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avatar! Jan 25, 2017

As a scientist let me say that passing a gag order on scientists (EPA) is absolutely despicable . Science can only flourish when there is a free exchange of ideas. Our society is really based on science -everything from engines, computers, buildings, are all built by engineers that learn science from scientists who do research. What does Trump hope to gain from this? Why even do this, except to appease those that want to violate EPA rules, regulations, findings. Sad...

Jay Jan 25, 2017 (edited Jan 25, 2017)

raynebc wrote:

People are free to speak out publicly on topics related to their job, but if their employer didn't authorize them to do so, they're liable to be reprimanded.  This is not a new concept and is common in public and private sector jobs.  Freedom of speech does not grant freedom from consequence.

This is a very vague answer to some serious Soviet Russia questions that even Sean Spicer has tried to back away from a little because it's so close to that. So really you've answered the question about government control of information.

Here's a question: is there an action the Trump administration could perform that you wouldn't advocate?

Kirin Lemon Jan 25, 2017 (edited Jan 25, 2017)

Jay wrote:

Here's a question: is there an action the Trump administration could perform that you wouldn't advocate?

I wouldn't expect to get anything resembling an honest answer out of someone who excuses flagrant lying, racism, and sexual assault.  If Obama was doing any of this despicable shit, conservatives would be foaming at the mouth and calling for his immediate impeachment.  The hypocrisy is absolutely stunning.

And speaking of hypocrisy, news just broke today that some of Trump's staff has been using a private RNC email server, in addition to Trump using an unsecured phone, so that's... fun.

Jay Jan 25, 2017

No, I think I'll get an honest answer. Everyone has to have a line where they think, okay I was for this and I wanted it to turn out for the best but I'm no longer cool with what is happening. And everyone will have a different line and I'm curious as to where that is.

jb Jan 25, 2017

raynebc wrote:

But yeah, seems that this is Drumpf & GOP's way to get voter ID laws and try to make minority not being able to vote.

Yawn, more crap about minorities being incapable of following the same rules as the majority.  How condescending.

You do realize this is nothing more than a thinly veiled "minorities are lazy" argument, right? It has absolutely nothing to do with minorities being incapable of following the same rules as the majority and everything to do with intentionally making it more difficult for minorities to meet the "requirements" to vote. It is exactly the same thing as the gerrymandering that the GOP has been doing for the last 8 years because it fudges the numbers in their direction.

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. 4, currently, and probably more, as you pointed out. But you are not going to find some widespread issue. All you're doing is making it harder for a large portion of the population to vote, such that they can't because of restrictions, or that they don't bother because it takes such a monumental effort to meet the requirements.

Kirin Lemon Jan 25, 2017

jb wrote:

You do realize this is nothing more than a thinly veiled "minorities are lazy" argument, right? It has absolutely nothing to do with minorities being incapable of following the same rules as the majority and everything to do with intentionally making it more difficult for minorities to meet the "requirements" to vote. It is exactly the same thing as the gerrymandering that the GOP has been doing for the last 8 years because it fudges the numbers in their direction.

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. 4, currently, and probably more, as you pointed out. But you are not going to find some widespread issue. All you're doing is making it harder for a large portion of the population to vote, such that they can't because of restrictions, or that they don't bother because it takes such a monumental effort to meet the requirements.

It's almost certain that he understands this. He just doesn't care, because his "side" stands to benefit, Constitutional rights of the American people be damned.

raynebc Jan 25, 2017 (edited Jan 25, 2017)

avatar! wrote:

As a scientist let me say that passing a gag order on scientists (EPA) is absolutely despicable.

This is more about public statements on behalf of a government agency and not so much suppression of scientific thought.

Jay wrote:

So really you've answered the question about government control of information.

I spoke about EMPLOYER control of their EMPLOYEES' public statements.

Here's a question: is there an action the Trump administration could perform that you wouldn't advocate?

Sure.  If it tried to ban abortion as a whole instead of just preventing taxpayer funding for it, I would call that an overreach.  As much as I think abortion is a terrible crime against humanity, I am not opposed to couples paying for it with their OWN money.

Kirin Lemon wrote:

(more of the same hateful BS)

I might as well just stop responding to you, it's like talking to an angry wall, but since you had something real to add to the discussion:

And speaking of hypocrisy, news just broke today that some of Trump's staff has been using a private RNC email server, in addition to Trump using an unsecured phone, so that's... fun.

