Tag Archives: video

Surveillance State: What if the Government was a guy with a camera?

The people in this video are justifiably upset because a stranger with a camera is invading their personal space. It is our natural instinct to protect your own little “bubble” – sometime with violence (even if you aren’t doing anything wrong).

I find it strange, however, that we so readily allow the Government full access to our entire lives (email, video, phone records, bank statements, and video) without so much as a whimper. I wonder if we would react similarly (and violently) if all Government surveillance records suddenly became transparent?

Who cares about surveillance?

There are three basic reasons, that I can think of, why we should care about the Government’s mass surveillance program.

  1.  A surveillance infrastructure is already in place for future, potentially corrupted, political administrations.
  2. A mass surveillance program is a diplomatic nightmare. Leads to a loss of trust and bad-will.
  3. A mass surveillance program is against the people’s natural desire for privacy. This creates a natural and negative barrier between the people and government.

Surveillance: How the average Citizen is giving away their power

I’ve often wondered if the type of surveillance the American people are subjected to (and somehow remain ignorant to or just blissfully ignore) will effect politics of the future. Think about it.

Most average people use Twitter, Facebook, and are probably writing on blogs. Their information has been mined, stored, sorted, and archived. They are trapped. We same people will be running for political office and may attempt to become leaders of free society.

What will the impact of the self-documentation and self-incrimination of our entire life result? The embarrassing pictures, the Facebook rants when you were 17, your changing political philosophy, etc. Think about it – even if you carefully monitor your own social network computers can automatically detect your face in photos friends upload.

Will an average citizen be able to run for and win public office or will this type of information surveillance lead to a self-eliminating elitist favored political system.

Elites in Political Office

This is an idea that concerns me. If in the near future the average American has forfeited enough personal information on the internet and via surveillance to incriminate themselves to the point of non-electablility will the “average Joe” eliminate themselves from the election pool?

What this my leave is elitist candidates who have been carefully groomed from birth to act as our political leaders. Chosen by the elites to act in their interest and elected by the people simply because a normal person has too much baggage floating around on the internet. Kind of an interesting thought.

Jesus the Sun God?

There are undeniable correlations from religion to religion. For example, almost all religions have a flood story. In the story the creator flooded the earth because of our bad behavior, but a few chosen were spared and left to repopulate the earth. This theme can be found across the Globe from the Mayans, the Greeks, and of course in Christianity.

Some might argue these correlations are evidence of the truth of the story. Obviously the flood happened because sparse populations all across the globe are talking about it. Right?

Maybe there is some truth to that, but I think a more likely scenario is that over time these legends and stories have been borrowed and integrated. It’s important to remember that much of religion and culture is based on oral tradition – and if you’ve ever played the telephone game (where you pass a sentence around a group of people until it gets back to the original person and laugh at how much it has changed) you know that ideas and “truth” can change drastically in a short period of time.

Historicity of Jesus

One thing a lot of people fail to realize is that the history and story of Jesus was not written down until almost 100 years after his life and death. Most of these stories (some compiled in the bible) come from corespondents and letters written by Christians. (i.e., Letters of Paul).

Some people have the mis-understanding that the Paul, John, Matthew, etc. from the books of the bible are eye witnesses – Jesus’s disciples. This is just not accurate. No Priest or Pastor would disagree with me there. So ask yourself: how much of the story was changed, exaggerated, mis-remembered, and manipulated after 100 years of oral tradition?

Edit: The information to follow is highly disputed and for the most part subject to interpretation. After you watch the video give this website a once over and decide how serious to take it.

In general, describing Jesus goes something like this:

1. Born of a Virgin
2. Performed Miracles
3. Known as the light, the truth, God’s Son, etc.
4. 12 disciples
5. December 25th: Star of Bethlehem, followed by three kings on his birth night
6. Sacrificed himself for the sins of the people
7. Resurrected after 3 days

It turns out this story, like the flood story, is pretty common. See the video below.

The Media is Bought and Paid for

This was a recent story played on CNN. If you can’t see this as a “media story” that is a total advertisement for Ambien you are an idiot. Start looking at all media this way – it’s all bought and paid for by someone. Popular media is all an advertisement.

Message from the media: Take Ambien two at a time. It’s good for travelers. If you take it correctly you shouldn’t feel groggy. It’s safe. Even Navy Seals take it!

What a crock of shit! This is our media folks.

“Guatemala Changes You”

Central America is the kind of place you sit back and enjoy the slow pace, enjoy having an extra button undone on your shirt, and maybe have another cerveza. If you make that cervesa a morning coffee, add in a few 400 year old buildings, and surround yourself with the most beautiful mountain and volcanic landscape you can think of then you have some understanding of what it’s like to be in Antigua, Guatemala. But it’s more than that.

Gringos on Arrival
I remember touching down in Guatemala. We hustled through customs and upon walking out of the airport we were bombarded with people – people trying to sell their items and services to tourists. People begging to sell you a bracelet, give you a ride, or just help out a little for a modest tip. I didn’t know who to trust, so I just waited for my ride. Finally my “shuttle” pulled up. By shuttle I mean a 1995 Honda Accord.

