About Robert Letcher

Robert A. Letcher, Ph.D. is a political economist who describes himself as "an academic without portfolio, writer, political activist, and Qigong practitioner who tries to help people learn".

Right to Live v Right to Own a Gun

American History

Robert Letcher – The right to keep and bear arms versus the right of five and six-year olds to live was probably not in the minds of the Framers of the Constitution

The Fall Elections: Not Your Normal Election

american chess

Robert Letcher: Sweet-sounding campaign promises and sugar-coated talking points—normal electioneering—will only dig us all deeper into the mire we’re already stuck in.

Supremes’ Decision Points Way Past America’s Division

bob letcher ccc

Bob Letcher: A citizenry cannot claim at once BOTH to value having each other’s back, figuratively, AND to oppose sharing the cost of caring for each other’s back, literally.

Labor Rights: It’s Personal

bob letcher poppy

Bob Letcher: I have long thought that, if labor rights had been recognized back then, there might have been an OSHA to enforce safety standards, and Pop might have been able to hold me with either hand.

How an Everyday Person Helped “Fire Up” President Obama

Edith S. Childs

Bob Letcher: Creating and institutionalizing presidential campaigns as two-way learning organizations could greatly improve both the quality of information asked for and the level of buy-in to our candidate and to his government.

Is Obama Missing Olympia Snowe’s Point?

obama mlk memorial

Bob Letcher: How can Senator Snowe’s “point” cause enough of a problem to lead her to give up her seat, and at the same time not be counted as an “issue” at President Obama’s re-election website?

Obama Re-election: We’re Not Working Out Issues Anymore

olympia snowe

Bob Letcher: Please notice that “We’re not working out issues any more” is *not* listed among the top seven issues in Barack Obama’s re-election plans.

Needed: Smarter Students, Not Inflated Grades

struggling schoolgirl

Robert Letcher: With this country’s students ranking only 16th among industrialized nations, it’s clear that we as a country have to work on more hot-button issues than just”cost”.

Developing Civil Discourse

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Bob Letcher: If we as Earthlings, occupants of various bio-regions of Earth, are ever to hope to return some sort of sanity to our living on Earth, we’re going to have to add that item to our already long and still growing list of efforts that we must talk about.

Understanding Senator Kyl’s “Logic”

senator john kyl

Bob Letcher: How did you intend everyday people who are out here woozily wondering how to grasp your intention in “putting it that way” to go about—well… grasping your intention in putting it that way?

A Question for Governor Kasich

john-kasich-wide

Bob Letcher: Do you have an approach for getting people past the bitterness that divides them, so that they can reinvent capitalism together; or, do you think that capitalism doesn’t need reinventing,?”

Report from an Unclear Front

bob letcher ccc

Bob Letcher: In the face of last year’s healthcare reform efforts, opponents screamed the inherently violent and hardly constructive “Kill the bill”; now, it’s opponents of reducing collective bargaining rights for public employees who are screaming the still inherently violent and hardly constructive “Kill the bill”.

An Old Hippie Ponders a Haircut

barbershop-wide

Bob Letcher: I just never forgot that my maternal grandfather was an immigrant bricklayer. I didn’t want to “dress-up” because going “up” might distract me from my commitment to working for justice for “little guys”.

So, Did Anything Unusual Happen Over Last Weekend?

juan_williams

Robert Letcher: With all the violence and contempt that seemed “in the air”, it was starting to feel like some “Tucson” was bound to happen, but there wasn’t enough actionable information: no “when”, no “where”. Nor were resources available to “look into the situation”, as they had been to President Bush.

Caring for Others Is Legal — Still

Bob Letcher: In any case, people were screaming slogans at each other, as though volume alone would determine who was right. No nuance. Little listening, little worthy of being listened to.

An Early Post-Mortem: A National Day of Pouring?

national day of pouring

Bob Letcher: Regardless of who “wins” and who “loses” next Tuesday’s election, can there be any doubt that the results will end the country’s slow downward slide… and send it plunging headlong toward disaster of the sort and scale that the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, must have foreseen when he admonished the citizenry, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Being There to Be Counted Isn’t the Only Thing That Counts

Steve_B_hands_opt

In the end, if mutual respect and solidarity are ever to be constructed “interfaithedly”, even the most ardent of believers will have to learn how to present what they see as The Truth as instead, Their Truth.

