In Court, We’re All Abused Like Donald Trump

            At any given time, millions of Americans are involved in either a criminal case or civil lawsuit at some level of the local, state or federal court system. Very few people get to the end of their lives without coming into contact with judges and juries charged with determining the fate of their freedom and savings accounts.             For most people, the legal system feels like a meatgrinder. Cops and officials, paid by you the taxpayer, treat you like dirt. Court fees and lawyers bleed you dry. Your reputation is at risk. So is your sanity. Nothing makes sense. The courts impose a series of annoying and painful experiences that belie the fundamental constitutional guarantees they teach us in school and cast doubt on the assertion that we all enjoy equal justice under the law. Like a surgical procedure, time spent in an American courtroom is best gotten through as fast as possible and quickly forgotten. Never mind full-fledged…
Read More

If Trump Leaned Left, Democrats Would Love Him Too

            If you don’t understand your enemy and their motivations, Sun Tzu counseled, victory will elude you. Part of the reason Biden’s polls are so awful is that Democrats and their supporters don’t have a clue about what is driving Trump and his MAGA movement.             The answer would shock many of them. Republican voters want the same thing as Democrats: a warrior. Republicans don’t much care whether their president or senator or congressman is a decent or law-abiding individual. They just want him to vote for the bills they agree with, and to push like hell to turn them into law.             Evangelical Christians, the bedrock of the GOP base, embodies this seeming paradox. “It is odd,” The New Statesman muses, “to see a man who embodies so many sins—including all seven deadly ones; is there anyone who better exemplifies a noxious combination of pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth?—be so widely embraced by the religious Right.…
Read More

My Stolen Rent Check Shows Why America Is Broken

           When my landlord’s management company informed me that they hadn’t received my rent check, I was surprised. As for most Americans, housing is by far my biggest expense. So of course I noticed when the money vanished from my account. The mystery deepened when I conjured up an image of the canceled check on my bank’s website. There was my check, canceled and endorsed. I sent a screenshot to my management company.             Look closer, they responded. We didn’t cash it. That’s the signature of some random person—not us.             So it was. How could my bank clear a check for thousands of dollars made out to a company like “XYZ Management Corp.” but endorsed by a completely unrelated individual—one who doesn’t work there, natch—like “John Smith”? What were my rights in this situation? The answers to those two questions provide insight into state of a country that has lost its way.             There is a prequel to the…
Read More

Age. Race. Sexual Orientation. Should Political Expression Be a Protected Class Too?

            Your boss can’t fire you because of the color of your skin. He can’t get rid of you because he doesn’t like your religion. Federal law protects you against employment discrimination based on your sex, race, pregnancy status, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, genetic information or (if you are over 40) age.             Should he be able to deprive you of your ability to pay your rent because you’re a Democrat? Or a Republican? Of course not—yet he can. It’s time to add another protected class to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: political expression.             Every year, especially during election years, American employers fire, demote and/or retaliate against loyal workers because they disagree with their constitutionally-guaranteed right to hold a political opinion. While a company may well have a reasonable interest in keeping politics out of the workplace—the owner of a restaurant might not want a waiter to engage in a political debate…
Read More

Criticize Hamas. Criticize Israel 30 Times More.

            It is a truism bordering on a cliché that the Israeli state and Palestinian resistance organizations have inflicted violence upon one another, claiming the lives of thousands of innocent people on both sides. Media coverage of the carnage has been anything but evenhanded, however. Since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, Western media have noted and covered and analyzed attacks against Israelis by groups like the PLO and Hamas in painstaking detail, while almost completely ignoring Israeli attacks against Palestinians—and the oppressive high-tech apartheid system Israel created to oppress millions of Palestinians under military occupation—this despite the fact that the death and trauma toll on the Palestinian side has consistently been many times higher.             For the last seven months, for the first time since the Naqba, Palestinian suffering has finally appeared on the radar of the Western press. As usual, this latest spasm of violence has cost many more Palestinian lives—35,000 in Gaza—than Israeli—1,200 on…
Read More

