The Snowden Dilemma

In somewhat of a daze, my wife and I left the theater after watching the movie Snowden. I was quite happy with the movie. It did not seem too bias one way or another and it provided a pleasant story for those who do not keep up with politics or world news. I could not wait to get in the car and start picking my wife’s mind about the issues the movie brought up – only to get stopped by one of those mall venders who pester you to buy something or try some invention of theirs. He got my attention by standing in front of our path and asking, “What movie did you see?” Slightly put off by his action to stop us, I tried to walk around him and muttered, “Snowden”.

 

As most people are when they hear the word Snowden, he was taken aback and asked, “I hear the movie was biased and make him out to be a hero. I think he should be hung – he is responsible for American deaths! What do you think?” I was clearly not wanting to talk to the man – and his question isn’t something that can be answered right there in the middle of a mall – but his clear ignorance of the issues warranted my response. Plus, there are many people who don’t clearly know what Snowden did, or the outcome of his actions, or what should be done with him. the Snowden case will undoubtedly go down as a historical and moral questions that will decide the direction of our nation.

 

Edward Snowden was an extreamly capable and intelligent student. He excelled in his career and was considered a computer wizard at the CIA making him highly desired. Although Snowden loved working at the CIA, he quickly began seeing dubious actions in their international affairs. For example, at his first diplomatic mission in Geneva, he witnessed the CIA successfully bribe the Geneva police and judiciary. Although he did not report this, the whole mission left Snowden uneasy.

 

Later in his career, Snowden began working at the NSA’s Hawaii Regional operations center where he was a system administrator – technically an “Infrastructure Analyst” where he would look for new ways to break into the internet and telephone traffic. This is where Snowden had a problem with his job: although his job was directed at China and North Korea, he witnessed the government using back-door methods of entry into electronic devices of U.S. Citizens and keeping that data unlawfully. Snowden did actually try to express his concerns to officials multiple times – but was warned not to say anything. Snowden has said

The NSA has records—they have copies of emails right now to their Office of General Counsel, to their oversight and compliance folks from me raising concerns about the NSA’s interpretations of its legal authorities. I had raised these complaints not just officially in writing through email, but to my supervisors, to my colleagues, in more than one office. I did it in Fort Meade. I did it in Hawaii. And many, many of these individuals were shocked by these programs. They had never seen them themselves. And the ones who had, went, “You know, you’re right. … But if you say something about this, they’re going to destroy you”

It would seem that the same whistle blowing standards the government holds to corporations does not apply to the NSA. Stuck in a rut, Snowden took drastic actions looking to change the course of surveillance. May 20 2013, Snowden arrived in Hong Kong in a leave of absence to meet with Guardian reporters to leak the information – which was over 1.5 million files. He finally left his hotel room and sneaked through security to board a plane to Russia which was then to take him to Ecuador to live with Wikileak founder Julian Assange. Snowden had had a ticket to Havana, Cuba but did not board his flight saying later in an interview, “I was ticketed for onward travel via Havana—a planeload of reporters documented the seat I was supposed to be in—but the State Department decided they wanted me in Moscow, and cancelled my passport.” Snowden assumed the reason they wanted him in Moscow was to label him a Russian spy. He is still in Moscow today waiting for another place to find asylum.

The idea that Snowden is a Russian spy and released information that has had Americans killed is not found in fact. And the recent election of Donald Trump has made the situation much more clear. Fox News and NBC has heard reports that Russian officials have found that Snowden has no more value to the government and could be a useful bargaining chip for Putin to cozy up to Trump. As a response, Snowden tweeted:

Finally: irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel. No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next.

A very clear observation. In fact, the Ecuadorian government is feeling the same way about Assange whilst he released Clinton’s emails in the 2016 election. Could this be the end of Wikileaks and whistle-blowing? That lies with the world leaders. No doubt, as long as Snowden has asylum, he will be safe – it is the transportation that is dangerous for him. But one must ask – what would the world be like it the world governments’ secrets cannot be held up to the light? This will be a pivotal question our generation has to answer.

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Russian Hack Investigation

Former Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton seems to want to end her biggest run of her life with the biggest lie of her life. Mrs. Clinton started with an attack towards rival Donald Trump alleging that he is spreading conspiracy theories and smearing our election process (which is true) – but now she is claiming that her shady emails where leaked by Russia. She came up with this theory quickly after the emails were leaked – making the election all the more juicy. The biggest let down from this whole conspiracy is that we, the voter, have never heard any proof. Even the electoral college members wanted a briefing before they voted, and received none. So is there any truth behind the Russian Conspiracy?

Lets recap. Beginning in the Democratic Primaries, emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton were leaked to Wikileaks. The topics of the emails are dark, and shady ranging from racist comments to actually conspiring against Bernie Sanders to ensure Clinton’s victory. Even though the emails were legit, Hillary and the DNC cried fowl. So it seems that you can be corrupt and vindictive as long as it is in an email.

