Welcome to the family Bears Ears (& Gold Butte) NM! A hopeful slot in our front desk maps has long been held for you
Everyone knows that Jason Chaffetz is a weasel. After walking gently away from Trump when it seemed Pussygrabgate would sink him, finally, Chaffetz was quick to reestablish his bona fides by insisting that he would never let Hillary Clinton actually act as President, and would nullify her victory with a million pointless investigations. He then moved back in the Trump camp after email gate, but only with courage and principle, announcing that he would vote for Trump, but not support him.
Of course, after Trump won, Chaffetz bent over backwards to ensure Republicans that he would actually take his oversight responsibilities seriously, harassing the Director of Government Ethics for trying to get Trump to act ethically. He confirmed that principle by declining to investigate anything surrounding Michael Flynn, insisting that Flynn’s resignation cleared everything up. (“It’s taking care of itself” is a strategy similar to the one employed by Jimmy Conway after the Lufthansa heist.)
He’s still on emails though! So don’t think he’s abdicating his duties entirely. And there is a new probe on the table, and one that goes to the very top: why were some national park people excited about another national monument? Let’s let the Salt Lake Tribune fill us in.
Washington • The day after President Barack Obama named Bears Ears National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park tweeted out its exuberant support and noted that a spot for the monument’s map had “long been held” at the park’s front desk.
An attached picture showed an empty slot, labeled “Bears Ears,” between maps of Arches and Canyonlands national parks.
The less-than-140-character message quickly drew the interest of Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican and head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who sent a letter to Bryce Canyon’s superintendent, asking whether the park had prior notice from the White House of the pending monument designation.
Chaffetz said in an interview that the questions about Bryce Canyon’s tweet are at the “very bottom of the list” of investigations he’s launched as oversight committee chairman, but he noted he couldn’t ignore the message from the national park because it could indicate the Obama White House misled Utah’s elected officials.
“Maybe they were just hopeful,” Chaffetz said, “but they regularly complain about lack of resources and more money for maintenance budgets and this is a small item but I want to know if there was communication and were they being truthful with the governor and the delegation.”
There’s your smoking gun there, parnder. They complain about budgets and yet, within 24 hours, they were able to make a space in a mail slot and print out a label. This just doesn’t add up!
There are actually some serious issues here, and not just Chaffetz pretending to do his job by investigating the most minor issues and ignoring the vast unchecked corruption of the White House. People opposed to federal land were livid at the designation of Bears Ears as a national monument. Chaffetz has long been at the forefront of the “screw the common good” movement, representing as he does private interests who want to make money off all the land. He was fully behind the Trump plan to sell the country off before he got smacked down by hunters and fishers.
So this isn’t just pointless: it’s an enormous waste of government resources in order to 1) keep Obama’s supposed vileness at the forefront of the GOP mind; and 2) to harass those who are protecting national land. It’s a signal to extractors and mining interests that the Republicans still have their best interests at heart, and that any public servant serving the actual public will have to stay in line. I’m not trying to say that this will be a big deal, but I think it is a perfect reflection of the mendacity, venality, and cruelty that are the default position for the modern GOP.
The official explanation, by the way–and it is amazing that there has to be an official explanation–is that the slot was put there by an eager volunteer over the summer when
he heard that Bear Ears might get a designation. This was somehow accomplished despite a lack of resources.
A park volunteer, however, created the Bears Ears map slot last summer as part of his assignment to reorganize materials at the visitor center information desk.
The volunteer “saw a news report regarding the potential for a Bears Ears National Monument.
He approached his supervisor, Supervisory Park Ranger (Interpretation) Cindy Donaldson about holding a brochure slot, and she approved it knowing that if the Bears Ears National Monument was not created, the slot could be used by another regional recreation area,” the interim superintendent wrote to Chaffetz.
I look forward to this volunteer being keelhauled in front of a new Ervin Committee this summer.