“Apparently orgasm is the only point where your mind becomes completely empty, you think of nothing for that second. That’s why it’s so compelling, it’s a tiny taste of death. Your mind is void, you have nothing in your head save white light.”—
“A leveler playing field for men and women — so that men and women doing the same job, over the same hours, are entitled to the same compensation — is a matter of basic human dignity, as well as something that regulation could fix relatively easily and cheaply.”—Yes, the gender pay gap is real (via theweekmagazine)
"More than any individual protest, or strike, it is the wholesale opting out of this capitalist model than presents the greatest threat to those who own and operate it. No wonder they are going to war with the people who just want to share."
“Mass incarceration has long been present in extreme dictatorships. But today it is emerging as inextricably linked to advanced capitalism…Most of the people who are being incarcerated are also the people who do not have work and from whom work will not be found in our current epoch…today’s prisoners in the United States and United Kingdom are increasingly today’s version of the surplus laboring population common in the brutal beginnings of modern capitalism…many transnational corporations have set up satellite factories inside prisons…Available evidence suggests that the majority of corporations profiting [in some form] from prison labor [include] Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, Starbucks and Walmart…the profits of private prisons are represented are represented as a positive addition to a country’s GDP even as they are a government cost; in contrast, government run prisons are only represented as government debt.”—Saskia Sassen (via azspot)
“The typical response to pain, fear and judgement is to close our heart. We go in to protection mode, self-preserving and ensuring any perceived threat is kept at bay. This happens when we believe the illusion that fear is real. When we think someone can hurt us or take something from us. We start making our love conditional again. We use our love as currency to value or de-value ourselves or another, rather than letting it flow freely.”—Connie Chapman (via liquid-diamonds-flowing)
" But no matter. What have we learned? Capitalism is bad. Hooray! What’s the answer? Socialism? Hope so. "It is not quite so simple," he says, disappointing this former teenage Marxist. "What I argue for is a progressive tax, a global tax, based on the taxation of private property. This is the only civilised solution. The other solutions are, I think, much more barbaric – by that I mean the oligarch system of Russia, which I don’t believe in, and inflation, which is really just a tax on the poor." He explains that oligarchy, particularly in the present Russian model, is quite simply the rule of the very rich over the majority. This is both tyrannical and not much more than a form of gangsterism. He adds that the very rich are not usually hurt by inflation – their wealth increases anyway – but the poor suffer worst of all with a rising cost of living. A progressive tax on wealth is the only sane solution."
“The corporations that profit from permanent war need us to be afraid. Fear stops us from objecting to government spending on a bloated military. Fear means we will not ask unpleasant questions of those in power. Fear permits the government to operate in secret. Fear means we are willing to give up our rights and liberties for promises of security. The imposition of fear ensures that the corporations that wrecked the country cannot be challenged. Fear keeps us penned in like livestock.”—(Chris Hedges, ‘The Death of the Liberal Class’)
African-Americans avoiding eye contact has a history that goes back to slavery. It was socially unacceptable for a slave to make eye contact with a white man in the Antebellum South. Many whites back then felt if a Negro “eyeballed him” it was a sign that they thought they were equal to a white man and had no respect for him. In Jim Crow America, making eye contact was a social crime that could lead to a black person being lynched. And during the Civil Rights period and afterward, a black person could be arrested just for looking a police officer in the eyes.
Today African-Americans still regard making eye contact with a negative connotation even when interacting with each other. On the streets in inner city neighborhoods making eye contact is often seen as a sign of aggression and hostility. Any eye contact with a stranger in the ghetto can easily turn into an argument, escalate into a fight and lead up to murder. So many African-Americans, out of fear for their saftety, keep their eyes down and look away when they communicate with other brothers and sisters in the neighborhood….
These misunderstandings about nonverbal social cues have prevented African-Americans from getting jobs or keeping jobs, networking effectively in school, or socializing outside of the black community. Moreover it has prevented brothers and sisters from succeeding in the world of work. While social cues like eye contact and smiling are considered normal in White society, they can get someone killed in the inner-city.
“Your health is what you make it. It’s never going to be a cookie-cutter approach that someone else prescribes. Your body is unique & it’s up to you to nourish it in the individual ways it needs. When in doubt, listen to your body. It always tells what’s working, and what isn’t.”—Ashley Barnes (via liquid-diamonds-flowing)
"There is an ancient and well-kept secret to happiness which the Great Ones have known for centuries. They rarely talk about it, but they use it all the time, and it is fundamental to good mental health. This secret is called The Fine Art of Not Being Offended. In order to truly be a master of this art, one must be able to see that every statement, action and reaction of another human being is the sum result of their total life experience to date." [read more…]
“If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing thing you don’t like doing, which is stupid.”—Alan Watts (via modernshxmxn)
“The biggest obstacle I see is challenging EVERYONE (because everyone — from students to admin — is responsible) on college campuses to rethink their commonly held beliefs in a nonconfrontational and nonjudgmental way. Rape culture is so intrinsically ingrained in our daily social lives that sometimes it’s hard to plainly see.”—
Cinneah El-Amin, peer educator at the Barnard Columbia Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center
Last week, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper sent a brief letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in which he admitted that agents of the National Security Agency (NSA) have been reading innocent Americans’ emails and text messages and listening to digital recordings of their telephone conversations that have been stored in NSA computers, without warrants obtained pursuant to the Constitution. That the NSA is doing this is not newsworthy—Edward Snowden has told the world of this during the past 10 months. What is newsworthy is that the NSA has admitted this, and those admissions have far-reaching consequences.
