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And the US has become the Stazi, first detaining Greenwald’s partner, then destroying hard drives in the Guardian’s basement.

My how hard core capitalists have flipped things on their ears in 12 short years!

Close you eyes and just say this out loud:  A Western government just destroyed hard drives in a newpaper’s office.  A Western government  just detained the lover of a journalist to coerce that journalist into silence!

Makes one ashamed, doesn’t it?

It means… they are worried.  We’ve only heard the beginnings.  Wait until they start leaking how we undercut foreign businesses…..

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Photo Courtesy of The Atlantic
My guess is yes.   Remember how the election of 2000 forgot all about the national debt headed towards zero.  It forgot all about the greatest economic boom in America’s history.  It forgot about the prosperity that every quintile of the American Public experience growth from one year to the next.  It forgot about the peace that was in the Balkans.  It forgot about the curtailing of Welfare.  The election in 2000 was decided on morality.  More people in those good times were interested in “morality” than what was good for the economic future of this country.   Because of “morality” (translated as sexual immorality) even smart people could not bring themselves to vote for more of the same, and instead switched to something completely different.  It was close. Florida proved it, but had that immoral incident never been brought to light, … things would have been so much different today.   it affected that many voters, enough to throw an election in the middle of the biggest boom times ever, to the minority party.

That is a valuable lesson.  Now for a known Obama supporter and guide, to have severe misgivings over this use of secrecy and reading all data on all citizens, and keeping them for future reference, (one can only think for sinister reasons), is very telling.   This is a gut mover; one like having the president dally with an intern which sets a lot of people off.   Both are impossible to justify.  The simple fact that all this information is for sale to prospective employers, competitors for the next promotion, or spouses wishing to exit a relationship, has grave consequences to a lot of American’s private lives.  And it is not that they did something bad.  It is that accusations (unfounded) can be made on piecemeal information (as was done by Issa in the IRS hearings)  and the citizen of the United States cannot defend his actions.  In fact, he never knows of  what he was accused.  He gets turned down for this, or for that, and it is all from a mistake…

The Obama Administration is in grave danger of losing his place in history.  His legacy will be shadowed by his upholding of this secret spying.  He has only one out, and it must take place now; surprise everyone, and his legacy will be saved, as well as create a democratic administration which will not undo, as was promised by Romney, everything the current president has put in place.

Here is what he has to do.

1)  Fire and replace the current director with someone Constitutionals trust.

2)  Declare all NSA actions will now be open.  FOIA will apply to the NSA.

3) Remove all objections to lawsuits in court, which seek clarification over whether the Constitution was violated or not.

4) Since the NSA is in charge of domestic spying, (the CIA does International), the NSA rules need to change to that of the FBI.  Though not perfect, secrecy is still kept, but the super-secrecy is stopped.

5) Warrants will be required for all searches.  That is the minimum of what the Constitution requires.

6) Encourage all internet providers not to cooperate unless they have a court order requiring them to do so for each person.  Outlaw blanket searches.  Outlaw phishing.

7) Admit the NSA went overboard, and take the responsibility for it.   Say it was a mistake, which you plan and hope it will be fixed long before you hand over the White House keys to your successor.

Mark my words.  If a very moderate Republican (Christie) ran and said he would “shut down the NSA”,  he would get my vote as of now.  This is serious and you had better listen to those outside of Washington, before you listen to those within.   if you are skeptical, I don’t blame you.  But I have to tell you, we survived Bush; we can survive a moderate Republican who is far more clear headed and able to stand up to nut case conservatives, which was Bush’s biggest personal fault; he caved.   You need to understand that all that damage by Bush, affects my children far less than having them be slandered for something they know nothing of, or did not do because it is attached to their name. Our privacy is of utmost importance to us.   Just like America sent a signal that sex in the White House would not be tolerated, you are in the same boat now.   Clinton won the impeachment battle.  It cost Gore the next election.

The Republicans have something on you here; you are guilty;  this is scary stuff.  Any dodging, or keeping the status quo, hurts your legacy every day it exists in its current form.  You know what you have to do, and the sooner it gets done, the sooner all talk among our citizens goes back towards getting rid of Republicans completely, so we finally can fix the economy.

