June 19, 2017 by Matthew Freeman

CPR Scholar Op-Eds Hit Assault on Our Safeguards from Trump and Congress

Four recent op-eds by CPR Member Scholars underscore the scope and danger of the current assault on our safeguards now being mounted by the president and the congressional leadership. Highlights of the most recent pieces follow, but you can always browse through all of this year’s published pieces from our scholars and staff on our website.

On May 17, Alyson Flournoy and Mary Jane Angelo, colleagues at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, co-authored “Without Public Protections, Florida Will Suffer” for the Pensacola News Journal. In it, they take on the president’s bumper-sticker-driven executive order calling on regulatory agencies to offer up two existing regulatory safeguards for every new regulations they propose — the infamous “one-in, two-out” order. They write, “The executive order ignores the massive benefits of regulation to consumers, workers, people who'd prefer to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and eat safe foods, while focusing solely and obsessively on the cost to the companies that produce unsafe products, consign employees to dangerous working conditions and pollute the environment. It is meat-axe-style policymaking that assumes every rule is bad and that repeal is, by definition, always good.”

In the Cincinnati Enquirer five days later …

May 15, 2017 by Matthew Freeman

CPR Member Scholars continue to make their voices heard on the nation’s opinion pages. You can always review the latest and greatest pieces on our op-eds page, but here’s a roundup from the last few weeks to save you a couple clicks.

Two CPR Member Scholars had pieces in The American Prospect in mid-April. Tom McGarity called out the right wing’s on-again, off-again allegiance to states’ rights in "Trumping State Regulators and Juries." McGarity writes, “Conversations about how progressive states should resist regressive Trump administration policies and sidestep Republican control of Congress often ignore the elephant in the room—the power of the federal government to preempt state regulations and even the ability of victims of corporate abuse to seek relief in state courts.” The right wing has been supportive of regulatory preemption for some time now, its decades’ long use of states’ rights …

April 4, 2017 by Matthew Freeman

This June marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, the great sea battle that was the turning point of the war in the Pacific. The American victory over the Japanese at Midway, a tiny atoll literally midway between California and Japan, ended the period of expansion of Japanese-held territory in the Pacific. And so began the long, bloody march that led to Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and that eventually led American bombers to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Last week, we all witnessed another turning point that 75 years from now could well be understood to have had similar importance. President Trump’s executive order abandoning the Clean Power Plan and practically every other federal regulatory initiative to address climate change marks a grim turning point in the global effort to combat the most serious environmental challenge in the history of human life on the planet.

So …

April 3, 2017 by Matthew Freeman

CPR Member Scholars published another bumper crop of op-eds this past month. We maintain a running list on our op-eds page, but to save CPRBlog readers a click or two, here's a quick rundown:

On March 3, David Driesen had a piece in The Hill – that's a Washington, D.C., outlet aimed at the policy community – headlined, "Ruling by Decree." Driesen takes the president to task for issuing a series of executive orders aimed at undercutting duly enacted laws. "No president," he writes, "has devoted the first month of his presidency to promulgating a collection of executive orders that so blatantly ignores our constitutional system's fundamental tenets."

On March 9, Tom McGarity published a piece in the Corpus Christi Caller Times, headlined, "EPA Just Adopted a See-No-Evil Policy." McGarity focuses on a little-covered gift from EPA chief Scott Pruitt to the oil and gas …

March 6, 2017 by Matthew Freeman

Unless you regularly read newspapers from markets ranging from Baltimore to Houston to the San Francisco Bay area, chances are that you missed some of the op-eds that CPR’s scholars and staff published in the nation’s newspapers in February. We post links on our website, of course; you can find them on the various issue pages, as well as on our op-eds page. But we thought CPRBlog readers might appreciate a quick rundown from last month, so here goes:

