November 18, 2017

Where Sheep May Safely Graze…in Northern Virginia

Woodrow Wilson's sheep grazing on White House lawn to reduce grounds keeping costs during World War I, c. 1917. Source: Library of Congress (digital. id. hec.10788)
Woodrow Wilson's sheep grazing on White House lawn to reduce grounds keeping costs during World War I, c. 1917. Source: Library of Congress (digital. id. hec.10788)

Vassar Bushmills

On the occasion of the Democratic Party sweep of Virginia, I want to once again remind readers of one very salient fact:

Bureaucracy Kills

And at the heart of the changing demographics in Virginia has been the expanding growth of the federal bureaucracy the past 35 years, spilling over the river from the District of Columbia into the abutting northern Virginia and south-central Maryland counties.

There is much the Republican Party could have done to thwart this for years, only, as it seems clear now, the national GOP have benefited from the existence of these several hundred thousands of additional federal employees. In short, the federal bureaucracy is the Congress’ primary constituency, a fact Ronald Reagan recognized when he realized he could do very little about it without strong backing from Republicans with strong backs in the Congress …which it appears, in nature, doesn’t really exist. (Reagan said not attending to the bureaucracy was one of his greatest regrets.)

In Virginia and Maryland this demographic has become dangerous, since, in Art 1, Sec 8, the District was established to house the people who would work for the federal government, so as to deny them electoral power because of that special relationship they would have with their paymasters.

In looking at their growth from 1980 to 2000, the bulk of it was made up of people who worked for government, but during Obama, much of that growth was extended to “those who work for those who work for government” i.e, domestic labor.

Much of it illegal.

Only in Virginia they also seem to vote, and are even encouraged to. The institutional barriers to illegals not voting seem to be falling down because they have come to believe they have a right to vote, and are backed by a strong base inside the Democrat Party and the Left’s political establishment that they should be allowed to do so.

What we know from illegal voting practices over the decades is that the most difficult scheme to detect is the one in which everyone involved in the voting process, top to bottom, are in on the scam. In Philadelphia in 2012 all they needed was to station a few member of the Shabazz New Black Panthers outside the polling place, daring poll watchers to come in and observe and the site was secured. Then, the DOJ lost a fine attorney when Eric Holder refused to allow him to indict and prosecute those gangsters, establishing a legal precedent of sorts, by signaling that “special rules of voting sometimes apply”.

Special rules appear to also apply when, in undeclared sanctuary cities, such as northern Virginia, the entire Democrat Party apparatus believes, top to bottom, that illegals should be legal and that all immigrants should be allowed to vote. With thinking like that it’s easy to fill a precinct station with true-blue believers, employing the Holder-Obama’s special-rules-apply dicta. Such structures are hard to detect or beat.

Situation Analysis

This situation provides the justification for the president to resort to extraordinary measures to reduce the problem, at least until a new kind of Congress can be elected to then start undoing bureaucratic empowerment legislatively. This current Congress is incapable of doing that at any time, while a more ambitious Congress would require years, all the while allowing the death toll to rise.

Unilaterally removing 100,000-200,000 bureaucrats and their hired help from the voter pool would actually speed that process of cleansing along.

Bureaucracies Kill: The Reno Rule

Bureaucracies operate under an internal guiding principle that insures the risk of loss of life, serious injury, or great financial loss on the simple notion that they know the chances that any blame will come back on the acting bureaucrats individually are almost nil. No one is ever held personally or publically accountable.

This is not that law prevents it, but is according to administrative dicta going back to the ancient Persians. I like to call this most recent iteration the Reno Rule (below).

I shouldn’t have to go any further than the deaths of 26 churchgoers in Texas to prove what a simple oversight, or mishandling of a single piece of paper, that caused a criminal conviction in an Air Force court-martial not to be recorded in an FBI date base, so that the killer was able to buy guns he was not legally able to do. A clerical error.

But the same thing happened when Dylann Roof was able to purchase a handgun in South Carolina because the FBI had mis-posted a mental health declaration, allowing him to buy a gun and kill nine churchgoers in Charleston. This event widens the conversation about the state of “process management” for not only criminals, but the mentally ill in state and federal mental health systems, since a young Korean who should have been mentally restrained but for some mis-placed paperwork, was able to get a gun and kill 35 at Virginia Tech in 2007.

I doubt anyone in government has performed a statistical analysis as to the mathematical probabilities of death due to government (fill in the blanks) ineptitude, mishandling, indifference, left in the back seat of the car (where an amazing number of officer’s firearms have been stolen) mainly because almost never is personal responsibility attached to the final outcome. Almost no one is ever been reprimanded, demoted or fired, much less sent to prison for what is clearly “negligent homicide”.

