forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
"Governments should be results-oriented--guided not by process but guided by performance. There comes a time when every program must be judged either a success or a failure. Where we find success, we should repeat it, share it, and make it the standard. And where we find failure, we must call it by its name. Government action that fails in its purpose must be reformed or ended."
- George W Bush campaign speech, 2000

Bush2 was all about eliminating was and efficiency by making government more results-driven. The use of performance data to make budgetary and programmatic decisions became the foundatiion of his President's Management Agenda (PMA), which was really the conservative ideological blueprint for improving the management performance of the bureaucracy. It's main tenets were:
1) strategic management of human capital
2) competitive sourcing through extensive use of privatization
3) improved financial performance
4) expanded electronic government
5) budget and performance integration; budget expansion, maintenance, and detraction would be completely dependent on performance for the previous year.

Contrast this with Clinton's National Performance Review (NPR), which had the following tenets:
1) employee empowerment
2) restructurement and avoiding privatization
3) performance budgeting
4) enhanced use of information technology
5) identify performance goals and set customer service standards

Sound just about the same, right? Wrong. The NPR and PMA were two entirely different animals, constructed with completely opposed ideologies. Here's a break-down by the numbers:

#1: The PMA's interpretation of "strategic management of human capital" was interpreted by Bush2 and his administration as top-down management of employees, with little-to-no decision-making on the part of the employees of the bureaucracy. Clinton's "employee empowerment", on the other hand, put considerable latitude on how things would be run in the hands of those same employees.

#2: Speaks for itself. Bush favored privatization, Clinton favored reinvention and modification.

#3: Clinton's NPR issued budgets based on how well the division was performing. The more performance goals reached, the larger the budget available would be. Thus, employees had a high incentive from top-down to make sure that performance goals were met. Bush2's PMA was strictly financial in design; make everything run the same way, just cheaper. Increase workloads, keep the pay the same. Etc, etc. There was no relation to performance.

#4: This is the only point in the plan that is the same. This created the e-government items we have today.

#5: Clinton's NPR dictated that an agency or department should formulate it's performance goals, determine the standards of customer service that should be provided, and then attempt to reach them. Bush2's PMA changed this; public agencies became managed like corporate departments. Customer service numbers aren't met? Time to fire people! This differed from the NPR #3 as budget expansions were offered to those who managed to do things like double workloads or reduce headcount by 10%, as opposed to actually rewarding those who met performance goals.

The results clearly speak for themselves:

Clinton's NPR: Levels of service provided by government were at an all-time high. Size of the government bureaucracy decreased to 60% of the levels of the Reagan years. Efficiency was at its highest level since the founding of the USA. Spending on public administration programs declined dramatically, as the efficiency led to less wastage.

Bush2's PMA: The size of the bureaucracy TRIPLED. Efficiency levels declined dramatically as outsourcing and privatization led to communications breakdowns and failure to deliver. Customer service levels declined precipitously. The amount of federal spending and public debt increased more than under any other president since Franklin D Roosevelt in the 1940s.

Here's something else; the tenets of the Bush2 PMA are still the tenets of conservatives today, regardless of whether they are mainstream Republican, fiscal conservatives, or social conservatives. My question is, how are they going to make those tenets work when they have failed so badly so far?

Pro-tip: Obama uses the PMA tenets, not the NPR tenets. More proof that he's really a centrist rather than a liberal.
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
In fact, let me do this for ya'll. Most of you don't know how much money can be made out of prisons and prisoners. Let's see about informing you. This was originally laid out by a friend of mine, so I preserve the link order.

Here's the original bit that I just posted: Efforts to replace immigrant workers in Alabama fields coming up short. The headline is self-explanatory. Basically, the people who are willing to work the crap field jobs? Don't have the strength, stamina, or speed to work them.

A four-person crew of immigrant workers can pick and box more than 250 crates of tomatoes in a day, Spencer said, or enough for each person on the crew to earn about $150 at the height of the harvest.

A 25-person team of citizens recently picked and processed about 200 boxes in a day, he said, earning each member only $24. Spencer said the people weren't in good enough physical condition to work harder or longer hours and typically gave up when faced with acre after acre of tomato plants ready to be picked.


The Alabama government brosefs are in denial, though.

Next up? Now read this: Alabama immigration law could push federal government in new direction

And this: A boom behind bars: Private jail operators are making millions off the crackdown on illegal aliens

Got all that? Don't know who CCA is and the main players for the whole prison-for-profit thing? Read up:

Corrections Corporation of America
Perhsing Square Capital Management
Bill Ackman

Where does that all lead to? It leads to this: Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law

It was last December at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. Inside, there was a meeting of a secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Insiders call it ALEC.

