Part Seven: Climate Carnage

Trump has stacked his anti-science administration with corporate polluters, gutted environmental regulations, and opened protected land for extraction.

Photo illustration: Elise Swain/The Intercept, Getty Images


In his denial of science, Donald Trump has guided the U.S. far past the tipping point of mitigating the unfolding existential threat of the climate crisis.  Under both Democratic and Republican administrations over decades, U.S. climate policy has fallen far short of the urgent action scientists have demanded. In crucial ways, Donald Trump has been far more dangerous than his deeply-flawed predecessors. Trump seems to actually revel in his dangerous denial of fundamental and scientifically indisputable realities. In part seven of “American Mythology,” we examine how the Trump administration has catapulted the corporate-fueled deregulation crusade dramatically forward. In the past four years, Trump has undone or weakened up to 70 rules and regulations aimed at protecting the environment, while another 30 policy changes are still underway. The majority of these 100 changes are being done at the Environmental Protection Agency, which is currently headed by a former lobbyist for the coal industry who fought the Obama administration’s attempts at environmental regulations. Trump has overseen the largest rollback of federal land protection in U.S. history, opening environmentally-sensitive areas for corporate and industrial development and has portrayed himself as opening up “God’s great creation” to mining and extraction, freeing it from government protections. We analyze the corporate and industry executives and lobbyists Trump has placed in key environmental positions, his withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, and hear from environmentalists and scholars on how to proceed if the Earth is to remain inhabitable.


Jeremy Scahill: This is Intercepted. 

I’m Jeremy Scahill coming to you from New York City and this is part seven of an Intercepted special, American Mythology: The Presidency of Donald Trump.

Donald J. Trump: I believe that there’s a change in weather. And I think it changes both ways. Don’t forget. It used to be called global warming. That wasn’t working. Then it was called climate change. Now it’s actually called extreme weather because with extreme weather you can’t miss.

JS: In August, the United States recorded the highest temperature ever registered on Earth — 130 degrees fahrenheit in Death Valley, California

Amy Goodman: Scientists are working to confirm the reading, but say that the increase in record-breaking temperatures around the world is due to global heating. This comes as California is battling 30 wildfires amid a record-breaking heat wave.

JS: The West Coast was inundated again this summer, just like the one before it, by gruesome, uncontrollable wildfires. During the presidential debate against Joe Biden, Donald Trump blamed California:

DJT: Every year I get the call, “California’s burning. California’s burning.” If that was cleaned — if that were — if you had forest management, good forest management, you wouldn’t be getting those calls.

JS: In recent years, hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf have become more ferocious due to warming waters. The summer’s Arctic ice melt reached a record low — as the Arctic region warms two to three times faster than the rest of the globe. And as with every year before it, more species went extinct, new deadly diseases spread, biodiversity was lost, and humans suffered droughts and food shortages, while war and conflicts raged on. For many years, top climate scientists have warned about all of this, but now a stark reality has emerged: The unfettered desire for corporate profit over trust in science has simply been too strong.

Chris Wallace: But sir, if you believe in the science of climate change, why have you rolled back the Obama Clean Power Plan, which limited carbon emissions in power plants? Why have you relaxed —

DJT: Because it was driving energy prices through the sky —

CW: Why have you relaxed fuel economy standards that are going to create more pollution from cars and trucks? 

DJT: Well, not really because what’s happening is the car is much less expensive and it’s a much safer car —

JS: Donald Trump is certainly much more flippant and callous in disregarding the threats to the fate of the planet than his predecessors. And there is a tendency to act as though Trump represents a massive shift in the U.S. consensus on the climate crisis. The reality is that, in some ways, the Trump administration has not radically departed from the policy positions of some presidents who came before him. But in some key ways, Trump is far more dangerous than his deeply-flawed predecessors. In the broad picture, Trump seems to actually revel in his dangerous denial of fundamental and scientifically indisputable realities. 

DJT: So Obama is talking about all of this with the global warming and that and a lot of it’s a hoax. It’s a hoax. I mean it’s a money making industry. OK? It’s a hoax. A lot of it. Look, I want clean air and I want clean water. That’s my global — I want clean, clean — 

JS: The Trump administration was handed this live grenade of our warming earth with negative time left to fix the problem. 

