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Cue the Soup Kitchens - WhoWhatWhy
Apart from the alarming speed with which COVID-19 has overtaken the world, the most stunning thing about the crisis is how quickly it has made an economic depression of 1930s severity a real possibility, something few if any economists imagined just a month ago.
There’s an old saying that the four most dangerous words in investing are “this time is different.” But in one key regard this crash is different: It’s being driven by a phenomenon that is entirely unpredictable.
Most market meltdowns are financial or economic in nature, so they’re informed by statistical benchmarks that provide at least a rough lodestar as to where things are headed. But where this crisis goes depends largely on how COVID-19 evolves, and there’s no reliable benchmark for projecting that.
“Anthony Fauci continues to remind us that we have no way of forecasting for how long the virus will continue to spread,” notes UC Berkeley economist Barry Eichengreen, whose best-known work concerns the Great Depression. “That, in addition to the economic policy response, is what matters.”
In short, pray for a V but be prepared for a U. In economist-speak, a V-shaped contraction is short and sharp, while a U-shaped recession is prolonged, like the Great Recession of 2007-09. The mother of all U’s, of course, was the Great Depression of the 1930s, which lasted a decade and took unemployment to 25 percent, while economic activity fell by almost half. Those numbers may look fantastical, but they’re in line with 30 percent unemployment and the most pessimistic predictions for shrinking output during the current crisis.
It’s hard to overstate how implausible an outright depression seemed until this month. Milton Friedman, one of the 20th century’s most influential economists, declared in 1954 that the US economy was now “depression-proof,” thanks to guardrails put in place during the New Deal. The most important of these, he argued, was federal deposit insurance, which halted bank runs and the resulting bank failures that most economists regard as a primary cause of the Great Depression.
Indeed, as the 2008-09 crisis showed, government does know a lot more about averting severe downturns than it did in 1930, and is much more willing to act. For starters, the Federal Reserve has far more powerful monetary weapons than it had 90 years ago, and it has just announced a huge expansion of its arsenal. For another, the dollar was pegged to gold when the Great Depression began, constraining credit creation and ultimately overall growth. (FDR loosened the link in 1933, vexing gold bugs ever since.)
coronavirus  COVID-19  pandemic  health  emergency  economics  stock_market  history  gov2.0  politics 
yesterday by rgl7194
Coronavirus stimulus checks: Calculate how much you’ll get, $1,200 or more - Washington Post
Over 80 percent of American adults will receive a payment
The Washington Post is providing this story for free so that all readers have access to this important information about the coronavirus.
The U.S. government is about to send checks — or direct deposits — to most Americans to help people survive financially as much of the economy shuts down in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Bipartisan legislation signed into law by President Trump would provide $1,200 payments to adults with annual incomes up to $75,000, plus another $500 per child. Some Americans earning more than $75,000 would also receive money if they meet certain qualifications outlined below. For most Americans, the money is likely to arrive in April via direct deposit. Mailed checks may take longer.
Use the calculator below to see how much you would receive. Under that, see answers to frequently asked questions.
coronavirus  COVID-19  pandemic  health  emergency  congress  gov2.0  politics  trump  money 
yesterday by rgl7194
Trump signs $2 trillion emergency coronavirus spending bill into law - The Washington Post
President Trump on Friday signed a massive $2 trillion emergency spending bill into law, promising to deliver a tidal wave of cash to individual Americans, businesses and health care facilities all reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.
His signature came just hours after the House of Representatives passed the massive package by an overwhelming voice vote, and less than 48 hours after it received unanimous approval from the Senate.
“This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation’s families, workers and businesses. And that’s what this is all about,” Trump said at a signing ceremony in the Oval Office, with GOP congressional leaders and administration officials crowded behind him.
But tensions between the White House and Congress over how the law will be implemented became immediately apparent. In a signing statement, Trump wrote that he would not permit a new inspector general to issue certain reports to Congress “without presidential supervision.” Democrats insisted on the creation of the new inspector general in order to make sure the White House didn’t improperly disburse taxpayer money.
coronavirus  COVID-19  pandemic  health  emergency  congress  gov2.0  politics  trump  money 
yesterday by rgl7194
Trump’s H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic Spin -
In tweets and other appearances, President Donald Trump has repeatedly compared his response to the new coronavirus with President Barack Obama’s handling of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. But Trump’s information is frequently incorrect or misleading — and the two viruses are very different.
In a March 4 telephone interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, for example, Trump falsely claimed that the Obama administration “didn’t do anything” about the 2009 pandemic.
Trump, March 4: Well, I just say that it’s, you know, a very, very small number in this country. And we’re going to try and keep it that way as much as possible. I will say, though, the H1N1, that was swine flu, commonly referred to as swine flu. And that went from around April of ’09 to April of ’10, where there were 60 million cases of swine flu. And over — actually, it’s over 13,000. I think you might have said 17. I had heard it was 13, but a lot of — a lot of deaths. And they didn’t do anything about it. Interestingly, with the swine flu, children were — in particular, they were vulnerable, sort of the opposite in that respect. But children were very vulnerable to the swine flu. But they never did close the borders. I don’t think they ever did have the travel ban. And we did. And, again, they lost at least 13,000.
In a March 12 meeting with the prime minister of Ireland, Trump repeated the sentiment.
“If you go back and look at the swine flu, and what happened with the swine flu, you’ll see how many people died, and how actually nothing was done for such a long period of time, as people were dying all over the place,” he said. “We’re doing it the opposite. We’re very much ahead of everything.”
Trump is correct on the number of H1N1 cases and deaths, but it’s misleading to compare those figures to the current outbreak of COVID-19, which has just begun. It’s also not true that the Obama administration did nothing or waited a long time to act on the H1N1 influenza pandemic.
In 2009, a new H1N1 influenza virus cropped up out of season, in late spring. Because of genetic similarities to influenza viruses in pigs, it became known as a “swine flu,” even though there is no evidence the virus spread between pigs or pigs to humans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were about 60.8 million cases of infection with the novel type of influenza virus in the U.S. between April 2009 and April 2010, with a total of approximately 274,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths.
While that death toll may sound high, it’s over an entire year and, in fact, ended up being far lower than was initially expected. The strain of influenza also turned out to have a case fatality rate of just 0.02% — well below even many typical seasonal influenzas.
Everything that’s known about the new coronavirus so far suggests that it’s an entirely different beast than its most recent pandemic predecessor. Peter Jay Hotez, a professor and dean of the tropical medicine school at Baylor College of Medicine, told us that the new virus, which is known as SARS-CoV-2, is considerably more transmissible and more lethal than H1N1.
For those reasons, he said, “the urgency to contain this coronavirus is so much greater than the H1N1 2009 one was.”
coronavirus  COVID-19  pandemic  health  emergency  obama  trump  factcheck  gov  politics  influenza  comparo 
2 days ago by rgl7194
You Don't Need to Open the Church by Easter
The President said that he wants all churches to be open by Easter. 
That isn’t necessary.
He doesn’t know what the Church is, or he’d speak differently.
It isn’t him alone, of course. Many people who talk about the Church miss what’s always been true—even many Christians.
The Church has never had anything to do with geography. It was never a building, never a fixed, physical location you visited for an hour on Sunday. That’s far too small a space to fit the vast and sprawling life it produces.
The Church has always been the people who gather together to do the work of compassion and mercy and love and justice, regardless of where and when they gather. They are living, breathing, animated sanctuaries who house divinity.
church  religion  pavlovitz  holiday  trump  politics  gov2.0  coronavirus  COVID-19  pandemic  health  emergency 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: 'Who Wants Four More Years of This?'
Charles P. Pierce, writing for Esquire:
Is this enough? Truly, is this enough for the country that looked at itself after eight years of a competent presidency and decided to hand things over to a vulgar talking yam? Are the vacant airports and deserted subways enough? Will the empty arenas and ballparks be enough? Is the plunging stock market enough? When the ambulances start hauling away the old folks down the block, will that be enough? How in god’s name can anyone vote for four more years of this, four more years of a choleric fatburg of a man who calls a press conference about a global health emergency and asks a reporter for Fox News how the ratings were for his last town hall? How does that man carry a precinct, let alone a state, let alone the country? Christ, even Ted Cruz is doing the right thing here.
What is so heartbreaking and frustrating is that this disaster of a response was entirely predictable. What other than this could we expect from an administration that gutted the CDC, is opposed to science, and is led by a president who surrounds himself with obsequious yes-people and is a career con man who thinks he can bullshit his way through anything?
gov2.0  politics  trump  2020s  daring_fireball  election  coronavirus  COVID-19  health  emergency  pandemic 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: MI5 Chief Asks Tech Firms for 'Exceptional Access' to Encrypted Messages
Dan Sabbagh, reporting for The Guardian:
MI5’s director general has called on technology companies to find a way to allow spy agencies “exceptional access” to encrypted messages, amid fears they cannot otherwise access such communications.
Sir Andrew Parker is understood to be particularly concerned about Facebook, which announced plans to introduce powerful end-to-end encryption last March across all the social media firm’s services.
In an ITV interview to be broadcast on Thursday, Sir Andrew Parker says he has found it “increasingly mystifying” that intelligence agencies like his are not able to easily read secret messages of terror suspects they are monitoring.
There is no such thing as “exceptional access” for good guys. That he claims to be “mystified” means he either doesn’t understand how end-to-end encryption works and why it’s essential to privacy, or he’s playing dumb for politics to drum up public sentiment against strong encryption. My bet’s on the latter.
uk  gov2.0  politics  security  privacy  encryption  daring_fireball  messaging 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: 21st Century Autocracy
David Frum, writing back in 2017:
What has happened in Hungary since 2010 offers an example — and a blueprint for would-be strongmen. Hungary is a member state of the European Union and a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights. It has elections and uncensored internet. Yet Hungary is ceasing to be a free country.
The transition has been nonviolent, often not even very dramatic. Opponents of the regime are not murdered or imprisoned, although many are harassed with building inspections and tax audits. If they work for the government, or for a company susceptible to government pressure, they risk their jobs by speaking out. Nonetheless, they are free to emigrate anytime they like. Those with money can even take it with them. Day in and day out, the regime works more through inducements than through intimidation. The courts are packed, and forgiving of the regime’s allies. Friends of the government win state contracts at high prices and borrow on easy terms from the central bank. Those on the inside grow rich by favoritism; those on the outside suffer from the general deterioration of the economy. As one shrewd observer told me on a recent visit, “The benefit of controlling a modern state is less the power to persecute the innocent, more the power to protect the guilty.”
