By Ralph Nader
Donald Trump is a well-known, self-described germaphobe. Unfortunately, he is not concerned about other Americans’ exposure to germs and disease. With leading infectious disease scientists from the Centers for Disease Control to the University of Minnesota warning about a global influenza pandemic (“not if, when”), Trump’s warmongering madman, John Bolton, has closed down a seasoned two-man global health security team.
The Washington Post reported last week about “the abrupt departure of Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, a respected scientist from the National Security Council,” who was “the top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic.”
At the time of Admiral Ziemer’s expulsion, a new Ebola outbreak in the Congo had just been reported.
Trump’s flagrant disregard for the safety of the American people has been punctuated by the proposed elimination of the budget reserved for containing an Ebola epidemic. Earlier this year, Trump pushed through Congress an additional $84 billion for the bloated, unauditable military budget—more than the Pentagon had requested.
Callous Donald is determined to enable and even abet companies that are spewing dangerous toxics into our air, water, and food-growing areas. Many of these companies have contributed to his campaign. This serial failed gambling czar’s coldblooded personality is anti-law. President Trump and his agency chiefs are violating federal statutory mandates to protect the health and safety of Americans.
Trump’s drive to take the federal cops off the corporate crime beats started early and recklessly. On the day he took office, Trump ordered an “immediate regulatory freeze” on the entire federal government. This stopped federal lifesavers in their rescues of endangered American workers, patients, travelers, vulnerable children, and frail, impoverished elderly.
He went from recklessness to ignorant idiocy by ordering all regulatory agencies to repeal two regulations for every one they were going to issue in the future. Business lobbyists were so delighted that they rushed to celebrate at Trump’s hotel just a few blocks from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, spending money to make Trump richer—sometimes huddling with Trump’s regulators.
Wholesale shutting down of law enforcement, putting corporate operatives from the companies being investigated or overseen in charge of closing overdue government safety initiatives, and demanding huge budget cuts in agencies such as the EPA and FAA exceeds the broad “prosecutorial discretion” allowed by the federal courts.
Trump’s marauders are raging through one agency after another, revoking, freezing, or suspending lifesaving health/safety protections. Weaker job safety, auto safety, air and water pollution standards, and pesticide protections spell death, sickness, and illnesses with their attendant family anguish and costs, including to taxpayers.
The Trumpsters are destroying federal protections from the corporate fraudsters who have been caught cheating, lying, and stealing from savers, investors, patients, student loan borrowers, travelers, and insurance policy-holders. Renegade public criminals such as EPA boss, Scott Pruitt, and head of both the Office of Management and Budget and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Mick Mulvaney, are openly brazen and contemptuous of the agencies they run, despite their oath of office to uphold the law.
Pruitt, the subject of 12 ongoing federal investigations for spending tax money on himself, is probably on his way out. But Mulvaney, who recently bragged before 1500 bankers that, as a Congressman from South Carolina, he wouldn’t talk to lobbyists unless they had given him campaign money. He is one massive wrecking Goliath driven to leave consumers defenseless.
Mulvaney is bullying civil and criminal investigators fighting the corporate crime wave, from culpable Wall Streeters to payday loan sharks, and literally shutting down one enforcement action after another. Mulvaney even grotesquely restated the CFPB’s mission to include “the protection of Wall Street.”
You may remember news reports in early 2017 about Mulvaney wanting to save tax dollars by cutting the Meals on Wheels program, The Children’s Health Insurance Program, and by slashing the small law enforcement budgets of the health and safety agencies. What you may not know is that Mulvaney is a coward, running away from going after the vastly larger documented waste, fraud, and abuse in military contracting, and corporate welfare giveaways. He has not said a word about the $60 billion yearly fraud on Medicare committed by commercial crooks. He is a corporate crime aider and abettor.
Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is pushing the same dissolution of law enforcement actions against the crimes and frauds of for-profit universities against unaware students, especially veterans. She too is placing people associated with these scams in charge of these despicable companies.
Trump wants to take America back to the days of “caveat emptor,” “let the buyer beware,” to the days of horrifying influenza epidemics, to the days of giving corporate crooks— that liberals and conservative Americans want prosecuted and jailed – a “get-out-of-jail-free” card.
Public interest lawyers alert! In the Supreme Court opinion of Heckler v. Chaney, shielding the agency’s enforcement policies from court challenge, it added a warning where the agency has “consciously and expressly adopted a general policy that is so extreme as to amount to an abdication of its statutory responsibilities.”
Are Senators or Representatives, who surely should have standing, ready to take the rampaging Pruitt, Mulvaney, or DeVos to federal court?