In our newly dubbed “endemic surveillance” nation, press propaganda increases as Super Tuesday approaches.
More troubling than the recent resignation of the Los Angeles Times‘s top editor is the apparent absence of the paper’s sub-editors. Today’s Times story on the Democratic presidential race makes that point without meaning to. Reporter Janet Hook contends:
I pointed out last week that the Times misinterpreted its own poll by declaring that Hillary had a “clear” lead — when the statistics showed that the race is practically too close to call.
Now the paper is going even further astray by calling her lead over Obama “commanding.”
Under a reasonable headline — “Super Tuesday Looks Close for Democrats” — the subhead blatantly editorializes:
Never mind the absence of Editor James O’Shea, who said he was quitting rather than make further and drastic budget cuts at the troubled behemoth paper. Where are the people who should have been editing Hook’s story and writing its headlines? Criminal. Criminy.
Now more than ever, a stronger press is needed. The work of much of the mainstream press seems to be getting weaker as the real news about our country gets scarier. One recent tidbit: The U.S. has fallen into the planet’s bottom category in privacy protection — or has risen to the top in surveillance of its citizenry, depending on how you look at it.
Privacy International’s rankings of all countries show the U.S. has fallen from being just an “extensive surveillance” nation to now being an “endemic surveillance” state, joining Russia, China, and the U.K.
The international organization released the grim news in conjunction with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), whose site should be required reading.
The U.K. has a more extensive video-surveillance scheme than any other country. As the for the U.S., well, there are troubling developments. Here are three of them, from the Privacy International report:
• Congress amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in a way that significantly weakens the FISA court, and permits warrantless surveillance of American citizens when one party to the conversation may be outside of the United States.
• Although the REAL ID Act was passed in May 2005, states and public organizations have rebelled against the scheme. Sixteen states have passed legislation rejecting REAL ID and there are bills in both US legislative houses that would repeal the Act creating the national identification system.
• The Automated Targeting System, originally established to assess cargo that may pose a threat to the United States, has been proposed to establish a secret terrorism risk profile for millions of people.
With a national-ID scheme, at least voting will be less messy. It would be conceivable that the government will know exactly who voted for whom. That’ll help restore some order.
One glimmer of democracy: The Democrats’ primary-vote system is proportional, not winner-takes-all. That opens the door to someone like Obama, instead of assuring that we will continue this nonsense of going back and forth between our two royal families, the Bushes and Clintons.