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As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls

As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls

You’ve read that title right. I’ve got the dulcet plucking of strings by Pat Metheny going on in the background as I write this, and it’s a rambling title for a rambling blog which I'll be getting to, but for now think of this as a tale of two governments.

On Nov. 25, the FCC voted to expand the ban on monitoring hardware from several different Chinese companies, chief among them Huawei, and other familiar names you have likely read on this site. While this might seem like a problem dating back to at least four years ago, its closer to 20 at this point. That’s right, in the early 2000’s Huawei had started building its rap sheet of intellectual property theft and both corporate and state espionage, because Huawei and the CCP are synonymous terms in this context. Knowing that you might ask how did they along with several other companies managed such thorough market penetration? Well, that’s the question, but money is my guess.

Even so it’s a good thing the FCC is finally stepping in to wrangle this mess, better late than never. Reactions from the companies themselves has thus far been predictable. Hikvision’s response reads as a thinly veiled threat and Dahua’s could be summed up as, “None of this applies to us, and if it did, we don’t even really care, bro.” If that response seems underwhelming, it might be because China currently has its hands full. Security personnel may be an innocuous or reassuring term to some in the west, but in China, that usually means “Secret Police." 

Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about that over here, right? Surprise now we’re talking about the Rail Strike (No, “Last Train Home” would not have been the better song to reference). Specifically, how last night I was digging though 400 names attached to a letter sent to Congress urging action against the rail unions to break the strike. I did it to make sure there were no prominent security industry names attached to that list, and there were not.

Which doesn’t mean there aren’t any involved, mind you. After all supply chain woes stemming from COVID-19 continue to dominate earnings calls. Tyson Chicken and Chevrolet aren’t on that list either, but I’m betting a national rail strike would affect them heavily also. That’s because the names are mostly trucking associations and chambers of commerce. Can’t say I blame them either, I wouldn’t want my name associated with what could come next.

The Arizona Copper Mine Strike of 1983 is still fresh wound for some in Greenlee County, I’ve been in Clifton’s Historic Union Hall many times and gazed at David Tineo’s mural commemorating the strike. The strike and the unions were broken there because the government and security personnel stepped in. In an even earlier example, during the Homestead Strike the government mobilized the national guard alongside 300 Pinkerton agents to break the Pitsburgh-area mill strike. In the ensuing firefight 16 were killed and 23 wounded.

To sum things up, its easier to have the poor little chambers of commerce be the ones seen begging the government to step in and resolve the problem than be the major corporation that lobbied to make a dozen new orphans before Christmas to hit profit targets. Those same companies may cheer at the telecoms getting their comeuppance, but don’t forget who funded them for the past few decades.

I hope I painted a good enough picture for you to see why these topics might fall so close together; after all a telecommunications ban and a union strike are at first glance wildly different topics, but the message is the same, and that is it may be best to find a solution to a problem before the government steps in. “But Ken,” you may say, “Pinkerton security agents aren’t even a thing anymore. Why would this be the same?” Well, you might be surprised to learn they’re still around.

They belong to Securitas AB. Food for thought.


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