You've no doubt heard by now that most states have said they won't kowtow to the Trump Voter "Fraud" Commission's demand for extensive voter information -- but Greg Palast reminds us that more than 20 states have already shared such voter information with Commission Vice Chair Kris Kobach in his capacity as Kansas's Secretary of State. After all, how else could Mr. Kobach have put together his nefarious "Interstate Crosscheck" database, the one that deregisters voters on suspicion, not proof of voter fraud by checking similar names without checking middle names or Social Security numbers?
Wondering why folks think the world is getting more violent when it's flatly obvious we've come a long way since the 14th century? Mike Elgan submits that the answer might be "Mean World Syndrome," "a condition whereby people think the world is far more dangerous and violent than it really is because the economics of TV motivates the network to engage in nightly fear mongering." When the characters in Criminal Minds face 22 life-and-death situations every single year, for example, you start to think the world's a really dangerous place, even though, scientifically speaking, it's just 22 anecdotes spread across an entire continent (and also, you know, fictitious anecdotes!). Now multiply that by all the cop shows you know, and by all the if-it-bleeds-it-leads news programs you know, and you no doubt see the problem.
Speaking of fear-based politics, The Guardian reminds us that four Middle Eastern nations have threatened the nation of Qatar with sanctions and blockades if (among other demands!) the news network al Jazeera doesn't close down by Monday. I sure hope they don't bow to terror like this, because while al-Jazeera might be mistaken for mainstream cable news coverage in America, it represents profound progress for the Middle East, since "(b)efore al-Jazeera started broadcasting, Arab television news was totalitarian drivel." You think President Trump might talk to some of these nations? I kid, of course -- Mr. Trump has already swallowed anti-Qatar propaganda whole, and dutifully regurgitated it to the American people.
Matthew Yglesias at Vox tells us that yes, Bernie Sanders is obviously the front-runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2020. He's not only hired foreign policy people, gone around the country talking issues, and put together a national operation, he's soft-pedaled some of his positions while continuing to front-line Medicare-for-All and college tuition reform, and anyone who remembers Ronald Reagan presenting himself as a wonkish mainstream politician in the 1980 primaries knows how that works. And contemplate the first sentence's list of other folks who might run in 2020 (a list that doesn't include Tim Kaine or John Hickenlooper), and consider, given that Mr. Sanders damn near beat one opponent in 2016, how easy he'd have it if four or five candidates split the not-Bernie vote. (Also, too, 80 is the new 70.)
Good news, everyone: a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the EPA can't suspend efforts to enforce its recently-enacted (under President Obama) methane emissions standards. The majority opinion -- perhaps anticipating the argument, which right-wingers of course never advanced during the Obama years, that Executive branch agencies get to prioritize enforcement of certain regulations given finite resources -- called the EPA's actions "unreasonable," "arbitrary," and even "capricious." The EPA can reverse the rule entirely, but, as we said many months ago before Mr. Trump took office, the EPA has to abide by a long-established (and long!) process to do that. Unless Mr. Trump declares martial law before then, I guess.
Finally, former Reagan Administration official Bruce Bartlett explains how the Republican Party left him -- and why he doesn't join the Democrats. "The Republican Party appears to exist for the sole purpose of acquiring power in order to shower rewards on those who support the party, especially those who support it financially," he says, about which he's absolutely right, but "the Democratic Party...doesn’t really seem to stand for anything other than opposition to the GOP," about which he's also absolutely right. Judging from where he's been and where he is now, I doubt he'd embrace a Sanders campaign or Presidency, but we need our fellow-Americans to give their honest counsel, and Mr. Bartlett has clearly done that.