Pro-democracy reformers win big in Hong Kong's elections

nathan

19 of the 35 seats up for grabs in Hong Kong's legislative election went to pro-democracy candidates who have vowed to continue the fight for autonomy from Beijing and its program of censorship, surveillance, and autocratic authoritarianism. Read the rest

Weapons of Math Destruction: invisible, ubiquitous algorithms are ruining millions of lives

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I've been writing about the work of Cathy "Mathbabe" O'Neil for years: she's a radical data-scientist with a Harvard PhD in mathematics, who coined the term "Weapons of Math Destruction" to describe the ways that sloppy statistical modeling is punishing millions of people every day, and in more and more cases, destroying lives. Today, O'Neil brings her argument to print, with a fantastic, plainspoken, call to arms called (what else?) Weapons of Math Destruction.

How To Be At War Forever

A man fills barrels with rubble to make a barricade to protect shops in the rebel held Douma area of Damascus, Syria Sep. 2, 2016. REUTERS

If you were the government and wanted to maintain a state of perpetual war, how would you go about it? Read the rest

Priceless 170-year-old Japanese fart scroll digitized

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About 170 years ago, during Japan's Edo period, a 34-foot scroll called Fart Battle (He-gassen) was created by unknown artisan(s). The work lives on in glorious hi-res digitized collection at Waseda University. Read the rest

New Trump Hat: Make Mexico Great Again Also

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Yesterday, Donald Trump met Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto in a bid to look presidential, a credible negotiator. He said later they didn't discuss his plans to "build a wall" between the two countries. But then Nieto said they did discuss it--to tell him in no uncertain terms Mexico wouldn't pay for it--making Trump (and the people trying to professionalize his campaign) look bad again.

Trump immediately abandoned his newly-centrist wanderings on immigration to deliver a thumping anti-immigrant speech that delighted white supremacists.

The afternoon's sudden volte face took many by surprise, but none so much as the New York Times, which had just published an article describing Trump's Mexico trip as an "audacious attempt to remake his image"—only to rewrite much of it as quickly and quietly as possible in light of his renewed shrieking at Latinos.

It's a sharp lesson to media who think they can trust Trump to stick to something long enough to try and build a comeback story around it: he can't, you can't!

The strange day's strangest thing, though, was the above hat, seen on surrogates such as Rudy Giuliani: "Make Mexico Great Again Also." Who's gonna pay for that? Read the rest

Hacked 2015 Democratic memo tells candidates how to deal with Black Lives Matter: listen, but offer no policy support

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An internal memo from a key Democratic Party electioneering group tells candidates to listen but “don’t offer support” for the “concrete policy positions” of Black Lives Matter protesters—and offers tips on getting past it. Whatever you do, don't say all lives matter! "This is the worst response," the memo warns.

The 2015 memo was allegedly swiped by hackers supporting Russian efforts to influence election season in America.

“Presidential candidates have struggled to respond to tactics of the Black Lives Matter movement,” reads the memo, sent by a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffer in November. “While there has been little engagement with House candidates, candidates and campaign staff should be prepared. This document should not be emailed or handed to anyone outside of the building. Please only give campaign staff these best practices in meetings or over the phone.” ...

If approached by BLM activists, campaign staff should offer to meet with local activists,” the memo reads. “Invited BLM attendees should be limited. Please aim for personal or small group meetings.”

“Listen to their concerns,” it continues. “Don’t offer support for concrete policy positions.”

The memo includes advice on what, exactly, to say to Black Lives Matter activists. It recommends avoiding phrases like “all lives matter” and warns not to bring up “black on black crime,” since the “response will garner additional media scrutiny and only anger BLM activists.”

BLM responded:

We are disappointed at the DCCC’s placating response to our demand to value all Black life. Black communities deserve to be heard, not handled.

Read the rest

Trump's just gonna wing the debates

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Republican millionaire Donald Trump is pretty much just going to wing it in his first debate with rival presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, reports the New York Times. Just four weeks away, the event will pit her meticulous preparation against his extemporaneous ramblings.

The Clinton camp believes that Mr. Trump is most insecure about his intelligence, his net worth and his image as a successful businessman

Just imagine the full list.

