The Enforcer

The New Scientist has an amazing article, entitled The Enforcer. It’s an interview with an interrogator from Israel’s security forces. It’s kind of chilling, but exactly what you would expect from a person who will play mind games and get things from you. You get the feeling that he is very formiddable and confident. And in his line of work you have to be.

Politics – The Iraq War

I had a good conversation with my dad the other day about politics and where things are these days. He’s more on the conservative side of things, but we both are good at level discussions, so it was fun. One of the things he said, and that I’ve heard others say, in response to the lack of worlds support in attacking Iraq and building a true international coalition, was that France and Germany had oil interests in Iraq and so that’s why they were stalling the processes.

I’m fine with that. They can have their own interests to protect. The US and the British claimed to go to war in the name of WMD’s and the “clear and present danger” they were to our national security. Bush and Blair both said they had proof. The data supported their war. If this proof was so compelling as to send our country into a pre-emptive war for the first time in it’s history, why didn’t we share it with the international community. At best we would have had everyone on board. Even France and Germany, who wouldn’t be able to deny this “proof” unless they really wanted to look bad. At worst we would at least have had more than Poland and Japan, and we would have at least shown that there was a danger.

Instead we asked the world to trust us, in that there were WMD’s and they rightfully didn’t. And look what happened, there was a complete lack of them, even facilities to build them. Way to build trust in the world you seek to lead to great “freedom and morality,” lie to them.

The ends do not always justify the means. Now that there are no WMD’s, the administration points to the new freedom of the Iraqi people. Does the deaths of thousands upon thousands of people, be they American or Iraqi, justify us going and freeing another country when ours still needs work? What gives the American nation the right, or the will, to force our political views and ideologies on other nations? These very things are what Al-Quida is fighting their “holy war” against. Shouldn’t a people rise up and free themselves? Does freedom mean something to someone who hasn’t fought for it? Sometimes the fight for freedom needs a helping hand, and I don’t mind helping then. We got it in our Revolutionary War from France, but would we be the same country today if France had just decided for us that we should be free from British rule? I highly doubt it.

But now that we are in Iraq, we must to all that is possible to help get them set up and get our influence out of there. If the new Iraqi government is ever going to succeed and be taken seriously in the Middle East, it has to seem free of American influence and guidence. Get our men and women home from the battle lines and back to their families. I may dislike the war, but I want the warriors home as quick as possible.

Firefox 1.0

Mozilla’s Firefox browser has now reached version 1.0! What does this mean to you? Simply this, a more satisfying browsing experience, a more secure browsing experience, and also a browsing experience that you are able to customize easily and quickly.

Seriously, if you havn’t tried it yet, it’s worth a download. You’ll be amazed at how many bad little things you used to take for granted (like having to close all of the popup windows all the time) are now taken care of. Spyware jacked your system? Firefox isn’t going to be so insecure that it will let it happen.

CNN’s even covering it it seems. I’ve been nothing but happy since starting to use it, and couldn’t ask for more.

2004 – Post Election Blues

So as of just an hour or so ago, Kerry has conceded the election to Bush. I’m in kind of a strange place right now. I’m dissapointed, sad, frustrated, and exhausted. I’m not all that optomisitc about the next four years, and I’m worried for my country. With the national vote though, it looks like I’m in the minority. It’s a very crushing feeling. Very.

This has been the first time I felt personaly involved in politics. I’ve never really cared much about the outcomes, or the elections, beyond the superficial sound bites available from the news channels and newspapers. I was not making an informed descision before, I was making a surface decision. That changed very much this year. I watched each and every debate, I read on-line and in the papers, I saw interviews and biographies on the candidates. I invested myself in the outcome of the election. It’s a new thing.

I’m telling myself that America made a surface descision, and that those who don’t really take a look at what their president is doing, but are going on what he tells them is why Bush has won. When you belive the soundbites and don’t look into what the facts and plans and records really are, you are not making an informed descision. I’m not saying that if you were informed you would have voted for Kerry, but that so much of America voted from the hip and not the head. Unfortunatly this isn’t going to change anytime soon, and I personally don’t have a solution, other than to tell people to get off their ass.

I also saw some polls about how so many Americans voted on who they thought had better “moral standards.” A friend of mine had this to say:

So you’re telling me that the 200,000 people unemployed in Ohio, sitting around their kitchen tables, splitting a can of cheap baked beans with their family, sad because their son died in Iraq, said none of that matters, because Bush is a stand up guy. He’s a good person and that matters more than my job, terrorism or the war on Iraq.

What can you say. We all knew it would be a close race, and it turned out to be. America hasn’t fallen apart just yet, and if anything this election and this awakening of politcal feelings that I didn’t know about, really has gotten me thinking. I’ve been reading other reactions to the election on the web, both sides, positive and negative. Alot of the Kerry side is saying what I’m thinking:

Yes, we lost. Okay, not the end of the world. Let’s sit down and figure out what mistakes we made, what we did right, and start getting back our country. Kerry was great, but didn’t connect well with America. Democrats need to find a way to appeal again to the so called “common American” and not just be the anti-Republicans, but be a party that more people can identify with. There needs to be for the Democrats a way of getting back momentum in their platform, being first to the punch instead of reacting to what the Republicans say. And hey, if things keep on going the way they are with Bush now, I’d like to think that we won’t have to worry about a neo-conservative candidate in 2008 at all. I’d really like to think that Bush will really try and unite the country again, and try to bridge the gaps. I don’t think it will happen, but it’s a nice dream.

I’m not a party voter, and prefer to stay that way. I want to make sure, now and always, that the candidates I choose for national, state and local elections are chosen on their ideas and plans and history, not their parties and not their political lean.

Boing Boing has some interesting comments on the recent events.

Part of me want’s to say, “If America falls apart don’t blame me, I didn’t vote for him,” and so I’ll leave it at that. America has four years. We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I’ll do what I can to make a difference. It’s what this whole democracy thing is all about.