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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 39,172

About Me

Blocked on Twitter by that rat bastard fuck @ggreenwald

Journal Archives

The New England Patriots have failed at Twitter, and at life


Black America's Promised Land: Why I Am Still a Racial Optimist

Hope and pessimism have defined two traditions of American thinking about race. Fully acknowledging recent setbacks, the author makes the case for the tradition of hope.

Randall Kennedy

Not so long ago, black Americans were giddy witnesses to what many regarded as a miracle. Election night, November 4, 2008, seemed to be a millennial turning point as a majority of Americans entrusted an African American with the nation’s highest office and greatest powers. “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible,” Barack Obama declared, “… tonight is your answer.” Against the backdrop of that high, a downturn was inevitable. But what many blacks are feeling now is more than a correction; it is depression.

The racial front is the site of especially keen disappointment. In a 2013 survey pegged to the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, the Pew Research Center found that less than half (45 percent) of all Americans agreed that the country had made “a lot” of progress toward racial equality during the previous half-century. Among blacks, only 32 percent shared the same view. That dourness stems in part from persistent hard times. The economic meltdown that accompanied Obama to the White House (and probably played a major role in his initial election) devastated the earnings and assets of black Americans. Since his election, they have not recouped their losses in what has only been a tepid recovery tipped in favor of the haves. Adding to the unhappiness is anger at the recalcitrance Obama has faced since the outset of his administration, a resistance mainly from Republicans that many observers believe is substantially fueled by racism.

Slumping morale among blacks, however, is attributable to more than frustration with Obama’s enemies; it also reflects frustration with the president himself. Although the overwhelming majority of politically active blacks supported Obama in 2008 and 2012 and continue to rally behind him defensively, an appreciable number feel let down. They maintain that he has been altogether too fearful of being charged with racial favoritism and has done too little to educate the public about the peculiar racial hazards that African Americans routinely face.

Beneath the malaise is a deep current of racial pessimism that has a long history in American and African American thought. Pessimists believe that racial harmony predicated on fairness is not part of the American future. They posit that the United States will not overcome its tragic racial past. They maintain that blacks are not and cannot become members of the American family (even with a black family occupying the White House). They believe that the United States is a white nation that will always be governed on behalf of white folk.

For pessimists, the Obama presidency is no sign of racial transcendence; to the contrary, it is a demonstration of the intractability of American pigmentocracy. For them, the Obama ascendancy shows that in order to rise to the top of American politics, a black politician must be willing to forgo substantively challenging the racial status quo (though he is allowed to cavil about it rhetorically). For them, the Obama administration simply mirrors the racial diversification of an existing order in which a relatively small sector of upper-crust blacks prosper while the condition of the black masses stagnates or deteriorates—the consequence of a misbegotten theory of racial trickle-down. For them, the Obama era is littered with bitter incongruity: While a black man is commander-in-chief, Michael Brown and thousands like him are stalked, harassed, brutalized, and occasionally killed in Ferguson-like locales across America.

The pedigree of black racial pessimism is impressive. In its ranks one finds such figures as Henry McNeal Turner, Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Randall Robinson, and the extraordinary W.E.B. Du Bois. One encounters Frederick Douglass declaring in 1847, “I cannot have any love for this country … or for its Constitution. I desire to see its overthrow as speedily as possible, and its Constitution shriveled in a thousand fragments.” In that tradition, one also finds Derrick Bell, professor of law at Harvard, teaching in the 1990s that the United States is irredeemably imprisoned by its past, that “racism is an integral, permanent, and indestructible component of this society,” and that “black people will never gain full equality in this country.”


Net neutrality...Can you explain it?


Another rat flees the sinking ship of First Look Media

John Cook, the editor in chief of The Intercept, the newsmagazine started by the billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, will leave his position to return to his previous employer, Gawker Media, where he will oversee investigations.

Mr. Cook’s departure is the latest in a series of setbacks for Mr. Omidyar and the media company, First Look Media, that he pledged $250 million to start about a year ago. It was confirmed Thursday in a post on The Intercept, and by Gawker Media’s founder, Nick Denton, after first being reported by Sarah Ellison of Vanity Fair.

Mr. Cook will be deputy editor of investigations, a new role spanning Gawker Media’s eight titles, which include Jezebel and Gizmodo, Mr. Denton said in an interview Thursday. He will do “what he did best on Gawker — great big scoops — but across the eight sites,” Mr. Denton said.

First Look Media started with prominent hires like Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, two of the reporters who had received classified documents from the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, and Matt Taibbi, noted for his reporting on Wall Street for Rolling Stone magazine.

Mr. Taibbi, who was to have started a separate site called Racket, acrimoniously left the company last month. The turmoil was detailed in a long piece of self-reporting the company published, laying bare a clash between corporate staff members and journalists.

