698 Comments

Professor, your work brought us together. And together we stand as one, informed citizens in unwavering support of democracy and the rule of law.

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I add my thanks for Heather's dedication to using her amazing brain, kind heart, and grounded values to produce these Letters, as well as her video chats and "Now and Then" podcast. From her, I've gained a political voice and connected with a wonderful community in this forum to help grow grassroots activism in support of democracy. Like Heather says, "Make your voices heard!"

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I would add to Ellie’s list my thanks for Heather’s optimism! It has sure infected me (or kept me from going over the cliff, as the situation may have been).

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She has been my "rock"!

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Ellie--- this is a perfect day to celebrate Dr. Heather's 3rd Anniversary of LFAA with birthday donations to the Heathersherd organization. Can you post it again?

And is there an address to send checks and birthday cards of gratitude for those who do not want to use their credit cards online?

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Hi Pensa, I can give you that information. Our Giving Circle is called Tending To Democracy and the site is https://www.grapevine.org/giving-circle/1XQhnyD/Tending-to-Democracy. There is a form also posted there for those who do not want to give out credit card information. Please note we are having a virtual "town hall" (David Pepper is dropping by) at 8 p.m. EDT Sunday. The link to RSVP is also on that page.

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Many thanks! I will send a birthday card to honor LFAA with $$!! But that evening I will be fleeing only temporarily to the southernmost tip of the African continent to hug some elephants and anything else that will allow that without eating me up! Art and safaris. And we will be there during a national holiday when all the tribes and the Dutch Afrikaners celebrate their traditions on the same day and honor one another. Should we not strive for that kind of appreciation of diversity in our own country? All colonized countries have a long way to go, but at least some are trying and might show us the way...

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I volunteer at our zoo. Give any elephant an extra hug from me!

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Where do you live -- Twin cities?

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I will do my best to keep Vermont safe and sane for you, until your return!

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Oh, Hope, that would be wonderful, but could you include the entire country and all its' territories? Or maybe the whole Substack would chip in? ;-) xoxo

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I could not find the form on the Tending to Democracy site. --but am a little ADHD right now....

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Hi Pensa,

Please email Marcy at:

tendingtodemocracy@gmail.com

She can help you.

Have a wonderful safari!

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Thank you, Ellie! I will!

And I will contact Marcy.

xo

Penelope

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Ellie Kona, I am working on it!

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Thank you for 3 years of helping me become a more informed citizen. My moral indignation with the Trump cult is at an all-time high. Only a Democratic election victory, together with the indictment of Trump give me hope for America's future.

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I've got to say the "bad guys" are seemingly deeply entrenched.

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Add tolerance.

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Bravo, Professor Richardson. Your work on all platforms has been transformative in the ways we process information, express our own creative bent, and remain free to reason and discern our own opinions. The alternative of subjugation to authoritarian rule and limited discourse and choice belongs in the house of horrors.

Thus, we are all in this together. There is enough to go around.

Love and Light!

🗽

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And not just in the USA

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Expats reply.

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Michael, you have succinctly expressed what I believe we all feel. Thanks to Heather for her dedication to furthering our understanding of today's events and put into historical context. She has also brought together an amazing group here, most of whom I count as "friends". How lucky I am to have such a group standing with me! 🤗

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I concur. I start my am every day with Heather's letter and read many of the comments. I enjoy the posts and now have a new Facebook friend in Eugene, thanks to meeting Ally here. Not only do the letters inform me, but the comments of many of you who have had and have varied experiences and points of view. I also get in at least one laugh most mornings. Thanks to Heather and all of you for helping me be more informed and yes, even more optimistic when I see what people all over the country are doing.

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👋 👋 👋 👋 👋 👋 👋

👋 👋 👋 👋 👋 👋 👋

👋 👋 👋 👋 👋 👋 👋

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That's a 21 hand-clap salute from me too!!!

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Wow!

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Jeff, peripatetic...

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Happy Anniversary to the greatest group and outstanding leader!

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Informed, not just on current events but by Professor Heather’s masterful history teaching. Thanks you so much, Professor, for sharing your knowledge, wisdome,compassion, and optimism with us. Although we’ve never met, your gift of communicating openly has madeus friends 💕

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Unwavering support of racial tolerance, the opposite of fascism?

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And, hopefully, with increasing love of those long battered by American white racism. With tolerance and in contempt of today’s fascist Republicans...

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I’m sure you didn’t expect to be doing these letters for three years. But we are sure glad you’ve continued. It’s given us so much knowledge, but also so much comfort in dark times. Thank you so very much!!

