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Tag Archives: US Government

Chumph – Ethnic Cleansing the Government

What is going on at State Department is playing out all over the government as the Chumph assembles his Gestapo.

This is also interesting because of the announcement of Mr Tillerson’s exit from State

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Diplomats Sound the Alarm as They Are Pushed Out in Droves

 Of all the State Department employees who might have been vulnerable in the staff reductions that Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has initiated as he reshapes the department, the one person who seemed least likely to be a target was the chief of security, Bill A. Miller.

Republicans pilloried Hillary Clinton for what they claimed was her inadequate attention to security as secretary of state in the months before the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Congress even passed legislation mandating that the department’s top security official have unrestricted access to the secretary of state.

But in his first nine months in office, Mr. Tillerson turned down repeated and sometimes urgent requests from the department’s security staff to brief him, according to several former top officials in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Finally, Mr. Miller, the acting assistant secretary for diplomatic security, was forced to cite the law’s requirement that he be allowed to speak to Mr. Tillerson.

Mr. Miller got just five minutes with the secretary of state, the former officials said. Afterward, Mr. Miller, a career Foreign Service officer, was pushed out, joining a parade of dismissals and early retirements that has decimated the State Department’s senior ranks. Mr. Miller declined to comment.

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The departures mark a new stage in the broken and increasingly contentious relationship between Mr. Tillerson and much of his department’s work force. By last spring, interviews at the time suggested, the guarded optimism that greeted his arrival had given way to concern among diplomats about his aloofness and lack of communication. By the summer, the secretary’s focus on efficiency and reorganization over policy provoked off-the-record anger.

Now the estrangement is in the open, as diplomats going out the door make their feelings known and members of Congress raise questions about the impact of their leaving.

In a letter to Mr. Tillerson last week, Democratic members of the House Foreign Relations Committee, citing what they said was “the exodus of more than 100 senior Foreign Service officers from the State Department since January,” expressed concern about “what appears to be the intentional hollowing-out of our senior diplomatic ranks.”

Image result for State Department workforce demographicsSenator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, sent a similar letter, telling Mr. Tillerson that “America’s diplomatic power is being weakened internally as complex global crises are growing externally.”

Mr. Tillerson, a former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, has made no secret of his belief that the State Department is a bloated bureaucracy and that he regards much of the day-to-day diplomacy that lower-level officials conduct as unproductive. Even before Mr. Tillerson was confirmed, his staff fired six of the State Department’s top career diplomats, including Patrick Kennedy, who had been appointed to his position by President George W. Bush. Kristie Kenney, the department’s counselor and one of just five career ambassadors, was summarily fired a few weeks later.

None were given any reason for their dismissals, although Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Kenney had been reprimanded by Trump transition officials for answering basic logistical questions from Nikki R. Haley, President Trump’s pick as United Nations ambassador. Mr. Tillerson is widely believed to dislike Ms. Haley, who has been seen as a possible successor if Mr. Tillerson steps down.

In the following months, Mr. Tillerson launched a reorganization that he has said will be the most important thing he will do, and he has hired two consulting companies to lead the effort. Since he decided before even arriving at the State Department to slash its budget by 31 percent, many in the department have always seen the reorganization as a smoke screen for drastic cuts.

Mr. Tillerson has frozen most hiring and recently offered a $25,000 buyout in hopes of pushing nearly 2,000 career diplomats and civil servants to leave by October 2018.

His small cadre of aides have fired some diplomats and gotten others to resign by refusing them the assignments they wanted or taking away their duties altogether. Among those fired or sidelined were most of the top African-American and Latino diplomats, as well as many women, difficult losses in a department that has long struggled with diversity.

One of them was Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a career Foreign Service officer who served as ambassador to Liberia under Mr. Bush and as director general of the Foreign Service and assistant secretary for African affairs during the Obama administration. Ms. Thomas-Greenfield was among those asked to leave by Mr. Tillerson’s staff, but she appealed and remained until her retirement in September.

“I don’t feel targeted as an African-American,” she said. “I feel targeted as a professional.”

For those who have not been dismissed, retirement has become a preferred alternative when, like Mr. Miller, they find no demand for their expertise. A retirement class that concludes this month has 26 senior employees, including two acting assistant secretaries in their early 50s who would normally wait years before leaving.

The number of those with the department’s top two ranks of career ambassador and career minister — equivalent to four- and three-star generals — will have been cut in half by Dec. 1, from 39 to 19. And of the 431 minister-counselors, who have two-star-equivalent ranks, 369 remain and another 14 have indicated that they will leave soon — an 18 percent drop — according to an accounting provided by the American Foreign Service Association.

The political appointees who normally join the department after a change in administration have not made up for those departures. So far, just 10 of the top 44 political positions in the department have been filled, and for most of the vacancies, Mr. Tillerson has not nominated anyone.

