Second Life's Trump army lays siege to Bernie Sanders's virtual HQ with swastika cannons

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Bernie Sanders's fans in the venerable virtual world Second Life have established a HQ, "a Roman-themed hangout space in a peaceful meadow, where Bernie supporters often gather to share news of their favorite candidate," but their peace was shattered when Second Life's Donald Trump supporters laid siege to the building, firing virtual guns whose rounds exploded into swastika flags at Sanders central. Read the rest

Marco Rubio melts down on Twitter

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Let's dispel with this fiction that Marco Rubio knows what he's doing. He doesn't know exactly what he's doing.

The BBC reports on the former Republican presidential candidate's "Twitter tirade" last night, described by one wit as "losing the 2020 New Hampshire primary four years ahead of schedule." Read the rest

Trump campaign cancels interview after overhearing reporter speaking in Spanish

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Donald Trump was all set to be interviewed by TV Azteca's Marcos Stupenengo -- a white, green-eyed Argentine expat -- until they overheard him talking on the phone in Spanish, whereupon the interview was summarily cancelled and Stupenengo was escorted out of the building by Trump's Secret Service detail (who apologized to him). Read the rest

Iceland's Pirate Party to receive millions in election funding

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Iceland's elections are publicly funded, with funds awarded based on polls of the electorate; the Pirates have consistently polled higher than any other party, and the incumbent coalition (whose parties are polling in the single digits) has been scrambling to avoid a general election after the Panama Papers revealed that he had secret offshore accounts that benefited from his bailout of Iceland's planet-destroying banks. Read the rest

The weird, humiliating nicknames George W Bush gave to everyone

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Remember when "Turd blossom" was the affectionate nickname the President of the United States used to refer to his chief advisor? Read the rest

In power, Trump will punish the media first

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Last night, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump blithely threatened Jeff Bezos over The Washington Post's investigations of him. It's a preview of exactly what form Trump's authoritarianism would take in government: the use of federal power to intimidate media.

Amazon is getting away with murder, tax-wise. He’s using the Washington Post for power. So that the politicians in Washington don’t tax Amazon like they should be taxed. He’s getting absolutely away — he’s worried about me, and I think he said that to somebody ... it was in some article, where he thinks I would go after him for antitrust. Because he’s got a huge antitrust problem because he’s controlling so much. ...

I’ll tell you what: We can’t let him get away with it. So he’s got about 20, 25 — I just heard they’re taking these really bad stories — I mean, they, you know, wrong, I wouldn’t even say bad. They’re wrong. And in many cases they have no proper information. And they’re putting them together, they’re slopping them together. And they’re gonna do a book. And the book is gonna be all false stuff because the stories are so wrong. And the reporters — I mean, one after another — so what they’re doing is he’s using that as a political instrument to try and stop antitrust, which he thinks I believe he’s antitrust, in other words, what he’s got is a monopoly. And he wants to make sure I don’t get in. So, it’s one of those things.

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DNC Host Committee composed of GOP megadonors, Net Neutrality haters, fracking boosters and anti-Obamacare lobbyists

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The Host Committee for this year's Democratic National Convention includes Finance Chair Daniel Hilferty, a health insurance industry lobbyist on the board of America’s Health Insurance Plan (which lead the FUD campaign against Obamacare and is backing the GOP's anti-Obamacare bills), who has donated thousands to PACs supporting GOP candidates like Orin Hatch, Pat Toomey, and Tim Scott. He also donated to the presidential campaigns of Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and Hillary Clinton. Read the rest

NZ Prime Minister John Key ejected from Parliament over Panama Papers rant

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John Key, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, was ejected from the country's parliamentary debating chamber yesterday when he repeated ignored the Speaker of the House's calls to yield the floor, continuing to rant even after his microphone had been cut off. Read the rest

As Sanders sweeps West Virginia, a triumphant stump speech in Oregon

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As politicians work the campaign trail, one of two things happens: either the stump speech becomes rote and robotic; or it turns into a full-blown, riveting performance. Read the rest

The failed presidential campaign of Ted Cruz is like the fight to end slavery, says Heidi Cruz

Ted Cruz. So gross.
On a conference call with the Ted Cruz campaign's National Prayer Team, the presidential candidate's wife Heidi Cruz said the fight to get her unelectable husband elected is pretty much exactly like the long and difficult battle to abolish slavery. This makes perfect sense in Ted Cruz World. And that's why he's unfit to govern anything but Ted Cruz World, and not America.

