‘Ruthless’: How It Feels When The Trump Admin Guts Your Agency

After 30 years at the USDA studying the agriculture industry, James MacDonald “knows everything about it,” one colleague said.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://talkingpointsmemo.com/?p=1241335
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If I wasn’t already numb, I’d be agog at how farm state senators are now so in thrall to the cult of Trump, and their voters so thoroughly brain-damaged by constant Fox News viewing, that an action that once would have lead to an all-hands-on-deck legislative counter-attack from every farm state member of Congress is going forward with nary a whimper of protest.

I am sure Big Seed and Chem is all in favor of slashing oversight and scrutiny but, FFS big farming depends on the work of these agencies. It’s critical to what they do, their ability to engage in business planning.

And still, nary a whimper or protest from any Republican farm state/district senator or representative.


Trump and his enablers continue to wield a wrecking ball to the detriment of the entire country. Repubs have completely lost their conscience, some not having a shred to begin with.


I guess that I should be thankful that my agency is already headquartered here in Denver, rather than DC. I guess that I should also be thankful that there isn’t any chance at another shutdown before the next election. This shit is really demoralizing.


Like everything else , it will be too late after the next Fungus or pest hits and we coulda shouda woulda if we had only known .
Like climate change a point of no return
The hand wringing will be will be all they have left


“MacDonald represents the kind of veteran, institutional knowledge the USDA is losing as scores of expert economists and researchers leave the department…”

We are losing people of incalculable knowledge, skill, and value to Garfield Gaddafi’s tantrums.

House Speaker Sam Rayburn: “Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.”


It’s all a game with Trump.

" ‘Ruthless’: How It Feels When The Trump Administration Guts Your Agency"

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Being in Denver won’t stop them. Why leave jobs in purple Colorado when you can bring home jobs to ruby red Oklahoma and appoint your cousins to get whatever report you need at the time? 18th Century spoils system.


Reposting from yesterday.

Barry Ritholtz interviewed Michael Lewis about his new book that looks at the federal government. Was a great interview: Excerpt:

.RITHOLTZ: So some of the — some of the specific factoids you bring up in the book, I just pulled five or six aside because I was just fascinated by these. There are two million federal employees, 70 percent of whom work in national security. That’s a mind blowing stat. I assumed they were all these bureaucrats and pencil pushers. Most of the government spends their time working — and personnel working to keep everybody else safe.

LEWIS: Safe, that’s the basic function of the government. And …

RITHOLTZ: How is that …


LEWIS: … and it’s also — it’s also — you know, another kind of misunderstanding is that the federal workforce is just out of control. There are fewer federal workers per capita than they were 30 years ago. The thing that’s really alarming about the federal workforce is how it’s aged that young people don’t like to go work there anymore. And you got — so you got, in information technology alone in the federal — in — in the federal government, five times more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 30.


LEWIS: So, you know, no tech company could function that way.


LEWIS: And so this is — when you look at what’s — what’s happening is we’re kind of living on borrowed time with the federal government, running on fumes. And — and it’s all a consequence of this enterprise being basically demonized. And — and a lot of that …

RITHOLTZ: So decades now.

LEWIS: Yeah. And — and allowed partly by Congress to atrophy. I mean, it’s — it’s just too hard to hard hire or fire people. It’s too — who wants to go work for a place where only — the only time you ever recognize is if you do screw up.



ERS studies everything from food stamps to climate change to global trade, informing policymakers of the real world effects their actions have on Americans’ everyday lives.

Exactly. And that’s the information Rethuglklans want eliminated.

As was said during the Shrubya administration: “We create our own reality.”


As an undergrad from a very well regarded cow-college, as a grad school product of one of America’s most prestigious agricultural research institutions, and as a former employee of the USDA, I can say with some authority that this whole thing is absolute bullshit. While the impression the administration wants to give is that for some reason these researchers are going to drive old pick-ups into the country, put a foot up on the bottom rail of a barnyard fence and have a heart-to-heart with Farmer Brown - that’s not what happens. The people affected here are the quintessential short-sleeves and neckties type that sit in front of a computer all day and grind up data. There are folks on the front lines (like I was), but they are scattered around universities and county seats all over the country and have been for over 100 years. I’ve said it before in this forum: the USDA workers being show the door are not servicing farmers; they’re clients are other agencies, trade groups and lobbyists, and congress.


You should just repost this everyday, with a reminder that every exiting employee leave their email and phone number so they can be contacted when these institutions are reconstituted. Of course, the cheapest approach would be to not dismantle critical institutions.


Sigh. Another iteration of this:


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It’s not clear to me that this is legal. Mulvaney out and out admitted this is an attempt to remove people whose politics he doesn’t like. It’s not tied to performance


Cause they’re moving BLM headquarters to Grand Junction, CO. We seem to be one of those flyover destinations already.


Yes, they have come to the point where they are just bragging about how they are disabling the government and there are no repercussions. The executive branch has 2 1/2 million employees and Trump is running it like one of his casinos.

Mulvaney, who is extra dangerous because he looks so normal, is a true Tea Party believer and has demonstrated a real penchant for bathtub drowning since Trump took him on. He is soulless.


This is Steve Bannon’s ‘Deconstruction of the Administrative State’ in action


Small enough to drown in the bathtub.


These guys do more basic stuff than that though. They tell farmers basic shit like what to plant and how much of it if they want to avoid planting into a market glut.


USDA worker for over 30 years here. Perdue is THE WORST head of USDA we have ever had. He is as much of a con as his boss ever was. Smoke and mirrors constantly. Spouts IT verbiage as though he knows. 1st thing he did was cancel ALL cell phones for all below the GS14 level, otherwise known as people who perform the WORK. The shutdown was the icing on the cake. Behind over 1 month of work, struggling to catch up, cannot be done. DC screaming WHY? Idiots.
All the behind kissing by superiors is sickening. Our latest ACTING CIO now must be called our CIO. He never wants to hear the word ACTING is his description again. Total knucklehead.
I’ve seen my share of leaders come and go.
I’ve been through a total of 7 reorganizations over my years. 4 with my prior agency, 3 with my current. Current struggling to remain competitive in the IT world, and doing a HECK of a JOB, seriously. But even with that we struggle. Moving agencies IT concerns around the country, while maintaining their ability to serve their customers, while maintaining our customers as well.
This USDA change is a coordinated effort to belittle our federal employee work. And it is true, if it can be done with USDA, one of the largest agencies in the world of feds, god help the little agencies,
God help them all