In a stunning and welcome development, a U.S. District Court judge has ruled that our government's "terrorist watchlist" is unconstitutional. As Paul Craig Roberts would say, if 2.1 million Americans are on a terrorism watchlist, why aren't we having major terrorist attacks every day? Of course you already know the answer, just like you know the answer to "why don't they charge these Guantánamo detainees with crimes after 15 years?" I do not look forward to our Supreme Court justifying the watchlist as an Executive branch prerogative in the "war on terror," but in the meantime, I feel the same as Hassan Shibly does: proud to be an American.
Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst actually tells townhall meeting attendees that Congressfolk need to "sit down behind closed doors so we’re not being scrutinized by this group or the other, and just have an open and honest conversation." After all, our representatives can only have "an open and honest conversation" if none of their constituents/bosses are listening to them! Ms. Ernst should also know that no one says "you're throwing Granny off a cliff!" when folks propose expanding Social Security -- only when folks propose hurting or destroying it. "Behind closed doors" really should be a career-ending utterance, but we can't be sure her eventual Democratic opponent will even bring it up.
You know our FBI prefers to harass black protestors as white supremacists actually shoot people up, but you may not know that our FBI also loves considering immigration activists as "violent extremists" even though they present no evidence of any immigration activists actually committing any violence. Don't worry, though -- entities like Fox News will just redefine "violence" until it includes "speaking out against injustice." After all, why should Our Glorious Elites be forced to endure criticism from people with First Amendment rights?
I get that obituaries of controversial figures will tend to avoid those figures' controversial nature, but the New York Times's obit of David Koch sure seems to go way over the top. He was a "man-about-town philanthropist," a "seemingly limitless storehouse of Elks club-inflected jokes," even a "playboy," not the founder of numerous right-wing think tanks that still pollute our discourse with bad arguments, or the founder of the corporation that has paid three quarters of a billion dollars in pollution fines and no doubt should have paid a lot more. What can you say, though? Elites gonna elite.
I'm a bit stunned that the normally outstanding ProPublica actually published a hit piece on Medicare-for-All -- a much higher-quality hit piece than you'd get from some health insurance industry hack, I'll grant, but seriously, why would we make Democratic Presidential candidates' prevarications the piece of dirt around which we form a pearl? Journalists would be on much surer ground actually reading the Medicare-for-All bill (which would explicitly let you keep your doctor and explicitly cover everything without copays, regardless of what the article's headline says) and wondering whether the bill that might eventually become law might not resemble it enough. (Oh, and that's not $32 trillion more over 10 years if the private health insurance industry goes away, it's $32 trillion total, which is still $17 trillion less than CMS has predicted we'll spend over that time. And rather than worry about how high taxes would go, we could fund it by assessing employers a fee per employee that'll be less than they're already paying for private health insurance. They'd be fools not to take the savings.)
Finally, Katha Pollitt at The Nation compiles an unfortunately-not-all-inclusive list of our President's misdeeds during the month of August, and it's a list undreamt of by the best mid-century satirists. I do not expect such a list to reach our President's votaries, of course, and I also suspect it won't reach Republicans inclined to say yes-he-acts-badly-but-judges-and-regulations. The 100 million or so people who didn't vote for President in 2016? Yeah, they might be receptive -- but only if the Democrats decide to offer an actual alternative in 2020. These folks are just gonna be "mad at both sides" if Joe Biden is the nominee. Indeed, that's surely the purpose of all our President's drama.