Tammany HUD

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If you haven't been following the controversy over HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson's apparent political screwing-over of a grant applicant, GovExec has the scoop. It's not clear whether Jackson was joking (in which case he's a schmuck) or dead serious (in which case he should become former HUD Secretary Jackson).

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  1. Even if he was “joking” — which based on his own aides inital response seems to indicate quite clearly that he was not in fact joking — the fact that he would openly say something like this looks like intimidation and not just mere schmuckery.

    Here is Dustee Tucker, a spokeswoman for Jackson, initially said when asked about Secretary Jackson’s comments:
    “On May 3, Tucker told the Business Journal that the contract Jackson was referring to in Dallas was `an advertising contract with a minority publication,’ though she could not provide the contract’s value.”

    Jackson never mentioned in his “joking, fake anecdote” that it was an advertising contract with a minority publication. — That little tidbit seems to imply that something like this did in fact occur and isn’t just a made up story to …sorry, I can’t come up with a good possible reason someone would make that story up or even relay that story to an audience in a public speech.

  2. Look, I was just trying to slow the growth of government spending. I thought you people would be happy about that!

  3. According to the anecdote/account (whatever the hell it is), a contractor was talking with Jackson and was trash-talking Bush. Jackson was taken aback because Bush is the reason why he has his job. Bush appointed Jackson.

    So Jackson, by the power of his hand, dropped all business with the man, even though that violates pretty much the whole book of government procurement (in a bureaucracy, paper has more power than people).

    So yeah, Jackson is a typical arrogant idiot political, regardless. But the point of Jackson’s story is the contractor’s idiocy for dissing his boss.

  4. But the point of Jackson’s story is the contractor’s idiocy for dissing his boss.

    So excersizing your 1st amendment right to criticize your government is an example of “idiocy”? Good to know.

    So I guess the point of Jackson’s story was to make it painfully obvious that this an administration filled with cronies and yes men and anyone who steps out of line will be dealt with.

    Nothing intimidating there….

  5. (in a bureaucracy, paper has more power than people)

    At least re: government bureaucracy this is a good thing. This is what is supposed to prevent douchebags like Jackson from politicizing the procurement process. Assuming we are still a nation of laws and equal protections and all that quaint mumbo jumbo. I know thats a BIG assumption.

  6. So excersizing your 1st amendment right to criticize your government is an example of “idiocy”? Good to know.

    The First Amendment is incompatible with the Leviathan state in the first place. The fact that the government has so much resources, and so much power, and is so big as to not be in any way accountable to the people, means that there is absolutly no way in market terms that the government cannot directly influence speech… or intimidate critics.

    I know the First Amendment is the one tiny shred of the Constitution that government worshipers don’t completly ignore (they give it some lip service, when they aren’t trying to ban pornography, or hate speech, or childrens advertising, or restricting political advertising in a way that benifits the two big parties). But really, there are a whole bunch of other, now long defunct parts of the constitution that were supposed to REALLY protect freedom of speech.

    So lets not talk about the First Amendment, OK? Everyone who supports the U.S. government as big as it is, is against free-speech, if they publicly admit it or not.

  7. Chicago:

    Let me pose a hypothetical:

    You get hired for a job you really want by someone. Don’t you think some feeling of gratitude/loyalty is in order?

    And say some contractor is jabber-jawing with you and he insults your boss. And say he’s doing this because he’s assuming you are going be loyal to your “race”, and not the guy who hired you. Wouldn’t that piss you off a little? Wouldn’t you call an advisor in (who knows procurement) and find some way to discreetly axe the contract?

    It wouldn’t be rocket science, though, to keep one’s damned mouth SHUT. Jackson’s arrogance seems to trump everything else, including common sense. And yeah, that is a big hallmark of this current administration.

  8. “(in a bureaucracy, paper has more power than people)”

    …is a sentiment that is more classically phrased as “America is a nation of laws, not of men”

    or, even simpler, “the rule of law.”

    And, as a once a future bureaucrat, MNG, I can tell you that it would be a point of personal honor for me to process this guy’s application fairly and without bias. I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror if I did what Jackson is bragging about doing.

  9. And say he’s doing this because he’s assuming you are going be loyal to your “race”, and not the guy who hired you.

    There’s no evidence that’s what happened — as Jackson relates the story, the would-be contractor merely made a flippant remark about not liking the Dear Leader.

