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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 37,851

Journal Archives

Buying Main Street: Billionaires swamp local races

It was a gut-punch moment for the local lawman: Already sweating a tough reelection race, he’d just received word that one of the country’s most powerful billionaires was trying to oust him from the Milwaukee County sheriff’s seat.

David Clarke’s provocative rhetoric on guns had made him a political enemy of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — as he learned last week from reading the newspaper.
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“I was like, ‘Wow, this is big-time now,’” Clarke recalled.

With Bloomberg’s effort to defeat him, Clarke joined a growing throng of municipal officeholders whose political careers have been rocked or extinguished by lavish spending from the nation’s ultrarich. A rare black Democrat fiercely allied with the National Rifle Association, Clarke barely squeaked through a Democratic primary vote this week in the face of powerful outside spending, including nearly $200,000 from Bloomberg.

Other officials and candidates haven’t been so lucky.

Frustrated by paralysis at the federal level, the nation’s wealthiest activists have set their sights with increasing frequency on state and local elections as a new route for effecting policy change. The influx of cash from outside billionaires — namely Bloomberg, the industrialist Koch brothers and environmentalist financier Tom Steyer — has upended what would otherwise be bite-size campaigns for obscure municipal and state offices.


I know there are still some holdouts, but I have to ask: Are there *ANY* DUers who still want to tell me the Citizens United decision was a GOOD thing??

The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race

Will the recent rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, be a tipping point in the struggle against racial injustice, or will it be a minor footnote in some future grad student’s thesis on Civil Unrest in the Early Twenty-First Century?

The answer can be found in May of 1970.

You probably have heard of the Kent State shootings: on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University. During those 13 seconds of gunfire, four students were killed and nine were wounded, one of whom was permanently paralyzed. The shock and outcry resulted in a nationwide strike of 4 million students that closed more than 450 campuses. Five days after the shooting, 100,000 protestors gathered in Washington, D.C. And the nation’s youth was energetically mobilized to end the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, and mindless faith in the political establishment.

You probably haven’t heard of the Jackson State shootings.

On May 14th, 10 days after Kent State ignited the nation, at the predominantly black Jackson State University in Mississippi, police killed two black students (one a high school senior, the other the father of an 18-month-old baby) with shotguns and wounded twelve others.

There was no national outcry. The nation was not mobilized to do anything. That heartless leviathan we call History swallowed that event whole, erasing it from the national memory.


Orangeburg is another incident which isn't mentioned or discussed very often in our national memory:

Wired Conveniently Forgot to Ask Edward Snowden a Single Tough Question

Defenders of Edward Snowden routinely accuse the American media of being too cozy with the government. Major newspapers have grown complacent, these critics insist, and mainstream journalists no longer ask the tough questions or play the adversarial role that has long made a vibrant free press the protector of American democracy. This failure of the media is what ultimately justified Snowden’s cosmic leak of National Security Agency documents to a handful of private journalists and anti-government crusaders.

Perhaps that critique is right. But it’s precisely because of that critique that anyone remotely committed to intellectual integrity ought to be flabbergasted by the recent James Bamford profile of Edward Snowden that appeared Wednesday on Wired's website. The profile reads like a release from a Snowden PR press office, replete with fawning asides and subject-serving mischaracterizations. Unwittingly, Bamford demonstrates one of the central problems with the new push for relentless advocacy journalism: In seeking to combat a media that they claim resembles a government press office, these critics have become a far more slanted public relations operation for their own antigovernment heroes.

Bamford must be congratulated on even getting this interview. Edward Snowden is a very difficult man to find; he suspects that he is the target of unceasing capture and eavesdropping attempts by American intelligence agencies, and he relies on a small circle of associates to screen attempts to contact him. Even Bamford, a longtime NSA critic who Snowden must have known would be an immensely sympathetic interviewer, needed nine months of back-and-forth with Snowden’s lawyers and associates before he was able to set up a meeting. Nevertheless, a responsible journalist wouldn’t allow the difficulty of access to permit a controversial subject to completely hijack the narrative. Unfortunately, this is precisely what Bamford does.

