Monday, January 23, 2017

Reforming Government Means Fighting Entrenched Bureaucrats

For John, BLUFThe Bureaucrats will fight fiercely.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

And the sub-headline:
Federal workers fume over Trump's vows to freeze hiring and shrink the government.
The source is Politico, by Reporters Nancy Cook and Andrew Restuccia, on 23 January 2017.

This is how it starts out:

President Donald Trump is setting himself up for a messy clash with the country’s 2.1 million federal employees as his administration quietly preps plans to cut the size of the government workforce.

As one of his first acts Monday, Trump signed an executive order freezing most federal hiring.  His team is also fine-tuning plans to shrink several agencies focused on domestic policy, according to sources close to the transition.

Now, the president is about to find out how much power these maligned workers have to slow or even short-circuit his agenda.

Disgruntled employees can leak information to Capitol Hill and the press, and prod inspectors general to probe political appointees.  They can also use the tools of bureaucracy to slow or sandbag policy proposals — moves that can overtly, or passive aggressively, unravel a White House’s best-laid plans.

“The government is a place where it is easier to keep something from getting done, than it is to actually do something,” said Robert Shea, an official in George W. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget.  “All of the work that the new administration wants to get accomplished will depend on the speed and productivity of the federal workforce.”

The thing is, those Civil Service Bureaucrats were going to fight the Trump agenda whether he had issued this Executive Order or not.  Are we confused about this?

If there is going to be change in the Federal Government, and that is what the Voters were voting for when they elected their Electors, then the Bureaucrats are going to have to step aside.  A lot of us don't wish to see the kind of activities that thwarted the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki (or on a more local level, retired Lieutenant General Julius W Becton, when he became the Superintendent of Washington, DC, schools.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Madonna's Dream

For John, BLUFFortunately, the laws are such as to squash our dreams.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Law Professor Eugene Volohk, writing in The Wash Post over the weekend.

Legal details at the link.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff


For John, BLUFSpreading Rejectionism.  Nothing to see here; just move along.


A trending hashtag.

Comments at the Ann Althouse Blog here.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Where is Rachel Maddow?

For John, BLUFMaybe she suffers from paranoia, or else too much self importance.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It has been 72 hours since the Inauguration and still no report of Ms Rachel Maddow being taken to an internment camp.

Yesterday the big news was millions of women marching, across the globe, to Protest President Trump.  Back in early November most of the Press missed the fact that millions of women voted for Mr Trump.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Do you think she had a mind cramp and meant "Concentration Camp"?  As in Nazi Era German Concentration Camps?

Trotsky on Eugenics

For John, BLUFEugenics is a perversion of science.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

That would be Leon Trotsky, for those of you on the right.  I am assuming leftists all know about Leon Trotsky, born Lev Davidovich Bronstein.

This article from FEE (Foundation for Economic Education) is by Mr Jeffrey Tucker.  It was published on New Years Day 2017.

Here is the beginning of the article:

The unending process of getting history online has produced vast revelations.  The latest discovery to amaze me is an article by Russian communist Leon Trotsky from 1934, as printed in the publication Liberty:  “If America Should Go Communist.”

Trotsky’s 1934 article exudes confidence in how communism could be realized in the United States.  Trotsky, beloved then and now as the Menshevik and later Bolshevik leader, wrote this document in a period in his life in which he was massively popular among American intelligentsia.  He had lived in New York for three months in 1917, and established some strong and enduring ties with communists.  Following his split with Lenin, he lived in exile from 1927 to 1940, when he was assassinated in Mexico on Stalin’s personal orders.

It’s fair to say that many if not most American communists in 1934 considered themselves Trotskyites, still holding onto hope for some realization of authentic communism as opposed to the growing mess in Russia.

Trotsky’s 1934 article exudes confidence in how communism could be realized in the United States.  The New Deal was starting to be implemented while the National Socialists were intensifying their total control of Germany.  Everywhere, it seemed, capitalism was disgraced, to be replaced by rational economic planning.  Trotsky was merely writing on the far end of the spectrum of the planning consensus.

One Big Conveyor Belt

He writes as if putting his dreams into words could create reality itself.  Keep in mind that this was back when the communists actually believed that they could create more productivity than capitalism.

Here we get to the nub of the Eugenics Question.  Not a great exposition, but one that makes a lot of sense.
After researching this topic now for two years, I’ve framed a rule for thinkers of this period:  scratch a socialist and you will discover a eugenicist who aches to use the state to control who lives and dies.  It turns out to apply to Trotsky as well.

