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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

no, im not trying to start political in-fighting and fannish fudein and fightin, but Amazon says sales of 1984 have doubled in the last 48 hours on the news of the NSA being nosey and collecting phone records.

message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2072 comments Gosh, imagine that! Frankly, I think they just finally got caught. This isn't the first time, either. ISP's are required to keep logs for the FBI on emails traveling through their systems & our surfing activities are tracked by dozens of companies & probably gov't agencies.

Any electronic device going through a US border station can be taken & returned in a 'reasonable' (their definition) amount of time. You're required to give them all passwords to the device & files. The reason they gave to this was to stop trafficking in child porn, as if the Internet, Dropbox, foreign porn sites & anonymous proxy servers didn't exist. Or the mail, for that matter.

We've given up all kinds of freedom, ostensibly for safety, & no one seems to give a damn. This is being sandbagged fast, too. So much for Obama's promise on whistle blowers. Well, anyone who thought he was different than any other member of the oligarchy hasn't been paying much attention to politics for a long time.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

the whole damn thing makes me sad on SO many, I voted for Oboma, i thought he wouldn't let this sort of thing go on....i am sad because so few seem to care (several people have told me they dont care, "i got nothin to hide")...just heard one radio talk show loud-mouth call for the head of the guy that blew the whistle....i fear freedom is like a zombie, it's dead and just waiting for the last head very sad

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

i heard a news item saying sales of 1984 are up 6000%…but then my source was Coast to Coast AM...for what its worth

message 5: by E.D. (new)

E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments I've been trying to start a new work involving the plutocratic oligarchy for months now, but have to keep rethinking because of actual news releases. At least Orwell had some time to play with, now it appears fact has overtaken fiction. Literature may be falling victim to the same 24 hour cycle as information. We've all got bunkspace in Room 101.

message 6: by Krister (new)

Krister Jones (krister_jones) | 8 comments Spooky1947 wrote: "i heard a news item saying sales of 1984 are up 6000%…but then my source was Coast to Coast AM...for what its worth"

A little tube of paper just flopped out of the pneumatic tube on my desk. The paper reads:

"Goodreads 14.2.13 miniplenty malquoted salesfigures rectify"

I will therefore be amending your post to read that the sales are up 60000000000%, in line with the current Three-Year Plan.

I have not yet had time to deal with the other roll of paper I received ("Goodreads 14.2.13 reporting doubleplus ungood refs unperson Spooky1947 rewrite fullwise")but I will make it my first priority when I get back from the Two Minutes Hate...


message 7: by E.D. (new)

E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments Brought to mind:
Taxing the Job Creators is madness.
A rising tide lifts all boats.
47% will never vote for me, anyway.

Are you an agent of Obamaberg, Jones, Krister?
Loved "unperson Spooky1947"! :}

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)


message 9: by Xdyj (last edited Jun 27, 2013 10:28PM) (new)

Xdyj | 418 comments To be fair, despite all the abuses of power the U.S. today is very far from the totalitarianism of 1984, & I'm not really seeing journalists, lawyers & dissidents being disappeared on a regular basis here.

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

true...but we now have secret courts....everybody's got to start somewhere

message 11: by E.D. (new)

E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments The illusion of choice versus the cost/benefit ratio of allowing that illusion. Dissenting voices aren't silenced; they're "branded".
They become "fascists" or "Marxists", "knuckle-dragging Bible-thumpers" or "America-hating socialists".
There can be no compromise with the Devil.
But, there must always be a Devil. Pre-packaged, and easily identified.

message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2072 comments E.D. wrote: "...There can be no compromise with the Devil.
But, there must always be a Devil. Pre-packaged, and easily identified."

True. There aren't easy answers, but that's what everyone seems to want. 'All or nothing' instead of a rational 'sometimes depending'. No common sense, just drag everyone down to the same, lowest common denominator.

