Aug 28, 2013

Why do we care about Snowden?

I wrote this a few weeks back when Snowden was all over the internet. I forgot about it and now it is behind the times. I'm posting it anyway. If you've forgotten who Snowden is already go Google him for a minute and then come back.

Am I the only liberal who doesn't think that Edward Snowden is a hero? Am I the only democrat who heard about the NSA scandal and thought that it was simply no big deal? I’m not even sure it is that partisan. There has been so much support for Snowden across the internet and the only people I hear condemning him are politicians, FBI, NSA, etc. which is expected. But does Snowden really deserve folk-hero status?

I admittedly am not very well informed but what I do know is this: if you have even glanced over what the Patriot Act does and have watched Enemy of the State then I have no idea why anyone is incensed. We all really should have known that the Patriot Act virtually guaranteed this kind of spying. It is my understanding that Title II of the Patriot Act gives federal agencies the right to search just about anything they want, whenever they want, using just about any means they could want. That may be slightly exaggerated. But probably not by much. Who wants to bet that congress will find the NSA's actions legal under the Patriot Act?

If you've watched Enemy of the State you know that everything anyone ever does is being recorded and will eventually be used to ruin their lives. I’m just kidding. I’m not paranoid. But seriously, if you've watched that movie and then are surprised that the NSA is tapping phones I don’t really understand.

The NSA phone scandal shouldn't be a scandal. We really should have assumed they were doing this and so much more a long time ago, and if we are obviously not really worried about it. If we were, we would try to do something about the Patriot Act.

Snowden isn't a hero. He is a guy who actually did risk compromising US security to “reveal” something to the public that they should have already known. This scandal is almost certainly going to result in a couple of people getting fired and very little else. I expect no change in policy, no change in law, no prison sentences (apart from Snowden of course), and little to no change in public opinion.

And that is the only interesting thing about this scandal to me. Public opinion seems to be that the NSA should not spy on people. Well maybe policy and law should be changed to reflect the opinions of the people.

You may have noticed that I haven't actually taken a stand against the NSA spying on people. Mostly because I don’t think it is nearly as big a deal as so many people are making it out to be. Personally, I don’t care if the NSA spies on everyone. It isn't something that worries me about our government. What I do think however is that we should be thinking more about the will of the people than anything else.

The people obviously don’t want to be spied on. We have an Act that allows the government to spy on the people. Maybe the people should affect the government in such a way as to cause the changes they desire. Frankly that doesn't seem very likely. Maybe the government we have already voted in should spend some time listening to the desires of its people.

Either way, this shouldn't have been a scandal, because it isn't a surprise and is barely stretching a document that significantly affects the freedoms of US citizens. If we insist on making this into a scandal, let’s not praise the idiot who may have actually harmed national security and has effectively made the rest of his own life hell. And if we really must have something to have a scandal over, how about weighing the public’s reactions against that of elected officials. If we elect them to do what we want and their reaction is so very different from what we want, maybe WE the PEOPLE should do something about that. No NRA gun nuts I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to everyone. STOP VOTING FOR POLITICIANS WHO DON’T DO WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT.

According to a recent Gallup poll Congress’s approval is now down to its lowest ever at 10%. A lot of these people have been elected for term, after term, after term. At some point we have to realize that we are responsible for Congress’s approval rating. We have to vote different people into office. If we do, then perhaps we can change the Patriot Act or stop the NSA spying on us. I may very well be wrong about all of this, but I think the burden of this scandal falls on the voters. That is, if the voters still have the power to elect representative persons who, to the best of their ability, obey the will of the people. (The cynical side of me says that if our government ever worked that way, that time has come and gone).

Don’t blame the NSA or the administration or the Republicans or Democrats or even the Tea Party. We the people elected congress. Congress passed the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act allows the NSA to spy on who they will. BUT, we the people can vote to change who is in congress. This NSA scandal is our fault. If people want it to change they are going to have to do some work. I’m not talking about complaining on the internet with clever memes about how bad the NSA is or how good Snowden is.

