Some Damage Will Be Permanent

As the Trump Administration’s dreary parade of discredited assertions, retrograde policies and corrupt practices marches on, I remind myself that destruction is also opportunity; once the current cabinet is gone, competent public servants can address agency shortcomings–both old and new.

I console myself by imagining a new administrator doing a thorough review of agency policies and regulations, jettisoning those that have outlived their usefulness and tightening up those that are needed. The Trumpian chaos can provide an opening to rethink, re-arrange, revisit. Sure, damage was done by the barbarians, but (assuming a really big wave in November) it can be fixed. It can even be made better!

But not all of it.

The Trump administration’s plan to shrink four land-based national monuments has provoked howls of anguish from environmental groups, Native American tribes and some businesses, such as the outdoors company Patagonia.

Accompanying changes to protected monuments in the oceans – vastly larger areas than their land-based counterparts – have received less attention, but could have major consequences for the livelihoods and ecosystems dependent upon the marine environment.

Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, has recommended to Donald Trump that three sprawling marine monuments, one in the Atlantic and two in the Pacific, be either opened up to the commercial fishing industry or reduced in size, or both.

According to marine biologists, these “blue parks ” are home to, and protect, unique species. They shelter a wealth of biodiversity and special habitats.

In 2009, George W Bush created the Pacific Remote Islands national monument around seven islands and atolls in the central Pacific. The monument, subsequently expanded by Barack Obama to become what was the largest marine protected area in the world, comprises “the last refugia for fish and wildlife species rapidly vanishing from the remainder of the planet”, according to the Fish & Wildlife Service, boasting creatures such as sea turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks and giant clams.

Evidently, fishing interests have complained about these areas being made off-limits, and as we have seen with multiple issues, this is an administration exceptionally receptive to the complaints of business and industry.

“This is a spectacular place that contains animals incredibly vulnerable to drilling, fishing, noise and pollution,” said Peter Baker, director of US oceans, north-east, at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“It shouldn’t be too much to ask to protect 2% of the US’s exclusive economic zone off the Atlantic coast for future generations. Allowing commercial fishing there is really a distortion of why you would have a national monument in the first place.”

Baker said the New England Fisheries Management Council, which Zinke indicated should determine fishing restrictions in the monument, has a “horrible track record” of overfishing and conflicts of interest.

Assuming a return to competent governance, we can repair a lot of the damage. For one thing, we can address–and hopefully redress– the shocking deterioration of our National Parks, recently the subject of a depressing series in the Guardian.

But there’s a lot we can’t repair. And the wrecking crew that is the Trump Administration is counting on that.


  1. When we think about the land deals that will be made,who is buying them? whos intrests spruned this? and what profits now? and,the lose of pristine America,for all. Ive been all over the country,ive witnessed first hand,money buy up property,just for development,to be constanly bought and sold. as the money buys em,the price again climbs,and again,the peons never get to enjoy,what,was America,in that state. running rivers,tributaries,the small streams,clean water,and some one time privacy,for a small minute,gone. fences errected,land owner rights,laws to pervent enjoyment,and enforcement,bought by the land owners taxes.I was living in Grass Valley Ca, in the 70s,retired people from the bay area were buying up the land,then came the change in city councils,and the big city needs to change the local living. people generations down,because they never had much,lost alot. they the care takers who kept this piece of heaven,seen it lost to people with only money and greed,wages never went up, rents did,as the cost of living also did. many,literaly forced out. I watched cor de alene,id same thing,kalispel mt,same thing. the fact,when money moves in,thease deals are made,for them,and screw whoever,doesnt like it.. Zinke is a ass,period. and hes the reason,why,people with no other reason but to buy happiness,and scorn the locals,into leaving. sooner or later, and i guess sooner now, we will just be in their way to.. I miss the free radio of the 60-70s when vietnam was a major mistake, those radio stations like KLOS KMET in L.A, never missed a beat,and i see where we have lost what was a progressive voice in America. now its all corprate.made to be,dont even ask,and be damn,if they will be a voice for the American again.

