SCOTUS Pick: Kavanaugh’s Advantage

According to media reports, Trump has narrowed his SCOTUS pick to *three people: Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Raymond Kethledge.

I suspect that Trump had narrowed his choice even before Kennedy retired. And I also suspect Trump’s short list was communicated to Kennedy, leading Kennedy to feel he could safely retire. After all, two members of the short list clerked with Kennedy; his legacy could continue if either is picked.

Each candidate has attributes that would appeal to Trump, as well as drawbacks. However, I believe that Kavanaugh will end up the pick, because he represents a way to attack Obama’s legacy not just once, but twice.

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Trump wants to join a trade agreement that no longer exists

Responding to concerns from the agricultural community, Trump today noted that he had instructed U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow to explore the US rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, “…on our terms of course”.

The news either portrays the information in a positive manner, or skeptically,  noting the many criticisms Trump has made about the TPP in the past. Very few, though, report that there is no longer a TPP. The eleven other countries involved with the TPP moved on when Trump abruptly pulled the rug out from under the deal. They signed a new deal, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), in March, 2018.

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But his emails…

Social media is abuzz with the proof of Donald Trump Jr’s collusion with Russian officials. He actually released the emails containing the proof on Twitter, but only because the New York Times was about to release content from the emails.

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The GOP’s disHONEST Act against the EPA

Musician playing in empty Beijing square, mouth and nose covered to protect against the pollution

Yesterday, the House passed the Honest and Open New EPA Science, or HONEST, Act. Tortured use of acronym aside, this Act is anything but honest.

The GOP claims the act is to force the EPA to provide the raw data behind all of its decisions. However, the primary reason for the Act is to inhibit regulations based, in part, on confidential or proprietary raw data. The Act’s inspiration came from research published in 1993 and known as the Harvard Six Cities Study.

To summarize the Six Cities Study, the research found that people in cities with dirty air were dying sooner than people living in cities with clean air.

This research formed the basis for many of the EPA’s Clean Air Act regulations related to particulate matter. If you can clearly see the skyline of LA now, and breathe its air without a facial mask, thank the authors of the Six Cities Study.

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They… are watching you

Today, Trump is likely to sign the latest in Congressional Review Act bills, this one to overturn a new FCC rule that would force ISPs to get permission from users to collect and share personal information.

The Senate was the first to toss the privacy rule, followed by the House. The vote was along party lines. Kudos to the Democrats for looking out for us, but the party-line Republican vote was a little surprising considering the number of libertarians among the Republicans. Libertarians have a real thing for privacy. I expect Rand Paul will have some explaining to do the next time he runs for re-election.

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