Early in his profile, Bamford explains that he has come to Moscow to identify Snowden’s motivations, to uncover “what drove Snowden to leak hundreds of thousands of top-secret documents.” But Bamford spends very little time actually engaging this question. He doesn’t probe Snowden’s politics, general ideological outlook, or psychological profile. Instead he unhesitatingly accepts Snowden’s claim that his transformation from aspiring marine to anti-government mole was purely a product of encountering surveillance programs that he found disturbing. Of course, he hardly needed to travel to Moscow for that; he could have simply read anything by Glenn Greenwald. The reader is thus left wondering: Is Bamford really trying to understand “what drove Snowden,” or did he make up his mind before he ever sat down?


Web Trolls Winning as Incivility Increases

The Internet may be losing the war against trolls. At the very least, it isn’t winning. And unless social networks, media sites and governments come up with some innovative way of defeating online troublemakers, the digital world will never be free of the trolls’ collective sway.

That’s the dismal judgment of the handful of scholars who study the broad category of online incivility known as trolling, a problem whose scope is not clear, but whose victims keep mounting.

“As long as the Internet keeps operating according to a click-based economy, trolls will maybe not win, but they will always be present,” said Whitney Phillips, a lecturer at Humboldt State University and the author of “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” a forthcoming book about her years of studying bad behavior online. “The faster that the whole media system goes, the more trolls have a foothold to stand on. They are perfectly calibrated to exploit the way media is disseminated these days.”

“Troll” is the fuzzy term for agitators who pop up, often anonymously, sometimes in mobs, in comment threads and on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, apparently intent on wreaking havoc. The term is vague precisely because trolls lurk in darkness; their aims are unclear, their intentions unknown, their affiliations mysterious.


German security recorded Clinton conversation: media

(Reuters) - German security agents recorded a conversation involving Hillary Clinton while she was U.S. Secretary of State, media reported on Friday, a potential embarrassment for Berlin which has lambasted Washington for its widespread surveillance.

Clinton's words were intercepted while she was on a U.S. government plane, Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and German regional public broadcasters NDR and WDR said, without giving details of where she was or when the recording was made.

The respected broadsheet quoted German government sources saying the conversation had been picked up "by accident" and was not part of any plan to spy on Washington's top diplomat. The fact the recording had not been destroyed immediately was "idiocy", said one of the sources.

Both Germany's government and a spokeswoman for the National Security Council at the White House declined to comment on the reports on Friday.


Did Germany just get outed for spying on a senior official from an ally nation? Why, I'm appalled...I'm outraged at such a flagrant breach of trust...Don't they know you can't spy on your allies?

Can I expect an apology from Chancellor Merkel? Or is electronic surveillance still only evil when the U.S. does it? Isn't Germany the country that Snowden is continually pimping his "expertise" to in an effort to strike an asylum deal??

Question submitted by Blue_Tires

The text of this question will be publicly available after it has been reviewed and answered by a DU Administrator. Please be aware that sometimes messages are not answered immediately. Thank you for your patience. --The DU Administrators

OK, all right...I apologize...

Argentina is full of puppies and rainbows, and their soccer federation is stocked with upright gentlemen from top to bottom...

They still deserve to lose, though...

DU will stand in complete solidarity with the people of Germany

as they try to eradicate the world of Argentine scum....

What will happen when 3-D printers

Become advanced enough to make another 3-D printer???

Hundreds Of Twitter Users Believed To Be 4chan Trolls Posing As Feminists

Activists Are Outing Hundreds Of Twitter Users Believed To Be 4chan Trolls Posing As Feminists

Over the weekend, the hashtag #EndFathersDay was revealed to have been orchestrated by 4chan users posing as female social justice activists on Twitter.
Over the weekend, the hashtag #EndFathersDay was revealed to have been orchestrated by 4chan users posing as female social justice activists on Twitter.
As more details emerged, it became more clear that #EndFathersDay was actually part of a larger project called “Operation: Lollipop.”
As more details emerged, it became more clear that #EndFathersDay was actually part of a larger project called "Operation: Lollipop."
Operation: Lollipop is a propaganda campaign run largely by members of the Men’s Rights and Pick-Up Artist communities. The idea is to pose as women of color on Twitter and guide activist hashtags as a way to embarrass the online social justice community.

Twitter: @PhoebeKwon

According to one now-deleted Tumblr, this appears to have been going on since at least 2013.

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