Boing Boing 

Millions in dark money via U.S. Chamber of Commerce influencing midterm elections

USChamber

The Chamber has spent $32 million in dark money from undisclosed donors, 96% of which has gone to oppose Democratic congressional candidates, according to a new Public Citizen report. Average spending topped $900,000 per race.

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Dissecting the arguments of liberal apologists for Obama's surveillance and secret war

Democratic party partisans like Sean Wilentz, George Packer and Michael Kinsley spent the Bush years condemning the tactics they now defend under Obama -- apart from sheer intellectual dishonesty, how can this be explained?

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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.

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American cities, ranked by conservatism


A fascinating chart from Representation in Municipal Government, publishing in American Political Science Review and written by MIT political scientists Chris Tausanovitch and Christopher Warshaw. (via Bruce Sterling)

(Image: Carpintera city limit, Al Pavangkanan, CC-BY)

Canadian government threatens bird watchers for writing concerned letter about bee die-off


Dave writes, "A birdwatching group sent a letter to two federal cabinet ministers citing concerns over the effects of certain chemicals on the life of bees. Shortly thereafter, they received a threatening letter from Revenue Canada telling them to stop with the political actions."

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Lamar "SOPA" Smith dispatches GOP commissars to National Science Foundation

The Republican Texas Congressjerk maintains a flying squad of political officers who descend upon the NSF to pore through its grant records looking for evidence of ideologically impure science.

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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."

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Social Justice Warriors and the New Culture War

Laurie Penny, author of Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution explains “Social Justice Warriors” and why they’re winning.

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Clown and cop: ridicule as protest


Remy Gabalda's photo for Agence France-Presse of an anti-Sivens Dam protestor confronting a riot cop is the perfect expression of the moral of Jacob Two-Two: the one thing authoritarianism cannot withstand is laughter.

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Hong Kong and America: two systems, one corruption


The massive, student led protests in Hong Kong were sparked by the fact that Beijing's political and economic elites get to choose the candidates in its elections ("I don't care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating" -Boss Tweed) -- but is this really any different from America's big money primaries, where corporate elites can spend unlimited sums fixing the race?

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David Cameron raps the Tories' nasty party manifesto

Casetteboy's "Cameron's Conference Rap" is a spectacular piece of work -- virtuoso mashupry worthy of Cecil B DeVil.

(via Waxy)

Eric Holder's terrible tech-liberties record


The outgoing Attorney General presided over groundbreaking changes in civil liberties in the physical world but was a disaster when it comes to freedom in the world's nervous system: the Internet.

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Catalan president defies Madrid, decrees independence referendum


Catalonian separatism has grown and grown in the face the brutal austerity imposed upon Spain during the Eurozone crisis.

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Toronto Mayoral Race: an endorsement for Olivia Chow

Like many Torontonians, I have been disheartened with the quality of city government, which has been sliding into a right-wing, populist doldrums ever since the amalgamation of the city with its suburban neighbours under Mike Harris, back in 1998; finally, though, there's a candidate for mayor that I can really get behind: Olivia Chow.

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NZ's National Party sued by Eminem for copyright infringement


The National Party was instrumental in passing the harsh "strict liability" NZ copyright laws that offer no relief from liability, even for people who buy licenses that turn out to have been offered in error -- as appears to be the case in the National Party campaign ad that used Lose Yourself for bed music.

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SF predicting the present: novel anticipated Detroit water crisis

Paul Di Filippo describes Ben Parzybok's new novel, Sherwood Nation: "The book is obviously as headline-friendly as the Ferguson riots, inequality debates, Occupy protests and climate change reports; but there's also a Joseph Conrad-Grahame Greene-Shakespeare style concern with the nature of power, the roles that are thrust upon us, and the limits of friendship and love."

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Not one Republican Senator voted for campaign finance reform


The entire GOP Senate caucus voted against Tom Udall's proposed Constitutional amendment that would have allowed states to set rules limiting campaign contributions, overturning the notorious Citizens United Supreme Court decision that found that money was a form of protected speech.

