Prayer and Fasting

Program Manager Robert Hust
Department of Health and Welfare
State of Idaho
450 W. State Street
Boise, ID 83702

via email to:

Dear Mr. Hust:

Please re-certify my qualification for food assistance and reauthorize funds to my Idaho Quest card without further delay:

idaho quest cardDoes your mail service strip links included within client emails, as if designed to deliberately obstruct external communications, or are your supervised employees still struggling with their reading and comprehension skills?

Believe it or not, your department’s violation of my constitutionally protected freedoms merely exacerbated the problem of poverty, and so far has done nothing whatsoever to attract potential employers to me, although I remain hopeful that the ACLU, Amnesty International, or similar organizations might recognize the value of those experiences combined with my education and broad and deep range of job skills integral to their goals. For that matter, I am finding strong commonality with some of the logic funded by the Cato Institute:

idaho freedom fighters on working solutions

Page 8 from the 2013 Idaho Report on Government Waste. Research and writing: Parrish Miller, Mitch Coffman, Wayne Hoffman, Erik Makrush and Austin Hill. Illustrations: Lance Barhite.

Not sure why they didn’t include their 2013 Pork Report in their online archive in their recent rebranding and web build, maybe they need more than my visual communications expertise in communicating their ongoing content to their external audience? Where their logic falters further in that report is due to their irrational fear of the poor. Probably I could help them recover from that fear if we sat down to dinner together and they offered me a professional salary in exchange for professional skills.

The data requested by Ms. Balderas is redundant to the data asked of me by Idaho Department of Health and Welfare employees in November 2013, when I gave up negotiating my brother-in-law’s and sister’s dysfunctional marriage performed on their dinner table and deteriorating my health, and walked 11 miles in search of basic food. You should already have this data in your database that your supervised employee, Betty Balderas, going by the title of Self Reliance Supervisor, is redundantly requesting from me via a tightly leaded, visually challenged, 12-page Portable Document Format (PDF) file where the form fields are not designed to be digitally filled in. Keep scrolling:

idhw-recert idhw-recert2 idhw-recert3 idhw-recert4 idhw-recert5 idhw-recert6 idhw-recert7 idhw-recert8 idhw-recert9 idhw-recert10 idhw-recert11 idhw-recert12

In the early years of my post-graduate school job-seeking experiences, I frequently encountered similar technological incompetencies from HR departments at academic institutions nationwide. I used to simply create fill-in-able form fields for them, but retrospectively realize that was a poor use of my job-seeking time, when those efforts netted me not so much as a thank you, let alone a job offer.

You want me to supply twelve pages of redundant data prior to authorizing the expenditure of $189/month???

As you can see from U.S. Census calculations, $189 is inadequate for brute survival in North America.

Your plan will keep me destitute for the rest of what should have been my income-earning potential career.

Updates to that data I supplied in the link to my response to Ms. Balderas’s more junior colleague.

Your paperwork consists of more form fields than required by NIH or NSF funding for research budgets in the multiple millions of dollars, as I remember from my experiences managing daily operations of the supplies and major equipment budget for one scientific research laboratory in a facility globally renowned for its contributions to the field of human genetics, and only further delays my dedicated efforts to regain self-reliance.

Your current program is in an even worse state than the condition of the Travel and Awards grants application process when I volunteered to chair that committee for the Graduate and Professional Students Association at the University of Idaho for one semester during my three years of providing teaching, campus committee, and wider community service superior to many tenured faculty at Idaho’s flagship institution of higher learning, where their undergraduate students would come to me for mentoring because their tenured faculty were not available to them, speeding up the review process, rewriting their grants awards notifications, and recommending to the next semester’s committee chair dramatic abbreviation of their application form so as not to detract from research and scholarship in exchange for a miserly $400 reimbursement of travel to perform that research or scholarship. I notice future generations of graduate student leaders failed to follow my recommendations, much as the central University administration failed to follow my recommendations that could have saved their review by the U.S. Department of Education for non-compliance with Title IX of federal education law and likely the lives of at least several of their students.

