When I started writing online, way back in 2004, my blogging was a combination of minutiae designed to keep a then-deployed husband in the loop on day-to-day life at home. We were not quite to the end of W’s first term, but it was already clear to me what his election meant to the country, in terms of an erosion of civil liberty, of a dramatic (but by no means complete) shift to the right, and long term lasting damage to our reputation as a world leader by his creation of the USA Patriot Act.
In an ever-increasing feeling of depression and anger over last November, I’ve lashed out repeatedly at people who still seem to think that we are operating “business-as-usual” even in the face of abject corruption and cronyism not seen in decades in this country, going all the way back to the Gilded Age of the robber barons. Continue reading “I was off by a month. My bad.”
I keep seeing variations on a theme on my FB wall and elsewhere regarding protesters being late to the party and that we should stop blaming the people who voted third party and heal ourselves through compassion. This is the response I wrote to the direct question on my wall, to answer a question from a friend. Continue reading “Asking for a friend…”
It’s been a while. Sorry about that. With all the distractions and changes between November 9 and January 29, it’s nearly impossible to take in everything that’s happening. There’s another name for these things: Bread and Circuses.
We are so used to paying attention to entertainment, to the spectacle, we’ve lost the ability to concentrate on what’s important. And the far Right know it. In fact, they’ve been working extra hard to ensure we’re too distracted to see what’s really happening here. Continue reading “Aftermath (Part 2): Bread and Circuses…”
“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”
― Joseph Heller,
Clearly I’ve struck some nerves recently and folks are beginning to ask for my opinion. That makes me feel less like I’m shouting into the wilderness. Which is good, except that this might be a very short term opportunity to get the point across if the government gets its way with Net Neutrality…But I digress.
Now don’t get me wrong. I think government is great for a lot of things, most notably caring for its citizens and ensuring that we’re treated fairly and safely. Except, well, when we’re not, because we’re not something we should be.
See, here’s the thing: This inconvenient clause in the Constitution that protects us from self-incrimination, the Fifth Amendment (part of the Bill of Rights) is supposed to keep us safe from harm. Combined with the Fourteenth Amendment, which covers equal protection under the law, and we ought to have ways to ensure that we are covered in case another citizen within the reach of government decides we’ve done something wrong.
Some of us have come to expect the safety of due process, and the value of privacy. Unfortunately, others view these same things as hindrances to Truth, Justice and The American Way TM.
We are seeing the argument play out right now, in the public eye, as the FBI exerts pressure on Apple to crack its iPhone privacy code, so that the former can investigate the contents of the iPhone discarded by the San Bernardino shooter whose name remains undisclosed here.
Well, okay, so maybe they have a point. After all, it’s possible the contents of that phone could hold valuable data. Certainly it was used for a variety of things, which the FBI wants to see. Even Bill Gates has some concerns about the issue, though considering the sheer weight of snoop involved in Win10, I’m surprised he was willing to weigh in at all.
The question is, where does it stop?
The FBI says it’s focused on finding and following any leads it can.
“Maybe the phone holds the clue to finding more terrorists. Maybe it doesn’t,” FBI Director James Comey said in a statement released Sunday night.
See, if it was just this one phone, and just this one time, it might be okay, just this once. But, and I can’t say this clearly enough, it’s NOT this one phone, this one time.
No. In fact, as far as we know right now, there are over a dozen phones IN ADDITION TO this one phone, that they’d love to check if they can only figure out how to crack Apple’s security.
And that, friends, is what has me worried.
Have you read the USA PATRIOT Act? The capitalization is not an accident. It’s an acronym that stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.
According to the Department of Justice’s archive, the Act was passed with bipartisan support by both the Senate (98-1), and the House (357-66). This legislation has damaged the right to privacy guaranteed by the above-listed amendments to the Constitution, and the Act’s provisions used repeatedly in controversial ways I’m certain the Founding Fathers would have rejected out of hand.
(Don’t like Wikipedia? Great. Follow the footnotes and go read WHY these items exist in the entries the way they do.)
Fast forward to December 3, 2015 and the guy who finally had enough of the racist remarks that he and his wife decided to make their Bonnie and Clyde-style exit, 2A-protected guns a-blazing, and now all of a sudden we see that we need yet another way to infringe on our rights to privacy because his phone might lead to other Lone Wolf shooters.
Tell me, because I’m really curious, just what unlocking one–or even a dozen–iPhones will do to protect your safety or mine? How much do YOU use YOUR cellphone every day, for all sorts of things, like figuring out how to get from Home to Work, or to the school, or the doctor’s office, or any of hundreds of different locations? How often do you search for things on your phone that might be questioned?
Imagine: I write these articles after I search for material. Sometimes Duck Duck Go won’t produce the results I want, and I don’t always (mostly never) remember to use Google’s Incognito function.
Am I a terrorist? Hardly. I don’t even own a gun, though I do know how to shoot and when I was younger I was fairly good at it.
