Covers the period:
2017-01-01 .. 2017-03-29
(SPIDs: [586..633]) --martyb
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The rise of populism has rattled the global political establishment. Brexit came as a shock, as did the victory of Donald Trump. Much head-scratching has resulted as leaders seek to work out why large chunks of their electorates are so cross.
The answer seems pretty simple. Populism is the result of economic failure. The 10 years since the financial crisis have shown that the system of economic governance which has held sway for the past four decades is broken. Some call this approach neoliberalism. Perhaps a better description would be unpopulism.
Unpopulism meant tilting the balance of power in the workplace in favour of management and treating people like wage slaves. Unpopulism was rigged to ensure that the fruits of growth went to the few not to the many. Unpopulism decreed that those responsible for the global financial crisis got away with it while those who were innocent bore the brunt of austerity.
2017 Davos says: The 99% should just try harder.
The former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party is charged with forgery and voter fraud for allegedly forging his wife’s[*] mail-in ballot from last year’s election, according to court records and sources.
Steven Curtis was the chairman of the state party from 1997 to 1999. He was charged Feb. 1 with one count of forgery of a public record, a fifth-degree felony, and an elections mail-in ballot offense, a misdemeanor.
Curtis spoke about voter fraud ahead of last year’s election.
"It seems to be, and correct me if I’m wrong here, but virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats,"
[* Note that she is described as his "former spouse" elsewhere, such as ...]
Also covered in more depth, and perhaps more accurately, at Salon.
1 down, 2,999,999 illegal votes to go!
Drupal founder Dries Buytaert expelled Larry "Crell" Garfield from the Drupal community (archive) for his involvement in the BDSM community. Garfield claims this was done at the demand of Drupal Security team member Klaus "klausi" Purer and unknown others secretly pressuring Drupal leadership to have him removed for his private sex life.
takyon: From Larry's response:
I am involved in two such communities, specifically the BDSM community and the Gorean (Gor) community. The former is by far the larger of the two and more varied, although I spend more of my time and activity in the Gorean community. It's a small community, and sadly much of what is found online about it is utter crap, just as most in the BDSM community find the "50 Shades" representation of BDSM to be harmfully misleading. The Gorean subculture is inspired by a science-fiction book series written from the 1960s onward to today, and predicated on a strong sense of personal honor, integrity, and community. It also practices consensual Master/slave relationships, and has a strong gender bias toward male-Dom/female-sub relationships, but that is not the cornerstone of Gorean culture. There are other groups that are biased the other way, or have no gender bias. There are even groups in Chicago (where I live) that have regular "fem-dom" parties. To each their own.
The only diary known to be written by President John F. Kennedy is up for auction on April 26th:
A diary kept by President John F Kennedy as a young man travelling in Europe, revealing his fascination with Adolf Hitler, is up for auction. Kennedy, then 28, predicted "Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived". "He had in him the stuff of which legends are made," he continued.
Kennedy wrote the entry in the summer of 1945 after touring the German dictator's Bavarian mountain retreat. It is thought by historians to be the only diary [ever] kept by the 35th US president.
[...] He wrote that Hitler "had boundless ambition for his country which rendered him a menace to the peace of the world, but he had a mystery about him in the way he lived and in the manner of his death that will live and grow after him". The 61-page diary was kept by Kennedy around four months after Hitler committed suicide. [...] In a description of the auction, [Deirdre Henderson] wrote: "When JFK said that Hitler 'had in him the stuff of which legends are made', he was speaking to the mystery surrounding him, not the evil he demonstrated to the world."
Past administrations have increased military spending, but typically to fulfil a specific mission. Jimmy Carter expanded operations in the Persian Gulf. Ronald Reagan pursued an arms race with the Soviet Union, and George W. Bush waged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Trump has not articulated a new mission that would require a military spending increase. This has left analysts wondering what goals he has in mind. Erin M. Simpson, a national security consultant, called Mr. Trump's plans "a budget in search of a strategy."
[Related]: 2017 Outlook for Navy Shipbuilding
What do you think about the proposed increase in military spending ? Does USA really need more weapons ?
Submitted via IRC for Runaway1956
More than a decade ago, many Democrats still in office now went along with Gorsuch as he was unanimously confirmed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in July 2006. Things are different today, ahead of his hearing for the highest court in the land.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., expressed deep doubts during a press conference last Wednesday about the nominee and asserted Gorsuch "may act like a neutral, calm judge," but "his record and his career clearly show he harbors a right wing, pro-corporate, special interest agenda."
