All may take solace in the sure knowledge that with every new revelation, every new government scandal, and every new government lie, a weight is added to God’s Unseen Scale of Justice, tipping this ever-present scale toward the ultimate consequence of eradication. from Food for Thought
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This book “subversives” has a great story behind it. The author had to fight the FBI for 30 years, for them to release the documents he uses as primary sources, costing the bureau over one million dollars in the process. I recommend this as a read for anyone (as soon as it’s not $40), I know I will, and no I’m not getting anything for it.
I know this book would tickle my fancy, especially since much of it focuses on the Free Speech Movement, which happened right in my backyard & Alma Mater, UC Berkeley. It also documents the effort put forth by the FBI in undermining members of its leadership like Mario Savio and other leaders of activist organizations. By using these struggles, the conservative movement was able to rise to power through Ronald Reagan; first as Governor of California (running on an anti UCB platform), and then as President of the United States.
If you would like a more detailed review, Matt Taibbi wrote a great review of “Subversives” in the New York Times Sunday Book Review I highly recommend you check out.
Forget the Soundbite, Its Time For A Reality Check
I think this book holds even more relevance than it normally would because of the recent push by Congress for us to surrender our online privacy rights via CISPA. Through what I know and have learned, I feel that allowing CISPA to happen is a terrible idea and must be avoided at all costs. The only thing this “cyber-security” measure allows the government to bypass the process of showing a judge enough probable cause for theme to get a warrant for our information; which they’ll then use to prosecute us with.
Without needing a judge to sign off on the legal reasoning of for their investigation, the FBI will be given free rein to decide as they will the merits of their case……yeah cause that worked out GREAT during the 1960s especially with COINTELPRO, the FBI’s illegal surveillance program they used against political dissidents.
Eventually, we must draw that line in the sand somewhere or another, so where will it be? Regardless of our personal political beliefs, if we’re skeptical of Obama or not, or what our general feeling about our government in general is.; it doesn’t matter. When it comes to increased governmental powers at the expense of our eroding ones; we must ask ourselves, “when is enough, enough? and “where do we draw the line at?”
History Repeats Itself
The one thing sure to stay the same, regardless of party, or administration is the natural inclination for power to seek more power. Look at investment bankers, elected officials, and police officers; for the most part, each profession is plagued by scandal, irrespective of their location.
For those law-abiding citizens inclined to believe this isn’t their problem because they aren’t doing anything illegal or wrong; guess what, you’re wrong!
Look at the way the FBI investigated Martin Luther King Jr., easily one of the most respected people from the Civil Rights Movement, and in general. Almost from the moment he stepped on the national stage, gaining the limelight during the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, he faced constant, heavy surveillance from the FBI…
Countless hours of audio recordings and stacks of papers detailing all aspects of his private life, even the most private and intimate, all for his POLITICAL views. What then, did these tax payer dollars uncover, for surely there must have been a good cause
And that criminal activity was;
[Maury Povich voice]
He had an affair
[GASP] oh the horror, I feel much safer now….. It turns out he WAS human! (i knew it).
Now I know I didn’t get shafted on that whole rapture business and miss that second coming of Jesus I keep hearing religious people talk about, YAY! I’m still in the running….. WHEW….crisis averted….I guess? [shrug]
(Or maybe it was part of the Federal Holiday vetting process, which must be something similar to sainthood….right?)
I wish I had asked for a receipt and could get OUR money back for THAT dumb purchase, or at the very least could have them validate my parking, cuz I feel kinda cheated; lightweight hardcore…..so should you…..
The saddest part of it all; they actually took it easy on him. The level of harassment and surveillance he faced was nothing compared to those the FBI viewed as being more “radical” oriented. Our government didn’t knowingly falsify or misconstrue evidence against him, as they did with Leonard Peltier of AIM; who still sits behind bars.
FBI Gets Down And Dirty; Real Dirty, Like A Criminal Would
FBI agents and provocateurs never infiltrated the SCLC, taking actions known to be likely at resulting in violent conflict leading to his death (or did they) as evidence would suggest was the case with Malcolm X, and members of the American Indian Project, or the Black Panther Party (yet again).
The only thing all of these people held in common was making too much damn common sense. Our government IS imperfect and SHOULD and COULD do better by its citizens and the rest of the world; apparently they were just outspoken about it and received lots of media attention for it. an outspoken view that our government not only could, but should, do better by its people.
Apparently our freedom of speech isn’t actually free; just ask Bradley Manning (held for over 1,000 days without trial or charge), or Julian Assange (now holed up in a Central American embassy, to avoid US extradition efforts), it’s only free when it’s positive. Negative commentators get taxed, and taxed hard by the government for holding that stance; a modern-day cookie jar the profit from curse words goes in.
Somehow, FBI agents and the government at large, find ways to avoid, bend or outright break those very same laws they have a hard-on to convict someone else for. I’d imagine this to be some legal wheeling and dealing and moral stretching exercise something akin to tying Stretch Armstrong to a tree and the back of the car; or like Andre the Giant somehow squeezing into a tiny tin box; a contortionists!
only to find out afterwards Andre and the box never existed; it was an optical illusion……GOTCHA SUCKA!!!!!
…..the government and its agents/representatives in the FBI and prosecution just didn’t agree with them not agreeing with its politics I guess….
Which is precisely why I don’t want them fumbling through my digital detritus; free to make whatever subjective interpretations they may, pursuing their case to the end regardless of how much bullshit it is…..just look at how petty they were in the case of Aaron Swartz.
Come With Me If You Want To Live
If you’re like me and oppose the increased presence of the government, all up in our kool-aid, then please show your support by signing the petition, or looking at what campaign’s the Electronic Frontier Foundation has going on, or the Internet Defense League, both of currently have online campaigns going on.
