She Said She Wouldn’t – But She Did!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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cartoon hacking government websites

I wrote a post on July 3rd posing the question “Are government bureaucrats capable of looking after data they collect about us?” (if you want to read it click here.)

The question was, of course, rhetorical, because we all know that the stupid bureaucrats the government employs aren’t capable of looking after anything.

The figure I quoted in that post, about the number of people whose data had been hacked, was 18 million which was a lot higher than the first government admission that 4.5 million records had been hacked. Now however the figure is well in excess of 21 million. It probably won’t stop there.

opm director Katherine Archuleta

The Office of Personnel Management was responsible for losing the confidential information and there have been calls from both Republicans and Democrats for the chief bureaucrat of the OPM, Ms Katherine Archuleta, to do the decent thing and resign.

But as we also know there is no decency in stupid bureaucrats, only self-delusion and arrogance. They are too dumb to do their jobs and too stupid to realize it.

Thus for as long as she could, Archuleta clung on in there, rejecting bipartisan calls for her to resign. She said she had no plans to step down. Worse than that she said she was “committed to continuing her work for the agency”.

I read that to mean more incompetence, more lies and more denial, and more trying to cling on to a position which she is clearly not fit to hold. For example she pig-headedly refused to shut down servers identified by the US Inspector General as unsafe.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the White House, headed by another incompetent, President Barack Obama, continued to express confidence in the leadership of Ms Archuleta.

However, as the size of the security gaff became greater and greater so did the pressure on chief bureaucrat Archuleta. As the numbers of missing records continued to climb almost daily, the result was inevitable.

Although Archuleta continued to say she had “no intention of resigning and would stay on to sort out the mess” – she handed in her resignation. The President – who supported her and who had complete confidence in her – accepted it immediately.

It was either that or be fired. Everyone knew it but her.

The announcement came along with further emerging details about the pathetic level of security within the OPM. Many of its servers are apparently so antiquated they can’t run encryption and modern security software. Two-factor authentication is almost unheard of and seldom used. In fact things are so bad that the agency isn’t even sure how many computer networks it has!!!

One incompetent bureaucrat down.

Hopefully many more to follow.

opm data loss

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I Said He Would Be Entertaining.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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donaldtrump

Say what you like about him, but he is entertaining. Trump is already making what was looking like one of the dullest election campaigns in history into something worth looking at – just now and again though.

The latest nonsense comes from the business world, namely Macy’s, NBC and Univision.

Macy’s has decided to drop Trump-related merchandise, and the other two are going to break off ties (pun, tee-hee!) with the Donald.

The Macy’s decision is fairly clear, they’d rather run away from controversy and lose money than ride out the storm. I wonder do they sell goods manufactured in the sweat shops of the world, often by children? Maybe we should look in their hypocrisy department – fourth floor next to the white flags if I remember correctly?

waving white surrender flag

However, no one knows exactly what the NBC and Univision decision means in practical terms. For example, will they sell their half of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants and if they do who will they sell it to? Or will they buy Trump’s half which will mean giving him top dollar for the shows because I don’t think he will let them away softly. In fact he would be within his rights to sue NBC for breach of contract relating to the pageants if this dodgy decision leads to a cancellation.

Either way it will be more wealth for Trump, which is probably what the move was designed NOT to do when they were thinking about it. That’s assuming they did think about it, which appears increasing unlikely.

trump two fingers

Neither has NBC given great thought as to who is going to host “The Apprentice” in a post-Trump era. They’ve hinted that they are going to look for a new star to replace Trump on the long-running reality show, but he’ll be a hard act to follow. Maybe it’s a chance for another dose of the limelight for the Shark Tank’s Mr Wonderful or even Mark Cuban, both of whom seem to thrive on the small screen and both of whom seem to have egos on the grand scale.

This hasty decision also leaves a BIG question mark about the partiality of these TV companies during the election race. Will they – or perhaps better, can they – continue to cover Trump fairly as a presidential candidate?

Former President Bush, President Bush and Governor Bush depart the christening ceremony of the USS George H.W. Bush in Virginia

Then there’s former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, part of the Bush, Bush and Bush super wealthy and well connected dynasty who want the big seat in the White House again. Jeb has said his decision to run for the Republican nomination will be based on two things: his family and whether he can lift America’s spirit.

After the great job his father and big brother did as President in lifting America’s spirits (a little sarcasm there) how could the voters do anything other than make him the GOP Presidential candidate? Oh dear me!

Despite the family history, Bush seems to be making good progress so far. But he had an easy start, because prior to the arrival of Trump on the scene he had no high profile rival. He still holds a significant lead over the second-place Trump.

Some think Jeb Bush would be the best candidate to handle illegal immigration and social issues. Just like his brother perhaps, see video.

