"America has become amnesiac - a country in which forms of historical, political, and moral forgetting are not only willfully practiced but celebrated. The United States has degenerated into a social order that is awash in public stupidity and views critical thought as both a liability and a threat"- blogger writing on SmirkingChimp yesterday.
Even as Americans appear to be growing more fearful of their use of the internet on account of NSA scoop -up surveillance - to the point of closing down Facebook pages, limiting emails, and phone calls while using alternative search engines like Ixquick- their brains (many of them) and common sense appear to have degenerated in the past month and come out more in favor of the NSA spookathon and less for Ed Snowden. At least according to a recent Washington Post- ABC News poll. According to the poll's finding:
"The American people, who once defended Edward Snowden’s leaks of sensitive intelligence information gathered by the
If we take common sense for granted in this sampled population (and that is not a foregone conclusion by any means) then one would expect people who are reasonably educated to be aware that their privacy rights are bound up intimately with their 4th amendment rights - to be free of lawless search and seizure. As I noted in previous blogs to do with this issue, while the specific right to privacy isn’t specifically listed in the Constitution, the Founders understood that as time went on new rights would emerge which they might not be able to think of (e.g. to health care), hence bundled these into the unenumerated rights under the 9th amendment..
In terms of privacy, however, it is clear the language of the 4th amendment:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Presupposes privacy as a necessary condition, hence the Founders saw no need to elaborate it as a separate right. Hence, use of the descriptor “personal” applied to papers, effects etc. naturally means private! Even if one for some reason disputed the argument, he’d still be left with the fact of the unenumerated rights under the Ninth amendment.
Now, track to the Washington Post-ABC News poll poll. It shows that a majority of Americans — 53 percent — now say that Edward Snowden should be charged with a crime for his leaks. That’s up from 43 percent less than a month ago. Meanwhile, over that same time span, the percentage saying Snowden should not be charged has dropped from 48 percent to 36 percent. These are significant differences!
This elicits the question of why the anti-Snowden numbers are up, and the pro-Snowden are down?
The realistic answer rests on media observations over the past 4 weeks, disclosing is there has been a uniform drumbeat to turn Americans once again into zombots, passive morons and sheeple, as was done to them in 2003, to drive up support for the Iraqi invasion. Recall that in October, 2002, barely 1 in 3 had approved interference in Iraq or invasion, but that had mutated to nearly 2 in 3 by March, thanks to the disgusting involvement of the corporate media (including the NY Times). Thus, in one of the more vile episodes of propaganda in Amerikkan history, the supposed "fourth estate" was converted into brazen cheerleaders for the war state. Much the same is true here.
The sad insight here is too many Americans are unable or unwilling to think for themselves but would rather be buffeted by the winds of pundit opinion on FOX, ABC, CBS and even MSNBC (where only Chris Hayes stands out as a true independent thinker on the Snowden issue). Hence, they lack common sense or even basic intelligence into the nature of the war -surveillance state they inhabit.
Moving on: it is perhaps not at all surprising that much of the movement has come from conservatives and moderates, who are now more likely to say Snowden should be charged with a crime. Among conservatives, 56 percent believe he should be charged, and 40 percent feel “strongly” about it. Why is this not surprising?
First, conservatives (look at their stances on climate change-global warming, female reproduction, abortion) have amply demonstrated they lack even basic insights into science, or how to evaluate issues using critical thought. Second, conservatives are as ill-informed about the economy, failing to recognize the current low aggregate demand environment as they champion spending cuts and more tax cuts - the very things that will make matter worse! (See, e.g. http://www.brane-space.blogspot.com/2013/07/austerity-economics-is-triggering.html ) Hence, it's not surprising they'd be zombots and willing sheep-tools in succoring a massive surevillance state as well. After all, they've also historically been the most adamant pro-war spenders!
"Moderates" to me are merely half-informed middle of the roaders, and as Jim Hightower once observed: "The only things in the middle of the road are yellow lines and roadkill". He said it, I didn't. But I agree.
Moderates are also more likely to be satisfied Neoliberals, who don't want to rock the boat, make waves or anger the war state. We've also seen a parade of them emerging now on MSNBC, including Melissa Harris Perry, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell and Ed Schultz. What one once believed to be die hard liberals or 'progressives' have emerged as vanilla echo boards for the war-surveillance state. A shorter term? Propagandists- not much better than Leni Reifenstahl for the Third Reich. (Google her!)
The most worrisome aspects of the poll which show the complete absence of any common sense - in terms of grasping the Constitution or the nature of personal rights - are that a full 74% actually believe the NSA dragnet surveillance is more directed at "some Americans" (they most likely think Muslims) and that 49% believe it's directed at 'my privacy rights'. I have news for these inveterate bozos: any such thing as massive, indiscriminate scoop up surveillance done by approval of secret, rubber stamping courts and without any specific (search) warrants being served, definitely violates YOUR rights too!
Most reprehensible of all, and showing me these zombot yahoo tools (I refuse to even call them Americans) don't deserve liberty or security (see my July 4 blog), is the finding that 57% have no objection to the NSA mass surveillance, even if it violates their privacy rights, while only 39% believe their privacy rights ought to be respected. The disparity (which could grow even more in coming months) shows that we've basically lost this nation to the spooks, and the pro-Police state fascists. The "Good Germans", if you will, the same lot that watched as the Nazis plundered what remained of the Weimar Republic and converted it to the most devastating spy state in history. At least until the Amerkkans recruited former Nazis to run their own spy state!
Well, only the 39% have it right. The 57% need to move to an even more totalitarian state, say like China. Moreso because most of them are likely capitalists and China is now the capitalist nation supreme.
Meanwhile, debate is due to begin this afternoon on an amendment tabled by congressman Justin Amash, a two-term libertarian Republican from Michigan, that would prevent the NSA from collecting bulk phone records on millions of Americans. We're informed that: "The White House, Congress and the National Security Agency were bracing for a pivotal and unpredictable vote.
This may be the one shot in a while to cut back on the surveillance excesses, but it isn't a given that there will be enough with the courage to vote against it. Especially as the lobbynig efforts by the WH and Spy state have been ferocious. This is the first court challenge since the Snowden revelations, and the ACLU believes it has a strong case because of the publication by The UK Guardian of a secret court order authorising the bulk collection of Verizon records, and because it is a Verizon customer.
Meanwhile, "the Obama administration, the intelligence community, and its legislative allies were battling what has become known as the Amash amendment, portraying it as recklessly ending a longstanding, secret surveillance activity they consider vital for national security". But this is bollocks. As former NSA code breaker Bill Binney commented on Keith Alexander's NSA spying testimony 4 weeks, ago: "I don’t understand this being bamboozled into thinking that you have to do this to find bad guys. That’s false. There’s very simple principles you can use to find out who is the bad guy and who isn’t and you can do this without violating anybody’s privacy”.
But, of course, with a run amuck Empire, the expedient usually trumps the slower, judicious and correct way. Interestingly, this legislative fight is "the rare Washington battle that does not divide along partisan lines, but between civil liberties supporters in both parties and security hawks in both parties."
Count me in on the liberties supporters, because hey - once they're lost, they ain't coming back. And you can "resurrect" all the Founders you can, but it is not going to happen. No surprise the usual Neoliberal spokesmen of the war-profit state have insisted that if the Amash amendment is rejected, they will "develop appropriate additional protections" for Americans' privacy over their phone records. But it's unclear what those would be, and if you believe that codswallop you're a bigger moron than the one depicted looking at himself in the mirror at top.