Category Archives: Commentary

Why do Europeans live longer than Americans?

Over a generation ago, in a more equal United States, no one had to ask that question.

Demographers looking back—years from now—on America’s annual mortality rates are going to find an asterisk on the years 2020 and 2021. The text behind that asterisk is going to give the reason why so many more Americans died in those particular years than the years right before. Continue reading

Reconciling profit and morality

After the corporate plunder during the pandemic, it’s worth remembering the ‘B Corporations’ that serve a different purpose.

Is “corporate ethics” an oxymoron? Do you have to be a jerk to be a successful CEO? Is exploitation the only path to profit? Continue reading

COVID funds spent on police and prisons

Systemic racism and weak movement politics allow states and cities to spend relief funds on police and jails.

The health and financial impacts of the covid pandemic have been enormous. More than 42 million people have been infected and 679,000 have died in this country. Individuals, businesses and every level of government have suffered as they lost income and revenue. Many workers are unemployed and certain sectors of the economy still suffer disproportionately. There is an easy case to make in favor of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) which was passed in order to relieve these many crises. Continue reading

A question for so-called Democratic ‘moderates’: Have you no shame?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has only a three-vote Democratic margin in the House, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has no margin in the 50-50 Senate—meaning Vice President Kamala Harris to break any tie vote when it comes to passing progressive legislation. The result, understandably, is that the Democrats have to use the reconciliation process to get their entire agenda approved because Republicans won’t support anything. Continue reading

Unemployment insurance isn’t holding back the economy, inequality is.

Ending enhanced unemployment benefits didn’t get people back to work. It just made them poorer.

An estimated 9 million Americans got the rug pulled out from under them over Labor Day weekend as enhanced pandemic federal unemployment benefits expired, leaving millions of families in the lurch during a record-breaking season for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Continue reading

“It Can’t Happen Here,” Down Under Edition

Clever tweets tend to morph in content and meaning over time. I don’t know where this one originated, and I’ve edited it to taste as people will do with such things, but I’m sure you’ll get where it’s going. Continue reading

The real crime that Gen. Milley exposed

Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley stepped outside the realm of his constitutional power to prevent Donald Trump from starting nuclear war with China or Iran. It was definitely unconstitutional and probably illegal. But he’s not the true villain in this story; the true villain is almost never mentioned in the press. Continue reading

Constitution Day 2021: It’s time to make America free again

The Constitution of the United States represents the classic solution to one of humankind’s greatest political problems: that is, how does a small group of states combine into a strong union without the states losing their individual powers and surrendering their control over local affairs? Continue reading

From the ‘Iron Wall’ to the ‘villa in the jungle’: Palestinians demolish Israel’s security myths

Twenty-five years before Israel was established on the ruins of historic Palestine, a Russian Jewish Zionist leader, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, argued that a Jewish state in Palestine could only survive if it exists “behind an iron wall” of defense. Continue reading

The only way to effectively counter terror is to end war

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was among a small group of U.S. citizens who sat on milk crates or stood holding signs across from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Manhattan. We had been fasting from solid foods for a month, calling for an end to brutal economic warfare waged against Iraq through the imposition of U.N. sanctions. Each Friday of our fast, we approached the entrance to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations carrying lentils and rice, asking the U.S. officials to break our fast with us, asking them to hear our reports, gathered after visiting destitute Iraqi hospitals and homes. On four successive Friday afternoons, New York police handcuffed us and took us to jail. Continue reading

Our gods have no heads

We’re on a planet-sized haunted hayride to Armageddon, and no one is driving. Continue reading

Spreading vaccine misinformation is dangerous and wrong

People can disagree about vaccine mandates, but the science on vaccines is clear: They’re safe and effective.

In the late 19th century, people protested against mandatory smallpox vaccines. Despite them, today we live in a world without smallpox. Continue reading

Following Afghanistan defeat: Can EU win its ‘independence’ from the US?

Suddenly, the idea put forth by French President, Emmanuel Macron, late last year does not seem so far-fetched or untenable after all. Following the US-NATO hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan, European countries are now forced to consider the once unthinkable: a gradual dismantling from US dominance. Continue reading

The transition to oligarchy explains why threats of violence are epidemic in America

I’m sitting in my home office working on the next morning’s Daily Rant when I hear what sounded like a man in my driveway yelling, at the top of his voice, “You f*cking c*nt!” and other female-specific obscenities. Walking to the window, I saw a guy in his 40s, red-faced, giving my wife the finger with both hands and cursing her out as he climbed into his car and squealed out of the driveway. Continue reading

9/11: The day before

Monday, September 10, 2001 was, for many people, just another beginning of the work week. For this reporter, I had just returned to Washington on September 9 from a previous week’s speaking engagement in Helsinki. I vividly recall that just after my flight took off from JFK Airport in New York, the plane flew just south of the southern tip of Manhattan. I had a picture postcard view of the World Trade Center towers, which were brilliantly reflecting the setting sunlight from the west. I recall thinking to myself that those two buildings represented one of the greatest marvels of modern construction. Little did I realize that in less than 48 hours, those gleaming buildings would be replaced by a gigantic heap of rubble, office furniture, and, most grotesquely of all, human remains. Continue reading

Prescription drug prices: Politicians are all talk, no action

On July 26, 2020, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order under which the US government’s Medicare Part D program would have negotiated lower prescription drug prices based on an “International Price Index.” Continue reading

As war keeps poisoning humanity, organizing continues to be the antidote

In the long run, peace activism is essential for overcoming militarism. And organizing is what makes that possible.

