Richard Eskow analyzes Donald Trump's big economics speech and, as you might imagine, finds it the same-old same-old Republicans have been peddling for years. Cut regulations blah blah blah cut taxes on the rich blah blah blah, plus overt contradictions sometimes delivered mere seconds after the talking points. It's good to be reminded, too, that Mr. Trump doesn't seem to remember that the Golden Age of American Post-War Prosperity "was made possible by government investment, which in turn was made possible by a tax code that asked far more of the wealthy and of corporations than we do today."
Of course Mr. Trump's also in trouble for hiring all white old men as his economic advisors, but the worse problem is that at least five of them are major campaign donors. I wonder what sort of advice they'll give! As one analyst says, "(h)e is following the path he has said was corrupt: raising large sums of money and then giving donors special access." Would it be piling on to note that the article describes one of the five big donors as "a billionaire investor and poker player"? I mean, that's what we need more of in government, right? Gamblers.
Cedric Lawson at inequality.org takes a clear and sober look at mass incarceration entitled "Eliminate Profit from Punishment." Here are, for me at least, the two most sobering notes: that Marissa Alexander (the woman who fired a gun in the general direction of her abusive husband and who somehow could not enjoy immediate protection from Florida's vaunted "Stand Your Ground" law) may have been swallowed up by the prison system simply because some prison could have made money off her, and some for-profit prison corporations actually sue states when they don't give them enough prisoners. That doesn't make a great case for privatization of this essential function of civilization.
With Mr. Trump falling in many recent polls, First Read speculates on whether the Republicans will keep blockading President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. You heard it here first: Republicans will continue to blockade the Garland nomination, and any other nomination a Democratic President would make to the Supreme Court, until they win back the Presidency, no matter how many years or decades that takes, no matter what absurd excuses they must employ. Yes, they will go that far -- I mean, the alternative is losing the Supreme Court for the next few decades. I hope I'm wrong, but usually I'm wrong because I haven't foreseen how far Republicans will go to keep or take back power.
Finally, scientists find that contact with certain microbes in farm animals actually reduces asthma in children. If you like talking about the old days, you'll find a certain kinship with the notion that our homes are so clean now that we don't get enough of the bad stuff that makes us stronger, but scientists who studied Amish and Hutterite children found that the Amish simply don't get very much asthma, and, not coincidentally, their children have much more contact with farm animals (whereas the Hutterites live on large industrial farms, now there's another reason to oppose big ag). We're not all going to live near farm animals now, of course -- but we may learn enough from the Amish experience so that we can all benefit. Sometimes, when folks "drop out" of the mainstream and live the way they want to live, they teach the rest of us something.