Why I Love Government Surveillance
I think it’s only fair to warn the National Security Agency and the rest of the government listeners out there that if they are tapping my phone and reading my emails, they are going to hear and see an awful lot of traffic and chatter on low credit scores, bills that were past due last month, and payment plans that refuse to accept $10 as a monthly ransom.
Now, that is not to say that there won’t also be a hefty mother lode of pizza orders (half-mushroom), calls to and from my children, and robot messages from telemarketers who are worrying incessantly over whether or not I have made my “final arrangements” in order to spare my loved ones the high costs of a “standard funeral”.
In other words, I don’t know the ingredients for a fertilizer bomb; I’m too busy to bother overthrowing the federal government (although I might be able to fit in time for the IRS) and I don’t know a single person, terrorist or otherwise, in Yemen, Pakistan or North Korea – unless you count those telemarketers with the thick foreign accents, who all call themselves “Joe”.
I may be the only liberal, blue-state, Obamavoting, Tea Party-mocking journalist in the United States who is actually happy that the G-Men are doing – or least trying to do – all this nefarious stuff with cyber world surveillance. Way to go, guys.
Who could have guessed they were this smart?
Did I say happy? I’m ecstatic. I am finally seeing the government doing something that it is paid to do – protecting the safety of its citizens. If that means stretching “exigent” circumstances, or wiretapping people in this country who are more conversant on jihad than on double coupon day at the supermarket, or monitoring the internet traffic between Boston and Kabul, then so be it. I’ll gladly take my chances with the NSA.
It doesn’t hurt, either, that the feds are forcing Yahoo, AOL, Google, Apple and the rest of those over-grown, anti-competition robber barons of the web to help them.
I’m happy mainly because I never gave the government credit for having that much competence – in anything, much less counter-intelligence. I’m sure you can understand that. I’m talking about a Congress that lists the naming of post offices among its major accomplishments. I’m also talking about a White House that holds on to Attorney General William Holder like a national treasure, and a State Department that signed off on blaming You Tube for the massacre at Benghazi. I wouldn’t trust that government to plug in an electrical cord.
I don’t possess any Top Secret clearances, but I do watch television, plenty of it – the police procedurals, mostly, not much network or cable news. I hhttp://www.consultmallowe.com/wp-admin/post-new.php#aven’t seen a single episode of any of my favorites (NCIS, NCIS-LA, Criminal Minds, CSI, Burn Notice, Person of Interest, Bluebloods, The Following, to name a few) that did not rely on some kind of over-the-top, all-knowing, clandestine surveillance that some cute boy- or girl-geek displays on a nifty, 3-D white board before the first commercial break.
Now, I am not inane enough to think that any of this stuff is even slightly plausible, but I’m not watching these shows like my doctor ordered me to do it because I’m looking for reality.
No, I’m looking for Gibbs or Michael Weston or John Reese, or their helpers, to keep the world safe and tidy and to defuse and resolve every terrorist plot before the 60 minutes – about 47 minutes of real script — runs out. I don’t know about you, but I certainly sleep safer at night because of it.
How much better can it get than to think that my federal government – the one that can’t even pass a budget, keep the medicine we take safe, or force Chrysler to recall old jeeps with fiery-crash rearmounted fuel tanks – is actually capable of electronic eavesdropping and old-fashioned spy-craft.
I understand there’s another point-of-view on all this, but please, spare me the first amendment whining. I have never worked for anything other than media companies and publishers and I can guarantee you that every single one of them used every law they could to expand their little monopolies, crush the competition, inflate the prices of their ads, ignore the right-to-privacy if a good story was to be had, and remember the first amendment only when that became their last line of defense. Never forget one thing: journalism as we have known it is, first and foremost, a for profit business.
Just once I would love to see the world of big media and big hypocrisy putting as much time and effort and resources into issues like unemployment, hunger, medical research and economic inequality, as it does into defending its own inalienable right to keep making more money.