If they sent classified information over them, by all means, hold them accountable to the law.  Regardless, they'll need to stop it and use proper communication channels for all government business, if that's what they're using those accounts for (we don't know yet).

Edit:  I'll go ahead and add:  I'd be fine with those email accounts being reviewed for FOIA violations right now.

jb wrote:

gerrymandering

By all means, end gerrymandering for both parties.  I'm not sure how long it would take to get to a solution everybody agrees with though.

All you're doing is making it harder for a large portion of the population to vote, such that they can't because of restrictions, or that they don't bother because it takes such a monumental effort to meet the requirements.

I still don't see a compelling argument why it's considered to generally take a monumental effort to maintain enough personal documentation to have a government issued ID.  If they can simplify the voter requirements to basic standards such as proof of identity, valid citizenship, eligibility (such as age), etc. to make it easier to have a fair and secure election, I'd be all for it.

Kirin Lemon wrote:

He just doesn't care, because his "side" stands to benefit, Constitutional rights of the American people be damned.

There's the angry wall again.  Goodbye.

Kirin Lemon Jan 25, 2017 (edited Jan 25, 2017)

raynebc wrote:

If they can simplify the voter requirements to basic standards such as proof of identity, valid citizenship, eligibility (such as age), etc. to make it easier to have a fair and secure election, I'd be all for it.

We already had that *without* all of the GOP's voter suppression efforts.  It's why, again, voter fraud is statistically nonexistent.  "Voter ID" is a bullshit solution to an imaginary problem, and every single lawmaker knows it - they've even screwed up on multiple occasions and admitted that suppressing the voter turnout is their only reason for pushing it.

And complaining about "talking to angry walls" is rather laughable, considering that our horrible new president literally suppresses and shuts out facts and data, instead relying on conspiracy theories and propaganda to drive his new policies.  The very lying, racist, sex predator you've pledged your unflinching loyalty to is the angriest wall of all, and the consequences of his willful ignorance will continue to devastate the country for the next four years.

GoldfishX Jan 25, 2017

Imagine for a second that, under Obama, the HHS Department tweets out "Obamacare is not doing well...Premiums are rising, people are having trouble affording it and there is almost no selection of plans in a lot of areas". What do you think would happen to that tweet and whoever tweeted it?

This is a non-issue and a lot of employers do enforce "responsible" social media usage, which basically means you need to distance your personal opinions and stances from the company you work for. As a wikileaks fan, I would appreciate the transparency, but this hardly registers on the "outrage" scale.

Voter ID and "suppressing" the vote...If this were the 1960's, I may say there's something to this. But it's 60 years later and there's no valid way to deny any American citizen the right to vote. It is neither racist nor unfair to expect proof of US citizenship when casting that vote. I'm even fine with taxpayer-funded ID's. Just so the process has transparency to it.

What's the harm about an investigation into potential voter fraud? Everyone acknowledges the voting system is messy, the machines are outdated, some districts take forever to get their votes in, Sanctuary policies are openly defying the US government, etc. This is something I'd be interested in just knowing more about. I mean, we wasted all this time on Russia supposedly "hacking" the election, maybe we SHOULD spend more time looking at ways to improve the very process that we elect our leaders by. I do think the voter fraud number is a WEE bit overstated though. But again, it's a blip on the outrage scale.

As for what the line would be? If Trump backed out on some of his key promises. If he does not do away with the individual mandate of Obamacare, if he does not renegotiate or scrap NAFTA, if they do not make the changes to personal and business taxes (remember, taxes ended up being a sticky issue for Bush Sr and rightly so). And I guess if he were to lose his edge and just become another political suit (I actually liked Obama when he was running, but I hated him as a president...Then again, maybe Hillary and McCain were just THAT bad!).

And hey, this is a step in the right direction...We're almost talking about the actual issues in play now. But just so we're clear...These "blips" are not anything I would even hold against Obama, if he were doing them.

Adam Corn Jan 26, 2017

raynebc wrote:
Jay wrote:

So where are we on Trump gagging his own departments from communicating with the public? How does that sit with the 1st amendment when a national park is seen as going rogue for tweeting science?

Perfectly within his right to enforce policies of agencies under his command.  Companies enforce gag orders to protect their image and control their public messaging all the time.  Past presidents have used gag orders in different scopes.

