Author: dude

DeeJay Trump & The Beat of America

The night of the election I went to bed about 9:30 PM (Eastern) after telling my son that Trump was “pulling away”. The channels I sampled were keen to say “no surprises” had yet occurred based on their predictions of who would win or lose in this city, that state. But they also broadcast the down-ballot races from time-to-time at the bottom of the screen in silent text. I began to notice the pattern of incumbents, mostly Republicans in the Rust-belt, holding on to their seats after only 5% to 15% of the votes were counted. It was clear enough to me Clinton would lose and Trump had unexpectedly long coat-tails despite the way many prominent Republican leaders had distanced themselves from him. Although I drew my conclusions intuitively, I could see Michael Moore’s outline for a Trump path to the White House was becoming a fact and the momentum was evident.

It is now 48 hrs after the election results were declared. The pollsters are still making apologies and offering convoluted defenses for how good their models were but how unconventionally Trump and the voting public behaved. They don’t say “black swan”, but that is what they hint.

Republicans who once shunned Trump are donning his puppet strings (if he will let them). Those already in his thrall are in the queue for the next installment of The Apprentice. He is the piper who calls the tune, the DJ who sets the beat.

The Democratic Party is still trying to put a good face on a candidate and a campaign that was outmaneuvered and rejected for being both artificial and smug.

Then there is the “Why do we have an Electoral College between the Oval Office and popular vote anyway?” refrain which seems to come up after every election I can remember.

Recrimination and self-recrimination have to burn themselves out. The panic and the fear promoted by this extraordinarily bitter campaign will burn out despite the demonstrations in the streets. The post mortem is already reflecting the smoother, soothing sound I heard today: “Oh, you know voters always vote against an incumbent president’s party if he has been in office for two terms–regular as clockwork! They just want change! It’s just the way Americans are.”

I predict the Democrats will eventually retrench but the result will be to become more Republican. There is no mystery in this. They have to. They are subordinate, have no imagination, have compromised their power and their principles, and are the subject of intense ridicule. They are far from home and whistling in the darkness.

On the other hand, the new President is going to age rapidly like all presidents before him because he is going to do something he hasn’t done in 50 years: on-the-job training. I expect Trump will delegate the hard work to Pence as a result and reserve any glory to himself. His Administration will test the checks-and-balances. As the Manager-in-Chief, he will have more hands on the various levers of government power, but he does not have a mandate. That will present some issues.

Our governmental architecture is capable of withstanding a lot. ‘A lot’ includes a Civil War. Whether or not our nation was great, is great, or will ever be great again I do not know, but it does have a pretty durable structure, a strong constitution so-to-speak. We may survive, but we may not thrive. The republic is about to endure one whale of a test. We are about to see if the Founding Fathers are the geniuses they are made out to be in our grade-school history books and Broadway shows.

If you think I am doing a lot of whistling in the dark myself, you’re mostly right. I am doing my best to be hopeful. Our system was designed to prevent tyrants from governing us. I think the past 20 yrs of gridlock suggest it is still pretty resilient. I don’t know if it has ever been tested against a sociopath, but I am pretty sure it can handle it.

Binary Choices

The media favors reporting in terms of binary choices. Maybe we, the consumers of media, are easily beguiled by them because that is the way we naturally tell and listen to stories.

Binary choices work best because they are easy. Democrat versus Republican, Black versus White, Good versus Evil, Have’s versus Have Not’s, Easy versus Hard, Cheap versus Expensive, Efficient versus Wasteful, Happy versus Sad, Secure versus Insecure, Fearful versus Fearless, Us versus Them, In versus Out, Fight versus Flight.

It’s a very long list. You can fit a lot into a handy binary schema.

We are told there is a presidential race now limited to two figures. We have Donald Trump v Hillary Clinton if you accept the media’s insistent theme “do the math and resign to the inevitable”. Cruz and Sanders are seen as desperately flapping their arms as the hook pulls them off stage right and stage left respectively. Nobody else is viable, so why “waste” time even thinking about them?

If you value your time so preciously, you will focus on the binary choices. You have concluded this is the way the election process works, and you have gotten used to it. Pick your poison. Choosing one of two is better than not choosing at all. Choose even if it’s only a choice between the bad and the least bad. Hold your nose and vote. If you don’t vote, you are going to be a bad actor in the binary schema. If you forfeit your choice, you are really choosing sides because you are aiding-and-abetting the bad over the least bad. So get used to it: you’re choosing. There is no such thing as a boycott or abstention. You are not an innocent by-stander. You are an accomplice.

Many who assume this line assume themselves to be ‘practical’ analysts of the situation. They obviously like the mathematical simplicity of binary choices: One versus Zero. It is a digital world after all, ruled by binary choices. It’s so powerful, yet so elegantly simple.  It is also determinist.  It is forced format. It is divisive.

Picture Yoda. Do or do not. There is no try.

It almost sounds like the perfectly unambiguous mantra for a binary theorists’ reductive argument except that it is really the voice of a mentor trying to inspire a pupil to believe sufficiently in his aspirations, to act on hope despite the odds. ‘Do’ act on hope, but ‘do not’ sit idly by. Remember that both Yoda and Luke were in the position of Total Losers at this point in their story, malcontents in a galaxy administered by Dark Siders and populated by an array of mercenaries, swindlers, cynics, petty tyrants and cute teddy bears, all of whom were mightily oppressed and disorganized. Until they weren’t.

Okay, you say, that’s just a latter day fairy tale. It isn’t real. It wasn’t meant as “practical” advice. There is no realpolitik there. Until there is.

For all the hue and cry over Donald Trump’s candidacy and the fearful chord he strikes in the hearts of many Americans, he was a mere externality to government until he wasn’t. A peripheral character. A wannabe with a delusional sense of self-worth. Now he is a dagger pressed against the heart of the Free World.

And the anointed foil to Trump the Evil is who?

Hillary the Good? Only for an ecstatic core. What it means to most candid binarists is Hillary the More Powerful, Hillary the Not-Trump, which boils down further to Hillary the Mitigator of Greater Harm, which is to say Hillary the Diluter of Toxic Contamination, and eventually Hillary the Least Worst.

Of course, the swing-binarists must be taken into account and they view Trump v Clinton as Outsider versus Insider. They are hugely disgusted with Insiders as a class. Just how disgusted remains to be seen, but figures suggest a large number of them have already leaned toward Trump. Remember: true binarists “do” or “do not” vote. There is no try.

True terror for a binarist results from the realization there is choice lying outside the prescribed range. Why do you suppose third party candidates are so reviled in this country? Why do you suppose they keep coming back?

I am faced with binary choices all the time just like you are, but I know that is not the only schema for life or its situations. Do you really think you live in a world of Man Versus Woman? Do you honestly think is it good to pit Straight versus Gay? Do you honestly think binary choices must absolutely be linked to other binary choices—are Straight versus Gay choices also Good versus Bad ones?

I am pretty sure you don’t really think this way, but I am also pretty sure you won’t consciously think about the permutations that flow from whatever first set of choices you are given. You certainly react to the first set but, if you are like most people, you won’t think about it much beyond the second or third set before you get tired of the process and just want to get on with your life. Leave the complicated philosophy to people willing to blend—Hegel or monks pondering Yin and Yang instead of Yin versus Yang.

Binary choices are easy to construct, easy to communicate and easy to accept because they can capture a theme by defining it in terms of its extremes. Works well for numbers, algorithms, but I don’t think it works well in most human affairs.

Do we really want our lives to be the average of least bad choices?

I don’t. The average of the least bad excludes the value of “try”. It presumes extremes are known and fixed. I think history demonstrates the contrary, don’t you?

True or False?

 

Acoustic Reverie

I recall visiting the homes of childhood friends and often noticing the droning presence of an AM radio. I recall riding in the cars of their parents and the radio always on. When I got to junior high school, I recall friends doing their homework in the living room or family room with the television on. If you asked them, they would swear up-and-down they had to have the TV on in order to do their homework. More often than not, the parents grew up in the Golden Age of Radio and kept the radio on just for company long after the novelty of wireless wore off and their favorite shows disappeared.

When I arrived at an urban college in a wholly different part of the country, I confirmed these practices were not peculiar to the rural mountain people I grew up among. Underground FM stations, amplified through battling component stereo systems, cut through the walls of the dorms and apartments. It was normal for students to go about their business oblivious to the acoustic chaos all around, and a lot them again claimed they could not do without it. One popular justification was, “I am trying to drown out the noise on the street”, or next door, or upstairs. Real noise was somehow distinguished from the cacophony of phonograph recordings and broadcast programs. Real noise was anything but their noise. It was up to each individual to carve out his or her own acoustic territory. It was a personal declaration. It was your personal soundtrack. Continue reading

9-11 Remembrance Deserves Better

I am going to begin by standing on thin ice.

