Saturday, July 29, 2017

Not So Different From Bushies, At Least The Ones They Sent To Iraq

Yes this is bad, but hiring insane incompetent stupid ideologues whose "ideology" is whatever stupid shit Rush and Hannity and Alex Jones are babbling about that day is not actually new to Trump. OK, the Alex Jones part is.

It says a great deal about the mind-set of career civil servants that the D.O.E. employee in charge of overseeing the transition set out to answer even the most offensive questions. Her attitude, like the attitude of the permanent staff, was We are meant to serve our elected masters, however odious they might be. “When the questions got leaked to the press, she was really upset,” says the former D.O.E. staffer. The only reason that the D.O.E. did not serve up the names of people who had educated themselves about climate change, and thus exposed themselves to the wrath of the new administration, was that the old administration was still in charge: “We aren’t answering these questions,” Secretary Moniz had said, simply.

After Pyle’s list of questions wound up on Bloomberg News, the Trump administration disavowed them, but a signal had been sent: We don’t want you to help us understand; we want to find out who you are and punish you. Pyle vanished from the scene. According to a former Obama official, he was replaced by a handful of young ideologues who called themselves “the Beachhead Team.” “They mainly ran around the building insulting people,” says a former Obama official. “There was a mentality that everything that government does is stupid and bad and the people are stupid and bad,” says another. They allegedly demanded to know the names and salaries of the 20 highest-paid people in the national-science labs overseen by the D.O.E. They’d eventually, according to former D.O.E. staffers, delete the contact list with the e-mail addresses of all D.O.E.-funded scientists—apparently to make it more difficult for them to communicate with one another. “These people were insane,” says the former D.O.E. staffer. “They weren’t prepared. They didn’t know what they were doing.”

“We had tried desperately to prepare them,” said Tarak Shah, chief of staff for the D.O.E.’s $6 billion basic-science program. “But that required them to show up. And bring qualified people. But they didn’t. They didn’t ask for even an introductory briefing. Like ‘What do you do?’ ” The Obama people did what they could to preserve the institution’s understanding of itself. “We were prepared for them to start wiping out documents,” said Shah. “So we prepared a public Web site to transfer the stuff onto it—if needed.”