Zephyr Teachout (previously) isn't just an expert on antitrust law and corruption, and isn't merely a netroots pioneer who has been on the right side of every technology policy fight since the Gore years -- she's also running to be the Attorney General of the State of New York, from which position she plans on gutting Trump on his corrupt business practices, targeting him using the dread emoluments clause.
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Back in the days of the Howard Dean campaign, it seemed that the political left had a near-monopoly on brilliant, technologically sophisticated "netroots" activists, a situation that carried over to the Obama campaigns. But by 2016, the Pepe-slinging alt-right showed that earlier right-wing cybermilitias weren't just warmed over jokes with an unhealthy appreciation for Conservapedia -- they, too, could fight effectively by forming decentralized open source insurgencies that allowed autonomous activists and groups to change the political landscape.
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Though the crimes and abuses of the GW Bush era seem almost quaint in comparison to the trumpist agenda, the Bush actions spawned a new kind of protest movement, the first mature, networked resistance, which tried (unsuccessfully) to haul the Democratic Party away from finance-oriented neoliberalism and into a labor-oriented, diverse, racially aware left wing opposition party. Read the rest
Doubtless you've laughed at the ideological war between the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea
. I laughed along with you: having grown up in politics, I know firsthand about the enmities that fester between groups that should be allies -- groups whose differences can only be parsed after months of study, but who are seemingly more at odds with one another than their obvious political opponents on the "other side" of the debate.
Netroots movements -- grassroots programmers who pitch in on political campaigns -- have been significant factors in US electoral campaigns since the Howard Dean era, and indeed, some of the key players from that era are still deeply involved in campaign tech, but the netroots that's pulling for the Sanders campaign is a significant advance on the netroots of years gone by. Read the rest
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals just dropped a bombshell, ruling against the Authors Guild in its bid to force Google to stop scanning books and making them searchable.
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." Read the rest
One year ago today
Stormtrooper on a unicycle: Something something a little short something something.
Five years ago today
Groundbreaking Kansas rep netroots candidate takes another run at election with a new XKCD-style toon: Sean Tevis is the "candidate from the Internet" who caused an enormous stir when he financed a run at Kansas State Rep by soliciting micro-donations from people around the Internet who were inspired by an XKCD-style comic about his vision for the state.
Ten years ago today
Profile of Iraqi torture woman: Her name is Lynndie England, she's 21, and she comes from a "backwoods world" West Virginia. Read the rest
You'd think that the proponents of SOPA would give up that legislative dead parrot's ghost. But they're still doing the rounds on radio and in print, claiming that millions of Americans were 'duped' into opposing their harmless little internet censorship law.
The fresh (!) talking points go like this: Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing and others 'lied' to the public about what SOPA was in the crucial final moments, 'abused our power' by going dark for a day, and thereby tricked legislators and the public into turning on a much-needed new law.
What rot. Read the rest
There were two things I learned watching the Netroots Nation panel on Science Policy in Unexpected Places.
First, more science communication is happening, in more ways. Scientists are taking initiative to talk to the public and to journalists, helping to make sense of the flood of information so that people come away educated, instead of overwhelmed. And advocates are finding fun ways to bring basic science—the stuff that isn't fresh news, but sure does help when you need to actually understand the news—to people who have traditionally been overlooked by science education programs. Sports fans, for instance. That's the good stuff.
The bad stuff: Turns out, it's frustratingly easy for science to become as polarized as politics, with a mentality that divides the world into the Smart People (who already know everything) and the Idiots (who won't ever know anything). Read the rest
Sean Tevis -- the "candidate from the Internet" who caused an enormous stir when he financed a run at Kansas State Rep by soliciting micro-donations from people around the Internet who were inspired by an XKCD-style comic about his vision for the state -- is taking another run at the Kansas House and has the comic to prove it.
I really like Tevis's approach, his platform, and his ideals. I can't give to his campaign -- I'm a dirty foreigner and I don't even live in the USA (though the IRS is happy to tax the hell out me!) -- but you can!
Running for Office: Option 4
Progressive geek looking for 3,000 people to help him win Kansas election against dinosauric anti-science/pro-surveillance dude
Kansas Representative introduces anti-netroots campaign finance reform bill
Homophobic politician sends self-published comic book to voters ... Read the rest
Dan Gillmor is a BoingBoing guest-blogger.
The Obama administration has undone a few of the Bush administration's worst policies, true. Yet when it comes to Obama's increasingly clear disdain for some core civil liberties and his administration's penchant for secrecy despite cheerful rhetoric to the contrary, Salon's Glenn Greenwald arrives at a dismal -- but sadly, logical -- conclusion:
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After many years of anger and complaint and outrage directed at the Bush administration for its civil liberties assaults and executive power abuses, the last thing most people want to do is conclude that the Obama administration is continuing the core of that extremism. That was why the flurry of executive orders in the first week produced such praise: those who are devoted to civil liberties were, from the start, eager to believe that things would be different, and most want to do everything but conclude that the only improvements that will be made by Obama will be cosmetic ones.
But it's becoming increasingly difficult for honest commentators to do anything else but conclude that. After all, these are the exact policies which, when embraced by Bush, produced such intense protest over the last eight years. Nobody is complaining because the Obama administration is acting too slowly in renouncing these policies. The opposite is true: they are rushing to actively embrace them. And while there are still opportunities to meaningfully depart from the extremism of the last eight years, the evidence appears more and more compelling that, at least in these areas, there is little or no real intent on the part of the Obama administration to do so.
Remember Sean Tevis, the Kansas geek who financed his run for the state House of Reps by asking 3,000 net-people to send him $8.34 each -- and who won lost (from Rikchik in the comments, "Correction - Tevis didn't win, though he came close. The guy introducing the bill is the incumbent who beat him.") the election after raising a staggering sum of money in a short time? Well, his "colleagues" in the Kansas House of Reps aren't impressed.
Representative Scott Schwab (R-Olathe) has introduced a bill to require politicians to gather and disclose the personal information of small (less than $50) donors, if that politician raises more than $1,000. This is basically the Sean Tevis Campaign Finance Bill, and it will only affect politicians who raise their funds through distributed, grassroots campaigns. As Tevis points out. the main reason for campaign finance disclosure rules is to track money's influence in politics: "You give $1 to a candidate. It’s a pretty safe bet that they won’t feel indebted to you. If you give them $100, they might. You give a candidate $1,000 they will probably drop everything to take your call." Do Kansans have to worry that net-people who paypalled $8.34 to Tevis will lean on him for government pork?
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The $1,000 threshold creates an unequal protection of privacy.
If you donate $1 to a candidate, you can expect that your personal information will remain private. If that candidate, however, crosses the arbitrary $1,000 threshold, which is beyond your control, then suddenly your reasonable expectation of privacy that other small donors enjoy is stripped from you.