Is NSA Surveillance Mastermind Keith Alexander Selling US Secrets to Wall Street?
Perhaps you already assume that there’s some kind of twisted marriage between Wall Street megabanks and the US global surveillance regime. Why wouldn’t there be? But not even a total cynic could have anticipated spymaster Keith Alexander cashing in this hard, this fast.
As Bloomberg recently reported, the former National Security Agency chief, who resigned in March at the age of 62, quickly offered his cyber-security expertise at the eye-popping price of $1 million per month to an assortment of shady business lobbies. And now at least one member of Congress is probing this most delightfully dystopian of arrangements, raising the possibility that Alexander will be shamed out of the practice, if nothing else.
“Disclosing or misusing classified information for profit is, as Mr. Alexander well knows, a felony. I question how Mr. Alexander can provide any of the services he is offering unless he discloses or misuses classified information, including extremely sensitive sources and methods,” Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson wrote one of the business groups, the Security Industries and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), which holds it down for Wall Street in Washington. “Without the classified information that he acquired in his former position, he literally would have nothing to offer to you.”
In an interview Monday, Grayson was even more strident in his criticism.
"Frankly, what the general is doing is beginning to resemble an extortion racket," he told me. "This is a man who basically lied for a living, and he continues to do that."
Reasons Why Washington, DC Is the Worst Place Ever
The United States capital really never had a chance. On July 16, 1790, President George Washington signed the Residence Act, which created a special district to serve as the seat of government for the former colonies of England. Creating a city with the explicit purpose of bottling up all of the most powerful people in the nation guaranteed that it would evolve into a breeding ground for the ruthless, the tactless, and the shameless.
Many of the six million souls who live in the metro area work for, or alongside, the federal bureaucracy. For some of them, life is a never-ending House of Cards-esque quest for power, influence, controlled substances, and sexual gratification. These people pretend their BlackBerry is a lethal weapon, and can only get hard when they see their name on Politico.
For everyone else, Washington, DC is a hellishly humid pit of despair. The city is swarming with 30-year-olds still trying to show off their entry-level position by handing out business cards for a congressional office or obscure think tank—a job that barely pays for rent. Somehow, they’re the lucky ones. The District has been struggling with rampant poverty and crime for decades now, and due to an ossified local government, that’s not changing any time soon.
Here are a few reasons why DC is the petri dish for the virus infecting America:
Washington, DC Is a Celebration of Itself
Washington is basically an open-air museum of America. There are monuments, historical sites, and gift shops dedicated to patriotic tchotchkes everywhere. A mood of reverence and constant satisfaction permeates the entire town. Pride is great, but it’s also that thing that goeth before destruction. For a country that purports to be a haven for reinvention, renewal, and second chances, its capital is preoccupied with patting itself on the back and habitually looking backward. This isn’t all that uncommon for a major world power, but maybe a dose of humility would be helpful when the thousands of well-paid politicians and operatives who live and work here can’t dig the country out of economic and social malaise.
The Cold War of Porn
This could be the last summer. Bees are dying, ice caps are melting, there’s a Dunkin Donuts in Williamsburg. Oh, and the US and Russia might start the second Cold War. Time for the global village to band together and pump the brakes? Not likely, considering we’re busy pumping our private parts at home.
In the face of inscrutable military-industrial agendas, porn offers some kind of logic. I’ll never understand troop movements in Crimea, but I definitely know what to do with my boner once I get online. According to a series of charts compiled by the eggheads (dickheads?) at Pornhub Insights, the smut peddlers’ data analysis department, Russians are (mostly) just like us. Cultural geography produces intriguing local fetishes, but at the end of the day, we’re all repressed perverts beating our meat like dogs in heat.
These charts will either prove we’re better at busting nuts than Putin’s cronies or help us set aside our differences and agree that Russia is too jam-packed with boobs, butts, and cock-hungry MILFs to reduce it to rubble. Let’s find out!
Putin spent the last decade ramping up jingoism and openly icing opposition leaders while framing himself as a whale-hunting neo-Czar, a sculpted alternative to the West’s flabby Merkels and Cheneys—and it worked. His Crimean war games united the country against the finger-wagging West. As always, the political is personal, and Soviet pride extends below the belt. Who needs American resources when you have Russian mom anal? It’s masturbation as empire-building. Mother Russia, indeed.
