America’s scientists, told that research dollars are drying up and that they face new restrictions on how they discuss their work with the public, join the fight against Trump

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While I loved the “I’d call Trump a cunt, but he lacks the depth and warmth” poster at this past weekend’s Women’s March on Washington, and the one the girl was holding that said “Have your wall, but our generation will tear it down,” I think this one (seen above) was my favorite… And, hopefully, if all goes according to plan, we’ll see it again in a few months, as scientists descend on D.C. for the Scientists’ March on Washington, which was just announced in response to Trump’s recent moves to slash federal research funding and restrict scientists from communicating their findings with the public. [No date has been set, but we’re assured that it’ll happen.]

Although it just went live a little while ago, the Facebook page for the proposed march already has over 76,000 likes, and there appears to be a great deal of momentum, with local march committees already being established around the country. I suspect it would have happened anyway, as Trump’s blatant disregard for facts can’t sit well with the scientific community, but it certainly didn’t help that, since Monday, his administration has begun freezing research funding and blocking scientists from disclosing their discoveries, especially as they relate to climate change and the environment. I hate, of course, the fact that this is happening, but I absolutely love seeing people beginning to rise up in large numbers to confront what’s happening. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more patriotic than yesterday, when National Park employees across the nation began rising up online in response to the threat of a federal gag order, and it’s just building today, as stories are beginning to spread across the internet of scientists organizing and pushing back.

Yes, this should have happened years ago in response to the anti-science policies and talking points of the Republican party, but I’m happy to see that it’s happening at all. And I imagine it’s not just women, park rangers and scientists that will join the fight. As more policies are enacted by the Trump administration, and more people realize just how much their lives will be impacted, more will join the resistance. No, this is just the beginning.

The Republicans, for what it’s worth, are also fighting back. Today they put their main “science” guy, House Committee on Science, Space and Technology chairman Lamar Smith of Texas, in front of the American people to tell them that that they should stop listening to disgruntled scientists, park rangers and the press, and get their news instead from President Trump. After saying that our new President has “tremendous energy” and “the stamina of a bull elephant, like Teddy Roosevelt,” the Congressman said we should just tune everything else out and listen to Trump. “In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth,” he said. [Yes, that was the chairman of our House Committee on Science, Space and Technology… the some committee, by the way, that made headlines back in December, when, on their official Twitter page, they shared a fake Breitbart news story about the non-existence of climate change.]

As for what went on within the National Park Service yesterday, here’s a clip from the New York Times.

The Trump administration has ordered a freeze on federal grant spending at several government agencies, from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Department of Health and Human Services, followed by memos telling employees not to send out news releases or to create social media posts, blog entries or official website content, and to consult with senior officials before speaking to the news media.

Such memos landed this week at the E.P.A., Health and Human Services, the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture in a broad halt to external communications while the Trump administration struggles to put political appointees into position. Small flare-ups of communications — apparently in dissent — appeared on Twitter, but they were quickly stopped.

The Twitter posts of the social media division of the Badlands National Park broadcasting the threat of climate change became something of a cause célèbre on the left before they disappeared from the platform on Tuesday…

After the Badlands Twitter posts were taken down, employees at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, a national historic site, ended Tuesday evening by quoting the first President Roosevelt on free speech…

Rebellious posts on social media became so plentiful from so many obscure sites that the management of the Interior Department appeared powerless to find them all…

And it’s only gotten better since then, as National Park employees, after having been shot down by the Interior Department, went rogue and started their own private account, @AltNatParkSer, which is now being followed by 1.2 million people. Here are some examples.

altnatpark1

altnatpark3

altnatpark2

And, now, there’s also a rogue NASA account, @roguenasa.

This, my friends, is what the beginning of a revolution looks like in the 21st century.

rguenasa

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16 Comments

  1. site admin
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    The March for Science has a Twitter handle too.

    Thank you all so much for all of your interest in a March for Science! If you’d like to help out, please fill out the form at https://goo.gl/forms/zAdY02dBEz3Ykii42 and visit our public FB page at http://www.facebook.com/marchforscience/.

