Another day, another push to pass the unpopular Trans-Pacific "Partnership" by stirring up booga-booga about China. A former World Bank President says "(i)f the U.S. abandons TPP, our Asian allies and partners will perceive America as yielding to China," by which I guess he means that if all those other nations can't pay their workers in dung pellets like China does, then we're really in the soup. They also say we should have a "presence" in Asia, as if any presence will do, or that rejecting the TPP would be a blow to "American leadership," as if bad leadership is just as good as good leadership. They can't even tell you the TPP will force other nations to treat their workers better, but that the TPP will "set the stage" for it. This is what you get from Our Glorious Elites when they can't win arguments -- fearmongering and rhetorical sleight-of-hand.
Verizon workers reach agreements with their employer, ending their nearly seven week-long strike. Workers received adequate pay hikes, fought off pension cuts, and got Verizon to withdraw their hated send-workers-a-few-states-away-for-two-months proposal. But Verizon got to change a call center rule mandating that all calls go to workers in the state from which the call originates, and also now gets to try to buy out employees once a year without going to the union first -- which will make getting rid of now-"redundant" call center operators easier. Note well that Verizon demanded more than it got; you have already noted well that Democrat weaklings in Washington never demand more than they get, while Republican hysterics always demand more than they get. It's like there's a lesson in there, somewhere.
Michael Hiltzik, writing at the Los Angeles Times, reminds us that mergers in health care don't lower prices there, either. The myth that mergers lower prices, which directly conflicts the saw that competition lowers prices, should have an even harder time surviving in a land where health care prices always seem to be going up faster than inflation, yet big corporations are game to feed us a line of slop. Luckily Mr. Hiltzik, as usual, has science, history, and superior argument on his side.
Dean Baker suggests we avoid "condemn(ing)" Trump supporters as "hopeless Neanderthals" and actually see their real grievances. No, their putative hatred of immigrants and women and "political correctness" are not their "real grievances" -- their real grievances have to do with the disappearance of well-paying factory jobs with good benefits from the American landscape. The last paragraph is worth quoting in its entirety: "There is no excuse for supporting a racist, sexist, xenophobic buffoon like Donald Trump. But we should be clear: the workers who turn to him do have real grievances. The system has been rigged against them. And it is a bit hypocritical of those who have benefited from this rigging to be mocking the poor judgment of its victims."
Finally, in a peripherally-related note, Stephen Hawking says he doesn't understand Donald Trump's popularity. I'd just tell him to read the preceding paragraph, and then the Dean Baker article to which it links; he might also try reading Thomas Frank's Listen, Liberal. Mr. Hawking also wants Britain to stay in the EU, though Britain (like every other EU country, especially Greece, amirite?) has plenty of good reasons to leave the EU that have nothing to do with racism and xenophobia.