Today's happy fun news comes from bruce_schneier, wired_27b_6, & so_very_doomed:

  • Major Vulnerability Found in Diebold Election Machines:

    Armed with a little basic knowledge of Diebold voting systems and a standard component available at any computer store, someone with a minute or two of access to a Diebold touch screen could load virtually any software into the machine and disable it, redistribute votes or alter its performance in myriad ways. "This one is worse than any of the others I've seen. It's more fundamental." (See also Voting Machines versus Slot Machines.)
  • NSA Creating Massive Phone-Call Database:

    The NSA is collecting a massive traffic-analysis database on Americans' phone calls. This looks like yet another piece of Echelon technology turned against Americans. "The agency's goal is 'to create a database of every call ever made' within the nation's borders." Note that this database does not just contain phone calls that either originate or terminate outside the U.S. This database is mostly domestic calls: calls we all make everyday. AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth are all providing this information to the NSA. Only Quest has refused.
  • Fun With Surveilance:

    It's important to link this up to the broader chain. One thing the Bush administration says it can do with this meta-data is to start tapping your calls and listening in, without getting a warrant from anyone. Having listened in on your calls, the administration asserts that if it doesn't like what it hears, it has the authority to detain you indefinitely without trial or charges, torture you until you confess or implicate others, extradite you to a Third World country to be tortured, ship you to a secret prison facility in Eastern Europe, or all of the above. If, having kidnapped and tortured you, the administration determines you were innocent after all, you'll be dumped without papers somewhere in Albania left to fend for yourself.
  • Domestic spying inquiry killed:

    The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers security clearance. "Without these clearances, we cannot investigate this matter and therefore have closed our investigation."
  • US energy research is declining:

    Given the decades-long warnings about a looming world energy crisis - punctuated by the recent spike in crude oil prices - you'd assume the U.S. has been ramping up its research and development spending on energy. Think again. Since 1980, energy research has fallen from 10 percent to 2 percent of total R&D spending. And while the Bush administration lists energy research as a "high priority national need" and points to its recent energy bill as evidence, the 2005 federal budget cuts another 11 percent from energy programs.
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44 Responses:

  1. stickyboy says:

    I know a gloomy gus that needs a huuUUUuug!

    • xinit says:

      From a heterosexual, female, potential life partner, right? If you're going to gay up the Internets, then the NSA will be on you in no time. Smile and wave at the smoke detector above your desk.... just in case.

      • stickyboy says:

        If the NSA couldn't stop goatse it won't be able to withstand the onslaught of my ambiguous possibly-heterosexual pseudo-affectionate overtures ...

  2. loosechanj says:

    Regarding domestic spying, does that shit ever produce results that make it worth the effort?

  3. telecart says:

    dumped without papers somewhere in Albania left to fend for yourself
    That's bloody disgusting.

    the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers security clearance
    One must question the story-logic of their not being a single Justice Department lawyer to speak of who could be granted the required security clearance.

  4. xinit says:

    Isn't fighting oppresive government one of the things that caused that whole USA thing to spring up? The current US government would appear to be ever so much worse than the English one that was fought against in the Revolution, no?

  5. I just called T-Mobile's customer service, they have been briefed on this story, and say they did not provide info, and will only provide info with a valid warrant or subpoena.

    Every other cell phone company is owned by a company that rolled over, with the possible exception of Sprint/Nextel, correct?

    Yet another reason I'm glad I avoid baby bells.

  6. merovingian says:

    Surely, all of this Constitution nonsense is an example of pre-9/11 thinking.

    The Founding Fathers could not have imagined the concept of people with bombs.

  7. 40hex says:

    "The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers security clearance"

    Lame beyond words. Declaring themselves above the law. They've used that dodge several times lately - avoided answering for their misdeeds by citing national security. <lj user="telecart"> also raised the good point that they're talking about the Justice Department... surely they can find *someone* who can be trusted, there of all places?

    Verily, the U.S.A. is doomed. So's Australia given that we slavishly follow your every example :(

  8. 1eyedkunt says:

    kinda coming at the dooomed theme from a different angle, but you wanna get *really* scared? listen to this:

    gah! christians are scary!

    • chrisbert says:

      If you want to *REALLY* get scared about this subject, Google "dominionism." Roy Edroso is corrent when he says, "On the right, batshit-crazy is the new polyester."

      I've been thinking, there's something called the Thomas Jefferson Bible. Thomas Jefferson made his own version of the Bible, simply using the words from the King James Version that were directly attributed to Jesus. He thought the words directly attributable to Jesus contained some of the best philosophy in the world. This brings me to the point I'm trying to make.

      I've been thinking of writing a bit of a socio/political commentary/satire peice that I'm tenatively calling "The Pharocees' Bible". Basically, my goal who be to come up with a version of the Bible you would expect people like Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, Neocons, and funny-mentalists to follow.

      Maybe also parody the "Life Application Bible" by calling it the "Applied-To-Life Pharocee's Bible", and having "intepreation" and "insights" into what those passages "teach."

      Maybe someone here can put me in touch with Al Franken? Or maybe Salman Rushdie? ;-)

      • moof1138 says:

        You might want to consider calling it "The Pharisee's Bible" instead.

        • chrisbert says:

          Well, I figure that if I write a book, it will probably be with something that has spell check. Yes, I realize you can spell check comments, I just didn't check the box that time.

  9. smokedamage says:

    so when does everyone say "No more. This stops now." Surely, that point has to be coming right? I'm going to be really disappointed if nothing happens before the end of his term. Really disappointed.