  2. And please add to that all the crazy right wing nut jobs that are getting Lifetime jobs in our federal courts.

  3. The more I hear the more I am convinced that the Republicans are poised to run the table and finalize the fire sale of America to not-even-the-highest bidder. It seems to me that they have successfully highjacked the press/media and Mad King Donald is respectable for the moment. The opposition is still flailing about trying to find an issue that they can champion, while Trump marches on and successfully ignores them. If 2018 mid-term elections don’t drastically change congress, I’m starting my active search for a home outside the US.

  4. trump never truly wanted to be President. His only interests have been to dismantle anything good that Obama created and to give racists, white supremacists the vocal power they have been craving for decades.

    He relied on reverend pence to put together much of the cabinet and pence quickly jumped in to install his fellow radical evangelicals in high places. pence, being the evil snake that he is, manages to protect himself from trump’s daily controversies. When pence joined trump I am sure the koch brothers were celebrating the biggest gift they had ever been given. I have no doubt that pence asked the kochs exactly who they wanted to be placed in the cabinet to destroy any and all regulations for their industries.

    The speed of destruction has been mind boggling and it doesn’t even seem to slow down.

  5. Just in case anyone was wondering – I intentionally chose not to capitalize the names of those evil people in my prior comment. I cannot force myself to give them even that little bit of respect.

  6. As a former 35+ year Republican operative I never thought I would see the day that the Republican Party would sell out to foright powers, private wealth diners and corporate greed. They are no longer the party of opportunity, education, small business, fair values they once professed to be.

  7. The references to oceanic destruction immediately brought to my mind the movie, “Soylent Green”, the destruction of our sources of life on land by Global Warming and oceans become our only source of life. Our oceans are already dying; the Great Barrier Reef, the oil rig explosion in our own Gulf of Mexico which destroyed ocean life due to faulty, inadequate cement bases constructed by Haliburton – whose CEO at that time was Dick Chaney. I have seen no mention for about two years regarding the total and ongoing Japanese countryside and ocean destruction by Fukushima and have NEVER seen a reference to the total destruction of all ocean life in the areas where North Korea is testing its nuclear missiles in the Sea of Japan. These are but a few already destroyed ocean areas. There is no way to rejuvenate the ocean life and the ocean itself as we can fertilize the land in some areas to again produce food. Food is life!

    There is another area of permanent damage from the Trump Administration already in evidence. The destruction of families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, political party splits which can never be repaired. The damage done to our children in schools where hatred, bigotry and bullying happened daily; at times by teachers who resented teaching children of different races and religions. The elderly and disabled and those with permanent health issues living in fear of losing what little protection WE have. Can we call this “Grassroots Destruction” as we make up the majority of middle Americans who are suffering under Trump’s heavy hand. How in hell is one man being allowed to destroy this entire country and all it has stood for for centuries? How and Why?

    “But there’s a lot we can’t repair. And the wrecking crew that is the Trump Administration is counting on that.”

  8. Just as slavery and the Civil War left permanent damage to the conscience of the country, the Trump regime will leave behind a permanently divided nation whose population is suspicious and distrustful of itself.

    We no longer have a Union capable of protecting the Constitution. And without the Constitution what do we have?

  9. I joined the Nature Conservancy, hoping to help them buy up national treasures in order to preserve them. Too bad they don’t have enough money to buy them all.

  10. Nancy:

    “pence, being the evil snake that he is, manages to protect himself from trump’s daily controversies”.

    So far. Godspeed Special Prosecutor Mueller.

  11. Theresa; Trump has not only caused disunity between parties as we saw during and after the Civil War. He has managed to resurrect racism and hatred causing disunity WITHIN both parties; further weakening support for the Constitution, which was once our greatest stronghold on democracy.

    I doubt you and I will live long enough to see a rebuilding of the Union as we knew it or to know which of Trump’s many destroyed areas of government and country are permanent. Even with strong party differences we remained one government, the Union in the true meaning of the word…till early morning of November 9, 2016.

