No, this is not hyperbole. Five days into the Trump administration and America is officially transitioning into a fascist state -- and today was without a doubt the worst day since Donald Trump decided to run for president.
According to the AP the Trump administration will now be "Mandating that any studies or data from scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public.” Furthermore, they will likely be stripping the “content on the federal agency’s website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth’s climate is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame.” The spokesman for Trump’s EPA transition team Doug Ericksen also stated that routine practices like tracking air and water pollution will be “subject to review” by the administration.
This came after a series of truly appalling executive orders, new lies, an announcement of a new departments committed to persecuting minorities, a pledge to stop Muslims from entering the country and the announced plan to pull out of international organizations that have helped keep (relative) global peace for the past 70 years. Slate brilliantly summarized the sheer awfulness of today:
Voter Fraud Sham—Today, the president of the United States rolled out of bed and called for a “major investigation” into non-existent voter fraud.
The Wall to Nowhere—Today, President Trump signed an order directing the Department of Homeland Security to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
Immigrants as Criminals—Today, we learned that part of America's new anti-immigration strategy will be a weekly published report of “a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”
Criminalization of Immigrants—Today, we found out that there will be an “Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens.”
Disposable People—Today, the president of the United States began referring to humans as "removable aliens."
Global Peace and Security Is a Bad Investment—Today, we learned the president of the United States is preparing to reduce its investment in and influence on the world and is preparing a draft order titled “Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations,” which calls for “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in U.S. funding of international organizations. “If President Trump signs the order and its provisions are carried out, the cuts could severely curtail the work of United Nations agencies, which rely on billions of dollars in annual United States contributions for missions that include caring for refugees,” according to the New York Times.
Making a Multilateral World, Bilateral—Today, the president signaled a retreat from America’s international commitments in a draft Executive Order titled “Moratorium on New Multilateral Treaties.” “The [order] calls for a review of all current and pending treaties with more than one other nation. It asks for recommendations on which negotiations or treaties the United States should leave,” according to the New York Times. “The order says this review applies only to multilateral treaties that are not 'directly related to national security, extradition or international trade,' but it is unclear what falls outside these restrictions. For example, the Paris climate agreement or other environmental treaties deal with trade issues but could potentially fall under this order. An explanatory statement that accompanies the draft order mentions two United Nations treaties for review: the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
Refugees Rejected—Today, we learned that the U.S. government believes refugees are not welcome in the country at the moment and fewer will be welcome in the future.
Targeting Muslims—Today, we are one day closer to the president of the United States broadly declaring millions of Muslims unwelcome in America.
Defining Americans—Today, we learned that in the coming days the Trump administration is planning on letting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that provided protections on undocumented immigrants who arrived as children, expire.
Torture Works—Today, we found out that President Trump believes torture “works,” that he is planning on issuing an executive order reauthorizing the use of torture by the CIA and reopening notorious “black site” prisons to carry out torture of terrorism suspects, like the prison in Guantánamo Bay, which will continued to be used.
If this is not the beginnings of a fascist state, then the word has no meaning. America is still the world's most powerful democracy with a history of engaging with the international community, protecting immigrants and powerfully advocating for religious freedom. But it is now helmed by an incompetent, xenophobic man-child with the temperament of a 14 year old YouTube commenter who is about to lay waste to everything America is supposed to stand for.
While everything about today was incomprehensibly awful, Trump's pledge to effectively censor the EPA was perhaps the most terrifying. Given we just had the hottest year on record, understanding how human activity effects our living environment is not only important, it is vital to our survival as a species. The EPA should serve as a non-partisan, scientific and evidence based agency that works to protect the public from pollution, and give us detailed data on how we are impacting our environment. The idea that one of the climate change denying oil merchants in the Trump administration now gets to "review" what the public learns from the EPA is an absolute outrage.
This must stop, and soon before it really is too late.
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