Trumpwatch – What’s a few more nails in the planet’s coffin?



… as long as those coffin-nails were “Made in America”.



Trump’s First 100 Days can boast of several “achievements”. But not the variety that progressive-minded people – especially those concerned with global environmental problems and threats to peace – would welcome with a cheer.

Pimping for Coal

On 28 March, Trump signed another of his many Executive Orders – the sort of Presidential Executive Orders that in the past he railed against when Obama was President of the United States. As he ‘tweeted’ in 2012;


TDB Recommends


This time, Trump was signing an Executive Order over-turning Obama’s policies of moving America away from using CO2-producing  coal for energy production. To avoid any accusation of “fake news” from Trump’s supporters, these are his actual words from the White House website;

 “ Today, I’m taking bold action to follow through on that promise.  My administration is putting an end to the war on coal.  We’re going to have clean coal — really clean coal.  With today’s executive action, I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion, and to cancel job-killing regulations.  (Applause.)  And, by the way, regulations not only in this industry, but in every industry.  We’re doing them by the thousands, every industry.  And we’re going to have safety, we’re going to have clean water, we’re going to have clear air.

Trump’s fairy-tale fantasies on “clean coal — really clean coal” and promising that Americans (and the rest of us on Planet Earth) would enjoy “clean water, we’re going to have clear air” was parroted by the  head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and self-confessed climate-change denier,  Scott Pruitt;

I believe that we as a nation can be both pro-energy and jobs, and pro-environment. We don’t have to choose between the two.

Trump’s appointment of Pruitt was scandalous by any measure, especially as the former Republican Oklahomas attorney general sued the Environmental Protection no less than thirteen times.

Little wonder than the  Sierra Club  called for Pruitt’s resignation for mis-leading the US Congress on increasing levels of carbon dioxide leading to worsening  climate change.

Just as bad as Pruitt’s head-in-the-sand attitude toward anthropogenic climate change, is Trump’s reference to “clean coal”. There is no such thing, as Fortune magazine reported in October last year;

As for Trump, he failed to mention that no U.S. major clean coal plant is operational. He also neglected to say that the U.S. coal industry has been struggling partly because of the economics involved. The rise in low cost U.S. natural gas, as well as cheap wind and solar, has done as much to hurt the coal industry as have environmental regulations. When power companies close an aging coal plant, it makes more economic sense for them to build a new natural gas plant, or even solar and wind ones.

The article by Fortune’s Katie Fehrenbacher mentions two “clean coal” power plants that, after years of Federal taxpayer-funding and delays, have never become operational. A third “clean coal” power plant was due to be operational by the end of 2016 – but according to it’s builders is no longer  economic.

Any notion of “clean coal” appears to be a wishful fantasy in Trump’s mind.

Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists summed up Trump’s vandalism of the environment;

The wrecking ball that is the Trump presidency continues. The executive order undercuts a key part of the nation’s response to climate change, without offering even a hint of what will replace it.

US National Parks: See it; Love it; Mine the #@$?%!*&$ out of it!

In a piece of cunningly written euphemistic double-speak and jargon, Trump’s Executive order on 26 April announced plans to review Monument lands (similar to National Parks) with an agenda for “economic growth”;

Designations of national monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906, recently recodified at sections 320301 to 320303 of title 54, United States Code (the “Antiquities Act” or “Act”), have a substantial impact on the management of Federal lands and the use and enjoyment of neighboring lands.  Such designations are a means of stewarding America’s natural resources, protecting America’s natural beauty, and preserving America’s historic places.  Monument designations that result from a lack of public outreach and proper coordination with State, tribal, and local officials and other relevant stakeholders may also create barriers to achieving energy independence, restrict public access to and use of Federal lands, burden State, tribal, and local governments, and otherwise curtail economic growth.  Designations should be made in accordance with the requirements and original objectives of the Act and appropriately balance the protection of landmarks, structures, and objects against the appropriate use of Federal lands and the effects on surrounding lands and communities.

