Bill Maher: Why do “Liberal/Progressives” support him?

If you have HBO and have ever watched the television show ‘Real Time’, you will recognize Bill Maher, an individual who is never afraid to say what exactly is on his mind. Whether it comes to his views on religion (specifically religious fundamentalism), marijuana legalization, support for LBGTQ rights, etc. Bill Maher is never one to shy away from controversial discussion, as reflected by his assorted guest panel. Bill Maher would say that he is not a liberal, even though he often voices vociferous contempt towards the Republican Party, and also donated $1 million to an Obama supporting super PAC. Bill Maher also has the support of most progressives and liberals on the left, many of whom find him funny, outspoken, and intelligent. While I personally would not accuse Maher of being an idiot, he has said some racist, Islamophobic, and dangerous things in the past. Such things I would not usually associate with Progressivism, but progressives still seem to excuse Maher for his often belligerent bigotry.

Racist? Islamophobic? It can’t be, especially from a liberal/progressive because they are incapable of being racist or prejudiced. This is something that is actually said, and it is quite sad. There is actually a belief among many in the US that Liberals cannot be racist because they stand against conservatives. One ideology just happens to be more openly racist than the other. This “moral high ground” that liberals think they possess in life is highlighted in this article speaking about Liberal exceptionalism when it comes to various socio-political issues, in particular Liberal Sexism (something Maher himself is also guilty of).

Bill Maher has never been shy about his atheism or his opposition to all forms of religion. This is highlighted in his movie ‘Religulous’, which is a documentary that shows Maher having conversations with people of various religious beliefs (Abrahamic religions in particular) attempting to show how illogical the belief systems are. As an atheist myself, I have my own views on atheism and religion, and I wrote about my disagreement with the type of atheism that Maher represents. My problem with Bill Maher and his supposed equal opportunist criticism of fundamentalism in religion is his bias against Islam. Maher in his extreme anti-Islam rhetoric has marginalized it compared to other religions, as well as spouted racist, orientalist language when describing the people of Islam and their culture, like when he referred to their politics as “desert stuff”. That kind of generalization towards Islam and Muslim people has been responsible for the exaggerated picture of Islam in the west since the colonial period. To see why that kind of language is problematic, see this video series discussing how such language was used as a tool for colonialism.

Maher doesn’t stop there with his biased anti-Islam rhetoric. Bill Maher basically said it was “liberal shit” to say that all religions are capable of producing equal violence and that Islam is a naturally more violent religion. This behavior hasn’t been without scrutiny. There have been media outlets that have criticized Maher’s biased rhetoric against Islam, like this Al-Jazeera op-ed here. Glenn Greenwald took his shot at Maher in his column for the Guardian, after debating with Maher directly on his show, where Greenwald proceeded to expose Maher’s lack of knowledge on history when it comes to religious involvement in political conflicts, especially when it comes to the role of Islam and Christianity. Abby Martin of RT America called Bill Maher out on his flip-flopping on certain views when it came to 9-11, as well as his bias against Palestinians and his support of drones.

This next thing really puzzles me, especially because liberal supporters of Maher everywhere are avoiding this conversation like the plague. We know that Bill Maher often uses brash language when discussing subjects, but that does not excuse him from making racially insensitive remarks about people. Some have heard of the controversy surrounding Bill Maher and Wayne Brady, which started with Maher making a statement on Real Time where he said “I thought when we elected the first black president, as a comedian, I thought that two years in that I’d be making jokes what a ‘gangsta’ he was. You know. And not that he’s President Wayne Brady, you know, I thought we were getting Suge Knight.” Besides the obvious flaw with that logic (being that black people will be one or the other extreme as caricatured by Knight and Brady) he probably thought he was in a safe zone when he said that, because most liberals think they have this safe zone to say what they want because of that aura of them not being racist. That was not the case…

Wayne Brady did not let that one slide, as he took it to Maher in interviews to make it known that Bill Maher has no such safety when saying such things. On this HuffPost live interview, he made it clear that Bill Maher could not question his blackness, and that Maher would never have the black experience in America. Maher never responded to Brady, which prompts a question that was posed here asking why Maher is okay with responding to white people, but not Wayne Brady (he is always okay with taking shots at people like Donald Trump or Sarah Palin).

