Tag Archives: US news

World’s witnessing a new Gilded Age as billionaires wealth swells to $6tn

Not since the time of the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts at the turn of the 20th century was so much owned by so few

The worlds super-rich hold the greatest concentration of wealth since the US Gilded Age at the turn of the 20th century, when families like the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts controlled vast fortunes.

Billionaires increased their combined global wealth by almost a fifth last year to a record $6tn (4.5tn) more than twice the GDP of the UK. There are now 1,542 dollar billionaires across the world, after 145 multi-millionaires saw their wealth tick over into nine-zero fortunes last year, according to the UBS / PwC Billionaires report.

Josef Stadler, the lead author of the report and UBSs head of global ultra high net worth, said his billionaire clients were concerned that growing inequality between rich and poor could lead to a strike back.

Were at an inflection point, Stadler said. Wealth concentration is as high as in 1905, this is something billionaires are concerned about. The problem is the power of interest on interest that makes big money bigger and, the question is to what extent is that sustainable and at what point will society intervene and strike back?

Stadler added: We are now two years into the peak of the second Gilded Age.

He said the $1bn question was how society would react to the concentration of so much money in the hands of so few.

Anger at so-called robber barron families who built up vast fortunes from monopolies in US rail, oil, steel and banking in the late 19th century, an era of rapid industrialisation and growing inequality in America that became known as the Gilded Age, led to President Roosevelt breaking up companies and trusts and increasing taxes on the wealthy in the early 1900s.

Will there be similarities in the way society reacts to this gilded age?, Stadler asked. Will the second age end or will it proceed?

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A painting by Isaak Brodsky (1883-1939) depicts Lenin speaking to the workers of the Putilov factory, in Petrograd, 1917. There are concerns of a strike back as gulf between the rich and the poor widens. Photograph: Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently said western governments should force the top 1% of earners to pay more more tax to try to reduce dangerous levels of inequality.

Stadler said media coverage of inequality and the super-rich suggested there would be an inflection point, but he said the perception that billionaires make money for themselves at the expense of the wider population was incorrect.

He added that 98% of billionaires wealth found its way back into wider society and said the worlds super-rich employed 27.7 million people not far behind the number of people in the UK workforce.

Billionaires fortunes increased by 17% on average last year due to the strong performance of their companies and investments, particularly in technology and commodities. The billionaires average return was double that achieved by the worlds stock markets and far more than the average interest rates of just 0.35% offered by UK instant-access high street bank accounts.

Stadler said that the super-richs concerns over public perceptions that they were getting wealthier at the expense of the wider population had led them to make greater philanthropic gifts and spend their money on public art galleries and sports teams.

You could say it is about ego and wanting to show off and sit in the front row, he said. But it is also about giving back.

The report said billionaires now accounted for 72 of the worlds 200 top art collectors, up from 28 in 1995. While not a fresh phenomenon, private museums are growing in number, especially in Asia, the annual UBS report said. Motivated by their passion for art, and often encouraged by favourable tax treatment, art collectors are setting up private museums all around the world to share their collections with the public.

Recent gallery openings include The Broad in Los Angeles, funded by Eli Broad the worlds 65th richest person with a $7.4bn fortune. Japanese billionaire Soichiro Fukutake is building a series of galleries to house his art collection on islands in Japans Seto Inland Sea.

The billionaire population is concerned about [inequality] and that may be why we are seeing this acceleration of publicly displaying art collections or partnering with public institutions so more of the public can enjoy what they have, said John Matthews, UBS head of private wealth management. I think its a big part of investment in sports franchises its a way for them to say I made all this money and I did it in Cleveland, Ohio, Ive got to give back to my community and one way Im going to do that is to make sure the stadium is great.

The report found that 140 of the worlds top sports teams are owned by just 109 billionaires, with two-thirds of NBA and NFL teams owned by billionaires. In the UK, nine of the 20 Premier League teams have billionaire owners, including Roman Abramovich at Chelsea, and Sheikh Mansour at Manchester City.

There is an acceleration of these transactions as we speak, with major buyers coming from China, Stadler said.

One of the billionaires told the UBS researchers he had bought sports teams because it opened doors to stars, sheikhs, famous businessmen and regular guys from around the world, all in the same room, all talking only about the ball.

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The Breakers mansion built by the Vanderbilt family in Newport, Rhode Island, US. Photograph: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images


Americas Gilded Age

The Gilded Age, from the 1870s until the early 1900s, was boom time for America, as rail opened up the country and higher wages saw an influx of millions of immigrants from Europe.

The term to describe the era of rapid industrialisation and social upheaval in the US was coined by historians in the 1920s, and was derived from Mark Twains 1873 novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.

Money from London and Paris poured into the US and fuelled industrialisation and rail development, including the first transcontinental railroad that opened up vast areas of territory to mining and ranching, and cut travel time from New York to San Francisco from six months to six days.

Several industries, including oil, steel, sugar and cotton, became controlled by a few large companies, run by trusts. The trusts controlled every aspect of production, from raw materials to manufacturing and sales, enabling them to operate as monopolies in their industrial sector and keep out competitors. The trusts turned their owners into some of the richest people to ever live, and whose descendants still feature oin annual rich lists.

Anger at the wealth accrued by so few people at the apparent expense of their poorly treated workers led industrialists, including Cornelius Vanderbilt (railroads), Andrew Carnegie (steel), JP Morgan (finance) and John Jacob Astor (real estate and fur), to be dubbed robber barons. Historian TJ Stiles said the term was adopted to conjure up visions of titanic monopolists who crushed competitors, rigged markets, and corrupted government. In their greed and power, legend has it, they held sway over a helpless democracy.

President Theodore Roosevelt, elected in 1901, moved to break up the monopolies. John D Rockefellers Standard Oil was split into 34 separate companies, including the predecessors of Exxon, BP and Chevron.

The Gilded Age gave way to the Progressive Era, when the backlash against the excesses and inequalities of the earlier period prompted widespread social activism and political reform.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/oct/26/worlds-witnessing-a-new-gilded-age-as-billionaires-wealth-swells-to-6tn

US government demands details on all visitors to anti-Trump protest website

Privacy advocates call warrant for IP addresses of just one.3 million individuals who visited inauguration protest website an unconstitutional fishing expedition

The federal government needs to unmask everyone who visited an anti-Trump website with what privacy advocates have to say is an unconstitutional fishing expedition for political dissidents.

The warrant seems to become an escalation from the Department of Justices (DoJ) campaign against anti-Trump activities, such as the harsh prosecution of inauguration day protesters.

On 17 This summer, the DoJ offered an internet site-webhost, DreamHost, having a search warrant for each bit of information it possessed which was associated with an internet site which was accustomed to coordinate protests during Donald Trumps inauguration. The warrant covers those who buy and operate the website, but additionally seeks to obtain the IP addresses of just one.3 million individuals who visited it, along with the time and date of the visit and knowledge by what browser or operating-system they used.

The web site, www.disruptj20.org, was utilized to coordinate protests and civil disobedience on 20 The month of january, when Trump was inaugurated.

This unique situation which specific warrant are pure prosecutorial overreach with a highly politicized department of justice under [Attorney General Shaun] Sessions, stated Chris Ghazarian, general counsel for DreamHost. You ought to be concerned that anybody ought to be targeted only for going to a website.

The warrant is made public Monday, when DreamHost announced its intends to challenge the federal government in the court. The DoJ declined to comment. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

The federal government has strongly prosecuted activists arrested throughout the 20 The month of january protests in Washington Electricity. In April, the united states attorneys office in Washington Electricity filed a single indictment charging greater than 217 individuals with identical crimes, including legal rioting.

Ghazarian stated that DreamHost provided the federal government with limited customer details about who owns the web site if this first received a great jury subpoena per week following the protests happened. However the government returned in This summer using the much broader search warrant.

Were a gatekeeper between your government and thousands of individuals who visited the web site, stated Ghazarian. You want to have them protected.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, that has been counseling DreamHost, characterised the warrant as unconstitutional along with a fishing expedition.

I cant conceive of the legitimate justification apart from casting your internet as broadly as you possibly can to warrant countless user logs, senior staff attorney Mark Rumold told the Protector.

Logs of IP addresses dont distinctively identify users, however they backlink to a particular physical addresses if no digital tools are utilized to mask it.

The things they could be getting is a summary of everybody that has have you been thinking about attending these protests or seeing what happening in the protests and thats the troubling aspect. Its a brief step once you have their email list for connecting the Ip to someones identity, he stated.

Wide-reaching warrants for user data are occasionally issued once the content of the website is illegal for example pirated movies or child sexual abuse imagery, but speech isn’t prohibited.

This [the web site] is pure first amendment advocacy the kind of advocacy the very first amendment is built to safeguard and promote, Rumold added. Frankly Im glad DreamHost is pushing back onto it.

It is not the very first time that the federal government has searched for to unmask people protesting against Trump or his policies.

In March this season, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a division from the homeland security department, purchased Twitter to give the telephone number, mailing addresses and IP addresses associated with @ALT_USCIS, a free account that presupposed to convey the views of dissenters inside the government.

The account, whose username is really a mention of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, is among a large number of alternative Twitter accounts established after Trump was inaugurated. The unverified accounts claimed to supply an uncensored look at civil servants who could not agree with Trumps policies.

To safeguard the identity of the individual running the account, Twitter launched a suit from the Trump administration, quarrelling it might have a grave chilling impact on it of this account particularly and the rest of the alternative agency accounts which have been produced to voice dissent to government policies.

After public outcry within the administrations overreach, CBP dropped the request.

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/14/donald-trump-inauguration-protest-website-search-warrant-dreamhost

Unlearning the myth of American innocence

The lengthy read: When she was 30, Suzy Hansen left the united states for Istanbul and started to understand that Americans won’t ever understand their very own country until they view it as all of those other world does

My mother lately found piles of my notebooks from the time I had been a little child which were full of plans in my future. I had been very ambitious. I authored out things i would do at each age: after i would get wed so when I’d have kids so when I’d open dancing studio.

After I left my small hometown for school, this type of planning stopped. The expertise of seeing a significantly new place, as college ended up being to me, upended my sense around the globe and it is options. Exactly the same factor happened after i gone to live in New You are able to after college, along with a couple of years later after i gone to live in Istanbul. All change is dramatic for provincial people. However the last move was the toughest. In Turkey, the upheaval was much more unsettling: before long, I started to believe that the whole first step toward my awareness would be a lie.

For those their patriotism, Americans rarely consider how their national identities relate to their own personal ones. This indifference is particular towards the psychology of white-colored Americans and it has a brief history unique towards the US. Recently, however, this national identity is becoming harder to disregard. Americans can’t travel in foreign countries without realizing the strange weight we feature around. During these years following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also the many wars that adopted, it is harder to gallivant around the globe absorbing its knowledge and sources for your personal use. Americans abroad now don’t have exactly the same swagger, the simple, enormous smiles. You will no longer wish to speak so loud. There’s always the vague chance of breaking something.

Some time once i gone to live in Istanbul, I purchased a notebook, and in contrast to that confident child, I authored lower not plans however a question: that do we become when we dont become Americans? When we uncover our identity once we understood it absolutely was a myth? I requested it because my years being an American abroad these days weren’t a wondrous romp of self-discovery and romance. Mine were much more of a shattering along with a shame, as well as now, I still have no idea myself.


I increased in Wall, an urban area located through the Jersey Shore, two hrs drive from New You are able to. A lot of it had been a landscape of concrete and parking lots, plastic signs and Dunkin Donuts. There wasn’t any center, no Primary Street, because there is at the majority of the enjoyable beach towns nearby, no small old cinema or architecture suggesting some kind of history or memory.

