This is a fantastic, detailed piece by Matt Stoller about how elite deception about 9/11 has directly led to the current ISIL crisis.
In a nutshell: 28 classified pages in the 9/11 Commission Report concealed the direct involvement of Saudi elites in 9/11 as well as Bush family ties to a man—Ambassador Prince Bandar Bin Sultan—who was deeply involved in the attack. Concealing the Saudi connection helped preserve Saudi-U.S. relations, which was important for (somewhat obscure and nefarious) economic and geopolitical reasons. But now there is strong evidence that these same Saudi elites are funding and supporting ISIL’s attacks on westerners.
Some particularly damning passages (my emphasis):
Prince Bandar’s dazzling hosting abilities in the DC social scene were an important part of his geopolitical arsenal….It turns out that money for the 9/11 hijackers may have flowed through Bandar’s wife’s account at Riggs bank. Riggs was a haven for money launderers and dictators, and was controlled by the Allbritton family, “dear friends” of Ronald Reagan. It was also an instrument of CIA policy, “which included top current and former Riggs executives receiving U.S. government security clearances.” This relationship “could complicate any prosecution of the bank’s officials, according to private lawyers and former prosecutors.” The Albritton family later created Politico, which was arguably the most influential political publication in DC from 2008–2010.
In other words, the Saudi ambassador, who may have funneled money to 9/11 hijackers, also advised the Bush administration on U.S. foreign policy, and had deep and profitable relationships with U.S. media, banking, and political elites. He was also a social luminary in DC. This helped lay the foundation for the American foreign policy establishment consensus position, often forged at think tanks funded by foreign governments. From there, this consensus emanated outward into Politico-like publications, and then outward onto the television networks and into the homes of the remaining Americans will to pay attention to an infantilized deceptive version of American foreign policy.
And so, almost immediately after the attacks, Saddam Hussein became the designated bad guy and the Bush administration, supported by the entire Republican Party, foreign policy establishment, and a substantial chunk of Democrats (Bill and Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, for starters), prepared for war in Iraq.
There are conspiracies by elites, but they do not involve UFOs, chemtrails, flouride, or other nonsense. They revolve around gaining and retaining wealth and power, as real conspiracies always have. And they are pursued through the invocation of “state secrets” and “national interests”, the enforced docility of the press, and the systemic duping of the public.
Writer guy sounds 100x as interesting as the first two. I hope you have a great time.
Someauthorgirl is 100% correct. Writer guy is a damned interesting person. He was mostly raised by a very liberal single mother. He played in thrash metal bands when he was younger, then realized he preferred writing to touring, went back to school, and then got into an MFA program. He’s currently working on his first novel and adjuncting. He power lifts, but threw his back out putting up curtains. He’s funny and seems like a straight shooter. He speaks with a soft southern drawl. None of his tattoos are objectionable.
And he is super-duper hot. That is, he’s one of the most classically handsome guys I’ve ever dated. The kinda hotness that gets hit on by random drunk ladies in the street.
There were zero dead spots in the conversation. Hours flew by like minutes.
The Lexapro is still working. The only side effect I’ve noticed is that I can’t stop yawning, even when I’m not tired. Oddly, I’m finding it easier to get up in the morning.
I scheduled two OKC dates last Sunday (hey, I’m being efficient!). The first was with an attorney who turned out to be a smoker, a recovering alcoholic, and very recently separated. I can handle 1 & 2 maybe, but not 3.
It’s been so long since I’ve tried dating that I keep forgetting people in my age range can have major baggage. I have baggage too, so I’m looking for someone who only has a carry-on or maybe a medium-sized rolling suitcase.
The second date was with a software engineer who is working on “phablets” (phone-tablet hybrids). I immediately told him no one is going to call them that. No apparent issues, except he’s on the upper end of my age range and terribly dull. The conversation kept circling around to zoning ordinances?