Whether it is the ignorant orientalist rhetoric, or the racial identity politics, Bill Maher, segments of progressive/liberals, still have much to learn, especially considering such rhetoric is the same type of rhetoric that is espoused by people in the Republican Party or the Tea Party. The only difference is that the sentiments on the Liberal side of the spectrum have become more subtle. So progressives, can you tell me why someone like Maher is worth supporting? I would be interested in knowing your reasoning.

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Developments in the Edward Snowden/NSA Surveillance Scandal; 5 Things to Consider

SnThe national and international response to the developments in the NSA Surveillance Scandal have been volatile to say the least. There are definitely factions emerging within the debate regarding the actions of Edward Snowden, former employee of private intelligence agency Booz Allen Hamilton, who leaked a trove of documents verifying the existence of a full scale international surveillance program initiated by the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, despite the fact that the majority of the focus in the American media has been the topic of the PRISM program as well as the collection of phone records of all Verizon Wireless customers. I gave my initial thoughts on this issue in an analysis I wrote last week regarding the embryonic stages of development in this scandal. Many things have developed since my last piece and there are many aspects of this debate that still need clarity. Here are five things in particular that have been bothering me regarding the emerging debate of this issue.

1. The Traitorous Attitudes of the Press Towards Investigative Journalists.

This past Sunday on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’, government puppet David Gregory interviewed Glenn Greenwald, the journalist for the Guardian who originally was contacted by Snowden for the purpose of breaking the story. During the interview, Gregory asked Greenwald “To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” Greenwald replied by saying it was  “pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies,” It is pretty extraordinary, but this is the reality that we are living in, a reality where journalists are no longer journalists, but watchdogs for the establishment, knowingly or unknowingly. Of course, such a question from David Gregory implies ludicrous claims which are absolutely unfounded and dangerous, the danger aspect of it something I will cover in a bit. The sheer stupidity on the part of these establishment “journalists” shows in their ability to research their claims, as shown in this piece highlighting false claims made about Greenwalds relationship with Snowden prior to the leak and why such claims are indeed false.

2. Suggestion That Snowden Actually Committed Espionage

Okay, we have been hearing political drivel from the White House talking about Edward Snowden and how he committed espionage by aiding and abetting the “enemy”. The question that people need to be asking here is exactly “who is the enemy”? Is the enemy China? Not likely, as the entire vendetta against the rising economic power is basically due to being afraid of their rising economic power and likelihood of overtaking the US as the world’s number one economy in the near future. Is the enemy Russia? If anyone remembers the more insane statements from the 2012 presidential election, it was that statement from Mitt Romney when he stated that Russia was still our number one geopolitical foe, a view that gained a bi-partisan rebuking from Colin Powell and John Kerry. So who is the actual enemy here? Well if we take the actual definition of espionage which says “Espionage, commonly known as spying, is the practice of secretly gathering information about a foreign government or a competing industry, with the purpose of placing one’s own government or corporation at some strategic or financial advantage.” So, who was Edward Snowden spying for? He said himself that “…I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.” It seems in this case he was aiming to give an advantage to the people over the government, which would make sense of Ron Paul’s epic quote when he said “My understanding is that espionage means giving secret or classified information to the enemy. Since Snowden shared information with the American people, his indictment for espionage could reveal (or confirm) that the US Government views you and me as the enemy.” Indeed the perceived enemy might just be the people of the world.

