“1984 Was an Instruction Manual”

Tom Dispatch

Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, 1984 Was an Instruction Manual | TomDispatch.

An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Peter Van Buren follows:

What if everything a whistleblower had ever exposed could simply be made to go away? What if every National Security Agency (NSA) document Snowden released, every interview he gave, every documented trace of a national security state careening out of control could be made to disappear in real-time? What if the very posting of such revelations could be turned into a fruitless, record-less endeavor?

Am I suggesting the plot for a novel by some twenty-first century George Orwell? Hardly. As we edge toward a fully digital world, such things may soon be possible, not in science fiction but in our world — and at the push of a button. In fact, the earliest prototypes of a new kind of “disappearance” are already being tested. We are closer to a shocking, dystopian reality that might once have been the stuff of futuristic novels than we imagine. Welcome to the memory hole.

Even if some future government stepped over one of the last remaining red lines in our world and simply assassinated whistleblowers as they surfaced, others would always emerge. Back in 1948, in his eerie novel 1984, however, Orwell suggested a far more diabolical solution to the problem. He conjured up a technological device for the world of Big Brother that he called “the memory hole.” In his dark future, armies of bureaucrats, working in what he sardonically dubbed the Ministry of Truth, spent their lives erasing or altering documents, newspapers, books, and the like in order to create an acceptable version of history. When a person fell out of favor, the Ministry of Truth sent him and all the documentation relating to him down the memory hole. Every story or report in which his life was in any way noted or recorded would be edited to eradicate all traces of him.

When I read this, my brain did a little double take. As it started to churn, I recalled a funny little incident where I discovered monkey business in my browser. How would I know exactly what I was looking at? So keep in mind that I’m describing what happened, but not as a computer expert who understands what happened, but as a regular user who noticed something unusual.

When I saw this stinky activity, I fired off a letter to Mozilla, although that wasn’t my first step, as the letter I sent them, and present to you below, shows. Here’s the letter, minus my contact info:

Mozilla/ Firefox October 25, 2013
To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for your wonderful Firefox browser which I’ve used for many years now. But I am not writing you just to say thanks.

Firstly, I really, really, really resent having to write you this way when it would be so much easier to just email you. I feel like a voter in the US. Run from the mountain lion and bump into the alligator. Avoid electronic communication due to doubts about your message being received, let alone cared about, and you have to deal with traps galore en route to your destiny with democracy and a say in matters affecting you.

The analogy was easy. I just read Greg Palast’s latest bulletin, which I get automatically via email, about voter suppression. Greg’s work is important. However, He’s framing the debate. He clearly feels that people aren’t wasting their time trying to make an utterly corrupt, elite-serving, undemocratic electoral system work for people. He and Robert Kennedy have done a lot of work trying to educate people about their voting rights and the threats to them that rightwing politicians and others pose. And that’s great as far as it goes. In the course of reading this, I came across a web address: http://www.ringoffire.com. Here’s what knocked me for a loop. I copied it, using my my mouse and the computer’s copy function and pasted it into Firefox’s web address bar. Nada. Okay. I also left it – and I’m not shy to Google stuff anyway – but wondered about it. So I repeated the operation and noticed that somehow, between my copying of the address and the pasting of it, it had changed. An ‘f’ was dropped. What can you tell me about that? Should something like a web address bar have a spell check feature or whatever the hell it might have been that did this?

Thanks in advance

Ring Of Fire

I see that there’s no disappearing letter f and http://www.ringoffire goes to a website now. I know nothing about it. It’s a media company or something. Also, Greg’s bulletin, which is where I got the lead from, mentions Ring of Fire without adding ‘radio’. So the url is actually http://www.ringoffireradio.com. Even if the f hadn’t been dropped – which I observed, directly, happening – I would not have went to the Kennedy and Papantonio website which Greg referenced. Regardless, I found it very interesting the way what I inputted into the web address bar would not stick. And I have to say, I was not impressed with Mozilla’s failure to respond. It’s hard to follow up there. Did they get my letter? I could keep hounding them, and if I had nothing better to do might possibly do something like that. But alas, Who has time, unless your occupation happens to be investigative journalist? In fact, I had forgot all about this until Van Buren’s article hooked it in my own memory hole.

It’s a horrible world and a horrible time. And the horror has even become entertainment. It’s our environment, our culture. It’s unnatural enough, but we can’t escape it and we are used to it. (It takes faith to avoid getting totally used to it.) And the uncaring who are too free to push darkness for their own gain in this mafia capitalist system infect many with that darkness. The darkness is deeper the closer you get to the top, where power lies. Inversely, Those who consciously and uncaringly use darkness for gain lose more (and more light) than those who don’t understand that the culture (darkness) they absorb isn’t natural. As Jesus put it, If the light that is in you is in fact darkness, then how great that darkness is.

Google Firefox

I like my entertainment and in this world I’d go nuts without it. But I hope that it isn’t poisoning my soul.