[...] Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy said he would demand "real answers" to questions he has about Gorsuch's judicial philosophy.
"I hope next week, when the president's Supreme Court nominee will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he provides transparent, truthful answers to Senators' questions," Leahy said in a statement. "I will insist on real answers from Judge Neil Gorsuch, because there are real concerns about his record and his judicial philosophy."
When he was in office, former President Barack Obama earned the ire of anti-war activists for his expansion of Bush's drone wars. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning head of state ordered ten times more drone strikes than the previous president, and estimates late in Obama's presidency showed 49 out of 50 victims were civilians. In 2015, it was reported that up to 90% of drone casualties were not the intended targets.
Current President Donald Trump campaigned on a less interventionist foreign policy, claiming to be opposed to nation-building and misguided invasions. But less than two months into his presidency, Trump has expanded the drone strikes that plagued Obama's "peaceful" presidency.
"During President Obama's two terms in office, he approved 542 such targeted strikes in 2,920 days—one every 5.4 days. From his inauguration through today, President Trump had approved at least 36 drone strikes or raids in 45 days—one every 1.25 days."
That's an increase of 432 [sic] percent.
First, armed police seized some of its books. Next, its director was put on trial accused of stirring up ethnic hatred. And now, quietly, its shelves have been emptied and its volumes packed up, ready to be merged into another library's collection. A year and a half after Russia's only state-run Ukrainian language library, Moscow's Library of Ukrainian Literature, was dragged into a political dispute between the two countries, Reuters has learnt that authorities are quietly winding it down.
Officially, what is happening to the library -- its 52,000 books are being transferred to Russia's main foreign language library -- is "a change of address" not a closure. But the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, some of the library's employees, and members of Russia's large Ukrainian diaspora say it is a closure in all but name.
Tatyana Muntyan, a library employee, said that even before the transfer its director had reduced opening hours, stopped home lending, halted acquisitions, and made readers show passports to gain entry. The library's director declined to comment. The saga, along with other measures, suggests political differences between Moscow and Kiev are driving a wedge between two peoples whose cultures have been interwoven for centuries. It is likely to stoke Ukrainian fears that their culture, as well as their territorial integrity, is under siege.
The Washington Post has some analysis of a noteworthy Supreme Court non-decision.
In today's [March 6] Leonard v. Texas, Justice Clarence Thomas sharply criticizes civil forfeiture laws. The one-justice opinion discusses the Supreme Court's refusing to hear the case (a result Thomas agrees with, for procedural reasons mentioned in the last paragraph); but Thomas is sending a signal, I think, that at least one justice — and maybe more — will be sympathetic to such arguments in future cases.
From Justice Thomas' statement:
In rem proceedings often enable the government to seize the property without any predeprivation judicial process and to obtain forfeiture of the property even when the owner is personally innocent (though some statutes, including the one here, provide for an innocent-owner defense). Civil proceedings often lack certain procedural protections that accompany criminal proceedings, such as the right to a jury trial and a heightened standard of proof.
Partially as a result of this distinct legal regime, civil forfeiture has in recent decades become widespread and highly profitable.
[...] These forfeiture operations frequently target the poor and other groups least able to defend their interests in forfeiture proceedings.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is seeking another vote on Scottish independence, coming possibly as soon as late 2018:
In a bombshell announcement Monday, Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon told reporters in Edinburgh that she will seek the authority to hold a second independence referendum for Scotland. Citing a "brick wall of intransigence" from British Prime Minister Theresa May, Sturgeon asserted that the only way to preserve Scottish interests in the midst of the U.K. exit from the European Union is to put matters directly in the hands of Scottish voters.
"What Scotland deserves, in the light of the material change of circumstances brought about by the Brexit vote, is the chance to decide our future in a fair, free and democratic way — and at a time when we are equipped with the facts we need," the Scottish first minister and head of the Scottish National Party said in prepared remarks. "Whatever path we take, it should be one decided by us, not for us."
Next week, she will seek a section 30 order from the Scottish Parliament to begin the referendum process — which the U.K. Parliament in Westminster ultimately must approve. If all goes as planned, Sturgeon expects that a vote would be held in the fall of 2018 or spring of 2019, after terms of a Brexit deal worked out by the U.K. and the EU become clear.