Authoritarian Leadership, Quest for Power & Discrimination – China, Russia, Turkey (America?)

This is a food for thought article that will be TL;DR for many out there…

The world of leaders, today – 2019!

Russia, China, Turkey – these are countries that want to and are actively banning dissenting voices. These countries want to control their societies so there are no threats to the government’s strong arm of control over their citizens.

This is when you know leaders of various countries are in trouble. The government starts implementing more control over the press. These governments start controlling what their citizens can say, when they can say it and where they can say anything.

There had been a point in time when I wanted to go visit these countries but that was prior to these control over citizens being put in place. Now, no real desire to do so any longer.

For example, Russia – I’ve written about this in the past, outside of my previous intelligence and cybersecurity work (complete separation between previous work and personal discussions). SORM, its full name is ‘System for Operative Investigative Activities’ and is basically interception of voice and data through all the various networks. It is something Russia implemented in the mid-90s, originating from the FSB (formerly the KGB). This set of regulations under SORM covers everything from credit card transactions, telephone calls, internet activity, etc. And to make it worse, the FSB and the government has been expanding this ever since. If you are an ISP (internet provider), you have to have an FSB compliant box “on your site” that all of your data goes through. Guess what else. All that data goes through an FSB entity in order to archive, cherry pick whatever is needed and to filter what is “not good” for the government, err, Russia. If businesses did not comply and install the device, they were blocked from doing business. Now we have Russia upping the ante and starting to actually block VPNs (virtual private network) who do not agree to censor traffic across/through their VPN system. There are numerous outlets to read up on this, no matter your political stance.

And China, everyone by now is aware of the Great China Firewall.  No matter where you stood in China, everything, everywhere was being filtered AND acted upon to impart the ‘great’ communist party loyalty that everyone must comply with.  Sure, China wants to be capitalistic and make money and be a power house on the world stage. But! China also STILL wants to be a communistic system and FORCE everyone to kowtow to the party line. Look at the Uighurs (Uyghurs or one of the several other ways it is being spelled) – they are being wiped out, systematically. And some would say that they are being wiped out – genocidally. Entire communities of Uighurs have been razed to the ground and replaced with more modern high rises, with many of those Uighurs being placed in “Education” camps, to, ahem, “improve the economic and education levels” of those members. You can also do your own research (which I very highly recommend you do) to find material on what is happening in those Uighur areas – there are also a lot of Uighur refugees in America and other countries. China is becoming like the movie GATTACA where you are tracked at all times and the government knows everything about you…

Turkey, what I can about Erdogan? He is a dictator, clear and through. He is making the country more religious every week. He is trying to still further strengthen his power base and be President for life, outside of the previous term limits. He too is looking to control his people.

The bottom line is that these three countries and others as well, i.e.:

  • Brunei and their new Sharia laws – where gays and adulterers ‘can legally’ be stoned to death
  • Malaysia and their Sharia laws – the government is looking to get tougher on gays there as well and it is already brutal

I happened to latch on to the gay topic above because this is a pet peeve of mine. There are many of us who are very tolerant of people enjoying the lifestyle they believe they want. It is not up to us to control someone else’s personal life – it is none of our business and should be none of yours. It is not harmful to you and please do not insult the rest of us by saying that it creates emotional and mental turmoil and distress – that will not fly. We are grownups (right?) and can handle keeping our noses out of someone else’s personal lifestyle.

But, controlling the people of a country… This has always been a disturbing path to follow. No one wants to engage with or partner with or visit a country where the citizens are dictated to as to:

  • who they in turn can associate with (check out China’s ‘social credit system’) – you can be docked points for the bad people you associate with (or jay walk or spit on the streets or use too much toilet paper) and with enough docked points, you cannot take plane flights anywhere among other things
  • what they can say about their leaders or their government – dissenting voices are knocked down, publicly – in Russia, people are ‘accidentally’ shot down by mysterious forces… or the dissenters can have chemicals thrown into their faces or somehow be ‘legally’ sentenced for tax fraud…
  • where they can go and how many can get together at one time in one area – yeah, Russia and China put size limits and area restrictions on this for their people – and it is worse than the regulations we Americans have to deal with
  • what the people can write, in books, magazines or newspapers – it has to all be glowing lies or B.S. (errr – dang it, sorry, personal content) commentary that those government figures/entities can smile about