On the economy Trump would probably be favorite, especially after the way Dubya Bush let spending go out of control during the latter stages of his war-mongering Presidency.

Apart from these two, although there are numerous others in the field,there does not seem to be any other close runners. Not yet anyway. But things in election races can always change suddenly as a skeleton or two tumble from their closets.

Trump is trying to capitalize on his business background. There is no doubt that that gives him an advantage over the career politicians. In business Trump lives or dies by his decisions. As for the Senators and Governor would-be’s, they are used to other people paying for their mistakes not them personally. It’s a significant difference in the mindsets of the two types of contender.

There is no doubt that Trump is correct when he says that the “American public is ready for a leader with a proven track record of success.” This is particular so after eight years of a dithering Obama administration.

Whether or not “Eighty percent of Central American girls and women are raped crossing into the United States,” one would have thought that America was ready for someone who wasn’t afraid to tell it how it is, instead of trying to pander to every minority viewpoint be it legitimate or crazy.

In politics a bit of controversy is always…

what’s the word….

“Entertaining?” That’s it.

trump with hand mic

As if to emphasize the fact, contrast what is going on in the Republican camp with the Democrats.

Hillary Clinton launched her presidential bid via a lackluster video message on social media way back in April and she continues to be the overwhelming front-runner among Democratic hopefuls for the White House job.

In fact the Democrat competition has turned into an amalgamation of Dullsville & Boringtown. There’s only one horse (make that horse’s ass) in the running. What she needs to blow all that cash for I don’t know. Build a hospital ward for the poor you dummy, you’re already selected.

hillary rodham clinton presidential bid 2016

Vice President Joe Biden, who has twice before made unsuccessful bids for the Oval Office – in 1988 and 2008 – might make another one, unsuccessful one that is. Recently he has said he thinks he’d “make a good President.” He is perhaps basing that on comments in the press that he is known for his foreign policy and national security expertise. He shouldn’t, because during the past eight years he has shown absolutely no grasp of either foreign affairs or national security.

Of course, it may well be that come the actual Presidential election next year, it will be Jeb versus Hillary and dull as they are the Democrats may win again. In a democracy the voters sometimes get it wrong.

In the meantime I’m still finding the Donald’s entry into the fray, what’s that word again….

“Entertaining!”

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Barrack Obama – You’re Fired!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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trump announcement

So he’s finally gone and done it.

He nearly did it before.

Then he thought about it, and then he didn’t do it.

But this time he has done it – for now anyway.

Love him or hate him there is one thing for sure – a Presidential campaign with Donald Trump fully committed is going to be a lot more entertaining than one with Sarah (what day of the week is it?) Palin, Jeb (not another one) Bush, or even Hillary (no, really I’m not lying) Clinton.

jeb bush

Donald Trump’s show of wealth for some may sometimes border on the vulgar, but he is the personification of the American success story. He’s made a fortune, and more than once.

But is Trump equipped to be President?

Or perhaps a more appropriate question, is Trump better equipped to be President that the other hopefuls?

Whatever way you phrase the question I think the answer has to be ‘Yes’ he is better equipped. Not that that says a lot when you look at the other contenders.

Trump has made his own way in life, done deals, hired and fired, negotiated hard, got value for his money, and done a lot of it in New York City which is not the easiest place to succeed in real estate.

trump tower

Contrast that with some of the other would-be’s who have spent much of their lives as the political mouth pieces for whoever could pay them the most.

Trump is also an entertainer and a man full of charisma – you know when he has walked into a room.

He and his name are also well known, which is a very big plus in an election. It means that he can and will appeal to conservatives like himself (tough on foreign policy, pro-NRA, pro-business and jobs, etc), but also to undecided and independent voters in much the same way as Ronald Reagan was able to do.

celebrity apprentice boardroom

He also has the money to fund his own campaign if he chooses to do so. It is a big plus both for him and for people thinking of voting for him. Trump will not have to end up in anyone’s pocket post-election and he can start his campaign right away rather than waste time accumulating vast war chests of cash.

He’ll also find that he will have to spend less than the others to get his message out there. He won’t have to pay millions to get on to TV because when the people want to hear what he has to say the media simply cannot ignore him.

Trump is also used to getting his own way and used to winning. His ego is huge and won’t allow him to approach the battle half-heartedly.

He’s also got an attractive wife, more reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy than some of the frumps we have had to put up with before and since. But I suppose that is a sexist remark these days and should be disregarded – although believe me it won’t be by the voters.

Trump’s detractors will be both vociferous and numerous. The GOP hopefuls , mostly a collection of Senators and Governors, will not like him stealing whatever little thunder they may think they have. The Democrats, especially Hillary will be cursing the fact that the GOP has someone who can cast a very big media shadow over them. And a lot of the pseudo-intellectuals who commentate on things political will poke fun at Trump, although it will be a tough job for them to find a better equipped candidate in either party.

hillary clinton

All in all then a presidential election with Trump involved is a much better prospect than one without him.

