

In Ohio a jury found Republican Party chair Matt Borges and former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder guilty of violating the racketeering statute following a six-week trial.

GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN.

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William, and, we know it, and do little to nothing about it. Even Democrats who say they want to stop the corruption, get caught up in it, thank heavens not all, but at least a few of them like Manchin and Sinema and that can throw off an entire offensive for the common good as happened the past couple of years.

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Sadly so true.

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No consequences = chaos and the fomenting of amorality. I’m looking forward to THE COMMON GOOD.

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Aug 4, 2023·edited Aug 4, 2023

A brilliant synopsis of post-modern US history, a history that has defined my adulthood in this old world, that I saw as it came to pass. Each item Dr Reich lists could serve as a chapter title in such a text. I seldom suffer awe these days, but I've just had the vague memory of what it's like in reading today's offering! Bravo, Dr Reich!

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Ohio!

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An excellent song by Neil Young & sung with his bandmates Crosy, Stills & Nash! Oh, is that not what you're referring to?

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Giuliani signalled his disregard for the law very early in his tenure as mayor. There was a woman who was going topless in the subways. Not surprisingly, the transit police arrested her. She fought it in court. The head of the subway system opined that it "could lead to a mis-adventure in a subterranean passageway." The courts held in her favor, that she did, in fact, have the legal right to go topless in the subway. Giuliani ordered the transit police to arrest her anyway. Apparently when people talk about "law and order" that doesn't actually mean that they respect the law.

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Hey Michael, that's a regular Republican thing and has been going on for years. They break the law or even make laws that are illegal just to see which ones they can get away with and they get away with a lot of them. Giuliani did his work with and for Trump knowing it was illegal, hoping if Trump was able to steal the election, Giuliani would never be held accountable. There is still some luck left because Trump was stopped at least then, and Giuliani has or will be soon indicted. He has already admitted to lying. I am guessing he like Trumpety Doo Dah hopes Trump will get to be president again and Rudi will get a pardon. Trump was able to pardon all kinds of guys who helped him steal the 2016 election while he claims they were innocent. A whole lot of people believe their Baby Donnie because they are choosing to be either ignorant of or oblivious to what Trump is and what he is doing. It is a choice on their part. Fox can start the brainwashing and manipulation, but they have to agree. Then there's Texas and the rest of the Confederacy that passes laws they know are illegal, but do it anyway, then go to the Supreme Court conservatives to make it all OK for them to do as much harm as they can to their own citizens and some people who are not. It is disgraceful, and needs to stop, but how? Even the people of those states don't really get a say with the gerrymandering, lying, voter suppression and the rest. to continue with it, and they do, willingly.

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Yes. I am guessing you know that Trump's mentor was Roy Cohn, McCarthy's right hand man. Evil of this order requires mentorship. But it also requires popular support and the entire complex of professional / organizational systems for maintaining that support.

It's worth asking why no previously defeated president ever tried insurrection. Presumably, it's because none of them thought they could get away with it. From this we can see a grave deterioration in the overall body politic.

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If that guy doesn't learn to keep his mouth shut very quickly, he's going to be found in contempt of court. Watch this space.

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The Party of Law and Order! Not

S.O.S.

In a Democracy, Law is the foundation for the country. And NO ONE should be above the law. Take it away and everything falls apart. And instead of civilization you get, anarchy, chaos and destruction. The law must always function and apply to everyone equally! In recent times, we have seen how certain people have been above the law.

When the American people see this they start losing confidence in their government and they start questioning whether they are being manipulated by their government!

The completely unhinged FORMER White House occupant who’s shown no respect for the rule of law and a deep craving to lie, steal, and promote conflict and carnage, needs to be convicted for his crimes!

Trust is something that has to be earned and it takes a lot longer to get people to trust you than it takes to lose that trust. Lie to them one time and it’s usually lost. However today because so many politicians lie to their constituents a big division has been created! The American people don’t know who they can trust.

If we are to ever get our country back together our elected officials and appointed officials have got to STOP LYING!! You are the leaders Starting with the President and the SCOTUS.

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“But 1A means you have a Constitutional Right to lie, /even if it destroys the nation./“ So sayeth 1A absolutists. Reminds me of scripture (of course): John 8:44: “You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a murderer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and *the father of the lie*.”

The psychological Venn diagram between trump (and other politicians) and the Devil is a perfect circle. Cunning pathological narcissists.

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No First Amendment right to commit perjury, to wrongfully threaten, to defame, to say "fighting words" etc.

To ask someone to switch votes, intimidate voters, set up a conspiracy....

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Yet some absolutists insist that advocating all those things is protected, because if people act on it, that’s their problem, not yours. Nonsense of course, but they vehemently argue against any limits.

