Secretary Zinke: Censorship Backfires
Facebooks “make everything public” Mark Zuckerberg was ironically censored by Secretary of the Interior Zinke when he was given a high level tour of Glacier National Park. He was denied the leadership of the Park’s Superintendent and leading ecologist, both of whom are experts in the effects of climate change on the glaciers, trees, and ecology of the park. Zuckerberg was not made aware of this, and only had to read about it in the press, as we all did. Zuckerberg did write on Facebook a description of how many glaciers had disappeared.
Hopefully, for Zinke, this will be a lesson that when you try to censor, limit free speech, or deny the right of association, you not only violate your oath of office that you swore to uphold the constitution, but you create an enormous publicity bomb that will blow up on all the news media. This not only besmirches Zinke and his Interior department, but the Trump Administration as well.
Will Scaramucci think of this story as a “leak”, or a violation of the Constitution? It was only a rhetorical question.
A similar Interior issue is flaming across the headlines as forests of dead trees are burning near Yosemite, and in British Columbia. This is a combination of warming climate with less freezing to mill Pine bark beetles in the winter, summer heat and drought, and lightening storms. The fires are very costly in destruction, in insurance costs, in disruption, and In firefighting costs. Yet the Interior Department is silent on this.
Today, Zinke is threatening both of Alaska’s Republican Senators with consequences to Alaska if they do not change their votes on the health care acts. Since health care is the predominant political issue, and so are Zinke’s threats to Alaska, Zinke may be in violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from engaging in politics. Also, the Interior Department’s dealing with states are regulated by law and by the budget. Congress does not give him the power to play politics with the states, or their representatives.
The Hatch Act applies to even cabinet members, as happened to President Obama’s Secretary of HUD, Julian Castro, in 2016. The President considers what punishment to impose in these cases, so Trump can essentially pardon such behavior that he orders them to do.