Archive for June, 2014

CTM Previews the 2016 Election Class – Hillary Clinton

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

We’re halfway through 2014, and within six months campaigns for the presidency of the most powerful country on earth will begin churning their engines for the long haul of election cycles.  As it was projected, the forerunner (and frankly only discussed) candidate for the Democratic Party is none other than former First Lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  There is no questioning that Hillary Clinton has been a force in American politics for the last twenty years, and is beyond qualified to hold the highest office in the country.  However, would electing Clinton president be good for this country?



It is no secret that many of the same powerful groups have been running this country for decades.  If you look at it, there have been two distinct “circles” of political royalty—The Bush family and the Clinton power circle.  The Montagues and Capulets of high American society, if only Chelsea Clinton could have fallen in love with one of the Bush’s.  We’ve had a father and son run the country only one president apart, and now we’re talking about having the spouse of another former president hold office two presidents displaced from him.  This is disastrous for the future of America and a representation of the “façade” of democracy that exists in this country.  Hillary Clinton may hold her own independent legacy, but she is unquestionably surrounded by some of the very same people that helped Bill achieve and hold office, and some of the same individuals that have allowed Barack Obama to spend two terms in the oval office.



When 2015 rolls into 2016, who will pundits be talking about as front-runner’s for president?  Hillary Clinton for sure, Chris Christie is a maybe, and let us hope that Mitt Romney/Jeb Bush/Joe Biden are mere spectators to the process.  My problem with Hillary is the fact that she represents everything that has ruined this country over the last few decades.  The Clinton’s are entrenched in an ever-present core of over-educated lawyers, groomed aides, and political manipulators.  Hillary could not possibly be any better than what we have now but there is no escaping this, as it is what American politicking has become.  Every four years each party trounces up another face to represent the same few dozen minds that had either Bush Sr/Jr and Bill Clinton elected before.



I know that in one year’s time, celebrities and politicians alike will be aligning together to push the “Get out and Vote” campaign, but I’m wondering what good that even does when we’re essentially given two options.  Either you vote for the Republican candidate who is likely backed by people that got Bush elected, or you vote Democrat for the same minds that got Obama and Bill Clinton elected.  We are deceived as voters into thinking that we cast one vote for one person: false. When we vote we are vouching our support for the figurehead and all their respective staff that they bring along with them.  If our “democracy” means having two options, and neither of which are that much different than the prior, what choice is there?



-Spencer James

CTM Goes to Fight Night

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

On the first day of summer, Can The Man sponsored the Red Corner at the Southern Tier Martial Arts League “Super Show.”  A night filled with hard punches and even a knockout finish to the main event would be our first significant public event as a group, which was a momentous occasion for all.  It was a great night and the perfect way for Can the Man to take a step ahead and work to create a presence in our local arena.



1.) Bryan Hunter had strength and weight advantage over Chris Pasquale, which lead to a late TKO in favor of Hunter with a barrage of heavy hooks and kicks.


2.) Holly Snyder rocked the Can The Man tee-shirt brilliantly in her Muay Thai bout with Abby Counts.  Snyder wins in a split decision after three.


3.) Dan Weston exchanges furious blows with Malique Carter in the American Style fight.  Weston eventually overpowered Carter and won the unanimous decision.


4.) Brooke Steedman handled Can the Man Red Corner Julie Vincent – but Vincent didn’t quit – after three rounds of Kickboxing rules.  Steedman wins unanimous decision.


5.) In the most spirited fight of the night, Tom Buchonecty exchanged a better array of blows to take a dicey split decision over Justin Floyd.


6.) With the only MMA style fight of the night, heavyweight Aaron Johnson took it  to Justin McGovern and submitted him in the second round with an armbar.


7.) In the main event of the night, Mitch Kawalchik knocked out Logan Brown with a powerful right hook and easily took the crown of fight of the night.


Overall, the Chautauqua Super Show was a great chance for Can the Man to spread the name and involve itself in a local event.  Hopefully we will see more supporters at the next even we do, which we will be sure to promote and organize.


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Holly Snyder reppin’ Can the Man in her Muay Thai victory over Abby Counts.


*more photos to come


-Spencer James-

Suggested Reading: Matt Taibbi’s The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, 2014.

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

-Matt Taibbi on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.



As a former journalist for Rolling Stone and the previous author of the bestselling book Griftopia, Matt Taibbi  has made a name for himself battling The Man. He is a writer who has been claimed by some as the heir to Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo throne, and has made it his goal in life to expose injustice and corruption in America. Before I picked up his newest book, The Divide, around a month ago, I had read many of Taibbi’s news articles and feature stories but none of his books. I was motivated to read his newest work after watching a candid interview with the New Jersey native on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show.


In the interview Taibbi laid out, in simple terms, the ridiculous and unjust nature of how America now deals with criminals depending on their skin color and the size of their bank account. He described a form of institutionalized persecution that is woven into everything from our financial regulation to our immigration system. Now, having finished The Divide, I can tell you that the issues Taibbi has spent the last several years of his life researching and writing about are shocking, unsettling, and downright sinister. The work is an expansive and thoroughly researched investigation of the American criminal justice system that will leave you wondering how things ever got to be this bad. It asks simple questions like: how is it that a black man driving a Range Rover through New York City can be arrested and detained, while the biggest banks in the world can commit fraud and usury countless times over and face no criminal action? The answers are, of course, not simple (hence the page count of 412). But they are certainly worth finding out.



