Republican Austerity Responsible For Aborted Fetuses In Flint

If Republicans, the evangelical right, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and personhood movement were as concerned about birth and “the fetus” as they pretend to be, a new report should incite them to outright bloody war – against Republicans. In fact, the above mentioned groups should demand murder charges and the summary executions of every last Michigan Republican who had a hand in poisoning residents of Flint Michigan. But they will never say a word because it was Republicans and a couple of corporate behemoths who caused a drastic decline in fertility rates and aborted fetuses in untold numbers out of sheer greed and criminal coverups to protect a devout pro-life governor and his equally culpable pro-life Republican cohorts.

The scientific and medical community have known for decades that lead is an incredibly toxic mineral as well as that it severely damages fetuses and young children. In fact, in the 18th Century if a woman wanted to terminate a pregnancy, it was not uncommon for them to take lead pills if they were not concerned about their future fertility. Lead is also well known to decrease fertility in men. Where is the religious right’s outrage over their Party’s greed responsible for forcing unwanted abortions?

The report released just this week revealed that Flint saw far fewer pregnancies, and a drastically higher number of fetal deaths than the rest of the state during the time period Flint women and their unborn children were exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking, bathing and cooking water. The new research study reviewed health records from Flint and across the state in order to compare birth and fetal death data to similar data from 15 other large Michigan cities, including Detroit.

The study was conducted by assistant professors and health economists David Slusky of Kansas University and Daniel Grossman from West Virginia University that included examining vital statistics data for Flint and the rest of the state down “to the census-tract level.”

The damning results came from the time period after April 2014 when Republicans purposely switched the safe drinking water supply to the toxic Flint River to save money. That Republican fiscal austerity measure produced fertility rates that decreased by 12 percent among Flint women, and increased fetal death rates by 58 percent. It is noteworthy that Flint women had no choice in aborting their pregnancies; that decision was made for them by austerity-minded pro-life religious Republicans.

It is noteworthy that lead affects male fertility as well as causes irreversible damage to the developing brains and nervous systems of children and fetuses. It also leads to lower intelligence, serious behavioral problems and diminished life achievement; probably like the typical Republican voter. However, those Republican voters, like women, should have a choice in whether or not their lives are adversely affected by Republican economic policies.

To verify that the drop in the fertility rate was due to something other than parents putting off starting a family due to the Republicans’ Great Recession, the researchers went to extreme lengths to discover if the birth rate decline was due to Flint residents’ concern about lead in their drinking water. The researches examined Google data for searches from Flint residents on “lead” and “lead poisoning,” but they found no increases in such searches until September 2015 when it became public knowledge that Flint’s water was poisoned by Republican greed.

One of the study’s authors, David Slusky said:

During most of our time period, when the city and state officials were saying there was no problem, we didn’t see any evidence of knowledge about lead in the water. Either Flint residents were unable to conceive children, or women were having more miscarriages during this time.”

The researchers also noted the similarity of fetal death increases in Flint to those from research done by Edwards in Washington, D.C., after residents there were exposed to elevated lead levels in drinking water from 2000 to 2004. Mr. Slusky remarked that after comparing data from Edwards in Washington, D.C., the evidence if fairly clear that his research teams’ findings were more than similar.

Although the lifetime of damage is already done for affected Flint residents, the good news is that their water supply is now “allegedly” from a clean, lead-free source. The bad news is that a comprehensive investigation last year identified close to “2,000 additional water systems spanning all 50 states where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years.” (author bold)

Those 2,000 poisoned water systems reported lead levels “exceeding Environmental Protection Agency standards collectively supply water to 6 million people, and 350 of those systems provide drinking water to schools or day cares.” Like the tragedy in Flint, “at least 180 of the water systems failed to notify consumers about the high lead levels as federal rules require.

All of this horrid news is being reported even as Trump and his anti-environment cabal are frantically “rolling back” clean water rules and regulations put in place specifically to prevent these atrocities. It is noteworthy too that the piece of work running the Environmental Protection Agency responsible for keeping Americans safe is a devout evangelical actively opposed to women’s reproductive choices because “the fetus” is sacrosanct.

Where is Scott Pruitt’s religious outrage over his party’s responsibility for the increase in fetal demise in Flint? And why isn’t the pro-life zealot raging about the untold miscarriages within the 2,000 cities with lead-tainted water supplies? Everyone understands that infants and young children permanently damaged by lead doesn’t bother Republicans or the religious right, but regardless that they love a fetus but hate a living child, they are still directly responsible for an untold number of unwanted abortions.

There are evangelical “pro-life” Republicans and their nasty religious right masters who have called for women who choose to terminate a pregnancy to face murder charges, or at least imprisoned for even “harming” a fetus in cases of a woman miscarrying even by accident. What happened in Flint was no accident any more than Michigan Governor Rick Snyder “accidentally” forgot to inform Flint residents they were drinking, bathing,  and cooking with lead-infused water. Snyder claims that human life begins at conception and considers himself a staunch pro-life advocate willing to embrace any means to protect “the fetus” and “the embryo,” and if that is the case he is a raging hypocrite.

Snyder is ultimately responsible for the lead-poisoning that increased “aborted fetuses” by 58 percent in Flint. And to make matters worse, Snyder knew his economic policies were causing the increase in miscarriages and still failed to alert the citizens that he was making the choice to terminate their pregnancies by not alerting women that they were drinking, bathing and cooking with lead-tainted water; all to save money for tax cuts for Snyder’s wealthy supporters.

Image: ABCNews

Trump Lawyers Claim Greenpeace Is Funding Terrorism and Drugs

There is hardly any doubt that the day after the November election, many special interests celebrated themselves into a drunken stupor at the thought of Republicans controlling the government. And likely, none were as thrilled as big oil that legitimately believed there was nothing whatsoever that would stand in their way of raping and pillaging the land and despoiling the environment. Trump certainly did his part for big oil by letting the Heritage Foundation appoint friends of the oil industry to cabinet level positions at the EPA and Energy Department to sweep away what they consider obstacles to unfettered profits.

Even though big oil assumed that its sycophants in Congress and the White House were all-powerful, their excitement only lasted six months into their newly-purchased administration. Because although they control Congress and the White House, they don’t control the Federal Judiciary.

