Donald Trump

Notes from the Kakistocracy: The final days of Andrew Wheeler

Moving to cripple the Biden administration's corrective measures:

Current and former E.P.A. staff and advisers close to the transition said Mr. Biden’s team has focused on preparing a rapid assault on the Trump administration’s deregulatory legacy and re-establishing air and water protections and methane emissions controls.

Racing against those efforts is Mr. Wheeler, who has a long list of priorities that aides and confidants said he is determined to complete before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. He has also maneuvered legally to erect time-consuming hurdles that Mr. Biden will have to clear to unwind some Trump administration policies.

While I find much comfort in knowing there are many career employees in the EPA who are actively opposing Wheeler at this juncture, I fear it will get ugly before it's finally over in late January. Republicans would refer to these folks as "Deep State" operatives, but I prefer the term "Fifth Column." They are fighting for the integrity of the Agency, and for the health and well-being of American citizens. I'm sure many will say they should have done so sooner, but the only "outsiders" who wield influence in Trump's administration are industry lobbyists and conspiracy theorists. Being fired takes you off the gameboard completely. Back to Wheeler's crusade to destroy the environment:

UNC alum Sidney Powell has lost her mind

If she hasn't been disbarred yet, that needs to happen post haste:

At the Nov. 19 news conference, before a national television audience, she asserted that “communist money,” the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and a manipulated computer algorithm were all connected in a secret plot that had altered potentially millions of ballots and stolen the election from Trump.

In an interview two days later with the conservative outlet Newsmax, she said she had been given evidence — which she said she could not disclose — that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican and an ally of the president, had taken bribes and conspired to orchestrate Trump’s defeat.

Yeah, I mean, no. I don't trust Brian Kemp as far as I can throw his limousine, he pretty much stole his own election from Stacey Abrams. But if anything, he would have helped Trump cheat in Georgia. But it's a bunch of BS anyway, apparently part of Powell's very own grift campaign:

Trump and his followers are "Fake News" champions

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When you can't find the smoking gun you're looking for, just make shit up:

"We have breaking news of how the mob, reportedly at this point, has helped Joe Biden get thousands and thousands and thousands of fraudulent votes," he said during a Facebook Live video. "You cannot make this stuff up, ladies and gentlemen." Actually, you can — the claim is baseless.

Herrell’s video was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. It has more than 176,000 views.

We've been seeing a lot of these in the last week or so. Apparently broad yet entirely baseless claims are not having the desired effect, so it's time for some Pizzagate nonsense. Naming specific individuals creates the perfect conspiracy theory loop; denials and evidence refuting the theory merely means the conspiracy is "farther reaching" than they thought it was. And this jackass is leading the charge:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Lame Duck continues to attack climate science

Trump replaces top scientist on Climate Assessment Team:

Michael Kuperberg, executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which produces the climate assessment, was told Friday that he would no longer lead that organization, people with knowledge of the situation said.

According to two people close to the administration, he is expected to be replaced by David Legates, a deputy assistant secretary at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who previously worked closely with climate change denial groups.

Trump is not just dumping kitty litter on the living room carpet on the way out, he's stacking the deck with things Joe Biden will have to fix when he takes office. Forgive the strained metaphors, but that's the best way to assess the behavior of toddlers. He can no longer set a policy agenda, but he can make it harder for his successor:

Trump's legal challenges crash into an impenetrable wall of evidence

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Our legal system has many flaws, but fantasy isn't one of them:

During a Pennsylvania court hearing this week on one of the many election lawsuits brought by President Donald Trump, a judge asked a campaign lawyer whether he had found any signs of fraud from among the 592 ballots challenged. The answer was no.

Trump has not been so cautious, insisting without evidence that the election was stolen from him even when election officials nationwide from both parties say there has been no conspiracy.

