Sunday, August 13, 2017

Michael Lewis writes in Vanity Fair about Trump's attempt to dismantle a cabinet department

In the current Vanity Fair, September issue, Michael Lewis is given 12 pages to detail what's going on at the Department of Energy under Donald Trump and Rick Perry.  It is a well done and incredibly important article, but for starters it must be said that neither Trump nor Perry have the slightest idea what they are doing.  That probably did not need to be said.

From this perspective Lewis's piece is a thorough description of the responsibilities of that department.  The extent of what falls under the umbrella of Energy is extensive.  Everything from protecting the electrical grid, guarding the nuclear arsenal, assessing the nuclear threats of North Korea and Iran, plus of course the important but in comparison more mundane regulation of oil, gas, coal, wind, sun, and water power sources.

There was almost no effort at a transition under the Trump/ Perry "leadership". Seven months in, the department is hugely understaffed, new appointees have few qualifications for their jobs, and the professional staff is either leaving or hanging on with low morale. The extent of the damage will only be known in a crisis and no knowledgeable observer wants to see that.  The exact title of Lewis's article is "The 5th Risk".

While what is going on in this department is frightening, this could be an example of what is happening in many departments.  Appointments in the State Department, even ambassadorships and senior consuls, have been taking place so slowly that it is unlikely that many positions will be filled by year end.  The only department that most agree is up and functioning is the Justice Department under Jeff Sessions as it aggressively cuts back on civil rights for many Americans.

Reading Lewis's article is suggested...


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