Posts Tagged politics

Why SOPA Makes Sense (but not to me)

This is the age of information warfare and digital warfare. After watching a brief video on the internet hacker group Anonymous, I now understand why control over the internet is so important. And it’s not because of some whiny record label companies.

Anonymous, has given the federal government reason to stir. The Occupy movement could be taken down in a matter of days if it was deemed out of control. American opinions however, are not so quelled. This seems to be the focus of Anonymous. The complete naked purpose of a government and it’s people. No guarded opinions, and no carefully crafted words. Just the truth.

Which is scary to me. The whole idea of digital warfare is scary to me. It covers a broad range of tactics, from internet propoganda, to hacking the files of a police department. (Let’s not forget that a U.S. drone was allegedly hijacked by the Iranians.) Anyone could be a target, really. And with so much information and control, rested in the hands of our trusty computers and mobile devices, almost anything is at risk.

But let’s be serious. Anonymous, who is a Homeland Security target, probably isn’t too interested in pulling out the skeletons of your close. In fact, they’re a little more Robin Hood-esque; hacking the files of the rich, and donating money to charity.

This is why it makes sense now. If I were one of the accused 1%, I wouldn’t want my money, credentials, or otherwise private life, available to the other 99%. That is scary. I would grab the internet by the balls, and use whatever digital wizardry hackers use to make sure shit like this doesn’t get out of hand.

Maybe thats not the point. Maybe, I’m off subject. But I feel like these types of groups may be poking the bear. How will it answer?

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Same War Different Bill

LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT OUR LIVES, OUR WORLDS, AND FOR A MINUTE, BE HONEST WITH OURSELVES.

How much does media dominate our lives? If your reading this post, it’s safe to say that it plays a significant role in the way you live, dress, eat, and think. Most importantly, how you think. The media – especially the news media – is an all around conflict of ideas, from every angle, that targets the human brain with misinformation.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been delving into the philosophy of that previous statement of information wars. Which is why the other week, when I read an article about the U.S. Senate hearing out a bill that will target Americans with military force, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I wasn’t worried.

According to some U.S. politicians, the world is a place of eternal conflict that we are all a part of. The “battlefield“, as it is described by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), has been in existence since I was in high school. I have, like many of my friends, grown up in this “battlefield.” So when I am told by extremely liberal media sources that the U.S. Constitution is being ripped from the people, that the economic crisis and false flag operations are all signs that the GOVERNMENT is TARGETING YOU, I am not surprised, nor am I scared.

When I was younger I heard some very clear words in George W. Bush’s address on September 20, 2001: “You are either with us or you are with the terrorists.” Those words pierced my brain like a diamond spear, and to this day, I am still unsure how to interpret them. Good ol’ Dubya certainly had a way with speaking people (that even my first journalism instructor would admit to, after he met the man in person). It was a way that made your spine shiver with devotion. But Hitler was also a good speaker. It was that speech, and those words, that made me see  the lines of this “battlefield.” The righteous, the good, the Christian, the American, the white-washed people of fortunate upbringing; and the corrupt, the evil, the Muslim, the terrorists, the gay, the anarchists, the Canadian, and the people of the Third World.

That view is extreme, and obviously the thoughts of someone who hasn’t done enough of their homework to appreciate fully what the former President was saying. But it was also obvious that each person was to participate in this Global War on Terror in some way. There were things that were happening in the U.S. government, that I was just beginning to understand. I knew what the Patriot Act was, and I knew what it meant.

The battlefield is not of guns and roadside bombs, snipers and mortars – at least not yet. It is a battle of information, where news networks, the CIA, NSA, and FBI, instil fear in the people. The so-called “unbiased” news is becoming a burden on people, where the opinions of the individual matter more to those who have the same idea. After all, no major news network will ever change the minds of people on a large scale.

Needless to say, the NDAA passed, 93 – 7. And because history is written by the victor, yes, the world is officially a battlefield (yay!). Acting out against the U.S. will eventually lead to your demise.

People are going to hear what they want to hear. InfoWars has a video about the  NDAA. Those Americans crazy enough to want to fight their own government in an open war (with guns, bombs, snipers and such…) will eat up the doomsday terror tone, load their shotguns, pack their beans, and start siphoning gas from their rich republican-voting neighbor. The same thing happened when Saddam Hussein was hiding his weapons of mass destruction.