Though couched in nebulous bureaucratese,  alarms bells begin to ring with certain key phrases peppered throughout the Executive Order:   “the importance of the Nation’s wealth of natural resources to American workers and the American economy“; “Monument designations … may also create barriers to achieving energy independence“; “Monument designations … and otherwise curtail economic growth“; “appropriate use of Federal lands“; “including the economic development“; “properly manage designated areas“; etc.

Here in New Zealand, National’s half-arsed proposal seven years ago to open up Schedule 4 DoC conservation-land to mining was met with over-whelming public protest;



Two and a half months later, National’s ministers caved to public anger. Their proposals sank without a trace.

Trump is yet to be confronted with similar fury from outraged Americans. In the meantime,  his Executive Order has called for the  re-classification of  landmarks of a historic or scientific nature;

“In making those determinations, the Secretary shall consider:


(ii)   whether designated lands are appropriately classified under the Act as “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, [or] other objects of historic or scientific interest”

Once re-classified as non-historic landmarks, non-historic and non-prehistoric structures, [or] other objects of non-historic or non-scientific interest” – then it’s “Drill baby, Drill!



Trump’s Executive Order sought “consultation” with “the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Energy“, the “Assistant to the President for Economic Policy“,  and strangely,  “the Secretary of Homeland Security“.

The Trump Administration was seeking “consultation” with the Secretaries of Defense, Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy for obvious reasons: Trump was planning to commercially exploit the Monument parks.

What possible purpose could there be  for Trump to be consulting the Secretary of Homeland Security?

Simple: Crowd control.

As in;



Trump was already making plans to react with an iron fist when Americans realised what their Glorious Leader was about to do to their Monument parks.

Protest would be met by force. Just ask the Native Americans who protested the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Trump takes a Dump on the Arctic’s Rump

On 29 April, Trump did the unthinkable (aside from launching the nukes and starting the Last World War) – he signed yet another Executive Order, the ‘America-First Offshore Energy Strategy’, authorising oil exploration in Chukchi and Beaufort Seas – both in the Arctic Ocean;

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, 43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq., and in order to maintain global leadership in energy innovation, exploration, and production, it is hereby ordered as follows:


…as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, including the procedures set forth in section 1344 of title 43, United States Code, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, give full consideration to revising the schedule of proposed oil and gas lease sales, as described in that section, so that it includes, but is not limited to, annual lease sales, to the maximum extent permitted by law, in each of the following Outer Continental Shelf Planning Areas, as designated by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) (Planning Areas):  Western Gulf of Mexico, Central Gulf of Mexico, Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, Cook Inlet, Mid-Atlantic, and South Atlantic.

As Trump stated on the White House website;

This executive order starts the process of opening offshore areas to job-creating energy exploration.  It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban.  So hear that:  It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban, and directs Secretary Zinke to allow responsible development of offshore areas that will bring revenue to our Treasury and jobs to our workers.  (Applause.)  In addition, Secretary Zinke will be reconsidering burdensome regulations that slow job creation.  

The Order effectively reverses Obama’s final act of his Presidency, in December last year, where he placed large marine areas under Federal protection from commercial development;

President Barack Obama on Tuesday moved to indefinitely block drilling in vast swaths of U.S. waters.

The president had been expected to take the action by invoking a provision in a 1953 law that governs offshore leases, as CNBC previously reported.

The law allows a president to withdraw any currently unleased lands in the Outer Continental Shelf from future lease sales. There is no provision in the law that allows the executive’s successor to repeal the decision, so President-elect Donald Trump would not be able to easily brush aside the action.


The lands covered include the bulk of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in the Arctic and 31 underwater canyons in the Atlantic. The United States and Canada also announced they will identify sustainable shipping lanes through their connected Arctic waters.

Canada on Tuesday also imposed a five-year ban on all oil and gas drilling licensing in the Canadian Arctic. The moratorium will be reviewed every five years.


