J.D. Salinger – Religion

J.D. Salinger - Religion

I found this quote at the beginning of the new Salinger biography, called Salinger. I liked it, so I made this. The Christian iconography sort of takes the meaning of this in a different direction than it was intended, but I like it. Made with GIMP, image is 2560×1440.

The Concern About Welfare Fraud is Ridiculous

The Right seems to be overly concerned about welfare fraud; though admittedly a concern for fraud is a politically better reason to cut programs than just admitting you don’t believe in them, so maybe they’re not as concerned as they seem to be. Obviously the Republican’s concern about fraud, both voter and welfare, speaks to their opinion of our essential nature. I don’t think I’m surprising anyone, but it seems to me that Republicans tend to have a rather negative view of people. You can’t trust anyone, as a Republican, to not cheat the system.

Why do I expect people not to commit widespread welfare fraud? I don’t trust people, so I expect that some people will commit welfare fraud. Who wouldn’t want free money? Answer, people who don’t want to fill out thick packets of forms every six months to a year. Besides that, I don’t think people generally break the law. Not because they can’t, not even out of fear of the punishment, just because that’s our nature. Perhaps the best example of this is driving. It’s easy to get away with almost every driving infraction. There just aren’t enough police to guarantee that someone will get stopped. You might get caught, but even then the punishment is mild and you usually notice if a cop is nearby. Still, people don’t break most traffic laws most of the time. People aren’t necessarily naturally good, but they do like to follow the rules. Not everyone does, of course, so you need someone to oversee the system. Conformity is natural to the human condition, it’s what allows us to get along — we like to be the same. Bringing this back to welfare fraud, it seems to me if you trust people not to kill each other while driving, you can rely on their conformity to not commit welfare fraud. Maybe not though, welfare fraud isn’t something you die doing. That certainly explains all the speeding and minor, i.e. less dangerous, infractions, but even with very little risk of death people still don’t speed obnoxiously or run red lights and stop signs. If you drive late at night, like 3AM night, you’ll notice that people do drive a little faster, but even then a lot of people are going the speed limit and there’s not many people going 90+ even though it’s easy to drive that fast without any repercussions on a clear freeway. Conformity, the thing we all hated in high school and probably scorn even now, proves useful at times

Political Correctness

Political Correctness

Stewart Lee, from 41st Best Standup Ever

Here’s a youtube video: http://youtu.be/bmsV1TuESrc

Russian Proverb

Russian Proverb

A wide road leads to war, a narrow path leads home. – Russian Proverb. Just a simple, kind of sad truth.

George Orwell – Politics

George Orwell - Politics

I like this picture for a few reasons. First, I’m absolutely in love with the font. I know I’m not the only person with an inordinate love for fonts, but I really like a nice font. Second, I like the quote. I actually found it while I was reading Orwell’s essay on Politics and the English Language. Which definitely worth a read. It’s not long, but it makes you contemplate the utility of the words you use to describe political problems. And, as the quote explains, all problems are political problems. Finally, I like the blue arrows. They don’t fit here at all, but they seem like they’d be really nice on someone’s business card. It’s always a weird moment when you realize the different aspects of your picture don’t work together. People that are more dedicated to this sort of thing than I am will undoubtedly take the pieces apart and make two things out of them. I’m lazy though and never really could think of a picture that fit with the Orwell quote anyway.

Diogenes – Quotes

Diogenes - Quotes

Brush Credit: http://nadinepau-stock.deviantart.com/art/Dirigibles-63300078

I like this quote because, well, it’s funny to me to quote it. Image is 2560×1440, made with GIMP 2.8

The Shadow Factory

Well, I finished The Shadow Factory by James Bamford. I’m more concerned than ever about the reach of the industrial-surveillance complex. The NSA and other intelligence agencies are funding and propping up an industry that only serves to snoop on us. Beyond that, these non-government surveillance corporations are selling their technology to extremely repressive regimes around that world. Regimes that proceed to use these technologies to punish critics and ‘intellectual’ criminals. At the end of the book Bamford quotes Frank Church, the famous head the Church Committee that investigated the CIA, NSA, and FBI. Church warns, “That capability at any time could be turned around the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such [is] the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. IF this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in the country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.” Keep in mind that Church issued this warning in the 70’s when only Project Shamrock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_SHAMROCK) was running, before ECHELON (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON) in the 90’s. Bamford published The Shadow Factory in 2008, before the Snowden leaks, so there’s even more to be concerned about now that we know even more wrongdoing is happening. There needs to be a new Church Committee. Personally, I would like Ron Wyden to oversee, but something needs to done. I would definitely recommend reading this book to learn more about the surveillance state that America is becoming.