Wed Jul 3, 2013, 06:51 PM
MrScorpio (61,026 posts)
Understanding America is understanding the difference between "owning" and "owned"...
You, just about everyone you know and just about everyone you will ever know are in the "owned" category.
Now, I could say that freedom is an illusion. But at some level, that freedom only extends to your ability to determine who owns you and how... If you can.
Work for a paycheck and your employer owns you.
Mortgage your home and the bank owns you.
Send your kids to college and whoever holds the student loan that you co-signed with your kid for owns you.
Your vehicle, your health, whoever provides the food you buy, your faith, the utilities that are available, even the very access to the web which allows you to read these very words... They all own you in one way or the other. Whoever these people are, they're all keeping tabs on you. And they have every right to, because after all, they own you. Some do it by direct observation, others do it by convincing you that you're always under some kind of scrutiny even by mystical-magical means.
Now, of course, this is price we all pay for living in a connected society. There's simply no getting around being observed.
It's something that we ultimately do to ourselves. Of course, there's a better way... But we really have no control over the rules because we refuse to change the rules. If we did, we would all work in employee owned businesses, build and operate a single payer health care system, subsidize our entire education system through university, guarantee housing for all, not let big oil and big coal determine how our energy is produced, eliminate all forms of discrimination, ensure that wages are fair and livable, create social safety net for times when Capitalism fails to provide basic needs, force banks and corporations to honor the public trust and to do no harm as a condition for doing business, on and on and on.
Instead, we allow them to own us and we call that "Freedom" if we get access to enough weapons to slaughter each other every single day.
No... I'm not a happy camper.
Which brings me to a reiteration of this NSA scandal.
Again, I want to clarify that the fact that I'm not defending it. Also, that I think that it's excessive and intrusive and highly immoral. However, when I read most of the OPs about this thing, I have to say to myself that most of those OPs are getting this wrong.
For one, blaming the President... ANY president for running NSA surveillance against anyone is missing the big picture. For another, this issue is much bigger than The White House and it's far from being a partisan issue. It has to do, instead, with the very nature of how our government operates and EVERY level, as well as how the government interacts with the private sector.
The nexus by which this surveillance process is hinged upon is based on simple CAPACITY. The creation, growth, maintenance of, ownership and ultimately access to capacity determines everything their is to know about it. This is one thing that's key to understand, it's not that is was created to BE a bad thing , it's a bad thing merely because it exists. Even after the leader of this country felt compelled to not allow this country to be attacked again, what they did instead was to open a Pandora's Box.
If you want to start somewhere, start with Congress, because they're the ones who ordered this thing up and they're the one who are paying for it. They're also the ones who determine what it does, who does it, they wrote the guidelines on all of that, plus they are beholden to the private sector for building and running this behemoth in the name of the NSA. In spite of all that, Congress has also abdicated it's responsibility to oversee the process. What they created was a massive rubber stamp process.
That's all the FISA courts are, they know that.
Going back to the issue of capacity, that in itself creates the impetus for how the surveillance state operates and justifies its very own existence and so-called necessity.
What it is, quite simply, is an entity that's looking from something to do and what THAT is is something that is made up as it goes along. It's function is to create reasons to follow people and the ability to follow them. What Congress has done is that it gave the government a readymade meal ticket to an entire private surveillance industry. It's a huge tax-payer funded handout to watch the entire planet. Of course, the rest of the planet has even built their own capacity to watch us back. It's by no means a one way street.
Any President, who ever that person is, would never turn any degree and scope of power down. It's the very essence of taking care in the creation of precedents. They are supremely dangerous things. We don't elect saints, you know.
By allowing Congress to create this massive surveillance state, ostensibly for our own protection, but ultimately it's another tool for all of owners to tighten their grips around our necks, we simply paying for our own constrictions through ownership. The surveillance state, the bureaucracy and the private-public partnership that it created, very quickly determined that it's very first duty was to maintain, perpetuate and expand itself. Protect itself through the creation of it's own necessity of existence.
