Tag Archives: shutdown

Plus ça change, plus c’est les mêmes.

2 Spies Beaten by Egyptian Soldiers

2 Spies Beaten by Egyptian Soldiers

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan

Climbing Ninja

Climbing Ninja

jacquesdem

Sovereigns

Sovereigns

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I

Spy report to Elizabeth I on Spain

Spy report to Elizabeth I on Spain

American Revolution Notes

American Revolution Notes

NSA Goes Too Far

NSA Goes Too Far

From Wikipedia, notes given below:

Events involving espionage are well documented throughout history. The ancient writings of Chinese and Indian military strategists such as Sun-Tzu and Chanakya contain information on deception and subversion. Chanakya’s student Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Maurya Empire in India, made use of assassinations, spies and secret agents, which are described in Chanakya’s rastra. The ancient Egyptians had a thoroughly developed system for the acquisition of intelligence, and the Hebrews used spies as well, as in the story of Rahab. Spies were also prevalent in the Greek and Roman empires.[2] During the 13th and 14th centuries, the Mongols relied heavily on espionage in their conquests in Asia and Europe. Feudal Japan often used ninja to gather intelligence. More recently, spies played a significant part in Elizabethan England (see Francis Walsingham). Many modern espionage methods were well established even then.[3] Aztecs used Pochtecas, people in charge of commerce, as spies and diplomats, and had diplomatic immunity. Along with the pochteca, before a battle or war, secret agents, quimitchin, were sent to spy amongst enemies usually wearing the local costume and speaking the local language, techniques similar to modern secret agents.[4]

  1. ^ “WHAT IS ESPIONAGE?”.
  2. Espionage in Ancient Rome“. HistoryNet.
  3. “Henrywotton.org.uk”. Henrywotton.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  4. Soustelle, Jacques (2002). The Daily Life of the Aztecas. Phoenix Press. p. 209.

I wrote a post ranting about the NSA earlier today. I erased it, put the Crazy Frogs in as I had intended before my temper got away from me, and did other things. I finally decided on the way I wanted to approach it–this one. Espionage and spying are nothing new. They have been around since there have been groups of people to spy on each other. Elizabethan England, it appears, was pretty bad. There have always been people who have a price, or who have done it because they are good at it.

Now, the playing field has changed. Drastically. There are still people who can be bought. There are still people who can be seduced. But really, why go to the bother when all you have to do is set up a scan? It’s too easy. They NSA has more data than they can possibly know what to do with. I’m sure a lot of people could give them suggestions. I’m so used to knowing that anything I do could be monitored, traced, saved, tracked…I almost don’t even care any more. Orwell was right, he just had the date off a little. Yes, I’m angry. I’m angry that the actions this overreaching department of the government which should have been reined in like the rabid dogs they were behaving like weren’t stopped before things got this bad. Angry no one was keeping a closer eye on them, instead of giving them carte blanche to, well, the world. Making a mess of foreign relations. It could be a T-shirt slogan: With Friends like US, Who Needs Enemies?

Nothing can ever be proved, nothing can ever be denied. They’re in the perfect position. The problem was they got careless, as sometimes happens with the bloating caused by power. The NSA is like Jaffar from Aladdin. Remember him? This would be a good time for a little intervention.

Infinite cosmic power...

Infinite cosmic power…

Itty, bitty living space

Itty, bitty living space

Fake Magic the Gathering Card

Fake Magic the Gathering Card

Of course, it isn’t so easy. Or as amusing. And I really hope that the person who made up the very clever MtG card learns to spell “Obedience” right. But otherwise a very awesome card, only four mana to tap, lasts indefinitely. Very nice. I always played blue, green, or white.

I think that may be what they think this is, the NSA–a game. A game of drones. Only people are getting hurt. Real people. Really getting killed. Not thermonuclear war killed. Dead. The more bits and pieces of the news that you read, if you can stand to stick with it long enough, the more pieces start to come together, and the more of a mess it becomes. Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive. As allies, it seems Germany’s (oh why, why, the love of compound words–I respect and admire them, but it’s going to be a while before this one rolls off my tongue) Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND)has been giving information to the US but doesn’t know how we’ve been using it. Dear Gods. They’ve also been doing what the NSA has been doing to its own citizens. Spying on them.

