Showing posts with label Politics International. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics International. Show all posts

July 27, 2016

The DNC Email Scandal Was Anything But MoreLike a Little Gas

Image result for pissed sanders



The great e-mail-leak crisis of the Democratic National Convention may soon become yesterday’s news, but the story offers a useful window into what’s likely to be an increasingly common scenario.

To review: shortly before the Democratic Convention opened in Philadelphia this week, Wikileaks released a collection of almost twenty thousand e-mails by and to staff members of the Democratic National Committee. In the resulting brouhaha, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman, was forced to step down as the chair of the committee. (No one mourned her departure, apparently, because she was universally unpopular.)

Why did D.W.S., as she is known, have to leave the D.N.C.? Well, the gist is that Bernie Sanders and his supporters took offense at what appeared in several e-mails to be bias in favor of Hillary Clinton at Democratic Party headquarters, which is supposed to be neutral territory in a nomination fight. (The Washington Post has helpfully laid out “the most damaging things” contained in the e-mails.)

Sanders and his campaign had long publicly maintained that D.W.S. and the D.N.C. had worked to help Clinton during the primaries—by, for example, scheduling only a handful of debates, often in the viewing ghetto of Saturday night. In other words, there was already bad blood between the Sanders team and the D.N.C., which made this week’s unpleasantness deeply unsurprising. What was so terrible about the e-mails? In one, a D.N.C. staffer raised the possibility of Sanders being asked about his religious views, though it appears nothing came of the suggestion. In another, D.W.S. referred to a Sanders campaign official who had criticized her as a “damn liar.” A third showed her explicitly criticizing Sanders himself, saying he had “no understanding” of the Democratic Party. (This might be because Sanders has never been elected as a Democrat but, rather, always as an independent who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate.)

Do these e-mails strike anyone as appalling and outrageous? Not me. They strike me as . . . e-mails. The idea that people might speak casually or caustically via e-mail has been portrayed as a shocking breach of civilized discourse. Imagine! People bullshitting on e-mail!

But that is what people do on e-mail. They spout off, sound off, write first, and think later. Of course, people should do none of these things. They should weigh carefully the costs and benefits of each e-mail that they write, and consider the possibility that someone might make the e-mails public someday. (They should also change their passwords regularly and get lots of exercise.) Last year, unfiltered talk on e-mail also got several people in trouble in the notorious Sony hack. But the real question is whether any of these e-mails really matter. Do they reveal deep-seated political or philosophical flaws? Do they betray horrible character defects? In the case of the Democrats, it seems clear that the answer to these questions is no. The vast majority of the e-mails contain normal office chatter, inflated into a genuine controversy by people who already had axes to grind.

These sorts of issues are likely to recur, in the political world, the business world, and elsewhere. Hacks are virtually certain to become more common. Russian operatives are suspected of orchestrating the D.N.C. hack in an attempt to disrupt the Democratic Convention and help Vladimir Putin’s favored Presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But, beyond this single case, the sophistication of hackers, Russian or otherwise, is likely to outpace the rigor of e-mail-security measures for the foreseeable future. That means we’ll again be asked to parse the meaning of barely thought-through e-mails that were never meant to be public. We’ll all be better off if we evaluate e-mails in the spirit in which they’re written—or, better yet, write them off accordingly.

By Jeffrey Toobin, who has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1993 and the senior legal analyst for CNN since 2002

March 16, 2016

China Times: ‘Racist Trump Shows Democracy is Scary'


Mussolini and Hitler came to power through elections, China’s Global Times reminded readers Monday. Now an “abusively racist and extremist” candidate is on the rise in the United States, it says. Maybe democracy isn’t such a good idea after all.

In an editorial Monday, China’s state-owned Global Times newspaper used Donald Trump’s rise to gloat about the fault lines in U.S. society and to argue that democracy was both a waste of time -- and downright scary.

From the rise of a “narcissistic and inflammatory candidate” to the violence that surrounded his planned rally in Chicago, the paper said it was shocking this could happen in a country that “boasts one of the most developed and mature democratic election systems” in the world.

[How a New York art show about Chinese online censorship found itself censored]

Fistfights between supporters of rival parties might be common in developing countries during election season, it wrote, but in the United States?

Trump, it said, has opened a Pandora’s box.


The candidate’s supporters, it noted, are mostly lower-class whites who lost a lot after the 2008 financial crisis. “The U.S. used to have the largest and most stable middle class in the Western world, but many are going down.”

Unwritten, but implied: The argument that China survived that financial crisis in much better shape, and its middle-class is rising.

Ignored: The argument that trade with China after it entered the World Trade Organization caused manufacturing jobs to hemorrhage from middle America, and the fact that China is still grappling with the delayed aftershock from the financial crisis, as its economy struggles under a growing mountain of debt.

