What Happened To Our Privacy?

privacy_lapThe short answer is that we gave it away sometimes unwillingly or unwittingly.

It was less than a decade ago that people were alarmed to learn that they were legally being spied upon in retail store changing rooms and in the workplace.

A lot has changed since the late 90s. We are now observed on the street where, we are told that the expectation of privacy is non-existent, in retail stores where every gaze is carefully scrutinized not to mention those loyalty cards that monitor our purchases and most intrusively on the internet. Continue reading

Murder in the Middle East

The murder of our diplomats in Libya and the constant killing of our troops, 51 so far this year in green on blue attacks, in Afghanistan should prompt further investigation into why we are there.

It has recently been reported that the surge troops have been withdrawn because the Taliban has been successfully routed. This is good. The less troops we have in the region the better. Yet we hear that our troops are being murdered by the Taliban who have infiltrated the security forces they have been training. So what is it? Are the Taliban gone or not? Continue reading

Occupy Wall Street: The Crux of the Issue

The “Occupy” protests across the country have been criticized by the media and mostly ignored by our elected representatives. Much of this criticism stems from the desire by both the media and the politicians for a single sound bite or demand while the focus of the issue is as plain as the nose on their faces, to separate money from politics.

The single issue is the fact that we have become a Corporatocracy where the 99%, expressed as the rallying cry of the OWS movement, are marginalized and ignored Continue reading

End All Foreign Aid Now

End all foreign aid, especially to dictators.

Diplomatic relations, always. Free and fair trade, yes. Humanitarian aid directly to the people, yes. Military protection for NATO allies, yes. Financial and military aid, no.

The recent events in Egypt highlight yet again how poor the U.S. is at picking foreign powers to support. Think how well American support went with the Shaw of Iran, Saddam, Augusto Pinochet, Ferdinand Marcos, Manuel Noriega and the list goes on.

And yet we continue this failed policy with the support of Pakistan where it is well-known that aid dollars are being funneled to the Taliban through corruption and now we are supporting Yemen to the tune of $250 million a year, up five times from previous years. Continue reading

For A Free Internet

Periodically the Internet comes under attack  by governments who either want to control, censor or tax it.  This time the desire to control the Internet was probably precipitated by the recent Wikileaks release of State Department cables that left officials scrambling to control the disaster. But this piece is not about Wikileaks or any isolated incident that has occurred and will, undoubtedly, occur again in the future. It is about government control of a resource that is at its foundation about free expression and the free exchange of information as originally conceived by the DARPA inventors in the late 70s.

Prior to the Internet the free press served as a sort of watchdog on our culture, the goings on of governments, and a forum for the free expression of the people, what’s left of it still does. Today the internet serves much the same purpose especially as the traditional media tries to figure out how to survive in the age of the world-wide web and make use of this resource. Indeed for some, rightly or wrongly the Internet IS the press. Of critical importance the internet has also given a voice and an outlet to the people through blogs in addition to the millions of web sites. Continue reading

Lawbreakers May Be Getting A Free Pass

In a  7/30/2010 AP news story it was reported that the Obama administration has been looking for ways to skirt congress to solve the immigration problem. The article discusses an April 11-page internal memo by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that outlines ways that the government could provide “relief” to illegal immigrants including delaying deportation perhaps indefinitely.

This sounds a bit like amnesty and we all know how well that went back in 1986. Rewarding illegal behavior results in more of the same. In 1986 there were about 1 million illegals, now we have an estimated 12 million. Continue reading

Our Information Democracy and the Influence of Lobbies

Americans have been voracious collectors of data as far back as 1790 when the first census was conducted. Examples abound from the many polls that are conducted to measuring traffic flow to tracking what we buy and even personal demographics. All this data then becomes massaged, analyzed, filtered, sorted and condensed to become information.

With the advent of the publicly available internet this era has become known as the information age. Some individuals are so caught up in the torrent of information that they become information junkies.

But information is good. Right? Continue reading