Friday, December 31, 2010

War On Seawater

Mendax News Service

Officials in Washington, working with the FDA, the CDC and the Agriculture Department have recently discovered that seawater poses a serious threat to human life and safety. In recent studies, seawater has been shown to induce hypernatremia when ingested and has been known to cause suffocation when inhaled in sufficient quantities.

The EPA has, after long study, shown that it causes soil erosion, rust and damage to painted surfaces.
The above-mentioned agencies have collaborated to form the Sea Water Alleviation Team (SWAT).
Sal Aqua, a spokesman for SWAT has assured Mendax News that they fully recognize the crisis and are moving forward expeditiously to forestall disaster. Aqua tells Mendax that SWAT is "Proactively thinking outside the box to address all the issues related to the crisis while meeting the challenge with viable solutions and providing options to enable the scientific community to hit the ground running." One of the solutions considered is to drain the ocean, but this seems unworkable at this time.

Aqua announced that SWAT expects to issue directives shortly that will outlaw the "possession, sale, purchase, importation or transportation" of sea water - the regulations modeled after the War on Drugs - with similar success anticipated.

Critics have expressed doubt about the undertaking, but SWAT spokesmen have countered by pointing out that those who found fault with the idea of President Bush's plan to eliminate evil have been shown to be in error with the reported five percent reduction in evil in Spitsbergen and Antarctica.

Aqua says that he is "Excited about the challenge of interfacing with other team players and in determining how the public will be impacted by measures introduced to shift the paradigm pertaining to how we understand and utilize resources."

Mendax has been unable to figure out exactly what that means, but is working on finding out.

Aqua stressed that this is a Herculean project, but assured Medax that, "With man this is impossible, but with government all things are possible."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Security Charade

A recent story - December 16 - about tests of TSA checkpoints showed that in many cases, the ones conducting the tests were able to get pistols, knives and other menacing hardware past the crack TSA screeners.

A question that has puzzled me for quite a while is why the "security" bureaucracy is so convinced that airplanes are the primary target of terrorists. There are loads of easy targets that would wreak devastating economic havoc on the country with very little risk to the terrorist.

Take for example a railroad trestle. Many trestles are supported by creosoted wood pillars that will burn furiously once ignited or can easily be removed or weakened with a common chainsaw. The ones that are supported by steel beams can easily be cut with a "demo saw", an oxy/acetylene torch or the more handy and versatile Arcair Slice Torch. For the lazy terrorist there is always the derailer that is affixed to the rail to prevent cars from getting past a certain point. As an alternative, the goblin can cut out a short piece of rail with any of the above mentioned tools. Power transmission towers would be equally vulnerable, but would pose some hazard to the terrorist.

A man with a drip torch could burn millions of acres on a windy day if he so desired and perhaps not even be caught. A gasoline tanker driven down the road with its valves open could pose quite a threat, and I think somebody has already done this a while back. The Union Army's own home-grown terrorist, William Tecumseh Sherman demonstrated the efficacy of fire for destroying property and instilling fear. Fire also has the selling point of being free or low cost - matches and petroleum cost something - and self-propagating.

The government prints books on this kind of thing, so it is certainly aware of the potential for devilment.
Several titles from Uncle Sam are Improvised Munitions and Warfare, Booby Traps, Incendiaries, Explosives and Demolitions, and others. There are also private publications such as Anarchist Cookbook and The Poor Man's James Bond, if they are still available.

None of this is super-secret, which leads me to think that "terrorism" isn't much of a problem here unless the FBI takes somebody under its wing and encourages them blow up a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony or something similar. Osama Bin Ladin or Carlos the Jackal know all this stuff and probably lots more.

It doesn't take much to throw the public and the government into a panic. If you think about how the Tylenol Murders caused packages to be sealed so as to prevent Harry Houdini from getting into them you can see how one incident brings about a tremendous over-reaction. This is also a prime example of murdering people surreptitiously without using a bomb or hijacking a plane and never getting caught. If this happened today, the government's response would probably be to put all ingestible products behind a counter, inaccessible to the consumer. The only thing ever uttered by John Kerry that I agree with is his statement that terrorism is a "nuisance", or something to that effect.

The government is never going to provide security because it is impossible to do so. The theater of operations
is too large and the number of targets too great. No one needs sophisticated equipment to bring about destruction. All that is needed is a determination to carry out the plan and the materials to accomplish it.

Many welding suppliers used to have a picture posted of about a four story brick building reduced to rubble by one small acetylene cylinder leaking inside it. This was of course an accident, but it could just as easily been intentional. The purpose was to warn against transporting cylinders in closed vehicles.
Any industrial supplier can supply just about anything a free lance terrorist could want.

