Category Archives: bureaucracy and bureaucrats

Bureaucratic Endangerment

You’re a firefighter. You have dedicated your life to saving lives and helping the citizens of your community. You arrive at a location where a little child is in medical distress. The nearest ambulance is 10-15 minutes away.

What do you do?

Do you grab the kid and transport her in your fire engine to the nearest hospital, or do you say, “Hmmmmmm…. My fire engine doesn’t have the proper restrains and medications to transport a sick child to a nearby hospital. I should wait for the ambulance to arrive and watch her maybe DIE!” and do nothing?

Two Virginia firefighters were suspended recently after making the decision to help the little girl.

Captain James Kelley and Sgt. Virgil Bloom of the Falmouth Volunteer Fire Department in Fredericksburg were the first to respond to a call of a child having a seizure at an undisclosed location near a McDonald’s and took her to a nearby hospital, according to Fox 5 DC.

[…]

Kelley explained to Fox 5 DC Saturday he told the driver to turn the fire engine on because the child was in desperate need of medical care and the nearest ambulance was about 10 to 15 minutes away. He said when he asked where the nearest medic was, he received vague responses.

Regulations. Paperwork. Licenses. Bureaucratic certifications.

Where’s the common sense?

The Flint Water Crisis – Solutions not Whining

by Jonathan LaForce

Jonathan LaForce is a former Marine 0811, who deployed with 1st Battalion, 12th Marines to Helmand in 2011. He currently operates a BBQ food truck called the Aloha Snack Bar, and writes romance novels and poetry in his spare time. Cases of Dr. Pepper are always appreciated.


 

flint water

No, that’s not a bottle of urine. That’s water in Flint.

Water is an important item we all need. Every day. A question posed today by Alex Bradley, in the form of a meme asked this thought and question:

The Flint Water Crisis is now entering it’s second year. Why haven’t we seen the military step in and handle the matter? Where is the Army Corps of Engineers laying down new pipes to bring in water? Where are the filtration systems? We can invade a foreign power inside a matter of hours, so why can’t we take care of problems within our own borders?

Now, that is a very good question. And seeing as I’m something of a wordsmith when it comes to such matters, I’m going to answer all of the above.

Number 1: Landing an armed force on foreign soil (whether by sea or land) has its own logistical chain. Its purpose there is to smash and break things with violent efficiency and lethality. Nothing less will do. Suppose we’re talking about a Marine artillery battery moving across the Eastern Polish border to defend Ukraine against Russian invasion (not entirely impossible these days; Vlad Putin is at the “use it or lose it” stage).

Every single vehicle in the battery is already loaded in such a manner as to most rapidly and effectively go into a combat zone. Dismounting and fire-capping a towed Howitzer is an art and a science all at once. All the gear on board in the back end of the 7-ton truck towing that Howitzer is staged and arranged so that even with the normal jostling and bouncing of travel, it will be at hand where it is most needed for the speed and efficiency of the gun crew to get the gun up and firing. That’s what we train for all day every day. It is what we exist to do.

But our supplies are limited. We only have so much effective range and supplies. We’ve already prioritized our needs and what we can carry; there is quite literally no more room unless you’re willing to add more vehicles to the battery, which increases all sorts of variables. Because of this, there is a necessity for logistical chains and follow-on support. But even those can only carry so much food, water, bullets, beans and TP.

Operation Desert Shield began after Saddam unjustly invaded Kuwait In August 1990. At the same time, 13th Marine Expedition Unit was afloat at sea. Within five weeks, the MEU had swelled to become 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade and was fully ready to launch an amphibious assault into Kuwait. Valiant though this effort would have been, without the support of follow-on forces, the 10,000 Marines of 4th MEB would have died when they ran out supplies and munitions. In the end, six months would pass before the U.S. Army had staged enough men and material to make driving Saddam out of Kuwait a practical event.

That’s just to conquer an area. Not patrol it day and night for security purposes; not ensure that critical civilian needs are met; just to drive out Saddam’s pack of animals. And that’s with the U.S. government acting intelligently and the U.S. military in the prime of its existence after the build-up during the Reagan administration.

Number 2: Now that we’ve examined military logistics, it’s time to examine Flint. For years, the city of Flint purchased its water supply from Detroit. A significant portion of Detroit’s city budget came from Flint’s water purchase, which makes sense. Every human being needs at least 1 gallon of water per day, just for drinking – not bathing, not washing dishes, not even cooking. Just in terms of what you personally drink. When your city population is nearly 100,000 that’s a lot. How much? Let me break it down for you. If we assume that 100,000 people, consume one gallon apiece, per day, seven days per week, that’s 700,000 gallons of water. Now multiply that by 52. That would make 36,400,000 gallons of water per year. Let’s suppose Detroit charged them a rate of 2 cents per gallon: That’s $728,000 dollars annually.

