I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America. And to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under surveillance, always divided, for liberty and justice for all.
It’s five o’clock in the morning. My alarm fades in slowly with the song “Waking Up” by Explosions In The Sky. I usually wake up this early to take my wife to work so it’s nothing out of the ordinary. She’s a hard worker. I admire that.
The morning is quiet. I like it.
It’s always quiet this early. It’s quiet because our little world hasn’t started up yet. The rest of the world has, but not ours. I like to absorb the quiet after dropping my wife off. The cats usually sleep in and the dogs tend to hop right back on the bed and pass out. I start my morning by making myself a spam omelette and a coffee with three sugars. I don’t add much creamer now days, I guess I’ve out grown it.
After my meal, I take my coffee and sit down at my desk. I call it the command center. It’s the central processor of my stronghold. My “Jarvis”.
“Good morning sir”
I say to myself out loud in a British “Jarvis” voice as my desktop comes to life. By now the faint blue daylight begins to filter over the mountain view that greets me every morning. I open my web browser and log into my usual social medias. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, & WordPress.
I am plugged in.
A Storm Is Coming
The news feed. A constantly evolving digital wave of opinions, ideas, beliefs, products, pictures, and sometimes pointless nonsense. The list goes on. It’s where our lives are written out and recorded in real time. It’s brilliant and truly wonderful.
It’s also a war zone.
A battlefield with multiple factions shelling the living shit out of each other day and night.
The quiet is over.
#Trump2016, #feelthebern, #blacklivesmatter, #hillary2016, #GOPdebate. Hashtags thrown around like hand grenades. Alliances are formed and relationships destroyed as easy as “unfriend”. You’re in the trenches and you’re as powerful as ever because you’re behind a keyboard. You no longer have to share an opinion face to face. You’re safe and secure because you’re in the matrix. Memes are like propaganda bombs filled with false or exaggerated facts about opposing parties but good job bro, really stuck it to em with that one!
We’re all guilty of it really. It’s all part of it. But I find it hard to take a side in all this. I mean I have my beliefs and I have my reasons for who I will vote for but I can’t seem to label it. You can’t claim to be a Republican anymore without being labeled a racist or bigot. You can’t claim to be a Democrat without being labeled a lazy liberal. You can’t fly a Tea Party flag without being called a tea bagger.
When did we lose ourselves? When did we go from a melting pot to a pot of water with individual groups of oil floating around? There’s so many groups and labels that we’ve started to suffocate in it all. We’ve lost sight of who the true enemy is and we are too busy climbing on top of one another as we grasp for air and try to soak up the lime light even if it’s for a quick second. It’s exhausting and like I said before….we’ve looked away from the true enemy and they are reaping all the benefits from it.
He was born on June 21st, 1983 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He is a former CIA employee as well as a former employee for Booz Allen Hamilton which is a company contracted by the NSA. He’s widely known for the **“theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person”.
** source via wikipedia
Recently I read Glenn Greenwalds book “No Place Left To Hide” which covers what happened when Snowden contacted Greenwald about the documents he had obtained.
“…Opposition to government invasion of privacy was a major factor in the establishment of the United States itself, as American colonists protested laws that let British officials ransack at will any home they wished…”
The Fourth Amendment:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person’s or things to be seized.”
As Greenwald said,
“It was intended, above all, to abolish forever in America the power of the government to subject its citizens to generalized, suspicionless surveillance.”
I also read that in the mid-nineteenth century, British government began opening its citizens mail, due to the development of rail ways and rapid delivery, which caused a major scandal in the UK. By the mid 1970s, Frank Church investigated the FBI and found that they had labeled a half a million US citizens as potential “subversives” and had spied on people based on their political affiliations.
Snowden handed documents over to Greenwald providing information about the US government partnering with providers, allowing them to sift through emails, messages, video chats, phone calls, voicemails and other means of communication. The data collected is then stored for access whenever they wanted. These major providers include; Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Paltalk, Youtube, Skype, AOL, and Apple. This was a project called PRISM, which allows NSA to collect data directly from servers.
Do you feel comfortable with that? If you are, you’ve already lost.
Some other things Snowden discovered was the governments ability to activate your phone’s microphone and camera capabilities even if it was connected to the internet or not. Greenwald met Snowden in Hong Kong along with two other reporters. They composed articles and stories for their publisher to release to the world. The story caught like a wild fire. The government has never denied the accusations.
