Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Government of, for, and by...

A lot of people have been saying it for years. But now perhaps here is a chance for a few more people to take note... the government really is getting a little ridiculous with the power it keeps granting itself. In the name of "protecting us" it takes more and more basic liberties away. Life is worth some of the risk we might share were we to take back some of the things this government was never intended to take away. This closing of the parks thing is out of hand. Sure, close the guided tours. Put up the signs that warn people that they are entering on their own risk. There is no government employee to tranquilize that grizzly in the night, but for god's sake, let us risk the bear. Let us drive the road. People getting arrested for taking pictures and running on a paved road are just insane stories that are happening. Really happening. In the U.S. This is Chinese type of bull shit. North Korea. Kuwait. Tajikistan. But not the U.S. Of course this is only one small arena in the great movement to suppress freedom in the U.S. I am not even a conspiracist, but it is getting really obvious now that a lot of various government agencies are all vying for various powers over constituents they have no connection to. They are not even truly constituents, because unlike political systems of voting to gain their power, these are just people working the day job at the tax payer dollar. But they have no connection to those that are paying their wage. Civil Service is a thing of the past. A civil servant that dare point out the weakness or abuse of the system is silenced quickly. Edward Snowden. Manning. Obama has completely and relentlessly pursued whistleblowers and undermined any rights that were formally granted to whistleblowers. And Obama has been on par with his conservative predecessor in this regard, if not in fact having been more aggressive than former administrations. It has gotten ugly. We don't like it. We shouldn't like it. It is our country as much as theirs. We really ought to bring it up throughout and across our society so we can get it changed to a better direction while it can still be done peacefully.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Maybe we will, Maybe we won't

A few days ago I said to a friend that if Obama invades Syria I would in turn think not much more highly of him than President G. W. Bush. George Bush's legacy is not the mystical "War President" memory that he diligently and explicitly sought and pursued. But while many on the Left would love to say his legacy is the polar opposite, because they would love the point out how very wrong his was as shown in an opposite result of his intention, his legacy is however quite close to that of a great War President. Minus the heroism, minus the bravery, minus the honor, minus the courage, minus the strategy, minus the humanity. But he is still a War President in history. One of the biggest in modern times. He sent thousands of troops to their death. He sent upwards of hundreds of thousands of troops and civilians to the hospital or to lie on their hut in anguish, pain, misery, and he filled them all with loss. He is a war president that put his own name and personal desires before hundreds of thousands of humans that live on this planet with us. And he spent hundreds of billions, into the trillions, yes the trillions doing so. The people he was supposed to be representing, he forged ahead and led them to war on the basis of blatant lies. George Bush, the War President. So when we had the chance for someone we took to be not only a little better, but potentially a lot better of a human and a president after President George W. Bush we as a nation leapt at the chance. President Barack Obama was supposed to be smarter. More critical in his thought. More deep in his emotional intelligence and more genuinely kind to stranger nations. Additionally, outside the general room of war he was supposed to help curb the tide of government invasion into the citizenry of the United States, who were in theory in charge of elections and the resulting legislations and rule of the country. So when Obama was suddenly not doing anything to reverse the tide, people like myself began calling him a liar too. Or just another bad President at least. He accelerated the drone policy. But not just in war, domestically. He did not close Guantanamo and he has pursued government leakers, not just he famous ones, with more vigor than any previous President. He has done little to nothing to reduce the tide of climate change. He was so outspoken and high on his idea of health care reform that he did not realize that the system became ruined in the massive compromises he willingly took to make it go through, compromises that will likely lead to a system worse than we had to start with. He has been so caught up in doing nothing but giving more money to larger bureaucracies and to the insurance and banking companies that support him, that he has nearly suddenly found his way into a pickle in Syria. Ooops, he almost did it again. Anxious to send drones his advisors suddenly made him stop to consider such a policy. Suddenly he was dealing with a country that had other larger influences than just us involved. Iran and Russia. Our drone policy was not going to work as it had in other more pacified and poor countries. And this is where the shit has gotten weird in the last few days. Obama drew a "red line," while talking once. The Republicans were going to hold him to it. But he went at it. Fast. He was ready to pull the trigger with about as much evidence in the first few days as G.W. had for Iraq. Nothing. But he was ready. Bull-shit, Mr. President, a lot of people who supported him were beginning to say. We say no to war. We say no to the U.S. just adding to the death and the conflict, in a place where there is so much already. We are not the World Police, and we do not always make things better. Often we create more violence than we set out to stop. And when it looked like President Obama was going to go, without regard to his own audience, the Righties began to mock him. The couldn't believe what a pickle he was going to get us into just because he was going to hold true to his "Red Line" comment, as though that was his sole reason for invading. Shit got weirder when they started talking about how awful it would be if we got drawn into a war because of some intelligence that turned out to be wrong. It was as though Iraq did not, and is still not happening. But then the winds suddenly turned in 180 degrees. What the fuck. Suddenly Obama and Kerry were touting this idea that Russia and U.N. could go in and dismantle all the gas bombs. Suddenly it was like, "Psyche! We are just going to diplomat your ass. We sent the ships to psyche you out!" And it worked. Assad went to Charlie Rose to plead his case, really, really not wanting to get caught up in a war between the U.S., Iran, Israel, and Russia, with a little Lebanon mixed in just for fun. And then one more level of weirdness, the Right, as voiced by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, was complaining that President Obama is a pussy because he won't follow through with is own words. The Red Line. Now he is backing out like a pacifist. A coward. And these Children Nations were not going to learn the lesson that the father-like figure, the U.S.A could teach them... because President Obama is a pussy. The winds turned across the Red Line, and now they can't believe he is going to (maybe) stand down. It is a telling thing that so many people can follow the likes of Rush and Sean and Glenn the Crazy One. It is amazing that they do not see the blowhard winds for what they are, nothing but rabble-rousers aimed at driving policy towards a more bureaucratic way of corporatocracy. Amazing. But for now Obama is not invading. So for now I can think of his as just a little better than President G. W. Bush. We really need a better selecting committee. We really need a better President and a better Congress.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

