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In recent months, the Agriculture Department has decided to reduce inspections at the slaughterhouses that process the nation’s pork; the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to let farmers and factories dump toxic chemicals into thousands of acres of previously protected wetlands; and the Labor Department has ruled that states can perform drug tests on applicants for unemployment benefits, allowing Texas, Mississippi and Wisconsin to begin efforts to curtail aid for people who need help. These changes in regulatory policy are part of a clear pattern. The Trump administration has worked assiduously to reduce federal protections for consumers, workers and the environment, making the United States a dirtier and more dangerous place in which to live. The Trump administration also continues to flout its obligation to comply with existing law. The Trump administration’s regulatory policy can generally be summarized as marching to the orders of the businesses it regulates. Indeed, the administration has pushed so hard to reduce regulation that even companies have sometimes expressed reservations: Four major automobile manufacturers have refused to embrace Mr. Trump’s campaign to prevent California from reducing air pollution, instead striking a deal with California to meet stricter emissions standards. Mr. Trump also has an obsession with erasing rules written under President Barack Obama. The administration’s penchant for this kind of petty vandalism does not add one whit to the case for Mr. Trump’s impeachment. It is instead a reminder that if Mr. Trump does stand for re-election in 2020, Americans can improve their lives by voting for someone else.
E-cigarettes and vaping devices, with $7 billion in annual sales, have become a part of daily life for millions of Americans. Youth use has skyrocketed with the proliferation of flavors targeting teenagers, such as Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum and Zombie Blood. And nearly 1,300 people have been sickened by mysterious vaping-related lung injuries this year. Yet the agency has not vetted the vast majority of vaping devices or flavored liquids for safety. In dozens of interviews, federal officials and public health experts described a lost decade of inaction, blaming an intense lobbying effort by the e-cigarette and tobacco industries, fears of a political backlash in tobacco-friendly states, bureaucratic delays, and a late reprieve by an F.D.A. commissioner who had previously served on the board of a chain of vaping lounges.
Facebook's embattled Libra project suffered a major blow on Friday as four payment processors—Stripe, Visa, Mastercard, and Mercado Pago—withdrew from participation in the Libra Association, the Geneva-based group Facebook created to develop the virtual currency. eBay also announced its resignation Friday. eBay's former subsidiary, PayPal, quit the group last week. The timing is not a coincidence. The Libra Association is scheduled to hold its first official meeting on Monday. At that meeting, members will be asked to make binding commitments to the project. So for members who weren't prepared to commit to the project, Friday was a good day to get out. But this is an awkward development for Facebook. When the company introduced Libra earlier this year, it said it hoped to grow Libra's membership from 27 companies to more than 100 by the time the Libra network launched in 2020. Instead, the association's membership has fallen to 22 companies.