Or if you have other ideas to combat CISPA leave me a comment and we can work together on it!
If you feel that CISPA is a GRAND idea, or can’t even be troubled to think about it at all, suit yourself; you’re probably smokin rocks. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you’re having a train run on you by some guy named “bubba” and his buddies when you’re at Leavenworth Federal Prison for something stupid.
If You Intend To Be Happy In Your Pursuits You Must;
Its impossible to exaggerate the importance and power of “self talk” in relation to your overall happiness. When you think of yourself as having worth, you challenge yourself more, accomplishing more in the process and begin truly believing in the untapped potential contained within. Believing in yourself and doing what makes you happy translates into added benefits in all areas of your life as well.
People tend to want to spend time with you when you’re positive, comfortable, and confident in your interactions. Honesty and authenticity in your words and actions is easily recognized by others. You’ll enjoy healthier relationships; rich and fulfilling in nature. Acting naturally ensures the people in your life appreciate you for who are.
They accept and like you because of your “flaws”, not in spite of them. Doing things you enjoy even makes work, and getting an education fun. If you don’t have passion for what you’re doing, you’ll find its hard do well or for very long. It won’t matter how much it pays, what it looks like on paper, or what it allows you to buy; you can’t buy happiness.
These are lessons I’ve forced myself to learn and re-learn throughout my life. Being injured and off work for a long time, forced me to begin applying myself to find things I found worth doing because they were meaningful instead of just easy, or comfortable. At the beginning of my experience with the injury and with workers compensation, I felt stripped of my life. In reality it had been returned to me. With nothing to do with my time aside from being miserable (of which I did plenty), it forced me to pursue things I find interesting to combat my feelings of depression; a major improvement over a dead end job. I found a way to turn this into a positive, developing more new skills and experience in new area’s than I had in the last 2yrs of my life.
In doing so, I interned with the Obama campaign which I didn’t enjoy as much as I thought I would. In the process of my campaign work I discovered a program doing writing workshops for incarcerated youth from a campaign volunteer who volunteered with them as well. Getting involved in the program made me realize how much I enjoy working with those kids we like to label as being “at risk” and I’m good at it as well.
I spent a good part of my life living with a single mother in a dysfunctional family, having little money and even less direction. In efforts to fit in I began acting out of character for myself. Getting in trouble, ditching class, experimenting with alcohol and other substances inevitably resulted in academic consequences. I can remember in 9th grade we did a mock year book categories for our science class, I was voted most likely to go to jail…I think they were only half being funny….lightweight-hardcore.
That assessment hit closer to the mark than they could have thought. I nearly didn’t graduate high school on time if at all, let alone make it into a 4 year college which had always been a personal goal of mine. Despite feeling disappointed, and discouraged from this, I kept at it, working harder because I had to, always with my eye on the prize.
When I began Junior College, I used the new beginning as such, devoting myself to my studies and becoming active on campus. Soon, building each goal upon another the transformation was clear. Going from a chronic underachiever to gaining an Associates degree, and then transferring to UC Berkeley and gaining my Bachelors degree in History. As the first in my family to go to college and without anyone to really guide me ensuring I was on the right track or what to expect it was really difficult at times; but I appreciate it as a personal accomplishment so much more for it.
My growth and transformation in this process taught me a lot about myself and the limitless potential within each of us so long as we allow ourselves to believe in our ability. Its gratifying to come through the adversity in your life, reaching your goals, never losing sight of that light at the end of the tunnel. The act of re-fashioning yourself into a better person, reborn from the ashes of your mistakes and your failures is redemptive and empowering. The ability to become a phoenix resides within each of us, it just needs nourishment to flourish.
Having lost sight of this for a time despite my accomplishments; I sank back into feelings of depression and self-doubt making many of those poor decisions again. This experience gives me a deeper appreciation for just how fine a line it is separating “I can’t” from the “I can”, and achievements from everything you were too scared to try.
Realizing this makes me understand how important it is to help others pick themselves up and dust themselves off when they have stumbled or fallen. The ability to see and believe in your potential is a flame you must vigilantly fan and stoke in yourself and in others lest it go out; quickly striking a spark igniting it again in times its snuffed out.
Theres no doubt in my mind, my journey is not a special one, the adversity not nearly as severe or as challenging as what inner city youth face today. Poverty and all of it’s manifestations is ugly and brutal enough here at home, let alone the rest of the world, but it was something important to me, and I did it. Having applied as a long shot, I’d already began making arrangements to go somewhere else when I found out I had been accepted. The opportunity to go to college, and the one that I did for that matter, forever altered the course of my life with impact, in a major way. A gift for which I”m eternally grateful.
Thinking back now, I remembering just how close I came to never experiencing any of it. I almost never mailed in the application at all… This makes me wonder how many others are out there at this very moment who find themselves now in similar boat as I was then, “application packets” hovering over the waste basket… Which in turn resolved me to share my passion for education and lifelong learning and my story as an inspiration to others, hoping to help at least one person to take that shot, even if it is an “oh what the hell, why not?” and in the dark.
As it stands now, I’ve begun the almighty litmus test of turning belief into action, interviewing soon for several programs similar to Teach for America, where I can try making an impact right out the door, as well as volunteering.
To be quite honest, I’ve never been happier or more comfortable with a decision in my life my eyes finally opened to whats important in my life, and it makes me wonder “what the hell took ya’ so long?”.
Using my story as a lesson for others, I offer up these few bits of advice
My Advice To You
Don’t dwell on your mistakes, treat them as transformative agents for change instead.
You should chase those dreams your mind is quickest to abandon or discredit;
Live your life happily and fully, being honest to yourself at all times, and in service of others when you’re able.
By doing so not only will you be happier for it, you never know how many lives you’ll touch, or people you’ll inspire.