    Organizers are currently working on our mission and will be meeting this weekend to work on the details of a DC march. We will announce a date soon, and are planning sister marches throughout the country – stay tuned!

    In less than a day, we’ve surpassed 200k members and are growing fast. As such, we’ve restricted posts and are thinning out old posts to help streamline conversations. Also, we are removing off-topic or discriminatory comments – please help us by reporting. Thank you all for your support and cooperation.

    Also, please show your support by following:
    Twitter: @ScienceMarchDC
    Reddit: /r/scientistsmarch
    Email Updates: http://eepurl.com/cyUV7T
    Visit the website at: http://www.scientistsmarchonwashington.com/

  2. Rex
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I wish our scientists would have spoken out en masse years ago, when the Republicans were lying about climate change. They should have shut DC down then, but I guess they felt as though they had too much to lose. Trump has apparently crossed a line, though. Telling the EPA and other departments to freeze all grant programs is an enormous thing, and everyone who works in science and academia knows it.

  3. Eel
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Thomas Dolby, where are you!

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Totally and completely necessary. This will be another big one.

    …But what will the hats looks like?

    And what liberal in-fighting will ensue afterwards?

  5. U-M professor on Facebook today
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    You know those memes about “first they came for the Xs, and I did not speak out, because I was not an X?”

    Well, they’ve come for the scientists. And it’s time to speak out, in the hugest possible way. And to give money. And to show up at your senators’ and reps’ offices and town hall meetings. And to big demonstrations. And to refuse to stay silent. Authoritarianism is upon us.
    Responsible Republicans, where the hell are you – or are you all gone?

  6. M
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Mother fucker…. Alex Jones says the White House offered Info Wars press credentials.

    http://thehill.com/media/316252-alex-jones-white-house-offered-infowars-press-credentials

  7. Meta
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    The Independent: “EU will remain top investor against climate change, in defiance of Donald Trump’s policies”

    The European Investment Bank has pledged to maintain its target of investing around $20bn (£16bn) a year to fight climate change over the next five years.

    “We, Europeans, must lead the free world against climate sceptics,” EID president Werner Hoyer said.

    He also said Europe must become a leader in funding the next generation of sustainable technologies.

    His comments have been seen as a message to US President Donald Trump, who has pledged to scrap the country’s strategy to tackle climate change.

    He has also suggested he will pull the US out of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

    Read more:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/eu-european-investment-bank-climate-change-investor-donald-trump-environment-epa-global-warming-data-a7546676.html

  8. Mr. X
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    All of these marches are going to be great for DC’s economy.

  9. Kit
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Related: http://imgur.com/EnLKO9g

  10. NCK
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    But, wait, it gets better. Scientists are running for office.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/01/thanks-to-trump-scientists-are-planning-to-run-for-office/514229/

    From the Atlantic.

    For American science, the next four years look to be challenging. The newly inaugurated President Trump, and many of his Cabinet picks, have repeatedly cast doubt upon the reality of human-made climate change, questioned the repeatedly proven safety of vaccines. Since the inauguration, the administration has already frozen grants and contracts by the Environmental Protection Agency and gagged researchers at the US Department of Agriculture. Many scientists are asking themselves: What can I do?

    And the answer from a newly formed group called 314 Action is: Get elected.

    The organization, named after the first three digits of pi, is a political action committee that was created to support scientists in running for office. It’s the science version of Emily’s List, which focuses on pro-choice female candidates, or VoteVets, which backs war veterans. “A lot of scientists traditionally feel that science is above politics but we’re seeing that politics is not above getting involved in science,” says founder Shaughnessy Naughton. “We’re losing, and the only way to stop that is to get more people with scientific backgrounds at the table.”

