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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

All The Presidents Men

Is Snowden a patriot or a traitor? Was FDR Hitlerian in putting the Japanese in concentration camps or was he a Commander in Chief in War doing what he had to do to keep the country safe. Is the Patriot Act an intrusion on our liberty or is it necessary in the post 9/11 age. Historically our freedoms have always contracted in times of crisis. During WWII there were all sorts of freedoms redacted the most brazen was clearly Roosevelt's shipping the Japanese to the desert. But in WWI there was the same treatment of German Americans with deportations and surveillance against German Americans with the most famous hangover being the Lindbergh case where Bruno Hauptmann was put do death with questions that persist to this day.

But now we have mass surveillance on a scale we cannot fathom. Really it depends on how powerful Prism is.  The computer running though our phone records is looking for triggers and hopefully we are not in the sweep. But we might be and that would bring up the question is the leaker a man of conscience doing what is best for the country or a leaker who has done irreparable damage. Democracy hangs in the balance as we debate the modern state under constant suspicion.

In All The Presidents Men Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post tells Woodward and Bernstein in the final scene that they need to get back to work because the future of the country hangs in the balance. Nixon resigned later that year and of course the rest is history. Are we not at a crossroads that will determine if a Big Brother state is the SOP or if we have somehow veered very close to the type of Police State monitoring one would only find in the old Soviet Union.

And we are in the shadows. Interestingly enough the world was calling for Woodward and Bernstein's head right before they realized they were right and Nixon had obstructed justice and had been running covert ops from the White House against political enemies. Where is Ben Bradley when you need him?

Rocket Man...the Upside Down American Dream

Books by William Hazelgrove