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[personal profile] kiaa
"Two Democratic Party donors and a former party staff member have filed an invasion of privacy lawsuit against President Trump’s campaign and a longtime informal adviser, Roger J. Stone Jr., accusing them of conspiring in the release of hacked Democratic emails and files that exposed their personal information to the public."

On one side, what's most damning here is that it's not just damaging information to Hillary that was used by Trump's campaign, but personal information that resulted in people attempting to steal their identities, and in one case, outing a man who was gay and in the closet. That not only crosses the line, but erases it entirely.

However, having said that, will the plaintiffs succeed? Republicans took information that was dumped by Wikileaks and ran with it. But, if I understand this correctly, the information the Republicans used was public domain when Wikileaks released it. So yeah, it's pretty sleazy, but I don't see the plaintiffs winning this case. The Trump campaign did not divulge this information. They only used it. Can Wikileaks be sued in an international court? If so, what are the plaintiff's chances there? And, if they can win there, can they collect? And, on the domestic front, is Trump liable for passing along information that was already dumped to the public by Wikileaks? It's not like these aren't important questions.

For the sake of discussion, let's don't assume a connection between the Trump campaign and Russia here. Let's just go with what we already know regarding Wikileaks and the lawsuit. Doesn't the whole case look more like a temper tantrum by the Dems? A case with no legs - yes or no?
oportet: (Default)
[personal profile] oportet
Do we really have to start talking about this now? Didn't we just finish up? Don't we need a little bit of a break?

What do you think?


No - it isn't nonsense Friday - this shit is real. The most electrifying man in sports entertainment has tossed his hat into the ring (kind of...).

Not many details at the moment though. He is a registered Republican - but with the incumbent party being Republican, maybe he'll go indy. Will this turn our political process into a circus? If you don't think it is already, it shouldn't be too hard to convince you the answer is no.

Obama may be the best speech-giver to be President, Trump may be the biggest celebrity to be President - but those titles will be short-lived if this works out.

Is there anyone - anyone at all - politician, celebrity, any household name, more well known AND liked than The Rock? Q scores are hard to come by - seems they don't actually release lists - I'm not entirely sure who 'they' even are - but he appears to be near, next to, or even above Tom Hanks and Peyton Manning at times.

Sure, it can't last - he'll have to pick sides on issues, guaranteeing around half the country loses a little respect for him, one issue at a time. If he makes it through the gauntlet - he'll likely drop from 'loved by everyone' to 'OMG literally Hitler', but for the time being - he's one of the frontrunners.
[identity profile]
Some of you may've watched last weekend's John Oliver segment about the UK elections (a major clusterfuck for Mrs May and the hard-Brexiters; but that's another long story). As ridiculous as some aspects of that election might have been, the one that sticks out for me is the inclusion of one Lord Buckethead, a mock candidate (they've got many in the UK) who ran against and eventually personally faced Mrs May.

He got 249 votes. And he had the most sensible message among them all. Which says a lot, really.

By the way, this isn't the first time Lord Buckethead had run in UK elections. Last two times were against Thatcher and Major.

Details: HERE.

Oh, and John Oliver has a neat idea about the upcoming Brexit negotiations, which are in shambles:

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[identity profile]

Centrism could be radical too, and win electoral battles, as it turns out. Emmanuel Macron has shown this with his landslide win over FN frontlady Marine Le Pen on the 2nd round of the French presidential election last weekend. With 2/3 of the vote, Macron became the youngest president in the history of the French Republic (he's 39).

But the hardships only start from here. In order to pass his planned economic, administrative and social reforms, the new president will be needing a solid majority in parliament. The parliamentary election is next month, and Macron's new party En Marche would hardly be able to repeat his landslide victory at the presidential election. The first round of this election showed the serious divide: there's the French left around Melanchon, the traditional conservative Republicans, and then Front Nationale.

Read more... )
[identity profile]
Got to love France.

They may have confined the epidemic of stupidity to the Anglo-Saxon nations. Maybe this pressages a tipping point where certain methods of spreading disinformation will no longer be useful to influence the voting public.

Do the panel think that:

1. We have reached the tipping point, and the use of social media in influencing elections will slowly diminish from this high point?


2. It is merely a small oscillation in everyone's ever-increasing reliance on social media. Next time it will be even more important.


3. It's all too chaotic to call. Something new may come along to supplant the way we consume social media which will change the paradigm yet again.

It is my contention that having just been through a period where society has had to adapt to the birth and nasceny of social media, some period of consolidation is required. Now with historical cycles of similarities getting of smaller duration, this period of consolidation may only be a few weeks long rather than the decades required to bed down similar changes in society in historical times. But I do wonder if the tactics of dropping some "information bomb" when it is too late to be checked has reached its sell-by date, and may now actually become counter-productive. So I guess the intel bods in this asymmetrical warfare will have to come up with new tactics, if not a new strategy entirely.

So what do we think will replace this tactic in the war for the hearts and minds of folk in the computer-dependent nations? The long term drip-feed of disinformation looks to be a brilliant tactic. Look at Poor Hillary. Can't convict on financial things or anything else, as she has been very well-advised, so... Child molesting? Pizzas? Pure genius. (Right up until some nutter starts shooting-up the Pizza place. But that's just collateral damage and doesn't really count.)

Any other intersting tactics spring to anyone's mind? Then, as and if they happen, we can play Intel Tactic Bingo as a drinking game. Not of course that the rest of us need an excuse to seek oblivion from the bottle.
[identity profile]

Is the only way to stop this sort of thing from affecting the voting population a proper education? The mixing of the real and the fabricated in these releases leaks means that separating the fact from the fiction is hugely time consuming. And then, given the timing of the leak....

Maybe the time has come for Mr Assange to be put in prison like the rapist he appears to be: but the fact that his Wikileaks platform has just become an accessory to destabilising quite a few nation-states' elections means that any prison sentence would be considered political. This may be a shame from the point-of-view of Mr Assange's purported victim, and may be a shame from the point of view of most nation-states going through elections, but may be necessary given the political situation.

However... The rest of us have our opinion. May Mr Assange spend more time with his friends. People like him. (I sometimes picture him in a threesome with The Donald and Uncle Vlad. All happy boys together.) The rest of us can happily turn our backs upon him. I'm sure he will come out from under his rock as and when someone nameless feeds him more disinformation for him to distribute in the hope of destabilising our polities.

After this release it is my opinion that Wikileaks is a busted flush, and a mere propaganda tool for sale to anyone who can get Julian off his rape charge.
[identity profile]
Gee, I'm beginning to like this woman. She knows just when to stomp on her opponents' necks. I think her and old Winston would have gotten along famously.

I suppose she believes the time is right to send Labour into the abyss, now that Corbyn's been doing horrifically at the moment. It seems unthinkable that he'd win, so in a smart PR move, she's hoping to be able to use the inevitable victory to springboard into a full-legitimization mode, and sell the argument that yes, people actually do want her Brexit. Har har...

This looks likely to become the largest conservative majority in modern UK history. Labour could be absolutely crushed in this election. The Tories will get the sort of majority that could take another two elections to reverse, if not more. In the meantime, I expect the Lib Demds would probably surge. Not sure about UKIP, but they seem to have fulfilled their mission and look expendable at this point. All this plays too well into the Tories' hands.

There are alternative theories as well )
[identity profile]
I know, it's a constitutional right: if you still have citizenship of your country of origin, most constitutions say it shouldn't matter if you've lived abroad for decades. You have the right to vote.

For example, federal law gives US expats who no longer are residents of any state the right to vote in presidential, senate and house elections in the state in which they were last residents as if they were still residents there. But does this really make sense? For example, decades after leaving Connecticut, the expat living in Bangkok has the right to vote for congressman and senator from his old district and to vote for the Connecticut electors in the presidential race. I'm not seeing how this makes a lot of sense.

Most recently, there was a row in Canada (about a couple years ago) over Harper's (quite successful) efforts to disenfranchise Canadian expats from voting. More recently, British citizens also lost a legal battle in court over UK's ban of expats from voting on the EU referendum (political calculation?) On the other hand, now probably in a display of political calculation, the Tories are planning to lift a ban on 15 year expats from voting.

Some context... )
[identity profile]
First, some context:

3 die in protests after South Korean president removed from office

China plans to increase number of Marine Corps from 20,000 to 100,000 to boost global presence

What's the connection, you may ask. Well, do bear with me. See, three people have died in the riots in Seoul that followed the verdict of the Constitutional court that confirmed the removal of president Park Geun-hye because of big abuse of power. There were protests for and against her on the streets around the court, and the drama eventually boiled over into clashes with the police forces. Hence the casualties. Both crying and jubilant people filled the news reports coming from various correspondents covering the events. Even foreign journalists were mildly hurt amidst all the chaos.

