Yesterday, a House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing was held by House Republicans to address climate change, and how they thought the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was spending too much time on it. The Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency (that should be an oxymoron) which has a Republican majority that includes South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan, had three senior officials from the Department of Homeland Security called to their hearing, where they were asked to explain why they were looking at climate change as a national security risk.
Thomas Smith, Acting Assistant Secretary for DHS’s Office of Policy – Strategy, Plans, Analysis and Risk (SPAR) explained to the Subcommittee that climate change and natural disasters were indeed threats to national security.
“In conclusion, the best way to posture the Department to effectively address emerging threats and accomplish the Department’s five enduring missions is to ensure that tough policy, strategy, and resource decisions are informed by a consideration of the strategic environment, with a clear sense of the associated risk and resource implications. To disregard natural disasters, pandemics, and climate change would be ignoring how these factors may indirectly act as “threat multipliers”; and neglect our shared responsibility to strategically manage risk and build a more prepared, resilient Nation. It is through the thorough and candid assessment of these risks that that we will strengthen the security and resilience of the United States.” (Source)
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), like many other Republicans in Congress, doesn’t think that climate change is influenced by man. It’s also no surprise that the number one contributor to his campaign committee is the oil and gas industry, which Jeff Duncan has consistently provided support for with his votes since he became a member of Congress during the Tea Party surge back in 2010.
Rep. Duncan then scolded DHS officials, claiming that terrorism, drug cartels and undocumented immigrants posed the real threat to national security, not climate change or the natural disasters they could cause. Apparently Jeff Duncan conveniently forgot about Hurricane Sandy in 2012, or Hurricane Katrina in 2005 which caused over 1,800 deaths and $135 billion in damages.
“The Earth’s been warmer before … before fossil fuels, the industrial revolution,” Duncan said. “And this notion that man-made climate change is happening is, I think, wrong. I think your priorities are wrong at the Department of Homeland Security.”
Meanwhile, the DHS isn’t sufficiently protecting the United States, Duncan added.
“We’ve got threats of ISIS, we’ve got cartels shooting at helicopters on the border, we’ve got unaccompanied children coming into this country, we’ve got illegal aliens murdering beautiful, innocent lives in San Francisco. We’ve got a woman who got her head blown off in Los Angeles by someone,” he said. (Source)
Rep. Duncan then talked about the threat of “great harm” to Christians:
“There are events after events going on around the world that are true threats to the United States, folks who want to do great harm to Christians, want to do great harm to others.”
Now, who was actually surprised by the fact that when you let Republicans take over both the House and Senate, wacky hearings like this would be held? Can’t Homeland Security keep an eye on terrorists and drug cartels while watching climate change and potential natural disasters at the same time? According to the Republican lawmakers on the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, they can’t.
What’s noticeably absent from the incidents Jeff Duncan cited as being greater causes for concern for DHS officials to concentrate on, is the recent church shooting that killed 9 people in Charleston – which happened in the very same state he represents in Congress! While this may sound shocking to you, it shouldn’t; acts of domestic terrorism carried out by radicalized Christians are explained away as acts of mentally ill individuals by politicians such as Congressman Duncan, and the media that supports their narrative that climate change and right-wing domestic terrorism are but figments of our liberal imaginations.
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