What you are used to can influence what you are willing to tolerate. But then again some Americans are willing to allow for the unfamiliar. Since the Declaration of Independence America has been known as a land where liberty flourishes. Individual freedom is maximized at the expense of institutional power. But recent trends give one pause. The power to regulate and control small businesses increases even as large corporations are funneled billions of dollars sourced from small business owners and American workers. We are told our health care crisis demands immediate attention in one breath and in another told we may have to wait for years before benefits are realized. Some of our earnings are funneled to organized crime and much more to huge corporate conglomerates. Environmental zealots push for costly legislation while the number of unemployed reaches double digit levels. Concern for political correctness induces some to look past obvious clues which result in the new Orwellian phrase "man made disasters." We're not terrrorized any more. We're victims of man made disasters. As bad as all this is there might be something worse.
Justice Dept. Asked For News Site's Visitor Lists is a very troubling development. From the article:
In a case that raises questions about online journalism and privacy rights, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal request to an independent news site ordering it to provide details of all reader visits on a certain day.
The grand jury subpoena also required the Philadelphia-based Indymedia.us Web site "not to disclose the existence of this request" unless authorized by the Justice Department, a gag order that presents an unusual quandary for any news organization.
A "request" for information that invokes memories of regimes around the world having contempt for individual liberty. And to add insult to injury- a gag order. No sense in alerting Americans about attempts to subvert freedom. Worse yet the object of the gag is a part of the media presumably having First Amendment rights. It did not escape the attention of this right of center blogger that the website is left of center. It matters not. The reason we have a First Amendment is to protect the speech and writing of those whose views we personally dislike. It protects our own speech from those who think it odious. That's how it works. It has worked well for over 200 years.
This incident should concern you if you are reading this. It should bother you when the government wants to know where you spend your ciber time. It should matter even more that the government collects data about the public and tries to hide the effort to do so.
The subpoena reportedly had been withdrawn. But what law school graduates thought this was a good idea in the first place? What Americans thought this was a good idea and would this have been rescinded if noone but those immediately affected knew about it?