Dark and Important

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September 9, 2019 4:12 p.m.

Remarkable development here in the Alabama imbroglio. The headline is that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, one of the most corrupt of President Trump’s Cabinet secretaries, threatened to fire NOAA leadership over the Alabama dispute. (I hesitate even call it a “dispute.”) What struck me more is that administration officials are putting out word that staffers at the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service were simply trying to embarrass the President rather than acting out of concern for public safety. In the Times’ words: “That official suggested the Twitter post by the Birmingham forecasters had been motivated by a desire to embarrass the president more than concern for the safety of people in Alabama.”

This entire dispute is so stupid, so frivolous and ridiculous, that it’s easy to just dismiss it as another Trump shiny object. But it is actually rooted in something deeper and more ominous. There’s what the President says, whether true, whether on purpose. And everyone has to fall in line — government scientists, government safety officials, everybody.

There’s something very stark and ominous here. Ground level government scientists and weather officials, who play a critical role in public safety, are doing just what they’re supposed to: make sure people have the most accurate information about the weather. They’re not just contradicted. They’re accused of being the President’s enemies.

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