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Nazis mingle openly at CPAC, spreading antisemitic conspiracy theories and finding allies

"In one of the most viral moments from this year’s conference, conservative personality Jack Posobiec called for the end of democracy and a more explicitly Christian-focused government. While Posobiec later said his statements were partly satire, many CPAC attendees embraced his and others’ invocations of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection." Believe them.

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Opinion: I'm an American doctor who went to Gaza. I saw annihilation, not war

"On one occasion, a handful of children, all about ages 5 to 8, were carried to the emergency room by their parents. All had single sniper shots to the head. These families were returning to their homes in Khan Yunis, about 2.5 miles away from the hospital, after Israeli tanks had withdrawn. But the snipers apparently stayed behind. None of these children survived."

There is no justification for this horror. This is not a solution; this is not an acceptable response. It has to stop.

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Hidden prison labor web linked to foods from Target, Walmart

"Intricate, invisible webs, just like this one, link some of the world’s largest food companies and most popular brands to jobs performed by U.S. prisoners nationwide, according to a sweeping two-year AP investigation into prison labor that tied hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of agricultural products to goods sold on the open market."

It's very on the nose that a former Southern slave plantation is now the country's largest maximum-security prison and a hub for this kind of forced labor.

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Poll Shows 74 Percent of Republicans Like Donald Trump’s Dictator Plan

"Only 44 percent of adults completely rebelled at the notion of giving the former president — who is currently facing 91 felony charges — dictatorial authority, calling it “definitely bad” for America."

In case anyone was still wondering what the stakes are this election season.

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My grandpa was a Nazi

"His definition of strength was power, influence, money and his network of important people. [...] I wondered for many years, how all of this could have happened. How people like my grandpa turned into monsters and people around him watched or turned into monsters with him. The last years made this very clear."

Powerful piece. We're at an inflection point, and this is a good reminder that we shouldn't trivialize the very real dangers we face.

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A Time to Break Silence (Declaration Against the Vietnam War)

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

[...] A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just."

My friend Roxann Stafford introduced me to the importance of this speech by Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, a few years ago, and it's very much worth revisiting.

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Supreme Connections

"Every year, the Supreme Court’s nine justices fill out a form that discloses their financial connections to companies and people. Using our new database, you can now search for organizations and people that have paid the justices, reimbursed them for travel, given them gifts and more."

Journalism doesn't need to be an article or a finite piece of content. It can be a searchable database or an interactive application that puts a new spin on public information, set out to be usable in the public interest.

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Holocaust survivors were spied on as a "danger to democracy"

"Dutch Jews who survived the death camps and returned to the Netherlands were for years monitored by the Dutch secret service because they were considered to be extremists and a danger to democracy." There's no context that can possibly make this acceptable.

The Netherlands is still struggling to come to terms with the way it treated Jews who returned home - and hasn't really reckoned with how enthusiastically many Dutch people supported the incoming regime during the war. It's tremendously sad that it's still trying to make excuses for this behavior today.

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Trump quotes Putin to call Biden ‘threat to democracy,’ reiterates anti-immigrant rhetoric at New Hampshire rally

"Immigrants are poisoning the blood of the country" is something a real Presidential candidate said in 2023. You know which one. Here's a clue: he's by far the frontrunner for Republican candidate, and has a fair chance of being elected for a second term next year.

Nice people made the best Nazis. The people who want to stay out of it, who don't want to offend people by taking a stand, who just want to follow the rules and get by for themselves, even as great harms are being committed upon other people. I think it's up to all of us to let our friends, family, and neighbors know that this kind of rhetoric is wildly unacceptable. It's not possible to support Donald Trump and not be a racist. It's not possible to support Donald Trump and not be, at some level, a fascist. And I think it's important to be loud about it.

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How Police Have Undermined the Promise of Body Cameras

Police body cams have turned out to be a sort of trust whitewashing: a way to demonstrate openness without the accompanying requirement to be open at all. In practice, they're a sham.

"Hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars have been spent on what was sold as a revolution in transparency and accountability. Instead, police departments routinely refuse to release footage — even when officers kill."

This is a characteristically deeply-reported piece from ProPublica which is both disappointing and unsurprising to hear. We need real police reform - we've always needed real police reform. Cameras were never going to cut it alone.

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Britons support rejoining the single market, even if it means free movement

Well, of course. Brexit was a massive own goal at the hands of regressive nationalism.