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

jim's right...the easy answers will come back and bite you in the butt every time...i feel this whole NSA thing is the result of our government reaching for a easy answer to hard questions....and both political parties are at fault here IMO

message 14: by E.D. (new)

E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments Sometimes I think there is no master plan. Then I think that's exactly what they want me to think. Then I think it's me who's looking for goblins. Then I wonder if they're thinking what I'm thinking.
Then I think scotch was a wonderful invention and stop thinking about the master plan. It's less stressful.

message 15: by E.D. (new)

E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments Oh.., and I'd wholeheartedly support The Rational Sometimes Depending Party. :}

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

i always vote The All-Night Party myself

message 17: by Xdyj (last edited Jul 01, 2013 02:49PM) (new)

Xdyj | 418 comments E.D. wrote: "The illusion of choice versus the cost/benefit ratio of allowing that illusion. Dissenting voices aren't silenced; they're "branded".
They become "fascists" or "Marxists", "knuckle-dragging Bible-t..."

A minority of them are indeed fascists or some kinds of supremacists though. IMHO being in opposition or in counterculture does not necessarily make one right. Also, I'm not sure but my impression is that many Marxist/socialist concepts as well as various types of "political Christianity" are all somewhat mainstream (and often abused) in political discourses here (e.g. I've seen them in OWS), so I'm not sure if those terms are really that demonizing :)

message 18: by Xdyj (new)

Xdyj | 418 comments Just come across an interesting video about this:

message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

SF Signal has an article today on books which are The Successors of Orwell’s 1984.

(One of the titles suggested is The Space Merchants, which is our Classic SF Book Discussion for July.)

message 20: by E.D. (new)

E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments I'm often amused at social gatherings by how easy it is for me to be labeled both a Libturd and Neoconderthal over the course of one evening. I admit to making a game of it, but also recognize the power of "tribal" dogma.
The willingness of educated persons to bury their heads in Ideological Hymnals is frightening.
Then again, as a Browns fan, I've often visualized the Earth swallowing Pittsburgh. So, I'm not immune.

message 21: by Xdyj (last edited Jul 04, 2013 12:10AM) (new)

Xdyj | 418 comments I think I read somewhere that a potential problem with online media like blogs is that people with similar opinions often group together, preach to the converted & strengthen the ideological bias of each other:)

message 22: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2072 comments 'tribal dogma'. Yeah. Very descriptive & accurate for so many beliefs of the good-bad, black-white variety.

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Xdyj wrote: "I think I read somewhere that a potential problem with online media like blogs is that people with similar opinions often group together, preach to the converted & strengthen the ideological bias other."

I think the tribal divisions actually got a start with cable television. Back in the 50's there were 3 commercial broadcast networks plus a young PBS, and the choice of broadcast news was Walter Cronkite on CBS or Huntley-Brinkley on NBC. These days you can choose your TV news source to suit your comfort zone.

However, that earlier era was still a tribal echo chamber, just more of a universal tribe. The availability of a much wider spectrum of views should be considered a positive development, (presuming there are still people who will consider and weigh both sides of an argument.)

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

i think yhe whole "tribe" thing is made worse by talk radio...i am a evil lib living in a very red radio here is nothing but the conservative brand, and i am constantly amazed how the people around me seem to believe EVERY SINGLE WORD these guys say...even as a hard-core lib i dont belive everything i hear on NPR, and i know from listening every now and again Rush and his crew get there facts wrong from time to time (i am speeking of facts here, i will leave opinion out of it)...i fear the American people are loseing the ability to think critically when it comes to politics, all that matters is are you in the "blue" tribe or the "red" tribe...this is NOT a good thing, and i hope im wrong but i fear im not

message 25: by Xdyj (new)

Xdyj | 418 comments It seems to me that most "tribes" here from socialists to religious fundamentalists have their share of dogmatists and opportunists, as well as many sincere, intellectually honest members. I think political ideologies per se are not necessarily bad, however they may cause trouble if their believers value ideological purity over the experience and well-beings of real people.:)

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

this is a bit off-topic, but i will toss it out a life-long reader of SF i have always felt we, as in the whole human race are asking all the wrong questions, worried about the wrong is self-evedent our planet has a limited amount of resources, yet we dont seem very intrested in getting off this i the only one that sees this as a problem? makes all the others seem really small to me...

message 28: by E.D. (new)

E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments Gee'sus H. Budha!!! You think Exxon, BP, Dutch Shell, etc. are Inhumane Monstrosities? Wait'll we see the public/private space mining conglomerates.

