Life

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I know a lot of you have been waiting with baited breath for my next post, but I’ve been busy; unlike you I’ve been busy with this thing called Life.  Oh sure, I’m still putting in 110% for you but now I have to put in 210% just to keep up with life too.  And unlike you I don’t have a lot of “free time” on my hands jerking at work on your computer while you should be working on that spreadsheet and graph to make your boss look better.  I also don’t want to waste your time with posts that are about nothing at all, although I happen to know you have a lot of time and something else on your hands.  Unlike other bloggers my posts are always full of useful and important content, not just me blabbing about how I was constipated yesterday but now I’m okay.  Who wants to read something like that?  Other bloggers think you want to know whenever they pick their nose.  Nobody wants that.  Even somebody as important as the President of the United States, you wouldn’t want to know when he picks his nose, now would you?  So I don’t waste your already worthless life with things that are not relevant to it and are all about me.

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Be patient, as it says in Ecclesiastes:  there is a time for everything, or something like that.

That International Feel post wasn’t that great.  I’m a big man, in more ways than one, so I’m big enough to admit it was a D minus effort, but that’s water under the bridge, as they say.  Unlike most of you I don’t make the same mistake twice so you don’t have to wait for another opportunity to poke your finger in my eye.  Ain’t gonna happen.  Get over it.

 

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NSA Liberty

Hey, I bought this NSA t-shirt from Woot.com.  The folks over there know about real patriotism.  It says “NSA” but if you look really close it has all these little quotes from The Constitution,  Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine, and their ilk, about freedom that makes up the NSA letters.  I don’t expect many of you to know much about this or these guys but they are the true patriots of history and said way back then (18th century) that the NSA was bad and was going to spy on American citizens if somebody wasn’t vigilant and rat out the “Organization.”  Back then the NSA just peeped in your window and opened your mail, but now it’s way more sophisticated as I’ve pointed out in previous posts.  Pretty cool, huh?  I suppose if I wear it in Washington “somebody” will just stick a microscopic poison pellets in my leg and that’ll be it.  One of those cardboard box campers will end up wearing my shirt.  The price of freedom.

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Well I just wanted you to know I wasn’t dead but I’m also not one of those bloggers to put up a long post about nothing at all just so I can see my name in print.  So until the muse calls again, I’ll be silent.

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How the NSA Steals Your Liberty

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National Security Agency Complex in San Antonio, Texas

Der Spiegel called it again and I’d never thought I’d thank the Germans for anything but the German press has done a better job of protecting the US citizens’ liberty and privacy than anyone in our own sorry press or government.  Anyway, here are two links, the first to the Der Spiegel article on how the NSA both steals your privacy and builds inherent flaws into your digital security so they can exploit your resources for whatever they want and also leave you vulnerable to attack.  The second link is to a talk by Jacob Appelbaum about why you should be very scared by this.

Der Spiegel Article

Jacob Appelbaum Presentation

Oh and you suckers that still use Yahoo, you deserve everything you get.

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Shunned

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It seems I’ve been shunned, cast into the dust bin of the blogoshphere.  This isn’t to be unexpected.  Great minds have always been unrecognized in their lifetimes and the fact that I warn you, the 50% that are below average, off the most important and mind expanding posts, for your own good I might add, just makes it harder to be heard and appreciated.

Maybe it is because so many of you have taken my advice and devoted your life to not caring about anything, always expecting the worst, and a D minus effort.  Maybe your spouse is pushing cheeseburgers under your locked bedroom door as you watch endless reruns of NCIS from your 11 season BluRay DVD collection.  Perhaps you’ve discarded your cell phone and landline and your internet connection to take yourself off the grid so the NSA cannot peep on your miserable little life.  You’ve given up that daily torture ritual you called fitness and sold your Nautilus machine and stationary bike and canceled your gym membership.  This means you’ve taken my advice to heart.  Maybe I should be glad I get so few hits and that your apathy is a testament to my persuasiveness.

I should have expected this; taken my own advice and expected the worst (for me personally).  At least you have lightened my load and I can quit doing all the heavy lifting here as you tell the friends that wonder what happened to you, why they never see you, about your new, better, lifestyle.  Perhaps this whole thing has gone viral but in a non-digital way, by old fashioned word of mouth.

I feel better now knowing that you have ceased to care that the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges never work or that another government shutdown is looming in a few months, or that the Philippines are under water .  This means I’ve done my job making your life just a little better and that in turn makes my life just a little better as well.

