I give thanks for news and information sources that are not-for-profit, reader-supported, and free, given that the mainstream media are large, for-profit corporations. Unconstrained by a corporate, for-profit mindset and dependence on advertisers for revenue that both skew “news” toward infotainment to attract attention and capitalistic viewpoints to please corporate bosses and advertisers, reader-supported media provide valuable information and perspectives that go unreported by the mainstream media.

(Note: If you find my posts too much to read on occasion, feel free to read just read the bolded portions. They present the key points I’m making.)

The mainstream media are NOT liberal on economic issues, despite the decades of assertions by the right-wing that they are. They may be liberal on social issues such as abortion rights, LGBTQ+ issues, and gun violence reduction, but they are NOT liberal on economic issues such as business and Wall St. regulation, taxes, workers’ rights, economic inequality, and enforcement of antitrust laws.

My favorite progressive (or liberal if you like), print (hardcopy and online), non-profit, free, reader-supported publications with a focus on news and public policy are presented below. I’m sure there are others but these are more than sufficient to keep me busy and informed with in-depth, accurate information, thoughtful perspectives, and expert policy analysis. You can sign-up for daily or weekly emails from them that highlight their current content.

Take even a quick look at any of these sources of news, information, and analysis and I believe you’ll quickly agree with me that the mainstream media are NOT liberal or progressive!

Common Dreams: Founded in 1997, it lists its mission as: “To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.” Its website further states: “We are optimists. We believe real change is possible. But only if enough well-informed, well-intentioned – and just plain fed up and fired-up – people demand it. We believe that together we can attain our common dreams.” It only publishes online and delivers daily or weekly emails with summaries of and links to its relatively short articles covering current news.

The Hightower Lowdown: This entertaining, irreverent, progressive populist newsletter is written by Jim Hightower. Hightower worked in Congress, was twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner (1983 – 1991), and “has long chronicled the ongoing democratic struggles by America’s ordinary people against rule by its plutocratic elites.” The Lowdown is available in print, online, and on the airwaves.

The American Prospect: In my opinion, this magazine and website deliver the best and most comprehensive progressive policy content. Its stated mission is “to tell stories about the ideas, politics, and power that shape our world.” It is “devoted to promoting informed discussion on public policy from a progressive perspective.” It identifies “policy alternatives and the politics necessary to create [and enact] good legislation.”

The Nation: It publishes progressive, independent journalism that “encourages debate, foments change, and lifts up the voices of those fighting for justice.” Founded by abolitionists in 1865, it believes that provocative, independent journalism can bring about a more democratic and equitable world. It provides thoughtful and investigative reporting that “speaks truth to power to build a more just society.” It’s available both online and in print.

Mother Jones: Founded in 1976, it’s “America’s longest-established investigative news organization.” Its mission is to deliver “reporting that inspires change and combats ‘alternative facts.’” It provides in-depth stories on a wide range of subjects including politics, criminal and racial justice, education, climate change, and food and agriculture. Its fellowship program is one of the premier training grounds for investigative journalists. It is available in print, online, and via videos and podcasts.

ProPublica: It was founded in 2007 with the beliefs that investigative journalism and informing the public about complex issues are crucial for our democracy. Its mission is “to expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business, and other institutions, using the moral force of investigative journalism to spur reform through the sustained spotlighting of wrongdoing.” With more than 100 journalists, it covers topics including government, politics, business, criminal justice, the environment, education, health care, immigration, and technology with in-depth, detailed articles.

If you prefer video content to print, I recommend Inequality Media. Its vision is “a United States where active participation by informed citizens restores the balance of power in our democracy and creates an economy where gains are widely shared.” Its mission is “to inform and engage the public about inequality and the imbalance of power” in U.S. society. Founded in 2015, its short videos are “entertaining and easy to understand [with] graphics, photos, and animations.”  It focuses on current news and explains it in a way that ties it to the larger story of needed social change to create a more equitable economy and a more stable democracy.

I urge you to read and, if you can, support financially one or more of these organizations. In the current hyper-capitalistic, plutocratic economic and political environment in the U.S., we need these sources of non-profit, reader-supported journalism to support a well-informed citizenry, democratic governance, and the relatively level economic playing field democracy requires. Today’s mainstream media are simply not performing these responsibilities of the media in a democracy. As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis stated, “we can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we can’t have both.”



