In 1961, about 60 years ago, I wrote the attached. I am re-publishing it for you now because there are many similarities, too many, between the period of the crash through the 1930s and now. Hitler had to come to power through the demise of the German economy and wasn’t leaving. Herbert Hoover, a self loving not very intelligent buffoon was in charge of the United States along with a befuddled republican party. The Smut Harley Bill went through Congress and virtually ended all international trade. What you will read, should you read, in my sometimes sophomoric essay was the circus and the results of that circus for a 10 year period. You could even say 12 year period. The devastation of the United States and the world economy, unnecessary and driven by vain stupidity.
A respiratory pandemic is no time to roll back air-pollution rules.
President Donald Trump has failed in multiple ways to lead an effective fight against the coronavirus.
Among the most troubling is his push to increase air pollution in the midst of an unprecedented respiratory pandemic — jeopardizing people’s ability to survive it — while the nation’s attention is focused on the emergency at hand.
Scientists are warning us that air pollution makes Covid-19, which strikes at the lungs, more deadly. Nonetheless, in the space of about a month, the president has repeatedly undermined rules limiting air pollution. Tens of thousands of Americans will die as a result.
A recent Harvard study shows that even a tiny increase in fine particulate matter air pollution — commonly known as “soot” — increases death rates from Covid-19. Hit the hardest are low-income communities and people of color, who are disproportionately exposed to pollution sources, such as highways and refineries.
Despite this danger, the Trump administration has launched a series of attempts to make our air dirtier and harder to breathe.
First, the Environmental Protection Agency told coal, oil and gas, and power producers they were free to ignore pollution monitoring and reporting obligations – as long as they use the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse. But there’s little reason these companies can’t comply with these rules because of the virus. In fact, releasing them from pollution monitoring requirements will only make the health crisis — and thus the economic crisis — worse. Soot pollution has already risen considerably under the Trump administration, and this move will surely exacerbate the problem.
Second, the Trump administration rolled back the higher fuel efficiency and tailpipe emission standards that would drastically cut health-harming and climate-changing air pollution from the nation’s cars and trucks. Since these standards were put in place in 2010, the industry has thrived, achieving record sales, and drivers saved $89 billion in fuel costs. But Trump’s rollback means the average fuel economy will reach only 40 mpg in 2025 compared with 46.5 mpg under the Obama-era rules. That’s a standard the industry is likely to hit even without the requirement. Based on EPA estimates, abandoning the higher standard will result in nearly 1,000 more people dying prematurely from air pollution.
Third, the EPA turned down an opportunity to save more than 12,000 lives a year by issuing a more protective federal limit on harmful soot, even though EPA scientists identified a number of recent studies pointing out major health benefits associated with stronger federal limits. This happened right as we are facing a historic health crisis that is attacking people with lung and heart ailments associated with breathing dirty soot-filled air.
As if that weren’t enough, the Trump administration followed all of this up by undermining Obama-era rules on mercury and toxic chemicals emitted by power plants — rules that were saving more than 10,000 lives, avoiding 130,000 asthma attacks and nearly 5,000 heart attacks a year. Even though utilities have already installed mercury controls and are complying with the rules, and even though mercury emissions are now plummeting and therefore saving lives, the administration once again cherry-picked health studies to undermine a significant step forward in reducing air pollution.
With a highly contagious lung disease raging, President Trump found four ways to make air pollution worse. This quartet of decisions is especially toxic. And the Trump administration itself has warned more regulatory rollbacks are coming. In his inaugural address, Trump spoke of “American carnage.” He is delivering just that.
It doesn’t have to be like this. And we must not accept it.
As we look to rebuild from this crisis, we must recognize that a healthy global economy cannot exist without healthy people. And as Congress prepares the next coronavirus stimulus package, rather than propping up the industries that have been degrading our health for too long, we should be investing in industries like clean energy that will not only put people back to work but also won’t endanger us into the future.