While I could prioritize making your forms digitally fill-in-able for you, as a professionally educated designer with access to not just 21st century professional design tools but also the ability to think critically, may I instead recommend that your boss bring your department current to communications in the 21st century, help your employees learn healthy communication skills, and seek better solutions to your department’s systemic internal and external communications problems costing the State of Idaho multiple millions of dollars per year, billions of dollars over multi-year contracts, and untold trillions in multigenerational social harm, simply because you are not approaching your communications from the point of view of your clients, and for this particular client your solution is guaranteed to further interfere with my dedicated, evidence-proven attempts to land gainful employment and regain my human agency, holding as I do an advanced degree from this state’s flagship institution of higher learning, with its utterly worthless reputation on the global job market, especially when my commencement coincided with the start of the Great Recession?

Ms. Balderas’s reply to me, without apparently first checking your database for data already on file, or further detail that I have already communicated to a worldwide audience, beautifully demonstrates what I meant in my previous email to her supervised employee, Ms. Jazmin Garibay, when I described your department as systemically incompetent. No personal offense intended to you, nor to one or two other folks who have been friendly toward me, but incompetence has been my overall experience of navigating your department’s taxpayer-funded services.

I appreciate that Richard Armstrong, Director, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, may not appreciate the value of cover letters that do not begin with the narcissistic person pronoun; that good business writing technique I learned prior to college, let alone grad school. He further may not recognize the business value of 21st century visual communications:

idaho dhw strategic plan 2015-2019

An example of what sometimes happens when administrators try to accomplish professional design work on word processing software.

Maybe he could stop futzing around Microsoft’s software long enough to review his Administrative Rules and better supervise his employees? The references to the State of New Jersey in his badly written and mathematically challenged boilerplate would be especially entertaining to me if I found anything funny about starvation, state-sanctioned abuse, or human trafficking. I am not amused by being imprisoned, for my ex-father-in-law’s career, an earlier ex-husband’s crimes, or my genealogical heritage, by Mr. Armstrong’s employees too incompetent to corroborate my narrative biography with facts from public record prior to making their irrational decisions to deprive me of my constitutionally protected freedoms.

Several page examples of curious discrepancies this artist found with the fuzzy math in your department’s Administrative Rules:

jsap-p3From my perspective, in refusing in 2013 to comply with the raging commands made by a sequence of clerks employed by your corrupt government contractor offering not one service not already available online and for free 24/7/365, who insisted they would magically “help” me find a job while refusing to review my LinkedIn profile or my portfolio of job qualifications, I saved the State of Idaho anywhere between $13,000 or $300,000, depending on which set of their contradictory figures most appeals to the statisticians.

Had your sub-department’s clerks at Mental Health been prepared to respect my educated expertise, I could have saved the State of Idaho the additional +/-$30,000 cost of warehousing me for a month while your department processed its violation of my constitutionally protected freedoms, not to mention transportation and court costs.


jsap-p5The state’s donation to multinational oil company profit would be adequate for basic toiletries:

jsap-p8Then all I have to do is find shelter with someone who welcomes my skills without demanding 24/7/365 household labor so I can continue applying for jobs as I have for the last six years, as if working a double-time-and-a-half job without the reward of paycheck or healthy colleagues exchanging ideas to help us accomplish our shared goals.

If Governor Otter is serious about his goals to improve the economy and the fate of Idaho’s children, #IDK2Career, it is incumbent upon you to feed stellar graduates of this state’s higher education programs. I am sorry that I cannot provide still more design assistance to the State of Idaho without a contract for professional services. For your learning and improvement of your services, I encourage your contemplative review of not just the state’s violation of my civil liberties, but also my ongoing commitment to transparency in human resources and good governance. Recent encouraging responses from the new Vice President of Design at Capital One, fresh from his career at Google, and prior to that, Microsoft; and McKinney, an east coast communications agency under the umbrella of a global advertising firm, leave me hopeful that my hard work will soon end this American Nightmare for me, no thanks to the efforts of the University of Idaho or Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare to rid me of my writing, creative thinking, and innovative problem-solving skills sought by 21st century employers.

As I am fasting, I will also pray that you will restore a monthly budget to my food card until an employer returns salary in an amount exceeding the minimum set by your department. Anything you could do to allow my food card budget to include basic non-food toiletries would also be appreciated.

