Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Last Call For Hard Hats, Parklands, and Reactors

Joe Biden is picking former rival Pete Buttigieg for Transportation Secretary, which means maybe we can actually get the damn Brent Spence Bridge replaced.

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Pete Buttigieg to be his transportation secretary, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN, elevating the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to a top post in the federal government.
Buttigieg would be the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary should his nomination make it through the chamber. 
The choice -- which represents the first time the President-elect has called on one of his former Democratic presidential opponents to join his administration as a Cabinet secretary -- vaults a candidate Biden spoke glowingly of after the primary into a top job in his incoming administration and could earn Buttigieg what many Democrats believe is needed experience should he run for president again. 
The role of transportation secretary is expected to play a central role in Biden's push for a bipartisan infrastructure package. 
Buttigieg is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party but someone who lacked an obvious path to higher elected office given the continued rightward shift of his home state of Indiana. 
As a presidential candidate, he rolled out a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that prioritized upgrading the country's crumbling infrastructure and expanding broadband internet access through payment to state and local governments. Buttigieg often spoke about infrastructure on the campaign trail from the perspective of a small mayor, arguing that local governments like the one he once ran needed people in Washington who understood their needs and issues.
Infrastructure reform had been a priority of Trump's earlier in his four years in office, but if routinely took a back seat to other issues. 
Buttigieg often faulted the administration for failing to do anything on infrastructure, writing in his plan on the issue that the Republican President's team was "incapable of keeping its promise to pass major infrastructure legislation, and critical projects around the country are stalled because of it." 
Buttigieg emerged as the leading candidate for the transportation secretary role in recent days. The former mayor was considered for a host of other posts, including US ambassador to the United Nations and commerce secretary. 
Other Democrats were also considered for the post, including former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.
While Pete wouldn't be my first choice for the job, it's not my call to make, and it's not like Elaine Chao cared about anything other than lining her own pockets (and that of her husband, Mitch McConnell). 
Besides, the other candidates, Gina Raimondo, Eric Garcetti, and especially Rahm Emanuel, all were train wrecks who would have been far worse. Raimondo has had multiple ethics problems with unions and casinos as Rhode Island's governor, Garcetti, LA's mayor, has a serious issue with the fact his top aide is a serial sexual predator, and Rahm...well..Rahm should never be anywhere near a Biden administration except if he buys a ticket to an event, and even then he should be tossed out on his ass.

Mayor Pete is actually the best pick of a truly meh bunch.

Meanwhile, Biden's doing a much better job with former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm as his choice for Energy Secretary, and Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico as Interior Secretary.

U.S. Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico appears to be President-elect Joe Biden’s top choice to head the Interior Department, three informed sources said, a pick that would make her the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency.

The position would give her authority over a department that employs more than 70,000 people across the United States and oversees more than 20% of the nation’s surface, including tribal lands and national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite.

She has told Reuters she would seek to usher in an expansion of renewable energy production on federal land to contribute to the fight against climate change, and undo President Donald Trump’s focus on bolstering fossil fuels output.

Two of the sources familiar with the proceedings said Biden’s team was close to finalizing the decision on Haaland but weighing concerns about the loss of a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Democrats are hanging on to a slim majority. The third source said the decision was made and that an announcement was imminent.

Biden is also in the process of finalizing other key energy and environment picks, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator and Secretary of Energy - all of which will be crucial to his sweeping climate change agenda.

Two sources said Biden currently favors Jennifer Granholm to run the Department of Energy. Granholm, 61, was Michigan’s first female governor and pushed for a transition to green technologies in the longtime car-manufacturing state.
Both Haaland and Granholm are excellent choices.
And then there's...Pete.  I guess.

The Coup-Coup Birds Take Flight, Con't

The Trump regime continues to openly plot sedition after yesterday's electoral college votes sealed Biden's victory.

President Trump's allies are preparing to send an "alternate" slate of electors to Congress, senior White House adviser Stephen Miller said Monday, signaling Trump will drag out his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election even after the Electoral College certifies Joe Biden as the winner.

Miller, appearing on Fox News as a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, brushed off the idea that the Electoral College vote marked any kind of end to the process.

