So, you’ve stumbled onto my humble little blog. Perhaps you are a Millenial wondering why most of your friends aren’t fully employed. Or wondering why ObamaKare is being shoved down your throat. Or why your generation is on the hook for a national debt that stands at $17 $18 Trillion and counting. Maybe you are scratching your head wondering why your President thinks Global Warming the weather is more worrisome than Islamic Terror. And perhaps you’ve started to become aware there might be something the corrupt and biased lame stream media isn’t telling you. The answer, to these and other existential questions, is ... the Left - specifically, the modern American Progressive. Think of this site as a portal to a richer understanding of this answer, a portal purposely designed with a consciously cock-eyed bent to keep it entertaining. Because the First Amendment is forever and the Internet never forgets. (Plus you better figure out FICA isn't the name of a Swedish bikini model, before she eats your entire paycheck.)

How to use the portal? You could dive into my archive*. I was most active here 2010-2012, but that matters not. How many times do I need to demonstrate the central point? To wit, the political / ideological Left is a menace to the constitutional republic and must be resisted lest the American experiment in liberty devolve into socialist dystopia. If it's the more pointed hand-to-hand combat of the comment board that whets your appetite, click the 'My Disqus Comments' widget. I continue to visit that world from time to time as a light diversion. Or you could browse through my blog roll. It's a very representative collection of center-right blogs, though hardly exhaustive. I can't do the political / ideology thing 24x7, and you probably can't either. Leave that to the hysterical, talking point chanting, mob agitating, race baiting, election stealing, gaia worshiping, straw man torching, Islamic Terrorist appeasing, organized Left (aka OFA, MSNBC, UAW, SEIU, Think Progress, Media Matters, most of legacy media, the politically correct faculty lounge, anybody who belonged to Journolist, anybody connected to Occupy Wall Street, anything funded by George Soros or Tom Steyer, their paid Internet trolls, and the rest of the usual Team Leftie suspects).

*Re-posting encouraged. No need to ask for permission. Just follow the commonly accepted convention of acknowledging this site as original source with a link back. That way, you leave the asking for forgiveness to me.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Why Can’t Government Actually DO Anything? (Because it’s Government Stupid.)

Or: If it’s in the nature of the beast, and it’s a problem, then starve the beast.


Let’s start with a little vignette from my own personal experience at a government agency that shall remain nameless. If you don’t have time to read any further, I’ll give you the summary right now as a game of charades.

Two Words. First word – “Cluster.”

The task was to deploy a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) Intranet application with maybe a few hundred users, from a test platform into production. The presentation layer was garden variety .Net forms. The data layer was SQL Server. The business logic – and I mean every single business rule – was entirely contained in SQL stored procedures. Literally only two target servers – web server and database server. The database server took in a couple of data feeds from external systems; all totally read-only and asynchronously connected. I’ll now translate for the non-IT-geek……

….Dirt Simple.

If they had given me administrative access to the two servers, I could have completed the task myself in an hour without breaking a sweat. A competent administrator who actually knew what they were doing could have done it in 20 minutes, including the obligatory cigarette break. Here’s how it actually went down.

I was presented with a three-track approval process. The first track was an incredibly dense documentation exercise for headquarters' “change control” organization.  The other two tracks involved two distinct automated help desk ticket processes – one for each target server – even though neither update could work without the other one. You know, because everybody knows you need a completely separate organization for every damn server.

I was given a “handler” to guide me through the maze of the headquarters red tape. His preferred mode of operation was to constantly ping me on Instant Messenger (IM) with new questions and requirements for what was obviously a still evolving “change control process” at this so-called “headquarters.” This process lasted a week or so, including at least four face-to-face meetings. Throughout this process I mostly just fed this guy what he wanted, knowing full well it had next to zero nutritional value. (Any value to speak of was purely CYA in nature.) At the end of all this he gave me his thumbs up, and pronounced my two draft help desk tickets ready to move forward.

Was he ever wrong.

Each of the help desk tickets would require no less than five more levels of approval. Each one added its own unique requirements for new documentation. Mostly it was more documentation with next to zero nutritional value (except for CYA). But, of course, my team is also required to attach precisely detailed installation instructions for servers they’ve never seen, and will never be granted access to, and which are controlled by groups barely willing to take our phone calls. Literally hundreds – perhaps even more than a thousand (I am not insane enough to try to count) – emails, phones, and Instant Messages flew around the digital network. On one of the tickets, the person actually assigned to do the work was approval level one with four left to go.

After maybe two weeks of this bureaucratic nightmare, the big day arrives. A conference call line is opened, consisting of the two people actually doing the work and about a dozen or so other interested parties. The two people doing the work are inexperienced and lack basic skills. The one person on the call with the experience and knowledge actually needed is not allowed access to the target servers.

It works - despite the “change control” process’s best efforts to guarantee failure. The next day a government executive sends out an email congratulating the team on great team work.


If you are not muttering “WTF?” to yourself by now – read it again, stupid.

Is it any wonder the Minerals Management Service (MMS) had no contingency plans in place when the Deep Water Horizon rig blew up? Is it any wonder Secretary of Interior Salazar was caught flat-footed? Not to me. MMS is one of no less than eight – count ‘em, eight – operationally independent bureaus falling under the Department of Interior (DOI). Each one has an organizational identity all its’ own. And a congressional budget all its’ own. DOI cannot be managed by anyone, period.

Is it any wonder the Department of Energy (DOE) was formed approximately 35 years ago with the mission to make us independent of foreign oil - and yet we are only more dependent on it now? Not to me. In those three and half decades, DOE has been mostly devoted to subsidizing so-called “renewable” energies that still supply a pathetic percentage of overall demand.

I’m not smart enough to articulate the root cause in this space. But I have seen the symptoms up close and personal. Government employees tend to behave like the worst caricatures of unionized labor. No interest in outcomes, no interest in productivity. Totally interested in protecting their “position” and benefits. Never thinking about how current activities can be improved and performed more efficiently. Definitely never seeking new, innovative, activities that connect to a higher purpose of mission. Because there would only be personal risk in this.

This attitude results in the simplest of activities being Balkanized into absurdly small pieces of turf, that must be protected and justified by absurdly opaque and dense ribbons of red tape designed to confuse the outside observer into seeing heroic complexity in the simplest of tasks.

Gulf Oil Spill Contingency Plan? I’ll bet there’s a document for that. An impossibly dense, confusing, and unrealistic document that cannot possibly be executed and has never been read through, much less actually exercised.

Libertarians and Conservatives are often mischaracterized (sometimes intentionally libeled) as calling for no government involvement in anything. No, that position is more accurately labeled Anarchist. Libertarians and Conservatives espouse limited government to provide a few things that are necessary to secure the liberties of the citizenry and provide for every citizen’s pursuit of happiness. You know, stuff that is good and necessary, but which no sane person would seek to do for profit. Like raise an army to provide for the national defense, or build an interstate highway system to provide for individual mobility (Reflect for a moment on what it is that makes “Easy Rider” the quintessentially American movie).

Somehow, our Founding Fathers must have understood all of this. The genius of the governing framework they devised is in how it inherently limits the powers of government. We know that because they said so.

Here’s a small sampling of quotes.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

George Washington

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.

Thomas Jefferson

There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

John Adams

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

James Madison

Americans need never fear their government because of the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.

Gouverneur Morris

Here, sir, the people govern; here they act by their immediate representatives.

Alexander Hamilton

Unfortunately, the Founding Fathers don’t seem to have envisioned the need to specifically limit the size of government. I think it went without saying for them. But, in our day, over the past 3-4 generations, we have seen the leviathan grow in size and reach to the point where it seems able to deem new powers by fiat.

That’s why, while thinking about what would make good constitutional amendments in my spare time, I have come around to believing the most useful amendments today would be ones to specifically limit the size of government. For example, capping the federal budget at some reasonable percentage of GDP sounds good - the better to control the insatiable appetite of the beast.

I’ll need to work out the Amendments discussion in my head for a future post. If any of you professional politicians out there would like to get the ball rolling on the Constitutional Convention, I might be motivated to pick up the pace on that one.
Share the genius :


  1. Here is a good place to start. Randy Barnett already took a shot at a "bill of federalism".

  2. The example of your "government experience" is the story I hear so often. Make a simple call for any simple thing - maybe to your country clerk, and the result is hours of waiting for return calls, and often the call never comes.

    I think what the Founders did not anticipate is career politicians - spending decades spinning their webs, covering their butts, fundraising and scamming the people.

    We desperately need term limits.

  3. Jethro,

    I especially like that the Bill of Federalism has precisely 10 articles. Nice touch. It's on my favorites now.


    "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

  4. Maggie,

    Yeah, I go back and forth on term limits.

    On the one hand I can see its value as a firewall. And I wouldn't stand in anybody's way if it moved forward.

    On the other hand, the flip side of denying a particular jurisdiction to vote in who they want when they want is a little distasteful.

    I've decide the real problem is a clueless citizenry. The great part about 2010 is precisely that the citizenry is waking up. What I wrestle with is who was more right - Alexander Hamilton, who basically saw the general population as an aimless mob (he's been right most of my lifetime) or Thomas Jefferson, who seemed to have more faith in the educability of the population.

    In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.
    Alexander Hamilton

    Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.

    Thomas Jefferson


    "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

  5. Proposed amendment, courtesy of Ayn Rand: "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade."

  6. Share with all of us how the Patriot Act support conservative government.

    How does spying on library records equal limited government? Listening in on phone records? Detaining citizens without cause?

    See the entire picture.

    Likewise, 'conservative' government is blocking civil rights for many people, thereby overstepping their boundaries.

    Bushie expanding government bigger than it had ever been. He was a die hard conservative in name and following.

    Explain it.

  7. @anonymous 07/09/2010: Nice Try, troll. The Bushies may have been slightly clueluess, but they were defintely at least Patriotic. That's why they could be trusted be Patriot Act powers.

    Next time, at least use a screen name dopey.


*All Reasonable Feedback Always Welcome*