How to build a new majority in American politics - Vox
Lee Drutman says the US should have six parties and he classifies them according to six issues in a graphic. Good read
trump  polarization  politics 
2 days ago
What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class
One little-known element of that gap is that the white working class (WWC) resents professionals but admires the rich. Class migrants (white-collar professionals born to blue-collar families) report that “professional people were generally suspect” and that managers are college kids “who don’t know shit about how to do anything but are full of ideas about how I have to do my job,” said Alfred Lubrano in Limbo. Barbara Ehrenreich recalled in 1990 that her blue-collar dad “could not say the word doctor without the virtual prefix quack. Lawyers were shysters…and professors were without exception phonies.” Annette Lareau found tremendous resentment against teachers, who were perceived as condescending and unhelpful.

Michèle Lamont, in The Dignity of Working Men, also found resentment of professionals — but not of the rich. “[I] can’t knock anyone for succeeding,” a laborer told her. “There’s a lot of people out there who are wealthy and I’m sure they worked darned hard for every cent they have,” chimed in a receiving clerk. Why the difference? For one thing, most blue-collar workers have little direct contact with the rich outside of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But professionals order them around every day. The dream is not to become upper-middle-class, with its different food, family, and friendship patterns; the dream is to live in your own class milieu, where you feel comfortable — just with more money. “The main thing is to be independent and give your own orders and not have to take them from anybody else,” a machine operator told Lamont. Owning one’s own business — that’s the goal. That’s another part of Trump’s appeal.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, epitomizes the dorky arrogance and smugness of the professional elite. The dorkiness: the pantsuits. The arrogance: the email server. The smugness: the basket of deplorables. Worse, her mere presence rubs it in that even women from her class can treat working-class men with disrespect. Look at how she condescends to Trump as unfit to hold the office of the presidency and dismisses his supporters as racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic.

Trump’s blunt talk taps into another blue-collar value: straight talk. “Directness is a working-class norm,” notes Lubrano. As one blue-collar guy told him, “If you have a problem with me, come talk to me. If you have a way you want something done, come talk to me. I don’t like people who play these two-faced games.” Straight talk is seen as requiring manly courage, not being “a total wuss and a wimp,” an electronics technician told Lamont. Of course Trump appeals. Clinton’s clunky admission that she talks one way in public and another in private? Further proof she’s a two-faced phony.
trump  politics  economics 
2 days ago
We missed what was so effective about Donald Trump’s campaign speeches - Vox
There was a time I assumed if the Democrats “moved left” they could win over the working class, even those who don’t usually vote. Now I realize that this move is far more complicated than simply getting past neoliberalism. With Trump at the helm of the conservative movement for the foreseeable future, creating effective agendas and messages that hit home will be even harder.

Watching Trump with fresh eyes shows that we need to think more clearly about how Democratic proposals assume people will accede to changing social norms, how to convey to voters that the policies pursued by the rich are a problem, how to have clear messaging, how to deal with trade, and how to deal with questions involving wages and power. I don’t have the answers, certainly not here and now; but getting the questions right is the first step.

Trump never blames the rich for people’s problems. He doesn’t mention corporations, or anything relating to class struggle. His economic enemies are Washington elites, media, other countries, and immigrants. Even when financial elites and corporations do something, they are a combination of pawns and partners of DC elites.

