At what point does this echo a dystopian movie?


This Image Will Fundamentally Alter The Way You See The Monopoly Board

Jesus and Moses Went on Cleanses
That doesn’t mean you should

NSA Scandal Separates Liberty Lovers from Poseurs
Party lines play no role in the fight for privacy rights.
Steven Greenhut
June 14, 2013

There always will be some threat to justify the government’s demand for more power. But when that government operates in secrecy, how is the public supposed to make sure officials don’t abuse their authority? The loud-mouthed defenders of uncontrolled federal snooping depict as traitors anyone who exposes what is going on, but that’s the only way for us to learn the details when the government overreaches. At least we can see firsthand the kind of mindset that has allowed despotic regimes to fester in other times and places.

Many Americans embrace the “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear” school of thought. The list of potential wrongdoing keeps getting longer, by the way, when one considers all the regulatory rules that govern every aspect of our lives. Even these naïve souls ought to wonder about the next program that Big Brother might enact to make it easier to fight enemies.

U.S. citizens are supposed to have natural rights that are inalienable – i.e., that government cannot trample upon. Yet now we are all subject to whatever a bureaucrat in a federal agency decides, and anything we say or write on our computer can be subject to monitoring. We are supposed to just trust them. Revealing details of a program that should have been publicly disclosed, apparently, is an act of treason. That same government, by the way, claims the right to use a drone to kill anyone it determines to be an enemy of the nation. At what point does this echo a dystopian movie?

51 Replies to “At what point does this echo a dystopian movie?”

  1. “At what point does this echo a dystopian movie?”

    We passed that point long ago. First glimpses behind the curtain were on November 22, 1963 during a presidential motorcade that got redirected at the last minute. It simmered until other outbreaks in the late 1960s, when some other leaders who showed brave determination to steer things differently were conveniently and publically executed. Things bumped along for a few more decades, then the curtain fell on September 11, 2001. Things have been spinning out of control since then, like the north polar region of the planet, where events set in motion long ago now have a life of their own.



    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—The United States government charged former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden with spying on Friday, apparently unaware that in doing so it had created a situation dripping with irony.

    At a press conference to discuss the accusations, an N.S.A. spokesman surprised observers by announcing the spying charges against Mr. Snowden with a totally straight face.

    “These charges send a clear message,” the spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”

    Seemingly not kidding, the spokesman went on to discuss another charge against Mr. Snowden—the theft of government documents: “The American people have the right to assume that their private documents will remain private and won’t be collected by someone in the government for his own purposes.”

    “Only by bringing Mr. Snowden to justice can we safeguard the most precious of American rights: privacy,” added the spokesman, apparently serious.

    only in Amerika…

  3. Convicted U.S. spy Christopher Boyce: ‘Snowden is doomed’

    “I feel for the guy, and for what his life is going to become. I pity him,” Boyce said.

    “He’s in for a world of hurt, for the rest of his life. I feel sorry for him. He’s going to go through life not being able to trust anybody. And I think that in the end, it’ll end badly for him — one way or another, they’ll get their hands on him. He’s going to pay for it. He’s doomed.”

    This is an interesting article floated by CNN comparing Boyce to Snowden, a once similar young, smart guy caught and convicted for espionage (he did it for the money, a minor technicality, I guess) who escaped, did “other criminal acts”, and served 25 years in the pen. Note the not-so-subtle “guilt by association”: Boyce was a convicted criminal, therefore, Snowden must be one also. duh.

    My opinion of CNN is now somewhere down there with Time magazine, both shills if not outright media outlets for the establishment and evil empire. Really insulting, biased stuff.

  4. some pearls of wisdom from bruce:

    “This is why I recently suggested that everyone, worldwide, would be wise to cultivate a little Operational Security (OPSEC to the spies) skill by occasionally arranging small face-to-face gatherings with ZERO use of ANY electronic devices. Discuss the arrangements FACE TO FACE or via PAPER NOTES, with NO MENTION AT ALL in ANY electronic format. When it’s time to attend, NO ONE involved may bring ANY electronic device. Neither the content of the gathering, nor the fact that it occurred at all, may EVER be mentioned, by anyone, in ANY electronic media.

