Why Trump’s Bait-and-Switch Tweets Confuse Americans

By Gary Kimsey

In his use of Twitter, is President Trump performing a classic bait-and-switch scam to confuse Americans?

Well, yes, of course.

Gary Kimsey is a writer and retired marketing specialist. Learn more about him…

“Bait and switch” is a dishonest marketing tactic where consumers (we Americans in this case) are encouraged to believe something about a product (here, the product is Trump). The terrible truth is that the product is vastly different and of significantly less quality than what was promised. It’s often easy to identify a bait-and-switch maneuver. Thus, be wary when someone says, “Believe me”—a favored Trump expression.

I couldn’t help but think about bait-and-switch while watching the March 20 congressional hearing by the House Intelligence Committee. The hearing focused on hacking, Putin, cabinet members’ ties to Russia, and, of course, Trump’s crazy Twitter tweets claiming President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. (I took the liberty of adding the word “crazy,” by the way, for his accusatory tweets were just that.

I found it interesting that Trump conducted a tweet storm as the hearing was underway. He used the official Twitter account of the President of the United States. More than 1.6 million Americans received the tweets.

These tweets contained partial truths, at best, as well as grossly misinterpreted accounts of what was said in the hearings. Predictably, this was the same fantasy pattern that many of his tweets have followed since the inauguration.

Click here for a fact-check on Trump’s tweets during the congressional hearing.

As a person who spent the last half of his 50-year professional career in marketing, I am well-aware that Trump—the quintessential marketer—fully operates on a certain assumption. Americans, especially those who voted for him, will unquestioningly believe information from such a traditionally respected source as a U.S. president.

Think back to your history and civics classes. Many of us were indoctrinated in high school and college classes to believe certain positions in America are above lying. The presidency is supposedly one of the sacred positions. For my generation of Baby Boomers, this myth of total truthfulness was shattered by Nixon.

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The problem now is that many Americans don’t peer beyond tweets and eye-catching headlines. As a society, we are victims of 140 characters and information overload. Fake News is a stake aimed at our intellectual heart. We fear Fake News so much that many of us will believe, without questioning, a president who tweets “Fake News” whenever someone disagrees with him, whether it’s individuals, the media or intelligence agencies.

Trump knows our fears and plays upon them by telling us in his tweets—without presenting any evidence—that information from such reliable sources as the FBI is wrong. He also keeps the tweets coming as a way to divert the thoughts of Americans away from other issues—his denial of global warming, defunding Meals on Wheels and Planned Parenthood, appointing to his cabinet inept and incapable billionaire friends rather than experts, and the likely loss of health care for 24 million Americans, to name just a few issues. Rather than draining the swamp, Trump is filling it with moccasins and alligators.

The impacts of bait-and-switch in tweets? Many Americans have learned they are unable to trust the person sitting in the Oval Office. Strife is perpetuated in society and politics, continuing to divide the nation. The Office of the President of the United States—the world’s most powerful position—is belittled in the eyes of Americans, as well as people and governments around the world. Important issues are overshadowed. Democracy is undermined. Confusion reigns.

How do we avoid the bait-and-switch of Trump’s tweets? We must cast our vision beyond what we read in his tweets. Seek out at reliable sources. Fact-check information.

Here are reliable fact-checking sites:

Also look at The 10 Best Fact-checking Sites.

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The Lost SEAL

By David Adamson

Expect no Hollywood reprise of Zero Dark Thirty following the death of Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, a 36-year-old Navy SEAL killed in action in Yemen on Jan. 29, 2017. President Trump’s explanation for what happened: “They lost Ryan.” The raid on a terrorist compound did not go according to plan. There were civilian casualties, some children, and the target escaped.

Days afterward, President Trump experienced the awful symbolic duty of being Commander-in-Chief as he stood with gravitas on the tarmac at Dover Air Force Base, watching a military detail remove Ryan’s flag-draped coffin from the cavernous fuselage of a C-17 transport. No doubt this was on his mind when he recently spoke to a joint session of Congress and promised, “We will never forget Ryan!” and everyone present rose from their seats in bipartisan cheering.

