How Shall Trump Kill Us? Let Us Count The Ways…

Just in the past week, I’ve come across several accounts of the Trump Administration’s war on regulation–you know, those pesky rules that impede commerce by denying businesses the “liberty” of selling shoddy and dangerous goods to an unwary public.

First, the Washington Post has reported on changes at the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The crashes were brutal. With no warning, the front wheel on the three-wheeled BOB jogging strollers fell off, causing the carriages to careen and even flip over. Adults shattered bones. They tore ligaments. Children smashed their teeth. They gashed their faces. One child bled from his ear canal.

Staff members at the Consumer Product Safety Commission collected 200 consumer-submitted reports from 2012 to 2018 of spontaneous failure of the stroller wheel, which is secured to a front fork by a quick-release lever, like on a bicycle. Nearly 100 adults and children were injured, according to the commission. The agency’s staff members investigated for months before deciding in 2017 that one of the most popular jogging strollers on the market was unsafe and needed to be recalled.

The manufacturer refused to issue a voluntary recall of the nearly 500,000 strollers, insisting they were safe when used as instructed. The agency sued.

Then Trump was elected.

 According to a review of documents by The Washington Post and interviews with eight current and former senior agency officials, the agency’s Republican chairwoman kept Democratic commissioners in the dark about the stroller investigation and then helped end the case in court.

The settlement did not include a recall or formal correction plan.

Paul Krugman’s column in the New York Times looks at food inspections.His column’s title– “Donald Trump is Trying to Kill You”–isn’t really an exaggeration. As Krugman notes, even if he’s a one-term president, Trump will have caused, directly or indirectly, the premature deaths of a large number of Americans.

Some of those deaths will come at the hands of right-wing, white nationalist extremists, who are a rapidly growing threat, partly because they feel empowered by a president who calls them “very fine people.”

Some will come from failures of governance, like the inadequate response to Hurricane Maria, which surely contributed to the high death toll in Puerto Rico. (Reminder: Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.)

Some will come from the administration’s continuing efforts to sabotage Obamacare..

But the biggest death toll is likely to come from Trump’s agenda of deregulation — or maybe we should call it “deregulation,” because his administration is curiously selective about which industries it wants to leave alone.

The administration recently announced plans to allow hog plants to take over a large part of what is currently federal responsibility for food safety inspections.

And why not? It’s not as if we’ve seen safety problems arise from self-regulation in, say, the aircraft industry, have we? Or as if we ever experience major outbreaks of food-borne illness? Or as if there was a reason the U.S. government stepped in to regulate meatpackingin the first place?

Krugman notes that the administration also wants to roll back rules that limit emissions of mercury from power plants, and has acted to prevent the EPA from explaining the benefits of reduced mercury emissions. But the Trump  Administration is very worried about supposed negative side effects of renewable energy, negatives which, as Krugman points out, “generally exist only in their imagination.”

Last year the administration floated a proposal that would have forced the operators of electricity grids to subsidize coal and nuclear energy. The supposed rationale was that new sources were threatening to destabilize those grids — but the grid operators themselves denied that this was the case.

An administration willing to “trust” pork producers insists that wind turbines cause cancer. This may just be because the President is monumentally ignorant (and clinically insane), but Krugman reminds us to follow the money.

Political contributions from the meat-processing industry overwhelmingly favor Republicans. Coal mining supports the G.O.P. almost exclusively. Alternative energy, on the other hand, generally favors Democrats.

Baby strollers, I assume, are manufactured by contributors to the GOP…one of the consolations of old age is no longer having a baby to stroll…

Thanks to growing up kosher, I still don’t eat pork. The rest of you might rethink that too.

14 thoughts on “How Shall Trump Kill Us? Let Us Count The Ways…

  1. The deregulation, like the appointment of judges, are the “behind the scenes” changes that we don’t notice because of the highly visible scandals. The quiet changes are the most dangerous, in my opinion.

  2. My God, since Trump has been in office I find my only comeback when his disciples chant “But look at the economy! How can you deny how much he has done for the economy!?” I can only manage a heartfelt and sad response…”yes, but at what cost?”

    It all just takes me so sad. I will never give up hoping, believing, and fighting… but it truly is so sad.

  3. You did not bring up gun control. If you think about it firearms are another deregulated industry. Few if any controls in the USA. Now New Zealand has taken approach.

    New Zealand’s parliament has voted to ban most semi-automatic weapons, less than a month after a deadly shooting attack on two mosques killed 50 people in Christchurch.

