Robert Reich describes the five basic principles of patriotism. "Coming together," "sharing the burdens," "preserving...our democracy," "work(ing) to improve our government," and avoiding "divisiveness" are five pretty good values, of course, but why are they American? Because Americans say so, that's why, and if a foolish and venal aristocracy has seized power in our land, that doesn't make us less patriotic.
Over 50 retired generals and admirals call on both political parties to reject torture in party platforms. And this is where that constant right-wing refrain "listen to the generals" comes in! Or not -- right-wingers know, in their hearts, that they only listen to the generals (and everyone else!) when they already agree with them.
Senate approves their version of the nefarious PROMESA Act, which would allow unelected bureaucrats to take money from good Puerto Ricans and give it to banksters. Maybe if Democrats put it like that, it wouldn't have passed. No use telling me that "Puerto Rico should pay its debts like everyone else," when a) everyone else doesn't pay their debts, especially the very wealthy, and b) they don't have debts because of good Puerto Ricans, but because of corrupt banksters and politicians.
John Nichols profiles Misty Snow, a trans woman who just won the Democratic nomination in the Utah 2016 U.S. Senate race. Ms. Snow ticks off a lot of the right boxes -- she supports a $15/hour minimum wage, Medicare-for-all health care, and campaign finance reform, among other things -- though I'd be really impressed if she also says that all of Mike Lee's feints left (on Afghanistan, criminal justice reform, and government spying) don't seem to have amounted for much. Utah is one of the most Republican states in the union, so this could be a very educational race. Maybe even Democrats will learn something from it!
Michael Corcoran at TruthOut tells us Hillary Clinton's short list for VP has only three names on it. Elizabeth Warren won't get it because Wall Street will have a hissy fit, and that leaves Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and HUD Secretary Julian Castro. I've been telling co-workers that Mr. Kaine is the pick, but then I read this passage about Mr. Castro: "because he has never served in Congress or run for federal office, it is hard to examine his financial backers or even find out his statements on scores of issues." So it's Castro, then.
Finally, The Straight Dope reveals why tabloids generally don't get sued into oblivion. The biggest theoretical issue, of course, is proving they printed information they knew was false; it's not like you can cut open a reporter or an editor and count rings. "Ah, 59 rings! A prime number! He knew!" More interesting, though, is the first paragraph's account of defamation lawsuits against Gawker secretly funded by Peter Thiel, who's still sore about being outed by Gawker back in 2007, summarized thusly: "If you’ve got enough money, you don’t need to prove libel or privacy violation in your own case...You just have to spend eight or nine years burying your nemesis in other people’s cases until you find one with enough merit to put ’em out of their misery."