I do hope you're willing to draw the line somewhere. It wasn't long ago that the NSA was hiding (under gag orders from the administration) that they were spying on U.S. citizens. To "control the public messaging".

raynebc wrote:
Jay wrote:

So really you've answered the question about government control of information.

I spoke about EMPLOYER control of their EMPLOYEES' public statements.

Directly in response to questions about government.

GoldfishX wrote:

Imagine for a second that, under Obama, the HHS Department tweets out "Obamacare is not doing well...Premiums are rising, people are having trouble affording it and there is almost no selection of plans in a lot of areas". What do you think would happen to that tweet and whoever tweeted it?

It wasn't editorialized in that manner but government data on health care enrollment and premiums was made public. Shouldn't climate change information be as well?

GoldfishX wrote:

What's the harm about an investigation into potential voter fraud?

No harm if it's done impartially and transparently. How about we have that investigation before we claim millions of Americans are voting illegally.

Kirin Lemon Jan 26, 2017

Adam Corn wrote:

No harm if it's done impartially and transparently. How about we have that investigation before we claim millions of Americans are voting illegally.

We have had those investigations, though.  Many of them.  And it turns out that Trumps claims, once again, are complete bullshit - he's just too big of a narcissistic man-baby to accept that he lost the popular vote by several million.

raynebc Jan 26, 2017

Adam Corn wrote:

I do hope you're willing to draw the line somewhere. It wasn't long ago that the NSA was hiding (under gag orders from the administration) that they were spying on U.S. citizens. To "control the public messaging".

That type of domestic spying without individual warrants was and is illegal as far as I'm concerned.  This kind of "national security" policy was probably kept secret by threat of prison time (or just being locked away without a trial).  I see the point in the comparison, but it's nowhere near the same league of scope.

Directly in response to questions about government.

Agency policy would designate who is allowed to field questions from the public.  The same thing goes where I work.

Jay Jan 26, 2017

You're skirting around this one a little. Is it okay for government to gag scientific departments or have to approve the flow of basic facts to the public?

Jodo Kast Jan 26, 2017

When the war broke out in the Ukraine, my job was affected rather significantly, as some of our main customers are in that area (Lithuania and Estonia, specifically). The CEO even stated that the war was the reason why we lost those customers. When Trump won the election, my first question actually was, "Does that mean we can start shipping to Russia again?"

raynebc Jan 26, 2017

Jay wrote:

You're skirting around this one a little. Is it okay for government to gag scientific departments or have to approve the flow of basic facts to the public?

It's appropriate for an agency to control its message to the public instead of having individuals posting whatever they want, whenever they want regardless of whether it contradicts the agency's stance on a topic.  I would draw the line at burying or manipulating research that was performed.

I don't expect this (possibly temporary?) policy to significantly delay emergency announcements.  As per the article, scientists are still allowed to publish their research in science journals and release peer-reviewed information to the public via the Office of the Secretary.  I think many people misunderstood the purpose of this "gag order", which still seems to me like it's to control the flow of information to the public.

There's something to be said here with refining and controlling the messages that Trump delivers to the public, and hopefully the future will see fewer tweets shot from the hip, which confuse and rile up some people.

jb Jan 26, 2017

raynebc wrote:
Jay wrote:

You're skirting around this one a little. Is it okay for government to gag scientific departments or have to approve the flow of basic facts to the public?

It's appropriate for an agency to control its message to the public instead of having individuals posting whatever they want, whenever they want regardless of whether it contradicts the agency's stance on a topic.  I would draw the line at burying or manipulating research that was performed.

That's not how that works and just proves you have no idea what's actually happening here. The agencies themselves already control the messages to the public. That's what social media managers and public relations departments do. The problem is not the agencies inability to control it's message, it's that the message is now being controlled by external, non-agency parties. The USDA, EPA, and NPS don't have "stances", politicians do. Scientific agencies work on facts and studies and follow standards. To say to them that they are no longer allowed to publically communicate that information, and that it has to go through and be vetted by non-agency personnel, is exactly what the problem is. It's not going for peer review. It's not going for fact checking. It's going to the desk of a politician who is going to say "No, that doesn't agree with the message we're presenting so you can't say that" on things like climate change with an incoming administration that either doesn't believe climate change is real, or willfully ignores the facts for their own financial benefit.

Jay Jan 26, 2017

Yeah, this is why I keep writing government rather than individual agency. But he did answer in a way and offer where he would draw a line, which I respect.