Consider this bizarre paragraph from his 1934 essay:

While the romantic numskulls of Nazi Germany are dreaming of restoring the old race of Europe’s Dark Forest to its original purity, or rather its original filth, you Americans, after taking a firm grip on your economic machinery and your culture, will apply genuine scientific methods to the problem of eugenics.  Within a century, out of your melting pot of races there will come a new breed of men – the first worthy of the name of Man.
To be sure, his views were no different from any other run-of-the-mill intellectual at the time.  Eugenics was a widely held outlook and policy aspiration, from Madison Grant’s freak out about white genocide in 1916 all the way through Gunnar Myrdal’s advocacy of Sweden’s barbaric sterilizations in the name of purifying the race.

Was his push for eugenics driven by racial panic, as was the case with many Progressive Era intellectuals?Even so, one does wonder what Trotsky had in mind.  Was his push for eugenics driven by racial panic, as was the case with many Progressive Era intellectuals?  Was it merely a general desire to improve the genetic composition of the average person? Or perhaps it was actually a political motivation.  Maybe the ultimate answer to the “bourgeois mind” was extermination through sterilization, exclusion, impoverishment, and death in one generation?

Let's face it.  The motley assembly of humans that is America probably does need sprucing up.  However, that is something that should be left to mutual attraction, not some government bureaucracy make genetic decisions for individuals, Margaret Sanger style.

Besides, Leon Trotsky was against chewing gum.  That is very un-American.

We should be thankful Mr Trotsky never lead a revolution in these United States.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Long Term Thinking

For John, BLUFYes, Mr Trump can appear impulsive, but he also seems to be a person who invests for the long term.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Surprisingly, this is from The Wash Post.  Not surprisingly, it is from the keyboard of Reporter Karen Tumulty, over the weekend.

In November 2012 Mr Trump plunked down $325 and copyrighted the slogan "Make America Great Again".  Within days of Candidate Mitt Romney going down in flames in his run against President Barack Obama.

That move suggests that Mr Trump is either very luck or is an insightful strategic thinker.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

You remember, the throwback who was warning that Russia was a strategic threat.
Of course there is the aphorism "Better lucky that good, because there is always someone better."

False Equality

For John, BLUFMaximize the value of women, but don't demand more than they are prepared to provide.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline is:
There will never be enough women who want to be executives — not as long as they choose to have children.
The Guest Columnist at USA Today is Ms Suzanne Venker.  This item is from way back on 14 Dec 2016, but the basic facts remain. Here is how it started out:
Last week was big for the pull between work and family.

On Wednesday more than two dozen executives at companies such as Bank of America Corp. and LinkedIn Corp. signed a pledge to get more women out of the home and into our nation’s boardrooms.  The goal of this initiative, entitled Paradigm for Parity, is to have women represent 50% of the “upper echelons” by 2030.  Only then, these advocates believe, will America have achieved equality.

But gender parity in the workforce is futile.  There will never be enough women who want that kind of life — not as long as they choose to have children.  Indeed, children are “a key factor” in how women choose to structure their lives.

And here is the wrap up.
It is simply indisputable that most women with children want their lives to revolve around family, not around work.  Money and power just doesn’t hold the same value to them as it does for a select group of women.  That is not where their identities lie.

In America today, equal opportunity for women abounds — and that’s as it should be.  But it will never result in equal outcomes.

As former U.S. Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce once said, “It is time to leave the question of the role of women up to Mother Nature — a difficult lady to fool.  You have only to give women the same opportunities as men, and you will soon find out what is or is not in their nature.  What is in women’s nature to do they will do, and you won’t be able to stop them.  But you will also find, and so will they, that what is not in their nature, even if they are given every opportunity, they will not do — and you won’t be able to make them do it.”

I have seen this myself.  I gave an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Personnel Officer a shot at being a "strategist" on the Joint Staff and she ended up a two star operations officer at No Such Agency.  On the other hand I offered a very bright leader of a small software operation a chance to move up, several times, and she said no, it would conflict with her duties as a Mother.  Smart people making personal decisions.

Even if we grant that men and women are NOT equal, but that women are further out on the curve of capability, that for every five men who are executive quality there are six or seven women, it is still not going to come out with equal numbers in the board room.  Unless there is someone with their thumb on the scale.  And that would not be equality.

And, how many men get to birth children?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff