Friday, June 7, 2013

The "Summer of the Shark" and the NSA monitoring campaign

2001 saw the "Summer of the Shark", where the media went hysterical about shark attacks with breathless, wall-to-wall coverage.  Do you know how many people in the US died from shark attacks in 2001?


We tend to have very bad "gut feel" reactions to events, which makes it hard to analyze risk.  For example, one person was killed by a shark in 2012 but 22 were killed by cattle (numbers for US only, but the risks are similar across the world).

And yet people fear shark attack.

We're told that the NSA's monitoring program stopped one attack.  That's one shark attack foiled.  We also know that the IRS screwed over hundreds of the Administration's opponents, and illegally released the donor list of another.  Donors were threatened and intimidated.  That's the cattle stompings.

My starting point is that there's far more risk from the monitoring than from the terror attacks.  There are far more opportunities for Agencies and politicians to increase their power using terror attacks.  Perhaps I'm wrong, but with the utter lack of transparency from this Administration (and indeed, previous Administrations), compounded by the Media's subservient excuse making for this Administration, combined with the institutional lack of transparency of the Intelligence Agencies ("NSA" stands for "Never Say Anything"), I simply don't expect to be persuaded differently.

Said differently, I personally am adopting NSA's unofficial motto for use when dealing with all governmental requests for power: In God we trust; all others we monitor.

The smart money is more afraid of cows than sharks.


Anonymous said...

I'm not afraid of sharks, but then, I live in Colorado. I do, however, remember being concerned, and don't feel old, about the Patriot act when I was in 8th grade and they first came up with it.

When a middle schooler has concerns about something in governement, maybe you're governementing wrong.

Chickenmom said...

We just lost our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I truly believe our America is gone. Forever.

Old NFO said...

I've never believed anything I put on line was private anyway...

SiGraybeard said...

Dude, in case I've never told you before, you're brilliant.

Unknown said...

I'm considerably less concerned about the NSA monitoring than what the IRS did. I don't even view the NSA monitoring as news - I've assumed it was being done for the last 10 years.

I'm less worried about terrorists than I am about either the NSA or the IRS or any other government overreach. Will terrorists kill people - probably, but unless we let them, they won't destroy liberty - the government on the other hand has shown a decided intent to do just that.

Obviously we need to keep track (as much as possible) external threats. Internal threats still need to go though the courts.

Things I'd like to see that probably won't happen:
Abolish the IRS
Reign in the NSA
Fire the Head of HHS
Imprison Holder for Treason
Charge Clinton with malfeasance or dereliction of duty.
Reign in DHS and the police state.
Eliminate TSA

I'm tempted to say - impeach Obama but that would leave Joe in office and that's not solving anything.