As a European citizen who grew up in the UK, I took the Brexit vote very personally. Not being able to legally live in the place you used to call home is very hard (although I'm fully aware that many people around the world have experienced a much harsher version of this story). I would very strongly welcome a reversal.

Britain's current Labour Party is next to useless, unfortunately, choosing centrist politics over offering a real alternative. I don't know that they'd be bold enough to make this correction under their current leadership. But maybe?

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Secretive White House Surveillance Program Gives Cops Access to Trillions of US Phone Records

"A surveillance program now known as Data Analytical Services (DAS) has for more than a decade allowed federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to mine the details of Americans’ calls, analyzing the phone records of countless people who are not suspected of any crime, including victims."

No surprise that this is run in conjunction with AT&T, which previously was found to have built onramps to the NSA.

Obama halted funding; Trump reinstated it; Biden removed it again. But it didn't matter: it could operate privately because individual law enforcement agencies could contract directly with AT&T.

Ban it all.

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Last Chance to fix eIDAS

This kind of legislation is fundamentally against the public interest and, I believe, should always be opposed:

"These changes radically expand the capability of EU governments to surveil their citizens by ensuring cryptographic keys under government control can be used to intercept encrypted web traffic across the EU. Any EU member state has the ability to designate cryptographic keys for distribution in web browsers and browsers are forbidden from revoking trust in these keys without government permission."

If this passes, the government of any EU member will have the power to silently intercept and read encrypted web traffic. It undermines the right to privacy and creates a chilling effect for activists and other targeted, vulnerable groups.

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What Palestinians Really Think of Hamas

Palestinians in Gaza are, by and large, not fans of Hamas, and are not aligned with eliminating Israel.

"By and large, Gazans do not share Hamas’s goal of eliminating the state of Israel. When presented with three possible solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (as well as an option to choose “other”), the majority of survey respondents (54 percent) favored the two-state solution outlined in the 1993 Oslo accords."

Of course, they likely also don't favor being bombed to oblivion.

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Peter Thiel Was an FBI Informant

This came out of left-field for me: not only Peter Thiel but also Charles Johnson are FBI informants. The former fed information about foreign influence in Silicon Valley; the latter about January 6th and related movements.

There seems to be an angle of retribution here from Johnson, who made a statement revealing the ties, and is resentful that Thiel didn't invest in his portfolio. It's notable also, for obvious reasons, that Thiel founded Palantir, which counts the FBI as a customer.

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IRS advances innovative Direct File project for 2024 tax season; free IRS-run pilot option projected to be available for eligible taxpayers in 13 states

Finally! It's ludicrous that we need to pay for a product to file and pay our taxes. This is a huge step in the right direction. (They describe it as "innovative", but many, many other countries have this kind of system.)

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Jawboning tech companies is part of a much bigger trend of government influencing the private sector to accomplish what it can't legislatively. These are suggestions to curb and regulate the practice - but do they acknowledge the societal failures of the tech companies themselves?

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FTC Sues Amazon for Illegally Maintaining Monopoly Power

"Amazon’s ongoing pattern of illegal conduct blocks competition, allowing it to wield monopoly power to inflate prices, degrade quality, and stifle innovation for consumers and businesses." Whatever happens here, it will be meaningful. It's also nice to see the FTC actually wielding its antitrust powers.

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Intuit Pushing Claim That Free Tax-Filing Program Would Harm Black Taxpayers

Intuit has a stranglehold on how taxes are filed in America. For what? Many other countries just have an easy to use tax portal of their own. This is a business that shouldn't even need to exist.

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Migrants tracked with GPS tags say UK feels like ‘an outside prison’

I had no idea Britain was fitting migrants and asylum seekers with ankle bracelets and surveilling them to this level. It seems impossible that this is something people would think is right and just. The dystopian cruelty is mind-boggling.

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An endless battle for the rights of the underclass

Every word of this, but particularly: "Cultural warfare was a political ploy designed to keep workers from recognizing our common ground and banding together against corporate abuses and thefts.”

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What Mitt Romney Saw in the Senate

A fascinating read that makes me want to check out the full book, which seems to me like an attempt by Romney to save the Republican Party from Trumpism (as well as, let’s be clear, his own reputation). Wild anecdote after wild anecdote that highlights the cynicism of Washington political life.

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Never Remember

The best thing I read on the anniversary of 9/11 by far. It feels cathartic to read. But it's also so, so sad.

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