…so…on the one hand it’s sunday & in a sane world that would mean taking it easy & this ought to be nice & short…but on the other hand…do we get to claim we’re in one of those?
[…which reminds me…if you click the little number that keeps count of the comments right under the title you can jump this whole mess & land at the bottom like it never intruded into your day…just sayin’]
Two U.S. senators, a Democrat and a Republican, are working to attract support for a vote to censure former President Donald Trump now that it appears the Senate is unlikely to convict him on the House impeachment article.https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/senators-consider-censure-alternative-impeachment-trial-in-view-of-likely-trump-acquittal
…& it is, too…of the 21 “maybe” votes on that WaPo count only 12 come from the GOP side of things…& we know several of those voted to say they’d sooner ditch the whole proceeding & treat it the same way they did the emoluments stuff
The point of comparison for the Senate as McConnell has shaped it is the middle of the 20th century, when a conservative coalition of Republicans and Dixiecrats made the chamber a graveyard of liberal legislation and social reform. Consensus didn’t matter. Power did. And it wasn’t until liberals wrested power from this coalition — in the House as well as the Senate — that they could take the initiative and begin work on an otherwise popular agenda.
There is no question the Senate is supposed to be slow, even sluggish. But it’s not supposed to be an endless bottleneck. The framers wanted stability in government, not stagnation. What we have now, with the filibuster intact, is a Senate that can barely move.
This isn’t just a problem for President Biden and the Democratic Party; it’s a problem for the entire constitutional order. Our system is built around Congress; Congress makes laws, Congress holds the purse strings, Congress hands out mandates, Congress checks the president and makes sure the judiciary stays in its lane.
When Congress doesn’t act, other actors take up the slack. The story of our democracy these last 10 years is, in part, the story of how a listless, sclerotic Senate broke Congress and pushed the other branches to govern in its stead, with the president and the courts making as much policy as they can without congressional input, with all the capriciousness, whiplash and uncertainty that can come from that.I’m Not Actually Interested in Mitch McConnell’s Hypocrisy [NYT]
…do nothing until they run out the clock to a point where they can claim the time for doing anything is passed
…glaring evidence be damned
Three weeks ago, the unthinkable happened in America: Pro-Trump activists stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Except for many, it was quite thinkable. It was thought aloud in some cases.
As former president Donald Trump faces his second impeachment trial, Republicans are generally doing everything they can to avoid engaging on his actual culpability in sparking the insurrection. They’ve instead made process arguments, such as saying that convicting him now that he is out of office would be unconstitutional.https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/28/who-could-have-predicted-capitol-siege-plenty-of-people-including-trump-allies
Federal prosecutors investigating the violent riot at the Capitol this month announced their first conspiracy charges against the Proud Boys on Friday night, accusing two members of the far-right nationalist group of working together to obstruct and interfere with law enforcement officers protecting Congress during the final certification of the presidential election.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/29/nyregion/proud-boys-charged-with-conspiracy-in-capitol-riot.html
When die-hard supporters of President Donald Trump showed up at rally point “Cowboy” in Louisville on the morning of Jan. 5, they found the shopping mall’s parking lot was closed to cars, so they assembled their 50 or so vehicles outside a nearby Kohl’s department store. Hundreds of miles away in Columbia, S.C., at a mall designated rally point “Rebel,” other Trump supporters gathered to form another caravan to Washington. A similar meetup — dubbed “Minuteman” — was planned for Springfield, Mass.
That same day, FBI personnel in Norfolk were increasingly alarmed by the online conversations they were seeing, including warlike talk around the convoys headed to the nation’s capital. One map posted online described the rally points, declaring them a “MAGA Cavalry To Connect Patriot Caravans to StopTheSteal in D.C.” Another map showed the U.S. Congress, indicating tunnels connecting different parts of the complex. The map was headlined, “CREATE PERIMETER,” according to the FBI report, which was reviewed by The Washington Post.
“Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in,” read one posting, according to the report.‘Be ready to fight’: FBI probe of U.S. Capitol riot finds evidence detailing coordination of an assault [WaPo]
Law enforcement knew but did not act. An FBI report the day before the Capitol was stormed quoted one extremist preparing for battle: “Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war,” according to an account in The Post.https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-us-is-finally-catching-up-to-the-domestic-terrorism-threat/2021/01/29/story.html
Even the Capitol Police, which allowed the mob to breach its security perimeter, saw an attack coming but couldn’t mobilize to stop it. The Post quoted from an internal Jan. 3 intelligence report: “Congress itself is the target on the 6th . . . there is the possibility that protesters may be inclined to become violent.”
…so in addition to probably not paying anyone dumb enough to represnt him
There was a consistent message from Ukraine’s leadership over everything from the Trump campaign’s dirt digging to Ukraine’s central role in the first impeachment proceedings: No comment.
