An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

There is a new initiative that is being taken by Homeland Security.  It is the National Operations Center (NOC) Media Monitoring Initiative.  According to this initiative, Homeland Security will be collecting information about journalists, news anchors, or anybody who –

traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.

This basically says that anybody from Keith Olbermann to a small blogger like myself can be targeted.  They have written that their spying is only what is “public information,” but what really raises eyebrows with that statement is the fact that they seem to want to spy on journalists at all.

There was a time where journalists were the one who were tasked with watching government.  they were the ones who were supposed to keep the government accountable to the people.  But it seems the government doesn’t like that anymore.

Oh who are we kidding.  The government of this country has hated the First Amendment since it was enacted in the Bill of Rights.  They have always wanted to get rid of it.  And now, it is looking like they are going to do just that.  Along with the entire Bill of Rights.

SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, along with its twin sister, PIPA, the Protect IP Act, are effectively going to kill the internet.  Or if it doesn’t kill it, it will changed it beyond recognition.  While that is going on, the National Defense Authorization Act has made it so that the government can detain America citizens indefinitely without cause or trial.  While these people are imprisoned, they can also be tortured just like the other detainees we have at Gitmo.

There was a question posed on formspring.me –

Will Freedom of Speech eventually be oppressed to the point that it’s extinguished?

The reply to that questions was very good –

You can’t really view it as an on/off switch. It’s a gradient. Right now, we are on the freer end of the spectrum, but heading the wrong way. If we don’t have some seriously culture blowback soon we’re going to be firmly on the bad end of the spectrum. We can’t let SOPA or PIPA pass.

That’s the absolute truth.  We are headed in the wrong direction as a nation when it comes to freedom of speech and other rights.  The worst part is that there is no cultural blowback.  The Occupy movement is showing signs of having gotten people involved, but unless the public starts really getting involved in what is happening, our rights are dead.

There are ugly signs that things are changing for the worse.  The police who are cracking down on the Occupy movements are attacking protestors and specifically focusing on photographers and journalists.  What exactly do they not want people to see?  With place like YouTube showing the ugliness of what is going on, like with the recent video of soldiers peeing on dead Afghanis, it is getting harder and harder for the thugs who make the police forces of this country to get away with what they could before.

Groups like Anonymous are being treated like terrorists by the FBI, but thank goodness that doesn’t give them much pause.  But very quickly, we are learning that the Bill of Rights may have been on the chopping block for a while, but now the executioner is called.

NDAA passed the Senate with only seven people against it.  Seven people stood up for the Bill of Rights.  How many will stand up for the Bill of Rights with SOPA and PIPA?  In an election year, it’s worth mentioning that Obama backed NDAA.  He also said he would be closing Gitmo, but now it appears like he wants to make it a franchise.

The really sad part is that if somebody who doesn’t know what’s going on, or listens to Fox News reads this, they’ll think I’m fear-mongering.  It’s the tragic part when the even-minded liberals are the ones who are talking fear.  And people should be afraid.

Things have been bad for a while, and the greatest tragedy of all is that there no people with pitchforks.  There are no massive riots and massive calls to action to stop what is happening.  The Occupy movement has done quite a bit.  Now we need something more.  There needs to be public action because we are slowly slipping into a very ugly place.  As the question above said, freedom of speech is a gradient, and the gradient is getting darker.  That cannot be allowed to happen.

If it does, though, and SOPA and PIPA pass, and journalists become the first who are attacked, then RIP, Bill of Rights.  You were fun while you lasted.

Peace out,

Lefty

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