New Scientist - 4 February 2017 US scientists can look to Canada for ways to fight a crackdown, just as Canada did until recently – and it's there we should look for lessons in fighting back. (see article below)
He has banned scientists from speaking to the press or Congress; and banned lines of research. These orders have been imposed on:
The Environmental Protection Agency
Department of the Interior
National Park Service
The Department of Health & Human Services
Department of Agriculture.
Scientists suddenly fear for their jobs if they publish or discuss their work, or speak out. Hitler sacked professors, teachers and scientists who disagreed with him. Trump is leaning on scientists to mould their findings and opinions to fit his crazed view of the world.
Why bother with all these expensive boffins and departments when Trump and his low IQ gangsters in the White House already have all the answers? The answers that his financial backers want to hear.
This lunacy sits alongside the contributions from industry, made to Trump’s campaign, a campaign which was based on 560 lies. Lies which convinced his ignorant, misguided and impoverished voters that he would transform their miserable lives.
He will not do that. The poor saps who voted for him are in his world, all LOSERS – they failed to inherit $200 million of New York property from their parents. Trump does not believe in charity. He has never donated to charity – it is one of the many reasons for concealing his tax-returns – and he says he has never paid tax (I'M SMART), to avoid supporting his country and all those Rust Belt LOSERS.
|BURNING ANTI-NAZI BOOKS - ACROSS GERMANY|
Gagging science and the media and intellectuals, is what the Nazis did before Hitler went to war. The infamous book-burning was the public face of this evil repression of intelligence. Demented Donald is a very dangerous madman.
When will Congress find him to be incompetent and put him into a secure home where he can be treated for his Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Trump has the emotional maturity of a three-year-old. As a trust-fund-babe, he has never been crossed or denied, in his life. God help the world when he has an infant's temper-tantrum.
Freedom, said the British writer George Orwell, is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear – such as, he suggested, that two plus two makes four. Empirical facts can be especially unwelcome to political establishments that want to provide their own “alternative” facts.
During his first week in office, President Trump launched orders to gag scientists in federal agencies, and raised the possibility that political officials may now need to clear empirical findings before they can be published. Canadian scientists, who endured a decade of repression under an ideologically similar government, could usefully advise their American colleagues.
The Trump crackdown became apparent last week, when the new administration hit the Environmental Protection Agency with a freeze on all contracts and grants. According to Trump staffers, all existing information published by the EPA would also be examined, and the release of new work put on hold pending possible case-by-case scrutiny. Agency staff have also been barred from updating its social media accounts or talking to the press without clearance from the top.
The EPA isn’t the only target. The Department of the Interior’s Twitter accounts were shut down after its National Park Service retweeted a comparison of Obama’s and Trump’s inauguration crowds. The Department of Health and Human Services was ordered not to communicate with external officials – including members of Congress – and cancelled a major meeting on health and climate, apparently to avoid trouble. Similar caution may have led the Department of Agriculture to remind staff to get clearance before talking to the press, and its research division was briefly told not to issue public statements.
“Researchers in Canada reported being leaned on to alter politically sensitive conclusions”This pattern of gagging and censoring scientists will have a familiar ring in Canada. Between 2006 and 2015, the conservative government of Stephen Harper sacked more than 2000 fisheries and environmental scientists, and cut climate, Arctic and air pollution research.
In the course of this, dubbed the “war on science”, libraries’ journal collections were trashed and researchers reported being leaned on to alter politically sensitive conclusions. Federally employed scientists were banned from speaking in public or to the press without permission – which was often denied or delayed. Government chaperones sat in on press interviews. Some scientists learned not to speak up at all; climate stories nearly vanished from the press.
“The lesson from the Canadian war on science for US scientists is: speak out now, organise, stand in solidarity, be an activist, and resist,” says Michael Oman-Reagan of Memorial University in St John’s, Canada.
Some are already doing that. After warnings from Canadian data archivists, US scientists have started making additional precautionary backups of publicly funded environmental data sets. A scientists’ march on Washington is in the works. An action group is trying to get more scientists to run for political office.
But political action moves slowly, and scientists face more immediate battles. The first job might simply be to resist self-censored silence and, as Orwell also said, keep restating the empirically obvious – because “the quickest way of ending a war is to lose it”.
Leader: “Speak up for science, however you can”