Herding Cats

That’s what it is like for voters trying to manage the activities of government. Three examples follow that on an ordinary day would not be part of the news and would not be a conscious issue of any importance.

Here’s one from left field (terrible pun for sure):

[USA Today] California college athletes looking to make some money from their hard work may be allowed. California’s State Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill that will allow college athletes to make money off their name, image and likeness. The bill will head to Gov. Gavin Newsom, and, if signed, would take effect Jan. 1, 2023. The new measure will be in conflict with the NCAA’s amateurism rules that restrict compensation for athletes.

 Mariner has always wondered why everyone in college sports makes tons of money except the actual athletes and cheerleaders who do the work aren’t allowed income. A sign of the times, perhaps.

Another one coming out of the woods:

[NPR] The U.S. military court and prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have cost more than $6 billion to operate since opening nearly 18 years ago and still churn through more than $380 million a year despite housing only 40 prisoners today.

“It’s a horrible waste of money. It’s a catastrophic waste of money,” said Michel Paradis, a Guantánamo defense attorney for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind of the bombing of the USS Cole naval warship. “No matter if you want to see all of these guys shot in the street or whether or not you think Guantánamo itself is an aberration that should have closed yesterday — whatever your goal is, the military commissions have failed to achieve that goal.”

 Voters trying to manage their representatives – budget, policy, ideals – have more than they can handle. It reminds mariner of the tale of the woman who had so many children she didn’t know what to do.

The high prices paid to overseas specialists are de rigueur. Mariner was a consultant to a foreign nation for a while. He received high pay, paid taxes, first class travel, free housing and 100% living expenses. In more peaceful times, US workers could sign up for jobs in Saudi Arabia at three times the salary tax free for the same job in the US. This happens because within the foreign nation urgently needed expertise is not available; further, the commute is extraordinary and forex is arbitrary.

Technically, although Guantánamo is located on the island of Cuba, it is an American military base. Over time, specialist support like lawyers, computer technicians and specialists in government security and foreign relations, evidently have been allowed to charge their own nation exorbitant fees not because the specialization is unavailable as in other nations, but because the lax administration of Guantánamo became a wall bank for military contractors.

It is time to close Guantánamo – a duckbilled platypus under any rule of law. Tell your representatives.

Tidal waves aren’t made just of water:

[538.com] . . . Technically, in the context of legal and political systems, climate refugees don’t exist. There’s no space for them in international law and no special plans for how to treat them in the United States when they arrive. Here and around the world, fleeing climate change means running to bureaucracies as inhospitable to your survival as the places you left behind.

 Warnings about massive, worldwide human displacement due to climate change have been heard from the scientific community for more than a decade. Governments have not made note of this with any vigor; processes don’t exist to handle this special kind of refugee – not only procedurally but in the volumes that will occur. Of many buried issues, this one definitely will affect every voter – another cat to herd but a critical one. Remind your representatives to get on it.

Ancient Mariner


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