Mr. Cook was one of the story’s authors, and wrote that The Intercept, the site he ran with Mr. Greenwald and Ms. Poitras, had found its feet despite those difficulties. That conclusion seemed in peril Thursday, though in a post on The Intercept, Mr. Greenwald said that the site was seeking a replacement for Mr. Cook and would continue to grow.


And yes DUers, this is the same John Cook who just two weeks ago was telling us that everything was hunky-dory...

Fun Fact: The Intercept and Gawker Media offices share the same building, so all Cook is doing is changing floors

Evidently the GOP victories have completely eradicated Ebola...

Because it disappeared from the U.S. news cycle real quick

Matt Taibbi's first new Rolling Stone piece:

The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare

She tried to stay quiet, she really did. But after eight years of keeping a heavy secret, the day came when Alayne Fleischmann couldn't take it anymore.

"It was like watching an old lady get mugged on the street," she says. "I thought, 'I can't sit by any longer.'"

Fleischmann is a tall, thin, quick-witted securities lawyer in her late thirties, with long blond hair, pale-blue eyes and an infectious sense of humor that has survived some very tough times. She's had to struggle to find work despite some striking skills and qualifications, a common symptom of a not-so-common condition called being a whistle-blower.

Fleischmann is the central witness in one of the biggest cases of white-collar crime in American history, possessing secrets that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon late last year paid $9 billion (not $13 billion as regularly reported – more on that later) to keep the public from hearing.

Back in 2006, as a deal manager at the gigantic bank, Fleischmann first witnessed, then tried to stop, what she describes as "massive criminal securities fraud" in the bank's mortgage operations.

Thanks to a confidentiality agreement, she's kept her mouth shut since then. "My closest family and friends don't know what I've been living with," she says. "Even my brother will only find out for the first time when he sees this interview."

Six years after the crisis that cratered the global economy, it's not exactly news that the country's biggest banks stole on a grand scale. That's why the more important part of Fleischmann's story is in the pains Chase and the Justice Department took to silence her.

She was blocked at every turn: by asleep-on-the-job regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission, by a court system that allowed Chase to use its billions to bury her evidence, and, finally, by officials like outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, the chief architect of the crazily elaborate government policy of surrender, secrecy and cover-up. "Every time I had a chance to talk, something always got in the way," Fleischmann says.


No wonder Pierre and Glenn didn't want to go anywhere near this story...Now Rolling Stone is getting more mouse clicks in a week than the Intercept gets in a couple of months...

True test for the manliest of masculine MEN amongst men...

Still think women are the weaker sex? Men hooked up to machine which simulates the pain of childbirth – and are reduced to tears within minutes

The old maxim goes that if men rather than women had to have babies, the human race would have died out long ago.

Now those birthing pains are being felt by men in China.

A hospital in the city of Jinan in eastern China's Shandong Province is hooking men up to a childbirth simulator to see what their partner's go through.

A hospital in the city of Jinan in eastern China's Shandong Province is hooking men up to a childrbirth simulator to see what their partners go through.

Technicians at the hospital use the device to stimulate muscles in the male abdomen with electric shocks to make it contract and at the same time simulate the pain endured by mothers during childbirth.
Most of the volunteers are partners of pregnant women.

The hospital said they want to show men how much women suffer through childbirth, and to give men greater respect for what women go through.

'The event was aimed at creating awareness and more respect for childbearing women, especially highlighting the entire laborious nine-month process leading up to birth,' a hospital spokesman told CEN.

To recreate the contractions and pain of childbirth, hospital technicians used machines to stimulate the men's abdomens with electric shocks to make it contract.

Some men seemed reluctant— having been dragged there by their partners— while others were more enthusiastic, CEN reported.

'My wife is expecting a baby in three months, and we had a row when I told not to make such a fuss,' father-to-be Guang Liao, 29, told CEN.

'When she found out about this project, she told me had to sign up for it, so I also know what is was all about.'

Many of the participants were reduced to tears by the experience, and could only last a few minutes

The hospital said they want to show men how much women suffer through childbirth, and to give men greater respect for what women go through.

'I must admit I was curious and if what I experienced is really what she goes through, then I have to say I have changed my attitude.

'It was really incredibly painful and I only had it for a few minutes.

'If it went on for hours I don't know if I'd be able to bear it,' he told the news agency.


I didn't believe the women accusing Jian Ghomeshi, and I'm ashamed

Last week I came face to face with my own bias and I was left with a deep sense of regret and shame. I consider myself an ardent supporter of women’s rights and being a survivor of sexual violence myself, one would think that I would have rushed to believe the women that Jian Ghomeshi allegedly sexually assaulted. But I did not. In fact, I doubted their credibility. And for this, I am ashamed.