 

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Black White Wealth Gap in DC…Likely to Get Worse Under the Chumph

Black workers are more likely to be employed in the public sector than are either their white or Hispanic counterparts. In 2011, nearly 20 percent of employed Blacks worked for state, local, or federal government compared to 14.2 percent of Whites and 10.4 percent of Hispanics.

Blacks are 30 percent more likely than nonblacks to work in the public sector, according to the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education. And roughly 21 percent of black workers are public employees, compared with 16.3 percent of nonblacks.

So when Putin’s bitch says he is going to “reduce government” who exactly gets hurt here?

George W. Bush (AKA the Bushit) “privatized” significant swaths of the Federal Government by outsourcing jobs to the private sector resulting in “whitening” Government.

More than a third (36.2%) of the Military are Minorities. Depending how you count (multiracial, other, etc) something between 17 and 20% of the US Military is black.

Partially as a result, the “wealth gap” between black and white is very bad in Washington, DC.

In D.C., White Families Are on Average 81 Times Richer Than Black Ones

Other major cities aren’t much better

The wealth discrepancy between blacks and whites is one of the most stark examples of inequality in America. White American families have, on average, around $142,000 in savings and assets, minus debt. Black families’, meanwhile, amounted to only $11,000, according to a 2014 Pew Research study. The gulf between black and white wealth is the worst it has been since the 1980s. Put differently, an average white family has 13 times the wealth of an average black family.

But as though the median numbers for the country as a whole weren’t bad enough, things look much worse in America’s cities, according to a new paperfrom the Urban institute—even cities such as D.C. where the prevalence of public-sector jobs, a large black population, and a high share of black business owners might make it seem like a place that black families could thrive. But in Washington D.C., the median white family has a staggering 81 times as much wealth as the median black family.

D.C. is not an outlier: In general, urban areas have much more severe racial inequalities, in part because of the concentration of white wealthy people, and the fact that their wealth has not “trickled down” to poor and middle-class black families. According to a 2015  National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Colors, D.C.’s racial wealth gap falls just behind Los Angeles’s, where median wealth for whites was closer to 89 times as much as blacks’. In Miami it was 30 times as high; in Tulsa, 18 times.

Darrick Hamilton, a professor at the New School and one of the authors of the Urban Institute’s study—along with fellow economists Kilolo Kijakazi, Rachel Marie Brooks Atkins, Mark Paul, Anne Price, and William A. Darity Jr.—says that while many ethnic groups might do poorly in one city and thrive in another, that’s not the case for black Americans. “No matter what the geographical context is, black Americans are a low-wealth group,” he told me. “I think the disparities are going to be dramatic wherever we look.”

Hamilton says that while the statistics about magnitude are useful for distilling the gap in balance sheets, they do little to capture what the wealth gap means for black families. In practice, less wealth means diminished access to the education and opportunities that help many Americans reach the middle class. Less wealth decreases opportunities for savings, homeownership, and economic security. And limited wealth accumulation also means that parents and grandparents have little to pass along to the next generation—from paying for school to helping with down payments—which dampens opportunities for intergenerational mobility.

D.C.’s wealth inequality stems from a combination of factors. According to the study, homeownership plays a significant role: Whites living in the District are much more likely than blacks to own homes—something that’s true around the country. In the District, whites with less than a high school education were more likely to own their homes than blacks at any education level, even those with college degrees. And for those who do own their own place, home values for black owners were around $250,000, about 30 percent less than the average value for white owners. Blacks in the District have a much higher unemployment rate, lower education rates, and are much more likely to have received a subprime mortgage.

The District’s racial wealth divide has old and deep origins in centuries of racist policies. The authors highlight a few in particular: the “black codes” of the 1840s, which prevented black people from owning successful stores or working in certain professions; the return of land in the District to the South in the 1870s, which decreased opportunities for ownership among newly freed blacks;  the demolition of Barry Farms—a black enclave founded by freed blacks—in the 1940s to make way for public housing and highway projects; the wave of “urban renewal” projects that swept out black businesses and residents in the 1960s and 70s. The effects of these policies have never been adequately dealt with. “Black people in D.C. have faced more than two centuries of deliberately constructed barriers to wealth building, and some of the highest barriers were embedded by design in law,” the study says….More

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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US Bans Hoverboard Imports – Hoverboards Banned

And not because of them catching fire!

The U.S. Just Banned Hoverboard Imports

And it has nothing to do with their fiery explosions.

The International Trade Commission announced Wednesday that the United States is banning imports of so-called hoverboards.

But while some brands of the auto-balancing scooters are known to spontaneously combust, the U.S.’s decision had nothing to do with safety and everything to do with a request from Segway, the hoverboard’s nerdy uncle.

Hoverboards are often described in media reports as Segways without handlebars, or a cooler Segway. But it turns out the new scooters have more in common with their Paul Blart-endorsed predecessor than meets the eye.

Segway filed a complaint with the ITC in 2014, claiming that hoverboards, the vast majority of which are manufactured in China, infringed on some of their patents and copyrights. The particular patents they listed mostly have to do with technologies that allow Segways to self-balance and read user inputs.

