Monday, July 05, 2010

Visibility Watch

Watching the government trying to hide information has become quite a game.

Just like the Republican hierarchy, much of the government does not realize the implications of the digital revolution, which is a steamroller that continues unimpeded. Every two years, the "bang for the buck" in computing doubles. You get twice as much computer. One must consider the implications.

People can store more data. They can send it around more easily. They can bring it home from work more easily, and take it with them to their next job. If they are leaving the military to go into journalism, this may require a 32 gigabyte flash drive. Smaller than their thumb.

People can audit data more easily. They can make sure that the "sum of the totals" of columns matches the "total of the sums" of rows in a spreadsheet or in anything that can be represented in a spreadsheet. They can check a spreadsheet twice as large today as they did two years ago.

People now do similar proof tests on politicians' claims. It is ever easier to cross-check their claims against the record. Claims of military service no longer go unexamined, as they did in the Bush election of 2000. Are the claims backed up by external records?

Republicans in particular seem unaware that what they said yesterday to a reporter walking down the street will live forever. If they say today that the moon is made of green cheese and they say blue cheese tomorrow, they will need to explain the change in their thinking.

There are still people in the government who imagine that they can throw a cloak of darkness over things they don't want seen - but cloaks of darkness are seen!

A wonderful example of this was the greying-out on google/yahoo maps several years ago of Cheney's residence in Washington. 'Here's where!" the greying announced.

So it is that British Petroleum, distantly an arm of the British government, has blocked news coverage of much of the Gulf oil spill, constantly putting out soothing news of their own making, trying to look like a lollipop in a dentist's office. This has involved hiring local police officers to prowl in uniform and in official police cars - but on their own time, responsible to BP - to keep people from the beaches.

BP's grasp on the power structure now extends to the federal government as well.

Here, from Democratic Underground, is a video of newsman Anderson Cooper explaining the Coast Guard's new rules that will make it a felony for anyone to get close enough to take pictures of the problems.

Says Billy Nungesser, the president of Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana, "This is crazy... ...anyone that wants to come down to Plaquemines Parish, we'll take you right up to show you the birds. I don't give a care about their rule."

The South is rising again to fight the North, which has been taken over by the British.

Civil disobedience, Mr. President. How do you plan to deal with it?

The whole world is watching. What could BP be trying to hide?

Is the oil skimming just a band-aid on what is a mortal wound to the Gulf? Have they decided that it is better to kill the Gulf with detergent than to let the oil ride a storm surge up into the wetlands and kill the coast? Are they trying to keep the damage rate a secret so their stock doesn't collapse and force them into bankruptcy?

What's the big secret? No sense hiding it. We're just around the corner, you know.

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