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LINK Read Scott Pruitt’s Bizarre Resignation Letter – Mother Jones

Anyone got a job for this whiney, thin-skinned, corrupt, anti-intellectual, lying sack of crap? He quit his job (apparently he doesn't like be called a liar, after lying . . . Or corrupt, after abusing his authority . . . Or a moron, after ignoring the opinions of scientific experts . . . Or lacky of the oil and gas industry, after documentation that he was following their wishes to the letter . . . Or paranoid, after her spent tax dollars on a security measures) and we (Okies) don't want him back.

NerdyOkieDude 7 July 5

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I think we should make him go work in the coal mines!!! Hahahahaha


Nor does the USA want him. Where can we send him? Maybe with some of the people we deport.


Fucking sleazy bootlicking lackey.


Unfortunately, Wheeler, the guy now taking over, will be just as bad, if not worse, for the environment. He's a paid lobbyist for the fossil fuelers.


He should be arrested and forced to pay back all the tax he stole from us to feed his bloated ego.


Deluded, sycophantic piece of shit.

JimG Level 8 July 6, 2018

I swear to this. If I see him anywhere in Oklahoma again he'll wish it was a teacher holding a kid telling him off.


Hallelujah, there is a god. (just kidding) About time. He was the worst of the worst He has done more damage to this planes than anyone single human being IMHO.

eh, planet


All of the "blessed" he's got going in there makes me wonder if the next job for him will be as a preacher in some weird fundie church!?!

Hes a decon of some Tulsa area church. So I'd bet hes got some grift going on there.


Personally hoping the "unrelenting attacks" continue , particularly the one where he's arrested and spends the rest of his life in a nasty gulag for misappropriation of funds and crimes against humanity.


Dismantling the EPA was his top priority and he definitely was successful at that. Enriching himself at the expense of taxpayers was just a side benefit that his boss was okay with since he’s been busy doing that himself, perhaps with a bit more subtlety.




Maybe the woman with baby accosting him in the restaurant finally decided him? Hope he stays away.

I wonder if that's all it would take to publicly humiliate some of them. They think they are privileged and in the right. Maybe they need a wake up call.


That goes further than "bizarre". Never seen anything even remotely like the ass-licking in that letter. He's priming the pump for a different Trump-appointed job... maybe Ambassador to Chick-fil-A, or trump Hotel Used Mattress Tester. You watch... Trump will recycle this dirtbag where no ethics are required at all. He'll be working for Trump again within 90-days.

He's angling for Attorney General, since it's looking more and more like Trump might finally ask Jeff Sessions to resign. Pruitt has been "petitioning" Trump on this for at least a month.

@Akfishlady Nope... it has to be something Congress can't veto. Something in the GOP campaign, Trump businesses, etc. Even the Rep Congress creatures were starting to walk away from Pruitt for the bad smell he had.

@mtnhome that does give me some bit of hope, but given the extent to which Congressional Republicans (Senators in particular) have already shown their willingness to condemn something publicly only to take zero action regarding it even when they have clear ability to do so, doesn't make that hope particularly a strong one.

In the end, if Trump asked them to confirm Pruitt as the AG, they would try their hardest to find a way to make it happen. In particular, by giving Pruitt every possible opportunity to rationalize and apologize for his role in all of his scandals, and promise that he is a changed man and will do better. That would be enough to give them political cover, especially if it happens right after the elections instead of right before them.

Keep in mind also that as a general rule when it comes to Senate confirmations, Republicans look for any means possible to achieve their desired ends, while Democrats typically will vote in favor of a confirmation (even one they dislike or have political disagreement with) unless they have a clear, definitive, and undeniable "good cause" grounds to vote against. So unless the Inspector General of the EPA files a report that clearly states that Pruitt violated ethics rules, many Democrats would still vote to confirm him, especially since his legal experience in federal courts is fairly extensive.


I can’t believe he was ever an attorney general! He simply doesn’t seem to be ‘all there!’


Scum bag...

Tomas Level 7 July 6, 2018

$43k soundproof phone booth?

Making his staff run personal errands?

Giving large raises to his Oklahoma crony staff while slashing the EPA budget?

Resignation letter claiming he is a victim?

This is what a poor leader does. Whoever hired this man must not be a good judge of character. 😉

That phonebooth - was that like the "cone of silence?"

does he get to keep it?

