Dec
05

Black Feminist Kola Boof Sun Dec 8 KCAA Radio Show Guest

Kola Boof screen shot 2-2

 

Author’s Bio: Kola Boof

 

PERSONAL LIFE HISTORY:

Kola Boof was born Naima Bint Harith circa 1969 in Omdurman, Sudan to Arab Egyptian archeologist Harith Bin Farouk and his wife Jiddi, a charcoal black Gisi-Waaq Oromo.

Kola’s birth parents were murdered in her presence in 1978 for speaking out against slavery and other atrocities by the Sudanese government, and in 1979, Kola was adopted and thereafter raised in Washington, D.C. by Black Americans, Marvin and Claudine Johnson.

In 1993, as an adult, Kola Boof became a citizen of the United States. In 1994, she returned to North Africa to pursue a career in modeling and acting.

Unfortunately, in 1996, she was the mistress of Osama Bin Laden, which caused a media frenzy, and though it was against her will, caused Ms. Boof to lose her writing post at NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” after sponsors became nervous.  Ms. Boof currently lives in Southern California and has two sons. Kola Boof has been interviewed by MSNBC, FOX News, and CNN; and has been featured in TV Guide, Time, the New York Post, and the New York Times.

 

LATEST NOVEL:
The Sexy Part of the Bible” published by Akashic Books (New York) is both controversial and mainstream.  It received starred reviews from The Boston Globe and San Francisco Weekly and was praised by Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Time Out New York and many others. It made Hey Small Press’s Best Book of the Year.

It tells the story of a beautiful and diabolical young African woman who harbors
a death-defying secret.

Through twilights of passion and adventure, she finds herself combating Western
Civilization’s “re-invention” of Africa as well as discovering her impatience for
injustice and her natural zeal for high life and glamor.

Her incessant fear of Dolls and her burgeoning sexuality are like raging rivers that
won’t be contained.  This is not only a deeply sexual, deeply spiritual novel…it’s
a novel about the real Africa and one woman’s tragic desire to see it survive in
its own magical and wondrous image.
Controversial for its much discussed “sex scene with Jesus Christ” and the
true story of African apes kidnapping and raping African virgins on the eves of
their weddings…”The Sexy Part of the Bible” also presents us with an array of
unexpected characters…from a marijuana growing India Jones type Englishman
to a Muslim Woman practicing Witchcraft to a Transsexual Mother and Scientist
who is determined to alter time and the universe to her liking.

One Woman and One Man…for all time. Mother and son.

This is a powerful, poet and altogether unforgettable novel of self-love and the
violent unfairness…of identity.
There has never been a book like “The Sexy Part of the Bible.”

 

ACHIEVEMENTS: 

 

Kola Boof won the “2007 World Author’s Woman to Woman Pen” for Non-fiction, awarded for Kola Boof’s essay “I Am My Own Daughter”, which appeared in the popular Swedish feminist magazine, OTTAR—Sweden.

 

Her autobiography “Diary of a Lost Girl” was chosen by famed Princeton

Critic Kam Williams as the “U.S. Best Book of 2006.”

 

Kola Boof has been published in “Harper’s Magazine” and was included

alongside top literary writers Noam Chomsky, Charles Baxter, Z.Z. Packer and Stewart O’Nan in the groundbreaking short story anthology

Politically Inspired“.

 

An editor at Paris Review, Oliver Broudy, called Ms. Boof’s story “The One You Meet Everywhere”–the best story in the whole collection.

 

KIRKUS REVIEWS gave “Politically Inspired” a Starred Review and

wrote: “Not a dud in the bunch!”

 

In African literary circles that include Chinua Achebe, Ms. Boof is widely referred to as “Daughter of Chinweizu.”  This comes from her

early “rebel girl” days in which Ms. Boof posed topless for the back of

her book covers and espoused the teachings of Nigeria’s greatest literary

Scholar, Chinweizu.

 

Ms. Boof no longer poses topless on her books, but she has been dubbed “Africa’s most important new writer” by the great Chinweizu himself!

