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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Donald Trump’s promise to “bring back coal” — a madly Faustian bargain on a warming planet — may well have swung some Rust Belt states his way, as John Oliver suggests. But his administration’s claims to have fulfilled that pledge with “50,000 new coal jobs,” ironically articulated by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, are simply lies.

Behind the arguments over coal and employment, advanced by Trump, the Republicans, and the mining industry, are even bigger lies. The victims of those lies, of course, are the miners themselves — who, unlike the coal barons, deserve much more federal assistance than they have received.

But as Oliver demonstrates, it’s the coal barons like convicted criminal Don Blankenship who enjoy the tender concern of Trump and the far right. It is especially uplifting to watch him defy an attempt at intimidation by Bob Murray, the unappealing chief of Murray Energy Corporation.

Bonus: What Trump really thinks of coal miners, expressed in a Playboy interview from 1990.

As always, Oliver contrives to present an infuriating story with precision, compassion, and lots of laughs.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) declared on Sunday morning that she will oppose any Republican attempt to move ahead with a Supreme Court nomination to fill the seat left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.

"For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election," said Murkowski in a statement released by her office. "Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed."

The Alaska Republican joined Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in opposing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's announced determination to replace Ginsburg with a Trump appointee. If McConnell loses two more Republican votes, he will be unable to move a nomination before Election Day.