Two notable stories caught my eye yesterday, neither warranting an entire post, but both of some importance, so I decided to combine them into a single post.

Another bad choice in the EPA

Yet again, the fox has been tasked with watching over the henhouse.  The fox, in this case, is Peter Wright, an attorney for Dow Chemical.  The henhouse is otherwise known as the EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM). Wright would oversee the development of guidelines for the land disposal of hazardous waste and underground storage tanks and respond to accidental chemical releases through the Superfund program. Dow Chemical has dozens of pending Superfund cases.  Wow … does anybody see a conflict of interest here?

The appointment must be confirmed by the senate … we will see if they are finally ready to do their jobs, or if they are still being good little bootlickers.

Another major figure at the EPA who makes decisions on Superfund issues is Albert Kelly, who was banned from the banking industry for life for violating federal banking laws.  Kelly owns stock in Phillips 66, which has potential Superfund liability at 31 sites around the country.

For those who may not be completely clear on what a Superfund site is, allow me to provide a brief explanation.  Superfund is a United States federal government program designed to fund the cleanup of sites contaminated with hazardous substances and pollutants. Sites managed under this program are referred to as “Superfund” sites. It was established as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. It authorizes federal natural resource agencies, primarily the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states and Native American tribes to recover natural resource damages caused by hazardous substances. The EPA may identify parties responsible for hazardous substances released to the environment (polluters) and either compel them to clean up the sites, or it may undertake the cleanup on its own using the Superfund (a trust fund) and costs recovered from polluters by referring to the U.S. Department of Justice.

When the polluter is known, they are forced to pay for the cleanup, but when it cannot be determined who caused the damage, or the polluter is unable to pay, then the burden falls on the taxpayer, which occurs about 30% of the time.  Until the mid-1990s, the monies came from a tax on the petro-chemical industries, but now it is the burden of the taxpayers.

Dow Chemical is currently responsible to cover the costs of cleanup at no less than 131 Superfund sites, and is currently under obligation to the tune of $152 million.  So now, if the Senate confirms Wright for the position, he will be in charge of ensuring that Dow pays for the cleanup of those sites.  Dow, a company to whom he has owed his loyalty for the past 19 years!

Despite Trump’s campaign pledges to “drain the swamp” in Washington, Wright’s nomination is the latest example of the President appointing corporate lawyers or lobbyists to supervise federal offices that directly regulate their former employers.

Is Paul Ryan seeing the light … finally?

Has Paul Ryan finally had enough?  Did Donald Trump finally cross some invisible line with Ryan, perhaps place the straw that broke the camel’s back?  Let us hope.

What was that ‘straw’?  The tariffs on steel and aluminum that Trump announced late last week.  Ryan’s spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, said yesterday, “We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan.  The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don’t want to jeopardize those gains.”

Well, I would certainly argue with the logic as regards the tax ‘reform’ law, which has not had time to ‘boost’ the economy, and is not likely to at any rate.  But whatever gets the sycophants in Congress off their butts and finally doing their job, let us not quibble.  After hearing of Ryan’s statements this morning, Trump declared that he is not “backing down”.

House Ways and Means Chairman, republican Kevin Brady and subcommittee chairman Dave Reichert, also a republican, have also tried to convince Trump that this is the wrong thing at the wrong time.  In addition to worries of what the tariffs will do to the economy, republicans worry that the move will likely cost them seats in November’s mid-term elections.  While I would be happy to see the republicans lose seats in November, I am not happy to see Trump start a trade war where there can be no winners, where we all stand to lose.

It is most unfortunate that Trump is so hellbent on imposing the tariffs, for it is a poor move and one likely to cause economic waves worldwide.  But perhaps the positive note in all of this is that the republicans in Congress, or at least many of them, are not happy … perhaps now they will remove their blinders, pack away their shoe shine kits and put some brakes on Trump, as they should have been doing for the past 13 months.

The Constitution actually gives Congress the authority over taxation and tariffs, but in recent years, Congress has been content to delegate that authority to the president.  Until now, it had not caused problems, but until now, we had leaders with two things the current one lacks:  intellect and a conscience.

Trump responded with his usual aplomb:

“Our country on trade has been ripped off by virtually every country in the world, whether it’s friend or anybody – China, Russia, people we think are wonderful, the European Union. We lost $800 billion a year on trade. Not going to happen.”

“Ripped off by virtually every country in the world”?  Really???  Where are the handlers?  Have they all jumped ship too?

