Category: Politics

End of the Silence / NSA

I’ve been silent for a few months. Not really what I wanted, but circumstances dictated it. You’ll also notice that my “real” name has been removed throughout the site. This is not because I’m ashamed of anything I write or because I wouldn’t stand by it if questioned. It’s simply because I’ve started a business 7 years ago that’s finally about to release products and some of our partners and potential customers might think I suck if they read my blog. Even though I don’t suck. It’s a scientific fact.

Those of you who know who I am, I am happy that you do. I write lots of annoying, controversial, and truculent crap on here, so hopefully as a result you don’t want to see me die a slow death.

Today I’d like to talk about the NSA, Obama, and why we should all be very afraid.

The NSA has been collecting data from all of us, without warrants, without corporate assistance, and completely in violation of our Constitution and everything we believe in. They’ve also been tapping phones of world leaders who happen to be our allies.

But even with all of that, that’s not what scares me.

What scares me is we have a president trying to distance himself from the NSA’s activities, and the NSA saying “NO WAY, YOU AUTHORIZED THIS, DUDE!” When the intelligence community is openly outing the president and his plausible deniability, we are just completely screwed.

Obama could have gotten up and done several things: He could have said “YES, we are tapping everyone and everything, and here are the compelling reasons it’s necessary even though it’s illegal.” He could have said “Yes, we are tapping everyone and everything, I had no idea it was going on, and I will get to the bottom of it and fire everyone that knew anything.” He could have said “No, we aren’t doing that, Snowden is forging documents.”

Instead he took his own path. Denies knowing about it. Defends it (sort of). Says “everyone else does it.” Basically looks like an impotent power hungry idiot to the rest of the world, not to mention the citizens of the United States.

The idea of the NSA decrypting Google’s main fiber channels between data centers and making themselves a copy of everything should send shivers down your spine. This is America, dammit. Privacy and personal freedom are among our most deeply held values. Heck, privacy is the main argument used to defend ABORTION. So if privacy is so important, why are we not outraged? Why are we not leading a revolt, burning Washington to the ground (metaphorically), starting from scratch with a new congress and a new president?

Any idiot that supports what the NSA is doing, and any idiot that is involved in balancing our country’s budget, need to be fired as soon as possible.

Ah. That feels better.

Don’t even get me started on the shutdown.

Losing Your Liberty

We can really look back to September 11th, 2001 when George W. Bush pushed through the Patriot Act, a sweeping pile of liberty-stealing crap that had more unintended consequences than anyone could have imagined. But the greatest of those was opening the door for government overreaching and corruption of the highest degree.

Obama’s 5 1/2 years have shown just how badly things can go when the government is left unchecked. This week it was revealed that the IRS has been politically targeting conservative groups and Jews. All by itself, that should make you sick to your stomach. Nothing should make you more certain that your 2nd Amendment rights are important more than this story.

The Justice Department (irony noted) has now been caught wiretapping THE ASSOCIATED FRIGGIN PRESS. Potentially revealing and compromising the identities of confidential sources, perhaps endangering lives, and without any question whatsoever, completely crapping all over the 1st Amendment.

Those in power in America are using the Constitution as toilet paper while giving themselves raises and benefits.

You should be horrified to know that the Obama administration helped to cover up the Benghazi attack that cost American lives, then when called on it, accused the Republicans of politicizing! The timeline for Benghazi has been clearly documented down to the minute. Obama has flat out lied directly to the camera, and we just sit in our apathy and say “Well, politicians lie” or worse “Obama is a victim of politicizing.”

Perhaps if there was an isolated incidence of cloak and dagger targeting of American citizens where the government actively violated their Constitutional rights, we could say “eh, someone screwed up… crap happens.” But that’s not what is happening here. We literally have widespread corruption bent on increasing power on the backs of conservatives.

There is a time when political games go too far, the corruption runs too deep, and the victims are the American people. If real change doesn’t happen, I fully expect there will be an armed uprising within my lifetime.

