We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Saturday, February 18. 2017
Photos of the week
Everything We Know So Far About the Howards End TV Show
Every vehicle in the presidential motorcade, explained
How Often Do Airplanes Hit Deer?
Cartwheeling Substitute Teacher Exposed Self To High School Choir Class
Do as I say, not as I do - Chicago Public Schools
From California, a Progressive Cry for State’s Rights - The birthplace of the modern conservative movement is now the leader of a Trump resistance founded on federalism.
FRACKERS HAVE DONE MORE THAN THE SIERRA CLUB EVER DID
Do agencies run this country?
Note to the Left: Four Years Ago, Conservatives Were Just as Depressed
Washington Post: We Aren’t Biased!
With One Tweet, Chuck Todd Reveals The Truth About the Mainstream Media
A Sign That Obamacare Exchanges Are Failing
Killing ObamaCare the Cloward-Piven Way
Same here.Not a job for the Feds
No 'strongman,' Trump is besieged by institutions
Black Trump Supporter Blasts Sanctuary Cities: “All the Jobs Are Going to Illegals!” "When my people do a crime, they get three strikes, your people do a crime, they get amnesty"
Trump Declares CNN, NYT, CBS, ABC And NBC Are "The Enemy of The American People"
The Anti-Trump ‘Resistance’ in Red States - “This isn’t a fad, it’s not going away, and there’s nothing coastal or elite about it.”
France's Le Pen faces new challenges from EU Parliament, UN
"Far right wing"? No she is not
Tracked: Feb 19, 09:21
Tracked: Feb 19, 09:29
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
I highly recommend The Hollow Men II: Some reflections on Westminster and Whitehall dysfunction by Dominic Cummings. It is full of insights into the failings of bureaucracies, government by crisis and news cycle, and hollow leadership.
The essay is long, but the excerpts below give some of the flavor.
... Most of our politics is still conducted with the morality and the language of the simple primitive hunter-gatherer tribe: ‘which chief shall we shout for to solve our problems?’ Our ‘chimp politics’ has an evolutionary logic: our powerful evolved instinct to conform to a group view is a flip-side of our evolved in-group solidarity and hostility to out-groups (and keeping in with the chief could lead to many payoffs, while making enemies could lead to death, so going along with leaders’ plans was incentivized). This partly explains the persistent popularity of collectivist policies and why ‘groupthink’ is a recurring disaster. Such instincts, which evolved in relatively simple prehistoric environments involving relatively small numbers of known people and relatively simple problems (like a few dozen enemies a few miles away), cause disaster when the problem is something like ‘how to approach an astronomically complex system such as health provision for millions.’
... students leave university for politics and the civil service with degrees that reward verbal fluency, some fragments of philosophy, little knowledge of maths or science, and confidence in a sort of arrogant bluffing combined with ignorance about how to get anything done. They think they are prepared to ‘run the country’ but many cannot run their own diaries.....................................
Balzac: Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/bureaucracy.html
IF THERE IS A SINGLE STUMBLING BLOCK ON THE ROAD TO THE FUTURE, IT IS THE BUREAUCRACY AS WE KNOW IT.
This echoes the Peggy Noonan article on bureaucracy and is in keeping with the fumbling, bumbling response by the Public Health sector, at every level to Ebola, as an example.
Edward T. Hall on Bureaucracy: “no soul, no memory, and no conscience….” Edward Hall was the pioneer who wrote “Beyond Culture”.
“By their very nature bureaucracies have no conscience, no memory and no mind. They are self-serving, amoral and live forever. What could be more irrational? Changing them is almost impossible, because they function according to their own rules and bow to no man, not even the President of the United States. Custom, human frailties, and the will to power keep our bureaucracies going. … Paradoxically, most bureaucracies are staffed largely with conscientious, committed people who are trying to do the right thing, but they are powerless (or feel powerless) to change things. None of which would be so serious if it weren’t that these are the very institutions on which we depend to solve all our major problems. Some answer must be found to bureaucracy.”
“Bureaucratic and institutional irrationality occur because, of all man’s institutions, bureaucracy in all cultures has a tremendous potential to be counterproductive. This drive toward inefficiency may be a direct consequence of blind adherence to procedure, but it also stems from bureaucratic needs for self-preservation and a vulnerability to pressure groups. The combination is unbeatable.”
“Bureaucracy on the life-destroying scale described by Edward T. Hall is an industrial era phenomenon. Only a bureaucracy can turn ordinary, decent people into participants in gigantic atrocities that go on and on, and absolve the people who operate the government machine from personal responsibility for the consequences.
The above is from 9/25 Chicagoboyz.net
I agree entirely. I'd like to replace the civil service with the older form, the spoils system, where every single federal job was up for sale or a patronage reward after a change in administrations.
