It’s interesting to see how easily the public discourse — laughingly so-called — gets hypnotized into non-productive name-calling and paranoia instead of actually attempting a meeting of the minds. It is as if our society has forgotten what it means to bridge differences, and is being run by know-it-alls who have no clue that they have no clue. This column that appeared in the New York Times seems so radical only because there has been no dialogue, only sniping from entrenched positions. From:

Get Radical: Raise Social Security


Published: June 19, 2011

AS a labor lawyer I cringe when Democrats talk of “saving” Social Security. We should not “save” it but raise it. Right now Social Security pays out 39 percent of the average worker’s preretirement earnings. While jaws may drop inside the Beltway, we could raise that to 50 percent. We’d still be near the bottom of the league of the world’s richest countries — but at least it would be a basement with some food and air. We have elderly people living on less than $10,000 a year. Is that what Democrats want to “save”?

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April 7, 2010

This piece is written in an awkward style (one could wish that the author had learned to express himself in shorter, more pungent words and shorter, more coherent sentences) but contains valuable thinking. (I was going to write a long, involved sentence such as fill this piece, but I can’t force myself to continue in that vein.)

You will notice that the author offers no solutions, suggests no likely results of this situation. However, it is worth something to turn one’s thoughts in this direction, if only to get a sense of re-orientation.

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This is a campaign whose time has not quite come — but it’s getting here. The article is titled, “Solution to the Credit Crisis? The Campaign for State-owned Banks,” by Ellen Brown.  Her self-description follows:

Ellen Brown developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her eleven books include Forbidden Medicine, Nature’s Pharmacy (co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker), and The Key to Ultimate Health (co-authored with Dr. Richard Hansen). Her websites are, and

For the article itself, go to

The pathetic thing is, nothing in this column should be news to anybody, and yet much of it will be news to nearly everybody.

I seriously doubt that a people without economic independenceas individuals (or, rather, as families)  can long maintain their political independence, regardless how vigilant they may be. He who holds the purse-strings makes the rules, and most of the American people lost their economic independence – how long ago? Fifty years ago? A hundred? More? And what we had of free government died with John F. Kennedy in 1963, though it took quite a few years for the full extent of the loss to become evident.

Nonetheless, it is worth remembering what we have lost, if only so that we will be able to distinguish reality from puppet-show.

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A friend who lives in Germany sent me this remarkable five-minute talk given by a Canadian girl of 13 to a UN panel meeting in Rio. If you don’t watch many videos, still you should look at this.

Another friend who watched this with me said, “so maybe the children are going to do it after all,” and I said, “maybe.”

Forwarded by a friend, and worth passing on, but with these caveats.

It’s always easier to see what’s wrong than to come upon a reform that won’t make things worse, of course. Clearly you can’t accomplish anything if you don’t know what’ wrong, but lots of times, symptoms get confused with causes, and treating symptoms is a guaranteed way to delay fixing the real problems.

In the health-care debate, for instance, it’s clear enough that medical costs are out of control at least partly because providers and insurers alike know that Uncle Sam is going to pick up much of the tab.

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