ProPublica takes us to Victory Drive, just outside of Fort Benning, GA -- where over half a dozen high-interest lenders have set up shop, exploiting loopholes in the Military Lending Act to trap our soldiers in runaway debt. One commenter insists that soldiers (despite risking losing their security clearances if they disclose their debt to their superiors) have more than enough tools to avoid falling into title-loan traps and the like -- but that doesn't excuse the behavior of the corporations exploiting the loopholes. Why do I have to keep explaining that?
In a peripherally-related story, a Veterans Administration epidemiologist claims that the VA systematically downplays evidence of Gulf War Illness. Read the whole thing; it's a sad tale, and it's not enough to say maybe more funding would induce the VA to do more -- we also need more folks in government who are less corrupt, as buttressed by the millions of dollars in bonuses (doesn't anyone in government or business know the meaning of the word "bonus"?) earned by high-ranking VA officials.
Dick Cheney calls the Benghazi incident "one of the worst incidences (sic), frankly, that I can recall in my career." He's got balls, I suppose -- he doesn't appear to recall any of the 13 attacks on American diplomatic posts, killing 98, occurring on his watch -- but three years ago he'd have said this on CNN, not Hannity. I guess that's progress.
Greg Sargent at the Washington Post suspects that the nexus of scandal currently plaguing the Obama Administration might actually save us from Social Security cuts and Medicare cuts. And why not give Mr. Obama some credit for that? It'd only be fair, since he lived through the Clinton years just like the rest of us, and since I often blame him for calculating his way out of apparent victory.
Greg Kaufmann at The Nation's blog lists "Twelve Things You Can Do to Fight Poverty Now." We're doing some of them already! Though I'm a little ashamed that I didn't think to demand more money for food stamps, versus merely opposing food stamp cuts. I don't always negotiate with the maximum amount of imagination. I'll work on it.
Finally, Gar Alperovitz reminds us (in an excerpt from his new book, What Then Must We Do?) that publicly-owned resources -- energy utilities, broadband providers, state pensions, and the like -- already exist all over America, even in the South, and work well on behalf of their owners, the people. Warning to the foolish: Mr. Alperovitz deploys the word "socialism" as though it's a word with meaning and utility, and not as if it's a club best used to beat liberals.