Sunday, February 11, 2018

SOTM Podcast - The Russia Investigations: 5 Takeaways About The Inescapable Nunes Memo (PART 2)

SOTM Podcast - The Russia Investigations: 5 Takeaways About The Inescapable Nunes Memo (PART 2)



Welcome back to the State of the Media Podcast, the internet radio show devoted to analyzing media for political bias and discussing the methods used by journalists to persuade their readers. In this episode, we're going to be continuing our discussion of NPR's national security editor Philip Ewing's article The Russia Investigations: 5 Takeaways About The Inescapable Nunes Memo.

We left off by commenting on Ewing's introduction and his first "takeaway" from the House Intel Committee memo. What we noticed was the use of inflammatory language being used as emotional triggers along with a very careful selection of facts from the memo all rounded under an unconscious appeal to familiar ties through partisan political commentary on a non-partisan political topic.

What we're going to continue to see throughout this article is some very carefully written material that's aimed to distract from the main aim of the memo while also subtly injecting various emotional triggers to persuade the reader into viewing the issue through a partisan lense.

Let's begin by moving to what Ewing has listed as the second takeaway. For this section, I'm going to most likely have to go sentence by sentence in order to completely dissect everything that's going on here, but anyways let's get after it and have a little fun while we can:
"2. Two consecutive administrations believed Carter Page worthy of foreign-intelligence monitoring
Carter Page, like Papadopoulos, was a junior foreign policy adviser to the Trump 2016 campaign. He visited Russia at least twice in 2016 and acknowledged in an earlier interview with the House Intelligence Committee that he had met with government officials and others there. The core of the memo is that the FBI and the Justice Department used unverified material in the Steele dossier to ask the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to authorize surveillance of Page.
Republicans say that is the real problem here. In their telling, biased investigators didn't tell the court the dossier material was unproven political opposition research that had been funded by Democrats. But the memo doesn't say whether there might have been other evidence beyond the dossier — foreign intelligence intercepts or reporting from human sources — that also supported the warrant request. (And Friday night, The Washington Post reported that the FISA court "was aware that some of the information underpinning the warrant request was paid for by a political entity, although the application did not specifically name the Democratic National Committee or the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign," according to two U.S. officials.)"
The Nunes memo also doesn't say that the FISA court requires that a warrant produce intelligence in order to reauthorize it. So however the FBI got its initial warrant for Page, the Nunes memo suggests that once surveillance of Page started, it continued producing foreign intelligence.
Officials from FBI Director James Comey in 2016 to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — who was appointed by Trump and still serves in the Trump administration — have signed successive applications for warrants, the memo says."
 So, as you can see, this point, along with the entirety of the article, is taking a rather weird stance with its interpretation of the memo's content. On one hand, Ewing seems inclined to believe that the information presented is not true or in some ways misleading and misrepresentative. On the other hand, there are these "takeaways," or these things that Ewing has decided are true and that he's willing to teach to us. When it comes to any of the other information in the memo, Ewing is pretty much trying to prove it all wrong.

The title of this second takeaway, "Two consecutive administrations believed Carter Page worthy of foreign-intelligence monitoring," is an immediate straw man. The complicated thing about Ewing's article is that he is writing it as if he were explaining to us the details, but in reality he is actually trying to make an argument for what he believes is true and dismiss other aspects of the memo. The second point, in this regards, is a straw man argument.

This goes back to the use of partisan political commentary to persuade the readers into reverting to their appeal to familiarity within the party. Ewing wants us to interpret the memo as a Republican attack on the FBI, and as we discussed in the previous episode of this podcast, this interpretation doesn't make logical sense. The FBI and DOJ are not by any means allowed to hold any sort of political stance, and to suggest that the Republicans are using partisan tactics against the FBI is to suggest that the FBI is somehow involved with some political affiliation, in this case the political affiliation being with the Democrats.

This sentiment further degrades with the understanding that the memo was not written by the Republicans to attack the FBI. The memo was written by a few members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to illuminate illegal activities committed by a few members of the FBI, DOJ, and FISC. This is a common problem in modern day journalism; to suggest that some members of an intelligence community have committed a crime and to suggest that the entire FBI, DOJ, and FISC are complicit with the crime is not the same suggestion. It's an oversimplification of the issue, and it's a debate tactic employed either out of ignorance of the topic of discussion or out of a malevolent intention to mislead the reader.

The first paragraph of Ewing's second takeaway is providing to the reader some context about Carter Page and the reasoning behind the FBI's motivation for obtaining a FISA warrant for his surveillance. There's not much to say about the paragraph in regards to its methods of persuasion except for the first sentence, "Carter Page, like Papadopoulos, was a junior foreign policy adviser to the Trump 2016 campaign." Do you remember the title of the first takeaway? It was, "The Steele dossier did not launch the DOJ Russia investigation. George Papadopoulos did."

Ewing has already labelled Papadopoulos as a criminal actor and a key point of evidence for the Russian Collusion probe. By comparing Page to an already arrested member of Trump's campaign, Ewing is trying to have his readers subconsciously associate Page with someone who has already been deemed guilty, which is still a way of providing a straw man argument due to the fact that Papadopoulos was only found guilty for falsifying information to the FBI during an interrogation. Even though Papadopoulos' arrest has essentially provided no evidence supporting the Russian Collusion investigation, Ewing is still using this fact to state that Papadopoulos is bad, and Page is like Papadopoulos.

Let's move on to the second paragraph, because it's very tricky. It begins by saying, "Republicans say [that the FBI and the Justice Department used unverified material in the Steele dossier to ask the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to authorize surveillance of Page] is the real problem here. In their telling, biased investigators didn't tell the court the dossier material was unproven political opposition research that had been funded by Democrats." There are several key factors to take note of in these two sentences. To begin, the first sentence starts off with the suggestion that Republicans are the ones who are making the claims in the memo. As we have discussed before, this is another straw man in the form of appealing to familiarity through partisan political commentary.

It's important to continuously recognize this appeal to partisan politics because it's used to constantly remind the reader that it is Republicans versus Democrats, and not House Intelligence Committee members versus select members of the intelligence community. The second sentence starts with the prepositional phrase, "In their telling," which is used to define the content of the memo as some sort of story formulated by the entire Republican National Committee. We know that this is not the case due to the fact that when the memo was initially written and proposed as a topic of discussion, it was a highly classified document that only the most senior members of the House Intelligence Committee were granted access to.

Let's continue with our analysis; the second paragraph of the second takeaway continues on by saying "But the memo doesn't say whether there might have been other evidence beyond the dossier — foreign intelligence intercepts or reporting from human sources — that also supported the warrant request." This is once again another straw man. Ewing has already implied that the Republicans are suggesting that the "real issue" is that of whether or not the dossier used for obtaining Page's FISA warrant was verifiable, truthful evidence.

If the Steele Dossier is able to be categorized as false, then whoever within the investigation was aware of the dossier's integrity but still used it as a statement of fact is guilty of using falsified evidence in the federal court of law, which is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. To further describe the importance of this detail, the federal law states that if the falsified statements have been used in a matter pertaining to international or domestic terrorism, that prison sentence can be increased to an eight year maximum.

The law pertaining to falsified information is found in the US legal code in Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 47, Section 1001, Subsection (a), and it reads as such;
"(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; 
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. "
So how do we apply this to the issue of the Steele dossier? Well, as we know, both the FBI and the FISC knew that the Dossier was the result of a political opposition research campaign funded by the Democratic National Convention and the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign. The DNC and Clinton campaign funded Fusion GPS, a company that works with the FBI for private investigation resources and with the DNC for political opposition research, who then employed Christopher Steele, a former British spy who has contact with the FBI. The damning aspect of all of this is that since the Dossier was initially funded for the sole purpose of political opposition research during the presidential campaign the information provided must be interpreted with the understanding of a strong underlying political bias; furthermore, the information is only verifiable through the integrity of Christopher Steele's name since the dossier is at its core nothing more than a witness testimony in writing from a British private citizen.

The word "false" has a complicated legal definition. It can be used to describe a piece of information that has been purposefully created with the intention to mislead, but it can also be used to describe a piece of information that has been concealed with the intention to mislead. The term "False" is also used to describe groundless, unsubstantiated, or unverifiable information or claims. When we consider the use of the Steele Dossier in the FISA application, we need to understand that the content of the dossier is by definition unverifiable by nature, and in its use for the FISA application, specific information about the Dossier's creation was concealed for some reason.

I'm sure you're wondering "well why would any of this matter if the FBI was able to supply other information that was truthful, apolitical, and substantiated in the FISA application?" Well, let's get to the bottom of this. The Steele Dossier is a summary of a group of groundless claims against Donald Trump and his campaign that was funded by the DNC and by the Clinton Campaign as a part of their opposition research. If the information was funded for opposition research, then that means it has strong political bias in its content and intent of use. If it is unverifiable or groundless in its accusations, then it is false information and not usable in a court of law. Not only is the information false based solely off of its groundless content, the concealment of its political bias also further falsifies its use as evidence which further indicates that its use in the FISC is criminal in its nature.