21st century autocracy does not resemble 20th century autocracy. It’s a different ballgame. And we’re facing it right here in America, right now. I’m not going to say that the president of the United States brazenly pushing for a lighter criminal sentence for his long-time friend and co-conspirator is the worst that it can get. It’s not, and I think it’s going to get worse. But let’s stop pretending that Trump and his enablers haven’t already crossed the autocrat line. This is where we are; let’s deal with it with our eyes wide open.
gov2.0  politics  trump  europe  2000s  daring_fireball 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: What Jonathan Chait Does Like About Bernie Sanders
In broad strokes, you can probably file me as a Jonathan Chait Democrat. I agree with Chait far more often than not, and when I disagree with him, I almost always think, “Well, he does make some good points.”
Long story short, we’re not Bernie Sanders fans.
But! As Chait points out in his column today, there’s a lot to like about Bernie Sanders even if you’re not a Bernie Sanders Democrat. (I will not bring up the fact that Bernie Sanders himself is not a Democrat.) Among the candidates who seem to have a legitimate chance to win the Democratic nomination this year — Biden, Bloomberg, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Warren, in alphabetical order — Sanders is far from my first choice. But if he’s the nominee — and he may well be — I will support him wholeheartedly and with no reservations. There is a lot to like about all of these candidates, and those of us in opposition to Trump have got to stick together.
Elections are fundamentally about winning. Trump is already trying to distract and divide us.
gov2.0  politics  trump  election  Dems  2020s  daring_fireball 
4 days ago by rgl7194
It’s All About the Benjamins: The Trouble With Philanthropy Today - WhoWhatWhy
It seems that every time we experience a “gilded age,” the rich, perhaps worried that the pitchforks will soon be at the gates, increase their giving.
According to David Callahan, our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast and the founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy, political polarization has divided the world of large-scale giving as never before.
Each side looks askance at the philanthropists on the other side. For those on the left, the Koch brothers are evil in their giving. For those on the right, George Soros is a symbol of all that is wrong with giving.
Callahan, also the author of The Cheating Culture, explains how the billionaire class, which, over the past 40 years has led the charge to shrink the size of government, now seeks to privatize public good. The super-rich aim to mobilize their wealth and their “I alone can fix it” philosophy to determine where dollars are needed in the public sphere.
Callahan reminds us that this has led to the delusion that the wealthy, no matter how that wealth is acquired, wield some special powers to determine what’s best. The delusion has been amplified by the current occupant of the White House.
All of this, Callahan says, has led to the virtual institutionalization of the wealth gap. What we need now, he argues, is less accumulated wealth dispensed by private individuals, and more redistribution of wealth under public auspices — allowing people to democratically select what goals and values they want to advance.
economics  money  charity  politics  podcast  gov2.0 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Coronavirus: What this crisis reveals about US - and its president - BBC News
There are no fresh flowers at the 9/11 Memorial any more. An American altar usually decorated with roses, carnations and postcard-sized Stars and Stripes is sequestered behind a makeshift plastic railing. Broadway, the "Great White Way", is dark. The subway system is a ghost train. Staten Island ferries keep cutting through the choppy waters of New York harbour, passing Lady Liberty on the way in and out of Lower Manhattan, but hardly any passengers are on board. Times Square, normally such a roiling mass, is almost devoid of people.
In the midst of this planetary pandemic, nobody wants to meet any more at the "Crossroads of the World". A city known for its infectious energy, a city that likes to boast it never even has to sleep, has been forced into hibernation. With more cases than any other American conurbation, this city is once again Ground Zero, a term no New Yorker ever wanted applied here again. With manic suddenness, our world has been turned upside down, just as it was on September 11th.
Nations, like individuals, reveal themselves at times of crisis. In emergencies of this immense magnitude, it soon becomes evident whether a sitting president is equal to the moment. So what have we learnt about the United States as it confronts this national and global catastrophe? Will lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who have been in a form of legislative lockdown for years now, a paralysis borne of partisanship, rise to the challenge? And what of the man who now sits behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, who has cloaked himself in the mantle of "wartime president"?
Of the three questions, the last one is the least interesting, largely because Donald Trump's response has been so predictable. He has not changed. He has not grown. He has not admitted errors. He has shown little humility.
gov2.0  politics  trump  coronavirus  COVID-19  health  emergency  pandemic  bbc 
4 days ago by rgl7194
It Shouldn't Take A Disaster For us to Recognize a Disaster
Last night I was having a Face Time conversation with a friend.
In our sleeplessness and anxiety we were debriefing the last few simply unfathomable days:
the alarming acceleration of the virus,
the shocking waves of cancellations and shutdowns,
the wholesale closing of public school systems,
the terrifying sight of empty grocery store shelves,
the dominoes of travels restrictions and airport chaos,
the daily national financial collapses, the business closings, the job losses,
the complete panic seeping into every crevice of our nation,
the strange isolation of people physically separated from one another,
the endless, sprawling pathways of thought leading so many future unknowns.
At one moment, my friend paused and said with relief, “Well, the only bright spot is, maybe Trump is finally going to be gone. Maybe seeing him completely fail and be exposed in this pandemic is enough for some people to turn on him.”
My first response was to agree with him—but then I just felt my blood boiling and I grew furious.
coronavirus  COVID-19  pandemic  health  emergency  gov2.0  politics  trump  pavlovitz  disaster 
11 days ago by rgl7194
How To Structure the Coronavirus Bailout - BIG by Matt Stoller
Today I’m going to write about the giant corporate bailouts that are coming and how to structure them so they aren’t totally crooked.
How to Do Anti-Bailout Bailouts
Wall Street and the Federal Reserve are getting ready for massive bailouts of the corporate sector. In some industries, like airlines, the aid will be direct. But in other areas, policymakers are using a code that is a bit obscure to normal people in an attempt to disguise what they are doing. So let me try to decipher how policymakers are talking about the coming bailouts.
Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin mentioned resurrecting the Federal Reserve’s crisis-era authority. “Certain tools were taken away that I’m going to go back to Congress and ask for,” he said. He wasn’t specific, but the tool he means is Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, which is the provision that lets the Fed do emergency lending to anyone for any reason. The Fed used this in 2008 to buy AIG, and through its ownership of AIG, send money to all of Wall Street. This was totally illegal; Congress is the only body that can authorize spending of taxpayer money, and the AIG deal took place before Congress passed the actual formal $700 billion bailout in October of 2008.
Technically the Fed isn’t supposed to be buying corporations, but short of being to unilaterally declare war, the Fed makes up the rules in a crisis. In 2016, a judge actually ruled that the Fed’s emergency lending was illegal, but also that there was nothing anyone could do about it.
During the negotiations over Dodd-Frank in 2010, Congress put limits on 13(3) which involved disclosures and other annoying constraints. These are probably what Mnuchin wants removed, so the Fed can go about its apolitical business of giving cash to powerful financiers and corporations. And then what’ll likely happen is that the Fed and Treasury will go to Congress later to ask them to authorize what they already did, and say that there will be a financial crisis if Congress doesn’t.
gov2.0  politics  trump  monopoly  stock_market  economics  congress  coronavirus  COVID-19  health  emergency  pandemic  business  finances 
14 days ago by rgl7194
Chelsea Manning is out of jail after almost a year | Ars Technica
Manning sought to challenge the legitimacy of the grand jury process.
Virginia federal judge Anthony Trenga ordered the release of Chelsea Manning on Thursday after almost a year of confinement. The judge was holding Manning in contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury about matters related to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. But now that the grand jury has wrapped up its work, there's no longer a legal basis to hold Manning.
In 2010, Manning was an army private with access to some of the US military's classified networks. Concerned about the conduct of America's wars in the Middle East, Manning leaked a vast trove of classified military documents to Wikileaks, hoping to spark a national debate.
But the US government quickly identified Manning and tried her before a military court. In 2013, she was sentenced to 35 years in prison. But just before leaving office in 2017, President Obama commuted Manning's sentence, allowing her to go free years early.
But her conflict with the US government wasn't over. In 2019, federal prosecutors called her to testify before a grand jury as the government built its case against Assange. Manning—not known for her compromising spirit—flatly refused to testify. So the judge sent her to jail for contempt.
gov2.0  legal  LGBTQ  military  politics  whistleblower  wikileaks 
15 days ago by rgl7194
The Silver Lining in the Coronavirus - WhoWhatWhy
One of life’s more sublime pleasures is the sight of a zealous ideologue being hoist with the petard of his own convictions, something Rep. Ted Yoho experienced last week. That’s when Yoho, a Florida Republican who like many of his colleagues hates Obamacare and advocates “market-driven” healthcare, found himself justifying federal spending to combat the COVID-19 virus with what we’ll politely call a post-partisan shrug: “You can look at it as socialized medicine, but in the face of an outbreak, a pandemic, what’s your options?”
Consistency, like grammar, does not seem to be a Yoho strong suit. But the same can be said for the entire Republican party, which often has difficulty squaring its rigid ideology with its real-world preferences. Political science has a term for this cognitive bias: hypocrisy. (Prediction: The viral reporting of Yoho’s quote will make his surname a verb, as in, “By admitting that Galileo was right, the Vatican Yohoed its claim to divine authority.”)
“Socialized medicine” has been the healthcare industry’s go-to scare phrase since at least 1945, when the California Medical Association deployed it to defeat a state proposal for compulsory health insurance. The phrase has been a hardy perennial ever since. It helped shoot down a Truman proposal for universal care. In 1961, the American Medical Association committed “Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine” to vinyl and distributed it to ladies’ auxiliaries, assuring them that government-provided insurance for the elderly would lead straight to Stalincare.
The S-word still has a certain purchase on the American mind, as you can see on Donald Trump’s very own website, which urges folks to “reject the socialist model that rations care, restricts access, slashes quality, and forces patients onto endless waitlists. Instead, we believe in freedom.”
No, you believe in the socialist model; you just don’t know it.
gov2.0  politics  trump  health  insurance  socialism  obamacare  GOP  hypocrisy 
15 days ago by rgl7194
Jeff Bezos hack: Amazon boss's phone 'hacked by Saudi crown prince' | Technology | The Guardian
Exclusive: investigation suggests Washington Post owner was targeted five months before murder of Jamal Khashoggi
The Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos had his mobile phone “hacked” in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had apparently been sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, sources have told the Guardian.
The encrypted message from the number used by Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have included a malicious file that infiltrated the phone of the world’s richest man, according to the results of a digital forensic analysis.
This analysis found it “highly probable” that the intrusion into the phone was triggered by an infected video file sent from the account of the Saudi heir to Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post.
The two men had been having a seemingly friendly WhatsApp exchange when, on 1 May of that year, the unsolicited file was sent, according to sources who spoke to the Guardian on the condition of anonymity.
amazon  bezos  iphoneX  hack  security  privacy  whatsapp  nytimes  middle_east  trump  gov2.0  politics  corruption 
16 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: Hacked to Bits
Another blockbuster security story last week, initially broken by Stephanie Kirchgaessner for The Guardian:
The Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos had his mobile phone “hacked” in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had apparently been sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, sources have told the Guardian.
