Want a story that will end your Thursday with an old grin, as long as nothing too terrible happens in 2020 for the rest of the day? Read the very happy Washington Post story of Rep. Deb Haaland, New Mexico, Joe Biden’s nomination for Home Secretary. We were fucking excited when Haaland and Sharice Davids of Kansas became the first two Native American women to be elected to Congress on the 2018 Blue Wave. If this were confirmed, Haaland would make more history, as the Post explains:
A member of the Pueblo of Laguna, Haaland, 60, would be the first descendant of the original people to populate North America to serve as cabinet secretary. It marks a turning point for a 171-year-old institution that often had close ties with 574 nationally recognized tribes.
We’re going to pause zero seconds now to make Tucker Carlson indignant that anyone would consider this historic.
And while New Mexico is one of the largest oil and natural gas producers in the country, Haaland has committed to making some big changes to Interior, which has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry for too long. Haaland would like to shift the department’s focus to promoting green energy and mitigating climate change. As part of this redesign, Biden has promised not to issue new permits for oil and gas drilling on public properties. Phasing out fossil fuel production wherever possible is key to decarbonization. As the Post points out, “oil, gas and coal production in these areas account for nearly a quarter of the country’s annual carbon emissions.”
Yes, that will upset people who have a lot of money, and Haaland is likely to be confronted with flak not only by the extractive industries but also by the various madmen in the west whose magical copies of the constitution tell them that the federal government is not allowed to land outside the District of Columbia and owning military bases.
Haaland told the Post that she’s from New Mexico and certainly cares about energy jobs, but added, “We don’t want to go back to normal, do we? We don’t want to go back to where we were because this economy doesn’t work for many people worked. “Lots of sun and wind in New Mexico, that’s for sure.
Hey, how about some antidote to that horrible fool at National Review who mocked people who think they can improve themselves? Check out your new Home Secretary-designate:
Haaland was born in Arizona to a Native American mother who served in the Navy and a Norwegian-American father who was a Marine in active service. He jumped back and forth between 13 public schools as the family moved between military bases. She spent the summer with her grandparents in a house with no running water in Mesita, one of the small villages of Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico.
“We moved a lot as kids because my father was on duty, but no matter where we were, he would take us outside,” she recalled. “In New Mexico we would hike during a rainstorm in Jemez or visit the ocean at other military bases.”
She graduated from the University of New Mexico with a law degree while raising a daughter and living on student loans, grocery stamps, and money from a salsa business she started. During her candidacy for Congress in 2018, she made herself popular with voters by finding that she was still paying off her student debts.
In the House of Representatives, she was vice-chairman of the committee on natural resources and presented bills on the national tragedy of murdered and missing women in tribal areas. Along with Elizabeth Warren in the Senate, she also introduced the Native American Promise Compliance Act, which, among other things, aims to fund a range of programs that affect the Native Americans and that are guaranteed year after year with earmarked income – a little As with social security, not subject to the whims of the annual fundraising process, which can result in yo-yo budgets.
As the Post points out, Interior has a long history of often lousy treatment of indigenous peoples, including removing them from their lands, as happened when Yellowstone became the first national park. And then there was this wonderful icon of good government, goddamn racist James Watt, Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior, who blamed Native American culture for poverty:
“If you want an example of the failure of socialism,” Watt said in an interview on a satellite radio show in Tulsa, “don’t go to Russia. Come to America and go to the Indian reservations.”
Charming guy. In contrast, Haaland looks forward to improving the federal government’s relations with tribes that got pretty bad under Trump:
“The Trump administration has not been kind to the Indian country,” Haaland said. “He was essentially throwing tribal advice out the window.”
And now we can look forward to things not getting back to normal, but much better.
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