Trillion dollar asteroids just may be the sugar that shifts budgets away from arms spending. After the Great Pissing Contest, I mean. ;}

message 29: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2072 comments G33z3r wrote: "...(presuming there are still people who will consider and weigh both sides of an argument.) "

There always have been some, but too few. Self interest of a few makes them orate & obscure the 'facts' to their POV for the masses. People who really want to consider both sides have to listen to both, then do some research on their own putting aside their tribal dogma. That always leads other things to consider & research. Nothing is simple.

Possibly one of the best examples of this is held in Without Honour. Growing up in the US, we're told democracy is the only way to go. Robb starts out by saying they feared its coming. The book proves why.

Talk radio/TV is ridiculous. How could anyone expect factual reporting from anyone who has to satisfy their financial supporters? Of course they're going to skew the 'facts' to their side of any controversy. Unfortunately, I hear some of it at work as I spend time fixing computers. I'll often hear both sides on the same day. I have absolutely no respect for any of them.

I agree with E.D. about asteroid mining conglomerates. It will be another wild west show. Just look at the fights going on between countries in the Internet. In space, no one can hear you scream. Lots of room to lose bodies & have accidents.

message 30: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 05, 2013 08:13AM) (new)

Jim wrote: "Growing up in the US, we're told democracy is the only way to go...."

True, but when modern Americans say "democracy", they have a more complex concept in mind.

The ancient Greeks are generally credited with inventing democracy (or at least the word), and when they didn't like what someone said, they very democratically voted that he should drink a hemlock smoothie. The Romans added the idea that there should be something called laws, so everyone knew the rules beforehand. The British asserted there could be limits on the power of government. America's much-hyped founding fathers added certain restrictions on government such as freedom of speech, press, and religion, as well as our late, insufficiently-lamented protections against unreasonable searches; but they also found democracy suitable only for white, male landowners and acquiesced to slavery, and it took centuries to extend the concept to the poor, non-whites and women. It would be foolish to suggest that the concept has now been perfected. But as a rule, contemporary Americans' concept of Democracy includes these codicils.

We rarely state those assumptions explicitly, or mention how long it took us to arrive at them. So we're surprised when fledgling democracies elect kings or vote to make one segment of their population inferior.

Jim wrote: "Talk radio/TV is ridiculous....."

I don't think that many people are glued to the TV or radio news and commentary. Rating seem to indicate about 5 million TV and ~20 million radio out of 225 million adults. So around 10%.

Ever since I could get a cassette player in a car, radio to me has mostly meant getting traffic congestion reports. Now I can get traffic reports via the Internet. I can't remember the last time I turned on a radio.

message 31: by E.D. (new)

E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments As a kid I latched onto paraphrasing Voltaire: "..I may disagree with what you say, but I'll fight to defend your right to say it." It struck me as the only way democracy could work. I also got weepy during the last 10-15 minutes of "Mr.Smith Goes To Washington". Still do. Institutions in and of themselves are morally neutral. Men make them what they are, and men can be good or evil.

The fact that we are discussing these things knowing it's "possible" Big Brother is watching gives me hope there are still some Jefferson Smiths to stand up to the tribal shamans and, eventually, their puppet masters.

message 32: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2072 comments G33z3r, that was my point about democracy. I disagree that modern Americans think it is that complex. Few people realize that we live in a republic & most don't seem to really grasp how power is apportioned or they wouldn't get so uptight about presidential elections. They do seem to realize that there is always power/money to corrupt those who 'serve', though. Not that we can do much about it, apparently. If we could we wouldn't allow the oligarchy to have voted themselves the retirement package they have at the very least.

message 33: by E.D. (new)

E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments I've gotta agree with Jim. Most Americans do know the platitudes and slogans of democracy (life, liberty, the pursuit of private property, etc.), but few actually understand how the Republic truly functions. Outside of being able to launch military strikes at will, a president operates inside a narrow framework of freedom of action. He (or she?) doesn't control the economy or make dictatorial decrees. Drones? Yes. Nuking Tehran on a whim? Yes. Burning WS bankers at the stake and confiscating their Christmas bonuses? No.

The President has a bully pulpit.

The people have the vote, and the right of assembly. And, yes, an apparent inability to recognize the nature of the oligarchy's insidious grasp of the cliche "divide and conquer."

Who spends hundreds of millions of dollars to try and buy political offices simply out of "patriotic" fervor? Or good citizenship? Nobody.

