It's a pretty crap moment for good Americans right now, but Matt Stoller sees hope in eight developments against monopoly power in America. Maybe you won't think it's all that impressive that a judge failed to dismiss an antitrust case against Facebook or that a judge found an individual (the hated Martin Shkreli) guilty of violating antitrust laws or that the Biden Administration has made more progress against hated pharmacy benefit managers than any other Administration, but these are all big deals, and not just because we've been banging our heads against a wall for so long. (If you ask me, not that you would, big corporations have been stoking the flames of inflation as a retaliation against the Biden Administration's anti-monopoly push. I can't prove that, of course, but I'd feel like a schmuck if I didn't at least think it probable.)
Surprise, surprise, many nurses tell us that hospitals are so short on staff these days because for-profit health care corporations deliberately keep their staffing levels low, so as to redistribute more worker income upward to executives. Strangely, they do not typically report that staffing levels are low because of TEH VACCINEZ MANDATEZ!!!!, like Tucker Carlson said many months ago. But then, right-wingers only listen to nurses when they tell them what they want to hear. (As for California's single-payer health insurance push: no one would be happier than I to see that happen, but they've done this dance before. Perhaps the good folks of California can help rectify that situation.)
When I hear that a peer-reviewed study has found that upwards of three compounds in the marijuana plant have stopped COVID molecules from entering human cells in the lab, my first thought was that of course we would have known this sooner if it weren't so infernally difficult to research marijuana in the first place! Those of you who are able to toke without going to jail should know that smoking it is about the worst way to get these helpful effects -- the three compounds in question degrade at high temperatures, so better to take them in pills. More study will be needed, and Joe Biden could help that along by removing marijuana from Schedule I, but he won't do that, though I'll be damned if he ever explains why.
Excavations in Peru have suggested that an ancient indigenous people called the Wari actually spiked their beer with hallucinogens in order to make peace with neighboring communities. The Wari appear to have enjoyed several centuries of peace and prosperity while doing this; meanwhile, America has a serious problem with rage-filled right-wingers bollocksing up everything good we try to do, and perhaps these points taken in tandem should compel us to conclude that the "war on drugs" is lousy idea. Also, as Sam Kinison used to say, give us the pot, and we won't want the crack.
When I hear that Mitch McConnell has threatened the Democrats with retaliation if they even try to reform the filibuster so they can pass voting rights legislation, all I can say is waaaaaaaaaah. Republicans will always throw a tantrum about something, and it doesn't matter what it is. But this is what happens, Democrats, when you constantly give in to bullies -- the bullies keep taking and taking and taking, and any action becomes a slight, and thus a reason to keep taking. Meanwhile the American people only get more and more hurt. I do not know what will make Democrats learn. Defeat at the polls certainly doesn't.
Finally, the Penguin says he won't support a Democratic proposal to make the filibuster a "talking filibuster" -- you know, where you'd actually have to hold the floor and read the phone book to keep it going -- to get voting rights bills passed. This may come as a surprise to you if you recall the Penguin himself floating the idea of making the filibuster a "talking filibuster" early last year -- but it will not come as a surprise to you if you've come to regard him as a bad-faith negotiator, whether that's because he's simply a drama hound or because he's a vital part of a Democrat plan to throw the 2022 Congressional elections in the hopes Joe Biden will be re-elected more easily in 2024. Right about now would be a good time for me to say that, in the end, they don't matter, we matter.