Theo Anderson at In These Times describes sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild's work answering the question "Why the White Working Class Votes Conservative." Long story short: these voters aren't deluded about the harm untrammeled corporate power can cause, but they consider government an even greater evil, since they perceive that government handouts go to "the people who get ahead without putting in the hard work." And then "(t)he result is a vicious cycle of dysfunction. Anti-government anger leads to deregulation of industry, which is then free to inflict more havoc, which intensifies the sense of loss and anger, which is then directed primarily at the government." (As an aside, I don't agree that Thomas Frank doesn't delve into "the lived experience of conservatives"; actually, I came away with more respect for right-wingers after I read it.)
Frank Stricker at Counterpunch asks whether we can really bring back all the factory jobs we've outsourced. Short answer: no. Somewhat longer answer: we won't bring back 31,000,000 factory jobs, but creating 10,000,000 more jobs would get us closer to full employment. How do you do that? You spend taxpayer money on physical infrastructure work and on public education. "Neither candidate has made a major commitment in these areas," he concludes, and you can see why neither would make a move to invest in public education -- they'd fear losing big donor money from the charter school crowd.
Sarah Anderson at OtherWords notes that even though Presidential candidates from both parties bash fat-cat banksters, they present very few effective solutions to the problem. Why, it's almost like that's the idea! Even the Obama Administration's CEO pay reporting requirement doesn't have "real teeth" in it, she writes, because it doesn't (for example) link CEO pay practices to government contracting. That could be something the next President tries to do (if that President's name is Clinton, of course -- you think Donald Trump would even think of something like this?), though we'll hear nothing but nanny state and violates our rights from the pro-bankster waaambulance. Even though the Obama Administration hasn't done enough to curb their power, you'd still think they'd have shame by now.
Physicist Vandana Shiva reminds us that we don't need genetically-engineered "golden rice" to deliver Vitamin A. You may well take issue with Dr. Shiva's list of foods that can give you your RDA of Vitamin A, a list that includes "one carrot" and "one mango," by saying, well, you can't grow carrots and mangos wherever you like. But the truth is only that you can't grow these things en masse wherever you like, and growing food the corporate way is not the only way to grow food. Big ag corporations hate crop diversity, because it's harder than just growing the same thing for acres on end, and because it doesn't redistribute income upward to executives like growing the same thing for acres on end does.
Ho hum, big dirty energy corporations paid for meetings between their representatives and Republican Attorneys General in August of 2015, and there they collaborated on a plan to sue the Obama Administration to stop the EPA's Clean Power Plan. It's not the collaboration that upsets me, of course -- it's the massive six-figure donations the Republican Attorneys General Association, and though it may not upset John Roberts that these corporations weren't stupid enough (as far as we know!) to spell out what they wanted in exchange for what they were giving, we'd be schmucks to pretend it's just coincidence. Didn't Donald Trump tell us that politicians who take big donations "do whatever the hell you want them to"?
Finally, James Hohmann at the Washington Post asks if President Obama "squandered an opportunity" by nominating Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. The matter is actually far more interesting to contemplate than I expected -- NOW's President, for example, says that if Mr. Obama had appointed, say, a black woman instead, not only would the liberal wing of the Democratic party have been more galvanized in support, but right-wingers would have attacked her "viciously," thus exposing the real aim of the Republican Party. I'm not sure Republican aims can be any more exposed than they are, and I'm certainly not opposed to a Justice Garland -- moderates tend to drift leftward once they're on the Supreme Court. But Mr. Hohmann collects the most evidence yet that the Garland nomination is just another example of Barack Obama playing 13-dimensional chess with himself.