Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

by Ken Carman

  If you’ve ever been in white out conditions it’s very disorienting. The Snowden case reminds me of this. The real scandal starts, not with the supposed “leaker,” but with the government. A government that, with help from the corporations now, has been doing this for years. Carnivore, under Clinton, was pretty much the same thing; though it was the FBI, not the NSA.
  Aw, ya learned to share. Did you learn that from the Muppets? I noticed all the cookies you added to our PCs and Macs. Did you think we were all cookie monsters?
 Jokes aside… what did Mr. Snowden actually reveal, other than something we already should have known was out there, we were told was out there twice: during Clinton and Bush II?
  Besides, I don’t see what all the hubbub is about if all they’re doing is taking numbers, glancing at contacts and flagging suspicious ones. On a single trip to Facebook we probably reveal just as much, or more. Hell, I visited Auto Trader to check on prices for Toyota Tacomas and the next Face time I got, in a mere few minutes, Zuckerberg’s creation is slamming me with Tacoma ads.
 And we think the government isn’t taking advantage of that kind of tech?
 Ei. In my best digital Yoda voice, “Clueless, are we?”
 Instead of someone telling us what we should already know, if we had been paying attention, and had long term memories longer than an inch worm, wouldn’t the real issues here be how any such information is used, preventing it from being misused, and who is gathering it?
  So where’s the “secret” here… some “secret” that will destroy national security?
  Perhaps Mr. Snowden is more like an alarm clock waking us up from our zombified slumber.
 ”Wake-ie wake-ie! The government might be watching what you post, or who you call!”
  “Huh? What? How dare you wake me from my Pollyanna dream that politicians, and corporations who help them, always protect my privacy.”
  For a “whistleblower” this whistle should have been so soft most would have just missed it. Instead he’s become the mouse that roared… by media, pol and pundit design, I believe. The idea that he revealed some unknown program that endangers national security due to that “revealing” is a snow job, in my opinion. The angst, and the legal action, are over blown, over wrought.
 One must wonder though… it’s illegal to reveal a program that was already revealed when any idiot should have known they were still doing it? Just how anal are we getting with national security? Why are we slapping “national security” onto everything that I’m sure our enemies have to know we’re doing, unless they’re really, really, stupid?
 If they’re so easily fooled, let’s go Mel Brooks on their terrorist tails and add a fake toll booth on the way to America to our tactics to use against terrorism, like in Blazing Saddles.
 Or is this all because it’s so damn embarrassing to have the public reminded of what they’re doing, and this is some pair of pants, or skirt, drop down moment for them?
  Inquiring pants and skirt watchers really want to know.
 And, like those mythical clueless, blow yourself up, Achmed-like, terrorists, the rhetoric regarding this has gotten less than thoughtful as of late, to be polite. While typing this, and listening to the The Stephanie Miller Show , a point was made: what if Edward revealed the Normandy invasion?
  Good grief. Really? You’re comparing telling Americans once again they’re being watched, and listened to, to ratting on an actual invasion where how many Americans lost their lives? How many have lost their lives due to us finding out what we should already known? But I’m sure the pants dropped, skirt slip off, folks out there would either tell me I can’t know because of national security, or just make something up: like they did when they claimed they stopped Carnivore so many years ago… and then we found out Carnivore was still eagerly taking a bite out of our conversations.
 But if we’re going to use Normandy, the better comparison would be to tell the Nazis that the Allies are thinking about invading. Of course Hitler and company already knew that. In fact they just thought it was going to be somewhere else. You could only accept this comparison if you think the Nazi leaders really were as clueless as Klink and Sergeant Schultz.
 Don’t think there’s any record, when Normandy happened, of Hitler saying, “Hogan!!!”
  To me this whole Snowden kerfuffle is a snow job. The public should be aware we are doing this. And, to be honest, should have been aware. Maybe most of us were: I’m hearing and reading a lot of “Duh!” comments. Most of the angst-based noise I’m hearing is coming from pundits who want to make this an issue for obvious dollar and ratings driven reasons… and noise from our politicians, our political appointees.
  The real discussion should be how we’re doing this, who is doing it and just how secure any future effort may be. Perhaps that’s why they don’t want us to be reminded: we might start asking, “Who is protecting us from this program from being used in the worst ways. How are they protecting us?”
 How about starting with vending out to some company, still unknown, who hires a high school drop out?
 Yes, part of our possible insecurity should be due to hiring vendors to do it for the gov, something I noticed the mainstream media corporate isn’t talking about. After all we have a rather bad record concerning vending important government functions out: another topic the corporate owned media seems to avoid. You know: showers that electrocute soldiers, promised water not delivered in a desert, starving people shot in New Orleans by employees of a company, Blackwater… I’m sorry “Xe.” Oh, wait, now it’s Academi? You can always tell when a company is running from a well deserved bad reputation when they keep changing their name and try to make the new name as innocuous as possible. “Academi?” Perhaps they have dressed up their assassins in tassels and graduation gowns.
 So much more civilized to have my brains blown out of my head by some trigger happy, laughing, grad of the “Academi.”
  Yes, we don’t have the best record when it comes to these things. What other clients do these vendors have? Maybe some of our enemies? How secure are their employees, and how secure the locations where they do this? At night are those who work with this like help lines, in India or some place far worse? How can we make sure sharing sensitive information on their part is prevented?
 Doesn’t matter if the camel’s nose is barely in the tent, or the tent is filled with extra stinky, foul mood, camels. At any time they could expand this into Joe McCarthy territory and not tell us because, well, anything is OK as long as it’s for national security.
 Like invading Poland.
 I care less about them doing it, than what protections we have, especially from third party corporations that care so little for their country that they’re willing to vend out to “ethical” countries that allow factories to lock their workers inside factories that then burn down, or even to former enemies like Vietnam. Protections must be in place from those who might want to patch together unrelated information, like if I often ordered cakes and bagels from a bakery where Achmed answered the phone, and then someone wants to Joe McCarthy me, or try to force me to lie about some other target: Susan McDougal me.
  Instead of asking the right questions we’re venting about someone who told us something that should be common knowledge: and both the pols and pundits are eager to have us venting about that because, well, because it makes great noise and keeps us from discussing what really matters.
  Which is usually the intent behind any snow job.


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2013
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved

By Ken Carman

Entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.

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