Ho hum, our "liberal" media sure do seem awfully anxious to overthrow the government of Venezuela. You don't have to love the Maduro regime to see where further American interference will lead, because you've seen where it has led -- to bigger and bigger problems "requiring" more American intervention, almost like that's the whole idea. You also don't have to love the Maduro regime to acknowledge that American interference has already helped send Venezuela's economy into a tailspin. I'm a little surprised that our President seems so transfixed on war with Venezuela as his ticket to unearned prestige and perhaps an unearned re-election -- although I guess it's easier than waging war with Iran! -- but then I wonder if that, too, is a feint, to take our eye off the next terrorist attack happening after the next government shutdown in a few weeks.
Eric Levitz at New York magazine reminds us that our Founders also regarded excessive wealth as evil, and regarded controlling the unbridled expansion of private property as a moral duty. Go ahead and read the article in its entirety; just don't get too distracted by infamous multimillionaire Sean Hannity's counterarguments, since they suck -- saying that you "better guard your nice things" from the "excess police" is weak tea, which testifies not only to the paucity of his arguments but the goodness of the American people, which has boxed him in with regards to what he can reasonably argue about the societal benefits of unbridled wealth. (And seriously, if your "dream" is to have the most money ever, you need a new dream, one that'll maybe benefit others in addition to yourself.)
Another day, another reminder that our Social Security program is most emphatically not "going broke" and that eliminating the cap on earnings to be taxed into the system would go a long way toward solving the "modest fiscal challenge" Social Security faces. No one said more people weren't retiring or that the system wouldn't face some additional strain, but today's politicians pretend the only solution is to completely raid the fund on behalf of big donors, even as they're instituting massive tax cuts for the rich that make the problem they're purporting to address ("runaway deficits," naturally) much worse. Social Security, having its own funding stream, doesn't actually contribute to the deficit, except in right-wing fever dreams.
Heather Vogell at ProPublica informs us that federal regulators have been slow to stop the flow of laundered money (i.e., from drug lords, terrorists, and the like) into and out of hedge funds. The PATRIOT Act mandated that our government write regulations requiring hedge funds to install anti-money laundering (or AML) programs, but here we are, over 17 years later, with no regulations written. Naturally, hedge funds "want" AML programs and federal enforcement, but just so happen to have eighty bajillion objections that of course must take precedence over the public good. I'd object that if they've done nothing wrong, they have nothing to fear, but I also wonder why our government doesn't simply do the regulating itself, instead of telling the hedge funds to do it (which, of course, they haven't done, either).
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fines a man who spent eight years swindling veterans out of their hard-earned pensions a mere one dollar, after said man swears he just can't pay more. They call it the "Mulvaney Discount," after former acting CFPB administrator/current acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, because it's not the first one. While it is possible that the CFPB will pursue action against the corporations this man owned, and maybe then swindled veterans will get some justice, a one-dollar fine makes a mockery of law and order in America -- particularly in a nation where (as the article makes sure to point out!) cash bail puts folks in jail for months without even convicting them of a crime.
Finally, we are reminded that the politicians didn't end the partial government shutdown at the end of last week so much as the workers who, after exhibiting great patience in working for weeks on end without pay, took action last week. Air traffic controllers slowed flights in at least three major airports, flight attendants visited their Congressfolk en masse, and 14,000 IRS workers didn't come to work, and regardless of what you hear from right-wingers about how workers who serve the public are supposed to serve the public even when our President has a massive temper tantrum, these workers are all heroes. It gives me hope that the next shutdown might be even shorter, and our President humiliated for real this time. (No, I think his "emergency declaration" will ultimately die in court, just like most of his other "bold" acts have died in court.)