U.S. Politics

This Immigrant West Point Graduate Proves America Is Already Great


This Immigrant West Point Graduate Proves America Is Already Great (IMAGE)

Featured image via Facebook


A photo of graduating West Point cadet 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache went viral after it was published by West Point’s U.S. Military Academy on Facebook. The photo shows Idrache, tears streaming down his face as the 2016 commencement takes place at West Point, N.Y.

Lt. Idrache’s back story is the American dream, come to life.

He worked his way through one of the nation’s most prestigious military schools after immigrating to the United States from Haiti, earning his citizenship and serving for two years as an enlisted soldier with the Maryland Army National Guard, according to Army records.

Idrache grew up watching American soldiers in Haiti performing humanitarian missions, not knowing that one day he would be among their ranks.

Like many other immigrants, his family did not come to America with much.

Idrache’s father, Dieujuste, immigrated to America and was able to bring the rest of his family with him in 2009, one year before an earthquake leveled much of Port-au-Prince. The family didn’t have much, Idrache said, but his father always stressed the importance of education.

Despite the desires of some to say that America is closed, and that nobody else can come in – the only way the country can remain as strong as it is, is for us to continue bringing in immigrants as has always happened. Many of those immigrants have been the ones to serve on the front lines, defending all of our freedom.

Some of them have even given up the ultimate sacrifice – their lives – in defense of American ideals. The idea that America would ever seal itself off from the world, especially with a wall, goes against our best interests.

Lt. Idrache explained the weight of what he was thinking about during the photo, and about those who came before him and what it all meant.

“Three things came to mind and led to those tears,” Idrache wrote. “The first is where I started. I am from Haiti and never did I imagine that such honor would be one day bestowed on me. The second is where I am. Men and women who have preserved the very essence of the human condition stood in that position and took the same oath. Men who preserved the Union [in] a dark period of this country’s history. Men who scaled the face of adversity and liberated Europe from fascism …Women like CPT Griest, LT Haver, MAJ Jaster who rewrote the narrative and challenged the status quo to prove themselves worthy of being called Rangers.”

With someone like that on our side, America is already great.

By Oliver Willis

U.S. Politics

Carlson: Glenn Beck ‘acted like he was auditioning to be Mark Zuckerberg’s manservant’ at Facebook meeting

Tucker Carlson is shown.  | Getty

Tucker Carlson arrives at a White House Correspondents’ Dinner after party in 2008.


Daily Caller editor-in-chief and Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson is not happy with how Glenn Beck acted at the Facebook meeting for conservatives this week.

In an interview, Carlson blasted the radio and television host, saying he was sucking up to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

“I went to that meeting expecting Beck to cry, rend his garments while quoting James Madison, but that’s not at all what happened. He began the most extended assiduous suck-up I think I’ve ever seen a grown man commit. He acted like he was auditioning to be Mark Zuckerberg’s manservant — it was awe-inspiring,’ Carlson said. “I don’t know what his agenda is; it’s either he’s looking to put his tanking Web properties up for sale or he just can’t help himself. There’s a billionaire there, so he sniffs the throne.”

In April, Beck’s company The Blaze laid off about 40 employees and announced that it was relocating its operations almost entirely to Texas, where it is headquartered. Matt Frucci, whose hiring to run The Blaze’s television operation in New York was announced the same week of the layoffs, quietly departed the company about a week later. In an unsigned post, The Blaze announced a reorganization and said that the changes were made because the company had “grown into a company [Beck] no longer believed in” and urging people to “stay tuned” for the company’s next chapter.

In a post after the meeting, Beck offered up high praise for Zuckerberg and his team, saying he “was convinced that Facebook is behaving appropriately and trying to do the right thing. They were humble, open, and listened intently to everyone in the room.”

But Beck also hit on some of his fellow attendees for asking for what he called “affirmative action for conservatives.”

