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Welcome to the Official Website of James Landrith
Big Brother, not Snowden and Greenwald, Is the Story
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Blog, Commentary and Articles - Civil Liberties and Advocacy Efforts
Written by Sheldon Richman   
Thursday, 27 June 2013
Big Brother, not Snowden and Greenwald, Is the Story
by Sheldon Richman
 
“Instead of being adversaries to government power … [the media of Washington, D.C., are] … servants to it and mouthpieces for it.”
 
So said the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story of Edward Snowden’s disclosure of NSA spying on the American people, after Greenwald’s confrontation with Meet the Press’s David Gregory. Greenwald needn’t have limited his observation to the D.C. media. Plenty of reporters and cable-news talking heads are playing the same role in the NSA drama.
 
Indeed, if they spent half the time investigating Obama’s Big Brother operations that they spend sneering at Snowden and Greenwald, Americans might demand that the government stop spying on them.
 
But to much of the mainstream (and not-so-mainstream) media, Snowden and Greenwald — not the NSA, the Obama administration, and the supine Congress — are the story — a story of villainy.
 
The examples are endless. The day after Snowden revealed himself as the whistleblower, Joe Scarborough, the former Republican congressman and host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, ordered his director to take the image of “that weasel” off the screen. The other day, his sidekick, Mika Brzezinski, asked, “Is there anything we can do to track him down?” (Emphasis added.) She meant the government.
 
Brzezinski went on to accuse Snowden of taking the job with NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton “to screw over our government.” That’s how one who speaks power to truth spins it. Snowden’s service to the American people is hardly undercut by his having taken the job intending to expose government violations of the Fourth Amendment.
 
MSNBC’s self-identification as a progressive network is hard to square with its unrelenting assaults on Snowden and Greenwald, and its de-emphasis of NSA surveillance. Andrea Mitchell, who functions as the network’s chief diplomatic stenographer, wondered why the NSA was hiring contractors when it could be recruiting people with the “right value system” from the military. (She's forgotten that whistleblower Bradley Manning is in the military.) Chris Matthews of Hardball says that any foreign government that won't turn Snowden over to the U.S. government is “no buddy of ours.”
 
MSNBC personnel routinely describe Greenwald as “defensive,” which apparently is their code word for people who push back at stupid questions. For example, when Gregory asked Greenwald if he could be indicted for “aiding and abetting” Snowden, and Greenwald asked in return how a journalist could equate reporting with criminal activity, he was treated with disdain. Gregory even questioned Greenwald’s journalistic credentials, as did Paul Farhi of the Washington Post.
 
I’ve focused on MSNBC because it has so egregiously and persistently circled the wagons around the government. It’s an old story: TV hosts and reporters need access to government officials, but access is jeopardized if they antagonize those officials. Better to play it safe and sneer at Snowden and Greenwald.
 
You don’t have to work for MSNBC to suck up to power. Op-ed writers from conservative David Brooks to progressive Richard Cohen have tried to portray Snowden as an alienated oddball, as though no one could have a legitimate purpose in unmasking government surveillance. (Brooks thought it relevant to write that Snowden “has not been a regular presence around his mother’s house for years.” Really!) Pundits repeatedly refer to Snowden’s having dropped out of high school, which apparently signals some serious moral or mental defect in the young man. More likely he was bored with the dull and regimented curriculum so typical of government high schools.
 
Others have tried to read much into Snowden’s stops in Hong Kong and Moscow. He might be a spy, they suggest. But wouldn’t a spy have kept his identity secret while selling his information to “the enemy”? It doesn’t occur to the pundits that Snowden’s priority right now is to stay out of the clutches of the U.S. government. Snowden has no moral obligation to be a martyr. Let’s not forget how Bradley Manning has been treated for his disclosures of government wrongdoing. He faces life imprisonment.
 
Snowden and Greenwald have not “aided the enemy” — unless the American people are the government’s enemy. What they have done is embarrass the Obama administration by exposing criminal activity.
 
For the media’s defenders of power against truth, that’s inexcusable.
 
Sheldon Richman is vice president and editor at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va. (www.fff.org).
 
Mad Men, Male Rape Survivors and Female Predators
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Blog, Commentary and Articles - Rape, Sexual Assault and Abuse
Written by James Landrith   
Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Abigail Rine, writing for The Atlantic, on "Don Draper Was Raped""

 

 

According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, a nationally representative study on sexual victimization developed by the CDC, 4.8 percent of men in the United States have been "made to penetrate" someone against their will at some point in their lifetimes. That's nearly 5.5 million men. And for about 80 percent of those men, their abusers were female.

 

If you find this "made to penetrate" thing a little confusing, you're not alone. I wasn't really aware that this type of sexual violence existed until a few months ago, when I came across the stories of men who had experienced it. Over at The Good Men Project, James Landrith and Levi Greenacres write about having sexual intercourse with women without their consent, recounting not only the assaults, but also the ensuing psychological aftermath. Landrith describes his "trauma response" as a sudden lapse into reckless behavior and "ridiculous promiscuity," as well as having long-term difficulty trusting women or even sharing confined spaces with them.


 

 http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/06/don-draper-was-raped/276937/

 

 

Joanna Schroeder, writing for The Good Men Project, on "Facing the Reality of Men Who've Been Raped By Women":

One reason the myth of men always wanting “it” is so pervasive is because we’ve never really had a model for male survivors of assault by women—we’ve barely had models of male survivors of assault by men. That’s why we’ve been so grateful to writers like  James Landrith and Levi Greenacres, who have shared their stories with The Good Men Project community in the past. A year ago, Mike D’Amora bravely wrote about his terrifying and frantic rape at the hands of a violent female perpetrator on Thought Catalogue. Survivor stories—true ones and fictionalized ones in media such as Mad Men—help us to understand the realities of sexual assault against boys and men.

 

http://goodmenproject.com/good-feed-blog/hesaid-facing-the-reality-of-men-whove-been-raped-by-women/

 

After five years of going public and taking giant doses of ugly victim-blaming and shaming from knuckle-dragging troglodytes and ideologically blinded assholes, it is heartening to see the concept of female on male rape being taken seriously and written about by mature, serious indiividuals.  No "wink, wink", no "lucky duck", no "erections = consent."

 

This is a good start.

 

 

About James A. Landrith

James Landrith is a healing rape survivor, public speaker, internationally syndicated blogger, civil liberties activist and the notorious editor and publisher of The Multiracial Activist (ISSN: 1552-3446) and The Abolitionist Examiner (ISSN: 1552-2881). Landrith can be reached by email at:  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  or at his personal website/blog.

 

 


 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 03 August 2013 )
 
Motives Aside, the NSA Should Not Spy on Us
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Blog, Commentary and Articles - Civil Liberties and Advocacy Efforts
Written by Sheldon Richman   
Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Motives Aside, the NSA Should Not Spy on Us
by Sheldon Richman
 
You need not suspect the motives of those responsible for NSA surveillance to detest what they are doing. In fact, we may have more to fear from spies acting out of patriotic zeal than those acting out of power lust or economic interest: Zealots are more likely to eschew restraints that might compromise their righteous cause.
 
For the sake of argument, we may assume that from President Obama on down, government officials sincerely believe that gathering Americans’ telephone and Internet data is vital to the people’s security. Does that make government spying okay?
 
No, it doesn’t.
 
“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” Although often attributed to George Washington, that famous quotation was probably was not uttered by him. Nevertheless, its value lies in what it says, not in who said it.
 
At best, government represents a risk to the people it rules. Even under a tightly written constitution and popular vigilance — both of which are easier to imagine than to achieve — government officials will always have the incentive and opportunity to push the limits and loosen the constraints.
 
But if their purpose is to protect us, why worry?
 
It doesn’t take much imagination to answer to this question. A purported cure can be worse than the disease. Who would accept the placement of a surveillance camera in every home as a way of preventing crime? By the same token, gathering data on everyone without probable cause in order to locate possible terrorists should be abhorrent to people who prize their freedom and privacy.
 
Since we’re assuming pure motives, we’ll ignore the specter of deliberate abuse. In our hypothetical case, no one would use the information in a way not intended to promote the general welfare. Pure motives, however, do not rule out error. So the danger remains that innocent people could have their lives seriously disrupted — or worse — by a zealous agent of government who sees an ominous pattern in someone’s data where none in fact exists. Author Nassim Nicholas Taleb points out that human beings are more likely to see order in randomness than vice versa. As a result, a blameless individual could have his life turned upside down by a bureaucrat who goes the extra mile to ensure that no terrorist act occurs on his watch. Think of the turmoil created for those falsely accused of the bombing at the Atlanta Olympic games and of sending anthrax letters after the 9/11 attacks.
 
The odds of such an error for any particular individual may be slight, but they are big enough if you put yourself into the picture.
 
However, that is not the only reason to reject even a well-intentioned surveillance state.
 
