Book: “Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead”

Front Cover

Goldmill Group, 2015 – Biography & Autobiography –

At 14 years old, Christian Picciolini, a bright and well-loved child from a good family, had been targeted and trained to spread a violent racist agenda, quickly ascending to a highly visible leadership position in America’s first neo-Nazi skinhead gang. Just how did this young boy from the suburbs of Chicago, who had so much going for him, become so lost in extremist ideologies that would horrify any decent person? ‘Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead’ is a poignant and gripping cautionary tale that details Christian’s indoctrination when he was barely a teen, a lonely outsider who, more than anything, just wanted to belong. A fateful meeting with a charismatic man who recognized and took advantage of Christian’s deep need for connection sent the next decade of his life into a dangerous spiral. When his mentor went to prison for a vicious hate crime, Christian stepped forward, and at 18, he was overseeing the most brutal extremist skinhead cells across the country. From fierce street brawls to drunken white power rallies, recruitment by foreign terrorist dictators to riotous white power rock music, Picciolini immersed himself in racist skinhead culture, hateful propaganda, and violence. Ultimately Christian began to see that his hate-filled life was built on lies. After years of battling the monster he created, he was able to reinvent himself. Picciolini went on to become an advocate for peace, inclusion, and racial diversity, co-founding the nonprofit Life After Hate, which helps people disengage from hate groups and to love themselves and accept others, regardless of skin color, religious belief, or sexual preference.

(Google Books)

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WARNING: Too Big To Fail Banks Are Getting EVEN BIGGER Soon


Published on Aug 16, 2017

According to one expert there will soon be a rash of major bank mergers, buckle up. Aida Rodriguez, Joe Sanberg and Steve Oh discuss on Our America. Learn more about Aspiration Bank here:  https://www.aspiration.com/tyt?utm_source=tyt

Read more here: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/14/let-t…

“American banks are swimming in excess funds. They do not know what to do with this money so they are giving it away in the form of stock buybacks and dividends. At the same, time the irony is that the banks are just starting to report mediocre to disappointing second quarter earnings. So, on one hand, the resources necessary to support meaningful growth are being given away.

On the other hand, the need to use this money to stimulate growth has never been greater. Initial earnings reports for the second quarter suggest that the banks are not obtaining the hoped for margin increases and it is tougher to locate new loans.

The absurdity of this situation is not going to persist. The door to intra-industry acquisitions may be about to crack open. The first inkling of merger mania was seen recently when JPMorgan Chase was reported to be considering buying a payment systems company Worldpay Group in Great Britain.”*

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“Historians Question Trump’s Comments on Confederate Monuments” by Jennifer Schuessler

George Washington, Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jefferson. Credit from left: Gilbert Charles Stuart; via Library of Congress; via Getty Images

August 15, 2017 (nytimes.com)

President Trump is not generally known as a student of history. But on Tuesday, during a combative exchange with reporters at Trump Tower in New York, he unwittingly waded into a complex debate about history and memory that has roiled college campuses and numerous cities over the past several years.

Asked about the white nationalist rally that ended in violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., Mr. Trump defended some who had gathered to protect a statue of Robert E. Lee, and criticized the “alt-left” counterprotesters who had confronted them.

“Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Mr. Trump said. “So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down.”

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the president noted, were also slave owners. “I wonder, is it George Washington next week?” Mr. Trump said. “And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?”

“You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?” he added, comparing the removal of statues to “changing history.”

Mr. Trump’s comments drew strongly negative reactions on Twitter from many historians, who condemned his “false equivalence” between the white nationalists and the counterprotesters.

But “where does it stop?” — and what counts as erasing history — is a question scholars and others have asked, in much more nuanced ways, as calls have come to remove monuments not just to the Confederacy, but to erstwhile liberal heroes and pillars of the Democratic Party like Andrew Jackson (a slave owner who, as president, carried out Native American removal) and Woodrow Wilson (who as president oversaw the segregation of the federal bureaucracy).

Photo

A pedestal in Durham, N.C., that held a statue of a Confederate soldier before demonstrators pulled it down.CreditMadeline Gray for The New York Times

“The debates that started two or three years ago have saturated the culture so much that even the president is now talking about them,” said John Fabian Witt, a professor of history at Yale, which earlier this year announced that it would remove John C. Calhoun’s name from a residential college.