@ThinkKate I hope he is forced to pay for it then keep it as a reminder of his failure.


"Unrelenting attacks" must be the new thoughts and prayers. Fire up your twitters, I have a plan..

Salo Level 7 July 6, 2018

What's Bizarre about it?
That he references god? That's not bizarre.

That the attacks on his character and the toll this takes on him and his family are the reason for his quitting? That's not bizarre either.

In fact, the very fact that MoJo and other outlets would promote this as "bizarre" rather makes the point of the unprecedented level of personal vitriol being sent his way and give good evidence as to why he would want to quit.

It's bizarre because of his brown-nosing. Resigning officials don't generally do that to such an obvious and blatant extent. He provided 3 paragraphs, and only gave a 1-sentence reason for his resignation. The rest of it was chock full of ego stroking for Trump. And despite his claim that he doesn't want any longer to face public attacks for himself or his family, I believe that if he were offered the Attorney General job, he would accept in an instant.

Beyond that, if he really didn't expect to have the majority of the public attack him publicly when he was enacting policies that the majority of Americans disagreed with (per virtually every poll done in the past 5 years on environmental policy issues), then he clearly wasn't paying any attention and thought he would get to stay in the echo chamber instead of face public scrutiny. So even his issue with the public attacks on his character and his job performance is a bizarre reason to cite, considering it should have been fully anticipated (and, indeed, his own policies regarding his security detail from day one suggest he did expect this).

[Edited to correct multiple erasures of characters that happened mysteriously in the 12 hours or so and created atrocious typos and incomplete sentences]

So happy your official brown-nose costume still fits!

I've read and given many resignation letters and I always do my best to not burn any bridges by raining praise on my boss. That doesn't strike me as bizarre.

And the "he should have expected it" argument seems suspiciously like the "she asked for it" argument with rape victems where be blame the victem of the attacks and not the attackers. After all, regardless of his policies, we are all aware to we attack the point and not the person (and certainly not the persons family) and thus to attack the person and not the point.

What's bizarre is that we are normalizing irrational "ad hominey" behaiviour in countering policies that we don't agree with.... sign on the times I guess...

@TheMiddleWay it is one thing to praise your boss in a resignation letter. That is typical, not bizarre, though certainly not guaranteed and depends largely on circumstances. But for such praises to constitute 90% of a resignation letter with only a single sentence given for the reason for the resignation, is certainly not typical.

Secondly, your comparison to victim blaming for rape is a false equivalency if ever I've seen/heard one. A public official, who holds an office that is supposed to be in public service, and in this case as head of an agency whose sole purpose is to protect the public, who then enacts policies that are well known to be both against the majority public opinion and the public's best interest as established by scientific fact absolutely should expect to be publicly called out for those policies. Furthermore, the majority of the attacks he has dealt with (such as on planes and in restaurants), or at least those that have been known publicly far and wide, were attacks on his policies. The public shaming aspects, that is, the ad hominem style attacks, were always in the vain hope that he might be convinced of the error of his ways and change course (a foolish hope IMO, but nonetheless). And such public shaming can work, against those who actually have a sense of shame.

"the public's best interest as established by scientific fact absolutely should expect to be publicly called out for those policies"

Yes. Policy. Not person. Hence the equivalence with victem blaming

A woman who walks down a street that is known to be crime ridden in an outfit that is known to attract sexual attention should be expected to be called out on that policy of doing that but not shamed as a person for doing so. In the same way, a director who walks down a regulation path that is known to be problem ridden and to attract detrimental attention from the public should be expected to be called out for enacting those policies not shaming the person for doing so.

"who then enacts policies that are well known to be both against the majority public opinion and the public's best interest"
Yes, a public that includes business and it must weight the impact to people vs. the impact to environment vs. the impact to business. That balance will not always and will more often never be perfect and when you side with business you upset public and vice versa, when you side with public you upset business. As well, the science is not a perfect indicator and, AFAIK, he has never made policy that has gone against well established science. His actions where against a lot of obama policies but that is not the same as being against science.

"And such public shaming can work, against those who actually have a sense of shame."
Public shaming only works to oust the person, not the policies. Consider, he is gone but his policies remain. Hence why "ad hominem" is a logical fallacy and why his resignation only accomplished outing the man but won't change policy and his replacement will likely not be much better until the person making the appointments, trump, changes.


