Draining the Swamp: How’s That Working?

By George Smith

Are you ready to look at the condition this country finds itself and make a determination based on facts or are you okay with a litany of “alternative truths”?

This column contains information – facts, facts and more facts – that some readers may not want to hear or even believe. Feel free to check them out; I did and if you find any figures or statements are in error as stated, call me out. Some conditions: You have to state your “facts” and source; you cannot divert the message by mentioning Hillary Clinton, President Obama or Robert Mueller.

First, let’s talk about the president: Donald Trump once stated he owned four companies that declared bankruptcy; Clinton countered that in a debate in 2016 and said the number was six. Clinton was correct. Trump’s companies that have gone bankrupt include: Trump Hotels and Casinos, three Atlantic City, N.J. casinos, New York City’s Plaza Hotel and Trump Entertainment Resorts.

Trump stated he counted the three New Jersey casino bankruptcies one as a single filing, even though they were filed separately. Regardless of the number, those bankruptcies left investors and small businesses sucking wind, with Trump declaring more than once that he was just using the existing laws to his advantage.

Trump has repeatedly stated he only hires the “best people.” Yet, he has a turnover rate of 68 percent of his closest White House advisors in only 27 months. Some key positions (chief of staff, communications director, press secretary, etc.) have turned over multiple times. The 68 percent figure is “by position”; if three or more people have held a single position (chief of staff, communications director, etc.), the multiple turnovers are not included in the 68 percent figure.

Now, about draining that swamp: Andrew Wheeler is Environmental Protection Agency director; he is a former lobbyist for the oil and gas industry; Betsy DeVoss, a former fund raiser and unabashed cheerleader for private religious schools, is Secretary of Education; Wilbur Ross, secretary of commerce, and Steven Mnuchin, treasury secretary, are both billionaires who added to their wealth substantially during the 2008 recession, are in charge of creating national economic policy. Ross kept his investments in firms that the Commerce Department oversees;

It’s hard to forget that early in the Era of Trump, 15 women claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Trump before he was president; the White House staff and website have touted First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s line of jewelry; First Lady

Melania pushed her line of jewelry and “timepieces” on the QVC channel; First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner’s sister worked hard to persuade Chinese businessmen to invest in a family development project, touting the fact that Kushner was hot stuff at the White House; Kushner and his spousal unit also received security passes first denied by the White House security clearing house.

The attorney general, William Barr, was named to the post because he was already on record as being in Trump’s corner on whether or not the president could obstruct justice. He fulfilled Trump’s hopes for him with a decidedly less-than-stellar performance in a senate hearing and then blew off the Democrat-controlled House hearing. Barr lied (not “fudged the truth,” not “misspoke’ and not “erred on the side of confidentiality” … but flat-out lied to Congress) about what Mueller’s report and the procecutor’s sentiments about Barr’s interpretation stated.

Meanwhile, the thriving industry of operating private prisons are in an economic boom with the Trump Administration’s affection for tent cities. Coupled with the nation’s zero-tolerance for illegal immigrants, and Trump’s edict of separating children from their families, the figures published for the daily cost of each detainee varies widely from upwards from $133 to almost $800 per day.

Of course, the private contactors charge what they can get and there has been little pushback from any federal official who can make decisions on the unreasonable costs. The Department of Human Services (DHS) estimates the cost of maintaining families (mother and children) together costs $319 per day; separating children from their parents and housing the children (including babies) in “tent cities,” in fenced-in enclosures costs $775 per person per night.

Okay, what is this costing you, the taxpayer? DHS reported that more than 51,300 immigrants, on average, were held in detention centers each day in fiscal 2018.

You do the math, using a combination of the figures above. I did and threw up in my mouth. Just taking the $319 figure, that would be more than $16,270,000.

Why does it cost so much and why is the government doing to keep costs down? The administration could have children stay at the Trump’s International Hotel in D.C. for a measly $575 a night, have room service and still save money.

Shoot, the Day’s Inn in El Paso is only $64 a night and a double room at Super 8 in Brownsville, Texas is only $54.55.

This administration cut taxes bigly on the wealthiest one-percent and corporations, gave the middle class a pittance and then took away certain deductions so the pittance handed out was an enlarged pittance that was so much of a pittance as to not really count for much at all.

As you have probably already figure out, this administration does not care about costs or the working economically wounded – it is not spending its money, it’s spending your’s. And this administration does not care about costs, unless it’s money coming out of the pockets of the Richie Rich’s of the high-dollar crowd.

Drain the swamp? If I was not crying, I’d be laughing.

“First, let’s take stock of where we are: The EPA is run by a former coal lobbyist. An ex-oil lobbyist heads the Department of Interior. Betsy DeVos, funder and champion of private religious schools, runs education policy. Steven Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross, billionaires who profited handsomely from the 2008 collapse, are in charge of protecting the economy. And at the Department of Justice, a top official who recommended that the federal government put more immigrants in privately-run detention centers hopped over to a job at the GEO Group, which pays immigrants $1 for a day of labor but can’t seem to find a way to prevent detainees from dying. No wonder the United States has plummeted in the corruption ranking maintained by Transparency International.”

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Circumference of Me – Chapter 8

8. The legends of warlords

Another major failing among mid-level managers is an inability to see beyond their own boundary lines. Thinking, “I am in charge of this project, and I will control it,”is simply wrong-headed. Each department is a part that exists to assist other parts so the corporate engine can runsmoothly and efficiently.

Turf protectionism was common among ancient warlords and still is practiced by nations or regions run by tribal chiefs. There are no successful companies among which turf warfare is tolerated. There is nothing worse in a business than a “virus” – a  virulent strain of egotism – created by the ministrations and manipulations of quarreling corporate warlords.

Managers who adhere to the archaic practice of turf protection, to the detriment of the company, will not be around to see necessary changes unfold.

While “turf” is strictly a boundary issue and a sincere bugaboo in the constant search for corporate success, a manager’s “territory” should be constantly scrutinized for expansion possibilities – not in the sense of “securing more territory” to feel important, but to improve the internal processes that benefit the company. In other words, how can one department help other departments in ways individual managers may not have even contemplated? And how do you accomplish that without offending the boundary issues of other managers?

Overtures must be presented in terms of mutual consideration and benefit.

“I was thinking about that interesting project you mentioned last week and how it could help the company. What if my department assisted you by . . . ?”

There is an example of the absolute best that communication and camaraderie have to offer: A word of praise, followed by an offer of assistance.

Real life. Real, positive results.

If you want to expand your territory, do it for the right reasons. If you just want to be in charge of “more”simply to expand your turf, buy grass seed.

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