It would be one more thing.. you got right.

What an odd title but that is exactly what is going on in Egypt right now. A similar juxtaposition also occurred inside the minds of some Americans back on July 4th 1863 (exactly 150 years ago)  as they begin to bury the dead from both sides in Gettysburg.   Since human beings are 99.5% the same, what Egypt is now bearing must create some  intro-inspection upon how things are going here in the US as well.

I was shown an email passed among Tea Partiers that whooped:  “Egypt got rid of  their dictator; Why can’t we get rid of ours?”   Ironically the popular vote percents are strikingly similar… Morsi won with  51.7%;  Obama with 51.1%…   Yet Egypt is in the middle of a coup; and Obama is being hailed as the first since Dwight to have solidly won over 51% for both terms…

Just looking at a chart over our nation’s history one sees just how tight our popular vote margin is.  (one also sees the margin of victory is a bad indicator of just how good a president will be)…

It’s a good thing we have an electoral college to decide matters for us, and create a more determinable method of preventing what Egyptians and many of out tea partiers think should happen now….

I know many decry Bush’s win (-0.51$)  over Gore and use that to promote an amendment to abolish the Electoral College.  However America survived far better than Egypt (+1.7%) is doing  now,  with even worse violations against the the  popular vote total…  Through the House of Representatives, these people became President:  Benjamin Harrison (-0.83%), Rutherford B. Hayes (-3.00), and John Quincy Adams (-10.44%) all with more of a percentage loss than had George W. Bush over Gore.  In two of the three, the loser returned to whomp the stealer out of his second term.  One  of these “losers” even had a 51% popular vote majority!

But the electoral college  provided decisiveness. Just like in football or basketball, the final score may not portray the better team, but it provides a finality from which we can all move on.

The demise of Morsi is a great chance to bring up this issue, simply to force us to understand why our founding fathers who were unburdened at that point by political parties,  could by using what today are called “thought models”, come up with this peculiar institution that has well served it’s test over time.  Couple that to the fact that even today, we have something almost akin to a political party vying for the forced overthrow our our elected top official,  one can imagine the rancor and violence that might have tainted our nation’s  development if we did not have a clear uncontestable “score” that determined our winners from losers.

One must be cautious when comparing today’s Egypt with today’s American democracy.  Egypt is in its founding stages.  As Morsi proclaimed, removing him removes all legitimacy of any future democratically elected government.  As did Julius Caesar to all future democracy in Rome.

It makes us realize how lucky we are today that all of America was unified behind George Washington as it’s first head of state.  That unanimity of opinion, allowed the slow formation of  traditions we now have today to take root.   For one, Washington did not impose himself (as did Morsi) by aligning with either the Democrats or Federalists on policy at the expense of the other.

Morsi made that mistake with the Muslim Brotherhood.   Instead, unlike the current head of Egypt,   George Washington held court over a myriad of opinions, and picked and chose in the fashion of King Solomon, almost the same as he did at the Constitutional Convention,  of which was the most judicious approach on the basis of each proposal’s merits.  It is worth noting,  that towards the end of his second term as the political parties were being formed for the upcoming  1798 race,  he himself became quite disgusted with the smears, dirt, graft, and corruption required to enable any country to run effectively upon its own power…

Perhaps because Egypt did not endure a long war of Independence, it does not respect the cost of freedom.  Perhaps because democracy came to Egypt in its first time  like a pack of chewing gum in a cashiers line, they easily think they can replace it again with a better flavor?

But this foreboding irony of Egypt remains.   Instead of comparing it with American Democracy, suppose we go Godwin and compare it to the German election of 1932.  What if the Germans had risen up a year later against Hitler and thrown him out?  That would be  good thing right?  Or had  Mao been pushed out and the Chinese business reforms begun 40 years earlier?   Or had North Korea said “unh unh” to its dictator in the first year?  Or had Centrists in Iran risen and prevailed over the Ayatollah?

The Turkish Army as well as the Pakistani Army has on occasion stepped in and then later bowed out whenever control has become precarious.  Perhaps this is the only model that works well for overly excitable Arab populations?  it is a longterm democracy with military safeguards built into its Constitution.