People for whom death is the greatest evil will always be slaves to fear and bleat for government to come and shepherd them through the valley of death. It is hard to believe that we are the progeny of those who risked death or everything they had to secede from England.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Agents & Principals

Julian Assange and his cohorts at WikiLeaks could probably qualify for listing in the Guinness Book of World Records under some such heading as "Inducing Apoplectic Fit in Greatest Number of Government Hacks" if such a heading existed.

Such luminaries as Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee have weighed in on the controversy by advocating death to the "traitors" or heroes, depending on your point of view.

From the delivery room to the undertaker, most Americans have it hammered into their heads that the people are the sovereign and the government is the servant or agent of the people. Under this arrangement, the government has the relation to the people as the employee does to the employer. No employer would tolerate his employees making secret agreements and telling him he isn't allowed to know what they are because they have been deemed "Classified" or "Top Secret." An exceedingly bizarre aspect of this situation is that many of the people [employers] are outraged that the machinations of the politicians [employees] have been discovered. Similarly, if a person were to grant power of attorney to someone to act in certain enumerated matters, he would not expect the agent to act in areas not delegated to him, or to be told that he isn't allowed to know how the agent has acted. The government is the agent, the people are the principal.

The First Amendment guarantees - among other things - freedom of the press and the right to petition for redress of grievances. How are people to petition for redress of grievances if they don't know that they even have any grievances? The government has furiously attacked the "press" in the form of cyber attacks and threats against servers that hold and disseminate the forbidden information. This is pure silliness when it is considered that all the offending documents can be printed on an actual printing press as in the days of Daniel Ellsberg if the holder so desires. This would be slower and more laborious, but it is a proven method that has been working for about 570 years. In the old days of print journalism, squelching a story would be about like trying to find the fifty-two people who each had a card from a deck; with electronic journalism it's more like trying to reclaim all the feathers from a pillow caught in a hurricane. At this point, the government's only motive can be to prevent the citizens from becoming aware of what is in the documents, since our so-called enemies would have immediately copied them as soon as they appeared. We the People might supposedly be the government, but some of us are more the government than others. In almost any metaphor, evil is associated with darkness because darkness connotes secrecy, whereas good is associated with light because rectitude needs no concealment. Rats, roaches and government abhor exposure and flee when the lights are turned on.

Some of the credit card issuers have joined in the effort to kill the messenger by claiming that WikiLeaks is engaged in some kind of "illegal" activity, thus violating their company rules. I wonder if they apply this same principle to Americans making purchases in Cuba, or violating one of Bloomberg's dietary edicts.  I'm sure it would never dawn on anybody to buy a money order or get a cash advance and send that instead. If a person's purchases are subject to the whim of the credit card companies, it exposes another reason to avoid credit cards.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Conversation Wreckers

Several years ago, my sister Theresa posed the question, "How large does a group have to be before you are assured of having at least one objectionable person?" I don't think any definitive answer has ever been arrived at, but this assumes that you are not inviting the members of the group.

Another question that I do know the answer to is, "How many people does it take to ruin a discussion?"

It takes one.

Back about fifteen years ago, The Foundation For Economic Education sponsored discussion groups around the country that anybody could start with their assistance. I started one and it went well for quite a while. FEE sent some speakers and they were all well received, but it was usually just us locals discussing various things, usually from The Freeman.

The whole thing was very informal, and members could invite others to "join", even though there was no organization and no dues. One day, one of the regulars brought somebody who proved to be the death of the whole group. The person was very nice, polite and not stupid, but incredibly shallow. No matter what was being discussed, from the origin or money, to the French Revolution or the types of igneous rocks in Iceland, somehow this person would always work the conversation around to some movie.

"Igneous rocks? Oh, that reminds me of the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth where these guys go down into a volcano....etc."  The conversation is wrecked from that point. Unless you are prepared to be very rude and say "Shut up, you're a bore. Nobody wants to hear about that movie." The whole discussion seems to be unsalvageable. I don't know exactly why this happens, but it seems to be a kind of lowest common denominator conversation.

If I am ever so foolish as to start another discussion club it will have the provision that nobody can bring a guest without the prior approval of the others, and the guest can only attend once. After the initial encounter, the regulars can decide if the guest would make a good addition. If so he can be voted in; if not, he can be left in the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Enablers of Tyranny

In his book Obedience To Authority, Stanley Milgram describes how people can be persuaded to perpetrate heinous acts on their fellow man by adopting an “agentic state”, that is, they transfer the blame or guilt for their actions to some other figure; in his example, a man in a white lab coat prompting the subject to shock the victim with an electrical current in the name of science.

This is not a new discovery to anybody that has heard about people being thrown to the lions, sent to gulags or herded into boxcars and sent to the East. He has just shown this to be the case with a clinical study.

What seems strange is that the reverse of this syndrome seems to be the case as well.
In several recent instances, people that had confrontations with the TSA over X-rays
or attempted gropings found no fault with the perpetrators. One woman that was reduced to tears said that the TSA molesters “acted professionally.” So what? Does it excuse Mr. Capone’s or Mr. Moran’s knee breakers because they collect the protection money efficiently or even politely? Is it any solace to the Kulak that is murdered by Stalin’s myrmidons that they acted professionally? Knowing the German reputation for efficiency, it’s probably safe to say that many of Hitler’s henchmen acted professionally.
In the case of agents in a totalitarian system, they have the excuse that they themselves might be killed or tortured if they don’t do as they are told. So far, in our system it hasn’t come to that; they are acting of their own volition and are therefore wholly culpable.

Any tyrant has to rely on those below him to carry out his orders. He doesn’t have enough hands to accomplish his evil designs, so he has to have many little helpers.
On the top level there will usually be very few. The middle level will have a much larger number, but the bottom – where the boots hit the ground – there will be thousands or millions to enforce the tyrant’s will. Without millions of yes-men there can be no tyranny; this is why the petty bureaucrat, cop, code enforcement officer, TSA, DEA, IRS, EPA or other agent should be a total outcast as far as decent people are concerned.
These low level people are the enablers of tyranny. Without them, it makes no difference how malevolent the tyrant is; he must have many accomplices. This is why the goon who is “just doing his job” is more dangerous than the man at the top. He will do his job in most cases no matter what it is; his paycheck depends on it. He should be shunned and ostracized because he is a danger to society.

Many public employees claim that they will not comply if ordered to do some contemplated outrage. They will comply. They have already dulled their conscience and weakened their will incrementally. They should not be defended for being efficient.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Armageddon Or Masada?

November 21, 2010

(Mideast Wire Service) Sources in the Middle East tell MWS that Russia
has been assembling a massive naval presence in the Mediterranean
around the Israeli port of Haifa. Confidential sources inside the
Russian Duma tell MWS that the Israeli government has been told to
divest itself of its nuclear weapons or face attack by air, land and
sea before year's end. Russian spokesman Vladimir Ulyanof told MWS
that Ariel Sharon has been warned he must step down and his government
must comply with all UN resolutions that Israel is currently violating
or Russia will effect Regime Change unilaterally.

British military analyst Clement Winter-Berger tells MWS that Russia
has strategically stationed her submarines at the choke points of Suez
and Gibraltar to prevent U.S. Naval reinforcements, and moved mobile
missile launchers into its former client state of Syria.

It is not certain what has prompted the tension, but it is believed by
analysts that the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the escalation of tensions
between Washington and Tehran over Iran's nuclear program has awakened
the Russian Bear. Russia views the U.S. actions in Iraq and
Afghanistan as an intrusion into Russia's sphere of influence.

However, some experts believe that Russia's concern for the enforcing
of UN sanctions against Israel serves as a cover for Russian
aggression. Analyst Avraham Ben Joseph of the Center for Science and
Jewish Culture in New York, tells MWS that Russia sustained a
devastating "brain drain" when the Soviet Union collapsed and
thousands of Russian Jews immigrated to Israel. Ben Joseph believes
that part of the Kremlin's motive is an effort to reinvigorate the
Jewish autonomous region of Birobidjan that was founded by Joseph
Stalin in 1934. After WW II and the founding of the state of Israel,
Birobidjan has lost population steadily, although that has recently
been reversed by the return from Israel of some disillusioned

Sources quoted on condition of anonymity say that Echelon listening
posts have intercepted Russian communications referring to "Operation
Israeli Freedom" and "Operation Milk And Honey" which are believed by
analysts to be code names for the present military operations;
although Washington denies any knowledge of the intercepts.

In France, a spokesman denounced Russia's apparent aggression, but
noted that the genie was let out of the bottle by the U.S. invasion of
Iraq. At the UN, several ambassadors expressed fears of an impending

It is not known whether Russia has retargeted any of her SS 18s (ICBMs
with nuclear warheads) from the U.S. to Israel, but certainly it would
be possible to destroy every square inch of Israel with these weapons.
Sources in Israel have tried to ascertain the range of Israel's
nuclear arsenal from former Israeli nuclear scientist Mordechai
Vanunu, but he is prohibited from speaking to foreigners after serving
18 years in prison for divulging Israel's nuclear program.

Winter-Berger says that in England, Downing Street remains mum and is
trying to distance itself from U.S. operations in case hostilities
should erupt between Russia and Israel.

Sources in the U.S. would neither confirm nor deny that a war between
Russia and Israel may be imminent.

Winter-Berger says that if war breaks out, and Russia should decide to
exercise her nuclear option in order to avoid suffering any
casualties, it will be "the shortest and most destructive war