No one in the free world wants to part of a society where the leaders only want to gain power, gain more power over time and grab more power – solidifying their choke hold on and over the people of the country. And it goes on. Yet the police and military forces that the leaders control just stand by. There have been instances where the military would step in wrest control from authoritarian leaders and then let the people vote for new leadership AND actually relinquish control to those democratically elected officials.  Now. Now that does not seem to be happening, it is as if the military leaders have become brain dead and, pardon the technical term, stupefied – unless these military leaders have been bought and paid for and these military leaders have no spine or morals or ethic foundation to lead from. It kind of happened in Turkey in 1980 where the military lead the country for several years.

Now don’t get me wrong, America has some kind of leadership issues of our own that is simply baffling to understand. We have our own moral and political compass to correct and our ship really, really needs to be up-righted…

Note: I do not use the term United States any longer due to the fact that we have too much division throughout the country where a sizeable number of people just do not want to see other people in this country gain more power and more equality – those people being discriminated; non-whites, women, immigrants and gays.

This is where it is baffling to me. Instead of coming together as a whole nation and working on solving issues of (small list here):

  • droughts,
  • small towns dying due to young people and others leaving for better opportunities,
  • loss of manufacturing & mining jobs due to technological advances,
  • improving education (as long as the effort does not involve Betsy DeVos – bad choice for that role),
  • improving workplace equality – many, many people know this is wrong and that if a man and a woman are doing the same job and they have the same educational/work experience – it should be a no-brainer that they should be paid equally (however, if one of them is an under-performer, man or woman – that person should be the low earner)
  • having better leaders – this country does NOT need more leaders that only want to have a “good ole boys” club and exclude others (see the discriminated list above) or leaders who want to line their own pockets with ill-gotten gains (ask the congressman who was doing insider trading ON White House property) for themselves and their family and friends

So, where are we headed as a race of humans? Are we headed into a disappointingly dark future of one where leaders continue to gain power and control and lord it over others? Or those leaders who “want” to attempt to gain such power (America – Trump)… Ask:

  • Venezuela’s Maduro if he gets enough to eat or if his people were/are starving during these bleak times there).
  • Russia’s Putin how much money he continues to rake in as possibly the wealthiest ‘voted in’ leader in the world – how does a president become a billionaire (unless they win a huge lottery)? And how much physical force he is going to continue to exert just to remain in power (same goes for Turkey’s Erdogan)?
  • China’s Xi JinPing and his attempts to reach around the eastern hemisphere and gain more power and influence, such as creating man-made islands in the South China Sea (SCS).
  • Or, not to forget – the murder of Khashoggi allegedly under the direction of Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, who, again, allegedly to silence Khashoggi…

We simply have too many people in multiple countries around the world who are somehow blinded (or fooled) by their current leader as to how really beneficial that leader is, for everyone…

What kind of future do you want to see? One where medical care is available to everyone, regardless of their social economical stance in society? One where children can go to public schools with decent and up to date system to enhance learning (books that do not have whitewashed history and technological tools) or colleges where students of all levels can get in without bribery? One where needed medicine costs a paycheck?

I am not talking about a Utopian society, just one that makes sense – where people treat each other with civility and common courtesy rather than those full of greed and low moral compasses who want to step on the backs of everyone else, just to gain a 3 second advantage at any cost. Look at the current president of America, where that individual believes that others should abide by the law, yet, yet – he should be excluded from such plebeian exercises…

We should be building upon progressive and liberal platforms that were starting to take root, platforms that also had some conservatism in them. Platforms that were and are socialist as well, which many people seem to forget and just take for granted; socialist programs such as fire departments – they help everyone. Same as with police departments and school systems and hospitals – do people really want to return to the dark days of when they were not? We live in a new time, not the old days of the pathetic class system of race, gender and money – we live in a time that should be about inclusion and growth.

Leaders have to help people and help people grow together – not be authoritarian leaders who want to control every aspect of your life; from the people you associate with, to the religion you practice (for those who believe in that higher power), to even what kind of music you can hear and what kind of movie you can watch (these leaders want to protect your soul and moral compass, right….). What is wrong with helping others to grow? Absolutely nothing at all, it should be an enriching event for everyone.