Memorializing September 11, 2001 is not something I do, at least not in the commonly-accepted sense. I do not hallow that day. I do not reserve a moment of silence. I do not obsess with hatred toward the people who caused immeasurable harm and suffering upon the lives of the victims and their families, but neither do I embrace them. And I do not embrace their equally radical antagonists.  I, like many others, have had 14 years to reflect on the event. I am sickened by it all.

People grieve in different ways.

Some people find ways to re-live their grief as though being constantly reminded of it will make them better for the experience. Of them, a few will take that impulse and focus it upon a cause which they believe will help right a perceived wrong, correct a perceived mistake–in short, ‘do something’ for a greater good.

Other people are more apt to absorb the shock privately and keep their expressions of grief private and personal. They too will build on whatever is left of their lives, but do so without fashioning it into a cause.  The coping, the remembrance, is personal.

You might be forgiven for thinking this latter kind of griever is isolated in an unhealthy way, wallowing dangerously in some great pool of self-pity–broken, inconsolable.  Surely some are, but my experience with private grievers is that most are not. I have known both sorts of grievers in my time, and it is very tempting to subdivide them into these stereotypes. They are archetypal. They make great characters for movies. And it would be easy fashion me into a third stereotype as an observer: the coolly detached emotional-cripple who doesn’t say a sympathetic thing about people’s deaths, injuries or struggles in the aftermath.

I am not an emotional cripple, but I do say this.  The urge to ‘do something’ constructive and the appearance of wallowing dangerously in a pool of self-pity merged almost instantly after September 2001. To this day, it still looks like a parody of grief. Or, if you prefer, it looks like a conscientious effort to present that day’s events as martyrdom.

Martyrdom is not only for Muslims. If there is such a thing as counter-martyrdom, I think that is what was presented in the chaos of that day and, for the most part, what we continue to see. It sickens me. And the prevailing laziness which prevents any sort of comprehension of what has transpired sickens me further.

I don’t think I am the only one who feels this way. If that makes me cynical, I accept the label, but I take no joy in it. I happen to think desire to ‘do something’ constructive with the grief surrounding 9-11 never came to fruition, and the reminders of that failure continue to this day. That leaves me with more respect for those people who suffer their 9-11 grief quietly. Such sentiment as I have, I reserve for them.

 

Kim Davis: Elected Official

The Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis, has been in the spotlight for a couple weeks. A Democrat, she was sworn to perform her duties to citizens of Kentucky under oath. I thought the oath was as interesting as it is legally binding:

Section 228 of the Kentucky Constitution
I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of….. according to law; and I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State, nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God.

I particularly like the stuff about duels, don’t you?

Atticus: The Beta Version

I finally bought a copy of Go Set A Watchman and finished reading it only about fifteen minutes ago. Here is my reaction.

First, I found most of it entertaining if only because I love Southern language and Harper Lee renders it really, really well. It is her authentic language and in many ways she delivers it in Watchman better than Mockingbird.

Lee uses her gift of language to draw colorful characters all of whom I can recognize from my own upbringing. Lee has a well-developed eye and ear. The book resonates for me in that way.

If I were asked to characterize the book, I would answer: It’s actually a coming-of-age story that spends most of its time disguised as a fish-out-of-water story. In terms of simplified, ancient television models, it is like John-Boy returning to Walton’s Mountain after living for years as a transplant in some faraway city and then suffering through an excruciating high school class reunion populated by people he thinks he has grown beyond. The self-aware protagonist spends a lot of time wondering (as a coming-of-age teenager might) am I the one who’s different? did I change or did they? How can you tell?

