Category Archives: media

Net neutrality repeal: ‘Good day for the internet’ or ‘step in the wrong direction’?

It is sad to see US net neutrality repealed as only internet service providers will benefit, says Katy Anderson, Net Neutrality campaigner. The rules are a way for the government to control the content, argues Chris Kitze.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on Thursday to eliminate net neutrality protection.

Net neutrality means internet service providers must treat all data on the web equally, regardless of the content, website, platform, application or method of communication.
The FCC says net neutrality is preventing websites from investing trillions of dollars in network services. However, it is feared that with net neutrality regulations gone internet service providers will charge extra to prioritize traffic, effectively creating a ‘slow lane’ for smaller websites.

RT discussed the possible consequences of the decision in regards to the freedom of the internet with Chris Kitze, founder of “Unseen,” a company providing secure communications, and Katy Anderson, the director for the Net Neutrality campaign.

RT: Could you give us your insight on what this ruling on net neutrality will mean, in practice, for ordinary internet users?

Chris Kitze: Let’s look at what happened before they had these net neutrality rules – they had no rules. And the internet did just fine. And then they imposed these rules under President Obama, and now they are getting rid of these rules. Why did they want to impose these rules? If you look at the people who benefited from having everything equally carried – if you are Netflix and you are literally consuming one-third of the internet bandwidth, and you want to be charged the same as some small website to deliver their content, of course, it makes sense. That is why those are the people who are in favor of net neutrality. What they did is they dressed it up and tried to put it in the class warfare, the kind of communist things that you hear about from a lot of people who are in favor of a lot of regulations. And what happened is that they just swept it away. It is actually a very good day for the internet, I think.

RT: The FCC is controlled by Republicans. Why is scrapping net neutrality so important for the Republican Party? What are they gaining by it?

CK: I don’t look at it politically. I don’t get politically motivated. I just believe in freedom. And the problem with net neutrality is that it is a way for the government to come in and regulate and control the content that is going through the pipes. That to me is the real issue…If you look at Google and Facebook, they are controlling the access to a lot of content, [if] you look at Netflix – all these different large Silicon Valley companies have controlled the dialog, they are the once who are behind this net neutrality. And this is in effect, something from Donald Trump going against these big companies, who by the way, did everything they could to keep him from being elected.

‘Step in the wrong direction’

RT: Is this the end of the open internet as we know it, essentially equality for all web-users?

Katy Anderson: We’ll see. The vote is definitely a step in the wrong direction as it repeals the 2015 order that put in force these net neutrality protections. It is sad to see, but I hope, we’ll see Congress in the US repeal it. We already had five Republicans come forward as well as a slew of Democrats. Hopefully, it is something that we will see overturned over the next coming months.

RT: What does it mean for the average American?

KA: Over the past 20 years we’ve seen the internet where all content was treated equally. It doesn’t matter what news website you want to see, it doesn’t matter what video content you want to see – the internet service provider treats it exactly the same, and they can’t charge a content producer more money to actually get in front of consumers… What we will see is that internet search providers can charge more for some companies to get in front of consumers faster or completely block other companies that don’t pay. For consumers what that can mean that prices could go up as their favorite service providers are forced to pay more or that their favorite websites could get blocked.

RT: Who will benefit from the absence of net neutrality?

KA: Internet service providers. The people that control the networks right now are the ones that are going to benefit. They will be able to charge more and just have more control. And those billions of dollars industry will have even more control of what you and I see and do online.

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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Defiant Bannon vows to ‘pour gasoline’ on his war with the GOP establishment: report

A new report suggests that Breitbart boss Steve Bannon is unbowed by the humiliating defeat of his chosen candidate, Roy Moore, in the Alabama Senate race.

A “source close to Bannon” tells Bloomberg TV reporter Kevin Cirilli that the former Trump political strategist is as determined as ever to wage war against the Republican establishment, which includes plans to run multiple insurgent primary challengers against GOP incumbents in 2018.

“This doesn’t stop Steve’s war against the establishment, all it does is pour gasoline on top of it,” the source tells Cirilli.
Kevin Cirilli

@kevcirilli
Source close to Bannon re: #AlSen: “This doesn’t stop Steve’s war against the establishment, all it does is pour gasoline on top of it.”
7:43 AM – Dec 13, 2017
241 241 Replies 164 164 Retweets 327 327 likes

The right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial page on Wednesday called out Bannon for his decision to back Moore’s campaign, and warned Republican donors and voters against supporting Bannon-backed insurgent candidates in the future.

“The Alabama result shows that Mr. Bannon cares less about conservative policy victories than he does personal king-making,” the editors wrote. “He wants to depose Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader even if it costs Republicans Senate control. GOP voters, take note: Mr. Bannon is for losers.”

Why Has R. Kelly’s Career Thrived Despite Sexual-Misconduct Allegations?

Each day brings news of men who have abused their positions of wealth, fame, and power to engage in sexual harassment and assault. Yet, as the list of perpetrators grows ever longer, the name of the Chicago singer, songwriter, and producer R. Kelly is conspicuously absent from those belatedly paying a price for their actions. And it’s worth asking why.

R. Kelly has sold an estimated hundred million records, and, at age fifty, he remains one of the dominant voices in R. & B. He also has a well-documented, twenty-five-year history of allegedly victimizing women and underage girls. Between 1996 and 2002, he was subject to four publicly filed lawsuits, three by teen-age girls who alleged illegal underage relationships. All were settled, with payments made in return for nondisclosure agreements—the favored tool ofHarvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly. Since then, Kelly has reached out-of-court settlements with “numerous” other women, according to the lawyer who represented many of them. In 2002, he was indicted for making child pornography, stemming from a video that prosecutors said showed him having sex with and urinating into the mouth of a fourteen-year-old girl. The case took six years to go to trial, and Kelly was acquitted, largely, according to jurors, because the girl and her parents never testified, though prosecutors called a dozen witnesses who confirmed the relationship.

As the pop-music critic at the Chicago Sun-Times, I covered Kelly’s rise from busking on subway platforms in the early nineties to mainstream success. My first investigative story about the singer’s alleged predatory behavior ran on December 21, 2000; the videotape for which he was indicted was left anonymously in the mailbox at my home, on Chicago’s Northwest Side, in February, 2002. This summer, I published two stories about Kelly in BuzzFeed News. One told the tale of Jerhonda Pace, who broke a nondisclosure agreement to talk about a sexual relationship that she allegedly had with Kelly when she was sixteen, in 2009, shortly after she met the star at his trial for child pornography. The other documented what sources call “a cult” of six women that they say Kelly currently houses in properties in Chicago and Atlanta; Kelly, sources say, has “brainwashed” the women by separating them from friends and family. (Kelly has denied any wrongdoing.)

While Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., and other stars have promptly seen their careers implode after their alleged behavior was exposed, the music industry seems unconcerned about the charges against Kelly. His record label, Sony Music, refuses to comment, and Live Nation, the global concert promoter, continues to stage his shows. A petition drive, a public protest, and a vote of censure by the county board of commissioners greeted Kelly’s concert at the Wolf Creek Amphitheater, in Atlanta, in August, but Live Nation’s only comment was, “The show will go on,” and the company is promoting three of his upcoming concerts. (Live Nation did not respond to requests to comment.)

None of the many stars for whom Kelly has written and produced hits have spoken out against him—from Jay-Z, with whom he made two albums and did two co-headlining tours, to Lady Gaga, a champion of female empowerment and herself a sexual-abuse survivor. Last December, Kelly appeared on the “Tonight Show,” singing his Christmas songs and getting a big hug from the host, Jimmy Fallon. Now Kelly is climbing the charts again with “Juicy Booty,” a collaboration with Chris Brown (who was vilified for assaulting Rihanna, in 2009) and the singer Jhené Aiko.

Popular music, arguably our most forward-looking art form, seems mired in the past when it comes to examining the reprehensible behavior of male stars; there’s been seemingly little progress from the days of Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and their teen-age brides. Kelly’s lure is a variation on that hoariest of ignoble showbiz clichés, the casting couch. Many of the women who’ve fallen under his spell were aspiring singers attracted by the promise of stardom from the self-proclaimed “Pied Piper of R. & B.” But Kelly hasn’t launched the career of a female protégé since Aaliyah, whom he illegally married, in 1994, when she was fifteen, shortly after producing and writing her début album, which he titled “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number.”

