Seizing Assets of The Accused Becomes Even Bigger Business Under Trump

Local, state and federal agencies seizing the assets -- money or property -- of individuals accused but not convicted of crimes has become big business -- from $93.7 million in revenue in 1986 to $4.5 billion in 2014 -- and the Trump administration wants to make it even bigger business. He wants to seize the … Continue reading Seizing Assets of The Accused Becomes Even Bigger Business Under Trump

Gerrymandering of Congressional Districts Threatens Democracy

Despite the abysmal popularity of Congress, only eight members lost re-election in 2016. More than nine out of 10 races were not the least bit competitive. The incumbents won overwhelmingly, with margins you would expect in North Korea, Russia or Zimbabwe. Lack of competition has a "seriously corrosive effect on the integrity of democracy...We must … Continue reading Gerrymandering of Congressional Districts Threatens Democracy

Anger and Mourning on the American Right

In "Strangers in the Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right," sociologist Arlie Hochschild probes the emotions of America's conservative base, to understand those who see government as more of a problem than solution, to "build the scaffolding of an empathy bridge." "We, on both sides, wrongly imagine that empathy with 'the other' … Continue reading Anger and Mourning on the American Right

Andrew Jackson a Hero to Trump Supporters

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) describes how Donald Trump supporters in his state and elsewhere harken back to the populism of President Andrew Jackson (in a speech that shows far more policy knowledge than your typical Trump speech). The speech is brimming with resentment at Obama's foreign policy and undefined "elites." And yet he takes a … Continue reading Andrew Jackson a Hero to Trump Supporters

Crazies of the Left and Right Threaten Freedom

A long-time tactic of extremists and terrorists is to put mainstream "moderates" in a constant state of reaction, to essentially eliminate the middle by forcing people to choose between left-wing anarchists (or socialists and communists) engaging in violence to challenge what they perceive as an anti-democratic regime and right-wing fascists engaging in violence to defend … Continue reading Crazies of the Left and Right Threaten Freedom

Descent from Deliberation into Trolling

FB page of a "conservative friend" today has numerous posts from his network ridiculing citizens exercising their constitutional rights as if they have no legitimate reason to protest, defending executive orders that courts have declared illegal, and trading barbs over which political ideology is a mental disorder. His compatriots declare taxation is theft and the … Continue reading Descent from Deliberation into Trolling

America is Downgraded to ‘Flawed Democracy’

"The Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded the United States to a 'flawed democracy,' reflecting record levels of political polarization and a widespread lack of confidence in government. But things may not be as bleak as they appear...Some observers see hope for the future in local, community-oriented efforts to promote civic engagement and a sense of unity. " http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2017/0126/US-no-longer-a-full-democracy-in-2016-Democracy-Index-Where-do-we-go-from-here