Donald Trump

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Foxes in the environmental hen house

It's much worse than you thought it was:

David Dunlap previously served as a policy chief at Koch Industries, focusing on water and chemical management. Earlier, he served as a vice president of the Chlorine Institute, which represents producers and distributors.

Mr. Dunlap is the top political deputy overseeing E.P.A.’s pollution and toxic chemical research at the Office of Research and Development. Mr. Dunlap helps to review chemicals to determine if they require new restrictions. He has recused himself from work on one particular chemical, formaldehyde, because Koch Industries is a major formaldehyde producer.

The Trump administration's absurd excuse for placing these former lobbyists and industry employees in such critical positions is that, "they know what regulations are harmful to the industry." Protecting the environment and the citizenry is not even on Trump's radar, much less a priority. Here's more of them, if you can stomach it:

Soleimani's assassination was a tactical mistake as well as a moral one

But Trump doesn't have the mental capacity to understand that:

Iran’s government faced widespread protests in November over rising prices, with many apparently also outraged by Iran’s foreign spending on interventions in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and other countries while its own economy falters.

More than 300 people were killed in the anti-government protests, according to rights organization Amnesty International. During the violence and in the days that followed, Iranian authorities blocked access to the internet. Soleimani’s killing, however, helped rally the public around the leadership again.

That wasn't the first time Iranian citizens had engaged in widespread protests over economic issues in the last 15-20 years, but it was by far the deadliest. And it may have been the first time foreign interventions by (that's right) Soleimani's Quds Forces have been at the top of their list of complaints. While the government cracked down harshly on these protests, it is somewhere between possible and likely they would have curbed some of those foreign activities to avoid future domestic unrest. Something similar happened with their dockworkers' strike a few years ago. But setting that aside for the moment, it also appears Soleimani was engaged in diplomatic activities on this particular trip, in an effort to ease tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia:

Lawless king

Dear Senator Tillis,

You probably agree that
our US Constitution is about as good as it gets.
America's inspired framers engaged in serious debate
and achieved a masterful balance,
a country ready for anything.
Except a lawless king.
That's where we are.

Like you, I was raised to revere the Constitution.
Also like you, I've taken an oath to defend it
against all enemies foreign and domestic.

Trump lover drives truck into Impeachment supporters

An unsettling vision of the future:

Police in Jackson County are investigating a video that shows a counter protester slowly driving his truck into a crowd of people marching to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump earlier this week.

About 100 people turned out in Sylva Tuesday evening to march in favor of impeachment. They were standing outside of the Jackson County Democratic headquarters when a truck began honking to pull into the parking lot - directly through the crowd.

This dude needs to be locked up, at least until he can have a mental assessment done. You can't make it out in the photo, but that's a flag with Trump's head superimposed on Rambo's body. First it was Rocky, now it's Rambo. Trump couldn't make it up ten of those Philadelphia Museum steps before collapsing from a massive coronary. Or stroke. Strokonary...

The myth of the "do-nothing" Democratic Congress

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It's not only a lie, the irony is overwhelming:

For months, President Donald Trump has fired off tweet missives accusing House Democrats of “getting nothing done in Congress,” and being consumed with impeachment.

Trump may want to look to the Republican-controlled Senate instead. Democrats in the House have been passing bills at a rapid clip; as of November 15, the House has passed nearly 400 bills, not including resolutions. But the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee estimates 80 percent of those bill have hit a snag in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is prioritizing confirming judges over passing bills.

This has been bothering me for some time now, but it's starting to creep into conversations between Democrats, which is a bad sign the propaganda is working. Paraphrased from a recent Facebook comment: "They need to go ahead and take the Impeachment vote now, so they can get back to doing what they're supposed to, or voters will punish Dems for not getting things accomplished." I didn't feel like correcting that person (I should have), and the only push-back I saw was, "Impeachment is important!" And for you anti-establishment progressive purists out there, pay close attention to this (please):

The Trump Effect: When you're in trouble, make a deal!

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It's just another form of bribery:

“We are going to be doing a major middle income tax cut if we take back the House, and we will be talking about that sometime later,” he said earlier this month. Democrats now run the House, while Republicans control the Senate.

The new cut, the president said, would be “mostly devoted to middle income who have really been big beneficiaries of the (last tax cut) that we did which was the largest in the history of our country.”

Of course that second thing is a lie, which should be obvious to his target audience. Unfortunately, their capacity for detecting the truth is strained, to say the least. But it's the first sentence that is just one more example of Trump's complete lack of ethics: He's trying to bribe voters to rid him of the Democrats who are now Impeaching him. I'm not "reading between the lines" there, it's obvious. So now your question is, "Steve, the Impeachment process will be long over by November 2020, how can the two be connected?" Public opinion polls are being done every other day about Impeachment, and public opinion will alter the behavior of Congress, if it's strong enough.

Party over Country: The NC GOP's views on Impeachment

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Looking into the face of corruption and blinking:

"Honestly I'm trying to figure out what we've learned from these hearings," offered Brent Woodcox, a Raleigh attorney and special counsel to Republicans in the North Carolina Senate.

"I mean we already saw the transcript of the phone call. Rudy Giuliani's already been out there in the New York Times saying that he's been trying to investigate the Bidens. Trump essentially admitted to what he did," Woodcox added.

As an attorney Brent surely knows how critical it is to get evidence on the record, and direct testimony from witnesses. He's right that Trump has already condemned himself, but in the absence of him resigning as President, the process must be followed. What Brent is actually trying to do is "normalize" Trump's behavior, to imply that bribery and coercion are not really Impeachable offenses:

Two-Faced Tillis and the desperate love affair with Trump

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His post-op recovery after having his spine removed is not going well:

Take Trump’s suggestion to investigate Joe Biden in a phone call with the Ukrainian president. Some GOP senators call it inappropriate but not impeachable; other at-risk incumbents have struggled with the query. It’s the central question of Trump’s impeachment inquiry.

Tillis sides firmly with Trump: “Would I have done it? I don’t know because I’m not the president, and I haven’t been pursued relentlessly for three years.”

He can't even say that he wouldn't pull the same stunt as Trump. That stunt being misusing his power to bribe a foreign leader into helping him dig up dirt on a political opponent. Withholding military funding that was approved and directed by Congress, no less, merely for personal gain. And Tillis can't (or won't) say that he wouldn't do that himself. File that away for next year's General Election, just in case Tillis does survive the GOP Primary:

NC National Guard now protecting Syrian oilfields

Right in the crosshairs of ISIS, and anybody else who wants that oil:

The mechanized National Guard brigade combat team that is tasked with protecting infrastructure has been in Syria for a little over a week now, a key part of the U.S. military's repositioning of forces. While Pentagon officials will not put an exact figure on the number of troops expected to remain in Syria, they have said it is likely to be a few hundred fewer than the roughly 1,000 troops deployed there before October.

The policy changes have shaken up an already volatile region and severely tested the relationship between the U.S. and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, one of Washington's closest allies in the fight against ISIS.

The 30th Brigade Combat Team had recently deployed to Kuwait to replace a previous unit, and I had hoped their tenure would be uneventful. But when I saw reports of Trump wanting to move in some tanks and other armored vehicles to "provide security" for the oilfields in Syria, I got a sinking feeling. And with them being deployed after a monumental clusterfuck by Trump, I'm even more concerned:

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