Capitol Hill Blue
Posted By: jgw Faith in our government - 11/07/21 07:48 PM
I have come to the conclusion that virtually all the pain, suffering, lunacy and all the rest has to do with a loss of faith in our system, elected, AND our government. Years ago I wrote to my elected suggesting that they take a time spot on PBS and dedicate that time to explaining just what a given federal agency does and how it does it (I was ignored, as usual). We all know there are hundreds of agencies but few know what they are or what they do. All we know is that we pay taxes to support them and assume they may, or may not be, doing stuff that is in our own interest.

We know, for instance that our political parties either tell us nothing or lie to us on a regular basis. But what in the hell are we doing with over 400 agencies. Why can't our government use a bit of time, on a tv company which we, the voters, support! Why not tell us what the hell our government is doing? Sometimes we learn bits here and there. Yesterday, on the news, we were told that the government owns a huge apartment complex which is rotting into the ground, for instance.

I think we all agree that the Dems are not good at telling anybody what they are doing, what they have done and what they might do - its all a secret and really bad. My wife, a couple of years ago was manning the phones for the local Democrats. She noticed a bunch of sign for Hillary and asked for one to put in the yard and was told that would cost her 35.00 - she quit the phones and never went back. That was the good old days and its MUCH worse now! My point is that our government, in its wisdom behaves worse that that! They tell us nothing unless they think it may serve them to keep their jobs.

If we have no idea just what the hell our government is doing why in the world would be continue to support it? That goes double for our elected. On the other hand, if there was a show that looked at specific agencies and told us just what, exactly they are doing and are going to do I would watch that one!

Anyway, take a look:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/waynec...the-swamp-until-we-know/?sh=45aaf2ff1aa2

And this one is pretty interesting as well:
https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/GOVMAN-2015-07-01/GOVMAN-2015-07-01-322
Posted By: perotista Re: Faith in our government - 11/07/21 09:40 PM
jgw, fairth and trust are about the same. Here's the publics historical trust factor.

Public Trust in Government: 1958-2021

https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2021/05/17/public-trust-in-government-1958-2021/

I for one don't trust politicians, but they're the ones we elect to run the government. Or at least oversee it. Government is actually run by career civil servants and all those departments and agencies you mentioned.

Which brings me to something I overheard when congress brought up charges of someone lying to congress a couple of years ago. After a belly laugh on congress doing this, he said congress lies to us all the time, who'll they're kidding. They can't be serious.

Is it faith and trust in government that's been lost or is the loss of faith and trust in those that run or supposedly run and oversee government?

Or could the lack of trust be rooted in all the negative campaigns which portray the other party as evil and hence we all come to believe.it. No nice campaigns. Which brings me to this, would it be nice to turn on TV and see more political ads like this one? Instead of my opponent is a scumbag out to kill you grandma and dstroy this country.

Posted By: Mellowicious Re: Faith in our government - 11/07/21 09:49 PM
Trust in government “These days” always makes me think of Will Rogers…move along, folks, nothing new to see here…
Posted By: perotista Re: Faith in our government - 11/08/21 01:22 AM
Another Will Rogers quote, "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." That seems to still apply today.
Posted By: Greger Re: Faith in our government - 11/08/21 04:54 PM
Quote
if there was a show that looked at specific agencies and told us just what, exactly they are doing and are going to do I would watch that one!

Have you seen Squid Game? I think it fits your description.
Posted By: jgw Re: Faith in our government - 11/08/21 07:06 PM
I watched Squid Game - not quite what I had in mind (its also been renewed, I think)

I would love a nightly show, Monday through Friday, which dealt with one, single, agency. They could start with agriculture which is incredibly huge. They do agriculture, grant money, loan money, deal with the weather, and seem to have their finger in EVERYTHING!

Actually I have read a number of thoughts on the number of agencies. Seems that nobody, including government actually knows how many there really are. Our government is, if nothing else, a bit of a puzzle in that regard. Then there is the Department of Defense. They were ordered, something like 6 freaking years ago, to do an audit. The order remains but no audit has occurred. If you look at virtually any agency you will find something strange.

