Tag Archives: Wikileaks

Make. It. Stop.

I generally like the idea of having a spirited conversation with someone who disagrees with me. I don’t believe either side has a monopoly on being right or wrong. First of all, I think life is boring when we only talk to people who agree with us, we never learn anything. Second of all, if we cannot defend our position to someone with the opposite view, how can we really know how good of a position it is? And lastly, we need to talk to each other if we are going to work together.

The problem today is that we all come to conversations with our own ideas about what the “truth” is. Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “You have a right to your own opinion but not your own facts.” Well, today, you are entitled to both.

Here are some of the “facts” people have told me this year:

  • Huma Abedin is in the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Angela Merkel endorsed Hillary Clinton.
  • Saudi Arabia funded 20% of Hillary’s campaign.
  • Hillary leaked Chris Stevens’ schedule and that’s what led to his death.
  • There is proof that the DNC has committed election fraud.
  • The Clinton’s skilled Anontin Scalia
  • President Obama is buying up all the emergency supplies and having FEMA move them to secret places so he could halt the election and stay in the White House.
  • China hacks us. Russia hacks us. We hack them.
  • Millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary.
  • And we’ve all heard of the Pizza Gate

Of course, I asked where they got these “facts.” They sent me a sundry of random blogs, websites and message boards. I tried to counter them with facts I had. None of it mattered. They asked where I got my facts and when I told them, they said, “If you are going to listen to the MSM…” At the end of the day, they told me that they thought their sources were right and mine were wrong. The argument that “they have their news and I have mine” creates a false equivalency. While, in a way, it is true, it isn’t really.

Here are the places I get my news: MSNBC, CNN, FOX News, Politico, the Washington Post, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, the Daily Beast, NPR, BBC and others. If I read something that sounds “out there” I check more news sites. I don’t “blindly follow” anything or anyone.

Some journalists, like Chuck Todd, have called this era we are in “the post truth era.” How can we work together if we have different realities?

When it comes to the recent hacking stuff, I care because I don’t think we should let Russia get away with playing with our election. It would bother just as much if he had done this to the other side. I don’t want Russia hacking us in any way.

Donald Trump supporters don’t care. They say, “It wouldn’t have changed anything so, no harm, no foul. Let’s move on. Trump’s election was legitimate.” Move along, nothing to see here.

I honestly don’t know where we can go from here if we are going have our own facts but I do know this is a sad state of affairs. Welcome to the end of truth era.

No harm, no foul? Hardly.

It looks like Army Private Bradley Manning may face a court martial and life in prison.  Good.  I don’t think he is just guilty of theft as the investigator alleges.   That’s not enough.  I think he is guilty of treason.  Downloading confidential military records and giving them to outside sources cannot be tolerated.  One of the arguments his lawyer has been making is that Manning should be released is that the security breach didn’t really cause much damage or jeopardize American national security.  Liberals I know seem to think what Manning was doing was some freedom of speech issue.

Bullshit to both.

Let’s think a bit of what Manning actually did.   Manning was an intelligence officer in the Army.  Under the guise of downloading music, he took classified communications and shared them with Wikileaks.  If he worked at Apple or Microsoft or any other company, taking internal documents and data and sharing it would be grounds to be fired.  For military personnel, who are entrusted with the safety and security of the nation to steal and share classified information with anyone outside the government cannot be considered — under any circumstances — a good thing.  Not only does it set the worst possible precedent, it puts us all in danger.  This isn’t theft, this is treason.

Manning supporters say that he was doing the right thing: He was just exposing war crimes and other atrocities perpetrated by the American military.  The problem with that theory is that the information he released showed no such thing.  Even his defense relies on the idea that the information released did not harm anyone. You can’t have it both ways.  If he had been exposing some great crime committed by the US, we would all know about it.  He released embarrassing communications and the like.

I know what you are thinking, I am a hawk. I am no such thing, though pacifism isn’t my thing either.  We need to fight some wars — like WWII — we need to avoid others.  Our military makes mistakes and does things I don’t agree with.  The Marines urinating on corpses comes to mind as does what happened an Abu Ghraib.  None of that excuses Manning.

