Cory Booker

Identity Problem: Blind Journalism, Uninformed Technology, and Cory Booker

This is an op-ed; opinion herein is mine. ~Rayne

A tweet yesterday by technology-futurism pundit and sci-fi writer Bruce Sterling hinted at the problem of technology industry and journalism, with regard to politics:

Tweet_BruceS_CoryBookerNYT_23MAR2013x

The tweet was spawned by a profile in The New York Times of Newark NJ’s mayor, Cory Booker, who has used social media regularly as a community outreach tool. In addition to bestowing the inapt label “A Politician From the Future,” a critical problem in this article is the labeling of Cory Booker as appealing to “the Googly-Facebookish wing of the [Democratic] party.”

Except that Cory Booker is extremely proficient at using microblog platform Twitter, and Twitter has a significantly different demographic profile with regard to race and age. Further, Twitter’s 140-character post limitation has been much easier to use on mobile devices, fitting a mobile business model long before either Google or Facebook.

It’s not clear what Sterling thought about the NYT’s article, though in a reply he expanded and lumped together the “Twittery-Googly-Facebook” crowd, suggesting he’s missed both NYT’s error while not understanding the demographics and politics at play.

Both Sterling and NYT fail to take seriously Booker’s actions themselves; they look at the medium, not the message, which is that Booker’s deeds are like that of an old-school Democrat, the kind we used to have before the corporatist Democratic Leadership Committee co-opted the Democratic Party to serve somewhat more liberal overlords.

Booker’s use of Twitter was carefully noted by TIME back in 2010, after Booker had taken personal, hands-on action to help constituents during a snowstorm. It wasn’t a collection of photo ops for a campaign (as another mayor-candidate demonstrated in another city), but actual response to situations where elbow grease and a shovel were required.

What both NYT missed, besides categorizing Booker as belonging to the “Googly-Facebook” portion of the Democratic Party:

— Booker’s efforts with regard to his one-on-one interactions with constituents do not compare with a considerable portion of the party to which he belongs;

— His actions are highly transparent, his words sync with his deeds right there in the public forum of Twitter;

— The tool he uses for outreach more closely matches his constituents’ demographics, not that of the “Googly-Facebook” crowd.

— Booker uses “big data” to make and justify decisions; “big data” is merely a contemporary expression of polling data used in the near-term past and present.

It’s not clear that Sterling notes these key points, as focused as he was on the social media component and NYT’s representation of Booker as a politician from the future. Continue reading

The King/Schumer Christie/Booker Smackdown

I confess I’m enjoying the spat developing between New York and New Jersey’s top politicians over the NYPD’s spying on New Jersey Muslims. First Christie dared to call Kelly arrogant.

“He’s Ray Kelly, so what’re you gonna do? I mean, he’s all-knowing, all-seeing,” Christie said.

“And I don’t know all the details yet, but my concern is, you know, why can’t you be, you know, communicating with the people here in New Jersey, with law enforcement here in New Jersey. Are we somehow not trustworthy?” said Christie.

[snip]

“This is New York Police Department. I know they think their jurisdiction is the world. Their jurisdiction is New York City. So if they’re going to leave their jurisdiction and go to investigate a case in another jurisdiction, it could be dangerous,” Christie said. “This is the way law enforcement people get hurt or killed, is when they’re not cooperating with each other, not communicating with each other.”

“I’m not saying they don’t belong in New Jersey, but tell us! Share it with the appropriate law enforcement agency,” Christie said. “My concern is this kind of obsession that the NYPD seems to have that they’re the masters of the universe.”

Then there’s the spectacle of King defending Ray Kelly as if the latter is a shrinking violet, with neither access to the press nor taste for a fight himself.

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Gov. Chris Christie crossed a line when he mocked Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as “all-knowing, all-seeing” and said the NYPD’s intelligence operation in Newark may have been “born out of arrogance.”

[snip]

“I just found it a real disappointment the way he was conducting himself, the way he was taking cheap shots at Ray Kelly,” King said.

Sure, aside from Booker, who seems genuinely concerned either with his actual constituents or appearing that way, this is a giant pissing contest between men defending their turf.

Part of me wonders why most of these men have reacted so strongly. Christie, after all, must have close ties to Newark’s FBI officers from his time as US Attorney. That seems to be what this dig is about:

“His main objection seems to be that he wasn’t … brought in. But the fact is that he wasn’t governor. He was U.S. attorney. And I’m not aware of any major terror plots that he ever uncovered while he was U.S. attorney in New Jersey.”

(King forgets, of course, that the NYPD didn’t find any of the major terrorist attacks since 9/11–street vendors and the FBI did.)

Part of me wonders whether Kelly, channeling J. Edgar Hoover as he increasingly seems to be doing, has some dirt on King and Schumer to make cow them like this.

But the real sick part of my personality can’t help but visualize this ending in a giant wrestling match pitting King and Schumer against Christie and Booker. In fact, I’m even thinking of taking bets.

Sorry about the abundance of brain bleach posts this morning folks–it must be the weather.