But now, as the Biden administration settles in, some close allies of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky are opening up about one of the longest-running dramas from the Trump era — the blitz of meetings, messages and public statements in Ukraine by former president Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.Ukraine stayed quiet during Trump-era pressures. Now it’s sharing some Giuliani tales. [WaPo]
The new disclosures from Ukraine do not offer any bombshell revelations about Giuliani’s dealings. But they help fill in some blanks on his frantic — and unsuccessful — quest to press Ukraine to make statements seen as potentially helpful to the Trump reelection bid.
Ukraine’s willingness to discuss Giuliani’s forays also lands at a difficult time for the former New York mayor as he faces mounting personal battles, including a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems over alleged false claims about ballot rigging in the 2020 election.
The goal is to present the Senate with fresh evidence that reveals what Trump knew in advance of the Jan. 6 rampage at the Capitol, as well as how his words and actions influenced those who participated. The rioting left five dead, including one member of the U.S. Capitol Police. In addition, two officers, one with the D.C. Police Department, have since died by suicide.
The effort to present new video evidence and witness testimony appears designed to make Republican senators as uncomfortable as possible as they prepare to vote to acquit Trump, as most have indicated they will do. The prospect of injured police officers describing the brutality of pro-Trump rioters to Republicans who regularly present themselves as advocates of law enforcement could make for an extraordinary, nationally televised scene.
Yet the strategy appears to be on a collision course with the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans alike have expressed reluctance to allow witness testimony in the interest of limiting the trial’s length to about a week. Both parties are eager to move past the final days of Trump’s presidency, with Democrats hoping to turn their attention to President Biden’s ambitious legislative agenda, and Republicans hoping to shift attention away from their standard-bearer’s role in the shocking riot.https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-democrats-building-elaborate-emotionally-charged-case-against-trump/2021/01/29/story.html
…does the cheap crook in question even need a lawyer for this thing?
…because this kind of thing
…is entirely backwards
Now imagine the thing that needs to be fixed is rampant misinformation and debunked accusations that are exacerbating political tensions in the United States — which led to violence at the U.S. Capitol and threatens to spur more violence elsewhere.
The Republican Party has gotten used to the misinformation and baseless claims going on six years after Donald Trump first announced his bid for the presidency. It knew that QAnon had been infecting its political base for years and, last year, understood that the rise of QAnon-embracing Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District was a problem. Axios has new reporting to that end, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) even calling her primary opponent and acknowledging the risk her election posed.https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/29/hoarders-theory-of-republican-politics
Greene was “exactly the kind of fighter needed in Washington to stand with me against the radical left,” declared Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Debbie Meadows, who ran an influential political action committee and whose husband, Mark Meadows, became Trump’s chief of staff, gushed, “We cannot wait to welcome her to Congress.”
Greene, meanwhile, hired an advertising consultant who had once said the NAACP is “the Black KKK, only more violent and dangerous.” She spent $211,000 to advertise on Parler, the social media site that attracted adherents to QAnon, according to Federal Election Commission records. The next highest amount spent on Parler by a congressional candidate last year was $1,400. Parler declined to comment.
Now, Republicans have rewarded Greene with a coveted seat on the Education and Labor Committee, a post that she probably could not have won without the acquiescence of her onetime critics, McCarthy and Scalise.How Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, promoter of QAnon’s baseless theories, rose with support from key Republicans [WaPo]
Some Republican leaders, just as they did during her campaign, have once again expressed outrage at her comments, even as they stand by their decision to put her on the Education and Labor Committee.
…so it’s hardly surprising they’d be trying to take a look at the courts
President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats are vetting civil rights lawyers and public defenders to nominate as judges, embarking on a mission to shape the courts after Republicans overhauled them in the last four years, according to senior party officials and activists.
Democrats have a wafer-thin Senate majority that gives them control over appointments. They believe they have two years to make their mark and fill a growing number of vacancies before the midterm elections, where the party in power historically loses seats.
In addition to forming a new commission to study structural changes to the judiciary, the Biden White House has asked senators to recruit civil rights attorneys and defense lawyers for judgeships. Officials who work on the issue say they’ve seen an outpouring of interest and have begun holding sessions to offer information and advice on navigating the confirmation gauntlet.
Many Democrats remain furious about Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to let them fill a Supreme Court vacancy months ahead of the 2016 election, an extraordinary move that he followed by confirming a conservative justice the week before the 2020 election.
“I call it repair the courts,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview. “We have to make sure that we are filling vacancies with credible, neutral, fair-minded judges, rather than the political operatives that we saw so many of in the Trump years.”https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/after-trump-democrats-set-out-on-mission-to-repair-courts
…but, let’s face it…the displays of potentially-lethal stupidity on are by no means restricted to republican judges & politicians
…& while this kind of thing remains possible
“I don’t want to upset you, but there is some bad stuff on the internet,” Mr. Babcock recalled his father saying. Someone, somewhere, had written terrible things online about Guy Babcock and his brother, and members of their 86-year-old father’s social club had alerted him.
Mr. Babcock, a software engineer, got off the phone and Googled himself. The results were full of posts on strange sites accusing him of being a thief, a fraudster and a pedophile. The posts listed Mr. Babcock’s contact details and employer.
