Ron Berger — Here we are, more than a year after the November 2016 presidential election, and Democrats are still fighting the last war. In her recently published campaign memoir, What Happened, Hillary Clinton admits to having made some mistakes, but places most of the blame for her loss to Donald Trump on factors external to her campaign: Russian interference, James Comey, slanted news coverage, … Continue reading Divided We Fall: The Fractured Coalition of the Democratic Party
Charles Cottle — The central component of the tax reform plan now in the U.S. Congress is a major corporate income tax cut from 35% to 20%. Critics charge that the plan is primarily a tax giveaway to corporations that will enrich corporate elites even more, increase the national deficit, and pass the costs along to the middle class. As Republicans move toward passage of … Continue reading What is the Relationship between Corporate Tax Rates and Job Growth?
Ron Berger — In the latest issue of The American Prospect, long-time Democratic Party pollster Stanley Greenberg weighs in on what he thinks went wrong with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Greenberg was the lead pollster for the 1992 and 2000 presidential campaigns and a consultant for the 2004 campaign. In his TAP article, he draws upon his experience as a consultant for the 2016 … Continue reading What Went Wrong: One Pollster’s View
Ron Berger — During the 1950s to 1970s, social scientists were interested in the question of “national character,” that is, whether people in a nation could be characterized as having a common sociocultural orientation that structured the way they view the world and that penetrates individual consciousness or personality. Although this line of inquiry fell in disfavor by scholars who felt that the concept lacked … Continue reading Canada and the American Dream
Jeff Berger — Last month, when members of Donald Trump’s business advisory councils—the Strategy & Policy Forum and the Manufacturing Council—started leaving the councils and he finally abandoned them altogether, it reminded me of a theme in my life and in the lives of most Americans. For most of my adult life I have had a love-hate relationship with corporate America and Wall Street. I … Continue reading Reflections on Wall Street and Donald Trump
Jeff Berger, Charles Cottle, Dave Gillespie, John Kozlowicz, and Ron Berger — During the past year contributors to Wise Guys engaged in an impromptu discussion of the limitations of U.S. Constitution. Simultaneously, the political atmosphere across the country stimulated a number of calls for a constitutional convention. The possibility of such an event inched closer to reality in the second week of June 2017 when … Continue reading Should the U.S. Constitution Be Changed? — A Wise Guys Conversation
Ron Berger — We are currently in the midst of a political scandal that has the potential to rival the infamous Watergate scandal of the early 1970s. A political consensus has emerged, based on available information from U.S. intelligence agencies, that Russia hacked email files of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign with the intent of damaging Clinton’s candidacy. Suspicions about something … Continue reading Watergate: The Benchmark Political Scandal
Jeff Berger — Recently I read an article by Sharon Noguchi in my local newspaper, the San Jose Mercury, about teachers helping students to distinguish between fake news and real news. The article focused on teenagers who naively get their news from the internet. The key paragraph in the article reads: “Lessons on fake news fit right into the state’s Common Core State Standards, which encourage … Continue reading Reflections on Fake News
Charles Cottle — In 1992 James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign manager, famously coined the phrase, “The Economy, Stupid.” The phrase went viral as it was transformed into, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Today, in 2017, many observers claim that Carville’s slogan still applies. “It’s (still) the economy, stupid,” a lesson the Democrats failed to remember. Despite the charges of race baiting, misogyny, xenophobia, and all the … Continue reading How Can We Create Jobs?
Ron Berger — Last November Bill McKibben, a leading environmental activist, delivered the inaugural Jonathan Schell Lecture at the New School in New York City. The lecture, which was entitled “On the Fate of the Earth,” was co-sponsored by The Nation Institute and the Gould Family Foundation; and the text of the lecture was adapted for a December 2016 issue of The Nation magazine. McKibben … Continue reading Climate Change and Nonviolent Resistance
Bob Bates — Sociologist Matthew Desmond’s widely acclaimed book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (2016), a study of the city of Milwaukee, pounds at a reader’s emotions until they become raw. Daily struggles and their grinding effects on America’s poor who are forced to rent housing in contexts of landlord neglect of substandard structures will likely make you both nauseated and enraged … Continue reading Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Bob Bates — Most thinking humans for a long time have known an effective societal problem-solving process: (1) identify needs, (2) identify ways these can be met, (3) apply analysis, prioritizing, and strategic planning to deliver solutions, (4) coordinate necessary labor, equipment, and distribution operations to address the problems, and (5) continue follow-up procedures to work out any bugs and improve each part of the … Continue reading How Much Is Enough?
Ron Berger — In his most recent book Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few (2015), Robert Reich aims to explain how “the increasing concentration of political power in a corporate and financial elite…has been able to influence the rules by which the economy runs.” He lays the groundwork for this case by introducing readers to the field that was once called political economy—“the … Continue reading Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few, by Robert Reich
Dave Gillespie — Whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, her nomination is undeniably a milestone in history. Clinton is the first woman ever to win the presidential nomination of a major party. But it’s been 144 years since the first female took the honor of a presidential nomination. That was in 1872. Her name was Victoria Woodhull. The Equal Rights Party chose her. Feminist scholar … Continue reading The Others: They Almost Always Get There First
Ron Berger — I am a sociologist by training and have been thinking about and studying disability as a social phenomenon, not just as an individual experience, for many years. In the tradition of C. Wright Mills, who famously coined the term “sociological imagination,” I have sought to illuminate the ways in which personal troubles are related to public issues. In this article, I highlight … Continue reading Disability in Society: Four Public Agendas
Jeff Berger — In his most recent book Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe (Yale University Press, 2016), James K. Galbraith explains the modern Greek tragedy, which is really the tragedy of Europe that seems to be on a downward slide. Galbraith is a professor of economics at the University of Texas where he became friends with … Continue reading Austerity is a Greek Tragedy
Ellin Jimmerson — Last Thursday, something unusual happened in America. In a country uncomfortable with both political discussions and art which is not decorative, we heatedly discussed a statue. You know the one I’m referencing – the nude statue of presidential hopeful Donald Trump – depicting him as a pompous dictator with no clothes and no testicles and a very, very small penis. Commissioned by the … Continue reading The Emperor Has No Balls: Are the Trump Statues Body Shaming or Legitimate Political Commentary?
Jeff Berger — Outside of California, I don’t think people are aware of the progress the state is making on immigration reform. Recently the Santa Cruz Sentinel published an article by Pauline Bartalone about illegal immigrants in California that was also reprinted in the San Jose Mercury. The article featured the fact that illegal immigrants can now drive legally in California. There are roughly 700,000 … Continue reading Mexican Immigrant Rights in California
Karen McKim — July 4, 3:00 PM – I am running as an independent candidate against an incumbent for county clerk in Dane County, Wisconsin, an office that oversees elections. I wish I had time to blog about my campaign every day. It is more interesting and fun than I’d anticipated. I think it helps that I’m running for no reason other than to promote … Continue reading Travelogue of an Unpolitician: Trying Not to Go Negative