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Atomized junior

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The winter of its discontents.
 I don't really have standing to write about air transportation security. I don't fly. Hell, I don't drive, never have. People like me don't travel anymore. But the buzz on this subject was loud enough that I've reflected on it some "Porno-scanners": At last, the public objects - Dan Gillmor - First of all, emotional identity politics and ideology ought have little place in this  National Outcry Over TSA Body Scanners and Invasive Pat-Downs. It is a cold matter of Risk Assessment and should be handled with all possible mathematical objectivity Are TSA pat-downs and full-body scans unconstitutional? -

 In  simplified terms the components of risk are: Risk = Consequence x Likelihood x Vulnerability Security risk - Wikipedia. 769 million passengers enplaned in 2007 in the US alone. Which equates to somewhere in the ballpark of 5 million flights annually. Following this trail of numbers I'd guess that the smaller regional airports might be handling 20,000 flights a year, the larger international airports upwards of 175,000 flights per year.  That's the size of the vulnerability, the bushel the basket has to fit around. If your aim is terrorism, to cause politically directional fear. All you have to do is get one of those enplanees past security, get a gun, knife or inflammable device onto one of those flights and you have a tragedy that will depress commerce and reverberate in the public consciousness for years TSA boss: Our pat-downs turn up "artfully concealed objects". That's the consequence. Additionally the public will demand change. And we will change, change our policies as a state, change as a people, change as a culture. 

 The likelihood of a terrorist catastrophe without security is with little dispute one hundred percent. Receding towards a fixed point, never as low as zero, with precautions. Al Qaeda still clings to the notion that a sharp strike against the far enemy (us) will defang their near enemy (strongmen of the aristocratic elites) and leave them in charge of their home countries. Airplanes are the preferred choice for the "big gesture" minded anarchist. The list of anthropocentric air disasters and hijackings is a very long one; Pan Am 103, KAL 858 notably, but others as well. In 1972 extortion minded hijackers prepared to fly a plane into a nuclear power plant List of aircraft hijackings - Wikipedia These ideas are not new. Security for airlines is not about absolute prevention, but limiting these incidents of mass destruction to one or two per decade.  


 A question I ask myself: what would I do if this were my responsibility? The more descriptions I read the more comprehensive and sophisticated I took the security plans to be. In place was a total airport and plane security, with a degree of triage, sequestering, clean areas etc. Not just a single queue at the check-in window. They employ a mix of bomb sniffing dogs, metal detectors, baggage x rays, and backscatter x rays. In the background no fly lists, red flag lists. All this creating a membrane between the raw slow and uncontrolled world outside, and the brittle artificial appointment-based identity-specific engineered world of jet-streamed commerce. 

 There is a value bias in this business of undervaluing the unobtrusive. In much of airport security, not just the TSA but security regimes around the globe that involve the public directly, there is the sense of show. Of brightly painting a sense of safety, of effort onto proceedings. To the extent that these activities perform even some limited function forcing antagonists into narrower and more expensive channels of endeavor, it is partially worthwhile. To the extent it does not, it earns the opprobrium "Security Theatre"

 The other thing a public bureaucracy will manage to achieve is overreaction and callous institutional inconsideration. Titicut Follies  in a phrase.  An example of this is the enhanced pat-down rollout. Part of a series of responses to last years lethally comic underwear bomber. It seems to have been perceived as a back-up procedure and mechanism for gaining compliance with other preferred methods of detection; X-ray backscatter, and trace element detectors. They seem to have never given much thought to how it would go over with the public, despite it being the procedure to follow anytime a detector buzzed or someone wouldn't walk through the clothing B'gone machine.  The difficulty some seem to have with this backscatter machine is that it rattles elections off the atoms in what it is imaging so that they are delivered to a sensor. Electrons from clothing, fine. Top dead-cell skin layer, ok Below that this is aiming ionizing radiation at living tissue, a potential health issue, not so good.  It is pointed out you receive much more radiation flying in an airplane that has risen 8 miles above the thick protective part of the atmosphere The physics and biology of the TSA's backscatter security scanners . This illustrates another increasing problem of transportation security; over-reliance on technological fixes. The expensive gizmo syndrome. See-thru-specs? Yeah there's an app for that.

