States Sue Trump Again, Hot Air at EPA
Friday, March 10, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 62
Ban the Ban: Hawaii and the State of Washington are leading a pack of states suing to block President Trump’s latest order banning travel from six predominantly Muslim countries. They argue that the new order is only a slight rewrite of the original order stayed by the courts for targeting Muslim travelers from specific countries.
Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said the administration is “very comfortable” with the legal defensibility of the new order.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Trump is trying to play a game of “Whack-a-mole” with the courts, popping up in a slightly different place. Accidentally supporting Ferguson’s argument, Trump aide Stephen Miller has said publicly that the new ban would have the same “basic policy outcome” as the original.
Hot Air: Speaking on MSNBC yesterday, the man charged with protecting the US environment denied that manmade emissions of carbon dioxide are the primary cause of global warming and climate change. Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said, “I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so, no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”
The EPA’s own website, as of yesterday, said, “it is extremely likely that human activities have been the dominant cause of that warming.”
The truth is that there is very little debate amongst climate scientists that carbon dioxide is the culprit. The “disagreement” Pruitt talks about comes from non-scientist climate-change skeptics and deniers.
The Russia House: FBI Director James Comey met privately yesterday with congressional leaders, including the heads of the intelligence committees. No one would say what the meeting covered, but the big items in play are Russian hacking of the election, Trump campaign contacts with Russia, and the President’s claim that his Trump Tower phones were tapped on the orders of President Obama.
On the matter of Trump/Russia connections, so far there’s smoke and no fire. Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi warns that “both the Democratic Party and many leading media outlets are making a dangerous gamble, betting their professional and political capital on the promise of future disclosures that may not come.”
Taibbi says, “We have to remember that the unpopularity of the press was a key to Trump’s election. Journalists helped solve the billionaire’s accessibility problem by being a more hated group than the arrogant rich. Trump has people believing he shares a common enemy with them: the news media. When we do badly, he does well.”
Get Out: South Korea’s Constitutional Court has removed President Park Geun-hye from office following her impeachment in a corruption scandal. One judge said Park’s acts “betrayed the trust of the people and were of the kind that cannot be tolerated for the sake of protecting the Constitution.”
Park is the daughter of the Cold War military dictator Park Chung-hee and a bastion of conservatism that takes a hard line against North Korea. Her removal is likely to throw leadership to the opposition, which is likely to shift political relations in Asia, including with the North.
Permawar: In the creeping re-involvement of American ground troops in the Middle East, the Pentagon is sending 400 more soldiers to Syria to aid in the fight for Raqqa, a major center for the Islamic State. They include Army Rangers and a Marine artillery unit.
As they have in Mosul, Iraq, US forces are expected to provide artillery, air cover, and tactical advice to forces attacking Raqqa.
Branding: The Republican healthcare bill is in search of a nickname akin to Obamacare, but it seems no one wants their name on it. We call it “Conservacare,” but there have been efforts to call it “Ryancare” after House Speaker Paul Ryan, and of course, “Trumpcare” after the president. Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Fox News, “I didn’t hear President Trump say to any of us, ‘Hey, I want my name on that,'” She said, “This is serious stuff. It’s not about branding according to someone’s name.”
You have to suspect that it must be really bad if the man who names everything after himself doesn’t want his name on it.