Jan 042011

It is so amazing!  Yesterday I was putting information up on the blog, coming across things I had forgotten entirely.  Like a warning from Robert F. Kennedy Jr to Canadians about water:  Americans have designs.   The same from Peter Lougheed, former Premier of Alberta, etc.  Along with various emails related to increasing militarization.  I went to bed troubled:  how does one ever get the seriousness of the present situation across to Canadians?

Then the self-doubt.  Maybe I am putting up TOO MUCH information on the blog?  It will obscure the central issues.  But it is the accumulated details that paint the broader picture which is what people need to see.  And I don’t want them to take my word for things.  Give them the information, they can decide for themselves what to think.  Then I wish I had learned the blogging earlier.  Maybe then I could do better.  I’d know how to make only a summary appear, with a “read more” button to make it easier for you to select what you want.  It’s coming but I haven’t quite figured it out yet.

Then ZING!    One of you always comes to my rescue!   This morning I am lifted up and set back on my feet.  This time it is Elaine – –  many thanks to her for  BIG BROTHER: The Police State Mentality in the Electronic Age  authored by Rodrigue Tremblay http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/tremblay=1132 .

That article appears first below and is related to the census work.

But in the course of contacting Professor Tremblay I came upon his words related to the situation we are in.   That’s the real ZING.  . .   Cripes –   I go on a very big high, my energy and spirits soar over the top when you send me  . . .   thoughts that reinforce my own!!   (Now, is that scary?!)    Actually it’s a sign of great hope to me when I see how many of us are saying essentially the same thing.  Professor Tremblay says it exceedingly well.






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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

BIG BROTHER: The Police State Mentality in the Electronic Age

by Rodrigue Tremblay  

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”   Benjamin Franklin (17061790), American inventor, journalist, printer, diplomat, and statesman (1775) 

“Americans used to roar like lions for liberty; now we bleat like sheep for security.”    Norman Vincent Peale (1898 –1993), American Christian preacher and author 

“A Party member lives from birth to death under the eye of the Thought Police. Even when he is alone he can never be sure that he is alone. …At the apex of the pyramid comes Big Brother. Big Brother is infallible and all-powerful. Every success, every achievement, every victory, every scientific discovery, all knowledge, all wisdom, all happiness, all virtue, are held to issue directly from his leadership and inspiration.”    George Orwell (1903-1950) (Eric Arthur Blair), (book: 1984)

“Since information gives power, access to personal files can lead to unreasonable pressures, even blackmail, especially against those with the least resources, people who depend upon public programs, for example. Big Brother isn’t a camera. Big Brother is a computer.”   C.J. Howard, political novel “Cybercash

In 2049, when the 100th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell political novel “1984” will be celebrated, it will be recalled that the immediate post September 11, 2001 period marked the beginning of a gradual decline in personal liberty and freedom, especially in the United States but also elsewhere, and the emergence of a great information-obsessed Leviathan. Freedom rarely disappears in one fell swoop. Its disappearance is rather the end result of a thousand encroachments. 

Pushed to the extreme and without clear democratic oversight, it becomes the mark of a totalitarian state, when authorities feel that they never have enough information on the people. It is because information is power and state bureaucrats and politicians naturally like to be in control; on the one hand, releasing as little information about their own actions through an imposed secrecy, and on the other, accumulating as much information as possible about the citizens.

And today, modern governments have all the tools to transform their country into a creeping police state, more so now then ever before, in this electronic age. They have access to information technology that previous full-fledged “police state” governments could only have dreamed about.

Nowadays, with super computers and revolutionary new models to gather information and build databases, governments, i.e. bureaucrats and politicians, are in a position as never before to accumulate and correlate tremendous amounts of personal information on their citizens, from public (federal, state and local) as well as from a plethora of private sources. Government intelligence on each and every citizen is thus rendered much easier and, I would add, much more frightening. Indeed, the potential for abuse is enormous.

In 2002, for example, retired Vice Admiral John Poindexter proposed that the U.S. government create a tracking and monitoring system called “Total Information Awareness”, in order for the U.S. government to gather information in a preventive way about individuals from widely varied sources, including tax records, telephone calling records, credit card charges, banking transactions, airline or ship reservations, and various biometric databases, without taking into consideration civil liberties or a citizens’ right to privacy, the U.S. Privacy Act of 1974, or without having to request search warrants and without having to give prior notice to the persons involved. —The pretext was to allow the government to thwart possible terrorist activity, thus creating an unlimited appetite for information.

Well, there are clear signs that this massive data mining system on individuals is now solidly in place and is in full operation and can be expected to grow over time. George Orwell must be turning in his grave.

First, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s network of fusion centers, launched in 2003, has allowed the government to centralize a host of previously disparate information about Americans and foreigners alike, whether related to personal and business records, drivers licenses, local taxes, local infractions, police records, etc., through a host of coordinated information-sharing networks. (N.B.: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was established on November 25, 2002 and is the domestic equivalent of the Department of Defense.) 

Secondly, central provisions of the USA Patriot Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001, allow the government to operate roving wire taps, search any individual’s business, personal, and even library records upon presentation of a national security letter, and spy on so-called “lone wolf” suspects, i.e., foreign nationals who have no known links to groups designated as terrorist. On this, the current Obama administration, by extending those provisions, is scarcely different than the previous Bush administration.

Thirdly, since passports and tight intelligence screening have been made a requirement for most international travel by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, since January 1, 2008, every individual traveling in and out of the United States has all his or her whereabouts and movements recorded so the government knows at all times his or her address and the places he or she has traveled to and from.

