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Upsetment
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The mysterious case of $54 million VA spent on prosthetics in $24,999 payments

The mysterious case of $54 million VA spent on prosthetics in $24,999 payments | Upsetment | Scoop.it

 

The payments couldn’t help but catch the attention of the top procurement official at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Employees in the purchasing department of a VA hospital in the Bronx had used government purchase cards like credit cards at least 2,000 times to buy prosthetic legs and arms for veterans.

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Kenneth Weene's insight:

Our veterans deserve the best of care, be that prostheses, medicine, or mental health counseling. Captain, one of the regulars at the Dew Drop Inne, would tell you that, too. The VA like many such institutions has become at once too bureaucratic and too disorganized to properly serve our vets or to function in a cost-effective manner. Time for a major overhaul, perhaps beginning with a national recognition that fighting wars produces casualties.

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In EPA’s expected ‘veto’ of Pebble Mine in Alaska, foes see a vein of overreach

In EPA’s expected ‘veto’ of Pebble Mine in Alaska, foes see a vein of overreach | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Records show the agency working with activists on a preemptive “veto” of the proposed mining operation.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Is this bureaucratic overreach or protection of a priceless environment before the literal love of gold can infect the process. For my part, I will say the process should go forward, but the question that must be answered is what gets done if something goes wrong and who will actually be responsible for doing it. Will this company have the resources to correct an error or mishap? Will they use those resources properly? I think of the oil spills in Alaska and the Gulf and think this is a very rocky shoal onto which they wish to sail.

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Stopping the Rot at Foggy Bottom, From Benghazi to Afghanistan’s Missing Millions

Stopping the Rot at Foggy Bottom, From Benghazi to Afghanistan’s Missing Millions | Upsetment | Scoop.it
In mid-December, the State Department’s top internal watchdog sat down in front of a bank of cameras at a high-profile House hearing on Benghazi and…
Kenneth Weene's insight:

This highlights my greatest criticism of the Obama presidency. Because he has never been an administrator, he has not been able to understand the need to provide close oversight and ongoing monitoring of the various government departments. Of course, finding the suitable inspectors general won't be easy, but he has not shown any interest in creating even the beginnings of a training and recruitment program. On the other hand, neither has Congress pushed this concern beyond specific instances. That business as usual attitude in the great federal bureaucracy should be a major concern for us all.

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Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required

Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Using a law designed to help catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Take the stupidity of the war on drugs, mix with the inhumanity of bureaucratic thinking, and add a healthy measure of law enforcement arrogance and this is the kind of injustice with which you end up. Note that those pro-business stalwarts on the right aren't fighting this injustice, after all these are the little businesses, the hard working folks. And dare we ask which drug dealers are so stupid as to fall into this trap anyway?

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Pentagon plans Ebola domestic-response team of medical experts to aid doctors

Pentagon plans Ebola domestic-response team of medical experts to aid doctors | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The group of 30 medical experts would provide support for civilian doctors dealing with new cases.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I find this very troubling. The military should not be leading this effort, the CDC under the leadership of the Surgeon General should be carrying the ball. Of course, the Republican party pushed by the NRA have refused to confirm a Surgeon General leaving a gap, and the CDC, like most of the civil service, has become a bit creaky and overly bureaucratized, especially after all these years of out-sourcing and thereby making civil service reform hinge on the destruction of the unions instead of finding better ways. The result, that we need the military to take on such a major role in a domestic health situation implies that we are moving towards a military-dominated society, which may make the right wing happy but which certainly offends me and I hope you. I see this as a very real call to think about our government and how it is run. Your thoughts?

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Competence Not Required

Competence Not Required | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Julia Pierson’s ouster is the exception that proves the rule: In Washington it is nearly impossible to get fired.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The simple fact is that empires tend to be run by sycophants and eunuchs with the "civil service" doing all it can to maintain its jobs and status. It is well past the time to hold bureaucrats and political appointees accountable.

