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Saturday, 17 December 2005


Steve Bates

Just you wait, Michael; that knock on your door will come. Someday they'll come for me as well. This isn't the America they taught me about in grade school. While I'm not sure that America ever really existed, I do see the current wave of intimidation as being at least as bad as that of my childhood in the Bleeding Red Map era, and possibly worse.

I just checked to make sure the book of interest to DHS is still on my shelves: Stouffer's Communism, Conformity and Civil Liberties, a 1955 summary of Gallup polls in 1954 regarding American attitudes toward Communism and civil liberties. There's nothing seditious in the book; indeed, it's pretty dry reading, as are most poll results. But as this young UMass Dartmouth student managed to prove, it's not what you believe in, but what you dare even to read and think about, that draws the attention of these fascists.

BTW, I paid cash for the book at a local used book store. It seems I do that a lot lately. It annoys bloody hell out of me to think that someone may be watching my credit card receipts... probably without a warrant. As it turned out, the book appeared on the receipt as "(Nostalgia)" rather than by title. What a designation... if I ever find myself growing nostalgic for the mid-1950s, I'm outta here. :)


This would have been a real pain back when I was in the military and reading the background information on the Soviet system. I was ordering books in Russian from bookstores in DC, NYC, and San Francisco, as they were the best sources for books printed in the Soviet Union and not "edited for export".

One of the most useful reference works for Russian students was actually printed in East Germany. It was a massive listing of the conjugation of Russian verbs and there was no equivalent book available from the Soviet Union or the West.

This is just an enormous waste of time, money, and energy. This is institutional paranoia, not a rational attempt to address the threat of terrorism.


If and when the knock comes, Steve, I'll be taking it as a badge of honor. I had rather be on the enemies list of a venal, amoral, and corrupt government than on their good side.

Bryan, I'm not sure the paranoia is truly institutional so much as it is a function of the Only War the Shrubbery really (thinks it) understands: the War on Communism. They all (or mostly, anyway) dodged serving in Vietnam, and most of 'em weren't of an age to have done so in Korea--but they more or less all grew up in McCarthy's day, and at least a few of them still seem to worship the ground he walked on or under which he is buried. They're so wrapped up in the Cold War that they don't seem to have noticed that it ended quite some time ago, and catching budding commies is a hell of a lot easier to do than going after the real threats to our peace and security would be.

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