Nobody is capable of fixing this mess

We can get overly focused on the man in charge.  Yes, they’re the face of an organization and the one calling the shots.  But many times, a department’s performance is beyond the capabilities and judgment of one man.

The focus now shifts to who the new boss will be.  Well, I’ve got news for you folks, it’s irrelevant.  Whoever’s next, the result is the same.  If Eric Shinseki can’t fix the VA, nobody can.  You will never find a more experienced, mature leader guided by such integrity.  The problem isn’t Shinseki, the problem is the VA.

Consider some numbers that illustrate the level of the problem:

VA

$153B for 312K employees caring for 9M patients

National Health Service

$183B for 1.7M employees caring for 63M patients

Now somebody smarter than I could probably explain why this comparison is not equivalent.  There’s probably some concept I’m missing.  But at the base level these numbers still tell the core story.  The VA is a bloated dysfunctional bureaucracy.

Just changing the person at the top won’t alter things.  Pumping more money into the budget won’t either.  Only two things can correct this situation:

a)  Completely change the VA’s organization, mandate, budget into something different

b)  Completely change the way government employees are managed

In any reasonable world the VA is a bankrupt entity that should have died and been rebuilt into something better decades ago.  But this is government and government can’t go bankrupt.  Yet without creative destruction this mess will just go on.  Kill it and then rebuild it.

Or you have to start treating government employees differently.  The folks who have ruined the VA lack integrity, efficiency, and value because they exist in a system that does not reward talent, merit, and performance.  That so many senior VA officials have turned out as corrupt, incompetent fools should not surprise anybody.  You get the people your organization generates.

Will Congress and the public even consider options (a) and (b)?  Probably not.  They’re too hard and controversial.  So don’t be surprised in a decade when everything’s the same.

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This man has to go back to the VA next month for his checkup

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We’re all a bunch of lunatics, calm down

The insanity on display today is beyond comprehension.  I’m not going to list one topic and bitch about it like a child.  You figure it out.

For the blogger, insanity is defined as desiring to write about every single thing you hear during a day that angers you, and then deciding not to do it.  Why?  Because you’d be worse off, and unable to make your point.  Suffice to say, that if I wrote about any topic today, I’d be filled with nothing but a sea of profanity and disgust.

Every topic bleeds the symptoms of a culture and human race bound for the crypt.  My guests have spent most of the day shaking their heads at the awfulness.  In their view, such a weak, twisted, vain race would burn in eight hours if they could introduce a proper Heavy Assault Fleet into our high orbit.  Fortunately for us all, they can’t.  They’re just a bunch of degenerate, exiled, drunk assholes.  Fuck them.

Why am I writing this then?  I guess because I had to do something.  Nothing is not an option when you feel compelled to bleed your brain.  I guess I’ll go with one theme that troubles me that is common to all of today’s issues:

a)  Everybody treats every single issue as if the universe is about to collapse

b)  They then choose a side, even if there is no side

c)  They then choose to target the other side as evil and destroy them

d)  This thus results in a lot of shouting, hatred, and generally awful behavior

e)  Nothing is accomplished, and we all end up where we started

f)  God, Jesus, Yoda, and Buddha shake their heads; knowing we’ve learned nothing

Hey, look assholes, calm the fuck down.  You think your pet issue is motivating?  Here’s a motivating sentence for you:

In six hundred years your bones will be dust.

Relax, kick back, have a drink, and enjoy what life you have.  Hug your friends and loved ones.  Laugh with them.  Don’t spend your day shouting vile at your opposition when if all you did was actually sit down with them, you’d discover they aren’t under the influence of Hitler’s ghost.

Maybe we’ve always been this way, the venom.  Maybe Caveman 1, Caveman 2, Cavewoman 3, and Cavewoman 4 spewed the same level of hatred at each other.  But I doubt it.  Back then, humans needed each other to survive, regardless of what they thought day to day.  Well, I’ve got news for you lunatics.  It’s still the same.

