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Syria, I’m Just Not That Into You

It’s funny, if you watch the main stream media, you would think that there was a big debate going on over whether to intervene in Syria or not. There isn’t. Over 90% of Americans are against it. Let me tell you why I’m against it.

First off, Obama clearly stated that we’re not after regime change, so changing the balance of power is not our goal. What is our goal? Is it to stop Assad from killing Syrians? Let’s assume that’s the reason, even though no one has made that clear. I have to wonder, who are the “good” guys in Syria? Do we know that the rebels are any better than Assad? Why would we intervene without making that determination? Do we really need to go in without all of the information again? Remember, we didn’t know shit about the relationship between the Sunni and the Shia before going into Iraq. Do we really need to make that fucking mistake again?

Secondly, 30 years ago, we thought that training the mujahideen was a good idea. A strong argument can be made that doing that directly led to 911. Obviously, it wasn’t just that, but it was that and installing the Shah in Iran, and our continued interference between Iran and Iraq, plus our blind support of Israel. We need to stop leading the efforts to control the middle east. We clearly don’t understand it well enough to be an authority on what the “right” thing to do is.

Let’s assume something we categorically don’t know for a minute; that the rebels are the “good” guys. We’re stuck in this endless loop where we have the world’s biggest military, so we’re the ones best positioned to intervene in other countries’ “atrocities” (real or manufactured). This leads to having to spend even more money on the military. This reminds me of the cocaine commercials from the 80s; “I do more coke so that I can work more, so that I can earn more money to buy more coke”. It’s endless. The only winners here, seem to be the military industrial complex. They win whether we do the “right” thing or the disastrously wrong thing.

And lastly, no one has explained why intervening in Syria is good for America. What are our interests here? I’m sorry for the Syrians who are suffering, and I hope that they get a good outcome for themselves, but I’m not interested in selectively playing the role of “moral authority” in the world. Bad regimes have eventually fallen at the hands of the oppressed people throughout time. When Syria is ready for regime change, they will change it.

Our history of selective intervention is so tainted, that we aren’t even seen as a moral authority anymore. Everything we do is questionable now, and anything we achieve in another country will always be seen as “illegitimate” in the eyes of the people in those countries. Even if we manage to help the “good” guys, they will never be seen as the good guys. They will forever be seen as another symbol of western intervention.

There is no benefit to be had here, for anyone. I honestly can’t come up with a single reason to get involved in this conflict. I am by no means a strict isolationist, but just like Iraq, I can’t see what “winning” looks like. At least in Iraq, the interests of Exxon and all of the other oil companies was clear. There is no clarity of purpose here, not even a perverse purpose.

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The Efficacy of Mass Surveillance

It’s been two and a half months since Edward Snowden made the American people, the world, and most importantly, the United States Congress aware of the mass surveillance programs that the NSA have been engaged in. Since then, we’ve heard 100% of the main stream media refer to Snowden as a traitor. We’ve heard the NSA and the white house vehemently defend this program, claiming that it has been vital to national security.

Two months before some (there are still a lot of things we don’t know) of the details of the programs were released by Snowden, a now infamous Q&A by Ron Wyden of James Clapper (Director of Intelligence) happenes wherein Clapper claimed that the NSA did not wittingly collect data on US citizens.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYgkjczoBYk[/youtube]

Did you catch the frenetic head scratching by Clapper there? If you don’t recognize that as a tell, I’d love to play some high stakes poker with you.

On June 12, 2013 General Keith Alexander claimed (in a senate committee hearing) that these surveillance programs have thwarted dozens of terrorist plots. He didn’t offer up any specific examples, or much detail beyond claiming that dozens of plots were thwarted.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5Q0g60n9rM[/youtube]

And then on June 18, 2013, Alexander upped “dozens” to fifty plots thwarted in twenty different countries. He still didn’t offer up any specifics. But don’t worry, the administration sent out some surrogates to serve us up some yummy bullshit on foiled plots that were quickly debunked here and here. So at this point, we’re a month into knowing that our government is watching all of our electronic communications, we have the Director Of Intelligence caught lying to the senate, we have no concrete proof of the efficacy of the program, we have the director of the NSA making increasingly growing claims about how well the programs work, and we have two lame attempts of “proof”.

And inexplicably, some Americans are buying this horseshit. I understand conservatives going along with this when it was Bush, because the psychology of the modern conservative is to follow an authoritarian. They need daddy to protect them from a very simple world in which only good and evil exists. But democrats? Aren’t you supposed to be critical thinkers, basing opinions on evidence and data?

Remember when Loretta Sanchez, a good little foot soldier for the democratic party, and specifically the Obama administration did this interview?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nvXn2w_FvY[/youtube]

Did she seem shell shocked to you? She certainly did to me.

And yet, people are still defending the program, I mean Obama. This isn’t about the program, it’s about protecting your political “team” at all cost. Edward Snowden = evil traitor, Barack Obama = good daddy protecting you. Never mind the fact that Snowden’s leaks at the very least served to inform your representative about what the government is doing. No, he’s a traitor and these programs work.

Unfuckingbelievable.

A few weeks ago, we found out that all of the judges appointed to the FISA court, are appointed solely by John Roberts. I can see why this gives solace to republicans, but democrats who are still on board? Seriously? Soldier on, little lemming, soldier on.

Two days ago, NSA Deputy Director John Inglis testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He testified that at most, one plot might have been disrupted by mass phone surveillance, adding “There is an example that comes close to a ‘but for‘ example”. Did you catch all of the equivocating there? At most one plot. That means the number is either one or zero. “…close to a ‘but for‘”… This gives you confidence?

Soldier on, little lemmings, soldier on.

Believe me when I tell you that Inglis’ testimony was well crafted and finely tuned. There’s a reason why the NSA is back peddling from “fifty” plots foiled. I suspect that a lot more shit is about to hit the fan on these programs.

But don’t let the mounting evidence deter you. Soldier on, little lemming, soldier on.

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