Mr. Witt called Mr. Trump’s warning of a slippery slope a “red herring.” There have been, after all, no calls to tear down the Washington Monument.

Annette Gordon-Reed, a professor of history and law at Harvard who is credited with breaking down the wall of resistance among historians to the idea that Jefferson had a sexual relationship with Sally Hemings, said that the answer to Mr. Trump’s hypothetical question about whether getting rid of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson also meant junking Washington and Jefferson was a simple “no.”

There is a crucial difference between leaders like Washington and Jefferson, imperfect men who helped create the United States, Ms. Gordon-Reed said, and Confederate generals like Jackson and Lee, whose main historical significance is that they took up arms against it. The comparison, she added, also “misapprehends the moral problem with the Confederacy.”

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A statue of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. CreditSteve Helber/Associated Press

“This is not about the personality of an individual and his or her flaws,” she said. “This is about men who organized a system of government to maintain a system of slavery and to destroy the American union.”

As for the idea of erasing history, it’s a possibility most scholars do not take lightly. But James Grossman, the executive director of the American Historical Association, said that Mr. Trump’s comments failed to recognize the difference between history and memory, which is always shifting.

When you alter monuments, “you’re not changing history,” he said. “You’re changing how we remember history.”

Some critics of Confederate monuments have called for them to be moved to museums, rather than destroyed, or even left in place and reinterpreted, to explain the context in which they were created. Mr. Grossman noted that most Confederate monuments were constructed in two periods: the 1890s, as Jim Crow was being established, and in the 1950s, during a period of mass Southern resistance to the civil rights movement.

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The statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va.CreditJulia Rendleman/Associated Press

“We would not want to whitewash our history by pretending that Jim Crow and disenfranchisement or massive resistance to the civil rights movement never happened,” he said. “That is the part of our history that these monuments testify to.”

How the events in Charlottesville, and Mr. Trump’s comments, will affect the continuing debate over Confederate monuments remains to be seen. Mr. Witt, for one, suggested that white nationalist support might backfire.

He noted that it was the 2015 murder of nine African-American churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., by a white supremacist that led to the removal of the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds.

“The amazing thing is that the president is doing more to endanger historical monuments than most of the protesters,” he said. “The alt-right is producing a world where there is more pressure to remove monuments, rather than less.”

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Solzhenitsyn on good and evil

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
― Aleksandr SolzhenitsynThe Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

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What Is Trump’s Relationship With White Nationalism? (theonion.com)

Since the weekend’s violent protests in Charlottesville, VA, many have criticized President Trump for his failure to outright condemn the white supremacists involved. The Onion breaks down Trump’s relationship to this powerful hate group.

  • Q: What evidence is there that Trump has ties to white supremacy groups?
  • A: The president maintains a 36 percent approval rating.
  • Q: Why has Trump’s response to these demonstrations angered the public?
  • A: Americans demand much subtler displays of racism from their elected officials.
  • Q: What has the president done to distance himself from white nationalism?
  • A: Married a Slovenian woman, thereby diluting his pure Anglo-Aryan lineage with the blood of a lesser Slav.
  • Q: Doesn’t Trump appointee Jeff Sessions have ties to right-wing extremist groups?
  • A: You’re probably thinking of Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, or Sebastian Gorka.
  • Q: What is his position on monuments memorializing Civil War veterans?
  • A: Trump has been consistently in favor of Confederate statues despite a historical antipathy toward losers.
  • Q: Were there any signs during his presidential campaign that Trump might embrace white nationalism?
  • A: None come to mind.
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Book review: “Translating Anarchy” by Mark Bray


Translating Anarchy tells the story of the anti-capitalist anti-authoritarians of Occupy Wall Street who strategically communicated their revolutionary politics to the public in a way that was both accessible and revolutionary. OWS organizer Mark Bray combines his direct experience in the movement with nearly 200 interviews with the most active, influential architects of Occupy Wall Street, to reveal the revolutionary anarchist core of Occupy. Although The New York Times and CNN thought that OWS simply wanted tighter financial regulations and a millionaire’s tax, Bray shows that the vast majority of organizers called for the abolition of capitalism altogether.

By “translating” their ideas into everyday concepts like community empowerment and collective needs, these anarchists sparked the most dynamic American social movement in decades.

