Those who Boycott Facebook, Should Also Boycott The Democratic Party

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Those who Boycott Facebook, Should Also Boycott The Democratic Party

In the spirit of Harriet Tubman, we need to free Black America from the grip of the imperial Democratic Party plantation.
“Both parties have also been equal opportunity imperialists.”
In light of the NAACP’s one-week boycott of Facebook , based on recent allegations that so-called “Russian Trolls” may have targeted African-American voters as a means to “influence” the so-called outcome of recent elections, it is my hope that the NAACP would also call for an even more righteous boycott of the Democratic Party. After all, the Democratic Party has an even longer track record of manipulating African-American voters to solely vote for candidates from their fraudulent political organization, no matter how many times they lie to the Black Community.
The white liberals that run the Democratic Party plantation have never had any real concern for ensuring that the Black Community receives justice for the over 400 years of oppression that has been doled out to the Black Community. The Democratic Party is as ruthless and duplicitous as the Republican Party. This may be a painful, yet important, dose of truth serum for many people to psychologically imbibe. However, it is necessary if the Black Community is to take an important, giant, step towards political (and social) liberation from the United States’ two-party dictatorship. Both the Democrats and Republicans have ushered in racist and draconian policies that were aimed at hyper-policing communities of color, imprisoning millions of black and brown bodies in the nefarious US prison system, gentrifying (ethnically cleansing) communities of color, and both parties have also been equal opportunity imperialists—-murdering millions of innocent people abroad by way of war and indiscriminate missiles and bombs. Yes, both political parties have done this! Yes, both!
“The Democratic Party has a long record of manipulating African-American voters.”
In 2008, the Democratic Party’s brilliant move to put forth a brown face — Barack Obama — further confused masses of African-Americans to believe that this political party was significantly different, or even “progressive” (whatever that means in 2018). However, the racist and regressive policies continued under Barack Obama, and in some cases even more so. The brown-faced Democrat (Obama) expanded the theater of war (including bombing the African continent) and deported more immigrants than any president in the United States history. Obama bombed all of the predominately Muslim countries that Trump banned, Obama greatly enlarged the federal system of detention centers for undocumented persons, and went after more whistleblowers than any president in US history.
“A mass exodus of black people from the Democratic Party plantation is long overdue.”
If the aforementioned facts do not convince you that there is little significant difference between the Democrats and Republicans, perhaps nothing will. After all, had a white Republican done those same things, many white liberals and misguided African-Americans would be rightfully indignant. We know this to be true because they are always indignant when a Republican does those evil things. However, they endorse it when a Democrat carries out the same crimes against humanity. A mass exodus of black people from the Democratic Party plantation is long overdue. Our political libration depends on it. Those of us in the “know” need to be modern-day Harriet Tubmans and help as many escape, who are willing to escape, by exposing them to cold, hard facts.
It is said that Harriet Tubman once said, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more, if only they knew they were slaves.” If she were alive today, perhaps she would be saying, I freed thousands of African Americans from the Democratic Party Plantation, I could have freed many more if only they knew that they were socially and politically rotting on a political plantation.”

By Solomon Comissiong/BAR

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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A Bunch of Senators Just Showed They Have No Idea How Facebook Works. They Want to Regulate It Anyway. “If Facebook and other online companies will not or cannot fix their privacy invasions, then we are going to have to. We, the Congress.”

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On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary and Commerce, Science, and Transportation committees grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the company’s insufficient efforts to protect users’ personal data.

In doing so, many of the senators betrayed a general lack of knowledge about how Facebook operates. Imagine trying to explain social media to your grandparents—this was essentially Zuckerberg’s task.

Sen. Roy Blunt, (R–Mo.), for instance, didn’t seem to understand that Facebook lacks a means of accessing information from other apps unless users specifically opt in. The same was true of Sen. Roger Wicker (R–Miss.), who needed a lot of clarification on how Facebook Messenger interacts with cellular service. Zuckerberg had to carefully explain to Sen. Brian Schatz (D–Hawaii) that WhatsApp is encrypted, and Facebook can’t read, let alone monetize, the information people exchange using that service. Zuckerberg had to explain to multiple senators, including Dean Heller (R–Nev.), that Facebook doesn’t technically sell its data: The ad companies don’t get to see the raw information.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D–Vt.) brought along a poster on which his office had printed out images of various Facebook pages. Leahy asked whether these were Russian propaganda groups. “Senator, are you asking about those specifically?” Zuckerberg asked. He of course had no way of knowing what was going on with those specific pages, just from looking at pictures of them. “I’m not familiar with those pieces of content,” Zuckerberg finally conceded.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.) offered this metaphor to explain Facebook’s recent troubles: “the way I explain it to my constituents is that if someone breaks into my apartment with a crowbar and takes my stuff, it’s just like if the manager gave them the keys.” But that metaphor doesn’t quite work—Facebook didn’t willfully assist in a crime. Meanwhile, Sen. Debbie Fischer (R–Neb.) didn’t understand, at a fundamental level, that if you’re using Facebook, you have agreed to let Facebook know a lot of information about you.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.) asked whether Facebook had any major competitors. Zuckerberg tried to explain that the company competes across different categories related to Facebook’s several main functions—as a tech giant, against Google, as a social media site, against Twitter, and so on—which led Graham to fret about Facebook being a monopoly and thus incapable of self-regulation. Nevertheless, Graham asked Zuckerberg whether the CEO would be willing to propose regulations that Facebook might like the government to impose on it.

Some senators, including Sen. John Cornyn (R–Texas) and Richard Blumenthal (D–Conn.), asked perceptive questions about Facebook’s data collection practices. Even so, Blumenthal also asked whether users should be able to access all the information Facebook has on them—prompting Zuckerberg to point out that Facebook already lets users download their data.

Throughout the hearing, Zuckerberg maintained that he wasn’t against regulation, “if it’s the right regulation.” However, he expressed concern that regulations aimed at preventing Facebook from functioning as a monopoly might backfire and simply make it more difficult for smaller firms to compete.

But senators on both sides of the political aisle were clear about their concerns—and more than willing to step in.

“If Facebook and other online companies will not or cannot fix their privacy invasions, then we are going to have to,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D–Fla.). “We, the Congress.”

What Nelson and his colleagues largely failed to do was demonstrate that “we, the Congress” possess the requisite knowledge to regulate Facebook, or that those regulations would improve upon the policies Facebook would like to implement on its own. Ignorance breeds bad policy: consider the terrible Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), passed by “we the Congress” recently, which has already dealt serious blows to free expression on the internet.

By Robby Soave/Reason

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Is MSNBC Now the Most Dangerous Warmonger Network?

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Image: Rachel Maddow on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC. (Image: Screen shot via MSNBC / YouTube)

The most profound dangers from what Rachel Maddow and company are doing is what they least want to talk about—how the cumulative effects and momentum of their work are increasing the likelihood that tensions between Washington and Moscow will escalate into a horrendous military conflict.

More from Truthdig

Posted by Libergirl

Stockton Mayor Touts Experimental Program That Pays Families $500 a Month

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Stockton plans to give several dozen families $500 a month for a year as part of a program to study the economic and social impacts of giving people a basic income.

The so-called “SEED” project will give a small group of low-income residents a modest, no-strings-attached monthly income. Funded by a million-dollar private grant from a tech group called the Economic Security Project — co-led by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes — SEED creates a real-world research model of what’s known as universal basic income.

The yearlong program will track what residents do with the money and how having a universal basic income affects their self-esteem and identity.

Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs is coordinating the effort in his city of 300,000 people where 1 in 4 residents lives below the poverty line.

“They were looking for a city to pilot what would a ‘basic income’ look like? And what could that do for people’s lives,” the mayor said.

More from CBS San Francisco

Posted by Libergirl

Facebook Deletes Accounts at Request of U.S., Israel, Intercept Reports

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Facebook is deleting accounts at the direction of the U.S. and Israeli governments, reports Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept. Greenwald noted last year that representatives of the social media giant had met with the Israeli government to determine which Palestinian accounts ought to be deleted on the basis of “incitement.”

Evidence has long suggested Facebook’s favoring of Israeli officials over Palestinian activists and journalists. The New York Times reported in December 2016 that “Israeli security agencies monitor Facebook and send the company posts they consider incitement. Facebook has responded by removing most of them.”

This is significant given that an estimated 96 percent of Palestinians use Facebook mainly for following news. The Independent reports that in October 2016, “the activist collective Palestinian Information Centre reported that at least 10 of their administrators’ accounts for their Arabic and English Facebook pages—followed by more than two million people—have been suspended, seven of them permanently, which they say is a result of new measures put in place in the wake of Facebook’s meeting with Israel.”

“Israel doesn’t want the Palestinian story about violations against them in the occupied territories to reach a worldwide audience,” Musa Rimawi, director of the Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), told The Intercept. A 2016 report from MADA outlined the details of the censorship:

Pages and personal accounts that were filtered and blocked: Palestinian Dialogue Network (PALDF.net) Gaza now, Jerusalem News Network, Shihab agency, Radio Bethlehem 2000, Orient Radio Network, page Mesh Heck, Ramallah news, journalist Huzaifa Jamous from Abu Dis, activist Qassam Bedier, activist Mohammed Ghannam, journalist Kamel Jbeil, administrative accounts for Al Quds Page, administrative accounts Shihab agency, activist Abdel-Qader al-Titi, youth activist Hussein Shajaeih, Ramah Mubarak (account is activated), Ahmed Abdel Aal (account is activated), Mohammad Za’anin (still deleted), Amer Abu Arafa (still deleted), Abdulrahman al-Kahlout (still deleted).

Greenwald writes that there is a significant disparity between Facebook’s censoring of Israeli versus Palestinian accounts:

Needless to say, Israelis have virtually free rein to post whatever they want about Palestinians. Calls by Israelis for the killing of Palestinians are commonplace on Facebook, and largely remain undisturbed. …

Though some of the most inflammatory and explicit calls for murder are sometimes removed, Facebook continues to allow the most extremist calls for incitement against Palestinians to flourish. Indeed, Israel’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, has often used social media to post what is clearly incitement to violence against Palestinians generally. In contrast to Facebook’s active suppression against Palestinians, the very idea that Facebook would ever use its censorship power against Netanyahu or other prominent Israelis calling for violence and inciting attacks is unthinkable. Indeed, as Al Jazeera concisely put it, “Facebook hasn’t met Palestinian leaders to discuss their concern.”

