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Trump has Exceeded Himself in Stupidity

The recent meeting of the G7 in Sicily saw Donald Trump lose what little respect other world leaders had left for him. Today’s announcement that he was withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Accord was in effect his confirmation that he was resigning as world leader.

In his first speech to Congress on 28 March Trump said:

My administration wants to work with members in both parties … to promote clean air and clear water …

Before and since he’s spoken multiple times about how much he “loves the environment”. He just doesn’t want to put any effort into protecting it.

When Trump put out his budget wish list recently, his disdain for the environment was clear despite his words. Any and all spending relating to environmental protection was slashed. He’s now shown his hand. The decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement takes his unsuitability to be president to a new level.

His speech outlining why he made the decision he did shows a lack of understanding of not just the environmental issues, but the surrounding economic, diplomatic and political ones too.

This announcement has been coming for some time. Trump has been listening to arguments from both sides about what to do and that’s good. It seems that listening isn’t the same as understanding though.

Partial Transcript

Trump’s announcement speech was about thirty minutes long. The Washington Post said it was “… forceful, lengthy and at times rambling …”. You can read the full transcript here (via Vox). Here’s a selection of quotes from the speech.

Withdrawal Announcement

I am fighting every day for the great people of this country. Therefore, in order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

As president, I can put no other consideration before the well-being of American citizens. The Paris climate accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries. Leaving American workers, who I love, and taxpayers to absorb in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories and vastly diminished economic production. Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the green climate fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune.

He even says in his announcement why this withdrawal makes no sense. “The non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. How can something that is non-binding impose burdens?

Claims of Economic Loss if the US Stays in the Accord

Compliance with the terms of the Paris accord, and the owners, could cost Americans as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Economic Research Associates. This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs, not what we need. Believe me, this is not what we need. Including automobile, they rely on for so much. And we would be giving them so little.

Not only does this deal subject our citizens to harsh economic restrictions, it fails to live up to our environmental ideals. As someone who cares deeply about the environment, which I do, I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States, which is what it does, the world’s leader in environmental protection, while imposing no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters.

Again, this makes no sense. There are no punishments in the Accord, and most economists actually consider that it is leaving the agreement that will cost the country jobs. There are multiple reasons for this the main ones being:

1. The rest of the world choosing not to do business with the US because they are not part of the Accord.

2. The US no longer being part of committees that make international rules and agreements and therefore having no influence on the decision-making process. As if to make this point, the EU and China immediately made a joint statement about their commitment to battling climate change following Trump’s announcement.

Victim Mentality

As so often, Trump tries to make the US the victim in all of this. It’s absolute rubbish and displays a misunderstanding of economics, the importance of assisting developing nations, and the value of soft power.

For example, under the agreement, China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years, 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.

Further, while the current agreement effectively blocks the development of clean coal in America, which it does, and the mines are starting to open up. They’re having a big opening in two weeks, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, so many places. A big opening of a brand new mine. Unheard of. For many, many years, that hasn’t happened. They asked me if I would go. I’ll try. China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So we can’t build the plants but they can. According to this agreement, India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it. India can double their coal production.

This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States. The rest of the world applauded when we signed the Paris agreement. They went wild. They were so happy. For the simple reason that it put our country, the United States of America, which we all love, at a very, very big economic disadvantage.

It’s not true that India, China, and others don’t have to do anything. Their commitments are not as great as developed countries, but they are doing things (see below). It’s also not true that the US can’t do anything in relation to fossil fuels – it’s just that they have to use clean technology. And even then none of these are legal commitments that can be taken to court.

Inaccurate Superlatives

The United States under the Trump administration will continue to be the cleanest and most environmentally-friendly country on Earth. We’ll be the cleanest was. We’ll have the cleanest air, the cleanest water, we will be environmentally friendly …

He’s had too much covfefe again.

Pointless Posturing

I’m willing to immediately work Democratic leaders to either negotiate our way back into Paris under the terms that are fair to the United States and its workers, or to negotiate a new deal that protects our country and its taxpayers. So if the obstructionists want to get with me, let’s make them non-obstructionists.

This makes no sense and is simply an attempt to make any issues the fault of the Democrats.

The Paris Accord requires countries to make non-binding plans on how they’re going to meet their targets. There’s a renewal date built into all plans. Therefore it’s not necessary to pull out of the Accord to change plans. The Accord doesn’t require anything. It’s about making commitments to do your best.

There is an understanding that there are multiple reasons, including economic ones, why a country may not be able to meet the targets in their plans. Trump can make changes to the plan at any time, with or without input from Democrats.

Campaign Promise

One of the reasons given for Trump pulling out of the Paris Accord is that he’s honouring a campaign promise. This is no better than any of the other reasons given. Trump has been breaking campaign promises constantly since his election. There’s barely a promise he’s kept. Just today, the same day as he withdrew from the Paris Accord, he broke another campaign promise. One of his biggest, most frequent, and most naïve promises was to shift the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. (A promise all other candidates have made, though he was far more bullish about it.)

