Saturday, June 29, 2013

Little Girls at School

College Blues

What a lousy way to have to start your 'college life experience'. As if post-secondary education wasn't hard enough, with dorms and dorm-mates and classes and study and all  that stuff. And choosing a career path and getting good grades and things. But now, having to be faced on campus, for the first time, by lying liars who lie. Not only lying liars who lie, but lying liars who lie and are aided and abetted by liberal Deans and Boards of Governors and college administrations. And even if you do 'name them' and 'call them' on their lies, it won't matter, they'll just go on lying  because they're haters, too. And haters just hate and that's why they  lie.

Got it?  A career in liberal arts is going to do this gal an awful lot of good. One day she might run a library, or teach a class of kids, or shoulder a weapon and fight for her country. But it's highly unlikely she'll ever stop to ask why?

Why do haters hate - is that genetic? Why do liars lie?  Is that the result of nature, or nurture? Why don't people see the same incident from the same perspective and what makes the difference?

Is truth absolute? Or is our 'truth' coloured by experience and emotion? Is our truth more valid than someone else's? If this gal graduates college thinking about this stuff she'll be on her way to an open mind.

As it is, she's had the benefit of a 'planned' holiday in Israel. It's obvious the 'plan' worked. She's learned that Israel's new Eden is threatened by evildoers who don't want it to exist. And they're here in America telling their side of her story - and she doesn't want to hear it - more than that, she doesn't want them to say it.

Sadly,  there is a significant part of the population of North America to-day, perhaps even the world, who reason like the gal above. For them 'truth' is relative ... to them and to how they feel. They are the ultimate arbiters of their own existence. And it follows that they filter all their relationships through that sieve. As St. Matthew so simplistically quoted the Son of God, "You are with me, or you are against me."

With a subtle difference that they 'can't be with' the Son of God and adhere to this philosophy of a subjective truth. They, in setting themselves up as 'God', omit a good number of admonitions and caveats about 'doing unto others' and judging and forgiveness. But this isn't about religion, and being told what to do by somebody else is so passe.

Moral relativism is the norm in societal behaviour these days. Looking out for number one is considered 'smart'. And looking out for somebody else usually means an opportunity for some forward-thinking entrepreneur to take some advantage. In fact there's a whole economy predicated on it.

Disasters are such opportunities. And there are such an increasing number of these in the news that a pattern is developing in how they're handled.

The first stage is awareness. The news media goes out of its way to 'cover' the story 24/7 for a week or so (unless something else more newsworthy appears) pity the disaster that happened during the OJ trial for instance - aside from the Oklahoma City Bombing it was more than likely a blip. After that comes the mobilization of resources. Usually local resources are the first involved - neighbors with needed equipment or facilities pitch-in to help. In many places this is where it stops - the locals are on their own. In more civilized places regional assistance is available and various governmental levels have assistance to provide. In some places NGOs are available to assist - some 'in country' and often some international services. Foreign governments often assist by sending aid, manpower or equipment. But eventually 'private enterprise' shows up, looking for opportunities to make money.

In some sad cases that 'money making opportunity' starts well up the timeline of assistance. Helpful neighbors are often willing to help whoever can pay them the most.  And 'security' forces are often the first assistance to arrive on scene, to protect private property. Looting is a real problem at times of emergency, but rather than use security to try to ensure equitable distribution of something that will be lost anyway - and pre-planning for that - people get killed by security protecting the property of absent owners. That's probably the worst thing about disasters. Because we often can't see them coming before it's too late, we generally haven't given much thought to avoiding them or coping better with them. We - all of us - certainly don't practice enough.

Disaster has engendered an insurance industry. Whether the disaster is personal or domestic, self-caused or the result of an interaction with another person or thing, insurance sells. Predicated on the notion that not everybody is going to have bad things (claimable events) happen to them, and that, provided you can get and use their money to develop resources and assets,  a company can take 'risk' in order to generate a profit. This might have started as betting on whether or not a 17th century trading vessel was going to make it back to port but it was soon realized that spreading the risk of loss among a number of  ' investors', for a price was good business. Shares could be repaid if the venture was successful, and those shares meant that failure wasn't a total loss. That notion spread to property and eventually to life and longevity, to health, to body parts - some famous - to, in our age, insuring banks against bad loans.

Insurance helps, if you have it. But it doesn't eliminate disaster. You can't buy insurance that will cover you if you're fortunate enough to go to college, or that will pay your way into a good university. There are some kinds of investments that you can buy that will assist - sort of an EIF. But they don't guarantee a tranquil education. And that's the truth.

