A Ferengi Approach to Public Safety

Elizabeth Kolbert is a measured, thoughtful observer of government who writes for the New Yorker. So when she characterizes a bill as a measure to “undermine public safety,” I listen.

A handy rule of thumb in Washington is that the more pernicious the act, the more high-minded the title. Thus, last week, the House of Representatives approved the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017, also known as the REINS Act. The bill would strip the executive branch of the power to issue significant new rules on topics ranging from air quality to food safety. In normal times, such a power grab by Congress would surely face a veto threat from the President, but, of course, these are not normal times.

Under the latest version of the REINS Act, a regulation with “an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more” could not take effect without congressional approval. In this way, either the House or the Senate could easily scuttle a major new regulation—one that requires food producers to sanitize their tools, for example—simply by doing nothing. “Given partisan gridlock in Congress, this could result in a de facto ban on new public interest safeguards,” Alison Cassady, the director of domestic energy policy at the Center for American Progress, noted in a recent post on the bill.

As Kolbert points out, agencies don’t impose regulations having “an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more” overnight; such measures require considerable research and go through lengthy and multiple levels of review and public comment. Of course, these are also precisely the regulations likely to be opposed by large corporations, in areas such as energy, workers’ safety, and lending practices, who often don’t like them.

According to the climate-change-focussed Web site DeSmogBlog, among the REINS Act’s most vigorous supporters are the various lobbying organizations sponsored by the Koch brothers. (During the 2016 election cycle, contributions from Koch Industries and its affiliates, to individual candidates and to PACs, came to more than ten million dollars, according to figures compiled by the Web site Open Secrets.)

“Tellingly,” Steve Horn, of DeSmogBlog, noted recently, “the only person President-elect Donald Trump has spoken to on the record about REINS” is a conservative political activist named Phil Kerpen, who, for several years, served as a vice-president of the Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity. In an op-ed published in USA Today last month, Kerpen said that, in 2015, Trump’s campaign provided him with a statement in which Trump vowed to “sign the REINS Act should it reach my desk as President.”

In the wake of the election, I have been binge-watching old Star Trek series. (It’s healthier than drinking myself into a stupor every night…) When I first read about the REINS ACT, I couldn’t help thinking that it was something one would expect from the Ferengi, an alien species that elevated pursuit of profit over every other value, and lived according to “rules of acquisition.”

There is a substantial likelihood that the REINS Act would violate the Constitutional Separation of Powers, but even if it fails to win Senate approval, or passes and is subsequently struck down by the courts,  it is only one element of what is sure to be a wholesale assault on regulatory activity during the Trump Administration.

Trump’s cabinet choices have all evidenced a contempt for regulation entirely unconnected to the specific merits or demerits of any particular rule, and the aptly-named “lunatic caucus” of the House of Representatives is enthusiastic about allowing businesses to decide for themselves how to operate–insisting that market forces are sufficient to rein in any harmful behaviors.

Even the Ferengi know better. Like the GOP these days, they just don’t care…..

44 thoughts on “A Ferengi Approach to Public Safety

  1. It’s a perverse twist — and I do mean perverted — on the Vulcan “Live long and prosper” idea. I am sadden and terrified by this lack of respect for the common good and by this willingness to ignore the history that got us to where we have regulations to protect the common good. Trust market forces! To pursue profit, and that is all.

  2. I smelled the Koch brothers early in this post – long before they were actually mentioned. Their stench is far too pungent to not be immediately noticeable.

  3. Did anyone watch Diane Sawyer’s 20/20 special on Friday? The concentration of money and power in corporate America has created “Market Forces” that force the lower middle class and poor members of society into a corner where they can only shop at big box stores. It is a case where the Waltons and those like them are paying poverty wages to their employees and their employees and others in this same boat cannot afford to shop elsewhere. It is a masterful manipulation of both government and society. Pay low wages that create a market for your cheap goods while reaping enormous profits from the taxpayers that must financially support the poverty wage workers. Then, in order to keep this revolving door of money coming in, make sure that society views those low paid workers as lazy freeloader thieves instead of recognizing who the real thieves are.

  4. Nancy,

    “Smelled the Koch brothers early in this post – long before they were actually mentioned. Their stench is far too pungent to not be immediately noticeable.”