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Billionaire Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel will be a California Trump delegate

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The Facebook board member will be a Trump delegate to this summer's Republican National Convention, representing California's 12th district. Read the rest

300 prominent economists call on world governments to end tax haven secrecy

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Oxfam has published an open letter signed by hundreds of respected economists, including Thomas Piketty, which describes tax havens as "serving no useful economic purpose." Read the rest

Trump says he might let London's muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, visit America

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Magnanimous president-to-be Donald Trump says that despite his proposed ban on muslims entering the U.S., London's new mayor, Sadiq Khan, may be an exception.

“There will always be exceptions,” Mr. Trump said when asked in an interview on Monday how his proposed ban would affect London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan. “I was happy to see that,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Khan’s election. “I think it’s a very good thing, and I hope he does a very good job because frankly that would be very, very good.”

Asked why, Mr. Trump said, “Because I think if he does a great job, it will really — you lead by example, always lead by example. If he does a good job and frankly if he does a great job, that would be a terrific thing.”

Khan's having none of it.

He rejected Trump's suggestion that he could be an exception to the proposed Muslim travel ban, saying: "This isn't just about me -- it's about my friends, my family and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine, anywhere in the world."

The statement continued: "Donald Trump and those around him think that western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam -- London has proved him wrong."

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Why identifying Satoshi Nakamoto is important

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Craig Wright's latest effort to prove himself the creator of bitcoin ended in farce, but some commentators are tired of the whole saga, saying that it doesn't matter who invented Bitcoin because its decentralized nature renders the creator irrelevant. Adrian Chen disagrees: "the idea that Nakamoto’s identity is irrelevant is wishful thinking."

Most obviously, Nakamoto’s identity matters because he is estimated to control four hundred and forty-eight million dollars’ worth of bitcoin, which, if it were unloaded quickly, could seriously depress the value of the notoriously volatile currency.

The real Nakamoto could have a more fundamental impact as well: as The Economist pointed out, this latest saga unfolded during a heated “civil war” that has broken out among bitcoin developers over how to deal with an increase in transaction volume in the bitcoin network. The network processes transactions in batches known as “blocks.” As the number of blocks has increased, the network has become in danger of being overloaded. One side in the dispute wants to change the bitcoin code, increasing the block size to allow the system to process transactions more quickly. The other side sees this as a betrayal of the integrity of the original code, arguing that a change would lead to more centralization in the system (the greatest sin for a bitcoin believer) and consequent problems.

Vanity's murky pond, inch-deep yet thick as tar. Read the rest

Too Like the Lightning: intricate worldbuilding, brilliant speculation, gripping storytelling

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Ada Palmer -- historian, musician, librettist -- debuts as a novelist today with a book called Too Like the Lightning, a book more intricate, more plausible, more significant than any debut I can recall.

Conservative economics: what's happened to the UK economy after a year of Tory rule

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It's been a year since David Cameron's Tories took control of the UK Parliament with a majority that gave their free rein to govern UK, plc to their taste. Read the rest

Sadiq Khan elected London mayor, becomes first Muslim mayor of a major Western capital

Sadiq Khan, Britain's Labour Party candidate for Mayor of London, speaks to the media at Canary Wharf in London, Britain May 4, 2016.  REUTERS

The practicing Muslim son of Pakistani immigrants has been elected mayor of London. Labour Party politician Sadiq Khan's win today is a major political milestone in the Western world.

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