It was a pretty day and I got coffee at my favorite cafe in the city and saw a juggler and a dreadlocked dog at the park, so it wasn’t a major loss.
Tonight I’m having dinner with a writer who is originally from Florida. He likes Skynard, bourbon, and has a major problem with romance. He’s also the most entertaining person I’ve exchanged messages and texts with. I’m just asking for trouble, aren’t I?
in the tumblr tagging system, unsourced artwork is considered especially heinous. on this blogging platform, the users who source these felonies are part of an elite task force called the source your fucking artwork unit. these are their stories.
The last two words are killer. You think to yourself “I swear I had a balance on this card”. You go and check the card out and you see you have “$2.45”. Yes, you need $2.50 to ride the subway, and you have $2.45 on your MetroCard. Sure enough you miss that train all because of that nickel.
How did you end up in that situation any way? It turns out the MTA has designed it that way. Imagine how many tourists come to NYC and leave with balances that never get used. Imagine how many people lose metro cards with those balances that never get used. And even if it gets used on a later refill, the MTA gets to collect the cash earlier this way! Win win for them, right?
But now, with some simple math, you can fight back!
First, let’s see how the MTA tricks you out of your money earlier than you might want to release it to them.
When you are buying a MetroCard, you can get a 5% bonus if your purchase is big enough. So you get the following screen early on in the purchase process:
If you click the button on the left, they just got you. Your card will have $9.45 on it, meaning you will get 3 rides and end up with $1.95. That is a great deal for the MTA. They get all the money from every rider who does that, and they get the interest on that until you refill again and repeat the cycle.
Let’s say you don’t take the bait. You click MetroCard. Then you get this screen with three new short cuts:
Three quick options. But wait a minute. One button leaves you with the same $9.45 card, and gives a remainder of $1.95 after just three uses. The next one is even more frustrating: you end up with a $19.95 card, leaving a remainder after 7 uses of $2.45! That’s right, the nickel we were talking about earlier. The last option does not leave you much better off. You’ll get a $40.95 card, which leads to $0.95 on your card after you use 16 rides. So all three buttons presented leave quite a bit of “insufficient fare” on the card.
So how do you fight back Well, click “Other Amounts” and type your own values:
and remember these three magic numbers: $9.55, $19.05 and $38.10. That’s right. Never use the short cuts. Just type in one of those numbers.
Once you do, you’ll see your excess balances nearly vanish once you apply the 5% bonuses:
Buy a $19.00 card? $2.45 left on card after use. Buy a $19.05 card? No balance left after use! Magic. But what if you want a $10.00 MetroCard? There is literally no way to buy one because of the 5% bonus and the fact that all payments need to be divisible by a nickel. Your options are to pay $9.50 to get a $9.98 card after bonus, or pay $9.55 to get a $10.03 card after bonus. Once again, you literally can’t buy a $10 metro card from a machine.
If you absolutely don’t want any left over money, you really only have three choices of payments below $40, as seen in the table below:
If the pennies bother you, then maybe memorize these three numbers: $11.90, $19.05, $30.95.
So if the MTA really cares, what can they do to fix this?
Well here at I Quant NY, I’ve been hard at work coming up with a proposed software change. After much thought, check out this before and after:
Not a big change you say? Echm. That’s right. If they really wanted to fix the issue, they could ask “How much do you want on your MetroCard” instead of “How much do you want to pay”. But don’t count on those changes coming to a MetroCard Vending Machine near you anytime soon, given how lucrative the current set up is.
Which means it’s up to you. Write down the three numbers, $9.55, $19.05 and $38.10 or pick just the one that matches your buying habits best. You could even write it on the back of your Metrocard if you can figure out how to get ink to stay on it. (There’s a reason they are so shiny.)
A side note: one reason that the MTA may do this is to make paying with cash easier. It would be a nightmare to dispense change if cash buyers used this technique. But that does not explain why they can’t update the credit card only machines or all other machines if they first ask if you are using cash or credit. And of course unlimited card buyers avoid this all together. Also, this does not include the $1 fee associated with new metro cards.