Again, for the hell of it, I would also like to see a committee of neutral administration experts to overhaul our government. I would expect, at the very least, a 30% reduction in the cost of running the government.

If we are expected to admire/like/be proud of our government one would also expect it to do what it could to enlighten them that pay taxes what, exactly, they are paying for!

Sorry, couldn't help a little demo of wishful thinking...............
Posted By: Mellowicious Re: Faith in our government - 11/08/21 10:37 PM
You have poked one of my sore spots, I believe.

The government is not designed, or intended, to be efficient. The government is designed, in large part, to handle those areas too inefficient - or sometimes too dangerous - for the private sector to handle.

Case in point: state universities are government owned and operated because private universities were too expensive, or too geographically remote, for middle-class students.

Case in point: county medical services exist to put health care in reach of people who are too remote from the nearest health care system, or unable to pay. My aunt made a living as a home health care nurse. Imagine the cost if she had worked for a private company.

Then look again at the effort to privatize prisons, with extremely poor results. Some things should not be run for profit. Similarly, I don’t want to drive over bridges built by Acme Bridge-Builders Inc.

On the other hand, planes generally land where they’re supposed to.

The government can screw up; that’s for sure. Look at Hoover Dam. On the other hand,look a5 theTennessee Valley Authority.

You think you don’t know what the government does? I guarantee you don’t. It’s vast. It’s not always right, by any mean
Posted By: jgw Re: Faith in our government - 11/09/21 07:22 PM
I am curious. Why are you upset with Hoover dam?

Oh, my gripe with Gov is a bit different. They do screw up but I am concerned with the simple fact that its not so much the screwing up is the ongoing incompetence and waste that is out there. Its truly insane. I remember when we were actually building airplanes that didn't work, for billions and billions, to provide employment.

My problem is that some of this stuff really doesn't make any real sense. Another is taxation. During WW2 the tax rate on the very rich was something like 94% Now I think its around 15% and that's when they actually pay anything at all. We can all, I suspect, find something in gov that makes absolutely no sense. Whether that's really the case isn't the point. We are also not really told what they are doing and, I think, it would be nice if gov made an effort to explain what's going on. I know, its all on the net. I posted a couple gov sites. One was a genuine dusey.

Just saying.............
Posted By: pondering_it_all Re: Faith in our government - 11/09/21 07:44 PM
There actually is a good reason why rich people may not pay taxes some years. For example, they own a business and spent more than they made that year. Or they invested in tax-free municipal bonds, which are tax-free to encourage that kind of investment. Or they are doing something else that congress wants to encourage with tax incentives. There are very few outright giveaways in the tax code.

All over-simple flat tax schemes would make things like starting a business, raising livestock, or planting trees for future income impossible.
Posted By: Mellowicious Re: Faith in our government - 11/10/21 12:57 AM
Jgw - I may have to respond to your post in two or three shots; I just got home.

My biggest beef with Hoover dam is that it created Lake Powell and Lake Mead. In order to do that it drowned Glen Canyon, which should have been left undisturbed as a national treasure. This was a huge loss and a major boondoggle and not enough people know about it.

The idea that we lost such a beautiful area to recreational lakes is appalling. And Powell and Meade are pretty much useless for water retention; they have so much surface acreage that they lose water faster through evaporation than they reserve from the river.
Posted By: Mellowicious Re: Faith in our government - 11/10/21 01:30 AM
OK, a couple more notes regarding planes that didn’t work - I’m assuming this was a military project and to be honest, I didn’t even think about the military when I stepped into this thread. I just don’t have enough knowledge to address it.

On the other hand I do know a little bit about projects that exist only to create jobs; all over the area where I grew up there are bridges and buildings and playgrounds with little plaques: “built by the WPA.” So it’s not always a bad idea.

Finally, I think you might be referring to Senator Proxmire’s Golden Fleece awards.