The Earth is already at 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial standards. Some reports warn the earth is on track to see a jump of 3 degrees of warming, while others predict that an almost unthinkable 5 degree increase is possible by the end of this century. 

Amy Goodman: This is U.N. meteorological agency chief Petteri Taalas.

Petteri Taalas: And so far the progress hasn’t been good enough that we would move towards a 1.5 or 2 degrees target. So there’s clearly a need for a much higher ambition level to reach even 2 degrees target. So we are more moving towards 3 to 5 at the moment.

JS: From the beginning, Trump has cast doubt and scorn on science, at times even suggesting he knows better than science itself. And his administration has catapulted the corporate-fueled deregulation crusade dramatically forward.

DJT: What we’ve done has never been done. If you look at Alaska with ANWR — perhaps the biggest drilling site in the world. Even Ronald Reagan and Bush and Clinton — everybody wanted to get it done — I got it done. ANWR in Alaska — probably or possibly the biggest drilling site in the world. Now what we’ve done has been incredible. Recently, it look like the energy business — 

JS:  As he campaigned for president, Trump often celebrated his vow to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord as part of his broader onslaught on the record and person of Barack Obama. Set aside the fact that the Paris agreement itself falls far short of what the scientific community believes is urgently needed. But on a strictly policy level, Trump has made it very clear that his decision was not motivated at all by concern for the planet or because he had an alternative plan. It was singularly focused on ripping up what he believed was an impediment to the rights of corporations to pillage and pollute the earth for profit.

DJT: As president I can’t put no other consideration before the well being of American citizens. The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries. Leaving American workers, who I love, and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production. Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.

JS: Political dissident Noam Chomsky warned that in analyzing the Trump presidency, no other issue was more dire than the impact on climate.

Noam Chomsky: The most serious of all, by far overshadowing everything else, is his pulling out of the Paris negotiations that leaves the United States as the only country in the world which is refusing officially to take even small steps towards dealing with the true existential crisis, and that’s combined with the domestic programs of rapidly increasing the use of the most dangerous fossil fuels, cutting back regulations on economy for automobiles, eliminating safety protections for workers, and so on. All of that is just a race to disaster and that’s by far the most serious of the initiatives to undermine what’s loosely called the international order.

JS: While some news organizations have diligently catalogued the policy changes throughout these four years of the Trump administration — the sort of reporting that documents incremental changes can fall by the wayside. Particularly in this moment of sensational and short attention span news cycles. But taken in their totality, the changes the Trump administration has rammed through are monumental. 

DJT: Under our plan, every project will have one point of contact that will deliver one decision, yes or no, for the entire federal government — yes or no. You have to go through different agencies. You go through labor, you go through transportation, you go through another one, another one — EPA, where we’ve really streamlined the system, where we have really made it possible for people to get things done. So many projects are under construction right now that would never, ever in a million years, have gotten built. 

JS: A recent New York Times analysis found that up to 70 rules and regulations aimed at protecting the environment were officially undone or weakened by the Trump administration. Another 30 policy changes are still underway. The majority of these 100 changes are being done at the Environmental Protection Agency, which is currently headed by a former lobbyist for the coal industry who fought Obama’s attempts at environmental regulations. 

DJT: And EPA Administrator, a very powerful man. When he says you can do it, you do it. When he says you can’t, it’s over with; you don’t have a chance. Andrew Wheeler. Thank you, Andrew. [Applause] Thank you. Great job

JS: What Trump has done at the EPA is incredible — primarily in that it seems actively committed to further destroying rather than protecting the environment. Here’s just some examples of the men in charge at the EPA under Trump: 

A former fossil fuel lobbyist, Andrew R. Wheeler, is now running the agency. 

Andrew Wheeler: President Trump recognized this consensus when he asked me to take over the agency in 2018. And his directions were pretty straight forward. He said Andrew, I want you to continue to clean up the air, continue cleaning up our water, and continue to deregulate to create more jobs for the American public. 

JS: A guy named Peter Wright, who represented Dow Chemical in the cleanup of toxic Superfund sites, he now oversees the EPA’s Superfund cleanup program.

