- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 26, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Ryan Zinke, secretary of the Interior Department, said that almost a third of his agency’s employees aren’t exactly President Donald Trump supporters — or fans of the American flag, for that matter.

Holy cow. Why are they still there? Talk about a deep state.

It’s one thing to work in the federal government for people with whom you politically disagree. It’s another thing entirely to work in the federal government of a country you don’t entirely support.

In a different day, a different time, that’d be cause for a red flag followup from U.S. intel agents concerned about government collapse or takeover from communist-aligned enemies, or otherwise anti-American forces.

But now?

Anti-Americanism, non-patriotism — these are just modern-day expressions of free speech.

“I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag,” Zinke said during a speech to the National Petroleum Council, referring to his level of awareness in March when he took over the agency, The Associated Press reported. “We do have good people. But the direction has to be clear and you’ve got to hold people accountable.”

Yes — fire them. Honestly, a Democrat-led Interior wouldn’t hesitate to oust the Republican holdovers.

But absent that, at least Zinke has a plan to fight this Interior state of “deep state” politicking.

“There’s too many ways in the present process for someone who doesn’t want to get [a regulation passed] to put it in a holding pattern,” he said.

So Zinke’s charting a course to departmental reorganization that will limit how bureaucrats in the Washington headquarters can manage. Basically, he’s putting decision-making into the hands of state agents, and moving some of Interior’s agencies — like the Bureau of Land Management — to areas in the West.

Perfecto.

“Push your generals where the fight is,” is how Zinke put it.

Get ready for the culture change at Interior — and it’s one that’s been a long time coming. For far too long, land-use decisions have been inflicted on the general population from the bubble of D.C.’s sizable bureaucracy. That’s led to a system where feds control everything from how farmers farm, how cattle-ranchers raise cattle, how land owners out West access their very own properties.

It’s been tyrannical at times. The BLM has engaged in armed standoffs with private citizens.

An entirely new approach to federal land management is needed. Zinke’s plan to shift operations away from D.C. and toward the states is not only a constitutional solution, aligned with the principles of the 10th Amendment. But it’s one that will no doubt hand landowners back their private property rights — you know, the ones in the 4th and 5th amendments, the ones that were never supposed to belong to federal powers in the first place.

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