The encrypted message from the number used by Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have included a malicious file that infiltrated the phone of the world’s richest man, according to the results of a digital forensic analysis.
This analysis found it “highly probable” that the intrusion into the phone was triggered by an infected video file sent from the account of the Saudi heir to Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post.
The two men had been having a seemingly friendly WhatsApp exchange when, on 1 May of that year, the unsolicited file was sent, according to sources who spoke to the Guardian on the condition of anonymity.
Large amounts of data were exfiltrated from Bezos’s phone within hours, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Guardian has no knowledge of what was taken from the phone or how it was used.
You will recall that The National Enquirer published intimate text messages and personal photographs from Bezos that revealed an extramarital affair, which in turn led to Bezos and his wife of 25 years divorcing.
amazon  bezos  iphoneX  hack  security  privacy  whatsapp  daring_fireball  nytimes  middle_east  trump  gov2.0  politics  corruption 
16 days ago by rgl7194
Nancy Pelosi tears up Trump's State of the Union speech in possible 2020 tipping point
Why was Pelosi so angry? Maybe it was the fact that Trump is totally getting away with undermining the election. Or maybe it was all the lying.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have spent the last few months painstakingly laying out a case for impeachment, but during the last few seconds of Tuesday’s State of the Union address, she did something much less prudent and prepared. In what at least seemed like an impulsive, gut reaction, the speaker started ripping up the president’s speech behind his back as he took his metaphorical (and later physical) victory lap.
Pelosi tore up the president’s speech. Not once, not twice but three times. Actually, she did it a fourth time, leading some people to wonder if she had even ripped up the large envelope the speech came in. A source close to the speaker told CNN that the moment was an entirely spontaneous expression of anger.
Why was the famously calculated Pelosi so angry? Maybe she was upset that the president, who has practically admitted trying to manipulate the next presidential election, will probably face no consequences for it. His Republican yes men have been gearing up for Wednesday’s acquittal for months. Or perhaps it’s the transfer of wealth from the poor to the very rich that Trump instituted with his signature tax cut. Or perhaps it’s his efforts to curb access to safe abortion, food stamps programs and SNAP programs.
Or, maybe, it was all the lying.
pelosi  congress  gov2.0  politics  speech  troll  trump 
16 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: Liz Plank on Nancy Pelosi Tearing Up Trump's State of the Union Speech
Liz Plank, writing for NBC News...
Pelosi — and I choose this word deliberately — triggers Republicans because she’s (a) a woman, and (b) plays hardball. She’s not fucking around. She was cool as ice as she tore that speech — it was like she was ripping up a junk mail credit card offer. It’s Republicans who’ve flipped out emotionally.
For decades now Republicans have been playing win-at-any-cost hardball politics, while Democrats have played nice. Trump’s presidency has laid bare what should have been obvious to Democrats long ago — they must play hardball too. The difference has been hardball vs. playing-nice-ball. It needs to be win-at-any-cost-including-subverting-democracy hardball (Republicans) vs. hardball with integrity (Democrats).
Pelosi gets that. And it drives Republicans nuts. The Democrats have played nice for so long that Republicans are outraged when a Democrat simply gives them a taste of their own hardball medicine.
congress  gov2.0  pelosi  politics  speech  troll  trump  daring_fireball 
16 days ago by rgl7194
Soros to Donate $1 Billion for Global University Network - Bloomberg
Will seek to combat authoritarian governments, climate change
Says Facebook executives conspiring with Trump on re-election
Billionaire George Soros said he will commit $1 billion to start a global university to fight authoritarian governments and climate change, calling them twin challenges that threaten the survival of our civilization.
The Open Society University Network will offer an international platform for teaching and research, the 89-year-old said Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The university will be launched through a partnership of the Soros-backed Central European University and Bard College.
“As a long-term strategy our best hope lies in access to quality education, specifically an education that reinforces the autonomy of the individual by cultivating critical thinking and emphasizing academic freedom,” Soros said.
In his speech and a follow-up question and answer session, Soros covered a wide-range of issues, including the “overheated” U.S. economy, the dominance of Facebook Inc. and the autocratic rule of Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump, who he called a “con man and the ultimate narcissist.”
gov2.0  politics  soros  trump  money  charity  climate_change  facebook 
16 days ago by rgl7194
NY Attorney General Tells Alex Jones to Stop Hawking Coronavirus Products | Consequence of Sound
AG Letitia James says the right-wing conspiracy theorist has "profited off of New Yorkers' anxieties"
With coronavirus fears at their peak, it’s not terribly surprising the lowest forms of human life are attempting to profit off the panic. One of those bottom feeders, infamous far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, has been told by the New York Attorney General to stop touting products on Infowars that he claims will treat coronavirus.
Jones has apparently been hawking “antiviral” products he says are “literally a stopgap” against the virus. His Infowars website sells supplements like “DNA Force Plus” and a line of “SilverSol” products, including a nanosilver toothpaste, that Jones claims keep “your immune system healthy.” In a March 10th episode of his show, he spuriously stated,
“For just your daily life and your gums and your teeth and for regular viruses and bacteria, the patented nanosilver we have — the Pentagon has come out and documented and Homeland Security and said this stuff kills the whole SARS-corona family at point-blank range. Well of course it does, it kills every virus.”
This is the same sort of thing televangelist Jim Bakker was pushing on his own show. NY Attorney General Letitia James told him to stop, and now she’s targeted Jones.
coronavirus  COVID-19  pandemic  health  emergency  gov2.0  politics  fake  medical  new_york  legal 
17 days ago by rgl7194
COVID-19 is a national emergency, Trump declares | Ars Technica
The declaration frees up $50 billion in response funding.
The spread of the new coronavirus within the US is a national emergency, President Donald Trump declared Friday afternoon, March 13.
The declaration provides states and territories with access to up to $50 billion in funds to address the rapidly escalating pandemic. Generally, such funding could be used for emergency medical care, food, and medicine.
As of Friday afternoon, there were over 1,600 cases across 46 states and the District of Columbia. There have been 41 deaths reported.
Trump, speaking this afternoon from the White House Rose Garden, urged every state to set up emergency operation centers to address cases. He also spoke of ramped up testing capacity and the involvement of the private sector in testing. He suggested that millions of testing kits were going to become available soon. However, he added, “We don’t want everybody taking this test. It’s totally unnecessary.”
It’s unclear how many people in the US have already been tested for the virus since the country’s first case was detected in Washington state at the end of January. An investigation by The Atlantic suggests only about 14,000 people have been tested. In contrast, South Korea, which has experienced a massive outbreak and has earned praise for its responses, is reportedly testing nearly 20,000 people a day.
Public health emergency experts at the World Health Organization have stressed that in order to stop the epidemic, countries should rigorously screen and test for cases, isolate the infected, and trace and quarantine their contacts.
“We still have a long way to go,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said during the announcement in the Rose Garden. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said that today's declaration will help lessen the impact of the pandemic.
As NPR notes, today’s emergency funding will be in addition to an $8.3 billion provided in an emergency spending bill Trump signed on March 6.
coronavirus  COVID-19  pandemic  health  emergency  gov2.0  politics  trump  money 
17 days ago by rgl7194
New York State Legislator Introduces a Very Bad “Net Neutrality” Bill | Electronic Frontier Foundation
In 2018, California established the gold standard of what states should be doing on net neutrality by passing a model law for other states to copy. So, naturally, that makes the job of any legislator truly interested in protecting net neutrality pretty easy: just copy and paste. But that did not happen in New York’s state legislature this week. State Senator Kevin Parker, the Senate Telecommunications Chairman, has instead introduced S. 8020; legislation that not only ignores critical net neutrality issues such as zero rating, but it would legalize paid prioritization by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
new_york  state  gov2.0  politics  net_neutrality  EFF 
18 days ago by rgl7194
Super Tuesday Democrats Picked A Lane: Pragmatism | FiveThirtyEight
Voting in a liberal democracy is supposed to be about choice. You have the right to choose the person you believe is best suited to represent you. But campaigns are in the business of coopting that individual choice, making it about something greater than what a person believes in their heart of hearts. They ask the individual to think of the collective, namely who can best grab power (for what purposes is too knotty to dive into here). Good politicians play on emotions like fear and anger and sometimes joy and love. They know that as much as human beings are free to make choices, we are also prisoners of our environments, our pathologies and vexations.
The 2020 primary has been prisoner to pathologies Democrats have developed during the Trump presidency. Though the party has spent the years since the president’s election grappling with internal ideological differences — to the point where any real meaning has been wrung from the words “progressive” and “establishment” — the canvas that covers Democrats’ big tent bears one motto: “BEAT TRUMP.”
More than a year — a long year — after their first serious candidates declared, Democrats find themselves peering out into the post-Super Tuesday abyss wondering how they ended up where they’ve ended up. After spending all of 2019 of cycling through flavor-of-the-month candidates, Democrats now have a front-runner in former Vice President Joe Biden who sounds very much like the previous two Democratic nominees but looks very different, with his — not her — thinning white hair and his creased, white — not brown — skin.
gov2.0  politics  election  2020s  biden  538  voting 
19 days ago by rgl7194
Biden tells gun nut that he’s 'full of shit.' America (objectively) agrees
While visiting a construction site in Detroit, Joe Biden got into an argument with a gun nut who claimed that the candidate had advocated a gun grab in “a viral video.” Biden told him he was “full of shit,” before engaging in a back-and-forth.
Republicans (and, weirdly, the Bernie Sanders campaign) have pounced, thinking they have a winner. However, guns are not the GOP advantage they think it is.
Nationally, voters are certainly in favor of gun control—or, as the Second Amendment explicitly puts it, “well regulated” measures. Civiqs shows how popular gun control is nationally...
Even more importantly, white educated women—exactly the kind of voters Republicans lost in 2018, leading to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and big Democratic gains up and down the ballot—are even more supportive of gun control.
It turns out they don’t want to see more dead children.
The kicker, though, is attitudes toward gun control in the seven states that matter. You ready?
Every single battleground state supports gun control.
     Arizona: 51-44
     Florida: 51-43
     Georgia: 50-45
     Michigan: 50-44
     North Carolina: 52-42
     Pennsylvania: 52-42
     Wisconsin: 53-41
Republicans are in some serious bubble if they think the Biden clip above helps them in any way. It helps reassure those suburban white women that someone in charge will be trying to make their neighborhoods and schools safer, and shows liberals that, hey, maybe the guy does have some fire in him.
As for the Sanders campaign, not sure what they think they’re doing other than reminding Democrats of Sanders’ biggest liability—his past avid support for the NRA and its agenda. That’s just weird.
