When I read that some big banksters are simply "opting out" of a process to forgive Paycheck Protection Program (or PPP) loans, leaving some of those borrowers with no recourse for relief, I asked myself who the hell greenlighted that? And I was not surprised to learn that, though the Trump Administration's PPP was a pile of dung that delivered half a trillion dollars of your money mostly to big corporations, the Biden Small Business Administration created a program for smaller borrowers to get relief directly from the agency -- but allowed the big banksters to opt in to participating in that program, which means if said bankster facilitated your loan, they can still block you from getting relief from our SBA! Still, let's remember that banksters are evil -- Chase's hack response to The Intercept made sure to mention that their loan-relief application process takes less than 10 minutes, which will mean nothing when they say no.
Ana Popovich at Whistleblower Network News details how actual false claims by big corporations derailed the inclusion of amendments to the False Claims Act in the "bipartisan" "infrastructure" "deal" earlier this month. Even though, as I mentioned yesterday, the amendments would actually have raised revenue, and the amendments have actual bipartisan support in the Senate! What were those false claims? Oh, you know -- targeting corruption would "raise health care costs," the kind of excuse they pull out whenever we contemplate doing the right thing, and that "the burden of proof would shift to the defendant," which I can assure you is nowhere in the False Claims Amendments Act, where those amendments now sit, awaiting Congressional action. Greed, like rage, is a hell of a drug.
I'm just not that impressed anymore when conservatives notice that banning mask mandates isn't a conservative thing to do. Even Charlie Sykes's most salient point -- that states aren't being "conservative" when they prevent smaller governmental bodies and private corporations from mandating mask-wearing -- is essentially the same argument I've made for damn near 20 years now. I guess it's possible I'm being too hard on him, though I would also ask Mr. Sykes how he squares his conservatism with his support for former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose own notorious addiction to corporate welfare is also quite anti-conservative.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is probably right to declare (before a meeting of evangelists, how dramatic) that his fate will be one of three things: "being arrested, killed or victory," although I'd caution against the notion that it only has to be one of the three -- he could get arrested and get back into politics a few years down the line, as Silvio Berlusconi could tell him, amirite? I'd be miserable with the third option, perfectly happy with the first, and though of course I endeavor never to wish death on another human being -- even a 66-year-old billionaire asshole can redeem himself through good works! -- folks like Mr. Bolsonaro sure do test my patience on this matter.
Speaking of redemption and the difficulty thereof, Proud Boys leader Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, who proudly burned a Black Lives Matter flag in late December and cheered on the January 6 attempted coup from afar, now says he's sorry he did the things for which he's going to jail for five months. But even if you're not cursed with a close attention to diction -- you can apologize "profusely," but you can't be "profusely" sorry! That's not how words work! -- you'll still wonder if Mr. Tarrio's "remorse" is more because he got caught and he knows now there'll be consequences. He shouldn't fret, though -- he'll meet a lot of like-minded people in jail, and not all of them will be prisoners.
Finally, as Republicans loudly shriek about the "border crisis," and happily hand you a pile of "facts" that really require context -- if you think 2021 is bad, check out almost every year between 1983 and 2001! -- we should really let this whole concept of a "border crisis" rest in a deep, deep grave. Any "gang" of immigrants take over Laredo, Sierra Blanca, Tombstone, or San Clemente? Have we had to dispatch soldiers to retake these or any other towns so we can reinstall duly-elected local governments? No? Then people need to STFU about a "border crisis," just as they need to remember that 9.11 didn't lead to the installation of President bin Laden and thus also didn't represent an "existential threat." Contrary to what you've heard, Americans generally aren't soft -- but the folks who whine about immigration sure are!