If using the Steele dossier is criminal, then everybody who knew of its origin and its invalidity is complicit in the provision and use of false information in the court of law. The members of the FBI and DOJ who knew of the origin of the dossier are complicit, and the FISC judges, who Ewing has reported as being knowledgeable of the dossier's creation, are also complicit. Whether or not there was substantiated evidence to suggest that Carter Page was involved in an act of collusion with the Russian Government being given with the initial FISA warrant application is an irrelevant piece of information when regarding the content of the House Intelligence Committee's memo. What the memo focuses on is that the use of the dossier and the concealment of specific information about the dossier is a criminal act.

We do not know for certain whether or not the President and his campaign officials were in collusion with the Russian government to affect the presidential election. What we do know for a fact is that the DNC and the Clinton Campaign paid an organization called Fusion GPS who paid a man named Christopher Steele to speak with Russian officials, obtain information from said Russian officials, and then that information made its way to the FBI who used the unsubstantiated information as evidence to electronically surveil Carter Page and any individual whom he had been in or was currently in contact with.

Now let's move on to the third paragraph of Ewing's second takeaway, which reads as such;
"The Nunes memo also doesn't say that the FISA court requires that a warrant produce intelligence in order to reauthorize it. So however the FBI got its initial warrant for Page, the Nunes memo suggests that once surveillance of Page started, it continued producing foreign intelligence."
This is a prolongation of the original straw man argument presented earlier. By saying "however the FBI got its initial warrant for Page," Ewing is misrepresenting the fundamental intent of the memo. The "however" of the manner in which the FISA warrant was obtained included illegal activity and the falsification of information. The "however" is also the fact that McCabe had testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee in December of 2017 that the FISA warrant could not be obtained if it weren't for the information provided in the Steele Dossier, which we now understand to be a politically motivated, fallacious document.

I'm sure that at this point, you all, my wonderful audience, are getting slightly frustrated with the level of detail that I go into when discussing and analyzing these articles. Believe me, I get frustrated as well. In fact, I think it's one of the most difficult and challenging things about being a free, independent thinker in our great country. Although I am analyzing what I believe to be a left-wing reporter's interpretation of a memo (and not only that but I'm also grilling into it rather harshly), I find this sort of journalistic integrity with any kind of politically biased news source.

Political journalists don't tell you what you need to know. They tell you what they want you to know. Since we all have our own, individual political agenda, we always tend to revolve around journalists who share our own political agenda. In this aspect, these journalists only tell us what we want to know because we want what they want. I believe that journalists have become very, very good at persuading readers into believing what they want their readers to believe because they have found a way to manipulate this natural attraction people have to like-minded political thinkers. They are able to subtly convince their readers into believing that what the journalist wants you to know is what you want to know.

They do this by starting off each article with an exposition of a plot. It's really similar to how an author writes a novel; they set the scene for you. They create the world that they want you to believe is true, and they do so by employing the same writing techniques that a novelist would use. Think about the exposition of this article; it uses elegant and emotional descriptors to put into place a scene that may or may not happened. Ewing says that the memo caused hyperpartisan tension, but the memo ended up flopping in its significance. Isn't that odd? A large amount of politicians made claims that they read the memo and said it was one of the most damning, threatening, and important pieces of literature in our nation's history, and the day it was released, it turned out to be nothing that important. Really? So Democrats said it was a great danger to our nation after they read it, and now that it's released, it's a "nothingburger?"

And who decided that it was nothing? Republicans? Democrats? The Mainstream Media? or possibly Philip Ewing himself is so knowledgeable about the matter that he can promise to us that it's not important while at the same time detail the importance of the memo to us simpletons. It's all incredibly fascinating.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read or listen to the State of the Media Podcast. Next week I'll most likely change to a different article since I'm becoming bored of this one and it's analysis has become far more indulgent than I had originally intended. If you like this sort of content, please leave a comment or send me an email on how I can better improve the production of this podcast or if you have any suggestions on topics I should discuss or articles I should analyze. Thanks, and hope to see you all again next week.

Monday, February 5, 2018

SOTM Podcast - The Russia Investigations: 5 Takeaways About The Inescapable Nunes Memo (PILOT)

SOTM Podcast - The Russia Investigations: 5 Takeaways About The Inescapable Nunes Memo (PILOT)

Download Link for SOTM Podcast audio file



[Intro Music]

Hello and welcome to the first episode of the State of the Media Podcast. This little pilot episode is a continuation of the State of the Media blog where I take a look at certain pieces of media that I suspect to be markedly framed for one reason or another and proceed to analyze different statements made in the piece along with the methods and intended results of those statements. The underlying theme of this amalgamation of history, philosophy, and psychology, as it pertains to modern day journalism, is that all media contains an inherent bias due to the fact that every person operates with an inherent bias. I believe that understanding this concept is the first step in accurately analyzing the modern events that surround us everyday. Overall, my intention with the State of the Media blog and its continuation through this podcast is to not coerce listeners and readers into adopting my own personal opinions (although by human nature I'm sure I will be unable to suppress every aspect of my own inherent bias) but to provide methods of analyzing a media piece's bias and identifying its methods of persuasion.

This does not however mean that I will not be stating my own opinions. I believe that with the new methods of journalism that have evolved since the '60s, the differences between facts and opinions have become increasingly obfuscated by a number of tactics. I will be stating my own opinions due to the fact that a large portion of my content will be inspired by pieces of media that I either like or don't like; however, in order to maintain the integrity of this podcast and blog, I will always make a concerted effort to clarify my opinions with extreme prejudice so that it is known to you all when I am taking a break from the analytical process of the podcast. For example, the statement I just made, "I believe that with the new methods of journalism that have evolved..." started with a very specific choice of verbiage. I chose to use the verb "believe" with the intent to succinctly portray that the sentence in it's entirety is an opinion.

My reasoning for not leaving out my own opinions is due to the nature of my podcast's two grand maxims; all media is inherently biased, and facts cannot be obtained until the opinions have been identified and distinguished. It is psychologically impossible for me to completely remove my inherent bias from my writing, so I am going to make it explicitly clear where my bias lies within my speaking and writing. In contrast, I will also be posting the transcript of each podcast with footnotes for all of my sources so that readers who may be interested in some further reading on the topics I bring up will have easy access to the source material I use. I will be following these two practices of defining my opinions and providing my sources with due diligence, as integrity in writing is something very important to me.

Now that I've made this clear, let's go ahead and introduce this episodes main topic

[Transition Music]

I wanted the first episode to be about an NPR article since I have gotten a new phone that uses one USB-C port for all of it's connections, and since I'm a fairly forgetful person I've been having to listen to the radio to occupy myself during car rides due to the fact that I can never seem to remember to bring the little USB-C to 3.5mm jack dongle that a lot of new smartphones are moving towards and I prefer to listen to the sound of people talking over Pop music because it makes the car ride seem shorter and NPR is the only talk-show-based radio station around here that I really know of and...

Anyways, I'm getting off topic. Almost anytime I listen to NPR for an expended period of time, I always get to some news story that makes me think to myself, "Well now, that's an incredibly misleading statement with a large amount of political bias." This is something that I find troubling due to the fact that NPR is a 501(c)(3) that supports an estimated 32.7 million weekly listeners, and the public broadcast non-profit giant makes a significant portion, estimated somewhere between 20-25%, of its revenue through government funds.

A 501(c)(3) is a tax exemption code used for corporations organized and operated exclusively for "religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports, or for the prevention of cruelty for children or animals." The 501(c)(3) is the most popular of the 29 types of nonprofit organizations that are eligible for exemption from some federal and state income taxes; furthermore, since the tax code for a 501(c)(3) is defined in section 501(c) of the American tax code, this type of non-profit is able to receive an unlimited amount of contributions from individuals, corporations, and unions.

The perks of being a 501(c)(3) are designed to be a monetary incentive for charitable and humanitarian acts, however they do come with a strict set of rules. The two that I find most important when I am personally judging a 501(c)(3)'s charitable integrity are as such;
"A section 501(c)(3) organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator's family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests. No part of the net earnings of a section 501(c)(3) organization may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A private shareholder or individual is a person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization."
The Second rule of interest is;
"... all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.
"The organization won't, as a substantial part of its activities, attempt to influence legislation." 
In regards to NPR, I find that these two rules are put into practice in a rather fascinating way, especially when considering the fact that NPR makes a little over $208 billion in annual revenue, and a large amount of its programs are centered around political journalism, including political opinion pieces.

When it comes to individuals and shareholders making a profit, I can see this first and foremost being in issue within NPR's structure. I'm a musician, and a musician and a radio talk show host both reside within the same category of public entertainer. A public entertainer's primary tool of marketing is publicity; the entertainer needs to make sure as many people as possible knows who he or she is in any way, shape, or form so that potential audience members can become acquainted with the entertainer so that when his or her program or artistic content finally finds its way to the audience member, the member will feel more familiar with the entertainer's brand and be more likely to engage in the brand's content. This is known in the field of marketing as the "mere-exposure effect," and it's absolutely vital for a public entertainer's career. For example, Steve Inskeep, on of the current hopes for NPR's most popular program NPR Morning Edition reaches a weekly audience of around 14 million people weekly. By having 14 million people be exposed to his brand as a radio personality on a weekly basis, he not only gets the opportunity to make an annual salary of about $360,000; he also gains the benefit of having millions of people exposed to his brand which inherently benefits him through a subtle form of marketing by increasing his familiarity with potential audience members. If you were, to say, a frequent listener of NPR's Morning Edition and you were to come across one of Inskeep's books on a trip to the local Barnes and Noble, you would statistically be more likely to buy the book just based off of the fact that you have been exposed to his brand numerous times on your ride home from work by NPR's broadcasting.

