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KPN's Journal
KPN's Journal
August 22, 2019

Plan to move BLM jobs west a shallow pretext to gut the agency's mission.

Part of the problem with the constant flow of news out of the White House — from offensive tweets to potentially disastrous policies — is that acts that would have seemed outrageous in previous administrations slip past, hidden by the smoke of the Trumpster fire. The administration’s plan to effectively gut the Washington-based Bureau of Land Management is a case in point.

Some Trump administration policymakers, as well as some influential members of Congress, are philosophically opposed to the federal government owning public lands …. All told, the federal government owns about 28% of the country’s acreage (most of it originally stolen from native tribes, but that’s another issue), and in some cases has done so for more than two centuries. The largest player in the management of non-marine federal lands is the Bureau of Land Management, which controls 248 million acres of public land and administers some 700 million acres of federal subsurface mineral rights.

And now the Trump administration — propelled by those who believe the federal government should cede much of its Western lands to state and local governments — wants to move nearly all of the BLM’s headquarters out of Washington and relocate the jobs mostly to Western states. It couches the reorganization as an effort to put more BLM workers closer to the lands they manage … But public lands advocates argue persuasively that they are mere pretexts for undercutting an agency Trump advisers dislike. The vast majority of BLM jobs — 97%, according to the Public Lands Foundation — are already dispersed around the country, mostly in the West, and the bulk of the jobs to be moved out of Washington are top-level administrators and policy staffers who craft regulations and provide national oversight to regional offices.

Scattering those jobs around the country will in all likelihood result in massive turnover among senior officials unwilling to upend their lives and careers in Washington. And there is evidence to support that: The Agriculture Department is shifting two agencies, the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, from Washington to Kansas this fall. About 250 of the 395 employees — more than 60% — refused the transfers, a potentially crippling brain drain from the highly respected statistics department and the research agency.

Moving BLM will similarly rob that department of institutional memory and weaken its ability to work with Congress and other agencies — which, in fact, may be the point for the Machiavellians in Trump’s White House who want to cede public lands that we, as Americans, all own to states and local governments anxious to turn it over to developers and extractive industries. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt recently appointed William Perry Pendley, who through the conservative Mountain States Legal Foundation has pushed for the federal government to turn public lands over to states, as acting BLM director. The petroglyph on the wall couldn’t be clearer.

More at:
August 9, 2019

Lawmaker on USDA Office Relocations: 'This Fight is Not Over'

“We all knew this move made no sense and was driven by ideology over science,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. “Now, thanks to this new inspector general report, we also know that it was potentially illegal. Secretary [Sonny] Perdue has some serious questions to answer, and this fight is not over.”

Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that advanced the Agriculture Department’s appropriations bills, including the provision demanding committee approval of any relocation, called the inspector general’s findings “troubling.” ...
“As I have said before, there are many reasons this move does not add up. Now that the report has raised several troubling concerns, I again ask why only the Trump administration thinks this relocation is a good idea.”
Casting a pall over the proceedings this week were recent comments by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney suggesting the department’s justification for relocating ERS and NIFA employees was merely a pretext for encouraging them to quit.

“Now, it’s nearly impossible to fire a federal worker,” Mulvaney told attendees of a Republican party event in South Carolina last weekend. “I know that because a lot of them work for me. And I’ve tried. And you can’t do it. But simply saying to the people, you know what, we’re going to take you outside the bubble, outside the Beltway, outside this liberal haven and move you out into the real part of the country, and they quit. What a wonderful way to streamline government and do what we haven’t been able to do for a long time.”
In a statement Monday, AFGE National President J. David Cox blasted what he called anti-federal employee rhetoric. “Mick Mulvaney’s comments confirm what our union has been saying all along: the administration’s decision to transfer hundreds of USDA jobs from D.C. isn’t about helping federal employees do their jobs better or delivering better services to the American taxpayer,” Cox said. “Their goal is to drive out hardworking and dedicated civil servants and silence the parts of the agencies’ research that the administration views as inconvenient.”

More at: https://www.govexec.com/oversight/2019/08/lawmakers-watchdog-agency-questions-usda-rationale-countering-ig-report/159012/

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There's hope.

August 1, 2019

US interest rate cut fails to impress Trump

The US central bank has cut interest rates for the first time since 2008 but not won over President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump, who had demanded a big rate cut, was unimpressed with the Federal Reserve's 0.25 percentage point cut that took the federal funds target range to 2-2.25%.

In a tweet, the president scorned Fed chair Jerome Powell, saying: "As usual, Powell let us down."

The main stock market indexes on Wall Street all closed more than 1% lower.

Analysts cited uncertainty over how many rate cuts the market should expect.


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The depths of this moron's idiocy never fail to amaze me. Buttigieg was exactly right, "Like a rooster [this moron] thinks he caused the sun to rise."

Anyone who doesn't vote straight D up and down the ticket in 2020 is officially now my enemy.

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