The Monday Morning Teaser

An afternoon appointment is going to force me to get the Sift out promptly today; the first two articles will go out as fast as I can proof-read them.

And then tomorrow I head to Louisville for the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, which will keep me too busy to put out a Sift next Monday.

Today’s first article will have the unlikely title “Apocalyptic Optimism”. Two recent books have something interesting in common: Gar Alperovitz’s What Then Must We Do? and David Graeber’s The Democracy Project are upbeat books based on the premise that America-as-we-know-it is falling apart. I’m classifying them as “apocalyptic” using the royalist/prophetic/apocalyptic framework that journalist Robert Jensen borrowed from theologian Walter Brueggermann. What makes them upbeat? Well, as Graeber says in his last paragraph, “The human imagination stubbornly refuses to die.”

The second article “Herd Immunity Against Online Spying” is more of a how-to. The recent revelations about the NSA have re-awakened my interest in ways to be more anonymous online. I’ll ignore things that require you to become a hacker or convince your friends to use encryption, and focus instead on changes you can make simply on your own: the Tor browser, Tormail, and a neat little program the Air Force uses called Lightweight Portable Security. Maybe you have nothing to hide, but the more people who use these kinds of tools, the harder the NSA’s job gets.

Third, I’ll summarize a bunch of what we learned about the NSA this week and warn you not to get distracted by the hero-or-traitor debate in “Edward Snowden Is Not the Issue”.

The weekly summary is called “Dissidents” after a Thomas Dolby song. Syria, Turkey, DNA patents, the unlikely Brewer-Obama alliance, and why taping your mouth shut is more speech than Wisconsin can tolerate.

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  • blotzphoto  On June 17, 2013 at 8:00 am

    As someone who uses a Facebook login everywhere, I’m guessing I’m screwed… 😉

  • cajunfj40  On June 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Check out Cory Doctorow’s YA novels “Little Brother” and sequel “Homeland” (you can download them free and find links to buy them at his website here: ) They are some of the best fiction I’ve read that peers into the problems of over-zealous law enforcement, high-tech surveillance, what happens when people just want something done after terrorists attack, all with a backdrop of the economy bottoming out for most ordinary people…

  • weeklysift  On June 17, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    I recommended “Little Brother” last week; just got around to reading “Homeland” this week. I agree with your assessment.

  • cajunfj40  On June 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Whoops, I should have remembered that – I read last week’s, too! Glad you enjoyed them.

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