We’ve Gone Completely Berserk in This Country

Our government mauls citizens at airports, and Janet Napolitano is at Walmart telling shoppers to watch out for anything suspicious, and to report whatever they think they see. And now they have come to the Interstate highways. Are we not making a loud enough protest? Are people scared stupid? Do they think this is necessary? What country is this?

Occupy Wall Street

This is just a quick little post with my thoughts on Occupy Wall Street. I’ve seen some discussion regarding the participants. There is quite a variety of people in this group. It seems to have been started by Adbusters. (And no, George Soros is not involved.) If you go to their “Campaigns” page and scroll down to July 13th, you can read their announcement of OWS. There is a live video feed going on the Home Page as I’m writing this. I don’t know if that is constant or not.

What I read before it ever started is that it was supposed to be world-wide (and it is) and there are Marxists and Socialists in the mix. I read (wish I could find that!) that the intention is to shut Wall Street down; they were calling for a redistribution of wealth. I tend to believe it was probably started by the Marxists because when something goes world-wide they are usually behind it.

On the news I’ve seen one guy stomp on the American flag and say that it represents evil to him. I saw others talk about how some have a lot more of this world’s goods than others and that isn’t fair. I also saw a guy holding up a sign that said “End the FED – Ron Paul 2012” and another guy who just wants a JOB. He is in Boston and just got a college degree and now has $60,000 in student loans and can’t get more than temp or part-time work. This looks like a pretty big mix of people.

I think it’s interesting to watch. I think it was started by Marxists and/or folks with Marxists leanings, but now everybody and their dog is into it. Adbusters compares this to the revolutions in the Middle East. I’d say that so far, it’s like that in that what is started by one group can be taken over by another. Everyone who wants change gets into it, but who comes out on top is the question. And if it was indeed started by Marxists, I hope someone else comes out the winner here.

ADDENDUM: Good grief! I really was in a hurry when I wrote this while ago! I hope the RON PAUL folks come out on top of the heap when this is all over.

ADDENDUM II: I really shouldn’t write in a hurry. I just read something on World Net Daily that said George Soros’ Open Society Institute donates to Tides Center, which donates to Adbusters. That’s pretty round-about to me. Make of it what you will.

Internet Privacy Issues

I know from conversations that I’ve had with friends, as well as things that I’ve read, that internet and privacy don’t go well together, and that we should never expect what we say, or where we go on the net, to be our personal business. We all know that everything is subject to prying eyes, whether we like it, or not.

Last night I was reading an old issue of World Magazine, (Dec 2010), that had a short piece about “sentiment analysis.” The article said that businesses have been using “sentiment analysis” and that political campaigns are beginning to catch on and use it, too. “Sentiment analysis” is when a software program is used to crawl the web for certain items, such as a product or a candidate’s name. Each time the item is found the program tries to determine if the mention is positive, or not so positive. It’s thought that this is a more accurate way to get opinions than phone polls because apparently more republicans have land lines than other groups. Does this bother me? Not too much. I’m thinking this is not grabbing any personally identifying information. It does make me want to be perfectly clear in my remarks about candidates though, since the article said sometimes the programs aren’t good at picking up sarcasm.

On the same page, I read about a study that was done on how people make friends. The study was published in “American Journal of Sociology.” I wanted to look into this, but I don’t have the right affiliations, and I’m not going to pay $14.00 to buy it so I can read it. Anyway, all I want to know is which university gave out the students’ names. I did find out that the authors of the study are Andreas Wimmer from University of California, Los Angeles, and Kevin Lewis, of Harvard. They “tracked a class of new university students” (wish I knew which school…so curious…) to see how they made friends. They used their photos on Facebook to determine the students’ criteria, whether it was race, or common interests, or friends in common, or what. I’m thinking the university probably sold the list to the sociologists. I doubt that it was given it to them for free. Whichever university this was, along with Facebook, thought it was just fine to do this. The students never knew they were studied. Well, no doubt how I feel about that. It’s very intrusive.

I guess we have to get our news from the United Kingdom, since so many things like this story come from there and not our own media. The UK Guardian had this story about how our government snoops through our email. There are 12,000 orders a year for phone and internet data to be picked up by government snoopers in the US. At least Google lets people know their emails have been handed over. We sure do need to update our old laws that pertain to what we say and what we write.

What I wonder is this: Would the students care if they found out today that they were studied without their knowledge? Does anyone read things any more like “1984” and “Animal Farm”? Does anyone in our government think about the difference between snooping and investigating? I remember when I was about six years old I heard that the Russians had a satellite that could see a matchbox on the sidewalk. I remember standing on the sidewalk in front of my house and thinking about how they could be watching me at that very moment. I didn’t care for the idea. That is snooping and it’s what bad governments do. This earth is populated by flawed human beings, and governments are made up of flawed human beings who need laws to keep them in check. We better make some changes and make them pretty quick.

October Sunrise

I saw the beginning of sunrise while ago. So pretty – tall pine trees silhouetted by a soft wash of color – peach, light pink, light blue, then darker above. It was one of those images that I want to burn into my brain for recall when I need something nice to think about.