Bill Gates: the robot that takes your job should pay taxes — Quartz

So if you can take the labor that used to do the thing automation replaces, and financially and training-wise and fulfillment-wise have that person go off and do these other things, then you’re net ahead. But you can’t just give up that income tax, because that’s part of how you’ve been funding that level of human workers.

— Bill Gates
Source: Bill Gates: the robot that takes your job should pay taxes — Quartz

How Donald Trump Could Build an Autocracy in the U.S. – The Atlantic

No society, not even one as rich and fortunate as the United States has been, is guaranteed a successful future. When early Americans wrote things like “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” they did not do so to provide bromides for future bumper stickers. They lived in a world in which authoritarian rule was the norm, in which rulers habitually claimed the powers and assets of the state as their own personal property.

“The benefit of controlling a modern state is less the power to persecute the innocent, more the power to protect the guilty.”

no human contrivance is tamper-proof, a constitutional democracy least of all.

Congress can protect the American system from an overbearing president. But will it? … In the ordinary course of events, it’s the incoming president who burns with eager policy ideas. Consequently, it’s the president who must adapt to—and often overlook—the petty human weaknesses and vices of members of Congress in order to advance his agenda. This time, it will be Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, doing the advancing—and consequently the overlooking.

A scandal involving the president could likewise wreck everything that Republican congressional leaders have waited years to accomplish. However deftly they manage everything else, they cannot prevent such a scandal. But there is one thing they can do: their utmost not to find out about it.

Civil unrest will not be a problem for the Trump presidency. It will be a resource. Trump will likely want not to repress it, but to publicize it—and the conservative entertainment-outrage complex will eagerly assist him. … If there is harsh law enforcement by the Trump administration, it will benefit the president not to the extent that it quashes unrest, but to the extent that it enflames more of it, ratifying the apocalyptic vision that haunted his speech at the convention.

If people retreat into private life, if critics grow quieter, if cynicism becomes endemic, the corruption will slowly become more brazen, the intimidation of opponents stronger. Laws intended to ensure accountability or prevent graft or protect civil liberties will be weakened.

If the president uses his office to grab billions for himself and his family, his supporters will feel empowered to take millions. If he successfully exerts power to punish enemies, his successors will emulate his methods.

If citizens learn that success in business or in public service depends on the favor of the president and his ruling clique, then it’s not only American politics that will change. The economy will be corrupted too, and with it the larger culture. A culture that has accepted that graft is the norm, that rules don’t matter as much as relationships with those in power, and that people can be punished for speech and acts that remain theoretically legal—such a culture is not easily reoriented back to constitutionalism, freedom, and public integrity.

A constitutional regime is founded upon the shared belief that the most fundamental commitment of the political system is to the rules. The rules matter more than the outcomes.

What happens in the next four years will depend heavily on whether Trump is right or wrong about how little Americans care about their democracy and the habits and conventions that sustain it.

Those citizens who fantasize about defying tyranny from within fortified compounds have never understood how liberty is actually threatened in a modern bureaucratic state: not by diktat and violence, but by the slow, demoralizing process of corruption and deceit. And the way that liberty must be defended is not with amateur firearms, but with an unwearying insistence upon the honesty, integrity, and professionalism of American institutions and those who lead them.

Source: How Donald Trump Could Build an Autocracy in the U.S. – The Atlantic

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon Added To Top Of National Security Council : The Two-Way : NPR

Trump replaced the head of the United States Intelligence Community and the highest-ranking, senior most military officer in the United States Armed Forces with Steve Bannon on the group of people who debate and decide on targeted killing.

 

Bannon has been elevated to the NSC’s Principals Committee, the top interagency group for discussing national security. He formerly led Breitbart News, a platform for the alt-right movement.

President Trump has reorganized the National Security Council by elevating his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and demoting the director of National Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Source: White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon Added To Top Of National Security Council : The Two-Way : NPR

 

[Targeted killing / Drone strike] nominations trickle up to the National Counterterrorism Center, or NCTC, and to the National Security Council, or NSC, before the President signs off.

Source: The United States Needs a Drone Board – Defense One

 

How America came to embrace assassination.

Source: Targeted Killings: A Short History | Foreign Policy

A new study kills the notion that fake news swung the US election to Trump — Quartz

Using web browsing data and survey responses, and comparing actual fake news stories that circulated to “placebo” stories they invented that never circulated, the researchers estimated that the average American actually remembers less than one—0.92—fake news stories favoring Trump, and 0.23 favoring Clinton.

