Category Archives: commentary

The Spies.

So, now those who just read headlines are all up in a bunch, pantiwise, over the latest Wikileaks release.

Seems it’s merely official, finally; everything we say and/or do, on either our phones or computers, and even via our TVs if they are Smart /and, phhh, even if they are dumb as stone can be intercepted; viewed; seized; and, Lord knows, transported into any number of Files Are Us.

That said, allow me.

“Hey, there, iRobot. You like my style? You watch me chat with my people, and toss me a photo essay about the vegetables I search and their corresponding polyphenols? You like my test results? You need to feed me the latest fake horoscope?

Your attempts to flatter are folly, you of the artificial intelligence. If thou art so smart, why dost thou even need me and all my trolling patterns?”

You really think I’m not immune, by now, to all the ploys?

That bit about getting into our cars, via satellite radio, and programming us to crash? That’s old. Richard A. Clarke already told us all about that, in his novel, PINNACLE EVENT.

The Will is strong in me. I get my kicks out of skewing data. Anomalies Are Moi, I say!

So, there.

Factor that one up your faux ass.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo    3/7/17         All rights those of the living, breathing female human person from whom these blog posts come, whose name appears above this line. I’d thank you for your respect, but you don’t process the meaning of the concept.

littlebarefeetblog.com

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How Shall We Know?

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Michael Gerson has an established history as a public commentator – most notably, as George W. Bush’s speech writer throughout said President’s administration. But, Gerson’s most recent article appears in The Washington Post. Its subject: Julian Assange.

Over the past couple of months, much has appeared in the publications of virtually every source of news and opinion available in print regarding the integrity, the credibility, even the veracity of the WikiLeaks founder and editor.

Until the week before the Presidential election, I had barely even heard of Julian Assange. I certainly had never been to WikiLeaks, and I knew absolutely nothing about its editor. My introduction came in the form of a Facebook post, shared by someone only known to a mutual friend; the post, a video, contained an entire interview given by Assange to Australian journalist and published author, John Pilger.

As soon as I viewed that video, my comments regarding its contents were posted into the political discussion already in play. What followed, almost immediately, were multiple entries by trusted friends. Two of them, both female, were particularly negative in their commentary; they did not like Assange, they did not trust him, and one concluded that a mere “gift of gab” drove his persona. Via their posts, I would be further informed that Assange stood accused of rape, living in seclusion at the Ecuadorian embassy because he was awaiting either trial, or extradition, or both.

In spite of this, I was compelled. The demeanor of this man as he sat answering John Pilger’s gentle, noticeably open and accepting queries, was sober, apparently humble, at times almost contrite. He spoke in measured phrases, with care to make only statements which were both clear, concise, and fact based. Furthermore, nothing he said by way of reply seemed to render him suspect, in my observation; rather, he seemed intent upon declaring the purpose of his every act, and that with an objectivity which centered around a search for the truth.

This central point spoke volumes. Dare I use a buzzword – yes; it resonated with me. Friends of longest standing knew me to be a clarion for the truth; and, as time had aged me, I had become more passionate about its value.

I researched this man. Dug into everything I could find online about him. Viewed nearly every interview, listened to every audio, and read as many of his words as were available to me in print.

What continues to strike me is this glaring reality: every news outlet, every publication intended to affect public opinion seems determined to malign, condemn, and pigeon-hole his efforts through a process of both conflation and grande accusation, the latter largely unsubstantiated. By contrast, Assange seems to provide substantive defense for everything about which he has been accused, the strongest of which is the declaration that none of the legion of Wikileaks’ posts over the past ten years has ever caved to scrutiny or been proven unverifiable. In fact, if he succeeds in protecting the integrity of his publication, WikiLeaks may very well rise to the level of the last truly independent counsel left on the world stage.

Yet, what of its founder?

In 2014, The New Republic released a detailed historical documentation of the rise of Assange relative to that of both Snowden and Greenwald. Its article painted Assange as an anti-authoritarianism subversive whose view of the world as “individual against institution” was informed by his personal history. And, that is the characterization which has pervaded the press, ever since. He is to be regarded as the enemy of our state.

Most recently, Assange agreed to a Reddit AMA(“Ask Me Anything”) online “press conference”. WikiLeaks offered a Twitter link to transcripts from that AMA, but hardly anyone has defended its contents. Instead, we have Michael Gerson, who now portrays Assange as an enemy of the “tribe”, one having caused threat to the lives of Americans. And, any American who takes an objective position with regard to him is being made to feel as if such objectivity is somehow akin to treason.

This is serious allegation.

