We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, October 27, 2016

When AT&T Profits Off Government Snooping, Shouldn’t We Be Blaming the Government?

Click here to access article by Scott Shackford from Reason.

The author borrows heavily from the Daily Beast's article by Kenneth Lipp to put a spotlight on the close relationship between the government and AT&T which is apparently making mega profits by selling their data about our private communications to the government. Unfortunately, Shackford's shallow take on this collusion omits any serious understanding of today's political realities. Lipp's take on this issue is hardly better by introducing the issue with an illustration of how this arrangement was able to solve a particular crime. 

What both missed, and particularly Shackford, is that there is now a complete integration of corporations and the government. They have a symbiotic relationship to insure that the tiny ruling capitalist class's interests are always protected from the vast majority of ordinary people. This relationship provides our masters an end run around the right to privacy enshrined in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution by contracting out the collection of private data to AT&T and other corporations. This arrangement does away with the legal requirement of obtaining a warrant from a judge to obtain information about not only potential law breakers, but anyone who engages in remotely seditious activities that threaten our masters.

With their narrow perspectives the two journalists miss entirely one major characteristic of fascism: the symbiotic nature of government and the capitalist ruling class. The latter have found numerous ways--not only by violating the right to privacy--to defeat every protection of the people from their rule.

Our current US ruling class has also added various laws (Patriot Acts) that can suspend our civil rights whenever they decide that events constitute an emergency, and by establishing locally unaccountable militarized police forces and fusion centers under the centralized control of the Department of Homeland Security. However, as long as their control of information and their holding of essentially show elections suffices to dumb-down sufficient numbers of ordinary people, they will not activate their police state methods. Should the former fail to promote their interests of profit and power, our ruling masters are ready to apply the more recognizable fascist measures. This setup provides their essentially fascist rule with a thin veneer of the rule of law, civil rights, and "democracy" which they would like to continue as long as possible.

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