When the Sheriff loses it

Here’s an interesting specific (and extreme) example of an administration body which becomes sociopathic by losing sight of its purpose.

Polk Sheriff tweet

It is a institutional disorder which seems to be endemic across corporate entities. It’s most serious in state bodies, because of they’re gifted with state coercion powers.

So, let’s take the Sheriff’s office as an example. Usually, they spend their time enforcing warrants. All very good (provided the warrants system hasn’t been debased or corrupted).

That’s what they do, for most of the time (let’s say. Doubtless they do other things. Being a sheriff, posses, I presume, feature).

And they forget that isn’t actually what they are *for*. Their purpose is to increase the security of the society they police.

The warrant business is just part of that broader purpose.

Now, suddenly, part of the context they exist in alters. The entire nearby population is facing a simultaneous security threat (hurricane Irma).

Hurricane Irma from space

The purpose of the Sheriff’s office hasn’t changed- secure the security of all the nearby humans. But they still think they are for warrants.

The institution has mistaken what they do for what they are for.

And we, as outsiders not conditioned by months and years of warrent enforcement, say, that’s mad and *evil* and the institution feels hurt and gets angry and defensive.

This is same thing it has always done, after all. It can’t see that the shift in context (keeping humans alive now may need specific acts) has meant that continuing to do what it was doing before has become contrary to the purpose of the institution.

This has all, of course, been an analogy for the behaviour of the Dept of Social Protection and its Public Services Card actions. #psc

Trump v Nixon: Disapproval rating

Donald Trump has been President of the US for just over a fortnight now. Gallup, the polling people, have been tracking his approval and disapproval ratings daily. Today, his disapproval rating hit a new high of 53% of all US adults.

Something in the back of my mind stirred. I thought I’d take a look at what was happening in Richard Nixon’s Presidency when he hit that sort of number.

Well, as you can see, Nixon took a while longer to reach Mr. Trump’s level of unpopularity. In fact, by the time he broke the 50% disapproval barrier, the Watergate break-in was already in the past, as were all of the events of All The President’s Men. (The final scene takes place as he is sworn in for his second term.)

However, I thought it was worth recalling just exactly what it had taken to push Richard Nixon to Mr. Trump’s current state of disapproval. The Senate had already launched an inquiry into Watergate. On 13th July 1973, it had been revealed that all the conversations and calls in and out of the President’s office have been recorded. By the 6th August 1973, President Nixon is openly defying a Senate subpoena for the tapes.

This was the first time that President Nixon’s disapproval rating reaches the level achieved by Mr. Trump after two weeks on the job. As it turned out, President Nixon was, at that moment, exactly one year from resignation.

POD complaint to go to the European Commission

cc Nuno Nogueira

There has been a pretty significant exchange of correspondence with the Data Protection Commissioner over the Primary Online Database since my last post. The result is that I am copying all of the documentation to date and will be forwarding it to the European Commission as part of a complaint regarding Ireland's failures to ensure that Article 8.

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The Dublin InQuirer- A City Desk for Dublin

I only recently became aware of The Dublin InQuirer and have become facinated by it. It started as a website and then, to fend off financial instablity, began offering a monthly print newspaper on a subscription and (limited) retail basis.

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What really makes a civil servant quit?

Between 1996 and 1999 the rate of resignations from the civil service rose by 34%. The civil service had been under resourced and demotivated, while subject to an embargo on hiring staff. Staff careers and earnings had stagnated.

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The PODcast: An interview giving the story so far

The benighted story of the Department of Education's perennially unraveling Primary Online Database of 5+year olds has been bouncing along for over a year now. If you were to scroll through a year's worth of this blog's posts you'd have a pretty good picture of what happened when, but you might also expire with tedium. It'd be a race to see which would happen first.

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Department throws in the towel on a compulsory POD

As longstanding, longsuffering readers will be aware, for the past year and a bit, I have been arguing that the Primary Online Database (POD) was illegal. Though that argument has not come to a conclusion (and I expect it to be successful) the Department of Education has been forced into a series of climbdowns along the way.

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