During his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump repeatedly promised he would save the nation’s struggling coal industry by rolling back regulations enacted during the Obama years, and he has made strong efforts to keep his word. But the extent to what the President would be able to do to keep this pledge was always severely limited, by the constitutional limits on presidential powers, the vagaries of the regulatory process, the ability by opponents of his priorities to tie anything he tries to do up in the court system for years, and by the realities of the marketplace.
So it was somewhat ironic and telling that the following two announcements came within a few days of one another:
- On October 6, Luminant announced it would be permanently closing its huge, 1800 mwh coal-fired Monticello power plant in Titus County, Texas by January 2018; and
- On October 9, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced his agency would formally propose a new rule to replace the Obama era Clean Power Plan (CPP), following up on the executive order issued by President Trump on March 27.
Mr. Pruitt admitted his agency has no firm proposed substitute at this point, but rather will seek public comment and participation in developing a plan for reducing power plant emissions that would ultimately replace the CPP. Regardless of how that process of public input is conducted, the EPA’s action will be met by strong resistance, as evidenced by the typically inflammatory statement issued by Micheal Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, as cited by the Washington Post:
“With this news, Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt will go down in infamy for launching one of the most egregious attacks ever on public health, our climate, and the safety of every community in the United States. He’s proposing to throw out a plan that would prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of childhood asthma attacks every year.”
Mr. Pruitt can rest assured that his proposal to repeal and replace the CPP will be challenged in the federal courts at every conceivable opportunity not only by anti-development groups like Sierra Club, but also by the many Democratic state attorneys general who have already coordinated suits against several other Trump Administration energy and environment-related proposals.
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Today’s Campaign Update – Supplemental
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- It hadn’t occurred to me when I was compiling the daily Campaign Update in this morning’s wee hours, but in thinking through the week’s events and how Trump’s mind tends to work, it seems to me that yesterday’s replacement of Reince Priebus with DHS Secretary Gen. John Kelly could become a prelude to yet another Trumpian 4-D chess move. Bear with me here…
- There is no question that the President is both frustrated with and very fond of his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. President Trump was caught off-guard by Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Democrat/Media-generated Russia Collusion fantasy play, and has stewed about that decision ever since. At the same time, though, Sessions was and remains one of the President’s earliest and most loyal supporters, and the two obviously like one another.
- But the President definitely wants to move Sessions out of Justice, so that he can appoint a new A/G who can exert some semblance of control over the ever-expanding, obvious witch hunt that Special Counsel Bob Mueller is running. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, the lifetime swamp creature who appointed Mueller, has steadfastly refused to exercise any oversight whatsoever.
- But Trump has been warned by squish GOP senators Ben Sasse and Lindsey Graham that the senate would never confirm a new AG nominee if Sessions is fired. Both senators also made it clear they would never allow the President to make a recess appointment for the AG post.
- So what does any of that have to do with the “resignation” by Reince Priebus and his replacement with DHS Secretary Kelly? Well, consider the following possible steps available to the President now:
- Because Sessions has already been confirmed by the Senate for a cabinet post, those squish senators would have no ability whatsoever to interfere if Mr. Trump wanted to replace Kelly at DHS by moving Sessions into that job;
- Because EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has already been confirmed by the Senate for his position, those squish senators would have no ability whatsoever to interfere if Mr. Trump decided to move the former Attorney General of Oklahoma into the Attorney General slot;
- Because Rick Perry has already been confirmed by the Senate for his job as Energy Secretary, those squish senators would have no ability whatsoever to interfere if Mr. Trump decided to move the former Texas Governor into the EPA Administrator slot;
- That would leave a vacancy at the Department of Energy, but so what? Does anyone believe that those squish senators would fall on their swords opposing a new nominee for that job? Please.
- Now, I have no information that the President is in fact thinking along these lines, but given his often-unanticipated moves over the past few years that turned out to shock everyone, we should not be surprise if he has a scenario such as this in the back of his mind.
- Don’t be surprised if the Preibus-for-Kelly trade was just the first in a series of cabinet-level dominoes to fall.
That is all.
Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
Indications abound that the Russia collusion fantasy play is dead as a doorknob. Here are some examples:
- Writing in the Washington Post, fake columnist David Ignatius, a regular guest on “Morning Joe”, posted a column titled “Working With Russia Might Be The Best Path To Peace In Syria”. I kid you not, somehow a piece with that theme made it past the WaPo’s fake editors, despite the fact that the WaPo has for the last two years been brutally pounding Donald Trump for even thinking such a thing, and the fact that the fake newspaper has willingly participated in supporting a Democrat/fake media-invented fantasy that alleges that Trump is in Vladimir Putin’s pocket.
- Next up is this story in Politico, in which several leading Democrats are quoted moving the goal posts on how the fantasy play’s final scene may eventually play out. Here, instead of alleging that Trump or people associated with this campaign may have somehow coordinated efforts with Russia to “hack” the U.S. election system, the Democrats have now begun to speculate that some nebulous, unidentified “Americans” or “American insiders” – whatever the hell that means – might have been the culprits who held the Russians to….ummmm…to do….welllll….to hack into….ummmm….ok they have no idea what any of this even means.
- Then there is this unintentionally hilarious defense from The Hill of the fake news media’s having to retract a raft of fake stories and fire a bunch of people in recent weeks: “Together, the corrections and retractions amount to only a few stories out of the thousands published every day. But the high-profile nature of the errors hurts the media’s credibility at a time when the press is under more scrutiny than ever before, giving new political ammunition to critics of the mainstream press.” In other words, the fake journalists at The Hill aren’t at all concerned about the fakeness of the stories on the various Democrat fantasy plays, they’re worried that the retractions and firings are helping the public catch onto the truth. Typical.
- And the fakery is not limited to the Russia Collusion fantasy. The Associated Press had to retract a fake story late last week in which it alleged that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is unjustly tilting environmental policy in favor of chemical companies. The key foundation for the story was a meeting the AP said Mr. Pruitt had with Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris. The problem is, an investigation by Breitbart revealed that no such meeting ever took place. The AP initially refused to retract or even correct its fake story after Breitbart had notified its fake editors that their mendacity had been discovered, and only relented after the story went viral on Twitter and other social media.
- And hey, occasionally one of these fake news outlets even files a fake story without even knowing it’s fake. Take the NYTimes, for instance, which filed a story on Tuesday about the Crazy Little Fat Guy who runs North Korea. In the story, the NYTimes’ fake writers quote a Twitter account named @DPRK_News, which it identifies as a North Korean state-run media outlet. Only problem is, that Twitter account is a well-known fake. Upon learning of this, the fake editors at the fake newspaper issued a meek “correction” to their fake story.
Seriously, you would think that at some point, these fake editors and reporters would get tired of having to issue all these retractions and corrections, and maybe start focusing on real news. But then, that would make them real editors and reporters, and none of them remember what that even feels like anymore, assuming they ever did.
Just another day in fake news media America.
That is all.