Sometimes one simply has to stand in awe at the evil genius of Conservative messaging strategists. In some cases, the addition or omission of a single word can change the national debate. Consider the following two statements.

“Schools are teaching about Critical Race Theory.”

“Schools are teaching Critical Race Theory.”

A subtle difference, easy to miss, but with profound implications. The first statement implies that children are being taught history, facts, and figures about a socioeconomic phenomenon. The second implies that children are being indoctrinated with a particular ideology.

When scowling TV anchors keep up a steady drumbeat of alarm…


Image: © Brooke Herbert/The Oregonian

As our country navigates the transition in national leadership, one of the most pressing problems for the incoming administration — and the country at large — is how to heal the deep sociopolitical divisions that have become apparent. Until this is addressed, progress on most other issues will be impeded.

These divides manifest in multiple forms: racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, growing inequality and economic desperation. All of this is further amplified by existential threats like COVID and climate change. At the core, these challenges all revolve around a fundamental fear — a primal fear for one’s survival.

Yet…


Getting right to the point, in regard to taxation and budgeting at the Federal level, common wisdom holds that:

  • When proposing any new Federal program, the first question must be: “How will we pay for it?”
  • (… and its corollary) Any Federal program or initiative is constrained by, and limited to, what funding can be raised through taxation.”

On first glance, virtually everyone affirms this. Yet in thinking it through for only a few seconds, an absurdity becomes apparent: when asked where money originates from, most people will say “It’s printed by the government” (an oversimplification, but close enough.) …


Many of us, especially on the Left, are puzzled and dismayed by the vehemence with which much of Trump’s support base will cling to him despite all of the offenses, outrages, and failures.

There is probably not one simple explanation that accounts for all, but one factor that seems likely: growing up in a household with a cold, uncaring, neglectful, abusive or absent father. This can result in chronic feelings of insecurity, fear, personal inadequacy, and an ongoing-but-futile effort to “please Daddy” and win his approval. It is generally a life-long unresolved trauma.

Many people in positions of leadership and…


attribution: David McNew / Getty

Ever since his win in 2016, Donald Trump and his escapades have been an incessant topic of discussion on talk shows and social media. After the initial shock of his election/selection, many of us on progressive Left comforted ourselves with the idea that once his weaknesses and failures became apparent, and he had done enough damage, the “responsible” leaders of society would step in to remove and replace him.

Much to our confusion and dismay then, three and a half years later, we are still waiting for that to happen. Despite our claims to be one of the most enlightened…


Attribution: Alpha Stock Images — http:/alphastockimages.com

The difficulty in crafting an economic stimulus response to the coronavirus crisis only highlights a contradiction that has always existed in today’s monetary system — yet is rarely acknowledged. Money currently serves two functions that are in opposition. It is both a medium-of-exchange and a store-of-value. The more it is used for one purpose, the less is available for the other.

The money supply underwent a fundamental evolution in 1971 when Richard Nixon formally took the US Dollar off the gold standard, setting the stage for conversion to a pure debt-based fiat currency. Yet most of us, even many economists…


Image from TripAdvisor.com

A popular aphorism cynically holds that “Life is a bitch (i.e. struggle), then you die.” This resonates because most of us are familiar with the suffering that comes from lack or longing, as well as the tension and distress that accompany it. Such tension comes in a myriad of forms. Some of these are emotionally positive: desire, eagerness, anticipation, infatuation, hope. Many others fall on the dark side: jealousy, envy, disappointment, insecurity, feelings of inadequacy, personal failure, unrequited love, FOMO (fear of missing out), despair — sometimes to the point of sparking violence against self, others, or society.

Have you…


Who would have thought that a century ago, a couple of dogs, a buzzer, and a physiologist would uncover and demonstrate the means by which life as we know it can be destroyed?

In seminal experiments conducted around 1901, Russian researcher Ivan Pavlov formally identified and demonstrated a principle known as “classical conditioning” (… seminal to the degree that “Pavlovian” has become a cultural meme.) In behavioral psychology, this kind of conditioning refers to a scenario where a neural stimulus in the external environment is repeatedly associated with a “primary reinforcer” — something the subject naturally desires. …


Image from The Architectural Review

Despite the range and complexity of the challenges facing the modern world, a fundamental illusion exists in the currency of society (in both the literal and figurative sense) that magnifies many if not most social and ecological problems. It lies in the universal medium of exchange known as “money”. Specifically, essential as money has been to the evolution of society, the nature and function of money itself has quietly evolved over the centuries, yet our conceptions of it have remained unconsciously, even superstitiously, stuck in the past.

In brief, money originated as a claim-ticket for items of physical value. Many…


Despite the range of domestic and international challenges currently confronting us as a nation, the recent months have seen an inordinate amount of the nation’s attention taken up by debate over building a wall at our southern border. In its most extreme version, this would be a 30-foot tall concrete barrier, stretching over much if not most of the 2,000 mile long border with Mexico.

The stated rationale for such a wall is to provide a barrier against an alleged relentless flow of drugs, crime, terrorism, and an influx of immigrants purported to overburden our economy and infrastructure. Substantial questions…

Bill Miller

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