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.
“We are currently updating our website to reflect EPA’s priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.” Given that statement, I guess the EPA’s Climate Change page will remain in a state of being updated for quite some time.
However, the City of Chicago has published the EPA’s former Climate Change page and the underlying archive of information.
You can visit the City of Chicago/EPA Climate Change page and obtain current information about climate change and how it affects us. It is being hosted on the City of Chicago’s website.
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.
Last year, melting permafrost in Siberia released a strain of anthrax, which had been sealed in a frozen reindeer carcass, sickening 100 people and killing one child. In July 2015, during the hottest month ever recorded on earth (until the following year), and the hottest day ever recorded in England (until the following summer), the Guardian newspaper had to shut down its live-blogging of the heat wave when the servers overheated.
An immense river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world’s geography.
Over the last eight years, food policy has gone from being a topic for industry insiders and wonks, to a regular staple on mainstream America’s menu of interests.
Case in point: A plurality of Americans now believe healthy food should be more affordable, farm subsidies should be used to grow that healthy food, farming should happen in harmony with the environment, and food system workers should be treated—and paid—fairly.
By most any measure, the prospects for advancing a progressive food and agriculture agenda now seem grim. But all is not entirely lost, and some advocates are working to create a national food strategy—a centralized list of federal policies, priorities, and principles to guide our nation’s food system.