Read + Write + Report
Home | Start a blog | About Orble | FAQ | Blogs | Writers | Paid | My Orble | Login

Outsider Views - by Mike Pouraryan

 
: Scary Times....
The past week has been quite a week in many ways. I was working on the latest "World Watch" for this week to focus on Turkey and Syria, the Scandal-Industrial Complex in the US and the IMF on Greece as it admitted its' mistakes on Greece. I have also been focused on the US Economy as there has been some troubling signs of a slowdown. The UCLA Anderson School came out with a very pessimistic forecast on employment and job growth. This is as Washington continues to be sweeped up in the Scandal-Industrial Complex. Barack Obama made a few audacious moves to nominate judges and to basically promote Susan Rice to be National Security Adviser. . I have had to preempt it with this breaking development that I find scary: The revelation of PRISM and the continued rise of "BIG BROTHER" Government in the United States.


The story, as reported by the Guardian and the Washington Post, has me frankly scared as I have worked on developing the "outsiders" site and other projects in the Virtual World. I have been assessing the reporting done by the Guardian of London and the Washington Post on a program called PRISM and the revelation about the turnover of data by Verizon to the US Government on cell phone data as mandated by the US Patriot Act. From the reporting I have reviewed, I understand that all Verizon Phone Records were turned over to the Government.

As I understand it (and I have noted the Guardian newspaper link), PRISM has been designed to allow the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor in real time all email and social media traffic by Americans. Based on the inteview that Glenn Greenwalrd of the Guardian just concluded with MSNBC's Lawrence O Donnell, apparently "Virtual" conversations between Americans in the United States is exempt from monitoring unless a warrant is actually issued by a FISA Court.


The PRISM program is quite worrisome. I have been quite concerned about the sweeping program what is worrisome is the PRISM program. The PRISM program was revealed to the folks at the Washington Post and the Guardian by an apparent National Security Agency (NSA) official who was appalled by the broad view of the program. What was also quite striking was that the program was authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Courts that have been authorized by the US Congress. What I also find even more striking was how key senior Senators (including Senator Feinstein of California). Senator Reid, the US Senate Majority Leader, noted that everyone had to take it easy.

Some elements of this program were "refined" from the initiatives launched during the Bush Administration. James Comey, the current nominee to be FBI Director, was Acting Attorney General during the Bush Administration when he expressed profound reservations about the program and had to face down the White House Chief of Staff and the Counsel at the time with a resignation threat unless the wireless warrant program was changed.
There are supposed "Checks and Balances" in the process based on Congressional Briefings and the supervision of the so-called FISA Courts. But the secret nature of it should give all a moment of pause.

I have always viewed that I need to insure that a sense of self-censorship had to be practiced. I view the work here as solemn and a responsibility. I will be curious to see where Glenn Greenwald goes with this reporting that he has done.
25
Vote
   


: The President's Speech & Other Thoughts
As I write this, President Obama is speaking about his vision for the National Security Strategy he's envisionsed. As he worked to wind down his speech, he was heckled about GITMO by who apparently was Madea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink. I was shocked, for instance, as he noted how the United States spends 150 Million Dollars a year to house 156 prisoners. I understand that over 100 of them continue to be on hunger strike and the President directly addressed the hunger strikers.

As he wound down his speech, he reflected upon the resiliencey on how Americans are resilient and come back after setbacks. I am with him in underscoring that there needs to be a sense of politics & a strategy to reflect the sense of resiliency that I also seen every day. This is why I launched "outsiders" which I hope I could build upon. With the current political climate in Washington, I wonder if the President

Amongst the many key attributes I was pleased to hear was his affirmation about transparency. One of the many key attributes of the one-hour long speech was his acknowledgement of the immense price the United States has paid for the Drone war in Pakistan. He has underscored his commitment to the Constitution. He also noted his profound opposition to Drones being deployed in the United States. But he noted that if Americans leave the US, are on foreign soil and wage war on the US and there is no way to apprehend them, he used the comparision with a killer that is taken out by a SWAT team. The key is to insure the appropriate constitutional safeguards. The President reitrated it today.

Although the focus of this edition is on the US, I was shocked beyond words by the horrific and senseless act of the hacking to death of the British Soldier by the two sub-humans who used their senseless act. I refrained from calling them animals because even animals have some code of honors. The hooligans from the racist English Defense League, though, have taken advantage of the situation to attack Mosques to drive home their own twisted ideology. My thoughts and prayers are with the Soldiers' Family and will trust the British Justice system to run its' course and punish these two sub-human losers.

Beyond the National Security Challenges the President directly addressed, there is the political paralysis in Washington as exemplifed by what one analyst called the "Scandal Industrial Complex". Fully one third of Congressional Committees have some sort of an investigation going as exemplified by Darrel Issa's offensive regarding the IRS. The analysis I have reviewed reflect an IRS that was overwhelmed, confused, not led properly as the explosion of tax exempt organizations applications that was filed especially after the Supreme Court's Citizens United Decision. It had to do with a determination made by the IRS back in 1959 to change certain interpretation of how such organizations were approved. What is striking to me is that all of them were approved even after the questions before them. I could not help but laugh, though, when I tried to figure out what "social welfare" purpose Karl Rove's organization did under his IRS 501 c(4) designation.

