Your Big Brother, Uncle Sam

Devon Spiva 6/25/2017


Today’s government is more like that of Orwell’s dystopic 1984 than anyone dares to proclaim. For years conservatives have railed against government expansion and the intrusion of government into our personal lives. Those whose voices ring out the loudest are either painted as conspiracy theorists or have their lives ruined. Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning are two of the most prominent examples, forced to take refuge in a foreign country to escape federal retribution while the other was put in federal prison all for simply showing the American people how deeply the government runs in the lives of others and how much it infringes upon their personal freedoms. This isn’t new; as seen by the release of the Pentagon Papers, the NSA overreach under the Obama Administration, and the constant stream from Wikileaks, the problem is that not only is government breaching the bounds set by the Constitution, they’re learning to hide it better.

         Thirteen states have libel laws that prevent average people from speaking out against the food industry or the agriculture industry. Upton Sinclair’s work, The Jungle, wouldn’t be able to be published in any of these states had the food libel laws been active then. This is a direct abridgment of free speech and free press, where the government can lawfully penalize you for simply speaking out against any food industry in a way they deem “libelous.” Of course, this is mostly confined to states, as only thirteen states have this as a law (despite it being directly unconstitutional under the 1964 Supreme Court ruling of NYT v Sullivan) yet there is another massive invasion and encroachment of individual rights that has been the law since 2001.

         The PATRIOT Act passed after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, under the second Bush Administration. Coinciding with this act that allowed the second Bush Administration and those that followed to monitor private citizens for signs of terrorism was the creation of the National Surveillance Agency. This agency has long been chastised as unconstitutional and, because of Edward Snowden, the American public was shown just how deep the roots of the agency go, tracking the communications of “suspicious persons” and the “three-hops rule” allowing the surveillance agencies to monitor people with connections to a person of interest via three-hops. To break that down, that means that if you know someone who knows someone that is a person of interest, whether they are aware of that or not, you are also being monitored. Your social media pages and your online communications via their metadata, who you have communication links with though not what is specifically written, has been compiled into a massive dossier on you personally for the use of the NSA and accompanying surveillance agencies. That means if you have 200 Facebook friends, 5,339,912 people are the third degree from you or “three hops” away, meaning, more than likely, the NSA is monitoring you. When Snowden released the NSA files, it was revealed that Verizon had been collecting the phone calls of its customers and relaying them to the agency.

         Under Obama, the NSA was expanded, with raw information from Google, Verizon and others flowing directly to United States surveillance agencies. The expansion was so drastic that, in 2013, the ACLU filed a class action lawsuit against Obama alleging that the phone call collection abridged the civil rights of all Americans. Despite this, Obama granted the NSA wider latitude upon leaving office, expanding the raw data transfer allowances. Also under Obama, another government agency targeted those of different political ideologies from the administration, the IRS. When conservative groups and groups allied with the Tea-Party filed for tax-exempt status, the IRS specifically targeted these groups and delayed processing. In this case, the party in control, the Democrats, punished those who disagreed with their ideology resulting in an astounding case of federal overreach and attempted censorship of those with different views. See the parallels to Orwell’s dystopia yet?

         And, as of July 2nd, 2013 (an egregious year for civil rights) government passed a reform to existing legislation that forbade the government from creating propaganda allowing the government to broadcast their pro-government propaganda here in the United States, initially only being able to broadcast it in foreign countries to encourage democratic and civil reform. Since then, the government can fund flattering programming to leave you, the viewer, believing that the government is the solution to your problems. But, as President Reagan said, “government is not the solution, it’s the problem.”

         The list of unconstitutional laws that promote the government at the expense of the citizen continues indefinitely, after all, lobbying is a very potent force as shown by the food libel laws and the unwillingness of Congress members to speak out against those who bankroll them. Most recently, the internet privacy of the average citizen, protected by the FCC was repealed allowing internet and data providers, such as Google and Verizon, to target internet users to sell to advertisers and, presumably, make it harder to justify repealing the NSA’s “right” to do the same.

         The government’s constant expansion should be cause for worry for every citizen. Look at the history of the fight against tobacco and how long it took until the tobacco industry finally lost their hold on the American citizens but not before they had utilized the film industry and cartoons to target children, expanding the demographic of smokers. Then consider the common items pushed by the government onto you and the studies into their detrimental effects, all which allow Big Pharma and hospitals to make large amounts of money. Question the reason as to why cancer and diabetes have become more common with no cure despite former deadly diseases becoming completely obsolete. Know your history and do not be deceived by those who would seek to control you. If you control the narrative, you control the people and the government can lawfully control the narrative while the lobbyists control the government.

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