Who needs evidence?

Well, this is surprising if by surprising you mean completely expected:

The Trump administration has abruptly halted work on a highly regarded program to help physicians, families, state and local government agencies, and others separate effective “evidence-based” treatments for substance abuse and behavioral health problems from worthless interventions.

The program, called the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices, was launched in 1997 and is run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Its website lists 453 programs in behavioral health — aimed at everything from addiction and parenting to HIV prevention, teen depression, and suicide-hotline training — that have been shown, by rigorous outcomes measures, to be effective and not quackery. The most recent were added last September.

It seems there were problems with registry:

In fact, a recent paper in the International Journal of Drug Policy found the registry contained programs with limited studies evaluating them or studies with very small sample sizes to accurately measure their success.

So there was a good reason to look at it and try to make it better, but this is the Trump administration:

However, no specific details regarding when the new program will begin and when results will be made public were provided. The current registry will remain online as of now, but will not be updated.

SAMHSA’s statement was the first public response it had provided since the email it sent out two weeks ago announcing the registry would be frozen. That announcement took mental health advocates by surprise. “It came with such a blinding speed,” said Richard Yep, CEO of the American Counseling Association. “People were initially really shocked by the whole thing.”
Without any additional information from SAMSHA, Yep said mental health professionals were left to speculate what was next and why the registry had stopped.
Yep admits that the program wasn’t flawless but said “it has stood the test of time.” He questioned why a replacement wasn’t up and running to take over the work and called the decision to freeze the registry short-sighted. “Why didn’t you start that system up and compare it side-by-side? Instead, to just cut it off, it makes no sense professionally.”
The Trump administration is, by its nature, sloppy and that’s what you get here.

Fuck Trump

This has been a week that shows President Trump’s priorities. He doesn’t care about the environment:

The Trump administration Thursday moved to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans with a plan that would open up federal waters off the California coast for the first time in more than three decades.
The new five-year drilling plan also could open new areas of oil and gas exploration in areas off the East Coast from Georgia to Maine, where drilling has been blocked for decades.

The proposal comes less than a week after the Trump administration proposed to rewrite or kill rules on offshore oil and gas drilling imposed after the deadly 2010 rig explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

He doesn’t care about the Dreamers:

“We want the wall,” Trump said at a press conference at Camp David in Maryland. “The wall is going to happen, or we’re not going to have DACA,” he said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Democrats are fighting to restore.

He doesn’t care about people who fled war-torn countries:

The Trump administration said Monday it is ending special protections for Salvadoran immigrants, an action that could force nearly 200,000 to leave the US by September 2019 or face deportation.

He wants a return to the war on drugs:

“This is a straightforward rule of law issue,” Lelling responded. “Congress has unambiguously made it a federal crime to cultivate, distribute, and/or possess marijuana. As a law enforcement officer in the executive branch, it is my sworn responsibility to enforce that law.”

A congressional budget rider bars the Department of Justice from spending money on most prosecutions of state-licensed medical marijuana operations, meaning the state’s currently operating dispensaries should be safe for now.
However, that amendment is due to expire later this month along with the current federal budget. Sessions previously called on Congress to drop the language.

And to compound this, Trump has shown himself to be a coward.

He says he supports DACA but had to get rid of it because there were legal problems (there really weren’t any).  Then he said that Congress needed to do something and he supported that. Now he says he only supports it if he gets what he wants. Don’t be surprised if he adds more requirements.

The same is true for the people from El Salvador, he says Congress should actually pass a law instead of relying on extensions to the Temporary Protection. And anyway:

The months before then “will provide time with individuals with TPS [temporary protected status] to arrange for their departure, or if eligible, to do the necessary paperwork to remain in the United States,” a senior administration official told reporters on a call previewing the announcement.

Of course they don’t say how this will happen and they want to make it harder to legally immigrate to the US.

It isn’t that Trump doesn’t support ending DACA or sending people back who have been in the country for 20 years or cracking down on marijuana, he does. It’s just that he doesn’t want to be blamed if these turn out to be unpopular.

Trump’s EPA

Here’s how the EPA works under President Trump:

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in May announced the creation of a Superfund Task Force that he said would reprioritize and streamline procedures for remediating more than 1,300 sites. Pruitt, the former attorney general of Oklahoma, appointed a political supporter from his home state with no experience in pollution cleanups to lead the group.
The task force in June issued a nearly three dozen-page report containing 42 detailed recommendations, all of which Pruitt immediately adopted.

Now, nearly six months after the task force released its report, a lawyer for EPA has written PEER to say that the task force had no agenda for its meetings, kept no minutes and used no reference materials.
Further, there were no written criteria for selecting the 107 EPA employees the agency says served on the task force or background materials distributed to them during the deliberative process for creating the recommendations.
According to EPA, the task force also created no work product other than its final report.

In some ways I can believe this, Pruitt has a history of having industry write stuff for him:

The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state.

But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.

“Outstanding!” William F. Whitsitt, who at the time directed government relations at the company, said in a note to Mr. Pruitt’s office. The attorney general’s staff had taken Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the attorney general’s signature.

Trump administration talks tough on crime, unless

Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions like to talk about getting tough on crime (while lying about the actual crime statistics), so let’s look at a big crime:

After two years of painstaking investigation, David Schiller and the rest of the Drug Enforcement Administration team he supervised were ready to move on the biggest opioid distribution case in US history.

