* Erik’s Editorial: The Guilty Parties Who Put American Democracy At Risk In The Name Of Donald Trump

US White House upside down (public domain).

I do not fault stupid people for making the stupid decision to elect Donald Trump in 2016.

I do fault smart people for making stupid decisions. These include:

1. Senators who voted to acquit Donald Trump in his no-witnesses-allowed impeachment trial, including primarily Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell:

* Impeachment of Donald Trump (2020-02-05)

* Mitch McConnell (2020-02-05)

2. Members of the GOP who voted to disenfranchise voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – before, during, and AFTER the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol – including Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jody Hice (R–GA-10), Mo Brooks (R–AL-05), Scott Perry (R–PA-10), Josh Hawley (R–MO), and Louie Gohmert (R–TX-01).

* 2021 Storming Of The United States Capitol (2021-01-06)

* 2020 United States Presidential Election Electoral College Count (2021-01-06 – 2021-01-07)

3. Donald Trump’s cabinet, who could have invoked the 25th Amendment to remove POTUS at any time:

* Cabinet Of Donald Trump (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

4. Social media, including especially Facebook and Twitter, for allowing their social networks to be used as platforms for hate speech.

* Donald Trump On Social Media (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

5. Mainstream media, including especially CNN (on the left) and Fox News (on the right) for not doing their jobs – asking questions until they get answers – and allowing POTUS to lie unchecked.

* Veracity Of Statements By Donald Trump (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

6. Lawmakers at all levels, for failing to fix bad laws and for failing to enact good laws. Changes that must be made going forward include:

Limiting POTUS power:

  • Executive order power must be limited.
  • All cabinet members (acting/interim/actual) must be confirmed by Senate.
  • Treaties and tariffs must be the role of Congress so that POTUS cannot engage in trade wars.
  • War Powers Act must be updated to limit POTUS power to deploy the military.
  • Special Counsel Act must be updated to make clear that POTUS cannot fire special counsel.

Writing better and new laws:

  • Impeachment Act of 2021, to define how impeachment is conducted, including the requirement to have witnesses.
  • Follow the lead of The Restatements Of The Law project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restatements_of_the_Law) and codify major SCOTUS cases, including especially Roe v. Wade.
  • Fix the Census.
  • Fix immigration.
  • Fix SCOTUS processes, such as limiting appointments to 2 per POTUS with the number of SCOTUS justices fixed at the number of Federal Circuits (currently 13).
  • Election reform, including who is qualified to run for POTUS and that tax forms must be disclosed to do so.

Just to name a few.

Stupid people, bad laws, and lies got us into this mess.

Smart people, good laws, and the truth can get us out of this mess.



Trump Plans to Roll Back Mercury Emissions Regulation

The Trump administration’s latest reversal of Obama-era environmental regulations is a partial rollback of the rule on mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. In 2011, under President Obama, the EPA required power plants to reduce the amount of mercury and other pollutants coming out of their smokestacks by 90 percent over five years. By 2016, the industry was fully compliant, and mercury emissions were significantly reduced. The Trump administration, however, says the cost of enforcing the regulation on mercury emissions far outweighs any health benefits.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can cause birth defects, learning disabilities, brain damage, and death. It can accumulate over time, contaminating such things as the fish we eat. Some of the other pollutants emitted with mercury, including soot and nitrogen oxide, can cause heart and lung disease.

The Obama administration calculated that the installation of pollution controls would cost the industry approximately $9.6 billion a year, and would amount to about $6 million a year in health benefits associated with reduced mercury emissions. Factoring in the reduction of the pollutants that accompany mercury emissions, however, they calculated that the public health benefits would be between $37 billion to $90 billion a year.

Trump’s EPA, however, disputes those calculations, calling them “fuzzy math.”

Acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler calls the health benefits associated with reducing the other pollutants “co-benefits.” “…They are incidental, and they’re not directly tied to mercury. And so we should exclude those altogether” from the calculations.

This, then, changes the math, and reduces the apparent health benefit of the mercury emission regulation. As a result, Trump’s EPA says utilities will no longer have to comply with it in the future.

The industry itself, however, has expressed the desire to keep the mercury emission policy in place. They have already spent the money on the equipment to reduce emissions, and “would consider it a competitive disadvantage if suddenly things were reversed and they take those scrubbers off,” according to Juliet Eilperin of PBS NewsHour.

It appears that even though the Trump administration continues to chip away at Obama-era environmental regulations, coal-fired power plants will continue to comply with the mercury emissions regulation, even if it is overturned.

How Trump’s EPA is changing the public health benefits around mercury |
PBS NewsHour  [2018-12-28]

Trump Administration Wants To Roll Back Mercury Emissions Limit |
Wochit Politics [2018-12-28]