So in closing, Math is useful. And luckily, you don’t have to be Einstein to outsmart the MTA. Plus, guess what year Einstein handed in his dissertation… You guessed it. 1905.
Hi Facebook/Hacker News/Reddit! For the latest I Quant NY data analysis of this great city, sign up for my Mailing List (about one post a week), Follow me on Facebook or Follow me on Twitter. I tell stories with data.
Past posts include finding and fixing the most profitable fire hydrant in NYC, showing that the Health Department is inflating grades or looking at gender and Citibike.
“There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that, if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests up on them.”—
This is not from the latest Paul Krugman column. It’s from William Jennings Bryan’s famous “Cross of Gold” speech (1896), which you might have come across in high school history class. “Trickle down economics” is a much older idea than you might suppose.
It’s funny how goldbuggery is still lingering at the edges of U.S. politics and how it’s still strongly associated with a belief that prosperity is mainly generated by the wealthy.
Healthy friendships make you feel good about yourself. You feel valued, listened to, you have fun with this person. You jointly support each other. If there’s a power imbalance or an age gap, or any other hurdle, you don’t constantly feel insecure about it, and that person doesn’t make you feel insecure about it.
In healthy relationships, you both put energy and feelings into the relationship. There is open communication. The friendship makes you feel rejuvenated, not exhausted. This person constantly makes you feel good, and you know where you stand with them.
Unhealthy friendships, by contrast, make you feel bad. They might make you feel insecure. You don’t know how this person really feels about you. You don’t feel like they’re telling you everything that you need to know in order to have a solid friendship with them. They might say or do things to make them seem more popular or more interesting or more worthwhile than you are. If there’s a power imbalance or an age gap, you constantly feel it. You constantly wonder if you’re not good enough for the person, and while the person might reassure you, you feel like their behaviour contradicts this.
They bring out your bad qualities like jealousy, ‘paranoia’. You lie awake in bed at night and wonder why you feel so bad and what’s wrong with you. The relationship feels one-sided, you wrack your brains to try and decide if it’s something you’re doing, something that’s wrong with you.
Unhealthy friendships drain you. You feel exhausted. You can’t remember the last time you felt like the friendship was reciprocal. Was it ever reciprocal?
Trust your gut. If the friendship doesn’t make you feel good, end it. END IT. JUST END IT.
(Huffington Post) The writer of a much-maligned New York Times article about Michael Brown admitted on Monday that he had made a mistake when he described the slain teenager as “no angel.”
Those two words that John Eligon chose, along with a series of of descriptions about Brown’s “dabbling” with drugs, alcohol and rap music, set off a scorching round of criticism for the way the paper had characterized Brown. The Times dug an even deeper hole for itself by writing a concurrent article about Darren Wilson, the man who killed Brown, in which Wilson was described as a “well-mannered, relatively soft-spoken, even bland person.” Many said that the contrast seemed to fit a pattern in which black victims of crime are maligned in the media.
Lawrence O’Donnell’s send up of this article is freaking legendary, people.
Please read this piece to get some historical context:
Shortly before the Civil War, many white writers—especially abolitionists—began anxiously debating whether black children who died could become angels, and if so, whether they needed to become white first. As I write in my book, Racial Innocence, the 1862 abolitionist story “Poor Little Violet,” by Lynde Palmer, included a very disturbing scene in which Violet, an enslaved girl, discusses death and angelhood with a white slaveholding girl named Carrie. Violet asks,
“[W]hen we goes to Canaan, that old Sambo sings about, may I be your little slave then, Miss Carrie, ’cause you’s allus so kind?”
“I don’t think there will be any slaves there,” said Carrie, slowly, pondering over the matter.
“Why, what will the black people do, then?” cried Violet, with curious round eyes.
