Thursday, February 16, 2017

Flynn and Navalny: Shareholder democracy is ailing

Age is not all decay: it is the ripening, the swelling, of the fresh life within, that withers and bursts the husk.” George MacDonald, The Marquis of Lossie ... read more

Vale Tzvetan Todorov, R.I.P.

Democracy Without the People n+1

The True History of Fake News Robert Darnton, New York Review of Books

Readers mistake Facebook for a news outlet Financial Times. Why is it NOT a news outlet? It publishes what amount to syndicated news stories. Its algos are making what amount to editorial judgments. That is why it needs to act like a real news outlet and have in house fide fact checking

The rise of dark money power begs public scrutiny. It requires public regulation and control of the world’s most powerful corporate institutions. That’s why the Sydney Democracy Network, in cooperation with, is launching an intensive year-long series of seminars, workshops and public lectures at the University of Sydney, and a weekly column, Dark Money, all targeted at the threats to democracy posed by dark money, and how best to hold arbitrary corporate power to account.
Sydney Democracy

Who killed Kim Jong-nam? Experts finger North Korea but question motives

Kim Jong Un's half brother Kin Jong Nam Assassinated in Malaysia

Fake news? Russian spy ship spotted off the coast of United States

Putin deploys warplanes, spy ship as President Trump dumps National Security Advisor Flynn

Trump administration struggles to explain Michael Flynn's resignation

Justice Department warned White House that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, officials say


Mike Flynn's resignation Trump's nightmare might have just begun

Trump adviser quits over Russia contacts

Flynn’s resignation letter is online here

Hilary Clinton tweet Michael Glynn resigns as fake news

Brian Klaas is a Fellow in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and author of The Despot’s Accomplice: How the West is Aiding & Abetting the Decline of Democracy.

Gerrymandering is the biggest obstacle to genuine democracy in the United states so why is no one-protesting

The landmark should be on the itinerary of every Aussie road trip.

The landmark should be on the itinerary of every Aussie road trip.Source:Supplied

Gruen: detox democracy through representation by random selection 

THE problem is as old as mankind. The Roman author Juvenal encapsulated it into a phrase “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes” or “Who guards the guards themselves?” It was neatly illustrated in the classic BBC series “I, Claudius”. The infirm Claudius wants the return of the Republic. But the Praetorian guard, set up by his relatives, needed an Emperor to ensure their special status. So on the murder of Caligula, they drag Claudius from his hiding place behind a curtain, and make him Emperor.
Throughout history, dictators have faced this problem. They can surround themselves with men with swords or guns. But it only takes one guard with a sword or gun to turn into an assassin or to seize power for himself. The Shah of Iran had a huge army in 1979 but it did him no good; the soldiers had more sympathy with the revolutionaries than with the Shah himself. 
In business and finance, this is known as the “principal-agent” problem. Shareholders employ managers to run a company; investors use fund managers to look after their savings. That makes sense. It allows us to take advantage of the expertise of others, and of...The problem that links business, finance and politics  

Ilde Rizzo and Ruth Towse, editors, The Artful Economist: A New Look at Cultural Economics.
 Flashback: Corrupt journalism doesn’t pay. Nor does abetting it. “Former Atlantic contributing editor Marc Ambinder is showing appropriate contrition for having participated in some dubious journalistic practices back in July 2009. As exposed by some Freedom Of Information Act documents secured by J.K. Trotter of Gawker, Ambinder was pursuing a copy of the speech that then- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was to make at the Council on Foreign Relations. So he emailed renowned Clinton advocate and spokesperson Philippe Reines. The back-and-forth confirms anyone’s worst suspicions about access journalism.”

Russia’s main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has been found guilty of embezzlement, local media report. A judge is still reading the verdict in the city of Kirov, but news agencies said it was clear in his remarks that Mr Navalny had been convicted.
Even a suspended sentence would bar him from running for president next year.
An outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, Mr Navalny has denied the accusations, saying the case is politically motivated.
MSNBC’S KATY TUR: Like Putin, Trump Might Kill Journalists

DEMOCRACY is in decline around the world, according to Freedom House, a think-tank. Only 45% of countries are considered free today, and their number is slipping. Liberty is in retreat in the world of business, too. The idea that firms should be controlled by diverse shareholders who exercise one vote per share is increasingly viewed as redundant or even dangerous.
Consider the initial public offering (IPO) of Silicon Valley’s latest social-media star, Snap. It plans to raise $3-4bn and secure a valuation of $20bn-25bn. The securities being sold have no voting rights, so all the power will stay with Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, its co-founders. Snap’s IPO has echoes of that of Alibaba, a Chinese internet giant. It listed itself in New York in 2014, in the world’s largest-ever IPO, raising $25bn. It is worth $252bn today and is controlled by an opaque partnership using legal vehicles in the Cayman Islands. Its ordinary shareholders are supine
Shareholder democracy is ailing 

On Stratfor, Jay Ogilvy lays out the philosophy behind humanity's doubts about truth as a concept. But he still concludes with a hearty endorsement of facts. Must read.

“This problem has nothing to do with freedom of expression. It would be like saying you can sell stale meat or contaminated water because we’re in a free market.” — President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Laura Boldrini, speaking about fake news to BuzzFeed

There's never a good time for media to make mistakes, but now may be the worst ever. Read about these fake stories and fake tweets journalists recently have fallen for, then fix the problem or "watch your profession go down in flames."  

Two Indian engineers are fighting hoaxes on WhatsApp. And here's a roundup of academics around the world and their tech solutions for misinformation. 

Here's why humans accept fake news, says a professor writing for Salon. And two marketing professors say the Twittersphere helped Donald Trump win

The Two Kinds of Trump Voters Politico

1) With a new grant,'s "SciCheck" will continue. (2) A South African news organization has launched a pop-up ad against fake news. (4) Fake news: It's bipartisan, says the Christian Science Monitor.  (5) If Wikipedia can fight fake news, any news organization can. (6) How fake news is distracting journalists. (7) Dove deodorant has a new ad campaign featuring "alternative facts."  (8) A status report on Europe's fight against fake news. (9) Fact-checking job: video producer for BuzzFeed, apply by Feb 13. (10) FactCheckNI is crowdfunding. (11) A meetup in Toronto to design better debunks. (12) Lessons from America's long history of conspiracy theories.