Today came the announcement that this wouldn’t happen.

When you become president, you often find that you just can’t honour a campaign promise no matter how much you may want to. Obama found this out via his attempts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Trump could have just made major revisions to the commitments Obama made for the US in the Paris Accord while announcing that he was making things better for America. He wouldn’t have lost any of his supporters and probably got some new ones at least on this issue.

And Back to Playing the Martyr

I will work to make sure the world [sic – Freudian slip?] remains the world’s leader on environmental issues. But under a framework that is fair and with the burdens and responsibilities are equally shared among the many nations all around the world. No responsible leader can put the workers and the people of their country at this debilitating and tremendous disadvantage.

The fact the Paris deal hamstrings the United States, while empowering some of the world’s top polluting countries, should dispel any doubt as to the real reason why foreign lobbyists wish to keep our magnificent country can tied up and bound down by this agreement. It is to give their country an economic edge over the United States. That’s not going to happen while I’m president. I’m sorry. My job as president is to do everything within my power to give America a level playing field. And to create the economic regulatory and tax structures that make America the most and tax structures that make most the most prosperous and productive country on Earth, and with the highest standard of living and the highest standard of environmental protection.

(Click graphic to go to source.)

The whole speech was, I’m sure, a source of great enjoyment for Trump supporters. It does seem that Trump at least recognizes that the environment is a high priority with US voters. A Gallup poll taken just three months ago shows that a large majority of USians (59%) believe the environment should be prioritized over energy production.

Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Following the announcement, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt spoke with Jake Tapper of CNN. He didn’t do any better than his boss.

I saw another interview of Pruitt on Fox News. He also failed to convince Brett Baier using the same arguments. As noted above, the logic of pulling out of a non-binding agreement because of what it forces the United States to do just doesn’t fly.

 

 

There was a lot of opposition when Trump gave Pruitt the job as head of the EPA. His ties to the fossil fuel industry should have made him ineligible for the position. Before he was head of the EPA he was Oklahoma’s attorney-general for six years. According to the Washington Post, in that time Pruitt:

… repeatedly sue[d] the Environmental Protection Agency for its efforts to regulate mercury, smog and other forms of pollution.

During the confirmation process there were calls for Pruitt to turn over thousands of e-mail exchanges with “oil, gas, and coal companies” due to allegations that legal documents he supposedly wrote on behalf of the state of Oklahoma were actually written by the industry. The Washington Post writes that those fossil fuel firms were also donors to Pruitt’s campaign. They further report:

The National Association of Manufacturers proclaimed Pruitt would “restore balance to the way environmental regulations are developed.” The head of the National Mining Association said he will be “mindful of the costs that regulations can impose on the economy.”

It is no wonder that Pruitt opposes the Paris Accord despite his role as guardian of the environment. With friends like him, who needs enemies.

The opposition of people like Pruitt makes it clear that despite Trump’s protestations, the US will not be the “best in the world” on the environment. The withdrawal is because he wants to please people like coal company representatives who wrote asking him to pull out.

 

Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce

Wilbur Ross today made this comment about the Paris Accord:

This is not really about climate. This is about US money going to other countries and it didn’t really solve the climate problem. … The only ones who were making a sacrifice were the United States. That’s no agreement at all.

This is a common belief amongst Republicans, and one that Trump shares as his speech shows. Fox Business host Neil Cavuto tried to get Ross’s opinion on some of the reasons the US should not leave the Accord, but to no avail. Ross wouldn’t even say whether he accepted anthropogenic climate change. When Cavuto had a second try, all he got was the “I’m not a scientist” cop out from Ross.

Like his boss Donald Trump, Ross is playing the victim card. He’s going on and on about the different standards in the agreement for China and India. I’m sure he knows perfectly well why they have different targets, but he prefers the tactic that Trump adopts of making everything being unfair in relation to the US.

 

 

Supporters of the Paris Accord

Apart from Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also tried to persuade Trump to stay in the deal. He recognizes the value of soft power. So do military leaders, which is why former general HR McMaster and current head of the NSA think the US should remain in the Accord.

Oil companies have been making the effort to improve their environmental practices for years and Exxon, Shell, and BP have all said they support the Accord.

Elon Musk told Trump he would pull out of his business advisory group if Trump withdrew from the Accord. He made good on that promise today:

He’s not the only one:

Many other business leaders also wrote to Trump – some singly and some as a group. All worry that this more will lead to job and profit losses.

Musk also tweeted the following to show that India and China aren’t as bad as Trump is trying to make out and are, in fact, making considerable efforts to improve long before the Accord requires them to:

 

 

Other Opposition to Trump’s Decision

It goes without saying that there are also multiple Democrats who oppose Trump’s move. Many have released statements and been interviewed by multiple sources.

They include President Obama, who released a statement which you can read here.

Former secretary of state John Kerry on CBS said that Trump was:

… unilaterally walking backwards from science and backwards from leadership on behalf of polluters and fringe ideologues.

