Tuesday Commentary: The Top Problem is…

Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want – and their kids pay for it. – Richard Lamm

Every December we see a lot of “year-end” lists. I’ve been known to publish a few here at The Western Word. Today I found one from Gallup.

According to Gallup polling, the nation’s top problem for 2017 is…wait for it…

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OPM Breach: Suspicious Minds

There were two or three ideas floating around this morning that I could have written about. First we had Donald Trump saying, “I’m really rich” during his speech announcing that he was running for the Republican Presidential nomination. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a candidate say that. Trump is always worth a few lines. Then last night we had LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers losing for the fourth time in the NBA finals, which I cheered. This was after he proclaimed, “I’m the best player in the world.” One headline may have said it best, “LeBron James May Go Down As The Greatest Loser Ever.” Good for him.

I decided to hold off on those two wonderful issues and write a personal account about the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the federal employee data breach.

I know the excitement is building, so please read on…

It seems just about any time that personal data in the Federal Government is hacked, I make the list.

I received an official-looking letter from a “Secure Processing Center” in Livonia, Michigan, on Friday or Saturday informing me that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently became aware of the “cybersecurity incident” affecting its systems that may have exposed my personal information.

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The Bundy Ranch

Many readers have probably heard about the issue in Nevada regarding a rancher named Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management. The argument has been going on for about 20 years which involves grazing fees on federal land, which Bundy has refused to pay. It’s reported that he owes a little over a million dollars to the federal government in grazing fees.

By the way, Bundy supposedly does not recognize the authority of the federal government. I enjoy reading about people who for different reasons don’t believe the federal government has authority over them. I wonder if they vote for U.S. Senators, or U.S. Representatives, or President. I wonder if they pay taxes or visit national parks or even use interstates for travel! Many of these people I’ve met or read about over the years have ended up in prison – ironically they are sent to federal prison.

Bundy’s lost all the federal court cases along the way starting in November 1998 when he was told by a federal court to stop letting his cows graze on federal land.

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SHUTDOWN: The Blame Game Begins

Welcome to October! For those readers who generally hate the Federal Government, congratulations. It was shut down last night at midnight eastern time, because Congress failed to fund it.

Now the blame game begins, and it does not look too good for the Republicans.

In a poll conducted here at The Western Word (TWW), I asked, “If the Federal Government shuts down, whom do you blame for causing it?”

It was not even close; 32% said the Tea Party was to blame, and 32% said the Republicans were to blame (So, 64% thought those leaning to the right were to blame). The Democrats were blamed by 12%, President Obama was blamed by 8%, and 16% said “everyone” was to blame.

Thanks to all those who participated.

The supporters of the GOP were out in force yesterday providing their “facts” about the government shutdown on TV, radio, and through the internet – and appeared to be getting some of their instructions from Rush Limbaugh. The GOP has historically had problems getting their message out, and this past week has been more of the same.

It was a complete strategy fail by the GOP, and like they were in TWW’s poll, they are losing the public relations battle.

Quinnipiac University released the results of their poll this morning (Tuesday) showing that “American voters disapprove 74 – 17 percent of the job Republicans in Congress are doing, their lowest score ever, and disapprove 60 – 32 percent of the job Democrats are doing.”  Continue reading

Duplication

There’s nothing much better than waiting for a report from the Federal government. OK, almost anything is better, but I am trying to lure readers to this website…

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) is set to release a report today that details some of the Federal Government programs that overlap.

For those who don’t know much about the GAO, here is their “About GAO” statement:

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the “congressional watchdog,” GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars.

It does not appear they have been doing a very good job…maybe they can do away with the GAO? Continue reading