In modern times, that’s because of the Reno Rule.

Janet Reno declared at the Branch Davidian-Waco hearings in 1993; Those 76 deaths were not due to human error, but process…and the process errors would be corrected. (And don’t forget, a residual cost were the lives of another 168 citizens who died at Oklahoma City in 1995 to avenge these “deaths-by-process” at Waco.)

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No really. She said that. Although a few FBI officers were reassigned, none lost their jobs. So in light of such leniency for mass killings, it’s easy to understand why only a few ATF agents were reassigned after only one American, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, was killed with a gun sold through a failed (or hoaxed) Fast and Furious program (2009-2011) concocted by yet another Attorney General, Eric Holder. (Using Democrat Party math, I’m ignoring the 50 or more Mexican citizens also killed by those guns, but on the other side of the border, where it seems, innocent Mexican lives matter much less than here.)

The rule, then, established in the Clinton Administration, is that when government kills, Process not People are held accountable. Blame the system, not the actors.

Example: The high number of deaths in the Veterans (VA)  system, at least a few thousand, but unknown since so many died awaiting an appointment to even see a doctor, the snoozing schedulers (not a health care professional among them) were mainly sent into early retirement because of this mass murder-by-indifference.

The Reno Rule is still the operational rule in government.

But compare when a US Airways pilot named Sullenberger ditched his aircraft into the Hudson River shortly after take-off in 2009, thus saving all 155 of his passengers and crew.

Still Sully and his co-pilot were presumed guilty of pilot error…because in saving those lives he had lost an umpteen-million dollar aircraft. And… the “process manual” (my terminology) stated that he should have been able to fly the aircraft back to LaGuardia.

In the resulting hearings Sully proved he couldn’t have turned back and made the life-saving choice properly.

He was exonerated, but the industry rule of criticality remains intact: When a plane goes down and there is loss of life, short of a bomb or missile, the default guilty party is always human error unless there is overwhelming proof to the contrary.

This is the standard which should apply when citizens dies at the hands of bureaucracy, but instead, the standard is the just-cited Reno Rule of Government Accountability. It is always the system’s fault.

How many people have died, or been raped, or robbed, because a city police department allowed an illegal to go free with an outstanding ICE warrant, intentionally or indifferently, but which led to the murder of a Kate Steinle. SF police officers, believe it or not, feel righteous for having allowed that to happen

How many people have died because of Obamacare, beginning with, first, they couldn’t afford it, and ending with the fact that face-to-face consultation, diagnosis, and treatment result in far less death than when that same process occurs via video-and-phone consultation with medical teams who work directly for the insurers, as is increasingly the case.

Today 155 people can safely put their entire trust in the capabilities of two, only two, persons, pilot and co-pilot, if being carried by an aircraft that has so many fail-safe systems that only a catastrophic outside agency can bring it down, be it bomb, Canada geese, or missile. But government-caused catastrophes to citizens in increments of 26, 9, 15, 35, 68, and 1 a thousand times over each year, are blameless because of processes that are designed to insure that no personal accountability ever attaches to a government employee.

But as we all know, no process can ever be designed involving so many human players interacting as found in the federal bureaucracy as found in the daily operation of a commercial aircraft. But if federal employees come to work each day staring the fact in the face that they will be held personally accountable for the damage they cause, instead of the current Reno Rule that exonerates them, the deaths-by-slipshod will diminish considerably. Since environmental impact statements are required for just about every piece of dirt that is turned over, we should at least impose citizen-impact statements for process management in government, and proceed accordingly with establishing levels of criticality.

The only way to mitigate this threat is to reduce the number of state interactions with people, and provide higher levels of quality oversight for those with certain levels of criticality involved. Insuring criminal records are recorded in FBI data bases are just such criticalities. Allowing people to vote who can’t speak English or are illiterate would be another.

Generally, reduce the importance of the role of government in Americans’ lives and you reduce the size of government and its power at the ballot box. Or to kill.

Start by bringing pay scales back to how they had been in the 1980s, when pay alone reminded government employees of their status vis a vis the people, their employers.

In the 1980s, when I was in industry, our factories had regular visits from OSHA inspectors. They interfaced with a Safety Director at each plant, whose principal job, next to keeping the plant in safe running order, was to interface with the OSHA inspector, and prove compliance with federal safety rules by producing a ream of forms required each month.