Read more... )
[identity profile]

There are elections coming up in the Netherlands. And everyone's talking about Geert Wilders and his Party of Freedom, the xenophobic chauvinistic populists who've been poisoning the political discourse there for years. According to the latest polls, Wilders and his cohort are most likely going to end up the second biggest party after the ruling VVD (conservative liberals). Even if Wilders does get a slight edge and finishes first, he'd still need a coalition partner to make a government, unless he somehow gets 50%+ of the votes, which is unlikely.

Read more... )
[identity profile]
The results of the West Australian state election last night are certainly quite dramatic with the incoming Labor government gaining over 10% of the vote in a two-party preferred basis and on-track to increase their parliamentary representation from 21 to 40 or more. As impressive as the change might be, it certainly was also predicted and various opinion pollsters can be quite pleased with their predicted results with Newspoll, ReachTel, and Galaxy all predicting a 54-46 TPP result.

Commentators, especially from the conservative camp, have been very quick to try to explain what went wrong. The outgoing Premier, Colin Barnett, expressed what is a favourite talking point:"time was probably against us", and there is a bit of truth in the statement. Except for the most incompetent, a government typically will receive an improvement in their second term, and experience a modest swing against them in their third term. But surely any conservative who is honest with themselves, would know that this would account only for a few percent. The sheer size of the swing does not constitute a lackadaisical "let's let the other side have a go".

Others will hone in on election campaign itself, and certainly this has a more significant influence. Running a campaign can be a tricky business with the potential for conflict between the leader's office, the party office, MPs going off script, and having to keep party members and volunteers enthusiastic and supportive. From all accounts, the campaign run by Mark McGowan and Labor was far superior to that of the Liberals, many of whom are busy writing checklists of what went wrong. Doubtless those lists will include the much maligned preference deal with the extreme right One Nation Party. A month ago, it was considered a masterstroke that would lead to the Barnett government winning a fourth term as ON was polling at 13% (they received around 4.5%). But tainted with ON's odorous extremism, and with massive infighting within that party, it turned out to be an enormous liability; lie with dogs and you'll get fleas. In addition, relations between the Liberals and their supposed partners the Nationals, were extremely fractious. For their part the Nationals who proposed large increases in resource taxes, did not lose votes. Combine these effects, and tick off another few percent.

At this point most commentators are apparently flummoxed, confused to work out where another several percentage points of swing came from. Of course these are well-paid members of the chattering class, comfortable in their position in the new economy. They never have experienced, or in a very few cases have forgotten, the dire and grinding insecurity that comes with poverty in Western Australia. One commentator, Natalie Mast, (and she erred on One Nation) picked up the role of economic matters; high levels of unemployment, low economic growth, large mortgages, and massive government debt. Having failed to deliver twenty years of high growth, and failed to reduce levels of debt (already high four years ago), the government's plans to privitise the the state electricity utility was not well received.

Ultimately, the most important issue in the election was economic security, and that's what the results show. The Barnett government did not spend wisely in the last term, and was arguably downright profligate. Investment in infrastructure can be very useful, but only when it's needed. Expensive projects releasing land in the inner city is fine and probably has long-term benefits, but not when there's already a 30% vacancy in office and retail space. Expansions to road projects are sometimes welcome but certainly not through environmentally sensitive areas and certainly not with questionable contracts (notably the WA Greens also had a stable result). High unemployment, expensive mortgages, and government debt; for poorer West Australians they would have known all too well that it would only be a matter of time before public services were cut. The situation of course was not helped by the Federal LNP supporting a recent decision to cut penalty rates. The Federal justice minister Michael Keenan has claimed "Penalty rates and federal issues have been no issue in this campaign". Keep telling yourself that Michael; the people of WA know differently.
[identity profile]
CIA and FBI Now Agree: Russians Hacked to Help Trump

All right. Let's clear something out. To all those who are fuming over Putin's intervention in the US election, I'd like to remind that trying to manipulate elections is actually a well-known American sport. It was the CIA that started their work by intervening in foreign elections as early as 1948, when they influenced the outcome of the Italian elections. There's a book by Tim Weiner about it, called Legacy of Ashes. The purpose was to halt the advancement of the communists in Italian politics.