That doesn’t mean he’ll be the next President.

It doesn’t even mean he will win the nomination.

But it does mean that we have more fun finding out who will do both those things.

Trump has about another two weeks to file his papers with the Federal Elections Commission to make his candidacy official. Let’s hope he really does run this time, he’s going to look pretty silly now if he doesn’t.

As I said earlier, more than anything else Trump is an entertainer.

I’m looking forward to being entertained.

Roll on 2016.

2016 presidential election race

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Give That President A Cigar …er… A Great Big Cuban One!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Cuban American flags

Strangely, when President Barack Obama was elected with ease in 2008 and had a comfortable Congressional majority he didn’t really capitalize on his advantage. He may have gotten elected promising ‘change’ but he didn’t make many when he made it into the big seat.

Now, perhaps sensing the end of his term as President, and in spite of the Democrats’ recent crushing defeat, he is becoming ‘Obama the bold’, maker of decisions, changer of things.

Hence his recent decisions to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and an amnesty for five million illegal immigrants in the US.

JFK imposed the embargo on Cuba way back in 1962, in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In JFK’s day the embargo was America’s way of thumbing its nose at the Soviet Empire. Cuba was less than 100 miles from the continental US and its defiance of the mighty Uncle Sam was an embarrassment, particularly after the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

Cuban missile crisis

Curious therefore that Obama cannot see the similarities with Putin’s stance in the Ukraine, but that’s another story.

However, getting back to the Cuban embargo, it was a decision that has been condemned by almost every nation in the world ever since. I think it smacked too much of the big rich kid in the schoolyard picking on the little poor kid.

But, like a lot of things that are half a century old and more, the Cuban embargo was well past its sell-by date. Not least because it didn’t work!

Neither of course did the Cuban system, which failed mainly due to the disintegration of the Soviet Empire that had kept Cuba financially afloat long after Castro’s communism would have bitten the dust if left to its own devices.

In Cuba today there is a realism and a recognition of that very fact. Fidel Castro himself admitted that their model “….no longer works even for us,” when he was speaking in support of his brother Raúl’s “liberal” reforms announced a few years ago.

For the moment, that ‘liberalization’ in Cuba means allowing employees, most of them former civil servants, to become the owners of the small businesses that employ them.

I call that capitalism. What do you think?

Lots of US corporations are queueing up to develop their business interests in Cuba. Big names, like American Airlines, Hilton Hotels and PepsiCo are already in the starting blocks.

It will be interesting to see what happens when the new US regime sweeps into power.

In the meantime I think I’ll buy a nice big box of cigars.

A-Box-Of-Cigars

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Corruptocracy!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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A Sunday Sermon

It’s been a while since I did a Sunday Sermon. It’s an occasional, rather than a regular, feature here at the fasab blog. It just happens when I’m in the mood to have a bit of a rant about a subject that I consider to be serious.

If you have read much of my blog you will know that two of my favorite targets are the banksters and politicians. When they act alone they are dangerous, when they combine their forces they are lethal.

Today I’m taking aim at both of them.

Strap yourselves in, here we go….

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corruptocracy

In the wake of the financial catastrophe that the greedy banksters inflicted on the world there has been a lot of talk (but very little real action) about bringing these thieves under some kind of control.

Naturally the banks are fighting tooth and nail against any kind of financial reform and they have the contacts and the financial resources to do it.

They have, for example, dragged their heels at every opportunity, used our money (kindly donated by a stupid government) to lobby friendly and unprincipled politicians in Congress to repeal aspects of Dodd-Frank, sent armies of lawyers to frustrate regulators and make any new rules as weak as possible and threatened a plethora of legal challenges and lawsuits.

It has been a ‘David and Goliath’ battle but this time the richer and more powerful Goliath seems to be winning.

David and Goliath

Unsurprisingly the banks’ biggest political allies in opposing the much needed financial reforms have been Democrats, such as the Robert E. Rubin wing of the Democratic Party, which has opposed moves to break up the big banks after the 2008 global crisis.

I say ‘unsurprisingly’ because the whole mess was caused by the Democrat regime of Bill Clinton who got rid of the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking. Small wonder that they are railing against its reinstatement.

Unfortunately they aren’t alone. Most Republicans also oppose effective moves against the banksters. A fact less shocking when you realize that in the last two election cycles, over 60 percent of the bankster’s donations went to Republicans. It seems America’s form of democracy is still more about what the money-men want (and are willing to pay for), rather than what the ordinary people want.

banksters demands

Most disappointing of all, however, has been President Obama. He swept to power promising ‘change’ but he never backed meaningful reforms against the banks. On the contrary, the Obama Administration has repeatedly put forward nominees with Wall Street connections for major oversight roles. It’s a bit like appointing some of the inmates of a prison as the prison guards!

