Good news, everyone (no, really!): our Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) has restored the state of California's ability to set auto emissions standards that are stronger than our federal standards. That means, of course, that the auto industry will very likely just meet California's standards, since California is one of America's largest states; many auto industry insiders didn't think the Trump Administration's revocation of the waiver would have survived federal court challenges anyway, and given the Trump Administration's record in the federal courts, that sure was a winning bet. Sad to see Republicans calling the decades-old waiver "radical," as if that's the only word left in their vocabulary. And when they use that word, of course, they're projecting.
ProPublica reports on "fake fact-checks" spreading on social media and on Russian state TV, which purport to refute faked Ukrainian videos, but which seem to manufacture those videos just to "debunk" them! One analyst calls it a "disinformation false-flag operation" that's "like Russians actually pretending to be Ukrainians spreading disinformation." How do we know? Because the metadata of the uploaded "fact check" videos reveals both the "debunked" video and the "debunking" video have the exact same file name. It's rather like spreading a playground rumor about yourself and just to "refute" it and get unearned sympathy for yourself. In other words, it's drama -- and, sadly, it's drama that makes good folks think there's no such thing as truth anymore. Truth does exist, of course, and we have to fight for it every day.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) notes that big real estate corporations, often backed by bankster money, are buying up houses all over America -- mainly in low-income areas -- and thus are making America's housing shortage even more acute. Before you call that "the churn of civilization," note well that real estate corporations often flip the properties for inflated prices or charge exorbitant rent. Rent control would help the second part of that formulation, and restricting house sales to local buyers would, at least, force bankster-backed real estate corporations to launder their money through those local buyers, and the more complicated a scheme gets, the more likely it'll fail. In the meantime, bigness continues to ruin everything in America.
Sen. Marco Rubio (E-FL) says he did not reveal Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's whereabouts by twittering about the Zoom call they were both on, and that anyone who says he did is just "a partisan seeking clicks." Well, not exactly -- as the post instructs us, even if Mr. Zelenskyy was using a VPN, one could figure out where he was by following the trail left by the sudden surge in uploaded traffic, and I doubt Mr. Rubio, the Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, doesn't know that. You can boil Mr. Rubio's mistake down into just a few words -- "when he's not putting the Ukrainian President at risk with stupid tweets," one Val Demings ad could begin. I'd like to think she's the sort of person who thought of that before I did. Getting the same robotic response from Mr. Rubio about it during a debate sure ain't gonna help him, either.
Speaking of Republicans Senators up for re-election shooting themselves in the foot, Sen. Ron Johnson (E-WI) says Republicans should repeal the Affordable Care Act if they regain power, then walks it back rather unconvincingly. He does remember that Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act pretty much cost them the House in 2018, doesn't he? Yeah, I'm running this attack ad all day if I'm Tom Nelson or Mandela Barnes. Even though Ron Johnson's won two Senate elections already despite being a useful idiot for American corporatists, I question his tactics here -- like the trucker caravan that couldn't compete with Beltway traffic earlier this week, he may be trying to rally his votaries to a war they've already lost. A better tactician would fight, or create, the next war.
Finally, our Senate has passed H.R. 3076, the Postal Service Reform Act, by a substantial, bipartisan margin (79-19), which will end the onerous pre-payment mandate and thus give our Postal Service some breathing room. This is a major legislative achievement, so kudos to you if you called or wrote your Senators and told them to make it happen -- kudos to you, also, if you helped prevent the Toomey amendment (which would have banned postal banking forever) from making it into the final bill, for the bill passed our Senate without amendment. Dig Sen. Rick Scott's sore-loser whining near the end, and recall that his original objection was that it would harm Medicare though four out of five Postal Service retirees already enroll in Medicare.