It finally feels like spring in the north. Michigan has had late snow in April, but it feels like we’re turning the corner. And this brings to mind spring cleaning. It is always refreshing to open the windows, let the clean air in, remove the clutter, the detritus, the dead wood. It’s freeing.
I encourage you to do some spring cleaning of your own. There are many opportunities for you to do so, right in your own Cabinet, right in the middle of Washington, DC. Let me suggest a few places that you could start with your cleaning.
Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Having him as head of the EPA is like having a wolf in charge of the lambs. The EPA’s responsibility is to protect the environment and protect us from pollution. Yet, on Tuesday he proposed a rule on research studies – only those that are publicly available – in the name of “science transparency.” What about other research that may be subject to privacy laws, like the studies of people and disease? Do we discount all of the available research? A thousand scientists asked him not to change this rule. Does this matter? Scott Pruitt has raised many other red flags for his poor judgment from renting condos to equipping his office to travel expenses. He has a 24/7 protection detail – like another Cabinet officer I will bring up next – which costs us taxpayers dearly. We need to get rid of detritus. Let’s clean the Cabinet, oust this weight on our budget, and find someone who knows something about protecting the environment to take his place. Our children will thank you.
Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education. I have written on other occasions about the lack of knowledge of public education that this woman has. She freely admitted it in her interview a few weeks ago on 60 Minutes. She said she had not visited failing schools in Michigan. Of course not. She wouldn’t know anything about what goes on in a public school in America. She was only an advocate for dismantling public education and providing vouchers for private/religious schools, and spent many dollars to get legislation passed in Michigan to finance private schools. She is inept. Like Scott Pruitt, she requires 24/7 security at a great cost to taxpayers. Let her go and find someone who knows about public education or is willing to learn for this important post. Our children will thank you.
Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior. Like Pruitt and DeVos, Zinke is in charge of federal lands yet he doesn’t really protect them from his cronies in the oil and gas industries. Unless they happen to be in his home state of Montana. He was willing to carve up Grand-Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments in Utah, and serve them to the fossil fuel industry. Yet, in his own state he is willing to ask for protection of Badger-Two Medicine and a chalet in Glacier National Park. Doesn’t seem to be the guy we want protecting our federal lands (outside of Montana). He has some trouble with his travel expenses, too. Do your spring cleaning, and find someone who really does care about preserving our national monuments. Our children will thank you.
Gina Haspel, pegged to be the new CIA Director. She says she was merely “following orders” when she ordered the waterboarding and torture of prisoners at a secret detention facility in Thailand. Torture by any other name is torture. Destroying the evidence seems like just more corroboration of wrong doing. Give her the boot. There is enough torture in our world. Just listen to the news. We don’t need more. The world will thank you.
I could go on, but that is for another letter. This is only the beginning of the project. Spring cleaning can take a long time and a lot of effort. It’s hard work.
Don’t worry about Congress. The voters will take care of that in the fall. We’ll be doing our spring cleaning a little later this year.