 All of this effort is undercut by poor training, low pay (there are; however,  few in the incoming congress  who would be willing to pay more to deal with those issues).  Exacerbated by being in its current incorporation a new organization with little past or tradition to draw on. There is also the sense that positives and false positives alike interrupt the process to the point of breaking it.  Like an iceberg the bulk of airport security protocol should remain out of sight filtering diffuse threats, leaving point of departure security the smaller and more delicate problems of direct or disguised threats in the passenger cabin Administration to Seek Balance in Airport Screening -

  It is at this point that people usually bring up the Israeli Solution The 'Israelification' of airports: High security, little bother - as an all encompassing panacea RealClearPolitics - Psychology, Not Just Technology for Airport Security. The security apparatus at Ben Gurion operates under an entirely different legal regime of course Israeli air security is easy on most, intrusive for a few. Equal treatment under the law is an absolute mandate under US law. Any roadblock, bolo, or drunk driver check point must adhere to probable cause, randomness or all or nothing procedures. Israeli security, its psychological micro-interrogations,  and discriminations rely almost entirely on clearly defined highly-pressurized pre-judgment's Some Israelis doubt their airport security travels | Reuters.  

 The puzzle in the enmity directed at the TSA is what was the desired outcome of all this. Some of this became a little clearer as the great opt-out days of the Thanksgiving weekend came and went without much ado T.S.A. Furor Gives Media a False Positive - The Media Equation -, and the press which did not cover this well ventured some analysis  Protests of TSA airport pat-downs, body scanners don't delay Thanksgiving travel.  I love real journalism for its consummate if somewhat tardy professionalism. Prior to this it was all astro-turfing with the outraged The Misplaced Outrage Over the TSA Pat-Down. It was clear early on this mostly was a right wing issue. Drudge was all over it. Web log aggregators like memeorandum, and megite illustrated how starkly the usual suspects were lining up on it.  Not much surface scratching on heralded, and occasionally untrue horror stories, was needed to reveal underlying colors. Vaguely libertarian or not, it was shot through with hypocrisy and double standards. A lot of this came from people who were four square for Patriot act 1 and 2, and similar less-heralded initiatives. From people who were outspoken that the press was treasonous for stories outing warrant-less wiretaps, CIA black sites and other dissolutions of personal liberties. People who can't round-up and hold Mexican families in enough Arizona desert concentration camps. The pervading rhetoric that the TSA was taking things a step too far, could raise doubts about actual republican belief in a threat from Islamic extremism. Which otherwise they never stop talking about.

 In the background of all this is a call from this quarter to begin profiling With TSA Under Fire, Is Racial Profiling on the Table? - Political Hotsheet - CBS News. For a change in the prevailing laws and constitutional protections. Profiling can take the form of Racial Profiling deliberately selecting individuals for screening or additional procedures based on on perceived external racial characteristics. Psychological Profiling can be as simple as walking up and down a line of people looking for tells, signs of psychological distress or deception. Or Behavioral Profiling which depends on databases, and data-mining to a significant degree, as it looks for patterns, statistical or logical anomalies in everything about a passenger. Who he or she is, where they are coming from where they have been what they have with them. It has the potential to be at least as intrusive as any pat-down you can possibly imagine Airport passenger profiling -- not so simple -

 Some of the commentary I've seen seem to be suggesting in a veiled fashion, that the real problem with the TSA is that it is a Federal Government program, that you'd see more efficiency, bang for your buck,  a better class of people running it, if it were privatized.  Run by Aqua-Noir,  say.  This is probably not coming from old line libertarians who will generally cede national security matters to the state, but by those who look at the state the way privateers used to look at a Dutch East Indiaman.

 The greatest problem with profiling is that it is a soul destroying embrace of otherness. The division of identity into a brute dichotomy of us and them, with all disturbance laid onto them and driven into the wilderness. This cause seemed to select to its side, as some pointed out, those unused to suspicion . In this I often feel I see a undercurrent desire for licensed liberty for a state of affairs where ones  regime attachment, ticket of belonging, club card of privilege, stand in for and replace promiscuous true liberty. Certainly liberty cannot not survive Panopticonism. The security state always a lurking de-evolutionary path for democracy . If for little expense or organizational risk to themselves Al Qaeda and similar organizations are able to place an enormous surcharge on a critical portion of the transportation industry prevention will be a pyrrhic victory. Even if security industries willingly form around the airline industries, and the public in due time comes to accept them, it will never be less than a burden and an inefficiency and a path to further restriction.