To be fair, this argument is probably a little too far complex, and if it were to be accepted by an official court it may lead to the questioning of any person involved with a non-profit who goes on a radio station or television program for whatever reason. The more common argument you might find yourself hearing is that the NPR journalists and radio personalities are, what some who believe NPR should not receive public funds, typically overpaid. The hosts of NPR's most popular talk shows are comparable to Inskeep in that they often make six figure annual salaries that place them in that "1%-er" range, so to speak.

In regards to NPR's overall political affiliation, I would advise you to make your own conclusions on the matter. I must disclose that it is my opinion that the organization is currently very left-leaning in it's political commentary, but I should note that it has been accused by both Democrats and Republicans in the past for leaning towards both sides of the aisle.

Now let's get into the actual analysis:

I decided not to use an actual radio segment from NPR since I don't necessarily have the time to edit in audio clips in between my speaking voice, and I also don't wish to investigate copyright laws and risk having the podcast taken down for such a thing. I get most of my experience with copyright law from the music world, and those guys barely even let you sing happy birthday.

The article I have chosen comes from NPR's website NPR.org, and it's a piece by Philip Ewing, NPR's national security editor. It's titled The Russia Investigations: 5 Takeaways About The Inescapable Nunes Memo, and the writing in and of itself contains some egregious examples of misleading and persuasive journalism.

To begin this analysis, we must first address the context of the article's commentary. On February 2nd, 2018, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a board of congressmen who's duty is to provide judicial oversight to the Executive branch's foreign intelligence agencies, released a memo after having gone through the legal process of having the document declassified. The declassification process involved a vote amongst the committee members alongside an official statement of approval from President Trump. The memo provides a short, three-and-a-half page-long bullet point list of facts pertaining to a probe into abuse allegations pertaining to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (or the DOJ and FBI, respectively). The memo specifically addresses the FBI's interest in Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser for the Trump Campaign, and the methods used by the FBI and DOJ to obtain a Title I Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (or FISA) warrant for the authorization of Page's electronic surveillance. The political controversy of the memo's release was propagated by the fact that the Republicans in the committee, who wanted the release of the memo to occur as soon as possible, made a number of highly emotional statements about the importance of allowing the public to see the facts in the House Permanent Select Committee's investigation, while the Democrats in the committee made equally emotional statements about how the public release of such classified information would be careless and dangerous, and that the release of the memo would be done solely with partisan intentions.

I chose Ewing's article due to the fact that I have myself read the Intelligence Committee's memo several times over, and I have been noticing a pattern in the media where many journalists and talk show hosts are writing about what we, the audience, should pay attention to or what the author or talk show host believes is important about the memo. This kind of dialogue is already rife with political bias. Remember our maxim;  facts cannot be obtained until the opinions have been identified and distinguished. When an author is writing about what should be important in a government document, you are essentially going to be reading a list of the author's opinions about facts. The Government document itself will contain its own inherent bias, but in the case of this article, our goal as the reader is to become informed about the memo. The objective fact in this case is the memo's content. This isn't to say that everything in the memo is an objective fact; we aren't trying to learn about the intention of the written content or the validity of the content, we are just trying to learn what the content is and how the content is relevant within a grander context.

This is a complicated subject that is the result of over two years of political controversy, but I hope to provide as much detail as I can give, and I want to remind you all that I will be providing the transcript to this podcast on the State of the Media blog with links to my sources in case any of you are interested in further reading on the subject.

So let's begin:

The article's introduction reads as such;
"After a week of hyperpartisan madness that critics warn could shatter key D.C. institutions forever, the inescapable, once-secret spying memo wound up falling like a drop of rain into the Pacific Ocean. 
There was no Friday Night Massacre in which the leaders of the FBI and Justice Department were pushed out the window or jumped on their own. The memo didn't even break much news — comments by members of Congress and reports in the press ended up setting the stage for it nicely.
But that doesn't mean it didn't have some points of interest, including these five takeaways."
Immediately, the entire article is set up to imply that the memo is not only unimportant and overhyped, but Ewing also goes so far as to describe that the release of the memo had absolutely no consequence in the political world.

Ewing is trying to downplay the importance of the memo by using a variety of tactics. The first is through misdirection. Take note of the title of the article. "The Russia Investigation: 5 Takeaways About the Inescapable Nunes Memo." It's a very subtle way of reminding the reader that the memo is not the main focus of the overall arch of this political story; it's the Russia Investigation that's far more important and interesting. The article is titled like that of a nonfiction novel; the memo is intended to be inferred and remembered like that of a filler chapter in a novel's development. The memo is the boring episode of a television soap opera where the story focuses on an unimportant side character so that the season will still make it out with enough episodes, even though the writers were running out of ideas.

The last paragraph of the introduction of Ewing's article furthers this concept. It's almost like the reiteration of a thesis, with the thesis in this case being the title. There are only five interesting points, and these points are only interesting due to the fact that they can possibly pertain to the Russia Investigation.

The reality of the situation is that the memo is incredibly important in the grander context of the Russian Investigation. The content of the memo provides evidence to suggest that the methods used by the FBI and DOJ to obtain evidence of political collusion and conspiracy against the United States as committed by President Trump and his fellow conspirators was collected in an unlawful manner, and furthermore if this evidence were to be used in the court of law it would likely lead to the termination of the FBI and DOJ's Russia probe for unlawful means of investigation and the violations of private citizens' fourth amendment rights. One could argue that determining the importance of a piece of information within its relation to a grander context is not a factual process but instead an opinionated once; however, I think it's a very strong argument to suggest that the memo itself is a vital piece of information in regards to the overall Probe due to the fact that the entire legality of the probe now relies upon the validation or invalidation of the memo. The memo arguably shifts the main plot line of the Russia Probe story to a new line of questioning; the main theme is no longer "did President Trump break the law?" as it has now shifted to "did the FBI and DOJ break the law?"

Now let's work backwards and address the first paragraph that starts, "After a week of hyperpartisan madness that critics warn could shatter key D.C. institutions forever." Already there are several words designed to evoke a specific emotional response from the reader. "Hyperpartisan," in this instance, was very carefully chosen for this application. Bear in mind that Ewing could have written this statement using the word "partisan," and the phrase would maintain its definition and its misleading character. The term "partisan" initially suggests to the reader that the controversy of the memo is of a partisan nature, and furthermore the memo is itself written for partisan intentions.

Let's do some clarification here: the memo was written with the intention of exposing illegal activity committed by the FBI and DOJ. The memo uses evidence of partisan activity amongst the acting FBI and DOJ officials involved in the case as a way of providing a motive for the criminal acts. We have conflicting statements from the FBI which includes an official press release that reads as such,
"With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it. As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy."
Along with reports of two FBI officials, one from the counterintelligence division and one from the Bureau's legal division who traveled with FBI Director Christopher Wray to Capitol Hill to read the memo before its release, reporting to the media that the memo did not contain any factual inaccuracies.

Of course I would like to maintain the attitude that every piece of media is written with some inherent bias, but in this instance it would be factually wrong to state that the memo was written with political bias. The bias in this instance is whether or not the FBI and DOJ have broken the law. The memo was written to display the conclusions of a probe conducted by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence into the FBI that aimed to investigate the use of a certain document to obtain a certain  Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant, and nothing more.

To sum up the importance of Ewing's use of the word "hyperpartisan" in the opening sentence of his article, I would like to discuss the topic of a psychological phenomena called "projection." Whenever the term "partisan" is used in a political theatre, it divides a situation into two main categories. Everybody related to the situation is then automatically assigned to one of the two categories based on which side an individual's argument most similarly associates itself. This method of discussing politics is dangerous. It takes every individual's unique opinion and groups them together into a vague conglomerate that the individuals may only loosely be able to associate themselves with. This obfuscates the important details of any political discourse, and for the audience, the voters and tax payers like you and I, are left to choose a side and stick with it. By stating that the memo's release was "hyperpartisan" in this way completely changes the original intention of the memo's release and changes it from a list of answers to the question "did the FBI break the law" to an "us vs. them" debate between republicans and democrats. You could argue that the republicans only released the memo in an attempt to undermine the democrats' political standing, but that's a confusing argument due to the fact that the memo has absolutely nothing to do with addressing political affiliations. Furthermore the argument that republicans pushed to release it to hurt the democrats implies that the democrats were somehow involved and complicit as a whole in the illegal activity committed by the FBI and DOJ, which I do not believe to be the case. The only other explanation for the use of the term "hyperpartisan" is to suggest that the republicans are involved in a partisan conflict with the FBI itself, which would further implicate the FBI in taking a partisan position with the democrats. This implication would still result in the conclusion that the FBI has involved itself with criminal activity because the FBI and DOJ are not allowed to be partisan by their nature. They are criminal justice agencies, not political activist groups. The FBI and DOJ do not have a say in legislature; their one and only job is to protect the United States and her citizens from bad actors who are in violation of the law. Anything more than that is an abuse of the departments' power, or even worse, an act of sedition through overt or clandestine operations.

