Why White Supremacists Find Donald Trump’s Rhetoric So Irresistible

Why White Supremacists Find Donald Trump’s Rhetoric So Irresistible

White supremacists

In this 1926 cartoon the Ku Klux Klan chases the Roman Catholic Church, personified by St. Patrick, from the shores of America.

White supremacists have never made a secret of their affection for Donald Trump. But since his election, they’ve grown even more emboldened, holding rallies in Washington, D.C. and even planning their own “Deploraball” to ring in the new year. This development comes as no surprise to Chip Berlet, an investigative journalist and academic specializing in right-wing… Read more

Attack on St. Louis Homeless Sneaks Under a Dark Cloud

 

Attack on St. Louis Homeless Sneaks Under a Dark Cloud

Attack on St. Louis Homeless Sneaks Under a Dark Cloud

No sunshine in attack on homeless.

The sub-freezing temperature was dropping. As the snow began to fall, many felt their hands were too cold to hold signs during the December 17 action. Two dozen had answered the Green Party call to picket the mayor of St. Louis for his efforts to close down New Life Evangelistic Center, the city’s homeless “shelter-of-last-resort.” They… Read more

North Carolina is no longer a democracy, report says

North Carolina can no longer be classified as a full-fledged democracy, according to a bombshell report that likens it to countries like Cuba, Indonesia, and Sierra Leone.

No longer a democracy

Sculpture of Confederate soldier Silent Sam, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, by John Wilson

The Electoral Integrity Project gave the state a score of 58/100. When it came to legal framework and voter registration, North Carolina earned a 7/10 – similar to Iran and Venezuela.

“If it were a nation state, North Carolina would rank right in the middle of the global league table – a deeply flawed, partly free democracy that is only slightly ahead of the failed democracies that constitute much of the developing world,” wrote Andrew Reynolds, a professor of political science at the University of North Carolina and co-founder of the EIC, which has measured 213 elections in 153 countries since 2012.

Read more of this story from The Independent

Hoaxy Visualizes Fact Checking Of Claims Spread On Twitter

Created by Indiana University computer scientists, Hoaxy.com is a fascinating tool that can be applied to fact checking of any claim made on Twitter.

Hoaxy visualizes the spread of claims and related fact checking online. A claim may be a fake news article, hoax, rumor, conspiracy theory, satire, or even an accurate report. Anyone can use Hoaxy to explore how claims spread across social media. You can seHoaxy tracks the spread and fact-checking of claims made on Twitter.lect any matching fact-checking articles to observe how those spread as well.

Hoaxy.com tracks the social sharing of links to stories published by two types of websites. Hoaxy scans independent fact-checking organizations, such as snopes.com, politifact.com, and factcheck.org, that routinely fact check unverified claims. Hoaxy also scans sources that frequently publish inaccurate, unverified, or satirical claims.

A joint project of the Indiana University Network Science Institute (IUNI) and the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research (CNetS), Filippo Menczer, professor of informatics and computer science and Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, assistant research scientist at the Indiana University Network Science Institute, coordinated the Hoaxy project.

Hoaxy is written primarily in the Python programming language.

The underpinning technology includes:

On the backend we use Apache Lucene (for full-text indexing and retrieval), Scrapy (for web crawling), Apache Tika (for metadata extraction), RSS (for feed aggregation), PostgreSQL (for data indexing and storage), and SQLAlchemy (for object-relational mapping). On the frontend we use Bootstrap, NV.D3 (for the chart), and Sigma-js (for the network). We collect data from Twitter using the public streaming API.

More Hoaxy FAQs:

Q: What does the visualization show?

A: Hoaxy visualizes two aspects of the spread of claims and fact checking: temporal trends and diffusion networks. Temporal trends plot the cumulative number of Twitter shares over time. The user can zoom in on any time interval. Diffusion networks display how claims spread from person to person. Each node is a Twitter account and two nodes are connected if a meme (link to a story) is passed between those two accounts via retweets, replies, quotes, or mentions. The color of a connection indicates the type of information: claims and fact checks. Clicking on an edge reveals the tweet(s) and the link to the shared story; clicking on a node reveals claims shared by the corresponding user. The network may be pruned for performance.

