I just wanted to rant a bit about the mass surveillance that we now know the NSA is doing on everyone in America, and everyone communicating in some way with anyone in America.
I don't know what the motivations are behind it. They (the NSA types) would say that it's to "protect America." Some people would speculate that it's a power grab, an attempt to control everyone under the guise of protection. I don't know which it is, and I really don't care.
But, just for the sake of this rant, let's assume that they're intentions are purely, or at least mostly, for protecting us. That's complete bullshit. Why? Because if you say you're "protecting America" but just keeping people alive, you're missing the point. That means the entire country is simply a collection of vital signs that must be kept intact at all costs, at all expense to quality of life. Expense to rights, liberty, freedom, all of it. Nanny state for the win, lock us all in a safe padded room so we don't die and watch everything we do at all times so we don't hurt our little selves.
If you want to TRULY protect America, you protect not only the citizens but the constitution, the rights and liberty of the people in it. This country is, supposedly, not just about a bunch of warm bodies but about a certain set of rights and ideals that the country stands for. If you are going to throw all that away, then we might as well change our name because we aren't America any more.
All the time people in this country hear phrases like "freedom isn't free!" well you know what? That's true. It's not. You have to pay for your freedom. Whether it's through the loss of soldiers (hopefully in wars that actually matter) or a slightly increased chance of dying for it here at home. If 9/11 could have been prevented by tapping everyone's phones, reading everyone's emails, tracking everyone's movement and watching everyone's Internet activity then I submit to you that it would not have been worth preventing. It was tragic, it shouldn't have happened, but it's not worth turning this country into a permanent 1984 style surveillance state.
How we SHOULD be preventing 9/11 type events, instead of eroding our rights and privacy, is doing things like becoming energy independent so we aren't dependent on turbulent parts of the world for some of our energy needs. Not getting involved in the personal affairs of nations we have nothing to do with. Not electing war mongers who poke the international bee hive and then wonder why we're getting stung.
If you've never contacted your representatives for anything, this would be an excellent occasion to start. Let them know that the NSA surveillance is absolute bullshit and you demand that it end. I recommend an email AND a letter.
Find Your Representative - House
Find Your Representative - Senate
To anyone reading this outside the USA who doesn't like the idea of their information being taken by the NSA, there are things you can do as well. Contact your own government representatives and let them know that you don't want your data collected by the NSA. Demand that your companies stop doing business with any USA companies that offer "cloud services" until the NSA shit stops. If you're doing business with them yourselves, stop and let them know why. The more noise people make and the more this hurts America financially, the better.