Note to readers:  Yesterday’s eye surgery went well, though I was extremely tired all afternoon.  It will take a couple of days before I am able to see out of that eye again, and I am temporarily back to needing the magnifying glass to read/write, so I will, in all likelihood still be a bit slow for the rest of this week.  Thanks to all for the well-wishes and hugs … always greatly appreciated!

32 thoughts on “Two-In-One

  1. Well, Trump’s top economic adviser apparently took an economics course from somewhere other than Trump University. His resignation, for me, speaks volumes about what his closest ’employees’ really think of their boss.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I have not been overly impressed with Cohn in the past, but must admit that I was proud of his stance on this. It should send a message loud and clear to the sycophants in Congress, and perhaps it has, at least to some. Let us hope, but still … the reality is that these tariffs can only do harm, not only to us, but to our allies as well. I read this morning that his turnover rate for staff is 43% or 48% … I disremember which, but either way, very high. In a company, if a manager had that sort of turnover rate, the head honchos would be taking a very close look at that manager, yes?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Heal now, write later. Please do not overtaxed yourself, Driveling Thief is already doing that for you.
    Take a break. Walk a worm. Get back to nature.
    And when you are healed, and revitified, then come back with “ten fingers typing!” We will be here waiting to hear from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I took yesterday almost completely off, for I kept falling asleep in my chair, fingers on keyboard. Feeling perkier today, but still sluggish for some reason. I would have loved to ‘walk a worm’, or even a bit of a jog, but … at 32 (F), it was just a bit too nippy for my tastes. Too much idle time drives me nuts, so here I am, with all ten fingers back on the keyboard! Well, almost 10 … I took a bit out of one of them cutting an onion this morning! 😀 Wouldn’t you think I could do better now that I can actually see both the onion and the knife blade?


      • Still have to teach the onion where the blade is going to fall. Onions don’t learn very fast, being as their heads have been cut off. But that leaves your fingers, which are attached to your hand, which runs in parallel with your other hand. They rely on your vision to tell them where to meet. If your vision changes even slightly, your hands cease to coordinate.
        When vision changes, practice in slow motion, and speed up as confidence builds.
        Or just chop away as usual, a bit of skin might add a new flavour to the onions, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re right! My problem was over-confidence and taking my eye off the ball … er, onion … for just a nano-second. The family is used to bits of me in their food, though, and the onion went into a pot of chili that was already red anyway, so no harm done! 😀


  3. Jill, I am glad the eye surgery went well. The EPA is being run by people who detest its mission. That says it all right there. As for Paul Ryan, I am glad he is pushing back, but the backbone he found has been missing on all the other things the President has said and done. How about “why haven’t you placed the sanctions on Russia?” or “We cannot have you condoning the bigotry of white supremacists.” Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, so happy to hear about the eye surgery – heal quickly! Thank you so much for clarifying who is responsible for framing and approving these tariff taxes. I was wondering if Congress could refuse to approve them. I feel better knowing they can put the brakes on if Trump decides to move ahead. Take it easier this week and let your eye heal! Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks John! Yes, Congress can stop it, BUT … they would need a 2/3 majority, a veto-proof majority, in both the House and the Senate, and I don’t think they could come up with that now, for while some in the GOP are angry, others are still licking boots. The other thing they could do would be refuse to renew the legislation that gives the executive taxing powers, but I’m not sure when that comes up for renewal, so it wouldn’t help in the short term. Rumour has it that there may be exemptions for Canada and Mexico, but I wouldn’t hold my breath, for we know how he operates and he’s just as likely to change his mind tomorrow, or even an hour from now.

      I have definitely been taking it easy … slept all afternoon and evening yesterday. And so, now I am far, far behind in everything once again. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Jill,

    I missed out on the news. Take it easy…rest..listen to music…I hope and pray that this surgery is successful.
    The only way to slowdown the President’s attack on the EPA is via the court systems until democrats takeover the US Congress.
    Rep. Ryan is finally feeling the pain the rest of us are feeling. Frankly, I don’t figure on him being able to talk the president out of anything. It will be all the business leaders.

    Feel better! Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Gronda! So far, the surgery seems to have been successful, as I am seeing so much better. The downside is that now I can see all the dirt that I didn’t see before! Spring-cleaning time!!!

      No, Ryan won’t likely talk Trump out of anything, but it seems that at least some of the boot-lickers in Congress are pretty unhappy with this move, so we shall see. They could block it if they could get a veto-proof majority, but I don’t think they could yet.

      I hope you’re enjoying your break, but I keep seeing posts popping up from you! Step back and enjoy life for a few days, my friend! Hugs!!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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