Thu 13 Aug 2009
I wonder if other advocates of individual liberties are feeling a bit overwhelmed; under attack from diverse sources, from numerous directions, as I am lately.
Miami Herald columnist Fred Grimm starts a recent column with the sentence:
He sites an incident in which police officers are supposedly caught on camera conspiring to shift blame for a traffic incident from an officer on to a private citizen (one Alexandra Gabriela Torrensvilas).
From here the usually clear-minded Grimm conflates “Big Brother” with the technology that facilitates him.
Noting that technological advancement cuts both ways, Grimm tells us:
“Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein remembered how he and other civil libertarians once worried that government authority would misuse technology to subdue its citizens. Yet, Big Brother rescued Torrensvilas.”
No, Fred it wasn’t ubiquitous “Brother”, it was tech advance.
Please, please go back to worrying about THE BRO…we need all the help we can get!
This Saturday, the Transportation Security Administration will take over passenger monitoring from individual airlines, implementing it’s “Secure Flight Program”.
This federal agency will now require of prospective passengers “…gender, date of birth, and a “full, legal” name that matches a government-issued ID credential…” before granting permission to travel by air.
This, of course, under the rationale of protecting us from terrorists.
Terrorists inspired not by “hatred” for our “freedom” or “prosperity”, which the federal government itself seems so determined to trash, but by the various on-going war criminalities that are the most salient feature of U.S. foreign policy.
Meanwhile history professor Julian E. Zelizer, in an article entitled “Why be afraid of government?” on the CNN website enthuses;
“The program succeeded. Government worked. Before Medicare started, only about 50 percent of Americans who were 65 or older possessed hospital coverage. Within five years of the program’s creation, 97 percent of the elderly had hospital coverage. The same changes occurred with physician’s coverage. Today, more than 40 million elderly Americans rely on the program — as do their families who don’t have to take responsibility for these costs.”
But former Maine Gov. Angus King says...“A huge expansion was passed five years ago, the prescription drug benefit, without a dime of funding. Medicare goes cash negative in the next year or so — in other words it will be spending more than it takes in from its underlying tax. That’s where the big problem is going to be, and that’s what no one is paying much attention to right now.”
King was vice-chairman of a national commission that studied the program.
President Obama has made what he terms health care “reform” a centerpiece of his tenure.
Little wonder then, that he intends, as the difficulties of getting his program through congress mount, to keep close tabs on those of us who spread “disinformation”.
“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
This is the same President who hoodwinked enough of the electorate to gain his present position with his promise of “change”; who promised in April to release photos of abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan by May.
But then reversed himself, that such a release would endanger U.S. troops in those countries by prompting anger-inspired violence against them, ignoring the fact that if he would implement any real, meaningful “change” in U.S. foreign policy, those troops would no longer be in a position to be endangered.
Instead, he has worsened the situation by appointing a blood-thirsty loon as Secretary of State…
So the same methodology that is employed to “protect” us from terrorists is employed to maintain the military advance of empire; is used to chill descent against the inexorable takeover of health care.
That common thread amoungst all these seemingly disparate issues—Obama’s violation and undermining of the natural line defining the limits of governmental authority and the necessary autonomy of the individual, be they American air traveler, American medical patient, or Afghan by remote control.
Observing our current state of affairs, Franklin, no doubt, would quip, “…what applies to a little, applies to a lot…”
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