The team, based at the DEA’s Denver field division, had been examining the operations of the nation’s largest drug company, McKesson Corp. By 2014, investigators said they could show that the company had failed to report suspicious orders involving millions of highly addictive painkillers sent to drugstores from Sacramento, Calif., to Lakeland, Fla.

and what happened?

Instead, top attorneys at the DEA and the Justice Department struck a deal earlier this year with the corporation and its powerful lawyers, an agreement that was far more lenient than the field division wanted, according to interviews and internal government documents.

Although the agents and investigators said they had plenty of evidence and wanted criminal charges, they were unable to convince the US attorney in Denver that they had enough to bring a case.

Discussions about charges never became part of the negotiations between the government lawyers in Washington and the company.

And this is the way of things: there’s the law for the rich and powerful and the law for the rest of us. The actions of McKesson Corp. might have lead to thousands of deaths but no one will go to jail. Try that if you’re not rich or powerful.

Donald Trump is a sick joke

So the pick to be the interim leader at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is:

Richard Cordray, the Obama-appointed leader of the bureau, abruptly announced he would leave the job at the close of business, a week earlier than anticipated. He followed up with a letter naming his chief of staff, Leandra English, as the agency’s deputy director.

The White House retaliated, saying that the budget director, Mick Mulvaney, who once characterized the consumer protection bureau as a “sad, sick joke,” would be running the agency.

Mulvaney tries the usual lies:

“I believe Americans deserve a C.F.P.B. that seeks to protect them while ensuring free and fair markets for all consumers,” he said in a statement. “Financial services are the engine of American democratic capitalism, and we need to let it work.”

Grab your wallet when a Republican says they want to protect the consumer. Mulvaney doesn’t like the CPFB:

Mr. Mulvaney, who as a Republican congressman from South Carolina was a co-sponsor of legislation to shut down the consumer bureau, had been widely anticipated.

Really doesn’t like it:

‘‘The place is a wonderful example of how a bureaucracy will function if it has no accountability to anybody,’’ he told the Credit Union Times in 2014. ‘‘It turns up being a joke in a sick, sad kind of way.’’

This is a typical Trump appointment, he wants to get rid of the agency he has been assigned to run. I’m assuming the courts will have to weigh in on this, hopefully we get to keep someone who wants to keep the CFPB for a little while longer.

Into the mist

Donald Trump campaigned about ‘draining the swamp’, how does his administration function?

President Trump entered office pledging to cut red tape, and within weeks, he ordered his administration to assemble teams to aggressively scale back government regulations.

But the effort — a signature theme in Trump’s populist campaign — is being conducted in large part out of public view and often by political appointees with deep industry ties and potential conflicts.

Most agencies have declined to disclose information about their deregulation teams. But The New York Times and ProPublica identified 71 appointees, including 28 with potential conflicts, through interviews, public records, and documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Under the law, members of the Trump administration can seek ethics waivers to work on issues that overlap with their past business careers. They can also formally recuse themselves when potential conflicts arise.

In many cases, the administration has refused to say if appointees to Trump’s deregulation teams have done either.

It’s part of the Republican ethos that government is bad, but everything in the story is typical of private business. It’s government that is open, it’s government that’s accountable, it’s government where a conflict of interest is bad. And none of it is true for private businesses, they’re accountable for profit and that’s it. The Trump administration is run like his business and what we’re finding out is that that’s bad government.

This is what the Trump administration thinks of veterans

Via here, here’s a nice little story for Memorial Day:

The Marine Corps called him back to Iraq and Afghanistan for three more tours. He was in Fallujah in Iraq’s “bloody triangle” during the surge. In all, he spent about four years in the Middle East.

In between deployments, McGreevey would return to Vancouver, where he managed to buy a house on Northeast 24th Court. But the years overseas took a toll. He says he made a fateful mistake: trusting someone else to make the mortgage payment.

He returned from his third tour in June 2010, just in time to watch PHH Mortgage repossess his house.

They foreclosed despite the fact that it was illegal:

The law prohibits banks and other creditors from foreclosing, garnishing, evicting or repossessing assets from service members while they are on active duty or within 12 months of leaving the service. It is the creditor’s obligation to determine whether the debtor is protected by the law.

And here is the Trump administration taking sides:

Her words rang hollow with McGreevey and Riddell on March 29 when the U.S. Justice Department intervened in their case and effectively sided with PHH Mortgage and Northwest Trustee. The federal lawyers said they were not taking a position on the merits of McGreevey’s complaint. Rather, they echoed defendants’ arguments that the four-year statute of limitations should apply and McGreevey’s case be dismissed.

McGreevey shouldn’t feel that they’re after him, it’s just the Trump administration likes corporations:

Twelve days before it sided with PHH Mortgage over McGreevey, the Justice Department intervened in an ongoing dispute between the New Jersey lender and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The bureau contended that PHH for more than a decade had been operating a mortgage insurance kickback scheme that cost its borrowers hundreds of millions of dollars.

The case got particularly controversial in 2015, when bureau Director Richard Cordray unilaterally increased the fine against PHH Mortgage from $6 million to $109 million. A court froze the penalty after the lender appealed. The Justice Department sided with PHH Mortgage in March.

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