The essential “virtue” of the American two-party electoral system

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word—doublethink—involved the use of doublethink.” George Orwell, “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (1949) part 1, chapter 3, pp 32

Sales of ‘1984’ spike after Kellyanne Conway’s ‘alternative facts’ blather

❝ On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, called easily disproved claims made by White House press secretary Sean Spicer “alternative facts.”

A bewildered Chuck Todd responded, “Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.”

❝ While the phrase “alternative facts” reminded many of the terms “falsehoods,” “lies” and “untruths,” it reminded many others of George Orwell’s dystopian, politically charged novel “1984.”

❝ Not only were people inspired to tweet about that, they wanted to purchase a copy. By early Wednesday morning, the novel was the best-selling book on…

Sales of the novel also enjoyed a marked spike in 2013 — one edition experiencing a 10,000 percent jump in sales — following the leak of NSA documents.

❝ Many quotes from the book especially resonated with readers following Conway’s remarks.

“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command,” for example, reminded some of Spicer’s argument that Trump’s inauguration had record-breaking crowds, despite obvious evidence to the contrary…

❝ Perhaps the phrase “alternative facts” will soon have as much cultural currency as the terms Orwell penned more than a half-century ago, even though the former were said in earnest while Orwell’s were bitingly critical.

Maybe the mainstream media will even rise to brave clarity and describe Trump’s public statements as nothing more than bullshite.

Supreme Court to rule on GPS surveillance, Fourth Amendment

Tracking gear planted on Arab-American student’s car by FBI

In a series of rulings on the use of satellites and cellphones to track criminal suspects, judges around the country have been citing George Orwell’s “1984” to sound an alarm. They say the Fourth Amendment’s promise of protection from government invasion of privacy is in danger of being replaced by the futuristic surveillance state Orwell described…

Last month, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn turned down a government request for 113 days of location data from cellphone towers, citing “Orwellian intrusion” and saying the courts must “begin to address whether revolutionary changes in technology require changes to existing Fourth Amendment doctrine.”

The Supreme Court is about to do just that. In November, it will hear arguments in United States v. Jones, No. 10-1259, the most important Fourth Amendment case in a decade. The justices will address a question that has divided the lower courts: Do the police need a warrant to attach a GPS device to a suspect’s car and track its movements for weeks at a time?

Their answer will bring Fourth Amendment law into the digital age, addressing how its 18th-century prohibition of “unreasonable searches and seizures” applies to a world in which people’s movements are continuously recorded by devices in their cars, pockets and purses, by toll plazas and by transit systems.

The Jones case will address not only whether the placement of a space-age tracking device on the outside of a vehicle without a warrant qualifies as a search, but also whether the intensive monitoring it allows is different in kind from conventional surveillance by police officers who stake out suspects and tail their cars.

There is little if any difference between the Big Brother practices ordered by George W. Bush and continued by Barack Obama. Either flavor of government agrees with the other that national interest – as defined by the politicians in charge – supersedes any individual right to privacy. No due process or habeus corpus is required because no warrant should be required to spy on anyone in this nation.

For some of you this will come as an affront, a shock. If you don’t fight back, you will not only be required to get used to it – you will be told to “lay back and enjoy it”. Various levels of police, local, state and federal, have been utilizing illicit tactics like this for decades – whether officially banned or not. That’s no reason to give up and stop fighting. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Copper’s ‘perfect’ blog wins Orwell prize

The pages of a policeman’s notebook, clumped as they are with impenetrable acronyms and tales of suspects proceeding in northerly directions, seldom crackle with urgent prose or lapse into howls of sardonic anger and moments of compassion.

But one serving officer, who used his daily jottings and professional experiences as raw material for a blog, has just been rewarded with the Orwell special prize for blogs.

According to the judges, the pronouncements of “Night Jack – An English Detective” provided a perfect example of the medium’s power and importance.

“The insight into the everyday life of the police that Jack Night’s wonderful blog offered was – everybody felt – something which only a blog could deliver, and he delivered it brilliantly. It took you to the heart of what a policeman has to do – by the first blogpost you were hooked, and could not wait to click on to the next…”

Although he suspended his blog activities this month, Jack posted a message to accept the prize – the need to stay anonymous meant he did not attend in person.

He said he had pledged the £3,000 winnings to the Police Dependents’ Trust, and is adamant that no one outside his family and friends will learn his true identity. He is also currently working on a novel.

“It would appear I can write so I’m trying to see whether I can write more than a chapter of a police procedural,” he said. “After 20 years on the job, it’s all I know about.”

RTFA. I’m recommending it – and Night Jack – to a couple of mates who are coppers, retired or otherwise.

It’s worth a grin to fellow blogging insiders to note that Night Jack also happens to live in the realm of

This is UPDATED here.