Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Politico: One Hundred (100) Days ... the End of Republic

INK BOTTLE“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
~ Thomas Jefferson, letter to Colonel Charles Yancey (January 6, 1816) 
If you are not nervous about the impending Amerikan Presidential election I envy and applaud you ..

Less than 100 days ago, Barack Obama was able to joke at a dinner with Washington’s elite that the 2016 presidential election risked “the end of the republic”. Everyone laughed.

In The Simpsons clip, Homer is in bed with Marge. The pair are kissing when she breaks the clinch, saying "I can't make love 'til I've decided who to Vote for' ...It took a little nudge from Santa (Mikulas) but Homer Simpson has finally declared for Hillary, and self-interest, of course... Most men are in the same position when it comes to voting - as women rule ... Amen 

How American Politics Went Insane 

It happened gradually—and until the U.S. figures out how to treat the problem, it will only get worse. JONATHAN RAUCH Atlantic ( River ) JULY/AUGUST 2016 ISSUE

REINVENTING GOVERNMENT: Paradox is the currency of transition (if you want things to stay the same, things will have to change). Martin Stewart-Weeks on design thinking and scalable learning The currency of transition: how large institutions really change

Time to reread Dear George Orwell, 1950-1965  [L. E. Sissman was well aware that Orwell died in 1950]

The alarm should have been sounded  a couple of months ago when Chinese commentators began quoting Vladimir Putin, that "if a fight is inevitable, go and fight first".
But warning bells are ringing loudly now after China declared this week Russia will send warships into the disputed South China Sea to conduct joint navy exercises Experts wary about China's new coziness with Russia in the South China Sea 

Mao’s Crimes Against Humanity

You say it is still not easy? It is easier than self-immolation or a hunger strike, he writes. “And he who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul – don’t let him be proud of his ‘progressive’ views, and don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a merited figure, or a general – let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and warm.”
Samizdat- Nine ways to end lies from Solzhenitsyn with love

Mao - How the cult of personality turns everyone into liars

Natalia Pelevina and Mikhail Kasyanov ...British newspapers—including Daily Mail and Mirror—broke the story to the West that some hours earlier glued millions of Russians to their television sets...Mikhail Kasyanov, the former Minister of Finance and Prime Minister under Vladimir Putin, is a chairman of the opposition party, PARNAS (Party of People’s Freedom)—created long ago with the late Boris Nemtsov.
Former Russian Prime Minister-caught in Bed with Opposition Leader - Universal Politics in Action

Professor Ray Fair (everyone is reading his prediction or at least 30% of readers) has been tracking and predicting elections in real time since 1978 with a good deal of success, using an approach that continues to be provocative. He ruthlessly excludes nearly all the details that are the basic diet of conventional political analysts — items like the burning issues of the day, the identities, personalities and speeches of the candidates and the strength of their campaign organizations. In fact, his model pays no attention whatsoever to the day-to-day fireworks of the political campaigns.
Instead, he considers only economics, finding that economic factors usually correlate well with political outcomes… In November 2014, he did his first projection for the 2016 election and found that the odds favored the Republican candidate — whoever that may be. The Republican side has been leading consistently ever since, and the margin has increased as he has fed in new data.
Scottish firm behind global ‘essay mills’ offering to write students’ work for cashHerald Scotland. Note that there’s an essay mill in the US.

Michael West: “Being realistic, white collar crime does pay”:
A light chuckle rippled through the audience at a breakfast event last Thursday morning in offices of McGrathNicol in Sydney’s Martin Place. The cause for mirth was the suggestion that the worst punishment a company director could face in Australia, if busted for bribing a foreign official, was a ban from acting as a director ten years’ down the track. It was weary acknowledgement that white collar crime does pay, as few perpetrators are ever prosecuted and far fewer punished. The breakfast, a symposium on foreign bribery held by McGrathNicol and law firm Piper Alderman, was held under the Chatham House Rule so we won’t delve into specifics. Suffice to say that, behind the scenes, lawyers are busy advising large companies on plenty of foreign bribery matters.