We must demand that our elected leaders put people, not polluters, first.
Barr Threatens Legal Action Against Governors Over LockdownsBy Chris Strohm
The Justice Department will consider taking legal action against governors who continue to impose stringent rules for dealing with the coronavirus that infringe on constitutional rights even after the crisis subsides in their states, Attorney General William Barr said.
Blunt means to deal with the pandemic, such as stay-at-home orders and directives shutting down businesses, are justified up to a point, Barr said in an interview Tuesday on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.” Eventually, though, states should move to more targeted measures, Barr said. He cited the approach laid out by President Donald Trump.
“We have to give businesses more freedom to operate in a way that’s reasonably safe,” Barr said. “To the extent that governors don’t and impinge on either civil rights or on the national commerce — our common market that we have here — then we’ll have to address that.”
Barr’s comments come as the Trump administration and states are struggling — and at times fighting with each other — over the best strategy to deal with the crisis. Trump has stoked tensions with some Democratic governors who are dealing with protests against stringent social-distancing rules, even as his administration backs guidelines that call for states to open up gradually.
One way the Justice Department might act against state or local officials is by joining lawsuits brought by citizens or businesses over restrictions, Barr said. He acknowledged that state governments are at “a sensitive stage,” as they try to balance health and safety against pressure to reopen.But he said that “as lawsuits develop, as specific cases emerge in the states, we’ll take a look at them.”
“We’re looking carefully at a number of these rules that are being put into place,” Barr said. “And if we think one goes too far, we initially try to jawbone the governors into rolling them back or adjusting them. And if they’re not and people bring lawsuits, we file statement of interest and side with the plaintiffs.”
In a sign of the president’s contradictory messages on the issue, Trump tweeted last Friday that his supporters should “liberate” Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia — three states with Democratic governors and strict stay-at-home orders. The move came just a day after Trump outlined the return-to-work guidelines that are contingent on states meeting specific benchmarks on testing and a decline in Covid-19 cases.
‘Off the Rails’
Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, responded angrily to Trump’s tweets, accusing him of “fomenting rebellion” and “spewing dangerous, anti-democratic rhetoric.”
“The White House released a sensible plan,” Inslee said in a statement, and “less than 24 hours the president is off the rails.”
Trump will meet with one Democratic governor, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, at the White House on Tuesday. Cuomo said he’ll use his 4 p.m. session in the Oval Office to lobby for more supplies needed to process coronavirus tests. Trump last week said states have the primary responsibility to expand virus testing.
The latest developments signal that as Trump’s public support over his handling of the virus crisis weakens, he and his top aides are increasingly looking at ways to move on.
Conservative groups and activists have been ramping up pressure for the Trump administration — and Barr in particular — to act against governors taking a hard line.
Alleging “rampant abuses of constitutional rights and civil liberties,” a group led by former Attorney General Ed Meese wrote Barr this week urging him “to undertake immediate review of all the orders that have been issued by the states and local governments across the nation.”
In Tuesday’s radio interview, Barr said “these are very, very burdensome impingements on liberty. And we adopted them, we have to remember, for the limited purpose of slowing down the spread, that is bending the curve. We didn’t adopt them as the comprehensive way of dealing with this disease.”
“You can’t just keep on feeding the patient chemotherapy and say well, we’re killing the cancer, because we were getting to the point where we’re killing the patient,” Barr said. “And now is the time that we have to start looking ahead and adjusting to more targeted therapies.”
Someone asked “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?” Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote the following response:
A few things spring to mind. Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem. For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.
So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.
Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever.
I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.
But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty. Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.
And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness. There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.
Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront. Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul. And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist. Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that. He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat. He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.
And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully. That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a sniveling sidekick instead.
There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless or female – and he kicks them when they are down. So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think ‘Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:
- Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and most are.
- You don’t need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.
This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.
After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum. God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid. He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart. In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump!