Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Google of My Eye

Terry McKenna arrives again today with some thoughts on domestic spying, search engine surveillance, and pornography control, all in the context of his ongoing quest (evocative of Diogenes) for an honest Bush agenda.

I've also got a few words on the matter, particularly with respect to Google's firm response to the challenge of government intrusion. Google, in case you haven't heard about it, was asked to provide historical search data from its records to the government—presumably to help the Bush dicks in their ongoing domestic surveillance activities. But while AOL, Yahoo, and MSN all said yes, Google stood up and told the Bushies to go take a shit.

So before you join the whining chorus about their new video service, or lament the $35 a share hit their stock took on Friday, maybe you should give Google a call at (650) 253-0000, and let them know that you're grateful that they alone among the major search operators are taking a stand for privacy and personal freedom (remember them?) in this country. And while you're at it, let Yahoo, AOL, and MSN know how you feel about their cowardice in rolling over for the Bushies.

Oh, and by the way, one note for Michael Moore: you owe Chris Matthews a check for promotional services. I'm betting that about 50,000 copies of Fahrenheit 9/11 left the shelves after Chris compared you to Uncle Osama on national TV. Oh, and Chris, if you happen to read this post—I wouldn't mind being slapped around a little on Hardball. I'm a tough guy, and I'm sure I can take it. And my books aren't selling very maybe you could somehow compare me to Al-Zarqawi...I sure would appreciate it.

And now, to Mr. McKenna:

What are Bush’s priorities? We are nearly 1/3 of the way through his second term, so this may seem a peculiar question, but hear me out. Something in the news has prompted this.

It turns out that the government has asked web services to provide information about random internet searches. The news reports suggest that all have complied in at least a limited way, except Google. The purported reason for the search is that the feds want to find out how easy it is for kids to access pornography on the internet. Somehow, I don’t believe that that is the reason.

Why do I doubt them? Because they lie all the time. But even if they were in earnest, is pornography a big issue?

Why not just try a search and see what happens? Let’s see… oh, yes, type in a dirty word or two into a search engine – hmmm, let’s try cunt… what do we get?

I won’t list the websites, but it looks like we hit pay dirt. The following site titles are just a sampling: Free Porn uncensored, Looking for XXX Porn?, Want XXX Free Porn?... you get the picture. If I were a teenager with access to a credit card, I’m sure I could get all the porn I’d want.

So then what? After they confirm the obvious (that porn is available), what next? Random checks of video iPods?

Does the government want to stop pornography? And if they do, what else do they think will happen? Do they think 15 and 16 year olds won’t figure out what to do anyway?

And why now?

There are lots more urgent matters that are appropriate for federal scrutiny. We’ve just scented the first whiff of the K Street scandal (you know, Jack Abramoff and Co.) and just a few weeks ago we found out that federal mine safety laws seem to be a sham.

And how about weapons that get from gun dealers to criminals? Or how about drug companies that hide significant data from the research they send to the FDA? Or illegal immigration? And labor laws? And the desperate poverty that seems to impact African American and Hispanics disproportionately? Is there no reason to look harder for possible civil rights concerns?

Maybe after all these matters are dealt with, then we can get on to the much less pressing matter of pornography, but then again, it’s all in the priorities.

—T. McKenna

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