One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.
So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.
Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.
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Here are some things in the news today:
Cynthia Littleton at Variety: Sinclair Sets $3.9 Billion Deal to Acquire Tribune Media.
Sinclair Broadcast Group has set a $3.9 billion cash-and-stock agreement to acquire Tribune Media, a deal that will bring more than 200 TV stations under one roof and vault Sinclair into the big leagues of national TV.This is hugely concerning for a number of reasons, chief among them:
"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.
...For Sinclair, the expansion with Tribune will increase its market clout in TV but it will also extend its geographic footprint in a way that is vital to the company's vision of using the broadcast TV bandwidth of its stations to provide data services and interactivity on a scale designed to compete with wireless and digital media heavyweights.
...Tribune Media's assets include 42 TV stations, WGN America, WGN Radio, and a 31% stake in Food Network.
1. The Sinclair Broadcasting Group is an overtly pro-Trump media company. During the campaign, Jared Kushner announced that the Trump campaign had "struck a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group during the campaign to try and secure better media coverage."
2. The FCC, now operating under the Trump administration, voted "to ease a media ownership rule that prevents greater consolidation of broadcast television stations," allowing this consolidation of media power.
So, Sinclair Media agreed to act as a propaganda arm of the Trump campaign, and, now that Trump is president, the FCC voted to allow Sinclair to acquire Tribune Media, thus giving them an extraordinarily large media footprint to continue to serve as a propaganda arm of the Trump presidency.
This is very, very bad news.
Consider this news in the context of Paul Krugman's column for the New York Times today, in which he writes about how the entirety of the Republican Party just shamelessly lied about the basic facts of their "healthcare" bill:
It's a miserably designed law, full of unintended consequences. It's a moral disaster, snatching health care from tens of millions mainly to give the very wealthy a near-trillion-dollar tax cut.As Aphra_Behn said to me privately, which I am sharing with her permission: "Lying is their old trick—but it's going to be harder and harder to find good information to counter their lies" because of this Sinclair deal.
What really stands out, however, is the Orwell-level dishonesty of the whole effort. As far as I can tell, every word Republicans, from Trump on down, have said about their bill — about why they want to replace Obamacare, about what their replacement would do, and about how it would work — is a lie, including "a," "and," and "the."
Which could only be the first of many, as Trump the Media Mogul directs the FCC to lax rules that benefit companies who are willing to run interference for him.
And the window for seeking court remedies for Trump's overreaches is quickly closing.
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Peter Alexander, Dafna Linzer, Kristen Welker, and Ken Dilanian at NBC News: Obama Warned Trump Against Hiring Mike Flynn, Say Officials. "Former President Obama warned Donald Trump against hiring Mike Flynn as his national security adviser, three former Obama administration officials tell NBC News. The warning, which has not been previously reported, came less than 48 hours after the November election when the two sat down for a 90-minute conversation in the Oval Office. ...According to all three former officials, Obama warned Trump against hiring Flynn. The Obama administration fired Flynn in 2014 from his position as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, largely because of mismanagement and temperament issues."
Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis at the Washington Post: EPA Dismisses Half of Its Scientific Advisers on Key Board, Interior Suspends More Than 200 Advisory Panels in Sweeping Review. "Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department are overhauling a slew of outside advisory boards that inform how their agency assess the science underpinning their policies, the first step in a broader effort by Republicans to change the way the federal government evaluates the scientific basis for its regulations. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has chosen to replace half of the members on one of its key scientific review boards, while Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is 'reviewing the charter and charge' of more than 200 advisory boards, committees, and other entities both within and outside of his department. EPA and Interior officials began informing outside advisers of the move on Friday, and notifications continued over the weekend."
Burgess Everett and Sarah Ferris at Politico: Coming Soon: The Fiscal Cliff to End All Fiscal Cliffs. "Over the next several months, Republicans will have to figure out how to cut deals with Democrats to avoid a default on the national debt and avert a government shutdown, among several other must-pass items. But the negotiations will unfold against the acrimony of the GOP's Obamacare repeal effort and a bruising fight over tax reform, none of which is likely to inspire trust between the two sides. Though Congress avoided a government closure this month—a major bipartisan legislative accomplishment for an institution otherwise devoid of any this year—a quintet of critical deadlines in the early fall will force either a furious round of deal-making or brinkmanship that could have dire effects on the economy."