As a matter of fact, that's how ownership works all the way around... It exists because it owns and it owns to exist.
Which is why it's such a dangerous thing. It's going to do what ever it can to prevent it's own demise.
However, the only way that it can be dispensed with is through a concerted effort by the people to coerce Congress to bring it under control. Forget about Executive and Judicial branches, their jobs are merely to be functionaries. Which is basically a demonstration of how bad this thing really is. It's the antithesis of democratic government when this country basically created a self-oiling spy network, ready to classify constitutional rights and the rule of international law as nothing but amorphous clay to be shaped in order to achieve its own means.
All-in-all, Snowden, Greenwald and even the President are all nothing more than distractions. The more you focus on this thing as a personality driven issue, the more you lose sight on how bad the problem really is. It goes to the core of government function and the reliance on private enterprise. The devil is in the contracts.
Signed in your red American blood, of course.
What to do:
Agitate, agitate, agitate.
Organize and focus like a laser on getting Congress to tame this obnoxious and dangerous beast of a surveillance state. It's not going to be an overnight process and simply embarrassing the government through Snowden's travails won't do the deed. The more people are focused on him, the less they're focused on solving the problem. He is a distraction. The people who are engaged in running the surveillance state are depending on Snowden to remain being a distraction, because no matter what country they're in, either here in America or abroad, they really don't need the people to start focusing on who's running the show and who's getting paid.
IF YOU WANT TO STOP BEING OWNED, YOU HAVE TO STOP PAYING YOUR OWNERS.
Pay yourselves instead.
2 replies, 279 views
Understanding America is understanding the difference between "owning" and "owned"... (Original post)
Response to MrScorpio (Original post)
Wed Jul 3, 2013, 08:55 PM
Bluenorthwest (32,429 posts)
1. Pin Up Politics. It upsets you that Obama gets his cuffs muddy, well so what?
My Democratic Senators have been tugging at those cuffs for years about this, and the fact that the administration was not suitably responsive and on occasion evasive and mendacious to duly elected United States Senators is what got them into this mess. So yelling about Congress discounts the millions of us whose Congressional delegation stands with us in calling for more transparency and some accountability honesty and discussion of this expensive and possibly useless wallowing in hyper security paranoia.
Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #1)
Wed Jul 3, 2013, 09:32 PM
MrScorpio (61,026 posts)
2. Well, It's a credit to your state's delegation they they are making noise in Congress
Hopefully, they'll succeed in getting everyone else on-board. But it won't be easy, because of the way the process works, you'll have members of either party who are invested in making sure that the state is never restricted.
Follow the money.
However, you're misconstruing my depiction of the President't role in this. Basically, my point is that ANY president's role as the facilitator of this surveillance state will surely looking bad given the way that the entire program was set up in the first place. Congress, I said, was mostly responsible for creating that structure and funding it the way it's funded.
While everyone is screaming about how Obama is a bad guy for running the a spy state, very few are understanding that, unless defunds these programs, restricts the extent to which it is contracted by private industry, gives more teeth in the laws that the FISA court is supposed to use as directives and regulate the capacity to a level much lower than it currently exist, as well as start doing all of the oversight that it should have doing in the first place, you really can't expect the White House to unilaterally shrink the size and scope of these intel dredging operations.
This problem started when all of that money was thrown out there after the creation of the Patriot Act, which facilitated a field day in contracting and capacity building, as well as the growth of bureaucracy the exists with the continuity of government in spite of political changes on the Oval Office.
Accountability should have been built into the process from the beginning, but due to Congressional negligence, they're now playing catch-up.
The President isn't most vulnerable to pressure here, presidents have the least to lose. Unless you restrict the money, rewrite the rules, strengthen the courts and keep the White House under constant oversight scrutiny, no one should be surprised when the NSA goes hog wild on a free range.