Trump Went Apeshit Anti-Science This Week, Let’s Fight Back

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We’ve known for some time now that a Trump presidency would be bad news for science. The man believes global warming was “created by and for the Chinese” to hurt American manufacturing, and has spent the past couple years of his life to campaigning on a racist, misogynistic, anti-science platform. His cabinet picks hold deeply anti-science viewpoints, and not a single one of them appears to value truth or evidence above political dogma and career advancement.

Trump has been in office barely seven days now, and his administration’s anti-science activities alone are absolutely horrifying. With everything else going on, it’s hard to stay focused on a single area of atrocity — but that’s what they want, I think. To overwhelm us and exhaust us with the chaos.

I reject that. Here’s a recap of every anti-science action Trump’s administration made this week and some ways to fight back.

Comparison aerial photos. Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration, right, appeared to draw a smaller crowd than Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, left. (Reuters via Washington Post)

Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration, right, appeared to draw a smaller crowd than Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, left. (Reuters via Washington Post)

Day 1 – Friday, January 20, 2017

Day 2 – Saturday, January 21, 2017

Photo of a person holding a sign that says "my body my choice" in front of the Capitol building. From the Women's March on Washington.

Protestors at the Women’s March on Washington.

Day 3 – Sunday, January 22, 2017

Day 4 – Monday, January 23, 2017

Cars and teepees in front of a sunset. Oceti Sakowin encampment, December 5, 2016. Photo by Jen Deerinwater. Read more coverage about DAPL resistance here.

Oceti Sakowin encampment, December 5, 2016. Photo by Jen Deerinwater. Read more of her coverage on DAPL resistance here.

Day 5 – Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Day 6 – Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Day 7 – Thursday, January 26, 2017

Let me know if I’ve missed anything and I’ll add it.

Some ways to fight back:

Add your own suggestions in the comments.


Notes From A Queer Engineer is a recurring column with an expected periodicity of 14 days. The subject matter may not be explicitly queer, but the industrial engineer writing it sure is. This is a peek at the notes she’s been doodling in the margins.

Laura Mandanas is a Filipina American living in Boston. By day, she works as an industrial engineer. By night, she is beautiful and terrible as the morn, treacherous as the seas, stronger than the foundations of the Earth. All shall love her and despair. Follow her: @LauraMWrites.

Laura has written 211 articles for us.

24 Comments

  1. Thanks Laura!

    So, I looked into the EPA gag order and grant freezing, and one article by the NY Times seems to suggest that the temporary gag orders for federal agencies is pretty normal during transition to new president:

    “Longtime employees at three of the agencies — including some career environmental regulators who conceded that they remained worried about what President Trump might do on policy matters — said such orders were not much different from those delivered by the Obama administration as it shifted policies from the departing White House of George W. Bush. They called reactions to the agency memos overblown. On Wednesday, Douglas Ericksen, a spokesman for the E.P.A., said that grants had been only briefly frozen for review, and that they would be restarted by Friday.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/us/politics/some-agencies-told-to-halt-communications-as-trump-administration-moves-in.html?_r=0

    Also, I’ve been reading that it’s p standard for the new president to change the whitehouse.gov website to reflect their platform.

    So, while I hate the new platform of climate science denial, I don’t see this as straight-up censorship or over-reaching, as long as the grants are unfrozen and the social media communications are reinstated very soon?

    However, I am watching this carefully. If energy.gov or similar are taken off line or hamstrung with fake info, that’s a whole other story.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a research scientist working in the field of climate change / renewable energy.

    What do you all think?

    • whereas the link to the Scientific American article above about the USDA gag order memo suggests that this is not a normal event during changes in administration. Basically, I don’t know what to think.

      ““There has never been a ban on scientific information. Other administrations have focused on reining in communications on policy, but not on science,” says Michael Halpern, deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit advocacy organization. “The USDA scientific integrity policy states that political appointees or any other employees cannot interfere with dissemination of scientific research results. This includes not just scientific publications, but also other ways of communicating with the public that are more accessible and have a broader reach.””

      https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/usda-calls-scientist-gag-order-a-ldquo-misunderstanding-rdquo/

      • You know, there hasn’t really been a big administrative change over on social media until now. Twitter was a brand new thing when Obama took office, and even Facebook wasn’t that old. There isn’t really a “normal” way of transitioning social media accounts — we’re all learning what’s normal as this administration does it for the first time.

        So I could buy that it’s a potential overreaction on that front? But I feel very skeptical that the rest is normal, especially when the directive violates agency integrity policies and the press is only learning of it via anonymous agency employee leaks to Capitol Hill staffers who then bring the news to the press. (Which is how they found out about the EPA memo.)

  2. This came out of Congress, not the White House, but let me just sound the alarm on the so-called “Local Zoning Decisions Protection Act of 2017”, which is HR 482 and S103: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1909/text

    Section 3 of the bill is a blatant attack on those of us in urban planning and the social sciences who study racial segregation and housing disparities:

    “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal funds may be used to design, build, maintain, utilize, or provide access to a Federal database of geospatial information on community racial disparities or disparities in access to affordable housing.”

    Basically, in addition to provisions that would take the teeth out of HUD’s ability to affirmatively protect equal housing using its regulatory powers? They want to stop us from measuring and understanding the effects of gutting equal housing regulations. This is as anti-science as it gets.

    Call yr Congresspeople please.

  3. This was an amazingly detailed article, spent an hour and half going through varying phases of dread from complete and utter to i don’t know how this can get any worse.The links at the end are a great add, thank you for this really really great and rather important article.

  4. So I am listening to last nights episode of Rachel Maddow and she saying that the new admin removed the upper members of the State Department, people who are carrier politicians, and people who had been hired & working at the State Department since the Regan era. Politico is also reporting that we may remove most sanction against Russia. It also turns out Trump fans aren’t too keen on being friendly with Russia.

  5. Trump and his regime cronies love to talk about jobs numbers. I’m reaching out to the EPA to ask them to release or leak the number of jobs being eliminated by the suspension of all EPA grants. Please join me, if you would like to! There is a Contact Us page linked in the footer of the EPA website.

  6. Hi Laura,
    Not sure if you are still reading this thread but I am interested to hear what you think of Elon Musk backing Trump and now being potentially named once of the minsters for economics/energy. I feel its greatly conflicting with his clean energy and innovative entrepreneur spirit and am hopeful somewhere somehow it is a plan to get on Trump from the inside. Didn’t know if you have further insight.

    • @backtoblack I feel like Elon Musk is a just a nerd with a lot of money to throw at his hobbies? Like I don’t look to him for presenting a greater vision for our country or whatever. Did you read the Washington Post article about him digging under LA so he doesn’t have to deal with traffic? He could be using that money to, I don’t know, improve the traffic infrastructure for everyone. Instead he’s doing this. Which is fine and kind of neat, I guess; I don’t really expect anything else from him but to throw money and energy into the nerdy things he personally happens to be interested in.

      What are your thoughts?

      • Thanks Laura, I admittedly have a sheltered view of Elon as all I hear here in Canada is accolades on his innovation and commitment to get away from fossil fuels and expand new tech for natural sources of energy. When I had heard about the Trump connection I was baffled as it seemed highly contradictory but as I can see from your article he does seem to be geared to suit his innovation around his own personal needs. Thank your for this!

  7. Blah. I just finished a science degree and I am so not trying to do academic science right now because I feel like I should wait out the storm.

    That said, I’ve been involved in the citizen science community for a while. Citizen science is essentially volunteer crowdsourced data collection + science education for the public.

    I included a link of the citizen science journalism I’ve done… I think it’s the best thing to do for science right now.

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