3. Further Suggestions Saying the Revelations Aid Terrorism

In my last piece on this topic, I linked the readers to an op-ed that Richard Clarke wrote for the NY Daily News, where the former head of counterterrorism for three US presidents dispelled the argument that the revelations of NSA activity aided terrorism. The argument that Clarke made is that the terrorists operate under the assumption that each call or each post they make on the internet is being monitored, and that only the American people are ignorant of such activity. A recent piece in Bloomberg made two excellent points that expand not only on Clarke’s point, but also point out something dangerous. The article explained that most terrorists operate in a place called the “undernet”, which is a part of the internet that is hard to track. According to the article, the majority of the internet is unable to be tracked, due to people being able to communicate on forums that are not indexed by commonly used search engines. Google itself has only been able to index 0.004 percent of the known information on the internet. Since most of the terrorist networks operate on the deep web, it is fair to suggest that these surveillance programs are more oriented towards the activities of non-terrorists, such as private citizens around the world who do use these search engines.

4. Selective Presidential Administration Leaks

As pointed out in an excellent piece written for Antiwar.com, the Obama administration has no problem with leaked information if such information is favorable to the policies of the administration. The case that the writer alludes to is that of Najibullah Zazi, who was a member of Al-Qaeda living in Colorado who plotted to bomb the New York subways in 2009. The argument was that this plot was foiled by the presence of the surveillance techniques used in PRISM. If that was the case, shouldn’t the information have been as classified as anything leaked by Snowden? Even if you don’t buy the argument that the White House allowed that case to be leaked to the media, it is still telling that there was no question regarding the journalist or that journalist’s source regarding spying on the White House, because this particular case was considered a success story.

5. Snowden is a Coward for Running Away and Such an Act Should Question His Character

The very suggestion that Snowden is “running” from justice is a farce. There are people in the media that have suggested that the mere fact that Snowden is running should imply that his motives should be questioned. I am sure Edward Snowden would love nothing more than to stand trial in the US for his actions, especially after the way the United States government mistreated Bradley Manning for similar such acts (acts of mistreatment which a judge already acknowledged and will factor into a possible prison sentence). Perhaps if the US government wasn’t declaring an open vendetta against investigative journalism or treating whistle blowers as enemies of the state, Edward Snowden would have more incentive to try to clear his name using the justice system. Right now that is not the case, and the Manning trial shows that the US justice system does not play even by it’s own rules.

With all that being said, I continue to support the actions of Edward Snowden. We as a people have to protect the free press and free speech if we want to say we live in a civilized and free country.

Lazy and Overzealous Atheism…A Problem

If there is one thing I have come to learn over the years regarding issues pertaining to politics and religion is that people with a stake in the debate are more likely to debate with emotion, clouding judgement, leading to a debate filled with insults, ad hominems, and false information. That is not saying that it is terrible to have emotion involved with a subject, something that I will get into more later on in the analysis. Emotion should be okay within the context of a debate unless that emotion takes away the ability for someone to be accepting of potential counterarguments or evidence. When it comes to the religion/atheism debate, both sides have segments of their respective community that take such an approach to debate.

This article was inspired by a very informative and eloquent piece in Salon published earlier today on the subject of Christopher Hitchens and his academic dishonesty when it comes to representing facts about theology and the history of different religions. Christopher Hitchens made his claim to fame as a public intellectual and journalist who took to the debate circuits as an atheist (or moreso in his case, antitheist) apologist, debating many apologists of religion, such as Dinesh D’Souza. Hitchens is one of quite a few atheist apologists in the community that employ often overzealous tactics of debate, such as ridicule, to make a point.

This piece does not set out to merely discuss overzealous atheism, but also lazy atheism. A good example of lazy atheism is laid out here in this video (created by Youtuber LiberalViewer) of Bill Maher’s show ‘Real Time’ where guest panelist Adam Carolla talks about his form of atheism as one where the point of Atheism is not to worry about political issues or organizing or anything involving thinking essentially. This segment of atheism is the antithesis of the type of atheism that Hitchens and others like Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher himself ascribe to, and in my opinion each is equally dangerous to the atheist community.