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Well said, well done... and thank you for your sleepless nights. We have a long way to go. Very long. Tolerance is scarce, prejudice is deep and abiding, it’s our national shame. We must confront the problems lest they own us. President Biden can take note. The citizen must lead. The GOP must flip back to its origins. Long shot? Yes. We must hope.

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We must hope, noting:

“Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.”

~ David Orr

(Thank you for this quote, Jessica Craven at Chopped Wood, Carry Water!)

https://chopwoodcarrywaterdailyactions.substack.com/p/chop-wood-carry-water-913-4bc

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Hope, as Rebecca Solnit describes it............ “Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth's treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal... To hope is to give yourself to the future - and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.”

Sandy, thanks to you for your often biting, but true, comments about this country and sometimes about Heather.

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Aim to please... HCR means well. She will get there.

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I make love with those comments... believe it or not. S

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I so love Rebecca Solnit. Another light in the darkness!

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It had better be, because hope alone only distracts from bitter reality.

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And, by distracting, gives us respite in which to plan and act to change what needs to be changed.

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Heart emoji

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Love David Orr--thanks for that quote!

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And - could that be the Presidential Tweet of the year? :)

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It definitely highlights the difference between Biden and TFG! Orangeaide never worked an honest day in his life! While Biden doesn’t rest until the job is done.

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And I loved the implied sarcasm to the WSJ's editorial board column, "Thanks for your concern...". They deserve every scrap of Biden's sarcasm and everybody else's as well.

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TL, most of them are so obtuse that they don't even know he's being sarcastic. I also like it when some media person ambushes him with a snarky question about "Are you planning to ..." aimed at discrediting his goals, and he just smiles and says "No!" then moves on.

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I thought it was simply perfect!

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Especially considering that Sleepy Joe is senile - NOT!

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Professor Richardson, you have been my daily guiding light. I’ve followed you from (nearly) Day One. Your Letters are a knife that cuts sharply, clearly, cleanly, through noise. Thank you.

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What a wonderful anniversary.

I can't thank you enough, professor, for your eloquence, hard work and knowledge of American history and politics.

As for the issues surrounding the averted rail strike, I wonder how it's possible that mangement is unable (more likely, unwilling) to understand that an employee's quality of life includes not just a decent wage, but time to enjoy one's life, as well?

Moreover, if the U.S. had a national sick leave policy as other countries have, railroad management/owners wouldn't be able to impose such draconian schedules.

Many thanks again for your exceptional newsletter.

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I think "Reaganomics" and it's incorporation of this kind of value system;

"The only corporate social responsibility a company has is to maximize its profits." (Milton Friedman)

has something to do with with the indifference to human values on the part of management.

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And yet the Supreme Court would have us think of corporations as people. I guess their definition of a person is a soulless, cruel bastard.

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I consider Friedman's dictum as a recipe for a sociopath; certainly (if applied to a person) a lousy citizen.

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In one way, isn’t affording corporations the legal status of personhood, the crack in the septic-system of civil society?

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A Cornell Law Professor, the late Lynn Stout, wrote a very informative book titled "The Shareholder Value Myth" several years ago which puts paid to Friedman's false position. My economics professor at Columbia's B School was Friedman's roommate and went in a completely opposite path.

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The Republicans went in search of an "authority" with which to wrap their boondoggle. They found Milton Friedman. And, it's been downhill since.

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Sep 16, 2022·edited Sep 16, 2022

Well, if they picture people in their own image, then yeah.

Never forget, from Reagan to Dubya to Drump: "Cruelty is the point...shared enjoyment of cruelty to the people they hate is what brings the R community together."*

If that isn't the saddest thing I've ever written, then I don't know what is...

(I read that "Cruelty is the point..." quote in the substack column of Robert Hubbell and the full quote and context in someone's comment thereon. It seems to fit this situation, as well)

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Cruelty is the malignant narcissist's most malignant expression of a personal act of "absolute power". Pure evil.

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“Hurt people, hurt people”

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T L Mills

"...shared enjoyment of cruelty to the people they hate is what brings the R community together..."

PURE EVIL...republicans

https://www.newsweek.com/rep-slams-evil-gop-plot-desantis-sends-migrants-marthas-vineyard-1743114

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James Vander Poel

THE SO CALLED SUPREME COURT IS A FARCE COMPOSED OF POMPASTIC CORRUPUTION ...

See:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym9fc1bovlk

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Republicans signed on to the “Greed is good” bull Schitt with every fiber of their being. They don’t even pretend anything else anymore.

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For some reason they all want to be Gordon Gekko....mystifying.

