Monday, August 23, 2010

The New Boss Same as the...

The Tea baggers are missing the boat on their tyranny complaint. There was an election and the elected leaders making decisions you don’t like in a representative republic is not tyranny. They either do not understand or the do not care about the concept of equal protection under the law.

Ordering the killing of a citizen without trial, indefinite detention and torture; now that is tyranny. The right has found no problem with the police state that has emerged post 2001 but the evaporation of their 401k has them screaming. They are the right wing of the republican party and they determine every election they lose to be illegitimate.

They claim to want a return to the constitution but they abandon their first principles when they are scared. Private property and the right to do with it what you want without those meddlesome government busy bodies telling you what to do with it. They scream this till they are red in the face when they are not allowed to rip the tops off mountains. When the, “scary other” in the form of a Muslim cultural center can be used to gin up xenophobia with the complicity of our media I worry about us as a society. They love the idea of divided government yet hate the third branch.

I like the idea that anyone that is offended by a church can bitch about it and the church has to go away. If we want that to be the standard I favor it so that I can travel about and protest and stop ignorance factories would be cool. It would however not be very American, but one has to live in the times one is given and work within the system. That is if you actually believe in the rule of law.

My idea doesn’t violate the first amendment because I would treat all churches the same. It also had zero shot of happening because those folks have abandoned the notion of no state religion from the jump. They are the ones claiming that we are a christian nation. The fact that a state religion is specifically outlawed by the constitution again doesn’t bother these principled patriots.
I am in an odd position with the mosque controversy but in the end I have no new solution that will work better than allowing all the ignorant to compete for the worst ideas and trying to educate the world that all superstition is equally evil. once you believe in magic ignorance is all you contribute to the culture.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Quantum Portrait of Dorian Grey

Nick was seeing the file for the first time. Nothing special about that he thought when the right hand doesn’t have a clue and all that. He hoped to dig out the bullets before the agent in charge showed up. Someone in procurement had discovered an irregularity in the purchasing of cameras for DHS. 1 of these companies had made $35 million replacing cameras, another $31 million. The same freaking camera 7 or 8 times. The gs11 had sent up some red flags and when her boss didn’t take it seriously she went to the Inspector General.

The location and the names had the whiff of Russian mob. Nick hated the damn Russians with their fucking stench of cheap tobacco and cabbage. Those bastards are willing to endure anything to make a buck and that meant months of slogging through shitholes and back alleys.

He hadn’t quite made it to the back of the file when SAIC Davis called him in to the office. No matter, this was not going to be a pleasant meeting anyway. Since the day that he had been lucky enough to pull duty at the Waco cluster fuck his career had been cursed. Never mind that it had gone to shit before he had even shown up. If not for the 911 disaster he might still be chasing down leads on mail fraud in Iowa.
He took the offered seat noticing that Davis did not offer to shake hands. “This is a whistle blower case” he looked up from his desk. “Some guy trying to extort some money from the companies because they have connections.” he looked at Nick across the desk. “These guys are on the preferred contractor list so check the claims and write up a report showing that there is nothing going on. I don‘t want this hippie type retiring on our dime.”

Nick was not sure how to respond but that didn’t matter. “That is all,” Davis said dismissing him. That had been 6 weeks and a trillion worlds ago.

He was teamed with one of the newer agents that had joined the bureau after the attacks. They had been driven to serve out of a need to protect the nation and had quickly been eaten by the bureaucracy. She was an IT specialist that dreamed of tracking the terrorists over the web but had been assigned to set up black boxes in internet service providers. Reading personal e-mails and spying on the political enemies of the current administration had, “soured her attitude” according to her personnel file. That was code for one of those crazy ACLU types that can’t be trusted, hence her exile.

Lynn was not as bitter or cynical as he but give her 15 or 20 years and she could be. She was quiet and that suited him just fine, also she liked to drive. He liked to think while traveling between interviews and her focused silence as she flew through the traffic pleased him no end.

They began with a re-interview of the Whistle blower. A pleasant woman in her fifties that worked in the purchasing department at homeland security. Nick stood back while the woman showed Lynn the case she had previously presented to dozens of links in the chain of command.

“There is no way that this is occurring at random.” she pointed to the 9 districts on the map. “The territories are all serviced by the same contractors and they are the only districts having this problem.” she looked at Lynn to be sure that she was still being listened to and her face lit up a bit.

Lynn had seen the same connection that the woman had but the pattern on the map showed her another possible explanation other than corruption. If one stayed in the area marked by these districts one could travel anywhere in the city without being caught on a security camera. Some of the corridors were thin, only a block wide but that was a hole big enough to drive a truck bomb through.

As they returned to the car Nick felt bad for two reasons. He liked this woman that was diligently saving the tax payers money from a crumby little office that nobody would hear. She was not going to get the whistle blower payoff and that was a shame but he was positive that wouldn’t mater to Grace in the end. Reason 2, that asswipe Davis would get his wish because Grace would not get the money.

“You saw it too?” she asked when the were both seated out of the cold.

“Yes I did”, Nick said looking around for the waitress. “Can we get two coffees here miss?”

She nodded and he leaned back into his side of the booth. “The trail looked like it was gave access to any part of the city from the port. I wonder what will happen to the price of buzz when we shut this down?” he asked pausing when the woman arrived.

She placed two cups of coffee and a fresh pitcher of cream on the table. “Anything to eat?” she asked in a flat tone.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Eat the Rich

I was reading a diary at the Daily Kos website that both disturbed and intrigued. You can read it here

The Diary itself was interesting but the comment thread was what got me to thinking.

The premise in short was that the top 1% have recovered and while the rest of society is still reeling from the great recession the rich are doing fine.

The comment thread shifted quickly to apocalyptic calls for overthrow hearkening back to the rise of fascism in Europe and the Bolshevik Stalinist revolution in Russia. The term tipping point came up a lot and the dominate sentiment was that all that stood between the rich and the “Terror was the populace's respect for the rule of law and that anarchy was just around the corner.

I do not think so. I look back to the great depression for my evidence that 70 % of the population is all that is necessary for society to continue apace. Even with the bonus wars, bread lines and migration of the, “Okies” civil order never broke down. People rightly fear the anarchy that an Authority represents.

The marchers of the, "Bonus Army" in Washington never believed that MacArthur would have his troops open up on veterans but they were wrong and the Hoover Ville that they had built was burned to the ground as troops opened up on their comrades from the past. The Democracy movement in China experienced a similar miscalculation when the soldiers marched into Tienanmen square. In both instances the true account of the casualties is lost to history.

The status quo is such that inertia is tough to overcome and revolution is a messy business. The anarchists need to look at places like Yemen and Somalia to get an idea of what life is like when things break down.

The Tea bagger right is agitating for revolution as well but they seem to think it is the social safety net that is crashing the economy and if we could just get rid of those pesky bureaucrats life would be paradise. They are ignorant of history but Carlin explains that quite eloquently.

Then I listen to right wingers that want the ten commandments in every wall in the world outraged that some other group would dare to exercise their freedom of religion. The real owners are not going quietly and they are using all of the usual suspects. Racism, religious bigotry, fear of the other in all of its forms. The reptile calling to the lizard brain.

I would like to see the rational triumph and we accept government based on rational principals rather then superstition and ancestor worship but I am a privileged entity, white, male, American and while not in the club that bias colors my desire to avoid total destruction.