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Weaverbird : 2018-12   41

What 46 Populist Leaders Did to Democracy - The Atlantic
Since populists often thrive on anger about all-too-real shortcomings—elites who really are too remote, political systems that really are shockingly corrupt—it is tempting to hope that they can help rejuvenate imperfect democracies around the world. Alas, the best evidence available suggests that, so far at least, they have done the opposite. On average, populist governments have deepened corruption, eroded individual rights, and inflicted serious damage on democratic institutions.
2018-12  politics  society  democracy  law  corruption 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Dominionism Rising: A Theocratic Movement Hiding in Plain Sight | Political Research Associates
Dominionism is the theocratic idea that regardless of theological camp, means, or timetable, God has called conservative Christians to exercise dominion over society by taking control of political and cultural institutions. The term describes a broad tendency across a wide swath of American Christianity.
2018-12  politics  religion  batshitcrazy  rightwingnutjobs  longform 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
EXCLUSIVE: Read Desperate Emails From People Scammed by A.G. Matt Whitaker’s Business Associates - Hit & Run : Reason.com
When current acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker joined the advisory board of a Florida patent firm in 2014, he was quoted in a company press release saying he "would only align myself with a first class organization."

Three years later, the company was shut down, but not before it bilked hundreds of customers, some of them elderly veterans, out of millions of dollars.
2018-12  law  corruption 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
What is Ginni Thomas saying now? The evolution of an unusually outspoken Supreme Court spouse - The Washington Post
She looks and sounds like the Washington wife of yore, with the pearl earrings, the Reagan-red cocktail attire, the sunglasses tiara’d atop her blond bob. At the holidays, she lays wreaths at Arlington and sings carols around the piano with her be-sweatered husband, Clarence, who happens to be the longest-serving justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Memorial Day means a backyard barbecue with star-spangled tablecloths and a sheet cake that reads “God Bless America!”

But meanwhile, on Facebook, she’s behaving like your slightly paranoid neighbor who stockpiles bullets and astronaut food.

This month, Ginni Thomas shared a Facebook post that bizarrely described California as a war zone, with illegal immigrants scaling walls and carjacking U.S. citizens. Last month, she shared a post alleging that Democrats committed voter fraud in four midterm races. (Which ones? How? She didn’t say.)
2018-12  SCOTUS  politics  conservatives  rightwingnutjobs  batshitcrazy 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Alex Jones’ Lawyer Violated Legal Ethics By Soliciting Porn Bribes. Just How Dirty Is Marc Randazza? | HuffPost
America’s foremost attorney for far-right extremists wanted “a little gravy,” then lied to cover it up. That’s just part of his twisted journey through a lax legal system.
2018-12  law  corruption  alt-right  longform 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
‘I am all alone’: An isolated Trump unleashes a storm of Yuletide gloom - The Washington Post
In his third straight day holed up inside the White House during the partial federal government shutdown that he initiated over his demand to construct a border wall, President Trump barked out his frustrations on Twitter: Democrats are hypocrites! The media makes up stories! Senators are wrong on foreign policy — and so is Defense Secretary Jim Mattis!

Trump said war-ravaged Syria would be rebuilt not by the United States but by Saudi Arabia. “Thanks to Saudi A!” he tweeted, two weeks after the Senate unanimously rebuked the kingdom’s crown prince for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

As the stock market closed out its worst December since 1931, the president placed sole blame for the staggering sell-off on the Federal Reserve, likening the central bank to a golfer who “can’t putt.”

That was all before noon.
2018-12 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
The real Goldfinger: the London banker who broke the world | News | The Guardian
The true story of how the City of London invented offshore banking – and set the rich free
2018-12  money  power  history  economics 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Paul Ryan retires: Ryan’s identity politics - Vox
To hear Ryan describe it from within the safe harbor of the conservative intelligentsia that put so much faith in him, he is curiously quiet on his role over the past two years. As speaker of the House, one of his primary roles was to placate a president who stole his party out from under him and turned white resentment into a political weapon not even Donald Trump and certainly not Paul Ryan can control.

Ryanism — the belief in privatizing Social Security and Medicare, shrinking the national debt, and solving poverty through, among other things, cutting social safety nets — has been pushed to the wayside. You would understand if the speaker were furious.

But instead, Ryan is crisscrossing Washington and the country saying he’s identified the Republican Party’s biggest problem: that its most prominent message to Americans is the race-baiting fear tactics now popularized by the party’s president. Lost in his recounting is the ways the Republican Party enabled it.
2018-12  politics  gop  hypocrisy 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
It’s high time for media to enter the No Kellyanne Zone — and stay there - The Washington Post
The news media continues — even now when it should know better — to be addicted to “both sides” journalism. In the name of fairness, objectivity and respect for the office of the presidency, it still seems to take Trump — along with his array of deceptive surrogates — at his word, while knowing full well that his word isn’t good.

