Today's headlines are like the scene in the horror movie where, after a short quiet period accompanied by dramatic music, the zombies start to come out of the ground en masse. Today:
Trump has called for a 'major investigation' into (non-existent) voter fraud.
Six journalists have been arrested and charged with felonies after covering the protests at Trump's inauguration.
The administration has imposed a freeze on new grants and contracts for the EPA.
The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a move that could affect a significant part of the agency’s budget allocations and even threaten to disrupt core operations ranging from toxic cleanups to water quality testing, according to records and interviews. [Emphasis added.]I really feel sorry for the people in Flint, Michigan where, despite significant progress, "it could be a year or more before it is safe for residents to drink from their faucets, because lead-tainted pipes need to be replaced."
More details are emerging from yesterday's story about Trump banning social media posts. It's not just the EPA, it's the park service too. This is truly chilling:
The National Park Service said on Saturday it regretted having retweeted two Twitter posts, including one comparing the size of crowds at President Trump’s inauguration on Friday with President Obama’s in 2009.
After retweeting the posts at issue, both of which originated from nongovernment accounts, the agency stopped its Twitter activity for several hours on Friday and Saturday.
“Out of an abundance of caution, while we investigated the situation involving these tweets, the Department of Interior’s communications team determined that it was important to stand down Twitter activity,” Tom Crosson, a National Park Service spokesman, said in a statement. The Park Service is part of the Interior Department.
According to CNN, the Interior Department circulated an email to employees on Friday saying that representatives of the Trump administration had ordered the shutdown.Keep in mind that the information that was distributed by the park service was true. The only reason they were shut down is because Donald Trump personally didn't like it. That is not supposed to happen in the democracy. (Raw Story covers the story in more detail with the more appropriate headline, "Trump bans government scientists from sharing their work with the taxpayers who funded it".)
Not directly connected to the Trump administration but undoubtedly aided and abetted by the Trumpian zeitgeist, the Texas Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case about whether or not municipal governments can deny benefits to gay married couples. (Hint: no, they can't. But in today's bizarro-world that is no guarantee that the court will rule that way. Supreme court justices in Texas are elected.)
There was one tiny spark of optimism in today's news feed: people are starting to talk about article 4 of the 25th amendment:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.But...
Of course it’s an extreme long shot that Trump’s Cabinet or the Republican leadership in Congress would ever take such a drastic step. (Although it’s not at all hard to imagine that in their hearts many of them would prefer President Mike Pence.) This would only happen if Trump really started to behave in a unhinged fashion. After all the bizarre behavior he has exhibited over the past 18 months, one cannot help but wonder: What could possibly count as going too far? It’s almost too terrifying to imagine.I knew there were dark days ahead, but I wasn't expecting them to come quite this fast.