Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Friday, May 19, 2006

EVERYBODY LOOK WHAT'S GOING DOWN


I'm getting pretty sick of trying to talk to you people.

Oh, not you personally, I suppose. I'm sure you're a thoughtful, intelligent, generous, worthwhile member of human socirty; a credit to yourself and your family's name, and the world is better for you being in it. For all I know, you may even read books.

I guess it's the great mass of men that frustrates my periodic forays into dialogue. These would be the same great group of putative sapiens who drove poor Henry to his cabin in Walden woods, many a monk to a mountaintop, and Henry Louis Mencken to his typewriter to the ending delight and sustenance of lesser practitioners of his sarcastic art such as I.

So here's where I am today, and this is what I have to say and I'll deviate from my usual route by posting my complaint here boldly, not yet two hundred words into our proceedings, perhaps thus to snare one more of those who habitually quit my longer, more layered excursions in disgust when no point has risen before their attention spans have timed out.

The National Security Administrator (whatever, exactly, that is, and whomever, precisely, it answers to, and however many hundreds of millions of dollars it gets from those few of us earning under a hundred thousand dollars a year and thus paying any taxes at all) has a list of all the telephone calls you make and of all the calls you receive. This includes the messages from your mistress and from the married man you met in the sports bar in Portland one winter night to test out your feeling that you might be "bi-curious." They know about your son's calls from jail, your daughter's pregnancy and VD scares, the flurry of communications between you and the "Financial Management Expert" that led to your purchase of several embarrassing stocks, as well as the several calls just before April fifteeth in which you sought adivce for anyone who would listen as to how you might turn a year's foolish investments into a dubious tax advantage.

They know, or could know, if they cared to sift through the interminable boredom of your average existence, that you suffer from varicose veins, hemorrhoids, insufficiency of erection, obesity (some connection, there, perhaps, to the limpness issue?) a chronic cough, dribbling after urination coupled with a perverse tardiness in initiating flow.

A guy in a suit or a uniform (is the NSA military, civilian, beureaucratic, or all three?), or maybe a young woman in a lab coat, (or do they outsource the management to India?) might have a list of the times you've been badgered by collection agencies. Or loan sharks. Or your father-in-law, fed up with your inability to keep a decent roof over his daughter's head or maintain a steady job.

They know, I suppose, if you've lied to the unemployment office, the IRS, the clergyman. They know that you regularly refuse contribution to human or animal welfare or environmental or peace charities, or conversely, that you're a sucker for any pitch that comes down the pipe. They know you buy guns. They know you buy dope. They know, if they're listening, just how much of a dope you can sometimes be. We all can be. They know.

But they're only collecting data. They don't care about content, just connections. As long as you're not calling Al-Qaida, you're fine. You have nothing to hide. They're only keeping you safe. Keeping us all safe. Keeping America safe. Everything is different since 9/11. The world is a dangerous place, brimming with Haters-Of-Freedom. In the War Against Terror we have to sacrifice a few freedoms to stay free.

Early polls indicate the two out of three Americans don't object to the NSA keeping track of their phone calls, to whom, from whom, what time, how long. See the preceeding paragraph for a typical list of explanations and apologies.

To which I can only cry the following. Only a list of numbers? Maybe. So what? It's still too much authority too deep into our lives. They wouldn't violate your privacy? Bullshi_! The person's who've captured our country while we were skiing of golfing or watching television or standing in line at Disney World or bargain hunting at Wal Mart will violate your privacy every time they think they might thus accrue some advantage to the estates of wealth or power. If you fight it they'll put you on a midnight plane to Morocco for a conversation with some guys who know how to work a magneto, a machete, a bucket of ice water, or a Glock.

Nobody ever went wrong mistrusting concentrations of power. In this country today power has pooled in the moneyed interests (corporations, insurance companies, investment banks, oil companies, billionaires), fundamental, backward, anti-intellectual, medieval religion (every loud, idiotic, crackpot blow-hard you've ever seen on TV praising God and asking you to pass the wherewithal, not to mention your born-again president), and in the truly twisted connivers, industry-shills, money-men and soulless creeps who've turned our professional military to foul purposes. Among these are chiefly Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney. Two thirds of us are comfortable with this crowd running the country and spying on its citizens.

Nothing will be come of this little essay except a couple of E-mails reminding me that I wouldn't be free to write it if I lived in Iraq under the iron rule of Saddam Hussein. But at least I'll have said that I don't approve of the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, the FCC, Homeland Security or anybody else knowing one bit more about my life than necessary to extract my taxes, restrict my driving to a safe speed, and keep me from pouring used motor oil into my tributary of the Sheepscot River.

***He should have mentioned that he also has the right to say whatever he wants and that he shouldn't have to be bothered with stupid e-mails from those who have different opinions than he has! That's what I would have said! They are usually operatives of the Republican Party anyway. A lot of them get paid to do this! Don't you?

Two out of three Americans, polls show, are out to lunch, asleep at the switch, ignorant of history, and likely to be very surprised and very unhappy when the knock in the night comes for them, rather than for the Jew in the ghetto, the Arab in the city, the wetback, the uppity black, the bums in the street, the agitators, the misfits, the problem child. It was long ago and it was far away, and for some of you it hit before your mother was born, but it was Four Dead in Ohio, and America was killing its own right here at home, and too little too late, but we once threw out a bad president and a corrupt administration. Those guys were bad. These guys are worse.

Two out of three Americans don't mind having their phone calls collected. How do they stand on having their mail read? What's next? How far will it go? How long will it last? Have we let it go too far to get it back?

Did I mention Mencken? Try him, if you haven't. He's better than TV. Better than the New York Times. He said, "I believe tht all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty." Good government goes bad. Bad men corrupt good government. Even in America. Even now. Even as we sleep.

True enough, but it sounds pretty bad to say it so. Men like Mencken and those others of us who use whatever small foum we are granted to shine some reason and decency into the ignored or concealed comers of our collective lives are often dismissed as being negative while enjoying life in "The Greatest Country In The World." But negativity, as Bob Dylan reminded us, won't always put you through. We spit and fight an fulminate and argue and cry, cry, cry because we are fundamentally hopeful and optimistic and we hurt so much to see great promise and decency corrupted, subverted, dragged low.

Mencken will close today's thoughts:

I bleieve that it is better to tell the truth than to lie.

I think that it is better to be free than to be a slave.

And I think that it is better to know than be ignorant.

Source: Common Dreams
By: Christopher Cooper
May 18, 2006


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