I will just say right now that I think everyone is spying on everyone else, and their own citizens. Why not? It seems the chic thing to do these days. Maybe that will make all of us feel better.

What I sincerely don’t believe in is the US spying on the citizens of other countries: that’s just greedy. Leave the French to France and the Germans to Germany and everyone else where they belong. I think you’ve done enough, thank you very much. Does anyone else remember the song by Peter Gabriel, Games Without Frontiers?

I really wanted to visit those countries someday. Oh, and Italy. Let’s not forget Italy. I’m sure they’re involved in there as well. Spain? I would really like to go to Barcelona, because Gaudi never seemed to make it over to the US to build anything here. I would like to see museums. I would like to see buildings that are older than this country, by hundreds of years. I want to see castles, and cathedrals, and if you f**k this up, President Obama, by not having kept a tighter rein on your–you know, none of the definitions for agent in Wiki fit what the NSA is doing. None of them. You’ve created something new, which is only appropriate, I suppose. Let’s just call them your Clandestine Computer Cavaliers (CCC). The CCC’s actions are on the cusp, if they haven’t already tilted, US diplomatic relations arse over teakettle.

Congress didn’t listen to their constituents during the shutdown, as they’re supposed to–after all, those are the people who elected them. They acted on their own agendas. How many rules of the US Constitution did they break then? What was their “punishment?” None of them fled to Russia for political asylum. They just cut off food to hungry women and children, closed Head Start programs, furloughed hundreds of thousands of workers.

How many rules are the NSA breaking now, “for our protection?” I’m sure checking up on women they’re interested in is “for our protection.” I’m sure the only protection they need is a Trojan…Horse. Remember those guys? They were sort of spies as well. In a way. It was underhanded, and not very noble of them. That’s war, though, isn’t it.

Are we fighting Germany, France, Brazil, Mexico? I didn’t think so. Technology has gotten ahead of us, faster than the NSA’s brains, and the CCC treat it like they’ve just plundered a candy shop. These aren’t toys. They aren’t little wooden horses.

This is not a game. This is real life.

I’m sure people are sick to death of my proselytizing over things like this, but WAKE UP! Where are your morals and your ethics? What is happening in this country? Why do you, President Obama, let it happen. Have you given up? Because I voted for you twice, and that, quite frankly, will just piss me off. Giving up. Be proactive instead of reactive. Fix things before you have to do damage control.

Yes, you like to spend time with your family, and you value that. I respect that. But, also in all respects, you’re not a normal man and you don’t get to have a normal life while you’re the President. It sucks, but it’s true. Your attitude has led us down the road of isolationism in terms of relationships with other countries, yet the actions of the NSA have reached out and grabbed other countries by the throat and throttled them. Not a good thing to do when we have an isolationist President.

This is going to take more than a few quick steps and fast thinking to fix. No one is happy. Everyone may be doing the same thing within their own bounds, and even if they aren’t, it’s not to the extent the CCC is. It is going to take genuine desire to fix the problem.

This needs to end. It needed to be over years ago. Keep this agency in line, or keep whoever is leading them in check.

Think on this; if the NSA hadn’t done so many illegal things, committed so many egregious wrongs against so many tens of thousands of people in multiple countries, it wouldn’t matter so much about Snowden, would it? Put it this way–if the FBI were working a case, and got a witness with all the information they needed, the names, the dates, the people under the names, the money, who else was involved, and got them to turn state’s evidence, the FBI would be in heaven. Because that person has all the goods on everyone. But the smog of moral turpitude seems to linger these days. I’ll just leave it at that.

Except for this. And a picture. I have to have another picture.

