Showing posts with label The Gummit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Gummit. Show all posts

Saturday, May 12, 2018

May You Live In Interesting Times (3)

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who aren't here yet) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

                                   THE AGE OF UNLIGHTENMENT?

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Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars
Marie-Louise -- My beautiful muse and back scratcher 
Iggy -- My designated Sticky
Dana -- My designated gentlereader

"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."  -P.J. O'Rourke

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies,

When I compose these semi-humble missives that are mostly directed to your future selves — although two of you (S1 & S2) are on the verge of being able to make sense of at least some of my bafflegab — my mind/imagination often projects what impact current events that at least appear to be a RBFD will have on your (eventual) everyday lives.

[Is that a sentence or what? It may be a personal best/worst...]

I don't write much about politics. Currently, the Republic is enduring all politics all the time. What follows is my impression of what's going on so you can contrast it with whatever makes it to the history books.

We are currently knee deep in, and the Infotainment Industrial Complex utterly obsessed with, one of the myriad reality shows the Donald is starring in: The Donald vs. the SP and the FBI. Those of you that are actually here, although still callowyutes, are experiencing this even if only peripherally. Those of you who have yet to arrive will be studying the subject in history class.

Plot summary: did the Donald collude with the Pooten to become our national CEO?

According to Wikipedia, "... a special prosecutor (SP) is a lawyer appointed to investigate, and potentially prosecute, a particular case of suspected wrongdoing for which a conflict of interest (my emphasis) exists for the usual prosecuting authority."

The Justice Department ("the usual prosecuting authority") and our federal police force, the FBI, are part of the 1/3 of the republic that the Donald runs so Robert Swan(?) Mueller III was appointed SP to avoid a conflict of interest.

Mr. Mueller served with distinction in Vietnam and has a sterling reputation. But for most of his career, he worked for the Justice Department — as a prosecutor. Also, when he got his current gig it had only been roughly 3.5 since serving as Director of the FBI — a division of the Justice Department — for 12 years.

Being a multipotentialite and current events maven, I know this kind of shi shtuff.

I don't know what the history books will say; I hesitate to predict the future under any circumstances. I predict that when you read this, though, you will immediately ask the same question I and many other current Citizens of the Republic are asking.

Who in their right mind thinks Mr. Mueller could be impartial and unconflicted? And this was before the subsequent kerfuffle concerning double-dealing, high ranking FBI officials who appear to have colluded to get a special prosecutor appointed in the first place.

Here's where things stand at the moment.

There is no current law that specifies who has the power to appoint a Special Prosecutor. Justice Department regulations, created by the Justice Department, gives the Attorney General (or acting AG) this power. Hoo-boy.

The current AG recused himself from investigating whether the Donald or his posse colluded with the Pooteen to get the Donald elected as he was a member of the Donald's election posse.

Deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, appointed Mr. Mueller SP -- one day after Mr. Mueller was interviewed/rejected by the Donald. He was trying to get his old job back, director of the FBI.

The evidence that was used to determine why it was determined a SP was needed -- real, fake, and where/who it came from -- has been in the news and the subject of endless debate ever since.

Congress has demanded answers. Apparently, they feel guilty about the fact they've never gotten around to renewing the law that specifies just who has the power to appoint an SP and under what circumstances.

The Justice Department and FBI have elevated foot-dragging and stonewalling to an art form. What info they do release is always heavily redacted. The redactions, when revealed, often turn out to be info that's embarrassing to Justice/FBI, not legitimate secrets.

The Information Industrial Complex has created a lucrative industry out of the resulting mess. Evidence-free speculation and my personal favorite -- if this should turn out to be true then that could happen -- comes at us 24 x 7 x 365 (.25). By the way, there is no speculation in this letter, only facts.

Mr. Mueller has been on the job for just over a year. A couple of people have been charged with crimes unrelated to Russian collusion. There's been collateral damage. For example...

Michael Caputo is a former communications advisor to the Trump campaign who keeps getting summoned to Washington. He has run up legal bills of over $125,000, is about to lose his home, and has been subject to death threats. He has been charged with nothing.

In other The Gummit news... Congressman Lamar Smith wants The Gummit to spend $10,000,000/year of other people's money to search for evidence that we're not alone in the universe. Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day.

[P.S. Gentlereaders, for 25¢ a week, no, seriously, for 25¢ a week you can become a Patron of this weekly column and help to prevent an old crank from running the streets at night in search of cheap thrills and ill-gotten gains.

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©2018 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Permanent Record Cards

[Gentlereaders, for those of you keeping track, this week was supposed to be the third letter to my (eventual) grandstickies and great-grandstickies. So far, I've been relaying my impressions of the recent presidential reality show and its subsequent aftershocks. I'd planned on discussing why I think the Donald, the Wizard of Oz of the new millennium, won in spite of the fact that most of the members of the infotainment industry who specialize in this sort of thing predicted otherwise.

I tried. But I'm up to here with the nonstop daily speculations, and the speculations about speculations, of the 24-hour news cycle. If George Washington found a way to be transported forward in time to our era I think he would want to know at what point we had decided to switch to an elected monarch, and why. Well, at least we get to pick our king or queen and can fire them in four years. 

The reason, of course, for the nonstop daily speculations, and the speculations about speculations, is because The Gubmint is so large, so powerful, and in hock up to Uncle Sam's nose. Not exactly what George and his homies had in mind. 

