“When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right.’
Mr. Snowden goes on to say; “The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights, and nobody needs to justify why they ‘need’ a right.” Some of you may remember that other little document our government is founded on i.e. The Bill of Rights? Or how about that other golden oldie, The Declaration of Independence?
How is it that one minute, Americans can be boasting to the world, We’re the greatest nation on earth, we have freedom & democracy and our soldiers have given their lives in defense of freedom & democracy, & the next minute they shrug their shoulders and say, I have nothing to hide so I don’t care if the government spies on me?
Another ignorant response I get from probably 90% or more of the people I speak to when I tell that that I write about politics is; “Oh, I’m not interested in politics.” These responses sadden me every time I hear them because they show how lazy people have become mentally. But most importantly, what they reveal if we look below their glib surface is that they’re de facto saying that they don’t care that their family or friends who died in the never-ending wars that America is embroiled in because remember; you don’t care about your right to privacy, the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, or politics.
For the past decade or better, I try to tactfully point out when people say they’re not interested in politics; So, what you’re saying is that you don’t care if the company you worked for & given your blood, sweat, & tears to for years, maybe decades, just shuts its doors & moves overseas where they can pay workers $1 an hour or a couple of bucks per day. And you don’t care if the government allows your company to invest in hedge funds with your pension plan & the hedge fund company loses your pension betting on Wall St.
Or you don’t mind if your company cuts back or completely eliminates your health insurance & if you or your loved ones get sick, oh well, too bad! The G.O.P. spends millions on their public advertising propaganda against “socialized medicine,” to keep the public fooled and vote against their own best interests. The Republicans are consistent in their agenda & you can bet your last dollar that behind every bit of legislation they’re for or against, it’s because they want the freedom to rape, pillage, & plunder us to their hearts’ content. (What am I saying? They don’t have hearts & Trump is prima facie evidence of this)
I could go on citing example after example but I feel that I’ve made my point. Returning to the subject of our freedoms, one of the things that really pisses me off is the fact that in perhaps the majority of bars, taverns, pubs, etc. across this home of the brave & land of the free, we are forbidden to speak about politics.
As I pointed out above, politics affects every one of our lives whether we realize it or not & to be told time & time again that I’d better shut up or I’ll be kicked out really gets my blood boiling. Where else can we meet with our fellow citizens & discuss the topics of the day like the nut-job in El Paso a few weeks back who killed over 20 Hispanics because he believed this was what Trump was telling us we should do.
We’re supposed to just sit silent & not discuss or debate such heinous crimes against humanity? And I’ve noticed that this social taboo against speaking about politics in bars is hypocritical in that you can talk about the local politics in your town i.e. the city not fixing potholes, a new local tax, etc. but dare to bring up the serious, national issues like El Paso & the bartenders who often just barely graduated high school, swoop on you like they’re the guardians at the gate.
Yet every once in a while, I’ve been in a tavern where the bartender was more enlightened & several of us customers got into a lively discussion/debate about national & international issues and I saw the light come on in peoples’ eyes. And afterwards, I’ve had people come up to me & thank me with comments like; “Wow! That was the best conversation I’ve had in ten years!” I believe people are hungry for real conversation/debate because we have been slowly getting dumbed-down with asinine television programming & advertisements for our entire lives.
Unlike our infamous “leader,” I’m not bragging & claiming that those energizing conversations happened because I’m so brilliant. No, I merely played the role of moderator & would add interesting points or questions here & there and encourage those who were mostly just listening, to join in with their perspective. And yes, I realize that I can’t expect every conversation in a bar to be as stimulating as those rare ones that I have experienced but to command us to be silent is closer to living in a totalitarian state like Russia or China & I thought we were supposed to be better than that?
Furthermore, I don’t buy the standard excuse for why we’re not allowed to speak about politics in bars; “People get too upset & start fights.” Why not just cut-off or 86 those who become belligerent just as you would for any one of hundreds of other reasons people become aggressive in bars? I have had guys come really close to trying to physically intimidate me & have realized that I was arguing with a brick wall so I’d say, let’s just agree to disagree, and I’d either change the subject or if they were still trying to intimidate me, I’d get up and move or simply leave the bar.
Perhaps we’ve also lost our sense of outrage at the erosion of our freedoms & rights due to the fact that most of us work for private corporations which are de facto “private tyrannies?” This concept never even occurred to me until I learned about it from my intellectual hero, Noam Chomsky. Here’s a quote from Noam that should give every true patriot cause for serious concern;
January 21, 2010 will go down as a dark day in the history of American democracy, and its decline. The editors of the New York Times did not exaggerate when they wrote that the Supreme Court decision that day “strikes at the heart of democracy” by having “paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding” — more explicitly, for permitting corporate managers to do so, since current laws permit them to spend shareholder money without consent.
