Midday open thread: Trump regime weakens carbon emissions rule; Sen. Cotton wants to bomb Iran now

Today’s comic by Matt Bors is Pride month at YouTube!

Trump regime finalizes rule that weakens Obama era attempt to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants: In his biggest climate-related rollback so far, Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy rule is designed to extend the life of coal-fired electricity-generating plants by allowing them to spew more carbon emissions that will cause the deaths of hundreds of people and thousands of additional asthma attacks. The Obama-era rule was meant to cut those emissions by 67 million metric tons in 2030 relative to 2005. The Trump rule would reduce them by only 12 million to 24 million metric tons. Specifics of how plants will modestly cut their emissions is left up to the states to figure out. The Rhodium Group, a market research firm, calculated a year ago that U.S. emissions are headed for a 17% drop by 2025. That’s way short of the Paris agreement climate agreement goal of 28%. ACE will, of course, worsen than result. Neil Waggoner of the Beyond Coal campaign in Ohio said Wednesday that coal power plants “have proven consistent economic losers for Ohio electric customers who have paid and are projected to pay hundreds of millions.” The rule is certain to be litigated by environmental advocates and others. New York Attorney General Letitia James tweeted Wednesday morning that the “#DirtyPower rule” will have devastating ramifications for all Americans.

Ultra-hawk Sen. Tom Cotton wants to immediately bomb Iran: A little over a month ago, as tensions and rhetoric heated up, Cotton told Margaret Hoover of “Firing Line” that the United States would win a war against Iran with “two strikes.” Asked to repeat that, he said, “Yes, two strikes. The first strike and the last strike.” In an interview with Burgess Everett at Politico Tuesday, Cotton upped his take on this, arguing for taking action against Iran now. “There are more than ample targets that can deter Iran from this kind of malicious behavior whether it’s naval bases or munition storage or refining capabilities,” he said. With what end? “To inflict enough pain on Tehran that they realize that we’re not going to tolerate these kind of attacks on the high seas.” The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have claimed that Iran was behind attacks on two small oil tankers. Iran has denied this. And several U.S. allies, among other nations, have questioned the lack of solid evidence Washington has provided as proof of the source of the attacks.

Free bees for Virginians: The state legislature approved $125,000 to fund a program that will provide up to three free beehives to residents who apply. Virginia has seen a 50 percent decrease in the number of beehives, according to the state apiarist.

MIDDAY TWEET

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Excited I got Hope Hicks to answer one question about her tenure at the White House. I asked if on her first day, “was it a sunny day or a cloudy day?” You’ll need to wait for the transcript to see her answer b/c @GOP is mad I’m live tweeting the absurdity of absolute immunity. https://t.co/yfKQZRbXsL

— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) June 19, 2019

Rep. Maxine Waters calls for a moratorium on Facebook’s new crytocurrency Libra: The proposed currency was unveiled on Tuesday. The idea, Facebook said, was to have a digital currency issued under the control of an association of corporations aimed at helping global low-income people who can’t open bank accounts. In a statement, Waters called for a moratorium on Libra’s development until Congress can examine it. “Given the company’s troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action.” Waters noted that Facebook has done a poor job of keeping data on billions of people private, of allowing “malicious and fake accounts” to reach people on the social media platform. “The cryptocurrency market currently lacks a clear regulatory framework to provide strong protections for investors, consumers, and the economy. Regulators should see this as a wake-up call to get serious about the privacy and national security concerns, cybersecurity risks, and trading risks posed by cryptocurrencies,” she said.

Joy Harjo has been appointed as the new U.S. poet laureate, the first American Indian ever to be named to the post. Her term is for one year. Born in Oklahoma, Harjo is author, poet, and Native activist. She is an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, a tribe of about 81,000 members whose ancestors were removed from their Southern homeland in the 1830s as part of the ethnic cleansing policies that forced at gunpoint more than 100,000 Indians of various tribes to move west of the Mississippi. Thousands of them died on the journey and more when they arrived in what is now Oklahoma. “I’ve been an unofficial poetry ambassador on the road for poetry for years,” the 68-year-old Harjo wrote in a recent email. “I’ve often been the only poet or Native poet-person that many have seen/met/heard. I’ve introduced many poetry audiences to Native poetry and audiences not expecting poetry to be poetry.” The librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, said in a statement that Harjo helped tell an “American story” of traditions both lost and maintained, of “reckoning and myth-making.”

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: It was another Twitter-tizzy morning, but they couldn’t break Greg Dworkin’s concentration. And then, there were the polls. Eventually, Greg controls the entire show, setting us up with the opportunity to examine how House rules (and Rules) really rule.

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