Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Are the witch hunts beginning?

The articles explain the DOE response to recent demands from the incoming administration to provide a list of employees that worked on various climate change issues. DOE officials' response is NO! 

Like many people, I am worried that the new administration, with its extreme views and extreme appointees, will not take long to start a variety of witch hunts in the civil service of our country. I've been wondering: Who will stand up to them? Who will be the new kind of hero that we suddenly need? This is the first major example.

The Washington Post article states:
"The scientists and their colleagues at Energy know global warming is real. What they don’t know is what Trump might do to those whose work has been in line with the science and the Obama administration, which has spoken about 'the urgent imperatives of climate change.'"
Specifically, this article quoted a statement from Eben Burnham-Snyder, a department spokesman, including his emphasis in the last sentence, refusing to name names:
“Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of DOE (Department of Energy) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people. We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department. 
“We will be forthcoming with all publically-available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.
Background detail comes from an earlier Washington Post article titled "Trump transition team for Energy Department seeks names of employees involved in climate meetings" as quoted by MSNBC:
"The Trump transition team has issued a list of 74 questions for the Energy Department, asking officials there to identify which department employees and contractors have worked on forging an international climate pact as well as domestic efforts to cut the nation’s carbon output.

"The questionnaire requests a list of those individuals who have taken part in international climate talks over the past five years and 'which programs within DOE are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.'

"The questionnaire, which one Energy Department official described as unusually 'intrusive' and a matter for departmental lawyers, has raised concern that the Trump transition team was trying to figure out how to target the people, including civil servants, who have helped implement policies under Obama.
The earlier Post article cited a number of climate scientists and other experts who were (to say the least) very concerned at the intention of the questionnaire, and provided a detailed discussion of previous interference with the DOE  by Republican administrations. Very important and interesting.

The MSNBC article concludes thus:
"Trump’s request was ridiculous. The more the president-elect’s team hears the word 'no' in response to outlandish questions, especially McCarthy-like appeals such as these, the better."
But the future is grim -- today's headline in the NYT: "Rick Perry, Ex-Governor of Texas, Is Trump’s Pick as Energy Secretary." Quote:
"The selection of Mr. Perry to lead the energy agency would offer a rich irony: During a televised debate in 2011, when he was seeking the Republican nomination, Mr. Perry intended to list the Department of Energy among agencies he wanted to eliminate, but he could not remember its name."

UPDATE, Dec. 15: CNN and the Washington Post report that the questionnaire has been withdrawn: maybe. This is definitely an ongoing process --
"'The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol,' Trump’s transition team said in a statement to The Washington Post. 'The person who sent it has been properly counseled.' 
"The disavowal marked one of the earliest apparent instances of the Trump transition team changing course and seeming to acknowledge a mistake, although even that is unclear. Also Wednesday, Trump transition adviser Anthony Scaramucci had appeared to defend the inquiry on CNN’s 'New Day' with Chris Cuomo, saying, 'This is an intellectual-curiosity expedition.'"

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