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Open Thread 8 - 14 May

by Bjinse Mon May 8th, 2017 at 08:35:24 PM EST

Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful threads are the cultivated


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If people haven't read it, the hair-raising article is well worth delving into for 30 minutes - this is some solid investigative journalism. There is still a lot of fog, but patterns are emerging. And we're already in deep trouble if just the verified elements are true.

Key-quote: "We are in an information war and billionaires are buying up these companies, which are then employed to go to work in the heart of government."

The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked - Observer


This story isn't about cunning Dominic Cummings finding a few loopholes in the Electoral Commission's rules. Finding a way to spend an extra million quid here. Or (as the Observer has also discovered )underdeclaring the costs of his physicists on the spending returns by £43,000. This story is not even about what appears to be covert coordination between Vote Leave and Leave.EU in their use of AggregateIQ and Cambridge Analytica. It's about how a motivated US billionaire - Mercer and his chief ideologue, Bannon - helped to bring about the biggest constitutional change to Britain in a century.

Because to understand where and how Brexit is connected to Trump, it's right here. These relationships, which thread through the middle of Cambridge Analytica, are the result of a transatlantic partnership that stretches back years. Nigel Farage and Bannon have been close associates since at least 2012. Bannon opened the London arm of his news website Breitbart in 2014 to support Ukip - the latest front "in our current cultural and political war", he told the New York Times.

Britain had always been key to Bannon's plans, another ex-Cambridge Analytica employee told me on condition of anonymity. It was a crucial part of his strategy for changing the entire world order.

"He believes that to change politics, you have to first change the culture. And Britain was key to that. He thought that where Britain led, America would follow. The idea of Brexit was hugely symbolically important to him."

by Bjinse on Mon May 8th, 2017 at 09:06:38 PM EST
Meybe it's just me, or that I tried to read it past my bedtime, but it seems to me very hard to understand. It is poorly structured, and focuses to much on the me-me-me of how the author carried out her investigation as opposed to the story she was investigating.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 07:36:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're old school, Mig. "Just the facts, mam" is not the hype in newsland - personified story-telling and journalists pretending to act like high profile DJs is all the buzz. I was still raised that writing stories from first perspective were frowned upon and only allowed under exceptional circumstances. That was 5 years ago.

But do check her out. She's been at it for a while. And she's on Twitter.

by Bjinse on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 09:42:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't read this article, although I've read other things about Cambridge analytics.

Personally I'm not convinced. I still believe that 30 years of negative publicity and bilious hatred from the tabloid press had more of a conditioning effect. Boris Johnston and his famous lies when a Brussels correspondent for the Telegraph also had a conditioning effect, especially when screamed into the tabloid echo sewer.

The UK public haven't got a clue about the EU, they dislike it for things for which it is not respnsible and are ignorant of those benefits for which it is. It doesn't take much after all that for some demagogue waving a Union Flag in one hand while holding a pint in the other to tell them the EU is making them unhappy and selling out their jobs to Bulgarian gypsies while strangling them all in red tape.

I'm ama zed that remain got 48% really, especially given the lukewarm weak tea the remain side were peddling as being the advantages of the EU.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 01:42:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you don't need swanky covert computers to do the deed of pulling the wool over the public's eyes with specially targeted messages. It was all a lot easier

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 01:45:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the chilling part is that this comes out of private defense contractors. Sure, the effect is probably limited for now - though margins in the Brexit referendum and Trump election was small - but the cross-section of government spooks and right-wing billionaire owned big data has the potential to turn nightmarish.
by fjallstrom on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 09:47:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Falklands penguins that would not explode -- BBC
The minefields laid in the Falkland Islands were intended to kill or maim British soldiers, but over the last 35 years they have become de facto nature reserves for penguins. For better or worse, however, the time has now come for their home to be demined [...]

[T]he landmines aren't a problem for the penguins - at least, not the little Magellanics and Gentoos of Yorke Bay.

"They don't seem to be heavy enough to set them off," says Esther Bertram, chief executive officer of Falklands Conservation.

Behind their fences, shielded from human encroachment, the penguins have had decades of peace and quiet in their minefield. Native flora has regrown around them.

[...] "We would rather have left the minefields as they were. They are all clearly marked, clearly fenced. No civilian has ever been injured. We said to the British government, 'Don't spend the money here, go to some other country where they have a much greater need to free up farming land.'"

"Unfortunately," Elsby adds, "the British government have signed up to the Ottawa convention, which puts a duty on them to do this."

