Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm Obama's PR Strategy To Disrupt RNC Media Coverage, AmA (Link Round-Up 8/29/12)

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Don't Ask Politicians Anything (at least not on Reddit)
Much as many would like to believe that the medium determines the message, a modern politician is never unmediated. Not in a pie shop in Pennsylvania, not at a basketball game, not while having dinner, not on the phone with NASA, not on TV, not doing a Reddit AMA. Reddit is not a mic accidentally left on during a private moment. The kind of intimacy and honesty that Redditors crave does not scale up to national politics, where no one ever lets down his or her guard. Instead of using the stiffness and formality of the MSM to drive his message home, Obama simply used the looseness and casual banter of Reddit to drive his message home. Here more than in almost anything else: Tech is not the answer to the problems of modern politics.*

This is not to rain on Reddit's parade or to deny the slickness of the Obama campaign's surprise appearance. Nice job everyone, take a bow. But we'll know Reddit has really arrived as a political community when he uses a visit to announce a policy change they've been promoting, perhaps around marijuana policy or civil liberties broadly construed. Until then, it's all kissing babies and shaking hands, only with more LOLs.
Minimum wage raise in Shenzhen could raise tech product costs worldwide
The tech hub gained international notoriety following a string of suicides at the Foxconn iPhone factory in 2010, and since then several companies, including Foxconn, have stepped up and raised the basic pay and improved worker conditions. When Foxconn announced it would be raising wages by 16 to 25 percent in 2012, customers HP and Dell commented this could spell an increase in product prices, with HP chief executive Meg Whitman saying, "If Foxconn's labour cost go up, their product cost to us will go up. But that will be an industry-wide phenomenon and then we have to decide how much do we pass on to our customers versus how much cost do we absorb." Dell played down the potential knock-on effects, remarking that labour is a "very, very small piece" of overall overheads. The pay changes only took effect in August, so whether or not Whitman's words echo down the supply chain remains to be seen.
 Mitt Romney: King of debt creation
But what most voters don't know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America's top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.
Controversial French essay blames Breivik’s killing spree on multiculturalism
Breivik, Millet writes, is “an exemplary product of Western decadence” and a “child of the ideologico-racial fracture that extra-European immigration has introduced in Europe.” Because he sees the resulting “loss of national identity” and “Islamization of Europe” decaying “Christian roots” everywhere, Millet appears to believe acts similar to Breivik’s may be replicated outside Norway as well.

“Within this decadence, Breivik is without doubt what Norway deserved, and what awaits our societies that won’t stop blinding themselves in denial,” Millet writes in “Éloge Littéraire d’Anders Breivik,” one of three essays published under the collective title Langue Fantôme (Ghost Language) on Aug. 24 by publisher Éditions Pierre-Guillaume de Roux. “European nations are dissolving socially at the same time as they’re losing their Christian essence in favor of general relativism.”
We should be worried about China's fall, not its rise
The most consequential effect of this disconnect is the loss of an opportunity both to rethink U.S. China policy and to prepare for possible discontinuity in China's trajectory in the coming two decades. The central pillar of Washington's China policy is the continuation of the status quo, a world in which the Communist Party's rule is assumed to endure for decades. Similar assumptions underpinned Washington's policies toward the former Soviet Union, Suharto's Indonesia, and more recently Hosni Mubarak's Egypt and Muammar al-Qaddafi's Libya. Discounting the probability of regime change in seemingly invulnerable autocracies has always been an ingrained habit in Washington.
North Korea has trillions of dollars in rare earth minerals it can't mine
Although these resources represent significant potential export wealth, North Korea’s mineral sector is underdeveloped, and what is produced is sold at a discount. It is estimated that, on average, North Korean mines operate at less than 30% of their capacity. Many mines need to be rehabilitated and lack a reliable power supply. Much of the equipment dates back to the cold war, and is no longer made, let alone used, outside of the North. Other mines were damaged during the environmental collapse of the 1990, and have not yet been reclaimed. North Korea lacks the resources to redevelop these mines domestically; it is dependent on foreign investment to increase mineral production.

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