Snowden was wrong and deserves to be punished.

           Edward Snowden revealed the Top Secret NSA Surveillance program. The NSA is collecting phone records and they are also collecting Internet records under the PRISM program. Republican Senators chastised President Obama and said they knew nothing of the program, a blatant lie. There are records showing Congress having briefings about the programs, maybe they went home instead of going to the briefings.

Snowden dropped out of high school. Got a job as a janitor at the CIA and somehow worked himself into a low-level intellegence position. He apparently is a whiz with computers. As budgets for the NSA, CIA and FBI were slashed they began outsourcing a lot of the intellegence work. Snowden left the CIA and began working in those fields. He stole information he was not even supposed to have and fled the country. He worked with the Guardian newspaper to get it out.

There is no dilema here, ge broke the law and the contract hth e signed to be privy to Top Secret information. Giving Top Secret information to anyone not cleared to look at it can be considered treason. If someone dies because of the information he made public will he still be considered a hero? Releasing classified information like this hurts our National Security. We are a free state, not a police state, but we do have to take measures to protect our country.

I am a Democrat and a Liberal but I realize that National Security is of the utmost importance. Do you think it was blind luck we were only hit with one terrorist attack since 9/11. There is a reason for that. How many people were prosecuted because of these programs? These programs had to get renewed court orders every 3 months for 7 years and Senators claim they didn’t know. Republican outrage over this is a sham, they supported George W. Bush and his illegal wiretapping.

What Snowden did was wrong? If he sold these secrets to Russia he would be labeled a traitor. Instead he gave it to a newspaper who gave it to our enemies. He is a traitor, plain and simple. The Government looking at your Internet activity is wrong, but corporations doing it is ok. Snowden deserves to be punished. There is no way around that and any country that shelters him obviously has a vested interest in him.

Advertisements

Policies Republicans supported until President Obama did.

             Republicans have a nasty habit of supporting policies until President Obama does. As soon as he supports them Republicans withdraw their support and work against them. Here are a few;

1) Military intervention in the Middle East- If this doesn’t convince you that Republicans oppose policies because President Obama supports, nothing will. Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43 all supported military intervention in the Middle East, yet when President Obama uses the military in Libya, Republicans come out in opposition. Their stand on this policy is very revealing. Under President Obama, Libya overthrew their dictator without on Americsn life being lost.

2) Minimum Wage- With Republicans talk about abolishing the minimum wage, you would have thought their were always against it. 82 House Republicans and 39 Senate Republicans joined the Democrat majority in passing the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. It is only now that President Obama wants to raise it that Republicans oppose it with large corporate backing, led by the Koch Brothers. If Republicans were so against raising the minimum wage they would not have voted to raise it 3 times.

3) Defecit Spending- Republicans have employed defecit spending since Reagan and were out of control during Bush 43. In an attempt to pass a conservative agenda and fund 2 wars, Reagan and George W. Bush both doubled the defecit. When Democrats were in control of the White House and Congress from 2008-2010, Republicans reversed their stance and still oppose defecit spending because a Democrat is President. If a Republican were President I am sure our defecit hawks would disappear.

4) Civil Rights- Republicans were once the champions of Civil Rights. They ended slavery adopted the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. They split apart over the 1964 Civil Rights Acts and have become more opposed to civil rights ever since. President Obama has called for an increased civil rights and Republicans seem to oppose civil rights for all but white male Christians.

5) Public Education- The founding fathers believed in education for all. Every Republican President in U.S. History has been supportive of the Public Education System. Reagan campaigned on axeing the Department of Education, but he notably didn’t eliminate it, he gave it a larger budget allocation. President Obama is seeking to improve the Public Education System and all Republicans suddenly oppose Public Education. When President Bush proposed improving Public Education, Republicans supported him. Now that President Obama wants to do it, Republicans decided that all Public Schools are evil liberal institutions that must be destroyed.

Obviously Republicans flip flop according to what President Obama supports. That is not the way to govern.

Lets get real about the NSA collecting phone records.

              The Fourth Amendment;
        The right of the people to be secure ine 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 person or things to be seized.

             After 9/11 fear permeated American life. We were an unsure people who were perplexed by an unwarranted attack on innocent people. The rest of the world had been dealing with this for quite some time, as have we at out foreign interests. After 9/11 many were willing to sacrifice civil liberties to help ensure our safety. The Bush/Cheney regime skirted moral authority and we became a preemptive strike country. Attack and ask questions later. The Patriot Act was pushed through with tremendous support from both sides if the aisle.

In doing so we were opened to a moral dilemma. How far is to far? The FISA Court, which was created in 1978, was given a kind of moral authority. It was up to this court to determine when our government was overstepping its authority. They determined that the so called data mining was legal. By determining that they also established how far these “spying” operations could go.

If the government determined something was wrong and needed to go through the data, they would have to go to court to get clearance. It is not as if they can go right in there and take what they want. Of course people will jump to conclusions to establish President Obama as a bad guy. The truth of the matter is that none of this can happen without the approval of the FISA Court. Which covers the executive and judicial branches.

Now for the legislative branch. The Senators, Republican and Democrat alike were informed. Every 3 months they had to go before the FISA Court to get the order aporoved. They had hearings for all Republicans and Democrats to come in and ask questions. The Senators complain that they were not allowed to talk to anyone who did not have clearance. That is how s TOP SECRET clearance works. You are told TOP SECRET information and you are not allowed to tell anyone else. If it concerned them so much why didn’t they try to learn more about the subject or ask more questions. This is about Senators who knes about something and did nothing to stop it, although then knew the American people wouldn’t like it. Now they are covering their tails.