He also said to CBS  that this move:

… may be the most self-defeating action in American history.

A full transcript of the interview can he seen here.

Green Energy Jobs

This sector of the US economy is one of the fastest growing. There are more jobs in green energy just in California than have been lost in the entire country in the coal sector. Coal is not coming back. It’s like expecting to re-employ farriers.

In January 2017 the US Department of Energy reported that the sector had the following job numbers:

Oil/Petroleum:   515,518
Solar:   373,807
Natural Gas:   362,118
Coal: 160,119
BioEnergy/CHP:   130,677
Wind:   101,738
Nuclear:   76,771
Geothermal:   5,768

 

Why Aren’t Targets So Tight For Developing Countries

One of the complaints of those against the Paris Accord is that ten of the top fifteen emitters have easier targets than the US. The US is currently the second top emitter, but until recently is was the worst. That dubious honour has now been taken over by China.

 

New Zealand is one of the barely discernible blue dots. Our emissions were 54.2k in 2013. (Source: Washington Post – click graphic to go to source.)

 

The difference is simply a matter of fairness. Those of us lucky enough to live in developed countries got that way by using huge quantities of fossil fuels. At this stage, many of those fuels are still cheaper than their green alternatives. The third biggest emitter, India, has fairly low targets. However, they’re working hard to modernize their economy to enable them to move away from fossil fuels.

Why Aren’t Syria and Nicaragua Part of the Paris Climate Accord?

Syria, of course, is in the middle of a long-running civil war. Hundreds of thousands are dead and millions are suffering the effects of internal or external displacement. Their president, Bashar al-Assad is no position to negotiate international agreements.

Nicaragua hasn’t become part of the Accord because they don’t consider it tough enough, especially for developed countries. They want it to be much stronger and not signing it is a protest on their part. Nicaragua is working hard to ameliorate the effects of climate change.

The Next Four Years

As I said in a post not long after Trump’s election, Trump can’t withdraw from the Paris Accord before 2020. There’s a negotiation process to go through and a reversal is still possible. All is not lost. However, it will require those who recognize both the dangers of climate change and the value of the Paris Accord to be in political leadership positions in the US. There are already plenty of Republicans in the Senate and Congress who recognize that climate change is a real thing and work must be done to combat it. Unfortunately, few are among leading voices in the party.

 

 

And I can’t go without giving Trevor Noah another outing:

 

 


 

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57 Responses to “Trump has Exceeded Himself in Stupidity”

  1. Yakaru says:

    If it had have been called the American Leadership Accord, or some such, instead of being named after some Frog city, this would not have happened.

  2. Diane G. says:

    What a tour de force, Heather! Brilliant write-up.

  3. Michael Dempsey says:

    Thank you for this brilliant post. As for the Trump creature, the situation has gone far beyond stupidity…into outright evil.

  4. Kim says:

    Well done, comprehensive post as usual! The first cartoon pretty much sums it up as far as the rest of the world is concerned. He is such an embarrassment that I feel like constantly screaming/posting “Sorry world, I didn’t vote for this moron!”

  5. rickflick says:

    “The fact [is] the Paris deal hamstrings the United States, while empowering some of the world’s top polluting countries”

    This line says a lot. Nothing Trump said in the speech had anything to do with environmental issues. It simply boils down to his desire to pander to the naive perceptions of uneducated Americans who are his base. His people are xenophobic and paranoid and sleep with guns under their pillows and dream of life during “Leave it to Beaver”. Rather than lead that demographic into a better understanding of climate change and the necessity to do something about it, he takes this, and every, opportunity to reaffirm their irrational fears. His real message is: “The world is against us. The world is against you.( why else are you so miserable?), I’ll protect you. Vote for me in 2020.”

    “Coal is not coming back. It’s like expecting to re-employ farriers.”

    Good line Heather. I had to look up farriers in a history book. 😉

    • The paranoia in the speech is one of the more shocking aspects of it, though, of course, typical of Trump. The idea that the whole world is out to get the USA is seriously pathetic. He thinks everyone in the world, led by the US,spent years negotiating this agreement just to get their hands on US money and wreck US (and somehow only US) business. And most big companies in the US have been fooled along with all Democratic and many Republican politicians. And the only ones who can see what’s really going on are Steve Bannon, Alex Jones, and the head of the coal industry?

      This is a conspiracy theory worthy of the name. You expect this from Trump. The most worrying thing is the number of people convincing convincing themselves it’s true just because he said it.

      • rickflick says:

        The paranoia fits well with what is known about Trump’s early history and what’s known about his personality formation. The story is he was an outsider from Queens who longed to be an insider among the well healed society in Manhattan. He lacked the “class” to move in the best circles. I think the laughter he fears from world leaders is really his fear of rejection and humiliation he remembers from his NY origin.

        • After all this time he’s probably so sensitized to it that he imagines it even when it isn’t there. We all have insecurities like that. The trouble is, his is huge and affects the whole planet.

