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May 13, 2006

Solipsists sweat spying?

According to Heather MacDonald of the Weekly Standard, only a paranoid solopsist could feel threatened by the NSA's two-trillion call database.

Actually, one of the only attractive features of solipsism is that you can't be paranoid, let alone paranoid about other people spying on you.

MacDonald assures us that our privacy is safe because the government probably hasn't learned anything about your personal life yet:

True, the government can de-anonymize the data if connections to terror suspects emerge, and it is not known what threshold of proof the government uses to put a name to critical phone numbers. But until that point is reached, your privacy is at greater risk from the Goodyear blimp at a Stones concert than from the NSA's supercomputers churning through trillions of zeros and ones representing disembodied phone numbers.

Of course, the President keeps telling us exactly what standard of proof he needs: None at all. That's the logic of the Unitary Executive.

Glenn Greenwald spells it out:

The Leader ordered this collection of sweeping data on the communications activities of Americans because The Threat of Terrorism required it. Therefore, even if multiple statutes make doing that a criminal offense, The President has the power to do it anyway. That, of course, is the Administration's view of the world. And that is the epic constitutional crisis we have in our country.

According to that standard the Leader can "de-anonymize" your phone records at will. De-anonymize means reverse lookup, btw, and if you can do it, the NSA can do it, too.

If you're not worried yet, you might be a solipsist after all.

Hat tip to Ezra.


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Yeah, what would a solipsist be worried about, anyway? That he's out to get himself?

Whence the bizarre spelling "solopsism"? When GREEK roots are compounded, an o is typically used as the connective. With Latin roots, the corresponding connective is an i. Here, the roots are Latin in origin, but the i found in the usual spelling "solipsism" is NOT a connective; it's part of the second root "ips-". The whole word is a compound of the Latin "solus" and "ipse" ("oneself alone"), attached in the correct way for Latin when the second root begins with a vowel (sol-ips-), plus the Greek-derived suffix "ism." The spellling "solopsism" COULDN'T be right if every philosophy major in the world used it; there are a few universally valid principles, after all.

My bad. It's definitely spelled "solipsist." For some reason Safari's spell checker didn't flag it. Anyway, it's fixed now.

Wikipedia has this among its text on solipsism:

Metaphysical solipsism is the variety of idealism which maintains that the individual self of the solipsistic philosopher is the whole of reality and that the external world and other persons are representations of that self having no independent existence.

So, by this 'solipsism' is a synonym for 'neo conservative.'

I'm sorry now for the pedantic overkill.

Let's see if this blog will set a tracking cookie by my posting.

Well, no cookie. However, you probably use to look up anyone who might be spamming you. You could even reverse lookup the ip address I'm posting from to find out who I really am but you wouldn't dare allow a goverment lackey to use samspade? How do you expect to enforce that? If you don't object to a goverment lackey using samspade, why do you allow data mining of ip addresses and not phone numbers?

It is extremely important to put this scheme in its proper context. That context is the Huston plan. Terrorism has nothing to do with it. It is aimed exclusively at domestic political opponents of the Republican Party.

Solipsism is the slipery slope to narcissism.

If you live in the woods in a hole in the ground, eating squirrels and berries and your shit doesn't stink, you needn’t be alarmed about what the NSA is doing with the trail you are leaving. Worry only if: you use a credit card, if you're on a mailing list, if you have donated money to a political party, if you own a car or any real property, if you have any criminal record, if you use a discount card at the supermarket, if you have filed probate, if you have sued or been sued, if you have a social security number, if you have a license to drive, sell alcohol, guide hunters, handle explosives, fly aircraft, use restricted pesticides, run a day care center, practice medicine or law, if you are a CPA, if you can act as a notary public, if you have a contractor's license, if you have medical records, if you served in the military, if you have written your congressman, if you have a postal address, if you have a passport, if you have any sort of security clearance, if you have a federal or state job, if you attended college, if you have health, homeowners, or car insurance, if you have a business license, if you employ anyone, if you have filed taxes, if you are or are married to anyone who is a registered foreign national, if you are a member of a union, if you are licensed by the Coast Guard as a pilot, captain, navigator or engineer, if you drive a school bus, if you have ever published in a peer-reviewed journal, if you are a pharmacist, if you have a bank account, if you teach in public schools, if you have an email address, if you visit anyone in prison, if are married, if you donate blood, if you declare goods at customs, if you send in warranty cards, if you register your software, if you have filed a freedom of information act request, if you have requested copies of your birth certificate, if you own a patent or copyright, if you have applied for a loan, if you take prescription pain killers, etc., etc., …
Remember, the Republicans sincerely believe that if the constitution does not specifically delineate a “right to privacy”, then no such right exists. Keep a clean nose, keep quiet, keep your head down, good luck.

I think it's quite likely that there is a program that samples telephone conservations by computer, looking for things like certain accents and keywords. One has to wonder whether the keyword "impeachment" is sampled for, considering that this administration had no problem exposing a CIA counterproliferation operation in order to bolster its political standing. Like the Iraq war itself, something that has seemed to backfire.

It's interesting to see the righties defending this program.

One righty defended it by saying that all of the numbers had been "anonymized". The only problem is, if all the numbers are anonymized, the program isn't of much use. If some of the numbers can be traced to individuals, then it's likely that all of the numbers can be traced to individuals

The righties also all seem to assume that they won't be targeted. They may want to ask William Safire about his experience in the Nixon administration.

One who is afflicted with paranoia often times has delusions of persecution or grandeur (kind of like an Rush Limbaugh addicted pain relievers). They are distrustful, fearful, and suspicious. If the delusions along with the unjustified fear becomes intensified, a phobia could result. And a phobia is a condition that is, among other things, illogical.

Such phobias, of course, define the old McCarthy-styled conservatives, the Bob Barr/Trent Lott CCC members, and the god-fearing social conservatives who are afraid of such horrors as flags catching on fire, anthems sung in Spanish, or gays falling asleep in the same bed.

A solipsist is one who would appear to believe only it (not he or she, but it)exists, implying a sexless 'unit' of sole oneness. Surely this would explain Ann Coulter's current condition.

So, keeping Ann Coulter in mind, a paranoid solipsist (or neo-con)is one who is fearful of their own representations (which is everyone and everything else)...self-Loathing and arrogance at its twisted best---like a coulter pretzel.

Which explains why the new and sophisticated conservatives are invading our privacy. Their arrogance, greed, and self-importance make THEM paranoid of the rest of us.

Too bad the phobia they've been afflicted with seems to be so damn persistent. Perhaps the NSA, NSC, DIA, CIA, FBI, MI, DEA, NGIA, NRO, and NCTC can find the phone number of a doctor who has the cure.

Try to figure out the logic of people who care more about demonizing the White House and more about trillions of phone calls being analyzed by a super computer than catching and incarcerating people who wish to murder us NOW.

Without question, your priorities are massively fucked.

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