Thursday, April 4, 2019

Last Call For Meat The Press, Con't

The Trump regime is absolutely coming to destroy the free press, and various media control and regulation schemes will be field tested in the (meth) labs of Democracy first, at the GOP state level in places like Georgia.

Six Republican state representatives in Georgia have moved to create an "ethics board" for journalists that would require news organizations to provide copies of pictures and audio and video recordings of interviews to subjects who request them or risk civil penalty. 
The cost of meeting those requests would be paid by the news organizations.

The proposed legislation, House Bill 734, titled the "Ethics in Journalism Act," was sponsored Tuesday by Rep. Andy Welch, who represents the city of McDonough. 
The bill would create a board of media professionals and academics that would produce"a canon of ethics" and "develop a voluntary accreditation process in journalism ethics," which would also allow for the investigation and sanctioning of journalists. 
The proposed board appears to have little power to punish journalists other than to remove its own accreditation or impose a penalty if the interview request provision is not met. 
Welch also announced that he was retiring from Georgia's legislature at the end of its session on Tuesday, but that the bill would remain available for consideration during the state's 2020 legislative session, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

And of course, the state could then pass laws that would only allow the state to deal with "properly accredited" journalists, who of course would then have to turn over copies of all interview material to subjects on demand.

It would be the end of investigative journalism and a free press, which is of course very much the point of the "ethics board".  If your immediate response is "no newspaper or TV station would touch a state legislator, cop, or politician with this law in place" then congrats, you see where this is going.

And believe me, Trump is taking notes. This will be sold as "fixing fake news" and news outlets will be expected to play or perish.

We get a little closer to fascism.

Crank More-Pork, Or The Other Other White Meat

The Trump regime engages in pork barrel politics at its finest by planning to cut FDA pork inspectors in half and replacing them with meat processor employees.

The Trump administration plans to shift much of the power and responsibility for food safety inspections in hog plants to the pork industry as early as May, cutting the number of federal inspectors by about 40 percent and replacing them with plant employees.

Under the proposed new inspection system, the responsibility for identifying diseased and contaminated pork would be shared with plant employees, whose training would be at the discretion of plant owners. There would be no limits on slaughter-line speeds.

The new pork inspection system would accelerate the federal government’s move toward delegating inspections to the livestock industry. During the Obama administration, poultry plant owners were given more power over safety inspections, although that administration canceled plans to increase line speeds. The Trump administration in September allowed some poultry plants to increase line speeds.

The Trump administration also is working to shift inspection of beef to plant owners. Agriculture Department officials are scheduled next month to discuss the proposed changes with the meat industry.

These proposals, part of the Trump administration’s broader effort to reduce regulations, come as the federal government is under fire for delegating some of its aircraft safety oversight responsibilities to Boeing, which developed the 737 Max jets involved in two fatal crashes over the past six months. Federal Aviation Administration certification of the two aircraft involved in the crashes took place under President Trump, but the major shift toward delegating key aspects of aviation oversight began during the George W. Bush administration.

So give it a few years and beef, pork, and chicken will be inspected by the meat companies, and not the government, and who knows if they'll care or if contamination and recalls will even be reported?  I guess if several thousand people all turn up dead maybe.

Enjoy your coming summer cookouts, America.

It's Mueller Time, Con't

The NY Times is now running, not walking back its "Mueller Finds No Trump Collusion" story by actually doing some goddamn reporting and asking Mueller's team what Mueller did find, and the resulting story make it very clear that the report is bad enough for Trump that America will never see it.

Some of Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators have told associates that Attorney General William P. Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated, according to government officials and others familiar with their simmering frustrations.

At stake in the dispute — the first evidence of tension between Mr. Barr and the special counsel’s office — is who shapes the public’s initial understanding of one of the most consequential government investigations in American history. Some members of Mr. Mueller’s team are concerned that, because Mr. Barr created the first narrative of the special counsel’s findings, Americans’ views will have hardened before the investigation’s conclusions become public.

Mr. Barr has said he will move quickly to release the nearly 400-page report but needs time to scrub out confidential information. The special counsel’s investigators had already written multiple summaries of the report, and some team members believe that Mr. Barr should have included more of their material in the four-page letter he wrote on March 24 laying out their main conclusions, according to government officials familiar with the investigation. Mr. Barr only briefly cited the special counsel’s work in his letter.

However, the special counsel’s office never asked Mr. Barr to release the summaries soon after he received the report, a person familiar with the investigation said. And the Justice Department quickly determined that the summaries contain sensitive information, like classified material, secret grand-jury testimony and information related to current federal investigations that must remain confidential, according to two government officials.

We basically suspected if not outright knew this material, but it took out journalistic institutions a couple of weeks apparently to get around to following up with Barr.  Now they're all but accusing him of covering up for Trump, and the fight, as Politico's Darren Samuelsohn describes it, will be the "redaction wars."

House Democrats want to see everything related to the special counsel’s nearly two-year-old investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 presidential election. But their open-book demands stand at odds with the Justice Department’s desire to black out sensitive areas throughout Mueller’s 400-page submission.

The high-stakes chess match will play out on both political and legal grounds, and so far neither side has yet to show any signs of compromise.

As a result, the battle could spill into the courts, setting up a protracted legal confrontation that inevitably causes waves in the thick of the 2020 White House race. For President Donald Trump, the possibility of freshly unveiled Mueller bombshells dropping while he runs for reelection could be devastating. But Democrats are in a tough position: pursuing their legal challenge at all costs could feed the Trump-approved narrative that they’re overzealous, but giving up risks angering their own Trump-hating base.

“It seems to be shaping up as a classic collision of interests by two coordinate branches of government, each with their own respective legitimate interests that may be in conflict with one another,” said David Laufman, who ran the Justice Department’s counterintelligence unit from 2014 to 2018 and had a key role overseeing the early stages of the FBI’s Russia investigation before Mueller’s appointment.

I fully expect Barr to delay  the report for "national security reasons related to ongoing cases" as long as he can get away with it.  But if you ask me, my gut tells me that this story is chin music right past Barr's head.

Maybe a full leak is next unless Barr plays fair.

We'll see.


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