        • Diane G. says:

          He also has Daddy issues (to be clear, baggage from his relationship with his father), I gather.

  6. Mike says:

    I’m still in a state of shock that BOB “big orange baby” is POTUS, he’s a raving Lunatic, Well they’ll have the biggest underwater Cities in the World,he can brag about that.

  7. Randy schenck says:

    Very good post on the issue. I think this one should convince any doubters out there who may have been giving this guy a break. One of the things I have learned over the past 67 years is you cannot argue with stupid. The republican party has reached the height of stupid so it should all be downhill from here. The only fortunate thing here is that a good portion of the United States and the rest of the world will continue to live in reality while the Trump followers return to the 19th century.

    One more thing to mention. I lived in a house for several years with geothermal air conditioning and heat. It was easily the best system I have ever experienced. If this is now combined with Solar or Wind it will only be better.

    • More and more surveys are coming out showing that a majority of USians are joining the rest of the world in their concern for climate change. This will be an election issue for 2020. Ironically, Trump’s move may have made more people pay attention to this than otherwise would have. He may have scored an own goal here!

  8. Lee Knuth says:

    Trump plays to his supporters and leaves the majority of sane people hanging. He certainly does not have the backing on this from many citizens.

  9. Linda Calhoun says:

    All that guff about job loss and higher utility bills is just the standard list of talking points from the oil industry, which is the real crux of the matter. The fact is that renewable energy is the fastest growing job sector in the world, and in the US, Wind Energy Technician is the fastest growing job descriptor.

    Trump has his groupies fooled, as usual, and his sycophants in government follow along because they love the money. Everyone else, though, needs to continue to make the point that renewable energy is a SOURCE of job growth, not detrimental to it. Over, and over, and over.

    It’s not stupidity, it’s greed, and the lust for power.

    Thank you, Heather, for this post. I’m sure you are glad you don’t live here.

    L

    PS: I still use a farrier, once every ten weeks.

    • This is one of the most important points, and one I didn’t make strongly enough in my post. It’s also one that Trump’s opponents should focus on. The US had the opportunity to he a world leader in alternative energy, but they have lost it by this move, and the country they have ceded it to is China. China’s doing all it can to become the world leader in solar power. One of the ways they’re doing that is pouring money into Africa, where there are still enormous quantities of things like the rare earths required for cell phones, solar cells etc. At the same time, Trump doesn’t understand the value of foreign aid and so is stopping as much as possible. You’d think a businessman would have a much better understanding of the concept of goodwill. It has an actual value when buying/selling businesses, and he traded on the Trump name being one of quality. That’s exactly what diplomacy is in the diplomatic world.

      • Linda Calhoun says:

        Oh, and BTW, instead of going up, my electric bill last month was $.79. (Yes, you read that right.) Many months we get a credit, which is applied to future bills.

        Before we went live with our solar panels, we were paying around $235.00 per month.

        And, if rates go up, we will save even more.

        L

        • I pay about NZ$90 a month in summer. I don’t have solar panels, though many do for water heating at least. However, most electricity in NZ is from renewable – the majority hydro. More and more wind is coming on-line all the time and there’s geothermal and solar too. There is one coal-fired power station, but that’s just for emergencies.

          81% came from renewables in 2015. The government’s goal (set 2007) is 90% by 2025 with most of the increase to come from new wind farms. I think 90% is a cop out and we could do 100% by 2020 with a bit of effort. Most of our emission come from agriculture and currently the technology doesn’t exist to reduce them, so I think we should put a bigger focus on the things we can fix.

  10. Michael Scullin says:

    I spend entirely too much time reading the NYT and WaPo and think you have done a marvelous job of compiling the chaos of the past few days. Living, as I do, in a state – Iowa – which has three of four Republican representatives and two Republican senators and a Republican House and Senate as well as a Republican Governor I get my daily fill of Republican stupidity and hatred. It seems incomprehensible. I am am anthropologist and am quite familiar with incomprehensible belief systems and their evolution and persistence. When crises occur or are believed to occur the response is to “double down” and defend the indefensible. This is going on now and is dependent on rejection of or ignorance of alternative belief. Now, thanks to a constitutional quirk introduced by idealists in the 18th century, we have a country run by a minority. Trump is seen as a savior. All evidence to the contrary (convfefe?) is conveniently overlooked or denied. Thus the cult of Republicanism. “Ignorance is no excuse.” Actually ignorance is the basis of Republicanism. And they are both adamant and proud of their world view. In this day and age it is modern Ludditism. And we’re stuck with it.

    • rickflick says:

      Don’t let yourself get burned out Michael. Save some energy for the critical moves down the road. 😉
      I agree reading a good summary like Heather’s work is a better way to go, rather than become numbed or totally disheartened by the daily news. Remember Paul Simon’s line – “I can get all the news I need on the weather report.”
      I’m struggling with this too. I’m hoping I can help during the next election cycle. Maybe donate a little more this time, etc.

