(A para-drone over Sonoma)
I am ashamed of this country. I didn't used to be. Even when people from other countries would try to make me feel so, I deferred to the "good" that we had done along the way. I had looked around reasonably well and hadn't exactly found the "perfect nation" yet. I was raised to believe that human rights, the scientific process and constitutional government were noble ideas, inextricably bound up with one another, ideas that we had helped advance, for good. I wasn't going to let that go so easily. I was an idealistic child that bought heavily into the near sanctity of the constitutional doctrine.
I had foolishly believed that it was the godless commies that were coming to try and take it from us with their nuclear weapons, their endlessly grey tenement buildings, their hordes of unhappy people, their superior hockey teams, etc. Well, sort of. That's what we were told anyway. It was a strange time to grow up, especially if you never bothered growing up.
The term "red scare" came to mean very different things to me over the years. Is it too late to inject "blue scare" into the public conversation...?
But now... we're midway through passing a bill that would allow the military to detain people indefinitely, and Congress voted almost overwhelmingly for it...!!! Not just known foreign terrorists, but all it takes is to be a suspected terrorist... American citizens, without a trial, without due process, will be able to be detained by the military, indefinitely. Read about the National Defense Authorization Act. If it doesn't frighten you witless then you really don't understand the importance of, and need for, The Bill of Rights.
Our President, who once taught constitutional law, has threatened to veto it because it doesn't give him adequate power to also detain without question. His objection is centered around the premise of, Why do I have to ask first when everybody else gets to do as they "need" to...?
Then, very early this morning I couldn't sleep and I found an article that chronicled how we used drone technology on our own citizens, without a warrant, without permission, to make arrests. Some local police yokels just asked, and the gov't. was happy to oblige. Everybody's just helping everybody out, we're all in this together. Seems sensible, right? Especially when done through U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a near military type agency based right here, and all around us, exclusively for domestic enforcement. Just a little war level technology being tested out on our own citizens for some local do-gooding. No harm, no foul, no worries.
I suppose when Americans didn't adequately stand up against waterboarding then our leaders got the message they were finally looking for. Well, if it's good enough to be used on others, and nobody bothers complaining, then it's good enough for our own people as well, god-damn it. We won't need to waterboard that many people. Fear will do more good than water, right boys?
We put our journalists in jail for not citing their sources, Judith Miller. But then later find out that she was just protecting the very government officials that were exposing one of our own agent's undercover identity, Valerie Plame. But don't worry... the scandal stopped one step shy of the Vice President, Darth Cheney, and only brought down poor ol' Scooter Libby. The republic was still safe and open for planet destroying operations. The rebel journalists weren't sleeping on the job, they were the job.
This is one of the things that has bothered me the most about the right, or perhaps I should say the right's bullhorn, Fox News. They are just not adequately enraged about this stuff. They act as if it's an unanswered question that they're exploring for the benefit of the viewer at home. They seem to smirk at the hysterical faction on the left that has seen the clear danger signs here. They chuckle to themselves about the misuse of power on foreigners and insurgents. Some of them will likely seem to think that drone use on American citizens isn't even anything to worry about, 'cause they're the bad guys, right? They must have done something wrong. Isn't it just like the show, "Cops"?
Just wait until they officially define the Occupy movement as an insurrection. The term will take on new meanings for many.
There is more to the story, something that triggered all of this, this morning. But I'm not at liberty to say, yet. It is just too much, having some argue for raising taxes progressively, so that the government can presumably keep a better eye on us. That's one thing the Occupy movement forgets. Raising taxes on the rich will only work against us all eventually. They should be arguing for flat tax, with a low-end cutoff point, and not against it. We need to do away with the many tax loopholes, not just raise taxes on the rich. The Occupy people seem to act as if all wealth is, or should be, a punishable crime. I disagree and I tremble to think at what those extra revenues will go towards once in place, what monsters of surveillance and control will spring from it all. Because if you think the powerful and the wealthy just lie down and admit defeat when there are villagers at the gates with torches and pitchforks then you haven't read very much history.
It's part of the dilemma of post-modernism, everybody gets to write their own history, then they get to make predictions based on the imaginary pasts of their noble ancestry, ever fighting the good fight. Good luck with it all, my legion of dreamers. Because if you think the drones are going to be getting primarily used on the estates of the rich and powerful of the world then the movement might want to invest a little money into research and development. Because drones aren't used to find wealth, they're used to find criminals and create suspicions. If you think they developed the technology to aid you in your class struggles and to help balance out income inequality then I have a real nice set of bongos for sale, inquire within.
The term used to dismantle a political opponent in the era of the early Roman emperors, from around Augustine to Nero was "treason." It took very little evidence from the emperor to accuse, and virtually any defense you mounted only confirmed your guilt. It functioned in a very similar manner to the charge that terrorism now does and will continue to. An interesting set of books to read is "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God" by Robert Graves. It's a fictionalized telling, based on respected historical sources. I can feel the eyes rolling, but trust me, it's a good read no matter what your thoughts on history fictionalized might be.
What irks me most is that there were terrorists during the time of the framing of The Constitution, gunpowder was available, terror could be used as a weapon and deterrent, and it was. The founding fathers still thought enough of individual rights to establish the Bill of Rights, mainly to protect its citizens from a government run amok with greed and power. When your government claims that the battleground for their war to protect you is in your nation, or state, or city, or even in your home, then the war is already almost over.
They are using war-time powers and war technology against American citizens, and they are stripping away your right to resist them legally.... Because if you think they're not monitoring you... Well, maybe they're not, but there is much information out in the great wide world to read concerning the subject.
Just Google it, friends.