Since the Snowden revelations first came to light last June, the NSA has steadfastly denied them. Clapper has denied them. The recently retired head of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander, has denied them. Even President Obama has stated repeatedly words to the effect that “no one is reading your emails or listening to your phone calls.”
The official NSA line on this has been that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court has issued general warrants for huge amounts of metadata only, but not content. Metadata consists of identifying markers on emails, text messages, and telephone calls. These markers usually identify the computer from which an email or text was sent or received, and the time and date of the transmission, as well as the location of each computer. Telephone metadata is similar. It consists of the telephone numbers used by the callers, the time, date, and duration of the call, and the location of each telephone used in the call.
American telecommunications and Internet service providers have given this information to the NSA pursuant to warrants issued by secret FISA court judges. These warrants are profoundly unconstitutional, as they constitute general warrants. General warrants are not obtained by presenting probable cause of crime to judges and identifying the person from whom data is to be seized, as the Constitution requires. Rather, general warrants authorize a government agent to obtain whatever he wants from whomever he wants it.
These general warrants came about through a circuitous route of presidential, congressional, and judicial infidelity to the Constitution during the past 35 years. The standard that the government must meet to obtain a warrant from a FISA court judge repeatedly has been lessened from the constitutional requirement of probable cause of crime, to probable cause of being a foreign agent, to probable cause of being a foreign person, to probable cause of talking to a foreign person. From this last category, it was a short jump for NSA lawyers to persuade FISA court judges that they should sign general warrants for all communications of everyone in America because the NSA was not accessing the content of these communications; it was merely storing metadata and then using algorithms to determine who was talking to whom.
This was all done in secret—so secret that the president would lie about it; so secret that Congress, which supposedly authorized it, was unaware of it; and so secret that the FISA court judges themselves do not have access to their own court records (only the NSA does).
It was to further this public facade that Clapper lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee last year when he replied to a question from Sen. Wyden about whether the NSA was collecting massive amounts of data on hundreds of millions of Americans by saying, “No” and then adding, “Not wittingly.” The stated caveat in the NSA facade was a claim that if its agents wanted to review the content of any data the NSA was storing, they identified that data and sought a warrant for it.
This second round of warrants is as unconstitutional as the first round because these warrants, too, are based on NSA whims, not probable cause of crime. Yet, it is this second round of warrants that Clapper’s letter revealed did not always exist.
Snowden, in an act of great personal sacrifice and historic moral courage, directly refuted Clapper by telling reporters that the NSA possessed not just metadata but also content—meaning the actual emails, text messages, and recordings of telephone calls. He later revealed that the NSA also has the content of the telephone bills, bank statements, utility bills, and credit card bills of everyone in America.
In his letter to Wyden last week, Clapper not only implicitly acknowledged that Snowden was correct all along, but also that he, Clapper, lied to and materially misled the Senate Intelligence Committee, and that the NSA is in fact reading emails and listening to phone calls without obtaining the second warrant it has been claiming it obtains.
One wonders whether Obama was duped by Clapper when he denied all this, or whether he just lied to the American people as he has done in the past.
One also wonders how the government could do all this with a straight face. This is the same government that unsuccessfully prosecuted former New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens twice for lying to a congressional committee about the contents of his urine. Shouldn’t we expect that Clapper be prosecuted for lying to a congressional committee about the most massive government plot in U.S. history to violate the Fourth Amendment? Don’t hold your breath; the president will protect his man.
Yet, Congress could address this independent of a president who declines to prosecute his fellow liars. Congress could impeach Clapper, and the president would be powerless to prevent that. If Congress does that, it would be a great step forward for the rule of law and fidelity to the Constitution. If Congress does nothing, we can safely conclude that it is complicit in these constitutional violations.
If Congress will not impeach an officer of the government when it itself is the victim of his crimes because it fears the political consequences, does it still believe in the Constitution?
“In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”—
Edward Gibbon, historian, author of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. (via tokillthedragon)
“The idea that sex is something a woman gives a man, and she loses something when she does that, which again for me is nonsense. I want us to raise girls differently where boys and girls start to see sexuality as something that they own, rather than something that a boy takes from a girl.”—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (NPR)