The majority of my buddies parents were teachers, nurses, cops or electricians, aside from the rare father who labored within the City, and a number of Italian families who did less legal things. My parents were descendants of working-class Danish, Italian and Irish immigrants who’d little memory of the European origins, and my relatives ran an affordable public course, where I labored like a hot-dog girl within the summers. The politics I learned about like a kid revolved around taxes and immigrants, and never anything else. Bill Clinton wasn’t famous the house. (In 2016, most of Wall voted Trump.)

I was all loyal, however i cant even conceive of the items else we might have been, because our entire experience was domestic, interior, American. We visited church every sunday, until church there was a time usurped by soccer games. I do not remember a powerful feeling of social engagement. Rather I’d the sensation that individuals might take things of your stuff should you didnt stay vigilant. Our goals continued to be local: homecoming queen, condition champs, a scholarship to Trenton Condition, barbecues outside. The lone Asian kid within our class studied hard and visited Berkeley the Indian visited Yale. Black people never found Wall. The planet was white-colored, Christian the planet was us.

We didn’t study world maps, because worldwide geography, like a subject, have been eliminated of numerous condition curriculums lengthy before. There wasn’t any sense of america being one country on the planet of numerous countries. The Soviet Union appeared some thing such as the Dying Star flying overhead, prepared to laser us to smithereens than the usual country with individuals inside it.

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Boardwalk empire a variety shop in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Photo: Michael S Williamson/The Washington Post

I have TV memories of world events. Even in my mind, they appear on a screen: Oliver North testifying within the Iran-Contra proceedings the damaged, evil-seeming face of Panamas dictator Manuel Noriega the film-like footage, all flashes of sunshine, from the bombing of Baghdad throughout the first Gulf war. Mostly things i remember of this war in Iraq was singing God Bless the united states around the chartered bus I had been 13 putting on little yellow ribbons and achieving teary-eyed when i appreciated the recording from the song I’d seen on MTV.

And Im proud to become a united states

Where a minimum of I understand Im free

That a minimum of is funny. I was free at the minimum i was that. Everybody else would be a chump, simply because they didnt have that apparent factor. Whatever it meant, it had been the factor that people had, and nobody else did. It had been goodness-given gift, our superpower.

When I acquired to highschool, I understood that communism choose to go away, but never learned what communism had really been (bad was enough). Religion, politics, race they washed over me like troubled stuff that clearly meant something to a person somewhere, however that didn’t have relationship in my experience, to Wall, to America. I certainly was clueless that that many people on the planet felt individuals connections deeply. History Americas history, the worlds history would slip interior and exterior my awareness without any resonance whatsoever.

Racism, antisemitism and prejudice, however individuals things, on some unconscious level, I have to have known. These were expressed within the anxiety about Asbury Park, that was black within the bitterness from the towns of Marlboro and Deal, that have been referred to as Jewish in the manner Hispanics appeared exotic. A lot of the Jersey Shore was segregated as though it remained as the 1950s, and thus prejudice was expressed through anxiety about anything outdoors Wall, anything outdoors the small white-colored world by which we resided. When there was something which saved us from being outwardly racist, it had been that in small towns for example Wall, specifically for women, it was vital to become nice, or good this pressure tempered habits toward overt cruelty whenever we were youthful.

I had been lucky which i were built with a mother who nourished my early-onset book addiction, a mature brother with mysteriously acquired progressive politics, along with a father who spent his nights studying obscure golf antiques, lost within the pleasures of history. Nowadays from the 1%, I’m nostalgic for Walls middle-class modesty and it is ocean-salt Jersey Shore air. But because a teen, I understood the only factor that may save me in the Wall of fear would be a good college.


I wound up in the College of Pennsylvania. The possible lack of curiosity about the broader world which i had known in Wall found another expression there, although at Penn the kids were wealthy, highly educated and apolitical. During orientation, the company school students were advised that they are the neatest people in the united states, approximately I’d heard. (Jesse Trump Junior was there then, too.) Within the late 1990s, everybody at Penn thought about being a good investment banker, and lots of would will continue to help bring lower the planet economy ten years later. However they were more educated than I had been in American literature class, they’d even heard about William Faulkner.

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TV memories Lt Col Oliver North is sworn in before Congress for the Iran-Contra hearings, July 1987. Photograph: Lana Harris/AP

When my best friend from Wall revealed one night that she hadnt heard of John McEnroe or Jerry Garcia, some boys around the dormitory hall known as us ignorant, and white-colored trash, and chastised us because of not studying magazines. I was hurt, and surprised white-colored trash was something we stated about others in the Jersey Shore. My boyfriend from Wall accused me of likely to Penn exclusively to locate a boyfriend who drove a Ferrari, and also the boys at Penn made fun from the Camaros we drove in senior high school. Class in the usa wasn’t something we understood in almost any structural or intellectual way class would be a constellation of the million little materialistic cultural signifiers, and also the insult, loss or purchase of them could transform ones future entirely.

Within the finish, I selected to pursue the brand new existence Penn proposed. The children I met had parents who have been doctors or academics most of them had already even visited Europe! Penn, for those its superficiality, felt a measure nearer to a bigger world.

Still, I am unable to remember anybody knowing foreign occasions within my 4 years of school. There have been wars in Eritrea, Nepal, Afghanistan, Kosovo, East Timor, Kashmir. US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed. Panama, Nicaragua (I couldnt keep Latin American countries straight), Osama bin Laden, Clinton bombing Iraq not a chance.

I understood Saddam Hussein, which in fact had exactly the same evil resonance as communism. I recall the film Wag the Dog, a satire by which American politicians begin a fake war with foreign terrorists to draw attention away from the electorate throughout a domestic scandal which at that time was what many accused Clinton to do as he purchased a missile strike on Afghanistan throughout the Monica Lewinsky affair. Never imagined about Afghanistan. What country is at Wag your dog? Albania. There is an average American callousness within our response to the nation they chose for that movie, an indifference that stated, Some bumblefuck country, no matter which they choose.

I had been a young child from the 90s, the last decade when, based on Americas foremost intellectuals, history had ended, the united states was triumphant, the cold war won with a landslide. The historian David Schmitz has written that, with that time, the concept that America won due to its values and steadfast adherence towards the promotion of liberalism and democracy was dominating op-erectile dysfunction pages, popular magazines and also the bestseller lists. These ideas were the ambient noise, the elevator music of my most childhood.

However for me there is also an intervention an opportunity experience of the basement of Penns library. I stumbled upon a line inside a book where a historian contended that, lengthy ago, throughout the slavery era, black people and white-colored people had defined their identities towards one another. The thought in my experience wasn’t that black people had created of the identities as a result of ours, however that our white-colored identities have been composed in conscious objection to their own. Id was clueless that that people had ever endured to define our identities whatsoever, because in my experience, white-colored Americans were born fully created, completely detached from any kind of complicated past. Even today, I’m able to keep in mind that shiver of recognition that just comes whenever you learn something which expands, only a small bit, your feeling of reality. What helped me angry was this thought was something about who I was. What did I not learn about myself?

It had been due to this text which i selected in the books of James Baldwin, who provided a feeling of finding someone who understood me better, with an even more sophisticated critical arsenal than I’d myself. There is this line:

However I will always be struck, in the usa, by a psychological poverty so bottomless, along with a terror of human existence, of human touch, so deep, that almost no American seems in a position to achieve any viable, organic link between his public stance and the private existence.

Which one:

All the western nations happen to be caught inside a lie, the lie of the pretended humanism which means that their history doesn’t have moral justification, which free airline doesn’t have moral authority.

Which one:

White-colored Americans are most likely the sickest and the most harmful people, associated with a colour, found in the planet today.

I understand why this came like a shock in my experience then, at age 22, also it wasnt always while he stated I had been sick, though which was some of it. It had been while he stored calling me that factor: white-colored American. Within my reaction I justified his accusation. I understood I had been white-colored, and that i understood I had been American, but it wasn’t things i thought as my identity. For me personally, self-definition involved gender, personality, religion, education, dreams. I only considered finding myself, becoming myself, finding myself which, I hadnt known, was probably the most white-colored American factor of.

I still didn’t consider my devote the bigger world, or that possibly a whole history a brief history of white-colored Americans had something related to who I had been. My insufficient awareness permitted me to think I had been innocent, or that white-colored American wasn’t a name like Muslim or Turk.

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White Americans are probably the most dangerous people in the world today author James Baldwin in New York, 1963. Photograph: Dave Pickoff/AP

Of this indifference, Baldwin wrote: White children, in the main, and whether they are rich or poor, grow up with a grasp of reality so feeble that they can very accurately be described as deluded.

Young white Americans of course go through pain, insecurity and heartache. But it is very, very rare that young white Americans come across someone who tells them in harsh, unforgiving terms that they might be merely the easy winners of an ugly game, and indeed that because of their ignorance and misused power, they might be the losers within a greater moral universe.


In 2007, after I had worked for six years as a journalist in New York, I won a writing fellowship that would send me to Turkey for two years. I had applied for it on a whim. No part of me expected to win the thing. Even as my friends wished me congratulations, I detected a look of concern on their faces, as if I was crazy to leave all this, as if 29 was a little too late to be finding myself. I had never even been to Turkey before.

In the weeks before my departure, I spent hours explaining Turkeys international relevance to my bored loved ones, no doubt deploying the cliche that Istanbul was the bridge between east and west. I told everyone that I chose Turkey because I wanted to learn about the Islamic world. The secret reason I wanted to go was that Baldwin had lived in Istanbul in the 1960s, on and off, for almost a decade. I had seen a documentary about Baldwin that said he felt more comfortable as a black, gay man in Istanbul than in Paris or New York.

When I heard that, it made so little sense to me, sitting in my Brooklyn apartment, that a space opened in the universe. I couldnt believe that New York could be more illiberal than a place such as Turkey, because I couldnt conceive of how prejudiced New York and Paris had been in that era; and because I thought that as you went east, life degraded into the past, the opposite of progress. The idea of Baldwin in Turkey somehow placed Americas race problem, and America itself, in a mysterious and tantalising international context. I took a chance that Istanbul might be the place where the secret workings of history would be revealed.

In Turkey and elsewhere, in fact, I would feel an almost physical sensation of intellectual and emotional discomfort, while trying to grasp a reality of which I had no historical or cultural understanding. I would go, as a journalist, to write a story about Turkey or Greece or Egypt or Afghanistan, and inevitably someone would tell me some part of our shared history theirs with America of which I knew nothing. If I didnt know this history, then what kind of story did I plan to tell?

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City watch US army troops stand guard at a checkpoint in Baghdad, Iraq, in August 2007. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

My learning process abroad was threefold: I was learning about foreign countries; I was learning about Americas role in the world; and I was also slowly understanding my own psychology, temperament and prejudices. No matter how well I knew the predatory aspects of capitalism, I still perceived Turkeys and Greeces economic advances as progress, a type of maturation. Regardless of how deeply I understood the USs manipulation of Egypt because of its own foreign-policy aims, I’d never considered and may not grasp how American policies really affected the lives of person Egyptians, beyond engendering bitterness and anti-Americanism. Regardless of how much I assumed that no American was well-outfitted for nation-building, I figured I saw good intentions for the Americans in Afghanistan. I’d not have accepted it, or considered to express it, but searching back, I understand that deep within my awareness I figured that America what food was in the finish of some transformative spectrum of civilisation, and everybody else was attempting to get caught up.