We knew they could, they said they would.

It is not a conspiracy. The government is watching you. The internet evolved as a magical wonderland for people in government that had the desire to spy on people but who lacked the manpower and budget to do such on a wide scale. We knew FBI agents and CIA agents played secretive roles in watching certain people, but it was ok with the broader spectrum of society because we all knew that those agencies did not have a budget for the manpower that would be required for the system of spying to be abused and used on the wider population of law abiding citizens. The internet changed everything. And a few smart people in government saw its potential long before it was being publicized. And as the systems of the internet developed in the late 90's and early 2000's there were people telling us blatantly by people like Admiral Poindexter who, when interviewed after the shutting down of the "Total Information Awareness." I remember listening to NPR while driving home from a day of work at Raytheon where I was stationed on the most boring and highest paid job of my life. The system had been exposed, at the time as one of the most powerful internet monitoring systems ever publicized. It was supposed to stay a secret. He was greatly annoyed. I pulled in the beach side condo's parking garage and sat in the shade listening as the Admiral quite clearly explained that just because Congress and some do-gooders were technically shutting down the system, that what he was working on would not stop. He would rename it and work it in under another direction, but it would move forward. It was too powerful a tool to not utilize. At the time he was in full realization that the system's potential was not even fully understood. They were going to move forward. They are going to spy on us. And unless the people in the U.S. do something about it, which we likely won't, then they are going to continue. They will not listen to the casual regards of Congress. They will outlive a few weeks of hearings. Now we know full well that the spying could go beyond intercepting phone calls and recording them. All data logs can be saved. All text. Potentially all vocal communication. The technology exists now to monitor computers that are even in sleep mode, utilizing their built-in or attached cameras and microphones. We assume that technology is only used by rogue hackers. We assumed the same about recording phone logs. We were told that only the NSA had such powers. They were going to be reigned in. But now other agencies are coming to light. It is not conspiracy. It is widely reported news. It is assumed that we will all forget in a week, and they can move on.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wandering the Taklamakan Desert