We need each other to survive.  All of us.  We’re all a bunch of lunatics, calm down.

supernova_w49b

One million-trillion lives may have existed inside this bubble of death; keep that in mind; and go hang out with your friends and family and have fun; then, come back and try again without the evil

Things are returning to normal, but they shouldn’t

Nobody wants to live in a state of perpetual crisis; to get pounded every single day in the head with awful reality.  So Uncle Vlad has sounded rather charitable lately.  And so do his Western counterparts.  Now that the drama’s subsided, everybody wants to get back to normal.  Vlad’s backed Ukrainian elections, pulled some troops away, and didn’t resort to screaming like the lunatic he is when Prince Charles called him exactly what he is.

By the way, you have to applaud Charles for speaking the truth and the not backing down.  When you see how the three big men of British politics responded, you affirm quite a lot of who they really are:

Cameron:  The Prince… “…everyone is entitled to their private opinions.”

Clegg:  The Prince… “…free to express himself.”

Miliband:  The Prince… “…has got a point.”

Which is to confirm that Cameron remains the hack-fraud everybody thinks he is; Clegg is still a vacuum-sealed-lifeform-in-a-suit; and Miliband, for all his many, many faults is still a democrat at heart and has the admirable quality of telling everybody what he really thinks.  Even if telling everybody what he thinks usually gets him in trouble.

But it’s okay you tart Brits.  You’re not the only ones led by a walking corpse.  Monsieur Hollande still can’t bring himself to not sell amphibious assault ships to Vladimir.  Apparently because he says that once you sign contracts, they are sacred.  Oh, I get it.  So Vlad can violate international law and multiple signed treaties but the French will be damned if they break a single contract.  This is to say that Vlad could invade Poland and burn Warsaw to the ground.  But as long as it doesn’t lead to the loss of five-hundred union jobs in Saint-Nazaire, Hollande would respond, “Meh, [French shrug] what can you do?”

Vlad is not happy with Charles.  For once he almost seems to whine just a little.  He doesn’t like being compared to one of history’s greatest monsters.  But they’re essentially the same kind of guy.  Except that Vlad has a much lower body count and is in the end rather less successful in achieving his goals up front.  But Charles is right and both Vlad and Hitler see Europe the same way.  Unfortunately for us all, there’s no Churchill or de Gaulle waiting in the wings to turn things around.  And so this will go on and on.

Everybody in our blessed Western establishment governments and businesses want things to go back to normal.  The West needs Russia for gas, for oil, for cash, on Syria, Iran, Afghanistan transport links, nuclear proliferation, and about sixteen other major actions.  But to push Ukraine to the side and get back to normal in the pursuit of these goals misses the gravity of the damage Putin has recently wrought to the West and the world order it claims to represent.  This one you can’t let slide.

In two weeks Vlad shows up to the Normandy commemorations of 06 June.  Oh, yeah, if you didn’t know, Hollande has not withdrawn the invitation.  So in two weeks all the “leaders” of the West are going to stand side-by-side with a leader who’s just recently gone against everything those who fought at Normandy stood for.

They’re going to let him get away with it because they think they need him.  They require his Russia so they can get back to normal.  They might as well kidnap five Ukrainians off the street, take them to Sword Beach, and urinate on them atop an old Nazi coastal gun box.  And while they’re at it, walk over to the cemetery and spit on the graves of the fallen.  It’s the same as standing next to Putin after what’s happened.  It’s a disgrace.

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“Well Vlad, you have to know, you’re a filthy Hitler shit.”

“Yeah, and what are you going to do about it, pig?!”

Sadly, this is now over before it begins

It’s bad enough that the bribes provided to FIFA weren’t sufficient to secure better group placement. Accordingly, the joy of facing off against two of the top three teams on the planet awaits. And we now add the disturbance of broadcasting to the planet that the team is dysfunctional. They’re not even in Brazil yet and it’s already a mess.