But, back to the point-scoring.

Then, the paper described the emergence of Trump, “big-mouthed” and the "perfect populist" to provoke the public.

“Despite candidates’ promises, Americans know elections cannot really change their lives. Then, why not support Trump and vent their spleen?”

The second big takeaway of the article: Democracy doesn’t get you anywhere anyway, so why bother?

The paper went on to argue that this election did raise some serious issues about America’s decline and hypocrisy. After noting the rise of Mussolini and Hitler, it said that most analysts believe the U.S. election system will prevent Trump from winning, so that “the process will be scary but not dangerous.”

But even if Trump is a false alarm, his rise has “left a dent” and left the United States facing “the prospect of an institutional failure.”

The inherent instability of the democratic system is classic Communist Party propaganda and an argument that resonates with many people here: Indeed, it is one of the pillars of the party’s legitimacy in many people’s eyes.

Democracy is a mess – just look at India – and sometimes violent – viz. the Arab Spring. China’s history before the Communist Party came to power was equally messy. Only strong, purposeful and benevolent one-party rule can guarantee stability.

Of course, there are a couple of glaring lacunae in that argument: The most obvious being the tyranny and mass insanity unleashed by Mao Zedong, who killed tens of millions of his own people, (as indeed Stalin did in the Soviet Union). But hey, that bit of history is officially glossed over here.

The paper may have a point in that the rise of Trump -- as well as that of Bernie Sanders -- is arguably a reaction to the capture of American politics by big business and lobbyists, and the failure of globalization to deliver economic benefits to the middle class.

But it also ignores the fact that democratic “reactions” can often offer a (long and winding) path to democratic solutions, while dictatorships almost always end in chaos.

But back to the Global Times.

Finally, then, the paper had this message for the United States.

“The U.S. had better watch itself for not being a source of destructive forces against world peace, more than pointing fingers at other countries for their supposed nationalism and tyranny.”

U.S. hypocrisy: It’s an argument that was also aired in a 45-minute documentary Sunday on party-controlled China Central Television. The Xinhua news agency said the program revealed the U.S. “double standards on human rights-related issues, whereby the U.S. pokes its nose into other countries' internal affairs while leaving many of its own problems unsolved.” Quartz called it part of China's escalating criticism of the United States. Last week, it noted, the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations declared the United States too violent and racist to criticize others on human rights.

 Simon Denyer

If you want to see how CCTV looks at the United States, the documentary has been posted to YouTube, with subtitles.

April 28, 2015

There is a New Dick in Town and His Name is Wansky

Someone tell the Queen to get out her knight stick: There’s a new hero in town.
The UK’s Manchester Evening News reported that an anonymous crusader/artist dubbed Wanksy is getting the city to address the sorry state of local roadways by drawing penises around potholes.


This unconventional method seems to be working. Wanksy told the Manchester Evening News that many potholes he’s targeted have been fixed within 48 hours.
He added: “Some still remain, it’s not a 100 per cent success rate, but it works. I’m inspired by the alternative style displayed by artists such as Grayson Perry and of course by graffiti artists like Hazer and street artists especially Banksy. It has a message that people get, but also has a bit of comedy value. Hopefully mine does too. However, unlike these artists I want my work to be destroyed, I like it when it gets dug up and replaced with fresh tarmac.”
Inspired by this bold civic act, we’ve come up with a few other national flaws that Wanksy might want to consider drawing dicks on. They might just get fixed!
1. Duke Energy
Ahh, Duke. It isn’t just America’s most reviled basketball team, but also one of our most reviled utility companies after coal ash from a Duke power plant contaminated waterways in North Carolina and Virginia last year (naturally, they passed the price of the cleanup onto customers). Not satisfied with simply poisoning the water supply for thousands of humans and animals, Duke then set it sights on solar, lobbying against a bill that would make solar cheaper and more accessible for consumers. In addition to drawing a big ol’ dick around Duke HQ, let’s just go ahead and change the name, shall we? Duke Energy, we now declare you … Dick Energy! Let’s see what that does to your stock price.
2. Citizens United
The next phallus goes to the most oddly named court ruling since United States v. 11 1/4 Dozen Packages of Articles Labeled in Part Mrs. Moffat’s Shoo-Fly Powders for Drunkenness: Citizens United! This 2010 Supreme Court decision, which declared that corporations have as much right to buy politicians as individual rich people do, has led to myriad bad shit for this little planet of ours. But possibly the most egregious consequence of Citizen’s United is the dramatic increase in dark money and outside spending on campaign ads. Do you know what that does to the television-watching experience? You try enjoying Cosmos when every other candidate commercial is paid for by Hobby Lobby. Let’s go back to the drawing board on this one, SCOTUS, or at least draw a dick around it.
3. Jonathan Franzen
Before we draw a dick around Jonathan Franzen, we would like to state for the record that this has nothing to do with the time the author very rudely rejected Oprah’s Book Club. No — we are drawing a dick around Franzen because of his New Yorker essay on how concern for global climate change is taking our attention away from pressing conservation issues — specifically, birds, which Franzen prefers to people. And while we do agree with Franzen that most humans are dicks, Wanksy probably doesn’t have enough non-toxic paint to draw them around all of us. Might as well start with Franzen.
4. The 2016 election
It is MAY 2015. The next presidential election is in NOVEMBER 2016. A child born today will be walking, talking, and resenting his parents by the time we actually get to Election Day. Let’s just do ourselves a favor and draw a dick around this whole thing, at least until next year. Please?
5. Don Blankenship, Dark Lord of Coal Country
America: the greatest nation on Earth — if you happen to be a white collar criminal and not a brown-skinned one, that is. Five years after the Upper Big Branch mine explosion killed 29 workers in West Virginia, Don Blankenship, former CEO of one-time coal giant Massey Energy, is facing criminal charges and up to 30 years in prison for his complicity in the disaster. But if the history of well-heeled CEOs who have literally gotten away with murder is any indication, Blankenship may well be wintering in the Bahamas by next year. Hopefully Wanksy can get to him before he flees the country.
6. Congress
Wanksy, this is where we really need you. Please — for the sake of our planet — bring your dick pen to Washington, D.C., and draw a big ol’ wiener all around the Capitol Building. Congress has been shafting us for years. Now it’s our turn.