If you were a little kid, going to the principal’s office, and the principal already knows some of the story, and you know another person who knows the whole story as well as you do is sitting in the room next door, but you’re the one who is talking to the principal first, would you tell the principal everything first, and get it over with, or would you wait and let the other person do it? And then have to wonder what they did say, and what they didn’t say? Snowden can control this show a drip at a time, or you can, Mr. President, because it’s becoming a three ring circus of unprecedented proportions, everyone is watching, and this time, no one is laughing.

 Plus ça change, plus c'est les mêmes.


Plus ça change, plus c’est les mêmes.

Did You Declare War?

war-games1In 1983 a movie was released called WarGames. It starred Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, and a host of other good actors. I thought it was a great film, and seeing it years later, I still like it. In the early days of hacking, home computers, and what computers were capable of, it was an excellent film for preying on the fears of those unsure of what this new technology would bring.

All the young man played by Matthew Broderick wants to do is find new games to play, and he enjoys the challenge it takes to find them. As usual with my posts, I had no intention of talking about this movie. I wasn’t even thinking about it. Certain events that happened today encouraged me to do a search with the two words in it, and lo and behold, there was the movie.

Shall We Play a GameOnce he’s hacked into a military computer, the now well known words light up the screen.

A game. Of course!

gamesThere are some interesting choices, and honestly, who wouldn’t want to play Global Thermonuclear War?

The “game” starts to look suspiciously real, and Matthew Broderick’s character asks the computer what the point of the game is.

to win the game

This is the point when he panics and turns the computer off, the computer calls him, and chaos ensues.

It’s also the point where I started making imaginary connections.

n-GOP-CRAZY-large300However, they weren’t playing a game. They were waging war. I don’t think they got congresses’ approval beforehand, either. In their, let’s just be polite and say somewhat delusional minds, they were at war with the President. Congressmen at war with the President? That sounds incredibly iffy to me. I don’t think they had a bottle to stand on.

Yet they had their “tactics” and their “strategy,” and openly said it was a war. Their goal? To win. For who to win? They can feed whatever they want into their gopbabble, it wasn’t for the people of the United States, it was for themselves. They wanted to win.

Apparently, they pay attention to neither the news, nor have they ever seen WarGames.

A lot happens–now that I’ve pulled up a quote from the movie, I see Matthew Broderick’s character is David and his girlfriend, Ally Sheedy, is Jennifer. They go find the reclusive Professer Falken who created Joshua, the computer who is now running on its own, and bring him back the the military base. David finally figures out a way that he thinks the computer will figure things out, while the military commander thinks this is all real, and the nuclear missiles really are preparing to launch at the then Soviet Union. David teaches Joshua how to play tic tac toe, then tells it to play all games.

wargames tic tac toeAll Screens[They are in NORAD, watching the computer WOPR playing Tic-Tac-Toe and Global Thermonuclear War at the same time]

Jennifer: What is it doing?

David Lightman: It’s learning.

That_scene_from_War_Games

Are we still playing

The only winning move is not to play. Exactly. When you are a member of congress, representing the people of the United States of America, you are not there to play. You are not there to wage war. You are there to make arguments and decisions based on facts and truths, not what you want them to be, but what they are. You are there to work for the best interests of the people, the rich (you) and, more importantly, the rest of us, who might not have a “nice home” to make payments on–we have rent to pay. We don’t complain about how dirty our spa is because we’ve furloughed the people who work there. We don’t harass people who work at parks you have closed (are you really that stupid?) and tell them they should be ashamed of themselves. That woman is completely in the right when she says she isn’t ashamed, she shouldn’t be. She is doing her job. She deserves a medal for standing up to insensitive, idiotic representatives. That was despicable behavior. I’m so glad someone actually got a video of it.

But this whole time, while you have been waging war, it’s been against the American people. The women and children who couldn’t get food for themselves and their babies. The veterans who couldn’t get their services. The veterans who did wage war, at congresses’ permission to the President. The hundreds of thousands of furloughed workers who couldn’t pay their bills or buy other necessary items. See, unlike those people in congress who make approximately $174,000 a year, and are already millionaires to boot, many people live paycheck to paycheck. Maybe more congresspeople have advice such as taking out loans?

