Remember all that BS about how Obamacare would create "death panels"? Well, thanks to right-wingers refusing to wear masks and get vaccinated, now we have them at hospitals in northern Idaho, and may soon have them in Washington state, as well, as good Idahoans try to figure out where to get urgent health care. Best quotation, from a guy whose heart surgery keeps getting put off: "My heart is failing without intervention. I can’t walk a block without stopping. But their choice (to not get vaccinated) just negated my urgent need." We should put it more or less like that to everyone who whines about "my personal choice." And given how hard it is for people to change their minds, especially when they're dead wrong, we'll have to do it numerous times.
America's Last Journalist, Greg Palast, makes the most compelling case yet that we shouldn't have left Afghanistan. Of course, he's up against people like Lindsey Graham, who never met a war he didn't like, but I'll admit his argument gave me pause. Long story short: he argues that the Taliban are irredeemable fascists like the Nazis were, and that we kept them at bay in Afghanistan with a mere 3,000 troops. Some things are worth going to war over, and I never assumed Afghans simply didn't want to fight, but I still don't think we would have done enough good there if we had stayed, even if we had stayed another hundred years.
Matt Stoller explains "Why a Monopolized Economy Leads to Inflation and Shortages." If you recall how WalMart has killed small businesses all over America and how Amazon has killed smaller book store chains like B. Dalton's and Encore -- let alone have tried to find toilet paper at the supermarket in the past year! -- you'll already be sympathetic to his argument at the beginning, when he describes how Uber and Lyft killed the D.C. taxi industry. But it goes deeper, not just to economists so obsessed with inflation they're blind to shortages, but to corporations concentrating entire chunks of the supply chain (video tape in Japan, semiconductors in Taiwan) in the name of "efficiency." And it goes deeper than that; reading Mr. Stoller is a real education in how corporations manipulate our economy. (How about a law banning loss-leading from corporations worth over $1 million?)
Maggie Astor at the New York Times reminds us that "Vaccination Mandates Are an American Tradition. So Is the Backlash." At the turn of the 20th century, parents fought smallpox vaccine mandates by burning their own arms to mimic smallpox scars, like a bunch of G. Gordon Liddys, and parents actually did fight the child vaccination mandates of the 1970s that few folks complain about today (though they didn't fight the polio vaccine, partly because a non-profit made it and partly because no government mandated it). Nonetheless, "one thing distinguishes today’s anti-vaccination protesters from those of the past. The opposition was always political. It wasn’t always partisan." That's what makes folks like me so much less sympathetic to the other side.
Finally, it shouldn't be news by now that Joe Manchin is trying so desperately to be the center of the world again, but it might do some good to note that he's incorrect to say, in re the budget reconciliation bill, that "(w)e don't have the need to rush into this and get it done within one week because there's some deadline we're meeting." In point of fact, Congress must pass the reconciliation bill by September 30, per reconciliation bill instructions passed earlier this year, and though that may not literally be "within one week," of course people like Joe Manchin will drag this out to the last damn minute because power is a hell of a drug. And if they cause it to fail, that just affirms their power! But if the bill fails, Joe Manchin will only have that power for another year until Republican fascists take back the Senate and another Republican fascist beats him by 20 points at the polls in 2024, so I hope he enjoys it.