The city of Flint looked at all this money flowing out from their own civic funds and said “Huh, how can we free up money to go elsewhere?” which was a smart move on the politicians’ part. The city of Flint ran the numbers and determined that if it started construction of their own water supply to feed into the existing network, it would take them 2 years, and at the end of it, they would have a net savings of $4.2 million, at a minimum. Good work so far. So the City of Flint made the announcement that they were putting up their own water system, and would no longer be dependent on Detroit when their contract ended in 2 years. They figured they would be safe.

They were wrong.

Detroit was not happy about this. Remember, Detroit enjoys the cash cow that Flint represents. Their response to Flint was to immediately cut off the water supply. Now, go check who the mayor of Detroit is. What’s his party affiliation? How long has this party been in power in Detroit?

Flint had to switch to local water supply. Governor Rick Snyder set up a crisis management team who tried to help ease the process. They checked with local environmental regulation agencies about whether the water was safe. They asked the EPA the same question, and they were told it was. Even after things started getting funky, the EPA assured them everything was okay.

And now, here we are. Filthy water in Flint, and a fat Democrat named Michael Moore is running around telling people to stop sending water to Flint. Yes, you just read that correctly. Chew on that and consider what it means while I expound upon Point Number 3.

Number 3: In the short term, a military led-convoy could make good things happen, but it would get ugly in a hurry because we have zero tolerance or respect for stupidity and jackassery. Given the mess that FEMA has proven to be, under any administration, it will probably end up being a military led, military commanded effort, which means martial law or the next best thing to it. We call the shots, and nobody argues. Or we smack them down and out of the way.

Why? Because we have a job to do, and we will not allow anything to deter us from achieving our mission.

Imagine that Corporal LaForce has a squad of Marines and he’s in charge of distributing water to a local neighborhood. Everybody gets so many bottles or jugs per household. All they have to do is come to the collection point and collect it. We’re doing things by the numbers in an organized fashion. Lines start to form. Who here likes standing in line? I don’t even like waiting in the express line in the grocery store. Now take that line and move it outside to the 30 degree weather; people are cold, people are tired, bored, cranky, grumpy. They’re sick of listening to their kids whine about being bored tired and hungry. Now we have 1,000 thirsty, hungry, grouchy people, ready to lose their heads waiting in line.

I have my standing orders, which include that Joe Six Pack does not cause trouble. Yes, we get it Mr. Six-Pack, you’re thirsty. So is everybody else here. Stand in line and wait. Because nothing goes wrong when refugees and people in desperate situations go to get supplies, right? Because there’s no reporter from MSNBC standing around with a camera looking for somebody to get stupid so he can show the very same guys handing out water as being nothing more than government thugs oppressing the poor-downtrodden people of Flint, right? MSNBC and CNN are full of professional liars who have done exactly that in Iraq and Afghanistan. Don’t think for a second they won’t do it here.

Great, we made it out of the whole mess alive and unharmed. But wait, as we’re preparing to leave, we see a local street gang charging a toll for water to the locals. This is wrong on many, many levels. Do you think Corporal LaForce is going to tolerate some two-bit punk gang member doing that? Nope. And how is it going to look on CNN when they air live footage of Corporal LaForce using a machine gun to handle street thugs? I can already see the court martial proceedings. I can already see the rest of my career going down in flames. If I’m a reservist and a business owner, my business is finished. Because CNN and MSNBC do not care about the truth, they’ll never show the people who were robbed at gunpoint before I intervened. They won’t care one iota about the truth. And while my family suffers, those stuffed shirt reporterss will go back to voting into power the very politicians who caused this mess to begin with and promoting them to the general public. That’s the reality I and every other Marine sent to do this duty would face every day for several months while the water supply got fixed.

And if we’re shipping nearly three million gallons of water each month, by truck, to Flint, think about the cost in diesel fuel to run all of that. That’s not a powder keg of trouble waiting to ignite at all, and would you care to buy this beautiful ocean front property in Arizona which I own?

