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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Trump – It’s About Leadership and Leading

NOTE: Arrrggghhhh….. I just HAD to break away from my impartiality and write about leadership again, for this election cycle.  This post is about leadership, equality, fairness and progress, not to promote one specific individual over another. You must choose who you believe is the better leader for this country, to speak for you nationally and in the halls of other countries around the world. Do your own research, reach out to multiple different sources and do our own thinking. Do not let one news channel (TV, cable, paper, radio station) be your sole point of view or perspective. Broaden your horizon, then discuss and debate with others. Do not get locked into your own filter bubble (see Eli Pariser’s 2011 book on THE FILTER BUBBLE) because being in your own filter bubble will trap you and adversely affect your state of mind, on everything. Folks, please do your own deep, selfless and honest thinking.

Leadership! Yes, leadership. It is not something one can easily gain. Leadership is something one earns and this is basically what is at stake today – who deserves to be the leader of this nation… Successful leadership is one where people will want to emulate you as a successful role model.

First, yes, Hillary Clinton did create her own mess with her email situation. But do remember, other individuals before her at State Dept. also had their own private email servers. For this, if she is not going to be criminally punished as others of us would have (and others in the public eye should have), then she should be financially penalized. Then, we can move on.

Yes, she also may have previously had something going on with the foundation in question. If it is true, let the Justice Dept deal with it. Stop making allegations if they are not true. Then, we can move on.

Yes, Clinton is stiff, civil and formal but those traits actually are something that many people in this country (and around the world) want and prefer – at least she can become relaxed. Many people do not want to be associated with individuals who make it their mission in life to be:

  • rude/crass,
  • overbearing,
  • insincere,
  • name calling…,
  • unapologetic,
  • “politically INCORRECT”,
  • disingenuous (on an hourly basis),
  • divisive,
  • belittling (of various races, genders, religions, etc.)
  • inflammatory

Many people simply do not want to be engaged with individuals with these kinds of attributes ON A DAILY BASIS and NOT AT ALL if we can help it! Especially when these traits above have been a known trade mark of someone over decades…. And many people especially do not want someone with these traits to be the leader of a nation, a nation with the capacity to intentionally start a devastating and horrific war or become a police state. However, it is okay to sometimes be inflammatory, IF it is for a validly good cause and the end result is the success and/or uniting of disparate people/groups. 

Lastly, on Bill Clinton – HE IS NOT THE ONE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT! Drop this aspect.  And let’s move on.

Many people in the United States (many of us wish we actually were a United people instead of all the many islands of uncompromising communities), many people want someone with at least some kind of history of working:

  • in politics
  • with the military,
  • with the intelligence community,
  • with state and local leaders and
  • with leaders of other countries.

Being a leader means:

  • working with people to obtain equality (financially or just in life), no matter the gender, age, race, religion or medical handicap.
  • bringing people together through a spirit of community, not through a spirit of free for all hooliganism at public events (which makes some of us believe we’re living in the U.K. during the height of hooliganism).
  • you have something to say and you have actual plans and methodologies to back up what you say. It does not mean saying you have something but you will not talk about it yet and then never talk about it again….
  • you want to enable others, from the very bottom and into the mid-levels of the economic and educational strata, to become better.  To enable them to in turn become enablers – for themselves and to help others.
  • you are willing to improve the living and working conditions across the entire country for everyone. Conditions such as roads (think infrastructure), pay equality, working environments. It is bad enough that minimum wage is going to take 2 – 4 years in many places to reach the nationally desired goal. The problem with that is, by the time minimum wages get there, inflation and general cost increases will put many of these folks in the same spot they were in 3 – 4 years ago…
  • compromising, even when you are the one getting the short end of the stick, if it means success for all

One has to earn the right to be a leader…

But to be that leader, one must show they are for everyone, not just for certain sections of a country – or for certain groups of people. There is no returning back to 1960, or 1930, where many, many people in this country were/were perceived as second class (or worse) un-equal individuals. From Chinese (from what, the 1800’s to the 1940s), to Women (for all time), to Blacks (since the 1600’s), to Mexicans – no one should be looked down upon as anything less than equal.

We need someone to bring us together, not cause a nation-wide situation of ‘us’ versus ‘them’.

That is leadership!