What if we actually start considering who we vote for? I’m talking about demanding that our congress persons listen to the people for fear they won’t be reelected and then following through. We have a system that should provide us with representation. If we aren't being represented we should do something about that.

This scandal shouldn't have anything to do with Snowden. This scandal should be about the fact that U.S. citizens don't trust their government and that our government doesn't seem to care. This scandal should be about the fact that we don't approve of our representatives. But the real scandal in all of this is that we'd rather sit back, point weak and harmless fingers at the government, watch one guy get the fame and take the fall, and do nothing rather than engage in our own political process.

Here are some resources:

Aug 12, 2013

Click thy mouse and follow me

Hey! There has to be more than one of you that are repeat readers of my blog. You should follow it! That way you get email updates when I post and my one lonely follower will have more company. So, if you have read my blog more than once and found it even slightly interesting FOLLOW IT. You'll only regret it a little.

Thanks I appreciate it.

God sends spammers straight to Hell!

So I got really excited to day because my hits were through the roof. Then I discovered that I have been targeted by a site by the name of vampirestat. I have over 80 hits today just from them. They generate a lot of hits on your blog in order to trick you into putting their links on your page and then they give you and your readers malware etc. So FUCK those guys. They are spamming, phishing, malware assholes and they got me all excited. So again, FUCK those guys.

EDIT: Oh and adsensewatchdog. They do the same thing FUCK those guys too.

Just as an FYI. I am always interested in reading new blogs and if you want me to give a shout out and link to your blog send me a link and I’ll check it out. Also, I am totally happy to post guest written things. If you want to write something somewhere else besides your own blog or Facebook etc. let me know and we can connect.

Atheists in the Military

I posted this on Facebook a couple days ago, and I got some but not a whole lot of reaction from it. I’m interested in finding out if people disagree with this article and if so why?
Here’s a link here and there is another one down below:

This is the preface I put on the article on Facebook.

So everyone probably knows how big I am on separation of church and state. (I know the specific phrase isn’t in the constitution, I know where it came from, and no, I don’t want to argue over which founding father said what about religion and politics).

This is one of those places where they have been linked inappropriately. 
Think what you will, but please bear in mind that EVERY citizen has just as much right not to believe in God as you have to believe in God (or vice versa if you’re an atheist). This goes for other religions too, but that isn’t the point of this article.
Please remember that freedom of religion does not mean freedom to be a Christian.

Worst Conspiracy Ever

What in the world would be the motivation for making up climate change? I’m going to side with the vast majority of scientists on this one. Oh, and the fact that there is really no evidence or even reason for a conspiracy. Also, it has always been really baffling to me why conservative Christians seem to be some of the loudest voices claiming climate change isn't occurring. 

On the one hand Christian’s track record with science is pretty bad, but taking care of God’s creation and being good stewards of all plants and animals is literally a command given to all of humanity in the Bible. Let’s work on some consistency here folks, and maybe realize that we shouldn't fuck over the earth for money.

Aug 5, 2013


Found this article and really want to see what people think. Knowing that few people read and/or comment on this blog, I am aware that it will be hard to start a conversation of any value, but I’m gonna try any way.

Toward that end, if you find this article fascinating and think someone you know would have some good input, please send them a link.

So the article is about artificial meat. The idea is that scientists take beef stem cells and all the proteins and other necessary building blocks, mix them up and grow beef muscle tissue in a lab.

I’ll just put it out there that as long as there are no health consequences to artificial meat I am all for it.

Knowing that growing meat in a lab has got to freak people out for so many reasons, I ask my 3-5 readers to think about these things: Even without any real information from this article, what are some potential health concerns about artificial meat? What are the political and/or economic consequences of artificial meat? What are the social implications of artificial meat? Are there equality issues (race, income, social status, gender) with lab meat? How would readily available artificial meat effect our foreign policy? And of course, are there religious concerns surrounding artificial meat? (is God mad about shmeat?)

And before I forget, here is the article. Please comment, I’m eager to hear what people think.