1 Underabigrockov Square
RE: An Apology
I am sorry. Evidently, I was wrong about conspiracy, more specifically, the US Government’s pursuit of what must be one of, if not THE world’s biggest: the hoovering-up (no pun intended) storage and analysis of the entire world’s digital and voice information. In the past, I derided your cherished belief in a US Government Puppeteer-like Plunge-Protection Team on the Ockham-inspired grounds that it would be virtually impossible to undertake what was alleged without at least some whistle-blowers, co-conspirators and/or enablers coming forward with evidence to expose such actions. I was quick to point out the glaring inconsistency to your argument that mocked what you saw as the US Government’s apparent ineptitude in Agriculture, Healthcare, Securities Market regulation, Welfare, Military Purchasing, Industrial Policy, FEMA, as well as Fiscal and Monetary policies, yet somehow managed to confer an ability to implement and perpetuate Machiavellian manipulations and direct interventions in financial markets to great success (and to the chagrin of perma-bears and pessimists alike) without ever getting get caught.
Now, looking at what the NSA has accomplished, more or less without general disclosure until recently, ranging from their ability to access and subsequent archiving of every digital and voice communication, to the ubiquitous tools built-in to every device and every information orifice everywhere in order to access whatever it wants, whenever it so desires, it is apparent that not only is the US Government awe-inspiring in the scope, breadth and efficiency of what it can accomplish when it sets it sights on it, but people are now ascribing near-omnipotence to its abilities, so much so that at a dinner the other night, I was told in no uncertain terms, that “they” can activate one’s phone – even when it’s powered off – and use it to listen to surrounding conversations. Irrespective of whether or not it’s true, the point is that it’s powers and abilities are now-deemed so great, detractors are afraid of what and how (whether premeditatedly or inadvertently) they might be used.
Of course, the government has not been without their successes in the past in areas such as funding university research, DARPA, US Nuclear Weapons development, NASA, Hubble, TVA, National Highway System, NOAA, USGS, CDC, etc. These are conveniently expunged from Libertarian derision of The State. But Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s awesome prowess, giving it near-total electronic omniscience, should humble observers and silence all doubters, irrespective of whether or not one agrees with their objective, and give the US Government maximum respect for its powers of organization, implementation and efficiency, to the point where even a skeptic like me must concede the possibility that a PPT might, at the very least, actually exist. I’m not saying it (an Oz-like Wizard at the helm) DOES, but it seems that such a minor undertaking, in light of recent revelations, is well within their capabilities. What say YOU WikiLeaks?
So impressive is the US Govt’s can-do mobilization of resources to achieve an objective when it wants to, one can only imagine the inspired possibilities were our now-exposed, highly-motivated, best and brightest, to tackle something like Single-Payer Healthcare, ubiquitous quality Education, forward-thinking Energy Policy, and even Inequality. Vanquished is the image of the US Government as a tree-house for plodding lazy job-for-life postal workers, replaced with not only “men-with-a-plan”, but the wherewithal to realize it with the same focus that put Neil Armstrong on the moon (understanding ZH’ers reservations as to the veracity of this event).
Somewhat more controversially, consider that with the NSA’s complete-and-total data-acquisition and mining infrastructure at its disposal, we might banish Medicare fraud, Welfare cheats, Defense contractor malfeasance, Co.’s flouting environmental regulations, Govt contractor bid-riggings, bridge-closings, bogus analyst recommendations, HFT collusion, Bernie Madoff, self-detonating CDOs, and even incontrovertibly-nail GOOG, AMZN, & SBUX for rather obvious and cynical tax evasion ploys are surely just a hop, skip and several keystrokes away. No wonder the latter are becoming uncomfortable with their prior cooperation. A tad Orwellian, one might ponder? Perhaps. But since it is out there, is it not worth asking whether our (and it IS “ours”) rather impressive machinery might not, at the very least, be targeted at enhancing the wider Public Interest in more generally protective ways? “No more secrets” cuts both ways.
Once again, mea culpa for doubting you, and I look forward to your help in conceiving how awesomely the US Government will achieve similar efficiency and success in Healthcare, Education, and Transport when we approach these issues with equal resolve, as we have demonstrated in the manipulation of markets and God-like elimination of all secrets from the electronic sphere.