Saturday, June 22, 2013

We're Doing It Again

At least the Shrub said he wanted us to go to war.  Obama lets his team do the job and not inform him of their work.  If war works out he takes the cred.  If it becomes a cluster fuck, then he didn't know much more than the general direction and can keep his retirement Rolodex.  We're moving toward war in Syria.  Guns and training are being given to Syrians.  How long before we see more?  When will our soldiers be on the ground or in the Syrian airspace?  The guy is a real piece of work.  Trust him?  Trust anyone in government?  Why?

  U.S. training Syrian rebels; White House 'stepped up assistance'

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Future

As all levels of government acquire and use drones, I can see one odd and dismal future day.  Over the skies of a city.  Say Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta or L.A. an event on the ground will set off the drones.  Drones of all shapes and sizes will soar to assess, spy, and contain a mess in the city.  Since it's an emergency, the usual protocols will be bypassed.  After all they haven't really been put into law yet.

As the CIA and NSA stealth drones roar, FBI armored ones fly away, all to the same locale of the state,  county, and city police airborne guns.  They have come to play the game of urban safety.  Along the way we'll see agencies we didn't even think had drones like AG and Education come into the fray.  Hell it would not surprize me to see a Planned Parenthood drone flanked by a flight of Teabag 401c4s.

Then in one glorious moment of idiocy the drones will all converge on the same spot at the same time.  Controls will be jammed.  Commands will be crossed and drones will crash into drones as munitions rain down on the 3000 car traffic jam below.   Yes, a highway will be saved by destroying it.  I think there's a movie in drone fuckupery.

Oh, the FBI is droning us and hasn't quite worked out policy on how to do it safely (from a rights and Constitutional perspective, but that's trivial as we know the FBI has always worked only for the greater good, right).  

FBI has received aviation clearance for at least four domestic drone operations

Take Note -- Been There, Done That

The Shrub assured us.  His bestest guys confirmed it.  Iraq really, really, had oodles of WMDs.  Talk about hating us for our freedom!  A confident Shrub took us off to war.  He was, as most of us now see, really just one another fucked up noodlehead we elected Prez.  Toady, Iraq might well be better off if the Shrub had just left their despotism alone.

Now we turn to Syria, our current narcissist in charge, red lines, proof of Sarin gas use and the first stages of war.  Don't forget how the aces we elected sidled us into a war in Vietnam.  If you have forgotten go read some history.  Obama has his WMDs.  We're being taken down a path to war.  Why do these assholes love war so much?

In Syrian chemical weapons claim, criticism about lack of transparency

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What Ever Happened To That Story

Here's a site the looks at the big stories of yesterday today--

RetroReport

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

More Spookery

One defense of the NSA mess that appears to be quite popular is to assert that it's all legal.  Sure, laws were passed, but legality does not make it right.  Don't forget we did have a Civil War to correct a bit of legality called slavery.  We also decided it was legal to disenfranchise women but it was not right.  Have we forgotten about the Civil Rights Act?  The Voting Rights Act?

Our freedom and liberty depend on law that does not infringe on our rights.   We need to have a long, candid, public discourse about who, what, why, how and effects of the NSA, CIA, FBI and every other intelligence agency workings.  They do things in our name, what do they do?

NSA, CIA, FBI Spookery


Last week a NSA contract employee left Hawaii, went to Hong Kong and along the way exposed some NSA secrets via  "The Guardian" and "Washington Post."  Since then I think there's been more coverage about the guy and his former girl friend than the content of his leaks. 

Our intelligence agencies collect data on us.  That has become part of everyday life in the private sector and the public sector. The scope of the public sector's data dragnet has bothered some people for a few reasons.  First, they say they were not informed, despite a great deal of news coverage throughout the Bush and Obama years.  Second, they may feel that government has over-reached its bounds, is on the proverbial slippery slope where data will be used for political purposes. Third, the American people have been blindsided since the programs do not have proper oversight.  There are reasons that people question the intelligence collection activities of their government.  And that is the rub.

It is their, our, government, but we to not see the officeholders  and their appointees running agencies as our trusted representatives.  They have government positions which matter more than anything else in their lives.  It's hard to imagine any government officials quitting their job over a principle.  Even after Clinton confessed to flagrantly lying to his Cabinet and most trusted aides for over a year, not one of them resigned.  Their jobs mattered more.  They wanted their ticket punched to land the next higher paying job.  