{{{Warning: long post incoming}}}

Here's the issue with victim blaming. Even if a woman knowingly does things that drastically increase her risk of being assaulted, she maintains at all times an absolute right to her own body, autonomy, and sexual consent, and rape is a direct violation of all of them. A public official in the United States, on the other hand, has absolutely zero right to not be verbally attacked by the public, and, in fact, the Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly held that the public has a Constitutional right to address public officials in public and no requirement for them to be civil about it, and such an attack is not a violation of their person nor their personal autonomy. That is a huge freakin' difference, and is precisely why your comparison is a false equivalency (and in poor taste too, IMO). Furthermore, it is not bizarre that such ad hominem attacks take place, nor is there a normalization of such attacks (bizarre or otherwise), but rather is the long-standing norm and status quo for virtually the nation's entire history, thanks largely to the Freedom of Speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. Any public official in the United States will be verbally attacked in public in one fashion or another, and any public official who knowingly and willfully goes directly against the majority opinion of the public, even more so. He definitely should have expected it, and he definitely could have mitigated the frequency and severity of such issues if he hadn't been so gung-ho about protecting his fossil fuel industry buddies instead of the public's interests.

Additionally, ad hominem has the unique distinction of being the only informal fallacy that is not always a fallacy. Informal fallacies always suffer from a singular underlying problem: they are entirely irrelevant. But in the case of ad hominem, sometimes a person's private life or personal character are directly relevant to the issues or circumstances at hand, and that is almost always the case in politics, and in such cases it is not a fallacy.

As to the policies being against scientific fact, in the first place I said that they are policies that are against "the public's best interest as established by scientific fact", and the "well known" part is in regards to how well it is known that the policies go against both public opinion and the public's best interest, it was not in reference to the scientific facts themselves being well-known (which all too often they aren't, at least not by the public or the politicians). The key here is what is the public's best interests, as established by scientific fact.

In particular, it is scientific fact that polluted air is harmful, and specific pollutants have been shown to have specific harms. It is scientific fact that polluted water when used for drinking or bathing is harmful, and specific pollutants have been shown to have specific harms. And when you have a roughly estimated 97% scientific consensus on a particular theory, which is more than you get in most scientific areas of study, I'd call that established scientific fact even if we accept that it is likely still incomplete knowledge (especially since most science is still incomplete knowledge). As such, I would say that it is scientific fact that global temperatures are increasing both on the surface and in the oceans, that the climate is changing due to such global warming, and that the largest contributing factor to global temperature increases has been anthropogenic. I would further call it scientific fact that if drastic action to curb carbon emissions and reduce fossil fuel use as an energy source doesn't take place to reach a carbon-neutral or carbon-negative human activity level within the next few decades, that there will be definite harm resulting from increased storms, increased storm severity, increased floods, rising sea levels, increased droughts and increased drought severity, just to name a few, although admittedly predicting such future harms is more difficult and less totally specific than proving established harms based on existing past evidence such as is the case for air and water pollutants.

So when Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA enacts Trump's policies (willingly and gleefully, by all accounts) to repeal Obama-era regulations that were created specifically to address those very specific harms that are based on very specific scientific facts and internal agency reports (many of which had been begun as far back as the 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's, well before Obama was ever elected President, and under both Democrat and Republican administrations), and in some cases regulations that began being formulated because of those scientific facts before Obama was ever elected President, then yes, that certainly goes against the public's best interests of having clean and breathable air, clean water for drinking and bathing, and a planet that isn't going into full-bore meltdown, as established by scientific fact. And it is in the public majority opinion that more needs to be done, not less in these regards.

Beyond that, it is absolutely not the EPA's job to balance the interests of business against those of the citizenry. Nowhere is that a part of their mission, mandate, nor the laws that required the agency's creation. The EPA exists with the single and sole purpose of protecting the public's interests with respect to environmental contaminations and the public harms that result from those contaminations. If a business believes that a particular regulation is beyond what is called for by the scientific facts, and/or would be too economically burdensome to meet, they have the absolute right to appeal to the judiciary to ask to have the regulation blocked or modified, which is precisely where such matters are supposed to be addressed.

