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Member since: 2001
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I'm wondering how Homeland Security is liking their boss right now.

A little story to illustrate how I think they must be feeling.

Back in the 1980s I worked for a Community Action Agency. These were the organizations formed all over the country during the War on Poverty in the 1960s and 70s, to be the local administration for Federally-funded programs such as Head Start, Senior Dining, Energy Assistance, etc. They were required to have a tri-form Board of Directors that included 1/3 representatives appointed by local officials (such as County commissioners, mayors, etc.) 1/3 representatives selected of/by those participating in the services, and 1/3 'other'- usually business, advocacy, etc.

CAAs were NEVER uncontroversial. They came out of the gate scrappy and conflicted and always accused by whoever felt they were getting the fuzzy side of the lollipop of being 'sellout' or 'co-opted' or 'out of control' or whatever the flavor of the month was. Some did have those issues. Most of the ones I knew didn't. We as staff just tried to keep sorting through the ever-accumulating morass of rules, requirements, regulations, etc., imposed by whichever party was trying to help or hinder our work at any given time, and do our damnedest to deliver the programs as well as we could to as many as we could.

Given the built-in conflicts of that Board structure, you can imagine that we were never without a vigorous minority-from-within, criticizing staff, executive leadership, board, etc. We went through three Executive Directors over the course of about six years.

I remember the last one I experienced. The Board seemed fairly pleased with his resume and his interview, the senior staff had a chance to meet with him before the board finalized his hire and were guardedly optimistic in the 'well-he's-not-the-worst-candidate-we've-seen' sense.

So they hired him. And he promptly scheduled a meeting with all senior and middle management staff.

At which he started straight off by telling us that the one thing that really got on his wick was seeing resources that SHOULD be going to help people in communities who really need them, supporting "poverty pimp" staff people collecting checks and getting fat off the public funding, and WE WEREN'T GONNA HAVE ANY OF THAT HERE, WERE WE?

I kinda imagine the Homeland Security staff is feeling just about as warm and loving toward their new boss as we all left that meeting feeling about our new boss.


Just Wondering: What is this Bigoted Twitfuckery Costing Me?

I am a taxpayer, after all.

Thousands of visas and green cards were cancelled at a moment's notice.

I have worked in a public bureaucracy. That can certainly be done, but it sure as hell ain't cheap. You can bet that consulates and embassies all over the world had staff on overtime.

Customs and Immigration, airport security, other federal agencies had to mobilize hundreds, maybe thousands, of extra staff, again at a moment's notice, in airports all over the world.

That doesn't come cheap, either.

Then, tonight, all those visas are being reinstated again...



Dear Democratic Party Leadership

Right now, we have some choices to make, and 'not making any of them' is also an option but it's the worst of the lot.

How do I know?

I pay attention to the rhyme and rhythm of history. So, I think do some of you. It can be hard to tease out the relevant riffs from the cacophony when you're stuck in the middle of its din, as y'all are. But from out here in the cheap seats, the acoustics are a bit different.

Let's lay a couple of sets of facts (the basic kind, not the "alternative" version) side-by-side:

In 2009, Democratic control of the Legislative branch was precarious. Senate seats were in play and the majority was hardly filibuster-proof under then-in-force rules. The Executive Branch was in the hands of a Chief Executive who had already demonstrated willingness to uphold established economic powers and structures, and compromise with moderates, even against the strongly-expressed disapproval of the more progressive wing of his Party. A fair number of Cabinet seats had already been confirmed to moderates. Although the brand-new Chief Executive had certainly made some controversial moves and choices that could be characterized as missteps by political observers, by and large he was demonstrating great competence at navigating the complexities of the Federal bureaucracy.

Of course, he was also, let's be blunt, here-- black. Given the racist gangrene festering in the GOP's base, it was enough to ignite a resistance movement, fanned by a 'gray eminence' coalition of special interest cash and organizing sophistication from Randite Oligarchs, extremist Christianists, long-established WhiteWing hate groups, and conventional Wall Street fixers. They envisioned a 'grassroots' resistance movement they could hand-puppet into helping their legislative minority checkmate anything and everything that came out of the new Administration. It took a good 6-7 months to gin up enough grassroots outrage to get their people into the streets, but they succeeded.

Inherent in that vision, however, were two catastrophically unfounded assumptions: First, that they could direct and control the scope of their 'grassroots' movement solely against the Democratic White House and Congressional majority; and second, that there was sufficient cohesion, as well as competence, in their legislative minority, to maintain the appearance of pandering to the resistance while protecting the status quo.

We all know how that turned out, don't we?

In 2017, GOP control of the Legislative Branch is sufficiently solid under the rules currently in force to act with impunity, assuming they can maintain any semblance of cohesion. The Executive Branch is in the hands of a Chief Executive who wasted no time at all in abundantly demonstrating apocalyptic incompetence, malignant ignorance, mental instability (at best) and a complete lack of willingness or ability to function collaboratively with any other interests than his own.

It took less than 24 hours for the largest in-the-streets demonstration of resistance in American history to unfold, and while any number of progressive institutions and organizations are participating and organizing their own constituencies, there is no 'gray eminence' coalition here. This is not grassroots-over-astroturf, it is the real thing. In numbers and power unprecedented in modern history, and it is not going away, it will not "lose steam", and there is a very long and increasingly hot summer ahead.

Currently, this resistance movement IS focused exactly where the coalition behind the Teeper resistance would have liked their useful idiots to stay focused: Checkmating anything and everything that comes out of the new Administration.

Democratic Party leadership, the tiger is in the streets.

Learn from history.

Find a way to grab its ears, climb aboard, and be part of it.

Because what a much smaller group of passionate resistance fighters did to the GOP when they believed that Party's leadership was failing them is a backyard barbecue fire compared to the forest fire smoldering in the Democratic Party undergrowth now.


A Polite and Sincere Request to the White House Staff

Dear White House Staff,

Y'all are in position to do your fellow-Americans, especially those serving in the military and their families, a profoundly powerful, even lifesaving, service.

Of course, it does ask a great sacrifice of you, and please don't think we're unaware of the cost.

However, if you COULD, at least once a day, express amazement, admiration, and astonishment at the enormous size of your boss's massive genitalia, just think of all the lives that you would be saving.

If several people a day reminded him of just how enormous, intimidating, massive, impressive, and powerful his junk is, he might not feel compelled to pull it out and wave it around at other world leaders, activate plans for risky and superfluous military operations, and other activities that end up putting others in harm's way.

Do your best, please. Keep the magnifying glasses in the desk drawers, and practice not giggling or smirking when uttering lines like "It's just so much more YUUUUGE that any other world leader's ever!"

All of us who value the lives of our service members thank you in advance.

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