“Maybe,” replied Carrie hesitatingly, “maybe there won’t be any black people—you know, Violet, our bodies are covered up in the ground,”—Violet shivered,—“but our souls go to heaven, and they must all be white.”
“All of ’em?” asked Violet, eagerly.
“Yes, mamma told me that no soul can go till it is washed white in Jesus’ blood.”
The Times's reference to Michael Brown as “no angel” is so deeply hurtful because it extends a historical libel that African Americans, and African American children in particular, cannot be innocent. As the slaveholder Carrie tells Violet, to be an angel is to be white. And in this white-authored text—which was intended to critique slavery—a black girl joyously receives this information with hope that she can shed her blackness, become white, and become an angel.
“A former LAPD officer turned sociologist (Cooper 1991) observed that the overwhelming majority of those beaten by police turn out not to be guilty of any crime. “Cops don’t beat up burglars”, he observed. The reason, he explained, is simple: the one thing most guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to “define the situation.” If what I’ve been saying is true this is just what we’d expect. The police truncheon is precisely the point where the state’s bureaucratic imperative for imposing simple administrative schema, and its monopoly of coercive force, come together. It only makes sense then that bureaucratic violence should consist first and foremost of attacks on those who insist on alternative schemas or interpretations. At the same time, if one accepts Piaget’s famous definition of mature intelligence as the ability to coordinate between multiple perspectives (or possible perspectives) one can see, here, precisely how bureaucratic power, at the moment it turns to violence, becomes literally a form of infantile stupidity.”—David Graeber, Dead Zones of the Imagination (via antoine-roquentin)
I’ve been on escitalopram for about two weeks and it actually seems to be working. Doc told me it has a faster onset of action than other meds, but I didn’t really believe her. Fuck me, but she was right.
I’m physically feeling a lot better. Like, certain bodily functions that have been fucked up for a long time are back to normal with a vengeance. I still have a ways to go, but at least it feels like I’m on my way. The fog is starting to lift.
Yesterday, I went on a lunch date with someone I met on OKC. He was nice. I told him way too much about myself and accidentally hit him with a steering wheel lock, but I think he liked me. We’ll see.
I love you all and hope you’re having a relaxing Labor Day.
Stephen Harper really seems to have it out for sociology. In 2013, in response to an alleged plot against a VIA train, Harper remarked that we should not “commit sociology,” but pursue an anti-crime approach. And last week, in response to the death of Tina Fontaine, Harper argued that an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women is not needed, because this is not a “sociological phenomenon” but simply a series of individual crimes.
Of course, not only is all crime a sociological phenomenon, but also without a broader sociological analysis we can’t begin to understand why the rates of missing and murdered indigenous women are tragically high compared to non-indigenous women. Furthermore, it’s clear that if rates of violence against non-indigenous women climbed as high as those of indigenous women, this government (even with its woeful record on women’s issues) would be more likely to announce not only a public inquiry but a full-scale national strategy. (This double-standard in how we value human lives is what sociologists call “racism.”)
Harper’s two disparaging comments about sociology, however, also need to be understood alongside his gutting of the long-form census in 2010. It is widely accepted that this action fundamentally undermined Canada’s ability to understand its own demographics, long-term social trends, and inequalities — in short, its sociology.
So what does Harper have against sociology? First, Harper is clearly trumpeting a standard component of neo-liberal ideology: that there are no social phenomena, only individual incidents. (This ideology traces back to Margaret Thatcher’s famous claim that “there is no such thing as society.”) Neo-liberalism paints all social problems as individual problems. The benefit of this for those who share Harper’s agenda, of course, is that if there are no social problems or solutions, then there is little need for government. Individuals are solely responsible for the problems they face.
This ideology is so seductive not only because it radically simplifies our world, but also because it mirrors the two social institutions neo-liberals actually believe in — the “free” market and law and order. Everything is reduced to either a simplistic market transaction or a criminal case. In the former, you either have the money to buy stuff, or you don’t and it’s up to you to get more. In the latter, a lone individual is personally responsible for a crime and is punished for it. Easy peasy. No sociology needed.
