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Breaking The Hammer: Fables Of The Paper Eagle

Greetings! Another week and more affairs, some pertaining to the wider world, in that uniquely American way. Those of you who spent the weekend fellating the current “heroes” probably won’t understand or like the following. Tough. However, I’m proud to say that you might be compensated when a “hero” visits you in person before too long – gun in one hand, syringe in the other!

There’s so much happening with homeschooling and the death of the public schools that I almost ran with that. (Dead schools, dead horse, I know). But, the CDC has effectively recommended disbanding the “schools.” For once, I agree with the CDC!

Also, I had to alter this column slightly when some brand new (decades-old) news broke over the weekend. I did so. Sometimes it’s hard to write a national affairs column about a nation that died around the time I was born – at least, with a straight face. While the original main body, below, concerns the ongoing collapse of the US Empire overseas, there is a domestic story to tell first.

Back in 1969, the residents of Tribeca noticed a new construction site at 33 Thomas Street, a phenomenon not unheard of in Manhattan. By 1974, the new building was finished and open for business; an ugly 33-story tower at home among many others. This one was different. People noticed, though for years they said nothing, that the building had no windows. Blank concrete walls rose to the sky, topped by a bunch of antennas. After initially accepting the cover story that the odd structure was only an AT&T transfer station – which it was and is, in part – the truth emerged: it was (and is) also an NSA listening post.

I know, I know, the blind homers of C-town don’t care ‘bout no Yankee city. And you don’t have to, a similar post in downtown Atlanta being much closer. While they still serve various purposes, these facilities have become somewhat obsolete – being replaced by those personal spy devices that you’re reading this on at the moment.

The NSA itself, born in 1952 out of other nefarious government programs, was long the subject of controversy – not about what it did, but rather, about the tin-foil nuts who suggested it was real. As recently as thirty years ago, the existence of the agency was deemed a crank conspiracy theory. (I’ve come to accept “conspiracy theory” as synonymous with “hard fact.”) As the years passed, other programs were mentioned: Carnivore, Echelon, DCS1000, Boundless Informant, Galileo, FISA, etc. I remember discussing some of these, back in the day, with MB – back when we thought something bad was going to happen to America. Ah, the naivety of youth.