Both sides of the atheist community reek of elitism, and the elitist attitudes that spawn from both segments of the atheist community do nothing to help bring about peaceful solutions to the problems they espouse, instead creating a hostile environment of ridicule and insult. This has also brought out some very interesting statements from the community’s most zealous apologists. For example, Bill Maher once classified religion as a “neurological disorder”, that keeps people “unenlightened” (claims he has no evidence to back up). This goes against the argument that many of the historical geniuses of the world (e.g. Isaac Newton), as well as great historic social leaders (Martin Luther King) were religious.

I think more debates on religion and atheism should be conducted such as this one that took place on John Stossel’s show. Although there was some bickering and ridicule, there was good conducted back and forth and everyone had a chance to speak within a well moderated environment. There should not be elitism and ridicule within this debate because like any other ideology, religion and atheism are both tools used by individuals that can be used either for good or evil. The problem during these debates is that many in the atheist community have their egos at stake in this intellectual argument.

Christopher Hitchens has argued that “enlightenment reason” should replace religion as the way people should essentially think about the world. When one thinks about the definition of “enlightenment” thinking, one usually thinks of the enlightenment period of 17th century England. This type of thinking is typical once you break down Hitchens elitist attitude towards other modes of thought. It is the type of thinking in which Edward Said alludes to in his monumental work ‘Orientalism’ when it comes to the “Occidental Thought”, the perception of the Occident (Europe) in relation to the Orient (the rest of the world). It is the relation between the noble enlightened westerner and the ignorant savage deprived of western enlightenment, which is in need of a benevolent enlightened westerner to construct an otherwise dead civilization.

Whether or not one takes the zealous or lazy position on atheism, that person is doing a disservice to the atheist community. I fancy myself a part of the atheist community who finds enough solace with their atheism to be able to function with anyone in society. My atheism doesn’t prevent me from finding reason within theological reasoning nor does it prevent me from finding reason from people who base their logic on theological reasoning. Taking a position on something should have some semblance of accountability. As an atheist, are you secure in your beliefs enough to be okay with tough questions challenging your views? As an atheist are you ready to come to terms with the fact that approximately 90% of the world is a part of a religion, and these people are people you are undoubtedly going to work with, function with, and at some point learn from and receive help from? Until the atheist community can do a better job being a part of the world community, we deserve to be classified as a cult that follows dogmatic beliefs equal to the fundamentalism we generally oppose.

 

Blogger Note: Any atheist or religious person who is looking for some good material relating to physics contributing to this debate should check out Laurence Krauss’s book ‘A Universe From Nothing’. It is a book I read recently that touches on the recent developments in cosmology, especially relating to the discovery of the Higgs Boson, or the “God Particle” which helps to explain how mass is created. Great read!

 

 

Macklemore, Murs, Frank Ocean, and LGBTQ Racism in Hip-Hop

Before getting into the bulk of this piece, I would like to make clear that this analysis is not a hit piece on any particular artist. It seems to be the case here that the artists themselves were simply delivering a message, and personally I see no ill intent involved. The issue I wish to address in this article is the reluctance on the part of a specific section of the population within members of the LGBTQ community as well their allies when it comes to discussing intersectionality and the problems of racism within the LGBTQ and the spillover into hip-hop music, with one specific example in mind.

What exactly is “intersectionality”? The term itself was created through feminist sociological theory and attempts to examine the relationship between various social and biological categories like race, gender, sex, etc. and how these entities react with one another and how that interaction might contribute to social inequality. That may sound a bit confusing, so let us take one example out of that jumble. Say there is interaction within the LGBTQ community and Black people in America, mostly in the realm of LGBTQ black people and the “mainstream” gay rights movement. Intersectionality would attempt to examine whether this interaction contributes to the inequality problems within each community as the result of this interaction, and examines the factors involved.

Historically, intersectionality has had detrimental effect on particularly Black gays in America. In Social Work Practice in Sexual Problems, the authors discuss how “Historically, black gays have received treatment from society than white gays for being gay” and give examples, such as “the names of black gays, their feminine aliases and addresses appeared in the press notices of their arrests, while the names of the white consorts with them were not given”. There are more historical examples one could read, but that is not the intent of this article. To set the foundation in this case is important because these issues of intersectionality have yet to be addressed.

