Alex Emmons at The Intercept informs us that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may have been fired not for criticizing Russia, but for actively opposing Saudi Arabia's apparent lust for war with Qatar. Which recommends him, if true. I didn't even need Mr. Emmons to remind me that of course our President said last year that Qatar "has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level." But I'm not sure I'd lay even a scintilla of blame for this still-possible war on Saudi Arabia's "'cradle to grave' welfare system" which "relies on high oil prices," since surely other, far less palatable Saudi Arabian programs also rely on high oil prices.
From Victoria Law at Wired we learn about JPay, an email messaging corporation that seems to be gouging prisoners and their families. JPay charges 47-cent "stamps" for each e-message going in or out, and has a virtual monopoly on this "market"; sadly a lot of "free" marketeers think this is how it's supposed to work, "freedom" apparently including the "freedom" to rig the game to keep a competitor from reaping the reward of doing a better job, and I presume they also think tapping a literally captive market in this manner (which includes kickbacks to the prisons) is clever and not exploitative. Luckily the rest of us find the whole concept of paying to send an email offensive.
Ho hum, then-Senator-now-Attorney-General Jeff Sessions was in up to his neck with two men convicted in a bribery trial. All three men were trying to keep the EPA from making an Alabama coal corporation pay to clean up a (mostly black) area of North Birmingham, and though two of them are now in jail, the EPA still hasn't cleaned the area up, or made the coal corporation pay for the cleanup (and Mr. Sessions still hasn't said if he has recused himself from any potential Justice Department investigation of the matter). It's hard to reassure folks with higher levels of cancer and respiratory ailments, folks who've been told not to let their kids play outside, that at least two bad man went to jail for bribery.
When you read about the battle to fight water privatization in El Salvador, and you hear both political parties mouth platitudes about their opposition to privatization though it's the obvious goal of one if not both of them, I wouldn't blame you for thinking about how things are here in America, where both parties declare their devotion to getting citizens good health care when taking away citizens' good health care is the obvious goal of one if not both of them. The good news? Over 250 communities around the world are taking back their water -- and just in time, too, as climate change wreaks its havoc. Our Glorious Elites still want to privatize everything, of course, but folks are wiser to their schemes now.
Finally, in case you were wondering, here's what all that QAnon stuff is all about. Long story short: it's the kind of conspiracy theory gobbledygook (apparently our military appointed the Whiner-in-Chief President so he could destroy a massive, government-run child pederasty ring) that's detail-free enough to allow, shall we say, a lot of imagination -- enough that its votaries can confidently say every piece of contradictory evidence is actually supporting evidence in disguise. I suppose I'd be more inclined to believe that Our Glorious Elites foisted QAnon upon us just to cause more chaos, since chaos is the only thing Republicans can count on to win elections anymore.