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To his credit, Friedman argued for a graduated income tax, with a negative tax rate at one end. That would mean that the very poorest would get money paid to them. Not a credit, but an actual cash payment, while those at the top would pay a higher rate. It was income redistribution in its purest form. Something we desperately need today.

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Thomas Piketty has compiled the empirical evidence to support your argument, read "The Brief History of Equality".

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'Tis a pity Dr. Friedman's remains were cremated and the ashes scattered -- I've always wanted to pee on that man's grave.

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Dirk There is historical precedence for your ashen desires. Charles II was truly pissed that Parliament had voted to execute his daddy. When Charley II took the throne, he had the bodies of Parliamentarians dug up and and their bones destroyed, he tracked down living Parliamentarians, and even sought out Parliamentarians who had fled to the colonies.

There is no evidence that Charley II ever peed on a Parliamentarian’s grave, but this was poofectly possible.

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I read that somewhere in all the publicity surrounding the Queen's death.

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I missed my chance. I don't know how my parents knew him (they were both Harvard trained economists, but on the opposite side of the political spectrum, and Friedman, of course, was Chicago). He spent the night at our house when I was 2, and my father was away--ostensibly to protect my mother, because there'd been a rape on the University of Washington campus. In them morning, I came upstairs to my parents' bedroom, and jumped in, only to find this strange man, the story goes. (If only I'd known then what I know now...) I jumped out, ran back downstairs, found my mother on the couch, and said to her--and this is what my father found so hilarious--"where's the other guy?!!!"

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Friedman's theory has been falsified, read "Prosperity" by Colin Mayer. You should also read the annual letter to shareholders by Larry Fink at BlackRock.

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Meaning Friedman has been misinterpreted?

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One of Friedman's theories has been proven wrong, read "Prosperity" an excellent book. You might also read "The Rise & Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism".

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It was Jack Welch more than Milton Friedman, although--not knowing the date of the Friedman quote--Friedman ***may*** have played a role in inspiring Welch. Although my guess is that he came on his toxic formula all by himself. Here's the story about how Welch ruined the US for workers:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/21/business/jack-welch-ge-ceo-behavior.html

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Deborah, I agree! It would be interesting for ALL involved in the railroad to have to live by those demanding schedules of the workers. The CEO’s of those companies, Board members, investors. Prove how great and necessary that inhumane, plantation-mentality schedule is!

Or else get rid of it in favor of treating your workers with dignity and as if they are humans. Remember, those worker’s draconian scheduling demands ripple to their families. Try getting unexpected childcare when you’ve been demanded to get back to work with only a 90 minute notice. Can your loved one’s ever hope to have any family obligation beyond your paycheck? Great gop “Family Values” displayed again! With record railroad profits, the companies have what excuse?

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No kidding! I am outraged to learn about the working conditions of railway workers. I am so tired of the rich making money with no regard for others.

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👍🏼

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It’s a privilege to read your letter. I feel much more informed and through your sharing historical perspective have a deeper understanding of and appreciation of our shared American values. No small thing. Thank you so much again!

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Dr. Cox Richardson,

Your hard work of the these past three years is valued and beloved by more people than you can imagine. I especially enjoyed the one-on-one video interview you conducted with President Biden. I, and I think many others, would like to see you reprise that event to the point where you can make it a custom during his administration. Of course, the scheduling is up to POTUS. Also, it is high time that we see you appearing on national TV talk shows as one of the elite scholars of American history. Your ability to intertwine historical context with the news of the day is needed in the public discourse. Thank you for all that you have accomplished with your Letters from an American over these past three years. I hope to look forward for your continuation of this important service to our country. All the Best, BC

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👍🏼 Agree! I also feel The Doctor should be included in debates and talk shows on the ‘tube’ as an elite scholar. The US.could use more sanity put in front of them. So so tired of the hate mongers from the top down getting so much press and media attention.

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since the purpose of those kinds of shows on the tube is to enrich the corporatocracy... well.. you know.

the press and the media create/feed the chaos and hate-mongering... because... that's what brings in $$$$$$$

MSM doesn't provide appropriate venue for such an authentic treasure as Heather.

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i'm guessing that if she wanted to do that, she'd be there. anyone who chooses can read LFAA. and her books. not everyone wants or needs to be on national TV.

this way, she keeps her life as she likes it and her credibility intact. she can somewhat keep her privacy and and peace while sharing her wisdom and expertise in meaningful ways with those who can appreciate them.

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My feeling exactly. Why turn your life over to the media.

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Thank you Heather for launching this newsletter three years ago. I look forward to it every day to help me put history and current events into perspective. I trust you and your insights - and there are so few people to trust these days. “And that’s the way it is.”

