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Loyalty

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The Trump Cabinet has been a bit of a mixed bag in terms of their various shades of awful. Obviously Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has been especially and predictably evil. Same with Betsy DeVos. Ben Carson seems uniquely incompetent, which was also predictable. The generals are doing their thing. Most of the less prominent Cabinet secretaries have stayed mostly behind the scenes though with one big exception: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. This guy has proven a total ideologue who is ready to promote Trumpism, often to disastrous results. There was his phone call to try and intimidate Lisa Murkowski on the earlier repeal bill of the ACA that may well have pushed her over the edge. There’s the clownish attempt to shrink national monuments, which even though a leaked report show four monuments shrunk (which I doubt will actually happen in the end because the lawsuits are going to keep this in the courts until a Democratic president takes over) but the whole operation in doing so has been obviously slipshod and amateurish. And now Zinke is upset because he claims 1/3 of Interior employees are not “loyal” to Trump and the flag, which evidently are the same thing.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Monday that nearly one-third of employees at his department are not loyal to him and President Donald Trump, adding that he is working to change the department’s regulatory culture to be more business friendly.

Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, said he knew when he took over the 70,000-employee department in March that, “I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag.”

In a speech to an oil industry group, Zinke compared Interior to a pirate ship that captures “a prized ship at sea and only the captain and the first mate row over” to finish the mission.

“We do have good people” at Interior, he said, “but the direction has to be clear and you’ve got to hold people accountable.”

Zinke’s comments echo complaints by some White House allies that a permanent, “deep state” in Washington has sabotaged Trump’s efforts to remake the government.

Zinke did not go that far, but he lamented a government culture that prizes analysis over action, saying: “There’s too many ways in the present process for someone who doesn’t want to get (a regulatory action) done to put it a holding pattern.”

To remedy that, Zinke said he is pursuing a major reorganization that would push much of the agency’s decision-making outside Washington and move several agencies, including the Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Land Management, to undetermined Western states.

The moves follow military strategy, Zinke said: “Push your generals where the fight is.”

I guess it’s refreshing that Republicans now just say out loud what they have always believed–that the government should consist of nothing but loyal partisan hacks who make decisions based upon politics instead of the law. But Zinke is a pretty scary operator, even if ineffective thus far.

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