09/30/2013 - Members of US Congress on Syria
NOTE: Congressman Miller expresses the reasonable approach: "The United States currently has no vital national security interest in Syria. Until a clear, convincing argument can be
made to the contrary, I will oppose efforts to draw this country into another long, expensive war" and I applaud him for it.
9/30 synopsis: Rubio says short of military force let's help 'em hash it out—US Senator Marco Rubio, FL: opposing US military response in Syria.
9/18 synopsis: Miller says let 'em hash it out unencumbered—US Congressman Jeff Miller, FL district 1: opposing US involvement in Syria.
9/04 synopsis: Nelson says if the bigger wheels wanna play I'll go along—US Senator Bill Nelson, FL: supporting US involvement in Syria.
09/28/2013 - Madmen and due process
If you are as sick and tired as I am of overblown US government "conspiracy" cases then this US Attorney puffing his conspiracy case for international coverage and high-profile public relations is apt to turn your stomach. Despite being billed as "bone-chilling" and "contract assassins" and "mercenary marksmen" there is no indication that these suspects actually killed anyone although certain oversight duties were specified "including overseeing an aircraft to be loaded with 300kg (660lb) of cocaine and shipped to New York". "To be loaded" isn't "actually loaded" and if memory serves correctly that's far less than the CIA admitted bringing in to Miami with impunity during "demonize Noriega" days. Regardless the courtroom seems a more appropriate venue for federal cases.
09/24/2013 - Madmen in control
Insanity reigns inside national security circles but don't take my word for it, read this excellent article by law professor Yochai Benkler: Time to tame the NSA behemoth trampling our rights. Then have a glimpse at our national security fantasist wanting to "collect it all" while directing traffic from the bridge of a starship: Inside the mind of NSA chief Gen Keith Alexander, by Glenn Greenwald. POTUS needs to fire James Clapper and Keith Alexander and revamp the entire national security surveillance community—but that doesn't mean he can or will make the right move. The nation needs non-military minds at the helm.
09/23/2013 - POTUS on Gun Control
Today the President attended a memorial service for victims of the recent navy shooting where according to BBC he told mourners that "Americans must insist that 'there is nothing normal about innocent men and women being gunned down where they work'." There is no argument against that statement here. However it can be very successfully argued that there is nothing much normal about the rest of American culture either. American government has for decades been teaching its citizens by official policy and action that might makes right. Government officials at all levels lie, cheat, and steal with impunity and that does not help either since government "teaches the whole people by its example" in the words of Justice Brandeis.
POTUS can help the nation's mental health far more than he imagines simply by holding the likes of James Clapper, Keith Alexander, Jon Corzine, Eric Holder, and others accountable for apparent law-breaking. Encouraging Americans to feel helpless and inconsequential and less privileged by unduly protecting administration associates from consequences of their high-profile transgressions is simply poor leadership. Mental health is definitely the nation's number one problem. Restoring pride in the nation by restoring traditional values and ceasing the unnecessary and senseless slaughter of innocents abroad would teach the whole people by example. In the hands of most individuals guns can be useful tools. In the hands of the mentally distraught and deficient they can be dangerous. Let's keep them out of DC.
09/18/2013 - No-accountability blowback
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff justly expressed outrage over NSA's spying on Brazil and has now cancelled her October trip to the US because there has been no acceptable redress. Many Americans too are outraged over how spooks operate and with apparent liars heading up national security organizations.
Edward Snowden on the other hand seems to have a decent grasp of how NSA's complicated systems operate and certainly—by not liking how things are done now—has envisioned better usage procedures and has not lied to the American people rather has informed them. He is now nominated for Europe's top human rights award The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought—past recipients include Nelson Mandela.
Meanwhile the US government expends enormous resources trying to "plug the leak" and ensure that no one ever again informs the public about actions of rogue US organizations. No one seems attuned to the real problems of freedom and liberty loss, or possible solutions—like firing James Clapper and Keith Alexander and hiring Edward Snowden in their stead. President Dilma Rousseff might agree as might many others worldwide.
09/16/2013 - Accountability blowing in the wind
One problem we have in DC is legislators' without conviction enough to shout their position from the highest hill. Normally they espouse party lines amid controversy thereby further attenuating convictions. Nonplussed responses are not uncommon from members of Congress who want to sidestep controversy or hide unpopular posturing.
The 9/11 and the 9/13 entries on this page were sent almost verbatim to select Florida members of the US Congress. However in the face of existing power structures none are apt to publicly call for replacing James Clapper and/or Keith Alexander—both sometimes compared to J. Edgar Hoover in the old shakedown days—and none of them would want to publicly shout their support for those two apparent lawbreakers either, now that constituent awareness appears to be surfacing.
In any case here is the response received today from Senator Marco Rubio about one or both of those two entries. He's presidential material, so nobody's gonna nail him to the wall over that one!
"The real foe is the status quo" is my in depth poetic observation.