 

Kola Boof has published several novels and poetry collections on

small black imprints to much acclaim.

 

These titles include “Flesh and the Devil,” “Long Train to the

Redeeming Sin,” “Nile River Woman” and “Pure Nigger Evil.”

 

She has been one of only two black writers to write for the internationally

aired soap opera, “Days of Our Lives.”

In 2008, the government of South Sudan rewarded Kola Boof for years of

activism by appointing her National Chairwoman of the U.S. branch of its

peace organization The SSPP.

 

An organization whose members include Francis Bok, Garba Diallo and Ambassador Dudley Thompson.

 

She has been interviewed by MSNBC, FOX NEWS, CNN and featured in TV Guide, Time Magazine and the N.Y. Post and N.Y. Times.

 

PRAISE FOR KOLA BOOF:

 

The New York Times:

The African Garbo…Kola Boof is earthy, angry and alluring.”

Madison Smart Bell, Boston Globe:

“The most jubilant celebration of black African beauty so far seen in the English language.”

Derrick Bell:

“Kola Boof is a writer of courage, principle and loads of courageous

perseverance.”

Stephen Elliott (“Happy Baby”, “Looking Forward to It”:

Kola Boof writes like a singer. I loved ‘Long Train to the Redeeming Sin’.”

 

Tiki Barber, The Today Show:

Kola, everyone should read your autobiography…it’s wonderful.”

 

Kam Williams, Princeton :

My pick for the Best Book of 2006 is ‘Diary of a Lost Girl’ by Kola Boof.”

Keith Boykin (host, MY TWO CENTS, BET-J, MSNBC):

Kola’s books haunt you long afer you’re done with them.”

 

SOLOMON AMADOU (famed Nigerian Critic):

“One of the most original, enigmatic and gifted literary voices

to burst on the scene in the last 15 years…Innovative books like

‘Long Train to the Redeeming Sin’, ‘Pure Niver Evil’, ‘Flesh

and the Devil’ and ‘Nile River Woman’ prove beyond a doubt

that Boof is in a class by herself.  The living epitome of what

an artist should be.”

 

Sally Worwill (feminist Scholar, Sarah Lawrence):

“Kola Boof’s great magic is that she’s not afraid of squat!

Refreshing, daring, disturbing, imaginative and original.

I can’t believe she’s so underground.”

 

 

Dec
02

Does “ROYAL” classification have roots in Carter administration?

Bombshell

 

Left to right: Malawi’s Mutharika, Ethiopia’s Meles and Argentina’s Fernandez de Kirchner were all subjected to NSA/CSEC Close Access Technical Operations (CATO) in 2010. Two died from sudden causes and one has been seriously ill twice. Venezuelan leaders claim U.S. intelligence poisoned Hugo Chavez with cancer. Do assassinations figure into CATO, OLYMPIA, and ROYAL CONCIERGE?

 

December 2-3, 2013 – Does “ROYAL” classification have roots in Carter administration?

The French have a famous saying, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose or the “more things change, the more they stay the same.” In the often “old tricks” world of intelligence, the French saying may explain the utmost secrecy assigned to two joint National Security Agency/British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) signals intelligence programs codenamed “ROYALNET” and “ROYAL CONCIERGE.”

The first, ROYALNET, is designed to bypass encryption systems, including those used by banks and multinational companies, to read the plaintext of traffic. The unencrypted traffic, including electronic funds transfers, is shared between the FIVE EYES signals intelligence partners of the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

ROYALNET was successfully employed to break the encryption of networks like the Society for Interbank Financial Telecommunications or “SWIFT,” which handles  billions of dollars of banking transactions daily. Other ROYALNET targets included the encrypted networks of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Brazil’s PETROBRAS state-owned oil company.

ROYAL CONCIERGE tracked online hotel reservation systems to pinpoint the location of diplomats and other government officials. “Contact chaining” was used to link together the common travel plans of government officials by matching “Reservation email addresses and gov.xx addresses,” including those used for car rentals.