It’s important to watch that trick, it conceals who has agency under runaway inequality. From a June speech in western Pennsylvania: “Our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization, moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas. Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache.” The rich buy politicians (and Trump, of course, can’t be bought!) but he doesn’t turn around and denigrate those rich people.
trump  polarization  politics 
2 days ago
Russia's role in this year's presidential election, explained by a media historian
I'm not sure. I'm inclined to believe this is more a problem for Facebook and Twitter to solve than it is for states. Fake news and misinformation spreads as a result of social media algorithms, and I think that's more significant than the subversive activity of states. What we're seeing now would not be possible without social media networks.
polarization  platformization  socialmedia 
3 days ago
The Agency - NYTimes.com
As Savchuk and other former employees describe it, the Internet Research Agency had industrialized the art of trolling. Management was obsessed with statistics — page views, number of posts, a blog’s place on LiveJournal’s traffic charts — and team leaders compelled hard work through a system of bonuses and fines. “It was a very strong corporate feeling,” Savchuk says. Her schedule gave her two 12-hour days in a row, followed by two days off. Over those two shifts she had to meet a quota of five political posts, 10 nonpolitical posts and 150 to 200 comments on other workers’ posts. The grueling schedule wore her down. She began to feel queasy, she said, posting vitriol about opposition leaders of whom she had no actual opinion, or writing nasty words about Ukrainians when some of her closest acquaintances, including her own ex-husband, were Ukrainian.
trump  polarization 
4 days ago
Alexa, Tell Me Where You’re Going Next
On the other hand, you are obviously hiring AI talent, competing with with Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and even traditional companies. What’s the pitch that you give potential recruits to come to Amazon? I don’t think I should answer that, because those other companies will copy it. Actually, if you answer it well, those people might read it here and apply to work at Amazon. What’s unique about research in a company like Amazon is the combination of data, computing power, and the best minds in the world all coming together to solve a customer-facing problem. Working on a customer-facing problem doesn’t take away the innovation — it actually accelerates innovation. The problems we try to solve at Amazon are all super, super hard. When Alexa started, solving speech recognition and natural language understanding across many different domains was clearly a very, very hard problem. Today you are announcing new tools that will help developers, right? Yes. One of the key things we want to make simple for developers is what we call “built-in intent” and “slot types.” Explain, please. In most skills, people will want to say things like, “Alexa, stop.” Or “cancel.” You want those commands, or intents, to be exposed to the developer, rather than trying to tell developers to build customized versions of things like the cancel/stop intent. Slot types are things like city names, vocabulary items. We had previously done a handful of them, things developers use quite often — around 10 intents and 15 slot types. So as part of third-party skills we’re announcing a larger set of hundreds built-in functions — slot types — across different domains, like books, video, or local businesses. And also a large set of intents as well, which help answer queries that people ask Alexa. So in other words, if I’m the developer, I can rely on your built-in vocabulary and your interpretation of synonyms, in order to make my skill smarter off the bat. And you’re doing more. Exactly. It gives you a much better starting point for interaction with skills. We’re announcing this as a developer preview, because of two reasons. One is, we want to see how people use these in their intents, because we have a certain mindset of how these intents and types should be used. But the developer may have a slightly different mindset. And the customer may use it slightly differently as well. We want to make sure that we get some feedback from the developers and continually improve these, and we will keep adding more and more built-ins.
Amazon  artificial_intelligence 
4 days ago
Why Snapchat And Apple Don't Have A Fake News Problem
Rob Fishman, co-founder of Niche, a company that connects brands with social media influencers, told BuzzFeed News. “Snapchat makes discovery of people who aren’t in your phone book extremely difficult because they believe peer-to-peer sharing is stickier than a so-called influencer model,” said Fishman, whose company was acquired by Twitter in 2015. “They do see value in premium and traditional publishers, but they’ve created a stand-alone experience to capture that kind of content.” "It’s impossible for somebody to go rogue in Discover." This is a huge difference from other social networks, where publishers and brands are “basically identical to individual users,” Fishman said. “It’s impossible for somebody to go rogue in Discover because everything in there is seen and vetted by Snapchat.”
Platformization  polarization  trump 
4 days ago
Solving the Problem of Fake News - The New Yorker
Only in the twentieth century, as the United States became a complex modern society with mass media and professional journalism, did people begin to worry about the fake-news problem, and when they did they usually came down either on the side of restricting democracy or restricting the media. (As American democracy came to include a greater number of people—former slaves, immigrants, and women—élites, including liberal élites, began to find it more worrisome.) Walter Lippmann began “Public Opinion,” published in 1922, with a long quotation from Plato’s cave parable, and wound up abandoning the idea that the press or the public could discern and then pay attention to the truth. Instead, he wanted to create “political observatories”—what we’d now call think tanks—that would feed expert advice to grateful, overwhelmed politicians, relegating both the press and the public to secondary roles in government policymaking.

In the nineteen-twenties, when radio was as new and vastly influential as the Internet is today, the United States decided not to create a government-funded news network like the British Broadcasting Corporation, but instead to turn broadcasting over to private industry and to regulate it heavily. The American news world that many people are nostalgic for had only three networks, which were required to speak in a nonpartisan voice and to do money-losing public-service journalism in return for the renewal of their valuable government licenses. That world disappeared when Ronald Reagan deregulated broadcasting, in the nineteen-eighties. When cable television and the Internet came along, they were structured on the more libertarian idea that everybody should have a voice and everybody should have free access to all forms of information, including misinformation. It shouldn’t be surprising that a lot of people, both creators and consumers of journalism, prefer fake news to real news.

So what should we do about journalism’s role in non-reality-based politics? The easy part—which won’t be all that easy, because of the current economic troubles of journalism—is to expand the real-news ecosystem as much as possible, by training people in how to do that work and by strengthening the institutions that will publish and broadcast it. (Along with this goes enhancing the smaller ecosystem for correcting fake news: snopes.com, PolitiFact, factcheck.org, and so on.) The hard part is figuring out what to do about the proliferation and influence of fake news. It’s a sign of our anti-government times that the solution proposed most often is that Facebook should regulate it. Think about what that means: one relatively new private company, which isn’t in journalism, has become the dominant provider of journalism to the public, and the only way people can think of to address what they see as a terrifying crisis in politics and public life is to ask the company’s billionaire C.E.O. to fix it.
trump  polarization  platformization 
6 days ago
Inside the Trump Bunker, With 12 Days to Go - Bloomberg
“I wouldn’t have come aboard, even for Trump, if I hadn’t known they were building this massive Facebook and data engine,” says Bannon. “Facebook is what propelled Breitbart to a massive audience. We know its power.”

With Trump atop the GOP ticket, Kushner was eager to grow fast. “When we won the nomination, we decided we were going to do digital fundraising and really ramp this thing up to the next level,” says a senior official. Kushner, this official continued, “reached out to some Silicon Valley people who are kind of covert Trump fans and experts in digital marketing. They taught us about scaling. There’s really not that much of a difference between politics and regular marketing.”
platformization  trump  polarization 
6 days ago
The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda - The New Yorker
The most striking issue is the overly broad criteria used to identify which outlets spread propaganda. According to PropOrNot’s recounting of its methodology, the third step it uses is to check if a site has a history of “generally echoing the Russian propaganda ‘line’,” which includes praise for Putin, Trump, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, Iran, China, and “radical political parties in the US and Europe.” When not praising, Russian propaganda includes criticism of the United States, Barack Obama, Clinton, the European Union, Angela Merkel, nato, Ukraine, “Jewish people,” U.S. allies, the mainstream media, Democrats, and “the center-right or center-left, and moderates of all stripes.”