This is why the word choice in the introduction of Ewing's article is very important when understanding the context of the situation at hand. Ewing's writing has completely obscured the memo's purpose within the House Permanent Select Committee of Intelligence's duty to provide judicial oversight to the intelligence agencies of the Executive branch. Ewing has changed the question from, "did the FBI break the law," to "who's side are you on?" all with the use of one word, "hyperpartisan." Here, Ewing's method is widely successful among most readers, because it taps into a psychological phenomena called "projection." Psychological projection is a Freudian concept in which the brain defends itself from unconscious impulses by denying their existence within the brain while attributing them to other people. A common example of the phenomena is the angry homophobic who is himself a closeted homosexual.

We all love to imagine ourselves as the perfect nonpartisan, logical thinkers of the world. The reality of the situation is that we are all controlled by our biases and that we are psychologically incapable of thinking in a nonpartisan manner. As we discussed earlier, we are physically incapable of making decisions for ourselves without our ability to process our emotional responses, and there are few emotional phenomena quite as powerful as that of familiarity. It is so strong that whenever a person is placed in a situation that places him in one team that competes with another team, every decision that person will make regarding the his familiar team will be based upon how the decision will benefit himself and his teammates along with how it will attribute to the detriment of the competing team.

Essentially, a memo written in a nonpartisan effort to investigate a crime has been accused of being a partisan act. And the subject of the memo, the FBI, are being accused of acting in a partisan manner, and their defense is that the memo was written with as a partisan attack, which doesn't make sense because the FBI at its fundamental core is not legally allowed to be partisan. The audience, the tax payers and voters of America, will observe this dialogue and immediately begin assessing the situation based off of who's side they've affiliated with in the past, and in the process we will all completely ignore the actual factual evidence that is presented within the memo due to the fact that we will continue to trust the familiar side that we have already grown familiar with. In  this way, the public views every piece of evidence as a way of bolstering or hindering one of two preconceived possible outcomes. In our minds, one side has to be guilty, and one side has to be innocent.

In the situation of the memo, there are a select group of individuals who are being investigated for unconstitutional acts, and the facts need to be applied to this context before making any kind of informed decision. There are no teams, only individual actions.

So let's continue on in the analysis of Ewing's introduction:

Other words, such as "madness," and phrases like "Friday-night massacre" are obvious in their emotionally charged rhetoric. "Drop of rain in the Pacific Ocean" almost sounds like something you would hear in a song by the latest album from some indie pop band. Although it might seem silly to focus on the mere words of an article to exemplify its misleading qualities, the appeal to emotion is the most important underlying factor when considering any piece of media.

I'll use a personal example to explain; at the beginning of this podcast, I used the term "persuasion" to describe the process of using bias in the creation of a piece of media. I think Ewing's article about the House Intelligence Committee's memo is incredibly persuasive. Imagine if I had said that Ewing's article was manipulative instead. "Persuade" and "manipulate" have slightly different definitions; one is defined as "to urge" or "to plead with," while the other is defined as "to operate," "to manage," or "to change," respectively; however, the way I use them in this context has no effect on the meaning of my sentence. The only change in this case is that "persuasive" sounds more humble and down-trodden. "Manipulative," on the other hand, sounds aggressive and deceitful. "Persuasion" sounds much more submissive than the dominant "manipulation," and you hear it almost as if it's a personal attack on your competence. If I were to tell you that you are being persuaded by the author, I'm sure you might say to me "well yeah, he makes a good point." If I were to say that you are being manipulated, you would either say "well if Ewing is being manipulative. then that must make him a person of bad character," or even worse you might say, "How dare you imply that I am so incompetent that I could be purposefully manipulated?" and "I am incapable of being swayed or manipulated into believing a certain story and I indefinitely arrive to all of my conclusions on my own" and refuse to listen to the podcast before it even started. Word choice in any piece of media is vital. We like to think that just because it's an article about the news, we should ignore the idea that the author has his own intentions, especially since there's a statistically significant chance that you, who are listening to this podcast right now, listen to an NPR program at least once a week. For those of you whom that is the case, I'm sure you would respond with "I trust NPR, how dare you insinuate to me that they would try to manipulate me."

Word choice is so vital that I may later do an entire episode on the many fascinating psychological studies done on how unpleasant words act as triggers for our decision making process. For now, all that I will say is that we now know that the area of our brain that processes emotions has complete and total control over our decision making process no matter how logical and rational we make ourselves out to be. The research was inspired by studying people who were either born with or were victims of some kind of damage to the are of their brain that handles emotional response and as a result were unable to make any decisions for themselves or come to any conclusions.

To continue with my analysis, I have to address Ewing's implication that nothing has happened. To my knowledge that I have today, February Second, the only thing that has happened is that FBI Director Chris Wray asked Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe to step down from his position. In my opinion, American politics are like a soap opera; it moves slowly, but we always know that something significant is going to happen when it starts moving.

The first "takeaway" that Ewing states in his five-point list reads as such;
"1. The Steele dossier did not launch the DOJ Russia investigation. George Papadopoulos did"
After defining the dossier written by Christopher Steele, the former British Spy hired by Fusion GPS, as "salacious" and a possible "product of Russian intelligence disinformation," Ewing states that;
"...the memo prepared by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, says that what "triggered" the FBI's investigation was evidence about onetime Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. He has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians.
According to court documents, Papadopoulos was offered dirt on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and high-level meetings with Russians early in the campaign. When that story — after a drunken night out at the pub — got back to Washington, D.C., the FBI opened its investigation. So it was already underway by the time the Steele dossier materialized."
In this instance, Ewing is focusing on a minor detail of the memo's overall purpose and inflating its importance to his audience. George Papadopoulos was a man who joined the Trump campaign in early March of 2016, but he only physically met with other members of his specific campaign a single time. His official job within the campaign was to act as a deputy foreign policy adviser, and shortly after he joined the team he began to seek out meetings with Russian, Israeli, and Egyptian officials, which I must point out is what a foreign policy adviser is supposed to do during any major political campaign. The more senior Trump campaign officials have downplayed Papadopoulos' role in the campaign, while Papadopoulos' fiancée has argued otherwise (although she states that Papadopoulos provided a much more significant role in contacting Israeli and Egyptian officials while still maintaining a lesser role in contacting Russian officials). Although Papadopoulos was able to get an offer from Russian nationals asking for a private meeting with Donald Trump, which was a primary piece of evidence for his arrest, he was rebuffed and essentially ignored by the senior campaign officials after being notified of the offer. After the election, Papadopoulos was arrested by the FBI and during his interrogation he was reported to have falsified statements to the FBI. Papadopoulos later pleaded guilty and is still awaiting his sentence. Another important piece of information regarding Papadopoulos' arrest in context with the memo is that Papadopoulos' has only been found guilty of lying to the FBI during his initial interrogation. Beyond that, he had not been found to have committed any other crimes.

Although Ewing is correct in his assertion that Papadopoulos's arrest was the trigger of a Russian counterintelligence investigation, this fact is brought up out of context. Papadopoulos's name is being referenced due to it's use in obtaining the FISA warrant for Carter Page, another foreign advisory official in Trump's presidential campaign. Allow me to quote the paragraph in which Papadopoulos' name is mentioned;
"5) The [Carter] Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent  Pete Strzok. Strzok was reassigned by the Special Counsel's Office to FBI Human Resources for improper text messages with his mistress, FBI Attorney Lisa Page (no known relation to Carter PAge), where they both demonstrated a clear bias against Trump and in favor of [Presidential Nominee Hillary] Clinton, whom strozk had also investigated. The Strzok/Lisa Page texts also reflect extensive discussions about the investigation, orchestrating leaks to the media, and include a meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss an "insurance policy against President Trump's election."
Papadopoulos' name is being brought up because his guilty plea, which was for falsifying information and not for any collusion or conspiracy against the United States with Russia, was used as evidence for procuring Carter Page's FISA warrant. Papadopoulos' arrest had no relation to Page or to Steele's dossier, and this fact is highlighted in the memo as a way of further detailing how the FBI used faulty evidence to entice the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Courts into giving out a warrant for Page's electronic surveillance. The memo goes on further to suggest that this action of the omission of important information that renders evidence as ineligible for use in the court of law in the FBI's FISA application was done so due to a significant partisan bias present in the members of the Russian Collusion probe. They were creating an insurance policy in their preparation for the unlikely event that Trump would be elected president, and that policy, as it is implied in the memo through the reference of Strzok's and Lisa Page's texts, is an aggressive federal investigation where members of Trump's campaign are spied on, interrogated without a lawyer, and then promptly arrested for falsifying statements, which I believe mostly consists of not remembering conversations word for word that the FBI had the privilege of recording.

Thank you for listening to this episode of the State of the Media Podcast, I had a great deal of fun researching and analyzing this article, however this episode is getting pretty long and I believe that I'm going to continue on with it for next week's episode. I think it's important that I restate some of the maxims I've repeated throughout this episode that are pertinent to a proper analysis of a piece's bias; all media has an inherent bias, to understand factual information we must be able to identify bias, and we as humans are physically incapable of coming to conclusions without applying our emotional responses to our decision making process. Emotion is the most powerful tool of debate because you cannot persuade a person with logical debate or rational thought. Persuasion by its very nature is entirely based upon the appeal to emotion.

