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Author: Robert Reich

The Texas Freeze: How the rich use an ideology of Wild West individualism to exploit the working class

Texas has long represented a wild west individualism that elevates personal freedom – like the freedom to freeze – above all else. The state’s prevailing social Darwinism was expressed most succinctly by the mayor of Colorado City, who accused his constituents – trapped in near sub-zero temperatures and complaining about lack of heat, electricity and drinkable water – of being the “lazy” products of a “socialist government,” adding “I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout!” and predicting “only the strong will survive and the weak will perish”. Texas has the third-highest number of billionaires in...

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Guardians of the Greed: Wall Street’s newfound concern about democracy is only motivated by profits

The sudden lurch from Trump to Biden is generating vertigo all over Washington, including the so-called fourth branch of government, CEOs and their army of lobbyists. Notwithstanding Biden’s ambitious agenda, dozens of giant corporations have said they will not donate to the 147 members of Congress who objected to the certification of Biden electors on the basis of Trump’s lies about widespread fraud, which rules out most Republicans on the Hill. After locking down Trump’s account, social media giants like Twitter and Facebook are policing against instigators of violence and hate, which hobbles Republican lawmakers trying to appeal to...

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Broken Windows: The willingness of our society to look the other way invites more stones to be thrown

Most of the 74,222,957 Americans who voted to reelect Donald Trump – 46.8 percent of the votes cast in the 2020 presidential election – don’t hold Trump accountable for what he has done to America. Their acceptance of Trump’s behavior will be his vilest legacy. Nearly forty years ago, political scientist James Q. Wilson and criminologist George Kelling observed that a broken window left unattended in a community signals that no one cares if windows are broken there. The broken window is thereby an invitation to throw more stones and break more windows. The message: Do whatever you want...

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Accountability for an Attempted Coup: The culpability of Trump and his GOP allies is beyond dispute

Call me old-fashioned, but when the president of the United States encourages armed insurgents to breach the Capitol and threaten the physical safety of Congress, in order to remain in power, I call it an attempted coup. The rampage Last week left five dead, including a Capitol Hill police officer who was injured when he tangled with the pro-Trump mob. We’re fortunate the carnage wasn’t greater. That the attempted coup failed shouldn’t blind us to its significance or the stain it has left on America. Nor to the importance of holding those responsible fully accountable. Trump’s culpability is beyond...

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Why a return to “normal” would be disastrous for America, normal gave us Trump

“Life is going to return to normal,” Joe Biden promised on November 26 in a Thanksgiving address to the nation. He was talking about life after COVID-19, but you could be forgiven if you thought he was also making a promise about life after Trump. It is almost impossible to separate the two. To the extent voters gave Biden a mandate, it was to end both scourges and make America normal again. Despite COVID’s grim resurgence, Dr. Anthony Fauci – the public health official whom Trump ignored and then muzzled, with whom Biden’s staff is now conferring – sounded...

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The challenge of healing a nation that insists on remaining wounded

It’s over. Donald Trump is history. For millions of Americans – a majority, by almost 5m popular votes – it’s a time for celebration and relief. Trump’s cruelty, vindictiveness, non-stop lies, corruption, rejection of science, chaotic incompetence and gross narcissism brought out the worst in America. He tested the limits of American decency and democracy. He is the closest we have come to a dictator. Democracy has had a reprieve, a stay of execution. We have another chance to preserve it, and restore what’s good about America. It will not be easy. The social fabric is deeply torn. Joe...

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