Terror's A-bustin' Out All Over

The world was shocked when two bombs exploded at the finish line of this year's Boston Marathon. Then we were awed by the immediate and massive 'response' to the terror that saw two individuals identified as suspects - their images plastered across international media - and a brigade or two of Boston Police, National Guard, Federal Marshals, FBI, Transit Cops, University Police and a number of other urban 'warfighters' gun down one 'perp' and drag another, critically wounded, from somebody's fishing boat.  The wounded perp. now in hospital, was revived yesterday long enough to be read his rights and charged, and apparently long enough to pen a message to the friendly guards that his big brother made him do it.

The saga continues to-day with on-going proof that the right guys got 'got'. The Russians identified one of them as a potential threat two years ago, but the human rights artists in the democratic west could find no fault in him, at the time - although they did investigate. I'm wondering why the Russians let him stay in Ingushetia for 6 months, transiting Demedovo airport in Moscow both times. Maybe the spelling mistake on the passenger manifest 'bollicks-ed' their watchfulness too. Although I'm pretty sure they did a passport check and that should have flagged him as an expat Chechen.

After the tragedy, however, we should all heave a collective sigh of relief that the trillions spent on stopping such stuff, while it may have only partly parried the intended blows - worked to serve as an example to any future perps that they might run but they cannot hide - and even running is unhealthy.  To-day, security is looking at the dead perp's wife - maybe she noticed the disappearance of the family pressure cookers (3 were reportedly used) or a surfeit of discarded packaging and parts.

emptied fireworks taken from the suspect's dorm room

Already, however, the 'conspiracy nuts' are pointing out anomalies in the 'docudrama'.

 A simultaneously, although less-noted threat was the mailing of a number of letters to high government officials, including the President. Said mail was reputedly laced with ricin, a deadly poison extracted from the castor bean. There was another immediate security 'eclat' when a Texan  Elvis-impersonator was named as the culprit and taken into the appropriate terror-fighting custody. He was released to-day after it turned out he was framed by a 'rival'. A bodybuilder charged with possessing a noxious substance for nefarious purpose was also later released when a third suspect was named to police. The jury's been reconvened to figure out who really dunnit. That later turned out to be the second guy's wife. Go figger.


                                                            The second guy's Wife - Jezebel

Not to be outdone Canada's defenders of freedom announced they'd caught and arrested two 'sleeper agents' who were plotting to derail the Montreal to NYC Amtrak train. Immediately it was declared that the two men - Canadian citizens, from Tunisia and Palestine, were affiliated with Al Qaeda Iran and attending to the master plan of the mad mullahs to bring down the little bro' of the Great Satan. The perps have pled not guilty. But under the terms of the revised anti-terrorism legislation, expected to pass in the Canadian legislature by the end of the week, their convictions - rather confessions - are virtually assured.

What gets me, aside from the massive public expenditure to ward-off those who would blow us to bits while window-shopping, or taking the kids out to a public event, is the on-going notion that killing civvies in an explosion is going to make the 'terror' look more heroic and actually hurt the enemy. That just isn't the case. The result is, generally, a shrine of remembrance somewhere, a large dose of world sympathy and increased expenditure for protection and payback. If 'terrorist' were bent on destroying anything, it's themselves. And that what scares us so much.

A real terrorist wouldn't be laying bombs in places populated by thousands and surveilled by watchers 24/7. They be hitting the enemy in the 'soft' spots. Yes, it would upset the 'sheeple', but you can't mourn an extinguished electrical grid, or a tainted water supply, like you can the dismemberment of an 8 year-old kid. The former two might actually 'hurt' a lot more than the latter. And would cost infinitely more to 'secure'. Hitting infrastructure or essential resources in remote places is not only safer, it's far more effective. But terrorists won't do that, because it isn't terrible enough?

Our Security forces would have us think all terrorists are stupid.

I think the ones working for the security forces, the only ones they have, aren't stupid either. They know a good thing when the cops come looking for one. Giving one to them and getting a  reward for being a 'good citizen' is a game that's as old as the hills. Somebody, to-day, has a new gas station to run, a government pension and a new personality in a witness protection program.

The Security forces have another feather in their collective cap.

And were just as 'safe' as we were yesterday.


Hey there! Them's some Snoops Ya Got! or We're not Stealin' their Stuff

In the relatively brief history of public 'whistle-blowing' and I think I've been around for most of this century's 'big' events - even though I might not have realized any significance until well afterward, if at all - I don't recall the institutional outrage raised to quite the pitch as that over Ed Snowden's little lowdown on the NSA's internet mining operation.

