Benjamin Franklin said it a quarter of a Millenium ago

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

The United States of America – wanted or not – are still the city on the hill. Everybody looks up (though more often down, these days) on the United States of America. There has never been a day, when so little temporary safety was purchased with such an enormous loss of the essential liberty of a Million people outside of war or fascism.

What will be the result of this insult of humanity we witnessed today? What will we say when a dictator locks down a city in pursuit of some sort of crime? What will we say when Russia locks down Novosibirsk or St. Petersburg? What will we say China locks down Harbin? What will we say, knowing that they can always point to Boston and say: But you did the same!

The enormity of this loss of liberty is impossible to grasp. Had there been a movie as little as two days ago, of a million people in lock-down to facilitate the hunt on a single terrorist, I would have said this is unrealistic. Not even the United States would do this. But it did happen. And not in a state of all-out fear either, but calm and orderly, as if giving up such basic rights as leaving your home was an everyday business.

An incredible day has ended, after which the United States will never look the same to me again. From this day on, the question I will ask will not be whether the United States is on its way to some kind of fascism or another, but how far it has progressed and if there is still a path left in another direction.

Meanwhile the suspect has been arrested. This doesn’t change a thing about this assessment. It is a terrible day for basic civil liberties. The suspect will not be notified, as required by law, of his right to a lawyer and his right to be silent. A “public safety exception” is cited to justify this breach of basic civil law.

The BBC says that the suspect was not found by police, but by a local resident who noticed blood on the tarp over the boat where he was hiding. This could only happen, of course, once the lock down was over. Had the lock down lasted until nightfall, he would not have been found.

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You wouldn’t expect that to happen in Russia

I’m rather speechless. And as you may guess, I’m not talking about Russia, but the USA, specifically Boston. The whole city is in lock-down. All houses and homes are being searched by SWAT teams. There is a curfew and everyone on the street is treated as a criminal per se. A declaration of martial law would have been a milder measure.

A suspect is gunned down and shot dead on the spot – even if you feel you have to fire weapons, one shot is usually enough. Multiple hits indicate that there were orders to shoot to kill.

An arrested man is searched for weapons, stripped down naked and not even allowed to put his clothes back on, after it has been established that there were no weapons in those clothes. All that in a country prudish enough to have such phenomena as “Nipple Gate”.

The whole scene is horrific and it is hard to think of another place where such things might take place, never mind in a civilized country, but any country at all. There have been so many precedents of terrorist acts. Acts much worse than the Boston marathon bombings. NONE comes to mind that resulted in such blatant ignorance of basic civil liberty in pursuit of the perpetrators as this one.

It is so far out of proportion to what happened and to what has been deemed necessary in similar and much worse cases in the past, that words fail to describe it. If something similar happened in Russia or China, it would provoke immediate criticism from all over the world. What is for sure, is that the USA now is a failure as a modern civil society beyond all doubt – unfortunately it is above any consequential criticism by international authorities … and from all I can tell, it is immune to any criticism from its media as well, if that is being levelled at all. Any serious criticism of those actions by the established media would be a surprise.

What now, except for size, is the difference between the USA and a run-off-the-mill military dictatorship?

(Update: i want to point out that this was written before I heard about the connection to Chechnya. The reference to Russia in the headline is a pure coincidence.)

A classic Hansen – 1999

Famous climate scientist James Hansen informed us in 1999 about the state of the world climate. On the US he had something to say that is very strange indeed, by standards of today:

“The U.S. temperature increased by about 0.8°C between the 1880s and the 1930s, but it then fell by about 0.7°C between 1930 and the 1970s and regained only about 0.3°C of this between the 1970s and the 1990s.

The year 1998 was the warmest year of recent decades in the United States, but in general, U.S. temperatures have not recovered even to the level that existed in the 1930s. This contrasts with global temperatures, which have climbed far above the levels of the first half of this century.”

This is backed up with a graph (fig. 6) of the GISS US temperatures as published in 1999:

hansen1999

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