The 1997 Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty compels signatories - which include the UK - to clear minefields in territory under their control.

by das monde on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 03:28:48 AM EST
The obvious solution is to introduce a heavier breed of penguins who would clear the minefield... (sic)

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 07:19:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Trump can fire Comey, May can bring heavy penguins :-]
by das monde on Wed May 10th, 2017 at 08:45:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just after the "war" there were suggestions of herding sheep over them. But the aniimal rights people were somewhat alarmed.

However, it does seem to me to be excellent terrain for using a lightweight version of a Hobart's Funny flail tank

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 01:33:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian
For the global adventurer who thinks they have seen it all, the New York Times has discovered a challenging new frontier: British politics.

At $5,995 (£4,650) per person, the six-day guided tour called "Brexit means Brexit" is not for the mass market, but offers select groups of American tourists the chance to "examine the historic implications of a historic vote".

[...]

Other guided tours in the same series of travel packages include "Chernobyl, 30 years later" and "Greenland is melting".

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue May 9th, 2017 at 05:30:20 PM EST
Regarding Brexit the slogan seems rather hilarious. Almost trying to pull a Merkel ("You know me!") in the beginning of a maelstrom. Observations about older voters: they don't give a f...:

Intergenerational Unfairness - Coppola Comment

So they've had a lot of stability. Stability was their era. If you appeal to them with "Stability" they recognise themselves.

... It's delusional nonsense. It's the politics of Affect.

...They had stability because they were strong. We have instability because we are weak. We are flighty, we get into debt, we can't keep a job. Weak.

I say to them, what about my child? What about my 13 year old? She won't have what you had. Is that "strong and stable", Mum?

... But when I talk to my mum and I say "you know your grandchildren almost certainly won't get a state pension" she says "I know".

They don't care.

... By looking after themselves at the expense of future generations, older generations are undermining their own stability. And as if that were not bad enough, now they have shafted the young people on which their future depends. The economic fallout from Brexit will hurt young people far more than it will the property-owning, pension-reliant old.

The irresponsibility of older generations threatens not only the future of younger generations, but their own prosperity. Entrenching intergenerational unfairness, as the old seek to do, is folly.

It's all very human, understandable, and fucked up.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Wed May 10th, 2017 at 11:23:05 PM EST
by generic on Thu May 11th, 2017 at 05:26:03 AM EST
by generic on Thu May 11th, 2017 at 07:58:14 AM EST
Independent
Hindus, vegetarians and vegans already voiced outraged after the new polymer £5 note was found to contain animal fat. Now drug users are complaining the thicker and stronger plastic notes have left them with cut noses after trying to snort cocaine.

The self-imposed injury is being referred to as "getting Winstoned" in reference to Winston Churchill's image appearing on the plastic fivers, according to the Metro newspaper.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu May 11th, 2017 at 12:28:25 PM EST
Zero Hedge
Around 580,000 respondents in 35 countries were asked the question: Would you actively participate in large-scale uprising against the generation in power if it happened in the next days or months? More than half of 18- to 34-year-olds said yes.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu May 11th, 2017 at 12:50:36 PM EST
what a bizarre question, actually it's absurd.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu May 11th, 2017 at 05:33:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great click bait thug, and that's what matters.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu May 11th, 2017 at 09:35:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Though", not "thug".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 12th, 2017 at 05:58:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
given the topic, thug works

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 12th, 2017 at 06:29:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is a bit absurd that European Broadcasting Union - mainly known as the producers of Eurovision - has asked European youths that question. And they have, I had to go check it. Majority answered that they would take part in revolution, except in German and Russian speaking countries​.

My history professor claimed that if 5% of the population is willing to take the streets, the government falls. By that metric, Europe is ready for revolution (if the youths answer truthfully). On the other hand, if I recall correctly Che Guevara claims you need 80% support for a successful revolution. So there might be revolutions ahead, but instability as there's no alternative standing ready to take over, and the old powers will be ready to make counter moves.

Ah, well, at least it's Eurovision soon.

by fjallstrom on Fri May 12th, 2017 at 09:49:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So Portugal is holding two Euro titles now.
by das monde on Mon May 15th, 2017 at 01:35:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Fri May 12th, 2017 at 12:36:25 PM EST
But how does it compare with Netanyahu's $2700 budget per year for ice cream? Always pistacchio, though I'm not as certain as the NYT is that it didn't come  from Iran.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri May 12th, 2017 at 12:39:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Sat May 13th, 2017 at 03:32:02 PM EST


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