To conclude my remarks on the subject of our rights being severely curtailed, I want to unequivocally state that no, I’m not a grand conspiracy theorist & I detest Alex Jones, who Trump loves to cite in his fear & hate rallies. But, it is a fact that the Patriot Act which was rammed through Congress two months after 9/11 & didn’t even give Congress time to read it, in effect, shredded our Bill of Rights.
Moreover, 9/11 was just the sort of event that Dick Cheney & the others who formed the right-wing, think tank P.N.A.C. (Project for the New American Century) established in 1997, had been looking for so they could initiate their War on Terror campaign which would guarantee that the billions & trillions of dollars being siphoned off from the U.S. Treasury would continue ad infinitum. Yes, this was the perfect justification for the theft & waste by the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about because it is the gift that never stops giving i.e. terrorism will never stop especially because the more we bomb other nations & kill innocent civilians, the more terrorists we keep on creating.Sorry but I’m going to disillusion you Sunshine Patriots yet again, here are the facts about America’s so-called desire to bring peace, freedom, & democracy to the world—a list of our wars or police actions since the founding of the United States (read it if you dare i.e. if the facts don’t scare you as they do with Trump followers & many “Christian” evangelicals; https://www.globalresearch.ca/america-has-been-at-war-93-of-the-time-222-out-of-239-years-since-1776/55659 )
And once again, No, this isn’t a grand conspiracy because quite frankly, they’re not that clever. It boils down to the fact that all these players i.e. the government, “Defense” contractors, the 1%, etc. are unified in one thing, their greed.
Some of you may still not care that the NSA is illegally spying on every American citizen & is storing all our data, “content” and metadata, in their new, storage center in Utah. And as Snowden showed us, this metadata provided to the government by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. can be used against us whenever the government may wish to do so. Our metadata is a record of our location, the sites we log on to, the duration of our phone calls, our e-mail exchanges, etc. etc. etc. and if we should ever be a target of our government, it’d be very easy for them to fabricate a crime we supposedly committed by simply linking our metadata & concocting a fictitious narrative about us. Perhaps you think this is very unlikely? How many times have we heard of people framed by the police and/or the district attorney simply because they wanted to look good in the public’s eye for having solved a crime.
As for you who still don’t give a shit about your privacy, consider these possible scenarios the NSA could record about your behavior:
- Cheating on your wife or husband
- A homosexual experience
- You masturbating
- Making love to your spouse
- Shitting your pants
- A sexual disease you contracted
- A diagnosis of cancer
- Fights with your kids or your spouse
- Getting fired
- Losing your home
- Being obese
- Being homeless
- Your kids’ private lives
- Your spouse naked
- Porn you watch
- Paying a hooker for sex
- Funerals you attend
- Your breaking down emotionally
- Your spouse telling you they want a divorce
- Your dying in the hospital
- Being drunk & starting a fight and seriously hurting someone
- You drunk driving
- Whipping your child
- Beating your wife
- Threatening someone
- Cheating on your taxes
- Having sex with someone you’re embarrassed to have been with
- Your daughter’s period
- Your home burning down
- Stealing something
- Cheating on a test
Naturally, this list could go on & on and you could come up with your own list of things you’d rather not be known or common knowledge. So, tell me again that you have nothing to hide & you don’t mind the fact that the NSA has invaded every nook & cranny of our daily lives & is recording it.
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
― Benjamin Franklin
I almost forgot one of the key points on this subject, as Edward Snowden mentioned in the excellent film; “Citizen Four,” it’s all about “Control.” I believe he was being very cautious because he didn’t want to be dismissed as yet another “conspiracy nut,” and that’s why he only touched on the “control” issue so briefly. Moreover, in a nutshell, this connects with what Chomsky titled one of his books; “Keeping the Rabble in Line.”
Principle 8- Keep the Rabble in Line
Elites’ concentrated efforts against democratizing tendencies, as Chomsky has noted several times, are nothing new along the course of American history. One of the most successful counterforces to these efforts has been organized labor, because “they provide a barrier that defends workers’ rights, but also popular rights generally” (107). Naturally, the business class extended their offensive to dismantle organized labor, one of their strongest opponents to what Chomsky calls “corporate tyranny” (107). Until the New Deal, the labor movement was relatively stagnant. Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked union leaders to use the voice of the masses to effectively force the administration into labor reform initiatives. He argued that his hands were tied politically until the “popular pressure [was] sufficient” enough to overrule disagreements about New Deal policies among society’s elites (109). According to Chomsky, leaders of.
And as a parting gift for you true seekers of knowledge & understanding;