Beyond IRS, there is the scandale related to the AP. The National Security leak is a problem that needs to be addressed. Beyond the issues deliberated, the one key concern I had was that the AP apprarently was not even contacted with the request for information on phone logs and contact information. The need for transparency and accountability by Government is key and it appears that there were clear breakdowns in the process. But the notion of direct interference by the White House is a bit far fetched especially as it was Congress that actually called for an investigation and it appeared that the disclosure at the time put actual operations at risk. There is also an implicit lesson in this: No right is aboslute. It seems as if this lesson is learnt especially as the Gun Control efforts have fizzled out. I am pleased to see that the Sandy Hook families will continue with their campaign to elevate the discussion beyond the narrow and prejudicial focus of the NRA that had its' Lovefest (or as they call it a convention) recently.

The last one is Beghanzi. 4 Americans lost their lives during that horrible day on September 11. I wrote about it on that horrific day. Yet, the Republicans have been trying to somehow raise a conspiracy where in fact none has occurred. Darrell Issa, the US Congressman that heads the Congressional Committee looking into it, had two US State Department Staffers testify and revealed no new information. Darrell Issa has become the Inspector Closeau of the Congress instead of a Sam Irving who led the US Senate Watergate Committee that ultmately led to the resignation of Richard Nixon.

What is tragic is how such actions deflects attention from the real story out there--a near lawless situation in Libya, continued political instability in Egypt, the Syrian civil war and its' implications for Lebanon, Jordan & Turkey. There is also the worrisome rise in violence in Iraq along with the upcoming elections in Iran.

It continues to be a challenging World......
17
Vote
   


: Will We Learn?
As I write right now, I am watching the coverage of the inauguration of Pope Francis. I was struck by its' sense of simplicity and yet a sense of hope. He invoked the word "Esperanza" a number of times and reminded the whole World about having a sense of goodness and tenderness for all. There needs to be a sense of simplicity and a sense of forgiveness that needs to be the order of the day. There was a sense of not being afraid.

As I understand it, the Pope chose the day of the Feast day of St. Joseph for his inauguration. Despite the majesty of the moment, I was struck by how simple it all was. To me, this is critical as a new era begins for the Catholics around the World. Pope Francis does take over a church that has some profound challenges before it. I also understand that he's already made his first major decision not to permanently appoint the Senior Leadership of the Curia and allow the existing leadership to serve until he makes determinations. It shows that he intends to make profound changes in how the Church. He's now officially the 266th Pope


[ Click here to read more ]
16
Vote
   


: Will the World Learn?
I begin this weekly retrospective with the United States. The Congress of the United States is at recess as it deals with the so-called Sequestration. The Republicans have begun a Public Relations Push to tell the Country about their own views and to

I have been quite amused at the lineup of leading luminaries from the Republican Party coming out as they have. One of the most amusing ones has been Lindsey Graham, the Senator From South Carolina who has been on a quest to basically be against anything Barrack Obama is for. At the State of the Union, I saw the President reaching out to shake the hands of Lindsay Graham and his Best Friend For ever, John McCain as he worked his way up to the podium to present his report to the People of the United States and the World. What is so sad is how the Republicans have made a fool out of themselves as they blocked the Hagel Nomination. The absurdity of the debate was shown by Ted Cruz of Texas coming out and claiming that Chuck Hagel was on the take from the Government of Iran. Of all the nonsense I have seen coming out of the Republicans, this one topped it all


[ Click here to read more ]
29
Vote
   


: What now?
Israel has begun its' move to "punish" Palestine for the vote it won last week. Israel has announced plans to build 3,000 homes on settlements with an additional planning to begin the planning process in the so-called E1 area that would link existing settlements with East Jerusalem. This violates the Oslo Accords. What Israel has done has basically killed the remnants of a peace process that has been at best under life support. Beyond its' construction plans, it has said that it will not transfer 120 Million Dollars in Tax Revenue to the Palestine National Authority. It claims that the money will be used to pay the debt the Palestine National Authority owes to an Israeli Power Company.

Israel will not go down the path of negotiation without a fight. Because this symbolic win by Palestine allows it to leverage International Organizations as never before, it has caused fear in Israeli Government circles. The moves made by Israel to "respond" to the move is basically to tell the World that it is not interested in a two-state solution at all and that all the pronouncements about its' commitment to Peace are at best, hollow. It clearly shows that the Israeli Prime Minister believes that it can ride out the latest challenge while it looks to securing re-election to another term in January. The Israeli Prime Minister talked about Israel's Strategic Map. He went on to note that it rejected the International Community's Determination. What is startling is how they have basically told the World that they simply do not care. The question is whether their policy of going it alone and continuing to be "Fortress Israel" will serve them well


[ Click here to read more ]
20
Vote
   


: Views on the State of the Campaign
The Election season is in full swing. One headline making news was that Clint Eastwood endorsed Mitt Romney For President. I couldn't help but wonder why that was even covered.