When it comes to the heavy lifting necessary to expose sexual predators, the pop-music beat has attracted fewer investigative reporters than politics, or even Hollywood. Many critics have blithely ignored the long record of charges against Kelly while celebrating his hot-and-horny jams—such as “Sex in the Kitchen,” “The Zoo,” and that mostly a-capella epic of debauchery, “Trapped in the Closet”—as hypersexualized kitsch. The unexamined acceptance of Kelly continues: last month, the blue-eyed-soul singer Sam Smith sported a Kelly T-shirt at the after-party following his performance on “Saturday Night Live.”

Why is the pop-music world so reluctant to address Kelly’s alleged misdeeds? One reason may be that the genre has witnessed so much bad-boy behavior for so long that huge swaths of beloved sounds, from James Brown to the Rolling Stones, from Led Zeppelin to the many records produced by Dr. Dre, would be out of bounds if listeners didn’t separate the art from the artist. In general, we seem especially reluctant to believe the worst of artists whose music has touched us deeply. During my thirty years as a music critic, I never received more hate mail than whenever I dared to mention the sexual-abuse allegations against Michael Jackson, even when Jackson was directly addressing them in songs such as “Tabloid Junkie” and “D.S.”

Kelly’s public image also plays into toxic stereotypes about black men’s sexual appetites, desires, and even intelligence—he is often portrayed as all id, an idiot pop-savant; by his own admission, in “Soulacoasta: The Diary of Me,” he has trouble reading and doing math. Then, too, the allegations levelled against some celebrities are simply so distasteful that fans, critics, and journalists can’t bring themselves to discuss them—a condition that the critic Bill Wyman has called “the ick factor.” In Kelly’s case, it’s the urination in the notorious video, though Dave Chappelle had no problem parodying it in “Piss on You,” a skit from the first season of his television show.

Ultimately, though, I believe that there’s one reason above all others that Kelly isn’t facing the same scrutiny as other men in the rogues’ gallery of the moment. It’s one that Karen Attiah, the global-opinions editor of the Washington Post, expressed in a video op-ed, in July. “If even a fraction of the allegations against Kelly are true, his continued success hinges on the invisibility of black women and girls in America,” Attiah says. “As long as black women are seen to be a caste not worthy of care and protection, his actions will not receive widespread outcry . . . . The saga of Robert Kelly says more about America than it does about him.”

The women in R. Kelly’s “cult” are all African-American. The sources whom I talked to for my reporting in BuzzFeed say that Kelly controls when the women eat and sleep, whom they talk to, where they go, how they dress, and how they pleasure him in sexual encounters (which he records and shows to male friends). They also say that he punishes the women physically and mentally if they break his “rules.” Kelly has changed his modus operandi—the youngest of the women in the alleged cult were eighteen, nineteen, and twenty-one, all above the age of consent—but he did not reckon with four desperate parents who have been relentless in trying to bring their daughters home. Their efforts have, so far, come to naught: law-enforcement agencies in Georgia, Florida, and Illinois have declined to act, and, while the parents and other sources in my stories have been interviewed at length by federal agents, the F.B.I. will neither confirm nor deny whether an investigation is taking place.

One of the women in the “cult” has said that she is “happy where I am at.” None of the others have spoken publicly, but the parents continue to contact me regularly, asking why, given the current public conversation, Kelly’s history, and what they call his ongoing abuse, the media isn’t focussing more on him. Even seventeen years of reporting hasn’t been enough to turn as bright a spotlight on Kelly as the one exposing many others, because no one, it seems, matters less in our society than young black women.

By Jim DeRogatis/TheNewYorker

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Teachers Learn New Alphabet

Teachers Learn New AlphabetA flyer promoting “LGGBBDTTTIQQAAPP Inclusiveness Training” was posted in an Ontario school by the local teachers’ union chapter. It suggests up to half of the public is “secretly LGBT.”

Elementary school teachers in Witby, Ontario, were recently asked to take part in “inclusiveness training” to teach them how to deal with LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP peers and students.

