Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Criminals Hate Regulations-- Who'da Thunk?



You know who hates rules and regulations? Criminals-- and not just the Mafia. It includes the exploitative class and the conservative political parties that represent that class' interests. It's why I've never voted for a Republican. And it's why I've never identified as a Republican... despite knowing how corrupt and worthless the Democratic Party has become over the course of my lifetime, especially since Bill Clinton helped usher in a take-over by the Republican wing of the Democratic Party in 1992.

But even most of the worst of the conservaDems tend to back at least some regulatory protections for workers and the environment. Republicans don't. Many of them will drown in an anti-Trump tsunami in two weeks but they were willing to make that bargain with the devil in order to wreck the American regulatory infrastructure and to pack the courts with the kinds of right-wing zealots who will uphold that for the aforementioned exploitative class.

Last week, The NY Times published a look at the GOP wrecking ball by Eric Lipton. Don't forget, he morons who attend Trump rallies may love chanting "lock her up"-- whether about Hillary, Kamala or Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer-- but those with the money and power behind the GOP are more concerned with allowing their criminal proclivities to run rampant without government interference than with the theatrics of Trumpism. Lipton clearly laid out how desperate the handmaidens of America's criminal class are "scrambling to enact regulatory changes affecting millions of Americans in a blitz so rushed it may leave some changes vulnerable to court challenges... In the bid to lock in new rules before Jan. 20, Mr. Trump’s team is limiting or sidestepping requirements for public comment on some of the changes and swatting aside critics who say the administration has failed to carry out sufficiently rigorous analysis. Some cases, like a new rule to allow railroads to move highly flammable liquefied natural gas on freight trains, have led to warnings of public safety threats.
Every administration pushes to complete as much of its agenda as possible when a president’s term is coming to an end, seeking not just to secure its own legacy but also to tie the hands of any successor who tries to undo its work.

But as Mr. Trump completes four years marked by an extensive deregulatory push, the administration’s accelerated effort to put a further stamp on federal rules is drawing questions even from some former top officials who served under Republican presidents.

...If Democrats take control of Congress, they will have the power to reconsider some of these last-minute regulations, through a law last used at the start of Mr. Trump’s tenure by Republicans to repeal certain rules enacted at the end of the Obama administration.

But the Trump administration is also working to fill key vacancies on scientific advisory boards with members who will hold their seats far into the next presidential term, committees that play an important role in shaping federal rule making.

...The Environmental Protection Agency, which since the start of the Trump administration has been moving at a high speed to rewrite federal regulations, is expected to complete work in the weeks that remain in Mr. Trump’s term on two of the nation’s most important air pollution rules: standards that regulate particulates and ozone that is formed based on emissions from power plants, car exhaust and other sources.

These two pollutants are blamed for bronchitis, asthma, lung cancer and other ailments, causing an estimated 7,140 premature deaths a year in the United States, according to one recent study. The agency is proposing to keep these standards at their current levels, provoking protests from certain health experts and environmentalists who argue that the agency is obligated to lower the limits after new evidence emerged about the harm the pollutants cause.

Scott Pruitt, who served as the E.P.A. administrator in the first 17 months of Mr. Trump’s tenure, set as a goal before he left office to get these new standards adopted by December 2020, even though the agency had previously expected they would not be finished until 2022.

The agency also is rushing to complete a series of regulations that will almost certainly make it harder for future administrations to tighten air pollution and other environmental standards, including a limit on how science is used in rule making and a change to the way costs and benefits are evaluated to justify new rules.

Mr. Trump has played a direct role in pushing to accelerate some regulations. Among them is a provision finished this summer, nicknamed “bomb trains” by its critics, that allows railroads to move highly flammable loads of liquefied natural gas on freight trains. Mr. Trump signed an executive order last year directing the Transportation Department to enact the rule within 13 months-- even before it had been formally proposed.

The change was backed by the railroad and natural gas industry, which has donated millions of dollars to Mr. Trump, after construction of pipelines had been blocked or slowed after protests by environmentalists.

But the proposal provoked an intense backlash from a diverse array of prominent public safety officials. Among them were groups representing thousands of mayors, firefighters and fire marshals nationwide and even the federal government’s own National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates fatal transportation accidents.

The gas is stored in 30,000-gallon rail tanks at minus 260 degrees to keep it compressed. But if accidentally released during an accident, it would rapidly expand by nearly 600 times as the temperature rises and cause what is known as a “boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion” that if ignited could not be quickly extinguished, potentially resulting in widespread injury or death if it occurs in a populated area, the firefighters warned.

“It is nearly certain any accident involving a train consisting of multiple rail cars loaded with L.N.G. will place vast numbers of the public at risk while fully depleting all local emergency response forces,” Harold A. Schaitberger, the president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, wrote in a letter opposing the proposal.

The Transportation Department still adopted the rule and rejected proposed speed limits for the trains, generating a petition for a court review by 14 states and the District of Columbia.

“Studies on how to safely transport liquefied natural gas by rail are still ongoing, and this administration has rushed to implement a rule that will needlessly endanger people’s lives and threaten our environment,” Michigan’s attorney general, Dana Nessel, said.

Even while the challenge is underway, the Transportation Department has moved to enact another rule easing safety standards, in this case removing a requirement intended to limit the number of hours truck drivers are allowed behind the wheel and to mandate rest periods.

