Jan 242020
Turkey, Power Corrupts, and Right Wing Extremism in Germany: 4 links I did not really like 1

How rogue can Turkey go?” This is a rather depressing assessment of the frayed state of relations between Turkey and “the West”. And it does hardly delve into the whole issue of human rights abuses.

Talking about depressing yet oddly fascinating stuff, there is going to be a new season of the fantastic Power Corrupts Podcast. Tune in!

Exactly: The Neo-Nazi Murder Of A German Politician Highlights Threat Of Radical Right Terrorism. And this problem is much, much bigger than just one case: German police investigate report of bullet holes at black MP’s office

Dec 112019
Extremism & the German police, disinformation in the UK, nativism & populism, and the most useful podcast ever: 4 links I liked 2

In Germany, these problems have been under-estimated, under-reported, and outright downplayed for a very long time:
Elite German Police Unit Was Crawling With Far-Right ‘Preppers’ Gearing Up for a Race War

If you are worried about the effect of disinformation on democracy, the UK is a very scary place right now: Google bans eight different Tory election adverts as disinformation concerns mount (I think the number has risen in the meantime).

Cas Mudde thinks that nativism and authoritarianism are more problematic than mere populism. I couldn’t agree more.

If you feel CONSTANTLY OVERWHELMED BY THE FLOOD OF NEW BOOKS THAT YOU SHOULD READ OR AT LEAST KNOW ABOUT, the New Books in Political Science podcast delivers wonderful, commute-sized reviews / interviews with the authors right to your earphones.

Hidden bonus track: what you always wanted to know about Derrida but were too afraid to ask 👇

Nov 242019
California vs Russia, Ukrainian bribery, Mr P comes to Little Britain, false flag attack in Germany, and the fire-hose of anti-vaxx lies: 5 links I liked 3

Over at Crooked Timber, John Quiggin asks an odd yet interesting question: Would Republican voters rather live under a government like that of Russia, or one like that of California?

Barbara McQuade, an actual law professor and former US attorney, argues that what the testimonies from the impeachment hearings add up to bribery.

Still not sure if I really get how it works (there is always the original Gelman piece), but here is a useful primer to “Mr P” and its application to the upcoming General election in the UK

In Germany, a soldier who planned a (false flag) far-right terror attack is to stand trial. Just as scary as his plan is that the magistrate court wanted to dismiss his case. Thankfully, the federal prosecutor appealed to the high court, which ordered their colleagues further down the food chain to begin proceedings. This is very scary, and woefully under-reported.

Why do some political actors spout obvious lies? There is a Rand paper on Russian propaganda which claims that this is a deliberate strategy. And this article in the Guardian applies the idea to anti-vaxxers. Fun fact/bonus track: this is what I see in position 0 (i.e. before any hits) when I type “he spouts lies” into Google.

Trump spouts lies

Nov 152019
The AfD's culture war, Trump as Voldemort, the electoral system's impact on the Canadian election, and campaign deepfakes: 4 links I liked 4

The AfD have launched their very own culture war (German style). Over at the Atlantic, Eliza Apperly reports.

Is it uncivil to protest an uncivil president at a sports event? Mc Sweeny’s has a wonderful spoof essay on that topic: “Booing Voldemort at the Triwizard Tournament demonstrates Hogwarts’ lack of civil discourse”

If you are a political scientist, you are probably familiar with the work of Matthew Shugart. But you might not be aware that he has been writing on his personal blog (they still exist) for more than a decade. A couple of weeks ago, he has published a very instructive analysis of the recent Canadian election through an electoral-systems-research lens that is absolutely worth your time.

It is now possible to create convincing deepfake videos of politicians endorsing their opponents. Watch this one (created for educational purposes) and be afraid.

Sep 122019
The end of Canadian politeness, relative deprivation, right-wingers go nuclear, and the birth of Linux from a private monopoly: 4 links I liked 5

Even Canadian politeness has its limits: someone writing for the Globe and Mail thinks that BoJo is really, seriously rubbish. Amusing (and spot on).

Want to know what relative deprivation is and does? Look no further: “Germany’s far-right AfD stronghold: Life is good, but ‘people are scared'”

Not much to see here, just a far-right “activist” serving on a nuclear sub.

When it’s all getting a bit too much, read this wonderful article about the unlikely environment / management culture in which the world’s favourite operating system was hatched. I have filed “selective enthusiasm” for use in future faculty meetings. Also has some seriously weird pictures of nerds in front of historic computers.

Aug 232019
Anglo-Irish Science Fiction, Poggenburg, and the Anthropocene that is not : 3 links I liked 6

Talking about the Anthropocene seems to be a stupid thing, for various reasons. Intriguing article full of very large numbers.

Life imitating satire: hardliner Andre Poggenburg left the AfD to set up his own party. Seven months down the line, he tries to dissolve the new party, fails, and leaves (in German). Why don’t you watch, purely for the fun of it, a (now historical) video I made about the original split back in January?

If you are into Anglo-Irish relations, Brexit, and Science Fiction, this article is for you: Ossian’s Ride

Bonus track: random Marie Kondo tweet

Aug 142019
Authoritarian parties, liberal parties, terrorism, and an #rstats distraction: 4 links I liked 7

Apparently there is a market for left-wing authoritarian parties in Western Europe: “The consequences of supply gaps in two-dimensional policy spaces for voter turnout and political support”

The plight of Ciudadanos, and Liberal parties more generally

Terrorism does increase with immigration – but only homegrown, right-wing terrorism

What a wonderful distraction: doing algebra and calculus with R and yacas


Bonus track: this glorious thread on state-sponsored youth festivals in the former GDR

Jun 212019
Mad Christian Democrats, the AfD's internal conflicts, useless US polls, and the Wellcome Monitor: four links I liked 9

On a very slow news day, two third-tier politicians for the centre-right CDU phantasise over future coalitions with the “moderates/liberals” within the AfD (where would they find them?). Ah yes, they also want to re-unite “the National” and “the Social”, which, by the lego-like greatness of the German language, becomes the “National-Social”.

James F. Downes has an interesting long read on Alternative for Germany’s internal/inter-regional conflicts. It chimes with my own recent article on the development of the AfD and the normalisation of right-wing populism in Germany. Somewhat surprisingly, these contradictions are still not harming the party.

Sorry to disappoint: Brendan Nyhan explains why the current polls showing that Trump is trailing various Democrats are useless.

People in rich & healthy countries stop believing in vaccinations. In the so-called developing world, vaccinations are still trusted. Find these and other fascinating findings in the latest Wellcome Monitor

May 312019
Elections everywhere. And populist anti-vaxxers. 4 links I liked 10

Bonnie N. Field has written a very clear explainer on the issue of minority governments in Spain for the EUROPP blog. Read it.

Over at Europe Elects, Alexander Sarti explains how they predicted the distribution of seats in the European Parliament. By and large, it seems to have worked rather well.

Somewhere along the way, for reasons that I do not fully understand, right-wing populists became anti-vaxxers. Politico (in the guise of Jonathan Kennedy) has some ideas.

Danish politics is confusing. But Jacob Christensen has got you covered with his field guide to the upcoming General Election in Denmark.