Hey America! Freedom is just around the corner…behind you
The Internet Clampdown
One saving grace of alternative media in this age of unfettered corporate conglomeration
has been the internet. While the masses are spoon-fed predigested news on TV
and in mainstream print publications, the truth-seeking individual still has
access to a broad array of investigative reporting and political opinion via
the world-wide web. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the government
moved to patch up this crack in the sky. Attempts to regulate and filter internet
content are intensifying lately, coming both from telecommunications corporations
(who are gearing up to pass legislation transferring ownership and regulation
of the internet to themselves), and the Pentagon (which issued an “Information
Operations Roadmap” in 2003, signed by Donald Rumsfeld, which outlines
tactics such as network attacks and acknowledges, without suggesting a remedy,
that US propaganda planted in other countries has easily found its way to Americans
via the internet). One obvious tactic clearing the way for stifling regulation
of internet content is the growing media frenzy over child pornography and “internet
predators,” which will surely lead to legislation that by far exceeds
in its purview what is needed to fight such threats.
“The Long War”
This little piece of clumsy marketing died off quickly, but it gave away what
many already suspected: the War on Terror will never end, nor is it meant to
end. It is designed to be perpetual. As with the War on Drugs, it outlines a
goal that can never be fully attained—as long as there are pissed off
people and explosives. The Long War will eternally justify what are ostensibly
temporary measures: suspension of civil liberties, military expansion, domestic
spying, massive deficit spending and the like. This short-lived moniker told
us all, “get used to it. Things aren’t going to change any time
The USA PATRIOT Act
Did anyone really think this was going to be temporary? Yes, this disgusting
power grab gives the government the right to sneak into your house, look through
all your stuff and not tell you about it for weeks on a rubber stamp warrant.
Yes, they can look at your medical records and library selections. Yes, they
can pass along any information they find without probable cause for purposes
of prosecution. No, they’re not going to take it back, ever.
This last January the Army Corps of Engineers gave Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg
Brown & Root nearly $400 million to build detention centers in the United
States, for the purpose of unspecified “new programs.” Of course,
the obvious first guess would be that these new programs might involve rounding
up Muslims or political dissenters—I mean, obviously detention facilities
are there to hold somebody. I wish I had more to tell you about this, but it’s,
Touchscreen Voting Machines
Despite clear, copious evidence that these nefarious contraptions are built
to be tampered with, they continue to spread and dominate the voting landscape,
thanks to Bush’s “Help America Vote Act,” the exploitation
of corrupt elections officials, and the general public’s enduring cluelessness.
In Utah, Emery County Elections Director Bruce Funk witnessed security testing
by an outside firm on Diebold voting machines which showed them to be a security
risk. But his warnings fell on deaf ears. Instead Diebold attorneys were flown
to Emery County on the governor's airplane to squelch the story. Funk was fired.
In Florida, Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho discovered an alarming
security flaw in their Diebold system at the end of last year. Rather than fix
the flaw, Diebold refused to fulfill its contract. Both of the other two touchscreen
voting machine vendors, Sequoia and ES&S, now refuse to do business with
Sancho, who is required by HAVA to implement a touchscreen system and will be
sued by his own state if he doesn’t. Diebold is said to be pressuring
for Sancho’s ouster before it will resume servicing the county.
Stories like these and much worse abound, and yet TV news outlets have done
less coverage of the new era of elections fraud than even 9/11 conspiracy theories.
This is possibly the most important story of this century, but nobody seems
to give a damn. As long as this issue is ignored, real American democracy will
remain an illusion. The midterm elections will be an interesting test of the
public’s continuing gullibility about voting integrity, especially if
the Democrats don’t win substantial gains, as they almost surely will
if everything is kosher.
Bush just suggested that his brother Jeb would make a good president. We really
need to fix this problem soon.
Bush has famously never vetoed a bill. This is because he prefers to simply
nullify laws he doesn’t like with “signing statements.” Bush
has issued over 700 such statements, twice as many as all previous presidents
combined. A few examples of recently passed laws and their corresponding dismissals,
courtesy of the Boston Globe:
Dec. 30, 2005: US interrogators cannot torture prisoners
or otherwise subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.
Bush's signing statement: The president, as commander in
chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques
will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.