It doesn't matter if a regulation goes against the interests or opinions of business and will upset businesses, that isn't the EPA's job. It also doesn't particularly matter if EPA policies go against public opinion, because that also isn't the EPA's job. But it does matter when the EPA enacts policies and adds or removes regulations when those actions go against the public's best interest as determined by scientific facts, because the EPA's entire existence is based on a legal mandate that the US government is required to protect the public's best interests as determined by scientific fact with respect to environmental contaminations. That is literally the definition of their job. And it is the EPA Administrator's job to ensure that the EPA is fully meeting that obligation.

Lastly, public shaming can work to cause a person, group, or organization to change course and alter policy. In fact, the pro-business, pro-free-market conservatives and neoliberals constantly harp on about how public pressure can act against the economic markets to cause businesses to make changes, and public shaming of businesses has proven to successfully do that. Individuals are more likely to go full-defensive than to change course, but it has been known to happen among them as well, but never when such an individual has no sense of shame (as is particularly the case with people like Pruitt who ascribe completely to the philosophies of Ayn Rand). Additionally, public shaming never ousts someone unless it brings pressure to bear against those in authority above the person/group/organization being shamed, in other words if those in authority above them are also shamed for not ousting them. Public shaming can have the effect of driving someone (as in Pruitt's case) to resign, which I would say is a change of course, but usually such resignations are not motivated by the individual's sense of shame, but rather by their realization that they can't do their job in such circumstances, or simply no longer wish to deal with it (as is Pruitt's stated reason).

Now, obviously, you have objections to this sort of thing. Fine. But first, it is important for you to truly understand when it works and when it doesn't, because it does sometimes work. Secondly, it is neither new nor bizarre behavior, but is commonplace in the United States, always has been, and always increases in frequency and aggression-level the more polarized the public is and the more out of touch from public concerns the politicians are. One need only look at the history of public vs. politician interactions from the 1920's (robber Barons), 1930's (Great Depression), 1960's (multiple liberal social "revolutions" including the "sexual revolution" ), and 1970's (Vietnam War) to see very clear examples of where such behavior has swept the nation on the whole in the past. It also isn't even uniquely American, either. Post-WWII Europe was no stranger to such conflict either, as Socialism held increasing power over the hearts and minds of the public, and eventually led to the welfare states and Democratic Socialist states that exist there today. And while Freedom of Speech makes it easier, it isn't a requirement (look at the recent uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Israel, for a couple of examples), although it does ensure that such behavior has a higher chance of successfully bringing about positive change.

If you want to convince people to stop behaving in such ways, then it isn't enough for you to attack their behavior as "bizarre", especially when it is nothing of the sort. You have to show them why it is counter-productive (which it sometimes is, but not always), and why something else is more effective even than when such behaviors work. You should be encouraging people to raise their voices not in personal attacks against officials, but rather through grassroots political activism specifically and intentionally designed and organized to bring about political change. You should be encouraging people to vote, since the US has one of the lowest overall voter turnouts of any modern democracy. And you should be encouraging people to find, groom, and assist in political fundraising and campaigning for those people who will actually enact policies (and appoint/confirm administration officials who will enact policies) that are in line with their own values. These are the things that everyone, liberal or conservative, progressive or libertarian, socialist or anarchist, etc. should all be doing in the United States (and indeed any democracy), and they are proven to be effective, so long as people acknowledge that you can't instantaneously get all of your ideal policies all at once.

But even that has limited effectiveness as long there continues to exist (and increase) dramatic power imbalances between the wealthy and wealthy businesses vs. an increasingly poor public. Which means that regardless of political or ideological persuasion, everyone who thinks that the government should be in the service of the public should be working hard to eliminate (not reduce, not mitigate, but eliminate) the influence that has on politics in the United States, first and foremost by raising up politicians at every level (local, state, and federal) that have dedicated themselves (and shown their dedication through action) to making the kinds of changes necessary for that. And deliberately voting against or abstain from voting for anyone who has shown by their actions that they have no such interests.

It is one thing to express distaste for call-out and public shaming behaviors. It is something else to misrepresent that behavior as either new or bizarre, when it is neither, or compare it to being tantamount to rape when it is nothing of the sort in basic principle, let alone severity of impact on the victim. And you aren't likely to convince people to stop engaging in such behavior so long as a) they continue to see that it can sometimes work, and b) you fail to offer them a more effective alternative to turn their attention to.

The comparison with rape victim blaming is not meant to be exact nor imply an equality of legality. Consider that there is no law against victim blaming as there is no law against saying those things about pruitt. The point isn't that the public broke that law but rather that it's not bizarre for a person to quit their job based on the public talk about them much in the same way that it's not bizarre for a woman to drop her case based on the public talk about them.