  12. I may have posted here about a year ago when The Trumpet’s (aka Agent Orange) was making his cabinet picks. I joked about the person that would be appointed to head the CDC would be tobacco company CEO. Turns out I was not far off the mark.
    After Tobacco Stock Purchases Exposed, Trump’s CDC Director Resigns – The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald—whose short tenure has already been mired in conflicts of interest—resigned Wednesday after a report revealed she bought stock in a major tobacco company and others that were potential conflicts while directing the public health agency that leads the federal government’s efforts to reduce tobacco use.

    Fitzgerald’s resignation followed a Tuesday evening report by Politico, which obtained and published documents (pdf) showing that the “Trump administration’s top public health official bought shares in a tobacco company one month into her leadership of the agency.”

    Despite protests from conservationists, local tribe leaders, Democratic lawmakers, and even the United Nations’ expert on indigenous rights, at 6am on Friday the Trump administration will allow citizens and companies to start staking claims on sections of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah so the new stakeholders can conduct hard rock mining on the formerly protected lands.

    Our ship of state has been hit by torpedoes below the waterline. The McMega-Mega Media CNN, FOX, MSNBC are all focused on The Trumpet one way or another 24/7. The damage below the water line goes unreported.

  13. Not to throw cold water on the parade, but even if we retake the House AND Senate come November, I don’t look for great change since Trump will still have the veto pen and we will not have a supermajority to override his naysaying. We may be able to prevent further damage to some extent but query as to past damage which lingers.

    Lately it appears that he has taken to vetoing the intent of bills that he has signed into law – see the veto-proof sanctions law passed overwhelmingly by the Congress dealing with Russian interference with our elections but whose enforcement Trump has decided is unnecessary, thus effectively vetoing the intent if not the bill he has already signed into law. He is constitutionally required to enforce the law but has chosen not to do so, apparently putting his blackmailed posterior before national security. GRRRR! Someday (and I hope yesterday) he will be gone and perhaps sanity and normalcy will return, but some of the damage is structural and its effects will be felt forever, as with the permanently lost economic production due to Bush’s Great Recessions and its trillions in real estate equity lost to foreclosed mortgages, among other such losses for which he is responsible, such as credit card wars and pharmaceutical giveaways by the billions if not trillions.

    However, it is not enough to lament the past. We start from where we are, and our first order of business is to excise the cancerous protoplasm currently occupying the Oval Office.

  14. Other news ignored by our McMega-Media concerning the environment:
    In Latest ‘Giveaway to Polluters’, Trump EPA Suspends Clean Water Rule
    Rescinding the regulation will put the drinking water of one in three Americans in danger of pollution, critics say.

    In a decision that critics warned will put the drinking water of one in three Americans at risk, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans on Wednesday to suspend the Obama-era Clean Water Rule, meant to limit the flow of chemicals into the nation’s waterways.

    “Although far from perfect, the Clean Water Rule was a step in the right direction; now Trump wants to take giant steps backwards in clean water protections, back to the days of massive fish kills and rivers on fire,” said executive director Wenonah Hauter. “With each day in office, Trump is firmly cementing his place in history as the worst environmental president to ever hold office.”

    I suppose it is only a matter of time, when any regulations utilities may have to follow on delivering safe drinking water will be suspended. Sewage plants will be free to divert the waste water untreated into the rivers. Factory Farms will be free of any “onerous regulations” (a favorite phrase of the Steroid Capitalists) and they will be able to dump their crap into the nearest waterway.

  15. “We no longer have a Union capable of protecting the Constitution. And without the Constitution what do we have?”

    Total, abject, chaos is what we have. The Constitution has always been that anchor that we seldom have to think about that holds everything here together. We now face the very real prospect of having everything this country and its people have strived for since 1787 thoroughly unraveled by people who should know better that in turn represent people that should have been paying a lot more attention and also be capable of thinking beyond their noses.

