Postcards from Ecotopia

old new lefty

old new lefty
alienation, discontent
September 16
Making trouble whenever possible
virgin novelist, middle school teacher for the morally handicapped, government bureaucrat, most famous unknown photographer in LA, PhD dropout, coat hanger sorter, presidential campaign worker, sewer worker, and retired guy -- but not in that order.


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JANUARY 24, 2013 1:47PM

Big Brother Talks to Big Brother

Rate: 8 Flag



I was winding up looking at the blood oranges and the corn just coming up in my garden, and I decided  to go inside to make more political trouble in Oregon.  Thanks to the internet, you can do that these days.

The first thing I did was to go to my Facebook page.  Imagine my surprise when I found a message from my little brother Clyde.  This is about as common as an eclipse of the sun. The last time I actually saw him we nearly got into a brawl because of his greed in dividing up my mother's estate.  I had talked to him last by phone just before the election. The  Facebook message was that he had had a small stroke, but he had bounced back and was back at work.  During the course of the next day or two, I called.  I only got message machines.  But I digress.

Clyde was  a character in my book The Story of the Century. (Available at Amazon!)  In it, my hero Clem calls Clyde, knowing that he's a stooge who records phone conversations so he can turn them over to the authorities.  Clem knows this, providing him with deliberately false information.  The funny thing about talking to Clyde on the phone are these pregnant pauses that he has. It's like he's taking notes or something, but that's just the way he is. But then -- Clyde works for the phone company.

Once upon a time he was actually an employee, a low level manager supervising the grunts in the holes doing cable splicing and line connections.  However, since the company downsized, Clyde lost his job.   He has the freedom to be a private contractor with them doing the same job as before.  Does he make what he used to? Yes.but now he gets to pay for his own healthcare costs, pensions, etc.  Such is the wonderfulness of American corporatocracy.

Libprogs are up in arms over drones and warrentless wiretapping, etc. by President Obama. But civil liberties in these areas are dead on arrival since 9/11, and I cannot see when these pieces of the Constitution will ever come back.  Perhaps if the US had presidents like Willy Brandt (Germany) or Olaf Palme (Sweden), there might ber some tinkering around the edges, but 98% of the warrantless wiretapping of our phone, banking, and internet traffic would still be in place.Why is this?

When Hillary Clinton was asked about why the US didn't surrender on its futile war on drugs, she said. "We can't.  There's too much money involved."  Clyde no doubt understood this concept immediately.

Because of my checkered history and political beliefs, I have probably been under government surveillance for a lot of time since 1967.  Now that the national surveillance state has been expanded to include everyone, the only thing I can say is, "Welcome to the club."  When I found out that John Brennan, current nominee for the CIA and the #1 wiretapper in the country wanted to expand the government's surveillance, I gave out an involuntary yelp.  If the government snooped into my private life any more, they would be giving me colonoscopies instead of my medical providers.

As John Chambers,  CEO of Cisco once said, "Privacy? Get over it!" Given the power of the money, if anyone is looking at doing away with more than $75 billion dollars of year for government snooping into you -- you might as well write a letter to the pope. 

When  Clyde finally got around to returning my phone call  the first call sounded like a speaker had been placed inside of a garbage can.  The second time he called, everything was crystal clear.  I assume that this is because our conversation went through the NSA splitter box in Room 403 of the San Francisco AT&T switching center.

We only talked for a few minutes because Clyde called late.  Every time I've ever had a phone conversation with him (for years and years) the thought balloon in my head flashed: THIS MESSAGE MAY BE RECORDED. And tonight was no exception.  Clyde spoke to me as he always had, with pregnant pauses -- perhaps to allow the recorders to do their job.

We had our intimate conversation, safe in knowning that it was just as private and secure as any phone call in America. Perhaps with the same number of people listening.

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We at Big Brother feel that your comments are marginally appropriate, and will take not further action at this time, but, we're watching! :):):):)
we continue to monitor your phone calls, as a training exercise for new employees, but be advised that we have re-classified your activity from 'middle-class dissident' to 'harmless old fart.'

you can re-activate your previous status at any time by putting political labels on envelopes, or saying 'power to the people' with conviction during each phone conversation, but nsa does not assign a color flag to any communication that is not enciphered, and your previous use of pig-latin has been penetrated.

please do not assume the mantle of 'person of interest' to nsa until you have mastered current cipher technology, and arabic.
Do they monitor this too?
We Want Audience Share! We Want Audience Share!

Don't those guys at the NSA have the decency to rate?
Is that the reason for the pregnant pauses? I, too, have dealt with a lot of these types. I think the $75 billion figure is way off base. My impression, after getting to know some of these private contractor people are free lancers. In other words, they only get paid for producing useful intelligence.
Don and al. How nice of you to out yourselves. You've blown your cover. ;)

kosher, I agree! Millions of hits that we'll never see, and not one rate. It's no fair!

Dr. Stuart, that $75B figure is the conservative estimate for the US intelligence community, not including the cost of black operations.

Some background, Adm. John Pointdexter proposed during the Bush administration the Total Information Awareness program , (TIA), which would have subjected ALL commercial and non-commercial interest sources under one surveillance system.

Congress had a coniption fit about this and scuttled both TIA and Pointdexter. But as the intel boys began to surveil all citizens after 9/11 they found incompatible government hardware and software systems, as well as great difficulty in accessing information on subjects of interest (of varying levels of importance).

William Brennan, of the National Center on Counterterrorism, proposed significant levels of surveillance on all Americans to make it easier to access information. While not as all encompassing as TIA, many more Americans now fall under monitoring under the Obama administration than they did during Bush II.

And did you know that fully 50% of the total intelligence budget goes to private contractors?
Isn't it also true that all emails are stored somewhere? Probably posts like yours too. Hey, if that's true then maybe OS's spam inundation was really a clever way of trying to bring the whole monitoring system to a standstill. It worked here for a while, did it not?
Abrawang, I have contended before that the most likely culprit for almost killing OS was in fact the Chinese Communist government. They had the means and opportunities to do so. All you have to do is to look at the origin of most of the spam. As to motive, we know that the PRC is very sensitive about channeling the news and totally free discussion. OS would not pass muster of a Chinese censor very often.
Ahh, the Chinese. Wheels within wheels.
The world is a strange place full of...
........(¯`v´¯) (¯`v´¯)
............... *•.¸.•* ♥⋆★•❥ Thanx & Smiles (ツ) & ♥ L☼√Ξ ☼ ♥
⋆───★•❥ ☼ .¸¸.•*`*•.♥ (ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★(ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★
It's David Hume's Panopticon prison: You never know if you're being watched at any moment but you have to assume you're being watched at every moment.
Or listened to -- which is fine as long as you don't say anything the government disapproves of. I don't know. It seems to me it's all about getting and keeping power, and this particular oligarchy has been uniquely inspired and diabolical in the way it has combined politics, money, entertainment and the media seamlessly into an almost invulnerable surveillance state. My advice? Enjoy your dog and your kids and drink all the fresh water you can, while you can still afford it.
Steve, those were the most profound words I heard all day.