Go and check out Eli Pariser’s book – The Filter Bubble. You don’t have to read the entire book, just the first few chapters and you will have a better understanding of the filter bubble so many people find themselves. If only we could get more people out of their highly restricting personal filter bubbles and expand their enclosed ‘worldscape’, we might grow better and faster as a global community.

 

 

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In a Sane World – Religion, Race & Gender

 

Okay, this past week of incidents has gotten my dander up, too many crazy things going on in the world. In watching Rachel Maddow one night, I saw her talking about John McCain and what he said about Chelsea Clinton and Janet Reno during the 2008 Presidential campaign. After seeing that piece, I have lost complete respect for him, decorated POW or not, he of all highly educated people should know better. The segment was the one on Reno and Eric Holder being the only two non-white or non-white males out of 82 Attorneys-General in our history. What McCain did was, he made a very disparaging joke about Chelsea C and Janet Reno – I won’t repeat it here. Very, very sexist!

Then there was the ISIS beheading of the French individual who was kidnapped.

And then there was the shooting of a black guy in Ohio who was following a policeman’s request to show his drivers’ license and the poor guy wound up being shot (by a poor shooter).

 

So, let’s talk about freedoms that everyone on the planet should be observing, freedoms that allow each and every one of us to be happy.

Sure, everyone has an inalienable right to partake in any religion they desire. And yes, people can also be a bigot, or rather, an individual that believes they are more superior to others of a different color. And yep, you can also dislike the opposite sex as well.

But, here’s the kicker – you cannot take your religion, gender discriminations and racist leanings and do harm to others. That harm could take the form of mental, physical and/or emotional abuse. You just can’t.

 

Let’s take on religion first. Religious battle has been going on since time immemorial. Those battles have gone on for millennia, not just centuries where people of one religion fought with those of a different or no religion. Those battles have gone on far longer than the old saying of – ”earth was created 6,000 years ago.” And yes, there is a lot of fossilized proof to prove humans have been around for quite some time, you just need to do your own research. The reason why I say do your own research is because that is the only way you will learn anything. Just because someone else tells you a fact that in and of itself may not convince you, you need to dig into the info on your own.

We will never get anywhere if people continually throw religion into the mix of politics or society instead of using commonsense and respect for the other. Muslims are not going to follow Catholics. Those of Jewish descent are not going to follow Muslims. Baptists are not going to follow Catholics. That list goes on and on and on. Who is going to bend and simply recognize that people follow other religions because that is what they choose to do. No one can make another believe in their own religion or god. There are only a tiny proportion of religious individuals who do respect and follow those of another religion, as far as I know….?

We have seen time and time again, so many high level religious leaders with their hands in the cookie jar. The cookie jar could any of the following or more:

== Embezzlement

== With prostitutes

== Partaking of drugs and alcohol [WHILE railing those who do, during church sessions]

== Engaging in homosexual acts [WHILE railing against the act as being sinful] and/or

== Just not acting as a religious leader when they “think” no one is looking

So, many of the pious out there do not have a moral leg to stand or lean on…

And as for the extremist crazies around the world today, who in their right mind would willingly follow those folks?

In this piece, you may notice the use of lower case g’s throughout… It is not meant to be disrespectful; it is only personal disbelief towards any god.

What matters is that you, the individual, are respected as a person – pure and simple. It is not the religion which only makes up some of you (even though many will say that religion is all of their makeup – let’s just agree to disagree). YOU are what matters. That which makes up your character, your integrity – that is what matters for many of us. It is the person inside.

 

Now, let’s take a peek at racism next. Racism has gone on unchecked for, again, millennia and not centuries, around the globe. Too many people in the world are “STILL” worried and scared of others only because they look different, because the other has a different hue of skin color. Or that they have different facial features.

At this time, many people just do not follow the path of history and use “their own mind,” “their own brain” to do any research or logical thinking beyond their favorite radical radio show or favorite reality television show.

There seems to be no consideration, at least the way it appears, to what kind of conditions people have to live in, in their part of the world. And then of course there is not much consideration to how the ancestors of those people had to endure even harsher elements to survive. Have many people, in the 21st century, simply stopped thinking for their own sake and are relying on those with loud voices but few truths?