American exceptionalism didn’t only define the united states like a special nation among lesser nations additionally, it required that Americans believe they, too, were in some way better than others. How could I, being an American, understand an overseas people, when subconsciously I didn’t extend probably the most fundamental belief with other people who I extended to myself? It was a limitation which was beyond racism, beyond prejudice and beyond ignorance. It was a type of nationalism so insidious that I never recognized to refer to it as nationalism it was a self-delusion so complete which i couldn’t see where it started and ended, couldn’t root it, couldn’t destroy it.


In my first couple of several weeks in Istanbul, I resided a formless type of existence, days dissolving in to the nights. I’d no office to visit, no job to help keep, and that i was 3 decades old, a time where people either decide to develop or remain stuck within the exploratory, idle phase recently-late youth. Beginning once again abroad making buddies, learning a brand new language, looking for the right path via a city meant probably selecting the second. I spent many nights out before the wee hrs like the evening I drank beer having a youthful Turkish person called Emre, who’d attended college having a friend in the US.

A buddy had explained that Emre was probably the most brilliant people he’d ever met. Because the evening passed, I had been gaining so much from his analysis of Turkish politics, particularly when I requested him whether he voted for Erdoans Justice and Development party (AKP), and that he spat back, outraged, Have you election for George W Bush? Until that time I never realized the 2 may be equivalent.

Then, three beers in, Emre pointed out the US decided the September 11 attacks. I’d heard this before. Conspiracy theories were common in Poultry for instance, once the military claimed that the PKK, the Kurdish militant group, had attacked a police station, some Turks believed the military itself tried it they deemed it also in instances where Turkish civilians passed away. Quite simply, the concept was that rightwing forces, like the military, bombed neutral targets, or perhaps rightwing targets, so that they could then blame it around the leftwing groups, like the PKK. To Turks, bombing any country appeared like possible.

Seriously, you do not think that, I stated.

Why don’t you? he clicked. I actually do.

Nevertheless its a conspiracy theory.

He chuckled. Americans always dismiss this stuff as conspiracy theories. Its all of those other world who’ve had to cope with your conspiracies.

I overlooked him. I suppose I’ve belief in American journalism, I stated. Another person might have figured this out whether it were true.

He smiled. Im sorry, there is no way they didnt have something related to it. And today this war? he stated, talking about world war 2 in Iraq. Its impossible the U . s . States couldnt stop this type of factor, and impossible the Muslims could accomplish it.

Some days later, a bomb went off within the Istanbul neighborhood of Gngren. Another explosive device exploded from a garbage bin nearby after 10pm, killing 17 people and injuring 150. Nobody understood who made it happen. Everything week, Turks debated: could it have been al-Qaida? The PKK? The DHKP/C, a radical leftist group? Or possibly: the deep condition?

The deep condition a method of mafia-like paramilitary organisations operating outdoors from the law, sometimes in the behest from the official military would be a whole other story. Turks described the deep condition have been created throughout the cold war as a means of countering communism, after which mutated right into a pressure for destroying all threats towards the Turkish condition. The ability that some Turks related to this entity sometimes strained credulity. However the point was that Turks have been living for a long time with the concept that some secret pressure controlled the fate of the nation.

Actually, aspects of the deep condition were rumoured to possess had ties towards the CIA throughout the cold war, despite the fact that this too smacked of the conspiracy theory, it was the matter that Turkish people resided in. The sheer number of international interventions the united states launched in individuals decades is astonishing, especially individuals during years when American power was considered comparatively innocent. There have been the effective assassinations: Patrice Lumumba, pm from the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1961 General Rafael Trujillo of tobago, and in 1961 Ngo Dinh Diem, president of South Vietnam, in 1963. There have been the unsuccessful assassinations: Castro, Castro, and Castro. There have been balance wished-for assassinations: Nasser, Nasser, Nasser. And, obviously, US-backed, -supported or -staged regime changes: Iran, Guatemala, Iraq, Congo, Syria, Dominican Republic, South Vietnam, Indonesia, South america, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina. The Americans trained or supported secret police forces everywhere from Cambodia to Colombia, the Philippines to Peru, Iran to Vietnam. Many Turks thought that the united states a minimum of encouraged the 1971 and 1980 military coups in Poultry, though I possibly could find little about these occasions in almost any conventional histories anywhere.

What I saw could be that the results of such meddling were similar to individuals of September 11 just like huge, existence-altering and disruptive towards the country and also to peoples lives. Possibly Emre didn’t think that September 11 would be a straightforward affair of evidence and proof because his experience his reality trained him that hardly ever were these surreally monumental occasions easily explainable. I didn’t think Emres theory concerning the attacks was plausible. However I started to question whether there is much web site people from other countries paranoia the Americans planned September 11 and also the Americans paranoia that the world should purchase September 11 by having an endless global fight against terror.


The the next time a Turktold me she believed the united states had bombed itself on September 11 (I heard this with a few regularity this time around it had been from the youthful student at Istanbuls Boazii College), I repeated my claim about believing within the integrity of yankee journalism. She responded, a little sheepishly, Well, right, we cant trust our journalism. We cant take that as a given.

The language take that as a given provided pause. Getting resided in Poultry for over a year, witnessing how nationalistic propaganda had inspired peoples views around the globe as well as themselves, I wondered where the idea within our objectivity and rigour in journalism came. Why would Americans be objective and everybody else subjective?

I figured that because Poultry had poorly functioning institutions they didnt possess a reliable justice system, when compared with a united states system I thought to be functional it frequently felt as though there wasn’t any truth. Turks were always sceptical of official histories, and blithely dismissive from the governments line. But could it have been rather the Turks, using their beautiful scepticism, were really just less nationalistic than me?

American exceptionalism had declared my country unique on the planet, the main one truly free and modern country, and rather of ever thinking about that that exceptionalism was just like every other countrys nationalistic propaganda, I’d internalised this belief. Wasnt that indeed what effective propaganda was designed to do? I never asked the institution of yankee journalism outdoors from the standards it looking for itself which, in the end, was the only method I’d discern its flaws and prejudices rather, I recognized individuals standards because the best standards any country would have.

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Red state Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoan attends a rally following a failed coup attempt last year. Photograph: Osman Orsal/Reuters

By the end of my first year abroad, I read US newspapers differently. I could see how alienating they were to foreigners, the way articles spoke always from a position of American power, treating foreign countries as if they were Americas misbehaving children. I listened to my compatriots with critical ears: the way our discussion of foreign policy had become infused since September 11 with these officious, official words, bureaucratic corporate military language: collateral damage, imminent threat, freedom, freedom, freedom.

Even so, I was conscious that if I had long ago succumbed to the pathology of American nationalism, I wouldnt know it even if I understood the history of injustice in America, even if I was furious about the invasion of Iraq. I was a white American. I still had this fundamental faith in my country in a way that suddenly, in comparison to the Turks, made me feel immature and naive.

I came to notice that a community of activists and intellectuals in Turkey the liberal ones were indeed questioning what Turkishness meant in new ways. Many of them had been brainwashed in their schools about their own history; about Atatrk, Turkeys first president concerning the supposed evil from the Armenians and also the Kurds and also the Arabs concerning the fragility of the borders and also the rapaciousness of outsiders contributing to the historic and eternal goodness from the Turkish republic.

It’s different within the U . s . States, I remember when i stated, not entirely realising things i was saying before the words arrived on the scene. I’d never been known as upon to describe this. We’re told it’s the finest country on the planet. The factor is, we can’t reconsider that narrative how you do at the moment, because to all of us, that isnt propaganda, that’s truth. And also to us, that isnt nationalism, its patriotism. And also the factor is, we can’t question any one of it because simultaneously, all we’re being told is when free-thinking we’re, that we’re free. Therefore we have no idea there’s anything wrong in believing our country may be the finest on the planet. The entire factor kind of convinces you that the collective awareness on the planet found that very conclusion.

Wow, a buddy once responded. How strange. That’s a very quiet type of fascism, is it not?

It had been a basic type of fascism that will mean I’d always see Poultry as underneath the country I originated from, and that means I assumed my distinctively benevolent country to possess distinctively benevolent intentions for the peoples around the globe.

In that nights conspiracy theories, Emre had alleged, as people from other countries frequently did, which i would be a spy. The data which i was collecting like a journalist, Emre stated, really was getting used for another thing. Being an American emissary within the wider world, covering people from other countries, governments, economies partaking in certain bigger system and plan of products, I had been a real estate agent in some way. Emre resided within the American world like a foreigner, as someone less effective, as someone to whom one newspaper article can often mean war, a treadmill misplaced opinion can often mean an intervention through the Worldwide Financial Fund. My attitude, my prejudice, my insufficient generosity might be entirely false, inaccurate or damaging, but could be taken for truth through the magazines and newspapers I authored for, thus shaping perceptions of Poultry for good.

Years later, a united states journalist explained he loved employed by a significant newspaper since the White-colored House see clearly, while he could influence policy. Emre had explained how likely it had been I’d screw this up. He was telling me: first, spy, don’ harm.

Primary photograph: Burak Kara/Getty Images for that Protector

Adapted from Notes on overseas: A United States Abroad inside a Publish-American World by Suzy Hansen, which is printed by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on 15 August

Stick to the Lengthy Continue reading Twitter at @gdnlongread, or join the lengthy read weekly email here.

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/08/unlearning-the-myth-of-american-innocence

What is a black professor in America allowed to say?

The long read: Tommy J Curry thought forcing a public discussion about race and violence was part of his job. It turned out that people didnt want to hear it

One Thursday morning in May, Tommy J Curry walked through the offices of the philosophy department at Texas A&M University with a police officer at his side and violence on his mind. The threats had started a few days earlier. Since you said white people need to be killed Im in fear of my life, one person had written via email. The next time I see you on campus I might just have to pre-emptively defend myself you dumb fat nigger. You are done. Curry didnt know if that person was lurking on the university grounds. But Texas is a gun-friendly state, and Texas A&M is a gun-friendly campus, and he took the threat seriously.

Curry supports the right to bear arms. It was part of how he ended up in this situation. In 2012 he had appeared on a satellite radio show and delivered a five-minute talk on how uneasy white people are with the idea of black people talking about owning guns and using them to combat racist forces. When a recording of the talk resurfaced in May, people thought the tenured professor was telling black people to kill white people. This idea swept through conservative media and into the fever swamps of Reddit forums and racist message boards. The threats followed.

Anonymous bigots werent the only ones making Curry feel unwanted. Michael K Young, the president of Texas A&M, had called the professors comments disturbing and contrary to the values of the university. Curry was taken aback. His remarks on the radio were not a regrettable slip of the tongue. They were part of why the university had hired him.

A police officer met Curry inside his academic building and rode with him in the elevator to the philosophy department, on the third floor. In a hallway, the professor pointed to photos of his graduate students so the police officer would know who was supposed to be there. The officer told him to keep an eye out for unfamiliar faces. Curry picked up his mail. There were a few angry letters, and also an envelope marked with a Texas A&M logo. He put the hate mail into a folder and carried the whole bundle downstairs. Back in the car with his wife, he opened the university envelope. Inside was a copy of a letter from a campus official that he had received a few days earlier by email before his inbox was flooded with racist messages.

I am delighted to offer my congratulations on your promotion to Professor at Texas A&M University effective September 1, 2017, said the letter. This measure of your achievement is an indicator of the very high esteem in which you are held by your peers. We are honored to have you on our faculty.

As the car pulled away from the campus, Curry reread the letter and rolled his eyes. He has not been back since.


The drama that unfolded at Texas A&M is about a scholar who was welcomed by a public university because of his unusual perspective, and who became estranged from the university for the same reason. It is a story about what a university values, how it expresses those values under pressure, and how that pressure works. It is about freedom and control, reason and fear, good faith and bad. Mostly, it is a story about a black man in America who did exactly what he said he set out to do, and who became a cautionary tale.

