Department of Parks and Insurrection

January 25, 2017

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

This is not meant to be snarky or hyperbolic, I mean this sincerely: There are so many bad things coming from the Trump administration, not even a week old yet, that I really can't keep up. And that's only counting things that fall under the CFI wheelhouse. I have to look up from my browser every few minutes just to remember to breathe.

Where to start? I suppose we can start with the attempts by folks at the National Parks Service to go rogue, and do a lot of very passionate tweeting about climate and environment facts, all despite the Trump-imposed freeze on their doing so. The tweets were eventually deleted, but WE REMEMBER.  

But this is part of a larger story, a real freaking crisis frankly, in which the White House has also banned the USDA and EPA from speaking to press or using social media. This National Parks Service scientist is not having it:

Trump is not "KING" He can't order one from discussing free speech! 1st amendment protects us. As a scientist at NPS, I FUCKING REFUSE! 

It looks like the order was reversed overnight, but I wouldn't be feeling to liberated just yet. Besides, the EPA has also been ordered to take down climate change information from its website:

"If the website goes dark, years of work we have done on climate change will disappear," one of the EPA staffers told Reuters. 

So even worse maybe is the fact that Trump and his minions are holding fast to the lie that millions of fraudulent votes were cast in the 2016 election. Jake Tapper, who has become sort of the Washington Establishment Dad Who's Disappointed In You, makes clear that the administration is lying about this conspiracy theory. But as Onyx says, "Buh-buh-buh wait it gets WORSE!" On Twitter, Trump promises a "major investigation" into what he alleges as "VOTER FRAUD" and of course we know what that means. Just to be clear, this is like promising a major investigation into the Moon landing fraud, it's an investigation based on a manufactured, fictional premise.

Karen Tumulty writes how Trump is not only driving me personally crazy, but also shooting himself in the foot by undermining his own ability to govern with his unending downpour of lies. 

MEANWHILE, journalists covering the protests against Trump are being charged with rioting. Is this going to be our equivalent to Pakistan's blasphemy law?

Or maybe this is: A state senator in North Carolina (of course) wants a law that bans journalists from being too pesky to officeholders. 

And this creep in the Texas legislature says women should be jailed for getting an abortion, and such a law would make women more "personally responsible" instead of thinking,  ‘oh, I can just go get an abortion.’ Just like you do, AMIRITE LADIES? Oh god everything is so terrible. 

And! And! Michelle Goldberg explains how the Global Gag Rule was not just risen from the dead, but given cybernetic enhancements:

Trump’s version of the global gag rule expands the policy to all global health funding. According to Ehlers, the new rule means that rather than impacting $600 million in U.S. foreign aid, the global gag rule will affect $9.5 billion.  

Also terrible: Kathy Gannon at AP reports on how Pakistan is not only charging missing bloggers with blasphemy, but that people are in general totally OK with dudes just killing people who have allegedly committed blasphemy.  

On Point of Inquiry this week, Lindsay talks to "immersion journalist" Ted Conover about his work living the lives of the subjects he covers. 

Scientists' March on Washington seems to be in the works. Good. 

David Robert Grimes at The Guardian clears up some alt-med myths about "cancer diets" and other bad/fake treatments.  

Also useless: Tumeric/curcumin. Harriet Hall shows how it doesn't do anything that alt-med folks say it does. 

GOES-R is not The Destroyer, it's a weather satellite that has starting sending back some lovely images of our hurting little planet. But if it does happen to ask you if you're a god, you know the answer.

City councilors in Victoria, British Columbia say that "proclamations," like RTs, are not endorsements, per se, but "fulfilling a request." What made them feel the need to do this? Some folks weren't happy with Victoria proclaiming International Blasphemy Rights Day. Come on. 

Dominic Johnson, in a Guardian video, explains how even atheists are prone to superstitious or irrational beliefs about a kind of "cosmic system of justice." 

Another Big Nugget is going to pass between Earth and the Moon. Oh just do it, already.  

Quote of the Day:

David Hoyt on Twitter:

The thing the dystopian novels could never predict was the sudden rebellion of the national park social media managers 

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#1 dmbierlein on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at 10:29am

” On Twitter, Trump promises a “major investigation” into what he alleges as “VOTER FRAUD”

Looks like another Hawaiian vacation for his crew. And we won’t believe what they are finding!!!

#2 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at 12:34pm

“cosmic system of justice”

I hope Trump’s election is eroding that notion.

Justice is something that we have to do.  And if we do it hypocritically, Trump happens.

#3 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at 12:38pm

If you have to ask me if I’m a god, you are not a god.

#4 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at 12:44pm

“Also useless: Tumeric/curcumin.”

Lies!  Turmeric is delicious, and makes food pretty!

#5 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at 12:47pm

“Scientists’ March on Washington “

It’s a little late, don’t you think?  Also, maybe not the best move after disappearing 70% of the universe in an oopsie.

Scientists need to learn how to do PR.

#6 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at 12:54pm

“As a scientist at NPS, I FUCKING REFUSE!”

As an employee of the state, you represent the state.  Your speech, when associated with your state work, is not your speech.  It’s their speech.

If you don’t like what the state wants you to say, or doesn’t want you to say, under the current regime, you can go work for someone else.  (Plainly that’s going to be happening anyway, so why not make it your own decision?)

#7 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at 12:57pm

“years of work we have done on climate change will disappear”

Weren’t we told this was being copied?

#8 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at 1:00pm

“undermining his own ability to govern”

Remember during the campaign when Trump said he might quit as president?

Pence is counting on it.  Just look at the way they interact.

#9 Randy (Guest) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at 1:02pm

“bans journalists from being too pesky”

There’s already a law for that, called harassment.  They chased McCrory into a dead-end alley, cornered him, and yelled at him.

This is not acceptable behavior.

#10 Oro Lee (Guest) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at 3:32pm

Voter fraud investigation—and of course we know what that means: anecdotal evidence resulting in more restrictions on who and how you can vote at the state and now the federal level.

#11 dmbierlein on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at 4:49pm

“They chased McCrory into a dead-end alley”.
“They” would be protesters, not journalists. But I certainly would like to see a politician suing protesters (hell, let’s go for broke on this one, journalists) for harassment. Maybe he can use a bible as his legal counsel.

#12 Mario (Guest) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at 10:12pm

“There are so many bad things coming from the Trump administration….”

Noooooooooooooooooo.  Really??

And we thought nothing but good stuff was coming.  Big shock to everyone.  Who saw it coming?

#13 Mario (Guest) on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at 10:18pm

If Trump keeps on doing bad stuff, be sure to report on it.  Thanks.

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