Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Trump News Of The Day, 3/28/2017

1.  Our Dear Leader is the gift that keeps on giving to those working class white voters who saw in him their salvation.  Remember his promises to get rid of all those excessive regulations which are a yoke on the manly shoulders of US business?

Well, they are rapidly disappearing:

President Donald Trump signed a bill Monday repealing a regulation that had encouraged federal contractors to follow labor laws. Under the Obama-era rule, companies with an egregious record of violating wage and safety laws would lose their government contracts if they didn’t come into compliance.
The regulation that died by the stroke of Trump's pen was called the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule, and it cannot come back, even as a zombie, because:

By approving the legislation sent to him by the Senate, Trump has ensured not only that the regulation will die, but also that no similar regulation can be put forth by the Labor Department again.

It wasn't those white working class voters who clamored for the abolition of this regulation, but Trump's real base:  His business friends*.  Last week they got another present from Trump in the form of yet less regulation that used to benefit the workers and encumber the employers.

2.  The roles of Ivanka Trump, Our Dear First Daughter and Jared Kushner,  Our Dear First Son-In-Law in the Trump administration are fascinating.  Who are they accountable to?  What are their qualifications to be the president's advisers? 

It seems that the Federal nepotism rules allow Kushner to serve as a senior adviser in the administration, and as far as I can tell,  it's also acceptable for Ivanka Trump to have her own office and a security clearance, though some experts disagree with the ethics of it.

Still, I cannot stop seeing all this as yet another sign of our slow slide into a dictatorship**.  Dictators commonly award their own  family members administrative powers, to keep their control more absolute.

3.  Coal industry 1,  survival of human life on earth 0.***

Trump's policy stances with respect to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are so devastating that I mostly avoid writing about them.  The future the Trump faction desires ((starvation, epidemics, floods of millions of climate refugees resulting in wars and violence and true clashes of civilizations) is too horrible to contemplate, even for the gloomiest of goddesses. 

*  Given that it's apparently only a few "rotten apples" in the bin of companies with federal contracts that steal their workers' wages and expose the workers to occupational hazards, why do all businesses want those rotten apples kept and eaten?

**  You should read David Roberts' long piece on asymmetric polarization in American politics, tribalism,  the role of the press and the current serious illnesses of our democratic system, in particular this:

The “game” of politics is defined by explicit rules (e.g., the Constitution), enforced by various legally empowered referees (e.g., courts and the executive branch). But it is also defined by implicit norms, unwritten rules more informally enforced by the press, academia, and civil society. These latter institutions are referees as well, but their enforcement power operates not through law but through trust. Their transpartisan authority exists solely because participants in the game agree it does.
But the Trump administration simply refuses to honor the rules of that game.  As those roles are based on how democracies function, this is troubling.

***  That's meant to be ironic.  The coal industry will not be saved, but the speed of climate change will accelerate when the EPA is weakened and caged.