3:19:55 PM    ;;

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

 I have another photo from 1975. A picture from RVAH 7 flying off the USS Forrestal (CV 59) during a 1975 Mediterranean deployment. Again several years before my time in the squadron.  The picture is of a similar nature to the one I put up last year. One Ra5c flying over a notable place or object, taking a picture of another Ra5c (no. 156631) to form a unified whole. Pictures like these were commodities of exchange, carefully achieved. I actually have a 22" by 18" version of this one which is very sharp and detailed, but which was too big to fit on the scanner. The 8 x 10" didn't scan very well the tiff was bad and I could only coax a low-res jpeg out of it. This is a candidate to be rescanned on a better scanner and replaced here.

 I do not remember either of these two officers, Lt. Flaherty and Turner,  and can only guess they were long gone from the squadron by the time I got there. The other metadata information in the frisket indicates this picture was taken in the Gulf of Hammamet near Tunisia. It places the spot where the ship is anchored a few nautical miles off a nice beach, five miles from the small town, Harqalah, about 20 miles from the city Sousse: Gulf of Hammamet - Google Maps.

A picture named ra5c_Kara.jpg
A Soviet Kara Class Cruiser in the Mediterranean 1975

  The ship in the photograph is a Kara class cruiser. What the Soviets called the Project 1134.2 Berkut B's which apparently translates to Golden Eagle. The Soviets did not consider these ships to be cruisers, referring to them as large anti-submarine patrol ships. They are still longer larger and heavier than the U S Arleigh Burke destroyers, which seem to be slowly evolving into a cruiser class vessel. The Karas were, in fact, all outfitted as flagships, meaning they contained living and working spaces for an Admiral and staff as well as the necessary command and control functions.

 This one has hull number 539. While the Soviets did not regard hull numbers the same way western navy's did, I looked at enough other pictures of a Kara with that hull number to lead me to believe it is the Ochakov. Looking over the larger print I can also see that Ochakov is painted in cyrillic on the hull just forward of the helo deck. The Ochakov along with the Kersh still seem active with the Russian Black Sea Fleet, 35 years later. The Ochakov may even be the current flagship. These two were the first two Karas built. They were an incremental design step up from the Kresta II's but with a new gas turbine propulsion system. Initial problems with this system led to their getting fewer deployments than the rest of the class which now have all been retired laid-up or scrapped. Their parts keeping these two going.   

 The Christian Science Monitor had a column out just before the election Will US naval power sink? - Naval power it said was like gravity, an unseen phenomenon out of sight but always there holding everything down. The next century, or say quarter century will be a period when keeping trade routes open and defending against force projection over the oceans will be more important than any period since the 1970's. Even before the cold war ended, the U S Navy  moved toward a more littoral and patrolling focus. This commitment continues, but a blue water component will begin to reenter. The Arleigh Burke's have evolved into a major surface combatant, with a price tag to match. The next generation DDGs were so expensive they are no longer spoken of. Leaving the Navy the critical need to build and deploy thirty or forty of the newer Littoral Combat Ships to replace a fleet of retiring frigates worn down by a generation of constant duty. Aircraft Carriers suck a lot of oxygen out of a Navy's budget BBC News - Tears as last Harrier jets leave Ark Royal.

 CS Monitor article stated that the political party that is truly concerned with reducing debt, is the right and best party. Only a reduction in debt will allow us to build the blue water Navy we need. The author was not so gauche as to name a party. Ironically the Debt Reduction Commission [National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform]  indicates strongly that cuts across all government programs will be needed including deep cuts to military spending. This will be an obligation that will sit along the entire spectrum of political parties. Unless debt reduction was not what this about all along.

11:57:05 PM    ;;

Saturday, November 13, 2010
Tipping Point

 Inside the twitterworld a few days ago I alluded to an old joke I half remembered. One of those sucker punch jokes referred to as Shaggy Dog stories. This one ended with the line "Transporting Dolphins across state lines for immoral Porpoises." The point of joke like this is to string the audience along, weave the story for several minutes before pulling the punch-line rip cord on them. I didn't remember it that well, so I thought I'd take a moment and draw up a blueprint of the elements. I remembered another as I thought about this on, and I heard a third just recently. Essentially these are all ad-lib performances with an emphasis on performance.    

