Martin Longman at Washington Monthly says Democrats might fight their way back to power in rural/poor white districts by fighting monopolies again. I'd quarrel with some of his points, but if you're looking for something that unites rank-and-file Americans, fighting monopolies might be it, particularly since monopolies lay waste to communities that never vote Democrat anymore. Fighting monopolies might even be the idea that unifies all the other things that unite rank-and-file Americans across the ideological spectrum (like opposition to media consolidation, corporate crime, "free" trade, and bankster power).
Apple removes some of its Virtual Private Network (or VPN) apps from its Chinese app store, which just so happens to jibe with China's ongoing internet crackdown. Apple is notorious for strong-arming app developers into making their products to conform to its rigid hardware and software requirements, but it would have been a vain hope to think they'd play hardball with the Chinese government. So remind your friends and family to avoid thinking we should let corporations do whatever they like, so that corporate power can be a bulwark against totalitarians.
If you've fallen prey to the notion that we shouldn't expect to see life-saving vaccines if there's no money in it (cough ebola cough), Dean Baker reminds us that our government can play a role in developing such vaccines, such as the Zika vaccine. Of course, corporate whining about government involvement in vaccine development is doubly offensive when you consider how much taxpayer money goes into developing big pharma drugs -- and sigh, our government will grant the corporation it paid to develop the Zika vaccine a seven-year monopoly on it.
Political gadfly Danny Tarkanian says he'll take on Sen. Dean Heller in the 2018 Republican primary, because Mr. Heller isn't pro-Trump enough. Can he win the nomination? Sure he can, even against a formidable campaigner like Mr. Heller. Can he win the general? Of course he can, even though he's now lost five attempts for high-profile office since 2004 -- 2018 isn't going to be a year for non-ideological problem-solvers to win office, but a year for populists and fake populists to win office. Still, we can't discount the possibility that the end result (or even the intent!) will be that Mr. Heller looks more palatable to the good folks of Nevada -- he really blew it with that last health care vote, after all.
I've long believed that websites like Napster existed because people really, really wanted to download music and the record corporations should have moved a lot more quickly to fulfill their desires, but my generosity most certainly does not extend to the hackers who are trying to blackmail HBO into giving them a cut of their largesse. We may reasonably debate whether HBO has too much money, but that doesn't make everyone who wants to take it from them into Robin Hood, even if it means some folks will get to see the next Game of Thrones episode a few days early. So yeah, this "Mr. Smith" is just an asshole, or a group of assholes.
Finally, since we're on the subject, I'm with Charles Blow's characterization of Donald Trump as "America's Whiniest 'Victim'" -- until he suggests that Mr. Trump's votaries are just as whiny as he is. A lot of votaries have legitimate grievances (corporations have utterly ravaged their neighborhoods and livelihoods, after all), though TEH BLACKZ GETZ ALL TEH GOODIEZ!!!! is, frankly, not a legitimate grievance, and if we addressed their legitimate grievances, a lot of their illegitimate ones would magically disappear. Still, it is a shame that none of them will never add the sum of Mr. Trump's whining and deduce that he is, in fact, a whiner.