These criteria, of course, could include not only Russian state-controlled media organizations, such as Russia Today, but nearly every news outlet in the world, including the Post itself. Yet PropOrNot claims to be uninterested in differentiating between organizations that are explicit tools of the Russian state and so-called “useful idiots,” which echo Russian propaganda out of sincerely held beliefs. “We focus on behavior, not motivation,” they write.
6 days ago
why obama won 53 counties in iowa and clinton won 6
The book is based on ethnographic and interview data collected over a period of several years in two Rust-Belt Iowa cities of similar size, one traditionally Republican, and the other traditionally Democratic. Both of these cities saw a transformation in their politics in the 1980s. Until the 1970s, urban politics were organized around a partisan divide closely associated with local business elites, on the Republican side, and union leaders, on the Democratic side. Politics was highly oppositional, and the party that won local elections got to distribute a lot of spoils. But it was not polarized in the sense it is today—while there were fundamental differences between the parties, particularly on economic issues, positions on social issues were less rigidly defined. During the 1980s, something changed. Pacewicz calls that something “neoliberal reforms”; I might argue that those are just one piece of a bigger economic transformation that was happening. But either way, the political environment shifted. Regulatory changes encouraged corporate mergers and buyouts. This put control of local industry in distant cities and hollowed out both business elites and union power. The federal government shifted from simply handing cities pots of money that the party in power could control, to requiring cities to compete for funds, putting together applications that would compete with those of other cities. This environmental change facilitated the decline of the old “partisans”—the business and labor elites—and the rise of a new group of local power brokers—the “partners”. The partners were more technocratic and pragmatic. They did not have strong party allegiances, nor did they see politics as being fundamentally about competition between the incompatible interests of business and labor. Instead, they focused on building temporary alliances among diverse groups with often-conflicting interests. Think business-labor roundtables, public-private partnerships, and the like. This is what was needed to attract industry from other places (look how smooth our labor relations are!) and to compete for federal grants and incentives (cities with obviously oppositional politics tended to lose out). The end of politics. Sounds great, right? The problem was that these dynamics also hollowed out local parties. The old partisans had lost power. Partners didn’t want to be active in party politics. This left parties to activists, who over time came to represent increasingly extreme positions—a new wave of partisans.
Trump  polarization 
7 days ago
Facebook Must Acknowledge and Change Its Financial Incentives - NYTimes.com
Interesting use of the word domain experts.

In the last few decades, technology companies have boasted about their "disruption" of industries like the news media. Now that the consequences of this disruption are becoming clear, platforms have a responsibility to engage on an ongoing basis with domain-experts, such as legacy media organizations and professionals, to learn about journalistic ethics — and preserve them.
platformization  data_science  machinelearning  artificialintelligence 
8 days ago
The case for normalizing Trump
Luigi Zingales has this amazing quote from 2011:

How, then, did Berlusconi get elected and reelected? He created an unlikely coalition between the business elite, which supports him for fear of the alternative, and the poor, who identify with him because he appeals to their aspirations. In a country where corruption and lack of meritocracy has all but killed the hope of intra-generational mobility, citizens chose to escape from reality and find consolation in dreams. Berlusconi adeptly fosters the illusion that he can turn everyone else into billionaires. His political career is something like Trump’s Apprentice program, only on a national scale.
politics  trump  polarization 
8 days ago
Facebook Shouldn’t Fact-Check - The New York Times
But hiring editors to enforce accuracy — or even promising to enforce accuracy by partnering with third parties — would create the perception that Facebook is policing the “truth,” and that is worrisome. The first reason has to do with the nature of Facebook’s business. The second has to do with the news business.

One thing is clear to anyone who has worked in a newsroom: Not all fact-checking decisions are black and white.

Did the pope endorse Mr. Trump? He did not.

But did the F.B.I. reopen the Hillary Clinton email investigation? That’s a little tougher. Although major news outlets like CNN said that it had, the agency did not in fact reopen the inquiry, which would have been a far more significant move than what it did do (which was to take a look at newly discovered emails to see if it should reconsider its decision to close the case). Erroneous reporting by established organizations is a bigger threat than fabricated stories, and far more rampant.

News organizations like my own publication make these judgments a million times a day. And we sometimes get them wrong. But we are checked by the power of our competitors and, for news organizations with a subscription business, by readers who stop paying us if we fail them.

To be sure, this business model is under great stress as people lose trust in news organizations. But I don’t believe the solution is to give up on it, particularly if the alternative is to cede the power of authentication to companies like Facebook.

I’m not comfortable trusting the truth to one gatekeeper that has a mission and a fiduciary duty to increase advertising revenue, especially when revenue is tied more to engagement than information. Facebook continues to consider, for example, how it can win approval to enter the Chinese market, including by censoring content. For the company, business can come before truth.

No matter how many editors Facebook hired, it would be unable to monitor the volume of information that flows through its site, and it would be similarly impossible for readers to verify what was checked. The minute Facebook accepts responsibility for ferreting out misinformation, users will start believing that it is fact-checking everything on the site.
facebook  platformization  polarization 
9 days ago
The Anti-Socialist Origins of Big Data | The Nation
 The information being handled by this equipment might not have been “big data,” but the idea was the same: to gather real-time intelligence from as many sources as possible, analyze it, act as quickly and in as coordinated a manner as possible, and then store it for future use. These upgrades allowed intelligence agencies, either working in tandem through Condor or individually, to kill or disappear more than 100,000 Latin American citizens and torture maybe an equal number.

So we rightly think of Chile’s 1973 coup as a turning point in modern history, where Hayekians and Friedmanites were able to first fully apply neoliberals’ “Shock Doctrine.” The “price system”—and not central planners sitting in fiberglass chairs getting inputs from nationalized factories run by worker committees—would determine the proper distribution of resources and profit.