Anticipating your redundant suggestion to call 2-1-1, actually, all that the so-called Care Line provides are paychecks to human beings reciting audio information already readily accessible online or provided by your department in yet still more very tightly leaded print collateral, which may or may not be current and still requires the poor to work at being poor as if working a double-time-and-a-half job in return for no paycheck:

211 poverty resources

Design credit: “This manual has been a joint effort of many people. Marjie Jacobs recognized the need for a ‘user friendly’ [sic] list of services in the Treasure Valley. She has had help from various Boise School District School Social Workers and BSU Social Work students.”

The funds that you are overspending in administration do not trickle down to actually assisting the folks who most need assistance. As corroboration of my job-seeking activities disrupted by, first, my abusive family; second, incarceration in Idaho’s Skittles School; third, post-incarceration brute survival, I encourage you to contact Officers Dailey or Hemmert of Caldwell Police Department, much more professional than incompetent personnel in Meridian, or for that matter, regional urban Seattle, who should be able to confirm for you that they confirmed my identity from my identification on my person, and that I have been the victim of and witness to crimes, rather than a perpetrator of criminal injustice. Officer Dailey, in particular, deserves a raise and a commendation from his commanding superiors. But even their department could use my expertise in handling domestic violence situations or how to better listen to “the mentally ill,” as the phrase goes in the popular perception, or behaviors indicative of individuals suffering severe trauma, or unresolved internal conflict, with zero healthy communication skills, if they want to reduce their budget and better serve all of the citizens of Idaho.

From my perspective, the State of Idaho has acquired my entire oeuvre for its collection, bare minimum, the result of my scholarship and hard work, rather than the Department of Health and Welfare’s undereducated, condescending notion of “talent” comparatively nonexistent statewide. While we patiently await the expert assistance of lawyers to help us resolve our conflicts, thank you for your prompt attention to restoring funds to my food card, a transaction that your colleagues at JP Morgan Chase should be able to manage digitally, expert as they are at shifting funds globally.

By my password-protected digital acknowledgment below, all of the information I have provided is as true and just as I understand truth and justice to be from my years of experience listening to constitutional experts debate those concepts.


Jana Brubaker

cc: Governor Butch Otter



balderas-replyAnd why can’t Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare serve its clients via Twitter?

Because their social media director is too busy pushing one-way communications like these:

Reminding me to walk in my shoes with holes in their soles for a whopping ten minutes a day, while the Department of Health and Welfare provides paychecks for pot-gut white males with the job title of Recreational Therapist:

Still, it’s somewhat relieving to learn that Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare employs at least one individual capable of simple multiplication.

And reminding citizens to wash our hands, yet, as even the Centers for Disease Control’s own numbers show, the environment most dangerous to your health? Health “care” facilities:

We’re in agreement on that one.

Email communications to the Department of Health and Welfare generates an auto-reply from their computer:

auto-reply2Unfortunately, replies from intake staff may as well be computer-generated. Which begs the question, why are you paying human beings to perform the job of a computer?

To: MyBenefits

Sent: Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 6:11 PM

Dear Ms. Garibay:

Regardless of your personal beliefs, your communications office uses Twitter to communicate with its global audience, as another of your followers, Governor Otter, should be able to confirm for you. Unfortunately, your interoffice communications are long overdue for an overhaul.

As I have communicated to now innumerable employees of Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare, I do not have access to telephone.

Your communications office informed me that you would be able to recertify SNAP benefits via email.

Before you suggest I come to your office in person, transportation is also an issue for your client. Allow me to refresh your memory of your department’s own administrative rules: when transportation is an issue for the client, you are required by law to find a way to accommodate your client’s needs. Before you suggest home visit, I would rather not meet in person with a single other representative from your systemically incompetent department without my lawyer present; email seems to me to be the best intermediary communications for the time being.

What information do you need from me to recertify my benefits and restore emergency access to food ASAP without further civil rights violations from Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare?

Thanks again,

Jana Brubaker

Instead of clicking the link that I helpfully provided to bring herself up to speed on the Department of Health and Welfare’s external communications with its client, the auto-human reply repeats the denial of her peculiarly bright-eyed coworker in Idaho’s Department of Mental Health, insisting that Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare is not on Twitter, and patronizingly refers me to the department’s telephone number:



Anticipating the department’s communications office will not manage interoffice communications, my follow up to our Twitter conversation:


To: mybenefits

Sent: Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 9:49 AM

Dear IDHW,

As follow up on your tweet, please recertify my SNAP benefits ASAP.

Thank you,

Jana Brubaker

Prior external communications:






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