German court fines man $2,480 for comparing state politician’s IQ to that of “a piece of toast” [Deutsche Welle]

It struck me, when I began my Sociology PhD on which the book is based, that competitiveness had become one of the great unquestioned virtues of contemporary culture, especially in the UK. We celebrate London because it is a competitive world city; we worship sportsmen for having won; we turn on our televisions and watch contestants competitively cooking against each other. In TV shows such as the Dragons Den or sporting contests such as the Premier League, the division between competitive entertainment and capitalism dissolves altogether. Why would it be remotely surprising, to discover that a society in which competitiveness was a supreme moral and cultural virtue, should also be one which generates increasing levels of inequality? How ‘Competitiveness’ Became One of the Great Unquestioned Virtues of Contemporary Culture

DAILY KOS:  Election Justice USA Study Finds that Without Election Fraud Sanders Would Have Won by Landslide No GIF this week, but we have an XKCD comic strip on fact-checking to make up for it (h/t Tai Nalon) 

Those popular fake-news shows can be so confusing. If it's funny, is it false? Or is there really some truth in humor? PunditFact decided to fact-check a recent "Funny or Die" segment on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's wardrobe. See what they found

A BRIEF HISTORY OF Rock Stars Complaining About Politicians Using Their Songs
*John Quiggin Crossing the Foor

John Quiggin on Royal Commission

Donald Trump did not say that Republicans are the "dumbest group of voters" in a 1998 'People' magazine interview. Wee the People (satire)

The Hill, Trump Family Would Get $7B Windfall From Estate-Tax Plan: Analyst:
Donald Trump's family would get a $7.1 billion tax cut under the Republican presidential nominee's proposal to eliminate the federal estate tax, a centrist think tank estimated

 "Slate's Dahlia Lithwick on What's Wrong (and Right) With the Media": Nick Tabor has this Daily Intelligencer interview online at New York magazine

"This is an ideal time to double check questionable statistics, suspicious misquotes and inflammatory rhetoric. But first you have to be honest with yourself. Do you want the truth or do you want to believe mistruths?" — Columnist Jerry Davich in the Chicago Tribune 

LESSON FROM THE DNC HACK: Forget About Internet Voting
Mass Killings May Have Created Contagion, Feeding on Itself. “The horrifying rash of massacres during this violent summer suggests that public, widely covered rampage killings have led to a kind of contagion, prompting a small number of people with strong personal grievances and scant political ideology to mine previous attacks for both methods and potential targets to express their lethal anger and despair.”
It’s called the Copycat Effect.



The Politicization of Everything, The Weekly Standard (Aug. 1, 2016):

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent outburst against Donald Trump has been roundly criticized by people of all political stripes. Insofar as her comments suggested a clear bias about cases that could come before the Supreme Court, they were clearly a mistake and a departure from the norms of Court behavior. After predictable media attempts to defend her by saying "everyone does it," Justice Ginsburg apologized and walked back her remarks


Last Saturday, fans of minimal government gathered for the New York Libertarian Party Convention, which was held in the ballroom of a decidedly unflashy Ukrainian restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village. The attendees, who ranged from shiny-shoed businessmen to scruffy survivalist-looking types, were there to vote for the presidential delegates who will travel to the party’s national gathering in Orlando later this month.  At the Libertarian Convention, where blockchain evangelists dream of a perfect election       




Following up on yesterday's post, Chodorow & Johnston: Trump's Wrong-Headed Call For Tax-Subsidized Politicization Of The Pulpit:  Benjamin Leff (American), If Churches Really Want to Vindicate Their Right to Endorse a Candidate, It’s Easy for Them to Get into Court:

Last week, attendees at the Republican National Convention applauded loudly when Donald Trump repeated his promise that if he’s elected president, he’ll work to end the ban on political-campaign activity by tax-exempt churches.