“When did conservatives start demanding quotas AND diversity training AND less people from Ivy League Colleges. I sat there, looking around the room at ‘our side’ wondering, ‘Who are we?’ Who am I?'” Beck wrote. “What happened to us? When did we become them? When did we become the people who demand the Oscars add black actors based on race?”

Carlson said he was one person at the meeting who brought up increasing diversity at the company, and that Beck’s description was a “total mischaracterization” of what he was trying to say.

“My point was a simple one, which is diversity is deeper than ethnicity,” Carlson said. “You can look different but have the same values. That’s not diversity; it’s conformity. … You want people with different life experiences as a backstop against bad decision.”

Carlson said he “despises” affirmative action but was “making a pretty conventional point.”

“It’s hardly a deep insight. [Beck] turns around and says ‘You’re acting like Jesse Jackson trying to shake down Facebook or demand quotas.’ Which of course is the opposite of what I’m in favor of,’ Carlson said.

A spokesperson for Beck’s company The Blaze did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
UPDATE 7:56p.m.:
In a statement Beck responded to Carlson:

“I have no beef with Tucker or any other progressive Republican, I just disagree with shakedowns of private or publicly traded companies. It is a proven fact – and Small government Conservatives have made the case – that affirmative action, quotas and sensitivity training do not work. The movement on the right is split, just as it is on the left. The left is now choosing between progressives and Marxists while the right must choose between progressives and constitutionalists. There are those who believe winning at all costs is the goal. While I understand the frustration, a Conservative by definition conserves. I don’t believe we wish to conserve winning or affirmative action — I wish to conserve principles over party.”


U.S. Politics

The Next Fox News? Why Facebook Is Sucking Up To Conservatives


Facebook is in the middle of a charm offensive targeted at conservatives, and is hosting a meeting between company founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg and conservative media figures like Glenn Beck and Fox News host Dana Perino.

The meeting is happening just six months before a presidential election and in the first election where social media sites like Facebook (and Twitter) have become more influential than ever.

After accusations of anti-conservative bias began to burn Facebook last week, the social media giant quietly reached out to Republican Party leaders to douse the brush fire.

It contacted the Republican National Committee, whose chairman, Reince Priebus, had publicly demanded that Facebook “answer for conservative censorship” — and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which had blasted out a fundraising email lumping the ostensibly neutral tech company in with the “liberal media,” according to a GOP source. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the GOP’s main House campaign arm, also heard from Facebook, the source added.

The firestorm began after a story on the tech site Gizmodo used an anonymous conservative who claimed to be a former Facebook employee as the source for a story alleging that Facebook was excluding conservative news sources from its trending topics area, a valuable source of traffic for news outlets.

Soon after the piece came out, Facebook denied the allegations and revealed its internal rules for what sites are featured in trending topics, but the damage has been done.

As they have done for years complaining about the “liberal media,” conservatives are now targeting the “liberal bias” at Facebook. Certainly, Zuckerberg appears to personally lean left, and most employees of a modern tech company are not going to be Rush Limbaugh style right-wingers, but the allegation doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on. Conservative sites like Fox News have been shown to trend on Facebook.

What this ends up being is an influential media outlet who now feels they have to curry favor with the right wing, bending over backwards so that very loud conservatives don’t attack them in the same manner they attack the New York Times and MSNBC.

Then, as often happens in conservative media, when false stories and lies about the left surface, Facebook will be obligated to trend them and send traffic and aid in the spread of false information – as long as they aren’t attacked for “liberal bias.”

It’s an excellent strategy for the right to get what it wants in yet another form of media.

Oliver Willis

Featured image via Flickr

U.S. Politics

Trump Dismisses Possible Facebook Plot Because ‘I’m One Of Their Great Stars’


Donald Trump is not worried about the possibility of Facebook rising up against him, because as the GOP presidential front-runner rightly notes, the Internet loves Donald Trump.

Responding to a Gizomodo report that Facebook employees considered asking CEO Mark Zuckerberg if the social media goliath should try “to help prevent a President Trump,” Trump said, “I think Facebook is good and I can’t imagine them doing anything.”