Probably because Trump is such a monumental distraction, the media and much of the population ignored a fairly important federal court ruling in June that dealt a blow to the owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Energy Transfer Partners (ETP). The 91-page ruling fundamentally said the Army Corps of Engineers failed miserably to properly vet the pipeline (DAPL) or study “the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice.” The court ruled the preparation was particularly deficient, so a judge ordered the “Corps” to prepare a new report on the pipeline’s risks and do it right this time.

Although the judge’s orders didn’t force ETP to abandon the pipeline or shut it down completely, Native Americans and environmental watchdogs celebrated a victory with far-reaching implications going forward. Prime among those implications is that from now on, corporations like ETP cannot just begin constructing extreme environmental hazards with impunity and without proper vetting. Portions of the pipeline already completed have already sprung leaks on at least two occasions, and it is not yet completed.

That court ruling was too much for the power-drunk owners of DAPL, so Donald Trump’s lawyers, on ETP’s behalf, filed a $300 million lawsuit against environmental activists  Greenpeace, Earth First, and other concerned environmentalists. According to a statement released by ETP, the environmental groups and Native American protestors:

Manufactured and disseminated materially false and misleading information about Energy Transfer and the Dakota Access Pipeline for the purpose of fraudulently inducing donations, interfering with pipeline construction activities, and damaging Energy Transfer’s critical business and financial relationships.”

In Trump’s lawyers’ 187-page complaint against environmental groups and Native Americans, ETP alleges that:

Putative non-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups who employ patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims and other purported misconduct”  caused the natural gas company to lose “billions of dollars.”

And just for good measure, Trump’s lawyers included some stunningly outrageous claims that the environmental groups were “funding terrorism and using donations to fund a lucrative drug trafficking scheme.” About the only thing Trump’s lawyers didn’t include in a long list of bovine excrement allegations was that Greenpeace, Earth First, and Native Americans were behind the terror attacks on 9/11, the financial meltdown of 2008, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

The name of the law firm representing ETP may sound familiar to some Americans because it is the same firm representing Donald J. Trump in the “several congressional and special counsel investigations into Trump’s collusion with Russia” during, and after, the general election. Trump’s law firm, Kasowitz, Benson and Torres LLP are also responsible for a couple of other lawsuits against Greenpeace filed late last year for “defamation and threatening customers” of Resolute Forest Products. That “paper and pulp” company was exposed by Greenpeace for wantonly stripping giant swaths of land of its forests in Canada; Trump’s lawyers are suing Greenpeace for $7 million in that attempt to “silence the environmental watchdog.

As an aside, Resolute is also suing Greenpeace for another $300 million in America alleging that the environmental watchdog “indulged in a criminal scheme against Resolute.” The criminal scheme is Greenpeace publicizing a “critique of the company’s forestry practices using sound opinion based on reliable scientific evidence.” Like the ETP lawsuit, the allegations against environmental groups claiming terrorism, defamation, and organized criminal activity are substitute words for “constitutionally-protected free speech” about the danger of denuding the landscape and building leak-prone crude oil pipelines.

One of the attorney’s representing Greenpeace, Tom Wetterer, respond to the ETP filing and said:

Trump’s lawyers are apparently trying to market themselves as corporate mercenaries willing to abuse the legal system to silence legitimate advocacy work. This complaint repackages spurious allegations and legal claims made against Greenpeace by the Kasowitz firm on behalf of Resolute Forest Products in a lawsuit filed in 2016. It is yet another classic ‘Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation’ (SLAPP), not designed to seek justice, but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation. This has now become a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies with Trump’s attorneys leading the way.

One can’t help but believe that Trump’s lawyers suing environmental watchdogs on the pipeline owners’ behalf is more than just a coincidence. It is noteworthy that within four days of being inaugurated, Trump overturned President Obama’s decision to halt DAPL’s construction and wait for a proper environmental impact report. Within a month of Trump’s executive order, Energy Transfer Partners officials began using “aggressive force” such as military assault vehicles, tear gas, concussion grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons against the unarmed water protectors. The “battlefield” tactics worked in pushing “water protectors” off the land effectively shutting down the Native American protests.

According to Jennie Neufeld writing for Alternet, not only are Trump’s personal lawyers “building ETP’s case against Greenpeace and Earth First, Trump has a vested interest in the pipeline’s completion after investing up to $1 million in the company according to disclosures related to the 2016 campaign.”

It is also no coincidence that the Trump Victory Fund was the recipient of a $100,000 “contribution” from ETP’s CEO Kelcy Warren. A contribution Trump remunerated with a “go-ahead” on DAPL and probably a note to his personal  lawyers to file a lawsuit labeling the pipeline’s protestors terrorists and drug schemers.

There is no doubt these lawsuits will be on the increase, and like Trump and his lawyers’ ETP lawsuit, there is a huge push to “brand the activists as terrorists.”  In fact, ETP hired TigerSwan, “a group founded by retired members of a U.S. military counterterrorism unit, Delta Force” to combat the legal protestors. And after a private document was leaked to the Intercept, it revealed that the former “counterterrorism” unit members compared the Native American demonstrators to “jihadists” and the entire protest movement “an ideologically driven insurgency with a strong religious component.”

Those so-called “jihadists” and “ideologically driven insurgents” are what normal people would label Americans concerned about their environment and are only exercising their constitutionally-protected right of free speech. But this is Trump’s America now and what was once normal is now terrorism.

Federal Appeals Court Orders Trump’s EPA to Do Its Job

There is no doubt that when Trump appointed Scott Pruitt, avowed environmental protection enemy, to run the EPA, he expected the fossil fuel acolyte to put an immediate end to regulations targeting big oil; likely because those regulations protect Americans’ air and water. Pruitt did as expected and suspended various EPA regulations and restrictions including an important provision of the New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) regulating dangerous and toxic greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry.

Late Monday a federal appeals court issued a ruling against Pruitt’s EPA and ordered it to start enforcing restrictions on dangerous methane gas emissions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit formally vacated the agency’s 90-day stay of the NSPS because that “key [methane rule] provision” is the law; and despite what Pruitt or the oil industry claims, the rule “is in effect.”

