Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Electoral Matters: Ignorant People ...

I am part of that force which would
Do evil evermore, and yet creates the good
~ Bathroom quote: Mephistopheles from Goethe’s Faust

Well, the Australian public has spoken. According to a new poll, we reckon Malcolm Turnbull is more likeable and trustworthy than Bill Shorten, but we think Shorten is more caring. So basically, the less politicians care about us, the more we like them. MASOCHISTS, ALL OF YOU! Here are your headlines... Minister Mathias Cormann accidentally praises caring labor leader Bill Shorten ...
Echoing Eleanor Roosevelt’s clarion call for our individual role in democracy and social change, Baldwin adds:
A country is only as good… only as strong as the people who make it up and the country turns into what the people want it to become… I don’t believe any longer that we can afford to say that it is entirely out of our hands. We made the world we’re living in and we have to make it over.

The Federal Police raid on Labor Senator Stephen Conroy's office is "unprecedented" in a country proud of its non-politicised security agencies, Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says. Raids at Election Times

THE Australian Federal Police have raided the offices of Labor staff at the party’s campaign headquarters in Melbourne. Labor frontbencher Tony Burke confirmed the news and the raids are connected to an ongoing investigation surrounding leaked confidential documents discussing the National Broadband Network (NBN) Raids ...

First, Do Some Harm: How to Smear a Disfavored Candidate on NYT’s Front Page  FAIR

Michael Yabsley calls for reform of Australia's electoral funding system
 Yabba calls for political donation overhaul
Malcolm Turnbull's John Howard induced headache on council amalgamations  in Sydney's eastern suburbs

Consistent with the requirements of the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998, the Pre‑election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO) was released at 1pm on Friday 20 May 2016.
The document is available on the Treasury website and the Finance website

Jeremy Scott, Why Negative Gearing Could Decide Australia’s Elections (Tax Analysts Blog). “Negative gearingis a relatively unique feature of the Australian tax system that allows property investors who realize a loss to use that loss to offset other income.” Not that unique. Consider the passive loss exception for U.S. taxpayers with rental losses that phases out for adjusted gross incomes from $100,000 to $150,000.

Federal Labor MP David Feeney, (labour's Christopher Pyne) who forgot to declare a $2.3 million house, is back in hot water after accidentally leaking his party’s campaign tactics. The member for Batman left secret talking points given to him by Bill Shorten’s media adviser behind at Sky News after a difficult interview in which he confused the school kids and baby bonus policies.

Adelaide born,  bred and based Minister misses the point of hard core irony ... One questioner asked if the Liberal Party can please just let “Malcolm be Malcolm”, rather than a man pressured to appease the far right. Christopher Pyne disagreed with the questioner, saying Mr Turnbull is “doing exactly what he wants to do” as Prime Minister Looking for Real Malcolm ... 

Just What Were Donald Trump’s Ties to the Mob? Politico

Lies crimes Australian media channel ten Adam Walters take a bribe to attack icac: hindsight is better than blindness ...
Forgotten Figures from the Australian Electoral Commission have shown that more than 94 per cent of eligible Australians are enrolled to vote. But that means about 955,000 people are not enrolled. The most offenders were the 18-to-24-year-old demographic, with a total of nearly 350,000 young people not enrolled. Get on that, you anti-democratic young hoons! If you haven’t yet, you can enrol to vote online ...


The forgotten coup in Australia Defend Democracy
"Stevens says Supreme Court decision on voter ID was correct, but maybe not right": Robert Barnes has this article in today's edition of The Washington Post.