Crisis on high – At the top of the world a climate disaster is unfolding that will impact the lives of more than 1 billion people. By China correspondent Matthew Carney, photography by Wayne McAllister
“Deep in the Himalayas sits a remote research station that is tracking an alarming trend in climate change, with implications that could disrupt the lives of more than 1 billion people and pitch the most populated region of the world into chaos

 “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) today announced two cooperative agreement funding opportunities for an Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) for the Healthcare and Public Health sector
How Politico is covering the 2016 political conventions

The press is lucky to be in Philadelphia, not Istanbul

Really, AMA: declaring shootings a public health crisis at best a political stunt [Trevor Burrus

When the Democratic National Committee discovered in April that its computer networks had been hacked, leaders there did not just alert government intelligence. They called CrowdStrike, a 5-year-old cybersecurity firm that makes millions of dollars from mercenary work sold with a promise: "We Stop Breaches." The contractor last month revealed what it had found: Two Russian intelligence groups, code-named Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear, had spearheaded competing hacks over the past year using a barrage of malicious "implants" and "backdoors." CrowdStrike's experts knew the hackers well: They had also recently infiltrated the White House, State Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff. Their weapon of choice: the cybersecurity equivalent of "a neighborhood-watch program on steroids," said CrowdStrike co-founder George Kurtz. That same offering has helped the experts turn their young business into a juggernaut, with sales of $100 million this year. 

These businesses are booming thanks to Russian hackers

A top ally of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner abruptly resigned from the Illinois House on Sunday, citing “cyber security issues” that also prompted him to delete his social media accounts. Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, served as Rauner’s House floor leader, where he was known for his passionate defense of the governor’s policies that also bled into his online presence. Sandack frequently took to Facebook and Twitter to let his viewpoints be known, but his accounts went dark last week. “It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to serve the people of the 81st District for the past four years in Springfield. But after some cyber security issues arose, I began to re-evaluate my continued public service,” Sandack said in a statement distributed late Sunday by House Republican leadership.
Suburban lawmaker abruptly resigns, citing hacked social media accounts

The Cohort: I’m with [redacted]

Gregerious Michelle Rowland to lead broadband fight for Labor 

REVEALED: HOW DNC STAFFERS UNDER DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ USED ANTI-GAY SLURS, mocked the name of an African-American assistant and created a sexist Craigslist job post to humiliate Donald Trump

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA): Jewish Settlers Are Like Termites

To get a different perspective on the media, we went beyond New York. Way, way beyond

There is a literature on shame and voting behavior, though from what I can tell most of it concerns participation per se rather than the quality of electoral choice.  Here is one striking sentence:
Pride motivates compliance with voting norms only amongst high-propensity voters, while shame mobilizes both high- and low-propensity voters

"Scott Walker (Not the SES) Just Put An Insane Person On His State's Supreme Court": Ian Millhiser has this post online at ThinkProgress

Philip Green's wife Tina could be booted out of Monaco over BHS scandal

More than 250 staffers at The Guardian have accepted buyouts

After DNC hack, the case for paper ballots. Are paper ballots really a superior technology to voting machines? Absolutely

"'Racially Discriminatory Intent' And Voter ID Laws": This evening's broadcast of NPR's "All Things Considered" contained this audio segment featuring law professor Rick Hasen, author of the "Election Law Blog

"US Fourth Circuit overturns NC voter ID law": Anne Blythe of The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina has this report.
Alan Blinder of The New York Times reports that "Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down North Carolina Voter ID Provision."
Ann E. Marimow of The Washington Post reports that "Appeals court strikes down North Carolina's voter-ID law."
Richard Wolf of USA Today reports that "North Carolina voting restrictions struck down."
The Associated Press has a report headlined "Appeals court: North Carolina voter ID law is discriminatory."
And Reuters reports that "North Carolina voter ID law struck down by U.S. appeals court."
You can access today's ruling of a partially divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit at this link.