Jim Naureckas at FAIR catches the New York Times arguing that British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has "marginalized his party" with his positions on re-nationalizing energy corporations, spending on poor working families, and Israel-Palestine relations -- except that all of his positions just so happen to be popular with British folks. Remember when the "liberal" media consistently told us opposing the Iraq war was a "hard-left" position -- even though the majority of Americans opposed it? Remember when Barack Obama slammed the "sanctimonious" "purists" who opposed extending Bush Mobb tax cuts for the rich -- even though the majority of Americans agreed with those "purists"? If Our Glorious Elites tell us a policy position is marginal, that's almost a sure sign that it's not so much marginal as popular.
Dean Baker evaluates another "free" trade supporter's arguments that the Trans-Pacific" Partnership will "help the world's poor," "boost growth" and "open Asian markets more," and finds them wanting. Key points: the TPP will likely only boost growth by two-hundreds of one percentage point over 15 years -- that's less than one-fiftieth of our weak economy's GDP growth over the last three months! -- and Asian nations, far from "ma(king) most of the concessions," stand to gain the most from loosened trade restrictions. And what will be the cost to "the world's poor" of the expanded "investor-state tribunal," when corporations can simply exact tribute from their government in a secret court, and prevent their government from enacting laws to protect them from those corporations?
The Washington Post notes that Democratic leaders have largely pulled their spending from the Ohio Senate race, in which former Gov. Ted Strickland is taking on Republican incumbent Sen. Rob Portman -- and suggests the party isn't confident that Mr. Strickland will prevail. Which is an entirely reasonable conclusion -- and probably the correct one! -- but I wonder if such machinations are actually part of a long possum game on Mr. Strickland's behalf. Note well that Mr. Strickland, left for dead in his 2010 gubernatorial re-election effort, actually only lost that race by two points -- and that Republican groups pulled their spending first last month, which, if a possum game were to continue, would necessitate a similar Democratic pullout. Consider, also, that 2016 (unlike 2010) should see Presidential election turnout, and that Donald Trump may yet prove toxic at the top of the ticket. Again, I could be wrong, and admittedly Mr. Strickland hasn't done a good job either raising money or campaigning, but I think the various chess moves support either theory at this point. (The Colorado Senate race, also covered in the Post article, probably is what it looks like -- though, really, who'd have thought Michael Bennet could ever be a formidable incumbent?)
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman begins investigating possible antitrust violations in a state program that helps schools keep EpiPens on hand. Also, two U.S. Senators (Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota) and one House Rep (Tammy Duckworth of Illinois) have written the FCC and the DOJ, respectively, suggesting that the New York program might also violate federal law. But, please, right-wingers, keep telling us how "free markets" always operate in the best interests of consumers -- even, presumably, the ones who have to pay hundreds of dollars more for life-saving medication than they would have under a government that actually enforced strong antitrust legislation.
Finally, Al Gore advises us not to vote for third-party candidates in 2016, adding wryly that "in my experience it matters a lot" in re issues such as climate change. Yes, Barack Obama's EPA has done a pretty good job while George W. Bush made climate change denialism mainstream, and I firmly expect that a Hillary Clinton EPA would similarly outperform a Donald Trump or a Mike Pence EPA. Still, Mr. Gore's comments efface the real problem with two-party politics: that Democrats run solely on the fact that they're not the ogres Republicans are, and when they do that, they perpetrate just another rhetorical hostage crisis --- vote for me, or the country gets it! I'm no great Jill Stein fan, as it happens, but Democrats had better hope a more formidable progressive third-party candidate never comes along, or they'll be the burnt toast they presume the Republican Party will be.