1917 – the Russian Revolution overthrows the Tsar, and spawned literature, plays, and songs. Out of the detritus, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is born, only to go thru bloody hell under Stalin. Before Gorbachev’s (1991) initiatives, most of the population was under surveillance, and the government intruded in all aspects of life.
1991 – The Soviet Union collapses, with the Baltic states fleeing and declaring independence. By December, the remaining states wishing to be unified, create a new commonpoor known as the Russian Federation. The UN and other international bodies recognize it as the continuation of the former USSR. Between theft, bribery, and fraud, a number of extremely rich individuals become incredibly rich and powerful, while the majority of the population languishes with falling incomes, poor schools, collapsing infrastructure, and little prospect of easy retirements.
2013 – The USA is shaken by the news that every single American is under government approved surveillance by the NSA, assisted by several multinational blood-sucking corporations. Between theft, bribery, and fraud, a number of extremely rich individuals become incredibly rich and powerful, while the majority of the population languishes with falling incomes, poor schools, collapsing infrastructure, and little prospect of easy retirements.
2013 – The last remaining tatters of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States were laid to rest today in Arlington National Cemetery. The media, cameras, and the general public were not permitted, although one observer noted that there was a chilling silence that accompanied its burial. Two journalists who tried to take photos of the event were arrested as domestic terrorists and are being processed, then sent to Gitmo.
While he was still in charge of the USSR, Gorbachev predicted that the USSR would become semi-capitalistic, while the USA would adopt the worst parts of state-based socialist system. Unfortunately, he was and is correct.
Here in the USA we were taught that everything about the USSR was evil. We were also taught that America could do no wrong. (Iran, Chile, Greece, Iraq (2x), Argentina, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cuba, Viet Nam, and many other countries, not withstanding).
We were taught that the USSR was a virtual spy state, in which everyone was afraid, and everyone was under surveillance by the government. We were taught that America was the Land of the Brave, Home of the Free, and to prove that point, at each sports venue, we were ordered to stand up and sing the national anthem, to prove our freedoms and bravery. Rather than to review how our spy and political organs acted outside of our border, to determine why so many overseas truly hated America, we were told the most simplistic, inane, and erroneous lies, such as, “They Hate Us For Our Freedoms.” Instead of reviewing what our troops, our CIA, or other agents (including corporate types) are fomenting abroad, and holding a rational debate on whether such policies are in our best interests, we continue, or rather, our country continues to act in secret. They hate us for our freedoms. Indeed. How wrong we were.
When learning about a surveillance-based USSR state we can see the resemblances to the USA today. One of the tasks of spies was spying on the spies themselves. The entire surveillance apparatus was so huge, so unwieldy, that it was bound to fail, just as the USSR did. Technology, it seems, has eased the task of spying on your own people.
Keeping track of who you text, call, email, or what sites you visit is now automated. Artificial intelligence programs are so sophisticated that they can reliably predict how you will act under certain circumstances. Putting those two powers and abilities together means that George Orwell was an optimist. He could not imagine how subtle, yet powerful the new and improved Big Brother has become. As scary as this brave new world is, there is something even more troubling: The reaction of the Issas, the Kings, the Feinsteins, and others who hold political power. There are calls to arrest journalists who dare publish information that the government deems secret. (with absolutely no oversight on the classifying process or procedure) There are calls to open our mails. There are calls claiming that this supersurveillance is for our own good.
Yet, since the expansion of the Patriot Act and its illegitimate progeny. They (those who have the most to gain from spying on you and me) tried to claim that the subway attack on the East Coast was stopped because of this program. Bullshit. It turns out that shoe leather, real police action, not a sophisticated spy system, prevented the attack. To quote our most important constitutional scholar, Pogo, we have met the enemy, and according to our government, we be it. Our second most impotent constitutional scholar sits in a white building in Washington DC.
His office is round, the carpet has a huge seal on it, and the windows behind him are 3 inches thick. After some people began to object to the scope and the depth of the warrantless surveillance that our police state has imposed upon us, he finally conceded that a discussion might be warranted. Golly, Mr. President, that is one tepid, ineffectual step you just took. I am so not impressed. Hey, Mr. President. When it comes to Afghanistan, IraqNam, Iran, and other issues, (warrantless surveillance and domestic spying, for example), just because the previous administration did it, does NOT mean it is the right thing to do.
You claimed to represent change, but ended up giving us more of the same. Why is that? What we need is to write letters, LTTE, call senatwhores and congresscritters and complain. Let them know that we do not accept becoming the new USSR. Call King and Graham communists based on their support for unfettered, warrantless domestic spying. Write Meat de pressed, and other sunday news show and tells, and ask them to ask their guests, “How is our surveillance any different than the Soviet Union’s surveillance of its own citizens?
How does that make us the freest nation in the world?” Any and every bit of pressure on this issue will help. Perhaps not at once, perhaps not in a year, but as more excesses and government mistakes come out (seriously, do you think they are not making them?) with these programs, the more likely it is that we can stop this surveillance.
One last point. This is a DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE program. Not directed to Iran, Iraq, the former USSR, China, North Korea, or Belgium. It is directed, by design, to you and me.
There are no warrants issued, no proof of reasonable cause, no data destruction policies after a set number of weeks or months. This DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE program takes your tax dollars and uses them to spy on you. No one is watching the watchers, and there are no controls on what people can do with that data. If some 3 month employee can dig up so much info, (without even a college or a computer science degree), what prevents any contractor or govt employee from gaining access, and applying what he, she, or it learns? Against you.