People need health care. Do you think because people make less money they don’t get sick? They don’t need surgery? I really believe in this case it may be a case of affluency acting as blinders, the “let them eat cake” syndrome. Congresspeople don’t have to worry about health insurance. They need to go to the doctor, they go to the doctor. Many of us, if we need to go to the doctor,  have to find out if they take our insurance, if we have insurance, if they’re an approved provider or an out-of network provider, do we pay a co-pay that is set or a percentage, if we need a prescription, how much is that, is it a drug that’s on the approved list on our insurance, and so on. And then we have bills we have to make payments on stretched out over a year or more. It’s a whole process. So, we have a president who wants to try to provide health care for all Americans: it isn’t going to be perfect, and there are going to be snags and wrinkles that need to be ironed out. However, it is a start, and I don’t care if conservatives and tea partiers think it’s communist, socialist, Marxist or fetishist, it’s the first time it has been done in this country, and it’s about time.

Yet this is what this imaginary “war” was against. Sort of. It was the excuse John Boehner used to wage his war against President Obama, a personal, ideological war, in a situation that should never have arisen, should never have taken place at the expense of the public Rep. Boehner pledged to serve, and should never have resulted in a shutdown of the government while you were still paid. It was a grudge match carried out in full sight of the entire world, who we at least managed to amuse, and I’m sure now we appear much less threatening. An entire country held hostage by a small bunch of right wing conservative extremists? Hell, Boehner probably has fan clubs in some parts of the world. And the tea party? They should cringe every time they think of the name they chose for themselves and truly be ashamed. This is not the American Revolution, and they are not the self-modeled heroes they purport themselves to be. The American Revolution was fought by people willing to die for their country, to fight for was was really freedom. They denigrate the purpose of the Boston Tea Party as the truly revolutionary act it was by claiming any association with it whatsoever. They are not of that caliber. What gives them the right to usurp the name of an incident of far greater import, consequence, and reckoning than they will ever accomplish through misinformation and distortion of the truth?

War as Boehner and his cronies see it is an odd thing again. As Joshua the computer says, “What a strange game. The only winning move is not to play.” It wasn’t a game, and Boehner sulks that he didn’t win, but says the fight isn’t over. Did he learn nothing from this? Did any of them? What fight? No, he didn’t learn anything. If only when he heard “Shall we play a game?” it meant sticking him in a room with a game console to fight his imaginary wars there. Where no one gets hurt. In the movie, the world is saved because Joshua learns through playing all the scenarios in his “head.”

John Boehner, Kevin McCarthy, Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Maybe Rep. John Boehner needs a processor. I think there’s a place to go for those. All he needs is a companion…

jackalope copy.jpg.2013_10_05_21_49_23.0

And he’s all set. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…

Meanwhile, we can finally go back to government pages without getting stuck here:

government-shutdown---murica-404_o_2293279

I want to thank all of those who made the use of these pictures possible, including MGM, United Artists, and Sherwood Productions for making such an awesome movie. The Jackalope is mine. And I found another picture while looking for these I found particularly funny:

government-shutdown-034-10022013

Enough said.

What’s the Gov Got to Do With It?

Once upon a time, the GOP found thisclinton so heinous, so horrific, they wanted to impeach the president over it. No families were forced to empty their bank accounts to pay for food and childcare and other daily necessities, hundreds of thousands of workers weren’t effected. America pretty much amused the rest of the world.

Yet now, where are the GOP’s ethics and morals at this?

Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 3.15.09 PMYes, I will concede the headlines are colorful and attention grabbing. As well they should be. Some other news sources are acting as though it is not the GOP that is holding this up (and I can’t forget to give credit where credit is due, the Tea-Party has their share of blame in this as well–see below for that).

I wonder if the GOP and the Tea Party understand the ramifications of what they’ve done.