For once, Trump spoke at least a half truth. He may never forget Ryan, as he should not because he approved the raid. But sadly, except for his family, old high school buddies, community members, and fellow SEALs, the vast majority of around 319 million Americans will forget Ryan.

SEAL William “Ryan” Owens was the recipient of two Bronze Star Medals, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and nine other distinguished medals. He was killed January 29 during a raid in Yemen, the first American combatant to die during the term of the current president.

Since the Vietnam era, the military has become hermetically sealed. Dinnertime frontline war footage of our wounded and dead, served up by the three major networks, eroded popular support for the war. Ever since, our military has restricted access to combat by selectively “embedding” journalists and exerting tight controls on what can be filmed, photographed, or reported.

Today less than one percent of Americans serve in our all-volunteer force. Many Americans don’t know any Middle East veterans, much less about their lives as soldiers overseas. Consequently, they also don’t understand why this military generation has the highest rates of suicide, divorce, drug abuse, spousal abuse, unemployment, and homelessness of any in our long history of wars.

To minimize U.S. casualties many combat actions are undertaken by elite, small special operations units like Navy SEALs. The demanding and dangerous nature of their work depends on secrecy and the element of surprise. Few journalists could physically endure SEAL missions as it’s not unusual to be dropped by helicopter miles from a target, trek to it carrying 100 pounds of arms and equipment, engage in combat, then trek back for extraction, sometimes hauling the dead and wounded.

After the bin Laden mission, SEALs were as revered as Jedi

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to spend time with some retired SEALs whose careers spanned Vietnam to the War on Terror. After the SEALs’ successful mission to eliminate Osama bin Laden, they were revered as Jedi’s. I was curious to find out what these elite soldiers are actually like.

The one I was most curious about was the youngest of them, a retired commander in his early forties. He had just been out of the service for a few weeks when I met him, ending 20 years of service, most of the last 10 in the Middle East. Call him Jim, not his real name (SEALs have a tradition of keeping a low profile; American Sniper-type tell-alls are rare).

Jim was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with an advanced degree in international affairs. He was quiet, modest, of average height, wore a trimmed beard, and was fit looking. You would never pick him out if he were standing in a line to purchase movie tickets with his lovely wife and kids.

Jim wasn’t much for small talk, but we were able to connect when he heard I had moved from Colorado. He said that early in his career he had trained for a mission in Bosnia up in the Collegiate Range west of Buena Vista, Colo. He smiled remembering when the chopper dropped him and a group of other San Diego-based SEALS into waist-deep powdered snow on an unknown ridge.

Most civilians are clueless

Over the few months I spent weekly time with him, I always had questions. He would answer patiently, but I sensed Jim thought most civilians, including me, were clueless and lacked interest in or knowledge of the Middle East or the lives of soldiers serving there.

The older SEALs were curious, too. Sometimes I’d hear scraps of cryptic conversation as he and his shipmates (that’s what they called each other) talked about missions, those that went “kinetic” (their word for violent) like one where they breached a door and were met by an armed “bad guy,” so for some reason the lead SEAL rammed the barrel of his rifle into the man’s eye socket, instead of shooting him. Or the time an Army medic accompanying the SEALs got caught out in the open when an RPG exploded and Jim had to pull him behind a wall, the look on the medic’s face when he regained consciousness, bleeding from his ears and nose, and realized he was alive, but deaf. These snippets were always short, matter of fact, with no trace of braggadocio.

I asked Jim how he learned to function amidst the violence and chaos. He said you don’t ever get used to it, but suggested I read Lt. Col. Grossman’s On Combat and On Killing, as he did during his training.

I asked if he believed the U.S. still needs to be there—the public is tiring of wars. His answer was terse: if we don’t get them there, they’ll come after us here as they did on 9/11. I expected a more elaborate geopolitical analysis, but that was the gist of it.

How does this end?

I asked how does this end? He said you will never understand the greater Middle East until you know the difference between a Shia and a Sunni and the nations dominated by each. The violence will not end any time soon, and will get worse and spread. Turns out, he was prophetic.

