Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky's annual State of the World wrangle on The WELL

It's January, which means that Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky have returned to the WELL for their annual State of the World wrangle, in which, as Sterling puts it, we see who's "gonna collapse first: us pundits, or the World?" Read the rest

Haldeman's papers show Nixon conspired to extend the Vietnam war to improve his presidential chances

A newly discovered collection of notes written by Nixon aide HR Haldeman reveals that during Nixon's 68 presidential campaign, he illegally conspired to convince the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, to scuttle the peace talks run by Nixon's political rival, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. Read the rest

Macedonian strongman contests election and obituaries for his opponents appear on Imgur

An anonymous reader writes, "After snap elections on December 11th in Macedonia, when designers united against a dictatorship, Nikola Gruevski, the leader of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE party gave a Milosevic-style speech declaring that foreign powers are interfering with the work of the SEC. VMRO-DPMNE won (for now) 51 seats, the opposition party won 49 of total 120 seats in Parliament. Yesterday, obituaries from the US and EU ambassadors to Macedonia appeared on IMGUR. Read the rest

Make America Sane Again hats

Paul writes, "Embroidered in lovely Copperplate letters on a Democratic blue hat. I set the price as low as it allowed so there are unlikely to be much profits. But any there are will go to border collie rescues that I work with." Read the rest

Coup: North Carolina Republicans convene a special session to strip incoming Democratic governor of executive powers

Thomas writes, "Shortly after closing a post-election special session to fund relief for counties afflicted by flooding from Hurricane Matthew or mountain wildfires, North Carolina GOP legislative leaders announced a second special session to begin the same day with an open agenda. The docket was filled with 21 House bills, some of which stripped Democratic Governor Elect Roy Cooper of substantial control over the executive branch. This is a coup attempt, an effort to undermine the results of a highly scrutinized election." Read the rest

Australia names "Democracy Sausage" as the 2016 Word (sic) of the Year

The Australian National Dictionary Centre has declared the two-word compound phrase "democracy sausage" to be its 2016 Word of the Year, defining it as "A barbecued sausage served on a slice of bread, bought at a polling booth sausage sizzle on election day." Read the rest

How Russia pulled off a cyberwar invasion of America, according to the New York Times

Huge New York Times investigation on Russia's role in the elections, and Trump's upset victory: "The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the US.” It's a riveting tic-tock narrative, and no doubt those in the intel/security biz will debate the contents.

An examination by The Times of the Russian operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.

The D.N.C.’s fumbling encounter with the F.B.I. meant the best chance to halt the Russian intrusion was lost. The failure to grasp the scope of the attacks undercut efforts to minimize their impact. And the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

The low-key approach of the F.B.I. meant that Russian hackers could roam freely through the committee’s network for nearly seven months before top D.N.C. officials were alerted to the attack and hired cyberexperts to protect their systems. In the meantime, the hackers moved on to targets outside the D.N.C., including Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, whose private email account was hacked months later.

Even Mr. Podesta, a savvy Washington insider who had written a 2014 report on cyberprivacy for President Obama, did not truly understand the gravity of the hacking.

Read the rest

"No President": the despair, fear, and resolve of the next four years

"No President" is an unsigned editorial in N+1, and is, along with Ta-Nehisi Coates's My President Was Black, the best postmortem on the events of November 8 yet published: it begins with the door-to-door canvas of voters in the runup to the election and the strange ideological contradictions on display on America's doorsteps, reflects on the questions of gender and Clinton's election outcomes, and moves on to a realistic, but firm and inspiring, call for resistance in the years to come. Read the rest

Ta-Nehisi Coates on Obama's blackness, America's white supremacy, and Trump's victory

Ta-Nehisi Coates's 17,000-word history of the Obama presidency in the Atlantic is called "My President Was Black," but it's about the very special kind of blackness that Obama embodied -- not because whites saw the biracial politician differently, but because Obama's extraordinarily supportive white family and unique boyhood in Hawai'i spared him the racial trauma visited on other young black people in America. Read the rest

Clinton campaign breaks silence, demands declassification of Russian election hack intel

As news of the CIA's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election spreads, top Hillary Clinton adviser and likely Russian hacking victim John Podesta today publicly voiced support for a push by some members of the Electoral College to receive an intelligence briefing ahead of their formal vote next week.

Read the rest

Macedonian designers make posters against dictatorship and for free and fair elections on Dec 11

An anonymous reader writes, "(Anonymous) Macedonian designers have submitted posters calling for a vote against a dictatorship on the 11th December. Their motto "#GlasamProtiv [#VoteAgainst] is an initiative by a group of Macedonian designers to topple the dictatorship that has all of us captive. Vote your will on the 11-th of December and stand AGAINST corruption, crime, freedom of speech, party harassment, torture, submission..." Read the rest

Figuring out Donald Trump's media diet by mining his tweets

Data journalists pulled 26,234 of Trump's 34,062 tweets (dating from Jun 1 2015 to Nov 17 2016) from the Twitter API and analyzed them for news-sources, producing a long, detailed analysis complemented by interactive graphics. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders: Trump didn't win the election, the Democrats lost it

“I look at this election not as a victory for Mr. Trump, who wins the election as the most unpopular candidate in perhaps the history of our country, but as a loss for the Democratic Party." -Senator Bernie Sanders, speaking to a sold-out crowd in San Rafael, CA. Read the rest

Global trumpism: how India's brutal leader manufactures reality with trumped-up "polls"

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an authoritarian war criminal who is part of the worldwide surge of trumpist leaders and hopefuls, including Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte; Hungary's Viktor Orbán; Russia's Vladimir Putin; South Korea's Park Geun-hye; France's Marine Le Pen; the UK's Nigel Farage, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and others -- bound together by xenophobia, a lack of transparency, violent suppression of opposition, and savvy use of the internet. Read the rest

Pirate Party invited to form Iceland's next government

Though the October polls that predicted a great showing for the Pirate Party in the Icelandic elections turned out to be wrong, that election did end with a deeply divided parliament that has been unable to find enough common ground upon which to form a new government. Read the rest

Hamilton's eerie relevance to this moment in America's terrifying political journey

Lin-Manuel Miranda's smash Broadway musical Hamilton -- which recounts the events of 240 years ago -- keeps looming large in our very current political discourse, from Hamilton's role in the establishment of the Electoral College to Mike Pence's night at the theater and the ensuing Trumpian call for a safe-space for vulnerable politicians who have only their status as the second-most powerful man on the planet to defend themselves from the terrifyingly mild petitions delivered by actual, globe-striding singing fellows. Read the rest

Trumpism in Gambia: "marbles" election sparks internet shutdown

Deji writes, "Gambia is a small country but this story is pretty crazy. The president, who is seeking his 6th term, is using Trump rhetoric surrounding the 'rigging of elections.' People are voting by using marbles. Meanwhile, opposition activists and journalists have been arrested -- and the government STILL shut off the internet. It seems the president has lost his marbles." Read the rest

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