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Just trust 'em? They're the government!

June 11, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
I cannot avoid the “Catch-22” references this week. Sorry if I’m overdoing them, but the government seems as run amok as the authority figures in the Army Air Corps in that fictional tale from Joseph Heller.

There’s a scene in the movie that perfectly portrays what the government expects us to do regarding the sucking up of all the phone numbers we dial and text and literally everything we do on the Internet.

Martin Balsam as Col. Cathcart and Buck Henry as Lt. Col. Korn are trying to convince Alan Arkin’s Yossarian character that he only needs to agree to “like” his commanders and he can avoid a court-marshal, and might avoid flying more dangerous bombing missions.

From IMDB comes the dialogue. Keep in your mind’s eye that Martin Balsam, balding, a little chubby, stern looking, is looming over the shoulder of Buck Henry, thin, ornerly looking as they come, with his wire-rimmed eyeglasses.

Lt. Col. Korn, XO: [speaking to Yossarian] All you have to do is be our pal.

Colonel Cathcart: Say nice things about us.

Lt. Col. Korn, XO: Tell the folks at home what a good job we're doing. Take our offer Yossarian.

Colonel Cathcart: Either that or a court-martial for desertion.

Now, change the image to James Clapper, National Intelligence director. The job title itself seems suited to a 1960s sitcom lampooning those in charge.

When asked on “Today” on NBC Monday why the government went after every phone number in the U.S., he said, straight-faced, “Well, you have to start someplace.”

President Obama, who could have been looming over his shoulder like Col. Cathcart for dramatic effect but actually said his replies later elsewhere, said, “These things are very narrowly circumscribed.”

So all we have to do is trust ‘em, despite the fact that they’re casting a net over the whole country and looking for the REALLY guilty in there among the rest of us rabble.

Seems to me this nation used to operate on a principle of innocent until proven guilty. Little things like the Constitution say so. Heck, the feds force the cop who just was fired upon by some idiot from Chicago in the streets of Steubenville to read him the Miranda warning (“You have the right to remain silent,” etc.) before placing the gunman ever-so-gently into the back of the taxpayer purchased police car, lest the gunman sue the police officer, the city and we taxpayers for mistreating him.

But there’s no right to remain silent, no attorneys appointed for us. No warrants to look for evidence. Not even a request for permission. We’re all on the Web so we’re in the federal net, just in case they need us.

The government’s program is sort of like jailing everyone in town, from your grandmother to your five-year-old, to find the guys with the guns and the drugs.

You’ve got to start someplace.

In Istanbul, Turkey, rioters have taken to the streets for the last several days.. The riots started out as a peaceful protest a few days ago over a plan to turn a park into condos, but now they’re just anti-government from all kinds of angles.

And yet, Americans aren’t grabbing the pitchforks over being spied on by their own government.

Doesn’t matter if it’s “narrowly circumscribed.” They have all of our data.

It’s no condo in the park.


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