Thursday, June 26, 2008

Can't believe everything you hear...or read.

Saw a magazine the other day that had on the front cover about how McCain was getting cozy with the press. So I was intrigued and curious - what press exactly? Because I rarely see him in the news. I thought Obama was the media darling. Back when Hillary was in the race, conservative media would have negative stories about her and Obama, and would even have stories about McCain featured in the footnotes. You'd have to search for them. As for the more liberal media, Obama was always a saint, the devil even got better press than Hillary and McCain wasn't even mentioned at all.

So I open up the article (featured in "The Nation" by the way, a notoriously liberal publication) and it says in bold letters:

"No candidate since John F. Kennedy and perhaps none since FDR, has enjoyed such cozy relations with the press."

I had to read it twice. I was flabbergasted. Now I don't know about JFK or FDR, but Clinton didn't get a free ride with the press? What about his wife in the '90s? And most certainly Obama now, especially all of the pictures of Obama taken at a high angle so he looks presidential with the seal behind his head like a halo. Maybe I'm missing something here...

Makes you wonder how they get away with printing such things. And it's not like the article in "The Nation" was an editorial - it was an article!! The Media needs to get more responsibility for what they feed to people. Someone's going to read that and believe it!!

Or maybe I need to read different papers. I went to the BBC and CNN yesterday, only saw stories about how great Obama will be and how Michelle Obama is gearing up to be the first African American first lady. Today, had a story about how McCain backed the Supreme Court's decision on the 2nd amendment. But that's a fact, not opinion. Maybe the article was more referring to the number of stories about him, rather than the opinions in them (if any)? Or maybe it's the lack of news stories about him... I don't know any more. Just how are they measuring how McCain is a "media darling"? Because he doesn't have nearly as many skeletons in his closet as Obama?

Odd how they are bothered that he is "favored", but it doesn't bother them that the media was one of the main reasons of how Obama got as far as he has (and potentially why he might get elected). Proof yet again how free speech comes with a double standard.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Really? The Government has nothing better to do?

Lately, I have noted a rampant paranoia among the general public. Somehow, they have gotten it into their minds that the government had nothing better to do than to watch us 24/7.

There was a discussion on Amazon about how they protected our 1st amendment rights by not releasing the names of people who have bought books from them. People seem to think that the government tracks what books you buy or check out from the library to see if you fit one of their profiles. A bomb-making book, sure, I can see that. (and in fact, I don't think they have any at the library). But according to Amazon, they won't release that kind of information anyways, so what's the problem?

The library doesn't track books. Except if you count giving you recommendations. For example, if I check out 3 books by Michael Crichton, the system recognizes that I must like him as an author and lists more books of his that I might like to read. Ooo, the evil Bush administration is tracking what I read to give me suggestions of what I might like to read. How awful! How dare they? My rights are violated!

Had a guy come into the library a few weeks ago, convinced that the government tracks everything we view on the web. I laughed and was called "naive". Come on, how can the government have that kind of money, resources and time to track every single webpage that we view. Some guy is sitting up in D.C. sifting through all those websites 24/7? Please... they have better things to do with their time. Certain websites might send off a red flag, sure, but they aren't watching us all the time or even the majority of time.

Once had this friend whose Dad was Arab. She was convinced that the government was watching her because of her heritage. She claimed that once during a phone call, a random guy cut into the middle of it and said "oops, wrong number". She thought they were listening in on her phone call to her mother and messed up, which ended up on him cutting in. She also claimed that they logged into her father's AOL account and deleted his address book. Trust me, you aren't that important. Lines get crossed all the time, and server glitches happen all the time as well.

So, the moral of the story is: The government is not watching you every minute of the day. Your books are not tracked. Your phone calls are not listened in on. Your email accounts are not hacked. And your websites aren't tracked.

Who does track you: Your credit card company to make sure your card hasn't been stolen. Your bank might do the same thing. Most likely, your supermarket tracks what you buy if you have one of those "saver" cards. Some movie theaters even track what movies you see if you have their points card. Does that mean they are violating your rights too? No, because most times you are getting discounts or coupons out of them, so no one cares. Does that mean the "evil" government is watching what movies you are watching and what groceries you buy? No!! They don't care. It's used for inventory, to track sales and to increase profit. And in fact, I am willing to bet that the retail industry doesn't care what YOU watch or buy either. They just want to know what most people are watching or buying.

So go back to what you were doing. Feel free to surf on the web and buy your books without having to feel like you have to look over your shoulder. Despite what the people in the government, like Hillary and Obama, tell you, they do not care about you. You can relax now.

But if you really want someone watching you all hours of the day, get a dog. You will be watched, tracked and your 1st amendment rights will be surrendered, because after all, their freedom of "speech" will trump yours. What they say goes. If they want food or to be walked while you're taking a nap, they will get their way. You might want to read the paper on a lazy Sunday morning, but they will have other ideas. You will be stared at as you eat your dinner and you will be followed as you move about the house, in case you have food. If the dog happens to be sleeping as you move around the house, they will keep one eye on you, tracking your movements in case you get food.
And if it makes you feel better, you can even name the dog "Government".