Ryan Zinke Claims One Third of Interior Workforce 'Not Loyal' to Him, Trump and Flag
Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke, who recently recommended shrinking a "handful" of national monuments to President Trump, said that one third of the department's employees are "not loyal" to him, the president and the flag.
The remarks were made at the National Petroleum Council meeting in Washington, DC on Monday.
According to an Associated Press report:
Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, said he knew when he took over the 70,000-employee department in March that, "I got 30 percent of the crew that's not loyal to the flag."
In a speech to an oil industry group, Zinke compared Interior to a pirate ship that captures "a prized ship at sea and only the captain and the first mate row over" to finish the mission.
"We do have good people" at Interior, he said, "but the direction has to be clear and you've got to hold people accountable."
He has also reassigned senior officials to completely unrelated positions, including climate change expert Joel Clement, who was notoriously transferred to an office that oversees fees and royalty checks from oil and gas companies.
"I'm the climate change guy, and they moved me to the accounting office that collects fossil fuel royalties," Clement wrote in the Washington Post. "They couldn't have found a job less suited for me, or that sent a clearer signal that they were trying to get me to quit."
Zinke has said before that he wants to cut his department's workforce by 4,000 employees, or about eight percent of the full-time staff, as part of budget cuts to downsize the department.
During his speech to oil execs, the former Montana Republican senator said he is working to change the Interior Department's regulatory culture to be more business friendly, and is working on a major agency reorganization so that decision-making would go outside Washington, according to the AP.
The secretary also wants to move several agencies, including the Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Land Management, to states in the West.
In the same wide-ranging speech, Zinke said he wants to speed up permits for oil drilling, logging and other energy development; that the Endangered Species Act has been "abused" by bureaucrats and environmental groups and needs to be reformed to be less "arbitrary"; and, oddly, "Fracking is proof that God's got a good sense of humor and he loves us."
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Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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