Monday, July 23, 2012

Complexity, chicanery in a world of impunity...and increasing surveillance

Complexity amid rapidly changing events tends to favour avoidance of personal, corporate, organizational and governmental responsibility. There is so much going on that smacks both of change and of disruption in many of the things once taken for granted. And much of what is going on is so complex that "ordinary" people (as opposed to technocratic experts) cannot be expected to know, in detail, what is going on. And when finally the fine details of some stories emerge, the public's ignorance (ignoscere: not to know) is not only hanging out there for everyone to see and is another chapter in convincing those who seek to harm, to perpetrate their devilishness, and then participate in the normal minimizing, or even denial of their participation in the evil.
Such a dynamic could be reasonably derived from the scant evidence around the credit default scandal resulting in the bundling of bogus mortgages and their sale to unsuspecting buyers around the world. Another scandal of the same ilk is the fixing of interest rates by major banks, starting with Barclay's in Great Britain, for the benefit of their "colleagues-in-crime," the other banks and, in the process, resulting in the deprivation of what would otherwise be normal public services in many urban centres, notably Baltimore, MD, whose mayor has threatened to pursue legal means to recover her city's loss.
Today, one columnist in the New York Times even  recommends that, if big banks are too big to fail, they must be nationalized. Now, we all know that, in the current political climate in the U.S. where right-wing extremists are holding all proposals to restore the health of the middle class in Congress hostage to their narrow pledge to hold the line on all attempts to raise taxes, nationalizing the big banks, the best friends of the Republican party, will not happen, without such a hypocritical about-face by those same Republicans that would amount to a political coup, and potential mass protests in the street.
However, at least today, we learn that the U.S. Justice department is preparing to charge one big bank with participating in the interest-fixing scam, and is apparently investigating the actions of others of their competitors with a view to more charges.
Drug companies produce and promote drugs with a minimum of clinical trials, atempting to foist drugs on an unsuspecting, naive and often very ill and hence very dependent public, without so much as a "nod of the head" to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) if they can get away with it.
Resource companies, (read oil, gas and coal) pour billions into their lobby against any government initiative that would begin to address global warming, once again hiding under the umbrella of "unproven science" or the "loss of jobs" or "the rising prices" that will result...leaving the rest of the population gaping in dismay at the negligence, the dispassion and  the impunity of those same companies.
And, given the instability of the world's geopolitical relationships, including the rogue states of Iran, Syria, North Korea...and the support they can and do count on from either or both Russia and China, ordinary folks are, once again, held hostage to both political agendas and national interests about which we are permitted to know very little, until "all hell" breaks out, and then the story becomes a front-page headline.
There are definitely two America's, the rich and the poor.
There are definitely also too political camps, those in the know, and the rest of us, in the dark.
There are also, apparently, if Syria is any reliable evidence, two geopolitical camps, not to mention opposing camps within the Islamic world, with the radical Islamists having recently succeeded in deposing the democratically elected president of the Maldives, just yesterday appearing on GPS with Fareed Zakaria.
If we think the chicanery in the financial services sector is appalling, just try to get your mind around the geopolitical chicanery, the lying, the deceptions and the double-dealing within and between countries easily disposed to such behaviour, knowing they are unlikely to pay a price concomitant to their devilment.
Just last week, CBC aired a documentary detailing the double-dealing game that has been played by Pakistan for the last decade plus, both "befriending" the U.S. and accepting their billions in aid, while simultaneously co-operating with the Taliban in Afghanistan against the Americans...with little or no evidence of anything more than displeasure on the part of the Americans.
Complexity, chicanery, personal ambition, revenge, greed and impunity...these boiling ingredients make for a dangerous political "soup" and there are new ingredients being added to the pot every day, without our knowledge or oversight.
Little wonder, national intelligence is one of the fastest growing industries, through technology, in the world...we are begining to live in what could easily develop into a surveillance state that is, itself, global, just as is the world's trading activities. And there are neither laws, nor cultures nor leaders who can or will master all of the complexities, leaving most of us vulnerable to those who seek to do evil against us.

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