    If you don’t attempt to match up with the “Top Dog” Ferengi, you just as well forget about the future.

    “This is your last chance. After this [20th of January, 2017] there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember all I’m offering is the truth—nothing more.”

    ~Morpheus’s Warning to Neo, THE MATRIX

  5. Theresa; this citizen began not liking – or trusting – this country on January 1st when the latest version of the Republican Congressional control was sworn in. Being deaf and disabled, living on a barely above poverty level income; I can go very few places, buy very little so have little more to give up or businesses to not shop in. Because there is no feasible way to know which businesses are owned by the Koch brothers and/or president-elect Trump & Co., we don’t know what products or companies to boycott. And; it appears to me that boycotting, hitting all of them in their wallets, is the only language they understand.

    Suspicions of only the 1% taking our money on all sides is now a reality and will soon be deemed legal by the remaining incoming administration. How soon will we begin seeing Jim Crow-type signs on businesses, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”, “Whites only”, “Colored drinking fountain”, “No Jews/Muslims allowed”, and the Trump hate list goes on and on.

    We can make our voices heard and I support it 100% even though I am unable to participate, I am joining organizations I believe I can trust. The wind blew my “Bernie For President” sign into the vacant lot next door but I have saved it. I will remove my “Pence Must Go” yard sign on January 20th for one reason only; I firmly believe Trump and Pence will very soon pass laws restricting our freedom of speech (and religion), making such public displays against their laws. Beginning January 20, 2017, we will all become those among Donald Trump’s rape victims.

    Trump and “Trump’s cabinet choices have all evidenced a contempt for regulation…” includes only those regulations protecting our freedoms as specified in the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and Amendments while they support Citizens United and the loss of civil and voting rights. How long will the Internet and social media be available to all? How long will the media in general be available to all? Will “…one element of what is sure to be a wholesale assault on regulatory activity during the Trump Administration.” be his requirement we all join the Twitter movement to receive his 24/7 Tweets? Beyond here there be dragons!

  6. Like Nancy, I knew this was a Koch policy. I have sources in Indiana who are generational farmers in Indiana. Mitch Daniels invited some of the worst operating CAFOs into Indiana who were first booted out of Europe, then North Carolina. They now operate in Indiana. These generational farmers collaborated with environmental groups to report on the damage being done by these CAFO operators. They had to take matters into their own hands because our state has almost no regulations on CAFOs. Every step they took was countered by new laws preventing them from taking those steps. Pilots who support our environment would fly over these CAFOs so pictures could be taken of these operators building tiles from their manure lagoons to streams, rivers, and ditches. Instead of slapping fines on the CAFO operators, our elected reps made flying over private lands for the purpose of photographing private businesses illegal.

    Since then, we’ve had numerous Ag-Gag Laws originate from the Koch funded American Legislative and Exchange Council (ALEC).

    Journalists who would sneak on to these properties or get hired to chronicle and videotape the inner happenings are now prosecuted as “eco-terrorists”. Again, instead of our regulators and lawmakers fining violators, they’ve chosen to write laws protecting the worst operators. The reason you don’t see videos on Youtube is because it’s illegal.

    The Koch’s own 24 governors and now our federal government via Mike Pence. While the right has aligned with the Koch brothers, the left has aligned itself with military-industrial-finance complex and given cover by our media. The people have NO representation, but some of us get to participate in periodic scam elections so we can show the world how great democracy functions and why they should overthrow their existing government and install one friendly to our government. 😉

    “Banana republic or banana state is a political science term used originally for politically unstable countries in Latin America whose economies are largely dependent on exporting a limited-resource product, e.g. bananas. It typically has stratified social classes, including a large, impoverished working class and a ruling plutocracy of business, political, and military elites.[1] This politico-economic oligarchy controls the primary-sector productions to exploit the country’s economy.[2]”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_republic

  7. JoAnn,

    “We can make our voices heard and I support it 100% even though I am unable to participate, I am joining organizations I believe I can trust.”

    I wish everyone had your perception, stamina and courage. But we’re all different. In the end, our backgrounds for the most part control us.

    As for me, I like to keep things very simple. Like the Koch Brothers for example. You can take them on and there is a good POSSIBILITY that you might end up dead. On the other hand, if you don’t take them on you will SURELY be dead.