“I’m one of their great stars,” he told “Fox and Friends” on Saturday during a phone-in interview.

Gizmodo published screenshots supposedly showing an internal poll that Facebook employees take each week before a question-and-answer session with Zuckerberg. The screenshot shows four questions that were being considered, with the insurgency against Trump trailing in votes. It’s not clear what the final vote tally was, and Facebook has not addressed the screenshots’ authenticity.

The report garnered a lot of attention due to the role that Facebook plays in news distribution. As of December 2015, Facebook had approximately 1.04 billion active users, ranging from Trump to your opinionated aunt. Facebook plays a big role in Americans’ news diets. Some 63 percent of active Facebook users use it as a source for news, according to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center, up from 47 percent in 2013. And Facebook’s algorithm allows it to control what shows up in users’ feeds. “Facebook can promote or block any material that it wants,” UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh told Gizmodo. “They can completely block Trump if they want. They block him or promote him,” Volokh told the outlet.

“I like Facebook, and y’know I’m very successful on Facebook,” Trump said on Saturday. “I guess have well over seven million people — I think we have 16 or 17 million people between Twitter, Facebook and some other things. Nobody else is even close to that,” he said.

Facebook could not immediately be reached for comment, but a spokesperson for the company previously told The Hill they would never try to influence an election. “We as a company are neutral — we have not and will not use our products in a way that attempts to influence how people vote,” the person said.

Zuckerberg, an advocate of more humane immigration laws, did take a thinly veiled shot at Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls,” Zuckerberg said at a tech conference on Tuesday. “It takes courage to choose hope over fear. Instead of building walls, we can build bridges.”

H/T The Hill

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.


U.S. Politics

Mark Zuckerberg Tells Facebook Staff to Stop Crossing Out ‘Black Lives Matter’

The Facebook signature wall at the company's office in New York on Feb. 18, 2016.

A signature wall at Facebook’s New York office, photographed Feb. 18.
Mary Altaffer—AP


Employees were replacing the slogan with the phrase ‘All lives matter’ on office walls.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg chastised some Facebook employees that have been replacing the phrase “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” on the company’s walls,telling them they have to stop.

Zuckerberg posted a private memo on a company announcement page, which Gizmodo obtained. He wrote that there have been “several recent instances” of the act, which he said he addressed last week as well. He now considers the act “malicious,” since the issue persisted after Zuckerberg expressed his disappointment. Any employee can write on the designated walls, which are meant to bring the spirit of the digital Facebook Wall into the physical world.

“This has been a deeply hurtful and tiresome experience for the black community and really the entire Facebook community, and we are now investigating the current incidents,” Zuckerberg wrote.

The post also briefly explained why “Black Lives Matter” was important. Facebook, like many Silicon Valley companies, employs mostly white males; only 2 percent of its employees were black when the company released diversity statistics in June 2015.

Facebook has taken steps to promote diversity in the workplace; last August, the company rolled out its plan for employees to take an anti-unconscious bias course as a part of its greater efforts.

U.S. Politics

Michael Moore Just Unleashed An Army On Trump’s Social Media


People are starting to get fed up with Donald Trump’s hate speech.  Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore is so angry about Trump’s seemingly endless diatribe against the marginalized people of the world that he has started recruiting an army of Facebook users to get the Republican presidential primary front runner’s posts taken down from the site.

Moore posted his call to action on his own Facebook page, citing Facebook’s terms of service that state one must not post content that is hate speech. He then gives instructions on how to report Trump’s posts for violating Facebook’s community guidelines. Moore writes:

“Facebook prohibits all its users from using hate speech on its site (“You will not post content that is hate speech”). I’m joining others today in filing a complaint with Facebook that Trump’s Facebook page is using hate speech to promote racism and bigotry. Please file your complaint, too. Here’s how: Go to Trump’s page facebook.com/DonaldTrump. Click “Report”. Then click “It shouldn’t be on FB”. Then click “Hate Speech”. Then click either “race or ethnicity” or “religious group”. That’s it. Let’s get a few million doing this by the end of the day!”