When major news organizations publish tweets and news alerts that repeat falsehoods merely because the president uttered them, it’s the same kind of journalistic malpractice as offering a prime interview spot to Kellyanne Conway.
2018-12  media  journalism 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
The Ethics Complaints Against Justice Brett Kavanaugh Were Dismissed
A panel of judges concluded that Kavanaugh is no longer covered by the judiciary's disciplinary system now that he's a Supreme Court justice.
2018-12  SCOTUS  ethics  wtf  corruption  justice 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Deficits, manipulation, and the real legacy of the GOP House majority.
There are many things for which we’ll remember the 2010 to 2018 GOP House majority. It stopped the Obama administration’s legislative agenda cold. Smoothness of operation was never its forte, as constant standoffs between leaders and far-right factionalists made it the most dramatic party conference in the Capitol. And its dogged and frequently conspiratorial oversight of the Obama administration was surpassed only by its subservience to the Trump administration.

But nothing was more telling about this majority than the way it dismissed the issue it rode in on as soon as Trump replaced Obama. So before House Republicans come apologizing again for their past mistakes and begging for another chance, it’s important to emphasize right now: Republican have not, do not, and will not care about deficit reduction except as a rhetorical ploy for stymieing a Democratic government.
2018-12  congress  politics  gop  hypocrisy  corruption 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Trump 2020 campaign used a shell company to pay ad buyers at the center of alleged illegal coordination scheme with NRA
The Trump campaign funneled money to ad buyers alleged to have facilitated illegal coordination between the campaign and the NRA by routing funds through a secretive LLC that appears to be little more than a shell company, an investigation by the Center for Responsive Politics has found.

While the Trump campaign stopped reporting payments to ad buyers alleged to have facilitated illegal coordination between the campaign and the NRA after the 2016 election cycle, Trump’s 2020 campaign has continued to deploy the same individuals working for the firms at the center of the controversy through payments to Harris Sikes Media LLC — a low-profile limited-liability company operating with no website or public-facing facade whatsoever.

Facing the illegal coordination allegations are National Media, Red Eagle Media Group and American Media & Advocacy Group (AMAG), closely tied consultancies that share staff, resources and adjacent storefronts in Alexandria, Va.
2018-12  politics  corruption  campaign2016  NRA  money 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Remember the Big Story in the Russia Scandal: Donald Trump Betrayed America – Mother Jones
Trump’s chaff-throwing has prevented core truths of the scandal from shining through, with a big assist from Fox News and “alternative facts” disinformation.
Trump has screamed “No collusion,” shrieked “Witch hunt,” and screeched “Hoax.” He has denied and lied. He has strived to make the public believe that the fundamental question is whether he directly conspired with Vladimir Putin to hack Democratic targets and disseminate the stolen material—contending that anything short of that is no big deal. And he and his minions have cooked up multiple conspiratorial distractions, ridiculously insisting Trump has been the victim of a Deep State plot.
2018-12 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Depressed and Then Diagnosed With Autism, Greta Thunberg Explains Why Hope Cannot Save Planet But Bold Climate Action Still Can
"We do need hope—of course, we do. But the one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere."
2018-12  climate_change 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
America Has Survived Illegitimate Regimes Before. Can We Survive Trump's? | HuffPost
Trump’s illegitimate regime has proven that there is no bottom, there is no pivot, there is no pretense at acting presidential. Instead, there is nothing but graft, corruption, cruelty and, most importantly, unending scorn for American democracy because it hasn’t stopped him so far. He believes it isn’t strong enough to do so now.

It is time to prove Trump wrong. And we have the ability to do so. Through our votes, our unending pressure on elected officials, our demand for accountability, our continuing financing of and engagement with grassroots organizations and our insistence that the media stop hunting for normalcy in this Gregor Samsa of a regime, we can ensure that the horrific wounds the United States has suffered will not be fatal. And, then, we rebuild to ensure that we no longer have to contend with the dangers of yet another illegitimate government.
2018-12 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Paul Ryan the pretender
If one of the sons of Shub-Niggurath ever walks the Earth, he will look something like soon-to-be ex-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan: handsome, but in a non-threatening, corn-pone Midwestern way; a painfully earnest affect; constant professions of deep concern about poverty and the downtrodden; and veins pumping boiling black goo that writhes and smokes if exposed to air.

His political objectives are morally abhorrent, as was the method he tried to achieve them — namely, lying as brazen as has ever been seen in any country's politics. Luckily for the tens of thousands who would have died, he failed to repeal ObamaCare — though he did succeed in dumping vast mountain ranges of cash on the top 1 percent. Now Ryan is giving up both his speaker's gavel and his seat in Congress.
2018-12  gop  politics  congress  hypocrisy  evil  batshitcrazy 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Trump call with Turkish leader led to US pullout from Syria
President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria was made hastily, without consulting his national security team or allies, and over strong objections from virtually everyone involved in the fight against the Islamic State group, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.