It's hard to know where we're at exactly or how far it will go. In a way I was encouraged by Spicer initially pulling back a bit from it, which didn't demonstrate the bullish position we've seen on most things. But there does seem to be a suggestion of Soviet Russia type approval of all messages going out to the public, not from individual agencies but from the top. We don't yet have the full picture here so I hope that's not where this is going.

raynebc Jan 26, 2017

jb, you seem to have the impression that this is permanent, and different government agencies have differing opinions about the scope of this gag order or whether this type of thing is even unprecedented.  Reading different articles, I get the impression that individual agencies are allowed to approve information to be released to the public (not necessarily having to go through a separate political office).  I think it's far too early and too little is known for there to be this much hand wringing.

jb Jan 26, 2017

You seem to have the impression that "oh just give him a chance, let's see what happens, it won't be that bad, what could possibly go wrong?" and ignoring all the red flags, warnings, and alarms going off is ok. It's not. None of this is precedented. None of this is normal. None of this is okay.

GoldfishX Jan 26, 2017

jb wrote:

None of this is precedented. None of this is normal. None of this is okay.

This is how I feel about a lot of the anti-Trump attitudes. I kind of expected it if a Republican had gotten into office, but not to the level I've seen.

Let me ask this...What is it in his actual POLICIES that people object to so feverously? I'm seeing improve and increase American jobs, spend money on infrastructure, let Russia do some of the dirty work in the middle east, holding off on a full Obamacare repeal until a suitable replacement is ready, enforcing laws that currently exist (which gives way to a permissive society, particularly with records to immigration, where BOTH sides have been incompetent for decades). Is it the inward view/stances he's taking? Because those are highly appealing to me.

I get it...most people don't like TRUMP himself and most of the red flags I'm seeing in this thread are things I probably wouldn't even have criticized Obama for, had he done them (yes, the gag order is included in this). But I'm asking about his policies. Not the attitude in which they're presented.

GoldfishX Jan 26, 2017

Jay wrote:

It's hard to know where we're at exactly or how far it will go. In a way I was encouraged by Spicer initially pulling back a bit from it, which didn't demonstrate the bullish position we've seen on most things. But there does seem to be a suggestion of Soviet Russia type approval of all messages going out to the public, not from individual agencies but from the top. We don't yet have the full picture here so I hope that's not where this is going.

Right, this is a gray area. No one here can even pretend to know what the arrangements between the agencies and the Federal government are without speculating. It's either a smoking gun or it's a round of blanks, depending on how much one likes/dislikes/trusts/distrusts Trump. I would argue every US administration has tried to control the messages that have gone out to the public and Trump is one of the first ones where Twitter has actually been a thing. Imagine McCarthy-ism if Twitter/social media were around.

I would like to add though, it is stuff like this that has allowed Wikileaks to become as powerful as they are. I personally would not object to information being put out that DOES expose a smoking gun.

Jay Jan 27, 2017 (edited Jan 27, 2017)

GoldfishX wrote:

most of the red flags I'm seeing in this thread are things I probably wouldn't even have criticized Obama for, had he done them (yes, the gag order is included in this).

My first reaction to this was that this is a lie. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, which I should, my second reaction was that it wouldn't be true for most Trump supporters. Eventually I settled on: maybe it might be true for a small handful but it shouldn't be true. If Obama had done these things, he absolutely should be criticised. You talk of control of messages but we're talking about the control of very basic science here.  That in conjunction with wide attacks on 'media', as if it's one entity, many by Bannon, a media executive himself, who says that the media should 'keep its mouth shut' - this is now the White House. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee said that people should get their news directly from the president. Meanwhile the office of the president has been putting out and repeating lies. So they lying, they are directly gagging departments and doing their utmost to discredit any source that might put out something that doesn't match their lies. This isn't a fight with the media, this is an attempt to control information that doesn't fit with the government line. It's a fight with the truth.

These aren't just flags. This IS Soviet Russia stuff already. And if he could get away with it, and maybe he will, I think what we'll see is an attempt to establish his own Pravda while discrediting every other source and, one by one, trying to control or shut them down.

Don't tell me we would or should have been cool with this if Obama did it. It doesn't matter who is sitting in that seat - this stuff is not good.

Edit: On a lighter note, relive the celebrations with this wonderful commemorative plate - http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2017/01/25/rem … ive-plate/

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