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#InternetSlowdown jams Congress's switchboard

Yesterday's net-wide campaign for Net Neutrality put through more than 1,000 calls per minute to Congress!

Elizabeth Warren speaks for allowing states to limit campaign finance

It's a stirring Congressional speech in support of Tom Udall's (D-NM) Constitutional amendment.

(via Reddit)

Catalan separatists plan largest ever European demonstration for Sept 11


Liz writes, "This Sept 11 is the 300th anniversary of the loss of Catalonia's sovereignty to Spain. Catalans will commemorate the date by holding a massive demonstration -- perhaps Europe's largest ever-- on two major Barcelona boulevards, creating a huge letter V for Vote with upwards of 1.5 million expected participants."

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I survived an illegal abortion

Fran Moreland Johns sought an abortion in 1956 following a workplace rape. Now the author of Perilous Times: An Inside Look at Abortion Before and After Roe v. Wade, she survived a back-alley procedure in the days before legalization, and warns that with women’s rights under renewed assault, those grim days are returning.

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Mayday anti-super-PAC backs anti-corruption senate candidate in NH GOP primary

Brian from Mayday.US writes, "Lessig's anti-corruption Mayday PAC is entering its toughest race of this election cycle - supporting pro-campaign finance reform NH Senatorial candidate Jim Rubens in the Republican Primary against Scott Brown. Lawrence Lessig's anti-corruption Mayday PAC has just launched an online tool where supporters of campaign finance reform across the nation can call voters on the phone and urge them to come to the polls and vote for reform. Its first test is this Tuesday, September 9th."

GOP's not-so-secret weakness: unfairness


"A capital gains tax rate (making money off money) that is lower than the earned income rate (making money off work) is just not fair; bestowing that rate on hedge-fund managers through a specially designed loophole is just not fair" -Wick Allison, American Conservative, Nov 12, 2012.

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Scott Brown Senate campaign threatens Lessig for calling him a "lobbyist"

Colin Reed, the campaign manager for Scott Brown's primary race, says that because senate rules don't define his boss as a lobbyist, he'll use his "legal options" against Lessig (Brown, a former Mass. state senator, works for "Nixon Peabody, a law and lobby firm, as counsel").

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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.

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Russia's population declined by 7m (5%) between 1992 and 2009


The decades since the collapse of the USSR are the longest period of depopulation in Russian history, and the first peacetime loss of that scale anywhere in the world. Booze, violence, obesity, and poor standard of living alone don't account for the mortality either.

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Zephyr Teachout: the most awesome gubernatorial candidate in New York history [endorsement]


Tiffiniy Cheng writes, "No governor deserves your attention unless they're awesome, right? What if the awesomest possible candidate was running against big power right now? Zephyr Teachout is that badass."

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Invited citizen journalist at GOP rally violently arrested for recording speakers

Nydia Tisdale, a citizen journalist, was invited to a GOP rally in Atlanta, but State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens demanded that she (and not other, more friendly press) stop recording his speech; when she refused, he summoned a deputy who violently arrested her and then charged her with felony obstruction after she elbowed him while he was bending her over and pressing his groin into her buttocks.

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Lessig's U Chicago lectures on corruption this fall


Levi says, "Lawrence Lessig will be lecturing at the University of Chicago in October, launching a new series with a series of talks on institutional corruption, with separate talks on the problem in Congress, finance, the media, and the academy, then wrapping up with a lecture that covers possible remedies."

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Rod Serling's closing remarks from "The Obsolete Man"

Robbo writes, "This was the closing monologue from The Twilight Zone epsiode "The Obsolete Man" - where Rod Serling sums up the realities behind and flaws within any tyranny - and, as with almost all things Serling, it remains profoundly prescient and relevant."

(Thanks, Robbo!)