The razor’s edge

Wired has published all of the documents related to AT&T’s complicity with the NSA’s domestic surveillance program. Including pictures of the secret rooms that AT&T built in their major switching centers for use by the NSA.

Go here to read their story and here to have a look at the goods.

I wish I had something really brilliant or trenchant to say about this, but the truth is that the current threat to our liberty is neither subtle nor complex.  The federal government is arrogating all authority to its own Executive.  The founders had a word for this, and that word was “tyranny”.

Anyone who completed their required reading in high school could have — with just a little imagination — seen this moment coming in 2001 and 2002.   When the “Patriot Act” passed into law and the “Department of Homeland Security” was established, the trajectory was thunderingly, unironically obvious.  The proponents of the Security State were all but saying “we’re laying the ground for a totalitarian state!”, and our corrupt and incompetent legislators licked it up and asked for more.  What’s more, our media have treated our national political life like a particularly exciting cocktail soiree since before 2000, and their abdication of their responsibilities went a long way toward making all of this possible.  What does it say about the intellectual quality of our national press corps that it takes The Buffalo Beast to put together all the obvious pieces and put out an editorial like this:

One saving grace of alternative media in this age of unfettered corporate conglomeration has been the internet. While the masses are spoon-fed predigested news on TV and in mainstream print publications, the truth-seeking individual still has access to a broad array of investigative reporting and political opinion via the world-wide web. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the government moved to patch up this crack in the sky. Attempts to regulate and filter internet content are intensifying lately, coming both from telecommunications corporations (who are gearing up to pass legislation transferring ownership and regulation of the internet to themselves), and the Pentagon (which issued an “Information Operations Roadmap” in 2003, signed by Donald Rumsfeld, which outlines tactics such as network attacks and acknowledges, without suggesting a remedy, that US propaganda planted in other countries has easily found its way to Americans via the internet). One obvious tactic clearing the way for stifling regulation of internet content is the growing media frenzy over child pornography and “internet predators,” which will surely lead to legislation that by far exceeds in its purview what is needed to fight such threats.

Go read the rest of the “Top Ten Signs Of The Impending U.S. Police State”.

What will we do?  What is it even possible to do?  I have often wondered if the state’s monopoly on force has not become so total and so sophisticated that if it ever came down to it and the people actually wanted a different government, could we make the present government concede to the popular will?  Are there still historical alternatives, or is the future now bound to an ever-amplifying loop of the status quo?


41 Responses to “The razor’s edge”

  1. annieangel Says:

    Oh give me a BREAK, (you skanky dick)!!!

    You’re too DRAMATIC! No one is out to get you, you are safe and you can THANK the present government for that.

    Don’t buy into the hysteria, no one is invading your privacy, no one is restricting your movements or your speech, it’s all just hype put out by dirty hippy communists. If you want a change of government….VOTE!! Get the people who agree with you to VOTE!!

    That’s how change is effected, so instead of all the gloom and doom you are using to try to scare people away from Republicans, why not try sunshine and light and show people the GOOD in your party (whatever it may be, LOL) instead of the BAD in your opposition.

    Just a thought.

  2. annieangel Says:

    My comment disappeared!

    CENSORSHIP!!! OUTRAGE!!! @@##@!!

  3. Res Publica Says:

    Sorry, sister, I think you’re looking for John Aravosis. We don’t delete comments here at the Republic. And beleive me, i’ve been sorely tempted to in the past.

    Let me go check the spam filter and see if something accidentally got snagged.

  4. annieangel Says:

    Well, I didn’t make it up, if that’s what you’re implying.

    But I’m glad to see my well thought out post has magically returned.

    I apologize for calling you a fascist.

  5. blue girl Says:

    Res, you know how you wrote awhile back that they may do away with the 2008 election so that The Decider can be The Decider For Life? And I was all……Really?!! Why would you ever say that??!!

    And then you thought maybe you were being overly paranoid?

    I’m scared now, too. I’m not sure where all of this ends. And I feel like the Democrats are in on the scam.

    OT: Go read Neddie Jingo’s latest post. You will laugh your behind off.

  6. Res Publica Says:

    It was in the spam filter. Just as a general notice to everyone, I hardly ever look at that thing (because well over 95% of what it catchers are ads for viagra and sex sites and whatnot), so if you post a comment and it doesn’t show up, drop me an email.

  7. blue girl Says:

    Oh! And another thing to always remember:

    I before E except after C.


  8. Res Publica Says:

    And Annie….don’t you mean “skanky fucking dick”? We encourage F-bombing here in the Republic.

  9. Res Publica Says:

    Hey, Blue..scroll up and look at the banner on top of this site. You see that little green cartoon man? Yeah. He’s flipping you off.

  10. blue girl Says:

    There isn’t a little green cartoon man. There’s only a pretty girl chowing on a powdered donut.

    How come you don’t take gravatars on your weblog?

  11. Res Publica Says:

    Um….what’s a gravatar? Also, if you visit often enough, you will see the little green man. He’s one one of my three banners. Donut girl is flipping you off too, you just can’t see it.

  12. Robust McManlyPants Says:

    Shit, did I forget to set my clock to Central Bullshit Time again? It is such a pain to have to set that thing back fifty fucking years.

    You’re too DRAMATIC!

    This from someone using caps-lock? Shit, I just realized this has to be comedy. I guess my DRAMATIC response can be tossed aside.

    Suffice to say, privacy is not the antithesis of security, nor necessarily the first virgin thrown into the volcano to appease security’s whims. Privacy is not just an abstract ideal, either. The less official privacy we enjoy, the likelier we all are to seek ways to hide what we do or believe. There’s something wrong when ordinary folks start looking over their shoulders because they’re convinced someone is watching them.

    The American (and especially conservative, I would think) response to all this should not be simply to say that if one has done nothing wrong, one has nothing to hide. The IMNSHO properly American response should be to say, “I have done nothing wrong, so stop fucking looking around, asshole.”

    Oh, damn, I totally didn’t toss that aside, did I?

    * However, to totally talk out my ass here.

  13. Res Publica Says:

    Nevermind, I see what they are. I’ll install the plug-in this weekend. I guess.

  14. Robust McManlyPants Says:

    Oh, damn. The * footnote is related to something I cut out before posting. Not to say I’m not totally talking out my ass anyway.

  15. Res Publica Says:

    Robusto, darling, where have you been? Stop fighting with Annie and come lick me!

  16. Robust McManlyPants Says:

    Are you wearing one of those chile rellenos? I’m in.

    I’d just like to note in that post you said you “boned” a pheasant. Or something. I got hung up on the word “boned,” and couldn’t really stop giggling.

  17. Res Publica Says:

    I boned 8 pheasants, actually, you perv. With a BONING knife!! Trust me, it was exactly 500% less fun than it sounds.

  18. annieangel Says:

    Who’s fighting with me NOW??

    God, the DRAMA here is too much, it’s too cloying, like the wisteria down by the river, when we were children and you chased me, but you never caught me, and I laughed at you and you cursed me, oh, I feel a faint coming on! Someone bring me my smelling salts!!

    *raises one hand to her forehead and faints gracefully into a chair*

  19. Res Publica Says:

    I don’t think anyone is fighting with you, Annie. However, that was a very moving performance of “A Streetcar Named Desire”, so thanks for that.

    PS – Robust – dont’ fight with Annie. She’s our new friend. I think.

  20. blue girl Says:

    Yes, but does Annie know how to italicize stuff?

    Huh? Huh?

    (Annie, get used to the drama, it’s a regular off broadway theatre here 24/7/365/1,000,000,000/into infinity)

  21. Res Publica Says:

    Drama? We just talk a lot of smack. I don’t see what’s dramatic about that.

    Also, Blue? I’m giving you the finger SO HARD.

  22. annieangel Says:

    I LOVE making new friends!

  23. Robust McManlyPants Says:

    I figured she was play-trolling (seriously – caps-lock was a give-away), but still, it was worth saying.

    Also, I was commenting from work, and work makes a Robust mean.

  24. blue girl Says:


    She even know how to close the italics tag.

  25. Kevin Wolf Says:

    Man, I seem to have been misdirected to some weird blog. I thought I’d comment on this privacy vs security thingie deal, but I’m suddenly in the middle of an all-caps DRAMA.