My wife and I hoped in and it wasn’t long before I realized we weren’t getting on the interstate. We were pulling into a neighborhood. A neighborhood in Guatemala City. The driver didn’t say anything, he just honked the horn. All the things and warnings I had read began to shout themselves in my head. This was it – we were going to be robbed. I acted cool, but started shoving identification and credit cards into my shoe just in case they took everything we had. If I was nervous I could only imagine the terror my wife must have been feeling.

Then it happened. A guy opened the passenger door. “Sorry Guys! I’m Late” A guy from Azerbaijan hoped in the car. He was running late and was sharing the shuttle to Antigua. We later found out that he even knew a mutual friend of ours. What a small world.

Then on the radio, a sports program, Guatemala scored a goal. The driver screamed “GOOOOAAAAALLLLL!” For the first time I saw him smile and I knew Guatemala was going to be alright.

Antigua is another planet situated perfectly at home inside of Guatemala. It is beautiful. Not just visually, but also evoking all other emotions it is possible to feel. There are 40 churches, each of them older than anyone living today. There are traces of tragedy and opportunity on every streets. Columns laying where they fell reminding everyone of the earthquake and volcanoes that rule the landscape – but a city to perfect and valuable to give up to nature.

Antigua is a foody’s dream, an artist haven, an architects museum, and a travelers Oasis. It’s the kind of place you visit for a few days and contemplate life and wonder why you spend so much of it in an office. Every street is lined with cobble-stone, every building reeks of history, and the the faces of the residents and visitors all melt together in some strangely constructed way that somehow makes perfect and wonderful sense.

Lago de Atitlan
Lake Atitlan is about 2.5 hours outside of Antigua. Upon arrival we took a boat to three villages which surround the lake. Each with a particular culture of their own.

The first was a village ran by Mayan women who produce textiles. They were among the most friendly and lovely people I have ever encountered. My wife befriended them immediately – even with broken Spanish and a lot of hand gestures they were able to communicate almost flawlessly. It is encounters like these that make such an experience priceless.

Without ruining Atitlan by an attempt to briefly explain it and its awesome beauty – hopefully sharing it will do more good.

The Guatemala Experience
Trying to explain Guatemala in a few hundred words is impossible. I can’t really explain what is what like to wake up every morning, walk down the streets of Antigua, and sip on coffee in the Parque Central – I can only say that I did it. I am not skilled enough a writer to describe the scene at Lake Atitlan, or the smiles on the Mayan women’s faces, or how every door in Antigua had more character than the most modern suburban home – I can just show you a few pictures and say it is so. I can’t even tell you how being in a Guatemala changed my outlook on things, changed the way I feel to live in this “modern” society, and helped me grow if only a little – I can only say it happened.

Over the next few weeks I plan to continue sharing photos and posts about my experience in Guatemala.

Is the Death Penalty Wrong? A Conservative opinion.

I never cry in movies, but no matter how many times I watch “Dead Man Walking” I feel like a pregnant women I’m so emotional inside. It evokes emotion and forces you to question your very beliefs about religion, good and evil, the death penalty, and the nature of man itself. If you have never watched this movie I strongly suggest you get a box of tissues and give it a go.

I’m reminded that men, despite their most evil actions, are effected by factors one cannot understand unless they have gone through it themselves. Though their actions are not justifiable this movie does associate unique and human qualities with a person we may otherwise view as a monster.

At what cost should we put a man to death?  At the cost of losing our own humanity?  At the cost of emotionally damaging everyone involved the in the procedure?  I’m not sure and though I have never experienced the loss of a loved one at the hands of a criminal I can’t help but feel it is wrong.  Not the desire for revenge, not the desire for closure, but the fact that our Government – the supposed shining example of justice for planet earth – has the power and desire to put any human being to death.  Cooler heads should always prevail when given the option to preserve humanity.

Though I am not religious this scene always evokes emotion.

I’ll admit it.  Years ago I was in support of the death penalty.  I thought that keeping an inmate on death row was a terrible drain on tax dollars and dangerous to other inmates and the guards.  That part is still true.  After watching this movie my ideas changed though.  I do not think killing a man helps anyone.  It certainly can’t do the families of the innocent any good emotionally, it destroys the guilty party’s family, and is cruel overall.  What should we do with people like this?  I do not know.  Maybe we should work harder to stop it happening in the first place.

Sure many of these men never become reconciled and never feel sorry for what they did like in this movie, but that changes nothing.  Why do we turn ourselves into murderers to punish one?  What is the right course of action – I have no idea.  I just feel like for our own humanity’s sake – the death penalty does us as individuals no good at all.  I know all the reasons to support it, but a lesson in humanity, forgiveness, and love is enough for me to feel like the death penalty isn’t worth it.

If you still disagree or just want to hear someone say it much better check out what Ron Paul has to say about the death penalty in his book liberty defined. Another great advocate of liberty who’s views about the death penalty changed over time.

The Human Desire to Transcend – Explained

This is worth a watch.

Why Syria?

An interesting summary from a popular podcast I listen to. I’d like to know what everyone thinks. Crazy or not?