Having already gotten Congress to nullify the FCC's internet privacy regulations from 2016, Verizon has now asked our FCC to prevent states from passing their own laws restoring those privacy rights. My first thought was, "that would be as Constitutionally dicey as that FCC attempt to nullify state laws outlawing community broadband would have been," and lo and behold! FCC Chair Ajit Pai made that very same argument against that very same effort! But I bet he thinks differently now, and will justify such an anti-privacy with rhetorical gymnastics that would put his TEH DEAD CATZ WITH TEH BURNERZ PHONEZ STUFFEDZ INSIDEZ!!!! to shame.
The Supreme Court may well curb public sector unions' ability to collect "agency fees" -- which perform the same function as the union dues that fund those union functions that defend their workers -- and Lois Weiner at In These Times identifies "business unionism" as a major culprit in this effort. "In defining their purpose primarily as protecting members’ narrowly conceived economic interests and shaping the organization to function like a business," she writes, "unions construct a very limited role for the workers they represent." So if unions had, for example, been listening more to their members or arguing for the best interests of all workers instead of "just our own," then they might not have to wonder why folks wouldn't bother to pay dues or fees if they didn't have to, because those folks would want to.
New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy has promised to start a public bank there, so Ellen Brown at the Web of Debt blog discusses the multitudinous benefits of public banking. The most famous public bank, the Bank of North Dakota, "has seen record profits for almost 15 years," even despite the state oil bust, and that's likely due to its business model, as it "is risk-averse, lends conservatively, (and) does not gamble in derivatives or put deposits at risk," plus "(i)t does not pay bonuses, fees, or commissions; has no high paid executives...and does not have private shareholders seeking short-term profits." But there's also an oblique warning about Mr. Murphy's public bank in the tale of the now-defunct Los Angeles Community Development Bank, which was "not a bank" and was "designed to fail."
Michael Corcoran writes a devastating piece for FAIR about the "liberal" media's utter failure to inform the public about Canadian single-payer health insurance. Long story short: the "liberal" media cherrypicks the data when it can and ignores or distorts the data when it can't -- why tell folks that Canada spends 55% what we do on health care when you can talk about long wait times for specialists and elective surgeries, which is literally the only thing American health care does better than Canada? Also, too, the "liberal" media can find a whole lot of people willing to tell stories about the deadbeat neighbor down the street, but not the people who've lost family members because they couldn't get health insurance, and it's not like the latter are hard to find.
Kathy Wilkes at In These Times reminds us why NFL owners can't just fire their players for kneeling during the national anthem. If you've been saying, as I have, that the First Amendment doesn't protect you from your employer, well, turns out that's not the issue when you have an employment contract negotiated by a union (as NFL players do), and not only doesn't the NFLPA contract call "kneeling during the national anthem" a fireable offense, NFL owners failed to follow contractual procedures that might have made it one. Also, when you do get fired, you can file a grievance. If your Tea Party uncle is still full of rage, remind him that the owners signed the contract.
Finally, a study published in Science finds that publishing stories in "small, independent news outlets" has a broader effect on the political conversation on social media than you'd think -- particularly when three (or more) of them publish articles on the same topic in the same week. It's also nice to hear someone else say, out loud, "we have faith in the American people." A lot of good government organizations have that faith, but often forget to say it. And the professional cynics can laugh all they want, but all they'll bring to the Pearly Gates is their money.