But the coup should also be memorialized as marking a related historical turning point, when cyber-utopia transmuted into cyber-terror, and technology was used not to increase “real-time happiness”—unto “complete bliss”—but to instill raw pain. “Voltmeter” dials wouldn’t record people’s satisfaction with the government’s social-welfare policies. They’d be hooked up to electrodes and attached to victim’s bodies—a common Condor practice. (Even before Condor was up and running, Dan Mitrione, a US agent stationed in Brazil and Uruguay, is believed to have invented the infamous “Dragon’s Chair,” an electric torture chair; for three years, the current president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff—up for re-election this Sunday in a runoff vote—“was incarcerated in a military prison, stripped naked, bound upside down, and administered electric shocks to her breasts, inner thighs, and head.”)
bigdata  research 
10 days ago
What it’s like to be an Asian-American actor: I’m the background of other people’s stories
Every set I’ve been on has had an ethnically diverse crew. I see how directors might not clue in to the lack of diversity of their work because they look out onto an inclusive set. The principal actors onscreen are only a small percentage of the entire body of employees. What they forget is that the rest of the world only sees who is put in front of the camera, and they are hoping to look into a mirror.
generalinterest  politics  movies 
10 days ago
Facebook, Twitter & Trump | by Sue Halpern | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
Writing in The Atlantic the following month, reporter Andrew McGill pointed to an analysis of five hundred pro-Trump Twitter accounts that had encouraged voters to lodge complaints with the FCC about the Cruz campaign, the majority of which had previously tweeted “17 Marketing Tips for B2B websites.” In other words, they were fake supporters bought and deployed to push a message and look like a small army of concerned citizens while doing so. According to the website Twitter Audit, 4,645,254 of Donald Trump’s 11,972,303 Twitter followers—about 39 percent—were bots, compared to 524,141 of Hillary Clinton’s 10,696,761, or just 5 percent. Here was another way that Trump triumphed.

After studying four million election-related tweets created between September 16 and October 21, the University of Southern California computer science professor, Emilio Ferrara, and his colleagues, determined that one in five were generated by bots. And once they were, they were retweeted again and again by actual humans, who sent them ricocheting around the web, especially those that were antagonistic; in earlier work, Ferrara’s group found that negative tweets traveled 2.5 times faster than positive ones.  “As a result, [the bots] were able to build significant influence, collecting large numbers of followers and having their tweets retweeted by thousands of humans,” and leading to the “spreading of content that is often defamatory or based on unsupported or even false, claims.” Ferrara further noted that, “previous studies showed that this systematic bias alters public perception. Specifically, it creates the false impression that there is grassroots, positive, sustained support for a certain candidate.”
trump  polarization  platformization 
11 days ago
‘Something is happening that is amazing,’ Trump said. He was right. - The Washington Post
It was a sentiment that I would hear again and again over the next year, as I followed Trump to more than 170 rallies in 35 states and talked with thousands of his supporters. The first question I usually asked: Why do you like him?

The answers were nearly always the same: He’s saying what I’m saying, thinking, feeling or wanting to hear. He’s not a politician and not part of a corrupt system. He’s honest and speaks his mind, even if it gets him in trouble. And he’s tough.

[‘Finally. Someone who thinks like me.’]

Plus, Trump told his supporters that it was okay to blame their financial problems on undocumented immigrants and the Chinese, that it was okay to be fearful of Muslims and those who don’t speak English, that it was okay to punch back at Black Lives Matter activists, that it was okay to hate Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
trump  polarization 
11 days ago
Trump’s election is actually a return to normal racial politics. Here’s why. - The Washington Post
As we have written, illiberal beliefs and practices have been so strong that the United States has usually only made significant progress toward racial equality only under the exigencies of war. For example, African American rights only advanced dramatically during three periods in U.S. history — during the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and immediately after, and most recently during World War II and the Cold War.

[The education gap among whites this year wasn’t about education. It was about race.]

In each of these periods the United States was fighting a war against illiberal enemies, prompting it to highlight its own liberal values. In addition, each of these were big wars in which victory required African Americans as soldiers, sailors, defense workers, and at the very least, quiescent citizens. Finally, and perhaps most important, black and white civil rights advocates used wartime pressures to leverage for legal changes.

But for many white Americans, these advances were instrumental to the need to win the war and accepted only grudgingly. Wartime pressures for equality were felt most keenly at the elite level. Most ordinary white Americans were apathetic at best about such changes. Many were virulently opposed. Once the external pressures of war were removed, the elite consensus broke down, allowing various factions to encourage and harness these racial sentiments for their own political ends
politics  polarization  trump 
11 days ago
This researcher programmed bots to fight racism on Twitter. It worked. - The Washington Post
It was essential to keep the race and gender of the subjects constant to test my central question: How would reactions to my sanctioning message change based on the race of the bot sending the message?

To do so, I created two types of bots: white men and black men. To manipulate the race, I used the same cartoon avatar for the bots’ profile picture and simply changed the skin color. Using a method that has been frequently employed to measure discrimination in hiring, I also gave the bots characteristically white or characteristically black first and last names.

Here’s an example of “Greg,” a white bot:

“Greg”, the white bot used in the author’s study. (Screen shot from Twitter by Kevin Munger/TMC)
The picture at the start of this post is a screenshot of “Rasheed,” a black bot, in action.

To make the bots look more like real people, I followed some celebrities/news outlets and sent a number of harmless tweets (“Strawberry season is in full swing, and I’m loving it”).

