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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#9741 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2018-March-24, 14:44

View PostRedSpawn, on 2018-March-23, 04:57, said:

If the electoral college can't serve as an adequate checks and balances against a fickle, uninformed nation voting for an allegedly incompetent President why do you expect Congress to be able to fix this?


While the Electoral College is probably a more intellectual place than Trump University, it's also not a real college :rolleyes: :lol: and there is no expectation or requirement for it to be part of a system of checks and balances. It is a rubberstamp for the election results.

Each political party chooses electors to vote for their candidate if they win their state vote.
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#9742 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-March-24, 18:40

So much for the ignorance of the law excuse. Bannon, Nix, Mercer..meet Mr. Mueller.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#9743 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-March-24, 19:59

Politico has this guy nailed:

Quote

“The final key to the way I promote is bravado,” Donald Trump wrote in his 1987 book, “The Art of the Deal.” “I play to people’s fantasies.”

What was true of Trump the flamboyant Manhattan real estate magnate is now true of Trump the president of the United States. From big, beautiful border walls to “total and complete” Muslim bans, Trump has made a habit of sweeping promises that net headlines, only to deliver more modest results.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#9744 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2018-March-25, 01:51

View PostWinstonm, on 2018-March-24, 19:59, said:

Politico has this guy nailed:

Yes, "modest results" really nails it indeed. Well, in this era of political log-jam, no matter the panache, modest will have to do. :)
The Grand Design, reflected in the face of Chaos...it's a fluke!
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#9745 User is offline   RedSpawn 

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Posted 2018-March-25, 06:41

View PostWinstonm, on 2018-March-24, 19:59, said:

Politico has this guy nailed:

I believe Trump played to voters' F.E.A.R.S. more so than their fantasies. FEAR is a very powerful tool and will make otherwise sane people do batcrazy $hit.
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#9746 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2018-March-25, 08:29

From William Davies at London Review of Books (March 23):

Quote

The second aspect of the recent scandal is grubbier but ultimately less significant. If its own sales pitch is to be believed (an ‘if’ that grows larger by the day), Cambridge Analytica likes to play dirty. Nix and his colleague Mark Turnbull were caught by Channel 4 discussing techniques of honey-trapping, blackmail and counter-intelligence in a manner that owed more to James Bond plots than to psychometrics. Throwaway remarks, that the candidate is just a ‘puppet’ to the campaign team and that ‘facts’ are less important than ‘emotion’, look shady when caught on a hidden camera, but they’re not categorically different from the early ruthlessness of New Labour operators such as Alastair Campbell, Philip Gould and Peter Mandelson. Nor is there any reason to assume that New Labour’s 1990 analogue methods of data analysis – focus group and polling – are less informative or useful than automated psychometrics. As for Nix’s boast that they ‘operate in the shadows’, and his parting shot to the ‘client’ (‘I look forward to building a very long-term and secretive relationship with you’), it’s a wonder the Channel 4 investigator managed to keep a straight face.

So we have a misuse of data, which has rightly attracted the attention of the Information Commissioner’s Office, and some excitable marketing patter, which slips into Mafia fantasy before being swiftly retracted at the first sign of actual danger. The former issue isn’t exactly news: in 2010 the Wall Street Journal found that Facebook apps (such as the one built by Kogan) were routinely collecting information for the benefit of advertisers and internet tracking companies, without users’ consent. Given Facebook’s command of the world’s attention (more than two billion monthly active users, who spend an average of fifty minutes on the site every day), it is inevitable that attention merchants flock to the site in search of the scraps, just as major sporting events attract ticket touts.

Why so much outrage? The Observer should be congratulated for its tenacity on the topic, and this story may, with luck, push us towards a tipping point on the issue of data privacy. But the fascination and shock that Cambridge Analytica is attracting suggests a displacement of horror that really stems from something deeper. Part of that must lie with Trump and Trumpism. A terrible event must surely have been delivered by equally terrible means. Passionate Remainers no doubt feel similarly about Brexit. It is clear that various secretive and underhand forces did intervene in the US election campaign. Thanks to Robert Mueller’s investigation, we know that Facebook sold $100,000-worth of advertising space to Russian ‘troll farms’, and that 126 million Americans may have been exposed to Russian ‘fake news’ over the course of 2015 and 2016. Then there is the FBI’s resurrection of the matter of Clinton’s emails at a critical moment in the election campaign. Whether any of this gets us closer to explaining or understanding Trump’s victory is moot.

Cambridge Analytica looks conveniently like a smoking gun, primarily because it has repeatedly bragged that it is one. Nix and Turnbull do for the events of 2016 what ‘Fabulous’ Fab Tourre, former Goldman Sachs banker, and Fred ‘The Shred’ Goodwin, former boss of RBS, did for the banking crisis of 2008, providing grotesque personalities on which to focus anger and alarm. To hear such men proudly declaring their lack of moral conscience is paradoxically reassuring to the degree that it helps explain the world’s loss of moral direction. But as with the financial crisis, the circus risks distracting from the real institutional and political questions, in this case concerning companies such as Facebook and the model of capitalism that tolerates, facilitates and even celebrates their extensive and sophisticated forms of data harvesting and analysis.