Environmentalists say drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic puts the waters at immediate risk, for oil and gas that would not come online for years, after a transition to cleaner energy sources could be under way.

“The Arctic Ocean is ground zero for the impacts of climate change, and any oil production there would be decades away and inconsistent with addressing climate change before it is too late,” the League of Conservation Voters said in a statement after the announcement.

Obama’s Executive Order was a complete 180-degree turn-around from his previous decision to allow Shell to test-drill in the Chukchi sea in August 2015. Shell’s exploration programme folded a month later, citing “the disappointing results of an initial well, the high costs of development and the  challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska“.

After he has finished despoiling the land, air, and waterways of the Continental United States, Trump’s decision to overturn Obama’s Executive Order and  allow oil exploration in the Arctic places one of the most fragile eco-systems at risk from environmental degradation;

Concerns have been raised over Shell’s ability to clean up a spill, should one occur, in an area covered by sea ice for much of the year. If one considers the example of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it took 87 days to cap, even though it happened in a fairly accessible region. In the Arctic, which is virtually impenetrable in winter, a similar gusher would be far more difficult to tackle. More to the point, the region’s ecology is about the most fragile on the planet and would be far more vulnerable to the impact of a major spill.

However the legality of Trump’s Executive Order attempting to overturn his predecessor’s Executive Order is questionable, with the increasing likelihood  of environmental groups launching legal challenges;

It’s unclear whether a new president has the authority to reverse those bans without Congress, says Robin Craig, an environmental law professor at the University of Utah. If, following this executive order, the Trump administration decides to go ahead and open up those areas, environmental groups will likely sue. But because there’s no precedent, it’s unclear what the outcome of those lawsuits will be. “Who knows whether they’ll win or lose,” Book says. “It hasn’t been litigated yet.”

But groups like Oceana are ready to fight. Drilling in Arctic waters is dangerous and there’s no proven way to clean sea ice from potential oil spills, Pyne says. “It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s stormy, and it’s covered in sea ice,” she says. And drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts is unpopular with businesses and residents in coastal states. Oil spill can negatively affect fishing and tourism, and states just don’t want to risk it. “Regardless who’s in the White House coastal communities and businesses do not want offshore drilling off their coast,” Pyne says.

More of Trump’s anti-environmental and pro-business, pro-exploitation policies can be found on the Forbes and National Geographic websites. The picture painted by Trump’s policy enactments (through one Executive Order after another) and appointees makes for disturbing reading.

This is not a happy time for Planet Earth.

Battle of the Bizarro Hair-Monsters

What is it with sovereign leaders with little hands and appalling hair styles?



Not content with planning to  ravage his own country’s environmental heritage, Trump’s provocative bellicosity toward North Korea could spark a catastrophic regional conflict where millions might be killed, and the global economy sent spiralling into another debilitating recession.

In the past, Trump has resolutely condemned America’s involvement in international conflicts;



Four years later, he has bombed  Yemen, Syria, and Afghanistan – and threatening war with North Korea;



This is a man-child confronted with complex international crisis; with minimal political  experience (except what he ‘consumes’ from US movies such as ‘Rambo‘, ‘The Green Berets‘, ‘Red Dawn‘, etc); with access to an arsenal of atomic weapons.

The world is still having to contend with the violent aftermath of America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, and Trump is apparently hell-bent on more military adventurism?

Each day we wake up and the planet is still intact – is a miracle.

Words of Wisdom from a Trump Supporter

From Former Representative Joe Walsh (Republican, Illinois) comes this brutally candid admission;



“ As a Trump supporter I do my best not to pay attention to what he says. If I pulled my hair out for every nutty thing he said, I’d be bald.”

Nothing further need be said.

The only questions that remain to be asked are;

  1. How much environmental damage can this man cause before he leaves the White House (or is impeached)?
  2. Will he spark The Last World War?
  3. Will humanity learn not to vote for demagogues that promise so much; deliver so little; and threaten everything in-between?

