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Moyers writes: "Attention should be paid to the fact that when Edward Snowden dumped the government's huge vault of secret spying onto the floor of our collective consciousness, reported that sales of Orwell's '1984' shot through the ceiling."

Bill Moyers. (photo: Robin Holland)
Bill Moyers. (photo: Robin Holland)

An Antidote to Big Brother's Chill

By Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company

16 May 14


’m Bill Moyers, and this week I read Julia Angwin’s new book “Dragnet Nation: A Quest For Privacy, Security and Freedom In a World of Relentless Surveillance.” I heartily recommend it to you. And, when you finish reading it, there are a couple of classics that will resonate in the aftermath. Yes, I’m talking about George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” I know, I know. Comparisons can be exaggerated, analogies can be false and writers don’t always imply what readers infer.

Nonetheless, attention should be paid to the fact that when Edward Snowden dumped the government’s huge vault of secret spying onto the floor of our collective consciousness, reported that sales of Orwell’s “1984” shot through the ceiling – at one point, a 9000 percent increase. Writing for, the critic Lewis Beale reminded us of the ubiquitous presence in Orwell’s totalitarian state of telescreens – those big screen TVs on which the government projected propaganda and censored entertainment. But as people watched what Big Brother wanted them to see, Big Brother was watching them – through that same screen.

Today, big screen TVs grace our living-room walls, but these have become our two-way mirrors. Here’s how we learn Orwellian newspeak like “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength” and spelling and thinking they are oh so old-fashioned if you can merely type OMG, YOLO and ROFLMAO. As for the prophecies of Aldous Huxley, well, a lot of things go on in his “Brave New World” that are weird and far-fetched, but so help me, all those people genetically designed to be regimented into total social conformity and subservient to the groupthink of the one percent, they could easily have walked right out Huxley and straight into Roger Ailes’ Fox News playbook or Rush Limbaugh’s studio. But I digress, just to point out that the state is not alone in stalking our imagination and preying on our privacy. Try this antidote to Big Brother’s big chill: “Dragnet Nation” by Julia Angwin. your social media marketing partner


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+8 # Deboldt 2014-05-16 22:12
More current and even more to the contemporary point is the chilling German film "The Lives of Others." Erich Honecker is resting uneasy in his grave tonight thinking "Oh but for better technology, I could have been Barack Obama!"
+15 # ericlipps 2014-05-17 07:00
Groan. Not another "Obammie the commie" post.

I don't know about Deboldt, but half the people denouncing Obama's "tyranny" would have cheered wildly and pumped their fists in the air (or given a stiff-armed salute) if a President john McCain or Mitt Romney had done they exact same things.
+14 # wantrealdemocracy 2014-05-17 09:10
So you think the Democrats are better than the Republicans? WRONG! You keep that idea in your head and we will continue to decline as a democracy and a decent nation.

Both those corrupt gangs are equally dangerous to the working people of this nation and to all life on earth. Greed kills.
+25 # ritawalpoleague 2014-05-17 08:00
So good to hear from one of our great, truth outing journalists, Bill Moyers. Bill was the only national reporter to discover and cover the torture story of how cops tortured the 65 year old disabled former Franciscan nun who walked with a cane and was tripped and dragged 'til bloody and raw by govt. agent ordered cop, in the 2007 St. Patrick's Day Parade. Even with parade permit, she was so tortured for daring to demand the name and badge number of the so called cop, following seeing these 'cops' brutalizing her sister and brother parade participants, all of whom, like her, wore green shirts with peace signs. Bill Moyers was tortured himself (being fired can be torture) for covering this gruesome plus parade incident (pull up: Colorado Springs Independent, Jan. 21, 2010, No Peace or Justice). Cannot have truth re. our takeover by the greed and need for power over all villainaires. Just ask our true Uncle SAM - Snowden, Assange, Manning. And, also ask Bill Moyers. He has also suffered for telling truth re. no more liberty and justice for all.
+8 # Jim Young 2014-05-17 08:12
The Frontline's United States of Secrets seems to have shown Snowden released a NSA history that included the Ashcroft hospital room confrontation with White House Counsel Roberto Gonzales and Bush Chief of Staff Andrew Card (Addington was told to wait outside since Ashcroft "had history" with him), while Acting US Attorney James Comey and Assistant Attorney General (leading the Office of Legal Counsel) Jack Goldsmith. Ashcroft refused to sign telling them to see Comey. When Cheney and Addington drafted a new authorization for Gonzales to sign (though he didn't have the authority to do so). That signing by Gonzales then Bush sparked about 2 dozen of the top DoJ appointees and FBI Director Mueller to prepare to resign. According to "Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency", after the morning briefing Comey thought Bush was surprised by their plans to resign and hadn't known a thing about what was being done behind his back, so they backed off on resigning, thinking Bush would fix the problem.

It makes me even more concerned that Bush either played stupid, tricking those prepared to resign, or his top advisers, even his own Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, had very badly misled him. They were at the meeting so they had to know, but they seemed to follow directions from Cheney, even to the point of not telling, or fooling, the President about what was going on.

Then the bald faced lies started, such as no NSA people dissented (actually 5 top ones, at least, did).
+4 # Jim Young 2014-05-17 08:43
Quoting Jim Young:
...Then the bald faced lies started, such as no NSA people dissented (actually 5 top ones, at least, did).

Upon careful review (5th time through "United States of Secrets" I find General Hayden may not have "LIED" when you carefully analyze what he said when he said (very carefully) "No member of the NSA workforce, who has been asked to be included in this program, has responded with anything but complete enthusiasm."

Other parts of the documentary show many top officials WERE NOT ASKED to be part of the "program", which he had limited to just the tiny part that had been made public.

He is very slick, and probably way ahead of any who would attempt to trap him on technical details, but what he said is incredibly misleading.
+8 # fredboy 2014-05-17 14:20
Repugs openly bragged that the Bush team playbook was Orwell's 1984 along with Machiavelli's The Prince.

And the lemmings--the great (or not so great) majority of American--simpl y bent over and took it up the ass. And let it happen to their family members, too.

The United States of Wimps.
+1 # Adoregon 2014-05-18 12:48
Go to:

See especially:

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