The new acronym is the politically correct Canadian “all inclusive” version of LGBTQ. The various letters stand for:

  • Lesbian
  • Gay
  • Genderqueer—“a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.”
  • Bisexual
  • Demisexual—“a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone.”
  • Transgender
  • Transsexual
  • Twospirit—“a hermaphrodite, a person who has both male and female sexual organs or other sexual characteristics.”
  • Intersex—“a person who is born with a sexual anatomy that does not conform to either sex.”
  • Queer
  • Questioning—“a person who is unsure of his or her sexuality.”
  • Asexual—“a person who has no sexual feelings or desires.”
  • Allies—also referred to as “straight allies,” people who are heterosexual, but are LGBTQ activists.
  • Pansexual—“a person who is not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.”
  • Polyamorous—“a person who desires intimate relationships with more than one other person, openly, with the knowledge of all involved.”

The training program was offered by the local Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario chapter, the local teachers’ union. According to a flyer announcing the training session, the goal was to “become more familiar with current language, sensitive to current issues, and to share best practices in supporting our LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP peers and students.”

It continues:

Fewer than 1 percent of EFTO members are open with their identities, though some surveys suggest as much as half of the public secretly identifies as LGBT to some extent. If we want students to succeed, if we want to reduce staff anxiety and stress, we need to create a much more welcoming and accepting environment.

University of Ontario Institute of Technology criminology professor Barbara Perry conducted the training. According to her university biography, she has written “extensively” in the area of hate crime, with her recent focuses on “Islamophobia” and “LGBTQ hate crimes.”

TruNews copy

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Conservatives Swiftly Latch Onto Denzel Washington’s Comments About Prison System

Denzel Washington’s comments about how fatherless boys can get pushed into the prison system gave conservatives plenty of content to fawn over. While discussing his new film, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” the actor was pointedly asked for his thoughts on the prison industrial complex.

“It starts at the home,” he told reporters at the movie’s New York premiere Monday, Nov. 20 according to the New York Daily News. “It starts at home. It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure. So you know, I can’t blame the system. It’s unfortunate that we make such easy work for them.”

In an interview with Reuters earlier this month, Washington gave an example of how not having a father in the home affects a young man’s outlook.

“I grew up with guys who did decades [in prison] and it had as much to do with their fathers not being in their lives as it did to do with any system,” he said in a Tuesday, Nov. 14 article.

In fact, Brooklyn, NY-based criminal defense attorney Kenneth J. Montgomery says Washington is partly right.

“I think a father in the home — as in any home — facilitates stability,” Montgomery told Atlanta Black Star Monday, Nov. 27. “Stability sometimes breeds better decision making. It provides a sense of belonging and comfort.

“There is a strong correlation,” he added of the impact of fathers being present in a Black household. “If you study a majority of criminal cases across the board, the lack of a father in the home is a common denominator, among poverty and other issues.”

By Kiersten Willis/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Coverage of sexual harassment claims carelessly blurs lines between minor misconduct and real abuse

It is undeniably a great thing that abusers like Harvey Weinstein are finally receiving their comeuppance, however overdue it may be. But in the aftermath of Weinstein’s downfall, we’re at risk of broadening the definition of sexual harassment too widely.

There is a vast difference between genuine sexual harassment, abuse or rape — and minor misconduct, flirting or otherwise inappropriate behavior in the workplace (or anywhere else). Yet, in recent weeks, the two have been dangerously conflated.

Since the deluge of Weinstein revelations, we’ve seen other ‘scandals’ emerge whereby some man or other may or may not have flirted inappropriately without reciprocation years ago. The fact that these kinds of minor accusations are making headlines and being portrayed as sexual misconduct or outright harassment is disturbing, to say the least. Not to mention, the irresponsible conflation of the two is an injustice and an insult to women — and men — who have experienced real harassment or rape at the hands of a genuine abuser.

Trial by social media

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen so many people in my social media feeds posting #MeToo statuses that what started as an important reminder that sexual abuse is indeed far too prevalent, has lost all meaning. When you see someone posting a #MeToo status today, are you to assume they were raped or that someone sent them an inappropriate text once?

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon resigned last week over allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. What started out as one accusation that Fallon inappropriately touched the knee of a journalist many years ago was revealed to be a genuine pattern of inappropriate behavior (attempting to kiss one journalist and making lewd remarks to another). Fallon’s resignation is appropriate in that context — but what is fascinating is that so many people were willing to condemn him when the only piece of information we had was that he had touched a woman’s knee.