Trump has faced an ever growing backlash against his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering into the United States. Among the outrages, is Facebook’s creator Mark Zuckerberg who released a letter of welcome to all Muslims, stating that they will always be welcomed on the social network. Zuckerberg wrote that “we [Facebook staff] will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you.”

Trump FB Racism

It has been argued that Donald Trump’s actions and rhetoric could be interpreted as hate crimes, under the law. I don’t think it is even controversial to say that much of what Trump posts to Facebook does actually violate Facebook’s terms of service agreement.

The idea that a private company could censor a popular presidential candidate’s thoughts from one of the largest communications platforms in the world leads to some serious ethical concerns about the nature of the media, politics, and corporate control of political discourse. But people are rightfully mad and Trump is espousing fear and anger for his remarks that are targeted towards marginalized communities and there is no freedom of speech on Facebook.

U.S. Politics

Mark Zuckerberg Vows To Create A ‘Safe Environment’ For Muslim Users


AP Photo | Chris Ratcliffe


Zuckerberg wrote in a post on Facebook that, “After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others.”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had called Monday for a “a total and complete shutdown” on Muslims entering the United States.

Zuckerberg vowed to create a safe environment for those users who belonged to the Muslim community.

“If you’re a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you,” he wrote.

Zuckerberg made headlines recently after he announced that he, and his wife Priscilla Chan, would donate $45 billion worth of Facebook shares following the birth of their daughter.

Here’s his full post:


U.S. Politics

A Facebook Intern Exposed a Major Privacy Problem — So They Fired Him

Image Credit: GETTY IMAGES


When Aran Khanna released the Marauder’s Map, a browser extension that lets you track your friends using their Facebook Message location info, he thought Facebook would be impressed. He was, after all, a few weeks away from starting an internship there.

They did notice. Within a couple of weeks, the Marauder’s Map generated enough attention that Facebookreleased an update to Messenger that ramped up location-based privacy.

Then Facebook fired Khanna.

Khanna’s internship was supposed to begin on a Monday. The Friday before, Facebook’s vice president of engineering called to tell him that he had violated their terms for employment and couldn’t begin his internship.

Khanna never expected that the backlash would be so drastic. After all, the information he exposed was public and had been available for three years. People had been complaining that Facebook messages were storing too much information about our locations, and Khanna’s app highlighted the vulnerability of the information.

He took the app down when Facebook asked him to, effectively euthanizing it by revoking the API key. But the code was still available on Github, so others could still find it.

“I just wanted to point out something that was privacy-invasive on a product that was used a lot,” Khanna told Mic.

Outside hackers help companies this way all of the time — and they usually get piles of cash for it. They’re called “white hat” hackers (as opposed to “black hats,” who hack maliciously) and their job is to think like the black hats so that they can patch up holes before anyone gets through.

“It’s extremely valuable to have a group of people from all over the world, with a variety of skill sets and creativity, who have a different perspective from the internal team,” Sam Houston, community coordinator for a bug bounty site called Bugcrowd, told Mic. “They find security vulnerabilities that make products more secure.”

Most major tech companies have open bug bounty programs that pay out various rates for white hats who come to them with new information about a security vulnerability. Facebook itself has paid out rewards as high as $33,500 to its bug bounty hunters.

But white hats also have their own ethics while helping the companies they target. And putting vulnerabilities on blast is a blatant transgression.

“Ordinarily, Facebook would be happy about getting information like this,” Bugcrowd CEO Casey Ellis told Mic. “But what Facebook is consistent of is that when they set rules and you violate them, they stick by those rules. White hats are important and critical, but you have to set ground rules and expectations so you don’t end up with anarchy.”

But Khanna didn’t even really “hack” Facebook. He may have brought a privacy issue to light, but technically, the tool is built on publicly available information. That’s the reason he didn’t think he needed bring the project to Facebook’s attention in the first place.

