Sunday, September 12, 2010

9/11 And How To Win The War, Microsoft Represses Russian Dissidents,

Jose Cardenas
Simon Johnson

Well, the 9/11 remembrances went without any extremist violence or ugliness beyond Glenn Beck promoting his 9/12 organization. At least he had the good sense to do it far away in Alaska, with a minimum amount of press coverage. I assume that because I don't watch Fox news. If I did I would have a lot more to talk about with my neighbors, but they don't read the newspapers or read any books, so I am at a loss how to communicate with them without insulting them. I used to be known for my sharp retorts and often cruel put-downs, even driving a fellow worker to tears one day. I have, over the years, been trying to consciously not be as mean, which makes me grumpy instead... Oh, well. While reading some of the foreign press, I came across this question to all of the brou-ha-ha over the publicity seeking pastor who threatened to burn 200 Korans yesterday:
"Why does the US government think burning Qurans is less civilised than drone attacks on civilian populations?" - Lamis Andoni
Drone attacks is how we will be fighting our wars in the future. Our drones will fight your drones, and battles will resemble imperial kite fighting rather than the deployment of soldiers on the ground. Unfortunately, innocents will still be killed at the same rate...

What I saw the most during interviews over ground zero, is the ignorance of what a mosque is, and how my fellow Americans identify themselves as Christians. Most of the world's religions worship but one God, the same creator to the Jews, Muslims, and Christians. The rest is just human bickering over which prophet they wish to follow. And your religious practice should transcend even that argument, especially if you include meditation as part of your tradition. If a person doesn't meditate, I usually won't even bother to listen to what they have to say, because they are usually swayed by their emotions and contain little, if any, wisdom at all... that said, there was a full page ad in the NY times, paid for by the bible society, that said: Burning a Koran does not illuminate the Bible. Even more surprising was that among the people who signed the ad was James Dobson. I thought for sure that he would try and blame Obama for all of our intolerance, since he has had a lot to do with creating it in the first place...

The longer we stay in places like Afghanistan, the longer we build up resentment of ourselves. As I have said before, instead of invading the country by military means, if we had spent the money on building schools and providing education, giving them clean water, electricity, computers, and smartphones with free cell phone service; then we already would have done more to transform and liberalize Afghanistan than whatever pitiful things we can currently count on as victories in the name of democracy. Instead of fighting the Taliban, we could have continued to befriend them like we did before the invasion, when they offered to hand over Osama bin Laden. Their narrow interpretations of sharia law would naturally change as their children became more aware of the world and other forms of Islam. Afghanistan would be better off economically, the government would be more stable and honest, and much of the heroin trade might have been eradicated.

Unfortunately, Bill Gates and Microsoft have already gone over to the Dark Side. The NY Times has a long article how Microsoft has agreed to China's wishes to filter its browser results for chinese users, and how it lets Russia use it as an excuse to suppress dissidents. Microsoft says that it is concerned over software piracy and advocates prosecuting those that have bogus products on their computers, except its been proven time and time again that the government is using piracy as an excuse to raid opposition groups and to hassle them, confiscate their files, and try to put them out of business. and Microsoft's russian lawyers are playing right along: "Across Russia, the security services have carried out dozens of similar raids against outspoken advocacy groups or opposition newspapers in recent years. Security officials say the inquiries reflect their concern about software piracy, which is rampant in Russia. Yet they rarely if ever carry out raids against advocacy groups or news organizations that back the government.

As the ploy grows common, the authorities are receiving key assistance from an unexpected partner: Microsoft itself. In politically tinged inquiries across Russia, lawyers retained by Microsoft have staunchly backed the police.

Interviews and a review of law enforcement documents show that in recent cases, Microsoft lawyers made statements describing the company as a victim and arguing that criminal charges should be pursued." I guess if Bill Gates can't conquer the US without protest, then he is content to join Vladimir Putin in intimidating the rest of the world.
Click to enlarge graphic

I have been looking at recent polling results for the various political races around the country. Other than a few where there is a clear-cut favorite, most polls show that there are only a few points that separate Meg whitman from Jerry Brown, Michael Bennet from Ken Buck, and Sharron Angle from Harry Reid. The same shows for so many other polls, that for most races it is a toss-up as to which side will win. The much prophesied Republican landslide may not happen, especially since its doubtful that the polls actually reflect how people may vote come November. I know if my ballot wasn't mailed to me, I probably wouldn't go out and vote. So, we may not have a Republican governor in Florida or Texas, but it is safe to say that crazy ol' Jan Brewer will remain in Arizona. In fact, people from all over the country, well, mostly some rich old guy from Wyoming, is sending her millions of dollars to defend the immigration bill in court. Yep, some lawyers are going to rip off the state for some fat fees, sweeter than a can of Arizona tea...

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