Our safety directors, very few of who were college graduates, were paid approximately 10%-15% more than the OSHA people, most of whom were college grads.  So most would have given their eye teeth for the position of our safety director.

But by the end of the Clinton years, 2000, while all of our plants had been closed, the jobs sent to Mexico thanks to NAFTA, no direct comparison could be made, but federal inspectors pay had raised to about 20% above what private sector counterparts were earning elsewhere in industry. And a change in attitude toward the company changed with it.

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This shift fit a world-wide model, for even diluted forms of leftism despised the notion that the private sector middle class could out-earn their federal counterparts. In fact, America is (was) the only country in the world to allow that. What has stifled economic growth in all the world has been that single notion that the only genuine middle class in a country had to originate at the federal level.

In America that has largely become a fait accompli by the end of the Obama era. Obamacare decimated the private sector small business class, by design, and created hundreds of thousand of new jobs in the state class, who, along with their families can be relied to vote exclusively for the hand that feeds them.

Bureaucratic triage

As we’ve known for years, and Herman Cain promised to try to do, (it requires Congress) many departments of government should simply be done away with. The Department of Education and the Department of Energy are high among them. Almost all can (should) be reorganized and downsized, beginning with the lawyer-side of the agency, who both write regulations and control compliance.

As we learned when I was a law clerk in a state mining regulatory agency in the late 6s, before EPA, there are two missions, one eternal, which records the “state of the environment” whether water or air quality, and whether current laws are being obeyed, such as the duties OSHA inspectors carried out. These “science missions” deal with measured data, from pH to amounts of sediment in streams in ppm. That sort of thing. Every day or every week someone has to go out and take those measurements. It never ends.

The other mission is temporary. If polluters are out-of-compliance with state rules we used legal and administrative means to bring them back into compliance. We rarely sued. A simple Notice usually fixed things So once they are in compliance there is nothing left to do. We had one attorney and one clerk (me) to take care of about 60 coal counties, and we still had time to play golf.

The other half of the temporary mission is rule-making, which in 1969-1970 we didn’t do. We sent over recommendations to be submitted to the General Assembly. This was also the way federal environmental law was enacted until the EPA was formed in 1970 and supporting legislation in 1971. I left state government then, when I graduated from law school, went into the Army, but revisited the state capital in 1975, when I returned to the United States

Instead of one attorney, a whole floor had been dedicated in a new state office building, where was housed not the Department of Natural Resources but the Legal Division of the Dept of Natural Resources. Compliance and Rule-Making had become perpetual missions of the state, employing hundreds to do (no better) than what a single 6-office annex overseeing Strip Mining, Water, Forestry, each with a Director and a secretary and one Attorney with a clerk (me) had been able to do for forty years.

As we know from EPA, it is in the nature of rule-making lawyers to protect their jobs by writing new rules. To turn their temporary mission into an eternal mission. That’s what bureaucrats do.

Of course, President Trump knows this. He knows we not only can safely reduce the mission of all our agencies by 20%, but America will be infinitely better off if we do.

And sheep may be able to safely graze in Northern Virginia again.

Without the help of Congress, I recommend a kind of bureaucratic triage in the federal government, where, by reducing the force (RIF) the president can force agency departments to merge missions, or priortize them, much like city police departments do when met with multiple missions and limited resources to deal with them. There are times cops just can’t clean the streets of hookers, or bust every dime-bag peddler. Or even any. Not when 7-11’s are being robbed at gunpoint.

Some cities and states are better at this than others, and it shows with number and types of shooting incidents. Donald Trump can’t fix Chicago, Baltimore or New York’s crime problems, but he can

These things trickle down.

Bureaucracy Kills

Connecting the top and the bottom, this is not about securing northern Virginia for Republicans. I’m not a Republican,  and besides, believe they deserve very few districts in America these days. But Americans do not deserve federal employees swinging any state or district in the favor of their paymasters. Right now northern Virginia is a satrapy of the federal government. So is south-central Maryland. For all intents and purposes they control two seats in the House of Representatives and are the swing counties for at least one governorship.

But politics aside, they also kill. And at a rate much higher than we would allow in any commercial industry. And they kill because it is designed in the system that should be able to kill, and get away with it.

About Puma ByDesign 318 Articles
Unhyphenated American female, born and raised in the Empire State and who like most New Yorkers, in spite of being a registered Democrat, I voted for the candidate, not the party which meant voting often across party lines throughout the years. In 2008, coming to terms once and for all with the fact that Democrats and I had nothing in common, I left the liberal cesspool forever. Of course, I now have a grudge to settle after decades of being lied to and so I blog to right the wrongs and expose the lies.

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