The Big Think

December 31, 2013

Becoming We the People Again

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 5:36 pm

“This is supposed to be a republic. The contract says power resides in the people. But if the Snowden leaks are teaching us one thing, it’s that we don’t even know what power is anymore nor do we care.”

So ends Mark Ames’ article on Pando Daily regarding the long history of NSA’s encroachment on American privacy, and an equally long history of whistleblowers desperately trying to rein in the dragon that wouldn’t stop growing—or eating. While some of us would view any “leaker” as a traitor, the truth is that American intelligence has become nuanced in the shadows. Today’s enemy is tomorrow’s begrudging partner in the constant balancing act that is the darker side of foreign policy. One uncomfortable truth is that the Obama administration has given arms and support to the same enemy in Syria that American troops are fighting in Afghanistan. Another is that this is a commonplace thing. Even in this swirling mix of allegiances and changing playing fields, however, ethics and integrity are not as grey. At the core of this entire issue is a simple question: Does an intelligence professional forfeit their ethical and moral obligation to stand up against unlawful conduct because they signed an agreement never to talk about the evil they didn’t know was there when they signed it?..

…We are in this position because we chose to abdicate the power given to us by the Founders. We are oppressed because we refused to stem the tide of tyranny as it swelled. We are in a surveillance state because we were too lazy to take responsibility for our own safety, happy to trade our privacy so we could make it the government’s problem. We failed to “trust but verify,” choosing instead to assume that the government would never take advantage of its power to gain more. We shrugged our shoulders when lawmakers were corrupt, evil liars; then we elected them again. We held no one accountable—not our government, and not ourselves. We were far too busy enjoying our freedoms to realize how they were slipping away.

This is why the administration laughs at us when we say we want our privacy back.

Read the whole thing (warning WWII era cheesecake therein)

Money Walks

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 1:16 pm

Key quote:

“We know… that eleven states that once had no personal income tax, that chose to adopt an income tax later, have lost their gross state product as a percent of the national GDP. In eleven of eleven cases. Voters prefer to go where their income is most protected.”

In general, smaller government is better government. Well, better for the governed. Not so much for the bureaucratic overclass.

Powered by WordPress