Author Archives: Bob Lord

Life in Interesting Times

I’ve mused on these pages before about how it feels in the moment to be part of a society that has lost its collective sanity. Did Germans in the 30’s grasp what was happening, or were they like the proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water?

Are those suffering the curse of “living in interesting times” aware they’ve been cursed?

Reflect for a moment on current events in the country that deems itself exceptional: Continue reading

Just How Unequal Are America’s Major Corporations?

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Pay scales at major U.S. businesses are way out of whack — and that’s just at the ones we know about.

That America’s income distribution has grown dramatically more unequal in the past 40 years is beyond debate. The share of the top 1 percent has doubled since 1980, to over 20 percent of all income.

Could it get any worse? A look at America’s large, privately held corporations suggests it could. Continue reading

One-Time Bonuses, Full-Time Con: Trump’s Tax Cuts Deliver Worker Layoffs

[Note to BfAZ readers: My IPS colleague, Josh Hoxie, teamed up on this piece for The American Prospect. I can’t post more than an intro here, but please click over to their site for the rest of it. Bob]

By Bob Lord and Josh Hoxie

Corporate public relations teams extol bonuses to pump up the Republican re-election effort, but many people will end up unemployed.

You don’t need to follow the president’s Twitter feed to read glowing accounts of the massive tax cuts he championed through Congress late last year. Simply skim the glitzy headlines and press releases coming out of corporate America these past couple months, where CEOs and public relations firms are working overtime to tell you about all the worker bonuses they’re doling out.

Underneath this PR spin is a much more sinister story: Many of these bonuses aren’t what they appear to be: Many of these companies, Walmart included, are actually laying off workers. One devious feature of tax cuts-equal-bonuses messaging is that new tax law isn’t even responsible for many of the bonuses—it could even make such bonuses less likely. The campaign is part of an effort to sway public opinion in favor of Republicans in 2018, so big corporations can take a huge tax cut and run.

Continue Reading at

Incompetence at the D Triple Out Of Touch?

Julia Conley nailed the title on her piece at Common Dreams: From Pushing ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ to Dissing Medicare for All, DCCC Called Out for Sabotaging Bold Demands.

She also did a damn good job writing it.

A few key passages:

“It’s becoming evident that the DCCC—and the billionaire donors and revolving door consultants that make up the Democratic Party establishment—believe Democrats can only take back Congress by running on a watered down message…instead of the basic values of decency and fairness that voters demand,” said Waleed Shahid of Justice Democrats in a statement.

Documents on healthcare messaging that were handed out to House Democrats in the wake of the 2016 election treated universal healthcare as a fringe issue, suggesting that lawmakers are not to entertain Medicare for All as a potential solution to the nation’s high healthcare costs and poor outcomes.

Continue reading

Voters Who Can’t (or Won’t) Think Critically + Unimaginable Greed + Corrupt Politicians = Mass Shootings and Tragic Deaths

American acceptance of gun violence seems a lot like the frog in the pot of boiling water. If the frequency of mass shootings went from 1960 levels to 2018 levels in one year, the reaction by the public and political leaders would have been swift and decisive.

Yet, somehow, a gradual rise in the same degree has taken place, with precious little pushback. Until, of course, clear-thinking high school students started to scream “enough.”

How could this be?

I submit there are three ingredients to the madness.

First, there’s the unmitigated greed of the gun industry and its trade association, the NRA. Gun industry executives and major shareholders by and large are not gun nuts. To them, it’s not really about “freedom” or some bastardized reading of the second amendment or a sick fetish for guns and ammunition. Rather, it’s about money, their love of it, and their willingness to place their avarice above all norms of human decency. They don’t go to shooting ranges on the weekend for the thrill of firing an assault weapon; they go to country clubs to play golf, then to high-end restaurants. Other than the source of their wealth — mass death and destruction — the major shareholders and C suite occupants of gun manufacturers are no different than their counterparts in other industries. And, make no mistake, the NRA represents the gun industry, not hunters and other gun owners. Continue reading

Time For the Two Americas to Divorce?

Divorce in most states, including Arizona, is based on a finding of irreconcilable differences. Ordinarily, the issue is not contested. The spouse who files divorce claims the differences are irreconcilable, and the responding spouse agrees.

Typically, it follows years of bickering, culminating in the inability to agree on just about anything. Quite often, one or both spouses find other potential partners more attractive.

Viewed through that lens, isn’t it high time for the American left and the American right to divorce? Continue reading