    The longer this is allowed to go on the worse it will get. We will have to work hard to get back to where we were or at least back on an even keel provided that’s even possible and that we have the gumption to do so. We are in our own “Sargasso Sea” right now, lost and rudderless with our country potentially on the scrapheap. The world looks on aghast at what we are doing to ourselves, albeit with some help from a ready and willing external source.

    Right now, I feel like taking all the textbooks and assorted other books that I have on American politics and putting them in a dumpster and setting fire to it. I won’t, of course, but each and every day we stray even further from long established norms of conduct and reason to where all these books that I have, and all those that I unfortunately don’t, may end up being obsolete and irrelevant as what we know as America dies right before our eyes while we stand and watch what is happening and argue vehemently between ourselves over the actual reality of it all. So far that’s all that’s happening just this side or arguing over what color the sky is. We are mere spectators to our own demise, far too fractured so far to formulate a course of action to save ourselves.

    Am I disgusted? Yes, I am. Thoroughly.

  16. Every day the world digs deep in the ground all over the word extracting fossil fuels. Every day what has been extracted is transported all over the world where some is chemically transformed by “refining”. Every day huge amounts are stored in case something something messes with the flow. Every day huge amounts are again transported to the places they will be consumed. There they are burned and virtually all of that material is flung into the air out of sight and out of mind. What is useful about all of that is the energy that ancient sun and ancient life added to that stew. Of course that same source of energy every day distributes way more than we consume all over the world for free. We now know how to fill our needs from that source without the middle man fuel business.

    And we know that that out of sight out of mind waste lives on for a long time so we add more every day to the atmospheric inventory of it. We also know that it’s not done with us when we make it disappear. It has a cost. The more we dig up and burn the higher the cost. Every day. Only science knows how to project those costs and has insight into when the bill comes due.

    It will take us a long time to stop making those costs increase every day. 50 years is probably optimistic. We already see the bills starting to come in with higher FEMA costs. We are already tempted to have the bills paid more by the victims and less by sharing the risk collectively as all insurance does.

    We know all of this but TrumPence and company like smokestacks make it all disappear. They declare it out of sight out of mind. They get such insight from ignorance, willful ignorance.

    When we are done with them, and that is another lengthy project, we can return to public policy based on knowledge and then resume actions to reduce those monsterous costs rather than be beaten by them.

  17. Monotonous,

    “Our ship of state has been hit by torpedoes below the waterline. The McMega-Mega Media CNN, FOX, MSNBC are all focused on The Trumpet one way or another 24/7. The damage BELOW THE WATER LINE goes unreported.”

    Unless we deal with deal with the damage, you have so well reported, IMMEDIATELY, we are All DOOMED. When the water reaches a certain level, as was the case with the TITANIC, the SHIP OF STATE is beyond repair and SINKS.

    Thus the November elections, even if the Democratic Party should win, will be for the most part IRRELEVANT if DAMAGE CONTROL is not taken at once.

  18. So depressing, but true. I know that there are thousands of people making phone calls everyday to their Senators and Representatives, but the destruction continues apace. We have been neutralized by a wrecking machine that not only is tearing down our precious democracy, but is dividing us so that we won’t stand together as a united people in defense of our country—its institutions and values. Must we wait until Mueller is fired to make our voices heard? Everyday we lose ground, and the divisiveness becomes more bitter. Maybe we should be standing in the street flying the flag upside down dressed in black holding signs that speak to the systematic destruction of our government—a silent protest that speaks to our grief, our fear, and our deep sense of loss.

    The marches have been impressive, angry, energetic, sarcastic, even celebratory of the our freedom to express our outrage. But, most all of us are experiencing anxiety, pain and despair. I don’t think we are doing a good job of expressing that in a public way.

  19. Even if there were mass marches in the streets of Germany in1934, they would have been irrelevant. Democracy was dead. In the U. S., democracy is not dead, it is just PARALYZED.

    Consequently, you get just about the same results by marching.

  20. Is this the calm before the storm?

    Republicans have paid off their donors. Trump is basking in the glory of some falling for the myths of his superiority. Mueller is dotting “i’s” and crossing “t’s”. The economy is teetering on too much. Kim Jong UN has his “button”. The Middle East is stewing. The world is starting to get the bills for anthropogenic global warming. Voters are starting to organize for Armageddon. Progress on US healthcare has been halted. China and Russia are the world leaders now. Trump is still making enemies and losing allies.