    • Yes. Electoral reform is badly needed in the US. I wrote a post about my views in this in August last year in the lead up to the election. If I’d written it after the election there would have been a lot more I would have included, especially about the electoral college system.

      I think California is trying to get its electoral boundaries into the hands of an independent commission. If at least the safe blue states do it, it should place more pressure on the red ones, then the purple ones in red control to do the same. I think your next census is due in 2020, and that would be a good time to be ready to redraw electoral boundaries in a fair way.

      The anti-intellectualism seen in so many areas is a real worry. It’s not just in the US of course. The Brexit result was a triumph of anti-intellectualism where those who knew what they were talking about who were on the side of remaining in the EU were dissed for being smart. For some reason, intellectuals who were pro-Brexit weren’t treated the same, and we see the same thing in the US. Republicans worship those intellectuals who come down on their side of the argument. They take great comfort at being validated by an intellectual who agrees with them while they attack intellectuals of don’t as elitist.

      It’s like with evolution – the creationists love it when a scientist supports their myth.

      • j.a.m. says:

        I don’t believe Mr. Scullin of Iowa can blame his woes on partisan redistricting. According to Governing.com, “Iowa has a redistricting process that is scrupulously nonpartisan.”

        More importantly, a recent analysis by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report found that redistricting explains very little. For Congressional districts nationally, “[o]nly 17 percent of the decline [in the number of swing seats since 1997] has resulted from changes to district boundaries…” Clearly this is another hobby horse that 2016’s sore losers need to retire.

        At any rate, as an astute reader noted on Heather’s post last August, California and a few other states already do have independent commissions that draw Congressional and legislative districts. The rest of the states use various schemes, with varying degrees of partisanship.

        And if California took Heather’s advice and adopted proportional representation, it would be likely to help Republicans. Trump got 32% of the popular vote in California, but the GOP won only 26% of the Congressional seats.

        • Fixing gerrymandering isn’t the only issue that needs to be addressed, so how many results can be attributed to it doesn’t matter. However, 17% is a lot imo. It should be 0%. Whether it helps Democrats of Republicans isn’t the point either. The point is that the election is fair.

          Yes, the Republicans should have more seats in California. And Hillary Clinton should be president.

          • j.a.m. says:

            No, she should never have been nominated. Nor should Trump nor Obama nor Kerry. None of them is qualified by any stretch of the imagination. If we’re going to speak of electoral reform, the one that’s really needed is in the presidential nominating process.

            But at least Trump has the virtue of being unimpressed and unbothered by the Davos crowd of international fussbudgets and busybodies. After a dainty sycophant like Obama, it’s invigorating.

          • I agree with one thing you said – the presidential nomination process needs to be looked at.

            However, anyone who can criticize those you did as being unqualified to be president, but continue to consider Trump qualified for the same job, demonstrates a serious lack of judgement. Whether or not you support him, his lack of qualification is beyond doubt.

          • Diane G. says:

            Only vaguely related, but I’m reminded of a conversation about how to fix the EC in which someone stated we could start by dividing California into about 6 states, to which another replied, “then half of them would be red!”

          • nicky says:

            Yep, stolen elections, apart from gerrymandering, there is the EC giving eg. a voter in Wyoming more than 3 times the weight of a voter in California or New York. And then there is ‘CrossCheck’ which disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters -mostly from ethnic minorities, of course, “provisional votes” which are never counted.
            And the discrepancy between exit polls and actual count… the only ‘swing state’ where this didn’t happen was Virginia where, you guessed it , a democrat was overseeing the voting. In the other ‘swing states’, where generally the exit polls showed a great discrepancy with the counting (favouring Trump in the latter) were overseen by republicans. One could go on….

          • I think someone pointed out in the comments on another post (was it you?) that if such wide discrepancies occurred somewhere like Russia everyone would be assuming electoral fraud. I’m not suggesting that happened though. We just don’t know. It could just be that lots of people didn’t want to admit they voted for Trump.

            There seems to be an incredibly powerful opposition to even talking about reform.

          • nicky says:

            @ Heather. Yes, that is possible, not wanting to admit they voted for Trump. I thought so too at a certain stage. But then, that might be very much projection: you and I would be ashamed to vote for Trump, but his base is definitely not.
            Moreover and more importantly, it cannot not explain the ‘Virginia phenomenon’ noted in my previous comment. Hence, ‘counting fraud’ should be considered the most probable explanation for the discrepancies (if we hold on to Occam’s razor).

            It is not theorethical, not ‘if’, but actual: the discrepancies between exit polls and count was the reason the US actually
            rejected the Ukrainian election results a few years ago.

          • Yes – I thought of the Ukrainian election after I posted my comment.

            Also, surveys at the 100 day mark of Trump voters show that 96% of them do not regret their vote. I’m just leery of making assumptions without more proof.

            Back to that 96% though – Trump supporters make a lot of it. However, it should be noted that if 4% of voters changed their vote to Hillary, that would result in a landslide win for her in the electoral college.