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Via a friend:
    From an anonymous EPA staffer:
    “So I work at the EPA and yeah it’s as bad as you are hearing:
    The entire agency is under lockdown, the website, facebook, twitter, you name it is static and can’t be updated. All reports, findings, permits and studies are frozen and not to be released. No presentations or meetings with outside groups are to be scheduled.
    Any Press contacting us are to be directed to the Press Office which is also silenced and will give no response.
    All grants and contracts are frozen from the contractors working on Superfund sites to grad school students working on their thesis.
    We are still doing our work, writing reports, doing cancer modeling for pesticides hoping that this is temporary and we will be able to serve the public soon. But many of us are worried about an ideologically-fueled purging and if you use any federal data I advise you gather what you can now.
    We have been told the website is being reworked to reflect the new administration’s policy.
    Feel free to copy and paste, you all pay for the government and you should know what’s going on. I am posting this as a fellow citizen and not in any sort of official capacity.”

  12. wobblie
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    From a Facebook post

    APRil 22
    Interested
    March for Science – Ann Arbor
    Sat 3 PM · The Diag · Ann Arbor
    7,978 people interested · 1,181 people going

  13. Anonymous
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Another anonymous email. This one claims to be from a mid-level Trump staffer.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/1/26/1625349/-West-Wing-leaker-silenced-after-pulling-back-the-curtain-Trump-irrational-staff-demoralized

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted January 27, 2017 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    “The declining authority of statistics – and the experts who analyse them – is at the heart of the crisis that has become known as “post-truth” politics. And in this uncertain new world, attitudes towards quantitative expertise have become increasingly divided. From one perspective, grounding politics in statistics is elitist, undemocratic and oblivious to people’s emotional investments in their community and nation. It is just one more way that privileged people in London, Washington DC or Brussels seek to impose their worldview on everybody else. From the opposite perspective, statistics are quite the opposite of elitist. They enable journalists, citizens and politicians to discuss society as a whole, not on the basis of anecdote, sentiment or prejudic
    e, but in ways that can be validated. The alternative to quantitative expertise is less likely to be democracy than an unleashing of tabloid editors and demagogues to provide their own “truth” of what is going on across society.” https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/19/crisis-of-statistics-big-data-democracy?CMP=share_btn_fb

  15. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2017 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    To answer your question, they’ll be wearing knitted, pink brain hats.

    http://www.studioknitsf.com/2017/01/how-to-knit-a-brain-hat-for-halloween/

  16. National Park Service
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    This morning former Director Jon Jarvis made this statement about recent events involving the National Park Service:

    “I have been watching the Trump administration trying unsuccessfully to suppress the National Park Service with a mix of pride and amusement. The NPS is the steward of America’s most important places and the narrator of our most powerful stories, told authentically, accurately, and built upon scientific and scholarly research. The Park Ranger is a trusted interpreter of our complex natural and cultural history and a voice that cannot not be suppressed. Edicts from on-high have directed the NPS to not talk about “national policy”, but permission is granted to use social media for visitor center hours and safety. The ridiculousness of such a directive was immediately resisted and I am not the least bit surprised. So at Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta should we not talk about his actions to secure the rights to vote for African Americans in the south, or is that too “national policy”? At Stonewall National Monument in New York City, shall we only talk about the hours you can visit the Inn or is it “national policy” to interpret the events there in 1969 that gave rise to the LGBT movement? Shall we only talk about the historic architecture of the Washington, DC home of Alice Paul and Alva Belmont or is it too “national policy” to suggest their decades of effort to secure the rights of women can be linked directly to the women’s marches in hundreds of cities last weekend? And as we scientifically monitor the rapid decline of glaciers in Glacier National Park, a clear and troubling indicator of a warming planet, shall we refrain from telling this story to the public because the administration views climate change as “national policy”? These are not “policy” issues, they are facts about our nation, it is how we learn and strive to achieve the ideals of our founding documents. To talk about these facts is core to the mission of the NPS. During the Centennial of the National Park Service, we hosted over 300 million visitors (now that is huge) to the National Parks and most came away inspired, patriotic and ready to speak on behalf of the values we hold most dear. The new Administration would be wise to figure out how to support the National Park Service, its extraordinary employees and their millions of fans.”

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