Editors Note: Today’s column is political satire, mixing reports of actual news events with invented parodic consequences.
Leaders in the United States are closely scrutinizing China’s imminent launch of an ultra-invasive high-tech scheme to track its unsuspecting citizens, who will receive official electronic “residency cards” fitted with powerful tell-all computer mega-chips.
“Data on the [China] chip,” according to the New York Times, “will include not just the citizen’s name and address but also work history, educational background, religion, ethnicity, police record, medical insurance status and landlord’s phone number. Even personal reproductive history will be included, for enforcement of China’s controversial ‘one child’ policy. Plans are being studied to add credit histories, subway travel payments and small purchases charged to the card.”
Scuttlebutt has it the USA, concerned another nation could surge ahead in the highly competitive realm of sophisticated population-surveillance and tactical electronic intimidation, plans to implement its own cutting-edge spy system on a selective roster of high-profile individuals, then broadcast real-time data and details from these Beta test subjects live around the clock, on an exclusive new reality TV subscription outlet called The Spy Channel:
Katie Couric, Barry Bonds, Woody Allen, A-Rod, Phil Spector, Lana Clarkson’s corpse, Paris Hilton’s pet dog, Bill Clinton , OJ Simpson, The Menendez Brothers, Kato Kaelin, Lyndsay Lohan, K-Fed, Britney Spears, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rush Limbaugh, Oprah, Al Franken, Pee-Wee Herman, Emeril, Rupert Murdock, Tiny Tim, Matt Drudge, Mike Tyson, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Bono, Cher, Others TBA.
When adapted to America’s specialized domestic surveillance needs, the China Chip Project will be retooled as Operation Fatally Sunny Skies. Already, the Times notes, “all Chinese citizens are required to carry national identity cards with very simple computer chips embedded, providing little more than the citizen’s name and date of birth. Since imperial times, a principal technique of social control has been for local government agencies to keep detailed records on every resident.”
Clearly, trading Liberty for Security is nothing new.
Controversial in its vastly intrusive scope, Operation Fatally Sunny Skies will also provide gummint authorities a potentially exhaustive readout of each individual’s complete television habits; diet; drug, pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol consumption; library books and DVD rentals, internet porn surfing; grocery tapes; online IM and chat logs; ice cream indulgences; BMI; sex partners; plastic surgery records; food allergies; sleep schedule; bowel movements; birth control methods; medical emergencies; eyeglass prescriptions; car make, model, and service record; clothes closet contents; potential for criminal and/or sexual deviancy; Second Life dossier; and past, present, and future political activity, among other features.
“We are so pleased to announce the Minority Report Era has arrived a half-century ahead of schedule,” proudly proclaims Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff. He’s the same sinister dude, you may recall, blabbing to the media everywhere about those strenuous “gut feelings” of his predicting the United States is overdue for another late-summer terror attack.
Meanwhile, the thanks of a grateful nation go to you, Mr. Chertoff, and may I suggest charcoal capsules for your stomach complaints. To think Republicans reputedly scorn psychics!
And so I invite a diverse cross-section of regular LEFT-HANDED readers to respond to Mr. Homeland Security’s looming sense of “terror in the gut” which he based not on credible intelligence but rather on probable indigestion:
- Marianne, a textile importer in Philly: “Must be acid reflux. Cut out the cheeseburgers and American [Freedom] Fries.”
- Marlene, a cartoonist from Chicago: “Do we start singing, ‘More than a feeling?’ Forewarned is forearmed. We should take his feeling seriously and watch our back door. Nothing big ever goes without some kind of advance warning. If nothing happens, then good for us!”
- David, an accountant in NJ: “Take an Imodium.”
- Pam, a holistic healer from NY State: “He should probably try an antacid! Or maybe just a strong laxative.”
- Laurel, a New Mexico food-bank exec, formerly from Louisiana: “Wonder if his gut tells him where and when the next hurricane will strike?”
Translation: The Feds should forget this effed-up Fatally Sunny Skies project, immediately if not sooner. Zap it now! The public has spoken!