It starts in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where Curry grew up in the 1980s and 90s. His family lived in a mostly black neighbourhood on the east side of the city. The white folks lived on the other side of the highway. At the Woolworth store downtown, he saw the faded outline of letters that remained visible on the window glass: No Coloreds. Currys father sold insurance. He told his son stories about how white people used to break into black peoples homes and terrorise them. The family kept a shotgun behind the couch, and Tommy Sr owned a pistol as well. He constantly told us that there is a very real threat of white violence, said Curry. The idea of black people having a right to defend themselves is just something I grew up with.

The
The Texas A&M University campus. Photograph: Spencer Selvidge/Reuters

His mother, a social worker, told him to arm himself with an education. Curry was a serious child who hoarded information. He joined his high schools debate team, where he learned how to arrange information into arguments and recite them at breakneck speed. He became accustomed to being the only black voice in the room, although he occasionally met other black boys in the debating scene. One was Rob Redding, a preachers son from Atlanta who was going to college in Lake Charles. Redding, who was a few years older, was struck by the high-schoolers confidence. I remember him coming to the debate room, and a lot of people thinking he was very bright, but maybe a little too self-confident, too self-assured, said Redding. Even some black people, who should know better, would think he was too cocky.

Curry used debate scholarships to attend Southern Illinois University, where he won an award for his prowess as a cross-examiner. After getting his masters degree in Chicago, he went back to Southern Illinois to work on a doctorate in philosophy. He showed little deference to the canon, often challenging the universal claims that western philosophers made in their work. That annoyed a lot of people in the department, but Currys adviser, Kenneth Stikkers, considered Curry a model student who inhaled the texts he recommended, reading them closely even if he disagreed with them. It was always a delight when hed come to see me, said Stikkers, because I was always going to learn something.

Stikkers, who is white, understood that not everybody would find Currys iconoclasm as energising as he did. Philosophers consider themselves open-minded, he said, but the department was still a white neighbourhood with expectations of how a black guest should behave. Curry was not interested in playing that game. In comments on Currys papers, Stikkers found himself repeating a refrain: Dont unnecessarily antagonise your audience. Currys patience for that advice was limited. He would say at times that he liked nothing more than pissing white people off, said Stikkers. I think he did get a certain thrill from that.


In 2004, while Curry was studying at Southern Illinois, the people of that state elected a young, mixed-race law professor to the US Senate. Liberals at the university had high hopes for Barack Obama as a unifying political figure, and a symbol of how far US race relations had come. Curry did not share their optimism. In the days after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he heard that the police had opened fire on a group of unarmed black families on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans. It would take years for courts to determine the guilt of the officers, but Curry didnt need an official judgment to convince him it was true. The aftermath of the hurricane bolstered his belief that anti-black racism in the US was a storm that would never end.

The evidence of the last 50 years has convincingly demonstrated the failure of multicultural coalitions, civil rights legislation and integration, he wrote in a 2007 paper. The current task of radical Black thought now rests in the development of alternatives in light of this disappointment. Those alternatives might include violence: Historically, the use of violence has been a serious option in the liberation of African people from the cultural tyranny of whiteness, he wrote, and should again be investigated as a plausible and in some sense necessary political option.

It was a provocative thesis, and Curry knew it. He did not consider himself a violent person. Even when he was a teenage socialist, his revolutionary vision had been passive: white capitalism would collapse under its own weight, and black unionists would help build a more egalitarian society in its ruins. Anyway, philosophy was supposed to be about asking hard questions without fear or prejudice, and Curry was not interested in steering clear of topics just because they made his white colleagues uneasy.

Stikkers urged him to pre-emptively defend himself against charges that he wanted to incite violence. In the paper, Curry explained that he wanted to raise violent resistance in the context of US racism not as a call to arms, but as an open-ended political question. Still, the young philosopher knew he was treading on dangerous ground. To some, he wrote, for a black scholar to even ask if violence should be used to combat racism is a career faux pas.

The paper was published in Radical Philosophy Today, and Curry put it on his curriculum vitae. Two years later, he earned his doctorate from Southern Illinois, and Texas A&M brought him on as a diversity hire, he said. The universitys philosophy department, like philosophy departments everywhere, was all white. They sold it to me based on the idea that they were trying to change, he said.

Black philosophers are rare in academe. In 2013 a study counted 141 black professors, instructors and graduate students working at US colleges, accounting for about 1% of the field. At Texas A&M, Curry turned heads almost immediately. In 2010 he taught a course that used hip-hop as a lens for philosophical ideas. The rapper 50 Cent was on the syllabus alongside Thomas Hobbes.

Curry didnt want to confine his teaching to the classroom. In 2012 he reconnected with Redding, the acquaintance from his debating days in Lake Charles, who had gone on to become a radio host. His show, the Redding News Review, played online and was broadcast in several cities. Redding began featuring Curry in a segment called Talking Tough With Tommy. Every Thursday the professor would call in and lecture about race, fear and complacency during the Obama years. He warned listeners of what might happen as white America began to feel the levers of power slipping from its grasp. We despise black people who are pessimistic about the political situation, he said in one episode, as if history hasnt already borne out what happens when black people make progress, even if its illusory.

Earlier that year, grim news from a Florida suburb had reminded the nation of how precarious the political situation was, no matter who was in the White House. Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, had been stalked and killed in a gated community where his fathers girlfriend lived. George Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watch volunteer, had seen Martin and assumed he was up to no good. He grabbed his gun and followed Martin. There was a confrontation. Martin broke Zimmermans nose and injured the back of his head; Zimmerman then shot Martin in the chest. The case brought attention to stand-your-ground laws, which gave the residents of some states, including Florida, the right to use lethal force rather than retreat if they fear they might be in serious danger. (In court, Zimmerman was later acquitted.)

That December, Django Unchained was released in cinemas. The film starred Jamie Foxx as a black gunslinger in the antebellum south who frees his wife and murders her white slavers. In a Saturday Night Live monologue, Foxx joked about how great it was that he got to kill all the white people in the movie, prompting some white pundits to accuse him of racism.

Jamie
Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained. Photograph: Allstar/Weinstein Company/Sportsphoto

Curry made plans to talk about Django on Reddings show. He wanted to place the film in the context of Nat Turners slave revolt of 1831, the writings of the civil rights leader Robert F Williams, and the history of black people taking up arms. Once again, conjuring visions of black-on-white violence would be risky. The audience this time was not just the subscribers of Radical Philosophy Today. Currys words would go out on the public airwaves and the internet. He knew that saying that would be controversial, said Redding. They decided the professor should focus on self-defence.

When it came time to record the segment, Curry spoke without a script. When we have this conversation about violence or killing white people, it has to be looked at in these kinds of historical terms, he said. And the fact that weve had no one address, like, how relevant and how solidified this kind of tradition is, for black people saying, Look, in order to be equal, in order to be liberated, some white people may have to die. Ive just been immensely disappointed, because what we look at, week after week, is national catastrophe after catastrophe where black people, black children, are still dying.

White conservatives speak reverently of gun rights, said Curry. But when we turn the conversation back and say, Does the black community ever need to own guns? Does the black community have a need to protect itself? Does the black individual have a need to protect himself from police officers?, we dont have that conversation at all.

The segment aired, and nothing happened. Redding posted Currys piece on YouTube in December 2012 with the title Dr. Tommy Curry on killing whites, then forgot about it.

Until Rod Dreher found it.


Dreher, too, is from Louisiana. Born 12 years before Curry, he grew up in St Francisville, a small town 160 miles north-east of Lake Charles. Only a few years before he was born, white vigilantes there had stalked and terrorised black men who had tried to register to vote in the town. In 1963, a tenant farmer named James Payne told a justice department official that a white mob had showed up at his house a day later. The intruders disarmed him, threatened to burn his family alive, and fired a bullet from his own pistol into the ground between his legs.

Dreher had a fling with progressive politics during his college years, at Louisiana State University, but his ideology took a right turn and he moved to the north-east, where he became a writer, cultivating an urbane Christian conservatism. Personal experience made him wary of vigilantism. In a 2001 column for the New York Post, Dreher bemoaned an elaborate funeral procession that black mourners had arranged for Aaliyah, the 22-year-old R&B artist who had died in a plane crash. A traffic-snarling, horse-drawn cortege in honor of a pop singer most people have never heard of? he wrote. Give us a break!

Dreher has vivid memories of what happened next. Callers flooded his voice mailbox with messages. They cursed him out, hurled antisemitic slurs (Dreher was raised Methodist and had converted to Catholicism), called him racist and said he should be fired. All of the callers had black accents, he later recalled. Dreher tried to brush it off. He recorded a cheeky voicemail greeting that instructed his critics to press 1 to leave a death threat, 2 to leave a bomb threat, 3 to get him fired, and so on. Still, the outrage scared him. Every time a black man got within 10 feet of me, I thought: Could this be one of the people who made the death threat? he wrote in a blogpost years later.

Dreher came to regret the Aaliyah column, admitting that it was insensitive, but he nevertheless saw himself as a victim of racial venom coursing through parochial networks. He blamed black radio hosts for using their influence to mark him as the enemy of a race. He eventually moved back to Louisiana and cultivated an online following as a blogger for The American Conservative magazine. His take on the Trayvon Martin case was that Martin had overreacted to Zimmerman confronting him with a gun, and that black people had overreacted to Zimmermans just acquittal. Dreher didnt see Django Unchained, he said, because revenge fantasies were corrupting. His audience eventually grew to about a million readers a month.

By the time Dreher learned about Curry earlier this year, he was writing regularly about campus politics, which he thought had grown more toxic since he was in college. The racial terrorism of the 1960s was in the past, as far as he was concerned, but the social-justice warriors remained on the warpath. Worse, college administrators indulged those students petty outrages.

In spring, a reader sent Dreher an email, telling him that a black professor at Texas A&M was saying racist things about white people, and the university was letting it happen. (The tipster used a pseudonym, according to Dreher, but he guessed it was a student.) He Googled Curry and soon found the killing white people YouTube clip that Redding had posted. He also found the professors 2007 paper on violence against whiteness. To his ears, Curry sounded like a bully. That rat-a-tat-tat way of talking reminded me of people Ive encountered in the past who are so busy talking at you that they dont actually listen, said Dreher. He reminded me of political and religious extremists Ive run across in my life in that way. That stuff sets me on edge.

So he decided to expose Curry on his blog. Dreher embedded the YouTube clip and quoted from other radio appearances in which the professor had talked about how white people would never voluntarily surrender their advantages. What does any of this racist bilge mean? wrote Dreher. To prove his own human worth to Tommy Curry, a white person has to despise himself? Good luck with that, Tommy Curry.

He published it on Monday 8 May at 8.30am.


Drehers post sent the professors words racing across a network primed for racial outrage. The internets rightwing news belt had expanded during the Obama presidency. Websites such as Infowars and Breitbart, once on the fringe, had found a champion in Donald Trump, who seemed passionate about defending white Americas borders and voting rolls from usurpers such as Muslim refugees, undocumented Latinos and poor blacks.

One of the first online hubs to notice Drehers article about Curry was a Reddit forum devoted to the lionisation of President Trump. When Is It OK To Kill Whites? somebody wrote there, posting a link to Drehers article on The American Conservative. THE HELL?!?! This guy teaches at Texas A&M!! Liberalism at Universities as [sic] gotten completely out of hand!! Cristina Laila, a writer for The Gateway Pundit, a blog devoted to exposing the wickedness of the left, also saw Drehers post about Curry. This is more proof that rasicsm [sic] is ok, she wrote, as long as the attacks are against whites.

