The smallest and most powerless have been the biggest victims of COVID-19 in America

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

In 1985, Sting released a song in which he hoped “the Russians love their children too.” At the time, we were at the height of the Cold War. Glasnost had yet to take hold, and with the aggressive posturing on both sides of the Atlantic, we legitimately feared for the survival of the human species. Sting, however, didn’t buy the demonization of the Soviets. How could they want to destroy the world, he reasoned, because they must love their children as we do.

Nowadays though, it is not the Russians whose love for their children I wonder about. Instead, it is our American children, imprisoned in their homes to protect older folks from a pandemic, being left a world that we have used and abused. …

He seems like a nice guy, but is that what we need today?

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President Barack Obama nominating Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. By The White House. Wikipedia.

Like most progressives, I nurture an enduring resentment over the theft of Barack Obama’s appointment to the Supreme Court in 2016. I must admit that news of Antonin Scalia’s death took my breath away, and I briefly fantasized about a progressive Supreme Court majority.

Even though Obama nominated DC Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland to Scalia’s Supreme Court vacancy in February 2016, a full 269 days prior to the 2016 election, Mitch McConnell and his Republican henchmen refused to grant Garland even a hearing, claiming falsely that a tradition existed of not confirming Supreme Court Justice nominations in an election year. …

How you can reward innovation, energize our economy, and protect our environment all with one simple act

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Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

There’s an old joke I once heard. A helicopter was flying through the fog, completely lost. In an act of desperation, the pilot called down to someone on the ground asking where they were.

“You’re in a helicopter,” the passerby responded.

“Ah, we’re over Microsoft,” the pilot exclaimed.

Puzzled, the passenger asked “how do you know that?” The pilot explained that whenever you ask anything of Microsoft, technically they’re correct, but they’re never of any help.

That joke probably suffered in the retelling, but it joins my physician jokes (what do you call the physician who graduated last in his class in medical school? Doctor) and my Democratic party jokes (as Will Rogers said, I’m not a member of an organized political party, I’m a Democrat) to express my frustration with flawed institutions I am forced to rely upon. …

Is America doomed to also-ran status?

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Shanghai at night. Photo by Li Yang on Unsplash

Back in the early 1990s, when I was a much younger man, while working as a Congressional staffer in Washington, I witnessed a hearing that has vividly stayed with me since then. In an early morning meeting, the committee my boss served on heard from experts on American competitiveness. After hearing from one witness after another that America was doomed to fall behind Japan, one of the members verbalized what many of us were feeling at the time: “when I woke up this morning, I was in a pretty good mood.”

That morning, we left the hearing room feeling down and discouraged. Of course, we could not know what was about to occur. Within months of that hearing in 1991, the United States would start a revolution in many respects as disruptive as the invention of the printing press. The internet and technology revolution of the era would launch the longest recorded economic expansion in the history of the United States until July 2019, almost doubling the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 1991 through 2000 with an average growth rate of 3.85 …

Hint: It ain’t pretty

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By Phil Roeder, Wikipedia.

Sometimes, an article says as much about the author as it does about its subject-matter. A case in point is the column published in the Wall Street Journal written by Joseph Epstein. And what it says about him, and the editorial board of the Journal, isn’t pretty.

To be fair, I had never heard of Epstein until I saw critical tweets on Twitter. I couldn’t believe what people were saying, so I had to follow the link and read the column myself. If anything, the tweets were tame.

For those of you who missed it, Epstein argued in the Journal, that Dr. Jill Biden, who legitimately earned a doctorate at a legitimate American research university, should not call herself “doctor.” Most of the tweets focused on the blatant misogyny displayed by Epstein, questioning the earned qualifications of a woman when he would likely raise no such objections for a man. He also disrespected Dr. Biden, calling her “kiddo,” and concluded by telling her that she should be satisfied being the First Lady rather than pursuing her own career. …

And what they tell us about what should be Biden’s priorities

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Photo by Stephen Mayes on Unsplash

It appears that the Supreme Court has finally put to bed the absurd claims of Trump and his supporters that Joe Biden did not win the election. Thank Goodness for that. Settling the legal questions does not unfortunately reduce the anger of Trump’s most die-hard supporters, who engaged in violent confrontations over the weekend. So much for Antifa being the problem.

Certainly, the people who continue to openly fight Biden’s inevitable ascension to the presidency are the nuttiest of MAGAers. It is shocking to realize how much of the Republican establishment was afraid of this small but vocal group, backed up as they are by Trump’s Twitter feed. Indeed, 120 Republican members of Congress, a solid majority of their conference, signed on to an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to invalidate the votes of millions of people in four states, including my home state of Michigan. As far as I’m concerned, Republicans have now lost all claims on patriotism and moral superiority. …

Our system needs reform, but some things work surprisingly well

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Election day in Iowa, 2020. By Phil Roeder, Wikipedia.

In his classic text, Democracy in America, Alexis de Toqueville wrote about American individualism, describing it as “self-interest, properly understood.” It’s amazing to think that a 19th century aristocratic French diplomat in the 1830s could have understood us so well.

De Toqueville was not a fan of individualism per se, but he marveled at how Americans as individualists could work together in a way that perpetuated a civil society. He admired our civic organizations, our local governments, our lack of central authority, a seemingly disorganized mess somehow working together.

Much of our system is set up to harness individual self interest in a way that it advances the common good. Indeed, this philosophy is a central tenet to capitalism itself, the “invisible hand” Adam Smith described. …

It was never about Joe Biden

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

After the election, some commentators were quick to point out that Joe Biden is likely the only Democrat who could have defeated Trump. After all, the results were far closer in key states than the recent polls had led us to believe.


Defeating Trump, after all, was a national emergency. All hands had to be on deck. Thank God he was defeated. Could we have risked any other result with any other candidate?

To be sure, after running a mediocre primary campaign, Biden ran a nearly flawless general election campaign. The task Biden had, however, was easier than Trump’s. Trump was behind the entire campaign. Biden had to simply not make any mistakes and he would be elected. …

The pandemic once again reveals one of the truisms of American life: political power is what matters

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Photo by David Veksler on Unsplash

So once again our lives are thrown into chaos with my grandson’s school closing again. He is now expected to do his kindergarten schoolwork online, a tall order for a five-year old. Where he once was excited to learn, couldn’t wait to go to school, now he dreads the online meetings he has to attend.

If it seems that he’s a little young to be getting burned out, you’re right. But online schooling is no substitute for young children, for whom playing with other kids is their primary means to learn. Depriving them of that interaction is seriously harmful, and we will be dealing with the ramifications of these lost years far into the future. …

A legislative strategy for Joe Biden

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Photo by Chris Briggs on Unsplash

For the past few years, Democrats have been completely outmaneuvered by Republicans. Don’t believe me? Consider that in the last fifty years, Democrats have nominated and confirmed only four Supreme Court Justices. Despite losing the popular vote in 6 of the last 7 elections, Republicans have appointed 15 of the last 19 Supreme Court Justices. Legislatively, we’re getting killed.

I would argue that the key moment this trend started was under the leadership of Tip O’Neill (D-MA). According to his autobiography Man of the House, then-Speaker O’Neill believed Americans would rebel against the drastic cuts in services proposed by then-President Ronald Reagan. As a result, he and the Democratic-controlled House passed Reagan’s budget package. …


Michael Greiner

Mike is an Assistant Professor of Management for Legal and Ethical Studies at Oakland U. Mike combines his scholarship with practical experience in politics.

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