From the world pool: March 4, 2017

Here you go, neighbour!

Socio-political commentary

US politics

Crises and responses: a list of actions by the Trump administration.

How Trump Is Trying to Govern America Like an Internet Troll

This pantomime of insincerity is what can make troll culture so insidious when it is used to spread bigotry. Is it just a joke? Is this merely ironic racism, rather than the “real” thing? More importantly: is that now a distinction without a difference? The capital-T truth can be difficult to pin down, eluding many outside observers, and creating a cloud of plausible deniability that allows people to spread hate under the guise of it being humor. This is the essence of troll culture, and it has been used to great effect by Donald Trump’s most extreme supporters.

The Great White Fantasy of Donald Trump

Trump represented everything that White America yearned for: a restoration of their freedom, a time where “Blacks and Jews” knew their place and you could grab a woman by the pussy and she’d either give you the damn pussy or shrug it off because boys will boys and you’re a hot-blooded American with needs! Trump played to the ego of White America. When he said, “Make America Great Again!” they heard, “this is still your country, and you are still entitled to all its benefits. Not them, but you and only you!” White America lapped it up like mother’s milk.

Trump played nice for a night—a technique straight out of the autocrat’s playbook

Last night, US president Donald Trump gave what was, by the eroded current standards of American political discourse, a very good speech. It was a very good speech full of very big lies and very cruel policies disguised as empathy.

It doesn’t seem to be distracting people from issues of Russian influence, though.

Trump flashes anger over Sessions recusal, Russia stories in tense Oval Office meeting

“We should have had a good week. We should have had a good weekend. But once again, back to Russia,” a senior White House official said, expressing the frustration simmering in the West Wing following the news earlier in the week that Sessions failed to disclose during his confirmation process that he had met with the Russian ambassador twice during the election campaign.

And today he started tweeting again! But…

Trump wire-tapping claims ‘simply false’ – Obama spokesman. He’s beginning to sound rather desperate.

Is the United States Still the United States?

On February 22, I was arrested at 2:30 p.m. at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston landing from Paris. I had to attend a symposium at Texas A&M University. I was interrogated for several hours following a random check of Customs and Borders Protection. Because I was in possession of a simple tourist visa, the policeman who was in charge of my case explained that I wasn’t allowed to give a lecture and receive an honorarium. I replied that it was the university that did all the formalities and that I have been doing this for 30 years without any trouble. Examining my passport, the policeman noted that I recently received a “J1” visa, granted to academics, having been a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York from September 2016 to January 2017. He concluded that I was returning to work “illegally” in the U.S. with an expired visa. I was therefore in breach, a decision confirmed by his hierarchical superior who I didn’t have a chance to meet.

Trump administration mulls separating mothers from children at Mexico border

Immigration Agents Discover New Freedom to Deport Under Trump  “Those people.”

Gone are the Obama-era rules that required them to focus only on serious criminals. In Southern California, in one of the first major roundups during the Trump administration, officers detained 161 people with a wide range of felony and misdemeanor convictions, and 10 who had no criminal history at all.

 “Before, we used to be told, ‘You can’t arrest those people,’ and we’d be disciplined for being insubordinate if we did,” said a 10-year veteran of the agency who took part in the operation. “Now those people are priorities again. And there are a lot of them here.”

How the Trump Administration May Be Skirting Its Own Ethics Rules.

The hiring of three former lobbyists to work in the White House raises questions about how the Trump administration is enforcing the president’s executive order on ethics.

Canadian politics

The case to Stop Site C construction – links and news

British Columbia: The ‘wild west’ of fundraising

With no limits on political donations in B.C., the provincial Liberals raised an astonishing $12-million last year. One alarming source: Lobbyists are giving tens of thousands of dollars in their own name – and some power brokers are breaking one of the few rules the province has in place. 


Trump’s F.C.C. Pick Quickly Targets Net Neutrality Rules

In his first days as President Trump’s pick to lead the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai has aggressively moved to roll back consumer protection regulations created during the Obama presidency.