The problem with the Golden Fleece awards was
that they often needed better explanations than they
got. Research programs, for example, that sounded
truly bizarre, actually made sense in their little tiny corner of the world - usually related to some sort of medical research. I’m not saying they were all that way; I’m saying a lot of these things actually make
sense when you don’t think they will.
Posted By: Mellowicious Re: Faith in our government - 11/10/21 03:20 AM
By the way, I had a road trip today and I’m really tired so that lake information is probably less than accurate. The gist of it is correct, I think, but there are some gaps. If I remember in the morning I’ll try to double check it and correct any errors.
Posted By: Mellowicious Re: Faith in our government - 11/10/21 02:47 PM
Sorry about that. Hoover Dam, Glen Canyon Dam, Meade, and Powell are all part of the Colorado River Storage Project, and I have a hard time remembering what’s upstream, so to speak.

Ran across a note that Barry Goldwater supported the project at the beginning but seriously regretted it upon completion.
Posted By: Jeffery J. Haas Re: Faith in our government - 11/10/21 04:11 PM
Originally Posted by Mellowicious
Sorry about that. Hoover Dam, Glen Canyon Dam, Meade, and Powell are all part of the Colorado River Storage Project, and I have a hard time remembering what’s upstream, so to speak.

Ran across a note that Barry Goldwater supported the project at the beginning but seriously regretted it upon completion.

What were his regrets?
Posted By: TatumAH Re: Faith in our government - 11/10/21 05:01 PM
Originally Posted by Mellowicious
Jgw - I may have to respond to your post in two or three shots; I just got home.

My biggest beef with Hoover dam is that it created Lake Powell and Lake Mead. In order to do that it drowned Glen Canyon, which should have been left undisturbed as a national treasure. This was a huge loss and a major boondoggle and not enough people know about it.

The idea that we lost such a beautiful area to recreational lakes is appalling. And Powell and Meade are pretty much useless for water retention; they have so much surface acreage that they lose water faster through evaporation than they reserve from the river.

I very much enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway, in car or on bike, that was a WPA and CCC project, Blue Ridge Parkway
Hoover Damn not such much. But dont worry about Glen Canyon, as it may be reappearing due to the prolonged drought. failpail The archeological sites are probably gone though, which is a big cultural loss for native Americans, but the Government never really took that seriously, ever!

TAT
Posted By: jgw Re: Faith in our government - 11/10/21 05:17 PM
The dam thing is interesting. Our Indians, for instance, want them all gone. When they were building the dams they had little interest in anything but agriculture and electricity and they did/do the job in that regard. Now, as far as electricity is concerned there are a number of choices. On the other hand there are a lot of people who need the dams, as they are, to survive. I think the thing that bothers me the most is taking out dams to save salmon. That does save the salmon but only to support the breeding of sea lions which are protected (they did give one tribe the right to kill them but, not too many of them).

There are communities that sea lions have virtually taken over. Astoria, Ore is one of those. For years commercial fishermen would kill any sea lion they saw (they are salmon eating machines). That never put the sea lions in danger just regulated the number of them.
Posted By: Greger Re: Faith in our government - 11/11/21 04:50 PM
Strangely...alligators are protected too. And they aren't even cute and cuddly. They breed like roaches and are far more dangerous than your cute, fish-hungry waterdogs.

In the everglades at least the invasive snakes are reducing their numbers(along with all other smallish wildlife) The only drawback there are the millions of dangerous invasive snakes.

Perhaps some form of geoengineering can introduce some disease or poison or apex predators to reduce the numbers of sea lions. Are they good to eat?
Posted By: jgw Re: Faith in our government - 11/11/21 06:15 PM
Hey. no problem! They can engineer anything! Don' need no nature to take care of thing things! A couple of other things might get poisoned too but then, who cares?

They got lots of fat and, I think, can also provide fur as well!
Posted By: Mellowicious Re: Faith in our government - 11/11/21 07:28 PM
I very much enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway, in car or on bike, that was a WPA and CCC project, Blue Ridge Parkway
Hoover Damn not such much. But dont worry about Glen Canyon, as it may be reappearing due to the prolonged drought. failpail The archeological sites are probably gone though, which is a big cultural loss for native Americans, but the Government never really took that seriously, ever!

TAT[/quote]

A lot of sites are gone for good; even if the water goes completely, there’s a whole lot of silt covering up rock formations and petroglyphs and more; they’ll ever be seen again.