Jean Louise’s relationships to her home and family crystallize in her final disillusionment with Atticus. The stuff about race relations is powerful, but only momentarily poignant. It is the device Lee uses to move Scout’s transformation forward. It has an arbitrary feel about it.  It read like a transparent literary contrivance, and ultimately the excuse for a rant delivered by Jean Louise in the closing chapters. Interestingly, Scout declares during her rant she probably agrees with practical difficulties of having Black people participate fully in Maycomb governance and civic life. She too dances on the head of a pin.  The worst offense of the book lies in the end–and this is where it reminded me of the Waltons.  At least some of her anguish seems to have been anticipated, even encouraged by Atticus and his brother to help Scout “grow up”—at least that is how it reads to me. It isn’t that anyone changes their opinions on race, religion or politics. It is more like Scout becomes Jean Louise when she discovers she cannot borrow anybody else’s conscience, anybody else’s “watchman”.  She has to get comfortable with her own and know everyone else has their own.  Sigh!

I am not too good at finely tuned literary analysis and probably do not do this book justice. However I can say that it was worth my time and I did enjoy the book. I think Harper Lee’s original editor was absolutely right in recommending she re-cast the story to remove a lot of the self-conscious , self-aware reporting by Scout in this book. She turned in a superior book on the second try. Seems to me that Mockingbird is needed if only to explain the true depth of young Scout’s perception of Atticus and her hometown. You can better understand how Watchman works (or is intended to work) if you have read Mockingbird first.  Without that foreknowledge, Watchman would seem even more superficial, more contrived.

As I have said, the people in this book are people I grew up with. They are still around me…and you.

Do I think Atticus 1.0 and 2.0 are the same people?  Yes, I do.

Your Federal Reserve

Maybe I am the only one on the planet who did not know this, but here is a paragraph or two from a report at The Hill regarding the highway fund legislation before Congress and how someone proposed it be funded:

“When banks join the Federal Reserve system, they are required to buy stock in the central bank equal to 6 percent of their assets. However, that stock does not gain value and cannot be traded or sold, so to entice banks to participate, the Fed pays out a 6 percent dividend payment.

The Senate proposal says it would slash that “overly generous” payout to 1.5 percent for all banks with more than $1 billion in assets. While the summary language outlining the proposal said that change would only impact “large banks,” industry advocates argued that banks most would identify as small community shops could easily have assets in excess of that amount.

Banks are working to mobilize against the provision, even as lawmakers are pushing to pass a highway bill before program funding expires at the end of the month.”

Does this make any sense?

You pay a membership fee to a club that then pays you to stay in the club AND will bail you out even if you screw up and go insolvent?  And not just you–you and all of your insolvent club-buddies?

Article:     http://thehill.com/policy/finance/249135-banks-revolt-over-plan-to-kill-17b-fed-dividend-cut

UPDATE: July 29 2015: Congress passed a 3 month extension to funding highways. Three months should be sufficient for the Bankster Lobby to change the prescription involving the Federal Reserve.

 

 

Donald’s Coming Up Trumps!

A few weeks ago on these pages I half-seriously wondered why nobody had yet bothered to compare Donald Trump to Ross Perot. Today, I heard the first media speculation that “maybe he ought to run as a 3rd party candidate”. This time it is the Republicans who feel threatened by one of their own– an egotistical business outsider who likes the sound of his own voice a little too much. Mind you, that isn’t what they are saying right now, but it soon will be. Trump is already anathema to the other fifteen or so Republican hopefuls intent upon splintering their own Tea Party. He is to them as Perot was to the Democrats and to Bill Clinton whom he characterized as the mere governor of a minor state of the union. Podunk! Not like Tex-ass.

Isn’t that like calling John McCain a faux hero for being captured? Isn’t that like saying the greatest place on planet earth can only be New York?

Surely I am not the only one who sees the likeness here.

Still the media has begun warming up to the idea of taking Trump very seriously, and the logic sounds a great deal like what I said: “The sad thing is that many Americans do “get it” … even if they aren’t Trump supporters. A successful rich guy (net worth $8.73 billion*) must be rich and successful for a damn good reason. He must know something the rest of us don’t. Sounds like presidential material to me.” And the presidential material he sounds like resembles the “straight talk” once uttered by Mr. Perot when characterizing what is wrong with the world, which is to say what is wrong with America, which is further to say Washington, DC.

One NPR pundit  alleged today that Trump is attractive because speaks the unspeakable—he says what many people claim to ‘think’, but feel too inhibited to say out loud. Another reported that Trump cannot be co-opted because he is too rich to be “bought”.