ROYAL CONCIERGE is also used to steer a prospective signals intelligence (SIGINT) and/or human intelligence (HUMINT) target top a certain location by “influencing a hotel reservation” or “canceling their visit.” One UK TOP SECRET STRAP1 slide leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden calls the steering of a target into a hotel trap “Close Access Technical Operations.”

It is clear that ROYAL CONCIERGE was employed against heads of state attending the G8 and G20 summits in Canada held from June 25-17, 2010. The Senior U.S. Liaison Officer Ottawa (SUSLOO), the NSA liaison to Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), coordinated SIGINT monitoring of not only the heads of state and government but also the preparatory meeting of “sherpas.” An NSA document called sherpas “aides and personal representatives of the heads of state and government” who met in Canada onJune 21 and 24. Among those spied upon in their G8 conference hotel rooms in Huntsville, in the Muskoka region of Ontario, and later, at the G20 in Toronto, were Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Saudi King Abdullah, South African President Jacob Zuma, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The NSA surveillance in Canada was done with the agreement of CSEC and many Canadian law experts claim that such secret surveillance violated Canadian law.

Mutharika died from a sudden heart attack two years later on April 5, 2012. He was replaced by the staunchly pro-American Joyce Banda. Zenawi died at the age of 57 on August 20, 2012 after contracting an infection while being treated in a Belgian hospital. Fernandez de Kirchner was diagnosed with thyroid cancer on December 27, 2011 at the age of 58 and underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from her brain on October 27, 2013 at the age of 60. All had been subjected to Close Access Technical Operations while they were at the G20 meeting in Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is an avid fan of all Israeli human rights abuses, including targeted assassinations, personally invited Mutharika and Meles to the summits in Muskoka and Toronto. They were the only African leaders personally invited by Harper to Canada and within a period of two years both died suddenly. Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva planned to attend the summit conferences but he canceled at the last minute because of what he claimed was his need to attend to massive flooding in the northeast region of Brazil. Brazil and its leadership had been under massive surveillance by CSEC and NSA as part of a program codenamed OLYMPIA. In October 2011, Lula was diagnosed with throat cancer.

The CIA has a sordid history of assassinating or trying to assassinate foreign leaders with cancer- and other disease-causing substances. Victims and intended victims include Cuban leader Fidel Castro who survived, Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba who was bayoneted and shot before he could be administered a CIA-produced “exotic” drug, Sukarno of Indonesia who died from kidney failure in 1970 after being ousted in a CIA coup in 1965, and Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, who, like Castro, survived several CIA assassination attempts.

ROYAL CONCIERGE and ROYAL NET appear to be coordinated for events requiring foreign heads of state/government travel by a classified program of the FIVE EYES partners called Extended Shared Enterprise Corporate Service or “ESECS.” ROYAL CONCIERGE also involves HUMINT operations. Although the program monitors hotel and auto rental reservations, little has been written about how such a program could provide surreptitious access to hotel rooms by breaking into the electronic door key networks employed many many hotels and motels.

Involved in ground work for surveillance of the G8/G20 summits was the Economics and Global Issues element within NSA (S17), which is part of the Signals Intelligence Division. Tasking involved S12, which issued a directive on “SIGINT Reporting in Support of the G8 and G20 Summits, Canada, June 2010.”

Many publications and networks have refrained from publishing the names of NSA officers involved in massive communications surveillance, even resorting to redacting” or blacking out names and other identifying information in a manner much like that employed by Freedom of Information Act disclosure teams at U.S. intelligence agencies.. WMR makes no deals with intelligence agencies. In keeping with this policy, the following names of NSA officials have been gleaned from a “SECRET/REL” document titled “NSA Lends Support to Upcoming G8 and G20 Summits in Canada,” — Rick McIntyre (SO121), Jim Vidas, and Susan Dawson. The document states that S12, the National Security Operations Center or “NSOC” at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and the “CTMMC” were all involved in conducting surveillance on the officials gathered in Canada for the G8/G20.

