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Only in America

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    I just assume that anything typed or spoken on a phone is being monitored. I also assume that most governments have assumed for decades that someone was at least trying to monitor their international communications. Submarines were undertaking secret sub-sea cable tapping long ago. What is shocking is that modern computing power has made monitoring almost everyone on the planet a possibility. 30 or 40 years ago the spying was very carefully focused on the most valuable targets. Now the net is so large it probably covers the entire planet. And since the breakup of the Soviet Union the United States has existed as the planet's only super power. Does anyone believe a monopoly is good for the people?


      I totally agree with you, whatever is said or written and transmitted electronically is recorded, if not by any "official" spy agency, then by private companies, like Google, Facebook, you name it.
      They are not regulated and sell your data to the highest bidder.
      I'm sure you have noticed that if you look for something on Trip adviser or some such sites, you will be bombarded with advertisement and advise for the next week or more.

      There is no such thing as privacy any more. If you have a mobile phone, or other device that use the cell network, every step you take can be tracked, regardless of whether you are transmitting or receiving call or messages, as long as the device is on and within reach of a cell station. Likewise, if you use a credit or debit card anywhere the transaction can be tracked. Here in Singapore we have the Electronic Road Pricing system. (ERP) Every time a car pass an ERP gantry it is recorded and monies are deducted from your the Cash Card in the In-vehicle Unit. I don't drive, but whenever I call a taxi my starting point and destination is recorded, as is the route taken. (All taxis in Singapore has GPS tracking device installed) Any passage of an ERP gantry can also be tracked.

      If you walk on most main roads, or enter any shopping centers, you get your picture taken. The same applies to most office buildings or condos. Is this because Singapore is a "police state"?? No, it applies to just about any developed countries. The most surveillance camera coverage is reported to be in the UK.

      All the above can be tracked, but only by Law enforcement and with permit from a judge.

      The reported mass collection of data by NSA should be no surprise to anybody and that the US has special listening posts near government offices in many countries has been reported for years. There is even a special agency for the purpose, called SCS. Run by CIA and NSA. Read all about it on Wilkipedia:

      Do the value of the data collected stand in proportion to the cost?, Hardly likely, but it keeps a lot of people in work. It was reported that NSA collected data on 60 million telephone calls and E-mails, just in Spain in less than a month. Obviously nobody could shift through this amount of data "manually", so it is done by creating a list of key words that triggers more detailed scrutiny.
      As said in an earlier post, I don't know if anything written here on CVF has triggered any interest from NSA or CIA, but it is entirely possible.

      As for the monopoly position of USA in the world when it comes to military power and intelligence gathering capacity, it is a big question whether it is worth the expenditure. To be able to fight two conventional wars, anywhere in the world, simultaneously is the declared aim of the US military. The problem with that philosophy is two fold; the cost of maintaining such forces world wide and the need to fight conventional wars in the future. The last 40 years should have triggered an understanding that "bombing them back to the stone age" is not a viable way to win wars. You may win battles that way, but not wars against insurgencies and for "hearts and minds". The idea of fighting wars using robots, in the air and on the ground, with an aversion against "boots on the ground" is not likely to work. The attitude in the rest of the western world is turning against such methods.

      More and more people see the need for re-thinking the way the world is governed. They don't see USA as the light of democracy and as a "force for good". The fear of nuclear war is no longer acute. America is not the only place where new technology is developed. In fact it is mainly internet based technology with no production base that is being developed in the US.
      In the Oil and Gas industry new inventions and development of new methods and technology are now mostly from outside.


        Another "Only in America" issue; taxation of US citizens living abroad:
        All other Western countries base their taxes on residency, regardless of citizenship.
        Last edited by ombugge; October 30th, 2013, 07:56.


          Originally posted by pilotdane View Post
          Spying on our allies (and getting caught), repeatedly not making a decision about a budget and killing foreign people (guilty of terrorism or not) with drones I think will have long term, significant repercussions. What message do our actions send to the world? We tell the world that a free democracy is the way to go... bla...bla...bla. The Chinese, Indians and Brazilians are seeing how our democracy is going. Can you imagine the outrage of the US President if China or India started actions around the world with drone strikes?
          ​Well, they have done it again. Killing one "bad guy" may sound like "no big deal" to same, but when that man is the only hope of finding a negotiated solution to the problem that has lead to the death of thousands???.
          That he has shown willingness to talk has been known for several weeks/months now. In fact a Pakistani delegation was preparing to go there in a few days.

          That this will have repercussions is beyond a doubt. Blood feuds are the norm and to let the killing of a tribal leader go unpunished is just not acceptable. How and when is left to be seen, but it is likely to cost a lot of lives, Americans and others. (mainly others)


            I couldn't think of anyplace better to post this so... Before everyone freaks out . I am a very good shot and take every effort to make sure no animal suffers. Yes, all the meat is food and I'm having the hides tanned. Don't know what I'll make yet but I'm sure wifey will get at least a purse and I'm thinking of a wallet and belt for me. But I digress.

            I just got back from alligator hunting and boy are those things tough. Sort of like zombies. Killing them is not hard but making them stay dead is impossible. I get slightly graphic only to point out how amazingly these creatures can perform without a brain. I am continue to be amazed at how reptiles are very different than mammals. They remain dangerous for 3 or 4 hours after being killed. The shock of death paralyzes them for 10-30 minutes then the reptile nervous system takes over and watch out. Everything moves on it's own without need of central control.

            The first gator I shot with a crossbow, severing it's spine at the base of the brain and it did not flinch or move a muscle. Got it into the boat without trouble where he laid until I bumped into him half an hour later. He swung his leg and a claw caught my leg (I was wearing boots & snake chaps) and swept my foot out. I fell into the cage guarding the propeller (air boat) and he swung his head at me. We smartly taped his mouth shut the moment we brought him aboard so he could not bite. For the rest of the night every time the gator was touched he would fight back. Midnight, pitch black, pouring rain and an alligator fighting back in a small boat and don't slip because there's a 300 hp engine with no mufflers and a big spinning propeller 1 meter away. Good thing they are tasty and provide good leather.

            The next gator I thoroughly removed his brain with a rifle bullet. For the next half hour it never moved a muscle. Dragged it through the swamp and to the vehicle without even a twitch. Then when strapping it down to the carrier on the back of the Land Rover the guide walked by he swatted his tail hitting the guide in the back and knocking a 6' tall 300 pound guy to the ground and drawing blood. It took a person holding a leg while the another strapped it down and the third trying to keep the rest under control. This is all from an animal that has been dead for half an hour. Then occasionally on the drive back the Rover was rocked as he fought against the restraints. All without a brain.

            If it were not for a comet long ago the planet would be ruled by reptiles. Without intelligence and technology we would not stand a chance against the dinosaurs.


            • yvneac
              yvneac commented
              Editing a comment
              Helpful thread.Now I know that crocodiles are as dangerous as tax collectors.Almost.

            • wherrygirl
              wherrygirl commented
              Editing a comment
              Unless they were vegetarian dinosaurs!

            I was aware that in some reptiles there is time between death and cessation of all motor reaction, but your account showing how long this can last is amazing.
            Digressing somewhat, I Googled a few worms, remembering the old story about a worm being cut in half and then each half regenerates its missing section, Not so of course, only the head end can do this. But I found a little piece about a planarian flatworm which is almost incredible. It can regenerate itself from a minute piece only 1/300th of its original size. Further, if it is decapitated, it will grow a new head - and the new brain retains the memories of the old one. I presumed that the memories were purely sensory ones which perhaps were retained in ganglia throughout the body and which the new brain then took up.
            Makes you realise how little we know about our world. And how many people who go shooting alligators are aware of the danger still inherent so long after the creature's death?
            Thank you for your account, Dale.

            "To thine own self be true.......
            Thou canst not then be false to any man."


              Animals are simply amazing. My cute little house cat with a jaw powerful enough to crush sculls and bones. Bats zig-zag at night catching mosquitoes in total darkness. Owls fly by without making a sound. Alligators long dead still have the strength to knock a man down. Worms that glow. Fish that fly. Birds that swim... There is always something to learn.


              • wherrygirl
                wherrygirl commented
                Editing a comment
                You're telling me! I can't keep up.