Number 4: We’re not done yet, but we’re close. The Army’s engineers are very capable, talented individuals. They absolutely could set up the facilities necessary to alleviate the short term shortages, and start laying down foundations for longer-term scenarios. But guess what? Everything requires environmental impact statements, reviews, inspections, and decisions made by bureaucrats whose very livelihoods depend on the volume of paperwork they can generate. And then there’s every single environmental regulation that must be met, enforced by the very EPA who said this water was “good to drink and use” in the first place!

That engineer Captain you called up to go fix this mess is going to spend the first four months onsite spinning his thumbs. Same with his company First Sergeant, all the way on down to the lowest, most boot private in the unit (assuming he’s not busy digging a ditch because his seniors told him to). Because until the EPA actually decides to get their oh-so-precious act together, nothing can happen. It’s that simple. We have regulated even basic construction so heavily, that establishing clean drinking water is a multi-year process.

Why do you think California never bothered to build desalinization plants up and down the coast, in an effort to alleviate drought problems? Government regulated it straight out the window. Then, to really put people in a bind, they determined that the needs of the brown river smelt fish mattered more than ensuring farmers had enough water for irrigation. So farms started drying up, a la the Dust Bowl (my wife’s family owns farm land up there, and I’ve gotten to see this first hand), which meant that the California drought was not only perpetuating itself, but man-made by the very hand of the supposed environmental custodians set to protect it! Just like the government agency that was supposed to protect the citizens of Flint, Michigan failed them entirely.

In Hawaii, the state government has fought for years with the LDS church to gain control of the wells and aquifers which that private organization owns, developed, and maintains on its own dime. Why? Because until the amount of available drinking water in Hawaii is increased sufficiently, they can’t do the land developments they’d like, because there won’t be enough water to take care of the booming population. Again, why not build desalinization plants? You’d have construction crews hiring like mad, people would be getting hired and trained on how to maintain and operate these plants, the cost of water would go down (due to the surplus of water now in the system), which means that cost of living goes down and your average Hawaiian’s dollar goes a lot further. Yay! More money for Manapua and malasadas! Praise the Lord and pass the laulau!

But it doesn’t happen that way. Environmental regulations either forbid it, or make it so difficult, that no business owner in his right mind will go near the project. You would need Bill Gates’ money and army of lawyers, just to get started!

Finally, know this: It can be resolved. Yes. It can. But you have to have a certain stomach and fortitude for the rough road ahead. It won’t go away in one night. If you send Marines or Soldiers into Flint, you must expect that friction with the local populace is going to occur. You must be willing to watch American fighting men resort to physical violence on occasion to keep the peace, or prevent barbarians from harming civilized human beings. You must be willing to scrap much of the environmental regulatory code and start over, because it is entirely too cumbersome. You must be willing to stay the course, all the way from beginning to end.

Because otherwise, it will not work.

National Shame, Part II

In September I wrote about a national shame – a dishonor so profound, that I called on Americans to stand up and vocally condemn unspoken orders to our military to turn their backs on systematic abuse of young Afghan boys by repulsive adult males in power, even as children were being raped by the very people with whom we were supposed to be working and cooperating!

Today, I have to write about another stigma – a black eye on the very foundation of our nation that, as a veteran, I’m embarrassed to even broach.

“A nation is judged by how well it treats its veterans.”George Washington

You would have to have been hiding under a rock with the rest of the maggots to have missed or downright ignored the scandals that have plagued the Veterans Administration over the past few years.

Secret waiting lists that resulted in veterans dying while waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system and several other VA hospitals.

More than 300,000 veterans died while waiting for the VA to process their applications… waiting for stalled applications in the VA’s byzantine bureaucracy.

Unnecessary veteran deaths due to shoddy patient care, mismanagement, and outright incompetence.

All these stories are inexcusable, sad, infuriating, horrifying, and heartbreaking. Our nation sent these men and women to war – to get maimed both mentally and physically – and shameless, heartless bureaucrats neglect them and steal from them.

151103-House-Committee-Hearing-Diana-Rubens-Kim-GravesSuch was the case of Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves – two VA officials pernicious swamp sows – who not only didn’t do their jobs, but manipulated the system to give themselves positions with less responsibility while siphoning six-figure salaries by forcing lower-ranking regional managers to accept job transfers against their will and stole $400,000 from the VA in relocation expenses.

This is a national shame. This is fraud, waste, and abuse at some of the highest levels of government, even as the VA struggles to take care of the troops it exists to serve. And yet…

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is refusing criminal prosecution of Rubens and Graves.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said it has “referred the matter to the VA for any administrative action that is deemed appropriate.”

Administrative action? For essentially stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from America’s vets? For abusing their positions, for screwing with others’ careers by forcing them to accept job transfers against their will? For corruption? Fraud? Abuse of authority?