One hotel guest at the G20/G8 in Canada may have provided comic relief for NSA eavesdroppers: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who was arrested on May 14, 2011 by New York Police. Strauss- Kahn later resigned over charges that he had raped a chamber maid at the Sofitel Hotel in New York. It was also alleged that he had made unwanted advances toward other maids at hotels around the world.

The CTMMC abbreviation is close to another NSA cell called CTMAC, or Counter-Terrorism Mission Aligned Cell. CTMAC is involved in targeting individuals for assassination by drone. With two of the leaders under NSA surveillance in Canada dying suddenly and a third falling critically ill twice, it is incumbent on the media to start “naming names” of NSA personnel. They could be in a position to testify about NSA espionage being used to commit capital crimes.

ROYAL has a dark past as a special security caveat dating from the Jimmy Carter administration. Carter’s CIA director, Admiral Stansfield Turner, write that ROYAL was picked as the code name for a special compartmented U.S. intelligence program designed to protect politically sensitive and potentially embarrassing information gathered by means not all of which were considered orthodox. Turner claimed it was Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski who selected the ROYAL designation for critically-sensitive intelligence products, sources, and methods.

http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/melese%20home%20final3.jpg   http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/05/Cristina_Fern%C3%A1ndez_de_Kirchner_-_Foto_Oficial_2.jpg

Left to right: Ethiopia’s Meles, Malawi’s Mutharika, and Argentina’s Fernandez de Kirchner were all subjected to NSA/CSEC Close Access Technical Operations (CATO) in 2010. Two died from sudden causes and one has been seriously ill twice. Venezuelan leaders claim U.S. intelligence poisoned Hugo Chavez with cancer. Do assassinations figure into CATO, OLYMPIA, and ROYAL CONCIERGE?

At the time of its implementation, ROYAL was considered too vague by some U.S. intelligence officials because it was not tied directly to an established intelligence source or method, such as signals intelligence, imagery intelligence, or communications intelligence. However, it was soon determined that ROYAL covered all intelligence gathered on purely political targets having little to nothing to do with national security. Five intelligence sources were quoted by The Daily Oklahoman of September 6, 1980 as saying ROYAL existed only to protect President Carter from “potential embarrassment.”

ROYAL did not prevent the disclosure of embarrassing intercepts of Libyan government diplomatic communications that described Carter’s brother Billy as “our agent of influence” in the United States. Although the intercepts of Libyan communications mentioning Billy Carter were stamped ROYAL, their contents found their way into the media and caused a huge political headache for President Carter who was being challenged by Ronald Reagan for the presidency.

Other than the President, Brzezinski, Turner, and other select members of Carter’s national security team, only eight members of Congress were cleared for ROYAL. They included Robert Byrd (D-WV), Birch Bayh (D-IN), Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), and Howard Baker (R-TN) in the U.S. Senate and Representatives Tip O’Neill (D-MA), John Rhodes (R-AZ), Edward Boland (D-MA), and Bob Wilson (R-CA).

The eight members of Congress did not have automatic access to ROYAL intelligence. They were forced to ask for access to ROYAL documents and read them in a special secure room where they were not permitted to take notes or share the intelligence with staff members.

Nov
26

Domestic Goddess Cooking Show 2003 Flashback

YouTube Preview Image

Roseanne & Johnny had just hooked up (about 11 years ago) and he found himself in the reality show she was doing at the time, “The Real Roseanne.” It was an hilarious premise: a network (ABC) show about Roseanne trying to get a cable cooking show. It was brilliant and ahead of its time (It was Roseanne, after all!). Producers mentioned a theme song for the cooking show & Johnny asked if he could submit one for consideration. Here’s “Somethin’s Cookin’ – he wrote the words and music, played everything in a jazzy, Bluesy organ format, dashed into an LA studio and came out in less than an hour with this demo. Johnny and Roseanne loved the idea of the late, wonderful Phoebe Snow singing it when it got past the demo stage, but that wasn’t to be. But, we thought Roseannearchists and Roseanthropologists might enjoy this little 2-minute slice of history. It’s kind of a fun blast from the past that never really saw the light of day – but Roseanne liked it and that’s all that mattered to Johnny.

