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Very much worth reading: Henry Farrell and Bruce Schneier: Common-Knowledge Atta...

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Very much worth reading: Henry Farrell and Bruce Schneier: Common-Knowledge Attacks on Democracy: "Democracies draw upon the disagreements within their population to solve problems.... In a well-functioning democracy, each such group vies for political influence by persuading voters that its way of understanding problems and associated solutions is the best one. This is to the democracy’s benefit. It provides a mechanism through which a polity can harness the diversity of perspectives within it, the better to solve complex problems. This requires contestation over who the rulers should be, and what broad social goals they will seek to implement. Political parties and other collective actors hope that they (or their allies) will be in control for a given period, and each vies against others to win public support to that end.... Autocracies adopt a very different approach to common and contested knowledge...

...They require common political knowledge about who is in charge, and what their social goals are, as a basic condition of stability. There may be internal contestation between different factions within the elite, but such contestation is often clandestine, and is carefully insulated from the public realm, so as not to destabilize the shared expectations that anchor regime stability. This explains the great lengths that autocracies often go to manipulate shared expectations, and to support useful public beliefs.... Rather than allowing common political knowl- edge regarding the preferences of the population and the variety of political actors to be shared among actors in a decentralized order, such regimes will try to maintain monopolistic control. This forestalls new collective interests from organizing, and makes it harder for existing interests to coalesce into a challenging coalition....

Authoritarian regimes are potentially vulnerable to information attacks that challenge their monopoly on common political knowledge, either by undermining preference falsification or by disseminating knowledge in ways that allow other collective actors to organize and form coalitions to challenge the regime.... Democratic regimes, in contrast, are vulnerable to information attacks that... turn contested knowledge over who will rule and to what ends, into common political knowledge that permanently advantages a specific faction and associated set of social goals... to attacks on the common political knowledge shared by groups, factions, and parties about their re- spective goals, levels of political support, and potential coalitions, as well as to attacks on shared expectations about the fairness of the political system. Because this knowledge is decentralized, it is easier to destabilize through certain kinds of attacks....

US libertarians claim that the best antidote to bad speech is more speech, Putin’s government discovered that the best antidote to more speech was even more bad speech. Thus, authoritarian governments such as China, and semi-authoritarian regimes such as Russia moved quickly to mitigate vulnerabilities in their information systems, through disrupting the ability of both domestic and inter- national actors to turn regime-favoring contested political knowledge into regime-undermining common political knowledge about the genuine state of public beliefs.... Such attacks disrupt democracy by degrading citizens’ and groups’ shared political knowledge about allied and adversarial groups within so- ciety, fomenting confusion about the goals of those groups, and the level and kind of support that they enjoy. By increasing the levels of noise, flooding attacks degrade the decentralized com- mon political knowledge that provides people with a rough overall map of politics, and make it more difficult to organize around collective inter- ests or to build coalitions...


#shouldread
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dougsmith
25 days ago
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We Are with Her!

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WE ARE WITH HER!!

Looking Forward to Four Two More Years During Which Most if Not All of America's Potential for Human Progress Is Likely to Be Wasted:

  • With each passing day Donald Trump looks more and more like Silvio Berlusconi
  • Bunga-bunga governance
  • With a number of unlikely and unforeseen disasters
  • And a major drag on the country
    • Except in states where his policies are neutralized.

Nevertheless, remember: WE ARE WITH HER!


#workingmemory
#socialjustice
#politics
#moralresponsibility
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dougsmith
29 days ago
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Welcome to Our Modern Hospital Where If You Want to Know a Price You Can Go Fuck Yourself

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Welcome to America General Hospital! Seems you have an oozing head injury there. Let’s check your insurance. Okay, quick “heads up” — ha! — that your plan may not cover everything today. What’s that? You want a reasonable price quote, upfront, for our services? Sorry, let me explain a hospital to you: we give you medical care, then we charge whatever the hell we want for it.

If you don’t like that, go fuck yourself and die.

Honestly, there’s no telling what you’ll pay today. Maybe $700. Maybe $70,000. It’s a fun surprise! Maybe you’ll go to the ER for five minutes, get no treatment, then we’ll charge you $5,000 for an ice pack and a bandage. Then your insurance company will be like, “This is nuts. We’re not paying this.” Who knows how hard you’ll get screwed? You will, in three months.

Fun story: This one time we charged two parents $18,000 for some baby formula. LOL! We pull that shit all the time. Don’t like it? Don’t bring a baby, asshole.

Oh, I get it: you’re used to knowing a clear price for products and services. The difference is that medicine is complicated and scary — unlike, say, flying hundreds of people in a steel tube across an ocean, or selling them a six-ounce hand-held computer that plays movies and talks to satellites. Anyway, no need to think this through rationally while you’re vulnerable, right? Your head is really gushing, ma’am.

Sure we could start posting prices and discussing our costs, but then it turns into a public debate about transparency, and people get all huffy and self-righteous about $15 pills of Tylenol, $93 to turn on a single goddamned light, or $5,000 worth of sanitary gloves. We’d rather just mail you a bill later for $97,000, full of obscure medical codes you can’t understand. Oh, you like understanding things? Here, maybe this will help:

Hit your head, and talk to a doctor for one minute? $2,500, you idiot.