Mr. Babcock, 59, was not a thief, a fraudster or a pedophile. “I remember being in complete shock,” he said. “Why would someone do this? Who could it possibly be? Who would be so angry?”
Then he Googled his brother’s name. The results were just as bad.
He tried his wife.
His teenage nephew.
They had all been hit. The men were branded as child molesters and pedophiles, the women as thieves and scammers. Only his 8-year-old son had been spared.
Guy Babcock was about to discover the power of a lone person to destroy countless reputations, aided by platforms like Google that rarely intervene. He was shocked when he discovered the identity of the assailant, the number of other victims and the duration of the digital violence.A Vast Web of Vengeance [NYT]
[…for those that avoid the NYT…short version is one vidictive lady has been villifying swathes of people for years on a scale that seems like it ought to be implausible but sadly isn’t]
…boiling the whole thing down to the section 230 stuff seems like it isn’t going to cut it…& the flipside isn’t looking a whole lot prettier
The epistemic coup proceeds in four stages.
The first is the appropriation of epistemic rights, which lays the foundation for all that follows. Surveillance capitalism originates in the discovery that companies can stake a claim to people’s lives as free raw material for the extraction of behavioral data, which they then declare their private property.
The second stage is marked by a sharp rise in epistemic inequality, defined as the difference between what I can know and what can be known about me. The third stage, which we are living through now, introduces epistemic chaos caused by the profit-driven algorithmic amplification, dissemination and microtargeting of corrupt information, much of it produced by coordinated schemes of disinformation. Its effects are felt in the real world, where they splinter shared reality, poison social discourse, paralyze democratic politics and sometimes instigate violence and death.
In the fourth stage, epistemic dominance is institutionalized, overriding democratic governance with computational governance by private surveillance capital. The machines know, and the systems decide, directed and sustained by the illegitimate authority and anti-democratic power of private surveillance capital. Each stage builds on the last. Epistemic chaos prepares the ground for epistemic dominance by weakening democratic society — all too plain in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
We live in the digital century during the formative years of information civilization. Our time is comparable to the early era of industrialization, when owners had all the power, their property rights privileged above all other considerations. The intolerable truth of our current condition is that America and most other liberal democracies have, so far, ceded the ownership and operation of all things digital to the political economics of private surveillance capital, which now vies with democracy over the fundamental rights and principles that will define our social order in this century.
This past year of pandemic misery and Trumpist autocracy magnified the effects of the epistemic coup, revealing the murderous potential of antisocial media long before Jan. 6. Will the growing recognition of this other coup and its threats to democratic societies finally force us to reckon with the inconvenient truth that has loomed over the last two decades? We may have democracy, or we may have surveillance society, but we cannot have both. A democratic surveillance society is an existential and political impossibility. Make no mistake: This is the fight for the soul of our information civilization.The Coup We Are Not Talking About [NYT]
[…it’s not comfortable reading but that one might be worth checking out…or failing that maybe read the lady’s book – Shoshana Zuboff is a professor emeritus at Harvard Business School and the author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.”]
[…& letting a certain double-impeached ex-president that never won a popular vote back into their playground is on their docket…so…that’s…yeah…pretty much what you expected, I’m guessing]
…& even without the pandemic-related stuff to contend with
Facebook is allowing users to profit from the spread of potentially dangerous false theories and misinformation about the pandemic and vaccines, including deploying money-raising tools on pages with content flagged up by the social media giant’s own fact-checkers.
An investigation has found 430 pages – followed by 45 million people – using Facebook’s tools, including virtual “shops” and fan subscriptions, while spreading false information about Covid-19 or vaccinations.
The findings come despite a promise the platform made last year that no user or company should directly profit from false information about immunisation against Covid-19.https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/jan/30/facebook-letting-fake-news-spreaders-profit-investigators-claim
The research, by the London-headquartered Bureau of Investigative Journalism, is likely to have uncovered only a tiny snapshot of the vast amount of monetised misinformation on Facebook related to the pandemic and vaccines.
Some of the pages identified in the investigation also directed their followers to more extreme content that has been largely scrubbed from social media.
Groups spreading information flagged by fact-checkers as false have also used Facebook to fundraise. The Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), a US non-profit, is one of the most well-funded organisations in the US opposing vaccinations.
Yet despite removing the Highwire page, Facebook still allows ICAN to solicit donations from its more than 44,000 followers on a page that has had at least two posts flagged by fact-checkers. According to its page, ICAN has raised almost £24,000 since February 2020.
…we have some pressing concerns that require a baseline of veracity when it comes to mass dissemination of the relevant facts
The federal government collects data on evictions from public housing authorities. But it has little to no eviction information on the private rental market, where the vast majority of American renters live.The Black Hole at the Heart of the Eviction Crisis [NYT]
…damn…I had more…but I feel guilty on account of it’s sunday…& pretty much all of that stuff sucks…plus I’m running out of time before this is meant to be up…so…maybe you’d rather listen to this?
…or try & remember what janis said
…because I don’t know as the alternative is anything to brag about?