It is telling that two of the greatest ethical scandals to have hit Facebook in recent years both involved academics, the previous one being the ‘emotional contagion’ experiment, in which it transpired that Facebook had altered newsfeeds without consent, as part of a scientific study. Engaging with external researchers means surrendering a tiny modicum of control. Facebook’s willingness to co-operate with academics is already slight, and these scandals will make Mark Zuckerberg wonder if it could ever be worth the bother. Keep all the data in-house and the question of ethics doesn’t arise. The increasing size and scope of these giant platforms gradually eliminates the need ever to share valuable data with anyone else.

It’s sometimes said that data is the ‘oil’ of the digital economy, the resource that fuels everything else. A more helpful analogy is between oil and privacy, a concealed natural resource that is progressively plundered for private profit, with increasingly harmful consequences for society at large. If this analogy is correct, privacy and data protection laws won’t be enough to fight the tech giants with. Destroying privacy in ever more adventurous ways is what Facebook does.

Just as environmentalists demand that the fossil fuel industry ‘leave it in the ground,’ the ultimate demand to be levelled at Silicon Valley should be ‘leave it in our heads.’ The real villain here is an expansionary economic logic that insists on inspecting ever more of our thoughts, feelings and relationships. The best way to thwart this is the one Silicon Valley fears the most: anti-trust laws. Broken into smaller pieces, these companies would still be able to monitor us, but from disparate perspectives that couldn’t easily (or secretly) be joined up. Better a world full of snake-oil merchants like Cambridge Analytica, who eventually get caught out by their own bullshit, than a world of vast corporate monopolies such as Amazon and Facebook, gradually taking on the functions of government, while remaining eerily quiet about what they’re doing.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#9747 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-March-25, 09:22

The deconstruction of anti-trust laws can be traced back to the last libertarian-leaning misguided soul to reside in the White House, Ronald Reagan
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#9748 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2018-March-25, 09:22

View Posty66, on 2018-March-25, 08:29, said:

From William Davies at London Review of Books (March 23):




I really like that article. It's not a solution, not even close, but for one thing he seems to share my view of what's important. Also he is trying to get at what it is exactly that really bothers us about the FB problem. Hugeness is a problem. Really we have known this since the monopolies of the nineteenth century. It's not that they didn't do something good, they did. Railroads got built. But they become a law onto themselves. I mentioned earlier about the girl I dated using her courthouse job to look up my IQ. But some teenage girl looking up my IQ is different from huge corporations gathering and selling data about me, and national political groups using that data to send us selected information of doubtful accuracy to get us fired up. It's just different. Again going back to my high school days, there was to be a special ballot to increase funding for the schools. We were given supportive propaganda to take home to our parents. As a prank, some friends and I wrote up some counter-propaganda, broke into the school and put fliers in the teacher's mailboxes with a note to distribute this to the students. Of course they did so. Ok, not good. But again the difference in scale and sophistication, and even the difference in intent, we were just having teenage fun, matters.
Ken
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#9749 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2018-March-25, 11:33

View PostRedSpawn, on 2018-March-25, 06:41, said:

I believe Trump played to voters' F.E.A.R.S. more so than their fantasies. FEAR is a very powerful tool and will make otherwise sane people do batcrazy $hit.

His populist rhetoric was somewhat muddled but no more polarizing than Hil's basket of deplorables shtick. Seems it was mostly the outraged left that went batshit crazy with Trump's election...
The Grand Design, reflected in the face of Chaos...it's a fluke!
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#9750 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2018-March-25, 11:35

View PostWinstonm, on 2018-March-25, 09:22, said:

The deconstruction of anti-trust laws can be traced back to the last libertarian-leaning misguided soul to reside in the White House, Ronald Reagan

Wasn't it Slick Willy's treasury sec Ron Rubin and Larry Sommers that gutted Glass-Steigel?
The Grand Design, reflected in the face of Chaos...it's a fluke!
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#9751 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-March-25, 12:15

View PostAl_U_Card, on 2018-March-25, 11:35, said:

Wasn't it Slick Willy's treasury sec Ron Rubin and Larry Sommers that gutted Glass-Steigel?


Glass-Steagall involved banking. Yes, it was Clinton. Does not take anything from the fact that Reagan introduced the ideas that anti-trust laws were bad.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#9752 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2018-March-25, 12:36

View PostWinstonm, on 2018-March-25, 12:15, said:

Glass-Steagall involved banking. Yes, it was Clinton. Does not take anything from the fact that Reagan introduced the ideas that anti-trust laws were bad.

Some may well be but generally history bears out the value of strictly limiting corporate overreach. Now if only they would stop being "persons" it would be a good step in the right direction.
The Grand Design, reflected in the face of Chaos...it's a fluke!
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#9753 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-March-25, 13:11

We find ourselves trapped between a rock and a hard place:

Yahoo.