          • j.a.m. says:

            @HH: Actually you will see in my last comment, as well as previous comments, that I agree with you that Mr. Trump is hardly presidential material, at least as an abstract question. Unfortunately in the concrete circumstances the country faced in November, he was the least bad option, and the country certainly is better off than it would have been with another left-wing administration.

            Seven months of sore loser tantrums and histrionics (and occasional violence), to say nothing of the lamestream media meltdown, have pretty well solidified that view among moderates, independents, libertarians, conservatives, and rational people generally. Nothing has “normalized” Mr. Trump so effectively as the left’s unhinged “resistance” to the election results. When Mr. Trump runs again as an incumbent, the charge that he is “unfit” will have even less purchase than last time.

            BTW, if Trump has now “exceeded himself in stupidity”, Hillary does so repeatedly, e.g., when she decided to go rogue with official business, and set up an illegal e-mail system in the basement of one of her mansions.

            As for raising questions about the possibility of voting fraud, that makes you a racist, according to the Democrats, so you’ll want to tread lightly. Regarding the accuracy of pollsters’ prognostications: when a simulation diverges from real life, the simplest and most rational explanation is that the simulation is wrong.

          • Check the polls. Moderates and independents nowadays are more likely to oppose Trump than support him. A new Gallup poll was released today. Trump’s approval rating has hit a new low (36%) and his disapproval a new high (58%).

            Is the phrase “one of her mansions” supposed to reflect badly on Clinton? If so, why doesn’t it reflect badly on Trump? Is a man allowed to be successful, but a woman isn’t?

            Yes, Clinton was stupid to set up her own server. I don’t think anyone is saying otherwise. As for “when she decided to go rogue with official business” you’ll have to clarify. A list of Clinton’s stupid things is a fraction of the length of Trump’s stupid things. She didn’t say captured soldiers or those with PTSD were weak, she didn’t mock the disabled, she didn’t question a judge’s ability to be independent because of his racial origins, she didn’t set up a fraudulent university, she spends a lot less time on her hair than Trump, there are no extremely compelling stories about her having sex with underage girls and buying off the witnesses, and she didn’t boast about her ability to grab pussies.

            Raising questions of voter fraud is legitimate. The problem is saying it’s occurring when it isn’t then inventing new rules to perform a constitutional right that specifically make it harder for people who are more likely to vote Democrat to vote. Of course, in a couple of cases there was such a backlash against the Republicans who did that which initially increased the vote for Democrats, but there is no guarantee that will last beyond one election.

            There have been Democrats who are sore losers, just like there were plenty on the other side who were sore losers when Obama won. There were Republicans burning Obama in effigy, hanging him in effigy, photoshopping the Obama family onto pictures of apes and more. And there was no doubt of his victory. Personally, I find the term “lame stream media” extremely irritating. There are partisans on both sides. From what I’ve seen, the main stream media does its best to be fair. Trump certainly got a lot more coverage than Clinton in the campaign. They frequently covered his rallies and speeches live and in full because they didn’t want to miss anything. Clinton didn’t get that. I also noticed plenty of negative stuff about her and Obama. There’s simply more negative stuff about Trump to say!

            Clinton won the popular vote. Comey talked about the investigations into her but not the investigations into Trump. The Russians spilled Democratic campaign e-mails but not Republican ones. People didn’t vote for Clinton because of the things leaked to the media. The Russians were ready with the Podesta e-mail stuff to leak just two hours after the Pussygrabber tape came out. It was clearly planned. Non-partisan fact checkers found that Trump was the biggest liar of any politician they’d ever checked since they began fact-checking. Clinton was one of the most honest ever. She was the most honest in this campaign. Despite all the things I wrote in support of her, even I began to doubt whether I was right when James Comey came out that last time saying there were more e-mails. Quite frankly, the average US voter (which means at least half of all voters) is a lot less informed than me. If I doubted, I’m sure a lot of people decided to at least not vote.

            There’s a lot more to come yet j.a.m. Comey testifies this week. The Russia investigations will take time, but they will be complete before 2020. The only question really is whether Trump will take the Republican party down with him or not. At this stage a lot are still sticking by him. They better hope that’s the right decision. If it turns out badly for him, I expect Trump will find a way to resign before he’s impeached personally – one that will enable him to keep believing he’s great.

            The nuttier of the evangelicals think the devil is stirring the pot. Others think he appears crazy because God’s guiding Trump’s fingers as he tweets:
            Lance Wallnau Says That God Is Behind Trump’s Tweets And Ignorance Of World Events
            Jim Bakker: Satan Is Out To Destroy Trump, Maybe Kill Him
            Jim Bakker: Trump Opponents Have Triggered The Apocalypse
            Jim Bakker: God Will Judge America If We ‘Destroy’ Trump
            Pat Robertson: God Put Donald Trump In The White House
            Gordon Klingenschmitt: The Democratic Party Requires Its Members To Be Demon-Possessed And ‘Serve The Devil’

            And there are lots more where they came from.

