Feb 28, 2012, 07:39AM

What Goes Around Comes Around

Taxpayer money and government surveillance.

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Granted, politics never change. But it appears we’re starting to see the full swing of the pendulum as the US government has started handing out fliers asking citizens to turn in citizens. And for what? Using the Internet, paying for coffee in cash instead of credit, reading books, following the stock market, following terror threats and coverage of terrorism, playing violent games, using voice communication in games, and the list goes on in 25 fliers handed out by the FBI and DOJ to several varieties of business owners. How much longer before we start blacklisting people... oh wait. At least we aren’t labeling anyone who disagrees with the President as a terrorist. This is starting to remind me of a certain religious extremist who sold fears of communism wholesale to the public.

McCarthyism has returned. McCarthyism 2.0, I should say. We’re now telling people to be on the lookout for anyone from tourists to Joe Average paying in cash for a cup of coffee. The number of false positives that will arise out of this will be staggering. But will it catch a terrorist? Maybe. More likely it will catch someone cheating on his or her spouse or find an undocumented immigrant. And the government wants everyone and their dog to be good little G-men about it. We’ll catch adulterers, illegals, vandals, and commies and the terrorists will know we’re looking for them so they’ll give up, right?

It has recently hit the news that the government has spent more than $11 million to spy on social media, but not too much success at finding Johnny Jihad. That might be because DHS has been using the funds to monitor public opinion. Hasn’t DHS strayed from its jurisdiction just a bit? I thought Gallup was for public opinion but I never knew there was a secret public option. What’s worse about the money DHS spent to monitor the public through social media is that it was not done in-house. Instead it was done through a private contractor. Should we ask someone in the White House if he or she is a crook yet?

But of course this is just where it starts. Surely it wouldn’t be used to monitor privacy advocates, right? It’s not like DHS, at one time, labeled those who were protesting government policy as terrorists, or that the government has labeled acts of civil disobedience as low-profile terror attacks. Terrorism is the new excuse for trying to banish people for disagreeing with those in political power. Is it any surprise when the president allows a digital Watergate to happen under his nose? Certainly President Obama wouldn’t allow such a Republican act to happen on his watch if he knew about it. Certainly Obama is a bastion of competency and wouldn’t auto-pen legislation.

It’s not like the President would pull troops out of a foreign theater only upon being told immunity was no longer on the table and he’d prevent scores of innocent people to be held without charge. Surely the President wouldn’t say one thing and do another. We should just tell Rick Perry to relax about Obama being the next Jimmy Carter, because it’s apparent Obama is aligned with a wholly different presidency. 

On the downside, what we’re seeing in documents made public by FOIA, and Janet Napolitano accidentally making her thoughts public, is the tip of a larger, darker iceberg. This is part of a trend that’s repeating itself because no one paid attention the first time around. Not a single lesson was learned. The fact that protest can be the tantamount to terrorism in the eyes of those running the US should be a wake-up call to those who beg at the ballot box for more change. Because anything you say can and will be used against you.


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