SUNDAY 17 MAY 2020: Morning Rundown:
Pollution for Profit
- A new E.P.A. policy would revoke a 2011 finding that the chemical perchlorate should be regulated. This is a toxic chemical that contaminates water and has been linked to fetal and infant brain damage.
- This policy defies a court order that required the agency to establish safe drinking-water standards for the chemical by the end of June.
- The policy both acknowledges that exposure to high levels of the chemical can cause I.Q. damage and also opts not to limits the use of the chemical.
- Both the Defense Department and military contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman waged aggressive efforts to block the controls on the chemical.
- The administration is using the fact that states like California and Massachusetts regulate the chemical to argue that few public water systems now contain perchlorate at high levels and so the nationwide monitoring of the chemical would outweigh the benefits.
The Elimination of Oversight
- Trump has removed State Department Inspector General Steve Linick and replaced him with a buddy of Mike Pence’s.
- This is just another move in a series of movies to eliminate independent government watchdogs.
- Trump said in a letter that his replacement “meets the appropriate qualifications” for the position. The appropriate qualifications are unquestioning subservience to Donald Trump and his cronies.
- Part of this replacement is evidently an attempt to protect Secretary Pompeo from an investigation into his misuse of a political appointee to perform personal task for him and his wife.
- In the past few months, Trump has removed Health and Human Services Inspector General Christi Grimm who had issued a report critical of the administration’s response to the coronavirus. He also removed the Intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson.
Federal Seizure of PPE
- After having refused to assume the duty of a federal government and left the states to fend for themselves to secure desperately needed PPE, federal authorities are now seizing and rerouting personal protective gear.
- Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey have reported seizures of PPE shipments.
Sailors with Coronavirus
- Thirteen sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt who had Covid 19, have now tested positive again after being returned to the ship.
The Bailout Scam
- A Nebraska-based private jet company whose principle owner donated to Trump and the Republicans before the 2016 election, received a $20 million taxpayer-paid for aid from the federal bailout package in March.
- This was the second private plane company founded or owned by Trump donors to receive funds designed for the airline industry.
- The other company’s founder gave nearly $50,000 to the Republican National Committee and Trump. They got $27 million in federal funds.
- Why are you not furious?