But one thing is very clear from this current outcome is this:  religion can play NO part in government, even if given a political mandate. Living vicariously through Egypt it is clear there must be an impenetrable wall between that which belongs to Caesar, and that which belongs to God. All political entities who have dared mix religion into their political framework, have populations who are deeply suffering now (relative to those in strictly secular governments), even when that religious entity is the Chairman of the ruling political party himself, as is the case in North Korea, the old Soviet Union, or as was of Japan and Germany during the second world war…

It’s a lesson the US should take to heart.  They next time anyone decries we need more religious people in our democracy, cut them off with this:  “Remember Iran; Remember Egypt.”

As Americans we are not immune to Civil War.  From it we learned it is a horrible alternative to walk away from one’s existing structure simply because one does not get one’s own way…  We also learned that one can’t impose one’s will on vast majorities of ourselves who think differently.

Third.  We learned that freedom is great, but the need to eat is greater.  Government first has to function to meet the basic needs of its citizens; only then, once its citizens are economically stable to be not worried whether they will be alive the day after tomorrow,  can their thoughts begin to turn to topics such as does democracy even matter?

As US policy,  our actions need to first get Egypt to feed themselves; Spare no expense; make it our generation’s Marshall Plan. Then once well fed and able to provide for themselves, can we begin to  proselytize our points of view.  Whether they choose democracy or totalitarianism, will depend solely on who they see helping them now in their time of need…  One can talk of democracy’s long-term future implications, but that rings on deaf ears when all one really wonders, is if one will be alive the day after tomorrow.

Although the year is barely out, we do have our first nomination for the spot to be announced in December 2013.  With the Kinder Morgan Deal now on hold semi-permanently, even they are pointing to our hero of the year as the man most responsible for allowing the port to remain state owned….

I can say it was Julius Cephas who was behind almost every move to combat the loss of good jobs at our port.  He is being pointed out as the villain by the capitalists at Kinder Morgan.  In Delaware’s eyes, that elevates his hero’s stature even more…

In truth, he is no villain and knowing him, he will probably shun the acclimations being made by us common folk as being our hero.  In his eyes, he was just doing what needed to be done because no one else was there at that very moment to do it, and as that task swelled, it took a lot out of him….

Capitalists always need a villian.  But it was the “truth” which actually is what killed this deal.  Kinder Morgan WAS going to cut back on jobs, and their change of heart and blaming Julius instead of others, points exactly to the core of their problem with our port… …

People in Texas, do not understand unions.  They simply can’t fathom or understand how there can be an actual law that lets people strike and shut you down, whenever you try to pay them less..  In their eyes, you work for what they want to give you and if it is too little, ..humph.  go elsewhere….

The second culprit (after the “truth”),  was our office of economic development.  We gave Kinder Morgan too many “eager” signals that set us up as being seen as an easy pick.  They truly thought they could waltz in, pick up a top notch East Coast Port for a song, and we would eagerly give it up…  Again, that was because everything was done in secret.  Had a meeting been forthcoming in the very beginning,  Kinder Morgan might have moved on earlier when it became readily apparent, that southern Texas practices do not bode well in the Northeast…

Of course, being a corporation, they will blame the whistle blower.  (Ironic since the whistle blower of Enron works for them)..   Of course.  It is not like they find anything immoral in taking a state asset for a song, in firing those skilled dock workers, and replace them with some Spanish speaking Texans who never even heard of a union….

And Julius did blow that whistle. .  Like Rose on the Titanic, he took the whistle off of Jack (pun intended), and blew softly at first, then harder, and harder.   Gradually the sound registered on others ears….

Without Julius, Bob Marshall would not have pushed through Senate Bill 3.  Without Julius, most of the links showing up in everyone’s blog, would have not been found.  Without Julius, the case for protecting workers would not have even made the rounds of the Norman Oliver show….

There were many helpers. Bob Marshall, Nancy Willing, Norman Oliver, Norinda, Helene Keeley, Al Mascitti, Liz Allen, John Kowalko, and (an other blogger too shy to be mentioned here). When one looks back through all of them one sees from everywhere, there in the center of the universe,  stands a normal human being just like us, known to most … as Julius.

