In Donald Trump’s last days, he’s doing as much destruction as possible. This is for two reasons: One, if he gets reelected somehow, then he’ll be way ahead on deconstructing the government, which has been his game plan all along or; two, he’ll screw it up good for Joe Biden so that he can be […]
Of all of the scandals in the Trump administration, and they are legion, SharpieGate will go down in history as the text book example in abject stupidity and political machinations for the sole purpose of protecting the Fool in Chief from his own folly. After Trump had thoroughly made himself the laughing stock of the entire planet, by insisting to know more about meteorology than the experts, and going to the extreme measure of altering a weather map, Wilbur Ross went into action to do damage control. Shortly after he threatened to fire NOAA’s political staff, they “corrected the record” and made it sound like Trump had been right all along, and that the original Weather Service tweet was due to “a desire to embarrass the president more than concern for the safety of people in Alabama.” New York Times: The actions by the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur L. Ross Jr., are the latest developments in a political imbroglio that began more than a week ago, when Dorian was bearing down on the Bahamas and Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that Alabama would be hit “harder than anticipated.” A few minutes later, the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala., posted on Twitter that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.” Mr. Trump persisted in saying that Alabama was at risk and a few days later, on Sept. 4, he displayed a NOAA map that appeared to have been altered with a black Sharpie to include Alabama in the area potentially affected by Dorian. Mr. Ross, the commerce secretary, intervened two days later, early last Friday, according to the three people familiar with his actions. Mr. Ross phoned Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president. Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political staff at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode. Unlike career government employees, political staff are appointed by the administration. They usually include a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides. Naturally, all this did was antagonize the scientific community, essentially pitting Trump’s need to have has idiocy validated, against the credibility of a government agency, and it’s own scientists. That sparked an email Monday from Craig N. McClean, NOAA’s acting chief scientist, telling the agency that he was investigating “potential violations” with respect to NOAA’s decision to invalidate the Birmingham Weather Service’s opinion and instead back Trump’s statement. McLean called that decision “a danger to public health and safety.” The public safety theme was also echoed Monday when the National Weather Service director, Louis W. Uccellini publicly praised the work of the Birmingham, Alabama office and said that staff members had “one thing in mind, public safety” in contradicting Trump’s initial tweet. The reality TV president doesn’t have a clue how he was threatening reality by tweeting out false information about Dorian and Alabama and the Weather Service acted in the only way they could have, which was responsibly. The issue at NOAA has yet to be resolved. None of this […]
The incident is not the most important transgression we’ve faced enduring the Trump administration. The reaction to the “Alabama tweet” doesn’t compare to babies being ripped out of parents’ arms. But, the fact that a massive organization like NOAA, made up of scientists dedicated to providing critical safety information, was silenced so as to not embarrass the man up top certainly reveals a level of danger we might not have appreciated. From a Washington Post story, summarized vie Raw Story, the following terrifies: “In an agency wide directive sent Sept. 1 to National Weather Service personnel, hoursafter Trump asserted, with no evidence, that Alabama ‘would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated,’ staff was told to ‘only stick with official National Hurricane Center forecasts if questions arise from some national level social media posts which hit the news this afternoon,’” the Post reports. The story goes on to report that NOAA staff were not to “provide any opinion.” Ironic, because we as a nation hire such staff with PhDs and decades of experience in this field precisely because we need “their opinions.” One can feel the pain and depression rightly felt by NOAA scientists in the few direct quotes obtained in the story: “This is the first time I’ve felt pressure from above to not say what truly is the forecast,” the meteorologist explained. “It’s hard for me to wrap my head around. One of the things we train on is to dispel inaccurate rumors and ultimately that is what was occurring — ultimately what the Alabama office did is provide a forecast with their tweet, that is what they get paid to do.” The entire point of science is to dispel “intuitive” thought, “inclinations” unsupported by evidence. It is only through science, and scientists relying upon measurements and evidence, that we no longer believe that catastrophic weather represents God’s punishment. Silencing experts to appease one man conjures up a divinely appointed king, one never to be questioned. It was one stupid tweet. So stupid, that it fooled no one, because no one took Trump seriously. But Trump’s need to be “right” surely will play out in situations where the public doesn’t have access to the real facts, where the stakes are much higher, and where Trump will be every bit as wrong. Iin such a situation, we will not have a Birmingham NWS center to quickly correct a dangerous situation. In other words, we are flying blind. There is a lot that goes on in the world where experts are not allowed to appear on TV and inform citizens as to “reality”. Trump will not allow us to know the truth. That is much scarier than a stupid tweet about Alabama and a sharpie. **** Peace, y’all Jason firstname.lastname@example.org, and Follow on Twitter: @MiciakZoom
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