Corporate power and influence in the American economy and policy-making process are evident on multiple fronts: from bankruptcy laws, to tax laws, to the failure to enforce antitrust laws that has led to huge, monopolistic corporations that drive “inflation” with price gouging. The bottom line of all this is that in 2022 corporations are realizing their highest profit margins in 70 years while consumers are coping with the highest “inflation” in 40 years. This is on top of the record corporate profits in 2021 of $2.8 trillion, up 25% from the previous year.

(Note: If you find my posts too much to read on occasion, please just read the bolded portions. They present the key points I’m making.)

The U.S. bankruptcy system reflects a huge double standard with much more favorable rules for corporations than for individuals. Individuals who file for bankruptcy have their credit ruined and their economic security upended. They can’t get rid of student loans or mortgages. Credit card debt is very difficult to escape. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D – MA), an expert in bankruptcy law and leader of the 1995 National Bankruptcy Review Commission, fought for years to keep the banks and credit card industry from toughening bankruptcy laws for individuals (but not for corporations). She lost that battle in 2005. [1]

On the corporate front, the current example is the bankruptcy of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange. Its CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (now ex-CEO) hired a top-notch team of bankruptcy lawyers (who will collect a small fortune in fees) who tried to get the bankruptcy judge to let FTX write off its debts (and cheat its customers), while allowing Bankman-Fried to retain control of the company. They argued to the judge that, although Bankman-Fried and his associates drove the company into bankruptcy, because of their knowledge of the company and what happened, they were best positioned to recover as much money as possible.

Bankruptcy judges often let corporate executives keep control of their bankrupt companies because of their knowledge of the company and its situation. Fortunately, the judge in the FTX case didn’t. However, this is a standard tactic that private equity and vulture capitalists have used in pillaging companies, including Sears Roebuck, for example. By the way, one of the goals of using the bankruptcy process is that it lets companies break union contracts and escape the debt that workers’ pension plans represent. So, current corporate bankruptcy laws treat corporate executives and owners much better than they treat workers.

Senator Warren has proposed a fundamental reform of U.S. bankruptcy laws in the Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act. In the meantime, bankruptcy judges should stop letting executives keep control of companies that they have driven into bankruptcy.

On the tax law front, despite their record profits, corporations are asking Congress to renew and extend special tax loopholes that would cost the government about $60 billion a year. Despite the 40% federal income tax cut corporations got from the December 2017 tax cut bill that Trump and congressional Republicans rammed through, corporations are asking for tax cuts in a 2022 end-of-year budget bill. They want to be able to write-off as immediate expenses assets they purchase and research costs, both of which are more appropriately spread out over many years. They also want to be able to deduct a larger share of interest expenses. Deducting large interest expenses is a key factor in making leveraged buyouts by private equity and vulture capitalist firms financially viable. [2]

Instead of more tax cuts for wealthy corporations and vulture capitalists, corporate taxes should be increased (by repealing at least part of the 2017 tax cuts), the corporate minimum tax should be strengthened (so wealthy corporations can’t dodge paying income tax), and offshore corporate tax loopholes should be closed. Offshore loopholes incentivize corporations to shift jobs and profits to tax havens, which results in about $60 billion in lost U.S. tax revenue each year. Globally, it is estimated that $312 billion a year in government revenue is lost to cross-border tax abuse by multi-national corporations. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, made up of 38 rich countries, enables this by failing to require corporations to disclose profit-shifting to tax havens, despite a formal international request to do so. [3]

Some members of Congress and various advocacy groups are working to rein in the American corporatocracy, its power and influence, and the unfair policies that they have produced. For example, the economic justice advocacy organization, Fight Corporate Monopolies, recently released it Corporate Power Agenda, which consists of 19 policy recommendations including: [4]

