The United States, like every other Western government, has numerous laws to protect the people living in this country. Or perhaps I should re-phrase that to say, “had numerous laws …”. Rules and regulations … some grow outdated over time and need to be revised or scrapped, but most exist for a reason.
Take, for example, the rule that requires commercial truck drivers to take a 30-minute break after 8 hours of consecutive driving. Makes sense, right? You’ve probably taken driving trips and you know how tired your eyes get, how you rather zone out after staring at mile after mile of Interstate highway. Well, that rule is gone now, as is the one that capped a trucker’s workday at 14 hours, with only 11 hours behind the wheel. Suspended, because Trump wants truckers moving goods as fast as possible, and so what if a few million lives are put in danger by a trucker falling asleep at the wheel? I will no longer drive on the Interstate highway, knowing that the big rig beside me may be driven by a zombie who has been on the road for 20 hours without sleep.
Yesterday in my snarky snippet post I wrote about Trump removing the requirement for environmental reviews on infrastructure projects such as oil and gas pipelines, highways and fossil fuel export terminals. But those are not the only environmental regulations he has quietly trashed, using the coronavirus and the economy as his excuse. Two weeks ago, he signed an executive order instructing agencies across the government to rescind, modify or simply stop enforcing regulations if they burden the economy.
The regulatory rollbacks covered in this executive order are supposed to be temporary, just a brief relief to help get the economy rolling again, but one White House source says that Trump intends to make them permanent. He signs an executive order and then conveniently forgets about it, as do we, since we are bombarded on a daily basis with so many piss-poor decisions and actions on his part. Out of sight, out of mind. Until people start dying.
Under his executive order …
- The federal consumer watchdog agency suspended requirements that financial institutions investigate disputed information on consumers’ credit reports.
- The Labor Department relaxed some worker protections, including how businesses report paid sick leave.
- The Food and Drug Administration cut the time it takes to approve new antimicrobial products from years to months.
And do you remember the financial crisis of 2007-2008? It was caused by deregulation in the financial industry. Now, the Federal Reserve has lowered the amount of capital a bank must hold … a key safeguard against a repeat of the Great Recession. The rule change “will provide flexibility” so banks can “provide credit to households and businesses in light of the challenges arising from the coronavirus response.” Until the banks over-extend themselves and come crying for another federal bailout, and working people lose most of their 401(k)s.
What’s next? Will regulations on worker safety be disregarded, exposing factory workers to unsafe conditions? Will food safety regulations be scaled back? I just don’t know what else Trump has in mind, but I do know that he is concerned only with his re-election, and he sees a thriving economy as crucial to that effort. For my part … I will not buy one damned thing I don’t absolutely need. There is a right way and a wrong way to revive the economy … putting lives and the environment in danger is the wrong way.
I’m rapidly losing respect for most politicians, but there is one who I really like and admire … Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser! In fact, I would love to give this woman a huge hug!
Her first run in with Donald Trump came in the summer of 2018 when Trump had decided to honour himself with a military parade, after attending the Bastille Day Parade in Paris the prior year. It was a stupid idea to begin with, but … well, Trump is the master of stupid ideas. Mayor Bowser informed him that the cost of local security and logistics would come to a whopping $21.6 million. Trump, of course, threw one of his Twitter tantrums …
“The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it.”
Of course, the $21.6 million price tag was only a part of the estimated $92 million (of our money) for the entire show. Mayor Bowser, unlike some politicians in Congress who I will not name, was not intimidated …
“Yup, I’m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad).”
But this week, she has been put to the test by Trump’s imposition of martial law in D.C., and she passed the test with flying colours! In a letter to Trump on Thursday, she said …
And when asked about Trump’s little photo op stunt earlier this week, where peaceful protestors were attacked by officers using tear gas, flash grenades and other weapons just so that Trump could put on a show of walking to a church and holding up a bible, Mayor Bowser responded with calm …
“I can say this … I don’t think that the military should be used on the streets of American cities against Americans, and I definitely don’t think it should be done for a show.”
Isn’t it refreshing to hear a simple, calm statement … no facial contortions or hand gyrations, no yelling or ranting, just a statement, calm and intelligent. Donald Trump and many others could and should take lessons from this woman!
But the coup de grâce came yesterday when Mayor Bowser renamed the street in front of the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza” and emblazoned the slogan in massive yellow letters on the road.Score one … no wait, score two for Mayor Muriel Bowser!