February 17, 2014

The Opposition in Venezuela is Defiant vs.Hugo Chavez People


Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez says he will lead a march through the streets of Caracas on Tuesday.
He was last seen on Wednesday, when three men were shot dead at the end of opposition protests in the capital.
In a video posted online, Mr Lopez says he has not committed any crime and challenges the authorities to arrest him during the Tuesday march.
President Nicolas Maduro says an arrest warrant was issued against Mr Lopez shortly after the incidents.
Mr Maduro has accused Mr Lopez of inciting violence as part of a coup plot against his left-wing government.
The opposition say they were killed by pro-government militias known as "colectivos".
  Mr Lopez, 42, is a former mayor of Chacao district, in eastern Caracas. He organised the recent protests against the government.
'Dress white'
On Sunday morning, Venezuelan police searched the houses of Mr Lopez and his parents.
Hours later, he posted a new message on Twitter and a three-minute long video.
"I want to invite all of you to join me on a march on Thursday, from Venezuela Square [in central Caracas] towards the Justice Ministry building, which has become a symbol of repression, torture and lies," Mr Lopez said on the video.
He called on his supporters to dress white, "to reaffirm our commitment to peace".
"I will take very clear demands to the authorities: that the government involvement in the deaths of 12 February are investigated; that the students arrested [in protests in the last week] are freed; that the pro-government paramilitary groups are disarmed," he said.
"And finally, I will be there to show my face. I have nothing to fear. I have not committed any crime. If there is any order to illegally arrest me, well, I will be there," added Mr Lopez.
Nicolas Maduro during rally in CaracasMaduro said the Venezuelan people must defend the "Bolivarian Revolution" launched by Hugo Chavez
Earlier, also through Twitter, Mr Lopez sent a direct message to the Venezuelan president: "Maduro, you are a coward. You are not going to force me or my family to bow down.''
On Saturday, police clashed with a group of demonstrators at the end of an opposition march in the eastern neighbourhood of Chacao.
They fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. Activists hurled stones. More than 20 people were injured.
'Against fascism'
Thousands of government supporters also took to the streets of Caracas on Saturday in a march "for peace and against fascism".
Mr Maduro addressed the crowd and renewed accusations against the opposition.
He accused Mr Lopez of ordering "all these violent kids, which he trained, to destroy the prosecutor's office, half of Caracas to then go into hiding".
On Saturday, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, issued a statement expressing concern by the rising tensions in Venezuela.
Opposition march in CaracasMore than 20 people were injured in the violence on Saturday
"We are particularly alarmed by reports that the Venezuelan government has arrested or detained scores of anti-government protestors and issued an arrest warrant for opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez," read the statement.
The main opposition grievances are high inflation, crime and the shortage of some staples.
The government has blamed the shortages on "saboteurs" and "profit-hungry corrupt businessmen".
A former union leader, Mr Maduro was a close ally of President Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer last March after 14 years in office.
He was elected last April, defeating the opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles, by a narrow margin.

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