In the infancy of the Trump presidency, the public has been glued to the still-to-be-determined connections between the Trump campaign/presidency and Russia. No one can be faulted if their attention is tuned toward an attack on our democracy and a possible constitutional crisis on the horizon. But President Trump and the Republicans majorities in Congress have done some other damaging and rather outrageous things when our attention was elsewhere.
• Internet privacy. It’s gone, sold down the river by the Republican Congress. Rules that prohibited internet service providers from tracking and selling your online activities are going down.
• Climate change. By executive order Trump rolled back Obama-era protections against proliferation of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Let’s not forget that Trump once denounced climate change as a Chinese hoax. To this day, the EPA administrator Scott Pruitt (who sued the EPA as Oklahoma’s attorney general) still doesn’t believe the truth.
The science is settled. The cause is mostly settled with some holdouts on whether human activity is the major cause. Ironically, the Chinese will now be the leader in environmental protection.
• Mining waste. Trump’s attempt to make good on a campaign promise to bring back coal mining jobs won’t work and it’s bad news for coal country’s health. Rules against mining companies dumping waste into rivers and streams are no more.
• The State Department. The part of government that uses diplomacy to settle disputes as opposed to war is being eviscerated, cut by some 30 percent in the president’s budget. Secretary Rex Tillerson’s department is already marginalized demonstrated in no small part in the fact that there was no press allowed on his recent trip to Southeast Asia and China.
• North Korea. Trump threatens and then negotiates?
• Destructive budget cuts. Yes, in all likelihood the president budget proposal is a first play. But the first play eliminates funding for Meals on Wheels, after school programs for kids who may otherwise go hungry, Planned Parenthood, other social programs.
• Stunning cuts to the Coast Guard. So if we follow the president’s logic (to the extent that’s possible), building a massive, as-yet-unfunded wall on the southern border would stop or slow drug trafficking into this country. So how will determined drug cartels try to get their poison into the US? That’s right, by sea. So what better way to stop that than by whacking the Coast Guard?
• More ground troops in Syria. Has anyone seen a plan for this deployment? Has Congress been briefed on it? Obama won by promising to end wars. Trump won by (apparently) starting or increasing warfare.
• Jared Kushner. The first son-in-law is going to oversee a commission to reinvent government. That’s of course when he is not bringing peace to the middle east or making millions on the Trump family business.