The Story of Matthew DeHart

Cory Doctorow details the story of Matthew DeHart, a veteran from a multi-generational military/intelligence family, whose Tor server ran him afoul of our government.

DeHart once discovered an unencrypted folder of damning documents on his server, which quickly disappeared and was replaced with an encrypted folder of the same size, with the same name. The unencrypted docs detailed an FBI investigation into some very dirty CIA tricks, possibly involving the still-unsolved slew of anthrax-laced letters sent to Congress in 2001. Not long after, DeHart was spooked by a visit from the FBI to one of his contacts, and he destroyed all potentially compromising storage associated with his server. That’s when things got weird.

Read the Story: Hacktivist sees too much, FBI lock him up on child-porn charges, produce no evidence – Boing Boing

On the Dems and Bernie

Danny Katch asks the question: Can the Democratic Party be used for good?

The question is whether the left can use the Sanders campaign to gather a new generation of young activists and bring them closer to socialism–or whether it will be the radicals who get used once again by the Democrats…

This debate is not about “political purity” on one side and clever tactics on the other. Both sides believe their position is both principled and strategic, and there’s no need to paint Sanders supporters as imperialist sellouts or those who won’t join his campaign as unthinking dogmatists. Instead, there are three questions that are more useful points of departure for the discussion.

Read The Full Article: Can the Democratic Party be used for good? |

RWU Statement on Amtrak 188

Here are some excellent thoughts from Railroad Workers United concerning the derailment of Amtrak 188.

If we are serious about preventing future catastrophes of this nature, we must equip railroad workers with the necessary tools to enable them to perform the job safely. Pointing fingers at this or that employee (at any level in the company, union or management) might make some folks feel better, but it does little or nothing to prevent future accidents. Railroad Workers United believes it is time we learn from these terrible tragedies and get serious about implementing the necessary measures to ensure safe railroad operations.

Read More: Railroad Workers United: The Wreck of #AMTRAK188 Talking Points From RWU

Pensions and Chicago’s Credit Crisis

There needs to be a discussion of how to solve these problems without hurting our pensioners and workers.

What happens when you’ve been kicking the fiscal can down the road for years, but the road suddenly hits a dead end? That’s what Chicago – and the state of Illinois – are about to find out.

Read More: How Illinois’ Pension Debt Blew Up Chicago’s Credit – ProPublica

From The Jungle to The Chain

Bill Droel takes a look at the meat packing industry as exposed in The Chain: Farm Factory and the Fate of Our Food by Ted Genoways, a new book in the tradition of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.

A dirty and perhaps infected carcass more likely makes its way down the line. Workers suffer more injuries, including a nerve-damaging infection that is only detected later. Our relatively inexpensive meat “comes at a high cost to its workers.”

Read More: Food Processing | Catholic Labor Network

How Capital Puts Creativity to Work

Carl Magnes writes in Jacobin:

The rapid growth of mega-festivals is a physical expression of the increasingly aggressive class barriers and inequities that fracture the social economy of art and music. They offer only a few strictly defined identities. You can be a member of the creative elite; an owner of capital; hired staff; or a member of the policed, regulated audience. The fences, hierarchy of privileges, and security guards are a live theater version of our cultural life’s stratification.

Read More: Money Before Music | Jacobin

Ruth Wilson Gilmore on Baltimore

Historian and geographer Ruth Wilson Gilmore claims that the rebellion in Baltimore is an uprising against austerity. She says that gentrified cities, the fall of manufacturing and the filling of jails with black men all fueled the reaction to the killing of Freddie Gray.

The US is more segregated by race and income now than in 1960.

Read More: The rebellion in Baltimore is an uprising against austerity, claims top US academic | US news | The Guardian

A View of Sanders’ Campaign from the Left

Bhaskar Sunkara says we should welcome Bernie Sanders’ presidential run, while being aware of its limits.

Sanders’s candidacy doesn’t have to channel left forces into what will likely be a Clinton nomination. Instead, it could be a way for socialists to regroup, organize together, and articulate the kind of politics that speaks to the needs and aspirations of the vast majority of people. And it could begin to legitimate the word “socialist,” and spark a conversation around it, even if Sanders’s welfare-state socialism doesn’t go far enough.

Read the Essay: Bernie for President? | Jacobin

A Conversation With Chomsky

Isabelle Kumar of Euronews interviews Noam Chomsky on a range of topics. On the subject of Greece’s debt (and that of Portugal and Spain and others) this is what he said.

Who incurred this debt? And who is the debt owed to? In part, the debt was incurred by dictators. So in Greece it was the fascist dictatorship, which the US supported, that incurred a large part of the debt. The debt I think was more brutal than the dictatorship, and that’s what’s called in international law, “odious debt” which need not be paid, and that’s a principal introduced into international law by the United States, when it was in their interest to do so. Much of the rest of the debt, what is called payments to Greece are in fact payments to banks, German and French banks, which had decided to make extremely risky loans with not very high interest and are now being faced with the fact that they can’t be paid back.

Read the Transcript: Chomsky says US is world’s biggest terrorist | euronews, the global conversation

Here’s the video.

The White Response to Baltimore

It’s in the defense of that property – those CVS stores owned by faceless individuals and those police cars being bashed in – that we’ve seen the strongest response from the dominant element of society. Social media is a good indication, but certainly not the only one. There, on sites like Facebook and Twitter, folks have spoken up about Freddie Gray for the first time. They’ve not come to the defense of the oppressed. Rather, they’ve spoken up in condemnation of those “animals,” “thugs,” and “criminals” who are “destroying their own city.” It’s some combination of historical illiteracy and racial animus that drives the response.

Read More: The Dominant White Response to Baltimore Shows Why Black Residents are Justified in their Anger

Dispatch from Baltimore

Stacia L. Brown reports for The Nation that the emotional distance between Freddie Gray’s moving funeral and the chaos that followed isn’t as wide as it may seem.

Billy Murphy had, at one point, asked everyone present to raise their hands if they’d been a victim of police brutality in Baltimore.

Everyone raised a hand.

Read More: Dispatch from Baltimore: Praying for Peace, Living Another Reality | The Nation

Baltimore Uprising

Here are a few links that seem relevant to the current drama playing out in the streets of Baltimore.

The city has paid about $5.7 million since 2011 over lawsuits claiming that police officers brazenly beat up alleged suspects. One hidden cost: The perception that officers are violent can poison the relationship between residents and police.

Source: Undue force – Sun Investigates – The Baltimore Sun

When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con.

Source: As Riots Follow Freddie Gray’s Death in Baltimore, Calls for Calm Ring Hollow – The Atlantic

We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.

Source: Orioles COO John Angelos offers eye-opening perspective on Baltimore protests | For The Win

Most of the media sensationalized the small amount of property damage that took place during demonstrations last weekend–while downplaying all evidence of the systemic racism and police violence that stirred this reaction.

Source: We have a right to be in the streets for Freddie |

Twenty journalists and 40 police, academics, youth and experts came together in Chicago at Columbia College Chicago to discuss how to better cover stories of race, police and community.

Source: #RaceandPolice — Day 1, April 24 the morning discussions: police, race, bias and Ferguson coverage (with images, tweets) · Susys · Storify