Saturday Links of the Week – Dec. 17/05


Bush Secretly Signs Law Allowing Unlimited Spying on Americans Without Warrants: In a blockbuster revelation, the NYT yesterday broke the story of the year: That early in 2002 Bush introduced a secret law allowing the NSA foreign spying agency to spy on ordinary Americans without limit, without warrant, without notification, and without the need to demonstrate cause. He effectively created a Police State in America without telling anyone. The law, which is clearly unconstitutional, essentially proclaims:

  • That the American people have no rights or freedoms, in the eyes of the Bush neocon regime, and
  • That the US Government considers itself in all respects above the law.

In any other democracy this kind of action, introduced subversively without notification to the people, would be grounds for immediate impeachment of the president and criminal charges against the perpetrators. But the reactions to this astonishing revelation have been unbelievably meek — the mainstream media have provided little editorial commentary, lobbing softball questions to the government and merely reporting verbatim what government leaders of both parties have said. Bush’s Minister of Torture Alberto Gonzales shrugged it off, saying it was all necessary in the “war on terror”.

What is equally remarkable was the fact that the NYT sat on this story for a year at the government’s request, essentially allowing Bush to be reelected. They chose to release it just in time for the revelations to block Senate renewal of the abominable Patriot Act — an act for incursion on civil liberties that, at least, the public was told about. But the Republican leaders see no problem getting the Patriot Act renewed indefinitely, viewing the revelation as a mere setback.

What will it take for moderate Americans to get up in arms about this reckless and arrogant government? Where the hell was the rest of the media? When your government sees itself as above the law, and is allowed to break the law and ignore both the law and the constitution of the land with impunity, how big a step is it from there to simply suspend the constitution, abolish Congress, and install a one-party ultra right-wing Christian state “until the government is convinced the war on terror has been won”?

Pentagon Keeps Blacklists of Americans Indefinitely, Breaking the Law: In a related story broken by NBC news, it has been discovered that the Pentagon has been routinely breaking the law requiring removal of names from its blacklists after 90 days if there is no evidence the person posed a security risk to the country. This revelation is less surprising than the one above, since it is widely accepted that security authorities can always find ways to keep ‘backups’ of blacklists of innocent people, but it is further evidence of the general sense of the administration that it is above the law.

Black Ink Monday: Ironically, last Monday was Black Ink Monday, mourning the decision by Tribune newspapers to get rid of a number of their editorial cartoonists to shore up corporate profits at the expense of informing their readers.

The rest of these links, just for balance, are good news:

Reading Glasses that Read: An interesting innovation suggestion by M.O. Thirunarayanan — glasses that ‘read out loud’ what you’re looking at, instead of just helping you do so yourself. Thanks to Innovation Weekly for the link.

Earth-Friendly Living: A new e-mag, GreenLight, provides a host of information on living in a more socially and environmentally responsible way.

Easing the Energy Crisis with Ships and Trains: A logistics expert says using ships and trains to ship most cargo in Nortyh America, instead of huge wasteful truck fleets, would cost a fortune but would go further to reduce non-renewable energy consumption than any other proposal.

Do It Yourself Everything: ReadyMade, a magazine and now a book, provides hints on how to make and do almost anything yourself, often using used or recycled materials. Anyone actually read this and know if the ideas work?

Broadcast From Your Cell Phone: A new technology from ComVU Mobile allows you to use your cell phone to broadcast full-motion video on the fly. Very simple and interesting stuff. Thanks to Bruce Winter for the link.

Too Cute for Words: Although currently suffering from technical difficulties, Cute Overload has a daily dose of cute imagery. The picture above is a sample. Thanks to Brad Mills for the link.

This entry was posted in How the World Really Works. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Saturday Links of the Week – Dec. 17/05

  1. Lauren Marie says:

    “Make Magazine” is also a great DIY mag but with a more technological focus that I think on avergage has better projects than Ready Made.

  2. re: BushWhen they came for the communists,I remained silent;I was not a communist.When they locked up the social democrats,I remained silent;I was not a social democrat.When they came for the trade unionists,I did not speak out;I was not a trade unionist.When they came for the Jews,I did not speak out;I was not a Jew.When they came for me,there was no one left to speak out.attrib: Martin Niemoeller (…)

  3. The level of paranoia in this administration is mind-boggling. In order to be safe from terrorism we’re expected to give up basic constitutional rights? If that’s so, the terrorists have won. Or is this simply a hunger for power, with mass paranoia as the tool? If so, it sickens me. Mr. Bush’s definition of democracy and mine differ vastly. If I speak out am I now considered unpatriotic, or a terrorist myself? I have to speak out anyway, or I’m not myself, and certainly not free.

  4. Catnmus says:

    I had that thought about trucks vs. trains not too long ago, myself. There was an article in the Sunday weekly newspaper magazine insert about how to safely drive amongst big rigs. Don’t drive too close behind. Don’t drive too close in front. Don’t drive in the left side blind spot, which is thiiis big. Don’t drive in the right side blind spot, which is thiiiiiiis big. And I’m thinking, that doesn’t leave much of anywhere TO drive. Are we supposed to just give up the road completely? Add to that the fact that these drivers are often awake for long stretches of time, and as you mentioned the energy and pollution cost, well, it seems like it would be a good idea to get these long-distance truckers off the road.

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Lauren: Thanks, I’ll check it out. Harold: That famous quote occurred to me too. Barbara & catnmus: Absolutely and amen.

Comments are closed.