Also, I soak up bad news regularly. That by itself can’t poison my soul, even if it is sometimes depressing and demoralizing. Following the news is a habit that I’ve now had for a long time. Jehovah’s Witnesses got my mind working by teaching me to think about things. I’m not saying that I wasn’t thinking (a little) or would never have become interested (in some fashion) in the world (another way of saying ‘politics’). Regardless, That time spent with the Witnesses sort of primed me for politics in a more deeper way. And I took with me a missionary mindset. Or you could call it an activist mindset. Then the internet came along. I wrote a two-volume book that I tried to get published (“Against You O Gog”), without success. But the girl who I hired to print up my book for me was using this incredible thing called a word processor to do it. I was so amazed. Then I got my first pc and it came with WordPerfect 5.1 or something. And you see where this is going.

I now naturally try to understand what I discover about this godless world and then talk about it, which perhaps most of us do. But not all of us have the same facility with language and computers, the same opportunities and the same circumstances.

I put my knowledge, very deliberately and carefully, into a form that I can share with others. And I do so democratically, because that’s the principled way to proceed and I am principled, if not perfect. I endeavor to share my knowledge, or understanding (which can be wrong), with others in an ‘authoritative’ rather than ‘authoritarian’ way. That’s not authoritative as in ‘perfect’ or ‘special’. That’s authoritative as in I’m not just winging it, and if I am somewhat in the dark then I will say so. ‘Authoritative’ doesn’t disallow feedback from those I communicate with. And if I have humility, which I choose to have, I will then receive that feedback in a certain way. In other words, there’s a feedback/ correction mechanism in authoritative teaching that can elevate teacher and students (civilization even, when everyone’s doing it) alike, when it’s allowed to operate. Whereas the egotistical ‘authoritarian’ who tells his audience that “This is how it is because I say so, period,” can’t be corrected, learns less and therefore, over time, teaches poorly, conveying falsehoods as well as snippets of truth and facts. Overall, he or she conveys darkness and blocks light.

In this dark world vicious dogs eat each other and angels (the good guys) murder or harm angels, the way I watched – on tv and for entertainment – Castiel, a ‘good’, but barbaric, angel, murder another ‘angel’ in order to escape from a group of bad angels who had captured him, so that he could fight the good fight and eventually bring about a heaven and earth in which murderers are no more (in episode 9 of season 9). Does that make sense? To those who live that reality and faithlessly and conveniently choose to see no other, it does. So, too often, my entertainment isn’t entertaining in a positive sense. It’s bitter-sweet, as long as I don’t lose my soul and my mind with it and see all of this as natural. Or as evolution and godly.

Some time ago, I enjoyed, and felt some guilt doing so, the tv show Dexter, about a serial killer who was made that way by an event that happened when he was a child. He witnessed his mother’s brutal murder and was found sitting in her blood. His father came to realize that his son was screwed up, but decided to make it something that Dexter could ‘live’ with. He gave him a code. He was to kill only other killers, namely bad killers. Then he slipped up a couple times.

Then his sister, a cop, found out about Dexter’s hobby/compulsion. Then, out of loyalty to her brother, she murdered a cop who had discovered Dexter’s hobby. At that point, I stopped watching the show. I guess I’ve got something. It’s either good or bad. I reckon it’s good. Will it fade? I am still watching Supernatural, which most certainly has gone off the deep end, which is part of it’s charm. Then again, It presents itself as loony. Dexter was far fetched, but not as in ‘could not happen’. Supernatural is complete fantasy, even though elements correspond to reality (and depending on what you choose to believe, those elements vary). Even so, What’s with the writing? I think the above darkness is what’s with the writing. The background to all of this cultural darkness is a real dark world (Hollywood/ Pentagon/ NSA). It’s a world in the embrace of corporatocracy and the mafia capitalism that that embraces. Those who embrace it themselves have accepted the paradigm of ‘riches for the strongest’, which is the opposite of the golden rule recommended by God’s son, Jesus Christ. People have chosen to reject the true God and embrace the false God who is mankind. They have invested not a few dollars or many dollars, but their whole fortune – their soul – in this godless system. And there will be consequences. When that system is destroyed…

After the Edward Snowden leaks about NSA ‘big brother’ programs, How trusting should we be of angels like Mozilla? And with the darkness being so deep and pervasive, How reasonable is it to believe that smart, principled activists who think they have escaped it’s effects are always right? Should we automatically follow them to the end because of their earnest efforts to fight for justice and the successes they have had? Caution is called for. Ralph Nader for example, who ran for president, has saved so many lives through his consumer advocacy campaigns, including the one that led to cars being made more safe. But in this world, in this corporatocracy, a Ralph Nader, a believer in equality, can’t be president of the most powerful nation on earth. And why is Ralph interested in legitimizing a corrupt, undemocratic electoral system that is there precisely because it serves to fool the people into thinking that they have democracy if they can mechanically vote? Part of the reason is that Ralph is supported by other like-minded, but imperfect, believers in equality.

And he still does it. No, He isn’t running for president. But he does encourage people to participate in the electoral system, as do other good people, even if they increasingly have a hard time doing so as that (American) electoral system increasingly becomes, inarguably, a complete farce, as are most others. And progressives who get paid to write columns (and then books) and do shows critiquing the system (carefully avoiding actually setting it on fire by labelling it fascist or being uncompromisingly blunt, because it’s actually a system in which they ‘live’, working and earning a living), hold the people back as the alarm they sound gets louder.

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