My mom (who is a hippy) is constantly lecturing me about the laws of attraction. She tells me, “If you worry so much about something, then you can make it a reality…” or something like that. Assuming she is right, I think the fear of  government tyranny is becoming stronger as more people feed into it (I’m talking to you, Occupy protesters). Fear is the medias sharpest tool, after all. The media shows us civil unrest in American cities, war in Afghanistan, failing economies. With these things, we are scared into hiding under the wing of an institution.

Yes, we are all potential targets for USNORTHCOM now. But did anyone think they could get away with terrorist activities before? (Look at the foiled plots.) I have met government hackers and other Homeland Security agents before. They are always looking for terrorists or information that will lead them to terrorists. I only ask that people rethink their fears. No one has a gun to your head, and until then, viva la liberte.

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The Monster of Media

IN THE LAST TWO DECADES, THE MEDIA AND IT’S ASSOCIATED TECHNOLOGY HAS GROWN RAPIDLY:

Books, magazines, television, movies, news, the internet, and video-gaming have all become part of our everyday lives in this day and age. Due to the holiday surge of popular video-games released this month, I have been somewhat of a hermit. The most popular of these games are crafted with an undeniable sense of artwork.

More often video games are subject to film adaptations, book adaptations, prequels, sequels, comic books, other forms of continuation, and countless types of fan art. Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn series writes in the December issue of Gameinformer about expanding the stories of video-games through multimedia outlets. “Hybrid media, like we’re talking about here, should be less about making us experience the same story over and over, and more about expanding the story,” writes Sanderson. “More importantly, we already have a storytelling form (video-games) that is good at blending genres. It was built to blend genres,” he writes.

Gaming is no longer a simple time killing hobby. The days of breezing through Mario World, or playing a few rounds of Mortal Kombat II are through. Gaming is now opening doors in the media that inspire players to be creative, think and ask questions.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, released in 2009, allowed the player to gun down innocent Russian civilians in the “No Russian” mission. The basis for this was key to the story line: as an undercover CIA agent, you are tasked to infiltrate a Russian terrorist group and aid them in an attack on a Russian airport. Although games such as Grand Theft Auto allow the killing of innocents, Modern Warfare 2’s “No Russian” was serious, politically motivated, realistic, and disturbing (yet I played it over and over again).

A scene from "No Russian."

Everyone remembers the stink caused by Grand Theft Auto 3. A game centered around committing crime was sending the wrong idea for children. Not to mention it involved prostitution, and later in the series, drunk driving. But in all fairness, film contains worse things. The release of the Tom Clancy-esque Call of Duty games has solidified the fact that not all games are suited for children. In fact, most children won’t understand the themes of these games to begin with.

Which brings me to my next point: Rainbow 6. Ubiosoft’s Tom Clancy inspired Rainbow 6 games were once a dominating force in tactical, SWAT styled first person shooters (FPS). The original one was the first computer game I ever owned. In the December issue of Gameinformer, Matt Bertz and Jeff Cork released a sneak peek at Ubisofts newest development: Rainbow 6 Patriots. The article’s cover page is a blood-red, blindfolded Statue of Liberty. The headline: “AMERICANS ARE ANGRY”, this is gonna be good…Pretty much amazing.

As the world changes, media changes. In the article, Ubisoft acknowledges that players familiar with FPS’s are tiresome with fighting off Nazis, Russians, and foreign terrorists. So they chose a storyline that hits close to home. The first few paragraphs I read sounded like an opinion piece from a newspaper,  rather than an article on a video-game. They cite the failing economy, the growing despair of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum, and the rise in paramilitary groups and militias around the country. In the game you experience a violent political and social revolution where you are in the position to kill fellow countrymen. This sort of game raises serious ethical questions about what is allowed in Media, and how we experience it, as well as what direction America is heading in.

Last years release of Medal of Honor 2 caused a similar fuss, especially in military communities. In that game, players were allowed to play as Taliban forces and fight American troops. AAFES (Post Exchange) wouldn’t even allow copies to be sold in their stores. Another game, Homefront, also saw the killing of Americans (during a fictional North Korean invasion).

In my own opinion, these multimedia regulations are slop. Books, film, games, etc. are all just the main ingredients for a multimedia soup where the internet is the broth that brings them together. To restrict one without the other due to content would be unfair. I congratulate Ubisoft for being so bold. It may inspire interest in politics amongst young people – hopefully not violence. It allows those without imagination to view the world in a different light.

What are morals?