And worse yet, after the two corruptocrats were “demoted,” for their wrongdoing – if you can even call it that, as they were still earning six-figure salaries each – the demotion was rescinded, because someone buggered up the paperwork! These imbeciles can’t even get that right!

The lack of accountability and utter incompetence is beyond appalling.

Instead of working for the very men and women who work to defend this country, they steal from them.

Instead of helping those who have sacrificed for this nation’s safety, they profit at the veterans’ expense.

Instead of working to support the troops who come back traumatized, torn apart, maimed, and emotionally wrecked, these two odious, arrogant gargoyles sat around on their cellulite addled asses and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from America’s taxpayers.

The rot and corruption at the agency that is tasked with taking care of our veterans is reprehensible, and the government’s refusal to hold these and other crooked reprobates at the VA accountable is inexcusable. The fact that they still have jobs is appalling, and since the US Attorney’s Office is refusing to prosecute these two toads, chances are they will be issued an administrative slap on the wrist and allowed to quietly retire with all their benefits.

Is it any wonder Americans are sick and tired of their unresponsive, unaccountable government? Is it any wonder government bureaucrats are a national (extremely unfunny) joke?

They are stealing from American veterans, and they are stealing from the American people. They are a disgrace, as is the entire VA for doing nothing and continuing to pay these two malignant warts on the ass of humanity!

“I’m no hero.”

No, you’re not, Kim Davis.

I know, I’m breaking my own self-imposed rule by writing about this toad, but considering she has been screeching in the media about how she’s all victimy and stuff, I figured I’d clear up a few things.

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis says marriage licenses are being issued in Rowan County without her authority and she wants her name and title removed.

And when the deputy clerks issue licenses with her name removed, this entitled bitch says, “uh-uh!” The licenses may not be valid without her signature.

She would object to the documents noting that they come from the office “Rowan County Clerk,” and she would also want an official declaration from the court that the licenses aren’t being issued under her authority.

So, translation: I am the Clerk. I refuse to resign, because I’m entitled to my job and my $80,000/year salary. But I refuse to have legal documents issued under my authority, but I won’t resign and allow others to issue them under theirs.

Essentially, she’s holding the issue hostage.

But… But… But… HER RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!!!

Now, y’all know I’ve defended Christians and their right to hold their beliefs. My stance on churches performing gay marriages has always been and remains that any church should be free to deny or perform the religious ceremony for gay couples (much like any baker, photographer, etc. as a private citizen should have the right to deny any client for any reason, no matter how ignorant), and any congregants who disagree with their church’s actions on the issue can find a new place of worship. Everyone wins. No government interference. The church officials follow their own consciences on the issue, and the worshipers do as well.

This, however, has nothing to do with this toad’s religious freedom, and here’s why:

As the County Clerk, she is the government. She is part of said government. She is required to issue legal documents. Note, these licenses are not religious documents. They are legal ones. No one is asking her to approve of the union. No one is asking her to perform a religious ceremony. She is required – as part of her job – to issue legal documents to people – people who pay her $80,000 salary. If she cannot in good conscience do her job, she should resign.

But… But… But… Kentucky passed an amendment to its state constitution banning gay marriages and unions, and 10th Amendment!

Well, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids states from denying “to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” By using her authority as Clerk, Davis is doing exactly that. Gays are persons. They are also taxpayers who pay her salary. She is denying them equal protection under the law, as is the Kentucky State Constitution. And she is doing so, even as she draws her salary from them.

But… but… but… putting her name on a license signifies her endorsement of gay marriage, and therefore violates her religious freedom!

No, it doesn’t. It is not a religious act she is being asked to perform, and even though the Kentucky State Constitution defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman,

As the Court has already pointed out, Davis is simply being asked to signify that couples meet the legal requirements to marry. The State is not asking her to condone same-sex unions on moral or religious grounds, nor is it restricting her from engaging in a variety of religious activities.

Surprisingly, the Washington Post analysis I cited above actually supports Davis’ view and says if she believes “that it’s religiously wrong for her to issue licenses with her name on them, ordering her to do that indeed burdens her religious beliefs, enough to trigger the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. And giving her the more modest exemption from the include-the-court-clerk’s-name requirement might therefore indeed be required by the Kentucky RFRA.” The only problem with this is that if her name is removed as the clerk, then the licenses issues may very well be invalid, and once again, she is holding the process hostage to her religious beliefs.

