USA Downgraded from Democracy to Anocracy (“Part Democracy and Part Dictatorship”) – Kottke.org

Jason Kottke:

Their analysis also places the US at “high risk of impending political instability (i.e., adverse regime change and/or onset of political violence)” and designates “the ongoing efforts of the USA executive to circumvent electoral outcomes and subvert democratic processes as an ‘attempted (presidential) coup’”.

This, plus yesterday’s terrorism alert from DHS about possible impending political violence from the right, makes it pretty clear that the US is headed for a Real Bad Time™, and there may not be much we can do about it.

Trump Fails to Ascend as God Emperor, Leaving Diehard Fans Adrift – Vice.com

Anna Merlan and Mack Lamoureux:

At least one group, the Proud Boys, has seized upon the void Trump’s departure has left in his followers’ lives. On one of their official channels on Telegram they tell Trump fans “here is hope. Not for Trump to become president, but there is hope for our future. Abandon the GOP. Embrace the ultranationalist 3rd position.”

This is exactly what we should be worried about right now. White supremacist groups tend to use moments like this to recruit people, which is why it’s important to make sure they don’t have access to places where recruitment can happen.

Deplatforming isn’t just about getting the loud, obnoxious Nazi out of the bar. You want to make sure he doesn’t come back with his friends and start putting up flyers.

US police three times as likely to use force against leftwing protesters, data finds | The Guardian

Lois Beckett:

The statistics, based on law enforcement responses to more than 13,000 protests across the United States since April 2020, show a clear disparity in how agencies have responded to the historic wave of Black Lives Matter protests against police violence, compared with demonstrations organized by Trump supporters.

No one who watched what happened a week ago at the Capitol should be surprised by this.

Also very important:

The US Crisis Monitor previously found that, despite Trump’s rhetoric and the intense media coverage of property damage or violence during protests this summer against police violence, more than 93% of Black Lives Matter protests since April had involved no harm to people or damage to property.

How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps – Vice.com

Joseph Cox:

The most popular app among a group Motherboard analyzed connected to this sort of data sale is a Muslim prayer and Quran app that has more than 98 million downloads worldwide. Others include a Muslim dating app, a popular Craigslist app, an app for following storms, and a “level” app that can be used to help, for example, install shelves in a bedroom.

The focus on Muslims by a US anti-terror organization seems incredibly bigoted, especially when ultra-conservative white American males tend to pose a far bigger threat to our safety than Muslims do.

Bigotry aside, it’s been a bad few days for data privacy. Last week, Apple’s new OS update gave Apple’s own services the ability to sidestep the APIs Apple requires firewalls and VPN software to use, and the same trick could be exploited (easily!) by a bad actor.

The VPN provider I use says they’re looking into it to see if they’re affected. I hope they aren’t, but I bet they are.

Developers also found Big Sur to be phoning home, sending identifiable information about every app you open to Apple’s servers, and the data wasn’t even transmitted securely over HTTPS. Apple claims they’re going to patch that up, but we’ll see.

I was also shocked to see that iMessage is no longer considered secure if you’re using iCloud backup. Apparently that’s old news, but it was new to me. At least we still have Signal.

In the meantime, I’m evaluating Linux-based laptops.

How to Avoid a Surprise Bill for Your Coronavirus Test – The New York Times

Sarah Kliff:

Congress wrote rules in March that aimed to make coronavirus testing free for all Americans. Patients, with or without insurance, have found holes in those new coverage programs. They’ve faced bills that range from a few dollars to over $1,000.

What a sad state of affairs. An explainer like this should not be necessary.

Also, I argue with the phrasing here. Did the patients find these holes? Or did the people profiting off the holes find and exploit them? If the patient found a hole, it’s likely they fell into it like a trapping pit.

Newsom attended French Laundry party with more households than California advises during pandemic – SFChronicle.com

Alexei Koseff:

State guidelines limit gatherings, defined as “social situations that bring together people from different households at the same time in a single space or place,” to no more than three households. Representatives for Kinney and Newsom declined to specify how many households the diners represented, but did not dispute that it was more than three.

Even with Dems: restrictions for thee but not for me.

See also this dinner being held tonight for new members of the House that Nancy Pelosi said is “safe.”

Update: Dems canceled their in-person dinner.

The first female recession: Women in Richmond and beyond are leaving the workforce in record numbers during COVID | richmond.com

Colleen Curran:

Women account for 52.6% of job losses between February and August, or 5.6 million jobs, according to data released this month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Since February, there are 2.6 million fewer women in the labor force. In September, 617,000 women dropped out of the workforce, in comparison to only 78,000 men.

This is depressing and made even worse by Mark Meadows saying yesterday “we are not going to control the pandemic.” As I’ve said before, this is the future Republicans want: women beholden to men. The pandemic provides a path.

A shocking number of women dropped out of the workforce last month – CNN

Anneken Tappe:

About 617,000 women left the workforce in September alone, compared with only 78,000 men, according to government data released Friday. Half of the women who dropped out were in the prime working age of 35-44.

Saw this coming. This, combined with the backward-thinking SCOTUS nominee the GOP put forward, is going to set women back by decades, which is exactly what Republicans want. Barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen taking orders from men–that’s the ideal Republican woman. How depressing.