Friday, July 14, 2017

"Most of this stuff is still trueeeeee" - Investigating the Strange School of Thought that has encapsulated my Collegiate Colleagues - Revision Log


14/7/2017 9:34AM
  •  unnecessary words - "link by link" removed from paragraph 5
    • Original: Although it is just a Facebook post, it is an attempted argument at it's core. In my investigation into the school of thought that pushes more people to support the #BLM movement, I'll attempt to dissect my colleague's post link by link, and although I may find myself either agreeing or vehemently disagreeing with the statements, I would hope that I and the reader have an opportunity to learn something about the social issues in our society that would spark such a famous/infamous hashtag. 
    • New: Although it is just a Facebook post, it is an attempted argument at it's core. In my investigation into the school of thought that pushes more people to support the #BLM movement, I'll attempt to dissect my colleague's post, and although I may find myself either agreeing or vehemently disagreeing with the statements, I would hope that I and the reader have an opportunity to learn something about the social issues in our society that would spark such a famous/infamous hashtag. 
  • unnecessary words - ", which is something that is surprisingly convenient to do" removed from paragraph 11
    • Original: I can only assume that the "Black liberation movements" to which Garza is alluding are the Black Panthers, the Black Liberation Army, and the other various radical left organizations that were active during and after the Civil Rights Movement. In order to better understand Garza and the #BLM movement, I took it upon myself to freshen up my knowledge on the Black Panther Self-Defense Party and it's philosophy, which is something that is surprisingly convenient to do. The founders of the Black Panther Party, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, authored a document called the "Black Panther Party for Self-Defense Ten Point Program and Platform," that was first published in their party's newspaper The Black Panther in 1966, and was thus included in the consequent 537 issues of the publication under a section titled What We Want, Now!.
    • New:  I can only assume that the "Black liberation movements" to which Garza is alluding are the Black Panthers, the Black Liberation Army, and the other various radical left organizations that were active during and after the Civil Rights Movement. In order to better understand Garza and the #BLM movement, I took it upon myself to freshen up my knowledge on the Black Panther Self-Defense Party and it's philosophy, which is something that is surprisingly convenient to do. The founders of the Black Panther Party, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, authored a document called the "Black Panther Party for Self-Defense Ten Point Program and Platform," that was first published in their party's newspaper The Black Panther in 1966, and was thus included in the consequent 537 issues of the publication under a section titled What We Want, Now!.
  • maintaining consistency with optional punctuation - ; changed to : in paragraph 12
    • Original: To relate this document back to my colleague's original Facebook post, I can immediately identify certain areas of the Panther's philosophies that don't exactly align with my peer's original statement. If I were to cherry-pick a few of these points listed in the Panther's documents;
    • New: To relate this document back to my colleague's original Facebook post, I can immediately identify certain areas of the Panther's philosophies that don't exactly align with my peer's original statement. If I were to cherry-pick a few of these points listed in the Panther's documents:
16/7/2016 6:46am
  • typo - "jury" changed to "district" in paragraph 15
    • Original: Point 9: We want all Black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their Black Communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States. In the What We Believe section of the document, this is expanded to say; "The 14th Amendment of the U.S Constitution gives a man a right to be tried by his peers. A peer is a persons from a similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, historical, and racial background. To do this the court will be forced to select a jury from the Black community from which the Black defendant came. We have been, and are being tried by all-white juries that have no understanding of 'the average reasoning man' of the Black community." This is a difficult point to analyze, especially when considering the Black Panther's argument in the historical context of 1967. Although it is not an uncommon fact that racist members of the government actively fought for all-White juries during this period of time, the argument that all Black men have been tried unfairly doesn't exactly make logical sense. In accordance with the Constitution, the right to "[trial] by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed" is granted under the Sixth Amendment, whereas the Fourteenth Amendment states that "[States shall not] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The phrase "jury of peers" is not stated within the constitution, and it is not a right that American citizens are afforded; furthermore, the Sixth Amendment's right to an impartial jury from the district where the alleged crime occurred is only granted if the maximum sentencing for the charge exceeds sixths months, whether it be a federal crime or a state crime. To bring this back to the Black Panther's argument of unfair trials against Black men due to the absence of an all-Black jury, it's important to point out that not every person in prison or jail had the right to an impartial jury. What makes this point even more bizarre is the Panthers' definition of "peer." The United State's adoption of the use of peers in trials comes from the British where "peer" was congruent with "class," i.e. peasants would not be fit to cast judgement over nobility, and nobility would not be fit to cast judgement over peasants. In the United States legal code, a "peer" is more commonly a placeholder for the term "equal" due to the American belief that all men are created equal and are therefore fit to cast judgement upon all men equally. To assume that a White man cannot cast judgement upon a Black man with whom he shares a similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, and historical background is to assume that White men are not equal to Black men due to the difference in skin color, and that's a troubling statement since it would mean that one of the races is superior to the other. Now, when it comes to the Black Panthers, I wouldn't think I'd be able to adequately interpret which race they thought was superior, but the thought alone that White men and Black men can't be equal solely because of their race is something that seems socially constructed to me. From my personal experience I can say that I know my fiancée and I consider ourselves equals as we cast judgement upon each other all of the time (especially if I don't answer her phone call or if she hogs the covers!). If I were to ignore the philosophical aspect of the Black Panther's statement and switch to the practical side of the law, it would be foolish to assume that a Black man who was charged with a crime in a district that had no Black residents would be awarded a jury of Black men who had to have been recruited from outside of the jury. In the modern day, there are many states that are taking action to reform this kind of action, including states that are mandating each jury must contain a jury that adequately represents the diversity of it's district on a statistical level; however, the fact of the matter is that the right to an impartial jury is not the right to a jury of peers. If one commits a crime in a district, they deserve to be judged by the members of that district's community.
    • New: Point 9: We want all Black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their Black Communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States. In the What We Believe section of the document, this is expanded to say; "The 14th Amendment of the U.S Constitution gives a man a right to be tried by his peers. A peer is a persons from a similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, historical, and racial background. To do this the court will be forced to select a jury from the Black community from which the Black defendant came. We have been, and are being tried by all-white juries that have no understanding of 'the average reasoning man' of the Black community." This is a difficult point to analyze, especially when considering the Black Panther's argument in the historical context of 1967. Although it is not an uncommon fact that racist members of the government actively fought for all-White juries during this period of time, the argument that all Black men have been tried unfairly doesn't exactly make logical sense. In accordance with the Constitution, the right to "[trial] by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed" is granted under the Sixth Amendment, whereas the Fourteenth Amendment states that "[States shall not] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The phrase "jury of peers" is not stated within the constitution, and it is not a right that American citizens are afforded; furthermore, the Sixth Amendment's right to an impartial jury from the district where the alleged crime occurred is only granted if the maximum sentencing for the charge exceeds sixths months, whether it be a federal crime or a state crime. To bring this back to the Black Panther's argument of unfair trials against Black men due to the absence of an all-Black jury, it's important to point out that not every person in prison or jail had the right to an impartial jury. What makes this point even more bizarre is the Panthers' definition of "peer." The United State's adoption of the use of peers in trials comes from the British where "peer" was congruent with "class," i.e. peasants would not be fit to cast judgement over nobility, and nobility would not be fit to cast judgement over peasants. In the United States legal code, a "peer" is more commonly a placeholder for the term "equal" due to the American belief that all men are created equal and are therefore fit to cast judgement upon all men equally. To assume that a White man cannot cast judgement upon a Black man with whom he shares a similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, and historical background is to assume that White men are not equal to Black men due to the difference in skin color, and that's a troubling statement since it would mean that one of the races is superior to the other. Now, when it comes to the Black Panthers, I wouldn't think I'd be able to adequately interpret which race they thought was superior, but the thought alone that White men and Black men can't be equal solely because of their race is something that seems socially constructed to me. From my personal experience I can say that I know my fiancée and I consider ourselves equals as we cast judgement upon each other all of the time (especially if I don't answer her phone call or if she hogs the covers!). If I were to ignore the philosophical aspect of the Black Panther's statement and switch to the practical side of the law, it would be foolish to assume that a Black man who was charged with a crime in a district that had no Black residents would be awarded a jury of Black men who had to have been recruited from outside of the district. In the modern day, there are many states that are taking action to reform this kind of action, including states that are mandating each jury must contain a jury that adequately represents the diversity of it's district on a statistical level; however, the fact of the matter is that the right to an impartial jury is not the right to a jury of peers. If one commits a crime in a district, they deserve to be judged by the members of that district's community.
  • typo - "indite" changed to "indict" in paragraph 16