 The Porpoise

There are actually two variants to this one, that I know. The first is "dolphins for immoral porpoises." The second is "dolphins for immortal porpoises." Both play on the similarity of the punch line to the language of the Mann Act. This made it a federal crime to to transport women across state lines for immoral purposes. It allowed the FBI to tackle mob prostitution rings. This will be funny only to people old enough to have taken in large amounts of the Untouchables, Dragnet, The FBI, and the like.

 The two versions require slightly different stories but many of the elements remain the same. The porpoises are at a research facility in Florida. The dolphins at any other aquarium or facility in any other state. Woods Hole, the Baltimore Aquarium, even in the wild. Naming specific facilities builds verisimilitude. One facility is trying to run a breeding program and it isn't working. In the first scenario the narrator emphases that the breeding isn't working because the porpoise are not mating with the special prepared local population, but the researchers have noticed they go after any and all bits of strange tail that swim by. The researchers need dolphins with a particular set of characteristics and these can only otherwise be supplied by animals the other facility can obtain. In this version the researchers are merely trying to breed clever or useful dolphins for the Navy or Seaworld perhaps. In the second scenario the researchers are trying a daring medical genetic breakthrough that would produce porpoises that could live for hundreds of years or longer, with the possibility that this could be extended to humans. This breeding will be the last critical step.

 Eventually after difficulties it is arranged to transport the dolphins by truck down to Florida, they set off and everything looks good, but they are arrested by the Pennsylvania State Police as they cross over from New Jersey. Why? -- transporting dolphins across state lines for Immortal / Immoral porpoises.      

 The Sultan's Yee

The next story involves a British expedition in a Bring 'em back alive or Indiana Jones mode. They have gone to and through the Atlas mountains and beyond hunting the legendary flame-plumaged desert cockatoo, the Sultan's Yee. This is the least well known and difficult to obtain of the Yee Cockatoos

 They finally obtain one and start back driving through the mountains along winding narrow roads cut into sheer cliff faces. At some point the truck the caged bird is in develops a flat tire or some other difficulty and it becomes necessary to jack the truck up on one side. The repairs are almost complete when the truck slips off the jack and tips over the cliff rolling over and over hundreds of feet down to the bottom. The two heads of the expedition rush to the edge and look over. The truck has landed upright and is still in one piece. One of the men says to the other (perhaps one should have an Australian accent, the other British) "Do you suppose the bird is all right?" The other says "I don't know, it's a long way to tip a rare yee"   

 Possibly I learned both these preceding stories from one of my high school teachers, (Capt.) Jack Curboy, who somehow is one of the people who turns up on my facebook page.

 Jehovah and Finnegan

This one is something I heard on the radio a couple of weeks ago. I think it best if I provide a link to the archive and let the story tell itself. This was on WFMU dj Doug Schulkind's World Series baseball special WFMU RADIO: Give the Drummer Some 11/02/10. The piece is by Lord Buckley from a WERE-FM aircheck (Produced by Bill Randle 1957) and is called Jehovah and Finnegan. It starts at the 13:40 mark sharp in the archive, you'll have to advance the slider manually. Lord Buckley, Lord Buckley - Wikipedia, I should note died fifty years ago this week, 12 November 1960. Less than a month after his Cabaret Card was churlishly pulled leaving him essentially unable to earn a living.  

 The coal plant

 I also have one of my own which is still a work in progress, and is a homage to the Brothers Marx.

 There is a town a remote town on a river a few miles up from a rocky mountainous seacoast. They have their own coal burning power plant and there is a problem. The bridge into town has washed away and they can't pay for a new one. The coal truck comes across that bridge to get to the power plant, it is the only road into town. Faced with this emergency as winter approaches they initiate some studies and hold a fractious town meeting to discuss them. The main plan is to dredge the river from the coast so they can bring a coal barge up to the plant; however their environment impact study shows this will overwhelm the flow of the river and bring salt water and tides up past the town, essentially turning their little river into an arm of the ocean. This will have a desultory effect on several species in the local ecosystem, but the state government will pay for it.

 At one point a man gets up and says "My cousin drives trucks for a contractor in Afghanistan. They don't have bridges over there, and think nothing about driving trucks through water lots deeper than the spot where the bridge stood. You have to rig the trucks up a bit, bigger tires, shocks, re-jigger the engine - to get the battery and electrics to stay above the water. It isn't cheap but it's doable.  It's like winterizing a house, we riverize that old Ford truck we use, it'll be full of coal it ain't going to float away." The debate continues for another several hours until two in the morning. Finally the Mayor brings it to a vote. "All right people we have to decide: decide whether we are going to Fjord the river, or river the Ford!"      

