Capo di tutti capo

download.jpgI actually paused to read one of the numerous articles exposing the incompetence and corruption of the Drumph administration. I usually avoid the effort since ninety percent of them are just eloquent and thorough analyses of the obvious: Drumph is a crook.

This article in Salon struck me as being more American than all those comparisons to Hitler and a myriad of Banana Republics. The impetus for the article was an interview of Drump by George Stephanopoulos, or as some call it, Fat Man and Little Boy. Here is the start of the article. Please go to Salon to read the complete essay by Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Continue reading “Capo di tutti capo”

Only In America

Yes, this is a headline from the current issue of The Onion but in humor there is often truth and insight:

Nation Horrified To Learn About War In Afghanistan While Reading Up On Petraeus Sex Scandal

I have listened to commentaries about this sex scandal and even discussed it with friends over dinner or a cup of coffee. But the theme that interested me most and which I wanted to pursue was whether or not this country was obsessed with sex and needed desperately to grow up. I had to work out my thoughts and have concluded that Obama made a mistake in accepting the resignation of General Petraeus. It is outdated and specious thinking that suggests foreign spies are using hot women to steal government secrets:  sometimes sex is just sex.

I also agree with the people who point out that a (perhaps unthinking) reliance on the secrecy and security of Gmail might fly in the face of Petraeus’s reputation of being smart and his position as the head spy in this country.

I don’t want to sound sexist but rather than uncovering a weakness in the government and the military, this whole story involving a couple of Generals and a couple of women and a questionable FBI investigation seems to boil down to just a few facts:  some women are highly attracted to men with power (I don’t buy the uniform cliché) and most men lose the ability to think straight when confronted by sex and the FBI is still prone to spend time and money on silliness as long as it makes the CIA look bad.

Let’s drop the whole story, get out of Afghanistan without delay, and see if the Republican controlled House of Representatives is interested in doing anything to help the country revive over the next four years.

Get Smart

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that public information is available to anyone who wants to pursue it. So that detective searching for the birth-mother of a young-republican in Nebraska might discover your address because you subscribe to The Mother Earth News; or a potential employer might learn that you were suspected of torching the factory where you worked before but got off on lack of evidence; or you were once married to the brother of a woman who went to the same college as Bettina Apthecker and once stood in the sandwich line right behind Bettina, a well-known radical with Communist ties and Feminist sensibilities. But all this isn’t worth worrying about; a photo of you peeing against the Century Plaza Hotel isn’t going to ruin your life.

Yes, we all have incidents in our lives that probably should be blamed on Thunderbird and not anarchism.

But with the rise of technology, especially computers and the internet, there are more and more possibilities for trouble. Let’s face it, a fading photo in an old album piled in the corner of a cobwebby basement on the other side of the continent is not going to cost you your job at Walmart. But if that old friend whose name you don’t even remember is flipping through those old albums and has the brilliant idea to post some of the photos on his Facebook page, just for shits and giggles, you might have to turn in all your spirit buttons and have your stylish vest stripped from your shoulders.

A few months ago we heard that the Library of Congress is collecting and storing all the traffic that flows through Twitter. Imagine, every Tweet saved for posterity:  the mind boggles. Now I read that since these social sites on the internet are public, the government (and the detective looking for the birth-mother, etc.) can gather them all in and keep a close watch on the activities of unsuspecting citizens all over the world, including right here in the United States. The FBI and several other secretive branches of the government are now seeking a monitoring program which will find and correlate the vast amount of information appearing on the bigger social sites like Facebook. We already know that corporations are actively processing this internet data so that they can target their advertising and their products, but as nefarious as that is, do we really want the government to have that level of surveillance over our lives?

Remember the Fourth Amendment? The government seems to have forgotten it unless they are playing the right-wing game of “Show me where in the Constitution is mentions Facebook!” Now might be a good time to throw in the wording used by our founding-fathers (no women, notice):

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

See, Americans are “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” (except when a warrant is issued for probable cause detailing the specifics of the need to violate a person’s privacy) but it never mentions Facebook (not even MyPage). What this means is that a person’s privacy doesn’t extend to the internet because Ben Franklin was too busy getting the Post Office off the ground to invent the internet back in the 18th Century.

Seeing as how at least one party in the government of this country is clearly fascist (and the Democrats are not doing a good job of combating the spread of darkness over the land), I am very concerned about the government knowing my business more than it does now. I won’t be involved with most of the social sites. WordPress is, obviously, an exception but I justify it in two ways:  first, I committed to having my own online website back in the mid-1990s and have maintained it continuously since then; and second, I control what I say and I am not adverse to speaking my mind, whether the subject is literature or politics. If the government wants to provide me with a URL I will gladly send a copy of each of my posts directly to them so they can get some opinions and information that doesn’t come with a folded check, a wink, and a handshake.