Q: Who decides what is true or not?

A: We do not decide what is true or false. Not all claims you can visualize on Hoaxy are false, nor can we track all false stories. We aren’t even saying that the fact checkers are 100% correct all the time. You can use the Hoaxy tool to observe how unverified stories and the fact checking of those stories spread on public social media. We welcome users to click on links to fact-checking sites to see what they’ve found in their research, but it’s up for you to evaluate the evidence about a claim and its rebuttal.

Q: Do you have an editorial team?

A: No. Hoaxy tracks claims and fact checks automatically, 24/7. We do not read the contents of the articles we track. This is why we cannot establish whether a claim is accurate, nor whether a particular claim was verified by a particular fact check.

Q: How do you match claims to fact-checks?

A: We use search engine technology (think of Google) to retrieve claims and fact checks. The user enters a query and we match it against our index of claims to find relevant articles. We perform the same procedure to find fact checks matching the query. The user can select claims and fact-checking articles to be visualized.

Q: How do you track the spread of a claim?

A: We collect public tweets that include links to stories published by websites in the list of sources and fact-checking organizations. We fetch the page linked in the tweet and store the URL and the text of the page of the article, adding them to our index together with the tweet. When the user submits a query we match the most relevant or recent articles (claims and fact checks) and select all the tweets that linked to them. These tweets are displayed in the interactive visualizations.

Q: What is the source of social media data?

A: At the moment we only collect data from Twitter. We only access public tweets.

http://hoaxy.iuni.iu.edu/

Young Whites Less Racist? Racial Attitude Research Shows Demographics Alone Won’t Save America

Are Younger Whites Less Racist? Racial Attitude Research Suggests Demographics Alone Won’t Save America

The Republican Party is obsolescent, and backward-looking. Its voters are more conservative than the general public. The Republican base largely comprises older white people. Demographic trends, i.e., “generational replacement” (death) are working against the Republicans as well. In total, Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton was not the result of a populist uprising but rather a… Read more

Free Enterprise Capitalism Sent American Jobs Overseas Not Free Trade

Evil liberal or conservative politicians did not send American jobs overseas. Free enterprise capitalism, American corporations, sent millions of American jobs overseas.

Free enterprise capitalism sent millions of american jobs overseas.

Free enterprise capitalism sent millions of american jobs overseas.

Politicians of both stripes complied with demands that the government become more “business friendly.” Businesses make business decisions for business reasons not social or patriotic reasons.

Business sent thousands of jobs overseas and business will continue to do so whether Trump likes it or not.

First, trade agreements don’t spring to life because politicians want to make trade deals. Trade deals happen because businesses want the government to make trade deals allowing businesses to make more money.

Trade deals are made for the benefit of business supposedly so the nation can benefit from the economic stimulation. This is free market capitalism working in the same ways many conservatives claim their fiscal polices will “raise all boats.”

And sometimes trade does benefit the nation and the world, making nations more reliant on one another less likely to fight.

But sometimes free trade may benefit the nation but not in ways that reward large number of individuals across the nation by improving their overall standard of living. Free trade benefits businesses. Businesses make decisions based on enriching the business not on the needs of their employees, communities, nations or humanity.

An MBA or accountant will probably tell you the fastest and easiest way for a business to become more profitable is to reduce labor costs, either by having fewer workers, paying workers less, outsourcing or all three. This is the approach used by most large businesses and many small ones.

During the past six decades followers of Ayn Rand, (born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum to a well-off Jewish family in St. Peterburg, Russia in 1905 she fled to the US in 1926), such as Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, have risen to positions of power within the financial and legal communities.

Author of thick tomes of polemic fiction, Rand styled herself a philosopher. She preached “Objectivism,” the idea that only responsibility a person has is to enrich yourself, the individual, to the exclusion of all else under the guide of “rational self-interest.”