So all in all, not a bad clip for Biden.
gov2.0  politics  election  2020s  biden  guns  video 
19 days ago by rgl7194
Joe Biden May Be Hazardous to Your Health - WhoWhatWhy
Whatever the significance of Joe Biden’s victory in last week’s Super Tuesday primary, it’s not good news for the 28 million Americans who have no health insurance — at least according to Wall Street.
We know this because health insurance stocks surged the day after Tuesday’s vote, for a simple reason: Biden suits the interests of for-profit health insurers better than Bernie Sanders, and what’s good for private insurers has historically proved not good for the uninsured.
The Vermont senator, Biden’s principal competitor last week, supports a healthcare-finance system that would cover everyone, principally by marginalizing private insurers. By contrast, Biden calls merely for expanding and improving the 10-year-old Affordable Care Act (or ACA, aka Obamacare), a marketplace made up of private insurers. Now that Sanders has been demoted from frontrunner, the threat to insurer earnings is a lot less ominous than it might have seemed two weeks ago.
Biden would expand coverage with the so-called public option, allowing anyone to buy insurance from a government provider. That would have “very little effect, if any, on the private insurer’s role,” says James Kahn, emeritus professor of health policy at the University of California, San Francisco. “So they’re happy to see what looks like Biden headed toward the nomination.”
gov2.0  politics  election  Dems  2020s  biden  health  insurance  obamacare 
20 days ago by rgl7194
Song of the Week: Dixie Chicks - "Gaslighter" | Consequence of Sound
Fact: No guilty party will be able to get this song out of their head
Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify New Sounds playlist.
What would a week of national panic and political turmoil be without the Dixie Chicks tossing this Molotov cocktail of a comeback single to cap it off? First, savor the title, the word “gaslighter” itself, which appears no less than 16 times over three minutes and change. This song is possibly its very first usage in country music and yet countless country singers, especially women, have been identifying with this song’s sentiment since the Opry began. It’s like a total boiling-down, a volcanic diamond of decades worth of scorned and abused lovers before it.
music  country  protest  women  video  politics 
24 days ago by rgl7194
After Super Tuesday, Joe Biden Is A Clear Favorite To Win The Nomination | FiveThirtyEight
Sanders has a window, but it’s small.
After a huge night on Super Tuesday — and with all his major opponents1 except Sen. Bernie Sanders having dropped out — former Vice President Joe Biden is a strong favorite to win the Democratic nomination, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast.
We’d encourage you to approach the forecast with a bit of caution for the next few days until we have new polling and a better sense of what the post-Super Tuesday landscape looks like. There are several uncertainties to keep in mind:
Many states, especially California, are not yet done counting their votes. In California, the results could shift significantly based on late-returned mail ballots. Under the state’s rules, ballots only need to have been mailed out by election day, so millions of votes are literally still in the mail.
Two candidates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have just dropped out, and while the model makes some educated guesses about where their support will go, it may be wrong about that.
Super Tuesday itself could have a substantial effect on the polls — most likely in the form of a bounce for Biden. The model, again, makes educated guesses about the size of these bounces. But those guesses may not be right: Biden got a much bigger South Carolina bounce than is typical for that state, for example; while Sanders got little, if any, bounce after winning Nevada when the model expected him to get one.
Making matters trickier, it’s also not entirely clear what the race was like prior to Super Tuesday because Biden’s ascent in the polls was quite rapid and there were few national polls during this period.
gov2.0  politics  election  Dems  2020s  538  biden  analytics  state 
24 days ago by rgl7194
The Privilege of Saying You're A "_______ or Bust" Progressive
Progressives don’t need Donald Trump’s to defeat us.
We’re doing fine on our own.
The enmity and ugliness of the Democratic primary season has been off the charts, and particularly shortsighted given the fierce adversary we’re facing, how much damage the infrastructure of our nation has sustained—and how fully complicit the Republican Party has been in enabling the degradation of our planet, the perverting of our courts, and the dismantling of our systems over the past three-plus years.
It’s been sickening by any measure decent people use.
And yet somehow, despite the historic atrocities they’ve witnessed and despite how much pain so many people are in and despite the brazen, unchecked criminality in the White House—apparently there are progressives who are fine allowing it to continue for another four years. They’re perfectly willing to subject humanity to another season of abject brutality if their guy doesn’t get the nomination.
If you ever want to see privilege personified, there it is.
gov2.0  politics  election  Dems  2020s  pavlovitz 
24 days ago by rgl7194
Does the F.B.I. Need Apple to Hack Into iPhones? - The New York Times
There are tools to crack into the phones at the center of a new dispute over encryption. But the F.BI. says it still needs Apple’s aid.
Hi, everyone. I’m Jack Nicas, and I cover Apple for The Times. My week has been hectic since the United States attorney general went in front of reporters on Monday and pushed Apple to break open two locked iPhones that belonged to a dead terrorist.
You probably remember the last high-profile clash between Apple and the F.B.I. in 2016, over a different dead gunman’s phone. Since then, Apple has continued to pitch itself as a company focused on customers’ privacy. A go-to line of Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has become: “Privacy is a fundamental human right.”
Yet despite all of Apple’s ads touting the security of its devices, there is one detail it never mentions: The police have long exploited software flaws to break into its iPhones.
iphone  security  privacy  encryption  ios  nytimes  FBI  gov2.0  politics  hack 
25 days ago by rgl7194
Stream Dixie Chicks - "Gaslighter" | Consequence of Sound
Our first preview of the country music trio's comeback album, due out in May
The Dixie Chicks are officially back. The country trio has returned today with “Gaslighter”, their first new music in 14 years, as well as an accompanying video. Watch it below.
“Gaslighter” is taken from a forthcoming album of the same name, due out on May 1st through Columbia Records. The long-awaited follow-up to 2006’s Taking the Long Way, it’s comprised entirely of original material and features contributions from Jack Antonoff. Our 2017 Producer of the Year, Antonoff is known for working with Lorde and Taylor Swift; in fact, he co-produced “Soon You’ll Get Better”, Swift’s Lover collaboration with the Dixie Chicks.
In a previous appearance on the podcast Spiritualgasm, Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines described Gaslighter as “10 times” more “personal and autobiographical” than Taking the Long Way. She also added that it was partially inspired by her recent divorce from actor Adrian Pasdar.
Discussing the title track during an interview with Beats 1 Radio, Maines explained, “It was the first song we wrote with Jack Antonoff. At the time we thought we thought we were gonna write with a bunch of different people and get different producers and we wrote with him and we’re like, ‘He needs to produce it and this needs to be the sound for this album.’ ‘Cause it was just, he blew us away, and it was such a fun song to start with.”
music  country  protest  women  video  politics 
26 days ago by rgl7194
NEW MUSIC WE LOVE: Dixie Chicks’ “Gaslighter”
The first taste of the long-awaited new Dixie Chicks album—due to arrive May 1st—has arrived in the way of its title track, “Gaslighter.” With a video that features powerful women throughout history in addition to the Dixie Chicks decked out in modified military-styled uniforms, the song addresses, with on-the-nose specifics, Maines’ recent divorce after a draining two-year legal battle. 
The sound is classic Dixie Chicks: effervescent production, tight harmonies, an undercurrent of driving banjo and acoustic guitars propelled by bombastic, rock & roll drums, while lyrically listing off all the issues of an ex that “lie, lie, lies” but insists it’s the narrator that’s the crazy one. 
Dixie Chicks’ new album Gaslighter arrives in stores May 1st
With lyrics that address deeply specific moments (“you know exactly what you did on my boat”) and offer up karmic observations (“you made your bed and then your bed caught fire”), “Gaslighter” is in the tradition of songs such as Bob Dylan’s “Idiot Wind” that make you feel like you’re eavesdropping on the end of a relationship. But breaking up never sounded this defiant, resilient, and downright exciting.
Welcome back, ladies. Oh, how you’ve been missed.
music  country  protest  women  video  politics 
26 days ago by rgl7194
Why Younger Democrats Are Overwhelmingly Rejecting Biden | FiveThirtyEight
Do all younger Democrats have an Uncle Joe that they hate or something? Because there’s a good chance that Democrats under the age of 45 will prove crucial in preventing former Vice President Joe Biden from winning — or even getting close to winning — the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Younger Democrats, particularly younger white Democrats, are emphatically rejecting his candidacy. That cohort is a big reason why Biden has struggled in the first three states and fallen from front-runner status.
In fact, age might be the most important fault line in the 2020 Democratic primary.
Of course, Biden’s weakness among younger Democrats is in part the result of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s strength with that group. But Sanders’s appeal doesn’t totally explain Biden’s struggles. In Iowa, for example, Biden received just 4 percent of the under-45 vote, according to entrance polls. That trailed Sanders (41 percent), but it also lagged behind former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (21 percent), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (16 percent) and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang (10 percent). Biden also finished in the single digits among voters under 45 — and behind Buttigieg, Sanders and Warren — in New Hampshire and Nevada. A recent poll of Democrats in California, a Super Tuesday state, found Biden at 9 percent among voters under 45. He’s not faring better in other Super Tuesday states, as recent polls have him at 4 percent in Colorado, 11 percent in Texas and 11 percent in Virginia with this group.
gov2.0  politics  election  biden  538  Dems 
26 days ago by rgl7194
There is too little oversight of private companies that create voting technologies.
The Iowa caucuses debacle was a reminder of some of the most important principles in election security, among them that transparency in elections is important, paper ballot backups are crucial to ensuring an accurate count, voting should not take place on smartphone apps, and running elections should be left to professionals. But missing from the round-the-clock media coverage was another valuable lesson from Iowa: Private tech companies are central to our elections, and our failure to engage in real oversight of their practices leaves our elections vulnerable to breakdown and attack.
The reporting in the aftermath of Iowa identified a 6-month-old private tech company called Shadow as the supplier of the failed app at the root of the mess. In an attempt to help precinct captains report out three separate sets of results, the Iowa Democratic Party had paid Shadow $60,000 to develop an app to convey the vote totals. Precincts would take and upload pictures of results, which would go to party headquarters. But on caucus day, the app failed, as did backup phone lines. This prompted many to ask how something as important as reporting vote totals in a presidential election could be left in the hands of a shoestring tech company. The follow-up question should have been: What are the controls on private vendors that sell the equipment and technology that run our elections?
gov2.0  politics  voting  election  technology  business  state  security 
26 days ago by rgl7194
For a healthy democracy, Facebook must halt micro-targeted political ads – World Wide Web Foundation
This post was written Emily Sharpe, Web Foundation Director of Policy.
Social media platforms have a profound impact on democracy and elections. Narrowly targeted online advertising is now perhaps the most powerful tool that campaigns have to persuade voters and win elections.
To uphold the integrity of democratic elections, all social media platforms must ensure their tools are designed to support free and fair political processes.
