Patrick Cockburn instructs us again that "Putin is Playing a Strong Hand on Ukraine" "as Long as He Doesn't Invade." British and American officials are creating a lot of drama here, but the former Ukrainian defense minister tells us that the 127,000 soldiers along the Ukraine's borders "is not enough for a full-scale offensive." That sounds right, once you consider that the area of the Ukraine is over 600,000 square miles, whereas the area of Iraq is a little over 437,000 square miles, and you recall Gen. Shinseki telling us in February of 2003 that 150,000 troops in Iraq would be nowhere near enough to occupy that nation -- a matter about which he was entirely correct! Further reports from both the Ukraine and France should obliterate British and American drama about the matter once and for all, though I know they won't.
Alex Pareene may not be entirely serious in titling his latest missive "Abolish States," but he does point out a lot of problems with contemporary "states' rights" conservatism If we can even call it conservatism! "States' rights" was always "a fig leaf for Jim Crow and 'massive resistance,'" true, but states also act like the federal government they profess to hate when they restrict the will of local governments. Mr. Pareene gives many examples of this nefarious phenomenon, and you can no doubt think of more; Pennsylvania residents need only remember the state legislature's efforts to stop municipalities from banning fracking during the Tom Corbett era. Why, if I had a dollar for every time I said "now there's conservatism for you!" back then I might be able to quit my day job. Professing a dedication to "federalism," as right-wingers do, doesn't wipe such hypocrisy away, of course; you either believe the smallest body of government should make the most decisions, or you don't. (I do happen to believe that! I also believe it can't happen without a strong federal government restraining wealthy/corporate power.)
When I hear that some QAnon followers can be brought back to the fold of civilization by Wordle, I find it fairly easy to resist glib statements like "you're just replacing one addiction with another," and not just because an addiction to Wordle is far better for you than an addiction to QAnon. I will admit that I've largely failed to apply the great truism of drug addiction treatment -- i.e., that you have to fill a patient's life with nurturing human connections so they don't turn back to drugs -- to folks addicted to various forms of right-wing rage. I still think we need to shame and shun such people, and I also think one person can't single-handedly re-fill someone's life with healthier obsessions, but clearly I need to develop more supple strategies.
I've long wondered why Donald Trump doesn't grab onto Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel with both hands, and apparently I'm not the only one. I'd assumed that Mr. Mandel was perhaps too obsequious in his Trump-worship and that it actually put the big man off, but apparently Mr. Trump thinks Mr. Mandel is "a charisma-free weirdo and dork" (not exactly an absurd judgment) and has also talked a lot about Mr. Mandel's sex life (a matter about which Mr. Trump should show more restraint). I'm a little puzzled that Mr. Trump hasn't also called Mr. Mandel a loser -- after all, he ran for Senate in 2012 and lost by six points despite tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions buttressing his run -- but then perhaps he's hedging his bets in case Mr. Mandel emerges as the winner, at which point he'll pretend nothing described in this paragraph happened.
Anthony DiMaggio, writing at Salon, says that his research indicates that Dominion Voting Systems has a "strong case" for defamation against the Fox News Channel. Long story short: Fox News presented evidence-free stories about alleged voter fraud concerning Dominion, refusing to air Dominion's more evidence-based rebuttals, and Fox News viewers believe that voter fraud is rampant to a much larger degree than consumers of any other media outlet, which suggests that Fox's anti-Dominion reporting actually did defame the corporation. That's almost all one would need -- one would still have to prove "actual malice," but even that isn't necessarily about proving intent, but more about proving recklessness in publishing false information. Any Fox News workers write emails protesting that these reports weren't good enough to air? Any Fox News bosses respond that they didn't give a rat's hind quarter? That's the kind of evidence Dominion could win on. (Yes, I know corporate "personhood" is an issue here, but I'm going to go ahead and file that under "goose/gander.")
Finally, GM workers in Mexico vote overwhelmingly for an independent union to bargain collectively on their behalf. An "independent" union, you say? Apparently employer-friendly unions dominate the Mexican labor movement, and you could easily imagine how they might not be working in your best interest, I would think. A 2019 labor reform law requires all union workers to vote on their existing contracts by next May, which provides an opening for workers to get real representation at work; at present, only two dozen union shops have thrown out their union, but the GM plant at Silao is the largest shop to do so to date. I wish them the best of luck -- and I wish all Mexican workers the best of luck in overcoming all their obstacles to justice, so that one day American corporations stop looking to Mexico as a way of depriving Americans of their well-paying jobs.