    Not to mention the fact that most people (including myself) would probably agree if someone insulted their boss…

  10. Hard to make a judgement here, as we haven’t heard from the contractor, if he exists.

    On the otherhand, if I was in a speculative mood, I would want to know how this conversation came about. Did the guy just blurt out that he hated Bush? Or did his feelings become known after he was, maybe, hit up for a contribution to the RNC?

    If he’s out there, he shouldn’t be to hard to find, given the details the press flack provided.

  11. You get hired for a job you really want by someone. Don’t you think some feeling of gratitude/loyalty is in order?

    Sure, I would. What does this have to do with getting awarded a government contract? This guy isn’t being offered a “job” — he was bidding on a contract to perform services and he was chosen. The procurement process, by law, isn’t supposed to be political.

    If it was a private company who was soliciting bids I would agree, but since this is a government agency your hypothetical is completely off base. There are laws on the books to specifically prevent cronyism and patronage contracts. Everyone is supposed to be eligible, not just supporters of the administration. And you aren’t supposed to be denied because you don’t pray at the altar of Bush every night.

    And say some contractor is jabber-jawing with you and he insults your boss. And say he’s doing this because he’s assuming you are going be loyal to your “race”, and not the guy who hired you. Wouldn’t that piss you off a little? Wouldn’t you call an advisor in (who knows procurement) and find some way to discreetly axe the contract?

    Other than your own personal beliefs, what leads you to believe that the contractor had “race loyalty” in mind when he decided to voice his displeasure to the President? Maybe this guy only had this one opportunity to voice his beliefs to a member of this administration directly? I know if I had a chance to speak face to face with a politician or a cabinet member / dept. secretary I would most likely voice criticism since having that kind of access doesn’t happen every day.

    Either way though, whether or not it would piss me off personally, it would not and should not cause me to seek retribution and get his contract terminated because of his politial beliefs. In fact it would make think “Thank God I live in a country that has a 1st amendment, where we are allowed to voice our displeasure with out politicians without fear of revenge”

    The fact that people believe that this guy should have “kept his mouth shut”, in the United States of America, is the most disappointing and scary aspect of this whole situation.

    It’s strikes me as odd that libertarians get so up in arms when gov’t tries to limit spending on campaigns or put rules on ads because its an attack on the first amendment, but there is such silence when they see instances where the government is overtly penalizing people for their political beliefs.

  12. Mr. Nice Guy – what you leave out of your little hypothetical is the fact that the HUD is spending public money. It doesn’t matter what you or I would do in our jobs, because we’re not entrusted with drawing from the public purse. As ridiculously idealistic as this sounds in this day and age, those that are carry a public trust to spend that money according to the sole criterion of what provides the best value to the government. That’s why we have the laws that Jackson has clearly broken.

  13. So yeah, Jackson is a typical arrogant idiot political, regardless. But the point of Jackson’s story is the contractor’s idiocy for dissing his boss.

    Hypothetical questions: what if the HUDsecretary only knew the guy was anti-Bush by looking at his campaign contributions, rather than by anything he said? Would it then be okay for the HUDsecretary to discriminate?

    By the logic of the HUDsecretary’s comments I think he would. Maybe it is time for the ambulance chase brigade can see if there is any sort of pattern of discrimination here. Lawyers doing the work journos won’t. Now, I am not suggesting punitives or anything like that, just enough $$ to compensdate any actual damage any pattern of discrimination might have caused Democratic contributing contractors. This kind of broader investigation would probably have a more beneficial affect than focussing on this one (possibly apocryphal) case.

    Whenever I mention Halliburton on here, certain posters take strong issue that there is anything unsavory about what has happened with them 2001 to the present. It is really not any different from what the HUDsecretary suggested here — worse because of the larger scale and interlocking directories, really.

  14. WTF????

    Why, o why, is there a gig for a fucking HUD secretary in the first place?

    What, in the name of dog, is the reason for having a fucking FEDERAL wank-shop full of bureaucratic little morons for fucking HOUSING and friggity-fucking URBAN DEVELOPMENT, which are, if at all, the fucking business of fucking LOCAL GOVERNMENT????

    Kick the ass of that fucking moron Jackson out of the fucking HUD department and ABOLISH it IMMIDIATELY!!!

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