    Oh, well. I’m already here, so I’ll just say that I think we’re about 75% of the way to Bush, Inc’s goal of a permanent police state.

  26. almostinfamous Says:

    CALIFORNIA UBER ALLES!! (sstill don’t know how to do the umlauts)

    anyway. good luck. if you still have a democracy after november then the least you can do is impeach the entire cabinet, prosecute the fuckers in America, and then frogmarch their war criminal asses to the Hague as well. a few good televised kicks in the nuts would help out your image abroad as well.

    if i was a citizen of or even still residing in the US, i would be cobagitating but seeing as i have to deal with all these indian cobags now, i have to figure out a way to get in on all the cobagitation over here.

  27. Res Publica Says:

    I want to move to Canada. I wonder if boyfriend can get a visa? I think you have to be fluent in either Engrish or French. He’s only really fluent in ASL. And the poor dear just got his American citizenship like 8 years ago.

  28. annieangel Says:

    Canada sucks. Trust me. Move to Mexico.

  29. Res Publica Says:

    Um….boyfriend got his American citizenship to escape Mexico. Mexico sucks, trust me.

  30. almostinfamous Says:

    Mexico sucks, trust me.

    and it’s getting worse thanks to NAFTA. God Bless the neoliberals and their cold black lumps of heart

  31. Res Publica Says:

    I don’t want to overgeneralize….many parts of Mexico are very, very beautiful, and the people are wonderful on the whole. However, northern Mexico is pretty hellish.

  32. annieangel Says:

    Mexico doesn’t suck if you’re not Mexican. I’m moving to Cancun.

    Canada is a frigid bitch of a country full of rednecks, there is way too much violence against women and nothing to do except get drunk and say “eh.”

    Don’t let the politics of Canada fool you, people here don’t care about politics at all, they’re not interested, they enjoy a flatline on the political front and being taxed to death.

    Oh and everyone hates Americans, regardless of the polite prattle you may hear oline.

    Just the truth. You probably won’t like it here.

  33. Robust McManlyPants Says:

    I do hear that Vancouver is lovely, however.

    If that fails, we can all move to Scotland, right?

  34. Adorable Girlfriend Says:

    Not every Canadian hates America, Annie. Our beloved UC and his mother adore this place. As do a few other canucks.

    Annie, you say that there is violence against women. It sounds like you oppose this. However, you are the same person who called AG fat and made slurs against AG when she left her one and only remark on your blog. Sweetie, you need to pick a personality and stick to it. Either you are not hating on women or you are hating on women. Which is it?

    We’re happy to have you here, regardless of what you select Especially if you hang on for our Holiday Blog Bake-off.

    Robust, Vancouver is wonderful, as is PEI. Canada has lots of fine cities and places to visit. However, the US does as well, provide it isn’t Crawford Texas or red states. 🙂

  35. Robust McManlyPants Says:

    Oh, and Canada has that wretched little worm for PM now, right?

    All the English-speaking countries are fucked, and I with them.

  36. Adorable Girlfriend Says:

    They totally are and you know it especially if Bush has had a “meeting” with them.

    Luckily in Canadia, you vote frequently enough to outst the winguts that don’t work. Madame, YJA, Jimmy, Peter: can we get some Canadia details here?

  37. midniter Says:

    Oh god…is it time to start planning for the holiday bake-off already?

  38. blue girl Says:


    You would think so, huh? With all the Bake-off talk going on.

    But, it’s just Res. Still whining about losing last year’s. Will his sniveling never cease?

  39. Adorable Girlfriend Says:

    Actually, we discussed a Christmas in July bake-off.

    At the very least, maybe I will brush up on my baking skills and send some goodies around the globe.

  40. annieangel Says:

    AG, you’re a moron, my posts to you were a direct answer to posts you made about me on 3bulls. And anyway, calling someone a name isn’t violent, rape, murder, wife abuse, killing off your whole family and then yourself, not being able to afford to leave an abusive husband because there’s no shelter space or money from the govt…that’s violence and it’s rampant here.

    Thanks for saying you like me here, but I don’t think I’ll be around here often, it’s too political for me. Cheers all!

  41. midniter Says:

    Hey Blue! How goes?

    I’m not gonna participate in the bake-off this year…unless it’s as a judge 🙂

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