Privacy, presidential candidates and other things

It has been eons since I last posted in the blog.  With two young boys all free time is at a premium and so that only leaves the very early morning as free time.  In 2016 I’ve decided to change a number of things in my life such as: shedding distractions such as Facebook and unnecessary apps; focusing things most important to me such as family, working out, reading and writing; increased learning as well as meditation.

The time is now 3:58 AM and I awoke thirty minutes ago. After putting away the dry dishes, making coffee and stepping outside to throw away the compostables I noticed how peaceful the world is at this time.  The moon has illuminated much in a pale, cold light and I can hear the waves of the ocean which is a half mile distant.  To be free of all sounds except the waves amplifies ones own thoughts and they seem to become loud.  It feels as though for the first time in a long time you’re alone with yourself and it has been while since you last spoke.  I wonder if spending time in a sensory deprivation room would help a person get to know themselves much more efficiently?  There was only the sound of the waves outside and this made my head spin – I imagine it would be a very surreal experience to be in an environment with no sound or external stimuli at all.

True to form I’ve gotten off topic and have done so before even beginning!  Before I leave the topic of external environments, I’m trying something new as I type this very post.  For the first time in a long time I’m using a Mac laptop, am sitting in a recliner and have my TV fireplace as well as Amish fireplace/heater both going to create a nice ambiance in the hopes it will help me write something interesting.  I wouldn’t count on it.

Privacy

If the news were to broadcast, anytime before the year 2000, that all American citizens will henceforth be under government surveillance, there would be mass revolt and a change of government.  Over the past decade there have been a number of revelations that we are indeed under surveillance and this has finally come to a head with the government versus Apple over weather or not the government should always have the capability to spy on us.

When I first went to Vietnam one of the thoughts I had was that the Vietnamese government had file folder on each foreigner entering the country.  This idea didn’t sit well with me and I was glad my own country, the USA didn’t do such things.  Little did I know they do that and with superior technology do so much more.  The United States of today is no longer that wonderful place of freedom, righteousness and equality.  As I read and learn more I also wonder if it ever was or if it was all just an illusion the education system instills in children; something no different from what our educators would call propaganda and frown upon should it occur in another country.  I would go through a number of examples to illustrate this but I think the most potent is this issue of privacy.

We citizens are now spied upon by our very own government.  I find this realization incredibly difficult to swallow.  All I had been taught about how our country is the exception, the shining city upon the hill was just a dream and we’re just as corrupt and dysfunctional as anywhere else.  Our government is actually fighting in the court system for the right to look into each one of our lives.  We citizens have in effect become a possible enemy, each one of us, and the government wants to monitor us all.

This is so absolutely chilling that I feel this all must be a dream.  How can the USA, the country whose ideals are encapsulated by Superman, the good guys, now be paranoid of its own citizens?  It is as though the USA has contracted leukemia and through harsh treatment will leave its body looking quite sickly and weak – if it survives as all.

In fact, things can become much, much worse.  Should the government win the right to spy on all citizens I imagine it won’t be but another ten years or so where we’ll all have to report our activities to the government instead of them looking in on us one by one.  For a glimpse of the future check out the company Humanize.  When I read this I was again astounded and felt as though I was living in a dream.  It wasn’t because of what the technology does but that the journals and publications reporting on this company only praised how this would “revolutionize” the workplace and make everyone more efficient!  Everyone will have to wear sensors which will deliver “data insights” and “people analytics!”  There was no mention of the fact that your employer will now know exactly how long you took a piss, but if you shook once or twice and will call you in to his office if you took the liberty of making a third shake which HR has deemed a waste of company time.  This has become expected of companies, we’re all expendable and no matter how much crap about a “company family” is thrown out by HR the only thing that matters is ever higher profits – after all that is the way of the new USA!

What is harder to swallow is that should the government win their case against Apple it is only a matter of time before all citizens will have to wear sensors that beam data back to government databases.  Every second of every life will be tracked and do you know why?  Well, because there are terrorists out there, and every citizen might be a terrorist and we certainly do not want the terrorists to win now do we!?  I can now see every single Republican vigorously shaking their head with an emphatic YES!  After all, if you’re not doing anything wrong then why would you need to worry?  You SIR, must simply not be a good American!