No one can subjugate a race of people and make them subservient or to stay in the status of less than second class people or some kind of lower caste system. That is, unless you wish to bring back an older and uglier time to the present…

What matters, again – is you and your character, your integrity! That is what matters for many of us, not the simple, ridiculously thin layer of upper epidermal skin color. It is the person inside.

 

And now, on gender, just because the other is a woman; what gives anyone else the right to harass her? What gives anyone the right to be a dictator over that woman, even if they are boyfriend/girlfriend or married? Who gives the right to say that a woman cannot be a CEO or President of a company or any country? A woman can also become a submarine captain if she is qualified and not be denied that position just because she is a woman.

Just because a woman has a uterus and a pair of breasts, why do so many continue to act as if she does not have a brain (sometimes a BETTER brain) than you do???

 

Does anyone, today in the 21st century, realistically believe that anyone can control another human being because of race, gender or religion? Why?

Why does anyone believe that they are far more superior, just because of race, gender or religion and for some reason has some inherent right to control others?

Could it be a case of “well, I’m bigger and stronger and I can beat your head in if you don’t listen and do as I say” – is that it?

Is it a case of “well, I’m of a different and better race (or caste), so of course I am far more superior to you” – really?

Or, is it a case where “well, MY god is the one true god and since we follow that god, we are more arrogant, sorry, superior to you because our god is the only god” – c’mon? Not everyone believes in superstition and mythical beings that have evolved since humans learned to walk and became clans with their shamans, or their witch doctors and then later on, priests and bishops. Just because some people believe in a god, it does not mean that everyone else has to believe – just because someone else says you should or must.

 

We now have a situation in Colorado where a school district (Jefferson County west of Denver) wants to “only teach positive and patriotic aspects about the U.S. and nothing negative” to students in the AP history classes [1, 2].

This truly is incredible that a schools’ educational system wants to: “only teach positive aspects” and maybe not talk about the Suffragist Movement, or how the Chinese were treated in building the U.S. railroad system or even slavery in this country…

Say it ain’t so – that we have another state that wants to foster censorship, in the schools no less. Has McCarthy arisen from the grave? Because censorship is what it boils down to, the students in that school district full well know and understand that it would be censorship.

If we censor history, then our descendants will most definitely repeat the sins of the fathers – as it was nearly all men who fostered most of the atrocities in our near and distant past. The originator(s) of the school district proposal may have had their hearts in the right place but were completely misguided in even thinking about ‘removing the negative aspects of our history’ because that is what it is if you start deliberately whitewashing, sorry, if one starts leaving out chunks of history.

This is akin to what Japan of old attempted to do with the Nanking, China situation. The Japanese leaders wanted to alter the history books in Japan so no one would learn about the atrocities that took place in Nanking decades ago. As if the rest of the world would forget about it…

Or, it could be similar to Kansas in how they want to, ahhh, remove evolution from their history books… On this one, there is no reference added, please, do yourself a favor and research this and come to your own conclusion. There is plenty of lucid and accurate content out there on Kansas and their ongoing struggle between evolution and creationism and what to teach their children (I would not suggest to any family to move to Kansas).

 

Have people lost their minds? No one can sugar coat the past. No one can control others in what they believe in. If a group of people want to believe in a god that is up to those people. But those people cannot force it on others.

Listen, if no one wants to talk about the problems that exist, they just won’t magically go away – now will they? We have to communicate with other in reaching compromises. That is how we coexist.

But with religious extremists, now that is a whole ‘nuther cup of noodles. It seems that communication does not work with that group. The only thing that works is if you convert to their religion and their way of life, simple as that. Oh wait, if you do not, well, they kill you.

People around the globe have got to become better educated, learn to communicate and try to see through the eyes of the other. In doing so – that is the only way we are all going to survive as a race of people. It will not matter if you are male or female, black or white or green, religious or non-religious – communication and compromise will be the only solutions to the survival of the human race.

To prove how much better you are than others, you only have to show it in the good things you do – that’s it.

 

Folks, we all share the same basic DNA and that will never change, not in the next couple of decades anyway. The genetic difference between individuals is something like 0.1% and of that, skin color differentiation is even more miniscule than that… Many people will simply refuse to believe the differences between the different races are so tiny. Yet, we do. As well, many people would be shocked to learn that they are not as pure as they believe themselves to be. Some will be shocked into learning that they might have the same racial traits as others of a different race, thanks to their long ago ancestors.