Trump stunned his Cabinet, lawmakers and much of the world with the move by rejecting the advice of his top aides and agreeing to a withdrawal in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, two U.S. officials and a Turkish official briefed on the matter told The Associated Press.

The Dec. 14 call, described by officials who were not authorized to discuss the decision-making process publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, provides insight into a consequential Trump decision that prompted the resignation of widely respected Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. It also set off a frantic, four-day scramble to convince the president either to reverse or delay the decision.
2018-12  syria  turkey 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
LAMAR SMITH: A ranch, an oil field, and a career colored by skepticism -- Friday, December 21, 2018 -- www.eenews.net
An E&E News examination found that the retiring congressman raised millions of dollars through his family's ranch. As fossil fuels were being removed from his Texas lands, Smith was making a name for himself as a sharp skeptic of climate science. He followed a different path from mainstream researchers as chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, whittling away at the consensus among experts that humans are making the Earth warmer.
2018-12  congress  gop  BigOil  corruption  anti-science  climate_change 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
These Cities Claim Zero Hate Crimes But Police Reports Show Otherwise
The victims were beaten or threatened with deadly weapons. They were taunted with racist or anti-gay abuse. Yet the police decided these weren’t hate crimes.
2018-12  police_state  hate 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Saideman's Semi-Spew: The Trump Rules
Trump sadly has been president for enough time that we can identify the rules of Trump Dynamics:
2018-12 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Totally Non-Evil ICE Arrests 170 Immigrants Trying To Save Babies From Baby Jails - Wonkette
The friendly folks at US Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) announced Tuesday that federal authorities have arrested 170 immigrants who came forward to sponsor migrant children in government custody. This is the result of a new, fun rule the Department of Homeland Security put into effect this summer. It allows immigration authorities to examine the criminal background and legal status of anyone who attempts to sponsor the unaccompanied minors — usually parents or close relatives already in the country. They can even check the papers of any other adults living in their home, including Grandma.
It's a masterclass in evil: Use defenseless children as bait to lure immigrants to the authorities.
2018-12  immigration  government  evil 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
My Befuddling Dinner With Facebook Empress Sheryl Sandberg | WIRED
Empires vanish. The memes that kept them glued together for a short time—from "Dieu et mon droit" to "Bring the world closer together"—are exposed as fictions of state. And the leaders are, surprise, mortals with Napoleon complexes.

Sheryl Sandberg’s maxim for running her world-historical empire—one more dangerous to psyches, tribes, and governments than even France’s or England’s ever was—has been the enigmatic “Lean In.”

“Lean In—that shit doesn’t work,” said Michelle Obama last Sunday. She then apologized for the obscenity. But not for the truth.
2018-12  facebook  evil 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Donald Trump Moves to Deport Vietnam War Refugees - The Atlantic
This is the latest move in the president’s long record of prioritizing harsh immigration and asylum restrictions, and one that’s sure to raise eyebrows—the White House had hesitantly backed off the plan in August before reversing course. In essence, the administration has now decided that Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in the country before the establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and Vietnam are subject to standard immigration law—meaning they are all eligible for deportation.
2018-12  immigration  gop 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Embattled interior secretary Ryan Zinke steps down after series of scandals | US news | The Guardian
“Zinke’s days of plundering our lands and enriching himself and his friends are over,” said Nicole Ghio, senior fossil fuels program manager for Friends of the Earth.

“With an average of nearly one federal investigation opened into his conduct in office per month, Zinke’s highly questionable ethics have finally caught up with him. Now, he is just another name on Trump’s list of disgraced cabinet officials, which the Republican-led Congress has failed to hold accountable.”
2018-12  government  corruption  environment  BigOil 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
A devastating report details a ‘monumental’ assault on science at the Department of the Interior - Los Angeles Times
Among the up-is-down, night-is-day practices of the Trump administration, one of the most dangerous and disturbing is its habit of turning America’s leading science agencies into hives of anti-science policymaking.

A new report lays out how this has produced a “monumental disaster” for science at the Department of the Interior. The report by the Union of Concerned Scientists details how Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his minions have in the space of two years turned Interior from a steward of public lands and natural resources into a front for the mining and oil and gas industries.

“The intent in rolling back the consideration of science in decision-making is always to progress the development of fossil fuel interests,” Jacob Carter of the union’s center for science and democracy and lead author of the report told me.
2018-12  environment  government  corruption  anti-science  BigOil 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
YouTube's Biggest Personality Promoted an Anti-Semite | Right Wing Watch
Felix Kjellberg, a Swedish YouTube personality best known online by his account name “PewDiePie,” promoted, in one of his video offerings, another YouTube account that has posted white nationalist and anti-Semitic content. At the time of this article, Kjellberg has more than 75 million subscribers on YouTube, making his channel the most popular on the gargantuan video platform, and broadcasts to an audience that skews younger in age.