It's a membership organization of state legislators and powerful corporations and associations, such as the tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., ExxonMobil and the National Rifle Association. Another member is the billion-dollar Corrections Corporation of America — the largest private prison company in the country.


...

The law could send hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to prison in a way never done before. And it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in profits to private prison companies responsible for housing them.

Not that there's any need for this legislation if you live in one of the Constitution-free zones.

And last, for emphasis, keep in mind the lobbying efforts of CCA.

Now draw your own conclusions.
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
Bachmann: "I'm going to tax the rich!" Only because she hasn't done her homework... again.

Apparently Massachusetts likes Romneycare very much, and he's now using it as a campaign platform.
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
This is the most asinine series of statements I've ever seen. How the fuck can you assign the attribute of "bad" to an object if you can't even articulate what "good" would be when applied to the object? This isn't about Good or Evil, this is about "This brand of cola is BAD. This other brand is good cola." You can't complain about how RC Cola is shit if you can't even tell if Coca-Cola or Pepsi is any good. Or what good cola would taste like at all.

Also, what type of fucking moron do you have to be in order to FAIL at knowing what would be good to have in the object instead of bad? Even if it's as simple as the ABSENCE of said object?

All I can conclude is that [profile] badlydrawnjeff doesn't want to say what he really feels, that ALL regulation is completely bad and needs to be done away with. Probably because then he'll be hit by historical data about how regulation is not completely bad and does actually improve things, and he doesn't want to admit that.

Either that or he's a complete fucking moron who doesn't actually deserve that degree he supposedly slaved for.
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
Fact-checking Occupy Wall Street claims: all correct so far. But no, no, it's all socialist drivel, don't listen to those commies.
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
GE CEO Immelt Admits Corporate Tax Holidays Don’t Create Jobs, But Says We Should Have One Anyway

To quote a friend of mine: "So, let me digest this. It didn't work last time. You say you don't have any reason to believe it would work differently this time. It actually made things worse last time for it's stated goal, but made more money for corporations who stashed money overseas.

Now you want us to do it again. Because, hey, maybe it'll be different this time.

Hey, Lucy, I'm not going to try to kick that football anymore."
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
For instance, less than 60 years ago, mixed racial unions were illegal in most of the states in the United States and other White nations. But now, they are tolerated as being supposedly within God’s plan. Under the influence and promotion of the Jewish-Masonic-Papal-Communist/Socialist controlled governments and media, Western Christianity has succumbed to the approval of race mixing, and we will be looking at what is behind this. The Bible abounds with evidence of God’s clear will that the races be separate in every way. “Answers in Genesis” mould all its answers around Judeo-Christian doctrines and traditions, and claims a different basis and definition of “race” from that which the Bible gives. Furthermore, there is evidence of Jewish Talmudic sources, or of what the Apostle Paul calls “Jewish fables”.

- Pastor Don Elmore, Fellowship of God's Covenant People


=====

I don't believe I could recommend this as a strategy for most men, but it is surely educational to learn that raping and killing a woman is demonstrably more attractive to women than behaving like a gentleman. And women, before all the inevitable snowflaking commences, please note that there is absolutely nothing to argue about here. It is an established empirical fact.

I would go so far to argue that if you are being introduced to a woman you find attractive, she will be more attracted to you if you slap her in the face without warning and walk away without explanation than if you smile and tell her that you are very pleased to meet her. Now this, being a mere hypothesis, can be argued. And tested, if you're feeling especially scientific this weekend.

- Vox Day, Vox Populi Blog
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
An article from Breitbart's Big Government is Costa Rica: Libertarian Paradise? In it, a supposed letter from a Costa Rican pal of the piece's author lauds the libertarian virtues of Costa Rica and then goes to list things about the country. I reproduce the relevant part here:

By the way, there are no unions here. Malpractice insurance does not exist. And if you bring a ridiculous case to court, you lose your law license.
Are there downsides? Sure.
Super-low income taxes (11% corporate, ZERO percent personals).
Flat consumption tax on everything, no exceptions…but no IRS, either.
Very little government, which means few cops and firemen.
Few cops means the Second Amendment is alive and real here!
Few firemen, but in earthquake country, all the houses here are built of solid concrete.
There is no military, so no defense.
Bumpy roads, since the gas tax is so low. Then again, America has potholes, too.
Court system is slow, but so is ours, and we have tons of taxes.
Crappy jails, but then again, jail should suck.
No road signs, but GPS is cheap.
No sidewalks, but no one cares.

