December 13, 2007
I’ve found some references to Naomi Wolf’s latest book, and it is scarier than the one by Richard Flanagan. “The End of America” is apparently about the ten steps any would-be dictator can take to rapidly shut down a democracy. She’s done her research on the early years of several dictators .. and here’s the crazy stuff – she suggests that Bush’s US government has taken all ten steps.
In this interview she speaks mainly of the first four of the ten steps:
1) Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy (Osama, Saddam ..
2) Create a gulag – an off-shore prison with different laws (Guantanamera ..
3) Develop a thug caste – a paramilitary force not answerable to the people (apparently a private army called Blackwater already operates in the USA?
4) Set up an internal surveillance system aimed at ordinary citizens (make sure everyone has a fridge magnet, break down trust and stir up discontent between different social groups ..
Having a vote doesn’t mean you’re living in an open society with the underpinnings of civil rights and freedoms; because closed societies (countries without freedom) do have elections, and they do have newspapers.
Why does the President have the right to federalise the national guard, to torture people, to detain citizens without charge? Naomi sees this as a war on the citizens of democracy.. that our apathy and our terror has blinded us to the rapid onslaught of tyranny.
People in Alabama being put in prison for donating to the Democratic party? Time to wake up, says Ms Wolf. Now! Every day counts. Let us restore the rule of law.
Blimey! Surely it can’t be that bad? I mean America is land of the free, isn’t it?
You don’t think we’re going to see vigilantes in the streets? Concentration camps? Invading other countries for colonialist gain .. oh ..
December 11, 2007
Hasan Elahi – the Visible Man – found himself on the wrong side of federal government agencies. “Where were you on september twelfth?” they asked him, before grilling the guy with nine lie detector tests.
So Hasan decided to publish every tiny morsel of his life. Many times during each day, images from his location are broadcast live in the name of art and safety.
Will this transparency be required of all citizens in the future? Are we heading in the Right Direction? Would you be prepared to wear a GPS Ankle Bracelet for your own safety?
Here’s an interview with the artist.
November 30, 2007
Stating its reasons as public safety, the Japanese government is passing legislation to enforce fingerprinting for all foreigners. Vegetable Japan posts a strong protest, noting that all of the anti-civilian violence in Japan has been carried out by the locals rather than Gaijin.
She believes that the government is using widespread fear to crack down on individual liberties, and refers to an article by John Mueller. Writing from the US, for Foreign Affairs, Mueller wonders whether the threat of the T-word is now used primarily to curtail civilian freedoms, rather than to maintain public safety.
(image of delicious food taken without permission from Vegetable Japan)
November 21, 2007
Well honey, thanks for your blessings and the kind reminder.
i really do consider myself lucky. i’m living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. i’m alive, i have a working fridge plus a roof over my head, and i currently have a huge whacking degree of freedom. This freedom i am celebrating every minute, with every breath. Albeit somewhat nervously right now. A misunderstanding can really turn your world around.
Way too many other people haven’t been as lucky as me.
Many have fallen into the clutches of a horribly murderous cult, and given their lives to kill, which they were brainwashed into thinking was the right thing to do.
Many have died because of the (insanely misguided) actions of these people.
Many have fallen before the armies out hunting for the leaders of this cult. Many in these armies have died also.
A fair few have died from mistakes in the hunt for the cult leaders, and
Plenty have been locked up for time without charge, while
The rest of us are apparently living in fear.
none of that seems good to me.
So, yes i feel very very lucky. Don’t you worry about that Joh.
Lucky to be alive, lucky i didn’t get beaten up, lucky i never joined a cult. Lucky to still have my freedom. If i’d been reported to the security hotline, it seems unlikely but i could in theory have been detained for fourteen days without charge. With nobody knowing why i didn’t come back from Cairns.
I’d still be asking for my mobile phone, so i could send a text to my mum.
(Thanks Eric Kilby for the image “All your needs .. and Coke”, at flickr and Cowtools for “how to enjoy better meals”)
(There are some other funny comments on that Register page. Lot of people running down Australians for not being able to read.)