 

Nov
26

Join Roseanne Barr Purim 2014 Isabella Freeman Retreat

Roseanne Purim 2014

Nov
22

11:00am Sunday 11-24-13 Dr. Binoy Kampmark – The Illusions of Technology

Barr Kampmark Wells

 

KCAA Radio Presents Co-Hosts 

Roseanne Barr and Kathleen Wells Sunday November 24, 2013

 2:00pm Eastern   11:00am Pacific  9:00am Hawaii

with Guests

Roseanne Barr and Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Roseanne will be Disucssing Current Issues in Hawaii

Dr. Kampmark – The Illusions of Technology

Click Here for Direct Link to Broadcast and UStream

Nov
22

Wayne Madsen Report – On the Trail of the Assassins, Dallas

November 22-24, 2013 – On the Trail of the Assassins, Dallas

www.waynemadsenreport.com

After driving some eight hours from New Orleans, WMR’s “On the Trail of the Assassins” series of reports finally brings us to Dallas. Some of the Mafia- and CIA-linked gunmen who participated fifty years ago in the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963 took this same route by car, although their trip likely took longer, considering the fact that the Interstate highway system was still in its infancy.

After purchasing their sniper rifles from a gun store in Slidell, Louisiana, the assassins, who had begun their trip in Miami, passed through Tampa where they received cash from mob boss Santo Trafficante, Jr., traveled through New Orleans under the protection and with the support of New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello, and on to Dallas.

According to a former CIA operative who now lives in Houston, on the night of November 21, 1963, the mob snipers, local mob bagman and night club owner Jack Ruby, CIA  and FBI informant Lee Harvey Oswald, CIA embedded Dallas “policeman” J. D. Tippit, CIA agent E. Howard Hunt, and a few other conspirators representing the mob and a rogue element of the CIA met at Campisi’s Egyptian restaurant on Mockingbird Lane, 4.2 miles from Dealey Plaza.

Campisi’s was owned by Joe Campisi, who the present-day manager of the restaurant admitted was a close family and business friend of her uncle Joe Campisi. WMR and a few local Dallas JFK assassination specialists gathered on the evening of November 21 at Campisi’s, which has not changed much in fifty years. Joe Campisi’s niece explained how close her uncle was to Carlos Marcello and made a special point of pointing out the round table in the back of the restaurant where she said Jack Ruby dined fifty years ago to the very night. Now sitting under a large portrait of Joe Campisi, the table sits against the back wall of the restaurant, near the kitchen and rear exit. Anyone entering the restaurant through the padded red door would have been immediately seen by Ruby and Joe Campisi, allowing them to either monitor all the activity in the dining room or make a hasty exit out of the back door.

Campisi’s niece explained how Marcello, like all Sicilian crime families, were just trying to make it in the United States amid all the anti-Italian and anti-immigrant pressures of their era. She did not know, or was not willing to say, who joined Ruby at the special “round table” the night of November 21, 1963.

One thing is clear. The gunmen who drove from Tampa through New Orleans to Dallas spent some of their time at fine dining establishments. We previously described their visit to the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City in Tampa where they mere met by Trafficante, who was a silent partner in the restaurant’s operation. While in New Orleans, the assassins met with Marcello. Although it is not known where they ate, the Campisi restauranteurs originated in New Orleans before moving to Dallas and the Marcello and Campisi mob families had connections to some of the finer restaurants in the city. In Dallas, the assassins capped off their mission by eating at Campisi’s, which serves traditional (and very good) Italian fare.

