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Tag Archives: Scott Miner

Big Brother in the Modern Age

uncle sam

1. I have learned that, while Americans think that they have complete freedom, they actually do not. Many Americans believe that they can do whatever they want without having to worry about being watched or followed, as was present in Orwell’s 1984. This just simply is not true. In a Newseek article, Michael Isikoff wrote that, “CIFA (Counterintelligence Field Activity) researchers apparently cast a wide net and had a number of surveillance methods…at their disposal.” The CIFA is a top-secret program at the federal level that is said to be essential in the fight against Al Qaeda. However,  many people believe that this program is watching American citizens, all in the name of “security.” At the same time, the Department of Defense is expanding their programs that are aimed at “gathering and analyzing intelligence within the United States,” writes Walter Pincus of The Washington Post. This is to say that the DoD is spending more and more taxpayer dollars to watch and monitor those very taxpayers, the citizens of these United States. This is very scary to think about. However, it goes even further.

All across the country, municipalities, states and even schools are doing these same things. According to ktvu.com, a preschool in Richmond, California is attaching wireless sensors on all students so that teachers can be alerted when a student comes into or leaves the school. While this may seem very innocent and necessary for safety, some view it as an infringement on the rights of privacy. Some believe that this is simply the first step in the direction of greater monitoring by government agencies. To go even further,  Daniel Kraker of National Public Radio reports that at Northern Arizona University, scanners are being installed outside of lecture halls to track attendance. Kraker writes that “The university received $85,000 in federal stimulus funds for its new “electronic attendance” pilot project.” This seems to some as though the federal government is providing taxpayer dollars to monitor and track students. This may simply be a harmless step to approve school attendance, but it seems like it may be taking it a step too far.

Also, in both the political arena and in everyday life, words, photos, and thoughts are manipulated in a way that promotes one idea and goes against another. As far back as the American Civil War, when photography was first becoming prominently used, photos were manipulated to make one side seem better than they were. This has continued right on up to the modern day. Politicians and candidates manipulate their opponents’ words in a way that completely alters what the opponent originally meant. Every single day, words that average people say are taken by others and reworded in ways that make them look bad. This truly is manipulation of public opinion.

2.  These above ideas are seen very prominently in 1984. In Part One, telescreens are introduced by saying, “The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely.” Right off the bat, we can relate the telescreens to the programs that are being used by the federal government to watch and monitor American citizens. We can try to run from being watched, but there will always be another camera, another police officer, another watchdog. The federal government is spending an unspecified amount of money to implement law that allows them to ensure that no one is stepping out of line too much, all in the name of “security.” This is what happens in Orwell’s 1984. In that novel, the Party is so worried that someone may go against Big Brother that they are willing to use any and all resources avaliable to monitor citizens, even in their private homes. In 1984, the citizens know that they are being watched at all times. In this country, people are beginning to wake up and realize that they too are being watched. It is no longer a clandestine organization doing a bit of spying here or there, it is out in the open. That is exactly what happens in Oceania.

3. These topics will have a very large impact on our future as Americans. If, in 2012, we are being watched in such a way, what will it be like in 20 or 30 years? What will it be like in 2084? As the government fears more and more of an attack of some type, they will assuredly continue to spend more and more money in an attempt to alleviate any problems, and we will begin to lose more and more of the freedoms that we as Americans cherish and hold sacred. There  is no reason to be scared of your government, but there is a reason to question them when they begin to step out of line.

Here is an example of what is going on at the federal level in regards to wiretapping:

These types of activities are even being done at the local level:

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Beyond 1984

 

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Politics of 16th century England

pol – i – tics: the science or art of political government

gov – ern – ment: the political direction and control exercised over the actions of the members, citizens, or inhabitants of communities, societies, and states; direction of the affairs of a state, community, etc.; political administration

Henry VII — King of England from 1485-1509

Won the throne by defeating Richard III. Was a very prudent king who turned around the economy of England. England was at one time bankrupt, and Henry VII did everything in his power to turn it around. He was a monarch that wanted to maintain peace among nations and was the first monarch of the House of Tudor.

Henry VIII — King of England from 1509-1547

In 1534, Henry VIII separated the Church of England from Rome, which later became a Protestant church. Henry VIII was excommunicated by Pope Paul III. It is lesser known that the true reason that Henry VIII separated the Church was because the Pope refused to annul the marriage between Henry and Catherine of Aragon, as well as the belief that authority over the Church in England belonged to the monarchy.

Henry VII and Henry VIII, father and son, were the two most prominent and well-remembered monarchs of the 16th century.

 

Key Basics of 16th century English Government:

1. England was a monarchy (Simple!)

2. Kings in this age wanted to ensure peace among those in their nation and with other nations (Didn’t always work!)

3. Religion was still very much a part of the State

4. Parliament, England’s legislative branch, was already around, but was not as powerful as today. While they  could make decisions about the happenings of the country, the King/Queen was still very powerful.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2012 in Thomas More's Utopia

 

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Moses as an Epic Hero

Moses: A Biblical Hero Before There Was A Bible

Moses, a prophet and leader that appears in both the Holy Bible (Christianity) and the Qu’ran (Islam), is a very prominent epic hero in both biblical texts. This post will focus primarily on Moses as he appears in Christian text. Moses was born in approx. 1393 to to Jocheved and Amran. Prior to this, the Egyptian pharaoh had ordered that all male Hebrew children be drowned. At three months of age, Moses was put into a basket and released into the Nile River. He was found by Pharaoh’s daughter and was then raised as the pharaoh’s own son.

