2014: The Year of More American Freedom

After a long awaited speech by the commander-in-chief, we learned that the NSA will now only have indirect access to the vast amounts of undissected phone data it collects. In another sign of our improvement as a democracy, our spy agency will be forced to go to a secret court before it analyzes information about every place our cellphones go and every connection our cellphones make.

Better yet, the FBI (the agency that is primarily tasked with national security and sometimes law enforcement) will only be able to gag people for a limited number of years; gone are the days of the FBI deciding without a judge's order that it can show up at a person's door, demand information and then tell that person that they can't tell anyone until the day they die. Those days are gone and now folks will be able to speak freely and openly about national security letters after hopefully no more than 10 or 20 years.

Our democracy is improving at such a pace that a teenager can expect to keep at least one testicle intact during any police encounter. The reason our freedoms are increasing at such an exponential rate? We have an incorruptible system of justice that relies on the idea that the public, the people, are the ones who should decide the fate of an individual.

Not too long ago, there were conspiracy theories floating around on the internet, alleging that Obama was using NSA data to blackmail judges and get his way whenever possible. This is impossible because it's not like a renegade analyst could download an indeterminate number of files and flee the country. If indeed some renegade were to access information at-will, he would do it for noble reasons and not for profit. After all, NSA agents are our friends and neighbors.

And, as Obama said, no one expects China or Russia to have a discussion about their surveillance programs. The very fact that our commander-in-chief talks openly about the NSA programs means that we are at least more free than Russia and China, so there's nothing to worry about. If, however, China and Russia begin openly discussing their surveillance programs, we can still use North Korea and Zimbabwe as standards against which to compare ourselves. 

Indeed, it seems that 2014 will be a year of lower expectations and of the codification of tactics that if used by the Soviet Union during the Cold War would have been dutifully vilified by many segments of American society as proof of a Soviet conspiracy to spread communism all throughout the Free World. If the Soviet Union had the technological capabilities that the United States possesses today, it surely would have tasked one of its surveillance agencies with the same role the NSA occupies.

There would have indeed been no debate in the Soviet Union, but the state propaganda services would have been busy telling the people their NSA equivalent was working overtime keeping the people safe from extremist capitalist propaganda. Today our leaders and corporate propaganda services are telling us that they work to keep us safe from extremist Islamist propaganda. 

And, as the old adage goes, if the people can be easily seduced by extremist propaganda, it's not because the system is rotten, it's because the propaganda is seductively evil and out to indiscriminately bomb the crap out of the proletariat.