The Court said the “leak detection and repair provisions” of the NSPS law were supposed to take effect  and “begin delivering significant benefits” on June 3. But two days after the law went into effect, the court said “the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt unlawfully stayed these and other requirements of the rule retroactively from June 2 until August 31, 2017.” Pruitt did not have the authority to take that action and according to the court: “Pruitt and his industry allies have not offered any support for their proposition that complying with the law would cause significant hardship to the entities that had a year’s lead time to prepare.”

What the court did say, however, was that by ordering the stay of the rule, Pruitt’s EPA “is causing substantial additional methane, ozone-forming [volatile organic compounds], and hazardous air pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde to be released into the air of communities near these wells.” It is telling that 9 of 11 judges on the appellate panel had to tell the agency tasked with protecting Americans from dangerous toxins and pollutants to do its job, protect Americans from dangerous toxins and pollutants, and stop helping the oil and gas industry pour more toxic material into the atmosphere. It is also noteworthy that a federal appeals court had to waste its time to tell the corrupt Trump administration that no matter what it believes, it still “must enforce federal environmental protection rules.”

An environmental advocacy group, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) issued a statement late Monday saying:

Administrator Pruitt tried to impose a 90-day suspension of the vital clean air standards without public input and without analysis of the public health or environmental consequences.

Pruitt actually intended on delaying implementation of the clean air and water rule for much longer than the 90 days it says the oil and gas industry needed to figure out how badly it would hurt profits. Pruitt proposed an additional two-year delay for implementation of the rule because the EPA needed extra time to discover what negative impacts it would have on the poor oil and gas industry. During that two-year delay, Pruitt said the oil and gas industry could just ignore the rule and continue poisoning the nation’s air and water.

To really get an idea of just how much contempt the Trump administration, and Pruitt specifically, have for the health and safety of the American people, the Environmental Defense Fund said Pruitt knew that any delay whatsoever would negatively impact Americans’ health.

The EDF noted that when the EPA announced it was delaying the rule’s implementation for two years, it acknowledged that it would make children in and around oil and gas drilling sites sick. But Pruitt argued “that more illness for only two years is acceptable” if it helps the oil and gas industry prosper.

It wasn’t acceptable to “people who showed up at EPA headquarters” early in July to protest the EPA’s intention to delay implementation of the “methane rule.”  But the new rule did more than just restrict methane emissions and it is noteworthy that it only affects new drilling operations or those under repair.

As the director of environment and health for “Physicians for Social Responsibility,” Barbara Gottlieb noted, sealing leaks and capturing methane at oil and gas wells would capture “all the toxic and hazardous air pollutants” inherent in oil and gas drilling operations;” not just methane. Ms. Gottlieb said that the implementing the rule would capture “volatile organic” compounds that “cause severe health issues for people” living near oil industry operations. “If you seal the leaks and capture the escaping gases, you get it all.

For Americans living in close proximity to oil and gas operations the Appeals court made the right decision they thought was the purview of the federal agency created and tasked with protecting Americans’ health and well-being. That concept of protecting the health of the people is an abomination to Trump’s anti-environmental protection crusader Scott Pruitt or he would not have put a halt to the EPA rule’s implementation.

It is astonishing that this is not the first time that the federal Judiciary has had to step in and order the federal government under Trump to enforce federal laws created to protect all Americans. What the court did not say in this instance was that Pruitt’s job as head of the EPA was not to protect the profits of the fossil fuel industry – the only reason he is running the EPA.

Despite Trump’s Denial, Sea Level Rise is Drastically Accelerating

While the rest of the civilized world is frantically taking steps to staunch the existential threat to humanity due to global climate change, America is ignoring one of its most devastating effects that pose a very serious threat to both of its expansive coastlines. It is noteworthy that just one of the primary reasons the rest of the civilized world despises Donald J. Trump is due to his unilateral exit from the Paris Climate Accord; an exit he predicates on the 12th century belief that science is of Satan the Devil.  It doesn’t matter how advanced or developing the rest of the world’s nations are, they understand firsthand how crucial a concerted global effort is to at least slow global warming to save the people;  not the planet. Earth will always repair man’s damage, it just may take a couple of centuries according to scientists.

There was some incredibly bad news for the Earth’s population, especially those living in close proximity to coastal areas, this week that was generally ignored due to the Earth-shattering importance of Donald Trump’s social media activity. Apparently, the American media is well aware that people are too stupid to comprehend something as simple as sea level rise, so they hew closely to bombastic clickbait stories that sell ad space – like Trump’s tweets.

According to a new study in Nature Climate Change, “global sea level rise jumped 50 percent” over the past  15 years; the most recent period that data are available. The study revealed that the alarming and unprecedented melting of Greenland ice sheets is one of the “major new contributors” to sea level rise. In the late 1990s it only accounted for less than 5 percent of sea level rise, but in 2014 it was responsible for well over a quarter of the increase.

If that isn’t bad enough news for the hundreds-of-millions of human beings living in coastal areas, scientists that have been monitoring an enormous iceberg nearly the size of Delaware reported this week it “is poised to detach from one of the largest floating ice shelves in Antarctica and float off into the sea.”

Scientists, including the atmospheric and oceanic professionals under attack by the Trump administration, used satellite measurements and tidal gauges to provide an accurate measure of the impending disaster for the Earth. And it is noteworthy to mention that no part of the Earth has seen the “particularly intense acceleration of sea level rise” more than the United States’ Eastern seaboard.

The study noted that this is particularly dangerous for Virginia and North Carolina where measurements revealed the sea is rising  in those areas “three times more quickly that the worldwide average.” The rise along the East Coast is not all down to melting ice sheets and icebergs though, although it does account for over a quarter of the damage.

Some other contributors are “sinking land masses due to an increase in ground water removal” as a result of severe drought conditions brought on by global climate change and water theft by the fossil fuel industry and big agriculture; both industries that support Republican opposition to battling climate change.

Not that stupid Americans would understand the complexities of ocean currents or how they contribute to weather patterns, climate change and increasingly severe weather events, oceanographers reported that the “water level is higher in those areas than elsewhere.” The scientists also noted that the additional freshwater pouring into the North Atlantic from that Greenland ice melt is “accelerating that dynamic” affecting America’s East Coast. It is worth noting that the East Coast, especially around Virginia and North Carolina, is home to a substantial Naval presence and major shipping ports spanning the entire Eastern seaboard.