There have to be solutions to the failed experiment of neo-liberalism and globalisation that does not require madmen (and women) to be elevated to power.

As the 1930s showed us, demagoguery is a false road toward solving our very real problems.



On 30 April, Trump held a public rally in Nuremburg  Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There  were no torch-light processions of goose-stepping Aryan-types in tight, gleaming, spit-polished, black jack-boots. It was a more informal affair.

Dress code, WASP-casual;



For Trump, the ego-massaging rallies of last year’s election campaign have become an on-going campaign to keep his supporters ‘pumped’. Where have we seen that before…?

Oh yeah;




Good old Big Bruvver and his Two Minute Hate sessions. (Just substitute Hillary Clinton for Goldstein; scream “Lock her up, lock her up!” instead of “Traitor, traitor!”, and you’ve nailed it. ‘1984’ or 2017, it makes no difference.)





White House: Presidential Executive Order on the Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act

Wikipedia: National Monuments

NZ Herald: Huge protest says no to mining on conservation land

Fairfax media: Government confirms mining backdown

Grist:  Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump, resurrects “drill, baby, drill” theme

Chicago Tribune: Dakota Access oil pipeline camp cleared of protesters; dozens arrested

Vogue: 6 Things President Trump Criticized Barack Obama For and Is Currently Doing Himself

Twitter: Trump – Obama’s Executive orders – 11 July 2012

White House: Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Executive Order to Create Energy Independence

The Guardian: New EPA head Scott Pruitt – ‘We can be both pro-jobs and pro-environment’

The Atlantic: Trump’s EPA Chief Denies the Basic Science of Climate Change

Fortune: What Donald Trump Didn’t Mention About Clean Coal

Huffington Post: Scott Pruitt Has Sued The Environmental Protection Agency 13 Times

Common Dreams: The Sierra Club – Pruitt Misled Congress on CO2, Senators Should Demand He Be “Removed from His Position.”

Time: President Trump Signs Executive Order Rolling Back Obama-Era Environmental Regulations

White House: Presidential Executive Order Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy

Wikipedia: Chukchi Sea

Wikipedia: Beaufort Sea

Wikipedia: Cook Inlet

White House: Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Executive Order on an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy

CNBC: Obama invokes 1953 law to indefinitely block drilling in Arctic and Atlantic oceans

The Guardian: Shell gets final clearance to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic

The Seattle Times: Obama protection of Arctic, Atlantic meant to thwart Trump desires to drill

The Guardian: Nature’s last refuge: climate change threatens our most fragile ecosystem

The Verge: Trump signs executive order to expand offshore oil and gas drilling in Arctic and beyond

Forbes: The 4 Worst Things Trump Has Done For The Environment In His First 100 Days – And 1 Good

National Geographic: A Running List of How Trump Is Changing the Environment

Middle East Eye: 13 tweets Donald Trump sent warning US not to attack Syria

CBS News: U.S. bombs al Qaeda suspects in Yemen for 2nd night

New York Post: US unleashes dozens of missiles on Syria in response to chemical attack

The Guardian: Devastation and a war that rages on: visiting the valley hit by the Moab attack

The Mirror: Donald Trump warns North Korea is ‘looking for trouble’ and says US ‘will solve problem with or without China’

The Week: Former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh: ‘As a Trump supporter I do my best not to pay attention to what he says’


ABC: Experts – Long road ahead for Trump offshore drilling order

Radio NZ: Trump signs Arctic oil drilling order

The Verge: Trump signs executive order to expand offshore oil and gas drilling in Arctic and beyond

NASA: NASA Releases Detailed Global Climate Change Projections

NASA: 2016 Climate Trends Continue to Break Records

Other Blogs

Redline: Trump and how the ruling class rule

The Daily Blog: Andra Jenkin – One in a Million – Donald Trump’s Administration Achievements

The Daily Blog: Andra Jenkin – The Powers that Be

The Standard:  The patriotic millionaires

The Standard: Poor Donald

The Standard: Donald Trump and Florida

Your NZ: Trump wants ‘really clean coal’

Previous related blogposts

Trumpwatch: The Drum(pf)s of War

Trumpwatch: One minute closer to midnight on the Doomsday Clock







= fs =


  1. The cork has long since popped on Climate Change and there is no way of getting it back in the bottle. While the accelerated destruction of the natural world is tragic beyond belief, we all voted for it.

