Mike Konczal at The Nation suggests that bank workers could do a lot of good if they organized into unions and bargained collectively for better pay and working conditions. And by demanding, say, an end to the kind of insane sales quotas that helped the Wells Fargo scandal along, they could even "regulate from below," which would be a help, since regulation sure ain't coming from above. You'd think conservatives would love unions more, since they represent a way for businesses and workers to solve their problems without a whole lot of big government involvement. You'd also think, of course, that the labor movement would have organized workers like these a long time ago.
It's time for the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy's "Who Pays" report, and surprise! Lower-income folks get hit a lot harder by state and local tax systems than higher-income folks do. When you hear that lower-income people pay six times as much of their income in taxes as higher-income people do, don't be the one who says well that figures, because higher income people make more money ha ha ha ha snort. Setting aside the math-illiteracy of such a statement ("paying a higher percentage of your income in taxes" is a lot different than "paying more money in taxes"): don't we all deserve a shot at moving up in the world? Isn't that what America is all about? Well, sales taxes, flat income tax rates, and corporate welfare keep good Americans down.
Jeffrey St. Clair at Counterpunch describes how the Lockheed-Martin corporation has achieved a near-monopoly over defense contracts in America. Long story short: our government has enabled them to do it over the last few decades. And that means Lockheed-Martin gets an outsized say in defense policy, such that they continue to rake in the taxpayer dough for planes they can't seem to make work. That might be a worse outcome than the outcomes we rightly fight against when big media corporations get their monopolies.
In times past we would have been aghast if we heard that our President's Chief of Staff and our National Security Advisor got into a lengthy shouting match outside the Oval Office, but now we either excuse it by imagining Richard Nixon's explosive temper or we shake our head and say this proves they can't run a country. But this is the way our President wants it -- he wants us to get more emotionally involved in the dramas his Administration creates so we'll be less emotionally involved in the reaper's scythe he's cutting through regulations protecting our clean air, our clean water, our internet freedom, and of course our freedom from financial predators. Also, too, we should be running our country, not them.
Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) abruptly tells a recovering drug addict "(y)ou think you're having a hard time? I've got $5 million of negative ads going against me. How do you think I'm feeling?" Between this and his apparent inability to stop saying Nancy Pelosi's name -- a habit which finally prompted his opponent to tell him "Abigail Spanberger is my name!" during a debate -- I'd be very disappointed if he got re-elected. But at least he rid us of Eric Cantor, whom I still assert is worse, since he's far more able to mask his madness than Mr. Brat.
Finally, Pat Robertson informs us that we shouldn't be "screaming blood for the Saudis" over their apparent torture and murder of a journalist, because "these people are key allies" and "we’ve got an arms deal that everybody wanted a piece of," meaning "a lot of jobs, a lot of money come to our coffers." And you recognize that argument, right? It's a rhetorical hostage situation -- as in, don't demand justice for the state-sanctioned torture and murder of a journalist, or the jobs get it! What does he imagine Jesus would do here?