Dave Johnson reminds us that Congress seems to want a "Flint-like solution" to Puerto Rico's debt troubles. That's right, they want an unelected board making Puerto Rico's financial decisions for them, and if you're tempted to say well, look how great the elected officials have been doing, please do two things: 1) slap yourself, and 2) remember that elected officials are still accountable to you, and that democracy is always better than oligarchy. And by the way, the oligarchy Congress wants for Puerto Rico might be run by a Treasury official who not too long ago helped his previous bankster employer saddle Puerto Rico with more usurious loans. So Congress will say he "knows" more about the situation than anyone, which is sort of like saying the arsonist who burns down your house should rebuild it because he "knows" your house.
You remember when our government got caught spying on just about all of us, how quickly they retorted that they were only collecting metadata and they weren't "looking at names" or "looking at content"? Well, now Stanford University researchers demonstrate just how easy it is to identify people through metadata. The researchers were able to identify over 80% of the study's volunteers by collecting metadata and (this part's important!) comparing it with the data volunteers had made public on the internet. Also, "(a)ll of this should be taken as an indication of what is possible with two graduate students and limited resources"; presumably the NSA, which employs more than two graduate students, could identify pretty much everyone.
Issie Lapowsky, writing at Wired, thinks Al Gore might be winning the climate change battle a decade after his Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. I tend toward optimism on this matter as well -- the EPA's Clean Power Plan, methane emissions regulations, and the falling prices of renewables are all good things -- but attend closely what Mr. Gore says about being able to "shap(e) policy and influenc(e) the way people think" as President, and you may be reminded that George W. Bush essentially legitimized climate change denialism just by being President, and that set us back about a decade.
Barack Obama goes to Vietnam -- a notorious labor rights crapzone, as well as the land where Nike outsourced so many of its manufacturing jobs all those years ago -- to promote the "benefits" of the Trans-Pacific "Partnership." Like his visit to Nike a year back, this is so tone-deaf it makes me wonder again if Barack Obama is trying to sabotage his own "free" trade deal. He still voices hope that Congress will pass the TPP, which makes me think Congress will do try to do it, probably after more racist fearmongering about China, and possibly after Donald Trump "reads" the TPP and decides it's the kind of "free" trade deal he can support.
Finally, Donald Trump appears to have avoided donating $1 million to veterans' groups, as he pledged to do in January, until the Washington Post confronted him about it a few days ago. Perhaps in Donald Trump's world, "I donated $1 million" can mean things like "I'm going to donate the $1 million when I get around to it, now stop harassing me," but I suspect folks who are not swimming in money like he is don't feel the same way. Nothing for it, then, but another round of anger at somebody, since anger is all Donald Trump has to offer.