    We vote for it every time we go to the supermarket.

      • Isn’t it interesting that deniers are unable to link the rise in CO2 levels with increasingly warmer years? It’s like, NAH, NAH, NAH, I’M NOT LOOKING!! I’M NOT LOOKING!!

        Luckily, Trump will only be in office for 4 years before the American public have a gutsful of his idiocy. His successor will have a hell of a mess to clean up!

    • Worse those fueling up at the petrol stations, they deserve to be “stoned” (their vehicles) for continuing to blow more exhausts into the atmosphere.

  2. Yep Frank,

    All this when our once pristine aquifers are being poisoned and the water levels under our land that feed them are now seriously being depleted by greedy foreign corporations!!!!!!

    Truly now a bloody war is being waged against our country by global elitist’s.

  3. Trump, Key, English, Little, Morgan, Peters, Goff… councilors, district councilors, bureaucrats, bankers, corporations, opportunists……all have the same agenda: fuck the planet and screw the next generation for the sake of short-term affluence and short-lived Ponzi schemes.

    Their plan is working: highest ever atmospheric CO2, and rising at the fastest rate in the geological history of the Earth.

    And the consequences of the greed and stupidity and cowardice that characterise western societies and the idiot brigade that is in charge of western societies are becoming increasingly dire:

    Needless to say, the race to see who can behave most deplorably is being won by Americans, but Australians, British, Canadians and New Zealanders etc. are not far behind.

    Trump is a little more extreme than some of the other so-called leaders, of course, in his willingness to blatantly promote that which is unsustainable and damaging to the future.

    Ultra-fast planetary meltdown underway:

  4. So it’s a choice between a slow death by climate change and inundation, or a slightly faster death through nuclear war, radioactive fallout, and the Nuclear Winter?

    Christ, hand me a whiskey bottle. I’d rather end it by drinking myself to oblivion.

    Thank you America for voting in that evil bastard!

  5. Yes, all true, the above, but maybe Kiwis could start at home, there is damned little to be proud of here, the over 80 percent “renewable” electricity we have was simply a nice heritage to receive from past generations that built many hydro damns, using opportunities and seeing ahead.

    What the hell is being done today though, all this talk about electric cars, which need much more electricity than we are able to generate with the hydro generation we presently have. And business and so also need power, so what is the plan, what is happening, much talk and little else, I fear.

    Every day I see almost every person here in Auckland jump into a fossil fuel powerd car and drive, drive, drive, adding to the problem, no thought to change behaviour here, same as in the US.

    • There is discouragement from local and national government to make transitional changes that move away from fossil fuels.

      National threatened not to ratify the Unitary Plan if it followed the wishes of most Auckland respondents who identified they wanted a higher density city with better transport. They demanded – and got – SHA’s which follow no planning construct, but an application of landowners for approval for change to residential zoning. See the SOUL protest movement to see how this works in actuality.

      Any suggestion that a capital-uplift tax be imposed on properties that benefitted from rezoning without effort or input from their owners, was summarily dismissed during non-public meetings within Auckland Council. This means that many have received considerable increases in value without any requirement to pay tax on it. Land bankers rejoice. This fund could have been used as a social housing fund or a substantial transition fund for Auckland, but that opportunity was given away without regard.

      National’s response to climate change is indicated by their appointments to climate change Minister: Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett are visible examples of their disdain.