Our spooks are managed and overseen by elected officials.  When an elected person evaluates the spookery and says "trust me, there is noting amiss, your freedom and liberty are secure," it's damn hard to believe that person because there is no one in government any of us can or should trust.   

Our system of government is built upon dis-trust.  We have three branches of government.  Each is a check and balance to the others.  It more or less works.  We have a Constitution.  When our business is done more in public than not, the checks and balances work.  It's messy, inconvenient and at times mind numbingly slow.

The structure of our government and our politics, in essence, tends to preserve our freedom and our liberty until the doors of government close and we are expected to trust.  When the doors shut, we lose the ability to know about the machinations of those whose lives demand checks and balances.  We lose the ability  to deter abuses of power until its too late.  Trust enables  politicians and their cronies to amass power that diminishes everyone else's freedom and liberty.     

Intelligence gathering has been opaque to us.  We have been told "all is okay."  However, if we do not trust the guardians, face sealed doors, and can only guess about what is done in our name, then we do react.   Let's assume that the programs are decent, protect us from abuses and that the oversight crowd is actully on this matter being truthful and honorable. It does not matter since we the people have been excluded from the checks and balances equation.

Government officials too often see people as an inconvenience, necessary, but inconvenient.  After all, people are still required to become Congressman or a President.  People enable power.   Ultimately, people are the check and balance--people can refuse to reelect anyone.  People can, when they feel abused and used,  make one matter into a single issue for the next election.

People have been excluded from the spookery.   It's time for us to check and balance the whole damn lot of elected, appointed and senior civil servants.  Maybe, if we elect people who really do see transparency as the best policy we can avoid invoking a messy, multiple election course of ultimate check and balance.  We need a complete who, what, how and way on our current spookery.  The national secrets defense must be set aside since I assume most of us kind of like New Hampshires motto-- Live Free or Die!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Syria

By now anyone who reads papers or watches any news knows that the Obama Administration will provide arms to Syrian rebels.  We have been told a red line was crossed.  Hmm, we were told about WMDs too.  Assad, in theory, used Sarin gas to kill 150 Syrians after killing 90,000 or so with conventional weapons.  Sarin somehow requires the U.S. government to act, that is, provide guns and ammo.  It's dumb.

Syria is not in the middle of an Arab Spring moment.  No, Syria is a pestle of  civil war grinding away in a larger sectarian Arabic mortar.  The issue is not Assad, it's which group, Sunni or Shia, will rule and wield power in the Middle East.  We should not get involved at all, save to arm Israel against the Arab crazies who continue to demonstrate a complete inability to get past the 14th century.  

We screwed up Iraq.  We're screwing up Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The Russians are smiling.  Obama is making mistake.  He and his team action's will create the next generation's al Qaeda.  

Perhaps now it the time for Congress to assert itself and strip the president of his war powers.  If Obama wants to act in Syria, he needs to obtain Congressional approval.  Congress needs to approve a tax increase to cover the cost of our belligerent acts and provide funds to ensure that the Selective Service Administration can ramp up to provide soldiers for our next Arabic war.  Only then should Obama be allowed to take action.  No Congress, no acts.  No taxes, no acts.  No Draft, no acts.    

Obama

I have been wrong about Mr. Obama.  For years I have referred to him as "all talk and no walk."  That phrase reflects my perceived differences between the content of his oratory and what he subsequently did or failed to do.  He presidency has been disappointing.  It has also been most irritating.

Now I realize my analysis has been erroneous.  Mr. Obama has never been "all talk and no walk."  No, Mr. Obama has always talked like a Democrat but acted like George W. Bush.  It's as equally disappointing.  I am irritated with Obama and the Democratic Party.

Remember, after a few years in office even Bush lovers decided that his main talent was sucking cheese.  People do not approve of cheese sucking Texans.   Mr. Bush rivaled Congress in disapproval. Today, Mr. Obama appears to have begun to pursue his favorite Texan's approval ratings.  Do you trust the Mr. Obama?

CNN Poll: Obama approval falls amid controversies

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Repubs Take Note

Government has not grown due to increased number of federal employees.  Over the past 40 years federal employment has been flat.  However, to keep government officially "small" both Dems and GOPs have transferred government to the private sector.

Okay small government types, here's the deal, we keep federal employment exactly the size it is now, but we fire all the contractors and vendors next Tuesday.  Then after all that spending ends,  we can decide, of what's left, what we want to keep and what we want to deep six.  I'm more than willing to see the Dept. of Education go out of existence along with the Homeland mess.

Chart: How Booz Allen Hamilton Swallowed Washington

Myths

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