Nationwide protests and phone calls to Congress seems to be working. At least a bit. We cover a number of encouraging points in that regard today, from businesses like Harley-Davidson shying away from hosting a visit by the President at their Wisconsin factory for fear of huge protests, to one Congressman killing his own bill that would have sold off millions of acres of public lands, to still-plummeting approval ratings for both Trump and his wildly unpopular Executive Orders.
But, in the meantime, Trump continues to tick off international friend and foe alike with his incompetent, make-it-up-as-you-go "foreign policy". It's distressing, if amusing, when he pisses off friends like Australia and Mexico, but it's chilling and damned dangerous when he begins saber rattling with nations like Iran, which he is now threatening with military action and new sanctions for some reason.
Then, as the Administration takes action to dismantle environmental protection by agencies like the EPA, some federal agencies, like the CDC, seem to be sabotaging themselves, rather than waiting for Trump to do so. At least it seems that with the CDC's recent cancellation of long-planned conferences on climate change and LGBT issues.
Former CDC official Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who helped found the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control before going on to eventually become President Emeritus of The Task Force for Global Health, joins me today to help us understand the culture and some of the thinking that seems to be going on amongst the CDC's leadership since the election of the new, anti-science, anti-fact President.
"They act in response to signals," Rosenberg says about the CDC, citing the Trump Administration's aggressive early steps to undermine science-based federal agencies. "Things like that don't go unnoticed. It may be that people at CDC say we're committed to helping the public but we don't want to lose our jobs." Rosenberg, who worked at the CDC for 20 years, famously battled the gun lobby-funded Congress in the 90s, as they passed the Dickey Amendment legislation to prevent research into gun violence prevention. (My interview with Rosenberg last year, on that topic specifically, is here.)
While he explains that "most of the people at CDC are very committed to serving public health and the public good" and "work very hard to protect the nation — whether its from Ebola, heart disease, diabetes, bird flu, or climate change," he adds that he was eventually fired "by a Director of CDC who decided that he would rather keep his job than protect the science. And I think that was a terrible turning point for CDC."
Rosenberg explains the agency's role in helping to determine the many "health effects of climate change" which, he notes, "even the politicians who are pro-business and pro-economic development need to understand. You can't respond in a rational way, or a productive way, if you don't understand the problem." Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report where, as usual, everything is awesome!
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