I don't think anybody has had the international hue and cry raised to such a height to 'track him' down - up to and including the late Obama Bin Laden. While I'm pretty sure airports everywhere were being watched for some hairy fella on a burnoose and turban, especially one with a 'police model kalashnikov' in his luggage, I don't recall the US issuing threats to sever relations, or even registering severe disappointment about not having him turned over to them, let's face it, they were going to 'do' Afghanistan and Iraq anyway. They didn't demand his arrest from Sudan, or even bother any of his siblings who were literally living in the USA when 'he attacked' the WTC.

Now, mind you, most of the other whistleblowers remained resident in America - but then, too, many of them were fairly prominent. Snowden was, we are told, a nonentity, a nonentity given access to the deepest darkest secrets of state by some contracted software corporation. A nonentity who could be disappeared without too much ado. He was wise to go overseas. If the Guardian hadn't broken his story, it wouldn't have been broken in the US press and Snowden might now be an ignored footnote to history. As is stands now, he needs to be made a 'good example' to everybody else who signs and ironclad 'security statement' to get a job. If Adolf and the SS could have had 'security statements' signed and used as a legal excuse for not knowing nothing', there might be European train stations  and airports named after them to-day.

But Snowden is the 'boyo' on the point and everything he's done so far to "cause great harm to America" is deemed a character flaw. 'Running away' to Hong Kong from his operating base in Hawaii is an act of pusillanimous cowardice - or, looking at a map, one of the few 'safe' places he could go without a visa. Virtually anywhere else on the pacific rim is friendly territory for the US government, or a place somebody's going to know you're going. Hong Kong was a no-brainer unless he wanted to wind-up permanently tranquilized. His first releases about the scope of government eavesdropping caused a ho-hum reaction at  home. It was only when he divulged that the US government was busy 'spying' on just about everybody - friends and enemies alike - that somebody noticed the potential damage and tried to shut him up, or at least 'bring him to justis'. Just like the Wikileaks thing,  graphic evidence of a war crime was ho-hummed until the leak of some ambassador's speculation about the state of a national leader's wife's knickers gave some credibility that such statesmen have little to do and less ability to do it well. Assange became a pariah - a diddler of sleeping girls and a fugitive from 'justis'. He's still holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

I'd imagine if the embassy staff aren't thoroughly fed-up with Assange, they will be getting that way soon. For, don't you know, it was released to the press that Assange has been engineering the whole thing. Through the ambassador in London, Julian offered sanctuary to Snowden on behalf of the Ecuadorean people, don'tcha no! That, reportedly, led to some debate in Ecuador which now, we are told, is 'backing off' on it's offer of protection. They were probably contemplating what they were going to do with all the cut flowers America wouldn't be buying from their off-shore Ecuadoran florist industry. So If Snowden does show up in Ecuador, Venezuela or anywhere else for that matter,  it's just an indication of the sort of tyranny we can expect if Julian Assange ever takes over the world.

Glenn Greenwald, the lawyer, who writes for the Guardian, is also taking a 'reputation-bashing' from the 'feebs' who are tasked with finding the muck to sling. Just as the 'feebs' told us that Snowden who'd never made it out of high school, let alone college, was hired by the Sniff-Pantays, or Booz Allen Corporation as a 'data analyst' and rapidly advanced to the "six figure" salary range. He didn't like small children, kitty-cats or have a particular affinity for the Lord Jesus as His personal Lord and Saviour. The reporter who printed his tales was no less a miscreant. Greenwald had "appeared in court" and "been involved in lawsuits" in the past. Duh! Lawyer right? The latest punditry is that Greenwald "put Snowden up to it to get the story". Got him a job and promotion and access to state secrets and everything. Somehow he must have gotten his competition at WaPo to sit on the story so he could go first, too. That's totally credible!  They printed much less of it than he did, but that just goes to show the power he wields, eh? I'm surprised he's not being described as an Israel-hating Hebrew. Crikey! Maybe he is!

But never mind the malefactors. Look at the good guys. All hurt feelings and not quite understanding why this bad stuff keeps happening to them. Trying hard, awful hard, to get things done right and being screwed by people who won't listen or don't care about peace and freedom and little girls anywhere. The good guys won't be calling out the army or the navy, or even the cops. They won't be 'wheeling and dealing on a lot of other issues to get one guy extradited'. Hell they won't even stop buying their flowers from FTD Ecuador division.

But Snowden will be brought to 'justis', someday. Like Brad Manning, there's a special traitor's tribunal with his name on it. In the meantime there are others to find, and name and blame.

 What about Manning? will any of this stick to him?

If not, there's always Assange - and he's a foreigner.