A professor of oceanography at Old Dominion University who did not take part in the study or any part of the reporting, Larry Atkinson explained:

This new evidence of accelerating rates is concerning to us as we try to advise local cities and regions on what they’re going to have deal with.”

Although most Americans are ignorant of rudimentary physics, it is worth noting that the greatest factor driving the dangerous rise in sea level is “thermal expansion.” What thermal expansion means in simple terms is that matter at the molecular level changes shape, area, and volume in response to temperature change.   What that means for sea level rise is that as the oceans warm, the sea water takes up more space (expands).

According to “the Fifth Assessment Report” by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that “thermal expansion” of sea water “accounts for up to 55 percent of the global sea level rise.” The melting glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica account for up to 35 percent of sea level rise and like expanding oceans, those rapid melting ice sheets are only due to “the Earth’s higher land and water temperatures resulting from anthropogenic climate change.

Regardless what dumb Don Trump says, global climate change is real and it is a result of man pouring greenhouse gases, like methane and carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. Americans living in the proximity of coastal areas can rest assured that when they are forced to relocate due to rising seas that America is as responsible, if not more so, than other industrial nations, except maybe China. However, at least China is moving forward to combat climate change while America with a corrupt clown in the White House pretends it is a joke.

Image: TheInsider

 

Trump’s Tyranny To Fix Elections Faces Increasing Opposition

 

Some Americans may recall that after the horrific slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School when President Obama called for common sense gun safety measures,  Republicans were berserk with rage. One of the common cries was that if Americans registered their firearms, the federal government would have their personal information and “who knows what horrors” the federal government would inflict on the good folks and their guns. Suffice it to say that Republicans vehemently oppose the federal government having any more “reach” or information about the citizens and their personal affairs and private information.

Now it is a different story, and it is not because Republicans suddenly believe Americans’ guns should be registered. It is because there is an authoritarian megalomaniac in the White House and an anti-democracy cabal ensconced deep within the Republican Party and racist conservative movement.

Because white trash Trump cannot accept that he lost the popular vote by substantial numbers, he convened a special election commission to ferret out the non-existent massive voter fraud he claims cost him the people’s overwhelming support. Trump’s stated reason for a special commission on election integrity is allegedly “to promote fair and honest federal elections.” Pay no mind that Trump’s Russian masters succeeded at denying Americans a “fair and honest federal election” in 2016; he won.

Trump tapped Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) as his vote-suppression enforcer. Kobach is renowned for lying and claiming massive voter fraud exists going back to 2008, but he has yet to find any in Kansas. So he is going national as a ruse to compile the voting records and personal data from every registered voter in all 50 states for the Trump administration to use in the next election.

One can only imagine what the corrupt and criminal Trump intends to do with voting and personal data of over 230 million eligible American voters. It is noteworthy that Kobach and Trump have both made universally-debunked claims that large numbers of undocumented immigrants voted in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Kobach is so enthusiastic to burrow into nearly a quarter-of-a-billion Americans’ personal and private business that he sent out a letter to all 50 states “requesting voters’ names, addresses, their birthdays, party affiliation, military status, felony convictions, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, and their voting history dating back ten years, to 2006.” This federal intrusion into states’ business, and Americans’ private lives, is the result of a Trump executive order.

It is noteworthy that no Republican has screamed out “tyranny or executive overreach” into Americans’ private lives and it would be curious if Republicans were not accomplished hypocrites. During President Obama’s 8-year tenure, a common Republican complaint was that his executive orders were criminal and that asking Congress to “consider” legislation requiring firearm registration was patently unconstitutional, tantamount to fascism, and a tyrannical federal governments’ intrusion into gun owners’ private lives and information.

If Kobach and Trump want a comprehensive study of voting fraud in “federal elections,” they could save the nation and all 50 states a fair amount of money if they were serious about their bovine excrement “voter fraud” claims. There is a well-documented and impressive study of all 1.1 billion votes cast in every federal, state, and municipal election for every political office dating back to the 2000 presidential election. That exhaustive study found that there were exactly 31 “credible cases” of voting anomalies across the nation over a 14 year period.

As of yesterday, Friday, there were 24 states that told the Trump they were not, in fact, handing over sensitive voter information to the federal government; especially with an anti-democracy administration with a tyrant in the White House.

For example, Virginia Governor Terry McCauliffe (D) issued a statement saying that he had “no intention” of fulfilling Trump’s demand. Mr. McCauliffe defended Virginia’s “voting fairness” and election integrity, and he rightly said Trump’s commission is “based on the false notion of widespread voter fraud in the last election.” He also stated the obvious that there is likely an ulterior motive to Trump’s election integrity commission.

At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression.

California’s Secretary of State, Alex Padilla (D), also responded to Kobach saying:

I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians ‘voted illegally’ in the last election.

California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, Vice President, and [Kansas Secretary of State Kris] Kobach.”

Kentucky’s Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), said that she does not intend to acquiesce to Trump and Kobach’s “request” for a massive release of voters’ personal data. She said:

The president created his election commission based on the false notion that ‘voter fraud’ is a widespread issue — it is not. I do not intend to release Kentuckians’ sensitive personal data to the federal government.” 

Mississippi’s Republican Secretary of State, Delbert Hosemann, was a tad more abrupt in relating that, like a growing number of state election officials, he definitely will not be turning over any sensitive personal information whatsoever to the panel. Mr. Hoseman promptly told the members of Trump’s “voter fraud commission” to “go jump in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor, Tom Wolf, said he was joining the other state officials and that: “We will not participate in this systematic effort to suppress the vote.”

To demonstrate how intrusive the Trump’s commission if behaving, even a member of the commission said her state was not going to comply. The president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, Connie Lawson (R) said:

Indiana law doesn’t permit the Secretary of State to provide the personal information requested by Secretary Kobach. Under Indiana public records laws, certain voter info is available to the public, the media and any other person who requested the information for non-commercial purposes. The information publicly available is name, address and congressional district assignment.”