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Pat, old Walter himself would agree! I'm sort of glad that Cronkite wasn't alive for this phase of America, but I miss him. He would be very proud of Professor Richardson.

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I am also glad my dad is no longer alive to see what has become of the country he served all his days.

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Hale, My dad is rolling in his grave at about 20,000 RPM.....

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Yes he would.

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It was one of my students who told me about your Letters, long before they moved to Substack, a student whose family moved to the West from Iran in search of freedom and opportunity.

From that day to this, now three years on, your Letters have become and indispensable part of each day, a trusted weather vane, a guide to understanding the turbulent times in which we live.

My fellow travelers here have expressed so well their appreciation for you and the effort you have given to this project, for the contribution you have made to the quality of the nation's discourse and to the enrichment of our understanding.

I would add my voice to theirs, to the echoes of praise and thanks that ring this ever widening circle.

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Thanks fellow-traveler!

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Thank you!

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The railroad story is another example of the fact that the rich and powerful never needed the government's protection. They can find a way to be profitable in all sorts of economic conditions. The little people are the ones who need assistance to have a measure of leverage in their relationship to corporate administrations. A single day of paid sick leave? What a huge concession on the part of management, right? One thing about a moving train; you can't just climb off when it reaches 5:00 pm on any given day. Even if you could, you might find yourself 100 miles from nowhere, with no bus ride home. 20 billion dollars in profit is a lot of leverage. A strike is a blunt tool, but obviously effective if POTUS feels compelled to become part of the negotiation process.

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"The railroad story is another example of the fact that the rich and powerful never needed the government's protection."

And yet they receive and lobby for plenty of it. Contracts, patents, inviolable "trade secrets" that bar public agencies from knowing how they poison the earth, smashing unions with government assistance. "Small government" has nothing to do with overall size per se, but rather the portion of the population government is responsive to, and in service for.

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J L Graham, thank you for this comment. Your last sentence, "Small government" has nothing to do with overall size per se, but rather the portion of the population government is responsive to, and in service for,” is a brilliant insight.

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Sep 16, 2022·edited Sep 16, 2022

This may be the most important observation I for one will take away from the discussion, this week. Size, as the proportion of the people who's interests and needs are served. Concentration of interests of the fewest makes it so much easier to direct a government and the accounts (moral, financial, support, interests, wants) to which the largese (taxes collected, rule to base all upon, laws made to protect, welfare of, power of the nation) are deposited. Thank you J. L. and Nathan.

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aha... yes. thank you Nathan, JL, Elizabeth, and Fred... this is exactly what Heather is talking about in her book "How the South Won the Civil War" and in the youtube series she did during the pandemic based on it. (all still available... free .. really informative!)

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Thank you for that comment about "small government". It rings true.

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“A single day of paid sick leave.” Unreal

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right? seems like they'd be ashamed to even mention it??

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…and that much vaunted RULE OF LAW, let us not forget who it favors. Does our RULE OF LAW as practiced mete out Justice equally, including the poor, the hungry, women, regular folks and members of minorities?

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And we must remember that this is only a “Tentative Agreement”. After the past seven years, I know there is still a lot that can push it back into the crisis-news-cycle. A single day of sick leave? With the railroads at record profit, they couldn’t do more? Really!?!?

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Apparently not. Neither that, nor hire more people. Surely that would help with a whole lot of the issues. The railroad employees are people, not machines. Management tends to forget that.

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I'm sure they'd opt for fully automated trains, if it were possible.

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I'm sure they are working on it. They already exist in a limited form. There is talk of replacing all truck driver with AI guided vehicles, Boeing studies automated airplanes. At the point that machines can perform as well or better than humans, it really makes no sense to resist the machine alternative; but it would be crazy irresponsible not to be planning for how our populations is to "make a living". Historically, letting the rich own most of everything has not served the public's interests.

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There'll have to be a whole new set of rules if/when pilotless vehicles share the space with human-piloted vehicles. Drivers and pilots are responsible for their decisions and actions vis-a-vis others. When 80,000lb of freight is moving at 60 MPH down a freeway, someone has to be responsible/liable for events that occur where judgement is a part of the decision-making process.

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👍🏼

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And thank you, Professor Richardson. I think your letters are appreciated more than you know.

Why I go to HCR first:

In all the NY Times stories I read on the railroad labor issues, there was no mention, none, of the huge profits of the RR companies. It seems to me that honest journalism requires that reporting on labor/management issues requires that company profits be brought to light next to worker demands.

Once again, in his efforts to forestall a national railroad strike, Joe Biden has shown real leadership.