As for the EPA's mission, their mission statement clearly says:
"EPA works to ensure that:
Environmental stewardship is integral to U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy"[1]

So it is not accurate that they work only in the public interest but work by balancing US policies so that all are accommodated. That is why even though we know that the things you list are bad for health (bad air, bad water, etc), there must be a compromise for just how bad things can get so that business can work and the public not harmed. That is why attacking pruitt for siding more with business is understandable if you are more for the environment but hardly a good reason to attack him personally... anymore than it's understandable to attack a person that sides with the environment as a "bleeding heart tree hugger".

Finally, I'm not aware of any specific example where public shaming of an individual changed policy so I'm not convinced that public shaming of an individual is an effective tactic. Public shaming of a policy on the other hand has changed policy, as we've seen recently with immigration where the policy was clearly ill conceived. But trump has been publicly shamed on many things and that has never worked.

I guess at the end of the day I just don't agree that the letter was bizarre at all even if it did fawn all over trump



{{{Warning: another long post incoming, longer this time thanks to inclusion of a list of laws, and I haven't proofread it, so it probably has typos}}}

First of all, the problem with your false equivalence is not a point of legality or severity, it is a problem of underlying philosophical principle.

Principle 1 (and the reason why victim blaming is wrong): a woman has an absolute right to her own body, her own autonomy, and her own sexuality and sexual consent (including the absolute right to withhold sexual consent), and rape is a fundamental violation of all of those rights.

Principle 2: a public official of any level or any capacity in the United States has absolutely zero rights to protect them from the opinions (even negative opinions) of the citizenry, nor do they have any rights of deference in public spaces, nor does they have any rights granting them autonomous control over public spaces they are in.

Principle 3: Freedom of Speech, among its many other effects, grants the US public the absolute right to speak directly to their public officials anytime such an official is not in their own home, including expressing negative or dissenting opinions, regardless of the civility or incivility of their expression.

Principles 2 and 3 taken together mean that when a member of the US public verbally assaults a public official, they have violated no rights of the official, and upheld their own rights under the First Amendment. The only point at which legality comes into is if you question the legality or scope of the First Amendment and can offer a plausible reason why the multiple SCOTUS decisions upholding Free Speech, even in the form of a verbal assault against a public official, is Constitutionally or philosophically wrong (and good luck with that).

Personally, I believe that Freedom of Speech, especially the right to speak directly to public officials and to voice objection, protest, dissent, etc. is fundamental to democracy and freedom from tyranny. It is a philosophical point of Political Theory, not just a matter of applied politics. It has been upheld as a foundational principle of democratic societies and governments around the world, and been fully embraced by every nation not currently ruled by an authoritarian, and by the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council. If you think you have some better philosophical idea to replace it with, I'd be interested to hear it. But in my opinion, the only reason Freedom of Speech should ever be limited or restricted in any free society is for the sake of a clearly defined public safety issue.

But on the underlying principles, ignoring legality and severity, and accepting Freedom of Speech as not merely the law of the land in the US under the Constitution, but also as a fundamental philosophical principle worth upholding, you have the following...

Case A, rape: a fundamental violation of absolute human rights. Case B, verbally assaulting an official in public: upholds Free Speech rights of the public and does not violate any rights of the official. Therefore, they are in no way the same, and therefore false equivalency.

Since Pruitt has no rights to be protected from public dissent and even verbal assault, since he has no right to autonomy of public space, since the public does have the right to engage in such dissent even to the point of verbal assault, and since such verbal assaults are entirely normal in US politics, he absolutely should have expected it. If he failed to expect it, his expectations were unrealistic. His reaction is understandable, and I never said he shouldn't have resigned when he realized he and/or his family couldn't cope with it, but none of that changes the fact that he should have expected it. What was bizarre about his stated reason was not that his reaction wasn't understandable, but that he didn't go so far as to add a qualifier (something along the lines of "the extent and level of negative public attention has been far more than I or my family had anticipated" ). Instead, he gave a simple "My family and I don't want to deal with it", which to me implies that he wasn't expecting the backlash and negative public attention. What is bizarre is not so much his resignation in response, but rather his apparent lack of realistic expectations.