Keep up the D minus effort and we’ll all make it to the grave just a little bit less stressed out.

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Spooks and Leaks

I bet I got your attention with that title. Why did you think about one thing first?  You sinners are all alike.

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NSA Spooks and Peepers

What I want to talk about is government spooks = spies, intelligence (what an oxymoron!), and any manner of creepy government law enforcement agency that lusts after your personal information (pretty much everyone from the IRS head to the CIA janitor). These freaks actually think they are serving the public interest by knowing about everything from your shopping habits to your bathroom habits. They also want to label everything Top Secret that they gather so you and I won’t know what or how they gather it and what they gather, and especially how illegal that might be. On top of this they will label Top Secret any embarrassing information they don’t want you to see whether it should be secret or not because they know better than you what is good for you and the United States in general.

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Conspiracy Theories

Now I’m not a big conspiracy theory believer like former governor and AWA wrestling legend Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Anytime you get more than two powerful people in a room someone of them is going to squeal or otherwise “compromise” any agreement to get what they personally want over the others. Powerful people are almost always double crossers and if they think they can get more by ratting and they also think there is a reasonable chance of getting away with it (or just killing their co-conspirators), they’re going to do it. Think about it. Think about experiences you’ve had at work, with government, at church, at fraternal organizations, even in your social circle. Somebody always outs the information and we all know what they thought they were up to. Hence I don’t think the Trilateral Commission or the Bilderbergers are up to anything more than a lot of back slapping and circle jerking. What I’m getting to is I do think when these things leak out of the government they are probably real and not just someone (like me) playing Chicken Little and we ought to pay attention to it. I will also tell you why we ought to be thanking these “leakers” as patriots to the US Constitution and helping them get away with it instead of listening to all the folderol about putting them in jail or worse as traitors.

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AWA’s Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Let’s go a little farther back in history. Say before the disgraceful Iraq war. Remember those “weapons of mass destruction,” WMD’s. Remember when the government tried to suppress the testimony of leading international nuclear inspectors as top secret. Well it was labeled secret because it didn’t support going to war. What other possible reason would this be classified as secret? How did it put our country at risk for this to be public knowledge? Also remember that as soon as it was outed by the leakers, we suddenly now had a war for regime change. Is there something fishy in Denmark? I’ll say!

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Weapons of Mass Destruction

Now lets jump forward a little bit to Abu Gharib (I’m too lazy to look up the correct spelling for you sticklers out there). The photographs were initially suppressed by the DoD as secret. Why? Because they would have caused more allied casualties? Huh? That’s when “Top Secret” always comes in. It’s like saying we need to keep secret that we interrogated some mobsters so the mafia wouldn’t be so pissed off at the police. First when did we start being the “bad guys?” Weren’t we always supposed to be the good guy John Wayne types. Let’s get beyond this. Why were they tortured at all? For fun I presume. Now we’ve had a breakdown in our military that the US citizen needs to know. Why? Because we can never be sure it will ever be dealt with otherwise and it has to stop.

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Abu Gharib Sweethearts

Jump forward to the Bradley Manning leaks to WikiLeaks. First if you read through and look at this there is nothing, I mean nothing, that put anyone in harm’s way other than by revealing we weren’t playing by the rules (international and our own) again and also not telling the truth even when we were playing by the rules. So why was it secret? Half of it was already known. It was secret because your own government is embarrassed by the fact that it doesn’t play nice, by the rules, our own rules, and doesn’t look like the good guys they want you to think they are. There was no other reason to keep this information secret.

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Jump forward to now. Did you ever look at the crap Edward Snowden leaked? A bunch of PowerPoint slides that reveal nothing about how the NSA information is acquired but it did state that the way they did it would not exclude data on US citizens in the United States. This is illegal by US law. The espionage spooks cannot have operations targeted on US citizens on US soil, period. Snowden’s “revelations” did nothing to compromise US security. Nothing. It was suppressed because again, we weren’t playing by our own rules and it is embarrassing and illegal to be caught pissing in the corner with your pants down. On top of this we can also question why it is even legal for the US to spy on your phone calls to Mexico to your great grandfather, even if you both are US citizens. Bet you didn’t know that. Now if you think for a minute that international terrorists or criminals didn’t already think their calls could be monitored before Snowden’s leaks, then you are just simple minded, and he didn’t show any new way as to how they could avoid being monitored either.

