Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Snowden Effect

 Looks like Snowy did it again, ahead of the US declassifying documents.
Thanks anyway!
 I think no one is surprised to learn that "nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet." is stored by the NSA and God knows what contractor.
It's not that they're looking at the stuff we all do online, it's the fact that they're storing it. That is way more dangerous. So much for the "we only collect metadata" excuse, yeah right.
I sure hope Snowden isn't coming back here. There's been some conjecture that the reason Bradley Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy, was so Russia would notice we're really not that mean, C'mon back Snowy! We got a cell with your name on it, you don't even have to bother with clothes or talk to anyone. FOR A LONG TIME!
XKeyscore, PRISM, whatever, I kind of feel sorry for the poor fool reading my emails and googling around the internet. Seeing as I'm such a troublemaker. But the thing is, you don't even have to be one. 
They have to have it all. They're not going to give any of it up. Even if it's gonna lay around and collect dust. I guess they think, "Hey I might use that some day" Just like the hoarder's on the Discovery channel. Maybe they will. Because they're not gonna stop. The best thing is our tax dollars are paying the government to spy on us.
Check this out;

"If a 29-year-old school dropout could come in and take out massive, massive amounts of data, it's obvious there weren't adequate controls," Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, the committee chairman, said at the hearing. "Has anybody been fired?"
John Inglis, the NSA's deputy director, said no one had been dismissed and no one had offered to resign."
Goes along with my theory that no one is accountable for anything anymore. But who cares what I think?
One thing that isn't being discussed is the opportunity for black mail.
Another thing is the data that's collected is presumably being analyzed for some kind of "profile" of some sort of "person of interest" based on some sort of pattern recognition. Right?  Orwell must be spinning in his grave. A lot of people are pissed off about this. I wish they'd get mad about unemployment and government benefits being cut for the needy, while we pay for this. There's never too much money for spying on people. At least we can all take comfort knowing that someone in our government is actually listening to the people.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Enemy Within.

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”-Winston Churchill

 I actually read most (not all) of Bradley Manning's Wikileaks dump. I don't know a single person who has. Most people don't care about Bradley Manning or Wikileaks. They are too busy trying to survive.
What will history say about Bradley Manning and Wikileaks, Edward Snowden or Julian Assange? 
There are many revelations that came out the Wikileaks cables, for instance, how much George Bush hated Michael Moore, and our country tried to interfere with New Zealand showing his film Fahrenheit 9/11. True story.

Just goes to show how far a super power can go, actually it can go farther; 

'the US military admitted that its special forces attempted to cover up the killings of three Afghan women in a raid in February by digging the bullets out of their bodies. We wouldn't know any of this of it wasn't for Wikileaks;
"In the recording, the helicopter crews can be heard discussing the scene on the street below. One American claims to have spotted six people with AK-47s and one with a rocket-propelled grenade. It is unclear if some of the men are armed but Noor-Eldeen can be seen with a camera. Chmagh is talking on his mobile phone.
One of the helicopter crew is then heard saying that one of the group is shooting. But the video shows there is no shooting or even pointing of weapons. The men are standing around, apparently unperturbed. 
The lead helicopter, using the moniker Crazyhorse, opens fire. "Hahaha. I hit 'em," shouts one of the American crew. Another responds a little later: "Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards.""
I am sure this is only one example of many that occurred in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"One of the men on the ground, believed to be Chmagh, is seen wounded and trying to crawl to safety. One of the helicopter crew is heard wishing for the man to reach for a gun, even though there is none visible nearby, so he has the pretext for opening fire: "All you gotta do is pick up a weapon." A van draws up next to the wounded man and Iraqis climb out. They are unarmed and start to carry the victim to the vehicle in what would appear to be an attempt to get him to hospital. One of the helicopters opens fire with armour-piercing shells. "Look at that. Right through the windshield," says one of the crew. Another responds with a laugh.
Sitting behind the windscreen were two children who were wounded. 
After ground forces arrive and the children are discovered, the American air crew blame the Iraqis. "Well it's their fault for bringing kids in to a battle," says one. "That's right," says another.
Initially the US military said that all the dead were insurgents. Then it claimed the helicopters reacted to an active firefight. Assange said that the video demonstrated that neither claim was true."
This incident is actually why Bradley Manning decided to release military secrets. I would have done it for it's interference in New Zealand alone. 
While we look at Snowden, we are being distracted from Bradley Manning's torture and yes, he was tortured by our own government, like countless others. When our own government crosses it's fingers behind their back and assures Russia we won't torture or kill Edward Snowden, we already went there when it comes to Bradley Manning. It goes to show how far we have gone down a dark and dangerous road, when we now have to promise we won't do what we have already done and continue to do.
Bradley Manning, solemnly swore that he would support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that he would bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that he would obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over him, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This is the rub, so to speak. But there is something else to consider.