During the debate over the Dodd-Frank Act, Obama’s henchmen even lobbied against an amendment offered by two of his own Democratic senators (Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Ted Kaufman of Delaware) who wanted to cap the size of the banks.

The fact is, that if Obama had taken a stronger position on the much needed financial reform it would have been much stronger and much more effective.

Now they are neither strong nor effective. They won’t work, in other words. It’s just been a bit of window dressing and bluff for the benefit of gullible voters.

gullible voters

And now even more money will be paid to Republicans since they routed the Democrats and swept to power in the US Senate, as well as expanding their majority control in the House of Representatives. That means even less will be done against the banksters.

It is a simple equation. Money buys politicians, buys power and influence.

Some people call it corruption.

Others try to tell us it is democracy.

I know which one I think it is!

In fact let’s use a new word….

Corruptocracy!

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Term Talk

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

Generic Political Directional Signs

Don’t worry the title of this post doesn’t mean that you’re back at school again. This ‘term talk’ in the title refers to politics and politicians.

President Obama takes a lot of stick because of his headstrong insistence in implementing his Obamacare legislation. As I’ve said before, it’s a laudable goal, but the country can’t afford it. But on he goes anyway.

Love him or hate him, or neither, he’s limited to two terms of four years in office, then he has to go and make way for the next person who wants the job.

To begin with that’s a stupid system because the main thrust of the first Presidency about half way or so in office isn’t governing the country but instead trying to ensure election for a second term and wasting billions of dollars doing it.

4-four-more-years-button

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the present system sucks. Nor do you have to be a professor of politics to suggest an alternative  –  for example a single term of five or six years, which still leaves plenty of time to settle into the job and implement whatever policies you have promised the electorate.

So that’s the first problem solved.

However, there is another term problem that infests American politics (and many other countries too).

What about the rest of the elected politicians?

Well, why not introduce the same system for them? Elected for a five or six year term after which they have to start to earn a living again?

Sounds good to me.

According to Wikipedia John Dingell has managed 58 years in the House and still going. John Conyers has been there for 49 years. Coincidentally both these politicians are Democrats and both represent Michigan, so another problem that these ‘lifers’ cause is that there is no incentive for new blood to enter politics when they have little or no chance of being selected for election.

john_dingell
Congressman John Dingell

I’m not picking on these guys in particular. They just happen to be the two longest serving examples. There were others of similar longevity but they had the good grace to eventually retire, or die after half a century or so. Amazingly more than one hundred members of Congress have been allowed to serve for at least 36 years.

When I say “serve” I am just using the normal expression for these jobs. Whether they realize it or not, career politicians are nothing more than parasites living a cozy life off the money provided by the rest of us through our taxes. When an elected representative is entrenched in his or her position for a very long period of time they are not serving their people, they are simply relying on their people to provide them with a good living, premier health care and generous pension benefits (assuming they retire eventually!).

“Ah,” I hear someone say. “But what about the ‘experience’ that these long serving members bring?”

“Oh,” I reply. “What about it? Have we not seen in recent years and months that whatever experience they bring is not worth a hell of a lot. Just look at the mess the country is in and tell me if fresh faces could do any worse.”

So the solution to the two worst political problems that face America are easily solved.

The next question is will they be solved?

And the answer to that is probably ‘NO’. And it is probably ‘NO’ because the people who have the power to change the law are the very people that that law would affect.

turkeys voting for Christmas

They say turkeys wouldn’t vote for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Asses and elephants probably wouldn’t vote for this idea either.

What a pity.

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Shut-Up!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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padlock

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I’m not sure what the correct official term is, but now that the “Shutdown” crisis is over let’s hope it’s the “Shut-Up”.

For another few months anyway, Obama and the other inmates in the Washington asylum have managed to kick the can down the road again.

Who can tell who won the pissing contest. It seemed to me like there was a strong wind a blowin’ and they all got covered in it – piss, that is, not glory!

cartoon-shutdown-housegop-boehner

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But Obama has signed HR 2775 and made it the law of the land. The Treasury Department is authorized to suspend the debt ceiling, which to you and me means that the government can now spend as much as it likes and borrow as much as it likes. Start the printing presses boys!

We’ll have to go through it all again in February next year but I think what has happened this time has set a precedent for the debt ceiling to be removed completely to pay for Obamacare and a few more wars. It was all nonsense anyway.

It’s never a good thing to live beyond your means as many people throughout America and Europe discovered when the banksters stole our money, credit lines dried up and the real estate catastrophe occurred.

America will find that out too sometime down that long road that the can is being kicked. But leave that problem for your grandchildren.

For now its spend, spend, spend!!!

empty pockets

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