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In The Public Interest

How will he ‘Make America Great Again’?

Donald Trump’s now ubiquitous slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is often chanted at rallies, but rarely scrutinized in public discourse. What era in America’s past is he referring to when he says “again”?

Americans need single payer health coverage

Shernoff, Bidart and Echeverria: lawyers for the people

I first heard about William M. Shernoff in the mid-1970s when he was pioneering a field of law known as insurance bad faith litigation. That bad faith occurs when insurance companies deny legitimate claims or try to use deceptive fine print clauses to escape policy coverage. He was starting to collect both compensation for his clients and large punitive damages when the evidence showed insurance companies were imposing these abuses on many thousands of their customers.

What is stalling wrongful injury lawyers?

Up against four decades of megacorporate erosion of wrongfully injured Americans’ access to our courts, trial lawyers are wondering what use is left of the Seventh Amendment, our constitutional right to trial by jury?

Look for rate cuts in auto insurance

In falsely bragging about the alleged benefits to the middle class from the tax law enacted by the Republicans last month, the Trumpsters neglected to give high visibility to the state regulators who must require utility and insurance companies to pass savings from the tax cuts on to their consumers.

While some regulated utility companies (gas, electric and telephone) did announce that they would be reducing rates for consumers, others seem to be waiting for state regulators to push them. The insurance companies in particular seem to be in need of a nudge.

Obama’s silence must delight Trump

Former President Barack Obama continues to mystify his supporters. He is watching his successor tear down what they see as his administration’s hard-earned initiatives to protect the people’s health, safety and economic well-being, while twisting Washington toward more coddled, tax-subsidized corporatism. Yet our former president mostly remains quiet on matters of substance, providing no powerful voice for Americans to rally around.

The corporate drive to eliminate buying with cash

Over a decade ago, the clerk at the FedEx counter said to one of our interns, “Sorry, we’re not taking cash or checks, only credit cards.”

Since then, the relentless intensification of coercive commercialism has been moving toward a cashless economy, where all consumers are incarcerated within a prison of corporate payment systems from your credit/debit cards to your mobile phone and very soon facial recognition.

“Terrific!” say those consumers for whom convenience and velocity of transactions are irresistible.

The rule of power over the rule of law

Me Too is producing some results, at long last. Victims of sexual assault by men in superior positions of power are speaking out. Big time figures in the entertainment, media, sports and political realms are losing their positions — resigning or being told to leave. A producer at “60 Minutes” thinks Wall Street may be next.

Sexual assaults need stronger sanctions. Only a few of the reported assaulters are being civilly sued under the law of torts. Even fewer are subjects of criminal investigation so far.

Public cynicism enables costly political hypocrisy

The political hypocrisy of crony capitalism –  touting market capitalism while making taxpayers fund corporate welfare – is a rare and unfortunate case of bipartisan consensus. Republicans openly embrace it, but many Democrats also fall prey to government-guaranteed corporate capitalism when they believe it to be politically expedient.

Maybe these examples will get you steamed enough to tell your members of Congress, “Enough already!”

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.