Really? I suppose Romney was also too rich. And if you dare read anything on the net or in the press, you would be hard put to find anyone too inhibited to hurl racial and ethnic epithets. They are issued by an exhaustive list of politicians at all levels of government, law enforcement representatives, and continually-booked talking heads on the Sabbath Gasbag news shows. Then there’s the increasing number of political shootings–and racial shootings are political shootings–well, show me how anyone is inhibited.

Donald is coming up Trumps all right. Where is Jack Burton when you need him?

Meta-Mysteries: Bill Cosby & The Real Atticus Finch

I have not read Go Set A Watchman. I plan to. In the meantime, I am enjoying the hype that is carpeting the media. I don’t think the publication of Harper Lee’s first complete effort as a novelist could have been better timed. Suddenly it all seems to come together: the boiling conversation on race relations, the meaning of Southern culture, and the role of illusion in art and life.

The question of hour is “Who is the real Atticus Finch?”. Serious people are engaged in ‘some really meta’ (self-referential) contortions to find the answer to this question in the hope of unlocking the greater mystery of who we Americans are.

I want to play too.

The publisher says there are two distinct versions of Atticus: the rough draft and the finished product. Story goes a first-time writer cobbles together a good story, but her editor suggests a considerable re-write. She obediently responds. And she knocks it out of the park. The author prepares a fine story mostly as the report of a child’s recollections. That was To Kill A Mockingbird. The point of view is that of a nine year old kid, but the teller of the tale is someone who reflecting on those memories as an adult. The memories and the reflections compose a beautiful story that is clearly drawn, lovingly rendered, and topical. The character of Atticus is one of principle, competence, integrity and compassion.

Once this child’s representation of Atticus was embraced and embedded in the popular mind, along comes the alternate version of Atticus—this one seen through the eyes of an adult—an adult who has been away from him for a while. This Atticus is also older and he has some warts the child might have overlooked.

Until I read the new book, I cannot say much about Atticus 2.0 apart from repeating the dire warnings in the press: Be Disappointed! Be Very Disappointed! He’s not your Daddy’s Atticus! (?)

Within the art world there is concern about whether Harper Lee is Jean Louise “Scout” Finch? If so, are these stories really about Harper Lee joined into a continuous tale about a woman distilling her Maycomb memories and coming to terms with her father’s true character? Are both books literary devices to present the South she knew and treated with a mixture of sadness and delight? Or are these books really about how anyone can awaken from the confusion caused by childhood recollection morphing into a rather different, hardened reality?

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Grecian Formula (20)16

The news says Greece has voted against Euro-Austerity. Forecasters are suggesting there will be a stern “it’s just business” reaction by the bankster community, so they will insist Greece get out of the EU, and then they shall recruit all lenders to apply every economic pressure upon Greece with ‘extreme prejudice’ . They hope to embarrass the Greek leadership while maximizing the misery of Greek citizens. Most American commentators I read say there will be almost no ripple effect felt by the American economy.

Today, in a comment by Lisa over at Ian Welsh’s blog, I read of a possible consequence that never crossed my mind: coup d’etat.

On the one hand, it does not make much sense. The governing party will be under tremendous pressure to ease the already awful economic pain Greece suffers and the odds in favor of succeeding are long. Unless the nation finds a way to sacrifice and rebuild on its own, the Greek people are very likely to boot their government out. Given the debt load, this might happen to one or more succeeding governments. With that in mind, agents who might otherwise contemplate a violent short-cut may be better off biding their time.

Lisa was one of the commenters who alluded to the history of regime change. While I have believed all along that Greece was going to vote “no” because of national or cultural pride, I had not considered that the 1% have their pride too— the pride of possession, nine-tenths of the law.
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The Funniest Expression I Heard Today

From Paul Krugman in the New York Times as he urges the Greek people to reject austerity by Euro-banksters:

“The troika clearly did a reverse Corleone — they made [Greek Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras an offer he can’t accept, and presumably did this knowingly,” Krugman wrote.

Sounds like a high-dive maneuver in the Olympics.

Well, it is a high-dive, sort of.

It’s All In the Reflexes

One of the funny things about Big Trouble in Little China is Jack Burton’s (Kurt Russell) smug self-confidence about his superior reflexes. It parodies a certain American ideal, at least for me.  There is another line that sticks in my mind from the movies. I only saw the trailer, but Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach is some guy in a foreign land with his foreign friends staring across a body of water at a distant shore. They are thinking about swimming the distance and one of his friends estimates it must be 900 meters away, and he’s doubtful about all of them making it. DiCaprio’s character looks confidently into the horizon and says “How far in miles?….Americans think in miles..”  —or something like that.