It was shortly thereafter that that CIA engineered the coup against Mossadegh in Iran. He was the democratically elected leader, right? Wasn't America supposed to be promoting democracy? Well, not really. The US conspired together with the British to install the Shah. We all know what happened after that. Axis of Evil? You created it, and now you're complaining about it!

And then there was Guatemala, Chile... The list could go on for quite a while. Hell, it even includes Japan, the paragon of post-war democracy! The liberal democrats there came to dominate Japanese politics in the early decades of that democracy. Sounds good - except that happened largely thanks to millions of dollars of covert CIA donations. We don't want the people to choose the wrong politicians, do we?

So let`s see now )
[identity profile]
It's kind of surprising that the French conservatives have figured Francois Fillon exists just now, because now in hindsight (granted), he matches the current political situation in France quite nicely, when you think of it. The former prime-minister is the perfect presidential candidate: socially orientated, yet conservative, staunch Catholic, detractor to Islam, self-declared patriot with nationalist overtones, advocate for radical, neo-liberal economic reforms.

Francois Fillon doesn't need hectic introduction in the weeks to come, he's been part of the center-right (or maybe close to right-wing) for years, and he doesn't have Sarkozy's baggage (which is why the latter was rejected in the primaries of the French conservative party). Fillon has won his party's primaries, and he can immediately move on into general-election mode, because he doesn't need time to re-position himself along the political spectrum, or steal votes from Marine Le Pen like Sarko tried to do, because he's been enjoying the support of the right-wing base all along anyway - and it seems France has a lot of that these days.

Read more... )
[identity profile]
...When Trump is confronted with a possible conspiracy that presumably worked in his favour, he instantaneously counters with a conspiracy theory of his own. It's like a knee-jerk reflex at this point.

Trump Claims, With No Evidence, That ‘Millions of People’ Voted Illegally

And since we're in the era of post-truth (whatever that's supposed to mean anyway), a lie told a hundred maybe two times, becomes truth. Right?

Here is the thing )
[identity profile]
Greetings, my fellow shocked political observers political clairvoyants! Now that the dust of the election has settled somewhat, I shall say a few words on the issue as well. See, the whole world was watching with dismay, morbid curiosity and growing horror how the tragicomical and rather vulgar reality show that the US presidential campaign unraveled for the last few months. And though the monopolar world model has fast been sinking back into history for quite a while, the choice of the h'American people was still bound to have long-lasting implications on a global scale. So the world was watching nervously, waiting to see the outcome of this "choice between two evils". We wanted to know which would be "the lesser evil" for us all. And we were bracing ourselves for what was to come, and making bets on who the next one to be bombed would be - presumably depending on h'America's choice (I did promise to call her so from now on, didn't I?)

Although there were more than two candidates on the ballot (at least on paper), the realities of the plutocratic bipolar parisan model were such that it all boiled down to a choice between Hillary and Donald, which is a choice that looked as if borrowed from a crappy comedy - or rather, a dystopian novel. This made the outside observer wonder if it was more comforting or horrifying that the political circus in the world's hegemon was even more absurd than the one back home (and I can promise you, our own political circus is quite ridiculous).

I don't think it would be an overstatement if I said that this was a clash between the embodiment of absolute cynicism and the one of complete grotesquery. Because in fact, most of the nasty things that the two opponents and their supporters flung at each other, were actually true.

Warning: rather longish ramble inside )
[identity profile]

Hey, h'America! It's been a great/disastrous/??? day for democracy, hasn't it? See, we've had our own Mityo "Pishtova" (The Gun) for presidential candidate around here too, and though he couldn't win the election despite promising free meatballs and lemonade for everyone who dared vote for him, seems like the h'American* version of Mityo has earned a brilliant and shocking victory.

Well done, h'America! You've completely jumped the shark now, and proven to be the most [insert expletive containing intelligence-related overtones]** nation on this fucking planet. One thing is for sure: there'll be a lot of LOLs from here on. But even more cringes.

Is h`America fucked, and how fucked is it? )
[identity profile]

Yeah, you knew this was coming. Now that Election Day is upon y'all, my American friends, here's the place to dump all our stories, reports, projections, speculations, impressions, and rants about the voting.

It's been a wild, wild race. And some may've prayed that it could be over way ago. Still, it's going to be a thrilling, if a bit anxious day for everyone. The long campaign is coming to a climactic ending.