(Amazon.com)

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“Medea Benjamin’s Hypocrisy!” by Bob of Occupy

This morning, on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, Medea Benjamin asserted  with righteous political correctness that hate speech and racist speech we’re prohibited in our national dialogue.

This is the same Medea Benjamin, who I have respected and admired for many years now for her outspoken criticism of this nation’s dishonest and deadly military ventures throughout the world.

There are many countries where she would have been imprisoned for such expression of dissent against a government, most notably Saudi Arabia, which in recent months she has chosen to highlight for their lack of human rights and their slaughter of the Yemeni People, and for which she published a book on the same subject.

I am in total agreement with what Medea purports to say on these accounts about whether it be Saudi Arabia, Syria, Donald Trump, or the condemnation of the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia.

But a very glaring double standard has reared its ugly head in her denunciation of what she refers to as “hate speech”.

There are many in this country who look upon the many forms of expression Medea has used in her opposition to US military imperialism who would define her behavior and words as “hate speech”, hatred for this country.

I am not one of the them who would see her viewpoint as hatred for this country, but rather “patriotic” in her attempts to correct a government of the People that has for some time now lost contact with its essential moral principles of democracy and freedom. I would agree with Theodore Roosevelt who stated that the highest form of patriotism is dissent.

But let’s face it. Many Americans become less than open minded and less protective of their adherence to the Constitution of the US when they perceive someone who in their mind attacks what they perceive to be inviolable_their interpretation of patriotism: unquestioning allegiance to their government.

What is happening in this nation as a consequence of the violence that erupted in Virginia is a backlash against others’ right to voice their opinion, a supposed Constitutionally guaranteed right.

If all one has to do then is for the politically correct proponents of what constitutes “hate speech” to define that which they find repugnant, unpatriotic, distasteful is to assert  their “interpretations” and label them “hate speech”. then Medea Benjamin BEWARE. Your neck may very well be the next on the guillotine block.

Have Americans not noticed that their civil liberties have been eroding exponentially since 9/11, orchestrated by a cabal of deep state actors who Medea has stood so powerfully against?

By Medea’s interpretation of “hate speech” has she joined the ranks of those furthering limitations of our Rights and will she herself end up the Victim of the politically correct voluntary fascists who would eliminate that which they disagree with?

–Bob of Occupy

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“How Will the United States Regulate Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology?” by Shingai Thornton

July 5, 2016 (blog.coinfund.io)

Regulators with the Financial Stability Oversight Committee (FSOC) have called for increased oversight of “distributed ledger systems,” claiming the technology could pose systemic risks if usage keeps growing. The recommendation comes in the wake of “The DAO” heist which might cost investors millions of dollars due to the exploitation of a loophole in the smart contract of what was meant to be a decentralized, democratic, venture capital fund with rules determined by code.

The FSOC isn’t the only federal agency monitoring developments in this space. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has declared that Bitcoin is property, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commision (CFTC) regulates it as a commodity and Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has stated the central bank has no authority to regulate the cryptocurrency. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approaches classification of the technology on a case by case basis.

The SEC’s deputy director of trading and markets said of the DAO incident:

“This highlights a number of concerns that are really core to the SEC’s role, which is not only issues of disclosure, investor protection,” but also includes “the technology and the systems that underpin the markets”

Besides watching for risks to the financial system, which won’t be substantial until the technology is adopted by mainstream consumers; there are other issues regulators should keep in mind.

A group of CPAs recently wrote a letter to the IRS, noting that their unclear guidance poses tax problems for those trying to stay in compliance. Non-profit policy research group Coin Center argues that without clarity at the national level, the U.S. risks losing its global competitive edge in financial technology (Fintech). Digital currency startups in the U.S. face two major barriers in a murky regulatory environment.

  1. Banks are afraid, and often refuse to serve them.
  2. Firms that control customer funds must obtain separate money transmission licenses in each of the 50 states. It’s an expensive, cumbersome process that many startups can’t afford, and “control” of digital currency is not a well defined concept in our legal system.

This can be contrasted with the situation in places like SwitzerlandSingapore, and the U.K., where clear guidelines and light touch regulation have created safe homes for some of the most innovative companies and experiments in the space.

New York, Delaware, and North Carolina are enacting state-level legislation designed to provide clarity. Coin Center has called on the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), an independent branch of the U.S. Treasury, to issue a National Fintech Charter.

Here’s a brief overview of the state level approaches, Coin Center’s proposal, and the groups likely to play a key role in regulation of the technology.

