Internet-fired elections and the politics of business as usual

I've got a new Guardian column, Internet-era politics means safe seats are a thing of the past, which analyzes the trajectory of Internet-fuelled election campaigning since Howard Dean, and takes hope in the launch of I'll Vote Green If You Do. Read the rest

Senate races were won by dump-trucks full of "dark money"

Ever since the Supreme Court told us that money was speech and corporations are people, it's been permissible for big corporations and plutocrats to make anonymous unlimited donations to political races -- but you can bet that the Senators who owe their seats to the dark cash know exactly who they're beholden to. Read the rest

21K Kansans' votes will be suppressed this election

To combat the virtually nonexistent crime of voter fraud, 21,000 Kansans (including veterans) who registered as voters will be turned away from the polls, have their votes registered as "provisional." Read the rest

Midterms: Find an anti-corruption candidate in your ZIP-code

Mayday PAC, the super PAC that supports candidates who'll abolish super PACs, has an interactive service to help you locate the anti-corruption candidate in your race (unfortunately, most Americans do not get an anti-corruption option this election cycle). (via Lessig) Read the rest

Plutocrats' visual guide to rigging elections

From the Mayday.US super PAC (which backs candidates who promise to abolish super PACs). Read the rest

Challenger for Michele Bachmann's seat offers "money back guarantee" if he ever lobbies or takes special-interest money

John Denny's standing as an independent in the Minnesota Sixth District, running against Michele Bachmann's successor, and has offered a "legally binding" contract to forfeit his salary and a sum equal to twice any contribution should he ever lobby or take campaign money that puts him in a conflict of interest. Read the rest

Mayday PAC will support indie for KS senate if supporters donate $200K by Monday

Brian writes, "The Mayday PAC is thinking of supporting the Independent candidate Greg Orman, who is running for Senate in Kansas against a lone Republican opponent. (The Democratic candidate withdrew); but we're only going to if we can raise $200k by midnight Monday." Read the rest

NY politics: "progressive" Kathy Hochul loses debate to herself

Kathy Hochul is one of Tim Wu's opponents in the primary for the Democratic nomination for the NY lieutenant governorship (I endorse the Teachout/Wu ticket), but won't debate him. Read the rest

Disrupting elections with Kickstarter-like campaigning apps

The UK parliamentary farce over #DRIP showed us that, more than any other industry, the political machine is in dire need of disruption. Read the rest

Headline Awaited, reads the Indiab Express front page

During this week's blockbuster Indian election, @shubhragupta caught a great photo of the Indian Express for the day, which was rushed to press so quickly that its lead banner still read HEADLINE AWAITED. Every time I see something like this, I thank the universe that I work in a forgiving electronic medium where mistakes can be swiftly corrected and not committed to millions of stamped-out pieces of stupid, inert matter.

Update: Amulya writes, "Just so you know, it's The IndiaN Express, so you want to correct that first on your forgiving electronic medium. Secondly, context matters -- the headline was a funny meta statement on the election verdict to come, and made perfect sense to those who read it."

Ah, Muphry's Law strikes again

Read the rest

Peter "brokep" Sunde launches campaign for Finnish Pirate Party MEP

Peter Sunde, founder of Flattr and co-founder of The Pirate Bay, has launched his campaign for election to the European Parliament. Sunde -- who is a friend of mine, and who has my endorsement -- is standing for the Finnish Pirate Party. Read the rest

GOP set up phishing sites to trick Democrats into donating to the NRCC

At least 16 fraudulent sites attributed to the National Republican Congressional Committee have been discovered. These sites, whose domains are the names of Democratic candidates, use large type and photos that make them appear to be fundraisers for those candidates, though the small-print text makes it clear that these are actually sites set up opposing their apparent candidates. The NRCC claims these are all fair game and blame Democrats for not registered their candidates' names as for campaign sites. But when there's a site at, with the words ANN KIRKPATRICK FOR CONGRESS and a DONATE button beneath it, and when that DONATE button sends money to Ann Kirkpatrick's GOP rival, the intent to deceive is pretty clear. Read the rest

Internet Archive looking for software to extract political ads from TV archives

With election season coming up, the Internet Archive is looking to publish collections of political ads from earlier US campaigns. They have a massive archive of digitized US TV footage, along with searchable full-text closed captions. Now they're hoping someone can point them to some software to auto-extract the political ads from the corpus. Read the rest

GOP declares war on itself

GOP power-brokers have raised a $50M war-chest to fight the nomination of "fools" to GOP seats in the upcoming mid-term elections. Effectively, the Republican big-business-friendly establishment has declared war on the Tea Party, in an effort to ensure donors that the slate will not be full of what Matt Taibbi calls "a bottomless pit of brainless Bachmanns and Cruzes and Santorums, all convinced our Harvard-educated president is a sleeper-cell Arab and that Satan is a literal being intent on conquering Nebraska with U.N. troops."

Taibbi is, as always, fucking incandescent on the subject. He points out the delicious irony of svengalis like Karl Rove and Dick Armey -- who put GW Bush in the White House by gleefully pandering to the ignorant and prejudiced with "faith-based initiatives" to bring in "the nuts" (as Rove calls evangelicals when he thinks he's in private) and Swift-Boating -- now having to keep those people from derailing the party and scaring off all the millionaires and billionaires.

If they're going to keep on donating to the GOP, they need to be assured that the party's elected reps understand that gay marriage and no-abortion-for-rape-victims are just distracting side-shows to win votes, and should be set aside once in office to pursue the serious business of looting the nation and spying on everyone to prevent any kind of popular uprising. Read the rest

Pro-freedom, anti-surveillance speech from an imaginary future US presidential race

In the Guardian, Dan Gillmor ghost-writes a speech for any presidential candidate who wants to enter the 2016 race on a freedom and transparency ticket. It's a stirring air and is an outstanding piece of design fiction that implies a specification for a new American politics of freedom and transparency set against the corrupt cesspit of total surveillance and lies. In Gillmor's upcoming race, it's Freedom versus the unholy trinity of Orwell, Kafka and Huxley. Read the rest

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