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Looter to Who? James Baldwin on Racism in America

Ryan Boren:

Time for a reread of Baldwin’s The First Next Time.

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

In 1968, essayist, novelist and activist James Baldwin spoke with Esquire about racism in America, Dr. Martin Luther King, poverty and police brutality. In our current era of high profile police violence in communities like Ferguson, Missouri, and protests in Baltimore, Maryland, Baldwin’s words sound as prescient and, unfortunately, fresh as they did forty-seven years ago, proving the slow pace of progress in America, and how much hard work we have left to do. Below is an excerpt from the interview:

Q. How would you define somebody who smashes in the window of a television store and takes what he wants?

BALDWIN: Before I get to that, how would you define somebody who puts a cat where he is and takes all the money out of the ghetto where he makes it? Who is looting whom? Grabbing off the TV set? He doesn’t really want the TV set…

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A Civil Libertarian Reading List

Some of my favorite civil liberties books from the past decade-ish.

Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces

Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age

The Torture Report: Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program
http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/study2014/sscistudy2.pdf .

The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power

False Idol: Barack Obama and the Continuing Cult of the Presidency

State of War: The Secret History of the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration

Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War

Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent

Carry On: Sound Advice from Schneier on Security

Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State

Humane and Pro-Growth: A Reason Guide to Immigration Reform

The recognition of exceptions to great principles always creates, of course, the hazard that the exceptions will devour the rule.

Justice Brennan on no-knock raids, castle doctrine, and the Fourth Amendment in Ker v. California.

The recognition of exceptions to great principles always creates, of course, the hazard that the exceptions will devour the rule. If mere police experience that some offenders have attempted to destroy contraband justifies unannounced entry in any case, and cures the total absence of evidence not only of awareness of the officers’ presence but even of such an attempt in the particular case, I perceive no logical basis for distinguishing unannounced police entries into homes to make arrests for any crime involving evidence of a kind which police experience indicates might be quickly destroyed or jettisoned. Moreover, if such experience, without more, completely excuses the failure of arresting officers before entry, at any hour of the day or night, either to announce their purpose at the threshold or to ascertain that the occupant already knows of their presence, then there is likewise no logical ground for distinguishing between the stealthy manner in which the entry in this case was effected, and the more violent manner usually associated with totalitarian police of breaking down the door or smashing the lock.

Justice Brennan

Back in 1963, Brennan was prescient on no-knock raids and police militarization. See chapter four of Rise of the Warrior Cop for more.

Let’s Encrypt: One more step on the road to TLS Everywhere

Originally posted on Andreas Gal :

Principle 4 of the Mozilla Manifesto states: Individuals’ security and privacy on the Internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.

Unfortunately treating user security as optional is exactly what happens when sites let users connect over insecure HTTP rather than HTTP over TLS (HTTPS). What insecure means here is that your network traffic is totally unprotected and can be read and/or modified by anyone who shares a network with you, including random people sharing Starbucks or airport WiFi.

One of the biggest reasons that web sites don’t deploy TLS is the requirement to get a digital certificate — a cryptographic credential which allows a user’s browser to know it’s talking to the right site and not to an attacker. Certificates are issued by Certificate Authorities (CAs) often using a clumsy and error-prone manual process. A further disincentive to deployment is that  most CAs charge a fee for…

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