There are many insidious ways to undermine the body politic. The current U.S. Administration has used political appointments to formerly apolitical government agencies to create chaos. Here are a few examples:
Lobbyist Who Once Sued Interior Named To Be Department’s No. 2 Official
His name is David Longly Bernhardt, and he’s worked as the top lobbyist for California’s Westlands Water District, the largest agricultural entity of its kind in the nation. He’s sued the Interior Department and helped write legislation on behalf of his client. Largely because of his services, Westlands has paid Bernhardt and the law firm where he works $1.27 million since 2011.
Fresno Bee, April 28, 2017, by Steven Leavenworth
For those familiar with California water issues, the Westlands Water District is a well-known player in thwarting efforts to reduce selenium and other toxic chemicals in California’s irrigation water.
Trump Friend and Climate Foe Sam Clovis Is Up for a Big job at the USDA
The post, undersecretary of research, education, and economics, sets the Agriculture Department’s scientific course. Clovis’s background as a professor of economics fits with the econ and ed parts of the job, but reports of his pending appointment is drawing criticism because he has no experience with scientific research.
Grist, May 15, 2017 by Nathanael Johnson
Clovis was also a Trump campaign advisor and a conservative talk show radio host in Sioux City, Iowa. Surely that makes him qualified to be Chief Scientist for the USDA.
The goal of the House Republicans’ repeal of “Obamacare” is to divert money from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to pay for tax cuts for wealthy Americans. The ACA covered not only health insurance provisions but also many other issues related to the health of Americans, especially public health.
Food safety funding has been drastically reduced. John Auerbach, CEO of the Trust for America’s Health, reports: “If the bill eventually becomes law, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will lose 12 percent of its budget, of which a significant portion—$625 million a year—goes directly to state and local health departments.” (Source: House ACA Replacement will Cripple the Nation’s Health, Trust for America’s Health Statement, May 4, 2017).
Trump’s wall is unChristian. Trump’s wall is anti-Christian. Christians who supported Trump should be publicly asked if they support his wall. Call them up. Members of Congress who will be asked to approve funding to build Trump’s wall should be told by the Christians in their districts to vote against it. Call them up.
The wall, intended to halt illegal immigration, would also block many rivers and streams. This consequence has not yet been discussed much. The wall itself could restrict water flow important to farms and cities on both sides of the border. This could worsen water pollution and lead to flooding disasters. It might also change groundwater recharge in areas fed by rivers.
Mexican engineers believe construction of the border barrier may violate a 47-year-old treaty governing the shared waters of the Rio Grande. If Mexico protests, the fate of the wall could end up in an international court.
The following are commentaries about the Twitler’s first 100 days in office. I post their links here because they offer interesting perspectives. If you are not interested in this topic, check out Paul Nicklen’s website. He is an extraordinary photographer and I like his Sense of Place gallery.
President Donald Trump this week will order a review of national monument designations — including southern Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante — as part of a wide look at a century-old law that allows presidents to set aside federal lands without congressional approval.
On Wednesday, Trump will sign an executive order to demand that the Interior Department secretary examine all national monument designations in the past 21 years to discern whether their size and scope are within the law’s intent, a move that tracks clearly with concerns of members of Utah’s federal delegation about the use of the unilateral presidential power in designating monuments.
It was a great day (Dec. 28, 2016) when President Obama issued the proclamation establishing Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. I have been supporting the establishment of this National Monument for a long time. There are many attributes that make this National Monument so special. The collaboration of five sovereign tribal nations is outstanding. These nations are: Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, Ute Indian Tribe. For more information (and lovely pictures) please visit the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition. This land needs to be protected from drilling, dumping, road building, and fracking. Not all of Utah deserves to be poisoned.
“Exxon Mobil is seeking permission from the U.S. government for approval to resume drilling around the Black Sea with a Russian partner, state-owned Rosneft, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The oil giant’s request is being reviewed by the Trump administration and is certain to draw extra scrutiny because it involves a company formerly run by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who cultivated close ties with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.”
Many people think of the U.S.-Mexico border being located in an empty, lifeless, desert. Nothing could be further from the truth. The desert is home to many animals that migrate from north to south and back again across the border. Far too many of these creatures are listed as endangered. For environmental reasons alone, the Twitler’s border wall should be canceled, in toto.