"The only date in the Constitution is Jan. 20. So we have more than enough time to right the wrong of this fraudulent election result and certify Donald Trump as the winner of the election," Miller said on "Fox & Friends."

"As we speak, today, an alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote and we're going to send those results up to Congress," he continued. "This will ensure that all of our legal remedies remain open. That means that if we win these cases in the courts, that we can direct that the alternate state of electors be certified."

Electors from every state met on Monday to formally elect Biden as the next president. Those results will be certified by the states and submitted to Congress.

Miller indicated that Trump supporters will act as "alternates" in a handful of contested states, including Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, to submit their own, unofficial results. Should the Trump campaign succeed in overturning the outcome in any of those states, Miller said, the alternate electors could then be recognized by Congress.

Nothing in the Constitution or state electoral processes allows for such an "alternate" slate of electors.

Miller also raised the idea of state legislatures stepping in to overturn the results or of Congress interceding.
This is no longer cute, or funny, or even a cynical grift to raise funds for Trump's campaign coffers.
This is sedition.
Actually meeting to elect alternate electors, and then sending those electors' votes to Congress with the express intent of overturning an election, is sedition, period.

These people must go to prison or our democracy will be damaged, perhaps fatally so.

Wilbur Runs The Numbers

With all the drunken first year law student frat boy coup idiocy going on, it's important to note a quick reminder from Forbes Magazine's Dan Alexander that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross may actually be the most corrupt member of Trump's Cabinet, and that's actually a singularly amazing feat in the field of massive grifting in a field of massive grifters.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, one of President Trump’s longest-serving cabinet members, has been under investigation for most of his tenure in office, according to a report issued Thursday by the inspector general of the commerce department.

The report both revealed the investigation and published its findings. It concluded that Ross, who has served as commerce secretary since Trump’s first year in office, violated a federal regulation by failing to avoid the appearance of ethical and legal breaches. The report cleared him on other matters, including whether he lied to federal officials and engaged in insider trading.

The probe began in November 2017, after Forbes reported how Ross had been apparently fibbing about his fortune for years. The investigation eventually expanded, following revelations the next year about false ethics filings, conflict-prone meetings and suspiciously timed investments.

Thursday’s report catalogues a litany of inaccurate statements that Ross submitted to federal officials. He did not list all assets on his financial disclosure report. He claimed to have divested things he did not. He described stock distributions that did not happen. He said he sold assets that he actually shorted.

It’s not a crime to unintentionally provide false information to officials—only to intentionally do so. The report does not conclude that Ross knowingly lied.

The inspector general also documented several meetings that don’t look good at first glance. For instance, Ross was supposed to receive advice from ethics lawyers before dealing with issues involving China or energy. But in conversations about gas exports, the commerce secretary ignored that and talked to Chinese officials. Another example: While Ross’ wife owned stock in Boeing, he met with the company’s CEO and asked about subsidies to its rival Airbus. A third one: the commerce secretary met with the CEO of a railcar company even though Ross owned a hidden stake in the business.

The report concludes that the China energy talks violated the regulation meant to curb unethical appearances, while determining that Ross’ actions didn’t have a clear enough effect on his holdings to constitute a violation of the criminal conflicts-of-interest statute. Merely asking the CEO about Airbus, without taking some action related to the conversation, didn’t rise to that level either, according to the report. Nor did the meeting with the railcar CEO, which Ross claimed was “purely social.”

Ignoring the regulatory violations, the commerce secretary struck a triumphant tone. “I am pleased that the inspector general’s report puts to rest any notion that I violated the conflict-of-interest statutes,” Ross said in a statement sent shortly after this story published. “I have always been and will remain committed to adhering to the highest standard of ethics in the discharge of my duties.”

For all the insider trading Sonny Perdue and Kelly Loeffler ae accused of doing, it's Wilbur Ross who got away with enriching himself the most while just barely getting away with it.  I'm sure we're going to find out that between Ross and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that these two got away with billions in fraud while being much smarter than Trump was in the process of making it happen.

Trump will surely pardon the two of them on the way out too, if only to buy their silence.
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