"The Nuremberg principles were a set of guidelines for determining what constitutes a war crime. The document was created by the International Law Commission of the United Nations to codify the legal principles underlying the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi party members following World War II."
 There is the Nuremberg Principle IV states: "a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him". 
I am guessing in this case morals don't matter. What matters is the punishment of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, let's not forget Julian Assange.
The real moral of the story is be careful if you are going to blow any whistles in this country, if you do you better get the hell out. While not one banker has been prosecuted for the economic meltdown that has been torturing Americans for years,  Obama has Prosecuted More Whistleblowers than All Other Presidents COMBINED | Washington's Blog
 Keep up the good work.

For further reading, start here, Collateral Murder, 5 Apr 2010 - WikiLeaks

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hell In A Handbasket

One thing that kind of took me by surprise this week was the rise of Maverick McCain, breaking away from the GOPee Party, after Harry Reid pulled a "nuclear option." The political process is so broken I pretty much have given up "hope for change." Bob Corker literally called "bullshit" when Mitch McConnell tried to fake a better deal, he maybe, could have made regarding President Obama's nominees.
I was surprised Harry Reid did anything, since he couldn't even get a half assed gun control law passed after the massacre at Newtown.
Then President Obama made a speech about what it's like to be profiled, which was slammed  in Esquire magazine. The thing is, there may be a DOJ investigation into the laws that allow you to get away with murder in this country. But I have no faith that anything is going to change since no bankers have been prosecuted for the mess they caused in 2008 that over half the people in this country are still struggling to dig themselves out of. So I am not sure how much is going to change as a result of the Rethugs supposed fleeing from Mitch McCon's racist "lets make Obama a one term President" motivations.
 The DOJ hasn't impressed me one bit since there's a big difference between the words legal and justice. We have a LEGAL system not a JUSTICE system. It is another example of our broken democracy. It seems like everything coming out of MSM, politicians mouths and even the Supreme Court, has to be parsed for half truths, evasions and outright lies. Corruption at every level of government is rampant. The message is that lobbies own the message. That a "nuclear option" will be trotted out to make it look as if anything is going to change, by a man who is owned by the NRA is both laughable and sad.
 How is it possible that a man got out of his car with a concealed weapon, chased a kid who was walking down the street, shot him and gets off scott-free, resulting in thousands of people protesting? I don't care if Trayvon Martin was or was not a drug dealing thug, you just can't go around shooting people you don't like, can you? 
Then there's the whole NSA scandal, which, while we're all too busy looking at all the other craziness going on, we're still being spied on by our own government. You can't tell me that money isn't being made hand over fist by corporations and politicians with all the data being collected on millions of innocent people. All the spying money can buy didn't stop the Boston Bombers.
What is really amazing is how most Americans are comfortable with all this. It looks like this country is regressing, forget about evolving, almost half the people in the country don't believe in evolution. America is in a bad way and most people don't know or don't care.
I understand why thousands of people are protesting the Trayvon Martin verdict, but why aren't they protesting the insane gun laws wreaking havoc in our society?  We live in a country that is so deeply divided about so many things that nothing can move forward. Maybe that's the whole point. Divide and conquer.
 Are we going to continue going down this path and still think we are the home of the free and everyone's equal under the law?
Because it seems like those concepts went out the window years ago. We need a Justice Department that will actually enforce the law, we need a Senate and Congress that can actually work together for the good of the country, not the good of corporations. We need a President who keeps his promises to the people and fights for them, instead of setting records for persecuting whistle blowers. 
There is a political agenda being perpetrated upon us. You can see who it is working for and it ain't us. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"If You Are Reading This, YOU Are The Resistance."