      Their pursuit of the RoNS when the economic equation did not work out, shows how their obsession with roading contracts would never be replaced with considered long term transport transitions.

      Not to mention the sale of our energy companies on the stockmarket.

      In 2014 both Meridian and Contact energy changed their buyback payment for excess power from around 25c per kilowatt hour to 7-8c.

      Not only is there no incentives, there are often roadblocks put in the way for those who attempt to make changes at a personal level.

      • Having closely followed that Unitary Plan debacle, where the government basically pressured the Ministry of Environment appointed “independent hearings panel” into doing what it expected from it, I know a bit about what you are talking or writing about.

        The Auckland Unitary Plan has been decided on by the government having firstly appointed a hearing panel that was full of consultants, many of whom formerly worked for Council and for certain businesses. The Judge may have been independent, but the panel as such, was not quite so in my humble view.

        There were many recommendations they made to Council that were flawed and actually so pro developer and pro business, it was a biased set of recommendations, ignoring many honest and deservedly raised concerns by community groups and environmentalist.

        The Council simply more or less waved it through, the recommendations, they felt some pressure also, they knew a new local body election was closely ahead of them, and they would never have read all the details of reports or submissions anyway, they wanted to save their seats on Council, and also serve interests of certain business and other lobby groups.

        So it went. What many on the left and in general may not realise is what the National led government did in 2012/13, when changing the RMA, they brought in new requirements for so called ‘Section 32 Reports’ that Councils and local authorities in general have to prepare and present. The following was an important change to Section 32 requirements, tilting the whole scenario of requirements pro business and pro development:
        “The Resource Management Amendment Act 2013 introduced new requirements under s32. These new requirements do not change the purpose of s32. They do however encourage
        quantification of costs and benefits, emphasise the need to assess economic costs and benefits, and generally require a more robust, more clearly articulated analysis that is
        proportionate to the type of proposal”.

        See page 5 of the PDF found via this link:

        So any proposed plan change or new plan has to be presented with a Section 32 Report, that must give a cost and benefit analysis, and as much else is now geared to be pro development, the Council or local authority must give consideration to such reports, when making decisions. Economic cost and benefit comparisons will be looked at, and they will mean, if jobs can be created, growth of whatever business activity can be proved, the environmental concerns will have to be weighed against this.

        End result is usually, a PRO BUSINESS AND PRO DEVELOPMENT decision, that will enable businesses and private developers to go ahead with doing what they see fit and proper, as long as other minimum plan requirements are met and balanced.

        I remember there having been very little public discussion of this, and now Nats and ACT want to bring even more pro business changes into the RMA, most idiots out there have no clue even what the RMA says in detail, so they are likely to get away with it yet again.

        We are screwed with such things happening.

        NZ has enough worries of its own, but who out there cares, but for a few?

        • Thanks Mike.

          I do remember those changes made in legislation that affected local government. I particularly remember National MP Dr Paul Hutchinson addressing a hall of people and congratulating his party for passing a bill that essentially got rid of the necessity to look for the other well-beings involved in the RMA – environmental, social and community IIRC.

          Your comment brought back all the details, and it is well worth remembering how corrosively these changes work.

  6. Trump is going to be one term president. Most of his actions will be by executive order that will be reversed by the next president.

    Thank god that the US government is so unwieldly that he really can’t get much done.

  7. The latest news is Trump has fired FBI director, James Comey. The shit is really hitting the fan now!

  8. You make some really great points and we all need to keep being the hysteric in the room screaming ‘This is not normal! This man will kill us all.’ Because this is not a normal presidency, and using normal means is too slow to stop the damage he leaves in his wake.
    Though the legal system has done its best to stop grievous attacks on the constitutional rights of Americans the issue of the environment is problematic because of how much damage has been sustained already.
    I fear when Trump pulls the plug on the planet, the patient will die awaiting a judicial ruling on whether to plug it back in to life support.
    Thanks for your #resistance

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