Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tough Times for the Bill of Rights

The good people of the ACLU remind us just how hard these last seven years of the Killer Clown Bush II Administration have been on the US Constitution (which all those crooks and scoundrels swore to uphold and protect, by the way). Quite apart from abuses of "executive privilege," the bulldozing of the Congressional prerogative to declare war, the incredible unprecedented abuse (nearly an invention) of "signing statements" (and I'm leaving to the side here the dangerously anti-democratizing developments in a cowed Congress, a partisanized Judiciary, and a consolidated corporatized broadcast media establishment), Anthony Romero points out that of the ten articles of the Bill of Rights, nearly half have been seriously and specifically undermined in the last seven years:
Article I? "Faith-based" federal funding violates it. The Patriot Act undermines it. And NSA spying undercuts it.

Article IV? FBI National Security Letter abuses violate it. And the Patriot Act
overrides it.

Articles V and VII? Military Commissions Act restricts it.

Ending the catastrophic and criminal wars and occupations of this debased and devastated epoch is surely foremost in my mind as I contemplate the beginning of another election year in America, but reversing this damage to the Constitution and restoring the rule of law is pretty damn high on the list as well.

I spend most of my time here and derive much of my personal pleasure in talking about p2p democratization, talking about renewable, appropriate, and appropriable technodevelopment, talking about consensualizing emerging non-normalizing genetic, prosthetic, and cognitive medicine, and talking about global basic income guarantees to circumvent wealth concentration via automation and subsidize peer production and citizen participation. You know, all the fun technoprogressive stuff.

But these days there is just no getting around and no getting over talking about these ongoing catastrophic wars and occupations, talking about the dismantlement of our civil liberties here and now by incumbent interests, some of whom really are just a hop skip and a jump away from embracing straightforward fascism to get what they want, talking about a neoliberal order of development, production, and trade that leaves overabundant majorities of people on earth (every one of whom is a potential peer in the collaborative project of enriching creative expressivity and shared problem solving) to die of easily treatable neglected diseases, starvation, resource descent, social dismantlement, "market discipline," precarity, weapons, drug, and human trafficking, and so on. You know, all the harrowing real stuff.

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