Drill now, drill everywhere… and we’ll all have magic ponies.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Our Glorious Nation
Bunch of lying so-and-sos. The grid never collapsed, the junta shut it down! I caught up with someone I know who works at the power company, and he gave me the scoop. He was on one of the trucks that went around shutting off power; a junta person rode with them and told them they were trying to reduce the load. He told me (constantly looking around and keeping his voice down) that he thought something was fishy, but couldn’t figure out what and didn’t want to be the first to speak up. Of course, Humpty Gridly was a little harder to put back together, and power is still flakier than usual (even for summer). That had been one of the rumors from Sammy, but it’s tough to pull facts out of all the noise at the moment. It’s hard to maintain a healthy level of outrage in this climate — but I don’t have to worry about boring you with the news… because a lot of you only get the junta’s side.
Between official pronouncements and what I’ve heard from Sammy, I think I’ve pieced together the story of the coup: Congress was out of session for the summer, and the President is (still) in Nigeria, where he was trying to negotiate some kind of treaty between the government and MEND (among others). A bunch of the hard-cores got their guns and made their way to Washington, knocked out power, blocked traffic in a couple of strategic areas, then stormed the White House and the Capitol. They then called the Joint Chiefs, and promised to “uphold the Constitution.” The military stood down, and that was pretty much it, until Pacifica (now calling itself The USA) seceded. When New England (much closer) and New York attempted to follow suit, things got dicey and the junta pulled the plug on just about everything to keep the rest of the country from hearing about it and getting any ideas. Presumably, they’re trying to take down the closer half of the rebel alliance (I’ve always wanted to say that) first. Most of the world hasn’t recognized the junta as the legitimate American government. Meanwhile, the President is arranging to leave Nigeria without getting intercepted by a junta goon squad, and will end up (God willing) in Pacifica before long.
But people need to eat, drink, and stay cool this time of year, so the junta couldn’t keep things shut down for more than a few days without starting riots. At least the “last mile” stuff for cable and DSL has been upgraded to run on batteries for large parts of the day, and they’ve always had backup power at the other end. So once some juice started flowing again, the net was back on line… and Sammy was ready. Supposedly, Russian or Romanian crackers (some of whom might be old enough to remember Soviet-era news controls) have been deploying their assets to bypass our new dictators. Suddenly, there are plenty of anonymizing relays out there, gateways to a shadow Net, easy to find and use. It’s how I’m getting this posted now. A little slow, but it works and might keep me out of trouble.
For their part, the junta is finding enemies everywhere, and a few are actually not imaginary. The biggest technology and media companies are on the west coast — Apple, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and Hollywood — and the sheer numbers of zombie Dozeboxes around the country could be considered a fifth column. Some of the news orgs in Pacifica have started releasing a daily news capsule as a 10-minute podcast; they compress it hard so it downloads quickly and you can use them with any music player. One group out of San Fran have picked up on the “Sammy” thing, mixing news and entertainment but keeping the primary focus on the news.
Speaking of which, Shotgun Sam has ended up in an interesting bind. So much of his show depended on callers to fill time and provide a sounding board. He’s a dutiful junta mouthpiece, but after the second show last week he had to stop taking callers — even people who would otherwise support the junta want to know if (for example) about heating assistance for the winter, fuel deliveries, and so on… and getting agitated when he can’t give them a straight answer. I really don’t think he knows the answers. So he’s gone from a one-hour talk show to twenty minutes (maybe) of junta-approved news with a little opinion on the side, and he obviously isn’t enjoying himself.
Life at FAR Manor mostly goes on as usual. The kids were worried about things, probably picking up vibes from the adults, but we’ve all settled back into our normal routines. There's the garden to work, berries to pick, firewood to gather, and off to the creek in the evening. Guillermo and I have constructed a little hidey-hole, just in case it’s needed, but other than that we haven’t done much about the situation. Nobody knows whether school will start in September now or not, so we’re working up our own home-school curriculum. Biochemistry, writing (Maria handles the Spanish end of that, and I’m trying to learn enough Spanish to deal), math, all ought to keep them busy. Serena is catching up to the other kids with her Spanish, and they’ve created a sort of Spanglish to speak among themselves. Mrs. Fetched didn’t like that, but it might come in handy with the current situation as it is.
Most of the “99 percent’ers” have been invited to convene as a rump Congress. I got a laugh out of that, because “rump” in that sense means “an unimportant remnant.” Indeed. The news said that congressional elections will still be held this November, but I (and Sammy) suspect that the only candidates on the ballot will be junta-approved. For all the bad-mouthing they do at Iran, they act just like the mullahs.