  • Strengthening antitrust enforcement to protect small businesses and consumers from monopolization, which has been evident in 75% of U.S. industries over the last 20 years,
  • Banning stock buybacks, which enrich investors and executives while hurting workers and other stakeholders, and which were an illegal form of market manipulation until 1982,
  • Reining in private equity and vulture capitalists by passing the Stop Wall Street Looting Act,
  • Fixing tax laws to ensure that corporations pay their fair share of taxes,
  • Passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act to support workers’ collective bargaining in the face of the growing power of huge corporate employers,
  • Outlawing price fixing and price gouging, including passing the Ending Corporate Greed Act and instituting a windfall profits tax,
  • Blocking employers from requiring employees to sign “non-compete” agreements that prevent many workers, including low-wage workers, from going to work for a competitor,
  • Closing campaign finance law loopholes that effectively allow Political Action Committees (PACs), funded by wealthy corporations and individuals, to coordinate with candidates’ campaigns, and
  • Stopping bailouts of huge corporations.

I urge you to contact President Biden and your U.S. Representative and Senators to ask them to take on the American corporatocracy, and to rein in corporate power and influence in our economy and politics. Ask them to pass a windfall profits tax and other tax laws to ensure corporations are paying their fair share of taxes and aren’t price gouging consumers. Ask them to make bankruptcy laws fairer so corporate executives don’t get a free pass while individuals have their economic security ruined. You can email President Biden at or you can call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 or the switchboard at 202-456-1414. You can find contact information for your US Representative at and for your US Senators at

[1]      Kuttner, R., 11/16/22, “Bankman and the bastardization of bankruptcy,” The American Prospect (

[2]      Americans for Tax Fairness, retrieved from the Internet 11/19/22, “Congress should raise, not cut, corporate taxes during the lame-duck session,” (

[3]      Johnson, J., 11/15/22, “Secrecy enabled by rich countries lets corporations dodge $90 billion in taxes per year,” Common Dreams (

[4]      Conley, J., 11/15/22, “Democrats urged to embrace agenda to combat crisis of ‘corporate power’ in US,” Common Dreams (


Medicare’s open enrollment period occurs each year from mid-October to early December. In this window, private insurers deluge seniors with ads for their privatized versions of Medicare, called Medicare Advantage plans. Rather than allowing more and more seniors to enroll in these slickly marketed for-profit plans, they should be eliminated because they undermine Medicare and our health care system with fraud and other schemes that reduce health care quality while overbilling the federal government. Roughly half of the Medicare population, almost 30 million seniors, are now enrolled in this privatized version of Medicare.

(Note: If you find my posts too much to read on occasion, please just read the bolded portions. They present the key points I’m making.)

Medicare was created in 1965 when people over 65 found it virtually impossible to get private health insurance coverage. It made health care a universal right for Americans 65 and over. It improved the health and longevity of older Americans, as well as their financial security. Initially, Medicare consisted solely of a public insurance program that included all seniors.

Today, a mixed public-private health insurance market exists under Medicare. The Medicare-eligible population has been able to enroll in private health insurance plans since the 1980s. The private, for-profit health insurance industry pushed hard for a privatized option under Medicare; they wanted the opportunity to sell insurance to the large, population of seniors. They claimed they could deliver better quality services at lower cost due to their efficiencies, thereby saving Medicare money. However, these promised efficiencies never materialized and it became clear that the private insurers were simply looking for a way to increase their profits. For example, the typical administrative overhead for Medicare Advantage plans, including profits, is around 15% – 20% of premiums paid, while for traditional, government-operated Medicare it’s around 2%. [1] [2]

Medicare Advantage plans should be eliminated for the following four reasons:

  • They have become very skillful at paying as little as possible for enrollees’ health care services in order to maximize profits for themselves. They attract seniors by offering low or no premiums and special benefits (such as dental or vision coverage, or a subsidized health club or gym membership). However, they typically have high out-of-pocket costs, restrictive networks of providers, and requirements for pre-authorization of services. Through their marketing, they work to attract healthier-than-average enrollees to minimize their costs; this is called cherry-picking. By restricting or denying access to care, they cut costs and often drive sicker enrollees to leave, further lowering their costs; this is referred to as lemon-dropping.
  • They game the reimbursement system by over-reporting the seriousness or even the number of illnesses or health conditions of their enrollees; this is called “upcoding”. It makes the enrollees appear to be sicker than they are and therefore eligible for more or higher reimbursements from Medicare. For example, knee pain can be reported as arthritis and an episode of distress can be reported as major depression, even if no services are provided for the more serious diagnosis. Efforts by Medicare to police upcoding result in significant administrative costs and a cat and mouse game where the private insurers find new ways to game the system as old ones are brought under control. Multiple studies and investigations have documented rampant, fraudulent upcoding. Estimates of its cost to Medicare range from $10 to $25 billion a year. (This is enough money to pay for adding vision and hearing coverage for everyone eligible for Medicare.) Almost every major insurer has been charged with upcoding fraud by the government or a whistleblower.
  • They have been very effective at limiting regulation and enforcement by contributing money to members of Congress, spending significantly on lobbying, and using the revolving door to move people back and forth between jobs at the insurance companies and at the government agencies that oversee Medicare. For example, U.S. Representative Richard Neal (D – MA), Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees all government spending, has received $3.1 million in campaign contributions from the insurance industry.
  • Their profit motive inevitably provides perverse incentives to skimp on enrollees’ care and engage in fraud to maximize payments from Medicare. One study found that insurers make twice as much profit on Medicare Advantage plans as they do on other types of insurance. Medicare Advantage was supposed to lower Medicare spending and save the government money; instead, it costs the government substantially more per enrollee than traditional Medicare.

Furthermore, a mixed public-private health insurance system can’t achieve the efficiencies and quality of traditional Medicare because private insurers:

  • Fragment the pool of insured people undermining the basic theory and efficiency of insuring large groups of diverse individuals,
  • Have no financial incentive to maintain the long-term health of their enrollees, and
  • Spend a large portion of premiums on overhead and profits. (See this previous post for more details.)

(Previous posts provide more details on Medicare Advantage and why it can’t work and needs to be eliminated.)

Bills have been introduced in Congress to reduce payments to Medicare Advantage insurers, to increase regulation and oversight, and to end Medicare Advantage (and a related, even more insidious pilot program, called ACO REACH, which puts seniors into privatized plans without their consent or knowledge). Furthermore, a bill has been introduced to ban private insurers from using the term “Medicare” in the titles and ads for their plans. [3] This would reduce confusion for seniors and curb misleading advertising. In particular, this would reduce the confusion between Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplemental Insurance (often called Medigap insurance) that covers health care not covered by traditional Medicare (i.e., it fills “gaps” in Medicare, such as coverage for dental, vision, and hearing care). Medigap insurance is also sold by private insurers and adds coverage on top of Medicare, while a Medicare Advantage plan is a replacement for Medicare.

I urge you to contact President Biden and your U.S. Representative and Senators to ask them to eliminate Medicare Advantage because it is a rip off of Medicare and undermines our health care system. You can email President Biden at or you can call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 or the switchboard at 202-456-1414. You can find contact information for your US Representative at and for your US Senators at

[1]      Rogers, S., 8/25/22, “Comment on Request for Information: Medicare Advantage program,” Physicians for a National Health Program (

[2]      Stancil, K., 10/9/22, “ ‘Straight up fraud’: Data confirms private insurers use Medicare Advantage to steal billions,” Common Dreams (

[3]      Johnson, J., 10/14/22, “New bill would ban private insurance plans from using ‘Medicare’ name,” Common Dreams (


My last four posts have been about the record spending by wealthy individuals and corporations in the 2022 elections, its corruption of democracy, and what we can do about it. (See previous posts here and here for some details about the spending and here and here for what we can do about it.) This post focuses on corporations that are giving money to the 147 Republicans in Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election. In particular, it focuses on those corporations that announced a suspension of contributions to those 147 members of Congress after the January 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol, but have now resumed supporting them.

(Note: If you find my posts too much to read on occasion, please just read the bolded portions. They present the key points I’m making.)

For an overall perspective on the huge amounts of money being spent on the election, Open Secrets now projects that spending on the 2022 federal and state elections will set a record and will exceed $16.7 billion. Spending on federal races is projected to be $8.9 billion and has already surpassed the 2018 record for a mid-term election of $7.1 billion (adjusted for inflation). Federal election spending in non-presidential years has increased from almost $5 billion in 2014 to over $7 billion in 2018 (up 48%) and to a projected nearly $9 billion in 2022 (up 25%). (Prior year figures are adjusted for inflation.) [1]

Spending on state elections, including ballot questions, is projected to be $7.8 billion, which would exceed the 2018 record of $6.6 billion. State election spending has increased from $4.6 billion in 2014 to roughly $7.0 billion in 2018 (up 52%) and to a projected $7.8 billion in 2022 (up 11%). (Prior year figures are adjusted for inflation.)