Private Bradley Manning was put in a position with access to classified information and entrusted with protecting the nation and he abdicated his responsibilities by leaking the data to Wikileaks.   I don’t understand why anyone would think that is a good thing and think he should spend the rest of his life in jail.

PS.  I don’t think the US has any reason to prosecute Julian Assange for anything as I know the Department of Justice is trying to do.  He broke no laws nor did he violate any trust.

So much going on and so little time to write about it.

1. Wikileaks; as a liberal, what is the party line I am supposed to follow here?

It seems there is one thing Americans of all political stripes have found something they can agree on; Julian Assange.  Politicians and pundits hate him.  My personal views are more nuanced.  Few ideas reside closer to my heart than freedom of the press.  I may not like that these documents were published but Mr. Assange is not the bad guy here.  Neither is the New York Times.  There is a villain here and that’s the guy who pretended to be downloading Lady Gaga and was really trolling for secrets to share with world.  A secondary villain is the piss poor security that let this guy access all these cables in the first place.

Mr. Assange seems to be a bit of a douchebag; arrogant and possibly delusional.  I do not share his worldview but that does not invalidate his right to have it.  US politicians have no business calling an Australian citizen that he is a traitor for leaking anti-US documents.  I also find it ironic that some people who fear the coming of a ‘one world government’ are under the impression that non-US citizens who don’t live in this country can possibly commit treason against us.  I have no idea if he is guilty of the crimes Sweeden has charged him with but see no reason for him not to face them.  It would not make sense for any court on the planet to send him to this country.  It is pretty clear that he would never receive anything close to a fair hearing here. We are just pissed off that we are embarrassed.

The New York Times also seems to have tried to be as responsible as possible when it came to what documents they released and what information was redacted.  Our system of government relies on the ability of the press to print the information they receive.  Again, it is not their job to keep US government secrets hidden away.  That’s the government’s job.

I read today that someone leaked tons of credit cards as a protest against any action against Mr. Assange.  Again, I am all about the freedom of the press but leave my personal credit information out of your protest, please.  That’s identity theft and your outrage does not justify this.

2. Tax cuts for everyone!

I think President Obama is doing pretty good job.  I feel like when he took office he faced what I like to call a Himalayan array of problems; each is gigantic when looked at independently but not so much when compared with each other.

My final verdict on the tax cut plan that the White House has worked out with some in Congress is both the best deal he was going to get and a little too far.  Well, not too far but too far, too fast.  I think the deal on the tax cuts for the uber-wealthy might have been a necessary evil but I would have liked him to publicly fight it.  I think Joe Scarborough has been dead on about this.  I would have liked to have heard him use the term hostage a week ago.  Truthfully, I would like to have heard that before the election.  Here’s the exact wording I would have liked to hear, “As a candidate for president, I said that I oppose the tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year.  I understand that the definition of wealthy differs in areas of the country where the cost of living is high.  I have asked the Republicans to consider extending all the tax cuts but those on individuals making more than $1 million a year.  They have refused to even discuss this and are threatening to hold tax cuts for the middle class hostage.  We cannot let them.”

That would not have guaranteed anything but would have made the lefties among us feel like he remembers who elected him.  It also may have made if this package was the best they could do, that the lefties in Congress could support this.

This is a minor point, really in the overall scheme of things.  Even more minor is one problem I did have with President Obama’s press statement.  He said “if they are (wondering) if I am itching for a fight I suspect they will find that I am.”  You suspect.  YOU don’t know if YOU are ready for a fight?  Seriously.  You should have a clearer idea of what is going on in own head.

3. Can we all agree that we all want the economy to create more jobs?  Can we get our politicians to skip to the part where they tell us what they propose we DO to make that happen?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering running for president.  Today he gave a speech in which he railed against Washington gridlock, partisan bickering and reiterated his desire to see the economy grow.  He was short on specifics and long on rhetoric.  It may not be fair to signal him out for something all candidates or would be candidates do but something about this speech got under my skin.  I wish we could just stipulate that we all want the economy to improve, kittens are cute and all humans are mammals and just get on with our lives.