    • original: Point 2: We want full employment for our people. Not only is such a thing theoretically impossible, but the true nature of the Black Panther's founding ideology is represented in the follow-up point in the document's What We Believe section; "We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the White American business men will not give full employment, the means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living." This is a textbook example of attempting to use Marxist philosophy to solve social issues which is a tactic used by critical theorists and Cultural Marxists. From this statement the Black Panthers are assuming that they are the proletariat and the White business men are the bourgeois who are actively withholding the means of production from the minorities. Although I do understand the historical context of the document in regards to the racial discrimination plaguing minorities in 1966, racism is not a substantial reasoning for universal income. I would argue that in 1966 the culture was still geared towards racial discrimination, however the ball was already rolling by then for change, and there was definitely significant progress by 1980. For example, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had already been passed. Although there wasn't any effective way for the federal government to enforce the Civil Rights Act, President John F. Kennedy had already signed Executive Order 10925 in 1961, which would later be finalized by President Lyndon B. Johnson by signing in Executive Order 11375 in 1967. These Executive Orders, which we know today as Affirmative Action in the United States, may not have been stringently enforced when they were signed in, however the Civil Rights Act of 1964 created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate hiring discrimination, which would later be granted the legal teeth to indite without external referral by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972. Obviously it would be foolish to think that the United States was free of racism within it's society by 1980, but the demands of the Black Panthers remained the same; however, Huey P. Newton shifted his focus from assessing the social struggle of Black men to assessing the struggle of minority groups as a whole, and he made minor amendments to the Ten Point Program to include things like demanding free healthcare and demanding the end of robbery by "capitalists" of Black and oppressed communities.
    • New:  Point 2: We want full employment for our people. Not only is such a thing theoretically impossible, but the true nature of the Black Panther's founding ideology is represented in the follow-up point in the document's What We Believe section; "We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the White American business men will not give full employment, the means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living." This is a textbook example of attempting to use Marxist philosophy to solve social issues which is a tactic used by critical theorists and Cultural Marxists. From this statement the Black Panthers are assuming that they are the proletariat and the White business men are the bourgeois who are actively withholding the means of production from the minorities. Although I do understand the historical context of the document in regards to the racial discrimination plaguing minorities in 1966, racism is not a substantial reasoning for universal income. I would argue that in 1966 the culture was still geared towards racial discrimination, however the ball was already rolling by then for change, and there was definitely significant progress by 1980. For example, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had already been passed. Although there wasn't any effective way for the federal government to enforce the Civil Rights Act, President John F. Kennedy had already signed Executive Order 10925 in 1961, which would later be finalized by President Lyndon B. Johnson by signing in Executive Order 11375 in 1967. These Executive Orders, which we know today as Affirmative Action in the United States, may not have been stringently enforced when they were signed in, however the Civil Rights Act of 1964 created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate hiring discrimination, which would later be granted the legal teeth to indict without external referral by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972. Obviously it would be foolish to think that the United States was free of racism within it's society by 1980, but the demands of the Black Panthers remained the same; however, Huey P. Newton shifted his focus from assessing the social struggle of Black men to assessing the struggle of minority groups as a whole, and he made minor amendments to the Ten Point Program to include things like demanding free healthcare and demanding the end of robbery by "capitalists" of Black and oppressed communities.
  • clarification of a statement through added words - "for the nation's impoverished" added to paragraph 22
    • Original: What Shakur is describing seems to be a loose description of Newton's intercommunality that seems to justify open borders. As a modern day example, I could imagine Newton describing Mexico as if it no longer were a sovereign state, but somehow an extension of the United States. Even though the United States still currently (as of May 2017) has an over $30 billion trade deficit with Mexico, they are not at fault due to the systematic form of racism that the United States exudes over the Mexican people. Of course, the same could be said about any country who's citizens do not retain the collective wealth that the U.S. has, which is virtually no other country except the European governments that serve relatively small, homogeneous cultures and communities of people. Shakur furthers her disagreement with Newton on the Panther's concept of self-defence;
    • New: What Shakur is describing seems to be a loose description of Newton's intercommunality that seems to justify open borders. As a modern day example, I could imagine Newton describing Mexico as if it no longer were a sovereign state, but somehow an extension of the United States. Even though the United States still currently (as of May 2017) has an over $30 billion trade deficit with Mexico, they are not at fault for the nation's impoverished state due to the systematic form of racism that the United States exudes over the Mexican people. Of course, the same could be said about any country who's citizens do not retain the collective wealth that the U.S. has, which is virtually no other country except the European governments that serve relatively small, homogeneous cultures and communities of people. Shakur furthers her disagreement with Newton on the Panther's concept of self-defence;
  • clarification of a statement through added words - "by this time" changed to "by which the time Assata left the party would be about fourteen years" in paragraph 23
    • Original: Newton believed in open confrontation with the police and the societal oppressors. It's a belief that can be seen when looking back on the early days of the Panthers, which by this time would be about fourteen years ago. Newton and Seale started their operation by arming young Black college students to the teeth with commercially available assault weapons and following police officers as their way of "policing" the police. One of the core beliefs of the Black Panthers Party is that society is broken; it's so broken and corrupt that it has to be destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up. The action of following police officers with their loaded weapons was their method of destroying the police. It's not as if the Black Panthers, who at their height accrued not much more than ten thousand members, had the physical manpower to overthrow the government and reinstate their own perfect system. If they wanted to achieve the Black-only socialist haven that they desired, then they had to change up their battle plan. How do ten thousand people take over the most powerful country in the world, or even just a small portion of the most powerful country in the world?
    • New: Newton believed in open confrontation with the police and the societal oppressors. It's a belief that can be seen when looking back on the early days of the Panthers, by which the time Assata left the party would be about fourteen years. Newton and Seale started their operation by arming young Black college students to the teeth with commercially available assault weapons and following police officers as their way of "policing" the police. One of the core beliefs of the Black Panthers Party is that society is broken; it's so broken and corrupt that it has to be destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up. The action of following police officers with their loaded weapons was their method of destroying the police. It's not as if the Black Panthers, who at their height accrued not much more than ten thousand members, had the physical manpower to overthrow the government and reinstate their own perfect system. If they wanted to achieve the Black-only socialist haven that they desired, then they had to change up their battle plan. How do ten thousand people take over the most powerful country in the world, or even just a small portion of the most powerful country in the world?
  • removal of unnecessary words, grammar correction, and added/changed punctuation - "I only have on last analogy" changed to "I have an analogy," "concludes" changed to "concluded," "dog?" changed to "dog." " " He might as well have told me I was nearly two times as likely to get bitten by a dog, but that's not what the study says; because forty percent is a large number, but our human brains still interpret it as something much smaller than fifty percent and therefore find it more believable." changed to "He might as well have told me I was nearly two times as likely to get bitten by a dog, but that's not what the study says because forty percent is a large number but our human brains still interpret it as something much smaller than fifty percent and therefore find it more believable." "I know for a fact that dogs are evil creatures, and I know because that's what my friend has told me, and he knows more about dogs than anyone I've ever met." changed to "I know for a fact that dogs are evil creatures; I know because that's what my friend has told me, and he knows more about dogs than anyone I've ever met." "Or, at least, that's what I have to trust because I don't have a computer to search for dog information on, and I don't have the spare time or the real desire to go to the library and read about dogs." changed to "Or at the very least, that's what I have to trust, because neither do I have a computer to search for dog information on nor the spare time or the real desire to go to the library and read about dogs." "Does he really want me to tell him that dogs aren't actually so bad? Especially after what they did to his distant friend's family?" changed to "Does he really want me to tell him that dogs aren't actually so bad, especially after what they did to his distant friend's family?" in paragraph 24
    • Original: I only have one last analogy; Let's say my neighbor gets bit by a dog, and he has to go to a hospital. I might not think I'd be in danger of getting bit by a dog because it doesn't seem very likely to me. I don't see many dogs, I don't bother dogs, I don't even like dogs and I prefer to keep my distance from them. Now, what if I have a friend who's part of a club that's trying to raise awareness about dogs, and every day he tells me about every known dog-biting incident in the United States. Maybe after hearing this guy talk about dogs and dogs biting people for a few days, I might just think that he hates dogs or something. To be fair, I don't like them either, right? I try to keep my distance from them. But when it comes to my friend, he doesn't just seem to me like somebody who only talks about dogs a little too much. He's also a funny guy, and he's cool to hang out with. Let's say one day his casual dog-biting talk is suddenly a little more passionate. Maybe someone that he knew, like a coworker or a friend of a friend's grandmother, got bit by a dog, and he's really beaten up about it. I'm a compassionate guy, I share with him my frustration of dogs biting people. It's the worst! The next day, instead of casual dog conversation, my friend is telling me about how he really thinks the world would be better off without dogs. Well, for me, my only view of dogs, this animal that I have always tried to stay away from to begin with, are the two times where I've seen or heard about a dog biting a person. Beyond that, I have no real experience or history with dogs. The only thing I can think is, "You know what, if there weren't any dogs, your friend's friend's grandmother wouldn't have gotten bitten. I saw my neighbor get bitten one time!" The next day, the "dog awareness" club that my friend is involved in released a privately funded study about dog bites that concludes that the rates of dog-related attacks have increased forty percent in the past two years. In reality, the study was nothing more than a mail-in survey sent to a small village that's only inhabited by about a hundred people, and last year one kid got bit by his dog four times, so it would be ludicrous to assume that a volunteer survey with such a small population size and low level of cultural and economic diversity could possibly represent the other two hundred and fifty of three hundred million people in the United States. But here's the thing; it's 1970, and I don't have an internet connection. Even if I did happen to come across another dog-attack statistical analysis, I'm sure that the sample size would be just as ridiculously small, especially since a study like that has never been done before. But now, my friend is telling me I'm forty percent more likely to get bitten by a dog? That's a big number. He might as well have told me I was nearly two times as likely to get bitten by a dog, but that's not what the study says because forty percent is a large number but our human brains still interpret it as something much smaller than fifty percent and therefore find it more believable. But I can say that I'm safe from the dogs because I don't do much other than work, eat, and sleep. I don't have a nice job, and I don't have a lot of free time. The only times I ever see those filthy mutts is on the rare occasion I'm walking to the store and I see some mangy, disgusting animal being led by a leash on the sidewalk. I know for a fact that dogs are evil creatures, and I know because that's what my friend has told me, and he knows more about dogs than anyone I've ever met. Or, at least, that's what I have to trust because I don't have a computer to search for dog information on, and I don't have the spare time or the real desire to go to the library and read about dogs. Honestly, why would I try and disprove my friend? Does he really want me to tell him that dogs aren't actually so bad? Especially after what they did to his distant friend's family? I hate dogs. I don't want to think dogs are great pets, I don't want to look at dogs, I don't want to hear about dogs unless I'm hearing about their extermination, and I don't even want to be indifferent about dogs. If I was indifferent, it would mean that I didn't care about all the people who have been bitten! I don't want people to think that I value dogs over my own kind! I hate dogs. I wish dogs would die. Tomorrow my friend tells me about a guy who shot three dogs on the road last night. I bet the dogs deserved it.