 At this point I just want to add that there is an early teleplay, thought lost for years by, British Playwright Dennis Potter, BBC NEWS | Entertainment | 'Lost' Dennis Potter drama found. This is the man who wrote Pennies from Heaven and the Singing Detective. It is called Shaggy Dog and is about a man who tries to to tell a shaggy dog story during a job interview. Prevented by circumstance from ever getting to the punch line, he goes, at end, postal and kills everyone "The Company of Five" Shaggy Dog (TV episode 1968) - IMDb.  

11:37:24 PM    ;;

Friday, November 5, 2010
Heavy Paper Parking Lot

  One day after the gold rush while biking through the Capital building's parking lot; this was in the days after the House and Senate turned over back in 1994. In the time of the Gingrich revolution. I remember coming upon huge piles of stuff, office furniture, equipment and especially paper, outdoors in the middle of the lot. Seeming years of filing and documentation all in clumps arranged in a line sitting out in a light rain slowly becoming sodden and heavy.  I never learned whether this was part of an agreed on transition process, or some declasse exercise in gamesmanship. It looked like one of the neighborhoods I was used to living in, during first week of the month when the landlords kick all the post-due clients and their equipage to the curb. I lifted a MS DOS 6 manual, only slightly rain-warped out of one of the piles and took it home with me.    

 The New York Times has an article out (this was also discussed on the blue ) on Republican presentations in the days before President Obama took office on being the Party of No Republican Game Plan Led to Historic Victory - This illustrates effectively that the republican causcus's partisan refusal came not out of the broil of praxis, of practical engagement with executive branch proposals, but as an a priori decision to cripple governance. There was never any intention of cooperation with the incoming administration, not any trace of a basic acceptance of his presidency. He was regarded as not possibly legitimate. There would be no exercise of power except theirs. There were in various thickness of conception a two year plan to reduce Nancy Pelosi, and a four year plan to do the same to President Obama. Inside the GOP's Plan to Undermine Obama - Yahoo! News. As the MetaFilter thread pointed out a number of times, when the media looks to spot meaning and trend in this election, a lot of it comes down to money. The new conservatives may find their momentum hard to sustain without the opinion-shaping, opinion-creating role of big money. And they should look again before they settle down on attacking health care reform as their main issue.     

 I followed a number of tea-leaf readings by NPR and others in the days following the election. The first piece here deals the republican leaderships appetite for cooperation, based on various talks and commentary that Boenher, McConnell and Cantor have given  Mellman And McKinnon On The Midterms : NPR. It was pointed out the source of McConnell's "Single most important thing" quote was a piece in the National Journal. One commentator tried to argue that in the whole interview McConnell gave a broader view. He does (I did look at it), at the same time that doesn't detract from the basic accuracy of the pull quote. It captures his attitude and practice well - Top GOP Priority: Make Obama a One-Term President - Friday, October 29, 2010.  That quote was carefully and deliberately intended at any rate.

 There was an interview with two Texas Tea Party identifying leaders both with a  "we are marching to Washington with our crowbars and break hammers" attitude Tea Party Leaders Go Over Election Wins, Losses : NPR:. A pair of dollar store Carrie Nations. With feet too clay, hands to usurious to throw any money lender out of a temple. What they bring is a cheap ignorance. They collapse federal spending to deficit spending, equate the effect of this spending on investment markets, with crowding out the private sector, it doesn't crowd out those industries actually performing the work.  Saturday's Morning Edition program brought a conversation with Pennsylvania congressman, Mike Fitzpatrick Penn. Rep. Takes Back His Old House Seat : NPR. His entire and facile prescription lies in cutting taxes, cutting regulation. The banking crises was nothing really, a minor self-correcting episode until people stepped in and made it worse with Keynsian thinking. It was all caused by democrats, he believes, creating socialist programs like Fannie Mao. Then ordering them to give tax dollars to certain kinds of urban and rural people for mortgages, who should just know they don't belong in the property owning class. 

