Pretending To Fix Things

« June 2015 »

Memo to surveillance state enablers, the Duggars, and Ted Cruz: YOU ARE DUMB.

I know we got something like two more Republicans and something called "Lincoln Chafee" entering the presidential race this week, but other stuff happened too. And I've really got to devote an entire day to Lindsay Graham anyway, and Rick Perry will be the gift that keeps on giving. So let's get into a 67% non-presidential SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY!

I'd love to be wrong about this, but there's no way in hell the USA FREEDOM Act replacing the USA PATRIOT Act is an actual win for actual privacy and an actual pushback against the actual surveillance state. Call me a cynic if you must, but there's just no fucking way.

First and foremost, there's ample evidence that the NSA and other government agencies exceeded the authority granted to them by the PATRIOT Act on a regular basis. Enforcement of secret programs authorized in secret by secret courts is difficult. Finding out about violations is difficult. Tends to get people accidentally exiled to Russia and pilloried by the American press.

And second, the reforms are limited at best even in the unlikely event they're actually followed. And they're outweighed by the true purpose of the FREEDOM Act, which is to basically take surveillance off the public's mental plate. NSA spying? Didn't they reform that with some kind of Freedom Act? I thought I didn't have to worry about that anymore! We all have a limited capacity for the feeling that something should be done about X, and doing something about X resets the clock, as it were, whether it actually does something about X or not.

The Duggars had their friendly interview with Megyn Kelly on Fox this week. In the new mode that actually follows fairly closely the model I just described, she asked hard questions about hypocrisy and their parenting skills, then accepted the shitty answers to those "hard" questions as if they weren't shitty, so that we can all pretend that the necessary things have been done and we can move on.

The big takeaway from the interview, of course, is that the Duggars did the best they could as parents, but as they explained, kids will make their own choices and their own mistakes. And I think that's totally in line with the Duggar laissez-faire parenting philosophy which seeks to guide children without controlling every single aspect of their lives and every choice they make. If it weren't, well, they'd be horrible, horrible people, wouldn't they?

And finally, Ted Cruz apologized for keeping a shitty joke at Joe Biden's expense in his stump speech, saying it was a mistake and was insensitive since Biden was in the middle of grieving the death of his son, Beau, from brain cancer.

After the apology, nobody seems to have questioned Cruz on how anyone in their right goddamned mind could have left that line in as part of their remarks, knowing Biden's situation, or how anyone who can't either see how awful that is ahead of time, or lacks the basic level of control over the words they speak during their own campaign, can be trusted to be President, because I guess that's not a relevant question. After all, if we disqualify people from running for President due to sociopathy or rank incompetence, who'll bother to watch the debates?