How is your knowledge about Islam? Take the quiz at the end of this article.

What do you think—can members of Congress, who vote on the defense budget, identify the location of the countries in the Middle East? For that matter, can you? Click here to test your knowledge.

Jim was looking for work. Fishing or paddle boarding, even going to the local shooting range, didn’t offer much of a thrill to a frogman. He had applied for various corporate jobs, but got no interviews. He tried with the state police, but was turned down. One of the older SEALs asked him why.  Jim surmised that during the interview they asked about any problem areas he perceived with the police and public. He said police departments had become too militarized, especially the tactical squads with armored personnel carriers and carrying very-high-powered assault weapons.

I suggested with his degree and experience he should teach at the local community college. But he said no chance, I’m not politically correct—I don’t like Muslims. He said he’s a Christian, but that’s how he felt after what he witnessed.

I never saw him again after that summer ended. I heard from one of his shipmates that eventually he got a job with the local police department. However, that didn’t last long. Something was missing just handing out tickets and arresting drunks.

Jim ended up going to work for a private contractor providing security to state department facilities in the Middle East. He’s overseas half the year. The work is dangerous (remember Benghazi), but the pay is much better than being a cop (or, for that matter, a SEAL).

Now whenever I hear of attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq, I pause and think of Jim.

Results disastrous in terms of lives and money

I also thought of Jim when President Trump proposed a $50-billion increase in defense spending. We already spend more on defense than all the other great military powers in the world combined. We’ve always had a militaristic and interventionist streak, but it went ballistic after 9/11. The result has been disastrous in terms of lives (our soldiers, bad guys, and orders of magnitude more innocent civilians) and money.

If you really appreciate the courage, dedication, and sacrifice of our soldiers—as I do—you also need to be very skeptical of anyone who advocates solving international problems with force.

The writer of this article, David Adamson, has worked in high technology and health care. He’s the author of Walking the High Tech High Wire and The Wellness Club. He’s written hundreds of blogs on politics and fitness.

We need to confront the reality that Americans live now in a perpetual fog of war created by their political leaders, the chickenhawks in both parties, striking macho poses in front of the TV cameras. They are actually consumed with fear, and thus vulnerable to the relentless pressure of military-industrial complex lobbyists, apocalyptic religious zealots, and fair knee-jerk patriots.

To do so doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate our soldiers, simply we demand to know the why, what, when, how and where of our defense policies before deploying them to godawful places where Americans are hated.

Ryan Owens joined more than 6,000 other U.S. soldiers killed in the Middle East since 9/11. Due to insidious mission creep, our fatality reports now include losses in Yemen and Syria. I’d wager the majority of people in Congress—who vote on the defense budget—would not be able to identify either country on a map of the Middle East if the countries were not labeled. Neither could their constituents, I suspect.

The financial support for our growing defense misadventures resides with Congress, the very people who rose to cheer Ryan’s shaken widow, a mother of four children. Appropriately, the cheering lasted over two minutes, a record for such tributes. However, there was something hollow and superficial about it, like it was a convenient, carefully staged photo-op.

Prior to voting on more defense spending, a more fitting tribute, and reality check, would be for every member of Congress to drive from the Capitol Building over the Potomac to Arlington National Cemetery. It’s only about 15 minutes away.

Amidst the endless rows of white marble tombstones, they’ll arrive at Grave 11483 in Section 60. There they’ll find Ryan.

 

Test your knowledge: 

“I want to stab him in the testicles a million times”

By Mary Roberts 

“What do you think we are? Cattle?”

I’m caught in a tight scree of human flesh, all pretending we aren’t pressed up against each other’s bodies — fleshy, rib thin, and somewhere in-between. Boston’s old subway cars weren’t meant to hold this many people. The cattle remark is in my head. I can’t say it. I’m afraid I’ll stutter or people would laugh at me.

That’s when it happens.