Brandon Sanderson seems to think that video-gaming is the future of entertainment. But it is hard for me to imagine everyone, young and old, glued to their favorite game console. Gaming simply isn’t for everyone. I do think that the craft of video-gaming is advancing in ways that were never thought practical. The story, whether it is fictional, or non-fictional is becoming interactive, not just in video-games, but in movies and ebooks. Could you imagine being able to interact with a news article? That’s a little farfetched I know, but it could be the future of how we entertain and inform ourselves.

As far as ethics go, I was born into the age of the internet; My human anatomy teacher was Rotten.com, and my sex ed teacher was Nakedchicks.com. The encyclopedia is Google. I played Ghost Recon so much, that I decided to join the Army. To say the least, me and many others from my generation have successfully desensitized ourselves from the media. Anything goes.

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The Worst News EVER

THIS IS IT.

This is the worst news that has ever been told. If you are holding a cup of coffee, I suggest you swallow it down now. If you are using power-drill or holding a newborn child, you may want to put it aside for now. This will probably disturb you.

You or your loved ones, may possibly be…. A LIBERAL.

I know! It is hard to believe, but after taking this shocking test on Gotoquiz.com I have discovered that yours truly, is in fact, a liberal. It doesn’t matter how many assault rifles I want to own or how I want to use them on illegal immigrants. According to the polls, I am one bad fetus-aborting-pollution-hating-gay-marriage-supporting mother of a liberal. Even on this poll, again, I am overwhelmingly liberal.

If you are not a liberal, then what about your spouse? Your children? Are they?

My good friend Pat

Who am I really kidding, though? Everyone knows who they affiliate with. Most of my friends have piercings and I enjoy a fresh slice of sushi now and again. I’m not afraid of these things, though. No, because in my own nihilism, I am not a liberal – and you don’t have to be one of those sissies either.

The main reason I post this, is because beneath a mess of mixed identities and ego, I’m just a regular person. And like a regular person, I got on the bus, read the news, and learned that according to Mississippi lawmakers, life begins at conception. Yes. When mommy and daddy bumped uglies. That’s your effective date of life. To hell with Birth Days, in Mississippi, you celebrate Conception Days. So in Mississippi, I may actually be a year older than I am. Cool! But not really.

Initiative 26, which is more than likely going to pass, will ban abortion entirely, even in cases involving rape, incest, and health. It will also ban some forms of birth control (Why?).

The flaming liberal emerges.

I understand that abortion is bad, and those who take advantage of them are irresponsible. One might say they are complete idiots. But the fetus really doesn’t have much in the way of a cerebral cortex at this point in it’s “life” and therefore doesn’t necessarily worry about these things – or anything for that matter. I dare say, such a fetus wouldn’t have much more value than any other bodily tissue, say a spleen.

Maybe that’s a bold statement, but so is saying a child should be given up for adoption at a young age, then be aborted as an uncognitive fetus. And I hate to bring out the extremes, but isn’t it a little ridiculous to deny a 13 year old girl who is a rape and/or incest victim the option of abortion? That almost is actually The Worst News Ever.

Let’s put aside the moral and religious ideas. No one said you had to believe in God to be an American. In fact, I’m pretty sure that is far from being a pre-requisite.

No abortions in Mississippi? Get your coat hangers ready. Your either about to have a lot of miserable children or unhealthy women. Fine. I don’t plan on having unprotected sex in that state anyway. Hopefully they don’t ban rubbers their. Oh, what? Florida, Michigan, Montana, Wisconsin, and Ohio are hoping to push for similar proposition? I guess that makes six states that I will never visit.

 I find it strange that after all these years of striving for justice, equality, and freedom, issues such as these are so blindly sought after. For instance, Idiot Lawyer quoted in the New York Times: “… it’s an opportunity for people to say that we’re made in the image of God.” That supports nothing, but your religion which you are forcing upon others. The idea that a fetus is a person with human rights is more convincing. With that, can a fetus have citizenship? Could the fetus sign some documents for the INS?

All this hair-splitting is really irritating.

 As sarcastic as I may sound, it is a serious issue that needs resolve. States can do what they wish with the clinics, but life must be determined at a federal level

… Rest assured conservative viewers, I do support smoking and I still love the Second amendment.

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Extreme (Regime) Makeover!

FUCK PRIORITY

The prospects in Libya are incredibly low, the cost is high, and it’s priority on the Humanitarian Intervention Check List (something I just made up) isn’t exactly that high.  Sometimes I like to wonder what U.S. troops in Afghanistan think about these efforts.