I'll return to the subject of how the Donald pulled it off next week. In the meantime, below is something I wrote a while back about The Gubmint, a business that lives off of The Gubmint, and my adventures in Catholic grade school. 

Spoiler: 2,700,000,000.

Begged question: If Mr. Peabody could perfect a WAYBAC machine, did he ever try his paw at going way forward?]

For reasons not worth bothering you with, I googled the phrase, "total number of civilian employees of the US federal government" which, I thought, was the sort of query that was so obvious and straightforward that the answer would not only be the very first hit, Google might even display the number within the first hit, obviating the need to even click on it.


The very first hit was a page published by Clicking on it brought up a chart that displayed civilian and military employment numbers from 1962 to 2014. OPM? hmm, I wonder, what that might be? I went to the home page and encountered a large and impressive blue and gold banner (that included a shield) for the NATIONAL BACKGROUND INVESTIGATIONS BUREAU.

What!?! Uh-oh, they've finally got me. Sister Mary McGillicuddy wasn't telling a little white lie in an effort to control/motivate the little heathens in her charge. I actually do have a Permanent Record Card, and the NBIC has caught up with me. Well, it was a good run, it took them almost six four decades to get around to me. They must really have a huge backlog.

I started thinking about all of the sins/transgressions/bad grades/etc. I had accumulated in my 39 years here on Earth. Wait a sec', that's just an ex-Catholic thing. Oh, sorry, those gentlereaders (and my G & G-Gs) that didn't go to an American Catholic grade school prior to when it became possible to be an American Catholic and still believe pretty much whatever you want, this must be confusing.

All through Catholic grade school (my parents couldn't afford the tuition so I don't know if this applied to Catholic high school at the time) we were warned that we had a Permanent Record Card and that it would follow us for the rest of our lives. Our PRC not only contained a detailed listing of all of our grades and such, any given nun or lay-teacher, any given year, had the power to write anything they wanted on our card.

I have an image in my head of a huge, shabby, nondescript warehouse located in a seedy, decayed neighborhood somewhere in inner city Pittsburgh. One of its many large, cavernous rooms contains thousands of dusty file cabinets filled with Permanent Record Cards.

The average potential employer doesn't even know that it exists, or that there are warehouses just like it scattered all over America. But The Gubmint, the gubmints, private detectives (legitimate and otherwise), and the world's espionage agencies know.

After my heart rate and breathing returned to normal and my more or less rational side reasserted itself, I thought, wait a minute, my computer hasn't locked up, powered down, or exploded. No one is crashing through the door screaming, "Get down, everybody down!" like they do on TV. Not so much as even a bogus warning message that terrible things were about to happen if I didn't do as instructed.

Phew! That was embarrassing. Dana, my imaginary gentlereader, and Marie-Louise, my beautiful muse, started giggling and high-fiving each other.

I ignored them and then set out to determine, what exactly is The National Background Investigations Bureau? So, I clicked on the about button of and discovered the following.

Vision Statement: "The OPM will become America's model employer for the 21st century." Go big or go home! (or, be vague and relax, there's a lot of years left in the 21st century).

Mission: "Recruit, retain and honor a world-class workforce for the American people"

Ahh! It's The Gubmint's HR department. I'll bet OPM stands for Office of Personnel Management. Okey dokey. Wait a minute... this adventure began when I clicked on and the big, scary National Backgrounds Investigation Bureau banner appeared on my screen.

I returned to and discovered an < and a > at opposite ends of the big, scary banner. My bad. I started clicking on >s and discovered other banners. This agency must be huge. Well, considering the size of The Gubmint, I guess that makes sense. I went exploring. Oh yeah -- the web pages go on seemingly forever. Not exactly shocking -- been there, done that.

[Update. If you go to you will most likely encounter a different first banner than the one I did, they change and rotate them.]

If you've never experienced the joy of wandering around any of the websites published by The Gubmint, pick any -- The Gubmint -- entity you can think of and go a-googling. Tabs will multiply faster than the interest and penalties on an IRS judgment.

Also, you might discover one or more private businesses that depend on The Gubmint teat. For example, on this particular journey, I discovered something called FCW (Federal Computer Week --  I'm not sure exactly how I landed there) which is a weekly magazine that "... provides federal technology executives with the information, ideas, and strategies necessary to successfully navigate the complex world of federal business."

Huh? Well, FCW is owned by the 1105 Government Information Group, and according to themselves, "... is the leading provider of integrated information and media to the government market." They do this via five different publications that specialize in keeping track of what up, in five different sectors of The Gubmint.

[Dana, my imaginary gentlereader speaks. What's yer point? Is there a point to any of this bonkercockie?  Oui, ze point please, chimes in Marie-Louise, my muse]

In case you're wondering if I have a point, of course I do, don't I always? -- eventually.

I set out to discover how many civilians work for The Gubmint and discovered that The Gubmint is so huge that a privately owned, for-profit firm exists that makes money by supplying information to employees of The Gubmint -- about The Gubmint.

Where does the money come from? They sell advertising to firms that sell goods and services to -- The Gubmint.

Insert background sounds of a busy bar (murmur, murmur -- clink, clink, etc.) here

"So, where do you work?"

"I write for a publication you've never heard of called Federal Computer Week, its..."

"You must be kidding! Everyone at work is passing around an article from FCW titled, "Government Needs Digital Transformation to Reverse Sliding Satisfaction."  

"You're kidding me! a friend of mine did that one. Where do you work?"

And they lived happily ever after.

Have an OK day.

©2016 Mark Mehlmauer