Going back to my leukemia metaphor it would seem that from the current crop of presidential candidates (except for Bernie Sanders) the USA I used to know and believe in has already died even before treatment.  With Hillary and Jeb we are turning into a third world country whose next president is another family member; hello Hillary Peron, great to see you Jeb bin Saud.  It does look like the electorate has tired a bit of the establishment but the other options seem to look even worse.

When I read history books I often find it very hard to understand how entire populations fell under the sway of despots and terrible ideas.  How could a few million people, people who went to university, who go to church all believe that killing Jews, or invading and killing Chinese is a good thing to do?  This should almost be a Seinfeld episode where Jerry goes for coffee, meets Kramer and says, “Hey Kramer, how is your bagel?  Good I hope!  And did you see in the news that we killed 1000 Jews yesterday?  Wow, I sure hope they become a little more efficient as that number seems rather low.  Well, I better get off to my spinning class, see ya Kramer!”

And this example really isn’t far off!  Using Nazi Germany is so cliche, so let’s go with an image that really stuck out in my head that is along these same lines.  It was from a movie – I forget which one – where during WWII Japanese neighborhoods have the patriotic committee or something like that and middle aged housewives wear banners supporting war, go around waiving flags, and knock on their neighbor’s doors to ensure their sons have gone to war and the household is doing everything possible to support the war effort.  Middle aged Japanese wife, decked out in her lovely propaganda and with smile on her face basically saying, hey, we need to kill more Chinese, let’s go neighborhood, let’s all be good citizens and do our part, everywhere Japan desu ne!

This all sounds a bit extreme doesn’t it, like something that could only happen in the past when people were not as sophisticated as they are today!  Well, let us just switch Chinese and Jews to Terrorist and the Japanese patriotic neighborhood committee to Fox News.  There are terrorists all over the place and the USA has to go kill them.  Hell, terrorists are so prevalent that each and every citizen of the USA could possibly be one so you all need to be monitored.

Looking at the crop of Republican presidential candidates, everyone one of them thinks that we should be going to war a bit more, that every citizen should be monitored.  Trump would also like to implement a database of all Muslim citizens.  Yes, first the Muslims, then the undesirables, then we should put them all in camps and so on.  And so I look at a good sized portion of my countrymen and I understand how entire populations were able to support bad ideas and terrible leaders.  I had simply given to much credit to the intelligence of human beings as a whole.  I had thought with the prevalence of colleges and universities that things could only get better!  I was wrong.  Even advanced, first world societies are not that intelligent on the whole.  Sure there are those that did not get a higher education and are easily persuaded but the problem is much more than that.  Even those with very advanced degrees are only advanced in that one subject matter whereas they might be quite ignorant on the subject of geopolitics.  The man who helped program a robot destined for Mars may believe Megynn (sic) Kelly speaks absolute truth in all things regarding world affairs.  It is like when the Jehovah’s Witnesses put a Bio Chemist on the front of the Watchtower which is saying “Hey, she is a smart Biochemist and a Jehovah’s Witness, and so you should be like smart people and become a Jehovah’s Witness!”

I think it might be beneficial to summarize what the Republicans would like:

  1. More War
  2. Ability to spy on all citizens
  3. We should all be Christians
  4. Ideally we should all be white – but will reluctantly take your vote if not white
  5. Restrict voting – they want less American citizens to be able to vote
  6. Build a wall with Mexico – Conflicts with all being Christian but point 4 cancels that out.
  7. Healthcare for less – Ensure the most needy cannot have healthcar

I think that’s enough for now and as I write them out my brain is screaming WTF???  Christians who do not espouse the value of Christianity are now the NEW Christian!

It is as though I’m watching a tragic comedy with the entire cast unaware of the incredible grand finale which is that Christianity is based upon beliefs that simply are not true!  Christianity as demonstrated in the Republican party is akin to a room full of young children debating the facts about Santa Claus.  He wears red, but some argue he must wear blue and so in their minds they have a blue Santa Claus and watch Fox news confirming their believe that Santa Claus must wear blue, and ride an elephant, even though if you truly look at him this really isn’t the case; but that doesn’t matter, they have formed an opinion and Santa Claus wears blue and rides an elephant.  And the kicker is that even though we have all this debate, and that people have believed in him for a very long time, and there are images of him everywhere, and we all get so excited about him, he really doesn’t exist, the whole thing is fantasy.  Well, Saint Nicholas did exist but St. Nick sure does not this resemble the image everyone is now comfortable with and calls Santa Claus today.

