228 results for author: Phil Anderson


New Thinking Needed – Not More Pentagon Spending

In our country the endless increases in military spending are only matched by an equally endless propensity for wars and military conflicts. Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposes $813 billion for the Pentagon. This is a 4% increase over the bloated $782 billion approved by Congress for 2022  – which was a 5.6% increase from 2021. Every year “defense” spending increases. It makes no difference which party is in control. It doesn't matter what the the real threats are to the country. It makes no difference how much of this money is unaccounted for, lost to fraud or otherwise wasted. The military industrial complex must be fed. Since ...

Truth and Consequences in Education

“Teaching kids about frogs isn't grooming them to become amphibians. It's helping them learn about the world around them,“ a social media meme. “If you think education is expensive consider the cost of ignorance,” unknown It is well known that an educated, well informed electorate is necessary to a well functioning democracy. Citizens need to have accurate information on issues. But they also need to have more than data and more than competing arguments or opinions They need context. They need understanding and not just sound bites. They need some basis for sorting through the lies, spin, attack ads and fake news. In last week's ...

The Fruits of Faulty Judgment

“I'm just a miner in the mother lode of misery, where the fruits of faulty judgment meet the spoils of bad luck.” From the song “King of Junk” by Eddy Lawrence This humorous song is about a junk yard owner who's good fortune is the result of others' faulty judgment and bad luck. He finds a “hidden trove of riches mid the mangled and the maimed” wreckage of cars. I like the poetry of the song. To me it speaks (out of context) to much of the current craziness in our society. Politics has always been ugly and partisan. But the angry divisions are getting worse. The decline in civil, democratic norms of behavior and the abandoning of ...

Mother’s Day for Peace

War kills. Mostly it kills innocent people – women, children, the elderly and other non-combatants. War destroys. War destroys nations, economies, and the environment. War does not resolve conflicts. It exacerbates social and political problems. War is a choice and it is always a bad choice, War is failure. Wars result from the failure of national leaders to find peaceful solutions to conflicts. The war in Ukraine is a senseless tragedy. This war could have been prevented.  If the politicians had been willing to compromise, the diplomats more aggressive in seeking solutions, or the merchants of death been less greedy, the death and ...

Victories for Justice

We have two victories in the struggle for justice and social progress to celebrate. I am referring to the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court and the enactment of the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act. Martin Luther King claimed the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” But too often it has been hard to find much evidence for his optimism. Reading the news is more likely to bend one toward drink, cynicism and misanthropy than hope for the future. As a society, we have a long way to go to achieve liberty and justice for all. But these two events are landmarks in the 400-year struggle for a ...

Guns Are Not the Answer

Over the weekend of March 19-20 there were nine mass shootings across the country. Eight people were killed and 60 wounded including children and unlucky bi-standers. These incidents happened in diverse locations and a variety of social settings. The usual reasons given for gun violence – a mentally ill “lone wolf”, “bad guys,” drug gangs, ethnic or religious hate – don't seem to apply. From the limited information available, there appears to be only one common thread to these incidents – the presence of guns. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 4 shot at a party Dumas, Arkansas: 1 killed, 27 injured at car show Norfolk, Virginia: 2 ...

Making Money From Medicare

Medicare was created in 1965 to provide affordable basic healthcare for senior citizens. At the time half of seniors did not have any hospitalization insurance. One third of seniors lived in poverty and couldn't afford any medical care. Given the obvious need and the fact that the private insurance companies were not interested in sick, old people (unless they had money) Medicare became a vital government program for seniors. Medicare has been successful in improving the health and well-being of seniors. It has been extremely popular with the public, despite its faults and limitations. Medicare has also contributed to reversing the poverty statis...

Statement on the Ukraine War Brainerd Area Coalition for Peace (BACP)

Statement on the Ukraine War Brainerd Area Coalition for Peace (BACP)   BACP supports an armistice halting the fighting in Ukraine. BACP supports a peace settlement between Russia and Ukraine ending the war.   BACP opposes the U.S. arming Ukraine, training Ukrainian soldiers, imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, or sending U.S. troops to Ukraine. These actions prolong the Ukraine War and risk a war between the United States and Russia. Instead of taking measures which prolong the war or risk a war between the United States and Russia, the U.S. should support every diplomatic effort to end the war.   BACP supports ...

Inflation Isn’t Biden’s Fault

"Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you had hair." Sam Ewing Sam Ewing is a former baseball player and not an economist. But he provided a good definition of inflation. Inflation is the overall increase in prices for goods and services over time. We don't need economists to tell us inflation is occurring. It is pretty obvious when you go to the grocery store. Why pieces are going up is a more complicated story. Despite inflation being a well defined phenomenon with known basic causes, economist disagree about the specific reasons for today's price increases. This article ...

Ukraine: An Opportunity for Peace

“War is always a choice and it is always a bad choice.” World Beyond War in their publication    “A Global Security System: An Alternative to War.” The war in Ukraine is both a wake up call about the folly of war and rare opportunity to move toward a more peaceful world. War is not the answer whether Russia is invading Ukraine or the United States is invading Afghanistan and Iraq. It is not the answer when any other nation uses military violence to pursue some political, territorial, economic or ethnic cleansing goal. Neither is war the answer when the invaded and oppressed fight back with violence. Reading the stories of ...