About That Fox and That Henhouse…

And the hits keep coming…

Major media outlets are reporting on the Administration’s most recent assault on science and the environment. According to the New York Times, 

The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.

A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast. “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community,” said the spokesman, J. P. Freire.

The dismissals on Friday came about six weeks after the House passed a bill aimed at changing the composition of another E.P.A. scientific review board to include more representation from the corporate world.

The Washington Post reports that the Interior Department is overhauling the more than 200 advisory panels that inform how their agencies assess the science underpinning departmental policies, “the first step in a broader effort by Republicans to change the way the federal government evaluates the scientific basis for its regulations.”

Gee–maybe Jeff Sessions can emulate Scott Pruitt, and allow offenders to rewrite criminal law and incarceration practices–after all, who knows more about crime and punishment than those most immediately affected?

Trump has previously instructed Pruitt to shave 40 percent of the agency’s science budget and to eliminate or severely roll back the most important Obama-era regulations on climate change and clean water protection. Last week, when I was checking some clean water information, I found that the EPA had removed a significant amount of data on climate change from its websites.

Of course, anyone who cares about the environment–or scientific integrity–expected much of this;  Pruitt is a climate-change denier. Like most of Trump’s cabinet, he appears to have been chosen in order to dismantle the agency he heads. Betsy DeVos is an enemy of public education, Jeff Sessions has already moved to erode enforcement of civil rights laws.. the list goes on.

The administration has also announced plans to fill federal court vacancies with judges likely to do their bidding.

The only people who will benefit from the policies of this Administration are the rich and the large corporations chafing under “inconvenient” regulations–like the rules against dumping toxic materials  into nearby rivers and polluting the drinking water.

Public administration scholars have long been concerned with the problem of “capture”–the process by which regulatory agencies get “cozy” with representatives of the industries they regulate. Some of that is inevitable; especially when you are dealing with complex issues that are salient only to the industry being regulated, it’s understandable that the regulators and those subject to regulation will develop a relationship. That relationship doesn’t necessarily undermine the regulatory process, and it is important to listen to the voices of those being regulated–the voices of those with the most intimate knowledge of the effect of rules being promulgated.

Listening, however, is one thing. Letting the industry write the rules–or rewrite the science justifying the rules–is something else entirely.

In the Trump Administration, the fox apparently lives in the henhouse.


  1. …..and the hits keep on coming…..

    It’ll take a while to get back to sanity…

  2. Even including the 1 or 2%, which obviously will gain from this type of Executive Action, I wonder what percentage of the population would actually think this bizarrely reactionary behavior toward science and the oversight of protections of the citizenry from blatant destruction for profit is a good thing and continue to support this ass hat.

  3. My exact thought when I read about this in the news yesterday was that the Fox is Guarding the Hen House. There must be millions of us that have the same opinion.

    I imagine this administration will make sure that the industry reps outnumber the scientific researchers on any governing board. Then they will have the power to completely silence the scientists until they just give up and quit. The positive in all of this is that those employees saw this coming and they have saved massive amounts of research in secret locations that this administration cannot find. I fully expect that the remaining staff will do whatever they can to fight this hostile takeover.

  4. It boggles my mind that there are still people supporting trump as he daily attacks their health, safety and livelihoods while not following through on his promises to help them economically. All has been forgiven.

  5. Exxon and BP spend millions advertising their investments in clean, renewable energy. We can only hope they understand that the future isn’t in coal or oil and it isn’t worth pursuing those fuels even for the short term.

  6. Will the Republicans begin rewriting or removing science classes, along with rewriting history, from our schools and replace it with creationism; thus ending all need for the EPA? These conditions are as God intended! will be DeVos’ war cry to establish her “God’s Kingdom” to replace all education systems in the U.S.

    On the distaff side; a friend questioned why the mainstream media is not reporting on the continuing spread of hazardous nuclear waste from Fukushima which is destroying ocean life in the Pacific and affecting our own west coast. The Rational Wiki site questions ENews casting all blame for this particular destruction on Fukushima, is this to distract us from Climate Change and Global Warming? I have asked before why nothing has been reported regarding the destruction of all ocean life where North Korea is testing their ballistic missiles? Is this lack of reporting to keep Trump’s desire to “nuke ’em” aimed at North Korea and further distraction from Global Warming? Those missile tests have nothing to do with natural Climate Change and seemingly are only political in nature. The EPA has everything to do with Global Warming (human destruction of the environment) but is now merely a political issue aiming to destroy protection of all life on this planet…and political attempts to deny life-saving health care. No matter how far inland we may live; the oceans are the source of life and must be protected…unless it is too late.