Before the 2016 presidential election, Mary Roberts wrote about real estate, her Irish Catholic childhood in Boston and the 13 dogs that have defined the chapters of her life. Now, she writes to say, “Wake up, people!” Learn more about Mary.

Someone reaches from behind me and slides his hand down the front on my pants. Both of my hands are gripping the overhead strap and my legs are parted to steady myself from the stops and starts of the jolting train.

“Hey!” I let go of the strap with my left arm and squeeze it between two of my neighbors but the hand is gone before I can grab it. It is 1970. I am 19. I burn in shame.

I had returned home after one year of college in New York. Home was Needham, a small town 10 miles west of Boston. Long island, N.Y., was not where I wanted to be. I didn’t know where I wanted to be. I had no plan or ambition, except to star in Broadway musicals but I was afraid to speak and couldn’t sing. I had also broken my kneecap twice in high school. My one year as a drama major ended in disaster when I couldn’t manage the role as Marat Sade’s mother. And she was a stutterer.

Mom’s friend got me a job in Medical Records at Children’s Hospital and I went to night school at Boston College. From the hospital, I took the Green Line to the BC stop. Three hours later, I’d head home to the Newton Highlands stop where I would take a bus to Needham Square. I didn’t drive and we didn’t have a car anyway, so the MBTA was my constant companion, riding its street cars and buses four times a day.

“I won’t do this anymore.”

I hated the way men looked at me when I’d make my way through the construction sites that littered the streets and sidewalks along the way. I’d veer out to the road followed by the whistles and calls for blow jobs from the guys with hard hats. I wore glasses, no makeup and baggy turtlenecks with the mandatory skirts but it didn’t matter. I was young.

After the subway incident, I went in to the manager’s office and told her I was done. “I can’t do this anymore,” I told her, “I won’t do this anymore.”

Two weeks later, on New Year’s Eve, 1970, I was on an airplane with my sister who was headed back to Colorado State University after Christmas break. She and I were never the best friends we should have been, only 18 months apart, but it was better than spending the rest of my life terrified of crowds and the subway. I was already unable to drive after a traumatizing car accident. A good sturdy bike would get me where I needed to go in Colorado.

“A bloated, orange-tinted mass of pulpy flesh”

Forty plus years later and Donald Trump is caught saying ‘grab them by the pussy’ and I am outraged. More than outraged.

I am indignant, incensed, I am horrified. In my dreams, I want to stab him in the heart and testicles a million times then write my name — and the names of all women who have been assaulted, grabbed, diminished, denigrated — in his blood as it slowly leaves his body, leaving a bloated, orange-tinted mass off pulpy flesh and pockmarked bone. Again, fantasies in my dream land, not for advocating violence against a president or anyone.

Does such a dream make me a terrorist? Did I break the law by entertaining fantasies of hurting the president?

I don’t harbor those fantasies because I disagree with his policies (which I do) or think that he is a disgrace as a president and a human being (which I do). I harbor those fantasies because he is a predator and a sexual bully. Every woman knows what that is and the women who voted for him have neatly compartmentalized that fact somewhere in their emotional body where it will fester and eventually destroy them.

“Was I that fragile?”

At 65 years of age, I now understand that I left Boston because someone grabbed me by the pussy. I left behind the love of my life, the ocean, my mother, the home I was raised in and the New England I still yearn for—just because an asshole grabbed me and I felt powerless and ashamed and scared that it would happen again.

Was I that fragile? Was I that sorry-ass wimp of a girl? Without the backbone to give the construction guys the finger and yell ‘fuck you’ back at them? Without the courage to call out ‘help’ in the subway car? Yes, I was.

Years later, I hug my dogs tight when I hear the President’s voice over the radio. I’m already considering a replacement for the third dog I just lost to a painful disease. Two is good but three — three is impenetrable.

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Recklessly gambling with our children’s future

By Alan Apt

The Webster dictionary definition of Conservative and Conservator is someone who will be a protector or guardian and will tend to preserve established traditions.

Alan Apt is a modest person who downplays his many accomplishments as a writer, environmentalist, politician, and volunteer. Learn more about Alan.