But there’s yet another reason this ideology is so hostile toward the kind of sociological analysis done by Statistics Canada, public inquiries and the like. And that has to do with the type of injustices we can even conceive of, or consider tackling, as a society.
You see, sociologists often differentiate between “personal injustices” and “systemic” or “structural injustices.” Personal injustices can be traced back to concrete actions of particular individuals (perpetrators). These actions are often wilful, and have a relatively isolated victim.
Structural injustices, on the other hand, are produced by a social structure or system. They are often hard to trace back to the actions of specific individuals, are usually not explicitly intended by anyone, and have collective, rather than isolated, victims. Structural injustices are a result of the unintended actions of many individuals participating in a social system together, usually without knowing what each other is doing. Whereas personal injustices are traced back to the harmful actions (or inactions) of individuals, structural injustices are identified by differential societal outcomes among groups. Sociologists call these “social inequalities.”
And therein lies the rub. Perhaps the key difference between personal and structural injustices is that the latter are only clearly identifiable through macro-level societal analysis — that is, sociology. This is because a) there are no clear perpetrators with whom to identify the injustice and assign responsibility; and b) while structural injustices do generate concrete harms and victims, we often only learn about the collective nature of the injustice through statistical inquiry, or by identifying social/demographic patterns over time.
What should be clear, then, is that Harper’s seemingly bizarre vendetta against sociology is actually an ideological attempt to prevent Canadian society from being able to identify, and tackle, its structural injustices. Without large-scale sociological analyses, we can’t recognize the pervasive, entrenched social inequalities that these analyses reveal. And because structural injustices are actually generated by our social systems, both their causes and solutions are social.
Thus, when we paint all social problems as individual problems with individual solutions, we also lose any sense of the social responsibility, rather than personal responsibility, that we need to address them.
The payoff in all this for Harper and other neo-liberals is that the kinds of injustices this ideology is particularly good at creating are precisely structural injustices. Indeed, one of neo-liberalism’s greatest capacities is to generate systemic inequalities that are not easily identifiable, in fact are rather difficult to discern, on the level of personal interactions and isolated cases. Harper’s attack on sociology, then, should be viewed not only as an attempt to further his ideology, but to cover the social damage that is left in its wake.
If you don’t believe that racism in the job market is real, then please read this article by Yolanda Spivey. Spivey, who was seeking work in the insurance industry, found that she wasn’t getting any job offers. But as an experiment, she changed her name to Bianca White, to see if employers would respond differently. You’ll be shocked and amazed by her phenomenal story.
Before I begin, let me quote the late, great, Booker T. Washington who said, “Of all forms of slavery there is none that is so harmful and degrading as that form of slavery which tempts one human being to hate another by reason of his race or color.”
For two years, I have been unemployed. In the beginning, I applied to more than three hundred open positions in the insurance industry—an industry that I’ve worked in for the previous ten years. Not one employer responded to my resume. So, I enrolled back into college to finish my degree. After completing school this past May, I resumed my search for employment and was quite shocked that I wasn’t getting a single response. I usually applied for positions advertised on the popular website Monster.com. I’d used it in the past and have been successful in obtaining jobs through it.
Two years ago, I noticed that Monster.com had added a “diversity questionnaire” to the site. This gives an applicant the opportunity to identify their sex and race to potential employers. Monster.com guarantees that this “option” will not jeopardize your chances of gaining employment. You must answer this questionnaire in order to apply to a posted position—it cannot be skipped. At times, I would mark off that I was a Black female, but then I thought, this might be hurting my chances of getting employed, so I started selecting the “decline to identify” option instead. That still had no effect on my getting a job. So I decided to try an experiment: I created a fake job applicant and called her Bianca White.