Democracy as we have known it in this country–will it still exist? Did the GOP intend to destroy that on their way to destroying the most hideous of bills, one that supports health care for all Americans. See, they don’t know what it’s like to not have health care. To have to worry about pre-existing, life-threatening conditions that you know you’ll get turned down for by an insurance company for coverage because “they don’t take people with pre-existing conditions.” Medicine, along with politics, is another area in the country that could use some reform. It’s disgusting that a country like ours doesn’t have health care for everyone, regardless of income, full or  part-time status…  Health seems to be a pretty inalienable right as well. President Obama has the right idea, and it’s something that should have been done years and years ago. There’s another section of the Huffington Post devoted to people writing in about how “Obamacare” has saved their lives because they were unable to get the healthcare they needed.

This is what the GOP wants to tear the country apart over? Keeping people healthy? It doesn’t concern them, why should they care? It just concerns their constituents. Oh, right, them… The GOP keeps forgetting the little people that put them into office. I support the Congressional Representative from my district, the 4th, in Oregon, whole-heartedly. He’s a good man. He listens to the people who put him into office, and I follow his voting record. He does what the people want. He thinks. I still emailed his no doubt overflowing office and said I didn’t think they should be getting paid during the shutdown. I think I should also mention that quite a few members of the Republican party, over 20 at last count, have abandoned the jackelope and said they will vote on a clean bill–they just want to get the country moving again. Huzzah on brains that still work.

I don’t think I need to go on and on. The above headlines say a lot. Check out the Huffington Post if you want to read the whole articles. They also have a “Good News” section you can go read after being inundated with all the bad news. I think that’s an awesome idea, and something the news in general forgets–while there are many bad things, things you don’t even want to think about, happening around us, there are still shining spotlights of humanity that break through the haze and show us that average, everyday, people you walk by on the street can be inspiring beacons of hope, and reminders that it doesn’t take a person in a special suit to be a hero. And that it doesn’t even always need to be a person.

A “Tea-Party”

teaparty1

I’m sure there are people coming to fill the empty places.

This is where my lack of keeping up completely with political news (I did at the time of the elections, especially where Sarah Palin was involved, because she’s stark raving mad). I know they hate The Affordable Health Care Act as well.

I’m not entirely sure why anyone hates this. Do they not see how ridiculous it is, when compared with other nations of our “league” (sorry to anyone who takes offense), we look like Victorian England when it comes to health care? In fact, maybe the Tea Party could pick up some pointers from the 19th century. We could institute poorhouses for all the students who have defaulted on their student debts as they’ve been unable to find the jobs they were told waited when they finished their degrees. What would be profitable for the government? They could have a business where undergrad students who hadn’t written their papers yet for particular classes could put in a request a it would be assigned to one of the over-educated but unemployable inhabitants of the poorhouse. That’s too unpleasant a name, though. How about the “Dickens’ Home for Overachieving Underperformers?” They could possibly also house a Think Tank consisting of MBAs, accountants, actuaries (is that the same thing? I like the word) for when time to work on the budget rolls ’round every year–let these people work on it along with congress. Students are used to deadlines. Their GPAs are important to them. They’ll get it done on time. That reminds me of something I wanted to do at the end of the post. Thank me for reminding me. It so rarely happens I have to thank myself in the hopes it happens more often. And less than three days later, because by then it’s considerably too late. There are endless possibilities here.

There are endless jokes as well. Enough said.

There seems to be some confusion about what is closed and what isn’t, as what is closed in each state varies widely. The Tea Party made the grand statement that only a small percentage of the government was shut down. Well, here’s the list of each agency’s shutdown policy (hopefully the links still work

Agency-by-agency shutdown guidance

Monday – 9/30/2013, 1:13pm EDT

The Office of Management and Budget requested agencies provide details about their plans in the event of a government shutdown. Below are links to each agency’s shutdown guidance.