As the world’s biggest social network, Facebook has an outsized influence in election campaigns and voter decisions. And so we’re deeply concerned that the company’s updated political advertising policy falls short of the standards required from Facebook to help ensure the upcoming US presidential election and other elections around the world are free and fair.
gov2.0  politics  advertising  facebook  democracy  targeting 
7 weeks ago by rgl7194
Much ado about micro-targeted political ads 🗳
Healthy democracy & micro-targeted political ads: you can't have one with the other
The web has transformed political campaigning. Gone are the days when direct mail or the 30-second TV spot were the most powerful tool in a candidate’s box — we’ve entered the age of online advertising. 
Social media platforms have become the chief arena in which campaigns are fought and narrowly targeted advertising is perhaps the most powerful tool campaigns have to win elections, giving candidates the power to tailor their message to voters based hundreds of demographic, personality-based and behavioural factors.
This has a profound impact on democracy. Elections the world over — from Kenya to Italy to the US and beyond — have already seen the negative consequences of micro-targeted political ads.
As candidates move on from traditional campaigning and embrace digital politics, we must face up to the danger of narrowly targeted ads and safeguard our elections.
That’s why we called on Facebook to suspend micro-targeted political ads globally.
Here we untangle online micro-targeted advertising and why democracy is healthier without it.
gov2.0  politics  advertising  facebook  democracy  targeting 
7 weeks ago by rgl7194
Opinion | George Conway: All the things I believe about President Trump
George T. Conway III is a lawyer in New York and an adviser to the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump super PAC.
I believe the president, and in the president.
I believe the Senate is right to acquit the president. I believe a fair trial is one with no witnesses, and that the trial was therefore fair. I believe the House was unfair because it found evidence against him. I believe that if the president does something that he believes will get himself reelected, that’s in the public interest and can’t be the kind of thing that results in impeachment.
I believe former national security adviser John Bolton has no relevant testimony because he didn’t leave the White House on good terms.
I believe the president’s call was perfect. I believe he is deeply concerned about corruption in Ukraine. I believe the president can find Ukraine on a map.
gov2.0  politics  trump  op-ed  troll  legal 
7 weeks ago by rgl7194
Pelosi unloads on Trump in private meeting after SOTU standoff - POLITICO
“He shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech,” Pelosi told House Democrats in a closed-door meeting.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped into President Donald Trump in a private meeting with Democrats Wednesday, just hours after the two jousted in a silent sparring match during his State of the Union address.
Pelosi, addressing her caucus Wednesday morning, said she felt “liberated” after defiantly ripping up Trump’s speech for the world to see, tearing up each page as she stood behind the president after he concluded his annual address.
“He shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech,” Pelosi told House Democrats, according to multiple sources in the room. “What we heard last night was a disgrace.”
Democrats gave Pelosi a standing ovation after she concluded her remarks, coming just hours before the Senate will vote to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial. The California Democrat then went on to salute all seven House impeachment managers by name, according to attendees.
"She said that he disgraced the House of Representatives by using it as a backdrop for a reality show," Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said leaving the meeting.
gov2.0  politics  trump  congress  speech  pelosi  troll 
7 weeks ago by rgl7194
Did Trump Congratulate the Wrong State for the Chiefs' Super Bowl Win?
The Chiefs' victory in Super Bowl LIV was a great day for Kansas City, wherever it may be.
President Trump congratulated the wrong state for the Chiefs' 2020 Super Bowl win.
About this rating
On Feb. 2, 2020, the Kansas City Chiefs football team made their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years and took home the championship by defeating the San Francisco 49ers, 31-20.
Shortly after the conclusion of that Super Bowl game, President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations to the Chiefs for their victory, noting that the team “represented the Great State of Kansas … so very well”...
gov2.0  politics  trump  football  factcheck  geography  SMH  superbowl  twitter 
7 weeks ago by rgl7194
The Super Bowl of MAGA Hypocrisy
They’re clutching their pearls in Red America.
The Super Bowl Halftime Show got them all hot and bothered.
Too sexual.
Too disrespectful to women.
Too much skin.
Those outfits.
The gyrations.
The sexual innuendo.
Oh, the humanity!
“Won’t someone please think of the children?!” they shout with raw-throated urgency through the streets of social media.
Suddenly, in the span of ten minutes on Sunday they became concerned with the welfare of women and girls.
I wonder if they were thinking of women and girls three years ago when they voted for the guy who said:
“I don’t think my daughter Ivanka would pose nude, although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
How concerned were they about the exploitation of women, when they cast their ballot for a man who bragged...
gov2.0  politics  trump  women  sex  football  dance  pavlovitz 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
How Chaos at Chain Pharmacies Is Putting Patients at Risk - The New York Times
Pharmacists across the U.S. warn that the push to do more with less has made medication errors more likely. “I am a danger to the public,” one wrote to a regulator.
For Alyssa Watrous, the medication mix-up meant a pounding headache, nausea and dizziness. In September, Ms. Watrous, a 17-year-old from Connecticut, was about to take another asthma pill when she realized CVS had mistakenly given her blood pressure medication intended for someone else.
Edward Walker, 38, landed in an emergency room, his eyes swollen and burning after he put drops in them for five days in November 2018 to treat a mild irritation. A Walgreens in Illinois had accidentally supplied him with ear drops — not eye drops.
For Mary Scheuerman, 85, the error was discovered only when she was dying in a Florida hospital in December 2018. A Publix pharmacy had dispensed a powerful chemotherapy drug instead of the antidepressant her doctor had prescribed. She died about two weeks later.
The people least surprised by such mistakes are pharmacists working in some of the nation’s biggest retail chains.
In letters to state regulatory boards and in interviews with The New York Times, many pharmacists at companies like CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens described understaffed and chaotic workplaces where they said it had become difficult to perform their jobs safely, putting the public at risk of medication errors.
They struggle to fill prescriptions, give flu shots, tend the drive-through, answer phones, work the register, counsel patients and call doctors and insurance companies, they said — all the while racing to meet corporate performance metrics that they characterized as unreasonable and unsafe in an industry squeezed to do more with less.
“I am a danger to the public working for CVS,” one pharmacist wrote in an anonymous letter to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy in April.
“The amount of busywork we must do while verifying prescriptions is absolutely dangerous,” another wrote to the Pennsylvania board in February. “Mistakes are going to be made and the patients are going to be the ones suffering.”
business  pharmacy  monopoly  nytimes  health  drugs  insurance  PBM  politics  gov2.0  safety 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
How CVS Became A Health Care Tyrant - BIG by Matt Stoller
Welcome to BIG, a newsletter about the politics of monopoly. If you’d like to sign up, you can do so here. Or just read on…
Today I’ll go over an important story in the New York Times by Ellen Gabler about the giant American drug store chain and health care company CVS. First, some housekeeping. For those in D.C., I’ll be speaking at Solid State books next Tuesday at 7pm about my book Goliath. And yesterday I was on NPR’s Marketplace talking about the cheerleading monopoly.
And now…
CVS: A Sweatshop for Pharmacists
Very few people realize that the third leading cause of death in America is medical errors, at between 250,000 and 440,000 people a year. That’s a population the size of Reno, Nevada dying every single year. Some of these deaths are unavoidable, as mistakes are a fact of life, but the powerful monopolies in American health care system do two things to contribute to such mistakes. First, they push too many high-margin but unnecessary pills and surgeries, and second, they interfere in the relationship between medical professionals and patients.
Ellen Gabler at the New York Times had a great story yesterday with the gory details of one such example, the massive drug store chain CVS. The gist of her story is that CVS has imposed sweatshop-style conditions in their stores. Pharmacies are understaffed, pharmacists don’t have time to focus on patients (or sometimes even take bathroom breaks), and they are constantly being pressed to overprescribe medication.
The article has a litany of horrible errors, including a patient dying because she accidentally got dispensed harsh chemotherapy drugs, or a baby accidentally receiving steroids. As Gabler showed, “doctors complain that pharmacies bombard them with requests for refills that patients have not asked for and should not receive.”
Pharmacists themselves are frustrated. “I am a danger to the public working for CVS,” wrote one pharmacist the Texas State Board of Pharmacy in April. A different one told authorities in Pennsylvania that because of these practices, “Mistakes are going to be made and the patients are going to be the ones suffering.”
business  pharmacy  monopoly  nytimes  health  drugs  insurance  PBM  politics  gov2.0  safety 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
RELIQUARY: Read A Book! (Temp Post)
V for Vendetta 
(30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition 2018) [E-Book]
   -by:  Alan Moore and David Lloyd
Collects 'V for Vendetta' #1-10
Released: 2018
In - Comic Book Reader file format - Size: 345 MB
---And / Or---
In- JPG file format separate pages - Size: 380 MB
The seminal graphic novel masterpiece V For Vendetta is available in this new deluxe edition, featuring an essay from writer Alan Moore, sketches from artist David Lloyd and other bonus material!
A frightening tale of the loss of freedom and identity in a chillingly believable totalitarian world, V for Vendetta stands as one of the highest achievements of the comics medium and a defining work for creators Alan Moore and David Lloyd.
Set in an imagined future England that has given itself over to fascism, this groundbreaking story captures both the suffocating nature of life in an authoritarian police state and the redemptive power of the human spirit that rebels against it. Crafted with sterling clarity and intelligence, V for Vendetta brings an unequalled depth of characterization and verisimilitude to its unflinching account of oppression and resistance.
V for Vendetta 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition collects DC Comics' original 10-issue series in its entirety, including the "bridging" pages coloured by David Lloyd, which originally ran between the issues' story pages. This deluxe volume also includes Lloyd's and Moore's introductions to the series as well as Moore's extended history of its creation, "Behind the Painted Smile," and an expanded sketchbook section by Lloyd.
comics  movies  download  anniversary  sci-fi  thriller  politics  hair  uk  ibooks 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
Clinton Crashes Kumbaya Primary - WhoWhatWhy
The Democratic primary couldn’t be more different. Sure, the candidates disagree on policy, but there are no personal insults, no attack ads. Nobody is calling anybody else ugly or suggests their parents participated in assassinations. Nobody’s anatomy has come into play and all candidates are displaying a healthy level of respect for each other.
They all seem to understand that getting the nomination is worthless if Trump wins reelection. And, with the possible exception of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), you never get the feeling that they are not committed to go all out to help the eventual nominee.
This was evident last week when Trump tried to drive a wedge between the candidates by insinuating that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will have the nomination stolen from him because he is forced to leave the campaign trail to participate in the president’s impeachment trial.
While that argument makes no sense in the first place — not least because Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) also have to be in Washington — Sanders’s response was telling.
