Sunday, June 30, 2013

All Animals are Equal, but Some are Even More Equal Than Others

From today's issue of the local fishwrap:

A new law extends the charge of intimidation to include using social media to post threats.
•The crime is a D felony if the threat is lodged against an employee of a school, hospital or church. The prison sentence can range from six months to three years.
•The crime rises to a C felony if the target is a prosecutor, deputy prosecutor, judge or bailiff. It carries a prison sentence of three to eight years.
•Threats against individuals and threats intended to interfere with the occupancy of public buildings, such as bomb threats, would be misdemeanors.
 Hmmmmm.  Threaten an "individual" (a mere Mundane), and you're a misdemeanant.  Threaten one of the Priesthood of Coercion (" ... a prosecutor, deputy prosecutor, judge or bailiff ..."), and you're a "C" felon, heading off to 3-to-8 years in the Rape Gulag.  Clearly, some people are much more valuable than others.  Big surprise which is which, isn't it?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Here's to Childish Games

Way back when I was just an itty-bitty little optical engineer, the other kids and I would often be involved in a very simple game that we called "Keep Away."  It was played with a ball or some other easily-throwable object.  One of the kids was "it," and the idea was that the ball got tossed from one person to another while the "it" person tried to intercept the ball.  In other words, the ball was tossed around from person to person while being kept away from "it."

So, Edward Snowden is the ball, and the US is "it."  I just hope the other kids (China, Russia, Ecuador, and so on) are careful with Mr. Snowden.  It certainly is fun to see the Almighty US Hyperpower getting all mad and red-faced because the other kids won't let it grab the ball.

And, for those who still imagine that there's even the slightest, tiniest difference between the Jackass and Elephant caucuses in the War Party, just check out John Kerry in the above-linked news item.  I remember, not so many years ago, when he was being promoted as some sort of "peace" alternative to Gee Dumbya Bush as Killer-in-Chief.  Now, in his official capacity as flunky to the Great Pale-Beige-ish Hope, he's just a-snarlin' with the best of them.  Be sure to vote, now.  Voting changes things.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Waste Contest

Which do you like better: the glorious UK government's 3 to 4 million pounds to put a police blockade around the Ecuadorian embassy to prevent the escape of deadly truthteller Julian Assange, or 60 to 100 million dollars for the First Murderer and family to do an African safari trip?

Each has its merits, I suppose.  The O'Bomber trip has an order-of-magnitude higher cost, but there's always a faint chance that Commander Drone will screw up and drink the water or try to pet a black mamba or something.  And for our British cousins, they're getting off relatively cheap, and I suppose that every law-enforcer standing around an embassy is one fewer to annoy and harass normal people.

You pays your money and you takes your choice, I guess.  For sure, you pays your money; not doing so isn't among your choices.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Wag the What?

Glancing at CNN, I'm thinking that the Albanians are probably glad that Barry Levinson made the film that he did, back in 1997.  Of course it hasn't stopped American administrations from using their default change-the-subject maneuver, but at least the target won't be Albania.  The government probably thinks that would just be too obvious.  Given the attention span of the Uh-murrican public, however, I think they're being unnecessarily cautious.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Mr. Snowden tells us that "our" government inhales every single bit of data that travels over the internet, and also every single bit of our phone records.  Obviously, this is completely impossible, since we're protected by our famous dead constitution, but somehow he says it's happening anyway.  Who'd-a thunk it?  Well, no one who's been even marginally awake during the entirety of this not-quite-so-new-anymore century is going to be particularly surprised ... but surprise is a little bit beside the point, I think.

Lots of Americans -- most, perhaps -- haven't figured out yet that "if you aren't doing anything wrong, if you don't have anything to hide, why should you care about surveillance?" is actually supposed to be an embarrassing thing to say ... the English translation, more or less, of baaaa, baaaa, baaaa.  But let us suppose, for the momentary purposes of discussion, that this bit of sheepthink actually represents a valid principle.  The government, along with its apologists, is greatly enthused -- obsessive, in fact -- about keeping its millions of secrets.  Why?  Government, if you aren't doing anything wrong, if you don't have bad things to hide, why do you object to exposure?  Let us see every single thing -- without exception! -- that you're doing.  In real time.  After all, this is the Information Age, when technology makes it all possible, no?  Let's go for it!

In keeping with the modern principle that everything has to be upside-down, we see that individuals aren't permitted to have privacy, while the ruling class seeks to enjoy total and absolute privacy.  It should, of course, be exactly the other way around.  There should be, on principle, no such thing as a government secret.  Not one.  Never-never-never.

I haven't come up with an individual response to the phone-records thing.  But PRISM, on the other hand ... bear with me a moment while I compose my new email signature file, optimized for the enjoyment of the screening software that our masters are no doubt employing.  Let's see ...
The above email is actually not related to terror, bombs, hijackings, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, radical Islam, jihad, or any of that stuff.  It does not concern itself with anthrax or ricin or sarin or improvised explosive devices.  It expresses no particular opinion about whether Allah is the only God and Muhammad is his prophet (which, by the way, is not the case).  It is not aimed at bringing about Death to America.  On the other hand, it may well uselessly attract some special attention from one organ or another of the Security State.  It might make such an organ marginally less efficient by wasting a tiny bit of its time.  That would be a real shame.  And if most would-be free Americans were to do something similar with all their email ... wouldn't that be a pity?