    I don’t think that the calm will last long.

  21. Pete,

    “I don’t think that the calm will last long.”

    It won’t. Take a good look at the Tsunami on the first page of my It’s been online for almost ten years. The WAVE started as a local threat, then a state threat, then a national threat, and NOW a world-wide threat.

  22. Marv, I had always hope that we would be smart enough to meet the challenges of transitioning to a resource contrained economy with some grace and intelligence. President Obama fanned those hopes and Trump dashed them.

    I’m still optimistic that we will recover but we will have lost several years for transitioning to fallback and recovery. I would say at least 5 and could be 10 assuming the necessary majority will vote to fully clean house by 2020.

    Is that a critical loss? I think that it certainly could be.

  23. Pete; why should we need to “clean house” as you say. Even with the basic disagreements and strong differences between Republicans and Democrats, there are still some of the same Republicans in Congress and Senate now who have been there for years. Have they been castrated or bought off? There are those who knew right from wrong through the years – not right from left, conservative from liberal – who appear to be doing nothing now to even save themselves. I will ask again: “How in hell is one man being allowed to destroy this entire country and all it has stood for for centuries? How and Why?”

    This is NOT the differences between Democrats and Republicans we have lived with and often suffered through, this is NOT politics…this is a total lack of humanity, it is control, power and money destroying civil and human rights and setting us up for nuclear war. This is NOT the world of Nixon or George W; this is the world of Trump, Putin and Kim Jong Un and we are headed for hell. Have the Dark Money people looked ahead to see what – IF ANYTHING – will remain for them to have power over and control? They will be left with Trump, Putin and Kim Jong Un; those they are supporting now and what will they do then? Hitler was left with only smoldering ruins of most of Europe; he had nothing left to live for so chose not to live. We can’t wait for Trump to make that decision.

  24. I as a retired woman living on Social Security and a couple small pensions have seen 2017 be the worst year in our Nation that not only affects our citizens but the World.
    I can hardly stand to hear the news. He does every night on PBS .
    We have been on a constant down hill slide morally and greed to the elite taken forefront.
    Who cares about those who are mentally ill, who work but live in a shelter or tent or old mobile home on wheels? Who cares about the Mexicans being deported or the Wall? All our Natural open geographic places set aside to be untouched? And employment remains a const subject for the unemployed. Every place is untouched by Trumpahism. Nation like an epidemic killing off all that is worthy and moral and valued. As President JF Kennedy stood up for civil rights we have slid way back.
    I have Hope for 2018 election. Support your cause and get out and vote.

  25. Pete,

    It’s a critical loss. No one can win. As JoAnn said, “this is a total lack of humanity, it is control, power and money destroying civil and human rights and setting us up for nuclear war.”

    All we can do NOW is to do everything necessary to stop a socio/political/economic catastrophe by “trumping Trump.” That’s the best we can do for now.

    The VIRUS OF HATRED is now an EPIDEMIC moving toward a PANDEMIC. It isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

  26. All of the Congressional Republicans are demonstrably party over country. They do what they are told not by their constituents but their party bosses Ryan and McConnell.

    I’m sure that some Democrats are too but their party bosses at least make an effort to support the middle class, the majority, America’s economic engine.

    I suppose that voting all Ds is taking a chance on some sub-standard ones but in my mind worth it for sending the message that both parties will get about what our priorities are. If it turns out that a majority of Americans don’t share those priorities I would love me to know it because it makes me a stranger here.

  27. Pete,

    “All of the Congressional Republicans are demonstrably party over country.”

    “If it turns out that a majority of Americans don’t share those priorities I would love me to know it because it makes me a stranger here.

    You are becoming a stranger. You’re PATRIOTIC. The Congressional Republicans, for the most part, are WHITE NATIONALISTS at best. That’s one hell of a difference.

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