Jefferey, I’ll look for the Goldwater info.
Posted By: Mellowicious Re: Faith in our government - 11/11/21 07:54 PM
I’m attaching a very good article, longish but clear. This is what it has to say about Goldwater:

Quote
“Before he lost his political career, Goldwater took a trip down to Colorado that was supposed to re-create John Wesley Powell’s famous journey. When he finally retired, after five terms representing Arizona in the US Senate and one failed presidential bid, Goldwater said that the only vote he regretted having cast was the one that led to the damming of Glen Canyon.

“I think of that river as it was when I was a boy, he said. “And that is the way I would like to see it again. “


https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/08/16/the-lost-canyon-under-lake-powell
Posted By: logtroll Re: Faith in our government - 11/11/21 08:09 PM
Originally Posted by Mellowicious
A lot of sites are gone for good; even if the water goes completely, there’s a whole lot of silt covering up rock formations and petroglyphs and more; they’ll ever be seen again.

Jefferey, I’ll look for the Goldwater info.
We rafted the San Juan a number of years ago from Mexican Hat down to the takeout that's a little way into the Lake Powell upper pool (or was). The sediment carried by the San Juan starts dropping out as the current slackens and it had built up to the point that, because of the broader valley, the river depth was severely reduced. If you couldn't find the slightly deeper water 'channel' in the last several miles, you were at risk of becoming stranded in a wide and unnavigable (and unwalkable) mudflat. They had already moved the takeout up stream and were planning to do it again.

One seldom acknowledged fact is that those giant reservoirs had a known limited lifespan due to becoming filled with sediment. Powell would be the first to age out, of course, as it protects Lake Mead (until it is full). Interesting that the low flows due to drought and over allocation lower the pool level, which has the effect of the sediment being transported closer to the dam sooner - in fact a lot of previously deposited mud is 'eroding' and might improve the San Juan takeout situation!
Posted By: jgw Re: Faith in our government - 11/12/21 06:08 PM
the WPA and CCC were GREAT government programs. If you go into any old post offices they will have paintings on the walls and that was the wpa/ccc work. They also built highway 20 across the Washington state northern border (which seriously needs work). They, basically, put just about everybody to work! When all this covid stuff started I wrote to my elected suggesting they do it again - the replies were notes begging for money - the thought was ignored.

This time around it seems to me that the solution was to give everybody money and talk a lot about jobs.
Posted By: Mellowicious Re: Faith in our government - 11/12/21 08:41 PM
I remember hearing references to WPA jobs as being “shovel leaners.” Those jobs were considered by many as money for no real work, much as you’ve described.

On a slightly different tack, the writers’ project- another New Deal program, this one to keep writers at work, resulted in guidebooks for each state. Some states have reprinted them - Iowa and Kansas have, I know, although Nebraska hasn’t. If’s fun to go on day trips in search of the past. Might be worth it, as slow entertainment, to see if your state’s guidebook is still around.
Posted By: NW Ponderer Re: Faith in our government - 11/12/21 08:56 PM
Originally Posted by jgw
We can all, I suspect, find something in gov that makes absolutely no sense. Whether that's really the case isn't the point. We are also not really told what they are doing and, I think, it would be nice if gov made an effort to explain what's going on. I know, its all on the net.
We are a nation of over 330 million people, covering an area of 3.797 million mi², the third largest nation on earth. When something is that big, inefficiencies are inevitable. Frankly, it is amazing it works as well as it does. Look at how poorly many States are run, and the Feds look good by comparison.

One of the problems we have in creating and monitoring "government" is that we do it piecemeal. We want government to do a lot of things. Congress sees a problem, and they create a solution - even if an answer already exists. A lot of people get involved in creating that solution, not all of them with altruism in mind, and certainly not efficiency. The bureaucracy is a creation of accretion, not holistic organization.