I also varied the number of followers the bots had, to test the theory that “higher status” people are more effective at changing others’ behavior. To do this, I bought followers for half of the bots — 500 followers, to be specific — and gave the remaining bots only two followers each (see screenshot above). This represents a large status difference: a Twitter user with two followers is unlikely to be taken seriously, while 500 followers is a substantial number.

Overall, I had four types of bots: High Follower/White; Low Follower/White; High Follower/Black; and Low Follower/Black. My prediction was that messages from the different types of bots would function differently. I thought High Follower/White bots would have the largest effect, while Low Follower/Black bots would have only a minimal effect.

I expected the white bots to be more effective than the black bots because all of my subjects were themselves white, and there is evidence that messages about social norms from the “in-group” are more effective than messages from the “out-group.” Race does not always define in-group/out-group status, but because these subjects were engaged in racist harassment, I thought that this was the most relevant group identity.

The primary behavior I hoped to change with my intervention was the subjects’ use of racist slurs. I tracked each subject’s Twitter use for two months and calculated the change in the use of a particular racial slur.

Only one of the four types of bots caused a significant reduction in the subjects’ rate of tweeting slurs: the white bots with 500 followers. The graph below shows that this type of bot caused each subject to tweet the slur 0.3 fewer times per day in the week after being sanctioned.

Change in average daily slur use in the week following online sanctioning (Data and Figure: Kevin Munger)
Change in average daily slur use in the week following online sanctioning (Data and Figure: Kevin Munger)
Roughly 35 percent of subjects provided some personal information on their profile. The effects of my messages on this subset — that is, non anonymous Twitter users — were strikingly different. Tweets from white bots with 500 followers did not cause a significant change in these users’ behavior, but tweets from black bots with few followers (the type of bots that I thought would have a minimal effect) actually caused an increase in the use of racist slurs.

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The messages were identical, but the results varied dramatically based on the racial identity and status of the bot and the degree of anonymity of the subject.
polarization  politics  twitter  platformization 
11 days ago
The county-by-county data on Trump voters shows why he won - The Washington Post
Consistent with much post-election analysis, the share of a county’s residents with a college education is the strongest predictor. Counties with more college-educated residents gave Trump substantially fewer votes. This is in line with the exit polls, which revealed a fairly sharp cleavage on education.

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A county’s racial composition also mattered. The larger the percentage of minority residents in a county — whether black, Hispanic, or Asian — the lower Trump’s support. In the graph, I plot lines for the black and Latino populations.

Notably, size of the Latino population was an even stronger predictor in 2016 than in 2012. In 2016, the effect of moving from a prototypically low Hispanic county to a prototypically high Hispanic county was 14 points larger in the Democrats’ favor than in 2012. In other words, counties with large Latino populations, such as Cook County, Ill., Los Angeles County, Calif., and Hidalgo County, Tex., are places where Clinton ran up the score. Given Trump’s demonization of Latino immigrants and promises to deport millions of them, that is perhaps no shock.

I also found evidence consistent with the “racial threat” hypothesis. As shown by the orange dotted line in the graph, Trump’s vote was higher in counties where the number of Latinos has increased significantly since 2000. This suggests that some voters may have supported Trump as a way of expressing white identity in an increasingly diverse nation.

Finally, Trump also did better in counties experiencing a loss in manufacturing since 2000. (The downward slope of the red line means that Trump did better in counties with manufacturing losses, on the left, and worse in areas with manufacturing gains, on the right.) Indeed, economic struggles may well have been the factor that flipped some Midwestern counties in such places as Michigan and Wisconsin: The effect of the manufacturing variable is stronger in that part of the country than elsewhere.
politics  trump  polarization 
11 days ago
How racially resentful working-class whites fled the Democratic Party — before Donald Trump - The Washington Post
Across time, a large and stable majority of whites with a college degree believed that the Democrat was more supportive of federal aid to blacks. But among whites with no college degree, there was a substantial 22-point increase in awareness from 2004 to 2012. The election of an African American Democratic president helped shrink a different diploma divide — this time, in awareness of the two parties’ differing positions on race.
trump  polarization  politics 
11 days ago
Apple may have finally gotten too big for its unusual corporate structure
Berkshire is extreme in this regard, but a basic divisional backbone is the main way to organize a big company. Most people work for units that are responsible for particular lines of business, while a few functional groups (maybe public relations or accounting) provide support to all the business divisions. Apple is extremely functional Apple isn’t like that. If you look at their executive team you’ll find that there’s no senior vice president for iPhone who works alongside a senior vice president for Mac. Nobody is in charge of Macs or iPhones or iPads or really anything else, because Apple is almost entirely functional.
Siliconvalley  apple 
11 days ago
Mark Zuckerberg outlines Facebook’s ideas to battle fake news - The Washington Post
“We’ve been working on this problem for a long time and we take this responsibility seriously. We’ve made significant progress, but there is more work to be done,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Friday night post on his own Facebook page. He then named seven approaches the company was considering to address the issue, including warning labels on false stories, easier user reporting methods and the integration of third-party verification.

[Facebook fake-news writer: ‘I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me’]

“The problems here are complex, both technically and philosophically,” he cautioned, repeating the company’s long-standing aversion to becoming the “arbiters of truth” — instead preferring to rely on third parties and users to make those distinctions.

