Anthony DiMaggio at Counterpunch argues that we've been overestimating economic populism as a factor in President Trump's support -- and thus underestimating factors such as racism, xenophobia, and "the elitist class war against the middle class and poor." Studies find Trump voters aren't poorer, more unemployed, or more from Rust Belt regions, while other studies show sexism and racism to be better predictors of Trump support, and still other studies find a disproportionate percentage of Trump supporters being well off. And when they say 70 percent of Trump voters don't have a college education, you can always remind them that the rate nationally is 71 percent.
U.S. Supreme Court will hear appeal of a District Court decision striking down Wisconsin's most recent redistricting map as unconstitutionally partisan. Justice Kennedy has long said he'd like to evaluate a standard that deals with partisan redistricting, but that doesn't mean he'll approve of the standard advanced by the original plaintiffs, nor does his joining the majority issuing a stay of the District Court's decision suggest which way he'll rule. One thing, though: if too many Wisconsin Republican legislators said out loud that they were trying to use the redistricting process to ensure permanent or durable Republican majorities, rather than respond to citizens' needs, that could piss off John Roberts.
Brett Murphy at USA Today looks at how California port trucking corporations force drivers into becoming "modern-day indentured servant(s)." Basically, these corporations turn their mostly immigrant truckers into independent contractors who "work toward" "owning" their truck, and then use their truckers' indebtedness to force them to work 16- and 20-hour days for little pay. And if they miss work for any reason, they seize their truck, and all the money they've paid toward it! Corporate hacks have their litany of excuses -- abuses are rare, drivers are lazy, unions make trouble, it's so hard to make money anymore. I suppose once major retail corporations start bowing to public pressure to stop taking advantage of this situation, we'll also hear you don't want your prices to go up, do you?
This New York Times article describing how Mr. Trump's business ties with Saudi Arabia and the UAE (and his lack of business ties with Qatar) are influencing his Middle East policy quotes Mr. Trump as saying Saudi citizens "buy apartments from me," spending "$40 million, $50 million" and then asking rhetorically "Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much." He and his votaries imagine he's just shooting-from-the-hip, but he's actually confessing that his own business ties (and not so much the people's will!) will set American policy, and confessing your wrongdoing as if it's nothing doesn't make it nothing. It sure doesn't make it "not wrongdoing."
Finally, Jon Schwarz at The Intercept alerts us to an actual historical mini-series on the History Channel called "America's War on Drugs" -- and notes that it's "the first time U.S. television has ever told the core truth about one of the most important issues of the past 50 years," i.e., that "the war on drugs has always been a pointless sham." It's not just a sham because President Nixon essentially created the "war on drugs" as a way of discrediting black and hippie protestors, but because of our own government's well-documented collusion with various drug cartels. Still, as Mr. Schwarz says, it's a big deal that it's on TV -- and not sequestered on a pay channel, even!