Infowars was next. Then, on 10 May, somebody posted a link on the neo-Nazi website Stormfront. Some of the people who responded seemed to welcome the thought of a race war. They liked their chances. My West Point and 82nd Airborne cousins are more than happy to accommodate those of us who may need a little help in just such an emergency, wrote one person. So please, oh pretty please, do TRY to initiate hostilities sooner rather than later.

Curry had succeeded in getting people across the country to talk about racial violence in the name of self-defence. Now they were talking about how Texas A&M University needed to defend itself from Curry. To hundreds of people on the forums of TexAgs, an A&M community site, the answer was clear. Can we not fire him? wrote one person. What an embarrassment to Texas A&M, wrote another. Waiting on a response from President Young, knowing it will never come.

Michael Young, a lawyer, was hired to run Texas A&M in 2015 after a four-year stint as president of the University of Washington. At his new university, Young had swiftly earned a reputation as an able navigator of public-relations crises relating to racism. In 2016, white students had taunted a group of black and Latino high-school students who were visiting the campus from a Dallas preparatory school. One A&M student reportedly asked the prospective students what they thought of her Confederate flag earrings; other students told the high-school visitors to go back where they came from.

Michael
Michael K Young, president of Texas A&M University. Photograph: Youtube/Texas A&M

Young responded by announcing an investigation and then travelling to Dallas to personally apologise to the students who had been harassed. He was later praised widely for making a heartfelt response without rushing to judgment.

Kneejerk responses have to be avoided at all costs, Young said a few weeks after the incident. The key to beating the outrage machine, he said, is to know exactly what your university stands for. If you do that, even if it doesnt play out the way the Twitter world initially thinks it should, you never have to back away or apologise.

Texas A&M officials quickly realised that Drehers article might become a problem. Amy Smith, senior vice president for marketing and communications, advised the head of the philosophy department, Theodore George, on how to respond to inquiries about Curry. Barring direct threats by him to others, Dr Curry has a first-amendment right to offer his personal views on this subject, she advised him to say, no matter how incendiary and inappropriate others may consider them to be.

It soon became clear that would not be enough.


Even before Currys comments were covered in the mainstream press, Porter Garner III, head of the Texas A&M Association of Former Students, an influential fundraising body, began receiving angry calls from donors. They thought Curry was encouraging violence against white people. Many of the callers might not have been fully informed of the context of Currys words, said Garner, but some of them were longtime donors, volunteers, and friends of the university, and their concerns were pretty rational and very respectful.

Young said he disagreed with the idea that Curry was inciting violence. But as president of the university, he felt an obligation to take the concerns seriously. Public outrage can be perilous for a public university, especially when race is involved. After black students and their allies caused a national stir by protesting racism at the University of Missouri in 2015, the universitys fundraising efforts took a big hit, and it became a punching bag for the conservative state legislature. Two years later, freshman enrolment has dropped by 35%, and the university has temporarily shuttered seven dormitories.

Young said that finances were not on his mind as he weighed what to do about Curry, but also that he acknowledged the importance of staying in the good graces of constituencies beyond the campus. People send their children to A&M, and students come to A&M, because its a very special place, he said in an interview. I didnt want anybody to doubt what they believe it stands for is what it stands for.

On the morning of 10 May, Curry was asked to meet with university administrators. The professor agreed, but told them he wanted another person of colour in the meeting. He didnt want to feel surrounded by people who didnt get it. At the meeting, Curry said, he got the impression that university officials wanted to draw a distinction between his radio commentary and his work for Texas A&M. But Curry told the university officials there was no difference. Earlier in the year, a panel of judges from the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy had honored Currys radio work by giving him an award for public philosophy. His radio commentary wasnt some offbeat rant, the professor told his bosses. This is part of what you hired me to do.

They backed down a little bit, Curry said. He said they told him to put his defence in writing, so they could use it to respond to people who were contacting the university to complain. Curry wrote in the third person, assuming that his bosses would adopt his voice as their own.

The inflammatory phrase When is it OK to kill white people, he wrote, referring to Drehers headline, deliberately misconstrues Dr Currys distinction between revolutionary violence and self-defense. He continued: Dr Curry, drawing from the Second Amendment tradition, suggests that the laws failure to protect the lives of Black, Latino, and Muslim Americans requires new conversations which may require self-defense and more radical options than protest. In no way does his work promote or incite violence toward whites or any other racial group. The professor sent the text to his department chair that evening. Two hours later, Curry was sitting in his apartment, at his computer, when a message arrived from President Young. It was addressed not to Curry, but to all faculty, staff and students.

As you may know, a podcast interview by one of our professors that took place approximately four-and-a-half years ago resurfaced this week on social media, seen for the first time by many of us, wrote Young. The interview features disturbing comments about race and violence that stand in stark contrast to Aggie [Texas A&M] core values most notably those of respect, excellence, leadership and integrity values that we hold true toward all of humanity.

Curry read the email, the text of which was later posted on the universitys website, with dawning anger. Hes throwing me under the bus, the professor thought. Young continued: As we know, the First Amendment of the US Constitution protects the rights of others to offer their personal views, no matter how reprehensible those views may be. It also protects our right to freedom of speech, which I am exercising now. We stand for equality. We stand against the advocacy of violence, hate and killing. We firmly commit to the success, not the destruction, of each other.

Have no fear, the president assured them: Texas A&Ms core values remained intact.


Smith, the communications vice president, immediately sent Youngs statement to the presidents of all the non-profit organisations that help fund Texas A&M. She felt good about the statement. Fair was fair: in December 2016, when the white nationalist Richard Spencer visited Texas A&M, Young made it clear that the university did not share his values, either. After trying and failing to bar Spencer from speaking on campus, university leaders organised a unity-themed rally in the football stadium. If youre a purveyor of hate and divisiveness, said John C Sharp, the chancellor, and you want to spew that kind of racism, this is the last campus on earth that you want to come to to do that.

In light of the situation with Curry, Smith found herself moved by the chancellors words. It is even more meaningful now, she wrote to the president the next morning, as we articulated our core values again yesterday in a new-but-related situation that shows we mean this equitably.

But the statement did little to slow the momentum of the story. The outrage machine was just warming up. Conservative writers struggled to square their love of free speech with their horror at Currys words. Certainly, no one should be stopped for sharing and debating ideas; the country has seen too many prohibitions of speech in past years, wrote Ron Meyer, editor of Red Alert Politics, a Washington-based blog. However, paying a professor to share radical ideas on behalf of a university has nothing to do with free speech.

Garner, of the Association of Former Students, was still getting calls from alumni who thought Young had not gone far enough. Some said the president should have condemned Curry more forcefully. Others were upset that the professor hadnt been fired. A petition was started encouraging alumni to withhold all donations to Texas A&M and its affiliated fundraisers until the board took action against Curry and Young. The alumni were not the only ones who were upset. Youngs attempt to get ahead of a national story created another outrage closer to home.


To some of Currys colleagues, the statement the president sent out to mollify the professors critics was not an affirmation of the universitys core values. It was a betrayal of the sacred privilege of academic freedom. Joe Feagin, a long-serving sociology professor, wrote to Young the next morning. Michael, he wrote, I wish you had contacted me about the Curry matter. In a separate email to a student newspaper reporter, Feagin argued that Currys 2012 radio piece was, in fact, based on good research.

Nandra Perry, an associate professor of English, also wrote to the president. Previously, she had assumed the university would have her back if anybody used a classroom recording to attack her. Now she wasnt so sure. To call this incident a blow to academic freedom, Perry told Young, doesnt begin to do justice to the chill it will have on my teaching, and indeed the teaching of almost everyone I know.

Perhaps the most scathing rebuke to the president came in a letter signed by every faculty member in the Africana Studies department, where Curry also holds a faculty appointment. The history of black thought, they said, includes more than Martin Luther King Jrs crossover hits. By dismissing Currys comments on violent resistance as personal views, they said, Young had delegitimised the professors expertise and dismissed centuries of history.

Blacks in the United States live with the daily fear that a traffic stop, or a trip to the store or the park, could be the end of their lives, wrote the professors. Yet we cannot talk about black resistance? Historically or contemporaneously? They demanded an apology.

When Dreher heard that Curry was getting death threats, he wrote a follow-up blogpost. Anyone threatening violence against Curry, he said, should be ashamed and, if possible, arrested. I hope Dr Curry is armed, he added, so that if anybody shows up at his house threatening him, he defends his home and family by any means necessary. Still, Dreher stuck by his interpretation of Currys 2012 radio commentary. I dont believe Tommy Curry is encouraging black people to go out today and cut throats, he wrote. I think he is entertaining dangerous thoughts here, same as far-right white radicals. (He later would write a third post, which was removed, comparing the professor to Emperor Palpatine, the Star Wars villain who encourages morally complex characters to give in to the dark side.)

An
An anti-racist rally at the University of Missouri in 2015. Photograph: Michael B Thomas/Getty Images

Curry read the second blogpost somewhat differently from how Dreher had meant it. That evening the professor wrote an email to Young with a headline that was provocative, if a bit misleading: Rod Dreher retracts.

The president decided to make another statement, and his advisers spent several days discussing how to thread the needle. On 17 May, a week after Young had put out his statement about Texas A&Ms values, he put out a new one. He said he was committed to academic freedom. He acknowledged that scholars often find their work oversimplified or misunderstood. He reiterated the universitys position that racial violence is always bad. He did not, however, offer a personal apology to Curry.

Despite the title of Currys email to Young, Dreher has not changed his views on Currys ideas. Dreher believes the only practical solution to racial resentment is the power of forgiveness. In 2015, Dreher marvelled at the Christ-like love of the teenage children of Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, one of the nine black parishioners killed by the white supremacist Dylann Roof at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof shot her five times. The next night, at a vigil for their mother, Chris and Camryn Coleman-Singleton told an interviewer that they had already forgiven Roof.

Dreher saw their gesture as both inspiring and necessary. There will always be haters, of all kinds, and sometimes those haters will murder in service of the hate that consumes them, he wrote at the time. But to deny that things have changed for the better, and can change for the better if we work at it, is to deny to ourselves the hope that inspired Martin Luther King and the civil rights heroes.

Curry is no hero, Dreher said. He thinks the professors talk of racial violence is reckless, and that he should cut it out before he inspires somebody to do real harm. Tommy Currys big fat radical mouth gets to me, he wrote in an email, because of the consequences of the things he believes and says. Its not a joke.


Back in America, Curry was more worried about the consequences of what Dreher believed and said about him. For two weeks, Curry rarely left his apartment, as messages arrived by email warning him of what might happen if he did. You and your entire family of low-IQ, affirmative-action herpes-infected african monkeys might need to be put to death. There were dozens like that. The professor forwarded them to the campus police department. Curry said a detective told him some of the messages appeared to have been sent from within the county. Police officers made a point of regularly driving past his apartment building for several weeks. But Curry worried about whether his six-year-old was safe at her elementary school. Driving her home at the end of the day, he would circle the block a few times to make sure they had not been followed.

Nobody came to his door, knocked him down, disarmed him, fired a bullet between his legs or made him beg for his life. The mob that came for Curry was digital and diffuse, everywhere and nowhere. The goal, however, was the same as ever: fear. And it worked. The Currys left town. They had already been planning to move, but Curry and his wife decided to leave early to stay with family. His daughters thought they were going on vacation. He does not plan to bring them when he returns to Texas A&M in the autumn.

In the course of his life, Curry has embodied both the promise of racial progress and its limitations. He was able to study at an integrated school, but his hometown remained divided by the legacy of segregation. He was hired by a university that wanted more black professors, then was mocked by conservative students who assumed his insight was worthless. He earned honours from his colleagues, then anger from strangers and a tepid defence from his bosses.