“We need to be careful not to discourage sharing of opinions or mistakenly restricting accurate content,” he said.
facebook  trump  polarization  platformization 
13 days ago
“These Days, Everyone Needs a Side Hustle”
The language of the ‘sharing economy’ positions all of us equally in the same community of app users. Indeed, the main advocacy group for the industry, now packaging portable benefits for gig workers, is simply called Peers. But if we read the latest data alongside earlier data on consumers of gig platform labor, it becomes clear that we are not all on the same page. An earlier Pew report found that super-users who purchase services from six or more of these platforms are generally digitally literate, college-educated urbanites making $75,000 or more. The gulf between frequent suppliers of labor to these platforms and frequent purchasers of that labor mirrors the gulf in the labor market that has been growing for decades but which ballooned after the recession: Low-wage service jobs with unpredictable schedules and no benefits on one side, and high-wage knowledge economy jobs concentrated in urban areas on the other.
sharing_economy  uber 
13 days ago
There is no such thing as western civilisation | Kwame Anthony Appiah | World news | The Guardian
So the very idea of the “west,” to name a heritage and object of study, doesn’t really emerge until the 1890s, during a heated era of imperialism, and gains broader currency only in the 20th century. When, around the time of the first world war, Oswald Spengler wrote the influential book translated as The Decline of the West – a book that introduced many readers to the concept – he scoffed at the notion that there were continuities between western culture and the classical world. During a visit to the Balkans in the late 1930s, the writer and journalist Rebecca West recounted a visitor’s sense that “it’s uncomfortably recent, the blow that would have smashed the whole of our western culture”. The “recent blow” in question was the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683.

To be blunt: if western culture were real, we wouldn’t spend so much time talking it up
If the notion of Christendom was an artefact of a prolonged military struggle against Muslim forces, our modern concept of western culture largely took its present shape during the cold war. In the chill of battle, we forged a grand narrative about Athenian democracy, the Magna Carta, Copernican revolution, and so on. Plato to Nato. Western culture was, at its core, individualistic and democratic and liberty-minded and tolerant and progressive and rational and scientific. Never mind that pre-modern Europe was none of these things, and that until the past century democracy was the exception in Europe – something that few stalwarts of western thought had anything good to say about. The idea that tolerance was constitutive of something called western culture would have surprised Edward Burnett Tylor, who, as a Quaker, had been barred from attending England’s great universities. To be blunt: if western culture were real, we wouldn’t spend so much time talking it up.

Of course, once western culture could be a term of praise, it was bound to become a term of dispraise, too. Critics of western culture, producing a photonegative emphasising slavery, subjugation, racism, militarism, and genocide, were committed to the very same essentialism, even if they see a nugget not of gold but of arsenic.

Talk of “western culture” has had a larger implausibility to overcome. It places, at the heart of identity, all manner of exalted intellectual and artistic achievements – philosophy, literature, art, music; the things Arnold prized and humanists study. But if western culture was there in Troyes in the late 12th century when Chrétien was alive, it had little to do with the lives of most of his fellow citizens, who did not know Latin or Greek, and had never heard of Plato. Today the classical heritage plays no greater role in the everyday lives of most Americans or Britons. Are these Arnoldian achievements that hold us together? Of course not. What holds us together, surely, is Tylor’s broad sense of culture: our customs of dress and greeting, the habits of behaviour that shape relations between men and women, parents and children, cops and civilians, shop assistants and consumers. Intellectuals like me have a tendency to suppose that the things we care about are the most important things. I don’t say they don’t matter. But they matter less than the story of the golden nugget suggests.

So how have we bridged the chasm here? How have we managed to tell ourselves that we are rightful inheritors of Plato, Aquinas, and Kant, when the stuff of our existence is more Beyoncé and Burger King? Well, by fusing the Tylorian picture and the Arnoldian one, the realm of the everyday and the realm of the ideal. And the key to this was something that was already present in Tylor’s work. Remember his famous definition: it began with culture as “that complex whole”. What you’re hearing is something we can call organicism. A vision of culture not as a loose assemblage of disparate fragments but as an organic unity, each component, like the organs in a body, carefully adapted to occupy a particular place, each part essential to the functioning of the whole. The Eurovision song contest, the cutouts of Matisse, the dialogues of Plato are all parts of a larger whole. As such, each is a holding in your cultural library, so to speak, even if you have never personally checked it out. Even if it isn’t your jam, it is still your heritage and possession. Organicism explained how our everyday selves could be dusted with gold.

Britons once swapped their fish and chips for chicken tikka masala, now, I gather, they’re all having a cheeky Nando’s
Now, there are organic wholes in our cultural life: the music, the words, the set-design, the dance of an opera fit and are meant to fit together. It is, in the word Wagner invented, a Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art. But there isn’t one great big whole called culture that organically unites all these parts. Spain, in the heart of “the west,” resisted liberal democracy for two generations after it took off in India and Japan in “the east,” the home of Oriental despotism. Jefferson’s cultural inheritance – Athenian liberty, Anglo-Saxon freedom – did not preserve the United States from creating a slave republic. At the same time, Franz Kafka and Miles Davis can live together as easily – perhaps even more easily – than Kafka and his fellow Austro-Hungarian Johann Strauss. You will find hip-hop in the streets of Tokyo. The same is true in cuisine: Britons once swapped their fish and chips for chicken tikka masala, now, I gather, they’re all having a cheeky Nando’s.

Once we abandon organicism, we can take up the more cosmopolitan picture in which every element of culture, from philosophy or cuisine to the style of bodily movement, is separable in principle from all the others – you really can walk and talk like an African-American and think with Matthew Arnold and Immanuel Kant, as well as with Martin Luther King and Miles Davis. No Muslim essence stops the inhabitants of Dar al-Islam from taking up anything from western civilisation, including Christianity or democracy. No western essence is there to stop a New Yorker of any ancestry taking up Islam.

