Monday, June 10, 2013

The Blizzard of Scandals Continues

(Image by Lisa Benson)

The most "transparent administration" has been tapping our phones. 

(Image by Nate Beeler)

The latest & greatest scandal to hit Our Dear Leader's regime over the weekend, when NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, identified himself to the UK's Guardian holed up in Hong Kong.  This of course, is rife with irony.

Reactions to this continually unraveling story range from: "Meh, happens all the time," to "the conspiracy theorists were right all along!"  But mostly somewhere in between.

Shane Harris discusses the scariest part of the NSA revelations.  My writer friend Piper Bayard, of Bayard & Holmes fame, weighed-in and asked what price convenience?

Meanwhile Charles Cook provided an even-handed look at Liberty in the Tentacular State.  This generated a couple lengthy responses:

It was indeed a good article. But is also emblematic of the "reach-around the back" hand-holding by the far left and the libertarian right that is becoming all-too-commonplace these days. If everyone who is publicly hyperventalating over this latest "scandal" really cared about government's supposed intrusion into their lives and liberties, they would have long ago demanded, en masse, that Congress repeal withholding--or the income tax altogether. Instead, they obsess about what private information the government "might" come across at the very same time they willingly allow (and provide!!) acces to much more of their personal and private information to corporations (many not American-owned) that are NOT bound by the Constitution and have much more proactive intent-to-use that information than anyone in the deepest bowels of NSA has.

I love how they trot out things like the much-misused Ben Franklin quote that has nothing to do with what the poli--sci undegrads and Baby Boomer drop out profs think it does.Hint: Ben was NOT talking about surrendering access to personal property or informatrion in favor of security. My memory is shaky on precise details, but he was talking about ensuring that the colony of Pennsylvania has the right to tax its citizens and organize frontier defense against bandits/savages (read: Indians) rather than rely on the vagaries of Parliament in far-off London (which had the habit of exempting people like the Penn Family from said taxes) to fund/provide defense . Oh, and this article relying on extensive quotations from the historian (AJP Taylor) who was dissapointed that the UK aligned with the US in 1945 instead of the USSR is hilarious (and indicative of how "ignorant" even the supposedly intellectual "conservatices" have become.)...

...Frankly, I find all of this hand wringing and gnashing of teeth over government surveillance programs to be rather silly.  First, there are the far more extensive, pervasive, and worrisome corporate intrusions into our lives (as Joe pointed out).  Heck, the other day I saw the "Google Street View" car drive past my house.  Why don't the same conspiracy theorists on the left and the right go bat $#!+ over that sort of thing?  I can only imagine what their reaction would be if a car drive down the street with "Department of Homeland Security Street View" painted on the side.  Not only that, through various forms of social media, people now willingly, happily, and without any thought to the possible consequences reveal all sorts of details about themselves to anybody with an internet connection.  The same people who scream about government surveillance will post pictures of themselves while on vacation several time zones away on their Facebook pages without even stopping to consider that maybe the creep who wants to rob their house is trolling for information.

Personally, I'm very concerned about all this.  True, as my friends mentioned above, private enterprises obtain a huge amount of personal information from customers--who give it to them freely.  But when I "connect the dots" with all the other scandals that have come to light, it paints an ugly picture.

As far as Mr. Snowden, while I'm glad this abuse of power has come to light, I certainly don't consider him a hero.  I think Mark Steyn made the best conclusion when he discussed A Blizzard of Snowdens

(Image by Bob Gorrell)

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