On today's BradCast, Green Party candidate Jill Stein speaks to lessons learned during her wildly obstructed attempt at citizen oversight of election results in three states, and a former U.S. Dept. of Energy official joins us with warnings about Donald Trump's disturbing choices to head the State Department, the EPA and the DoE, where a chilling Transition Team memo was recently sent in apparent hopes of ferreting out climate scientists in a witch-hunt reminiscent of the McCarthy era. [Audio link to show posted at bottom of article.]
First up, Stein held a press conference call today to wrap up her attempted "recount" of Presidential election results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Despite her willingness to pay millions of dollars, only one of those states, WI, allowed a statewide count at all. And, even there, it was done mostly by computer, so the results remain unverified by actual human beings. Still, she and her attorney on the call vowed to press on with a lawsuit in Pennsylvania and other actions meant to try and amend the horrific election practices, processes and laws exposed, once again, during the wildly obstructed and unprecedented attempt at counts and forensic analyses in all three states.
Then, my guest today is Dr. Joe Romm, physicist and former Deputy Asst. Secretary of Energy at the U.S. Dept. of Energy. He is now a Climate Progress blogger and author and he joins me to discuss, among other things, Donald Trump's nominations of former TX Gov. Rick Perry to head up the DoE (which, when he could remember its name while a Presidential candidate, he vowed to shut down entirely); Climate science denier and Oklahoma A.G. Scott Pruitt as DPA chief; and ExxonMobil's enormously interest-conflicted CEO Rex Tillerson as Sec. of State.
As Romm notes, "the Department of Energy is a very poorly understood agency" which most Americans, including Trump and Perry, likely know little about. It's a sprawling federal agency that carries out nuclear energy research as well as oversight and disaster clean-up. "So you have the weapons labs, you have all the national labs, which do energy and all sorts of work, including the nation's physics labs," he explains. "The Department of Energy has the highest ratio of PhDs per employee of any of the agencies, because it's doing all of this physics and energy research, and weapons research. So it's a good thing that Rick Perry got those glasses that make him smart."
On Trump's nomination of Tillerson to head up the State Department, Romm describes the conflicts of interest with the ExxonMobile CEO's pending $500 billion deal with Russia, observing: "If we didn't live in this topsy-turvy world where Donald Trump is President and naming people to run agencies who are anti-everything the agencies stand for, it would be ridiculous. Secretary of State is one of the most important, maybe the most important cabinet positions there is. Historically, it goes to someone who really understands diplomacy and many aspects of international policy." But Tillerson, he argues, has "literally no qualifications other than the fact that he has negotiated oil deals around the world."
As disturbing as Trump's nominations may be, however, even more chilling may be the story told by the McCarthy-esque survey recently sent by someone at the Trump Transition team to the Dept. of Energy, asking them to identify scientists and other career civil service employees who have worked on climate change and renewable energy issues at the federal agency, or even those who may have simply attended a U.N. climate conference. Romm speaks to all of the above, which he describes as "unprecedented" and details why there are newly disturbing reasons to be concerned about, "literally, the fate of the next thousand years."
Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, with more on the above and, believe it or not, some arguably good news she was able to find from the U.S. Congress, of all places!...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)