Who is this Devin Nunes, And Why Is He So Sketchy?

Nunes    When it comes to the Republican party, it seems that there is always someone involved who marches to the beat of a different drum.  I cringe every time I hear Representative Nunes’s name in the media.  If you go to the Library of Congress site, or Wikepedia (make sure you verify the information on the site), you can see what his activities are in the House including his activities with respect to his home district.  His core positions in congress are identical to the President’s.

He dismisses global climate change.  He is for the deregulation of several laws related to environmental protections.  He is for major regulation repeal, including the provisions of the clean air act.  He supports wholesale deregulation, especially when it benefits groups such as the fossil fuel industry.    He supports in some fashion the Tax bill which overwhelmingley benefits the wealthy.  He supports Trump’s ban on muslim travel to the US.  He supported the Benghazi investigation and has maintained the position that their was a cover up by Secretary Clinton, even though all parties were eventually cleared of wrong doing.  He supports major changes to Medicare and Social Security including rasing the plan’s rates which negatively affects the growing elderly population.  He voted in favor of the 2013 government shut down which furlowed 800,000 federal workers.  In his district, he has not done a whole lot to represent central California.  With any substance, he has been active in introducing legislation related to water and irregation managemt in the San Joaquin valley.  He is also involved in highway infrastructure within the state including legislation to improve state highway 99.  It is worth pointing out that the Governor of California has played a more significant role.  Incidentaly, most of the legislation that he has been involed in may get the support of the House, but rarely does he and the committees he is associated with garner discussion or even a vote in the Senate.

Representative Nunes is an advocate of undoing any legislation or laws that President Obama passed.  He is very party biased and most of his federal efforts reflect support for the defiant GOP membership.

He has recently garnered attention because of his behavior in the house relative to the Russia investigation.  He is becoming well known for embracing and spreading conspiracy theories.  He has leaked classified information many times during his time in Congress.  He repeatedly runs to the White house to share any information he has garnered relative to the President’s involvement in the Russian meddling in our electoral process.  My sketchy label for him is because he is always very sneaky and continually leaves the democrats on the house Russia investigation out of the loop.  For a guy who says he has recused himself, he sure spends a lot of time being intimately involved.

One reason why I am sharing my thoughts about the Representative, is to point out that for the administration’s claim that they are draining the swamp, they sure support a serpent and revere him as a significant player in the GOP’s efforts to manipulate and hamper the investigation into the President’s involvement with regard to the Russian meddling.

Just look at him, he even presents himself as being shifty.  To me, it is disgusting that he and others have become lap dogs for the President.

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Department of Energy in the Trump Era. The Destruction of an Institution

The department of Energy was created in 1977 by Jimmy Carter to consolidate the nuclear regulatory commission and the energy research and development commission.

According to the DOE website, the department’s current mission is or is supposed to be “to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.”

The last person to serve as Secretary was Ernest Moniz who was a nuclear physicist.  He is keenly expert in all things nuclear as well as all things related to renewable energy and their effects on our environment.  He served as Secretary from 2013-2017 until President Trump took over the Administration.  While he served, most American’s had no reason to believe that our country’s nuclear and energy programs were being overseen by someone who didn’t know what they were doing.

Up until this year, the DOE was very active in promoting and creating programs related to the development of renewable energy sources.  The government had also made a commitment to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy including oil and gas.

Today under Trump, we have a Secretary of Energy in Rick Perry who has absolutely no knowledge of how the department works.  His expertise with regard to science consists of a general knowledge of the relationship between the magnetic strip on his debit card and the card reader in the ATM.  During  a debate in the last campaign, he expressed his plan to dismantle the DOE.  Honestly, I don’t think he knew what he was talking about. I think he was just trying to say something dramatic.

Sarcasm aside, we are in big trouble when it comes to the management and development of our nuclear weapons programs.  We all know that The Trump administration has made defense a priority.  The plan is to update our defense arsenal including our nuclear weapons programs.  How would you like to represent the military and have to partner up with this new Department of Energy in order to accomodate the President’s vision?

My worry is that the President has appointed Perry less for what he can contribute, but more on how and where he was placed in order to serve as a loyal subject of Trump.  To me he was placed into the position so that our President can dictate policy to him and the department.  Incidentally, Rick Perry said in an interview with the hill in January, he thought he was being appointed to a position in where he would be a United States Ambassador representing gas and oil interests abroad.  So, this is the guy who is responsible for among other things, our nuclear arsenal.

Unfortunatley, I think that there is a good chance we are going to be faced with a catastrophic event and we won’t be able to execute a competent response.

When it comes to energy and its role in climate change, our government has recently denounced the very existence of negative climate change caused by humans.

Basically, we are supposed to believe that the President possesses some insight that the scientists don’t have.  He has even said that climate change is a scam propagated by the Chinese.  Like a lapdog, Perry buys into what Trump says then makes serious consequential changes to the department, excluding any program that is reflective of climate change or the effects of green house gasses.

As it stands now, the government has Censured the department and it’s staff in order to change the various basic terminology that refers to climate change.  Here is how they are supposed to talk about this very serious global issue:

USDA’s advice to staff on climate change language
Avoid → use instead
Climate change → weather extremes
Climate change adaptation → resilience to weather extremes/intense weather events: drought, heavy rain, spring ponding
Reduce greenhouse gases → build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency
Sequester carbon → build soil organic matter

One important and consequential responsibility of the department is to oversee and execute the proper cleanup of our country’s nuclear waste.

Where I live in Washington state there are two nuclear power plants.  One was never completed and the other is mostly decommissioned.