“Trump has severe attention problems and simply cannot take in complex information — he will be unable to practice for these debates,” said Mr. Schwartz, who was the subject of a New Yorker profile last month that portrayed Mr. Trump as a charlatan. “Trump will bring nothing but his bluster to the debates. He’ll use sixth-grade language, he will repeat himself many times, he won’t complete sentences, and he won’t say anything of substance.”

Clinton must remember the wise words of Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, compiling a dictionary of common situations and things for which there are no words, and wedding them to place names.

Aboyne (v.) To beat an expert at a game of skill by playing so appallingly that none of his clever strategies are of any use to him.
Read the rest

Republican party more or less doomed to Trumpism, white supremacy, self-loathing

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The Republican Party spent decades telling its base to hate and mistrust the mainstream media. But now conservative outlets are lurching to the far right, taking the base with it and leaving the party and its brand of conservatism stranded in political no-mans land.

As [former George W. Bush speechwriter David] Frum predicted and we’ve witnessed over the years, there is not much the Republican Congressional leadership can do to satisfy these folks in the right wing media because their ratings rely on fomenting anger and threats to “blow shit up!” I suspect this is precisely why Paul Ryan resisted taking on the role of House Speaker after John Boehner was ejected from his leadership position. He knows that he is now the target and this won’t end well.

Four years ago, I wrote "this is American conservatism's immune system going into anaphylactic shock. Fun to watch, while it lasts!"

It's not fun anymore. Read the rest

$1m taken in by random guy promising "Dinner with Trump"

griftivist

The right wing of American politics has long been a grifter's paradise, but Ian Hawes raked in $1m in a matter of weeks with Facebook ads promising dinner with Donald Trump. Politico reports that the supposed political action committee behind it is designed to resemble the official campaign site, has spent none of its takings promoting his candidacy, and that no-one has had dinner with Trump.

One is at donaldjtrump.com; the other is at dinnerwithtrump.org. The first belongs to Trump’s campaign. The second is a scheme run by Ian Hawes, a 25-year-old Maryland man who has no affiliation with Trump or his campaign and who has preyed on more than 20,000 unsuspecting donors, collecting more than $1 million in the process. ... “I feel ripped off and taken advantage of. This is horrible. That was not my intent,” said Mary Pat Kulina, who owns a paper-shredding company in Maryland and gave $265 to Hawes’s group. Kulina thought she had given to Trump’s campaign until told otherwise by POLITICO. “This is robbery,” she said. “I want my money back and I want them to add up what they stole from people and give it to Donald Trump.”

It's not the only lookalike site he's operating either. The fact that there is no real Trump campaign organization makes it easy for people to fill the gaps like this: there's simply no official competition for attention in the venues where actigrift takes place. Read the rest

Music video features trash-talking UN smackdown

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The official video for Nobody Speak, by DJ Shadow and Run The Jewels, was directed by Sam Pilling and stars Igor Tsyshkevych and Ian Bailey as very NSFW diplomats on a tear.

The video depicts a meeting of leaders that quickly descends into chaos, a scene not unlike what is unfolding in governments around the globe... Says DJ Shadow: "We wanted to make a positive, life-affirming video that captures politicians at their election-year best. We got this instead.”

Read the rest

Maine Gov. LePaige: people of color are the enemy

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Paul LePage, the Republican governor of Maine, told reporters that people of color are the enemy in his state. Read the rest

Before Breitbart, before Trump, Bannon bullied people in Biosphere 2

Steve Bannon, head of  Breitbart News, was named to the new position of campaign chief executive officer. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The Breitbart chief and Trump campaign CEO's sexist bullying was evident in the early days of Biosphere 2 in Arizona, then a quasi “space colonization” and environmental research project.

Stephen K. Bannon, who recently took a leave from running Breitbart.com to become Donald Trump’s chief campaign executive, once bullied women in the historic environmental research project known as Biosphere 2.

He called a female science researcher who wrote a report about safety concerns a “deluded” “bimbo,” and threatened to “ram it down her (expletive) throat.” He also threatened to “kick her ass.”

Read the rest

Trump says Hillary Clinton is a 'bigot'

REUTERS

Millionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump has a knack for projecting criticisms of himself back onto his opponents, however hamfistedly. The latest: Hillary Clinton is a bigot.

"Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future," Trump said, reading from prepared remarks.

