Well Known Biases

Politics, Economics, and the Law

Wrapped in the Flag, and Carrying a Cross…

There are several news pieces I’ve been procrastinating on linking, and issues I’ve been putting off discussing. If anyone asks why, I’ll say I’ve been caught up in the SOPA/PIPA fight. Now where to begin…

The TSA, apparently not content with merely being a headache and/or terror at airports across the nation, have decided it’d be a rather good idea to also slow down your bus and train experience. Recognizing that that this still leaves the travelling public with the option of driving, there has also been an expansion of TSA’s VIPR program, including a joint exercise in Tennessee between the TSA and THP. In light of the past decade, it seems reasonable to assume that if you’re not seeing them where you live, they’ll get there sooner or later. The expansion of security screenings pairs nicely with the “If you see something, say something” propaganda campaign that is currently being employed by the Department of Homeland Security. These short ads depict ordinary people thwarting terrorism by reporting the activities of strangers to police, TSA agents, etc. The lesson being taught is that no one can be trusted, and that anyone around you could be a terrorist preparing to blow something up in the semi-near future, but fortunately you could be a hero if you have the quick thinking necessary to find a nearby blueshirt and inform on a stranger.

Not to be outdone, the NYPD is working with the Pentagon to deploy mobile imaging scanners to New York streets in addition to the already widespread cameras. Is it constitutional to use these devices? I wouldn’t think so, but I kind of doubt that will stop anyone. Civil rights are an outdated concept meant for a more innocent age; a relic of pre-9/11 thinking.

Drones are being operated in the United States by various groups. This in and of itself isn’t really news. We know the Border Patrol employs them for various missions, some not directly related to their named purpose. The EFF would like a full account of who is operating them, but the FAA won’t tell them. It seems the government is content to let them speculate.

And how much does drone surveillance matter when you can be tracked more cheaply and easily through the GPS receiver in your cell phone? Or, failing that, a tracker planted on your car.

What is the purpose of all this? The end-game?

The constant propaganda to keep us afraid of terrorists ensures docility among those not overly blessed in critical thinking, the perpetual wars to ensure there will be a supply of actual terrorists should they be needed, and the technology is there to do nearly everything but directly monitor our thoughts (but they’re hard at work on that). We are witnessing the birth of the perfect surveillance state; the ne plus ultra of police states. Complete knowledge, and total control. The provisions in the NDAA to allow the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, and the enemy expatriation act in the works (H.R. 3166, S.1698) to ensure if we balk at that, then our citizenship can simply be revoked, making us into non-persons.

Is there really that much freedom left to fight for?

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