The stories we tell that connect Plato or Aristotle or Cicero or Saint Augustine to contemporary culture in the north Atlantic world have some truth in them, of course. We have self-conscious traditions of scholarship and argumentation. The delusion is to think that it suffices that we have access to these values, as if they are tracks on a Spotify playlist we have never quite listened to. If these thinkers are part of our Arnoldian culture, there is no guarantee that what is best in them will continue to mean something to the children of those who now look back to them, any more than the centrality of Aristotle to Muslim thought for hundreds of years guarantees him an important place in modern Muslim cultures.

Values aren’t a birthright: you need to keep caring about them. Living in the west, however you define it, being western, provides no guarantee that you will care about western civilisation. The values European humanists like to espouse belong just as easily to an African or an Asian who takes them up with enthusiasm as to a European. By that very logic, of course, they do not belong to a European who has not taken the trouble to understand and absorb them. The same, of course, is true in the other direction. The story of the golden nugget suggests that we cannot help caring about the traditions of “the west” because they are ours: in fact, the opposite is true. They are only ours if we care about them. A culture of liberty, tolerance, and rational inquiry: that would be a good idea. But these values represent choices to make, not tracks laid down by a western destiny.
culture  research 
15 days ago
A computer program used for bail and sentencing decisions was labeled biased against blacks. It’s actually not that clear. - The Washington Post
Debate over using algorithms for guiding sentencing - argues that there's an incommensuratation between the two kinds of "good" outcomes here.
algorithms  research  artificialintelligence 
15 days ago
The Slow Fade Of Tom Hanks - BuzzFeed News
Scorched earth analysis of Hanks' persona and the films that helped him construct it. Not sure I buy it but worth storing
15 days ago
Crash: how computers are setting us up for disaster | Tim Harford | Technology | The Guardian
Same old arguments -- just like Nicholas Carr -- about how automation is making us less alert. Because - as the story goes - what if "the machine stops"?
algorithms  automation  technology 
15 days ago
Inequality Regimes and Student Experience in Online Learning: Tressie McMillan Cottom at Berkman | MIT Center for Civic Media
MOOCs tend to see information delivery as education, when we know that education is more about bringing your background into new opportunities that you internalize and synthesize. Information alone won't get you an education. Information is also culturally relative, Tressie tells us. Furthermore, online technologies are good at measuring tasks but not so good at measuring learning. There's also a risk that these systems might get tooled to "the norm" -- a "roaming autodidact," a "self-motivated, able learner that is simultaneously embedded in technocratic futures and disembodied from place, culture, history, markets, and inequality regimes." What you end up with is a system that evaluates people who aren't like this and constantly finds them at fault.
15 days ago
'Between the World and Me' Book Club: Black Rhetoric Without Religion - The Atlantic
Three pieces written by Tressie Cottom reviewing Ta-Nehasi Coates' book -- these are beautifully written. She brings out, for instance, that half of Coates' book is written explicitly for white people, but that there are other kinds of black experiences that it misses. But overall her analysis is beautifully constructed.
books  politics 
15 days ago
Currency swap and the reality distortion field - Livemint
In summary, the macro impact is somewhat negative in the short run. But if the implementation glitches are sorted out quickly, then the RDF will hold sway. The unthinkable may happen again.
15 days ago
What Next for Liberalism? : Democracy Journal
Lovely essay by Daniel Rodgers; as he says, Trump supporters are not populists as they were in American history. And Trump supporters must feel that they are heard more than anything.

Liberal ambitions to manage and reengineer a society as complex as the United States may need to be tempered as well. The nexus between liberals, academic experts, and policy think tanks is one of liberalism’s great strengths. The much more ideologically policed conservative “think tanks” have nothing comparable. But for too many voters in this election, the liberal-expert connection had grown too close; it gave too little voice to others. The gap between academic economists’ consensus that freer trade works for the greater aggregate good of all and the experience of those caught in the creases of the global economy’s dislocations was a particularly striking example: a wedge issue waiting for someone like Trump to ride it to victory.
More wrenchingly still, liberalism must come to terms with the fact that the base on which it has rested since the 1940s in this election fell almost completely apart. The effectiveness of the Republican Party’s Southern strategy of the late 1960s in peeling off Southern whites was the beginning of the New Deal coalition’s breakup. The desertion of the northern, white, working class in the 2016 election, should it persist, would leave liberalism without a viable electoral base. Unless the Trump victory literally splits apart the Republican Party, liberalism threatens to become a permanent minority of the educated, the bi-coastal, the urban, the nonwhite, and the poor. Despite changing demographics, national elections cannot be won on that basis alone.

