What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 20, 2017

Meanwhile, Outside

While the Congress has been busy making sure the already wealthy will have just a little (or perhaps even a lot) more money in the next few decades by making the rest of us pay for it (MAGA!), it's still getting warmer outside.

And for some reason the Trump administration is still allowing NOAA allowing to report the science:
The November temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.35°F above the 20th century average of 55.2°F. This value tied with 2016 as the fifth highest for November in the 1880-2017 record. November 2017 marks the 41st consecutive November and the 395th consecutive month with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average.
The year-to-date temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.51°F above the 20th century average of 57.2°F. This was the third highest for January-November in the 1880-2017 record, behind the record year 2016 and 2015 (second highest).
And in Trumps's America (Made Great Again):
One Environmental Protection Agency employee spoke up at a private lunch held near the agency headquarters, saying she feared the nation might be headed toward an “environmental catastrophe.” Another staff member, from Seattle, sent a letter to Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, raising similar concerns about the direction of the agency. A third, from Philadelphia, went to a rally where he protested against agency budget cuts.

Three different agency employees, in different jobs, from three different cities, but each encountered a similar outcome: Federal records show that within a matter of days, requests were submitted for copies of emails written by them that mentioned either Pruitt or President Donald Trump, or any communication with Democrats in Congress that might have been critical of the agency.

The requests came from a Virginia-based lawyer working with America Rising, a Republican campaign research group that specializes in helping party candidates and conservative groups find damaging information on political rivals, and which, in this case, was looking for information that could embarrass the employees who had criticized the EPA.

Now a company affiliated with America Rising, named Definers Public Affairs, has been hired by the EPA to provide “media monitoring,” in a move the agency said was intended to keep better track of newspaper and video stories about EPA operations nationwide.

But the sequence of events has created a wave of fear among employees, particularly those already under surveillance, who said official assurances hardly put them at ease.

“This is a witch hunt against EPA employees who are only trying to protect human health and the environment,” said Gary Morton, the EPA employee in Philadelphia, who works on preventing spills from underground storage tanks. His emails were targeted seven days after he participated in a union rally in March challenging proposed budget cuts. “What they are doing is trying to intimidate and bully us into silence,” he said.
It's been said (many times and many ways) that all politics is local. Such is the case with the above mentioned Mr Morton.  This is what you'll find if you were to click on the link above:

All email exchanged between Gary Morton and the office of U.S. Senator Bob Casey since February 1, 2017.

BTW, the contract with America Rising has been cancelled.
The Republican media monitoring firm Definers Public Affairs canceled its $120,000 contract with the Environmental Protection Agency after a media backlash because of the company's links to GOP opposition research firm America Rising.
How much do you want to bet the surveillance would have continued had it not been exposed?

Meanwhile, it's getting warmer outside. Bullying EPA employees in to silence is not going to stop it.

But this is life in Trump's America. MAGA!!

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