Donald Trump may only have a few more weeks or years left in office, but he's still working his hardest to fill the US government with nincompoops, cranks, toadies, and sumbitches while he still can. Maybe he's just trying to balance out all those appointments he left unfilled in his first year of office by loading up smaller jobs — none of which requires Senate confirmation — with as many loyalists as he can scrape up. There's no telling how much damage they might do in the waning weeks or decades of the Trump era.


How About a White Nationalist Overseeing Holocaust Memorial Sites? No, Not Stephen Miller.

Tuesday, Trump appointed former White House speechwriter Darren Beattie to the Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, a panel that's supposed to ensure the preservation of Holocaust-related sites all over Europe. Beattie was shitcanned in August 2018 after reports that he palled around with White Supremacists and had appeared on a panel with Peter Brimelow, a self-described believer in "racial nationalism" and one of the founders of the highbrow white nationalist site VDARE. If Stormfront is the internet's KKK, then VDARE is its White Citizens Council.
Beattie insists he's not racist, of course; he just likes to fantasize about how great it would be if conservatives could have their very own George Soros to secretly pull the strings of power and money in their favor. He also expressed admiration for Trump's Muslim Travel Ban, as promulgated by Stephen Miller, and is "currently writing a book in defense of Trumpist Nationalism," according to an online bio from 2019.
Oh, yes, and last week, Beattie joined in all the rightwing Twitter fun about how Black people aren't fit to govern themselves, because they RIG the elections, and he really didn't mean anything more than saying he doesn't like RIGGERS, GET IT?

That inspired lots of very witty replies, too, haha!


Such an urbane wit, and now he'll be representing America on a commission that
is primarily focused on upkeep of sites around Eastern Europe related to the extermination of 6 million Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II, as well as to the vanished culture of Jewish communities in places like Poland and Ukraine.
And just because Donald Trump will be leaving, Darren Beattie and his unique worldview won't, necessarily, as Yahoo News points out,
Beattie's three-year term on the commission gives him, like other Trump appointees, a foothold in the federal bureaucracy long after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
Beattie's appointment was protested by the Anti-Defamation League, which called on Trump to rescind it. ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt issued a statement saying "It is absolutely outrageous that someone who has consorted with racists would even be considered for a position on a commission devoted to preserving Holocaust memorials in Europe."
And then, we'll assume everyone around Trump just laughed and laughed. Wonder if they've heard the "riggers" joke? It should surely be a great icebreaker when Beattie's at some meeting on preserving memorials to victims of the Master Race.

How About a Top Climate Change Denier in a Top Climate Job?

In September, the Trump administration picked David Legates, a University of Delaware climatology professor who says everyone else in his field is wrong on global warming, to fill a top job at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Legates will be the "deputy assistant secretary of Commerce for observation and prediction." Legates is a fine piece of work, as NPR notes:

In 2007, Legates was one of the authors of a paper that questioned previous findings about the role of climate change in destroying the habitat of polar bears. That research was partially funded by grants from Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute lobbying group and ExxonMobil, according to InsideClimate News. [...]

Legates also appeared in a video pushing the discredited theory that the sun is the cause of global warming. In testimony before the U.S. Senate in 2014, Legates argued that a climate science report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change erroneously stated that humans are causing global warming.
Legates's position as an actual academic has made him King Shit of Climate Denial Mountain, because look what a brave maverick who says things like "carbon dioxide is plant food and is not a pollutant." He's affiliated with the Heartland Institute, the industry-funded font of bad science and propaganda, which awarded him its "Courage in Defense of Science Award" in 2015 for outstanding service to the fossil fuel industry.
The Washington Post noted that, unlike the EPA and science offices in other departments like Interior and Agriculture, NOAA has generally been free of political interference in the Trump years, but that Legates's arrival "is raising concerns in the science community that this could be a White House-orchestrated move to influence the agency's scientific reports."

Or How About Firing Scientists and Replacing Them With Deniers?

Earlier this month, the administration removed Michael Kuperberg from his post as the US Global Change Research Program, which oversees the National Climate Assessment report that's required by Congress every five years. You may recall that Donald Trump tried to hide the last report, in 2017, by scheduling its release for the day after Thanksgiving so nobody would notice it, but then all the stories were about what a blatantly dishonest move that was, and the report probably got noticed more.

Last week, surprise, surprise, the White House found an even bigger new job for Legates, moving him from NOAA to replace Kuperberg as executive director of the Global Change Research Program, and then, for good measure, bringing in Ryan Maue, who was also recently appointed as NOAA's chief scientist. Maue at least acknowledges climate change is real, and that human activity contributes to it, but he also rejects mainstream projections of the severity of climate change, and mocks as "climate alarmists" anyone who thinks we need to quickly move away from fossil fuels.

Maue will help Legates with the early stages of putting together the next National Climate Assessment. While the bulk of the work will be completed during the Biden administration, the Washington Post reports that, according to an anonymous NOAA official, the Dynamic Denial Duo will be involved in picking authors for that next report. How much damage can they do in the remaining days of Trump's term?

It's unclear how much headway Maue and Legates can make in shaping the next report, since the bulk of the work is expected to be completed after President-elect Joe Biden takes office. Federal scientists, environmental groups, and lawmakers fear the duo could derail and set back the climate assessment before President Trump leaves office. But several previous U.S. Global Change Research Program leaders and scientists have stressed that checks and balances built into its governance should limit lasting damage.

For example, the selection of chapter authors must be approved by a subcommittee for Global Change Research, composed of senior career and political leaders at the 13 member agencies. In addition, the report goes through multiple stages of peer review, including by a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.

"If they manage to ram through the selection of authors that are crazy, there's nothing in the system that says they can't be changed" when the Biden administration takes control, said one scientist who worked for the research program. [...] If the new leadership attempted to create a completely new process for developing the climate assessment, "it would require acquiescence of all these agencies."

So let's hear it for the Deep State, and for the return of normal science!

Oh, we'll still be in a world of hurt because of climate change, and thanks to Trump and company, we've lost four years in the fight. But at least there will be grownups running things again, with the possibility that Americans won't then turn around and elect a new round of loons. It really would suck to have every aspect of the fight to keep the planet habitable thrown out the window every few years.

[Yahoo News / NPR / WaPo / Politico / WaPo]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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