America's Last Journalist, Greg Palast, describes "The GOP's Stealth War Against Voters." Yes, it's the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, a.k.a. Crosscheck -- the database that pretends to identify "voters who've voted in multiple races across state lines" by matching fairly common names that just so happen to belong to predominantly black folk and folks of color. Plus, the database matches voters without checking their full Social Security numbers -- or, apparently, their middle names. Still not convinced? Out of over 7 million suspects flagged by the database, how many folks have actually faced voter fraud charges? Four. So, yes, Crosscheck is partisan and racist.
Chris Hamby at Buzzfeed reveals "The Court That Rules the World" -- and, spoiler alert, it's the "investor-state tribunal" created by "free" trade agreements. You won't just learn about the less-noxious origins of ISDS, and about corruption in Egypt and lead-laced water in El Salvador -- you'll also learn about "the system’s usefulness as a shield for the criminal and the corrupt," which "has remained virtually unknown." The ISDS virtually ended any attempts by good Egyptians and Salvadorians to clean up their countries; think that won't happen here if the TPP passes? (Of course, it already has -- Congress rushed to repeal country-of-origin labeling laws for meat late last year when the WTO ruled that such laws violated "free" trade deals.)
Louisiana 1st Circuit Court of Appeals panel rules that a Terrebone Parish sheriff violated the Constitutional rights of a blogger when he raided his house. The blogger, of course, had accused the sheriff and several other local officials of corruption. Turns out the alleged "defamation" perpetrated by the blogger wasn't a criminal offense -- because public officials can't be "defamed" in that manner -- and thus any search warrant procured by the sheriff lacked probable cause. The sheriff, at one point over the last month, referred to the accusations against him as "unsatisfactory." That's a pretty terrible way of saying people are wrongly accusing you. It's like he got lost in a thesaurus.
Washington Post writer Kent Babb chronicles the below-poverty-level life of minor league baseball players. If you're tempted to think that's an OK price to pay so you can one day get to The Show -- which plenty of poor minor league ballplayers also think! -- remember how few of them ever make it to the majors. And n.b. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred using the exact same excuse all corporate leaders use whenever they want to argue against the minimum wage: that "additional regulation could ultimately lead to smaller minor league rosters or fewer teams." You'll recognize this, of course, as a hostage situation: don't make me do the right thing, Mr. Manfred's really saying, or these jobs'll get it! But I think he's wrong -- I don't see major league ball clubs taking kindly to the suggestion that they can do without their rookie league or high A farm clubs.
Finally, Harry Boyte at Moyers and Company reminds us that "Consumer Culture is Killing Citizenship." Long story short: we care less about each other and more (or perhaps only) about ourselves. Long story somewhat longer: our commercialized culture, where city folks can see some 5,000 ads daily and children see 40,000 ads every year, stops us from being "makers of democratic society" and makes us instead into people who "brand() and sell() ourselves" and constantly ask "what's in it for me?" Will the Trump campaign, which "embod(ies) the logic of a culture where differences between salesmanship and leadership disappear," be America's wake-up call? Maybe, maybe not -- but we'll be out there banging our saucepan.