Hot & Heavy Air

We Are Nothing

You have to look at this. If you don’t, you’re not my friend.

Detail from Huang

From Far Smaller Than The Atom…

Go ahead, click on any of the images in this entry. Then start the show. It’s an interactive graphic illustrating the vast chasm between the smallest things imaginable and the greatest. That is, from the eensyiest known distance (the Planck Length: one ten decillionth of a meter long) to the largest thing humans have identified (the Universe itself: 93 billion light years wide, according to the latest estimates).

Cary Huang drew this thing up with help from his computer geek brother, Michael. It’s called the Scale of the Universe 2 and it’ll put all your worries, all your prejudices, all your fears, all your annoyances, everything, really, in their proper perspective.

Detail from Huang

… To The Eiffel Tower…

Take your time. Drag the scale button all the way to the left to start. Then, really push yourself to visualize each step up in size as you move it to the right. Fire those neurons, chill’uns. You know the old saying, We are stardust? If only we could be as significant as a mote of dust.

The religions have one thing right. We have to accept that there is something much greater than we are. Me? I just don’t buy the existence of an omnipotent guy who occasionally — very, very, very occasionally — pays attention to creatures on a tiny planet begging him for a moment of his time.

Detail from Huang

… To Far Greater Than The Planets

Cary and Michael Huang were 14 when they drew this thing up, for pity’s sake! Their brilliant piece may bore you. Fair enough. But if it does, I submit you may have an inflated image of yourself and your place in this existence.

There. I’m done. And, no, I’m not high as I write this.

We Are Something

Who’s the boss? Bill Moyers the other day ran an exclusive essay by Mike Lofgren about something called The Deep State.

That’s Lofgren’s moniker for the entrenched, monolithic group of people who run this holy land and, no, we really don’t vote for them. Oh sure, we can vote this one or that one out of office, just to kid ourselves that we still possess what we love to refer to as The Power of the People. But it doesn’t matter who sits in what chair or which party controls the White House or Congress. The Deep State, to mangle the The Dude‘s noted aphorism, abides.

Bureaucrats

On The Job Since Forever

The private security and surveillance industry, along with the countless militarized police forces across the nation, the intelligence agencies, and the traditional military-industrial-complex work hand in hand with Wall Street financiers, Ivy League theorists, and certain quarters of corporate media to operate a shadow government that none of us can really grasp because it is so widespread and, well, normal. The people who populate this unholy alliance don’t even know they’ve joined a club. No one gives orders. It has no charter. It simply is. And it doesn’t even need to hide; not that it would want to. It is as banal as a company picnic.

The wheels of this neo-cabal are not really spun by Barack Obama or George W. Bush or whoever will be touted as the next big thing in 2016. No, it’s the hundreds or, perhaps, a few thousand career federal employees who keep it running. They are mid- and upper-level managers, wonks, and administrators, folks who keep their posts even as Oval Office administrations change and change again. And their zeitgeist extends throughout the country, affecting even the smallest counties and towns.

Militarized Police Force

Parking Ticket Patrol

In a way, the elimination of patronage and the implementation of the civil service system turned much of managerial Washington into a hive of drone bees, the members of which are concerned first through forty-fifth with keeping their jobs.

And if spying on citizens’ phone calls and emails, arming all sides in every conflict around the world, patting down every grannie who tries to board a plane, and making sure the petro-oligarchy remains firmly in place keeps these folks in their jobs, well then, that’s that.

Those who participate in The Deep State buy into it unconsciously. They’ve learned what not to question, what not to criticize, and what to cheerlead early on, and then they toe the line so they won’t be fired or passed over for that plum promotion. That’s what virtually everybody does in this world. And federal government workers are just like everyone else.

The Deep State will collapse of its own weight, just as the post-Stalinist Soviet Union did. I don’t know how it’s going to happen or when, but it will.

It’ll be an ordeal but a welcome one.


4 thoughts on “Hot & Heavy Air

  1. The Bill Moyers interview with Mike Lofgren, author of the “Anatomy of the Deep State,” is definitely worth watching. Lofgren describes the extractive partnerships between ambitious meritocrats, elected officials and corporations. I saw the toxic networks in war-zone Afghanistan and detailed in “Funding the Enemy: How US Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban.” Don’t miss the interview.

  2. David Paglis "Cynicism gives the illusion of understanding." says:

    Mike: a couple things, first I like that thing about our insignificance, I got much the same feeling being on a boat on the ocean. second, I think we might be getting to some common ground! The sentence about something bigger than we are but just not interested in us is pretty much how I think and I’m thinking the “deep state” is very much like Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”. Last, I tried your pizza dough recipe. It was very good, the 2 step baking of the crust was something new along with the semolina and wheat flour but a guy of Sicilian descent using a bread machine? In the words of Don Corrleone, act like A MAN!!! Seriously it was very good and I didn’t even realize I was eating healthy, thanks.

  3. tyler says:

    I want your pizza dough recipe

    • Dave Pagis says:

      It’s in the pencil a few days back titled Valentine’s Day. The big fella hasn’t been to consistent with posting lately, must have been shoveling snow.

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