Sunday, June 30, 2013

NSA Leak: Russian Hearts Warm To Snowden, Ecuador Fights U.S. Bullying

Edward Snowden during an interview in Hong Kong. (Guardian / June 10, 2013)

From Denny:   Edward Snowden currently finds himself in the tender care of the Russians, supposedly America's worst enemy.  Yet these Russians are warming to him, impressed by his One Man Stand against the strongest world government which they have bitterly resented for decades.  While the Russians may also say they think Snowden's quest is probably a losing proposition they secretly hope he succeeds.  

There is nothing better than witnessing when the seemingly impossible becomes possible.  Remember that One Man Stand of a Chinese student dissident standing in front of a tank during a protest and the tank came to a complete halt just inches in front of him?  That was impressive and cheered many human rights activists around the world.

Both of these acts speak to where there is one there is a majority of one.  You only have to stand and count for something, especially when it involves being of service to others.  A lot of snarky articles have been written about Snowden these past few weeks since this story broke.  Too many reporters have been working hard to tear down Snowden, accusing him of all kinds of motives.  Tell me; how many of these chicken hawk writers would have this courage like Snowden to be of service when it involves laying down your life not just for your country but for the world?

Is Snowden a saint?  No; of course not in the sense most people think of the definition as someone who is totally perfect and never makes a mistake or misjudgment.  Most saints would also tell you they are not saints.  But what is a saint but someone who chose the journey of courage in a long tough situation?  It's about the power of just one person who strikes a chord with the many and ends up creating one consensus...

NSA Leak: Has NSA Demanded Your Credit Report Too? Are They Reselling Data Without Your Knowledge?

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This week the U.S. government, in the persons of Rep. Sander Levin, the top Democrat on the House trade panel, and also Sen. Menendez, chairman of the foreign relations panel threatened Ecuador with refusing to renew two deals if the Ecuadoran president gave asylum to Snowden.  One is a 1991 trade deal that helps keep in place 320,000 jobs, helping to maintain political stability.

Yeah, that's a plan to make the United States look good in historically touchy South America:  threaten a small country with a huge amount of impoverished folks in need of some kindness.  Rep. Levin and Sen. Menendez threaten their ability to feed their families.  Rep. Levin and Sen. Menendez believe the NSA CYA (Cover Your Ass) crowd who are ruthlessly intent upon silencing Snowden, desperate for the public and the President not to find out just how badly they have screwed up.  

Well, at least Ecuador doesn't believe the stupidity concerning Snowden.  In fact, this week, the Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa cancelled the trade deal with America, not caring if the 1991 custom benefits deal (The Andean Trade Preference Act) was renewed.  He figured his country will figure out how to muddle through as preferred to being bullied by the largest power on the planet.  Ecuador refuses to cave in to U. S. pressure like from VP Biden as well.  "Ecuador does not accept pressure or threats from anyone nor does it trade with principles or submit them to mercantile interests, however important those may be."

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The international drama gets better - and funnier.  Ecuador's Communications Secretary Fernando Alvarado announced Ecuador would offer a $23 million annual fund - the amount they lost in the trade benefits - to give the United States a proper human rights education.  That human rights funding aimed at America would help "avoid violations of privacy, torture and other actions that are denigrating to humanity."

We witness this situation of a people in government abusing their power to spy on their citizens and non-citizens excessively.  They are also collecting political intelligence to sell to the business markets and personal information on powerful people in order to blackmail them.  This Big Brother mentality is out of control.

It's about to get worse if any of the current cybersecurity bills get signed into law.  The NSA will have access to all our private information:  everything.  Our government, from America to others around the world, are so obsessed with counter-terrorism they are now terrorizing their own citizens.  How ridiculous is this reverse terrorism culture where the terrorists have convinced us to terrorize ourselves?

At this point it's a lot easier to tell our governments to forget about attempting to protect us because all governments are out of control and have gone too far.  We would rather take our own chances and do the fighting back ourselves against any terrorists.  Especially here in America we can buy all the guns we want and we have no problem using guns to protect ourselves.

The average American now routinely jumps and restrains unruly passengers on airplanes since 2001.  There are 300 million pairs of eyes watching our streets, our neighborhoods, ever vigilant and looking for suspicious behavior.  The citizens are the ones who call in tips to the local police and the FBI to follow up with investigations that uncover terrorist plots.

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Maybe it's time to close down the NSA spying programs (check out this link for latest cybersecurity legislation that rapes all private information rights).  It's past due time to close down Gitmo and give back the terrorists to their families.  It's past due time to restore Americans' civil rights, privacy rights and human rights.  Certainly the first black President would be sensitive to this need?  This government of wayward agencies is way out of control and much too concerned to play the CYA Dance instead of paying attention to the needs of the people whom they are supposed to represent - not prey upon with impunity.

Here are some timeless quotes from Robert Kennedy that is eerie how his sentiments apply even 50 years later:

Robert F. Kennedy, Cabinet Room, White House, ...
Robert F. Kennedy, Cabinet Room, White House, Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Robert Kennedy Quotes

NSA and Congress, Can you hear me now?

"The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use - of how to get men of power to live for the public rather than off the public."

Civil rights must be ever present:

"Time and time again the American people, facing danger and seemingly insurmountable odds, have mobilized the ingenuity, resourcefulness, strength, and bravery to meet the situation and triumph. In this long and critical struggle, the American System of free enterprise must be our major weapon. We must continue to prove to the world that we can provide a rising standard of living for all men without the loss of civil rights or human dignity to any man."

On Edward Snowden's attempt to awaken all:

"Our answer is the world's hope; it is to rely on youth. The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress. This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease."

Truth and Freedom as basic human values:

"The great challenge to all Americans - indeed to all free men and women - is to maintain loyalty to truth; to maintain loyalty to free institutions; to maintain loyalty to freedom as a basic human value, and above all else to keep in our hearts and minds the tolerance and mutual trust that have been the genius of American life throughout our history."

Real democracy requires listening to dissidents:

"Democracy is no easy form of government. Few nations have been able to sustain it. For it requires that we take the chances of freedom; that the liberating play of reason be brought to bear of events filled with passion; that dissent be allowed to make its appeal for acceptance; that men chance error in their search for the truth."

"The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of bold projects and new ideas. Rather, it will belong to those who can blend passion, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the great enterprises and ideals of American society."

The duty of a President:

"Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies."

And most important of all:

"The challenge of politics and public service is to discover what is interfering with justice and dignity for the individual here and now, and then to decide swiftly upon the appropriate remedies."

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