Sherrod Brown: Peter Wright has been at EPA for a year. Under his leadership the agency released a PFAS action plan that frankly included very little action. Now they expect the Senate to reward this action by confirming him to oversee EPA’s superfund program. And someone who has repeatedly — repeatedly — failed to hold pollutanters accountable for the damage they’ve done to drinking water in Dayton and across the country has no business serving as a leader at EPA. 

JS: David Fischer, who helped chemical companies try to circumvent chemical safety laws, now oversees federal implementation of chemical safety laws.

DJT: This is why I have been able to get the country going because so many jobs were stopped by not only the EPA, so many other agencies, where you have to go and get 11 different permits for essentially the same thing. I opened up LNG plants in Louisiana, where they were for years — 10, 12, 14 years, and longer — trying to get permits. They couldn’t get permits. I got them built: a $10 billion plant in Louisiana; the Keystone XL pipeline. I gave it in my first week — I got approval. The Dakota Access Pipeline — I got the approval. Forty-eight thousand jobs. And frankly, it’s more environmentally, you know, it’s better than having the train going up and down tracks —  

JS: According to the Center for American Progress, the Trump administration has removed, or attempted to remove, protections from nearly 35 million acres of public lands. Stripping protections from Bears Ears National Monument, along with the Grand Staircase-Escalante amounted to what CAP called the largest rollback of federal land protection in US history.

DJT: On the recommendation of Secretary Zinke, and with the wise counsel of Senator Hatch, Senator Lee, and the many others, I will sign two presidential proclamations. These actions will modify the national monuments designations of both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. [Applause]

JS: TheTrump administration has opened up federally-protected lands for development in 12 different states. This strategy of trying to wipe out protected land is largely aimed at opening these environmentally-sensitive areas for corporate and industrial development. A former Obama Interior Department official said of Trump’s attack on protected lands, “It’s very effective. I call it evil genius.” 

At this point, Alaska’s long preserved lands have taken the biggest hit. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, has been opened for oil extraction. Here’s Trump openly bragging about rolling back protections that not even Ronald Reagan could achieve. 

DJT: And we did ANWR. ANWR, Ronald Reagan tried to do it 40 years ago. I mean, everybody’s been trying to do ANWR, and I got ANWR done as part of that same bill. So on top of the biggest tax cuts —

JS: As Donald Trump has eliminated protections on 16 times the amount of land that Teddy Roosevelt designated, Trump has simultaneously engaged in delusional claims that he’s the greatest environmentalist president since Roosevelt.

DJT: Last month, I signed the Great American Outdoors Act, the most significant investment in our national parks in over a century — [applause] — since Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt. You know, they came to my office — a lot of the senators that I just introduced, and Ron, and everybody — they came to my office. They said that “This will make us and make you the number one environmental President since Teddy Roosevelt.” I said, “Huh, that sounds good.” Because I wasn’t going to do it. I figured, “You know, let’s not do it.” —

JS: It’s always difficult to discern what Donald Trump actually believes. But he truly does seem to have convinced himself that he has been this great defender of the environment, by opening up what he calls “God’s great creation” to mining and extraction, freeing it from government protections and regulations. 

DJT: I know all of you feel blessed to be living among some of the most glorious natural wonders anywhere in the world. You cherish Utah’s gleaming rivers and sweeping valleys. You take inspiration from its majestic peaks. And when you look upon its many winding canyons and glowing vistas, you marvel at the beauty of God’s great creation. [Applause]

JS: Yugoslav philosopher Srecko Horvat, author of “Poetry From the Future: Why a Global Liberation Movement is Our Civilization’s Last Chance,” said Trump’s rhetoric was rooted in the historical trend of eco-fascism.

Srecko Horvat: You’ve seen it, for instance, with [Marine] Le Pen recently during the European elections is something what we should call eco-fascism. And it’s not something completely new. If you go back to Hitler — to Hitler’s Germany — and if you look at the photos, you will see for instance, Eva Brown who was his mistress, doing yoga on a beautiful lake and then all the ideology was a kind of return to the you know, blut und boden [blood and soil.]

And you can see it today as well that this is precisely the fascists who are also using their — OK, they’re not talking about the Green New Deal, but they are also speaking about return to nature and so on, which is a very, very dangerous trend, I would say. 

