Who was Smedley Darlington Butler, and why is he important?

Many Americans can’t believe that political coups are part of our country’s history—but consider from the Wall Street Putsch of 1933. Never heard of it? It was a corporate conspiracy to oust Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had just been elected president. With the Great Depression raging and millions of families financially devastated, FDR had launched several economic recovery programs to help people get back on their feet. To pay for this crucial effort, he had the audacity to raise taxes on the wealthy, and this enraged a group of Wall Street multimillionaires. Wailing that their “liberty” to grab as much wealth as possible was being …

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Beware a of a Trump Coup!

These mass protests against systemic racism are driving Donald Trump plumb crazy! Of course, that’s a pretty short drive for him. He would be hilarious if his buffoonery was not so dangerous and destructive. For example, he had peaceful protesters gassed, clubbed, and shoved out of the public square across from the White House so he could walk out and pose stone-faced with a Bible, as some sort of political stunt. Especially dangerous, though, is the craven willingness of our top military officials to play along with his infantile attempts to appear manly. When Trump strutted out to do his little Bible photo-op, guess who …

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What does “Small Government” buy us?

Amazingly, America has become a nation of socialists, asking in dismay: “Where’s the government?” These are not born-again Bernie Sanders activists, but everyday people of all political stripes (including previously apolitical multitudes) who’re now clamoring for big government intervention in their lives. Nothing like a spreading coronavirus pandemic to bring home the need that all of us have—both as individuals and as a society—for an adequately-funded, fully-functioning, competent government capable of serving all. Instead, in our moment of critical national need, Trump’s government was a rickety medicine show run by a small-minded flimflammer peddling laissez-fairyland snake oil. “We have it totally under control,” Trump pompously …

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What’s the charitable thing to do about inequality?

Our society has coined expressions like “philanthropist” to encourage and hail people’s charitable spirit. Look on the flip side of that shiny coin of generosity, however, and you’ll find that its base substance is societal selfishness. After all, the need for charity only exists because we’re tolerating intentional injustices and widespread inequality created by power elites. A society as supremely wealthy as ours ought not be relegating needy families and essential components of the common good to the whims of a few rich philanthropists. Yes, corporate and individual donations can help at the margins, but they don’t fix anything. Thus, food banks, health clinics, etc. …

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What’s the gimmick in Trump’s plan to “rescue” the public Postal Service?

One thing we’ve learned for sure this year is that no national crisis is too awful to keep Trump & Company from exploiting it for their plutocratic political purposes. COVID-19 is a God-Awful crisis, but late one night deep inside the White House, a dim bulb flickered in our present president’s head: “Eureka,” Trump exclaimed, “here’s our chance to kill the U.S. Post Office!” Of all the things a president might focus on during a devastating pandemic, hijacking your and my public mail service, bankrupting it, and then privatizing its profitable functions has become a top priority for this brooding madman. Bizarrely, Trump has ranted …

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Don’t shut the post office, expand their services

What’s the matter with the post office? The U.S. Postal Service, I mean—the corporate hierarchy that runs this enormously popular public institution. Yes, I know that U.S.P.S. has lost revenue it traditionally got from first-class mail delivery, but I also know that letter carriers and postal workers have offered many excellent ideas for expanding the services that U.S.P.S. can deliver, thus increasing both revenue and the importance of maintaining these community treasures. Yet, the Postal Board of Governors, which includes corporate interests that would profit by killing the public service, seems intent on—guess what?—killing it. The board’s only “idea” is to cut services and shut …

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