If you'd told me last week that a creepy outfit named Booz Allen Hamilton was working in cahoots with the American government to spy on virtually everybody on the planet, I would have asked what you were drinking. Can I have my Booz on the rocks, please?
If you'd told me that the leaker would be a high-school dropout with an aristocratic name, as articulately well-versed in the law, politics, technology and humanitarian thought as any Ivy League meritocrat, I would have told you to throw your Clooneyesque Everyman script right back in the reject pile.
What a difference a week makes. The National Conversation has been turned upside down, and the elite official conversation-starters have landed on their collective ass in the Thump Heard Round the World. It doesn't get any better than this. It gives me renewed hope, knowing that a few people can indeed make a difference.
The outrage is palpable, the sense of relief that one person and a marginalized journalist and an independent foreign newspaper can drastically alter the way we view our country and our leaders overnight is miraculous. How do you spell B-a-c-k-l-a-s-h?
Some are saying that the irrefutable evidence that our government is spying on us will create a chilling effect, make us hesitate to use our phones and write emails and post comments saying what is really on our minds. But just in reading the more popular comments threads on media outlets like the New York Times and even more "conservative" sites like Politico, it is obvious that people are mad as hell in droves, and are not going to take it any more. At least for the time being, anyway. Whether this anger will lead to more right-wing nuts coming out of the woodwork, a resurgence of the Occupy movement or other forms of public protest, or just a gradual slide back into lives of quiet desperation remains to be seen.
Somebody took issue with my observation yesterday, in response to Maureen Dowd's column, that the power players of the Security State are desperately trying to spread their manure of blame all over their disaster capitalist playing field. What does capitalism have to do with it, he asked. George Orwell certainly never warned us against capitalism. It was communist totalitarianism back in the day. The Cold War was just getting started when Nineteen Eighty-Four was published 65 years ago.
This was before the stunning revelation that the government is actually outsourcing spying to private corporations. 9/11 spawned a whole atrocity industry. There's a reason the Washington DC metro area is now the wealthiest enclave in the country. The Security State lives there. If you haven't yet read Dana Priest's Top Secret America, pick it up. Or, you can read the condensation here. It's Orwell with a side of Kafka and Huxley for dessert. If you don't particularly care one way or another, just keep popping your Soma with a chaser of Obama.
It's official. Capitalism has morphed into fascism, and fascism has spawned feudalism. And the lords and ladies of the manor cower behind their raised drawbridges, dreaming of falling men and rising profits, even as the peasants once again ponder sharpening the pitchforks.
I flew over the world trade center going to Senator Lautenberg's funeral. In the distance was the Statue of Liberty. And I thought of those bodies jumping out of that building, hitting the canopy, part of our obligation is keeping Americans safe.
Human intelligence isn't going to do it, because you can't -- it's a different culture. So, this kinds of strict strictly overseen, it's overseen by the justice department, by inspectors general, by audit, by a 90-day review, by the court, is looked at like a method. I'm very happy if there's a better way.-- Secrecy fetishist Dianne Feinstein, speaking on ABC/Disney on Sunday. This 80-year-old woman needs to retire, very soon, to the Magic Kingdom Assisted Living Facility for the Obscenely Wealthy in Neverland, USA.