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I have a burning need to know stuff and I love asking awkward questions.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Big Brother is Watching.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 by the Oakland Tribune


IT took 21 years longer than expected, but the future has finally arrived. And we don't like it. Not one bit. We are fighting a war with no end to create a peace with no defined victory. We occupy a foreign land that doesn't want us, while at home our civil liberties are discounted. We are told that it's better not to know what our government is doing in our name, for security purposes. Meanwhile, our government is becoming omnipresent, spying on us whenever it deems it necessary. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. George Orwell was right after all.

In 1949, Orwell penned "1984," a dark, futuristic satire in which the totalitarian government used indoctrination, propaganda and fear to enforce order and conformity. Orwell wrote his book as a cautionary tale to underscore the insidious danger of slowly eroded individual liberties. His Thought Police may not yet be on the march, but it's not hyperbole to point out the eerie parallels with today's America. In America today, Big Brother is watching. He's watching because President Bush told him to. Shortly after 9/11, Bush secretly authorized warrantless wiretaps on U.S. citizens making or receiving international calls and e-mails.

When it comes to fighting terror, Bush is totalitarian — remember, you're either with us or against us. Trust me to get it right, he says. Debate on the law is not only not needed, it's evil. "An open debate about the law would say to the enemy, 'Here's what we're going to do.'" Bush said recently. "The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy." Then there's the Patriot Act, also created in the days immediately after Sept. 11, 2001. The Senate and House of Representatives voted Thursday to extend the law by a month. President Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales insist it's an indispensable tool in the war on terror and want it extended permanently. "I'm as concerned about the privacy of American citizens as anyone, but we cannot allow libraries and use of libraries to become safe havens for terrorists," Gonzales said in July, defending one of the act's most controversial provisions. Remember, too, that we invaded Iraq primarily because we were told Saddam Hussein was an immediate threat with his weapons of mass destruction. Now the Bush administration acknowledges that wasn't so, but insists there were (are?) other reasons to invade. History is malleable.

Orwell wrote of war without end; we're told the war on terror will last decades at least. Orwell wrote of a dumbed-down "Newspeak," and who could argue that our national discourse hasn't slumped? Orwell's "Ministry of Love" tortured dissidents real or imagined; our government decries Iraq's secret torture prisons while arguing over whether to ban torture. Meanwhile, we maintain our own secret CIA prisons. Bush is unapologetic. The president believes he has the legal authority to spy on American citizens without a warrant, and he plans to continue to reauthorize the program "for so long as the nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill American citizens." But when the enemy is poorly defined, who determines when the threat is over? In this case, the same government that secretly taps our phones. Turns out the truth is no stranger than fiction. We think it's time for Congress to heed the warning of George Orwell.


Paste said...

I hope that I'm right when I think that seeing this printed by a US paper is an encouraging development?

CyberKitten said...

It's being printed by more and more every day. I too regard it as an encouraging development.

Michael K. Althouse said...

I've said this before and I still believe it. This machine that is this country - political, economic, social, etc., exists at the will of the people. It is about as inefficient as one could conceive a system of government to be. It is also so big and complex and multi-faceted that no one person or even a coalition of like-minded egocentric idealouges can bring it down.

The American people are slow to anger and reluctant to rise up, but once riled, there will be no placation. We are approaching critical mass. The mid-term election will be interesting. The First Amendment's guarantees are being more frequently and (pardon the term) liberally applied everyday. The press is coming out of hibernation... people are starting to get interested again.

And we're pissed. We don't want to deal with this crap. We want a responsible, capable and ethical group of representatives to deal with the business of government so that we can attend to our lives. Right now, we have to handle our own affairs while simultaneously keeping a close watch on what our "leaders" are doing. That is because they are not doing the job they have been hired for.

Change is in the wind. If a few good Dems can't figure this thing out with the help of a few good Reps (there is such a thing!), then they will all be shown the door. It's happened before and rest assured it will happen again. These bozos are confusing complacency with stupidity and the rude awakening is coming; it is going to show where the power still rests. That a "government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the Earth," -Abraham Lincoln


CyberKitten said...

Amen Mike - Power to the People!

Jack Steiner said...

We are embroiled in an ideological battle that is not going to end over night.

I am not happy with many things, but I haven't forgotten that there are people out there who are only too happy to kill us and it is not as simple as saying that they do not like us.

It is not a matter of making excuses and saying if only we hadn't done this or that.

They don't like us and they are happy to maim and murder to make us live the way that they want.

That is a far cry from what we have done.