It’s just not that hard…

The discovery of classified documents in an office used by the then former Vice President Biden, frankly, is no less troubling than the documents recovered from former President Trump’s home/resort in Florida. Some will point to the difference between the Biden documents being found and immediately turned over to representatives of the National Archives versus Trump’s tantruming fight to keep those he possessed as being a significant difference. I’m not at all sure I agree. 

The fact that the current president and his immediate predecessor are both caught up in a situation where classified documents were mishandled is, in a word, troubling. If a few more words were called for, I might wonder aloud what the actual fuck is wrong with these people we entrust with the highest levels of executive power?

Is it that they’ve been empowered so long that they believe rules simply no longer apply, or is it alternately that they’re too ragingly incompetent to keep up with basic procedures governing the care and use of classified materials? Is it malicious? Intentional? Is anyone working for them at least attempting to keep their shit squared away?

Maybe I only get incensed about this because I know what happens to people a lot further down the food chain than the Executive Office of the President when they misplace or otherwise fail to secure their red-edged paperwork.

I welcome a full and complete investigation into the circumstances surrounding the mishandling of classified information at the highest level and can only hope the guilty party receives the appropriate level of sanction for their abject fuckery. I promise you, it’s not that hard to keep information secured appropriately. Whoever cocked it up, whether president or peon should be roundly pummeled about the head and neck.

Say what you feel you need to about me, but one thing I can promise, is that my position on these issues is never, ever about the utter triviality of political party. I want to see the guilty hang regardless of what color tie they wear.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Still waiting. Here we are 9 weeks past the “end of max telework” and the union, such as it is, still hasn’t come through on delivering the new and improved telework agreement. So, we’re still grinding along with only two days a week like pre-COVID barbarians… as if the last 30 months didn’t prove that working from home works. All this while hearing stories of other organizations tucked in next door that are offering their people four or five day a week work from home options. Gotta love working for the sick man of the enterprise. There’s probably plenty of blame to go around, but since the updated policy for supervisors was published nine weeks ago, I’m going to continue to go ahead and put every bit of blame on Local 1904 for not getting this shit done.

2. Medical records. Online medical records are great, except the part where the system used by my primary care provider and the system used by one of my specialists don’t in any way communicate with one another. There’s also no obvious way to manually upload information from one to the other. A quick call to my PCP’s office confirmed that “Yeah, it really doesn’t do that.” Super. So, I’ll just continue to schlep hard copy of reports and test results around like it’s 1957 because that’s still easier than finding and using a goddamned fax machine in the year of our lord 2022.

3. Advertising. Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I’ve once again received an email from every company I’ve done business with for the last 20 years. I don’t know what they think they’re accomplishing, but it doesn’t feel like effective advertising… unless their definition of effective is to jam up my inbox with stuff I’ll delete before reading and thereby fill a potential customer with questions about whether he wants to do business with them again. I’m sure there’s some advertising industry metric that shows why mass email blasts is a good idea. Maybe it works for some consumers, but it doesn’t do much for me other than piss me directly off. 

Identity…

I had planned to save this for the lead off entry of What Annoys Jeff this Week, but the more I think on it, the more it deserves a stand alone place here – a permanent memorial to governmental incompetence that adds insult to injury.

The Office of Personnel Management – the central human resource office for the Executive Branch – over the last four months allowed person, persons, or nation-states unknown to access the personnel records of as many as 4 million current and former federal employees. I don’t know if I’m one of those employees yet because even though the news broke in wide circulation Friday – and OPM has known about it since at least April – they still have not notified the people whose information is “out there” in the wild. With four million records up for grabs, it feels like a safe bet that some or my information is in that mix.

“But,” they say, “this happens to the private sector all the time.” That’s partially true, but not nearly the same. This isn’t someone taking a quick imprint of your credit card and scamming you for a 2000 handbag. We’re talking about potentially every shred of information that Uncle Sham has collected about his employees – name, social security number, credit record, mother’s maiden name, names and addresses of people interviewed for security clearance checks, evaluations, bank account numbers, basically every bit of data someone needs to prove that you are you in the electronic world.

So that’s the injury.

The insult? Well OPM has very helpfully copied and pasted some information about how to prevent identity theft by “monitoring financial account statements and immediately report any suspicious or unusual activity to financial institutions.” Oh, they’re probably going to throw in some low-bidder credit monitoring service for as few months as they think they can get away with, but the message from echelons higher than reality thus far has been “Adios my friends, you’re on your own.”

Network security is hard. Got it. But historically the business of government is to do what is hard – to do what the individual can’t do on their own – build the interstates, land on the moon, forge a nation out of 13 newly independent states, and then conquer a continent. If they can’t be bothered to keep the password updated on the damned human resources database, honest to God I don’t have a clue what we’re even doing anymore.

Sawbones…

My new doctor’s office sent me a helpful packet of papers to fill out before I show up for my first appointment. After filling out about half of them, I feel like I’m about to buy a house or lease a car at the very least. To add insult to injury, I’m pretty sire 97.9% of this information is covered in the giant medical record I had my old doctor ship to them last week. It just seems that there is a better way to deal with this than filling out endless hardcopy forms in duplicate. If the Library of Congress and Google can basically digitize the sum total of printed human knowledge, I don’t think a digital medical history you can upload to the cloud is too much to ask for here in the second decade of the 21st century. I mean if science can build a nanorobot to scrape the plaque from my aorta, surely we can figure out a way to pdf the sheet of paper that says I came in last February because my dosage of Nexium needed kicked up a notch, right?