Donald Trump

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Pollution "watchdog" was lawyer for polluters

This is starting to read like a really bad dystopian future novel:

As a corporate lawyer, William L. Wehrum worked for the better part of a decade to weaken air pollution rules by fighting the Environmental Protection Agency in court on behalf of chemical manufacturers, refineries, oil drillers and coal-burning power plants. Now, Mr. Wehrum is about to deliver one of the biggest victories yet for his industry clients — this time from inside the Trump administration as the government’s top air pollution official.

On Tuesday, President Trump is expected to propose a vast rollback of regulations on emissions from coal plants, including many owned by members of a coal-burning trade association that had retained Mr. Wehrum and his firm as recently as last year to push for the changes.

If Trump was merely "incompetent," his staffing decisions would be bad enough. But we've gone far beyond a lesser (or least) qualified appointee, and into the realm of a "fox in the hen house." And for those who saw a glimmer of hope in the possible rift between Trump and the Koch Brothers, put those hopes back in your pocket:

McClatchy newspapers take Trump to task for "Fake News!" attacks

It probably won't nudge the Deplorables one bit, but it's good to see:

No American president, or any city council member, for that matter, has ever unreservedly delighted in the way he or she was presented in the press. “I so appreciate the accuracy of their reporting on my perceived flaws!” said no official ever. “And good for them for holding me accountable.”

But President Donald Trump has veered into unfamiliar and perilous territory with his unceasing all-out assault on the free press and the First Amendment. Of course, the irony of Trump’s attacks on the “SICK!” and “very dishonest people” in “the fake media” he accuses of purveying, yes, “fake news” is that he himself is a product of the New York tabloids. He’s as savvy about manipulating his coverage as he is adept in undermining it.

Bolding mine, because that explains literally everything about his Presidency. Consider: While Trump himself may have came from money, his main targets of opportunity in real estate scams were the Nouveau Riche. People who were trying desperately to break into the social circles of New York's genuine elite. And nobody showed up more frequently in the high-society pages than Donald Trump, not by accident, but by design. I guarantee you the only time he cracked open the pages of the New York Times was to either check the Dow or if somebody told him there was an article that mentioned his name. Trump not only approved of yellow journalism, he thrived under it, and now he can't even recognize legitimate journalism when it happens. He also doesn't understand the U.S. Constitution:

Trump blames California wildfires on government regulations, not Climate Change

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The sheer ignorance of this man is mind-boggling:

Sunday night, Trump, in his first comments on the wildfires that have raged for weeks, said the fires had been “made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount[s] of readily available water to be properly utilized.” A second tweet, on Monday, complained that water needed for fighting the fires was being “diverted into the Pacific Ocean.” In neither tweet was there mention of lives lost, the nearly 600,000 acres of woodland so far consumed and the 1,100 and counting homes destroyed.

Dumbfounded state officials dismissed the president’s remarks as nonsense. Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director of Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency, said “we have plenty of water to fight these wildfires.”

Rivers eventually flow into the ocean. That's what they do, and that's what they have done for probably a couple billion years. Even elementary schoolchildren know this, but apparently Trump missed that somewhere between kindergarten naps and academy bone spurs. And in fact, California already has some 1,400 dams forming lakes, and would be hard-pressed to construct many more. But again, well over our President's head. It's no wonder he simply can't grasp the concept of Climate Change:

Strained Trump logic: Bad mileage = people driving less = safer roads

The revolution in the evolution of fuel-efficient cars comes to a screeching halt:

The Trump administration says people would drive more and be exposed to increased risk if their cars get better gas mileage, an argument intended to justify freezing Obama-era toughening of fuel standards.

New vehicles would be cheaper — and heavier — if they don’t have to meet more stringent fuel requirements and more people would buy them, the draft says, and that would put more drivers in safer, newer vehicles that pollute less. At the same time, the draft says that people will drive less if their vehicles get fewer miles per gallon, lowering the risk of crashes.

Of course this is the propaganda tail wagging the anti-Obama dog. Or the other way around. Whatever the case, getting rid of the fuel efficiency standards was the main goal, and reasons for doing such seems to be more of an afterthought than a driving force. And it's a poorly-researched afterthought at that:

Taking back the U.S. House somewhere between possible and probable

Little Donnie just might have an aneurysm:

A flurry of Republican retirements has led to 42 open seats, many of them the sort of well-entrenched incumbents in competitive districts whose retirements are the most valuable for Democrats. The Democrats have succeeded in recruiting well-funded and strong candidates in many of the battlegrounds, which has tended to lessen the advantage of incumbency even in the districts where Republicans are running for re-election. A court decision in Pennsylvania has eliminated the party’s gerrymander there.

Democrats appear highly competitive in many conservative districts. Already, there are polls showing Democrats ahead in Kentucky’s Sixth District, West Virginia’s Third, North Carolina’s Ninth, New York’s 22nd and Montana’s at-large district. Mr. Trump won each by at least 10 points.

We should issue the obligatory caution about counting chickens before they hatch and go vote, but things are looking much better than I thought they would, even as recently as a few months ago. And it looks like we're making headway in many rural districts, which is fantastic news:

Governor Cooper asks Trump to back off on tariffs

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Defending those NC farmers and producers at risk of economic collapse:

Cooper wrote a letter Thursday to the president telling him retaliatory tariffs against U.S. products by other countries resulting from the administration's increases stand to harm several North Carolina commodity exports.

Cooper mentioned specifically pork heading to Mexico and China and tobacco going to Turkey, China and the European Union. He says North Carolina exports of these products alone to the affected regions are $550 million annually. The governor says rising prices for all U.S. steel and aluminum also increases costs for anyone who uses them in their production processes.

Roy shouldn't have to do this, because this trade war Trump has gleefully engaged in is not a partisan issue. Congress could (easily) pass Veto-proof legislation to halt or limit this activity, but Ryan and McConnell are simply not responsible enough to take the proper steps. Here's more from Roy on what's at stake:

Donald Trump is putting North Carolina out of business

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Still waiting for all the "winning" to happen:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says $1.1 billion in North Carolina exports are threatened by a trade war, including a half-billion dollars worth of exports to Canada and $350 million to China.

Tariffs are impacting not only businesses, builders and growers but consumers who will see higher prices for things like appliances, cars and houses. Multimillion-dollar projects are in danger of being postponed or canceled.

I've never been a fan of "completely" free trade. The truth is, there are over a billion unemployed or seriously under-employed people worldwide, and American workers could easily be swallowed up and replaced in that formula. But you have to approach trade policy like a surgeon, carefully cutting and stitching, and not blasting it with a sawed-off shotgun like Trump is doing. The ripple effect of unintended consequences can be devastating to businesses:

Families Belong Together rally in Raleigh today

Stand up for the children and parents being ripped apart:

Donald Trump and his administration are cruelly separating children from their families. But we won’t allow it to continue. On June 30, we’re rallying in Washington, D.C., and around the country to tell Donald Trump and his administration to stop separating kids from their parents! Join us on June 30 to send a clear message to Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress: Families Belong Together!

Join concerned North Carolinians as we march against the trump administration’s cruel and unusual punishment of families fleeing their homes for better lives. We’ll show the country and the world that North Carolina stands on the side of decency and humanity, not the callous tearing apart of families. Join us! Directions: March starts at 10 a.m. City Plaza, downtown Raleigh, located at 400 Fayetteville St. Raleigh 27601 and will end at Halifax Mall, 16 W. Jones St.

Doctor Steve says drink a lot of water and don't forget to use sunscreen. I'm...not really a doctor, but do that stuff anyway. :) **Update: Some Twitter pics below:

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