    Per Nancy; “I imagine this administration will make sure that the industry reps outnumber the scientific researchers on any governing board.” This is the fox’s solution to destroy all of us in that henhouse.

  7. I was a deputy prosecutor for a while upon entering the law practice and I can’t remember a time when I went to the defendants and discussed their cases with them, as an investigating House chairman did with the White House recently. Of course, some in the White House had not been indicted yet so technically they were not defendants. However, there is a good chance that they will be, and I can’t remember going to prospective defendants to discuss the evidence, either. Again technically, the House chairman (who has since recused himself) was not a prosecutor, but his job was to investigate these would be defendants and hand his committee’s evidence and recommendations over to the prosecution for further action.

    I am not surprised to see Trump appoint foxes to guard the various henhouses in Washington. All this, plus threatened withdrawal from the Paris Accord, dismissal of review environmental scientists etc. comes as no surprise to me. It is, speaking of accords, in perfect accord with the admitted Leninist Bannon’s view of destruction of “the administrative state” he is selling via a clueless narcissist who, speaking of conflicts, has set up his real estate shop in the Oval Office.

  8. It definitely appears that Fake President Donald Trump is doing his absolute best to let U.S. citizens know you don’t have to be very smart to be a Republican. Just hang on to your decades-old text books to confirm whatever it is you wish to confirm.

    There’s one person who will never know the difference. Trump.

  9. Government regulated by business. Science replaced by business and religion. Education turned over to business. The environment for sale to the highest bidder. Energy with unlimited permission to airfill (think landfill) all of their waste away into the air that we exist in. The entire Trump clan using America as their personal Versailles and billboard.

    Can the republic tolerate one term even? It’s getting doubtful and the recovery will take many years of our best effort.

  10. I remember as an undergraduate taking a course called “Government Regulation of Business.” It was a two-hour course and was offered at the time when even Republicans were New Dealers. I now think we should rename that course (if it is still offered) as “Business Regulation of Government” in keeping with today’s realities.

  11. Republican party supporters won’t see any of this as questionable until perhaps their own water is poisoned, a child ends up with a birth defect from an environmental pollutant, or some such. It has to come to their own front door and smack them in the face before they’ll be convinced. Reason having been abandoned, they need to experience it for themselves to change their minds. Sadly we have to go along for the ride.

  12. JM; a post on Facebook today clearly showed the mental level and lack of understanding government or business of many Trump voters in this county. A Trump supporter thanked him for giving her Trumpcare which had just lowered her son’s monthly health care premium. We cannot reach these people by speaking logic and common sense; their comprehension level and attention span precludes rational thought.

  13. Anyone who hangs their hat on “scientific integrity” would acknowledge that all embryology science and peer reviewed reports determine human life begins at the moment of conception the same as NARAL founder Dr. Bernard Nathanson submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine. Also that xx chromosome means girl and xy chromosome means boy. But unfortunately both left and right prefer “cafeteria science” which only acknowledges their respective political agendas. “Science deniers” are prominent on both sides of the aisle, thereby compromising their own and each other’s collective credibility or the lack thereof.

  14. Activists are specifically targeting congressional Republicans who supported the unpopular healthcare plan. Of the 217 Republicans who voted for the plan, just 14 will hold town halls during the recess, according to the scheduled of events compiled by TownHallProject.com.

    Monday was not a good day for Iowa Congressman Rod Blum, a Freedom Caucus Republican. First, he stormed out of a pre-orchestrated television interview with local station KCRG-TV9, after a reporter Josh Scheinblum pressed him on why his staff was requiring IDs from those hoping to attend a town hall forum in Dubuque Monday night.

    “Some would make the case that you represent all Iowans…shouldn’t all Iowans have a voice at the table or at least have the option to?” Scheinblum asked after Blum explained he wanted to ensure that all town hall attendees lived in the district he represents.

