Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Down but Not Out - Ms. Bunny on PBS

Two months ago, I wrote a diary about an incredible woman, and the fact that the train was on the tracks for her involuntary firing from the Army Corps of Engineers: Bunnatine Greenhouse, former Senior Procurement Officer. The response I got to that diary here and on DailyKOS was incredible.

But nowhere near as incredible as Ms. Bunny herself. She is a living example of the advice my father always gave me:

They may knock you down, but don't ever let them knock you OUT.

Of course, those of us who saw her Waterloo coming, employment wise, were only 1/2 right. Ms. Bunny was not fired. She was demoted. But the Army Corps didn't even wait until September, as originally planned - they knocked her down multiple paygrades and effectively stripped her of all power to do...well pretty much anything. Certainly, they took away all authority she had over procurement. As Ms. Bunny notes, it was not about competence - nobody has been able to combat her years of stellar performance reviews. It was about humiliation.

Make no mistake: today's 5 page expose about Ms. Bunny in theWashington Post, shows a sister that may have been knocked down status-wise by the Army Corps, but definitely has not been knocked out:

I learned very early that everything you did in life you did with every fiber of your being," she says, her voice a mix of pride and fury. "Why would I sit here now and let them tell me that I'm something I'm not? Why would I do that? I'm Bunny Greenhouse first, then I'm in a government position. I will not compromise who I am."

In other words, all that the Army Corps did by taking on this woman -- in this case, as proxy for the big boys at Halliburton/KBR acting through their elected stooge, Dick Cheney -- was, apparently, strengthen her will. Ms. Bunny has been talking, and telling, and still speaking truth to power. Including last week on PBS, where she gave an interview about her situation on NOW, which was looking at government contracting practices in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and - you guessed it -- no bid contracts being awarded, including to Ms. Bunny's thorn, Halliburton Corporation.

Ms. Bunny could have easily just retired from civil service, and gone on to a stellar career as a pundit (after all, a lot of ex-government folks do that, and get paid handsomely). But nooo......apparently even in her ignominous demoted position, she still shows up to work every day, still ready to make a contribution to her government. To her country.

And she's getting famous doing it. People have speculated that Ms. Bunny would make a hell of a President, Vice President, the works. As the exemplary public servant.

That makes perfect sense when you understand how Ms. Bunny thinks about what she did, and what she is supposed to do. The money quote from Ms. Bunny's recent interview:

What is it the government wants? What is it that the public trust wants? What is it that you would have liked for me to have done if not to raise the issues of those things. If I felt that I had not the capability to be able to do it well and to look in the mirror and know that I have served this public the best I possibly could, I would have been the first person to step down.

Mention Ms. Bunny's name and you can almost see the patriotic flags waving. She is the quintessential public servant, the one we were all told didn't really exist, who cares about the public fisc and fights for us as taxpayers as if the money were personally hers. She is the obvious counter example to Bush's own personal corrupt procurement officer, former administrator for the Office of Procurement Policy, David Safavian, who is on his way to....well, jail, for his willingness to play fast and loose with the government's power to spend your and my public monies and then even faster and looser with the truth when someone tried to look into what was going on between him and a certain lobbyist named Jack Abramoff.

Just think: If the country got 435 Ms. Bunny's in the House, and 100 in the Senate, what type of fiscally responsble government might we finally have?

I've said it before and I'll say it again:

You GO, Ms. Bunny

P.S. The National Whistleblower Center has set up a legal defense fund for Ms. Bunny. If you haven't donated already, go here and give generously. America needs more civil servants like Bunnantine Greenhouse!


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