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Isaac Lindgren
I'm me, your you, and that's that.
I'm me, your you, and that's that.

Isaac's posts

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Our favorite burger joint

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Ars Technica: 10 years of Opportunity: Celebrating the rover’s role on Mars and Earth.

Great article on NASA's MES program.

To my congressmen,

I am contacting you today to request that you vote against the the #FISAImprovementsAct sponsored by Senator Feinstein and to also vote in favor of the #USAFreedomAct sponsored by Senator Leahy and Representative Sensenbrenner.

The FISA Improvements Act is anything but an improvement, largely cementing into place many of the more egregious activities that have recently come into light through Edward Snowden.  Feinstein's bill would legitimize the unconstitutional and unethical surveillance of the American public.  Additionally, it perpetuates behavior that has done unwarranted damage to America's reputation internationally with both the general public as well as leaders of influential and allied countries, many of whom we often call upon in support of our own foreign policy goals.  The bill's efforts at transparency are half-hearted and largely continue the inadequate accountability measures already in place.

The USA Freedom Act, on the other hand, takes real substantive measures to curtail the excesses of the #NSA.  We need measures like the end to indiscriminate collecting of phone metadata and greater transparency about FISA court orders in order to repair the loss of public trust in the institutions of the federal government.  We need the greater clarification of limits to rein in the NSA's willfully self-serving reinterpretations of the law.  

It needs to be established that these limits are not determined by the NSA and their single minded pursuit of security.  Rather, it must lie with the American public and responsive representatives who weigh the benefits of security with the risks to freedom.  And it must be understood that of these two, it is freedom that is paramount, and that the needs of security are always subservient to the freedom being secured.

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To my elected federal officials,

I am contacting you to let you know that the current #surveillance conducted by the #NSA is unacceptable, and that this issue will be weighing heavily in my decision on who to vote for in subsequent federal elections.  I will be voting for anyone who proposes and implements an effective plan for reining in the NSA surveillance networks.  Likewise, I will be voting against any elected federal official that actively supports and/or passively enables current activities of the NSA.  I believe these to be in violation of constitutional and human rights and needs to be curtailed as soon as possible with the implementation of more effective and transparent oversight as well as clear and public restrictions on both the type of spying they conduct as well as the allowable circumstances these techniques can be implemented.

Please read this article.

This is merely the latest in the series of Snowden revelations that clearly demonstrates the abuse of power the NSA commits in the name of security.  I do not want security at all costs, not if it means losing what I want to secure, and that includes the freedoms enshrined in the United States Constitution.

Read the comments section.  This is the electorate.  This will be an issue in upcoming elections until something is done about it, something that substantially affects the current situation and doesn't merely cover it over with new window dressing.  Please pay attention to the voice of the people in this matter and do something to effectively constrain the behavior of the NSA.

To my Representative, Senators, and President,

I am writing to you today because I am growing increasingly concerned with the growing list of evidence regarding the activities of the National Security Agency.  From the broad, almost indiscriminate, sweeps of telephone and electronic communications to their active efforts at compromising various internet security protocols and the general lack of effective oversight, I feel that the #NSA has outstripped its legitimate mandate to protect American citizens and now presents a unique and growing threat to civil liberties as well as commercial interests for those elements of our society that utilize the internet for business purposes (and that is a vast and growing swath of the United States economy).

I understand that we want to be protected against a myriad of adversarial forces, both foreign and domestic, but if the measures used to provide this security cost us the freedoms we cherish and wish to protect, then we have failed in our mission.  Only by guaranteeing the integrity of the civil liberties promised us in the Constitution can we confidently proceed to defend them against hostile agents.  It is the solemn duty of all federal officials to uphold the Constitution, and this duty must extend especially to the activities of the federal government or else our government is nothing but a willful deceit being perpetrated upon the very people it promises to serve.

There is no acceptable justification for the indiscriminate collection of vast amounts of data that the NSA and its agents have at their disposal.  Nor is there any warrant to the claim that such an organization can legitimately be expected to regulate itself in the proper use of this information, especially in light of the demonstrable failures of said oversight.  And finally, whatever short term tactical benefits the NSA and the government might derive from compromising internet security measures, the long term strategic costs to us as a society will far outweigh them in terms of both economics and civil liberties.

I ask you to please uphold your oath of office and your duty to both the Constitution and the citizenry it protects and act within your power to rein in the activities of the NSA towards more targeted mission parameters that are both Constitutional and socially acceptable to the constituency they are supposed to serve.

Thank you.

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It is time to start discussing options that help people in need rather than attacking people we don't like.

To My Representative/Senator/President,

I am contacting you to request that you oppose United States military intervention in the Syrian civil war.  I understand the desire to do something in the face of what appears to be terrible acts perpetrated by the Syrian government against its citizens, including the possible use of chemical weapons, but air strikes will not accomplish any desirable goal and has the potential to lead us further down the path of yet another Middle Eastern conflict with serious negative consequences, both for the United States as well as the local population.

If we must do something, and I think that the crimes of the Assad regime do provide a moral imperative for action, it must be through a diplomatic agenda that leverages the legitimizing power of international bodies, like the United Nations, and be directed towards fostering a political solution out of the crisis in #Syria .  The solution to the problems in Syria cannot be found through military action, which only perpetuates the violence and killing that is now endemic to the country, and they must ultimately be found by the Syrian people with whatever moral and political support we can offer.

To this end, I ask that you oppose any military action until the United Nations fact finding mission regarding the use of chemical weapons is complete.  I ask that all options, and not just military, be explored, and that the effectiveness and possible consequences of any action be thoroughly assessed.  If there is any uncertainty or a lack of consensus, both within our own government as well as internationally, we should be resistant to use force when other measures are available to us.

And the truth is that we are not a nation united in this matter.  There is a significant number of Americans who have grave concerns about proceeding down this path of action.  It would be one thing if there was a general consensus among the American people over what to do and the acceptability of the risks such action might entail, but it is quite another to expose our country to these risks when we are divided over them.  If you are to lead us as a nation whole and not merely as a representative of those who are of a like mind with you in this matter, then you must seek the more conservative, risk averse action.

I understand that the effectiveness of diplomatic measures is being called into question, but it should be equally obvious to us that the efficacy of military action is just as obscure and carries with it significant risks of just increasing the suffering and death of the Syrian peoples as well as the further entanglement of the United States in a #war we want no part of.  Given the pervasive uncertainty surrounding any action we do, it would seem the only prudent measure is to pursue a policy of least harm, and that means one of diplomacy that encourages a political solution to the conflict.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Isaac Lindgren

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Does it mean anything when a giant shopping mall complex has no coffee shop?

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I wanted to attend their Freethought salon, but there's no sign there to indicate who I should even approach at the restaurant. Not that I wanted to spend money at that restaurant.

Your happiness is up to you.
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