Herr Klinsmann decided to cut a living legend. Now granted, Donovan’s recent play leaves this an understandable move. But given his past performance, his name recognition, and status you’d think he’d be in for sure. Well, I guess never underestimate the probability that a German guy is a dick.

The problem for Klinsmann is that he has personal revenge written all over this. Donovan washed out of Bayern Munich and a few months later Klinsmann was taken to the wood shed by his masters. It’s no secret these guys don’t like each other. Maybe in a vacuum Klinsmann would have arrived at the same decision. But for Klinsmann to actually pull the trigger makes him look petty and dishonorable.

Both of them are playing it professional:

Donovan: “…I will be cheering on my friends and teammates this summer, and I remain committed to helping grow soccer in the U.S. in the years to come.”

Klinsmann: “I just see some other players slightly ahead of him.”

Slightly? Wow. Slightly is a real good reason to detonate your team. Well, Jurgen, sorry, but what you may not realize is that as far as this tournament was concerned nobody could be that far ahead of him. The only thing folks are going to talk about for the whole first week is that Donovan isn’t there. This is the very definition of a distraction. How does that help the team battle an already impossible situation?

Granted, I’m biased because I never understood the decision to hire Klinsmann to begin with. How to you build a competitive team by hiring a guy from a soccer culture so adverse from the very basis of American values and style?

Oh, the guy’s a FIFA legend? So what? At the hardest sports moments, culture can be everything, more powerful than skill. Every single person on the team is now looking over their shoulder, or maybe looking even more. “Hey man, if that angry kraut can end Landon and get away with it, he can end any one of us.”

Uh, at least it’ll end quickly. It won’t take long for the echo of embarrassment to fade, again. Maybe we should have just hired some dude from Milwaukee.

KlinsmannDonovan-ISIPhotos_com_

They’ll show this photo in psychology classes to depict two men who despise one another

Trust the gun wielding goon with your freedom, what could go wrong?

I have this idea of a bunch of drunk cavemen leaders discussing whether or not to establish an army to liquidate the residents of a neighboring cave. They vote to do it. Then the next morning the leaders all wake up to find the general they elected to command their new cave army has launched a coup. He beheads them all and then doesn’t attack the neighboring cave after all.

Who needs an army anyways? Well, I guess Ukraine, probably Vietnam, and all those Baltic states who will soon become Russian provinces while NATO discusses what minor tool of Putin to sanction. But mostly, I think the planet’s countries don’t need armies. Throughout history, most armies only battle their own people. I’m certain we’ve got more coups than wars on the books.

Why has Thailand needed an army since 1932? They’ve had twelve coups. But the only times it was really needed against say Imperial Japan or to hedge Communist Vietnam, they never really fought. So by my count the only battle the Thai army has ever truly engaged in was against its own people. Maybe the Thai should only have cops instead. It’d be safer that way.

But it was rather comical to see the fools at the US State Department twist their words in a manner befitting a hack of Putin. As they walked around whether or not the army’s actions earlier this week amounted to a coup. I guess thousands of guys on the city streets with machine-guns is a training exercise?

Whatever. Don’t be too hard on them. They’re interested in preserving US influence in Thailand, regardless of who’s in charge. We don’t possess a US State Department interested in supporting US values. That’s weak ass stuff. Imposing your values across the world by any means is for jerks like Putin who actually care about things.

But fortunately those seeking clarity of the situation when clarity already existed were nicely assisted by history’s latest caveman asshole: General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Self-Appointed Dictator & Overlord of the Thai People. When in doubt, as always, trust the guy who’s serious enough to put guns on the street.

But it’s okay, the US is on the case. Secretary Kerry has warned of “negative implications for the U.S.-Thai relationship”. Ah, I see. I once again refer Secretary Kerry to his outstanding performance with the Ukraine crisis and remind him that people generally look at what you’ve done to determine whether you’re a serious man. If I was the good general, would take any threat Kerry offers seriously?