Source: A new study kills the notion that fake news swung the US election to Trump — Quartz

Forget What Is Normal, Champion What Is Just – The Atlantic

Saying “we mustn’t normalize this behavior” rather than “we need to stop this behavior” is really a way of saying that you don’t want to engage in politics, but would rather just signal to those who already agree with us just how appalled we are.

Perhaps the increasingly popular premise, that to air a belief is to normalize it, renders a society least able to contest wrongheaded ideas precisely when it is most vital.

Source: Forget What Is Normal, Champion What Is Just – The Atlantic

CIA Secret Assessment – Russian Interference With U.S. Election

NPR has confirmed that intelligence officials say it’s now “quite clear” Russian hackers worked to tip the presidency in Donald Trump’s favor. Trump’s transition team has dismissed the assessment.

Source: CIA Secret Assessment Says Russia Interfered With U.S. Election To Help Donald Trump Win : The Two-Way : NPR

 

“What worries me is the extent to which this is an ongoing pattern — which, by the way, is the Russians’ pattern in other parts of the world.

And is that going to be the case in our elections? Four years from now, are we going to have the Democrats, the Republicans, the independents and the Russians? I mean, this is very serious stuff.”

— Senator Angus King, an independent senator from Maine

 

Deep down in its article, the Post notes — rather critically — that “there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.” Most importantly, the Post adds that “intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin ‘directing’ the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks.”

Most important of all, the more serious the claim is — and accusing a nuclear-armed power of directly and deliberately interfering in the U.S. election in order to help the winning candidate is about as serious as a claim can get — the more important it is to demand evidence before believing it. Wars have started over far less serious claims than this one.

Source: Anonymous Leaks to the WashPost About the CIA’s Russia Beliefs Are No Substitute for Evidence — The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald

What’s So Great About American World Leadership? – The Atlantic

The U.S. voters who rejected decades of bipartisan foreign-policy consensus might be on to something.

So far this century, America has failed to achieve most of the key national-security objectives it has set for itself. … We’d better ask why.

The alternative to dealing with other major powers as equals is to confront them as rivals.

Source: What’s So Great About American World Leadership? – The Atlantic

You Are Still Crying Wolf | Slate Star Codex

there are not enough organized white supremacists to make up “a lot” of anyone’s support

Let me say this for the millionth time. I’m not saying Trump doesn’t have some racist attitudes and policies. I am saying that talk of “entire campaign built around white supremacy” and “the white power candidate” is deliberate and dangerous exaggeration.

I don’t think people appreciate how weird this guy is. His weird way of speaking. His catchphrases like “haters and losers!” or “Sad!”. His tendency to avoid perfectly reasonable questions in favor of meandering tangents about Mar-a-Lago. The ability to bait him into saying basically anything just by telling him people who don’t like him think he shouldn’t.

If you insist that Trump would have to be racist to say or do whatever awful thing he just said or did, you are giving him too much credit. Trump is just randomly and bizarrely terrible. Sometimes his random and bizarre terribleness is about white people, and then we laugh it off. Sometimes it’s about minorities, and then we interpret it as racism.

Remember that thing where Trump started out as a random joke, and then the media covered him way more than any other candidate because he was so outrageous, and gave him what was essentially free advertising, and then he became President-elect of the United States? Is the lesson you learned from this experience that you need 24-7 coverage of the Ku Klux Klan?

Stop turning everything into identity politics.

Stop centering criticism of Donald Trump around this sort of stuff, and switch to literally anything else. Here is an incompetent thin-skinned ignorant boorish fraudulent omnihypocritical demagogue with no idea how to run a country, whose philosophy of governance basically boils down to “I’m going to win and not lose, details to be filled in later”, and all you can do is repeat, again and again, how he seems popular among weird Internet teenagers who post frog memes. In the middle of an emotionally incontinent reality TV show host getting his hand on the nuclear button, your chief complaint is that in the middle of a few dozen denunciations of the KKK, he once delayed denouncing the KKK for an entire 24 hours before going back to denouncing it again. When a guy who says outright that he won’t respect elections unless he wins them does, somehow, win an election, the headlines are how he once said he didn’t like globalists which means he must be anti-Semitic.

Source: You Are Still Crying Wolf | Slate Star Codex