This country cannot survive if we fail to follow our own chartering documents, that were put in place by folks who knew what it meant to be stripped of their liberties.

Boston

I could use this opportunity as a platform for my ideals. I could ask you how in the world we can let the perpetrators of this crime live out their lives in the comfort of prison where they will have three hot meals, cable TV, and a playground. I could point out the hilarity of saying that one can’t be anti-abortion and pro-death penalty, as if unborn babies are capable of such a heinous act. I could point out how absolutely impotent the Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security, the empty promises of increased security really are when facing an enemy that hides in the shadows.

But then I watched social media as events played out. I saw runners, spectators, and first responders rushing in to tear down the metal barrier to get to the wounded, even as another bomb went off in the background. I watched as men used their shirts and belts as tourniquets to save the lives of dismembered Americans, attacked for no rational reason. I watched as Boston residents published their addresses and phone numbers on the Internet offering to house those from out of town who couldn’t leave. I watched calls of support and aid come from every corner of the planet. Our cold war enemy, Russia, offered to aid in the investigation using their extensive anti-terrorism forces. Russia really doesn’t like America, particularly our current administration – yet they offered to help.

After the attacks, Patton Oswalt (American comedian) wrote this: “…the vast majority stands against the darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago. So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

It would be easy to simply focus on the images from yesterday, the blood, the tears, the gravely wounded and killed. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that human beings are resilient. Five years from now we will hear the stories of how victims who lost their legs in the blast are now running marathons on prosthetic limbs, how the pain brought families closer, and many stories of triumph over evil. We simply have to wait as the process of healing begins.

In the end, those who carried out this horrendous crime will have to face justice… first in our courts, and eventually in front of God. Until then, Boston, stay strong.

Gun Control

As you all know, I’m a strong advocate of 2nd Amendment rights. I’m a multiple gun owner, a concealed carry permit holder, and I firmly believe that guns in the hands of good guys is the best deterrent to violent crime. The cops aren’t ever there till the crime is over. You can feel free to read my multiple posts on the topic if you want.

But in light of recent events including Sandy Hook and the nut in New York… I’m ready to admit we need to take some drastic measures. You’ll be happy to know that my drastic measures don’t include taking your guns, but it WILL dramatically decrease gun violence. If you own 50 guns, it will take you a few minutes to get into compliance, but if you have that many, you already had to get an FFL. Here’s the plan:

  1. 1. Ban assault rifles. You don’t need an AR-15 to hunt a deer. Or even a bear. They are definitely fun, but in the hands of the wrong guys, they are devastating. The constitution does not guarantee the right to bear automatic weapons or military-grade arsenals.
  2. 2. Ban all person-to-person sales of guns, and ban all gun shows. Obviously this is the primary way that guns get into the wrong hands. FFL dealers aren’t selling guns to felons (as the guy in New York was). I understand that Sandy Hook’s weapons were bought by a family member – I’ll get to that.
  3. 3. When purchasing a gun at an FFL dealer, your serial number is permanently linked to your social security number via the ATF. We MUST know who owns the guns so that when they are used in a crime we can have a starting place. This doesn’t in any way affect you unless your plan is to commit a crime. I had to give my social security, fingerprints, and mugshot to the state when I got my CCW. What’s the difference? You don’t have the right to own an untraceable firearm. That’s not in the constitution.
  4. 4. Require that all existing guns be added to a federal registry. You register your gun online at the ATF website. The penalty for having a non-registered gun in your possession (on your person, in your car, in your home) would be a felony and would require jail time. We MUST have a record.
  5. 5. If your gun is stolen, you must report it immediately. If it was stolen because you didn’t take precautions against it, then you go to jail. It’s completely irresponsible to allow someone to break a window and have access to your arsenal. They should have to carry off a 500 pound safe if they want your gun.
  6. 6. If your gun ISN’T reported stolen and it’s used in a crime, you will serve jail time in proportion to the type of crime, even if you didn’t commit it. You are responsible for all guns registered to you. We gun guys love personal responsibility, so this shouldn’t bug any of us.
  7. If we take these steps, everyone can keep their guns assuming they keep them locked up and stowed safely. At the same time, we would decrease crime, because those of us who aren’t criminals don’t want to serve jail time because we couldn’t be bothered to register and lock up our guns.