The truly conservative Republican Parties of Teddy Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, and even Ronald Reagan supported the preservation of public lands and the protection of our air and water.

The current GOP attacks on public land, and on the protection of clean air and water redefines the party as radicals who are disregarding established values. Too many fossil fuel state Democrats are also following suit. They are ignoring 70 to 80 percent of all Americans, including Republicans, who support public lands and environmental rules.

Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists say the climate is changing rapidly because of enormous increases in atmospheric carbon in the 19th and 20th centuries. Even if you believe it is part of a natural cycle, it should not be difficult to agree with scientists who say that human pollution is accelerating the unprecedented rate of change.

Former Republican officials from the Reagan and Bush administrations, George Schultz and Howard Baker, have begged Congress and Trump to implement a carbon tax on industry to slow emissions—and then give the taxes back to taxpayers—while rolling back Obama’s regulations on carbon emissions.

The Republican Congress simply wants to roll back the Obama emission measures on coal, slowing the transition to cleaner fuels.

Would a true conservative gamble with the future of our climate, coastlines, water supply, and ability to grow enough food?

I think most true conservatives are not gamblers, but would at least hedge their bets by backing badly needed clean energy jobs and the training to make them accessible to out-of-work coal miners and oil drillers. One in five new jobs is created by wind and solar energy.

Wall Street is also betraying our future by continuing to disproportionately fund fossil fuels, instead of renewable energy and the millions of more jobs that could be created.

Most unbiased scientists say we are recklessly gambling with our children’s and grandchildren’s future. They remind us how a non-partisan effort saved the ozone layer by banning damaging chemicals. A healthy clean-energy, job-abundant economy could make true conservatives out of all of us.

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What can we do? Here are important steps to take:

  • Become active in the Sierra ClubWilderness Society, Earthjustice, and other organizations concerned about the environment.
  • Learn more. Here are articles to start with:  TimeEsquire; and Scientific American.
  • Speak out. Visit, call and write your U.S. representatives and senators, and encourage your friends to do the same. Earthjustice and other organizations have websites where help is available for making phone calls and writing letters.

It’s Time to Reclaim Our Flag

By Janet Sheppard Duvall

Twenty-five years ago I ran for elected office as a Democrat in a primarily Republican county.  My yard signs proclaimed my candidacy in the proud colors of fuchsia and white. I couldn’t use the colors of the American flag, you see, because red, white and blue had long been claimed by the Republicans.

Janet Sheppard Duvall has worked in environmental and land use planning and work an organizer of a clean air coalition in Colorado. She is a former county commission for Larimer County, Colo. Learn more about her.

Janet Sheppard Duvall is a writer and editor. She has had a successful career in environmental and land use planning, as well as politics and public relations.  Learn more about her.

Today the flag itself has been preempted by the Republican Party and the alt right. They display our country’s flag front and center over all their gatherings, fly it from the topmost extensions of cranes and ladders, and let it flutter from their pickup trucks as they speed down the highway. Silently proclaiming: We are patriots, and you are not!

It’s an insidious psychological trick, but when less conservative folks see the flag waving, we often assume that the flag owner is a person of the alt-right persuasion. But wait! My husband and I fly the American flag from a flagpole attached to the front of our home. OMG! What if people assume we voted for Trump because we fly the flag of our country?

Something is definitely wrong with this picture, and it has been wrong for more than a quarter of a century. Why have Democrats, progressives, liberals and even moderates accepted the far-right Republican, Tea Party and alt-right claim of exclusivity over the patriotic symbols of our country?

My awareness for this deplorable situation was finally kicked into gear when I read an insightful article written by David Frum, What Effective Protest Could Look Like, Perspective from the right on Trump’s political challenge for the left,” published by The Atlantic on February 6, 2017. David Frum is a senior editor for The Atlantic and was a speech writer for President George W. Bush—thus, his conservative credentials.logo_fina_150pixels

Frum points out that left-liberal demonstrations “seldom are aimed at any achievable goal; they rarely leave behind any enduring program of action or any organization to execute that program. Again and again, their most lasting effect has been to polarize opinion against them—and to empower the targets of their outrage. And this time, that target is a president hungering for any excuse to repress his opponents.” In order to scare Trump and to be effective, Frum suggests protestors must be “orderly, polite and visibly patriotic.”