“Let’s be clear about who is rigging what,” he said in a statement. “It is Donald Trump’s action to use the power of the federal government for his own political benefit that is the cause of the impeachment trial. His transparent attempts to divide Democrats will not work, and we are going to unite to sweep him out of the White House in November.”
gov2.0  politics  election  2020s  Dems  hillary 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
Public servants Trump smeared as 'human scum' are Time magazine's 2019 'Guardians of the Year' [Video]
The nonpartisan career officials who testified against President Trump during the impeachment hearings are Time magazine’s 2019 “Guardians of the Year.”
gov2.0  politics  impeachment  trump  magazine  award  vindman 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
The Untold Story of U.S. Foreign Policy During the Clinton Impeachment Crisis
The Wounded Presidency, Part Two
The Untold Story of U.S. Foreign Policy During the Clinton Impeachment Crisis
Just after 10:30 AM on August 7, 1998, two truck bombs exploded within minutes of each other outside the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 people—12 of them Americans—and wounding more than 5,000 others. In the days that followed, the FBI and the CIA briefed U.S. President Bill Clinton on those they believed were responsible. “This one is a slam dunk, Mr. President,” said the CIA’s basketball-loving director, George Tenet. “There is no doubt that this was an al Qaeda operation.”
The CIA had been tracking Osama bin Laden, the fanatical son of a Saudi construction magnate, since 1996. His global organization, al Qaeda, was not yet synonymous with mass carnage, but the CIA knew that it was plotting operations against U.S. interests around the world. Now, the CIA director didn’t just have proof that bin Laden was behind the East African embassy bombings—he had intelligence that would allow the president to target the terrorist mastermind. Bin Laden planned to attend a meeting near the southern Afghan town of Khost on August 20, the agency had learned. Soon after the meeting with Tenet, Clinton told his national security adviser, Samuel Berger, to begin preparations for a military strike.
gov2.0  politics  impeachment  foreign_relations  90s  clinton 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
The Untold Story of Foreign Policy During the Nixon Impeachment Crisis
The Wounded Presidency, Part One
The Untold Story of U.S. Foreign Policy During the Nixon Impeachment Crisis
“If the Democrats and the U.S. public do not stop laying siege to their government, sooner or later someone will take a run at us,” Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said to a small group of national security principals assembled in the White House Situation Room. It was nearing midnight on October 24, 1973, and Kissinger believed that the Soviets were about to exploit the wounded presidency of Richard Nixon to challenge the United States in the Middle East. The secretary of state had received an ominous phone call at 9:35 that evening from the Soviet ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Dobrynin, who delivered an urgent message from Leonid Brezhnev: the Soviet leader sought a joint U.S.-Soviet intervention in Egypt, but absent U.S. cooperation the Soviets were prepared to go it alone.
It had been a little more than two weeks since Egypt and Syria began a coordinated offensive against Israel, blowing past the cease-fire lines established after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and capturing much of the Sinai Peninsula and some of the Golan Heights. But the Israelis had recovered from the initial shock of the Yom Kippur attack, and with the help of a significant U.S. resupply effort, pushed the invading armies back. The Soviets had undertaken a resupply effort of their own to aid the Egyptians, but now the Israelis had crossed the Suez Canal, encircled Egypt’s Third Army, and violated a superpower-brokered cease-fire by moving into the city of Suez. So worried was Brezhnev about the fate of his Egyptian ally that Kissinger believed the Soviets were contemplating a military intervention.
gov2.0  politics  impeachment  foreign_relations  70s 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
Democrats propose sweeping new online privacy laws to rein in tech giants | World news | The Guardian
Bill comes after a series of scandals, including Cambridge Analytica, that exposed personal data of millions of consumers
Top Democrats on Tuesday proposed tough new privacy laws to rein in the US’s tech companies after a series of scandals that have shaken confidence in the companies and exposed the personal data of millions of consumers.
The effort, led by Senator Maria Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Senate commerce, science and transportation committee, aims to “provide consumers with foundational data privacy rights, create strong oversight mechanisms, and establish meaningful enforcement”.
The Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (Copra) comes after a series of failed attempts to rein in the tech giants in the US.
“In the growing online world, consumers deserve two things: privacy rights and a strong law to enforce them,” Cantwell said. “They should be like your Miranda rights – clear as a bell as to what they are and what constitutes a violation.”
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  data 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (S. 2968) -
A bill to provide consumers with foundational data privacy rights, create strong oversight mechanisms, and establish meaningful enforcement.
The bill’s titles are written by its sponsor.
Sponsor and status
Maria Cantwell
Sponsor. Junior Senator for Washington. Democrat.
Read Text »
Last Updated: Dec 3, 2019
Length: 59 pages
Introduced Dec 3, 2019
Introduced on Dec 3, 2019
This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process. It was introduced into Congress on December 3, 2019. It will typically be considered by committee next before it is possibly sent on to the House or Senate as a whole.
Prognosis 27% chance of being enacted according to Skopos Labs (details)
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  data  overview 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Hey Congress, How's That Privacy Bill Coming Along? | WIRED
As the year winds down without any federal online privacy law to show for it, Senate Democrats introduce new legislation and a set of “privacy principles.”
After months of stalled bipartisan negotiations over how the federal government should protect consumers’ private data, Senate Democrats decided to go it alone this month. On Tuesday, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) introduced the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act, or COPRA, which would set up a sort of privacy bill of rights for Americans while providing some stronger mechanisms of enforcement.
The bill follows last week’s unveiling by Democratic leaders, including Cantwell, of a new set of “privacy principles” they say should form the foundation for any privacy or data-security legislation that comes out of Congress. These principles focus on establishing guardrails and accountability for businesses, while also protecting consumers and competition. And some key Republicans don’t consider that a helpful move.
The Democrats’ framework envisions a data-privacy bill that would finally put constraints on Silicon Valley firms, like limiting the amount of data companies can collect from users or requiring tech companies to audit their algorithms for discrimination, and also give average consumers the power to sue firms that play fast and loose with their data. Cantwell's bill is the first attempt at turning those philosophies into law, but it likely won't be the last. Other Democrats are growing impatient with what many see as tech firms running wild.
“I know from having fought for stronger privacy protection over decades, federal action is woefully overdue and urgently necessary now,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) said in a statement announcing the principles. “I will continue to work for bipartisan federal action because Americans absolutely want stronger privacy protection.”
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  data 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Key Senate Democrats unveil sweeping online privacy bill | TheHill
A group of key Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a sweeping online privacy bill, injecting new life into the stalled bipartisan efforts to draw up the country's first comprehensive privacy bill on Capitol Hill.
The bill introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, publicizes the Democrats' wish list for any federal privacy bill. The long-awaited Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA) would enshrine online users' right to privacy and bar companies from obfuscating what they are doing with users' personal information.
"In the growing online world, consumers deserve two things: privacy rights and a strong law to enforce them,” Cantwell said in a statement. “They should be like your Miranda rights—clear as a bell as to what they are and what constitutes a violation.”
Under the law, users would have the right to see and delete any personal information that companies have amassed about them. And tech firms — including Google and Facebook — would have to explain in clear terms what they are doing with users' data. If they fail to adhere to the law, they could face costly fines and lawsuits.
Cantwell's legislation would give users more control over their data, allowing them to prevent their information from being accessed by third-party companies without their permission. It would also beef up the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) ability to go after tech companies over privacy violations.
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  data 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Opinion | Will Congress Actually Pass a Privacy Bill? - The New York Times
What happened while you were watching impeachment hearings.
The holiday season is upon us. The race for the White House is underway in anticipation of its first primaries. And, of course, there’s impeachment. So you could be forgiven for not quite paying attention to the other set of hearings in Washington that are near and dear to this newsletter’s heart: federal privacy legislation.
Because this debate is critically important to the future of the internet and because it’s a complicated policy argument, I wanted to attempt a quick run-through of what happened in recent weeks.
Just before Thanksgiving, Senator Maria Cantwell introduced the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act. Here’s a bit of what it proposes...
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  data  nytimes 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Meet the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act: The Week in Data News
A new rigorous data privacy act was introduced this week in the Senate by a group of Democratic senators including Sen. Maria Cantell. The data privacy legislation discussion is heating up, with representatives from both sides of the aisle looking to pass a law. Read on for this week’s data privacy recap.
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  data 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
New Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA) would empower American users - Malwarebytes Labs | Malwarebytes Labs
Despite the already dizzying number of comprehensive data privacy proposals before the US Senate—nearly 10 have been introduced since mid-2018—yet another bill has entered the conversation: the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act.
This time, the bill, called COPRA for short, is sponsored by a Democratic Senator from Washington whose name has rarely been cited in the country’s ongoing debate as to how to best protect Americans’ data.
The biggest differentiator about this 2019 latecomer bill? It ticks almost every box on the data privacy wishlist.
Granting Americans the right to access data about them? This bill’s got it. The right to grab that data and move it to another company? Also included. What about the right to opt out of data sharing and selling? Yep. And the requirement that companies get explicit approval for the processing and sharing of sensitive data, including biometrics, precise geolocation, and emails? You bet.
But, perhaps most importantly, the bill would give everyday Americans the right to sue a company that violated their data privacy rights, extending enforcement capabilities directly to the public.
Introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell, the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act has already been welcomed by data privacy advocates across the country.
“This is the most sophisticated federal proposal to emerge to date and demonstrates that Senate Democrats are committed to setting a high bar for consumer privacy,” said Jules Polonetsky, the CEO of the nonprofit Future of Privacy Forum. “The bill provides a strong starting point that will move bipartisan debate forward, with private rights of action, limits on preemption, and the definition of sensitive data, among other issues, likely to be points of ongoing negotiation.”  
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  data 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Senators Introduce Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act COPRA
Yesterday Senators Maria Cantwell, Brian Schatz, Amy Klobuchar, and Ed Markey introduced comprehensive federal online privacy legislation to establish privacy rights, outlaw harmful and deceptive practices, and improve data security safeguards.  The Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA) codifies privacy as a right and authorizes the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to hold companies accountable when they misuse or fail to safeguard consumers’ information and creates a private right of action to enforce privacy rights.  According to a summary, COPRA would:  
Create a strong data security right that requires companies to regularly assess security vulnerabilities and take preventive and corrective actions to protect consumer data.
Create heightened privacy standards for collecting and sharing sensitive data such as biometric data and geolocation data.
Create new enforcement powers for the FTC to take action against unlawful discrimination in the digital economy.
Create data minimization standards and new data quality control mechanisms.
Empower consumers with a strong private right of action.
Give states the authority to fully enforce COPRA.
Create accountability requirements so that senior executives take responsibility for decisions that impact privacy, and risk penalties when they fall short.
As whistleblowers have been instrumental in exposing the misuse or negligent safeguarding of consumer data, COPRA includes a whistleblower protection provision that would empower whistleblowers to assist the government in enforcing data privacy rights.  For more information about why data privacy legislation should protect whistleblowers, see our recent article Effective Cybersecurity and Data Protection Legislation Should Protect Whistleblowers.