09/14/2013 - Accountability & intelligence
It would be absolutely wonderful if all Americans could read and reflect on yesterday's article by Forbes staffer Andy Greenberg "Intelligence Officials Admit That Edward Snowden's NSA Leaks Call For Reforms". The information therein speaks for itself underscoring the fact that James Clapper and Keith Alexander BOTH oversee rogue organizations, de facto detriments to a once free nation. Overstepping PATRIOT and ignoring FISC orders are the tip of the iceberg. It appears that Edward Snowden is having enormously positve impact on this nation while our spooks practice unfettered tyranny. True traitors likely are those protecting the status quo.
The real loss envisioned by Associate Justice Brandeis in his 1914 Olmstead dissenting opinion is germane here: "Decency, security and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means ... to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal ... would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely set its face."
09/13/2013 - Friday the 13th & intelligence*
There are no level playing fields anywhere in America and officials seem only interested in maintaining the status quo—self-aggrandizement and expansion.
Consider this: in 2010 Roger Clemens was indicted for lying to Congress over his personal use of steroids and faced up to 30 years in prison and fines exceeding a million dollars. In April 2013 Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress about violating the civil rights and human rights of American citizens while his organizations illegally eavesdropped on the nation. It is beginning to appear that he also lied to Congress about Syria's weapons capabilities. For his transgressions he remains Director of National Intelligence drawing exhorbitant salary and expenses from the very taxpayers he abuses—and apparently without understanding the things he oversees.
Recent media propaganda tells the American people that "no one" in government understood or could possibly understand the complex systems being used to illegally obtain private information. Well then consider this: those same tech morons are expecting eventually to oversee the Internet. If for example Keith Alexander cannot understand the NSA system he oversees let's hire someone with a better grasp. Edward Snowden comes to mind.
*also letter to editor Defuniak Springs Herald-Breeze 9/20/2013
09/12/2013 - NSA story replaced at AP with this one
Yesterday's AP report web page 'The NSA machine: Too big for anyone to understand' has been replaced by this one:
'NSA has long role as top US locksmith, lock-picker'***
at the same URL.
The 'new' page presents the NSA and its dilemma in better light with the added stench of rodent.
I am baffled as to how and why things were changed. In any case,
the original content at the URL cannot be found at AP's site and the content found elsewhere under that title appears to be
heavily edited from the original text—although I cannot verify that.
***broken AP link removed 10/10/2014
09/11/2013 - NSA excuses likely to prevail
[Note: the page linked as of 9/12 is to wavy.com news and not AP and although the title and author are the same, possibly it is not identical content.]
Today's AP report "The NSA machine: Too big for anyone to understand"*** seems to say that NSA processes and systems are so big that all the extremely well-intentioned government data collectors just need to be excused as they continue illegally collecting citizens' data without effective oversight.
One legendary citizen is said to unsuccessfully have tried an analogous argument during IRS audit. He maintained that IRS regulations were "too complicated to understand" so he should be allowed to file in the same illegal fashion year after year until he acquired understanding.
Nevertheless there are living individuals apparently capable of analyzing a system as vast as NSA's: "The same checks that protect Americans' personal data were also supposed to protect the NSA's information. Yet Snowden, a 29-year-old contractor, managed to walk out with flash drives full of the nation's most highly classified documents", is how AP phrased it.
Well here's a novel idea: quit pursuing Snowden as a terrorist and traitor and hire him to help restore a modicum of privacy to
America's residents. Fire Keith Alexander.
***broken AP link removed 10/10/2014
09/10/2013 - Obama on Syria
Tonight I tried to watch POTUS comment on Syria. Near the beginning of his speech he presented unsubstantiated claims to be emotionally appealing facts so I shut down the boob tube. Informed people everywhere understand that responsibility for alleged chemical attacks has not been satisfactorily established, so for the President of the United States to present Assad's guilt as unequivocal seemed terribly irresponsible and self-serving.
UN inspectors were forced out of Syria in the fourth day of their efforts to determine truth because of US threats of bombardment. Consequently their tasks have not been completed. Few people doubt that chemical weapons were used but even today no one can agree about who is responsible.
It is astounding to me that our Cold War foe's Putin comes across as the lone voice of planetary reason these days—despite widely-disseminated antithetical theatrics emanating from the entertainment capitol of the world. Nonetheless the land of the free has a well-deserved contemporary worldwide credibility gap and an atrocious human-rights track record. POTUS et al seem enthusiastically wanting to feed it. In any case it is good that public outcry delayed Congress' kill-em-all vote.
09/08/2013 - 107 year old shot dead today
Like me there are many opposing militarization. Alfie Kohn once wrote that "[t]he point of civilian control is to make security subordinate to the larger purposes of a nation, rather than the other way around. The purpose of the military is to defend society, not to define it".
Nevertheless Pine Bluff, Arkansas, police—unmistakably with military mindsets—shot a 107 year old man today in his own home. Just like their heroes in the "Collateral Murder" video, they followed the "rules of engagement" religiously, consequently the police are absolved.
