Donald Trump

Trump's voter suppression machine kicks into high gear

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And harassing election officials is one of their weapons:

The strategy was on display last week when Trump tweeted about nine “discarded” ballots in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Then this week the hot spot was a Philadelphia fight over whether Trump campaign poll monitors could be allowed into newly opened satellite election offices.

Trump poll monitors requested entry, but city election offices said neither party's observers had a legal right to access the buildings. Under state law, poll monitors can only observe live, in-person voting and not places where people can register, fill out early ballots and drop them off to be counted weeks later. The campaign sent observers to the sites, and in one case, they were turned away by a Republican on the city election commission. The campaign sued the city Thursday night in an effort to gain access to the sites.

After tearing apart the Postal Service to slow down the mail (and make people fear mailing in their ballots), of course they're going to haunt boards of elections sites where people go to drop off their absentee ballots. All it takes is a few high-profile incidents and people will be afraid to do that, too. Wisconsin's Election Commission developed guidelines for poll watchers in 2018 that is a good model:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Trump's EPA is literally trying to kill us

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Andrew Wheeler just made millions for his coal industry pals:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a rule that revises regulations for coal-fired power plants, a move that will limit the number of generation facilities that could incur costs for failing to comply with pollution limits. The action on Aug. 31 revises a rule established in 2015, when the EPA issued an order that for the first time set federal limits on the levels of toxic metals in wastewater that could be discharged from power plants.

Coal industry executives, critical of the original restrictions which they characterized as costly and burdensome, praised Monday’s changes. Andrew Wheeler, the EPA administrator who is a former coal industry lobbyist, described the revisions as “more affordable pollution control technologies” that would “reduce pollution and save jobs at the same time.”

Bolding mine, because we see this nonsense all the time from Republicans. They are actually increasing pollution, not reducing it, but in this truth-challenged Trump era, casual lies like this are a daily staple. Thankfully, this rule change is on SELC's radar:

The real Deep State: NIH employee was anti-mask author

Now we know what websites Dandy has been reading:

It would have been a dangerous assertion in the middle of a deadly pandemic no matter where it came from: that wearing masks has “little to no medical value” and could do more “harm” than wearing no mask at all.

But it was especially remarkable given the source. Published on the right-wing website RedState, it turned out to have been written under a pseudonym by William B. Crews, a public affairs officer at the National Institutes of Health, promoting the same type of discredited information about dealing with the virus that his employer was working aggressively to beat back.

I no longer find it ironic these guys do exactly the opposite of what we pay them to do. After 3 1/2 years of Kakistocracy, that's what you get. I do find it hard to believe his coworkers and supervisors did not realize what an idiot he actually was. Here are some examples:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Barr wants to use "Seditious Conspiracy" law on protesters

This authoritarian nightmare can't end soon enough:

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

Bolding mine. What's the first thing that crossed your mind when you read that? It should be the Bundy family taking over a Federal facility in Oregon, which fits that statute to the T. But they were not charged with Seditious Conspiracy. As a matter of fact, all of the charges against them were dropped when a judge declared a mistrial. Nevermind the fact the whole world saw them commit the crime, and nevermind the fact right-wing snipers were photographed targeting Federal and state law enforcement officers. Their rights must not be infringed upon. Back to the Kakistocracy:

Trump doesn't want to "test" the system, he wants to de-legitimize it

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And increase unnecessary crowding and confusion at the polls on Election day:

N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein reminded people they cannot vote twice, again rebuking President Donald Trump’s telling North Carolinians to vote by mail and to try again in person. It is illegal to vote twice.

Trump tweeted: “NORTH CAROLINA: To make sure your Ballot COUNTS, sign & send it in EARLY. When Polls open, go to your Polling Place to see if it was COUNTED. IF NOT, VOTE! Your signed Ballot will not count because your vote has been posted. Don’t let them illegally take your vote away from you!”

Think about it. If his supporters follow this recommendation, there will be thousands of additional voters showing up at their polling places for no reason, asking poll workers for evidence that voter could easily get through the new NC Board of Elections BallotTrax portal. We're struggling as it is to have enough volunteers working the polls, the last thing they need is a steady stream of assholes who've already voted clogging up the process. Lines will already be long with social distancing, and this will turn even the least-crowded precincts into nightmares.

Trump protects red states only in offshore drilling ban

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Ten-year moratorium leaves out North Carolina and Virginia:

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday in Florida imposing a 10-year moratorium on offshore drilling in waters from Florida to South Carolina, leaving North Carolina open to potential activity.

Under the order, leases of areas along the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina for the purposes of offshore exploration or development are prohibited between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2032. What is not clear is why the order omits North Carolina and Virginia, where residents have been vocally opposed to offshore drilling, often citing the potential impact to fisheries and coastal tourism.

Oh, it's clear as a bell. DeSantis, Kemp, and McMaster are all Republicans, while Cooper and Northam are Democrats. Nobody wants that shit anywhere near their beaches, but when you've got a partisan hack like Trump making these calls, punishing states who (even moderately) support the other party is fair game. Here's more from the Southern Environmental Law Center:

Biden's "mental health" issue is a Russian disinformation plot

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And one the Trump administration is helping to hide:

The intelligence bulletin, titled “Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of U.S. Candidates to Influence 2020 Election,” was drafted to inform state and local law enforcement officials that Russian state media agencies were posting “allegations about the poor mental health of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden,” ABC News first reported on Wednesday.

But before the bulletin was distributed, senior Homeland Security officials intervened to halt publication, department officials confirmed.

This is a classic Republican tactic: If you are weak in a certain area, or guilty of something, accuse your Democratic opponent of it. In this case, Trump's own mental health has been increasingly in question (his physical health, too), and due to his Twitter obsession, there's no way in hell to hide that cognitive deterioration. So it's time to project and deflect. I would not be surprised if Trump had actually asked Putin to help with this. He did it with Ukraine. Keep in mind, Homeland Security was originally created to facilitate the dissemination of intelligence amongst law enforcement entities, not stifle it:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Andrew Wheeler just might be an idiot

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Asking Chemours to make a newer, safer forever chemical:

Andrew Wheeler, the administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said on Monday the Chemours Co. chemical plant near Fayetteville should switch production to a newer, less dangerous form of the controversial PFAS chemical.

The roundtable is being held by U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. The meeting includes several local elected officials, a Cumberland County deputy manager, and members of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) were invited, officials said later Monday.

Guess what, Einstein? GenX is the newer and supposedly safer chemical. It was developed to replace C8, after DuPont lost a massive lawsuit related to the contamination of the Ohio River and the poisoning of local residents:

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