Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I might not ever see my dream of Mayor Weiner come to full fruition. He is sagging in the polls, we're told. Too bad, that. He is painting the portrait of himself being an "underdog" and nobody yet seems to quite get the joke. They will. It is important to have things in which to look forward.

Attempting to not end sentences in prepositions makes you sound preposterous. Not me, you. It is an unnecessary silliness, we're told.

The internet is boring this morning. 

Well, there is this one thing... David Miranda had his property seized at Heathrow airport without having broken any laws. This wouldn't matter much, except that he's the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist that broke the Edward Snowden story. They held him for nine hours and seized all of his electronic devices. When governments start breaking their own laws in this way.... always for national defense, well, it puts the lie to the test.

We are currently doing things in the defense of our country that will render our country not worth defending. We have been for some time now. It started long before this. The Patriot Act is an adequate bookmark to refer back to.

I couldn't understand why most people weren't more angry about our second invasion of Iraq. I remember thinking at the time that something about it seemed off to me. It seemed that even the liberals were a little bit excited about it. There was some national flexing going on. We had been wronged on 9/11, and it just seemed that there was a little too much willingness on everybody's part to really show somebody that, to prove that you don't fuck with us.

Invading Afghanistan never seemed quite commensurate to the shock of 9/11. It lacked that victorious, nation-toppling feeling. We needed something more. It was important that we take out a personality as much as a country. A feared dictator must fall, in statue and in gallows.

(I've read compelling arguments both for and against our invading of Iraq. That's not really the point that I am making here.)

Now, the enemy is far more insidious. We are expected to trust that the government has our best interests in mind as they dismantle our rights. It is a necessary process that we all must endure, to ensure against the secret evildoing of others. They are now daily thwarting terrorist plots that they can't tell us about. There is no public record of any of this, of course. That also, sensibly, falls behind the fresh new iron curtain of national security.

More little Guantanamo gulags will start to appear here and there. Mark my words on this. In the next couple years we will hear about yet another secret prison where normal laws need not apply.

When water-boarding can be presented to the nation as something other than torture then we are already sliding over a lost edge of previous sensibilities. How is it even possible that we allowed our elected leaders to introduce that question into the national conversation. Those fuckers should have been run out of politics and flogged.

One of the hallmarks of a totalitarian society is that laws are put into place which can not be obeyed. It becomes impossible to somehow not break them. When journalists are regularly being hunted and imprisoned for revealing violations of some of our most basic principles then we are not far off from a place where it will be equally punishable to protect and defend said journalists. Once lawyers are afraid to represent certain clients then the circle of new justice will nearly be complete.

Another attribute of a regime-run society is a single ideology that justifies all changes. Something like "freedom," for example. The concept must be flexible and nebulous with the ability for its meaning to be stretched in several different directions at once, as needed. It must simultaneously mean two opposing things, having the power to inspire both fear and action. Likewise, dissent can be defined as almost anything and suppressed through overt and secret means, often with the use of public and private (secret) police forces.

As far as an exploited conceptual archetype goes it doesn't get much better than "freedom," particularly when being defended through secret means.

This eventually reduces life down to two alternating social/political demands in which everything that is not forbidden becomes required.

I feel that way even when I have to renew my driver's license. There is a sense that this can't possibly be right.... We were told about the horrendous bureaucracy involved in communist living, that they had to wait in line for hours just to get a license.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and even before that, the term totalitarianism has fallen from popular favor. But the term still best describes the tendencies present as a government seeks to assert and maintain increased control over its people.

This is why I was suspicious of the Snowden thing from the beginning. It appeared to me to be a little bit too staged. It seemed that it was just an effective way of letting everybody know that they are being watched. It seemed canned to me, too convenient as far as messaging goes. I have since changed my opinions on it, though I am still unsure. It almost seems as if Snowden could be an elaborate governmental hoax that has now filtered its way deep into the Wikileaks camp.

Who knows, really.

To be monitoring people is one thing. For it to be an effective means of intimidation then people must know that they're being monitored. It must put and keep them in perpetual unease, pitting suspicion against suspicion. It must become a known fear of the unknown.