Noble Birth…Somewhat

Per one of the epic hero requirements, Moses was, in a way, born of noble birth. Although he was not directly born to the Pharaoh, he grew up, from age 3 months onward, in a royal family. He knew only the life of a royal and knew only the struggles, or lack thereof, of life in the Pharaoh’s family. Another characteristic that is occasionally written about is a strange circumstance at birth. Moses birth would easily fit both of these characteristics.

Moses, a Young Man

Moses embodied the ideals of the Egyptian culture. He was a hard-worker, he was strong, and he was wise. In biblical text, one sees that he is in charge of a group of workers, but he continues to do the hard work, as well. He doesn’t sit on his back, like the Pharaoh, and do nothing. He gets his hands dirty, too.

At approx. 20 years of age, Moses fled Egypt after he killed a fellow Egyptian that was brutally beating a Hebrew slave. Moses ran from Egypt and proceeded to live in Midian, where he married a woman by the name of Zipporah and raised two children. Several decades later, while tending to his father-in-law’s herds, Moses encounters a burning bush on Mt. Sinai. He was stunned because while the bush was on fire, it was not being consumed by the flames. He then heard a voice, which turned out to be the voice of God, telling him that he had been chosen to lead the Israelites (Hebrew slaves) out of Egypt. This is the first instance in which we see God interfering in the affairs of a man, another example of an epic hero. Being a biblical character, it is easy to understand that he had spiritual contact with God many times throughout his life, especially during his biggest and longest journey.

The Journey to God’s Land

Anyone that knows about the Old Testament knows about Moses’ journey. After seeing the burning bush, Moses did as God had commanded of him and returned to Egypt to free the Israelites from bondage. After a series of plagues put against the Emperor in an attempt to coerce him to free the slaves, the slaves were set free by the leader of Egypt. However, right before Moses and the slaves could leave Egypt, the Emperor changed his mind. Therefore, Moses had to hurriedly rush the slaves out of the Emperor’s reach. With the Egyptian army chasing them, the runaways approached the rapid Red Sea. While fearing for their lifes, God parted the Red Sea, allowing the slaves to cross to the other side. The journey continues on, with Moses receiving help from God along the way.

One night while on the journey, Moses climbs a mountain and speaks with God. God proceeds to carve ten commandments onto two stone tablets. This, once again, was divine intervention coming from the Lord.

One could also say that Moses had superhuman strength. He, and the Israelites, wandered in the desert for approx. 40 years searching for the land that God had promised them, the Promised Land (modern-day Israel). Moses was the leader of the group for the entire time. This took great strength, both physically and mentally, and even spiritually. He also met, as was already stated, the epic hero characteristic of leadership. He was entruested by God and his followers, with the responsibility for caring for and protecting each and every Israelite.

Finally, Moses met the epic hero characteristic of courage. It took more courage than anyone could imagine to return to his homeland, defy his father and his army, and preach of a God and a “Promised Land” that very few people believde in. That is quite courageous.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2012 in Epic Heroes

 

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The General’s Death by Joseph O’ Connor

The general dashed along the road
   Amid the pelting rain;
How joyously his bold face glowed
   To hear our cheer's refrain!

His blue blouse flapped in wind and wet,
   His boots were splashed with mire,
But round his lips a smile was set,
   And in his eyes a fire.

A laughing word, a gesture kind,--
   We did not ask for more,
With thirty weary miles behind,
   A weary fight before.

The gun grew light to every man,
   The crossed belts ceased their stress,
As onward to the column's van
   We watched our leader press.

Within an hour we saw him lie,
   A bullet in his brain,
His manly face turned to the sky,
   And beaten by the rain.

I chose this poem because of how it describes the
American Civil War.One minute a group of soldiers
are cheering, practically worshiping their general,
and then a short time later they come upon his
dead body, a bullet in the brain.Their general
was fearless, and they were proud of that.
He was battered, wind-beaten,but still fought
on and led his troops. But even he was not
invincible to a bulletin the brain. This poem discusses
a fate that could have occurred any day on the
battlefield. This poem represents the mood of
passion, confidence,and then horror at the
sight of their general lying death on the
rain-battered Earth. Before that,they are
passionate about their leader and
confident in his abilities. But then they had
to face the fact that they too could die at any time,
be it to battle or disease.
 
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Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Civil War Poetry

 

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The Philippine Patriotic Oath “Panatang Makabayan”

I love the Philippines.
It is the land of my birth;
It is the home of my people.
It protects me and helps me to be strong, happy and useful.
In return, I will heed the counsel of my parents;
I will obey the rules of my school;
I will perform the duties of a patriotic, law-abiding citizen;
I will serve my country unselfishly and faithfully
I will be a true Filipino in thought, in word, in deed.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Pledges

 

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