As a result of the discovery of a collapsed tunnel in 2017, the government proclaimed that the Hanford Nuclear site was the worst ongoing environmental disaster in the country.  Since then, Secretary Perry visited the site representing the interests of the people effected by the contamination.  He said very little and although he acknowledged the problem and promised a remedy, he has of now done nothing significant to address the problem.  I really don’t think he knows what to do.

At the end of the day, I believe that the leadership of our defense groups can partner and ensure that the nuclear weapons are properly managed.  The scary part is that we  still have one person in our country who has the ability, without consultation of congress to use our nuclear weapons anytime he sees fit

The one thing we need to do is to start reinvesting our country’s resources and expertise back into alternative energy.  We need to reestablish our commitment to produce energy that won’t destroy the very atmosphere that mankind will require to survive.

If we can’t, we should do what Perry wants and dismantle the department.  Maybe the President could replace the Department of Energy by signing the department of fossil fuel act.  In this case, If nothing else, we can prepare for the future.

The established structure of the Department of Energy includes responsible management and logical oversight of the country’s energy needs.  This would include the important relationships that the federal government has with the individual states and municipalities.  Today, effectively, all of this out the window.  Hopefuly common sense and the real needs of the public will prevail in the not to distant future.

As with other cabinet departments like the Department of Education,  these inequities will sooner or later effect our daily lives.  In some ways the Russian scandal is providing cover.  I just wish that the media that spends so much time on other, albeit important issues sets aside some time and exposes the shortcomings of other parts of our government.

The following is the organizational chart for the department.  See if you can fill in the nameless boxes with a person’s name.

DOE-Org-Chart-September-2017_0

 

Global Climate Change Effects even the Grand Canyon.

There is an interesting thing about Americans.  Unless you have a deliberate conversation regarding politics, there is no way for you to know what party a person is supportive of.  I guarantee that if you where in a room with 10 strangers, there is no obvious way to tell whether they are republican, democrat, independent or even disinterested.

If the subject comes up, you would be surprised by the details of each person’s beliefs.  As a democrat, I am always interested in hearing the point of view from everyone including Trump supporters and Republicans in general.  Since I live at the ocean, the subject of the environment is a common topic.  Some people don’t realize what goes into cleaning up a mess such as a minor fuel leak from a fishing boat.  The truth is that if you see it first hand, you are happy that someone is cleaning it up, even though there is usually a huge beaurocratic system in play.  When I was younger, no one worried about the environment.

With regard to Climate change,  I have had some heated discussions with friends who defend the president when it comes to the validity of the scientists conclusions about climate change.  A thoughtful argument is the “so called” effects that global climate change is having on areas of the world such as the Grand Canyon.  My dear friend Jason claims that the Grand Canyon demonstrates that climate change is a hoax.  He maintains that the Grand Canyon was created by erosion and that the canyon has not been effected by any changes in the environment.

In the interest of disclosure, I am no expert on environmental science.

The simple argument to his theory is that first off, the Grand Canyon was created by a massive climate change event.  The thawing of the earth caused huge water gushes across the lands which in turn caused the erosion of places like the Grand Canyon.  The Colorado river which runs at the base of the canyon is now the size of a ravine compared to millions of years ago.

The climate event that we all or most familiar with was the ice age…The ice age and the recurring major freezing events started at least two million years ago.  Scientists believe that the freezing of the earth was caused by a major shift in the earths orbit or tilt on it’s axes as well as plate shifting within the worlds continental masses.  As a result the world froze over.  The  remnants of the ice age that we are more familiar with is huge glaciers that were left especially in the Antarctic and places like Alaska.

The Global Crisis we are facing now is the opposite of the events millions of years ago.  Instead of freezing, the world is getting warmer.  Scientist believe that the earth is getting warmer much faster as a result of the emissions introduced by humans.  The change is happening right now during our lifetime instead of millions of years in the future.  There was a time in the not too distant past that humans produced no real significant carbon into the atmosphere.  Thus the melting glaciers and global weather events were nothing like they are today.   Today, the human race has been emitting catastrophic amounts of carbon dioxide and other human produced pollutants into our atmosphere.  The results can be seen by just taking a few minutes to study the changes.  There are thousands of examples of the accelerating effects of global warming in our world.

Nobody believes that the Grand Canyon is going to collapse in on itself any time soon.  The more serious effects of global warming in the Grand Canyon as a result of warmer temperatures include changes in the environment of habitat and their eventual demise if something doesn’t change.  Game, plants fish and birds are already experiencing the change.  Surprisingly, there will even be negative effects on the native American population who live within the canyon.

The weather around the world is changing and becoming more extreme.  These changes can not be explained away by “normal” twenty year weather cycles or even hundreds or thousand year reoccurring weather phenomena’s.

Even a tiny, minute change In water temperature causes oceans to rise.  An example of what warm water creates, is chemical reactions in the  water and land causing acidity in the waters close to land.  As a result, fish migration is and will continue to change causing the fish to seek and stay in colder cleaner waters farther away from land.  The migration patterns of billions of sea life species are effected.   These are changes that haven’t happened in millions of years.  speaking of acid and chemicals, there is an accelerated degradation of limestone both underwater and on land.  The Grand Canyon has major layers of limestone in it’s structure.

At the end of the day, just having debate is healthy.  Climate change is not affected by politics nor religion.  The world has acknowledged that we need to do something now if future generations of human kind are to survive.  That starts with adhering to and adjusting our behavior as well as being caretakers of our environment every day within our daily lives.  Interestingly, a large part of the business community support the efforts, at the very least,  because the future of business will thrive as we grow and continue to move towards the creation of more natural, sustainable products.

Who knows, maybe our great, great, great, great grandkids can text us in heaven and let us know how we did.