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I am seated in front of the Optiplex, drinking Padre Kino red and garnering insight. The garnering is tough these days. Still, to this end nothing is so effective as cheap Mexican wine at thirty-nine cents a trainload. My stepdaughter says “Google, lo sabe todo,” Google knows everything. Ah, but Padre Kino, the Great Purple Father, understandeth everything.

All right, the news. I should know better than to read it, but I don’t. First I encounter a sententious suit-and-tie federal civil-serpent from NSA saying the Edward Snowden has endangered the national security of the United States, eeeek. At this, I shuddered and began mentally designing a bomb shelter.

But then I wondered how, precisely, are Americans now endangered? Is there a massed invasion fleet of Arab swordsmen poised to devastate North Carolina, and we need to read their tactical codes? I pictured Winston-Salem savaged by scimitar-wielding, hashish-smoking maniacs on weird double-humped camels. These be parlous times, methought.

Or are Yemeni nuclear forces readying a first strike? Maybe this was the problem. As delivery systems they could use FedEx and UPS.

Or maybe Snowden just embarrassed the children in the tree-house at Fort Meade, where everybody has a Captain America secret decoder ring.

Ou sont les Neigeden d’antan?” I thought poetically if not altogether coherently. Coherence is overrated anyway.

Next, I see that some wet-lipped psychopath piloting a drone has killed fifteen people at a Yemeni wedding. Drones seem to hit a lot of weddings. These massacres, I suppose, are the result of letting little boys play Grand Theft Auto. I pictured an Air Force of trigger-happy eleven-year-olds in arrested development. However, I concede that targeting weddings does make military sense: I have been to many weddings, and they all looked like Al Quaeda convoys. It’s just how weddings are.

At the Five-Sided Wind Tunnel a thousand colonels, also in arrested development, will wonder why the war on Yemen goes the wary of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and so on. They will say it’s just like those rag-headed wogs to get upset over an occasional gutted bride. Give them a few bucks in compensation. They’ll get over it.

Excuse me while I get more Padre Kino. Some things require two-bottle understanding.

But why, it occurred to me, should we expect the Pentagon to win wars? It has nothing to gain by winning, and everything to lose. From a budgetary point of view, victory would be as bad as defeat. In either case, contracts would slow.

Anyway, Washington is riddled with incompetence at all levels. I have read that only thirty-seven percent of secretaries in the capital can touch type. The rest are hunt-and-peckers. I cannot vouch for this, though.

Clicking wildly about, I see that the UN, which means Washington, has waxed prissy (and perhaps polished it) because Uruguay has legalized marijuana. Why is this the UN’s business, I wonder unglobally. Anyway, José Mujica, president of Uruguay, responded that if Colorado and Washington state have legalized the insightful vegetable, how can Wasshington….

Oh, never mind.

I havem’t met José Mujica, but have walked past the President’s house in Montevideo. It was just a house. You know, the kind people live in. Unlike the Great Double-wide on Pennsylvania Avenue, it wasn’t barred, blocked, and Jersey-barriered. One had no sense that an emperor lived in it. I was told that presidents of Uruguay have simply walked to the grocery store all by themselves. What is the world coming to?

Actually the world is beginning to wobble strangely, or maybe it is just Mexico. I suspect though that the entire planet is encountering some sort of orbital difficulty. When this happens, further wine has a stabilizing effect. I will do my best.

I suspect that the problems dragging down America result from political inbreeding that may result in hemophilia, or at least presidents with twelve toes. First we had Bush I, a mediocrity. Then Bush II, for whom mediocrity would have been an achievement, like winning a marathon while hopping backward on one leg. There was talk of Jeb Bush as Bush III; together they would have constituted a topiary garden. We had Clinton I, who at least was intelligent, and almost had Clinton II, but instead we got Obama, whose only qualification was that he was black and read a teleprompter well. So Hillary became Secretary of State, for which her only qualifications were two terms as First Basilisk. We now have Kerry as SecState, whose only qualification is that he married a pickle heiress. They keep taking turns.

Next, I see that the FBI wants access to all telephone conversations to Stop Terrorism. We might be better off with terrorists to stop the FBI. What I can’t figure out, no matter how much Padre Kino I have as lubricant, is what they think they are doing. Is there a conscious plot to make the US into North Korea? Or just self-important minor-league dipsticks who find themselves miraculously at the controls of the amusement park? Maybe it doesn’t matter. Anyway, FBI guys always look like Mormon missionaries with carry permits.

The government seems to be becoming an enemy of the country. This is new. I mean, Yahoo and the gang talk about resorting to cryptography to keep Washington from reading our email, and now that we know that the government can turn on our web cams without or knowing it, there is talk of manufacturing little plastic covers for the lens. I thought the KGB was supposed to be the enemy.

Next, I check out Drudge, who is the national thermometer: a combination of grocery-rack tabloid, Bradley Manning, and the only free press left in America. Where else can you find headlines like, “Dwarves, Evicted from Posh Hotel, Honeymoon in Cardboard Box”? I swear there was one the other day about someone rescuing a shark that was choking on a moose.


But to serious matters, if anything can be more serious than a shark choking on a moose. Today there is a Drudgeline about a robot telemarketer who, or that, refuses to admit that she is a robot. See, she calls and asks for information and sounds like a real woman, which is scary. When a listener got suspicious and asked if she were real, “she replied enthusiastically that she was real, with a charming laugh.” She didn’t quite fool him, since she didn’t know what vegetable grows in a tomato garden.

Close, but no cigar. And getting closer. Soon we will be watched, listened to, read, fondled, X-rayed, and called by machines with enchanting laughs. Things are getting eerie, I tell you.

On that hopeful note I will sign off. I need to do something to calm the planet, which seems to be lurching with greater abandon.

(Republished from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)
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