Often efforts at reorganization make matters worse. Consider the Department of Homeland Security. Or the disaster that Louis DeJoy has made of the Post Office. It gets particularly bad when incompetents and opponents of the Agency are put in charge - which goes back at least as far as James Watt.
Posted By: TatumAH Re: Faith in our government - 11/12/21 09:34 PM
Bannon indicted by Federal Grand Jury!
It's about time, but as previously a country with "rule of law", we shouldn't cut corners in the legal process. Otherwise, we are headed into a country of Banana Republicans!

TAT
Posted By: NW Ponderer Re: Faith in our government - 11/12/21 11:51 PM
Originally Posted by TatumAH
Bannon indicted by Federal Grand Jury!
It's about time, but as previously a country with "rule of law", we shouldn't cut corners in the legal process. Otherwise, we are headed into a country of Banana Republicans!

TAT
Talk about restoring faith in the government.
Posted By: logtroll Re: Faith in our government - 11/13/21 12:33 PM
Originally Posted by Mellowicious
I remember hearing references to WPA jobs as being “shovel leaners.” Those jobs were considered by many as money for no real work, much as you’ve described.
I had never heard that opinion about the WPA, but I suppose it is in line with what we hear today about “welfare” and government jobs in general. Pretty much everybody with a job considers themselves to be productive and probably worth more than they are paid. I would venture that pretty much everyone has a case of confirmation bias about it, too.
After a lifetime of grappling with being a person who has a job of taking on the responsibility for committing to deliver work products for a fixed price on a predetermined schedule, nobody works hard enough and efficiently enough to do the job properly (including me), and all contractors should be certified as suffering from delusional insanity for assuming such responsibility. Unfortunately, we suffer from a culturally rooted mass delusion that this is how the world works, or should work, when the fact is inefficiency and laziness are normal, natural conditions. (Did I mention that I am still grappling with it?) Private business is not more efficient than government business - that is propaganda.
A quick anecdote to dramatize what I am trying to share, vis-a-vis (did I just type that?) shovel leaning… when I lived in northern Idaho and was primarily a logger and log cabin builder, I became an unofficial partner with another ambitious and hard-working (and delusional) young man (call him Joe) who had similar skills and interests and complementary equipment. As logs are big and awkward things to move about, it pays to have two people who know what they are doing working together. I really appreciated working with Joe, it felt like dancing all day in a lumbering sort of way (that was for Katman) - what we could accomplish was magical.
Our ambitions diverged a bit, however - mine being dominated by the inspiration of the legacy that the WPA left us - Joe’s leaning more to becoming a rich and famous builder. So after building a few cabins together on the shores of Priest Lake, our casual partnership gave way to Joe putting together his own crew, and other circumstances of mine finding me moving to New Mexico. I still had property and unfinished business in Idaho that extended for several years so I frequently returned for lengthy stays, often working on projects that Joe had contracted, for some income. The magic was still there and I could merge with the crew as though I had always been there, and it was a relief to Joe that he didn’t have to ‘manage’ me like the rest of his crew - I would usually take on the difficult tasks that none of Joe’s crew could do, but that he didn’t have time for because of spending most of his time fixing his employees’ mistakes.
Now, I like to joke around all the time on the job, but I don’t stop working to do it. On one high-end lake house (not a log cabin) the task that awaited me was to run a bunch of curved wooden (molded, not plain flat) baseboard, which included making the curved boards onsite. The guy who was trying to do it had spent two weeks and only installed about 12’ (which Joe had to fix) and there was maybe 100’ to go. so there I was, on my knees installing trim and making puns and singing silly songs, when the owner came in. I was aware of him watching me for a little bit, and didn’t know for sure that he was even the client, but I didn’t care, anyway. I was having fun and getting satisfaction from doing some challenging work (stay with me, this story is getting close to where it is going). Owner Guy came back numerous times to watch for a little bit over the next few days, but never talked to me.
At the end of the week (I stayed long enough to finish the base so Joe wouldn’t have to) Joe and I were having a couple of beers before I came back to NM, and he told me two memorable things.
First, he said that Owner Guy was pissed off when he first showed up, at the annoying new clown he had hired to work on his seriously fancy house. But after awhile he realized that the curved baseboards that had been beginning to look like a real problem for the project, were appearing apace in spite of the apparent interference of the clearly unserious Joker. That news was good for my ego.
The second thing he told me was that he had gone through 80 hires in the last two years trying to put together a decent crew of just three or four. At first, his expectation was to get two experienced and competent people and two hard working laborers. But at the time of our beers he confessed that his definition of a good employee had evolved into ‘someone who showed up and wasn’t on drugs’.
A shovel leaner, perhaps?
Posted By: jgw Re: Faith in our government - 11/13/21 07:48 PM
Here is our guidebook. I don't know if its the one made a long time ago or new. I do know, if its old, that its been seriously updated.
Posted By: jgw Re: Faith in our government - 11/13/21 07:53 PM
Yep, endicted - now comes the trial. So far the courts have been moving right along. Now we will see how long Bannon can keep this one going. Hopefully it will be quickly. The Dems have less than a year before the midterms and if they continue doing little or nothing, even if the courts are, they will be gone and so will the current investigation. I fully expect the Trumpies to take a page out the Trump plan and stretch any legal stuff out as long as possible. Trump has been doing it for years or until the who thing is just moot.
Posted By: NW Ponderer Re: Faith in our government - 11/14/21 01:35 PM
Originally Posted by jgw
Yep, endicted - now comes the trial. So far the courts have been moving right along. Now we will see how long Bannon can keep this one going. Hopefully it will be quickly. The Dems have less than a year before the midterms and if they continue doing little or nothing, even if the courts are, they will be gone and so will the current investigation. I fully expect the Trumpies to take a page out the Trump plan and stretch any legal stuff out as long as possible. Trump has been doing it for years or until the who thing is just moot.
I posted this elsewhere, but since it applies specifically to my lack of faith in one branch of government, it seems appropriate here. I think what will happen is the DC Circuit will rule quickly, and deny the privilege claim. The Supreme Court's conservative majority will sit on the appeal (leaving a stay in place) until after the 2022 election, with the hope and expectation that Republicans will take control of the House. Then they will rule against the privilege claim assuming the Republicans will kill the Committee and the subpoenas. That way they can do the party's bidding and pretend that they've been neutral in the process. There's a pattern to this.