I remember these two scenes whenever I observe how Americans measure themselves against a situation and rather quickly decide whatever the problem, it can be solved; if it’s a set-back, it can be overcome; if it’s ‘wrong’, it can be righted; and perhaps most importantly, if there is  sin, there is also redemption.

Americans believe in the American Reflex. We believe our response to any adversity will result in something that is technically possible, morally correct, and will ultimately prevail. That we may look like fools in the meantime is disregarded ( like swaggering Jack who waves his machine-pistol around menacingly all-the-while unaware of the lipstick he is wearing ). DiCaprio’s character–ever the optimist– only needs the challenge intimidating his mates to be re-framed in American terms. If he can understand it, he can rise to it.
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The Times: They Aren’t A’Changing

From the New York Times today:

Obama Faces Unlikely Foe in Trade Effort: His Own Party
By Jonathan Weisman 5:00 AM ET

House Democrats — pressed hard by organized labor, environmental groups and liberal activists — are threatening to bring down the president’s entire package of trade bills.

The Democratic Party’s opposition to the “secret” fast-track authority should not be the story.  The “blind” support of it by a Democratic president and his Republican allies should be.

I also note that Nancy Pelosi is reported elsewhere by Associated Press as being “silent” on the issue.

And in times past, disclosures by Wiki-Leaks on the contents of secretly negotiated usurpation of sovereign and Constitutional rights would be treated with the sensational attention of—well, strafing helpless civilians in the streets of some faraway desert land.

Apparently not at The Times.

Memorial Day

Edward Snowden should be remembered favorably this Memorial Day. ‘Should be’, but probably won’t be in most precincts. Nonetheless, I watched this interview as my way to meditate on the meaning of this day.

http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/videos/video/edward-snowden-interview-the-us-media-didn-t-want-you-to-watch

I have been out of town for several days and have been out of touch with the news. I read this morning that the Senate under Mitch McConnell is trying (or will be trying) to restore the legal power of the NSA to do bulk-collection of telephone data, but the original enabling legislation will expire over the Congressional recess.  Opponents of McConnell’s efforts are described as ‘cautiously optimistic’.

We’ll see.  Optimism is not my strong suit.  The summary of Ray McGovern’s piece over at Firedoglake read something like “Remember the Fallen…They Were Pushed”. That pretty well summarizes how I feel.  If this day is to be about reflection and catharsis, I have trouble seeing much evidence of it. We will have the video-clips of the obligatory playing of taps and the planting of flags, and President XYZ placing a wreath in Arlington, then on to the hamburgers and beer.  I am confident veterans and their families  take the day a lot more seriously and no less ceremoniously.  On the other hand, it reminds me of going to church as a child. At church, there was an enormous amount of ceremony and hours worth of pious talk, but it pretty well evaporated by lunch time and was gone entirely by the opening kick-off the NFL game of the week.
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Bitter-tweet

You have heard the expression “that’s really more than I want to know”?

A Duke University professor is suspended from his duties for having revealed in social media his notion that Black people ought to be more like Asian immigrants. He thinks Asians embrace European first-names because they want to integrate while Blacks deliberately avoid them because they really don’t want to integrate.

A professional computer security expert makes jokes in social media about the gaping holes in airline in-flight entertainment software which he can hack to take over the flight control system in real time from his seat in Coach.  The FBI picked him up during a scheduled stop-over because airline security sees the tweet. Turns out, however, the FBI interviewed him twice months before because he delivered professional remarks on the same subject to a convention of security firms. Apparently they did not believe him at the time.

An orchestra violinist –a passenger on the derailed train in Philadelphia– tweets a bitterly snarky remark addressed to the railroad company about their incompetence and requests their assistance recovering her baggage (her violin). She’s attacked on Facebook by her “friends”.

In the past several months, we have heard a great deal about how social media is levelling the playing field between journalists, activists and law enforcement.  It is said that without social media there would have been no Occupy Movement, no Arab Spring. There would have been no attention paid to Ferguson, to Tamir Rice, or Freddie Gray. There would have been no influx of ISIS recruits from Europe or America.
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