“He described as formative an incident in which he claimed CIA operatives were attempting to recruit a Swiss banker to obtain secret banking information. Snowden said they achieved this by purposely getting the banker drunk and encouraging him to drive home in his car. When the banker was arrested for drunk driving, the undercover agent seeking to befriend him offered to help, and a bond was formed that led to successful recruitment. “Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world,” he says. “I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good.” He said it was during his CIA stint in Geneva that he thought for the first time about exposing government secrets. But, at the time, he chose not to for two reasons. First, he said: “Most of the secrets the CIA has are about people, not machines and systems, so I didn’t feel comfortable with disclosures that I thought could endanger anyone”. Secondly, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 gave him hope that there would be real reforms, rendering disclosures unnecessary.”
It will also work against any tendency white children have to view their skin as “colorless,” which can be dangerous in the context of our shared history around racism, where being white was often seen as being just “American”—or as Toni Morrison writes in Jazz, “In this country American means white. Everyone else has to hyphenate.”
From “How do you talk to your kids about race?” More here.
The greater the number and the higher the proficiency of the community’s businessmen, other things equal, the worse must the rest of the community come off in that game of skilled bargaining and shrewd management by which the businessmen get their gains.
Veblen, The Higher Learning in America(1916)
SUCK IT, B-SCHOOL.
“The student is put outside of society, on a campus. Furthermore, he is excluded while being transmitted a knowledge which is traditional in nature, obsolete, ‘academic’ and not directly tied to the needs and problems of today […] Young people from 18 to 25 are thus, as it were, neutralized by and for society, rendered safe, ineffective, socially and politically castrated. There is the first function of the university: to put students out of circulation.”
— Foucault, “Rituals of Exclusion” (1971 interview)
“More than 100 million Americans—one-third of the population—live in poverty or a category called “near poverty.” Yet the stories of the poor and the near poor, the hardships they endure, are rarely told by a media that is owned by a handful of corporations—Viacom, General Electric, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Clear Channel and Disney. The suffering of the underclass, like the crimes of the power elite, has been rendered invisible.”
Beckmann (via showslow)
“When the liberal says “race is a social construct,” he is not being a soft-headed dolt; he is speaking an historical truth. We do not go around testing the “Irish race” for intelligence or the “Southern race” for “hot-headedness.” These reasons are social. It is no more legitimate to ask “Is the black race dumber than then white race?” than it is to ask “Is the Jewish race thriftier than the Arab race?””
From the New Yorker regarding the recent factory fire in Bangladesh:
Deaths in modern garment factories tend to be different from plane crashes or many other catastrophic traumas in the slow-motion extravagance of their pain. For minutes, or even hours, workers’ lungs fill up with smoke. For days, even a week, workers struggle to survive under rubble until someone digs them out. Akter told me about a mother in a rural village who came to her for help after Tazreen. During that fire, the woman had gotten a call from her twenty-four-year-old son, a garment worker. “Mom,” he’d said, “there is a fire in the factory. I’m trying my best to escape, but smoke is filling my lungs.”
“Run to the stairs!” his mother told him, according to Akter. “Run to the window, and I’ll hop on a bus to come and get you.”
Ten minutes later, he called again. The stairs were jammed by a stampede. “Mom, I’m trying my best. There is no way I can get out.”
“Go to the toilet,” his mother told him, “and run the water so that it clears the smoke and you can breathe.” The son said, “O.K., I’m doing that.” He tried this, without luck, then returned to the factory floor, where his colleagues’ bodies were piling up in the dark.
Finally, he called home once more. This time, he rang with an apology. “Mom,” he cried, “it will be my last call—I’m dying for sure. I am sorry. I tried my best. I cannot breathe.” He wanted to convey a message. “I’m removing my shirt from my body, and I will tie it to my waist, so you can find me.” So he ripped off his shirt, made a knot around his torso, and collapsed so as to be found the next day by his mother.
WTF world, how can we still allow this to happen?
Colorlines has a great piece on the FBI’s placing of Assata Shakur on the “Most Wanted List.”
The article quotes FBI special agent Aaron Ford, who says, “No person, no matter what his or her political or moral convictions are, is above the law.” What about bankers and presidents though, people we know have blood and misery on their hands?