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.