    This is the first, and the most basic, skill that any competent activist needs to master. Note that I am NOT suggesting that you do anything improper or illegal, nor do I suggest that one should only engage in activism that is dark to surveillance. I merely suggest that anyone who has any interest in serious activism should learn how to communicate in ways that are dark to surveillance. If there is an electronic device involved then it is probably under surveillance.

    This is a serious proposal. Have some fun with it! At the actual gatherings you can discuss gardening, sports, or whatever. Drink some beer and have some fun. Discuss only harmless stuff, but do it in a way that is dark to those conducting surveillance. I’m especially in favor of establishing ‘organic gardening cells’, where people meet and discuss their organic gardening plans. The point is to enable direct human-to-human communication patterns that are not under surveillance.

    The hardest part is getting everyone involved not to bring their cell phone. We have been trained to bring our surveillance device everywhere, and this conditioning can be hard to kick. Another option, for those who simply can’t remember what it was like to not have one, is to bring an emergency cell phone, but ONLY on the condition that the BATTERIES ARE REMOVED. All powered-down cell phones, with the batteries still in, occasionally power up silently and report their location. Note that iPhones have no way to remove the battery, and are thus fundamentally insecure from an Operational perspective. Tell participants that they may only attend if they leave their electronic devices behind. If even one participant sneaks their cell phone along (including leaving it in the car), then that person has betrayed the security of everyone involved. Learn who, among your friends and associates, you can trust with the required discipline, and learn who lacks the discipline to be trusted.

    If you want to be REALLY thorough you can even consider transportation options. Cars are much easier to track (e.g. cameras that record license plates) than are pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transport.

    If you practice this exercise when the stakes are small, later you will have a functional communication system in place in case the stakes are ever not small. I can pretty much guarantee that the first three or so times a small group attempts this sort of gathering someone involved will fail their OPSEC discipline. Practice makes perfect.”


    Bruce Stephenson

  5. just to be clear, let’s recapitulate The Law of the Land:

    Fourth Amendment, United States Constitution:

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    It is a federal felony offense to violate the constitution. if you do so, or are an approving accomplice or authority, you can be impeached if you hold elective office, prosecuted, tried and sent to federal prison if found guilty.

  6. U.S. Surveillance Is Not Aimed at Terrorists

    “The infrastructure set up by the National Security Agency, however, may only be good for gathering information on the stupidest, lowest-ranking of terrorists. The Prism surveillance program focuses on access to the servers of America’s largest Internet companies, which support such popular services as Skype, Gmail and iCloud. These are not the services that truly dangerous elements typically use.”

    I didn’t know that. /sarc

  7. i went to high school with this guy. he died yesterday of heart disease. a local hero of sorts, but i never saw or heard him perform until now, thanks to youtube.

  8. the score from one of my all-time favorite movies. i can’t think of anything i did not love about that movie, or the other, earlier ones of the trilogy. “the good, the bad and the ugly” was clearly the best one. they probably finally got a production budget. thanks Bif.

  9. amazing to see the level of effort laid out, like getting to peek under the hood. the venue was fantastic, as well. that’s no studio multi-take, either. it all has to go perfectly the first time. nothing but rehearsals and sheer determination.

    very professional. bravo. would have loved to have sat through that.

  10. boy, the NSA clowns really get an education eave dropping on ZK! maybe we should ask for donations? beer fund?

    oh right, they’re protecting our freedums.

  11. it’s kinda funny, but i bought something over the phone the other day, and actually voiced out my credit card #. all i could think of was something like: “oh, now those cocksuckers have my cc #”.

  12. Ehh. They would be bored here I think. Really. Unless they enjoy the music.

    Let the record show I’m off to play golf for a week and a half. Maybe I’ll post my scores online, for the record.

  13. Cell phones, smart phones, credit cards, video games…I just don’t need. I keep an old rotary phone (or 2) in my closet, just in case I can use it again.