    To me, you don’t have to be a brain scientist to make that simple decision.

  8. This morning we received news from Oxfam that the eight wealthiest individuals in the world control as much wealth as the bottom 50%. That’s 8 people owning as much as 3.5 billion people. That is far beyond what either Huxley or Orwell could have dreamed.

    That “Koch stench” has been evident since Pence was picked to be the VP. Since Pence was in charge of the transition, we have a probable cabinet filled with those who are dedicated to the destruction of the departments they will lead. The Republicans have seen that not enough Americans care about violations of the Constitution for them to be concerned about ravaging the document. The nihilists are winning.

  9. Todd,

    Several years ago I came across one of those CAFOs in northern Indiana. Deliberately hidden from public view the massive complex for milking cows was beyond understanding. Hundreds and hundreds of cows were crowded in roofed over pens standing in filth waiting to be milked. That the government of Indiana allows this kind of operation in the name of farming is hypocrisy at its highest level. That the government of Indiana then puts into place legal cover for such brutality is just plain evil. That the majority of people in Indiana vote over and over again for the legislators who promote and protect such horrors reveals a society corrupted to the core.

  10. The only way you can defeat the Koch Brothers is to bring down the underlying, deep system that they control. The difficulty is having the knowledge of the system. Computer systems can be neutralized. So can political systems. Both have vital nodes which can cause a “chain reaction” within the system when successfully attacked.

  11. There are many ways to consolidate total control of America by the rich and corporate class (if it is not a fait accompli). One is to destroy the idea of democratic government via incessant propaganda; another is to come to total control via the back door, i.e., through monetizing regulatory control. Democracy? What’s that?

    The efficacy of a given rule or regulation (assuming it is adopted for the presumed common good) does not depend upon how much money is involved if the particular rule or regulation is enforced. Thus the stock market immediately comes to mind. Does REINS purport to remove all controls of the marketplace? The fossil fuel industry? The transportation industry? Are we ready to remove all environmental controls where their enforcement would exceed 100 million dollars if enforced? Such areas (among many others) would immediately qualify as targets for the Congress. Is money to be the final arbiter of policy positions (which the proposed act would seem to justify on some nebulous grounds conjured by the Kochs and their toadies)? Even the 100 million is arbitrary and suspect as a measure of adoption of policy. How about bad rules and regulations whose enforcement does not come up to 100 million? Are we to keep them because they don’t do us enough damage? Finally, what about inflation (a real possibility with the incoming administration)? Thus what if 100 million becomes 25 million?

    Congress already has muscled its way into interference with regulation of its favorite campaign contributors via starving the budgets of the specific agencies charged with regulation of a particular agency thought to be acting adversely to such contributors’ interests. Now they wish to expand their control via some arbitrary number in order to avoid hearings on a case by case basis? We must resist such legislative dictatorship via an appeal to the doctrine of Separation of Powers. They will have to make do with cutting the SEC’s budget so that we can have another credit derivative selling orgy, bailouts, recession, and well, you know the rest.

    The good news is that I think the proposed act would not pass constitutional muster, though with the Supreme Court’s holdings in Citizens United and Bush v. Gore I am not sure. Trump has signalled that he will sign this bill if it comes to his desk, but he may change his mind within the next five minutes because someone slighted him, so the best way to handle REINS is to kill it before it sees the light of day and before congressional dictators legalize their power grab at the expense of the rest of us. Let’s stay alert to this bill’s progress as we go along in this new world of corporate ownership and control of America.

  12. Todd; a good movie from a few years ago gave a good picture of the “umbrella companies” who own dozens, if not hundreds, of brand name products we all buy. It also covered the dumping of hazardous waste which seeped into groundwater, water ways, wells and reservoirs. I think the title was “A Civil Action”; it starred John Travolta as a Boston attorney who, along with his entire staff, put every asset, business and personal, on the line to fight Beatrice Foods in their attempt to force cleanup and reparation. The health problems caused by the pollution was denied by the courts. They lost everything. The semi loads of boxed documents was eventually sent to the EPA who did decide to take on the case; no idea what the outcome was.

    I will ask again; what is the current situation with the denied “cancer cluster” in Johnson County? Public Health officials denied, within a few days of “investigation”, that it constituted a “cancer cluster”.