Still it seems ludicrous for a highly trained police department to find it necessary to shoot a 107 year old man in his own home. They reportedly shot tear gas first and apparently stormed the door too soon, meeting gunfire—then another 107 year old enemy / terrorist / insurgent / undesirable / rebel / wearer-of-civilian-clothes bit the dust.
Since 1988 when DOD and DOJ were first REQUIRED to instruct all American civilian law enforcement in military methods and resources US civilian policing has been in a tailspin. Only four years passed before Waco and Ruby Ridge became household words. Evidently contemporary American law enforcement knows better how to conduct search and destroy missions than nobly enforce the laws of that citizenry of which it is a part—not an adversary. Whatever happened to the sweet land of liberty? Militarization...
09/07/2013 - From President Obama today
Here is how BBC quoted the president today: "But we are the United States of America. We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we've seen out of Syria".
Well the US has no trouble turning a blind eye to its own human rights violations and its own violations of international law. Can you remember kidnapping, torture, clandestine incarcerations, cross-border operations, drone assassinations? How about the more recent revelations of NSA procedures?
US credibility will suffer worldwide until indictable US officials are brought before The Hague for justice and admission of war crimes. Leaving General Keith Alexander in charge of his rogue NSA does not build international confidence either—now known for inordinate international spying as well as domestic.
The world is becoming more aware of power abuses thanks to burgeoning involuntary transparency efforts—precisely why established governments everywhere want whistleblowers and journalists labeled as traitors. Change is underway.
09/06/2013 - From President Obama today
"Given Security Council paralysis on this issue, if we are serious about upholding a ban on chemical weapons use then an international response is required, and that will not come through Security Council action" is how BBC quoted the president.
No wonder so many earthlings consider Americans to be sanctimonious thugs. Where is US outrage concerning US disregard of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Remember kidnapping, torture, clandestine incarcerations, cross-border operations, drone assassinations? Nevertheless the US appears willing to "sacrifice" hundreds of thousands of lives in order to make "decisive changes to the present military balance of power" in Syria simply because the outcome appears to be headed in an unpalatable direction. Truth is that ANY outcome is likely to be unpalatable to US "leaders" who continue to elbow their way toward universal alienation.
09/05/2013 - Senate foreign relations resolution
Yesterday the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution pledging support for "decisive changes to the present military balance of power" in Syria including an amendment advocating increasing support for rebel forces. Obviously real US interests are in defeating Assad's government forces who are currently "winning" and, as Putin has pointed out, consequently have no reason to resort to chemical warfare.
Originally, punishment for Assad's alleged use of sarin was touted as justification for US intervention however on paper the admitted goal now is to change the balance of power. Unfortunately no matter who "wins" this conflict—irrespective of American participation—the US likely will end up with fewer friends and even less international prestige. It's a losing proposition.
Senators Rand Paul and Tom Udall rightfully and characteristically opposed the resolution and so did Florida's Marco Rubio in apparent gravitation toward sanity.
If Assad's alleged use of sarin nerve agent gas proves to be a contrived lie—and many believe that it is—criminal prosecutions should be brought against US officials now calling for action—especially those actively engaged in propagating the myth.
09/03/2013 - From BBC today
"President Barack Obama has said the credibility of the US, its Congress and the international community is on the line over their response to Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons."
Only partial argument here: by unilaterally invading Syria US credibility might suffer further since the entire international community with the exeption of France seems to oppose intervention; nevertheless many would be astonished to find residual US credibility anywhere in the world outside official circles. The US is already a common enemy for much of the world and appears hell-bent to make it unanimous as quickly as possible. Today's unofficial word on the street is that Saudi Arabia supplied sarin nerve agent to Syrian rebels in order to sucker-in outside involvement.
09/02/2013 - From Reuters today
"The U.S. National Security Agency spied on the communications of the presidents of Brazil and Mexico...based on documents that journalist Glenn Greenwald obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden....Justice Minister Cardozo said on Monday that the latest revelations based on Snowden's documents show that U.S. electronic surveillance goes beyond combating terrorism and has political targets and may even involve commercial espionage."
Assuming these allegations are true—as were those of domestic spying previously denied by NSA—why is General Keith Alexander not removed as head of NSA pending criminal investigation? Why are only a few whistleblowers, a few citizens, and NO US LAWMAKERS incensed by all this? The general's intent is just swell but end-runs and dismisses law, human rights, civil rights, humanitarian values, and the sovereignty of allies. We need non-militarized preferably educated leaders in important positions.
08/31/2013 to 09/02/2013 - Stay out of Syria
Putin is correct. If the US has evidence of chemical warfare present ALL evidence to the UN—including how obtained—for assessment and dialogue.
In redress of chemical warfare likely 100s of thousands will die—and no more pleasantly.
The following incident (video) is not considered chemical warfare yet is no less barbaric: CLICK HERE FOR BBC VIDEO.
Stay out of Syria.