Julian Sanchez, who specializes in technology and civil liberties, points out that a person who has nothing to hide from government officials — if such a person actually exists — would still not have a good reason to tolerate NSA surveillance, because the general awareness that government routinely spies on us has an insidious effect on society:
Even when it isn’t abused ... the very presence of that spy machine affects us and poisons us.… It’s slow and subtle, but surveillance societies inexorably train us for helplessness, anxiety and compliance. Maybe they’ll never look at your call logs, read your emails or listen in on your intimate conversations. You’ll just live with the knowledge that they alwayscould — and if you ever had anything worth hiding, there would be nowhere left to hide it.
Is that the kind of society we want, one in which we assume a government official is looking over our shoulders?
 
Because government is force — “a dangerous servant and a fearful master” — it must be watched closely, even — especially — when it does something you like. But eternal vigilance is hard to achieve. People outside the system are busy with their lives, and politicians generally can’t be expected to play watchdog to other politicians. Therefore, at the least, we need institutional constraints and transparency: No secret warrants. No secret courts. No secret expansive interpretations of laws and constitutional prohibitions.
 
Sheldon Richman is vice president and editor at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va. (www.fff.org).
 
Don Draper Was Raped
User Rating: / 0
About Me/Website - Press and Government Mentions
Written by Abigail Rine   
Tuesday, 18 June 2013

 

Don Draper Was Raped

Mad Men's non-consensual encounter between a young, frightened Dick Whitman and a prostitute didn't generate as much chatter as its gender-reversed scenario might have. Why?
 
published in The Atlantic

 

 

 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 September 2013 )
 
Reflections on Five Years of Healing and Speaking Out
User Rating: / 8
Blog, Commentary and Articles - Rape, Sexual Assault and Abuse
Written by James Landrith   
Monday, 17 June 2013

I have taken it on the chin several times for speaking out and publicly telling my story. I've had to remind myself that there are a lot of silent survivors who feel validated and less alone when they see another survivor speak out loudly.  I’ve heard from men who’ve been raped.  I’ve heard from their wives, girlfriends, mothers and friends.  I’ve heard from women raped by other women.  I’ve listened to their stories, shared their traumas and appreciated their compassion.  I’ve made many new friends and lost a few along the way.

 

I've been called a liar, told "men can't be raped", "women would never rape", been lectured that "erections can't be forced", that “I should have fought back” and outright harassed and targeted by rape apologists and victim-blamers of all gender identification and ideological leaning.  Please don’t bother to tell me that “so and so is not a true X” and such.  Too many of their peers are quite willing to look the other way when they act atrociously.  I’m done with excuses, apologia and disavowals.  Purge your scumbags and distance yourself from them profoundly or you own them.  I don’t give a fuck anymore.  I’m done with all of that.  I know the landscape too well at this point.  No ideology is free of victim-blaming, shaming and minimizations toward rape survivors.  Even rape survivors gang up on other rape survivors on the basis of gender, type of rape, whether they reported or not, ideology or whatever arbitrary thing happens to be what they wish to use at a given moment.

 

I've outlasted the scumbags. They tend to give up when I refuse to slink away in shame.  I've been attacked harder in 2012 than in recent years, but I am still here.  They are nowhere to be found with regard to actually helping survivors.  Those who talk big on the internet are never at a Take Back the Night march, they aren’t on Capitol Hill, they don’t get late night texts from survivors in crisis, they’ve never listened patiently while someone screamed and cried and sobbed inconsolably.  I have never noticed them in a policy planning meeting on sexual violence issues.  They talk big on the internet.  That’s it.  They aren’t even useful idiots.

 

I am not attached to any ideological or political movement.  No one owns me and I work with anyone who is doing something to help.  I have allowed a wide variety of people, publications and organizations to share my story with their constituencies as a public service.  I will continue to do that so long as I believe it can be of assistance to other survivors.  Whatever label you think you can apply to me speaks far more about you than it does me.

 

This month, it will be five years since I decided to face up to what happened to me and say the words: "I was raped.My world was turned upside down and I could not have expected the emotional and media storm that going public would heap upon my head.  My story has been published in multiple publications and mentioned in dozens of blogs.  I’ve been interviewed for print, internet and live media.  The Empowerment Theatre adapted my story for use in a stage production on sexual violence, a video interview has become part of the awesome Precious Porter stage presentation “Love Should Not Hurt” and modern romance author Susan Mac Nicol used my story as research for the rape of her protagonist in the novel “Cassandra By Starlight.”  I’ve been a moderator at one of the largest survivor forums on the internet, became a member of RAINN’s Speakers Bureau and got involved in policy through the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance.  I am now working with fellow survivors on Military Sexual Trauma policy and advocacy.  There is always more to do.  There are never enough hands.

