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May 12th, 2006

It's Always Worse

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Memo to America: IT'S ALWAYS WORSE.

This is why you were supposed to be pissed off six months ago. And a year ago. And two years ago. And every single doghumping time these sons of bitches got caught with their pants down and their hands in your cookie jar. Because IT'S ALWAYS WORSE.

Whatever they're allowed to do, they're doing more. Whatever it's revealed they're doing, they're doing more. Whatever they admit to doing, they're doing worse. Every time they convince you that their latest apostasy is OK, or debatable, or legal, or a good idea, there's something waiting in the wings they're preparing you for.

First it was the USA PATRIOT Act. Which is not only the most egregious acronym in legislative history*, but was the first thing that should have pissed off more people. I am not going to die in a horrible explosion because the government can't force librarians to tell them what books you're reading. Period. But they got away with it.

The NSA wiretapping program. Ground we covered at the time with the warning that you should really give a shit about it, because if you don't, they'd get away with it and do something worse. And they got away with it.

Next came the revelation that AT&T was routing all Internet traffic to the NSA. ALL INTERNET TRAFFIC. That means your e-mail to Aunt Sadie and your Thai she-male porn. All of it under the watchful eye of the National Security Agency. And while the civil case is still pending, in the court of public opinion, nobody even fucking noticed.

And now, USA Today has broken the story that for the past four years, the NSA has gotten the phone records of EVERY SINGLE CALL made in the United States, by United States citizens, to United States citizens, except the ones made through Qwest. Because Qwest were the only company with the balls to rightly question the legality of it and not turn over the data.

This is how absolutely, utterly, unforgivably awful these people are. First, they're making me praise Qwest, which was until now an unthinkable concept. And second, they're being so evil that McFuckingPaper, with the purple entertainment news and the infographics and the second-grade writing level, is catching them at it. USA Today! Not the name that comes to mind when you think of the words "hard-hitting investigative journalism". Or the words "investigative journalism". Or the word "journalism". Or words.

Phone records. Who called who. Something you could only get in specific cases with a court order, and AT&T, Verizon, and Bellsouth just handed them all over. Again, ALL OF THEM. Not just the ones where swarthy people called Osama bin Laden about blowing up Disneyworld. ALL OF THEM.

The president says it's OK. The president says "The privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities." The president is full of shit.

Can there even exist a more contradictory pair of concepts than "The privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities" and the government knowing every single time every single person called any other person in the past four years? You could have George Orwell sitting down with his doppleganger for a nice cup of tea and no tea**, while "Isn't It Ironic" plays in the background, and still not get more contradictory than that. It's completely fucking insane.

And when they get away with it, you can blame the media for under-reporting, and you can blame the noise machine for apologism, and you will be partially right. But the media's unwillingness to attempt to make you care doesn't excuse your apathy. Who's a bigger douchebag - the Sean Hannities who tell people how to think, or the person who lets Sean Hannity tell them how to think?

It's very fucking simple. You don't need Hannity, you don't need Colmes, you don't need Limbaugh, you don't need Maher, you don't need Franken, and you don't need Lambert. All you need is to ask yourself if you're comfortable with the government knowing every call you've made for the past four years, and every call you will make from now on. And then, if you're comfortable with that, ask yourself if you're comfortable with something even worse? Because it's always worse.

*Do people still remember, after all these years, that it's actually the "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism" Act? That shit is grounds for linguistic impeachment.

**If you're not a nerd over age 30, find a nerd over age 30 and ask them to explain this joke to you.