So, people, come together and enjoy life instead of trying to destroy the lives of others. Please.

 

References

1 – Hundreds of Colorado students stage protest over history curriculum, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/24/denver-students-walkout-protest-history-school-board, 24 Sept. 2014, retrieved 25 Sept 2014

2 – Colorado students walk out to protest proposed curriculum changes, http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-colorado-student-protests-story.html, 24 Sept. 2014, retrieved 25 Sept 2014

 

Freedom…. or Death…..

Originally posted Aug 30, 2013 at & moved from: http://patrick642.wordpress.com/
Change. Improve. Innovate. Be better.
~ Pressing issues, from cyber security, to strategy, to innovation, to improvements (self, others, organizations)

 

WMD Well, it looks as if more people of the world would rather watch the innocent Syrians continue to be massacred by Al-Assad…. The evidence continues to be clear that there are chemical weapons being used. And I am willing to bet that it is not Syrian rebels using those kinds of chemicals on other Syrians… Two years and 100,000 people killed – and counting…

Yes, America did the wrong thing in hindsight years ago when Iraq used chemical weapons and we did nothing to stop that. But that was then and today, I don’t believe any American in their right mind would condone another country using chemical weapons on their own people.

Hopefully the U.N. inspectors, even after a lengthy and diluting time period, have found some kind of chemical evidence to prove to the U.N. itself and other countries of the world that ‘yes,’ there were chemical weapons used.

Syria’s Friends Syria is a country that has had a dictatorial government, errr sorry, dictatorial leaders for decades. The people of Syria have been dead set on resolving that matter and wanting to elect, democratically, new leadership for the people (if they can avoid the religious divisions that is hurting Egypt’s elections). The Syrian people no longer want to have someone born into power to run the country and the people. And we have Al-Assad, who does not want to give up that absolute power.

As to friends of the Syrian leadership – is it any surprise they are other countries where the people are controlled, and I will say absolutely controlled, by their country’s leadership. a – China A country with no true religious freedom, no democratic freedom (despite what the leaders say because the leadership is still communistic) and no Internet freedoms because the Chinese ‘Net is monitored and censored to only allow what the Chinese government will allow and shut down when that leadership decides to… b – Iran A country where the former leader, Ahmadinejad, stated there are no gays in Iran, no religious freedom, no “true” democratically elected leadership (clerics still run the country) and no Internet freedom because the Iranian ‘Net is monitored and heavily censored AND can be shut down when their government decides to… c – Russia Another country where to be gay is to be illegal…. But where there actually is freedom on the ‘Net – even if that ‘Net is HEAVILY monitored by state/federal police for ANY kind of dissident or deviants… These are the Syrian leaders’ friends – other countries with severe and heavy handed control of the people. Oh, and countries that want to continue selling weapons to enforce controlling their people…

Uniting So then. I am not sure what is going to transpire next, Syrians continue to die while the rest of the world stands by because many of the people of the various countries do not want their government to get them involved. Instead, people of the world are hoping that: 1 – Conversations will solve the problem (two years and counting), 2 – Sanctions will solve the problem (two years and counting), 3 – Diplomacy will solve the problem (two years and 100,000 people killed and counting)…

And if we, the U.S. and other allies (if they do join us) do get involved with U.N. approval for precision (as best possible) strikes, what will be the aftermath? What will Russia and Iran do to help their ‘Friend’ Syria, a country that purchases munitions from them? Will Russia and Iran condone losing their business buddy – even if Al-Assad is killing innocents wantonly? Or are these two countries using nothing but bravado and bluster to say, “Hey, I’m important, you have to listen to me?” Or will one or both of them take some kind of retaliatory action against the U.S. and allies – kinetically (missiles, bombs), via cyberspace (some kind of debilitating virus / worm) or maybe even some kind of chemical weapon against the U.S.

Conclusion What do we do, continue to talk – or worse, let our do nothing congress engage in rabbithole approach to some kind of answer. And yes, congress is supposed to be giving approval for any kind of strike. Maybe our do nothing congress will surprise us…. While I am not a Hawk, I don’t want to turn ‘any’ cheek while people are getting massacred.