Hamilton Nolan at In These Times writes that "In Middle America, Unions and Democrats Are Sleepwalking Into the Grave." At least the latest report finding Democrats losing votes in manufacturing towns, etc., because unions are declining there, etc., comes from Democratic consultants, not in spite of them. Key insight from Mr. Nolan: "the story here is that as traditionally unionized manufacturing jobs disappeared, unions failed to organize the next set of (worse) jobs that rose up to take their place...If the factories leave, and people go work at the Dollar General, then unions need to unionize the Dollar General." Have unions done that? No, they have not. I hope that's not because unions look down on retail workers, but we can't discount the possibility.
William C. Anderson at TruthOut reminds us that "Liberal Pleas for 'Unity' Legitimize the Virulent Politics of the Far Right." "The problem, however, as is always the problem with calls for unity," he writes, "is that unity with white supremacists means death." You no doubt recall all the right-wing cries for "unity" aimed to paper over their role in the January 6 attempted coup? It is funny (and by "funny" I mean "not at all funny") how often calls for "unity" seem to benefit right-wingers. You might go so far as to say you should not trust anyone who calls for "unity," since so many of our fellow Americans really deserve isolation and ostracization more than anything else.
Social scientists find, not surprisingly, that in the wake of Facebook's "mysterious" outage last week, that its users have a love-hate relationship with it -- and reminds us that it was not always this way. Sure was fun in 2008 and 2009 to find all sorts of folks I thought I'd never see or speak to again, but even in the wake of Ms. Haugen's recent testimony, Facebook seems well-nigh essential, particularly to those of us who promote blogs or books against all hope. But I felt like the Golden Age of Connection came well before Facebook -- remember LiveJournal, Tribe, Friendster, Meetup, or, gosh, blogs? -- and quite frankly I wouldn't mind rolling back the clock.
Speaking of Frances Haugen, Matt Stoller reminds us that Ms. Haugen, despite her many good works, doesn't want to break up Facebook, but create a whole new regulatory agency just to handle it, and staff that agency with Silicon Valley types that "know" the industry, which I hope sounds like a terrible idea to you. We need to break up Facebook because, as Mr. Stoller says, "the concentration of power in the hands of a small group is the fundamental political and economic problem with Facebook," and if you're at all familiar with the sites I mentioned in the previous paragraph, then you also know that they only came about because of the "decentralized" internet Facebook has wiped out with its monopoly power. And if a new regulatory agency sounds like "more bureaucracy" to your right-wing friends, know that it also sounds like more bureaucracy to this irredeemable liberal, too. We already have agencies and courts that can slap down monopolies; we don't need to create a whole new agency in order to preserve a monopoly that's hurting our civilization.
You may be surprised to learn that the Pandora Papers have revealed South Dakota as a major tax haven for the "international rich," rivaling places like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. Why? Because the state has gone way out of its way to shield trust funds from scrutiny by almost anyone, from regulators and foreign governments and even former spouses. You have to wonder where a lot of South Dakota politicians' campaign funding comes from, then! In a sane, moral, and decent society, South Dakota voters would punish their government at the next election, but I suspect they won't, and you know what that means.
Finally, President Biden restores the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments to their original size, i.e., before Donald Trump cut big swaths of them off so he could hand them to developers. You undoubtedly advocated for the return of these monuments to their original sizes, so good for you. Lawsuits will follow, but as much as I doubted Mr. Trump's authority to make those cuts in the first place, I'm even more skeptical that the state of Utah will succeed in any of its lawsuits to claw them back. And, like the Ute Indian Tribal chair quoted extensively in the article, I'm pretty sure the only "peaceful resolution" Utah wants is the one that gives them everything they want.