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Whan I first read that railroad workers were complaining about a points program that punished them for taking time for scheduled medical appointments and unscheduled family needs it seemed obvious that they the railroads did not have enough employees to accomplish what was required. I had no knowledge of PRS, but I did have experience working with supervisors who felt that their employees were in fact, THEIR employees -- in other words, they owned them.

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The railroads treat their employees not like people with real lives but machines. It's cruelty in the name of profit. Imagine the abuses if the workers weren't unionized.

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👍🏼

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also mentioned in other independent media sources ... The Real News Network <-- Max Alvarez actually did a couple nice long podcast interviews with locomotive engineers - where i learned a lot about these issues directly from those workers.

also ... Breaking Points... Democracy Now! ... Common Dreams... The Intercept... and The Lever... just for starters. i find these independent sources along with Heather's letters and all these comments here from such interested, engaged, thoughtful people so valuable.

I don't read WaPo or NYT or anything like those because to me, they're all compromised as part of the corporatocracy. certainly no MSNBC, CNN, or even PBS. (Bernie mentioned in an interview on TYT back in maybe 2016? that even PBS was somewhat compromised ... so i stopped turning to them - for news - at that point.)

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What President Biden is doing in calling for Americans to forego violence is really essential. He is asserting the moral voice that has been sadly missing for the last few years under Trump and his supporters. People need reminding that the country operates better with a healthy respect for the law and that the president, now that we have one with some moral authority, is promoting ways for people to come together rather than come to blows. Without that voice, America falters and could fall further apart.

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The evil forces (Fox and clones, including the WSJ) are never-ending in their provocative rhetoric aimed at stirring the pot of dissension

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I enjoyed Biden's clap back to WSJ

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This^

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👋 👋 👋 👋 👋 👋 👋

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My heart is lifted by your words.Thank you for beginning these letters. Your words are well researched, and I so appreciate that.

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Thank you for this useful information. We should insist that safety comes first no matter what you are doing. Management always cries about not enough money no matter what business you are talking about. There is lots of money in this country. The billionaires have way too much and are making their money off the backs of others. Management and stock holders have tons of money. It is the worker bees who do all the work and keep it all together and running that get screwed. I worked as an ICU nurse for 10 years and I wasn’t doing it to get rich. Good thing because I sure wasn’t going to get there; meanwhile the head of the co-op healthcare system made more than the Governor of our state! The inequality in this country is outrageous. This cannot stand.

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Nurses in the hospital system I worked in moved toward establishing a union and were vehemently discouraged, without going into detail, and gave up. When the hospital went corporate, nurses' lunch breaks disappeared along with other humane work practices, leading to the infamous burnout symptoms that of course increase the likelihood of medical error.

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Thank you, Molly... for your dedication and caring of those patients needing your crucial care. You are right... it cannot stand. Seems like the whole planet is in flux... realignment is everywhere, affecting everyone and everything.

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Thank you HCR! I would be lost without your insight, wisdom and dedication! ❤️

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Sep 16, 2022·edited Sep 16, 2022

As of late, it’s become increasingly clear, at least to me, that the two principal factors that will determine whether we remain a liberal democracy or devolve into an illiberal autocracy are the ballot box and the Courts. Were it not for the rich conversations among us inspired by our remarkably learned leader, speaking perhaps not only for myself, I don’t imagine I would be nearly as adept at asking sufficiently pertinent questions that have guided me towards increasingly plausible solutions. I am grateful beyond words.

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And our courts deeply concern me with Judge Loose Cannon’s holding her ground about stopping the investigation of tfg’s stolen documents until the special master is done, despite the nationwide opprobrium and the DOJ offering her a face-saving way to step back from her ridiculous order.

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@MLMinET, I, and I imagine everyone else, share your deep concern. Here, I would note that it is past time for the country to expand the lower court. Consider that the last time the district and circuit courts were meaningfully expanded was in 1990 and that the country’s population has increased by one-third since then.

As for the Supreme Court, after some amount of fluctuation, in 1869 the number of justices was set at 9, wherein 1 justice was assigned to 1 of the 9 circuit courts. Today, there are 13 circuit courts.

I could go on, but I imagine you get the picture.

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“Loose Cannon” 🤣 Thank you for helping me clean up my language while still being able to disparage this ignorant, corrupt judge. Impeachment would be too good for her.....

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Sep 16, 2022·edited Sep 16, 2022

Thank you for the "Loose Cannon." I needed some laughter through my tears of disgust of a fascist party that has risen on our land at the same time with deep appreciation for HCR and this community for three indescribable years. I am so, very, very grateful to her and all of you in staying as grounded as possible.

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