Two emcees, two songs (released right around the same time), two messages which are practically the same, and two different reactions from the public reflect the desire to write this article. Most fans of music (especially hip-hop music) have heard of Macklemore, especially the hit song ‘Thrift Shop’, as well as the gay rights anthem ‘Same Love’. ‘Same Love’ is a valiant effort to spread awareness for the gay rights community, especially through the lens of a hip-hop artist in a genre where the topic of homosexuality is often met with much dissent. While such an effort is definitely worth praise, that same praise and recognition was not given to another emcee that took the same crusade, and probably much more risk.

Murs, an underground rapper that in the past has made a name from being PETA’s most animal friendly rapper, made his own attempt to help bring awareness to the gay rights community with his song ‘Animal Style’, which tells the story about a 17 year old black high school student (played by Murs) as he struggles to cope with his relationship with his boyfriend. The video has quite a tragic ending, but also brings up many issues pertaining to black gays in the gay community, which was highlighted by the scene in the video where Murs’s character violently denied his relationship in front of his boyfriend due to the presence of his friends. Murs also perhaps made the riskiest statement a black emcee could make by kissing his love interest in the video, a kiss that would cause Murs to receive some praise and ridicule from hip-hop fans.

There are definitely opposing views on the success of the Macklemore song, such as this article from Racialicious and this article from Gawker (you can read those articles for yourself on your own time), but it is worth addressing some points. The Racialicious article attempts to examine the White Straight Male Privilege of Macklemore while the Gawker article is a direct response to it. Both articles bring up a quote from Ellen DeGeneres when she had Macklemore on her show and introduced him by saying ““Here’s why you need to care about our next guest. No other artists in hip-hop history have ever taken a stand defending marriage equality the way they have.”. Ellen DeGeneres, herself a Lesbian, would understandably appreciate the effort undertaken by Macklemore, but why couldn’t she reserve a spot on the couch for Murs?

Issues of gay rights in hip-hop undoubtedly will have to address issues of racism as the genre itself is for the most part composed of  black artists, who will have to address these problems of intersectionality using their own methods. Such methods are already being underplayed in the media, with essentially zero coverage of a 2004 festival that highlighted a style called “homo-hop”. The festival itself featured more than 40 open LGBTQ artists. Such a blueprint might be more beneficial to the genre, with open artists interacting with other artists. Such a reality has come alive since former Odd Future member and famous r&b singer Frank Ocean, came out regarding his own sexuality (and props to Ellen for inviting him on the show). Of course, it not only helps that Frank Ocean is relatively popular and also an r&b artist as opposed to a hip-hop artist who partakes in other aspects of the culture (I doubt we would ever see extensive media coverage or appreciation for any of the openly gay black rappers discussed here).

In the end, the problems of intersectionality here are due to the lack of discussion, as well as the unwillingness to discuss the privilege involved. Let us make one thing clear, because people seem to have a twisted view of what exactly privilege is in a sociological, anti-oppression context. Privilege has nothing to do with being racist, supporting supremacy of any kind, or belittling people when pointing it out. Privilege is simply about how society accommodates you, and about the advantages you have that you see as normal, that may not be normal for disenfranchised groups of people. In this case, the privileged group (here are certain white gay males, not ALL of them, as well as assorted members of the white LGTBQ community) do not engage issues of intersectionality with racism due to their immediate sphere of consciousness not having to deal with those issues, due to them simply not being black. It’s really not that hard to grasp and I fail to see any problem. That is no attack on their character, because any of them could still denounce the system while admitting they benefit from that privilege. Many have. This debate just needs more honest discussion and we cannot bog ourselves down in illusions of utopianism while there are still necessary steps to take.