Alexei Navalny
I know a lot of you Russian readers like to lurk and read my blog, спасибо! So let's get to it.
 I was pretty shocked when I read that Alexei Navalny, Russian blogger and activist was sentenced to five years in prison for what is seen as a politically motivated charge. I started noticing Navalny last year, when I wrote about him in this post; The Polygon: Putin's Witch Hunt
To be honest I thought maybe Putin would have slipped him a Polonium Cocktail, Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Navalny, has been sentenced to five years precisely, to keep him out of the next Presidential election in Russia.
What I liked best was this; "The White House called it part of a "disturbing trend aimed at suppressing dissent". (Reuters) 
A little Snowden anyone?  But I digress.
Navalny is a really interesting guy. He had the balls to call out Russian politicians and call them the Party of Swindlers and Thieves. Russians are already protesting in the streets.This is a picture from a while ago. This protester belongs to the group FEMEN and they protest topless. I think way more people in the US would go to more protests if we started protesting Russian Style!
I love the look on Putins face!
Navalny is a brilliant guy and was planning to run in an election this fall as mayor of Moscow. "He was a  fellow at Yale University in 2010, first came to wide attention for vigorous blogging about corruption. He was a top leader of the wave of massive protest rallies that broke out in late 2011 after a national parliamentary election scarred by allegations of widespread fraud." This article in Perthnow will tell you more. I also read that Alexei Navalny used to buy up shares of stock and go to board meetings and berate corrupt CEO's. I bet he made a lot of enemies. I feel for him and his family and millions of Russians he inspired. I am sure there is a lot of outrage all over the world about this farce of a trial. I fear for his life. This is what can happen in Russia when you dissent. How far behind are we in America with a Post Office photographing your mail? An NSA gathering metadata, cellphone towers monitoring your movements along with traffic cameras. They are saving that information for something and it looks like Putin didn't even need anything that sophisticated to put Alexei Navalny away. The only thing this will do is the same it did for Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, you can't put out a light that shines on the people. I am really sorry this happened to him. If anyone has anything to add that I missed feel free to comment. Just remember what Alexei wrote, "If you are reading this, you are the resistance."


Sunday, July 14, 2013

License To Kill

That smirk say's it all.
I used to live in the sinkhole state of Florida, specifically, Sanford, Florida. I rode horses in the orange groves, had dinner with Cuban ex-pats,and went to the Winn-Dixie. Lucky for me I never had to stand my ground.
Sometimes I think that Texas is like another country, Florida is too. If people down the street from me in NEW JERSEY hang the old "Star's and Bars" on their door, you really don't have to think much about racism, to know that it's alive and well in Florida. I saw it. EVERYWHERE. 
Remember, it took a campaign by Trayvon Martin's parents that  prompted nationwide protests, to arrest George Zimmerman, he  walked free for 6 weeks after he killed Trayvon Martin. I wonder if  Zimmerman wasn't carrying a gun, how different things would be for him and the Martin family? Thousands of people die every year because of our out of control gun laws. The carnage never ends. Corporations and the NRA write gun laws.We don't have to read about the bygone days of the Wild West, it's alive and well all over the US. There's money to be made and gun nuts will hand it over.
I imagine gun sales will be booming after this verdict.
"Fucking punks. These assholes, they always get away," Well, looks like Zimmerman got away this time. 
I wonder how the rest of the world looks at us? Maybe if they visit they should bring a bullet proof vest. 
All you need to do in Florida to get away with murder is to stalk your victim, provoke a fight, get a bloody nose and some cuts on the back of your head, then end it all with a bang! Oh and just wait until Zimmerman writes his book about this sorry adventure. It's a rags to riches and probably back to rags story, after he pays his lawyers.
I have this theory about no one being accountable for anything any more. From the CEO's of corporations, to government officials and now we see a guy get away with murder, even though he was told by a 911 dispatcher not to follow his victim. This is the new normal in America.
This is only a guess, but I am thinking there will only be more "accidental" "stand your ground" or "oops!" shootings, thanks to this verdict.
No logic needed when standing your ground, just point and shoot.
Lots of Americans think our justice system is the "best in the world," remember O.J. got away with murder too and like O.J., there will probably be a civil suit, since the Martin family couldn't get justice with a jury trial. 
So what's the lesson here? That profiling is ok, furthermore it's legal. Stalking someone is ok too. When the kid you're stalking turns around and starts kicking your ass, pull out a gun and shoot, no problem. If you are black and wearing a hoodie, don't walk and please, don't run. If your a volunteer vigilante and you do murder someone, go on Fox News and tell Sean Hannity that it was "God's plan" for your victim to die. Apparently that kind of PR works. Oh and white kids are safe in America.