  14. hey dave, how serious do you suppose that skarky girl’s impact with the truck was? internal injuries, cracked ribs? those are some pretty stupid folks.

  15. yeah, i think she is a he. not sure. but pretty sure.

    what does skarky mean?

    i think he got ran over pretty good, off camera. i think.

  16. meanwhile, back on the thread topic:

    “He was referring to his warning Thursday that Ecuador’s economic ties with the United States could be jeopardized.

    “What would not be a good thing is them granting Mr. Snowden asylum,” Ventrell had said. “That would have grave difficulties for a bilateral relationship.”

    Ventrell then cited trade agreements the United States has extended to Ecuador. “They’re unilateral trade provisions that provide a benefit to certain Ecuadorian products,” Ventrell said. “Whether they’re renewed or not is a prerogative of the U.S. Congress.”

    Asked about that remark, Ventrell said Friday, “I wouldn’t call it a threat. I’d say that, you know, we are making the same points in public that we are making in private — that this is somebody accused of serious crimes that we want returned.”

    The warning sparked a strong response on Thursday from Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, at an event in Quevedo. “It is outrageous to try to delegitimize a state for receiving a petition of asylum,” said the left-leaning economist who is known for decrying what he and other Latin American leaders have called U.S. imperialism.

    in Eucador, spade = spade.

  17. “what does skarky mean?”

    i got it from the Imgur title bar. you may be right about the sex. what impresses me is that group’s seeming lack of appreciation of the danger.

    well, some of them got a lesson that time.

    i recall the saying “go play in the traffic”. as kids, we would say that to each other as a put down, as in “you’re so stupid that you would (and should) go play in the traffic”. our parents would be apalled.

  18. when i was 20, i was involved in an industrial accident. i was bascially the baloney in a pipe sandwich. the pipe were about 20 feet long and 3 feet in diameter (i calculated 4 tons of steel per pipe). one fell off a stack we were working on with a forklift. i was assiting the forklift on the ground. the pipe hit me from the side as i was trying to escape it and the pipe on the lift in front of me. i was lucky in that it only burst my spleen, cracked some ribs and buised one kidney. they say i had about 20 minutes left before dying from lack of blood (internal bleeding). good thing the ambulance arrived quickly and got me to the hospital in time. i was awake the whole time. one of my high school buddies, an intern, shaved me for the abdominal operation. he looked very scared, so i tried to relax him with small talk and jokes.

    so when i see an impact like that, even if nothing else happened to him/her, i know it is/was serious.

  19. a few years back, i took my oldest son along to DC. while i did my panel work, he cruised the smithsonian museums. we both toured the national air & space museum. they have many firsts in there, among them the Wright bros plane. after that, all the major, groundbreaking works are german, or german-russian, namely, the V-1, V-2, Me 262 (above) and Sputnik (a replica). absolutely no other major, groundbreaking achievements on display that are american other than the Wright bros plane and their wind tunnel. americans have done well climbing onto the backs of others. very romanisque.

  20. i should add helicopter (german-russian) and VTOL (harrier–british).

    first plane i ever flew on was a connie from Houston, TX to LAX. they were so well built that they got a second career flying into cyclonic storms loaded with instruments.

  21. yeah, getting smashed by anything big and heavy, that has some momentum, pretty much sucks. small things with a lot of velocity, relatively speaking, of course, can also suck. sudden, relatively, losses of momentum, also suck.

    i guess.

  22. those are all correct. that last one killed princess diana. i saw a kid a few years ago walking too close to the edge of a busy highway. a truck passed rather close to him and the rear view mirror hit his hand. i saw him grab his hand and wince in great pain. my guess is it was broken, probably in several places.

  23. momentum, mv, either big m or big v can make for a big mv. there was a man killed at the plant i was working in by a very large pipe that was moving slowly and quietly. he was hit from behind. lotta folks dying and getting injured there. one morning we were offloading a rail car and found a dead hobo caught between the pipe. he was probably sleeping there, the train made a turn or fast stop, and the pipe shifted.

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