    • New: I have an analogy; Let's say my neighbor gets bit by a dog, and he has to go to a hospital. I might not think I'd be in danger of getting bit by a dog because it doesn't seem very likely to me. I don't see many dogs, I don't bother dogs, I don't even like dogs and I prefer to keep my distance from them. Now, what if I have a friend who's part of a club that's trying to raise awareness about dogs, and every day he tells me about every known dog-biting incident in the United States. Maybe after hearing this guy talk about dogs and dogs biting people for a few days, I might just think that he hates dogs or something. To be fair, I don't like them either, right? I try to keep my distance from them. But when it comes to my friend, he doesn't just seem to me like somebody who only talks about dogs a little too much. He's also a funny guy, and he's cool to hang out with. Let's say one day his casual dog-biting talk is suddenly a little more passionate. Maybe someone that he knew, like a coworker or a friend of a friend's grandmother, got bit by a dog, and he's really beaten up about it. I'm a compassionate guy, I share with him my frustration of dogs biting people. It's the worst! The next day, instead of casual dog conversation, my friend is telling me about how he really thinks the world would be better off without dogs. Well, for me, my only view of dogs, this animal that I have always tried to stay away from to begin with, are the two times where I've seen or heard about a dog biting a person. Beyond that, I have no real experience or history with dogs. The only thing I can think is, "You know what, if there weren't any dogs, your friend's friend's grandmother wouldn't have gotten bitten. I saw my neighbor get bitten one time!" The next day, the "dog awareness" club that my friend is involved in released a privately funded study about dog bites that concluded that the rates of dog-related attacks have increased forty percent in the past two years. In reality, the study was nothing more than a mail-in survey sent to a small village that's only inhabited by about a hundred people, and last year one kid got bit by his dog four times, so it would be ludicrous to assume that a volunteer survey with such a small population size and low level of cultural and economic diversity could possibly represent the other two hundred and fifty of three hundred million people in the United States. But here's the thing; it's 1970, and I don't have an internet connection. Even if I did happen to come across another dog-attack statistical analysis, I'm sure that the sample size would be just as ridiculously small, especially since a study like that has never been done before. But now, my friend is telling me I'm forty percent more likely to get bitten by a dog. That's a big number. He might as well have told me I was nearly two times as likely to get bitten by a dog, but that's not what the study says; because forty percent is a large number, but our human brains still interpret it as something much smaller than fifty percent and therefore find it more believable. But I can say that I'm safe from the dogs because I don't do much other than work, eat, and sleep. I don't have a nice job, and I don't have a lot of free time. The only times I ever see those filthy mutts is on the rare occasion I'm walking to the store and I see some mangy, disgusting animal being led by a leash on the sidewalk. I know for a fact that dogs are evil creatures; I know because that's what my friend has told me, and he knows more about dogs than anyone I've ever met. Or at the very least, that's what I have to trust, because neither do I have a computer to search for dog information on nor the spare time or the real desire to go to the library and read about dogs. Honestly, why would I try and disprove my friend? Does he really want me to tell him that dogs aren't actually so bad, especially after what they did to his distant friend's family? I hate dogs. I don't want to think dogs are great pets, I don't want to look at dogs, I don't want to hear about dogs unless I'm hearing about their extermination, and I don't even want to be indifferent about dogs. If I was indifferent, it would mean that I didn't care about all the people who have been bitten! I don't want people to think that I value dogs over my own kind! I hate dogs. I wish dogs would die. Tomorrow my friend tells me about a guy who shot three dogs on the road last night. I bet the dogs deserved it.
  • Added words - [sic] added to quote
    • Original: "We will start with the basic fact that Capitalism and Imperialism as an economical system is in a deep crisis at home and abroad. The basis of this crisis is, of course, the exploitive relationships that capital must maintain in order to function. It is these economic, social and political relationships that signal the eventual doom of our oppressors and this system of oppression under which we all live."
    • New: "We will start with the basic fact that Capitalism and Imperialism as an economical system is in a deep crisis at home and abroad. The basis of this crisis is, of course, the exploitive [sic] relationships that capital must maintain in order to function. It is these economic, social and political relationships that signal the eventual doom of our oppressors and this system of oppression under which we all live."
  • Removal of unnecessary words - "socio-economic" removed from paragraph 30
    • Original: So according to the Black Liberation Army, the system of oppression that is enslaving communities all around the world is capitalism.  The Black Liberation Army had become convinced that the socio-economic system of the United States of America has somehow failed, or is continuing to fail due a "world trend of history" that opposes the continuation of the socio-economic system in place in 1975.
    • New: So according to the Black Liberation Army, the system of oppression that is enslaving communities all around the world is capitalism.  The Black Liberation Army had become convinced that the socio-economic system of the United States of America has somehow failed, or is continuing to fail due a "world trend of history" that opposes the continuation of the system in place in 1975.
  • Added Punctuation - period added in paragraph 32
    • Original: The difference between the use of these two definitions displays a striking quality from it's user The capitalist, who believes in equal opportunity under the law, understands that although mankind is unique and incredibly diverse each individual deserves equal treatment; furthermore, if every individual is to receive equal treatment under the law, then every individual will have been provided the opportunity to make his or her own choices so that he or she may succeed and live a free, successful, and healthy life. The capitalist believes that if an individual is left to make his or her own choices, then the individual will most likely make the best choices for him or herself.
    • New: The difference between the use of these two definitions displays a striking quality from it's user. The capitalist, who believes in equal opportunity under the law, understands that although mankind is unique and incredibly diverse each individual deserves equal treatment; furthermore, if every individual is to receive equal treatment under the law, then every individual will have been provided the opportunity to make his or her own choices so that he or she may succeed and live a free, successful, and healthy life. The capitalist believes that if an individual is left to make his or her own choices, then the individual will most likely make the best choices for him or herself.
  • Removal of unnecessary words - "various" removed from paragraph 33
    • Original: On the contrast, the Marxist believes that not all people are capable of making their own choices due to various reasons. There have been many reasons concocted by various Marxist political groups that tend to be specific to the target demographic of the group, but in regards to political movements such as the Black Panthers, the Black Liberation Army, and #BlackLivesMatter, the reasoning that individuals must not be allowed to make their own choices in order to create an equal society is that Black people, if given equal opportunity under the law, are incapable of making choices that lead to success. In a true free market, there are no laws penalizing or benefiting a single individual or a specific group of people, and therefore all people have been given a fair chance at success and life as a whole. The idea that capitalism oppresses the Black man is to state that freedom is slavery.
    • New: On the contrast, the Marxist believes that not all people are capable of making their own choices due to various reasons. There have been many reasons concocted by Marxist political groups that tend to be specific to the target demographic of the group, but in regards to political movements such as the Black Panthers, the Black Liberation Army, and #BlackLivesMatter, the reasoning that individuals must not be allowed to make their own choices in order to create an equal society is that Black people, if given equal opportunity under the law, are incapable of making choices that lead to success. In a true free market, there are no laws penalizing or benefiting a single individual or a specific group of people, and therefore all people have been given a fair chance at success and life as a whole. The idea that capitalism oppresses the Black man is to state that freedom is slavery.
  • Grammar correction - "when" changed to "of how" in paragraph 34
    • Original: What the Black Liberation Army has failed to understand about capitalism is that capital does not control anybody or anything. Capital is a tool, and just like any other tool, it's use is determined by the craftsman. Money doesn't control the world and instead is just a tool of those trying to control it. The Black Liberation Army also fails in it's ideology to understand the United States' government. Our nation is not a democracy. When studying the classical Greeks, one can see that true democracy is not an adequate form of government due to the issue when marginal minorities are overlooked in the democratic process. Majority rule has proven to be vastly detrimental to the marginal minorities of the community, and therefore the founding fathers who wrote our constitution have discovered a system that allows the freedom that democracy provides while still managing to represent would-be forgotten interests of the minority community. The idea is to divide the nation into multiple, smaller nations that form their own laws to meet the needs of their individual communities and cultures while creating a system of government representation to further empower minority interests. For example, I'd like to invite the audience to imagine a scenario where there was a U.S. state with the name "Green" that was inhabited by ninety thousand green people and ten thousand purple people. If the state was run by a true democracy, then the interests of the purple people would always be forgotten, as the general principle of democracy is that whoever has the loudest voice has the greatest power. Instead, the purple people are given a smaller form of government where those who inhabit the borders of this smaller Purple state are given the opportunity to vote in politicians who will specifically meet the needs of the purple culture and community. The smaller purple state is also given the opportunity to elect a set of representatives who will travel to the capitol of the state of "Green" so that they may represent the purple community and culture in grander issues facing the nation state. This form of government empowers the purple people, and although it may not provide a completely equal voice on the national level of government, it gives the purple people ultimate power over their own local government. This form of governance is what's called a Democratic Republic. In the United States, the levels of government are divided even more so; at the national level there exists the federal government, at the state level the state government, and at the city and county level the local government. Although the purple people of the state of "Green" may not have a large amount of representatives at the federal level, it would be far easier for those representatives to convince a smaller number of people to appreciate their issues than to convince the entirety of the green people. This form of government is not perfect, however it is the closest possible system to a truly fair and equally representational government that mankind has achieved. Of course, the system is far more complicated, especially when considering every other system of checks and balances that exist within our government frame to further protect the individual private interest, however this blog post is not meant to be a lesson on U.S. government.