As to the purpose and job of the EPA, you need to ignore the "mission statement" of the EPA. It's mission matters, it's mission statement does not. That statement is specifically a statement of the Executive Branch interpretation of the EPA, and varies from administration to administration. The current statement was changed by Trump and Pruitt specifically to modify the agency to be closer to their own vision for what the agency should be, rather than being based on the agencies legal mandates, and their vision is that the agency shouldn't even exist.

The EPA is a direct outcropping of environmental laws passed by Congress, beginning as far back as 1946. The creation of the agency itself began with the National Environmental Policy Act that went into effect on January 1, 1970. That law specifically required that the President (Richard Nixon at the time) create a Council on Environmental Quality. Based on the recommendations of the CEQ, Nixon created the EPA as an executive branch agency tasked with enforcing environmental law through acting as a regulatory body against business. In fact, all US regulatory agencies exist for the express purpose of protecting public interests against business abuses (there is no other rational reason for them to exist, not that government always requires rationality), and it is only in the "pro-business" era of the last 40 years that such agencies have consistently refused to do that.

The purpose and function of the EPA is to use regulations to enforce US environmental laws, even when businesses don't like those laws. It's current considerations of business interests under the Trump administration are directly a result of the current administration's distaste for environmental law and regulation, but the mandate of the EPA is to enforce those laws. The only flexibility the EPA has is in its regulatory interpretation of the laws. The Trump administration and Pruitt have chosen to interpret those laws in the narrowest possible ways in order to try and justify granting more freedom to businesses, but they are by no means required by law or mandate to do so.

The specific laws that the EPA exists to uphold as a regulatory agency include the following...

1955: Air Pollution Control Act PL 84-159
1963: Clean Air Act PL 88-206
1965: Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act PL 89-272
1966: Clean Air Act Amendments PL 89-675
1967: Air Quality Act PL 90-148
1970: Clean Air Act Extension PL 91-604
1977: Clean Air Act Amendments PL 95-95
1990: Clean Air Act Amendments PL 101-549

1948: Water Pollution Control Act PL 80-845
1965: Water Quality Act PL 89-234
1966: Clean Waters Restoration Act PL 89-753
1970: Water Quality Improvement Act PL 91-224
1972: Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments of 1972 PL 92-500
1974: Safe Drinking Water Act PL 93-523
1977: Clean Water Act PL 95-217
1987: Water Quality Act PL 100-4
1996: Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996

1964: Wilderness Act PL 88-577
1968: Wild and Scenic Rivers Act PL 90-542
1970: Wilderness Act PL 91-504
1977: Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act PL 95-87
1978: Wilderness Act PL 98-625
1980: Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act PL 96-487
1994: California Desert Protection Act PL 103-433
2010: California Desert Protection Act

Endangered species:
1946: Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act PL 79-732
1966: Endangered Species Preservation Act PL 89-669
1969: Endangered Species Conservation Act PL 91-135
1972: Marine Mammal Protection Act PL 92-522
1973: Endangered Species Act PL 93-205
1979: Endangered Species Preservation Act PL 95 335

Hazardous waste:
1965: Solid Waste Disposal Act PL 89-272
1970: Resource Recovery Act PL 91-512
1976: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act PL 94-580
1980: Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("Superfund" ) PL 96-510
1984: Hazardous and Solid Wastes Amendments Act PL 98-616
1986: Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act PL 99-499
2002: Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act ("Brownfields Law" ) PL 107-118

1947: Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act PL 80-104
1969: National Environmental Policy Act PL 91-190
1972: Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act PL 92-516
1976: Toxic Substances Control Act PL 94-469
1982: Nuclear Waste Policy Act PL 97-425
1996: Food Quality Protection Act PL 104-170

Feel free to also peruse the United States Code (, particularly Titles 16, 33, 42, and 43. The provisions of the laws listed above, as passed by Congress, are encoded in the U.S.C., and exist almost entirely in those 4 Titles of the federal statutes.

While a few of those laws make provisions for balancing certain specific business interests, most of them do not address business at all except in the form of making certain business practices of certain specific industries illegal in order to address a specific environmental need for public interests.

Scott Pruitt enacted policies deliberately intended to weaken the enforcement of US environmental law, despite the fact that the EPA specifically exists for the purpose of ensuring enforcement of those laws. He achieved this, primarily, through abandoning or reversing agency regulations that were in the public's best interests and had been years, and most often decades in the making in order to instead protect business interests despite the fact that all regulatory agencies exist for the purpose of protecting public interests against business exploitations (including the EPA), and he did so even though the regulations were popular and desired among the majority of the public. As such, he absolutely should have expected the public to respond negatively, and to address him directly.

