Government Gone Wild
By Myron Pauli
If there is one thing that I can guarantee, it is that “the government” does not listen to ME! In 1988, I was at an “intelligence community meeting” where they wanted a consensus over doing “engineering-level-drawings” of everything that “the Soviet Union” would be deploying 62 years later in 2050, when some dissident in the rear (me!) pointed out that 62 years ago, we did not know of “…the neutron, jets, transistors, computers, lasers, DNA, penicillin, inertial navigation ….” In frustration, I said, “We don’t even know if there will be a Soviet Union in 10 years!”. A USAF Colonel responded eloquently with “shut up!”
In fact, the government cannot be listening to most Americans. It certainly did not pay any attention to Major Nidal Hasan who was carrying on for months about killing Americans. The government could not even monitor that a buck private, Bradley Manning, was downloading 750,000 documents! Did they think he was a speed-reader?? Nor can the government listen to over 300,000,000 Americans – but it CAN archive everything – to be searched later, on any pretense. The odds of some nutcase Adam Lanza posting on FACEBOOK “I am going to shoot up P.S. 84” is remote and the odds of the NSA picking that up is even remoter.
After the fact, of course, they can datamine Tsardaev, Lanza, Ron Paul, Pope Francis, Glenn Greenwald or anyone of interest. And will millions of people having who-knows-what access to these databases, who-knows-what mischief can happen. The crucial issue, in my opinion, about Edward Snowden, who “outed” himself, is: Who else has access – how do we know that Putin and Xi are not accessing the American database on Americans – what could be more convenient to China but to tap into the database that the NSA updates – if Bradley Manning can do it, why not Xi? And since Uncle Sam shares intelligence with “our allies” – do they let the Germans spy on Americans while our government spies on Germans and share the data?
Keep in mind the old movie “All the Kings Men,” where corrupt Governor Willie Stark wanted this reporter to “get the dirt” on his enemy, Judge Stanton. How much easier with billions of dollars of computers and trillions upon trillions of bytes of information to access? Remember J. Edgar Hoover who had the goods on Presidents, Congressmen, and Martin Luther King? What a field day he would have nowadays.
But the ultimate tragedy is that most Americans care not a hoot for the Fourth Amendment or the rest of the constitution. Feeling safe is what counts. Arguably, locking up drunk drivers or all black men aged 14-34 might reduce drunk driving or reduce inner-city crime. But what is more appalling is how many Americans would support such odious rubbish in the name of “safety.”
“It can’t happen here? Ask the over 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent who were locked up in “concentration camps” (FDR’s words!) without a shred of evidence and in clear violation of the 14th Amendment and supported by a Supreme Court decision, Korematsu v. US.
TSA, NSA, DEA, DHS, HHS, IRS, whatever – it is all an unaccountable bureaucratic maze – keeping track of the American subjects who vote for the same Congressmen and Presidents who promise use everything from “health care” to “security” to “world leadership” – everything but liberty (an abstraction that few have any understanding of). The problem is not Bush or Obama or Pelosi or Graham or “federal employees” or “contractors” but the Americans who empower this government gone wild.
As for monitoring “the enemy”: Walt “Pogo” Kelly said it best. “We have met the enemy and it is us.”
P.S.: I recommend that everyone watch “Judgment at Nuremberg.”
Barely a Blog (BAB) contributor Myron Pauli grew up in Sunnyside Queens, went off to college in Cleveland and then spent time in a mental institution in Cambridge MA (MIT) with Benjamin Netanyahu (did not know him), and others until he was released with the “hostages” and Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1981, having defended his dissertation in nuclear physics. Most of the time since, he has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He was NOT named after Ron Paul but is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli; unfortunately, only the “good looks” were handed down and not the brains. He writes assorted song lyrics and essays reflecting his cynicism and classical liberalism. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.