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  data  whistleblower 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act | COPRA - Consumer Reports
The bill, known as COPRA, would limit data collection and toughen enforcement
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has introduced a piece of comprehensive federal privacy legislation, called the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act, or COPRA, that could expand individual rights when it comes to how all sorts of personal data is collected, shared, and used.
Among its many provisions, the bill would require companies to collect as little information as possible about consumers, require explicit consent when sharing consumer data with third parties, and make companies responsible for correcting or deleting inaccurate information.
“I think consumers want strong privacy protections,” Cantwell said in an interview with Consumer Reports. “They’re very concerned about private and personal information being leaked and sold and trafficked.”
A number of digital privacy bills have been introduced in Congress this year, but COPRA is notable for its comprehensive approach as well as its attention to detail, according to privacy advocates including Justin Brookman, director of privacy and technology policy at Consumer Reports.
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  data 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act: Is it America's GDPR?
Senate Democrats led by Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State introduced a bill Tuesday that would provide federal privacy guarantees for Americans’ personal data. It faces an uncertain-at-best future, with Republicans in control of the Senate and both Congressional chambers preoccupied with the impeachment inquiry and next year’s election. However, it’s possible that it may provide a jumping-off point for further negotiations between the parties as the public grows increasingly disillusioned with big tech companies and their lightly regulated troves of personal information.
Here’s what you need to know about the bill, which would be dubbed the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act.
The proposed law would require companies to turn over data they store about people upon their request, similar to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and keep up-to-date privacy policies explaining how they use and store data. They also couldn’t weaken privacy protections for data they’ve already stored without explicit consent.
Companies would also have to let people correct mistakes and inaccuracies in their data or simply delete it on request.
The bill would create explicit antidiscrimination rules for data processing as it relates to sensitive areas like housing and employment, with companies performing “algorithmic decision-making” in these areas required to conduct annual assessments to verify the results aren’t discriminatory.
The Federal Trade Commission would be directed to set up a new bureau within two years to focus on data protection, and both the FTC and state attorneys general could take action against violators. States would also mostly be able to maintain their own privacy and data breach protection laws, which the Washington Post reports is a likely point of contention with Republicans, who favor a single national standard.
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  data  overview 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act Is Unveiled In U.S. Senate : NPR
Senate Democrats have unveiled an aggressive digital rights privacy bill. NPR's Steve Inskeep talks to one of the measure's sponsors, Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington.
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  data  interview 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Democratic Senators Introduce the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act | Inside Privacy
On November 26, 2019, a group of Democratic senators introduced the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA).  This comprehensive privacy bill—sponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Ed Markey (D-MA)—would grant individuals broad control over their data, impose new obligations on data processing, and expand the FTC’s enforcement role over digital privacy.
“In the growing online world, consumers deserve two things: privacy rights and a strong law to enforce them,” Senator Cantwell explained. “They should be like your Miranda rights—clear as a bell as to what they are and what constitutes a violation.”
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  data 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Sen. Cantwell Leads With New Consumer Data Privacy Bill | Electronic Frontier Foundation
There is a lot to like about U.S. Sen. Cantwell’s new Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA). It is an important step towards the comprehensive consumer data privacy legislation that we need to protect us from corporations that place their profits ahead of our privacy.
The bill, introduced on November 26, is co-sponsored by Sens. Schatz, Klobuchar, and Markey. It fleshes out the framework for comprehensive federal privacy legislation announced a week earlier by Sens. Cantwell, Feinstein, Brown, and Murray, who are, respectively, the ranking members of the Senate committees on Commerce, Judiciary, Banking, and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
This post will address COPRA’s various provisions in four groupings: EFF’s key priorities, the bill’s consumer rights, its business duties, and its scope of coverage.
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  EFF  data 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Every day, personal data is passed from company-to-company, amassed into digital profiles, and then used without consumer knowledge, understanding, or consent. Without meaningful rights and protections, consumers will continue to be powerless and vulnerable to abuse. As our devices become smarter, and our digital profiles become more precise and powerful, these risks will grow.
The Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act of 2019 (“COPRA”) provides the following long-needed data and privacy protections...
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  PDF  overview  data 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
The State of Online Privacy and Data Security
U.S. Senate Committee on
Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Ranking Member Maria Cantwell November 2019
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  report  PDF  data 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Press Releases | News | U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington
Cantwell, Senate Democrats Unveil Strong Online Privacy Rights
New consumer rights guaranteed by strong federal compliance and consumer right to sue; Data companies with security breaches can be fined
WASHINGTON, D.C—Today U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and fellow senior members Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Ed Markey (D-MA) unveiled comprehensive federal online privacy legislation to establish privacy rights, outlaw harmful and deceptive practices, and improve data security safeguards for the record number of American consumers who now shop or conduct business online. 
With new numbers showing that nearly sixty percent of all holiday spending will be done online—making this the largest online holiday shopping season ever —families everywhere want strong action taken to protect their online privacy and data security. Says former Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and Georgetown Law Professor David Vladeck: “The bill not only codifies privacy as a right —a measure long overdue —but it also recognizes that ‘rights’ that are unenforceable are empty gestures. For that reason, the bill not only restores control of personal information to consumers, but equally important, the bill gives consumers and the Federal Trade Commission real tools to hold companies accountable when they collect information without permission, when they fail to reasonably safeguard consumers' information, or when they misuse that information.” 
gov2.0  politics  congress  privacy  digital_rights  Dems  consumer  COPRA  security  press_release  data 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Tennessee senator tries to burn Adam Schiff, but Twitter roasts her almost instantly
Sen. Marsha Blackburn is well-known around these here parts for being a pretty detestable human being. Then again, detestability seems to be the only qualification for being a Republican senator these days. And Blackburn has indeed been doing her job as a Republican senator: groveling at the feet of Donald Trump while dismantling our democratic processes.
As Donald Trump’s impeachment trial goes into another day, Republicans in the Senate are spending their time not paying attention with the deck already loaded, the fix already in. But having all of this obdurate criminality in place does not stop Republicans like Marsha Blackburn from being dumb as dirt. The senator from Tennessee decided to go and give her two cents, in a classic Republican attempt at gotcha-style politics:
Sorry! I should have warned you that your mind might be blown clear from your skull by Blackburn’s wit and wisdom. The Twitterverse very quickly realized that Marsha Blackburn had said something—something too stupid and unbelievably hubristic to let lie.
gov2.0  politics  trump  impeachment  congress  vindman  twitter  SMH  military 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: 'If Right Doesn't Matter, We're Lost. If the Truth Doesn't Matter, We're Lost.'
Adam Schiff’s summary argument in the Senate trial of Donald Trump’s impeachment. “If truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost” sums up more than the abject corruption of Trump’s presidency — it sums up the state of the world today.
gov2.0  politics  trump  impeachment  congress  schiff  daring_fireball  truth  quotes 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Note to the Gun Lobby: Try to Aim Higher - WhoWhatWhy
RICHMOND — The thousands of gun rights activists who filled Virginia’s state capitol grounds on Monday describe themselves as “Second Amendment patriots” eager to defend democracy. But the first thing you noticed about them was an implied contempt for democracy, at least as most people understand the term.
There was no shortage of placards and banners expressing variations on what appeared to be the event’s grand theme: “Come and take it.” As in, confiscate our guns and we’ll make you regret it.
 “If you have to give them your guns,” shouted one marcher to nods of agreement, “give ’em the ammo first.” Get it?
OK, but what if a legitimate democratic majority were to succeed in, let’s say, renewing the federal ban on assault rifles? Would you ignore the ban or threaten those who try to enforce it? What sort of patriot would that make you? If you mean what you imply, in what sense are you upholding democracy?
The element of menace in much of Monday’s messaging showed a pronounced disregard for what other interest groups would consider bad optics. “Guns save lives” stickers are one thing; “We will not comply” and “We came unarmed this time” are quite another. What does that mean for next time?
gov2.0  politics  guns  protest  state  democracy 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Opinion | Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren Are Democrats’ Top Choices for President - The New York Times
In a break with convention, the editorial board has chosen to endorse two separate Democratic candidates for president.
Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren
American voters must choose between three sharply divergent visions of the future.
The incumbent president, Donald Trump, is clear about where he is guiding the Republican Party — white nativism at home and America First unilateralism abroad, brazen corruption, escalating culture wars, a judiciary stacked with ideologues and the veneration of a mythological past where the hierarchy in American society was defined and unchallenged.
On the Democratic side, an essential debate is underway between two visions that may define the future of the party and perhaps the nation. Some in the party view President Trump as an aberration and believe that a return to a more sensible America is possible. Then there are those who believe that President Trump was the product of political and economic systems so rotten that they must be replaced.
The Democratic primary contest is often portrayed as a tussle between moderates and progressives. To some extent that’s true. But when we spent significant time with the leading candidates, the similarity of their platforms on fundamental issues became striking.
gov2.0  politics  election  2020s  warren  nytimes  op-ed  POTUS 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
When A Teacher Of The Year Takes A Knee In Front of President Trump
Clemson and Louisiana State University played this past Monday (January 13) for the national championship in college football.  If you were one of the millions of people like me who did not watch the game (I was working), you might have missed a wonderful bit of silent protest against the current occupant of the White House.  You know, they guy who showed up at Mercedes Benz Stadium to what was described as thunderous applause...or at least according to my FB news feed.
That protest came from one Kelly Holstine, who was in attendance along with numerous other state Teacher of the Year awardees from across the nation.  Holstine, who was an English teacher at Tokata Learning Center in Shakopee (MN) — and now works as director of educational equity at the LGBTQ advocacy group, OutFront Minnesota — was one of two teachers who declined an invitation to visit the White House in 2019.  Holstine took a knee during the playing of the National Anthem at the game.
gov2.0  politics  trump  education  award  protest  racism  football 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: WSJ: 'Barr’s Encryption Push Is Decades in the Making, but Troubles Some at FBI'
Sadie Gurman, Dustin Volz, and Tripp Mickle, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:
Some FBI officials were stunned by Mr. Barr’s rebuke of Apple, the people familiar with the matter said, and believe the Pensacola case is the wrong one to press in the encryption fight, in part because they believed Apple had already provided ample assistance to the probe.
Like I’ve been arguing, this has nothing to do with the Pensacola case in particular and everything to do with a push to make encryption illegal.
gov2.0  politics  trump  apple  security  privacy  encryption  iphone  FBI  daring_fireball 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: 'We Reject the Characterization That Apple Has Not Provided Substantive Assistance in the Pensacola Investigation'
Scott Lucas, reporting for BuzzFeed News...
