Steam Whistle News Feed – August 5, 2022

These primaries, I swear to God.  What the hell is the point of anyone who, say, lives in Oregon having to care about what goes on in a Texas primary?  I mean, from a news standpoint, it’s news, so it gets reported, and the news hopes to continually profit from people tuning into it.  But why should I?  Why so much regional news on a national level?  I don’t know, but I’m guessing a lot of it has to do with ‘Trump candidate winning/losing against non-Trump candidate losing/winning’.  Trump still brings in eyes, cash, clicks and subscriptions, even if you’re CNN, MSNBC or the Washington Post.  But if you keep ignoring Trump—I can almost guarantee this—he will go away, and no one seems to get the overall benefit of that.  It’ll take some time, but it will happen.  At the very least, in the meantime, you’ll curb his current influence and reach.  Trump followers follow him, Trump supporters support him and always will, but nearly all those middle-ground and independent voters who jumped ship not long after voting him in, who realized what he and his administration really were—the undecided American voter who got him elected in 2016 because they so hated Hillary Clinton and the establishment she represented—just may continue to vote for the candidates he endorses if the news keeps talking about it, forgetting exactly why they began to resent or write him off in the first place.  The dammed-up reservoir of memory and the monitoring done by attention span often can’t hold up to the continuous pressure and flow of selective information that roars out of the 24-hour media conglomerates and their networks.  Much of it tends to wind up pouring into the outflows of memory hole, and the mistakes of the past thus get repeated. 

Maybe the biggest news of the week has been the filling of some 520,000 jobs in America, the national unemployment rate dropping to 3.5% and the U.S. making up for the over 22 million jobs the economy had lost since March and April of 2020.  But as I always say: People aren’t statistics and big numbers don’t tell the entire story.  Plenty of people are still struggling, 5.7 million people are still unemployed, only 10% of all employees have collective bargaining rights, 14% of the country still lives below the poverty line, plenty can’t make ends meet, plenty of people are denied benefits who shouldn’t be and plenty of people still hate their jobs because their employers and managers suck.  That ‘good news’ is hardly ever the actual good news most economists, analysts, pundits or politicians want to convince you it is. 

The Abortion Wars in America have gone full-on tactical since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling. Voters in mostly-conservative Kansas surprised many by voting to protect abortion rights in the state on Thursday, and the next day, Indiana’s lower house voted to eliminate all but a few for those seeking to obtain one in the state, making it the first such law about to be passed after Dobbs, and one of the strictest in the country.  And this, after states like Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Missouri, Idaho and almost half of America have already drawn up or have on the books some of the most restrictive abortion mandates in the country. 

Sometimes it’s fuel, sometimes it’s baby food, sometimes it’s f—ing adult food, and sometimes…it’s insulin.   A report hit the wire this week about the decades-long problem of rising insulin costs.  That’s insulin: the life-saving drug for most of 37 million Americans afflicted with diabetes.  Going up.  Why?  Every once in a while, the price of something crucial to American health and well-being will skyrocket, and there’ll be one of these sterile, 1,000 word stories written about it.  All you normally have to do, if it’s written well and more or less unbiased, is hover somewhere around the middle, or sometimes at the very end, and find the single sentence that sums it up.  In this case, it was: “Only three manufacturers — Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi — produce insulin, allowing those companies to control much of the market.”

So, in other words: greed.

Quietly, over in Silicon Valley (and then subsequently all over the internet), Meta dropped some of its safeguards protecting the platform against the foreign influence and chaotic misinformation that has, will and forevermore arise on social media in the runup to an election.  They’re not talking about the laxity, and so far this year have released just a generic, two-page memo regarding what they’ve generically done, and what they assume will help to generically combat the fraud and lies on their generic platform during the coming elections in November.  Which is raising eyebrows. I mean, if your face muscles work anymore, for all the Facebook scouring you’ve been doing.

Also, China got all pissed off, flexing its abusive boyfriend muscles that Nancy Pelosi visited its human property Taiwan this week.  Actions which go against the will of, like, every Taiwanese person not loving on the PRC or who gave a sh– about the Chinese Civil War, by the way, or wasn’t even alive when the influx of Chinese refugees hit some seventy years ago and who still think Taiwan should be just Taiwan, which is a vast majority of the country

I guess Nancy Pelosi felt it was okay to depart on her Far East trip after she knew the Democrats’ big bill would pass, after Joe Manchin gave his nod.  But then it almost didn’t, with Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema publicly balking at the bill’s wave-through.  She consented in the end, and it should likely get passed, but not before Democrats backed off on closing a loophole that would have meant a tax increase for hedge funders and private equity executives, a loophole which Sinema demanded should stay on the books.  And why should it stay on the books?  I don’t know.  You’ll have to ask Kyrsten Sinema.  If you can catch her away from the cameras and microphones.

Republicans are all griping about the measure, but are also huddling up to vote hard on some 40-50 amendments to it.  And, of course, they’re going to use those amendments to hold the careers of more vulnerable Democrats in conservative states hostage by forcing them to vote on contentious, middle-ground issues, hoping to get them elected out of office and their kind back into power.  But don’t worry.  The Democrats are looking to do the same, with a bill drawn up in regard to that rise in insulin costs. In case you’ve picked a side there.

And, finally, in case you really don’t get what the right side of America’s political spectrum really stands for, and think its Dark Triad Faction is only made up of a relatively small number of Americans (and Republicans), well, allow me to shift the entire perspective you may have had and regurgitate this story about the full-throated praise career and junior Republicans have not just for Donald Trump, Steve Bannon or Sean Hannity, but for a man like Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister. 

There.  Regurgitated.