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National Forest Service panicked because Trump’s hiring freeze endangers emergency firefighting

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A decision by newly elected President Trump to freeze all federal government hiring has Forest Service employees wondering if they will be able to bring in emergency help during fire-fighting season, reports the Missoulian.

On Monday, Trump issued an order stating, “no vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances.”

“The Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may grant exemptions from this freeze where those exemptions are otherwise necessary,” the order continued.

According to National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) Council President Melissa Baumann, Trump’s decision may make the Forest Service’s job tough with hiring for permanent firefighting positions beginning next week at job fairs.

“We all had a hard time just trying to get hold of the executive order itself yesterday,” Baumann explained. “We’re waiting to see where the chips fall.”

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Baumann added that the Forest Service hired about 11,000 seasonal workers in 2015, with at least 6,200 of those being firefighters or having firefighting-related duties. Additionally, many were hired as trail maintenance workers and forest rangers.

Jennifer Jones, a fire and aviation management spokesperson for the Forest Service’s Washington Office also said they were left in the dark by the  president’s decision, explaining,  “We are waiting for further clarification and direction from the Office of Personnel Management related to the hiring freeze. We cannot speculate on the impact of the hiring freeze.”

NFFE Fire Chairman Joe Duran noted the bureaucracy involved in clarifying the new order will put the hiring of firefighters at risk.

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“By the time you get your undersecretary and all those people in place, you’re 60 to 90 days behind the scene and off schedule,” Duran explained. “I’m pretty sure they’ll give a (public safety) exemption, but you still won’t be able to staff up in a timely manner. In California, firefighting is already year-round. And in most other places, it’s getting year-round, too.”

According to Wildfire Today, “from the mid-1980s through 2015 the average number of acres burned has grown from about 2  million acres a year to around 8 million.”


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Right-wing bigots target North Carolina concert by African band that stood up to Islamists

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Responding to hate, a Winston-Salem music venue rallies the community behind what just might be the greatest band in the world.

The comments in response to two sponsored posts on Facebook promoting an upcoming Winston-Salem concert by the Grammy-winning and internationally-acclaimed group Tinariwen came in a steady drip of loathing, vitriol and menace.

This article first appeared in the Triad City Beat.

One commenter from Smithfield wrote on July 13: “Gotta bring my AR, too….”

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Trump busted for doubling down on his racist rants before Mueller speaks: ‘He’s scared’

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Appearing on CNN's "New Day," a former adviser to Bill Clinton said that he expects ex-special counsel Robert Mueller to make a some blunt statements about President Donald Trump in his upcoming appearance before a Congressional committee that will cause voters to turn on the president.

According to Guy Smith, who advised former President Bill Clinton during his impeachment ordeal, Mueller's own words will carry tremendous weight with voters who have no idea what is in his report on the president.

"Well, what we're going to see is people who have never read the report, which is most everybody, and they have only heard President Trump and the attorney general say he's been exonerated. It does not," he told host Christi Paul. "So, what's going to happen is that they're going to be hearing Robert Mueller in his own words say that the president obstructed justice. The American people have not read this thing."

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Trump ramps up new Twitter attack on four female Democratic lawmakers — raging they are ‘weak & insecure’

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Faced with a continuing firestorm over last Sunday's racist Twitter attack on four Democratic lawmakers -- who all happen to be women of color -- President Donald Trump was again returned to Twitter to attack the women instead of letting the issue die.

Moments after he used Twitter to attack the Washington Post for reporting on the turmoil he created -- which has been unversally condemned by Democrats and conservatives alike -- the president thought it was a good time to add fuel to the fire.

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