Nellie Gorbea (D) is Rhode Island’s Secretary of State and she was pointed in her criticism of the commission and particularly Kobach as chief vote suppressor. She said Kobach was wholly “unfit to lead the commission, given his record of strict voting laws as well as a ‘recent court fine for failing to produce documents related to a lawsuit over voting laws.’ It is deeply troubling that he has been given oversight of this commission by the president.”

Kobach has been a staunch ALEC-Heritage Foundation advocate for enacting strict voter suppression laws he says are necessary to combat the “massive voter” fraud he has been unable to find. Democracy advocates rightly charge that the voting laws ALEC and Heritage demand are specifically devised “to hinder access to the polls primarily for elderly and minority voters.”

Many officials have questions about “the commission’s discretion obtaining the confidential documents.”  Those “questions” are code for they don’t trust the Trump administration whatsoever. One official spoke for the state of Wisconsin and said:

State statutes permit the [Wisconsin commission] to share confidential information in limited circumstances with law enforcement agencies or agencies of other states. The Presidential Commission does not qualify under either of these categories.

There is no doubt that this so-called “commission” is not about rooting out and preventing the nearly non-existent vote fraud Trump claims cost him the popular vote victory. The statistics showing there is no such thing as even minor vote fraud are readily available to anyone, and Trump’s and Republicans’ claim that there is any voter fraud has been widely debunked for a decade.

Look, Trump is corrupt, and criminally-corrupt to boot; so there is every expectation his real reason for wanting the private data and voting information for 230 million Americans has nothing to do with “election integrity” and everything to do with voter suppression and intimidation – exactly what one expects from an authoritarian regime.

Trump Imperils a Third of the Population’s Clean Drinking Water

By now only someone in a coma is unaware that Republicans will go to great lengths to sate the greed of the fossil fuel industry no matter how detrimental their actions are to human life. As most Americans learned by the sixth grade, the primary component in a human body is water; anywhere from 60 to 75 percent depending on a person’s age. That being the case, it is safe to assume most people comprehend that access to clean drinking water is more than a basic human right, it is fundamental to life. Obviously, not everyone agrees with fundamental biology or has any regard for human life; that is particularly true of America’s “pro-life” Republicans.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly “Explicitly recognized the fundamental human right to safe water and sanitation, and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.”

Republicans, led by the Koch brothers and Donald Trump, completely disagree with the U.N. General Assembly and are continuing the fossil fuel attack on Americans’ “fundamental human right” to clean water; an attack they began early in the new legislative year with a new heartless White House occupant. However, that “first strike” attack only affected areas in and around coal mining regions, so the Trump is expanding the attack on clean drinking water to affect a greater number of Americans; a little over one-in-three Americans.

In early February, Trump signed a law allowing the fossil fuel (primarily coal) industry to dump toxic waste and chemicals into Americans’ clean water supplies. This is in spite of Trump’s campaign pledge to his supporters that “Americans need crystal clear and clean drinking water.” As Jenifer Collins of Earthjustice said at the time:

It is shameful that one of the first bills President Trump signs into law is an attack on clean water protections for communities facing the harmful health and environmental impacts of coal mining operations like mountaintop removal mining. The President said Americans need ‘crystal clear and clean water.’ If he really meant that, he would have vetoed this legislation.”

Of course Trump didn’t mean it – he is a pathological liar. And he will say “I never promised to protect Americans’ crystal clear and clean drinking water, I just said they need it.” Apparently the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel industry needs the authority to pour toxic waste into “crystal clear and clean drinking water” without legal repercussions or punitive damages that Trump and Republicans were happy to provide.

Another advocate for Americans’ access to clean drinking water, Natalie Thompson, representing the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition said:

Voting to overturn the Stream Protection Rule in its entirety with no consideration for the health of our citizens and our ecosystems is completely irresponsible. The people in these coal communities will pay the price by being forced to purchase potable water that they cannot afford or by combating cancer, birth defects, and other invasions of human health by way of toxic water.”

As an aside for Ms. Thompson to ponder; If those people in those coal communities are unable to afford purchasing potable water, they aren’t going to be able to purchase healthcare insurance to battle cancer, birth defects or other human health issues. And, if they are that economically disadvantaged they will just have to die along with any Medicaid or Medicare coverage Trump and Republicans are eliminating to “sate the greed of the rich.”

Now, Trump and his fossil fuel industry EPA director, Scott Pruitt, are readying a vicious attack on the rest of the nation’s “crystal clear and clean water” that will affect a little over a third of the population’s “fundamental human right” to clean water.

Trump’s barbaric administration officially began repealing the “Clean Water Rule” late last week with a solemn pledge to completely “rescind and rewrite the regulation.” Trump’s fossil fuel employee Scott Pruitt will task industry lobbyists to “rewrite the regulation” to conform to the February law allowing the fossil fuel producers, manufacturers, and agribusiness  to legally dump toxic waste into about two million miles of rivers and streams and 20 million acres of wetlands.

To get an idea of how dastardly this Trump cabal really is, the “official repeal proposal” appeared on the same day EPA Administrator and ardent “pro-life” evangelical Scott Pruitt testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee that with a fossil fuel advocate like him at the helm, “the EPA would focus on its core mission of ‘protecting clean air and water’ for the American people.”

Pruitt said in a press statement:

We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses. This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty, in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”

Republicans, and particularly the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel cohort, complained bitterly in 2015 when President Obama tasked the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers with following an order from the United States Supreme Court to designate “waters of the U.S” that required protection from toxic dumping; solely because they provide “crystal clear and clean drinking water” to over a third of the population.

In February, at about the same time he signed a law authorizing the fossil fuel industry to dump toxic waste into rivers and streams that provide clean water, Trump issued an executive order directing the EPA to “review and reconsider” the Clean Water Rule it previously devised in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers. Trump specifically ordered the EPA to give “special attention and consideration” to how the agency defined “navigable waters.” One can only imagine that “navigable waters” will be reserved for the oceans in and around the United States so the fossil fuel, manufacturing, chemical, and agricultural industry can dump toxic waste into the clean waters anywhere within the continental United States.

