The American right spent generations lauding the "free enterprise" spirit of "cutting red tape," contrasting its private sector ethos with the stodgy, Stalinist ways of the USSR, where bureaucrats weaponize forms and other paperwork to oppress the citizenry.
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Chelsea Manning spent seven years in federal prison for blowing the whistle on illegal actions by the US in Iraq and around the world; while imprisoned, she transitioned her gender and changed her name, and, on her release, found herself unpersoned, unable to identify herself to the satisfaction of the state, despite being one of the most famous people in America and despite the state's unquenchable thirst for our personal data (and her's especially). Read the rest
Ian Welsh says that the USSR collapsed because its promises -- "a cornucopia and a withering away of the state" -- conspicuously failed to materialize; now, neoliberalism's promises ("If the rich have more money, they will create more jobs; Lower taxes will lead to more prosperity; Increases in housing and stock market prices will increase prosperity for everyone; Trade deals and globalization will make everyone better off") are likewise being shown to be lies, and so we're in crisis. Read the rest
The European Commission is considering new Internet regulations that would make online services legally liable for their users' bad actions, meaning that services like Youtube, Facebook, and the comments section of your favorite website would have to somehow review everything that users post before making it public, assessing all user-submitted material for its legal compliance with a bewildering array of international guidelines. Read the rest
A meditation on the problem of updating bureaucracies' databases that presently only support reciprocal "husband-wife" relationships, but not "husband-husband" or "wife-wife". Read the rest
The leaked secret strategic plans of Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi -- who served in the Iraqi army under Saddam and later masterminded the Islamic State -- reveal the surveillance at the heart of Islamic State's military success. Read the rest