They Can’t Hide Their Prying Eyes

A friend of mine described his recent hiring experience with a medium-large corporation. Normally, in these times, getting a good job with a “good company” should be a cause for celebration. But my friend felt sick to his stomach, and was shaking with fear, and mainly, loathing.

He had been required to fill out a form called a “request for background check”. The title made it sound like it was something he wanted, not something he was being forced to do. While the company insisted it was not required, they did say that if he didn’t fill it out, he would not be hired.

The form had a lengthy disclaimer section, in which it clearly stated that all information received in the process of the background check would be shared with the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Treasury Department, the Internal Revenue Service, and the litany of federal bureaucracies went on.

It didn’t take much research to determine what this was about. It is more invasion of privacy by the government, and a technique by which a citizen’s right to privacy can be (further) circumvented by “sharing information” between “consenting parties”.

What’s amazing about the information I’m receiving on the government’s attempts to fulfill the mandate of the officially denied “Total Information Awareness” program is that it seems the government is not satisfied with having just one copy of a piece of information: they want multiple copies! When you look at the broader picture, it’s as if the government is suffering from an OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), or hording disorder. They are spending fantastic amounts of (deficit) money collecting the same information over and over again. It’s not just destructive economically and ethically, it’s psychotic behavior.

To put this in perspective, the information is being collected to “protect us from terrorists”. My regular street-check shows that the only party afraid of terrorists is the government, and most of the people on the street find the government’s obsession with terrorism a joke. Most people have already figured out that if terrorists wanted to strike America, we’d have suicide bombers blowing themselves up in malls and fast-food restaurants all over. Few of the people in my street checks believe the government is competent to prevent terror attacks. To the contrary, they don’t credit the government with the capability of doing anything but wasting time and money. Any “shoe-bomber” type terrorist interventions are credited to alert citizens, Airlines, and the like. And, such incidents always have the mark of lunacy about them; the grand schemes are always attached after law-enforcement gets involved.

The picture that is rapidly emerging is one of a corrupt bureaucracy that has run amok, and threatens to be crushed under the weight of the excessive and redundant information it is collecting and hording about its citizens.

Given the degree of invasiveness being reached we can only hope that the self-induced crushing begins soon.

[this article has received the new tag: “The Lockdown of America”]

Class Action Abuse

I received another one of those Class Action Lawsuit notifications. After filing a number of them, and not getting what was promised, and then noticing the trend from being promised cash awards to being promised a pen with advertising on it, or a coupon for $2 at McDonalds, my view of such lawsuits started to change.

At first, the idea seemed good. Lawyers championing the little guy, and filing suits against companies (some big, but increasingly small and unable to fight back) that no individual would ever take on in court. But as time went on, it seemed the suits that were being filed were becoming more and more trivial. And since the lawyers were taking all the booty, and not distributing it as promised, I was rapidly coming to the view that it was abuse of the legal system.

I did what you’ve probably done. I started treating the class action notices as spam, or junk mail, simply throwing them out. Of course, when you do that, you automatically become part of the class (“you need do nothing to participate”). The lawyers get the money for being parasites of the system. But what can you do?

This time I got annoyed, and took some action of my own. I encourage you to do the same when you find yourself in the same position.

The lawsuit was with a company that I’d done business with in the past, of course, but I thought it was a good business. The infraction that was alleged was that they had sent out text messages that were spam to their customers. I remembered receiving the messages and being briefly annoyed at the time. I called them and asked them to stop, and they did. On a scale of one to ten, the annoyance factor of the spam messages was a one.

It seemed clear to me that this was a case of Class Action Abuse. Here’s what I did:

  • I signed the line that excluded me from the class
  • I dated it
  • I put it in the postage paid envelope that was included
  • I put the envelope in the mail

No money for the lawyers from me. I almost felt good supporting the (otherwise decent) business that had spammed me.

Class Action Abuse lowers the quality of our lives by denigrating the legal system, which has already lost my respect due to corruption and cronyism, just for starters. It further reduces the quality of life by making the environment for private business more hostile. The role of the plaintiff lawyers is parasitic, and worse, they have manipulated the system to support their actions by default.

The next time you see Class Action Abuse in your mailbox, stamp it out by opting out of the action. All it takes is your signature in the right spot, the date, and stuffing the bad boy in its’ envelope and sending it on its’ way. By doing so, you’ll have taken a tiny step toward making our sadly broken system just a teensy bit better. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back, and give yourself a three minute break as a reward!