That Fallon has indeed turned out to be a bit of a pervert is beside the point. He has admitted his behavior was wrong and resigned — but others have denied allegations being made against them. Nonetheless, we’re supposed to condemn them anyway. Have we just decided to do away with the presumption of innocence, or at the very least the idea that these matters should be dealt with through lawyers and courts, not on Facebook and Twitter? Are we supposed to completely ignore the possibility that just maybe, an accusation could be false?

This kind of trial by social media is dangerous. A simple tweet can brand a person as a rapist who deserves to lose their job and have their lives utterly destroyed in an instant — on nothing more than the say-so of another person.

Sterile culture

A couple of weeks ago, Adam Sandler found himself in the firing line when he touched actress Claire Foy’s knee twice during The Graham Norton Show. Some viewers were so outraged by the contact Sandler had made with Foy’s knee that she was forced to release a statement saying she was not angry or offended by Sandler’s gesture. If this kind of behavior is classed as sexual harassment or as outrageously inappropriate as some viewers suggested, we appear to be on our way toward living in a completely sterile, robotic and puritanical world where nobody can say or do anything for fear of pious backlash from the political correctness police.

There is also an insulting, sexist and patronizing element to all of this which makes women out to be weak-minded, overly sensitive creatures who can’t even handle a sexual joke being told in their presence. Or who are so vulnerable that they simply can’t be left alone to fend for themselves. One POLITICO journalist recently suggested that a good way to limit sexual harassment would be to make closed-door meetings in the workplace a fireable offense.

Small, practical step to limit sex harassment: Make holding closed-door meetings with ANYONE a fire-able offense. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/i-dont-want-to-sit-on-your-lap-she-said-but-mark-halperin-insisted/2017/10/26/0baa883c-ba64-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html 

‘I don’t want to sit on your lap,’ she thought. But, she alleges, Mark Halperin insisted.

A star TV journalist falls from his perch amid multiple sexual harassment allegations.

It is frankly insane to think this is how to prevent sexual harassment. It is almost like saying that women are too vulnerable and weak to stand up for themselves behind a closed door — and men are too disgusting and perverted to resist harassing them when they are in a private setting. I for one would hate to work in an environment where you could get fired for closing a door, just in case someone might have harassed you.

Singer-songwriter Marian Call tweeted that all women want to live in a world where strangers and coworkers “never flirted” with them again. Well, how exactly does she know what all women want? Many a happy relationship has begun as the result of workplace flirtation or a chance meeting with a stranger. One has to wonder how Call feels about women who initiate flirtatious behavior themselves— because as shocking as it may be for some, this happens on a regular basis.

This obsession with defining every sultry glance or flirty comment as sexual harassment has got so out of hand that there are now even sexual consent apps available online to download. Yes, you are now supposed to stop in your tracks and click an “I consent” button on your phone before having sex. How romantic.

Can’t get it right

I recently witnessed an interesting discussion in an online forum. A man had asked if it was appropriate to apologize to a woman in the case of minor inappropriate behavior (making unwanted advances, flirting inappropriately, making sexist jokes, etc.) — or whether it was best to say nothing, move on and do better next time. He was attacked from every angle by women who acted like he was suggesting that men send an “oops, sorry” apology text for rape. Almost every single woman told him that an apology would be useless and inappropriate and he received a barrage of comments about how he just didn’t understand and was essentially an idiot for even posing the question.

Yet, the question was well-intentioned and coming from a man who seemingly wanted to examine his own behavior in light of recent events, and who simply wondered if an apology for very minor inappropriateness would be an excellent first step. Is that not what this is all about? Is it not a good thing that many men are thinking about this more seriously for the first time? I thought that’s what everyone wanted — but apparently not.

There is of course an expectation that both men and women will behave appropriately in the workplace. It is totally unacceptable to abuse or harass anyone or to make overt and inappropriate advances where there has been no indication they would be well-received. There is also no doubt that if someone has been made aware that his or her behavior has made someone uncomfortable in any way, the behavior should be stopped. It is also absolutely a good thing that the Weinstein scandal has made women feel more comfortable talking about cases of real, genuine abuse and harassment.

But, at the same time, we need to take a step back and think about what kind of world we want to live in. Do we want it to be one where a harmless flirtation or a sexual joke — or a social media allegation of a single inappropriate touch — can destroy your whole life and elicit comparisons with serial abusers like Harvey Weinstein?

There is no clear rulebook here, but we have to do better at distinguishing between true abuse and minor inappropriateness. To conflate the two does no one any good.