Taibbi takes the reader through a recent political history of financial de-regulation that has allowed companies like Bear Sterns, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, and many others to escape prosecution while stealing billions of dollars and ruining countless lives. The pages of the work are littered with some of CTM’s profiled Men, the likes of Hank “The Hammer” Paulson and Lloyd Blankfein. Taibbi poetically describes modern America as a real-life dystopia, and sadly he has the facts to back it up.


“The rich have always gotten breaks and the poor have always had to swim upstream. The new truth is infinitely darker and more twisted. The new truth is a sci-fi movie, a dystopia,” he says on page 324.



In our real-life dystopia, America is run by bloated and convoluted bureaucracies that are created solely to maximize profit at the expense of humanity. Corrupt capitalism is described by Taibbi as a giant heartless machine that churns the bodies of the innocent and underprivileged in its wake.   After reading the book I was left in an astonished state of existential anguish, asking myself: what are we supposed to do? Taibbi does not give the reader much of an answer to this question, but maybe that is the most shocking thing about his new book. There is seemingly nothing that we can do. The machine has been set in motion, and it is going to take a very big wrench to take it down.


-J.A. Young

Marcin Jakubowski’s Open Source Hardware for a Better Future

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

We are in the process of reimagining the world and our place in it.  One of the greatest factors driving our reorientation is technology.  Possessing the proper tools is vital in this new era of rapid development.  Innovators such a Marcin Jakubowski are changing the way we create and use technology.


While software technology is the focus of many technological discussions, basic machinery, such as agricultural equipment, is often overlooked.  Machinery is a key aspect of the global, technological changes that are rapidly altering the way we live.  Jakubowski’s open source project is making the means of production more available to the masses.


Jakubowski asserts that with open source access to hardware technology “industrial productivity can be achieved on a small scale.”  He has taken what he estimates to be the fifty most important machines known to man, such as tractors and circuit makers, and made the blueprints available to anyone.  In the beginning, he found that he would have to build the machines himself to have something that could last a lifetime because nearly everything he could buy was designed for obsolescence.  By designing his own machinery, which he could easily fix, he has found a way to put the means of production into the hands of citizens interested in development, allowing for industrial production to be possible for wider use.  What Jakubowski is working on is part of a larger trend which has produced such amazing gadgets as the 3-D printer, which ultimately allow for the means of production to be controlled by the average citizen.  That being said, what does that mean for our collective future?


His efforts exemplify a new approach where great ideas are shared with the hopes of benefiting the global community rather than being hoarded for the enrichment of a few cunning tycoons.  Exciting new ideas driven more by altruism than greed can have a profound positive impact on the future.  When innovation is driven by necessity and human creativity, rather than simply by profit, the result is greater benefits for society.



Will the Real Edward Snowden Please Stand Up?

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

There is no middle ground when it comes to Edward Snowden.  You either believe he is a patriot deserving of clemency or that he is a traitorous turncoat who has gambled with the safety of the American people.  Yet, love him or hate him, there is no disputing the fact that what Snowden has done in the last year will alter the future of humanity as we know it.  So, as Snowden sat down with NBC’s Brian Williams on May 28th, I turned on my television with uneasy anticipation at what was to come.

Using appearance alone, Edward Snowden does not look dangerous—he looks quite average.  However, this does not inhibit him from expressing equal amounts of intelligence and confidence.  Snowden looked relaxed and prepared for any questions that the nervously fidgeting Williams volleyed his way.  Initially, the two exchanged conversation over the topics many of us have wanted to know.  Why did you do this and in what capacity did you work for the National Security Agency?  These were the softball questions that didn’t really peak my interest, however my ears did perk up when Williams implored Snowden to discuss all the ways in which the NSA or CIA could analyze a simple phone-based internet search.

Williams removed from his pocket what he affectionately called a “drug-dealer’s burner phone.”  This is a cellular device deliberately used to maintain confidential communications for a certain duration, only to be destroyed later, before the device is compromised.  To use a personal example, Williams told Snowden the anecdote of how he searched out the score of the New York Rangers hockey game while on his way to Russia.  Snowden reflected for a few seconds and launched into a torrent of “behind the scenes” verbiage on Williams’s search alone.  Snowden said that any surveillance organization could intuit any number  of things about you including your age, hobbies, where you were in the world and what time you searched.  Looking for the score of the game shows the NSA that you may have ties to New York City, are most likely a white male, and that you are traveling to another country.  Snowden even went on to describe what is known as the “pattern of life.”  This is everything from where/when you use your phone to figuring out if you are cheating on a spouse.  In essence, there is no limit to what the government can know about you and that is frightening.  In addition to calculating our “life patterns” Snowden relayed knowledge of the NSA’s capabilities of watching your thoughts in real time.  He used the reference of typing searches into Google, and how anyone using this type of surveillance would be able to literally view your thought process as you type it into the computer.  Although it sounds like a bunch of fictional mumbo-jumbo, if this is true, the NSA is essentially reading our minds as we openly type into our browsers. Can you imagine what they could glean from viewing everything else you’ve ever searched?

I believe that Edward Snowden is a patriot in the fullest sense of the word.  No, he is not on the front-lines waging war, but what he has done—is doing—might be more patriotic.  Snowden talked about his eagerness to protect Americans after the egregious acts of 9/11, and never once offered anything that would lead us to believe that he did this as an effort to aid our enemies.  In his surreal case, Snowden protected Americans from other Americans because in his mind, “If we want to be free, we can’t become subject to surveillance.  We can’t give away our privacy.  We can’t give away our rights.”  Snowden is not our enemy, and those who will try to coerce you to believe that are the very same people at risk of exposure because of what he knows.



-Spencer James-