While at Campisi’s, one local area politician described a conversation he once had with Winston Smith [the name is ironic], the son of Jack Ruby’s attorney, Hubert Winston Smith. The younger Smith described how Trafficante had hidden a large cache of gold, made from his various business ventures, including illegal gambling in the United States and legal casinos in Cuba, in a secret underground vault somewhere in Havana. The Tampa-based mob boss moved the gold from Florida to Cuba to keep it from falling into the hands of federal law enforcement who were trying to prosecute Trafficante for racketeering.

After the fall of the Fulgencio Batista regime in Cuba and the coming to power of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, Trafficante continued to keep the location of the gold cache in Havana secret. Wen the CIA began planning the Bay of Pigs invasion by the Cuban exile paramilitary Brigade 2506, Trafficante trained is own special team that would accompany Brigade 2506, not to assist in the overthrow of Castro, but to secure the cache of gold and remove it from Cuba. Trafficante placed in charge of the operation his son, who ended up being one of the 4000 killed or wounded among the ranks of the invaders. The Trafficante gold was never secured and, more astounding, according to the story related by Smith, remains hidden in Havana to this day!

After hearing of his son’s death, Trafficante vowed to kill President Kennedy in retribution. One of the CIA team leaders for Brigade 2506 was E. Howard Hunt, who would figure prominently in the assassination of Kennedy and the Watergate break-in.

The Egyptian
Campisi’s Egyptian restaurant on Mockingbird Lane in Dallas. November 21, 1963 saw Jack Ruby, Lee Oswald, J.D. Tippit, and Mafia-hired snipers gather for a final meeting on the eve of the fateful day of the assassination of President Kennedy. Ironically, President Kennedy’s motorcade would pass by Campisi’s on its route from Love Field to Dealey Plaza.


Just as in New Orleans where ex-FBI agent and assassination plotter Guy Banister shared his office building with Fair Play for Cuba Committee FBI informant Lee Oswald, in the shadow of the U.S. Federal Building, the Federal Building annex, which housed the offices of federal law enforcement agencies, had a commanding view of Dealey Plaza and the assassination scene. This photo of the Federal Building across Elm Street is taken from the “Grassy Knoll.”

Bush outside Texas School Book Depository?

This spot in front of the Texas School Book Depository, where the editor is standing, is where CIA operative George H W Bush stood while the shots rang out in Dealey Plaza. Bush [right photo, farthest to the left] is looking directly at the location of President Kennedy’s limousine when he was hit by the gunfire.

Spot on Elm Street [around area of the two adjacent orange cones] where the fatal bullet struck President Kennedy in the front right side of his head. Several people gathered on the evening of November 21. The mayor of Dallas closed the area on November 22 to all but 5000 special ticket holders. Radio host Alex Jones led a protest march against the mayor’s decision as an abridgement of constitutional rights. On the evening of November 21, at around 5:30 pm (CST), the editor witnessed Dallas police arrest one man on Commerce Street across from Dealey Plaza. The man, who appeared to be in his twenties, was carrying an automatic rifle.


Bullet hole in windshield of Lincoln Continental limousine. The Warren Commission suspended all laws of universal physics to support the contention that all the bullets fired came from Oswald’s cheap male-order bolt-action rifle from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.

Two reflections on Dealay Plaza. The assassination area — te School Book Depository, the Grassy Knoll, the Dal-Tex building where another sniper’s nest was reportedly located, the railroad overpass, and, to the editor’s surprise, the Dallas Federal Building, are all in close proximity to one another. The spot where Abraham Zapruder took the video of the President being hit was only 165 feet from the limousine. It has often been said that President Kennedy was caught in a “turkey shoot.” In the case of Dealey Plaza, the shooting took place in a virtual cage. 

Nov
21

KCAA Sun Nov 24 – Dr. Binoy Kampmark – The Illusions of Technology

 

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Floating Twitter and Fleeting Tweets: The Illusions of Technology

By Binoy Kampmark

“This is the story of the next half-century as we effectively become cyborgs” – Joshua Foer [1]

It says much that one of the great technological achievements of the last 20 years is a creation emphasizing the writing of 140 characters: the tailored, high-speed medium of communication that has effectively created a virtual community, with a set of virtual ethics and codes of misconduct. It has become the parasite of conversations – one doesn’t so much have conversations as fingering sessions on blackberries and iPhones. The real, a term that has ceased being popular, are left behind.

