Political Articles from 2017
The loss of net neutrality: Say goodbye to a free and open Internet
by Tom Henderson
Posted November 23, 2017
The end of net neutrality looks imminent. If it goes away, you can expect these long-lasting problems to surface. Net neutrality—the principle that no online traffic has priority over other traffic, not even for pay—might go away. If it does, big money will be behind its demise.
Every conceivable new theory about how one organization should have priority will ensue, and the courts will be clogged deciding the outcome. Today, the principle is simple: all traffic gets the same priority, and multimedia can have isochronous priority, but it’s not guaranteed.
Without net neutrality, we will enter an era where ISPs, telcos, carriers and interconnects will all demand that THEIR traffic has priority, and yours does not—unless you pay. Let the litigation begin, and the courts glow in the dark in an attempt to sort out what theories of law now hold sway. Insert wallet, here. More…
A Week After Virginia Election Sweep, Democrats Join Republicans for More Bank Deregulation
by David Dayen
Posted November 22, 2017
Bipartisanship, long left for dead in Washington, has struck again. And Wall Street looks to be the winner.
In the wake of the Equifax scandal, Congress has been under pressure to act. But the price of modest reforms in Washington is often much larger giveaways elsewhere, and that pattern holds true in the agreement announced Monday between nine Senate Democrats and the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee.
The measure would roll back several key financial regulations, including sections of the Dodd-Frank Act. It does so under the cover of offering consumer protections and coming to the aid of community banks — though the financial institutions that benefit have not-so-obscure names, like American Express, SunTrust, and BB&T. More…
How Ranked-Choice Voting Works
By Matthew Green
Posted November 21, 2017
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) ballots vary somewhat by city, but generally follow a similar format. Assuming there are more than two candidates running for a given position, RCV races on the ballot include a first choice, second choice and third choice column, with every candidate listed in each column.
Voters pick their first, second and third choices, regardless of party. (Note: You don’t have to pick three; you can still just pick your first choice, or your first two choices, etc. It also doesn’t do much good to select your first choice three times — it’ll be counted only once.)
If any candidate receives more than 50 percent of first-choice votes, that candidate is automatically elected. Game over. But if no one receives a majority, a second round of voting proceeds. The candidate who received the least number of votes is eliminated (and if you voted for that candidate, your vote goes to your second choice pick). This process is repeated until one candidate has a clean majority. More…
How to Instantly Prove (Or Disprove) Russian Hacking of U.S. Election
Posted November 20, 2017
It’s newsworthy that CIA head Mike Pompeo recently met with Bill Binney – who designed the NSA’s electronic surveillance system – about potential proof that the DNC emails were leaked rather than hacked.
It’s also noteworthy that the usual suspects – Neocon warmongers such as Max Boot – have tried to discredit both Binney and Pompeo.
But there’s a huge part of the story that the entire mainstream media is missing …
Specifically, Binney says that the NSA has long had in its computers information which can prove exactly who hacked the DNC … or instead prove that the DNC emails were leaked by a Democratic insider. Remember – by way of background – that the NSA basically spies on everyone in America … and stores the data long-term.
After the story of Pompeo’s meeting with Binney broke, Binney told Washington’s Blog: More…
The FBI’s Forgotten Criminal Record
by James Bovard
Posted November 18, 2017
President Trump’s firing of FBI chief James Comey on May 9 spurred much of the media and many Democrats to rally around America’s most powerful domestic federal agency. But the FBI has a long record of both deceit and incompetence. Five years ago, Americans learned that the FBI was teaching its agents that “the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others.” This has practically been the Bureau’s motif since its creation in 1908.
The FBI’s power has rarely been effectively curbed by either Congress or federal courts. In 1971, House Majority Leader Hale Boggs declared that the FBI’s power terrified Capitol Hill: “Our very fear of speaking out [against the FBI] … has watered the roots and hastened the growth of a vine of tyranny…. Our society cannot survive a planned and programmed fear of its own government bureaus and agencies.” Boggs vindicated a 1924 American Civil Liberties Union report warning that the FBI had become “a secret police system of a political character” — a charge that supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would have cheered last year. More…
Liberals and Conservatives Uniting Against Partisan Status Quo
by Stephen Erickson
Posted November 15, 2017
Our political system is failing because our government has become little more than a perpetual banquet for selfish interests that feed themselves first, and worry about the health of the nation later, if at all (See part 1 in this series).
This is the situation in which we now find ourselves, and it must be reversed.
For “we the people” to fix the system, here is an uncontroversial, common sense, and unifying organizing principle:
Remove from the American political system every incentive that favors service to selfish interests over the common good of the country as a whole.
The first step is also common sense. Since the country is split into two roughly equal polarized factions, on the left and right, it’s essential that each faction get an equal number of seats at the table, and negotiate around the above organizing principle. More…
A Political Realignment is Necessary – The Real Struggle is Liberty vs. Authoritarianism
by Michael Krieger
Posted November 14, 2017
Until the American public ceases bickering amongst itself along Democratic and Republican or “left” vs. “right” lines, we’ll continue to be divided and conquered by authoritarians who wield tremendous power throughout both sides of the traditional political spectrum. This isn’t to say there aren’t real, meaningful differences between those who classify themselves on the “left” or the “right,” but it is to say there’s a much bigger battle afoot and nothing’s going to get better until we frame the new political reality for what it is. The most significant, existential struggle at play in these modern United States is a battle between Liberty and Authoritarianism, and it’s extremely important you know where you stand.
A major political realignment is not simply a good idea, it’s absolutely crucial to the survival of a thriving civilization here in the U.S. The historical struggle we face today is not Democrat vs. Republican, or right vs. left, but Liberty vs. Authoritarianism. More…
Yemenis To Americans: Your Las Vegas Massacre Is Our Everyday Life
by Darius Shahtahmasebi
Posted November 13, 2017
The recent events in Las Vegas shook the entire nation, and the rest of the world has watched intently as authorities have struggled with their investigation and independent media outlets have spread uninvestigated and sensationalized narratives.
Yet one should always remember that events that shake the West from time to time regularly occur in countries across the globe — and we barely flinch. To make matters worse, more often than not, it is the U.S. that is exacting that violence on a daily basis, which we detest and protest when we face it ourselves. As one person eloquently put it: “Our 9/11 is their 24/7.” More…
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