One Shirt, Two Shirt, Red Shirt, Yellow Shirt, whatever. Both sides are at fault in why Thai governance has been a basket case for a decade. These guys make Africa’s best kleptocrats look like freaking masters of the human race. Hey, at least Mugabe can keep things somewhat moving, even if he’s still having folks beat in back alleys. I’m pretty sure Mugabe’s got less automatic weapons on the streets of Harare today than Bangkok does.

But you know who’s not going to improve Thailand’s situation? The army. So whatever their motives, they’ve now further sent their country into the drink. The good general says he’s there to “return peace and order to the country as soon as possible”. They all say that. Some of them might even mean it. Maybe the general actually means it? But even if he does, he clearly doesn’t know anything about history. If you know history, you can already call how well this one’s going to work out. Bet money on it.

normal street corner

Well, at least the guy on the right isn’t laying a pool of blood; I guess that’s something; I guess

Get used to the planet stealing your stuff

Here’s an exercise in insanity that will overpower even the reckless belligerent brains of my exiled guests.  Take out your credit card and tape it to a sheet of paper.  Write your address, phone number, and a list of your favorite passwords on the paper.  Leave it on a crowded street corner.  Proceed to your nearest bar, relax, and have a drink.  It’s all going to be okay.

So eBay needs you to change passwords because somebody ripped them off.  Target has similar problems with credit card security.  So does your local bank.  Right now your computer probably has a virus of some kind.  No, your antivirus program can’t find it.  The hospital down the street has a thirteen year old hacking their heart image servers.  The local grocer just lost your address to a bum in Belarus.

Get used to it, friends.  If they want you, they’re going to get you.  If a hacker, criminal, kid, or bored alien wants your stuff?  They’re going to get your stuff.  Ask anybody who knows anything about the way computers work.  There’s always a way in.  If you are deliberately targeted, there’s nothing you can do to protect your computer.  Just as there’s almost nothing a company can do to protect your data.

Eventually you’re going to get data robbed.  Maybe it gets used against you, maybe not.  But it’s going to be out there.  Do you doubt me?  Well, of course you do, I’m a moron.  But remember how many cards Target lost, like 70 million?  Why has the universe not collapsed?  Because not even the most Bond villain criminal enterprise on the planet can make use of 70 million ripped cards.

The next time you have to switch your credit card due to an unauthorized purchase?  I ask you to observe how utterly routine the experience is.  Your old one goes away, they ship you a new one overnight.  They don’t call the cops.  They don’t provide an explanation.  They don’t care.  It’s just become part of the business.

Now this is not meant as an advertisement for identity theft companies or anything like that.  They cannot protect you either, and like insurance companies, I suspect identity theft companies are not in the business of protecting you from identity theft.

On Arcturus, identity theft is when a gang of enforcers breaks into your house and robs you of your identity via multiple death ray shots to the torso.  So some perspective is called for.  What I guess I’m trying to say is just loosen up.  When everybody’s vulnerable, your chances of getting caught are rather slim.  If you get hit badly, it sucks to be you, but chances are you’re not going to get hit.

We’ve based all the modern functions of our society on a networked computer architecture that’s inherently flawed.  And so bad dudes are going to exploit those flaws.  Forever.  Don’t get angry, shocked, or yell at companies.  Instead, proceed to your nearest bar, relax, and have a drink.  It’s all going to be okay.

internets

The most dysfunctionally designed concept since aqua cars

Without local news, Weather would abduct your kids & burn your home

Every once and a while the media shows their true arrogance and the general contempt they hold for you. It doesn’t often occur, but when it does, you really get a clear view of their intent and attitude toward the rest of the human race.

The News Stormtrooper of the Week Award goes to Nancy Naeve of South Dakota in her belligerent rant against the common viewer for getting upset that tornado storm coverage displaced their favorite shows:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/13/nancy-naeve-tornado_n_5318675.html

Now I’m all about the typical belligerent rant. I cleanse my soul with it. But this is beyond wrong.