Edward Snowden and the Hypocrisy of American Exceptionalism

Let us start this piece with a quick mental exercise. I want you all to imagine yourself living in the country I am about to describe. Imagine a country where the government collects phone records of Associated Press outlets. Imagine a government that has the ability to collect mass amounts of data on their private citizens. Imagine a government that has the ability to imprison, and sometimes assassinate their own citizens without the ruling of a court on the innocence or guilt of the person in question. Imagine a government that uses small, remote-controlled aircrafts with the ability to survey and collect images virtually anywhere in the world, to spy on their own citizens. Imagine a government that designates people as enemies who attempt to expose any of the aforementioned abilities of the government. One would imagine such a government is nothing but a dystopian fantasy that might be read in a George Orwell novel. The government I have described is the US government, a government which has gone from a steady progression into tyranny into a more accelerated one.

This kind of mental exercise is one that a group of journalists at the Global Post recently undertook. It is actually a brilliant exercise designed to show how a biased media can twist facts, spin words and specific phrases to make a situation seem either unimportant or highly exaggerated. The US mainstream media (as is most media outlets in general) are very biased towards the state, and it shows based upon how they report the facts. This is a problem because most of the American people have their ethics and logic spoonfed to them and do not know the difference between a media figure’s opinion and a fact. It is even more scary to consider that most of the mainstream media are sock puppets for the state, and that a small group of moguls with political interests are at the helm of these institutions that deliver the news to the American Public. This sort of biased brainwashing has been no more prevalent recently than in the case of Edward Snowden, the individual who leaked the NSA surveillance projects currently undertaken by the NSA against the American public as well as the rest of the world.

In a perfect world, Edward Snowden would be considered a hero, but we are far from living in a perfect world. In reality, Edward Snowden is being essentially crucified by the government, which today filed charges against Snowden for espionage . Snowden has also been attacked by many in the media, as well as citizens of the United States who blindly follow anything the state tells them. What was Edward Snowden’s crime? Let me fill you in…

Edward Snowden revealed criminal and thuggish activity undertaken by the US government, not only against the people of the United States, but against other people around the world. It is ironic that one of the revelations was the hacking of databases in Hong Kong and China, an issue in cyber politics that has recently defined Sino-US relations, with the US accusing the Chinese government of hacking into US databases and stealing Intellectual Property.

Some of the concocted arguments coming from Washington sock puppets as well as the equally controlled mainstream media are almost silly when you consider the ease in which they gathered support in such a short period of time. Those who are taking the legality argument say that Edward Snowden broke the law, and should be prosecuted for that distinct purpose. Fair enough, I cannot argue that what Edward Snowden did was legal. I can argue though, that legality  should never be the ultimate panacea of a civil society. Walter E. Williams, a professor of Economics at George Mason University and an outspoken advocate of Liberty, could not have put the argument better when he said “How does something immoral, when done privately, become moral when it is done collectively? Furthermore, does legality establish morality? Slavery was legal; Apartheid was legal; Stalinist, Nazi, and Maoist purges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality does not justify these crimes. Legality alone, cannot be the talisman of a moral people”.

Let us remember that this is the same United States that imprisoned Dr. Martin Luther King for acts of civil disobedience, for standing up for his rights as a human being living at the time in a system which said that it was legal to segregate people based on the color of their skin. It was legality that imprisoned the members of White Rose, a group of whistleblowers in Nazi Germany who were executed for distributing pamphlets describing the wrongdoings of their government. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison for acts of civil disobedience and at the time of his imprisonment was called a terrorist by figures such as Margaret Thatcher. History again will be on the side of those who exposed the wrongdoing of criminals and their acts.

Another argument from the state is the same one that was used against Bradley Manning, which is the argument that Edward Snowden aided the enemy, revealing the ins and outs of an operation that is designed to protect us. This argument was silly when applied to the Manning case and even sillier when applied here. Even Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism adviser for George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton said the notion was silly when he said “The argument that this sweeping search must be kept secret from the terrorists is laughable. Terrorists already assume this sort of thing is being done. Only law-abiding American citizens were blissfully ignorant of what their government was doing.”