    “I don’t represent all Iowans” Blum answered. “I represent the First District of Iowa. That would be like saying, ‘Shouldn’t I be able to, even though I live in Dubuque, be able to go vote in Iowa City during the election because I’d like to vote in that district instead?'”

    Scheinblum followed up: “Would you still take donations from a Republican in Iowa City?”

    At which point Blum stood up, removed his microphone, and said “I’m done. This is ridiculous. He’s just going to sit there and badger me.”

    It appears the Republicans are taking the Duck and Cover approach. It was easy to hammer the ACA at a distance, but now the Republicans do not want to hear the music.

  15. Trump defeated the GOP during their primary. Trump defeated the Democratic Party during the general election. We know that Putin, Bannon and Comey played a role but chances are we will never know if it was a decisive role or not.

    Since then the Trump family has broken every tradition, norm, expectation, and normal practice of the Presidency and lowered the esteem the rest of the world had for us immensely. Our word as a country is worthless.

    Can the country survive one term given that Trump’s administration is accompanied by the least popular and respected Congress ever?

    As I see the circus unfolding in DC I’m afraid there will be no accountability for the untold damage being done. No jail time, the Trump family wealth will multiply extravagantly, the Congress will retire in lavish luxury, the damage to America will be deep and very long lasting.

    The only light on the horizon is will if we have learned.

  16. According to Howard Stern, who claims to know him well, tRump didn’t expect to be elected, but instead, expected to be the darling of talk shows. Losing would provide a platform for him to bitch, bitch, bitch about everything Hillary Clinton was doing, no matter what, and to claim he could have done so much better. Of course, this was calculated to feed his massive ego, which is the driving force behind everything he does. However, as fate would have it, enough stupid, racist people voted for him, and he got elected. His re-election campaign filed the necessary papers for the next election on Inauguration Day. He has never stopped campaigning. This, too, is unprecedented. The radical conservatives have seized control and they want to keep it as long as possible. Plus, the fawning mobs waving Trump signs and cheering feeds the ego of the petulant child who stole Hillary Clinton’s Presidency.

    tRump isn’t very knowledgeable about much other than how to push people around, how to create what he thinks is a favorable image, and how to claim he’s always “winning”, no matter the facts. IMO, that’s why he’s turned over every other aspect of running the government to extremely conservative Republicans. He didn’t know much about Flynn and wouldn’t listen to warnings, and now we all get to hear about how tRump put a national security adviser into office who was vulnerable to being blackmailed by the Russians, despite being warned about it in advance. Before she even testified, tRump decried Sally Yates’s testimony as “fake news” and a “hoax”, only because he knew she’d make him look bad. It’s starting to look like she wasn’t fired for refusing to defend the unconstitutional travel ban, but because she warned him about Flynn –he didn’t listen– and it all blew up in his face. It’s all about the ego, folks.

    DeVos was nothing but a rich bitch with a fundamentalist bent on educational policy, along with the desire to divert as many tax dollars to religious institutions and to push for teaching Christian values. She never had set foot in a public school, but he took someone’s advice and pushed for her to head education. The Republicans had to get revenge for Cracker Sessions losing out on a federal judgeship, so he becomes AG and will proceed with gutting civil rights on a national level, instead of on a District Court level. EPA will be turned over to industry, and scientists will be fired because the truth they report is bad for business, and profit matters more than health and safety. Insurance company, big Pharma, and big physician practices’s profits matter more than saving lives, and so he just lies, lies and lies to the dumb racists who voted for him. tRumpcare will be better than Obamacare–“believe me”. Unfortunately, people are catching on, and so Republicans who voted in favor of the tRump ego–er–tRumpcare bill, are now hiding from their constituents. Count Susan Brooks among them.

    None of this is the result of any organized thinking or any specific plan or philosophy of governing by tRump–instead, it’s the agenda of the most radical Republican wing nuts in the party to whom he has delegated the details of governing. He’s too busy arranging his pompadour to cover the scar from his scalp reduction surgery that Ivana Trump has testified about, because image is everything to him and he thinks we don’t know he has that huge bald spot on top of his head, along with the big scar. It’s all about the ego. Be very worried because you really don’t know who’s in charge of policymaking, but you may assume it is Breitbart, et al.

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