More realistically, liberals must find ways to win back some of those who swung to Donald Trump’s camp. Populists, the press routinely calls them. But aside from their distrust of distant experts and cosmopolitan elites, Trump’s core voters have little in common politically with the People’s Party of the American 1890s. The 1890s Populists, like today’s Trump supporters, sometimes fell for terribly oversimplified answers. But the Populists hurled their political fury at the forces of organized money: the bankers, the monopolists, the railroad magnates, and the politicians who wrote the back-room deals of the money-men into law. The conviction that powers Trump voters’ imaginations is just the reverse. Theirs is a world in which not capitalist institutions but the political establishment hogs the seats of power. In their minds, government rigs the game for its own advantages, tying up the potential expansive force of business with rules that only serve to keep the regulators in jobs and the poor as their clients. Only through this story is it possible to redirect anger at plant closings from the corporations who order them to the liberal establishment that is said to be covertly responsible.
To bring back this election’s swing voters, liberals will need to dramatically change the narrative line in these voters’ heads. They need to find new means of talking truth to the American people—sources of information that can breach the communication silos of our fractured age and return political debates to some recognizable terrain of facts. The newspaper age is virtually over. More blog posts alone will not bring its assets back.
Liberalism also needs a clearer a story line about itself that can more effectively counter the government-is-about-to-swallow-us-all story that conservatives began honing long before Trump. That liberal narrative needs a much more vigorous sense of power. It needs a much clearer explanation of how organized money acts in modern law and politics, and how, under the cover of releasing excessive restrictions or emancipating “speech,” organized money so often prevails.
The sharp rise in inequality needs to become a permanent fixture of liberals’ program and rhetoric. But talk of inequality alone will not bring those who feel themselves outsiders in modern America back to the Democratic Party. If higher taxes on the rich had been Trump voters’ core concern, Hillary Clinton would have won in a landslide. The liberal story must also be about power. It must promise change: the asset that Trump’s admirers came back to so insistently. Above all, it must not only promise to make life better for those whom a slow-growth, globally uncertain economy has treated poorly. It must promise to hear them: to give them voice in the rooms where the experts and the college-educated now use up so much of the air space. This does not mean that liberalism must turn its back on its past. Attention to power, commitment to change, and respect for the voices of the less powerful are deeply fixed liberal and progressive values. Liberals need to make those commitments vivid, practical, and unmistakable.
trump  polarization  politics 
15 days ago
Facebook Must Really Suck At Machine Learning | Elad Blog
An engineer says fAcebook can easily fix it through, yes, algorithms.
toblog  facebook  twitter  google  polarization  trump 
18 days ago
This is how Facebook’s fake-news writers make money - The Washington Post
“Google has more of an incentive to make information reliable,” Carroll noted, because Google’s business is based on providing accurate information to people who are looking for it. Facebook, though, “is about attention, not so much intention.” It’s generally good for Facebook’s business when something goes viral on the site, even if it’s not true.
google  facebook  polarization  platformization 
20 days ago
Facebook’s fake news problem is way bigger than fake news - Vox
But it isn’t “fake news” exactly. It’s based on a real news event that has simply been aggregated and reaggregated, framed in different ways for different audiences. At some point in the telephone chain, the story goes from accurate to inaccurate. And the method is the same as the fake news method — maximum outrage, maximum engagement, minimum concern for context and accuracy.
facebook  polarization  platformization 
20 days ago
"A Honeypot For Assholes": Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment
Talk to enough Twitter insiders and one thing becomes painfully evident: The company’s understanding of its platform hasn’t always been clear to employees, even at senior levels — a problem that has made it difficult to understand how to police harassment. One source recalls that, when asked, Jack Dorsey refused to answer exactly what kind of tool Twitter was. “He said, ‘Twitter brings you closer,'” the former employee recalled. “And I said, ‘To what?’ and he replied, ‘Our users always finish that sentence for us.’ And to me, I thought, Well, it’s going to be really difficult to set policy in place if we can’t define what this thing is.
Twitter  platformization 
21 days ago
We have 100 days to stop Donald Trump from systemically corrupting our institutions - Vox
Does this line make sense as a way to distinguish between ideology-based politics and patronage-based politics?

"We are used to corruption in which the rich buy political favor. What we need to learn to fear is corruption in which political favor becomes the primary driver of economic success."
politics  india  america  generalinterest 
21 days ago
How Teens In The Balkans Are Duping Trump Supporters With Fake News - BuzzFeed News
The young Macedonians who run these sites say they don’t care about Donald Trump. They are responding to straightforward economic incentives: As Facebook regularly reveals in earnings reports, a US Facebook user is worth about four times a user outside the US. The fraction-of-a-penny-per-click of US display advertising — a declining market for American publishers — goes a long way in Veles. Several teens and young men who run these sites told BuzzFeed News that they learned the best way to generate traffic is to get their politics stories to spread on Facebook — and the best way to generate shares on Facebook is to publish sensationalist and often false content that caters to Trump supporters.
facebook  trump  polarization  journalism 
23 days ago
Would Progressive Economics Win Over Trump’s White Working Class Voters? – Medium
Great piece by Konzcal -- shows that just moving to the left is not going to matter; Trump's mythical voting block is not just about particular policies.

Yet any sufficiently important left project going forward is going to involve at least four things: a more redistributive state, a more aggressive state intervention in the economy, a weakening of the centrality of waged labor, and a broadening, service-based form of worker activism. These four points, essential as they are, will likely further drive Trump’s white working-class supporters away from the left, rather than unite them.
I hope this is an intervention in the debate over “economic anxiety.” I find a lot of people saying Democrats need to move to the left to address the economic anxiety of Trump voters. Now, I think there is a left shift in the way liberals are talking about the economy, a shift that should be cemented and expanded. But it’s not clear to me, if and as it expands, why this would help Democrats with Trump voters, and I can see the many reasons why it would hurt. Going through these four examples will clarify why. Ironically, addressing white working-class economic insecurity will potentially drive them even further to the right.
politics  trump  america 
24 days ago
The only true winners of this election are trolls - The Washington Post
lulz - about a voting meme that encouraged voters to vote through text messaging
facebook  polarization  platformization 
24 days ago
Donald Trump, Shapeshifter : Democracy Journal
A debate about whether a democratic republic should be content with having publics rather than a public
toblog  politics  platformization 
24 days ago
The End of 'The Sopranos': How David Chase Played Us for Suckers -- New York Magazine
Emily Nussbaum does another amazing article. Here she tells us how David Chase went sour on Tony Soprano but how that made the series unforgettable.
4 weeks ago
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