The USNSA: War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength

USNSA-No Room Transparency“Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.”

– Henry David Thoreau

“You can’t have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience … We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”

– Barack Obama

 

Dystopia, Data-Mining and Distraction

This past week was a wake up call for many Americans living in the United States of the National Security Agency (USNSA) – a dystopia of their own making. Yes, yes, revelations came to light that ‘the powers that be’ had obtained a secret court order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allowing it to basically gorge itself on tens of millions of phone records of Verizon customers. Surprise! Big Brother may not be watching, but he is listening. A short time later, information concerning the government’s PRISM program was revealed. It basically empowers the National Security Agency (NSA) to data-mine the emails and chat records of both Americans and foreigners abroad from some of the largest Internet based services, such as Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Google (SkyNet) and other web-based giants.

Of course, all of this should come as a shock to no one … except the obvious clear majority of easily led American ‘sheeple’ that believe the internet, or their phone lines, for that matter, are ‘private’, and that their personal data are protected under a supposed ‘right to privacy‘ guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution … (insert pregnant pause) … oh wait , sorry … such a right is not actually expressed in the Constitution. Chalk that up to yet another American collective misconception … or perhaps to good old Uncle Sam, an apparent trickster of sorts.

Makes you think twice about ‘cloud computing’, doesn’t it? Sure. Go ahead and back up all your data online. It’s safe and secure – and makes it that much easier for the NSA to access. And trust me, it’s not doing so for the Lulz. Similarly, you can understand why some folks stuff money into their mattresses; banks are neither safe nor secure. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and ask anyone that has ever had the misfortune of having the long-arm of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ‘beam into’ their savings accounts to settle a tax matter or two.

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Walking On Eggshells, Sticks And Stones

Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads.
– George Bernard Shaw
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.
– George Orwell

Let’s pretend it’s kindergarten again and time for ‘show and tell’. Today, I’ve brought ‘my opinion’ to share.

Now, if that makes you nervous, so be it. However, know that I say that because only you can decide for yourself what offends you or incites you to violence. Hopefully, this post will do neither, but obviously it’s really up to you. Trust me, I understand.

These days, there is a rash of global protests, some violent, over a pretty lame anti-Islam film titled ‘Innocence of Muslims‘ produced in the United States. The zealous condemnation of the film by Muslims have triggered a rioting frenzy, including attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions and consulates, and resulting in at least 14 deaths and the murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya. This morning I awoke to a steady stream of ‘Twitter tweets’ suggesting that the protests were spreading like wildfire … and so was discussion of another form of righteous indignation: censorship.

Oh, how some have forgotten their kindergarten lessons: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

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The High Art And Crime Of Limb Jerking: Free Pussy Riot

“Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.”
– Albert Camus
“I thought the church loved its children … It turns out the church only loves those children who believe in Putin.”
– Maria Alekhina

 

Running within my veins is an international blend of blood cells owing their existence to a somewhat mixed and muddied heritage that is one part American, one part European and one part Russian. These days, my blood – and not just the Russian part –  is boiling, especially after witnessing the conviction of 3 young women, members of ‘Pussy Riot’, an anonymous Russian feminist performance art group/punk rock band.

A few days ago, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, both young mothers, as well as Ekaterina Samucevich, were sentenced by a Russian court to two years each after being found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”.

If you haven’t heard the story, here are the basics: In February of this year, the artists performed a ‘flash performance’ of their song titled, ‘Punk-Prayer: Virgin Mary, Put Putin Away’, at the altar of Moscow’s main cathedral. The stunt lasted approximately 30 seconds or so before the group were forced from the church.

Yes, the impromptu politically charged exhibition obviously rubbed many folks the wrong way – especially those it was aimed at, namely Russian President Vladimir Putin and church leader Patriarch Kirill, a staunch supporter of Putin’s re-election campaign; strange bedfellows given the supposedly formal separation of church and state.

Incredibly, the Russian court chose to dismiss the obvious political and personal aim of the song, as well as the artists’ actual testimony, and instead categorized their actions as essentially a ‘religious hate crime’ and act of ‘social disorder’. In this last categorization, the court referred to “devilish dances” and ‘limb jerking” (insert long pregnant pause here to collect your dropped jaws).

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