As far as I know, the West’s recent actions in Libya have been of the best of intentions. Similar to Iraq and Afghanistan, we are working to kill or capture another asshole, by supporting and arming revolutionaries and rebel groups. This makes our third “regime makeover” in the last ten years (and jeeze, I really hope they make a TV series out of these inteventions).

 Everyone (for the most part) seems happy about this. Both Democrats and Republicans, Conservative and Liberals are generally accepting of these efforts. Finally, something to agree on. Conservatives get aerial bombardment and Liberals get a democratic revolution.

According to Al Jazeera, the revolution’s death toll is somewhere around 10,000. Which is a lot of bodies, in comparison to the conflict in Afghanistan. Even more disconcerting is the death toll in Sub-Saharan Africa where 30,000 people have died from a famine in Somalia – lets not forget 5 million in Congo. Closer to home is the death toll in Mexico which reached 15,273 last year.

Although, Libya, Somalia, and Mexico all mean different things to the U.S., I find the amount of aid and support being sent to Libya unfair.

I’ve come to terms with the U.S. being the SWAT team of the WPD (World Police Department), but our priorities are off. Where Mexican cartels are fueling drug trade in the U.S., crime rates, and instability along our border, the Libyan rebels we support are commiting the same war crimes as their former leader they seek to kill. And although the U.S. is the biggest donor to the Somalian relief, the money it sends to the Horn of Africa a small fraction of what it plans to send in support of Libya.

The U.S. has a pretty kick ass history of destroying foreign armies; the truth is, no one want’s to go to war with the U.S. We love the smell of napalm in the morning. But could we please rearrange our list of things to do? And can we start at home for the love of Christ?

I find it hard to believe anyone would support multiple $500 million dollar “baskets” being sent to Libya in support of a new regime, especially when the only issue advertised on T.V. is the national debt and the unemployment rate.

Some 55,000 troops will have withdrawn from Afghanistan by 2012. But will this decutction support the aid we send to Libya, or any other Middle-East country who decides to overthrow a dictator?

The Western support for Libya is just another feeble attempt at securing a pro-Western government in the Middle-East. Who’s to say the Transitional National Council will develop anything the least bit democratic anyway? The Libyan people deserve a stronger, more independent nation, but it is not the West’s place to control this.

Since Iraq, the U.S. and other Coalition forces, developed the mentality that because they are free countries, and have advanced militaries, they are the only ones capable of providing Democracy and Peace – or at least Democracy-  in countries without it.

A couple hundred years ago, there was a very repressed country that had little foreign aid, money, or military power. They managed to overcome the world’s largest superpower and maintain a democratic-republic that is still present today. I don’t remember

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The Barbary Wars (Part Two)

It looks like there is another victory for Coalition Forces in the Middle-East.

…This time it’s in Libya. It’s uncertain whether or not rebels have come out on top. But since every picture of the conflict I’ve seen has been of rebel fighters, I’ll just assume their winning. It’s also uncertain whether or not this is actually a good thing.

Both factions are now accused of war crimes. Images of Gaddafi supporters, found with hands bound, shot execution style are now starting stir a few questions in my head. Why are we supporting the rebels? If you’re a Libyan history scholar (as I now am, ever since I Googled Libya), you’ll already know that practically every power that has controlled the region has done so through the use of force. Greeks, Romans, Caliphates, the Ottomans, and Italians all have taken Libya for their own, through military action. It wasn’t until after WWII that a King was appointed for an Independent Libya by the U.N. – who was then ousted by a young Gaddafi.

Coup d’etat is just the Libyan equivalent of election; a little less frequent, and maybe more exciting. But with all of the protests across the Middle-East chanting Democracy, I don’t understand what’s so great about Libya. Aren’t Iran and Syria a little more on our “Hated” list? And wouldn’t it be slightly more strategic to oust the regimes their? Or are we just trying to hunt down smaller prey?

David Harsanyi has a similar view:

Is Libya more vital to our national interest than Iran or North Korea or the Kurds of Turkey? After recent experiences with conflict and social engineering, how can anyone believe we can effectively institute democracy in the Middle East?

The Coalition involvement is said to be a humanitarian mission. Which is fine, and I don’t mind the humanitarian missiles, but it’s more than just that. It’s the U.S. -or rather Obama- doing the foreign policy dance. And it’s really starting to look sloppy at this point. Especially since Western relations with the Gaddafi regime were begining to improve.