Dec. 30: When requested, scientific information ''prepared
by government researchers and scientists shall be transmitted [to Congress]
uncensored and without delay."
Bush's signing statement: The president can tell researchers
to withhold any information from Congress if he decides its disclosure could
impair foreign relations, national security, or the workings of the executive
Dec. 23, 2004: Forbids US troops in Colombia from participating
in any combat against rebels, except in cases of self-defense. Caps the number
of US troops allowed in Colombia at 800.
Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander
in chief, can place restrictions on the use of US armed forces, so the executive
branch will construe the law ''as advisory in nature."
Essentially, this administration is bypassing the judiciary and deciding for
itself whether laws are constitutional or not. Somehow, I don’t see the
new Supreme Court lineup having much of a problem with that, though. So no matter
what laws congress passes, Bush will simply choose to ignore the ones he doesn’t
care for. It’s much quieter than a veto, and can’t be overridden
by a two-thirds majority. It’s also totally absurd.
Amazingly, the GOP sees this issue as a plus for them. How can this be? What
are you, stupid? You find out the government is listening to the phone calls
of US citizens, without even the weakest of judicial oversight and you think
that’s okay? Come on—if you know anything about history, you know
that no government can be trusted to handle something like this responsibly.
One day they’re listening for Osama, and the next they’re listening
in on Howard Dean.
Think about it: this administration hates unauthorized leaks. With no judicial
oversight, why on earth wouldn’t they eavesdrop on, say, Seymour Hersh,
to figure out who’s spilling the beans? It’s a no-brainer. Speaking
of which, it bears repeating: terrorists already knew we would try to spy on
them. They don’t care if we have a warrant or not. But you should.
“Free Speech Zones”
I know it’s old news, but…come on, are they fucking serious?
Army Generals. Top-level CIA officials. NSA operatives. White House cabinet
members. These are the kind of people that Republicans fantasize about being,
and whose judgment they usually respect. But for some reason, when these people
resign in protest and criticize the Bush administration en masse, they are cast
as traitorous, anti-American publicity hounds. Ridiculous. The fact is, when
people who kill, spy and deceive for a living tell you that the White House
has gone too far, you had damn well better pay attention. We all know most of
these people are staunch Republicans. If the entire military except for the
two guys the Pentagon put in front of the press wants Rumsfeld out, why on earth
wouldn’t you listen?
The CIA Shakeup
Was Porter Goss fired because he was resisting the efforts of Rumsfeld or Negroponte?
No. These appointments all come from the same guys, and they wouldn’t
be nominated if they weren’t on board all the way. Goss was probably canned
so abruptly due to a scandal involving a crooked defense contractor, his hand-picked
third-in-command, the Watergate hotel and some (no doubt spectacular) hookers.
If Bush’s nominee for CIA chief, Air Force General Michael Hayden, is
confirmed, that will put every spy program in Washington under military control.
Hayden, who oversaw the NSA warrantless wiretapping program and is clearly down
with the program. That program? To weaken and dismantle or at least neuter the
CIA. Despite its best efforts to blame the CIA for “intelligence errors”
leading to the Iraq war, the picture has clearly emerged—through extensive
CIA leaks—that the White House’s analysis of Saddam’s destructive
capacity was not shared by the Agency. This has proved to be a real pain in
the ass for Bush and the gang.
Who’d have thought that career spooks would have moral qualms about deceiving
the American people? And what is a president to do about it? Simple: make the
critical agents leave, and fill their slots with Bush/Cheney loyalists. Then
again, why not simply replace the entire organization? That is essentially what
both Rumsfeld at the DoD and newly minted Director of National Intelligence
John are doing—they want to move intelligence analysis into the hands
of people that they can control, so the next time they lie about an “imminent
threat” nobody’s going to tell. And the press is applauding the
move as a “necessary reform.”
Remember the good old days, when the CIA were the bad guys?
Read from Looking Glass News
How to tell if you are in a tyrannical police state
Police State Technology: Implanting a GPS-microchip in the body of
a human being, using a high powered sniper rifle
Drifting towards a Police State
America’s Secret Police?
Framework for a police state
American Police State: The Frog Has Cooked
Body Politics: Evolving Police State in America
NSA Snoop Program: Greasing the Skids of the Police State