We complained in an earlier post that the new year had gotten off to a pretty rocky start, but, thanks to decisive leadership and strong medicine, things are definitely looking up. We can’t cover all the good news in one post, but here are the highlights:
Recently, we were concerned about privacy issues, what with the healthcare websites and the EPA suffering from serious security lapses. Then there were those pesky and persistent rumors that the NSA and its affiliates were compiling dossiers on everyone and everything on the planet, including some forms of plant life.
But as far as the NSA is concerned, the president has assured us that whatever is happening is completely within the law, except for those few bits that aren’t and he’s fixing those sometime soon. The legality of these operations has been established by courts that we don’t really need to know about, which is a good thing, because they don’t have to tell us anyway.
Healthcare.gov? It’s been fixed; let’s move on. The sites are “fully functional,” according to Ms. Sibelius, which seems accurate enough if you define “functional” as “uses lots of electricity.” As for the EPA shipping gigabytes of data about private citizens to various eco-warrior organizations, including home addresses, telephone numbers and favorite restaurants, that was another one of those pesky “glitches” that will happen from time to time, especially to people who don’t donate to Greenpeace.
Besides, the whole privacy thing has been blown completely out of proportion. The government isn’t listening in on your phone calls or reading your emails, texts or social media posts. All they are doing is recording who you talk to, when, for how long, what websites you visit, and so on, in case they need to actually look at who you talk to, when, for how long, what websites you visit, and so on. And if you worry about what happens if a less trustworthy bunch of folks get their hands on this information, well, don’t. It’s all in safe hands — as long as you keep sending those checks into Greenpeace.
(Interestingly, today’s news tells us that cellphones were banned at Michelle’s 50th birthday bash at the White House on Saturday. As one pundit put it:
Maybe the Obamas just wanted a little privacy for an important occasion in the first lady’s life, although having 500 guests, including some of the most famous people on the planet, is perhaps not the best way to achieve that goal.
In any event, your life may be an open book, but this rule appears, like so many other things, to be unequally distributed. There will be no Snapchat flashes of Al Roker sipping Red Bull/Champagne cocktails from Oprah’s velvet slipper, or Joe Biden doing the Swim with a lampshade on his head.)
Then we worried about Iran. After years of sanctions, the mullahs seemed to be on their heels. Their economy is staggering, persistent shortages are finally eroding the patience even the most faithful — but the time has come to recognize the plight of the long-suffering masses, and end sanctions, because — well, because they’re actually working. Iranians are getting pissed off. Besides, what could make more sense than to terminate an embargo just at the point it becomes effective?
The Iranians have agreed to negotiate. Well, not exactly, What they have agreed to do is negotiate the terms of a negotiation. Sort of. Even as the opponents of sanctions insist that sanctions have done their job, real Iranians are on global television smirking with undisguised contempt. Members of the ruling clerical elite openly admit that the current “agreements” have no binding authority whatever. This would ordinarily be cause for scepticism, but not in this case.
It is inconceivable that the president and his national security advisors would throw away years of patient nonviolent persuasion with no concession other than a promise to agree to argue some more. So that can’t be what’s happening. Something else is — and they just can’t tell us yet. We need to be patient, trust in our leadership, and give them the free hand they need to bring about an agreement that guarantees the safety of our allies in the middle east while still preserving Iran’s right to turn the entire region into a large glass salad bowl. So relax — we’re in good hands here.
Finally, there’s this whole thing about marijuana. Some people might be troubled by the fact that right now, what you can do legally in a couple of states can, in most other states, get you sent to a place where a G4 who can barely count past ten can demand you strip and cough on demand for more years than you would get for armed robbery (which is still illegal in all states, technically). There has been a lot of hilarious discussion about this in the media recently, with much of the conversation focusing on the “harm” that smoking dope inflicts on young minds, and a surprising number of enlightened analysts concluding that legalization is probably not advisable.
What kind of harm is it, we wonder, that compares to the impact of serving 5 years in a dank dungeon surrounded largely by very angry people who can most charitably be described as “”dangerous?”
But even here we probably should not be overly concerned. The fact is, most of the kids we throw into these hellholes will be from neighborhoods that really don’t count, and it’s unlikely that anyone “we” know will be affected by continuing a policy that has resulted in a sizeable number of our minority population serving time during their adolescent and/or early adult lives.
And that’s the whole point. We worry too much about things that don’t really touch our lives. The NSA? Come on — do you really think they have any interest in little old you? Besides — nothing to hide, nothing to fear. Your health insurance was cancelled? Get over it. It’ll work out. It always does, right? Iran? What the hell do you care about Iran? Benghazi? It was Stephens’s fault all along. IRS snooping on political opponents? Hey, it’s hardball in the big leagues. What we all need to do is let the folks in charge do what they need to do to get things done, and stop wasting their time with endless inquiries, useless questions and uninformed second-guessing. You’ll be happier that way, they’ll be happier that way, and besides — in case you hadn’t noticed — nothing we say or do makes a difference anyway.
After all, our leaders assure us that today we are safer, more prosperous and better-protected from catastrophic illness than we ever were. And soon, income will be more equally distributed, immigration will be “reformed” and the economy — as measured in more practical and relevant terms than outmoded concepts like “employment” and “real wages” — will continue to “rebound.”
Take their word for it. Because that’s all you’re getting.