          • rickflick says:

            Heather, that last comment was worthy of another post. Good job.
            I think I can tie some of what you say there together. The hatred of Hillary and the worship of Trump comes from the least educated and most highly religious voters. This segment of society has done poorly economically and lack social status. They are not college educated. They do not read books. They are deeply, deeply, resentful and afraid. They resent and despise the experts, the intelligentsia, the professionals, and the middle class who have done well. They have almost no savings as they move into retirement and depend on social security almost exclusively to get by. They are at the mercy of banks, doctors, dentists, and hospitals. They feel disappointed after the promise of the American Dream turned to ashes. To them, Hillary represents the class of Americans who bypassed them on the social ladder. Her slightest infraction became cause for ridicule. Trump, on the other hand, spoke their language. He acts like some boorish turd who could almost be a part of their family. Crude and of low manner. Just the sort of classless person who’s more than willing to laugh with them at any of Hillary’s missteps and cheer Trump’s most vile statements. Trump can stick his thumb in your eye (he almost literally did it when he plowed to the front of the group of dignitaries during his European visit).
            The religious aspect has been discussed on Jerry’s forum. The Trump voting class are highly religious because of the insecurity for them of life in America. The social safety net is always just a republican vote away from from being repealed. This is a contradiction, I know. How can people, even if they love Trump and hate Hillary vote for someone backed by the Koch brothers who seek to destroy FDR’s legacy? Well, it happened just that way.

          • nicky says:

            Well, with the present electon fraud, it appears a Dem candidate needs anout 5 to 10 million more of the popular votes to overcome the fraud (like Obama did). HRC’s 2 to 3 million proved insufficient.
            I think, as far as counting goes, a bipartisan overseeing should be mandatory in a real democracy.
            Yes, those 4%. I just hope the Dems will not count on it, but keep going at grassroot level. ( https://www.indivisibleguide.com )

          • j.a.m. says:

            @HH: By all means, knock yourself out getting Mike Pence a promotion. I’m all for that. But neither of us should get our hopes up.

            Trump earned his success by building stuff, meeting a need, getting stuff done and creating value. Clinton got filthy rich without ever once performing an honest day’s work. She never built anything, sold anything, accomplished anything of tangible value, or signed the front of a paycheck. She’s mooched off of taxpayers almost all her adult life. So no, there’s no comparison. And no, “honest” is not a word that can be squeezed into the same paragraph with Bill or Hillary Clinton, the sleaziest duo in the annals of sleaze.

            The DNC and Podesta e-mails were hacked because they were incompetently secured. That’s no one else’s fault. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. If voters didn’t like what they learned, so be it.

            If the lamestream media seems unbiased to you, it’s because their partisan bias and yours happen to align. Nor is there such a thing as a “nonpartisan fact-checker”.

            Whine yourself hoarse about the outcome, but the election is ancient history by now. The GOP will control the White House at least until January 2021, and they will move forward with a reform agenda. Meanwhile the Democrat-Left remains stubbornly out of touch (as evidenced by many of the comments on this page).

          • The media seems biased to you because you don’t have an open mind. You require agreement to assume lack of bias. I don’t.

            Clinton worked for many years as a lawyer, working for the poor and under-served. She had the results and offers to work for a corporate firm but chose not to. Then she worked for free for her husband’s state, then later for her country as an excellent secretary if state. There was also a lot of charity work, and not just for her husband’s charity. Trump’s charity paid for huge portraits of himself and fines his golf courses incurred. It lost its status as a charity because of fraudulent dealings.

            There are multiple reports of Trump ripping off those who did work for him. Many people have lost their livelihoods because of his dishonest business practices. He’s a thoroughly repellent character.

            The Republican party was hacked too. It’s just that the Russians chose not to leak what they found there. I do not deny, and have never denied, that the DNC did not adequately protect their information. However, that is not a valid excuse or justification for stealing their information. That’s blaming the victim for wearing a short skirt.

            Trump won the election. I’m not denying that and haven’t ever said otherwise. How he won it I think is the question. I don’t know whether he or anyone on his team colluded with what the Russians did, but I think that needs to be discovered. Comey’s actions I think were the result of bad decisions on his part. I think he thought Clinton would win, which is why he talked about her. He didn’t talk about the Trump investigation because he thought Trump would lose and Trump would never be anything other than a private citizen. Obama didn’t talk about the Russian interference because he didn’t want it said he was interfering on Clinton’s behalf – he thought she would win without it being mentioned. Comey was honourable but he had a need to be seen to be doing the right thing in an unprecedented situation. He made the wrong decision, which may have been unconsciously influenced by his Republicanism but was not deliberately anti-Clinton.

          • nicky says:

            @Heather,
            “Trump won the election. I’m not denying that and haven’t ever said otherwise.”
            With all due respect, I think you are wrong there. The evidence clearly points to stolen elections, as pointed out above (and note I did not mention Russian interference, I do not think it is nescessary to come to that conclusion).
            I think Trump is an usurper.

