At last we're about to find out the true cost of corporate welfare nationwide, thanks to a change in federal accounting standards for states and municipalities. Corporate welfare (where corporations get tax breaks to "create jobs locally," or maybe not!) tends to cost even more than you think -- those good Mississippians who wound up paying a billion dollars more for the privilege of having a Nissan plant in their town have my sympathy (as do the Nissan workers who were somehow paying their taxes right to Nissan!). If we can make 2017 the year corporate welfare wouldn't disappear from the papers and news programs, it won't be a total loss.
In a related note, Alec MacGillis at ProPublica looks at all of Energy Secretary nominee Rick Perry's corporate giveaways while he was Governor of Texas, totaling some $19 billion annually. Surprise, surprise, being a Rick Perry donor was a pretty good way of getting to the head of the feeding trough, and though Texas had so few hands on the handouts, they still screwed up a lot anyway -- Citgo got welfare even though it was clearly going to move to Texas anyway, for example, while Chevron got even more money by promising to build a giant office tower that still ain't there. Then, of course, there's the Texas Energy Center, somehow able to take taxpayer money and create jobs while not actually existing.
One hesitates to recommend articles declaring that either conservatives or liberals might become a "permanent minority" in America, but Daniel Rogers at The Guardian makes a good case that liberals are "(f)aced with an existential threat." Thankfully, he doesn't argue that "getting whites back" means "abandoning blacks" or pandering to racism -- it means "changing the story" so that it's not about Big Gummint but Big Power, and it also means getting local, since that's where change begins. You already know this if you saw Republicans win big at the state level not just in 2010, but in 1994. And, ah, what did both of those years have in common? A weak Democratic power structure that sold out to corporate power and prided itself on its tolerance and its smarts.
Waqas Mirza at AlterNet reminds us that, bad as Donald Trump plans to be on Islamophobia, Democrats ain't been much better. Terrorist watch lists -- which, you recall, were a central feature of Congressional Democrats' "sit-in" after the Orlando shootings -- tend to be comprised of, guess what, mostly Muslims, and local and federal law enforcement infiltration of Muslim communities is hardly something only Republican Administrations do. And for all of Mr. Obama's attempts to be just as tough (but smarter, there's that word again!) on terror as Republicans, how many right-wingers ever applauded his efforts? Maybe it's time to, you know, stop trying to take other nations' resources and then attack them when they don't comply.
Finally, we learn that the costs of solar power production have fallen so much that they might actually be lower than the costs of coal production by 2025, and several nations are already paying very, very little for it. Coal industry flacks, naturally, say that since the wind don't blow and the sun don't shine all day that the cost is actually much higher -- ignoring the fact that the wind blows and the sun shines all over the world and that areas with more sun and wind could supply the other parts of the world with power. That's probably what really upsets coal magnates -- that they'll be left out in the cold, so to speak. And you thought these were our best and brightest, ready to handle the rough-and-tumble of the free market!