    • New: What the Black Liberation Army has failed to understand about capitalism is that capital does not control anybody or anything. Capital is a tool, and just like any other tool, it's use is determined by the craftsman. Money doesn't control the world and instead is just a tool of those trying to control it. The Black Liberation Army also fails in it's ideology to understand the United States' government. Our nation is not a democracy. When studying the classical Greeks, one can see that true democracy is not an adequate form of government due to the issue of how marginal minorities are overlooked in the democratic process. Majority rule has proven to be vastly detrimental to the marginal minorities of the community, and therefore the founding fathers who wrote our constitution have discovered a system that allows the freedom that democracy provides while still managing to represent would-be forgotten interests of the minority community. The idea is to divide the nation into multiple, smaller nations that form their own laws to meet the needs of their individual communities and cultures while creating a system of government representation to further empower minority interests. For example, I'd like to invite the audience to imagine a scenario where there was a U.S. state with the name "Green" that was inhabited by ninety thousand green people and ten thousand purple people. If the state was run by a true democracy, then the interests of the purple people would always be forgotten, as the general principle of democracy is that whoever has the loudest voice has the greatest power. Instead, the purple people are given a smaller form of government where those who inhabit the borders of this smaller Purple state are given the opportunity to vote in politicians who will specifically meet the needs of the purple culture and community. The smaller purple state is also given the opportunity to elect a set of representatives who will travel to the capitol of the state of "Green" so that they may represent the purple community and culture in grander issues facing the nation state. This form of government empowers the purple people, and although it may not provide a completely equal voice on the national level of government, it gives the purple people ultimate power over their own local government. This form of governance is what's called a Democratic Republic. In the United States, the levels of government are divided even more so; at the national level there exists the federal government, at the state level the state government, and at the city and county level the local government. Although the purple people of the state of "Green" may not have a large amount of representatives at the federal level, it would be far easier for those representatives to convince a smaller number of people to appreciate their issues than to convince the entirety of the green people. This form of government is not perfect, however it is the closest possible system to a truly fair and equally representational government that mankind has achieved. Of course, the system is far more complicated, especially when considering every other system of checks and balances that exist within our government frame to further protect the individual private interest, however this blog post is not meant to be a lesson on U.S. government.
  • Spelling correction - "Siether" changed to "Seither" in paragraph 44
    • Original: Siether's article even goes so far as to blame the attempt to include women in the party as one of the primary factors that led to the movement's demise due to the inability to heal the wounds that the sexism and sexual assault left on Black women:
    • New: Seither's article even goes so far as to blame the attempt to include women in the party as one of the primary factors that led to the movement's demise due to the inability to heal the wounds that the sexism and sexual assault left on Black women:
  • Clarification of a statement through added words - "as I have stated in the beginning of this post" added to paragraph 48 
    • Original: As a note, I would like to point out that I have followed a pattern of addressing the #BlackLivesMatter movement as if it were a singular operation; however, beyond the website created by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrise Cullors, #BLM is nothing more than a hashtag. The website contains a "bottom line" that determines it's use as a social tool stating, "#BlackLivesMatter is an online forum intended to build connections between Black people and our allies to fight anti-Black racism, to spark dialogue among Black people, and to facilitate the types of connections necessary to encourage social action and engagement." There is a page where one may choose a local city to contact organizations that are associated with #BLM, however the names of the organizations are not listed, and I have yet to have heard back from whoever is behind the Durham, North Carolina submit-box.
    • New: As a note, I would like to point out that I have followed a pattern of addressing the #BlackLivesMatter movement as if it were a singular operation; however, as I have stated in the beginning of this post, beyond the website created by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrise Cullors, #BLM is nothing more than a hashtag. The website contains a "bottom line" that determines it's use as a social tool stating, "#BlackLivesMatter is an online forum intended to build connections between Black people and our allies to fight anti-Black racism, to spark dialogue among Black people, and to facilitate the types of connections necessary to encourage social action and engagement." There is a page where one may choose a local city to contact organizations that are associated with #BLM, however the names of the organizations are not listed, and I have yet to have heard back from whoever is behind the Durham, North Carolina submit-box.
  • Spelling correction and punctuation correction - "whit" changed to "with," extra period removed, and "and" changed to "any" in paragraph 56
    • Original: My message to the reader is this; organizations like #BlackLivesMatter manipulate their target audience with fear to push a Marxist revolution. If you are living in what you believe to be legitimate fear of the police (provided that you are not living in one of the more racist areas of the United States, e.g. yee olde Forsyth County in Georgia) or if you believe that the United States is systematically racist due to it's capitalist society, then you have been emotionally manipulated by a Saul Alinsky brainwashing tactic as it has been described in his own words. I understand that readers who have decided to read this post will only have three opinions regarding my writing whit those being either; the author is a racist who is trying to undermine the fight for racial justice, the author is making valid points but I am far too intelligent to be emotionally manipulated and therefore the author is wrong or misguided, or the author is correct and these are things that have already been known to me. It may be because of my own personal experiences with the supporters of these movements, but I have lost hope in convincing my peers of the tactics used by radical leftist political movements and their ultimate goals. What always saddens me is that I usually only relate to the methods that they are using or the words that they are saying, yet somehow the people who have already decided upon following these doctrines are always convinced that I am trying to deceive them. . In the perfect Marxist society, and kind of dissent against the movement is deemed evil; in order for the revolution to work, the rights of the individual must be neutralized for the good of the people.
    • New: My message to the reader is this; organizations like #BlackLivesMatter manipulate their target audience with fear to push a Marxist revolution. If you are living in what you believe to be legitimate fear of the police (provided that you are not living in one of the more racist areas of the United States, e.g. yee olde Forsyth County in Georgia) or if you believe that the United States is systematically racist due to it's capitalist society, then you have been emotionally manipulated by a Saul Alinsky brainwashing tactic as it has been described in his own words. I understand that readers who have decided to read this post will only have three opinions regarding my writing with those being either; the author is a racist who is trying to undermine the fight for racial justice, the author is making valid points but I am far too intelligent to be emotionally manipulated and therefore the author is wrong or misguided, or the author is correct and these are things that have already been known to me. It may be because of my own personal experiences with the supporters of these movements, but I have lost hope in convincing my peers of the tactics used by radical leftist political movements and their ultimate goals. What always saddens me is that I usually only relate to the methods that they are using or the words that they are saying, yet somehow the people who have already decided upon following these doctrines are always convinced that I am trying to deceive them. In the perfect Marxist society, any kind of dissent against the movement is deemed evil; in order for the revolution to work, the rights of the individual must be neutralized for the good of the people.
  • Spelling correction - "than" changed to "then" in paragraph 59
    • Original: Revisiting Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals reminds me of a time when I was following a mandatory attendance for a lecture about "social change" that was being given by Tony Woodcock. At the end of his lecture about the artist's duty to carry out social change, I asked him what the end goal was for all of the change. He asked me to clarify, and I said, "What are we trying to change society into?" He returned, "Well, I guess I've never thought about it like that." He stated that if there is something wrong with society, than it needs to be changed. The problem is that there will always be something wrong with any society. I believe in the good will of mankind, however I know that it is not a perfect animal. I found the real answer to the question in Alinsky's book:
    • New: Revisiting Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals reminds me of a time when I was following a mandatory attendance for a lecture about "social change" that was being given by Tony Woodcock. At the end of his lecture about the artist's duty to carry out social change, I asked him what the end goal was for all of the change. He asked me to clarify, and I said, "What are we trying to change society into?" He returned, "Well, I guess I've never thought about it like that." He stated that if there is something wrong with society, then it needs to be changed. The problem is that there will always be something wrong with any society. I believe in the good will of mankind, however I know that it is not a perfect animal. I found the real answer to the question in Alinsky's book:
  • Change of header message - "*Author's note* Due to its length, this blog post will remain under revision to correct spelling and grammar issues. This post will maintain a log of all corrections to maintain the integrity of the author." changed to "This post has undergone revision. A list of changes has been provided in this post to maintain the integrity of the author's words."