U.S. State Department starts denying passports to Americans born to certain midwives who practiced in Texas's Rio Grande Valley during the second half of the 20th century, declaring that they can't verify those Americans' citizenship after said midwives admitted forging a handful of birth certificates. Didn't know being born poor and Hispanic just inside our borders was a crime, did you? Didn't know a midwife forging one or two birth certificates made thousands more birth certificates suspect enough to provoke criminal investigation, detainment, and even deportation? It's exactly as simple as this: if you disagree with our Administration, they want you gone -- unable to criticize them, unable to shame them, and certainly unable to vote them out of office. And this is only the beginning: the mostly black, brown, poor, and old folks born outside of hospitals at any time over the last 80 years are next.
So what happens when our Federal Trade Commission installs a Bureau of Consumer Protection Chief who used to represent corporations being investigated by the FTC, and Public Citizen files a Freedom of Information Act request to discover his conflicts of interest? The FTC pumps out almost 500 pages of documents and redacts nearly all of it. Because the documents don't relate to specific lawsuits, and also because trade secrets. Should I praise them for resisting the urge to declare BECAUSEZ TEH NASHUNUL SECURITEEZ!!!! No, I should not. I doubt our laws allow this sort of chicanery, so I suppose the FTC is just following the example of our President and his Cabinet, by daring you to stop what they're doing.
Ho hum, our Administration creates a special "Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee" dedicated to persuading the public to abandon its will to legalize pot. And this Committee told other Administration departments to highlight "the most significant data demonstrating negative trends," while apparently avoiding finding anything out about how often folks consume pot or whether legalized pot reduces other drug use. Recalling that our Attorney General has a zeal for criminalizing pot should also remind you that criminalizing pot is mostly a way of putting more black people in jail. (No, John Ehrlichmann spelled that out for us years ago.)
I'm not sure that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals actually said you have a First Amendment right to feed the homeless. Their ruling actually says that Food Not Bombs has a First Amendment right to feed the homeless during their community organizing events in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, since feeding the homeless, in this context, comprises "an act of political solidarity meant to convey the organization’s message." So it doesn't appropriately shame governments that would issue thousand-dollar permits to individuals who give food to the homeless -- although I suppose we could all go out in well-named and well-promoted groups to feed the homeless. It'd be a whole lot simpler if we'd just stop pretending that our only obligation in America is to ourselves.
Kudos to Jake Johnson at Common Dreams for noting that our President has declared a pay freeze for 2 million of our federal employees while at the same time proposing a capital gains tax cut that would benefit the super-rich and virtually no one else. It is odd, isn't it, how they always say "we can't just keep spending money we don't have" when talking about paying workers, and never about, say, building nukes we don't need or giving the rich more tax cuts or handing out more "research and development" corporate welfare? OK, maybe it's not odd, per se, once we accept the fact that we are ruled by vampires.
Finally, maybe we shouldn't rush to celebrate Rep. Beto O'Rourke's challenge to incumbent Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as an "Obama-like" campaign. Mr. O'Rourke has a gift for speaking well, but so did Barack Obama, and we all know how his Presidency went: he coddled Our Glorious Elites instead of giving them the bitter medicine they earned, he extolled bipartisanship while half of the partisans tried to burn everything down, and he helped prepare the ground for a new President who seems to hate all the good and love all the evil in our world. So if Robert Rubin and Larry Summers have already gotten to Beto O'Rourke, we could be in for another turn of the vicious Republican/weak Democrat wheel, and as I've said, we've got to break that wheel.