Earlier this week, Facebook deleted the account of Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian leader of the Chechen Republic. However, Kadyrov’s seemingly endless list of human rights violations were not among the reasons the account was deleted. The New York Times reports that “Mr. Kadyrov’s accounts were deactivated because he had just been added to a United States sanctions list and that the company was legally obligated to act.”

Greenwald continues:

What this means is obvious: that the U.S. government—meaning, at the moment, the Trump administration—has the unilateral and unchecked power to force the removal of anyone it wants from Facebook and Instagram by simply including them on a sanctions list. …

As is always true of censorship, there is one, and only one, principle driving all of this: power. Facebook will submit to and obey the censorship demands of governments and officials who actually wield power over it, while ignoring those who do not. That’s why declared enemies of the U.S. and Israeli governments are vulnerable to censorship measures by Facebook, whereas U.S. and Israeli officials (and their most tyrannical and repressive allies) are not.

Jennifer Stisa Granick, an ACLU attorney, told The New York Times: “It’s not a law that appears to be written or designed to deal with the special situations where it’s lawful or appropriate to repress speech. … This sanctions law is being used to suppress speech with little consideration of the free expression values and the special risks of blocking speech, as opposed to blocking commerce or funds as the sanctions was designed to do. That’s really problematic.”

Greenwald’s report comes amid an ongoing conversation about massive media companies implementing policies that potentially target journalists and limit the reach of independent websites.

After Google’s mysterious, ill-defined algorithm found “violations” that banned Truthdig from AdSense (which targets ad placements and is a significant source of revenue for blogs and independent sites) for nearly a year, Truthdig Publisher Zuade Kaufman wrote in an open letter on censorship:

The danger for all of us is Google dictating what is and isn’t permissible and feeling it’s free to explain its reasons or not because it is the sole arbiter. This affects not only the media but also readers who comment online. Do we really want anyone—companies, governments, neighbors, religious institutions—to have that sort of power? The restrictions on freedom of expression could be enormous.

By​ Emily Wells/Truthdig

Posted by The NON-Conformist

What, Exactly, Were Russians Trying to Do With Those Facebook Ads?

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From what we know now, it was too small to seriously influence the election, but too big to be an afterthought.

Sheryl Sandberg shrugs.

Many questions remain about the ads purchased by Russian-linked accounts during the 2016 presidential election.

Earlier this month, the company announced that Russian-linked accounts had purchased $100,000 worth of advertising.

The scale of this advertising buy is mysterious. In an election where billions of dollars were spent, why even bother to spend $100,000? It seems like a drop in the bucket, but also more than nothing. For comparison, in 2015 and 2016, all campaigns directly paid Facebook a collective $11,313,483.59 across all races, according to Federal Election Commission numbers. The Trump campaign paid Facebook $261,685 directly for ads. But those numbers are only lower bounds for the amount of money spent on Facebook because many campaigns pay consultants, who then purchase ads on their behalf. (For example, Cambridge Analytica, which worked with the Cruz and then Trump campaigns, took in $15.4 million during the cycle, including $5 million in one payment from the Trump campaign on September 1.)

So, the Russian ad buy is a significant Facebook purchase, but not one that seems scaled to the ambition of interfering with a national U.S. election.

That could be because: 1) Not all the ads have been discovered, so the $100,000 is a significant undercount. 2) That was the right number, and the ads worked to aid distribution of disinformation. 3) The ads were part of a message-testing protocol to improve the reach of posts posted natively by other accounts. Think of it as a real-time focus group to test for the most viral content and framing. 4) That $100,000 was a test that didn’t work well, so it didn’t get more resources. 5) That $100,000 was merely a calling card, spent primarily to cause trouble for Facebook and the election system.

Full story by ALEXIS C. MADRIGAL/TheAtlantic

Posted by The NON-Conformist

North Carolina Police Chief Forced To Resign After ‘Shoot First’ Anti-Black Lives Matter Rant @alternet

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“When a black thug is killed by the police they are all over it as is Mr. Barack Obama.”

“The police chief of Surf City, North Carolina was abruptly forced into retirement on Tuesday after an emergency meeting with city commissioners regarding an angry Facebook rant the chief posted about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Mike Halstead

Image: ABC 11

According to WECT Channel 6, Chief Mike Halstead wrote that BLM is “nothing more than an American born terrorist group” that was “brought on by the government, the President and his cronies Al Sharpton, who is a criminal tax evader (but has the support of our so called President), Jessi Jackson, Eric Holder and that ignorant S.O.B. Farrakhan who should be charged with solicitation for murder.”

Surf City Mayor Zander Guy called Tuesday’s emergency meeting after Halstead posted the densely-typed, erratically punctuated and spelled screed to Facebook on Sep. 3.”

More from Altenet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

 

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