The civil service is a tenured spoils system with most all civil service (definitely not servants)employees being appointed by those who expand the government. The only purpose of university social science departments is to turn out ____ studies students who are instantly qualified to fill government job openings.
indyjonesouthere: The civil service is a tenured spoils system with most all civil service (definitely not servants)employees being appointed by those who expand the government.
Most civil service jobs are awarded based on education, experience, and testing for knowledge and ability.
Of course they are. The problem is in what we expect them to be expert in.
Typically mundane skills, such as mathematics and language.
The gist of the comments is not about the source of government employees, it is about the nature of bureaucracies, nor is it unique to America.
Mostly, the comments assume employees working in good faith, but still, those employees, regardless of source, don't seem to wrap their minds around cost benefit analysis, or the law of diminishing returns, or resist the impulse to expand a department's turf, nor do the comments address corruption. Even a legit civil service doesn't eschew sending employees on Vegas larks. Consider also the duplication; it is bureaucracies all the way down to the municipal level.
I, for one, understand that there are many positions that require a minimum level of expertise and I wish we could have government employees, who were on the level. For example, I think it is important that MSDS documents follow the same standards and formatting. I would like to see government engaged in unbiased, honest analysis and dissemination of Best Practices. I think I am spitting into the wind.
More fairly witty quips on bureaucracy:
A little humor from the late Mitch Hedberg
I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughnut... I don't need a receipt for the doughnut. I give you money and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction. We don't need to bring ink and paper into this. I can't imagine a scenario that I would have to prove that I bought a doughnut.
To some skeptical friend, 'Don't even act like I didn't get that doughnut, I've got the documentation right here... It's in my file at home. ...Under "D".'
The receipt is in case you want to exchange the doughnut. My wife exchanges everything, and if she ate doughnuts, I bet she would want to exchange the one she just bought for that one over there with the sprinkles.
"Enemy of the people"
"Boy, that's definitely in no way fascist-sounding!"
Meanwhile, about a hundred journalists and staff were killed in 2016 reporting the news.
How many by Trump, Zachriel? Or by American conservatives? The total includes plane crashes, for pity's sake. Iraq, Afghanistan, etc are the leaders here.
As for sounding like a fascist, that's just echoing in your own head. The media is now mixed, but the major networks still have the biggest megaphones (for now). They still have some credibility even among the suspicious, on the basis of more decent reporting they did in years past. But now they misrepresent and deceive a public that depends on them. How is that not an enemy of the people? I imagine that liberals think Fox News is an enemy of the people for the same reason. Are they also fascists?
As for Hindraker and the editorial, it is you who are not making the distinction. I remain unsure whether you know these things but obscure them, or whether you really just don't understand because your bias clouds your thinking. It was an editorial about bias. WaPo was making a factual claim that they would be doing the same thing under HRC. They were not opining about whether bias was a good thing. The evidence that the claim is wrong, that they are indeed biased, has been covered numerous times at Powerline. Hindraker states that the evidence is in previous posts. Are you trying to claim that when a person claims to be unbiased, that claim is exempt from being counted as additional evidence?
Assistant Village Idiot: As for sounding like a fascist, that's just echoing in your own head.
Actually, the quote is from the linked website.
Assistant Village Idiot: The media is now mixed, but the major networks still have the biggest megaphones (for now).
No. The President has the biggest megaphone, as well as control of the organs of U.S. security forces.
Assistant Village Idiot: But now they misrepresent and deceive a public that depends on them.
Publicly pointing out that the President was wrong when he claims again and again that he had the largest electoral college margin since Reagan, or that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election, or being aghast that he called an Orthodox Jew a liar for asking about the Administration's response to antisemitism just after forgetting to mention the Jews on his statement about the Holocaust, isn't "deceiving the public".
Assistant Village Idiot: How is that not an enemy of the people?
For the head of the government to say the press is the enemy of the people for saying things he doesn't like is the essence nature of fascism.
Assistant Village Idiot: As for Hindraker and the editorial, it is you who are not making the distinction.
We'll answer that below.
Assistant Village Idiot: Hindraker states that the evidence is in previous posts.
Marty Baron, editor of the Washington Post: "I just look at it as a new administration that we should be covering as aggressively, as energetically as possible. If Hillary Clinton were in the White House, we would be doing the very same thing."
Hinderaker: That claim is easily tested. Did the Post treat Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton equally during the campaign? ...
For evidence he quotes from an editorial. In other words he fallaciously conflates reporting with an editorial stance. Only then does he wave his hands, saying the evidence is over there somewhere.
Washington Post: We Aren’t Biased!
We understand that it's John Hinderaker, but still, he is claiming the reporting is biased because of an editorial, apparently not realizing that the legacy media draws a distinction between the two.
They may draw one, but they don't seem to respect it. That's one reason why the media have lost our trust.
Associated Press Runs #FakeNews Story About Planned Roundup Of Illegals By National Guard
How is that fake news? The draft memo is certainly real, and clearly outlines how to use the National Guard to assist in immigration enforcement.