*pic from NY Post

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The American Dream

Every month I hear the the giddy excitement in economists voices about the jobs report. This month was no less exciting. Stocks end higher on strong jobs report - Jul. 5, 2013
You know what gets me in that link? Stocks are high on the strong jobs report. Really? What kind of jobs? But hey, as long as stocks are high........
  Over at Zerohedge we find out. Obamacare Strikes: Part-Time Jobs Surge To All Time High; Full-Time Jobs Plunge By 240,000 | Zero Hedge
Now, I happen to think "Obamacare" has done a lot of good things. But what should have happened is a single payer system. Kowtowing to the HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY, yeah, it's an industry, was wrong and employers being responsible for healthcare is a bad idea, Zerohedge pretty much proves it.
Where I work they hired someone, that's a good sign, but uh oh, guess what? He's part time. There hasn't been a full time employee hired in over six years where I work. I don't know a single recently hired person with full time work.
 It's not only the part time jobs that's a problem, but the kind of jobs available, minimum wage crap retail, fast food, Walmart jobs. Check this out Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week - Careers Articles 
Macy's sales positions, how do you live on that paycheck? It's pretty obvious that politicians in Washington don't give a damn about the unemployed. They only care about corporations. We should have had an F.D.R. style jobs program by now, but that won't happen. What's worse are the millions of college graduates that can't find jobs and now the interest their Stafford loans has doubled. Interest rates on new college student loans double, but Congress could restore low rates later - Washington Post
What I like about this link is that hey, there's still hope! Congress might, MIGHT, restore low rates whenever they get around to it. WTF? Congress can't agree on diddly. I can't believe the Washington Post thinks anyone will believe that B.S. That's the worst part about all this. I don't believe any statistics the government puts out. I think Forbes might have it right, it's more like 14.3%. Why The 'Real' Unemployment Rate Is Higher Than You Think - Forbes
The guy they hired where I work was out of a job for 2 years, he worked at my company 17 years ago. That tells me a lot when you're handing in a resume to a place you worked at that long ago, and you can only get part time hours.  The kind of design work I do can easily be offshored to India, like almost every newspaper in my state has done. I am very grateful that my employer is really pro-America, the last thing he would want to do is ship our production department to India, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't happen.
 I see a lot of  hardship and suffering. People are unable to just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Unfortunately, I think things are going to get a whole lot worse before any meaningful change will happen in this country. But hey, stocks are high, so it's all good.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Power To The People

While Americans get ready to celebrate their independence, Egypt's been busy overthrowing it's government for the 2nd time. Some say that it's a military coup and foreign  influence had a hand in it. I say Egyptians got fed up with a leader who made promises and didn't deliver, instead he set up a dictatorship.

Revolution can be a dangerous business and expensive for out of control cops, Oakland Occupy was awarded $1 million. Explosives were thrown at peaceful protestors who sustained hearing loss and burns. Police reacted unconstitutionally with violence and repression and aren't held accountable for anything. Happy Independence Day!
Edward Snowden is still on the loose for leaking information to Americans about the US spying on Americans. The UN or just Ban Ki Moon has condemned Snowden for "digital misuse, causing problems."
While the US caused a problem for the Bolivian President and grounded his plane in Austria and still no Snowden, causing an international incident and pissing off South America.
I am starting to get dizzy. But I'm not finished.
Uncle Alzheimer's a/k/a James Clapper the most senior intelligence officer, claims he forgot about the Patriot Act. Now I've heard everything. He “simply didn’t think.”  I am thinking, nothings going to happen to him either, since no one is accountable for anything anymore. Maybe Snowden wasn't thinking either, or Bradley Manning. I doubt that defense would work for them.
Weird, that Uncle Alzheimer's makes no connection between terrorism and spying on Americans. I guess our secrets are safe with him since he can't remember anything.

 The Declaration Of Independence was adopted, on July 4th, however, it seems as if  this experiment in democracy has gone awry.