It’s 2006 here but is it 1984 in the USA?

Chancellor Bush

One of my more regular reads, more reliable in fact than any newspaper, radio or TV show, is BoingBoing. If this were my only source of news, odd opinions on world politics would come with the territory. Since I do absorb data from a few other places, it came as an enormous surprise to me to read another article about some poor schmuck being arrested for having a sense of humour, and to find that it was not news! Why? Because everything I have heard and seen about the USA in the past seven years has lead me to expect that America will eventually turn into Alan Moore’s Britain.

Now, when I hear that the American government is openly admitting that it maintains massive detention-without-trial facilities all over the world for the purpose of torturing anyone it damn well pleases, I nod in faint disgust, but somehow I am completely unsurprised.

Thus it is that I am forced to admit: I started thinking of the USA as a fascist police state some time ago. Not just in the paranoid trend-conscious sense, either. At some point in the past seven years, the vague bemused feeling that followed me to California when I travelled for work; that feeling that maybe I should have farewelled my loved ones, that I should be careful who I talked to in the USA, and what I talked about, has gone from being a joke to being a basic fact, something I take for granted.

I am no seer, no more able than the next person to forsee what is actually coming, so I won’t try. I am scared though: I see nothing to stop this juggernaut, and it is bigger than the puny little country I live in.

At least, I console myself, we don’t have any significant amount of oil.

Uranium, on the other hand… 🙁

9 thoughts on “It’s 2006 here but is it 1984 in the USA?

  1. And yet, the radical documentary maker, Mike Moore, is alive and well and still peddling his wares in the USA, which is more than could be expected of many other governments. What exactly is happening here? Is the permitting of such popular dissent all just a part of the cunning plan of a dictatorship, or are things a lot more complicated than we like to imagine?

  2. Daniel, you cheer me up considerably, but I am somehow not convinced that I should rest easy over issues like America’s international detention-without-trial torture-camps because the Bush administration cowers before the awesome power of Mike Moore. Dissent is great, but I was a teacher’s son under Kennett, and I distinctly recall what it feels like to dissent loudly and be blithely ignored.

  3. The huge engine of government and corporate oppression, all seeing in its abilities to quash rebellion, has struck again. I try to look at the link “another article about some poor schmuck being arrested for having a sense of humour” from behind my workplace Proxy, and what happens? “403 – Forbidden.”!!!!!
    Soon our freedoms will crumble, humanity destroyed, and Nazis will once again ride dinosaurs .

  4. Thorne, my intention was not to cheer you, or lull you into any false sense of security, but rather to rouse you from your sense that everything sux and that therefore nothing can be done. The existence of Mike Moore or things like Indymedia show that the Bush Administration is anything but all-powerful (a conspiracy theorist however may suggest that they are just government-backed fakes designed to detract from more sober and rational forms of opposition).

    I appreciate that dissent can sometimes seem to be futile. However I am puzzled by your selection of the Kennett government as an instance of the futility of dissent, given that Kennet lost power several years ago.

    Back in the USA, It will be interesting to see what happens with the Congressional elections this week…

  5. Take #2: The Very Very Short form.
    1. Thanks. Yes, Indymedia good, but I question power of the media to shift intractable things like Halliburton.
    2. Yes, Kennett government gone. “Public” Transport remains privatised. Regional schools remain closed. Transurban remains faustian. Jeff enjoys serious retirement benefits, & smiles a lot.
    3. Yes, Congressional (and other) elections bring change. I question the power of future elected governments to undo the changes and damage done, close Gitmo, break contracts with Halliburton, raise the dead, etc.

  6. Australia does have a significant amount of oil. And Canada has even more. You seem to believe in the popular myth that the USA imports a lot of oil from the Middle East. It does not. Europe does. The USA gets most of its supplies locally, from Canada and Venezuela.

    Besides, why would the USA spend trillions of dollars invading Australia when it is so much cheaper to just buy the stuff from us on the open market?

  7. Thorne have much to say. Probably Thorne should post a new post altogether rather than engaging in commentary debates deep in the bowels of ancient posts. Still…
    My understanding of America’s interests in oil is that:
    a) The US demand for oil is expected to increase significantly on an on-going basis. Since the present supply is not expanding at a like rate, this must eventually necessitate new suppliers.
    b) The US dollar is presently remaining strong in spite of an outrageous and unprecedented national debt. Tradtional conspiracy theories involve massive arms trading or cultural imperialism to support this. The former seems particularly implausible given that the present occupation of Iraq is already overstretching America’s own military and logistic resources. Recently though, I read a compelling article which made the case that the US dollar is supported by the ongoing global trade of oil in it.
    As regards Australia’s oil, Wikipedia claims that Australia has between 1.5 and 4 billion barrels of oil in total, as opposed to Iraq’s 115 billion, or Saudi Arabia’s 260-odd billion. A US government site informs me that Australia is a net importer of oil.
    Granted, and agreed, it makes sense right now to buy oil. There is a colossal amount of political posturing, both civil and armed, over oil, and has been for decades, but only crazy people are going to openly go to war for conquest of oil resources at presnt prices. What remains to be seen is how far the worlds largest miliary powers will go to get their vital infusions of oil as the price increases.

    Incidentally, and tangentially… congressional elections bring much interesting poop! Thorne needs some time to wash clothes, much less read the news, but hopes one day to catch up on the aftermath of these elections, preferably some time before our own upcoming ones. Argh.

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