Certain drivers who carry agricultural products would now be exempt from this federal mandate in a standard that would again be adopted as an “interim final rule,” meaning it would be put in place before any public comment is accepted, under the plan announced by the agency.

“Fatigued truck drivers remain a stubbornly high cause of fatal highway accidents,” said James Goodwin, a lawyer at the Center for Progressive Reform, a nonprofit group that tracks regulatory actions. “The law permits agencies to take short cuts when there are extraordinary circumstances that call for them. That is not present here.”
Goal ThermometerEarlier today, progressive state Rep. Jon Hoadley, a congressional candidate who appears to be beating Trump lackey Fred Upton, told us that Upton "continues to tout his supposed victories for the Great Lakes while also enabling corporate polluters to contaminate them along with our groundwater. As Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, he held one of the most powerful positions in Congress and due to his inaction or enacted obstacles, at one point he was deemed 'the worst threat to planet Earth on Earth.' Michiganders need a leader who will actually fight to protect our precious natural resources and hold polluters accountable."

Beth Doglio is in a hot D vs D contest in Washington. Beth is the environmentalist and workers' champion in the race and her opponent, Marilyn Strickland, is an establishment Dem who was president of the Chamber of Commerce and supported... well all the kinds of anti-environment and anti-worker policies conservative and the Chamber support. Not quite as bad as a Republican of course, but... close. Beth told me that "We have to draw a line in the sand when it comes to large new fossil fuel infrastructure that locks in emission for decades to come. I was standing firm leading the fight to stop the seven coal export terminals dead in their tracks, while my opponent openly supported a proposal to site the largest methanol plant in the world in urban Tacoma before it was vetted. Residents of Pierce County rejected it." Both of these women have track records. Beth's is golden; Stickland's is... a lump of coal.

Julie Oliver is rewriting the political history of Texas with her amazing run in a gerrymandered R+11 congressional seat. This morning she told me that her opponent, "Roger Williams consistently toes the party line that he favors limited governmental regulation, unless it benefits his own business, one of the most protected industries by regulation in the state of Texas-- automobile dealerships. But unless Williams or his donors are the beneficiaries of regulations, he fights hard to ensure laws and regulations lose their potency or are eliminated altogether. Williams filed what has to be the shortest bill introduced in Congress, 'This bill terminates the EPA effective 12/31/2018.' He doesn't care that his constituents in Johnson County are fighting for clean water or that his constituents in Burnet County are fighting for clean air; Williams is a loot-the-coffers kind of Republican who is using his position of public trust to enrich himself and his donors. Last week, the Houston Chronicle reported that Williams used his position on the Financial Services Committee to strongarm banks into meetings with his wealthy donors, while ignoring the pleas for help from constituents who have been laid off due to the pandemic."

Adam Christensen, a progressive running against a crumbling GOP power structure in north-central Florida, is aiming at replacing Trump lickspittle Ted Yoho. Earlier he told us that "The Trump administration has constantly attempted to deregulate guidelines that save people’s lives. They actively attempt to deregulate safety standards for railways, pollutants and more. Representative Ted Yoho and my opponent Kat Cammack want to continue these deregulations to help their wealthy donors even if they result in harm and even death to our people. Pollutants are causing Americans to develop dangerous diseases such as asthma and lung cancer. Americans are dying because Republicans like the current administration, Mr. Yoho and Ms. Cammack refuse to stand up for our planet and our people. They will only stand up for power, greed, their donors and their wealth. They are standing by and allowing phosphate mines to sue Union into oblivion. It’s time we stand up and fight people and greed like this. I know that when we win we will stand up and fight for our planet, our people and our future."

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At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IF criminals hate regulations
ANDIF corporations hate regulations
THEN Corporations are criminals.

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"despite knowing how corrupt and worthless the Democratic Party has become over the course of my lifetime, especially since Bill Clinton helped usher in a take-over by the Republican wing of the Democratic Party in 1992."

The DLC, catalyzed by slick willie et al, was formed in about 1981. Stupidly, we elected slick willie in 1992. By then the corruption was complete, though, by then, lefty voters were far too stupid to figure out why their savior was giving banks lege that created the next great dep/recession. After all, he felt our pain... which only proves that we had pain to go with stupidity. He's PROVED that he never felt our pain.

The only real difference between the fascist wing of the Nazi party and the corrupt neoliberal fascist party (one party, two electorates) is that the former has the stones to do what their masters demand and more; and the latter has NOT the stones to fix even the worst excesses of the former.

thus obamanation/democraps and torture, drone murders, arbitrary wars, $21 trillion in fraud (namely those like stevie mnuchin), thrice offering to cut sustenance programs, never trying to fix voting, etc.

and, most glaringly, pelo$i and the crimes/treasons/excesses of cheney, gonzalez, trump, barr, etc.

the constitution provides a remedy for such as these, and it is/was impeachment.

But impeachment requires the $peaker and her puppet chair of judiciary to honor her oath, support the constitution and DO HER FUCKING JOB!!

again, voters keep $ending pelo$i even though $he refuses to DO HER FUCKING JOB since 2006.

so, using the reduction above, if pelo$i is shit and voters keep sending her to congress, voters must be shit.



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