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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Yahoo CEO's ethical dilemma - and the NSA's ethical confusion

Sometimes I think that I'm gonna get myself into big trouble with the blog. Luckily, very few people read it. (Did a blogger just say that? Wow. And in a nation that values Freedom of Speech.)

So, the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, gave an interview in which she said she was pressured by the NSA and its branches into complying with their demands for data -- by threatening her with prosecution for treason.


So she can either be a traitor and protect the privacy of personal emails and other stuff and go to jail, or give in and help - help - the government spy on its citizens and go on drawing a huge salary and living the high life.

She chose the latter.

Ethically speaking, being a traitor, when one is actually a traitor, is unethical. Betraying your country is not good.

But we need to make some distinctions.

The government is not the country. Resisting the government is not in itself treason. We are in trouble if "our nation" and "the government" are one and the same. If they are, there will come a time when petitioning the government for redress of grievances will be seen as treason. Any proposal to change the government will be treason. Everyone will be an enemy of the state just for disagreeing with the government's policies on any matter whatsoever. No, the nation is not the government. The rule of law in this nation is the Constitution, and the Constitution protects both freedom of speech and privacy.

But for now, breaking the country's laws is not in itself treason. I fail to see how Mayer could be considered a traitor in any respect. Contempt of court (for refusing to abide by an order of the all-powerful Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) maybe. Obstruction of justice, perhaps. Withholding of evidence.


Now look, if Yahoo KNEW who of its users - and I mean real people, not MrDucky2013@rocketmail.com, were using its services for evil against our country, and it went out of its way to protect or assist them, then maybe that would be treason.

But was the Post Office guilty of treason for delivering anthrax-laced packages? Does the NSA have the right to open people's physical mail? If not, why not? Is it because the USPS is a branch of the government, or because of the sender's and recipient's privacy rights? If the latter, then why is not email accorded the same treatment?

Notice I asked if the NSA has the right to open people's mail. I did not ask whether or not they do open people's mail. There's a difference between a government's agent opening mail and having the right to do so.

But if it's treason to say that the government and the nation are not the same thing, then call me a traitor. I am a proud and patriotic American, and AS SUCH, I find tyranny objectionable. It is possible for the government of the United States of America to become a tyranny, and it would be FOR THE SAKE of the nation, out of LOVE for the nation, to resist the government.

Melissa mayer made her choice. I wonder if I'd have made the same.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

If I could ask President Obama a question today, 9/11/13

Dear Mr. President,

Why on earth have you been so desirous to attack a government that has done nothing to us to defend rebels who include our enemies, when you have done nothing but stonewall and hem and haw where it concerns a murderous attack by those enemies on one of our consulates?

Seriously, Mr. President, why this hyped-up push to punish Assad in light of your immense foot dragging and stonewalling in response to Benghazi?

I just want to know.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Whose side is Obama on in Syria?

Seriously, I want to know.

I know that he is vaguely anti-Assad, but that doesn't say much.

Whose side is he on?

The side of THESE rebels, who are also anti-Assad?

I know whose side I'm on.

I'm on the side of the Christians.

Dear Mr Obama: The CHRISTIANS are the real victims in Syria. THE CHRISTIANS. You want to intervene in Syria? Take the part of the Christians and I'll support you. But if you attack Assad, you merely fuel the destruction of the Christians. And honestly, I feel more strongly connected to the dead Christians lying in the street of Maaloula than I do to any non-Christian gas attack victims.

And so what if the Muslims accuse you have launching "a crusade." First of all, the Muslims don't need excuses like that to hate the US. You attack Assad, and Iranian Muslims will hate you. Don't, and Al-Quaeda Muslims will hate you. And besides, the Crusades were for the most part wars to defend Christians fighting to keep their homelands from Muslim invaders.

At any rate, it's the Christians who are the biggest victims in all this fighting. O Great Liberal, take the side of this voiceless, helpless group of the disenfranchised victims of imperialistic, militaristic fundamentalists.