It’s hard to point to truly “bad” things about Costa Rica. Unless you think it’s “bad” that it doesn’t have these things:
No welfare
No unemployment compensation
No Social Security or Disability
No food stamps
No free housing
No free anything
Poor people go to school in church schools, which run off donations, and people help each other here.


I don't know what part of Costa Rica this guy lives in, but he's full of shit.
- Malpractice insurance does exist, as it is required to practice medicine under the rather-socialist universal health care system run by the government in Costa Rica.
- Unions do exist in Costa Rica.
- Income taxes on individuals do exist. They are 10% on anyone who makes $363,000 or over.
- But that only applies to citizens. Expats from the USA? Many, many taxes. Especially on things like stock dividends, inheritances, and so on.
- Do they have their own IRS? No. Do they allow the US IRS free play there? Yes.
- They have plenty of damn police. The Public Force, as they are called, is operated by the Ministry of Public Security.
- Only citizens and permanent residents may own firearms and then only if licensed. All firearm owners MUST be fingerprinted, no exceptions. 2-3 month waiting period.
- The government has increased taxes in order to develop infrastructure. Like roads. And sidewalks.
- And boy howdy, they DO have Social Security, universal health care, mandatory public education, disability, welfare, unemployment compensation, food stamps, and housing. The Costa Rica welfare state is one of the best developed in the hemisphere and makes us look like pikers.

Looks like someone is feeding Breitbart's pal a line of bull.
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)


I would like to point something out here: This is how capitalism is supposed to work. You fight and consume and merge and consolidate until you are the last person standing, until you own all the property. That's how you play the game.

Anyone who says otherwise is just lying.
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
Shortages Lead Doctors To Ration Critical Drugs

Sounds awful, right? Probably the result of too much regulation, I would imagine our "absolutely free market" proponents would say. Guess again:



Fascinating. And what is the FDA doing about these shortages?

Well, nothing actually. It has no regulatory capacity to do a damn thing about these shortages or to tell the manufacturers to do anything about them, so all you uberfrei market proponents can just kind of shut up now. :D This is ALL on the manufacturers. And the manufacturers aren't interested in doing anything about it, either - after all, if they can artificially restrict supply, then resulting demand will allow them to charge whatever they damn well feel like. And if you don't want to die, you will pay it.

Fun stuff. We'll have to see if the Preserving Access to Life-Saving Medications Act can get passed, since the manufacturers aren't interested in doing shit.

(And really, why would the manufacturers do anything? They're in this to make money. They don't care if people die.)
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)


I wonder how [profile] melvin_udall, [profile] kharmii, [profile] badlydrawnjeff, and a score of others would measure.
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
"Do not obliviate me!" wept the muggle.

"You will be oblivated," said Lucius.

I watched this exchange. Truly, I believed the muggle would be obliviated. It was a muggle, and in the Wizarding World it had no rights. Perhaps in the Muggle World, in its permissive society, which distorts the true roles of all beings, which forces both muggle and magic-user to go unhappy and constrained, which forbids the fulfillment of wizard and magicless, such might not happen. Perhaps there, it would not be obliviated. But it was in the Wizarding World now, and would undoubtedly feel its true place, that of muggle. It was muggle. It would be obliviated at will. Such is the way with muggles.
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
I'm rather boggled. Gathered from some friends elsewhere:

overheard at my office today, no joke:

[President of small company going down the tubes]:
Would it be illegal just to send a bunch of invoices out for work we didn't do? I mean if the amount is small enough it might just fly under the radar and people might pay it.

[New PT bookkeeper who is probably already sleeping with president]:
I don't think it's illegal, probably not ethical.

[President]: Let's try it.


To be honest, this matches most of my experiences with small businesses, especially in the field of IT.
And HVAC.
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
And it turns out, the whole reason for the power grab by the so-called Transhuman Alliance? It's just for the oil reserves on Venus. No, I shit you not. That's the whole reason. Sad.
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
First order of the day after getting to work and getting the bullshit squared away was prepping the new laptop. Sequence follows: Booted, ensured updates complete. Verified. DL/Install Firefox and Thunderbird, kill IE and Windows MP. Transfer profile from netbook to laptop and install in Thunderbird. A-OK, extensions all operative, proceeded with download from account.

Now for email. First, the email due to NK, because that's of primary importance to me. And then, I have to deal with the situation that's developed in the world of the TSA

Oh Lord. For those that don't know, I play a political nation-state game wherein I am the small tiny country of Uruguay. Except in this world, Uruguay became rational and atheist in the late 1800s and renamed itself the Technological-Scientific Alliance (TSA). Welcome to the world's first atheist technocratic state.

