Something We Ought to All Agree On

I like to get my news from a variety of sources. I don’t want to be anyone’s malleable mushy little mouth with no brain. So – I check out the liberal and the conservative. And in the process, I notice that even though we have different views – I never completely agree with either one – I do find that I can stand right next to either one in solid agreement on some things. I wonder if Naomi Wolf – who I admire for her intellect and courage, and Gordon Robertson – who I love as a brother in Christ – were to sit down and have a conversation about WikiLeaks…well, would they agree on anything?

Naomi Wolf said the court determined during the trial of Daniel Ellsburg that it’s not illegal to print classified material. He gave something called the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times back in 1971, and the government freaked out. It all had to do with Vietnam and how congress had been lied to and of course, the public had been lied to as well. The court said the person or persons who print the material have not broken any laws. The one in trouble would be the one who stole the classified material – not the one who received and published it. The court said the benefit to the public was greater than the risk to the government.

Gordon Robertson said (700 Club, 12/10/2010) the State Department has been rumored to be behind the companies (PayPal, Amazon, MasterCard, Visa) not doing business with WikiLeaks and if they are, it might be because they know a court case would be risky for them. They stand a good chance of losing because of the precedent set in the Daniel Ellsberg case. If they can shut off funding to WikiLeaks, they can shut down WikiLeaks without a trial, which besides they would probably lose, would be very complicated since Julian Assange is not a US citizen. Besides all this, Gordon Robertson pointed out that whether the decision to not do business with WikiLeaks comes from the government, or from the companies, it’s all being done without a trial and only because the government – or whoever – doesn’t like Julian Assange’s ideas.

I think a conversation between them would show agreement on one thing for sure. Both Naomi Wolf and Gordon Robertson have said that this is how societies shut down. They control the sharing of ideas and information. On this, they agree. Gordon went on to talk about how the cash flow, which is all electronic and not actually cash, is cut off. This is a way of controlling who can buy and sell based on a person’s ideas and beliefs. If you are familiar with his interpretation of Revelation, you can see where he is going with this.

If you have been upset with Julian Assange, I think your outrage is misplaced. The one who broke the law is the one who gave the information out. (And how on earth did a Private (!) get this stuff? Is he somebody’s fall guy? If the private who is accused did this, did he have enough brains to know what he was doing?) The ones we ought to be really upset with are those in the government who hide things from us that they don’t want us to know because they shouldn’t be doing those things. Like we have been secretly bombing Yemen. Like our State Department seems to have helped in a cover up of some disgusting activity that one of our contractors was involved in over in Afghanistan. And then there are the juicy little comments some of our diplomats made about world leaders. Haven’t people learned that if you don’t want it to be repeated, you don’t put it in print in any way, shape or form? Apparently not.

Well, it seems to me that liberals and conservatives ought to be in agreement here. (I wouldn’t expect this of the neo ones of either view in government or newstainment – that would jeopardize their power. I’m talking about you and me – regular everyday US citizens.) To restrain someone in any way because you don’t like what they have said or thought is a very dangerous road to travel. Naomi Wolf and Gordon Robertson can agree on that. And I agree with both of them. Can you?

Spy vs. Spy (With a Nod to Mad Magazine)

Did you see 60 Minutes last night? The first story was about how vulnerable our government’s computer systems are and our utility companies and our banks. All these have been hacked into or otherwise compromised. “Otherwise” being electronic components that were installed had been embedded with code that could allow them to be controlled by someone outside the system. (Brazil has already had their power grid shut down a few times in a few different places.)

Who does this? Foreign governments and organized crime groups. During the interview, Jim Lewis, a director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Steve Kroft that we do the same thing. We get into the systems of other countries.  Mr. Lewis sounded sort of proud as he said “we are really good” – the “top of the league”! Oh? The US has the best hackers on the planet? Then Mr. Lewis said when Russia and China asks how we can complain about them getting into our stuff when we get into theirs, he said it was worse for them to get into our systems.  Mr. Lewis said we depend on the internet more than other countries and it is woven into our economy and military in ways that other countries haven’t done. I turned to my son who was watching this with me and said, “Look at that guy polish his halo!”  As he continued to justify and explain it dawned on me that this is Spy vs. Spy (with a nod to Mad Magazine) and this stuff has gone on probably ever since there were at least two different government entities. Unfortunately, it will continue to go on til the end of this age. This sort of thing started off with no technology – just humans getting into other humans’ government and military business for the purpose of gathering information, then it just advanced as technology advanced.  I suppose it would have moved on to interception of communications when it was just letters being carried from one person to another to use of binoculars and listening devices and wire-tapping and so on. It would be interesting to read a good book on the history of spying. The internet is just the latest technology.

As far as our power grid, Ret. Admiral Mike McConnell, who is the former director of National Intelligence, said he “would be shocked” if our power grid has not been infiltrated. He said it could be gotten into in a way that could start in one place and spread. All anyone would have to do is cause a generator to self-destruct. I think it’s nuts that those generators can’t be readily replaced. They used to be made here in this country but not anymore. Did you know they have to be ordered from overseas and it takes 3 to 4 months to get the new one? Have you ever lived without electricity? I have for a few days after a hurricane and it’s different. I’m glad I have a gas stove so I can cook and my water is also heated by gas. I have a clothesline but would have to do laundry by hand. Gas can not be pumped without electricity. Many jobs could not be carried out without electricity. I supposed retail stores would figure it out but how would food be trucked in? Would there be tanker trucks that would normally deliver gas to the gas stations parked on parking lots and selling fuel right out of the truck? That was done after one of our hurricanes. (Can’t remember which one – they all start to run together after a few of them blow through.) What really concerns me is folks in hospitals and people who have to have kidney dialysis (like a relative of mine). What would they do without electricity? Would they have to go to another part of the country to get the treatment they need? Well, I guess this is what modern warfare would be. While we wonder about ‘dirty bombs’ and missiles, our water supply could be contaminated or, our power grid or banking system could be wiped out. Yeah, someone could wipe out the records at the banks. Wouldn’t that be a mess?

But as serious as all this is, I am not so scared of the enemies of this country as I am of my own government. I’ve told as much to my senators and congressman, too. I live near ports and refineries and this would be just the place to hit if someone wanted to mess with us. I remember hearing that we were a target when we had the Cuban Missile Crisis and I was only about 6 years old. What has always concerned me more was that our government would compromise my freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, religious freedom and privacy, in a misguided effort to keep me ‘safe’. From whom? From a take-over by another country who would take away my freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, religious freedom and privacy? They have always played their spy games. But don’t go overboard and chase after US citizens. I’m just a homemaker down here in the armpit of Texas and I want to be left alone.