A Song of Our Fathers
To say this story is mere conspiracy theory is only, to me, words used by those in denial. Civil liberties groups, Wikipedia, and many more have filed lawsuits against the NSA. That list can be found here. Edward Snowden found something terribly wrong with our government and felt that it was time the people finally had proof that they are watched, spied on, recorded and documented. Our government states that it’s for the greater good of the country. To help catch those who plot and plan to destroy our way of life. So once again I ask you, are you comfortable with this? If you have nothing to hide, them you have nothing to fear right? You have already lost.
“Governments around the world have made vigorous attempts to train citizens to disdain their own privacy. A litany of now-familiar platitudes has convinced people to tolerate sever encroachments into their private realm; so successful are these justifications that many people applaud as the authorities collect vast amounts of data about what they say, read, buy and do-and with whom”
If you are okay with it, then accept and admit that you are submissive. Submission, to me, is an act of something as low, if not lower than that of something on a microbial level. Yes it is true that there is nothing we can do about it, verbally anyway. This very article will be flagged and possibly looked at given the very contents contained in it, even though it is not even scratching the surface. I did that so you could research yourself and learn a bit.
While we squabble about, lobbing verbal abuses towards opposing parties on the constant stream of our news feeds that’s ever flowing. I hope one day the rest of us come to light that we divide ourselves because we let them. We are doing exactly what they want us to do and that is to remain as separate little twigs. A single twig is weak, but a bundle of twigs is strong. We are not a bundle. I fear we are broken and will be for some time. We vote for celebrities, not politicians. We form opinions off of trending topics without actually doing research and when some do research, they read one side of the story. We read media headlines that dice up, alter, and change what’s said to what they want you to read because they know you’ll only read the headline anyway. We watch as candidates dig up dirt on one another and bash each other in their debates. It’s a shame we’ve lost our ability to recognize when something isn’t right. That we now think rebellion on a violent level is an act of terrorism. That we are growing comfortable of the thought of being unarmed. That it’s okay for them to search our lives without reason. We scare too easily. We have weakened. I won’t give up on the country, but to be honest I feel that electing someone,no matter who it is, wont change anything on the grand scale that needs to happen.
Sources I used for this mini article were:
Wikipedia, Google, and the book “No Place Left To Hide” by Glenn Greenwald
Also check out the preview for Oliver Stones ‘Snowden’
The Year of Travel
For the past few weeks, let’s face it, facebook has been owned by our big wedding. Hundreds of photos have been uploaded and more photos here and there have been uploaded almost daily. We still can’t believe how well everything went and it all still feels like it was a dream because it happened so fast. Since the day I proposed to Nicole, it seemed like the wedding day was never going to arrive and now that it has, I wish the vacation wasn’t over.
Which brings me to introduce our next adventure!
“…Make record of your journey…”
A few months after the proposal, I started brain storming a plan. I didn’t want our honeymoon to be a cliche one trip kinda thing. I always try and do things different so why not this. I thought of a three to four phase honeymoon involving three or four trips spread through out the year of 2016. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling but Nicole hasn’t been to too many places so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to get the travel bug going for her! So instead of getting on a plane right after our wedding and going somewhere exotic, we have decided to visit Hawaii, California and Japan.
Phase One: Pure Aloha
Our first trip will be my other motherland. Nicole has yet to meet my family in Maui so we decided it is time for her to get some aloha! I know Maui fairly well my memory so I want to show her the island and all of it’s beauty. We want to spend maybe a week there and then head of to Oahu for three days or so. This trip will be in April.
Phase Two: California Dreaming
I’m not too fond of California really but we thought it would be a cool idea to hit up Disneyland and all that jazz for Nicoles birthday. My sister Alex may tag along and I’m not sure if Caiti can but that would be cool. I’ve been to San Fransisco and it wasn’t too bad of a city but I’m willing to give elsewhere a shot. We figured four days would be adequate enough. This trip will be in May.
Phase Three: Tora! Tora! Tora!
Last but not least, Japan. My good buddy Wayne approached me last year with this idea. He wanted the three of us to go to Japan and I was immediately on board. I have never been to Japan but it’s always been a place I’ve wanted to visit. It got Nicoles attention once she realized there was a Disney in Japan as well lol. The night Wayne drummed up the idea, I ordered a lonely planet book on Japan. When it came in, I read nearly the whole thing and researched things I found interesting. I tabbed things of interest in three different categories; “must do” , “would be rad”, and “if we are near with time to kill”. I started north and mapped my way down through out the islands. It seems like a solid route and hits everyone’s places of interests as well as some bonus spots I didn’t even know existed. This trip will be in September.
We are super excited and I especially because I get to shove all this in your faces and hopefully inspire some of you to travel as well, maybe even with us.
To be continued….