And Jesus is white and spoke English you know.

Well, my concentration was interrupted as I’ve had too much coffee and had to go pee for the third time.  I think I’ve made my point so I’ll be ending this post/rant soon.  I think a good way to sum up this post is with the following.

I had always believed that in the USA good would prevail, that we were the exception and our leaders would do the right thing.  I now know how how naive I was.  The USA is just a land, surrounded by imaginary borders/lines where groups will continually fight for power.  Superman is dead –  the Anti-Justice League has prevailed and now fights among themselves and lone good guys like Spiderman and Batman are powerless to stop them.  Even if the good politicians win a battle or two the bad guys will always win – they hold the trump card which is that money will always win.  If the idea of the USA could be summed up in one word it would now be money.  The USA exists to make the rich richer – that is all it is.

I just remembered something else I’d like to say.  The success of Donald Trump is the poison the Republican Party has been brewing for the past 8 years in a cauldron of hate and are now being forced to drink themselves.  Donald Trump is pure, ideological heroin, unadulterated and without chaser.  The mirror has been held up and instead of running in horror there is applause and smiling.  War, databases, reduced freedom, no healthcare.  I’m reminded of a line from Star Wars where Padme says, “This is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause.”

The decisions the USA is working through today, are going to have a profound effect on what this country looks like in the future.  Do we have a demagogue such as Donald Trump for President and start down that path of intolerance or not?  Shall I submit my schedule to homeland security every morning such as we do with flight plans?  This is pivotal point and I chuckle as it for some reason reminds me of a scene in Scrooge’s “A Christmas Carol.”  Daisy has just walked in to Scrooge’s counting house in a brief moment he can either get married to Daisy and live happily ever after or foreclose on her mortgage and doom himself to a life of unhappiness (but will have plenty of money!).  He chooses wrongly and this brings me to a later scene.

A lifetime later, Jiminy Cricket takes Scrooge back in time and shows him how he forwent his chance at happiness.  Scrooge is rather contrite and wishes he would have made the opposite choice after which Jiminy says “Remember Scrooge, you fashioned these memories yourself!”  I wonder if future school children fifty years from now will look back on this time like Scrooge looking in the window.  They might be conditioned to tell Jiminy Cricket that the decision to foreclose on the mortgage was the correct one and that by submitting their entire lives to review from the NSA they are being a patriotic citizen and if you don’t do so then you’re a terrorist.

Yes, this is a silly metaphor and hastily written as I sit here in my recliner, in front of the fireplace and have to pee again for the fourth time!  But it is true that societies throughout history have often not made the correct choice which has lead to dire consequences.  We are at such  moment now and the branch of history will soon split into two very different paths, only one of which we will take.  Do we go the route of intolerance and surveillance or not?  Will the citizens of the USA be able to muster enough support to make the right choices and force their leaders to acquiesce to these decisions?

I don’t know.  All I know is that I love the way the full moon illuminates much in a cold, lonely light before the sun has risen.  I love the silence and solitude of 4:00 AM out on my patio in warmer than usual weather.  I know I have to pee an unprecedented fifth time – what is in this coffee?? I enjoy writing here in this recliner, in front of a TV and Amish fireplace. I feel glad that I’ve finally written my opinions down and I feel sad that XKeyscore will probably flag me for surveillance since I keep a blog like this and have downloaded encryption tools such as Tor and Tails.  I’m depressed that our own government is fighting to take away our privacy.

But, I am not a radical, I just like to speak the truth and put down my thoughts in this blog.  I’ve become so disillusioned with the way our country is going that I may not even vote in the upcoming Presidential election.  All I can do is disconnect from the mainstream, turn off all the noise.  I’m saying goodbye to social, to entertainment aka news.  Like Agent Smith I want out of the Matrix and the way to do it is by withdrawing from the lobby commons and creating my own world which is closed.  I’ll decide who/what comes in.  All the notifications, all the social this and that, all the drama, all the noise are shut out.  I’ll create a place of calm in my own mind and the physical world around me will be a reflection.  After all, does anything really exist until we perceive it?

 

 

Author: Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! (^.^)/