There will come a time when a better deal will arrive.  Could even be this year. There will come a time when a suitor who does care about Delaware, who does care about unions, about human beings, about those businesses on the outside, and who will want to upgrade the port for everyone’s interest, not just their own… And that suitor in this day and age, could even come from abroad.  Germany is very committed to union labor, to the environment, to being a good neighbor…. There are a great many possibilities out there that are immeasurable…. We definitely dodged a Texas bullet with this one….

When that suitor arrives… Julius’s stature will be set in cement….  For he did nothing really Herculean, except argue the truth…  He didn’t lie.  He didn’t connive,  He didn’t threaten….

That was done by our office of economic development.  Instead and unlike them, Julius told the truth.  He told the truth to anyone who would listen.  He told the truth enough, so many “did” listen….

And that is why, he  deserves this nomination as Delaware’s Man of the Year.  I know it is early into 2013, but great things just do not wait!!….

You will hear smears that Julius tubed the deal… I saw the letter and it is already out on WDEL and the Delawareonline’s News Journal… But as an impartial blogger, I can tell you exactly what killed this deal.

It was “the truth”.  The truth of what this deal would cost us Delawareans….. is what turned the tide and caused the outcry that rose up against it….

If Kinder Morgan really wanted this deal, they could have easily said… “we are expanding and putting 5 new berths out into the river.  We are buying the port for the bargain price of $5 billion.   We need those businesses outside the fence because the jobs we get, will soon be too big, we can’t do it ourselves.  We will keep the union just as it is;  Wilmington needs good jobs and we are going to do our part….  We are also going to contribute into an emergency fund to be used for any spill or environmental accident that takes place under our tenure….

Kinder Morgan could have done any of those things, … and didn’t…. The blame doesn’t lie with Julius after all…. Especially when you consider the following…

This Economic Council erred on Fisker Automotive.  Then it erred on Bloom Energy.  Then it tried to Kinder Morgan us out of our port…..   Someone rushed in  with a save to make sure that last one didn’t happen.

That person is now hereby nominated for Delaware’s Person of the Year…….

I’m really sick today.. You see, when I was growing up, I was a history buff. I read childhood biographies of famous people, usually with the book behind the textbook while the teachers droned on and on, but once as a tyke, who upon seeing the obligatory National Park Film in the Williamsburg Visitors Center, after Patrick Henry sat down, I swore, I would always fight to protect the Constitution…. At that moment, even little as I was, I think I understood that I was temporary… But the Constitution like God, needed to be around forever…

With childish enthusiasm I imagined myself at times on the bridges of Lexington and Concord, roaming the swamps of South Carolina, and firing my muskets at King’s Mountain, and most importantly, crossing that line in the dirt on December 31, 1776 when no one else wanted to, to enlist till the end of the war.. . When it made the real difference, I said, I would step up at my own peril..

Today, I feel as George Washington must have, perched upon his horse on the New Jersey banks of the Hudson, watching the British inhabit New York and knowing there was nothing he or anyone else could do about it… Overmatched, the cause of freedom had taken a body slam.

Perhaps it is more like going back 2000 some years though. And being full of great optimism and hope for a burgeoning empire, a group of city states destined to prosper and rise, one whose morals would be impeccable, and suddenly without warning, ones best friend pulls out a knife and shoves it into your flesh and others pull out theirs, opening wounds where they can.

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution states that …. oh damn, here it is in it’s entirety.

“The right of the people to be secure in 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 persons or things to be seized.”

Granted there have been times, particularly at war, when protecting Americans meant going against the grain of this… If someone is about to shoot you, I mean, it certainly would help if you know about it first…..

The problem with too much accumulation of information, is that once you have it, it can be used. Assurances along the lines of “I’ll never do that”… always down the line get replace with platitudes of…. ” I did it because I could…” or… ” I needed to.”

