November 19, 2010



I spy on you, and vice versa
by Jim Hightower

Every time some dimwitted bozo tries to pull off a screwy terrorist act against us, the kneejerk reaction of our authorities is to "secure" our liberties by putting more restrictions on your and my liberties.

One goofball guy on a plane, for example, tried to ignite his shoe in 2001. His effort fizzled, but since then every American who travels on an airplane — some 100 million of us each year — must bow to al Qaeda by bending over to remove our shoes before shuffling through a security system that assumes all Americans are terrorists.

Then came the incompetent who tried — but failed — to detonate his underwear. In response, our government is spending billions of our tax dollars to put pricey and invasive super-X-ray machines in America's airports. How invasive? The machines peer right through our clothing, exposing everyone's privates to screeners, who assume that all of us have bombs in our undies.

What al Qaeda has learned is that they do not even have to succeed to succeed. Just by sending some hapless, low-level bunglers on a harebrained mission, they know that our officials will obligingly withdraw yet another freedom from the American people.

Worse, they've altered our society's historic culture of liberty by prompting U.S. officials to impose an Orwellian ethic of fear, suspicion and repression. We now live, for example, under a McCarthyesque law called the "Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative." This ludicrous, un-American waste of tax dollars includes electronic signs on our highways urging us to spy on each other and report even the most innocent activities to police authorities. Likewise, airport PA systems now ceaselessly boom out authoritarian messages asserting sternly that, "Security is everyone's business."

Excuse me, but no. In America, Liberty is everyone's business.

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