Twitter addicts are incapable of actually having a conversation beyond the cyber community they have constructed. Therein lies salvation, and perhaps destruction, for them. Then comes the other side, one of revolt against such tendencies. Either you stay off it or at the very least escape the Blackberry world. Go to Spain, Gwyneth Paltrow suggests, where she assumes that a relaxed life repels the need to be on the grid. The Spanish “don’t always have their Blackberrys on.”[2]

By all accounts, founders Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone did rather well in the company’s initial public offering (IPO): a good showing given that such technology floats can crash with Icarus-like doom. “Kudos to Twitter for orchestrating a highly successful IPO,” said Lou Kerner of the Social Internet Fund.[3] Then, the warning. “However, as FaceBook showed, an IPO success, or disaster in FaceBook’s case, is really just noise in the long term. Twitter’s success as a stock is going to be based on how the company performs.”

Yelp, Zynga, Groupon, LinkedIn are among the other companies in the social-media field that have taken the IPO plunge. For Twitter, shares opened on the New York Stock Exchange at $45, which placed the company’s value at $30 billion. Seventy million shares had been offered at the initial price of $26, valuing the company at $18.34 billion.

Analysts make their predictable predictions on the fortunes of the company. Cantor Fitzgerald of Youssef Squali, speaking in the obtuse, torturous language of marketing, wrote of how, “Twitter is based on a one to-one-all, all-the-time broadcast distribution model, and as such, fulfils and unmet need.” The model is “highly complementary to traditional media outlets (especially TV), and fulfills the need for up-to-the-minute, trending information in real time.”

What is the substance, as opposed to the form, at stake here? We know that Twitter does perform well – if you believe brevity to be the soul of wit. But monetizing it has always been the great conundrum. It might have 230 million users worldwide, at a rough estimate, though it still posted a loss of more than $65 million in its last quarter.[4]

Individuals like E-commerce Director Brett Holmes don’t see Twitter as being any more challenging that what is already in place. “Social media companies are legitimate advertising websites, no different than, say, Google or Yahoo. The same way Google made its money is the same way Twitter and FaceBook will make their money.”[5] Tara Clarke of Money Morning suggests that grandest of shibboleths: that the success of such advertising depends on insertion without detection, or, the exertion of an influence on the user “without impacting the user in a negative way.” Then comes that great challenge of keeping people on their accounts – incessantly, even permanently.

Of course, the instant idea of Twitter is not the world of advertising but the influence of what it has become outside its seemingly banal existence. It has played a significant role in organizing groups and directing information. It has given birth to tweet activism, though this tends to be the cyber-version of hot air, virtual venting, activism via the click, the spurt, the dash.

Twitter has been the lifeline in some natural disasters, used in emergency landings, and become the target of law-enforcement authorities concerned about its scope. It is used to troll, to bully, to harass. It is used to express unguarded views that result in sackings, demotions and retributions. Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group, adds another, not so exciting point: “it’s a great mechanism that celebs can use to embarrass themselves.”[6]

Then there is an argument wishing that Twitter might go away, vanish into the ether of babble that seemingly produced it. Each technological innovation doesn’t necessarily result in neurological advances. Joshua Foer’s, book Moonwalking with Einstein is replete with such examples. There is much to be said that Twitter performs a powerful dumbing down function, stunting memory the way writing and printing began challenging the oral tradition. From Gutenberg to Biz Stone; from the written word to the Tweet. Pity the mind.

But the founders have certainly put their finger on the sometimes profound but often extraordinary ordinariness of human communication. In Twitter’s economic debut on the New York Stock Exchange, one can’t deny that the medium itself had its day, creating a slew of paper millionaires, and even a billionaire in the form of Evan Williams, who owns 10.4 percent of the company. Its founders should enjoy the buzz and hope it lasts longer than it takes to write 140 characters.