So having every thing you’ve ever done electronically in a file instantly accessed by simply typing in your name, can be a bit disconcerting… It’s a catch 22. If you have not a single demerit because you lead such a bland life, you get castigated for being a wallflower and uninteresting. On the other hand, if you take risks to live life fully, you get castigated for the errors you made… Either way, those with the power will use it to castigate you for something…. And though disguised as their trying to put you in your place, it is really their effective attempt to prove to others they wield power…

Today’s Senate voted overwhelmingly to continue the FISA Admendments Act. Like ACTA or CISPA or any other internet freedom restricting acts, had opposition been organized, it may have demanded another outcome. But today’s bill arose out of nowhere, and leadership demanded it pass, and pass it did….

Numb today, I understand the implications. It is like we chose to keep Japanese interned in concentration camps after the war was over. It is that bad.. If we are doing it for the Japanese, eventually someone argues, why not anyone else? And really, how else can one answer such an argument except to expand the offense to a greater scale?

I didn’t find about the attempted coup until waking up 3 am today. I did see outrage that Zuckerman’s picture was Twittered off a private feed! The silence over government taking our freedom, and the outrage over the release of privacy, is a stunning comparison. It begs the question: what is wrong with all of us? Shouldn’t the outrage be the other way around?

For the first time that I can find, we as a nation, have chosen to continue a war-powers act, on into peace-time. 9/11 is gone. Bin Laden is dead. We’ve preditor’d out Al Qaieda’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, in command. We are out of Iraq. We will soon be out of Afghanistan. We are not in a war for our nation’s survival. So why does the government need access into every American’s email, facebook account, twitter, photo’s? Why does the FBI need to show up at your facebook friends home, with a letter stating that you are under surveillance and then asking questions of their relationship with you, then forcing their silence by telling them that they can be prosecuted themselves if they even reveal to you that they’d had contact with government officials? Gee, did you ever had a friend get weird on you suddenly, like for no reason?

Should our government be allowed to do that?

According to the text of the Fourth Amendment listed above…. Absolutely Not.

And it was over before the child in me could even get his powder cartridge out of his gunnysack…

America gets up in arms when it’s privacy issues are at stake. How dare you know that about me! However when someone slips through our net and blows up a building or car, they exclaim, how did you not catch him in time?

Soon to be announced if not already out there, is our nation’s now no longer classified Trap Wire System. In the reports of its inception this package was held up as the ultimate surveillance tool. Cameras across the country would capture data from cities, highways, tolls, parks, public arenas, and everywhere else there is a camera, encrypt the data, then send it to a central point where it gets incorporated with all other data already compiled on every citizen. That data including public on line events such as dating services, chat rooms, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, as well as corporate files, employee rosters, and the vast cesspool of corporate data gleaned each and every time you use your credit card.

On every adult citizen, a computer can spit out a file of facts that even that citizen doesn’t know… The computing power is unparalleled. You are sitting at the stoplight, and for no reason a camera goes off, you think weird, no one tripped it. and instantly your face has been identified, your file pulled, and a program knows you buy Colgate toothpaste 39% of the time. And it knows you are on Zoloft. Your credit score is 593. And you are cheating on your spouse of 27 years with a 19 year old who gets something from Victoria Secret every month…..

A song comes on the radio and your mind jumps to it and you go on never thinking of that random event again…….

Of course there is the other side of the story. You pull up to the light right beside the dufus mentioned above. The same thing happens. You wonder too. Your picture triggers an alarm because your image was last seen in the lower Philippines having been traced there from Manila before paying for the boarding of a private boat off Gov. Lim Ave, then going dark 18 months ago. The alarm is because you were once an acquaintance on the third level of a Detroit sheik who propagated militancy. The file shows you worked with explosives on construction sites, you were terminated at one time being blamed for some missing C4. You denied you had anything to do with it. The camera notes that your car is low in back, and alerts other cameras on the route your are traveling that you will soon be entering their view. Your facebook page shows you liked Iran and support Assad of Syria. Your high school psychological profile says you were quiet and brooding. Your license plate is registered to a car reportedly at the gas station on Rt.273 undergoing lengthy repairs. You are unmarried. You don’t date, and your credit card has a large cash balance, yet you spend very little and that is only on food, gas, and a furnished apartment in Christiana Meadows. As you drive by a transponder, your new phone signal gets captured, and all your calls are now being pulled up. You spoke with a person of high interest, 2 times this morning, for a length of one minute each. Your visage is updated to all local cameras and all transportation portals, and put at the top of each face recognition program. Someone is dispatched to scout your apartment.

