Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The privacy crisis

Here's Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project in a recent interview aired on Bill Moyers:

"But I do think that there is pushback. There is bipartisan pushback. This is an issue that is at least as important to people on the libertarian right as it is to people on the liberal left. There is this fundamentally American notion of being left alone unless you do something wrong that is jeopardized by dragnet surveillance, which captures information on everyone, in case we might do something wrong."
We can only hope that it's not too late for the American people to take back at least enough privacy from the surveillance state to be able to have any meaningful say in their own government. At least the Snowden revelations have awoken many citizens to the fact that they have lost the rights they thought were guaranteed by the 4th amendment.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Henry Giroux tells us to wake up and take back our world from the parasites

Henry Giroux has been a strong advocate for defending high-quality public education from the profiteering privatizers here in the U.S. Here he argues that only a free and independent citizenry, educated outside of the corporate sphere of influence, will be able to reclaim our democracy. http://www.truthdig.com/report/page4/cultures_of_violence_in_the_age_of_casino_capitalism_20131219

As power becomes global, unrestrained by the politics of nation states, it has become more arrogant, less controllable and more vicious in its pursuit of resources, profits and wealth. This predatory ruling financial class are the new zombies - parasites sucking the blood out of everything they come in contact with while spreading misery, suffering, and death all over the globe. One consequence is that more and more individuals and groups are becoming imaginary others, defined by a free floating, largely unaccountable capitalist class that inscribes them as disposable, redundant and irrelevant…. This grim reality has produced a failure in the power of the civic imagination, political will, and open democracy. Casino capitalism destroys those institutions that generate the capacity for critique, dissent, thoughtfulness and collective struggles. In its place, it has erected a series of cultural apparatuses that revel in idiocy, celebrity culture, conformity and infantilization…. The struggle against casino capitalism must begin as not only a struggle over power, but as a concerted and widespread attempt to make education central to politics, to address what it means to change the way in which people see things, learn how to govern rather than be governed, and embrace a collective sense of agency in which history and the future is open.blockquote>

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pathetic Spectacle

Charles Hugh Smith sums up neatly the dismay many of us feel when confronted by the antics of our national politicians:

All we have left in the U.S. is a deeply impoverishing Political Theater of the Absurd. Policy, theory and governance have all been reduced to competing stage performances in the Theater of the Absurd. The actors are transparently given to farcical overacting in exaggerated dramas drained of meaning; they proceed through the cliched motions as if the audience hadn't seen the same charades overplayed dozens of times before. "Government shutdown" and "debt ceiling" may have engaged audiences starved for entertainment in a bygone age, but now they exemplify a theater that is so impoverished it can only re-stage tired formulaic dramas with a savage appetite for incompetence and buffoonery.
So what should we do? I think the time for trying to elect better politicians within this corrupt system has passed. We need to recognize that our interests simply aren't represented in this corporate-friendly regime. Our attitude should be akin to those of colonized populations biding their time until they can reclaim their own land. Collaborate with the regime as little as possible and support our own independent attempts to build communities and institutions that promote sane, healthy living. Continue to resist oppression, but begin to construct a new, more humane society on the scorched earth of the ravaged world left to us by the greedheads.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An establishment voice in support of Snowden

Here's Richard Falk, the Albert G Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara:

"Instead of seeking to prosecute and punish Snowden, the healthy national response would be to reestablish limits on governmental surveillance and extraterritorial security claims. At least, it is time for citizens not to be fooled by the politics of deflection by which the government and a pliant media avoid the message and obsess about the messenger, and discuss the substantive issues that prompted the disclosures rather than seek to punish an individual of conscience who chose bravely to risk the fury of a state because some of its unseemly secrets were being made public."
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/07/201371011618650821.html This, at a minimum, is the sort of reaction one would expect from any sane U.S. citizen, from across the political spectrum. Sadly, many folks have chosen to reveal themselves during this crisis as completely craven cowards, willing, even eager, to throw themselves on the mercies of the surveillance state. Why? This is a difficult question, but history offers many other examples of folks failing to stand up to bullies. Authoritarian regimes don't require enthusiastic support from subjects, frightened obedience will suit them just as well.