The biggest problem I see is more Americans want to be Trump than tar and feather the smarmy bastard.

message 34: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2072 comments E.D., I'd say our biggest problem is that we're voting for bread & circuses without realizing that every gov't handout comes at the cost of reduced personal freedom & higher taxes.

I heard a bit on the news about how 'fees' are now being used in place of taxes & how they're actually the same thing. Wow. That's news? Seriously, how dumb are people?

Our gov't is seriously broken. The cost of getting elected is ridiculous, but once in office, even the best are sucked into a maelstrom of entrenched corruption. One step in the right direction would be to make each bill focus on a single item rather than dozens of disparate ones. Another would be to make positions salaried with the same retirement & medical packages the rest of us have.

Heinlein said something about bureaucracies being living creatures & he's right. Ours, both state & federal, has grown into a beast & keeps getting worse. It's so weighted down with silly rules that nothing gets done efficiently or properly.

For instance, I have an HSA which is like a checking account. I put money in before taxes & can use it just for medical expenses. The money is mine for as long as I live. An FSA, Flexible Savings Account, is pretty much the same except it is good only for a year. Any money left on 31Dec disappears on 1Jan. If your spouse has an HSA, you can't have an FSA. It's illegal. If you work for the KY gov't, you get either their health insurance or an FSA. You must have one or the other. It seems to me, the only purpose of an FSA is confuse the living crap out of everyone & make a fairly simple task into a bureaucratic nightmare.

message 35: by E.D. (new)

E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments As I stated above earlier, I think institutions are morally neutral. The people who work the NSA, FBI, CIA, IRS, etc., make them good or bad. Are most career bureaucrats petty and self focused? Seems so. Cushy perches tempt tone-deaf birdies. Kafka-like mutations always appear and build momentum, internally and beyond an outsiders ability to comprehend. And let's not discount patronage and influence peddling.

Plato proffered a benevolent philosopher king as the perfect political solution. He was right. He also couldn't possibly believe there would ever be such a thing. That "Man" never has, and never will exist.

In Ohio we've given our Governor line-item veto power. In theory, a great idea. In practice, extremely ineffective. It becomes just another tool to be abused. For ages the Ohio GOP has pushed for abortion curbs, only to be rebuffed by the majority of citizens. Just recently, they added these same ideas onto the new budget bill. The Governor signed it, in effect passing into law something not wanted by the majority of Ohioans. He's a Republican.

My point isn't partisan. It's that what matters is the man who decides. What his agenda is, and where his loyalties lie. Bureaucracies are prone to similar leadership agendas, as well as their own internal inertia. What I call a fustercluck.

Big Brother isn't a party member. He's the pop culture creation of a plutocracy that likes to eat its cake and yours while you're arguing about who paid for it.

(Damn! I love this group. Great for the grey matter.)

message 36: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2072 comments There goes that multiple bill thing again. If only 90% of the bill is OK, is that reason enough not to sign? No, don't answer. Obviously, it's a slippery slope & each case will be different, but it's one reason there are so many stupid things happening. Back room deals with these 'little' riders on each bill, all in the name of compromise. I doubt the very best person could stand Jimmy-Stewart-tall in the press for long. It must chip away at their souls, especially when one of the tag-alongs becomes a monster.

Philosopher king or benevolent tyrant? What about a computer that couldn't be bought or bribed & made every decision based on logic & facts? Colossus was about that & there were some nasty consequences, as I recall - bad things so that worse didn't happen...

message 37: by E.D. (new)

E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments Great sci-fi concept, based somewhat I believe on the philosopher king. Plato's ideal leader would use reason and logic tempered by empathy and compassion for humanity. I agree it's impossible for any man to be that "perfect". And there would always be those who felt they weren't being treated fairly. But haven't most tyrants (real or fictional) worked to create the popular belief that they possess both brilliance and love for their peoples? Isn't that what "the people" really want? Someone to make things right so they can focus on "pursuing happiness"?

The original point of this thread was how can Americans be open to giving up their freedom for promised security. Maybe the question should be why we need to ask that question? Who benefits from it?

message 38: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2072 comments Because people are inclined to think it never applies to them.

message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

what is the only difference between a NSA employee and a North Korean spy?


message 40: by E.D. (new)

E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments :}

message 41: by Romana (new)

Romana Drew | 19 comments Please remember that the news (TV, radio, or print) is there to make a profit – not to give you unbiased information. There was a time when TV news tried to be neutral but the advent of Fox News and others have completely thrown that away. Now the “news” is more often a platform for ideological rhetoric, or for crushing the opposition, rather than unbiased reporting of facts.