          • I think Trump is a usurper too, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t win. The way I see it is having valid goals disallowed and a biased ref doesn’t change the result on the scoreboard.

            Legally, he is president.

          • j.a.m. says:

            Lamestream media bias is a matter of empirical fact. It’s obvious and predictable. When was the last time you put down a newspaper or swtched off a TV channel holding any doubt as to the opinions, values and partisan leanings of that outlet’s management and personnel? When was the last time the news columns of the New York Times did not hew tightly to Democrat and other far-left talking points? What is the likelihood that anything will be different in ten years?

            Hate to be the one to break it to you, but the Clintons didn’t get stinking rich by helping the downtrodden. And Hillary sure didn’t pass up a lucrative partnership at a well-connected corporate law firm–indeed she spent nearly 20 years there trading on her connections. Many of the scandals that earned her a reputation for conniving and paranoia lead right back to the Rose Law Firm.

            Hillary’s record at State is just one debacle after another: Egypt; Libya; Syria; Iran; the treacherous abandonment of Iraq and consequent rise of ISIS. She lied about the murder of an ambassador (“What difference does it make?”). And that’s just one region!

            Hackers targeted the RNC’s systems but failed to breach them. (Leaving your front door unlocked doesn’t give anybody the right to rob you–but it sure as heck means I’m not going to trust you with my house!)

            (That being said, BTW, why aren’t campaign files considered public records? That would be a reform with some teeth.)

            There’s no mystery about how Trump won: He ran an unpredictable campaign against utterly predictable opponents.

            And finally, for the record, yours truly is the most open-minded person ever!

          • There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t question the opinions I hear or read.

            Podesta’s e-mails were his private ones.

            What about Trump’s tax returns, and his campaign e-mails.

            I didn’t day that’s how Hillary Clinton got rich, I was just countering your narrative that she’s all bad.

            And stop bringing her husband into it. He wasn’t running for office. I don’t bring up Melania, or Trump’s children.

            As for being open-minded, you can’t even admit to the possibility that your God might not be real, despite there being absolutely no proof whatsoever for His existence. That’s not open-minded imo.

  11. Randy schenck says:

    Trump, in his usual half baked explanation happened to mention Pittsburgh and an old steel town in Ohio. Mayors from both of those places say they want nothing to do with Trump on this and wish that he would not speak of them on this issue. The mayor of Pittsburgh said that his town is an example of what the Paris accord is all about and the changes in Pittsburgh to a clean society have already been well underway. He remembers years ago in Pittsburgh when they had to leave the lights on 24 hours a day because the air was so dirty.

  12. Thanks for your kind words everybody. 🙂

  13. Ken Kukec says:

    Not sure if “annpuncement” is actually a word, but it sure as hell oughta be (maybe the antonym of “covfefe”).

    Very nice piece, Heather.

    • Ha ha – for me it’s such a common typo that I have Word set to fix it automatically, along with lots of others! Unfortunately WordPress doesn’t do that. 🙂

      • Diane G. says:

        Among my oft repeated typos is my own name! This didn’t happen in the age of typewriters…I firmly believe the Qwerty keyboard just can’t keep up with the type-speeds one can achieve with computers.

        • I agree. However, my problem isn’t type speed, it’s poor typing ability. I never learned to type, and the position I sit in while writing (leaning back in a recliner – the only way I’m anything close to comfortable) doesn’t help either. T

  14. Mark R. says:

    Terrific write-up Heather. The silver lining in all this is that Trump’s popularity will take another hit and it will be on the ballot in 2018 and 2020.

    I also stopped getting notifications of your posts. :(. I’m going to try unsub and re-sub.

  15. nicky says:

    Trump, the Republicans and the fossil fuel industry are like sticks in the riverbed, it will hold out a while, but eventually they will be swept with the current. They are fighting a rearguard action.
    The tide is solar, and in one or two decades or so, solar will be our main power source, with or without the Trumps of this world. If (and I’m sure it will) and when that happens, we have Elon Musk to thank for accelerating it.

    Note, all the fossil fuel reserves in the world amount to about 1400 Terawatts. The sun gives us 23 000 Terawatts per annum. World energy consumption is about 16 terawatts.

  16. David Evans says:

    Excellent piece. Though I think it’s a mistake to have
    “The Paris Accord requires countries to make non-binding plans” and
    “The Accord doesn’t require anything.”
    in the same paragraph. I know what you mean but it looks awkward.

  17. Never underestimate Donald Trump! Just when you think he couldn’t be more stupid, he manages it!

  18. New Washington Post/ABC News poll released today. 59% oppose pulling out of Paris Agreement and only 28% support the move.

    67% of Republicans support
    22% of Independents support
    8% of Democrats support

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/06/05/post-abc-poll-nearly-6-in-10-oppose-trump-scrapping-paris-agreement/?pushid=5935ac802e12651d00000039&tid=notifi_push_breaking-news&utm_term=.a9a610427f1b

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