There really isn’t much to say about the party in power, or its corrupt leader, that is printable for polite company, but that it takes a special kind of evil to pass laws, issue executive orders and rescind protections just to “sate the greed of the fossil fuel industry.” It was beyond comprehension that Congress and Trump would enact a law allowing the fossil fuel industry to dump toxic waste in and around mining and oil operations, but endangering a third of the population’s “crystal clear and clean water” is beyond comprehension. Sadly, there is nothing whatsoever anyone can do to stop this vicious attack on a “fundamental human right,” but there are environmental groups pledging to continue the fight for “human rights.” The executive director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune said in a statement:

“It goes without saying that the Trump administration doesn’t care about the environment, public health, or its duty to protect our most precious natural resources — and that is why it’s up to us, the American people, to hold them accountable. We will fight this and every other attempt by polluters and the Trump administration to destroy our water resources.”

The Trump administration is out to destroy, or steal, all of America’s resources for his and Republicans’ masters the Koch brothers, and the people can attempt to fight, and resist, their efforts, but they are impotent. That’s what happens when stupid Americans install a government committed to the general welfare of the rich, corporations and fossil fuel industry instead of the American people. First they came for your healthcare, then your schools, then your freedoms and now they’re coming for your most fundamental human right; “crystal clear and clean water.”

Rick Perry Proves He’s Stupider Than a Seventh Grader

It is too bad that there are a significant number of Americans who are stupider than dirt and lack an amoeba’s cognitive ability, or worse wasted taxpayer’s money during their primary school education. One thing every seventh grade student learned in science class is that carbon dioxide is a “greenhouse gas” responsible for trapping heat in the atmosphere; a fundamental fact only a complete idiot would dispute or contradict. Enter a complete idiot the moron in the Oval Office tapped to lead the Energy Department, former Texas governor Rick Perry, who disputed and contradicted a well-established and scientifically measured fact on national television.

Perry, as U.S. Secretary of Energy, was appearing on CNBC News recently and not only displayed less intelligence than a single-called zygote, he “made bizarre statements disputing the underlying foundations of physics and chemistry;” and the fundamentals of climate science. Perry may not be the stupidest of the Trump cabal, but he did his level best to claim that humiliating distinction. Perry was given an easy question any seventh grade student could have answered correctly and promptly revealed why he has no right being in government much less running the Energy Department.

The interviewer asked Perry whether carbon dioxide is primarily responsible for climate change to which he confidently replied:

No. Most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

That response must be a standard line for the oil industry whores in the Trump administration because it is precisely what the head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, says often; recently on national television like Perry.

Now, it doesn’t matter whether or not Pruitt, Perry or Trump’s entire idiotic administration disputes the reality of climate change; any greenhouse gas is classified as such for a very good and scientifically proven reason; they trap heat in the atmosphere and trapped heat warms the climate. And, carbon dioxide traps heat very effectively and as noted in IFLScience; “carbon dioxide has a lifetime in the atmosphere of up to 200 years and is unequivocally the primary driver of climate change.”

To address Perry’s remark about the oceans, it is true the world’s oceans are “carbon sinks” and have absorbed so much carbon dioxide that they stopped the Earth’s warming over the past century significantly. But their ability to absorb carbon dioxide is dependent on “not dead” marine life, and cannot physically or possibly absorb all the CO2 being released into the atmosphere; particularly the CO2 from burning fossil fuels. No matter what Perry says, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that man is pouring into the atmosphere and trapping heat, warming the oceans, and creating climate change that drives the severe weather events wreaking havoc on the Earth’s population.

This remark by Perry and Pruitt, a couple of bible-thumpers who believe fairy tales, is beyond reprehensible. Still, because Americans put an idiot moron in the White House, an idiot moron is running the Department of Energy; a position he is as unqualified for as Pruitt is to run the EPA. Remember, Perry at one time wanted to abolish the DoE and had no idea what the Cabinet level job entailed until after he was confirmed.

Perry is also a piece of work for changing his tune on climate action after being appointed to run the DoE. Prior to landing the gig at the DoE, Perry actually hoped, out loud no less, that Trump wouldn’t exit the Paris Climate Agreement. Now Perry has shut down the DoE’s climate change office and became a staunch “evangelist for climate denial.” He also banned any mention of the terms “climate change” and “Paris Agreement” under any circumstances at the Energy Department and rumors are that if Perry should happen to overhear either phrase uttered, he “will have a visceral reaction.

It is apparent that the Trump administration has issued orders to propagandize the American people into believing that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas and has no impact on hastening the warming climate. It is the only explanation why Rick Perry would make such an easily debunked claim on “live national television.” As Robin Andrews noted at IFLScience, Rick Perry may not be as idiotic as the Pennsylvania state senator who claimedhuman body heat” is driving climate change,  but he is very close. Sadly for America, the population is just stupid enough that if the Trump team continues saying something loud and often enough, it doesn’t matter how absurd the claims, people will believe it – unless they successfully completed the seventh grade.

 

Scott Pruitt Eliminates Scientific Integrity At the EPA

Any American with the slightest knowledge of history is likely aware that without science, the world’s population would still be living in literal dark ages. The primary reason there was an honest-to-dog Dark Age was the result of the Catholic Church’s unrelenting and vicious attack on science and its practitioners the church portrayed as agents of Satan the Devil.

Now that it’s the 21st Century and America has been the world’s leader in scientific research leading to astonishing technological development for at least a century, this nation is devolving into a dark time. In fact, America under an anti-science demigod is on a path to return to the 1600s when Galileo Galilei was imprisoned by the Catholic Church for embracing science and rejecting the Church’s anti-science orthodoxy.

Under the new evangelical-driven Trump administration, America is ruled by an anti-science “church” owned and operated by the oil industry. The administration is also staffed with evangelical fanatics intent on crushing what they consider heretics for embracing science and empirical data and rejecting oil industry tenets that’s driving the purge of scientist from the government.

This week, the Jesus-freak Trump appointed to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, leveled yet another Trump attack on the “integrity of the science” used by the government. It is tantamount to the 17th Century Catholic Church’s barbaric assault on science it regarded as “of the Devil.