References
1. New York Times Magazine, May 18, 2011.

2. Wall Street Journal, Jul 6, 2009.

3. AFP, Nov 8, 2013.

4. The Independent, Oct 25, 2013.

5. Money Morning, Oct 4, 2013.

6. Computer World, Mar 11, 2011.

Editor’s Notes: Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge and ran with Julian Assange for the WikiLeaks Party for the Australian Senate. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Photographs one, two, four and five by Steve Garfield.

 

Nov
20

“Batshit crazy” meme becoming a standard for attack on WMR editor

 

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November 20-21, 2013 –

“Batshit crazy” meme becoming a standard for attack on WMR editor

One thing that certainly exemplifies the critics of WMR’s editor is a total lack of originality. In June, after being quoted by the UK Observer about NSA Third Party partners — all of which was confirmed by later disclosures from Edward Snowden — the U.S. Naval War College’s “constant Twitterer John Schindler called this editor “batshit crazy” in an interview published by Business Insider, a website started by DoubleClick baron Kevin Ryan, a noted libertarian of the Koch Brothers’ mindset.

Salon, the online pay-for-view news site parroted another “batshit crazy” meme published by the Daily Banter, a lavishly pro-Barack Obama site run by Bob Cesca. Apparently, some Obama groupies were offended that comedienne and television star Roseanne Barr sent an open letter to Congress in which she complained about the blackmail of senior government officials. Barr attached as footnotes to her letter a number of WMR articles dealing with blackmail. Barr, who continues to enjoy top ratings on cable networks for her television shows, was called “erratic” and a “truther.”

Salon is owned by John Warnock, the deep-pocketed Mormon co-founder of Adobe Systems, and Bill Hambrecht, a wealthy investment banker. As mainly a subscription site, Salon would never have anything good to say about WMR, just like Macy’s would never laud Gimbel’s and McDonald’s normally doesn’t praise Burger King. The author of the Salon piece, Mary Elizabeth Williams, merely parroted the original “batshit crazy” story from the Daily Banter. Mary Beth, I’m sure, is a nice Jersey City girl who just didn’t bother seeking a comment from this editor. That would normally be considered sloppy journalism but Mary Beth has been battling stage IV melanoma, so we wish her every success in her treatment and recovery and that is sincere.

But Chez Pazienza, the Banter author who penned the “batshit crazy internet conspiracy theorist” screed is another story entirely. While this editor couldn’t put my pen down in the days and weeks after 9/11, Pazienza couldn’t put the crack pipe down. He left MSNBC as a producer ending up eventually at CNN. He was fired from CNN in 2008 over his editorializing on the Huffington Post, which apparently violated CNN policies. This editor will not be lectured on proper journalism techniques by a addle-brained drug addict and a loser who couldn’t hold down a job at two major TV broadcast networks. Nor will I get into a battle of wits with a pathetic unarmed man like Pazienza.

As for Cesca, who can’t get on his knees fast enough for Mr. Obama, his record as a journalist doesn’t exactly inspire trust. Cesca was an intern for the “Don and Mike Show,” a Washington, DC “shock jock” program that tried to be the afternoon complement of the morning Howard Stern show. But, alas, with their constant fart jokes, undoubtedly written by the adolescent-minded Cesca, and a bizarre “death trifecta” feature that predicted the next three celebrity deaths amid guffawing and chortling by the hosts, “Don and Mike” failed to make it and Cesca went on to direct the animated “Kung Fu Jimmy Chow” series for Heavy.com. Cesca big time media outlet now is the “Bob and Chez Show,” which he does on a podcast with his former drug addict friend.

Perhaps “Bob and Chez” should compare their sorry resumés that indicate two all-time losers, to my own — which includes citations from Project Censored and the Fund for Constitutional Government — and that of Emmy, Golden Globe, and American Comedy Award winner Roseanne Barr before attacking the professionalism of others. In other words, “Bob and Chez” should get a frigging life.