Thursday, March 7, 2019

"We Are Cheating The Future!" The Most Revelatory Book Re Trump Administration - Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis! More Important Than Many Books on the Government!

The money people donated to his campaign Trump considered, effectively, his own. He thought the planning and forethought pointless. At one point he turned to Christie and said, “Chris, you and I are so smart that we can leave the victory party two hours early and do the transition ourselves.”

I find for this book, I was overwhelmed with what I was reading. With nearly 40 years of working in various positions, most of which were at a land-grant university in administration, I was appalled at what Michael Lewis was sharing. Working under at least three university presidents and many individual second in command of various parts of the institution, I am totally family with an organizational structure that works routinely to keep an organization running through any type of changes...

Having avidly watched what was happening under Trump, on national television and other media reports, I thought I had a fairly decent handle on what was really happening. The depth of what had happened, however, was so so much more...

"Very organized process taking place as I
decide on Cabinet and many other positions.
I am the only one who knows who the
finalists are!" 
9:55 PM - 15 Nov 2016
--DJ Trump

Did you know that there is supposed to be a transition team put into place whenever a governmental administration leader is replaced? Chris Christie had brought this up during the campaign, noting that it was mandatory. Nobody had even considered this at that time. At that point, Christie volunteered to head up that transition team...moved forward and, in a very short time, had a thriving team of 100 or so getting ready for the new president's administrative activities... Money had been established for this purpose...Trump was known to have criticized that that money was his and should not be used in this way..

On the second day after the Inauguration, Trump fired Christie and the entire transition team... So, well before he had even gotten started, Trump had fired over 100 individuals who were charged with working through the turnover of the government departments to a new administrator.

As with any well-run institution, each of the governmental divisions had worked throughout the previous year to create and assemble briefing reports and exhibits for introducing past, present and future activities in which they were involved. Some even arranged refreshments to host whoever would be showing up to represent the new administration. Nobody came...

And in the midst of this reality, a writer, Michael Lewis, walked into three major Departments of the Government, and started talking and asking them questions...What he learned became his latest book, Fifth Risk

I should quickly point out that, even without the need for a transition team, readers will be learning, perhaps as much as I did, about the various mostly unknown responsibilities for each of three Departments--Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy.

Lewis begins to talk to the people. He names each individual and shares their story. This is not fake news. If anybody wanted to, they could easily confirm what has been shared in this book. Instead of attempting to provide an overview of the major sets of data and information about each of these units, I, instead, will just highlight a few mind-blowing acts performed by the Trump staff when they actually got around to visiting the Departments: 
  • The Federal Government collects and provides free weather and climate data on their sites. Since the transition, all of this data has been deleted for free use. Reason...Accuweather is being paid for weather information and does not want to have it provided free...  Staffers in the U.S. Senate charged with vetting Myers’s nomination estimated that AccuWeather had roughly $100 million a year in revenue, and that it came mainly from selling ads on its website and selling weather forecasts to companies and governments willing to pay for them. Some weather geeks had recently discovered that the company had been selling the locations of people using its app, even when these individuals had declined to give AccuWeather permission to do this. At any rate, at his U.S. Senate hearings, Barry Myers estimated his AccuWeather shares to be worth roughly $57 million. At first glance, the nomination made sense: a person deeply involved in weather forecasting was going to take over an agency that devoted most of its resources to understanding the weather. At second glance, both Barry Myers and AccuWeather were deeply inappropriate. For a start, Barry Myers wasn’t a meteorologist or a scientist of any sort. He was a lawyer. “I was originally enrolled in meteorology as an undergraduate,” he told the Wall Street Journal back in 2014. “I then dropped out of school because I was a horrible student. I was never interested in learning, which I look at now as sort of funny.” Then there was AccuWeather. It had started out making its money by repackaging and selling National Weather Service information...

