Big Brother Looking Out for Us or Just Looking at Us?

Mike Herrera is a songwriter and record producer from Bremerton, Washington. He hosts The Mike Herrera Hour every Friday night on You can catch more of Mike’s musings on Tumblr.

What if I told you that the government knows you are reading this? In an article on June 6, 2013 by Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian, more damning evidence surfaced that “NSA PRISM program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others. The top-secret PRISM program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Apple and Facebook.” However, one day before from Greenwald again, “NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily.” Did he say daily? With these two huge stories on top of all the recent White House scandals — including kill lists, Predator drones, and the IRS debacle — this could read as a racy Hollywood drama much like the aptly named TV show, Scandal.

The real life scandals are worse! I feel consciously detached from the fact that some if not all of us are being recorded by the government. Many US foreign policies and our ongoing policing of the world has made me nervous to be an American on foreign soil many times over. I’m suddenly hit from behind by the fact that a large majority of US citizens don’t have a clue and don’t really want to know that everything you search online is recorded, every email saved in a government file. Ignorance is bliss. But when it suddenly affects those individuals, it’s too late.

I must admit, I’m new to this non-biased-political-news-thing-a-ma-jig. It’s been so hard to find a non-skewed news source for someone like me who is neither D nor R. I’m just me. I enjoy my (illusion of?) freedom. Free to go to the store and talk crap about the government…for now. As the police kill more and more “bad guys” and yes, some are actually bad, other are cases like this video have dire consequences. They didn’t need to use lethal force against a neighborhood of normally docile neighbors banding together in the middle of the O.C. It’s horrendous to imagine that happening within walking distance of Disneyland. The new America? I’m afraid the corporations and government are looking out for their own interests. That includes keeping you at bay and well trained.

We are over lies and fake news, fake food, fake celebrities, fake concern for our welfare by the government, but we demand something they provide at a low low price. The price is going up rapidly. I’m talking about the lives of average Americans that are changed forever because the NSA seems to be acting like any US Citizen could potentially turn into a terrorist someday, or a whistleblower, or journalists. Much like the precogs in the movie Minority Report. They want info on you because some of you will challenge their power. Some of you will be fuel for their fire. They will use your personal information, your social media comments, your search history. That’s all future evidence to these people. You gotta respect the shear skill and intellect you need to undertake an operation on that large of scale.

The government should always lead by example, but President Obama seems to think words from a carefully written speech are enough to assuage us. But are mere words from a position on high enough to get away with mass spying, murder by drones, prosecuting the truth? At least Bushy was always dumb. You could actually picture him being coached on what to say. However, Obama only seems to play dumb when he’s been caught doing the exact opposite of what he promised. Reminds me of an abusive relationship. We just can’t make that connection that our government really actually does not have our best interests or even our median interest in mind.

This leads us to the growing unrest towards authority and the police that have been caught just like the Obama administration is getting “caught” violating civil rights, murdering American and global citizens without a trial. I’m all for the kill or be killed world of vikings and survivalists, but I’m rather enjoying my peaceful life. I don’t want to lose freedoms in real life or online. I like my privacy. The government should help people, and yes…a military is practical in the cesspool climate that us humans have created with our eternal lust for power, riches, and glory from winning battles and wars. But if you give this mouse a cookie, it most certainly isn’t going to stop at asking for a glass of milk.

Like the Spanish before us, crashing into Mexico with Lord of the Rings-type monster-gods (aka horses) and now the NSA crashing into our personal lives, it’s the modern version of join-me-or-die warfare. It’s now all 1’s and 0’s. Tech weapons. Weapons invading not only our homes but also our heads.

Let’s briefly talk drones. Picture a public street with a missile pointed down onto it. Now and then a missile is launched into the crowd to kill a terrorist. Unfortunately, that missile sometimes blows up the innocent people that also travel the streets of this far away land. Now picture this in your own town. Your cafes, your places of business, your homes. Not very pleasant to think about. So most ignore it. Predator drones have changed lives forever, including the lives of young boys and girls growing up without a mom or dad. Some of us unlucky enough to be born in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and there’s a few more here know this as a reality all too well.

It’s hard to get unbiased news but this is nothing new! Even the most honest journalist is going to have a certain angle or way they see how the story matters to the community and world. And that’s fair enough. But remember, we as Americans or even Westerners tend to search for a news source that aligns with our view of the world. It makes more sense to us. This is called “confirmation bias.”

Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. For example, in reading about gun control, people usually prefer sources that affirm their existing attitudes. They also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position.

This story about the NSA requesting all Verizon customers phones records and this story about top secret PRISM program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Facebook and Apple. It would seem they’re caught red-handed, but for how long? The American public can only pay attention to an issue or news story for so long.

What can we do? This huge news cycle is a huge step toward shedding some light on the way our leaders have chosen to do the business of our great nation. Stay interested and aware. The days of the whole country being riveted to the television set as the last episode of M.A.S.H. fades into credits is long gone. It’s a fast-paced break-neck world of alpha males and passive masses. Super geniuses and neanderthals. Tech will never stop. Business will never stop. The government will never stop. It will just change hands.

What’s the best way to keep us safe? I don’t know, but definitely not screaming terrorist every time they (US Government) get caught with their hands in the liberty cookie jar. The funny thing is, they’ve been caught so many times now they operate with a golden god mentality. Just keep worshiping at the alter of freedom. And you will receive your very own American dream. They’ve actually upped the ante by grabbing more than just one cookie from the looks of theater headlines. Maybe it’s time we slapped that hand so hard it drops the cookies. I don’t know about you, but I want my cookies back.

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