Frum so eloquently reminds us: “Trump wants to identify all opposition to him with the black-masked crowbar thugs who smashed windows and burned a limo on his inauguration day. Remember Trump’s tweet about stripping citizenship from flag burners? It’s beyond audacious that a candidate who publicly requested help from Russian espionage services against his opponent would claim the flag as his own. But Trump is trying. Don’t let him get away with it. Carry the flag. Open with the Pledge of Allegiance. Close by singing the Star Spangled Banner—like these protesters at LAX, in video posted by The Atlantic’s own Conor Friedersdorf. Trump’s presidency is itself one long flag-burning, an attack on the principles and institutions of the American republic. That republic’s symbols are your symbols. You should cherish them and brandish them.”

Those of us who wish to resist the presidency of Donald Trump and the dangerous advances of the alt-right must seriously consider and implement Frum’s critical revelations on how to manage effective protest:

  • Be conservative in order to effectively deliver a radical argument.
  • Be strategic, create goals and have a long-term action plan. Don’t protest just to release anger and emotions.
  • Focus the protest around a single, clear and concrete demand that can be put into political action:  e.g., “Release Tax Returns!” “Investigate Russian connections!”
  • Assure follow up action beyond the protest. Do the hard work of organizing, meeting, and continuing to call/write/email/Tweet elected representatives.
  • Create a movement that enables you to converse with and to recruit people who would not normally agree with you.

Finally, Democrats and progressives, left-wingers and liberals: fly our American flag, use the colors of red, white and blue, and know that you are patriots—“building a movement to protect American democracy from the authoritarianism of the Trump administration.” Thank you David Frum.

Yes, we will continue to fly our American flag in front of our home.

Assault on our environment rages like a tsunami

By Gary Kimsey

I wasn’t a big Nixon fan. But, as millions of other Americans did, I applauded when he and a bipartisan congress created the EPA in 1970 to respond to major environmental problems in communities, rivers and wilderness areas.

As Nixon said at the time, “We will reap the grim consequences of our failure to act on programs which are needed now if we are to prevent disaster later. Clean air, clean water, open spaces—these should once again be the birthright of every American.”

What do you think? Take a short poll at the end of this article.

Now, under Donald Trump and a one-party congress, we are witnessing the horrific dismantling of “the birthright of every American.” Events of the first month of his reign showed how easily Trump and congress can sweep aside progress:

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On Feb. 17, congress approved Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA. He represented the oil industry in lawsuits against the agency and will be Trump’s attack dog which tears apart the agency. Like Trump, Pruitt does not believe in science that shows we’re already feeling global warming.

On Feb. 21, Pruitt laid out a vision for the EPA which undercuts the agency’s mission to protect “human health and the environment—air, water, and land.” In his introductory talk to the EPA staff, he focused on protecting jobs, industry and the marketplace but gave little nod to environmental protection. The word “climate” was not included among his words, a sign that indicates such issues as climate change and global warming will plunge to the wayside in his administration.

On Feb. 16, Trump signed a bill that repealed a federal measure restricting mining companies from dumping waste into streams. The measure was a protection for 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests.

Trump said he repealed the measure as a way to jump-start a return to coal mining. He forgets to mention how outdated and environmentally dangerous the use of coal is. Coal miners, however, voted for Trump and their votes are more important to him than the environment.

How will the assault on the EPA impact states? Read this insightful article about impacts in Colorado.

On Feb. 14, Trump repealed a rule that required oil, natural gas, coal, and mineral companies to disclose royalties and other payments made to foreign governments. The rule was an effort to fight corruption. Now American energy companies can bribe their way into other countries.

On Feb. 3, four Republican House of Representative members introduced H.R. 861 which calls for an end to the Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 31, 2018.

