New Twitter Account

unnamedHello and thank you for visiting,

Here at STL we have changed our Twitter account so that both Paul and I can post to the same feed.

You can now find us over at @SparkingTheLeft or you could just hit the “Follow” button on our Twitter window found on the right side of our blog screen.

Hope you will follow!

Thank You Very Much,





FIGHTER-1-tmagSFDouglas McAuthur McCain, and American Islamic State (IS) fighter, was reportedly killed by the Free Syrian Army on August 25, 2014. He is the first reported American killed in the line of fire with IS (also known as ISIS, or ISIL), not just fighting with rebels against Syrian dictator Bashaar al-Assad. According to a report in the NYT, it seems that Mr. McCain lost his way as a young man and turned strong religious beliefs and convictions to give himself purpose and stability.

On the SITE (or SITE Intelligence Group) blog, a group that tracks radical Islamic websites and other traffic, I found an article on Mr. McCain’s Twitter activity over the last few years. It quoted tweets and included some screenshots of them from December 2010 – January 2013. It had some observations I found interesting. Two quotes pertain here. Namely:

Notably, though, activity on his Twitter account spanning from December 2012 to January 2013 indicates his radicalization likely happened much later in his life.


When exactly McCain left for Syria to fight with IS was never indicated on his Twitter. However, the year-and-a-half-long gap between his casual tweets in January 2013 and his returning May 14, 2014 tweet—in which he endorses IS and claims that “we will soon be 1″—may indicate a span of time in which McCain became radicalized and immigrated to Syria.

What is “radicalization”?

Wikipedia’s entry on “radicalization” is a good place to start in it’s completeness and depth:

Radicalization (or radicalisation) is a process by which an individual or group comes to adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations that (1) reject or undermine the status quo[1] or (2) reject and/or undermine contemporary ideas and expressions of freedom of choice. For example, radicalism can originate from a broad social consensus against progressive changes in society. Radicalization can be both violent and nonviolent, although most academic literature focuses on radicalization into violent extremism (RVE).[2] There are multiple pathways that constitute the process of radicalization, which can be independent but are usually mutually reinforcing.[3][4]

I may have been radicalized in most people’s eyes. I became interested in Marx in my undergrad years, reading websites and books while taking sociology classes, all the whilst thinking a utopian world could be won by the proletariat. I’m not saying that it will never happen, but as my academic journey continued into grad school, I became, as am now, a Democratic Socialist.

Now Democratic Socialists are considered of the far/radical left while Mr. McCain subscribed to a perverted form of Islam with violence as morals, value, and custom. Rather, I believe that substantial social/economic change should be accomplished through democratic measures. Are we the same? No.

Keep this all in mind when contemplating issues of “radicalization” and before putting a negative tinge to it.


IWikipedia: The letter I is a vowel and used in most words.

U.S. Creates Fake Twitter for Cuban Dissent

Yoani SanchezRead this article from the AP and I’ll show you how out-of-touch Congressmen and Women are wanting to stir-up a revolution in Cuba, even if that is possible from a non-domestic action.

Read Here.


Google, Apple, and More for Internet Privacy

Tech compA good article in The Guardian about a letter issued to Pres. Obama and other political leaders from AOL, Twitter, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple and LinkedIn regarding the halting of the NSA’s bulk collection of personal internet data. The piece covers many interesting points.

Read Here.


Twitter Posts Considered Public

All you activists who read this may need to take heed regarding what you say on Twitter. A New York judge ruled that Twitter posts are public speech and can be subpoenaed by prosecutors.

Read more here.