Quote

When President Trump announced a new ban on transgender people serving in the military late Friday, it was somewhat of a surprise — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had reportedly recommended in February that Trump allow transgender people to serve. It turns out that Vice President Pence and some of the country’s most prominent anti-LGBTQ activists had a role in reversing the outcome, which explains why the report explaining the decision is rife with anti-trans junk science. Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern reported Friday night that, according to multiple sources, Pence played “a leading role” in creating the report, along with Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation, which has been dubbed “Trump’s favorite think tank,” and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (FRC), an anti-LGBTQ hate group. ...


Pence - the closet VP
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#9754 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2018-March-25, 18:29

View Postkenberg, on 2018-March-25, 09:22, said:

I really like that article. It's not a solution, not even close, but for one thing he seems to share my view of what's important. Also he is trying to get at what it is exactly that really bothers us about the FB problem. Hugeness is a problem. Really we have known this since the monopolies of the nineteenth century. It's not that they didn't do something good, they did. Railroads got built. But they become a law onto themselves. I mentioned earlier about the girl I dated using her courthouse job to look up my IQ. But some teenage girl looking up my IQ is different from huge corporations gathering and selling data about me, and national political groups using that data to send us selected information of doubtful accuracy to get us fired up. It's just different. Again going back to my high school days, there was to be a special ballot to increase funding for the schools. We were given supportive propaganda to take home to our parents. As a prank, some friends and I wrote up some counter-propaganda, broke into the school and put fliers in the teacher's mailboxes with a note to distribute this to the students. Of course they did so. Ok, not good. But again the difference in scale and sophistication, and even the difference in intent, we were just having teenage fun, matters.

A problem with trying to prevent things like this is that you can easily throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I read in this month's Scientific American about a study that showed some promise in predicting flu outbreaks based on analyzing Twitter posts. Something like this is clearly a Good Thing. But how do you distinguish the good guys from the bad guys when deciding whether social media companies can share their data? Do we even want the government making this decision? They'd undoubtedly classify themselves as "good", but that might allow law enforcement to analyze people's social media to look for indicators of future crimes, a la "Minority Report".

I suspect FB actually thought that Cambridge Analytica was doing this kind of useful sociology research on the data -- how could they know that the company was actually an agent of the Trump campaign? But admitting it now would just sound self-serving -- a sincere-sounding mea culpa by Zuckerberg is better PR than trying to disavow any fault.

#9755 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2018-March-25, 18:30

View Postkenberg, on 2018-March-25, 09:22, said:

Again going back to my high school days, there was to be a special ballot to increase funding for the schools. We were given supportive propaganda to take home to our parents. As a prank, some friends and I wrote up some counter-propaganda, broke into the school and put fliers in the teacher's mailboxes with a note to distribute this to the students. Of course they did so. Ok, not good. But again the difference in scale and sophistication, and even the difference in intent, we were just having teenage fun, matters.

That's an impressive prank for someone who grew up before the word hacker was first used in print in 1963 (according to OED).
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#9756 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-March-25, 20:54

Well, Don, here's another fine mess you've gotten us into.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#9757 User is offline   RedSpawn 

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Posted 2018-March-26, 05:08

View PostWinstonm, on 2018-March-25, 12:15, said:

Glass-Steagall involved banking. Yes, it was Clinton. Does not take anything from the fact that Reagan introduced the ideas that anti-trust laws were bad.

I'm thinking it's Richard Rubin's 25 years at Goldman Sachs that clouded his judgment about suggesting that derivatives NOT be regulated by the federal government. He was more worried about transaction costs and keeping the banking lobbyists happy than protecting our markets from unbridled greed and corruption.

He served the moneyed interests of Wall Street and provided horrible advice to Clinton that led to the Glass-Steagall repeal and the rise of Big Vegas-style risk taking banking conglomerates that laid the groundwork for the housing bubble boom and bust.
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#9758 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-March-26, 07:25

View PostRedSpawn, on 2018-March-26, 05:08, said:

I'm thinking it's Richard Rubin's 25 years at Goldman Sachs that clouded his judgment about suggesting that derivatives NOT be regulated by the federal government. He was more worried about transaction costs and keeping the banking lobbyists happy than protecting our markets from unbridled greed and corruption.

He served the moneyed interests of Wall Street and provided horrible advice to Clinton that led to the Glass-Steagall repeal and the rise of Big Vegas-style risk taking banking conglomerates that laid the groundwork for the housing bubble boom and bust.


Isn't it funny the pivot away from Reagan and anti-trust laws to Clinton and banking regulations. :o
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#9759 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2018-March-26, 08:25

Here's Tim Cook's take on the need for stronger privacy regulations to prevent the misuse of data:

Quote

I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary. The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life — from my own point of view, it shouldn’t exist.”

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#9760 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2018-March-26, 08:31

View PostRedSpawn, on 2018-March-24, 13:23, said:

It was in response to the list of accomplishments Trump made per Winston. I can't believe it took this long to get a Department of Defense financial audit. UNREAL....

But they didn't wait for the completion of the audit before giving them the biggest budget increase since the Reagan administration.

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