Even the "value capture" aspect – using light rail as a rezoning wand to magically transform all it touches into Sydney's new hyper-dense core – isn't necessarily bad. Dense, transit-serviced cities are the greenest human habitat. They can also be thrilling.
But that'd be density done well. Sadly, it's not what we're getting. The CSELR, scarcely deserving either its "light rail" or its "public transport" tag, enables density done very, very badly. Stretched between minimum principle and maximum profit, it feeds vast public costs into vaster private gain. Bastardry of the first order. Bambi Baird is presiding over the Bjelke-isation of NSW. Corrupt? He doesn't have to be. Indeed, if you can rewrite laws and stack boards, it's more efficient not to be. Every night, more trees go. Every day, more parkland is fenced and devoured.
 Progress done badly: why Mike Baird's light rail is bastardry of the first order

Complement this particular fragment of the wholly invigorating Nobody Knows My Name with Susan Sontag onliterature and freedom and the great Zen teacher D.T. Suzuki on what freedom really means, then revisit Baldwin on the artist’s struggle for integritythe revelation that taught him to see, his forgotten conversations with Margaret Mead about identity, race, power, and forgiveness and with Nikki Giovanni about what it means to be truly empowered, and his advice to aspiring writers.

FiveThirtyEight, Trump’s Scorning Of Data May Not Hurt Him, But It’ll Hurt The GOP:
Big DataData doesn’t win elections; candidates do. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump bet on that idea last week when he announced his plan to rely on his personality and rallies in the general election instead of collecting data on voters. Trump has a point: The effect of “big data” and improved analytics on elections is often overhyped. Even David Plouffe — the architect of President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, the most data-savvy in history — agreed that Obama’s “data processing machine” was not responsible for his wins.

Canadians get matched with Americans wanting to flee the possibility of a Trump presidency

Do you think Donald Trump is the first U.S. politico to menace publishers over bad coverage? Not even close. My new Cato piece cites a few examples from a depressingly long history. Plus:reprinted at Newsweek.
BonusSen. Sherman Minton (D-Ind.) who put forth the remarkable proposal to make it “a crime to publish anything as a fact anything known to be false,” and who had led a Senate committee’s investigation of the Gannett newspaper chain over its (then) Republican-leaning politics, was later nominated by President Harry Truman to be an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served for seven years and became a leading exponent of judicial deference to the executive branch

"Stevens says Supreme Court decision on voter ID was correct, but maybe not right": Robert Barnes has this article in today's edition of The Washington Post.

A Florida man has been slapped with felony criminal hacking charges after gaining unauthorized access to poorly secured computer systems belonging to a Florida county elections supervisor. David Michael Levin, 31, of Estero, Florida, was charged with three counts of unauthorized access to a computer, network, or electronic device and released on $15,000 bond, officials with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said. According to a court document filed last week in Florida's Lee County and a video it cited as evidence, Levin logged in to the Lee County Elections Office website using the pilfered credentials of Sharon Harrington, the county's supervisor of elections. Levin, who authorities said is the owner of a security firm called Vanguard Cybersecurity, also allegedly gained access to the website of Florida's Office of Elections.

Yesterday: Waverley votes to hold plebiscite on council mergers amid federal election campaign

Today: The mayor Sally Betts used her casting vote to reverse a decision to hold a plebiscite on a merger with Randwick and Woollahra councilsand to block attempts by Labor and independent councillors to get more information on the controversial $38 million Bondi Pavilion upgrade. Several members of the public began filming as councillors raised their voices, threatened to walk out and the mayor Sally Betts warned they could face penalties if they staged a boycott. At one point she called an adjournment asking councillors and the public gallery to calm down Sad, Sad days ahead as truth of how undemocratic we are becoming hurts 

Alexander Van der Bellen, 22 May

 Foreign intelligence services watching our 2016 election campaigns

The Coming Democratic CrackupRobert Parry, Consortium News

"Scandals Embroil Alabama Governor, Speaker and Chief Justice": Campbell Robertson will have this article in Tuesday's edition of The New York Times

Gold coast councillors under scrutiny over campaign funding

From belief to resentment in Indiana WaPo

A group of Ukrainian hackers has published the names and contact information of thousands of journalists who have reported from rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine, raising concerns about the safety of the journalists, including many from international media organizations. The hackers said they had gained access to computers used by the Russia-backed separatists to register journalists working in the conflict zone and felt it was necessary to publish the list "because these journalists collaborate with fighters from terrorist organizations." The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement on Wednesday condemning the publication of the list, which contains 7,000 entries and data on about 4,500 journalists, including their cellphone numbers and email addresses.

