– Henry David Thoreau
“You can’t have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience … We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”
– Barack Obama
Dystopia, Data-Mining and Distraction
This past week was a wake up call for many Americans living in the United States of the National Security Agency (USNSA) – a dystopia of their own making. Yes, yes, revelations came to light that ‘the powers that be’ had obtained a secret court order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allowing it to basically gorge itself on tens of millions of phone records of Verizon customers. Surprise! Big Brother may not be watching, but he is listening. A short time later, information concerning the government’s PRISM program was revealed. It basically empowers the National Security Agency (NSA) to data-mine the emails and chat records of both Americans and foreigners abroad from some of the largest Internet based services, such as Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Google (SkyNet) and other web-based giants.
Of course, all of this should come as a shock to no one … except the obvious clear majority of easily led American ‘sheeple’ that believe the internet, or their phone lines, for that matter, are ‘private’, and that their personal data are protected under a supposed ‘right to privacy‘ guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution … (insert pregnant pause) … oh wait , sorry … such a right is not actually expressed in the Constitution. Chalk that up to yet another American collective misconception … or perhaps to good old Uncle Sam, an apparent trickster of sorts.
Makes you think twice about ‘cloud computing’, doesn’t it? Sure. Go ahead and back up all your data online. It’s safe and secure – and makes it that much easier for the NSA to access. And trust me, it’s not doing so for the Lulz. Similarly, you can understand why some folks stuff money into their mattresses; banks are neither safe nor secure. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and ask anyone that has ever had the misfortune of having the long-arm of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ‘beam into’ their savings accounts to settle a tax matter or two.
Now, I’ve never been under any illusion that there is no such thing as online ‘privacy’. I mean, if you’re going to bitch and holler about how Facebook might use that picture of a drunken you posing half-naked with a lampshade on your head, you might as well not use social media platforms in the first place.
What concerns me, however, is the lack of transparency under which our elected officials seem to hide all manners of activities that are clearly abuses of power and for the most part ‘un-American’ in nature. Tragically of all, these covert actions occur in the righteous name of homeland security (God Bless The USNSA). The chickens have apparently come home to roost – and the apparent threat to national security is now the country’s own citizens. Sound familiar? INGSOC lives!
Uncle Sam: Opium Peddler
It’s high time Americans take a stand against how their own government, or government behind the government, has acted with impunity not only outside the country’s borders, but even within them. Of course, to do so it would take a Herculean effort to wean themselves from the steady dose of distraction compliments of Big Business and the Mainstream Media (MSM). Out of the war rooms of government and industry come daily fixes of faux patriotic nationalism in the form of entertainment, news, advertisement, political spin and counter-spin – all constituting a opiate for the masses.
And, for every war there must be an enemy. For yesterday’s Cold War it was the communists. For today’s war on terror, it is religious radicalism (née foreign ethnicity: just shoot the bastard who don’t look Christian enough). Wars, after all, are good for the economy … and, well, as Judd Jugmonger might say, “tain’t much of a war none if there tain’t no enemy none”.
Now, typical American rhetoric post-9/11 suggests not letting terrorists change the ‘American’ way of life. It begs the question, just what exactly IS the American way of life? More to the point, how exactly do the ‘powers that be’ want its citizens to behave? In other words, what cocktail blend of nationalistic laced apathy, denial and obedience constitutes the ‘American’ way of life these days?
Of course, denial and apathy breeds complacency, which apparently is not what Uncle Sam wants either. You see complacency usually suggests a certain air of … well not fearlessness, but satiation and contentment replete with a lack of anxiety … perhaps even sloth.
In this sense and to my mind, I would imagine the government would prefer its people to remain ‘afraid’, agitated and insecure. Otherwise no one would get out and buy guns, invest in security systems or stock up on provisions in case of yet another national emergency, like the Killer Bees. Therefore, complacency is NOT an option.
Unfortunately for Uncle Sam, traditional American values don’t really go far enough in terms of motivating one to consume. After all, there’s really nothing THAT particularly patriotic about baseball, hot dogs, apple pie anymore … or even Chevrolet automobiles. I mean honestly, how incensed would you have to be to actually go to war to defend a hot dog? Okay, maybe on ‘Black Friday’ if there were a five percent discount on food items at Walmart .. but other than that, ‘it ain’t gonna happen’, so let’s not confuse consumerism with patriotism.
Yet, on the heels of 9/11, consumerism was very much a consideration. ‘Homeland’ tourism certainly would take a beating in the face of a supra-rational fear of most any ethnic looking individual come possible terrorist. Moreover, an avoidance to crowds possibly providing cover for extremist oriented religious zealots would certainly not bode well for malls, superstores, flea-markets, gun-shows, stadiums or most any large venue oriented towards collecting sales tax and sucking away one’s disposable income.
And so, the message went out far wide to “go about your business”. Citizens were advised not to let the terrorists destroy the true American way of life: consumerism. Yes, in the United States of America, it seems it is now ones patriotic duty to consume en masse! Every dollar spent is another nail in the coffin of an ‘evil doer’; every credit card purchase, an assault on the ‘Axis of Evil’.
State Of The Union: Occupy Your Head!
My Fellow Americans: Wake Up! Our government is out of control. In fact, it’s difficult to place our fingers on who or what ‘our government’ is anymore. However, whatever or whomever it is, it certainly no longer supports our interests, but rather those of Big Business and multinational corporations (oil, media, etc.) who see us more as ‘consumers’ and less as citizens, let alone humans.
It’s time to pull back on the reins of our elected officials and demand transparency in all matters of government. Enough with the bureaucratic hypocrisy. Enough with party politics and being manipulated to division by an onslaught of MSM inspired themes that that pit our bi-partisan interests and sentiments against each other. The concepts of ‘divide and conquer’ and ‘united we stand, divided we fall’ are not rocket science.
It’s time to come together against a greater threat to our collective personal interests and freedoms than anything that actually threatens our national interests: cryptologic intelligence agencies such as the NSA. It’s time to fully embrace that in many cases it’s been our own governmental agencies and foreign policies that have triggered anti-American sentiment the world over. Yes Virginia, “we have met the enemy, and he is us”.
PS. If you are not an American and are reading this, simply substitute America or ‘USA’ for your own country’s name. Trust me, the expression “six of one, half a dozen of the other” applies. Govern yourself accordingly.
- Your Right To Privacy
- The NSA Surveillance Order, Explained by the ACLU
- EMERGENCY ACTION: Stop The Massive Government Spying Program
- NSA slides explain the PRISM data-collection program
Occupy Poster Sources:
- Rise Up – http://occuprint.org/Posters/RiseUpSun
- Occupy USA – http://occuprint.org/Posters/OccupyUSA
- Pissed On, Pissed Off – http://www.flickr.com/photos/owsposters/6330776625/