I was a civilian military employee for many years. Did you know there is a spy hotline you can call, if you think you have been compromised by an enemy agent – that is not a joke. Cyber security was always a major concern. Please, do not consider email, cell phones, credit card usage, web surfing, or anything similar to be private. It isn’t just our government that is listening in.

I’m not nearly as concerned about Uncle Sam tracking my cell phone usage as worried about who else is.

message 42: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2072 comments Romana wrote: "Please remember that the news (TV, radio, or print) is there to make a profit – not to give you unbiased information. There was a time when TV news tried to be neutral but the advent of Fox News a..."

Seriously? It's ridiculous to pick out any single news service for this practice, especially a recent one. They're supported by advertising. Some have done a better job at divorcing their revenue stream from their reporting than others, but none have been perfect. Brinkley & Cronkite set a high bar, but they were the exceptions.

message 43: by Romana (last edited Aug 11, 2013 11:31PM) (new)

Romana Drew | 19 comments Jim wrote: "Romana wrote: "Please remember that the news (TV, radio, or print) is there to make a profit – not to give you unbiased information. There was a time when TV news tried to be neutral but the adven..."

I agree that Brinkley & Cronkite set a pretty high bar. I supervise lots of 20 and 30 year olds. They have no idea who Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, or Walter Cronkite were. They may never have even heard a news reporter that was seriously trying to keep their own (or the stations or advertisers) politics out of the news reporting.

I wasn’t trying to pick on Fox News. They are hardly the only news service that is biased. It was just the first one that came to mind. The news used to be less entertainment and more facts. I don’t think that sells too well in today’s market.

So we have groups of people listening to those selling the conservative point of view as news and others tuned into the liberals. Rather than getting facts, we get dogma. This drives people apart rather than bringing them together to find workable solutions. But, this is off the topic of big brother.

message 44: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2072 comments One of the biggest problems we face is the complexity of most situations & the abundance of information. It doesn't give people time to think properly & the news services make the most of it, as they always have. It's the headlines that people remember, not the story. That's what sells, so that's what is delivered. Few dig into a story any more, question the facts, or follow the results. I think it's getting worse, too.

This gives BB (whoever that may be) a much better ability to skew things the way they want. For instance, some news organizations flashed the picture of that kid that got shot when he was 17. (Trevan?) He was a cute kid in that picture, but not nearly as sympathetic looking in some others that I saw around. By the picture that was shown, you could tell which way the story was slanted.

The same thing is done in politics all the time. A legislator will vote for/against a bill that might contain dozens of items, but come election time the same bill is held up by both sides in for or against, just different pieces are mentioned. Rarely (ever?) is the full content of the bill mentioned. I'm not sure that's a bad thing, although summaries are nice & quite eye-opening at times. (I've tried to read through a few of them & don't generally understand them well. Too much legalese that makes them a confusing mess.) "He voted against a raise for gov't workers." in one bill might actually be because 'he' was for a different bill that did the same thing, but didn't include a bunch of pork - or the reverse.

And those are just simple situations. I saw something about how poor FDA inspections were the other day. A bit of cursory looking around & I found out that's partially because there is 1 inspector for about a million items per hour in some ports. Should we break the budget with a bunch more inspectors or would that slow up the incoming flood until we had ships backed up to China? Since I don't even know the questions to begin asking, I'll probably go with the most reasonable sounding BB rep...

message 45: by Diana (new)

Diana Gotsch | 27 comments Sometimes it seems to me that there is a plot to keep us busy pointing fingers at each other and not noticing what BB is doing. The Liberals are told that everything is the conservatives fault. The Atheist "know" that the Christians cause all the problems. The poor are to blame the rich. Regionalism, race, sex, age, the list of ways we are divided seems endless. The press encourages this with the way they "report" as does the entertainment we watch. It is as if BB does not want us getting together and discovering that we all have the same enemy.

message 46: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2072 comments I wonder if they're that well organized. Could be.

message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

great show on the NSA tonight on Coast to Coast AM (sunday night/monday morning)...George Napp is the host, the guest knoes his subject, not the usual "crazy" guest

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