 The White House at least, after this election ought to be aware they're out of touch with a broad swath of the American people, The Republicans may be kidding themselves, if they think stubbornness is all they need bring to the game. The new Republican caucus certainly contains a contingent that won't feel they've done due diligence unless they at least try something towards impeachment. Hearings on birth certificates and voter registration drives, will the the bone that the leadership tosses them.

 There's too much I toss out on the pile of: tr;dr (too reactionary, didn't read). I have a day job, I'm not reading the National Review, or Commentary. Professional news people can take that bullet, I'll pay attention to the summary. I don't get cable and I am spared Fox and MSNBC thereby, neither of which are an especial endorsement for electricity. I'm generally glad when an election season ends. Whereas I'm sad when a baseball season ends.

 My interest in politics, was never expressed through an interest in oppositional political process. More, and incompletely via in-completion, by an interest in the forms, and institutional relationships of governance.  It just seems that what libertarians want to be big, respected, to be opinion leaders, to be followed. So they will then have power; you can take it from there. Their essential motivations, their solutions are not new or unique or interesting.

 There are many other things to consider. And for a spell, while 2012 is still hull-down on the horizon, I look forward to writing about them. 

11:29:06 PM    ;;

Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Embiggened Government

  Everybody carries around in their head two notions of government. The government that does stuff for you. The government that does stuff to you, takes stuff from you. Everybody wants the former to thrive, the latter to be weakened and cut back. They are the same of course and the two notions not divisible. We see this is such formulations as JFK's: "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country", and in the Crito. I was thinking of this as I listened to P.J. O'Rourke talk up his latest book with Scott Simon  P.J. O'Rourke's Advice? 'Don't Vote' : NPR . "Don't Vote" the book is called; relax P.J. we already know how you feel.

 His argument for smaller government is pragmatic. He imagines that government institutions become turgid if they are called upon to do too much. So it's best if they do nothing. The collecting and disbursing, allowing and forbidding face of governance is a better dichotomy than trying discern a natural role of government. Big things against little things: Armies, fire departments, OHSA regulations, food handling rules for restaurants,  health care,  Federal or local control (ie segregation) in our schools. This could never be consistently structured, the role of government compartmented. Everything is always changing, always in flux.

  Reduced government equals no government. Making government ever smaller, ever weaker. You don't make power go away. Political power like other energys can neither be created or destroyed. It exists where ever there is a community of people. You haven't made control over your life disappear. You have just moved it from one vector, one set of hands to another. The real question is in whose hands this power will rest. Do you know who? Do you have any inroad, any leverage with them at all. One formal definition of governance is does it have a monopoly on coercive power. Once the nominal government becomes so weak as to no longer have a controlling monopoly on coercion, it is simply no longer the government. There is a governor to be sure, that which has the power of force.  Groups achieving this will often stop short of dismantling the formal apparatus of government hailing its small and libertarian nature, remaining clandestine brokers of the possible.  All costs go up, in this situation, the transaction costs of every bargaining node and deal point in a fractured society submerged in hidden rules. Look at huge amount of money, rich men's money, the small government and tea party proponents are spending in this election cycle to elect their set of politicians. There is money in the care-taking contract-dispensing remnants of a government.

 What does that look like? It looks like Arizona:  Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law : NPR. It looks like that Kyrcyz jet fuel deal, manned by a revolving iron-triangle of current and ex-officios, that the Pentagon insists on being kept under wraps and out of scrutiny.

 The government seems likely now to turn over to obstructionists Boehner and McConnell. From Boehner: "This is not a time for compromise." From McConnell: "The single most important thing we want to achieve," he said, "is for President Obama to be a one-term president." Both of these quotes from the Washington Post's Dana Millbank - The Republican Party could use some adults. The aim was to cripple the economy's recovery, keep joblessness as high as possible until they could regain power; on the back the misery of lives made worse. This simply and openly is not ruling in the name of the people, but rule in the interests of a ruling class. Cynicism and betrayal in a tri-cornered hat.

 "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man." This is the Simpson's teasing nod to the uneven and occasionally inarticulate nobility of mind of the founding fathers and their generation (and immediate successors) Lisa the Iconoclast - Wikipedia. Into what shrinking realms our reduced and trivial leaders take us now I cannot tell. There is nothing about a strong federal government inherently at odds with liberty. In a healthy society the government will be the size it needs to be to stabilize and mediate the surging and competing forces within. In an unhealthy society deliberately knife-nicking government's fetlocks will scarcely help.

10:18:25 AM    ;;

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