The latest assault on science was the announcement that the EPA dismissed “nearly” all the members of its Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC). The “board” is responsible for reviewing and advising the EPA’s internal research departments on how best to use scientific methodology to make accurate reports founded on real empirical data.  Trump’s EPA intends to use “fake facts” provided by the oil industry coupled with biblical mythos embraced by conservatives convinced that scientific research and scientists are of the Devil.

The BOSC was already grossly understaffed, and besides dismissing the few “board members” still on the job, by August the “Board” will be “scientifically decommissioned” for all intents and purposes. Last week the acting head of the EPA office of Research and Development, Robert Kaylock, issued an email saying “that [the remaining] board members whose three-year appointments expire next month will not be renewed.” There may be a BOSC left in place, but it will not be staffed by scientists when there are plenty of oil industry sycophants at the ready to “transform” the EPA to help the Koch brothers.

Trump’s EPA head Scott Pruitt doesn’t need legitimate scientists at the EPA because he is a renowned oil industry climate denier with an aversion to empirical data and science, like his boss dumb Donnie Trump. Pruitt believes that the only people the EPA need directing scientific methodology and research are “the right kind of people who know how badly EPA regulations are for  the regulated community.” That is oil-whore code for putting the oil industry in control of the EPA’s scientific research; not unlike Trump putting an oil industry slut in charge of the EPA.

The only reason Pruitt and Trump will not completely eliminate all “scientific research” from the EPA is because they can use “oil industry” propaganda disguised as “scientific research and science” as justification to eliminate environmental regulations according to the Koch doctrine. The maneuver is not unlike Trump putting a pharmaceutical industry employee in charge of  the Federal Drug Administration, or Wall Street bankruptcy liquidation experts in charge of the Treasury and Commerce Departments.

The Trump administration attack on science is government wide and not just targeting the EPA.  Besides putting more American lives at risk on myriad levels, it is allowing the rest of the world to advance technologically while America devolves into the dark age. The days of American ingenuity and devotion to scientific research and technological development took a death blow with Trump’s ascension into the Oval Office, and his appointment of anti-science fanatics government wide portend a bad end for America.

At the pace that the rest of the world is investing in scientific research and advancing technologically, not only is America not a world leader any longer, it is on the verge of becoming insignificant. And without scientific research at the EPA, it is going to become environmentally dirty and hazardous to Americans’ health.

Court Rules Trump Violated the Law In Approving Dakota Pipeline

For the sick souls attempting to keep up with Donald Trump’s illegal activities and deliberate flouting of federal laws, it is getting to be an impossibly tiresome chore and frankly a little more disgusting every day. There are, however, those instances when the federal judiciary issues a ruling that some action Donald Trump performed violated federal law. Although he will never be sent to live out his pathetic life in a federal penitentiary, one can at least revel in the knowledge Trump was caught and called out for doing what career criminals do as a matter of course; violate the law. Yesterday was one of those occasions.

On Wednesday a Federal District Court Judge ruled that in serving the greed of the oil industry, Donald Trump “violated [federal] laws in certain critical respects” when he granted federal permits authorizing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to cross the Missouri River upstream of the Standing Rock Reservation. Federal Court Judge James Boasberg used 91 pages to say that the federal permits Trump “hastily issued just days after the [sparsely attended] inauguration” failed on several counts to meet critical federal laws. The Federal Court stopped short of determining whether or not the pipeline operations should be shut down immediately, but that possibility may be in the offing. The Judge requested “additional briefings” on the subject and a “status conference” in the next week.

The Federal Judge wrote, in part:

The Court agrees that [the Corps] did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.”

The Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, Dave Archambault II celebrated the ruling saying:

This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing. The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline, and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests. We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence, and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately.”

An attorney for Earthjustice, Jan Hasselman commented thus:

This decision marks an important turning point. Until now, the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have been disregarded by the builders of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Trump Administration—prompting a well-deserved global outcry. The federal courts have stepped in where our political systems have failed to protect the rights of Native communities.”

It is noteworthy that the Court did not give the “Tribe” everything it wanted, but it did alert the Trump that there are protocols and procedures even an aspiring dictator has to follow; including honoring Treaties and sovereign rights of Native Americans and long-standing environmental regulations and procedures.

Where the Standing Rock Sioux won was convincing the court that Trump allowed the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed without due regard for environmental rules. On Trump’s authority, the Corp failed to:

Sufficiently consider the pipeline’s environmental effects before granting permits to Dakota Access to construct and operate DAPL under Lake Oahe, a federally regulated waterway.  Although the Corps substantially complied with NEPA in many areas, the Court agrees that it did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.

To remedy those violations, the Corps will have to reconsider those sections of its environmental analysis upon remand by the Court. Whether Dakota Access must cease pipeline operations during that remand presents a separate question of the appropriate remedy, which will be the subject of further briefing.”

The Standing Rock lawsuit centered around three primary areas.

First and likely foremost, the federal government is forbidden from taking any federal action that harms “the Standing Rock reservation” or “the Missouri River water the people of Standing Rock depend on.” The Standing Rock Tribe has uncontested “Treaty rights that guarantee the integrity of its reservation” that Earthjustice and the Standing Rock Sioux noted the “Obama administration carefully considered in connection with a leak-prone oil pipeline immediately upstream of the reservation.” Because Trump flouts agreements and treaties his fossil fuel masters refuse to accept, dirty Don disregarded the previous administration’s advice, and compliance with federal law, and “acted as if the Tribe does not exist.”

Second, as Earthjustice noted, Federal law requires a full, transparent and public environmental review for any federal action that has “significant” environmental effects anyplace in the country, not just Native Americans’ sovereign land. The environmental advocate righty noted that there have been “full,  transparent and public environmental reviews for decisions as mundane as off-leash dog areas and allowing jet skis in parks,” and yet there were none for a “30-inch crude-oil pipeline under one of the most economically and culturally important waterways in the nation.”

The third point Earthjustice and the “Tribe” argued in their lawsuit was that whether Trump likes it or not, and this is a particularly prescient point for the Trump to acknowledge:

There are limits on the extent to which one administration can reverse the decisions of its predecessor. While federal agencies can change their minds about matters of policy, the courts will set aside reversals that are not fully justified and explained.”

