Trump’s first list of science priorities ignores climate—and departs from his own budget request
By Jeffrey Mervis - Aug. 17, 2017 ,
The memos typically don’t change much from year to year. But this is the first one from the new Trump administration. And it comes even as the White House lacks a presidential science adviser and OSTP director. It’s co-signed by OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and Michael Kratsios, a deputy assistant to the president, who since March has also been acting as OSTP's head.
The memo lists five priority areas (in this order): American military American superiority, American security, American prosperity, American energy dominance, and American health.
Each is prefaced by the word “American" in keeping with the administration’s approach to branding issues.
It should be no surprise that Trump’s list differs markedly from previous memos from the Barack Obama administration. Obama’s top five multiagency research priorities for his 2017 budget, for example, were global climate change, clean energy, Earth observations, advanced manufacturing, and innovation in the life sciences, biology, and neuroscience. Three items on that list—climate research, Earth observations, and advanced manufacturing—are completely absent from Trump’s priorities. ...
The initial reaction from some veteran federal budget watchers is bemusement. “Beyond the obvious differences with Obama’s approach, this guidance also doesn’t have a lot of similarities with President Trump’s own 2018 budget request," says Matthew Hourihan, who analyzes federal research spending for AAAS in Washington, D.C. (which publishes ScienceInsider).
Hourihan contrasted the memo’s focus on support for breakthrough military technologies, technology to prevent terror attacks, and helping older Americans remain healthy with the large cuts for those same areas that Trump has proposed.
Kei Koizumi, who headed OSTP’s research analysis shop during the Obama administration and is now at AAAS, says the memo is consistent with Trump’s emphasis in his 2018 budget on “defense first, security second, with the economy, energy, and health after that."
But he notes that it is silent on many important activities, including support for international collaborations and for training the next generation of scientists apart from improving the technical skills of the overall U.S. workforce. ... In his view, “the memo shows that the administration doesn't have science and technology priorities as such."
I thought I was just going to post this and be off, but got caught up thinking about the foolish self-centeredness of it all.
Then reflecting on our history, one has to admit that in many ways avarice and easy disregard for others has been, if not the cornerstone,
certainly the fuel, of the American Way.
I even got a heck of a lecture from a well meaning Hillsborough fat-cat, when I was fresh out of high school.
At his prompting, I summarize my philosophical outlook as I embarked on my life - he was not happy with my response:
"all things in moderation."
He dug into me, if good-naturedly, trying to save me from my own youthful foolishness.
"Greed was the way to happiness", just look around at he and his friends, all rich and with insatiable appetites,
always wanting more and determined to get it, that was living for them. Just look at all the money they can toss around,
as another (70s) twenty hit the bar, you're a good kid but you gotta get your head screwed on straight, you could go far.
Probably could have, but I already sensed, there was something more interesting in store for me.
It's a talk I've often reflected on, the whole craziness of the tableau, and the simplicity of the challenge, or if you will, problem.
If I had the chops I'd turn it into a one act play.
Me the bright eyed underaged bartender, hell barely a year out of high school, but hey there was a need, I was happy to provide the service and was handsomely paid.
Serving a small group of successful fat cats on their annual retreat to a certain nice resort off in the Sierras
and me, by happenstance, knowing one of them from my SF Peninsula hometown that I'd escaped a year earlier.
But alas, all I have is my own recurring memory and how it's always been a weird sort of touch stone.
Then I think about the ease with which our whole country got behind Shock'n Awe in Iraq though it was a rational farce from day one
and from every direction, excepting war profiteering
and for that it was one hell of a winner.
There was no price paid, America sanitized, America forgot and America moved along not learning a damned thing.
Fifteen years later, now this.
It paints a dark picture indeed, how can problems be solved if "my own concerns" are the only one's that matter???
If recognizing physical facts doesn't matter because one is absolutely certain that god is personally on their side
and the rest of humanity is their enemy,
how are constructive solutions possible?
It all seems so fundamentally insane and self-destructive to me.
If this is the best we could do in what were arguably the best of times
, how will we cope with the coming years of increasing 'challenges'?