Friday, December 16, 2011


Why I don’t listen to NPR: Nothing about shredding the Constitution in budget bill report

by Larry Geller

Darn, dead battery in my MP3 player while driving to a meeting this evening. So I listened to a few minutes of NPR news on the actual radio.

They reported that Obama was expected to sign the military budget authorization bill, and to their credit they mentioned that it included a requirement that he decide on that evil tar sands pipeline issue in 60 days.

But nothing at all about the provision authorizing detainment without charge of any American citizen suspected of being a terrorist or assisting terrorism. Indefinite detention without charges. Just drop the Constitution in the shredder on your way home from work, Barack.

From now on I’m going to make sure my MP3 player battery is fully charged so I don’t have to listen to NPR news.

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Hi Larry,

Like you, I no longer listen to NPR's news. It has drifted so far to the political center in order to please its corporate sponsors that it no longer Considers Hardly Anything at All.

Instead, I spend my commute listening to podcasts of Democracy Now and Best of the Left. You may want to look closely at Honolulu's law on the use of electronic devices while driving. It is worded in such a manner that your MP3 player may be illegal if it is not built into the car.

Just checked Honolulu's law. It can be found here:

It appears your MP3 player IS legal, while my iPhone, even in MP3 player mode, playing the same podcasts, is probably NOT legal, since it is CAPABLE of serving as a phone, internet or texting device.

Yes, an mp3 player is legal. Mine plays through the car speakers. Newer cars may have a jack to plug in an mp3 player, or may play programs directly, but I have an older car so it plays through an FM transmitter. It's like playing a CD. One should not use earphones since it impairs the driver's ability to be aware of surroundings.

I usually have one of several Pacifica programs queued up. No need for NPR.

Your iPhone, incidentally, is recording everything that you do and the info can be obtained by authorities. It also records every place you go. So far my mp3 player has not ratted on me to anyone. I'm sure if it reported that I listen to Democracy Now every day, they'd put me away in indefinite detention (without my mp3 player, of course). They'd torture me with either NPR or Fox News on the loudspeaker day and night.

My morning coffee has not yet kicked in, obviously. My next thought was that if someone were picked up for using an iPhone while driving, could they confiscate it as an accessory to the crime and interrogate it? The pointy-haired boss's iPhone in the Dilbert comic listens to everything he says, but would it tell all under pressure? Sure.

I trust my government completely. They are really great people. Typed via my iPhone .

As a result of your earlier report, I checked into the reports. It APPEARS the Carrier IQ spy operation is turned off by default under iOS 5. iPhone owners can check on their own phones by following the advice on this site:

The quantum leap in computing power has enabled surveillance on a scale which may justify the most paranoid fears of the conspiracy theorists. Tasks which previously would have required expensive man-hours can now be performed with little human involvement. Human intelligence replaced by artificial intelligence.

J. Edgar Hoover is alleged to have said, "We cannot afford to have an FBI agent behind every mailbox, but we want people to THINK that we do." Paranoia can cripple dissidents. We have to learn how to minimize our vulnerability to surveillance and attack from both governmental and private repressive agencies, but without rendering ourselves paranoid and paralyzed.

In the classic dystopian novel, 1984 Big Brother relied upon a device similar to a two-way television set to both propagandize and spy upon citizens. Today, we carry around Big Brother's monitor in our pocket. In addition to the Carrier IQ vulnerabilities, people can monitor our locations through our phone's GPS capabilities. Even phones without true GPS capabilities can still be located fairly precisely through cell tower triangulation. I recently read an account of a suitcase sized device which sends a signal burst which causes all cell phones within a radius of several blocks to report their locations. It can trick cell phones into thinking it is a regular cell tower, allowing for the interception of calls, text messages, email, etc. It can also jam cell phone signals within the radius, which can be useful for blocking a cell-iniated signal to a bomb, but is also useful in jamming the communications of demonstrators.

Governments have seen how Twitter, text-messaging and remote uploading of video and photos have been used by opposition forces against the governments of Egypt, Iran, and other outright dictatorships. Unfortunately, the logic of repression has grown within Western police agencies as well. Witness the example of the BART stations, where they have blocked cell phone reception within BART stations in response to a recent demonstration.

With [dis]respect to the new detention legislation it is good to keep in mind they can exercise this and thatʻs when it will be challenged to the full extent of the constitution.
But in the meantime, all they are doing is wasting vast resources of time, energy and money and keeping everyone distracted:
"There is no crueler tyranny than that which is exercised under cover of law, and with the colors of justice ..."
"All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution, are null and void."
"It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail."

Shame on Obama. If he is under threat, to himself/family, he should come clean and tell the nation. I wonder just how much public awareness he is privy to sitting in that Oval Office.

Hi Larry. Hope this finds you well. Pretty awkward segue for shamelessly tacking in this url. However, it's a response to a question that I got to ask Noam Chomsky this morning, concerning education and equity laidat, and I just thought you might dig his response:

Awesome... will listen right away.

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