"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Today's Must-Read: Behind Closed Doors

Have you noticed how the Republicans running our country want to do everything in secret? While we're all focused on Junior's e-mails (E-mails? Where have I heard that before?), this is going on:

President Trump entered office pledging to cut red tape, and within weeks, he ordered his administration to assemble teams to aggressively scale back government regulations.

But the effort — a signature theme in Trump’s populist campaign for the White House — is being conducted in large part out of public view and often by political appointees with deep industry ties and potential conflicts.

Most government agencies have declined to disclose information about their deregulation teams. But ProPublica and The New York Times identified 71 appointees, including 28 with potential conflicts, through interviews, public records and documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Some appointees are reviewing rules their previous employers sought to weaken or kill, and at least two may be positioned to profit if certain regulations are undone.

That's just the tip of the iceberg.

I might point out that, contra the right-wing myth of "liberals" in government crushing our brave entrepreneurs with regulations, these rules were not formulated just to be nasty to the "job creators": they happened in response to abuses and problems that required government intervention. (For example, there's quite a bit in the article on pesticide manufacturers wanting to get rid of rules that require them to get approval from the EPA and the Interior Department before offering their products for sale, because of the requirements of the Endangered Species Act. Who needs that kind of headache? After all, what could go wrong?)

It's kind of lengthy, and in places perhaps offers more than you wanted to know, but it's worth reading, just to give you an idea of what's going on while no one's looking -- and how the government is stonewalling those who are trying to find out what's going on.

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