    All but one MP voted in favour (119-1) of a gun reform bill after its final reading in parliament.

    “New Zealand stands apart in its widespread availability of weapons of such destructive nature and force,” the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, told parliament on Wednesday. “Today that anomaly ends.”

    Ardern said the police commissioner Mike Bush had told her shortly after the attack that the gunman had obtained his arms legally.

    “I could not fathom how weapons that could cause such destruction and large-scale death could have been obtained legally in this country. I could not fathom that,” she told parliament.

    “I could not, hand on heart, go down and face not just the media, not just the public, but the victims that had been left behind from this terror attack and tell them, hand on heart, that our system and our laws allow these guns to be available and that was OK. Because it was not.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/10/new-zealand-mps-overwhelmingly-back-post-christchurch-gun-ban
    =======================================================

    Here in the USA no matter how many daily shootings and mass shootings we have, we have to cater to the firearms industry and their deluded followers.

  4. Corporate executives and their boards must wake up every morning feeling like it is Christmas Day and they get to open an even bigger present.

    All they have to do is give their wish lists to their lobbyists and send them off to visit their contacts in this administration. The gifts just keep coming.

    Its a miracle!

  5. It is likely that most of his “deregulations” would be rescinded by the courts, due to the lack of public comment periods before they were done. But lack of enforcement is something that can’t be addressed by the courts, but must be addressed by the voters.

  6. What industry hasn’t been deregulated by Washington and State governments?

    Washington gutted the IRS under Obama’s watch, and Obama started the deregulation of the meat-packing industry by allowing them to speed up chicken processing lines.

    And don’t forget, under Obama’s watch, they declared any person is sneaking on private property under false pretenses to disclose animal abuse on CAFOs would be treated and prosecuted as an “Eco-Terrorist.”

    These CAFOs have spoiled every single waterway in Indiana and Ohio because they are deregulated by corrupted officials who place profits before people.

    I didn’t hear the people (democracy) clamoring for any of this deregulation — quite the contrary.

    And yesterday, we were discussing a conference titled, “Democracy in the USA.”

    Once again, that’s laughable. Not even close. As long as the industry can funnel unlimited cash to politicians with Model Legislation attached, we are an Oligarchy.

    They’ve even limited families suing nursing homes for mistreatment of their loved ones–some caused the death of family members. Do you think “people” were calling their reps asking for a bill stripping them of their rights to sue a nursing home for negligence or homicide of a parent?

  7. The formula has been simple: find someone who has spent their career lobbying against regulations for an industry and put that person in charge of that part of the Federal government – a fox for every hen house! The Fed is next!

  8. The impact of Trump’s presence will be felt for decades after his ouster. It will take a superb Democrat President and Democrats in control of Congress to manage the clean up and even then we’ll have to live with many of the ill effects for a long time.

    That speaks to Americans only. The impact on our American neighborhood will be even more severe as those countries with Trump like tyrrants continue their attack on their people while we stack those trying for better at our border in cages.

    It seems likely that those problems will have to be done during a recession or depression brought about by his feeding capitalism during times when huge impending problems like climate change demanded a cooling off of unrestrained resource consumption as well as the replacement of the world’s whole energy infrastructure with new technology that fulfills energy demand without adversely changing the one home we have. Of course also will be the penalty we earned by ignoring climate change for so long; the adaptation of the infrastructure supporting large numbers of people to unprecedented weather, sea level, and ocean
    chemistry.

    All during our reconstruction V2.0 we will be reminded daily of these days of chaos, corruption and incompetence and the Republicans who caused it will still be shouting that Democrats, even those past office or dead, were the cause. Perhaps we need a fitting Trump memorial as a reminder that entertainment media now has enough influence on we the people to bring democracy and freedom down.

  9. As Lester suggests, this “phenomenon” has been with us for a long time. The history of corporations throughout the industrial revolution is to fight against regulations. Trump, as much of a wretched creature that he is, is not wholly responsible for this rampant disregard for the quality of life our products. This current deregulation craze has been latent for decades, if not centuries.

    Capitalists/Republicans DO NOT CARE about the health of the people they foist their products on. They DO NOT CARE about injuries caused by their shoddy workmanship. They DO NOT CARE about tainted food. The Boeing 737 MAX disasters is the extreme example of how accountants and market “managers” can screw up a perfectly good product by violating the basics of aircraft design for the sake of profit. Oh, and did I mention that we only have an “acting” FAA leader? I hate to keep bringing it up, but Karl Marx predicted that unregulated capitalism will destroy itself, and, by extension, the society in which it resides.