Idealist? Yeah, but more pragmatic, really. Cynical, even, which is why I view this latest push the same way I view those innocuous cameras that watch us EVERYWHERE, on the road, at the ATM, at Walmart, buying dinner at McDonald’s. And why every time I pull out my ATM card, I worry that the next time I could make a mistake and discover that I can’t buy a thing because I no longer have access to my money.
It’s not that I’m fearing for my own life, really. I make a relatively small noise in a really REALLY HUGE pond, so I’m not that concerned I’m suddenly going to attract the sort of scrutiny that makes one fear jail time. Not at the moment, at any rate. But with the USA PATRIOT Act still in place, all this time, and knowing what we do know about the effects of extremism at home and abroad, it does make one wonder just what the authorities would do if they could peek into the dark corners. It certainly makes me think that curtains on the windows aren’t just for blocking sunlight.
If you think these issues of privacy are overblown, I invite you to (re)read George Orwell’s book 1984 and see if you still hold that opinion afterward. You could simply read this letter written by Orwell to Noel Willmett in May, 1944, three years prior to writing the book.
How did Orwell know?
I’m watching the Democratic Debate tonight on ABC. It’s not just me, I hope. Who’s wondering why the focus is so sharp on Daesh. No matter what the candidates have to say, they’re dragged back to talking about Assad and war.
Does this sound familiar to you? No??
Isn’t it interesting that as much as Bernie Sanders wants to talk about income inequality, about endemic racism, about gun control, about infrastructure, about the things we MUST concentrate on to survive, we have to spend HALF of the debate on foreign policy, most notably endless war in the middle east. They’re FINALLY addressing the domestic issues in the second hour.
Maybe it’s just me, but I find this format immensely frustrating.
I see too many parallels in the extreme focus on threats that we created by our own actions, without accepting any sort of responsibility or admitting our role, that’s just crazy.
I want to know what we’re going to do here. I want to know why we haven’t been talking about these things that matter to us every day, like the cost of groceries.
Domestic policy should have been the first thing out of the gate. We need to focus our attention here, balancing education, infrastructure, making things better for everyone, not just the rich. And we need to ditch endemic racism, enforce equality, make sure that freedom isn’t compromised out of a misguided sense of fear and paranoia.
I want to hear that they’re going to ditch the Patriot Act and Citizens United, and close the tax loopholes and pipeline that ships our money out of the country.
As long as we keep the spotlight on war, as long as we continue to fight the war without dealing with the home issues, as long as we keep producing wounded warriors instead of jobs, this isn’t going to change.
No matter how loudly the media focuses on the issues off-continent, we need to look within. We can’t break the cycle if we don’t stop these wolves from forcing the focus elsewhere.
If we can’t fix our own home, the terrorists win.
Why am I living in an apartment I can’t really afford, trying desperately to make ends meet and stay afloat in an increasingly hostile world? Because we reacted like the trained monkeys we are when the government told us this was what we had to do in order to protect ourselves.
I said it before and I’ll say it again, because I believe that I’m right: Osama Bin Laden might have chosen the wrong way to communicate his problems with the way the US functions, but I understand the cause behind his actions and I can understand why he did it. That single belief ultimately cost me my marriage.
The USA Patriot Act was, and remains, the single most damaging thing our government has ever done to us, but it isn’t the only thing. I have friends who have suffered permanent physical damage because of our need to Remember. Until this week, when our leaders suddenly pulled a solution out of thin air, we might have gone to war AGAIN. Some of us are actually disappointed (??!?) that we’re NOT going to war against Syria.
If we had President Romney instead of President Obama, it wouldn’t have been a question, because Romney represented the corporations and they WANT us to be at war.
When it takes the comedians in our world to speak the real, honest truth, because we can’t get it anywhere else, we should be asking ourselves just how much we should believe and we should DO something about it.
We could start by voting every last politician who supported and continues to support the USA Patriot Act out of office as fast as humanly possible.
You want your freedom back? That’s where you start. Can’t let the terrorists win? They already have. And the only ones to profit from it are the corporations (including our major news outlets) that make their money from the profits of war.
I don’t know about you but I want my country back.
Your word lesson for the day:
Adjective: Not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.
Synonyms: insincere – false – devious – hollow-hearted
Okay, so I’m going to put this out there and get hammered for it, but I said almost a year ago that the GOP can’t complain about something THEY voted for in the first place.
My question is: Would this complainiing even be happening under a Romney/Ryan administration?
I’m sorry but signs point to No. The ACLU was unhappy with the first authorization back in 2012, so it’s no surprise they’re taking this up now. What’s surprising is how “suddenly” vehemently opposed everyone is about domestic drones. Shouldn’t they have thought about that last February? Really?C’mon, folks. Really.
And while we’re at it, this tidbit hit a couple of days ago too. Cue “I told you so” commentary:
Just in case it wasn’t clear by reading the above, David Koch IS Americans for Prosperity (Wikipedia).
Why do we have Sequestration? Look above.
And remember, because in 2014 we have our first opportunity at payback…If we still have a country and people are still allowed to vote by then.