When I read Ghomeshi’s Facebook post, I sided with him, believing that this 20-something-year-old woman was in fact, as he described, “a jilted ex-girlfriend.” It is no secret that Jian is a powerful, wealthy Canadian celebrity and I imagined a scorned ex-lover with an agenda to destroy his reputation.

I pictured her as a beautiful model or a socialite, maybe someone who didn’t get her way and was now spewing defamatory material to get back at him. Maybe she wanted a relationship. Maybe she wanted money. When other women anonymously reported similar sexual attacks by Ghomeshi, I dismissed their claims, largely because they were anonymous and their anonymity somehow made their statements less real and less credible, at least in my mind.

Then we heard from Canadian Actress Lucy DeCoutere, who came forward with details of her alleged assault by Ghomeshi. I started to become more skeptical of my own previous presumptions. On Thursday I read the piece by author and lawyer Reva Seth, who gave insight into what a sexual encounter with Jian was like, writing that “it was like he became a different person . . . He was super angry, almost frenzied and disassociated.”

I remember turning to my housemate and saying, “It’s not looking good for Jian. I think he might be guilty.” He inquired, “Why do you think that now?” I responded, “Because this lawyer who was clearly more powerful than him back in the day has no reason to lie. She is happily married with kids, and she is coming out and saying what he did to her. And what about that actress? She clearly doesn’t need fame or money. She already has those things. She doesn’t really have a reason to lie.”

And then it struck me. I chose to believe an actress and a lawyer but not the anonymous women who were likely brutalized by Jian Ghomeshi. Why? Because the actress and the lawyer came from professions associated with fame, money and power. Their occupations, marital status and lack of anonymity gave them more credence. And that is when an unsettling feeling consumed me. I was part of the problem.


Verizon, AT&T tracking their users with ‘supercookies’

Verizon and AT&T have been quietly tracking the Internet activity of more than 100 million cellular customers with what critics have dubbed “supercookies” — markers so powerful that it’s difficult for even savvy users to escape them.

The technology has allowed the companies to monitor which sites their customers visit, cataloging their tastes and interests. Consumers cannot erase these supercookies or evade them by using browser settings, such as the “private” or “incognito” modes that are popular among users wary of corporate or government surveillance.

Verizon and AT&T say they have taken steps to alert their customers to the tracking and to protect customer privacy as the companies develop programs intended to help advertisers hone their pitches based on individual Internet behavior. But as word has spread about the supercookies in recent days, privacy advocates have reacted with alarm, saying the tracking could expose user Internet behavior to a wide range of outsiders — including intelligence services — and may also violate federal telecommunications and wiretapping laws.

The stakes are particularly high, privacy advocates say, because Verizon’s experimentation with supercookies is almost certain to spur copycats eager to compete for a larger share of the multibillion-dollar advertising profits won by Google, Facebook and others.


I guess the Intercept's crack reporting staff was too busy this past week to dedicate any coverage to this...

The Surveillance State and You

Citizenfour is about surveillance. But its also about what surveillance does to you. How does authority's gaze change us? In a world where every keystoke is potentially watched, and every heartbeat potentially counted, does knowledge of that change how you act? Will you still allow yourself to question? How can you organize against power when you live entirely in its sight?

While Snowden's NSA revelations are most associated with the internet, "online surveillance" is a bit of a misnomer. The web long ago bled into meatspace. A CCTV camera could easily capture your face, then link that up to your Facebook profile, your purchases, your friends. You shed data like strands of hair. You're both made up of data and more than the sum of it, like DNA.

Critics sometimes chide the American anti-surveillance movement for the whiteness and maleness of its public faces. While women and people of color have done brilliant, under-recognized work against surveillance, this perception might be no coincidence: White men are the last people in America who thought they had privacy.

"Invasive spying and government surveillance in the name of fighting terrorism is hardly news for Arab and Muslim-American communities," wrote Anna Lekas Miller in the Guardian last year when Snowden's leaks went public. Since 9/11, the US government has flooded Muslim communities with informants. FBI and NYPD plants haunted mosques and bookshops, sometimes trying to pressure innocent men into making plans, or even expressing sentiments, that could get them charged with terrorism.

The history of black people in this country is one of even more intimate-and bloody-state intrusions. Think of the FBI infiltrating black power groups, of the government blackmailing MLK. America's prison system disproportionately cages the black and brown, capturing not just the incarcerated, but their families, in its nets. Those visiting loved ones at Rikers must submit to fingerprinting, lift up their tongues and shake out their bras in front of a prison guard. Outside the cages, this lack of privacy is reinforced by police who grope and question black youth just for walking-is it any wonder that young men in these communities are finely attuned to the movements and whims of the police? That they internalize a fear of authority that's proven expert at wielding fear as a tool.

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