How Hate Groups Forced Online Platforms to Reveal Their True Nature

08/21/17 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/21/magazine/how-hate-groups-forced-online-platforms-to-reveal-their-true-nature.html

The recent rise of all-encompassing internet platforms promised something unprecedented and invigorating: venues that unite all manner of actors — politicians, media, lobbyists, citizens, experts, corporations — under one roof. These companies promised something that no previous vision of the public sphere could offer: real, billion-strong mass participation; a means for affinity groups to find one another and mobilize, gain visibility and influence. This felt and functioned like freedom, but it was always a commercial simulation. This contradiction is foundational to what these internet companies are.
In the process of building private communities, these companies had put on the costumes of liberal democracies. They borrowed the language of rights to legitimize arbitrary rules, creating what the technology lawyer Kendra Albert calls ‘‘legal talismans.’’ This was first and foremost operationally convenient or even necessary: What better way to avoid liability and responsibility for how customers use your product? It was also good marketing. It’s easier to entrust increasingly large portions of your private and public life to an advertising and data-mining firm if you’re led to believe it’s something more. But as major internet platforms have grown to compose a greater share of the public sphere, playing host to consequential political organization — not to mention media — their internal contradictions have become harder to ignore. Far before Charlottesville, they had already become acute.

The Real Civil War in the Democratic Party

08/07/17 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: Politicks

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/26/opinion/democrats-divided-new-plan.html?_r=0

 

 

Most members of the Democratic Party establishment are pragmatists who made it where they are by working within the system that exists, not the one they wish existed. They often have frustration bordering on contempt for those who lack their hardheaded realism.

For those outside the centers of power, it’s far easier to disdain the trade-offs inherent in leadership. After all, voters can look at the political establishment and see a whole lot of consultants and lobbyists getting rich (win or lose).

 

The retreat of western liberalism

07/24/17 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: Politicks

Link: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/19/books/review-retreat-of-western-liberalism-edward-luce.html

The strongest glue holding liberal democracies together, Luce argues, is economic growth, and when that growth stalls or falls, things tend to take a dark turn. With growing competition for jobs and resources, losers (those he calls the “left-behinds”) seek scapegoats for their woes, and consensus becomes harder to reach as politics devolves into more and more of a zero-sum game.

Inequality

07/15/17 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

Link: http://www.economist.com/node/17929013

One of the best articles on inequality I've read in some time.

Consider:

  • Depending on how you measure, you come up with radically different sorts.
    • Sort by Wealth - Sweden become less equal than Britain
    • Sort by Income
    • Sort by consumption - Bill Gates has millions but he doesn't eat millions of meals or own millions of cars
  • Assortive Mating:  Modern society favors the intelligent.  Smart people now marry smart people and have smart kids - furthering inequality of innate (and nutured) talent.

DePhazz - Good Boy

07/11/17 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: song of the day

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