Saturday, June 8, 2013

Is America an Orwellian Nation?  It Depends on Your POV and Your BOLO List.
POV – Point of View
BOLO List – Be On The Lookout List
This week when it became known that the National Security Agency has for years been secretly monitoring Americans’ customer records from the three major phone networks as well as emails and Web Searches and credit card transactions,  it set off a debate whether America is in danger of becoming an Orwellian nation.  
Is the U.S. , in other words, becoming Big Brother – an Orwellian  totalitarian society in which the state oversees, monitors, and controls every aspect of its citizens lives and eradicates personal privacy?  Is computer surveillance in the name of national security insidiously taking  over our  lives? 
The ensuing debate has created strange bedfellows. In a June 7 editorial,  The Wall Street Journal says this dragnet monitoring is a good thing, “Thank You for Data-Mining.”    The Journal, a bedrock conservative publication,   says the NSA’s “metadata” surveillance is legal and necessary. 
On June 6, tehe New York Times, a liberal lapdog, in a stinging and damning editorial, asserted the Obama administration had “lost all credibility” with its secret monitoring activities.
Reactions to the secret surveillance news depends on your POV (Point of View) and your BOLO (Be on the Look Out) List.   Conservatives tend to have dark views of the Obama administration, and liberals tend to praise its political positions. 
Orwell himself, a political liberal and social conservative,  had a sharp sense of social injustice, opposed  totalitarianism,  was committed  to democratic socialism, and harbored  concerns over  activities of the “thought police” using doublethink techniques.
Beyond these POVs and BOLOs, the situation gets murky.
In August 2011, the IRS issued a “Be on the Lookout “ list (BOLO) for organizations bearing names of Prosperity, Freedom, Patriot, Tea Party, and 9/12.   President Obama, in a series of speeches, dubbed  these organizations as “shadowy,” “ foreign- controlled,” “right-wing,”  “front groups,” and “threats to our democracy.”  Vice President Biden went so far as to call them “domestic terrorists.” More than 500 of these groups had their tax-exempt status delayed or denied over a three year period while progressive counterparts were having their tax-exempt status cleared.
The administration and liberal press efforts to demonize conservative organizations succeeded .  The groups became known in much of the public’s mind as “right-wing extremists,”   or as “right-wing nut cases.” National polls showed only 25% of Americans had “favorable”  views of the Tea Party and similar groups promoting  adherence to the Constitution,   patriotism,  and personal and religious freedoms, tradtional  mainstream values and hardly extremism views.
Then suddenly a series of “scandals” erupted.  These concerned:

-- manipulation of Benghazi talking points

--secretive  monitoring of Association Press reporters and editors  

--investigation and surveillance of a Fox News reporter

-- glaringly  contradictory statements by the Attorney General and head of the National Security Agency before Congress 

--157  unexplained visits to the White House by the head of the IRS

--promotion of an IRS official responsible for conservative targeting to a position in the White House overseeing Obamacare implementation 

---previously unknown massive computer surveillance of hundreds of millions of Americans.

Were these  “scandals” or merely inexplicable behavior depends on your POV?
In view of these divergent POVs,  I thought it might be useful to view what Orwell actually said.
Do these POVs reflect the views of the Obama administration or of conservative groups?  You decide.
George Orwell Quotes and POVs

·         "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."

·        " Big Brother is watching you."

·         "Double talk means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both of them."

·         "All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia."

·         "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

·         "Liberal: a power worshipper without power"

·         "Half the time what is said  in  words is done by people who want to feel important."

·         "In a time of deceit, telling the truth is revolutionary."

·         "There are some ideas that are so absurd that only an intellectual can believe them."

·         "It is curious how people take it for granted that they have the right to preach at you and pray over you as soon as your income falls below a certain level."

Tweet:  Some say the current “scandals” bedeviling the Obama administration and belittling conservatives have Orwellian overtones.  You decide.


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