Ryan Zinke warns oil reps of disloyalty in Interior

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke gave one heck of a speech to the National Petroleum Council yesterday, telling the industry group that he planned to move the Bureau of Land Management out of Washington and into an unspecified western state. He also said that one third of the employees in the Department of the Interior were not loyal to him or President Trump. That made headlines, but my favorite part of the story is the secretary’s nautical metaphor. Zinke told the assembled oil company reps that he knew when he took over Interior, “I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag.”

That’s the old Zinke charm, right there: by analogizing everything to the Navy, he makes his career as a SEAL the prerequisite for whatever job he has been called on to do. Of course, one side effect of this metaphor is that it conflates loyalty to the United States with loyalty to Trump. If Zinke is correct, and a third of his department is resisting his agenda from within, maybe it’s because they are more loyal to the Department of the Interior than to this particular administration. The new secretary’s plan is to radically restructure the department, after all. Perhaps they’re not on board with his changes because they have a bunch of experience, whereas Zinke has seen fit to re-envision a whole department in the executive branch despite never having done anything like this before. That’s the Trump administration’s promise, though: they’re going to completely change Washing by drawing on the wisdom they have gained by never working in it.

Anyway, best of luck to Commander Zinke in rooting out the traitors in his midst. I also wish him luck in his ongoing plan to protect public lands, a commitment that defined his politics right up until he stopped needing to win elections. On a completely unrelated note, here’s the other fun quote from the AP’s report:

Zinke also offered a quirky defense of hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique also known as fracking that has led to a years-long energy boom in the U.S., with sharply increased production of oil and natural gas.

“Fracking is proof that God’s got a good sense of humor and he loves us,” Zinke said without explanation.

Meanwhile, inside Michele Bachmann’s head

"The Bob Schieffer is neither a bob nor a SYNTAX ERROR. END."

Everyone’s favorite tempero-cultural anomaly went on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday morning, where she answered questions about how she compares to Mitt Romney (molded plastic vs. lifelike vinyl) and why so many of the sounds she makes with her mouth are not factually accurate. Full video after the jump. Brave spelunker Bob Schieffer made an admirable attempt to plumb the depths of Michele Bachmann’s head, but ultimately, he was swallowed up like so many styrofoam packing peanuts before him. At issue was PolitiFact’s* recent examination of 23 of Mm-Bach’s public statements, only one of which was found to be “completely true.” Others ranged from “barely true” to “pants on fire.” I think we can all agree that we want our president to make a lot of statements that can be described as “barely true,” but that’s not what’s fascinating about this interview. What’s fascinating is the sheer quantity of rhetorical chaff Bachmann deploys to avoid acknowledging that she, you know, lied. And it sort of works, although whether on Schieffer or on herself is not entirely clear.

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Rhetoric watch: Krugman on the disintegration of government

"Allowing our mascot to be hunted to near-extinction since 1849."

In the course of last Friday’s Link Roundup, we mentioned that members of the Department of the Interior tasked with regulating the oil industry were revealed to have “[taken] bribes and engaged in drug use and sex with oil industry officials” in 2008. That was awesome. In his New York Times column today, Paul Krugman promises more cops-‘n-robbers-get-together-to-do-coke-and-shout-out-the-window-of-the-squad-car frivolity with the headline, “Sex & Drugs & the Spill.” It turns out that’s just a come on, though, for a column about how anti-government sentiment can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is the kind of thing you need to do when you’re competing for eyes with Freakonomics. It’s like when Maureen Dowd wrote about the hot, throbbing need for derivatives regulation.*

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