This week we discuss the crumbling nightmare of the 5 Star party’s online direct democracy “platform” and the fun that is #antisemitism, which is very serious, but may not be being brought up in good faith.

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Show Notes

Nonsense Section

Bear Grylls vs Bulgaria

In the episode of Running Wild filmed in Bulgaria’s Rila mountains in 2017, Grylls and US Latin and ballroom dancer Derek Hough were shown killing, gutting and cooking the frog before swimming across a lake.

“It is evident from the film material that during the shooting there were breaches to the regulations and rules of conduct in protected areas: entering and swimming in the water basin of the Karakashevo lake, lighting a fire, and catching and killing an animal,” the environment ministry said in a statement.

The series’ production company faces a possible fine of between €500 and €5,000 while Grylls and Hough could receive fines of between €250 and €2,500.

www.theguardian.com

No one who has a Pension could be an evil man

Nearly 75 years after the second world war, Germany is still paying monthly pensions to collaborators of the wartime Nazi regime in several European countries including Belgium and Britain, according to Belgian MPs and media reports.

Belgian Parl. wants them to stop and release a list of all who’ve been receiving the pensions. Germany won’t release a list of any sort (Germany be like that)

The present German ambassador to Belgium, Martin Kotthaus, told a Flemish-language news site last year that an investigation was under way to establish what exact role the remaining recipients of the pensions had played during the war.

German privacy laws would not permit a case-by-case study of the pension recipients, while the German social security system was not subject to eventual criminal law proceedings, Göllnitz said (German Historian with University of Mainz).

www.theguardian.com

What are Yugoslavia

“A really remarkable transformation from a Soviet vassal state to a modern European democracy, a member of the EU, a member of Nato, a country with a flourishing economy, growing its tourism year in, year out, and this is really an example of Europe at its best.”

Jeremy Hunt fumbles diplomatic speech but lives to condemn German Saudi arms sales ban. What a hero.

www.theguardian.com

Brexit could be delayed until 2021, EU sources reveal

Brexit could be delayed until 2021 under plans being explored by the EU’s most senior officials, at a time of growing exasperation over Theresa May’s handling of the talks, the Guardian can reveal.

A lengthy extension of the negotiating period is said by EU sources to be favoured by Donald Tusk, the European council president, should the Commons continue to reject May’s deal.

Replacing the 21-month transition period with extra time as a member state would allow the UK and the EU to develop their plans for the future relationship with the aim of making the contentious Irish backstop redundant.

www.theguardian.com


Topic 1

Rousseau has unenlightened tech support

The title is a good joke in the same way Rousseau is a reliable method of direct democracy. Yes this is Rousseau, the “operating system of the 5 Star Movement” (is anyone else really tired of people saying they’re a movement and not a party prior to becoming a party?). A recent story in Politico Europe (www.politico.eu )points to the most recent in a long string of issues with the system where several members complained they couldn’t vote on whether the 5* senators should vote to remove Salvini’s immunity from prosecution. As an aside immunity from prosecution has always seemed like a rocky idea for elected officials anyway…

Rousseau?

Having a way for party members to directly influence the party decisions does seem like a reasonable idea and their website doesn’t indicate this is a complete piece of shit (rousseau.movimento5stelle.it. )It also seems like a relatively transparent way of doing candidate selection. Seems simple enough - you register, provide documents saying who you are and have to be a member for 6 months before you can vote.

However, talk to anyone who knows a little about internet security and they will tell you this is an awful idea if you’re going to use it for decision making (This Tom Scott youtube video from a few years back explains the main reason well www.youtube.com )

It’s currently being run by Davide Casaleggio completely, son of Gianroberto Casaleggio co-founder of the 5*.

This has happened before

In 2017 before the last Italian elections (where the 5* did very well) there were reports of the system being compromised (www.reuters.com )

“Rousseau’s content systems are outdated and its level of security is totally inadequate,” said David Puente, a computer expert and web developer who worked for Casaleggio Associati for four-and-a-half years until 2011.

Puente, quoted in the article, said they would need to roll back current functions to make them secure

Why Verify, We Trust Them Right?

There’s an entertaining NYT piece (who also have no reason to exaggerate) (www.nytimes.com )where they call Davide Casaleggio a “Wizard of Oz-like figure”.

Their transparency page is just a list of people (rousseau.movimento5stelle.it )and doesn’t really answer any questions about how they’re convincing people of the validity of any voting or party list selection.

The “Rousseau association” seems to exist to make it seem like an independently run operation - not just one guy with political goals.

There’s a series of screenshots from this twitter user twitter.comwith screenshots showing them logged in as different users on Beppe’s blog (which is run by the same people). They’ve also previously posted donor lists which they would only be able to get by accessing the database (weirditaly.com. )

The Italian data protection service resulted in €32,000 in fines to the 5* for giving the data to 3rd parties.


Topic 2

#AntiSemitism

##Why this came up this week?

Well Orban’s Fidesz government was doing another one of their wacky government poster campaigns that features George Soros quite a bit BUT THIS TIME Juncker is a part of it. Juncker and Orban both belong to the same European Grouping (The EPP) and now Juncker has joined calls for Fidesz to leave the EPP.

euobserver.com euobserver.com

Labour Split Fun

The Labour has an antisemitism problem ongoing story came to a head when ~8 MPs (can’t be sure that number won’t have changed by the time this goes out) left the party to form a centrist, anti-brexit group/movement/no more please stop. One of their main talking points at the press conference essentially was “Jeremy hasn’t done anything to address our antisemitism concerns”, up front ahead of remembering that they also happen to disagree with him on almost all of his policy positions (www.theguardian.com. )

Saying there is a culture of antisemitism in the Labour party is partially a clever way of avoiding talking about why they disagree with policy (editor.currentaffairs.org. )Focusing on that allows former Blair government supporters to paint over the unpopularity of their plans a bit

##France has an antisemitism problem and happens to be having a mass movement

80 Graves were vandalized in Alsace with swastikas on Feb 21st this year. Macron has pledged to tackle antisemitism in France. Antisemitism has risen by 70% in the last year in France. The record high is still 2015 though and while year on year decreases have taken place since then (2016/2017) these were still worrying high numbers that caused many Jewish people in France to leave for Israel.

www.politico.eu

www.politico.eu

en.wikipedia.org

##Yellow Vests are anti semitic now I guess

Due to abuse hurled at Philosopher Alain Finkielkraut by yellow vest protesters recently the criticism of the movement as Anti semitic has taken hold.

www.bbc.com

##Weber accidentally joins call to end Antisemitism in the EPP

This has drawn attention to uncomfortable elements of the EPP like FPÖ and Orban.

www.politico.eu