We're long past pretending that the courts are neutral parties. Just consider the 5th Circuit's recent actions - with a 100% Republican panel. The Supreme Court even more so. But, i have faith in Merrick Garland.
Posted By: Greger Re: Faith in our government - 11/14/21 02:13 PM
Quote
But, I have faith in Merrick Garland.


I have faith that he will perform as the centrist democrat he is. He will do Biden's bidding to the best of his abilities without making many waves.

Really the only faith I have in "our government" is in the bureaucracy which is often denigrated for its waste and inefficiency. It's the only genuinely non-partisan portion of the government.

My check always arrives on time and my traditional Medicare always pays my medical bills without question or complication.

Bannon may do some jail time, but likely not much.
Posted By: pondering_it_all Re: Faith in our government - 11/15/21 04:18 AM
Interesting fact: Merrick Garland oversaw the prosecutions of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, as well as Ted Kaczynski. So he may be one of the most qualified AGs ever to deal with domestic terrorists. A careful, meticulous prosecution might land trials and convictions right before the midterm elections.
Posted By: NW Ponderer Re: Faith in our government - 11/15/21 09:04 PM
Having worked "in government" for 30 years, and having had government benefits for even longer, now, I have a good deal of faith in the bulk of people that work for it. The vast majority, in my experience, go into government with a "service" orientation, and it shows.

Now, there is a segment of those folks who look at it "as a job" and work only for the benefits, and there are certainly leaders (especially the political ones) who bring vastly "unusual" agendas to the workplace, but even the majority of them do it for (sometimes very misguided) principled reasons. Then there are the James Watts, Louis DeJoys and Betsy DeVoses who are just out to destroy a functioning government. They're beyond incompetent, they are truly evil.

I don't think any rational person doubts Biden sincerely wants to "do good". I don't think anyone doubts that Merrick Garland wants principle to control the operations at the Department of Justice. Whether they can overcome the cynical, manipulative, destructive, deceptive political environment is the question of the age. It may be our last chance.
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