What is just as nonsensical to me is that anyone even seriously wonders if tfg could “win” the next election. Perhaps the D’s actually want him to run, betting they can defeat him. Dangerous is not a strong enough word.

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Some leaders have opined "Americans cannot tolerate the pain of the truth". Are they right or wrong?

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Apparently some people can't, but I believe the vast majority of us can, & in fact, we yearn for the truth that we often don't get from government & the media. It is their hiding or misrepresenting the truth as well as not holding criminals & traitors accountable that has brought about such cynicism of both.

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Ayn Rand - the root of all evil today

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Love of money.

The Constitution references the original sin of slavery. Property. A small minority of neo Confederates control the modern Republican Party. Rand's "objectivism" was just a rationalization for their BS.

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Yes, weird how Republicans and Democrats switched places politically. The broadcaster Adam Curtis came out with a fascinating documentary a couple of years back about the evil influence of people such as Rand and Hayek, and how their philosophy went to influence such figures as Thatcher and Reagan. As Shakespeare put it, "the evil men do lives after them" though not sure there was any good interred with THEIR bones...

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And her arrogance was through the roof, looking down on those who were too insipid to follow her “philosophy”. Yup, yup, yup. That’s Trump.

He actually reads? Hmmm…that’s a new one.

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It's more likely he has things read to him. I wonder who read his bedside book of Hitler's speeches to him. He got them down pat!

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Excellent list of criminal activity of our leaders and "models." My passion is to write about the #ClimateEmergency. As corporations and politicians jump on the technology bandwagon, the necessary leap is ignored, behavioral. If we don't change our behavior, our time on Earth will have been needlessly short.

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Hi Geoffrey, should we plant more trees as a carbon sink?

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That's part of it, as long as they are suitable & native to the area, but that's not nearly enough. Stop cutting & burning down the forests we already have. Stop using fossil fuels. Be much more fuel efficient & conserve more. Stop using plastic. Stop eating meat. Reduce land used to raise livestock & their feed. Stop constructing with concrete, & using concrete or asphalt for pavement. Consume less. Reproduce less. Ditch industrial agriculture in favor of regenerative organic farming. Stop using pesticides, poisons, chemicals & radiation. Stop dumping into our oceans. Tighten regulations against corporations. Assess triple damages for the release of toxins into the environment. Raise the gasoline tax by $1 per gallon. Have extra taxes on meat & plastic. Adopt pricing on greenhouse gases.

There is so much that can & should be done, but corporatists flood the government, preventing anything meaningful that comes anywhere near the scale that's needed, & corporate profits continue to be prioritized over the sustained inhabitability of our planet.

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When lumber is not burned, it becomes a carbon sink. Plastic is a carbon sink when properly recycled. I installed plastic deck boards. Gasoline should have a high carbon tax. Meat substitute hamburgers are tasty and healthier. Fish farming is successful. Asphalt roads can be coated with reflective paint. Align profitability with sustainability.

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Not sure where you got the idea that plastic is a carbon sink. Plastic deck boards sound like a bad idea to me. Unfortunately, the vast majority of plastic is not being recycled, and, since it's a petroleum product, & plastic has become ubiquitous in land & ocean, where it kills many sea animals that consume it or get caught in it, it doesn't really decompose, & microplastic is present in most of our bodies, plastic is a net minus for the environment, a HUGE minus!

Farmed fish isn't as healthy as their wild counterparts, & provide some environmental problems of their own.

I prefer paving with solar panels as they do some places in Europe, although I suppose it's quite expensive.

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Plastic is made from carbon based polymers are derived from petroleum which comes from dead carbon based organic material buried millions of years ago. Hence it is a carbon sink. The problems with it you mention Mr. Ramirez. Trex boards use recycled plastic film and reclaimed sawdust. No maintenance is required. Trex boards are carbon sinks. Farmed fish may offer equal amounts of protein as meat the production of which may emit less greenhouse gases. Cool pavement coating reflects a higher portion of the sunlight that hits it, hence the asphalt absorbs less heat.

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founding
Aug 4, 2023·edited Aug 4, 2023

Denny Hastert's pedophilia & Ted Stevens' corruption should also have gotten mention (even if the latter's conviction was later overturned): Hastert was the highest-ranking elected official in U.S. history to serve a prison sentence & Stevens was the longest-serving U.S. Senator to have ever lost a bid for re-election.

Lying lies & the lying liars who tell them - and worse ("family values" != ethics).

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Senator Stevens? I thought it was Senator Exxon.

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William, and there's Senator Coal of WV, Sen. Pharma of AZ, Sen. Greed of KY, Sen. J.D. Ignorant of OH, Sen. Whinealot of TX, Sen. Capterville of AL, and Sen. Hurtalotofold of FL. Yeah, we have a lot of those supposedly serving their states when they are really servving themselves.