If thats the American dream, said Curry, then Id hate to see what the actual nightmare is. He plans to return to Texas A&M in the fall as a full professor. He knows there are people there who want him gone. He no longer trusts the university to defend him. He only hopes he can defend himself.

Main photograph by Benjamin Rasmussen. A longer version of this article first appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/03/what-is-a-black-professor-in-america-allowed-to-say-tommy-j-curry

‘Anonymous’ browsing data can be easily exposed, German researchers reveal

Pair guaranteed database that contains 3bn URLs from three million German users, spread over 9m different sites

A idol judges porn preferences and also the medication utilized by a German MP were one of the private data uncovered by two German researchers who acquired the anonymous browsing habits in excess of three million German citizens.

What can you believe, requested Svea Eckert, if somebody demonstrated up at the door saying: Hey, I’ve every one of your browsing history every single day, every hour, every minute, every click you probably did on the internet during the last month? How does one think we’ve got it: some shady hacker? No. It had been much simpler: you can easily purchase it.

Eckert, a journalist, merged with data researcher Andreas Dewes to get personal user data and find out the things they could glean from this.

Presenting their findings in the Def Disadvantage hacking conference in Vegas, the happy couple revealed the way they guaranteed a database that contains 3bn URLs from three million German users, spread over 9m different sites. Some were sparse users, with just a few dozen of websites visited within the 30-day period they examined, while some had thousands of data points: the entire record of the online lives.

Finding the data was really even simpler than purchasing it. The happy couple produced an imitation marketing company, replete using its own website, a LinkedIn page because of its leader, or even a careers site which received a couple of applications using their company marketers tricked by the organization.

They stacked the website filled with many nice pictures and a few marketing buzzwords, claiming to possess created a machine-learning formula which could market better to individuals, as long as it had been trained with a lot of data.

We authored and known as nearly 100 companies, and requested when we might have the raw data, the clickstream from peoples lives. It required slightly more than it ought to have, Eckert stated, only simply because they were particularly searching for German internet users. We frequently heard: Browsing data? Thats not a problem. But we do not have it for Germany, we simply get it for that US and United kingdom, she stated.

The information these were eventually given came, free of charge, from the data broker, that was prepared to allow them to test their hypothetical AI advertising platform. Even though it had been nominally an anonymous set, it had been soon simple to de-anonymise many users.

Dewes described some tips through which a canny broker will find a person within the noise, just from the lengthy listing of URLs and timestamps. Some make things super easy: for example, anybody who visits their very own analytics page on Twitter winds up having a URL within their browsing record containing their Twitter username, and it is only visible for them. Discover that URL, and youve linked the anonymous data for an actual person. An identical trick works best for German social media site Xing.

For other users, a far more probabilistic approach can deanonymise them. For example, only 10 URLs could be enough to distinctively identify someone imagine, for example, of methods couple of people you will find at the company, together with your bank, your hobby, your chosen newspaper as well as your cell phone provider. By creating fingerprints in the data, its likely to check it with other, more public, causes of what URLs individuals have visited, for example social networking accounts, or public YouTube playlists.

An identical strategy was utilized in 2008, Dewes stated, to deanonymise some ratings printed by Netflix to assist computer scientists improve its recommendation formula: by evaluating anonymous ratings of flicks with public profiles on IMDB, researchers could unmask Netflix users including one lady, a closeted lesbian, who continued to sue Netflix for the privacy violation.

Another discovery with the data collection happened via Google Translate, which stores the written text of each and every query subjected to it within the URL. Out of this, they could uncover operational information regarding a German cybercrime analysis, because the detective involved was converting demands for help to foreign police forces.

Where did the information originate from? It had been collated from numerous browser plugins, based on Dewes, using the prime offender being safe surfing tool Web of Trust. After Dewes and Eckert printed their results, the browser wordpress plugin modified its online privacy policy to state it truly does sell data, while making tries to keep your information anonymous. We all know this really is extremely difficult, stated Dewes.

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/01/data-browsing-habits-brokers

Lessons from the fast lane: does this study prove car-pooling works?

When Jakarta ditched its questionable three-in-one vehicle-discussing rule many within the city expected the visitors to improve. It didnt. A Harvard and Durch study analysed before-and-after Google traffic data to discover what went down

Driving in Jakarta at hurry hour is one thing of the nightmare. The citys 9.six million population swells each workday by having an additional 3.5 million people travelling in from borders, mostly by vehicle or bus. Driving 25 miles in the suburb Bogor takes typically two hrs, or perhaps three. By some measures, Jakarta has got the worst traffic on the planet. Others only place it in the top 25 regardless, Jakarta motorists are certain to spend significant servings of their lives stuck in gridlock.

To assist alleviate the issue, the town implemented among the worlds most stringent vehicle-pooling policies. First launched in 2003, the 3-in-one high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane rule needed private vehicles to hold three individuals to drive around the primary roads in Jakartas central business district, from 7-10am and 4.30-7pm.

Despite the insurance policy in position the traffic was bad, so many people felt enjoy it wasnt doing anything, states Rema N Hanna, a Harvard professor of south-east Asian studies. There is also debate all around the jockeys who’d stand just outdoors the enforcement area and provide to participate just one-occupancy vehicle for a small fee therefore the driver could go into the three-in-one zone.

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A woman carries her baby as she signals shes for hire as a jockey in Jakarta. Photograph: Achmad Ibrahim/AP

Many believed the policy was ineffective and felt that opening the restricted road to all would help traffic flow better, but a new study printed within the journal Science found the alternative to be real. Hanna and Durch researchers Gabriel Kreindler and Benjamin A Olken discovered traffic jam worsened after Jakarta lawmakers abruptly eliminated the HOV policy in April 2016.

To gather data on traffic jam, they used google’s Maps API to determine real-time driving speeds on two restricted roads and many unrestricted routes. They grabbed traffic speed data every ten minutes for twenty-four hrs each day, while using data Google captures from real-time reports of traffic from Android smartphone users. (This is exactly what Google Maps uses to find out eco-friendly, yellow, and red traffic conditions and supply believed drive occasions.)

They collected their baseline data pre and post the vehicle-pooling policy was removed, using traffic delay the minutes per km someone must wait his or her metric.

Average delays including on non-restricted roads rose from 2.one to three.1 min/km each morning peak and from 2.8 to five.3 min/km at night peak. (To compare, research found La delay to become just .7 min/km.) Hanna states this signifies the recently unrestricted primary roads were not able to support the rise in vehicles from people no more vehicle-pooling. They tracked the traffic data with the summer time and located it held fairly steady.

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A car-pool lane in San Rafael, California. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Basically, it meant that even though people said everyone tried to get around the rules, that was not happening at a large enough level to outweigh the benefits of the policy, Hanna says. The policy was surprisingly effective in encouraging people to car-pool and get fewer cars on the road. It has a huge implication for traffic and also pollution and lots of other things.

Co-author Kreindler cautions that their findings in Jakarta may not be applicable to every city with HOV lanes. For example, Jakartas policy restricted entire roads, not just one or two lanes of a highway as in other cities.

First implemented outside Washington DC in the 1970s, HOV lanes are now found in at least 27 US cities, and are less common elsewhere. Amsterdam was the first European city to experiment with HOV lanes, opening its short-lived experiment in 1993; Spain followed with an HOV lane in 1995. Stockholm, Sweden, Oslo and Trondheim in Norway, and Linz, Austria added lanes in the intervening years. In the UK, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham and Bradford all have HOV lanes.

More recently, cities have experimented with other car-pooling policies. Some US cities have implemented high-occupancy toll lanes, which charge a fee for single-occupancy vehicles. Washington DC, Birmingham, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia pays commuters a little daily cash incentive for many several weeks when they vehicle-pool to obtain them within the habit of doing this. Portland, Oregon offers vehicle-poolers preferential parking. And Los Angeles produced an application for connecting motorists with passengers.

Jakartas bygone vehicle-pool policy might not be an ideal example for other metropolitan areas, but Hanna still thinks you will find training to consider using their study. Things I hope we did was give some evidence these policies, despite the fact that theres lots of debate to start about the subject, theyre not entirely crazy.

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Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/aug/01/lessons-fast-lane-study-car-pooling-works-jakarta-google

How Facebook groups bring people closer together neo-Nazis included

Mark Zuckerbergs new mission would be to bring the planet closer together. But Facebook groups can unite extremists as quickly because they serve hobbyists

Ricky Caya was searching for something. A 43-year-old postal service worker and father of two in Quebec, he felt unsettled and unconnected. The truly amazing social movements from the 1960s, the American civil legal rights movement, flower power, the large trade union movements consumers do not have that, he stated.

Then when a Facebook publish entered his news feed promoting a brand new organization that searched for to create together good men and women without a voice to finally hand them over strength in figures, Caya requested membership towards the group and rapidly grew to become an energetic participant and leader.

In lots of ways, Caya might be a poster child for Mark Zuckerbergs new mission for Facebook to create the planet closer together through the strength of significant Facebook groups.

Nevertheless its unlikely that Zuckerberg is going to be touting Caya and the Facebook buddies inside a branded video in the near future. Because Caya is part of La Meute, a virulently anti-Islam Facebook group with 50,000 people.

On 16 This summer, La Meute, whose founders express a political affinity with Frances Marine Le Pen, notched a genuine-world victory when voters rejected the establishment of the Muslim graveyard in a tiny town near Quebec City. The funeral ground have been suggested following the groups of six people massacred at a Quebec City mosque in The month of january had nowhere nearby to bury themselves. La Meute (this means the Wolf Pack in French) helped lead a campaign to pressure a referendum, prompting many Qubcois to blame the group for that votes failure. (The organizations leaders didn’t react to a request comment.)

Within the finish, what individuals want will be u . s . in something larger than them, stated Caya. A feeling of belonging.

Or, as Zuckerberg stated inside a June speech as he announced Facebookss new mission statement: Whenever you bring people together, who knows where it’ll lead.

As Facebook is continuing to grow to greater than 2 billion users, so that as Zuckerberg has launched into a publish-2016 election make an effort to comprehend the social impact of his creation, Facebook groups have grown to be the centerpiece of his messaging round the companys capability to alter the world for that better.

Inside a extended manifesto printed in Feb, Zuckerberg revealed a preoccupation with Americans well-documented loss of membership in local organizations for example places of worship, unions, parent-teacher associations and teams a concept apparently cribbed from Robert Putnams classic sociology text, Bowling Alone.

Bring in more business provide many of us with a feeling of purpose and hope moral validation that we’re needed and a part of something larger than ourselves comfort that we’re not by yourself along with a community is searching out for all of us, Zuckerberg authored. It’s possible a number of our challenges are in least just as much social because they are economic associated with too little community and link with something more than ourselves.

In June, in the inaugural Facebook Communities Summit, Zuckerberg came back towards the theme: For many years, membership in all sorts of groups has declined around one-quarter, he stated. Thats many people who now must find a feeling of purpose and support elsewhere. This will be our challenge.

Zuckerbergs means to fix the loss of what he calls social infrastructure and Putnam calls social capital is, possibly unsurprisingly: more Facebook. Particularly, more Facebook groups.

Setting an objective of helping 1 billion people join significant groups, he told a cheering crowd of Facebook group managers: If are going to this, not only will it change the loss of community membership you’ve seen for many years, it will begin to strengthen our social fabric and produce the planet closer together.

Its impossible to state whether Zuckerbergs mentioned belief within the transformative ability of their own products is naive or cynical. It’s unquestionably correct that many Facebook groups are significant to a lot of people.In the speech, Zuckerberg designated for praise audience people who’d founded groups for disabled veterans, adopted children, lonely locksmiths and black fathers in Baltimore.