The fact of the matter is this. It is Constitutionally legal. All branches of government knew about it. Why are American people upset? If you are not doing anything criminal you have nothing to worry about. This is the tradeoff our government chose to make and we chose to live with. It has gone on for 7 years and now it gets leaked. It seems as if the Republican scandal machine is in hyperdrive trying to find anything that sticks.

Is it the American Dream or the American Lie?

           After WWII the United States had an unprecedented economic run. The People in our country had an incredible run. We were well ahead of the rest of the world in technical advancements. Our automobile industry, technical industry, health and just about every other industry was well ahead of the rest of the world. Our economy was stellar and it truly showed in the strength of our middle class.

The American Dream was alive and well. People were able to afford the nice house, nice yard, a good car, vacations and savings for college and/or retirement. Unions helped employees earn a better salary and people had more discretionary income. People were buying T.V.s, unnecessary items, that were once considered a luxury. Even with ups and downs it seemed as if everyone had a fair shot to live their dream.

Everything truly started to change in the 1970s. That is when CEO pay began to jump and the employee pay began to level off. The 1980s and Reagonomics put a serious hurting on the American Dream. More people were layed off, companies began getting more work out of less people and corporations put short term profits ahead of the long term outlook. The 1990s saw a bit of an uptick for employees, but that was shortlived. Then George W. Bush and the new Republican party struck.

The Bush administration started the Bush Tax Cuts, which increasingly helped the Wealthy. Since the inception of the Bush Tax Cuts, they have cost us about $3 trillion. He started 2 wars that weren’t paid for and was in charge for 2 recessions. He created less jobs that any President in history and was in office for the largest terrorist attack in American History, 9/11. The Housing Market and the Banking Industry fell apart under his watch.

To top all of that off we were hemorrhaging jobs. He gave tax breaks to companies who outsourced American jobs as they were recieving government subsidies. By this time CEOs were making 400 times what their employees made and employeed wages stagnated. Banks were going bankrupt, yet their CEOs were getting million dollar bonuses or more. It was as if tge world was turned upside down. The American Dream was dead in the water.

In steps President Obama and the Democrats. They passed the ACA, the economy was slowly improving and jobs were slowly being created. All this despite Republican attempts to stop him and find a way to impeach him. Now the Stock Market is sitting at a record high, unemployment rate is below 8% and the Republicans are still doing everything they can to inhibit him.

But despite the improvements, does the American Dream still exist? Yes and no. It will never be the same as it was. It is more like buying a home and making sure the bills are paid. Maybe you can go on a vacation, most likely not if you want to put your kids through college. The one hidden stat that is very disturbing is that 91% of the wealth made over the past 5 years was made by the top 7% of America’s earners. It appears the American Dream has been held hostage.

Radicalization and Terrorism. Can we stop the process?

            First the excusr that Jihadist Terrorism being a response to American foreign policy must be scrapped. Or the percieved difficulty faced by Muslim youths trying to intergrate into American society. Most Muslims are not terrorists and in fact most abhore the actions of the zealots who pervert their religion. The only way to defear radical Jihadists is not by beating the violence, but the underlying ideology of hate.

As of 2012 according to Wikipedia, the American government, CIA, FBI, DEA, the police and the military have prevented 29 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11. In that time there has been one successful terrorist attack on U.S. soil. The Boston Marathon Bombing, which was committed by 2 Chechens, one who was interviewed by the FBI. If Russia g ad shared the information they had, that one would have been prevented as well.

We are never going to prevent Radicals from hating America, regardless of changes in our foreign policy. George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan indirectly or dirictly complied with terrorist by removing U.S. soldiers from a specific area, it did nothing to change the Radical attempts to harm our country or our citizens in foreign countries. Radicals twist religious teachings to fit their hate, their mental instability and the fact that their situation was caused by Radicals before them. They prey upon weak people, lost souls and those looking for a group identity. These people are so immersed in their leaders teachings, they cannot see the forest for the trees. They do not realize that they are pawns in a sick game of revenge on a society not the individual “evil doer”. They also don’t realize their leader does not put themselves in harms way unless it comes to them, despite their claims that dying whole killing the infidels is glorious and guarantees a spot in heaven. They manipulate the weak minded, they are predators.

We can stopp planned attacks, which has been proven. The Intellegence Services pick up “chatter” and then figure out how to handle it. They usually find out if the “chatter” is true, narrow down the conspirators and then strike. We need to stop assisting countries that support or allow terrorist to hide in their lands, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran- which is subsidized by wealthy Americans like Mitt Romney and their controlling interests in the oil fields. Drone strikes make a lot of sense in these cases, cross border attacks on terrorist hideouts and training camps. We have made a lot of progress, but as a Free Society we will always be open to attacks. If we became a police state, the terrorists woukd have won and we still wouldn’t be safe.

Our leaders, intellegence services, police and other organizations have done an admirable job stopping attacks. Lone wolf attacks like the Boston Marathon Bombing or the attack on the British soldier will continue to be a thorn in our side. It shows how terrorists are adapting to our methods, finding alternate means of communication. If we cannot pick up any information about an attack, it cannot be prevented. We will never stop radicalization, we can change how we are percieved worldwide, it doesnt matter what we do. It us not our policies they disagree with, it is our freedoms and it is their theory that all people should live by Sharia Law. As we deal with more of this maybe we can develope nethods to stop radicalization.
In closing, Republucans; Democrats, President Obama or Joe the Plumber are not the cause, we are the victim. You cannot stop insanity, you hospitalize and medicate it. For radicalization to stop, it must be felliw Muslims that stop it. They need to preach what their religion is really about and erase the perversion done by zealots. All we can do is stop what we can and react well when it happens. We cannot kick people out of the country or hate all because of the actions of a few. We are America, we are better than that.