My friends who know me know that sometimes my eyes go distant and I can fade off, sometimes even in the midst of conversation, though I do my best to not drift when I am an active participant in a conversation but rather when I am more an outlier sitting in a chair or a counter somewhere off, nearby. My mind is constantly afloat in fiction and in history, often crossing the two, weaving various stories I have created, some alone and some with others. These stories are a constant background in my life. The overshadow all the hours, regardless of my intention to leave or stay with them. Any more I do not fight it one way or the other. If I have time to go and sit with a pen and paper or with my computer to put their stories on page, well, with kids this has become a background possibility. Sometimes I have time, but more often than not, I do not. Not if I want to be present with my kids. These years go fast. Speed suddenly takes on a new meaning, especially if you are not helping direct. I want in on this phase of their lives, because it is a ball... a fast moving, often bouncing, accelerating, sometimes spinning, twisting, crashing, but bouncing again, ball. But I have no choice to bring stories with me. They are part of my brain, and I can't leave them, even if I try, in fact, even more if I try, which I have. It doesn't work. Currently I'm in Central Asia. British and Russian explorers. Peter Hopkins, The Great Game, "The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia." I finished the book one week ago. I have been reading it since April. I have read many parts of it numerous times and I have finally come to the end. I might pick it up again tonight anyway. I don't really know what to do with myself now that I have finished it, and the only possible satisfaction I think I can find is to order its prequel, a deviating tale from the same vein, a capillary. Nothing else seems to satisfy my mind as I think of this time and this place, and these sights and these smells. I am drawn to these high altitude explorers, or rather, explorers whose arena was areas that happen to possess extremely high and intense mountains. The unmapped territories. In other news to review, it seems we might be bombing more people in yet another country soon. A real bummer. Today I was driving Grandma to Lanton. As we crossed over one of the passes in the mountains, my Uhaul revved into a lower gear, working hard as I asked it to pass an even slower semi. Across the concrete median I saw a wolf, a dead dog, something dog like my eyes registered, but it didn't make sense, it looked like a giant Great Pyrenees. Then I saw the stopped RV, pulled off the highway into one of the many wide pullouts intended for people putting chains on their tires. Another Great Pyrenees, running towards its dead friend, an unrealized corpse, and the owners, frantically calling their second dog trying to keep it away from the same fate. The sight made me gasp and Gretel asked what I saw. It took me a few moments to collect exactly what it was that I had just seen, passed so quickly in the other direction. Those poor strangers. The fucking poor strangers whose day just went from a peaceful RV pulling drive through paradise, stopping to pee and let the dogs out to do the same, and then suddenly it ends so quickly and tragically for one of their party. Fucking terrible day. I explain it to Gretel as I am processing and she agrees, they will be sad, but I am relieved at the fact that she clearly doesn't see the dreadful pain that comes with older age, the more viperous sting inflicted by love lost, forever. So when the news tells me that Obama is thinking about bombing more people I can not help but feel a terrible burn, even though I admittedly force it away and keep my distance, because with all the news we have the potential of feeding ourselves, I dare not try to ingest it all thoroughly. As we who have been with this web since before its inception, we have had to learn to adapt to this influx of information. For younger minds, they are being brought into it from birth, and are trained by us on how to adapt to the mega-load of information. There was no one to help us figure it out, we are the ones who were simply at the age of experimentation. I really hope we don't bomb Syria.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Today two things

I am not easily outraged. I am a laid back person. If you met me, you would probably think that I was perhaps too laid back. Even though I work a minimum of 50 hours/week, I have been told that it seems like I do not work much. I do not really get upset with people, though I will slow down when people tailgate and will occasionally give the finger to people who are going out of their way to be terrible drivers, but even when someone does something like cut me off (like an idiot) I normally will just wave them off and not think about it. "If it isn't cancer, it doesn't really matter much," my mom said when she got past her bout with the disease. I tend to put dangerous drivers on the level with cancer only because it statistically is the number one human-caused methods of killing others. But apart from that... I am pretty laid back. I occasionally complain to my politicians about taxes and hate the idea that we still restrict life-style benefits for government employees, but rarely do I care about the socialistic nature of our taxes and the fact that they are more of a job production tool than a way of benefitting the majority of people. I am fine with that. But there are things that I think we as a nation need to start taking more seriously. My concerns are based in the militarization of our government and the power that a select few are starting to hold over the larger populace. These concerns are rooted in a number of stories that come out every day, every week, and have been only increasingly common since the Patriot Act passed. The Patriot Act is one of the most ironically named Acts in recent history. Here are two stories I find greatly disturbing. If you start looking you will see that things like this are popping up daily, internationally and locally.
Here is an article on the overreach of local governments around the country, and one of their methods of stealing, yes stealing, from innocent people whose only mistake is passing through their jurisdiction.
And here is an article that addresses the blatant control that the U.S. government is trying to hold over U.S. citizens.
Ok, and here is a third, to just show that it in fact can, and does effect people who have nothing to do with it: HERE.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