Fast forward past Clinton’s and Trump’s victory and more emails are released revealing the sinister workings of the Democratic party. And just as Trump can do anything without blame, Clinton avoided any blame for her emails because she alleged that the Russians hacked her – no mention of her private email server where anyone could probably hacked and no mention of the possibility that a DNC staffer or a Bernie supporter might have leaked the emails (Imagine that person watching the news as everyone thinks Russia leaked the emails). No, Clinton went straight to a Cold War era conspiracy – and now everyone is buying into it without any sort of evidence. No one seemed to make much noise over the claim until Hillary actually lost – then half the country, including President Obama and government agencies started investigating.

Now, imagine for a moment: half the country, the White House, and the FBI and CIA are trying to find proof – and trying to bar Trump from the White House. If this sort of power found evidence of Russian hackers, wouldn’t it benefit them and be a huge moral responsibility to notify us? What are they waiting for? Just recently, the CIA director John Brennan reported, “Earlier this week, I met separately with FBI [Director] James Comey and DNI Jim Clapper, and there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election” Both directors and agencies refused to comment on that report. But is there a better time to come our and stop Trump than today? Today is that last chance with the Electoral College voting.

Not only did the Electoral College voter beg for a briefing on the Russian investigation, but Trump, and Wikileaks, and Russia, and half of America is begging for some sort of evidence. Wikileaks even offered to host the evidence, “Obama should submit any Putin documents to Wikileaks to be authenticated to our standards if he wants them to be seen as credible” Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was, “indecent of the United States to groundlessly accuse Russia of intervention in the US election campaign” Mr. Peskov continues, “They should either stop talking about that or produce some proof at last. Otherwise it all begins to look unseemly”

Yes, there seems to be some friendship between Trump and Putin – but Trump has dozens of other foreign friendships just as capable to hack into emails. And yes, there is no doubt Putin would rather have Trump in the White House than Clinton. But that has no bearing on if the claim is true. I, and any reasonable reader want to know what really happened. Maybe someone needs to hack their emails to figure what is going on in our own country. Any claim asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence – and I hope we see some evidence soon.

Now, I am posting this as my last post of the year as I take an hiatus over the holidays. So if it comes out that Russia really did hack the DNC emails – I will be the first to admit that. But keep in mind, whoever hacked the emails, Clinton and the DNC still said all those things. They really conspired against members of their own party. They still betrayed and miss presented their own voters. And Clinton still challenged our election system without revealing her proof.

be on the look out for one of two possibilities: it is proven that Russia has hacked our election, or Clinton is a liar. If the trend proves consistent – it is far more likely to be the later of the two.

What is Populism?

Populism. It is everywhere in the news right now and it is one of those words that have so many vague meanings and yet describes itself so well. Populism is simply the revolt of the people against the political machine. With that said, the word perfectly matches what Trump supporters and haters think of Trump’s new Republican party. He won with the party and with the nation despite being resented by the Republican leaders and Washington elite. But where did the name Populist come from?

In  the late 1800’s, the southern and western farmers were struggling due to the industrialization and reconstruction after the Civil War. The changing international markets, national banks, railroad companies made agricultural commerce difficult even though the farms still worked and produced goods. Those complications combined with the southern dissent from the Civil War accumulated to the Populist movement. The movement was slow-moving but started with the Patrons of Husbandry or the “Grange”. This group was more of a union of farmers that pooled money together to buy equipment and sway political power. There was even a Colored Farmers Alliance organization that branched off of the Grange. The organization brought poor farmers together: they did not represent the Democrats or the Republicans, they represented the marginalized farmers. Thus, the Populist movement was born.

The Populist Party tried to gather some sort of political power in 1896 – but since they were outnumbered and out financed, they decided to join forces with the Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan. This gave the Democrats a chance to finally win back the White House from the North and for the common man. Bryan seemed almost like Bernie Sanders when he speaks about the oppression of he rich, “You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold!” Of course, Bryan did lose to McKinley, but the idea of the Populist movement was a live and well throughout the 1920’s – as well as, some would argue – today with Donald Trump’s Republican Party.

At the North American leader’s summit, President Obama did not seem to approve of people calling Trump a Populist, “That’s nativism. Or Xenophobia, or worse. Or it’s just cynicism”. Yes, there are some Trump supporters who would subscribe to the nativism and xenophobia – but not most. I say also say the say about Populism. Michael Kazin describes Populism in his book “The Populist Persuasion” as, “a language whose speakers conceive of ordinary people as a noble assemblage not bounded narrowly by class, view their elite opponents as self-serving and undemocratic, and seek to mobilize the former against the latter”.

