John Oliver on the menace of Facebook

I have posted before about how Facebook has dominated access to the internet is countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka and this has led to the rapid spread of wild and false rumors that have been exploited by Buddhist extremists in those two countries to launch attacks on their Muslim minorities.

In last Sunday’s segment, John Oliver discusses in detail, using Myanmar as an example, how bad Facebook is and how they let things get way out of hand before they started doing anything. He ends the segment with a far more accurate ad for what Facebook really represents.

In other Washington chaos news …

… the media were abuzz over the story that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who overseas the Mueller investigation, had gone to the White House today to either offer his resignation or be fired in the wake of reports that he had doubted the president’s competence and even suggested that people wear a wire when talking to him, though that has been characterized as facetious. That report turns out to be premature and any decision has been postponed until at least Thursday. The whole non-event may have been orchestrated to create a distraction from the Kavanaugh debacle.

Marty Lederman, a professor of law at Georgetown University, lays out the complex series of succession options that would come into play if Rosenstein were be fired or resign because of the recusal of attorney general Jeff Sessions and other key players. It is a mess.

In this White House, the only thing that is straightforward is the transfer of money to the already wealthy from the rest of us.

The dam breaks on Kavanaugh [UPDATED]

[UPDATE: There are reports that a fourth woman has come forward with fresh allegations against Kavanaugh.]

As with most cases of accusations of sexual abuse by powerful men, once one accuser comes forward, others feel emboldened to tell their stories too. This is because sexual abusers rarely stop after one experience. If they get away with one act of abuse, they feel they can do so again. This pattern is being repeated with US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Late last night there was a major news story about another woman Deborah Ramirez who has accused Kavanaugh of really gross behavior at a party while they were first year undergraduates at Yale University.
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Lindsey Graham is a sanctimonious weasel

I have long had a deep contempt for senator Lindsey Graham. He is like the late John McCain, an extreme warmonger who pretends to be an independent person but when it comes to actions is an utterly dependable, extreme rightwing Republican party apparatchik. He is matched only by former senator Joe Lieberman in the ability to get favorable media attention by uttering sanctimonious pieties while advancing odious policies. No wonder the three of them were such close friends.
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Great moments in hyperbole

John Cox is a Republican running for the governorship of the state of California. The current governor Jerry Brown is a Democrat and the state legislature has majority Democrats. So Cox naturally tries to paint the state as in a mess that requires a change in leadership. But his statement to someone he met inside the Sacramento office of the Department of Motor Vehicles was a doozie.

“You know, I met a Holocaust survivor in Long Beach,” Cox said to a man waiting inside. “He survived concentration camps, and he said this was worse. He’s 90 years old and he had to wait four hours down in Long Beach. Can you imagine that?”

First of all, I cannot imagine a Holocaust survivor ever making such a comparison. In fact, Cox later said that he had confused what the man had said, and that was that the DMV reminded him of the long lines seen in pre-World War II Germany and Latvia.

But supposing Cox did think the man had said something vaguely similar to that, I cannot imagine how anyone would take it seriously enough to actually repeat it.

Amazon’s destructive business and labor practices

Bernie Sanders has been hammering away at the fact that because companies like Amazon pay such low wages, the taxpayer has to subsidize their workers through things like SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. He has proposed legislation to tax the companies for the cost of the benefits. His group has put out a short video describing the working conditions which Amazon workers experience.

Amazon has responded.

Stupid old men tricks

Yesterday I wrote about the weird Twitter stream of Ed Whelan, a prominent conservative lawyer and friend and ally of Brett Kavanaugh, who concocted an elaborate theory that Christine Blasey Ford was confused and that the person who sexually assaulted and attempted to rape her at a party when she was 15 was another man who was also a friend and classmate of Kavanaugh’s. Ford has flatly denied that she was confused since she said that she knew both Kavanaugh and the other man.
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Watch this ad to the end

This campaign ad in a congressional race in Arizona for Democrat Steven David Brill, who is running against Republican opponent Paul Gosar, looks pretty run-of-the-mill until you get to the end.

I am guessing that Thanksgiving dinner for the Gosar clan is going to be somewhat strained.

A minnow bites the whales

I know all you cricket fans must be disappointed by the lack of posts recently on this topic. Well, the big news is about Afghanistan, that country that is wracked by violence aggravated, if not caused, by decades of interference in its internal affairs by outsiders. Currently the Asia Cup is underway to which six countries were invited. The format consisted of creating two groups of three countries for the first round. Within which group, each team would play the other two with the top two teams going to the next round.
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Great moments in bad ideas

Have you ever had the feeling that you have discovered something really important and new and exciting, wondered why no one else had not thought of it before, and couldn’t wait to tell it to the world but on checking carefully realized that the great idea was wrong, or even worse, utterly stupid? If you were lucky, you arrived at the realization before you broadcast the news. But that was more likely to happen before Twitter where people are able to post their half-baked theories as soon as it enters their head and then have to backtrack later.
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