Steven Rosenfeld estimates that over 42 million Americans will mail in their ballots this year, a 40 percent increase from the 2018 midterms. More folks getting comfortable with mailing in their ballots is a good thing, but we’ll have the same BS in Pennsylvania and Michigan this year that we had in 2020, where mail-in ballots can’t by law be counted until Election Day, and Republicans will appear to be “winning” races until the mail-in ballots all get counted. If they get counted! As I said last week, I think Doug Mastriano could pull some armed shenanigans in Pennsylvania (i.e., where “election protectors” physically prevent counting of mail-in ballots); think Tudor Dixon might try the same in Michigan?
Sam Biddle and Murtaza Hussain at The Intercept detail how Iran’s government suppresses protest and dissent by controlling the internet. “While disconnecting broad swaths of the population from the web remains a favored blunt instrument of Iranian state censorship,” they write, “the government has far more precise, sophisticated tools available as well,” like SIAM, which Iran uses to disrupt web usage. SIAM slows down connections to the point where the government can break encryption codes and spy on users’ content more easily; couple that with Iran’s notorious human rights record and you can see why good Iranians are protesting – and why they have so much trouble getting the change they need and deserve.
Ho hum, Department of Homeland (sic) Security (sic) releases relatively-unredacted report detailing how thoroughly the Trump Administration DHS politicized the Portland protests of mid-2020. Because taking video of police putting down protestors for political ads just wasn’t enough! Our DHS tried to compile a dossier on every single Portland protestor, but still collected far too much information on protestors, and when they couldn’t prove (or even reasonably assert) that IT WAZ ALL TEH ANTIFAZ!!!!! they said it anyway. And don’t take comfort that the Trump Administration went about their evil incompetently, because they only aimed to create chaos, and they sure succeeded in that.
ProPublica finds our IRS has “largely abdicated its enforcement responsibilities as churches have become more brazen about publicly backing candidates.” And naturally some of these preachers who are “pushing the envelope” have become quite the drama hounds about it: dig the one who says “(t)he establishment media is coming after me” and “(p)eople of faith are under attack in this country” – where was he when the Bush Administration was harassing Muslims? Cheering it on, I bet! – or the one who says you’re “stupid” and “don’t know what you’re talking about” if you think he violated the law, a line of argument which always persuades folks who think differently!
Speaking of drama: after a union-supporting Starbucks barista in Buffalo says his bosses fired him for wearing a suicide awareness pin at work, Starbucks workers in seven states wear the pin in solidarity. Will Westlake wore the pin to honor a co-worker (and fellow union supporter) who committed suicide; you’d think bosses would pay more attention to what happens in their stores! But if Starbucks bosses can throw this big a tantrum over a pin, how do they expect to run a business? And if you’re thinking this might not be union-related, consider how many baristas say Mr. Westlake helped out their efforts even as his own store voted against unionizing.
Finally, because we need all the reminders we can get that corporate greed causes inflation, Exxon posted the highest profits ever by an American oil corporation for a three-month period, showing $17.9 billion for the third quarter of 2022. Yes, gas prices actually went down in August and September of that quarter, but the Economic Policy Institute instructs us that corporate profits still cause over half of our inflation. Democrats haven’t been talking enough about how corporations stoke inflation, but worse, they’re not talking enough about what they’ve done about it – they’ve curbed monopolies and let Medicare negotiate drug prices, where a Republican government would have just shown us the back of their hand.