I have noticed, during the last year or so, that any time I post something about Nazis, totalitarianism, authoritarianism, Hitler, Himmler, Eichmann, anything mentioning “the president” in a critical light or dwelling for more than a sentence on vexing current events, a small flurry of emails arrives, informing me of new “followers”. These are not like the ordinary “followers” one may get, fellow bloggers whose “follow” comes with a short list of their posts that WordPress decides you might be interested in reading. These arrive with no identifying information, no links to themselves, just a “follow” and a randomly generated name that ends @outlook.com.
They have names like Jigghitnaxlerd@outlook.com, email@example.com, Obertfuhrnazdik@outlook.com, Fckyuparanojw@outlook.com. These fanatical new followers are, from all appearances, some kind of bots. I mentioned this to Sekhnet, and the fact that I now have a few dozen of these inhuman “followers”. She agreed it was creepy, told me I should write a post about it. Might as well, if for no better reason than to share the paranoia.
We live in times where you don’t have to be a paranoiac to be paranoid. We are spied on by our own government, we have known since Edward Snowden’s revelations (five new followers) that secret American spy agencies have been intercepting and storing billions of private communications between average Americans, probably trillions. The guy who revealed the massive scope of this secretive, illegal data collection is a wanted fugitive. President Obama (of the self-proclaimed transparent administration) wanted to try him under the Espionage Act of 1917, a harsh rarely used law that does not allow intent as a defense and carries severe punishments including the death penalty. Snowden (follower) would be toast under the draconian World War One statute designed to crush American dissent about entering the War to End All Wars, the War to Make the World Safe for Democracy and global Free Trade (follower).
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to spy on you, monitor your activities, if necessary persecute you, kill you, or at least discredit and cripple you (follower). With Snowden, Obama never threatened him with the death penalty, just dared him to be a man, an American, come forward to face justice and accept a prison stretch of, say, thirty years or so, like the sentence Manning got, after many months of inhumane confinement and mistreatment international experts, like the UN’s Special Rapporteur (follower) on Torture (follower) called “torture” (there I go again, he called it merely “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”, nothing to see here!)  (follower) for releasing, among other things, a video of Americans gleefully committing war crimes in Iraq (six more bot followers). You know, we are a nation of laws. You do know that, right?
It is well to recall the current president’s 80,000 vote victory in the Electoral College, (follower) brilliantly engineered by swinging the necessary tiny margin of votes in a handful of crucial districts his way (follower), which gave him every single elector in each state he needed to beat the opponent he kept threatening to lock up, had crowds chanting “Lock Her Up!” (ten more followers). If he had his way, it would not be my way, that’s for sure.
Which leaves the highway, I suppose, except for the roadblocks to check if I am a well-disguised non-Spanish speaking Mexican criminal, or a Mexican with an outstanding parking ticket, grounds enough for ICE (follower) to get on my case, detain me, or someone smuggling prescription drugs for sale to desperate drug addicts. Or simply a jerk-off too vociferously speaking my political mind, as the First Amendment gives me the right to do, unless I am inciting violence, which I am not, bot.
We now know that the 2016 presidential candidate who made such brilliant use of Twitter was shrewdly aided in his outreach by troll farms for hire, virtual places full of tireless bots, retweeting, liking, loving, commenting, driving up the statistics and the influence of his tweets, to make America realize that literally tens of millions of loyal followers were hanging on this prolific twitterer’s every tweet, millions instantly loving the things this refreshingly candid candidate was shooting from the hip (four more followers).
Brave new world, or cowardly new world, it’s not for me to say. I am as opinionated as the next person, IMHO, but it is hard to opine about things that are hidden, seem creepy, seem to show the cold, dead hand of some ruthless, mechanized digital motherfucker at work, tireless as a maliciously programmed Belorussian hate bot. For every “motherfucker” a new follower. Oh, well. God bless these United States!
 I quote:
The UN special rapporteur on torture has formally accused the US government of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment towards Bradley Manning, the US soldier who was held in solitary confinement for almost a year on suspicion of being the WikiLeaks source.
Juan Mendez has completed a 14-month investigation into the treatment of Manning since the soldier’s arrest at a US military base in May 2010. He concludes that the US military was at least culpable of cruel and inhumane treatment in keeping Manning locked up alone for 23 hours a day over an 11-month period in conditions that he also found might have constituted torture.
“The special rapporteur concludes that imposing seriously punitive conditions of detention on someone who has not been found guilty of any crime is a violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of his presumption of innocence,” Mendez writes.