Friedman, for example, rose to prominence and applied Rand’s social theories to actual economic policies. This gave rise to the Friedman doctrine, the intense focus on quarterly profits as businesses were told that their only responsibility was to enrich ownership and/or shareholders.

Improving shareholder value at all costs has become the exclusive financial mantra of big business. Managers don’t make decisions for the benefit or their employees or even customers. They make decisions based on what is best for the business, often guided solely by data from spreadsheets.

Businesses are not people, despite what the US Supreme Court may have ruled.

Free enterprise capitalism in its current form gives business zero incentive or reason to create new jobs in the US or move jobs back from overseas as long as someone else can do it cheaper and maybe better.

Jobs are created in the US when and only when a demand arises and those jobs cannot be located somewhere cheaper. Even then, business will often shuffle off from wherever they started out to a state with lower wages leaving those in their hometowns high and dry.

Ball Corp.’s abandonment of Muncie, Indiana, is a good example of how this process works.

Ball Corp., a company originally built on glassmaking, its famous jars that made home canning of fruits and vegetables more practical, was once the corporate core of Muncie. However, it slowly but it steadily withdrew from Muncie as the city and region around it rapidly deindustrialized.

Ball spun off its canning business in 1993. In 2016 Newell Rubbermaid acquired Jarden, the company that owned the Kerr and Ball trademarks and produced the glass jars, $15 billion in cash and stock. Fewer than 120 jobs related to what was once the Ball’s glass business remain in Muncie.

Essentially Ball Corp. left a shattered community behind for greener pastures in states with better-trained workforces. It could have chosen to stay in Muncie, but that would not have been a prudent business decision and would be counter to improving shareholder value and quarterly results.

Ball Corp. now calls Broomfield, Colorado, home.

United Technologies, the defense contractor conglomerate that owns air conditioning manufacturer Carrier, shows how this process is happening in real time.

Avowedly anti-corporate welfare Trump makes an example of the company on the campaign trail for sending jobs to Mexico. A few weeks later after the election Carrier claims Trump’s stump statements were a factor that the company said made it change its mind about sending 1,000 jobs in Indianapolis to Mexico. Carrier also received a $7 million tax break to keep the 500 jobs in Indiana. However, Carrier is moving ahead with plans to send 500 other jobs from its Indianapolis plant to Mexico.

Reuters reported that United Technologies would proceed with plans to close its United Technologies Electronic Controls plant in Huntington, Indiana, that employs 700.

In this case, appearing to save a few hundred jobs at one plant in Indiana netted Carrier the cost-savings on the 1,200 jobs it will still send to Mexico AND $7 million in corporate welfare from fiscally conservative GOP-controlled Indiana. Add in the significant value of the free media and publicity both parties received during the news cycles the incident lasted and the value of this move for Carrier rises considerably.

Public opinion let Carrier off the hook for sending American jobs to Mexico by saying it would “save” 700 jobs, taking $7 million in state-supplied subsidies and allowing a major Trump photo opportunity that helped boost both brands.

The entire Carrier episode is a prime example of an excellent free enterprise capitalism business decision based in the Friedman doctrine. It is also just one of thousands of possible examples of why business won’t be creating large numbers of good paying jobs in the US for people who do not have specific skills or education.

Give Trump A Chance? To Do What?

Anyone who tells you to “give Trump a chance” fails to grasp the gravity of what happened in the election.

For the first time in history, we have elected a president with ZERO previous political or governmental experience.

Heeeeeeeeeere's Donnie! Sure, go ahead. Give Trump a chance.

Heeeeeeeeeere’s Donnie!
Sure, go ahead. Give Trump a chance.

This is the first time in more than 50 years a president has refused to separate from or even reveal the extent of his business dealings. It is illegal for a president to receive money from foreign governments and Trump current receives money from those sources.

A person who has openly said he will disregard the Constitution and other laws by fiat has been elected president. This has never happened before in our history.

Trump’s campaign openly celebrated white power themes. If you endorse Trump, you endorse white supremacy.