​’​Sick​ and​ asphyxiating​’​​ – why we live in an age of anxiety Guardian
Bay Area public housing complex overrun with squatters Reveal

By Ian Fraser, Twitter @ian_fraser; originally posted at his How Corrupt is UK web site
Over the past few days, quite a few people have been insisting, on social media, that Britain isn’t corrupt. They’ve been claiming they see absolutely nothing wrong with Cameron describing countries such as Afghanistan and Nigeria, whose leaders were in London for the Anti-Corruption Summit in Lancaster House this week, as “fantastically corrupt”. When Cameron was caught on camera uttering these words in what he thought was a private conversation with the Queen, his clear insinuation was that their former colonial master is, by comparison, whiter than white

Petrin, Martin and Choudhury, Barnali, Understanding the Company: Corporate Governance and Theory (Introduction) (April 1, 2016). 'Understanding the Company: Corporate Governance and Theory', Barnali Choudhury & Martin Petrin, eds. (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming). Available at SSRN:

"The Supreme Court -- Slowing down: Why, when it comes to justices, nine are better than eight." This article appears in the May 14, 2016 issue of The Economist.

"Critical Evidence May Have Been Destroyed, Sheikh Mohammed Lawyers Say; Defense sought to halt proceedings and disqualify military judge Col. James Pohl and prosecution team led by Brig. Gen. Mark Martins": Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal has this report

Baird's smooth move  

Jacob Saulwick asks why Mike Baird is sacking councils ("There are reasons to merge councils, but not the ones Mike Baird is using", May 18). I can tell him. As he wrote, Baird has replaced the councils with administrators and "local democracy has been suspended for over a year until elections are held in September 2017". This means that there will be no organised opposition to his development plans for WestConnex, along railways, in the city and so on. His developer friends win out. Sydney is destroyed, or improved depending on your opinion, but smoothly and efficiently.
Jon Marshall Lilyfield SMH letters

Whipping Hay 


Blue Feed, Red Feed: “Facebook’s role in providing Americans with political news has never been stronger—or more controversial. Scholars worry that the social network can create “echo chambers,” where users see posts only from like-minded friends and media sources. Facebook encourages users to “keep an open mind” by seeking out posts that don’t appear in their feeds. To demonstrate how reality may differ for different Facebook users, The Wall Street Journal created two feeds, one “blue” and the other “red.” If a source appears in the red feed, a majority of the articles shared from the source were classified as “very conservatively aligned” in a large 2015 Facebook study. For the blue feed, a majority of each source’s articles aligned “very liberal.” These aren’t intended to resemble actual individual news feeds. Instead, they are rare side-by-side looks at real conversations from different perspectives. To begin, click on a topic. Be forewarned: These Facebook posts do not represent the reporting or opinion of The Wall Street Journal, and are not verified, edited or endorsed in any way. Read our Methodology.”

THE REVOLUTION EVENTUALLY DEVOURS ITSELF: Pop the popcorn: Liberal pundits eating their own

Evenwel v. Abbott: “Supreme Court Leaves Meaning of ‘One-Person, One-Vote’ Unclear” [Ilya Shapiro/Cato, earlier]

Ripeness is all: Thomas/Kennedy dissent in Arrigoni Enterprises v. Town of Durham will excite inverse taking mavens [Gideon Kanner]

Movie Review: Weiner Vulture.  “Mr. Future Chief of Staff by marriage.”

We must weed out ignorant Americans from the electorate Washington Post. Another way to limit ballot access. People who are ignorant breed too. Are WaPo pundits next going to try to stop that?

Philippine dictator Marcos to get hero’s burial: Duterte MSN. Furzy: “The march to right wing dictatorships continues….”