Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Eleven Spies

So, eleven Russian spies were arrested? For spying? Really?

The basic story we've been given...is that eleven long-term "sleeper" spies were active in the US....had adapted US names, bought US property, made US careers, had Facebook accounts, drank US beer, and probably brought overpriced houses just like us too.

What secrets did they get? That really hasn't been put out there. In fact....they "hint"....ever so carefully.....that the Russians were doing open-source collection. They simply went up to folks, engaged in conversation, and folks just said things. Kinda like the interviews on MSNBC or FOX News....if you think about it.

How many "sleeper" agents are in America? From China, Russia, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Israel? Well....we don't really know. My humble guess? Ten thousand is a good starting point....although we might be skipping those foreign exchange students in universities.....who quietly sit and collect information on a hour-by-hour basis.

I am reminded of an Indian pharmacy degree student....who came into the US in the 1980s....and he reached this moment of brilliance when he discovered all the various formulas that made up the top 250 drugs in America. Our Indian friend took home this terrific notebook....not a computer disk....but an actual notebook. Within three years, he had devised a great method of duplicating US drugs....and selling them in India. The court system eventually tried to remedy the matter....but by that point....he had made millions selling necessary drugs to Indians at 1/100th of the original cost.

A spy? No. He was never accused of being a spy. Thats the funny thing about this story.

So thousands upon thousands of "sleeper" agents work in the US? Yeah. Some work on collecting business data. Some work on collecting farming technology. Some work on getting sources in the Wall Street market area. Some work on Google, Microsoft, and Dell technology. Some work on getting to the heart of Goldman Sachs, Fannie Mae, and various corrupted banks. Some work on political figures and figure out just how stupid they are and how easily corrupted they can be.

Somewhere out there....there's probably a Russian "sleeper" who chats with Katie Couric at the beauty parlor once a month and suggest little things to Katie to report.

Somewhere out there.....there's probably a Chinese "sleeper" who studies World of Warcraft and its impact on the public. He's probably figuring out the business model so the Chinese can manufacture their own version in five years and cut in on WoW.

Naturally, it's a great thing that the FBI got these eleven. The curious thing is that the Russians have asked for immediate access now. Unlike Gitmo guys....these prisoners actually have rights.....remember, they got the Miranda deal in the first minute of the arrest. I suspect the US legal system of 2010....doesn't compare to the US legal system of 1975. These guys will likely be released within a week or two....and deportation? Well....I'm thinking it'll be a problem. You have to prove classified was gathered.....and I'm thinking open source information won't count.

Just my own observation. But I think this will be a minor story in four weeks.

61 Stars Over America!

Down in Texas....this guy went into a Dollar Tree store....and wanted a flag for the 4th...to hang up. We can imagine that he is a bit cheap....and just wanted something...nothing fancy...nothing grand...just a plain old flag.

So he buys this flag, and ends up going home.

He opens the box....pulls out the flag. And for some odd reason...he just felt something was wrong. Most folks....would just hang it up and would have just never said anything. I'm guessing he is an engineer or something....because he got around to counting the stars....and there were 61.

In case some of you were wondering....there's only supposed to be fifty stars. So yeah, eleven more stars than what's supposed to be there.

He went back to Dollar Tree and commented about this. The best they could say...from the big headquarters....it was a banner...and not a 'flag'. There's apparently a difference between a banner and flag....and you can add as many stars as you want. Naturally, Dollar Tree doesn't want to admit that they paid some cheap-ass Chinese company to manufacture these for 30 cents each.

Now, if you were of a political nature.....you could argue that this is a flag destined for America in five years.....as eleven more states are added.

My choices?

1. Cuba (after Castro dies of course)
2. Puerto Rica (even if only 30 percent of the PR folks want statehood, it doesn't matter)
3. Guam (it'd help to know which ocean it's in)
4. Chicagostan (they deserve their own senators....it'd help to finance the government there)
5. American Somoa (they make the best wrestlers anyway)
6. Virgin Islands (There would be debate over the meaning of the state name)
7. Commonwealth of Northern Bama (from Demopolis north to the Tenn border, our own state)
8. Austinstan (the free and heavily democratic state carved out of Texas)
9. Green Bay (big enough to haul their own NFL team, big enough to carve out as a state)
10. Arlington (highest per capita state within the US, if created, and likely run by former El Salvadorians from day one).
11. District of Columbia (yeah, give it to the losers, and then let them fail as a state in the first year)

Yeah, maybe this was only a mistake....or maybe it was a Chinese conspiracy to start with. You just can't be sure. The thing here....is that we ought to all shop at Dollar Tree....if we want to cheap-ass stuff to hang up. That's my advice.

A Friend From High School

One of my close associates from high school...apparently died in the last day or two. Circumstances are rather odd...as my brother tells it...the guy was riding on the tailgate of a SUV...and somehow fell in some fashion...with punctured lung and a brain injury.... immediate death (so thought by the description).

It was an odd end to this guy...who cheated death over a thousand times before turning eighteen.

In the last three years of high school....I came to know this guy and considered him a friend. His adventures, with his brother...were legendary.

The two of them invited a game where they had an open field of around 1,500 feet...and then got a pick-up running where both got out and into the back of the truck...then raced to get back into the truck before reaching the ditch at the end of the field. They mastered this completely and repeated it often.

The two also mastered this trick of driving a tractor blind-folded.

All you had to do was suggest mixing explosives and gas...and using some vapor lock idea from a Mechanics Illustrated magazine....and they'd attempt the act.

There's at least a thousand of these 'events' that they accomplished, and shouldn't have made it to 18....but they did. This end down in Gulf Shores, Bama....is rather odd to contemplate....but knowing him...there was some risk to start with. That was his character and his 'charm' in life.