One of the most ironic aspects of this is how many Republicans, who won their elections, are backing up Trump's baseless election fraud claims. Truth be told, most of them know it's bullshit. But they're still afraid of him. They're still afraid of his crazy Q followers. So they're playing along, and making the problem much worse by doing so. It's the height of irresponsibility, but they don't really care about any ill effects it may cause:

Along with Trump, Louis DeJoy needs to go to jail

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Make no mistake, this is election fraud, and a violation of the Constitution:

More than 150,000 ballots were caught in U.S. Postal Service processing facilities and not delivered by Election Day, agency data shows, including more than 12,000 in five of the states that have yet to be called for either President Trump or Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.

Despite assurances from Postal Service leaders that agency officials were conducting daily sweeps for misplaced ballots, the mail service acknowledged in a court filing Thursday that thousands of ballots had not been processed in time, and that more ballots were processed Wednesday than on Election Day.

Get that? Trump is ranting about late votes, and Tweeting, "STOP COUNTING!" while DeJoy was (is) holding ballots hostage until after Election day. When a judge first ordered the Postal Service to begin sweeps of postal facilities 7 days ago, they (DeJoy) ignored the order. They barely lifted a finger on Monday, and even Tuesday (Election Day). Then they started sweeping (in earnest) on Wednesday. That demonstrates (clearly) the intent to delay and obstruct the votes of tens of thousands of citizens, regardless of lame rationalizations:

T'was the night before Election, and all through the (U.S.) House...

Gerry Mander is not as strong as he was:

The GOP’s current 10-3 advantage relied on concentrating Democratic voters into some districts and splitting Democratic strongholds in others, a strategy known as “cracking and packing.” North Carolina’s new districts, now much more unpacked and uncracked than the previous iteration, all but assures a two-seat Democratic gain in districts centered in the Triangle and Triad, making the partisan split at least 8-5.

Whether the outcome this year stays 8-5 or results in further gains for Democrats hinges on a presidential race in a state with shifting demographics and a history of bouncing between parties on top of the ticket races.

Picking up (at least) two more seats in our Congressional Delegation is something positive to chew on these days. But I get an even bigger warm fuzzy knowing that North Carolina is actively defending or even growing the Democratic majority in the U.S. House. We are moving progress forward, not just helplessly watching from the fringe. That two seat gain is a victory we shouldn't take for granted, even if we fall short on these (three) other seats:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Trump puts climate deniers in charge at NOAA

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Because real science is a pain in the ass, or something:

Mr. McLean had sent some of the new political appointees a message that asked them to acknowledge the agency’s scientific integrity policy, which prohibits manipulating research or presenting ideologically driven findings. The request prompted a sharp response from Dr. Noble. “Respectfully, by what authority are you sending this to me?” he wrote, according to a person who received a copy of the exchange after it was circulated within NOAA.

Replacing Mr. McLean, who remains at the agency, was Ryan Maue, a former researcher for the libertarian Cato Institute who has criticized climate scientists for what he has called unnecessarily dire predictions.

Just so you know how bad this is, Maue worked with an even crazier dude at Cato, who believes more atmospheric carbon is a good thing:

Trump will go down in history as the anti-environment President

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Endangering the health of citizens and ecosystems alike:

The bulk of the rollbacks identified by the Times have been carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and from cars and trucks; removed protections from more than half the nation's wetlands; and withdrawn the legal justification for restricting mercury emissions from power plants.

At the same time, the Interior Department has worked to open up more land for oil and gas leasing by limiting wildlife protections and weakening environmental requirements for projects.

Before we get into the details of Trump's transgressions against the environment, here's another angle to consider: NC's Republican Legislative leaders pushed hard to restrict DENR (now DEQ) from enacting rules that were tougher that EPA guidelines, arguing the Federal rules were "more than enough" to protect our air and water. But have you seen those Republicans taking any steps to counter all these Trump rollbacks? That's a rhetorical question, because of course not. They simply don't care about the environment, clean water, breathable air, etc. Not on their radar, period. Back to Trump:

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