There is also this dangerous idea that the logic of the state cannot be turned against the state. At least I have not seen such a thing happen. For example, an argument that is often heralded by supporters of the state often goes “if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about”. This assertion is remarkably asinine, especially after you flip it on it’s head and use the same logic against the state. If the state is conducting benevolent surveillance of us, they should have no problem with the people keeping surveillance of their activities as they should have nothing to hide. Their remarkable defensive posture should indicate to people that their benevolence is nothing but false. Also, as indicated in a recent piece by Glenn Greenwald, the US government has not utilized the process of going through the FISA courts to conduct these operations.

Why has it been so easy for the state to trample all over our privacy? The answer lies not in some giant conspiracy coming from the state, but the complacency of the citizens! It is physical, but more importantly mental complacency that will eventually contribute to our demise and the rise of a dystopia that only the biggest statesmen could dream of overseeing. This complacency ultimately derives from how we view governance and governments as well as our morals and ethics, which have ultimately been shaped and molded by the government. We need to remember that governments are made up of people, a minuscule segment of the population which is expected to represent the will of “the people”. The people in this sense, are a homogenized concept formulated by the state, despite the diversity in race, gender, religion, ideology, etc. We as a people can no longer allow our morals, ideals, and dogmas to be shaped by outside forces. We must recognize that whistleblowers are not villains, because they are on our side, and are protecting us against the biggest thugs in the world, government officials.

In conclusion, I would like to call out “American Exceptionalists” on their hypocrisy. I would like to change the wording and call these people “State Exceptionalists”, because blind faith towards the ability of politicians is not relegated just to the United States of America. I would like to specifically address the issue of American Exceptionalism because I am an American, or someone who was born on this landmass titled the United States. These Exceptionalists are the ones who constantly talk about how America is the beacon for democracy and civility, yet support programs that enforce and support ignorance! Ignorance is the antithesis of democracy, as an effective democracy is absolutely dependent upon an informed voting populace. If anything, we should be looking at these leaks as an opportunity to have a much needed debate on the ethics of government surveillance and secrecy, which would be the democratic thing to do. Instead, we have a state that has all the power to do what it wants, because the majority of the voting populace is caught up in a bickering political battle of partisanship, which has each side blindly supporting their people and never calling them out for policies in which they did not support while the opposition was in power.

We need to stop with this “it cannot happen here” attitude and realize that it can. One would have been crazy to suggest that President Obama would be more hawkish when it came to government privacy than his predecessor George W. Bush, but when you consider the fact that the tools that were created under the Bush administration were enhanced under the next administration, one should realize that it is no longer about Democrats and Republicans, but the natural inclinations of states to use the power available to them, as well as increase that power in order to make their job easier.

Is the United States heading towards a dystopian reality? Only time will tell, but for now all we can do is support those who are trying not to allow that reality to transpire. Now, more than ever, we need to support people like Edward Snowden, which we can start doing by signing a whitehouse.gov petition to pardon him. We can no longer settle for the brave acts of people to be in vain. We do not want to end up on the wrong side of history. Please show your support!

A Brief Introduction

Greetings people of the world who have somehow stumbled upon this obscure blog that I am sure you found searching the annals of the “strange part of the internet”. I hope that all of you will join me on this journey through a world of jumbled, crazy information which I attempt to sort out and present as viable reading material for your daily mental floss! This blog sets out to accomplish a few goals, goals which may be ambiguous, but goals which are worth pursuit.

With this blog, I hope to provide…

1. Honest and factual information

2. Interesting and captivating stories

3. Eclectic, multi-dimensional subject matter

4. Something generally worth reading.

 

The content on my blog will focus on various socio-political issues that can encompass anything and everything. The point of this blog is to provide a free speech and free read zone. With that being said, I would like to ask for your immediate support on one particular issue.

 

As I am sure many of you know already, the recent revelations regarding NSA surveillance has resulted in the worldwide castigation of one Edward Snowden, the man who blew the whistle on the scandal. There is the potential of danger for Mr. Snowden and right now he needs our support. Right now, there is a petition to pardon Edward Snowden that still needs 13,000 signatures by July 9th in order to prompt a response from the White House.

 

Please sign the petition and support Free Speech!