Mother Jones reminds us that right-wing assholes don't just stumble over each other on Facebook -- Facebook actively aids and abets their meeting. I'm old enough to remember when you had to work to find like-minded folks on social media! Now Facebook's algorithms, here likened to "a speed-reading robot that curates everything you see," are not only "biased in favor of inflammatory content," but also biased in favor of right-wing news sources. Add in their "recommendation" tools like "Groups You Should Join" -- literally responsible for almost two out of every three folks who join some group of Nazi wannabes -- and you have a complete shitshow. I've been contemplating deleting my blog's Facebook page and doing all my promotion over email; this is why. I mean, I won't become an obnoxious right-wing prick, not least because I'm an obnoxious left-wing prick.
Spencer Snyder at FAIR tells us why "MSNBC Can't Look Back" on its origins in celebrating 25 years on the air. I've never thought they were all that liberal, and I rather vividly remember when they tried their damnedest to ape Fox News, but their history is so, so much worse than that -- they gave Laura Ingraham her big cable news break, they provided a soft landing to Tucker Carlson after Jon Stewart shamed Crossfire into oblivion, and even Keith Olbermann, now fondly remembered for being just about the only cable news personality who'd take on George W. Bush during his second term, wouldn't STFU about Monica Lewinsky during the late '90s. Of course, we should remember that they're a freaking cable news channel, which guarantees a certain level of suckitude. They clearly lucked into having Ed Schultz, God rest him, and naturally they fired him for no good reason.
You remember that ProPublica report about how awful asset forfeiture has gotten in Massachusetts? Well, now Massachusetts state legislators are making noises about overhauling the entire asset forfeiture system there, so that maybe fewer DAs can just hang on to your money and/or property for years after they decided not to charge you with anything. So, yeah, good journalism can lead to good works -- maybe folks who only watch cable news don't know that! -- and even if Massachusetts state legislators are only playing their constituents now, the good citizens of that state have something to say about that. Many things, I would think. And now all they need do is say them until they get the justice they deserve.
Ho hum, defense contracting corporation whines that the end of the Afghanistan War is costing it money, but will fund a pro-war think tank nonetheless. You see the inherent contradiction, I trust -- gosh, why not go into, oh, I don't know, renewable energy? There's a lot of call for that now, and nobody with any real work to do remembers the name of big defense contracting corporations anymore. Oh, and yeah, there's a "feedback loop," where big defense contractors fund think tanks which employ "experts" to go on the TV and tell us why we need to go to war all the time. And no "liberal" media outlet that gives them airtime will force them to disclose their potential conflicts of interest. I am, strangely, more than a little annoyed this zombie won't fall. I say "strangely" because I see apparently unkillable zombies all the time in politics.
Patrick Cockburn predicts -- quite accurately, I think -- that the Taliban will "Escape Pariah Status By Posing as the Enemy of ISIS." Isis, you may have heard, has made quite the return in Afghanistan. I've long thought that ISIS gave al-Qaeda a huge opening to claim legitimacy -- you can, I trust, imagine al-Qaeda terrorists saying hey, we did what we had to do, but we're not total barbarians like ISIS! -- but apparently it falls to the Taliban to seize that opportunity, and the better relations with other countries that could come with it. Yes, even with the U.S. -- you think the Taliban might have a few things we want? And you think maybe Joe Biden calculated all of this ahead of withdrawal? I'd be surprised if he didn't, frankly.
Finally, Jonathan Chait says "we have no idea what the rationale is" for "moderate" Democrats slashing President Biden's proposals to hike corporate taxes and tax hikes on the rich. Maybe he's too polite to say it, but I sure as shit ain't: Democrats plan to piss all over yet another slab of extremely popular legislation so that they completely demoralize their base and lose our House and Senate in 2022, thus keeping us in the same absurd and perverse hostage crisis that has yielded the Contract on America and Tha Bush Mobb and the Tea Party and Donald Trump. Maybe the Josh Gottheimers of America should consider they'll never win another election if Congress is full of open fascists, as it will be if they get their way this time. If superior arguments clearly don't move "moderate" Democrats, I won't be above appealing to their self-interest.