The big question remains unclear in all this coverage: did Apple refuse the DOJ’s request, or are they unable — technically — to fulfill the request? The DOJ continues to talk as though this is something Apple could do but refuses to. I believe it’s something Apple is mathematically unable to do. News coverage should make this clear.
gov2.0  politics  trump  apple  security  privacy  encryption  iphone  FBI  daring_fireball 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: Barr Asks Apple to Unlock Pensacola Killer’s Phones, Setting Up Clash
Katie Benner, reporting for The New York Times:
“We’re not trying to weaken encryption, to be clear,” Mr. Bowdich said at a news conference, noting that the issue has come up with thousands of devices that investigators want to see in other cases.
That’s exactly what they are trying to do. There is no magic way to allow law enforcement to access encrypted contents without allowing everyone else the same path. Mathematics doesn’t discern between “good guys” and “bad guys”.
gov2.0  politics  trump  apple  security  privacy  encryption  iphone  FBI  daring_fireball  nytimes 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
The FBI Got Data From A Locked iPhone 11 Pro Max—So Why Is It Demanding Apple Unlock Older Phones?
Questions are being asked about the FBI’s motivations over demanding Apple help it unlock the iPhones of the Pensacola shooting suspect, after Forbes uncovered a search warrant that strongly indicates the feds have access to a tool that can grab data on the latest, and most secure, iPhones.
Last year, FBI investigators in Ohio used a hacking device called a GrayKey to draw data from the latest Apple model, the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The phone belonged to Baris Ali Koch, who was accused of helping his convicted brother flee the country by providing him with his own ID documents and lying to the police. He has now entered a plea agreement and is awaiting sentencing.
Forbes confirmed with Koch’s lawyer, Ameer Mabjish, that the device was locked. Mabjish also said he was unaware of any way the investigators could’ve acquired the passcode; Koch had not given it to them nor did they force the defendant to use his face to unlock the phone via Face ID, as far as the lawyer was aware. The search warrant document obtained by Forbes, dated October 16, 2019, also showed the phone in a locked state, giving the strongest indication yet that the FBI has access to a device that can acquire data from the latest iPhone. 
iphone11_pro  security  privacy  encryption  FBI  hack  politics  gov2.0 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: The FBI Used a GrayKey to Obtain Data From a Locked iPhone 11 Pro Max
Thomas Brewster, reporting for Forbes...
Nothing is confirmed by anyone involved — the FBI, Apple, or Grayshift (the company that makes the GrayKey) — but this sure sounds like the FBI accessed data on an iPhone 11 Pro Max using a GrayKey. Two things if this is true. First, this really puts the lie to the FBI’s claim of needing Apple’s help accessing the Pensacola shooter’s iPhones (which were older models, and thus presumably easier to crack). Second, this is the first suggestion I’ve seen that GrayKey can unlock, or somehow otherwise access the data of, Apple’s latest generation of iPhones.
More on how GrayKey works — or at least used to work — from an April 2018 link. At one point later in 2018, it was believed that bug fixes in iOS 12 stopped GrayKey from working. It’s a canonical cat-and-mouse game. Also worth noting: Grayshift co-founder Braden Thomas previously worked as a security engineer at Apple.
iphone11_pro  security  privacy  encryption  FBI  hack  daring_fireball  politics  gov2.0 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
Taibbi on Trump 2020: Be Very Afraid - Rolling Stone
America is the first country to ever elect a Mad King, and the way things are going, we may be dumb enough to do it twice
Early evening, August, Cincinnati. The Queen City’s many bridges are sealed off, its sky is dirty with helicopters, and seemingly every cop for 100 miles is patrolling Pete Rose Way along the Ohio River. A crowd of 20,000 or more stands in punishing heat, waiting to enter U.S. Bank Arena. The evil rumor buzzing down the line of MAGA hats is that not everyone will get in to see Donald Trump.
“Can we just get in for a minute?” complains a boy of about 10 to his mother. There are a lot of kids here.
Donald Trump doesn’t visit Middle America. He descends upon it. His rallies are awesome spectacles. Gawkers come down from the hills. If NASA traveled the country holding showings of the first captured alien life-form, the turnout would be similar. The pope driving monster trucks might get this much attention.
Almost everyone in line is wearing 45 merch. Trump is the most T-shirtable president in history, and it’s not even close. Trumpinator tees are big (“2020: I’LL BE BACK”), but you’ll also see Trump as Rambo (complete with headband, ammo belt, and phallic rocket-launcher), Trump as the Punisher (a Trump pompadour atop the famous skull), even Trump as Superman (pulling his suit open to reveal a giant T).
gov2.0  politics  trump  2020s  election 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
Bill Clinton's Legacy Is Up for Debate Among Democrats - The Atlantic
On his 73rd birthday, the former MVP of the Democratic Party has been sidelined—perhaps for good.
In the summer of 1996, as he prepared to turn 50—and win a second term in the White House—Bill Clinton took to musing aloud that he now had “more yesterdays than tomorrows.” If that sentiment seemed maudlin for a man still in the prime of life, it was rooted in fact: The men in Clinton’s family died young—his birth father at 28, his stepfather at 59.
Today, Clinton turns 73, having exceeded Psalm 90’s allotted three-score years and 10, and having survived impeachment, open-heart surgery, and more than enough personal and political scrapes to exhaust nine lives, much less one. Unless he lives to 150, the 42nd president really does have more yesterdays than tomorrows. But what should have been these golden years are turning out to be leaden.
Clinton is not quite a full-on pariah in the modern Democratic Party—the one he did so much to reshape and rebuild. But some of his signature policies are the butt of attacks by the current crop of Democratic contenders, and the sitting president has floated the utterly unproven conspiracy theory that Clinton may have had something to do with the jailhouse death of Jeffrey Epstein, the serial sex trafficker whose company he once kept.
Clinton’s checkered past with women—his acknowledged infidelity and serious allegations of predation—left him sidelined as a surrogate in last year’s midterms, too toxic to raise money or stump for candidates in the #MeToo era. He is no longer the party’s reigning “Secretary of Explaining Stuff,” as Barack Obama famously dubbed him. It seems more than likely that he won’t have a prime speaking slot at next summer’s Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee—if he appears at all.
gov2.0  politics  clinton  women  sex  Dems 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
How Greenland explains Donald Trump's entire presidency - CNNPolitics
(CNN)Donald Trump won't be going to Denmark in 10 days. Because the Danes won't sell him Greenland.
"Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen's comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time," Trump tweeted Tuesday night. "The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!"
It's easy to dismiss this episode as just another Trumpian flight of fancy that didn't work out. But take a minute and you start to realize that the whole Greenland incident, which lasted a total of five days, is broadly emblematic of the entire approach that Trump has taken to being president. The Greenland episode is the Trump presidency.
gov2.0  politics  trump  foreign_relations  greenland  SMH 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
Donald Trump incorrect that U.S. dollar is strongest it's ever been | PolitiFact
Is the U.S. dollar stronger against other currencies than it’s ever been? President Donald Trump said so — at least four times in one day.
First, Trump tweeted on Aug. 21, 2019, that the United States has the "Strongest Dollar in History."
A few hours later, Trump told reporters at the White House, "Yesterday we had the strongest dollar in the history of our country." He then repeated the assertion two more times. (The remarks start around 31:10 in this video.)
Trump wasn’t entirely cheerleading, as he acknowledged in his comments — he noted that having a strong dollar also has drawbacks.
A strong dollar can benefit Americans traveling overseas, because their dollars will go further in the local currency. The downside, however, is that U.S. exports cost more overseas. This harms U.S. business output, and it can exacerbate the U.S. trade imbalance.
We wondered whether Trump was right that the U.S. dollar recently set a new historical high against foreign currencies.
It hasn’t. 
gov2.0  politics  trump  money  economics 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
The demoralizing exhaustion of life under Trump.
Every day is the same, but still awful.
It’s boring, at this point, to talk about the cost of living with Donald Trump as president—it’s the water we all swim in now, so it’s neither unique nor new nor surprising. And yet it’s still true, which is why it’s refreshing to read Matt Ford’s excellent piece in the New Republic, “Trump’s Tax on the National Psyche.” Ford’s formulation is a useful way to think about the massive toll, in terms of time and energy stolen from Americans forced to pay attention to inane tweets and half-baked policy, this presidency has had on all of us. As Ford observes, Trump, himself an inveterate squanderer of time, is wasting all of ours: “Trump’s haphazard style of governance,” he writes, “forces journalists, lawyers, and government officials to expend innumerable hours on doomed initiatives and errant tweets. His corrosive effect on American politics forces Americans to devote far more hours of their life to thinking about him than they should.” The problem is that we have no choice but to follow the inane tweets and oppose the half-baked policy. There are serious consequences that follow to transgender soldiers, DACA kids, green card holders, and, of course, families at the border when we don’t.
gov2.0  politics  trump 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
Column: Trickle-down theory is a monstrous lie intended to justify the rich getting richer - Los Angeles Times
One of the biggest lies foisted on the American people is that as rich people get richer, we all benefit — the so-called trickle-down theory.
For decades, working families have been told not to worry about the growing wealth gap between the nation’s haves and have-nots. A rising tide lifts all boats, we’ve been told with encouraging smiles and pats on the back.
The magnitude of the deception borders on monstrous.
William Darity, a professor of public policy at Duke University, said it’s “nonsensical” to think that greater wealth for the rich translates to improved fortunes for everyone else.
“Otherwise we would not have observed such an obscene increase in the degree of income inequality that has restored the magnitude of levels that existed on the eve of the Great Depression,” he told me.
“I have not seen anyone make a serious claim for a trickle-down effect with respect to wealth.”
economics  gov2.0  politics  latimes  middle_class  taxes  business  GOP 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
Is the First Amendment Obsolete in the Internet Age? - The Atlantic
The First Amendment was drafted when speech was expensive and attention was abundant. Can it adapt to an era of too much speech and too little attention?
Talk is cheap, it’s said—but for most of human history that wasn’t really the case. When the framers of the U.S. Constitution drafted the First Amendment, it was costly and difficult to make public speech, especially through mechanisms like newspapers, and relatively easy for a government to crack down on the speakers.
That’s no longer the case. Today, the greatest danger is not that speech is scarce and endangered, but rather that enemies of open debate have found ways to combat free speech that the First Amendment was never intended to address—and so far is failing to address, according to Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia.
“Today we live in an environment where speech is cheap, where it is abundant, where the fundamental challenge is no longer finding speakers but rather finding attention for speech,” Wu said Tuesday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.
Where once the greatest threat to the American press was censorship, the bigger challenge now is what could be called reverse censorship. Authoritarian governments, led by Russia and China, have devised methods of taking advantage of the internet to stifle speech without directly blocking it. The prevailing tactics of each of those countries have now found a home in the United States, and Wu believes the U.S. First Amendment tradition needs revamping to handle it.
free  speech  gov2.0  politics  censorship  propaganda  troll  social_media  russia  china  disinformation 
10 weeks ago by rgl7194
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