Gaddafi:

  • disposed of his “weapons of mass destruction,”
  • payed €3 billion in compensation to victims of terrorist acts (which his regime had been partially responsible for),
  • released political prisoners,
  • had his country taken off the U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism,
  • and had even been selected to serve as Chairman of the African Union for a  year.

 On the other side of the spectrum, he:

  • has supported countless terrorists, genocide, assassinations,
  • has placed bounties on the heads of Libyans who oppose him,
  • has essentially been a thorn in Democracy’s side since day one 
  • and in light of recent events, hides his military behind civilian facilities.

But I suppose if France, Brittain, and Canada are going to bomb Gaddafi, then oh well – We may as well send in some F-15’s and CIA agents. At least gas prices seemed to have decreased.

 Once stability in Libya has been restored, are we really going to be able to trust the rebels?Our track record for supporting rebel forces isn’t so hot (*cough* Taliban *cough cough*).

And even if we can trust the new Libyan government, will we be able to look back and say “wow, that was definitely worth it, even though were facing a financial crisis and all” ? Time will only tell.

In the meantime, we can cross our fingers and watch our tax dollars at work on CNN.

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Politics of Confusion

IF THERE IS ANYONE WHO SHOULD KNOW U.S. POLTICS, IT’S ME…

…Although I’m sorry to say, with just a few short weeks left serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, I know practically nothing about current politics. It’s strange to think that someone who is sworn to uphold and defend this country’s constitution would know little about what’s really going on out there. But I don’t think I’m the only one.

I believe a majority of service members wouldn’t have a clue as to what’s really going on, besides the troop withdrawls and where their next deployment may take them. And that goes for many people throughout the U.S. in general; no one really knows what’s happening out there. Even the politicians seem confused. Sure, there is the issue with the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the problems we faced with Medicare (or Obamacare, or Medicaid – take your pick), and the ongoing national debt crisis.

Most people who don’t live in a mud hut know about these things. Even better, most people seem to have opinions about these things, and EVERYONE has someone to blame: Liberals, Conservatives, Immigrants, Terrorists, CHINA, the World Bank, the President, Congress, Abraham Lincoln, Billy Mays, Me, You, Whoever.

I’m not complaining though. In fact, I’m okay with it. We don’t live in a state of martial law yet and I still earn money (despite the fact that were in an economic depression). So I’m happy, or at least I’m expected to be – although I did quit my cable service the other month. Everyone around me seems to be okay with these things too. Their cable still works, they’re still able to afford fuel for their gas guzzling trucks, their Facebook profile is still active, and Domino’s still delivers. We are all okay. No one is dying. No one is homeless. No one is hungry. We are complacent, and we’re okay.

I’m only a term soldier, not a proud career veteran, but I’ve learned a few things. One thing that’s really stuck, is that complacency kills. In combat, it literally kills people. But back in the real world (as veterans call it for some strange reason), complacency kills motivation. Not simply the motivation to get out of bed in the morning, but the motivation that makes us ask why? The kind that makes us want to poke our heads out of our warm little nests and grasp with both hands the situation sitting outside our doorsteps. The kind of motivation that makes you want to do something about THIS.

I told the cable company to cancel my service for a couple reasons: 1) I was playing too much Call of Duty and not watching enough T.V. 2) It was outrageously priced, and 3) Everything I saw on T.V. was making me sick. There is no escaping the barrage of political infomercials in between every show you watch these days. Plenty of shows on T.V. are just that: Infomercials! Or rather Infotainment.

Everything on the news channels is bad. I can’t fathom how much debt this countries in, especially right after a U.S. Chinook carrying 30 plus troops is shot out of the sky, or when scores of children died in Africa today and scores more will die tomorrow. I can’t fathom how much debt were in period. What are these numbers that are thrown out there? Billion-dollar bailouts? DOW Jones is up? Good, I guess. We’ve passed our national debt ceiling? So can we still spend money? Apparently so. And how much is it? More than a trillion dollars? Who comes up with these figures?

I’m not a spooked out conspiracy freak barricading myself in my mom’s basement. The facts are out there, and they’re not pretty. What I really want to know is, WHAT IS GOING ON?

If you have any solid information (from a RELIABLE source), please, see my e mail. If you are as clueless as me, feel free to vent your frustration. Next, I will attempt to burry myself under a mound of documents, blogs, and news articles related to current U.S. politics in an attempt to gain enough information for my next blog, or to confuse myself farther down the rabbit hole.

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