Mechanical

Amerika, the Beautiful

In case you missed the point, Salon.com has delightful photos of a prisoner we tortured to death during an interrogation at Abu Ghraib (oops! Our bad!). It's complete with smiling Americans giving a "thumbs up" over the dead body. No charges were ever filed, despite the death being listed a homicide. (Warning: I was kidding about "delightful". Those photos are absolutely disgusting and not work safe).

Now George Bush and friends are speaking out against newspapers publishing unclassified material which anyone can find with Google. Of course, Bush has already made it clear that he doesn't even think criticizing him should be legal.

Meanwhile, in California, the East Orange Police Department has taken its cue from Orwell. Seems they're getting together a group of volunteers to monitor secret cameras and watch the public for "suspicious activity". I've found the UK's reliance on widespread CCTV (closed-circuit television) monitoring to be disturbing, but it looks like we're catching up with our friends across the ocean.

Fortunately, there are some who have the courage to stand up for what's happening in this country. It seems that Diebold, the company that makes the secretive voting machines which tell us who "won" which election, used illegal, unapproved voting software which apparently failed in California during the presidential election. Since Diebold "forgot" to mention this major felony, a whistleblower leaked the story. This felony goes to the heart of the problems with electronic voting, even though Diebold has vociferously denied any issues with their software.

How did the whistleblower get this information? He worked for Diebold, printed out some memos and made them public. What does he get for trying to protect your right to vote? He's charged with "a computer crime, second-degree burglary and receiving stolen goods".

Remember, even though your vote is practically worthless in our corrupt system, it could still count for something. If they take away your right to vote, nothing else matters!

It's not a question of whether or not 1984 is already here. It's a question of how long it's going to take before the general public notices. If they do notice, will they even care? I doubt it. The vast majority of people in this country are fabulously wealthy compared to most of the world. Giving up freedom is the price we're apparently willing to pay for SUVs, bottle water and Britney Spears.
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We're pretty much getting used to being watched here. My son takes great delight in sptting CCTV cameras when we drive around town. It does have its uses, like when my ex-dance teacher's husband got beaten up by a bunch of skate punks, the police found him unconscious and bleeding from a head wound by following the event on CCTV. However, the plural of 'anecdote' not being 'data', the fact that they are there does not preclude their use for more sinister 'Big Brother'style activities. And I ain't talkin' 'bout crap reality TV shows.

I realize CCTV does have its benefits, but it seems that there's very little discussion about managing the benefits against people's civil liberties. That's what bothers me. If such a discussion were to take place, I wonder what sort of compromises we could make rather than simply give the game away?
breaking my seclusion
the abu ghraib pictures deal is moot I have constructed worse pictures than them, what about the 4 americans shot killed burned hung up on the bridge in iraq with a crowd cheering (not just one guy giving thumbs up next to body) were charges ever filed against the iraqis? what about the VIDEO of beheadings THOSE ARE WORSE then all the abu pics together. Betka tortures willing subjects worse than our military I have made piercers queasy with BDSM torture shots. i still think they best way to extract information from insurgents or taliban detainees is to make them into junkies and take away the heroin until they start talking. I believe the abu ghraib scandal is a joke and do not care ( i actually was a little dissapointed with their lack of sadism) What about in somalia during the black hawk down deal on PBS they showed footage of the rangers naked bodies being drug through a crowd a rifle muzzle shoved in the anus and fired off. where was the international outrage then?
NOW i dont agree with BUSH trying to quash the watchdog media I just cant stand everyone being all up in arms over abu ghraib pics really... pics of toture in vietnam were 10x's worse What ? did we suddenly grow a conscience (sp?) when it comes to war ? Should we be tickling detainees with roses until they talk? grrrr.
everything else in your post i agree with your view but i am sick of hearing about our horrible actions in Abu Ghraib and afghanistan We should have let the Shiites guard the Sunni detainees and really watch torture happen.
i know im off subject on this and yes we are eding torwards dictatorship or religeuos rule. Im so wanting to see V fo vendetta now. sory C rant over im out again
Re: breaking my seclusion
So you feel that rather than have principles, we should sink to the level of those we deplore? And what if we're wrong and we torture and kill innocents? Even with our heavily scrutinized death penalty in the United States, we've sentenced plenty of innocent people to death. I find it hard to believe that we won't torture and kill innocent people abroad.

Of course, skipping all of that, it's difficult for us to get all huffy about people torturing and killing Americans if we have no qualms about torturing and killing them. Rather than a "tit for tat" foreign policy which merely serves to escalate tensions, how about a "let's be a good example" foreign policy and take the wind out of our critic's sails?
Re: breaking my seclusion
not to mention the fact of us being a Christian nation, we should employ christian principles such as "turn the other cheek" and "he who lives by the sword dies by the sword."
Re: breaking my seclusion
where was the international outrage then?

because no one pities the bully who has to eat what he serves regularly.
We all know that they refused to publicize the source-code for peer-review(There are several websites listing the problems with the machines) but have you heard the latest about the Joint Stike Fighter?

England was set to buy the JSF, but now Lord Drayson(Minister of defense in England) says that unless they get full access to the software running on the aircraft, that won't happen.
Why?

They're worried that the Pentagon may have placed backdoors in the software which could potentially disable or destroy the craft...

I think it will continue in 2008. It might get much worse, it might get a little better, but it really be qualitatively different. I think the US has the potential to reach the point of having elected dictators. Basically, the voters pick their figurehead but nothing really changes.