  • In a February 2 piece in the Houston Chronicle, CPR’s Tom McGarity warned about the dangers of the Regulatory Accountability Act, which had recently zipped through the House of Representatives. He wrote, “The proponents of the bill insist that it will improve federal regulation, but the real purpose and effect of the bill is to stall the overall process­ making it harder for federal agencies …

Jan. 25, 2017 by Matthew Freeman

Only a few days into the Trump administration, and a “gang that doesn’t shoot straight” narrative is taking root in the media. From outright lies about crowd numbers at the inauguration, to fictionalized accounts of millions of illegally cast votes, to hashtag-ready assertions about “alternative facts,” it’s been a rough start, and the media is covering it all, exposing the dishonesty.

That, at least, is how I imagine the conversation is going in Washington, D.C., news bureaus. But while all that ink and airtime is being spent on the new administration’s distant relationship with reality, it’s not having any apparent difficulty moving its agenda. On the regulatory front, it has begun to freeze or roll back a host of recently developed federal safeguards while its allies in the House of Representatives have been working on a series of bills that would do …

Dec. 21, 2016 by Matthew Freeman

My wife is a high school history teacher, and pretty much every year, she has at least one story to tell about a student lifting some significant chunk of text from a website and using it in a paper without attribution. The kids get caught by those nifty anti-plagiarism search engines teachers use, which are about as heartless and automatic as those unmanned, and frankly, unsportsmanlike, speed cameras that dot my neighborhood streets.

I suppose it’s easier to accidently plagiarize in the age of the Internet, what with cutting and pasting. So I have a smidgen of sympathy for my wife’s 9th graders when they get busted because I wonder if their academic sins were accidental.

I’m willing to extend no such presumption of innocence to the House Freedom Caucus. Apparently, not content to misappropriate the word “freedom,” they also are heavy into borrowing …

Dec. 9, 2016 by Matthew Freeman

In a statement Wednesday responding to President-elect Trump’s choice of climate change denier Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, CPR President Robert Verchick said that the choice was “a clear indication that the administration plans a full-throated assault on environmental protections.”

In an op-ed in The New York Times this morning, CPR Member Scholar William Buzbee describes some of the challenges Pruitt and Trump will face as they undertake that regressive effort to unravel the fabric of rules and regulations protecting the environment. Trump has threatened a wholesale rollback of environmental protections, but Buzbee warns that:

Regulatory reversals lacking a legal or factual basis would result in lawsuits by citizens, states and industries supporting the regulations. Challengers would argue that the rules are rooted in statutory language, court precedents and in careful documentation of environmental, technological and market facts. On the climate, for example …

Nov. 29, 2016 by Matthew Freeman

Ever since Richard Nixon's vice president, Maryland's own Spiro Agnew, described the nation's ink-stained journalists as "nattering nabobs of negativism," attacks on the media have been reliably base-pleasing material for conservative politicians. But Donald Trump is in a category all his own. For most pols, attacking the press is a way to deflect criticism. For Trump, it was a defining element of his candidacy. At his rallies, he kept the press corps literally penned up so that he could more easily invite his audiences to scorn them. He's continued the same media-hostile approach during the transition, despite an apparent expectation that he would somehow become normalized by virtue of his election. There's no reason to think he will change after he's inaugurated.

Last week was littered with examples of hostility. Trump had an off-the-record session with television news heavyweights in which …

Oct. 26, 2016 by Matthew Freeman

Whatever else may be said about Ken Bone, the red-sweatered citizen questioner at the second presidential debate earned an important place in the pantheon of presidential debates: He's the only person to ask a debate question remotely related to climate change in the last eight years.

As it happens, his question wasn't all that direct, since it didn't actually use the words "climate change." Here's what he asked: "What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs, while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly, and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?"

Donald Trump, not surprisingly, wasn't all that interested in talking about climate change, what with it being a Chinese hoax and all that. To her credit, Hillary Clinton made the connection, actually uttering the words, "climate change," as part of a discussion about the economics …

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