Spooks in the laundry basket: off topic
There used to be police and then they invented the FBI, the G men.  It was very sexy.  But they got upstaged by the CIA, which was supposed to be doing the same work but abroad rather than here in America.  Then we all got the feeling that they were spies.  A sober friend once assured me you could drive by their headquarters and there would be men walking around in trench coats.  Then it turned out that the CIA was murdering people.  Ooo.  Look.  I don’t know.  I thought the government killing folks was supposed to be done only after a fair trial or in the context of a war congress had declared against some government.  So I never much liked the CIA doing stuff like that, assuming they were.

But somebody once said that to a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail.  To a man with a spy organization everything looks like a plot.  And we all know how we stop those; we make people disappear. 

I used to wonder whether maybe we shouldn’t disband them, the CIA I mean, but they do put together a lot of authoritative statistics you might not be able to get a dependable source on otherwise.  Still the notion that a free country can use deadly force without the permission of the people seems to me to be an oxymoron. 

There’s this thing called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.  Really?  There’s a category like that?  Surely they have nothing to do that can’t be done by the regular civil police.  Ah, but nay.  Remember Waco?  The ATF subjected a building full of men, women and children to prolonged torture … you know, blaring music all night … and deadly threat … it was tanks if you’ll recall.  And then all those folks turned up dead.  We are told that the government drove them so paranoid they committed suicide.  I thought we needed to disband the ATF.  And if somebody in the chain of command disagreed, fire him or her and everyone below, all the way up to the president.  If he can’t get it done, impeach him.  He’s murdered our citizen’s with our tax money.  Funny thing, though, that’s not what happened. 

Now we have the NSA, the National Security Agency.  And they have been recoding things about us without our knowledge.  The American people, by and large, will choose freedom over safety.  American politicians, on the other hand, will invariably choose safety over freedom.  Pity we can’t elect some Americans to be our politicians, eh? 

Anyway, there is this NSA thing.  You’ll never be able to trust them now.  You need to send them home.  I don’t know what they are doing behind the scenes, but after a very long and somewhat turbulent life I can say that my own experience is this:  If somebody is doing things that concern you and not keeping you informed that person is not acting in your interest. 

They say there are 1.6 million people cleared for top secret in the US.  I guess that means that many spooks.  If they get paid 200 grand each, that’s 320 million bucks a year, a pretty good bargain in a world in which the high rollers stimulate each other by spending trillions of our money.

That’s 1.6 million out of about 300 million Americans.  Last time I called social security they said they were sending checks to 150 million people; those are people who are already signed up and on the pay so they don’t need to be spied on.  Of the remaining 150 million, 50 million are in the civil police force. 20 million are illegal aliens (some say a lot more some a lot less).  So the average spook has about 18 files on his desk unless for some reason there is one of us who isn’t getting spied on. 

The tyrannosaurus had upper limbs that were useless for walking; they couldn’t reach the ground if it lay flat because the head would keep the body too high.  The arms couldn’t reach the mouth so they were useless for eating, tyrannosaurus utensils not having been discovered.  About all I can see they could be used for was for scratching its armpits.  It seems to me the NSA exists only for its own purposes.  It cannot develop evidence that can be used in a trial of law because it would blow its cover. 

The president of course is happy having the institution because he thinks he’s on the inside.  Congress is happy because they think they are on the inside.  The courts think they are on the inside because they get secret hearings about who is going to be spied on next.  If you trust all those guys AND believe they are indeed on the inside, then perhaps you have reason to be happy. 

It’s of more than academic interest.  The NSA says they have thwarted 50 terrorist plots with their program.  They hadn’t told us that.  But if what they say is true and it takes at least two people to have a plot, then there are a hundred, more likely hundreds of, people who have been declared terrorists by the agency.  That means they have no rights.  The plots were foiled so they all must have been murdered or put in prison.  Since we don’t know where they were put, that means secret prisons.  Not even witch trials did that.  People knew when they burned you at the stake.

If all those murders and/or abductions were indeed necessary for our safety we ought to be able to accomplish the same thing another way.  For instance what about closing the border?  “Don’t come.”  That would cost us some tourist dollars.  It would make trade a bit inconvenient.  Immigration would have to be zero.  But it would keep us safe and we could still have our rights, not just “right to privacy,” “right to life.” 

But it’s not my priority. 

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