JS: Horvat went on to describe the science-fiction-like reality we may face if a global consensus on the climate crisis is not respected.

SH: If you have rising sea levels, if according to the — what was it? I think it was even the World Bank, you know. If according to their statistics by 2050 you will have hundreds of millions of refugees — mainly from the global South — trying to come to Europe. Then the very concept of the nation state has to change. The very concept of sovereignty has to change. And we will need more global cooperation, you know. 

I’ve been recently watching Chinese science fiction. And it’s amazing, actually. The sun is turning into a red giant, so that the whole world has to unite. They form a sort of world government. They create a world government.  Sounds completely crazy what I will say now: They install 10,000 motors on the back of the planet of Earth, and then they try to bring planet Earth out of its orbit towards a new sun. And, you know, OK, it’s science fiction, but couldn’t have imagined that — You know, I think we cannot even imagine what might be happening because of the climate crisis.

If you have these trends, if you have hundreds of millions of refugees in the next two or three decades coming to the U.S. or to Europe and so on, I think we will need a kind of global cooperation which never existed yet in the history of humanity, I would say. 

Unless we are able to create a global community which would be a result of a global liberation movement and a sort of new realigned movement, I would say, which would be realigned against capitalism, against exploitation of natural resources, against the commodification of humans, their emotions and free will — what is happening with technology — unless we succeed to create this global movement and global society, which would be the first truly global society, I’m afraid that by 2050, we will see a world which would really resemble Chinese science fiction in the worst way.

JS: Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Accord while simultaneously dismantling the function of the EPA, deregulating pollutants and toxic chemicals, and opening the country up to drilling, extractions, and pipelines. 

DJT: This is with respect to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Dakota Access Pipeline.

JS: When Trump took office, the environmental protection wins against the Obama administration were systematically dismantled. Trump reversed the hard fought pipeline victories during the Obama era, and he backed private companies to resume construction of both the Dakota Access pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline. 

DJT: Pipeline, as you know. The big pipelines. The Keystone XL pipeline. We did the — [applause] right? And that was dead. Forty-eight thousand jobs. And the Dakota Access pipeline. And these are tremendous things, and, frankly, environmentally great — 

JS: Some companies who began building the pipelines in turn hired a U.S. mercenary firm to spy on environmental protests. The Intercept published an investigative series in May 2017 based on more than a hundred leaked internal documents from a private security firm called TigerSwan. This company surveilled activists on social media, from the air and through radio communications, as well as actually infiltrating activist groups and their campsites. All of the information collected was shared with local law enforcement in an effort to crush the protests.

Here are Intercept reporters Alice Speri and Alleen Brown.

Alice Speri: I think one thing that TigerSwan is positioning itself for it’s really monitoring that goes much beyond pipeline protests and environmental activism — some of the infiltration they did in Chicago, for instance, was into a very wide-ranging set of activist groups. They look at the anti-Trump resistance, which of course is a very broad movement, so to speak. They look at some Black Lives Matter activists. There’s all kinds of potential there for TigerSwan and others like it to stay in business. And that’s actually something else we want to remember, is TigerSwan is one of several private security companies that were involved in the policing of the DAPL [Dakota Access pipeline] protest. So, if their legal troubles eventually kill them off, there will be many others to pick up the work.

Alleen Brown: The level of freedom that a private company like this has to surveil a social movement should be really shocking. You know, we’ve done a lot of reporting at The Intercept about the deep limitations to the guidelines that entities like the FBI have to follow in order to carry out covert operations. You know, we’ve reported that their guidelines are essentially insufficient. But a private security firm like TigerSwan doesn’t have to follow anything like that. There are so few rules about what they have to do and the constitutional protections that they have to keep in mind that it raises a lot of important questions about the tactics that private companies — profit-seeking companies — can use to enhance their bottom line.

JS: In the big picture in the U.S., corporate negligence and greed, cultivated by corporate-friendly bi-partisan policy-making and Republican-led deregulation is to blame for polluting our air, water, land, and food, as our earth becomes uninhabitable. 