Right Wing Watch reached out to Kjellberg via email but has not received a response.

At the end of a video published on December 9, Kjellberg included a YouTube channel operating under the name “E;R” in his list of recommended channels. The shout-out was noticed by members of the progressive YouTube community, who sounded an alarm.
2018-12  youtube  socialmedia  bigotry 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
How US billionaires are fuelling the hard-right cause in Britain | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian
That Spiked magazine’s US funding arm received $300,000 from the Charles Koch Foundation suggests a hidden agenda
2018-12  uk  money  power  koch  corruption 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Trump: Payments to silence women were a ‘simple private transaction,’ not illegal campaign contributions - The Washington Post
Prosecutors argue that because Cohen was an agent of the Trump campaign, the payments to McDougal and Daniels were campaign contributions in excess of federal limits and not unrelated expenditures.

“With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election,” Friday’s filing from prosecutors in New York says. “Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments. In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1.”

Elsewhere, filings from prosecutors make clear that Individual-1 refers to Trump.
2018-12 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
'Surveillance capitalism has led us into a dystopia' - BBC Ideas
In this opinion piece, activist Aral Balkan says we're living in a world where data companies have become factory farms for human beings.
2018-12  privacy  surveillance  data  society  dystopia  bbc  video 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
The Wooing of Jared Kushner: How the Saudis Got a Friend in the White House - The New York Times
“The inner circle is predominantly deal makers who lack familiarity with political customs and deep institutions, and they support Jared Kushner,” the Saudi delegation wrote of the incoming administration in a slide presentation obtained by the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar, which provided it to The Times. Several Americans who spoke with the delegation confirmed the slide presentation’s accounts of the discussions.
2018-12 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
The Rude Pundit: How to Convince MAGA Cretins to Fear Climate Change
Hey, you got friends or relatives who think Donald Trump is the greatest man in the history of forever (except, of course, for Jesus Christ because he's the Lord or some such shit)? You tired of their "climate change is fake news made up by Big Science for that sweet grant money" nonsense? You gotta learn to speak their language. You gotta learn to play on their fears. And you can do that pretty easily.
2018-12  anti-science  climate_change  humor  politics  gop 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Mueller Is Telling Us: He’s Got Trump on Collusion
Mueller is coming. And he is clearly coming for Trump. Not simply for obstructing justice but for conspiring with a hostile foreign power to win an election. This is a scandal unlike any America has ever seen.
2018-12  corruption  politics  russian  law 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Republicans Are Clinging to Power in Wisconsin. Expect to See More GOP Power Grabs.
If the U.S. political commentariat saw this happening in another country, they would call it what it is: a coup.
2018-12  politics  gop  power  corruption  government  constitution  shenanigans 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
The Resistance, impeachment, 'resist': New Hatch Act warning for federal employees from Office of Special Counsel - The Washington Post
In a move that some ethics advocates say could be an opening to limit dissent, the federal government has issued a new interpretation of guidance for the political activity of federal government workers, warning that weighing in on impeachment or talking about “the Resistance” may constitute prohibited activity.

The Office of Special Counsel is charged with enforcing the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity in the course of their work. The office, not to be confused with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, is run by Henry Kerner, whom President Trump nominated to the post.
2018-12  fascism 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked | Technology | The Guardian
A shadowy global operation involving big data, billionaire friends of Trump and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign influenced the result of the EU referendum. As Britain heads to the polls again, is our electoral process still fit for purpose?
2018-12  #Brexit  money  power  data  democracy  politics 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Republicans Brazenly Gut Voting Rights in Lame Duck Before They Lose Power – Mother Jones
Four states are taking unprecedented steps to strip power from Democrats and make it harder to vote.
2018-12  politics  gop  corruption  constitution  coup 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Facebook Well Aware That Tracking Contacts Is Creepy: Emails
Back in 2015, Facebook had a pickle of a problem. It was time to update the Android version of the Facebook app, and two different groups within Facebook were at odds over what the data grab should be.
2018-12  facebook  privacy  surveillance  tech  evil 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Facebook chief's emails exposed by MPs - BBC News
The UK parliament's fake news inquiry has published a cache of seized Facebook documents.

The correspondence includes internal emails sent between Mark Zuckerberg and the social network's staff. The emails were obtained from the chief of a software firm that is suing the tech giant.

About 250 pages have been published, some of which are marked "highly confidential".
2018-12  facebook  corruption  evil  privacy  security  tech  surveillance 
december 2018 by Weaverbird

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