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Ed Driscoll

Government Is Magic

October 29th, 2013 - 7:53 pm

“Government is modernity. Government is magic,” Daniel Greenfield, the “Sultan Knish” writes:

The cargo culters on the islands, who once witnessed the might and power of the American military during WW2 make American flags and uniforms, they build airstrips and wooden control towers, and wait for the planes to land and make them rich. They don’t understand why these things should work, but they do them anyway because that is how they remember it happening.

Our own cargo culters invoke FDR and JFK, they talk about the New Deal and the Great Society, they make grand promises and roll out big programs, and then they wait for it all to work. They don’t understand themselves how or why it would work. But government is magic and the appearance of a thing is just as good as a real deal.

Build a website and it will work. Pass a law and they will come. Get a degree and you’re competent.

There is no need to know how to do a thing. You don’t need engineers or competent men. All you need to do is remember the great dreams of the past, listen to a few inspirational JFK speeches and then carve a computer out of wood and wait for free health care to arrive.

In cargo cult America, the food is free, the cell phones are free and the money can be printed forever because government is magic.

Greenfield published that on Sunday. This evening, Allahpundit notes that “HHS was given ‘stark warnings’ about ObamaCare website problems a month before launch:”

Looky what landed in CNN’s lap just 14 hours or so before Sebelius is scheduled to testify before the House. I assume the source is some staffer on Issa’s Oversight Committee, which received a copy of the report from CGI while investigating the ObamaCare rollout. But you never know: Given Sebelius’s determination to scapegoat the contractors, could be that CGI decided to launch its own preemptive strike on her credibility.

Fourteen hours. Tick tock.

On Capitol Hill on Monday, Medicaid Chief Marilyn Tavenner, whose job it was to oversee the October 1 rollout of the website, said she did not foresee its problems.

“No, we had tested the website and we were comfortable with its performance,” she said. “Now, like I said, we knew all along there would be as with any new website, some individual glitches we would have to work out. But, the volume issue and the creation of account issues was not anticipated and obviously took us by surprise. And did not show up in testing.”

But the CGI document, which describes “outstanding issues currently being mitigated” says the testing timeframes are “not adequate to complete full functional, system, and integration testing activities” and lists the impact of the problems as “significant.”…

It is not clear if a later report detailed that the issues were resolved. But the warnings run counter to Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ stated optimism to CNN’s Sanjay Gupta that when she woke up October 1, things would go smoothly.

Magical thinking, defined. But then American elites and the MSM have been doing plenty of magical thinking since 2008.

Update: “Heckuva Job, Sebelius!”

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"But, the volume issue and the creation of account issues was not anticipated and obviously took us by surprise. And did not show up in testing.”

I haven't the slightest idea who Marilyn Tavenner is, or why I should otherwise pay the any attention to her, but I'd bet a paycheck that that last sentence is a blatant lie. Take it from a 30+ year software developer (including the web): *anything* that blows up this big *had* to "show up in testing". She's flat-out suggesting these bugs appeared *for the first time* when the site was launched. That positively beggars belief. Every software jockey reading that line must be laughing up his sleeve.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Reminds me of the evaluation Paul Johnson had of LBJ in 'Modern Times' (I paraphrase from memory): LBJ supposedly had the idea that there was always 'more'. Johnson chalked this up to LBJ's Texas-ness. I thought this was true of W as well: the idea of endless resources. Its the normal American default now among the upper crust.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Magical thinkers are deluded but well intentioned. Marginal thinkers would purify humanity. The last century gave evidence to what the latter will do, no?
1 year ago
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