Juicy Ghost: Rudy Rucker's tale of an American coup

"Juicy Ghost" is a new tale from Rudy Rucker (previously), an explicitly politican sf story told from the point of view of a suicide-assassin who is getting ready to take out an illegitimate president during his inauguration; as Rucker describes, he really struggled with the story, and couldn't figure out where or if to publish (he even contemplated rebooting his late, great, much-lamented webzine Flurb with an "all-politics" issue as a means of giving the story a home). Read the rest

US election security: still a dumpster fire

Securing Our Cyber Future, Stanford Cyber Policy Center's new report on election security, depicts a US electoral system whose glaring vulnerabilities are still in place, three years after the chaos of the 2016 elections. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren profile: portrait of a savvy politician who appeals to working people, and who can get stuff done

Sheelah Kolhatkar's 10,000 word New Yorker profile of Elizabeth Warren is mostly a "color piece," giving a sense of where Warren is coming from, personally and politically; as such, it's a good read, but mostly redundant if you've already read Warren's (very good) 2018 book This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class; that said there's a couple of key political insights that are very timely for anyone trying to figure out whom to support in the Democratic presidential primary (I am a donor to both Warren's and Sanders's primary campaigns). Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's latest campaign plank is a national Right-to-Repair law for farm equipment

Senator Elizabeth Warren is hoping to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020; she distinguishes herself from other left-wing Democrats like Bernie Sanders in her belief that capitalism is a force for good, but must be reformed and subjected to democratic control, while Sanders and the DSA are skeptical of capitalism and its long-term future (Disclosure: I donated to both the Sanders and Warren 2020 campaigns). Read the rest

The eminently electable Bernie Sanders enjoys strong support from African-Americans and young people

When critics want to dismiss Bernie Sanders's bid to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, the say that he is too old and too white, and incapable of bringing young people and racialized people to the polls, the way that, say, Obama did in 2008 (after all, American politics is as much a contest of who votes and who doesn't as it about whom they vote for). Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren reveals her plan to break up Big Tech

Would-be Democratic Presidential nominee Elizabeth Warren (I've donated to her campaign, as well as Bernie Sanders') has published her latest policy prescription: a plan to break up Big Tech monopolists to protect the public's privacy and the interests of small-business competitors. Read the rest

Trump's properties routinely employed (and abused) undocumented Latinx workers, including dozens from a single Costa Rican town

The Washington Post tracked down workers from Santa Teresa de Cajon in Costa Rica, who say that they and their neighbors were part of a "pipeline" from Central America to Trump properties in New Jersey and elsewhere, where they worked doing construction, groundskeeping, and cleaning, with the full knowledge of their supervisors and Trump Organization managers (a claim verified by a police report detailing a warning from local officials to Trump Organization bosses about the number of undocumented workers on Trump's property). Read the rest

The Curse of Bigness: Tim Wu channels Brandeis on Big Tech (and Big Everything Else)

Tim Wu (previously) is best known for coining the term "Net Neutrality" but the way he got there was through antitrust and competition scholarship: in his latest book, The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age, Wu takes a sprightly-yet-maddening tour through the history of competition policy in the USA, which has its origins in curbing the near-limitless power of the robber barons in the name of creating a pluralistic, open society where anyone could participate, only to have this vision perverted by extremists from the Chicago School, who sold (with the help of wealthy backers) a wholly fictional version of what Congress intended with its antitrust rules. According to Chicago's version of things, the only thing antitrust should concern itself with is the highly technical and speculative question of "consumer harm" (in the form of higher prices) and not competition itself. Read the rest

How a political outsider's fundraising tool is helping insurgent, working-class Dems mount primary challenges and campaigns

Grassroots Analytics is a small, obscure founded by Danny Hogenkamp, a 24-year-old who studied Arabic in college and had not been involved in politics until he joined the 2016 Congressional campaign of Colleen Deacon in Syracuse, a working-class single mom campaigning on economic justice issues. Read the rest

Senator Mark Warner's Stop STUPIDITY Act would protect federal employees' pay during shutdowns

Senator Mark Warner [D-VA] has introduced the Stop STUPIDITY (Shutdowns Transferring Unnecessary Pain and Inflicting Damage In The Coming Years) Act, which would "keep the government running in the case of a lapse in funding by automatically renewing government funding at the same levels as the previous year," while continuing to leave the the legislative branch and the Executive Office of the President unfunded, which "will force Congress and the White House to come to the negotiating table without putting at risk the economy or hurting the American public." Read the rest

Matt Taibbi on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vs the US political establishment

Matt Taibbi (previously) is in characteristically fine form here: the average Congressjerk is mythologized as a "brilliant 4-D chess player" but "would lose at checkers to a zoo gorilla": they are only in office because "someone with money sent them there, often to vote yes on a key appropriation bill or two. On the other 364 days of the year, their job is to shut their yaps and approximate gravitas anytime they’re in range of C-SPAN cameras." Read the rest

AOC's debut speech as Congresswoman is the most popular Congressional video in C-SPAN history

It's been three days since C-SPAN posted Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's amazing, stirring freshman speech from the floor of Congress, and it has smashed all Congressional C-SPAN records with 3.1m views (as of the time of writing); at this rate, it may catch up with C-SPAN's most popular Senate video, the Kamala Harris/Brett Kavanaugh video, with 7.14m views. Read the rest

An interactive timeline of race categories in the US Census

Every ten years, the US government is constitutionally mandated to carry out a census: the first census, in 1790, only counted "the head of household and the number of free white males, other free persons and slaves in each household." Read the rest

Arizona's kick-ass new bisexual Senator took her oath on the US Constitution, administered by cringing, homophobic Dominionist Mike Pence

Last week, incoming Senator Kyrsten Sinema [D-AZ] was sworn in by Mike Pence, in his aspect as President of the Senate, choosing to take her oath on a book containing both the Constitutions of the United States of America and Arizona, a tome repeating the framers' prohibition on the US government's establishment a state religion or discrimination on the basis of faith or lack thereof. Read the rest

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a plan to pay for the Green New Deal: a 70% tax on the super-rich

How can America possibly fund a radical transformation into a carbon-free economy, centered on preparing for the coming centuries of climate crises? ACO knows: a 70% tax on people with more than $10,000,000/year in earnings: “I think that it only has ever been radicals that have changed this country...If that’s what radical means, call me a radical." (via Mitch Wagner) Read the rest

The longest-serving Congressman in US history proposes a four fixes for American democracy

From 1955 to 2015, John D. Dingell served in the US House of Representatives, making him the longest-serving Congressman in the country's history: now, in the Atlantic, he warns that at the 2016 election "put the future of our country in mortal peril," and he proposes four measures to bring it back from the brink. Read the rest

A seemingly ingenious, simple solution to nonrepresentative government and gerrymandering

Forbes's Steven Salzberg rejects the claims of those who say that the House of Representatives will be made more responsive by increasing the number of reps to 593 (or so), this being the cube-root of the number of Americans, and this ratio being considered desirable by some political scientists. Read the rest

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