Monday, November 06, 2006

The Surveillance States of America

Privacy International has rated the levels of surveillance in about three dozen countries including most the developed countries of the world. There are several levels of surveillance but the worst two are called "Endemic surveillance societies" and "Extensive surveillance societies". You would not really want to live in one of those would you? Unfortunately for most my readers you do!

You can see the criteria used by Privacy International if you wish by going here. But the three nations that qualified as "Endemic surveillance socieites"were the dictatorships of Putin's Russia and Communist China along with Tony Blair's United Kingdom and Malaysia along with Singapore. (Don't the poor Brits wish their election were Tuesday?) Russia and China we can figure.

The UK is bad because Blair has saddled up to the Imperial Presidency of George Bush, the most authoritarian president in the history of the United States. And the only reason the US did better than the UK is that the UK has no written constitutional protections whatsoever. In addition the UK is farther down the road with actual visual monitoring of people and is closer to a national ID card though Bush is working as fast as he can given internal US politics.

The second tier are the "Extensive surveillance socieites" and that is the United States. Poor George must be disappointed. He has tried to hard to wipe out Constitutional liberties and just missed a tied first place position. He always was second best in any two way race so this must come as a blow to him. Hopefully Tuesday will be a bigger blow to him.

Two countries were rated highest with "Significant protections and safeguards" and those were Canada and Germany. Most the other countries on the list have safeguards but don't do a good job of upholding them.

I have no doubt that the US will move into the worst category very quickly. It is currently in second due to the lack of identity cards and biometrics but Bush is pushing those very, very hard. The Theopublicans have never found a freedom they aren't willing to stamp out. It sickens me to no end to think that the party of Goldwater and Reagan has degenerated into the booted thugs of Rove, Bush and Cheney.
And in my opinion a vote for any Republican, no matter who they are, is a betrayal of the Constitution and treasonous to the nation. I can understand why many people can't vote Democratic so then vote Libertarian, or don't vote at all. But please do not cast a single vote for any Republican.

Hell, if the Communist Party were running you'd be better off voting for them. At least they are more honest about what they want than the Republicans and they won't win any seats anyway.

Please note that this illustrate nicely the failure of the various indexes of economic freedom. They only rate economic freedom and not freedom. In addition too many sniveling conservatives are involved in producing them so they weigh them in ways that make the US look better than it is. So levels of taxation count very, very much but engaging in torture doesn't count at all. A new index is desperately needed that looks at freedom across the board and factors those in. A true picture of the US would show it is not anywhere near being the "freest nation on Earth" but is down among tin-horn dictators and third world basket cases.

Click on the illustration to enlarge.