              I watch that Comedy Channel known as Fox News today. To my amazement O'Railley actually made a truthful and honest statement; "I make a fool of myself in public every day".
              I couldn't agree more, as does most of his colleagues. (One had to admit he had made an inaccurate and stupid comment the other day

              Next they had a program about the missing Malaysian plane, where one participant described Malaysia, Iran and China as; "Hotbed of terrorism".
              Someone may take offence to that.

              Next, the program leader thought maybe Myanmar somehow was involved and had hijacked the plane for ransom. (among other conspiracy theories)
              All countries outside the US is inherently dangerous, mismanaged and dishonest, apparently

              I don't think they have managed to come up with anything to blame Obama for the missing plane, YET!!!

              Why do I watch Fox News from time to time??
              For some comical relief, among the depressing news on actual and more serious news channels.


                I am frequently surprised at people's ignorance. I suppose in a country as large as The United States it should not surprise me. Many of my neighbors were born, live and will die very close to this one place. Anywhere else, anyone else is strange, alien, scary and even evil to them.

                I swear if everyone traveled the world would be a better place. When you think your culture or religion is the only one bad things happen. Other cultures and people are different. Not evil... just different.


                • ombugge
                  ombugge commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I remember reading somewhere and some time ago that 70% of the Congress members didn't even have a passport.
                  I don't know how true that is still, but I would not be surprised.

                Cat lovers beware:!/video/100084/k...ter-som-gisler


                  I am so mad right now. I just watched the evening news. Big mistake! It is hard to type without cursing every other word and throwing things at the TV.

                  An 8 year old girl while at Burgers and Bullets shot and killed the "instructor". Yes, there is a restaurant called Burgers and Bullets where you can have lunch and shoot automatic guns (machine guns). If you are between the age of 8 and 18 your parents must be present. It was all being filmed by the proud parents I'm sure. The little girl did OK with the Uzi on semi but then they switched it to auto and she held the trigger down, the muzzle of the gun rose as it kept firing until striking the "instructor" standing next to her. That poor girl is going to have to deal with this the rest of her life. How many 8 year old girls do you know that really want to go shoot machine guns? It really makes you wonder if her father put her up to it but that young girl will never be able to forget that lunch that went very bad.

                  Then the next news story is about the rapidly rising number of people refusing to immunize their children and of course the rapid rise in Whooping Cough (Pertussis), Mumps, Measles... I can sorta (barely) understand the people who truly get a religious exemption because of their true beliefs. Traditionally that has been a very small group but now many more are claiming it. Then there is the more recently created philosophical exemption. First, I think the first line on the form should ask them to spell philosophical. Just because you read something on the Internet does make you informed and certainly not intelligent enough to make life or death decisions for your children. "This website said some cool things. I won't immunize my children because it contains "preservatives". And of course I won't send them to school. They might learn science."

                  At least the weather looks good for the next few days. I need a drink.


                    Since you quit watching the News in disgust there have been another Police shooting, this time in Omaha:

                    Apparently the Omaha Police Department invited the producers of "Cops" to film them in action because of previous problems with public perception of their conduct.
                    I don't think the video from this incident will do much to improve their image, if shown at all.
                    Last edited by ombugge; August 28th, 2014, 09:21.


                      I just watched what was supposed to be a serious discussion program about Climate Change on Fox News.
                      The program leader and ALL her 6 participants had the same opinion; Climate change is not scientifically proven and Obama is stupid, or hasn't done enough about it. (Take you pick)
                      One of the panel even stated that US was the leader in the world in reducing release of climate gases and pollutants. The rest of the world did nothing, especially China.
                      The other day I watched a Fox News presenter cutting of a person when she voice a contrary opinion to what he wanted; "We are out of time" Switch to commercial.
                      Now, in the rest of the so called developed world news media are required by Law to present both sides of any case, but this does not appear to apply in the US/ to Fox News??
                      Maybe they should change their slogan from; "Fair and unbiased" to: "Unfair and biased"??


                        Well, you were watching Fox. There is the first problem.... Equal air time only applies to political elections. Fair or accurate reporting of the news is not regulated.

                        There was a study and I wish I could quote the source. Americans love technology but fear science... We are doomed!


                        • ombugge
                          ombugge commented
                          Editing a comment
                          As said before; I watch Fox News when I need same comical release from the dreary news on actual New Channels, like BBC and Aljezzera.

                        An old story, but telling about the insulation of USA from the rest of the world:

                        (First post)