There is a coup d’etat in Turkey today. Were this The US or France I would be concerned. A man I consider a mentor pointed out to me long ago that this is an expected event in Turkey. The nation of Turkey was founded when the military overturned a rotten caliphate and established a secular government. The military had long and good reasons to believe that an Islamic Turkey was a failure. So since Ataturk – The Father of Turkey – whenever the Turkish state gets too religion bound, the troops come out and reëstablish secular rule and go back to their barracks. Wikipedia says, ‘Since the founding of modern Turkey in 1923, the military has staged coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980, and intervened in 1997.’
I think Wikipedia has left a few out. I am a bit ashamed that this did not occur to me as a possibility with all the things Erdogan has been doing. Does anybody wish to make a wager that in seven months we will have forgotten all about it?
Ever since I was a child, I have wondered why the President of the United States gets to fly around on a modified 747 at everyone else’s expense. Now — thanks to the power of social media and, well, Ricochet — I get to try and do something about it. Below is my Change.org petition to be sent to Hal Rogers and Speaker Ryan. Let’s get some signatures.
The Congress of the United States should immediately cut funding to the Executive Branch for the purpose of operating Air Force One. The nation’s chief executive already occupies a home owned and paid for by the Nation’s taxpayers and has numerous perks that come as part and parcel of that position. Presidents also have access to various facilities not open to the public such as Camp David that are set aside for their recreational use. What presidents do not require is the world’s largest private jet, to be flown around the country on vacations or campaign and fundraising junkets at the cost of nearly a quarter million dollars per hour. The federal government would consider the use of such a convenience to be an in-kind contribution to a campaign if it were offered to a candidate from an outside source.
The total expenditure at taxpayer expense over the course of these jets’ existence is obscene, and an insult to the people who work and pay taxes.
If the president needs to travel the country, let him take AMTRAK or charter a plane with his own or his campaign’s funds – but not the taxpayers’. With a nation that is approaching $20 trillion in debt, Congress should make this change to let taxpayers know that they and other government officials are not above the law and understand the dire necessity of beginning to put the nation’s fiscal house in order.
Travel for the purpose of statecraft could similarly be accomplished more cheaply through military or domestic charter and should require that Congress pass legislation to authorize that expenditure upon request from the executive branch.
I went to get a haircut yesterday. The first thing they asked me was:
‘What’s your number?’
‘It’s a secret.’
‘We can’t do anything until we have a phone number.’
So I left. I walked seventy meters to another place.
‘What’s your phone number?’
‘It’s classified. I could tell you, but then my agency would have to hack your system and remove the data. They are none to gentle and may crash your system’
‘No, really. We can’t do anything until we have a number.’
‘How about “five”?’
I’ve reached a point In my life where I don’t have to lie. Ashamed, desperate, greedy, or too eager to impress. I am adult. Still, there is this unhumorous aversion. I really should pull out a bag of dice, roll them, and read off a number.
But I shouldn’t have to. I don’t want a membership card with a secret handshake. I don’t want to be adopted by a cult. I don’t want a job. I don’t want a bloody date. I want to exchange money for goods and services. I quit going to Papa Murphy’s pizza when they wouldn’t sell to me without a phone number. Is this freedom? I won’t use a grocery store membership card which tracks my every purchase. I don’t want my mother informed whenever I buy brownies. Patricia, the big mommy government, or my matriarchal insurance company.
I also don’t want to be tracked. ‘I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own! ‘ Even if I did not know what they do with the information, that it is so insistently desired shows the value of massive bulk data. I still remember the days after September 11, 2001 when the grocery stores around New York City presented the FBI with lists of everybody who had purchased Levantine food. I don’t want Progressive Insurance to put a GPS on my car. I just don’t want to be spied upon. Even if they reduce my bill by two per cent.