Palestine Freedom Movement Should Mock Pro-Israel Bullies

            There are more Democrats than Republicans, more liberals than conservatives, more progressives than MAGAs. But you’d never know that from looking at our politics. From abortion to the minimum wage to war, the Right wins the important arguments.             How do they do it? Verbal abuse. Right-wing bullies name-call, they hector, they doxx, they blacklist, they lie. Most of all, they yell. No one’s louder than a conservative barking a talking point. They’re REALLY loud when said talking point makes no sense.             The current discussion about the student protests at American college and university campuses over the U.S.-Israel war against Gaza is a perfect illustration of their tactics.             They also showcase how the Left can expose right-wing bullies as intellectually dishonest, ridiculous and unworthy of serious consideration about important issues. I know, because I deal with these clowns every day.             The first thing to notice is, supporters of Israel have given up trying to justify the…
Read More

This Is a Golden Age of Censorship

            It’s too bad we can’t monetize censorship, because we truly live in a golden age of speech suppression. In this deeply polarized society, the one thing we can all agree upon is that people we disagree with need to shut up.             Officially, freedom of speech is a key commandment in our national civic religion. We love free speech—in the abstract. Nine out of ten Americans told a 2022 Knight Foundation/Ipsos study that “protecting free speech is an important part of American democracy” and that “people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions.” Yay, America!             When people express specific unpopular opinions, not so yay. 70% of respondents to the same study said that, for example, COVID-19 misinformation ought to be banned. Some even called for those who spread it (even though some of it may turn out to be true) to be jailed.             Young people often call for those they disagree with to shut their yaps. A…
Read More

What’s Left 10: Police Who Help People

           It may come as a surprise, especially to conservatives, that the Left believes in law and order. Of course we do. Without it, you can’t have much else.             In November 2001, I went to Afghanistan as a reporter. It felt like the 14th century if the late middle ages took place in an Islamist dystopia and everyone carried an AK-47. To call it a failed state would have been too kind; there were no governmental functions of any sort. There were no paved roads, no operational schools, no reliable form of currency in circulation, not even names for the streets, which was just as well since there weren’t any signs either. When I returned to the United States, interviewers asked me what the people of Afghanistan needed and wanted most. Westerners offered suggestions: elections, a free press, democracy. Afghans actually wanted roads and electricity; they could do the rest. I suggested: law and order. There’s no point building…
Read More

Biden’s Secret Border Agenda: Migrants Fill Our Baby Gap

           I didn’t question the incoming Biden Administration when they rolled back the Trump era’s stricter border control policies in 2021. There’s nothing unusual about reversing a previous president’s approach, especially when he belongs to the other party and the policy in question is roundly criticized. You didn’t have to be a proponent of open borders to feel discomfort about Trump’s zero-tolerance stance toward both economic migrants and political asylum applicants, which led to kids in cages, his draconian family separation policy, which caused nearly a thousand children to get disappeared into the system and were never reunited with their parents, or his Remain in Mexico scheme, which subjected immigration applicants to gang and cartel violence. By the time he left office, Trump’s handling of undocumented people who attempted to cross the U.S.-Mexico border was viewed as inhumane and highly unpopular. As we see so often in American politics, we have gone from one extreme to the other. President Biden…
Read More

What’s Left 9: Foreign Policy Under the Left

            Every country needs a coherent foreign policy. And it’s impossible to overstate the importance of the United States’ military and diplomatic posture.             The U.S. has the world’s second-largest and most sophisticated nuclear arsenal, exclusive comprehensive command over the oceans, perfect strategic geography, has nearly a thousand military bases overseas and is by far the biggest dealer of weapons and ammunition. And it uses them a lot: we have been at war throughout all of our history since independence from Britain.             Backed by this “hard” power, which is used to disrupt and overthrow governments, destroy infrastructure and economies, and generally wreak havoc and mayhem, the U.S. deploys formidable “soft power” via its cultural and linguistic hegemony, which has established English as the world’s lingua franca. It determines whether up-and-coming nations are “permitted” to join the “nuclear club” or whether they can be recognized as sovereign countries. It controls a vast array of intelligence operations (including those purporting to…
Read More
css.php