MAD AS HELL: Chipping Away at Our Freedom

| February 14, 2006

For all the FOX News-loving Freedom Fighters who continue to bang their war drums insisting that Iraq was invaded to spread freedom while defending the Bush regime's calls for Americans to be wiretapped, thumb-printed, filmed, wanded, searched, carded, frisked, and scanned  in the name of "security" - how about this? Are you ready to be "chipped"? No, we're not talking computers, fingernails, or china.  "Tagged" - it's not just for Spot and Fluff anymore. And it may be coming to a workplace near you.

A company in Ohio recently embedded silicon-tracking chips into a couple of its employees. The two workers complied with a request to have their right arms implanted with a glass-encased radio transmitter that can be read by a special monitor that tracks their every move at work. It's a human OnStar for employers. The private video surveillance company who was hired to test the technology claims the devices are necessary for controlling access to company security rooms.  The employer defends it by saying it is not compulsory. Not yet, anyway. Of course, the device can also be used to track the "wearer" any time of day and night without their knowledge.

In the name of protection and security, just how much privacy can Americans be expected to surrender?  How many more freedoms are we willing to give up? We should not forget the words to the old Janis Joplin song, "Me and Bobby McGee".  Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.

Last week, I got a cold and needed to purchase some over-the-counter decongestant. When I got to the colds-and-flu section of my neighborhood drugstore, the shelves were bare. After I told a pharmacist on duty what I was looking for, she brought the contraband to the pharmacy window. Then things got crazy.  I was told that in order to make my purchase, a government-issued ID would have to be produced as well as the disclosure of my full name, home address and signature in a company record book. The purchase could not exceed three boxes for the month. After hearing my rather acerbic remarks of protest, the pharmacist dismissively replied, "This is for your protection." Treating a stuffy nose will now cost us dearly.

Like most, I am well aware of the tremendous problem the country faces regarding the use and manufacture of methamphetamines. Tennessee has one of the most difficult situations of any state. But requiring pharmacists and other employees to become veritable police by tracking purchases and recording personal data of the law abiding will not stop the meth manufacturers from getting the stuff they need.  Ultimately, this sort of violation of my privacy will only succeed in stripping each of us of our remaining precious freedoms. Shockingly there are hundreds of millions of "sheeple" who have either resigned themselves to these indignities or have been deluded into thinking we are somehow safer and more protected by giving up our personal and civil freedoms.

If the right to own and purchase a gun, which seems to be the only freedom of concern these days, is our single remaining freedom, we are not free. Embedded electronic tracking and monitored store purchases are just more examples of the extreme policing that is being done under the guise of,  and in the name of,  security and protection. So when right-wing idiots start  their cacophony of twaddle about spreading our freedoms in Iraq, ask them, in your best Janis Joplin voice, just where they would like their chip planted.

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