“The information is already public,” Khanna, who has been working at a small deep-learning startup since he lost his internship, pointed out to Mic. “You could collect the same information on paper and pencil and it would have just taken longer.”

Does Khanna regret releasing the Marauder’s Map? He can’t say. He’s disappointed that the company he admired and wanted to work for didn’t hold to the “hacker” values it claims to prize so highly.

“At Facebook they talk about hacker culture — move fast and break things,” Khanna told Mic. “Those were the things that galvanized me to apply to Facebook as a company. I thought it would make me accepted.”

Jack Smith IV

U.S. Politics

Right-Wing Blog’s Plan To Expose Sanders Fans As Economic Illiterates Hilariously Fails


“Priceless Meme Shows Exactly What Kind Of People Support Socialist Bernie Sanders,” is the headline on a Young Conservativespiece blasting…people who support Bernie Sanders. The meme is below:

Gage Skidmore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr

This meme is also the profile pic on a Facebook page called “Economic Illiterates for Bernie Sanders.

Young Conservatives’ entire post is about how the people who support Sanders don’t understand economics, all the while showcasing just how little they themselves don’t understand economics (or how progressive taxes work, for that matter). Bernie Sanders believes in wealth redistribution to a degree. He understands that the extreme income inequality we have here is not sustainable, because rich people cannot sustain a consumer economy on their own. There just aren’t enough of them.

Sanders isn’t alone in this; billionaire Nick Hanauer knows that he can’t buy enough suits, cars, electronics, appliances, and more, to sustain any one of the businesses that manufacture and sell these things. He’s one man who might buy three suits in a year. Not 3,000, despite the fact that his income is roughly 3,000 times higher than the average American. He’s not going to buy 3,000 cars every year, either, and neither is any other billionaire.

Young Conservatives merely provides a link to Sanders’ “hilarious” stance on the minimum wage. It’s safe to say that this publication buys into the myth that raising the minimum wage will destroy jobs. In one article, they point to a single story from the American Enterprise Institute, which is a right-leaning, pro-business think tank based in Washington, D.C. Of course the AEI is going to put out stories that “show” raising the minimum wage is a bad idea; business wants to treat workers like slaves and liabilities, not like the assets they are. (Without workers, you have no business. The bigger your business, the more dependent you are on your workers.)

The Department of Labor has its own page busting these minimum wage myths, including metastudies showing that there’s no discernible effect on employment when the minimum wage goes up. Of course, pro-trickle down conservatives call that a bunch of hooey; they still think that the only way to create jobs and wealth is to let rich people have all the money, and pay working people peanuts. Hey, they’re still working and making a little money, right? Something is always better than nothing.

Studies, statistics, sources, and micro- and macro-economics aside, there are two questions that conservatives just never seem to be able to answer. In 30 years, when has trickle-down ever worked? When will it start working?

It hasn’t, and it won’t. If it had, we’d be in absolute paradise by now, not watching working families struggle while the super-rich keep getting richer.

We can’t expect Young Conservatives to understand that, though. They’re so sure the economy would work if we’d just stop regulating it at all, stop taxing the rich entirely, and all workers would just work a little harder for a few more peanuts. If all that happens, we’ll all be fine. The real problem is socialist governments refusing to let business run amok. Typical right-wing economics, of which we’ve seen 30 years of failure.

Pride and Prejudice 21st Century Edition

Texas School Board Member Sorry For KKK ‘White Christmas’ Facebook Post


TPM LiveWire

Chris Harris, a board member for the Hooks Independent School District in the town of Hooks, posted two apologies to Facebook after posting the offensive image. After removing the offending post, he maintained in both apologies that he was not “a racist.”

Harris also explained that the original post was “meant as a joke” that he realized “offended people” and that “got taken way out of context.”

His apologies are below:

District Superintendent Ronnie Thompson told the TV station that the other school board members would decide whether to fire Harris.

“They govern me. That is who I answer to,” Thompson said. “They govern each other. It is in their hands.”

The school board is set to meet on Dec. 15, according to KTAL.

h/t Raw Story