I am an American. Born in the town wherein I have spent my entire life as a working professional, I remain committed to the ideals of our Republic. Humbled to own my home, to live responsibly, to maintain a lifestyle above reproach, and to owe no one, I do not take kindly to any suggestion that my honest investigation of Assange or anyone, however radical or challenging, represents lack of patriotism. I remain a defender of the freedoms of both speech and thought, and intend to devote the rest of my days to that which I have built – one life, lived with integrity. Perhaps I see myself as a lone individualist, powerless against institutionalized control; to this end, my world view may be akin to that of Assange. This does not translate as treason against the government of the United States.

Tonight, President Obama commuted the 35 year sentence of former Private Chelsea Manning, whose 700,000 leaked documents published by Assange at WikiLeaks disclosed human atrocities committed in the name of war. And, there are still those who believe that the act of releasing these “secrets” was a sin more grave than the very atrocities, themselves.

I will trust anyone who proves trustworthy. If Julian Assange can be proven guilty of anything by anyone, I will not sit as his judge; if, however, he is now extradited to our shores, given a fair trial, and proven innocent, I will stand in his support just as I stand with anyone who speaks and lives in truth. As Americans, we should set about to do just that for everyone; aligning, to any degree, with the alternative is to risk everything for which life is worth.

What say you, Mr. Gerson?

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  1/17/17     All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your respect.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Silver Bells.

“Social Intelligence and the Standard Bearer.”

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“The holidays” can put a person off.

As the season approaches, a certain set of expectations play across our culture. By some unspoken demand, one must be “festive”. This invariably translates as seeking out the company of others. In between massive bursts of expenditure, lunch dates are squeezed. The bravest among us host carefully planned and exhaustively prepared dinner parties. In the air, there’s that feeling of Christmas, and at the end of it all is the subconscious satisfaction of having met an effective standard; along with managing to get the gifts bought, wrapped, and delivered on time, there is the reward of having done it all right.

Just read, today, that those of very high intelligence prefer being alone.

In our family, it was always our older brother touted as the family genius; but, by golly gosh, he still commands an audience and I prefer my own company. Or, rather, after just a couple hours with people, I need to get the hell home.

Don’t read this wrong. People are fascinating. I love the energy of human exchange. I’ll be on the sidelines, watching and listening with keen interest. And, nobody dares call me aloof; the barber’s daughter, I know better than to look down on anyone.

But, what of social intelligence? Among all six recognized aptitudes (verbal; mathematical; spacial; physical; creative),  just how overvalued is this trait?

The life of the party is venerated, for an ability to both mobilize and inspire all in the company to open up, relax, and let it all hang together. Seems every social gathering can’t survive without one. And, why is that?

All are warned to steer clear of the “bore” – that one who tosses out a stimulating topic for discussion and then secures a solid conversation with another willing to listen and respond. Parties aren’t supposed to be about substance, after all; keeping things light maintains a more comfortable atmosphere, one which challenges no one to engage any form of critical thinking or divergent speculation lest any feel tested. Enjoying oneself at a social gathering is paramount, even if tantamount to total intellectual abdication. After all, nobody wants to be guilty of clearing the room.

When life was smaller, people all knew each other. Natural gifts – for music, or comedy – emerged of their own volition. The only collective expectation was that the food be tasty and plentiful, the beverages fine, and the location of the gathering within a moonlit walk of home.

The rest of the world was the place one went for a change of scene. And, this might constitute a few days’ drive from town, even including dinner out at a restaurant where the people looked, smelled, and served up food so removed from the usual that the whole experience offered plenty of follow up conversation for days thereafter.

But, beyond the monthly excursion, neighborhoods maintained intact homeostasis. Proximity was close, and familiar, and understood. The pool was smaller; all members were recognized; the power of influence-peddling was moot; and, anonymity was alien.

Now, life is enormous. Technology has made social access nearly total. People of every persuasion cross virtual paths, almost daily. Food, of every conceivable gastronomical device, is offered up anywhere a meal is within reach. But, proportionately, social expectation has become overtaking in its scope, and the quality of what used to be called “genuine” is fading.

Where does one go, anymore, to find a true standard for the authentic?

Have we become so practiced in the arts of persuasion, manipulation, and influence that our respect for the real thing is relegated to the attic find on Antiques Roadshow?

Perhaps our social collective can submit to regaining its willingness to acknowledge that which rings merely true. I think somebody said Jesus would have it so.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo   12/19/16       All rights those of the author, a real person who taught herself to type, and whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your recognition. I, too, see you. Merry Christmas.

littlebarefeetblog.com