First, I created an email account and resume for Bianca. I kept the same employment history and educational background on her resume that was listed on my own. But I removed my home phone number, kept my listed cell phone number, and changed my cell phone greeting to say, “You have reached Bianca White. Please leave a message.” Then I created an online Monster.com account, listed Bianca as a White woman on the diversity questionnaire, and activated the account.
That very same day, I received a phone call. The next day, my phone line and Bianca’s email address, were packed with potential employers calling for an interview. I was stunned. More shocking was that some employers, mostly Caucasian-sounding women, were calling Bianca more than once, desperate to get an interview with her. All along, my real Monster.com account was open and active; but, despite having the same background as Bianca, I received no phone calls. Two jobs actually did email me and Bianca at the same time. But they were commission only sales positions. Potential positions offering a competitive salary and benefits all went to Bianca.
At the end of my little experiment, (which lasted a week), Bianca White had received nine phone calls—I received none. Bianca had received a total of seven emails, while I’d only received two, which again happen to have been the same emails Bianca received. Let me also point out that one of the emails that contacted Bianca for a job wanted her to relocate to a different state, all expenses paid, should she be willing to make that commitment. In the end, a total of twenty-four employers looked at Bianca’s resume while only ten looked at mines.
Is this a conspiracy, or what? I’m almost convinced that White Americans aren’t suffering from disparaging unemployment rates as their Black counterpart because all the jobs are being saved for other White people.
My little experiment certainly proved a few things. First, I learned that answering the diversity questionnaire on job sites such as Monster.com’s may work against minorities, as employers are judging whom they hire based on it. Second, I learned to suspect that resumes with ethnic names may go into the wastebasket and never see the light of day.
Other than being chronically out of work, I embarked on this little experiment because of a young woman I met while I was in school. She was a twenty-two-year-old Caucasian woman who, like myself, was about to graduate. She was so excited about a job she had just gotten with a well-known sporting franchise. She had no prior work experience and had applied for a clerical position, but was offered a higher post as an executive manager making close to six figures. I was curious to know how she’d been able to land such a position. She was candid in telling me that the human resource person who’d hired her just “liked” her and told her that she deserved to be in a higher position. The HR person was also Caucasian.
Another reason that pushed me to do this experiment is because of the media. There’s not a day that goes by in which I fail to see a news program about how tough the job market is. Recently, while I was watching a report on underemployed and underpaid Americans, I saw a middle aged White man complaining that he was making only $80,000 which was $30,000 less than what he was making before. I thought to myself that in this economy, many would feel they’d hit the jackpot if they made 80K a year.
In conclusion, I would like to once again quote the late, great, Booker T. Washington when he said, “You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.”
The more America continues to hold back great candidates based on race, the more our economy is going to stay in a rut. We all need each other to prosper, flourish, and to move ahead.
People when talking about online activism that challenges their prejudiced notions:Why don't you get out in the real world and do something?? Whining on tumblr and the internet doesn't change anything!
Same exact people discussing the internet in every single other instance:The internet is such a powerful tool it really brings us together in so many ways and connects us, it's the most essential tool for spreading information and changing things the most immense way because everyone is on the internet, social media has really changed the world.
“Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women for the money. And it made her miserable.
As a young writer, Alcott concentrated on lurid pulp stories of revenge, murder, and adultery–“blood and thunder” literature, as she called i–and enjoyed writing very much. She was in her mid 30s when an editor suggested she try writing a book for girls. Alcott wasn’t very interested, but her father was a complete moron with money and had left the family in terrible financial trouble. Alcott wrote Little Women in hopes of some decent sales and a little breathing room and got way more than she asked for. The money in sequels was too good to turn down (and her father didn’t get any smarter with a dime), but Alcott hated writing what she called “moral pap for the young” and longed to return to the smut and violence of her early endeavors.”—
This is even better if you remember that there’s a part in Little Women in which Jo begins writing pulp stories and then gets lectured about it by her future husband. She ends up feeling horrible and never does it again.