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What it comes down to is your government is spying on you for the purported reason of protecting you from terrorists. Did this prevent two Chechen kooks that weren’t even professional terrorists from bombing one of the most visible sporting events in the US?  Ask the three people who died or those who were maimed if tapping their phones was worth it. If we get beyond that, would the country be any safer from terrorists if the TSA didn’t push you through some scanner that shows your teats and arse to everyone. Tell me how? Your chances of being killed by falling down the stairs are greater than they are from a terrorist attack. We already know your chances of being killed by a fertilizer plant explosion or a train derailment are worse. Why don’t we mobilize thousands of people tomorrow to inspect every aspect of the rail system or fertilizer production including tapping their phones to see if they are “cheating” on the regulations. The reaction to this nonsense is absurd.

Finally if you think that the government does have the capability to get your private information then you should be worried that somebody of questionable moral character might use it illegally.  Do you think that government employees are any less prone to using your private information for nefarious reasons than anyone else?  Why do you think that?  Think about what was your last experience with a cog in the biggest bureaucracy, the federal government?  Was it good?  How about the last dozen?  I think I’ve made my point.  Government employees, and all these spooks are government employees, despite what you may like to think, are no less prone to using your private stuff illegally than anyone else on the street is.  If it’s available somebody will use it eventually.  Think about that next time you piss off a CIA paper pusher in the super market line or worse yet an IRS auditor.  If they have it, somebody will use it.  Remember that.  If they can’t have it we don’t have any trust problems here then do we.  Do you think the government cares if it gathers too much stuff even inadvertently?  I don’t think so.

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Questionable Roadblocks

If what we really cared about were people’s lives we would take everyone in the war on drugs, the TSA, the NSA (and their sister agencies), federal law enforcement and put them out on the roads conducting questionable, but somehow legal, road blocks to look for drunk drivers. We would save thousands more lives if we even let all the other cranks go. It’s a matter of priority and your freedoms.  Why don’t we do it? Well there’s no power in arresting drunks.  It’s no fun like being a spy is.

Don’t believe what your government says to you. Don’t believe what multinational corporations say to you. Don’t believe unless you skeptically examine the truth of the statements they make.  They all think they know better than you how to “take care” of you.

Naval Criminal Investigative Service

NCISWelcome back friends and relatives.  Did you enjoy our little diversion into the wistful memories of childhood?  Were you taken back to the years of your wasted youth?  Well today we are back to serious business so no talking in the back there.  Hey, you, do you want to share that with everybody?  No, I didn’t think so, sit down and pay attention.

Today’s essential essay deals with the television program Naval Criminal Investigative Service, NCIS.  I’m going to show you why this is not only the most entertaining and inspiring but also the most important show on TV today.  If you watch nothing else on TV, you should be watching NCIS.  The very survival of our democracy and your sanity depends on it and you know I never exaggerate.

NCISWhere to start?  Hmmm.  A little history.  I’m not going to look up the dates because I’m lazy and exact details don’t matter anyway, what we’re going for here is the big picture (I give you all sorts of little hints about how to make your life easier by cutting corners so pay attention.  Try to take away SOMETHING).  NCIS was actually a spin-off of JAG and is one of the rare instances on TV where the spin-off actually exceeded the parent.  Now I never watched JAG but I know from hearsay that NCIS is better, so trust me on this.  I’ve seen the pilot NCIS episode say 20 times so I can tell you that most of the critical elements that make NCIS so compelling and intelligent were there at the start and are still there now.  This is important in today’s fast changing world where tradition is casually thrown on the trash heap of history.  NCIS has maintained the same basic formula for like, don’t quote me on this, 11 seasons.  Why is this so important?  Because contrary to popular belief, repetition is the spice of life and the thing that makes living tolerable.  Gibbs, Ducky, Tony, Abby, and Kaitlyn were there from the pilot episode (Kate was in the Secret Service though for this premier episode).

As you can see the casting was exquisite.  Putting aging ex-football star, pretty boy, and method actor Mark Harmon at the helm was sheer brilliance (Did any of you ever see that movie where Mark Harmon plays Ted Bundy?  Outstanding.).  The range of his ability made the ensemble almost beyond failure.  The next stroke was resurrecting David McCallum who all the old folks, the primary broadcast TV demographic, would probably remember from The Man From UNCLE.  Then the third stroke of genius was the casting of Goth Pauley Perrette as the quirky but cheery forensic scientist Abby Sciuto.  With this three legged thespian stool as a foundation you could pretty much throw any actor or actress into the mix and come out with a winner, however Michael Weatherly (Tony) and Sasha Alexander (Kate) turned out to be no light weights either.