At least 228 of the Fortune 500 largest American companies have made contributions totaling over $13 million to Republicans that voted against accepting the 2020 presidential election results. (Millions of dollars in companies’ contributions to Republican Party committees are NOT included in this figure. Much of the spending of these committees is going to the 147 election-denying members of Congress.)

In the immediate aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection, many of these companies condemned the attack and the violence, and stopped making political contributions to the 147 members of Congress who voted against the peaceful transfer of power. This was good public relations for them. Furthermore, these big companies depend on the stability of the country, its political system, and its economy to successfully operate.

However, at least 228 of these companies have now quietly gone back to giving money to the 147 election results deniers. Note that they resumed giving to these members of Congress before their next election. Therefore, there was NO meaningful impact from their short-lived suspensions of contributions on the re-election fundraising of the election deniers. [2]

Home Depot suspended political contributions after Jan. 6 but a year later resumed making them. It has now made 100 contributions totaling $475,000 to 65 of the 147 election deniers. This makes it the biggest corporate donor for direct contributions to election deniers and represents 12% of Home Depot’s direct donations to candidates. [3]

Boeing stated in Jan. 2021 that it “strongly condemns the violence, lawlessness and destruction” of the Jan. 6 insurrection. It promised to ensure that the politicians it supported would “uphold our country’s most fundamental principles.” However, since then, it has supported 74 of the 147 election deniers with 314 contributions totaling at least $390,000 (which is 14% of its giving).

Other companies that announced a suspension of political giving after Jan. 6 but have now given to election deniers include AT&T ($389,900 in 127 contributions), United Parcel Service ($385,500 in 155 contributions), Lockheed Martin ($366,000 to 90 deniers), Raytheon ($309,000 to 66 deniers), and Northrop Grumman ($175,000 to 26 deniers).

General Dynamics has donated over $324,000 to 67 election deniers despite the fact that a recent investor report stated: “Our employee PAC will not support members of Congress who provoke or incite violence or similar unlawful conduct.” However, it seems clear that denying the validity of the 2020 presidential election has indeed incited a range of violence and unlawful conduct.

After Jan. 6, Amazon announced in a strongly worded statement that it would stop contributing to members of Congress who voted not to certify the election results because their actions represented an “unacceptable attempt to undermine a legitimate democratic process.” Nonetheless, in September 2022, its PAC gave $17,500 to nine of the election deniers. [4]

General Electric (GE) issued a particularly strong statement after Jan. 6 stating its “commitment to democracy” and suspending donations to the 147 election deniers. Nonetheless, GE has now made contributions totaling $12,500 to eleven deniers, saying it is considering “individual exceptions [to its suspension of donations] on a case-by-case basis.” Not coincidentally, all eleven of them sit on congressional committees of importance to GE: defense and energy spending, transportation and infrastructure spending, and taxation. By the way, to give you a sense of the amounts companies are donating to election deniers, this $12,500 dollar amount ranks GE as tied for 145th on the ProPublica list of companies donating to election deniers.

I urge you to boycott or reduce your business with these companies and the others in the ProPublica list. I also urge you to contact them (e.g., their Chief Executive Officer or their corporate communications office) to let them know you disapprove of their support for election deniers and the undermining of democracy that it fosters.

[1]      Giorno, T., & Quist, P., 11/3/22, “Total cost of 2022 state and federal elections projected to exceed $16.7 billion,” Open Secrets (

[2]      MacGillis, A., & Hernandez, S., 11/1/22, “What Fortune 500 companies said after Jan. 6 vs. what they did,” ProPublica (

[3]      Hernandez, S., & Lash, N., 11/4/22, “Fortune 500 companies have given millions to election deniers since Jan. 6,” ProPublica (

[4]      Legum, J., 10/26/22, “Amazon puts January 6 in the rearview mirror: ‘It’s been more than 21 months’,” Popular Information (