No president has ever lost the popular vote by a margin this large, nearly 3 million votes, and won the Electoral College. This is only the fourth time a president was elected without winning the popular vote. The last was George W. Bush. And we know how ell those 8 years worked out.

Thus far, Trump’s choices for cabinet officers are the most politically extreme since the end of the civil war. This indicates he wants does not want to govern so much as selectively destroy parts of government and policies the far right wing doesn’t like.

To deny climate change is pure folly. The deniers almost all have vested interests in deny climate change and the buildup of c02 isn’t really happening — like say the CEO of Exxon, a company that as we learned recently ran a decades-long disinformation to discredit legitimate science that showed thing they didn’t like.

No president has ever come into office with more legal entanglements and past history of consorting with known criminals and that includes the sainted JFK. He is renown for broken promises in business dealings, punching down and chiseling businesses he deals with.

Perhaps most damning is a call for foreign government, Russia, an enemy of freedom and the United States, to interfere in our national elections. Donald Trump did so on national television. There is strong evidence that Russia did exactly that.

Sorry, you can’t have it both ways. You cannot select which of DT’s ideas you like and say, “that will part be good.” If you voted for him you voted for the whole package. If you didn’t vote against him by choosing a candidate that could win, you really voted for him.

Now let’s turn to the past 8 years.

When Obama was elected the nation was in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. He acted quickly to help stem the crisis and the solutions were not always ideal. But the nation regained it footing and now unemployment nationwide is lower that it was before Obama took office.

Obama’s biggest mistake was he thought he could govern in a bipartisan way. However, the GOP did nothing but use that against him.

Other than HRC and her server, Obama’s presidency was remarkable free of scandal, the cleanest in generations.

Much of what is wrong with Obamacare was due to the fact the GOP did everything it could to sabotage and hamstring the law.

Obamacare and the some of the relief laws in the financial crisis helped me directly, especially not being able to be denied insurance for a preexisting condition. If he had done nothing else in 8 years, that alone would have been worth it.

But in the mind of Trump conservatives Obama failed at everything. Could it be because he’s black? Hmmmm.

But oh, don’t play the race card with you or any other conservative.

And as for the Clinton presidency, when he left office this country had the largest surplus in its history. Republican George W. Bush spent the entire amount and put the nation back into deficit within six months of taking office.

Give Trump a chance? To do what? Destroy the nation? The world?

The New Dystopia: What Comes After Trump

The New Dystopia: What Comes After Trump

The following is an excerpt from John Feffer’s new dystopian novel, Splinterlands (Haymarket, 2016). It’s a look back at our world from the shattered Earth of 2050. Feffer’s novel has come to read ever less like futuristic fiction and ever more like a vivid journalistic report on the latest developments in our distressed, Trumpian universe. The… Read more

Popular Trump? Nation Not Confident

Not that popular Not My President

Not Popular: The ruined Trump Taj in Atlantic City, which closed in October 2016 after failing spectacularly. Trump ripped off Atlantic City and wound up in a money laundering investigation where his father was found guilty.

He may have won the election, but Donald Trump’s still not all that popular. Nearly a month after Mr. Trump’s election as president, he still has a long way to go to win the confidence of the nation.

A Pew Research Center poll of 1,502 adults found that 35 percent of Americans thought Mr. Trump would be a good or great president; 18 percent said he would be average; while 38 percent said he would be poor or terrible. That is better than in October, when just 25 percent of the public said Mr. Trump would make a good or great president, while 57 percent said he would be poor or terrible.

The poll found that 40 percent approved of the president-elect’s cabinet choices and other appointments, while 41 percent were satisfied with his explanations of policies and plans for the future.

By comparison, in December 2008, 71 percent approved of Barack Obama’s cabinet choices. In January 2001, 58 percent had positive views of George W. Bush’s appointments. Similarly, 72 percent approved of the way Mr. Obama explained his policies and plans. Mr. Bush had a 50 percent rating in that regard.