A recent article in The Telegraph claims that media mogul Simon Cowell worked for a time as a runner at Elstree Studios, including a stint on The Shining, where he purportedly buffed Jack Nicholson’s prop axe. The claim is made by Cowell’s half brother, Tony, who sad the family lived close to Elstree Studios.
The real government power that’s been revealed in the NSA mess is the broad assumption by the American population that they have no control over what the government does.
Think of the Tea Party— a tiny coalition of dirt-poor Americans have undone most of the civil rights movement, made it legal in several states to murder people who make you uncomfortable, decimated the government’s ability to provide basic services, and elected dozens of candidates who couldn’t run a VCR.
How did they do it? By voting in primaries and off-year elections and being willing to abandon incumbents.
If you treat the government like it’s an army of alien overlords, then of course power will centralize. If they thought there was an electoral angle in it, politicians would be crawling over each other to burn down the NSA. But they trust that come November the conversation will be about birth certificates and Mormon underwear or whatever. If they thought they’d lose your vote over it, they’d sod the moon.
I don’t approve of US government wiretapping. No one does. That’s why the outrage about these “revelations” is so maddening.
If half of the politicians who are whining about Verizon and PRISM worked to end these practices, they would end immediately. Those efforts would enjoy near universal support. But no one does, because as they (AND YOU) practice American politics, it’s more useful to have a gripe than to have your way. The party in power won’t relinquish wiretapping privileges because it doesn’t want preventable terrorist acts to occur on its watch, and the minority won’t work to prevent wiretapping because it’s a handy rock to throw when you’re on the losing side of an actual political debate (nb: austerity, health care, gender equality, immigration).
I know that these intrusions have been happening for more than a decade. I’ve known about Verizon’s complicity since it began. BECAUSE I READ THE FUCKING PAPER. AND HONESTLY I USUALLY JUST SKIM IT. The Verizon record dump was carried out with FISA court approval, every member of Congress was briefed on it from Day 1. Members of the Intelligence Committee have themselves had access to the records in question. The cat has never been even slightly in the bag.
So anyone feigning surprise at this point is either a victim of self-imposed ignorance or, much more problematically, just committing political shenanigans. And they trust that those shenanigans will be effective because the American public is too proud to acknowledge its indifference and not nearly proud enough to demand change.
If you don’t enjoy the fact that American governance has devolved into a game of political football, refuse to be the ball.