CEOs: Time to Call Mitch and Save America

An Open Letter to America’s CEOs:

Have you considered this question yet? You really should:

How much shareholder value will be destroyed if the United States is seized by a massive general strike after defiant Republican lawmakers in swing states bulldoze the Electoral College into handing Donald Trump a second term?

This is where the arrows are pointing. You have one month. Pay attention. A general strike will dwarf the George Floyd protests. Transportation networks will be blocked. Service workers will walk out. Autoworkers will close assembly lines. Teachers will not teach…


When it comes to the faithful adherence to her code of ethics, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court nominee, is already skating on thin ice. The reason is that Canon 2B of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges states: “A judge should neither lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others nor convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge.”

The last clause requires her to speak. She must remove any hint that President Trump can influence…


The tragic July attack on the family of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in New Jersey has prompted the federal judiciary to ask Congress for sweeping new restrictions on the public’s access to information about judges. Many of the requests seem reasonable. Some, however, would appear to bar news organizations from revealing conflicts of interest or even bribes involving federal judges or judicial nominees.

The request for Congressional action, announced by the federal court system on Sept. 9, 2020, comes from the Judicial Conference of the United States, a panel of federal judges chaired by Chief Justice John Roberts that…


Here is a modest proposal for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris: tell us this fall, before the election, how you will restructure the Executive Branch so that it works for people instead of entrenched moneyed interests. Announce the creation of four or five new Cabinet-level strategy positions to attack these problems: pandemic, unemployment, racism, climate change.

We all know Hillary Clinton failed to see how much pain and resentment was out there and thus under-emphasized her program to build a better America. We can’t make that mistake again, and Biden-Harris are off to a good start. Let’s take these problems…


Forgive the indelicate play on words, but Harvard University has emitted a dense smokescreen as its latest response to the climate crisis.

In the guise of a new pledge to create an endowment that is carbon neutral within 30 years, the university, whose portfolio officially stands at more than $40 billion, again rejected divestment from fossil fuels. It did so in the face of a resounding faculty vote that championed divestment as a moral imperative.

On its face, a pledge to transform the endowment to “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions” by 2050 sounds positive. A number of pension funds have already…


Corporate America is about to erect new barriers against dissent from pesky shareholders pressing for better behavior on governance, the environment, and worker rights. All it took was a 3–2 majority of Trump appointees on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a clever lobbying campaign that included bogus complaint letters.

Sometime early next year, the SEC is expected to formally adopt rules that will upend the existing process for proxy voting at corporate annual meetings. In the winner column will be the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and major oil companies represented…


The author filed a misconduct complaint against Brett Kavanaugh before he rose to the Supreme Court, alleging “inappropriately partisan statements,” and two successive appeals.

It should come as no surprise that the federal judiciary’s final arbiter on misconduct, a panel of seven judges appointed by Republican presidents, decided Aug. 1 that they have no authority to deal with Brett Kavanaugh’s partisan outburst during his confirmation hearings — not with a ten-foot pole.

A couple of things should startle us, though. First, the judiciary committed more than a dozen blunders, including an outright failure to follow their own rules, as the…


Re-Learning 1984 in the Era of Trump

For the red-blooded American progressive who likes nothing more than to curl up with a good condemnation of fascist demagoguery, we finally have a modern, engaging complement to Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism. The author is an independent British writer, Dorian Lynskey, who had a clever idea: write the definitive “biography” of a book whose anti-authoritarian message reverberates 70 years after its first printing, Orwell’s 1984.

It takes a leap of faith to crack open a hardbound, 270-page history of a popular, classic novel that you’ve read more than once. Why not…


The most politically charged Supreme Court decision since Bush v. Gore will be decided with the vote of one Associate Justice who should have disqualified himself.

When the same federal judge angrily denounced a group of senators from one political party in a prepared statement on national TV, he committed the mother of all high-visibility violations of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. …


Final appeals have been filed urging the federal judiciary to find that Brett Kavanaugh’s outburst on Sept. 27, 2018, violated misconduct rules barring “inappropriately partisan statements.” We will soon learn whether his fellow judges will set a distressing precedent by giving him a pass — or stand behind the judicial Code of Conduct by labeling his conduct a violation (even if he is now immune from any sanction). My own appeal to the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability follows:

Regarding the March 15, 2019, Order by the Tenth Circuit Judicial Council related to misconduct complaints against Judge…

Paul Horvitz

Ex-financial writer/editor; ex-newspaper journalist in US and France. Opinions are mine alone.

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