Mr. Pai took a first swipe at net neutrality rules designed to ensure equal access to content on the internet. He stopped nine companies from providing discounted high-speed internet service to low-income individuals. He withdrew an effort to keep prison phone rates down, and he scrapped a proposal to break open the cable box market.

Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media. READ THIS.

You can take an existing trending topic, such as fake news, and then weaponise it. You can turn it against the very media that uncovered it. Viewed in a certain light, fake news is a suicide bomb at the heart of our information system. Strapped to the live body of us – the mainstream media.

One of the things that concerns Howard most is the hundreds of thousands of “sleeper” bots they’ve found. Twitter accounts that have tweeted only once or twice and are now sitting quietly waiting for a trigger: some sort of crisis where they will rise up and come together to drown out all other sources of information.

Like zombies?

“Like zombies.”


I really can’t see any other category to file this one under.

AG Sessions Says DOJ to ‘Pull Back’ on Police Department Civil Rights Suits

Donald Trump’s attorney general said Tuesday the Justice Department will limit its use of a tactic employed aggressively under President Obama — suing police departments for violating the civil rights of minorities. “We need, so far as we can, to help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness. And I’m afraid we’ve done some of that,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “So we’re going to try to pull back on this,” he told a meeting of the nation’s state attorneys general in Washington.

How gerrymandering works to disenfranchise POC


How Doctors Take Women’s Pain Less Seriously. I may have linked this before; it’s worth repeating.

When she pulled up Rachel’s file, her eyes widened. “What is this mess?” she said. Her pupils flicked as she scanned the page, the screen reflected in her eyes.

“Oh my god,” she murmured, as though I wasn’t standing there to hear. “He never did an exam.”

More women working in tech speaking out.

  • I am an Uber survivorWhen I voiced my concern, Mike#2 looked at me and said “There is no place for ethics in this business sweetheart. We are not a charity.” I was upset to hear such an insensitive comment. I repeated my point and this time, I raised my voice to show that I was unhappy with his attitude. Visibly angry, Mike #2 covered the microphone of the conference phone, he reached over to hold my hand tightly and told me to stop being a whiny little bitch. Two of the men in the room looked at each other and laughed while the rest of the men, like me, were shocked. For the next few minutes, it seemed as if my brain was paralyzed. I could not remember what happened during the rest of the meeting. All I remember was that when the meeting ended, I took the stairs to a restroom downstairs away from the main office space and locked myself into a bathroom stall and sobbed. I contemplated on calling my mom and asking for her guidance on what to do. I didn’t. I was afraid that she’d tell me to stay and fight. I was afraid that she’d tell me to do something I didn’t want to. I wiped off my tears and went back upstairs. He was right there in our collaboration area. He pulled me aside and warned me that he does not like it when girls like me are insubordinate and think they got here because of their brains.

Indigenous issues

Everyone was dead: When Europeans first came to B.C., they stepped into the aftermath of a holocaust

It’s possible that smallpox killed as many as 95 per cent of the population of the Georgia Strait. Given that estimate, as many as 100,000 people may have lived in the area at a time when the entire state of New York counted barely 200,000.

In British Columbia, as with depopulated regions across the continent, Europeans were literally stepping over the bones of the dead to find vast landscapes populated by small bands of traumatized survivors.


Everyone in America Should Watch The Kalief Browder Story.  I think I posted a link in a previous World Pool post to the story that started all this, Before the Law. It’s truly horrific.

The Kalief Browder Story brings together an impressive crew of talking heads to reflect how significant Browder’s crusade has been: series producer Jay-Z, Al Sharpton, Van Jones, and The New Jim Crow author Michelle Alexander, and more. But luckily, it is the people who were directly involved in Browder’s story that get the most screen time, not the public figures who created talking points out of it.

Art + Design

Typography Ruined The Oscars’ Biggest Moment. This Guy Fixed It. Design matters!


X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan) I don’t have kids, but this strikes me as being really, really smart.

11 Out Black Changemakers You Should Know

Just cool

How a Synesthete Experiences Bach.

Just for fun

Heh. Yes it has, Denny’s.

I’m sure I’ve posted this before, but some things can never be blogged too often. Especially when the world, as my mother used to say, is going to hell in a handbasket.

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