Supporters argue the EPA isn’t needed because states and cities can regulate their own pollution. However, their argument doesn’t take into account the realities that most communities and states do not have the wherewithal, or political bravery, to monitor and regulate pollution. Nor do polluted air and rivers respect city or state boundaries—a fact that necessitates the presence of a federal agency like the EPA.

What do Americans think? A national poll released Feb. 8 found voters believe 2-to-1 that Trump should not cut regulations which combat climate change; 59 percent think more should be done to address climate change.

On Jan. 24, 120 Republican representatives introduced H.R. 637 to curtail the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases. They believe the EPA does too much regulation of polluting companies.

Shortly after he was inaugurated, Trump ordered the EPA to freeze all grants and contracts. The move affects local efforts to improve air and water quality, curtails climate research projects, and halts environmental projects that help poor communities.

Almost before the glitter was swept up from the floors of the inaugural balls, a bill was introduced in congress to sell 3.3 million acres of public land. The legislation prompted a loud outcry from residents of states, particularly Montana, that would lose those lands to private developers. The bill was withdrawn in early February due to public opposition.

Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled congress has set its sights on opening part of Alaska’s fragile Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. This is in a pristine wilderness where no roads, campgrounds or trails exist. It is a nursery for polar bears, musk oxen and Porcupine Caribou. Migratory birds from every U.S. state nest there.

As a nation, we now face danger to our water sources, air quality, renewable energy efforts, environmental research, water and wastewater management, superfund cleanups, regulation of vehicular emissions, and global warming.

Be ready for the rest of the tsunami. It’s coming. And it’s going to get worse, a lot worse.

I believe most Americans are wise enough to value a clean environment. The question is, what are we going to do about it?

Here are important steps to take:

Government workers must refuse to obey unjust orders

By Bear Gebhardt

In the first week of the new administration, Sally Yates, who was then our acting U.S. Attorney General, acted like a true hero when she said yes to her conscience, yes to the constitution and no to her boss. She set the high moral standard for what more and more government employees will be asked to do.

Although Ms. Yates was quickly fired (she already knew she would be replaced within the month), she was also quickly vindicated. She was proven right when within days various federal judges across the country agreed with her: The “orders” she had been given were deemed unconstitutional.

Her actions of refusal (resistance!) set a powerful example for what more and more government employees are now forced to do, from local police officers, immigration agents, teachers, welfare, and food inspection officers up through the ranks to cabinet political appointees.

Again: say yes to your conscience, yes to the constitution, no to the boss.

The international courts at Nuremberg, after World War II, made it plain: Our own conscience and our personal sense of human dignity and humanity always, always (always!) take precedence over orders from above, if those orders require us to engage in acts of human cruelty.

“We must say no to orders from above when those orders impinge on human dignity.”

“Orders from above” never justify the immoral, illegal or even questionable imposing of harm or abuse on fellow human beings. When the term “never forget” came out of the holocaust, what we were encouraged to never forget is this exact lesson: We can say no, we must say no to orders from above when those orders impinge on human decency.

Immigration officers at the NYC airport who refused to acknowledge a valid court order which temporarily suspended Trump’s Executive Order denying the rights of legal U.S. residents to return home were acting in a cowardly or at least ignorant manner. They were following the orders of their bosses, rather than their conscience or the law.

In an era when it seems that much executive policy—in spite of current laws or accepted precedent—springs from irrational fears, a sense of personal privilege and mean-spirited retribution, it is imperative for all of us to see quite clearly, quite simply this creed: If it violates the constitution and/or goes against our conscience, we are free to say no, we are obligated to say no, even if it’s our direct boss who demands our obedience. (Read Bear Gebhardt’s Gandolph Nuremberg Strategy for details.)

Again, the Nuremberg Trials established the international law that supports always acting according to our own conscience, and our own sense of the constitution, and particularly the Bill of Rights.

We each have the right and obligation to say no to unjust or inhumane orders from above. Such a “no” may cost us in the short run—as it did for Sally Yates. But in the long run, we’ll be standing on firm ground, having done the right thing.

As individuals, and as a society, saying “no” will ensure: never again.