American Horror Story

Most Important Books

I know I generally write about the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, clergy sexual abuse and horror movies. Which are oddly connected. Today I’m writing about our own American Horror Story. And not the TV show.

I read Woodward and Bernstein’s “All the President’s Men” when I was 14 years old, in 1974. It shaped how I viewed our country politically for the rest of my life. It was one of the most important books I’ve read as a young American.

40 years later I’m reading a book of equal importance. And far more frightening. To say something is Orwellian has become cliche. But it certainly applies to the US government since the attack on September 11th.

Glenn Greenwald’s  “No Place To Hide” tells the story of how he broke the story of the surveillance state via the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden. Acts that violate every aspect of the 4th Amendment of the Constitution with impunity. Our government is doing to us exactly what the British Government did during the revolution, searching homes and property at will, which prompted the writing the 4th amendment in the first place.


You remember, you read the Bill of Rights in 4th grade.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Bill of Rights was put in place in order for the government to recognize our natural rights. Rights that can not be taken away or transfered. You know, inalienable and all that. It seems to be that more and more have come to believe that the government gives our rights to us, and can therefore take them away. By definition they can’t be taken away.  Even if you’re not an American. Whoa! That’s a post for another time.

At first glance one would think both books have a lot in common. The opposite is true. In “All The President’s Men”, crimes were committed, the main stream media reported it and people went to jail. Ultimately it cause President Nixon to resign from office. Our system worked. Sort of.

Today the paranoia of Nixon has become institutionalized by the Bush and Obama administrations and is now policy that views every American citizen a suspect. Even I don’t do that. I only view Catholics that way.

And the mainstream media is complicit. It appears it is common practice to get the governments permission to run a story. Huh? George Orwell’s “1984” was off by 30 years. Not that he was actually predicting anything. He did write fiction.

I won’t get into the details of Greenwald’s book. Someone will just delete it anyway.

So turn off your computer and read “No Where to Hide” on the beach this summer. You may never turn your computer back on afterward.

PS: Buy it in a bricks and mortar bookstore. And use cash…


About skipshea

Horror Filmmaker and Fan
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to American Horror Story

  1. says:

    Peace Skip,

    First, I commend you for raising this issue in your blog space.

    Second, Thank you for doing so.

    You’ve done your correspondents and the cause of freedom and liberty a

    tremendous service.


    No matter how well-written our constitution is, while it might forestall the

    dictatorial proclivities of public officials for a time, it will never serve thusly

    in the long run as long as our fellow citizens either don’t care about liberty

    or are willing to exchange their liberty for the promises (illusions) of

    “safety” and “security.”

    The main ingredient in the defense of liberty, its animating and sustaining

    force, is that knowledgeable and aware citizenry comprising individuals

    accustomed to exercising their critical thinking faculties and disposed to do


    These citizens are passionately committed to liberty.

    They knows what liberty means to them in philosophical as well as

    practical terms.

    They aren’t willing to exchange/surrender their liberty for anything.

    They also understand that they can’t leave it to the politicians and

    bureaucrats who claim to be “protecting” us.

    From the beginning of our republic the political class has

    demonstrated its willingness to aggrandize itself at the expense of liberty

    of us the people.

    As well, they’ve provided ample corroboration of that verity:

    “Power corrupts,” to which I add: “Power attracts the corrupt and the


    It was during our country’s infancy that one of our nation’s founders,

    President John Adams signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts during

    our nation’s brief naval warfare with its erstwhile ally France.

    But now our fellow citizens are less knowledgeable than they’ve ever been.

    Our schools spend little time exploring our constitution and it antecedent

    such as the Magna Carta, the Declaration Of Independence, Articles Of

    Confederation and even less with such supporting political philosophical

    meditations as Lock’s “Two Treatises of Government,” Blackstone’s

    “Commentaries on the Laws of England,” The Federalist Papers,” “The

    Anti-Federalist Papers and “Cato Letters.”

    With your contemplation of our Bill of Rights and the evisceration of our

    Fourth Amendment guarantees against unwarranted government intrusion

    into our personal and private matters, in the manner of your review of

    Mr. Greenwald’s book, you’ve invited your following to participate in this

    colloquy on liberty.

    There’s no downside, as they might never received such an invitation


    And now enlightened, these citizens, whose knowledge you’ve helped to

    expand, may elect to become part of the vanguard for peacefully

    restoring the values and practices of our republic even if they limit their

    profiles to further exploration of the ancillary themes you’ve raised.

    Ironically, I had begun an essay film on this very subject about 10 years

    ago titled: “Just Another Word: Freedom”* (and its implicit correlate:

    “Liberty”) Such story-telling, I’ve learned, is a more effective pedagogical

    instrument than lecturing in stimulating people to critical thought even while

    entertaining them.

    We learn so much more easily when the learning experience is “fun” and is

    not obtrusive or heavy-handed.

    Finally, your observation respecting George Orwell is ironic considering

    that he proved to be so prescient in his fiction.

    “If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority

    and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is,

    must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to

    redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest

    and prudence justify.” — Alexander Hamilton (Publius), Federalist Papers,

    #33; “The Same Subject Continued: Concerning the General Power of


    Hamilton, the Federalist most responsible for laying the groundwork for

    the relentless growth of government, was, in his assessment of the

    ultimate check on government; right on the money.



    * Or “Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose: Freedom”

    (Its wordiness concerns me though.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s