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Bank clients of Middle Eastern descent want answers on closed accounts

Bank clients of Middle Eastern descent want answers on closed accounts | Upsetment | Scoop.it
From Washington state to Florida, surprising letters from banks have turned up in the mailboxes of at least a dozen people.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I think we all know why this is happening. It is the banks toadying to the government is a little thing cloaked under the guise of the war on terror in the hope that the government bureaucracy will see them as being the good guys. The hell with all the shenanigans they pull raising debit car fees or foreclosing on the homes of deployed soldiers , etc. They helped fight terrorism by screwing around with some decent Arab American or legal immigrant. One more pathetic example of how dysfunctional we have become.

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Libertarians make their voices heard on police in Ferguson, Mo.

Libertarians make their voices heard on police in Ferguson, Mo. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., has produced a rare and surprisingly unified response across the ideological spectrum, with Republicans and Democrats joi...
Kenneth Weene's insight:

While Mr. Paul has articulated the issues quite well, I think this is almost a universal concern in America today. The bureaucratization of government in general and the application of that unthinking bureaucratic dictum -- we must expand the growth of our role -- approach to law enforcement has made this moment, at which American values come into conflict with policing, inevitable. The best side libertarianism is the aversion to bureaucratic thinking. How do we make government more responsive to the people without losing those functions we need? It is time for a new management approach to public administration. Any suggestions for a better paradigm? I wish I had a simple answer. What I do know is that a police force which is measured by the number of arrests it makes will make arrests and the one that is measured by the number of false arrests it corrects will have fewer arrests but perhaps more justice. Funding should be based on performance, but performance has to be properly measured using appropriate metrics.

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DEA obstructs research into medical marijuana: report | Al Jazeera America

DEA obstructs research into medical marijuana: report | Al Jazeera America | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Study says agency should not be in charge of scheduling drugs or giving access to drugs for medical research
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Does anybody, when running a bureaucratic agency, ever willingly agree to reduce that agency's ambit? I think not. So why should we expect the DEA to agree to meaningful research for marijuana? Legalizing pot would give them less to do, fewer jobs, and a smaller budget.

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LA school administrators suspend science teacher for doing his job

LA school administrators suspend science teacher for doing his job | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Two of his students made science projects that officials thought looked like weapons
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Of course to reinstate him and admit they were wrong would then mean taking a serious look at the judgment of the administrators involved. Can anybody say "Kafka" as in "The Kafkaesque world of school administration."?

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What It’s Like to Be Declared Dead by the Government

What It’s Like to Be Declared Dead by the Government | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Every year, due to typos, 12,000 Americans are erroneously declared dead by the Social Security Administration. Those affected endure the Orwellian nightmare of convincing the government that they are alive.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I hope you are alive to read this. This is the kind of government glitch which requires fast action not bureaucratic processes. To subsequently refuse repayment of withheld benefits amounts to a statement that the government has no responsibility to the individual as does the indifferent way in which the bureaucracy goes about rectifying such situations in general. The bottom line here is that if the government has no allegiance to the individual, does the individual have a responsibility to obey the government? Over and over, I find the American experiment to be foundering on the rock of government indifference to the needs of citizens and wonder if this is or is not a democracy (or republic) or is it merely a rudderless bureaucratic mistake?

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What happened in Vegas stymies federal workers

What happened in Vegas stymies federal workers | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Limits on travel after an extravagant conference created unforeseen obstacles for government agencies.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The federal bureaucracy needs a rethink. Individual incompetence should be more clearly punishable, the methods for auditing need to be clear, but obviously the situation described in this report is laughably stupid. Attending appropriate conferences and training sessions is essential for government workers; providing that training is essential to the quality of services offered by the government. This means that bureaucrats must be given a certain level of discretion. It ain't easy running the railroad, but it darn well needs to be run properly.

