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It turns out that Facebook could in fact use data collected from its Portal in-home video device to target you with ads

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Who you call and what apps you use could determine what ads you see

https://www.recode.net/2018/10/16/17966102/facebook-portal-ad-targeting-data-collection
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angelchrys
4 minutes ago
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This is my surprised face
Overland Park, KS
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The Gerontocracy is Driving America into the Ditch

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As Eric Levitz writes in a piece called Millennials Need to Start Voting Before the Gerontocracy Kills Us All, younger Americans are under-represented in American political life.

The United States, circa 2018, looks like a place run by people who know they’re going to die soon.

As “once in a lifetime” storms crash over our coasts five times a year - and the White House’s own climate research suggests that human civilization is on pace to perish before Barron Trump — our government is subsidizing carbon emissions like there’s no tomorrow. Meanwhile, America’s infrastructure is already “below standard,” and set to further deteriorate, absent hundreds of billions of dollars in new investment. Many of our public schools can’t afford to stock their classrooms with basic supplies, pay their teachers a living wage, or keep their doors open five days a week. Child-care costs are skyrocketing, the birth rate is plunging, and the baby boomers, retiring. And, amid it all, our congressional representatives recently decided that the best thing they could possibly do with $1.5 trillion of borrowed money was to give large tax breaks to people like themselves.

See also Dear Young People: Don’t Vote. As Levitz says though, one of the reasons that young people don’t vote is that it’s often more difficult than for older people. Making it easier for everyone to vote would alleviate many of these concerns and result in higher turnout, more political engagement, and better representation for young Americans.

Millennials in the U.S. are more underrepresented than their peers in most other developed countries. Primary responsibility for this fact lies with our nation’s political parties, which have made America an exceptionally difficult place to cast a ballot. If Democrats wish to increase turnout among the young, they’d be well advised to implement automatic voter registration, a new Voting Rights Act, and a federal holiday on the first Tuesday in November, when and if they have the power to do so.

Inflexible work schedules, lack of transportation, voter ID laws, fewer polling places, etc…it amounts to voter suppression of young people.

Voter suppression is often, correctly, viewed through a racial or class-based lens — however, these same laws also target younger people. A group that tends to vote more often for third-party and Democratic candidates.

For example, states such as Texas and Ohio require voter identification at the polling place — a college or university ID doesn’t qualify. In Wisconsin, voter ID laws permitted college IDs but not out-of-state drivers licenses, which, local news reported, resulted in many university students getting turned away in the April 2016 primary. In North Carolina, another key state in the Electoral College, hundreds of students cast provisional ballots in 2016, unsure whether their vote would even count because of their strict voter ID laws — which were struck down this year by the Supreme Court, but not before disenfranchising potentially thousands of American citizens.

(thx kate & @lauraolin)

Tags: Eric Levitz   politics   USA
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angelchrys
2 hours ago
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Overland Park, KS
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A thread written by @louishyman

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In my history of consumption class, I teach about #Sears, but what most people don't know is just how radical the catalogue was in the era of #Jim Crow. #twitterstorians

Every time a black southerner went to the local store they were confronted with forced deference to white customers who would be served first.

And the store would be filled with racist caricatures of black people in an effort to sell to white people.

The stores were not self-service, so the black customers would have to wait. And then would have to ask the proprietor to give them goods (often on credit because...sharecropping). The landlord often owned the store. In every way shopping reinforced hierarchy. Until #Sears

The catalog undid the power of the storekeeper, and by extension the landlord. Black families could buy without asking permission. Without waiting. Without being watched. With national (cheap) prices!

Southern storekeepers fought back. They organized catalogue bonfires in the street.

These general stores often doubled as post offices. The owners would refuse to sell stamps to black people, or money orders, to use the catalogue services.

Happened enough that sears instructed customers to evade the postmaster and directly speak to the mail carrier:
“just give the letter and the money to the mail carrier and he will get the money order at the post office and mail it in the letter for you.”

In an attempt to undermine #Sears, rumors spread that Sears was black (to get white customers to stop buying from him). Sold by mail “these fellows could not afford to show their faces as retailers”
Sears, in turn, published photos to “prove” he was white.

These rumors didn’t affect sales but show how race and commerce connected in the countryside. And how dangerous it was to the local order, to white supremacy, to have national markets.

So as we think about #Sears today, let's think about how retail is not just about buying things, but part of a larger system of power. Every act of power contains the opportunity, and the means, for resistance.

Wow. So much response! If you would like to know more about the larger history of Sears and resisting white supremacy, check out this video from our series on the history of capitalism. #thread. Also #JohnHenry and #webDubois.
 https://youtu.be/RpROUjHSijg?t=384 

You can follow Louis Hyman.
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Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.
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angelchrys
3 hours ago
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Overland Park, KS
wreichard
16 hours ago
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Earth
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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 337

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This is the grave of the vile traitor Robert E. Lee.

There isn’t much reason to provide a complete biography of someone like Lee, who is extremely well-known. So a couple of points.

First, despite all the attempts over the years to apologize for Lee’s treason in defense of slavery, he had a choice and he made the wrong one. There were many southern officers who did not commit treason in 1861. Lee made that choice, even as members of his own family were advising him against it. George Thomas is the most famous southern officer who made the right choice and it is true that nearly every other top military leader from the South did commit treason in defense of slavery, but something like 30% of southern officers did not.