Look, there are some complex legal issues here, and no one is denying this. This is one reason why government involvement in marriage is such a ridiculous idea, and why I’m a huge proponent of getting the government – whether federal or state – out of the issue altogether.

People who want to spend their lives together should be free to do so. They should be free to leave their estates to one another. They should be free to have children together and raise them with love and care. They should be able to visit one another in the hospital without showing a state-issued marriage certificate, and they should certainly be able to receive the flag from the casket of their loved one when said loved one is killed in action!

No one should be forced – and yes, government is force – to perform a religious ceremony, bake a cake, take wedding photographs, or create wedding bands for any ceremony they find religiously objectionable.

But to turn the tables, no government official – and make no mistake, that Davis toad is a government official – should have the right to deny equal treatment under the law to any taxpayer, thereby imposing their religious beliefs on said taxpayers by refusing to step down, since legally it might be that she’s the only one who is authorized by law to sign those legal documents. What she is saying is, “I will not sign these legal documents. I will not allow my name to be on them. But I won’t step aside and allow anyone else’s name to be on them either.”

As I said, it’s not about her religious freedom. It’s about everyone else’s right to be free from her religious views.

If this toad had any integrity at all, she would turn down the $80,000 salary paid by the taxpayers, that includes gay ones. But no… she’s fine with taking their tax dollars, but not fine with providing to them the services she was hired to provide?

Nope. Unacceptable. Unacceptable morally and ethically. And hypocritical to boot!

No, she is not a martyr.

No, she is not a hero.

No, she cannot be compared to Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. or any other civil rights hero, because she is using her government office to deny equal treatment under the law to consenting adults wishing to spend their lives together, and she is hiding behind her religion. Sorry. NO-GO! She’s not fighting for religious rights. Her religious rights have not been violated, unless you consider her right to hold a government job and draw an $80,000 salary paid by the taxpayers a “right,” in which case, please just STAHP TALKING! No, she is not being punished for her religious beliefs. She is free to hold them. She is free to exercise them. She is free to worship as she pleases and to interpret her Bible in any way she wishes. What is is not free to do is use her government office to deny equal protections under the law to the very taxpayers who pay her fucking salary!

She is being punished for refusing to do her job, to which she doesn’t have a right. Get over it. This toad is no Rosa Parks.

As you can tell, I don’t think much of her as a person. I think she’s an attention whore. I think she’s a selfish twat, who if she had any integrity at all, would leave that cushy government job if she believed that something as simple as putting her name on a legal document (NOT A RELIGIOUS DOCUMENT) violates her religious beliefs.

I know plenty of religious people who believe marriage should be only between a man and a woman. I may not agree with them, but I’m not religious, so that’s understandable. They should be free to hold those beliefs without governments penalizing them. They should be free to decline to perform a religious ceremony if it violates their beliefs. They should be free to decline to participate in said ceremony, if it violates their beliefs.

But what they are not and should not be free to do is deny others equal treatment under the law if they are government officials. And that is exactly what Davis is trying to do, while hiding behind her “I’m a religious person” shield!

You may differ with me on the assessment. You may even know more about the law than I do. I freely admit I’m not a lawyer. I also freely admit, my amateur legal assessment may be off. That said, what is NOT off is my assessment that for Davis to refuse to treat all taxpayers equally while gleefully taking home a rather large paycheck funded by them is immoral and unethical. Bakers who refuse to cater gay weddings don’t take money from gay couples to whom they refuse to provide a service. Same with photographers, and any other private companies that refuse to make that a part of their services. Kim Davis still draws that salary from taxpayers, while refusing to provide them with the services for which they pay, and refusing to step aside and allow another government official to do so. That makes her a hypocritical toad in my book.

Have fun trying to convince me otherwise.

How will this affect investment?

Industry thrives on investment. Individuals who back companies with their earnings and help them grow, allow companies to expand, create jobs, create wealth and produce.

So does anyone think that an extra 3.8 percent surtax on investment income and capital gains in order to pay for the politicians’ health care takeover just might affect investment?

And how much will it cost to expand the bureaucracy in order to enforce and clarify the mess ObamaCare has foisted upon us?

The tax applies to a broad range of investment securities ranging from stocks and bonds to commodity securities and specialized derivatives.

The 159 pages of rules spell out when the tax applies to trusts and annuities, as well as to individual securities traders.

Released late on Friday, the new regulations include a 0.9 percent healthcare tax on wages for high-income individuals.

Gee! Only 159 pages of rules to clarify one portion of the several thousand-page new law?

Gird your loins, America. It’s just the beginning.

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