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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The Voices of Women – Meaningless? And the Erosion of Democracy…

Apologies to the length of this writing (this is TL;DR for some) but Trump, Kavanaugh, McConnell, Flake, Collins, Hatch, Graham, Manchin and injustice is making life, well, Topsy-turvy to be polite…

Well. It appears that the voices of women mean nothing where it is most important – in sexual assaults (and in every day life to be fair). Even if an event happened 30+ years ago, the voice and statements of a woman are still important.

As of today, Saturday – Oct 6, 2018, America has voted onto the Supreme Court an individual with more divisiveness; with a more controversial background than Clarence Thomas had.

I’m a guy and what women say IS important, always!

That is, until it is proven it is not true. But, where it is ambiguous and no concrete evidence can be found, many of us will side with the woman – not just give lip service and say ‘we believe her’ as certain members of Congress have done (so the congressional members can retain their positions of power in their home state/district). What a woman says can make a difference. In many of the sexual assaults it is primarily a crime not witnessed by others and that is why the victim does not come forth and the guy gets away with it. (Sometimes, sometimes, yes indeed – there are women who also commit sexual assaults, it is just not that many.) And Trump – making an outlandish tweet that young men should be scared is ridiculous. No young men should be assaulting women in the first place (that goes for older men as well).

In America, or rather parts of America – certain Americans have decided that a man with a blemished background and temperament can be put into a position of significant influence and power. Certain Americans have placed an individual with what appears to be a highly tainted past onto the highest court, a court which now will be looked at for every decision it makes for the next 30 years with a jaundiced eye.

All because an individual who was put into the White House due to many electoral college members deciding that this person was the best choice for America in 2016. Trump.

If this Supreme Court vote turned your stomach, you had best “get your butt off the couch and go vote” in the NEXT SEVERAL voting turnouts, for the next couple of decades! The mid-terms, primaries, all of them. This will be the only way to restore some semblance of sanity to America.

Because if you do not, we, America, will be doomed and damned!  Are you one of the people looking to return to the ‘Dark Days’ of yesterday when only the males of one race had the power to lord over everyone else of a different color and all women? Do you really want to return to the days of suppression and repression…?

More and more pieces of democracy (not talking about the democratic party here, just democracy) will be chipped away as they are being done today. More “socialist” programs will be lost for years, if not decades until we can return to the path of growth and equality that we were on until Trump was put into the White House. And what I mean by socialist programs are:

  • fire departments (think you don’t need this socialist program when your home catches fire)
  • libraries (not everyone has high speed internet or even computers at home)
  • police departments (what happens when your local police department is gone and you need law enforcement)
  • schools (everyone needs to seriously consider removing Betsy D. from the dept of education…)
  • hospitals
  • social security (what are you going to do when you are older and have no money to rely on)
  • should I go on….?

Socialist programs, today, in 2018, are meant to help everyone, not just the poor and downtrodden – the programs are meant to make the lives of everyone easier,  better and safer.

This is how Hitler grew into power. Think about that – think long and hard – do your ‘own’ thinking. Over several years, Hitler and the people around him whittled away at more and more programs until they gained power – a vise grip on EVERYTHING! (There are some who say this erosion actually started right before Hitler came into the picture – but we all know for fact, Hitler destroyed democracy in Germany.) And what was the result of that, guess! Extermination of massive numbers of the Jewish race, in multiple countries (Poland, Germany, France, Austria and more). The Holocaust was the ultimate disgrace to democracy. Things started out small in Germany and many of the Germanic race were happy and fine that Hitler was looking out for them. Hitler was going to “Make Germany Great Again!But then when it was too late to do anything, such as removing Hitler, Himmler, Goering and others of the SS and the Nazi party – it was far, far too late.

