Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Villains and heroes

Edward Snowden gave up everything - a high paid position, a home in Hawaii, and any kind of real freedom, even if he gets to a safe haven country, his relationships, everything - because he knew the US government has been unconstitutionally drag netting all information across internet and phone records and calls, theoretically under the patriot act and specifically section 215 which is supposed to apply to business. Without probable cause, anyone who works for these agencies can monitor your emails, your calls, your internet activity, the prescription your doctor gave you. Anyone. Anyone who works for one of these contracted agencies who is pissed off at an ex, anyone who wants to take a big lump of cash from another government, or from someone who wants to frame someone else for their actions and can afford to pay for it, anyone. These are regular people with regular lives and all the kinds of personal issues any of our coworkers have ever had. For disclosing that this is going on, he's being called a traitor. I think he's an incredible hero.

What I want to know is, when we're closing down public schools because we can't afford them, denying food assistance to children, cutting necessary government services (and those are the kinds of services government is there for in the first place, to build roads, to maintain infrastructures, to maintain the underpinnings of a society), we have money to pay people to read my email and listen to my phone calls? You know, just in case.

In Philadelphia, almost 4000 people will be laid off in order to close down enough schools to save $300 million on the budget - the same budget that is funding a $400 million dollar correctional facility. And oh, guess what? The schools closing have an 81% black population and 91% low income. Anyone want to guess what the proportion of the prison population is by those two categories? You already know the answer. We can't afford education, but we can afford to contract companies to see if I might just by chance be doing something unnecessarily interesting, or maybe just for the fuck of it.

Yeah, I can really see how the true problem here is Edward Snowden.

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