Sunday, May 24, 2015

Owned By The NSA

Mitch McConnell had an epic fail at 1 am. It was pretty much like I thought it would go. Our government is paralyzed, they failed to do anything about Section 215 of  The Patriot Act. This will not stop McConnell from trying again next week on May 31st at 1 a.m. because his dirty work has to be done while everyone is sleeping. This isn't just about collecting everyone's phone records illegally, this is about money. It's always about money. The Blackstone Group, Sen. Mitch McConnell: Campaign Finance/Money - Summary - Senator 2014 | OpenSecrets  Booz Allen, (former employer of Edward Snowden) there are very high stakes in this game of spying, that is the main reason that McConnell doesn't want this cash cow to die. Millions, if not billions of reasons. It's a cash cow when over 70% of the NSA's budget goes to contractors. Who then donate to the various committees
The names no one even utters when it comes to this so-called "Patriot Act" are Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. The notion that this oppressive violation of Americans rights that was instigated by these liars and war criminals even needs to be debated or otherwise extended is ludicrous. It needs to stop and it looks like it will despite Mitch McConnell's insistence that there is a "consensus" in favor of the extension. Our government thinks it's ok to break the law and hoover up our phone records, but when it's their turn to hand over information, suddenly there's just crickets, In the Same Week, the U.S. and U.K. Hide Their War Crimes by Invoking "National Security" - The Intercept
We all can be spied on in the name of the War On Terror, no place to hide for us, but the government isn't about to share their private information with it's people. You can't have it both ways.
Kudo's to Rand Paul for a 101/2 hr. theatrical filibuster. Rand Paul calls it a night after 10 1/2 hours - Seung Min Kim and Alex Byers - POLITICO
I still wouldn't vote for him. I won't vote for anyone anymore.
The tracking and control of the American people has to stop, but my fear is now that the apparatus is already there it will just go deeper and darker.
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
This NSA program has to end and hopefully it will die on May 31st, when like so much legislation, it just languishes with no action taken. A victim of my own country's inertia, maybe on June 1st I'll be thankful those clowns in Washington can't get anything done.
Have you ever gone to the NSA's website? it's creepy as all hell. Check out that Barbie girl on the lower right advertising for career opportunities, that's not the worst of it, check out the CryptoKids® America's Future Codemakers & Codebreakers Um ok, look at where the NSA is actually telling kids to protect themselves online, when we all actually need protection from them! WTF? June 1st can't get here fast enough.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Section 215

Something happened this week that I thought could be a very big deal. On May 7th, The Second Circuit Court of  Appeals decided the National Security Administration 's warrantless collection of  Americans phone records is illegal.
What can we expect will happen on the basis of this ruling? Mitch McConnell says he wants to "reauthorize the exisiting law without change."
Why? why would an illegal law just be rubber stamped by the Senate and Congress? Exactly how much incriminating evidence has the NSA collected on every member of congress or other branches of government? The NSA knows which members of congress are drunks, pedophiles, drug users or gay. It's worse than Hoover and the FBI in the good old days.
"the court left the door open for Congress to act before Section 215 expires at the end of this month."
Congress act? Seriously? What's up with the court saying this is illegal then just leaving it up to congress to decide what? If it's illegal, there should be nothing to decide. There's either a rule of law or there isn't. 
Can we even hope that our bought and paid for representatives stop the spying on our own citizens?
We don't just leave it at our own citizens. We spy on whomever we want, Angela Merkel, Putin? Probably.
So there's that, then you have to consider how this mass surveillance can be used to stop mass protest, the people who own our government aren't going to want their party to stop and we know this from the data collected in Baltimore. Inside the Military-Police Center That Spies on Baltimore's Rioters
Is it illegal to be collecting all this data? Will congress do anything about it?  Will they just do what's easiest and just do nothing and let it expire? That probably won't stop the spying.


