2012: What’s left to destroy?

August 12, 2012

I squandered my 20s in the terrible 2000s. While I was living it up and wasting my youth in the bottom of beer bottles and glass bongs our leaders were partying like it was 1999. All of the prosperity and peace that had been won by the countless sacrifice of previous generations was completely destroyed in less than a decade.

The decade began with a bang as two jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center and shattered our sense of security. Our illustrious leader, Lil’ Bush calmly read storybooks to school children as buildings burned and lives were lost. When the smoke cleared all he could do was; tell us to shop til’ we drop. By that logic the terrorists would win if we didn’t buy a bunch of shit we didn’t need with money we didn’t have. Like good little children we did what we were told. We bought copious amounts of plastic crap from China at 20% apr.

The terrorists were laughing at us. We played right into their plan. They were, after all agents of terror and we were, and still are terrified of them. The 9/11 attacks were used to justify a war that was worlds away from the perpetrators. We allowed the authorities to completely destroy the Bill of Rights in the name of national security. Habeas Corpus was all but suspended under the atavistic Patriot Act. The DHS, NSA, CIA, FBI, and municipal police forces across the nation were given carte blanche to violate the people’s constitutional rights on a daily basis.

The TSA dutifully stood guard — always at the ready to make your grandmother endure an enhanced pat-down, or to send your perky girlfriend through a porn scanner as they grow a tree trunk in their pants. The Supreme Court ruled that the police may strip search you at any time. According to Justice Stephen G. Breyer the police may strip search you for “violating a leash law, driving without a license and failing to pay child support.” Oh yes, we were ready to bend over for Uncle Sam, and we took it with a big shit eating grin on our face.

Those of us who had jobs kept on sleepwalking off to work — all the while we were living on borrowed money and borrowed time. Our prosperity was false. Instead of demanding adequate wages we accepted the fact that we would have to borrow more and more just to buy the necessities of life; education, housing, healthcare, food, childcare and transportation.

The credit lines couldn’t go on forever. At some point the bottom had to drop out from under the sub-prime basement, and by the time it was all over America was in the toilet. When we were flushed away we sucked the whole world down the drain with us.

The financial crisis of 2008 culminated in a world wide calamity. The meltdown was the result of decades of wholesale fraud and usury. Cities and towns all across America had dried up and gone bust. The European Union was reduced to a sorry mish mash of sovereign debt. The economic rift separating the 1% from the rest of us had grown enormous, and the only class distinctions left were: the working poor and the independently wealthy. Working class salaries had become stipends that could barely support already anemic bank accounts. The once thriving middle class had sunk into the proletariat.

It was a dark time for America and the rest of the world, however a few glimmers of hope could be seen emerging from the darkness. America elected the first African American President who promised us hope and change. The Arab spring took off, and what started as a tinder fire in Tunisia had burned across the Middle East. The mass-revolt promised to bring true democracy to the long oppressed people of the region. Social Unrest was not limited to the Arab world. Here in the states we saw the rise of the Occupy Movement. Americans were finally taking it to the streets and protesting on a scale not seen since the 1960’s. Europeans weren’t taking it lying down either. They literally set the EU on fire in response to draconian austerity measures imposed upon them by banksters and their dim-witted elected officials. It looked as if the peasants were storming the villas of their callus masters, but looks can be deceiving.

Our knight in shinning armor, Barack Obama turned out to be a bright shining lie. HE left us hopeless and on the street begging for change. The Arab spring dragged on and the power vacuums left behind were quickly filled with warlords who were eager to become tyrants. Here in America peaceful demonstrators were dealt with swiftly and violently. Their picket signs and protest chants were met with rubber bullets and tear gas. In collusion with the DHS police departments all across the nation finally evicted the Occupy Movement with cruel efficiency.

Now it’s 2012 and it looks as if the world may very well be destroyed, but this begs the question; what’s left to destroy? The global economy is in tatters, and the will of the people has been broken. There is no hope for the foreseeable future. The threat of recession looms over the US and the thought of choosing between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for the next president is enough to induce vomiting. The EU is falling apart as one nation after another becomes insolvent. Conflict engulfs the Middle East, and tensions with Iran threaten to start World War Three at any moment.

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Spy Vs You

March 12, 2012

A lot of people say “I have nothing to hide.” When people tell me that I like to stare at them until they become uncomfortable. The point being if you have nothing to hide then you shouldn’t have a problem with me staring at you all the time. Having said that I am deeply disturbed by all the government surveillance that is going on.

In my post Surveillance costs money I said “In accordance with the 4th amendment, all searches to include electronic surveillance should only be used in the case of probable cause, or a reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed.”

The FBI, CIA, and the DHS are all looking to expand their domestic spying programs.

The FBI released a request for a social media monitoring application that can spy on citizens via their social media content.  According to zdnet.com “The FBI is looking to monitor all public information posted on social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace. The organization is asking for an app to do all the scraping automatically.”

The CIA is also getting in on the action.  The agencies Open Source Center in McLean,Va is full of so called vengeful librarians who have nothing better to do then spend their days pouring over your social media content. According to the center’s director, Doug Naquin “The center already had predicted that social media in places like Egypt could be a game-changer and a threat to the regime.”

The DHS is no stranger to spying on innocent citizens.  EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Centre) has filed a Freedom of information Act lawsuit against the DHS for monitoring social media websites. According to The Daily Mail

The Department of Homeland Security makes fake Twitter and Facebook profiles for the specific purpose of scanning the networks for ‘sensitive’ words – and tracking people who use them.

Simply using a word or phrase from the DHS’s ‘watch’ list could mean that spies from the government read your posts, investigate your account, and attempt to identify you from it.

The words which attract attention range from ones seemingly related to diseases or bioweapons such as ‘human to animal’ and ‘outbreak’ to other, more obscure words such as ‘drill’ and ‘strain’.

The DHS also watches for words such as ‘illegal immigrant’.

In addition the DHS released a Federal Register notice detailing their plans to spy on US citizens.  According to the notice

In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Department of
Homeland Security is giving notice that it proposes to establish a new
Department of Homeland Security system of records titled, “Department
of Homeland Security Office of Operations Coordination and Planning–
004 Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational
Awareness Initiative System of Records.” The Office of Operations
Coordination and Planning (OPS) National Operations Center (NOC), has
launched and leads the Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and
Situational Awareness (Initiative) to assist the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) and its components involved in fulfilling OPS statutory
responsibility to provide situational awareness.

The country I grew up in is over. We used to stand for freedom and human rights. Now we are just like those we once criticized. Our nation employs agencies reminiscent of the Stasi. In fact the DHS had hired Ex-Stasi Spy Chief, Markus Wolf who worked for them up until his death in 2006.

In the words of Benjamin Franklin “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”