America is less monolithic—the melting pot is full of cum. Our search terms read like an ethnography of a Disney show, with multiple races, four jobs, and wacky family dynamics. God bless the free market. In America you have the right—no, the responsibility—to imagine yourself landing a massive creampie in your 18-year-old step-sister’s anus while a hentai yoga teacher massages her squirting babysitter. In public.
Class of 2014, You’re Fucked
It’s that time of year again, when deans across the country wear out their palms like chronic masturbators, shaking the hands of glee-eyed diploma recipients. Collegians of America are aiming high; the class of 2014 has helped push total student debt in the United States to over a trillion dollars.
A person could make it more than a fourth of the way to the moon traversing the tower of cash that would arise if all those loan dollars were stacked up one on top of the other—all $1,181,622,000,000-plus of them. It would make a great dare for pledge week, but unfortunately most of this year’s graduates will likely be crushed beneath their debt rather than surmount it.
“If I had to do it all over again, I would have just gone to work in a factory,” Cindy Klumb, who borrowed $30,000 to attain graduates degree in art and design at Pratt University in Brooklyn in 1992, reflected.
After consolidating and re-financing her loans over the years, Cindy owes $87,000 on the principal and $42,000 worth of accumulated interest. She is four years away from retirement and her social security will likely be going into the hands of Ed Financial, which took over her loan from the federal government. Cindy is one of 40 million Americans strapped with student debt, many of whom will never be able to pay off their loans.
“College is a bad investment that only pays off if you don’t have to go into debt to get your degree,” she said. “Borrowing to get an education guarantees you will never get anywhere or have even the most basic aspects of the so-called ‘American Dream.’”
Is America Finally Ready to Abandon the Electoral College and Embrace the Popular Vote
US presidential elections are frequently the butt of jokes worldwide, and deservedly so. Between the eye-popping fundraising totals, the awkward pandering to billionaires, and the shameless jockeying for the support of key interest groups in weird places like Iowa and New Hampshire, there’s a lot to hate.
Much of this can be blamed on the electoral college. Instead of simply counting votes nationwide and giving the Oval Office to the guy or gal with the most ballots, America holds 50 statewide elections, then awards points called “electors” to the winner of each election. It’s a confusing system that makes winning 51 percent of the votes in California more than ten times as valuable as winning 100 percent of the votes in Nebraska, and gives special status to the few swing states that could go either way. Standard practice nowadays is for candidates to camp out in the dozen or so of these key states, which enjoy special status because their cities are surrounded by dense, conservative suburbs that balance out the votes of liberal urbanites. This means millions of voters are effectively stuck on the margins of political life, and thanks to our system we risk disaster every four years.
George W. Bush’s incredible non-victory in 2000—which came, of course, thanks to an assist from his dad’s pals on the Supreme Court—may be the the most recent example, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the twisted intrigue that the electoral college has encouraged over the years. After the 1876 election saw the electors go one way and the popular vote the other, the “compromise” that was reached set the stage for a flood of Jim Crow laws and racial terrorism into the American South, as a key concession from the Republicans was to remove occupying federal troops that had been in the former Confederate states since the Civil War.
The Bundy Ranch Standoff Was Only the Beginning for America’s Right-Wing Militias
For two decades the US government has tried to get Cliven Bundy to remove his cows from federal land, and for two decades the Nevada rancher has steadfastly refused, defying court orders and attempts to negotiate a settlement for the $1.1 million he owes in federal grazing fees. Finally, last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) took matters into its own hands and started seizing cattle that had been illegally grazing on government property. Things went downhill from there.
What began as an arcane land dispute rapidly escalated into an armed standoff in the desert. A ragtag band of anti-government militants, Tea Party politicians, and Old West ranchers descended on the area, responding to a call to arms posted by the Bundy family on their blog and circulated throughout the internet by conservatives and libertarians. Spurred on by YouTube videos of physical altercations between federal agents and the Bundys, the protesters aggressively confronted law enforcement, which in turn escalated things by gathering a huge force of armed BLM rangers and FBI agents. On Friday, theFederal Aviation Administration placed a month-long flight restriction over the ranch after the Bundy family posted aerial photos of the assembled authorities.
