Americans are a trusting and credulous people. If we see it on TV or hear it from the President, it must be true, isn’t it?
The problem is that we do not listen closely to what is being said … we tend to hear what we think was said, not the precise words that were spoken. We can learn a lot about this phenomenon if we understand what President Bill Clinton was teaching us when he asked “what the definition of is, is?” What he was trying to do was to set us up for what his view of what is the definition of sex! Who could ever forget our President, in fervent earnestness saying, “I did not have sex with that woman.” He clearly was trying to convince us and maybe he himself truly believed that what he and Monica Lewinski did in the Oval Office of the White House was not sex. It all depends upon the definition of sex. Clearly, his view of it does not jibe with the understanding of millions of his fellow citizens. His contention does, however, give him a plausible alibi for something so despicable that it should have cost him his Presidency. A less accomplished liar would have been bounced out of his job on his head in a heartbeat and it would have for sure cost him his marriage. How could an ethical wife have stayed with him after that scandal? (that answer is for another blog) But it not only worked for him, he is now one of the most venerated politicians in American politics. Chalk one up one for national credulousness.
That brings us to the big scandal of last week, the telephone data scandal of the National Security Agency, NSA. According to the release of the whistle blower, NSA for the last three months has gathered all of the data available through the Verizon cell phone system into a data base so that people in the USA who are calling terrorists in foreign countries can be identified. The story line was that NSA was only collecting the calling number, the number called and the time duration of the call. Our credulous talking head newscasters and sycophantic political commentators, including high governmental officials and even members of Congress, almost in unison averred, “I don’t mind giving up some of my freedoms if it means stopping terrorism.” But is that what is really going on? Or is it an orchestrated attack on the 4th Amendment? Are we now experiencing firsthand what is Obama’s definition of “fundamental change.” The question is, “how do you fundamentally change a free society?” My answer would be that you should get rid of the things that make a free society free, like sanctity of contracts, freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, state’s rights and the right to bear arms. Has this administration been doing that? Ask the General Motors bond holders; recipients of “politically correct” speech discrimination; the scandalized Associated Press; Christians posting the “Ten Commandments” or setting up Nativity Scenes; the subordination of State laws to the whims of the EPA or OSHA; or the “Fast and Furious” scam directed toward abrogating the 2nd Amendment … and don’t forget the wonderful IRS. The list of minions of the Federal government un-Constitutionally meddling with the Constitutional purview of the States is endless.
The governmental apologists for the NSA data scandal assure us that “we are not looking at your e-mails” and “we are not listening to your cell phone conversations.” And they, like Bill Clinton, are not technically lying … they are in fact not listening to or reading the reportedly one billion daily Verizon transactions. That would be illegal and more importantly physically impossible. They are not, but their computers are. You can bet your life that NSA’s computers are scanning everything, every single word, spoken or written. But, you say, “ I can handle that to be safe, I have nothing to hide … I want to be safe.” So what is the problem?
Well, one of the apologists, one who knows what is going on, made a mistake. He described, in a TV interview, the facility where this information is being archived, in Bluffdale, Utah, south of Salt Lake City. He said that the facility could archive “one million, billion, gigabytes” of information. This number is monstrously large, it is ten to the twenty fourth power bytes of information. That is one with 24 zeros behind it, thus
- 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes
There are three hundred ten million people in the USA and six billion people in the world (approximately)
- 310,000,000 people in the USA
- 6,000,000,000 people in the world
If you divide the number of people in the USA into the number of bytes, you will find that that amounts to 3,225,806 gigabytes of data storage for every man, woman and child in the USA or 166,667 gigabytes for every human on the planet. Since if you should live to be 100 years old, you only live 36,500 days, your personal storage capacity in this facility is close to 100 gigabytes per day or that of a pretty decent desktop computer per day. Now, although we don’t believe in conspiracy theory (do we), this begs the question, why does the government need that much storage capacity?
Let me suggest that NSA is capturing and storing not only your phone numbers and the calls that you make, but all your electronic communications, phone numbers, phone calls, e-mails and voice, all of which can be digitized and analyzed. Everything that you ever said or wrote in your entire life stored as a permanent personal record. Of course, it will almost certainly not be used to build a dossier on you … but it could be.
Combine that information with what the IRS and other governmental organizations know about you along with your school, police and military records and the medical information that Obamacare will soon archive in your records and you should be able to see the face of a totalitarian menace rising out of the fog of obfuscation.
If the government can require you to buy health insurance whether you want to or not, is it possible that the same government could require you to retrofit your TV with a camera?
Maybe George Orwell was right in his novel “1984”, maybe “Big Brother” will soon be watching you … personally!