Tuesday, September 10, 2013
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
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.