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You forgot Tubby Innertube.

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I had named him Sen. Capterville because of his messing with the military despite being an ignorant 1st termer, but I like your name better.

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Looks like you've got one up on Trump with giving nicknames to people. Bravo, Ruth!

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Aug 4, 2023·edited Aug 4, 2023

Thank you, Robert.

Sadly I think everyone knows that MOBSTERS, PRIESTS and POLITICIANS exploit rules to the disadvantage of society for the last 10,000 years or more.

THE ONLY SOLUTION, shown by years of studies, IS THAT PREVENTION ONLY COMES WHEN CRIMINALS KNOW THEY WILL BE CAUGHT. (not convicted, just caught)

You should include this #1 important fact in all articles on criminality and rule-breaking

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I have been studying the roll of shame in social interactions. I am finding there is normal healthy event driven shame to teach members how to respect social boundaries in service to keeping the group safe, but there is also perverted unhealthy weaponized shame-cycling that is used for selfish antisocial behaviors against the group.

I think this fits well with this chapter and William’s comment. Thanks to both Robert and William!

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As Welch said to Joe McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

I think one of the problems we face today is that so few of those in power have any sense of decency or shame.

George Santiago and his many obvious and bizarre lies and corruption (and the fact he’s still in office) are just the leading edge of this trend.

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Totally agree. The daily, non-stop lies of our GOP "leaders" in the House are ripping apart respect for truth and the law.

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At long last, I wouldn’t be surprised if Santiago is Santos’s real name. 😜

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It is sad that few Rebuplican candidates for POTUS have the decency and courage to speak the truth about Trump. The republicans are vulnerable should they allow the Trump zealots to nominate their presidential candidate.

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Fear (of Trump and his followers) is the primary motivator for all but one or two of the vast sea of current Republican presidential wannabes.

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They are Chis Cristie, Will Hurd & perhaps Asa Hutchinson.

However, apparently under pressure from his biggest donor, DeSantis just yesterday (I think) finally pushed back on Trump as acting "infantile".

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DeSantis is not a suitable candidate because his agenda is to defeat a fantasy. He has no platform except fear and hate. He does not call out Trump as having led an insurrection. Asa Hutchinson seems best to me. Chris Christie cannot control his eating which worries me.

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We need to fund research into the shame gene: Why is it lacking in certain individuals? Why are those lacking that specific gene still capable of shamelessly shaming others? 🤔🙃

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I am finding (on my own, unofficially) that it comes from cultic grooming that damages our naturally evolved nervous system and creates Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. IMHO, we have an epidemic of CPTSD that is our societal legacy from the “Divide and Conquer” imperialism of the last so many thousand years. We are all just trying to survive the short term in these viscous cycles of authoritarianism.

In other words, it doesn’t have to be this way! There is such a thing as “the Common Good!”

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Check out the MMPI. The Internalized Shame Scale (ISS) as a reliable valid instrument for both clinical and nonclinical population.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/j020v14n01_07

https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/sbp/sbp/2016/00000044/00000011/art00002

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Thank you, but I no longer have subscriptions to academic resource sites, although I probably read those pieces when I did. These days my information comes from my own healing resources that are more cutting edge, such as Internal Family Systems Model-Therapy (releasing internalized shame), Emotional Intelligence (since shame is an emotion), and general cult recovery. Also, the book “The Horse, The Wheel and Language” by an inter-disciplinarian archaeologist, David Anthony, about the prehistoric spread of the proto-Indo-European language and cultures has validated many of my theories about origins of the weaponization of shame that is used by authoritarian cults to attract and trauma-bond their members.

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dnkarr, I am at least as concerned about why people are drawn to and vote for or choose to support such shameless people. It happens a lot and has for a long time too. What is gained from giving our loyalty to such undeserving people?

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What I would like most is being able to identify psychopaths early before they get to the highest levels of government, military, corporations & media to prevent them from reaching the top.

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William, would you go so far to say that it's just human nature to find the loopholes. We all do it -- some to greater degrees. Therefore, laws are there to restrain. Then , to Robert's point, the laws get more and more detailed. Without changing human nature, is there any way out of it--constantly defining the loopholes and punishing those who go too far?

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"Being caught" repeated studies show. That costs money and the GOP refuses to make that happen. Why? Their super-rich buddies DON'T WANT TO BE CAUGHT, and they are very very expensive to convict. Thus the GOP wants to defund the IRS.

THE MAIN PROBLEM WITH AMERICA TODAY IS THE GOP DESPERATE TO GRAB POWER USING CRIMINAL MEANS.

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