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This Is What Happens When You Criticize Teach for America

This Is What Happens When You Criticize Teach for America | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An internal memo reveals how TFA’s obsessive PR game covers up its lack of results in order to justify greater expansion.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The best of ideas once grown into a bureaucracy will lose its way.  It is the nature of bureaucracies that they defend themselves, expand themselves, attack their critics, and above all deny the realities which might lead to their change. That the goal of Teach For America was to improve the education of those most in need makes TFA's loss of direction all the worse, for that need is greater than ever. That TFA is an NGO only makes this story even sadder, for the people running it should be taking pains to look at themselves.

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Whistleblowers say USAID’s IG removed critical details from public reports

Whistleblowers say USAID’s IG removed critical details from public reports | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Auditors and employees have complained about negative findings being stricken from agency audits.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

This is an example of how bureaucracy dysfunctions in its attempts to protect itself. One of the greatest problems with government today is the creation of such self-protecting attitudes. If you are interested in how the USAID spends its allocated money, you may also want to look at http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/where-usaid-funding-is-going/2014/10/22/2b49ef46-5a3d-11e4-b812-38518ae74c67_graphic.html ;

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Oil Tankers Leaking into Seattle’s Water

Oil Tankers Leaking into Seattle’s Water | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A highly flammable byproduct flowed from oil tankers into an area stormwater system for at least a year before state regulators inspected the problem.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Often we here how there are too many regulations and regulators strangling business. Here we see the other side of the problem: there are too many regulations and regulators for government to exercise proper supervision. Time to simplify regulation and enforcement by creating integrated systems for specific problems and industries. In the process, my guess is that most of the small businesses that actually get stifled will actually be given more freedom while real problems are addressed. Most important, we need better whistle-blower laws.

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L.A. Unified oversight panel rejects $42 million for computers

L.A. Unified oversight panel rejects $42 million for computers | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Los Angeles school district's bond oversight panel rejected a move Thursday by officials to spend an additional $42 million on new computers, including purchases under a controversial — and recently suspended — technology contract.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

While I am a strong advocate of public schools, this is an example of how they can become the victim of bureaucratization. The building of the fiefdom takes precedence over proper use of resources. In this case they don't have an inventory of the equipment on hand, but they want more. Americans have come to distrust government in general because of such bureaucratic thinking, and rightly so.

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Intelligence Gap: How a Chinese National Gained Access to Arizona’s Terror Center

Intelligence Gap: How a Chinese National Gained Access to Arizona’s Terror Center | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An un-vetted computer engineer plugged into law enforcement networks and a database of 5 million Arizona drivers in a possible breach that was kept secret for years.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Yet another example of how government bureaucracy works more to grow and defend itself than to serve the people. There is a glaring absence of oversight which is cloaked behind the supposed respect for privacy and the legal need to not comment on ongoing investigations. How about the even great need for government transparency?

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Child's detention despite citizenship reveals immigration case woes

Child's detention despite citizenship reveals immigration case woes | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An 11-year-old boy — one of hundreds who have been shuttled to an immigration detention facility in the middle of the New Mexican desert — was released this week after it was discovered that he is a U.S. citizen, according to the child's attorney.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

When you tell a bureaucracy to hurry, this is the kind of mistake that is going to happen. Is this our better natures? Is this the shining city on the hill? While I believe have to protect our borders and to stop illegal immigration, the way to do it is through the best practices and with care and compassion.

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Miami VA hospital employee alleges crimes ignored - Miami-Dade - MiamiHerald.com

Miami VA hospital employee alleges crimes ignored - Miami-Dade - MiamiHerald.com | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A police detective and employee of the Miami VA says his repeated reports of drug dealing, patient abuse and other crimes at the facility went unheeded.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The greatest problem facing the government of the United States today is the bureaucratization of its services. Here we see the perfect example. There is nothing wrong with giving people metrics by which their job performance is rated, there is nothing wrong with giving them job security through civil service, but there is something wrong with allowing people to avoid real scrutiny and in creating coverups and suppression of whistle-blowers.

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