  • Pause a moment to consider the audacity of that maneuver. A private company whose weather predictions were totally dependent on the billions of dollars spent by the U.S. taxpayer to gather the data necessary for those predictions, and on decades of intellectual weather work sponsored by the U.S. taxpayer, and on international data-sharing treaties made on behalf of the U.S. taxpayer, and on the very forecasts that the National Weather Service generated, was, in effect, trying to force the U.S. taxpayer to pay all over again for what the National Weather Service might be able to tell him or her for free.

    • We are all worried about the intrusion into our voting activities, however, did you know that there are already attempts at more dangerous actions. In 2016 the DOE counted half a million cyber-intrusions into various parts of the U.S. electrical grid. “It’s one thing to put your head in the sand for climate change—it’s like maƱana,” says Ali Zaidi, who served in the White House as Obama’s senior adviser on energy policy. “This is here and now. We actually don’t have a transformer reserve. They’re like these million-dollar things. Seventeen transformers getting shot up in California is not like,” Oh, we’ll just fix the problem.’ Our electric-grid assets are growing vulnerable.”
    • The opioid crisis was a case in point. The data scientists in the Department of Health and Human Services had opened up the Medicaid and Medicare data, which held information about prescription drugs. Journalists at ProPublica had combed through it and discovered odd concentrations of opioid prescriptions. “We would never have figured out that there was an opioid crisis without the data,” said DJ.

    • After Trump took office, DJ Patil watched with wonder as the data disappeared across the federal government. Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior removed from their websites the links to climate change data. The USDA removed the inspection reports

    • Everyone is focused on how data is a weapon. Actually, if we don’t have data, we’re screwed.” His memos were never read, DJ suspects. At any rate, he’s never heard a peep about them. And he came to see there was nothing arbitrary or capricious about the Trump administration’s attitude toward public data. Under each act of data suppression usually lay a narrow commercial motive: a gun lobbyist, a coal company, a poultry company. “The NOAA webpage used to have a link to weather forecasts,” he said. “It was highly, popular. I saw it had been buried. And I asked: Now, why would they bury that?” Then he realized: the man Trump nominated to run NOAA thought that people who wanted a weather forecast should have to pay him for it. There was a rift in American life that was now coursing through American government. It wasn’t between Democrats and Republicans. It was between the people who were in it for the mission, and the people who were in it for the money.
    The variety and diverse ways in which our basic government activities has been changed is unbelievable and, in my opinion, totally unacceptable. Hopefully, those officials who were asked to leave in some way created safeguards against losing so much precious information and money dedicated for specific needs. If not, what this administration has done to our government will never be recoverable...

    The risks that have been identified may already have been acted upon without any knowledge of Congress and the people. The only way they will find out is when they will no longer be able to access the services once available...without charge... Somewhere, some business has stolen that data and is now making millions off of what our taxes have paid for.

    I thought Trump was a criminal working to gain for his we know that companies of all kinds have supported this criminal, so that, they too, make millions, without having done any of the basic work to provide it.

    Interestingly, for many years I was responsible for gathering, maintaining, and reporting data to the federal government about facilities and its utilization. It was the basis for acquiring federal funds for university programs, including medical programs. Data-gathering and maintenance is an ongoing activity for which we were required to be audited and tracked for accuracy. Somewhere that data would have been stored for use by the government and various agencies doing research... Years of my personal work may be gone...

    This entire book affects all Americans. You will be learning more about your government than you may have known before...but you may be learning about it as it disintegrates and disappears...

    I have not hidden my opinion about this administration, but not until this book was I devastated, not realizing what has really been happening in and to those programs that have served our people so well in the past... Climate Control? Is the data lost to all? Agriculture and Forestry basic information and preservation programs? Service programs to help all of us live, such as basic data about opoids, economic basic data...  It's worse than I ever imagined...

    And, it turns out, Trump is smarter than we thought...he's doing exactly what is needed to make millionaires into billionaires... Only you can imagine what has already occurred that affects you directly. Please read this book and share this article...It's more important than you may ever know...Sad to say...


        No comments:

        Post a Comment