So on it’s face, yes Trump does aim to be a Populist. But is this a good thing? Populists are sometimes know as being anti- science and anti-progressive. Although they seem to be very opposed to change, Populists do represent a class that is usually overlooked. In the end, words are just words – lets wait until Trump gets into office before we really start labeling the President Elect.

The Shameful Anti-Trump Lies

Panic, uncertainty, fear, and anger is flooding the streets across America since the President elect Donald Trump won the 2016 election. This clearly primal and barbaric response has truly brought out the worst in young Democrats. But nothing is as shameful and deplorable than what happened just hours after Trump was elected president.

In Baton Rouge Louisiana, a report came in that a young Muslim woman was assaulted on the campus of Lafayette University. Reportedly, the 18 year old woman claims that two white men wearing white Trump hats yelled racial slurs, then attacked her with a metal pipe, and stole her purse and Hijab.

The same day, police at San Diego University  reported another attack in which a Muslim student was harassed with offensive slurs about her faith and her car keys and car was stolen

The following morning, yet another Muslim woman was attacked. Two white men drove up to her in a sedan and struck her with a metal object and stole her wallet and Hijab – all while yelling obscenities at her.

In every case, these women declined medical treatment, even though one was reported to have been “knocked out”. And unless, the men can travel from Baton Rouge to San Diego and back to Baton Rouge, these reports seem false. Like many of the other shamefully disgusting, this seems to be an attempt at validating all the unreasonable violence being spurred on by the #notmypresident gang.

And these false allegations are not the first ones. Many popular myths have been spread by the all powerful Tumblr and Facebook with as little proof as possible. A recent myth is that Trump supporters chanted “We hate Muslims, we hate Blacks, we want our great country back” during a rally. This is of course proven false by the people at snopes.com

And it must be said that there is legitimate attacks out there and the scum who commit these crimes deserve the fullest extent of the law. Such as in the case where University of Wisconsin-Stout, Hussain Saeed Alnahdi was attacked and later died from his wounds at the hospital. Mr. Alnahdi did not deny medical assistance – this was a real attack on him. The false claims of attack and bigotry are shameful at best and shallow and divisive at its worst. There is no doubt more false reports will follow mirroring the rape allegations that arise periodically. Similarly, these two are out of frustration and is simply a pitiful call for action.

 

The Trump Response

Everyone has heard, but may not believe, that Donald Trump is now the president elect of the United States. He overwhelmed everyone’s predictions – including mine – to earn almost 300 electoral points. He has now become the leader of the free world – and it seems everyone is going crazy.

There are riots in the streets – something that is usually a rarity after our once-peaceful presidential elections. After Obama’s victories that seem ever so distant, Europeans were shocked that there was not more tension. The United States have become known as the Land of the Free – especially after transitions of power. This is not the case anymore. There are fires in the streets, the Canadian immigration website has crashed from traffic, and the Trump HQ had to be surrounded by sandbags to protect from attacks. Does this seem reasonable?

The most outrage is not in the streets of Berkeley, L.A. and Pittsburgh – but online! The keyboard warriors of the millennial class are hard on the attack. And though their concerns are not for naught, but the offensive against Trump is absolutely a knee jerk reaction that reeks of illogical and blind anger.

Ellie Weissel is spinning in his grave and thousands of Tumblrs are claiming “now we know what thee Jews felt like”. Disgruntled youths have started the #notmypresident tag. What an absolutely ridiculous idea! The fact that they think their opinions trumps democracy (pun intended). The overwhelming amount of violent tempered brain rot is littering the internet and it does not stop at Facebook and Twitter. Though liberal, the occasionally moderate sites like The Atlantic and The Slate have been on an outright rampage – and defiantly not helping the fury of the protesters.

The hero of this situation has come from the most unlikely place: the oval office. That’s right: Mr Obama has come out of this mess as a level-headed leader in preserving democracy and ensuring a smooth transition of power. Even though Obama has campaigned for ally Clinton, his unnerving wit and articulate, rational commitment to the office has shown through. If the protesters had a shred of Obama’s honor, there would be no problem with this transition. President Obama is even inviting trump to the White house on Thursday to share his plan for a peaceful transition of power – a plan that has been in the works for a year. In his speech, Obama caught my attention almost immediately:
Now, it is no secret that the president-elect and I have some pretty significant differences. But remember, eight years ago President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences. But President Bush’s team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition so that we could hit the ground running.

I did not vote for Obama in either the 2008 or 2012 election – but I am extremely glad he won. He broke my automatic pull towards Republicans and opened my mind to Democrats by leading a strong, composed, and uplifting 2 terms. Obama will be known for the first black president second, and a cool headed leader first. Let me end with the part of his speech everyone needs to hear:

Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage. We’re not Democrats first. We’re not Republicans first. We are Americans first. We’re patriots first.