Bill Littlefield at WBUR: A Day (and a Cheeseburger) with [Donald] Trump.
"Trump was strutting up and down, talking to his new members about how they were part of the greatest club in North Carolina," [reporter and author James Dodson] says. "And when I first met him, I asked him how he was — you know, this is the journalist in me — I said, 'What are you using to pay for these courses?' And he just sort of tossed off that he had access to $100 million."Naturally, Eric Trump denies this account of his conversation with Dodson, tweeting: "This story is completely fabricated and just another example of why there is such a deep distrust of the media in our country. #FakeNews."
"So when I got in the cart with Eric," Dodson says, "as we were setting off, I said, 'Eric, who's funding? I know no banks — because of the recession, the Great Recession — have touched a golf course. You know, no one's funding any kind of golf construction. It's dead in the water the last four or five years.' And this is what he said. He said, 'Well, we don't rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.' I said, 'Really?' And he said, 'Oh, yeah. We've got some guys that really, really love golf, and they're really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.' Now that was three years ago, so it was pretty interesting."
If only there were some form of tax document typically released by presidents & candidates that could clear this up. https://t.co/sMmPEmwdSN— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) May 8, 2017
[Content Note: Nativism] Alana Durkin Richer at the AP: Trump's Revised Travel Ban Goes Before Federal Appeals Court. "The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday will examine a ruling that blocks the administration from temporarily barring new visas for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It's the first time an appeals court will hear arguments on the revised travel ban, which is likely destined for the U.S. Supreme Court. ...In an extraordinary move signifying the importance of the case, the 4th Circuit decided to bypass the three-judge panel that typically first hears appeals and go straight to the full-court hearing."
Adam Gabbatt at the Guardian: Anti-Protest Bills Would 'Attack Right to Speak Out' under Donald Trump. "More than 20 states have proposed bills that would crack down on protests and demonstrations since Donald Trump was elected, in a moved that UN experts have branded 'incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law.' The proposed laws would variously increase the penalties for protesting in large groups, ban protesters from wearing masks during demonstrations, and, in some states, protect drivers from liability if they strike someone taking part in a protest. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said more than 30 separate anti-protest bills have been introduced since 8 November in 'an unprecedented level of hostility towards protesters in the 21st century.' Their introduction comes amid a huge increase in activism and engagement, much of it inspired by Trump's election to the presidency.The ACLU and the National Lawyers Guild have said many of the bills are likely unconstitutional."
[CN: Nativism] James Barragán at the Dallas News: Gov. Greg Abbott Signs 'Sanctuary Cities' Ban into Law on Facebook Live. "Gov. Greg Abbott has signed the state's sanctuary city ban into law, achieving one of his major goals for the legislative session and enacting a bill that is almost certainly headed for legal challenges from opponents. ...Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said that the law was a 'colossal blunder' and that the lawmakers who championed it were small-hearted. ...Saenz said the law would alienate 'nearly half the state population' and make people subject to widespread racial profiling."
[CN: Racism; police harassment] Ed Pilkington at the Guardian: Mississippi African Americans Besieged by Illegal Searches, ACLU Lawsuit Says. "Black people in a racially segregated county in Mississippi [Madison County] are living under a permanent state of siege, subjected to repeated unlawful and humiliating searches at police roadblocks, at pedestrian 'checkpoints,' and even in their homes, according to a class-action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). ...The encroachment on African Americans’ rights covers almost every aspect of daily life, the ACLU complaint says: walking or driving to work, shopping for groceries, visiting friends and family, going to church, or sitting on the stoops of houses. The lawsuit alleges that the level of police scrutiny enshrined in the sheriff department's 'policing program' is so overbearing that black residents suffer chronic fear and anxiety, with some afraid to leave their homes. 'In effect, the policing program has placed the black community of Madison County under a permanent state of siege,' the ACLU states."
Hadas Gold at Politico: George Will Joins MSNBC. For fuck's sake. MSNBC is really trying to make sure I never tune in ever again, aside from Joy Reid's show.
What have you been reading that we need to resist today?