Last weekend, U.S. corporate media continued a 20-year repetition compulsion to evade the central role of the USA in causing vast carnage and misery due to the so-called War on Terror. But millions of Americans fervently oppose the military-industrial complex and its extremely immoral nonstop warfare. Continue reading

Congress—collectively less than an inkblot

Bruce Fein, constitutional law specialist who has testified before Congress approximately 200 times, calls Congress “an inkblot.” Let’s see if he is exaggerating. Continue reading

9/11 and the politics of fear and self-preservation

We will either be remembered as a country that took freedom and liberty for all seriously or we will be remembered as a nation of cowards who, driven by fear, were willing to deprive this group, then that group, of their freedom—before losing that freedom entirely.

The 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001, is a particularly somber one, not just because of the horrific nature of events of that day reaching its second-decade milestone, but because of how little we seem to have learned in that amount of time. Continue reading

Behind every dark cloud of terrorism, there’s a silver lining for the wealthy

On this 20th anniversary of 9/11, the rich keep getting richer, always calculating how to squeeze more cash from calamity.

Among the many television specials marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11, one that stood out was last week’s two-hour edition of public television’s Frontline, “America After 9/11.” Continue reading

Passing the torch

The baby-boom generation is ending its lap in the human race, and the Fridays-for-future generation is beginning its run. Generational shifts of power are symbolized by the image of passing the torch, but now what the older has to pass on to the younger seems not a torch but a time bomb, a legacy of crises. Continue reading

Time to end the Medicare Advantage scam

Over 100 Democratic lawmakers last week introduced legislation to lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60. There is one small problem that needs fixing, though: so-called “Medicare Advantage.” Continue reading

9/11 at 20: Two decades of missed opportunities

For just a fraction of what we’ve spent on militarization these last 20 years, we could start to make life much better.

Twenty years have now passed since 9/11. Continue reading

Happy 20th anniversary. Guess what your gift is?

Twenty years after the 9/11 attacks, the US government is finally—well, probably, kinda sorta—ending its lost war with Afghanistan, drawing down its presence in Iraq, and reducing the heat of its “global war on terror” from a rolling boil to hot-tub temperature. Continue reading

The rise of the security-industrial complex from 9/11 to COVID-19

What a strange and harrowing road we’ve walked since September 11, 2001, littered with the debris of our once-vaunted liberties. We have gone from a nation that took great pride in being a model of a representative democracy to being a model of how to persuade a freedom-loving people to march in lockstep with a police state. Continue reading

The world’s deadliest terrorist group: Notes from the Edge of the Narrative Matrix

The CIA just casually discussed sinking a boat full of Cuban refugees and planting bombs in Miami and blaming Castro, but you’re bat shit crazy if you suspect such agencies may have had similar discussions about other geostrategic situations and decided to go through with it. Continue reading

Democrats, abortion and phony politics

Democratic party leadership are as uninterested in fighting for abortion rights as they are in addressing anything else their members need and want.

Most leftists in this country still remain loyal to the Democratic Party despite decades of deception, overt collusion with ruling class interests, and support of U.S. imperialism. The Democrats use a variety of means to keep the support of millions of people who yearn for something other than the excuses and double dealing they are constantly offered. Continue reading

Abortion bounty hunters in Texas are not “whistleblowers”—they’re cruel vigilantes

Calling those who exploit this law "whistleblowers" is a way to turn the true meaning of whistleblowing on its head. We might as well have history books referring to enforcers of the Fugitive Slave Act as "good Samaritans," or monitors of Jim Crow compliance as "civic activists."

One of the many preposterous claims coming from supporters of the vicious new Texas law against abortion is that bounty hunters—standing to gain a $10,000 reward from the state—will somehow be “whistleblowers.” The largest anti-abortion group in Texas is trying to attach the virtuous “whistleblower” label to predators who’ll file lawsuits against abortion providers and anyone who “aids or abets” a woman getting an abortion. Continue reading

Protect workers from this heat

As temperatures rise, we need to stop corporate lobbyists from blocking common sense rules to keep workers safe.

Corporate acolytes and right-wing moralists constantly preach to laboring stiffs about the uplifting dignity of work. Continue reading

Battle rages to pass $3.5 trillion progressive agenda

With the Labor Day holiday over and Congress returning to Washington, the rush is on to pass the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill which is the vehicle for the bulk of President Joe Biden’s progressive domestic agenda. Standing in the way are so-called “centrist” Democrats like Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who are acting as the main opposition to the plan to shift the economy in a pro-people direction. Continue reading

Refugee ancestors

Listen to the news this week, and it’s full of stories of Afghan refugees, and stories about Vietnamese refugees half a century ago, along with refugees from Latin America being beaten back at the Mexican border with Guatemala, and the impending wave of refugees that may soon be flowing from places like Madagascar, where climate chaos has ensured that the crops no longer grow. Continue reading

Is America doomed? Or is this just a huge opportunity for the progressive agenda?

Some Americans feel like we’re living through a “last days” biblical Revelation kind of scenario. Continue reading