    Piece of cake.

Sandy Hook

Three days ago, a crazed 20 year old shot his way into an elementary school and killed 20 kindergartners and 7 adults. The country has been left reeling, trying to make sense of why someone would do such a thing. It feels worse than other school shootings because these children were so young. It doesn’t make sense – not to any rational person. We will never know this coward’s motivation. What we do know is that he spent enough time planning it to gather a bunch of guns, kill the only person who could have stopped him (his mother) and then drive to a place where he had previously had confrontations with staff – Sandy Hook Elementary.

This was clearly premeditated. Most states have laws on the books that make punishments more lenient on people when they commit a crime of passion (i.e. man walks in on his wife with another man in the bed, man freaks out and kills the other guy, or the wife, or both). It’s something done in the moment out of intense anger and sadness, not done with any planning. This school shooting can in no way be justified or said to be a fit of rage. From everything we know so far, there was no emotion whatsoever. Just methodical execution of helpless little kids.

The perpetrator of this crime was too much of a coward to face the consequences for his crimes, so we will never get to ask him what his motivations were. I’m positive we would not be satisfied with the answers even if we knew them. Of course, any time this type of massacre happens, the national debate always turns immediately to gun control. It’s really a distraction from the real issue, but apparently it’s a knee-jerk reaction. Guns do kill innocent people when they’re in the hand of a nut. But the nut is the one pulling the trigger. Ban guns and all of the “responsible” citizens will forfeit their guns. The nuts and bad guys won’t.

There are over 300 million guns already in the hands of citizens in the United States. It’s a genie you can never put back into the bottle. Regardless your views on guns, it’s a moot point. Even if 80% of the citizens turned in their guns (almost 100% of which are unregistered because most states don’t require registration), you’d still have tens of millions of guns available on the black market. We don’t live in a country where the feds are going to go door-to-door searching for guns. And we don’t WANT to live in that country. Think about how well banning alcohol went. Drugs. We already have all the laws on the books we could ever need. It’s illegal to carry a gun or any weapon into a school. It’s illegal to kill people. It’s illegal to shoot people. It’s illegal to assault people. It’s illegal to buy a gun if you have a history of mental illness or a felony conviction. We don’t need more laws.

We need to find a way to treat and or lock up sadistic mentally ill sociopaths BEFORE they commit a crime. I’m sure my more liberal friends will object to that thought. But really, look at this guy. His mother knew he was dangerous. His neighbors, classmates, acquaintances all knew he was “creepy,” “scary,” and “dangerous.” But we literally don’t have any options as to preventing him from committing this crime. It’s not difficult for a trained psychologist to diagnose a sociopath. His family knew. Everyone seemed to know. So why, knowing that someone is a sadistic nut would we NOT do something, proactively, to limit the damage they can do? I personally know a guy that is a sadistic (if not evil) sociopath. Is there anything I can do PRIOR to him shooting up a school? Or is that the only litmus test we are willing to accept for criminal insanity?

I sat across from a man at my previous job who laughed hysterically about Columbine and how all of those kids had it coming. Would I be surprised if he shot up a school? Not really. Since we clearly have no intention of being proactive about mental health – and yes – to be proactive we MUST include involuntary commitment, the only recourse we have as a society is to protect our schools, malls, churches, movie theaters, and other public places.

I hate big government, but regardless, here is what I propose. Metal detectors in EVERY school regardless of age range. Armed off-duty police officers at EVERY school with instructions to shoot first and ask questions later. Total lockdown of our schools, every day, all day. Parents will be given an access card AND a code that must be entered to get into the school, and even parents with their card and code must go through security. Do we care enough to protect our children? The coming weeks will test our collective will to do just that.