Failing Trump administration. Sad!

I thought we could use a catch-all thread where the follies and failures of various Cabinet members could be highlighted. This is as opposed to a thread about, say, Trump’s specific screw-ups or any moral lapses of any legislative member. The point is to illustrate what happens when Cabinet members are chosen for various reasons besides merit.

I got the idea when a park ranger friend shared this article with me regarding Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Zinke filed a report on national monument lands. The report would presumably go to the President. Sure, it’s unlikely the President would read it, even if it were distilled down to a few bullet points and insertions of Trump’s name. However, one of the senators from New Mexico wanted to point out a number of factual errors in the Interior Secretary’s report. The misstatements included:

  • Roads were closed since the designation of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument
  • Ranchers have stopped ranching since the designation of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument because of road closures
  • Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument abuts the U.S.–Mexico border
  • Both monument proclamations need to be amended to protect hunting and fishing rights

Would the Interior Secretary intentionally make falsehoods, or were these honest mistakes? What would he gain? According to another article from the same source, the report recommends that timber and mining companies, among others, would cash in if granted access to these lands.

Central Park will be renamed “Trump National Forest”. All other parks will be dissolved.

The truck driver, Nick Brusky, was hired this year at USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service — an agency tasked with developing overseas markets for U.S. agricultural trade goods — at one of the highest levels on the federal government’s pay scale, a GS-12, earning $79,720 annually. Though that pay grade requires a master’s degree or equivalent experience, it’s not clear from Brusky’s résumé whether he’s a college graduate. The document lists coursework in business management and political science at three universities from 2000 to 2013, but does not specify a graduation date.

Another example: Christopher O’Hagan, an appointee as a confidential assistant at the Agricultural Marketing Service, which helps producers of food, fiber and specialty crop growers market their goods. O’Hagan graduated in 2016 from the University of Scranton with a major in history and a minor in economics. But his résumé lists only one example of work experience prior to joining the Trump campaign in January 2016 — employment as a cabana attendant at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York, while in school.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has taken at least 24 flights on private charter planes at taxpayers’ expense since early May, according to people with knowledge of his travel plans and a review of HHS documents.

The frequency of the trips underscores how private travel has become the norm — rather than the exception — for the Georgia Republican during his tenure atop the federal health agency, which began in February. The cost of the trips identified by POLITICO exceeds $300,000, according to a review of federal contracts and similar trip itineraries.

I for one can’t wait for DeVoss to fix education so people know this sort of information when they graduate from high school.

I’m pretty sure I learned that in third grade.

Email prankser strikes again.

On Monday, the prankster wrote to Lowell from the address kushner.jared @ mail .com asking what he should do with “some correspondence on my private email … featuring adult content.”

“Can I remove these?” the prankster asked.

“Forwarded or received from WH officials?” Lowell responded.

“I think one was forwarded from a White House official, we had discussed a shared interest of sorts,” the prankster said. “It was unsolicited. Then there are a handful more, but not from officials.”

“I need to see I think all emails between you and WH (just for me and us),” Lowell wrote. “We need to send any officials emails to your WH account. Not stuff like you asked about. None of those are going anywhere.”

“But we can bury it?” the prankster responded. “I’m so embarrassed. It’s fairly specialist stuff, half naked women on a trampoline, standing on legoscenes, the tag for the movie was #standingOnTheLittlePeople :(”

Lowell replied: “Don’t delete. Don’t send to anyone. Let’s chat in a bit.”

NPR is reporting that Roy Moore has won the Alabama special Republican primary election, in a blow to Trump and McConnell. Sad!

Jesus. Why does the EPA head need a cone of silence?
Every day it is something outrageous with this administration.

After just having had our entire TItle IX system vetted and recertified, now DeVoss’ new guidelines for handling sexual assault and harassment mean we have to redo the whole thing–while at the same time making sure we don’t actually gut the protections for our students. DeVoss is so clearly unqualified to do anything, anything at all, in education that it would boggle the mind if the mind had any boggling left in it these days.

Just to be clear, while the title was kind of clickbaity, all they’re talking about doing is building a SCIF, which isn’t some kind of crazy rare thing in the government.

I’m not certain that’s what the article says. It states they already have a SCIF in their facility.

While no previous EPA administrators had such a setup, the booth will not be the first SCIF constructed within the agency.

“EPA already has a secure room for sharing information classified as secret,”

“EPA has long maintained a SCIF – which I utilized myself under appropriate circumstances – and it appeared to be fully serviceable in its limited use,” he told CNN.

Perhaps the article is incorrect in stating it is for Pruitt, but it does:

The booth, also known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), will be a customized model for Pruitt to conduct meetings, calls and other lines of communication undisturbed, according to the Post.

From the Washington Post:

Typically, such soundproof booths are used to conduct hearing tests. But the EPA sought a customized version — one that eventually would cost several times more than a typical model — that Pruitt can use to communicate privately.

But according to former agency employees, the EPA has long maintained a SCIF on a separate floor from the administrator’s office, where officials with proper clearances can go to share information classified as secret. The agency did not specify what aspects of that facility were outdated, or whether the unit inside Pruitt’s office would meet the physical and technical specifications a SCIF generally is required to have.

Bold and italics mine.

Well … it’s the head of the EPA. We aren’t talking about an intelligence lead here. A SCIF is normally used or associated with sensitive information of a secret nature.

I just don’t get why the EPA needs that.

EDIT: Based on what Strummer just linked, is this perhaps a move due to Pruitt thinking there are leaks at the EPA?

Or that there will be once he starts firing everyone and gutting the agency from the inside.

Eh, I dunno, but I wouldn’t be totally surprised to learn that the EPA did classified stuff.