Where's the village?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Ranting and raving and foaming at the mouth

”The blueprint for Bush-era governance was laid out in a January 2001 manifesto from the Heritage Foundation, titled "Taking Charge of Federal Personnel." The manifesto's message, in brief, was that the professional civil service should be regarded as the enemy of the new administration's conservative agenda. And there's no question that Heritage's thinking reflected that of many people on the Bush team.

“How should the civil service be defeated? First and foremost, Heritage demanded that politics take precedence over know-how: the new administration "must make appointment decisions based on loyalty first and expertise second."

Second, Heritage called for a big increase in outsourcing—"contracting out as a management strategy." This would supposedly reduce costs, but it would also have the desirable effect of reducing the total number of civil servants. “The Bush administration energetically put these recommendations into effect. Political loyalists were installed throughout the government, regardless of qualifications. And the administration outsourced many government functions previously considered too sensitive to privatize: yesterday's Times article begins with the case of CACI International, a private contractor hired, in spite of the obvious conflict of interest, to process cases of incompetence and fraud by private contractors. A few years earlier, CACI provided interrogators at Abu Ghraib.

The ostensible reason for politicizing and privatizing was to promote the conservative ideal of smaller, more efficient government. But the small government rhetoric was never sincere: from Day 1, the administration set out to create a vast new patronage machine.”

This stuff totally pisses me off. So much so that I can't even read the news very often. Because I either get so angry I can't function, or I get so depressed I want to down a fifth of rum and watch [insert your fave crime show here] until my eyes bleed.

But this? This I can do: point people (whoever stumbles on my blog) at articulate people like David Brin, who has a knack for pointing out the glaring (but still blindly ignored) flaws in what's going on today. He also writes some verra nahce science fiction, which is why I sought him out but not why I keep going back to his blog. Credit goes to him for the above quote.


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