Whoever Came Up With These Names?

I don’t know about you, but I am frustrated by things being called
what is popular or agreeable or what sells, rather than what they are.

I don’t know about you, but I am frustrated by things being called
what is popular or agreeable or what sells, rather than what they are.
Take for example the USA Patriot Act—the Frosted Flakes of government intervention in our lives. The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. Do you ever wonder who comes up with these acronyms? Did they start with PATRIOT and work backwards though the dictionary?
I suppose the Discouraging Useful and Meaningful Bipartisan Overview (DUMBO) Act would not have sold as well a short six weeks after 9-11. So, even though we got the DUMBO Act, we saluted the flag and called it PATRIOT. And the flags, as well as our personal rights, flew.
The original Act (just so no one could accuse us of giving away all our
constitutional protections in one fell swoop) had a sunset clause to
ensure that Congress would need to take active steps to reauthorize it.
Nodding off like viewers between guests on Leno, we signed up as DUMBOs again in 2006.
Or we allowed our elected representatives to do it in our name.
That’s what a republican (with a small r) form of government is all
about—electing those who act for you instead of actually bothering about all the details yourself.
Come to think about it, that’s what Republican (with a capital R)
government is about as well. Though they don’t worry so much about
elected officials. Karl Rove, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Alberto
Gonzales are good enough for their purposes.
Eight states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana and Vermont) and 396
cities and counties (including New York City; Los Angeles; Dallas;
Chicago; Eugene, Oregon; Philadelphia; and Cambridge, Massachusetts)
have passed resolutions condemning the Act for attacking civil
liberties. (Wikipedia)

But what the hell, it’s PATRIOTIC.
Interestingly, the Act and George Bush have much in common.
The content of each was largely unknown when they were enacted—the
former by a terrified Congress and the latter by an intimidated Supreme
Court. Each, immediately after 9-11 enjoyed approximately 70% approval
and has since fallen to 30%. Each harbored within it a hidden agenda
and each appealed to patriotism in place of content.
Frosted Flakes are good for you.
Similarly, where we used to have what we called Civil Defense, largely peopled by school teachers and block captains with whistles and hard hats, we now have the Department of Homeland Security. DHS has replaced your and my neighbors with 180,000 full time, fully confused employees at an annual cost of $44 billion.
We never used to even have a Homeland. Homelands were for Russians and Eastern Europeans. But we have one now and the FBI and CIA report to it.
The FBI used to work pretty well back in the bad old days when it
was run by a dictatorial closet gay named J. Edgar Hoover, but it no
longer knows how to get a message from a field agent to headquarters.
The CIA has similarly fallen apart, to the extent that Don Rumsfeld
built his own CIA within the Defense Department. The old one reports to
DHS, but the new one doesn’t. Oh, and the PATRIOT Act worker-bees
report to DHS as well.
Am I going too fast for you?

Homeland security is
generally used to refer to the broad national effort by all levels of
government–federal, state, local and tribal–to protect the territory
of the United States from hazards both internal and external as well as the Department of Homeland Security itself. (Wikipedia, but my italics)

Well, there you have it. That’s why the confusion. Homeland Security’s job is to protect the country from hazards, including itself. That’s what happened in New Orleans—it failed to protect itself from itself.
So we guestimate
we’re spending $44 billion, but we haven’t the slightest notion of what
it’s buying. Which is the way it’s supposed to be, because if it’s working we’re not being terrorized, except in a very small way in the matter of our rights.
Conveniently, it’s impossible to prove a negative and no one (apparently) thinks $44 billion is a negative.
Taking that premise just a notch higher, some say that results are not the goal. The impression
of results is the goal. The impression calms people down. No wonder
Mike Chertoff has time for all those speeches and congressional
appearances. No one actually knows that he’s out of his office, because
no one looks.
Prozac also calms people down and (as far as is known) has almost no side effects relating to the destruction of the FBI and CIA. It is possible (though not yet clinically proven) that the wider distribution of various ‘lifestyle’ drugs such as Prozac and Zoloft might reasonably replace the entire structure of the Department of Homeland Security.
But then, come to think of it, we were never really a homeland kind of country.
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