[Marxism] The Mad King Flies His Flag
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jan 19 12:54:42 MST 2018
NY Times Op-Ed, Jan. 18, 2018
The Mad King Flies His Flag
by Timothy Egan
The emperor of the outdoors rode into town on a horse named Tonto, and
soon demanded that his own special flag fly outside his headquarters
whenever he was in Washington. He believes fracking is proof that “God
loves us” and, despite being from Montana, doesn’t know how to properly
set up his fly line when fishing in front of the cameras.
“He had rigged his reel backward,” Elliott D. Woods wrote of Interior
Secretary Ryan Zinke in a wonderful profile in Outside Magazine. “Seems
like an inconsequential thing, but in Montana, it’s everything.”
As it turned out, it was quite consequential. When the magazine next
tried to dial into an Interior conference call, it was denied access.
You may think that Stormy Daniels is in charge of the natural world
under Donald Trump. And yes, the boorish behavior of the president and
the porn star makes for better reading than an account of the quack
But if someone were trashing your house, you’d want to pay attention.
And Trump, using the very strange Mr. Zinke, is going after the sacred
foundations of America’s much-loved public lands, brick by brick.
Zinke has been called the Gulfstream Cowboy for his love of using
charter planes to fly off to the nesting grounds of wealthy donors. But
he’s more like a mad king. And this monarch has control over the crown
jewels of America’s public land. They are not in safe hands.
Last month, the secretary attacked Patagonia, the outdoor retailer,
after it protested the largest rollback of public land protection in our
history with a website home page of a black screen and stark message:
“The President Stole Your Land.”
It is your land, all 400 million acres of it, though you wouldn’t know
by the way the Trump administration has ceded control to the private
predators from the oil, gas, coal and uranium industries.
It is also your water, the near entirety of the outer continental shelf
that Trump is opening to extractive drilling. Almost a dozen states have
protested. The waters off the coast of Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, were
given an exemption after Zinke met with the governor who said drilling
was bad for tourism. Your public servant at work.
Zinke is upending a century of bipartisan values as part of a Trumpian
culture war. When asked why the president shrank national monuments in
the Southwest by two million acres, Zinke said it was a way to strike
back against “an elitist sort of hunter and fisherman.” Huh?
Could this be the same regular guy who took a helicopter to ride horses
with Mike Pence? The cabinet member who wants to charge $70 to get into
our most iconic national parks? The man whose nomination was championed
by Donald Trump Jr., elephant killer and dictionary definition of elite
hunter and fisherman?
Defenders of public land have pushed back. This week, a majority of the
nonpartisan National Park Service advisory panel resigned in
frustration. The board, federally chartered to help guide the service,
said Zinke had refused to convene a single meeting with them last year.
Silly bird-lovers. Don’t they know you need to charter a plane for Zinke
if you want to get his attention?
A much less-connected group, the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers,
responded with an essay from a board member who lives in a
500-square-food abode in the Rocky Mountains. “We hunt, gather, garden,
can, smoke, dry, jelly and pickle as much of our own food as we can,”
wrote Tom Healy. “According to Mr. Secretary, I am an elitist.”
The writer is from Whitefish, Zinke’s hometown in Montana. Where have
you heard that before? Ah, yes, a tiny energy company from Whitefish
with two employees — three if you count Zinke’s kid when he was an
intern on a side project — finagled a $300 million, no-audit, no-bid
contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric grid. Zinke said he had
absolutely, positively nothing to do with it.
Look, it could have been worse: Sarah Palin was an early favorite for
interior secretary. Zinke is an ex-Navy SEAL, and looks the part. Enough
nutty things come out of his mouth to make him a perfect Trump guy. “The
government stops at the mailbox,” he said at a rally last year, “and if
you come any further, you’re going to meet my gun.” Note to Mr.
Secretary: Don’t shoot the sheriff, or the census taker.
It took a bribery scandal to bring down an Interior secretary in the
Teapot Dome affair of the 1920s. Today, the corruption is all upfront.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry gives bear hugs to coal barons, while doing
all he can to have the government prop up their industry. The
Environmental Protection Agency is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the
polluters it is supposed to regulate.
Over at Interior, they haven’t yet figured a way to charge Americans for
the air we breathe. But the next time Zinke’s flag is up, something may
be in the works.
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