New York

As a global financial capital, it’s no surprise that New York was the first state to enact digital currency regulations. The Bitlicense, crafted by the state’s former Superintendent of Financial Services, has been met with a lukewarm reception. Coin Center calls it a “mixed bag” that falls short and identifies some key flaws.

  • Vague Anti Money Laundering(AML) requirements.
  • Requirement for pre-approval of products by the Superintendent.
  • Custody/control of consumer funds definition doesn’t account for technology’s full capabilities.
  • Contains language that could prevent companies from lawfully protecting customers from publicly revealing their transaction histories.
  • Lack of a defined on ramp for startups.

Indeed, a number of startups stopped doing business in the state because of the license.

Meanwhile, MIT Digital Currency Initiative’s Brian Fordes praised regulators for listening to feedback on earlier drafts of the bill and making changes “that will protect consumers and spur more investment in entrepreneurs building companies in this space.”

For well-funded companies serving institutional clients and/or whose business models rely on having strict KYC/AML procedures, the license may get the job done. The companies that have received one (Circle) or are close to doing so (Ripple, Coinbase) fit into this category.

Delaware

Delaware is known for being corporation friendly and has the potential to become an attractive home for digital currency startups. The state’s governor announced in May that they are seeking legal classification for corporate blockchain-based shares, and have no plans for a New York style Bitlicense.

The effort is still in its initial phases, with key details such as whether or not Bitcoin’s blockchain will be used as part of the project yet to be determined. Hopefully the state will benefit from observing the experiences of NY and NC.

North Carolina

In late 2015, the North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks codified exemptions for miners, non-financial blockchain based services, and multi-signature/non-custodial wallets from its Money Transmission Act.

Earlier this week, the North Carolina State Senate passed a bill which aims to cover digital currencies under state money transmission laws. The bill still needs to be signed by the Governor before becoming law. The Chamber of Digital Commerce’s Perianne Boring refers to North Carolina’s bill as “more diplomatic than in New York” and “how states should be regulating digital currency.”

Coin Center, again has some criticism, largely for the bill’s failure to define control of digital currency. It isn’t clear, for example, how lightning network nodes would be treated under the law. Together with the Uniform Law Commission, they crafted the following definition:

(3) “Control” means possession of sufficient virtual currency credentials or authority on a virtual currency network to execute unilaterally or prevent indefinitely virtual currency transactions[.]

They also criticize the bill’s lack of exceptions for software development/distribution and non-financial applications of digital currency. Still, the state’s efforts are acknowledged as a step in the right direction.

A Federal Fintech Charter?

Earlier this month, Coin Center proposed broad regulation in the form of a Federal Fintech Charter. It would be issued by the OCC which is responsible for chartering, regulating, and supervising national/cooperative banks.

The charter could give startups access to a passport granting them money transmission privileges across every state, eliminating the need to acquire 50 separate licenses.

It would also give them access to national banks, a necessity for most businesses. Risk would be limited by only granting them access to the ACH/Fedwire fund transfer systems for the purpose of exchanging between digital currencies and the dollar. Firms “would have the key benefits of federal regulation, preemption of state law, and access to the payments system, but would not engage in risk-generating activities like deposit taking or credit extension.”

On its surface, the proposal seems reasonable. One concern might be that the charter would create a slippery slope, leading to more and less reasonable rules down the line.

Other Federal Actors to Watch

These are some of groups that seem likely to take significant action in the coming years.

Conclusion

Cryptocurrency is increasingly being recognized as a legitimate asset class, and there is a lot of hype surrounding the potential for blockchains to transform the financial system. Industry participants recently held discussions with high level representatives at the White House (2) and Federal Reserve.

If the technology reaches mass adoption, additional regulations are inevitable. Without input from technical and legal experts in the community, laws will be written by people who do not understand the technology. Coin Center is one of a few groups leading educational efforts, and has proposed a framework for securities regulation of cryptocurrencies.

Overly burdensome regulation could discourage innovation and drive entrepreneurs out of the country, and laws passed in the U.S. will certainly influence the approach of other countries. How will the world’s largest economy act? Which regulatory agency will take the lead, and what distinctions will be made between cryptocurrency and other blockchain-based technologies? Is Congress capable of passing a cryptocurrency friendly bill?

