Tag: Bureaucracy

Quote of the Day: Frank Herbert on Government and Bureaucracy

 

Most think of Frank Herbert’s Dune series as stories of prescience and the spice, of waring Fremen charging out of the desert.  The second trilogy, however, has some interesting perspectives on government and its excesses.  These quotes on bureaucracy are from the final Dune novel, Chapterhouse Dune.*

“Surely you know bureaucracies always become voracious aristocracies after they attain commanding power.”

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Chevy Chase, MD, is an affluent suburb of Washington DC. Median household income is over $250K, and a significant percentage of households have incomes that are much, much higher.  The area includes many high-end stores and restaurants. PowerLine observed in 2009 that during the 2008 election season, yards in Chevy Chase were thick with Obama […]

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I decided to write this after reading “Government is Not Done Screwing This Up” by JesseMcVay. I volunteer at an equine rescue center which is under the umbrella of the largest animal rescue organization in this area. It’s very large; we are finally down to under 100 horses (including a few donkeys and mini horses) after […]

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AG Barr: Microbes Are the Real Threat, Not Climate Change

 

Attorney General Barr gave a substantial interview to Laura Ingraham on Thursday, April 8, 2020, and Fox News posted the portion of the interview that addressed the legal aspects of the government response to the Chinese Wuhan coronavirus. The politically hot portion, where Barr discussed the Durham investigation, is not posted publicly, requiring you to access the Fox website with a cable provider subscription. However, I was far more interested in the public segment, both for some reassurance about reestablishing our liberty and for the attorney general’s remarks about China and this virus. One remark struck a chord with my thinking about lessons learned from this shocking episode in our nation’s history.

I felt for a long time, as much as people talk about global warming, that the real threats to human beings are microbes, and being able to control disease. And that starts with controlling your border.

Testing… Testing…

 

If I were a certain sort of woman, I’d blame it on The Patriarchy. If I were another sort, I’d blame it on A Culture Insufficiently Supportive of Life. (And, if I were a very specific sort, I’d do both.) Instead, it was the understandable result of The Powers That Be in our neighborhood hospital system not having leeway to make more fine-grained distinctions in a crisis. Which is how pregnant women, who aren’t permitted to receive any in-person prenatal care right now if they have the least little sniffle but no negative lab result for Covid-19, must go through a lengthy, frustrating, and high-exposure screening process to see if they qualify for Covid-19 testing, while the nonpregnant may simply waltz – or rather drive – through safer, low-exposure Covid-19 testing in about 15 minutes.

If you’re pregnant, though, the screening process might take hours, during which you hear, at each step along the way, that you may be ineligible for the lab anyhow – and that’s just your time spent at the walk-in screening center. It doesn’t count the hours (days) you may have spent trying to find a walk-in screening center that hasn’t run out of swabs for the day, and finding out whether you’re even eligible to visit it.

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Having been forced to spend half a year in meetings of an American university’s graduate-student government — populated exclusively by the kind of hyper-earnest and uber-bureaucratic people who produce platitudes the way we mortals produce digestive waste, the kind of people who think that solving the world’s problems is as simple as creating an “inclusive […]

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Regular and Irregular Channels

 

Some of the witnesses at the ongoing Congressional hearings seem quite disturbed at the use of “irregular channels” for decision-making and implementation, supplementing and bypassing the “regular” channels. (here, for example) Reminds me of a Churchill story…

In February 1940, Churchill was not yet Prime Minister but rather was First Lord of the Admiralty. He received a letter from a father disappointed that his son had been turned down for a commission, despite his qualifications and his record. Churchill suspected class prejudice and wrote to the Second Sea Lord, saying that “Unless some better reasons are given to me, I shall have to ask my Naval Secretary to interview the boy on my behalf.”