  13. Theresa –
    Theresa_
    “The citizens are not going to like this country when the Republicans get through with it.”

    I’m 91yo so I do not plan to observe the outcome. Meanwhile, I still love my country. Republicans are self-destructing. I will vote in the Midterms; maybe fellow citizens will awaken by then but my vote in Indiana will matter little.

    By what power did we will Pence to our beloved country?
    “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”

  14. Professor: Topic to write about, please.

    I have watched a couple of the town halls on CNN International last week and two small business owners spoke of the enormous REGULATIONS that they are being overwhelmed with by the so called Obama Administration. Can you cover what those are and if, in fact, they are overwhelming and enough to make a business owner want to shut down? If it’s environmental, then I say, tough, I want clean water, clean air and don’t want businesses polluting the locality where I live. I just don’t think these regulations are actually true but would appreciate a post about that topic when you have a chance to include it. Thanks.

  15. The YouTube video “You’ve Been Trumped” (2011) The Real Donald Trump- The Aberdeen, Scotland Golf Disaster documents the total disregard and maltreatment of individuals who get in Trump’s way and the government officials in awe of his wealth and power that allow him to do so. His bullying of residents who chose not to sell their property for his golf course were illegally harassed by the police and abused in many ways: yet more evidence of Trump’s callous bullying and lack of values. Everyone should watch it!

  16. On the financial side, it comes down to seven words: “The rich still don’t have enough money.”
    On the power side, it comes down to a different seven words: “The powerful can grope whomever they like.”

  17. The cognitive dissonance we have been witnessing by all of us is caused by two REALITIES which we have difficulty in accepting. The first is the politics on the surface which can best be described as CORPORATISM. And the second is the politics at the sub-surface level which can best be described as NEO-FASCISM. The pro-democracy forces will be for the most part paralyzed because of the dangers that will come when facing up to the NEO-FASCISM. Both factors have been controlled in the past by the Koch Brothers. Donald Trump will be in control of the NEO-FASCISM. His regime will be brutal in that he will control both the governmental enforcement agencies as well as the military.

    Who will defend those is support of PRO-DEMOCRACY initiatives?

  18. Where have all the flowers gone? Eight years ago we were saying “Yes, we can.” Now all I read from this group of responses is despair. I suspect a major part of the problem is that the responders to this blog are mainly old people, old not only in years, but spirit. I will not live with you in this graveyard.

    And why are so many failing to put their names to their words? That predates Trump.

  19. There has been a fair amount theorized about the possible upcoming collapse of the business house of cards; neoliberalism’s death spiral starting with the collapse of big box debt stores (banks) and culminating with death by growth capitalism.

    I’m not savvy enough about macroeconomics to figure out how credible those fears are but the threat seems plausible to me. As I say often business runs by one rule: make more money regardless of the impact on others. One consequence of that is that each separate business is being optimized but not business as an institution. However the interconnections are more complex everyday so if it starts to crumble the world of business will come tumbling down.

    Of course the more entangled business and government is the more the consequences will be amplified for everyone.

    I’m not sure that the trajectory is really under anyone’s control but I know that when we felt the first tremors in 2008 we were fortunate to have a competent executive able to deploy government resources to bail everyone out.

    If the collapse comes during the Trump Dynasty I am positive that the “captains” will be the first to the life boats leaving all of us to go down with the ship.

    Not a pretty picture but, I fear, reality.

  20. Morton; my spirit is younger and stronger today as I near my 80th birthday, than it was in my 30’s.

    Marv; I can only hope your comment was tongue-in-cheek, you are close behind me in age but far ahead of me in spirit and determination.

  21. Morton,

    I am not old, unless you consider being in my fifties old. Many of us on this blog have been financially damaged by the power of the corporate elite, and this includes small-medium sized family businesses in our own towns. The complete disregard for the health and financial well-being of employees is rampant. Employers realized long ago that the lack of jobs available to the public, along with the constant threat of job loss, empowered them to abuse employees. If we haven’t suffered from this ourselves, we surely have relatives, friends and neighbors who have. This is a reality all over this country.

    If you have positive contributions to add in the comment section, please do so. I know that I would appreciate it.