It’s clear that another Trump term would be catastrophic for the biosphere. The administration would continue to flat out deny science is, in fact, science and govern accordingly. Here’s how vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris described Trump’s overarching perspective on climate during her debate with Mike Pence: 

Kamala Harris: I served, when I first got to the Senate, on the committee that’s responsible for the environment.  Do you know this administration took the word science off the website? And then took the phrase climate change off the website?  We have seen a pattern with this administration which is they don’t believe in science. 

JS: Harris is, of course, correct here. But there are indications that a Biden administration may continue to squander the remaining opportunity to reverse course. 

Though Biden has agreed to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, many scientists believe those principles don’t go far enough, and more robust and immediate action would be needed for what they see as a five alarm fire. 

While young climate activists beg politicians to sign on to the Green New Deal, Biden won’t. In fact, Biden has gone out of his way to say he opposes the Green New Deal.

Joe Biden: Pardon me? 

Chris Wallace: You support the —

JB: No, I don’t support the Green New Deal. 

DJT: Oh you don’t. Oh, well that’s a big statement — 

JB: I support the Biden [cross talk] —

DJT: That means you — 

JB: I support the Biden plan that I put forward. 

CW: OK. 

JB: The Biden plan, which is different than what he calls — 

JS: In a sea of lies that the Trump team has unleashed during this campaign, they have inaccurately attacked Joe Biden as a radical environmentalist. They’ve also suggested that Biden would ban fracking — a method for extracting natural gas or oil that scientists have long warned is a destructive process that could pollute water and air, and may cause earthquakes. The problem is, that is not Biden’s position.

In fact, Biden’s campaign has gone to great lengths to make sure people understand that he will never ban fracking. Here again is Kamala Harris. . 

KH: So first of all, I will repeat, and the American people know, that Joe Biden will not ban fracking. That is a fact. That is a fact.

JS: Activists, particularly those from younger generations, have made it clear who they believe is responsible. They have demanded urgent and unprecedented action. 

Betsy Reed: Ever since NASA climatologist James Hansen testified before the Senate in 1988, we’ve known that our planet is warming to dangerous levels because of human activities. And yet, since 1988, 100 companies have been responsible for 70 percent of continued greenhouse gas emissions. 

JS: Betsy Reed is the editor in chief of The Intercept.

BR: We know who to blame for polluting our air, and heating our oceans. We know who is responsible for this emergency. But still, the culprits have slithered out of accountability. The tides are turning though, and it’s clear that the younger generation won’t rest until they can extract a measure of what they call climate justice: meaning that those who have committed these crimes will pay a price, while those who have suffered as a result will find safe haven and relief. It’s a simple idea, really. The 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg has become controversial for making a point that should be obvious: Corporations should be held to account for what they’ve done.

JS: Last year, a global movement to confront the climate crisis gained unprecedented visibility and support. Teenage activist Greta Thunberg of Sweden launched a worldwide climate strike and used her platform to chastise heads of state at the United Nations.

Greta Thunberg: The world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.

How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just “business as usual” and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years.

There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.

JS: In the U.S., a national conversation around the Green New Deal was ushered in by first term Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Because today is the day that we truly embark on a comprehensive agenda of economic, social, and racial justice in the United States of America. That’s what this agenda is all about because climate change, climate change, and our environmental challenges are one of the biggest existential threats to our way of life, not just as a nation but as a world. And in order for us to combat that threat we must be as ambitious and innovative in our solution as possible. 

JS: But the Green New Deal is hardly being enthusiastically embraced by the elite rulers of the Democratic Party — not Joe Biden and not Nancy Pelosi:

Nancy Pelosi: We welcome the enthusiasm that is there. The Green New Deal points out the fact that the public — 

JS: There was also this moment in early 2019 when longtime Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein was confronted by a group of young school children asking her to back the Green New Deal. 

Child: Some scientists have said that we have twelve years to turn this around.

Dianne Feinstein: Well, it’s not going to get turned around in ten years. What we can do—

Unknown person: Senator, if this doesn’t get turned around in ten years, you’re looking at the faces of the people who are going to be living with these consequences. 

Child: The government is supposed to be for the people and by the people, and all for the people. 

DF: You know, what’s interesting about this group is I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’m doing. You come in here and say, “It has to be my way or the highway.” I don’t respond to that. 