 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Brick

Third World Baltimore
 I spent my childhood in Maryland. My dad worked for the government in D.C. and I remember the riots in 1968, I saw that wreckage, it looked like a bomb went off. I saw it but, I didn't understand it. What I really don't understand, is that since 1968 things have only turned out worse.
My grandfather lived in Baltimore, so, I can at least say I have been there, visiting my grandfather.
My memories of Maryland are of a place and time when you could ride a horse down a lane at night and never pass a car. It was so quiet all you could hear was the clop clop of hooves on the road until you got to a field, then take off cantering down a dirt road to the remains of a plantation I lived close to. There was a fork in the path where you veer off to the left, I had been that way before a few times. I had discovered something there that astonished me. First were the ramshackle run down shacks, (you couldn't call them houses) then further out in a field were wooden crosses in varying states of decay. What I had come across was where the slaves from the plantation must have lived and died. I don't know how those people survived the conditions. It was obvious that some didn't. Looking at the sorry excuse for housing they existed in (you couldn't call it living) I couldn't see how they could make it through even the mildest Maryland winter.
When I read about the conditions in Baltimore, I wasn't surprised. It reminded me of what I saw, years ago in the Maryland countryside, it looked like a sort of slum for slaves. What I witnessed there, almost exactly 100 years after the Civil War had passed, were conditions that no human being should have been subjected to.
What I see now is that things seem even more unequal than they were in 1968.
In the times before and probably after the Civil War, when posses of men would saddle up to either kill or wreak havoc on some desperate slave just trying to run from his horrible circumstances, I now view these cops as much the same, rounding up random people, probably black people and just throwing them in vans willy-nilly for the "rough ride."
I don't think anyone really makes the connection. That this apartheid is nothing new. That we have played this out before. After Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown and any of the unarmed black people shot every 28 hours by the police. Really what is the difference between the lynchings that were regularly carried out, while police turned a blind eye? Now they just do it directly instead, they use guns instead of rope. It all looks nice and legal, except it isn't. It's not justice and it's not justified. It's sickening and I am afraid it is going to continue. I don't know if we are headed for another Civil War. If we don't look really hard at the context of what the people in Baltimore and Ferguson all the other cities and towns are enduring, where in the guise of policing, the war on drugs, the war on the poor, whatever euphemism you want to call it, it's murder and it can't go on. When you push people too far and they have no where to go they push back.
There have been many times when I went back in time to that place in Maryland, where I saw first hand what injustice and mans inhumanity subjected human beings to for profit, for free labor, for greed. I saw those graves decorated with the relics of wooden crosses, since those enslaved people didn't have the means to buy granite for a gravestone. I wondered how hard their lives were? I never forgot what I saw, but most people conveniently forget. Most people have no context of what it's like to really struggle, on top of all of that you have to watch your back, because the people who are supposed to protect and serve, serve themselves and suppress. We continue to be surprised when people pick up a brick or torch the neighborhood they live in because everything is so broken there the real estate is worthless anyway, especially after the banks subprimed it to the hilt, foreclosed and decimated the place with abandoned homes.
I didn't understand what I saw in Washington D.C. in 1968. It took years for me to process the trauma that those poor people went through, forced to live in draft ridden shacks, while high upon that hill in Maryland their owners lived in luxury. Maybe it's because I am an artist, when I see something I can commit it to memory and take it out again and again to examine. What I see now is that very little has changed. The 1% live in their ivory towers while the 99 are hunted on a daily basis and killed with impunity. Our government has done nothing, for a very long time about inequality. It is purposeful, it's no accident. I highly doubt any legislation will come out of this sorry episode in American history. The irony is that now it's our supposed representatives that are owned, by lobbies, corporations and corruption. People know that the system isn't working for them, It's broken, it's no longer a democracy, when that happens and society continues to degrade, don't be shocked when the oppressed feel like they have so few choices available to them that the brick is their solution.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Parties Are Over

One of the most difficult concepts I try to get across to people who are still heavily invested in voting, is to stop fueling the political machine. Here we are in April of 2015 and everyone's declaring they are running for office. Hillary and Jeb and Chris Christie. Isn't it great? Look at all the choices we have.... actually we don't. They are all the same.                                     
                                                     
