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In The Public Interest

Can the world defend itself from omnicide?

Notice how more frequently we hear scientists tell us that we’re “wholly unprepared” for this peril or for that rising fatality toll? Turning away from such warnings may reduce immediate tension or anxiety, but only weakens the public awareness and distracts us from addressing the great challenges of our time, such as calamitous climate change, pandemics, and the rise of a host of other self-inflicted disasters.

Here are some warnings about rising and looming risks.

Detecting what unravels our society — bottom up and top down

The unraveling of a society’s institutions, stability and reasonable order does not sound alarms  to forewarn the citizenry, apart from economic yardsticks measuring poverty, jobs, wages, health, savings, profits and  other matters economic.

A clarion call for our country’s pillars to demand justice

It is time for an urgent clarion call. Given the retrograde pits inhabited by our ruling politicians and the avaricious overreach of myopic big-business bosses, the self-described pillars of our society must step up to reverse the decline of our country. Here is my advice to each pillar:

The destructive power trips of Amazon’s boss

For his smallish stature, Amazon Boss Jeff Bezos has a booming, uproarious laugh. Unleashed during work days, its sonic burst startles people, given it comes from as harsh and driven a taskmaster as exists on the stage of corporate giantism.

Is Bezos outward giddiness a worrisome reflection of what he’s feeling on the inside? Is he laughing at all of us?

Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions

The hype and unsubstantiated hope behind the self-driving car movement continues unabated, distracting from addressing necessities of old “mobilities” such as inadequate public transit and upgrading highway and rail infrastructure.

At a conference on driverless cars sponsored by the George Washington University Law School earlier this month, the legal landscape of unresolved problems and unasked questions were deliberated for a full day.

Trump: Dumping more prosecutors?

The turmoil inside the Trump White House is much more intense than the media is reporting. Palaces of intrigue, under perceived siege by political and law enforcement adversaries, tend to boil inward before they burst outward.

One of the most perilous decisions for Trump is how far will he go in firing prosecutors looking into his murky dealings past and present. Already he has fired former FBI Director James Comey, who just testified before the Senate flanked by several of his loyal FBI agents in the front seats of the hearing room.

Obama: Launch watchdogs in Washington

After eight grueling years in the White House, ex-president Barack Obama looked forward with his wife, Michelle, to a deserved, extended rest and vacation. Nearly five months later, he’s enjoying the company of the rich and famous at their secluded mega-retreats so much that a generally sympathetic media has begun to describe a playboy’s leisure.

End the greedy silence — enough already!

It is time Americans rise up against the corruption, inefficiency, and cruelty of our health care system and tell its corporate captors and Congress — enough already!

For decades other countries have guaranteed universal health insurance for all their people, at lower costs and better outcomes (President Truman proposed it 72 years ago in the United States). When are we going to break out of this taxpayer-subsidized prison built by the giant insurance companies, drug goliaths and monopolizing hospital chains?

The left/right challenge to the failed ‘war on drugs’

More and more conservatives and liberals, from the halls of Congress to people in communities across the country, are agreeing that the so-called “war on drugs” needs serious rethinking.

The losing warfare state

The U.S.A. is still bogged down in Afghanistan (the 16-year occupation is the longest in American history) and in Iraq (since the unconstitutional, illegal invasion of the country 14 years ago).

With about 30,000 poorly equipped fighters, the Taliban has held down a U.S.-equipped and trained Afghan army eight times larger, plus the U.S. forces — fluctuating from 100,000 at its peak to 8,500 now, plus contractors — with advanced air, sea and land weaponry  that is second to none.