Day 128 / Spy vs World


I can't talk long. They might be watching me. Or you. They could be watching you, and then they would see what I'm up to and start watching me. Oh boy. This is a slippery slope you and I are on. We could be water boarded for even talking about any of this.

They wouldn't have any reason to watch us. I know I haven't done anything worthy of being unearthed by tax payers money and I'm willing to bet you haven't either. I simply mean to say that it's quite likely that due to the sheer incompetence evidenced by the agency in charge of such behavior recently, it's not unrealistic to think there's millions of dollars being spent on finding out what you and I had for breakfast. 

See, none of this is altogether surprising if you're a person that enjoys looking at trends and how those trends can be seen permeating through every level of life. Here's one example of a trend that might explain why this country seems destined for hardship, for instance.  

Take a look at the government. Now, I'm no conspiracy theorist. I don't believe everyone in the government is evil. There are some good eggs out there trying to fight the good fight, which is to say, looking out for the best interests of the people in the country based on common sense and decency rather than any ideologically based, hand-me-down set of moral codes that everyone misunderstands.

Good people are everywhere, in fact. Every family has a few of them. Every company. Every community, town, city, country. There are good people doing good things everywhere. Just as would be the case with shitty people. Selfish people. Sociopathic people and delusional people.

And if that is always going to be the case then all that really matters is the ratio of those two groups. How much power does each group have with respect to each other? 

No one would argue that the current crop of yokels in government right now isn't more than a little worrisome. Just turn on the news for any length of time and you'll find evidence of this within 20 seconds. Some of them are straight up dark age thinking, mouth breathing simpletons. They have intelligent aides and writers at their disposal, sure, and they get at least coherent speeches written for them, but at the end of the day they're the ones making the final decisions and they're functionally insane.

I just watched footage of the congressional hearing on the healthcare website debacle and Michelle Bachman was asking questions to high ranking officials. Michelle Bachman. A woman who ran for presidential nominee a couple years ago. A woman who believed God had chosen her for that office. I bet my 92 year old grandmother was more reasonable in the end than she is. And my grandmother had dementia. 

For more on Michelle Bachman's greatest hits here's a fun little link

I say all this only to make the following point. If the government is this okay with being stupid at the level of public consumption; which is to say if the 'face' of the government, the people who get pranced out in front of the cameras, are this bad at their job, then why wouldn't it be the case that the other aspects of the government are equally inept at their function? Even intelligence. So the NSA got caught spying on world leaders? Shocker. I suppose you'll tell me next that the FDA is in bed with the pharmaceutical companies.

Is any of this really surprising. We teach people how to treat us. That's as true for countries as it is for individuals. The US got caught spying. They immediately protected the president by saying he had no knowledge of this, an assertion that came out a little too quick to seem fully plausible. But then, what is the alternative? He knew and was cool with it? This seems the more likely possibility, and, to be honest, the more preferable one. 

Either we have a president who has done little more than take up the rhythmic beating of his predecessors political drum and uses his powers in the shadows and darkness afforded to him by position and as he sees fit, or that he genuinely didn't know the phone tapping of world leaders was going on. And if he didn't know, that means there are agencies out there pretty much writing their own ticket. Agencies full of people we don't know, who don't answer to anyone. How could they? If the president doesn't know what they're up to how can we? 

So there you go, which of those options is more palatable to you? Or does it even really matter that much? I suppose in the end I think it likely that the administration is lying and that Obama knew this was going on. Though perhaps I'm just more comfortable with that scenario. A shitty president who says one thing to our face and then turns around and does whatever he wants anyway? We're all much more accustomed to that kind of political behavior I think. 

Whatever the case I'm sure heads will roll. They will be heads we've never seen of course, heads that get cut off to save the heads we do know. But don't worry too much on their account, these strangers who will take the hit for this mistake. Their heads may indeed roll, but they'll just end up rolling over into a cushy new governmental job somewhere else in a few years. The bonus one gets for taking one for the team.

I won't even give you a link for examples of that. Just google "government". 

“The way things are supposed to work is that we're supposed to know virtually everything about what they [the government] do: that's why they're called public servants. They're supposed to know virtually nothing about what we do: that's why we're called private individuals.” - Glenn Greenwald