“In recent years, there has been an influx of low quality two-wheel personal transporters built on the intellectual property developed by DEKA and Segway,” the company, which licenses the technology from research firm DEKA, said at the time. “If this influx is allowed to continue, this iconic American product and the U.S. jobs dependent on it will be threatened.”

While Segway is based in New Hampshire and continues to manufacture its products there, it was bought last April by Ninebot, a Chinese company that Segway actually listed as a respondent in its 2014 complaint.

The ITC’s ruling goes on to name several brands that are no longer allowed to be imported into the country, including UPTECH, U.P. Technology, U.P. Robotics, FreeGo China, Ecoboomer and Roboscooters.

Segway said it would work with both U.S. customs and the ITC to help implement the ban, although demand for these products is likely at a new low. Just last month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced voluntary safety standards for all manufacturers, importers and retailers of self-balancing scooters due to their pesky tendency to catch on fire. Online retailer Amazon even agreed to refund all hoverboard purchases.

All of which means there might be a gaping new hole in the self-balancing scooter market. One that Segway could be poised to fill if it would only get cracking on asmaller, cooler-looking model.

The last isn’t going to happen. Segway will continue to sell vastly overpriced product now that there is no competition.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Great American Rip-Off, News

 

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The War That Never Ended – John Horse and the Seminoles

Met a Seminole Chief many years ago, and got a real education about what was called by the US “The Seminole Wars”, which were actually a 50 year series of battles between the US Government and the Seminoles, and their black allies, sometimes referred to as Black Seminole because some of the leaders of this revolt were black. The longest and most expensive War fought by the US prior to the Civil War, and the most expensive of the “Indian Wars” in terms of GDP by the US. Which never officially ended.

Wiki actually has a reasonably good write-up of this period to get an understanding from the “65.000 ft view”.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Black History

 

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Tuskegee 626… In Guatemala!

Seems that rural black folks weren’t the only ones used in unethical scientific experiments… What you have to realize – is in the 30’s and 40’s and even into the 60’s – our medical and scientific community really wan’t all that different from Hitler’s.

U.S. apologizes for syphilis experiment in Guatemala

The United States apologized on Friday for an experiment conducted in the 1940s in which U.S. government medical researchers deliberately infected Guatemalan prison inmates with syphilis.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other top officials issued a statement about the experiment, which echoed the infamous 1960s Tuskegee study in which black American men were deliberately left untreated for syphilis.

“The sexually transmitted disease inoculation study conducted from 1946-1948 in Guatemala was clearly unethical,” the statement reads.

“Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health. We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.”

The experiments, aimed at testing whether penicillin could prevent syphilis, were discovered by Susan Reverby, professor of women’s studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

“In 1946-48, Dr. John C. Cutler, a Public Health Service physician who would later be part of the Syphilis Study in Alabama in the 1960s and continue to defend it two decades after it ended in the 1990s, was running a syphilis inoculation project in Guatemala, co-sponsored by the PHS, the National Institutes of Health, the Pan American Health Sanitary Bureau (now the Pan American Health Organization), and the Guatemalan government,” she wrote.

“It was the early days of penicillin and the PHS was deeply interested in whether penicillin could be used to prevent, not just cure, early syphilis infection, whether better blood tests for the disease could be established, what dosages of penicillin actually cured infection, and to understand the process of re-infection after cures.”

The prison inmates were deliberately infected by prostitutes, but were treated with penicillin afterwards.

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, said regulation prohibited such “risky and unethical” research today.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2010 in Black History, News

 

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Gulf Oil Spill Much Bigger Than Claimed By BP and Government

Hat Tip to the Destructionist who actually figured this one out and posted it two days ago –

How Bad is it? If Overlayed on the DC-Baltimore Area - This Bad

You can overlay the size of the surface spill on any Geographic area at Google Earth here. To get a feel of the damage so far, here is a great collection of images.

The U.S. government estimates it’s 5,000 barrels a day, but scientists and environmental groups say it could be much larger.

National Public Radio reported late Thursday that scientific analysis of a video of the spill, released Wednesday by British Petroleum, put the estimate closer to 70,000 barrels a day. It says those findings suggest the spill is already much larger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska.

Rough calculations using satellite imagery suggested the leak could “easily be four or five times” the U.S. government estimate, Ian R. MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University who is an expert in the analysis of oil slicks, told the New York Times.

The 5,000 barrels a day figure was produced quickly by government scientists in Seattle, the Times reports. It appears to have been determined using a method not specifically recommended for major oil spills…

Independent scientists estimate the renegade wellhead at the bottom of the Gulf could be spewing up to 25,000 barrels a day, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Meanwhile, BP Execs continued to downplay the size of the spill, dis-inviting scientists from Woods Hole Laboratory to come and get accurate measurements – Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2010 in American Greed

 

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