To Recap, Modern Guilt, Headstands, and French Cuisine

"I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious."
It has to start with a recap, because without a recap, the Lawson Review is nothing but a new blog, a new thought, a new glimpse, but nothing more, no back story, no history. The Lawson Review has a history, but it is a difficult one to find on the internet, even though it never resided anywhere but the infranet. The Lawson Review was a voice of reason calling out likes of various corporate evils that exist with relation to the physical world and the overall ecological state of our modern era. It was a review not only of simple pleasures in life, but also a news option for those that wanted a glimpse of stories in relation to the history of industrialization and political powers, both domestic and international. The Lawson Review also occasionally made fart jokes. So its contributors as well as its readers felt comfortable as a small community. It felt like a powerful group. Then we all got very, very busy in our lives outside the infraweb. We let our guard down. We were still tied in the same story, but we did not watch the gates closely, and the somewhere between a few first born children, a couple travels, a bout of cancer, a general increase in lands that do not involve being near a computer, between the things of life, the core that was charged to stay vigilant decided there were not to be frivolous commitments when we had very real things going on... we would get back to the Lawson Review when we could, but in the mean time it was not going anywhere, and we would build on it soon. Later. Sometime. Then we got hacked. And while this core membership represents years, decades of academic research combined with an overall intensity for life that results in a birth of knowledge and history, none of us are that good with infrastructure. We don't really want to be. We will find ways around it... but this didn't work for us. In a moment of just checking in, seeing if anything had happened while I was on vacation... gone. Completely shut down. Vanished. Crap. Like we were never there at all. We assumed the system would hold at a very least backups somewhere, even if we had to go back in and repost them all... but no, they are gone. everyone of them. There are traces on the web, here and there, but for the most part, we had vanished. It was a very sobering reality. Years of work, years of thoughts, some pure rubbish, but others that connected us, even in the absurdity. We are a people who can appreciate the absurd, even while we are mowing the lawn. Especially when we are mowing the lawn. So be patient as we rebuild our voice. Our "brand" in the parlance of our time. Everyone is out there building a brand. Or following a brand. But are people reading? That is often what comes up in our round table discussions over rye. Are people reading any more? Sure there is a core, but what about the population? Depending on what statistics you read, nearly half of collage graduates say they will never read a book again in their lives. U.S. students score 25th for reading internationally. 80% of families do not buy books. 50% can not read over an 8th grade level. The stats are frightening. We are concerned, and while we realize that reading the internet is not reading books, but if we can as a whole contribute to the dialogue, and help spark the interest that we can lead people somewhere. Between our collective histories, we have many maps to show, and somewhere along the way we hope to make a few people more curious. "I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious." And so we review the likes of politicians, electronics, headstands, stretching, sailboats, out-door adventuring activities, the current tight clothing fad, and most things that are easily overlooked in our day to day, things that can make life better, and things that if not kept in check can make things worse. We are essentially map makers. Social map makers. We are trying to explore and see what is out there and offer a guide to what pitfalls to avoid on the way to the various treasures. We are good at find them. We are also good at learning to avoid the shit in the trail. It is sad that we have been hacked, but we are not concerned. It did not take long. We are all still somewhat on vacation, but we are checking in more regularly. Join us.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The won round one, but now we are back

The bastards shut me down, hacked my system, pulled off one round, but that was just one. They clearly were pissed for me calling them out about fracking, but really I do have to admit, they were right. There really were millions to be made in fracking in Wyoming, Colorado, and
Utah. And North Dakota, and Montana, and Pennsylvania, and New York, and Ohio, and soon, everyone will get to taste what they put in the water. I was niave back then, thinking that no one would ever let them use their poisonous ways, that the EPA would put a stop to this non-sense, that even if was pushed through under Bush that the next president would take care of this craziness once and for all, but I was niave and they hacked my system, and shut me down, right as I was starting to get my following... But it turned out to be alright. I had a child and then another, and my devotion to the cause, while never diminishing, became less vocal. They hacked me and shut me down, all the while thinking that I was against them because I did not believe the oil was there, but thats not it. I am against them because they are sociopaths who are so wrapped up in their pursuit for enigmatic wealth that they do not see the harm they are commiting not only to the millions now living, but to the millions to come, who have not yet inherited this earth. They are contaminating the very thing most essential to our lives, our water, and for this I will still call them out. They are either ignorant, like the many who lay their pipes, and transfer their toxins, or they do not care, in which case they are sociopaths.