Nancy’s taken it upon herself to tell the audience what’s best for them. I guess because she thinks her viewers are too irresponsible to protect themselves. She says she’s on the air to “save people’s lives”. This is to imply that if her network didn’t conduct a special weather broadcast, that she believes people would actually die.

I would think that generally folks like firefighters and rescue workers save lives. Not some news anchor sitting behind a desk. I guess I’m just confused. I wonder if she realizes tornados have existed since the dawn of man? Or that there are dozens of other means by which an individual can receive information about severe weather? How stupid does she think the average viewer is that if her precious news show did not occur, somebody would actually get themselves killed?

So at the core of her argument is this “gets me mad” because the public backlash is interrupting her ability to “saving lives, literally”. But in order to accept her line of thinking, we’d have to assume that her network conducts this coverage in order to save lives. Well, unfortunately for Nancy, this isn’t why her station does this.

The networks do storms to get your cash via an increase in overall watchers. They’re not necessarily in it for your protection, that’s just a symptom of the larger goal. The primary objective is profit. Nancy is in the television industry, she has to know this is the reason for special weather programs. So she’s either a conceited liar (very possible) or just a naïve reporter (probably the real reason).

I’m going to give Nancy the benefit of the doubt and say she’s just foolish. She was brought up in this system. They taught her what she needed to believe to succeed in the news business. Her paycheck is stamped by the executive who generated this bright idea to increase viewers and advertising revenue. So don’t be too hard on her that she thinks she’s just as important as a firefighter who genuinely risks their life and future every single day.

Now you’ll usually notice they don’t air commercials during these special storm events. So you’ll claim the absence of ads during heavy weather indicates it’s not about the money. Wrong. The reason they don’t typically show commercials is so you are tricked into believing it’s about your safety first. When it isn’t.

What they’re after in these unique situations is not your cash, not yet, but your trust. They are trying to conn you into believing that they have your health at heart in the most extreme of circumstances. That you can rely upon them. Once they have your trust, the assumption is they’ll forever have your eyes for standard daily news. Then they can take your cash.

But wait, there’s more. If it was truly just about your welfare, all they would do is put a little warning banner on the bottom of the screen that flashed active tornado danger areas. When do they normally do this? During football games. They’ll kick Once Upon a Time off the air any day, but never the Vikings in South Dakota. Why?

Because the business model has determined that their profit tradeoff is not favorable if they kick off an NFL game, thus the small warning banner. But they’ll remove an average rated show because their metrics stipulate this is worth the increase in viewers against those who get pissed off their favorite drama just got bumped. But if it was really just about ensuring you’re safe? Then they’d boot even the NFL game off the air wouldn’t they? But they won’t.

Now friends, you might think I’m being too extreme, again? Well, I invite you to search online and view multiple news stories about what Nancy said. Look across several media publications. They’re all giving her a round of applause like she’s just resurrected Jesus’ ghost.

Why do they love her so much? It’s not because she’s “saving lives, literally”. It’s because all the folks reporting on her have brains just like her. What she thinks about you is what they think about you. Please remember this the next time one of them tells you with their deity-like guidance that they know what’s best for you, your family, or your country.

Next time they boot your favorite show off the air, don’t e-mail the network profanity or death threats, send them this:

Thank you for your attention, but I have checked my weather smartphone app and have all the information I require. Please turn my favorite show back on.

or

We appreciate your efforts to think for us, but my town has a siren that will produce any weather warnings I require while I watch my favorite shows. Speaking of which, could you please put my favorite show back on.

or

I have walked onto my porch and determined via my own eyes the current status of the weather. Your concern is not required or desired. Please put my favorite show back on or I’ll watch another network that does not treat me like I’m five.

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More disrespectful to your overall wellbeing than a Class V twister