Tag Archives | politicians

Greenhouse: Browser App Shows Who’s Funding Politicians

Example

Example

I’ve already downloaded it myself.

via Alternet:

While it’s easy and almost safe to assume that most of today’s politicians take large donations from dubious corporate interests—given the fact that we live in an oligarchy and all—inquiring minds still want to keep track of who’s taking money from big oil, big pharma, big defense contractors, you name it.

Seattle teenager Nick Rubin recently made keeping track of the money trail a whole lot easier with his creation  Greenhouse, a browser plug-in that operates under the motto “Some are red. Some are blue. All are green.” (Get it? Green House?) His website describes Greenhouse like this: “A free browser extension for Chrome Firefox, and Safari that exposes the role money plays in Congress. Displays on any web page detailed campaign contribution data for every Senator and Representative, including total amount received and breakdown by industry and by size of donation.

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A Neurobiologist on Understanding Psychopaths

Would we vote for a psychopath? I didn’t know we had any other options.

via A Neurobiologist on Understanding Psychopaths | Think Tank | Big Think

Psychopaths make up 1 to 2 percent of the American population. That’s around 6,278,000 psychopaths who live among us and use intimidation and manipulation to lord over others. In any organization of at least 35 people, one will be a psychopath. Before you start making boss jokes, take some relief in the fact that these types of individuals likely don’t want to murder you in your sleep.

James Fallon should know. He himself is a psychopath. And as a neurobiologist at UC Irvine, Fallon has made a name for himself decoding the psychopathic brain.

What should we look for to spot a psychopath? One easy method is to ask: Is the person running for office? Yes, politicians rank high on the psychopathic scale. And we continue to vote for them.

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The Lottocracy Has Arrived: Say Goodbye (and Good Riddance!) to Campaigns, Candidates, and Elections

Pic: USGOV (PD)

Pic: USGOV (PD)

“It is accepted as democratic when public offices are allocated by lot, and as oligarchic when they are filled by election.” – Aristotle (Politics IV. 9, 1294b8)

I was in the process of cobbling together a piece on sortition (the selection of government officials by lottery) but it turns out that Alexander Guerrero – an assistant professor of philosophy, medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania – has beaten me to the punch, and then some! He has written a superb essay about the subject and has also come up with an alternative system which he has dubbed “the lottocracy”, an idea which is challenging, thought-provoking, and incredibly hopeful…

So what’s wrong with the system of representation which we currently employ?

“In the presence of widespread citizen ignorance and the absence of meaningful accountability, powerful interests will effectively capture representatives, ensuring that the only viable candidates — the only people who can get and stay in political power — are those who will act in ways that are congenial to the interests of the powerful.”

What is the historical precedent for sortition?

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British Politician Claims He’s Having Affair With An Alien

simon parkes

He says nonetheless he remains focused on fixing the potholes in Whitby. Via the Mirror:

A Labour politician has sensationally claimed that an extra terrestrial affair is ruining his marriage. Simon Parkes, town councillor for Stakesby in Whitby, says he has sex with the alien, who he refers to as the Cat Queen, around four times a year.

He even claims to have fathered an extraterrestrial lovechild called Zarka and says having sex with the alien has caused tension in his marriage: “My wife found out about it and was very unhappy, clearly. But it is not on a human level, so I don’t see it as wrong.”

“What will happen is that we will hold hands and I say ‘I’m ready’ and then the technology I don’t understand will take us up to a craft orbiting the earth.”

He says his work is unaffected: “It’s a personal matter. I’m more interested in fixing someone’s leaking roof or potholes.”

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Logical Thinking Seems to Negate Empathy

Picture: Grindilu (CC)

Disinfonaughts are likely to be familiar with Jon Ronson’s book “The Psychopath Test”. In a nutshell the acclaimed journalist discovered evidence that suggested being a psychopath is useful if you want to survive in the cold logical world of management and business. (Listen to Jon Ronson on the Disinfocast – ed.) Now PopSci reports on evidence that empathy (a quality missing from the mind of a psychopath) is difficult to maintain when processing purely logical thoughts:

A new study published in NeuroImage found that separate neural pathways are used alternately for empathetic and analytic problem solving. The study compares it to a see-saw. When you’re busy empathizing, the neural network for analysis is repressed, and this switches according to the task at hand.

Anthony Jack, an assistant professor in cognitive science at Case Western Reserve University and lead author of the study, relates the idea to an optical illusion.

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Ron Paul Admits He Draws Benefits From The Social Security System He’s Working to Destroy

Okay, so the mask is finally off.  But honestly, it never really was much of a disguise, was it?  From Erin Mershon at the Huffington Post:

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) may rail against Social Security insolvency in the public eye, but that hasn’t stopped him from accepting the government checks.

The libertarian-leaning Republican and former presidential candidate admitted Wednesday that he accepts Social Security checks just minutes after he called for younger generations to wean themselves off the program, in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I want young people to opt out of Social Security, but my goal isn’t to cut,” he said.

The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein then asked Paul, “A bit of a personal question — Are you on Social Security? Do you get social security checks?”

Paul admitted he does, stating, “[It's] just as I use the post office, I use government highways, I use the banks, I use the federal reserve system.

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Politicians Are Shitheads

Daniel Craig. Photo: Chrisa Hickey (CC)

Daniel Craig. Photo: Chrisa Hickey (CC)

So sayeth Daniel Craig, laying heavily into former British PM Tony Blair. Via Huffington Post:

James Bond star Daniel Craig has blamed Tony Blair for the rise of the celebrity obsessed “s**thead” politicians who cannot be trusted.

In an interview with Men’s Journal magazine, the actor said the former prime minister had been too keen to ingratiate himself with the rich and famous.

“Tony Blair started it much more than anybody’s ever done. ‘Go and have tea at 10 Downing Street’,” he said.

Blair was famed for inviting actors and musicians to No. 10 in the early years of his administration in an effort to bolster his ‘Cool Britannia’ image.

“The fact that a guy who’d been in a band, owned an electric guitar and has probably had a spliff was prime minister really meant something, after years of John Major and Margaret Thatcher.

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Homophobic Politician Gay Sex Scandal Tracker

Gay Homophobe provides the service of tracking the most recent gay sex scandal involving a prominent anti-gay politician — and the sometimes fascinating explanations offered. For the Christian Right, the site is kind of equivalent to those “days since our last tornado” signs which all old Wild West towns had. (Or which I imagine they had?) In conclusion: who knows when the latest tornado in someone’s pants will arrive.

gay

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