Now, this is not saying Trump is a Nazi but – he is providing a helping hand in the destruction of the American way of life and all of its democracies. Trump has enabled the worse of the worst to come forth (recall the nighttime ‘Tiki Torch’ parade). Trump has unleashed the hounds of hell, to put it mildly, to come out of the wood-works and raise pure hell. Look at:

  • early February 2017 where the House and Senate voted to repeal the so-called “stream protection rule”- Coal companies now have a freer hand in dumping mining pollutants into streams
  • the white nationalist rally incident in Charlottesville, VA where Heather Heyer was killed
  • Chris Collins and his insider trading on the lawn of the White House – how brazen was that?
  • Many of the cabinet members Trump installed and the self-aggrandizement these individuals did while in power – sound-proof phone booth in his office (guess who that was);
  • Expensive furniture, what was it, ~$31,000 for his office – you know who this was, the man qualified to run HUD because he grew up in the projects (I grew up in the projects too)…
  • Zinke of the Interior Department and his sell off of federal lands
  • The black protestor who was sucker-punched by a white man in the stands at a Trump rally in Fayetteville (and trump said he would pay the legal fees for the puncher)
  • we could go on and on with this list…

The point is, if Americans do not come to their senses and stop this extreme political partisanship, we will continue going down the rabbit hole of more:

  • hate crimes – racially & religiously motivated
  • individuals like Michael Gerard Grimm, former congressman & former FBI, who threatened to throw a reporter off the balcony – a reporter who was doing his job (after his prison term for that, Grimm had the audacity to try running again for public office)
  • corruption – how can people follow the law when the law makers and peace keepers are the ones causing this corruption and excess to continue – so they can feel powerful and make money in many cases for doing so
  • erosion of public lands for corporate revenue – oil exploitation, so that oil companies can continue to make large pools of revenue before the clean energy wave really kicks in and fossil fuel use will be a money pit
  • inequalities – women and racial – women and those of different skin colors doing the same job as men of a certain color “SHOULD BE PAID EQUALLY” for doing the same job
  • anti-discrimination against new immigrants to America – and we all know this is how America started
  • to name a few….

What do we need to do people? You all have to use your head and think!!!!

You have to perform research and think and talk about your actions before you do them! You cannot just listen to unqualified individuals who spout hate and conspiracy theories. You must do your own thinking, it is what makes you “you”!

So, what are you thinking? Are you thinking things in the political environment are going in the right direction?

Are you thinking Trump is making America great – when he raises tariffs, the ultimate cost is on you, the American citizen because you will be the one paying more for the products with the tariffs. 

Do you think the tax cut he instituted was wonderful? Well – continue thinking about that when your local services (any or all of them) are cut or eliminated due to your city budget does not have enough revenue – ‘because of that tax cut’.

What about clean air and clean water? Think your kids are going to be able to run around as you did years ago but now the air and water are more polluted (remember, the coal mine dumping above and the Trump administrations’ attempt to relax car emissions letting car makers off the hook…)

Use your brains. Think about the future. You cannot just think about yourself because you do not like gays or dark skinned people. You cannot say “hey, my religion is the foremost important thing in the world” when other people believe in a different religion. Do not make a mistake, as an American and a global citizen – I. DO. NOT. WANT Sharia Law anywhere near America.

Ultimately, what is being stated here is that Americans need to be better.

  • Give women their voices – it is hard enough to come forward publicly as it is
  • Think about unity, amongst all Americans (i.e. why do we still have Sundown towns in parts of America? Why do we still have so many skinhead/white nationalist/white supremacist groups around the country?)

Because America has to come together again and be a “United States” and grow stronger and be better as a country for itself. As well as in the face of rising problems with:

  • Russia’s Putin doing the meddling he is doing globally and
  • China doing what they are doing – attempting to force people / countries to kowtow to them; giving China hemispheric power to do what they wish, such as build man-made islands in the South China Seas and claim more of the region as belonging to them (we could discuss the Uighurs and the police state they are living under as well as the great firewall of China as well as internet and public censorship so the Chinese citizens have no voice and are unable to vote politicians out of power – these are big stories on their own…)

We are losing the luster of being a world leader because we do not have any serious diplomatic power. Who do we have that is a shining star in the world of diplomacy? Our ‘leader’ in the White House is not one who has great powers of diplomacy. He is continually causing America to devolve into a laughing stock of the world every time he utters a sentence or disseminates a tweet.

We are a country where it is now up to the states to institute clean air and clean water and equality for all. That is, those states with a forward looking mindset for the next 10 – 30 years…