Beyond the endorsements, there is of course the little issue of substance. The President has gone after Governor Romney for his Tax Plan. It has been deliberated extensively in the Media in the United States. The only thing I found amusing was that the Romney Campaign dismissed the same entity for its' before it actually embraced the same entity when it after one of its Chief rivals at the time, Rick Perry. I have released the link for reference


[ Click here to read more ]
22
Vote
   


Remembering & Reflecting

June 13th 2012 15:17
: Thank You!!!!
"Outsiders" Is Four Years Old This Month. It has been quite a journey. I am grateful for all the faithful readers and the support given. There has been disagreements at times and challenges. However, any project or initiative is bound to have continued challenges.

As I reflect upon the past 4 years, I'll be taking a 30 day sabbatical to assess how things are and contemplate the road ahead for the balance of the year. It is going to be a very second half indeed


[ Click here to read more ]
19
Vote
   


: Will anyone listen?
The latest polls in the US Presidential Election show that the race is absolute dead heat between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney. Although it is early, it gives an indication of where things are going to go.

Within the past week, Cross Roads GPS has started a 9.7 Million Dollar Ad to "...frame the national debate on jobs, the economy, taxes and government debt...". This is the organization that Karl Rove, George W. Bush's architect leads whose donors are secret and one would not know who they are by virtue of just visiting the website. There are many other Super PACS that have been quite active as they gear up to support Mr. Romney


[ Click here to read more ]
19
Vote
   


: Can't Possibly Be....
The Prevailing Wind in Washington Today: Courtesy of the Salt Lake Tribune


This past week saw the Federal Trade Commision settle out claims of False Advertising against the makers of Sketchers Sneakers. The makers of the Sneakers claimed that by wearing the $ 100 (US) sneakers, folks will emerge a lot healthier. It was wrong and they were fined 40 Million Dollars for being wrong about it. This is as JP Morgan Chase came out with the announcement that it lost 2 Billion Dollars in trades over the past few months


[ Click here to read more ]
25
Vote
   


: The Campaign Has Begun!!!!
As the new Quarter dawns, there are always glimmers of hope throughout our World. I have been assessing that during the brief "break" I took from further development of "outsiders" as I assessed the state of our world over the next few days.

As I assessed our World, I first thought about the state of affairs in America. The election is in full swing as the Republican Party in the United States is starting to unify behind Mitt Romney. This is as the Obama Campaign begins its' frontal assault on Mr. Romney. Mitt Romney will be the nominee. He will be a damaged nominee, though, going into the general election


[ Click here to read more ]
13
Vote
   


2011: The Year In Review (The Launch)

December 4th 2011 22:13
: A Year 4 the History Books
It has been quite a year!!!!

I have been trying to to catch my breath as I launch the "Year-In-Review" here and now. Between the Arab Spring, changes in Africa and Russia, the continued challenges of Climate Change, the US Political Scene, the continued economic calamity, The "occupy" Movement, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, Europe's Economic Meltdown, the Media and continued technological transformations--I view it as nothing less than Breathtaking


[ Click here to read more ]
20
Vote
   


: ..and now?
President Obama came out with his proposal to bring down the looming deficit on Monday:


[ Click here to read more ]
24
Vote
   


9/11

September 11th 2011 11:51
: How it Changed Us All
Today is Patroits Day in the United States. For many of us who remember that day, it is a day to again remember all who fell on that horrible day. It is also to remember all who served and continue to serve on the fronlines of defense to insure that such a terrible day does not happen again.

I remember where I was on 9/11. To this date, I could not believe how all those events unfolded as it did. The World will continue to be faced with profound headwinds as it navigates through some very challenging political and economic minefields. I thought about Epictetus' admonition when he noted


[ Click here to read more ]
30
Vote
   


: ...and yet?!!?
The political scene in the United States continues to be ever more fascinating. The past two weeks saw Michelle Bachman win the Iowa Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty drop out of the campaign and Rick Perry join the campaign as 2012 starts to take shape. This is as Barack Obama's job approval rating drops below 40 percent.

What I found especially quite starking was how the official mainstream media in the Country focused on the straw poll. She had the organizational skills and of course, appealed to the conservative nature of the people of Iowa. But, Iowa is not America


[ Click here to read more ]
20
Vote
   


Mike Pouraryan's Blogs

I have no other blogs :(
Moderated by Mike Pouraryan
Copyright © 2012 On Topic Media PTY LTD. All Rights Reserved. Design by Vimu.com.
On Topic Media ZPages: Sydney |  Melbourne |  Brisbane |  London |  Birmingham |  Leeds     [ Advertise ] [ Contact Us ] [ Privacy Policy ]