The New Shot Heard Around the WorldSubmitted by James_Madison_Lives on Sat, 11/20/2010 - 21:41
In the Boston, Massachusetts subway system (the "T") about every 10 minutes you will hear a loudspeaker announce management's bright idea called the "If you see something, say something" campaign. In other words a bunch of political hacks hired by the state transportation authority suddenly found themselves empowered by 911, and sat around in their watering holes with their fat public paychecks and thought of ways to inconvenience the public so it would LOOK like they were doing something about terrorism, rather than adopting truly effective measures.
The announcement which blares out over the loudspeakers in the subway repeatedly goes "If you see any suspicious activity, call the transit police immediately. Remember, if you SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING." Doubtless the hack who thought of that one thought it worthy of Madison Avenue and they tilted another few Heinekens to celebrate it.
Here at last is the heart of the Tyner shot heard around the world. Is the government interested in keeping us safe? Or keeping us scared, humiliated, and obedient? Why isn't cargo hold baggage on airliners given the same screening carry-on luggage is? Why are SWAT teams with dogs deployed to sniff passengers on commuter rails in Boston (I don't know about elsewhere) while you can sneak up to the edge of many major chemical or nuclear power plants without much trouble? The question is not whether or not security measures are necessary in this country, but whether national, state, and local governments give a good GD about security and instead have been reveling in the heady powers of forcing blind, withering obedience at the risk of being shot on the spot.
Believe me, if a terrorist ever tries to hit, he's not going to be dressed in a Jihadi outfit complete with black headband. That's a cartoon. And that's what the government is interested in, the power of the cartoon.
If the government was interested in real security it would secure the borders, not least by repealing NAFTA which put Mexican corn farmers out of business which is one big reason they are streaming across looking for work. The fewer people trying to cross, the easier it is to catch those few who are here for dire purposes. Beef up border security, yes, but also get to the root causes of the epidemic, like recalcitrant corporate employers who like the cheap labor and forced-down wages for Americans, who like things just the way they are and pay the politicians to NOT solve the problem. I'll crack down on illegal immigrants as hard as anyone else, but I refuse to blame a bunch of half-starved poor people for the country's problems.
Last but not least stop maxing out the Chinese credit card on foreign adventures which make us no safer, and have driven the country to bankruptcy (the military is the single largest discretionary spending item in the US budget.) A congressional committee report says we are the ones keeping the Taliban in Afghanistan in business, through protection payments to keep them from attacking military supply convoys. That's like trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it.
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson told us to beware of "foreign entanglements," and take care of bees-wax right here at home. Rand Paul has said if we are going to balance the budget, military spending must be "on the table." Truth-teller Ron Paul had the gall to say the un-sayable in a debate in 2008, that they don't attack us because we are free, but because "we've been over there..." That got Rudy Giuliani's underwear all bunched in a wad.
The late Howard Zinn asked a similar question: if they attack people who are rich and free, why aren't they attacking...Denmark? They are as free and probably richer than us now if you consider solvency. Answer: they don't have a CIA and military which has been going around the world messing with people for 60 years.
Everyone waiting for the subway in Boston now always has the same joke about "reporting anything suspicious." We all want to tell the announcer that the only thing that's suspicious around here is you, buddy.