Second, Lee committed treason in defense of slavery because he believed in slavery. It’s basically impossible to go to a southern plantation and have them say anything other than “he was quite decent to his slaves.” Because the plantation house on confiscated lands of the traitor Lee, Arlington National Cemetery, is run by the National Park Service, you don’t get that, but the overall mythology around Lee for a very long time is that he was personally opposed to slavery and was decent to his slaves. This is hogwash. He owned several slaves of his own, used the services of far more who was owned by his wife, and never freed a slave to our knowledge. As late as 1865, he stated, “the relation of master and slave…is the best that can exist between the white & black races.” In an 1856 letter to his wife, Lee wrote:

There are few, I believe, but will acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil in any country. It is useless to expiate on its disadvantages. I think it, however, a greater evil to the white than to the black race, and while my feelings are strongly interested in…the latter, my sympathies are stronger for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially, and physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their instruction as a race, and, I hope will prepare and lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known and ordered by a wise and merciful Providence.

This is not a man who opposed slavery. A former slave of Lee later said that he was “the meanest man I ever saw.” He frequently hired out all his strong males he didn’t need, breaking up families, at least for long periods of time. For a man as wealthy as Lee, whose wife descended from Martha Washington, this was highly unnecessary. Many slave owners did make the choice not to break up families, but Lee was fine with this. Lee routinely paid people to return run away slaves and beat them in doing it. Even compared to other slave owners, he was not a good man. The single best thing one might say about him is that perhaps he wasn’t quite as sadistic as some slavers. This is not something to be proud of.

Third, about his generalship in the Civil War, I will largely leave it to others. As I have stated many times, I find debates about military tactics tiresome and uninteresting. At the very least, his ascendance in the Confederate Army significantly increased the Confederacy’s ability to hold out against the United States, leading directly to the deaths of many, many people that likely would not have happened if Lee had not committed treason in defense of slavery.

Finally, I will note that the Cult of Lee that developed after the Civil War is utterly nauseating. This is the man, rather than Jefferson Davis, that southern partisans saw as their hero. The mythmaking and hagiography around Lee and the Lost Cause has done enormous damage to the United States over the years and still remains part of the popular memory of the war over 150 years later. Moreover, there’s little evidence Lee would have wanted it any other way. He was already touring the South to adoring crowds before he died.

But hey, at least Donald Trump thinks Lee is awesome. Lee’s own descendants have spoken out against this.

Robert E. Lee is buried at the Lee Chapel, Lexington, Virginia, on the campus of Washington and Lee University. Somewhat amusingly, the actual grave is now off limits because the people who run the place are utterly freaked out that someone is going to vandalize everything that is in there. I find that hilarious. Put the bastards on the defensive.

If you would like this series to profile other leaders who committed treason in defense of slavery, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Alexander Stephens is in Crawfordville, Georgia and Robert Toombs is in Washington, Georgia. Oh, how I would like to write about those jerks. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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angelchrys
18 hours ago
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Overland Park, KS
acdha
20 hours ago
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Washington, DC
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fxer
1 day ago
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timely!
Bend, Oregon

Nationalism Isn’t Patriotism

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Nationalism Patriotism

At a time when fascism & authoritarianism are creeping into the global politics of the developed world, it’s useful for us to reacquaint ourselves with the difference between nationalism and patriotism. In the wake of World War II, George Orwell wrote an essay called Notes on Nationalism (available in book form here). The first two paragraphs define nationalism and contrast it with patriotism:

Somewhere or other Byron makes use of the French word longeur, and remarks in passing that though in England we happen not to have the word, we have the thing in considerable profusion. In the same way, there is a habit of mind which is now so widespread that it affects our thinking on nearly every subject, but which has not yet been given a name. As the nearest existing equivalent I have chosen the word ‘nationalism’, but it will be seen in a moment that I am not using it in quite the ordinary sense, if only because the emotion I am speaking about does not always attach itself to what is called a nation — that is, a single race or a geographical area. It can attach itself to a church or a class, or it may work in a merely negative sense, against something or other and without the need for any positive object of loyalty.

By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’. But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.

The whole essay is worth a read; you’ll find yourself nodding in recognition at many points. More succinctly, Jen Sorensen’s Patriotism vs. Nationalism comic (excerpted above) and Zach Weinersmith’s An Important Distinction comic (below) cover some of the same ground.

Nationalism Patriotism

See also a more progressive definition of freedom.

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angelchrys
1 day ago
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Overland Park, KS
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Go Vote, Young Youth

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The truth is, if Democrats are going to win in the midterms we’re going to have to get non-voters – particularly young people – to get out and vote. The other truth is there is no bottom low enough for Trump voters to stop supporting him. This isn’t about changing GOP voters’ minds. This is about finding people who don’t think their vote matters, or don’t think they have someone to vote for, or don’t care about voting period to actually get off the couch and cast a ballot. I don’t know what the answer is. When GOP voters happily vote against their own interests it makes things very hard. (Hey, how are those tariffs working out for you, blue collar America? Luxuriating in that extra $1.50 a week, working class white voters?) Anyway. Like I was saying, do you know any youths of voting age? Maybe talk with them and see if you can’t get them to register and vote. And even if you aren’t a youth, do you want these mean old fogies shaping our futures? Yeah, me either. Let’s www.vote.org like all our futures depend on it.

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angelchrys
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Overland Park, KS
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