JS: The recent wave of climate mobilization came after four decades of inaction on scientists’ desperate pleas to combat the rising threat of global warming. The Intercept’s Naomi Klein described the importance of that mobilization, particularly the role of young people. 

Naomi Klein: Every day, there seem to be multiple reports telling us in different ways that we are seeing ecological unraveling at a speed that really is ahead of schedule in terms of what we were expecting. You know, whether it is species collapse, whether it is glacial collapse, sea-level rise, historic storms, it’s all happening so very, very quickly. And so, there’s terror there and I think we have to be honest. But at the same time, we are seeing a level of climate mobilization that I’ve never seen in my life —  a clarity, a moral clarity coming from particularly young people who really understand that they are fighting for their futures. They’re fighting for the right to plan, the right to have options in their lives, to not have lives that are just punctuated by massive disaster. So, we’re hearing that from the streets. And I think even more than that, we’re also hearing — particularly in the United States, thanks to the Sunrise Movement, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the way that dynamic redrew the map and put the Green New Deal on the political agenda — we are also hearing a vision for a response to the climate crisis that isn’t just better than total ecological breakdown, but is actually in a lot of ways better than the kind of economy we have right now.

JS: Now even if the Green New Deal was enacted under a Democratic administration with a Democratic-controlled Congress, it would not resolve decades of inaction about mitigating global warming. As Naomi Klein points out, the facts of our reality cannot be evaded. 

NK: Within a neoliberal economy, everybody feels this sense of precariousness and directing attention away from the responsibility of elites, from the responsibility of their own nexus of corporate players that they all represent in their various countries and directing it towards the most vulnerable. So, I think we’re going to see more of this. And I don’t think that we will have a response to it that doesn’t address these underlying causes, that isn’t fundamentally about building a fair economy, that isn’t fundamentally about redressing deep, deep historical injustices and exclusions. And that is what the Green New Deal has the potential to do.

And I say the potential because there are various iterations of what a Green New Deal might be and some of them are quite sort of shallow and nationalistic. And some of them are deeper reckonings with the debts that are owed to Black and indigenous people in the United States and also what the United States as an economy, which is the world’s largest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, owes to the countries on the frontlines of the impacts of climate change, that have done almost nothing to create it because the people there are too poor to emit carbon at high levels. You know, I really do believe that we are at a crossroads, which is really about what kind of people we are going to be as we face a future of more and more dislocation, of more and more disasters. I mean, that’s already locked in even with a best case scenario of keeping warming levels below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

JS: It is not often discussed but one of the consequences of the climate crisis is the psychological toll it is taking on the people with the most to lose. For young people, anxiety and depression resulting from the state of the climate is a real and increasingly documentable problem. A recent study done by the Environment Agency in the U.K. found that people who experience an extreme weather event are 50 percent more likely to suffer mental health issues for years to come. Another survey found that over 78 percent of Gen Z-ers aren’t planning on having children because of the climate crisis. That same poll of 2,000 Americans found that 44 percent believe the Earth will become uninhabitable, no matter what we do.

One recent book powerfully addresses this grief of the climate crisis. It’s called “The End of Ice.” Here is author Dahr Jamail reading an excerpt.

Dahr Jamail: While Western colonialist culture believes in rights, indigenous cultures teach of obligations that we are born into, obligations to those who came before, to those who will come after, and to the earth itself. When I orient myself around the question “What are my obligations?”, the deeper question immediately arises “From this moment on knowing what is happening to the planet, to what do I devote my life?”

JS: This has been part seven of an Intercepted limited documentary series, American Mythology: The Presidency of Donald Trump. 

American Mythology: The Presidency of Donald Trump is an Intercepted limited documentary series. You can follow us on Twitter @Intercepted and on Instagram @InterceptedPodcast. Intercepted is a production of First Look Media and The Intercept. Our lead producer is Jack D’Isidoro. Our producer is Laura Flynn. Elise Swain is our associate producer and graphic designer. Betsy Reed is editor in chief of The Intercept. Rick Kwan mixed the show. Transcription for this program is done by Lucie Kroening. Our music, as always, was composed by DJ Spooky. Make sure to tell your friends and even your foes about this series. Until next time, I’m Jeremy Scahill.

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