Since I've decided not to be a warmonger, I've been quietly going along, developing technology and becoming the Switzerland of the world. Now, I'm having to get involved in what will turn out to be World War 3, all due to the goddamn United States. No, not the United States of America - just the United States. What's the difference?

After the conclusion of World War 1 against the Bloody Red Queen, Victoria, the USA found itself the owner of Canada and several Pacific islands. Renaming itself via Amendment to the United States, the Republican Administration under Lincoln began the Purification to punish the slave revolts that had been funded by the former British Empire. This resulted in a mass exodus of slaves to the Caribbean; by the end, all non-Caucasian races had been exterminated in all lands above the Rio Grande. [0]

On completion of the Purification, the US began to be dominated by the Democratic Party, who eschewed the racial ideology of the Republicans. Instead, the Democrats had a far better goal: the "liberation" of all non-US countries, one by one. The Freedomization Campaign was brutal; a country would be invaded and its citizens would be forced to participate in an election. The choices were join the US as a state or remain independent. Those who voted for independence would be remanded into Freedom Education Camps and the country would be assimilated as a state of the US. A few South American countries fell to this, until the Free American Republic [1], the Western Republic [2], the Empire of Brazil, the TSA [3], and the South American Union [4] formed the Latin American League and said "Fuck off." The US then turned its attention to Africa, dominated by the Dominion of the Draka and the Islamic Sultanate.

Well, in 1931 (last turn), all that ended. Dissatisfied with the taxes imposed by the war costs, the Republicans were swept back into power for the first time in 40 years. The result? Cessation of hostilities with the Draka and Sultanate. Worse?
Alliance with the Martian Empire [5] and Imperial Prussia, currently dominated by the Nazi Party. War was subsequently declared on the Theocratic Kingdom of Italy, the French Empire, the British Republic, and the Empire of Japan. All space colonies held by those powers were overrun. The US, Nazis, and Martians are declaring themselves to be the Transhuman Alliance and that the world will be "Freedomized and liberated".

This has caused all of us down in South America to be, well, slightly more than fed up with the Gringo of the North. We can't use WMDs currently developed [6] to stop the US aggression due to the effective space blockade put up by the US and Imperial Prussia. So now we're pitching in together to quickly develop a new technology for weapons use...the Latin Bomba. Also known as ATOMICS.

It's just a pain in the ass. WW3 is going to end in tears.

[0] The only good thing that came out of this was the formation of the Free American Republic, which united all of the Caribbean together in a single nation. They are currently a member in good standing of the Latin American Alliance.
[1] Caribbean
[2] Mexico and Colombia
[3] me, Uruguay
[4] Pretty much all of Venezuela, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina
[5] In this game, the luminiferous aether is fact. Mars has been inhabited for millennia. After overthrowing the theocracy, Mars has formed a new aggressive empire. We're all zooming around the inner solar system with Tesla-powered etherships.
[6] We grab asteroids from the belt, tow them by ethership, and drop them on nations.
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
It appears they're going to avert the default after all. I am terribly disappointed; I like my conflagrations. Better a hasty demise than a slow decline, because you have to make things worse before they can be made better. Back to personal projects it is...
forbidding_archivist: The Terrible Trivium (Default)
Hiring fewer people will increase unemployment. That statement may seem incredibly obvious, but it seems most people today can't grasp the concept.

Of course, the standard libertarian/conservative mantra is "The more a nations wealth consumed by the government, the less wealth is available to the people. Sometimes the government spend on good stuff for the economy (infrastructure) but other times it spends on stuff that is waste and therefore the economy becomes even worse."

But that isn't really how it works when you are running a 9% unemployment rate. Think about it this way. The government fires (or doesn't hire a replacement) for a worker at the social security office. You now have one more unemployed person.... A private sector job isn't magically created. Making matters worse the now unemployed person is now spending less. This means less demand for cars, tires, and other consumer products. So GM and Goodyear see their sales and profits decline. So GM and Goodyear layoff more workers.

Then throw automation in there. Why do we need less office workers? Because computers can take up more and more of the slack these days. You only need 3 people in an office to do what 10 did years ago. Why do we need less factory workers? Robots and factory automation. Where before we needed 10 guys to turn screws, we now need 1 to monitor the robots performing that job. So on and so forth.

Here's a question people haven't asked yet: What if that 9% of unemployed people just simply aren't necessary anymore?

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