Goodbye, Liberty! 10 Ways Americans Are No Longer Free
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While they pay these unjust debts – or foreclose and face the consequences of that action – these homeowners have lost the right to relocate to another town or city, even if they want to move in search of jobs that many of them lost after the bank-spawned financial crisis. Their debts make that impossible. Like citizens in the Soviet state, they must first ask permission of a cold and powerful bureaucracy – except that in their case its their bank, not the State.
We're told that the early Bolsheviks charged prisoners' families for the bullets used to execute them. Americans are paying to prop up the banks that oppress them – through their taxes and their inflated debts. Meanwhile, many of these wealthy bankers in gated enclaves behind fences and guards. Would you like to get a glimpse of their lavish homes? You can't.
8. We've lost our right to privacy.
The CEOs of Facebook and Google have both said essentially the same thing: The age of privacy has ended. Get over it.
Privacy is supposed to be an essential right. Yet Americans who claim they'd defend it to the death cheerfully sacrifice it every day to play Mafia Wars. Or to search for a celebrity. Or to connect with high school classmates they never really liked anyway.
Internet companies sell our personal data for profit, often by using cookies on our computers to track our activity. Facebook sold users' video rental records. Google pulled Americans' personal information via WiFi when it created Street View. Apple iPhones were tracking and storing their owners' movements.
The government is already using corporate data, sometimes without subpoenas. Corporations have voluntarily allowed the government to use their technology to spy on citizens, included one reported case where the government placed a spy server at an ATT location to track the activities of its subscribers. There's a lot more that we don't know.
We were taught that a person' home is his or her castle. But our electronic devices have breached the castle walls, and have placed spies in our living rooms, dens … and bedrooms. Americans, especially conservatives, should be demanding that corporations give us back our privacy rights.
9. We're losing our right to participate in our society as informed citizens.
As Bill Moyers observed, “In 1984 the number of companies owning a controlling interest in America's media was 50 -- today that number is six.” Largely as a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 – a Republican bill signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton – this has eliminated many dissenting voices from the mainstream media and left a shockingly uniform political consensus in our media.
Polling shows that online media have increasingly overtaken newspapers as a source of information. But they also show that the vast majority of Americans still follow the news through television, which -- when combined with newspapers and radio -- means that corporate media still shapes our perception of current events. And their consensus can become positively Orwellian.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets for the 2001 inauguration of George W. Bush, only to be subject to an almost-complete news media blackout. An estimated one million demonstrators jammed the streets of cities in the United States and worldwide on February 15, 2003, to protest the invasion of Iraq. But their presence was either ignored by the mainstream media or subject to an artificial illusion of “balance” through the extensive cutaway shots to pro-war supporters than often numbered in no more than the dozens.
Even more Orwellian is the sight of reporters at news outlets like the Washington Post – which has outsourced much of its financial reporting to an organization run by right-wing billionaire Pete Peterson – to use labels such as “extreme” and “fringe” to describe politicians and organizations who are advocated for policies which in some cases are supported by 75 or 80 percent of all Americans. This creates a false reality which supports our final loss of freedom: