A Swiftian Look at Republican Cruelty


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Taxxxx cuttttts…”


Our good buddy Alec has a modest proposal for what makes the GOP so cruel. It could be simply epidemiology…

Unfortunately, the cure does not lie in a typical antithesis like being loved: instead this only irritates the synapses of dendrites most effected by prolonged effects of being infected.

Read the whole thing.

Sinclair Buys Tribune; Boot Synergistically Crushes Independent Media, Forever

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I’m not going to romanticize Tribune, Inc, they of the TRONC-ish nightmare and the propensity to lose their damn mind, but being bought by Sinclair Media is a disaster.  This is the type of media consolidation that is the death-knell of democracy.

Part of it is, of course, that Sinclair leans very hard to the right, having made a deal with the Trump campaign for interviews across the board in exchange for favorable coverage and softball questions. This friendship was rewarded with even deeper ties (something I missed until just now).

The conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group’s announcement that it hired former White House aide Boris Epshteyn as its chief political analyst suggests a move to deepen its ties with President Donald Trump’s administration.

So I’m guessing we aren’t exactly going to get in-depth coverage of this administration out of the nation’s largest media company, who own at least one affiliate in every media market, and now have bought one of the nation’s other largest media company.

Their ties to a hideous right-wing admin are bad enough, but it might not be useful to think of them simply as right-wing. They are in a way more insidious. Their entire corporate ethos is aligned against thought, against inquiry, and against anything that doesn’t support the bottom line. They are the quintessence of corporate media, perpetuating a thoughtless status quo. Actual journalism is anathema.

You can see that in their radio empire, which has helped to make every other station in America dental-office bland, with the exact same DJ teams playing the exact same songs (when they even have DJs, that is) across the country, an endless aural strip mall. That’s their vision of the media. It is inherently right wing, because it enforces conformity. It might not be the ravaging alt-right horde or embrace the racism of Jeff Sessions (indeed, it embraces the bland multicultural appeal of a Coke commercial), but by destroying independent media and actual journalistic inquiry, and by embracing ties to the powerful as a means of profit-driving leverage, it allows for shameless goons like Trump to flourish.

The beige boot of corporate conformity is embodied in this almost-parodic statement, which might as well serve as the epitaph for American journalism.

“This is a transformational acquisition for Sinclair that will open up a myriad of opportunities for the company,” said Chris Ripley, president-CEO of Sinclair. “The Tribune stations are highly complementary to Sinclair’s existing footprint and will create a leading nationwide media platform that includes our country’s largest markets. The acquisition will enable Sinclair to build ATSC 3.0 (Next Generation Broadcast Platform) advanced services, scale emerging networks and national sales, and integrate content verticals. The acquisition will also create substantial synergistic value through operating efficiencies, revenue streams, programming strategies and digital platforms.”

EPA Replaces Scientists With Industry; Embraces Cartoon Villainy


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“Yeah, but those regulations were super onerous…”


The phrase “you can’t make this up” is overused, since these days, all you have to do is imagine the worst possible idea being enacted by the worst possible people, and you have a pretty close approximation of reality. Right, NY Times?

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.

A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast. “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community,” said the spokesman, J. P. Freire.

What’s interesting here is how they don’t even pretend to be talking about citizens anymore. Normally, they say things like “those egghead bureaucrat scientists in Washington DC don’t understand the kind of water that we enjoy here in Mudville. Our citizens are just fine with a little bit of cadmium in their soup.” But that’s not even what J.P. Freire is saying. He’s talking about the “regulated community”, i.e., the businesses themselves. It might be a different definition of “community” than you or I understand, but remember, my friend: corporations are people.

There’s not even anything to unpack here; there’s not even the tribute vice pays to virtue. They are straight-up saying that any regulations will be vetted by the people whose profits are impacted by regulations, and how that is the only concern.

It’s a pretty clear baseline. What matters is the impact regulations have on the bottom line of the company. The baseline isn’t what deregulated pollutions has on the humans who lives around the company. That is, at best, secondary. That’s not the impact that matters.

So it doesn’t matter, just to take a quick jaunt around recent headlines, that:

None of that matters (the attack on indigenous rights might actually be a bonus for these jackals). What we need are fewer regulations, and they should be vetted by the industries themselves.

It’s easy to see the counterarguments. More regulations are job-killing, and these plants and factories and industries are the lifeblood of the community, and if those science pinheads continue to ram their globalist climate-hysteric ideologies down our throats, we’ll be forced to close shop and go pollute Mexico. And why should the Mexicans get all our good pollution?

It’s a seductive argument, except it is also a completely phony one. The choice isn’t between “pollution and jobs”; it is between “pollution or slightly reduced profits.” It’s always been a lie that a company can’t follow simple environmental regulations. They made the same argument when smokestacks were regulated to reduce deadly smog, and industry didn’t collapse. It’s a choice made by companies to chase greater profits by moving to deregulated countries.

Reducing or eliminating regulations doesn’t actually help anyone. There will always be a place that cares even less about its citizens, that slashes regulations, that lets you dump paint right into the well. That the US is rushing to join these countries isn’t pro-worker; it is showing absolute contempt for the worker. It’s saying “you can keep your job, but only if we can lower wages, kill your collective bargaining rights, and poison you and your family, working you until you die young or are too broken to be of use.”

That’s Scott Pruitt’s vision of the future. It’s another reason why this administration has to be resisted at every step. Everything they do is carcinogenic. That’s unfortunately too often literal.