Hillary Clinton sounded confident yesterday as she sought to cut off any path to the coveted 270 electoral votes for opponent Donald Trump. The billionaire, for his part, promised that his supporters would propel him to a surprise victory. Both have crisscrossed the country during one of the most frantic stretches of the campaign, featuring dozens of appearances in a number of separate rallies heading into Election Day.

Polls have been rolling in by the hour, the majority showing Mrs Clinton with the edge nationally. The picture may look a bit different as far as the Senate and House are concerned, though.

And let's not forget that there are tens of local referenda on various issues, from gun control to minimum wages to legalising pot - plus the gubernatorial races. But the biggest of them all is the presidential election, which could be viewed as a referendum on hate and division in some sense.

Where to follow the election live )

Livestreams and Youtube coverage )

Facebook, Twitter and Google coverage )

Charts and graphs and stuff )
[identity profile]
...And perhaps it's time to speculate a little. Here is an interactive map of the US election. You can click on each state and define who you think would take the votes there. I'd like to hear your prediction about the House election as well. Which will be the tightest races, and which will be a landslide?

As for the presidential one, most analysts (and the polls) suggest it's going to be pretty damn tight. The recent FBI involvement in the election regarding the re-opening of the inquiry into Hillary Clinton's emails, has shifted the momentum into Trumps direction somewhat - and the fact he has stayed away from controversy in the last days before the vote, have helped him too in that respect. Seems like whoever of the two nominees gets into the spotlight, that's always bad news for them, and it's probably better if they stay away and don't say anything at all. But I digress.

Your take on the election outcome, president- and House-wise?
[identity profile]

From Raw Story: As the most divisive presidential election in recent memory nears its conclusion, some armed militia groups are preparing for the possibility of a stolen election on Nov. 8 and civil unrest in the days following a victory by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Three years ago, in the course of a discussion about RW attempts to rehabilitiate Chilean dictator Pinochet, I wrote the following about the potential for increased RW violence in this country:

Over the long term, demographics are working against them. Given the amount of money and power involved, I can easily imagine, some years down the line, voter suppression and gerrymandering not working any more and powerful interests resorting to raw physical force...

We have, for instance, an increasingly militarized police force blurring the lines between military and police action... I'm not positing a coup exactly like what happened in Chile. For one thing, we don't have the equivalent of a larger, more powerful and wealthy country deliberately destabilizing us to soften us up for a military coup.

Sooooo, here we are. We have a candidate from a major political party who has been more than flirting with violence. We have an already heavily armed, increasingly radicalized section of the population indicating that if the election does not go the way they want, they will simply not recognize its outcome and quite possibly attempt to overturn it by force. We also have indications of another country attempting to affect the outcome of our election.

Looks to me like my earlier predictions were not, as some claimed, "hysterical" or "hyperbolic," but possibly a bit too conservative.

A coup in the wake of Hillary Clinton winning the election? Probably not, but I'm just not as positive about that as I used to be. As I said, there's a lot of money at stake, and the Republicans have for years been chipping away at the idea that liberalism (or what they perceive as liberalism) has any place at all in our political process. I am convinced there are powerful RW interests who, if they had to choose between a liberal administration and chucking the whole system, would be willing to chuck the whole system. What was the constant Repubican obstructionism over the past eight years but a denial of the right of a liberal president to govern at all?

Let's be clear about this. The concerns about voter "fraud" are bogus, and the people citing it know it's bogus. They may not yet be willing to admit it, but these people define voting Democratic as "voter fraud."

At the least, I think we are going to face an uptick in right wing terrorism worse than what we saw in the 1990s. As someone who lives in San Francisco, I suspect I would not be as vulnerable to that kind of violence as others. But I have family members living in the deep south and that does worry me.
[identity profile]
A popular showman with a huge ego who often likes to get involved in politics in my tiny God-forgotten country, has initiated a referendum on several questions that he believes are of national importance. Since we're going to have presidential elections next month as well, the vote will be combined with this referendum. After some reviewing from our constitutional court, some of the questions were dropped, and now we have a watered-down version of the referendum (whose results won't have a binding power anyway). But even the questions that have remained on the ballot, I think, are complete and utter bullshit, and are not going to tackle any of our political problems in a meaningful way. Here's why.

The questions reviewed, one by one )

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Divisive Rhetoric


"Favoring multiculturalism is something Westerners give a lot of lovely lip service to until they have to actually do it."

September 2017

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