For instance, U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s recent decision to use full-body airport X-ray scanners and full body groping at airports is another example where so-called security procedures are applied blindly and indiscriminately. There is more to come, since it has been announced that such invasive intelligence screening is coming to hotels and shopping malls, as well as to trains, buses and ports, etc.

These are some of the main features of the new government apparatus to gather information on people. There are many others. —Take for instance the requirement, since 2002, that all American high schools must give Pentagon military recruiters the names and contact information of all their juniors and seniors. Failure to comply on their part may result in the loss of government funding.

The logical next step for the U.S. government would be to follow a recent Italy’s lead and outlaw outright the use of cash for most transactions, except for small ones, thus providing the government even more minute information about an individual’s income, purchases and displacements. Nothing will escape the watching eye of the government in the electronic age. People will be filed, photographed, corralled and branded.

Indeed, the way mass government surveillance systems are growing, by year 2020, chances are good that Americans will be living in a “Brave New World”!

 —CYBER BIG BROTHER would know it all and it will be watching you.


Rodrigue Tremblay  is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Montreal.   He is the author of the book “The Code for Global Ethics” at: www.TheCodeForGlobalEthics.com/

The book “The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay, prefaced by Dr. Paul Kurtz, has just been released by Prometheus Books.   Please visit the book site at:    www.TheCodeForGlobalEthics.com/

The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles,  by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay, prefaced by Dr. Paul Kurtz, Prometheus Books, 2010, 300 p. ISBN: 978-1616141721.

*****The French version of the book is also now available. See:  www.lecodepouruneethiqueglobale.com/  or on Amazon Canada 

Blog at: www.TheCodeForGlobalEthics.com     Please register to receive free alerts on new postings of articles.   Send an email with the word “subscribe” to: bigpictureworld@yahoo.com

The above is presented for educational purposes only.

© 2011 by Big Picture World Syndicate, Inc.

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Dr. Tremblay is the author of thirty nonfiction books, including a basic textbook in Economics, and the 2010’s The Code for Global Ethics (Prometheus Books), and he writes an international blog about geopolitics on the Internet (www.TheNewAmericanEmpire.com/blog) that is posted in ten languages.

Now that he is semi-retired, Dr. Tremblay feels that he has more time to devote to big issues. He is particularly worried that our current economic and financial problems are as much moral as technical in nature. “Why do political leaders seem to be lying most of the time? Why is uncontrolled greed so prevalent in corporate boardrooms? … Why does materialism seem to trump everything else? Why do we have the uneasy feeling that our society is going in the wrong direction? The very fact that we have to raise such questions may be a sign of the times,” Dr. Tremblay wrote in a recent blog entitled “The Moral Dimension of Things”. “Historically”, he says, “it can be shown that when the moral environment in a society is deteriorating, problems tend to pile up.”

Tremblay thinks that we are presently living in one of those times, characterized by deep and entrenched political corruption, by routine abuse of power and disregard for the rule of law in high places, and by unchecked greed, fraud and deception in the economic sphere. The results are all there to see: Severe and prolonged economic and financial crises, rising social inequalities and social injustice, increasing intolerance toward individual choices, the disregard for environmental decay, the rise of religious absolutism, a return to whimsical wars of aggression (or of pre-emptive wars), to blind terrorism, and to the repugnant use of torture, and even to genocide and to blatant war crimes. These are all indicators that our civilization has lost its moral compass.

And devising such a moral compass is the central object of his most recent book, The Code for Global Ethics. In it, Dr. Tremblay postulates that many of our problems and threats are not only severe but they have also become global in nature. He also thinks that our scientific and technological progress is advancing faster than our moral progress, with the consequence that problems seem to arise faster than our moral ability to face them and solve them. Dr. Tremblay doesn’t hesitate to place part of the blame on old religion-based rules of morality, essentially because they have not incorporated new scientific knowledge discovered over the last four centuries.

Indeed, Dr. Tremblay stresses three facts that have changed forever our worldview and humans’ vision of themselves in the Universe. They are:

• Galileo’s proof, in 1632, that the Earth and humans were not the center of the Universe.

• Darwin’s discovery, in 1859, (“On the Origin of Species”) that humans are the outcome of a very long natural biological evolution.

• And, the Watson-Crick-Wilkins-Franklin’s discovery, in 1953, of the structure of the double helix DNA molecule in human cells, and the devastating knowledge that humans share more than 98 percent of the same genes with chimpanzees.

These discoveries have tremendous consequences for our moral stance and for the pursuit of a global civilization.

Asked what a more universal civilization would look like, Dr. Tremblay answers the following:

“First and foremost, the scope of human empathy would be more universal and more comprehensive, and would not merely apply to some chosen people, to members of a particular religion or to persons belonging to a particular civilization. In practice, this would require that we establish a higher threshold of human morality, beyond the traditional norm of the Golden Rule (“Treat others as you would have others treat you.”) It would require that we adopt what I call a Super Golden Rule of humanist morality that incorporates the humanist rule of empathy: “Not only do to others as you would have them do to you, but also, do to others what you would wish to be done to you, if you were in their place.” — Of course, the corollary also follows: “Don’t do to others what you would not like to be done to you, if you were in their place.”

Dr. Tremblay does not believe that we currently live in such a global civilization. “My best hope, he says, “is that we will avoid falling back into an age of obscurantism and of decadence, and that we will be able to build a truly humanist civilization for the future.”

To meet the basic criterion for such a future global civilization, Dr. Tremblay establishes ten fundamental principles in The Code for Global Ethics.

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