As Jerry would have said: Too strange, man -- too strange!
This story is so surreal for me. Not because Ed Snowden is the Julian Assange of the NSA but because he went to prom with my wife. Like, a bajillion years ago.
It's a small world after all...!
The media is spinning the PRISM story (after Ed Snowden, PRISM whistle-blower, claims asylum in Hong Kong). PRISM is the program by which the intelligence agencies spy on foreign entities.
The spin is that everybody in America supports this so why even talk about it, other than build momentum to literally hang Snowden as a traitor. Even Feinstein wants his ass on a platter and she is the most liberal Democrat sitting on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The FISA Court is the entity to which these intelligence agencies must go to get permission to target. There is only a government appointed lawyer to represent the public's interest so it is basically a rubber stamp. This process was brought about by the Patriot Act, which was renewed last December.
I remember when the ACLU used to make noise about this kind of stuff and I believe there are more than 14 Americans who oppose an omnipotent intelligence apparatus that can learn anything about anybody at any time for any purpose. This system is rife for abuse.
The telling fact is that just a few US Senators know something about these programs and when the entire Senate is tomorrow being briefed on these programs they won't be able to comprehend because they are clueless.
And so are we. But a 29 year-old sub-contractor to the NSA isn't.
Many of the quatrains of Nostradamus come to mind as the petty tyrant of Syria is now proven by the French to have used weapons of mass destruction and the Russians have made good on their pledge to help their proxy with state-of-the-art anti-aircraft weapons to make sure the war does not turn on an air blockade by NATO and other allies (of Syrian air domination) of the rebels.
The avowed terrorist organization Hezbollah of Lebanon is now fighting on behalf of Syria and drawing Israel into the war. Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon have been destabilized with massive refugee camps. Turkey so much so that civil war is emerging from many factors.
It should be pointed out the destabilization spreads even further -- from Iran & Iraq to Egypt. In the middle of this Bermuda Triangle of misery is the Armageddon Valley.
It is hard to say why Iran, Iraq, Russia, China and a few radical elements within Lebanon would stand in the way of a very aggressive response by NATO, an unmistakeable response that would swiftly turn the tide in this battle and forcefully strengthen the democratic forces fighting the Assad regime.
I am disappointed in Obama's timid foreign policy in this matter and, frankly, Kerry's statements on the matter are scaring the hell out of me!
Diplomats speak of mistakes in Bosnia and Rwanda and what they would now do differently when millions of people are in danger of being slaughtered. This situation is far worse, orders of magnitude worse.
They are collecting masses of data through all types of communication. The Utah Data Center was the original prototype platform for collection which I wrote about here about a year ago.
The concept, as they outline it, seems innocent enough -- they match possible suspects of interest to IP addresses and phone numbers and then see what addresses and names that leads them to.
But does anybody really believe that is the extent to which they will limit themselves? The system is rife for political abuse... just look at the current scandal at the IRS.
Is the protection of the state and it's citizenry that of a higher magnitude than the freedom and privacy of those citizens? It is the price we pay for our bloated economic hegemony that allows us our vastly inflated lifestyle.
This end justifies this means?
If you forgot Sgt. Bales, he is the vet who lost it and snuck over the wire twice in one night in a forward operating base in Afghanistan and slaughtered 16 Afghans -- mostly women and children.
At the time I thought sure this was a black op. hatched out of Ft. Lewis-McChord to end the war. It happened mere weeks before Obama met with Karzai in Afghanistan to agree on the draw-down of US troops by the end of 2014. I figured Bales might do 3 years and then quietly be let out on a psych. charge.
Today it was announced that the evidence was so overwhelmingly against him he would probably cop a plea for life if one is offered.
War is hell. Imagine if we had concentrated on Afghanistan at first and got OBL at Tora-Borra? No massive casualties, no ticking PTSD time bombs, no extra billions spent?
I think Jeb's mother is right, we've had enough Bushs in the White House already!
I did notice that now that you mention it, Anna rXia. An odd coincidence for sure, but also a sign of a growing economy. You know what they say: you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs (though I'm not sure how directly that applies here)!
There have been a lot of train derailments lately? It's not that they seem weird or anything, just the law of averages.
Oh, and living near a major rail junction as I do, I can say there is lot of train traffic out there, the economy is picking up...
Not sure how many of you out there caught the news yesterday, but a CSX train derailed and caught fire yesterday after apparently colliding with a trash truck. A huge column of smoke followed by an explosion shut down an entire zip code north of Baltimore and actually caused a hazmat team to evacuate the area for a while. Fortunately, thanks to early warnings, regular updates due to the continued news coverage, and the general public actually paying attention, major and massive traffic delays were avoided, and (as far as I know) no one lost their life.
And to top it all off, this took place only a few miles north of my house. Sometimes it's cool that the area around where you live makes the national news, but not for something like this. I'm just glad nothing catastrophic happened.
Freedom isn't free... Be sure to thank all those who serve, from the potato-peelers to the drone controllers. The blunt sword of the armed forces swings where it is aimed. If you don't like the result, blame the one who is aiming, not the one taking orders.