    In conclusion, please know that some of us are at work in our communities to do our part to create positive change. I can assure you that I am.

  22. Todd,

    Although I no longer farm, my children are the 7th generation to grow up on my family farm. I am not aware of CAFOs around the state, but I am very aware of the CAFO pollution abuses in Huntington and Wabash counties.

    I recall the Ag-Gag legislation being pushed in our state legislature a couple years ago, but now cannot remember if it was passed. Did it pass, and exactly what was outlawed?

  23. I believe our biggest problem is that we are fearful of admitting the LEVEL of racism and anti-Semitism that exists. Consequently, those two problems are becoming worse and worse and have brought our democracy to the brink of total collapse.

    African-Americans and Jews can’t fight discrimination by themselves but that’s what in reality, except for a few exceptions, they’re faced with. Based on history, I’m not so sure there is any way we can cure that.

  24. Wingnuts are certainly putting the “Scrus” to the poor, the elderly, uninsured/under-insured, etc.

    As for the rich- the wealthiest 8 PEOPLE control as much wealth as 50% of the world’s population combined! For some quaint reason most wingnuts don’t see this as a real problem.

  25. WOW, just when you think you have read it all.

    Running over protesters may soon be legal in North Dakota, if conservative lawmakers are successful in advancing legislation introduced last week.

    House Bill Number 1203 (pdf) states that, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a driver of a motor vehicle who unintentionally causes injury or death to an individual obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway, is not guilty of an offense.”

    The bill is slated to be heard by the North Dakota’s House Transportation Committee on Friday.

    Rep. Keith Kempenich (R-Bowman), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, told the Bismarck Tribune on Wednesday, “[The roads are] not there for the protesters. They’re intentionally putting themselves in danger.” http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/01/16/shocking-north-dakota-republicans-want-legalize-running-over-protesters

    From Stand Your Ground to Run them Over.

  26. Off topic- Monica “the plagiarizer” Crowley will not be joining the Drumpf cabal of non-reality.

    One down and a gazillion to go.

  27. This is off the subject but..today is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day; I have switched to MSNBC and CNN repeatedly trying to find some form of celebration, speeches or parade commemorating the man. Or some of the promised protest marches. Only pro Trump news as usual for the past 18 months; the inauguration (4 days away, ignoring this special day), setting up the stands, all of the security, his ugly comments regarding the head of CIA, more inauguration crap. There is a post on Facebook with a poll asking if Democrats not attending Trump’s inauguration is disrespectful. Has our freedom of choice already been taken away; are elected officials REQUIRED to attend the inauguration…is it some rule or ordinance heretofore not made public? Are we REQUIRED to watch the inauguration at home?

  28. Louie,

    “Running over protesters may soon be legal in North Dakota, if conservative lawmakers are successful in advancing legislation introduced last week.”

    I’m writing about the above statement you made. I’m saying that every effort will be made nationwide to prevent protests and as you pointed out someone could get away with murder in North Dakota if the bill is passed.

    JFK and Lyndon Johnson were our presidents during the civil rights struggle. The Civil Rights Movement had JFK and Lyndon Johnson protecting them. In about four days America is going to have Donald Trump as our protector. Do you see the difference I was trying to point out?

    I guess the disagreement we have is that you must think the North Dakota situation is an isolated event, I sure don’t.

    Admit it, you don’t agree with anything I say. I shouldn’t have responded to your post. I apologize. I won’t do it again.

  29. Louie; both Marv and I have expressed fears/expectations of losing our freedom of speech once Trump is inaugurated and his appointees are in control. He has spoken out against the Internet and the journalistic press as well as voicing the possibility of kicking the press out of the white house, thereby limiting freedom of the press. Pence will install his own religious beliefs as law at the national level, limiting our religious freedom. The bill in North Dakota you quoted, if passed, would deny residents the last part of the 1st Amendment, the right to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Sounds like something Trump would support. The Lincoln Memorial, this country’s symbol of freedom, is already denied as the meeting place for protest marchers on January 21st, the day after the inauguration. Trump, before even being duly inaugurated, has limited portions of the 1st Amendment but heartily supports the 2nd Amendment allowing his supporters open carry. I’m sure you are familiar with the term “suicide by police”; I understood Marv’s comment to mean “suicide by freedom of speech”.