But Facebook groups like every social capital can as fast be utilized for ill nearly as good. And social capital isn’t an unalloyed good. A 2013 study by New You are able to College political researcher Shanker Satyanath, Bowling for Fascism, discovered that dense systems of social organizations and clubs in Germany helped promote multiplication of nazism. Or even a general search of Facebook unearths systems of extremists using groups to recruit and organize.

Go ahead and take Soldiers of Odin, a much-right, anti-refugee organization founded by Finnish white-colored supremacist Mika Ranta at the end of 2015. The vigilante groups anti-Muslim message spread from Scandinavia towards the Americas rapidly, having a network of Facebook groups developing in america and Canada by early 2016, based on separate studies through the Anti-Defamation League and Yannick Veilleux-Lepage from the College of St Andrews Center for study regarding Terrorism and Political Violence.

In lots of ways, these organizations are entirely determined by social networking, stated Veilleux-Lepage, who used social networking analysis to locate extensive ties between your Canadian and Finnish groups, even though the Canadian chapters have distanced themselves openly in the Finnish extremists. Veilleux-Lepage noticed that exactly the same feature which has made social networking a effective pressure in democratic movements the truth that it lowers the barrier for political participation can also be important helpful to extremists. The barrier to interact using these groups is a lot less than it has ever been, he stated.

Many far-right groups appear to utilize a mixture of public groups, which anybody can join, closed groups, which anybody can look for but which require approval to participate, and secret groups, that are invite-only. Prospective people request admission to a shut group, then are needed to undergo a vetting process, for example uploading a relevant video pledging ones allegiance towards the cause or submitting for an interview over Skype.

That process causes it to be simpler for extremist organizations to evade Facebooks moderators, stated Keegan Hankes, an intelligence analyst for that Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Lots of Facebooks moderation involves users flagging content, Hankes stated. If you have this sort of vetting process, you do not risk getting tossed off Facebook.

Facebook has worked on developing technology to enhance its human moderators, and it is already using artificial intelligence to hack lower on terrorist content. However the sheer amount of content around the platform and complexity of deciphering meaning and intent make combating hate around the platform a herculean task.

Most groups on Facebook are connecting permanently from addiction recovery to aid for brand new moms but when any group does violate our community standards, we’ll take it off, Facebook vice-president Justin Osofsky stated inside a statement.

However, many groups appear to understand Facebooks rules for hate speech, so that they enforce their very own rules against offensive language despite espousing hateful ideologies. Facebook is only going to remove groups whether it finds they focus on promoting hate against protected characteristics for example gender or race, a bar that apparently isn’t removed by Soldiers of Odin or La Meute.

Still, getting began Facebook could be a critical blow to such organizations, Hankes noted, simply because they depend on social systems to locate new people.

Fundamental essentials spaces in which you speak with individuals who arent already inside your movement, Hankes stated of social networking sites. Recruitment is definitely in the center of the. The alt-right and white-colored nationalists are very conscious to the fact that they’re within the minority, and they’re always looking to get more people.

Hankes also contended that Facebook has proven significantly less dedication to policing its platform for domestic extremist groups than it must cracking lower on Isis and al-Qaida.

In 2016, the SPLC sent Facebook a listing with links to greater than 200 pages, profiles and groups associated with SPLC-designated hate groups. A Protector audit this month discovered that a minimum of 175 of individuals links remain active, including closed groups for neo-Nazi, white-colored nationalist and neo-Confederate organizations. After being contacted through the Protector, Facebook removed nine additional groups.

Theyre not using [Facebook] simply to send one another nice notes, Hankes stated. Were speaking about hate groups who’re using the work of making a white-colored ethno-nationalist condition seriously, and theyre doing the work all around the platform.

Mark Zuckerbergs 2017 personal challenge to go to and meet individuals all 50 states has triggered an avalanche of speculation the Chief executive officer is thinking about running for political office. How else to describe the billionaires decision to interrupt bread having a steelworkers family in Ohio, attend services in a black church in Sc or discuss public safety with Dallas police officers?

But whats striking concerning the recently political Zuckerberg is strictly how united nations-political he seems to be. I did previously believe that when we just gave people a voice and helped them connect, that will result in the world better alone. In lots of ways it’s, but society continues to be divided, he stated in the communities summit. Now In my opinion there exists a responsibility to complete much more. It is not enough to merely connect the planet, we have to work to create the planet closer together.

Both versions of the mission statement lack any type of political framework to discern that, really, the planet might need to be if many people remain disconnected and apart.

Zuckerbergs skill at ignoring these complexities makes him better fitted being an evangelist for that Church of Facebook than the usual political candidate. I understand are going to this, he promised towards the crowd in the communities summit. We are able to reverse this decline, rebuild our communities, start brand new ones, and produce the world closer together.

Or, as Ricky Caya place it inside a Facebook message: Facebook helps connect people, and individuals people may use it to arrange themselves. It’s also something preferred by the Islamic Condition, and a large number of other groups, on subjects from macrame to cycling to politics, to extremism.

Everybody can there be!!

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/31/extremists-neo-nazis-facebook-groups-social-media-islam

Can Jack Ma, Asias richest man, create 1m jobs in the US?

The founding father of Alibaba, among the worlds greatest online stores, made the promise in a pre-inauguration ending up in Jesse Trump

Jack Ma was determined to live a regular existence. He unsuccessful china college entrance exam several occasions prior to being recognized through the worst school in Hangzhou, and that he was rejected from the dozen jobs even selling chicken at KFC. Ma was prepared to settle right into a quiet lifeas an British teacher in eastern China, a situation with couple of advancement prospects, when, during a vacation to San antonio in 1995 being employed as a translator for any trade delegation, everything altered.

A buddy demonstrated Ma the web. He placed a foot to the information superhighway having a one-word search beer and, 2 decades later, Ma may be the wealthiest man in Asia, mind of the e-commerce and finance empire which includes Alibaba, among the largest retailers on the planet.

Now Ma has once more set his sights around the US. Inside a high-profile ending up in Jesse Trump prior to the inauguration, Ma guaranteed to produce 1m jobs in america, and it has wasted virtually no time ingratiating themself into Trumps group of friends. He’s dined alone with Ivanka Trump, and a week ago commerce secretary Wilbur Ross sat next to Ma in a meeting people and Chinese businessmen. Individuals political connections will benefit him because he seeks to get American companies in a nation that is more and more cautious about big Chinese investment.

For Trump, the headlines of Mas job-creating plan might be more essential that any actual jobs produced.

Like a merchant, its about knowing your customer, and Trump doesnt worry about anything it is not huge, states Duncan Clark, a longtime friend and author of Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built. He figured millions of is a great number to obtain Trumps attention. Realistically, with no major acquisition, I miss out on how thats possible, he adds. In america context, its a really big number.

For a long time, Ma continues to be pushing his vision of US small businesses selling to Chinese shoppers through his online marketplaces. He’s frequently known as the Shaun Bezos of China, and you will find obvious similarities. Both built e-commerce empires and, like Bezos and also the Washington Publish, Ma even owns a a classic established newspaper, in the situation Hong Kongs South China Morning Publish.

But there is a key difference: while Bezoss Amazon . com sells products to consumers, maintaining massive warehouses and operating a classy logistics network, Alibabas sites are merely a medium, connecting consumers with retailers who ship through independent couriers. It has brought experts to state Alibabas business design is nearer to Googles than Amazons.

Alibabas strength happens to be solving inefficiencies, developing a site that permitted a number of companies to market straight to consumers throughout the infancy from the internet in China and beginning a web-based payment system if this was cumbersome to wire funds. The companys flagship platforms, Taobao (much like eBay) and Tmall (much like Amazon . com), have produced a 1-stop look for consumers, and Alibaba is conveying the model to emerging markets for example Russia andBrazil.

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Jack Ma with Donald Trump, January 2017. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

But the US presents a new challenge, and e-commerce is already a crowded space. Alibaba may not have what it takes to spur massive job creation in the US. Its an incredibly unlikely target for job creation in any plausible time frame, said Christopher Balding, a professor of business and economics at Peking Universitys HSBC business school. If were talking 25 or 40 years, maybe Alibaba could create that lots of jobs.

In comparison, WalMart, the biggest private employer in america, employs 1.5 million people. If Ma has the capacity to deliver on his commitment of 1m jobs, it might decrease the amount of unemployed workers with a staggering 14%.

Ma was created within the scenic town of Hangzhou in 1964, 2 yrs before the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, ten years of political upheaval that saw his parents and grandfather persecuted by aspects of the ruling Communist party. His father beat him, based on a 2013 biography, but Ma found his escape in teaching themself British. From age 12, Ma would cycle for 40 minutes towards the citys hotels to provide foreign vacationers his services like a guide round the West Lake to ensure that he could practise hisEnglish.

Free airline was his lifeline inside a land where he wasnt around the elite track, states Duncan Clark. He battled in class, he is not an engineer, he is not a technical guy, so he grew to become an British teacher. Mas capability to read a crowd, though, is on the componen having a standup comedian, Clark adds, and a few have described his charisma as Jack Magic.

That charm is more and more being fond of Trump administration officials. But past the million-jobs propaganda story, Ma is trying to convince the federal government that his intentions are innocuous because he makes a $1.2bn bid for MoneyGram, the second largest remittance firm in the US inside a deal which has elevated national-securityconcerns.

His repeat performances with Trump and the administration show he’s making significant inroads, states Michael Wessel, mind from the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a oversight body that reports to Congress. Ma isnt thinking about America succeeding, hes thinking about Ma, Alibaba and China succeeding. Like a skilled, global businessman, Ma is working in the own interest which, at occasions, could also be the interests from the Chinese Communist party. That you will find considered whenever he functions.

The MoneyGram deal has attracted significant opposition from lawmakers in Washington, hinging on the truth that a lot of military families use the organization to transfer money. The acquisition is not yet been approved by US regulators inside a procedure that often see the problem made the decision by Trump.

This past year, Alibaba accepted the US Registration was investigating the accounting practices of their logistics network and it is huge Singles Day shopping online event its like Black Friday but much, larger an issue which has not yet been resolved.

In the World Economic Forum in Davos in The month of january, Ma chastised the US, stating that while America taken advantage of globalisation, it had been squandering trillions of dollars on foreign wars and neglecting the countrys infrastructure and it is own citizens.

In China, Mas ties towards the government happen to be invaluable. At any given time when Chinese president Xi Jinping is signalling that companies should control overseas purchases, Mas ongoing push in america is really a obvious manifestation of his political clout. As well as in 2014, when Chinas condition administration for industry and commerce printed findings showing which more than 70% of products inside a random sample on Taobao were fake, Ma met using the mind from the agency, who subsequently claimed the report was just the minutes of the meeting coupled with no legal effect.

While Ma wishes to encourage American small companies to market around the companys high-finish marketplace, Tmall, in December 2016 the federal government put its much bigger sister site, Taobao, on the blacklist of notorious marketplaces noted for the purchase of counterfeit goods and violations of intellectual propertyrights .

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The blacklisting was not the first setback for Alibaba. The company was burned on its first attempts to expand into the US when, shortly after founding the company, Ma was forced to shut down an office it opened just outside San Francisco after less than a year. Another venture an online shopping site like Amazon . com known as 11 primary was shuttered in 2015.