Frog Economy?—A Reaction to Professor Reich’s Tortoise Economy

frog

Bob Letcher: The workforce has become as dilapidated as the proverbial rust-belt factory. It took a long time for us all to get us all into this mess, and it’s going to take at least as long for us all to work ourselves back out of it

An Old Fart’s Admonition: Please, Don’t Let Yourself Get Disillusioned

the doors

Bob Letcher: NPR reported that many of the first-time voters in 2008, whose votes provided Obama his winning margin, might stay home in the upcoming elections. To them I say, please vote.

Education is THE Economic Issue of Our Time

CoolHandLuke

Bob Letcher: In the few weeks since President Obama so emphatically linked his education program to his effort to revive the US political economy, the President has not been pressed to detail either the substance of his education program or his procedure for winning support from a public that is increasingly cynical, skeptical, frightened, and angry.

Technology as a System: An Approach to Creating Jobs

auto plant

Robert Letcher: It has become a very cruel world out there, and latecomers are cruelly left out. Until a new economic order emerges, only the technologically aware have a chance to prosper. We hope our approach will help us to that end.

Further “Finds” in the Video of T-People Acting Badly Toward an Old Guy Afflicted with Parkinson’s

teabaggers

Bob Letcher: With all that snapping and unsnapping and re-snapping going on, how could a person who was never quoted as saying either “I apologize,” or “I am sorry.”—and never said either directly to me, or to the millions of Americans whom his pure ugliness offended, or to the millions of people around the world who count on America as a symbol of relative decency in a sea of that same ugliness he exhibited—how could he even begin to claim to have been sincere in his apology? And wouldn’t an insincere apology be oxymoron?

10 Questions for T People from the Parkie They Heckled

Robert Letcher: Eighth, how can you act so angry and unaware on the world’s stage (it’s not yours or ours anymore—so you can’t just take it home), yet hope not to be dismissed as ugly Americans who can no longer think well and creatively enough to compete in anything except war games made with real wars?

Campaigning For and Being President As Two-Way Learning: A Benchmark

Robert Letcher: It’s not that I expected Obama to communicate with me about his policy positions, although I certainly hoped he would – even though I don’t wait around for him to call. Instead, it just seemed to me that his campaign – our campaign – would likely improve his prospects for winning if he were somehow to really communicate with this me and all the other me’s whose support he needs in order to be elected and govern successfully.

Visioning Exercises: Popular, and Often Misleading

lady gaga

Bob Letcher: am reluctant to go in for visioning exercises, because in my own experience such exercises almost always proceed on the basis of (to borrow my favorite of George W Bush’s malapropisms) “misunderestimating” the capacity of the opposition, and particularly those elements of the opposition who always already possess systematically asymmetric advantages in access to power and resources.

Capitalism’s Golden Rule

Chevrolet

Bob Letcher: doubt that any portion of the collapse of GM was included as a cost of NOT having national healthcare. But all those Golden Handcuff’s that GM’s employees understandably put on their own wrists as the only way they could see for keeping their loved ones healthy and covered just might have contributed to the recent very expensive collapse of the company, the company towns, all the nameplates and jobs.

Man with Parkinson’s Sign Responds to Teabag Hecklers

Teabaggers

Robert Letcher: Medicare paid for brain surgery that significantly mitigated my suffering. When I got my brain implants turned on, life became almost ordinary for awhile–and we all cried tears of happiness. That’s why I can honestly say that I am not driven by “EGO”; rather, I am driven by “I-OWE”.

More than Merely Counting Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Global-Warming

Bob Letcher: If we agree simply to total up CO2 emissions, China ends up being the world’s biggest emitter. But, if we agree to account for China’s much larger population, by ranking per capita emission, the US can go back to its familiar cheer: “We’re #1! We’re #1! Whhoooa!!”

Beyond Unemployment Insurance in the Face of Structural Job Loss

Unemployed

Bob Letcher: Unemployment compensation was conceived as a temporary solution to a temporary problem, getting people through the down part of one cycle to the up part of the next cycle; not as a long-term solution to a long-term structural problem.

More than Merely Counting Medals

Hockey

Bob Letcher: Simply to “count medals” egregiously ignores the importance players on both sides of the “GOLD MEDAL” game ascribed to winning that game. And not without reason: the Government of Canada—Team Canada’s Government—had undertaken as a matter of national pride, if not national policy, its own “own the podium” program.

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