Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Snapping To Attention

In a bit Monday night/Tuesday morning about Donald Trump's latest antics- which he understands are far more serious than mere antics- Seth Myers played a clip from Sunday's Meet the Press. In a portion beginning at approximately the nine-minute mark, Missouri senator Roy Blunt states well, I actually spent most of this month at home in Missouri and I think this whole Sharpie thing is way being overplayed."

Generously, Myers concludes the segment by conceding, generously but unnecessarily, "it might seem trivial when it's just about Sharpies or flamingo dancers, but Trump's war on reality also has real consequences for real people...."

The lie itself, as part of what the comedian labels "Trump's war on reality," is trivial. But the incident is not, not when

The Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at the federal scientific agency responsible for weather forecasts last Friday after the agency’s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, according to three people familiar with the discussion.

After Trump displayed the altered National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross

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.

NOAA's acting chief scientist has pushed back, issuing a statement indicating that he will “potential violations" committed when the agency backed the president in opposition to the agency's scientists. Even in Trump's government, there are a few people in the federal government who can't be bought, but fighting the political shop with science and facts is an uphill battle.

Sometimes it's not the lies radical distortion or lies themselves, about Dorian or Doonbeg or Turnberry, but the role the lies play in emboldening the federal bureaucracy to assist President Trump in erasing western norms and liberal democracy.  This only his first term, and in a second term it will be easy to convince anyone and anything- the courts, Congress, the military, etc.- that all resistance is futile.

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