Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government’s Terrorist Screening Database—a watchlist of “known or suspected terrorists” that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private contractors, and foreign governments—more than 40 percent are described by the government as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” That category—280,000 people—dwarfs the number of watchlisted people suspected of ties to al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah combined.
The documents, obtained from a source in the intelligence community, also reveal that the Obama Administration has presided over an unprecedented expansion of the terrorist screening system. Since taking office, Obama has boosted the number of people on the no fly list more than ten-fold, to an all-time high of 47,000—surpassing the number of people barred from flying under George W. Bush.
“If everything is terrorism, then nothing is terrorism,” says David Gomez, a former senior FBI special agent. The watchlisting system, he adds, is “revving out of control.”
12:20 pm • 6 August 2014
“In other words: Political money and hence influence at the top levels is disproportionately white, male, and with almost no social context that includes significant numbers of African Americans and other people of color. This is why money isn’t speech. Freedom of speech as a functional element in democratic life assumes that such freedom can be meaningfully deployed. But the unleashing of yet more money into politics allows a very limited class of people to drown out the money “speech” of everyone else—but especially those with a deep, overwhelmingly well documented history of being denied voice and presence in American political life.”
— Ta-Nehisi Coates, on John Roberts and the color of money
2:24 pm • 17 April 2014 • 602 notes
“Brooklyn’s political power derives from its size. At 2.6 million residents, it’s the largest borough, holding almost a third of the 8.3 million who inhabit the most populous U.S. metropolis. Brooklyn’s 3.5 percent population growth between 2010 and 2013 made it the city’s fastest-growing area, and its 16-member delegation is the largest in the 51-seat city council. Signs of Brooklyn’s allure include the international visitors buying postcards inside the P.S. Bookshop in Dumbo; an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. The former industrial warehouse district has become a rezoned enclave of million-dollar loft apartments and boutiques. Gourmet food shops sell the locally produced Blue Marble ice cream for $7.49 a pint.”
— Brooklyn’s hipster economy challenges Manhattan supremacy
8:48 pm • 16 April 2014 • 5 notes
Progressive? Pay your interns.
Even the ‘Free the Slaves’ organization doesn’t pay their interns. No further comment.
5:29 pm • 16 April 2014
Warren warns against civilian deaths in warfare — but no mention of drones
While Warren’s rhetoric against civilian casualties was strong, she avoided the topic of drones completely — an omission that seemed calculated to avoid a conflict with the White House over a signature policy.
“The real point now is to take that lesson on up the chain of command,” Warren said. “This has to be something in my view that has to be absorbed into the military and into our leadership. We need to have this as part of our national conversation. That’s true for all of us, so I see this as a question of responsibility borne not just by those in the field, but responsibility borne by all of us”
2:24 pm • 16 April 2014
“I spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent, 15 of them with The New York Times. I interviewed numerous individuals deemed by the U.S. government to be terrorists and traveled with armed groups, including units of al-Qaida, labeled as terrorist organizations. When I reported the statements and activities of these individuals and groups, U.S. officialdom often made little distinction between them and me. This was true during the wars in Central America. It was true in the Middle East. And it was true when I covered global terrorism. There was no law at the time that permitted the government, because of my work as a reporter, to order the military to seize and detain me. Now there is. This law, if it is not struck down, will essentially replace our civilian judiciary with a military one. Those targeted under this law will not be warned beforehand that they will be arrested. They will not have a chance to get a lawyer. They will not see the inside of a courtroom. They will simply vanish.”
— Chris Hedges
9:32 pm • 2 April 2014 • 132 notes
“Wednesday’s decision, once again a five-to-four ruling, represented another significant step away from the antiquated principle of ‘one person, one vote’ toward the more modern, and utilitarian, notion of ‘one dollar, one vote.’”
— John Cassidy on the SCOTUS decision
9:27 pm • 2 April 2014 • 303 notes
"What I wish Americans knew about Morocco"
A few months ago, I received an email from an old friend asking how I am and where in the world I am these days. When I replied that I live in Morocco, he said: “Holy crap, I can’t believe you live alone in Muslim-land, you’re much braver than I would be.”
I didn’t reply to that email. I was too upset. […]
This is my chance to explain.
2:25 pm • 31 March 2014 • 3 notes