Bernie Sanders is (by far!) the most popular politician in America

As the approval ratings for Trump, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party and Congress circle the drain, one politician remains trusted by a shockingly large number of politicians: Bernie Sanders, who is polling +41% with independents, +28% with Democrats, and whose approval rating has steadily climbed since he hit the national stage in 2015. Read the rest

Wisconsin's Senator Ron Johnson blames Net Neutrality for porn and bad health care

As the Republican Congress and Donald Trump's FCC move to dismantle the most basic protections for American internet users, no target is juicier than Net Neutrality, the simple idea that your ISP should send you the bits you ask for, rather than accepting bribes from big companies to slow down your net connection when you try to connect to their competitors. Read the rest

America's spooks want Congress to extend massive spying powers but still won't answer Congress's basic questions

Two of the NSA's mass surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden are Prism (which give the NSA "bulk data" access to the servers of Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others) and Upstream (through which the NSA taps the internet's fiber optic backbones). Both are possible because of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which expires this year. Read the rest

Political theater: swapping gender roles in recreations of the Trump/Clinton debates

NYU poli sci/econ professor Maria Guadalupe and educational theater prof Joe Salvatore collaborated to stage a recreation of the Trump/Clinton debates with the gender roles reversed, starring actors who played Brenda King, "a female version of Trump" and Jonathan Gordon, "a male version of Hillary Clinton." Read the rest

Russian dissident warns that the anti-Trump movement's Russian conspiracy theories are a distraction

Masha Gessen has impeccable credentials as a Putin critic -- you may remember her from her instant classic Autocracy: Rules for Survival, but you may not know that the Jewish lesbian mother of three fled Russia in 2013 to escape the country's Putin-fueled, ultra-violent anti-LGBT movement -- and so when she tells us that the conspiracy theories about Trump and Putin are problematic, it's worth listening. Read the rest

Breitbart was a unique driver of hyper-partisan, trumpist news that shifted the 2016 election

A team of esteemed scholars including Yochai "Wealth of Networks" Benkler and Ethan Zuckerman (co-founder of Global Voices) analyzed 1.25 million media stories published between April 1, 2015 and election day, finding "a right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world." Read the rest

Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson threatens legal retaliation against constituent who won't give up trying to talk to him

Senator Ron Johnson [R-WI/Twitter/email/DC office (202) 224-5323] is one of the many Republican lawmakers who've chosen not to meet with their own constituents during the Congressional recess; Earl Good, a Vietnam veteran and Milwaukee constituent who called Johnson's office hundreds of times because the Senator won't meet with the people he represents has now been sent a cease-and-desist letter threatening legal retaliation if he doesn't stop contacting his elected official. Read the rest

Trump tells America's attorneys general that Jews might be desecrating their own cemeteries to make him look bad

After a wave of anti-semitic attacks swept America, Donald Trump convened a meeting of state Attorneys General, and repeated a conspiracy theory posted hours before to a neo-Nazi website that suggested that Jews had perpetrated the attacks as a false-flag operation to make the Trump administration look bad. Read the rest

After a century of resisting monopolies, Democrats became the party of finance capitalism and it cost them the election

Monopolies are a well-documented drain on the economy, holding back growth and raising prices to the benefit of the 1% and the detriment of everyone else, and for 100 years, the Democratic party was the party of anti-monopoly, fighting for vigorous anti-trust enforcement, trade unionism, and decentralized power. Read the rest

Confronted by angry voters, GOP Senator Joni Ernst flees Iowa town hall through a side-door

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a "rising star" in the GOP, ran as an "independent" thinker, but has dutifully toed the GOP line since taking office -- that's why the town halls on her "99-county tour" of Iowa are packed with angry people who want to know about Trump's relationship to the Russian government, and the GOP's plan to destroy their health care without anything credible to replace it; it's also why most of the stops on Ernst's tours are planned photo-ops at factories instead of public events where voters can actually talk to their elected rep.

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Deliberate leaking is a time-honored government tactic that Trump doesn't understand

Governments have "official" unofficial leaking policies, releasing tons of confidential material to the press without any attribution or public acknowledgement: they leak stuff to maintain good press relations, to test out ideas, to hurt their in-government rivals, or to let information be generally known without having to answer difficult questions about it (for example, letting the press report on "secret" drone strike in Yemen without a press-conference where embarrassing questions about civilian casualties might come up). Read the rest

What's happening to Trump's popularity? Parsing the polls with Nate Silver

Silver's predictions of the election outcome took much of the shine off the statistician-pollster-guru, and no amount of statistical spin ("we were expressing our confidence that the unpredictable wouldn't happen, but we left open the possibility of the unpredictable!") can restore it to its former glory, but this Fivethirtyeight explainer on the polls that show a huge variance in Trump's approval and disapproval ratings is the kind of detailed analysis that is mostly light, with little heat. Read the rest

How to find out what Trump's favorite big data machine knows about you

Cambridge Analytica is a dirty, Dementor-focused big data research outfit that provided the analysis and psych profiles that the Trump campaign used in its electioneering; because its parent company is in the UK, it is required (under EU law) to send you its dossier on you for £10. Read the rest

Almost everything Trump has done since taking office has been a meaningless publicity stunt

Though Steve Miller claims that Trump is "a president who has done more in three weeks than most presidents have done in an entire administration," the reality is that almost everything in his executive orders is either an inflammatory restatement of an existing policy; an unenforceable and meaningless intervention into domains where the administrative branch holds no sway; or (as in the case of the Muslim Ban), is an unconstitutional omnishambles destined to be swiftly undone by the courts. Read the rest

House Republicans just voted to defund the agency that fights election hacking

All of the GOP's bluster about election fraud couldn't save the budget for the Election Administration Commission, the federal agency that deals with software security risks in America's creating, Windows-2000-based voting machines. Read the rest

These are the questions the Dems should ask during Gorsuch's nomination

Gorsuch has written extensively on the role of judges' personal beliefs and the law; and on the politicization of the judicial confirmation process. Specifically, he called out Congress for its maltreatment of Merrick Garland when his federal judgeship was before the Senate. Read the rest

Utah's Jason Chaffetz meets the Resistance: protesters chant "DO YOUR JOB" at his town hall

Jason Chaffetz is a Republican lawmaker who led the Benghazi and Clinton email witch-hunts in his capacity on the Congressional Oversight Committee; when he returned to Utah for a town hall meeting, he was met by thousands of angry constituents who chanted "do your job" and called on him to investigate Trump's many irregularities, from foreign interference with the election results to his refusal to release his tax returns to his many conflicts of interest. Read the rest

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