Despite these hurdles, Ma is pushing up with his dream for all of us companies to market to China through his websites. In June, Alibaba located a celebration, Gateway, in Detroit, that was targeted at getting more small firms into its ecosystem. Among the loudspeakers, something of the poster child for Alibaba, was Mike Wolf, who switched his familys vitamin store in suburban Philadelphia into a web-based giant selling 40,000 products all over the world. His company, LuckyVitamin, began selling on Tmall in November and Wolf estimates he’s hired about 20 employees since that time, though merely a fraction cope with China directly, with many employed in inventory oraccounting.

However when LuckyVitamin started selling in China, it already already been through it of expanding into greater than 30 regions, and Wolf cautioned that opening a store on Tmall was probably the most challenging.

Selling on Tmall is much like beginning a brand new business, instead of simply adding a brand new funnel for sales, Wolf states. It is not an easy switch, it is not a get-wealthy-quick chance where one can just double your company overnight by opening the doorway to China. Its a marathon, not really a sprint. Anyone who involves Tmall with get-wealthy-quick aspirations will probably be disappointed.

Together with LuckyVitamin, Ma has convinced a number of other companies to market through his websites. To fulfil his commitment of 1m jobs, he needs greater than 50,000 companies to duplicate Wolfs success within the next couple of years.

At that time, or course, Trump will probably have managed to move on to his next pet project, and Ma, the British teacher switched tech millionaire, may have greased the wheels within the worlds two largest economies.

Additional reporting by Wang Zhen

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/30/can-jack-ma-create-on-million-jobs-us-donald-trump-alibaba

Hipster-bashing in California: angry residents fight back against gentrification

Inside a condition where housing prices are two times the united states average, artists and developers feel the ire of the growing movement to protect our homes and the west

Half a hundred years following the summer time of affection and hippie harmony, California is experiencing a summer time of loathing and hipster-bashing.

Not only hipsters. Artists, techies, realtors, business proprietors, developers, each one is feeling the wrath of the burgeoning and perhaps radicalising anti-gentrification movement.

Within the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Boyle Heights, protesters are targeting a brand new coffee shop with placards, chants and violence, tactics which ousted an opera along with a gallery.

In Venice, on the other hand of los angeles, residents picket the palm-fringed home of Snapchat, branding it a coloniser to take over local property.

In San Francisco, activists blast Airbnb and bicycle-discussing initiatives among nostalgia for any yuppie eradication project. As well as in Oakland non-profits stand guard against Ubers intend to open a huge office downtown.

Were inside a war, stated Leonardo Vilchis, an innovator of Union de Vecinos, an LA-based activist group. Its happening over the condition. A war to protect our homes and the west.

Such rhetoric is a reasonably vary from the flower-power vibe of 1967 when hippies required over San Franciscos Golden Gate park and kick-began the counter-culture.

However the hippies, in the end, just pitched camping tents. Todays perceived interlopers rent, buy and switch property. And thats an issue.

A housing crisis is making homes unaffordable for that poor and middle-class, uprooting communities and condemning families to settle vehicles, shelters and under tarpaulin.

Gentrification the entire process of affluent people getting into and reworking lower earnings neighbourhoods would be a term once limited to urban planning workshops. Now it is a howl across California.

Individuals are getting out of bed that the housing product is benefiting real estate industry while increasing numbers of people suffer, stated Malcolm Torrejn Chu, of the authority to the town Alliance. There’s enormous anger and anxiety.

The median price of a house in California is $500,000, two times the united states national level. In regards to a third of house owners pay housing costs considered unaffordable, based on a Harvard study. California also offers the biggest share of destitute residents who’re unsheltered, at 66%, based on the department of housing and concrete development.

The main cause is really a housing shortage. Proliferating activist groups see gentrification because the front line, pitting them into an audacious make an effort to redirect among the worlds greatest economies a $2.5tn engine of technology, property and tourism roaring at full throttle to a different sort of capitalism.

The circumstances are simply getting worse so youre seeing (the) emergence of recent groups, stated Camilo Sol Zamora, housing, land and development campaign director for Causa Justa. There should be an interruption. Not business as always diversity of tactics, be resourceful.

The movement is really a mosaic: policy wonks and lobbyists venerable non-profits with offices and contributors embryonic, rag-tag groups with card board signs political radicals who imagine overthrowing capitalism vigilantes with spray paint and rocks.

Some factions coordinate and collaborate, others maintain their distance and do their very own factor a loosely interconnected, decentralised movement whose intellectual heroes vary from Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez and liberation theologians to Mao Zedong, Karl Marx and Antonio Gramsci.

Renters, artists, unions, Gay and lesbian communities along with other groups are developing eclectic coalitions to try and swing public opinion behind ballot measures and legislative efforts to grow rent control along with other protections.

People are searching for creative and new methods to respond, stated Bruce Mirken, from the Greenlining Institute, an investigation and advocacy group. Everyone has found themselves requiring to operate together that havent always before, he stated, citing no Uber Oakland campaign. Most of us continue to be working out how everything works. Coalitions are almost always complicated.

The Homes for those campaign was mobilising assemblies over the US, stated Torrejn Chu, of the authority to the town Alliance. Mass assemblies will gather in September to have to have a halt to evictions and declare a renters condition of emergency, he stated. It will likely be the biggest event available. We wont win unless of course we coordinate.

Nevertheless, activists admit the struggle is battling. When you are coping with really intense market forces its difficult, stated Mirken. A lot of people are trying to puzzle out what the heck are we able to do that can make a positive change. You find things happening which do create a real difference but bending the general curve greatly is actually tough.

For many the answer would be to be radical, even destructive.

There’s suspicion that arson attacks at construction sites in San Franciscos east bay are associated with gentrification resistance. The newest blaze cause still unknown burned so hot (1,160F) it had been monitored with a National Weather Service satellite.

The targeted developers have vowed to rebuild around the ashes. Oakland council member Abel Guillen stated fires wouldn’t help to make housing less expensive. It just accelerates displacement of existing residents, he tweeted.

Vigilantes have struck outdoors California. In Philadelphia in May a 50-strong group associated with an anarchist group known as Summer time of Rage vandalised luxury cars and houses, ripped out video security cameras and erected a banner saying Gentrification is dying. Revolt is existence. Two suspects were arrested and billed.

The movements primary laboratory for confrontational tactics is Boyle Heights, a gritty Latino neighbourhood around the side of LAs booming downtown.

It’s located sustained violence campaign against perceived potential gentrifiers, including an opera company which attempted to do inside a local park, students-brought walking tour along with a string of galleries. Some had exhibitions disrupted, others were tagged with graffiti for example fuck white-colored art. You have left.

Weird Wave Coffee, a hipster coffee shop which opened up earlier this year, may be the latest target. Picketers, some with bandannas covering their faces, seek a boycott. Someone has smashed the home windows two times previously week.

Direct action will get the products, stated Ruben Ruiz, of Serve the folks-LA (STPLA), a Maoist group. Your window smashing? Its fantastic. I really like it. But he added: We didnt get it done. We dont do anything whatsoever illegal. He reported European and Turkish squatter systems as inspirations.

STPLA created a coalition, Defend Boyle Heights, along with other militant groups, including Union de Vecinos, a lengthy-established local group. Were inside a war against neoliberals, fascists and coconuts, stated Vilchis, a co-founder. The second describes Latinos considered brown around the outdoors, white-colored inside.

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Leonardo Vilchis in Boyle Heights. Photograph: Rory Carroll for the Guardian

Non-profits beholden to political and corporate interests negotiated their own defeat and left neighbourhoods open to predation, a mistake Boyle Heights would not make, said Vilchis, 55, who grew up amid guerrilla campaigns in Acapulco, Mexico.

The campaign against Weird Wave may backfire. When the Guardian visited it had run out of coffee in part because so many people had come in to show solidarity. Weve been insanely busy, said Jackson Defa, the co-owner.

Steven Almazan, outreach chair of the Boyle Heights neighborhood council, said most residents were ambivalent about gentrification, recognising benefits as well as problems.

It is unclear if confrontational tactics can slow gentrification in Boyle Heights rents are rising fast – but outside groups are watching and learning, said Elizabeth Blaney, a Union de Vecinos leader. I think it is replicable. Weve had groups from New York, Chicago and the bay area reach out to us.

Gay Shame, a San Francisco-based group, is a fan. Many anti-displacement activists concede too soon, or dream too small, and we love Defend Boyle Heights because they are saying get the fuck out and really thats the only answer we should have, a member said via email.

But Kevin Keating, an anarchist who used threats and vandalism as part of the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project in the dotcom era, poured cold water on the prospect of the San Francisco Bay area importing Boyle Heights radicalism.

The LA campaign blended race and ethnicity into what should be a strictly class struggle, he said. And Bay area activists lacked grit, he alleged, citing the fizzling of Google bus protests in 2015. They folded like napkins. No staying power.

Others said that overlooked decades of grinding work and shifting public opinion. The bus protests put techs responsibility on the map, said Leslie Dreyer, an artist and activist leader. For the first time folks from around the world were calling and asking about it.

Activists were succeeding in blocking some evictions, she said. Im hopeful that more tactics can bloom in the face of such dire times. The little victories keep me going.

end

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/28/california-anti-gentrification-hipster-yuppie

Facebook posts $3.89bn quarterly profit, up 71% from last year

Shares hit record high after figure is a lot greater than expected, with total revenue climbing 44.8% because of elevated mobile video ad sales

Facebook has delivered a significantly greater-than-expected quarterly profit, driven with a sharp rise in sales of mobile video ads, delivering its shares for an all-time high.

Total revenue rose 44.8% to $9.32bn in the same period in 2016, which Facebook published an income of $3.89bn up an astonishing 71% from the prior year.

We’d a great second quarter and first half of the season. Our community has become 2 billion people and were concentrating on getting the planet closer together, stated Facebooks Chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg.

Mobile ad revenue taken into account 87% from the companys total advertising revenue of $9.16 billion within the latest quarter, up from 84% last year.

The boost originated from growing monetisation of video inside the Facebook News Feed, in addition to development in the Facebook-owned Instagram.

Facebook hasn’t stated the amount of its revenue is due to its Instagram unit, although the photo-discussing application has turned into a greater focus of their business.

Clearly, the greatest driver of growth is, overall, Facebook News Feed, chief financial officer David Wehner stated. Instagram is creating a contribution, as well as an growing contribution.

Facebook, together with Google, takes the lions share of internet advertising revenue 99% of new dollars spent this past year, based on Pivotal Research. However, Facebooks news feed is reaching saturation point so the organization will need to sell more ads elsewhere or visit a slowdown in growth.

Facebook continues to have lots of space to develop, revenue-wise. Its only began inserting ads into Messenger and it is tinkering with ad breaks placed into videos. The organization has additionally launched classifieds in the Marketplace feature, where users can purchase and sell products from one another.

The organization can also be purchasing original TV-style programming to feature within the Facebook mobile application, that could encourage users to take more time around the platform, consequently allowing Facebook money advertising.

Throughout the earnings call, Zuckerberg says WhatsApp had grown to at least one.3 billion monthly users, a billion who make use of the messaging service daily. WhatsApp Status, its little-publicised form of Snapchat Tales that launched six several weeks ago, presently has greater than 250m daily users the 2nd Facebook-produced Snapchat Tales clone to eclipse Snapchat, after Instagram Tales. Snapchat just 166m daily active users.

Snapchat would be a thorn in Facebooks side for several years, however the smaller sized competitor hasnt been able to keep up with the social networks relentless copying of their core features.

Facebook is anticipated to create $36.29 billion in internet digital ad revenue this season, a 35% jump from 2016, based on the research firm eMarketer.

Facebook stated a couple of.01 billion everyone was having its service monthly by June 30, up 17% from last year. About 1.3 billion of these make use of the service every single day, stated Facebook.

Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/26/facebook-quarterly-profit-revenue-mobile-ads