I don't have much to say about the ProPublica report revealing tax evasion by famous high-income folk. We learn that Jeff Bezos paid zero dollars in income tax in 2007 and 2011, and that Warren Buffett, despite talking a good game about taxing the rich harder, hardly pays any income tax generally. Right-wingers will no doubt have a circle jerk over George Soros's tax-avoiding ways, though right-wingers talk about George Soros much, much more than we liberals ever do. And to those who'd say well, they pay themselves in property that doesn't get taxed until they sell it, what did you expect, we can only say that doesn't make it right. And, you know, imagining a better world is a worthwhile endeavor, even if it's hard.
We learn from Sharon Zhang at TruthOut that the nefarious Koch network and the nefarious Heritage Foundation have been influencing putative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, mainly by organizing his more right-wing constituents. We all breathed a sigh of relief when Republicans seemed unable to articulate a reason to oppose the American Rescue Plan, but that's apparently because they were organizing around influencing Mr. Manchin better than we were. Some liberals are starting to organize around influencing Mr. Manchin, as in yesterday's rally in D.C. supporting the For the People Act and the Common Cause effort to rally his constituents around same, and that's a good thing, because in America, having the better argument only takes you so far.
Republicans filibuster the Paycheck Fairness Act, and, as usual, their counterarguments are weak. I've given "frivolous lawsuits" so many headshots already I'm annoyed it's still coming, and you could also have predicted "a boon to trial lawyers," though it's telling that Mob Boss Mitch had to utter it, rather than farm it out to some eager young'un in his caucus. And "we've got three laws on the books, why do we need four?" is profoundly illogical; the number of laws doesn't matter so much as their quality, or, more specifically, how well they anticipate the ways corporations will try to work around them. Why don't they just admit that they'd rather have bosses fire workers for talking about their pay with their co-workers?
Siyanda Mohutsiwa at FAIR writes about the New York Times's reflexively grim coverage of COVID in Africa even though infection rates are actually fairly low there. We Westerners have, for decades, reflexively thought of African nations as "corrupt" and "miserable," perhaps even "ungovernable," and even when we assume 150 years of Western interference has made it so, we still fail to imagine Africans as the protagonists of their own nations -- in this case, we fail to imagine them as "epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists," "academics," or "journalists" -- and that failure is also pretty racist. Read the entire article, though, because I can't list all the persuasive (and damning!) arguments in one paragraph, and also because it'll lead you to Binyavanga Wainaina's "How to Write About Africa," one of the most devastating satires ever written.
Georgia's state Board of Education not only approves a measure aiming to restrict teaching of American racism in public schools, but shuts off comments on the live YouTube feed of the meeting in which they did that nefarious deed, and that sure ain't a good look. Right-wingers have been strutting about their "toughness" for decades, but can't even hear an opposing argument? Why can't such basic failures of leadership be a Democrat attack point? I mean, we just got a four-year seminar in Why Republicans Can't Lead, not too long after George W. Bush's double seminar in that same subject. Maybe Democratic politicians don't do that because they're evil. "Gosh, win an argument, instead of stand around while Republicans lose them? Then we'll have to do things with our power!"
Finally, as Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) declares her candidacy to oppose Sen. Marco Rubio in 2022, Mr. Rubio himself opines that "(n)one of them (i.e., Democratic politicians) will admit to being a socialist. She probably won’t. But she certainly has voted for socialist things." So, Sen. Rubio, ever driven a car on a road? Ever taken out a book from the public library? Ever called a cop? If your answer to any of these questions is "yes," then congratulations, Sen. Rubio! You're a socialist, too.