    • Department of Agriculture
        • Office of the Secretary PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Agricultural Marketing Service PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Departmental Management PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Farm Service Agency PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Food Safety and Inspection Services PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • U.S. Forest Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • National Appeals Division PDF (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Natural Resources Conservation Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Budget and Program Analysis PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Chief Economist PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Chief Financial Officer PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Communications PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Ethics | PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the General Counsel PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Inspector General PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Research, Education and Economics PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Risk Management Agency PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
      • Rural Development PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
    • Department of Interior
        • Departmental PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Indian Affairs PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Indian Education PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Land Management PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Reclamation PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Fish and Wildlife Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • National Park Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Inspector General PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of Insular Affairs PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Secretary PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Solicitor PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Office of the Special Trustee | PDF (September 27, 2013)
        • Office of Surface Mining PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Policy Management and Budget PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
      • U.S. Geological Survey PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
    • Department of Treasury — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Departmental Offices PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Bureau of Fiscal Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Financial Crimes Enforcement Network PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Internal Revenue Service PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Special Inspector General, Troubled Asset Relief Program PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
        • Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)
      • Office of Inspector General PDF — (Sept. 27, 2013)

jackalope copy.jpg.2013_10_05_21_49_23.0Sometimes the information gleaned from the pages says nothing more than the site is shut down. Others, like the Department for Health and Human Services, have to keep some things in order because they are in charge of so many services and programs so many people use. Even their pages aren’t all that helpful. I would definitely call first. If you happen to be a parent of a child with a disability in one of the Head Start programs that is shut down and don’t have childcare, see if there are any organizations (of course the parents always have this stuff figured out the best) for individuals/children with disabilities who can help you. Also for Head Start parents, as I read one article about concerns about food in one family–check out your local food banks and see what they can do. While the Federal government is shut down, it doesn’t mean your local one is, and organizations like food banks are typically volunteer operated.

You may also be able to find community information at your library. If there is no help from what is open and you really are struggling with rent, you might want to check at a shelter–they don’t want you homeless any more than you want to be, they might have resources as well.

I’m just trying to piece together what I know from what friends have done in the past, just so no one regales me with “what nonsense are you trying to pawn off here?” That was when the government was as functional as it gets. I do know the frustration–I opened the envelope when I received it months ago for my beginning COBRA information, which I needed but had been dreading at the same time, knowing it was going to be an outrageous amount. There was a flyer stuck inside, though, that said something along the lines of, “Can’t afford your payments? We might be able to help” and it gave a web address. I went there, feeling a little more cheerful, only to find a sentence reading: Due to budgetary cutbacks, this program has been discontinued. This shutdown has affected so many things across the board that we don’t even think about–the CDC, food safety under the Dept. of Agriculture, the FDIC, HUD, National Council on Disabilities–the Peace Corps. I don’t know what did happen, but I read in their plan (my parents were volunteers ages ago so I was curious) that in the event of a shutdown they would all have to be evacuated and returned back to the address given in their application packets. At roughly a cost of $3,500 a volunteer. I remember it was a fairly tumultuous time when my parents were in Peace Corps in Costa Rica, and volunteers during that time in Central and South America from both Nicaragua and Chile were evacuated. I don’t know if they were just moved somewhere else or brought back to the US. I didn’t really pay attention. I was probably 11 and I didn’t really understand at the time what was going on, other than volunteers in Costa Rica were moved further from the Nicaraguan border because it was unsafe. I knew some of those people, so that made more sense to me.

Another thing I noticed while going through the names of the departments, given the pressure President Obama is giving the Redskins to change their name, is that it may be time to update the names of a few departments as well. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, perhaps? The Bureau of Indian Education? That’s a bit of an oxymoron, considering it should really be, after all the education we’ve been giving on not just political correctness but for acknowledging people as they would prefer to be known, as the Bureau of Native American Education. Personally, I like the way the Canadians have worked out the whole situation, with the Native Canadians being called the First Nations, comprising all those tribes/people not related to the Inuit or the Métis. Yes, I did have to Wiki that because I didn’t remember it entirely. I’ve only been to Canada once, so please cut me a little slack, here. Interestingly, according to the same source, the Canadians first interactions with the native peoples in Canada were not nearly as combative (although it did happen) as those in the US, which allowed the First Nations and other tribes’ cultures to be assimilated more into the growth of the country. Now, I consider myself ethnocentric now that I’m older, because when I was a child living on the Navajo Reservation, which is a large reservation, I thought the only Native Americans that existed were the Navajo, the Hopi, the Pueblo, the Utes, and the Paiutes. That was it. In a way, it was strangely appropriate. For anyone who has ever watched a John Wayne movie that takes place anywhere looking something like this:

monument-valley-utah_29853_600x450

Monument_Valley_06

Monument Valley 1

I realize that the top and bottom one are practically the same other than the snow. The two formations on the far left and the middle are known as “The Mittens.” All of the formations have names, I just don’t remember all of them. The one on the right might be “Train Rock,” but I’m truly not sure. The one in the middle of the above photo has something to do with a chief, I’m fairly sure. I took all this for granted because I grew up with it. Monument Valley, home to I don’t know how many Westerns and car commercials. Nothing like having an SUV airlifted in and dropped on top of a mesa to show how tough it is. Where I lived was just past Monument Valley. Now there’s a high school along the way, but the Oljato Trading Post, where I spent many hours, is now closed. When I lived there, it was a working Trading Post. Then it was a tourist attraction, selling rugs and jewelry and baskets, as it had always done, then it closed completely. It was a huge part of my childhood. We would “trading post sit” and I remember spending hours in either the store after it was closed reading Tales From the Crypt comic books behind the counter, or sitting in the rug room surrounded by beautiful baskets, jewelry, rugs–literally piles of rugs, and a loom set up to show tourists what they looked like, settled into a comfy chair reading Fate Magazine. I think back on how unusual that was, and how I took it completely for granted, because that’s what children do.

But one of the many great lies of the Westerns is that the Apache, the Cherokee, the Sioux, whoever was the great evil enemy of the day, if the movie was filmed in Monument Valley, it was far more likely they were Navajo.

I spend four more years in Chinle, Arizona (Monument Valley is in southern Utah). Chinle is right next to Canyon de Chelly, which has an unsettling history of its own, but many say is more beautiful than the Grand Canyon, it’s just the Grand Canyon is bigger so it gets all the attention. I found a photograph, quite unexpected, by Ansel Adams. It’s not of a huge sweeping vista (I am impressed with their amazing quality and technical detail, but for some reason have never really liked him as a photographer, until I found this photograph).

Navajo_Girl,_1941

It was taken in 1941 in, as the photograph is labeled, Canyon de Chelle.

For this photograph, the National Archives and Records Administration request to be listed as the original source.

http://www.archives.gov/research/ansel-adams/

She’s standing in the doorway of a hogan, a traditional Navajo home. She’s not old enough yet to have all the silver jewelry she’ll have when she’s older, although it does look like the buttons on her collar are silver. The necklace looks like it’s made of shell beads, just guessing.

How did I get on this topic? Oh, right. The Bureau of Indian Affairs. And changing names of sports teams. To Westerns.

Do you think John Boehner watched a lot of these growing up? I realized he is emulating, to a degree, someone who isn’t a very good role model, someone whose pride literally led to his fall.

“You ask me if I will not be glad when the last battle is fought, so far as the country is concerned I, of course, must wish for peace, and will be glad when the war is ended, but if I answer for myself alone, I must say that I shall regret to see the war end.”

George Armstrong Custer

A Review of the Political Structure–A Coup in Our Midst

I sometimes am a little rough on the way things work–I won’t admit how long it’s been since I’ve studied the political process. There is a very good article in the Huffington Post, which now I can’t find other than the small quote I’d already taken out. Odd. I did go digging up some diagrams on how the political process is supposed to work. One of them, I think it was the search about budgets, brought up lots of pictures of scantily clad women with somewhat voracious expressions. I’m not sure whose side they’re on. A new third party?

separation of powerI propose a new emblem for the GOP. Elephants are intelligent, caring animals who grieve for their dead and care about each other. That’s not the GOP. I present my proposal, which I believe is much more appropriate.

jackalope copy.jpg.2013_10_05_21_49_23.0

As you can see in this diagram (and I did remember this from school), there’s a system of checks and balances in place. Note specifically how there is no negotiating between congress and the president on the budget. That’s something for the Legislative Branch to do themselves, and then present it to the president. No keeping hundreds of thousands of Americans on furlough while the GOP holds up the political process. They seem to be throwing around the document our nation was founded on, the constitution, as if they wrote it and actually understand it–the first of which is blatantly untrue (unless they’re vampires), and the second of which I think they’re overestimating their knowledge of and twisting it to their own devious–sorry–political purposes. Diabolical might be a better word. They don’t like “Obamacare,” as they’ve christened it, because it “sucks.” (That supports the vampire concept, by the way).

