Trust & the Credibility of Washington DC
The surveillance programs that the NSA has been running have long been established under the Patriot Act of 2001. We all pretty much knew that.
When it was the Bush Administration running the show, Republicans were fine with it while Democrats claimed that we were being watched by the government. The Bush administration assured us they were only watching terrorists.
Most of us were okay with that in the aftermath of 9/11. After all, the government assured us they weren’t watching us, they were only watching the terrorists.
With the recent revelations about the government watching us, our phone calls, our locations, our internet transactions and everything we do we find out that the Bush administration was indeed watching us. It has extended into our private emails and bank transactions. That’s where they crossed the line.
We know it wasn’t just the NSA, but the FBI as well, and now, apparently the IRS wants in on the spying game.
With the revelations from Edward Snowden last week, the government has been scrambling to defend the program. We’ve received dribs and drabs of defense from both Congress and the White House.
There are those who have set out to discredit Snowden.
We have learned that Snowden worked for Booz Allen Hamilton and the NSA for less than 3 months. Could it be possible that he’s a spy? It does seem awfully odd that he’s hiding in China of all places.
In addition, Extremetech claims that PRISM is “the name of a web data management tool that is so boring that no one had ever bothered to report on its existence before now. It appears that the public Prism tool is simply a way to view and manage collected data, as well as correlate it with the source.”
If you look at the article, the graphic shows that the government is collecting information about your emails, if not the actual emails themselves. This is what is making everyone so upset.
In short, the government is telling us to “just trust them”. (I had this same idea as another blogger that I will link to later in this article)
This nation was founded on the notion that government can’t be trusted, that if not limited, the people in the government will abuse their powers. We are seeing today that they were absolutely right.
A friend of mine posted this on Facebook yesterday:
Things that I thought everyone knew:
1. Stores have price clubs because they benefit from having your purchasing info. They collect it and keep it, and most sell it.
2. The government has always sniffed electronic communications for key-words.
3. Ever since the phone company went to computer switching, there have been records kept of every single phone call made. Ever. Including yours.
4. Government agencies are not run and operated by the government. They are run and operated by people. Some of those people are stupid, some are lazy, some are just plain bastards. Even worse, some are true believers in a group/cause/religion/whatever, and will use their positions to benefit their group or to hurt those opposed.
5. Many “liberals” we hopping mad about the patriot act and complained and bitched for months as it was being discussed and passed. The guys who tried to label us as traitors and terrorists are EXACTLY the same guys who are mad about the Patriot Act now. So kiss my ass. We exactly told you so.
Okay, so you exactly told us so. Does that make its continued use and expansion any more right than it was under the Bush administration?
We have learned that this has gone back as far as 2006, well into the Bush administration’s reign.
Grocery stores have club cards for two reasons.
- To entice you to join to enjoy lower prices so they can keep tabs on what you buy. This actually has a legitimate business purpose.
- To fuck people who don’t join by charging them higher prices.
- To sell to other marketers.
None of that is illegal or unconstitutional, however that last one should be outlawed. Companies should not be allowed to sell that information to other companies. The Constitution limits the government, not businesses.
Safeway is not the government. They keep track of what you buy, not who you email or who you call. Argument #1 is nothing more than shiny object argument. Look over here! These people did the same thing!
If you are like me, and don’t like stores tracking what you buy, shop at another store that does not track your purchases. It really is that easy. It isn’t so easy to get out from under the government.
We’ve also been told that Congress must be okay with it.
Not all members of Congress are okay. Senators Ron Wyden (D- OR), and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee tried crying foul as far back as 2011 (December 2012 according to this article), but was unable to provide details.
Every time something the government is doing that is potentially wrong, they quickly open the closet and pull out the twin boogeymen of National Security and Terrorism.
The NSA claims this program has allowed them to disrupt dozens of alleged plots, while other experts say that isn’t true.
What did foil dozens of attacks was surveillance in the mosques. That is, while it was allowed to happen.
If it isn’t bad enough that our own government is watching us, it has come out that the government snooping doesn’t extend to mosques. It isn’t that the Boston Bombers weren’t Verizon customers, it’s that the government is so afraid of being perceived as Islamophobes that they skip over the mosques, the breeding ground of Islamofascism. They would rather infringe on our privacy rather than be perceived as bigots and go after the enemy where they live.
The ACLU and CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) sued the FBI for sending undercover agents into mosques in order to surveille them.
Fuck CAIR and fuck the ACLU. CAIR is nothing more than a terrorist front group, anyway.
The government has a credibility problem. Congress has a 10% approval rating, yet these knuckleheads will all get reelected in 2014.
The New York Times, in an editorial last week said that Obama has lost all credibility, an editorial that was later softened as the editorial staff appended the words on this issue to the end of that sentence. With that change, the New York Times has lost any shred of credibility it had left.
Congress has lost all credibility, and that’s what it has come down to. Credibility and trust.
SocioPolitical Dysfunction has an excellent essay on the government and trust/credibility. Tracy is more studied and less reactionary than I am.
Tracy is absolutely right. It all comes down to trust. Just because something is legal, as Tracy points out, does not make it right.
Do you trust your government to do the right thing?