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“There comes a time in the history of all bureaucracies when they must inevitably parody their own functions.” — Roger Zelazny How often do we see a bureaucracy that seems to be (as one of Robert Conquest’s laws of politics states) being controlled by a cabal of its enemies? I was a safety bureaucrat in […]

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“The titleless, nameless but – as reporters always say – ‘highly placed’ NHTSA functionary explained to me that all his car-safety experts were trained as automotive engineers. They came to work for DOT because they could get better jobs and more responsibility taking mechanical and electronic structures to pieces at NHTSA than they could by […]

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(The current riots and car-burnings in Sweden reminded me of this post from 2013) The government of Sweden didn’t do a very good job of protecting its citizens and their property from the rampant rioting that took place in late May.  Government agents did, however, fulfill their duty of issuing parking tickets…to burned-out cars. Preview […]

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For those unfortunate enough to be “covered”* by an ACA insurance plan, paying cash at an out-of-network practice, apparently, constitutes an act of fraud. Never mind that a thousand financial-planning websites advocate exactly this practice. No, it’s fraud. Evil. Contemptible. Horrible. Hideous. A family member of mine learned this great, undeniable truth recently, after she […]

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Rose Wilder Lane

 

The removal of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a children’s book award reminds me again of her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, an interesting writer and political thinker. Born in 1886 in the Dakota Territory, Rose is best known for her writings on political philosophy and has been referred to as a “Founding Mother” of libertarianism; she was also a novelist and the author of several biographies. In her article “Credo,” published in 1936, she describes her political journey, beginning with the words: “In 1919 I was a communist.”

She was impressed with the idealism of the individual Communists she met and found their economic logic convincing. But when she visited the Soviet Union in the 1920s, she became disillusioned. And, unlike many visitors to the USSR, she did not conclude that Communism was still a great idea but had just been carried out poorly; rather, she began to grasp the structural flaws with the whole thing.

In Russian Georgia, the villager who was her host complained about the growing bureaucracy that was taking more and more men from productive work, and predicted chaos and suffering from the centralizing of economic power in Moscow. At first, she saw his attitude as merely “the opposition of the peasant mind to new ideas,” and undertook to convince him of the benefits of central planning. He shook his head sadly.

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The Department of Justice sent a letter to House Intelligence Chairman Nunes seeking to stop the Republican majority from voting to forward their four page memorandum on FBI and DOJ misconduct to President Trump for his declassification approval. The reason given was threats to national security through declassification of the memorandum. This is the latest […]

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Life on Hold

 

Technically, it’s against company policy to walk and talk on a cell phone at the same time but considering who was calling I answered anyway and slipped into an empty conference room, sliding the little placard over to read “In Use” and taking a seat in one of a dozen chairs. Earlier that morning I’d gotten an email from the adoption agency that they had something they needed to discuss, and after setting up a time for them to call I’d bounced back and forth from hope to dread. Either this was going to be the moment they told us they had a match for my wife and me, or something in the process had gone sideways. The minute I heard the voice on the other end of the call I knew it was the latter and my heart sank.

With a couple of pleasantries out of the way she told me that the ministry in Poland that oversaw adoptions had made an announcement that morning that two out of the three organizations in the country that facilitated international adoption would no longer be allowed to do so, and one of those being closed was one our agency used. She didn’t know what had happened for such a drastic shift in policy, there had been no warning that anything was wrong. There was more to the conversation of course, but to be honest I can’t remember any of it. I was all but speechless for the entire call.

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I was ruminating a post on my thoughts about a show I recently discovered, Yes (Prime) Minister when Bill mentioned it on the recent podcast. Quite simply: this show is amazing. I’m surprised I’m just now discovering it. The parodic portrayal of the ugly side of gov’t bureaucracy is brilliant and hilarious. They were making […]

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Secretary of Interior Zinke sent letters to a bunch of top managers in the Department of the Interior. The letters advise them of upcoming reassignments. I hope some of them will be reassigned into unemployment. The Washington Post has the story. So far, no other mass media have reported this. Preview Open

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In about a month, I will be unable to board a commercial aircraft or enter a federal facility (except to obtain entitlement benefits). Why? Because my Pennsylvania driver’s license is not in compliance with the federal Real ID Act. The latter is an(other) expensive, unfunded mandate foisted on the states by our overlords in Washington. […]

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