As to the issue of personal attacks on his character, you can disagree with the practice all you want, but my point is that it is not bizarre. It is entirely normal. It is a natural reaction stemming from public outrage and is established as the long-standing status quo in any nation with Freedom of Speech. Furthermore, the main reason why people attack his character in the first place is because they recognize that how a person acts is a direct outcrop of their moral values. As such, it is reasonable to make a moral judgement about a person's character based on their actions, and it is entirely normal for people to make personal attacks against someone else when they believe that other person's character and moral values are fundamentally wrong. Going back to our previous discussion in another thread regarding the nature of morality, moral values are socially enforced, and the primary mechanism of that (outside of the parent-child relationship) is through direct attacks on a person's character and moral values in an attempt to shame them into changing their behavior (if not their attitudes and beliefs).

Your lack of awareness of any policy change made by someone as a direct response to their having been publicly shamed doesn't mean it never happens. I understand why you would be unconvinced, personally, but as you and I have previously agreed, it is one thing to say "I haven't seen evidence of it, and therefore don't personally believe in it", and something else to say "I haven't seen evidence of it, therefore it doesn't exist". Shame is, in my opinion, nowhere close to the best tactic for bringing about change, either in an individual or in a policy. But it continues to be used far and wide throughout the world for basically 2 reasons: 1) it feels good to the shamer (even to the point of being cathartic, especially in the case of emotional outrage), and 2) it does on occasion produce change. Furthermore, I believe that it only ever has a possibility of working when both a) the target cares about shame, and b) they have a means to change. That combination is more rare than people like to think.

With Pruitt specifically, he certainly had the means to change, but doesn't care about shame, so public shaming of him was never going to work. Certainly, you are right that publicly shaming a policy can easily be seen to work (though again, it depends on the combination of those two necessary factors), while publicly shaming an individual is less likely to result in a policy change. But the reason why publicly shaming an individual is less likely to change a policy is primarily because most individuals in most cases don't have the means to change the policy. Policy is rarely unilaterally decided by a single individual.

But that doesn't mean it's never happened. In point of fact, the public shaming on a personal level of Mark Zuckerberg and his initial response to the level of influence of fake news and propaganda on Facebook in 2016 directly led to his slow but eventual changes in FB policy regarding how content is spread (I don't think he's going anywhere near far enough, nor Twitter nor Google either, but that's another topic). In that case, there was no shaming of policy, although there was some shaming of a lack of policy, but rather it was mostly public shaming of him personally and his lack of both foresight and hindsight. That shaming created public pressure for him to show better foresight, something he did have the means to change, and he cared enough about that shame (and the effect his personal shame had on the company's image) to want to do something about it, and he had the means to do something about it. As a result, FB policies shifted to reduce the extent that organization posts show up in personal news feeds while increasing the frequency that posts show up from mutual friends and people established in "Relationships" as having a personal connection.

Government policy is another matter, as again, most policies are not unilaterally decided by a single individual. But in the case of Pruitt, while Trump expected him to reduce regulations, Pruitt had the means to decide how to go about that. But his personal belief that the EPA shouldn't even exist (he did, after all, spend years trying to force the courts to abolish the agency, and failing that to at least defang it as a regulatory body) led him to aggressively strip away EPA regulatory power with gleeful abandon, whereas someone who actually cared about the EPA and its job would have slow-walked the deregulation process, carefully considered scientific advice, and worked to uphold the most important regulatory provisions.

But Pruitt wasn't only shamed for his policy positions with regard to the EPA, but also for his blatant ethics scandals. That, in particular, is an area where he had absolute means to make unilateral personal changes, he simply doesn't care because he has no sense of shame.

Lastly, while you're certainly entitled to your opinion about whether or not Pruitt's letter was bizarre, I think I've pretty clearly expressed why I can't ever agree with that opinion.

"Lastly, while you're certainly entitled to your opinion about whether or not Pruitt's letter was bizarre, I think I've pretty clearly expressed why I can't ever agree with that opinion"

I can respect that.
The world would be a pretty boring place if everyone agreed with everyone.

@TheMiddleWay true-true.


Thank god he’s gone.

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