If you ever had a hope that we still had a choice and that our political process isn't broken, well George Bush and his criminal administration hijacked that in 2000. Don't you ever wonder why Gore just gave up? Probably not.
 Then we had hope and change Obama. Sigh... even John Stewart from the Daily Show called that "heartbreaking" It’s generally heartbreaking – that’s what the gig is.” If that's what the 'gig" is, we need a new "gig"
Almost every person I know, doesn't vote. Most of them never have. I can't blame them. I did talk to a woman on Friday, who clearly was invested in Hillary Clinton and can't wait to vote for her, she got all irate with me, because I had the nerve to call Hillary; "Nixon in a pantsuit." She was probably 70 years old. When I talk to others who don't vote or just don't care about politics they laugh at that Hillary joke.
 I don't know anyone who's life has turned around for the better, as a result of voting. For me, the economy is unchanged.The housing market still sucks. Everyone I know is still struggling. 
Billions of dollars will be spent on this election, all I read about is Chris Christie saying Social Security is broke and he can fix it by making everyone work till their 69 years old. After Destroying His State's Retirement System, Christie Sets His Sights On Social Security | ThinkProgress
Yeah, Christie has worked wonders here in New Jersey,  Another downgrade for NJ's credit rating
Rand Paul (#CantStandRand) is worried about "radical Islam"most people are more worried they'll be shot in the back by a domestic policeman than terrorism. Jeb Bush is supposed to be "the smart one" maybe he is since he's being advised by Karl Rove and his cronies. He has all the defense contractors behind him and the Saudi's, he's ready to go to war with Iran the way his daddy and brother made war with Iraq.
When all you have to choose from are people that have not done one thing to improve Americans lives while they've been in office and you're expected to believe that their behavior will magically change once they become president, that's delusional. It's a fantasy, if you want fantasy, go to Disneyworld. I am not voting for these fakes anymore. I will not support the colossal waste of money this election will bring on. Millions of Americans need help, their quality of life is slowly degrading, none of these politicians are going to do anything about it. The only thing that you can be sure of is that corporate welfare will be the order of the day, but welfare for struggling Americans will continue to be demonized. Our bloated military budget will grow, while we have to privatize Social Security until it's just gone. Nobody cares. Until people decide to throw off this yoke of unjust oppression, we will continue on this journey of a race to the bottom.
 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Business As Usual

I hope you all had a nice Easter or Equinox, whatever you celebrate. It looks like Hillary Clinton is celebrating too, because she's running for president.
Seriously.
All you can really do is shake your head when all that's out there are a bunch of family members related to other family members, running for office in order to employ other family members. Like any woman, I would love to see a woman become president. But Hillary is the last person I would vote for. Please Hillary, just don't bother.
Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton. Then you have Ted Cruz, which, where did the birthers go? He was born in Canada! It's a damn joke.
There was a lot I saw this week, between Rand Paul having a hissy fit over a reporter having the nerve to ask him a question and everyone trying to get real excited over Hillary running for office.
But the real news to me was this, Powell, citing crisis damage, says rate hikes to proceed gradually after liftoff | Reuters
"permanent damage from the crisis."
This is the first time I have seen anything or anyone put out there, that this "crises" we are surviving, could be permanent.
"If lost production, low investment and underused labor are permanent scars from the crisis," IF?
Then I see this in the NYT,
States Tighten Conditions for Receiving Food Stamps as the Economy Improves - NYTimes.com
I want to know, where is the economy improving? Not here in New Jersey it isn't. What are all these so called able bodied adults supposed to do? How are you supposed to make any sense of this disconnect where we have people saying at the FED that the economy is permanently damaged and "March non-farm payroll growth was the smallest increase since December 2013."
Happy days are here again, vote for Hillary!
I guess we are all supposed to just keep up with the charade, keep voting! You can all see the hope and change we got from President Obama, vote for Hillary! Gee we have a choice between a Bush and a Clinton, what's next a Kennedy? Are any of these people going to do anything about the gigantic unemployment problem?
Are we really supposed to believe after the criminals running the Bush administration, that the office of president means anything? We know who's running the show and it's not the person you voted for.
I guess if Hillary wins it will be better than this;
For further hilarity; Twitter Hilariously Trolls Rand Paul with #RandPaulCampaignSlogans
#Can'tStandRand 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Time Bomb

