Today’s trifecta: Zinke, Stapleton and Daines

How does one cope with this tsunami of lies, misdirection and malfeasance? It’s overwhelming. Maybe that’s the plan. Why just today:

Three-quarters of the board that advises Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on National Park Service matters quit.

“We resigned because we were deeply disappointed with the department and we were concerned,” (head of the board Tony) Knowles said in an interview. Mr. Zinke, he said, “appears to have no interest in continuing the agenda of science, the effect of climate change, pursuing the protection of the ecosystem.”

Since taking office over ten months ago, Zinke has refused to convene a single meeting with the board. Nine of the 12 board members have resigned. Both the New York Times and Washington Post carried the story.

An excellent synopsis of Zinke’s time at Interior is in this week’s New Yorker.

Usually, there’s a tension between the department’s mandates—to protect the nation’s natural resources and to manage them for commercial use. Under Zinke, the only question, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, is how fast these resources can be auctioned off.

But it’s all probably fake news coming from these elitist East Coast publications. That’s according to Montana’s Secretary of State, Cory Stapleton. In his monthly newsletter, he takes the mainstream media to task for generating “faux outrage.”

Instead of focusing on the policies and impact of leadership decisions across the political spectrum, mainstream media has become obsessed with the sideshows of personality and politically incorrect language of today. Media has become language cops instead of investigative reporters.

Damn those “language cops” for calling out folks using slights like “shithole” and “grab them by the pussy.”

Stapleton sort of gets it right when he cites declining profits at most mainstream media outlets as the reason there’s less in-depth coverage of policy and events. He should be grateful for this as an investigative report of his term in office would reveal dubious travel expenses and merchandise purchases, not to mention more time self aggrandizing than carrying out the responsibilities of the office. Those responsibilities certainly don’t include creating a forum to attack the media. He closes with:

We need unbiased coverage of policy proposals, not partisan angles or personal attacks. There needs to be a difference in content between educated journalists and the angry anonymous words found throughout the internet. We’re not seeing it.

Well, Cory, there is a difference between “educated journalists and the angry anonymous words found throughout the internet.” Most thoughtful people are aware of this. And by the way, the word “media” is plural and the verbs that follow it should be in agreement. Not a big deal but it does raise somewhat of a competence question.

Finally, Sen. Steve Daines held one of his “teletownhall” meetings. Again, my wife came downstairs to see why I was screaming at my cellphone. I’ve written about this before. And again, I got in the queue and was asked my name, hometown, and what my question would be. Of course, there was no way I was going to get to ask it live. The whole thing amounted to a prescreened event of handpicked topics. The senator just happened to have bogus statistics handy to support his absurd assertions.

I have to say, though, it’s bold of Daines to post this on his Facebook page. You should read the comments below the photo. Not everyone is buying his schtick.

The comments and actions of Zinke, Stapleton and Daines bring to mind the famous Joseph Goebbels quote:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”


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About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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