AP Exclusive: DHS weighed Nat Guard for immigration roundups
Deceptive as usual. Your argument is based on an irrelevant link to a later AP attempt to walkback the original AP "bombshell". Here is the original AP "bombshell", which you either ignored or could not Google (it took a little work):
"The Associated Press Verified account
BREAKING: Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants."
7:12 AM - 17 Feb 2017
By publishing the walkback you chose to cite, AP essentially acknowledged the original was garbage.
Nice try, but no cigar.
BillH: "BREAKING: Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants."
What part was inaccurate?
A Sign That Obamacare Exchanges Are Failing
Republicans have been working for years to undermine the healthcare insurance exchanges. Under orders from Trump, the IRS will no longer enforce the mandate, but insurers are still under the obligation to insure applicants without regard to any preexisting condition. ObamaCare has now passed the point of no return, and some legislative fix or replacement is essential this year to prevent a collapse of the broader insurance marketplace.
In Europe, where you are from, anyone to the right of Stalin is considered far right.
Unfortunately, Zachbot, you can't blame this on the Republicans, not a single one of whom voted for Obamacare. Obamacare has destroyed American's healthcare system. Studies have shown that healthcare quality has plummeted in the U.S. while costs have skyrocketed. Compliance costs have forced hundreds of thousands of physicians out of business, and finding a primary care physician is now next to impossible. And you have millions of people now being forced by the government to buy overpriced worthless insurance that provides no real coverage because of high deductibles. Obamacare is a fraud of gargantuan proportions.
Jim: you can't blame this on the Republicans, not a single one of whom voted for Obamacare.
It was a Republican President's executive order which has led the IRS to reduce enforcement of the mandate, which essentially ends the program. In addition, it was Republican governors who refused the Medicaid expansion, which left million of people without access to healthcare.
Jim: Studies have shown that healthcare quality has plummeted in the U.S. while costs have skyrocketed.
Kaiser Family Foundation: "A new brief on the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker finds that the quality of the U.S. health system is improving in many areas, but comparable countries continue to outperform the United States on key measures."
As for total healthcare costs, they have leveled off as a percentage of GDP since the ACA was passed, even while increasing those covered by insurance by many millions.
Bird Dog: "Far right wing"? No she is not
The National Front was founded as a party on the far right, but under Marine Le Pen, has "softened" its position and image. They are generally considered authoritarian, nationalist, and populist, garnering most of its support from those on political right. Their basic positions are law-and-order, French ethnocentrism, anti-globalist, but have moved to accept some aspects of government involvement in education and the social safety net. The National Front is favored by Russia, which is thought to be interfering in the French political process, as they have throughout Europe and the U.S.
Epstein fears a Progressive revival? They seem to me to be crazy strong already, and have been for some time.
"The anti-Trump resistance"
This is the way the Alinski rules for radicals works. The Alt left"resistance" puts a violent rent a mob in front of the White House or state houses. The Alt left media goes 24/7 reporting on the 'spontaneous' resistance to the dreaded politician de jour. The talking heads spin, rationalize and call everyone names. And the MSM pumps out fake news claiming that most people are now on board opposing whatever it is they are trying to kill.
If Trump is so unpopular why the lies and fake news? You would think factual reporting would accomplish their goals of impeachment. If Trump is so unpopular why did Soros and a number of communist groups in the U.S. spend a lot of money to hire thugs to go beat up Trump supporters at his rallies? If Trump is so wrong at his press conferences why do a majority of Americans agree with Trump and disagree with the MSM?
I don't think that the Alt left has learned anything in this last election. I also don't think they put America first, ever. This is about seizing power not what is good for America and her citizens. I believe that the Alt left will ramp up the violence and go full postal. Stay away from demonstrations and crowds.
“All the Jobs Are Going to Illegals!”
She is correct. Jobs are going to illegals and they are allowed to claim as many children in Mexico (or where ever they are from) and frequently get $25,000 to $30,000 back on a tax return every year.
"Do agencies run this country? "
I think it is time for another "Reinventing Government" initiative.
Release the Gingrich!
"Washington Post: We Aren’t Biased!"
Look for the Trump Tourettes.
Back in ought three, I noticed The Economist developed a bad case of Bush Tourettes after an editor change. You'd be reading an article that had nothing to do with the current administration and right in the middle, you'd get a jarring "Bush is evil", etc. sentence. Completely out of context.
Two dozen comments but none on the most important topic:
Betsy DeVos: I'd be 'fine' if we could ditch the Education Department
Same here. Not a job for the Feds
There's a direct constitutional prohibition against a state religion, which progressive secular humanism is in literally all but official definition. There is not only no right to institutionalize and indoctrinate, there's no federal authority to warp markets, limit choice, and generally prevent natural law and commerce.
Not hewing to this primary point is how the right lost. Reversing that is also how to remediate all the other political topics - stop raising and training losers as such. DeVos is right, the first person in her position to be right in probably 75 years or so. Let's see how she does.