This coming Tuesday is Bastille Day, that celebration of what is considered to be by popular history (though not serious history) as the defining moment of the French Revolution. Hence it is time for my second annual Bastille Day post.
The French Revolution was all about the reaction of the masses to an elite that had gotten more and more entrenched and had secured more and more of the wealth of the nation while giving little back in return to nation overall. Sound familiar? So last year I proposed in a post the creation of a US national holiday on Bastille Day that would serve as a reinforcement that elites do not exist in a vacuum but are part of the greater society and have some obligations to the greater society.
Some how this little piece got noticed and I had a short visit from some very polite but firm Secret Service folks who suggested that I might want to tone down the rhetoric. So I'll not be reprinting that piece though there is a link above to it which you might want to check out. Instead of the sweeping scope of my last proposal, for this year I'd like to suggest that we be more focused. Let's just storm the OPM!
If you've been under a rock the last month or so, I'll give you the brief background. The Office of Personal Management of the U.S. Federal government was hacked to the tune of 21 million personnel records being stolen. Evidently this crime was almost a year old before some mention of it finally got out. It seems that every personal clearance application since something like 2002 (I may have that date wrong) was stolen. Those records include SSN, finger prints, personal histories, all kinds of sensitive personal information. It puts all kinds of people at risk AND since you have to put information on relatives when you apply for clearances that information was gotten too.
I've been a bit mystified as to why there hasn't been more outrage over this. Even now though they got the head of the OPM to step down it's not as if there is a call to arms to bring accountability for this. One story I read (and remember I've not deeply verified this information so take it with a grain of salt) claimed that the OPM had not done even the most basic cyber security measures to protect their data. A relative of mine who has business dealings associated with clearances thought it smacked of petulant bureaucrats who, not getting the funding they needed for upgrading security, said "well we'll show you. We just won't do anything."
So getting back to Bastille Day, I suggest that we storm the OPM! We could make it the 'Bastille of the 21st Century. Get a nice big mob of ordinary folks. Run into the place. Grab some high level folks and hold them for ransom or something (I've decided to eschew violence this time around after that little Secret Service visit of last year) maybe some mock tar and feathering just SOMETHING to show that damn it it is not OK to endanger the lives of 21 million of your fellow citizens because you (whoever you is in the government chain of command) don't think protecting them is important.
See you on Tuesday. Don't forget your pitchfork and torch!