    So, now the challenge of the sane people, the true patriots, the true believers of democracy is to figure out how to put this toothpaste back in the tube. A lot of people have to step up. Will they, or will they too be bought off by the oligarchs?

  10. This deregulated atmosphere has been with us for a long time, accelerating with the Reagan-Gingrich era in which “tort reform” was championed as a means of undercutting the claims of those who were poisoned, victims of shoddy manufacture et al. Republicans have done a good job in redefining product liability (in return for campaign contributions) by legislating negligence. Result > poisoned plaintiffs either do not have their day in court or are limited these days by “agreements” not to go to court via mediating contract agreements on the side of a can of beans or some fine print in sales agreements (that no one reads).Thus contract law is supplanting tort law, and unfortunately, courts are enforcing such “agreements.” Another result > those who can beans and manufacture shoddy products are not motivated to clean up their acts when they get a free ride on potential liability for the harm their products can bring to consumers.

    Among my other political theories, I think there is another rationale lurking in the shadows for framing manufacturers’ non-liability in Trump’s scheme of things. It fits in very neatly with Trump’s adoption of Bannon’s admittedly Leninist view of “deconstruction of the administrative state,” i.e., destroy the underpinnings of the plebes’ rights of redress via under-regulation, law and lack of agency emphasis on whatever is left of rule and regulation applicable to a capitalism run amok.

    Bannon and Trump are knowingly engaged in the destruction of, among other things, product liability, one of many such areas available to them for destruction in their pursuit of “deconstruction of the administrative state,” which requires the same or similar kind of chaotic environment Lenin employed in the rioting of 1911-1917 in St. Petersburg and elsewhere. Look around. We are now approaching a near chaotic state en route to authoritarianism, so what are we champions of democracy going to do about it? Try November, 2020, along with
    stalwart and unrelenting resistance to Trump and his dictatorial ambitions during the interim all day, every day.

  11. All of this should remind us that the DEMs must engage as many independents, moderate republicans, Latinos (who tend to be moderate/conservative) and African-Americans (who tend to be moderate) as possible to vote against The Duck. Nominate a “progressive” and you will get “Four More Years”…

  12. It’s an interesting dilemma.

    Job #1 is to get rid of Trump, Pence, their whole cabinet, and McConnell or any Republican Senate Majority Leader. This is our responsibility.

    Job #2 is the responsibility of those we elect and that it to repair the damages to our government inflicted by the current regime. That needs to be done, more or less, within our current government/corporate partnership.

    Job #3 is to restore progress. Design and implement governance suited to the future that’s inevitably coming, not any dreams we have of what may be in a perfect world. That’s a joint government/citizen cultural change. It’s inherently slow to bring about.

    The question is of the 18 possible Democrat contenders which is best suited for such a diverse and challenging set of priorities as a two term President and Vice President?

  13. up in nodak, we have a century of unregulated industry far before trumps mob. i moved here from other places in 1986. ive worked the oil fields,farming,trucking,const,mechanic,welder. all mainly outdoors. when i moved here with most of these same fields under my belt in other well regulated states(as far as nodak is concerned) i wasnt suprised, every buisness owner here acts as though were expendable. most cry over wages mostly”,ill be outta business if i paid a living wage,”as its cried.same with safety. they actully lost a guy in a street repair, he was i the hole when it collapsed, and they paved right over him,they thought he quit his job and left. until they couldnt find him to send his last check to him.. yea, they dug up the street. (Bismarck,wiess const.if your wonderin.)typical. when the oil boom was in full tilt, workers were killed and permanently maimed on may jobs,daily, the local news,even NPR refused to story it.. (our npr is underwritten by oil/coal) ( i go up their ass every year about it)farming,the excuse,why werent you paying attention!!! is a court defense in suits here. and work comp,go hire a lawyer,work comp,here will never,make a judgement. thats what courts for..when trump issues deregs, whats so unusual? its been this way since the airline industry’s big break,and reagan his wet leg. we have only seen workers get the shaft(ask a miner) in any job. like even signing away your rights to have your pay taken if you screw up something..anti competition contracts,etc..,”all in the disposable workers act.”.(aka,deregulation)(i didnt make that up, its reality kid)since were on the subject.let me spew here as a worker,whos seen the best and unfortunatly,the worst employers, no one gives a damn,period……the working class has been this way for so long,we dont even care,or imgine it will ever change. best wishes.

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