It is already well-documented that Trump is, and has been, on a tear to reverse every environmental policy and decision made during the Obama Administration; in part out of sheer spite and in part to sate the greed of the fossil fuel industry. That Trump “automatically” granted a permit to DAPL within days of his sparsely-attended inauguration informs even stupid people that he gave no consideration whatsoever to established federal laws, long-standing treaties with Native Americans, or National Environmental Policy Act  (NEPA) requirements.

It remains to be seen if after further review by the Court, including a “status conference” and “additional briefings,” the Judge will shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline. But for now the Standing Rock Sioux can celebrate that even with an adversarial tyrant in the Oval Office working solely for the fossil fuel industry against Native Americans and the environment, a Federal Court ruled in their favor and against Trump for doing what he does as a matter of course; violate the law in “certain critical respects” like the common criminal he really is.

California Warns Trump To Keep His Tiny Hands Off Our Public Land

 

There are a couple of actions that the fascist bully Trump can’t comport likely because he surrounds himself with wimpy yes-men – similar to his business “empire” underlings and reality television show actors. Of course Trump will not tolerate not being worshipped like some kind of demi-god, and he particularly cannot accept being told no by anyone; both mostly due to his entitled rich-boy upbringing.

Americans learned what Trump thinks of the U.S. Constitution as it virtually “told him no” when the system of checks and balances prevented him from being a dictator; he doesn’t like it and it makes him very, very angry because it’s “archaic and bad for the country.”

After this week, Trump must hate California a bit more than he hates America or the U.S. Constitution because its Attorney General told the “big-time wrestling celebrity” Trump no. And, the Golden State’s AG likely really offended Trump because he issued a warning to the wanna-be dictator to keep his grubby teeny-tiny hands off California’s public lands; Trump already knows Californians don’t worship him so he really hates the Golden State.

California has already stood up to Trump regarding his nasty and illegal threats to withhold tax revenue over “sanctuary cities,” and defied his order to conscript local law enforcement officers into the Trump “round up and deport” agency. It is noteworthy that an important component of that “archaic system” that Trump wants gone, the federal judiciary, has ruled that Trump cannot withhold federal funds to a state. Of course that action infuriated the Trump.

Then California stepped up and became a surrogate for a responsible America in leading the global effort to combat climate change; including signing international pacts and setting climate and environmental policy with several foreign countries including China. No doubt Trump is stewing in his own outrage that California dares defy him, but that’s what happens when a so-called president exists to pander to the whims of the teabagger Heritage Foundation, the Koch brothers, and investor’s intent on commercial developments.

With news that Trump directed his Interior department to “review” public lands, national monuments, wilderness areas and national parks to prepare a massive giveaway to the fossil fuel and mining industry, California took issue and said California is not Mormon Utah; butt out of our lands.

California’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra sent a letter late last week to Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke informing him that California’s public lands are off-limits to Trump and his fossil fuel funders. Mr. Becerra wrote:

National monument designations protect the irreplaceable natural and cultural heritage that belongs to all Americans, ensuring that the haste or greed of one generation does not squander those gifts at the expense of future generations.

Any attempt by [the] Trump Administration to reverse decisions past Presidents have made to safeguard our most treasured public lands is as unwise as it is unlawful. I am determined to take any and all action necessary to protect the American heritage which has become part of our monument lands.”

The environmental group, 350.org agrees with California and issued its own statement alerting Trump that he is not making these moves due to a couple of decades worth of what Trump said is “egregious abuse of federal power going back to 1906.” Like the United States Constitution, Trump concurs with Utah’s Republican Mormons’, Cliven Bundy’s, the Koch brothers’ and Oathkeepers’ assertion that any system to designate protected public lands and national monuments is an outrage; especially when the fossil fuel industry and privateers want Americans’ “public land” for their personal profit.

The Executive Director of 350.org, May Boeve, issued a statement right after Trump called for a review to see which public  monuments and lands should be handed over to the Koch brothers first.

Zinke and the Trump administration want to gut the power of the Antiquities Act to shore up the fossil fuel industry.  On top of all the attacks on our climate, now we’ll have to defend our parks and monuments from Big Oil as well.”

It took longer than this author expected, but last month the Koch brothers, through dirty Don Trump, issued an anticipated executive order that targets 27 national parks, national monuments and forests, and wilderness areas for “special review;” a special review likely conducted by the Koch brothers.  Six of those 27 are in California and like all 27, the reviews are for the sole purpose of prioritizing which ones to open up to gas and oil drilling, mining and deforestation, and private development and in what order.

It has been an irritant to the Koch brothers, and particularly Utah Mormons, for years that the federal government legally owns public lands. Republicans argue viciously that the American people’s public lands really belong to fossil fuel, mining and logging industry and corporations interested in commercial development.

The six California monuments and parks the Koch brothers have their oil-drilling, mining and denuding eyes on are the Giant Sequoia, Mojave Trails, Berryessa Snow Mountain, Carrizo Plain, Sand to Snow and San Gabriel Mountains national monuments. Of course the greedy bastards want oil, but they also desperately want the Giant Sequoia land because it contains two-thirds of all the giant trees still remaining on the planet.

California is not alone in standing up to the Koch brothers, Trump and particularly Utah’s Republican Mormons. Two entities, Native American tribal leaders in Utah and the “Patagonia outdoor gear and clothing company” lodged their own warning to Trump and threatened to sue the White House over his executive order to confiscate public land and give it to the Kochs and commercial developers.

The California Attorney General Becerra reminded Trump in his warning letter that tiny-hands does not have the tyrannical power to give away the American people’s public lands to anyone. He flatly declared:

“Trump simply has no legal authority to question monument designations made by predecessor[s] under the Antiquities Act. Tellingly, no President has ever attempted to undo preservation of America’s historic, cultural, and scientifically valuable landscapes by revoking a monument designation.”

Mr. Becerra is right, of course, on both counts. Trump does not have legal authority to question or change designations going back generations or ten years ago. And yes, it is true: America has never had a tyrant in the White House acting solely on behalf of the Koch brothers or commercial developers. What is telling, though, and typically Republican of Trump is his lust to steal more from the American people to give away to the uber rich. He’s trying to steal their healthcare, then their retirement benefits and now their public lands. But for now, at least one state is saying keep your filthy little hands off our public lands.