Adam Haslett at The Nation says Donald Trump has "trashed our political culture by weaponizing shame." For those of us who still think shame is an important tool to ensure more people don't turn out like Donald Trump, it's an unexpectedly good article: first he diagnoses the emotion "driving our present politics" not as anger, but shame, and then describes how Mr. Trump first "induces" shame in his votaries, then essentially excuses them from confronting it by "publicly shaming others instead." The rest of it draws that necessary line from the rise of tabloid journalism and "reality TV" in the West to the "domestic variation of what Naomi Klein described in The Shock Doctrine" that Republicans today practice as "politics." This article is so good it might actually get me to read a National Review writer again (the one whose name is J.D. Vance, of course).
Speaking of Teh Donald, a Newsweek investigation finds that Mr. Trump has used Chinese steel in two of his last three big construction projects, despite the availability of perfectly good American steel. This, also, could represent a week of campaign ads for Hillary Clinton -- but the problem (and I mean this literally, that it's a problem) is that Mr. Trump's hypocrisies are so YUGE that ad campaigns can barely contain them. Inveterate "free" trader refusing to use American steel in his buildings; "self-made man" taking nearly a billion dollars in city tax breaks over 40 years, and also taking a six-figure 9.11-related federal grants away from small businesses that actually needed it -- there are so many that I honestly can't think of any more right now. Of course, the internet is a big place, so someone's probably done a more comprehensive list. The future is good for some things.
Speaking to one of Mr. Haslett's objections in the article to which today's first paragraph links, Stephen Wolf at Daily Kos explains why Hillary Clinton hasn't been branding Donald Trump as the logical extension of Republican extremism he appears to be. Long story short: voters apparently aren't all that convinced that Mr. Trump is that logical extension, and they start to resist campaigns when they link Mr. Trump to national Republicans too assiduously. And why should they be? Most folks just aren't as obsessed with politics as we are, and the "liberal" media upon which they rely for their information have not only treated Mr. Trump as sui generis, but have consistently helped move the center further right in accordance with Republican wishes. Kudos to Mr. Wolf for making clear that Donald Trump isn't the ideological godson of Barry Goldwater, but rather of Richard Nixon's racist Southern Strategy.
In case you missed that Vice Presidential debate from Monday night (how can I sleep if I'm screaming at the TV), Adam Johnson at FAIR tells you what you didn't miss. As it turns out, you didn't miss a series of hard-hitting questions about "climate change, poverty, abortion, healthcare, student debt, privacy, LGBTQ rights or drug policy," though you did miss more hand-wringing about Social Security's "insolvency" and more prompting about how much we ought to bomb the crap out of Syria. So, yes, I'm now even more pleased with my decision to practice good sleep hygiene. Why, I think I only got up to go to the bathroom once.
Finally, because it can't be all bad news all the time, Spencer McAvoy at In These Times describes how some public unions are pushing back against their pension investments getting managed by hedge fund banksters. Hedge funds, as you know, don't do significantly better than other investments, but they sure do ding their investors for hefty fees and commissions. But working families across our great nation are fighting to reestablish the central tenet of pension fund investment: you want your investment to be there, not "outperform" someone else's investment, as if life is nothing more than a sporting event.