Over the years there have been some changes:  Kate was tragically killed off by a berserk terrorist and was sort of replaced by the equally talented and beautiful Cote de Pablo (What kind of a name is that?) as the character Ziva David. The characters of McGee and Mr. Palmer and the agency Director as well as some on and off characters were added in but never was the basic formula tampered with.  This is the key to it’s success:  second verse same as the first.

Now to me watching NCIS is like family.  I’m on a first name basis with all the characters, even the minor ones, and I think about the cast as real people, and you should too.  These characters are all meant to be lovable, good looking, and quirky just like real people should be so you should act like they are real people that can affect your lives.  Talk as though what they said in the show is real.  Your otherwise miserable life will be richer for it.

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Your NCIS Family

Why do I tell you all this?  Well for your mental health.  You need some funny but strong and lovable people to anchor your miserable life on.  People you can count on since the real people you know are never going to come through for you, so why shouldn’t it be television characters?  Pretend Tony and Ziva are your neighbors.  Invite them over for coffee.  Imagine rich conversations and interactions with them.  Relive key moments in NCIS with Gibbs in a cheerful casual way at a barbecue.  Every time you look at NCIS from now on all the characters are going to be like people you really know and love.  And unlike real people they’re never going to let you down.  They’re everything you wish you and your friends could be but never will be:  intelligent, creative, courageous, kind, witty, good looking, pretty much the whole upbeat package.  The worst that can happen to you is that some of these good qualities might rub off on you and bring you one more step up from the primordial ooze.  What’s to lose?

I could get into all sorts of other technical reasons why NCIS is excellent on so many levels, camera angles, direction, special effects, body doubles, mise-en-scene, montage, but I’d be wasting breath on the unteachable and I don’t know much about them, and they don’t really matter anyway (triple whammy!).

The other real reason to watch NCIS is it is all true!  All that stuff they do on their computers, phones, and surveillance cameras is 100% correctamento.  How do we know this?  Edward Snowden, that Jeffersonian patriot weasel who ratted out the NSA surveillance spooks.  He confirmed that all that crap that McGee and Abby and Tony do on their computers to listen in on your phone calls or your Facebook page or your e-mail are 100% real.  Yep.

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Edward Snowden – Patriot

So where’s the problem you say?  I knew you weren’t paying attention.  NCIS is TV not reality.  Forget that right now.  Sure we can trust our private communication with Abby or McGee or even Gibbs, but these are not real people, they’re characters played by actors.  Get that through your thick head.  Where did you ever get that goofy idea that these were real people?  Not real!  Whereas Gibbs et al are only going to use your vital information to catch the real bad guys and are going to forget it the minute they don’t need it, the real world doesn’t work like that.  The real NCIS (and by inference all federal law enforcement agencies) are out to screw you, not protect you.  Think about it.  They are in actuality filled with people like you or me, vengeful little spiteful nobodies who want to get their little piece of the pie by using your e-mail and phone calls to blackmail you or harass you to kingdom come.  Or worse.

Stay with me here.  I’m not sure why you are having so much trouble separating fantasy from reality right now but you need to steady the boat a bit.

NSAThe people that are employed by the US Government come out of the same cesspool that other employers get their employees from (remember 50% are below average).  Sure they’re vetted but only so they won’t rat or take drugs.  It doesn’t say anything about not using a little “free time” to access your credit card transactions to Rubber Novelty World and making a little pocket change on the side.  Remember most of these people are hardly being paid enough to live on.  What would you do given the same circumstances?  And we haven’t even gotten to the peepers yet.

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Peepers

 Peepers, yes that’s right, the peepers, freaks who want to look at you and your kids naked and self gratify.  We already know schools, churches and daycares are full of these freaks so why should NCIS be immune.  Via all sorts of bugs, surveillance cameras, and even the webcam on your laptop they are getting their thrills while you go about your seedy private business blissfully unaware.  You know, you’ve seen it used on NCIS, in that episode with the school bomber.  And I’ve just proven to you that if it is on NCIS it’s most certainly true.  Unlike films and live theater, you can’t put stuff on TV that isn’t true or possible.  It would warp children.  You already knew that.

So now you are armed.  I expect you to be tuning into America’s #1 broadcast show religiously.  Watch the new shows faithfully on CBS.  Watch the back to back rerun marathons on the USA cable network.  You will be better informed, more sane, and maybe your pitiful life will just be a little richer for it.