By Danielle Ryan/RT

posted by The NON-Conformist

CULTURE How Fake News Works: Tens of Millions of Americans Would Flunk Any Basic Civics Class Russian fake news infiltrated our social media feeds, and our own willful ignorance is to blame.

It happens every semester. I’m sitting at home, tempted to jump head first out the window as I grade papers from my college freshmen writing course. One student has cited a Facebook meme as evidence to present the case for the criminalization of abortion. Another has referred to the expertise of an unidentified Reddit user as the conversation closer on issues of war and peace.

The next morning I will give a repeat performance, apparently due to popular demand, of my lecture on legitimate sources. I’ll execute a dramatic and exciting crescendo — comparable to the guitar solo at the end of Lynyrd Skynryd’s “Free Bird” — when I emphasize that social media feeds, message boards and various other forms of internet chatter do not make for credible research outlets. My soft landing occurs with the display of academic journals and journalistic publications with solid reputations as reliable disseminators of information.

Little did I know, as I passed every few months through each stage of this predictable pedagogical routine, that the health of American democracy is at stake. It turns out that tens of millions of Americans belong in my freshmen writing course, and, if their failures of citizenship are any indication, would struggle to pass if enrolled.

As everyone scrambles to correctly assign blame for the degradation of American democracy in 2016 through fake news Russian disinformation campaigns, commentators act as if they are attempting to determine who is responsible for letting a toddler jump into the pool. Was it the social media CEOs for having no standards regulating content? Was it Vladimir Putin, whose interference some have called an “act of war?” Or was it the DNC for their failure to adequately guard against hacking?

The conversation would remain important, but it would not rise to the level of urgency if the American people were not susceptible to the spread of information transparently false to anyone who has read a substantive book, or even a newspaper, in the past year.

Gore Vidal once remarked, “Half of the U.S. population reads a newspaper. Half of the U.S. population votes. Let’s hope it is the same half.”

Now, fewer than half of Americans read the newspaper, and an increasingly alarming amount report that they rely on social media for news, but many of them are still participating in the Democratic process. I often see bumper stickers that announce, “I’m Catholic and I vote” or “I’m NRA and I vote.” It seems that a lucrative merchandising opportunity exists for someone who invents the sticker, “I don’t read and I vote.”

The documentation of Americans’ ignorance on fundamental issues of history and governance is by now so thorough that it hardly bears repeating. For example, only 26 percent of Americans can name all three branches of government. These are people commonly referred to as “elitists.”

The problem is not just that Americans don’t know. It is that they don’t know what they don’t know, and they don’t know how to figure it out. Like my students who attempt to meet their research requirement on Twitter, American voters are misinforming themselves with lies and inaccuracies from unreliable sources.

If the overwhelming majority of Americans cannot even identify the three branches of their own government, it should strike no one as a surprise that they are unaware of refugee policies in Europe. One of the fake news stories I saw circulate on Facebook in the months leading up to the presidential election described “millions” of refugees arriving in Germany, or sometimes Italy, and essentially “taking over” the country. The post often produced as photographic evidence, doctored images from the early 20th century. Apocalyptic updates on the refugee invasion of European nations served as warning against what would happen in America if Hillary Clinton became president.

The most consequential offenders in the dissemination, and success, of fake news are not the Russians or social media company executives, but the American education system, and the parents who are content with raising children who know little about their country, much less about the rest of the world.

Only nine states require civics as part of the high school curriculum, and many colleges have reduced or eliminated requirements in history and political science. As unimaginable as it seems, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni published a report last year that only seven of the nation’s top 25 liberal arts colleges require their history majors — this is not a joke — to take a course in U.S. history.

The notion that the only knowledge that matters is that which can enable students to acquire high-paying employment has also contributed to the intellectual failures of Americans.

What the scandal of 2016’s hacks, Russian meddling and disinformation proves, is that a significant portion of Americans are ungovernable and unfit for the task of citizenship in a free country. It certainly does not have to stay that way, but reversal would demand an entirely new approach to education, popular political discussion and the preparation of children for the adult world.

As long as the focus remains solely on easily identifiable villains — foreign dictators, greedy tech magnates — American democracy will remain an easy target for illusionists and conmen.

By David Masciotra/Salon

Posted by The NON-Conformist