After Ray Kelly Proved Incapable of Hosting a Terrorist Trial, His Supporters Shouldn’t Call OTHER Cities Overmatched

The NYDN and NYPost continue their uncritical defense of the NYPD’s spying on residents of other cities. In response to continued outrage that NYPD’s officers profiled Newark’s and Paterson’s Muslim community, the New York fearmonger papers’ response is basically a taunt that New Jersey should be grateful the NYPD has invaded their state because New Jersey can’t prevent terrorism on its own.

What is the matter with New Jersey politicians that they are raising a stink because the NYPD keeps an eye out for terrorists on their turf?

Have Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Corey Booker forgotten that 746 residents of the Garden State were killed in the terrorist attacks of 9/11?

Have they forgotten that ringleader Mohammed Atta met with co-conspirators in Newark?

Have they forgotten that the van used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was rented in Jersey City?

(The NYDN, which claims to have read the profile reports on things like girls’ schools, seems to have missed that none of the profiling reports we’ve seen from the NYPD have targeted any of the kinds of NJ establishments the terrorists have used in the past.)

But as a MI resident, what I’m really amused by is the NYPD boosters’ claim that Newark is “overmatched” and “incapable.”

So why wouldn’tthe NYPD bring its unmatched skills to bear in Newark, whose overmatched police department is simply incapable of monitoring threats as they develop far out of sight?

I can remember only one police department in recent years which has been “overmatched.” And that’s the NYPD, when faced with the prospect of hosting a terrorist trial in Manhattan.

When DOJ first announced plans to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 plotters in New York, Ray Kelly started making the same kind of complaints about not being consulted as New Jersey’s politicians are making now.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said the Justice Department did not consult the city officials before deciding to send Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others to New York City for trial.

“There was no consultation, no consultation with the police department. That decision was made. We were informed,” Kelly said Tuesday.

When asked if the NYPD should have been asked about security and other considerations in advance of sending the accused terrorist to the scene of the attack, Kelly said,” The fact is we weren’t asked. And we will make the best of a situation. We weren’t.”

At first Kelly said the NYPD would be up to the task. But then he started rolling out a plan to effectively militarize lower Manhattan and demanded first $90 million then $200 million to pay for his war zone. Ultimately, the DOJ gave up the plan for a civilian trial.

Because Ray Kelly wasn’t up to the task of hosting a terrorist trial, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has had at least two years added to his life.

Continue reading

The Girls’ School that Terrifies Ray Kelly

This is the Al Muslimaat Academy, a school for fifth through twelfth grade girls certified by New Jersey’s Department of Education. It is one of the many locations in Newark spied on by Ray Kelly’s spies in 2007.

They considered it a “Madrassah.”

They even mapped it out, along with a different school teaching first through fourth graders. I guess in case they needed to find a bunch of Muslim kids quickly.

Today’s installment of the AP’s CIA-on-the-Hudson series takes us out of the city altogether, to Newark, where the NYPD mapped out the Muslim community without even informing with Cory Booker, Newark’s Mayor, first.

According to the report, the operation was carried out in collaboration with the Newark Police Department, which at the time was run by a former high-ranking NYPD official. But Newark’s mayor, Cory Booker, said he never authorized the spying and was never told about it.
“Wow,” he said as the AP laid out the details of the report. “This raises a number of concerns. It’s just very, very sobering.”

Booker says he will investigate.

After the AP approached Booker, he said the mayor’s office had launched an investigation.
“We’re going to get to the bottom of this,” he said.

Now, the NYPD might be forgiven for looking for terrorists in Newark. After all, in the summer of 2001, the 9/11 hijackers used Newark as a staging ground to prepare for their attack.

But they didn’t, as far as we know, frequent mosques at all. They spent time in cheap motels and cheap restaurants, gyms, and cybercafes. They had the operational security to do most of these things in separate places, heading to Patterson and Wayne.

They certainly didn’t plot out 9/11 in a girls’ school.

All of which shows, yet again, how futile this whole program is and was. Futile, that is, if you’re actually trying to stop terrorism. It’s perfect if you want to cow members of an entire faith by criminalizing their schools, butchers, and places of worship.

Emptywheel Twitterverse
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bmaz @rsingel @ClaraJeffery Mike Kiefer wrote a beautiful tribute http://t.co/KOVPjmXUQ7
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bmaz @AlfredoPhxAZ Jeebus, here's to a speedy and full recovery
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bmaz @ClaraJeffery If you have not seen this by Mike Kiefer, you should http://t.co/KOVPjmXUQ7
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bmaz The Politics of the ISIS Threat: Obama And The Warmongers http://t.co/RvAxgr0Tme Nice piece recognizing insane push for war
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bmaz RT @OrinKerr: 2d Cir to hear NSA case in oral arg Tuesday. Good panel for challengers, I think. http://t.co/VlpKFHOasP
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bmaz @Mansfield2016 I still think it is Sri.
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bmaz This is beautiful RT @michaelbkiefer On the death of Tucson writer Charles Bowden. http://t.co/KOVPjmXUQ7
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bmaz @michaelbkiefer Nice remembrance.
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