Want your pesky appendix out? That’ll probably be $33,611. Or it could be $180,000. Shrug. Don’t know. Don’t care.

Need an hour in the ER? How does $15,000-$50,000, sound? Hint: we don’t give a piss how it sounds you stupid fucking helpless human wallet.

Our medical system strikes you as “insane?” Well, you can’t do much about that now. Except of course to go fuck yourself. Yes, ma’am, as a matter of fact, we do have a special room where you can go fuck yourself. Yes, it does cost money to use the room, and no I cannot tell you how much. Want a hint? It’s between $1 and $35,000 per minute. Will you be reserving the go fuck yourself room?

Oh, you think you think we’re cruel and illogical? Well, no one forced you to come here. It’s your decision, you head-injured meatball. Feel free to go out into the parking lot and just die. I suggest you do that out in section F. Try to lean your corpse against a light pole. Our dead body disposal fee is $3.75 and is not covered by your shitty, confusing, out-of-network medical plan.

So, will you be dying in our parking lot today, you pathetic, impotent, walking insurance code? Okay, great! Your husband will get a bill for that soon, and if he doesn’t like it, he can fuck himself too.

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dougsmith
47 days ago
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popular
47 days ago
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5 public comments
sarcozona
46 days ago
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I am never ever going back
BLueSS
47 days ago
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Thankfully, dental procedures are the opposite, in my experience. I usually get provided my out of pocket expenses when I'm being told about the work that should be done.

If only medical could catch up to what's done on the dental side...
ChrisDL
47 days ago
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number one reason i might move away from the US.
New York
freeAgent
47 days ago
My wife is having a procedure done that isn't covered by insurance. She was referred to a place that was going to charge $1,600. She shopped around and found a different place that will do it for $4-500. She had to go back to her referring physician to have a second referral for the procedure sent to the other location. On top of that, my wife and her referring physician are coworkers, so it is not as though her doctor was trying to screw her over. Doctors just aren't aware of the costs for procedures or the differences in cost between facilities. That there can be a 3x cost difference between providers, even in the same region, for the exact same procedure is ridiculous.
ChrisDL
47 days ago
thanks for sharing that. I feel like we all have some version of these stories at this point. a dentist that gives you a bunch of care you don't really need. Or an insurance company rep that says something is covered but then it isn't, and there just doesn't seem to be any real recourse unless you feel like litigating. The other thing that surprised me is that it seems a lot of americans don't realize it doesn't have to be like this, plenty (arguably most?) other countries don't have these issues.
diannemharris
47 days ago
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The only thing that is wrong about this piece is that a lot of the time people don't have a choice and are taken against thier will, unconscious or not, and they still get the bill.
deezil
48 days ago
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Yet again, McSweeney's hits it on the head. (no pun intended)
Louisville, Kentucky
jhamill
48 days ago
That'll be $150 or $15,000. Don't know. Don't care.

Netizen Nastiness: Can there Be Compassionate Social Media Use in the age of Trump?

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Remember the internet of the late ’90s and early 2000s? Before Facebook, before Twitter? Back then I was in my late teens and early twenties; and I had developed a case of militant atheism. It wasn’t pretty. For the most part, my life looked normal. But once I stepped inside an internet chatroom: look out.  As […]
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dougsmith
67 days ago
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Lyndon Johnson: "I can think of nothing more dangerous, more divisive, or more s...

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Lyndon Johnson: "I can think of nothing more dangerous, more divisive, or more self-destructive than the effort to prey on what is called 'white backlash.' I thought it was a mistake to pump this issue up in the 1964 campaign, and I do not think it served the purpose of those who did. I think it is dangerous because it threatens to vest power in the hands of second-rate men whose only qualification is their ability to pander to other men's fears. I think it divides this nation at a very critical time—and therefore it weakens us as a united country...

...I think that the so-called 'white backlash' is destructive, not only of the interests of Negro Americans, but of all those who stand to gain from humane and farsighted government. And those that stand to gain from humane and farsighted government is everybody. Nevertheless, there are those who try to stimulate suspicion into hatred, and to make fear and frustration their springboard into public office. Many of them do it openly. Some let their henchmen do it for them. Their responsibility is the same. Racism—whether it comes packaged in the Nazi's brown shirt or a three-button suit—destroys the moral fiber of a nation. It poisons public life. So I would urge every American to ask himself before he goes to the polls on Tuesday: Do I want to cast my vote on the basis of fear? Do I want to follow the merchants of bigotry?...


#shouldread #politics #orangehairedbaboons #history
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dougsmith
78 days ago
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Laura McGann: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is being held to a higher standard than m...

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Laura McGann: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is being held to a higher standard than men: "Male politicians aren’t told to put training wheels back on after a fact check...

...This isn’t an argument to hold members of Congress to a lower standard. We should scrutinize their ideas and their plans and question whether they should represent us. But we shouldn’t use that standard for some candidates like Ocasio-Cortez and give a pass to men who we think look the part of a politician, like tall, blue-eyed Paul Ryan. Even when women are really good, they aren’t good enough Ocasio-Cortez is experiencing a phenomenon that’s been well documented across fields: Women are held to a higher standard than their male peers...


#shouldread #gender #journamalism #politics
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dougsmith
83 days ago
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