You see. That is the dilemma. We enjoy our safety, and abhor our loss of privacy.

If you haven’t noticed already, on your emails sometimes you have these buried within the routing: Abraxas and the others you see will say, Stratfor…. Bloggers are very used to seeing these on a rather regular basis. They are everywhere across the net.

One thing noticeable during the Olympics was that the Brits live this way all the time. They are used to it and prefer the cameras and intrusive software over a coordinated attack on their trains. And no one can blame them. But what the Brits have, and we don’t, is a set of rules regarding this capturing of information. If someone violates this code as did Murdoch, then the ramifications are severe; perhaps bringing down an entire corporate empire. The CEO, Vice President, and quite a few others all charged with illegal actions.

And that is the lesson we need to take. Accept the surveillance but know that if anyone, anyone breaks the code of privacy… you are going to be filthy rich for the rest of your entire life at their or their employer’s expense…. For if that is truly the case, going back to the original story up top, if you got busted for your too hot to fail 19 year old lover, and lost your spouse, for $83 million, you really wouldn’t mind too much… My bet? You would see it as a blessing in disguise. And if you still loved your spouse, don’t worry. When you are worth $83 million, she won’t go far.

This has to become the future of surveillance. Here is why.

I’ll use Facebook as an example. I can always tell when one a friend has to hand over their password to their employer. Whereas they used to be so lively, responsive, and fun, they suddenly stop posting anything showing their personality. Their presence on line becomes reduced to “look at my kid”; “here is my dog”. Whereas you used to be able to talk to them about their spouse, their parents, how they were feeling, how they liked their job, how they were doing in the lover department, how their head was, what hopes and dreams they possessed, how drunk they got, suddenly their presence is as chilled as someone passing Checkpoint Charlie in the 60’s. There is a rigidity that they must conform to. There is a corporate mentality that they must express, and most deal with it by staying silent.

That is not what America is about. America is about freedom, about life…. about liberty….. and about the pursuit of happiness…… What once was open air on the internet is now poisoned with carbon particles, so much so that it is hard to breathe.

We can’t lose our nation’s fun-loving identity. And we can’t stop protecting ourselves by our newer and newer technology. So, what we can do (and we can easily do this), is not to constrain the surveillance, but penalize any misuse of the data that gets captured.

And make the punitive damages so huge, so grand, so big, that American citizens will actually enjoy having their privacy breached when it comes time for the judge to make the monetary judgment. Which means we need to rethink all things private, and that includes the intrusiveness of the press into private lives…

I’m always saddened when someone suffers because of something got out of control on their social media, and everyone gangs up on line, saying, “well, you shouldn’t have put it on the internet.”

Really? REALLY? A person should never have a light moment with an acquaintance, one of those few joyous moments we as people treasure forever, because someone they don’t know, someone they never met, might hack into their account, and spread it across the world?

That is ridiculous. The internet IS us. If we want a fun moment, we have the right to exercise it.. Back when I was growing up, laws were passed and on the books to control the positions that went on within the bedroom. That has fortunately faded away into being ridiculous. The same needs to happen on the internet. And the easiest way, the simplest way, is to have huge, gigantic fines, ones that are so big they will bankrupt anyone, and everyone who breaches another’s privacy.

So what if some entity knows you use Colgate 39% of the time. If no one else ever knows that they know it, as far as impacting anything in the real world, their knowledge of that minutia, doesn’t matter.

We need to start the process. We first announce the problem; we offer a solution; we educate the public; we elect responsible legislators, we pressure responsible legislators, we get legislation signed, and then, we relax and really enjoy the rest of our lives.

It is past time that our personal privacy be now given a price tag that is equal to what it is worth. Something in the range of tens of millions comes to mind….. Hell, you can get $90 million for spilling hot coffee in your lap…..