For right-wing militias and paramilitary groups founded around a collective paranoid belief that the federal government is just looking for an excuse to impose martial law, images of armed federal agents forcibly seizing cows basically means it’s DEFCON 1. By Saturday, as many as 1,000 anti-BLM protestors from as far away as Virginia, New Hampshire, and Georgia had set up camp in Bunkerville, an arid patch of land where the BLM was rounding up the Bundy cattle. Packing handguns and assault rifles, the protesters carried signs featuring slogans like “Tyranny Is Alive,” “Where’s the Justice?” and “Militia Sighn In [sic],” and many said they were prepared for a shoot-out with the federal government. The mood was such that even Glenn Beck was wary of the crowd, announcing on his show that “there’s about 10 or 15 percent of the people who are talking about this online that are truly frightening.”
How the FBI Goes After Activists
Tom Burke was driving through a sleepy part of Grand Rapids, Michigan—an empty neighborhood full of abandoned warehouses—when he first noticed the vehicle tailing him. “I was like, Why is this car turning left whenever I turn left?” he recalled. “I figured out I was being followed.”
Tom, a 49-year-old who has been active in antiwar and labor circles for decades, had been monitored for months by the FBI, and that morning, September 24, 2010, the Bureau was moving against him and his fellow activists. Agents had raided the homes of some of Tom’s friends, seizing computers and tearing apart rooms as part of an investigation into whether they were planning an armed revolution and providing aid to terrorist organizations. In response, Tom was on his way to an internet café to issue a press release telling the world what was happening, which was about all he could do given the circumstances.
That same morning, he and his wife were served with subpoenas demanding they testify before a grand jury. By December, 23 activists across the Midwest were subpoenaed and asked to answer for their activism. Among other things, they were accused of providing “material support” for terrorism, a charge that can mean anything from providing guns to a terrorist group to providing any sort of “advice or assistance” to members of such a group, even if that advice is “lay down your arms.” (Former president Jimmy Carterwarned a few months before the raids that the threat of a “material support” charge “inhibits the work of human-rights and conflict-resolution groups.”)
Nearly four years later no one has been charged with a crime, and an unsealed affidavit, which the FBI used to get a federal judge to sign off on the 2010 raids, even notes that this group of mostly middle-aged peace activists explicitly rejected the idea of providing arms to anyone. The document, released by court order last month in response to requests from the activists, shows that an undercover special agent was intent on luring people into saying ominous things about “revolution” and, sometimes, some of these people indulged her, which provided the pretext for legally harassing a group known to oppose US policy at home and abroad.
In Defense of American Bros
We need to support these men, our finest specimens. The ones whose asses bounce in their jock straps as they strut toward the shower in the locker room. The ones who jog shirtless through the park, the sweat cascading in rivulets into their sopping shorts. The ones who sit with their legs so wide on the subway, calling attention from all quarters to the fleshy mass in their shorts that is just dying to be sucked. These are our champions, and we really should be championing them.
I’ve certainly done my part. One night, back in college, I was driving home with my bro friend Dave, who was majoring in econ and pussy pounding. He had a bad night with one too many green Jell-O shots (green is always the worst color), and the girl he was getting handsy with had the audacity to reject him. He had made a big scene about how it didn’t bother him, how he had bigger and hotter girls, and how he gets as much ass as he could ever want. But in the car he was different. He was despondent, clearly lingering on his rejection. “You OK?” I asked. “Yeah, bra. You know, bitches,” he said. “Yeah,” I replied putting my hand on the knee of his jeans. I left it there a little too long, and when he looked at me, I didn’t know what to expect.
“Dude, will you do me a favor?” he asked. “Will you tickle my back?” He took off his white baseball cap and pulled his T-shirt over his head, his rippling muscles flexing and relaxing in astounding patterns as he bent over in the passenger’s seat. I rubbed the tips of my fingers across his smooth skin for what seemed like hours. Eventually he sat up, and I moved my hands. “Keep going,” he said, letting me cup the firm contours of his chest, the stiff prickles of his nipples, the trail of hair that lead into his jeans. I rubbed everywhere, down onto the crotch of his jeans, which was now propped up with what those “bitches” didn’t want. I let my hands rest on the button of his jeans, unsure of how to proceed, thinking as much about his own pleasure as what was happening in my own jeans. I hovered there a minute, and he sat up straight in the chair, his head back and eyes closed waiting to get what he wanted—no, what he deserved.
“What are you waiting for?” he said, remaining still.
Man, there is nothing better than fucking a bro.