A topical discussion on corruption

The Problem Is Obvious

The entire government is not corrupt. If that were the case there would be no need for pretense and your neighbor would be needing to see personal details of your life or face official action. Quite the contrary, most government workers are driven by their love of this country and give huge amounts of themselves. There are corrupt individuals and corrupt departments. It is a thing and has been since there were semi-autonomous parties. From road crews to politicians, nothing new in six thousand years we have receipts for. We are not going to do away with the entity. The Bad Apples we all know and use as examples are notable for their Rarity. The cure is, and always has been, Transparency. A nice sentiment but it entails a whole ‘nuther problem for labor to assume and management to pay for. And don’t you just love some CQ gook snooping in your work?

Systemic corruption is different. It starts at the top. Corruption, by itself, can not consume a culture. It starts with the intent to steal. The American system is set up to make stealing hard. To get past it requires the cooperation of other people who are themselves corrupt and will not tell on you. These second layer people present two problems. They are chosen for a crooked, or at least compliant, attitude and not for their skills. Since they are usually drawn by gain and not love of service, they have to be paid. [ The Religious take a different payment] Sometimes it is enough to allow them to feed. This creates a new set of problems. Even getting rid of a corrupt leader or cartel still leaves many of these low level predators in the halls of The People. They dig in like tics, sucking the life out of the people around them. How do you get rid of them with out purges or pogroms? That is going to be an important discussion.

Strait people have to pay money for this shit

The first Thursday of the month brings the return of the Blues Jam at Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar in the Houston Heights. Musicians were thick on the ground as we came in for our jones. Most all of us play in a group of some kind. The Blues Jam lets us play with new people. Seriously good new people. The traditional forms of the Blues give us that familiar ground to run over together like race cars on just another oval track. We all know where this goes. When we all make that complicated turn as a single unit the power can chill your blood and set your soul on fire.  The purest form of magic.

Change is inevitable, growth is optional

Sagan Card

Carl Sagan smoked pot so you could retire to the moon.

This excerpt from A Pale Blue Dot was inspired by an image taken, at Sagan’s suggestion, by Voyager 1 on February 14, 1990. As the spacecraft left our planetary neighborhood for the fringes of the solar system, engineers turned it around for one last look at its home planet. Voyager 1 was about 6.4 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) away, and approximately 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane, when it captured this portrait of our world. Caught in the center of scattered light rays (a result of taking the picture so close to the Sun), Earth appears as a tiny point of light, a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size.

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

A Call To The Wild

Don’t doubt yourself. Question everything you know to be true. Smile at everyone; it makes you feel better and drives your enemies nuts trying to figure out what you’re up to. If you aren’t already on a Government Watch List you should be ashamed of yourself. Compliance with totalitarianism will not guarantee safety. Love is the answer.