Unlike past lines that have drawn scrutiny, including Monday's comments in Ohio about African Americans not being able to walk the street without being shot, this one was not a Trump ad-lib. ...

Clinton, for her part, has repeatedly declined opportunities to call Trump himself a racist, despite repeated questioning on the subject and multiple labelings of some of his campaign statements as racist by her campaign.

Trump's guest for the evening was UK far-right leader Nigel Farage, who as a younger man boasted that his initials matched those of the white supremacist National Front and sang jaunty ditties about gassing jews.

Mind you, all this did make me wonder: will it ever dawn on Team Hillary why headlines like "Republican announces support for Clinton" make people like her less? Read the rest

Unsuccessful hack targeted New York Times in Moscow, FBI blames Russia

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U.S. officials are investigating online security attacks that targeted reporters at The New York Times in Moscow. A U.S. official said Tuesday that the Times was among various U.S. news organizations targeted. CNN was first to report the story, and the Times has since confirmed and corrected some details.

Read the rest

Trump cancels campaign events: is he sick or is he sad?

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Amid continued weak polling, millionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump has canceled forthcoming rallies and events in Colorado, Nevada and Oregon. He'll still be attending fundraisers, reports Eliza Collins.

Trump was originally scheduled to make a speech on immigration in Denver on Thursday, but according to The Denver Post the speech has been postponed. The campaign said that his speech was "still being modified." Trump will, however, attend a fundraiser in Aspen, according to the Post.

Nevada’s KTNV also reported Monday that Trump’s Friday rally in Las Vegas was canceled, but his fundraiser in Lake Tahoe the same day is still on. According to KTNV, the campaign did not give a reason for the rally cancellation. He is expected to participate in a roundtable in Las Vegas, possibly on immigration.

Both a rally and fundraiser in Portland, Ore., scheduled for Aug. 31 were canceled, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. The Trump campaign cited the Republican nominee’s trip to Louisiana last Friday as the reason his calendar has been changed, according to OPB.

Probably just needs a break; for all the conspiracy theories put out about Hillary having a mysterious illness, Trump is 70 years old and never did release any medical info about himself that wasn't obviously written by himself.

Also, with a new campaign team, maybe radical changes are being made: the nigh-mythological pivot that only ever seems to be a pirouette. That said, his numbers are in such dire shape, you have to wonder if he's decided to coast and focus on what comes after November. Read the rest

Listen: Florida congressional candidate losing his temper with a reporter

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Dan Bongino is a former secret serviceman running for office in Florida. In a tweet, he suggested that coverage of his backers in Naples Daily News was "propaganda."

Asked by Politico reporter Marc Caputo to be specific, they end up on a call (after some Twitter trash talk), where things go horribly wrong for Bongino. (The action gets most classy about 7m 30s in)

Caputo's being tricky—Bongino's "propaganda" remark isn't aimed at any specific claim in a specific story, even if it was a response to a tweeted Daily News URL. But Caputo knows how to work an angry idiot, and Bongino soon shits himself on a recorded call.

BONGINO: Marc, listen, you go fuck yourself.

CAPUTO: Awwwww, Dan, you're so angry!

[Crosstalk]

BONGINO: My entire following has been developed by beating on people like you. ... My audience is far bigger than yours.

Indiscreet, so say the least. But this is a fellow who talks of himself in the third person.

Read the rest

Sidelined Trump campaign chief quits, rumored to be target of federal investigation over Ukraine ties

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Sidelined but not fired by Republican millionaire Donald Trump to make way for a new campaign manager, Paul Manafort is nonetheless resigning from his post. The rumor? He's under federal investigation for his role in shady goings-on in Ukranian politics.

Mr. Manafort left nearly a week after a New York Times report about tumult within the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign helped precipitate a shakeup of the campaign’s leadership. His departure reflects repeated efforts to steady a campaign that has been frequently roiled by the behavior of its tempestuous first-time candidate.

Mr. Manafort was also dogged by reports about secretive efforts he made to help the former pro-Russian government in Ukraine, where he has worked on and off over several years. He had also become viewed with trepidation by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and a major force within the campaign, amid a number of false starts since the Republican National Convention, according to three people briefed on the matter.

U.S. lobbyists must declare their representation of foreign interests; he did not. Manafort, if found guilty of violating these rules, would be a felon facing "up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000," according to the Associated Press. Read the rest

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