Tag: politics


On the dangers of attacking the media in a democratic republic

“The most dangerous 'enemy of the people' is presidential lying--always. Attacks on press by @realDonaldTrump more treacherous than Nixon’s" -- Carl Bernstein, journalist who broke the Watergate scandal "These systematic attacks on the media accomplish two things. First, they fire up the base, which believe that traditional media do not represent their interests or concerns. Second, they provoke the media itself, which feeling threatened, adopts a more oppositional posture. This in turn further fuels the polarization on which the leaders depend and paves the way for the government to introduce legal restrictions. The most dramatic example was in Venezuela, where elements in the media embarked on a campaign of open warfare, engagin...

The Paper Tiger Who Grew Claws

"'I understood the infamous spiritual terror which this movement [the Social Democrats] exerts, particularly on the bourgeoisie, which is neither morally nor mentally equal to such attacks; at a given sign it unleashes a veritable barrage of lies and slanders against whatever adversary seems most dangerous, until the nerves of the attacked persons break down... This is a tactic based on precise calculation of all human weaknesses, and its result will lead to success with almost mathematical certainty... I achieved an equal understanding of the importance of physical terror toward the individual and the masses... For while in the ranks of their supporters the victory achieved seems a triumph of the justice of their own cause, the defeat...

On the upsides of being underestimated, and a call to stand

There's something those of us in marginalized groups know instinctively, having lived lives long in opposition to a dizzying continuum of Absurd Moral Authority: from outright violence, to secretive "technical" manipulations of statutes designed to erode or remove rights, to vague and carefully unstated "wink wink nudge nudge" moments from individuals of authority who had some power to constrain us -- whether it's a boss (or potential boss), a teacher, a community figure, and/or perhaps most guttingly a family member. We know the sting of being scolded for even daring an attempt at upsetting the Tautological Supremacist Meritocracy: "If you weren't worthless, you'd already be here by now!" The British thought we would just roll over to...

British filmmaker Adam Curtis explains what’s going on

The creator of the also excellent Century of the Self film series released his latest film in October, 2016. Dubbed HyperNormalisation, it offers both a history lesson of the complicated relationship between the West, the Middle East, and Russia, as well as an unflinching look at the roles played by technology, surveillance, and the media on our modern condition of general confusion, destabilization, and surrealism.

Some braggadocious evening #debates

He says it "not in a braggadocious way" https://t.co/88ZMW8Lu6q— Neil Irwin (@Neil_Irwin) September 27, 2016 Clinton: 1 Trump: -1 Debate 1 recaps [Vox] [Guardian] [CNN] [BBC] [NPR] [Economist] [NYT] [PBS] [Time] [Reuters] [WaPo] [Atlantic] [Bloomberg] [Politico] [BI] [Quartz] [ABC] [Fusion] [IBT] [Al Jazeera] [Slate] [Wired] [Daily Beast] [Vice] [Salon] [NBC] [Ars Technica] [Buzzfeed] [Forbes] [Vocativ] [Fortune] [Marketplace] [USAT] [AP] Markets identify Clinton as the winner US Mexico Europe Asia Prediction markets

On the national debt

The federal debt is sort of like the balance on your credit cards, except with much lower interest rates (which we set ourselves). It also hasn’t been spent on consumer goods: it’s been spent on providing federal services, social services, and — generally — running the government. So, once again this election cycle you will hear histrionic cries about how the national debt should trump (ahem) other priorities in the economic plan. Hogwash. As long as we are comfortably able to keep paying the interest payments on the debt, there’s no particular reason to really worry about it — certainly not to the point of failing to provide needed services for the government. We have a solid track rating of paying our debts — one of the best in all ...

Robber Baron Lyfe

Capitalism appears to favor the Robber Baron archetype above all which, in hindsight, seems less surprising when one realizes it was largely architected by individuals who shared this same basic worldview: of strong social Darwinism, of wolves and sheep, and of the accumulation of wealth as the highest calling -- an end in itself, and in some deeply profound sense, the very birthright of Men (by which was meant "civilized" men of European descent, aka white dudes) as handed down, distantly, from God Himself. Over time, if optimized for in society, selection for Robber Baron traits can produce strange anomalies like the 2016 US presidential election, which pits arguably the world's most qualified and well-connected public servant again...

Making sense of Election 2016: Peak Meaninglessness

Every political pundit (or even remotely connected cultural pundit) is tying themselves up in knots to find the reason(s) -- we know it's complex, yet cannot seem to stop ourselves from Finding The One True Reason behind all things -- behind the sheer absurdity of this U.S. presidential election. No one can find the meaning in Election 2016, because we appear to have hit Peak Meaninglessness. It is the moral equivalent of the 2007-8 financial disaster we also fomented: overweaning hubris and overconfidence in our ability to book tomorrow's profits, today. We so strongly believe in the Power of Progress to make us better people that, combined with our increasing impatience for the Glorious Future, we simply demand to leverage our Future ...