 

I’ve had HORRIBLE days when I wanted to curl up in a ball and disappear forever.  I’ve wanted to put my fist through a wall on other days.  I’ve cried.  I’ve been angry.  I’ve been inconsolable.  I’ve lost my cool.  I've dissociated and shut down.

 

I’ve had WONDERFUL days when I heard from a survivor who felt less alone.  I’ve seen them flourish and begin to heal.  I’ve made incredible friendships.  I’ve been privileged to hear many people’s stories for the first time.

 

I’ve learned a great deal along the way.  I’ve paid a huge price for speaking out and I caution that it is NOT for everyone.  If you do feel you are ready, I’ve prepared a few observations and tips below.

 

I would suggest before speaking out that you make sure you've set aside some time to deal with your emotions.  Often, you will feel horrible.  Give yourself permission to feel that way and understand that other survivors who speak out have often felt the same.  You are telling your story to new people.  You are exposing yourself to a much larger group of "insiders."  People will know you have been raped.  They may even know how it happened.  That is hard to shoulder.  My story has been in print, on the internet and covered by podcast and video for MILLIONS to have read or seen over five years.  I still get a panic attack after I disclose to a new audience.  I’ve just accepted that as part of the process.  It is much easier that way.

 

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever read the comments on stories about your rape.  EVER.  Got it?  It will be triggering, humiliating and demoralizing.  There are monsters in the comments.  They are nameless, faceless, cowardly monsters who take sport in hurting people far braver than they could ever be on their best day.  Don't validate them by giving them even a second of your life.  You are not talking to them.  They aren't listening to you.  You are talking to the silent survivor fighting back tears on the other end of the monitor.  You are teaching a parent, educator, family member, secondary survivor and bystander about yet another facet of the survivor experience.  You are speaking to those who are listening and ready to hear your truth.  It is not your responsibility to engage with the dregs of the internet.  They don’t actually care about you.  They have nothing of worth to offer.

 

Understand why you want to speak, before you start booking events.  If you don’t know what you intend to get out of speaking, you should spend some time figuring that out first.  Your experience will not be healing for you and could be detrimental if you go into it lightly.

 

Pick your subject matter carefully and stay on topic.  Don’t try to cover everything in one presentation.  I change my content to fit the organization, event and audience.  Try not to read your presentation like a script.  Learn your content in advance and practice.  It will sound more natural and your audience will notice.

 

Expect that many people will want to speak with you after the event or in between speakers.  They may honor you by sharing their own story for the first time with anyone.  Someone may tell you that your remarks gave them the strength to break the silence.  Be prepared for that.  You WILL change someone’s life for the better.  You may hear from a person months or even YEARS after an interview or speech.  For that person, what you said is new and vital and life-saving.  Recognize how much courage it took that person to contact you.  You don’t owe them anything, but you just might save their life.

 

Whether you choose to tell your story publicly or keep your story private is entirely your choice.  If you are gonna do it, then go into it with your eyes wide open.  Understand that the world is will not always welcome you with loving arms.  Many people don’t want to know you even exist, let alone even listen to you respectfully.  This is a hard responsibility to take on as a survivor. 

 

You may want or need to say To Hell With This on occasion when it gets to be too much.  Do that.  Take care of yourself.  You own this process.  Don’t feel ashamed of getting overwhelmed.  Rape is overwhelming.  PTSD is overwhelming.  Victim-blaming and shaming are overwhelming.  Speaking out opens up a lot of emotions and exposes your wounds to strangers.  That is unbelievably brave and such important work.  You need to take care of yourself first though.  You won’t help anyone else if you are in crisis yourself.

 

It has been a strange and intense five year journey for me.  For those of you who were with me along the way, I thank you.  Many people were incredibly supportive and continue to show me that humanity is not dominated by the monsters and the heartless cynics.  There are more good people than I could have ever imagined.  Thank you all.

 

I don’t know what the next five years will bring, but I am no longer afraid.  I own this process.  I own my future.  Anyone who doesn't like it should feel free to proceed to the nearest exit.

 

About James A. Landrith

James Landrith is a healing rape survivor, public speaker, internationally syndicated blogger, civil liberties activist and the notorious editor and publisher of The Multiracial Activist (ISSN: 1552-3446) and The Abolitionist Examiner (ISSN: 1552-2881). Landrith can be reached by email at:  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  or at his personal website/blog.

 


 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 03 August 2013 )
 
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