As midnight approaches here in the San Bernardino Mountains on the day of the United States’ 238th birthday, I feel more sad for this country than I ever have before. Usually on Independence Day, I feel a sense of renewal and that everything will end up OK in the end. Not this year…not after three pieces of news I heard this week.

The big one that most people know about is the sudden influx of children and mothers coming into the United States from Central America. No, it’s not that in and of itself that is bothering me.

One slice of this story is that, 300 of these refugees were sent to Murrieta, California for processing. No, it’s not even the asinine behavior of some of that city’s residents protesting like idiots in front of scared women and children that has me so down. Despite its liberal reputation, I know better about California and the pockets the Golden State still has of folks that don’t want “those people” among them.

That reaction was unfortunate because Murrieta — just like any local government — does have a right to take care of its own residents first and be fully prepared to take on a new and large amount of people even if being sent there temporarily.

What gets me down about this the most is the inanity of sending these refugees to Murrieta at all. This first batch of 300 people and all of the subsequent ones to follow are being sent to a facility that has no beds or showers.

Let me state that again. This processing center where these people will be housed for multiple days has no beds or showers.

No matter what one believes about what is going on at our southern border and what should be done with these people, to me, this is a huge piece of ultimate proof that the political structure in Washington is irrevocably broken. It’s not like this was an innocent mistake of bureaucracy where they thought a building had proper facilities when it didn’t. They knew full well what was being done.

This shows how stupid things have become. We have a country filled with partially-used military bases, all overseen by our military which has plenty of experience in “processing” and providing humanitarian relief. Even if these people were put in tents and had to use an old fashioned latrine, it would still be far better than being put on a floor and having nowhere to wash. Yes, this would cost us some money, but not near as much as what it will cost when Murrieta and all of the other cities getting the same treatment send their bills to Washington and the years of litigation ensue.

This could be done easily and all without bringing back the specter of the Japanese internment camps. Soldiers and sailors are already getting paid so there’s no reason to not have them help during this crisis especially since we have plenty of them that speak Spanish. Our military bases are the perfect place to house these people until they are either approved to stay or deported.

It’s a solution so simple that it’s no wonder Washington didn’t think of it.

Unfortunately, when the people in Washington do think these days, it is not in its citizens’ best interests. Started by the previous administration and now gone fully wild under the current one, not since the Nixon administration have we seen our government become so suspicious of its own people. If there was any doubt about there being no checks and balances on the snooping power of the National Security Administration (NSA), this week’s news laid that fully to rest.

For those unfamiliar with it, Boing Boing is a long-running website featuring news focusing on technology and Internet culture. Its history goes back as far as 1988 when it started as a print magazine. With one of its main objectives being to cover what is happening on the Internet, they have been covering issues regarding online security and privacy well before anybody ever heard of Edward Snowden. This includes coverage of the Tor network, a sort of web within the web that allows people more privacy in which to view websites and communicate.

It was revealed earlier this week that, because if its coverage of Tor and also the Tails operating system (a Linux distribution that, to put it simply, is like using Tor on steroids), anybody that visits Boing Boing — even for just its plethora of cute animal video links — is automatically added to the NSA’s list for those in the United States that might be a danger to its security. From that point forward, all of their Internet traffic will be under deeper inspection by the NSA…not to mention retained for future reference.

This also goes for anybody that visits the Tor or Tails websites. Even if all you wanted to see is what they claim about themselves, all visitors are now considered suspect.

Oh, by the way…now that I am suspect — and especially since I have written about Boing Boing, Tor, and Tails in this post — you are now eligible for deeper scrutiny by the NSA, too! You are now guilty by association and guilty before being proven innocent.

This is America on the 4th of July?

That is about as unconstitutional as it gets. The rumbling people heard tonight might not have been fireworks but, instead, the Founding Fathers rolling in their graves.

Then, it is the Constitution itself that has me down on this 4th of July…and, believe it or not, it doesn’t have much to do with some of the recent head-scratchers that came out of the Supreme Court. Instead, it is how badly so many citizens misinterpret and misunderstand our charter document which allows the government to run amok unabated.

Opie & Anthony was once a nationally syndicated radio show. The program ended up on Sirius XM satellite radio. The latter of the two, Anthony Cumia, was recently in an altercation where he was taking photographs on a street in New York City and a woman who didn’t want her picture taken allegedly assaulted him. Cumia blamed it on the woman’s heritage which resulted in his dismissal from Sirius XM. Since being fired, he has been on an almost constant, hateful, profane, and bigoted rage on Twitter.

This isn’t what bothers me so much. We all know these types still exist in our society. What gets me is the response it has gotten on Twitter where Cumia’s supporters claim that Sirius XM violated his rights under the First Amendment.

This absolutely baffles me. The First Amendment covers political speech as directed at the government. It does not cover what one’s employer can do to you for your words especially if one represents a large corporation openly dedicated to serving all languages, beliefs, and races.

Yet, this happens over and over again whether it is a conservative or a liberal…and the peanut gallery screams “First Amendment” while having no idea what that clause says nor the mountain of legal precedents that sit upon its foundation.

More and more, we have politicians of both parties that can’t organize a one-man run to a two-hole shithouse yet they want to believe we can all trust the NSA. More and more, we have citizens that don’t understand the Constitution yet wrap themselves in it fully only when it suits their needs.

When we have that, more and more, The Man runs off with your money and your true rights as envisioned by the Founding Fathers because he has succeeded in getting the country so split that Congress couldn’t even pass a bill right now to say the sky is blue. Yep, The Man is the master of the divide and conquer strategy. Sadly, too many Americans have fallen for it hook, line, and sinker and the boat is already on its way back to shore where the frying pan is warmed up and ready to cook.

Just think about that for a while before you go vote in November’s mid-term elections — if you even bother — before you cast your ballot for the same old people offering the same tired solutions to the same superficial problems. We’re running out of chances to get on a normal, decent, respectful path, and fast. I’m beginning to doubt America has the wisdom anymore to look beyond each individual’s selfish idea of utopia. Let’s see if some of you finally start to get it and prove me wrong. Until then, I’ll just continue to be glad I’ll be dead or too old to care when the shit really hits the fan.

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