We all want what’s best for this country. That’s what I heard in Mr. Trump’s remarks last night. That’s what I heard when I spoke to him directly. And I was heartened by that. That’s what the country needs — a sense of unity, a sense of inclusion, a respect for our institutions, our way of life, rule of law, and respect for each other.

I hope that he maintains that spirit throughout this transition. And I certainly hope that’s how his presidency has a chance to begin.

 

Gullible predictions – The Religious Making Election Prdictions

Christopher Hitchens once said that credulity and ignorance is a revolting characteristic in every field that has ever existed… except in religion. In the discussion of religion, you must sacrifice at least a portion of your rational faculties – the election is no different. It is difficult now a days to find a single scientific study, survey, or statistic that is not contradicted or ridiculed by some religious power. And today being election day, let me introduce you to some people who want to ignore even poll findings.

The people of WND.com have discovered the winner of the 2016 election in the old testament! The psychic they is is Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson – a charlatans who has sold over 30 books about using the so-called Bible code. he has even predicted the last election using the same code. ( he was wrong by predicting Romney would win). But this election is special – mainly because evangelicals are trying to find any reason to vote for Donald trump who is anything but a holy man. In this prediction, the Rabbi revealed this stunning coincidence:

“…published on July 6 in which Glazerson presented a Bible-code table from Deuteronomy. He pointed to the word Donald, spelled in Hebrew letters, next to the word nasi, which is Hebrew for president. He also found an abbreviation for Artzot haBrit, which is the way the United States is referred to in Hebrew…”

The prediction the Rabbi is making suggests that Donald trump is the new Cyrus the Great – a Biblical leader of Persia who let the captive Jews return back to Israel. The story hints that god used Cyrus to free the Jews back to their home land – even though Cyrus wasn’t a believer, and even though god put them in captivity anyways. Since Trump is not really a believer, we can only guess that evangelicals are using Cyrus as a way to connect him to the bible. It is a complete stretch either way.

If this system worked, then why has it been wrong so far? And why isn’t it used world wide? because it doesn’t – I don’t have to remind my sharp minded readers of this. But it is an important quality of irrational credulous people that others must keep in mind: they do no act within the same reality as everyone else. besides checking in on them for a cheap laugh, we need to be reminded that this sort of non-thinking is a horrendous crime against everything our race has developed over time.

So, even though now, charlatans like Rabbi Glazerson and the ones who report his “predictions” are a stain on human thought and are somewhat benign – free thinkers need to keep them in their corner and use their publications as a tool to draw some useful conclusions about their followers.

Stay sharp guys!

If the Candidates say it – it’s Probably not True

You know credulity has gone too far when both candidates of an American Presidential Election are spreading conspiracy theories – and people believe them! On one side, the trailing candidate is claiming that the system is rigged, triggering a huge backlash of voters crying foul. And on the other hand, the front runner is blaming her crimes on a foreign country. The very first thing you should do – which the majority of voters do not do -is ask: What is the evidence?

The Democratic candidate has been repeating repetitively that Russia has been hacking the DNC emails in a ploy to influence the 2016 elections. Part of this stems from Republican candidate Trump and Putin’s seemingly close relationship, and the other part stems from Hillary’s attempt to avoid being held accountable for what was inside of her emails. Among the tens of thousands of emails, there has been definitive light shed on the character of Clinton – a character that has been seen as fraudulent, vindictive, and unfair for decades. The once hero, Julian Assange has now become a Democrat nightmare as he has shifted his focus from the Bush administration to Clinton’s long overdue private life. As Clinton has said, in politics, you need a private and public life – it cannot be clearer: she is corrupt.

Many people could not believe Clinton and the leading Democrats could be so rotten behind the scenes – even Barack Obama exchanged emails with Clinton’s private server assuming she followed confidential protocol. The trust in Clinton was so strong that the government did conduct an investigation into the DNC email hack. Hillary has claimed that over 17 government agencies have said Russia is behind the DNC hack – like many of Clinton’s automatic lies, this is probably another knee jerk lie to the public. In fact, there were only two agencies conducting investigation, the Department of National Intelligence, and the Department of Homeland Security – and they concluded that they don’t have evidence that Russia is behind the hack. They clearly stated that, “…the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia…” but throughout the two joint investigations, they did not ever say Russia was behind the hacks. So where is Hillary getting this from? Probably the same place she gets her other lies – her colon.

Now, on the other side of the aisle, there has been a Trump-tantrum over the polls. They are far too close, and Trump has turned to the old “rigged poll” trick. Used in the Bush-Gore race, it is not a new strategy and it is not a strong strategy. It is so weak, very few people with a few brain cells have taken it seriously. But don’t let your guard down! The lies are not the dangerous aspect of this – it is those who believe in these lies without evidence that  pose a real threat to a civil election. Be mindful, credulity is everywhere – and it leave brain rot in it’s wake. Hopefully, we can get through this election without being overrun by gullible voters.