As the DAO fiasco and gradually increasing adoption bring cryptocurrency and blockchain-based systems under the spotlight of regulators, questions like these should be on the mind of everyone in the space.

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Op-Ed by Bob of Occupy: Charlottesville, Virginia–Fire and Fury over a Symbol

Now apparently it’s up to three dead in Charlottesville, Virginia.

I fault the opposition for making this a confrontation, though fault can be placed on all sides. Let people express themselves. This is the nation of Free Speech, right? Whether they’re White Supremacists or Black Lives Matter or the idiot in the WH, let them sound off, but then have an open debate.

Why are the leaders of these groups not proposing a place and time to argue substantively among themselves? Why doesn’t the media set up something instead of salivating over a deadly confrontation for their cameras?

The removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee is what? The removal of history, the removal of a symbol of something? I think what happened in Charlottesville yesterday is the culmination of political correctness and the power of the Black Movement asserting itself unwisely in a manner that was asserted against them in the past. So what have they learned from their own experience? When one gains power force your will on your enemies?

I know you couldn’t get people to have a silent demonstration against the White Supremacists, but three people at least would be alive today.

We have become a nation of bullies, not just our country against the world, but our citizens against one another. Our culture of dominance in our sports, in our politics, in our electronic games, in our movies screams the endless shallow squeal of We’re Number One. And the Tangerine headed president personifies this.

So much needs to be placed on the table and discussed, but isn’t. We prefer the spectacle of our own savagery.

The Civil War happened. Slavery happened. World Wars One and Two happened. There are monuments all over this nation to symbolize those realities.

The Turks refuse to confront their genocide of the Armenians. The Japanese had a problem acknowledging what they did to the Chinese in Nanking. The Chinese have a problem accepting the truth about Mao. He was responsible for the deaths of 75 million Chinese, most of them during peace time. And the Israelis won’t confront their own genocidal occupation of the Palestinian People. And what about our nation? The genocide of the indigenous People, Slavery, suppression of Labor rights, the denial of the vote to Black Americans and Women.

But there are monuments to all of the above, aren’t there? They serve a purpose, hopefully, to raise consciousness. For one Robert E. Lee is a symbol of a misplaced superiority of one race over another. For another it’s the symbol of a bloody civil war that happened and can’t be denied.

In San Francisco in Union Square there is a monument to the US war against the Philippines. Some will take that as some kind of symbol of victory for the US. Others will see the stark hypocrisy of that war against the backdrop of this nation’s stated principles of democracy and freedom.

And of course the US is a walking, talking bullhorn of hypocrisy and self-delusion.

Why do we act aggressively and violently towards Symbols or symbolic events? Wouldn’t our energies be better served if we directed them towards some Self-Reflection? Maybe we would cease to be like adolescents and more like at least the ideal of adulthood_conscious awareness of our own failings and humility in the face of our self-illusions, putting aside ego self-aggrandizement.

In 1999 the Martin Luther King family brought a suit against the CIA, the FBI, the US Army, the Memphis Police Department, the Dixie Mafia, and one Lloyd Jowers. After a month’s trial and after only about an hour of deliberation, a jury of twelve Americans citizens_not a Congressional cover-up investigation, found all of the above defendants Guilty of Collusion in the Assassination of MLK.

How many Americans know about this? One percent, two percent? What?

Our mainstream media didn’t inform the People of this? Why the silence? But there they are when the blood starts flowing again and more die unnecessarily.

I have to wonder how many in the Black Lives Matter movement know this fact about the decision brought in the MLK’s familiy’s suit against basically our own government.. How many of those who represented White People yesterday in Virginia, who see their identities somehow threatened  by the removal of a statue, know their government colluded in the death of the Civil Rights Movement’s leader, Martin Luther King.

Both groups are blinded by their own ideologies of self-empowerment concerning a Symbol of something, a physical representation they identify with or against.

That got reported. The death of three so far got reported. The reactions of a president on his Twitter account got coverage.

But the 1999 decision in the Martin Luther King Family vs. Lloyd Jowers, the CIA, the FBI, the US Army, the Memphis Police Department, and the Dixie Mafia case goes unnoticed and forgotten in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Blood is shed for symbolic statuary, but concrete, legal decisions implicating the collusion of the US Government in the assassination of a man whose life’s work changed the course of this nation continues to dangle in the limbo of forgotten history.

Wake up, America.

–Bob of Occupy

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