Every one is wondering about the co-pilot who crashed the plane he was flying into the side of a mountain, a mountain he knew very well. A place he had been flying over since he was 14 years old. People are in shock, wondering how this could happen? In fact it's happened before. It's pretty obvious to me that this dude was planning something for awhile. The big question is, how someone with a  history of pretty severe
mental illness, could end up flying an airplane with 149 people on board?
If they knew that, do you think they would get on that plane?
 It seems since 2009, when this man started his aviation instruction was unfit for a pilots position, because he was, mentally ill. Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz was declared 'unfit' to fly by docs - NY Daily News
Let me put it this way, do you know, or have you known someone, that you wouldn't even get into a car with let alone pilot a plane? Maybe it's someone you work with, or your friends spouse, or a neighbor?
There are a lot of people walking around who are batshit crazy, they are flying planes too.
This guy just suffered a relationship break up, because his girlfriend thought he was "off" and wanted to get the hell away from him as quickly as possible, people are saying she should have reported him. To where? THE CRAZY POLICE? She's lucky she's still alive. They usually stalk and kill their girlfriends like they're prey.
Then there's this; Don’t blame depression for the Germanwings tragedy | Masuma Rahim | Comment is free | The Guardian
or this;  Don’t stigmatise depression over Alps crash, says top doctor | World news | The Guardian
Right. If you've ever been depressed it's hard enough to function, let alone fly an airplane into a mountain. This guy wasn't just depressed. This guy is a mass murderer.
  One of the worst things about this culture is that we aren't allowed to call a spade a spade, this isn't about depression. It's about psychopathy and it's dangerous. Sometimes, I think people should have warning labels, because you know, he was such a "normal guy" or a "nice young man" how would you ever know you are dealing with some one who is capable of going to such extreme lengths to hide the murderer lurking inside?
How many sick notes did this guy tear up? A MD in Psychiatry isn't worth the paper it's printed on if you can't save innocent lives in order to protect a mass murderer. I wonder if this guy was on the Prozac? Prozac can't do anything about a psychopath's cruel and selfish behavior, besides, these individuals rarely respond to any treatment. This guy was planning to do this and wanted to go down in infamy and didn't care who he took down with him. There are people just like him everywhere, for the most part they are stupid and inept and lazy, living like parasites off of other enablers, they usually don't kill, it's just too much trouble.
Then there's the ones that do, Adam Lanza; The Polygon: American Psycho and Elliot Rodger comes to mind, the chaos and suffering these people cause is immense, yet day after day these horror stories play out, "suddenly" and "without warning" when really, there was plenty of warning, red flags that were ignored.
I have a friend I work with, who has this uncle, I'll call him "Uncle Time Bomb". Uncle Time Bomb is the neighborhood curse, he throws kids off their bicycles if they get too close to him. He distributes religious literature that's anti abortion to his niece. If people park in front of his house he will question any one he can about who's parking there. He will walk into my friends house uninvited. When neighbors see him coming, they scatter. No one wants anything to do with him. This man was discharged from the military for throwing a man against a wall and breaking his back. No one knows if he was ever brought up on charges, they are too afraid to ask. The cops have been called multiple times about his behavior. It's just a matter of time until this guy goes off. The thing about Uncle Time Bomb is that you can see his crazy, others aren't so easy to see. People like him are on Craigslist, Online dating sites, Facebook, they are everywhere. Unfortunately we don't teach people the signs that you may be dealing with a psychopath in real life. They aren't all mass murderers, they "may" be a small part of the population, but chances are you've encountered one, they are very clever and devious about hiding who they really are inside. Until a particularly strange episode in the psychopaths life occurs they are really hard to identify. Maybe no one could have stopped Andreas Lubitz from flying a plane with 149 innocent people into a mountain, but knowing the warning signs of these dangerous individuals can save your life and sanity. Obviously psychiatrists and law enforcement won't save you. Remember, the police believed Jeffrey Dahmer.
The List of Psychopathy Symptoms: Hervey Cleckley and Robert Hare | Psychopathyawareness's Blog
 Puzzling People: The Labyrinth of the Psychopath: Thomas Sheridan: 9781905605286: Amazon.com: Books


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mandatory Madness

There are a lot of things that are just plain wrong, like snow on the first day of spring. How about mandatory voting? Because the president thinks maybe it's time. Obama: Maybe it's time for mandatory voting - CNN.com
The reason he said "maybe" was probably because of the blowback he was going to receive. People aren't voting in droves and there's a reason why, it doesn't matter who you vote for, you are voting against your own interests. No politician cares about who's voting for them. It's the money from special interests that matters. You don't.
When your choices are;
Or maybe;
Even if Elizabeth Warren  got elected or Bernie Sanders, what do you think will happen?
Mandatory voting can't change a corrupt system built on bullshit and corporations. Barack Obama's broken promises should tell you a lot about "Yes we can!" People know they have been had, they aren't voting. Mark Twain came right out and said "If voting maybe any difference, they wouldn't let us do it."
I am guessing that so many of us have turned away from the process and spend our time in other pursuits, that maybe the President wants to be sure we all trot out and vote for Hillary in 2016. I don't know anyone who's interested in voting. Are choices like Jeb and Hillary going to seduce the non voting public into stepping out on a Tuesday in November? If they really want us to vote so much why don't they give us the day off? Then there's the malfunctioning polling machinery and hanging chads to consider, long lines and surly volunteers, we can no longer trust that our votes are even counted. Maybe I'll vote again if we ever have more than a two party system.
The GOP would most certainly fight this.They don't want all the young and disenfranchised voting because they have a terrible reputation, the Democrats are no better, just a kinder, gentler evil. Mandatory voting is never going to happen since it requires legislation, that would require work, Congress and the Senate are allergic to that, unless of course it's about abortion.