Hacking into our lives
The New York Times, in the following article revealed that the government subpoenaed Google, AOL, MSN, and Yahoo for search queries as part of their effort to uphold an online pornography law. Google is fighting this in court, and the other service providers already have complied with the demands.
An excerpt of the article is as follows:
Google has been refusing the request since a subpoena was first issued last August, even as three of its competitors agreed to provide information, according to court documents made public this week. Google asserts that the request is unnecessary, overly broad, would be onerous to comply with, would jeopardize its trade secrets and could expose identifying information about its users.
Yeah, I would say the search is unnecessary and overly broad. ALL searches over the course of a week? Yeah, I would say it's unncessary. And how exactly does this help the government in its case, anyway, other in their never ending quest to obtain as much information as possible about its citizens?
Historically, information about porn sites and secret proclivities have been prime blackmail fodder for the government. Martin Luther King Day was this past Monday - he had an FBI file that was famously thousands of pages thick! But then again, so did John Lennon, oh that evil atheist! (imagining there was no heaven, how blasphemous!) And Amelia Earheart, how dare a woman try to fly! Andy Warhol, why he painted Campbell's soup cans and stated everyone will get 15 minutes of fame...clearly he means to overthrow the government and wreck havoc around the world.
Sadly, we have returned to the infamous days of yesteryear. I have scary/funny/somewhat sexy news to report. The Pentagon is looking to create a "gay bomb" that will somehow turn enemy combatants gay, and make them...what? Make love not war? Well, given the fundies believe that mere exposure to gay people will cause people to turn gay (I guess gayness is an airborn disease?) it would seem that such a plan would then cause our men and women in uniform to turn to homosexuality. Or maybe...is this implying that "flower power" actually works? Between this and the fact that the Pentagon has moved to watch "kiss ins," I really feel my tax dollars are hard at work, protecting me.
It's good to know that the government is protecting us from Al Queda and ensuring that the American way of life will continue. But what exactly is the American way of life? What exactly does it mean to be American? I always thought that the American way of life implicitly embraced the first amendment. I always thought that that was what seperated us from every other country in the world, the fact that we have a first amendment with such strong protections.
Given that antiwar groups are now being spyed upon ROUTINELY, and given that the PATRIOT Act has been expanded to include getting library records of ordinary Americans...I really wonder what the first amendment means now. Bush famously has been monitoring the calls of thousands of Americans through the NSA spying mechansim. The funny thing is, I don't see that as even the worst violation of the American way of life. The worst violation is the casual way in which Americans give up their liberty for temporary safety. The worst violation is the cavalier attitude that Americans have towards the civil liberties that our founding fathers fought and died for.
I posted before on what it means to be American. Since then, we have only found out about more and more ways in which the government has been spying on us and watching our every move. How exactly are we to be free in this environment? How exactly does this fight Al Queda? Osama Bin Laden released another video tape yesterday, detailing how new attacks will be unleashed upon America. Yet, in an age of "red alerts" that really mean "John Kerry is up in the polls," Americans have become desensitized towards it all. We have become so sure that our civil liberties are being violated, that we have become content to do nothing about it.
I am not content. I don't even care if the government, who I assume is reading this, knows who I am. I have nothing to hide.
One day, and hopefully soon, Americans will be FORCED to stand up against the dictatorial government that we are living with, and enforce the way of life that the framers (save for Hamilton and Adams) intended.
I do not consider myself a radical. I consider myself a Jeffersonian. I value the Yeomen farmer ideal of self sufficiency, independence, and a close check on the government. The government has gotten out of control and we have to take it back.
"He who sacrifices liberty for temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin
That is as true today as ever before. We are not safe. We are LESS safe than we ever have been, by the criminally negligent actions of the Bush Administration in putting resources towards a dictatorial monitoring of ordinary citizens, at the expense of building up the infrastructure of this country. Our bridges and tunnels are rotten out. Our roads are pot hole-ridden. Our power plants are decaying. Should there be another attack, we are less prepared now than we were in 2001.
It is with an eye towards national security that I have contempt towards a government with such screwed up priorities.