Oh, I forgot. Liberalism isn't really about speaking for the voiceless and helping the helpless and all that, now is it?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Where is Susan Sarandon when you need her?

Ten years ago, Susan Sarandon and whole bunch of Hollywood types were having hissy fits over American military incursions into Iraq.

Now that our Fearless Leader is trying to punish Syria, we have to wonder where these anti-war peaceniks are. They are remarkably silent.

Now say what you like about the Iraq expedition, I won't argue with you. But let's at least learn from this.

Is Assad really the enemy here? Is the opposition really pro-democracy with American-style civil rights, like, say, freedom of religion and the exalted position homosexuals and women now hold in the power structures of the establishment?

I am personally dubious.

Now, it could very well be that NEITHER side in the Syrian conflict is a side that America should take. Maybe two camps of our enemies are fighting each other. Maybe it's Al Qaeda versus a Russian-sympathizing dictator. Maybe it's two arms of barbarism killing each other off.

Maybe it's time we protect Israel but let the rest of the mideast annihilate each other. They've been doing it for centuries. Tribal and sectarian warfare is their national pastime. What makes us think we're gonna stop it? Protect Israel but otherwise stay out of it.

But if we're serious about responding to the "slaughter," as Kerry put it, then we have dig a little deeper than accusing Assad of chemical warfare.

You know why Iraq didn't work out the way we hoped 10 years ago? I'll tell you. It's because we didn't seek and destroy radical Islamists. Maybe all Moslems are radial Islamists - it could very well be. But some are clearly so. And the attempt to stop short of eradicating them, to "let the democratic process work," only left the infection festering in the wound. If you want to cure an infected wound you have to eradicate the infecting organism. E. Rad.I.Cate.

If we are going to respond to the slaughter in the hope of ending it, then we have to get rid of those perpetrating slaughter, and honestly, it's not just Assad. Maybe BOTH sides in Syria (and Iraq and Iran and Egypt and Pakistan and Afghanistan and so on and so on) need to be gotten rid of.

Maybe we should start supporting the CHRISTIANS in the middle east who have been driven out of the area. You know, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, Saudi Arabi - these were all Christian countries once. Yep, Christian. Christian. What happened to the Christians? Islam. Why is Spain still (at least nominally) Christian and Lebanon not? Christian forces succeeded thwarting Islam in Spain but not in Lebanon. But I digress.

Now if we do not have the resolve in war to eradicate the infection, then we should not enter into the war. And insofar as we lacked that resolve in Iraq, so we should not have even entered the country, and yeah, I never thought I'd say this, but I think I now agree with Susan Sarandon. But not for the same reasons as her. She would say, "all war (uh, perpetrated by a Republican) is evil." I would say, "All war in which the real enemy is not well recognized and not defeated is evil." Well there are other evil wars, but assuming that going to war itself is justified, it's an evil war that that does not accomplish its goals.

Sec. Kerry meanwhile is calling it dangerous - dangerous - to American security not to attack Assad. And what shall we do? Airstrikes, but no US foot soldiers. Just CIA-trained Syrian foot soldiers. What is this going to accomplish? That American means what it says and that our allies can count on us, like Kerry says? Is that the purpose of this?

Oh, he said we should not standby and watch the slaughter. Slaughter. OK. What about the slaughter in Nigeria? Sudan? China? Egypt? What about the slaughter of American citizens in Lybia? Why is THIS slaughter so important for us to intervene in? Because Obama said he would if Assad crossed a red line? Because Obama's credibility is on the line? Believe me, this won't help Obama's credibility.

Does not any US action in the area bring more vitriol against Israel? How does that help our national security in the mideast?

I am unconvinced of the Sec. of State's arguments.

But I will say this.

If we go into Syria, we better ACCOMPLISH something MORE than a repair to our reputation that has been systematically undermined since the present administration took office. Poor Assad. The scapegoat for Obama's failures.