So, we already have the GOP refusing to negotiate the budget in the way they’re supposed to–with fellow members of congress. But as several Democratic and a few Republican members have noted, the GOP holdouts can’t even negotiate within themselves. They are a breakaway, incomprehensible, non-sensical, group of thugs operating solely out of pride.

If the GOP, who are violating the constitution with their demands— “If he [Obama] wanted to avoid economic ruin, Republicans said, Obama would submit to a delay of health-care reform, plus tax-rate cuts, enactment of offshore drilling, approval of the Keystone pipeline, deregulation of Wall Street, and Medicare cuts, to name but a few demands. Republicans hardly pretended to believe Obama would accede to the entire list (a set of demands that amounted to the retroactive election of Mitt Romney), but the hubris was startling in and of itself—” and are not interested in getting hundreds of thousands of people back to work and getting the country moving ahead, in Star Trek speak, one of their prime directives, they are not doing their jobs. If they would rather keep the wheels of government silent because the needs of the few (who would that be?) Are more important than the needs of the many (who live paycheck to paycheck—but that’s all right, they can eat cake instead), they are not doing their job.

What are they doing? Helping the people who voted them into office and put them where they are. No.

The GOP responsible for this, have, in essence, taken the American people hostage. Isn’t that what it’s called when you issue a list of demands to be filled before you’ll negotiate any further? This sounds a little, teensy bit, if we were watching it happen in another country, like a coup. Something that might even be considered treasonous. Should these men be allowed to continue to hold America in their clutches because they aren’t getting what they want, aren’t behaving in a manner the constitution says they should, and get away with it unpunished? Their behavior is worse than any of the people recently labeled “traitors.” Those people didn’t furlough hundreds of thousands of people, close Head Starts so their parents, most already struggling to make ends meet (sorry, they have more to worry about than ‘making payments on their nice houses,’ they have to worry about putting dinner on the table and feeding their children), now have to pay for childcare. Childcare they didn’t have to worry about when their children were learning at Head Start. Parents already working 2 to 3 jobs now have most of the money taken up with childcare, food becoming the balancing act between paying the rent on their homes. Should the men responsible for this be allowed to sit around not working and collecting a sizable paycheck while there are people struggling because of the men using, let’s see, threats and ridiculous demands verging on, hm, extortion, get away with this unpunished?

These men have betrayed their country, and they have betrayed the people who put their trust in them when they voted for them to represent them. They are tricky men who use deception and language to obfuscate the answer to the simplest question into a garble of psychobabble and key words to keep peoples’ minds spinning. All they are doing is stringing a bunch of words together that make absolutely no sense.

These men from the GOP are not your friends, they are your worse nightmare come true, drunk (literally) on power. They have overstepped their bounds by grand proportions, thinking their positions make them invincible and answerable to no one. They seem unresponsive to the fact the actions they perform give them the appearance of petty tyrants.

How can we successfully deal with terrorism outside our country when we can’t deal with it in our own congress? No, we’re not a dictatorship, to simply get rid of the few obstructing justice. But this isn’t a Democracy anymore either, when a small group of individuals can put forth an illogical agenda from which they won’t withdraw on the basis of pride, despite the fact our nation is suffering. Because of them. How much less of a conscience can you have to allow that to continue? Enough is enough. Take these men of the almighty GOP and treat them as a man off the street would be treated had he done the same thing. See how law enforcement feels about it. See how judges feel about it. Under the letter of the law. The third branch of the system of checks and balances. That’s their purpose. Let’s let them get to work.