Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage. These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that. Even though there are many more which I can't include. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."
I have some stories about local happenings which, though vile, are two weeks out of date: the restaurateur who threw a customer out for being black, a quadriplegic who was denied admission at a private school for being disabled, a climate activist killed for walking barefoot to draw attention to climate change, even a city councilman who boldly proclaimed (/s) that women have a right – "to be slapped."
But I would rather discuss the new "administration" directly, particulary since things are moving so fast that actual atrocities are sneaking under the radar, or so it seems. For instance, everyone here had heard of Rex Tillerson and Neil Gorsuch. Most of us have heard of Scott Pruit and Andrew Pudzer. But Ajit Pai? Did anyone know his confirmation had gone through?
The FCC’s new Chairman Ajit Pai has told 9 companies, who had just recently been given the green light, that they will not be allowed to participate in the Lifeline program that helps subsidize internet services to low-income homes.
The move, announced Friday by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, reverses a decision by his Democratic predecessor, Tom Wheeler, and undercuts the companies' ability to provide low-cost Internet access to poorer Americans. In a statement, Pai called the initial decisions a form of “midnight regulation.”
Last spring, the FCC moved to expand the Lifeline program in the hopes of bridging what’s called the “digital divide.” This is the expanse of information and technology unavailable to people who do not have a lot of money. Pulling back on nine companies is a huge step back to the program—which is what kleptocrats like chairman Pai seem to relish.
Click through for more details, and also for a petition to sign. Alecto, it's not just this person you need to – um – educate, it's the entire "administration," really. Good luck with that.
While we are speaking of individuals in government, let us not forget Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), who is still the Chairman of the House Science Committee. I'm sure we've all heard of him, just not for a while. He is now trying to get his Secret Science Reform Act of 2015 passed, and his chances are much better than when the Senate previously quashed it.
This bill would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing or disseminating any rule, regulation or other "covered action" unless all scientific and technical information relied upon to support that decision is made available to the public in a manner where the research can be independently analyzed and substantially reproduced. While this appears to be a reform that provides greater public transparency in agency rulemaking, these new requirements would force the EPA to ignore any scientific information related to personal health and other confidential data legally protected from disclosure – jeopardizing the agency’s ability to use best-available scientific data and weakening its scientific integrity….
Further, by requiring EPA to maintain detailed descriptions of all materials, data, codes and models used to create rules, as well as instructions on how to access and use them, the agency would be forced to waste limited funds working through burdensome reporting requirements instead of important public health protections.
Haven't I said that, although they worship money, Republicans have no objection to spending it as long as they can punish someone by so doing? Preferably a whole lot of someones. Megaera, good luck to you too.
I am convinced that the reason we are being bombarded with "off" things by the new "administration" is exactly so that, while we are all looking at the shiny stuff, we will not see some of the darker stuff – like torture. I can't tell this story any better than by re-quoting this quote:
IN MAY, 2013, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller reported that the head of the CIA’s clandestine service was being shifted out of that position as a result of “a management shake-up” by then-Director John Brennan. As Miller documented, this official – whom the paper did not name because she was a covert agent at the time – was centrally involved in the worst abuses of the CIA’s Bush-era torture regime.
As Miller put it, she was “directly involved in its controversial interrogation program” and had an “extensive role” in torturing detainees. Even more troubling, she “had run a secret prison in Thailand” – part of the CIA’s network of “black sites” – “where two detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harsh techniques.” The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture also detailed the central role she played in the particularly gruesome torture of detainee Abu Zubaydah.
Beyond all that, she played a vital role in the destruction of interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations. The concealment of those interrogation tapes, which violated both multiple court orders as well the demands of the 9/11 Commission and the advice of White House lawyers, was condemned as “obstruction” by Commission Chairs Lee Hamilton and Thomas Keane. A special prosecutor and Grand Jury investigated those actions but ultimately chose not to prosecute.
That CIA official’s name whose torture activities the Post described is Gina Haspel. Today, as BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold noted, CIA Director Mike Pompeo announced that Haspel was selected by Trump to be Deputy Director of the CIA.
Ms. Haspel's profile is so low I could not find a confirmed photo of her. There wasn't one with the linked article, but I looked anyway. Tisiphone, this seems to me serious enough to call for you to investigate. The very best of luck to you.
One other article at Daily Kos (or diary, as they call them) asks whether anyone is keeping score of the atrocities. If someone is, I would be delighted to hear of it. In the meantime, all I can do is try to scout out the stuff from which the distractions are trying to distract us.
The Furies and I will be back.
Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4034763