  30. JoAnn,

    Thanks. I like your new term: “Suicide by freedom of Speech.” That’s exactly what I meant.

    We’ve both been there before, most of our friends on the blog haven’t. Like I mentioned to you before, I was the host for MLK’s two most important attorneys when the Civil Rights Movement came to St. Augustine in 1964. Going south, it’s only 20 miles down US 1 from Jacksonville. MLK decided on St. Augustine because Jacksonville was too dangerous. Birmingham and Jacksonville were the two most dangerous cities in the Deep South at the time. Jacksonville still hasn’t changed much in all these years. It’s a great place to learn about race and anti-Semitism.

  31. Todd;it bugged me not remembering the name of the attorney portrayed by John Travolta in “A Civil Action” so I Googled it. His name is Jan Schlichtmann and he is still very active, co-founder of The Legal Broadcast Network and the Civil Action Center, apparently an aid to attorneys interested in civil action cases. He battled Beatrice Foods (Peter Pan Peanut Butter, Birds Eye frozen foods, et al) and W.R. Grace & Co., for dumping trichlorethylene, an industrial solvent, which contaminated the Woburn, Mass., aquifer in the 1980’s, causing deaths by leukemia of several children. It also caused cancers and other serious health problems.

    Jan Schlichtmann’s name might be one to remember for the future regarding the REINS Act. With the new administration protecting businesses from being forced to clean up hazardous waste and pollution, we need to have information regarding qualified legal assistance.

  32. JoAnn,

    “This is off the subject but..today is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day; I have switched to MSNBC and CNN repeatedly trying to find some form of celebration, speeches or parade commemorating the man. Or some of the promised protest marches. Only pro Trump news as usual for the past 18 months.”

    Your apprehension is well founded. Protestors need an intermediary and it appears that the media is now being silenced by the fear of retribution from Trump/Pence regime. The following is an excellent statement of the problem protestors will be faced with especially after January 20th:

    Karrin M. Hanshew, Department of History, University of Chicago, writes in an H-Net review of: Dieter Rucht, ed. Protest in der Bundesrepublik: Strukturen und Entwicklungen (Frankfurt/New York: Campus, 2001):

    “Each of the volume’s eight essays draws from the project, “Documentation and Analysis of Protest Events in the Federal Republic of Germany” (Prodat) carried out at the Wissenschaftszentrum fuer Sozialforschung in Berlin. Since its inception in 1992, Prodat has collected a database for the examination of change and continuity in German protest between 1950 and 1994. … As the project’s central unit of analysis, a “protest event” is defined in the introduction as a “collective, public action by non-state actors that successfully expresses a critique or protest and that is connected to the formulation of a social or political demand” (p. 19). The project’s source base is limited to two nationally distributed newspapers, the Frankfurter Rundschau and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
    … The authors confront potential (and real) criticisms of Prodat’s limited source base head-on and openly concede that the picture provided by their media sample far from represents the entire reality of protest. In addition, they acknowledge the significant influence of media selectivity on their results. The authors counter such objections, however, by emphasizing the importance of RECEPTION in determining an individual protest’s political-social weight. Without an INTERMEDIARY FORCE to sympathize with the protesters’ message and, ultimately, to create the pressure on established political institutions necessary to enact change, the protest cannot succeed (pp. 33-34). Rucht and Neidhardt state that journalists, more than any other intermediary force, are responsible for making protest “real” by registering it and thereby validating it as an event. Only in this way does protest find a place in the perceptions and opinions of the population in general and of decision-makers in particular (pp. 62-63).” [“Christiane Eilders concludes the volume by returning to the problem of media selectivity in reporting protest events. Her systematic study of the Frankfurter Rundschau, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung and the tageszeitung demonstrates a high level of agreement by all three newspapers on the “structural characteristics” by which protests are judged newsworthy.”]

  33. It’s helpful periodically to talk about products to boycott. My first was Nestle. We try not to buy any Nestle products. Next was ExxonMobil. Most toilet paper and paper towels are GP. Don’t use paper towels. We have used cloth napkins forever. And Dixie cups. There’s an endless plethora of products. Do all you can with your own skills and without electricity. Staying riled up is bad for ones health. And I cannot abide the Kochs. Shame on them. Love one another.

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